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I Won't Let You Fall

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The sharp staccato rhythm of what were most likely his mother’s newest pair of ridiculously expensive Louboutins echoed against old mahogany floors as she made her way towards the front parlor.

 

Alec sat straighter, his back rigid while he packed making sure he added the new box of resin, rolls of tape and clean socks to his bag. Knowing his mother would notice any slight hint of distortion in his posture he held his frame tight. It was exhausting but dealing with yet another lecture about ‘ proper posture and the dancer’s body’ was not on top of his ‘to do’ list.

 

Her footfalls grew closer and Alec set his jaw tight. Lately dealing with his parents had become even more burdensome than he ever thought possible. He knew how important this year was for his future, and really did not need them reminding him every ten seconds.

 

The pressure was building daily causing his muscles to be in constant state of tension. It seemed like it took Alec a little longer every night to roll out his muscle cramps until they were manageable. How did his parents not see they weren’t helping him at all? How did they not notice the constant strain was tearing him apart piece by piece?

 

How indeed?

 

There was no reason for this to be such a surprise, but Alec couldn’t fathom just why he was letting it bother him so often lately. He was very aware of how his parents were, and nothing was more important to them than status, talent, money, image, and their name.

 

Are they The New York Lightwoods?’ Alec would often hear asked in conversation between fellow society people when his family entered a room at events his parents felt warranted their appearance.

 

The name held a meaning among these people. There was a reputation behind it, a history. History Alec wished he could forget sometimes but as the eldest most responsible of the Lightwood children, felt the need to uphold.

 

The Lightwood name meant power, and money yes, but it was forever linked to talent and the arts. The Lightwood Arts Center was a world renowned destination for those seeking fine art and fine performance art in New York City.

 

“Alexan….”

 

Alec cut his eyes to his mother in a near murderous stare as she entered the room stopping her immediately. He never liked being called Alexander. It was too much to live up to, too much pressure. His paternal great great grand-uncle Alexander Lightwood was the person who built the Art Center that bore their family name. And his maternal grandfather Alexander Trueblood was a famed and renowned danseur throughout the world.

 

He absolutely detested being called Alexander. His mother knew this and would often times try to assert her power by using it, but as he got older his death stares actually began to make his point known to her..

 

“Sorry”, she began in a sarcastic tone, “Alec”, she raised her brow pointedly with an exasperated look on her face. “I just wanted to remind you that…”

 

“The Penhallows are coming to dinner, I know. You told me to be here immediately after evening rehearsals”.

 

“Yes and…”

 

“Lydia will be ready by three o’clock, I know mother. Did you forget I see her every day at school? She told me yesterday that we were able to book Studio A”

 

“Of course you were, dear. They know better than not to cater to a Lightwood. Your father and I being on the board of investors and alumni, they had better given you what you wanted”, the haughty inflection was very evident.

 

“No”, was all Alec offered back

 

It was one word but Alec’s tone spoke volumes. It spoke with clear vehemence that he would no longer be letting his mother, or father for that matter, believe they had the upper hand in his life.

 

In fact and in all honesty Alec was done with that. He was tired of his family legacy being placed so heavily upon his shoulders. Tired of the way his parents made him feel like he was a prisoner only allowed to live how they approved. Alec Lightwood was just tired.

 

This year he vowed to himself that he would no longer bow to the societal pressures of his sheltered and perfectly crafted existence. Alec was going to break the mould, it was his life and he was finally going to do what he wanted.

 

Yes there was much that his parents wanted for him that fell in line with his plans for himself, but there was so much they had never known. Never cared to ask or wanted to know about. So much he hid, so much he desired. It used to set an ache throughout Alec that his parents didn’t know him at all, but now he was rather used to it.

 

Of course it wasn’t the right time to express his own decisions for his life with his mother just yet so he appeased himself by just pissing her off whenever he could. Seizing power from her words by always staying ahead of her gave him such satisfaction. She would never question his attitude, and he knew it.

 

Alec was a young man now and would be making his way in the world of dance quite soon. He would be making a name for himself or in her eyes making the family name greater thereby making her look great. He knew with this expectation he held some form of power over his parents and Alec truly did abuse it every chance he got.

 

“Fine”, Maryse snapped annoyance clear in her tone at Alec’s outburst before she continued. “Lydia is well prepared for the challenge ahead. Her parents have informed me that she is quite graceful, she’s going to make you look extraordinary at the showcase. It’s the perfect pairing Alec, the perfect choice. You’ve done well”.

 

Maryse showed the smile she offered only when she knew she was getting exactly what she wanted. Once upon a time Alec’s heart would have soared to know he gained his mother’s approval when she smiled at  him. All too soon he learned the hard way that her smiles were never real. Her smiles were only a facade in public or a tool in private. The show of perfection for the masses, and a means for manipulation amongst her family.

 

Maryse Lightwood was a master of control, and Alec had grown to truly read his mother for what she was. Once again he felt the need to shut her down, the rebellion growing inside him with each passing day of his life.

 

“Yes mother”, Alec stressed the word sarcasm dripping in his tone, “That’s exactly why I chose Lydia, because she would make me look good. Oh it has nothing to do with the fact that she is an incredible dancer in her own right and deserved a spot in the featured piece”.

 

Maryse was momentarily quiet her lips pressed in a thin line at Alec’s mocking tone before she muttered, “I still say Camille would have been…”

 

Alec cut her off yet again with just one look, this glare was the most intense he’d given her all morning; it brokered no argument and she closed her mouth without finishing her statement. She knew how her son felt about that conniving bitch, Camille. There was no way he was dancing with her, he didn’t care how good she is or that her parents and his were in the same social circle.

 

With his signature Alec eye roll making his point clear that he’d had enough of his mother’s crap for one day. Alec hitched his bag up on his shoulder as he stood and pushed past a very flabbergasted Maryse.

 

“I’ve got to get going or I’ll be late”, he moved to the bottom of the stairs feeling his mother’s heated stare on the back of his head. “Izzy! Jace!”, Alec shouted, “I’m leaving in three, hurry up or you’ll have to wait for Hodge to drive you; and I know how you guys just love showing up to school in one of mother and father’s cars”

 

Cutting his gaze to his mother for one last dig. Maryse just stood and scowled at him taking a deep breath through her nose and he knew she was holding her tongue.

 

“Careful now mother or you may just get a new wrinkle to keep the one on your forehead company”.

 

Alec kissed her cheek and smirked at the look of horror on his mother’s face as she slapped her hand over her forehead and ran to the nearest mirror.

 

So ridiculously vain and so easy to play, he thought to himself.

 

The thunderous footsteps of two of his three siblings caught his attention as they fought their way down the stairs. Their loud argument breaking his thoughts from his mother’s vanity.

 

“It’s my turn to ride shotgun”, Isabelle whined like a 5 year old.

 

“No it isn’t”, Jace ruffled her hair roughly making her cover her head then reach her hand out to smack his away.

 

“Don’t mess with the curls, it took me an hour to get them right”

 

Isabelle sent Jace her death glare and he gulped visibly.

 

“Scared of our baby sis?”, Alec teased as he joined the two of them in the large main foyer.

 

“No”, Jace huffed looking truly indignant.

 

“Yes you are, you big fre..”

 

Isabelle’s retort was cut short by the sharp rap of Maryse’s heels and they all shut their mouths immediately. Her mere presence always had that effect on her children. The moment their mother re-entered the foyer Alec took one look at who her eyes were zeroed in on, and snapped his gaze to Izzy. He knew what was coming

 

“Honestly Isabelle, why do you even bother wasting your time with your hair on school days? You know the directors want your hair in a neat bun or braid. You should know this by now, I should not have to remind you. You are a young adult, and I am frankly tired of your cavalier attitude about your dance classes. Why did you think we sent you to that school? To show off your pretty hair ? Hmmm ? No I think not. And stand up straight, stop slouching. You look so sloppy”.

 

Maryse’s tone was pure acid causing Isabelle to visibly flinch. Jace’s eyes widened towards Maryse, then quickly flicked away to stare at the wall behind her. Alec watched as their mother’s lips curled up in grin at having inflicted some sort of pain on one of her children that morning. It was like she took joy in it, and had a daily quota to fill.

 

Isabelle steeled her back and stood tall as her mother asked of her, but not before Alec caught the slight watering of her eyes. Izzy closed them, and breathed deeply through her nose to calm herself. Alec knew his sister was strong, there was no way she would give their mother the satisfaction of seeing her cry.

 

“Sorry, mother”, Isabelle began softly but the hard edge around her tone was definitely recognizable to both Alec and Jace. “I have everything I need in my bag to put my hair up for dance classes. I did not forget”.

 

“Still a waste of time”, Maryse grumbled.

 

“Yes, mother”, Izzy sighed.

 

Alec grit his teeth at the slight nod of approval his mother gave at seeing her daughter so obedient under the lash of her barbed words. The way their mother made his sister feel all the time never sat well with him. It was so heartbreaking to witness and lately he’d made it his personal mission to get even for Izzy even if it was only for a moment.

 

Maryse hugged Jace and and patted Alec on his arm, she send a small smile towards her daughter who returned the smile before her eyes dropped to the floor.

 

“Go. School. Now”, Maryse clapped her hands and turned her back to her children as they prepared to leave.

 

“Psst, Iz, watch this”, Alec whispered gaining his sister’s attention. “Mother?”, he raised his voice and smirked in Izzy’s direction.

 

“Yes, Alec what is it? You should be gone already”, her tone hard.

 

“It’s just”, Alec moved next to his mother and leaned in, “I think it’s a little late to avoid that wrinkle. You better make an appointment with Dr. Sobel for your next injection”.

 

Alec kept his tone low enough to make his mother think he was trying to keep her secret but really he knew that Isabelle and Jace heard every word.

 

“Oh my god”, Maryse clasped her hand over her forehead for the second time that morning and pulled her phone out immediately dialing. “Appointment for Dr. Sobel. As soon as possible”, her voice was frantic.

 

Isabelle, and Jace bust out laughing at their mother’s retreating form and Alec gave them a sly grin.

 

“She’s ridiculous”, Jace teased.

 

“She really is”, Alec agreed easily.

 

“Thanks big brother”.

 

Isabelle slid into Alec’s side her arms barely wrapping around him, and she sagged into the hold. He bent to place a kiss on top of her head. Tucking her easily under his arm he grabbed her bag to carry it for her.

 

“You’re welcome Iz, I got your back always. Yours too”, he looked at Jace.

 

Jace’s eyes locked with Alec’s over Izzy’s head. They had done this so many times it was almost ritual. There was no need for words between the two brothers, they knew it was going to be one of those days where they’d bend over backwards to make Isabelle smile.

 

Why did she always have to single Izzy out? The brothers had asked themselves and each other this many times and the only thing they could figure out is because Isabelle’s free spirit, and kind heart made her the easiest target.

 

The three made their way out of their Upper West Side townhouse, down the large stone steps, and towards Alec’s car.

 

“Hey Iz”, Jace spoke softly.

 

“Yeah?” she turned to face her other brother.

 

“You can ride shotgun. I was just being a jerk”, he grinned and she gave him back the brightest smile.

 

“I know”, she sassed, “but you’re my jerk”, she punched his shoulder and they laughed.

 


 

For all the headache and heartache it caused, Alec knew being a Lightwood did come with some perks. Like his car. When his parents decided to use his twenty first birthday as an excuse to show the extent of their wealth to their societal circle Alec was originally angry. Who needs a car in Manhattan? He asked them knowing full well the answer is no one. Their family had used the same car service for fifty years and there was always taxis and the subway; although he knew his parent’s loathed the subway.

 

When he’d been handed a set of keys and a title to a brand new Maserati however all thoughts of hatred for his parent’s greed, pride, and need for status symbols flew out the window. Alec was never one to hold material possessions in high regard. Of course he knew it was easy to think that way because he always had everything he needed in life.

 

Still Alec never went out of his way to be flashy and show his wealth. He was never one to brag, never one to make anyone feel bad for not having what he had. This being said he couldn’t help but feel the excitement about owning such an incredibly beautiful luxury car.

 

His car was the one thing in his truly privileged life that Alec was slightly unapologetic for. In many way he felt he earned it with blood sweat and tears. Every hour put in at school and in the dance studios. Every sprained muscle, aching joint, broken toe, scrape, bruise, every blister, every drop of sweat. Every harsh criticism from instructors, that scarred his self esteem. Every word of derision from parents who never thought his best good enough, these wounds deeper than anything on the surface.

 

The time he gave up with friends because he had to practice just one more hour. The parties he missed out on because he had to be up early and in the studio by six a.m. Alec had given up the idea of being a normal young man. He’d sacrificed so much for his future, the goal his parent’s originally laid out for him.

 

Alec busted his ass day in and day out to reach his goal, to keep himself fit, in shape and his skills sharp. He ate, slept and breathed dance, it was part of him, his blood, his air. He obsessed to the point where there was nothing else that could take precedence in his life.

 

It was these very reasons that he knew he truly had earned this car. Sure owning it was impractical and he really didn’t need it, however it was his. The one shred of evidence; other than his body and his talent, that all he sacrificed was worth it.

 

With the car came a new problem that was also solved with the perks of having the Lightwood name. Upon Alec’s first day driving himself to school he was worried about where he would ever find parking, only to discover that his parents paid for a prime parking space in the student parking garage.

 

It was here today as Alec pulled into his parking space that he nearly ran over a guy who was speeding through the garage on a bike. Slamming on the brakes he held his arm in front of Izzy out of instinct to protect her even though she was wearing her seatbelt.

 

“You guys alright?”, he asked the concern clear in his tone.

 

“Yeah”, Jace sat up in the back. He had been jostled and shifted down in the seat.

 

“I’m okay, Alec”, Izzy smiled at seeing his arm protecting her.

 

“Shit. Stay here”, Alec undid his seatbelt and shot out of his car. “Sir? Are you alright? I’m sorry, I didn’t see you and you came out of nowhere”.

 

Alec hurried toward the man who had fallen off his bike and skidded a bit across the asphalt avoiding the hit. His back was to Alec so he couldn’t see his face. The man groaned a little as he started to sit up and turn towards Alec.

 

And then Alec let out a very shocked, very audible gasp. Of all the people it could be it had to be him.

 

Magnus Bane. Probably the most popular, well liked, best dressed, innately talented, enigmatic, unbelievably handsome and extremely hot guy at the New York Arts Institute. And Alec almost killed him.

 

“Shit”, the curse escaped from Alec’s lips for the second time.

