To say Quentin Coldwater’s life had changed radically in 6 months would be an understatement. First of all? Magic was real. Magic is real.
It was beyond his wildest imagination.
Magic school existed — which was just wild. He and Julia were actually invited to attend magic school. Quentin had even turned them down. That was probably the craziest part of it? They had asked for his meds in return for admission and Quentin found that was a line he couldn’t cross.
He couldn’t put his health in danger just for magic. Julia had been proud of him for that. She had told the Dean to shove it. For some reason, the spell to erase their memories hadn’t taken, and they both remembered everything.
And they had discovered hedges, they were technically hedges now. Quentin still couldn’t believe it. They liked the people in their safehouse, well mostly, Penny was an asshole but Victoria was very nice. And then there was Kady — Kady who Julia had a big fat crush on.
Kady, who was the reason Quentin was walking into a crowded bar instead of being home reading the Fillory books. He was just here as Julia’s wingman. Because Kady had invited them and Julia had given Quentin the puppy eyes that he could never resist — so here he was.
In a crowded bar, alone at a table, because Julia had run off to see Kady the minute she’d spotted her. Well, he might as well try to enjoy himself.
Quentin heard the announcer talk about how the performer was going to sing the rest of his set but Quentin’s back was turned, so he hadn’t seen them.
The music started as Quentin headed to the bar.
“You look lost,” the bartender said. She was a gorgeous dark-haired woman who looked like she could eat him for breakfast and then spat him back out.
“Not really my scene,” Quentin replied.
“Let me guess — you’re here as someone’s moral support.”
“Is it that obvious?” Quentin asked.
“Just a bit — you do have a bit of a lost cat look.”
“Yeah… I guess that’s fitting.”
“And if I were a betting woman I’d say whoever you came with left you all alone?”
“Got it in one — but well I’m glad one of us is getting laid tonight.”
“You never know — you might get lucky,” she said, and then she winked at him which made Quentin almost choke.
“What’s your poison nerd?”
“My name is Quentin,” Quentin said.
“I’m Margo but I asked for your drink, not your name,” Margo smirked and Quentin blushed a bit.
“Umm… maybe some hard cider?”
Margo rolled her eyes but about a minute later she handed Quentin his drink. Quentin went to pay but she stopped him.
“It’s on the house,” Margo said.
Quentin smiled at her and thanked her before heading back to his table. As expected, Julia wasn't there and neither was Kady. Well, at least he didn’t have to play third wheel tonight.
Quentin took a sip of his drink and looked at the stage for the first time since he’d sat down. Then he had the weirdest case of déjà vu. He could swear he knew the guy that was singing, but he didn’t know from where. And considering the guy looked like he practically stepped out from Quentin’s wet dreams — he’d remember.
“Time cast a spell on you
But you won't forget me
I know I could have loved you
But you would not let me.”
Quentin felt like he was in a trance. He hadn’t been able to look away from the man singing. He’d heard the song before, Julia loved Stevie Nicks, so he was familiar with the lyrics and the music. And yet it sounded like he was hearing the song for the very first time.
“Time cast a spell on you
But you won't forget me
I know I could have loved you
But you would not let me.”
Everything felt like it was amped up to a thousand and the stars on his arms felt different. Like they were reacting to something (or someone). Like something he knew, but had forgotten? Maybe it was just his head. It liked playing tricks on him after all. The biggest disappointment was that magic couldn’t heal his broken brain, but it could make things easier.
He was on a system of meds and potions now (the potions made sure the side effects went away). So maybe he was just having a reaction to them being combined with alcohol. Quentin fully ignored the fact that this was not the first time or even the tenth time he’d drunk alcohol since he’d gotten on this new regimen.
But well he had no explanation for why everything felt so much.
And then it happened.
The Adonis who was singing turned to look in Quentin’s direction, and he could almost swear that he was looking right at Quentin himself. Quentin found himself unable to look away as the guy sang the bridge looking directly at Quentin.
I follow you down until the sound
Of my voice will haunt you
You'll never get away from the sound
Of the man that loved you
Quentin barely noticed the change in the song. He was too busy staring at the performer. The guy kept singing without looking away from Quentin’s eyes the entire time. Until he reached the end of the song, and then he left the stage.
Quentin kept waiting for him to come out for the next song, to try and catch his eye again. But it was for naught. The guy never came out again. He went to the bar to see if the bartender, Margo, would tell him the guy’s name, but she wasn’t there. He tried asking the guy who was at the bar, Todd, but the guy kept going around in circles and looking away.
So Quentin went home alone. He locked the door behind him knowing Julia wasn’t coming home tonight. He tried to read some Fillory as it always calmed his mind but it hadn’t worked. So he had just gone to bed. Where he’d been haunted by the guy’s face. Apparently his subconscious wanted to torture him. His dreams were a really weird mix of Silver Springs guy and Fillory?
