Chapter 1: Did anything happen to your car?
"Magnus. Magnus Bane. Please. Please tell me, you did not just hit him."
Magnus doesn't even look up at Ragnor who is still sitting inside the car at the passenger seat. All his attention is focused on the young man leaned up against his car.
Who is very, very attractive.
And yet still attractive.
Not a lot of people would be able to pull that off in Magnus' opinion.
"We didn't hit him," Magnus concludes, "He walked right out on the road without looking up. We are obviously not to be blamed."
"Excuse me? We? I don't remember being the one driving the damn car!" Ragnor's voice raises with panic. "Oh, this is bad, Bane. This is so bad."
Magnus rolls his eyes at Ragnor as he kneels in front of the unconscious man.
God, he is handsome.
"I really hope he isn't dead. What a waste that would be," Magnus murmurs to no one in particular and without much thought. The moment the words escape his lips he realizes however that it's the worst possible thing he could have said.
"Oh my God, he is dead. He's dead, isn't he?" Ragnor exclaims. "I can't believe we just killed a guy! Shit. Shit, shit, shit. I always knew that if I ever ended up in jail it would be because of you, but this is just--"
“OH MY GOD, RAGNOR, STOP TALKING!”
For the first time, Magnus looks up at Ragnor and for a moment there is a short silence while the two men eye each other down.
And then the moment is over.
“... I'm calling Catarina.” Ragnor states and drops eye-contact with Magnus as he pulls his phone out from his pocket.
“We are not calling Catarina. I can handle this. We just need to-- Oh, thank God, he's waking up now!” Magnus hears the relief in his own voice and silently thanks the universe for the fact that he didn't just manage to murder what clearly must be one of its greatest gifts to humanity.
“Hey there, sleeping beauty. How are you feeling?” Magnus asks more calmly than he actually feels.
“My head hurts,” the man on the ground murmurs as he carefully rubs the back of his head with one hand. He slowly blinks his eyes open and glances around at the scenario played out in front of him.
Magnus hesitates for a brief moment, trying to find the right way to spill the beans. After all, telling someone that you just hit them with your car, isn't really Magnus' idea of flirting. But it's not going to stop him from trying.
"Oh, you know. Car accident," Magnus says lightly. "Some stupid guy with his phone out didn't look up before crossing the road and he ran straight into my car."
Magnus is pleased when his attempted humor seems to be working as the other man's eyes lock together with Magnus’.
"Oh, man. I hate those types. They really just ruin it for everybody, don’t they?" he says with mischief in his voice.
And Magnus finds his entire world stops spinning.
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
This guy is even more attractive when awake. And right now he is looking at Magnus through long, dark lashes with messy raven-dark hair falling into his hazel eyes and a pair of eyebrows that would make even Cara Delevingne jealous.
Ragnor is right. This is bad. And even though there is absolutely no way this is going to end well, Magnus does his best to play it cool as he reaches out a hand to help the poor guy up.
"Sure you're alright? It was quite a clash."
"I'm fine," the stranger says as he grips Magnus' hand and pulls himself up from the ground. Magnus does his best to not look disappointed when the other man lets go again way too soon.
"But, uh -" the younger man looks to the ground and picks up a small item.
"I think I broke my phone," he finishes with a chuckle.
And it is such a pure and unexpected sound that Magnus can't help but laugh along.
"I wouldn't be too upset about that. I actually think it's for the better - at least if you're planning on making it through the rest of the traffic alive."
A small blush covers the man's face as he ducks his head and grins, and it’s weird. It's weird because from Magnus’ point of view this guy doesn’t seem particularly shy. But his smile is.
Magnus feels like he could easily spend a few decades just staring at that exact smile.
He only gets a few seconds though, before he catches a glimpse of Ragnor still sitting in the passenger seat while shaking his head and rolling his eyes. Magnus makes a mental note about not bringing Ragnor with him anywhere ever again.
"I'm Magnus by the way," he regretfully hurries on, "and that's Ragnor inside the car." Magnus nods towards Ragnor who lifts a hand halfway up in greeting. Magnus, on the other hand, willingly pulls out his hand once again for the man in front of him to take.
Partly because it's the polite thing to do.
Partly because he just really wants to hold his hand.
Luckily, the young man doesn't leave Magnus hanging.
"Alec?" Magnus quirks an eyebrow. "That's a rather unusual name."
"It's actually Alexander," Alec confesses. "But I don't really use it. Everybody just calls me Alec."
"Oh, but Alexander," Magnus practically purrs and decides that it might just be his new favorite name in the entire world, "I think you will soon discover that I have absolutely no intention of being just everybody."
Apparently, those words are all it takes for Alec to turn completely flustered and Magnus can do nothing but pray to God that it will never stop.
Then Alec looks down on their hands, still entwined, as if he just now remembers that they are still, in fact, holding hands and he immediately pulls his own back, glancing around as to check if anybody noticed.
Magnus barely gets a chance to worry about what's going on, because in the next moment Alec runs his hand through his dark hair instead, leaving Magnus to think only two things:
1. how exactly it would be to run his own hands through Alec’s hair.
2. that he is about one hundred percent sure that he just saw a neck-tattoo glancing up from underneath Alec’s coat when he lifted his arm.
3. how it would be like to run his tongue over that exact neck-tattoo.
Ok, so maybe three things then.
"So, uhm - You really hit me with your car?" Alec asks hesitantly.
"I'm afraid so. Though technically you were the one who hit the car," Magnus winks at Alec.
"You might have a concussion by the way," he points towards the back of Alec's head, "so you should probably take it easy the next few days."
"Right. Right." Alec nods and then glances back at the car.
"Did anything happen to your car?"
"To the car?" Magnus repeats in disbelief. "You're asking if anything happened to the car?"
“I guess I am.” Alec looks at Magnus as if he is only waiting for Magnus to threaten to sue him or something.
“Look, whatever you want, I can take care of it," Alec continues. "You can have my contact info and then you can just let me know if something comes up and we can work something out or—“
“Ok, I’m just- I’m gonna stop you right there,” Magnus interrupts and hold up a hand to stop Alec from speaking. Meanwhile, he is pretty sure he is staring at Alec like he is completely out of his mind.
Which he obviously has to be.
“When I inclined that this was your fault, I was joking. So you need to stop trying to make amends for getting hit by a car.” Magnus pauses for a moment to make sure that his words sink in. “If you do however still feel the need to make it up to me, then why don't we go have a drink together? Or coffee. Whichever you prefer."
"Oh, and don’t worry about Ragnor in the car,” he adds with a smirk as he winks back at Ragnor. “He can take care of himself.”
Ragnor mumbles something under his breath with a grim look on his face, but Magnus honestly can’t bring himself to care.
When Alec, on the other hand, unsuccessfully tries to stutter out an answer with no actual words coming from his mouth, Magnus smiles apologetically.
Alec looks like he can’t decide whether he wants to shake his head or nod, and Magnus realizes that maybe he has gone a bit too far too soon.
“I’m sorry. I can be a lot to get used to sometimes.”
“No. No, it’s fine. You’re- you’re fine. I mean, you’re not fine, you’re just--“ Alec is helplessly stumbling over his words and Magnus can’t help but feel a hint of pity towards him.
“I really do hope there’s a good end to that sentence,” he says gently.
“Yes!” Alec exclaims a bit too quickly and a small smile pulls at the corner of his mouth.
“Yes. There is,” he says slowly this time, clearly trying to choose his next words carefully. “It’s just- I’m not actually supposed to... I mean, I want to. Really. But I just- I can’t.”
This time it’s Alec’s turn to look at Magnus with an apologetic look on his face. “I’m sorry."
Magnus is just about to say something, push him a little because he is nowhere near ready to give up on the idea of Alec when oh.
It all daunts on him.
Alec isn’t out.
And with that, Magnus immediately admits defeat.
“Don’t be,” he says and means it. It is not in his place to push Alec towards something he isn’t ready for. He would be the last person to do something like that.
“Will you at least let me take you to the hospital or something?" Magnus then asks. "Just to make sure that you are alright.”
“I’m fine.” Alec insists, “Trust me. I’ve been through worse. And I, uh - I should probably be heading off anyway. I’m already running late.”
“I suppose you better get going then,” Magnus nods towards him.
“Yeah. It was nice to meet you though,” Alec says. “Thanks for not killing me and everything.”
“Thank you for not dying on me,” Magnus says as he looks up and his eyes meet Alec’s just as the other man's face breaks into a grin before walking away.
“Yeah. That really would have been a waste, wouldn’t it?”
Chapter 2: You can't just google Magnus
Alec discusses a certain car accident with a certain Isabelle who has absolutely zero chill whatsoever.
Alec is definitely late when he rushes through the doors to a giant conference room. Later than he thought he would be.
The speeches have already started up on stage and the tables are filled with people listening intensely to Robert Lightwood. Alec is already familiar with most of the people in the room. Some of them are part of his father's electoral campaign and have been around for years. The rest of them look like a bunch of his parents' closed circle of political friends and acquaintances mixed with a few newcomers. All of them bear the same visible trademarks; wealthy, pompous and superficial. All of them too busy with how they act and how they look to really pay attention to anything or anyone around them.
None of them are people Alec has any real interest in actually knowing.
He spots Isabelle at one of the tables in the back, as far away from the spotlight as possible, discreetly sitting on her phone, looking bored and like she is prepared to kill whoever she has to, just to get herself out of there.
“Iz! Hey!” Alec calls out, low enough to not interrupt anything, but loud enough to get Isabelle’s attention, as he navigates his way down towards her.
“Alec! Where the hell have you been?!” Isabelle hisses in a low voice as Alec approaches her. “I’ve been trying to call you for over an hour. I swear, mom was about to lose her shit when people started arriving and you still hadn’t shown up."
"Luckily for you,” she adds, “I’m like the sister of the year so naturally, I covered for you. You’re welcome, by the way.” She flips her hair over the shoulder with a smug look on her face.
“Wow.” Alec blinks as he slides down on the empty chair next to her. “You really are the sister of the year. Thank you.”
“What’s wrong?” he adds when he sees the way Isabelle is eying him up and down with a frown on her face.
“It’s just... Alec, you look like shit,” She spits out.
“Thanks,” Alec says, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “You know, sometimes I really don’t know what I would do, if I didn’t have you around to keep me humble all the time.”
“No, I’m serious,” Isabelle continues. “Why is your coat all dirty? And you have- you have mud in your hair, Alec,” She says disgustedly. “You look like you’ve been rolling around on the ground or something.”
“Maybe that's because I have been rolling around on the ground,” Alec says in his own defense and sighs before continuing. “Look. I was running late. So I was texting you to tell you I was on my way when I got hit by a car and my phone broke and —“
“YOU WHAT?!” Isabelle shouts but immediately shuts up just as quickly, when a few people from the tables around them turn to look at her with an irritated look on their face.
“Sorry, sorry,” Isabelle mumbles and turns her attention back to Alec.
“What?!” Her voice, barely above a whisper this time, is just as sharp as it was before. “You got hit by a car? Are you kidding me? Who was the jerk?”
“Me. I was the jerk,” Alec states matter-of-factly. “Didn’t you hear the part where I was texting you instead of looking where I was going?”
“I just...” Isabelle stares at him in disbelief, “How do you get hit by a car? Aren’t you supposed to be like the real-life Liam Neeson or something?"
“Liam Neeson? The guy from those Taken movies?”
“I don't think I ever saw those,” Alec shrugs. “Besides, I was pretty occupied with already being late and again, you know, texting you.”
Isabelle rolls her eyes at him dramatically.
“Well, are you alright at least? You know, apart from looking like... that?” She gestures towards his hair and clothes.
“I'm fine,” Alec says. “I think I have a bump on my head but it could be worse.”
“Oh. That’s good.” Isabelle nods, and there’s a moment of silence before any of them speaks again.
“So, was it someone we know?” She then asks carefully. “Like they’re not going to sue or anything, are they? I really think that’s the last thing dad needs right now.”
The question doesn’t take Alec by surprise. In fact, he has been waiting for it. Robert Lightwood has been politically active ever since he and Isabelle were young children, and with that, comes a certain amount of access to money, influence, and power. Something that most people are not afraid to take advantage of if you give them the tiniest reason to do so.
It’s safe to say that both Alec and Isabelle learned at an early age to step carefully - especially around election time. And even though neither Alec nor Isabelle personally support or share their father’s political point of views, none of them are interested in having their family blown up in the media.
To Isabelle's relief, Alec shakes his head. “There was nothing. To be honest I think he was just passing through town because he had no idea who I was.”
Otherwise, he would have never asked me out.
“Oh. Well, that’s something at least.” Isabelle nods.
“Yeah,” Alec says quietly. “Yeah, he really was something.”
Without meaning to, Alec’s mouth quirks into a small, genuine smile as his mind wanders back to his meeting with Magnus.
Magnus, who didn’t even seem to care that Alec had just crashed into his car.
Magnus, who just wanted to make sure that Alec wasn’t hurt.
Magnus, who had wanted to go out with him without knowing anything about who Alec was and without any ulterior motives.
Magnus, who, so easily, had flirted with Alec like it was the simplest, most natural thing in the world.
When Alec looks up to meet Isabelle’s eyes, it’s already too late. He knows he has a stupid grin written all over his face at the very moment, and from the way Isabelle is beaming at him, she notices it too. And then she squeals.
And for the second time that day, the people around them glares at both of them with eyes that could kill, but this time Isabelle doesn't seem to care or even notice. All her attention is fixed on Alec, and all Alec can think is that he needs to do some serious damage control before his sister involuntarily outs him to the entire room.
He grabs Isabelle by the arm and pulls her a bit closer.
“Iz. If we’re going to talk about this, then you need to calm the fuck down.” His voice his calm against her ear, but firm enough so he knows that she is listening. “And you need to stop staring at me like some kind of heart-eyed emoji. It’s freaking me out.”
“Right. You're right. Sorry. Sorry.” Isabelle exhales and tries to calm herself down, but her face is still lighting up like a thousand Christmas trees. “It’s just, Alec, you have that look.”
“The look people get when they’re totally into someone,” she explains and then frowns. “I didn't even know that you could have that look.”
“I don't have that look. Noone has that look. Isn't it just like a Hollywood-stunt or something?"
“Oh my God, this is so exciting!” Isabelle exclaims, clapping her hands together and her voice in a tone high enough for Alec to know that she isn't listening to a word he is saying.
“Why do I ever tell you things?” Alec murmurs, mostly to himself, as he rubs his temples while trying to figure out exactly how painful it would be to jump out the window from the 8th floor right now. Probably less painful than this.
“Alright, alright. I can be cool about this, I promise,” Isabelle says seriously and Alec wonders who she is trying to convince, him or herself.
“I will try to be cool about this,” she corrects herself as she notices Alec’s skeptical look. “His name?”
Alec sighs, knowing very well that he has lost the game. And to be fair, it’s not like he has that many other options. Isabelle is about the only person in the entire world who actually knows this about him. Mainly, because she seems to have known it before Alec hardly figured it out himself.
It must be a twin thing.
“Magnus,” Alec answers.
“And? How did he look?” Isabelle says, still way too eagerly. “I just need a number from one to ten.”
Alec takes a sip of the water in his glass before answering, knowing very well that he is irritating the hell out of his very impatient sister.
“Eleven,” he then says calmly. Like none of this is any big deal.
Isabelle’s eyes widen as she breaks into a grin and if it wasn’t for the entire room breaking into big applause at the same given moment, she probably would have screamed in excitement once again. But clearly, whatever was going on up in the front is now over, and people are starting to mingle and small talk.
And if there is one thing that Alec hates, it’s having to small talk. It doesn’t matter how many of these public events he goes to; pretending to care about what someone is saying, when he really couldn't care less will just never be his thing. But before Isabelle gets the chance to continue their private conversation and before Alec gets the chance to excuse himself and get the hell out of there, someone from their parents' entourage is already heading their way.
And it’s not that Henry Branwell is a bad person. In fact, if Alec had to choose, he is probably one of the people in this room that Alec tolerates best. Not that that says very much of course. However, that doesn’t change the fact that Henry and his wife have been trying to get Alec to date their daughter, Lydia, ever since both of them went to high school together. Apparently, that dating offer just never expires.
And it's not that Lydia is bad person either. Alec likes her. She just really isn’t his type.
“Miss Isabelle. Alexander.” Henry nods in Alec and Isabelle’s direction as he approaches them, and Alec cringes internally at the use of his full name. It has never felt like it was his name to have. People only ever use it as some kind of insignificant formality or as a way to reprimand him.
Well. Until today, that is.
It’s funny to Alec how a complete stranger can make his name sound like it’s something sacred and delicate when people Alec has known almost his entire life can’t even manage to do that.
“What an unusual honor to see both of the Lightwood children present at such a gathering as this. That can hardly have been your own decision,” Henry says in an overly friendly tone as he gives them a small wink. It’s not exactly a state secret that both Alec and Isabelle stay as far away as possible from anything public. Alec for one has always hated the public attention and everything that comes with it, and after having several of her escapades publicly splattered in the newspapers and on the internet, Isabelle seems to be over it as well.
“Hardly,” Isabelle says lightly. “Mom forced me to go, and well. Then I forced Alec.” Isabelle shrugs in a careless way, with a playful smile painted on her face that seems so earnest that if Alec didn’t know any better he would have never believed she was faking all of it. But then again; Isabelle has always been far better at playing this role than Alec could ever be capable of.
And Henry, like everyone else, falls right into Isabelle’s charm.
“Oh, but I’m so glad that you did!” he says and actually manage to sound sincere about it. “It’s wonderful to see you both. And especially good to see you back in the civil world, alive and well, Alexander,” Henry says as his eyes land on Alec. “I hope they’re not too tough on you out there.”
“I can't complain,” Alec says with a stiff smile.
“Of course not. It’s admirable what you’re doing, really. It's no wonder that all the girls are swooning over you back here in Alicante. It’s not going to be difficult for your parents to find a suitable wife for you, I take it.”
“Excuse me?” Alec chokes and glances over at Isabelle who looks just as shocked as Alec feels.
“Well, rumor has it that you are looking to settle down now that you’re back?”
“Really? I guess I haven’t heard that rumor yet,” Alec says sharply. “Besides, I’m not actually back. I only have a few months off duty.”
“Oh,” Henry says. The disappointment in his voice is thick, and Alec has absolutely no doubt that Henry himself was imagining his dear Lydia as Alec’s future wife. “But you’re not going back to the Gard though, are you?”
“No, I’ve relocated to the New York military Institute,” Alec says. “But I’m still going to be away a lot. Trust me, it’s not an ideal situation to start taking a wife.” He says the words as clearly as he can to make sure that it leaves no misunderstandings behind. The rumor is no doubt another one of his mother’s great ideas and the quicker Alec can shoot it down, the better.
Alec knows that she means well. Maryse Lightwood has many times expressed her concern about Alec’s life in the army and that it would be good for him to have a sweet girl to come home to. It’s a nice thought and usually, Alec doesn’t argue with her. Because what would even be the point? It’s not like he can just stand up and say that he has absolutely zero interest in any girl, no matter how sweet she might be.
Or he could, of course. It would just be a pure suicide mission.
“That really is too bad,” Henry says. “But the New York Institute? That’s quite impressive, on the other hand. They seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. And it certainly must be a bonus that your dear foster brother lives in the very same city.”
And for the first time through the entire conversation, Alec’s smile is actually genuine. Because yes, it definitely is a bonus that Jace is in New York. It’s part of the reason why he had requested a permanent change of station in the first place.
The Gard is a military base located all the way near Germany which means that Alec has been far away from everyone he cares about, even when he wasn’t on deployment. By moving his base to New York he will actually be able to see both Jace and Isabelle when off-duty, without having to fly thousands of miles back and forth every time. And New York is closer without being too close to Alicante.
“Though I have to admit, Alicante has certainly been a lot quieter since Jace Herondale moved,” Henry muses, “I must say, it’s been quite the blessing to not have him around causing trouble all the time.”
“Oh, I’m sure he considers it a blessing as well to not be around,” Alec says in a snarky tone before he can think to stop himself, and Isabelle chokes on a laugh and for the first time, Henry seems to have lost his tongue.
Thankfully, it seems like people are finally starting to return back to their seats, and with a quick remark about having to find his wife before everything starts up again, Henry turns away to leave.
“Nice shot,” Isabelle approves and gives Alec a fist bump.“Is it just me or do these people get worse and worse for every time you meet them?”
“They do,” Alec agrees. “How is it exactly that you and I are the same age, and yet I am the only one being pushed towards arranged marriage all the time?”
“Well, you are eight minutes older than me, dear brother,” Isabelle winks at him. “You know what they say - heavy is the head that wears the crown.”
“I’d like to throw that crown all the way to hell,” Alec mutters darkly.
“Oh, enough with the mood,” Isabelle waves him off. “Tell me more about this Magnus.”
“Aren't we done with that yet?” Alec sighs. “It’s not like I'm actually going to see him again.”
“How do you know that? Didn’t you get his number?”
Alec glares at her. “What part of I broke my phone is it that you don't seem to get?”
“I could google him.”
“What? No!” Alec stares at his sister. “You’re not googling anyone. What would you even google? You can’t just google Magnus. Do you even know how many different results that would bring?”
“I don’t think you realize how skilled I am at googling stuff,” Isabelle declares with confidence.
“I can't tell if that's supposed to impress me or creep me out."
“Is that a no then?”
“Definitely a no.”
Isabelle pouts as she sinks back in her chair.
“But, uh, he did actually ask me out,” Alec continues without meaning to and ignores the strange feeling of butterflies in his stomach as he says it out loud. He immediately regrets mentioning it when he sees how Isabelle's face brightens at the new information.
“And you said no?! Who the hell turns down a guy who scores eleven on the good-looking-scale for this?” Isabelle gestures around the room.
“That’s easy for you to say,” Alec claims. “Do you even know how much shit they would all give me if they ever found out I went on a date with a guy?”
And especially someone like Magnus, Alec silently adds for himself.
Because no matter how charming Magnus might have seemed, he didn't exactly come off as low-key dating material. With the makeup and the spikey hair and the clothes that made him look like he belonged on a runway, Alec has a feeling that Magnus could quickly become quite the conversation topic just about anywhere he went.
“I know. But you still have a right to live your life, Alec," Isabelle continues. "You don't owe these people anything. In fact, I think it would be more than educational for them to discover that the world isn't as black and white as they want it to be."
Alec can do nothing but smile and shake his head at her, fondly.
It's not that simple, he wants to say, but he doesn't. He knows that Isabelle doesn’t fully understand why this has to be a secret, because how could she? She doesn’t get what it’s like, but Alec doesn’t really need her to. All that matters is that she cares about him and respects his decision to keep it quiet. And Alec knows that she does.
Because with all quips aside, even Isabelle knows what kind of family they’re born into. There is no coloring outside the lines in this world. And Alec has long ago accepted that far from everyone gets the privilege of following their hearts.
Chapter 3: I already brushed my teeth
Ragnor just really doesn't want to go to jail without a backup plan, and Magnus is anything if not transparent, and who says that breakfast can't be rebellious?
Introducing to y'all: Madison Bane (aka Madzie)! She really doesn't have anything at all in common with our TV-show Madzie, other than they share a name.
I liked the idea of Magnus being a parent but I also liked the idea of his child being somewhat older than what is usually written, like in the beginning of her teen years, and them still being super close.
Their relationship is somewhat inspired by Castle and Alexis from the TV-show 'Castle' because I absolutely adore their father-daughter connection, and it is just the kind of father I imagine Magnus would be. There’ll be references here and there to that relationship, because well. I can't help myself, and it fits Magnus and Madzie so well.
Oh. And it just so happens that Baz Luhrmann actually directed one of my favorite movies ever, so if you thought I was going to miss a perfect opportunity to throw in some Moulin Rouge, then you're all terribly mistaken.
What could have been a quick drive back to New York from Alicante quickly turned in to something else entirely for Magnus and Ragnor - Only because it really is way too easy to take a detour around Edom from Alicante. A detour that quickly turned into a few drinks and some very questionable sets of poker, which turned into Ragnor driving the rest of the way back home.
This is, of course, how it usually ends up when Ragnor and Magnus are on the road together.
The only downside?
Ragnor is the most responsible, slow driver, Magnus has ever known. Normally you would think of that as a good thing in a person, but with Ragnor it is like he has never heard of fourth gear and God forbid that his hands ever leave the 10-2 position on the steering wheel even for a second.
On a positive note, at least they didn’t hit anyone else with the car on the way back.
All this means, however, that by the time they arrive back in Brooklyn, it is way past midnight. Therefor Magnus is also somewhat surprised when he opens the door to the loft and finds that the light is still on and a young girl is curled up on the couch watching Moulin Rouge.
“Hello, father,” Madzie greets him.
“Good evening, sweetpea,” Magnus responses cheerfully as he dumps down on the other side of the couch and casually puts his feet up on the table. “Tell me, did the school cancel your classes tomorrow or something?”
“... no?” Madzie answers puzzled.
“Oh, good. Then why aren’t you in bed?” Magnus cocks his head slightly to the side, “I thought princesses were supposed to turn into pumpkins and all that at this time of night.”
"I don’t think that’s how the story actually goes,” Madzie argues, “Besides, you’re one to talk. Is there anything you want to tell me?” She straightens up a bit and turns towards Magnus with a seriously raised eyebrow and arms crossed.
“Now, why do I feel like that’s a trick question? Am I in trouble or something?”
“Despite your best efforts, no — But if I have to find out through Ragnor one more time that I might have to bail you both out of jail because you possibly killed someone with the car, I want my weekly allowance raised. By a lot.”
Magnus' mouth drops as he glares at Madzie with wide eyes. He is just about to open his mouth in protest when Ragnor pops out from the kitchen.
“Uh, yes - about that,” He says innocently, “I can explain that.”
Magnus turns his glare towards him, “You told her what?” He says, his voice sharp as ice.
“Well, you wouldn’t let me call Catarina!”
“So you decided to text my daughter?!”
“Well, I had to tell someone,” Ragnor argues and throws his hands up in the air out of pure desperation, “In case you didn’t realize, we were about to go to jail!”
“We were nowhere near going to jail, Ragnor,” Magnus says with a sigh while slapping his hand across his own face in total despair.
“Oh, I beg to differ,” Ragnor continues undeterred, “He looked pretty dead at one point.”
While the two men bicker back and forth, Madzie is watching them patiently, looking alternately from one to the other.
“God, I really hope insanity isn’t contagious,” she mumbles to herself, but Magnus hears her and turns his attention to her, ignoring Ragnor’s outbursts.
“I’m sorry,” Magnus says, his expression serious, “Ragnor should not have involved you in that. But I promise you, I am not going to jail - Not in the nearest future anyway,” he adds jokingly.
Madzie narrows her eyes at him for a moment, before nodding, “Apology accepted.”
“Good. Does that mean I can get a hug now?” Magnus asks with a pleading smile and open arms, and Madzie rolls her eyes at him before leaning in and letting Magnus wrap his arms around her.
“So just to be clear - The dead guy isn’t dead after all?” She asks as she pulls away from Magnus again.
“No one is dead. There was a small accident, but the guy is alright. I swear.” Magnus promises and holds up both his hands in surrender.
“Actually, I would say that he was a little bit more than that,” Ragnor chips in as he bends over the backrest of the couch and wiggles his eyebrows close to Madzie, “I mean, he was rather easy on the eyes. Isn’t that right, Magnus?”
“Seriously, why are you still here?” Magnus scowls towards Ragnor.
But he doesn't get a response. Instead, he gets two looks that tell him that maybe, just maybe, he is a bit more transparent than he would have wished to be.
“Was he cute?” Madzie asks with a teasing smile playing at the corner of her mouth.
“I really didn’t notice,” Magnus shrugs as indifferently as he can possibly manage.
“Is that so?” Ragnor chuckles, “Well, I for one thought he was rather dashing. What was it his name was again? Something with A... Alec? Alex?”
“Alexander,” Magnus answers and is mildly horrified when he hears how eager his own voice sounds. He really needs to pull himself together.
Not that it matters, because Ragnor and Madzie are already exchanging knowingly, amused looks and Magnus knows that he just walked right into the trap. He is so busted.
“Alright, maybe he didn’t look that bad,” Magnus admits unwillingly, given that there really isn’t much point in denying anything right now.
“Did he ask him out?” Madzie asks, ignoring Magnus and looking up at Ragnor.
“Your father and a pretty boy? What do you think?” Ragnor says amused, “He practically proposed to him.”
“Alright then,” Magnus claps his hands together, “I think that’s enough from you for tonight, Ragnor. Don’t you have an early interview or something tomorrow you need to prepare for?”
“You know, normally I wouldn't appreciate being dictated with like that, but I actually do need to hit the bed,” Ragnor says regretfully, “Good night, Bane. Thank you for an always way too eventful day. And princess Madzie,” he adds with a small bow as he places a light kiss on Madzie’s hand, "Sleep tight, their Highness.”
“Thank you, good sir,” Madzie plays along and Magnus rolls his eyes at both of them.
“I can’t believe I actually feel like a third wheel in my own house,” he mutters under his breath.
Madzie and Ragnor really do seem to be getting along a bit too well sometimes. At least, they seem to have made it their life goal to gang up on Magnus, ever since Ragnor moved into the guest bedroom after he returned home from his studies in London. A move that was supposed to be temporarily, Magnus might add. Yet somehow it has now been 13 months, two weeks and five days and Ragnor doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to move out any time soon.
Not that Magnus is counting or anything.
“Remind me again why I offered him that he could stay here,” Magnus thinks out loud to Madzie when Ragnor is out of earshot.
“Because you’re a good friend and you would miss him if he wasn’t here,” Madzie comments simply, “I think it’s nice of you to let him stay here.”
“It won’t be very nice when I strangle him in his sleep,” Magnus points out darkly, “Then you might actually need to bail me out of jail.”
“I suppose that all depends on how much you’re willing to pay me,” Madzie winks at him.
“Ah, I taught you well, I see,” Magnus nods his head towards her in respect.
“So, we’re in a Baz Luhrmann-mood tonight?” He gestures towards the screen where Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor are currently paused in the middle of creating their own love story.
“We are,” Madzie announces, “Do you wanna watch the rest of the movie with me? I didn’t get very far.”
“Sure - But then you really need to go straight to bed afterward. And if I hear anything from any of your teachers about you sleeping in class, I’m bringing back scheduled bedtime.”
“Seems fair.” Madzie presses the play-button and the scene where Satine and Christian are at her chambers comes to life and soon the room is filled with the voice of Ewan McGregor and the lyrics of Elton John.
My gift is my song
And this one’s for you
And you can tell everybody,
That this is your song
Magnus sighs as he stretches out on the couch. Had anyone asked him 15 years ago, what Magnus Bane’s favorite way to spend a Thursday evening would be like, he would have never pictured anything remotely close to this scenario. Magnus leads a great life, and for the most parts it's one hell of a ride, but quiet, family moments like these have quickly turned out to become Magnus' favorites way to spend his time; sitting like this on the couch with his daughter in their own home, just the two of them, watching Moulin Rouge, easily beats everything else the world could possibly offer him.
“Shouldn’t we be eating ice cream or something for this?” Magnus suddenly suggests.
“Can’t. I already brushed my teeth.”
“You’re kidding, right?” Magnus stares blankly at her, “Are we even sure that you have my genes?
You know, when you first became a teenager, Catarina tried to convince me that you would go all YOLO-rebellious on me and act out, as we did ourselves when we were your age. I remember one time when Catarina, Ragnor and I all snuck into this senior party in high school, and then -“ Magnus stops abruptly as he realizes who he is talking to, “On second thought, I actually don’t think I can tell you this story. That would be wildly inappropriate. Which weirdly enough brings me to my point - don’t you wanna have wildly inappropriate stories you can’t tell your children about someday?”
“Oh, I don’t think that’s going to be necessary since clearly, you have enough of those stories for the both of us, dad,” Madzie smirks at him, “but I could be persuaded into pancakes with smiley faces on them instead of the usual oatmeal tomorrow morning before school starts?”
“Feeling adventurous, are we?” Magnus wiggles his eyebrows playfully.
“Indeed,“ Madzie says seriously, “I think that would be very rebellious.”
“Well, in that case, I think we would be very foolish not to,” Magnus agrees.
A few minutes pass by as they sit quietly in each other's company, watching and enjoying the movie. They get to the scene where Christian and Satine are at the roof of the Elephant and the Elephant Love Medley begins.
You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs
“So… Alexander, huh?” Madzie asks, breaking the silence with a curiously raised eyebrow towards Magnus.
I look around me and I see it isn’t so
“No,” Magnus shakes his head while silently thinking that he is definitely going to kill Ragnor in the morning for mentioning this. And hide the body so he doesn't go to jail.
Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs
“I'm not talking about this with you," Magnus continues, "It was a false alarm anyway, so you have nothing to worry about. I’m still all yours,” he smiles at her.
Well, what’s wrong with that?
I’d like to know
‘Cause here I go again ...
“I know,” Madzie says returning his smile and then hesitates before continuing, “It’s just that I worry about you sometimes. I’m not going to be here all the time - One day I’ll be off to college and everything. And it would be kind of nice to know that you had someone around. Someone to look after you. Someone who isn’t Ragnor.” She states with a chuckle.
“That’s very sweet of you, biscuit. But it’s my job to worry about you - not the other way around. I’ll be fine. And believe me, this Alexander wasn’t going to be the right choice for me anyway.” As Magnus says the last words out loud and watches Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman fall in love, it bothers him that he doesn’t know if he is actually telling the truth.
It’s been a while since he last felt that kind of chemistry with someone whom he just met, and had Alec accepted his offer to go get a drink, Magnus would have left Ragnor right then and there in the car without thinking twice about it.
But he didn’t.
So Magnus really doesn't have any reason to keep thinking about it.
So he doesn’t.
He doesn’t think about Alec’s hazel eyes or the seriousness in them that had made him seem older than he clearly was.
He doesn’t think about that almost invisible, and yet not at all, scar in Alec’s left eyebrow or the neck-tattoo that has been haunting Magnus ever since he caught notice of it.
He doesn’t think about the crooked smile that formed on Alec’s face when he grinned and the soft laughter that made Alec’s eyes crinkle in the corners.
And he certainly does not think about the way Alec’s face heated up and the flush that remained brightly on Alec’s cheeks every single time Magnus flirted with him.
At least he tries very, very hard not to.
Chapter 4: It's probably just a coincidence
Alec is in New York, and on his way to pick up Jace from work, he stumbles upon a young damsel in distress.
Alec steps out of the cab, in the early New York morning, his bag slung across his shoulder.
He checks the address Jace has sent him to make sure that he is in the right place, before walking up the stairs to the apartment.
He already knows that Jace is still at work, so he locks the door open with the spare key under the doormat. A key that for the next few months will be his, until he moves to the New York Institute.
It’s weird to think that this is the first time Alec actually sees Jace’s apartment when Jace has been living in New York for over a year now. It’s even weirder to think that it has been almost six months since they last saw each other, back when Alec last visited his family in Alicante and Jace dropped by.
The apartment Alec walks into is the pure definition of a man cave. In the living room, there is a leather couch, a large-screen TV and an X-Box. There’s even a few free weights and gym equipment, which seems so weird and unnecessary given the fact that Jace works at a gym. It wouldn’t surprise Alec the least if it was only there for show-off for whenever Jace brought girls home.
It’s clear that nothing in this apartment, however, is there purely for decoration. Everything has a specific function and meaning.
Except maybe for the poster of a half-naked woman that hangs in the kitchen.
Either way, it is all very Jace.
There are two bedrooms right next to each other and Alec aims for the door with a small handwritten note attached to it.
RESERVED FOR ALEC
- please enjoy your stay at Hotel Jace.