 

He rushed forward his hands waving around and shaking in front of him frantically with nerves. What if he had seriously hurt Magnus? The thought made Alec blanch and his heart felt like it dropped into his stomach. The guilt of injuring such an amazing talent when he too was a dancer made Alec feel like he was going to vomit.

 

Magnus hadn’t looked up or said anything yet. He was examining himself, checking for any sign of serious injury. Not knowing exactly how to help Alec panicked reaching his hands out to offer assistance but he pulled them back quickly. Alec’s mind was fighting with itself, what if Magnus didn’t want to be touched. He thought perhaps he should apologize again.

 

“I-I’m really sorry, uh- M-Magnus right?”, he stuttered, the unsure frightened tone was evident in his voice.

 

That was when Magnus’ gaze finally shot up to see who the driver of the car had been, and his eyes went wide immediately. The shock at seeing it was Alec was so clear on his face.

 

Finally gaining some sort of acknowledgment from Magnus, and seeing he was in fact okay, Alec calmed the nerves that had raced through his body. Offering his hand down he nodded for Magnus to take it.

 

“Here, let me help you up”, Alec practically begged.

 

Magnus gave a slight nod of appreciation, his mouth held in a tight line, the expression of shock still evident around his eyes. He then gave Alec a look of pure curiosity, and grabbed the proffered hand with his gloved one.

 

It took very little effort to get Magnus on his feet again the strength and grace of dancers did them both a service. When Magnus stood, there was barely an inch of space between them; his gaze wandered down and traveled back up Alec’s body to meet his eyes and then they widened even further.

 

Alec knew full well his siblings must have been trying to see what was going on from their places in the car. He could almost feel their eyes burning into his back. Turning around quickly he saw he was right when he took in the slack jaws and surprised looks of both Izzy and Jace.

 

Now they too knew that their brother had almost killed Magnus Bane…. The Magnus Bane. He gave them both a grim look before raising his brow as if asking what he should do. Both Jace and Izzy gave simultaneous shrugs

 

Thanks for the help, guys. Alec thought to himself.

 

“It is Magnus isn’t it?”, Alec questioned again even though he knew full well who he was talking to.

 

“Yeah, Magnus Bane”, he smiled a small smile.

 

“I’m..”

 

“Alec Lightwood”, Magnus cut him off. “I know who you are”.

 

“Oh”, Alec’s hand flew to the back of his head and rubbed frantically. The nervous habit grounding him just a bit after what had just happened. “I didn’t think you did”.

 

The hint of a pink blush began to rise on Alec’s cheeks and he cursed himself for not being able to control it.

 

“Who doesn’t know who the Lightwoods are? Especially at this school”.

 

Magnus’ answer was very matter-of-fact and held a note of annoyance. It was a tone Alec was used to hearing. This was one of the many downfalls of being a Lightwood, if they didn’t want to be you, be your friend, want something from you, or use your name, then they usually despised and resented you. Alec’s shoulders sagged at the realization that Magnus was one of the people who didn’t exactly appreciate his family. He didn’t know why it surprised him so much, he should have known.

 

“Well I just wanted to make sure you’re alright. I mean I really am so sorry. I didn’t mean to.. I didn’t .. r-really d-didn’t see you”

 

Alec was definitely losing his composure. Why was he stuttering again?

 

Seeming to notice just how freaked out Alec was behaving Magnus looked taken aback.

 

“Um, it’s quite alright. I mean it’s not exactly alright but no harm done to me. I’m in one piece, no scrapes thanks to my gloves”, he held up his hands for Alec to see. “Plus as you’ve pointed out it is my fault. I wasn’t really paying attention. Had my headphones in, and got lost in the music…I’m sure you know how that goes”, Magnus gestured to Alec his palm extended, head slightly bowed as if he was addressing royalty.

 

Something about his words seemed stiff and very much closed off. Alec didn’t like it one bit, it made him feel as if Magnus was hiding his true nature. Alec had seen Magnus around school, he knew him to be bright, and open. Very free with expressions and words, this Magnus in front of him, was not the real Magnus. A lump rose in his throat and his heart sunk a little at this knowledge.

 

Magnus doesn’t like me .

 

Alec shook his head and swallowed hard before speaking, hoping to find his voice strong and unwavering.

 

“I didn’t mean it was your fault”, he failed his words had come out too soft.

 

The way he said this caused the strangest look to pass over Magnus’ features. It was something Alec couldn’t readily identify and his brows furrowed trying to decipher the meaning. With one last unsure scan over Alec’s expression and a squint of his eyes as if he was trying to find something, Magnus finally cleared his own expression and shook his head.

 

“Well I really wasn’t paying attention, and I shouldn’t have cut through the parking garage. It’s not on you. As long as you don’t sue I’m good”

 

There was a light-hearted sound to the surface of Magnus’ words, like he was joking; however Alec heard a tinge of fear laced within them. As if he thought Alec would actually try to sue him. As if Magnus believed Alec was that type of person, that type of….. Lightwood!

 

Again he should have known better, most people believed all Lightwoods were the same. Although he knew he and his siblings were not like their parents it didn’t make this hurt any less.

 

Alec understood many people saw the name and saw how quiet he was, and made assumptions. He kept to himself and those closest to him, he focused on only school and dance, and worked so hard to be the best, it was easy for people to think he was a stereotypical snob.

 

To know that Magnus felt this way about him hurt Alec in a way no one but himself could quite understand. Alec had truly admired Magnus so much it was a bit crushing to hear this specific tone coloring the words aimed at him.

 

“Um… I don’t want to sue you, I- I would n-never”.

 

There he went with the stuttering again, but it didn’t matter because Magnus was just shaking his head and hopping back onto his bike.

 

“It’s all good”, Magnus reiterated. “I was just teasing anyway”.

 

He smiled as he rode off a small wave back, and Alec was left just staring after him as he saw Magnus head out of the garage and turn towards the corner in the direction of the Institute.

 

So not exactly the first impression you wanted to make huh Lightwood? Alec chastised himself.

 

How was he supposed to know that the boy he’d been badly crushing on for close to two years was going to come flying out of nowhere and near get himself killed with Alec’s Maserati being the instrument of death? He didn’t, but that did nothing to make him feel better about his first official exchange with Magnus. This was not what he had hoped for at all.

 

Sighing and shaking his head Alec made his way back to the car, to finally park it properly and deal with whatever he knew his siblings had to say about this. He guessed this was going to be bad.

 

Sure enough the second he opened the door both Izzy and Jace shouted simultaneously.

 

“YOU ALMOST KILLED MAGNUS BANE!”

 

“What the actual fuck?”, came Jace’s voice immediately following.

 

“Was he alright?”, Izzy asked concerned.

 

Alec could only nod his assent.

 

“Why weren’t you paying attention?”, Jace complained.

 

“I was, he said it was his fault and he came out of nowhere”, Alec defended slightly annoyed.

 

“It is never Magnus’ fault when something bad happens to him”, Isabelle teased. “Don’t you know he’s a god here?”

 

“Hey, back off Iz, Alec is a god at this school too, and if he says it was Magnus’ fault it was”

 

While Jace’s vote of confidence and support were greatly appreciated he couldn’t shake the feeling in his gut that this was really somehow his fault. Maybe it was the way Magnus spoke to him, or the way Magnus viewed Alec as a person.

 

All he knew is that he felt really shitty and absolutely guilty about being a Lightwood in that moment. Finally he pulled completely into his parking space and turned off the V6 engine.

 

Izzy slapped him in the bicep hard snapping him out of his thoughts.

 

“Ouch, what was that for?”. He looked at her incredulously.

 

“I don’t care whose fault it was, you almost killed Magnus Bane”.

 

“Thanks Izzy”, Alec grumbled.

 

“Ha ha, I’m the favorite now”, Jace gloated from the backseat. “Shotgun is so mine on the way home”.

 

Isabelle glared at him as she gathered her bag and purse up off the floor.

 

“We better hurry up we’re going to be late now, since Alec decided to go all ‘hit the hottie with my Maserati’”

 

She snorted at her own silly rhyme making her brothers break down and laugh. They needed the tension breaker after the morning they had.

 


 

“And one and two, three, four, ATTITUDE! Ballotté. Chaînés need to be faster. Clean it up Branwell. ENTRECHAT SIX….excellent Lightwood. Piqué ….perfection Belcourt. Too slow Pangborn. Blackwell, you’re sickling. NO, NO, NO, NO, STOP!  ”.

 

The Senior Ballet Master tapped at the tablet in his hands, the music stopped, and the room fell silent. Monsieur Dauberval had been screaming at them for the past twenty minutes veins bulging in his neck, face red from the force of his words. However right now standing silent among them with only his steely gaze they were more scared of him than when he was yelling.

 

“Abysmal at best”, he spat at his dancers causing quite a few to flinch. “This is not the amateur class, you are no longer fresh faced Freshmen. This is the real deal ladies and gentlemen, and if you can not cut it in here…you WILL NOT cut it OUT THERE!”

 

The veins in his neck and bright red complexion returned.

 

“I am absolutely appalled by the lackadaisical, half hearted, careless, and lazy attempts in here today. Of course I exclude you Mr. Lightwood, and Ms. Belcourt from my tirade. As always you were both perfect”.

 

Camille preened at the praise and Alec just gave a small uncomfortable nod. Alec knew he was the most skilled technical ballet dancer at the Institute, but he really felt like an ass when his dance masters and directors made an example of him to his fellow dancers.

 

He knew what it felt like to mess up and be berated for it. He knew what it felt like to constantly be compared to someone. What if felt like to be shoved down into a small box of self hatred just for making mistakes. Alec had to deal with these feelings in every aspect of his life and he was a master of hiding it. To be the indirect cause of other people’s pain was never something he enjoyed.

 

“Since no one else came prepared today perhaps you should be reminded how a real dancer looks. How a master of the floor dances”.

 

Alec’s brows knit together, his face was hard and grim, he knew what was coming. Glancing over to Lydia and Raj he send them an look that screamed how sorry he was. He felt bad that his friends were lumped together with the others when he knew they were really very good.

 

“Lightwood”

 

Alec’s head snapped forward his back straight, shoulders back, he waited for the inevitable.

 

“Show us your first piece from the Spring Showcase last year. You know the one, you remember the choreography?”, Monsieur Dauberval gave Alec a questioning glare, his brow raised almost comically high.

 

Alec opened his mouth to answer that he did indeed remember the piece perfectly, but was cut off before the words could pass his lips.

 

“Of course you do. Of course he does” the Ballet Master scanned the room staring down at his students in disgust. “He knows because he’s a real dancer, and he’s a Lightwood”.

 

Alec’s closed his eyes, letting his shoulders sag momentarily and breathed deep to console himself. Why did everyone always do this to him? Why did they use him like some sort of weapon against others? Why did they always use him...period?  Shaking his head slightly he fixed his posture and stood silent and waiting.

 

“If memory serves this was the accompanying music?”.

 

Dauberval slid his fingers over the tablet a few times and tapped. One of Jace’s most beautiful original piano solos began to play over the state-of-the-art sound system. That of course helped Alec to relax and smile despite the anger and bile rising in his throat.

 

“Yes, Monsieur”, Alec answered obediently.

 

“Oui, I was sure of it. This is your brother, no?”

 

“Yes, Monsieur”.

 

“Gifted family”.

 

Alec had heard all the praises of the Lightwood children before it was nothing new. There was a time the words would bring him joy, but when he and his siblings were used in this way so often, he couldn’t help but despise every accolade.

 

“He’s adopted isn’t he?”

 

Alec wanted to curse at the Ballet Master in every language he knew at that moment. There was no reason for this question. Unless he was using Jace as another example of Lightwood greatness. Yes, that had to be the reason . Alec’s nostrils flared, his limbs were beginning to shake. His eyes held fire in them as he stared at Dauberval’s back wishing he could burn holes in the man.

 

“Yes”, Alec managed through gritted teeth.

 

He heard Lydia  innocently clear her throat. She was trying to ground him and help him refocus. His friends knew he was getting angry.

 

“You Lightwoods are great at cultivating gifts and talent”

 

Dauberval turned back to smile at Alec as if he just complimented him. This man could not possibly understand that his words were a far cry from complimentary in Alec’s mind. His words were a true slap in the face. Not knowing the inner turmoil he just set upon Alec, the Ballet Master set the music back to the beginning.

 

“Ready?”

 

Alec nodded slowly, his jaw set and his eyes still fiery. Heading over to the corner where his bag sat he stepped into the small pile of resin he’d set out for himself at the beginning of class. Coating the tape wrapped firmly around the balls of his feet he shook out his arms and legs, cracked his neck and nodded once more.

 

The music began again. Slow and haunting, Alec let the sound of Jace’s music possess him as it always had. Memories of long fingers gliding over ivory. The peace on his brother’s face as he lost himself in the creation of his music knowing this was for Alec to dance to. It was a favorite memory.

 

Alec moved into the center of the studio as if gliding on air, each step effortless and fluid. When Alec danced it was like the world around him stopped. Nothing existed but him and the music. And when he danced to Jace’s music it was an even deeper connection to his inner sanctum.

 

Gentle yet deliberately Alec’s pointed foot set to glide over the floor around him. The movement was so smooth it was as if sliding soft skin over silk. Putting his weight on his standing leg he trusted his balance and his body and lifted onto the ball of the foot.

 

Muscles tight and corded showing the definition through his black tights were evidence of how much effort this truly took. Although Alec always had a way of making it look easy. His right leg ended in pointed toe lifted straight up in front of him, and then he dipped forward trusting himself implicitly. Right leg now in back of his body as his chest dipped ever lower to the floor.

 

Just as it seemed his balance would give and Alec would fall his torso pivoted almost underneath his body, his standing foot was no longer on the ball it was flat against the floor, and he was upright again.

 

Both feet touching ground for just a moment a small kiss to the hardwood sprung floor  before he leapt so easily into the air, both legs extended to the his sides in an easy split. Kicking out once earthbound again Alec continued to move like liquid metal. He was not water for his strength was too visible; too prevalent.

 

Every time his feet touched down it was with such a weightless look that Alec seemed like he hadn’t landed at all. It was as if  he was floating over the floor with elegance and grace. However he was not soft. In total contrast to his foot falls Alec’s muscles moved beneath his skin with such strength you could not watch without thinking the word ‘ power’ .

 

Turns and spins so precise so fast, so fluid the movement was like poetry to watch. His passion for the dance, for the music in every part of his body. Plumb line tall, arms rounded strong flowing into second position then back to first as he went into his fast string of piqué turns. Clean definitive lines from Alec’s firm shoulder to his exquisitely long and agile fingers; lithe, supple and tall legs locked perfectly in a battle of intensity and beauty.

