The past few hours drifted through Magnus's memory in a haze - the frantic voicemail from Isabelle begging for help after Alec had become trapped within the parabatai bond, the frenzied Portal over to the Institute, his mindless sprint through the halls without a second glance at the Shadowhunters leaping out of the way. He was tired, so tired, but he couldn't stop. He couldn't let Alec die, not without doing everything that he could to save him.
Now, several hours later, Magnus was beginning to panic as he felt his magic starting to wane. He'd sent Isabelle to his loft earlier in the day to pick up a number of potion ingredients and he'd spent most of the day alternating between mixing potions and trying to use his magic to bring Alec back. His hands shaky with exhaustion, he held up a bottle of potion ingredients - lavender, his fuzzy mind helpfully supplied as he blearily stared at the label - before repacking it back into his case. The lavender had been useless.
His attention was torn from his task by a particularly full-body shudder of the Shadowhunter laying comatose on the bed next to him. Alec had grown increasingly pale and sweaty as the day went on, sinking deeper and deeper into the clutches of the bond.
"Best team," he mumbled suddenly. Magnus's gaze shot up to Alec's face, slack with unconsciousness. "Best team..." Magnus's heart wrenched as he leaned in and placed a hand on Alec's shoulder, his fingers pressing into the firm muscle beneath the heated skin.
"It's okay, Alec," he whispered, his eyes flitting over Alec's prone body. "You hear me? We're gonna get you out of here and bring you back." He reached up and brushed his fingertips across Alec's forehead, gently pushing his hair off his skin.
"You put in a request to transfer your brother to Idris?" Aldertree demanded as he stormed into the sickroom. Magnus tamped down on the flare of fury that threatened to burst forth as he turned on his chair to face the head of the Institute as Isabelle stood.
"My parents put in the request," Izzy responded, facing down Aldertree without a flicker of hesitation.
"Alec isn't leaving this Institute," Aldertree stated. Brow knit, Magnus stood, his fingers dragging over Alec's shoulder, and slowly walked towards the head of the Institute as Aldertree looked over at him. "I'm sure his warlock friend can figure something out. Here."
"This isn't waking Sleeping Beauty with a kiss," Magnus told him, frowning, as Aldertree sighed and crossed his arms. "Runic power is deep. It requires magic that can't be accessed in the walls of this Institute."
"I don't know what you're up to, and, ultimately, I don't care," he said stubbornly, shifting his focus back to Isabelle. "But as far as I'm concerned, your brother is too weak to be Portaled."
"You're just using Alec as bait to arrest Jace," Izzy hissed, anger flaring in her eyes.
"No. I'm working to capture the fugitive who put Alec in this position," Aldertree countered. He gestured towards Magnus. "I have allowed this warlock into the Institute for the sole purpose of treating your brother. Although..." he turned back towards Magnus, "...you don't seem to be doing too good a job of it." Aldertree paused, surveyed Isabelle and Magnus as they both glared back at him. "I'm placing Raj by the door. Do not try this again."
Aldertree turned curtly on his heel and left as Raj settled into position just inside the door. Magnus fought back a sneer and held up a dismissive hand as he turned back towards Alec, fear swirling in his mind as he observed Alec's feverish appearance.
"I'm just under orders," Raj protested as Isabelle continued to glare at him.
"Shut up, Raj," she snapped. Magnus settled back in at Alec's side, summoning his magic once more as he swirled his hand over Alec's body, trying desperately to drag Alec back from the depths of the bond. Come back to me, please. I'm not going anywhere. I'm right here, Alexander. Please...
Minutes and hours began blending together as Magnus pushed the boundaries of his magic in his efforts to save Alec. His eyes blurred as he whipped another wave of magic over Alec's body, his brow furrowing as he watched Alec's limbs twitch, his hands flex and contract, and his back arch.
"No. It's too late. I..." Alec's muttering trailed off as Magnus released his magic, quickly leaning in and examining Alec's face, taking in the minute flutterings of his closed eyes.
