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Harder than the Liquor I Pour

Chapter Text

Alec opens the door and walks into the dimly lit bar, giving his eyes a second to adjust.

It’s a small, hole-in-the-wall place that suits Alec perfectly. He’s not here to meet friends or celebrate an occasion. No, he’s here to have a drink-- or two or six-- and forget about the day from hell he’s just had.

He heads straight to the bar, settling down on a stool. As his gaze sweeps around the place, he’s surprised to see that everything looks in good condition. The leather seats aren’t cracked with wear and age-- they gleam subtly in the light. The bar is spotless and the dozen or so people milling around are of the quiet and unobtrusive sort.

It shouldn’t be surprising but Alec only comes here a few times a year and somehow the place is never quite what he imagines it should be.

He’s a little lost in his head and startles when a glass lands in front of him with a dull thud.

Looking up, Alec sees the bartender studying him with a raised brow. “You look like you could use this, darling.”

Gaze dropping, Alec sees that it’s a whiskey on the rocks and can’t help but grin faintly. He reaches for the glass and gives a quick salute in thanks to the bartender before throwing it back, grimacing as the burn hits his throat.

“How’d you know,” he asks, and sets his tumbler back down, gesturing for a refill.

The man hums as he reaches for the bottle. As he pours, Alec completes his own study of the man.

He likes what he sees.

The man is wearing ripped black skinny jeans that reveal more than they cover. His shirt is unbuttoned so far that it would look ridiculous on anyone else and Alec raises a brow at the sheer material. That, combined with his black painted nails adorned with half a dozen rings and razor sharp eyeliner makes the cloud lift infinitesimally from Alec’s shoulders.

Alec stares at his glass as it’s refilled and Magnus just shoots him a dry look. “I’m a bartender. It’s kind of in the job description, pretty boy.”

Hiding his smile, Alec lifts the glass to his lips and takes a lingering sip. “Why is it that I’ve never seen you here before? Are you new?”

The bartender leans over the counter, resting on his elbows. “I’m filling in for someone tonight. If I’d known you were a regular, though, I would have made sure to come around more often.”

“I don’t come here very often,” Alec says, his voice self deprecating. “Only when it’s warranted.”

The bartender shoots him a curious look before he’s flagged down by another customer. He gets another order and goes to fill it on the other side of the bar. Alec uses that time to drain his glass and can’t help the way his thoughts turn to earlier.

God damn him, he knows that he wins far more than he loses but when he’s dealt a loss the blow is all the more devastating.

His phone vibrates and Alec reaches for it dispassionately, reading the text from Jace distractedly.

Alec, Clary told me what happened this afternoon. I’m sorry, man. Call me if you need me.

Rolling his eyes, Alec shoves his phone back in his pocket and looks up just in time to see Magnus bend to retrieve a bottle of liquor from a crate on the floor. When Magnus suddenly turns his head, their eyes meet unerringly and Alec doesn’t have time to suck in a breath at having been caught, let alone look away.

Luckily, Magnus doesn’t seem offended or put off. No, instead he grins and throws a wink at Alec before turning back to the drink he’s making.

Alec turns his glass on the bar, preoccupied, but a few minutes later he shoves his thoughts onto the back burner when Magnus returns.

“See something you like,” Magnus asks lowly and Alec looks at him deadpan, though he lets his gaze wander on a slow, appreciate once over.

“I see a lot of things I like,” Alec replies and doesn’t look away when Magnus’s eyes meet his.

Humming thoughtfully, Magnus wipes down the counter near Alec for a few moments before asking, “What’s brought you here?”

Grimacing, Alec finishes his second glass of whiskey and tries to ignore the bitter edge of his tone when he confesses, “I lost a patient on the table today. Thank fuck it rarely happens, but this is my go-to place when it does.”

Magnus lets out a sympathetic noise as he tops off Alec’s glass. “I’m sorry to hear that. I can’t imagine what it’s like.”

Alec laughs shortly. “I play God for a living but I never forget that I’m never actually in control of the outcome. I can try my damnedest but sometimes it’s not enough, no matter how much I might wish otherwise.”

