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Quentin always makes a mewling noise when he comes, his palm pressed hard across his mouth and nose to muffle the sound. It’s self-conscious and desperate and maybe a little bit pathetic, but it’s also quickly become one of the things Margo likes best about him. 

 


 

Margo and Eliot probably should have felt guilty when Alice and Quentin broke up, which was arguably a direct result of their hazily-remembered fucking around. But guilt is for other people and really it just makes it easier, the next time they’re happy-drunk, for Eliot to catch Q by the wrist and pull him in for a kiss underneath Margo’s gaze and the warm glow of the patio lights.

Quentin stumbles forward, knees knocking against the coffee table and rattling the empty wine bottles strewn across it, and he laughs into Eliot’s mouth like it’s all part of some joke he just hasn’t caught on to yet.

But then Eliot reaches up to wrap his free hand around the back of Q’s neck and pull him closer and Quentin’s laughter stops dead. Somehow neither of them spill their wine as he drops into Eliot’s lap, and then it’s only the sound of grasshoppers and gasping breaths and the rustling of trousers as Q, his gangly legs straddling Eliot’s chair, opens his mouth wider and grinds himself downwards.

Margo chews on her wine-stained bottom lip and observes.

She nearly draws blood when Eliot opens his eyes to wink at her over Q’s shoulder.

Game on.

 


 

“D’you think he’d let me fuck him?” Eliot asks one day.

It’s late afternoon, or maybe early evening—they’ve been hunched over a pile of textbooks in a shadowy corner of the library for so long that time has lost all meaning. For all they know, civilization might’ve crumbled outside. Studying is rare for them, so when it actually happens they tend to make a production out of it: carafes of single-origin coffee and tiers of scones and finger sandwiches and shit, all of which they half-assedly sneak past the librarian. Whatever it takes to keep their asses in their seats for as long as possible, because even really fucking good magicians need to study when it comes to bullshit like The Magical Applications of Precious Metal Alloys.

Fuck midterms.

“Like, fuck-fuck him?” Margo rolls her eyes as Eliot nods, stone-faced, and makes a slow, unnecessarily vulgar gesture with his fingers. “Jesus, El. Maybe? But he’d probably be all awkward about it.”

“Oh, no question.” Eliot nods, faux-pensively resting his chin in his hand. He picks at the corner of a nibbled-on lemon scone. “But worth exploring, we think?”

“Sure.” Margo shrugs. The image of Quentin, eyes squeezed shut and mouth falling open and legs wide, making that sound, makes her shift in her seat, crossing her legs against the building distraction. Snatching up her pen, she tries to find where she left off, but she’s already too wet to pay attention to another bone-dry word of The Essential Guide to Minerals and Stones so she slams the book shut and reaches for another tepid cup of coffee (ignoring the insistent press of her clit as she leans forward). Gingerly taking a sip, she adds, “I mean, I think it might be worth exploring.”

Eliot shoots her a grin. "Thought so."

 


 

Eliot takes him in his mouth, presses his tongue against the underside of Quentin’s cock. Q’s hips jolt slightly in response and he impatiently presses himself further into Eliot’s mouth. “Fuck, fuck,” he mutters, before slowly dragging himself back out again.

“Be good,” Margo instructs, lips brushing against Quentin’s ear. “He doesn’t do that”—she gestures at Eliot's flushed face slowly working away in Quentin's lap, the length of his naked body stretched out between Quentin's legs—“for just anybody. He’s picky.” She pauses. “Well, kind of.”

Through the hair falling over his face, Margo can just barely see the corners of Eliot’s mouth twitch. It’s as much of a smirk as he can manage with his mouth full and his gaze flicks up towards her. One hand lets go of its kneading grip on Quentin's inner thigh to flip her the bird and she grins back at him like a shark, urging him on: eat him alive.

Placing a firm hand on his stomach, Eliot presses Quentin down into the mattress and increases his pace.