Takeout’s in the fridge, sheets clean and condoms in the night drawer.
Alec would probably have been mortified about that last sentence if it wasn’t for the fact that he has known Jace since they were 11 years old and shared a room with him for several of those years. At this point, he hardly pays attention to it anymore.
He opens the door to the bedroom, drops his bag on the floor, and himself on the bed with a yawn, hoping to get a few hours of sleep.
Alec is used to not sleeping very well the first few weeks when he is back home and his mind still haven’t readjusted to life outside the military. When his whole body is used to being constantly on guard, he often finds that normal surroundings are somehow too quiet for him to actually be able to fully relax.
He gets restless.
On the rare occasions where he actually manages to get those quiet moments of sleep, it isn't unusual for him to wake up from bad dreams. Often it’s distressing scenarios that he has been blocking out for too long or flashbacks that he hasn’t been able to or had time to deal with yet.
But things could be worse. After all, Alec has dealt with dreams much worse.
And for the past week of so, ever since he got hit by that car in Alicante, a certain pair of amber-greenish colored eyes, much similar to a cat's, seems to be taking their hold in Alec's subconsciousness as well. However, Alec doesn’t really mind those dreams in particular.
This morning Alec actually manages to fall into a light form of sleep for a couple of hours before he wakes up. He blinks a few times before grabbing his phone to check what time it is—
Only to discover several messages. All from Jace.
Jace: Yo, Al! Are you in NY yet?
Jace: Ok, either you’re sleeping or you broke your phone again
Jace: Or you’re plainly ignoring me
Jace: If it’s the last one I’m gonna be heartbroken
Jace: Just thought you should know
Alec rolls his eyes, before replying.
Alec: You can stop crying. I just woke up - and yes, I’m in New York.
Alec: Thx for the welcome by the way. That was not too much at all. In any way.
Jace: Oh, I knew you'd like it!
Jace: You’re being sarcastic
Jace: … and a bit ungrateful
Alec: Really? Condoms? Really?
Jace: Hey, at least someone here worries about your safety, my man
Jace: You should be grateful
Jace: Oh - and tips aren't included in the stay btw
Alec: You begged me to come and stay with you. I’m not giving you any money.
Alec: Nice try though.
Jace: Then I’m taking the condoms back
Alec: … Is that somehow supposed to make me change my mind?
Jace: Fine. You win
Jace: So anyway, I’m off work in a few hours
Jace: And I have tickets to a hockey game later today
Jace: Which we can make it to if you pick me up after work
Jace: You can take the car, keys are on the kitchen counter
Jace: I’ll text you an address
And with that, Alec finds himself, about an hour later, driving in the pouring rain in a city he doesn’t know.
He is pretty sure he just made a wrong turn when he sees a young girl walking across the road, balancing two giant cardboard boxes in her arms along with a plastic bag, and what looks to be a school backpack on her back. It’s just a matter of minutes before the whole thing is doomed to end horribly bad, and no one who walks by seems to be in any hurry to help her, so without thinking further, Alec quickly parks the car by the sidewalk and runs to help—
Just in time to get a grip on the young girl and prevent her from falling on her butt, as she almost slips on the wet street.
“That was close. Are you ok?” Alec asks as he helps the girl regain her balance.
“It looks like it,” she says, “Thanks to you. I think you just saved me from a very serious cold,” she adds with a smile and looks up at Alec.
Something about her seems oddly familiar, but Alec can’t seem to put his finger on it, so he shrugs it off. Maybe she just reminds him of Max.
“It’s not very often you find people in New York who comes running out from their car to help you.”
“Well, in my defense, I just moved here, so I guess I haven't learned to ignore people in need of help yet,” Alec confesses with a smile.
He knows he should leave it at this. He should walk back to the car, and let the girl continue on her way, but she is obviously struggling to carry it all and Alec knows that if he leaves her now, she will most likely fall and drop everything in just a few steps anyway. And then he would never be able to forgive himself for leaving her alone with it.
Therefore, against his better judgment and with the risk of sounding like a total creep, he continues, “Do you, uh - Do you need any help carrying all of that?”
“You mean that?” The look on her face shows nothing but pure astonishment, “I mean, you really don’t have to if you have somewhere else to be.”
“No, absolutely not. Let me just send a quick text, and I’ll help you.” Alec pulls out his phone to send a message to Jace, explaining what happened and that he will be running late.
“There,” He says as he puts the phone away again and grabs the two boxes, “lead the way.”
“Thank you so much. I really appreciate this. So, it’s actually just around the corner over here,” she tells, as they start walking, “Just— You’re not a kidnapper or anything, right?" She stops abruptly and turns around to look at Alec, "Not that you look like one. It’s just that my dad would kill me if I didn’t ask.”
“I’m not,” Alec assures her and then frowns, because what kind of kidnapper would ever actually admit to being a kidnapper?
But the girl seems to accept his answer because she simply sends Alec a smile like he just passed some kind of test, and nods, before starting to move again.
“So, how come you’re carrying all this stuff all by yourself?” Alec asks.
“Well, the box there is actually for a school project," she points towards one of the boxes Alec is carrying, "The other box, and this,” she holds up the plastic bag, “are for my dad. He owns the restaurant right down here,” she gestures towards a building a little further down the road, “which is actually where we are going. I promised to pick up some stuff for him. It’s on my way anyway - plus this way I get a ride the rest of the way home,” she grins.
“I think you could ask for a bit more than a ride after carrying all of this through the rain,” Alec comments.
“Trust me, I keep telling him that as well,” she agrees with a chuckle.
“Anyway, here we are,” she stops in front of the building with the sign Hunter's Moon hanging from it.
“It looks pretty closed,” Alec notices.
“Yeah, we don’t open until later. And I don’t think Maia is in yet,” the girl says, as she pulls out a pair of keys from her pocket and opens the door to the restaurant, which seems to be more of a combination between a bar and an actual restaurant. It has a cozy look with a hint of exclusivity over it.
“You can just put the boxes over there on the bar in the back,” the girl says and Alec does as he is told.
He then pulls his phone out to see if there are any messages from Jace, given that he should be off work now.
Which - of course - there are.
Jace: See, this is why I always feel like such an awful person whenever you’re around
Jace: You haven’t even been in the city for half a day and already you're trying to make it a better place by helping strangers
Jace: Anyway, where are you right now?
Alec: I’m at this restaurant … Hunter’s Moon?
Jace: Oh, I know that place!
Jace: Stay where you are, I’ll come to you
Alec looks up at the girl who is in the middle of moving some stuff around behind the bar.
“Hey, do you think it would it be ok if I waited here for a friend to arrive?” He asks.
“Oh yeah, absolutely, just have a seat if you want,” she answers with a wave towards some chairs.
“You sure? I don’t wanna cause you any trouble with your dad or anything.”
“Are you kidding?” Her head pops up from behind the bar, “It’s the least I can do after you helped me carry everything. Besides, I doubt he’ll mind. He is not your usual strict parenting-figure. In a good way, I mean. He’s pretty great." Her mouth twists into a bright, warm smile, and Alec can’t help but envy her a little. It must be quite amazing to have a father that makes your whole face brighten up like that whenever you talk about him.
She pulls her hand out towards Alec, “I’m Madison, by the way - you can just call me Madzie, though.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Madzie. I’m Alec,” Alec introduces himself and shakes her hand—
Just as Madzie stops all her movements at once and stares at him with furrowed brows, “Alec as in Alexander?” She says slowly.
“Uh. Yeah?” Alec answers a bit confused, “But, really, Alec is fine.”
“Is everything ok?” He then asks hesitantly when Madzie continues to stare at him.
“Yeah, no, it’s - it’s nothing. Sorry about that,” she shakes her head a little and the strangeness in her expression is gone as quickly as it came, “It’s just - I think I’ve heard that name being brought up recently. But it’s probably just a coincidence,” she shrugs with a smile at Alec.
Alec is just about to say something when the front door opens.
Well, that was quick, Alec thinks to himself, wondering how on earth Jace managed to get there that fast.
But then Alec hears a voice that sends actual shivers down his spine.
He turns around just as the man behind the voice looks up—
And all of a sudden, Alec is finding himself staring right into the eyes, he has been dreaming about almost every single night since the first time he saw them.
Chapter 5: Are you married or something?
Alec and Magnus talk and a certain Herondale ruins the moment.
The words leave both their mouths at the same time, and suddenly it feels like the entire world has stopped moving as the two men stare at each other in confusion and disbelief - and something else neither of them quite understand yet.
Madzie, who has been gazing back and forth from Magnus to Alec, slowly putting two and two together, is the first to break the silence.
“So, anyway… I just remembered that I actually have some stuff that I need to go find back in the office, so I’m just gonna go and give you two a moment…” her voice trails off as she backs out of the room with a tiny grin spreading across her face.
“Well, this is certainly a surprise,” Magnus says as Madzie leaves the room. He is standing with his body leaned casually against the wall, his eyes studying Alec.
“Yeah, I, uh - I didn’t know that you, uh -” Alec stutters.
What the hell is wrong with me? Alec thinks to himself. He usually does not have a problem with expressing himself, but around Magnus it’s like he forgets every single word that exists. His mind just blanks out. He seriously needs to pull himself together.
“Was that your daughter?” Alec finally manages to ask while pointing in the direction Madzie went, and he immediately wants to shut himself up.
It’s a stupid question.
It’s a stupid question because the answer is so obvious.
“Yes. That was my daughter,” Magnus announces and confirms what Alec already know, “I didn’t realize you two know each other.”
“We don’t. We, uh - We just met. Right now. Today.”
“I see,” Magnus tilts his head slightly to the side as he sends Alec a curious smile, and Alec needs to remind himself how to breathe, “And what exactly brings you to New York, Alexander?”
And Alec’s mind crashes once again by the sound of his own name slipping so softly over Magnus’ lips.
“We’re a bit far away from Alicante,” Magnus continues, looking patiently at Alec, his eyes glowing with a hint of amusement as if he can actually see the struggle going on inside Alec’s head, “and somehow I doubt that you’re just here to see me again.”
Alec doesn’t have to look into a mirror to know that a red color is currently burning along his cheeks.
How did it even happen that Alec has only met Magnus twice, and yet somehow he has already been blushing more around Magnus than he has ever done before in his entire life? It seems that this is just how his life is going to be like from now on whenever Magnus is around; him shifting between being utterly speechless and his face turning pink.
Alec clears his throat before speaking and as he begins to explain to Magnus how he ended up at the restaurant - Magnus’ restaurant, apparently - he can’t believe how steady and confident his own voice actually sounds. Because the only thing Alec’s mind is able to focus on is how intensely Magnus is looking at him. And for a moment Alec can’t possibly comprehend how on earth Magnus’ eyes is the only thing he has been noticing well enough to be dreaming about.
Maybe he actually did hit his head harder than he thought when he crashed into Magnus’ car.
Because, honestly, everything about Magnus seems worth noticing—
The way he carries himself with a sublime confidence and grace the minute he walks into the room. The way his mouth quirks and the hint of a goatee surrounding it. His golden skin and his black-painted nails and slender fingers decorated with rings. Even his jawline, because holy shit. That jawline.
Alec never thought he would be the kind of guy to appreciate anyone’s jawline, but Magnus’ jawline truly deserves the attention.
And then Alec’s thoughts drift back to the rings on Magnus’ fingers and—
“—Magnus, are you married or something?” Alec suddenly blurts out, and Alec is only slightly aware of the fact that he is in fact in the middle of an actual sentence when his brain obviously has decided to shut down for good.
And Magnus is looking at him like he is currently considering whether or not Alec might be mentally unstable. A question that Alec himself is starting to wonder about because it appears that he is now completely incapable of controlling anything coming out of his mouth.
“Am I - What?” Magnus blinks.
“It’s just…” Alec bites his lip, trying to figure out how not to sound even more insane than he already does, “You have a daughter," he states matter-of-factly, "and if you’re married, then I just … I would like to know it now.” He takes a deep breath and clenches his teeth.
He doesn’t know exactly why he is asking - It’s not that he isn’t aware of the fact that you’re really not supposed to ask someone, you don’t even know, about their personal relationships. It’s just that right now Alec feels like it might just actually kill him if Magnus tells him yes.
“No,” Magnus informs slowly as a small smile flickers across his face, “I’m not married. Camille - Madzie’s mother - hasn’t been in the picture for a long time now.”
“Oh,” Alec says, relief rushing over him, “I, uh. I’m sorry to hear that.” It’s a total lie, but it seems rude to admit anything else.
“Are you really though?” Magnus asks with a skeptically raised eyebrow and a smug look on his face.
“No,” Alec confesses. There isn’t a hint of hesitation in his voice, because he knows that he, by all means, doesn't look particularly sorry at the moment, “Not really.”
“At least you’re honest,” Magnus shrugs, “You didn’t really seem like it either,” he smirks.
And Alec knows that he is blushing again when he bends his head down in a slightly embarrassed smile—
When something else entirely, sparks his memory.
Madzie knew his name.
“Wait a minute,” he frowns as he glances back towards the office where Madzie disappeared to, before returning his attention to Magnus, a sly grin spreading across his face, “Did you tell her about me?”
“Don’t flatter yourself,” Magnus waves him off, but if Alec isn’t mistaken, this is the first time Magnus’ face turns scarlet instead of his own, and Alec would be lying if he didn’t admit to some satisfaction, “Ragnor did. Apparently, you made quite the impact on him,” Magnus winks at Alec.
“Oh, yeah,” Alec chuckles, “I did get the feeling that he liked me.”
And Magnus laughs along with him.
And it is so weird, how effortless this feels to Alec even though it is nothing like him to act like this. He is not like this. He is not someone who flirts. He is not someone who makes people laugh. He is not someone who talks like this with people. But then again - Magnus isn’t people.
And Alec remembers how easy it had all felt the first time he met Magnus in Alicante. And how easy it still feels right this moment.
And Alec feels a sudden urge - a need - to explore more of this feeling.
He wants to explore more of this side of himself that he barely knew existed in him until now.
He wants to explore more of Magnus.
When Magnus asked him out the last time they met, Alec so badly wanted to say yes, but couldn’t do anything about it. It would have been too risky.
But they’re both in New York now. They are hours away from Alicante.
Maybe if he is careful.
Maybe he could…
Alec doesn’t get to finish the thought before a knock on the front door takes them both by surprise.
“Hello? Is anyone in here?” Jace’s voice sounds, and before Alec has even the slightest chance to warn Magnus about the fact that Jace doesn’t know anything about Alec being different, Jace’s face follows his voice as he shouts Alec’s name and the next moment he is practically squeezing the life out of Alec—
And Alec can’t help but surrender into laughter as he hugs Jace back, ever so tightly. Because it has been almost half a year, and no matter how bad the timing is, Alec can’t even begin to explain how much he has missed having his best friend around.
But then something happens, that makes Alec’s heart sink. Because Jace turns around towards Magnus and pulls his hand out and shakes Magnus’ like he has done it multiple times before.
“Magnus! It’s good to see you again.”
“You too, Jason.”
“It’s Jace,” Jace says in a tone that indicates that this is not the first time Magnus has gotten his name wrong, and Alec would probably have choked on a laugh, if not for the fact that his head is currently spinning like crazy.
“So, I see you two already met,” Jace continues in a light voice, like this is the most normal thing ever, “Alec, this is Magnus Bane, he is Clary’s Godfather. Magnus, this is Alec Lightwood, my foster brother and best friend. He’s going to be staying with me for the next couple of months, while on leave from the army.”
Alec can’t decide which part of that sentence is the absolute worst.
The fact that Magnus is Jace’s new girlfriend’s Godfather and that Jace and Magnus know each other - or the fact that Jace just slung out Alec’s last name like it’s no big deal at all. Which of course Jace couldn’t possibly have known that it would be. As far as he knows Alec and Magnus have just met for the first time, but if Magnus didn’t know who Alec was before he definitely does now.
And Alec doesn’t know what he expected, but it certainly wasn’t this - because, apart from a quickly quirked eyebrow, there is absolutely no visible reaction to read on Magnus’ expression regarding the new information on Alec. Alec doesn’t know whether it’s the pure look of horror and panic that is no doubt written all over his own face, or if Magnus is just an insanely good actor - and he doesn’t care which one it is either. Either way, Alec is extremely grateful when Magnus simply plays along.
“Yes, actually, he was just telling me so,” Magnus responds, leaving nothing to be read in the cool tone of his voice, “A pleasure to meet you, Alec. I hope you’ll enjoy New York,” he nods towards Alec.
“Yeah,” Alec clears his throat and tries to make his voice sound as normal as he possibly can, “Yeah, I hope so too.”
“Anyway, are you ready to go, buddy?” Jace pats Alec gently on the shoulder, and Alec can do nothing but nod, “I think we’ve been bothering Magnus long enough,” he says with a chuckle, and Magnus just smiles back at them.
As Alec follows Jace out the door, he makes sure to turn around and send Magnus a silent thank you.
“So, how well do you know Magnus?” Alec asks, trying hard not to sound as eager for the answer as he actually is, as he and Jace are on the way back to the spot where Alec parked Jace’ car.
“Oh, I don't really,” Jace shrugs, “I’ve only met him like a handful of times. Honestly, I don’t think he likes me that much,” Jace grimaces, “but Clary is pretty close with him - and his daughter.”
“Yeah, I met her. Madzie, right? She was the one I helped when I texted you,” Alec explains.
“Oh, right. Yeah, she’s a good kid. Magnus has done quite a job, raising her.
Though I’m pretty sure they’ve had their share of tough times,” Jace adds.
“What do you mean?”
“Just that as far as I know, Magnus practically raised her all by himself, while also building a name and a brand for himself. That can’t have been very easy,” Jace tells, “And even now, I mean, Magnus is kind of a big deal, and not only in New York. He owns some of the hottest places around Brooklyn, and from what Clary has told me, he is often out of town to fashion events and giving business lectures all over the country. You know, I actually think he was in Alicante recently - I think he was giving a lecture at Isabelle’s college.”
“Oh,” is all Alec can say as he almost chokes on pure air, “Yeah, I- I wouldn’t know anything about that. She hasn’t mentioned anything.” Why hasn’t she mentioned anything?
“Well, why would she?” Jace muses, “You’re not usually very interested in fashion. Or business management. Or people for that matter,” he pokes at Alec.
“Right,” Alec agrees with a slightly nervous chuckle, and when Jace soon after changes the subject, Alec lets him, even though he hardly pays attention to anything Jace is saying.
In fact, he doesn’t pay attention to anything almost the entire day, and if Jace were to ask him later on what Alec thought about the game, he wouldn’t have the slightest clue what to answer.
The only thing currently on Alec’s mind is that he needs to talk to Magnus as soon as possible, so he can get all this under control once and for all. Because Magnus might have kept Alec’s secret today when Jace walked in, but can Alec really count on it to stay like that?
Chapter 6: I wouldn’t take his word for it
Ragnor can't sing or cook, and Robert Lightwood is a dick.
When Magnus returns home to the loft later the same evening, he is in desperate need of two things.
Silence and a drink.
But as soon as he opens the door he is met with anything but silence. Instead, there is a high, terrible, off-key sound filling the place. Much like the sound, you get when you pull a cat’s tail. But since there is no cat around - what Magnus knows of anyway - he is pretty sure that the sound is coming from Ragnor singing along to some awful karaoke. It wouldn't be the first time.
Pretty sure, that is.
Either that or someone is currently being murdered in his apartment. That, however, would be a first.
Magnus walks straight towards the kitchen and the home cocktail bar because, if he can’t have his silence, at least he can have drinks.
God knows, he has earned it after a day like this.
Not only has he just spent hours at Pandemonium, trying to get everything together for the opening of the new club. That for itself has been enough of a headache, but to do so while still having the day’s earlier encounter rummaging around in the back of his mind, that has been something else entirely.
Lightwood. Alec Lightwood.
Jace’s voice keeps echoing in Magnus’ head.
Alexander is a Lightwood.
And Magnus doesn’t know whether he is supposed to laugh or cry at the irony presented. He is somewhat frustrated with himself for not realizing it sooner. Of course, there’s never been much about the Lightwood-family in the press, and to be fair, Magnus can’t remember the last time one of the Lightwood-children were actually displayed in public—
But even so, Alec looks like a Lightwood.
It’s there in the way he stands like he naturally owns every room he is in. And even when Alec at times has been stumbling over his words in front of Magnus, there has still been this silent authority behind his voice - the kind, that only comes from being used to having people listening to you and linger on your every word. It’s there in his physical features like his nose and the thick, dark hair and eyebrows and the ever-so-perfect Lightwood-teeth set.
Yet something about Alec stands out.
His smile for instance.
That goddamn smile that keeps catching Magnus off guard and makes his knees weak.
From what Magnus has noticed so far, Alec has two kinds of smiles. The one that is accompanied by a slightly tilted head as the smile shyly appears in the corner of his mouth, and the one that shows up in an instant and fills his entire face so brightly that you can’t help but smile along with him.
It’s not the kind of polished smile you usually see plastered on Robert and Maryse Lightwood. No, Alec’s smile holds so much sincerity and intensity to it, and whenever Magnus finds that he himself is the reason for making it appear, he can’t help but feel like he is being trusted with something sacred.
Something that is for him alone to see. Like that smile alone brings him closer to Alec than what is visible to the naked eye.
Magnus sighs deeply at the thoughts running through his head.
How the hell did someone, he just met, get this far under his skin already?
Drinks are definitely needed on a day like this.
However, the closer Magnus gets to the kitchen, the closer he also gets to a really, really horrible smell. A smell that for a moment makes him forget everything else he was thinking. Maybe someone actually is currently or recently being murdered in his apartment.
Magnus braces himself for the worst but as he walks into the kitchen, all he sees is Madzie sitting at the kitchen counter with a laptop open.
And then he notices the casserole. Whatever is in that casserole, is definitely causing the smell of death.
“Hi, kiddo,” Magnus calls out, trying to outshout the so-called music filling the place while still aiming straight for the alcohol.
There’s no response from Madzie, and as Magnus looks closer he sees two balls of cotton wool stopped inside of her ears.
“What’s up with your ears?” He shouts a bit louder at Madzie, and gestures towards the living room where Ragnor is currently living out his wildest Broadway-dreams, “You’re missing the concert.”
“I was here for the soundcheck,” Madzie shouts back, “Is he still singing Mamma Mia?”
Magnus listens closely before answering, “No. No, actually I think it’s Dancing Queen. Did I miss Mamma Mia?”
“You also missed Ragnor trying to act out both parts of the scene from Dirty Dancing while singing Time of My Life.”
“Oh, but how will I ever be able to live without that,” Magnus deadpans, his voice laced with sarcasm, as the loft suddenly goes completely silent.
”Is it finally over?” Madzie asks, as she hesitantly pulls out the ball of cotton wool from one ear, “Or have I just gone deft?”
“I think you’re safe,” Magnus assures her, “Now, maybe you would care to explain what the hell you’re cooking over there?” He points towards the casserole of horror.
“Not me,” Madzie says hastily, “Ragnor. Apparently, he is cooking some kind of special stew? He insists that it tastes better than it smells.”
“I wouldn’t take his word for it,” Magnus mutters grimly, just as Ragnor shows up at the door.
“Oh, Bane! You’re back. I thought I heard voices.”
“I’m surprised you were able to hear anything with all that noise,” Magnus comments dryly, “Is that your doing?” He nods towards the stew.
“Yes! Do you recognize the smell?” Ragnor says eagerly while stirring the food, “It’s the recipe I got when we were in Peru - I added some special secret ingredient this time, so be prepared to have your taste buds blown away.”
Instead of answering, Magnus just stares alarmed at Ragnor.
He remembers the stew. He has had nightmares about that stew. Sometimes he and Catarina even have long conversations behind Ragnor’s back regarding exactly how awful that stew is.
“Actually, I’m afraid we have to skip the stew tonight,” Madzie says quickly and comes to Magnus' rescue, “I completely forgot that dad actually promised me pizza.”
“I did?” Magnus asks puzzled and then meet Madzie’s gaze, “Oh, right. I did.”
“I can’t believe you choose cheesy bread with tomato sauce over an authentic, culinary food experience,” Ragnor says with distaste.
“Oh, well, what to do? A promise is a promise,” Magnus shrugs with a wink at Madzie, “Just, please, clean all that up when you’re done,” he waves a lazy hand at the casserole, “it’s been a long day.”
“Oh, right. Yes, I heard about your little rendezvous at Hunter’s Moon earlier. I mean, wow. What are even the odds of your pretty Alexander being a Lightwood? That has gotta stink.”
“Well, you’ve certainly been busy catching up,” Magnus remarks with a glare at Ragnor before turning his attention to Madzie with a raised eyebrow, “Eavesdropped much, did we?”
“Maybe a little,” she smiles sheepishly, “But I honestly don’t get the whole problem with his last name being Lightwood. His father is some big shot politician in Alicante, and so what? He clearly likes you. Isn’t that what matters?”
“Well, it stretches a little further than Alicante,” Magnus tries to explain, “The Lightwoods are a highly well-respected family in most of United States. And also one of the most traditional ones. I highly doubt the fact that well-behaved Lightwood-boys are allowed to bring home other boys.”
To say the least, Magnus thinks to himself.
Politics have never been one of Magnus’ favorite topics. It’s too serious, too much manipulation and too much of a corrupt business for him to ever get involved with. One thing he does know for sure though is that Robert Lightwood just so happens to be one of the worst ones out there. To him, it has always been more about gaining power and making a name for himself than it has been about actually making a meaningful change in the world. But this doesn’t change the fact that Robert Lightwood has been an important part of the political game for years now, and that he is somewhat highly influenced in the government.
Way too high, in Magnus’ opinion.
“What? Do you mean they would punish him for just being him?” Madzie’s eyes widen in shock, “That’s terrible.”
“It is,” Magnus agrees, “but not everyone is lucky enough to grow up in such a free-wheeling household as yourself, young lady.” He smirks at her.
"In fact, I think we could do good with some boundaries around here,” he continues with a look at Ragnor, “like no karaoke for example. Ever.”
“Now, wait a minute” Ragnor protests, “Don’t you think that’s something we should at least vote on?” He looks hopeful over at Madzie.
“Sorry, Ragnor,” she smiles apologetically at him, “but I’m with dad on this.”
“Two against one,” Magnus triumphs, “Looks like you are outvoted, Mr. Fell.”
“Wow. I feel so betrayed right now,” Ragnor says and manages to sound actually hurt, “especially because we all know that this is mostly about you being upset about your poor Lightwood-boy,” he comments in Magnus’ direction, “which you shouldn’t be. If he is friends with that annoying Jace-kid that Clary is seeing, then he wouldn’t have been your type anyway. And he would definitely have been too young for you.”
“Plus, he is way out of your league,” Madzie chips in, only paying half attention to the conversation, eyes back on her laptop.
“I beg your pardon?” Magnus quirks an eyebrow and glances over at her.
“Oh, come on, dad!” Madzie exclaims and lifts her eyes up from the screen to meet Magnus', “I mean, did you even see those eyebrows?”
“I did, yes,” Magnus admits, “But still. I think you’re missing the part where you 're supposed to be on my team. I thought that was the whole point in having a kid - to always have someone back you up be.”
“And normally I would be, but really —“ Madzie pauses dramatically as she holds up one finger, “like I was saying, he is ridiculously hot,” - a second finger - “he ran out of his car to help a complete stranger in the pouring rain,” - a third finger - “and last but not least he agreed that you should start paying me money for helping you out at Hunter’s Moon.”
“Was that before or after you told him how much I actually do pay you every single week?” Magnus quips.
“I don’t see how that’s relevant,” Madzie dismisses with a shrug as she leans back in her chair, “My point remains, that he already scores way higher than most of the people you have ever dated.”
“She does have some solid arguments,” Ragnor nods approvingly, “After all, he didn’t send us to jail after you hit him with your car in Alicante - even though he most likely could have done so easily with his father’s help.”
“Oh my God, will you stop with the jail-thing already?” Magnus groans in frustration, “and I would have you both know, that I indeed have dated nice people before.
… haven’t I?”
A small, awkward silence spreads around the room as Ragnor and Madzie share a quick look before looking back at Magnus.
“I can’t think of any.”
Magnus’ mouth drops, “Alright then. What about Dorothea? She was sweet, was she not?”
Both Ragnor and Madzie let out a noise of protest.
“You’re kidding, right?” Madzie objects. “I mean, Dot was great, she just kept acting like she was my mom or something. It was weird.”
Magnus nods slowly and thinks for a moment, “I see. Imasu then?”
“Now, he was good-looking,” Ragnor acknowledges, "and he appreciated a good karaoke," he shoots Magnus a deadly glare, “but no. The man followed you around like a puppy, Magnus.”
“He did,” Madzie takes over, “Wasn’t he the one who practically stalked you after you ended things? I think he showed up at my school once.”
“I didn't know that.” Magnus frowns.
He processes the new information as he slowly goes through a list of faces and names in his head, only to realize that Ragnor and Madzie are in fact both right in their accusation. Literally, none of the people Magnus has been dating through the past few years have been worth his time - or heart.
It’s a terrifying thought, really.
One he is still trying to wrap his head around when Madzie brings his focus back to the present.
“So, anyway - not that it isn’t super fun to sit here and talk about how bad your taste is in people,” Madzie says, the mockery in her voice clear, as she gets up and grabs her laptop under one arm, “but some of us actually have homework to do in this house, so…” her voice trails off as she moves towards her bedroom.
“Is this a weird a topic for you?” Magnus asks geniuenly concerned, “I know that parents aren’t exactly supposed to be dating and everything.”
Madzie snorts, “Oh, I know that you date. You know, last year I got called to the principal’s office at school - and not because I was in trouble or anything. No, no, she just wanted to know if my dad was still single, and if I could slip you her private phone number,” she glares at Magnus, “I think we passed weird a long time ago, dear father.”
“I never got a phone number?"
“Because I threw it out. You are not going on a date with my principal.”
"Oh, you hate me a little bit, don't you?" Magnus says with a tiny grin.
"Surprisingly enough, no," Madzie assures him with a smile, “- as long as we agree, that we don’t ever talk about the things you do besides dating,” she sends Magnus a sharp look, “and as long as there is a pizza delivered to my room within the next hour,” she adds with a smirk.
“Yes, ma’am,” Magnus nods.
“Oh, and by the way,” she stops abruptly on her way out and looks back, “please, remember to also sign my admission slip for the school field trip next week. I really don’t wanna have to forge your signature, but I will do it if I have to - It’s on the refrigerator,” Madzie gestures in the direction of the note, before motioning out of the kitchen.
“Consider it done!” Magnus shouts as he hurries to take the admission slip down and sign it before hanging it back.
He then takes a sip of his drink while Ragnor is watching him.
“Seeing the world in a whole new light today, are we?”
“Well, it surely has been some very informative hours,” Magnus admits, “I really thought you liked at least some of the people I’ve been with.”
“No,” Ragnor states, “We pretend to like them because we like you.”
“Catarina doesn’t count. She is just as much of a hopeless romantic as you are - But I do think that even she would agree that going after Alicante’s golden boy would be a huge mistake.” Ragnor adds with a close look on Magnus.
“I know that.”
“Do you really?” Ragnor continues, “Because I saw the way you looked at him in Alicante - and the way he looked at you. You might be able to fool Madzie, but I think you’re forgetting how many times I have been down this road with you in the past, Magnus.
He is handsome, he is smart, he is kind - and he is a bit of a mystery to you. You have never been able to resist any of that. Which means, that in a few months you will be having your heart broken. Then I will have to go kick his ass for breaking your heart, and I won't be able to do that, because the boy is in the freaking military and he will probably be able to snap my neck with his bare hands in his sleep if he wants to, and then I will end up getting my ass kicked. All because you couldn’t stop thinking with your dick long enough to listen to me in the first place.”
“You really do paint quite the picture, don’t you?” Magnus comments, slightly amused despite Ragnor’s long rant, “I promise you, my dearest Ragnor, no ass-kicking of any kind will be necessary. I’m a big boy, I am perfectly cable of handling this by myself,” Magnus winks playfully at Ragnor who just mumbles something under his breath, “Besides, I really don’t think anyone who is staying in my apartment rent-free, should have any say about my private life, do you?”
“Point taken,” Ragnor amends, “but all jokes aside, Bane,” he continues and looks at Magnus with a seriousness in his expression that wasn’t quite there before, “I’m here for all of it. You know that. The fun, the games, the relationships, even the heartbreaks. But that does not mean that I enjoy witnessing the last one. I don't want you to get hurt. So please, just promise me that you know what you're doing and what you’re getting yourself involved in when you see him again - because let’s face it, we both know that you are going to see him again.”
“If I see him again,” Magnus corrects, “I will keep that in mind, thank you. I got this. I promise.”
As Ragnor leaves a while later, Magnus leans back against the counter and exhales deeply as he empties out the drink in his hand.
To be honest, he doesn’t feel like he has any of this handled. At all. Because, deep down, he knows that Ragnor could easily be right in his assumptions about Alec.
Something about Alec speaks to Magnus, draws him towards him in a way that Magnus has absolutely no control over. And right now Magnus doesn’t know whether he should feel terrified or thankful for the fact that Alec is in New York.
He doesn’t fit into Alec’s world and somehow he doubts that Alec would find Magnus’ world very suitable.
Maybe it's because Alec represents a part of the population that Magnus has always thought of as those who was born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Those who have never experienced real bruises on their own skin. Magnus never thought he would actually empathize with one of them—
Yet here he is, feeling his entire heart bleed for Alec.
Because Magnus also knows that to survive in a world like that, you very often have to sacrifice a piece of yourself. Like your soul, for example.
He knows, that there is no way Alec has it easy with a father that much likely would resent him if he knew anything about his son's sexuality.
With a family and a life that demands him to be nothing less than perfect.
With a bunch of people just waiting for him to mess it up, waiting for him to even make the smallest mistake.
And despite everything, Magnus finds that he very much so wants to be the one to show Alec that there is another way for him to live.
Chapter 7: You know where to find me
Alec returns to Hunter's Moon to straighten things out with Magnus - But Alec really doesn't have a single straight bone in his body.
Basically, I love the idea of Magnus with glasses, and I think Alec would too, so I'm making it a thing now.
Happy reading x
Alec is standing at the entrance to Hunter’s Moon.
He has been standing here for a while now, avoiding the strange looks from people coming in and out from the place, and trying to figure out how to approach this.
Does he just walk up to the first employee he sees and requests to speak with the owner? And does he say the owner or does he say Magnus Bane?
What should he even say when he sees Magnus?
What if Magnus is the very first person he sees when he walks through the door? Will Alec even be able to say anything at all? He doubts it because around Magnus even something as simple as breathing seems impossible at times.
What if Magnus isn’t even in tonight? Then what? Alec has no idea where else to find him and he doesn’t dare to ask Jace.
What if, what if, what if…
He does this a lot. Overthinks things in his head to the point where it almost drives him mad. Isabelle insists that it’s a bad habit, and she could be right, but even so, bad habits are some of the hardest to get rid off.
The door to Hunter’s Moon opens once again as a couple walks out from the restaurant, arms slung around each other. They don’t take any notice of Alec, because they only have eyes for each other. Alec smiles at them, and he feels a pang of jealousy.
He wishes he could have that. He wishes he could believe in something like that.
Alec has never actually believed in love.
He believes in love.
Like the kind of love that he feels for Isabelle.
The kind he feels for Jace.
The kind he feels for his mother and the kind he sometimes can’t help but feel for his father as well.
The kind of love he felt for Max. Still feels.
He is just not so sure that he believes in the whole being in love. The all-consuming, can’t-live-without-you, need-you-in-my-life kind of love.
To Alec, it seems that love is nothing more than a trick that the world plays on everyone. It’s like believing in magic. It doesn’t actually exist.