“So when that happens, you come here to forget?”

Shrugging half-assed, Alec takes a drink. “This is far from my first casualty and I know it won’t be my last. I’m the lead trauma surgeon at NYU hospital and I know I can’t let it get to me. Still, though,” he shrugs again. “I usually take an evening and throw a bit of a pity party. I’ll have a mild headache in the morning but by the time I step back into my scrubs, I’ll be as good as new.”

“You try to drown your sorrows because you weren’t good enough?”

“I suppose that’s part of it,” Alec allows. “But my patient was still a person and they still-- their family still-- put their faith in me to fix them, to heal them so that they’d be able to leave the hospital. I guess part of it is in my inability to save that person but I think whoever they are, they deserved to be mourned. Don’t you?”

Alec swallows harshly at the words that have just fallen out of his mouth like so much garbage. He’s Alec Lightwood, the best damn doctor on the eastern seaboard. He has a bit of a reputation for being a hard ass, an unsympathetic bastard. His interns are regularly intimidated as hell and he’s heard the whispers behind his back.

Dr. Lightwood’s the coldest son of a bitch I’ve ever worked with, he’s heard regularly. The truth is, it was mostly a carefully maintained facade. Alec had a job to do and he preferred to keep these little instances where he needed relief away from the prying eyes of the hospital whose grapevine was scarily efficient.

Alec startles when the bartender lays a hand over his where it’s resting on the bar. “That’s kind of you,” he says, “To mourn someone you didn’t know.”

“It’s only right,” Alec argues, and throws back the rest of his glass.

The bartender considers him for a moment before holding out the hand that was over his just a second before. “I’m Magnus, bartender extraordinaire.” His lips quirk. “Among other things. While I certainly wouldn’t mind calling you pretty boy for the rest of the evening, I think it only fair that you share your name, too. Don’t you?”

Alec thinks for a minute, letting the silence drag out. The bar is quiet, with muted conversations going on behind him. The bartender-- Magnus-- doesn’t seem intimidated by Alec’s lack of immediate response. No, it seems like he sinks into the silence, perfectly content to wait Alec out with a faint grin and a challenge in his eyes.

Slowly, Alec reaches out and grasps Magnus’s hand in a poor imitation of a handshake. He meets Magnus’s eyes and knows they both know that this is a mere prelude for what’s to come.

“Alec,” he says slowly and watches as Magnus’s smile deepens.

“Well, Alec, my shift ends in an hour. Wait for me?”

Alec’s tongue ducks out to wet his lips and he watches as Magnus’s gaze falls to his mouth.

He lets it curve into a satisfied grin as he murmurs, “I’m not going anywhere.”


He doesn’t know how the fuck he got himself into this situation but Alec has just enough wherewithal to know that he’s well and truly fucked.

He let Izzy and Jace drag him to Pandemonium tonight. It’s ostensibly a celebration for a recent promotion Izzy’s landed at the coroner’s lab but Alec’s hardly in the mood to celebrate anything.

His head has been a mess the last few months.

Ever since that night weeks ago when he met a bartender with a sympathetic ear and a body to die for, Alec’s been walking the razor-thin edge between cloud nine and abject misery with an adroitness that he didn’t know he possessed.

What was supposed to be one night of losing himself in a willing body has turned into a low level addiction and a day hasn’t gone by that Alec hasn’t cursed himself-- and Magnus-- for his goddamn predicament.

They’ve been together a couple dozen times since that first unexpected meeting. They’d ran into each other just a few days later outside of a local cafe and decided to exchange numbers just in case.

Just in case had turned out to be the next evening.

Without quite knowing how, it’s turned into several times a week. One of them will text the other and meet up wherever happens to be closer. Alec’s been over to Magnus’s penthouse, for Christ’s sake, and Magnus has frequently come over to Alec’s much more utilitarian apartment.

There’s also been the occasional hookup at a convenient bar.

As Alec scans Pandemonium, he sighs internally. He needs to get his shit together.

