When Catarina asks him to attend the inaugural Shadowhunter-Downworlder Summit in her stead, Magnus’s first reaction is to say “no.” He doesn’t want to go to Alicante because it’s boring as fuck, there’s barely any entertainment, and he’ll be surrounded by Shadowhunters.
He doesn’t like Shadowhunters, and Shadowhunters don’t like him. They’re confident in their mutual distaste, and that’s that.
But then, Catarina asks nicely—which is to say she narrows her eyes at Magnus and reminds him that, one, she knows where he lives, and two, she has a list of his many varied and embarrassing escapades over the last century. It would be remiss to turn down such a polite request.
So, Magnus says “yes.” With a glass of whiskey in hand, consternation in his soul, and apprehension screeching a storm in his head.
“Oh,” Catarina says, just before she portals back home. It’s the pitch of the “oh” that sets Sirens screeching—the real ones found in the Gulf of Naples—in Magnus’s brain. It’s the sort of “oh” that a person says when they deliberately left out something very important because they knew you would refuse if you had the full details.
“What,” Magnus says suspiciously. He should’ve sensed a ploy from the start. Serves him right for caving to polite requests from very old friends.
Catarina coughs delicately, and it’s so obviously fake that Magnus is caught in admiration for a moment before he remembers to be outraged.
“The accommodations are pre-arranged,” she says. “Just so you know. The Downworld representative and the Clave representative from each city will be sharing a double room.”
This is so horrible that it takes a moment to compute. In the meantime, Catarina, very obviously on purpose, pulls open a portal.
Then, Magnus’s brain catches up, and the words translate into meaning. “I am not sharing a bathroom!” he howls. “And I am damn well not sharing a bed.”
There are so many things wrong with the arrangement Magnus doesn’t know where to start. He needs space to sleep and even more space for his bathroom paraphernalia—multiple bottles of soap, shampoo, make-up cases, and fluffy bath towels. He’s not giving up any of that space to a Shadowhunter of all things.
Catarina pauses one foot away from the portal. “It’s for Shadow World cooperation,” she says severely. “Take one for the team, Magnus.” Easy for her to say. She gets to lounge in bed in New York while he’s stuck in Alicante with Shadowhunters.
“Wait,” Magnus says. “Who’s the Clave representative from New York, again?”
“Alec Lightwood.” Catarina doesn’t even have to pretend to look guilty. It’s written all over her face, like neon paint across her dark blue skin. “You know, the Head of the New York Institute.”
The whiskey glass shatters.
Catarina sighs and darts a mournful look at the portal. She closes it, then returns to Magnus’s living room to stand before him like the soulless, conniving, manipulative friend she is. “It’s only a few days.”
“I hate him,” Magnus points out in what he is sure is a Very Reasonable Tone. “I hate him even more now that he’s lost me a glass of my favorite whiskey.”
“I’m pretty sure that was you.”
It’s true, but not very supportive. Magnus makes sure to glare at Catarina.
“Magnus.” It gets worse. Catarina has adopted that tone. The one she uses with her most troublesome patients and that Magnus is familiar with because he’s the only one outside of work Catarina uses it with. “Honestly,” she pauses, “do you even know why you hate him?”
“No,” Magnus says sullenly. “Yes. He’s a Shadowhunter, a Lightwood, and the Head of the Institute.” Between Valentine, the Circle, and the oppressive laws the Clave instituted for decades, there’s no reason whatsoever for the Downworld to be charitable to any Shadowhunter.
Alec Lightwood is a product and representation of generations of inequity against the Downworld. It might be acceptable if the man was halfway hideous, but he didn’t even have the decency for that. To add a final insult, the man had the gall to be absolutely gorgeous and altogether Magnus’s type.
“You know,” Catarina says with a pained tone after Magnus has explained all of this to her. “I’ll give you the rest of it, but not the last. It’s not his fault you find him handsome.”