The mind was truly a powerful thing because otherwise how could he manage to imagine the two of them in Fillory? There was a mosaic and everything. Which made sense considering that had always been one of Quentin’s favorite chapters in the Fillory books. Jane arrived at the Mosaic only to find that someone had already solved it.
Julia would say it was just wish fulfillment to dream about your dream guy and one of your favorite places. Which was why Quentin was not going to tell her. He didn’t even know the guy’s name and odds were that Quentin would never see him again. He was not ruling out that maybe he was drunk (he wasn’t) and imagined the whole thing (he didn’t).
Julia came back to their apartment the next day — and as expected she’d had a much better night than he had. It turned out that Kady had gotten a job at the bar they’d gone to so that meant they would be going there a lot more.
(More chances to see if Quentin could see that guy again.)
(Not that he cared.)
She and Julia were dating now — or at least that was what Quentin thought. He’d asked Jules if they were going steady, and she’d thrown a pillow in his face. But Kady was spending a lot more time in their apartment, so he took that as confirmation.
Quentin worked at a hedge book store so whenever he wasn’t at the safe house he was there. One day Kady suggested they go to The Armory so Quentin decided to tag along. He talked to Margo a bit more, Penny flirted with Margo’s friend Alice, and Julia sneaked off with Kady. There was no sign of Silver Springs guy.
He went with Kady and Julia a few more times, but he never showed up. He was pretty sure Julia suspected something was up. After all, when had he ever agreed to go to a bar, especially so many times in a row. So Quentin was pretty sure he was never going to see him again. Maybe it really was just his mind playing tricks on him.
The worst parts of it all were the dreams — he could never remember more than fragments when he woke up. But every time he came back from the bar he had one. Sometimes it was like that first night — the two of them in Fillory. Sometimes they were on a cliff by the sea and Quentin never wanted to leave. One particular dream included him and Margo calling him over while grilling burgers.
He woke up from that one crying — because it had felt like home.
Not all of them were pleasant dreams though, there was a six-fingered man with moths on his face, people in grayscale trying to kill him, blood so much blood.
A Monster with his face and eyes.
Whose face? He doesn’t know but that quote kept coming back — it always seemed like it was coming from his own voice. Which was crazy right? And the worst one. The room with the mirrors and the feeling of burning up. He always woke up from that particular nightmare and had to look over his body just to make sure there were no actual burns.
Either way, Quentin knew it was a lost cause.
If the guy had actually liked Quentin he would have talked to him… right?
Margo Hanson was the Top Hedge Bitch in New York City, followed closely by Eliot. It was a position she was very proud of, thank you very much.
She’d managed to dethrone Marina Andrieski (and in the process hook up with her too). She had a semi-successful bar that was finally getting off the ground. And she might be joining forces with Victoria’s group soon.
They were on top of the world so why was her best friend acting so goddamn weird.
But enough was enough.
Margo stormed into their apartment to find Eliot in the kitchen, baking. Which meant he was stressed about something.
“Okay what is going on El — you’ve been weird for weeks now,” Margo pointed out.
“I’m not weird — nothing is weird,” Eliot said.
“Does this have to do with a Kady’s nerd friend?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Well you sang a very charged song at a guy you didn’t even know,” Margo said.
“Excuse you Silver Springs is always emotionally charged,” Eliot argued.
“So you know exactly the moment I’m talking about,” Margo said.
“I plead the fifth.”
“I don’t get it — he’s just your type! Why didn’t you just flirt a little and then take him up to the room above the bar… I’m pretty sure he would have let you,” Margo said.
She was pretty sure half the reason he kept coming back was that he was hoping to see Eliot. She liked Quentin, he was a good guy, a total brat, and just her kind of nerd.
“Why did you run off that night?”
“I was feeling under the weather.”
“No you weren’t — you were singing perfectly,” Margo said.
“I can’t explain it okay?” Eliot said, “I felt… something.”
“It’s called a boner… I’d thought you be well versed in those by now,” Margo smirked.
“Ha ha… it’s not that,” Eliot said, “You ever feel like you’ve lived through something before? Like you know everything about someone you’ve never seen before?”
Margo just looked at him, confused.
“You didn’t take anything did you?”
“No — I didn’t take anything.”
“Are you coming back to The Armory tonight?”
“Yeah I’ll head there after rehearsals,” Eliot said.
“Who knows maybe your nerd will be there,” Margo said.
“He’s not my — I don’t even know his name.”
“It’s Quentin — Quentin Coldwater,” Margo said before heading off towards her bedroom leaving Eliot reeling.
It was almost as if he could hear himself saying the name over and over.
He now had a name for the fact that had haunted him for weeks. He wasn’t lying when he told Margo he felt under the weather. That performance? There was something there. Like his entire body was on something even though he was extremely sober.
His hedge stars had felt weird and his magic had felt weird. He’d sung that song a million times and yet — it was different. But he didn’t know how to explain it and quite frankly it freaked him out. The guy — Quentin — had freaked him out. He was gorgeous sure but more than that his eyes looked like they could see into Eliot’s soul.
