Eliot gasped for air as he felt control over his body again. His mind wandered, wondering if it was reality or another game the monster played. His eyes landed on Margo, who was covering her mouth, staring at him.
“Bambi,” he muttered, “is this real?”
Margo, losing her control, ran up to Eliot. She embraced him in a tight hug, holding him close to her, “It’s real. You’re actually here. We got the monster out of you. You’re going to be okay.”
Eliot hugged her, hiding his face in her hair, “I missed you.”
“I missed you too,” Margo said, “Don’t do that again, asshole,” Margo swatted Eliot’s chest gently. “No more getting yourself hurt to protect people.”
The reality of the words was left unsaid: stop protecting Quentin and getting yourself hurt. Eliot looked around, scanning the room. Kady stood next to Penny—which Penny he had no idea. Julia looked tense, defensive. She was ready to attack if Eliot had still been the monster. Another Penny—Eliot thinks the other Penny—stood behind Julia. His eyes tried to find Quentin, but he was nowhere to be seen.
“We don’t know,” Julia said, looking at Eliot, “He disappeared a couple of hours ago. I think he was scared.”
“Scared?” Eliot asked, confused. Quentin? Scared to the point of avoiding something? He always faced things head on, stupidly sacrificing himself in the process.
“We didn’t know if it would work,” Kady said, picking at her nails, “He was pissed at us for it.”
Margo sighed, stroking his cheek, “Baby, we didn’t know if getting the monster out of you would kill you or not. Quentin, he,” Margo paused, finding her words, “got upset. He was angry. Angry at the monster for taking control of you. Angry at the monster for being obsessed with him. Angry at us for putting you at risk.”
Eliot nodded, numbly. He leaned into Margo’s touch, needing the support, “I’m tired.”
Margo nodded, “Okay, rest then. You’ve been through hell.”
Eliot nodded, closing his eyes, “I love you, Margo.”
“I love you too.”
. . .
As Eliot slept, Julia and Margo sat in the room, whispering to each other about Quentin. They were both scared about Quentin’s sudden disappearance, fearing the worst.
“Any word from Q?” Margo said, “El needs him right now.”
“No, he’s gone radio silent. I think he freaked Eliot might die and ran off. From his dad to Eliot dying, I don’t think he could handle it.”
“He’s seen Eliot die a couple of times too,” Margo sighed, “We need to find him. Can’t we do a tracking spell?”
“Maybe. We should give it until tomorrow. He might show up.”
“We also got to make sure the monster is gone for good. Just because he’s not using El’s body, doesn’t mean he’s gone for good.”
“Which is worrisome. Since the monster is obsessed with Quentin.”
“Fuck, I didn’t even think about that. It wouldn’t hurt him, right?”
“I don’t know. Quentin’s known for being self-sacrificing sometimes.”
“You don’t think would do anything rash?”
“I don’t know. I think he would do anything to bring Eliot back.”
“I get he is best friends with Eliot but why would he even—”
“Margo, he’s in love with Eliot. He’s been in love with him since magic died and they were separated. He realized it when Eliot came crashing through the front door one day. He told me after their quest together.”
Julia remembered Quentin telling her about his feeling for Eliot. Quentin sat in her room, unable to understand Eliot’s rejection. She hugged him as he cried. A part of Julia still resented Eliot for it. She understood, she pushed people away too because of fear. However, she hated seeing Quentin broken over something—someone.
“I didn’t realize it was that deep,” Margo said, “Fuck. This is bad. We need to find him.”
Julia looked at Eliot’s sleeping form, “First we need to find out if Eliot has genuine feelings for him.”
“What do you mean? Of course, he does.”
Julia bit her lip, fighting the urge to reveal the rejection, “We just need to make sure. I’m not setting Q up for another heartbreak. He’s been through enough.”
“We’ve all been through shit. Quentin doesn’t get special treatment.”
Julia narrowed her eyes, glaring at Margo, “But not all of you have been hospitalized, have you? Not all of you carries the guilt of causing the whole monster fiasco. Not all of you have a dead dad because Jane Chatwin thought it would be a good fucking idea. Quentin’s heart has been broken by Eliot before, and I’m not having it happen again,” Julia cursed herself for slipping about Eliot and Quentin’s private conversations.
Margo glanced at Eliot, pulling Julia out of the room, “What the fuck is that supposed to mean.”
Julia sighed, running a hand through her hair, “Quentin asked Eliot out. After they had the quest, they remembered everything. Quentin wanted to give it a shot, and Eliot turned him down. I know it was probably out of fear, but Quentin felt like hell for it.”
“I’m sure that Eliot will explain himself—”
“I just don’t want him to get hurt again.”
Margo nodded, “I don’t want to see him hurt either, but hiding him from Eliot won’t do shit.”
Julia crossed her arms, “I’ll do the tracking spell tonight. I’ll figure it out and tell him Eliot’s back. He gets to decide if he’s coming back or not.”
“He was fine staying friends before.”
“Yeah, and then Eliot used their quest as a way to show it’s him.”
Margo thought back, thinking of previous conversations they had. It drew on her Eliot never mentioned the quest to her or Quentin. He acted as if it never happened, “Oh.”
“Yeah. He’s got all this hope now. It’s small, but I haven’t seen hope like that since forever. And if Eliot is going to continue to give him weird signs, he can gladly fuck off. Quentin’s been through a lot. I don’t know how much more disappointment he can handle.”
