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The Worst Luck

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Quentin sometimes believes he has the worst luck of all time. He is never in the right place at the right time, he was even late for the most important and exciting moment of his life (Taking the entrance exam to Brakebills, of course). But he thought it was all behind him, well, most of it. Of course there was still the beast and the trials and whatever else happened so far in his first year of Brakebills, but that was all water under the bridge.

 

He had friends and even if he didn't fit in like the others did, he was accepted for the most part. He had a lot of time to think about all of these things in the position he was in right now, that is, hanging upside down from a flagpole and being steadily covered in tape. He's naked, of course, which is going to hurt when he gets the tape off his dick later.. And pretty much everywhere he has hair growing is going to have a bad tape waxing by the end of this.

 

The upperclassmen are having a blast, they had snuck in while he was trying to get dressed after a shower. He was average height and build for God's sake, but they still towed him around like he was the size of a child. They tied his legs to the rope on the pole and hauled him in the air, taped him down and shoved his own sock in his mouth. One of the young men smacks his cheek roughly, kneeling down to look him in the eyes. His name is David, a snotty rich boy with a lot of leverage from his magic-oriented family.

 

"Okay, go get his nerd books." He smirks, and Quentin's heart is suddenly in his throat. He can handle beatings, humiliation, anything really. But out of many things in his life, the Fillory books were the most important possessions he owned. They made his life bearable since he was a kid, and these jock assholes had them in their rough, uncaring hands.

 

They throw the books in front of the pole on the ground without care, laughing and snickering. He can't move, can't scream, just watches as one of the boys, he thinks his name is Troy, picks one of the books up. Book 2, his third favorite.

 

"I think I read these when I was like eight." He hums, before tossing it at him. It hits Quentin in the chest and knocks against his chin on the way down, it splays open on the concrete, some of the pages being bent. "They were good, for a baby." He snickers.

 

"All right, stop fucking around. Let's get this over with before someone sees us." Another one tells the others, they all nod. "Gentlemen, at the ready!" He calls out quietly, they all scatter to grab what seem to be large mason jars filled with different awful looking substances. "Let's give the nerd and his books a bath." One boy pours out a jar of what looks like raw sewage onto the pile of books, Quentin can only watch in silent horror as it drips from the jar and lands on the cover of one of the books.

 

The smell that permeates from the jar is godawful, like rotting meat and then burning flesh as there's a hissing noise and the cover of the book starts to melt under the weight of the substance. They pour out the rest of the disgusting filth onto his books, then the one that seemed to be the leader approaches him again. He's got dark brown eyes and longish hazel hair that dips over his eyebrows, a mischievous and almost malicious grin on his face.

 

"Well we'd better give him a way to get down." Quentin tilts his head down, or up, whatever, towards his feet which face the sky as the man holds up the jar in his hand and pours some on the tape and rope at his ankles. It starts to eat through the tape, and quickly begins to slide down his middle. "Bye princess." He chuckles darkly, before turning and joining his buddies in retreating.

 

Within a few minutes Quentin can feel the heat from the sewage like liquid as it melts through layers of tape. He looks up again, barely having time to turn his head before some of it drips onto his neck and along his cheek. He screams through his gag, feeling it eat away at his flesh like having his face pressed against a hot stovetop. That's when the tape starts to loosen, as it seeps through the fissures in the plastic and starts to get at the skin on his chest and stomach.

 

He hits the ground ungracefully, actually knocking his head against the pavement on the fall. His knees are scraped up at the rough impact, he grabs the sock from his mouth and starts wiping at the acid-like liquid on him. The skin along his cheek, neck, and chest are a dark color, flesh marred from touching the concoction poured onto him.

 

He looks to his books, not even able to summon rage, only pure devastation at the sight of the black goop that remained of most of the books. One of them though, have only melted through part of the cover. Quentin picks it up and moves over to wipe it in the grass, hoping to salvage whichever of the books it is. It's his favorite, Book 1, he stands up and starts walking back to the cottage.

 

-

 

He bangs on the door for about five minutes, cheeks aflame in humiliation and flesh still throbbing with an intense burning sensation. Margo answers, agitated expression immediately turning into that of concern.

 

"Quentin, what the fuck?!" She shouts in horror, pulls him inside and slams the door. "What the hell happened?" Her hand hovers over the blistering skin on his cheek, mouth a thin line of anger and eyes filled with sympathy.

 

"Some upperclassmen grabbed me from my room... I dunno, I'm going to bed." He sighs, and rolls his eyes when Margo grabs his arm to stop him, calling out for Eliot. The older boy comes traipsing down the stairs without purpose, looking annoyed, but then his eyes widen at the sight of Quentin.

 

"Well, what happened to-" His slight amusement at the sight of Quentin naked quickly changed as his eyes focused on the burns on him. "Who?" He demands, grabs him by the chin and turning his head to observe the wound.