He was pretty sure Quentin saw his soul while he was singing. Which was impossible he knew this. And yet he couldn’t put words to the feeling. Somehow he knew that Quentin had felt it too. So instead of going up to him as Margo said he’d hid in the back and waited for everyone to leave.
Eliot Waugh could be cowardly like no other.
He’d found excuses not to sing at the bar the last few weeks while he tried to get his thoughts in check. Which wasn’t always easy — especially because of the stupid dreams.
The dreams revealed both his biggest dreams and worst nightmares.
His dreams were everything he wanted. It was a Mosaic and Quentin was there, and they were happy. In some of them, Quentin was at Brakebills with him. There was one in which he was having sex with Margo and Quentin, that one was definitely interesting. He didn’t want to acknowledge why his subconscious kept putting Quentin who was a stranger with Margo, his better half.
In the nightmares, he’s drenched in blood as he hurt people. Quentin was in those dreams as was Margo and sometimes even Alice or Kady. A few times it had been Eliot making out with someone, and then ended up killing him. And then there was the anguish.
That all-encompassing anguish that he didn’t understand. He didn’t know why he felt it. Just that it took over him and wouldn’t let go. He knew he’d lost someone he loved but can’t quite remember them?
There was also a whale — but that part was really fucking bizarre.
If he tried he could probably analyze the dreams and the nightmares… but the whale? That was above his pay grade.
Maybe he should do something about it though because he was clearly not going to figure it out by himself.
Maybe Quentin Coldwater had the answers.
It’s a busy night at the bar and so Eliot couldn’t get away until he finished his set. But when he did he looked out into the crowd and nothing. He was not there. Margo said that he’d been coming right?
So he headed towards the bar area where thankfully Kady was tending the bar rather than Todd. Todd always broke things when he tried to be the bartender.
The truth was that when they opened this place Eliot himself was the bartender, but then he’d gotten cast as Mercutio two months later, so he couldn’t devote the time. Bambi had thankfully understood. They’d had interviews and Kady had been the only decent one out of the bunch.
She wasn’t as good as yours truly, but she would do.
“Hey boss you look lost,” Kady said.
“Are you looking for your nerd,” Margo said coming from the side to sit at the bar.
“He’s not my anything I don’t even know him,” Eliot retorted.
“But you were looking for him.” Margo pointed out and Eliot didn’t dignify her with a response.
“What nerd?” Kady asked.
“Your friend Quentin,” Margo said.
“He’s not here — he’s at work,” Kady said.
“And where, pray tell, does he work?” Margo asked and Eliot tried not to look interested.
“What’s it to you?” Kady asked, “Because if you’re just going to mess with him then I won’t tell you — I really like having sex with Julia.”
“Don’t worry there’s nothing untoward,” Margo said, “Eliot has a crush.”
“I don’t have a crush,” Eliot muttered.
“Oh please, you totally have a crush.”
“He has the night shift and early shift at The Shire it’s some nerd bookstore near our bodega I know you know where that is,” Kady said and then went back to work.
It was clear she wasn’t going to give them any more information.
So Eliot had his name and his place of work. He just needed to find an address. Margo was looking at him with that knowing look.
“I’m just going to go home,” Eliot said.
“Sure you are,” Margo said and then turned away.
He walked out of the bar and opened his phone to search for the bookstore. There were four different ones with that name.
As much as he hated proving Margo right he knew he was going to probably visit all four of them tonight. It was after midnight but maybe he’d get lucky, and they would still be open?
He needed to find Quentin and get his answers.
Quentin had just finished doing inventory when he heard the knock on the door. He checked the replica Fillory clock he had on his desk and it was around 1:40 am. He doubted it was Julia considering Kady was working tonight.
Vic had asked them if someone could take the night shift in order to prevent other hedges from coming in and ransacking the place. They had just gotten some new spell books so that was definitely a real fear this week. Quentin hadn’t minded though. It gave him time to do inventory and reorganize things.
They weren’t open until 8 am, so he had a bit of time. And then there was a knock again. Maybe whoever it was had gotten lost and needed directions.
Quentin grabbed the pointing stick just in case, and then headed towards the door.
He did a small tut and the alarm on the door turned off and the door opened and there he was. Silver Springs guy.
Silver Springs guy was knocking on his door.
This day had just gotten monumentally weirder.
“Did you know how many bookstores with the name The Shire there are?”
“Four of them — there’s four of them… this is the fourth one I’ve gone to tonight, the first two were closed, the third had a dog guarding it and it almost attacked me.”
“We’re not technically open until 8 am — if you want you can come back later,” Quentin said confused.
“I don’t care about books.”
“Then why are you in a bookstore at 1:30 am?”
“I was looking for you.”
That was even more confusing.
“You weren’t at the bar tonight.”
“I had work.”
