Magnus sat down on his couch and stood back up to pace for the tenth time that evening. No matter what he did, the image of Alec’s crestfallen face the other night just wouldn’t leave him. The last thing he ever wanted to do was hurt Alexander, but he’d been trying so hard to move on, and then seeing Alec there made him panic, because suddenly he wanted nothing more than to just give in.
It’s been over two weeks since he walked out of the institute. Back then, he’d been certain he was doing the right thing, but now…
It’s just that every time he thought about the way Alec lied after he’d bared his soul, these terrible feelings of anger and betrayal kept soaring up. And even if he did change his mind, it was too late now, wasn’t it? After what happened the previous night, Alec probably wanted nothing to do with him.
Magnus sighed with frustration, this was exactly why he never should’ve opened his heart again. Camille once told him he loved like a mundane. It was abnormal, she’d said… for the first time, Magnus was beginning to see her point.
The sound of his phone ringing snapped Magnus out of his thoughts. For a moment, he thought it might be Alexander and his treacherous heart sored.
Magnus sighed. “Catarina.”
“Magnus, you can’t go.” Catarina sounded out of breath.
“What are you talking about?” Magnus asked, confused.
There was an impatient sigh. “The Seelie Queen is requesting your presence. Apparently she’s sent knights to fetch you. Raphael heard it from a source.”
“Then why didn’t he call me himself?” Magnus asked.
“You haven’t exactly been making rational decisions lately. He thought you might actually listen to me.” Catarina said dryly.
“I know what I’m doing.” Magnus snapped.
There was a pause. “Right. Look, the Queen is clearly still bitter over you turning down her offer-”
“Well then ignoring her will only upset her more, won’t it?” Magnus cut Catarina off.
“Magnus…” There was a warning in her voice.
“You worry too much. I’ll be fine.”
“You know what she’s like!” Catarina hissed. “You can’t just go throwing yourself in danger. If this is about Alec-”
“Alexander has nothing to do with this.” Magnus said, voice sharp.
There was a knock on the door.
“I have to go.” Magnus sighed.
“Magnus.” Catarina sounded startled, but Magnus didn’t want to give her a chance to change his mind.
“Bye, Cat.” He hang up.
Magnus went to the door and hesitated… Cat was right, the Seelie Queen didn’t take kindly to being defied and she was more dangerous now than ever.
Another knock snapped Magnus out of his thoughts and he opened the door to reveal two unfamiliar seelie knights.
One stepped forward. “Magnus Bane, high warlock of Brooklyn. Your presence is requested in the court.”
“Straight to the point, I see.” Magnus tried studying the seelie’s body language, but knew it was futile. “Could I know what this is about?”
The Seelie’s face remained stoic. “It is not our business to know the purpose of your visit, high warlock.”
Magnus frowned. Seelie’s being cryptic was nothing new, but the knight seemed to be extremely careful with his words, and it raised some alarms.
But what was he supposed to do? Like he’d told Cat, ignoring the Queen would only anger her more and he had no actual reason to think she meant him harm. Besides, he was perfectly capable of protecting himself, wasn’t that the whole point of closing himself off form love? He could handle this on his own.
Magnus forced a smile. “Of course.”
The seelie knights nodded and Magnus began following them down the hallway. They went outside, where Magnus could see a portal waiting in the distance.
“Magnus!” Magnus froze. The seelie knights stopped as well, both appearing to be highly inconvenienced.
“Magnus.” Alexander stopped in front of him, panting heavily. It reminded Magnus of the day of Valentine’s massacre-
Alec, eyes quickly filling with relief, unable to catch his breath as he pulled Magnus into a bone crushing hug.
But this time Alec didn’t move forward and his eyes were wide with fear.
“You can’t go!” Alec said quickly. “You might hate me or never want to see me again, but please, please don’t go.”
“Alexander, what are you talking about?” Magnus’s voice was tight.
“Raphael called me. He- he told me about what he’d learned. He said he was worried you were going to go and that-“ Alec glared at the knights. “-that he’d heard disturbing things from the Court.”