Margo takes Quentin’s hand and guides it between her legs. He makes an ill-defined ragged sound, something eloquent like “oh fucking—motherfuck,” and sucks his bottom lip between his teeth as his fingertips glide shyly against her. She’s velvety-wet, more than wet, and when he finds her clit, thumb circling it gently, she hisses a breath. He works one finger into her, then two, and she reaches one hand out to drag her fingers through his hair before clenching her fist.

Quentin moans. She squeezes tighter, then releases.

From her spot leaned against the headboard, with Quentin splayed sideways across the mattress, his fingers still working semi-rhythmically inside of her (they stutter every time Eliot does something clever with his tongue), she has a perfect view. Eliot’s long legs hang off the bed, his toes digging into the floor as he leverages his body weight, holding Quentin still as he starts to gasp and buck under his grasp, fucking himself into Eliot’s mouth.

What a view it is: she’s always loved watching Eliot give head—even from a strictly clinical standpoint it’s masterful, all graceful twists of the wrist and acrobatic tongue and deliberate suction. There’s got to be some deeply unfair correlation between being tall and having a deep gag reflex, she suspects—either way, when he sucks his way down to the base of Quentin’s cock all in one languid sweep without even a hint of effort the muscles of Q’s thighs begin to visibly shake.

“Wait,” Quentin groans suddenly, stomach muscles tensing, “wait, no—I’m going to come, wait.”

“That’s kind of the point, boo,” Margo says, rolling her eyes. Spurred on, Eliot redoubles his efforts, the hand on Quentin’s stomach reaching up to drag nails along the curve of Quentin’s ribs eliciting a sharp, bitten-off gasp.

Margo leans down and grabs him by the jaw—she kisses him, hard, and swallows his whimpers as he comes.

 


 

It’s obvious from the get-go that Quentin doesn’t have a lot of sexual experience. Little fumbles make his face flush with embarrassment and they’ve had to train him out of constantly mumbling sorry, sorry when his fingers accidentally slip from their hold on Eliot’s cock or he comes without warning against Margo’s thigh.

And yet again, it’s all part of what Margo likes best about him: his lack of self-control and his clumsy but earnest reciprocations. He’s eager to please, and she’s always liked the awkward ones—they try the hardest.

 


 

When Eliot finally half-jokingly floats the idea of fucking Q—the three of them already four bottles of wine deep and half-naked in Margo’s bedroom—their brains are too fuzzy to register shock when he casually mentions it wouldn’t be his first time.

"Really?" Margo asks, bemused.

“You mean you’ve done, like,” Eliot winces dramatically at the word, “anal with some nice young girl next door before.”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying—I mean, well, yeah, since you mention it. But that’s not what I’m saying in this specific instance.” Quentin rolls his eyes and stumbles a little in his attempt to pull his shoes off while balancing on one leg like a wasted flamingo.

Margo and Eliot share a look—Q has more experience than previously thought?—before blankly staring back at Q with cocked heads. It would be a particularly revelatory moment—mindblowing, honestly—if it weren't for Eliot’s trousers, hanging unbuckled around his knees, and Margo’s skirt rucked up all the way to her bellybutton.

“What?” Quentin blinks at them. “If you think you’ve drawn some kind of, like”—he waves his hands looking for the right words—“latent deep-seated queerness out of me then, well—prepare to be disappointed. Anyway,” Quentin continues, bulldozing through the non-conversation, “the point is, I guess, since you’re asking: I wouldn’t be opposed to it. Tonight’s not the night, obviously, because you can’t just casually spring the idea of getting fucked on me and expect me to be prepared, but. Um. What I’m saying is, I would be into it? In the future.”

“In the future,” Eliot repeats flatly. “Well,” he rubs his sweaty palms on his thighs and glances at Margo. “That was—that was a good talk then, no?”