“Can I come in?”
“I don’t know you and I don’t want my boss to fire me,” Quentin said while running a hand through his hair. He didn’t think Vic would fire him, but he also didn’t want to tempt fate.
“Where are my manners, my name is Eliot Waugh, we have a mutual friend Kady Orloff-Diaz.”
“I’m Quentin — Quentin Coldwater,” Quentin said.
“Oh do you?” Quentin asked.
“Well that’s all I knew — your name and that you were at work in The Shire .”
“And you went through all four locations.”
“Why?” Quentin asked curiously.
“Let me in and I’ll tell you — I promise you can hex me if you think I’m a danger to you or anything in here,” Eliot said with a smirk.
“Hex? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Sure you don’t, you’ve got hedge stars on your arm and there’s a lot of wards in this place — not as much as in your bodega but still a lot.”
Quentin decided at that moment to let him come inside. He closed the door and but the alarm back up again.
So Mr. Silver Springs had a name. Eliot Waugh — it suited him. And he was just as fucking hot as Quentin remembered. Which was probably not good news for Quentin’s subconscious.
They walked into Quentin’s office and Quentin looked around nervously,
“So do you want anything? We have coffee… and I think there’s ice cream in the mini fridge.”
Quentin sat in his chair while Eliot sat on the small couch. Quentin didn’t really know what to say.
“So what are you doing here?”
“I wanted to see you,” Eliot said.
“You’ve mentioned that but why.”
Eliot smiled at him, “You ever felt like you were supposed to know someone? Like there’s something missing and something happened and then it just — makes sense?”
“Like fate?” Quentin asked.
“Fate is preordained... I mean like you make a choice and just know deep down it’s the choice you’re supposed to make?”
Destiny — it’s bullshit — but you are High King in your blood and somehow that makes sense.
Quentin shook off the words and looked at Eliot, “Like there’s a person you’re supposed to know and you don’t know how or why? It’s just… a feeling?”
Eliot looked at Quentin and smiled softly, “Yeah a bit like that.”
“I think that we were supposed to meet, Quentin Coldwater,” Eliot smirked and Quentin couldn’t help but laugh.
“That was such a line.”
“I know… trust me I know,” Eliot said, “But I mean it.”
“I do… I wasn’t lying when I said I thought there was something missing from my life then I saw you and something just clicked. And I know it’s weird and bizarre and if anyone was telling me this I’d run for the hills…but it’s the truth.”
“It… it clicked for me too,” Quentin admitted and Eliot smiled at him. Quentin found that he really loved that smile holy shit.
“I.. don’t know where to go from here.”
“What would you normally do?”
“Normally I would have bought you a drink at the bar,” Eliot said looking directly at Quentin, “I would have flirted, introduced myself and then taken you home where I would have fucked you until the morning.”
“And you would be gone the next morning I gather?” Quentin said softly looking back at Eliot.
Eliot looked down at his hands and Quentin looked away.
“It’s a system that had worked out pretty well but I… don’t want that now? I want to get to know you I think we have a connection and the last person I felt that with is my best friend,” Eliot explained.
“I’d like to explore it too,” Quentin said which made Eliot smile at him again. There were those pesky butterflies again.
Eliot smiled sheepishly at Quentin and levitated a pen and paper to his hand which he used to write down his number and schedule.
“Show off,” Quentin smirked.
“Oh darling — there’s a lot I can show you,” Eliot smirked back and then went to look for his phone only to find it in Quentin’s hand.
“Looking for this.”
“I thought so,” Quentin said.
Eliot unlocked it with a tut, “Since it’s in your hand you should add your number.”
Quentin smirked at him, “I already did.”
Eliot looked shocked and amused, “Well sharesies… here I was trying to be old-fashioned.”
“You know how many papers pass-through this desk in one day?” Quentin asked unlocking his phone and handing it over.
“So are you saying you don’t want to lose my number?” Eliot smiled as he wrote in his contact info, and then opened the notes and wrote his schedule — and a little extra surprise in his calendar.
“Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m saying,” Quentin smiled back.
“I should go home because I have rehearsal at 11 and the director might murder me if I arrive sleep-deprived… don’t know how I’m going to sleep now but I’ll attempt it at least,” Eliot said as Quentin walked him to the door.
“You’re an actor?”
“I got cast as Mercutio in the Loria theater downtown, it’s my first big role.”
“I’m sure you’ll be spectacular,” Quentin replied and Eliot blushed.
They said their goodbyes and Quentin leaned against the closed door.
Had that really just happened?
It started out pretty simple, Quentin had woken up two days later to find an alarm on his phone that said “Date with Eliot Waugh 8 pm, Francies.”
He’d texted Eliot a screenshot of the alert, and he’d gotten a winky face emoji in return. They had basically flirted throughout the day after that first interaction. Then Julia had helped him get dressed for his date.