Magnus sniffs haughtily. “You’ve tricked me into attending the summit in your place. I reserve the right to continue hating Lightwood and his family. You may leave now.”
The relief that flits across Catarina’s face is almost insulting. As is, Magnus decides to be magnanimous. He also decides to get another glass of whiskey to make up for the one he lost because of Lightwood.
“Please don’t do anything that I wouldn’t,” Catarina adds over her shoulder, one foot already in the portal. “We’re trying to end a war, not start another.”
“I won’t start anything if he doesn’t,” Magnus says mutinously. He’s the High Warlock of Brooklyn and mature. He will survive three days in Alicante, including the indignity of having a Shadowhunter as a roommate. If anyone comes out of this looking stupid and immature, it will be Alec Lightwood, not Magnus Bane.
Or Magnus may simply arrive early and see if he can wrangle a single room.
To Magnus’s outrage, even though he arrives early in Alicante—and that’s a sacrifice he’s not even complaining about—he doesn’t manage to wrestle alternative accommodation from the young, female Shadowhunter managing the check-in.
“This is a mistake.”
The Shadowhunter smiles at Magnus from across the counter and tosses back her long, dark hair. “Not really. It says you’re rooming with Alec.” She looks pleasant. The sort who Magnus might love to go shopping with, in Sephora. However, she’s also a Shadowhunter and very much in the way of Magnus’s plans to get out of the rooming arrangements.
“Yes.” Magnus grits his teeth. “I know what it says. That is not my point.”
The girl sighs and folds her arms, leans forward with a confiding sort of air. “Okay,” she says. “What do you want?”
“I told you what I want,” Magnus snaps. “I want a room of my own.”
The girl frowns at him and taps a single manicured nail on the counter. A flicker of movement out of the corner of Magnus’s eye. Some Seelie representatives have arrived. They linger at the corner of the hall, in their light plate armor filigreed with delicate vines and leaf motifs. The girl ignores Magnus for a few seconds to wave at Meliorn, who nods back.
That’s a surprise. Magnus would’ve assumed that Shadowhunters and Seelies got along almost as badly as Shadowhunters and Magnus himself.
Another Shadowhunter approaches the Seelies and leads them to a check-in counter at the end of the row.
The girl brushes back a strand of hair and digs in a side drawer. “Right. Warlock Bane. I’ll give you the key to your room—”
“No. You’re missing the point.” This is utterly frustrating, but Magnus had sort of promised Catarina that he would behave, so he tries again. “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not roomed well.”
There. A convincing argument that should put an end to the matter.
Tragically, the girl merely props her chin on her hands and gives Magnus a long, pitying look. “The accommodations were pre-arranged. I can’t change it.”
He’s digging around in his brain for another argument when he hears footsteps behind him. The girl’s attention flicks to whoever is approaching the counter.
“Alec!” she sounds delighted. Talk about biased. “Perfect timing.”
There can only be that many people with that name in Alicante. Magnus counts to ten—it doesn’t help—then turns with actual dread to face the new arrival. Unsurprisingly, it is the Head of the New York Institute. Stupid Lightwood, with his large, hazel eyes and high cheekbones, deflect rune on the left side of his neck and dripping with Shadowhunter from head to toe.
Lightwood appears to be a minimalist traveler. Of course, he is. He’s barely carrying anything—a simple duffel bag, one of those travel garment things—and a blank, aloof expression on his face. He’s dressed in what probably amounts to casual wear for Lightwood—black jeans, boots, a long-sleeved dark gray sweatshirt. Messy dark hair.
Magnus stares because he hates Lightwood’s guts, but it’s difficult to avoid the fact that Lightwood is simply a terribly gorgeous man.
“I hate you,” Magnus announces so that Lightwood remembers this fact, and more importantly so that Magnus is reminded of this fact, too.
Lightwood blinks. “Okay,” he says. “It’s mutual, I guess?” He doesn’t even have the decency to sound upset.