“God, shut up already,” Quentin sighs, pulling his shoe off with one final yank. He tosses it into the corner with a thud and and climbs onto Eliot's lap. Eliot's mouth opens willingly as Q gently, gently slides his tongue against his, before leaning away to pull Margo into an insistent kiss, one hand slipping under her skirt.

"Deal," Eliot agrees, breathless. He drags a hand through his hair, still half-confused, and does his best to wriggle his trousers the rest of the way off with Quentin still in his lap. "Wow," he adds. "I mean. What the fuck."

 


 

Eliot lays his hand on Quentin’s stomach and strokes at the line of hair under his bellybutton with this thumb. “Easy now, tiger.” Quentin’s skin twitches under his touch.

The air is hot and damp and all Margo can hear is the blood pounding in her ears and Quentin’s open-mouthed pants as his breathing returns back to normal. One more quick gasp cuts through Quentin’s breaths as Eliot slides back out of Quentin, half-soft already, tying off the condom and flicking it into the trash. The hoarseness of the gasp makes Margo’s clit throb and she crosses her legs against the pressure.

“That was perfect,” Eliot says, sitting back to take Quentin in, hands idly stroking the inside of Q’s thighs. 

Splayed on his back on the bed, Quentin begins to fold in on himself, as if he’s only suddenly become aware of how naked he is. He tries to wrap his arms around his ribcage, to pull his legs together and turn onto his side, but Eliot gently nudges his knees apart again and slides up his body until he’s close enough to press a kiss to Q’s throat. At the same time, Margo reaches out to stroke the soft skin on the inside of Q’s forearm, nails tickling across the surface. 

Aftercare is always particularly important with Quentin, they've learned. Not just when things get rough and messy (which is rare, anyhow) but after easy, gentle sex too. Soft touches and soft words are the easiest way to keep him centred: before they figured things out, more than a few encounters ended prematurely because Quentin retreated back into his own head, deep in a self-loathing spiral they couldn’t sweet-talk him back out of.

“C’mere, puppy. You good?” Eliot purrs, dragging his tongue lightly along the rise of Quentin’s adam’s apple.

“Yeah,” Quentin sighs, his voice hoarse. He closes his eyes and tilts his head back and arcs his throat upwards, giving Eliot more room to drag his teeth against his skin. Margo’s fingers work their way through his damp hair and Q leans into her touch like a housecat. “I’m good,” he decides.

“Good boy. You’re so beautiful when you come.”

 


 

Sharing has been a pet hobby of theirs for a while. It’s usually just some dumb, pretty stranger brought home from a nightclub for a night of casual sex and flippant drug use and then dumped unceremoniously outside Brakebill’s protection field before the sun rises. No biggie.

This thing with Quentin though (whatever the fuck it is) is different—it’s the first time they’ve brought someone familiar to bed with them, and more than once. This derailment, this situation, has the potential to complicate the whole fun, easy platonic-sex thing they’ve built—not because Quentin is some kind of Don Juan or anything, fuck no. But because there’s always been an unspoken acknowledgment between them that threesomes should be fleeting and meaningless, and this communally shared thirst and pent-up need (and, worst of all: burning affection) feels discomfitingly like neither of those things.

Then again they’re Margo and Eliot, pleasure-seeker extraordinaires, and catching feelings is for other people.

 


 

Quentin’s hand finds her waist, then slides up to her breast to roll her nipple gently between his thumb and index fingers. Margo kisses him hard, then quickly pulls away to ask, “Are you going to fuck me or what?”

Eliot snorts a laugh at the look that crosses Q’s face.

“Jesus, he just came. Give the kid a minute,” Eliot sing-songs. “Or should we break out the spellwork Cialis?” 

“Shut up,” Quentin murmurs, reaching up to grip Margo’s hair less-than-gently and pull her into another kiss. Against his stomach, Quentin’s cock gives a little jump.