"Alec?" he whispered. Magnus was close enough to feel the soft puffs of air leaving Alec's lungs as he breathed. Despair churned deep within him when there was no response and he inhaled sharply, hurling a blast of magic out with a sweep of his arm, sending potion bottles and ingredients crashing to the floor. Raj glanced dispassionately down at the shattered glass coating the floor.
"You know you're gonna have to clean that up?" he commented, gesturing towards the mess. Magnus shot a fierce glare at the guard and turned back to Alec, resting his hands on the bed, inhaling deeply to try and calm his fury. He closed his eyes as he heard Raj's footsteps approaching. "I feel you, man, but I have direct orders." Magnus slowly turned towards Raj, his fingers tightening into fists. "If you can't help him, then you need to go."
"My magic is the only thing keeping Alec from completely slipping away," Magnus said, fighting to keep his voice steady. "I won't leave."
"I know you're old, but I didn't realize you were hard of hearing," Raj commented, clearly trying to get a rise out of Magnus. "He's clearly not waking up any time soon, so you can leave, now, or I can remove you myself -"
Magnus snapped. With a flick of his wrist, a crackling rope of crimson energy burst from his hand, wrapping itself around Raj's neck, slowly squeezing. "I'm sorry. I don't like being rushed," he told the Shadowhunter steadily. He thrust the heel of his palm towards Raj, sending a blast of magic into his chest. The Shadowhunter flew through the air to crash into a painting on the far wall, dropping to the ground in a crumpled heap. Rage exploding in his veins, Magnus felt his control over his glamour flickering, his true eyes threatening to make an appearance as he stalked towards his fallen opponent. At that moment, Isabelle rushed into the room, catching his arms and planting herself in front of him.
"Magnus, stop!" she ordered him, pushing him back as Magnus glared over her shoulder at Raj. "We need to get Alec out of here, but this isn't helping."
"You didn't hear him, Isabelle," Magnus protested. "He doesn't care if Alec lives or dies, he doesn't. He was going to make me leave and Alec... Alec would have just stayed like this and I don't -" Magnus's voice broke and he pulled himself free of Izzy's grip, sinking back into the chair by Alec's bed. He gathered Alec's limp hand in both of his own and lifted it, pressing his lips against the clammy skin. He held Alec's hand against his chest, tears shining unshed in his eyes. "I'm not going to let him go," he murmured, gazing at Alec.
He heard Izzy close the door before walking over to him and wrapping her arms around his shoulders from behind. "I know," she whispered. "I won't either. I can't."
He blinked quickly, willing his tears to dissipate, as he carefully placed Alec's hand down on the bed and stood, Isabelle's hands slipping from his shoulders. "I'm sorry," he said quietly, his eyes landing on the shattered potion bottles on the floor. He vanished the mess with a quick snap of his fingers. "He's your brother; of course you're not letting him go."
"Magnus..." Isabelle walked over to him and placed her hands on his upper arms. "You care about him. I'm not trying to take that away from you. And Alec cares about you too. That's obvious to anyone that sees the way he looks at you. He's lucky to have you," she added, squeezing his arms gently.
He nodded faintly, the fingers of one hand worrying at the rings on his other. He glanced over at Raj, still unconscious on the floor. "What should we do with that one?" he mused, twisting the ring around his index finger.
A determined look crept over Isabelle's face. She pulled her stele out and hurried over to Raj, crouching down next to him and pushing up his sleeve. Magnus walked over just as Raj's still form shimmered into Alec's. "Isabelle, what -"
She stood quickly, turning to face him. "We're getting Alec out of here," she whispered urgently. "Open a Portal."
They'd worked quickly, sweat dripping down Magnus's brow as he sent identical bursts of magic towards both Raj and Alec, lifting Alec from the bed, replacing him with Raj, and holding Alec in mid-air while he conjured a Portal. Just before stepping through, he'd glanced back at Isabelle.