 

Moving into his next section with absolute focus Alec hit his choreography hard. Sauté arabesque, no arching visible - chassé - fouetté turns -  pause - chassé - gran jeté. Simply breathtaking to watch as he flew light and capable in the air.

 

His gran jeté so large and striking it felt as if Alec remained heavenbound for longer than humanly possible his back leg pulsing slightly midair finding its way a little higher than its original position. It was a pure show of Alec’s strength and skill.

Pure elegance and absolute symmetry, the entire class watched in awe, regard and admiration. Regardless of how they felt about the man himself, if they liked him or did not like him, it was hard for any group of serious dancers to not be affected by watching Alec dance.

 

This was the one thing Alec could count on to make people see the true man on the inside. Even if he went into this dance angry with looks of resentment in the eyes of his classmates upon him, he knew this was his way of speaking the words he could not or was not allowed to say.

 

When the piano’s soft reverberation echoed its last notes through the speakers, Alec fell from yet another unbelievable leap and into himself. Arms wrapping his torso tight, criss-cross over each other as if holding himself together. His face pained showing the dark and heartbreaking feel of the music. Alec collapsed onto his legs in a soft fall finally consumed with the pain so beautifully expressed in the music. His head hung down, his breathing labored.

 

The studio lay silent for a few moments until a few gasps of breath finally broke the spell, and the applause began. Alec stood slowly on shaky legs smiling over at Lydia and Raj who were cheering the loudest of all. He rolled his eyes at them a little and puffed out cheeks in an exhausted and silly look.

 

“I’m glad you so easily approve, ladies and gentlemen”, Monsieur Dauberval’s voice pulled the gaze of every eye in the room back on him. “Because although Lightwood made it look easy, that was not easy at all. And that is precisely the problem we face today. This career choice is not meant to be an easy one, and when you slack on your practice, proper eating habits, and your personal fitness regimen it shows in this room. So that is why the rest of the class will be working on… DRILLS!”

 

The groans of protest rose loud into the air before the Ballet Master’s evil grin set them all to simmer slowly.

 

“Not you of course Mr. Lightwood, you’re free to move to Studio C and put in some work on your showcase piece. As are you Ms. Belcourt, I’m sure Studio D will be adequate, as Studio B is in use with that hip-hop and free expression class”, his lip curled showing Monsieur's distaste for the style of dance.

 

Alec eyed Lydia and and could see just how angry she was  that she would have to sit through drills rather than use the time to work with Alec on his piece. Sure she would see him this afternoon but the more time they had to work together would be good. Especially when facing the monotony and absolute torture of ballet drills. Showing an apologetic smile and wave towards both Lydia and Raj, Alec grabbed his bag and made for the exit.

 

He only got three steps from the studio before hearing what he knew was inevitable.

 

“Impressive, Alec”, she purred.

 

Camille . His shoulders slumped, he absolutely hated the way she drew out his name into two very separate pieces. Elongating the ‘l’ then cutting the second half short with a sharp edge to the ‘c’. He knew she would follow him out since she was released from class as well.

 

“Thank you Camille”, he sighed. “To what do I owe the pleasure of you gracing me with your speech?”.

 

Alec made sure the annoyance and sarcasm were very clear in his voice. He knew what she wanted. There were very few times Camille addressed him privately outside of class and rehearsals, and they were usually about the same three topics.

 

“Still not impressive as I am”.

 

Camille was definitely trying to make her tone light, as if she were joking; however the jealousy was easy for Alec to hear. He knew the fact that he was chosen to dance over her, and praised by their Ballet Master was pissing her off.

 

Ah she’s in her competition mood today , Alec thought to himself and decided to play along.

 

“Oh? Is that so? Okay I’ll remember to take notes on your technique next time you’re chosen to dance for the class. Oh wait that hasn’t happened in...oh has it been two years now? It seems Monsieur Dauberval knows the real talent of us two and here’s a hint ...it isn’t you. Now run along to Studio D and let a real dancer get to work”.

 

Alec made his tone as condescending and unaffected as possible wanting to hit her where it hurts, in her pride. Normally he was never this spiteful with people, but Camille was so much like his parents with her conceit and abuse of privilege that it drove him to despise her.

 

Camille narrowed her eyes and gave him a look that would kill him if it could. Still it worked and she turned on her heel and stormed up the stairs away from him. Alec smiled and made his way towards where Studio B and C sat next to one another at the back end of this floor.

 

Moving to the sound system he grabbed his phone from his bag and set up his music. Alec stretched his muscles out for a few minutes before letting his mind wander to steps taking him into the embrace of dance once more. Making mental note of things he liked and things he didn’t he played with his choreography and would stop to jot down annotations for himself for further review later.

 

As Alec moved into the middle section of his solo he stopped momentarily a thought striking him. He’d promised to make the effort this year, he promised himself he would branch out, reach out, risk. With a heavy sigh Alec decided to try something that went against every bit of his classical training. Alec Lightwood wanted to dance in a more contemporary manner, and it was his mission to do so this year.

 

Closing his eyes he let the music run over his body. Let himself feel it pulse along every inch of his skin, and then without thought of what he was going to do next he just let his body move. Let his arms and hands move freely, let his feet flex in places where they should have been pointed. For the first time Alec let himself be free.

 

When he opened his eyes to watch his progress in the mirror he was surprised to see that he really did not look as bad as he was imagining. Of course his free movement was nowhere on par with that of someone like Magnus Bane but he was pleasantly surprised with himself.

 

The door to the studio opened breaking Alec out of his dance and thoughts as he spun to find a kid he recognized as the guy in charge of lighting and music engineering for the showcases. Furthermore it was known that  this kid created sick beats for the freestyle dancers.

 

Searching his brain for a name he felt like an absolute dick when he couldn’t remember. He knew it was something with an ‘S’ but he wasn’t sure.

 

“Damn, Alec”, the kid spoke with a soft and shy voice. “That was some interesting movement. Haven’t seen something like that from you before. It looked good”.

 

Alec shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair nervously. He was slightly taken aback that his new attempts at dance had been witnessed by someone that he didn’t know or trust. He was also amazed that this kid seemed to know him well enough, and thought the new additions were good.

 

“Um, thanks uhhhh..”

 

“Simon”, the kid supplied with a grin. “And no problem, you always kill everything you attempt on the floor so whatever this is, is going to be great”, Simon gestured around the studio with his hands.

 

“Simon, right. Again, thanks”, Alec was trying to hold back his embarrassment at getting caught and Simon’s gushing. “Did you need something from me?”

 

“Oh, um yeah”.

 

Simon reached into a large manila envelope he was carrying and pulled out a stack of thick paper cards. Alec recognized them right away as the cards that needed to be filled in with the specifics for his music, lighting and effects for his piece.

 

“Just thought we’d give these out a little earlier this year especially to the Seniors choreographing and producing. It was a bit of a struggle to get it all done on time last year so. Of course we’re not expecting them back anytime soon but it would be helpful if you started thinking about it”.

 

Simon looked as if he was really scared of Alec’s reaction to asking him to think about these things in a timely fashion. He was pretty sure many of the other students didn’t appreciate Simon very much and probably treated him like crap when he was simply doing his job.

 

“Sure, I can do that. Can you give me a few weeks though. I mean I get it but I haven’t even begun to block out full sections yet”

 

Alec tried to sound polite but this kid perhaps didn’t realize just how much went into choreographing, designing, producing and dancing a whole piece on your own. Worried he may have freaked the boy out Alec tried to smile, and was pleased to see Simon smiling back.

 

“That’s um, that’s actually perfect. Kinda what I was hoping for. I mean at least it’s an actual timeframe, not like some others have been giving me”.

 

Simon mumbled that last part under his breath, but Alec heard it and raised his brow in question.

 

“Camille”, Simon supplied. It was answer enough, but he continued, “basically she told me to ‘fuck off’ and that ‘she’d have it when she was good and ready’ and that ‘I should come fetch it when she called’. You know, typical Camille”.

 

Simon shrugged and Alec shook his head. Yeah that sounded exactly like Camille.

 

“Well, thanks man for a real answer. I’ll get out of your way now”

 

Taking a short break after Simon left, to make some notes, Alec sipped his water and laughed to himself at pissing Camille off earlier; it made him happy to do it. She was such a bitch treating people the way she did.

 

Alec had learned that when dealing with the truly horrid people in his life, a show of his strength of will, and anger did wonders for keeping them in check. There was a time he would have felt guilty after treating Camille like that, but that was a very long time ago.

 

All ill treatment she’d truly earned by treating people like shit. But when she did the worst thing she ever dared, that made Alec actually hate her. Camille was the one person in the school lucky enough to gain the heart of the guy everyone wanted and managed to throw it away. And she didn’t just throw it away -  no - she crushed it to tiny pieces then swept those pieces away without a second thought.

 

Magnus and Camille had started dating in their freshmen year and quickly became the ‘it’ couple; they were everyone’s darlings. Of course some of the more uptight directors of the classical dance programs disapproved of Camille’s choice, but that was exactly why she had done it.

 

Camille thrived on attention and chaos, she lived to piss everyone off, and always had to have what everyone wanted. So of  course when Magnus’ started at the Institute on scholarship she pounced when she saw the looks he was getting claiming him for herself.

 

The fact that Magnus fell hard was easy for everyone to see. No one with working eyes could ignore the way he was enamoured with her. However to Camille, Magnus was just another prop, another toy, another symbol of who she was and what she could get with her looks, talent and status. She didn’t see him for all the greatness within him, she only saw how good he made her look.

 

It was common knowledge to everyone but Magnus that she cheated on him throughout their relationship. When he discovered her repeated betrayals it truly broke him. The bright soul, the enigmatic beacon of joy that everyone had come to know and love at the Institute had been snuffed out. All because of a bitch on pointe shoes.

 

Alec remembered it clearly watching the whole thing play out from afar, like some ridiculous plot in a angst driven teen television series. The difference is that they never captured the feel of true heartbreaks quite right on those shows. Unfortunately for Magnus and everyone around him this was reality.

 

Magnus’ pain and torment was so palpable that even someone far outside of his circle of friends; someone outside of his acquaintances; someone outside of his realm of existence; someone who never spoke to him; someone like Alec Lightwood felt every single bit of his struggle from just watching him.

 

It took almost a full school year for Magnus to find himself again, yet he remained the kind amazing soul everyone flocked to, even in the face of his pain. And now the light was shining once again and brighter than ever.

 

Through it all Alec remained quiet holding on to his feelings in secret. Never letting anyone, especially Magnus, know that Alec wished he could hug him, and maybe kiss him through the pain. Alec had fallen head over heels for the most radiant star at the Institute, and he had been too afraid to reach for it all this time.

 

Why reach for a star you could never keep? He would ask himself. Magnus liked women, and he, Alec, was a gay man who kept his sexuality very close to himself like a precious guarded treasure only letting few in at a time to discover it.

 

Some would argue that Alec himself was the real star, but he knew better. Alec did not have the joy and freedom that Magnus had when he moved. Sure Alec’s skill was far above average, and he loved what he did with every fiber in his body; yet he knew he could be better if he was just allowed to be more free.

 

Breaking himself from his thoughts Alec remembered he was here to work. He also remembered he’d been trying to implement some sort of free movement into his piece before he was interrupted, and then ran away in his own mind with thoughts of Magnus.

 

Magnus!

 

Alec’s eyes shot to the clock and he realized he almost missed it. There was about twenty minutes left to the last double class of the day and he had to meet Lydia back in Studio A soon, he had just enough time to get his daily fix.

 

Slipping through the back door that led to the hallway connecting the two studios to each other and a Fire Exit, Alec crept soundlessly into Studio B. Hiding behind the first pillar and the edge of the last curtain panel used to draw over the mirrors when not in use he watched silently.

 

Sure it was a bit creepy, and yes Alec felt very ashamed about it but it was something he couldn’t help but find himself doing. It had become a habit, an almost ritual for the past year to seek out Magnus when he was dancing. Whether it was the tail end of class or working with his crew on their showcase pieces, Alec couldn’t help but devote a few moments each day to just sitting in awe of Magnus and the way he moved.

 

It was magnetic, the way Magnus drew all eyes to him, Alec was but one more set of eyes. However his eyes held so much more than just admiration for the man. Alec’s eye’s always held every one of his feelings for Magnus when he watched him dance. It made Alec sure that he had to keep this secret of his from everyone. Anyone catching him would see Alec’s feelings clearly written on his face.

 

At the end of these classes Director Adams would always let them dance freely without restrictions or guidelines. Each one of them moving however they wanted. More often times than not the sessions would end with everyone just sitting around clapping and watching Magnus go off as the music carried his body. Because Magnus was never stuck in a box, he didn’t try to control the music. Magnus let the music take control of him and moved as if he was part of every beat, every note, every melody.

 

The flux of Magnus’ limbs flowed like water, absolutely effortless. It was if he had no bones at some points in his movement, no joints. The motion remained flawless and exquisitely unending to Alec’s trained eye. No one could tell Alec this wasn’t dance at its finest. No one could tell Alec this wasn’t a pure talented soul using the body it inhabited to express joy and freedom.

 

It was breathtaking and awe-inspiring to watch. And no matter how many times Alec snuck away to witness this it still left him in utter wonderment. The music had stopped and the rest of the class was starting to pack up and leave, classes were done for the day.

 

Alec realized he must have missed the bell while he was lost in everything that was Magnus. Understanding that he only had a few more minutes to admire his favorite dancer before he was supposed to go meet Lydia, Alec moved a little to his left to gain a better vantage point.

 

Magnus was alone, Alec knew he was waiting for his crew to show up to begin rehearsals. Magnus reached over and grabbed a towel to wipe the sweat from his face. Suddenly he ripped his sweat stained t-shirt over his head revealing his incredibly fit pectoral and abdominal muscles. Beads of sweat were dripping trailing over the raised spots and through the dips.

 

Alec felt his throat go dry, his heart rate picked  up and his breath was coming in short bursts. Biting his lip to keep the gasp that wanted to escape him from doing so, he turned away quickly so that his back was against the pillar. Letting his head rest against the cool brick he tried to get his breathing under control.

 

This wasn’t the first time Alec had seen Magnus shirtless, in fact being in a school full of dancers you often saw a lot of skin during changes. It was easy to become numb to the amount of flesh he was exposed to on a daily basis. But this was different, this was Magnus’ bare and incredibly sexy chest, and Alec was extremely into Magnus like he’d never been into anyone else.