"Alright fine," Margo murmurs against Quentin's mouth, before resting her head on his chest. She drapes one leg lazily across Quentin's thigh and presses herself against him, groaning softly. "Only a minute, though." 

She flashes a grin at Quentin, bopping him on the nose with one finger before her breath hitches: Eliot's hand snakes between them, pausing for just a moment to gauge her consent. She considers swatting him away—touching each other has never really been a big part of their m.o. in bed—but he catches her eye, his mouth slightly open and his eyes soft and wanting. 

He raises a questioning eyebrow at her and, after a millisecond, she nods, opening her legs to allow him to touch her.

Slowly, as though he's still waiting for her to tap out, Eliot drags his fingers through her pubic hair and strokes the insides of her thighs, before gently sliding his ring and middle fingers between her folds. He doesn't press inside her—instead, his fingers gently circle her core and she feels briefly shy at how incredibly fucking wet she is. 

Under her cheek, Quentin's frozen: he holds his breath and watches as Eliot starts to stroke her clit.

Just because they rarely fuck each other doesn't mean he hasn't had plenty of opportunity to learn exactly how she likes to be touched: fingers glancing over the hood of her clit, soft pressure building to medium with every few strokes, eventually working towards needy, direct friction. Eliot's mouth finds Q's (he's hard again already—faster than she would ever have thought possible) right as his fingers find her entrance again, and she groans softly as Eliot curls his middle finger inside of her and begins to stroke. 

Before she can swallow it back down, she coughs a moan, “Jesus, El. Fuck—there." 

Her thoughts blank out and everything goes glittery-black and one hand reaches out to grip Quentin's shoulder—she needs something to brace herself against as she fucks herself on Eliot's fingers, clit grinding against his slicked-up palm, so far beyond worrying about their rules that she really couldn't give a fuck as long as he keeps doing that.

It doesn't matter, anyway—they've always preferred grey areas. Hard and fast rules are for other people. 

 


 

It’s too intimate for Margo to admit, but waking up to Quentin tucked between them in the hazy morning light, all gangly-legged and warm is… really nice, actually. It’s better than the norm: waking up hungover with an empty person-shaped crevasse between them, one of them politely pretending to still be asleep while the other fumbles for their discarded underwear on the floor, hoping against hope that whatever random they brought home didn’t steal anything.

When she opens her eyes, blinking against the filtered morning light in Eliot’s clothes-strewn bedroom, Margo finds herself pressed right up against Quentin’s back with one arm draped across his waist, feeling strangely warm and happy. (It must say something about her psyche, she thinks, that she’s always the fucking Big Spoon in every co-sleeping situation she finds herself in—whatever.) 

Quentin usually sleeps curled up in a little ball, with his chin tucked down and his forehead pressed into Eliot’s chest and only his eyes and nose visible above the blankets, and today is no exception. Today, as expected, Quentin has his knees shoved into Eliot’s thighs, arms tucked tightly up against his chest and shoulders hunched protectively over—he always looks so stressed-out when he sleeps. 

Slowly, Margo slides her hand across his stomach, up to his hipbone. She pulls him a little closer, and he huffs a sigh in response before his muscles relax into her touch. 

He’s such a skinny little thing. She wonders if it’s another symptom of the fact that he’s always trying to disappear, or if it’s merely a coincidence. Hard to say, she thinks, pressing a kiss to the soft spot where the nape of his neck meets his freckled shoulders before settling back in to doze off again. 

On the other side of Quentin, Eliot rolls onto his back and begins to softly snore. 

She could never admit it—mostly because she loves to win, and being the first to admit feelings would mean she has definitely lost the game—but this thing they have going? It's nice. Scary, but nice. 

They're both so used to using people and dropping them like unwanted kittens on the side of the road, afterwards, that she never even considered the possibility of ever being afraid of losing someone. Catching feelings is for other people, remember?

She's not sure it counts as 'feelings,' per se, but she really fucking hopes Quentin doesn't disappear on them.