"Find Jace, and hurry," he'd told her. She'd nodded and he stepped through the Portal, Alec's body at his side.
It had been over two hours since they'd made their escape and Alec had been still on the chaise lounge the entire time, terrifyingly motionless. With full access to his potions cabinet, Magnus had thrown himself into brewing, trying desperately to find something that might bring Alec back. Nothing worked. On the verge of tears, he stumbled back over to Alec's side and sank to the floor, a sob climbing its way through his chest.
"Come back," he whispered fervently. "Come back. Please come back." His eyes danced over Alec's face, searching for any hint of change or recognition. He held the adamas stone in his hand, the damned stone that had sent Alec into this state. "I'm all out of answers. I've tried everything," he pleaded. Suddenly, he flashed back to his earlier conversation with Aldertree. "Except..." He paused. There's no way this could work, he thought, his mind churning, but it's the only thing I haven't tried...
He took a deep breath and leaned in, hoping against hope that this would work. He pressed his lips to Alec's, pouring all of his affection for him into the kiss, even as a small corner of his mind noted that this kiss didn't feel like his Alec, almost like he was already -
He's not lost, he thought viciously, wrenching his mind away from that train of thought. He pulled back and carefully examined Alec's face for any change as he rolled the adamas stone between his fingers. He inhaled sharply, the breath catching in his throat as his eyes filled with tears. He choked back a sob, dropping his forehead onto Alec's shoulder.
"Please... please come back to me, Alexander," he begged softly, his tears dampening the black fabric of Alec's shirt. "I can't say goodbye to you."
Magnus startled awake as Isabelle, Clairy, and Jace burst into the loft, dozing off only through the sheer exhaustion that had tightened its hold on him over the constant work, stress, and worry of the last twenty-four hours. He placed his hand on Alec's chest, feeling the thready beat of his heart beneath his palm, as Isabelle and Clary rushed over. Magnus shuffled backwards, allowing Izzy to kneel next to her brother, and settled himself down by Alec's feet. His hand rested on Alec's thigh, fingers tensing against the rough denim, desperate to stay in contact with him as though through physical contact alone he could keep Alec here.
"He can't last much longer," he whispered, his throat like parchment. Jace stumbled forward at that moment and Magnus reluctantly wrenched his gaze from Alec's face.
"Alec," Jace murmured, walking towards the group. Feeling as though he were tearing his heart in two, Magnus stood and faced Jace, silently holding out the adamas stone as Jace's eyes locked onto Magnus's. Magnus didn't even attempt to hide the tears in his eyes, and Jace reached out to take the stone, clasping Magnus's hand in both of his own. Isabelle and Clary stepped back to flank Magnus as Jace moved forward to kneel next to Alec, grasping Alec's hand in his own, the adamas stone between the two of them. A shuddering yellow light began to shine from the stone in their hands.
Jace's words washed over Magnus as he began reciting the parabatai oath. Suddenly, Alec gasped and his body arched, jerking off the chaise lounge and causing Jace to drop the adamas stone in surprise. Magnus's heart grew cold as he watched the stone's light begin to dim.
"What's happening?" Izzy demanded.
"He's slipping," Magnus breathed, tears blurring his vision. Alexander, please... stay... A sob escaped his throat as Alec began wheezing, clearly fighting for breath. Jace reached up, cupping Alec's cheek as he leaned in to continue the oath.
"Thy people will be my people. Thy God will be my God. When thou diest, I will die. And there will I be buried. The Angel do so to me," he recited, his voice wavering with emotion. Magnus's heart stuttered as the light went out in the adamas stone. His entire world narrowed to Alec, watching in slow motion as Alec exhaled slowly, his head dropping to the side as his entire body relaxed. Magnus fought to remain standing as a chill settled over his soul. Too soon... this is too soon. We were supposed to have more time. He heard Clary's and Isabelle's weeping on either side of him and he twisted his fingers together, the cool metal of his rings biting into his skin.