How can something exist if he has never felt it?
But hearing the giggles from the two lovers in front of him, as they stroll down the street together, slightly drunk on some kind of feeling or alcohol; hearing the soft music playing from the restaurant inside, people laughing, glasses clinking, heads close together at the tables as secrets are being shared… Alec can see how it might be tempting to fall for the deception.
Maybe it’s Alec, whom the world is playing a trick on.
Maybe he is just programmed wrong.
Maybe he just isn’t meant to feel all the things that everyone else apparently seems to be feeling on a daily basis.
Or maybe they’re all just faking it.
He stays outside for a few more minutes. He begins to understand what Jace meant when he said that Magnus was a big deal because Hunter’s Moon is packed with people flowing in and out of the place.
Maybe Alec should just come back another night when the restaurant is less full.
He can’t chicken out now. He needs to get this mess sorted out - sooner rather than later.
And with that final thought, Alec takes a deep breath, as he steps inside.
Not a second goes by before a beautiful girl around Alec’s age, wearing an apron, rushes past him, carrying a tray filled with drinks.
“Hi! So, just give me a second, and I will be right with you, ok? I just have to get these going,” she sends him an apologetic, yet genuine smile, as she hurries past him.
Alec feels like he has barely had time to blink three times before she is back in front of him.
“Sorry for the wait. It’s a bit of a crowd tonight,” she says, and Alec notices the name badge on her shirt that says Maia - Manager, “What can I do for you?” Maia continues and the look she sends Alec is enough for him to feel almost guilty about the fact that he isn’t even there to buy anything.
It’s a look of pure delight and joy - one that leaves absolutely no doubt that she loves her job and that she is good at it. It’s a look that is seen way too rare in most places Alec has been.
“Actually, I was just looking for Magnus Bane,” Alec offers her a sideways smile, “Is he here tonight?”
Maia glances quickly up and down at Alec, “Is he expecting you?”
“Um - Not really?” Alec replies puzzled, though the words come out more as a question than an actual answer, “Was I supposed to make some kind of appointment in advance?”
“Oh, no, no. It’s fine”, Maia insists and checks the watch on her wrist, “Let me just go check if he is still here. He said he would be out around 9 pm, but usually I have to practically kick him out before he leaves,” she rolls her eyes.
A few moments later she returns.
“You’re in luck. He is in his office. It’s right down in the back and then to the right.”
The door to Magnus’ office is slightly ajar and Alec is just about to give it a small knock when he hears a voice on the other side.
“Mr. Lightwood. Do come in.”
Alec opens the door hesitantly as he moves inside the office.
Apart from a slightly messy desk, the rest of the office is neat and displays the same kind of fashionable decor as the rest of the restaurant.
Not that Alec notices any of that, because without even looking up at him, Magnus easily outshines everything else in the room without any real effort or competition. He is sitting behind the desk, playing with a pen in his hand, and his eyes are focused on a stack of papers in front of him - eyes that are currently halfway hidden behind a slightly oversized pair of reading glasses, and Alec swallows hard, because when did anyone ever get the ability to make glasses look that sinful?
“So,” Magnus says slowly as he leans back in his chair and moves his attention from the papers to Alec, “to what do I owe the honor?”
He sends Alec a mischievously wicked smile, and Alec almost loses his shit. For a moment Alec has to concentrate hard to remind himself of the reason why he is there.
He fails miserably.
“I, uh - Hi. How did you- How did you know it was me?”
Alec hears his own voice say the words out loud, as his brain realizes that he didn’t give Maia any name. The question sounds pathetic even to his own ears, but it’s sort of hard to play it cool when the only thing he feels, around Magnus, is his own heart beating faster than it ever has before. It is almost impossible to act like he is completely in control when Magnus makes him feel so utterly confused and desperate and full of hope, all at once.
“Well, Maia said that there was a ‘Mr. Tall, dark and handsome’ young gentleman looking for me out in the restaurant. I think you fit that description rather well,” Magnus says.
The worst part is that his voice doesn’t even sound flirtatious in any way. On the contrary, it sounds like he is explaining something that should be completely obvious.
When Alec fails to reply anything other than a few stutters, Magnus tilts his head slightly to the side and sends Alec a small smile, “What can I do for you, Alec?”
It’s just a name and it shouldn’t feel like being punched in the stomach, but it does. Hearing it coming from Magnus’ mouth just makes it sound… harsh in some way. It sounds wrong.
Alec rubs the back of his neck with one hand, the way he always does when he is frustrated about something. It’s another bad habit, according to Isabelle.
“I, uh. I figured we should talk - about what happened the other day.”
“You mean the fact that you forgot to tell me that you are a Lightwood?” Magnus asks and there is a challenging note to his voice.
“To be fair, you didn’t exactly mention anything about having a daughter either, so I think we are even on the secret part,” Alec snaps back.
“Well, it’s not like I expected you to show up at my restaurant any time soon.”
“And I didn’t expect you to be on some kind of first-name-basis with my best friend.”
They eye each other for a moment before cracking into a laugh, both of them at the same time, because what else are they supposed to do in a situation like this?
Magnus shakes his head lightly, still with a smile on his face, “You know… This could get complicated.”
“Yeah… That’s why I’m here,” Alec breathes out, “I need to know how you feel about that.”
“About things getting complicated? Or about your last name?”
Alec hesitates for a moment, “The last one.”
Magnus narrows his eyes at Alec, and it’s like he is looking right through him and stares directly into Alec’s soul.
“Well. First of all, I think I now understand why you don’t want people calling you Alexander. I’ll stick to Alec from now on if you want.”
Another punch to the stomach.
Magnus’ voice is filled with compassion and Alec has no doubt that Mangus believes he is during him an actual favor at the moment.
Alec opens his mouth to say something - that he doesn’t mind his name as long as it is coming from Magnus’ lips. As long as it is being said out loud with Magnus’ velvety voice.
But he can’t. The words won’t come out.
Instead, Alec nods, and says “And second of all?”
Magnus observes Alec for a moment, and there is a slight disappointment in his expression. Like he knows that he is being tested.
Because he is.
Trust doesn’t come easily to Alec, and right now he can mention on one hand how many people in the world he actually trusts.
Magnus isn’t one of them.
Alec wants to trust him. His gut tells him that he should trust him.
But just in case he is wrong, Alec knows that he has just given Magnus a perfect way out. A perfect opportunity for Magnus to ask for whatever he wants in exchange for keeping his mouth shut about everything he knows about Alec.
“I don’t want anything from you, Alec.” Magnus says firmly, reading Alec's mind, “I’m not going to tell anyone about this or you, and the few people who already know - like Ragnor - aren’t going to say anything either. You have nothing to worry about.”
Alec blinks in surprise. This isn’t what he had prepared himself for.
“Because it’s not my secret to tell,” Magnus says with a shrug, his voice softening as he speaks, “Besides, I’m sure the world has plenty and far bigger concerns than this.”
“Right. I appreciate that. Thank you,” is all Alec manages to respond, as he suddenly finds himself a little out of breath.
A weight has been lifted from his shoulders.
He should feel relieved. Liberated.
So why doesn’t he?
It’s a trick.
“Was there anything else?” Magnus watches Alec with a raised eyebrow, waiting.
“I- no,” Alec clears his throat and ignores the screaming in his heart, “No, I’ll let you get back to work. Thanks - again. I guess I’ll see you around?”
“Sure. You know where to find me.” Magnus smiles, and Alec’s heart runs wild—
And the next thing he knows, he has somehow made it out of the office and he is back outside, and he is breathing fresh air as his mind is racing with thoughts, his entire body struggling to survive, his lungs working overtime to keep up.
Why the hell does it feel like he just walked away from something important?
All the doubt and confusion that has been creeping up on Alec ever since he met Magnus for the first time is starting to catch up with him and it’s probably mostly his own fault but definitely Magnus’ too. And it’s terrifying because Alec isn’t supposed to feel like this, but he doesn’t know how he is supposed to turn it off either.
Not without knowing what it is. Without knowing how much more there could be - maybe. If only Alec dares to reach out and ask for it.
He barely knows Magnus, but isn’t that how it always is? He starts out with nothing, and maybe, just maybe, he could end up with a little bit more than he had at the beginning.
Just a little bit more.
That would be enough.
He looks back towards the restaurant.
If he goes back inside right now, then it will be like confessing to everything he has spent his entire life pushing aside. He will be crossing a line - a line that he has already long ago crossed on the inside, but tried so hard to obtain on the outside.
He looks back towards the restaurant.
He can walk away, and then everything will stay the same as it always has been. He can stay in his comfort zone. He can stay safe.
But no matter how much Alec wants to escape this, safety just doesn’t feel like an option anymore. He already started breaking down the safety net the moment he started looking at Magnus.
He looks back towards the restaurant.
Maybe Alec can’t escape it this time. In fact, he is not sure he wants to.
Chapter 8: Is this your way of asking me out?
Alec returns to Hunter's Moon vol 2.
Magnus tries his best to return back to work after Alec leaves the office.
Needless to say, he doesn’t have much luck.
His mind seems to insist on bringing him back to thoughts of Alec.
Something that sounds a lot like Ragnor’s voice in Magnus’ head, is assuring him that he just dodged a bullet by letting things play out the way they did.
He did the right thing.
Alec is clearly fighting some inner demons. Magnus knows this because he recognizes the look of that kind of inner battle so well. He knows what it is like to be young and troubled. He knows what it is like to just wanting and trying to be accepted for who you are - by everyone else, but by yourself as well. Sometimes that’s the hard one - Having to accept yourself when no one else does.
And Magnus wishes he could do something for Alec, make it easier for him somehow, but he has a feeling that this is something that Alec needs to figure out on his own.
Magnus definitely did the right thing by not pushing things further, and he decides then and there that if anything is ever going to happen between them, it needs to be Alec who takes the first step.
You know where to find me.
Maybe Alec will come around.
And if he doesn't, then Magnus will understand. After all, Magnus knows better than anyone what it is like to have something beaten into you; to being told over and over again that things are a certain way — Eventually, you start to believe it.
So Magnus doesn’t blame Alec for taking the easy way out. How could he ever?
The door to the office opens once again as Maia’s head pops up.
“I just wanted to remind you - again - about what time it is, and inform you that if you don’t go home within the next 10 minutes, then I will get someone to throw you out.”
“I know, I know. I’m just finishing this up, and then I will be out of your way,” Magnus holds both hands up in surrender, “Give me 15 minutes and if I’m still here, I’ll raise your paycheck and you can have the luxury of throwing me out yourself.”
“Deal,” Maia accepts with a satisfied nod and checks the time on her watch.
“Although I must say, I am a bit disappointed that you’re not here to tell me, that you have another charming man - or woman - out there asking for my company tonight,” Magnus comments with a glint of humor in his eyes.
“Really? The first one wasn't good enough?” Maia raises a skeptical eyebrow, “because I honestly don’t think I can do better than that. He was gorgeous and that wasn’t even the most attractive thing about him. He was so genuinely polite and he even gave me a tip on his way out, even though I’d hardly done anything,” Maia tells with a beaming look on her face, clearly in total awe over Alec.
First Madzie, now Maia.
Magnus is beginning to think that there must be very few people in the world, Alec wouldn’t be able to persuade if he put his mind to it. A fact that Alec himself somehow seems dimly unaware of.
Magnus shrugs, “Yes, well. We just had some loose ends to tie up, so nothing exciting there.”
“Oh, that’s too bad. But that’s his loss,” Maia says and sends Magnus a supportive wink.
My loss, Magnus can’t help but think.
“Anyway - 12 minutes left, Magnus,” Maia points a strict finger at him and narrows her eyes before motioning out of the office again, “I’m holding you up to that promise by the way,” she shouts on her way out.
“Wait, what? You were stalling me so I would lose time?” Magnus calls after her, horrified, “You can’t do that, that’s cheating!”
"Unbelievable,” Magnus mutters under his breath as he shakes his head, fondly.
He really should reconsider the moral of the people he hires.
He rubs his temples and returns to the papers on his desk with a yawn.
God, he hates office hours.
He doesn’t get very far with the paperwork before he hears another knock on the door, and Magnus doesn’t even bother to look up when the door opens.
“Oh, come on, Maia!” he groans, “It has not been 15 minutes already.”
“What?” He hears a voice - definitely not Maia’s - say.
And Magnus immediately looks up, eyes instantly fixing on the man in front of him.
“Alexa- Alec,” Magnus quickly corrects himself, “Sorry about that - I, uh, I thought you were Maia.”
Alec raises an eyebrow and sends him an amused smile, “What gave me away?”
Magnus smiles back at him, “What are you doing back here, Alec? Did you forget anything?”
“No.” Alec’s voice is steady and clear, even though his breathing is a bit uneven - like he has been spending the last few minutes pacing back and forth or something.
“I just- Magnus, I really don’t want you to call me Alec.”
“Oh...kay?” Magnus says, slightly taken aback by the sudden confession.
Alec looks unsettled, and Magnus studies him carefully to check if he is going to say anything else. It doesn’t look like it.
Maybe just a little push.
“So, did you come all the way back here just to tell me that?”
“No. Maybe. I- I don't know,” Alec frowns, “I haven’t decided yet.”
“It's ok. Take your time,” Magnus encourages softly.
Alec closes his eyes and takes a few breaths before speaking again.
“How would you feel - about things getting complicated, I mean?”
Magnus tilts his head to the side with a crooked smile, “Is this your way of asking me out?”
“Maybe,” Alec repeats, looking like someone who is currently having a major internal crisis right in front of Magnus. Which he most likely is.
“But that- that would be insane, right? If I asked you out?”
“I think that would depend on my answer,” Magnus remarks, “As I recall it, I already tried to ask you out once, and you turned me down.
And I don't really handle rejection that well.”
He doesn’t know why, but something about teasing Alec makes it almost just as much fun as it is flirting with him.
And it has absolutely nothing to do with Alec blushing every. single. time. Although that surely does things to Magnus as well.
“Shit. I did do that,” Alec murmurs, and Magnus suspects that he is mainly just talking to himself at this point.
“I don’t suppose, there’s any chance we can blame that on the whole concussion-thing? I mean, you had just hit me with your car,” Alec points out, and there is a competitive spark forming in his eyes as he speaks. One that Magnus easily accepts and returns.
“How about I’ll think about it?”
Not that there is anything to think about, really. Magnus already knows by now that he is going to say yes to whatever Alec wants, as long as it means that Alec keeps looking at him like that. But if Alec can play it coy, so can Magnus.
“Yeah. Yeah, that’s good,” Alec mumbles distantly with a slow nod, clearly lost in thought.
With a determined look, he suddenly walks over to the desk where Magnus is sitting.
“Can I borrow your pen?”
Alec gestures at the pen, Magnus has been flickering between his fingers for the past few minutes, and Magnus hands it over to him—
And for a brief moment, Alec’s skin is brushing lightly against Magnus’ and Magnus feels an electrifying, pulsing energy going straight through him. He wonders if Alec feels it too.
Alec bends slightly forward over the desk, as he starts to scribble something on the top corner of one of Magnus’ papers, and normally, Magnus would have been curious enough to lean over and sneak a glimpse of what was being written, but right now the thought doesn’t even occur to him.
Instead, he is having a hard time trying to take his eyes off of Alec, who is suddenly standing so very close to Magnus.
Close enough for Magnus to see Alec’s chest rising up and down along with his breathing.
Close enough for Magnus to be able to smell Alec’s cologne, or maybe it’s just the way Alec’s skin smells. Either way, Magnus doesn’t think he has ever smelled anything more intoxicating.
And Magnus finds that he wants to take every single piece of Alec in and cherish it.
He sees the way Alec’s messy hair is almost falling down into his hazel eyes, and Magnus finds himself wanting to reach out and put it back into place.
He sees the way Alec’s brows furrow and the way his lips are slightly parted, and Magnus has no idea how he is able to contain enough self-control to not lean in against him.
It doesn’t make it better, that Alec is watching Magnus, watching him, out of the corner of his eye with his mouth quirking into a smirk.
Then Alec puts down the pen, and he looks up, and their eyes meet, and—
And, fuck everything else.
If Alec comes any closer than this, Magnus is pretty sure that he might just come completely undone.
Magnus doesn’t think he has ever wanted to kiss anyone as much as he wants to kiss Alec right in this moment. In fact, it feels like he might never be able to find a peace of mind again unless he gets to kiss Alec. And maybe Alec feels the same way because his eyes are darting indecisively from Magnus’ eyes to his lips and back again.
And Magnus almost leans over to pull Alec in.
The only thing stopping him is the final voice of reason in the back of his head reminding him that this has to be on Alec’s terms. This has to be Alec’s decision.
So Magnus holds back.
“Call me,” Alec says, breaking the silence and the tension between them with a voice barely above a hoarse whisper, his eyes still locking on Magnus, “- when you’re done thinking about it.”
And just like that he turns around and walks out of the office without so much as looking back, leaving Magnus to stare after ham with an aching heart.
It’s a funny thing about Alec.
It’s like he is full of these fascinating contradictions - one minute he is so innocently and shyly blushing and the next he is making one of the ballsiest moves, Magnus has ever witnessed, with supreme confidence.
He is like a heartbreaker, completely oblivious to the fact that he holds all the qualifications to be a heartbreaker.
Magnus hears the echo of Ragnor’s voice in his head.
In a few months, you will be having your heart broken.
But the thing is, that Magnus doesn’t care.
He finds that he would gladly sacrifice his heart to Alec - And Alec can accept it if he wants to, and if it breaks, it breaks. Either way, Magnus has a feeling it would be worth it.
That Alec could be worth it.
And with Alec now out of sight, Magnus finally has enough sense to glance over at the paper with Alec’s handwriting on it—
And he can’t help but break into a grin because on the paper, is a phone number and just one single word written next to it.
Chapter 9: You should never trust good-looking boys
A phone call happens, and a first date starts to take form.
It’s 00.30 and Magnus has just arrived back home at the loft.
He has obviously not been at Hunter’s Moon the entire time.
Seriously though. He hasn’t. Maia kicked him out about half an hour after Alec left - with a quite fairly amount of pay raise in her pocket, Magnus might add. A raise she, in all honesty, would have gotten anyway, since she is, without a doubt, the single greatest thing that has ever happened to Hunter’s Moon.
But she doesn’t need to know that. If she did, Magnus would never hear the end of it.
Currently, however, Magnus is sitting in an armchair in the living room, alone, with a well-deserved drink in one hand and Alec’s phone number on a torn piece of paper in the other.
He really wants to call Alec - Even though it is probably too early, and a bit desperate, to call someone only a few hours after you've gotten their phone number and very cockily told them you needed time to think about it. And it is definitely too late to call someone up at 00.30 at night in general, unless you want it to be a booty call.
Is he going to call Alec anyway?
Yes. Yes, he is.
Because when all comes to all, Magnus doesn't care if it is too early or too late or too anything - He just knows that his willpower, when it comes to Alec, is already running way lower than he cares to admit. So, before he even gets the slightest chance to change his mind, Magnus quickly dials Alec's number, and he feels slightly mortified with himself when he can practically hear his own heartbeat speed up, as the phone starts to ring.
He feels like a teenager, about to call his very first high school crush and does his best to shake it off.
He is Magnus fucking Bane after all.
He can do this. Of course, he can do this.
Fortunately for Magnus' nerves, he doesn’t have to wait too long, because the phone only rings a few times, before a voice answers on the other end.
“Hello? Who is this?”
A voice that instantly puts a smile on Magnus’ face and a warm feeling in his chest, despite the complete lack of interest in the tone - Somehow it just fits Alec very well to answer a phone call with such a hostile attitude right from the beginning.
In Alec's defense, it is a complete unknown phone number calling him in the middle of the night. Most people would probably be a bit grumpy about that happening.
“My, my, Alexander," Magnus says lightly with a teasing voice, "You really ought to work on those phone manners of yours. Who knows, who you might end up scaring away otherwise?”
“Oh! Hey. Can you hang on for a second?” Alec says, and Magnus’ smile widens at the immediate change of tone in Alec’s voice.
On the other end of the phone, there is a slurred exchange of words happening between two voices, then a door closing, and then—
“It’s a little insulting that you even have to ask,” Magnus remarks with the same playful tone as before, “Have many wonderful men did you precisely give this number to?”
“... a few,” Alec responds, and Magnus can almost visualize the mischievous smile that must be curling up on Alec’s lips as he speaks.
“I knew it. You should never trust good-looking boys.”
Alec chuckles, “What’s up?”
“I’ve been thinking about that question you asked me earlier.”
“And I think, I've come to the conclusion, that one drink couldn’t possibly make it all that much more complicated, now, could it?”
“Really? You actually want to go out with me?” Alec asks in disbelief, and Magnus presses his lips together, trying hard to suppress a burst of laughter when Alec manages to sound genuinely surprised with Magnus' reason for calling.
“You know, your mood swings are really starting to give me whiplashes over here, Alexander," Magnus says jokingly, "- And not the fun kind.”
For a moment the phone goes completely silent, long enough for Magnus to start wondering if maybe he took the joke a bit too far, until—
“... did you really just say that out loud?”
“I did, yes.”
Alec sounds like he is mumbling something under his breath, and Magnus only hears the word fuck, and he already feels perfectly pleased with the response.
“What? No. No, not all. I just- I didn’t expect you to get back to me this soon. To be honest, I thought I would have more time. I, uh- I haven't really figured out yet what to do now,” Alec grumbles, and Magnus gives up on all hope of holding back a wholehearted laugh because, of course, Alec would be the kind of guy who would want time to prepare his next move.
“Well, what do you think?”
“About whiplashes?” Alec practically chokes out.
“About the drink, Alexander,” Magnus clarifies in a patient, yet amused tone, “but good to know where your mind’s at.”
“Oh. Right. Yeah. Yeah, that obviously makes more sense,” Alec murmurs in a way that seems to be partly to Magnus and partly to himself, and then clears his throat before continuing, “But yeah, a drink sounds great. Perfect. Just let me know when and where.”
“And here I was just starting to think that you would continue to be a challenge. I really was starting to believe that the word easy-going wasn't even in your vocabulary.”
“It isn't,” Alec reveals, “In fact, I don’t think anyone would ever use that word about me. But I’m giving it a shot here - mostly because I don’t really have a choice since I wouldn’t know a single place in New York to take you. Other than your own restaurant, of course.”
“Well, either way, I am honored.”
“You should be. It’s a huge task I’m trusting you with.”
“I can hear that. Any preferences I should pay special attention to?”
“Maybe just not a place with a whole lot of media coverage?” Alec suggests, “Not to sound like a jerk or anything, but I would really prefer, if we could keep this kinda private, between us, you know?”
”Nothing fancy then - Duly noted. And you don’t sound like a jerk. Trust me, I get it, and it’s perfectly alright,” Magnus assures Alec, and he means every word. At this point, it doesn’t bother him to keep things low. He has no interest in the public finding out about this either. Not when Alec isn’t out. Not when this whole thing between them - whatever it is and whatever it has the potential to become - is still so very fragile and unexplored.
”Exactly. Nothing fancy,” Alec repeats, “And nothing that requires fancy clothing either. And no dancing. Or singing. And maybe not a place that is too overcrow—“ he breaks off and pauses for a moment,
“Are you sure you still want to go out with me?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
“I feel like I’m being very demanding right now.”
“Oh, no. Not at all," Magnus says sarcastically, "Although - no offense - but I can see why you would choose a career in the military. You are very good at giving out orders.”
“Oh, they're not exactly orders. They're more like… guidelines - for you to take into consideration when picking a spot.”
“Ah. Guidelines. My bad.”
“So, anyway, uhm- Do you want me to pick you up or anything?”
In reality, it is such a small gesture, and it shouldn’t take Magnus this much by surprise, but it does.
Because, truthfully, it’s not a gesture he is very used to.
“Oh. You don’t- You don’t have to do that. I mean... only if you want to?” Magnus hears the insecurity creep up in his own voice and curses himself for it.
“Yeah, absolutely. I’d like that,” Alec says, and there is not a single hint of doubtness in his voice, “Just text me an address?”
For a moment, Magnus is speechless.
He has been on a lot of dates through the past few years, and somehow he still fails to recall the last time someone offered to come and pick him up before the date. And yet, here it is, just flowing out of Alec’s mouth like it’s the most natural thing in the world to offer.
You really are something else, aren’t you, Alec Lightwood?
“Sounds like it’s a date then.”
“I guess, it is,” Alec says slowly, and Magnus is well aware of the fact that this is probably the moment, where he is supposed to say goodnight and hang up the phone. After all, it is late, and if Magnus is being completely honest with himself, he is dead tired.
But then again, if the choice comes, where he has to choose between sleep or continuing to hear Alec’s voice in his ear for just a little while longer, he chooses the latter.
It’s not a difficult choice.
“I hope I didn’t wake you up by the way,” Magnus says in an attempt to keep the conversation going.
“You didn’t. I was already up.”
“Oh. Where are you right now?”
“Outside. On some bench. Jace is upstairs in the apartment, so I couldn’t really, you know…”
Alec's voice trails off, leaving the rest of the sentence unsaid, but Magnus knows where he is going with it. Obviously, Alec wouldn’t be able to to talk on the phone with Magnus while Jace was there. Not without having to explain who he was talking to.
“Well, I should probably let you get back inside then,” Magnus says with pity.
“It's fine. Really. I don’t mind,” Alec says with conviction,
“What about you? Are you still at Hunter’s Moon?” he continues.
“No. No, I just got home.”
“It’s late,” Alec comments as a matter of fact.
“I know. I’m getting ready for a new club opening, so sometimes it feels like the day doesn’t have enough hours.”
“A club opening? That exactly sounds pretty cool.”
“Hopefully it will be. You should come and check it out.”
“Oh - uh. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I don't think I’m gonna do that.”
“Alexander,” Magnus sighs, “You do realize that you don’t have to play this hard to get all the time, right?”
“I swear, I'm not trying to," Alec amends, "I’m just not really a clubbing-kind-of-guy.”
“... do you ever have any fun?”
”I have fun,” Alec protests.
“I highly doubt that at the moment.”
“I have fun right now," Alec states with a confident voice, "I like talking to you, Magnus. A lot.”
Magnus opens his mouth and is about to say something like that wasn’t what I meant, but then bites his lip to stop himself, because the answer is so earnest and sweet and just so Alec.
“That’s actually a pretty good comeback,” Magnus admits with a smile, “I enjoy talking to you too, Alexander.”
“I’m glad," Alec says, "But it’s still your turn now. So, tell me something fun.”
And Magnus does.
And for the next hour or so, Magnus and Alec continue to chat, with nothing important or intimate even being shared or mentioned at any moment. It is just simple small talk and late night chatting at its finest level - every word spoken with an ease and effortlessness that leaves room for new questions, witty remarks, and giggles in between each sentence.
It is two people getting to know each other.
And when the time comes, where Alec finally has to admit defeat to the cold New York night sky, and Magnus finds himself drifting more and more towards sleep with the sound of Alec’s calm voice on the phone, they both unwillingly hang up.
And even though it is far too early to say out loud, Magnus falls asleep, a little while later, with the sound of Alec’s soft laughter still echoing in the back of his mind and thinks to himself I could get used to feeling like this.
Chapter 10: I am so screwed
Alec comes across some disturbing news and goes to Isabelle for dating advice and a serious pep-talk.
If anyone is interested in donating a mute button for all the self-destructive voices in Alec's head, hit me up. He could really use it.
“— like, can you believe he would actually say something like that?”
“I'm sorry, what?”
“You’re not listening to me.”
“What? Of course, I am.”
“Alright, then what was I saying?”
“Eh. You were telling me about one of your classmates who got pregnant…?”
“That was almost 10 minutes ago. Oh my God, this is so unacceptable,” Isabelle cries out on the other end of the phone, “I can’t believe, I am pouring my heart out to you and you’re not even pretending to be listening to me!”
“I don’t think gossiping can be classified as pouring your heart out,” Alec comments dryly. He doesn’t have to pay that much attention to know the drill. Whenever Isabelle calls it is usually about one of two things; to gossip about one of the girls in her classes at college or to complain about the poor guy she is currently dating to piss off their parents.
That’s it. That’s the only two topics.
Alec’s main role in these conversations is usually just to nod and hum at the right times. And normally, Alec succeeds pretty well at that task.
But not today. Today, Alec has far bigger things on his mind.
Alec straightens up in the couch, at the sound of Isabelle’s high-pitched voice in his ear.
“I’m talking to you, and you’re not paying any attention at all. What’s going on with you today? Why are you so distant?”
Alec hesitates a little before answering. He hasn’t decided if this is something he wants to tell Isabelle about.
Sometimes, it is very ironic that they are supposed to be twins, when all the things that seem to come unbelievably easy to Isabelle, are the very same things that Alec finds most difficult to do. Like sharing or talking about his feelings, for example.
What’s currently going on is that in just a few hours Alec is supposed to pick Magnus up for their date, and through the entire day, Alec has been debating with himself whether or not he would be better off just canceling the whole thing.
He had counted on Magnus to take at least a few days before calling him back and then add maybe a week or something before they would be going out. He had not counted on the actual date happening merely a few days after he gave Magnus his phone number.
It’s too soon.
Alec needs more time to plan how to approach all of this - to get comfortable with the idea of a date.
It’s not like Alec hasn’t been on a date before. He has. Not a lot, but enough to know how those things are supposed to go, and how he is supposed to act. This time, however, there is one little thing that changes the entire game.
Thinking back to when he was younger, Alec doesn’t actually remember the exact moment where he began to realize that he wasn’t developing the same kind of crushes as his friends did. The only thing he does remember is that he was always very aware of the fact that boys and girls were supposed to like each other. Therefore, until now, the few dates that Alec has been on has been more or less forced - Dates that he has fabricated to feel just the slightest inch of normal, or at least so he could pretend to be. And every single one of them has always ended up with Alec causing some poor girl an unexpected heartbreak because no matter how hard he tried he just didn't feel anything.
So even though this isn’t technically Alec’s first date, in so many aspects it still feels like it might as well be.
It is Alec’s first date with a man. It is the first date that he actually wants to go on with someone he actually wants to be dating.
And maybe normal people would feel somewhat excited or even thrilled about this very fact. Alec, however, just feels fucking terrified.
Because it is also the first time he is going on a date with someone he wants to impress. He just has no idea how to do so.
And maybe that is why, Alec, against all his better instincts, decides to spill the news to Isabelle.
“I have a date tonight.” He announces.
“You what? Are you serious right now?” Isabelle’s voice holds a certain amount of doubt to it, which is soon replaced by concern, “Oh, no. Please, please, tell me you didn’t let mom convince you to go on a date with that blonde girl, she keeps going on about.”
“What? No! No, it’s not- it’s nothing like that, ok?” Alec sighs, “Listen, do you remember that guy I told you about in Alicante? The guy that hit me with his car?”
“The guy that scored eleven on the good-looking scale and who you so stupidly said no to go out with?”
“You know, sometimes it's enough to just answer with a simple yes or no.”
“What about him?"
"He is the one I have a date with.”
“WHAT?!” Isabelle practically screams into the phone, and Alec is certain that he just lost all hearing in his ear.
“Oh my God, I can’t believe this! Alec, this is so great! I am so-“ Isabelle stops abruptly mid-sentence and when her voice returns on the phone it is in a completely different tone.
“No, actually, you know, what I can’t believe, Alec? I can’t believe, that you just let me ramble on about some stupid knocked-up girl and then an equally stupid Meliorn for 20 minutes instead of telling me this the second I called you.”
“Are you done yet?”
“Oh, I’m not even getting started,” Isabelle declares furiously, “How long have you known about this date happening? Seriously, Alec, I tell you everything - as in EVERYTHING. Why haven’t you told me anything about this?!”
“I literally just did,” Alec points out, “and stop acting like any of the stuff you tell me is for my benefit. We both know that’s not the case. In fact, if it was up to me, I really couldn’t care less about 90 percent of the things you tell me.”
“Why are you trying to change the subject right now?” Isabelle accuses, “I just- Alec, this is wild. How did this even happen?”
Alec slowly talks Isabelle through the bones of the story - right from how he met Magnus’ daughter to his and Magnus’ late night conversation the other night, all without going too much into details as it somehow always ends up sounding foolish when he tries putting it into words.
It’s like the heart of the situation just refuses to be put into interpretation.
“Wow,” Isabelle breathes out as Alec eventually finishes off after several minutes of fumbling his way through the subject, “That is just... Wow. So, let me just get this straight - this guy is Clary’s Godfather?”
“That’s so weird, because we actually had this lecture in one of my classes not that long ago, and Jace told me that Clary knew the- Wait a minute,” Isabelle pauses thoughtfully, “You said his name was Magnus. Magnus as in Magnus Bane? YOU’RE GOING ON A DATE WITH MAGNUS BANE?!”
It’s safe to say, that if Alec didn’t already think he had gone deaf from Isabelle’s screaming from before, he definitely is now.
“Yeah, Jace did mention something about you might knowing who he was,” Alec mumbles, as he starts to consider if maybe telling Isabelle about Magnus wasn’t the greatest idea.
“KNOW HIM?!” Isabelle continues in the same over-ecstatic tone, “Alec, he is like a God or something. How - and I mean this in the kindest way possible - how in the world did you ever get someone like Magnus Bane to go out with you?”
“Thanks," Alec says sarcastically, "and just for the record, I think you and I have very different opinions to what the word kind means.”
“Not like that. It’s just that Magnus is one of the biggest fashion icons to ever exist. And well, you’re definitely not.”
“Well, don’t get too excited about it just yet. I’m not even entirely sure that I’m actually going on this thing.”
“What are you talking about? Alec, I swear to God, if you don’t go on this date, then I will come to New York and I am literally going to kick you in the balls,” Isabelle threatens, making sure to punctuate every word carefully.
“I just don't know if I am ready for something like this... or if I will be able to keep up with someone like him.”
“What do you mean? He has already agreed to go out with you, hasn’t he? And that is after you turned him down. And after you behaved like a complete asshole. Clearly, you must be doing something right if he still wants to see you.”
“There, uh, there might be something else I haven’t told you...” Alec says hesitantly.
“It’s not something I’m particularly proud of.”
“Alexander Gideon Lightwood, what did you do?” Isabelle demands, and she is using the voice - the recognizable, sharp Isabelle Lightwood-voice where you just know that she is gonna be pissed at you, no matter what you say next.
“... I might have googled him.”
“Please, tell me, you’re kidding.”
“You’re an idiot.”
“No, seriously. What the hell were you thinking, Alec?”
“I wasn’t thinking,” Alec admits, “Only that everyone else seemed to know who he was, except for me, and I just- I panicked. I wanted to know what I was getting myself into.”
“And when did this horrible idea of yours take place?”
“So, I am guessing, since you’re telling me now, that you discovered something you didn’t like?”
“It’s not that. It’s just... He is everywhere, Iz. He literally ranges in the top 5 of the hottest bachelors in the New York Post. He has organized events for some of the most famous people in the world. He has dated movie stars, singers— I swear, there is even one article that claims that he has been with Beyoncé.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s just a rumor - which is also why you shouldn’t google people in the first place. Because most of the stuff that’s up there doesn't exactly equal truth,” Isabelle reprimands, “I do hope you realize how much of a hypocrite you’re coming off as right now, by the way.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means, that you of all people should know what it is like when someone judges you based on things they read on the internet.”
And that one hits right where it should. Because Alec should know better than this. He has spent his entire life trying to avoid having his name plastered everywhere in the news. He has even witnessed and defended Isabelle several times over the years when she has ended up with her name in the headlines.
Isabelle is right. He is an idiot.
“Shit,” Alec murmurs as he leans back and covers his face with one hand, “I’m the most horrible person in the world, aren’t I?”