 

Of course what made this even harder for Alec to handle is that every other time he’d seen Magnus without a shirt there was always someone around. Someone in the room with Magnus, a friend, a dancer. Or it was during showcase rehearsals in an auditorium full of people. This was the first time Alec was alone in a room with a half naked Magnus and Magnus didn’t know he was watching which made Alec flush with excitement but also feel extremely guilty at the same time.

 

It wasn’t right for him to be spying on Magnus like this without his knowledge and he had to get to Lydia anyway; however Alec could not fight the urge for one more look. Peeking around the pillar he saw Magnus shirtless doing a handstand and flipping back up onto his feet before his legs and arms began to move freely again popping and locking in the quiet of the room. Alec guessed Magnus was  most likely hearing a beat in his head, it was something he himself often did with melody. After a few more steps Magnus stopped and bent over to pick up his towel again, and Alec saw Magnus’ low slung sweatpants pull tight over his ass.

 

Alec felt himself get half hard in his dance tights at the inviting sight. He nearly let out a moan before clamping his hand over his mouth, and turned to hide behind the pillar once more.

 

“Hello?”, Magnus called out. “Anybody there?”

 

Shit!. Alec began to panic, the heat rising in his face, and the flutters taking over his entire body. He must have let the sound escape, and Magnus had heard it. Fear kept his feet rooted to the floor for two seconds, but then the rational side of his brain took over, and he ran right out the back door without a second glance back to see if he’d been caught or not.

 

The dread that Magnus had actually seen him grew in Alec’s gut as he hurried back to studio C to gather his things. He knew he was late to meet Lydia and with the fear that Magnus would follow his Peeping Tom through the back hallway and find out it was Alec he packed up and ran out of the studio faster than he ever thought possible.

 

What have you done Alec? He chastised himself. Now that was twice in one day that he’d ended up in an awkward situation that involved the one person he wanted to think he was interesting or dare he say cool.

 

Nice work Lightwood, now he’ll never be your friend. He probably thinks you’re a pervert or a stalker.

 

With those thoughts in his mind the last of his erection thankfully abated, but his shoulders slumped slightly. Swinging the door open he found Lydia waiting with a smile on her face. He returned the smile feeling lighter already, she always had that effect on him.

 

“Sooooo, how were drills?”, he joked poking her in the side.

 

The roll of her eyes was answer enough, but she punched his arm for good measure.

 

“Jerk! And you’re late”.

 

“I know, sorry”, he rubbed his arm where she’d punched. The girl was stronger than she looked. “But I’m here now, ready to get started?”

 

“Of course, got any new notes for me?”

 

“A few”

 

Alec opened his notebook handing it to her and went to hook his phone up to the sound system to set up their music.  

 

“Interesting”, Lydia grinned as she scanned his notes.

 

“Not too weird?”, Alec was eyeing her nervously.

 

“Nope. Can’t wait to try some of this”, she gave him her warm smile calming his nerves instantly.

 

“Alright”

 

Alec clapped his hands and started the music.

Chapter Text

“Hello?”, Magnus called out. “Anybody there?”

 

He could have sworn he heard what was a tiny groan, and something that sounded like a slap. Squinting his eyes and tilting his head a bit Magnus trained his ears to listen for any further sounds. There was a faint noise that definitely corresponded to that of deep breathing.

 

And that’s when he felt it, a shiver ran over Magnus skin; he wasn’t alone. Someone was in the room with him. Glancing around to the only places someone could hide he started for the row of pillars at the back of the room.

 

There was a sudden shuffling sound from behind the furthest pillar, and then a definite slam against the metal bar of the fire door. Magnus ran to try and see who had been in the studio with him and caught sight of someone retreating through the door quickly.

 

The sight of black ballet tights and nude shoes, were not enough to go on in this school. However Magnus’ eyes glanced up hurriedly and caught the shock of thick jet black hair, and very strong broad shoulders. He then promptly shifted his gaze back down to the length of the legs; there were only one set of legs that long at this school.

 

Could that have been Alec Lightwood? Magnus stood shocked as he thought to himself.

 

But why would Alec Lightwood be in Studio B during hip-hop and freestyle class? There was no way it was possible. Unless he had gotten mixed up and ended up in the wrong studio for practice, it was definitely possible. But why come through the back door? Why hide behind the pillars? Why not answer Magnus when he called out? And why run?

 

The jumble of thoughts had Magnus thoroughly confused for the second time that day, and oddly enough both times involved a certain very tall, very attractive ballet dancer. Letting his mind wander back to the unexpected and awkward exchange this morning he shook his head a little.

 

Alec had swerved, and braked to avoid hitting Magnus with his car, he pretty much saved Magnus’ life with his quick thinking and reflexes. Magnus was the one to blame for cutting through the garage as a shortcut in the first place. He also knew he should have been paying closer attention and not let himself get so lost in the music.

 

Still when Alec had come out to check if Magnus was okay, the guy seemed really freaked out and nervous like he thought it was his fault. It was almost enough to make Magnus feel bad for assuming the worst of the Lightwoods for so long, especially Alec.

 

But then his mind had caught up with him and he began to wonder what Alec’s game might be. Magnus wondered if Alec was planning to sue him for ‘emotional distress’ or ‘minor damage’ to his car, or some bullshit like that. He wouldn’t put it past the Lightwood mentality.

 

Magnus briefly toyed with the idea of threatening to sue Alec. It would certainly knock the boy off the throne his name gave him; and it would definitely be money Magnus could use. Of course the Lightwoods would most likely settle out of court and Magnus would be fine with that. In all honesty though, it wasn’t in his character or good nature to do such a thing; especially when he knew he was at fault.

 

When Alec showed that he was genuinely concerned about Magnus’ well being, and was appalled by the fact that he thought Alec would take him to court, all lingering thoughts of malice left Magnus’ mind altogether.

 

Of course being that close to ‘the boy wonder’ hadn’t helped Magnus to keep his thoughts together in the first place. Alec Lightwood was known for being the most gifted dancer to come out of the NYAI in close to fifteen years. It had been too long since the school had someone with his magnitude of talent and potential connected with their name.

 

Because of this Alec was quite untouchable, and his reputation for being a bit of a snob preceded him. Magnus normally didn’t go along with what the crowd said about people; however Alec often gave off a feeling like he didn’t want to be bothered by anyone. It wasn’t exactly a typical cocky or pompous attitude, it was more like he preferred to be with people he knew, and had no room for new friends.

 

At least in Magnus’ eyes that was how it had always seemed, and he prided himself on reading people fairly well. Nonetheless it was hard to ignore the way everyone spoke about the Lightwoods, and with his own personal history with the family Magnus was slightly inclined to keep his distance from Alec.

 

The only problem with this plan was that Magnus had found Alec very attractive since the moment he saw him back in freshman year. To make it worse, Magnus grew to respect and admire Alec’s talent on a level that was unexplainable to even himself. Magnus Bane was the kind of guy who appreciated every talent; big and small. He saw beauty in all art, even if it wasn’t considered a traditional art form. In fact, especially if it wasn’t traditional art, but what he saw in Alec left a greater impression than anything he’d ever felt before.

 

Magnus stood quietly in the studio just staring at the fire door. He remembered the way Alec spoke to him this morning, his timid and shy but very sincere tone. The way Alec looked absolutely horrified at the thought of Magnus being hurt. He remembered the softness in Alec’s eyes as he tried to help him up, the way he stuttered, his nervous behavior. It affected Magnus more than he wanted to admit to himself, and so he had fled on his bike, holding onto his opinions about the Lightwoods.

 

Magnus didn’t want the knowledge that this extremely gorgeous and talented man was also kind, and very caring. He didn’t want anything to do with the fact that he discovered Alec smelled so good, or how warm his body felt when it was near to his. He didn’t want the knowledge that Alec Lightwood’s eyes were a vibrant hazel mix of incredible colors. Nope, Magnus wanted no part of that. Alec Lightwood was straight, and he was a Lightwood, and he was rich, and privileged and nothing like himself.

 

Magnus shook all the marvels that meshed together perfectly to create the wonder that was Alec from his mind, but still allowed himself a second to wonder why he’d been in the studio. It was nagging at the corners of his brain. Had he come to apologize again? It made no sense.

 

The sound of the main door to Studio B slamming open and the loud chattering voices of his friends helped Magnus shake the last remaining thoughts of the beautiful ballet dancer.

 

“Magnus?”, Clary’s sweet voice carried through the room.

 

“Right here, Biscuit”.

 

Magnus answered as he walked out from behind the middle pillar.

 

“What were you doing back there?”, Rebecca asked.

 

“Probably urinating on private property”, Raphael joked with Ragnor and they fist bumped.

 

“Gross”, Maureen’s nose wrinkled and she looked over at Clary who was nodding in agreement.

 

“That was one time, and it was an accident. Will I never live that down?”, Magnus sighed.

 

“Nope”, Ragnor laughed at Magnus’ obvious discomfort with the topic.

 

“Where’s Elias?”

 

Magnus scanned the room for their b-boy extraordinaire effectively changing the subject.

 

“He was macking on Raj again in the hallway”, Rebecca smirked.

 

“Looks like they’re getting pretty serious”, Maureen added.

 

“Still doesn’t excuse him for being late, and where’s Simon? He has the music.”

 

Magnus looked at Clary questioning the whereabouts of her best friend; then let his eyes pass over to Raphael a hidden query in his look. Raphael shook his head imperceptibly to no one other than Magnus, who then nodded. Magnus’ eyes flickered about a bit to make sure no one noticed their exchange before returning his gaze to the petite fiery redhead,

 

“He had some showcase related work to do. Something about the ‘set cards’. He told me he’d be late and gave me his newest edit”, she answered easily.

 

Clary handed Simon’s mixing laptop over to Magnus her fingers gripped tight on the edges as if she were afraid to let go. Her eyes looked into Magnus’ and he read the apprehension. This was Simon’s baby, his lifeblood and if anything happened to it Simon would freak out and Clary would feel so guilty. The fact that he trusted her, and Magnus with it spoke volumes about Simon’s character and his love for his friends.

 

“Thank you, Biscuit. I’ve got it, I promise”.

 

Magnus reassured her with a kind look on his face, putting so much sincerity in his tone. She reluctantly released her grip, and he carried the laptop over to the sound system.

 

“Thankfully that boy is smarter than he looks”, Magnus snarked. He couldn’t have everyone knowing how much he like the geeky kid.

 

Once the music was set up, everyone began warming up and stretching out. Magnus let the track run listening for the subtle tweaks Simon had made since the last time. When a clear sweet voice sang some harmony over the hook, Magnus’ eyes shot to Clary and she blushed.

 

“Biscuit, I love it”, he praised.

 

“Thanks, we were playing around last night and it just sorta came out”.

 

Magnus winked at her making her blush grow. Magnus had always been fond of Clary, he looked upon her like a little sister. When her mother began taking her to dance lessons at Madame Catarina’s, Clary and Magnus clicked almost immediately; although she was three years younger than him.

 

They remained friends through the ups and downs in Magnus’ life. Clary, her mother Jocelyn and her stepfather Luke had seen Magnus through some of his worst times. Even after Clary left dance class when she discovered her true passion was in drawing and painting they stayed close. The girl was gifted in so many ways and Magnus was proud of her.

 

Magnus often bragged that his Biscuit was a triple threat. She could draw, dance, and she could sing. Lately it seemed his little songbird had been finding her voice more often, and he couldn’t help but think this had something to do with that boy she’d begun to tell him about.

 

Sending her one last smile and a wink of affection, Magnus reset the music to the beginning and paused the playback.

 

“Alright, is everybody warmed up?”

 

The grumbles of compliance from the crew floated over the air. Magnus shook his head and laughed. They often acted like they hated the fact that he stayed on top of them with their practices, but they always ended up thanking him for it later.

 

Magnus tapped the screen on the laptop, the music began and his voice boomed enthusiastically, echoing in the studio as he tried to pump his crew up for some dancing.

 

“Alright we’re going to take it from top of the second eight count of the middle section”, Magnus explained to everyone.

 

“The arms section where Rebecca and I start with our stomps, and buck up?”, Maureen asked needing clarification.

 

“Precisely that section”, Magnus nodded at her. “We haven’t quite gotten the movement as sharp as it needs to be. Ready? Five, six, seven, and…”

 

The door flew open behind them and in came Elias his hair a mess, and his cheeks red. He was panting for breath and they all knew it was because he probably ran the whole floor to reach the studio.

 

“You’re LATE!”

 

“I know Magnus, I’m really sorry”, Elias rushed off to drop his bag and pull his sweatshirt off. Grabbing his knit skully out of his bag he pulled it over his head hastily and continued to apologize. “Seriously, I was just ..”

 

“I know what you were ‘just’ doing. Next time tell your new boy toy you’ll play with him later”, Magnus cut in with a mocking tone and everyone just bust out laughing. “Playtime can always wait, work time is limited to when we have use of the studio. Alright?”.

 

Although he was trying to sound stern as he reprimanded Elias’ tardiness, he couldn’t help but keep the smile off his face. It wasn’t in Magnus’ nature to be too hard on people. Especially when it came to something as sweet as falling in love.

 

He also couldn’t help but feel a little sting of jealousy and twinge of longing for his own carefully mended heart. Magnus hadn’t let himself get too serious about anyone since he began dating again. After Camille tore his heart to shreds it took him so long to even allow himself to go on a date, however he still kept his heart sheltered.

 

All those dates were in fact just dates, nothing more, and now he preferred to date outside of the current student body of NYAI. He had learned his lesson the hard way about dating people at school and the drama that came with it. Magnus did not want to find himself in a repeat of that situation if any of his dates were to become something more serious.

 

“Maureen!”, Elias hissed “What did you tell them?”

 

“Don’t look at me. Rebecca mentioned it first”, Maureen pushed Rebecca in front of herself and then held her hands up in surrender.

 

Elias went to playfully chase Rebecca who hid behind Raphael. Raph just stood stoic and raised his brow over at Magnus as if to say ‘stop these children, please’. Magnus chuckled at the lighthearted scene, and Raphael’s expression of disinterest as Elias cut from right to left trying to catch his friend who had told on him, and was dodging him easily.

 

“Eli. Becks.”, Magnus cut through the laughter and squeals using their nicknames to show he wasn’t really angry at them. “Come on guys, we have to get this started. Please”.