Margo nodded, stiffly. She understood Julia’s negativity and hostility. Margo would act the same if she were in the same position. Margo wanted them to work it out and be together, “I’ll talk to him. You find Q and make sure he isn't stupidly heroic.”
. . .
When Eliot woke, Margo was sitting at his side. He looked around, dazed and confused, “What?”
“We got the monster out of you,” Margo recapped, “You’re safe now.”
“Where is it though?”
“No idea. The Pennys are figuring that out while Julia tries to track Quentin down.”
“Where’s Quentin? Is he okay?”
“He disappeared before we began the process to get the monster out of you. The task was risky, and there wasn’t a guarantee you would live. But we had to try.”
“I need to see him, I promised him I would—I need to tell him I—Margo, he’s going to be okay, right?”
“We need to find him first. You know how he can be. Sacrifices himself for the greater good.”
Eliot’s eyes widened, “No! He can’t sacrifice himself. I need to—I need to see him.”
“El, what’s going on. What’s so important?”
“I need to tell him I’m in love with him. I fucked up. I got scared and ran away. Bambi, he wanted to be with me. I need to tell him that I’m not afraid anymore. I—Bambi—he can’t.”
Margo squeezed his hand, encouraging him, “Baby, he’s going to be okay. You can tell him when he gets back.”
Both of them jumped when they heard loud thumps going up the stairs. Within seconds, the door swung open and Quentin, clumsily, ran into the room, “Eliot!”
Margo, biting her smile away, kissed the top of Eliot’s head, “I’ll leave you two a moment alone,” Margo stood up, walking towards Quentin, kissing his cheek and whispering, “Hurt him, and you’re dead. But don’t hurt yourself.”
Quentin nodded, slowly, kissing Margo’s cheek back. Eliot watched them, raising an eyebrow at the exchange. Once Margo left, Quentin shrugged, “We got closer.”
Eliot nodded, “Quentin I need to—”
“Fuck, El, I missed you,” Quentin said, sitting in the chair next to Eliot’s bed. “I thought you were dead. He told me you were dead, and then you gave me the sign. I was going to kill you,” Quentin said, roughly.
“Hey,” Eliot said, bring Quentin’s attention to him, “I would have done the same thing.”
Quentin stared, nodding, “But still I—”
“I’m sorry,” Eliot said, “I was stupid, and it took me digging through my memories to realize how much I hurt you. Quentin, fuck, this is harder than I thought.”
“What’s wrong? Are you talking about when we got back from the quest? It’s water under the bridge now.”
Eliot pinched the bridge of his nose, biting his lip, “How do you do it?”
“Make the move on someone. You’ve always made the first move, and I don’t know how. Don’t you fear getting shut down?”
Emotions flashed in Quentin’s eyes, “I don’t know. I just . . . spent so much time being unhappy, you know? So, I take any shots at happiness I can get. Even if it hurts me in the end.”
Eliot chewed his lip, avoiding eye contact, “Quentin, I—I love you. I want to be with you, for real. I regret rejecting you after we got back. I got scared and ran away. I wanted to be with you then, and I want to be with you now.”
Quentin stared at Eliot, shocked, “You want to be with me? You didn’t want me because you were stuck with me?”
“Quentin,” Eliot said, taking his hand, “I want you in any lifetime, in every timeline, in any universe.”
Quentin laced his fingers with Eliot’s, “Okay, okay. I love you.”
Eliot smiled, kissing Quentin knuckles, “I love you.”
Quentin smiled, motioning Eliot to scoot over. After a moment, Quentin kicked his shoes off, sliding into the bed. He turned on his side, facing Eliot, “Are you hurt in any way?”
“I think I might need to start seeing a therapist, but not physically.”
“I’ll help you—recover.”
Eliot nodded, kissing the top of Quentin’s head. Quentin played with the buttons on Eliot’s shirt, unbuttoning then buttoning again.
. . .
Margo and Julia stood outside the hallway, rocking on their toes.
“Should we go in and see if everything is okay?” Julia asked.
“They could be fucking. I’ve already seen Q’s ass. Don’t need to see Eliot eating it.”
Julia wrinkled her nose, “Ew, don’t give me that picture.”
Margo laughed, “No comment about him being a bottom?”
“I already know that,” Julia said, furrowing her eyebrows together, “He’s dated guys before.”
“Wait, he’s openly bisexual!”
“Yeah, he just doesn’t make a big deal about it,” Julia shrugged.
“Oh my god. Their build-up could have been prevented if Eliot wasn’t so determined he was straight.”
“But don’t all great love stories need unnecessarily long build up?”
Margo rolled her eyes, peaking in the room, “They are just cuddling. Quentin is holding Eliot’s hand and keeps playing with Eliot’s shirt buttons.”
“Yeah, he does that as a calming thing. He mainly plays with his but people he trusts, he plays with theirs. He used to mess with mine before it started ruining my relationships.”
Julia leaned over Margo’s shoulder, looking in the room. She noticed Quentin whispering to Eliot, and Eliot doing the same. She smiled, slightly, “Let’s leave them alone. They deserve some time to themselves.”
“Ugh, you’re no fun.”
“We still need to figure out where the monster went. Let’s figure that out and then bring them out of bed.”
Margo nodded, “I hope the son of a bitch is dead.”