 


 

“Fuck,” Margo hisses as Quentin presses into her. He’s so slow, so careful, his eyes locked on hers for permission and his hands gently gripping her hips. He sucks his bottom lip into his mouth, biting down hard as he slides all the way in. Margo brushes his hair out of his eyes and slides her hands down the back of his neck, down his boney ribs, until her hands find his hips and guide him closer, pressing him further.  Beside them, Eliot stretches back against the pillows and strokes himself. With his eyes locked on Quentin’s cock, his hand keeps pace as Q begins to slowly fuck her. 

“Come on,” Margo murmurs, one hand leaving Q’s hip to swipe her fingers across her tongue. “You can fuck me harder than that. I won’t break.” She sneaks her hand between their bodies to circle her clit with her middle finger. Quentin’s mouth falls open and he lets out a groan as her pussy tightens around him. 

Quentin leans down on his elbows, one hand tangling its fingers in Margo’s hair and the other gripping the back of her neck. He thrusts into her harder, hipbones slamming into hers as his pace triples. At least the kid likes a challenge, god bless him. It’s just barely shy of too hard, a little bit clumsy even, and Margo gasps a breath. 

“Are you oka—” Quentin begins but she slaps a hand over his mouth.

Keep going,” she hisses. 

Need builds in her belly and Margo tries to keep pace, hips lifting to meet him, but she can’t quite get the rhythm right: her fingers keep slipping off of her clit every time she ruts into Quentin’s thrusts and his pubic bone bumping against her isn’t enough stimulation to get her anywhere except desperate and frustrated. She presses one hand to Quentin’s stomach, slowing him down.

“Wait,” she says. He stops immediately, letting his cock slide out of her as she gently untangles herself from his grip (Margo allows herself a glance down as it does: it’s so beautiful, wet-shiny and swollen, and she feels compelled to take him in her mouth and suck him dry, but she isn’t ready for him to come just yet.). 

Sitting up, she climbs into Eliot’s lap, eliciting confused looks from both Eliot and Q, but Margo pointedly catches Eliot’s eye—trust me—before pushing his hand away from his cock and replacing it with her own. On all fours, one hand braced on Eliot’s shoulder and the other stroking his cock, she glances over her shoulder: “Come on then, Q.”

It’s all the encouragement Quentin needs, and he takes position behind her. 

His fingers slide under the curve of her ass, sneaking between her legs, and he drags his ring and index fingers between her inner lips and finds her entrance. Shallowly pushing them into her to slick up them up, he slowly slides back out and presses them against her clit. For a moment he doesn’t move, and Margo grinds herself against his hand, rocking herself backwards in search of friction. Against her pussy, Quentin’s palm is soaking wet and she bucks against him again in earnest this time, her hand still pumping along Eliot’s cock. 

A desperate mewl escapes her, tiny but embarrassing, and she grits her teeth to keep another from betraying her. 

“How wet is she?” Eliot murmurs, brushing Margo’s hair out of her face and dragging his thumb along her lower lip. Her teeth part in invitation and he allows her to suck his thumb into her mouth, the curve of her tongue pressing and working against the edge of his finger.

Shakily, Quentin whispers: “Incredibly.”

Eliot’s slides his thumb from her mouth to cup her cheek, warm eyes holding her gaze. “She sure is beautiful, isn’t she?”

Incredibly.”

“In that case”—his eyes leave hers to meet Quentin’s and, from her cheek, his hand slides between them to replace Q’s on her clit—“I guess you’d better give her what she’s asking for, then.”

She doesn’t hear his response, but when Quentin slides into her in one smooth, perfect thrust, she loses her grip on Eliot’s cock and nearly bites through her bottom lip as she stifles her own cry.

 


 

“Q, come on, no need to freak out. Last night was fun and seriously no biggie,” Eliot says, shrugging his housecoat onto his shoulders and tying it shut with a lazy knot that threatens to fall back open any moment and give the second-years in the common room an eyeful. “Don’t get all rocking-back-and-forth-in-the-shower about it, you know?”