The truth is that it’s getting harder to leave in the morning-- harder to feel Magnus slip out of his bed without a goodbye. There have been a handful of conversations the past month, bare bones pleasantries turning into involved discussions. Alec tells himself it’s inconsequential, all of it just a form of foreplay. He can’t deny, though, that Magnus is endlessly fascinating. The more he knows, the more he wants to know.

Lately, Alec’s been pervaded with wanting to ask Magnus out, for real. Yet, he always bites his tongue before the invitation has a chance to leave his lips. He knows that he’s walking the cusp of ruining their arrangement-- they’re fuck buddies, nothing more-- but it’s getting damned hard to remember that whenever Magnus beckons him closer or shares his surprisingly dry wit.

Shaking his head, Alec leaves Jace and Izzy to the packed dance floor and heads toward the bar that spans the length of one wall. He’s just about to order his drink when he catches something in his peripheral.


Alec turns his head and scowls at the sight waiting for him. Magnus is leaning against the bar negligently, drink in hand, talking to someone else. The man in question lays a hand on Magnus’s arm and Alec watches as Magnus allows it with a private smile.

Clearing his throat, Alec turns back to the impatient bartender and orders a drink-- his first of a dozen, no doubt.

It takes just a minute and Alec opens a tab, turning away as he takes his first sip.

He powers through his instinctive grimace, taking another. He’s in no mood to be coherent by the end of the evening. He’s just set to either leave the bar altogether or join his siblings on the dance floor to find someone new for the night when someone steals his attention.

Taking a sweep of the room, the music drowns out Alec’s sharp intake of breath as his gaze collides with Magnus.

Magnus looks at him, eyes piercing, and smiles. It’s a challenge if ever there was one and Alec raises a brow, giving Magnus’s company a slow sweep.

Magnus’s grin widens and he tilts his head with an imperceptible shrug.

Debating what to do, Alec leaves him hanging for a minute while he knocks back the rest of his drink.

Really, though, Alec knew what he was going to do the second he saw Magnus.

Pushing himself away from the bar, Alec makes his way to Magnus. He pretends like he doesn’t see the victorious glint in his eye as he wraps an arm around Magnus’s waist.

The guy-- who hadn’t stopped talking since Alec had noticed him-- promptly shuts up and turns to leave, huffing out an aggrieved breath.

Alec looks at Magnus for a second before they both start laughing, falling against each other.

Alec suppresses a shiver when Magnus pulls him even closer, putting his mouth against his ear to be heard over the music.

“Thank you, Alexander. You’re my knight in shining armor.”

Alec smiles as he replies, “Something tells me that you can take care of yourself just fine.”

Magnus doesn’t see anything but his smile grows imperceptibly wider. Willingly following, Alec tries to curb his awareness of Magnus holding his hand as he’s pulled to the VIP section.

Magnus seats them at a small, private booth for two that overlooks the rest of the club. It’s a power position if ever there was one and Alec can’t help his expression from morphing into one of undisguised intrigued.

It’s quieter on this level. The bass is still enough to rattle Alec’s chest but there are far fewer people here and most of them seem occupied at any rate.

Magnus catches his look and laughs softly. His mouth opens but before he can say anything, a server has arrived at Magnus’s side. He shoots Alec an inquisitive look, tilting his head in the server’s direction and Alec just nods, content to try anything Magnus wants to order for him.

Magnus turns back to talk to the server and Alec takes a moment to study Magnus. He looks different than he usually does-- he always looks different-- but there’s something about this look that makes Alec’s mouth water.

His hair is shaved at the sides-- a new style the past few weeks-- and his nails are a deep red. There are a few necklaces falling against his bare chest and his pants are designer to go along with the jacket.

His makeup is played up as well and Alec can make out the sweep of highlighter against his cheek.

Magnus turns back, settling against the booth-- against Alec-- with a sigh. He looks up to catch Alec still staring. One of his hands fall to rest against Alec’s thigh and Alec’s mouth opens on a silent breath.

“Thank you again, darling. Some people can be tedious, wouldn’t you agree?”

Alec makes some noise of agreement and shifts as Magnus’s hand moves higher.

“You wouldn’t have minded, though, would you have?”

Achingly aware of Magnus’s hand, it takes a minute for Magnus’s question to pierce the fog of lust that had started to cover him.

