There’s not enough time, not enough time for anything, it’s all just fighting-fighting-fighting, with Valentine and with the Clave and with his parents, trying to find Jace and working out an alliance with the Downworlders, balancing his life inside and outside the Institute, and there’s not enough time, not enough time for sleeping or eating or healing, not enough, just not enough…
And so he uses the runes, to stay awake and to heal and to not feel pain and to not feel hunger and to move faster-faster-faster, until…
“Magnus,” Alec whispers, reaching out unsteadily, his head spinning-spinning-spinning. “I don’t feel so good.”
… until his body finally runs out of strength and there’s no more to give, none left, just none. And he collapses, like a puppet with its strings cut, Magnus’ very alarmed, “Alexander!” the last thing he hears.
When he comes to, he’s lying in the big, sinfully comfortable bed at Magnus’, and everything hurts. Simply everything, as all the aches and pains and injuries of the last several weeks finally catch up with him, all at once. He can barely open his eyes and moving is out of question.
“Don’t you ever scare me like that, Alec. Don’t ever do that again!”
Magnus’ voice is hollow and disturbingly flat, and Alec slowly, oh so very slowly turns his head to the right where his lover is sitting in an antique armchair, pale and haggard looking and shivering slightly either from exhaustion or shock, Alec doesn’t know.
“What happened?” Alec croaks out, alarmed by the look of him.
“What happened?” Magnus echoes, and Alec now can hear just how angry he is, furious even - and absolutely terrified. “Your heart just stopped, Alec. That’s what happened. It took all my magic to bring you back because your body was completely drained, there was not enough left of you to revive,” he grits out.
Magnus leans forward intently, elbows on his knees. “Those runes of yours, they are not omnipotent. Your body has its limits. There’s a reason for why we feel pain or exhaustion - it’s our body’s way of telling us that we need to slow down and rest.” He pauses. “When was the last time you slept, huh? When was the last time you ate anything?”
Alec looks away from the sharp, probing eyes. He has no answer for his lover because he simply doesn’t remember.
Magnus nods to himself as if that confirmed something to him. “I don’t ever want to go through that again, Alec, through those moments when I was trying to kick-start your heart,” he states, his voice uncompromising. “I accept that your job is dangerous, but this is taking it too far. And I’ll not stand for it.”
Alec’s once-again beating heart clenches. He has never heard Magnus so angry. And he’s dreading what will follow.
“Look at me, Alec,” Magnus orders firmly. “Look at me!”
When Alec complies, Magnus continues: “Know this: If you ever do something this stupid again, if you intentionally neglect your needs till you make yourself sick, if you do that…” He pauses, then, “I’ll leave you, Alec. No buts, no third chances. I will leave you.”
Alec’s heart is hammering so hard he can barely breathe. This cannot be happening!
Magnus continues, “I have to live with you risking your life every day to save and protect those in need, which is a worthy cause and I’m very proud of you. You put yourself in danger for the good of others and it can’t be helped - but this can, and I’m drawing the line here.”
“Magnus…” Alec tries to say something, but he can’t. What’s there to say? He knows it was a foolish thing to do.
“Do we have an agreement? You’ll never work yourself to exhaustion again. Ever. Promise me,” Magnus orders, his eyes unflinching.
Alec would promise him anything. “I promise,” he whispers.
And as Alec watches, Magnus’ whole body slumps in relief. All the tension flows out of him, his shoulders hunch and his head bends forward. And then Magnus moves, he gets up from the chair and crawls across the covers and he curls up around Alec protectively, head pillowed on Alec’s shoulder, one arm thrown across Alec’s chest.
“I was so scared, Alexander,” Magnus whispers brokenly, squeezing Alec tight. “When you collapsed, when you stopped breathing and your heart…” He chokes.
Alec lifts one aching arm and wraps it around Magnus’ shoulders, whispering, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize…” He kisses the top of Magnus’ head. “It won’t happen again. I swear. I swear I’ll be more careful, alright?”
Magnus just nods, unable to speak, unable to do anything but hold Alec. And Alec realizes how close he came to losing this, to losing everything, to leaving Magnus all alone again - and that frightens him more than death itself. And he vows to himself while whispering sweet nonsense to his lover, that he will keep his promise to Magnus no matter what.