“No... You're not.” Isabelle says, her voice softening, “You’re not a horrible person, Alec. But if you cancel on Magnus, just because of some stupid articles you’ve read online, then you’re not giving him a proper chance. And then you're a horrible person. Because no one deserves that."
“You’re right. You’re right. It’s just-“ Alec sighs, “Fuck. You should see him, Iz.”
“I have seen him, you know.”
“No, I mean like really see him," Alec elaborates, "He is so... It’s like there is this spark in him and it lights up everything and everyone around him. He is not the least afraid of being exactly who he is, and he has this extraordinary life, and apparently, he has been dating all these incredible people, and I... I am so screwed.” Alec breathes the last word out and somehow screwed still seems like the biggest understatement ever. It feels more like he is going into war, blindfolded and one hundred percent unprepared and unqualified for whatever comes next.
“You're really not being fair to yourself right now.”
“Maybe not, but at least I’m being honest.”
“Alec, listen to me. There is really just one question that matters here, and that’s whether you like Magnus or not?”
“But that’s just it, Iz. I don’t know the answer to that question. I mean, I think I could, but I... I don’t know.”
“It frightens you,” Isabelle finishes matter-of-factly.
“Because... because what if it turns out to be a mistake?” Alec thinks out loud, “And even if it doesn’t and everything goes well, then what? What the hell am I supposed to do then?”
“Jesus, Alec. Chill. No one says you have to marry the guy or have his babies or anything. It's one date. And even if it turns out to be a mistake, then so what? Isn’t it better to make a mistake than to keep on living a lie?”
“Look,” Isabelle continues softly, “I know, this is hard on you, Alec. I’ve seen you struggle with this for years now, to the point where it almost broke you. So if you really don’t feel ready to go out with Magnus tonight, then it’s ok. As long as you don’t base your entire decision off on fear. You’ll just end up regretting it so much if you do. But, I promise you, no matter what you decide to do, no matter what happens with Magnus, I’m gonna be here to support you. Just like I always have. You’re not alone in this, Alec. Remember that.”
It’s been almost three hours since Alec’s conversation with Isabelle.
There are approximately 45 minutes until his date with Magnus. 45 minutes and Alec is still not sure if he actually wants to do this.
Or, well, he knows that he wants to. He just doesn't know if he is actually capable of going through with it.
When all comes to all, it's not the specific things, that Alec has discovered about Magnus, that bothers him. Not really, anyway. What bothers him, is how vulnerable and totally out of his depth he feels right now.
It's so easy to talk to Magnus whenever they are alone - whether it is on the phone or face to face. And maybe this wouldn’t all feel like such a big deal if only the reality could be just as easy. If only Alec knew how to make things stay that easy.
But the reality is never easy.
The reality is that, unlike Alec, Magnus is used to going on dates. He is clearly used to being surrounded by admirers, everywhere he goes. He is used to people wanting his attention. And it shouldn't come as a shock to Alec when Magnus looks the way he does and is the way he is. Obviously, a lot of people must be standing in line for someone like him. But it’s one thing to assume it, it’s a whole other thing to have it confirmed in black and white.
And Alec is well aware that he is paying the price for his own stupid mistake, but all he can think about now is that he can’t possibly live up to whatever expectations Magnus might have. Because how the hell is Alec supposed to compete with any of this?
The reality is also, that even though Alec wants more than anything to break free from this cheap gilded cage he placed himself in years ago, there is still a constant battle between his mind and his heart, between what he wants and what he believes to be right. He silently wishes, that he could just not care what other people think about him, in the same way that Isabelle does - in the same way, that Magnus does - but it has proven to be a lot harder than Alec thought it would be, to let go of the lessons he has been taught while growing up.
In reality, nothing feels very easy at the moment.
In reality, it is all just too much.
Restlessly, Alec bounces his leg up and down, as he goes through the messages on his phone until he finds that one unsent text, he wrote this morning, and stares at it.
The message he has been deleting and typing over and over again. And he continues to look at it as his finger lingers in the air just above the send button.
Alec: I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can do this.
Chapter 11: To us
Ragnor should *never* be allowed to pick out dating spots.
Magnus steps out of the shower. He puts on a carefully selected outfit. He styles his hair in its usual spikey mohawk. He applies his makeup.
It takes time to look this good, and Magnus is running late, but it doesn’t matter, because so is Alec. At least Magnus assumes, that Alec is late. He should have been there almost 15 minutes ago, but Magnus has yet to hear from him. In fact, he hasn’t heard anything from Alec the entire day.
He tries to ignore the knot in his stomach that tells him that maybe Alec isn’t running late. Maybe he just changed his mind.
Magnus can’t think like that. There are a hundred reasons why Alec could be late. After all, this is the same guy who got hit by a car on his way to an appointment in Alicante, and the same guy who stopped everything he was doing to help Madzie when he saw her struggling on the street in New York.
In many ways, unforeseen circumstances do seem to follow Alec everywhere he goes.
And then combined with the New York traffic at this point of the hour?
But, still ... Wouldn’t he have at least texted if something had gotten in his way?
Magnus usually isn’t like this - questioning and analyzing every little detail and possibility. Usually, he is a lot cooler than this. But Alec is beginning to slowly unlock something in him - something that Magnus was starting to forget, something that he was beginning to convince himself that he didn’t need in his life.
He really, really wants tonight to go well.
Magnus checks his phone again. Still no messages. He starts to genuinely worry if maybe something has happened to Alec, and therefore decides to swallow his pride and sends Alec a text.
Magnus: Everything ok? Just checking if we’re still on for tonight.
Only half a minute or something goes by before a message ticks in. Magnus reaches towards the phone, reluctantly. If he is being stood up in this very moment, at least no one is home to witness it. He certainly doesn’t need the pity looks from Ragnor nor Madzie.
Alec: Definitely. Sorry for being late - got caught up back at the apartment, but I’m on my way.
And Magnus lets out a breath that he didn’t even realize he had been holding.
Alec is on his way.
This is actually happening.
The next 15 minutes goes by incredibly slowly until finally, there’s a knock on the door.
Magnus opens, and right there on the other side of the door is Alec. And Magnus wonders if he will ever get used to the way his heart skips a beat every time Alec looks at him. He hopes not.
“Wow, you look very…” Alec swallows and blinks as he looks at Magnus with wide eyes, before a frown covers his expression, “I thought we agreed on nothing fancy.”
“Trust me, this is my nothing fancy,” Magnus smirks and he means it. He is almost entirely dressed in black except from a silver necklace that rests on his chest, a sparkly belt and a blazer in a red and black pattern. His makeup is kept on a basic of simple black eyeliner.
Clearly, he could have done a lot worse. Alec doesn’t look very convinced, though.
“You look good,” Alec adds quickly. “I just feel very underdressed now.”
“You shouldn’t. You look pretty outstanding yourself,” Magnus assures him, and he means that as well. Unlike Magnus, Alec is completely in black, and Magnus had expected nothing else because so far he has yet to see Alec in any other color.
And it just so happens that Magnus knows that it is actually pretty difficult to pull off a total black outfit, without looking like you’re either going to a funeral or going through some kind of extreme goth-phase. Alec, however, pulls it off perfectly. In fact, Magnus doesn’t think that the color black has ever looked more beautiful. Or sexy, for that matter. Until this very moment, Magnus wasn’t entirely aware of the fact that he apparently has a major thing for black leather jackets, but he so does.
Or maybe he just has a thing for the way Alec makes a black leather jacket look.
“I’m sorry it took me so long to get here,” Alec says.
“Don’t worry about it. You’re here now, aren't you?” Magnus sends him a smile, that Alec returns widely.
“Ready to go?”
Alec nods and gestures his arm out, “Lead the way.”
To say that Magnus has been in a bit of a pickle about finding the right place for tonight, would be the biggest understatement of the year. Magnus doesn’t know any low-key places. He usually spends his nights at his own restaurants or clubs, and when he doesn’t he still aims for high-end places. Preferably the ones that require an invitation or a guest list. None of which would check the list for Alec’s criteria for tonight’s location.
So in lack of better options, Magnus had called Ragnor for emergency help, and Ragnor had ended up suggesting a place called Jade Wolf. It's not a place Magnus has ever heard of, and usually that would be enough reason for him to reject the place immediately, but in this case, that very fact just might means that in some odd way Jade Wolf could turn out to be exactly what Magnus needs.
Because if Magnus has never heard about it, there will be little to no chance that anyone else has heard about it either.
But now that Magnus is here, it becomes far more clear to why no one has heard about this place. And he does not mean that in any good way.
Because Jade Wolf is a dump. It is so far away from everything that Magnus briefly wonders if he is even still in New York. The place itself looks like a mix between a Chinese restaurant and an American diner gone wrong. There is a disgusting wet-dog smell covering the entire place, and the only people that are there, besides Magnus and Alec, are people who look like they haven’t moved out of their spot in 17,000 years.
The good news is that there is absolutely zero chance of anyone caring about Magnus and Alec being there together.
“Sorry about this place,” Magnus says, as they find a table - or booth might be more of the right word, “I’ve never actually been here myself. I didn’t think it would be this…” his voice trails off as he gestures around the space.
“Oh, it’s not that bad. I mean, it could be worse...” Alec’s eyes meet Magnus', who is trying hard to keep a straight face.
“Ok, it’s awful,” Alec admits, “I know, I said low-key, but I didn’t mean this low-key.”
“And you couldn’t have told me that before?” Magnus shakes his head with a laugh, “Listen if you’d rather get out of here and go back to the loft, we can do that. No one is home right now anyway.”
In a split of a second Alec’s entire body language changes completely as he goes still all over.
“No. No, it’s - this is good,” he says quickly with a strained smile on his face, and Magnus watches him closely, trying to understand what it was in his sentence that could possibly have caused that reaction. Whatever it was, it definitely hit a nerve somewhere.
“Are you good?” Magnus asks.
Alec nods insistently, “I’m fine. Really.”
He doesn’t seem fine, but Magnus drops it. If Alec doesn’t want to talk about it, then Magnus isn't going to push it.
Magnus has questions. Of course, he does. He knows that there are reasons behind why Alec acts the way he does and why he sometimes switches between what is actually him and what seems to be nothing short of a mask perfected to keep people at a certain distance at all times necessary. Some of the reasons he can already guess based on Alec’s family name, but he also knows that there must be more to it. A person doesn’t simply become this way unless they’re forced to it.
But nevertheless, Magnus is starting to get some kind of hang of Alec, and how he functions. And Magnus knows that he can’t ask any of these questions just yet, because Alec would most likely react in the only way he knows how - by closing himself off even further.
So the questions can all wait. This night is just gonna be about them feeling each other out and maybe come closer to figuring out if this connection between them is actually something that could develop into something more.
“Alright. Well, since we’re here now, we might as well get the best out of it. What’s your drink? I’ll go order.”
“I, uh - I don’t think I have one? I don’t actually drink that much.”
“I’ll see what I can do then,” Magnus winks at Alec before getting up and heading towards the bar.
He has just ordered two dirty martinis when he hears a voice behind him.
“Magnus Bane!” A man exclaims as he walks up to stand next to Magnus, “I never thought I would live long enough to see you set foot in a place like this.”
Magnus looks at the dark-skinned man next to him, and it takes him longer than he would care to admit, to remember who the hell the guy is.
“Elias,” Magnus then greets, “Long time, no see. I had no idea you were a Jade Wolf resident.”
“My nephew works here,” Elias explains, “He called and asked if I could pick him up after his shift ended, and I almost said no. Right now, I’m glad I didn’t,” he slowly licks his lips, and eyes Magnus hungrily up and down.
“I’m flattered,” Magnus sends him a polite smile, as the two drinks are placed in front of him, “but I’m actually here on a date.”
“Oh,” Elias’ smile fades a little, before he continues, “Someone special?”
“It’s only a first date, so it might be a bit too soon to tell. But I have hopes.”
Elias nods, “I see. Well, I’ll leave you and your date to it then.”
He is about to walk off when he apparently changes his mind and turns back to Magnus.
“Here,” he says as he hands Magnus his card, “I’m free the rest of the night, after this - just in case your date doesn’t work out, don’t hesitate to give me a call. I so did enjoy the last night we had together.”
He walks away, and Magnus rolls his eyes. Elias and him happened one time, years ago. He is one of the many doubtful choices Magnus made shortly after Camille left him.
But Magnus doesn’t need any of that anymore. He curls the card with Elias’ information on it and leaves it at the bar, before grabbing the drinks and heading back to where Alec is waiting for him.
“Here we go,” Magnus announces, as he places the drinks on the table, “Now, I can’t promise anything since it was hardly the most well-equipped bar, but I think I’ve played it safe. Besides, you can’t really ever go wrong with gin.”
Alec studies the drink for a moment, before hesitantly taking a sip—
And practically chokes on it.
“Or I could be wrong,” Magnus frowns, “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” Alec manages to choke out, “It just- it just takes some getting used to, I think.”
He puts the drink on the table again, before looking a bit uncomfortably up at Magnus.
“Who, uhm - who was the guy you were talking to up there? He seemed to know you.”
Magnus takes a moment before answering. He had hoped that Alec wouldn’t have seen what had happened. Not only is it not the kind of thing you should be talking about on a first date, but it is also one of the things that would quickly end up with Magnus having to talk about Camille.
A conversation he is nowhere near ready to have.
“Right. Well, I suppose he did know me once,” Magnus says slowly but honestly, “But it’s a long time ago. It’s not of importance anymore.”
“Oh,” Alec breathes out, “You don't- You don’t want to catch up with him?”
Magnus stares blankly at Alec. A part of him is waiting for Alec to tell him that he is joking. Alec can’t possibly be thinking right now that Magnus would actually ditch him to chase off after some old fling, can he?
But Alec isn’t saying anything else. He doesn’t start laughing or admits to it being a bad joke. Instead, he is looking at Magnus with a serious expression on his face, his finger tapping nervously against the glass on the table, awaiting Magnus’ answer.
“No,” Magnus finally answers and sends Alec a small, sideways smile, “I’m exactly where I want to be right now, Alexander.”
The look on Alec’s face is indescribable. It’s a strange look of relief mixed with bewilderment and skepticism.
And Magnus begins to understand that maybe he isn’t the only one who has been feeling worried about tonight going well. After all, neither of them really know each other that well yet. Magnus doesn’t even know if this is Alec’s first date or not. He finds it hard to believe that a guy who looks like Alec never would have done anything like this before, but it would surely explain why Alec seems a bit on the edge tonight.
Maybe the best Magnus can do for him tonight is just to get him to relax and let his guard down a little.
He sends Alec a reassuring smile and raises his drink to toast.
Chapter 12: Do you ever think about kissing me?
The only people you can count on to always tell you the truth are the drunk ones.
The date continues surprisingly well after the minor disaster in the beginning.
They toast. They drink. They laugh. They drink a little more.
The nervousness that has been surrounding Alec right from the start seems to wear off for every drink as he begins to relax, and Magnus concludes that maybe Alec has just been in need of some fluid courage to get through the evening.
They come across a pool table at Jade Wolf, and Magnus wins every round. It could be because he cheats every time Alec isn’t looking - or it could be because Alec by all means definitely wasn’t exaggerating when he told Magnus that he doesn’t usually drink. It doesn’t take long for Magnus to realize that his own tolerance, when it comes to alcohol, is far higher than Alec’s, and that Alec is way drunker than Magnus is.
Therefore, it is also a bit of a surprise when they move on to play a few rounds of dart, and Alec somehow manages to hit the bullseye every single time - and that is no matter how many challenges Mangus puts him through, and no matter how much Magnus tries to distract him.
Which is a lot.
And Magnus begins to question if maybe Alec has just politely been letting Magnus win during pool. He half-jokingly asks Alec if he is some kind of sniper since he clearly has some serious practice in hitting a target - a question that Alec lightly avoids answering by just laughing it off and telling Magnus something about him being used to doing a lot of archery when he was younger.
It seems like a legit enough answer, but a gleam in Alec’s eyes makes Magnus wonder if there is more to the story. He lets it pass, even though his curiosity is burning.
Another night, another time.
There is more toasting. More drinking. Maybe a little bit of flirting - mostly from Magnus’ side but Alec certainly doesn’t seem to mind any of it.
The date is coming to an end, and it seems to Magnus that time has been moving by way too fast. He doesn't want the date to end.
And maybe Alec is thinking the same thing, because he suddenly mentions something about not being that familiar with New York and that he isn’t entirely sure that he can make it home in his current state - and for Magnus to follow Alec home doesn’t really seem like an option either. At least not one that wouldn’t include an extreme risk of running into someone they know - like Jace or Clary in particular.
Maybe it would be best if he just went home with Magnus.
Magnus is no fool. Alec is a trained soldier, and there is no way he wouldn’t be able to make it home to Jace’s apartment if he really wanted to, no matter how drunk he might claim to be. It’s a terrible excuse and Magnus knows it, but he gladly pretends like he doesn’t. If Alec feels like he needs an excuse to stick around, then Magnus is more than happy to let him have one. The thought of waking up and being able to spend the next morning with Alec is pretty appealing.
The loft is dark and quiet when they arrive, and Magnus is eternally grateful for that fact. He fetches some blankets and a pillow for Alec to get comfortable with on the couch. The idea of sharing a bed doesn’t occur at any moment. There seems to be an unspoken agreement between them that that’s not what tonight is about.
Alec is leaning against a nearby wall, studying Mangus’ every move from a distance, with a crooked smile on his face.
“You’re beautiful,” he mumbles, and Magnus isn’t sure that Alec meant to say it out loud. It doesn't sound like he did.
Magnus turns towards him with a teasing expression on his face and narrowed eyes, “How drunk are you right now?”
“Not that drunk.”
Magnus gives a slightly unconvinced nod, “If you say so.”
They share a laugh, and Magnus returns his attention to the couch as Alec strolls around the living room, taking in the surroundings.
There is a silence in the room, but it is not an awkward kind of silence.
Magnus isn’t new to the game, and he knows well that conversation as an overall is great and it works. But in this moment both Magnus and Alec are fully aware and relaxed in each other’s presence, and it somehow begins to feel way more intimate this way, than if they had been ping-ponging back and forth nonstop.
It’s quite rare for Magnus to connect with someone to the extent where silence feels comfortable. He isn’t known for being quiet in general, and usually, he would do just about anything to keep the conversation going. But with Alec, Magnus doesn’t feel any urge to disturb the peacefulness between them. There is simply no need for unnecessary word-vomit around Alec, and Magnus is pleased to welcome the unknown emotion.
He is about to ask Alec if there is anything else he needs for the night when Alec’s voice breaks through the air.
“Magnus, do you ever think about what it would be like to kiss me?”
And for a moment Magnus just stands there, all his movements frozen.
The question comes so casually and so out of the blue, that Magnus is certain that he must have heard Alec wrong.
“Do you ever think about kissing me?” Alec repeats unabated.
Magnus blinks and for once in his life, he doesn’t have an answer cooked up.
A part of him wants to laugh, because if only Alec knew how many times that exact thought has crossed Magnus’ mind.
A part of him doesn’t get how Alec can even question it - if Magnus wasn’t attracted to him, clearly he wouldn’t have flirted this shamelessly with Alec ever since they met.
And finally, a part of him just needs some kind of confirmation and assurance before putting more of his heart out there, and maybe that is why he, instead of answering, ends up asking, “Do you?”
The answer comes bluntly and right from the hip like Alec doesn’t even have to think twice about it.
“I’ve actually been thinking about it a lot lately,” Alec continues forthrightly.
Magnus tilts his head to the side and tries to hold down the smile that he knows is currently blossoming on his lips. “Is that so?”
“Is that ok?”
“You tell me.”
“I can't, because I still don't know how you feel about it. You haven’t answered me.” Alec points out.
“Trust me, Alexander,” Magnus says, “I wouldn’t have said yes to go out with you if I hadn’t thought about kissing you at least once.”
He looks up at Alec who suddenly seems to be only a few inches away from Magnus. Magnus doesn’t know how they ended up standing this close to each other, but somewhere along the way, Alec must have been moving fixedly and soundlessly towards him, without Magnus realizing it.
The atmosphere in the room seems to have changed, and the air feels heated, and Magnus' eyes dart towards Alec’s lips before he has a chance to stop them from during so.
Alec raises an eyebrow as he looks intensely at Magnus, “Only once?”
“No.” Magnus grins, “Definitely not only once.”
Alec looks down and a small blush covers his cheeks, but his wide smile clearly states that he is more than satisfied with the answer, and ouch. Magnus’ heart doesn’t even stand a chance.
Magnus wants to kiss him. He wants to kiss him, and yet he isn’t sure if he wants to find out whether or not he is actually capable of resisting Alec in this very moment. They have both been drinking, and Magnus really wants to believe that he has enough self-control to not get carried away if things should come to that, but honestly?
Honestly, Magnus isn’t sure that he is capable of resisting anything as long as Alec continues to look at him like this with slightly furrowed brows, deep hazel eyes and all his attention focused completely on Magnus.
Magnus breaks eye contact, before he loses the last of his remaining common sense, and clears his throat, “Alexander, I think we should —“
“Magnus, do you wear colored eye contacts or something like that?”
Magnus stares at Alec and for the second time that night he has no idea what to say or do, because where the hell that did just come from?
Magnus likes to think of himself as someone who is pretty good at reading people. There really isn’t much that takes him by surprise, and it suits him perfectly.
Or at least that is how things used to be.
Because Alec seems to have made it his goal in life to do nothing but surprise the hell out of Magnus again and again.
And he does it tremendously.
“Your eyes,” Alec continues, and it’s only then that Magnus realizes that he still hasn’t said anything in response to Alec's question.
“I have never met anyone with eyes like yours before, and I just- I mean, that can’t possibly be their natural color, can it?”
Magnus sends him a small smile before answering, “I don’t wear contact lenses. Of any kind.”
“Fuck,” Alec curses under his breath and bites his lower lip, “so they, uh - they really do look like that?”
“I’m afraid so. It’s a mutation - like a kind of heterochromia. Does it bother you?” Magnus asks because it wouldn’t be the first time if it did.
It’s not the first time Magnus gets asked a question about his eyes and their strange color, and it wouldn’t be the first time someone turned away from him because of them or claimed them to be some kind of demonic feature.
At this point in his life, his golden amber-green eyes are as much part of Magnus’ brand as anything else he does, but he still remembers a time where he used to wear eye contacts to hide their true color.
But Alec doesn’t look repulsed in any way. In fact, he doesn't even blink twice or look away.
“Does it bother me?” Alec repeats, and his entire facial expression seems to tell that he can’t believe that Magnus would ever think that such a thing was possible.
He licks his lips swiftly and shakes his head emphatically, “God, no. No, they’re- they’re beautiful. Magnus, you are so beautiful.”
He takes a step forward, and before Magnus has a chance to comprehend what is happening, Alec pulls Magnus close for a full kiss on the mouth, and thereby erases the final inches of space between them.
The kiss is unpracticed, desperate and messy, but at the same time it is filled with so much want and determination, and Magnus instinctively kisses Alec back. He allows himself to be consumed by the feel of Alec’s warm breath against his own, and the mixed taste of salt and dry alcohol and green olives on Alec’s lips.
Magnus involuntarily lets out a small gasp and Alec parts his lips and Magnus feels Alec’s tongue in his mouth as Alec starts to really kiss him—
And like a switch being flipped somewhere, Magnus is being brought back to reality and he immediately breaks away from the kiss.
He tries to catch his breath which seems like an impossible thing to do with Alec still having a firm grip at the lapels on Magnus’ blazer and them still being so close that their noses are almost still touching.
Against his better judgment, Magnus looks up at Alec and it’s a huge mistake.
It’s a huge mistake, because right now Alec is looking at Magnus with plumped lips and wide, lust-blown eyes, his chest rising heavily up and down from the kiss they just shared, and it would be so, so very easy to just pull him back in and kiss him senselessly.
Magnus wants this so badly. He wants Alec so. fucking. badly. He has wanted this exact moment ever since the first time he laid eyes on Alec, but
not like this.
Not when Magnus doesn't know how much or little of this Alec actually means or if Alec is only saying and doing any of it because he knows that he can blame it on the alcohol in the morning.
“Shit,” Alec murmurs with a hoarse voice, as he takes a step back and runs a hand through his hair, “I’m sorry. I, uhm - I shouldn’t have done that.”
“No.” Magnus says quickly and then regrets his choice of word, “No, I mean, it’s - it’s fine. It’s ok.”
He wants to say something else, something more, something like there’s nothing to be sorry for or just anything to make sure that Alec knows that Magnus is ok with this. That this is ok.
It is more than ok.
But Alec is drunk and Magnus is too and it is really far too late in the night for a conversation like that.
What they both need right now is to clear their heads and gather their thoughts, and then they can talk about the whole thing tomorrow - when they’re both entirely sober.
“We, uh - we should probably get some sleep,” Magnus suggests and clears his throat, “Do you need anything else in here, or are you good?”
“No. No, I think I’m good. Thanks.”
“Alright then,” Magnus nods, and the air around them, that seemed so intense a mere minute ago, is now replaced by something else. The kiss is lingering like a cloud above them along with all the unspoken words, unsure feelings and unreadable thoughts.
Magnus just needs to get out of there while he can still think straight.
Tomorrow, Magnus thinks again as he walks towards his own bedroom.
Tomorrow everything will be fine.
It has to be.
Chapter 13: Did he just call me your boy toy?
Two's company, three's a crowd.
Alec blinks his eyes open, slowly, only to realize that he has no idea where he actually is. It probably should be a pretty disturbing thought at the moment, but it isn’t. Something about the atmosphere in this place makes Alec feel calm. Safe. Like he can relax, so he does.
He exhales deeply and instantly smells alcohol. He sits up on the couch, a bit too quickly, and is rewarded with a dizzy and nauseating feeling. His entire head feels like it’s gonna explode.
He remembers all the times he has witnessed Isabelle coming home, completely hungover and sensitive to all movements, smells, and noises. He remembers thinking that she was being overly dramatic and whiny.
He definitely owes her an apology.
He rubs his eyes and glances around the place. He knows that he isn’t at Jace’s. This looks nothing like Jace’s apartment. In fact, it looks nothing like any home that Alec has ever been in.
Everywhere Alec looks, there is carefully paid attention to details. The room is a mix of old antiques and expensive, modern furniture, and half of the stuff looks like they've been picked and brought here from all kinds of foreign places around the world.
The entire place reeks with charisma - the same kind that Alec has only ever seen on one person.
Most of last night seems like a total blur at the moment, and Alec tries to wake his brain up, so he can put the pieces together. Or just be able to press a pause button on the memories flashing by too quickly for him to actually be able to contain them.
Did Alec really invite himself home to Magnus’ place last night? He cringes at the thought.
He remembers coming here. He remembers Magnus’ voice, Magnus’ eyes, Magnus’ lips—
He didn’t do that. He wouldn’t.
Except that he most likely would and he did.
Alec fishes his phone out from one of his pockets. The clock states 05:07, which is not that bad in Alec’s sleeping schedule. He briefly considers whether or not it’s too early in the morning to text Isabelle and ends up deciding that it’s worth the risk. His fingers move quickly across the screen as he types.
Alec: Hey Iz. You awake?
Alec: I need your help with something.
Alec: It’s kinda urgent.
It doesn’t take long before Isabelle is calling him. Alec quickly declines the call, and while he is in the middle of texting her the reason to why he can’t pick up his phone, messages from Isabelle begins to tick in on the screen.
Isabelle: What’s going on???
Isabelle: Alec, are you ok???
Alec: I can’t talk on the phone.
Alec: I just woke up in Magnus’ apartment.
Isabelle: OMG !!!!
Isabelle: Alec, if you just spend the entire night in the man’s bed then I’m pretty sure you don’t need my help with anything
Isabelle: But since you already woke me up, you can start spilling details ;)
Isabelle: Like, was it good??
Alec: OH MY GOD NO
Alec: HIS COUCH!!!
Alec: I just woke up on Magnus’ COUCH!
Isabelle: ... You seriously woke me up at five in the morning to tell me that you’re sleeping on a couch?
Alec: ... and no.
Isabelle: Did something happen?
Alec: I sorta got drunk last night.
Isabelle: YOU got drunk?
Alec: It seemed like a great idea at the time.
Isabelle: Why are you telling me this?
Isabelle: ALEXANDER GIDEON LIGHTWOOD DID SOMETHING HAPPEN???
Isabelle: Do you always have to be this cryptic?
Alec: I’m not. I honestly don’t know.
Isabelle: Explain, pls
Alec: I think, I kissed him.
Isabelle: You THINK?
Alec: I don’t actually remember it.
Alec: I mean, I’m pretty sure it happened.
Alec: But it could also just have been a very realistic dream, you know?
Isabelle: I don’t even know where to begin to help you
Isabelle: The way I see it, you really only have two choices here
Isabelle: Either you kiss him again
Alec: How is that gonna help me?
Isabelle: Well that way you’ll know if it actually happened the first time ;)
Alec: What’s my second choice?
Isabelle: You ask him
Alec: Hmm. I was actually leaning more toward a third choice here.
Isabelle: You’re not sneaking out of there before he wakes up just so you can avoid dealing with this
Alec: I wasn’t going to do that.
Isabelle: Yes you were
Isabelle: I know you, Alec
Isabelle: And you have a tendency to always make uncomplicated things unnecessarily complicated
Isabelle: JUST TALK TO HIM ALREADY
Alec closes his eyes and leans his head back against the couch and rubs his temples.
How could he kiss Magnus last night?
How can he not remember kissing Magnus?
There is no way he is ever touching alcohol again after this.
Alec doesn’t know how much time has passed before he hears someone rummaging around. He hears footsteps approaching and then a voice—
And then Alec forgets all the reasons, he has been spending the last few minutes feeding to his neuroses, as to why he should make a run for it. Because Magnus is standing at the doorway to the living room and even though his lips are currently hidden behind a coffee mug, he is slowly sipping from, Alec knows he is smiling because of the way his eyes crinkle.
Alec has never been more sure of the fact that he doesn’t need a thousand reasons to run. He just needs one good reason to stay. He needs answers to questions he has been spending a lifetime asking and ignoring, and currently, Magnus is holding all of them.
“Oh, you’re already up!” Magnus exclaims with a surprised tone, “It’s good to see you alive and well.”
“Alive? Yes. Well?” Alec makes a face, “You might wanna tell that to my headache.”
Magnus tilts his head curiously to one side, “More or less painful than getting hit by a car?”
“More. Definitely more.”
Magnus nods thoughtfully. He beckons a hand towards Alec, “Walk with me.”
Alec obediently follows Magnus out to the kitchen, where Magnus hands him a glass of water and some aspirin, both of which Alec gratefully accepts.
Magnus is watching him with unease - like he is on the verge of saying something but doesn’t know where to start or what words to use.
Alec can relate to the feeling.
Alec has always been a firm believer that emotions are nothing but a distraction. They cloud judgment. It’s what he has always been taught into believing, both as a kid and when he later joined the army.
Alec is good at being in control. He is good at standing upright with his back straight and his hands clasped firmly behind him. He knows how to give orders and he knows how to take them. He knows how to be strong and how to put up a mask up when he can’t be.
But it seems hard to keep all of his emotions under control when it feels like Magnus is slowly incorporating something entirely new and unknown into Alec’s system. It seems hard to find a way to be strong when Alec feels completely defenseless as he stands across from Magnus, looking into his eyes.
Alec doesn’t know how to do this. He has never learned how to do this, and he doesn’t know how he is supposed to feel about it. He isn’t good with feelings, and he certainly isn’t good with words about feelings.
Eventually, he decides to just take a leap of faith and cut right to the chase.
“Magnus, can I ask you something about last night?”
Magnus nods, and Alec continues, “Did we... I mean, did I- did I kiss you last night?”
“You don’t remember it?” A hurt look flashes across Magnus’ face. It’s only for a brief second before he has his emotions back under control, but it’s enough for Alec to know that the kiss happened. It’s also enough for Alec to know that he absolutely hates that he can’t remember it. That he can’t conquer the feeling or the taste of Magnus’ lips...
“Oh my God,” Alec mumbles to himself as he buries his face in his hands in embarrassment, “This can’t be happening.”
“Look, Alec,” Magnus begins slowly, “It doesn’t have to be a huge thing, ok? It’s fine. What’s done is done, but we don’t have to talk about it. I too can forget that it ever happened if that’s what you want.”
“Is that what you want?” It sounds more like an accusation than Alec means it to be.
“No. No, it isn’t,” Magnus’ voice sounds honest and vulnerable when he speaks again, “I just figured...” he trails off and pauses, before throwing his arms out in frustration.
“You’re clearly upset about this.”
And Alec is. Just not for the reason that Magnus thinks.
“Magnus,” Alec looks at him sternly, “I’m not upset that it happened... I’m upset that I don’t remember what our first kiss felt like.”
He watches Magnus’ expression change from doubtfulness to bewilderment to smug all in the blink of an eye, “Our first kiss?”
Alec curses himself internally, and he feels his entire face heat up. He hadn’t meant to put it in those terms, but sometimes things just slip out.
He recognizes that he really doesn’t want the kiss to be their last one.
“You’re planning on more kisses happening?” Magnus raises an eyebrow and his voice sounds flirting and promising, and Alec wants to give into it, but he needs to set things right first.
All of it.
“I hope there will be,” Alec dares to admit, “but I think it’ll depend on how well you take what I’m about to tell you.”
“I wasn’t going to come last night,” he breathes out, “I was still home, trying to figure out the best way to tell you that I couldn’t go through with it when you texted me.”
“Oh,” Magnus manages, and it surprises Alec how much it pains him to see the expression on Magnus’ face, knowing that he is the one causing it. But it’s too late to take back now, and even if he could, he wouldn’t. Alec is already hiding things and lying to so many people in his life. He isn’t going to make Magnus one of them.
If Alec wants this - and he thinks he does - then he needs to be as honest as he can be. Even if it turns out to screw things up.
“I googled you,” he continues before he can talk himself out of saying so, “- before our date. And it freaked me out.”
And Alec knows, from the way Magnus is looking at him, that Magnus knows exactly what Alec knows now.
“And I’m sorry because I had absolutely no right to do anything like that.”
A silence follows, and Alec wonders if Magnus is going to say anything. Maybe he’ll just ask him to leave. Alec wouldn’t blame him if he did.
But Magnus doesn’t.
“Why did you come?” Magnus asks instead, “If you’d already decided that you weren’t gonna go, then why did you text me back, saying you were on your way? Why did you come?”
“Because...” Alec takes a moment to gather his thoughts, “because I think I would have spent every single day regretting it if I had stayed away.”
Magnus looks at him with a contemplated expression. “Thank you, Alexander,” he says after a while, “- for being honest with me nonetheless. But I’m afraid that I won’t be able to tell you what I think you want to hear.”
“What do you mean?”
“I wish, I could tell you that most of the stuff you’ve found are rumors. Don’t get me wrong, some of it obviously is - for once, I’ve never dated Beyoncé -“ Magnus huffs out a laugh at his own intended joke, “- but most of it?” He offers a small, almost apologetic, shrug of his shoulders, “I had some rather bad years after Camille left. I think it’s safe to say that things got a little out of hand.”
“You don’t have to explain yourself to me, Magnus,” Alec hastily steps in, “because I don’t care. I know, that it doesn’t sound very believable at the moment, but I don’t care what is true and what isn’t. I don’t care who you’ve been with, in the past. I don’t care how many you have been with.”
“It’s just... it’s new to me.” Alec finishes lamely.
“You’re quite new to me too.”