 

All chaos and playful banter stopped immediately as everyone gave Magnus their full attention. He in turn gave them his biggest, and brightest smile. They were good kids and he’d earned their respect as their friend and mentor. It was moments like this, with his crew when Magnus felt less alone in his fairly solitary life.

 

“So now that we’re off the subject of Eli, and his beautiful new ballet boy”, Magnus smirked at Eli earning an eye roll, “We can finally get started. Like I said from the top of the second eight count, middle section. That means your headslides Eli”.

 

Magnus looked at Elias to make sure he understood where they were picking up from then went to restart the music. Although he was fully focused on the task at hand Magnus could not fight the flutter in his stomach when he’d used the words ‘beautiful ballet boy’ to refer to Elias’ new boyfriend. Of course in his mind though a different ballet boy was present at the use of those words. Magnus shook his head once more to clear it and began practice.

 

***

 

“Let’s try this again, five, six, seven and…”

 

In an instant every set of arms came up to their sides and locked into place, palms in fingers down. Their legs were open wide and bent at the knee every person moving in unison to the beat. Each arm sliding in an almost mechanical manner into the next position. Arm and hand isolations progressing with such uniform precision it was as if they were one unit controlled by some unseen electronic puppet master.

 

They’d been at it for a good thirty minutes straight with only small water breaks. Every single dancer was truly focused on cleaning up their lines and getting the movement of seven sets of arms and fingers  to flow and stop in sync. They were hitting their breakout moves hard each putting heart and soul into their own two sets of eight. Finally it seemed they had the section crisp and near perfect.

 

“Simon”, Magnus called out to the boy who had showed up about ten minutes into rehearsals, “Could you please run it back”.

 

“Sure thing”

 

“Okay we’re doing this from the top. The very top of the piece”, Magnus clarified.

 

They all groaned in playful frustration.

 

“Oh please, enough with the dramatics. We perfected that whole section yesterday it should still be fresh in your minds”, he teased them. “Then we’re going to run into this section we’ve been working on. Once I see it run through at least twice I’m gonna head out. I booked the studio until 5 o’clock so you guys can stay of course and work on your individual sections”.

 

Once again the groans came louder and staggered. Magnus couldn’t help but laugh at their antics.

 

“Just dance, you jackasses”

 

“But we’re your jackasses, remember that”, Ragnor smirked earning the laughter of the crew.

 

“Unfortunately that is too true”, Magnus huffed trying to look extremely put out, but in truth he loved his silly friends.

 

After they ran through twice, and Magnus was satisfied with their progress everyone took a break as he went to gather up his bags that were nearest the sound system. Giving Simon a fist bump he smiled at the boy.

 

“Love the new edit with Clary’s harmony. I appreciate it Simon, I really do. The flow is fantastic”.

 

“Definitely not a problem, Magnus. I live for this stuff, and you guys are incredible. I’d be a fool not to jump at the chance to mix beats for you guys.

 

“It’s very kind of you to say. But without your beats we’d have nothing, remember you’re just as important to this crew as any of the dancers”.

 

“Thanks for that”, Simon beamed.

 

Magnus bent to grab his street kicks out of his bag and sat on the floor to switch out of his dance kicks. His eyes went back up to Simon who was just watching the crew laugh and talk. Noticing the way Simon’s gaze would check to see if his sister was watching before letting it slide over to glance at Raphael.

 

Magnus smirked knowingly, and must have accidentally let out a small chuckle, because Simon’s eyes snapped over to his wide and nervous. Magnus just rolled his eyes and smiled.

 

“Secret is safe with me”, was all he offered. “Besides who am I to talk”, Magnus winked and Simon blushed. “Clary told me you were handing out set cards today?”, Magnus effectively changed the subject putting Simon at ease once again.

 

“Oh yeah, almost forgot”, Simon grabbed the envelope and pulled out a set of cards for Magnus who took them and put them carefully into the folder in his backpack.

 

“Anyone give you a hard time with these? I used to get such nasty attitudes when I would help the sound and lighting crew every year”

 

“Mostly Camille”, Simon shifted his eyes away from Magnus’ knowing it was a touchy subject to discuss with the other man.

 

“Of course”.

 

“Of course. Alec was nice though”, Simon shrugged.

 

“Alec Lightwood?”, Magnus tried to make his tone sound disinterested but didn’t think he quite pulled it off.

 

“Yeah, he’s always a lot nicer than people say he is. You know I really don’t buy that ‘snob’ rep he has around here. Oh, and you should see what he is working on”, Simon jumped down off the tall stool excitedly. “It was like nothing I have ever seen from him. Easy movement, free, and - um - fluid . Yeah, fluid is the word I think you would use to describe it.”

 

“Are you sure we’re still talking about Alec Lightwood?”

 

“Yeah. It was pretty cool to see him trying it”.

 

The thought of Alec Lightwood adding free movement to his dance piece was something Magnus could not wrap his brain around. Simon had to have been mistaken. Alec was a ballet dancer who never dared to play in the contemporary realm of dance once in his entire time at NYAI. There was no way a Lightwood would step outside of their perfect comfort zone, Simon was definitely mistaken.

 

Magnus cleared his throat along with his thoughts “Raph”, he called out”

 

“Yeah?”, Raphael walked over giving the tiniest half smile to Simon before turning his attention to Magnus.

 

“You take over, alright”.

 

“You got it”.

 

“Listen up everyone, Raph is in charge”.

 

The moans of protest started up again.

 

“Oh please you know you love me, you ingrates”, Raphael grumbled.

 

“Okay, great work everyone. I gotta go, tomorrow same time, same place. Make sure you leave the studio clean when you leave. Later jackasses, love you”.

 

Magnus grabbed his bags and started for the door. He was about to turn and blow a kiss to Clary, but when he did he saw her headed right for him to follow him out. Letting the door swing closed behind them softly Clary leaned in close to Magnus and tip-toed to catch him in a hug before releasing him.

 

“Something wrong, Biscuit?”

 

“No, just worried about you. You know I always worry about you. Are you positive you can’t stop by later, Luke’s been dying for a ping-pong rematch, and mom is making chicken cacciatore ”, she looked at him hopefully with concern written all over her face.

 

“You know I wish I could, but I can’t. I have to work my dear, my bills won’t pay themselves. Besides after that I have to drag my ass home and force myself to stay awake to get all my assignments done”.

 

Clary frowned and rubbed her palm down his arm to Magnus’ hand and took it in her small one. “Please don’t overwork yourself. And you know if you need help on anything, even the bills…”

 

“No”, Magnus cut her off.

 

“But Luke sai…”

 

“No, Clary”, his tone was low but strong emphasizing how much he meant what he was saying. “You know how I feel about that. I love that you guys care and want to help, but I can make my own way. I’ve been doing it for years now. I’m a big boy, I can take care of myself”.

 

“I know that”, she remained frowning and looked down at her feet. “Still wish that you’d let us help. We just worry so much.”

 

“I know, and thank you for your concern. It means a lot to me”, Magnus kissed the top of her head “I really need to go though sweetie or I’ll be late, I can’t afford docked pay. Please give my love to Jocelyn and Luke”.

 

“I will”, Clary let a small smile find its way onto her face as Magnus backed away.

 

“Love you, Biscuit”, Magnus called as he turned and walked away.

 

“Love you too”, she called after him and returned to the studio.

 

As Magnus walked briskly through the hallway towards the main entrance, his sneakers squeaking occasionally over the hardwood, he found his mind wandering to what Simon had told him before he left. How was Simon supposed to know that the beautiful ballet dancer had been on Magnus’ mind throughout the day? It was not the boy’s fault, or Magnus’ either in fact if anyone was to blame it was Alec Lightwood.

 

Why did he have to keep showing up today? Why did he have to keep surprising Magnus with interesting new information about himself. Like how there was a lovely amber rim around his pupil which sat in a sea of green speckled with dark flecks of blue. Or how he was so tall and his legs were so long yet powerful. Or that he was now apparently adding free movement to his already flawless way of expressing dance.

 

Magnus didn’t realize that while he had let his mind wander his feet had carried him to the very person who was plaguing his thoughts. He knew he had to pass Studio A on his way out, but he hadn’t planned on walking so close to the side of the hallway where he could easily see what was going on inside the studio.

 

Still here he was hiding behind the wood panel and peering through the thick full length glass panels on the doors. Immediately his gaze was drawn to Alec’s long legs, watching them move with such strength and grace. His eyes scanned the outline of the defined quadricep and hamstring muscles clearly visible through his tights and Magnus’ throat constricted.

 

He knew it, even if he tried to fight off the idea and find a reason for it not to be, but deep down Magnus knew it was him. These legs were definitely the same ones he caught running out the fire exit earlier in Studio B. He still could not fathom why.

 

Watching closely for any slight change in movement, Magnus’ trained eye caught it almost immediately. A small shift in the way a classically trained ballet dancer would hold their leg, the toe was not pointed but flexed and the arm was not held as tight but held fairly loose.

 

The movement was purposefully disjointed, slightly odd looking but added for that exact reason to jar the viewer. Even still with these strange additions Alec’s steps and his entire frame flowed flawlessly.

 

Simon had been one hundred percent correct in his statements. Alec Lightwood the king of ballet at the Institute, was in fact trying to branch out into more modern and contemporary styles of dance. The thought made Magnus’ heart flutter uncontrollably and he couldn’t understand why.

 

Perhaps it was just that his appreciation for Alec’s dance ability just doubled. He knew what Alec was capable of and just thinking of how breathtakingly beautiful it would be to witness this amazing talent  let go and express himself freely made Magnus’ love for finding beauty in performance art soar.

 

If he didn’t want to lie to himself, maybe it was also because Magnus found it extremely sexy that someone like Alec would think to break out of the tight box he’d been shoved into for most of his life. Yes, Magnus could not deny the thought of a rebellious Alec was an absolute turn on for him.

 

Magnus’ attention then flickered to Alec’s partner. Lydia Branwell, he knew her to be an excellent dancer. Magnus didn’t know her personally but she was most certainly always polite and cheery; Alec had done well in his choice. As he watched her fumble through a few steps that he guessed were part of the new style Alec was aiming for, he caught the way she and him laughed together easily.

 

Perhaps, Magnus thought with a small and inexplicable pang in his heart, they were dating now. They really did fit so nicely in every way possible and looked to make an absolute perfect couple. They were both good looking, rich and talented, what more could you ask for?  The sight was so lovely it caused him to sigh at the charming way Alec’s face lit up when he was happy.

 

You’re a fool for even entertaining the idea, Magnus told himself.

 

He knew Alec was straight, but that didn’t stop him from admiring the way Alec’s  long and lean muscles shifted beneath his tights and tank top every time he moved. The way his body tensed strong when Alec lifted Lydia into the air with ease. The way he held his face so determined when trying a new and fluid motion he was uncomfortable with, and of course the way he didn’t laugh at Lydia for not picking it up as quickly as he was.

 

He was pretty much the perfect guy, Magnus could not refute that. If it weren’t for the pesky fact of his name and his sexuality Magnus would have made a play a very long time ago. Alas he resolved it was not meant to be. With one last look at the enchanting pair, he sighed again.

 

Just when Magnus resolved to turn and leave lest he truly be late for work he heard the voice he loathed more than any in the world, save one he would thankfully never have to hear again.

 

“Spying on the competition, Magnus? Or shopping for a new girlfriend?”

 

“Neither”, Magnus turned to find Camille’s gloating face at catching him spying on Alec and Lydia.

 

“Neither? Really?”, she raised her brow suspiciously.

 

Magnus drifted away from her deliberately avoiding her as she tried to move into his personal space. It seemed she wouldn’t be satisfied unless she was pressed firmly onto him, and he refused to let her get her way.

 

“Camille”, he grabbed her arm and pushed her back trying to be gentle but make his point. “Back off”.

 

“Oh but why? You used to love when I would hold myself against your body”, she teased pouting playfully.

 

“That was a long time ago”, Magnus tried to keep a steady voice.

 

“Not that long ago”.

 

She ran her long nails up his arm and he grabbed her wrist a little more firm this time to halt her movements. He wanted to make sure she understood that her touch was not welcome. Camille wrenched her arm away and rolled her eyes.

 

“Such a drama queen”, she teased.

 

“Me?”, Magnus laughed. “That’s rich coming from you”.

 

When she didn’t answer or show any sign that she was going to continue their conversation Magnus made to leave. Camille moved quickly blocking his path and let loose her acidic smile.

 

“What do you want?”, Magnus’ tone was truly exasperated. “I really have to go Camille”.

 

“Funny I was going to ask you the same question”, she giggled.

 

“What?” He was so confused by her game.

 

“I was going to ask what you wanted. I mean since when do you watch the ballet practices? Do you see something you like?”.

 

Camille peeked through the glass and Magnus followed her gaze to Lydia.

 

“I mean she’s cute and all, if you like the athletic build. And she’s a decent dancer, not as good as me of course. But honestly Magnus I don’t think she’s your type”.

 

Once again Magnus rolled his eyes at Camille. She was so full of herself and it made him so angry that she still felt the need to toy with him in this manner even after she let him go.

 

“Not that it’s any of your business but no I am not interested in Lydia in that way”.

 

“Oh?”.

 

Camille’s answer was short but she made that one syllable sound like there was so much more behind it. Even though he knew he shouldn’t care what else she was trying to imply he couldn’t stop himself from wanting to know.

 

“What?”, his tone on edge.

 

She had him right where she wanted him, and he knew it. The smile that lit her face was like the cat that ate the canary.

 

“Oh nothing”, she teased in a sing song voice. “It’s truly such a shame though”, she sighed trying to sound put out.

 

Magnus knew the only way to get her to leave him alone was to play her stupid game so he could get away from her sooner. Camille was like a dog with a bone when she wanted to play.

 

“What’s a ‘shame’?”, he sighed giving in.

 

“You know about Alec. We could have been a real power couple at this school, he and I. Imagine the two top ballet dancers with money, influence and good looks backing us. We would have been unstoppable”.

 

“What do you mean, what about Alec? Besides the fact that he was too smart to fall for you, unlike me”, he grumbled.

 

“I’m pretty sure Alec bats for the other team”.

 

Magnus just stared blankly, his eyes blinking repeatedly his mouth slightly open. His brain wasn’t processing what she was trying to say fast enough, and he was sure he looked like a fool standing there.

 

“Wait, what?”

 

“I am fairly certain Alec Lightwood likes boys. You know...G-A-Y”, she spelled it out as if she were teaching a child.