The food was good and the company was better. They talked basically till the kitchen closed, and then they went on a walk in the park. For some reason talking to Eliot was as easy as breathing. He told Eliot about his mental health issues and the reason he’d declined Brakebills when they wanted his meds.
In exchange Eliot told him about the first time he did magic and how he discovered the magic world existed. Quentin had squeezed his hand as he talked about the bus and the bully. Quentin told him about the attempts he’d made over the years. Quentin had told him about his mother and Eliot had opened up about his upbringing and where he originally had come from.
Eliot talked about his mentor when he arrived in New York and how she taught him how to control his magic. Then came Brakebills, and he met Margo, and how she understood him better than anyone had before. How they had gotten expelled from Brakebills because of a technicality. They’d managed to keep their memories because they each had Emerson’s hidden in their necklaces.
Then they became hedges and Margo fought to become the Top Bitch in New York. Eliot had sounded extremely proud when he talked about his best friend and it had made Quentin melt. Eliot had taken Quentin home and kissed him at the door.
They went like that for a few more dates. Sometimes Quentin talked about Julia and work, sometimes Eliot complained about Todd and marveled about Margo and Kady. They laughed over the fact that their friends Penny and Alice seemed to be hooking up.
They started spending a lot of their free time together, Eliot would stop by the bookstore or Quentin would be at the bar for Eliot’s gigs. They still hadn’t slept together (and neither had mentioned the dreams… which had become less frequent).
They had been together for four months when Quentin decided to surprise him at rehearsals.
Opening night was in a month, and so they were rehearsing more and more. It was looking really good and Eliot almost couldn’t wait until opening night. He was positively vibrating when his co-star Cee, the talented goddess that had the role of Juliet, pointed out Quentin sitting in the audience seats.
God, he loved him…
Where did that come from? It couldn’t be, could it? It’s only been four months (but it feels like a lifetime).
He knew he should be scared of the feelings — and normally he would be — but for some reason Quentin smiling at him made the fears go away.
Eliot looked at his watch and there were still 30 minutes left in rehearsal, he was going to give it his all, and then he could go home with Quentin.
The moment their director said they were done for the day Eliot basically ran off the stage and towards Quentin.
“Surprise?” Quentin asked.
“It was a very good surprise.”
“Well good — get your stuff… I’ve got another surprise for you,” Quentin said slyly.
So Eliot got his jacket said his goodbyes, and they headed back to Eliot’s apartment. Kady was almost always with Julia so Quentin had started spending more and more nights at Eliot’s place.
That meant there were a lot more nerd books on Eliot’s shelves and there were sketchpads everywhere.
The surprise was that Quentin was going to cook them dinner — with no help from Eliot. The problem there was that Quentin for all his good qualities could not cook, like at all.
He could make eggs and certain breakfast foods (and some truly phenomenal coffee) but anything other than that was a disaster.
This was no exception.
The kitchen was a bit of a disaster and Quentin was just staring grumpily at what Eliot thought were supposed to be french dip sandwiches.
“I wanted to make something special because you’ve been working so hard,” Quentin said.
“I think it’s special — I like that you made the attempt,” Eliot said.
“I followed the recipe…”
“I know baby but why don’t you let me handle things in the kitchen from now on,” Eliot smirked.
“Fine,” Quentin said.
“I’ll order us a pizza,” Eliot said as he grabbed his phone and made their usual order.
“I’ll clean this up,” Quentin said not letting Eliot help.
After all, Quentin wanted to do something nice for Eliot — even if he couldn’t cook, he’d at least clean it up. Once he was done he went to the couch where Eliot was staring at him.
“I really liked seeing you rehearse today.”
“Did you?” Eliot asked, “I think we were good today — Romeo was a bit off his mark, but he’s getting better at it.”
Quentin just looked at him with loving eyes and smiled.
“You’re really fucking talented El,” Quentin replied.
“So are you,” Eliot said.
“I do okay,” Quentin said.
“Your art is stunning Quentin and you’re really good at magic especially mending spells… I’m pretty sure that’s your discipline.”
“Like your telekinesis?” Quentin asked.
Quentin always wanted to know more about magic and Eliot was only too happy to be the one to teach him.
“Yeah — you’d be a physical kid like me and Margo were, Julia would probably be knowledge, Penny is obviously psychic like Victoria, Kady is physical and so is Alice,” Eliot said playing with Quentin’s hands.
“So you think we would have been in the same dorm?”
“I would have swept you off your feet,” Eliot smiled.
“You already did,” Quentin smirked.
“Only with you.”
Before they could continue the pizza arrived, and they tipped their delivery man. Then they sat on their floor with their pizza.
“You ever wonder about past lives?” Quentin asked.
“Sometimes… why?” Eliot wondered.
“No reason it’s just I feel like we’ve done this before you know?”
“What? Eat pizza at 10 pm?”
“No… I mean yes.. But I mean overall?” Quentin said gesturing to everything, “Like maybe one time we did go to Brakebills? Maybe one time we were in Fillory?”
