The moment the words had left his mouth, Magnus knew he’d made a massive mistake.
Even now, days later, Magnus still hadn’t convinced himself that the choice he’d made about Alec was the right one.
He hadn’t left his loft since their last disastrous conversation, not wanting to talk to anyone, not wanting to see anyone. He knew he’d have to suck it up and sort his life out eventually, but for now, while things remained relatively quiet – as quiet as there ever were when war was just around the corner – Magnus could choose to remain where he was.
More than anything, he wanted to talk to Alec, but he didn’t know what to say, didn’t know how to approach him after all that had happened, all that had been said, what hadn’t been said.
Magnus was jolted back to reality by the sound of his phone ringing from somewhere nearby, he knew he had several unread messages and that’s why he’d thrown it across the room sometime after his fourth drink. He could guess who they were from and what they were about, and he just wanted to ignore them for as long as he possibly could.
He knew he couldn’t ignore it forever though, it would only get worse the longer he left it, so he traipsed over to where the phone had landed, sucking in a deep breath before accepting the call.
“What the hell is going on between you and my brother?” Izzy’s voice was loud and clear, too loud, “and why haven’t you sorted it out yet?”
“He doesn’t want to talk to me, Isabelle,” Magnus sighed, the truth of the statement lying heavily with him, especially as he knew it was all his fault.
“Of course he does, he’s just too proud to be the one to admit it, you know what he’s like.” He could practically hear the eyeroll through the phone, knew the exact expression Izzy would have on her face as she said it.
“You can, and you will, even if I have to lock you two in a room together until you kiss and make up.”
“I– I’ll try, but I can’t promise anything, he may not even agree to see me, to even talk to me.”
“He will. I know Alec, he’s acting like he doesn’t care but I can see how much he’s hurting.”
“I’ll do what I can.”
“Thank you, Magnus, I don’t like either of you being like this,” and with that she hung up, leaving Magnus still stood there, phone pressed to his ear, mind whirring.
“I can’t believe you two,” Jace said as soon as he entered the loft.
“Hello to you, too,” Magnus didn’t even bother turning around, he knew why the Shadowhunter was here, knew what was going to happen next.
“Why haven’t you spoken to Alec yet? I know Izzy’s already spoken to you, and she thought you were actually going to do something, but seeing as you still haven’t…” He trailed off, coming to stand within Magnus’ field of vision.
“You’ve come to give me the protective brother speech?” Magnus guessed, glancing sideways. “Let me guess–”
Jace cut him off before he could even start, giving him a hard stare. “Magnus, you told me you wouldn’t let anyone hurt him.”
“And now I’ve hurt him more than anyone else has.” Magnus breathed in deeply, turning so Jace couldn’t see his face, couldn’t see the tears that were so close to falling. “Don’t you think I know that?”
“Just go talk to him, please. He may pretend that this isn’t bothering him, but I know it is, I know how much it’s hurting him, even though he’s trying to shut me out.” Jace shook his head at that, whether it was towards himself or Alec, Magnus wasn’t sure. “And if you don’t talk to him, then it won’t be me visiting you next time, it’ll be Izzy and trust me, you don’t want to talk to her right now.”
Magnus didn’t know why he was there, one minute he was in his loft doing his best to drown his sorrows again and the next he was stood outside of the Institute, rain lightly falling all around him.
He wasn’t sure how long he stayed in that spot, unsure of what to do, before the doors opened and Clary stepped out, jogging down the steps to stand in front of him. She had her hood up, and it was only then that he noticed how heavy the rain was now, puddles beginning to form in the street.
“Magnus! What are you doing out here? You’re going to get yourself sick,” with that, she grabbed hold of his arm, dragging him inside the building where it was considerably warmer. “How long were you stood out there?”
“I’m not sure,” Magnus replied, looking beyond the redhead, unsure whether he wanted to see his Shadowhunter there or not. “Is Alec here?”
“I think he’s training with Izzy right now, but I’ll tell him you’re here,” she gave him a small smile, but her eyes conveyed pity.
The warlock had known it was unlikely Alec would agree to see him, if he were in Alec’s shoes, he definitely would avoid himself at all costs. Their last conversation hadn’t gone how he had wanted it to, he’d give anything to go back and change what he said, to say anything at all that could help remedy the situation.
It took a couple of minutes, but Clary finally returned, a pained expression on her face. Magnus held up his hand as she opened her mouth, not wanting to hear the excuse she was about to give on Alec’s behalf.
“It’s fine, Biscuit, it’s not your fault,” he smiled sadly to himself, “just give him this and tell him I’m sorry?”
He pulled one of his rings off, a pretty plain silver one, with the initial M printed on it, and handed it to Clary. It was one of the ones he favoured, wearing it most days. Alec had made comments about it a few times, slipping it off Magnus’ finger to put it on his own. Magnus had offered it to him previously, but each time Alec had shaken his head, a smile playing at his lips before giving the ring back.