 

Magnus snapped at that. He’d had enough of her crap. It was one thing to play around with him but to spread horrible rumors about someone else, just because she was so often jealous of his abilities was another thing entirely. Magnus knew for a fact that Camille resented Alec’s talent, and the accolades he received.

 

“What the fuck is wrong with you Camille”, he sneered. “That is not even the least bit funny to play with someone’s life like that. Making false accusations. You need to stop your shit. Are you ever going to learn how to treat people?”

 

“What are you talking about, Magnus?”, she feigned hurt her hand over her heart and fluttered her eyes. “I’m not making this up at all. I’ve tried to pin him down many times, and he never went for it. I mean what guy would refuse me unless they were gay? Besides I heard it from someone who is close with his sister that he prefers the company of men”.

 

“Not everyone wants you, and don’t believe everything you hear Camille”.

 

“Oh shouldn’t you though?”, she raised her brow. “If you would have believed the rumors about me you would have never gotten yourself hurt now would you?”.

 

Magnus’ eyes went dark and hard, he wasn’t playing anymore. Camille felt the shift in his attitude and backed away slowly like an animal that knew it was about to get torn apart by a predator.

 

His nostrils flared and his teeth gritted, and his fists clenched over and over as he tried to calm himself. Why did she always have that effect over him?

 

“Get away from me”, Magnus nearly growled out.

 

“Gladly”, she huffed trying to act like she wasn’t unnerved by his outburst. “Just thought you’d like to know about him”.

 

Camille backed away taking a few more steps to widen the gap between them she turned to leave but then tossed out her final words to him over her shoulder.

 

“Just in case you were shopping for a new boyfriend. You forget Magnus Bane, I know you, and I know you go both ways. Not that someone like you would ever have a chance with someone like him anyway”.

 

With that she practically ran down the hall, her laughter echoing and ringing in his ears. Magnus’ eyes widened at first; the realization of what he’d just discovered about Alec finally settling in over him.

 

Could Camille be right? Was Alec Lightwood gay? I mean this was Camille and she wasn’t exactly the best source for accurate information. However she was known for finding out the deepest secrets of those she disliked in this school and exposing them when she knew she would benefit from it.

 

This seemed like the perfect time to do that to Alec as the Senior Showcase was coming up and a lot of important reps from dance companies around the world would be in attendance. It was a huge opportunity for the seniors, and if Camille could throw Alec off his game she would be the top prospect instead of him.

 

Of course it also made sense for her to tell him about this juicy little tidbit, especially if she caught the way Magnus had been watching Alec before she made her presence known. Camille did in fact know Magnus was bisexual, most people did. It wasn’t something he hid, but he was sure there were probably many at school who didn’t know this about him.

 

If Camille did catch his longing glances at the tall ballet dancer, she would definitely use the opportunity to not only spread Alec’s secret, but to try and fuck with him as well. Fucking with Magnus’ mind was one Camille’s favorite things to do and he knew that too well.

 

In that moment Magnus felt it in his gut, Camille was telling the truth. All sound disappeared from his ears, the hallway seemed to shift slightly to the side in his field of vision making it blur, and the breath rushed from his lungs. He was having a panic attack and it wasn’t even panic for himself but for another person that was causing it.

 

Still he knew what brought it on. Magnus was the one person who truly understood just how ruthless Camille could be. The fear of another person getting outed against their will and possibly ruining their life hit too close to home for Magnus. Fear was something he was never good with even if it wasn’t fear for himself but fear for others. Fear had driven him into sheer panic and darkness too many times in his past and he hated that he let it control him so often.

 

Camille was going to bring this poor guy down for no reason other than he stood in her way. Grabbing onto the wall for support, Magnus closed his eyes and tried to focus on what he could control in that specific moment. He could control getting a grasp on his surroundings. Magnus let the questions and answers roll over his body and mind.

 

Are you having a panic attack? Yes

 

What brought this on? Fear.

 

What are you afraid of? I am not afraid for myself I am afraid for someone else.

 

Where am I ? School, main hallway, close to front entrance.

 

What am I doing? I’m trying to refocus and calm myself so I can get to work.

 

My breathing, he thought to himself.  Magnus calmed himself slowly taking deep breaths until he felt his diaphragm expand pushing his belly out. Holding it for a moment he counted to 5 before expelling the air and repeating the process.

 

Can you do something about this right now? No.

 

Can you do something to help this person in the future? Yes.

 

With that last thought running through his mind and the deep belly breathing Magnus finally calmed to where he could stand on his own again. Pushing himself off the wall he relaxed every muscle that had been tensed throughout the panic attack. Once fully reposed and collected, Magnus checked his watch, he was definitely going to be late for work.

 

“So much for avoiding docked pay” , he sighed almost completely exhausted already and he still had to get through his shift.

 

Resolved that he would make the effort to give, Alec a heads up over Camille’s plan, Magnus glanced through the glass panel one last time and saw Alec dancing so carefree with a bright smile on his face as Lydia smiled and watched. He almost felt bad he would be the bearer of bad news to this shining light, but it had to be done.

Magnus gathered his bags and ran the way out to where his bike was chained up on the student bike rack. Helmet and gloves on, he hopped up and sped his way downtown into Chinatown, knowing his boss was going to rip into him as soon as he walked through the door. Mr Ts’ai loved Magnus and treated him like family, however the man was very serious about responsibilities and often gave Magnus lectures about work ethic. So even though Magnus would never get fired, he would most likely lose money for being late.

 

“There is no favoritism in good business”, Magnus muttered to himself the famous words of his employer and he couldn’t help but chuckle. It was true even if he suffered for it, the man was teaching him life lessons, and he appreciated it.

 


 

It was nearing ten p.m. when Magnus finally dragged himself through the door of his small loft apartment in Brooklyn. He’d been so tired from his long day that he opted to ride the subway instead of biking across the bridge like he originally intended. But that was before Camille and the panic attacked sapped him of all his energy.

 

Of course it didn’t help things that a huge purple bruise was now growing on his thigh from this morning’s run in with Alec Lightwood. Magnus shook his head still in disbelief that it was only this morning. It seemed like days ago to him, his day had been far too long, and he was beyond exhausted.

 

Sadly for Magnus, rest wasn’t on the agenda just yet, he still had about an hour of assignments ahead of him. Having eaten dinner at the restaurant before he left work, Magnus dropped his bags on the futon in his sitting area and shuffled over to the chest of drawers at the back of the loft behind the built-in shelving unit where his bed sat semi hidden from view of the rest of the open room.

 

Grabbing some clean sweats and boxer briefs, Magnus padded to his tiny  bathroom with the stand up showerstall so he could rinse off the sweat from dance classes, rehearsals and work, before he focused on his studies. Once settled in at his makeshift coffee table of shipping pallets, with books open in his lap and papers strewn about him in an uncontrolled mess, Magnus finally got down to work.

 

“Fuuuck”

 

Magnus pushed the last textbook and assignment from his lap and stretched his arms above his head his shoulders popping loudly. He winced slightly before bringing his hands down to run them furiously over his eyes. Working straight through with no breaks Magnus got his assignments done in record time.

 

Now it was nearing half past eleven and the fatigue was beginning to set in, he let his eyes flutter closed for a moment as he leaned his head back against the back of the futon. Snapping his eyes back open Magnus stared at the steel beams running across the vaulted ceiling. And the shadows they caused on the walls from the street lights pouring through the large old glass windows.

 

It was usually times like this when his body finally shut down that his mind, now without distractions, began to race and pull him into the darkness. And tonight was no exception, immediately Magnus’ dark thoughts came to claim him, delving into the depths where no light could be found.

 

His was a lonely existence. Yes he had friends and people who cared about what happened to him, and it helped him to know this. The thought that he had a pseudo family took some time for Magnus to understand. It took even longer for him to realize he was allowed to be happy about this fact.

 

Magnus still struggled with letting himself depend on others though. He’d been too long on his own, and too broken by those who should have loved him to let go of this so easily. It was his mistrust that led him to isolate himself so often. And the one time he let someone in, someone he thought could love him she broke him just like everyone else he let get too close.

 

This was partially the reason why Magnus always seemed to feel lonely even when amongst a group of friends. In a room full of people who cared for him Magnus would often just close his heart off, and hide pieces of himself only showing what he wanted to share. He knew he shouldn’t, especially with the friends who had proven time and time again that they would be there for him, but still he could never bring himself to just let them completely in.

 

The larger portion of the reason Magnus lived such a solitary life was, he felt he did not deserve to be loved. No one in his life who should have loved him, ever did, so he always felt there had to be something wrong with him. He just could not be loved like everyone else. It had to be his fault, he was the broken one.

 

The murky blackness clouding his brain and the numbing burnout his body was feeling forced Magnus to accept that it was time for rest. It took every bit of his physical and mental strength to get him up onto his feet, and even more to successfully stumble into his bed.

 

Magnus lay prone diagonally and face down atop his comforter . He closed his eyes and sighed deeply, wishing it was easy to succumb to the pull of sleep that tugged around his consciousness begging for him to rest. But it was almost impossible to turn his brain off when he let himself get like this.

 

Once he slipped Magnus often fell hard into the pitch black of his thoughts. Letting his mind spiral back on the events of the day it landed on Alec, and he huffed before he grabbed his pillow and shoved his face into it.

 

Alec , he thought with an odd smile that quickly transformed into an angry sneer.

 

With the odd respect and attraction he’d always felt for the guy; the strange encounter after the accident; the knowledge that Alec had been spying on him; the bomb Camille dropped about Alec’s sexuality, and his understanding how she was going to use this information Magnus couldn’t stop himself from wanting to help the guy.

 

He knew he resolved to tell Alec at school tomorrow, but did he really want to help a Lightwood? After all what have the Lightwoods ever done for him except contribute to  the misery that lived inside of him.

 

The memories found him then, Magnus tried to fight them but he wasn’t strong enough tonight, his mind and body were too drained. The clear image of his mother coming home earlier from work than expected, tears streaming down her face. The words ‘budget cuts’ and ‘layoffs’ didn’t mean much to his young eight year old mind but he knew it was bad if she was crying over the phone to her family back home in Indonesia. Family he never knew.

 

Magnus was soon made to understand that these words meant his mother no longer had a job at The Lightwood Arts Center. She loved that job even though it was just a cleaning job. Like her son, his mother was a lover of the arts and this was her only way to feel like she was part of art culture. Plus it paid well, and provided her with extra money to pay for Magnus’ dance classes.

 

The day the Board of Directors at the The LAC, which was highly made up of members of the Lightwood family, decided to cut costs, and lay off half their maintenance crew was the day Magnus’ small life changed forever.

 

He’d never had it really good. No father around, the son of an immigrant single mother who worked hard for every penny she made. She cared about her son but still Magnus could often times read a different feeling in her looks and the words she offered him. Now as an adult he recognized it as resentment. It broke his heart to discover that his mother resented him even if it was only a little.

 

She’d put her dreams on hold for him, her life was all about making sure he had better than her. And then it all came crashing down when she lost her job. She couldn’t pay her bills, they were losing their apartment, Magnus was going without food some days, and then she told him he’d have to stop with his dance lessons.

 

How is an eight year old supposed to understand that all he ever wanted for himself couldn’t be reached because he was too poor to be given the opportunity to grasp for it? Thankfully Madame Catarina was a kind woman and saw so much potential in Magnus that she let him stay in exchange for his help around the studio cleaning, and eventually assisting with classes when he was older.

 

This was the only bright spot in his new world of deep black, however. And somehow the darkness was growing even more with each passing day. Desperate and struggling to take care of herself and her son Magnus’ mother finally gave into the advances of their landlord.

 

The man who owned the building Magnus and his mother called home for over four years was a persistent man. From the first day he laid eyes on Magnus’ mother the man was smitten with her beauty. He would compliment, and smile, and offer help to carry her groceries. But being the very independent woman she was she did not show any interest in him and ignored his advances.

 

Of course that was when he showed his true nature. The man never took her spurning him well. He would often leer after her and say dirty things. He would hassle her more than his other tenants if she was slightly late with rent. But still he continued to ask her out, and even offered marriage, she continued to refuse.

 

That was until now. Now with no money, no job, and the risk of herself and her son being homeless, Magnus’ mother agreed to marry him. He owned several buildings in the area and made decent money, but he was not a decent man. No he was far from decent. He was an angry, possessive, scary, controlling, abusive alcoholic. And once they were married all of this came extremely clear in a matter of days.

 

Yes they were not on the streets, yes they had food to eat, and yes his mother didn’t have to work her fingers to the bone to pay bills, but now her debt was owed to one person only. Her husband took his payment in hurtful words, flying fists and forceful sex. This was not the environment for a young, kind, intelligent and beautifully artistic child to have to suffer through.

 

When Magnus tried to protect his mother that was when he was beaten as well. It was bad enough he suffered through the harmful bigoted words daily. Magnus’ stepfather had called him a ‘fucking fairy’ when he happily announced to his mother that he thought boys and girls were both very pretty.

 

At the time Magnus was too young to really understand what his feelings meant or what his stepfather’s remarks meant. As he entered puberty Magnus realized he was bisexual and that his stepfather did not approve. That was when the beatings got worse for both him and his mother.

 

The last straw for the adults around Magnus who cared for him was when Magnus lost a year of his education due to the fact that he had to be hospitalized for the worst beating he ever took at the hands of his stepfather. He almost died, and he’d almost been drowned in the bathtub. It was time to take a stand.

 

With the help of Jocelyn, Luke, and Madame Catarina, Magnus became an emancipated minor at the tender age of thirteen. They filed charges against his stepfather and the night before the man was to be arrested he killed his wife and himself, taking the coward’s way out and along with him the only parent Magnus ever knew.

 

He was officially alone in every sense of the word. His makeshift family took turns looking after him, housing him, clothing him, feeding him. Luke got him his first job, the one he still held. And with that came income and another adult who took care of him, Mr. Ts’ai.

 

Even with all the love and kindness he’d been shown Magnus could not bring himself to love so easily and let people in. He hated feeling like he owed these wonderful people. He didn’t want to take from them anymore. The thought of owing someone for their assistance left a horrible taste in Magnus’ mouth after what happened to his mother. Even though none of his friends ever asked for anything in return, only his happiness, Magnus would not let himself believe it easily.

 

At fifteen with working papers in hand he earned a second job helping with maintenance in a loft apartment building. The Super offered him a small space to live on the fourth floor and gave him the title of Assistant Superintendent. And so this is where he remained for the past eight years. On his own working two, often three jobs to make ends meet.