Shaking his head a little, Alec looks at Magnus confused. “What?”

Leaning in, Magnus kisses over Alec’s jaw. His hand goes to Alec’s waistband, a finger trailing over the edge.

“You wouldn’t have minded if I’d found someone else for the night,” he murmurs. Something in Alec shouts in protest but he’s too focused on the way Magnus is touching him to give voice to his idiotic reaction.

“Of course not,” he rasps. “This is just a convenient arrangement. No more, no less.”

Magnus pulls back to look Alec in the eye and Alec hides the way his throat has suddenly gone dry.

“Right,” Magnus says lowly. “No more, no less. We’re just two people having a good time. There’s no need for jealousy or petty displays. You aren’t mine and I’m certainly not yours.”

Caught in Magnus’s stare, Alec is helpless to do anything but nod mutely. He ignores the way something in him shrivels as Magnus’s voices this thing of theirs in its stark reality. It’s the truth, after all. From the very start, they’ve both understood that there were no feelings involved. They weren’t attached.

More fool Alec for wanting more.

“We’re just having fun,” Alec says hoarsely and slips a hand under Magnus’s jacket to the bare skin beneath.

Magnus shudders and his eyes flash with something that Alec can’t decipher. It’s gone as soon as it appeared, though, and soon enough Alec’s head is filled with other things.

He loses himself in Magnus for the hundredth time and curses himself for his stupidity.


Magnus winces away from the sunlight that’s poking shards of glass into his eyes. He turns his head, hiding his face in a blanket with a muted groan.

Fuck tequila and its penchant for giving him a headache.

Magnus freezes in the next second, though, as he realizes that he’s not on a blanket.

He’s on Alec.

Carefully, he maneuvers up to sitting and curses himself. The morning light is still dim enough that it can’t be much past dawn and they hadn’t come back to Alec’s until Pandemonium had shouted last call.

His memory feels a little murky-- goddamn tequila-- but Magnus distinctly remembers the conversation they’d had at the start of the evening and his shoulders slump as he takes in Alec sleeping peacefully.

It’s his fault, he supposes. He’d taken one look at the sad Adonis who’d plopped down on his stool and couldn’t resist. If he’d known that filling in for his lead bartender Raphael would have meant he’d find himself in this situation in a few months, he never would have agreed.

He watches Alec sleep, listens to the adorable little snores that he’s gotten reluctantly used to during the past several weeks. He’d even go so far as to say they make him fond at this point.

Shaking his head a little, Magnus carefully disentangles himself from wrinkled sheets. He finds his clothes and throws them on haphazardly.

It’s always best to make a strategic retreat, Magnus thinks wryly.

He can’t resist looking back, though. Biting his lip, he studies Alec and wonders how much longer he can do this.

He thinks about Alec with alarming frequency. Alec’s funny and smart as hell and Magnus can’t remember the last time he enjoyed someone’s company so much.

However, if last night showed him anything, it’s that it’s all hopeless.

Magnus leans over Alec, laying a feather-light kiss on his cheek.

He lets out a breath. “I guess I’m just the fool who fell for someone who won’t fall for me.”

Straightening, Magnus is just turning towards the door when he startles as a hand wraps around his wrist. He looks up and sucks in a panicked breath as he sees Alec leveling him with a serious look that doesn’t seem the least bit sleepy.

“Alexander,” Magnus whispers and trails off, not sure what to say.

“Magnus,” Alec says, voice hoarse.

The two of them stare at each other mutely. Magnus doesn’t know what to say-- what he can say-- to fix this. He ruined things. He developed feelings for the stoic doctor who feels more than he likes to let on and now the day’s finally come to face it.

He sighs a little in regret. He would’ve liked one more night to remember before it all vanished in a puff of angry smoke.

He’s so wrapped up in his own thoughts that he doesn’t immediately hear Alec’s question.

“I’m sorry,” he says on autopilot. “What was that, darling?”

Alec clears his throat. He hasn’t let go of Magnus’s wrist and Magnus feels his thumb sweep absently against his pulse.

“Did you mean it?”