The dark-haired girl with long, wavy hair behind the counter hides a smile behind a hand. “Good luck, big brother,” she drawls. “Since you’re both here. Let me hand you the keys to your room.”
Lightwood rolls his eyes at the girl—who is apparently his sister. Now that the truth is out, Magnus can’t unsee the family resemblance. Frankly, this proves Magnus’s point. The sister was uncooperative and made things difficult for him. It must run in their genes and only goes to show that Magnus Bane and the Lightwood Family have absolutely no synchrony at all.
What a Lightwood is doing, manning the registration counter instead of swanning around in Alicante, self-assured in their societal standing and privilege—Magnus has absolutely no idea.
Besides, something else has caught his attention. “You hate me? Why?”
It’s one thing for Magnus to hate Lightwood—it’s perfectly justified—but it’s somewhat insulting that it’s mutual. First, Magnus is likable. There’s no other word for it. Lightwood’s dislike for him turns Magnus’s confidence in his utter likeability on its head. Second, Magnus hasn’t done anything to warrant that degree of disapproval. It would be entitled to claim Lightwood’s hate as the natural order of things.
“I didn’t,” Lightwood says flatly. “Until you turned down the Institute’s request last year to assist with the demon pox outbreak in the city. On the grounds that, and I quote, ‘I don’t like your face.’ ”
Seriously, Lightwood sounds like an arrogant jerk. Who says assist instead of help, anyway? Magnus is all about plain English and Germanic words.
Someone clears their throat, and Magnus turns to see a line of irritated Shadow World delegates peering around each other to see which asshole is taking so long at the front counter.
It’s him, Magnus mouths and tries to point subtly at Lightwood’s back. It’s not clear if everyone gets it. Still, the High Warlock of Berlin winks, so that’s okay.
“Boys, boys.” The girl huffs a breath of annoyance. “You’re blocking the counter. Take your keys and go to your room.”
Lightwood holds out a hand wordlessly, and the girl hands over the keys. No magnetic cards, of course, because Lilith-forbid that Alicante do anything even halfway modern.
And that’s that.
They reach the room, and Magnus realizes there’s only one bed. It shouldn’t be a revelation. He’s known from the start—or at least two days ago—that he’s sharing a double room with Lightwood.
It’s not like there’s anything wrong with the accommodation, besides the fact that he’s stuck with Lightwood. It’s a typical hotel room, no air-conditioning since they’re in Alicante, never mind that it’s summer, a king-sized bed against one wall, a bedside table on each side. One carved writing desk and a stiff-backed chair. A single-seater couch and a low side table. Absolutely, frightfully dull.
At least, there’s an attached bathroom. Which Magnus has to share. God, kill him now.
Lightwood eyes the room—it’s almost like he’s cataloging the exits and escape points which is weird, paranoid, and very Shadowhunter. It also explains why the Head of the New York Institute is so high-strung all the time.
If Lightwood and Magnus were friends, Magnus would crack a joke about how Lightwood needs to get laid. Since they’re not even friendly, he keeps his mouth shut. Knowing Shadowhunter humor—which is to say, the lack thereof—Lightwood would probably report him for sexual harassment.
Is getting harassed by your temporary roommate even a thing? Surely someone has lodged such a complaint before.
“Right,” Lightwood says after a few minutes of silence. “Do you mind just—doing your thing?” He waves his hand in a strange, circular manner that should look idiotic. It doesn’t because Lightwood has stupidly long, elegant fingers, and Magnus stares for a moment before his brain catches up.
Magnus has many things, and some of them are not fit for public consumption or an audience. He has no clue what Lightwood is referring to, and really, he doesn’t want to assume. Lightwood’s still holding his duffle and his garment bag. He looks as though he’s considering fleeing the room instead, which makes Magnus feel somewhat better.
If someone needs to suffer, at least it’ll be both of them.
“Your thing,” Lightwood says with exasperation. “You know, separate the bed with magic or whatever.” He glances away and mutters something uncomplimentary about siblings with stupid ideas that do not help with Shadow World cooperation at all.