Jace pulled Alec into a tight hug, his arms holding his brother up as he whispered, "And more also, if aught but death part thee and me." Tears spilled over Magnus's cheeks as he watched, mentally cursing his immortality that he needed to repeatedly watch those that he cared for die, over and over and over again. He pressed his hand to his chest, feeling his heart shatter to pieces, before his hands dropped to his sides. What was even the point? "Please don't leave me, Alec," Jace pleaded, sobbing as he held Alec's body. Us. Please don't leave us, Magnus thought desperately as he squeezed his eyes shut.
"If aught but death part thee and me."
Magnus's eyes flew open wide, adrenaline coursing through his veins in an instant, as Alec's voice rang weakly throughout the silent room. His eyes slowly opened, momentarily latching onto Magnus's as Jace carefully sat Alec back into the chair. The two parabatai gazed at each other for a moment before Jace once more pulled Alec into a tight embrace, each of them crying. Magnus and Clary instinctively laced their fingers together as Isabelle wrapped her hands around the base of her throat, tears slipping unabashedly as one down their faces.
Together, Magnus, Clary, and Isabelle stepped forward to join in the reunion. Magnus released Clary's hand as he advanced, feeling like he could breathe for the first time all day. Suddenly, the door to his loft burst open, admitting Victor Aldertree and the Clave representatives.
"Jace Wayland!" Aldertree announced in a booming voice. The Clave Shadowhunters filed past him as Jace stood and turned to face him, walking away from Alec into the center of the room. Magnus gestured for Clary and Isabelle to stand back as Jace faced off against the head of the Institute. "You are hereby sentenced to the City of Bones to await trial for the charge of high treason and aiding Valentine in the war against the Clave."
"Wait, what... what the hell is going on?" Alec demanded weakly, trying to push himself off of the chaise lounge.
"It's all right, Alec," Jace reassured him quietly as he was flanked by Aldertree's men. "All that matters is you're back," he added, his voice breaking in the moment before the Clave Shadowhunters grabbed him and marched him out of the loft. Aldertree glanced from Clary to Isabelle before shifting his gaze over to where Magnus stood, angled protectively just to Alec's side. Magnus's jaw tensed as a slight curl flashed across Aldertree's lips, lingering for a brief moment before he turned and strode out of the loft without a word.
Magnus moved to follow to ward the doors shut, halted only when he felt a soft pressure on the inside of his calf. He glanced down, surprised to see long fingers curling around his leg as Alec gazed up at him. Magnus immediately sank to the chaise lounge, perching on the edge and clasping Alec's hand in his own, squeezing his eyes closed and turning his face away when Alec interlaced their fingers, his other hand coming up to brush across Magnus's lower back.
"Magnus..." Alec said quietly, tilting his head to catch Magnus's eye. "What's wrong?"
"I just..." Magnus's breath caught in his throat and he tightly pressed his lips together in a vain attempt to compose himself. He exhaled shakily and stared down at their entwined hands as he murmured, "I thought I'd lost you."
"Hey..." Alec gently tugged on his hand until Magnus turned to face him, lifting his gaze to meet Alec's hazel eyes. "Don't think you can get rid of me that easy. I'm not going anywhere." He reached out, brushing his thumb over Magnus's cheekbone. A small smile crept over Magnus's face as he looked down at the Shadowhunter. Alec was still pale, bruised smudges gathered under his eyes, a faint sheen of sweat on his skin, his dark hair damp and curling... and he was still the most beautiful creature Magnus had ever seen in life or legend. He lifted his free hand and placed it over Alec's heart, reveling in the strong beats resonating through skin and clothes.
"Alec... we should get going," Isabelle said hesitantly, glancing over at Clary standing by the front door, her head bowed. "We need to get back to the Institute and see what we can do to help Jace."