Freezing, Magnus looks up at Alec. He sees the stiff set of his spine and the way his mouth is pressed into a thin line. The way that it seems like Alec’s retreated from him even if he’s still close enough to touch.

Magnus abruptly gives in, shoulders slumping. One way or another, his secret’s out and he owes Alec the truth.

“I did,” he admits softly. “I know we agreed this was just physical but I’m in love with you, Alexander, and I have been for quite some time now.”

Magnus watches as Alec takes a deep breath. The only thing keeping him in place is Alec’s hand still keeping him close.

He watches with dread-wrapped hope as Alec’s mouth opens before abruptly shutting. Alec sits up and pulls Magnus closer, between his thighs, and rests a hand against his side.

“Stay,” he says, voice just above a whisper.


Alec’s expression changes, morphing into a grin. Almost without thought, Magnus shifts closer, running a hand through Alec’s disheveled hair. A piece of him slides into place as Alec leans into his touch with a contented smile.

“Stay,” Alec repeats. “It turns out that my love isn’t as unrequited as originally thought and I really want to make you breakfast.”

Laughing, Magnus feels some indescribable joy bubbling to the surface. He straddles Alec, pushing him onto his back. Alec goes willingly, sliding his hands down Magnus’s back with a sigh.

The two of them look at each other, wondering and not without a little self deprecation.

“What was that speech last night, darling? About this thing between us just being fun.”

Alec scoffs. “What was I supposed to say after you told me you didn’t belong to me? You weren’t wrong. I thought I was just a hopeless bastard for falling in love with someone I could never have. I thought I’d ruined everything.”

“Funny,” Magnus says. “I thought the same thing.”

Alec shakes his head. “If I’d known how you felt all this time, it would have saved me quite a bit of despair,” he says dryly.

Magnus laughs a little, leaning over Alec to place a lingering kiss on his mouth. “You and me both, darling, I assure you.”

“Then how lucky that I heard you before you left.”

Narrowing his eyes, Magnus says, “I thought you were a heavier sleeper.”

Kissing down Magnus throat, Alec says, “I woke up when you got out of bed. You make a good blanket,” he teases.

Snorting, Magnus moves back to look at Alec. He looks like a mess, Magnus thinks with overwhelming fondness. He looks like my mess.

Magnus straightens over Alec, stretching with his arms over his head. He feels Alec’s hands go to his hips, steadying him and doesn’t even try to stop the smile from lighting up his entire face.

He feels light enough to burst.

Releasing a deep sigh, Magnus looks down at Alec who looks perfectly content to stay in bed forever.

“I make mean belgian waffle,” he says, raises his brows.

“Really? My french toast has never had any complaints.”

“Care to put that to the test,” Magnus asks, poised to leave.

Alec raises a brow in challenge. “First one to the kitchen has to do the dishes.”

Magnus gasps as Alec flips them over, laughing loudly as Alec scrambles out of bed.

That laughter quickly cuts off when he lunges out of bed and tackles Alec to the ground, determined to win.

Distantly, Magnus hopes that this is the first of many mornings spent together, laughing and sharing stories and cleaning up the kitchen-- together.

Chapter Text

“Thanks again, man. I really appreciate you doing this.”

Alec waves Jace off with an exasperated look. “I’ve worked in the ER a thousand times. It’s not that big of a deal.”

“Maybe,” Jace protests. “But, it’s short notice and I wouldn’t have even asked if I hadn’t already gotten Clary those--”

“Nonrefundable tickets to The Nutcracker. Yes, I know. For the love of God, will you just go? I’m working a shift downstairs. You’re actually doing me a favor-- I had until the end of the month to get a rotation in or I would have lost my credentials for the emergency room.”

Jace opens his mouth again, but Alec’s done. Shooing Jace out of his office, Alec sits back down behind his desk with a sigh.

Jace had scored radio tickets to the city’s opening night performance of The Nutcracker and apparently Clary was an avid fan. Jace had immediately come to him clamoring for a favor and Alec didn’t have anything going on-- Magnus would be working at Pandemonium tonight-- so he’d accepted with a shrug.