“But it’s not just you. Like, this is all very new to me, Magnus. I haven’t—” Alec gestures between himself and Magnus, “I haven’t done this before. Any of it. I’ve never been out with someone of my own choosing. Until last night, I’ve never even kissed a guy before, and I’m not even sure that actually counts as long as I can’t remember it. I’ve never—“ he presses his lips together to stop himself from saying anything further because he knows that he is starting to ramble.
“It’s just- it’s a lot, you know?”
“I do. I get it. But you have to know that I don’t see it that way,” Magnus tells him.
“How do you see it then?”
“You said before that you don’t care how many people I have been with?”
“Because I don’t.”
“Well, I don’t care how many people you haven’t been with either, Alexander.”
“How can you not care about it?” Alec asks, slightly annoyed with how easy Magnus appears to be accepting this, “Magnus, you could- you could have anyone,” he realizes, as a memory from last night pops up in his head - the guy who came up to Magnus at the bar and so very obviously flirted with him, before handing him some kind of paper that most likely had his number on it. Much like how Alec recently gave his own number to Magnus.
“I just don’t get why you are insisting on wasting your time with me when you could spend it on someone who could actually take you out properly and show you off. Because I can’t do that. I’m not going to be able to do that, Magnus. I literally don’t have anything to offer you besides sneaking off to dirty restaurants. It’s the only way I can do this. You know that, right?”
“I know. And I’m not asking you for anything else, am I?” Magnus snaps and holds a pause. When he speaks again, his voice is softer than before, “Look. This might be a shocker for you, Alexander, but I like you. I like spending time with you, and I’d like to know more about you. At the moment, that’s all I want from you.”
“But... why me?”
Magnus shrugs, “Why me?”
“What do you mean?”
“Oh, come on. Have you seen you?” Magnus points at Alec evidently, “I don’t believe for a second that I am the first man who has been wanting to catch your attention. And - despite my obvious charm -“ Magnus smirks, “- I highly doubt that I am the first man you’ve ever found attractive. So, why me?”
It’s a fair question because yes, there have been others before Magnus. But every time Alec has found himself glancing at someone a bit too long, he has always been able to look away again. Until now. Because no matter how hard Alec tries, he can’t look away from Magnus. It’s just not an option.
Still, Alec remains silent because how does he explain something like that without sounding completely insane?
“It’s not such a simple question to answer, is it?”
“No. No, I guess it’s not,” Alec says at last, and then, “... but I think I like you too, Magnus.”
“You don’t have to say it like it’s the most awful thing in the world.”
“Isn’t it though?”
“It doesn’t have to be.”
When Alec doesn’t respond, Magnus continues carefully, “Why is it so hard for you to accept?”
It’s almost scary how close Alec is to open his mouth to say something - how natural it feels to confide in Magnus - but he holds back just in time. It’s too personal, and he wouldn’t even know where to begin.
Once again Alec is left quiet, and Magnus appears to get the hint. He moves a little closer to Alec and gently places one of his hands above the one of Alec’s that is resting lazily on the kitchen counter. Alec quivers involuntarily as his heart skips a beat, and Magnus studies him closely for his reaction, but if he is worried about Alec pulling his hand away, then it’s all in vain because Alec isn't going to do that.
“We don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to,” Magnus comments. “Maybe we should just take things slow for a while? One day at a time. I’m not going anywhere and I don’t mind waiting. You just need to stop trying to push me away whenever things get a little crazy.”
Alec nods. “I can do that,” he promises, “I, uhm - I’m sorry for being such a terrible date last night.”
“You’re pretty good with apologies, do you know that?”
Alec snorts, “I honestly don’t think I have ever apologized this much, to another person before in my entire life.”
“Well. If it helps, you weren’t all bad.” Magnus muses, “I did get to take you home, didn’t I? That’s pretty decent for a first date.”
“Right.” Alec grins, “But I, uh. I still think we need to do a second one soon. Preferably one that I can actually remember the next day. If you want to.”
“I’d like that.”
Magnus looks up at Alec, a soft smile playing around his lips, and not for the first, second or third time that morning Alec wonders how that kiss felt like.
“You know...” he begins slowly, buying himself some time because he has absolutely no idea how he is being this bold right now, “there is still one thing that I don’t fully recall from last night.”
“Oh?” Magnus smirks, and a gleam of mischief is forming in his eyes. But he makes zero move towards approaching Alec, and Alec was kind of counting on Magnus to take the next step.
He lets out a deep, audible sigh. “You’re not gonna help me out at all here, are you?”
Magnus shrugs innocently, but he is looking way too pleased with himself. “If there is something you want, Alexander, then I suggest you take it for yourself.”
Alec rolls his eyes at him and mumbles a “This is so not cool” under his breath, to which Magnus just grins wider than he already was.
Alec exhales and somehow finds a way to take a final step forward, and even though his hand is slightly shaking as he gently cups Magnus’ face, he remains otherwise calm.
He can do this. He already did this, Alec reminds himself. So how difficult can it really be?
“You’re still incredibly beautiful,” Alec thinks out loud.
“Are you still drunk?” Magnus teases, and Alec shakes his head.
“Not the slightest.”
They lock eyes with each other, and the smile in Magnus’ eyes and on his lips is the final encouragement that Alec needs. There are no other reasons needed.
And the moment their lips meet, Alec swears that he hears something click inside him like a key turning in a lock. Like he has just discovered the very last piece of the puzzle that has been missing for what feels like a century. Like he is being handed everything he has ever longed for.
The kiss is slow and hesitant - both of them feeling each other out, their lips finding a shared rhythm together. This is not Alec’s first kiss, but it still surprises him that there can be this chemistry in a kiss. He never knew it possible to have this kind of rhythm but he feels it so clearly now. Right there under the surface.
Undeniably. Insistently. Steady.
And Magnus’ lips are following Alec’s so effortlessly, letting Alec set the pace completely while still supporting his every movement.
When they break apart, their foreheads are resting against each other, and when Alec opens his eyes to catch a glimpse at Magnus, he notices that Magnus looks just as surprised as he feels himself.
“Oh, you’re quite good at this,” Magnus hums against Alec’s lips.
“So just to be clear,” Alec says, his voice low and raw, “this was better or worse than last night?”
“Better. Much better.”
“That’s good. Otherwise, I don’t think I could have handled not being able to remember it,” Alec says in all seriousness, and Magnus grins, and so does Alec, and Alec has no idea who moves next and he doesn’t care, because in the next moment Magnus’ lips are back together with his own.
It’s gentle but deeper than the one they just shared. There is no hesitation this time, no fear or nervousness. They both know that this is what the other one wants.
Alec parts his lips just an inch, testing it out, and Magnus welcomes the action, allowing Alec to experiment and explore in the kiss as much as he needs to while their tongues eagerly dance together.
Alec pushes them back a little and soon Magnus is pressed tightly between the kitchen counter and Alec’s body, but Magnus doesn’t seem to care because his hands are on Alec’s waist, on Alec's back, in Alec's hair, urging Alec to get closer.
Alec knows that he is getting hard and he knows that Magnus knows it too. Maybe it would concern him a little bit more if he was the only one, but he isn’t, and if there are some unwritten rules, that Alec isn’t familiar with, against getting this excited from kissing someone, then Magnus is without a doubt breaking them all too.
And suddenly taking it slow feels like the worst idea to ever go down in history.
Alec has no idea how long they are pressed against each other like this - it could be an eternity or it could be a minute or two or three. Time seems irrelevant at the moment, but either way, it’s enough for Alec to forget that anyone or anything else in the world even exists—
Until there is a loud cough to be heard in the distant, and Alec and Magnus instantly snap away from each other.
“We really should get some kind of warning sign in this house, for when it isn’t safe to come out for breakfast because someone is making out like horny teenagers,” Ragnor’s voice sounds dryly from the doorway, as he sends both men a tired look of utter disapproval.
Magnus lets out a frustrated groan. “Alright,” he declares, “it’s officially official. There are too many people living under this roof.”
Ragnor ignores him completely and nods a greeting towards Alec, “Good to see you haven’t gotten yourself killed yet, Alec. Thanks for not putting us in jail by the way.”
“What? Why would I—“ Alec begins, but Ragnor interrupts him.
“Now, if you'll excuse me - I’ll go wash my eyes with soap and give you two a moment to clean yourselves up.” Ragnor is already turning around on his feet as he calls Magnus out, “Just make it quick, Bane, and please give me a heads up when your boy toy has left the building, so I can get my morning coffee in peace and quiet.”
Before neither Alec nor Magnus gets a chance to respond in any way, Ragnor is gone, leaving both of them staring at the empty space in front of them.
Alec turns towards Magnus, “Did he just call me your boy toy?”
“He was dropped as a child,” Magnus deadpans with a lazy wave of his hand. “I really wouldn’t listen to anything he says if I were you.”
“Now, where were we again?” He gently pulls Alec back in.
Alec bites his lip. “I should probably go,” he says regretfully. “I think we’ve pissed Ragnor off enough for one morning.”
Magnus sighs. “I’m gonna kill him,” he mutters darkly.
Alec grins. “I’ll call you, ok?”
And because Alec isn’t sure that he will ever be able to pull himself away from Magnus again, if he kisses him goodbye, he settles for a quick kiss on the cheek, before he hurries out the door.
He doesn’t look back or slow down, because then he definitely won’t be able to walk away anytime soon.
Alec decides to walk home instead of taking a cab. It’s a long walk, but it’s still somewhat early, and he could use the fresh air.
This whole morning is like a major breakthrough to him and right now he feels almost invincible. To be honest, he has no idea what he is doing with Magnus, or where it is supposed to go - if it can even go anywhere. But it doesn’t matter. Alec has no expectations for it to be anything more than what it already is, and so, he tells himself that what’s going on between them doesn’t have to be any big deal. It really doesn’t have to mean anything.
It’s enough, that for the first time in Alec’s life he feels like he is beginning to comprehend what it could actually be like to be with someone. Someone who wants him and - more importantly - someone he wants back in all the same ways.
Something is happening inside of him, and it’s because of Magnus. Without Alec fully noticing it, Magnus is slowly starting to undo the knot that has been tied around Alec’s heart, and for the first time in forever, it feels like Alec can finally begin to breathe properly.
Chapter 14: It would hardly be the first time you broke my nose
Alec has a rough night, and Jace is an ever supporting best friend, because #parabatai4life.
(ATT: check 'notes' for warnings and possible triggers)
Following chapter contains nightmare, panic attack, physical violence (*very* minor), indications of previous abuse (will not be specified in-depth or discussed further in this chapter).
You’re 14 years old.
You are in your childhood home. For most children this equals safety, but make no mistake - you are not safe here.
Everything looks exactly as you remember it, but something is missing.
You realize what it is as you walk into the beginning of the house. There is no front door.
You move quickly as you continue onto the rooms around you, one by one, searching for something that you already know, you aren’t going to find.
There are no windows. No nothing. Thick, unbreakable walls, that threatens to swallow you whole, are the only thing surrounding you.
You have absolutely no way out of here.
You hear whispers. They’re overlapping each other, fighting for your attention—
but how can you hear whispers when you are the only person in the house?
You squeeze your eyes shut. You cover your ears with your hands. You do everything to block it out, but the voices only get louder.
They’re getting deeper inside your head, filling your mind with the same words over and over.
Confused. Unnatural. Sick. Evil.
You crumble. You scream, but no sound comes out.
Everything goes quiet.
The voices are fading until only one remains bright and clear.
You stop breathing. You hear footsteps behind you, but you don’t want to turn around. You don’t want to see the person standing at the other end of the room.
You can’t escape. You’re not alone anymore.
“I’m only doing this to help you, Alexander.”
The voice is familiar. It’s kind. Caring. The words are calm - soothing almost - but you tense all over. You feel the hair on your neck stand up.
“It is for your own good. You know that, don’t you? It will all get better soon, and everything will be alright—
“Alec! Alec, wake up!”
Alec jumps up in the bed at the same time as a raw cry escapes from his mouth.
His entire body is shaking. Dry tears are covering his cheeks. His t-shirt is soaked. His heart is pounding in his chest. He is breathing heavily, and yet he is choking.
There is a noise as something moves by the side of the bed, and Alec becomes faintly aware of a hand reaching out towards him—
And he instinctively lashes out. Alec’s body might be back where it is supposed to be, but his mind is still trapped in a nightmare, telling him that he needs to defend himself.
Someone is gripping him tightly by the side, holding him still, and Alec fights to twist himself loose, but he can’t. His body feels completely drained of all kinds of energy, and his mind is breaking down.
“Hey! Alec- Alec, look at me. It’s me. You’re ok. It’s only me. It was just a dream. Ok? You’re ok. Just relax. Breathe.”
A pair of arms pulls Alec in as they close themselves around him, and Alec lets them. The fog around his brain is gradually starting to clear up, and Alec’s mind is slowing down along with his heartbeat, as the air finally begins to seem like a reachable thing again.
Minutes pass by before Alec is able to gather himself and pull away. He looks up and is met with Jace sitting at the side of the bed, looking back at him with a concerned frown.
“You alright there, buddy?”
“I am now. Thanks for waking me up.” Alec sends him a weary smile, and then his brows furrow slightly as he notices something else.
“Hey, why is your nose bleed— Oh, shit!” Alec cuts himself off as he realizes the answer mid-sentence, “Oh my God, Jace, I’m sorry. Did I hurt you? Are you ok?”
“It’s fine. I’m fine, Al,” Jace waves him off unconcerned. “I knew it to be a risk, sneaking up on you when you were sleeping. I just- I was in the kitchen and I could practically hear you suffering. I couldn’t just ignore it.”
Alec hides his face in the space between his drawn up knees. “Fuck, this is terrible,” he mumbles. He looks up at Jace with a pained expression on his face, “Jace, I am so sorry. I feel awful. If I had known it was you, I would never —“
Jace interrupts him by placing a hand gently on his shoulder, “Alec? Listen to me now. I know you didn’t mean to. I know. It’s ok. It’s nothing, really. I bet it looks worse than it feels. Don’t beat yourself up about it,” he sends Alec a reassuring smile.
“Besides,” he adds, a grin tucking at the corner of his mouth, “even if it had been worse, it would hardly be the first time you broke my nose.”
Alec stares at him horrified. “How can you be laughing right now? This is so not funny,” but then he can’t help but add, “and the broken nose was your own fault. You were the one who started it, after all.”
Jace grins wider, and for a moment he looks like a complete maniac with the stained blood smeared across his face. “I agree with you. And you know what? Starting a fight with you in middle school is still the best decision I have ever made. It did get me a best friend, didn’t it?” He winks at Alec as he gets up from the bed.
“I’ll go wash my face,” he declares before wrinkling his nose at Alec on his way out. “You should go take a shower, because well. You need it.”
And, given the fact that Alec currently feels like he has been running a marathon, Jace is probably right in that assumption - so Alec does just that. And when he soon after steps out into the living room with damp hair and dry clothes, he already feels a whole of a lot better.
He sinks down on one of the two couches in the center of the room and turns on the TV, as he stretches the muscles in his back. Jace approaches him a minute later with a steaming cup of something in each hand and places one of them in front of Alec.
“I made coffee,” Jace announces proudly. “Or, well. I made coffee for me,” he corrects himself. “Yours is tea. I don't think you should be intaking caffeine right now.”
“I’m fine,” Alec insists and then more softly, “but thank you. I could have done this myself though. Don’t you have work in the morning?”
“Hence, the coffee,” Jace comments as he conquers the opposite couch with a laissez-faire attitude and raises his cup of coffee in salute.
“You know that you don’t have to stay up with me every time this happens, right?” Alec tries again. “You can go to bed. Get some sleep. I’ll be fine, I swear.”
“Oh, right. Because it makes perfect sense that people who wake up with panic attacks should be left alone in the middle of the night.” Jace glares at him. “What kind of friend do you think I am?”
“A stubborn one apparently,” Alec comments dryly.
“I’m just worried about you, Al.”
“There is no reason to be. I’m fine.”
“And normally, I would believe you, but the last few nights…” Jace pauses for a moment of reflection. “It’s been worse than usual, that’s all. I know you have bad dreams and I get that, but honestly? I haven’t seen you in this bad a shape since before you moved out of Alicante.”
Because the nightmares haven’t been this bad ever since I left, Alec thinks to himself.
To Alec, there are two types of nightmares. The nightmares, that he has regarding his work in the army, is one thing. They aren’t pleasant, but they’re tolerable. And even when they’re not, he can still handle them. Even when they keep him up at nights, he still doesn’t punch people in the face because of them.
Then there is this. This nightmare is on a whole other level, and Alec has zero way of controlling it. It’s one of the reasons, why he signed up in the military, to begin with. To get away from everything connected to that nightmare. To make it stop. And it worked—
Until it obviously didn’t.
Apparently, all it took for it to return was for Alec to spend one single morning with Magnus where he allowed himself to forget everything else.
It’s like punishing yourself for doing something that you know you shouldn’t be doing. And at the same time, Alec is struggling more and more to understand how something, that felt so right and so important in the moment, could possibly be wrong.
Aware of the fact that Jace is still waiting for him to answer - to come with some kind of explanation for the last few nights - Alec ends up mumbling some excuse about having a lot on his mind lately. It is not a total lie, but it certainly doesn’t feel like the entire truth either, and Alec hates it.
Sometimes Alec wonders what would happen if he told Jace everything - if he told him why he’d had constant nightmares for all those years when they both lived under the same roof in Alicante.
He wonders what would happen if he was to tell Jace about Magnus - about how this is the first time in Alec’s life that he is experiencing such a powerful connection to another human being. How after only a few weeks of knowing Magnus, he already makes Alec want to believe that maybe, one day, Alec’s life could be different in a way that he never even dared to hope for before.
It almost feels like he is betraying his best friend by not sharing any of this with him. But Alec simply doesn’t dare to push his luck.
Truth is, that as much as Alec wants to believe that Jace would be there for him no matter what, no matter who he was with, the rational part of him also knows that Jace grew up in the exact same place as Alec did - with the same ethics, the same do’s and don'ts, the same reprimands about right and wrong.
Truth is, that for as long as Alec can remember, he and Jace have always, always had each other’s backs, and Alec isn’t sure that he will ever be ready for Jace to suddenly stop having his.
“Does this have something to do with where you were the other night?” Jace asks with narrow eyes as if reading Alec’s thoughts. When Alec returned home from Magnus’ the other morning, smelling of liquor and obviously wearing the same clothes that he was the night before, Jace seemed to naturally assume that Alec had been hooking up with some girl. It seemed easiest to just let him stay in that belief.
“Because you do realize, that if you’re seeing someone - which I know that you are - then it’s my right as the best friend to get all the dirty details,” he adds in an attempt to brighten up the mood a little. That’s one of the few things they actually have in common - they are both terrible at talking about deeper emotions and feelings for too long.
“It’s in the rulebook, that’s all I’m saying.”
“I really need to see that book one of these days, because I’m starting to feel like you’re just making a lot of these rules up as we go along,” Alec remarks, happy to take up the sudden change of tone.
“Only trying to speak your language, my man,” Jace quips back. “Besides, since I am now spoken for, I do need to live out some fantasies vicariously through you and your single life. I can’t do that when you insist on being a gentleman and won’t give me anything to work with.”
“I don’t even know what any of that is supposed to mean —and I’m not asking!” Alec adds hastily when Jace opens his mouth to specify only to disappointedly shut it close again.
“And since when are you spoken for?” Alec teases, subtly removing the spotlight away from himself. “Aren’t you the one who has been going on for years about how - and I quote - monogamy is nothing but a social construction that should be put to end?”
“Yeah. I might be having a change of opinion about that.”
“Things are going well with the redhead, huh?”
“It is. I like her.” Jace fidgets with his hands a little nervously - something that is very much unlike him - before he continues, “I have actually been meaning to ask you if maybe you wanted to meet her one of these days.”
“You’re serious?” Alec quirks an eyebrow in surprise. The only times he can recall ever meeting one of Jace’s girls in the past has been under some extremely awkward circumstances - like having the unfortunate pleasure of walking in on them in Jace’s bed.
“I am. Clary really wants to meet you too.”
Alec blinks and looks perplexed. “Why?”
“Because I’ve been telling her about you. Because you’re important to me, Al. And I think, Clary is beginning to become important too,” Jace says. “I really want you to get along. Like it would just mean a lot to me if you approved of her.”
“Wow,” is all Alec manages, intelligently, to say.
“I know. Did that just make me sound really lame?”
“Not lame at all,” Alec assures him. “I’m happy for you, man. And I would love to meet her,” Alec tells him, which is the truth.
“Although anyone, who can get you to care about someone other than yourself for once, already has my pre-approval, you know.” Alec sends Jace a sardonic smile, which earns him a death glare in return.
“Ha ha. Very funny.” Jace’s voice is dripping with sarcasm as he flips Alec off.
“But seriously. You need to promise me, that you’ll be nice.”
“What? When am I not nice?”
“I’m just saying, you can come off as a little bit intimidating sometimes.”
“I can’t just be myself?”
“Of course. Absolutely,” Jace nods. “Just be yourself on a good day.”
Alec rolls his eyes but holds up both hands in surrender. “Alright. Yes. Fine. I’ll be nice. So, when do you wanna do this?”
“Well, actually…” Jace draws it out as he looks at Alec with a pleading pair of eyes, and Alec already knows that he isn’t going to like what comes next.
“I might have told her already that you would come with us to this club Thursday night? Her best friend, Simon, is DJing and—“
“Oh, come on, Al! Please? For me?”
“Absolutely not.” Alec shakes his head rapidly. “Who the hell even goes to a nightclub on a Thursday night?” He demands.
“Everyone who is not 90 years old, Alec.”
“Seriously? That’s your final answer? Because that theory sounds a little far-fetched, even for you,” Alec notes with amusement. “And I’m not going, Jace.”
Jace looks bombed-out as he chews on the defeat for a moment. Then he lights up as a triumphant smirk covers his entire face, “You literally just hit me in the face earlier. You can’t say no to this. You owe me one.”
“I can’t believe you’re actually trying to guilt trip me into this right now,” Alec complains, but it’s jokingly and half-hearted. He knows that Jace doesn’t hold any grudge against him.
“Fine,” he gives in with a reconciled smile. “You win. I’ll do it. But this is the only time you can use that excuse for your benefit.”
“And I just wanna clarify that I have not agreed to be nice to the best friend,” Alec continues. “He already seems kinda exhausting and annoying.”
“You haven’t met him yet,” Jace points out.
“He is a DJ,” Alec states in a flat voice that clearly indicates that that for itself should be enough of an explanation.
“Yeah... I don’t think Simon is going to be your ideal choice of person,” Jace admits reluctantly with a grimace. “But it will be fun, I promise. And it’ll be good for you to get out and enjoy yourself a little.”
“I doubt it. What kind of club is this anyway?” Alec asks as he concludes that he might as well start preparing himself mentally for whatever he just signed up for.
“Oh, it actually launched just recently,” Jace tells him. “Clary and I were there for the opening, and it’s really cool. Like, over the top cool. Even you will find it impressive, I'm sure,” he continues, way too excited for Alec’s liking.
“It’s called Pandemonium.”
Chapter 15: Who the hell is he texting?
Catarina finds out about Magnus and Alec. Magnus goes to Pandemonium, where the universe offers him a little piece of fate.
Alec: So, about that second date...
Magnus smiles helplessly as he sees the name on his phone screen. He immediately drops everything to reply, not even caring that he might come off as a tad desperate, because God, has he been waiting for this.
It’s been almost an entire week since their first date, and they still haven’t gotten around to a second one. Alec called Magnus the day after their morning together, telling him that he - in his own words - was feeling unwell and needed a little time to recover. He did not specify any details, and Magnus did not ask any further questions. Alec did, however, assure that he wasn’t trying or wanting to drive Magnus away. Magnus believed him, and so, he has patiently been waiting for Alec to get back to him.
Magnus: You’re feeling better?
Alec: I’m getting there.
Alec: But I really do want to see you again.
Magnus: How soon did you have in mind?
Alec: Would tomorrow night be too soon?
Magnus: It wouldn’t be if I hadn’t already made plans with a very lovely, beautiful, charming, young woman.
Alec: ... you mean you have a date?
Magnus: Does that bother you?
Alec: Of course not.
Alec: Why would that bother me?
Alec: Obviously you’re free to do whatever you want.
Magnus: It’s Madzie. I have plans with Madzie tomorrow night.
Magnus: She’s coming home from a school trip, so we’re spending the day together.
Magnus: But I must say, it’s very endearing how jealous you’re getting after only one date.
Alec: That was unnecessarily cruel.
Alec: You could have just told me, that you had plans with your daughter.
Magnus: Ah, but where would the fun in that be?
Magnus: Besides, you deserved it.
Alec: I suppose I did, didn’t I?
Alec: Are you free Sunday?
Magnus: I’ll fix us a place.
Alec: Make sure they don’t serve gin.
Magnus: Oh, so the rules are expanding now?
Alec: They're still not rules.
Magnus: Stupid autocorrect.
Magnus: So nothing crowded, nothing fancy, no singing, no dancing AND no alcohol?
Magnus: You’re not a very fun man to date, Alexander Lightwood.
Alec: And yet you seemed to be enjoying yourself well enough the first time...
Magnus: Indeed. You're lucky that your good looks make up for it.
Magnus: And no need to worry. If you stick to me, I’ll teach you how to enjoy having fun as well.
Alec: Is that a promise?
Mangus: If you want it to be.
Magnus reluctantly drags his attention away from the phone, as a pair of fingers snap just above his head.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Is our ongoing poker game interrupting your current sexting?” Ragnor glares crossly at him.
“I’m not sexting.”
“Then, for God’s sake, wipe that foolish grin off your face and get back in the game.”
“Who are you texting anyway?” Catarina narrows her eyes curiously at Magnus. “I didn’t even know that you knew how to text.”
“Excuse me? Have you met my daughter? If I didn’t know how to text, I might as well give up all long-distance communication with her. And more importantly, have you met me? I know how to stay young with the young.” Magnus winks at her.
“You surely have to when your boyfriend is what? 18 years old?”
“He is not 18 years old, Ragnor,” Magnus reprimands, “and he is not my boyfriend.”
“Wait, wait, wait - boyfriend?” Catarina gapes open-mouthed at Magnus with wide eyes.
“Alright, who are you texting?” She demands, only to move her fixed look to Ragnor when Magnus fails to give her a prompt answer. “Who the hell is he texting?”
“No one,” Magnus says at the exact same time as Ragnor says, “The Lightwood kid.”
“Magnus!” Catarina snaps. “You should know better than that!”
Magnus ignores her and sends Ragnor an evil glare that Ragnor completely dismisses with a “Like she wouldn’t have found out sooner or later anyway.”
“But... Hold on - Lightwood kid?” Catarina suddenly frowns, “As in Alexander Lightwood?”
“I know. I was horrified too,” Ragnor comments.
“No, it’s not that. It’s just- how is that even possible? The last time I talked to Alec, he was still stationed at the Gard. Near Germany.”
Ragnor and Magnus find themselves sharing a look of shock, before turning to Catarina with their jaws dropped.
“What do you mean you talked to him?”
“Do you know him?”
“Well, I don’t know him know him,” Catarina quickly makes clear. “I was visiting my old colleague, Iris, last year. She works in the medical department at the Gard, and while I was there, I happened to run into some of the soldiers. Alec, among others.” Catarina pauses for a moment, and to Magnus’ utter surprise she looks at him with an approving smile, that means more than he thought it would. “He seemed to be a very decent, young man. A little stoic and reserved maybe, but I can see why you would find him appealing. He is definitely your type.”
“And yet, somehow, you didn’t think to introduce me to him?”
Catarina rolls his eyes at him. “Well, first of all, I was in Europe, Magnus. Germany is a little long-distance for dating, don’t you think? Second of all, I had no idea that he was interested in men. I can’t imagine it to be something you brag about in that type of work. And third, as much as I really do like Alec and believe him to be a good guy, he is not exactly a safe choice to bet all your money on.”
“What do you mean?”
“I think it goes without saying that getting involved with a soldier is never a safe choice, Magnus. And on top of that, it means that from what I could tell, Alec is not even your ordinary soldier. Apparently, he is part of some kind of Special Operation Forces.” Catarina shrugs. “All I know is that he was leading some pretty dangerous missions down there.”
“Maybe he is a Shadowhunter,” Ragnor chimes in. “That would be rather badass, I'll admit.”
“It would, if they existed,” Magnus responds unimpressed. “Shadowhunters are nothing but an old, silly folk tale. They are a myth.”
“Well, no one really knows that for sure, do they?” Catarina muses. “It’s quite difficult to verify something when the only ones knowing who they are, are themselves.”
Magnus shakes his head at both of them. He can’t believe they’re even discussing the subject. The Shadowhunters are like the Loch Ness Monster of the military world. Everyone knows a million stories and rumors about them, but no one actually knows anything. Some say, it’s because the Shadowhunters simply doesn’t want people to know about them. Others, like Magnus, take it for what it is and nothing more.
“I really don’t see what any of this has to do with Alec,” Magnus protests at last. "Obviously, it is possible to be a good soldier without being part of some secret organization. Besides, what do I care about his position in the army? We’ve only been on one date, and he is on leave. What he does for work is not important.”
“Maybe it isn’t important right now, but what is going to happen if you keep seeing this guy? What about when his leave ends? Shadowhunter or not, he is still living in a pretty unstable world.” Catarina continues stubbornly, and this is exactly why Magnus hasn’t told her anything about Alec before.
Because Catarina is Magnus’ voice of reason and she always has been. She asks the questions that Magnus doesn’t want to ask himself or even wants to think about.
“I don’t know,” he finally answers. “I haven’t given it that much thought.”
“Well, maybe you should, considering the fact that you’re totally smitten by him already.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Catarina.”
“Please, Magnus.” Catarina gestures at the phone next to him on the table. “This is the most attention you have paid anyone since Camille. I bet you haven’t even slept with him yet, have you?”
“We’re taking it slow.”
“Oh, so that dry-humping I witnessed in the kitchen the other day - which will forever be etched into my brain, by the way - that was taking it slow?” Ragnor scoffs.
“It was in the heat of the moment,” Magnus defends himself. “Really. We already talked about this. We’re just gonna take one day at a time and then see where it goes from there.”
“But where do you want this to go, Magnus? What is it you think you’re possibly gonna get out of this in the long run?”
And to be honest, Magnus has no idea.
He knows very well that it doesn’t make much sense to start anything up with Alec.
Alec is young. This is his first time seeing another man, and he isn’t even out. He is not looking for it to get serious. He has already made that perfectly clear to Magnus.
I don’t have anything to offer you besides sneaking off to dirty restaurants. It’s the only way I can do this.
Alec’s words from the other morning echos in the back of Magnus’ head, and maybe, if Magnus had been smart about this, he would have ended things right then and there. Because eventually, those words are bound to catch up to him, and Magnus has never quite mastered the art of watching people leave. But he just can’t shake the feeling that he and Alec could be something really great together. That they are destined for more than just a few weeks of casual dating.
Magnus lets a deep sigh fall from his lips as he looks at Catarina and Ragnor. “Look. I’m not gonna pretend like I can predict the future because I can’t. I don’t know what is going to happen. All I know is that, right now, Alec makes me happy. The thought of him makes me happy. And I actually do feel really hopeful about this. So, for now, I’m just gonna try to live in the moment and enjoy it - for as long as it lasts. Can you let me do that?”
“Alright.” Catarina nods slowly. “Of course. We’ll let you live in the moment because we love you and you do seem happy. Just promise us to be careful, ok?”
“I always am,” Magnus assures her, with a little more certainty, than he feels. He mirrors himself in Ragnor’s and Catarina’s faces of solicitude, and he knows, that they’re not just rooting for his love life. They’re also feeling a hint of pity towards him, because of the heartbreak he most likely will be stumbling into in a matter of weeks.
And Magnus doesn’t blame them.
He does have a fairly bad record when it comes to trusting people and letting them in, and he knows that by continuing down this path with Alec, he will have to take a risk and be vulnerable for a change. Something he hasn’t dared to do since the whole Camille-thing.
Magnus can only pray that things will be different this time around and that hopefully, Alec won’t turn out to be Camille 2.0.
It’s later that same night when Magnus walks through the doors into the dark, intense, boudoir-ish vibe of Pandemonium.
The club has quickly become exactly what Magnus envisioned it to be - a place for people to immerse themselves in secrets and fantasies. Everywhere Magnus looks there is bedroom-eyes, sensuality, and frolicsomeness filling the room.
The club has been doing well ever since the opening, and tonight is no different. Magnus admits that he had some reservations about letting Simon take the stage tonight, but they have all turned out to be entirely for no reason. The dance floor is overflowing with people tangled up in each other, only illuminated by the strikes of neon light coming from the ceiling. The lounges and the leather couches filling the dim corners are devoured by people indulging themselves. Drinks are non-stop flowing from bar, and every now and then the dark and sinful atmosphere is broken by a loud, joyful cheer when expensive bottles of champagne and fireworks, are being served to one of the private tables.
The crowd is in just the right mood, and tonight would be a good night to stick around. Plenty of people is eyeing Magnus, as he walks past them, and there might have been a time where Magnus would gladly have spent the night amusing and diverting himself by hand-plucking between his many options.
Tonight, however, Magnus’ agenda is far more boring. Tonight, he is only here to drop off the last of the information and check up on the final details regarding a private event being held on the second floor of the club tomorrow night.
It doesn’t take long and he is already walking down the stairs again, aiming towards one of the staff entrances for a quick getaway, when something downstairs suddenly has his full attention.
Or rather, someone. The one and only option out of all the options Magnus could possibly be presented with tonight.
He takes a moment to draw leverage from his current spot on the staircase, giving him the perfect view of Alec in the crowd—
Alec, who is looking like he would rather be anywhere else in the world right now. A fact, that ironically enough only makes Magnus chuckle in a light, heartfelt way.
Magnus unwillingly takes his eyes off of Alec, only long enough to find his phone in the inside pocket of his jacket. He dials a number and watches as one of his bartenders quickly grabs the phone closest to him while in the middle of mixing a drink.
“Yo, boss! What’s up?”
“Kyle, my dear. Do you by any chance spot the handsome young man standing next to Clary and the Herondale-boy - the one with a kind of brooding, scowling look going on?”
A few seconds pass, as Kyle scans the room. “You mean the tall, dark-haired one with the tattoo on his neck?”
“That’s the one. Now, could you go be a good boy and take nicely care of him? Anything he wants, he gets. On the house, course. And look after him for me, will you? Do not let him drink too much.”
“You got it.”
Magnus spends the next few minutes observing as Kyle approaches Alec, Clary, and Jace with a tray of drinks and snacks, guiding them towards one of the best tables in the club.
Magnus smiles, pleased with the situation, but he can’t bring himself to walk away. He really did have every intention of leaving as soon as he knew that someone had an eye on Alec, but it is itching in him to get Alec’s attention somehow. He briefly considers walking down there to say hello - with Clary there, he could easily do so without anything seeming strange. But Magnus isn’t going to do that. He would never directly approach Alec in public - not when he knows what kind of position that would put Alec in and how uncomfortable that would make the other man.
Magnus doesn’t want that.
What Magnus really want is to just see one of Alec’s dazzling smiles being sent his way, before Magnus takes off.
Once again, he pulls his phone out from his pocket - this time to send a quick text.
Magnus: So tell me, pretty boy...
Magnus: What ever happened to you not being a clubbing-kind-of-guy?
Magnus looks up from his phone just in time to see Alec read the text, and even from where Magnus is standing, he can see Alec’s forehead furrow in puzzlement. Then Alec looks up as his eyes start searching through faces in the crowd—
And Magnus is delighted to find that Alec locates him way faster than Magnus expected him to.
Their eyes meet, as they both acknowledge the other one's presence, and Magnus sends Alec a slightly flirtatious wink, and Alec’s entire face lights up in a splendid grin, and it is the most amazing thing to watch, in Magnus’ personal opinion. Seeing Alec look like this is all Magnus needs.