The seelie that had addressed Magnus before scowled. “You Nephilim are always quick to assume the worst. And to insert yourselves into what is clearly not your business.”
Alec looked at Magnus. “I know you think I’m not on your side, but that’s not true.” Tears were gathering in his eyes. “I made so many mistakes, but I’m always, always on your side. You said you had to do what was right for your people, but Magnus, for me that includes you. Always. Even if we’re not together, or-“ He faltered. –or if you’re seeing someone else. There are no conditions here.” His voice was laced with desperation.
“I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you.” Alec looked miserable.
The seelie cleared his throat. “The Queen doesn’t like being kept waiting. Shall we get going?”
“Just give me a minute.” Magnus said before turning back to Alec and hesitantly stepping closer “I have magic, I can protect myself.”
Alec blinked. “Not if you’re in their realm. You don’t have to do this.”
“This is downworld politics. I can’t ignore the Seelie Queen and there’s no reason to think she means harm.” Even as Magnus said it, he couldn’t bring himself to step away from Alec.
“Yes, there is. Two weeks ago she was willing to start a war.” Alec sighed and tentatively reached out for Magnus’s hand.
Magnus found himself letting him. He’d wanted nothing more than to push Alexander as far away as possible, but now, for the life of him, he couldn’t remember why.
Alec bit his lip. “How would you feel if it was me?”
Magnus’s eyes widened. If he thought Alec was deliberately putting himself in danger, Magnus would be going out if his mind. But that was him, he always fell too quickly and too far.
“I mean, I know you’re probably moving on form me and I just-“
“Alec.” Magnus cut him off, not bearing listening to Alec thinking he wasn’t important. Like Magnus could ever not be absolutely in love with him. “If it were you, I’d be locking you in my apartment.” Magnus was only half joking.
Alec took in a raspy breath. “Then stay.” He whispered.
And how could Magnus say no to that? Screw downworld politics.
“Alright.” He said and Alec’s shoulders sagged with relief.
“Should we presume you are not coming?” The seelie reminded of his presence. Honestly, Magnus had forgotten all about the pair.
Magnus painfully stepped away from Alec and looked back at the seelies, who seemed highly scandalized. “You would presume correctly.”
“The Queen will not be happy about this.” The seelie who had been quiet warned and the knights left without sparing Magnus another glance.
That left Magnus and Alec standing in front of Magnus’s apartment building.
Magnus paused. “Would you like to come in?”
He didn’t know what he was doing, or what it meant, but Alec appeared relieved at the offer and it made some deeply hidden part in Magnus light up.
“A drink?” Magnus asked as soon as he closed the door.
“Uh… no, thanks.” Alec was standing nervously by the door, as if unsure where to put himself. Magnus found himself not liking that sight at all.
“Thank you.” Magnus said, and then at Alec’s confused stare added- “For stopping me.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I suppose that wasn’t very smart of me.”
“No, it wasn’t.” Alec frowned. “How could you risk yourself like that?”
He’d wanted to prove he could do this. And he’d wanted to forget, to make the pain in there overpower the pain in here. And perhaps, and this was a startling realization, a part of him had wanted to die. Like when he stood on that bridge, ready to take the final step and end a life that held no meaning. It was a small part now, he didn’t think about it like that, hadn’t in years, but sometimes… sometimes things like that reared their ugly heads.
But Magnus didn’t say any of that.
“I don’t know.” He lied. “I wasn’t thinking.” And that part, at least, was the truth. He hadn’t done it consciously.
Magnus plopped down on the couch, suddenly feeling very tired. And Alec soon followed, sitting down at a distance but turning to face him.
“Raphael and Catarina are worried… I’m worried. You’re not acting like yourself.”
Magnus winced, thinking back on the previous night at his club.
“I didn’t sleep with her.” Magnus suddenly felt a burning need to make that clear. “We didn’t do anything.”
Alec looked surprised. “I thought-“ He cut himself off.
Magnus rested his head in his arms. “I can’t keep getting my heart broken.” Magnus winced, he was revealing too much again.