Wryly, Alec figures that Jace is even more annoying when he’s thankful for a favor instead of just expecting everything to work out.

Looking down at his watch, Alec sees that he has less than an hour until his shift starts in the emergency room. Truth be told, he’s looking forward to it, just a little. As a trauma surgeon, he’s pulled his fair share of time down in the ER to meet incoming patients but he hasn’t spent any real time there since his residency days that feel like a lifetime ago.

Finishing up revisions for an article he’s publishing in the New England Journal of Medicine next month, Alec shoves his chair away from his desk with ten minutes to spare.

He blows out a breath and works out the crick in his neck when his gaze catches on the picture on his desk.

His expression turns unbearably lovesick-- he’s glad no one’s around to see it-- as he touches the edge of the picture frame.

It’s a picture of him and Magnus taken over the summer while they were vacationing in Florence. They’re at a little gelateria in the city and posing with the ridiculously small spoons they used for their gelato. Magnus had been in charge of taking the photo and Alec had turned his head at the last second, surprising Magnus with a kiss to the cheek just as he’d hit the shutter button.

It’s one of Alec’s favorite pictures of the two of them and every time he has a setback at work or feels stress wrapping around him in a stranglehold, he looks at the picture and regains his equilibrium.

With a small sigh, Alec stands up and changes out of his professional attire-- dress pants and a pristine oxford that he wears for a day of consultations-- into scrubs, throwing his lab coat on last.

He makes it down the the ER with a minute to spare and uses that time to breathe in the buzzing chaos. It smells like disinfectant, the winter air outside, and desperation and Alec smiles a little at the familiar atmosphere. He worked in the ER as a resident for nine months and it was a whirlwind that was a labor of love as much as a test to his abilities.

Laughing a little to himself, Alec reflects that he probably slept the least when he was in his ER rotation.

Moving to the nurse’s station, Alec checks in with the lead RN.

“Hey, Maia. What do you have for me?”

Looking up from her computer, Maia’s brows raise as she takes him in.

“What are you doing here? Jace is on shift until midnight.”

“Jace had a last minute date with Clary so I told him that I’d fill in for him. I hope that’s all right?”

Sitting back in her chair, Maia considers him with a once over. “I don’t know, Dr. Lightwood,” she says, the edges of a grin on her mouth. “You know your reputation precedes you. I can’t have my staff terrified all evening of making a mistake and getting dressed down in front of the entire room--”

“That was one time and you know it,” Alec exclaims. “That idiotic nurse administered the wrong drug and it could have killed my patient--”

“But,” Maia cuts in with a sigh. “You’re the best damn doctor here and we could use the help. You know how it is during the holidays. Unless you think you’ve lost your touch?”

Alec’s eyes narrow at Maia’s teasing words. “I’ll have you know I was working here before you even took your NCLEX.”

Shaking her head, Maia’s smile widens. “Yeah, but you’ve been in that cushy office up on the twenty sixth floor for how long now? Five years? The ER might be too much pressure, old man.”

Rolling his eyes, Alec grabs the clipboard Maia holds out to him and skims down the patient profile.

“This my first patient tonight?”

Nodding, Maia says, “It sure is. So far, it’s early enough that there’s nothing too traumatic going on. I’ve got a few people that were in a minor car accident in beds seven and eight and a kid with a broken arm-- sledding accident-- in bed four. They’re all being taken care of by my staff or Dr. Underhill, though. This patient just came in about five minutes ago, looks like he cut himself pretty badly and needs a few stitches. I’m sure you can handle it,” Maia asks with a challenging smile.

“I think I can stitch someone’s hand up,” Alec says dryly.

With an expansive wave, Maia just says, “Then he’s all yours.” Before Alec can turn, though, Maia is leaning closer. “I haven’t seen him yet but Nurse Lewis said that he was, and I quote, ‘the perfect man.’ Try not to drool over your patient, Lightwood,” Maia teases.

Glaring, Alec huffs out a breath. “I’ll have you know that I’m a happily taken man.”

Maia sends him a curious look. “Since when,” she demands.

“Since last spring,” Alec replies with an arched brow.