“On a hillside by the water, you crowned me as King.”
“Yeah — exactly… Or solving a mosaic in Fillory — did they actually happen?,” Quentin asked looking at Eliot.
Eliot looked pensive — he knew the one Quentin was referring to. Something about a mosaic and the beauty of all life.
“Maybe they happened, maybe they didn’t — all I know is that if they lead to me sitting here eating pizza with you? I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”
“Neither would I,” Quentin said giving Eliot a soft kiss.
They continued eating and then Eliot noticed a bit of sauce on Quentin’s cheek and started laughing.
“Do I have something on my face?”
“Yeah,” Eliot said and Quentin tried to clean it up but kept wiping at the wrong cheek so Eliot laughed so more.
And that’s when it escaped him.
“I love you.”
Quentin just stared at him frozen and Eliot was suddenly frozen too.
“I... do you mean that?”
Eliot could go the easy way out — the cowardly way out. But for some reason, something inside him was telling him to be brave.
And so Eliot was going to be brave.
“I do — I know it’s fast but I really really do Quentin. I am in love with you.”
“I’m in love with you too Eliot Waugh,” Quentin said crinkling his eyes and smiling at him.
“Good that’s good.”
“Yeah — really good,” Quentin agreed.
In two sudden moves, Eliot had opened the fridge and stored the leftover pizza. Then he turned to Quentin and pulled him in for a passionate kiss.
Quentin’s eyes widened with surprise before looking at Eliot with desire as Eliot put his hand on the back of Quentin’s neck to push him closer. Quentin stuck his hands underneath Eliot’s henley trying to get it off.
Eliot laughed as Quentin took Eliot’s shirt off then Eliot magically took Quentin’s own shirt off.
“Cheater,” Quentin muttered but Eliot just laughed more.
“I’m effective,” Eliot said as he started kissing Quentin’s neck. They made their way towards Eliot’s bedroom, their hearts beating fast and not wanting to break apart for even a second.
Eliot’s kiss tasted of pizza and the cigarettes he smoked when he was nervous. His kiss felt like coming home and the first time he read the fillory books. Quentin never wanted him to stop.
They made their way towards the bed and Eliot pushed him towards it. Then he just stared at Quentin, shirtless and wanting.
If it were anyone else, Quentin might have felt self-conscious but Eliot had only ever made him feel gorgeous.
“Like what you see?” Quentin asked
“I love what I see,” Eliot responded and then started kissing his way down Quentin’s chest, “You’re mine Coldwater.”
“Yours — always,” Quentin said bringing him up to kiss him softly, “And you’re mine.”
“Forever yours,” Eliot agreed with another kiss.
Then he closed the bedroom door and proceeded to make love to the boy in his bed.
That was the night that changed everything.
Quentin and Eliot choosing once again to give in to each other fully was the thing that broke the seal. And so the memories came, the good and the bad.
It was a spell so powerful it woke them up, and they remembered who they used to be.
Quentin Coldwater? You're late — follow me
Am I hallucinating? If you were how would asking me help?
I'm trying to tell you, you are not alone here.
How about, I find you, and I don't say magic is real. But I do seduce you and so lift your spirits that life retains a sparkle for decades
I bond fast — time is an illusion
So destiny is-it's bullshit. But you are High King in your blood. And somehow that makes sense, you know? And I-I just-for what it's worth, I think that you are going to be a really good king. Um, so, um, I-I dub thee, um, I don't know. Would you say, like you're more brave or merciful?
I'd say I'm neither. But I still plan to be a spectacular monarch.
I hereby dub thee...High King Eliot, the Spectacular.
You have a brother of the heart with the floppy hair — you are two parts of a whole.
Yeah? Come at me, Coldwater.
I love you but you have to know that's not me and it's definitely not you. Not when we have a choice.
I'm not letting my best friend get trapped there with a Monster
If I ever get out of here Q know that if I’m braver it’s cause I learned it from you
Fifty years. Who gets proof of concept like that. Peaches and plums, motherfucker. I'm alive in here.
Eliot, Eliot, Eliot. Why do you care about him so much? Because I do.
The last thing Quentin Coldwater remembered was a bonfire and feeling like it wasn’t his time yet. How could he leave Eliot when he looked so broken. He hadn’t even gotten to see him.
The last thing Eliot Waugh remembered was asking Hades for help and being told no, the all-compassing grief and sorrow. Losing the love of his life and not even having a body to bury. Trying to bring him back and all the spells failing. Also, a whale, whale magicians? He doesn’t even know.
But he also remembered with perfect clarity getting kicked out of Brakebills with Margo and creating their own hedge haven. No beast or Fillory just the two of them finally getting to be in their 20s and enjoy life. He remembered opening The Armory with Margo, getting cast as Mercutio, and the excitement that brought him.