Deciding that he can now leave Pandemonium in inner peace and satisfication, Magnus is just about to continue down the stairs for a way out, when Alec lightly shakes his head in Magnus’ direction, a crooked smile still tucking at the corner of his lips, before turning his attention back to his phone.
And a second later Magnus receives a text. And then another one.
Alec: Stay where you are.
Alec: Just give me five minutes.
Chapter 16: But you look nothing like Captain America
Pandemonium vol 2 - Alec gets introduced to Simon, and if Alec had a license to kill, this would be the moment where he'd take advantage of it. If only someone else was around to brighten up his night a little...
The following days quickly turn into a routine for Alec, where he spends almost every second of every hour with Jace.
It starts, as it always does, with Alec waking up in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep, and Jace faithfully sitting by his side in the living room, watching whatever trash TV that is currently on the channels.
In the morning, they go running. They work out. They train together, which is something they haven’t done in way too long. Alec hadn’t even realized before now, how much he has actually missed getting the chance to kick Jace’s ass.
It turns out to be extremely therapeutic.
Thursday arrives, and Alec is slowly starting to feel more like himself again. He doesn’t hesitate to reach out to Magnus, even though he probably shouldn't. The nightmares should be a clear sign that Alec’s mind isn't ready to deal with it. That Alec isn’t ready yet.
But Alec wants to be. And he certainly doesn’t want to screw it up more than he already has.
Alec is well aware, that he already made a pretty shitty move by calling Magnus up the day after their date, only to tell him that Alec currently wasn’t feeling very well - and then not get back to him for several days. It seems needless to say, that a wave of relief goes through Alec when Magnus agrees to meet up the following Sunday.
Somehow the upcoming, dreadful nightclub-visit seems far more durable when Alec knows that he will be seeing Magnus in three days.
And it is. At least to begin with.
Alec and Jace barely make it to the front of Pandemonium before Alec concludes that he wouldn't be caught dead in this place. The blinking neon-sign above the front entrance says it all, and Alec’s impression of the place doesn’t change much as they step inside. There are far too many people, far too much dancing and far too much public display of affection.
Really. The things Alec doesn’t endure for Jace.
It doesn’t take long for Jace to locate Clary, and it doesn’t take long for Alec to get why Jace likes her so much. Clary is curious but polite. She asks questions, but she doesn’t probe. She is headstrong, she speaks her mind and, most importantly, she isn’t afraid of letting Jace know when he is being an asshole. Alec could definitely get used to having this girl around. Maybe she would actually be able to teach Jace some manners, and for once, Alec isn’t alone with the impossible task of babysitting Jace.
Maybe tonight won't be so bad, after all.
Then Alec meets Simon.
And slowly, Alec starts to regret every single decision he has ever made that has led him to this exact moment.
“Holy shit! You’re Alec Lightwood!” Simon looks at Alec with a beaming expression on his face. “Jace has told me so much about you, I already feel like we’re best buds.” He holds out a clenched hand, clearly waiting for Alec to fist bump him, which is not going to happen.
“Dude, I have so much respect for the things you do. You know, I’ve never actually met a soldier before,” Simon eagerly carries on, unabated. “Unless, of course, you count the time I was at a comic con and I met Captain America. But you look nothing like Captain America. No offense or anything. You look more like G.I. Joe or 007, maybe.”
“Yeah! You know, Bond? James Bond? As in England’s most dangerous weapon with a license to kill?”
“I know who he is. You do realize, I’m not a spy, right?” Alec inquires, “and there’s no such thing as a license to kill. If I’m not in a combat zone, then it’s just as illegal for me to kill someone, as it is for you.”
Simon looks slightly disappointed by this fact.
“But you would be able to though, right?”
“Yes.” Alec sends him a wry smile. “And trust me, it can be very tempting when you meet a certain kind of people.”
“Oh, I totally get that, bro. You know, if I wasn’t a DJ, I think I would have made an amazing soldier. Except for the part where I’m afraid of blood. And guns. And, you know, the possibility of dying. So basically, I just try to save the world with my music instead.”
Simon sends Alec a finger gun, and Alec sends Jace a worn-out look.
“Does he ever stop talking?”
“You get used to it,” Jace assures him, but he seems far too amused by the current situation for Alec to believe him.
Thankfully, before Simon gets a chance to start up again, Clary comes to Alec’s rescue.
“Simon, don’t you have to get back on stage?” Clary requests, “then we can all catch up later when you’re done.”
“Right!” Simon clasps his hands together. “Gotta keep giving ‘em people what they want!” He exclaims by throwing his hands up in the air before he walks back the way he came from.
Alec stares blankly after him for a moment, before he turns to Clary and Jace and points in Simon’s direction as the guy disappears out of sight.
“Is it just me or does that guy remind anyone else of a golden retriever?” He asks in all seriousness.
“He gets very easily excited,” Clary says with a fond agreement to her voice.
“I think you got yourself a fan, Al,” Jace grins.
“You could at least have given me a fair warning,” Alec tells him.
“I could. But then you wouldn’t have agreed to come.”
“That’s exactly my point.“
Jace never gets the chance to respond, before a young guy, balancing a tray of drinks and food in one hand, walks towards them—
Only to stop right in front of them.
“Alright! Here we go, gentlemen - and lady,” he winks at Clary. “Now, if you’ll just follow me over here, please.”
Jace and Alec exchange a confused look, while Clary just sends the guy a wide smile.
“Hi, Kyle!” She gives him a quick, sideways hug. “I think there’s been a misunderstanding. We didn’t order any of this.”
“Oh, yeah. No, I know, but I have orders from the boss, so...” Kyle shrugs as he beckons them to follow along. They let Kyle guide them to a table, where he places the tray in front of them.
"Y’all good? Please, don’t hesitate to let me know if there is anything else I can do for you," Kyle continues, and then he looks directly at Alec before moving along.
"There's water in the clear bottle by the way.”
“Eh. Great. Thanks?” Alec says puzzled.
“What’s going on?” Alec hears Jace ask Clary, who simply shrugs.
“I don’t know,” she says. “I guess Magnus is here tonight.”
Alec’s heart flutters, because
And whatever Clary says next only turns into muffled background noise when Alec’s phone vibrates in his pocket, and Alec picks it up, and right there on the screen is Magnus' name.
And Alec instantly looks up and starts scanning the room. He doesn’t spend more than half a second on each face in the crowd, because Alec knows exactly what he is searching for—
And he finds him. In the back of the club, on a staircase, elevated from the rest of the people around him. It’s dark, but Alec knows it’s him the second he locks eyes with the man.
Sometimes Alec thinks that he would be able to recognize Magnus no matter where or when or how many people between them because, with Magnus in a room, everyone else just seem so basic.
Magnus winks at him, and Alec is well aware that he has a dopey grin written all over his face by now, but he can’t bring himself to be bothered by it.
Truthfully, Alec can’t even begin to comprehend how everyone is not feeling slightly giddy right now with Magnus standing there, looking like a thousand constellations of stars being brought together.
It seems to him as the only logical reaction anyone could have.
But the moment is over too soon, and Magnus begins to turn around, and all Alec knows is that the last thing he wants right now is for Magnus to leave.
He mildly shakes his head in the other man’s direction, before grabbing his phone to make sure that Magnus doesn’t go anywhere before Alec has a chance to get to him.
Magnus doesn’t reply to Alec’s texts, but he doesn’t have to. The only thing that matters, is that Magnus has stopped moving and is now leaning casually against the railing, patiently challenging and encouraging Alec to make the next move.
Jace has gone to the bathroom, and Alec knows, that if he wants to slip away to talk to Magnus, he needs to do it now. He tries to think of an excuse to leave, as he looks over at Clary - only to realize that she is already studying Alec with great interest.
“Alec, do you and Magnus know each other?” She asks carefully.
“We, uhm - we might have crossed paths a few times.”
“He is nice, don’t you think?”
“Yeah...” Alec says slowly and he can’t stop his lips from curling into a smile, “he is.”
“And very attractive too.”
“I mean that he dresses really attractively, doesn’t he? Like he has a really good fashion sense, right?”
“Oh. Uh, right. Yeah. Yeah, I guess so.”
“So, are you just gonna keep him waiting, or..?” Clary cracks a knowing smile that, to Alec's horror, tells him that he is being just as obvious as he feared he was.
Eventually, Alec gives up and gathers his nerves. “Actually - I would really like a few minutes with him. Would you mind if I go say hi to him for a moment?”
“No, I think you should.”
“And, uh - could you maybe not tell Jace anything?”
”Tell him what?” Clary asks, and Alec sends her a grateful smile.
She continues to look at Alec closely, as he is about to leave. “He wouldn’t care, you know,” she then says softly, “Jace. He loves you so much, Alec, and he looks so much up to you. You don’t have to be afraid to talk to him. This isn’t... it’s not something you should be ashamed of.”
If only she knew, Alec thinks to himself.
Out loud he says, “I’d just really appreciate it if you could keep it to yourself for now.”
“If that’s what you want,” Clary nods. “I’ll tell Jace that you went outside to get some fresh air.”
Alec moves swiftly and soundlessly through the crowd until he reaches his destination.
“Are you following me around now?” Alec teases, as he finally is able to join Magnus on the staircase.
“If I was, then this would be the last place I'd expect to find you.”
“It’s not exactly by free will either.”
Magnus laughs. “I believe that.”
He gestures at the sight beneath them, “So, what do you think?”
“I think this might literally be what the inside of Hell looks like.”
“Well. I did hear that the owner can be devilishly charming.”
“Who is the owner?” Alec asks, and Magnus wiggles his eyebrows at him in response.
“Oh. This is yours?”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, and Alec feel slightly embarrassed for not having figured it out sooner.
Even without Clary’s mentioning of him earlier, the place still has Magnus’ name written all over it, really.
“I doubt anyone else would let Simon play at their club for an entire night.”
“Somehow I understand them.”
“I take it you’ve met?”
“Very briefly,” Alec tells him and can’t help but add, “but that was more than enough.”
Magnus chuckles and it’s a warm, wonderful sound. “Simon is harmless though. He means well - even though he can be quite talkative.”
”You mean, he is always like that?” Alec glares, and Magnus nods with an amused look.
”I’m afraid so. But he does start one hell of a party, doesn’t he?”
“I guess,” Alec says.
”Sorry for referring to your club as Hell, by the way.”
“Oh, was that not a compliment?” Magnus smirks. “I could have sworn it sounded like one.”
“It wasn’t,” Alec assures him. “But feel free to take it however you want.”
“Then I’m definitely taking it as a compliment.”
“Of course you are.” Alec grins and shakes his head in astonishment. “Well, then I guess it’s a compliment.”
“I’m glad we agree, Alexander.”
Magnus looks at Alec with a mischievous gleam in his amber-green eyes, and Alec’s soul feels lighter than it has for days.
Because, truth is, that as much as Alec doesn’t want to admit it, he has been missing Magnus. He has missed the way every fiber in his body settles down, in ways Alec never thought possible, whenever Magnus is near him. He has missed the way Magnus looks at him, and the way Magnus makes Alec feel like his heart is being slung against all his other organs—
Hectically, bewildered and completely, utterly doomed.
And a few stolen minutes of this feeling just isn’t enough.
Will it ever be enough?
The thought passes Alec quickly, but he dismisses it just as fast.
He glances down at the dancefloor and the amount of people surrounding them only a few feet away. He wants more time with Magnus, but he knows that he can’t get it here.
The staircase might be laid back in darkness, and even if someone were to look up, Alec is sure, that to an outside observer this scenario would probably come across as somewhat innocent. But he still feels an unease, knowing that someone could look up and see them together.
He makes a quick decision.
“Magnus, do you have somewhere you need to be tonight?”
“Nothing that can’t be postponed, if you’re about to offer me more time in your company.”
“I was hoping you’d say that.” Alec sends him a broad smile. “Do you wanna get out of here?”
Chapter 17: I fill all my glasses to the top
Something about breaking and entering, and one person being slightly more exhilarated about it than the other.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
As Magnus and Alec leave the crowded faces and loud music from Pandemonium behind them, the tension that has been swirling around Alec appears to be fading as well.
His face softens, his stiff posture wears off, his shoulders loosen up. He stops glancing nervously around, afraid of someone might catch them in doing absolutely nothing.
This is how Magnus likes him best. When he gets a peek behind the stern facade that Alec seems to be doing far too great a job at holding up.
Magnus can bear with having to sneak around if this is what it takes for Alec to relax in his own skin; if this is what it takes for Alec to trust him.
And Magnus is in no rush. After all, trust, like all things worth having, has to be earned.
And as much as Magnus would love nothing more than to grab Alec’s hand at this moment and squeeze it tightly for everyone to see, he does in fact enjoy this part. There’s something thrilling about secrets and hiding in plain sight, that makes Magnus feel like a teenager sneaking out of his room in the middle of the night.
Not to mention all the perks reserved for Magnus’ attention only - perks much like the way Alec’s smile curls when he glances at Magnus and doesn’t think he is being noticed. Or the way his cheeks turn the most brilliant shade of magenta whenever Magnus returns his gaze.
Getting to see this side of Alec is really all the compensation Magnus needs.
They’re strolling down the sidewalk together, and as the streets empty out and the buzz from the clubs only serves them as fading background noise, Magnus and Alec automatically pull closer, their shoulders skimming.
Something vibrates faintly in Alec’s pocket, and Alec discreetly fishes out a phone.
“Everything alright?” Magnus asks as he studies the way Alec’s brows furrow.
“Yeah. It’s nothing. Just... Jace.” Alec heaves a sigh and waves the phone in his hand to emphasize his point.
“Ah. Trouble in Paradise?”
“No. No, it’s, uh- it’s a long story. It’s my own fault really. I might have gotten him a little too worried lately, and now he has gone into this overprotective, surveillance mode, where he thinks he needs to check up on me all the time.”
Magnus holds off a moment before adding, “Should I be worried too?”
“No,” Alec answers quickly, and then a little more unhurried, “No, one person worrying is enough. Besides, there’s nothing to worry about. Jace is just exaggerating.”
“Alexander,” Magnus expresses delicately, “there are worse things in life than people caring about you. Trust me.”
“I know. It would just be great if he could care a little less sometimes.”
Magnus chuckles lightly in response.
“What's the story behind you and Jace, if you don't mind me asking?” This is something Magnus has been wondering about for a while now. The pair strikes him as such a peculiar match, with Jace’s arrogance and need to always put himself in the center of attention, and Alec being so closed-off and reserved.
At first, Magnus had assumed that the only thing those two had in common was sharing a childhood together. Then he started noticing the way the corners of Alec's mouth twitches up unawarely when mentioning Jace. He remembers how Jace had embraced Alec when they saw each other at Hunter's Moon not that long ago - like he had been holding onto Alec for dear life. It quickly became clear to Magnus that whatever bond is between them goes far beyond a few childhood memories as brothers forced together.
“What do you mean?” Alec asks.
"You're just very different to be around, and yet you seem like extremely close friends. I'm curious about how that came to happen."
“You and I are very different as well,” Alec points out.
“Honestly, I don’t think we would be very good friends either," Magnus remarks with a teasing gleam in his eyes.
“Is that an insult?”
“Do feel free to take it however you want, Alexander,” Magnus smirks, repeating Alec’s own words from earlier that same night.
Alec responds in the form of a deep laugh, sounding like it’s coming all the way from his belly.
“It’s fine,” he eventually says, a smile playing on his lips as he speaks. “If we're being honest right now, then I don’t really have any interest in being your friend.”
And even though that certainly could come across as an insult, it sounds more like a confession to Magnus’ ears.
“And to answer your question, Jace is entirely to blame for him and I becoming friends. I think he just woke up one day and decided that we were gonna be friends and then gave me absolutely no say in the matter.”
“I’m listening.” Magnus urges on, eager to know more about the young guy walking next to him.
“You sure? It’s a boring story.”
“I’ll take the risk.”
Alec hesitates and then gives a small nod.
“I was 11 years old when I met Jace,” he begins. “It was the first year of middle school. We’d never spoken a word to each other until one day he tried starting a fight with me in the hallway. Looking back, I'm sure it was his way of trying to get my attention without knowing how to do so. He shoved me into the lockers - which is actually how I got this scar.“ Alec pauses and points to the scar decorating his left eyebrow, before continuing.
“I returned the favor by getting up and punching him in the face and I, uh. I ended up breaking his nose.”
“You what?” Magnus’ mouth drops. He is not sure what kind of story he had expected, but he knows it wasn’t this.
“Yeah.” Alec grins sheepishly. “I got like an entire month of detention because of that idiot.”
“What about Jace?”
“Jace is Jace. He has always been very good at getting himself out of the trouble he creates. He got off with a warning by blaming the whole fight on me.”
“Always a solid foundation for building a friendship,” Magnus quips.
“It sounds weird, but somehow it turned out to be exactly that. When I got out of detention that same day, there was this stupid kid waiting for me with a broken nose on one of the benches in the hallway. He announced that we should become best friends. I told him to leave me alone, and he ignored me. Instead, he spent every single day after school, when I was in detention, waiting for me on that same bench, so we could walk home together.” Alec cracks a smile. “As you can see, I still haven’t found a way to get rid of him.”
“So when did your family adopt him?” Magnus asks.
“They never did. Not officially, anyway. When Jace and I first became friends, he was living with his grandmother. She had been taking care of him ever since both of his parents died. Then she got sick and had to be hospitalized, and Jace had no other family to go to.
When my mom found out that Jace was going to be put in foster care, she offered him to stay with us. It was supposed to be temporarily, you know - until Jace’s grandmother got better. But she never made it home from the hospital,” Alec tells with a certain sadness in his voice.
“The idea of Jace going somewhere else after that didn't seem to occur to anyone. He was already a part of the family. So he simply stayed with us.”
The story leaves Magnus with a bittersweet feeling in his chest. It brings back unpleasant memories of a childhood persisting of nothing and no one. Memories of being carelessly tossed from family after family, only to return back to the orphanage time after time again. The feeling of not belonging anywhere sticks with him, even now, so many years later.
Magnus wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone. Still, he can’t help but envy Jace for having an Alec in his life who cared enough about him to save him. To provide him with a family. Even if it means a family like the Lightwoods.
Magnus finds it hard to picture someone like Robert Lightwood having it in his heart to take in a young, troubled boy and caring for him as his own, and Magnus has always presumed that Maryse Lightwood was as horrible as her husband. Why else marry a man like that?
Now Magnus looks at Alexander Lightwood and thinks to himself, that maybe the Lightwood household isn’t all bad.
“I must say, if this is your idea of a boring story, then I am very curious to what you consider interesting,” Magnus finally says as casually as he can muster at the moment.
Alec bows his head in a bashful smile, that Magnus is beginning to recognize as Alec’s signature reaction to anything even remotely close to a compliment.
They cross a corner on the street, and soon both men find themselves standing in front of an amusement park encircled by a large chain-linked fence.
“Ah! Here we are!” Magnus presents grandly, clapping both hands together theatrically.
Alec darts his eyes back and forth between the park and Magnus, his expression unaffected.
“What is this?”
“It is an amusement park, Alexander,” Magnus states in an obvious manner.
“It’s a closed amusement park, Magnus,” Alec says reprovingly.
“That's what I said.”
“What are we doing here?”
“I told you I would teach you how to have fun, did I not?”
“Right...” Alec frowns. “I don’t see how that answers my question.”
“Well, what is more fun than an amusement park?” Magnus asks rhetorically, as he moves closer to the fence surrounding the park.
And then he begins climbing over.
“Wait! Magnus! What are you doing? You can't just go in there!” Magnus hears Alec’s voice raise behind him.
“Have you ever been to an amusement park, Alexander? It's usually most fun if you go in.”
“Is this some kind of bluff?”
“Oh, I never bluff.” Magnus swings one leg over the fence and winks at Alec. He crawls down and lands elegantly with both feet on the other side.
“Are you coming?”
“What? No!” Alec shakes his head vigorously. “I'm not going in there. This is a terrible idea, Magnus. And it’s illegal. Did you not see any of the signs?”
Alec gestures wildly in the direction of a few warning-signs by the entrance, that may or may not indicate that the park is private property and closed for all kind of access.
But who can really tell when it’s this dark outside?
“Huh. I’ve never noticed those before,” Magnus shrugs carelessly.
“How can you not notice? There are like five of them!” Alec exclaims horrified. “You’re literally trespassing a property right now. An abandoned property, I might add - in the middle of the night! Do you even realize how dangerous this could be? Something could happen, someone could—
Why are you looking at me like that?”
“No reason.” Magnus bites down on a grin. “You’re just really cute when you get like this.”
Alec narrows his eyes at him. “Don’t flirt with me when you’re committing a felony.”
“Who said anything about flirting? I’m merely making observations.” Magnus tilts his head to the side, eyes sparkling with mischief. “Come on, Alexander. Join me, will you? I’ll even use the word please if that does anything for you.”
Alec has a torn look on his face as he scratches the back of his neck, but after a moment he exhales deeply and moves closer with reluctant steps.
“You’re gonna be the death of me,” Alec mutters under his breath, barely loud enough for Magnus to hear, before he grabs hold of the fence and starts working his way over to Magnus.
“When running you over with a car won’t do the trick, a man has no choice but to get creative,” Magnus smirks, while shamelessly admiring the way Alec’s biceps are flexing under his clothes. It leaves Magnus wishing that Alec was wearing just a little less of it.
“Well, I admire the effort you’re putting into it,” Alec comments as he jumps the remaining way down, landing on the ground easily.
“Are you showing off for me?" Magnus flirts, as he finds the perfect excuse to run a hand down the muscles on Alec's arm, sweeping away some invisible dust from Alec's jacket.
"Maybe. Would it be working, if I was?"
"Keep playing your cards right, and it just might."
Magnus shows the way down one of the many dim pathways, leading the two men past a closed ice-cream shop, countless tombola stalls, a giant ferris wheel, bumper cars, and endless other rides.
"I can't believe you talked me into this," Alec utters darkly. “This is only because I don’t want you to get robbed by the homeless drug-addict who without a doubt is living somewhere in here.”
"Are you always this grave?" Magnus looks slightly amused at Alec.
“It’s a work-habit," Alec excuses himself.
"It must be rather dreary having a glass that's always half-empty."
"But it would also be pretty thoughtless to have a glass that's always half-full," Alec goads back.
“Well. Clearly, I wouldn't know anything about that," Magnus grins smugly. "I fill all my glasses to the top."
“Do you always have an answer for everything?”
“It's a gifted talent.”
They reach an old carousel, and Magnus makes a stop, admiring the view.
“So is this your favorite ride?” Alec asks after a few seconds of silence.
“As a matter of fact, it is.”
“Seriously? Were you not tall enough to try anything else as a child?”
“Are you mocking me?” Magnus laughs out.
“Only because you chose the most boring thing in the entire park. Frankly, I’m a little disappointed. I expected more from you.”
“Oh, don't knock it before you try it," Magnus chides. "I think you will find that it can be quite magical."
“I don’t believe in magic.”
“You don’t believe in magic?” Magnus laments.
“I don’t believe in things I can’t prove exist.”
“Where are you going?”
“Where do you think? I’m going to show you some magic.”
Magnus crosses the grass between himself and the ride, and soon he is sauntering his way to the upper decker—
And within a couple of minutes, both Magnus and the carousel is bathed in soft, golden light while joyful, classical music is flowing from the speakers.
Magnus turns around to cast a glance at Alec’s reaction, but Alec is hardly looking at the carousel anymore. His eyes are singularly focused on Magnus, standing in the middle of it all.
“That was... How did you do that?” Alec baffles when Magnus approaches him.
“I’ll tell you if you dance with me.” Magnus stretches a hand out in Alec’s direction and playfully wiggles his fingers.
“I don’t dance.”
“You didn't believe in magic either. Besides, I'm an excellent teacher,” Magnus insists.
"And if your noble plan to defend my virtue against Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves is gonna work, then you’ll need to stay close to me, won’t you?” he adds teasingly.
Alec seems to consider this for a few seconds before giving in.
“You’re the worst,” he grumbles, as he accepts Magnus' hand.
"No argument from me on that," Magnus says lightly, as he places them into a closed dance position.
“Yes. Let’s get this over with. Just, uh - You'll let me know if I’m stepping on your toes, right?”
“You have my word.”
Magnus offers Alec an encouraging smile before taking the first step into the dance.
It turns out to be the perfect definition of an imperfect slow dance. Magnus' cheek against Alec's, their bodies moving together with limited space between them. And even though Alec seems to find it hard to keep a straight face, the speed of his heartbeat against Magnus’ chest and the sweatiness of his palm betray him.
Alec is nervous, and Magnus is finding it utterly adorable. Especially since Alec is nervous for absolutely no reason. In spite of the unevenness in his movements, he is keeping up a lot better than Magnus thought he would. Alec knows where to put his feet, and he is quickly, and without seeming aware of it, taking the leading position like something that comes natural to him.
No matter what Alec might be claiming, this is not his first time dancing.
“I thought you said you couldn’t dance,” Magnus thinks out loud in a whisper.
“Actually, I never said that I couldn’t. I just don’t do it.” Alec’s voice vibrates close to Magnus’ ear. “You have no idea how many dinner parties and ridiculous gatherings I’ve been dragged to, where dancing was mandatory.”
Magnus smiles as he casts Alec a look of wonder.
“You’re just full of surprises, aren’t you, Alexander Lightwood?”
“Good ones, I hope.”
The soft kiss that follows is enough to send a satisfying shiver up Magnus’ spine. He deepens the kiss, placing one hand behind Alec’s neck, gently tugging Alec towards him—
And then Alec releases a small yelp, as he trips over his own two feet, sending both men crashing towards the ground. It’s Magnus’ sheer luck that Alec's reflexes allow him to take off with his hands before his entire body-weight crushes down on top of Magnus in full speed.
“Well, that was graceful, military boy,” Magnus coughs out under Alec. “I think you might be the clumsiest soldier, I have ever met.”
“In my defense, it is incredibly hard to concentrate on how to dance when you keep distracting me,” Alec retorts and sends Magnus an apologetic smile. “Are you ok?”
“Me? I’m great. I do, however, have bigger concerns about my waistcoat at the moment.” Magnus glances down at his beloved tailor-made, velvet waistcoat, currently squashed between the dirty ground and Alec’s body and lets out a deep sigh of misery.
Such a fine vest.
“It’s not exactly made for being in this close contact with grass.”
“Oh.” Alec knits his brows together seriously. “I can do something about that.”
Alec rolls over and with one quick movement Magnus finds himself straddling Alec.
“And then there are people in this world who truly believe that chivalry is dead,” Magnus beams down at him.
Alec props himself up on his elbows. “Is that a thank you?”
“No. But this is.”
Magnus closes the short distance between them, and Alec lets out a low noise of approval as they resume their interrupted kiss from before.
Alec gently cups Magnus’ face and hits the grass with his back, and Magnus follows, supporting himself with one hand on each side of Alec.
One of Alec's hands move to travel down Magnus' back, fingers gliding over the fabric of Magnus’ vest, then his waist, then his belt and then—
“Eh. Magnus?” Alec mumbles into the kiss. “Is there, uh- is there a reason why your belt buckle is on your back?”
“I like to have a little variety in life,” Magnus says with a crooked smile. “It keeps things interesting.”
“You are so odd.” Alec tips his head back with a grin, and it is too much for Magnus to not place a few, light kisses down Alec’s jaw and neck.
“Please enlighten me, Alexander. Am I ought take that as a compliment or an insult?” Magnus’ voice is deep and low, dangling somewhere between seducing and teasing.
“Compliment. Fuck, definitely a compliment.” Alec’s breath hitches and Magnus smiles triumphantly for himself.
“Mmh. I thought so.” Magnus purrs and lets his tongue follow the lines of the black ink on Alec’s neck, nipping every now and then at the exposed skin, remaining careful not to leave any marks.
“Fuck, Magnus.” Alec tilts his head up and captures Magnus’ lips in an urgent, open-mouthed kiss, that Magnus eagerly returns.
He slides a palm up under Magnus’ layer of clothes, unsteady fingertips grazing the bare skin at Magnus’ lower back, and Magnus hears himself release a shuddering breath.
Involuntarily and unable to help himself, Magnus makes a light thrust with his hips, earning him a suppressed moan from Alec, his body responding immediately.
Magnus resists the urge to add just a tiny bit more pressure against Alec’s groin in order to try and coax several more of those delicious noises out of Alec.
He pauses, about to break away, when Alec grabs his shoulder tightly, holding Magnus in place, all the while demanding Magnus’ mouth back for another breathless kiss.
The command spills from Alec's lips in an almost pleading way and Magnus swallows hard, silently counting to ten, trying to compose himself.
He wants nothing more than to obey Alec’s request. He wants to be the one to make Alec crumble underneath him with pleasure; to show him just how good this could feel.
In fact, Magnus can think of an endless lot of things he would like to do to Alec right now.
He shifts his weight to one side as he lifts a hand up to remove a stray lock of dark hair from Alec’s face, taking a brief moment to regain his sanity while doing so.
“Alexander,” Magnus breathes out as calmly as he can manage, “unless you want your first time to happen right here, right now, then we need to stop.”
A frustrated sigh leaves Alec.
“This taking it slow-thing is so much harder than I thought it would be.”
“You’re telling me that?” Magnus chuckles.
Alec rolls his head back and removes his hands from Magnus, only to bury his own face in his palms.
“Oh, God. What the hell are you doing to me?” he muffles out in a mildly surprised laugh, like he is just now waking up and realizing what is happening.
He looks happy, Magnus notices. Carefree. In a way Magnus haven’t seen him before.
The sight has Magnus smiling widely.
They stay like this for a few moments, letting both of them cool down and their breathing return back to normal.
Magnus then forces himself away from Alec and back up on his feet. He reaches a hand out to help Alec up as well, and as soon as Alec is upright, Magnus pulls him in for a kiss that doesn’t last nearly as long as either of them want it to.
“Come with me,” he then says softly and leads Alec back towards the carousel.
“I believe I owe you an explanation to a certain magic trick?"
This time Alec follows Magnus up to the middle of the carousel.
“So did you bribe the homeless guy?”
“A fine guess, Alexander, but I have far less dramatic methods.”
Magnus goes to the control system, where the key to power on the system is already in the controller. He presses the button to turn off the music, leaving the power and the light on.
Alec glares at him.
“You have a key for the carousel?”
“Technically, I have one for the entire park. But that would be a huge keyring to carry around.”
Alec looks confused, so Magnus elaborates.
“The private property signs outside? It’s my property. I own it.”
“... are you saying that we could have just walked through the gate when instead you had us climb a fence?” Alec deadpans.
“Well, when you put it like that...” Magnus grins and takes a seat on the stairs and gestures for Alec to sit down next to him. “But wouldn’t that have spoiled all the fun?”
Alec raises an eyebrow. “Do you really want me to answer that?”
He takes a look around the park as he places himself next to Magnus.
“So tell me, Magnus Bane. Why does a high-end businessman own a creepy amusement park?”
“It was a very impulsive purchase a few years back,” Magnus explains. “I used to come here with Madzie when she was little. The place was going to be torn down, and I couldn’t bear the thought of the whole thing being wiped off the map. So I bought it.”
“That’s...actually really sweet," Alec says slowly.
“You don’t have to sound so surprised.”
“I’m not. I just- I guess, I can’t really picture you as a Mr. Mom.” Alec admits.
“Believe it or not, but that was some of the best days of my life.” Magnus smiles nostalgically.
“I believe you,” Alec says. “Do you plan on reopening the place someday?”
“I’d love nothing more, but it would take a lot of commitment. A lot of work. A lot of money. A lot of time,” Magnus shrugs. “But someday. Maybe.”
Alec nods along, looking pensive.
“Can I ask you something?” He turns to Magnus. “You don’t have to answer if it’s too personal.”
“You can ask me anything, Alexander.”
“How long have you been alone with her? With Madzie?”
“Always.” The answer comes bluntly and without Magnus having to think twice about it.
“Camille left when Madzie was around three years old. But I have always been alone with her. Even when Camille was around, she was never really around.”
Magnus hesitates. He can’t remember the last time he spoke to someone about Camille or even allowed himself to go back down memory lane. It’s always easier to mend a broken heart if you pretend that no one was there to break it in the first place.
“I’m sorry if I’m overstepping,” Alec says. “I know that it’s not really my place to ask, so if you don't want to talk about it, it's fair. I'm not gonna hold it against you."
“No. No, it’s alright,” Magnus says and acknowledges it to be true. After all, if he wants Alec to let his walls down, shouldn’t Magnus be able to do the same?
“But I feel like I should warn you. It’s quite the depressing story.”
Alec smiles kindly at him.
“I’ll take the risk.”
fun fact: I very last-minute added the whole belt-buckle-thing after Mr. Harry Shum Jr. made it known during the ITA-convention that Magnus wears his belt buckles on his back as one of his many style choices, and I am so here for Magnus Bane changing the world, one fashion statement at a time.
PS. over 500 kudos??? Holy shit, you guys. This is insane and mind-blowing and intimidating, and y’all are wonderful. thank you, thank you, thank you xxx
Chapter 18: Would you be one of them?
Magnus shares the story about him and Camille and discovers that very strict military laws can have loopholes.
(ATT: check 'notes' for all possible triggers and warnings)
Following chapter contains conversation about emotionally abusive relationships, implied suicide/suicide attempt and implied infidelity.
There are two types of moments in every person’s life.
There are moments that happen every single day; insignificant ones that don’t leave any mark on who we are or who we become. Moments we probably won’t even remember happened five years from now.
The second type of moments, however, are the ones that become essential to how we define ourselves and how we shape the rest of our lives. Inevitable turning points, if you will.
Magnus can already enumerate several of these turning points through his life:
Being a boy, no more than nine years old, and finding his mother in her bed lying lifeless by her own hand.
His father moving both him and a young Magnus from Indonesia to America with nothing but a single, small suitcase to summon up the remains of the life they left behind.
Finding himself being handed over to a system that would turn out to fail him in all ways possible after his father got sentenced to a lifetime in state prison.
And of course, the one particularly stormy night where Magnus Bane met Camille Belcourt on the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time.
It seems to Magnus that when most people look back on how they met the first person they truly, deeply loved, they do so with fondness. It doesn’t matter whether it is a high school sweetheart or a summer fling or something third, there is always a certain innocence and bliss involved.
When Magnus thinks back to how he met Camille, bliss is the last thing that comes to mind.
Instead, Magnus remembers the wind in his back, persistently nudging him forward, forward, forward... until he finds himself standing on the ledge of the bridge.
He remembers the waves from the black emptiness underneath him, splashing mercilessly against the cold, hard surface of the bridge.
He remembers the taste of salty raindrops as they trail down his cheeks to land on his lips.
He remembers thinking
is this all there is to life? Is this all that life has to offer? If it is, then he isn’t sure he can accept it or even understand it.
Did he fail in life? It feels like failing when he stands here. It feels like failing when he moves away.
Maybe life is the one who is failing.
He remembers the bright light from cars driving by, one after the other.
If only one of them cared to stop.
And then she did.
“There was an immediate connection. A devotion, an all or nothingness that was unlike anything I have ever experienced before,” Magnus tells.
“In the span of five hours, we met, we talked, we kissed and we fell in love. It was a fast-moving, selfish kind of love, and there was—” Magnus shakes his head as he huffs out a bitter, humorless laugh. “There must have been so many red flags. I was just too young and too blinded by the idea of loving someone, and have them love me back, to see any of them.”
As Magnus speaks, he speaks quietly. Carefully. His eyes remain focused on a random spot he has picked out in the horizon.
