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Nobody's Comin' Close

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“Stay still,” Alec laughs out, placing a hand on Magnus’ shoulder as he jumps in his seat, cringing away from the cold press of ice. “Do I need to remind you that this was your idea?”

“Well, in my defense, I never thought you’d actually agree to do it. I thought you were more sensible than this,” Magnus replies, earning a glare from Alec through the reflection of the bathroom mirror.

“Oh no,” Alec says, “you don’t get to turn this on me.”

Magnus mutters something under his breath but Alec ignores him, not bothering to suppress the smile curling on his lips.

He sets the ice down and soaks alcohol into a cotton ball, swiping that carefully over Magnus’ earlobe next, then steps around him to sit on the bathroom counter. A bit of water scattered across the smooth surface soaks into his jeans and he scrunches his nose as he picks up the needle, making sure it’s sterilized as well.

“Ready?” Alec asks, placing his feet on either side of Magnus’ legs to steady himself.

“You’re sure this is the bi ear?”

“Magnus, I’ve already told you, that isn’t really a thing.” Magnus gives him a deadpan look and he rolls his eyes. “Yes, it’s the bi ear. Now shut up and let’s get this over with.”

He brings the needle up to Magnus’ ear, pressing the tip to his skin, and watches as Magnus closes his eyes, bracing himself. It only takes a second before it’s over. Alec puts the small black stud into the new piercing, and swipes the cotton ball over it once more before leaning back.

“All done.”

Magnus peeks one eye open, leaning around Alec’s torso to look in the mirror. He tilts his head, examining the piercing, and Alec allows his eyes to run along his neck, biting his lip on a grin at the memory of helping Magnus put makeup on a particularly dark hickey he’d left just last week. He’d been unable to do anything but laugh when Magnus lectured him halfheartedly about the wrath of their parents if they discovered it.

“That’s it?” Magnus asks, lightly pressing his fingers to the earring. “I thought it would hurt more.”

“I told you it wouldn’t be that bad,” Alec says, rolling his eyes. “So dramatic.”

“Says the guy who screamed loud enough to break glass when he saw that mouse in his room a month ago.”

“Hey, that isn’t comparable to this. Mice are gross.”

Magnus stands up, shaking his head. The bathroom lights make his eyes shine, and Alec can’t help but smile at him as he eliminates the space between them, pressing his hands to Alec’s chest.

“They’re actually adorable,” he defends, leaning closer. “But not as adorable as you.”

He kisses Alec softly before he has a chance to come up with a witty retort, and it’s probably for the best, anyway. Kissing Magnus is always for the best. His lips are soft, tasting faintly of mango from whatever chapstick he’s wearing today. They fall open for a moment as Alec pulls back, his warm breath hitting Alec’s chin. Alec lifts a hand to his cheek, thumb running across the smooth skin as he leans back in, when a knock sounds on Alec’s bedroom door. They spring apart immediately, Magnus stumbling back into the bathroom doorway and Alec nearly falling off the counter in an attempt to collect himself.

It’s not an unusual occurrence for Magnus to appear in the Lightwood household without using the front door; he’s gotten remarkably good at climbing up onto Alec’s balcony. Maryse is used to it by now, considering they’ve been best friends since they were kids. The problem is that no one actually knows that they’re dating, and have been for almost a year now. Not even their other closest friends.

It started out as a necessity, as neither of them were out when they got together. As time went on and they told their families, though, the act just never let up. Alec is sure it’s going to bite them in the ass one day, but for now it’s thrilling, the sneaky glances and secret smiles.

“Alec,” Maryse’s voice slips under the door, “you better be awake in there. You have ten minutes until you have to leave. Senioritis is no excuse to be late.”

He steps forward, meeting Magnus’ eyes with a grin as he leans into his chest and pokes his head out of the bathroom.

“I’ll be out in a minute!” he calls out, and listens with amusement to the sound of his mother’s retreating footsteps and disgruntled mutters.

“Strange,” Magnus murmurs in his ear, “I thought you were already out.”

“You’re hilarious,” Alec replies with a roll of his eyes.

He moves in one more time, kissing his boyfriend chastely, then heads back into his room to grab their bags. He hands Magnus’ over and slings his own over his shoulders, watching as Magnus does the same. He looks as gorgeous as usual today with his hair coiffed and eyeliner perfectly applied, and something uncomfortably close to dread curls in Alec’s throat at the sight.

