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did you feel that everything was strange?

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Magnus didn’t think anything of it. He didn’t realise he should’ve.

A martini in each hand, he offers one to Alec, who takes it carefully. Magnus sips his, not giving away the strength of it in his expression - he needed the extra shot.

‘So, how was your house call?’ Alec meets his gaze, trying to keep the conversation normal.

Magnus smiles at the attempt, and shrugs slightly. ‘Nothing out of the ordinary. She was having difficulty with a potion for her friend’s daughter, and it needed to be precise, so she called on me.’

‘Did it go well?’

‘Perfectly.’ The symptoms of her asthma disappeared completely, even if the disease itself couldn’t. ‘It only took an hour or so. Hardly a strain.’

Alec nods, then takes a long sip of his own.

‘How was your day?’

‘Jace is going to the Silent Brothers.’ Alec doesn’t give away any emotion in his expression. ‘I’m glad he’s getting help, I just wish I could be there.’

‘I’m sure you do, but he will be fine.’

‘Yeah… yes, he will.’

They fall into a less uncomfortable quiet, Magnus running a finger absently over his rings, Alec frowning slightly.

‘The strangest thing happened,’ Alec murmurs, tilting his head as if unsure of his own memory.

Magnus gestures he continue, and Alec sighs, rubbing his eye, shaking his head.

‘Underhill… he’s one of my security… he thanked me. For being out.’ Alec’s eyes flick to Magnus, but Magnus does his best not to react. ‘It was the strangest thing… I never even thought about it before, how I might’ve accidentally… changed something. It never occurred to me.’

‘I remember how the Clave reacted to gay shadowhunters not fifty years ago,’ Magnus says, smiling when Alec doesn’t. ‘Your being the head of the Institute- believe me, it marks a considerable shift.’

Alec’s still frowning. ‘I didn’t do it because of that.’

‘You might not have intended to, but it still required a tremendous amount of courage,’ Magnus says, ‘and you’re allowed to be proud you helped people, even if that wasn’t necessarily what you were trying to do.’

‘…right.’

Thoughtful again, Alec drinks, and Magnus goes to, but he pauses at the sudden, inescapable familiarity of the name.

‘Underhill?’

‘Yeah.’

Magnus can’t help it- he grins, raising his eyes heavenward, realisation blooming in his chest.

‘What?’

‘Yesterday, I left the Institute before you.’ Magnus shakes his head at Alec’s confusion, unable to stop smiling. ‘On my way out, Underhill stopped me- introduced himself, told me if I needed anything I could always go to him. I didn’t think anything of it.’

Alec considers Magnus for a moment, then smiles- brighter, deeper, reaching his eyes as he holds his cocktail glass up to meet Magnus’. ‘To progress?’

Magnus’ glass clinks against Alec’s offered one, but gaze holding Alec’s, he says softly, ‘to us.’

Alec hesitates, but they both drink, and Magnus tries to let the moment be; here and now. He’s with the man he loves. It’s all that matters.