 

Finding time for learning dance and teaching dance was not an easy task, but Magnus remained focused on his dreams and goals. Through the hardships and extremely scary parts of his life Magnus remained undeterred. He was going to dance.

 

When Madame Catarina came to him with the suggestion that he audition for one of the new scholarships the New York Arts Institute was offering to underprivileged dancers who just needed an opportunity, Magnus jumped at the chance. This was his moment.

 

Of course when an arts school as prestigious as NYAI decides they want to cast their net wider and find untapped talent outside of the rich and well off children they usually get, it does not go unnoticed by those wishing to keep the school exclusive.

 

Once again the Lightwood name would become known to Magnus. The Lightwoods were one of the families who were opposed to these types of scholarships, and these types of dancers. They caused a major issue and almost won support for their petition against the school. However they were outvoted and the  scholarships were granted.

 

Magnus’ dreams were almost over before they started, his life almost derailed once again at the hands of The Lightwood family. So as he lay in bed that night shaking,  his mind completely twisted with the haunting pain of his past, he asked himself again ‘Why should I help a Lightwood?’

 

The state his memories had left his mind in was very shaky and scary. Magnus closed his eyes and finally let sleep take him knowing full well he would not find any peace tonight. Not even in sleep.

 

He was right.

 

The nightmare came at Magnus hard that night, just as it always did when he let himself wander down the path of shadows and dark memories. His stepfather’s hands lashing out to hurt, the stench of alcohol on his breath, the way his body was literally dripping in an alcoholic sweat the liquor practically oozing from his pores.

 

The pain, the fear, always the fear. It gripped Magnus hard his body tensed and sweated, his breath came fast, in pants as he struggled for breath. His muscles ached, skin burned with an unpleasant current running underneath it.

 

Magnus was thrashing violently around his bed, he knew it, even in sleep. Every one of his senses were smothered in this hellish nightmare that he’d fought so many times before. He hurt so badly, he couldn’t breath.

 

A sudden very loud and urgent banging, the shouting of his name, and the sound of screams in his ears woke Magnus from the nightmare. It was only a matter of seconds before he realized the screams were coming from him. Stopping abruptly Magnus shook his head to focus and rubbed his fingers into his eyelids roughly. His body was still shaking and he was sweaty, his head and heart were pounding.

 

Pounding?

 

Someone was banging on his door and shouting for him.

 

“Magnus, Magnus please, wake up. It’s John from 3B. The hose broke again, come quick, I don’t know if I turned the water off right. Magnus!”

 

Magnus looked at the clock and saw it was close to four in the morning. Groaning to himself he grabbed for a t-shirt put on his slippers and shuffled over to his door opening it. His neighbor John stood there with a sheepish look on his face.

 

“Again?”, Magnus raised his brow.

 

“I’m sorry, I don’t know what I’m doing wrong that it keeps coming apart. And um - um”, John looked down, “Are you alright I thought I heard screaming”.

 

Magnus’ eyes went wide and then he covered his shock with one of his winning smiles that always won everyone over.

 

“Oh, uh- yeah I left the television on, sorry if it was too loud”.

 

“No worries, I’ve done that too”, John smiled at ease with Magnus’ explanation.

 

“As for what you’re doing wrong. John I’ve told you that you can’t stuff that washer beyond capacity. It’s small and if you overfill it the washer shakes away from the wall causing the tears in the hose. You said you shut the water off?”.

 

“Yeah, I shut it off like you showed me last time. Hardly any water on the floor”.

 

Magnus eyed him warily, John just stared at him and shrugged. Magnus couldn’t help but think this guy was the epitome of a blockhead bachelor who needed someone to take care of him. He was ridiculous.

 

Even though he was tired, Magnus welcomed the distraction from his horrible memories and haunting nightmares. It was his job to be on call at nights for any maintenance issues in the building, so he really couldn’t complain.

 

“Let me get my toolbox and a spare hose”, he rolled his eyes.

 

“Thanks Magnus”, John laughed and led the way down the stairs.


 

You need to tell him, do it now. Who cares if he is a Lightwood he seems like a nice guy and doesn’t deserve this.  Magnus was battling himself mentally all morning.

 

Alec Lightwood was sitting with his friends and siblings at the lunch table at the far end of the outdoor cafeteria. They were smiling and laughing and Alec’s eyes were sparkling. He was truly a sight to behold when he was happy. Magnus tried to fight the flip in his belly but the effect that Alec’s smile had on him was beginning to become a common occurrence.

 

Just then the man he was admiring glanced up and his eyes locked with Magnus’ momentarily. A hint of a blush rose on Alec’s cheeks and he quickly shifted his eyes away. Magnus knew Alec must’ve realized that he’d been caught yesterday afternoon, and was embarrassed about it.

 

That was it. All thoughts and rumors about Alec Lightwood didn’t matter anymore. He was a decent guy, Magnus could just tell, especially if he was blushing about getting caught peeping. Plus Simon agreed that Alec seemed nice, and Simon was one of the kindest guys out there.

 

Magnus stood his back rigid, he needed to warn him. Steeling his nerve before he could change his mind, Magnus made his way over towards the table full of the ballet and music composition elite. Alec’s eyes widened in shock as he caught sight of Magnus coming right at them.

 

“Excuse me”, Magnus cut into their chatter very politely, his charm and charisma oozing in every syllable.

 

Four sets of eyes turned to look up at him in shock, five if you count Alec’s but Magnus wasn’t since they’d already been on him. Almost every mouth was agape at his sudden appearance at their table.

 

Magnus began to feel slightly unwelcome at their stares and wondered if he should not have done this. He shifted a little, his discomfort evident in his manner. Alec’s eyes scanned Magnus and it seemed he caught this unease, if it were possible Alec’s eyes grew larger. He seemed surprised that Magnus could feel unsure of himself.

 

“Um - um - uh - crap, where are my manners?”, Alec stuttered as all eyes turned to him. “Everyone, this is Magnus Bane”, Alec introduced as he stood like the gentleman he was.

 

“We know who he is you dingleberry”, Isabelle chided and rolled her eyes. “Everyone knows who he is”.

 

The soft chuckle that resounded around the table broke the tension that was hanging in the air around them.

 

“And I know who you are too, my dear. Who doesn’t know of the beauty, intelligence and grace of Isabelle Lightwood?”, Magnus offered his best smile and the girl blushed sweetly, so like her brother.

 

“And you”, Magnus turned to the blonde haired young man, “are piano composer extraordinaire Jace Wayland. You, my dear are the talented, sweet, and determined Lydia Branwell. And you, fine sir are Raj, I believe you are one of the top five senior male ballet dancers at this school, and coincidentally, currently seeing a good friend of mine”, Magnus wiggled his brows.

 

“I’m impressed”, Jace laughed and everyone joined in. “And you were totally right about me being awesome and all that”.

 

“I didn’t exactly use the word ‘awesome’, but you are correct your talent precedes you”.

 

“So wait, how do you know who we are? I mean you’re Magnus Bane we don’t exactly run in the same circles?”, Lydia’s tune was curious but very polite.

 

“So, I’m Magnus Bane, why is that such a big deal?”, Magnus laughed. “It’s just my name, your name is what you make of it. And you all have made your names known here, don’t deny that”.

 

The bright smiles at his compliments made Magnus feel so much more comfortable around them. He truly had meant every word and it seemed they felt that from him. Magnus offered them all a genuine smile.

 

“So what brings you to our little table today Magnus? Does it have anything to do with the fact that Alec almost killed you yesterday?”, Raj teased poking Alec in his side and earning him a death glare from his tall friend.

 

Magnus tilted his head and laughed at the playful banter between friends.

 

“No, but I was wondering if I could have a word with you please, Alexander?”

 

Magnus didn’t know why he said it. Perhaps he felt he shouldn’t assume to know Alec well enough to call him what his friends and family did. Maybe calling him Alec had to be earned.

 

All eyes went wide again at the name and turned to watch Alec intently.

 

“Um - uh - yeah sure”, Alec stuttered.

 

He’s utterly hopeless and adorable when he’s flustered. Where did that thought come from?

 

“Privately?”, Magnus raised his brow in question making his tone as kind as possible.

 

“Oh yeah sure”, Alec followed Magnus over to a small empty table away from the ears and eyes of most people. However  he could not help but notice half the student body was indeed staring at them in shock.

 

Alec shifted in his seat uncomfortably across from Magnus.

 

“If this is about yesterday?”, he started his voice wavering “I truly didn’t see you, and I promise I would never try to sue you , and I can pay for any damages to your bike or, or y-you. You are alright, right?”

 

Alec was rambling and pulling at his hair nervously. Again Magnus could not help but think him very cute.

 

“No it’s about something else actually”, Magnus smiled.

 

“Oh”, Alec’s shoulders slumped. “I was hoping you didn’t know it was me. I swear I can explain that too..”

 

“It’s not about that either”.

 

Magnus cut him off but gave Alec a knowing look acknowledging the fact that he definitely knew Alec was spying on him in Studio B yesterday afternoon.

 

“This is about Camille”.

 

Alec’s heavy blush immediately transformed into a look of utter confusion.

 

“Camille? What the hell did she do now?”, Alec huffed and rolled his eyes.

 

Magnus had to laugh at that reaction because it was often his own where Camille was concerned.

 

“Well it’s not exactly what she did yet, but what she is planning to do”.

 

Magnus made sure Alec could hear the serious tone in his words, he needed him to understand this wasn’t anything to joke about at all. Alec gestured politely with his hand for Magnus to go on.

 

“How do I put this delicately?”, Magnus mumbled to himself and then lowered his voice even further. “She’s planning on outing you, Alec. She knows you’re gay, and she is going to try and out you against your will. She thinks it’s going to fuck you up, and give her an edge over you as the premier dancer at the showcase”.

 

Alec was silent, his face impassive as he took in all that Magnus was trying to tell him. Magnus could see the gears working in his mind. They both knew the kind of person she was and Alec knew Magnus would not lie to him especially after what Camille did to him.

 

“So you know?”, Alec broke the silence.

 

“Know what?”

 

“That I’m gay?”

 

“Well, yes, she told me. It’s true then? Not just a rumor?”

 

“Yes it’s true”, Alec didn’t even flinch.

 

“That’s all you have to say about this? You’re not worried?”

 

“Why should I be worried when everyone I care about knows already and I was planning to officially come out this year anyway? There is no way she is going to take that from me. Hmph, typical Camille. Don’t worry about it, I’ll handle it”.

 

Alec smiled and laughed to himself before grabbing onto Magnus’ hand. Looking up to see everyone beginning to gather themselves to leave Alec made to stand just as the bell rang but kept his hand on Magnus’

 

“Hey, thanks. I appreciate that you told me, it means a lot that you cared to warn me. I know what she did to you. Just, thanks. And as for yesterday, I’m r-really very sorry”, Alec ducked his head as he started stuttering again. “I’m sorry about the car and the spying thing”, he waved his free hand around in front of him.

 

“No worries”, Magnus gulped.

 

The heat from Alec’s touch was spreading throughout Magnus’ hand and up his arm.

 

“Can we talk about that a little later there was something I wanted to ask you? A favor”.

 

“A favor? Um sure”, Magnus answered hoping his voice was smooth and didn’t crack.

 

“Can I meet you outside of Studio B after last class?”, Alec blushed and finally took his hand from Magnus’ as he walked backwards away from him still smiling.

 

“See you then”.

 

Magnus was dumbstruck by the whole exchange as he watched Alec walk away. That had not gone as he planned.

 

What in the hell had just happened?

Chapter Text

Alec could not fight the smile he found himself wearing for the remainder of the day. As he sat through classes, he looked outwardly to be the same Alec as always; sitting rigid and tall in his chair, paying attention to the lessons studiously. The only thing different about him today was the huge grin making his face shine more than usual.

 

In the midst of taking notes and listening to lectures, Alec’s mind would wander to what happened in the cafeteria earlier. Magnus had come to warn him, even after the car and the spying, he still made the effort to tell Alec about Camille’s intentions.

 

If he hadn’t already held the biggest crush on the guy Alec would have fell even further with just that. It was common knowledge that Magnus was kind, friendly and generous; most people who knew him loved him. However Alec did not expect that type of sincerity and care being shown to him from someone like Magnus; who didn’t know Alec well, and didn’t seem to think much of him.

 

In all honesty he was totally floored that Magnus even came over to his lunch table in the first place. He thought for sure after the way Magnus reacted to him in the parking garage that he wanted nothing to do with him. Alec figured his task of finding a way to ask for Magnus’ help was going to take a lot more planning and effort.

 

So maybe in some strange way Alec owed Camille a debt of gratitude for her sick and twisted games she loved to play. She had inadvertently brought Magnus to Alec without the latter needing to suffer the embarrassment of his usual fumbling. Well not too much as he did stutter and blush a few times while Magnus was talking to him privately this afternoon..

 

Still Alec could not help but be slightly relieved with how well the conversation went despite his awkward blushing, and the nervous feeling he had when Magnus basically acknowledged that he had caught Alec spying.

 

Now he needed to figure out a way to beat Camille at her own stupid game, but that only meant he would have to move along with his plans a little faster than he originally intended.

 

It wasn’t worrying Alec too much, what was worrying him more at the moment was how Magnus would react to him when Alec asked his favor. He was also nervous of messing up and stuttering again. Magnus’ effect on Alec was becoming a bit of a problem that Alec couldn’t figure out how to get past just yet.

 

He couldn’t help that two years worth of crushing, and watching and dreaming would bubble up and make his insides feel like mush and his stomach flip whenever he was within arm’s length of Magnus. Alec needed to figure out how to control himself, lest he make Magnus uncomfortable.

 

What straight guy wants a gay dude acting lovesick over him? Alec thought to himself with a small inward frown and eye roll.

 

No matter how kind Magnus is, Alec was sure that his foolish doting would not be welcome, and would possibly put a hitch in his plan before he could get it off the ground. Vowing to breathe, tamp down his feelings, and keep a tight hold on them whenever he was around his crush, Alec felt more in control.

 

Of course right now Alec could let his feelings and thoughts run wild, because Magnus Bane spoke to him, and laughed with him and his friends. Magnus was complimentary and kind to his siblings and friends, and he looked perfectly sweet and gorgeous while doing so.

 

Oddly enough one of the things that was making Alec’s stomach flip repeatedly, and his heart speed up was the fact that Magnus had called him ‘Alexander’. For some reason it didn’t bother him. Everyone who knew Alec knew he hated his full first name, and they all knew why; however the way Magnus sounded when he said it made him rethink the hatred.