So that’s what Catarina meant.
“Wait. You’re telling me they gave us a double room on purpose so we could work together?”
“I guess.” Lightwood finally sets his duffle down, ruffles his hair with a now-empty hand. “I intend to presume as much, anyway.”
It sounds halfway convincing, but it doesn’t make sense. After all, only warlocks have magic. Magnus is quite certain that there’re other non-warlock Downworlders rooming with Shadowhunters. They wouldn’t have magic to rearrange the room. Therefore, Lightwood’s theory is as stupid as his sharp cheekbones.
Magnus informs Lightwood as much. He leaves out the last part about Lightwood’s devastatingly perfect bone structure.
“I assume each pair was given appropriate problems,” Lightwood says. “I think the Seelies were put on the top floor, furthest from nature. The vampires were given rooms with large windows and blackout drapes.”
Magnus has an abrupt mental image of Raphael and Lightwood arguing over whether to close the curtains. They’d disagree, and it will be considered a Diplomatic Incident. “This is ludicrous,” Magnus says. “They’re putting us in contrived situations to make a point. I refuse to participate.”
“First,” Lightwood says impatiently. “Raphael Santiago and I are more than mature”—and if that isn’t an insult, Magnus isn’t a warlock—“we wouldn’t get into a fight over the curtains. I’d just agree to keep them closed.”
Huh. Apparently, Magnus had said the first half out loud.
“Second,” Lightwood says with a massive scowl, “what do you mean by I refuse to participate?”
“It means what it says on the tin, darling.” Magnus shrugs nonchalantly. He makes sure to roll his shoulders and add a little shimmy at the end.
Lightwood’s gaze follows the movement before he flushes and looks away.
“It’s all your fault, you know,” Magnus says. If Lightwood hadn’t shared the true reason behind this ridiculous rooming arrangement, Magnus might’ve separated the beds and perhaps even created an additional room—interdimensional spaces is a thing.
Now that Magnus knows he’s got one over Lightwood, there is no way Magnus will fall in line. Let Lightwood squirm in discomfort. Magnus has got this. He’s got Lightwood at his mercy, and he intends to rub it in his stupidly handsome face.
More importantly, Magnus is making a Point. For too long, the Clave has assumed that Downworlders, especially warlocks, are obliged to do the Clave’s bidding. Magnus refuses on principle to use his magic because the Clave wants him to do so.
“By the way,” Magnus says because he can, “I should point out that I hate you.”
“You—” Lightwood appears to be at a loss for words. It’s delightful.
“I haven’t done anything to you.” Lightwood sounds frustrated. “What’s wrong with you?”
“I’m heading down to the bar,” Magnus announces cheerfully. He spins his luggage. It whirls into a corner, tips on a wheel, and knocks over a side table. Oops. “Don’t wait up for me, darling.”
Time to discover how many other warlocks are gloating over this.
The answer, apparently, is none.
“What is wrong with you?” Magnus demands. “All of you.”
His fellow warlocks exchange glances and shrug.
“It is in the spirit of Shadow World cooperation,” the High Warlock of Kyoto says. She’s usually sweet and thoughtful, and one of Magnus’s favorite counterparts. He’ll have to reassess.
“It’s only practical and efficient,” says the High Warlock of Berlin. He’d winked at Magnus earlier when they were all stuck in the line, and this about-face leaves Magnus feeling decidedly betrayed.
“They gave to us a free bottle of wine if we work together,” offers the High Warlock of Paris with a more c’est la vie shrug than Magnus manages on most days. She smiles sharply. “The more important thing, I am not going to share the bed. Voilà.”
“You are traitors. All of you. I hope you burn in hell.”
Magnus’s fellow warlocks look at each other, then at Magnus, and shrug as one. Hell-based insults don’t precisely work on warlocks, given their parentage. Magnus should’ve remembered that.