Until now, Magnus and Alec’s conversations have been mostly safe topics. But to uncover one of your most well-kept memories to someone you don’t yet know in full is a strange, risky thing.
Right now Magnus is grateful that his someone is Alec because Alec makes everything easier.
Alec doesn’t interrupt. He doesn’t push to get to the point. And the fact that Alec only occasionally glances over at Magnus, instead of letting his eyes settle heavily on him, allows Magnus to contain a feeling of control - that he doesn’t have to give away any more than he wishes, at his own speed.
And because Alec currently isn’t looking at him, it somewhat surprises Magnus how attentive Alec still is. Magnus hadn’t even realized that he was shivering when Alec took off his jacket and wordlessly placed it to rest over Magnus’ shoulders, but as Magnus now looks down he sees that his own hands are shaking faintly.
It remains a mystery to Magnus, whether he is shaking from the cold or from the memories.
“Life with Camille was never boring. She was venturous and magnetic and worldly. In many ways, she reminded me of myself, but something about Camille was different. I know that a lot of people see me as an extreme person, and maybe in some parts I am, but believe me when I say that everything I have done and will ever do pales completely in comparison to what Camille was. It's hard to explain but she could be ruthless in her behavior. No matter how reckless I thought I was, Camille was always a thousand times worse. She took risks that I would never in my wildest dreams dare to take. It was like she simply didn’t care about the consequences of anything.”
“Why did you stay with her?” Alec asks, and Magnus doesn't blame him. He knows exactly how toxic it all must sound because that is what it was. But very rarely does that kind of logic prevail when it comes to the heart.
“I loved her,” Magnus simplifies.
“You see, the thing about Camille is that once you had her attention there was nothing else like it. The sun shined brighter. The world became more glorious. But it was a fleeting and temporary thing, and I always knew that I only had her on borrowed time. Sooner or later she would find something else - someone else - to entertain herself with.
I’m rather ashamed to admit that she had me wrapped around her fingers. No matter what she put me through, she knew I would forgive her in the end. Our love became an endless circle of broken promises and destroying personal boundaries followed by a few grand gestures whenever it became necessary for her to make up for some of the damage. She became like an addiction to me. I found myself constantly seeking her approval, and she always gave me just enough to keep me at her feet.
I loved her like a fool and she broke my heart. Repeatedly.”
Magnus’ voice falters, and he pauses to inhale a few breaths of cold air down his lungs.
He senses Alec’s eyes on him, and Magnus dares to look up and search for the feared judgment, but he finds none. Instead, there is only compassion to trace in Alec’s soft hazel eyes, and Magnus can read all the unspoken concern that blossoms from Alec’s crinkled eyebrows and the way his jaw sets.
Are you ok?
You don’t have to tell me this. Not when it hurts you.
Why are you telling me this?
In the need for something to steady himself, Magnus self-consciously reaches out for Alec’s hand. He hardly gets any chance at all to worry about the possibility of Alec rejecting him, before Alec is already sitting with Magnus' hand in his own and offers Magnus a comforting squeeze.
And even though they are only two people still trying to figure each other out, Alec’s touch feels safe and grounding, like something that has always been there, and it urges Magnus to go on.
“She would often disappear for days at a time. One time she was gone for over a month, and I had no idea where or with who. When she finally returned, she was crying on my doorstep, begging me to take her back. She told me that she was pregnant with my child.”
At this point, Magnus knew better than to take Camille's word for any of it. Camille always had an ability to spin the most exceptional and stunning lies with little to no effort, but this turned out to be no lie. Every pregnancy test came back positive, and so did the paternity test that Magnus demanded.
Magnus can pinpoint several lifechanging moments in his life, and the one thing they all have in common is chaos. Like experiencing one giant explosion after the other.
Except for this one.
The day Madzie came into his world, everything went quiet. Calmness was the only thing surrounding him. It was like the world had finally settled into its rightful place.
“Camille told me over and over, that she wanted us to be a family, and I was stupid enough to believe her. In the beginning, things worked out as they should. I thought that maybe motherhood had been what it took for Camille to see her silver lining.”
“What always happened. She got bored of playing house as she did with everything else. For three years I watched her become like a stranger towards Madzie. She was careless and indifferent, and I made excuses for her for far too long. It was her daughter, for God’s sake. Her own flesh and blood. In my heart, I didn’t want to believe that anyone could simply grow tired of their own child.
One day she came to me and told me that she was leaving to go to India with some Bollywood-producer that was going to make her the star she always wanted to be. I told her that if she left, then she shouldn’t bother to come back.
That was the last time I saw her,” Magnus tells. “The next morning I went to court and filed for sole custody of Madzie.”
The whole thing had gone through smoothly. Given Camille’s long history of irresponsible behavior aligned with the fact that she never even bothered to show up to any of the hearings, the court granted Magnus all legal and physical custody in a matter of no time. Only then had Magnus been able to catch his breath - when he had made sure, that even if Camille ever did return, she would have no legal claim to his daughter.
Because that’s what Madzie was. That is what she still is and always has been. Camille or no Camille.
When Madzie took her first step, Magnus was the one who was there to catch her when she fell.
When she learned how to ride a two-wheeled bike, Magnus was the maniac chasing her down the street, screaming at her to be careful.
When the time came for her first day in preschool, Magnus would have been hiding outside the bushes throughout the entire day to make sure that she was alright, had it not been for Ragnor and Catarina dragging him away and keeping him occupied.
When she got sick, Magnus would stay home with her, and they would watch movies and eat ice cream and drink hot chocolate in bed.
When she became obsessed with outer space in such an early age, Magnus would be the one to decorate the ceiling in her room with glow-in-the-dark stars stickers, and the first time a shooting star ever made her giggle, Magnus found himself wanting to offer her the entire night sky on a silver platter.
And when she finally went to sleep after far too many bedtime-stories from Dr. Seuss, Magnus would always spend a few minutes by her bedside, just watching over her as she slept peacefully, before going to bed himself.
Magnus had been nowhere near ready to be a father when Madzie arrived in the world, but he still became one in every possible way, the second he held her in his arms for the first time.
The years following Camille’s exit would turn out to be some of the hardest in Magnus’ life.
By the time Camille left, Magnus was already in the middle of building his own empire in New York. It was at this point where he opened his first nightclub Hardtail. Something that allowed for easy distractions when the drinks were free and the company more than willing. Combined with a broken heart it quickly turned out to be a bad cocktail.
But in the end, it was Madzie who pulled him out of his daze. Truth be told, Magnus always needed her just as much as she needed him.
“When you decide to have a child it is always a selfish act,” Magnus states thoughtfully. “They don’t choose to be born. We make that decision for them. So the way I see it, you have an unquestionable responsibility once that child arrives in the world, and that is to be the absolute greatest parent that you could possibly be for them. No matter what.
Don’t get me wrong, I screwed up a lot with Madzie in the beginning,” Magnus admits with a chuckle. “I still do at times. But I never stop wanting what’s best for her. And as for now, I am slowly watching her grow into this strong, independent young woman, and I comfort myself with the knowledge that I must have done at least a few things right along the way. Because she just never ceases to amaze me.”
“She actually mentioned you when I waited for Jace at Hunter’s Moon,” Alec says to Magnus, “before I knew that you were you. She said some nice things about you.”
“Ah, yes. I know. I pay her quite handsomely to say nice things about me to good-looking strangers.”
“No, I’m serious." Alec continues and ignores Magnus’ attempt to make it into a joke. “She loves you. You’re definitely doing something right. You should know that.”
“I- Thank you, Alexander. That means a lot,” Magnus expresses in all earnestness and he can’t help but feel a dash of pride in his chest. Of all the achievements in Magnus’ life, Madzie is by far his finest deed.
“But enough about me.” Magnus pats the back of Alec’s hand, before letting go and leaning his back against the upper step of the stairs. “What about you, Alec Lightwood? A compatible partnership and suitable family life pretty much comes with the name, I suppose?”
“Pretty much,” Alec nods. “I mean, my mother certainly seems to think so. And it’s not that I don’t... that I don’t want a family. I do. Eventually. I just- I don’t want it to be a lie, you know?”
“Does no one in your family know that you’re gay?” Magnus asks a little bluntly.
“Isabelle, my sister, knows. Not that I ever told her. She just figured it out on her own, I guess.” Alec frowns. “I’ve actually only ever told one person.”
“You have? Who?”
The horror within Magnus must be mirrored rather obviously on his face because Alec huffs as he watches Magnus reaction.
“I take it from your startled expression that you can imagine how great that conversation went,” Alec comments dryly. “Or lack thereof.”
Maybe it is something in the way Alec tenses or the way he clenches his fist, or maybe it is just some undertone in Alec’s voice, but Magnus isn’t sure that he wants to imagine. It‘s obvious that whatever happened during that conversation, it has been enough to make Alec convinced that living a lie is his only option in life.
Magnus briefly considers digging deeper, knowing that right now Alec would tell him if only Magnus asked the right questions.
But in the end, Magnus decides against it.
When he is ready, he will talk.
Instead, Magnus settles on asking “Is he the reason you joined the army?”
“Yeah. One of them. I was suffocating in Alicante, and I needed to get away. For many reasons, the military has always seemed very appealing to me. And as it turned out, I was great at it. I located to Fort Bragg in Carolina pretty quickly and became one of the youngest ever to join Special Forces. When I got offered a position at the Gard I didn’t hesitate to take it. The further away I could get from Alicante, the better it served me.”
“Yet you decided to come to New York?”
“Because of Izzy. And Jace,” Alec says with a small smile playing on his lips. “I loved it at the Gard, but it was a 15-hour long flight from an entirely different continent just to be able to spend a few days with them before having to fly 15 hours back. We’ve always been very close, all three of us, and frequently, I spend a lot of time away from them when I'm on deployment. And I hate it. It’s a little easier to endure when I can come back from a mission and know that they are basically right here.”
Magnus understands that better than most. If anything, it only makes Alec that much more attractive to Magnus, that he wants to stay near his siblings as often as his job allows him to.
“So, are you going to join the Special Forces unit here in New York?” Magnus continues as his curiosity gets the better of him.
“No, I quit Special Forces when I left Fort Bragg. I’m still part of the joined Special Operations Forces, it’s just a very different unit,” Alec says and confirms some of what Magnus has already been told by Catarina.
“That sounds impressive.”
Alec flushes a light red. “It sounds more impressive than it is.”
Magnus doesn’t believe that for a second. If Magnus knows anything at all about Alec by now then this is more likely about Alec wanting to be modest.
“You sure? Because that's not what my connections are telling me,” Magnus smirks and then confesses, “I’m close friends with Catarina Loss.”
“Oh.” Alec breaks into a fond smile at the mention of Catarina’s name. “It really is a small world, huh?”
“It is indeed. She might have let it slip that you were leading some rather dangerous operations at the Gard,” Magnus inquires.
“Well, she is not wrong,” Alec concedes with a shrug. “It comes with the job description.”
“I wonder what job description that would be.”
“I can’t say.”
“Oh, come on now. Don’t tease me, Alexander.” Magnus tsks.
Alec laughs. “No, really. I can’t say. There are laws about sharing this kind of information.”
Magnus has never heard about any such law but then again - no one has ever accused Magnus of being an expert on how the US military system works. All he knows is that it will be a cold day in Hell before Magnus lets a few rules get in his way.
“So you're not allowed to tell anything? Not even what unit you are in?”
“I see.” Magnus taps his index finger lightly against his chin to emphasize his thinking.
“What do your laws say about me guessing?” He then muses out loud. “You wouldn’t have to confirm anything. You can just say no, and if I get it right you don’t say anything.”
“Are you serious?”
“Is that a yes?”
“Sure,” Alec approves with a nod, looking slightly amused with Magnus’ persistence. ”Go ahead.”
As bulletproof as Magnus expected this idea to be, he runs out of guesses faster than he would care to admit. Alec’s hair isn’t crew-cut, like most other soldiers Magnus has encountered, which already rules out a few military groups. The neck tattoo rules out a few others, where Magnus knows that tattoos shown outside the uniform aren’t allowed.
When Alec mentions, that he mostly wears civil-looking clothes and that he can’t even remember the last time he wore a traditional uniform, Magnus finds himself at a loss.
He starts to think that maybe Alec only agreed to this game because he knew that Magnus was setting himself up to fail.
Magnus groans and throws both hands up in exasperation. “Alright, I give up! This cannot be possible.”
He quirks an eyebrow in Alec’s direction and adds jokingly, “you’re not a Shadowhunter, are you?”
“Do you believe they exist?” Alec asks.
“Ragnor and Catarina seems to do so. I am not convinced.”
“Well, there is no proof, is there?” Magnus asks rhetorically. "It's just stories."
He doesn’t know exactly how long the stories regarding the Shadowhunters have been around, but he knows that they have been on people’s lips for years.
The rumors are assumed to have started during a time, where the Military Command performed a whole lot of concealed operations - not revealing anything publicly about the missions until after they were over and done, and even then they refused to announce who was behind them. Some say, that only a very small amount of the missions ever became published at all.
All of this caused the media to start questioning the idea of a secret organization located inside the military. An organization that worked as the military’s Wildcard.
The public nicknamed them Shadowhunters, because they acted like ghosts. They only worked exclusively in the shadows.
Of course, none of it has ever been confirmed by any of the national authorities.
"How is this coming from the same man who practically scolded me for not believing in magic?" Alec asks grinningly.
“Are you saying that you think they exist?” Magnus stares incredulously at Alec.
“I am saying that if they exist - hypothetically, of course - they'd probably have a very strict code of silence to be able to keep themselves as secretive as they do. But I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t,” Alec shrugs.
Magnus continues to stare at Alec as he feels like his brain might explode any second.
The many stories about the Shadowhunters include corporations with CIA, FBI and Secret Service and countless tales of hostage rescue missions, counterterrorism and manhunting of extremely high-value targets—
And that's just to name a few.
Basically, the group is believed to execute some of the most complex, classified and dangerous missions of all time. They do what no one else can and without anyone realizing they were there in the first place.
If Alec is right and the Shadowhunters are more than just a myth, then it would make them the US military’s number one elite force and one of the most dangerous and well-hidden organizations in the entire world.
Would such a thing even be possible?
A terrifying thought starts to take place in Magnus as he remembers his conversation with Ragnor and Catarina from earlier this very same evening.
Maybe he is a Shadowhunter.
It's quite difficult to verify something when the only ones knowing who they are, are themselves.
He recalls Alec saying I don’t believe in things I can’t prove exist.
But if Alec doesn’t see any reason why Shadowhunters shouldn’t exist, would that mean that he has seen proof that they do?
“Oh, dear God,” Magnus whispers under his breath.
“You- you never said no when I asked you if you were a Shadowhunter,” he realizes as he looks at Alec.
“I didn’t?” Alec’s expression gives nothing away, but Magnus doesn’t need it to.
“Alec.” Magnus takes a deep breath. “Say that Shadowhunters do exist - hypothetically. Would that mean that you... would you be one of them?”
Chapter 19: Stay with me
Introduction to the Clave.
disclaimer: aside from obviously being based on the show, the inspiration for The Clave is loosely based on the US Delta Force (who do exist and are googleable).
“Oh, dear God. You- you never said no, when I asked you if you were a Shadowhunter.”
“I didn’t?” Alec is surprised by how calm he sounds as he watches Magnus wrap his head around the thing Alec has been trying to insinuate all along.
This was a mistake.
“Alec.” Magnus’ voice sounds almost reproving, and Alec can’t not look at him, even though it feels like the other man is seeing right through him. “Say that Shadowhunters do exist - hypothetically. Would that mean that you… would you be one of them?”
Alec doesn’t know why he thought this would be easy.
Maybe because it had been the easiest conversation ever back when Jace guessed it, in practically the same way that Magnus now has. Obviously that could have something to do with the fact that Jace had mainly been interested in the different variety of weapons and fighting techniques, and judging from the expression on Magnus’ face Alec has a feeling that Magnus is going to have a very different approach to this that doesn’t start with “dude, that’s so cool, is it true that you guys have a collaboration with the Adamant Citadel, and if it is, can I try one of the seraph blades?”
Just say no already, Alec's inner voice demands once again.
It should be easy. Lying. Alec is used to it after all.
But Alec can’t lie to Magnus.
“How would you feel if I was?” He asks instead, studying Magnus closely for any reactions that might occur.
“I don’t know.” Magnus pauses. “I suppose I would have a lot of questions.”
“I could, uh - I could answer some of them?” Alec offers a little hesitantly. He isn’t sure that Magnus is going to like many of the answers Alec can provide. In fact, he is pretty sure of the opposite. But that doesn’t change the fact that if Magnus wants the answers, Alec will lay them all out for him.
When Magnus speaks again his words sound measured and well-thought-out.
“Alright. Then let’s start at the beginning. How do you go about joining an organization that no one knows to exist?”
“You don’t. They come to you,” Alec explains. “In my case, I was at the end of my contract with Special Forces. I was trying to figure out what to do next. My parents were constantly on my back about coming back home and wanting me to pursue politics.”
“I can’t believe I‘m saying this, but I do think you would make quite the politician,” Magnus endorses.
“You’d certainly have my vote,” he adds with a playful wink that makes Alec’s skin flush in the way that only Magnus can.
”I appreciate your support, but I really wouldn’t,” Alec protests. “Politics will always be more about words than actions, and I can’t think of anything I would be worse at than having to hold speeches and talk for a living.”
Even if Alec had been a man of words he doubts he would ever belong in the circle of politicians. Alec has spent enough time in that world to know that nothing is more important to those people than their own career and reputation. They might possess an enormous amount of power, but their main goal will always be to serve their own purpose. Everything else comes second.
Being stuck in a world like that, and being surrounded by people like that, comes very close to what Alec considers to be his absolute worst nightmare.
It’s one of the main reasons why Alec appreciates the tone of the military. He likes the discipline, the respect, and the natural order. Unlike in politics, there are no hidden agendas in the military. There is no mudslinging, no bombast, no posturing, no sloganeering and no propaganda. There is less bullshit.
“No, going back to Alicante wasn’t an option. But neither was staying where I was,” Alec continues. “There aren’t many things my dad and I have in common, but there is one thing we can agree on. We both want to change the world in some way. We just have very different ideas about how it should be done, but to make actual changes is always a complicated thing. Every tradition-bound hierarchy - no matter which one it might be - generally resents changes.
Then one day a man approached me. He wanted me to try out for a special type of unit that he called The Clave. At first, I thought he was screwing with me because he looked and acted nothing like the people you usually see in the army. He introduced himself only by first name, he had a beard and even though he was in a uniform there were no badges or decorations. There was simply nothing to identify him by and nothing to signify his status or qualifications.”
Later, Alec would come to know this particular man as Hodge Starkweather. Apart from being one of the greatest mentors in the Clave, Hodge is also the only headhunter in the entire organization. It's his job to investigate soldiers and possible candidates, and then every few years he handpicks the ones that have the most spotless records or in other ways stand out exceptionally.
Back then, Alec only knew very little about the group of soldiers hiding in the shadows. Unlike the rest of the world, most of the military knows that the organization exists, but that is all they know. Even though the Clave is active on most US military stations located around the world, there are no public records regarding the unit and the same goes for all its members. They play by their own rules and they have no time for the traditional philosophies of military life. They even have their own Council who only responds to the highest of the Military Command, and they keep all their cards close to the chest in their own isolated corners and high-tech installations, well-hidden from the rest of the military.
“Hodge wasn't very informative in his message. All I was told was that it would be a chance to hold a unique position and that it would be dangerous and hard work with no Medals of Honor or accolades of any kind,” Alec says. “He gave me a number I could call if I wanted to try out. The number was only active on one specific date, so it gave me a few days to think about it.”
Not that Alec needed any time to think about it. There was no doubt in his mind that he wanted a chance to make an impact and somehow make the world a better place, but he’s never had any need to be some kind of hero. This kind of arrangement suited him perfectly.
A week later Alec underwent an intense training regimen with Hodge - something that would soon prove to be a lot harder than anything else he had ever gone through in the military.
The Clave stands out from other units in several ways. One of them is the fact that they are the only unit in the entire US military that is in constant preparation for war. Therefore, the purpose of the training is never to do endless drills or marches on a parade ground. Instead, they have slightly more extreme and brutal training methods, and there is always a zero-tolerance for mistakes.
The goal is to teach their members how to survive behind the lines of the enemy. They make sure that every member of their organization is able to handle any type of situation they could possibly find themselves in on a mission without breaking down. They learn how to capture a target and how to handle an interrogation - and how to escape, should they ever find themselves being the ones imprisoned.
To this day, Alec still doesn’t think that there is a single place or building in the world that he can’t break both in and out of in a matter of seconds.
In many ways, The Clave teach their members how to think and act like the bad guys—
And they teach them how to kill them. And how to be the best at it. Because at the end of the day, that’s the most important job in The Clave. To be the most effective killer there is, and to do your job quickly, precisely and without hesitation.
“But why all the secrecy?” Magnus asks. “How do you even keep something like this a secret from the entire world without anything slipping out?”
“It's crucial to the cases we work with that everything proceeds as discreetly as possible. The Clave is created to be able to handle difficult and unusual operations that otherwise would be out of reach. It’s cases that under no circumstances must go wrong, and the chances of that happening are lesser the fewer people who know about it. Things like press conferences always compromise a mission. By staying under the radar, it gives us an advantage. It’s a lot easier to act on an emergency, when the people you’re up against doesn’t know you’re coming,” Alec clarifies.
It’s the same reason why all the members in the Clave are allowed a huge lack of restrictions. In all aspects the Clave consists entirely of professional soldiers who simply don’t respond to regular laws governing the military. They don’t have to cut their hair or beard and they hardly ever wear traditional uniforms - all to make it easier for them to disappear in the crowd when they work undercover.
“But evidently, when you work with an organization as powerful as this one, it’s impossible to keep everything under wraps. Occasionally, it happens that a mission gets leaked,” Alec continues.
“But you don’t take any credit, do you?”
“No. Usually, when something like that happens, it’s because we’re working with another organization, like the CIA for example, and then they take full credit. If it’s a solo mission, it rarely happens that something gets out, but nevertheless, it does happen. In that case, the Military Command simply marks all details as classified. No matter what, we don’t ever take any accountability,” Alec says. “But every time you see some reporter on the News talking about some awful incident with a very serious expression on their face, you can assume that a team from the Clave is on their way to the location - if they’re not already there. The bigger the issue, the bigger the chances that we are the ones on the task.”
"So basically, you all regularly risk your lives in the darkest corners of the world without anyone noticing it?" Magnus conjectures. "It seems like a very ungrateful job."
"I guess, it is," Alec admits. “I mean, it's definitely not something you do for the sake of glory. But it shouldn't be, you know? None of the things we do is worth glorifying. No matter what side you are on in a war, people still get tortured and killed. Cities and homes still get ruined. It doesn’t matter whether you do it for the greater good, or if it’s a means to an end. There should never be anything desirable or honorable about it."
“Wow,” Magnus blinks. “You’re right. You would be terrible at holding speeches,” he comments with sarcasm in his tone.
“Shut up.” Alec grins.
“Alright, I do have one more question,” Magnus announces. “Should I be expecting someone coming to kill me in the nearest future because you so generously shared this information with me?”
“Probably, yeah.” Alec manages to maintain a poker face while responding, but when Magnus’ eyes widen at the warning, Alec fails to hold up the serious expression.
“Kidding. That was- I’m kidding. No one is going to kill you,” Alec quickly assures him.
Even if someone tried, I wouldn’t let them come anywhere near you, Alec silently adds and realizes that this isn’t the first time he has felt this way.
It is mutual to how he felt when Magnus was standing on the other side of that fence, alone, and when Magnus spoke about how Camille treated him.
Alec is a protective guy by nature when it comes to the ones he cares about. He would do anything in his power to keep both Jace and Isabelle out of harm's way.
Until tonight, Alec didn’t realize he could feel that way about someone who wasn’t a part of his family.
“What is it?” He asks as he notices Magnus studying him.
“Nothing. It’s nothing. I was just wondering... why tell me any of this in the first place? You’re obviously not supposed to. You could have said no, and I would have never known.”
If he is being completely honest with himself, Alec knows why, and it is not only because he is tired of lying. It doesn’t really have anything to do either with the fact that it feels relieving to know that someone in the world knows who Alec is - all of what he is and not just bits and pieces.
It’s more because of Magnus being Magnus and Alec likes Magnus, and it has absolutely everything to do with the fact that —
“I trust you,” Alec admits, and it’s as much to himself as it is to Magnus. “I don’t know why, but I do.”
Magnus looks at him and his eyes are soft and warm and so are his lips and every single time Alec finds himself liking Magnus a little bit more.
“Thank you for following me home,” Magnus says as he and Alec are standing outside of his building a while later, “regardless of how unnecessary it was. I’ll have you know that I have dealt with a lot of drunk people over the years. One of the glamorous perks of being a nightclub owner. I am capable of walking home by myself.”
“Worst come to worst, I am also very capable of taking a cab,” he adds smirkingly.
“I would never question your ability to take care of yourself,” Alec states with honesty. Magnus is muscular and broad-shouldered and could easily defend himself. But Alec just really likes knowing that Magnus is safe. Walking him home is as much for Alec’s own peace of mind as it is for Magnus’ benefit. Alec would have worried about him all the way back to the club otherwise.
“- but that doesn’t mean that you have to,” he finishes with a shrug. “And besides, you still have my jacket.”
The final comment has Magnus laughing loudly.
“Not my style, is it?”
“Not really your sleeve length either,” Alec notes. It’s not a secret that he is half a head taller than Magnus and it shows.
“A shame,” Magnus remarks as he shrugs the jacket off in one elegant move before handing it back to Alec. “I was beginning to believe that you enjoyed seeing it on me.”
You have no idea.
Alec is certain that Magnus could make anything look good, but the sight of him in something that Alec owns is doing all kinds of things to the soldier.
Alec clears his throat. “I should probably head back. We’ve been gone for a while, and I think Jace is on the verge of gathering a search team to track me down.”
“Of course. I won’t take up any more of your time,” Magnus obeys. “Thank you for humoring me tonight, Alexander.”
“My pleasure. Tonight has been ... fun,” Alec decides with a smile that only grows bigger as Magnus beams at the statement.
“Oh! How delightful to hear you say that! In fact, it’s such a delight that I’m not even going to say I told you so.”
“Thanks,” Alec grins. “So I guess I’ll see you on Sunday?”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world, Shadowhunter.”
Alec shakes his head, accompanied by a disapproving grimace. “Please, don’t call me that. It’s a horrible nickname.”
“Is it? I think it rather suits you,” Magnus teases and Alec shakes his head again and leans in to give Magnus a quick kiss goodnight—
Or at least Alec intended it to be quick. But one thing quickly leads to another, and Alec drops his jacket on the ground to get a better hold of Magnus and Magnus’ arms are wrapped around Alec’s neck, his fingers tangled in Alec’s hair.
In the back of his mind, Alec is aware that this would be a difficult position to explain his way out of if someone walked by them on the street - or even worse, if someone opened the front door that Alec currently has Magnus pressed up against.
None of it seems like a good enough reason to step away from Magnus though.
“I don’t wanna go,” Alec ventures, eyes still closed.
“If I stay... do I - do I have to sleep on the couch again?” Alec asks awkwardly, not even sure what he is indicating.
“You can sleep wherever you want.”
Alec bites down on his own lip. The weight of Magnus on top of him is still fresh in his memory, and it almost has him surrendering to Magnus’ offer.
But there are still things he hasn’t told Magnus.
“It wouldn’t be a good idea,” Alec finally concludes against his own will.
“I’m not going to jump you, Alexander,” Magnus says and then raises an eyebrow, “not unless you want me to, that is.”
“No. I know. That’s not what I’m worried about. It’s just that I... I tend to get nightmares sometimes,” Alec discloses. “Lately they have been pretty bad.”
“Oh.” Magnus’ expression softens. “There is nothing wrong with that,” he says quietly. “You just have to let me look after you.”
And who is going to look after you?
Alec feels guilty enough for punching Jace in the face. What if he has a nightmare and Magnus is the one trying to wake him up? There’s no way that he’ll ever be able to forgive himself if he accidentally hurts Magnus like that.
“I already told you. I don’t need someone looking after me,” Magnus says and it’s not before this point that Alec registers that he has been thinking out loud.
“Magnus—” Alec begins but is silenced by Magnus’ lips brushing against his own.
“It’s alright not to be strong all the time, Alexander,” Magnus continues as he slowly caresses the base of Alec’s neck, completely ruining Alec’s capability to argue with him.
“Come on. Stay with me. Ok?”
And that settles it.
When Magnus unlocks the door and starts walking up the stairs to his loft, Alec follows.
When the door slams shut behind them, Alec’s jacket is still laying on the ground, and Alec couldn’t care less.
Chapter 20: Don't let the bedbugs bite
Alec and Magnus spend the night together.
warning: sexual content (nsfw)
The first thing Alec notices about Magnus’ bedroom is that it looks nothing like he thought it would. Whatever that was. The walls are naked except for a few abstract paintings. The colors are toned-down, almost nonexistent. The decor is narrow and picked out carefully. There is nothing flamboyant about this room in the way that things usually are around Magnus, but it still has his elegant, subtle signature written all over it. Like if something went missing from this room you would notice immediately.
The second thing Alec notices about Magnus’ bedroom is the enormous size of the build-in walk-in-closet. With some simple math, Alec quickly calculates his way to the fact that should Magnus ever find himself in a position of being economically screwed, it would only take him one luxury designer flea market to be able to live quite comfortably for the next 30 years. Give or take a few.
With this in mind, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that Magnus has clothes in all shapes and sizes when he offers Alec a fresh shirt and a pair of sweats to get through the night in.
The shirt being a dark grey crew-neck.
The sweatpants having a somewhat more sparkly and shiny effect to them.
If this is Magnus’ way of trying to get Alec to sleep without any pants on, it’s working. Alec accepts the shirt. He can sleep in his briefs for one night if it means he doesn't have to wear those pants.
Alec borrows the bathroom located off the bedroom, and Magnus disappears to one of the other bathrooms located around the loft.
This is how Alec now finds himself alone in a kingsized bed with red sheets surrounding him. Still, Alec senses Magnus' presence everywhere. In the air, in the sheets, in the shirt, he is currently wearing. All around him there is a masculine scent of burned matches mixed with a hint of sandalwood. Pure Magnus.
Magnus is gone for what feels like an eternity. Alec is lying on his side with his eyes closed when the door finally creaks open and he hears Magnus tiptoeing across the floor. The sheets rustle and the mattress budges, and then they’re sharing a bed. Just like that.
A minute passes. Then two. Alec knows that Magnus isn’t sleeping, but there is no way for Magnus to know that Alec is awake as well.
A lot of people are under the impression that it is fairly easy to pretend to be asleep, and there are even more people thinking that it is easy to tell one apart from the other. Truth is, it takes a lot of commitment. To be able to fake being asleep you have to be pretty superior in the act of controlling your own breathing, pulse and heart rate. Hell, you should even know how to control your brain activity and blood circulation - that is, if you want to make anything even remotely close to a convincing case, of course.
The process for itself is called biofeedback. It’s the process of learning how to control all involuntary bodily functions. Every single person in the world can do this. They just need to know how.
Every single soldier in the Clave knows how. When you spend several days in the field, it can become vital to your performance that you know how to keep yourself steady under all circumstances. Even a slight change in your pulse can make you miss a target if you’re aiming from a long enough distance.
This was one of the first training methods Alec picked up on when he joined the Clave. Not only is it convenient to his preferred weapon of choice, but it is also what keeps him from ever having to worry about panic attacks when he isn’t sleeping. As long as his mind is awake, he can control everything else. Alec likes being in control. It’s a very productive way to keep your emotions buried under the surface when you feel the need to.
For this reason alone, it has also been an equally fascinating and terrifying experiment to stand by and watch the effect Magnus has on him. Alec hadn’t expected to reach a point where he would hardly know how to turn his emotions off around Magnus - let alone want to. He kind of likes it when Magnus makes him all flustered. He even finds a certain masochistic joy in the number of unwanted boners that Magnus so frequently leaves him with.
In some twisted corners of his soul, Alec knows that this isn’t how he needed this experiment to go. It would have been much more desirable and ideal if spending time with Magnus could have made Alec realize that he didn’t need these emotions in his life. That he didn’t necessarily have to be the person he thought he was.
Alec has done a lot of things in order of trying to convince himself that this wasn’t who he was. His father has too.
When Alec was younger and confused and desperately trying to find answers to why he wasn’t feeling any of the things he was supposed to feel, he even searched the internet for all kinds of stuff.
Sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender.
Articles. Pornography. Researches. Everything adding another piece to the puzzle.
But even when Alec felt close to one hundred percent sure, he still had hopes that one day he could be proven wrong. After all, the internet only knows so much.
In hindsight, it seems almost laughable that there has ever been a time where Alec thought that this was something he or his father could hold any kind of control over.
The more time Alec spends with Magnus, the more certain he becomes instead of less. When Alec is with Magnus, it doesn’t ever feel like anything is lacking. He doesn’t have to force any feelings. They’re already there.
Alec turns to glance at the man next to him. Magnus is laying on his back, eyes closed and hands folded in front of him. He is wearing a plain, black tank top, revealing a very impressive set of muscles. He isn’t wearing any makeup and his hair is without its usual styling. There are no necklaces around his neck and no rings to find on his slender fingers. He is completely stripped from all his armor. He looks vulnerable in a way that Alec hasn’t seen him before, and yet it still takes Alec’s breath away that he can look this flawless even when he isn’t trying.
And he is right here. Alec could literally reach out and have him in his arms within one single stretch.
Alec never thought that he would be one to complain about the size of a bed, but right now he wouldn’t have minded Magnus’ being a bit smaller. At least that way, Alec would have had a legitimate excuse to be closer to him.
Alec releases a barely audible sigh. He badly wants to feel Magnus on him again like he did on the grass at the amusement park. He wants his hands on Magnus’ golden-brown skin. He wants the pressure of Magnus' body and he wants his tongue in his mouth.
His dick is hardening just by the mere thought of it, and Alec doesn’t hold the focus to tell it to calm down. Jesus. If this is how the rest of the night is going to be then Alec doesn’t have to worry about nightmares. There is no way he is ever falling asleep when all he can think about is Magnus.
Alec shifts his hips on the mattress and discreetly tries to readjust himself in order to be able to get through the night somewhat comfortably. It is in moments like these where Alec truly rues the day he agreed to take anything slowly.
Screw the internet.
Right now, just lying in bed next to Magnus, Alec has never felt more certain in his life.
“I thought you were sleeping,” a low voice says, jolting Alec out of his inner misery.
He looks up to see Magnus no longer laying with his eyes closed. Instead, Magnus’ eyes are resting on the place just below Alec’s abs, where Alec’s hand was scratching a second ago. Then they travel further down Alec’s crotch, and Alec dies a quiet death. He knows he is currently pitching a very visible boner.
If only you had a pair of sweatpants right now...
“Do you need help with that?” Magnus continues and then he has the actual indecency to smirk at Alec.
“Well, I mean...” Alec clears his throat, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible and most likely failing at it.
As if this wasn’t already a wishful motive of his when he asked Magnus if he had to sleep in the couch.
As if he hasn’t been waiting for this to happen his entire life.
As if he isn’t already completely desperate for Magnus.
“If you want to, then I’m not gonna say no,” it rushes out of him, and Alec cringes internally at the growing eagerness in his own voice. Making it through this with so much as a single shred of pride left already appears to be a lost cause.
“I can see that,” Magnus says amused and turns to lay on his side as well. “But this isn’t about what I want to. What do you want, Alexander?”