Magnus's face fell. He'd just gotten Alec back and now he was going to have to sit back and watch him rush off into another urgent mission. He dropped his gaze back down to their hands before he slowly, regretfully, began pulling away. "Well... you've been through a lot today, so just be sure you... get some rest... a good night's sleep, and -"
"I'm not going anywhere," Alec interrupted, looking over at Izzy. Magnus turned and stared at him in surprise. "Magnus is right. I need to get some rest and I definitely won't be able to do that if I go back to the Institute." Alec's eyes shifted back to Magnus. "If... that's all right with you, of course... me staying here."
Izzy nodded slowly, looking as though she were fighting off a smile. "You're right. You'd just try to jump back into things instead of resting if you were there." Her eyes flicked over to Magnus. "Take care of him, will you?"
Magnus's mouth moved soundlessly for a moment before he closed it and cleared his throat. "Of course. He'll get nothing but the best care."
A grin broke across Isabelle's face at his words. "Oh, I'm sure he will," she said, giving them a pointed look as Alec's fingers slid into his own once more. "Get some sleep... both of you," she added, tossing the words over her shoulder as she turned and walked towards Clary, the front door clicking behind them as they left. Magnus turned and looked questioningly at Alec.
"I told you, I'm not going anywhere," Alec reminded him, sitting up with a slight wince. Magnus's eyes never left Alec's as he warded the loft with a twist and snap of his fingers. Alec slid his hand around the back of Magnus's neck, pulling him close until their foreheads touched, his fingers slipping into Magnus's hair. Magnus sighed and leaned forward, tucking his face into the crook of Alec's neck.
"How is it that you're the one that's been on the verge of death all day, but I'm the one in need of comfort?" Magnus mumbled into Alec's skin. He felt, rather than heard, the chuckle rumble through Alec in response.
"You're the one that had the stressful day," Alec pointed out, his hand slowly drifting up and down Magnus's spine. "All I had to do was lay in a bed for hours on end." Magnus huffed out a laugh as he pulled away.
"You make a good point," he conceded, standing and holding out his hands to Alec. Alec shifted his feet off the chaise lounge and grasped Magnus's hands tightly, groaning quietly as Magnus pulled him to his feet. "Come on then, Nephilim. I meant it when I said you needed sleep. And maybe a shower as well," he added, wrinkling his nose as the nearby lamplight glinted off the sweat on Alec's brow. Alec broke out into a wide grin.
"Is a shower a standard part of the care you offer to anyone in need?" he teased lightly as Magnus backed away, rolling his eyes.
"Move, Alexander," he instructed, pointing down the hallway into his bedroom. "Shower, then sleep."
Alec's grin softened as he walked across the room and caught Magnus's hand, neither of them willing to look from the other's eyes as Magnus walked backwards down the hallway. Once they crossed the threshold of the bedroom, Magnus steered Alec into the bathroom and reached into the shower to turn the water on.
"Towels are in the closet," he said over the rush of the shower, gesturing towards the door in the corner of the room. "I'll get something for you to sleep in." His mouth went dry as Alec stripped off his shirt without a second's hesitation and dropped it onto the floor. He took a few steps backwards, bumping into the doorframe as Alec's hands dropped to the waistband of his jeans. Oh, fuck.
He stepped out and closed the door to the bathroom firmly behind him as Alec's low chuckle echoed throughout the small room. I've lived for over four hundred years and a damn twenty-three-year-old Shadowhunter is going to be the death of me, he thought, his pants uncomfortably tight as he walked into his closet to pull out a pair of sweatpants and a sleeveless shirt, his gaze lingering for a moment on the silk sleeping pants he normally wore, allowing his mind to drift for a moment to imagine the tense and flex of Alec's rather muscular posterior beneath the thin fabric. Much as he'd like to get Alexander into his silks, he certainly wouldn't be able to keep his hands to himself if that were the case, and tonight was not the night for that.
