Living is slow dying; loneliness, a gnawing emptiness.
He had friends, but it wasn't the same. His mother, long hollowed out by sorrow. His 17,000 exes had loved parts of him, but not all of him: Camille, who had thrown him scraps of affection for her amusement; Imasu, Etta, even Dot - they had stripped his flesh, sucked the marrow, until all that was left was bone.
Just once, he wanted to know what it felt like to be so loved that the glut of it filled him to the point of bursting. Just once.
Then Alexander had come along.
He'd been nothing more than a blunt instrument of the Clave.
Tools were not meant to want things. He'd felt the wrongness of wanting things as surely as he'd felt the wrongness of the things he wanted, a canker eating at his soul. He'd stomped down on it, until Magnus had swept into his life, all strange charm and bright colours.
At some point he'd gotten used to starvation. He hadn't realised how hungry he'd been until he began to eat.
Then Magnus had walked away, and Alec realised he'd forgotten what hunger felt like until he began to starve.