“First of all—fuck you,” Quentin sputters, “second of all, I am not freaking out.” Discreetly, Margo cups her hand over her mouth to hide her snort of amusement.

“Sure, sure.” Eliot’s eyes trace him slowly, noting the sweaty hair falling into his eyes (catching his gaze, Quentin brushes it away with a childish swipe) and the way he’s gripping the bed sheet around his waist like a safety blanket. “I’m just saying,” Eliot says lightly, stepping into his slippers, “you kinda look like you’re freaking out.” As he heads towards the bedroom door, he adds over his shoulder, “Now, can I grab anyone a mimosa? Q? Bambi?”

They stopped taking his post-coital morning freakouts personally after the fourth-or-so time Quentin shot out of bed, climbed artlessly over Eliot’s body and nearly tripped over his own feet scrambling to pull his jeans on. Not that they ever took them personally, per se—bedroom guests making themselves scarce in the morning was a trait they usually treasured—so much as his freakouts always left them feeling vaguely guilty and sorry for Q. The panic in his eyes was no joke, some acute mix of shame and embarrassment that so obviously had nothing to do with them and everything to do with his own highly-distilled brand of self-loathing.

“C’mere, puppy,” Margo coos, patting the bed beside her as Eliot leaves (he cocks an eyebrow at her before he goes—sort the poor kid out, won’t you?). “Stay a while.” Quentin pauses for a moment, perched awkwardly on the edge of the bed—he’s already got one foot in the leg of his pants and from this angle she can’t quite see his face. 

Pushing his hair behind his ears, he turns slightly towards her to mutter, “I’m sorry for being so weird all the time.” His voice is so quiet she barely catches what he’s said. Margo frowns at him and opens her mouth to speak but Quentin sucks in a sharp breath and adds, “I don’t know why you guys even—you know. Want me around. I keep wondering if this is some kind of project or weird joke or something that I’m too dumb to catch on to.” 

Paralyzed and speechless, Margo draws her knees up to her chest and watches his ribcage expand and contract as he takes a few more shaky breaths. 

When he finally faces her straight-on, his eyes are red and glassy. “You guys aren’t, y’know… fucking with me, are you?”

“Puppy,” Margo whispers fiercely, reaching out to pull him towards her. He falls into her touch with a sigh, letting her wrap her arms around his shoulders and drag him into a hug. She presses her cheek into his, the stubble on his jaw scratchy against her skin. “Don’t be silly. You know we would never She’s All That you.”

“Okay,” Q says. He doesn’t sound convinced.

“Seriously,” she adds, pulling back to look him in the eye. His mouth twists and his eyes blink hard with the effort of keeping his face from crumpling and she suddenly feels guilty for the unnecessary joke. Her voice softens. “Q, we like you and we want you and—and you’re enough just as you are. You are not and will never be a joke, okay?”

“Okay,” Quentin says again, clearing his throat and wiping embarrassedly at his eyes. 

He rests his head on her shoulder and they don’t move for a long while, until Eliot bursts back into the room juggling three glasses of champagne and a bowl of grapes. They disentangle themselves shyly but quickly and allow Eliot to flop between them (somehow, he doesn’t spill a drop—Margo could swear he enchants his drinks for the drama of it).

Popping a grape into his mouth, and then one into Q’s too, Eliot asks, “Did I miss anything?”

“Oh yeah,” Margo rolls her eyes, plucking a glass from Eliot’s hand.

“Yep,” Q agrees flatly, clinking their flutes together. “Tons of fucking while you were gone.”

Eliot snorts a laugh and, underneath the sheets, Margo reaches across Eliot's lap to stroke Quentin's thigh. "He's a good one, isn't he El?" she asks.

Eliot nods, pressing a kiss to Quentin's temple. "A real good one indeed, Bambi."