This is their last week of high school, and in just a few months they’ll be heading off to different schools. They’re both staying in New York, but Alec is used to having Magnus right around the corner, not miles and miles away. He’s used to waking up to the creak of his balcony doors, to leaning on the railing and waiting for his favorite face to round the corner of his street, to having him whenever he wants. It’s rare that they go even a day without seeing each other, and soon weeks will go by without a glimpse.

“Ready?” Magnus asks, interrupting his gloomy thoughts, but there’s something in his voice that makes Alec think he wasn’t the only one stewing.

“Yeah,” he replies, reaching out to squeeze his hand for a moment. “Let’s go.”

The halls are filled with loud chatter, unnecessary screams, and boisterous laughter as Alec heads to his locker after dropping Magnus off at his own. As usual, the guy who owns the locker beside him is making out with his girlfriend, blocking Alec’s way, and he’s forced to mutter out a few stern “ Excuse me ”s before they move a few inches to the side. He shoves his bag into the tiny space and pulls out his books for first period, then slams the door shut, watching with satisfaction as the couple jumps at the noise.

The day goes by horribly slow, dragging on as his teachers insist on starting new chapters despite having only a few days left to cram the information in, and by the time the bell rings to signal the end of the day, Alec is ready to go home and flop facedown on his bed. His thoughts from this morning soured his mood all day, and he could use a distraction of some sort.

He takes out his phone, about to text Magnus and tell him he’ll meet him at his locker, when he sees Jonathan Morgenstern and his group of friends talking a few feet away. They’re standing in their usual circle, ready to verbally terrorize anyone they please, and Jonathan’s voice rises as he spots Alec going by.

“Did you see Bane’s earring? He’s definitely taking it up the ass. What a bitch.”

Alec freezes for a moment as laughter hits his ears, then he turns slowly, meeting Jonathan’s eyes and taking in the evil set of his smirk. His hands clench into fists at his sides and he steps forward, barely paying attention as Jonathan’s friends move aside to let him walk up close.

“What did you say?” he asks, giving him a chance to take it back even though he knows he won’t.

“Oh sorry, Lightwood, did I offend your little boyfriend?” Jonathan taunts.

He has no idea , Alec thinks just before he draws his arm back and punches Jonathan right in the nose. Jonathan staggers back with a shocked yell, hitting the wall behind him, and Alec wastes no time in advancing, taking another swing that connects with his cheek. Blood rushes in his ears, blocking out the yells that surround him. He thrusts up with his knee, hitting Jonathan in the crotch and sending him sprawling to the floor just before he’s pulled away by a couple teachers.

“Yeah, he grits out as arms wrap around his own to keep him away from Jonathan, “he is my boyfriend, and if you ever speak about him that way again I promise you’ll be worse off than this.”

He walks off willingly then, not resisting as he’s lead to the principal’s office.

The waiting area is eerily quiet aside from the low sound of his mother talking to the principal on the other side of the wall, and Alec presses a thumb to his bruised knuckles for the hundredth time, focusing on the pain rather than the nerves lighting up his gut. He’d not only managed to get himself in trouble and screw up his clean record with only 4 days of school left, but he also revealed his and Magnus’ relationship to the entire school. He’s already seen at least 5 videos of the fight from different angles posted on twitter, and his words weren’t left out of any of them. He has no texts or calls from Magnus.

He’s probably fucked everything up.

The office door opens and Dr. Garroway calls Alec in. Alec stands quickly, not meeting the principal’s eyes as he steps into the room. His mother is sitting back in her chair, arms crossed, and she looks at him impassively as he sits beside her.

“After talking to your mother, it’s clear that this kind of behavior is definitely unusual coming from you,” Dr. Garroway says as he drops back into his seat. “I’ve never had any bad encounters to clear up with you before, and all of your teachers speak very highly of you.”

Alec chances a glance up and he is met with a kind gaze that matches Dr. Garroway’s calm voice. He straightens in his seat slightly, twisting his hands together in his lap.

“That being said,” Dr. Garroway continues, “I can’t let this go unpunished. I understand why you were angry, but I can’t condone violence, especially on school property. For that reason, you’re suspended for two days.”

A lump forms in Alec’s throat but he doesn’t protest, nodding silently at the decision. Dr. Garroway and his mother exchange a few more words, then they’re excused. Just as he steps through the doorway, though, a hand lands on his shoulder and Dr. Garroway speaks lowly so only he can hear.

