Twilight in New York:
Traffic beats a staccato pulse, rattling bass and a hundred thousand snatches of music that drift through the open window. A light breeze carries with it the smell of curry and saffron from the Indian restaurant on the corner, along with other, less savory things. From the streets below, the faint rumble of the subway, the buzz of voices broken by laughter. The fading sun paints long blue lines of shadow across the streets and, falling through the blinds, over silk sheets and a plush mattress. There's a sense of anticipation to the city, a strange, electric hum of excitement; the impending weekend, or an oncoming storm?
An oncoming storm, Magnus knows. He can feel it in the static prickling of his skin. Drowsy, sticky with heat and only barely awake, barely present in the cage of his body, he reaches out a little further with his senses to taste the currents around him. Soon, he finds. The storm will break soon.
Slowly, so slowly, he brings his awareness in, spools himself back into the shell of his flesh. There is warmth stretched along his side, supple skin, solid bone and muscle. He hums in appreciation, stretches luxuriously, relishing the slide of his skin against that of the body beside him, smooth but for the faint imperfections of rune scars. Hot, humid breath puffs against his cheek; he turns blindly into it, too lazy even to open his eyes, greedy for contact.
A soft exhale, startled.
Magnus opens his eyes and meets Alec's, rich brown, flecked with gold, wide and astonished. He smiles. "Alexander." The name like honey on his tongue.
Alec blinks at him for a long moment, uncertain, his inner turmoil clear in his eyes, the stiff lines of his shoulders, the tension that all but vibrates into the bed beneath him. Magnus allows himself to reach out, a gentle caress of his finger down the length of Alec's forearm, the faintest brush of his magic along the chaos of Alec's nerves.
And, oh, glory.
Tension runs from Alec's body like water, eyes glowing, face radiant in his smile. And there was brightness in him, Magnus thinks, dazed, like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain.
"Hi," Alec says, sinking bodily into the mattress. Apparently on a whim, he takes one of Magnus's hands in his and brings it to his mouth, presses a dry, sweet kiss to Magnus's knuckles.
Magnus gapes at him.
Still smiling, resplendent, Alec half buries his face in his pillow for a heartbeat, cheeks flushing, before he faces Magnus head-on once more. "I felt something, there," he says, tracing feather-light lines on Magnus's palm with his fingernails so that Magnus shivers. "You did something with your magic, right?"
"Uh." For a brief span Magnus loses all ability for thought, captured by the way the late sunlight bends and breaks over the angles of Alec's face, setting the tips of his eyelashes aflame, burnishing the arch of his cheekbones. The shadows of his dimples where he's smiling. He looks, for the first time in Magnus's memory, entirely at peace. His eyes dance in the most enchanting fashion when he laughs.
Alec is, in fact, laughing at him, Magnus realizes.
Magnus clears his throat. "Yes." Unable to help himself, Magnus turns their palms together, tangles their fingers. "I'm sorry," he adds, "I probably should have asked, first."
"It's fine," Alec says, eyes sharp, intent. Magnus feels a little naked, realizes suddenly his face is bare, his hair free of product or color. He's not even wearing nail polish. Alec has never seen him like this. Is he disappointed? "It was kind of nice. Felt fizzy, like soda."
"Like soda." Lord, this man. "I'm glad. That's what I aspire to, after all."
Alec frowns a little until he realizes Magnus isn't upset. He doesn't smile at that, not really, but the corners of his eyes crinkle up most charmingly. "This is nice," he says. "Waking up like this."
Taken aback, Magnus can only stare at him. He honestly hadn't expected Alec to be the one to broach the topic first; in all their interactions so far he's been a little too new, too uncertain to make the first move. Magnus isn't entirely sure how to respond.
Face still a little puffy from sleep, pillow crease curling up from his cheek to his temple, Alec is quite possibly the most beautiful thing Magnus has ever seen. Rest has done him well: Magnus had found him pale and wan, exhaustion painting purple shadows in the hollows of his eyes. It'd been a late night, for both of them.
Magnus's schedule fluctuates on a day to day basis based on client needs and his partying whims. Last night it had been a client who, unfortunately, lived just outside of London. It had brought back painful and unwanted memories, involved a demon summoning he'd do well to never think about again, and meant he'd returned to his loft and the dulcet sounds of Brooklyn at roughly twenty past four in the morning. Particularly enjoyable was the loud argument between a cabbie and the drunken idiot who'd rear-ended him running a stop sign.
Much to his surprise, he'd found Alec in the shadow of his doorstep, slouched over his knees and fighting sleep by the skin of his teeth. After a brief and not entirely coherent discussion -- Magnus is only a little ashamed to admit it had been mostly nonverbal; he is never at his best when he's tired -- they had dragged themselves up the stairs to his loft. Magnus had gone off to shower, and by the time he was done Alec had already passed out in his bed. In his bed. Magnus may have had somewhat of a coronary event, but in the end he'd been too tired to care.
Which brings him here, to waking up with Alec -- he is rather stuck on this --in his bed, as the sun sets golden over New York City.
He blinks, jolted from his thoughts. Alec sounds amused, thankfully, and not annoyed that Magnus has drifted off mid-conversation.
"Sorry, darling," he says, unthinking. "Woolgathering."
Alec quirks an eyebrow at the endearment, but doesn't comment. "I'd noticed," he says drily. Has he curled closer? Magnus thinks he has. "Your bed is really comfortable."
Yes, Magnus is certain Alec has edged closer. He can count the light freckles that dust his cheeks; the shadow of stubble darkens his jawline. Briefly he imagines the scrape of it against his throat, his thighs. "Right," he says, faint.
"I like waking up next to you." Alec's voice is but a whisper, his eyes heavy-lidded, cheeks dark.
Magnus goes hot all over. His breath races in his chest.
Alec's hand on his shoulder is as a livewire; Magnus gasps, feels it jolt through his entire body. Alec drags his hands down Magnus's arm, thumb catching briefly on the soft inside of his elbow before coming to a stop at his wrist, resting lightly over his pulse. He's raised himself up on his elbow, Magnus realizes. He blocks the fading sunlight, casts shadow over Magnus's face. His hair is a riot of curls, sleep mussed, haloed.
When Alec asks, "Can I kiss you?" the only answer Magnus can give is yes.