 

"It doesn't matter. I've got a test tomorrow, what's done is done. Not the first time someone's fucked with me." He bats at Eliot's hand, a little put off by the sound of his voice laced with something akin to caring.

 

"There's a difference between fun harmless pranks and acid burns, Q." Margo says, crossing her arms. "We're telling the Dean and someone is getting their asses booted from here." She snaps, shaking her head as Eliot starts to lead Quentin by the arm upstairs. They get him into some sweatpants and someone calls up one of the infirmary students to come by. It's an upper class girl with calculating green eyes and careful hands. She treats his burns with care, Eliot hovers the whole time. He's acting odd, jaw clenched in fury and body tense with agitated energy. That's not so unusual, Eliot could get mad whenever, it was the fact that he was mad about someone hurting Quentin.

 

Quentin turns his ruined book in his hand while he's treated, silent and mostly ashamed that he couldn't protect himself. He could fight, he just didn't have time to react with their sneak attack. He should have his guard on more often, there were too many things out to get him as of late. Eventually, the infirmary girl leaves, dropping a little tube of burn ointment on the table on her way out of his room.

 

"What's that?" Eliot says softly, standing over Quentin and much too close as he observes the charred book. His eyes are burning with curiosity and there's a hint of anger still there, but his body holds most of the fury instead of his expression now. Quentin shakes his head, embarrassed that he had yet to put it down, that he was mourning the loss of children's books. Eliot takes the book from him gently, opens the ruined cover and turns a few pages. "Where are the others, Quentin?" He asks quietly, calmly.

 

"A big pile of melted shit in front of the flagpole." He answers, his voice is slightly hoarse from disuse and earlier screaming. Eliot pulls in a deep inhale and exhales slowly, closing the book and dropping it on the bed.

 

"I want names, Quentin." He says simply, Quentin shakes his head.

 

"You'll only make it worse, you get one expelled the others will just come back and do it again. It was a prank, it went too far. I made myself a target, anyway." He mutters, tired and ready to just collapse into bed to forget about the world. He startles a little when Eliot's surprisingly strong hand grips his chin once more and tilts his head up to look at him.

 

"They hurt you. I don't care if you wore a sign saying 'kick me' on your back, they are going to hurt for what they've done." Eliot's completely serious, and honestly it scares Quentin a little. The older boy takes in another calming breath and kneels down, glancing away for a moment before looking back with a more sympathetic and gentle expression. "I want you to tell me who." He whispers, his face extremely close to Quentin's.

 

"Uh.." He opens his mouth, unsure, but part of him wants to come clean. He wants to see the boys expelled, lives ruined, because they basically tore a big part of his own life to shreds. "David.. Rich kid with the sponsor parents... Him and some pals.. I think one of them is Troy? It was dark, I can't be sure." He shakes his head, and when Eliot tries to stand Quentin grabs his shirt to keep him in place. "Don't take this so seriously, I..." His voice trails off for a moment, he cracks under the intensity of Eliot's gaze and looks down at the floor. "It's not worth it." He sighs.

 

"Quentin." Eliot murmurs, big hand touching his bare shoulder with care, waiting until the younger look at him to speak. "Someone's gotta watch out for you, protect you. And if you refuse to react to this, then I'll do it for you." He leans forward and tugs Quentin in by the neck, tilting his head so he can press a kiss to his forehead. It makes Quentin's face feel hot and it begins to turn pink and splotchy in response, hands fidgeting in his lap. "I'll be back, I've got business to handle." He says, standing.

 

"Eliot, please. What are you gonna do? If I have to tell the Dean, I will. Don't risk your scholarship here for me." He stands up, trailing behind him. He follows him downstairs, Margo's talking on the phone, and Quentin shoots her a pleading look to help him. She proves no help, nodding to Eliot as he passes. Eliot grabs his jacket, and Quentin latches onto his arm. "Stop! Think about this! Burns heal, books are just books. You're the reason I have friends here, you're the reason this didn't happen sooner. I'm a freak, I'm bound to get picked on. I can handle it. I can't handle losing my best friend over it." He pleads.

 

Eliot's lips turn upwards into a small smirk, which changes into a blinding smile. He pats Quentin on the shoulder, laughs softly.

 

"Well, I guess if I get my memory erased, you'll just have to track me down and seduce me. Make my life better, right?" He grins, Quentin smiles a little despite himself, and in the tensionless moment of humor, Eliot slips out the door. When Quentin tries to follow, the door slams shut, and refuses to budge. Quentin kicks at it and tugs on the knob until he's breathless, then turns back to Margo, who he realizes had disappeared as well.

 

"Fuck." He says to himself, feeling wrung out and vulnerable.

 

-

 

He had originally paced all through the house, tried everything to get out, it was sealed tight. He was trapped inside, no way of getting out, no way to go and see what was going on. His hands shook as he rubbed them together, and he looked out windows for any sign of life, but only saw the empty sidewalk and wind blowing through the shadowy trees.