Seeing Quentin in the audience during one of his gigs and how emotionally charged that had felt. Avoiding going back because the dreams scared him, the idea that he could be happy scared him. And then searching through New York to find the bookstore he worked at and falling in love with him all over again.
Quentin was sleeping right next to him — he was back, they were back — but how?
“Q?” Eliot muttered as Quentin woke up and saw him.
It was in the eyes that he saw — this was his Quentin.
“El?” Quentin asked, hugging him tightly, “How is this possible? I died...“
“You died,” Eliot said.
“I think I killed myself and then Penny, I crossed over... it’s very confusing.”
“Tell me about it — the last thing I remember was a whale?”
“I don’t really get it either,” Eliot said.
“I crossed over and the next thing I knew I was alive again… I have memories of my childhood, and they’re the same — everything is the same until Brakebills that was later than I remember and Julia and I walked in together… and left together, Julia told off Fogg.”
“We got expelled barely a week into our second year,” Eliot said.
“Is it another loop?” Quentin asked.
“I think we can explain that,” a voice said, Eliot and Quentin, turned to see three figures covered in light. Eliot covered himself and Quentin up with the bedsheets and looked at the figures.
“Who are you and what are you doing in our bedroom,” Eliot said.
“I am Aion and these are Lachesis and Heirmarme,” Aion said.
“You’re one of the fates,” Quentin said looking at the woman in white standing in the middle of the three.
“As in Hercules?” Eliot asked as the woman literally rolled his eyes at him and Quentin wanted to laugh.
“Not exactly — I mean yeah technically in the broadest of terms? Not to mean any offense.”
“I mean obviously Quentin — I’ve met Hades and his hair wasn’t made of blue fire.”
“And Hera was definitely not Herakles loving mother,” the second woman, Heirmarme said. Quentin looked Lachesis, “The stories say that she — that you — determined the thread of life.”
“You are correct Quentin Coldwater…I am also the one that decided how much time for life was to be allowed for each person or being.”
“I’m the one you called bullshit.”
“Goddess of Destiny I gather?” Eliot asked.
“One of them anyway — I work with destiny as a whole... the fate of the universe and all that.”
“So basically the plot of every science fiction movie?” Eliot said.
“Pretty much — although some of those can be quite entertaining.”
“Wait... Aion — I read about you back during,” Quentin trailed off and Eliot knew he meant the monster.
“You’re a Primordial God.”
“What does that mean exactly?” Eliot asked
“He’s in the generation of the same gods that are basically the grandparents of the gods we met like say Hades, Ember, Umber...”
“So basically way above our pay grade,” Eliot remarked, “So what are you doing here?”
“If you’d stop interrupting we could tell you,” Aion said but there an uptick in his lips which said he was a bit amused by the situation.
“Right — Carry on,” Eliot said.
“Yes I am a Primordial God, I am associated with Time, Eternity and well the Zodiac… yes that Zodiac Eliot,” Aion said, “Astrology is mostly accurate, there’s room for error of course but that’s because you’re humans.”
“You’re a god of time,” Quentin said as if something was coming together in his head.
“You see I am not particularly fond of humans who mess with time, mostly because they make a mess of things and don’t quite understand the enormity of what they’re playing with,” Aion said, “Your Jane Chatwin? Might have been a great magician at one point but for someone so obsessed with time she quite mucked it up.”
“You two on the other hand — it was quite impressive.”
“We didn’t really do much,” Eliot said.
“You gave up your lives to time — you don’t think that is enough?”
“It wasn’t exactly like we were miserable,” Eliot said.
“No you were not, but I could tell you over the course of mankind not many have done something like you did. You had no idea that the quest would bring you back — or that your friend Margo would dig up Jane Chatwin’s corpse, I quite liked that part.”
Eliot and Quentin just looked at each other and then at Aion.
“You gave up your lives to get the time key, to the point where you didn’t even think you’d ever solve it.”
“The beauty of all life,” Eliot muttered.
“And then once you got it, rather than keep they key for yourself you chose to give it to a young Jane Chatwin,” Aion pointed out.
“She needed it to defeat the Beast — and create the time loops.”
“Yes, the same time loops that made it so you could go to Fillory of the past in the first place.”
“A fixed point in time,” Quentin said.
“Of a sort — It was a closed loop.”
“Was that why we remembered it, I mean before?” Eliot asked.
“You remembered it because you solved the mosaic, you found the beauty of all life,” Lachesis said.
“You could have kept the key, there were endless possibilities that you could have picked Quentin Coldwater, and instead you chose to close the loop so time owed you — it owed both of you.”
“Neither of you could have succeeded in getting the key by themselves,” Lachesis explained, “It was your love that was sprinkled into the key and as so it connected to time itself.”
“Okay I am mostly following but also a little lost as to why we’re here right now,” Eliot said.
“Quentin saved the world while defeating Everett, but died in the process. He died with a score left unsettled,” Heirmarme explained.
“I killed myself.”
