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Love Is Not An Easy Thing

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Jonathan Morgenstern is out there somewhere. Valentine has the Mortal Cup and the Soul Sword and wants to raise the Angel Raziel so he can ask for the extermination of the entire Downworld. They are on the verge of war with the all their former allies. But even if he's Head of the New York Institute and everything is going to hell in a hand basket, Alec Lightwood can sit here for five minutes to stay out of the rain and enjoy a cup of coffee, right? 

Right. That's totally why he's sitting at the coffee shop just round the corner from Magnus' loft, staring at his ex-boyfriend's apartment building. 

It's the kind of rain that lasts all day, not a drizzle and not a storm. It'll hide the sun for as long as it feels like it, and nobody knows when it'll stop, wearing people down with the constant damp. Everything is grey outside, and it's not that Alec’s being melodramatic, but that's how it feels inside too, ever since Magnus walked away from him. They've been together for only two months, but Alec already knows his life has been changed irrevocably. He's known it even before they were properly together, the moment Magnus introduced himself, even. Alec wonders if Magnus knows this - he knows he's not the best at pretty words or expressing himself. Maybe he didn't say "I love you" often enough, maybe he didn't make himself clear, and that's why it was so easy for Magnus to walk away from him. 

His only hope is that Magnus said "I love you too", right before he ripped Alec's heart out. And Alec knows Magnus' wards well enough by now - he might not be right at Magnus' doorstep, but Magnus' wards extend far beyond the boundaries of his apartment building, at least a few blocks around. The fact that Alec is able to sit here, this close to Magnus' lair, must mean something. 

Maybe, when all this is over, and if they've both survived this war, Alec can try to apologise to Magnus again, try to make him understand what he means to Alec. He could ask Izzy for help - she's good at this sort of thing, this whole wooing and relationship business that Alec is so hopelessly inexperienced at.  

Hope blossoms in his chest. It's still raining, and grey, but the world suddenly seems less bleak. Alec stares down at his almost-empty cup of coffee and frowns. The drink has been... strangely invigorating. 

 

  

Magnus waits until he's sure Alec is long gone before he pops into the coffee shop. He's very familiar with the man who runs the place - he is an ifrit - a warlock born without magic, and he happens to be lucky enough to have a very discreet warlock mark. He owes Magnus a favour - or a hundred - and he'll do anything Magnus asks.  

The ifrit greets him cheerfully and hands Magnus an empty potion bottle. "Did as you asked, every last drop in his cup. And I watched him finish it all up, too."

"Thank you, Thomas," Magnus says with a forced smile. 

"Not a problem. If you don't mind me asking, what was that? Slow-acting poison? That shadowhunter been bothering you? 'Cause I could have sworn he looked like the guy you were dating."

If only Thomas would do anything Magnus asks without being such a busybody. But the Downworld thrives on gossip, and Magnus and Alec's relationship must be the juiciest piece of gossip they've had in decades. Magnus smiles, a thin smile that says "fuck off" in the most polite way possible, and shrugs. 

"Oh - and he left you a note. He said to pass it to you, if you ever dropped by," Thomas says, reaching into a pocket to fish out a piece of thin notepaper folded in half.

Magnus knows Thomas has definitely read it - Alec hasn't taken any precautions against it being read by other eyes. He should have known Alec would have noticed the effects of the little potion he had Thomas slip into his coffee, a potion intended to lift the spirits. Part of him wants to turn the paper into ash right this instant, without reading a word of it, because it would probably hurt less. But he can't - call it curiosity, call it plain masochism.  

"Thank you," Magnus says with a tight smile, and turns to leave, already planning to sequester himself in the Loft with copious amounts of alcohol before he can even begin to think of opening the note, when Thomas stops him. 

"Shadowhunter bought a drink for you too - special order."

Magnus frowns and looks down at the proffered cup as if it might contain a venomous viper. He raises an eyebrow at Thomas questioningly.  

"Oh, just your usual. I'm surprised he remembered - vanilla latte, extra cinnamon, hold the syrup, dash of Bailey's, and extra whipped cream with chocolate sprinkles."

Magnus accepts it wordlessly and goes home - back to the place that has been his home since the 1960s, but that lately hasn't felt like home at all. He places the takeaway cup on the coffee table and takes a deep breath before he opens the note from Alec, and he can't help but smile a little. Ah, his clever, clever little Nephilim. No wonder he didn't have to worry about anybody reading the note - most Downworlders don't understand the Angel's runes, after all. The little piece of paper is filled with runes, runes that Alec has traced on Magnus' skin with bow-calloused fingers in the middle of the night, on lazy mornings, on sun-drowsy afternoons; when they lay together in bed, bare skin against bare skin, when they cuddled on the couch watching television, when they held hands over breakfast. At first Magnus wasn't even sure Alec realised he was doing it. Runes for love, fortitude, protection, healing. The paper is a promise - a promise that whatever happens, Alec isn't giving up on Magnus. It is a reminder of the love they shared, of loving memories made. 

Magnus takes a sip of his drink, letting the warmth spread on his tongue and seep into his bones. He closes his eyes, and for a moment he lets himself hope that there's a way back for them after what Magnus has done to them both.