“I will, Magnus,” Clary replied as she stepped forward, pulling Magnus into a tight hug.
It took all of Magnus’ self-control to stop from breaking down right then and there in the entrance of the Institute, not wanting to show the Shadowhunters any of the weakness the High Warlock of Brooklyn was currently feeling.
As he let go of the young girl, he chanced another look past her, further into the building, and almost wished he hadn’t. He locked eyes with delicious hazel, the whole world seemingly put on pause as he remained transfixed, unable to look away, to move, to breathe.
The moment was shattered as Alec looked away from him, his head ducking almost instantly as he turned and walked away, carrying on with whatever he had been doing as though he had never glimpsed Magnus standing there.
“Everything will work out, I know it will,” Clary gave her most convincing smile, “it may take some time, but it’ll work out.”
Magnus knew she was just saying what he wanted to hear, and it was sweet, he appreciated it, truly. However, he couldn’t let himself believe the words, knew that there was the possibility that Alec wouldn’t forgive him – it was best that he thought realistically instead of optimistically this time round.
“I better get going,” Magnus offered a small smile in return, one which didn’t reach his eyes, but was still genuine in his thankfulness.
With a flourish of his hands, a portal opened before him. He had considered walking back to his loft, but found he wanted nothing more than to be back home, drink in hand, watching crappy daytime TV to get away from his own problems. A long walk would just force him to deal with his thoughts, and that’s something he didn’t want to do without at least a few drinks in him first.
As he turned and stepped through the portal with one last squeeze to Clary’s hand, he missed the look that Alec shot over his shoulder, his bottom lip drawn in by his teeth, the tears beginning to pool at the corners of his eyes.
I tried to give him the ring but he wouldn’t even talk to me.
I’ve left it in his room, I can’t promise anything. I’m so sorry.
Magnus stood on the roof of his building, looking down at the streets below. He wasn’t always one for quiet nights of contemplation, but he also wasn’t usually one to fall so head over heels in love with someone so quickly.
It had been a long week or so and he was starting to lose faith.
Being immortal, he should’ve been used to waiting, should’ve been able to function normally instead of waiting for something to happen. But he was impatient, he’d done enough waiting when it came to Alec – even though he knew deep down that he would wait however long it took for the young Shadowhunter.
The next time his phone buzzed with a message, he didn’t even want to look at it, but he couldn’t stop himself.
It wasn’t Alec, but he’d almost given up on thinking that it would ever be him again.
But it was from Izzy, which could either be good or bad – he couldn’t be sure which it would be this time, seeing as nothing had changed particularly since the last time he spoke to her.
When he finally convinced himself to look at his phone, Magnus saw that Isabelle had simply sent him a smiley face emoji – something he was almost certain she had picked up from Simon – and a photo attachment, not what he had been expecting at all.
As soon as he clicked on the photo, he couldn’t help but smile. It wasn’t the best quality, a little bit grainy as if she had had to zoom in to take it, and it had clearly been taken in secret, but it was clear what Izzy was trying to show him with it.
Alec was stood, facing something just to the side of the camera, his eyes trained intently on it, his eyebrows drawn in concentration. He had his right hand covering the lower part of his face, his classic thinking pose that Magnus had always found rather endearing on him. But that wasn’t what had made him smile – the key part of the photo was the unmistakable ring on his pinkie finger, that, even with the slightly dodgy quality, clearly had the cursive M on it.
When Magnus eventually clicked off the picture, after having stared at it for quite a while and obviously then saving it to his own phone, he realised he’d received another message from Izzy, one that made the smile he was wearing brighten even more.
There’s always hope.
“Magnus, we need to talk.”
Magnus didn’t know what to say, he was still having a hard time believing that Alec was actually here, standing in front of him, talking to him, after everything that had happened.
“Magnus, I–” Alec stopped himself, looking off to the side, his hands moving from his sides to rest behind his back as they most often did. “Magnus, I need to apologise for how I acted before.”
“Alexander, you have nothing to apologise for,” Magnus replied, clenching his hands into fists to stop himself from reaching out, not wanting to push Alec. “I should be the one apologising to you, all of this is my fault.”
“Well, technically, it’s my fault, I shouldn’t have kept the information about the Soul Sword from you. I agreed on total transparency and I lied to you, I lied to all of you. I am really sorry about that, I shouldn’t have done it, I know that now.”
“But I didn’t even think when I ended things, I knew I had to do something, and I pushed you away when I should’ve been trying to deal with everything with you, not without you.”
Magnus looked away at that, after everything that had happened, he could now see how hasty his decision had been, and he was a little ashamed of how he had reacted without much thought. They were both at fault for what had transpired, but he couldn’t stand to see the dejected look on the young Shadowhunters face, knowing he was the reason that it was there.
“Can we both just agree that we’re sorry?”
Alec smiled genuinely then, even though it was only a barely there upturn of his lips, Magnus saw it and counted it as a small victory, a step in the right direction.