He changed quickly himself, foregoing a standard shower in favor of a quick shower of magic with the snap of his fingers over his head, feeling his hair and face ridding themselves of product and makeup, the grime and stress of the day slipping from his body. He pulled on a pair of deep blue pants and a black shirt just as the shower turned off. He walked out of his closet with the clothes for Alec as the bathroom door opened, Alec's hair messily damp and a towel wrapped low over his hips. Magnus froze, his eyes following a water droplet as it trailed through the coarse hair on Alexander's chest before slipping over his abdomen to disappear into the towel. "...oh."
Alec grinned crookedly and walked towards Magnus. Belatedly, Magnus thrust out the clothes in his hand, offering them to Alec as he stepped up to the warlock. He took the clothes and glanced down at them before tossing them onto the end of the bed. Strong hands snaked around Magnus's waist and curled around his jaw as Magnus suddenly found himself with a very wet Shadowhunter plastered against him, Alec's lips covering his own as Magnus's arms automatically wrapped around him, heedless of the water soaking his clothes. All that mattered was that Alexander was holding him and kissing him like he was the only thing in the world that existed.
Magnus's fingers dug into the firm muscle of Alec's shoulders and back as Alec's teeth dragged over his lower lip. A low moan escaped him as Alec leaned down, pressing rough kisses and light bites along his jawline and neck, tilting his head to allow for better access. As though from a distance, Magnus heard the thump of wet fabric hitting the floor at the same time that Alec's teeth delivered a particularly sharp nip to the hollow of Magnus's throat, followed by the drag of his tongue to sooth the brief blossom of pain. The Shadowhunter's hand slid underneath Magnus's shirt, his palm blazing a fiery heat in a wide swath over Magnus's skin.
Magnus's fingers involuntarily tightened in Alec's hair as his mouth was clumsily recaptured, hard kisses and panting, shared breaths between them, Alec tightening his grip on Magnus. Magnus's mind cleared instantly when he felt Alec's fingers trembling against his back and neck, a crashing reminder of what he had undergone that day. He placed his hand in the center of Alec's chest and pushed gently, breaking their feverish kisses with a gasp, his fingers flexing against heated skin as he regretfully stepped away. His resolve wavered at the look of confusion on Alec's face and he brushed his fingertips across Alec's kiss-reddened lips.
"You need to rest, Alexander," he whispered, his gaze skittering over the dark circles under the Shadowhunter's eyes and the pale cast to his skin. "You may have just been lying in a bed all day, but you were nearly dead lying in that bed."
"Not all the way dead," Alec protested, glancing away.
"Close enough," Magnus countered. He stepped back, a chill sweeping over him as he left the warmth and comfort of Alec's arms, determinedly look anywhere and everywhere but the miles of skin the dropped towel had revealed. "And in the name of the Angel, put the fucking clothes on before I do something I'd later regret."
Alec fell silent as Magnus turned around and walked to the bathroom to collect Alec's clothes from the bathroom floor. He listened carefully for the sounds of Alexander dressing even as he swirled his hands above the pile of sweaty clothes, a shower of blue sparks falling from his hands to clean and fold the clothes in mere seconds. Picking them up, he turned off the bathroom light and exited the room to see Alexander standing in the gray sweatpants, the fabric tighter on his more muscular build, with the shirt in his hands. He glanced up at Magnus and held up the shirt.
"I, um... I usually don't wear a shirt to bed," he murmured. From this angle, the shadows underneath the Nephilim's eyes were pronounced and Magnus found himself striding forward, feeling almost desperate to get Alexander to go to sleep.
"No, I didn't think you would be the type to do so," he admitted, taking the shirt from Alec and tossing it into his closet. He looked up at Alec, reaching up to brush a curling lock of hair off his forehead. "You need to sleep, Alexander. Regain your strength."