If Magnus is looking for something more specific, then Alec doesn’t know what to give him. How the hell do you ask for something like this? How does this happen with someone like Magnus?
Deciding to save himself the embarassment of stumbling awkwardly through words he doesn’t know how to find, he leans in and presses Magnus’ lips against his own. If he can’t tell him what he wants then maybe he can show him.
The kiss is soft and slow. Agonizingly slow.
When Alec withdraws, Magnus is still looking at him, awaiting an answer. But he doesn’t like amused anymore, and his yellow-green eyes are a tone darker than usual.
One of these days, Alec decides, they really need to have a conversation about how the one with absolutely zero experience should not be the same person having to initiate things all the time.
But it’s not going to be right now. Right now, there are more urgent matters to attend.
Alec lets a hand slip under Magnus’ tank top.
“Can I?” Alec asks as he tugs the shirt up a bit. Magnus gives a nod and moves to allow Alec to pull the shirt over his head.
Alec takes a moment to dwell in the sight of Magnus now shirtless in front of him before tossing his own shirt away as well.
Magnus’ throat works as he swallows. His eyes are hungrily dancing over Alec’s torso, and Alec doesn’t waste another second before pushing his chest against Magnus’ and slamming their mouths together in a hard and molten kiss. Magnus lets out a surprised gasp that quickly turns into a moan when Alec’s tongue moves between his lips.
Magnus’ hand curls behind Alec’s neck and drags him closer, and Alec pants out a breath when Magnus’ erection brushes against his leg. The fact, that this has the exact same effect on Magnus as it does on Alec, feels like a mind-blowing sensation.
“Come here,” Alec says gruffly between kisses as he tugs gently at the other man’s thigh. He needs to get Magnus on top of him again. “Please.”
“Lay down on your back,” Magnus tells him, and Alec doesn’t hesitate before during as told. In the blink of an eye, Alec is on his back and Magnus’ body is covering him like a blanket.
Alec reaches around Magnus until he is cupping Magnus’ ass. He squeezes through the thin, silky fabric of pajama pants. It has the desired effect when Magnus moves his hips for a few rolls.
“So this is what you wanted?” Magnus quirks an eyebrow at Alec.
“You feel really good up there,” Alec admits.
“How lucky that you feel pretty good down there yourself then,” Magnus purrs out and continues to rock his hips.
This time he doesn’t stop. They lose themselves in kisses. After only a few moments, they’re both moaning and grinding their lower bodies against one another. Alec doesn’t have a clue what he is doing, but he is too caught up in Magnus to worry about it. Magnus’ hands are in his hair, their naked chests are pressed together, their tongues seem to be inseparable and the way Magnus’ dick is rubbing against Alec’s own is making him see stars.
This is all Alec ever wanted, but it’s not enough. His entire body is aching with the need to get some kind of proper release.
“Magnus,” Alec rasps. “Fuck. I can’t... I need...”
“I know. I know. I got you,” Magnus murmurs softly against Alec’s lips and then looks at him with a serious expression on his face. “Just... let me know if you want to stop. At any time. Ok? Just say the word, and we can call it a night.”
Stop? Right now Alec isn’t even sure that stop is a word existing in his vocabulary, but he doesn’t argue. He might not need a way out of this, but it seems to be important to Magnus that he has one, so Alec nods in agreement.
Magnus lowers his mouth to Alec’s, and their lips part in a tender kiss. He kisses Alec’s neck. His shoulder. His collarbone. He moves down Alec’s chest, and an involuntarily moan slips past Alec’s lips as Magnus’ tongue circles one of his nipples.
Magnus peeks up at Alec, a mischievous smile playing on his lips.
“You like that?”
“Interesting,” Magnus hums. He repeats the action, this time a little more thorough and enthusiastic than before, and Alec clenches a handful of the sheet in his fist and hears himself whimper.
Any other given moment and Alec would have rolled his eyes at his own undignifying behavior. Right now he can't bring himself to care.
Magnus takes his time working his way down Alec’s upper body, tasting and touching every inch of his skin that’s prickling with need until he reaches the waistband of Alec’s briefs and his eyes search Alec’s for permission.
Alec’s abs tighten with excitement as he nods vigorously. Magnus removes the underpants, and Alec hardly gets to wrap his brain around the fact that he is naked, before Magnus’ hand closes around Alec’s already leaking and throbbing shaft, and holy shit, this is actually happening. There’s another man holding his dick in his hand. Alec almost releases a gleeful laugh at the realization.
Alec curses out under his breath when Magnus slowly begins pumping him. Magnus’ grasp becomes firmer as he squeezes Alec on every upstroke, and Alec helplessly bucks into Magnus' hand. He is already close. A few more strokes like this and Alec is going to —
“Shit, Magnus, you’re gonna make me come.”
But Magnus doesn’t let him. He stills his hand for a moment and then he asks “do you want to come like this or do you want to come in my mouth?”
The question alone almost has Alec tipping over the edge. Had Alec known that he would be making these kind of decisions tonight, maybe he would have prepared at least one nice way of saying that yes, he does, in fact, want to blow his load down Magnus’ throat.
Right now, however, Alec can think of none.
“You want to come in my mouth, don’t you?” Magnus tilts his head to the side and Alec really wants to wipe that smug grin off his face —
but he also really wants to come in Magnus’ mouth, so who is he trying to fool?
“Would you be ok with that?”
“I wouldn’t have offered if I wasn’t.” Mangus winks and lowers his head. And then he licks Alec’s whole length from base to the tip all while maintaining eye contact with Alec. How Alec doesn’t come right there on the spot goes beyond his own comprehension.
Then Magnus opens his mouth and sucks him down, and Alec’s head falls back with a deep groan escaping him. Magnus’ mouth is tight and wet all around him, and Alec snaps his hips upwards because holding still seems like an impossible thing to do.
“Jesus Christ!” Alec exclaims. “Shit! Sorry! I, eh - I got excited.”
“You can fuck my mouth if you want to,” Magnus suggests, and he really needs to stop throwing these things out there so casually, because it’s driving Alec crazy.
“What?” Alec croaks out. “No, I- I don’t wanna choke you.”
“Oh, but what a way that would be to go, right?” Magnus muses and playfully wiggles his eyebrows. “Just let go, Alexander. I guarantee you, I can take it.”
He doesn’t give Alec a chance to protest before he dips his head again and takes Alec deep inside his mouth.
“Oh, fuck! Magnus!”
Alec grips wildly at Magnus’ hair and this time he plunges uncontrollably into Magnus’ mouth. Magnus moans in response, the muffled noises sending vibrations all the way through Alec.
Shit. He likes this just as much as I do.
Alec thrusts sharply into his mouth once. Twice. He feels his dick hit the back of Magnus’ throat.
“Oh God, yes. Holy shit, that’s good. Magnus. Fuck. Magnus... Fuck, I’m gonna—”
Alec cries out as Magnus gives him another hard suck down to the root while cupping his balls in one hand. And then Alec is coming. And Magnus is swallowing.
Magnus continues to clean Alec’s remains up with his tongue, and Alec finds himself unable to do anything but lie there, struggling to breathe as his whole body shakes with joy and relief.
“I think someone needed that,” Magnus remarks as he lays himself down next to Alec.
Alec rolls his head back with a grin wide enough to cover his entire face. “You have no idea.”
“Do you mind if I...?” Magnus leaves the sentence open as he gestures towards the giant bulge in his pants.
”Not at all.”
Magnus pulls his dick out and with the fingers of one hand, he starts jacking himself off slowly. For a moment, Alec can do nothing but watch mesmerized as this gorgeous man masturbates in front of him, his gaze resting on the long and proud erection in Magnus’ hand.
Then he moves to place a soft kiss on Magnus’ shoulder before he reaches out to cover Magnus’ hand with his own.
“Let me help you.”
Magnus releases his grip, leaving Alec alone with his dick in hand. It’s hard and leaking, and it feels hot and heavy and pulsing under Alec's fingertips. The only dick Alec has ever held before is his own but after years of being in the closet with no sex-life, Alec knows how to give a pretty decent handjob. This can’t be much different.
Alec rubs his thumb over the head of Magnus’ dick and then begins stroking the underside with his fingers. Magnus breathes out in something close to gratitude and leans his head against Alec.
“Magnus?” Alec wonders out loud. “Can I... can I blow you?”
“You - oh. You don’t have to prove anything, Alexander,” Magnus replies back in a strained voice. His breathing is shallow and ragged, and Alec likes being the cause of it.
“I know. But I’d like to try. Can I try?”
“Yes. God, yes, of course.”
Alec shifts on the mattress and yanks Magnus’ pants out of his way before kneeling between Magnus’ legs. Feeling his confidence falter for a moment, he arches an eyebrow and looks to Magnus for guidance.
“Any last-minute tips you wanna share?”
Magnus chuckles, and the deep, husky, melodic laughter is already becoming so familiar that the sound alone is enough to calm Alec’s nerves.
“Just relax and take it easy. Try to have fun with it. And if it gets too much just stop. There is no need to rush.”
“Right. Got it.”
Alec takes a moment to breathe deeply down his lungs. He wets his lips swiftly and lowers his head, letting his mouth wander lightly over Magnus' hips and thighs.
He glances up at Magnus who certainly isn’t laughing anymore. “You will tell me if I screw this up, right?”
Magnus gives him an encouraging nod, and Alec decides that he might as well just dive into it. He moves his mouth closer to Magnus’ crotch and tentatively runs his tongue over the tip of his member before continuing down the length. Magnus groans in pleasure, so Alec does it again, up and down, leaving a new trail of slobby, wet, open-mouthed kisses behind him every time.
“Alexander,” Magnus grits out. “I know that I told you to have fun and all - which you clearly are - but I do think you should know that you’re being a cocktease right now.”
Oh, I figured that much.
Alec holds back a grin. Magnus looks like he is about to go up in flames and Alec knows exactly how he is feeling.
I can’t believe I’m doing this, Alec thinks in a state of astonishment as he closes his mouth over the swollen tip and sucks. Magnus moans loudly in despair, his hips tightening as his back arches. It’s a motivating response, so Alec tries taking a little more of Magnus, sucking him deeper into his mouth while breathing through his nose.
But Magnus is quite thick, and Alec winces at the overwhelming feel of it. His eyes start to water as the situation triggers his gag reflex.
“Easy, darling.” He hears Magnus’ low voice and then a gentle hand slides through his hair. “Just focus on taking the tip.”
Alec does as told and closes one hand around the base of Magnus’ dick while sucking on the upper half. It works better this time around. He hums, as Magnus continues to card his fingers through Alec's hair. He doesn’t push or force any actions but instead allows Alec to take his time and find a fitting rhythm of his own.
“Oh, that’s it. That’s perfect. Keep doing that. Oh, you’re doing so good, Alexander,” Magnus babbles in between grunting noises that only seems to become more frantic by the second.
Alec relishes in the praise. He squeezes his eyes shut in concentration as he continues to work Magnus over with his tongue, mouth, and hand at a determined pace.
“Ah- Alec, I’m not going to last much longer if you keep doing that,” Magnus pants out. “You might wanna look out.”
Hell, no. Alec knows that Magnus doesn’t expect him to return any kind of favor, but Alec has made it this far and he isn’t going to back out now. If he didn’t already have his mouth full, Alec would have tsked.
Did you really think I was going to let you make a mess?
“Oh, fuck. I’m close,” Magnus warns again and Alec ignores him. Shortly after, a strangled cry draws from Magnus’ lips as his fingers thighten in Alec’s hair.
Alec is prepared when the ejaculation comes but the first spurt still catches him off-guard and he swallows more by instinct than anything else. It’s musky and heady, but there’s something oddly appealing about the warm, salty flavor. It isn’t half as bad as Alec feared it to be.
He climbs back up the bed and collapses next to Magnus who rewards him with a line of kisses. Alec tastes himself on Magnus’ lips and it’s satisfying to know that Magnus is tasting himself on Alec as well.
“Tell me, do you always only hear the things you want to hear?” Magnus teases. “Isn’t it a part of your job to follow orders?”
“I have nothing against following orders as long as it’s the right ones.” Alec shrugs. Then his expression fades into a frown. “It was ok though, right? I mean, I didn’t just cross a line or something, did I?”
“Oh, it was more than ok, Alexander,” Magnus assures him, “but thank you for making sure.”
Alec eases in against him. He should probably roll over to the other side of the bed, but his body seems to be seeking out Magnus’ closeness on its own.
“Kind of. Do you want me to move?” Alec asks, suddenly feeling exposed in a way that he isn’t used to. He normally isn’t much for this kind of physical contact because it feels weird. But the only thing weird about being close to Magnus is that it doesn’t feel weird at all.
“Most certainly not,” Magnus says, and every apprehensive thought Alec may have had about the situation disappears the instant Magnus snakes an arm around him, pulling Alec closer for a tighter hug. “I told you that you could sleep wherever you wanted. That includes right here.”
Alec hums in approval and places an arm securely around Magnus to keep the other man in place. Just in case Magnus should get the idea of going anywhere, Alec wants to make sure that he doesn’t.
If people could see him now, they wouldn't believe their own eyes. This is so unlike him. Not in a million years would Alec have guessed himself to be an after-sex-cuddler, but clearly it’s doing something for him. And Magnus doesn’t seem to be hating it either.
“You know, you can't complain now when your arm starts to cramp in about five minutes.”
“It will be a small price to pay, Alexander.”
There’s a moment of silence, and Alec almost manages to drift off to sleep. He hadn’t actually intended on doing any sleeping tonight, concluding that it would be better for all parts involved if he simply stayed awake. But he hasn’t slept properly for several nights in a row, and he feels tired now and insanely comfortable.
Then Magnus’ voice breaks the silence and Alec is this close to telling him to shut up and just let him sleep.
“How are you feeling right now? About what we just did?”
“Oh, I am going straight to Hell, for sure,” Alec mumbles into Magnus’ skin, not even bothering to open his eyes.
“Ah. I don’t know about that. I mean, you might be going to Hell but I highly doubt you will be going there straight...”
“Oh my God,” Alec snorts. “That’s the worst attempt on a joke I have ever heard you make.”
“I know, I just heard it. Give me a minute and I can come up with something better,” Magnus insists. Then his voice turns serious. “But you do know that you can be honest with me, right? It’s ok if you’re freaking out.”
And honestly, Alec thought he would be at this point. He thought he would feel some kind of great remorse - the kind you usually get when you do something very wrong. But the thing is, that this doesn’t feel like doing something wrong. It feels normal. Natural, even. If Alec is going to Hell for this, then he doesn’t think he cares very much right now.
“Is it also ok if I’m not freaking out?” he asks.
“Yes.” Alec can hear the smile in Magnus’ voice. “Yes, that’s ok too.”
“Good.” Alec shifts a little closer to Magnus as another silence fills the room.
This time Alec is the one to break it.
“So, uhm - as long as we’re going to continue to see each other, do you think this could be something we did like on a regular basis?”
“Do you want that?”
“Yeah. I think I need to practice some skills,” Alec says thoughtfully.
Magnus laughs. “Well. In that case, I’m all yours.”
And fuck, Alec wants him to be.
Oh, come on. Don’t be ridiculous.
Alec dismisses the sentimental thought just as quickly as it arrived, blaming it on some kind of post-climax haze and a huge lack of sleep.
He fails to hold back a yawn and blinks a few times to stay awake.
“You can go to sleep,” Magnus tells him in a low, soothing voice, his hand tracing lazy patterns over Alec's back. “It’s alright. I got you covered. I promise.”
And Alec believes him. He feels safe like this; with his head resting on Magnus’ chest, the sound of Magnus’ steady heartbeat beneath his ear and Magnus’ strong arms around him.
Alec lets out a sigh of contentment. “Goodnight, Magnus.”
“Goodnight, Alexander,” Magnus whispers back. “Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”
When the third silence settles in, no one is awake to break it.
Chapter 21: You’re so on
(check 'notes' for all possible triggers and warnings)
this chapter contains sexual content, implied nightmares and description of scars.
Sidenote: As some of you might have noticed, I've recently decided to change the title of this fic. Not that it changes anything else, it just suits the story better. x
Had anyone told Magnus that this was how he would be spending the ongoing night, he would have sworn by all the angels and demons in the universe that they had the wrong man.
He might even have accused them of being absolutely bonkers.
Because Magnus Bane does not cuddle.
After Camille’s disappearance from his life, Magnus spent a large amount of years strictly pursuing fast love in the New York nightlife. It was laughter, flirting and meaningless games to keep himself from risking anything he couldn’t bear to lose.
The countless hookups all seem like a blur now. Faceless ghosts from the past. Quite a few of them were already faceless back then. They got off on him, and he got off on them. That was the deal. Not once did intimacy enter the equation.
When Magnus expanded from nightlife to dating life, he made sure to keep things that way, with only half of his heart at disposal. For God's sake, never more than that.
Dorothea. Imasu. George.
Surely they all had their flaws - everyone does - but maybe their biggest one was simply that none of them fit just right.
After all, Magnus never gave them the chance to.
Regardless of this matter, Ragnor still likes to tease Magnus for being a hopeless romantic - and it’s not without reason.
Because Magnus loves love.
He really does.
He loves the classics, the poetry, the clichés, the gestures, the fire and the way that it brings hope into an otherwise cruel, cruel world. He even loves it in spite of all the heartbreaks and caution tape he's surrounded himself with over the years.
In all most every way, Magnus is exactly what one would call a good old-fashioned hopeless romantic —
Except for when it comes to his own personal love life. Or lack of same. There, he doesn’t leave room for much romance or unnecessary intimacy. It just brings too much trouble with it.
For example, Magnus can’t for the life of him recall the last time he spent the night holding someone in his arms. He can’t even bring to memory the last time he slept with someone - as in actually slept with someone, in the purest sense of the word.
And now here he is - with a 6’3” giant curled up against him.
And that’s not even the worst part.
The worst part is that Magnus doesn’t mind.
He doesn’t mind the uncomfortable position he is locked in or the shooting pain in his arm. He doesn’t mind the heat from their bodies or their skin sticking together. He doesn’t even mind the goddamn snoring.
It’s frightening to know that he has somehow changed the game for himself tonight. It’s even more frightening that he doesn’t know how much. But he certainly knows better than this. At least he should know better than this...
but something about Alec fits. And Magnus wants to keep him as close as he possibly can.
They stay like this for the majority of the night, tangled up in each other, except for when Alec tenses or twitches uneasily in his sleep - which he does on more than one occasion. When that happens, Magnus loosens his grip around him. Just an inch. If Alec needs to get away, he should be able to. Magnus spends several parts of the night like this, watching over Alec and whispering comforting words out into the empty air.
He doesn’t know if any of it actually makes it through to Alec’s subconsciousness, but what he does know is that, after a while, Alec always finds his way back into Magnus’ arms.
When Magnus wakes up for what feels like the hundred and seventeenth time, there’s a soft ray of sunlight streaming in from a small crack between the drapes. Magnus is about to turn around and go back to sleep when he realizes something different. He can actually turn his body. There is no heavy weight on him.
Magnus isn't going to lie - it does feel like some kind of a blessing to be liberated at last, and he takes the moment to give all the muscles in his body a good, long-awaited stretch.
Alec, on the other hand, is currently sprawled out on his stomach, the sheet resting just below his waist and most of his face pressed down against the pillow. How he is even able to sleep - or breath - in that position, is an utter mystery to Magnus but it doesn't seem to be much of an issue for Alec.
A smile threatens to make its appearance on Magnus’ face at the sight in front of him, and a feeling of tenderness sweeps through him like an ache. He has been so used to emptiness in his bed and in his arms for so long that he had almost forgotten how much he enjoys these delicate, quiet moments in the morning where you’re the first one awake and—
“Magnus, you’re staring at me.”
Oh, well. Almost quiet moments then. The interrupting voice sounds groggy and muffled against the fabric of the pillow, and Magnus fights to hold back a laugh.
“How would you know? You’re not even looking.”
“I don’t need to,” Alec murmurs. “Why are you already up?”
“It's hard to sleep with all your snoring,” Magnus teases.
“Very funny. I do not snore.”
“Oh, you don’t, do you? Then what do you call this?” Magnus makes a point out of mimicking the grunting noises that he has been listening to come and go throughout the night.
“You’re totally making this up,” Alec stubbornly continues.
“Guess I’ll just have to record it next time then.” Magnus shrugs.
Alec cracks his eyes open in a narrow glare. “You wouldn’t.”
“Oh, but I would,” Magnus assures him with a smirk. “It’s nothing to be ashamed of though. It's rather adorable actually.”
“Yeah, I bet.” Alec huffs out a laugh and turns to lie on his back. He rubs his eyes as he arches his back, and no one should be able to look that irresistible this early in the day, Magnus concludes.
“God, what time is it anyway?” Alec yawns.
“I haven’t checked yet," Magnus tells him.
Alec reaches for his phone on the nightstand. He hardly gets it lightened up before he groans and smashes his face back into the pillow.
“I literally have over twenty unread texts from Jace since last night,” Alec announces in despair. “He is gonna kill me for this.”
“Where does he think you are right now anyway?”
“Pretty sure he thinks I’m hooking up with some chick,” Alec says absently while tapping on his phone.
“Huh. I suppose I’ve been called worse.” Magnus grimaces in a halfhearted joke.
“What?” Intended joke or not, it seems to get Alec’s attention as he instantly turns his head to Magnus. “Are you serious? Have someone actually called you that?”
“That and so many other things. When you choose to dress the way I do, most people you come across are going to have an opinion about it. Not everyone is equally kind about expressing theirs,” Magnus explains matter-of-factly and with profound patience. It’s not something he gets worked up over anymore. It used to be, but he was younger then and too caught up in his own insecurities. Magnus decided a long time ago not to waste his time or energy on it. He is just too old now and his life too short to worry about what some strangers might think of him.
“Magnus...” Alec’s forehead wrinkles into a pained expression. “I- I’m sorry. I had no idea. I should have never said that. I mean, I didn’t—”
“I know, you didn’t mean it like that,” Magnus interrupts him and reaches out to caress the side of Alec’s neck with one hand. “It’s perfectly fine. There’s no need to apologize.”
Alec shakes his head lightly and there is a hint of perplexity in the hazel eyes looking back at Magnus.
“Nothing, I just- I don’t get how you’re able to always stay so…” Alec leaves the sentence open as he pauses to consider his next choice of word.
“Hakuna Matata?” Magnus proposes in jest.
Alec rolls his eyes. “I was leaning more towards fearless.”
Magnus’ smile softens. “Years and years of practice, dear Alexander.”
“Still… You shouldn’t have to deal with stuff like that.” Alec dips head and soft lips press against Magnus’ bare shoulder.
“No one should.”
“Just for the record though?” Alec’s warm breath tickles against his skin and sends a shiver through Magnus’ body. “I like who you are, Magnus.”
I like you too, Alexander. Very much.
Magnus opens his mouth to say it out loud, but the words stay stuck in his throat and a smirk takes their place as something brushes against Magnus’ thigh.
“Alexander, is that…?”
“Sorry.” Alec mumbles sheepishly. “It’ll go down, I’m just not fully awake yet.”
“And here I foolishly thought that the current company might be to blame,” Magnus utters in a disappointed sigh.
“Hmm. I guess it could have something to do with the company as well,” Alec concedes thoughtfully as his fingers graze almost innocently against Magnus’ length.
Last night, Magnus hadn’t been sure what to expect from this - or from Alec. Contrary to popular belief, Magnus tries not to make a habit out of corrupting young virgins, and maybe that’s why he had naturally assumed that he would be the one having to do most of the work. He hadn’t expected Alec to follow him down the rabbit hole this willingly, but Magnus is slowly starting to realize how wrong that assumption had been. Alec is more than capable of jumping entirely on his own.
Magnus feels himself hardening in Alec’s palm, and he bites his lip, stifling a low groan, as Alec mouths at his neck and grants him a few dry strokes. He is just getting in the mood when Alec retracts his hand and Magnus fails to contain a noise of frustration.
“God, you really are such a tease,” he grumbles.
“Just helping it up.” Alec smirks, lips brushing lightly against Magnus’.
Magnus huffs at the comment. “I’m not that old.”
“I don’t remember saying that you were.” Alec flashes a wicked, boyish grin, and suddenly Magnus finds it incredibly hard to continue to act insulted. He also finds it impossible to not grab Alec by the neck and pull him close in an open-mouthed kiss.
Alec’s cock slides up against Magnus’ own, and they both sigh in pleasure at the friction as they grind against each other. It’s slow at first, but it doesn’t take long for their movements to become radically more impatient and eager.
Magnus’ name falls from Alec’s lips in a desperate plea, and Magnus gets the hint. He unclasps his fingers from Alec’s hair and spits in the palm of his hand before reaching down between their bodies and grabbing both of them in hand. A deep, appreciative moan escapes Alec, and he starts rocking harder into Magnus, as Magnus pumps both of them in earnest.
“Oh fuck, Magnus, yes...”
“You close?” Magnus barely manages to get out. He is already getting close, himself.
“Yeah,” Alec pants. A challenge glints in his eyes as he continues, “but I’m not gonna come until you do.”
“Oh?” Magnus quirks an eyebrow. “I didn’t realize this was a competition.”
“What? Afraid you’re gonna lose, old man?”
“Please.” Magnus scoffs. “You’re so on.”
And Magnus does. He catches Alec’s lips with his own in a forceful kiss, and Alec gives back as good as he gets.
Things escalate pretty quickly after that. They’re kissing, sucking, biting each other’s lips and skin - only leaving room for a few teasing remarks in between. Hands roaming and gripping everything they can reach. They’re pressing against each other, both fighting for dominance and control, trying to push the other one over the edge.
After a while, Magnus’ grip slackens and when Alec’s hand joins him between their bodies and starts massaging Magnus’ balls and rubbing the base of his penis, Magnus almost loses it. He releases his grip, digging his nails into Alec’s arm as Alec instantly takes over where Magnus left off. They’re both leaking by now, and Alec’s fist is sliding easily as he picks up the speed.
There is no way Magnus is going to last, and it’s a small comfort that Alec doesn’t look like he has it in him for much longer either.
“Fuck. Come on, Magnus. Just come for me already,” Alec then coaxes as if on cue. “I know you want to.”
Magnus groans. His head falls into the crook of Alec’s neck and shoulder, and his mouth drops open against the skin. He tries to think of something else - anything else really - to prevent the following from happening, but the feel of their two cocks against each other in Alec’s big hand and the heat of Alec’s breath as he whispers into his ear makes the whole thing inevitable. Within seconds, Magnus spills all over both of their stomachs, and Alec follows shortly after.
A shudder goes through Magnus as Alec strokes both of them through their release, and their cocks continue to rub wetly against one another, as they're both breathing out in chopped gasps.
“Holy... That was so hot,” Alec declares in a raspy voice.
“You have way too much stamina for someone who claims to be a virgin,” Magnus mutters back.
“Don’t worry. I’ll let you win next time.”
Magnus waves a hand lazily in the air. “Promises, promises.”
On a more serious note, he adds, “We should take a shower or something.”
“Are you that eager to kick me out?” Alec teases.
“No such thing. But I do think we need to get cleaned up.” Magnus gestures between their currently very sticky and very sweaty chests to emphasize his point.
Alec seems to consider the case for a moment. “You’re right,” he nods, but he still makes no initiative towards getting out of bed.
“So… shower?” Magnus tries again.
“Soon,” Alec promises. “But until then...” His voice trails off as he reaches down to grab one of the discarded shirts from last night on the floor and wipes both of them clean in quick, shallow movements.
Meanwhile, Magnus stares at him in horror. “Alexander. Do you know what kind of shirt you just carelessly used to wipe off semen with?”
”As a matter of fact, I do.” Alec sounds unbothered as he hauls Magnus close. “And I’ll buy you a new one if you agree to put the whole shower-thought on hold for the next five minutes.”
“Five?” Magnus asks incredulously.
“Maybe ten,” Alec shrugs. “We’ll see.”
Magnus shakes his head fondly and slightly entertained at Alec’s resolution, but he still submits without further discussion. After all, he too feels the exhaustion pull at him and it’s not like he has any real desire to move from this spot. Or from Alec.
It doesn’t take long before Magnus feels Alec’s breathing slow down as he dozes off, and Magnus takes the moment to let his eyes wander over the lean figure next to him. Alec’s body is, by all means, the body of a warrior. His hands are rough and calloused, his chest untrimmed, and black ink covers the pale skin along with a large variety of bruises and scars.
Magnus isn’t startled to find any of them there. He already felt several of them last night, but Magnus' eyes still linger as he notices a large, horizontal scar on Alec’s side, just above his ribs. It looks almost clinical with marks from sutures on each side, resembling a railroad. A few inches further down there’s a diffuse pattern of minor, irregular-shaped scars looking much like the kind of permanent souvenirs one would acquire from having small, hard objects lacerating through the skin at an insanely high speed.
He has been shot, Magnus realizes. And by the looks of the still slightly raised, pink skin, it can’t have been very long ago.
It hits Magnus harder than it should - the sudden realization that someone out there in the world has wanted Alec dead. That someone deliberately has been meaning to hurt this guy and succeeded at it. It also hits him that it probably isn’t the first time something like that has happened and it just as probably won’t be the last.
Something in Magnus’ stomach goes a little wrong at the thought.
How many enemies does one collect when the basic nature of their job is to eliminate and sabotage some of the world's most dangerous people?
Carefully, he drifts his fingers over the still immature scar tissue and feels the uneven skin under his fingertips.
“If you think that looks bad, you should see the other guy," he hears Alec's voice say.
“Does it hurt?”
“No, it just itches.”
What happened? Magnus almost asks but pushes the thought away. He isn’t quite ready to hear that story just yet.
“You know, you’re pretty lucky that much guys dig scars,” he deflects instead.
Alec chuckles. “They do, huh?”
Magnus nods. “It does add a certain amount of bad boy-vibe, especially with the tattoos and all that going on.” Magnus eyes at Alec’s well-toned abs.
Alec laughs even harder now. “Oh, man. Sounds like I need to work on my reputation then.”
“Well. You did break into a closed amusement park last night and then pursued to charm your way into my bed,” Magnus teases. “I’d say that’s a very solid start.”
“I think you’re equally to blame for that. No, in fact,” Alec corrects himself, “I think you’re completely to blame for that.”
“Pfft. Technicalities,” Magnus waves him off. The whole thing is ironic because there isn’t much bad to detect in Alec’s personality. The closer Magnus gets to him, the more he becomes convinced that Alec is one of the good guys.
It’s one of Magnus’ favorite things about him.
“Do they ever bother you?” He asks, as his fingers continue to trace over Alec’s skin, tracking down various indentations. Alec hasn’t done much to cover up the marks, as one might otherwise have thought. Not that it surprises Magnus in any way. Alec hardly strikes him as the kind of person who would spend an awfully lot of time fussing over imperfections on his skin.
“No. Not really,” Alec says and confirms Magnus’ theory. “I don’t really notice them anymore. After a while, you just kinda forget that they’re there.”
“Are they all battle injuries?”
“Very few, actually. Most of them are from weapon practice or training exercises or stuff like that.”
“That happens a lot?”
“It’s not unusual,” Alec says. “I’ve witnessed more soldiers getting hurt during base training than out on the field.”
“What? How is that even possible?”
“You mean besides the fact that you're constantly working with weapons in close proximity, jumping out of stuff, blowing things up and practicing hand-to-hand combat?” Alec points out flatly. “Do any of those things enough, and sooner or later it’s bound to go wrong.”
“Obviously. But you do all those things on missions too, don’t you, Mr. Sarcasm?” Magnus goads.
“Obviously,” Alec smirks back. “But the point of training is not only to stay in shape but to continually improve your shape. You want to adjust and develop your techniques. The only way, to figure out if something works, is to try it out.”
“And when something doesn’t work, accidents happen,” Magnus finishes for him. “I understand that. But I still don’t see how it’s more dangerous than going into war or something similar to that.”
“It isn’t,” Alec concurs. “But there is always a ton of preparation behind going to war - any kind of war. When a team hits the field, everything is planned beforehand, all the way down to its core. Things don’t just go wrong. Unforeseen circumstances happen, sure, but nine out of ten times when a military operation fails, it usually comes down to one of two things. The first one being if the people in charge neglect to prepare their troops properly.”
“Well. For example, there is this old saying in the military that even during peacetime you should always practice the same way you would fight in warfare. That way you’re always prepared and you’re always in your best shape."
"Makes sense," Magnus nods.
"It does. And yet, for some strange reason, most of the commanders I have met in the army tend to ignore that saying completely - which means that when a regular unit gets deployed for the first time, they don’t know what they’re going into or what they’re up against. And they have no idea how to fight it because it doesn’t correspondent with how they’ve been trained.”
“But why would anyone send soldiers into a war without preparing them for it first?”
“Most likely because they don’t believe it to be essential. If you don’t expect something to happen, then it’s easy to not bother preparing for it.”
“That is so wrong in so many ways.” Magnus shakes his head in disbelief.
“It’s laziness,” Alec simply states. “It’s more common than you’d think.”
“Do I even want to know what the second thing is?”
“The second thing happens when the one giving the orders doesn’t know how to make the right decisions - or simply doesn’t care. As long as a plan looks good on paper then every strategy is doable for the one who doesn’t have to get his hands dirty. There are plenty of squad leaders who have absolutely no problem sending their entire unit to Hell and letting them burn there if it gives themselves a chance to earn some kind of Medal in the end.”
Magnus blinks slowly. It seems absurd to him - the idea that any kind of badge or commendation could ever be worth sacrificing someone’s life for. The more Alec explains about the prominent part of the army, the more it’s starting to make sense to Magnus why Alec has so little care for this part of the job in particular.
“I can’t believe someone would do that,” Magnus finally speaks after a moment of gathering his thoughts. “That’s- that’s horrible.”
“Yeah. It is,” Alec nods. “Especially since I don’t think I have ever met a soldier who wouldn't be capable of delivering outstanding performances as long as you provide them with genuine leadership and proper treatment. If you give them that, they can actually go to Hell and still make it back in one piece.”
He sounds like he is speaking from experience, Magnus notices and wonders - not for the first time since last night - what Alec’s position in the Clave actually is. You don’t have to spend much time around Alec in order to know that he is more than just a pretty face. Alec is insanely intelligent and level-headed. And though he might not see himself that way, Alec is, in every way, a man of honor. Magnus has no doubt that Alec is the kind of guy who’ll blow up the very same ground he stands on in order to make something right, and he will do it without hesitating.
“You would make a great leader,” Magnus thinks out loud, and he knows it to be right. There has always been a natural wave of authority surrounding Alec’s character. When Magnus first met him, he had assumed that it was something inherited. Now he isn’t so sure.
“Says the man who told me last night that I would make a great politician.” Alec smiles a faint, closed smile that Magnus still hasn’t figured out how to read. “Clearly, your opinion can’t be trusted.”
“What can I say? I haven’t formed my official evaluation of you yet.”
“You’re evaluating me?” Alec exclaims. “Shit. Talk about performance anxiety.”
“Oh, there’s no need for that,” Magnus purrs. “You’re doing extremely well so far.” He shifts to press his lips against Alec’s jawline.
“I’m glad you think so,” Alec says quietly and dips his head towards Magnus, nuzzling their noses against each other softly, and Magnus’ heart constricts.
He rubs the pad of his thumb over Alec’s bottom lip and traces it up his cheek to cup Alec’s face in his hand. I’m gonna take care of you, Alexander Lightwood, Magnus hears his own heart decide, though he isn’t sure exactly how it will be able to do so.
He closes the final distance between their lips and lets his mouth graze slowly over Alec’s in long drags. A smile tugs at the corner of Alec’s lips as he returns Magnus’ request.
“I thought we were getting ready to take a shower,” he muses.
They were. They are.
… but maybe just five more minutes like this.