“Would you like to join us, Magnus-san?” the High Warlock of Kyoto says politely.
“No,” Magnus snaps. “I am returning to my room. Where I shall remain principled, if alone in this fight.”
His counterparts do not appear particularly impressed. Magnus pivots on a heel and stomps away.
“Here, I give this to you,” the High Warlock of Paris calls out at the last moment. A bottle of Pinot Noir, still wrapped with a ribbon around the neck, appears in Magnus’s arms. “It is not bad, but I have the better vintages at home.”
So does Magnus, but he will accept the attempt at an apology for what it is. He sweeps back to the room with his head held high and cradling that stupid bottle of wine.
Magnus isn’t sure what he’d expected upon returning to the room. A sullen Alec Lightwood, slouched in the single-seater sofa, tapping mulishly at a tablet was probably not it. Lightwood hasn’t even bothered to remove his boots. His long legs clad in dark jeans are crossed over at the knee.
It’s the best example of legs that go on for miles and strong, muscular thighs that Magnus has seen in a while. It doesn’t change that he dislikes Lightwood on principle.
Honestly, Magnus had half-hoped the Shadowhunter would’ve caved in the interim and marched down to kick a fuss with the organizers. Demanded an individual room, complained about staying with Magnus. Let Lightwood appear childish and immature.
“Are you going to close the door?” Lightwood says without looking up from the screen. He types a few words. “I hope you found your common sense outside.”
That is so horribly, unexpectedly, bitchy that Magnus gapes for a few seconds.
“Apparently not,” Lightwood continues. “Look, are you going to split the bed or not?” He glances up, and he has unfairly pretty eyes—large with long dark lashes—for someone who Magnus hates.
“No,” Magnus says with a dignified sniff. “How does it feel to know you’re entirely reliant on a warlock to save you?” It’s a touch dramatic—despite Magnus’s yelling, it’s just a bed, not life or death, but the sentence sounds better this way.
Lightwood presses his lips together. “Annoying,” he says flatly. “But not as frustrating as when you refused to help with the demon pox outbreak last year.” Then, he stands, kicks off his boots, grabs a few articles of clothing from his bag, and marches into the bathroom. The paranoid bastard even takes his tablet with him.
In the end, they work out a compromise of sorts. Magnus magics a few additional pillows—he’s not selling out, not really—and they build a pillow fort in the middle of the bed.
Magnus stirs. It’s warm and comfortable. There’s faint golden light behind his eyelids. He must’ve forgotten to draw the curtains last night.
The bed is soft, and there’s a weight on top of him, pinning him down. A faint, evergreen scent wrapped around him. His legs are tangled up with someone else’s.
Magnus opens his eyes slowly to an unfamiliar ceiling, plain white sheets instead of gold, and Alec Lightwood half-sprawled face-down next to Magnus, one arm thrown over Magnus’s chest.
Their legs are entwined, somehow, the pillow fort has disappeared, and they’re practically cuddling. It would be Lightwood’s fault—and Magnus would wake the man just to watch him freak out—if not for the fact that Magnus appears to have scooted over to Lightwood’s side of the bed.
A great expanse of empty bed to Magnus’s right and Lightwood is squished into the last one-quarter of his side of the bed. A flash of glee—clearly, Magnus is the dominant one here—before the reality sinks in. There is no way Magnus can wriggle out without waking Lightwood.
This means Magnus can’t hide the snuggling or the part where Magnus had migrated across the bed to plaster himself against Lightwood’s side. He sighs.
Apparently, the movement is enough to jog Lightwood awake. A slight shift, then Lightwood tenses. Ah, here it is.
Magnus isn’t disappointed. Lightwood jerks away, swears, and topples off the side of the bed in one smooth sequence, dragging the blanket with him.
“Rise and shine, cupcake,” Magnus says cheerfully. Now that Lightwood has embarrassed himself by falling out of bed, Magnus has the upper hand once more. “So much for Shadowhunter reflexes.”