The warlock shook his head, placing his hands on Alec's considerable biceps and propelling him backwards towards the bed, removing one hand to pull back the covers before pushing him onto the silk sheets. Alec glanced up at him reproachfully even as he settled down into the bed, his hair in stark contrast against the pale gold of the pillowcase. Magnus gazed down at him for a moment, watching as Alec's eyes grew heavy, belying his earlier protests. He turned to switch off the bedroom lights, intent on staying in the guest room that night, when he felt Alec's hand on his wrist.
"Where are you going?" the Shadowhunter asked, his voice thick with impending sleep.
"I was going to sleep in the guest bedroom so you could have your space," Magnus whispered, doing his best to not rouse Alec further. Alec frowned at him and tugged at his hand.
"Don't be stupid, I'm not kicking you out of your bed," he grumbled. "Just get in."
"I know you weren't, I was trying to be gentlemanly," Magnus responded as Alec gave a particularly firm pull. He caught himself before he tumbled completely onto Alec, a hand on either side of Alec's shoulders, and glared down at him. Alec's hands drifted down the sides of his ribs, the barely-there pressure both tantalizing and frustrating.
"Well, stop it," Alec retorted stubbornly. He surged up suddenly, wrapping his arms around Magnus's waist and rolling him into the center of the bed, landing in a flail of limbs.
"I'm an adult, Magnus, not some eighteenth century damsel whose virtue needs to be protected," Alec reminded him, pulling back just far enough to tug the covers up far enough for Magnus to reluctantly settle in.
"You'd be surprised how little that was an actual concern in the eighteenth century, when you get right down to it," Magnus mused, snapping his fingers to turn the lights off and lying back against the pillows.
In the moonlight, he watched Alec's eyes slip closed momentarily before they fought back open. The Nephilim shuffled closer and Magnus's arms automatically opened to encircle him. Alec curled up against Magnus, his head resting against the warlock's heart and his fingers tracing a minute design on the still-damp shirt. After a moment, he wrinkled his nose and lifted his head, plucking at the fabric. "You're shirt's all wet, it's gross."
"You're the one that got it wet, Alexander," Magnus said exasperatedly, sitting up to tug the shirt off and toss it onto the floor.
"I don't remember that," Alec muttered dismissively. As soon as Magnus laid back onto the sheets, Alec resumed his previous position, soft huffs of breath ghosting across Magnus's skin. Magnus's hand drifted down the smooth plane of Alec's back, feeling the tension release bit by bit with each sweep of skin on skin. His own exhaustion threatened to drag him under and he felt as though his eyelids were weighted down, straining to keep them open and his gaze on Alec.
"Would you really have regretted it?"
The question took a moment to make sense in Magnus's mind. "Hmm?"
"What you said before, when you told me to get dressed or you'd do something you'd regret." Alec's voice was sleepy, the words slightly slurred. "Would you really?"
Magnus's heart ached. "Oh, Alexander..." His fingers slid under Alec's jaw, tilting his head back to catch his gaze. "No, not for a second. Never. But I also don't want to risk throwing common sense over in favor of raw attraction, especially when your health is at risk. I know, I know, you are healthy," he added quickly as Alec opened his mouth to protest. "But I'd also prefer that you be at your full strength for... activities like that." His voice trailed off as Alec's lips quirked.
"Activities," he mumbled. "That's one word for it, I guess." He reached up, pressing a kiss to the corner of Magnus's jaw, shivering when Magnus's fingers slid into his hair with a light scratch. Magnus couldn't resist - he leaned in, dropping a sweet kiss onto Alec's waiting lips. "You're pretty great, you know," Alec murmured against Magnus's mouth.
Magnus grinned and tugged Alec against him, his smile fading as the minutes grew long and Alec's breathing soon grew deep and steady. Magnus tightened his arms around Alec, refusing to acknowledge what the tightness in his chest meant as he silently vowed to protect this beautiful young man by whatever means necessary.
"Sleep, Alexander," Magnus whispered, his words barely audible as he pressed his lips to his Shadowhunter's forehead. Tomorrow would rear its hectic head far too soon, but for now... for now, he would cherish every moment together.