 

Eventually, he settled on the couch, sat up and counted the minutes. He fell asleep after a while, exhausted from the day's events and everything catching up to him.

 

Quentin wakes up to the door opening and a bunch of raucous laughter. He sits up fast, finding Eliot and Margo coming inside. Eliot's jacket is ripped, his lip is bloodied slightly, and his hair is a mess. Margo seems to be in a bit of disarray as well, hair askew and dirt on her shirt and jeans.

 

"What the hell happened?" He demands, rushing over. "You locked me in here, you asshole!" He punches Eliot in the arm, who barely moves at the impact.

 

"Take it down a notch, you look like an agitated Chihuahua." Margo laughs, Eliot tilts his head back and joins her in amusement at Quentin's concern.

 

"Did you hurt them? God, you're so stupid!" He shoves Eliot, agitated and again, strangely vulnerable. "You could get expelled, how could you be so stupid!" He pushes him again, and the amusement has started to fade from Eliot's expression. Quentin shoves and pushes at him until Eliot finally grabs his arms and holds him still.

 

"They got what they deserved, Quentin. Everyone knows not to mess with me, I'm not a man to be messed with. They just needed to learn that you're a friend of mine, and therefor under my protection." He smiles smugly, Quentin scowls at him.

 

"I don't need your protection." He huffs, Margo snorts, but when Quentin looks at her, she disappears upstairs before she can be pulled into the situation.

 

"Sweetheart," Eliot starts with a sigh, Quentin's scowl deepens at the pet name. He used it for a lot of girls, and also Quentin, which was slightly irritating most of the time. "I am very aggressive about my friends, I bond quickly you know. I'm a very selfish boy, I don't like to share or have my toys damaged." He flashes another happy smile, and Quentin pulls away from him, ready to storm upstairs.

 

"We aren't your toys." He snaps, and yelps when he's yanked backwards into Eliot's arms. The older boy's mouth is right against his ear, breath warm against his skin and giving him chills.

 

"I care for you, and that comes with aggression and fierce protectiveness. You aren't the only one, you know." He murmurs, holding Quentin's arms at his sides, fingers brushing gently against him. "In freshman year, I shaved half of a girl's hair off because she wouldn't leave Margo alone." He sways slightly, Quentin squeezes his eyes shut and tries to stay angry. "Of course, I care for Margo as a sister. You, however. I didn't know I liked socially awkward nerds until you came along." He chuckles into Quentin's ear, making his face flush a dark pink.

 

Then suddenly he's released, and he feels unsteady, a little cold, more vulnerable. He stands there a moment, Eliot starts to move towards the stairs in a hasty retreat. In a moment of probably complete insanity, Quentin rushes forward and hugs Eliot from behind. The older tenses slightly, hands raised above where Quentin's grip lies. He smells like dirt and sweat, maybe a little blood, along with the faint traces of his cologne and laundry detergent.

 

"Thank you... You just.. Scared me." He gets out after a moment, voice quiet. "I didn't want either of you getting hurt or in trouble." Quentin explains, allowing Eliot to turn around and pull him into a proper hug. He's a lot taller than Quentin, his chin rests on his head when they hug. He basically engulfs Quentin without trying, it's not as bad as Quentin thought it would be.

 

"Now you know how I felt seeing you earlier. Now, what do you say we take the day off tomorrow and get wasted before noon?" He suggests, releasing the younger. "I'm sure you could use it after a night like this." He turns Quentin's head to observe his burns once more, cringing at the sight of them. "Makes me wanna go back and punch David in the nose again." He grumbles.

 

"You punched David in the nose?" He asks with a laugh, Eliot nods with a smirk.

 

"I should have killed him, but like you said, I didn't want to only rely on you as entertainment in my dull mortal life." He says jokingly, Quentin rolls his eyes and pushes him away.

 

"Goodnight, Eliot." He snorts, heading for the stairs. Eliot follows closely behind, and just as he reaches his door, he's yanked back again. Suddenly there are lips against his and strong hands on his waist, he flails his arms a little as he's pushed back against the wall, and then rests them on Eliot's arms. They lick into each other's mouths hesitantly for a few lingering moments, and when they break apart, Eliot grins.

 

"I've been waiting a while to do that." He says breathlessly, and Quentin nods back, speechless. "Is that.. Okay?" He looks a little unsure suddenly, vulnerable like Quentin had felt earlier.

 

"Yeah, yeah... It was good, great, actually." He nods, and Eliot gives a sort of humble smirk.

 

"Good... Maybe instead of getting wasted tomorrow, we could spend the day in bed... Together." He suggests with a wink, Quentin nods emphatically, and his heart is still racing when Eliot presses a goodnight kiss to his lips and disappears into his own room. The younger collapses onto his bed in exhaustion and euphoria, staring at the ceiling in bliss as he starts to fall asleep once again.

 

Maybe his luck wasn't so bad after all.