But Alec gently touched his arm and it didn’t matter. “I’m sorry. I- I wish I could- make this okay, somehow. I just- by the Angel, I don’t know what to do.”
Magnus looked up. Alec looked worried and unraveled, like his world was falling apart. Like that was how much he cared that Magnus wasn’t alright. And he thought about Alexander and the rest of his family, huddled around Max’s bed, similar looks on their faces-
Magnus’s heart soared. Maybe he could have this. Maybe he did.
“Alexander.” Magnus’s voice cracked.
Alec looked like he was about to start apologizing again, so Magnus grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him into a desperate kiss. And it filled Magnus with the kind of warmth he hadn’t felt in over two weeks. Alec touched Magnus’s cheek, then his neck, pulling Magnus’s body closer.
All too soon they were pulling apart.
“Tell me this isn’t a onetime thing.” Alec asked, his voice slightly breathless.
Magnus hesitated. He’d been so determined, so sure. He’d half convinced himself love was nothing but a knife that kept tearing at the same wound again and again.
He’d torn down all his walls, only to have his trust thrown back in his face and then he had put so much effort into rebuilding them.
But then Alec looked wrecked and Magnus couldn’t let that stand.
“It isn’t.” Magnus assured and as he said it, he realized how true it was. He was incapable of giving Alec up, no matter what he did, it took one look, one kiss to bring him right back to where he started – falling head over heels for the young shadowhunter. Magnus closed his eyes. “It isn’t.”
When Magnus looked at Alec again, his eyes were filled with timid hope and Magnus felt he owed an explanation, but when he opened his mouth nothing seemed to come out. The hurt was still too fresh, the walls, while lowered, too strong. And Magnus just couldn’t tell Alec about all the terrible thoughts that had been running through his head.
“I’m sorry.” He said instead. “I’d understand if you never wanted to see me again.” Magnus echoed his own cruel words, then uttered out of fear and meant to hurt, but now a careful offering, a question.
Alec shook his head. “Of course not.” He cupped Magnus’s cheek and Magnus leaned into the touch almost instinctively. “Be both made mistakes. We’re both to blame here… me more than you.” Alec added pointedly, eyes daring him to argue. “But if you’ll have me, I’m yours.”
The first honest smile in the past two weeks graced Magnus’s face. “Then stay.” He echoed Alec’s words softly.
Alec huffed out a laugh and leaned in, capturing Magnus’s mouth. “I love you.” He whispered against Magnus’s lips after pulling back slightly.
“I love you too.” Magnus replied and brought their lips together again.
But they didn’t let it go into anything further, both too exhausted and aware of how vulnerable the moment was.
When Magnus stifled a yawn Alec pulled back, leaving only their hands intertwined. “When was the last time you slept?” He asked knowingly.
Magnus shrugged slightly. “I could ask you the same question.”
Alec smiled guiltily and then frowned. “You really should sleep. You look exhausted.”
And Magnus did feel tired all of a sudden, he felt like he could actually sleep peacefully for once, if only-
“Will you stay?”
Alec seemed surprised. “Oh, of course. If you’re sure.”
Magnus squeezed Alec’s hand in response. He sent a quick text to Catarina and Raphael, letting them know he was okay, before standing up and pulling the shadowhunter behind him.
He was too tired to change, or clean his make up off or anything, and he just wanted to remember the feeling of warmth and content that came only from being held by Alexander, so he used magic to instantly prepare for bed and raised an eyebrow at Alexander, a silent question.
Alec nodded and Magnus flicked his wrist, watching as Alec inspected the pajamas that suddenly appeared on his body.
Magnus crawled into bed and waited until Alec settled in beside him, close but not touching.
“Alexander.” Magnus whispered and it was enough for Alec to get the cue. He inched closer and pulled Magnus into his arms.
Yes, there it was. Magnus felt that somehow he just fit, in a way he hadn’t into anything before.
The walls quivered.
Magnus decided, that perhaps tomorrow he would tell Alexander all that he couldn’t today.