Maia sits in that information for a minute before finally waving it away. “That doesn’t mean you don’t still have eyes. Think of your reputation,” Maia says solemnly, “If everyone saw Dr. Lightwood-- considered far and wide to have a perpetual stick up his ass-- stuttering over a handsome man. You’d lose all your authority.”

Alec throws her an arch look. “Bold of you to assume that anything can take away my authority.”

He turns away as Maia laughs and shakes his head as he heads over to bed sixteen. The curtain is drawn and Alec takes the last few seconds before he reaches it to look over the information sheet again.

He freezes when he sees the patient’s name at the top.

His eyes immediately reread the paper from top to bottom and he slows down his instinctive panic as he sees that it really is minor.

Shaking his head, Alec pulls back the curtain and sees his boyfriend using his good hand to pass the time on his phone.

“What did you do to yourself this time,” he asks dryly.

Magnus’s head whips up and he sends a stunned look to Alec.

“Alexander? What are you doing here? You’re a trauma surgeon,” he says accusing.

Laying the clipboard on the edge of the bed, Alec pulls on a pair of gloves, looking at Magnus with a raised brow. “I’m filling in for Jace tonight. And good thing, too,” he says, reaching out to pull Magnus’s hand away from his middle.

“It’s not a big deal,” Magnus says sheepishly, holding his hand out for Alec to pull away the soaked through gauze.

Alec just sends him an expressionless look. “I beg to differ,” he says stoically. “Anything that lands you in the ER is a big deal.”

Magnus looks at him fondly, reaching his free hand up to run through Alec’s hair. “I would have called you if it was serious, darling--”

Magnus breaks off as someone chokes on a breath behind Alec. Looking behind him, Alec rolls his eyes as he sees Nurse Lewis looking at the two of them like they’ve sprouted horns.

“What do you want, Simon,” Alec asks, annoyed at having been interrupted.

Taking a quick step forward, Simon pulls on his own gloves automatically as he looks furiously between him and Magnus. “I’m your accompanying nurse, Dr. Lightwood. Maia sent me over to help with Patient Bane.”

Magnus turns to look at Simon, delighted. “Do you work with Dr. Lightwood often?”

Simon looks at him askance before he switches his vaguely terrified gaze to Alec. “No,” he says uneasily. “Dr. Lightwood doesn’t work in the ER very often and he usually prefers to work with Maia.”

Seeing Alec’s look, Simon hurries out, “She had to go on lunch so she sent me.”

Alec shakes his head before turning back and taking the last of the gauze of Magnus’s hand. He works in silence, doing his best to ignore the way Magnus is studying him as he cleans the drying blood from Magnus’s hand and wrist.

“How’d you do this, anyway,” Alec murmurs and holds out his hand for Simon to place disinfectant soaked gauze into. Simon fumbles but it’s just a few seconds later that Alec is turning back to Magnus. “This might sting a little,” he says in warning.

Magnus winces and Alec makes a small soothing noise as he starts dabbing the last bit of blood of his hand to get a clearer look at the injury. “I was at Pandemonium and a crate of alcohol slipped off the counter-- don’t ask me how-- and fell to the floor. I was cleaning it up when I sliced my hand on a broken bottle. At first I thought I could just slap a band-aid on it-- yes, I know, darling-- but I realized pretty quickly that it wouldn’t stop bleeding and I needed stitches.”

Alec looks at him incredulous. “It’s still bleeding sluggishly and it’s been an hour? There was no way you could have just bandaged this up. Forget the horrendous scar you would have had--”

“You’d still love me anyway, though, if I had a scar. Wouldn’t you, Alexander?”

Alec glares down at Magnus's hand as he inspects it, muttering, “Of course I would, you dumbass. What kind of idiotic question,” he continues, affronted at the very thought.

Magnus laughs softly and Alec feels his eyes on him. He looks up at his boyfriend and smiles a little. “It looks like this needs about a dozen stitches, babe.”

Simon makes some noise and Alec looks over at him with an imperious brow. “What was that?”

Gaping like a fish, Simon exclaims, “You-- you just called him babe. A patient! The hot patient!”