Lightwood sits upright, blinks slowly. There’s a pillow-crease against his right cheek. His hair is a mess, and Magnus would love to run his fingers through the dark locks—abandon ship.
“I call first dibs on the bathroom,” Magnus yells. He slams the door behind him, forces away thoughts of Lightwood’s eyes, his long fingers. Magnus definitely shoves away the arousal tingling at the base of his spine.
Stupid Lightwood. This is entirely his fault.
On the second evening, Magnus slips into their room after a round of drinks with his fellow warlocks, who Magnus has generously decided to forgive.
“Have you decided to split the bed?” Lightwood’s tone is resigned. He’s propped against the headboard today, flicking through some papers. At least he’s removed his boots.
Magnus isn’t sleeping with anyone who doesn’t remove their shoes before coming to bed. Also, that sentence sounded better in his head.
Lightwood snorts. “You realize we don’t have to share a bed if you use your magic.”
“No can do,” Magnus says. “I’m doing it for the team.”
“Does the team comprise of only one person?” Lightwood says acidly. He pushes himself off the bed—Magnus does not notice those deliciously long legs—and stalks into the bathroom. Lightwood must’ve left his clothes in there beforehand.
“That was fucking bitchy,” Magnus calls. Lightwood doesn’t reply. Probably can’t hear over the sound of the shower.
Magnus eyes the bottle of Pinot Noir stashed in a corner of the single-seater sofa. That might work. No harm trying, anyway.
He broaches the idea after they’ve both cleaned up, and Lightwood has returned to arguing with Magnus over the bed. Lightwood has changed to sweatpants and a tank, and Magnus is definitely not eyeing those biceps.
“You want us to get drunk,” Lightwood says. “Over a single bottle of wine.” He doesn’t have to sound so skeptical.
“Where’s your spirit of cooperation?”
“It ended when you refused to split the bed,” Lightwood says drily. “Besides, from what I know of warlocks, you’ve got higher than normal alcohol tolerance. Half a bottle of wine isn’t going to do anything to you.”
Ha. Tacit acceptance of the plan. Lightwood’s not so bad when he agrees with Magnus.
“On top of you.” Magnus winks. “I made some enhancements earlier.” Nothing harmful, just a little something to make the wine more potent.
Lightwood pinches his nose bridge. “You used your magic to add a party drug to the wine. Instead of just splitting the bed.”
“It’s a matter of principle,” Magnus says loftily. Really, he’s sick of explaining this to everyone. He conjures a pair of wine glasses, wriggles his fingers to lift the bottle, tilts to pour. “May I offer you a drink, Alexander?”
Lightwood sighs, but he accepts the glass.
Warmth. The familiar weight of a fluffy comforter. It’s cozy, snug.
Still dark. Magnus burrows into the bedding, rolls over to his left. Drifts off again.
The next time Magnus wakes, he’s lying on top of a muscular chest—oh. Legs tangled, and he’s quite sure there’s something pressing against his thigh. Not that Magnus isn’t similarly affected.
Time to wake.
Lightwood is frozen under him, barely breathing, eyes large and vaguely panicked.
“Why aren’t you hungover?” Magnus demands. He should probably do something, like roll away or apologize or both. However, Lightwood appears so tense, he’d probably freak out at any sudden movements.
Better to remain where he is, sprawled over Lightwood, and ignore where they’re pressed together. Anyway, it’s not like Lightwood is complaining or trying to shove Magnus away.
“You—” Lightwood drops his head back with a strangled sound. “Iratze.” He waves a hand at the bedside table.
“An abuse of runes,” Magnus says delightedly. “I approve.”
“It’s not an abuse of runes.” Lightwood sounds horrified. “Besides, I drank far less than you did. Why aren’t you hungover?”
“Warlock tolerance, remember?” Magnus frowns. “Stay there. I’m trying to recall what happened last night.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” Lightwood says fervently. That deer in the headlights look is quite fetching on him.
