The words have been brewing in Magnus’ chest all night.
My last relationship almost ruined me.
He knows saying it’s a bad idea, that it will cause them to turn the wrong way down a very long and unnecessary road, but that doesn’t stop the temptation. He knows Alec is different. He could tell that within minutes of meeting him, but the fear is still there, ever present in the back of his mind.
They’ve been dating for a few months now, and Magnus is sure he’s never been this happy, so why does he feel so inclined to tarnish their progress with his past?
“You still in there?” Alec’s voice breaks through his thoughts and he looks over at him, his eyes widening.
“Yeah,” he laughs out halfheartedly, “sorry. I zoned out for a second.”
His fingers are intertwined with Alec’s as they walk down a mostly empty city street, the cold breeze making their faces red, and Alec holds a finger up as they come upon a homeless man. He is wrapped in a coat that appears to be just a little bit too small for his frame, and Magnus’ heart drops.
Breaking his hold on Magnus’ hand, Alec pulls his wallet out of his pocket and squats down, handing the man a crisp $50 bill with a sheepish smile. The man stutters with gratitude and Alec waves him off kindly, whispering something to him before standing back up and wrapping his arm around Magnus’ waist.
“That was nice of you,” Magnus murmurs as they continue their walk, and Alec shrugs.
“That could have been me if my mom hadn’t stood up to my father when I was younger,” he says, a distant look in his eyes. “I can’t imagine how hard it must be, especially in this weather. I like to help when I can.”
Magnus shakes his head and lets out a dreamy sigh.
“How are you so perfect?”
Alec snorts and squeezes Magnus’ side as he replies, “I’m far from perfect.”
Magnus rolls his eyes but doesn’t bother arguing, knowing full well that it will just end in them getting into a heated compliment battle. It’s happened many times before, and Magnus is sure it will happen plenty in the future.
And there’s that terrifying word.
His mind has been circling back to it a lot lately, coming up with images in his mind of what his future with Alec would look like. He can imagine waking up in his arms every morning, making breakfast together, sharing a goodbye kiss before work and then a hello kiss when they get home. He can picture getting down on one knee with perfectly clarity, the slide of rings onto fingers, the peals of their children’s laughter as it echoes between the walls of their house.
It all makes perfect sense, and yet he is still terrified out of his mind.
Because he’s pictured all of these things before. He’s known love and he’s known absolute heartbreak. He has hit rock bottom so hard that he’s seen stars, and he never even saw it coming. Which is why those words keep trying to surface, to poison the air between them instead of continuing to damage his own bones.
He opens his mouth, ready to spill himself out onto the sidewalk, and-
“If you don’t have anything planned for Christmas Eve you should definitely come to Izzy’s party. Maia makes the best drinks and Clary makes delicious food and Izzy...is a great hostess. They all work so well together. You have to see them in action.”
Magnus pauses, his steps halting as a shiver runs down his spine, and Alec stumbles.
“Are you okay?” he asks, turning to face Magnus and pressing a hand to his cheek. “If you think it’s too soon to meet them then forget I said anything. I want you to be comfortable.”
“No,” Magnus assures, resting his hands on his boyfriend’s chest. His eyes roam over Alec’s concerned expression and he smiles at the slight pout on his lips and the indent between his eyebrows. “I would love to meet them.”
“Then what’s wrong?” Alec asks, wrapping his arms around Magnus’ waist.
Magnus’ pulse races as he tries to come up with the right words, then suddenly Alec’s words from earlier surface in his mind and everything clicks into place.
“You said it could’ve been you out here in the cold,” Magnus says quietly, meeting Alec’s eyes. “It made me think about where I would be now if I hadn’t met you.”
“I’m sure you would be fine,” Alec says confidently, his expression serious, and Magnus grins.
“Even so, I’m very happy where I am.”
Alec’s eyes flit back and forth between Magnus’ own for a moment before his mouth tilts up in a smile and he leans in, pressing a soft kiss to Magnus’ lips.
“So am I.”
They continue on their walk, gripping each other tightly, and the night seems a lot more peaceful. The distant sound of city traffic and chatter from restaurants greets their ears, a beautiful background noise.
“Tell me more about this party,” Magnus requests, delighting in the way Alec’s eyes light up as he speaks.
And as he listens to Alec go on about the movies they watch every year, he doesn’t feel quite as broken.
He feels warm.