“You did and then you were rushed through because of Hades’ anger towards you and your friends,” Heirmarme said.
“Eliot was the one that called in the debt,” Lachesis said.
“I did?” Eliot asked looking at Quentin and then at the gods.
“One of the things that rarely get mentioned in your books is that I have certain associations with some of the mystery religions, in particular those concerned with the Afterlife. These are the mysteries of Cybele, Dionysus, Mithras,” and then he looked directly at Eliot, “And of course, Orpheus.”
“I tried to do the Orpheus Clause but Hades turned me down,” Eliot remembered.
“He did — part of what I previously mentioned as the anger he had towards your group — what he doesn’t know is that I get told every time a human even attempts to pull an Orpheus.”
“But I didn’t even do it?”
“Magic is about intent Mr. Waugh, you know this to be true.”
“Time saw it as a way to call in the debt. We worked out one final reset,” Aion said.
“What about the Beast?” Quentin asked.
“That’s why this took all three of us,” Heirmarme said, “We needed to make sure all the villains stayed defeated.”
“So the Beast is gone?”
“As are Everett and his group, the library is no longer a fascist organization, Umber and Ember remain gone from Fillory, the fairies are safe, there’s no Dark King, and Plover is enjoying his stay in Tartarus,” Heirmarme said.
“What about our friends?” Quentin asked.
“Those who chose to remember — will,” Lachesis said.
“So we’re free? We don’t have to save the world or anything? This isn’t going to cost us?” Eliot asked, it seemed almost too good to be true.
“It will not — because this is your reward. Time owed you a real chance at a life together… We tried to make it so you made your own choices but sometimes the past bled a little,” Aion shrugged.
“The dreams,” Quentin said.
“This was a one time offer — if you waste it, there will be no other second chance, Jane’s Time Barrens are no more, and she’s moved on beyond the place where mortals can reach her. So the loops are as you say, gone for good. You get to live life as normal magicians — do not waste it,” Lachesis said, and then she vanished.
“Good luck,” Heirmarme said.
“Thank you,” Quentin said before she vanished as well, leaving only Aion.
“Lachesis was right, you will not get another chance after this one — make the most of your lives.”
“What was the beauty of all life?” Eliot asked.
“It was your love, pure and unconditional for your friends, for your family, but most importantly to each other. It was your memories, those of a life truly well-lived. I do not know your future or what’s to come for you... You will probably be tested time and again because that’s your lot as humans. If I can give you a piece of advice? Lean on each other, love each other, even when it’s hard — some would say especially then. Together you can achieve anything.”
“Thank you,” Quentin said with tears in his eyes.
“No, thank you, Quentin and thank you, Eliot, for your service to time — I hope you all the best,” Aion said, and then he too vanished.
Quentin and Eliot were left reeling with the revelations.
“That was definitely top four strangest things that have happened to us post-sex,” Eliot commented and Quentin just stared at him before he started laughing.
“Yeah it’s definitely up there,” Quentin smirked.
“The Zodiac is real Q… I always knew I was in the right when I blamed something on being a Scorpio,” Eliot joked.
“You’re incorrigible,” Quentin said before giving him a soft kiss.
“But you love me,” Eliot said.
“Damn right I do — it’s forever,” Quentin said.
“Time said so,” Eliot said, “Hey Q?”
“Time ships us,” Eliot said and Quentin started cracking up again.
“Apparently,” Quentin smiled.
“Guess you’re stuck with me now,” Eliot said.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Quentin said grabbing Eliot’s hand.
“Neither would I,” Eliot said kissing Quentin’s hand, “You’re the love of my lifetimes Quentin Coldwater.”
“And you’re the love of mine, Eliot Waugh.”
They sealed it with a kiss, a soft and loving kiss. The kind of kiss they would have for the rest of time.
Tomorrow they would have to deal with everything. They would discover if their friends remembered or not (they did — at least the ones that mattered). Margo would hug Quentin for a million years, as would Julia.
Alice would smile at them without the resentment of before. Penny and Alice were very happy together, even after getting their memories back. She’d fully reform the library with Penny’s help.
Julia would come up with the idea of turning their bodega into a school, with full support from Kady and Victoria. So that no one had to go through what she went through in her memories, so no one had to suffer the way Quentin, Alice, Eliot, and countless others had in Brakebills. So no one was caught unawares.
Margo’s bar would become the hottest ticket in town, and she’d make Kady a business partner, Eliot would still play gigs there. Quentin would buy the bookstore from Victoria and truly make it his own. Eliot would shine as Mercutio and go on to star in a lot more plays and musicals. He and Quentin would get married adopt a dog called Sansa and a cat called Thorin. And later down the line, they’d talk about children. They would have fights and arguments, but they would always make up… because at the end of the day? They loved each other.
But all of that was further down the line.
For now Quentin and Eliot were sleeping soundly in their bed, knowing that they were back in each other’s arms for good and that for once in their lives — everything was truly going to be okay.