“Between you and me, he deserved it.”

He catches a short glimpse of a smile before the door closes behind him.

The ride home is unbearably silent, and Alec’s heart jumps as his mother parks in their driveway and doesn’t immediately get out of the car. He waits patiently for the lecture, the yelling, the grounding. Something .

What he doesn’t expect is for her to say, “You’re lucky we’ve already been on a few dates and I sweet talked him into letting you walk at graduation.”

He whips his head around to look at her, eyes widening in disbelief.

“You’re dating my principal ?” he asks incredulously. “Since when?”

“For a few months now,” she replies, her lips twitching to hold back a smile.

“Were you planning on telling me?”

“Sure,” she replies, “I was planning to as soon as you decided to tell me about you and Magnus.”

She says it casually, like it’s no shock to her at all, and Alec realizes it seems that way because it’s not a shock.

“How long have you known?” he asks, leaning his head back until it bangs into the headrest.

“Never underestimate a mother’s intuition, Alec,” she says, finally letting a smile spread across her face. “I’ve known since it began. Your siblings have, too. You two are the least subtle people I know. You’ve always worn your hearts on your sleeves.”

He thinks of all the things he’s hidden from her, all of the lies he’s told despite how unfailingly supportive she’s been, even in the wake of Robert leaving. It’s more than he deserves.

Tears well up in Alec’s eyes, unbidden, and he wipes at them quickly as he says lowly, “I’m sorry for everything.”

“Hey,” she says, her voice uncharacteristically soft. She places a hand on his arm, but he can’t bring himself to look back over at her. “You have nothing to be sorry for. You’re navigating a path that I can’t fully understand, and you might not deal with it in the best way at times, but I know without a doubt that you have the best of intentions. I’m so unbelievably proud of the man you’re becoming and I am always on your side no matter what. Okay?”

Alec nods, sniffling and taking a deep breath in an attempt to compose himself.

“Thank you.”

“I think someone’s waiting for you,” she replies, and he finally looks over at her to see that her eyes are elsewhere. He follows her gaze to see Magnus standing on his balcony, his back to the car, side leaning on the railing. “Go talk to him. I’ll order a pizza.”

They get out of the car, but before Alec runs inside he wraps his arms around his mom, leaning his head on top of hers. “I love you.”

“I love you too, sweetheart.”

They share one last smile before Alec turns and heads inside, moving up the stairs slowly as his nerves dance in his stomach once more. For all he knows, Magnus is here to break up with him. Maybe he’s been worrying about the distance too, and this is the perfect excuse to end things.

He opens his bedroom door cautiously and sees that Magnus is still on his balcony, now with both elbows leaning against the railing. He sets his bag on the floor by his bed and steps forward, moving until he’s standing in the balcony doorway. He hesitates for a moment, unsure of what to say.

“How’s your ear?” he ends up blurting out, causing Magnus to jump. He must not have heard him coming.

He spins around quickly, eyes wide with disbelief as he responds, “How’s my ear? You just punched out the biggest asshole in school to defend my honor and you’re worried about my bi ear?”

“There’s no such thing as a bi ear,” Alec replies automatically, and before he knows it his arms are wrapped around his boyfriend and they’re both laughing uncontrollably against each other.

“You never cease to amaze me, Alexander,” Magnus says, face pressed into his neck and arms circled around his waist.

“I thought you’d be mad at me for revealing our secret.”

Magnus shakes his head and leans back, reaching up to press a hand to his cheek.

“There was no point in keeping it hidden anymore anyway. Plus, I’m proud to be the boyfriend of the man who kicked Jonathan Morgenstern in the balls.”

Alec lets out a soft snort through his nose and leans their foreheads together.

“I’m suspended for two days.”

Magnus hums, sliding their noses together as he thinks, before replying, “I guess we’re going to have to pick a show to binge for the next two days, then.”

“You aren’t suspended,” Alec laughs out, leaning back with a raised eyebrow. “You can’t just skip two days in a row.”

“You think I’m going to that hellhole without you? No thank you.”

Alec smiles, wide and bright, and leans in to kiss Magnus, letting all of his frustration drain out of his body as their lips slide together.

“Come on,” he says when they pull back, “my mom is ordering a pizza. Let’s go downstairs and let her get all of the teasing out of her system and maybe she’ll let you sleep over tonight.”

“Lead the way,” Magnus replies, eyes shining.

And for the first time since they started dating, they walk down the stairs hand in hand.