“Simon,” Alec says slowly. “This is my boyfriend.”

With his good hand, Magnus waves at Simon. “I’m the boyfriend,” he repeats cheerfully.

Alec just looks at Simon. “Get me some iodine, Lewis.”

Magnus looks at him expectantly and Alec rolls his eyes before muttering, “Please.”

Simon all but falls out of his chair on the way to the supplies cabinet and grabs another pad of gauze with a container of iodine.

He looks up at Magnus with a reassuring expression. “This is another disinfectant and local anesthetic. You shouldn’t feel anything after this.”

Magnus nods silently and Alec swabs his hand before getting his needle and thread and it’s just a few minutes later that he starts stitching up the wound.

He could do this in his sleep, Alec figures, but he puts all his focus onto Magnus’s hand, making sure the stitches are perfect. He snips off the end of the thread soon enough and wraps Magnus’s hand in a bandage.

Looking up, he smiles at Magnus. “Keep those clean and dry for the next twenty four hours and we can take them out in a few days.”

“Will I have to come back here to get them out?”

Shaking his head, Alec says, “I could probably do it at home but I’d feel more comfortable if you came here. We could do it in my office, though,” he says absently and takes the packet of post care instructions from Simon.

“I wonder what else we could do in your office,” Magnus murmurs suggestively and Alec barks out a laugh as he shakes his head.

“You’re incorrigible.”

Magnus shrugs before wincing as he lays his hand gingerly on his thigh. “Yeah, but just for you,” he says.

Peeling off his gloves, Alec disposes of them and the rest of the supplies in the bio-hazard bin. He takes in Magnus. His boyfriend-- soon to be fiance, he hopes with an internal smile-- looks as strong as ever but Alec can see the way the pain is gnawing at him, making his face look the least hint drawn and his shoulders sag imperceptibly.

Moving closer, Alec kisses his forehead. “I can write a prescription for some pain meds, if you want.”

Magnus shakes his head, though he leans into Alec’s chest from where he’s still sitting on the hospital bed. “No,” he mutters. “I have some at home. I think I might just go back to our place and crash until the morning. It feels like my hand is on fire.”

Rubbing his back in soothing circles, Alec kisses the side of his head. “I’ll be home a little after midnight, babe.”

Sighing, he pulls back and smiles at Magnus who returns a pained version.

Hopping down from the table, hand pulled to his middle, Magnus leans in to quickly kiss Alec on the mouth before taking a step toward the nursing station. “I’m going to go get discharged. See you later, Alexander.”

“Bye, babe. I have tomorrow off,” Alec calls out with a grin.

Looking over his shoulder, Magnus laughs. “I’m sure we’ll think of some way to make good use of it," he says with a wink.

“I love you,” Alec says, shaking his head.

“Love you, too, darling,” Magnus says softly and then resumes his path to the nurse’s station.

Alec double checks the area to make sure everything is cleaned up and turns to leave, cursing as he almost bumps into Simon.


“I’ve never seen this side of you,” Simon says in a daze. “I didn’t know it was possible.”

Alec rolls his eyes and moves back to the chart of patients. The next several hours go by quickly-- if not quickly enough-- and Alec makes good on his word, slipping under the covers of their bed just shy of one in the morning.

They spend the next day as planned, ordering takeout and getting caught up on the latest season of Queer Eye.

When Alec goes into work bright and early Sunday morning, he knows within fifteen minutes that the hospital grapevine is as terrifyingly efficient as ever.

Jace and Maia tease him mercilessly, though he takes it with good grace.

For some reason he can’t figure out, the interns seem all the more intimidated by him. Simon tells him a few days later.

“They don’t know what to expect. No offense Dr. Lightwood, but if I hadn’t seen it myself, I never would have believed it. They think you’re unpredictable now and that makes them fear you even more.”

Alec takes the news with a shrug. He’s the same he’s always been. It’s just that now Magnus occasionally meets him for lunch in the shitty hospital cafeteria with a kiss and a latte from the coffee shop down the street.

Alec doesn’t pay much mind to the work gossip. He can’t-- not when he’s too busy thinking about Magnus.