So. They’d gotten slightly tipsy. Perhaps more than a little high. They’d chatted, debated Shadow World policy—Lilith knows the quality of the discourse given they were both somewhat intoxicated. Magnus more than Lightwood. He’d drunk at about four times the pace and topped himself off with some vodka summoned from home.
Magnus had randomly magicked over his favorite comforter from the loft. Toward the end, he had accused Lightwood of being too gorgeous to properly hate. He might’ve gone on about everything he disliked about Lightwood, including those lovely eyes, dark lashes, sharp cheekbones, elegant hands, biceps, long legs—
“Oh god,” Magnus says. He drops his head, and Lightwood—or rather, Alec, because they’d moved to first names midway through drinking—makes a startled sound when Magnus thumps his forehead against Alec’s chest. “Please tell me the poetry bit was a bad dream.”
Alec coughs. There are two spots of color high on his cheeks, and he’s still holding himself awkwardly tense, hands away from Magnus. However, his voice dips amused when he says, “No. I’m afraid that part was real.”
“What about the part where I propositioned you?”
“Uh,” Alec says. “Which round?”
“There was more than one?” That’s mortifying. Magnus lifts his head to stare at Alec. Unfortunately, the movement means he grinds his hips down entirely accidentally, and Alec’s breath hitches in response.
Alec turns to look determinedly at the drapes, which really, only exposes the deflect rune on the side of his neck. The flush on his face deepens.
“More importantly,” Magnus says slowly. “What was your reply?”
Silence. He counts to ten. Then—
“I said you were drunk.” Alec hesitates. Magnus is lying on top, so he feels the shaky intake of breath, before Alec turns to meet his gaze. “And, I said to ask me in the morning.”
“I might also have said,” Alec continues because clearly Magnus would’ve been charmed by a slightly grouchy mood killer, if he was going to be attracted to a Shadowhunter at all, “that you need to sort out that hating me issue, if we were going to do anything.”
Magnus blinks. “You were drunk. I was drunk. How did you reason in complete sentences like that?”
“I told you,” Alec says impatiently. “I wasn’t that dru—”
Magnus leans down to press his mouth to Alec’s, swallows the rest of the word. A brief pause, then Alec kisses back, tentatively, gently, his hands settle against Magnus’s sides, heat through the thin fabric. Magnus deepens the kiss, tries to pour something of an apology into it. Perhaps he succeeds because Alec melts in response, and he meets Magnus again—firmer, surer, a lick of something intense in the kiss.
They pull away at the same time.
“That was the question,” Magnus says. “I assume that was your answer?” He resists the urge to move his hips just to hear Alec’s breath catch.
“I—” Alec closes his eyes firmly. Magnus doesn’t take offense—if Alec’s body is any indication, then it’s yes.
“That was only the first part, wasn’t it,” Alec says, a note of something desperate in his voice. “You haven’t addressed the second part.”
Which—oh. That. Alec seems somewhat hung up about it. Though, to be fair, Magnus has made a point of his dislike for Alec Lightwood.
“I don’t hate you,” Magnus says carefully. It’s somewhat of a revelation to him, too. “You haven’t done anything to warrant that.” In contrast, Magnus has been more than rude and mean to Alec. He probably needs to contemplate his sins or something. Confront his innate prejudice. Later, when they’re not in bed like that.
“I could’ve told you that.” Alec narrows his eyes. “I think I did, in fact.”
“You did. Can we agree on that and move on, please?”
Alec’s gaze darts away, and he frowns at the curtains, lips pursed. Like, he’s actually thinking seriously about the question.
Magnus gives up trying to behave. He props himself up on his elbows, wriggles to make himself comfortable, and Alec makes a choked sound in response, hands tighten where they’re around Magnus’s waist.
“You’re doing that on purpose.”
“I am,” Magnus says unrepentantly. “What are you going to do about it?”
Another pause. Magnus counts. One, two—
Alec drags Magnus down to meet him.