 

Alec was one hundred percent sure he’d still hate it when anyone else used it; but the way Magnus’ lips and tongue caressed the syllables of Alec’s full name sent a shiver up his spine that he never felt before. Alec’s skin tingled in the best way possible, at just the memory of it. The smooth, rich voice of the guy he wanted so badly, uttering his name made Alec happy to let Magnus have a longer name to work with. He never wanted his name to end when Magnus was saying it.

 

Last but not least Alec could not get the way Magnus’ hand felt under his own. It was an unplanned split second decision and Alec would be forever grateful to the part of him that found the bravery to make that move. He had just been thinking that he needed a way for Magnus to understand how much he appreciated his warning, a gesture, a word, something to express himself properly.

 

When his hand had found its way to grasp on top of Magnus’, Alec had to force himself to fight the jolt of excitement that had spread through his long fingers. The sensation of warmth ran up his arm holding him hopelessly still and shocked for a quick second before he remembered his desire to express his ‘thanks’.

 

It was with a giant goofy grin on his face from his thoughts, that Alec left his calculus class and began to wander the hall towards his locker. His fingers rubbing against each other mindlessly as he remembered the feel of Magnus’ skin touching his.

 

Opening his locker swiftly he switched out his academic bag for his ballet bag and closed the door, grin still firmly in place.

 

“So, what has you so smiley, big brother?”, Izzy was standing just behind his locker door making him jump at her unexpected presence.

 

“You scared me, Iz.”

 

Isabelle just stared at him her brow raised still waiting for an answer to her question.

 

“Nothing special”, Alec tried to control the corners of his mouth and force them down into a straight line. “Just glad the day is almost over and I can work more on my piece”.

 

“Sure”, Izzy rolled her eyes. “So if you aren’t going to tell me why you’re smiling, would you mind telling me what that was about at lunch?”

 

“What?”, Alec tried to act innocent, his voice raising slightly as he walked his sister to her class.

 

“Don’t act stupid, Alec. You know what I mean”, she paused and her brother continued to avoid eye contact. “Magnus, what was that with Magnus?”

 

“Yeah, what was that with Magnus?”, Jace’s voice came up from behind them and he wrapped his arms around the backs of both his siblings.

 

Alec narrowed his eyes at his brother who usually took his side but seemed to be with Izzy on this topic. Jace just smirked and laughed.

 

“What? We’re nosy, you know that”, Jace defended against Alec’s look of indignation.

 

“Plus it isn’t every day that the most awesomely cool guy in your school wants to talk to you. Especially if you tried to run him over the day before”, Isabelle’s voice turned serious after that. “Was that what is was about? Was he mad?”

 

“Did he want money?”, Jace cut in.

 

“No!”, Alec answered slightly more forceful than intended, almost as if he was defending Magnus which confused him for a second. “It wasn’t about any of ...of that ”, Alec gestured with his palm open, “he was - actually he was”, Alec rubbed the back of his head nervously.

 

Isabelle glanced over at Jace her eyes full of worry. Their brother was fidgeting and his nervous gestures were giving him away. Jace patted his brother on the back, his palm firmly between Alec’s broad shoulders. Izzy brought her hand up to Alec’s forearm and squeezed gently.

 

It was the siblings’ way of grounding their brother and supporting him, this was what they did best for one another. Alec smiled at them and leaned his head down, instinctively they both crowded him a little sensing what he was about to say was private.

 

“Okay”, Alec lowered his voice, “somehow Camille found out about me and was planning to out me. She thought it would mess with my focus”.

 

“That fucking bitch”, Izzy growled through gritted teeth.

 

Alec winked at her.

 

“Don’t worry Iz I got it under control. You knew my plan for this year. I’m finally going to live my life my way, and she’s not going to stop me or get in my way, I promise you that. No need to bite, my little pitbull”, both Alec and Jace laughed at the nickname.

 

Izzy rolled her eyes but joined them in laughter.

 

“So, what does that have to do with Magnus?”, Jace asked confused.

 

Both sets of his siblings’ eyes turned to Jace giving him the most incredulous look. Izzy lifted her fist and pretended to knock on his forehead.

 

“Knock knock, Jace, anyone home?”, she teased her still very lost brother. “Magnus warned him you goof. That’s why he came over to talk to Alec privately.”

 

Understanding finally set itself onto Jace’s face as both he and Isabelle focused on Alec once more.

 

“He warned you?”, Jace’s tone was shocked but definitely held a respect within it.

 

“Yeah”, Alec beamed. “He somehow figured out what she was doing and felt he needed to tell me”, he shrugged, still smiling like a dork.

 

“Oh. My. God!”

 

Isabelle shouted causing both her brothers to jump slightly and pulled the attention of fellow students passing them, but she didn’t care. Izzy just let her eyes burn into Alec’s as a knowing grin pasted itself across her lips”

 

“What, Iz?”, he blushed really hot under her scrutiny. Alec knew his sister and knew she figured something out just then.

 

“That’s why you’re smiling, that’s why he’s smiling”, she turned to Jace. “Our big brother has a crush on Magnus FUCKING Bane”.

 

“Lower your voice”, Alec hissed.

 

Both Jace and Isabelle were staring at him now full evil smirks on their mouths, their eyes glittering with mischief. Alec couldn’t help but hate that they knew him so well. He’d kept this secret for so long, and after just two exchanges with the guy in front of his brother and sister, they knew.

 

Was he that transparent?

 

Just from the way he was reacting, Alec knew he’d probably just confirmed Isabelle’s assumptions to both her and Jace. How was he supposed to hide these feelings from them when he couldn’t even hide them from himself half the time? Plus he trusted these two more than anyone in the world.

 

“So Izzy’s right?”, Jace’s tone trailed up at the end his brow raised as well.

 

Isabelle just waited patiently losing the fight against the smile that wanted to take over her face at being right. She knew he was going to fold, she knew she was right.

 

“Yes”, Alec sighed defeatedly his shoulders slumping.

 

“Holy shit!”

 

“Language Mr. Wayland”, came the tired voice of Izzy’s microbiology professor as he passed them to enter his classroom.

 

“Sorry, sir”, Jace replied sheepishly. “Crap I’m going to be late if I don’t hurry”, Jace looked up spotting someone from his class and ran after her. “Hey Clary, wait up”.

 

The name sounded vaguely familiar to Alec but he just watched his brother begin to sprint away before he turned back to face Alec.

 

“You are so telling us both about this later. You’re not off the hook yet buddy”.

 

And then Jace was gone into the crush of bodies in the hallway. Isabelle turned to give her brother one last smile.

 

“You’re definitely not off the hook. We’ll talk more later?”.

 

She phrased it like a question but Alec knew there was no argument to be made. They would be talking about this later most definitely.

 

“Later”.

 

Alec nodded accepting his fate, as he tried to hide the blush on his cheeks from his sister but she saw. She patted his arm and headed into her class and Alec made his way to his final class of the day the double period Advanced Ballet Masters class.

 


 

Class was so much smoother today than it was the day before. It seemed the senior ballet class all brought their ‘A’ game after being chewed out and forced to do drills yesterday. Alec was just happy that he wasn’t called upon and used to set an example again.

 

These were the good days for him, the days when the beauty of  ballet just engulfed his soul and lit the fire within him. Letting the love of dance take over for him, his brain was free of worry, stress, duty, and family honor.

 

Alec watched as Raj nailed his double tour en l’air and smiled at his friend.

 

“Killed it”, Alec whispered.

 

“Wasn’t sure for a minute there, my take off from demi was a little rough”, Raj replied with huge relief shining on his face.

 

“I knew you had it”, Alec praised.

 

“Thanks, man. So what was that about at lunch with Magnus today?”, Raj prodded keeping his voice low so Monsieur Dauberval would not hear.

 

Alec rolled his eyes. Why did everyone need to know about that? He will admit it was strange and unexpected for he and Magnus to be chatting privately, but why did everyone need to know what they were talking about.

 

“How about I tell you, what that was about when you start spilling about this new boyfriend that I’ve heard nothing about, but apparently Magnus Bane knows you’re dating”, Alec snarked giving Raj the stare down effectively cutting him off.  

 

“Touché Lightwood”.

 

Raj’s tone was light but he understood that his friend really needed him to back off for now. He nodded and Alec smiled before nodding in return, a silent ‘thanks’.

 

Both men refocused on class until their Ballet Master’s voice broke over the music.

 

“C’est fait! You are all free to go. Much better today, ladies and gentlemen. Mr. Lightwood, the studio is yours. I trust you will leave it in the condition you have found it”.

 

“Oui, Monsieur”, Alec replied.

 

“But of course. I should not even ask. I always expect nothing short of perfection from you”.

 

“Merci beaucoup”, Alec bowed to his ballet master as he left class.

 

Everyone began to file out as Raj and Lydia made their way over to Alec.

 

“Alec, you mind if I take five minutes to cool off, use the restroom and stretch out?”.

 

“No, of course not, Lydia. Take your time I have to go do something real quick anyway, I’ll be back in about ten minutes tops”.

 

Lydia nodded and backed out of the studio heading towards the restrooms. Raj eyed him with the same look from earlier, but Alec knew he wouldn’t press him. That was the way of their friendship and it was good to have that understanding.

 

“Okay, I need to go see my boyfriend real quick before he has practice and then head up to my rehearsals. I’ll talk to you soon?”, Raj stressed the word ‘boyfriend’ making his friend laugh.

 

“Yes, talk to you soon. Have a good rehearsal”, Alec offered.

 

“Thanks, you too”, Raj left and Alec hurried to meet up with Magnus.

 

When Alec arrived outside Studio B he noticed Magnus through the glass panel on the door. He was dancing by himself as he so often did. Magnus shoulders came up and locked into position before he brought his bent arms back and held for a moment, so still almost like a statue. Suddenly he swung his arms forward across his body, his legs leaping and he landed in a stomp before spinning twice and stopping perfectly on a dime.

 

Magnus’ arms lifted out to his sides the flow of them rippling like breaking tides on the shore. His fingers fluttering then locking to create their own small dance drawing the eye to this tiny detail.

 

As always Alec stood in awe of the freedom he felt in every step Magnus created. Or if he were being honest every step Magnus let the music create through him. When Alec heard the loud voices coming up the hall from behind him it snapped him out of  his ‘Magnus haze’.

 

He turned to see most of Magnus’ crew approaching fast, all of them eyeing him suspiciously. The feeling of all the scrutiny caused Alec to shift and fidget in place nervously.

 

“Can I help you, Lightwood?”, Raphael asked, his tone held a hard edge.

 

“Oh um - uh, Raphael right?”.

 

Raphael nodded still eyeing Alec warily.

 

“I was just - just - um - waiting for Magnus”.

 

That drew the attention of every single one of Magnus’ crew because the all raised their brows in shock and confusion at that small explanation from the ballet dancer. Alec couldn’t help but wonder if it was really that strange to everyone that he and Magnus could be friends. It seemed the reactions they were getting all day had been ones of shock.

 

“Why?”, Raphael crossed his arms causing Alec to furrow his brow at the harsh stance.

 

“Raph, must you always be this unfriendly?”, aguy Alec recognized as Magnus’ friend Ragnor asked. He then turned his gaze to scan over Alec. “Does he know you’re out here waiting for him?”

 

“Yes, he agreed to meet me here”, Alec tried to sound nonchalant but was unsure if he managed it well.

 

“Okay, so at least we know you’re not a creepy stalker who got caught peeping at the object of your obsession”, Ragnor teased and the crew laughed.

 

Alec brought his hand up to the back of his head and rubbed nervously as he tried to fight the blush. Forcing out laughter to make it look like he found the joke funny, Alec hoped he covered the fact that he’d been guilty of stalker behavior towards Magnus in the past. No one needed to know that.

 

“I’ll go tell him you’re here”.

 

“Thanks”, Alec smiled at everyone as they passed him on their way into the studio

 

His smiles were met with stares and gaping mouths, they still didn’t understand why he was there. Alec waited patiently outside watching through the glass panel as Ragnor and Raphael spoke to Magnus and gestured at the door.

 

Alec watched as Magnus’ eyes looked over to see him just outside the door and his heart beat a little faster in his chest. He couldn’t help his reactions, but he needed to calm himself if he were going to have this conversation properly.

 

He sent a small smile and awkward wave to Magnus through the glass. Magnus returned the wave, Alec saw the faces of Magnus’ friends morph from concern to absolute shock with whatever he explained to them. Magnus then seemed to excuse himself and headed towards him.

 

Backing away from the door, Alec stood patiently breathing deep and trying to get a hold over his emotions and reactions. You can do this Lightwood, he told himself hoping he was right.

 

“Hey”, Magnus greeted awkwardly.

 

“Hey”, Alec sounded just as strange.

 

“Sorry I left you waiting out here. I just really got kinda lost in the music again. I tend to do that often as you already know. Again I’m sorry”.

 

“Oh it’s no problem. I know what it’s like especially if you’re onto something with ideas for a combination or full section. Sometimes you can’t control when it’s going to hit you and it just takes over your body”

 

The words were surprisingly flowing so easily from Alec. He was pleased that he hadn’t stuttered and made a fool of himself. It seemed that when Magnus and Alec discussed music and dance, Alec was in his element and so much more calm. It was a safe space, a safe topic, a comfortable area for him. And their mutual love for the art form was a bonding factor.

 

“Exactly that. I should have known you would understand”, Magnus answered a happy tone in his voice.

 

Then he had to go and do the one thing that would crumble the control Alec was working on building, he had to smile his brilliant and beautiful smile. That was all it took for Alec to zone out and completely forget what he was there for. All he could do was stare at the light on Magnus’ face when he smiled a real smile.

 

“Uh -uh -uh”, he was stuttering again. Damnit!

 

“So you mentioned something about needing a favor?”, Magnus asked quietly.

 

He seemed to sense Alec’s unexplainable distress and covered him and for that Alec felt even more grateful. What did this man ever do that wasn’t perfect? Alec doubted that he could think of anything in that moment.

 

“Y - yeah. I - I”.

 

Breathe, control yourself Alec.

 

“I know, you’re busy right now so we can’t really get into it. Plus I have to get back to rehearsals as well, but - listen I know you don’t really like me”.

 

“Alexan..”, Magnus tried to cut in to explain, but Alec kept on.

 

“No, believe me I understand. I wanted you to know that I am sorry for spying on you yesterday. I - I just really admire the way you dance, you see I’ve been toying with the idea of free movement. I really want to incorporate it more into my style, expand into the more contemporary realm. I was wondering if you could possibly take a look at what I’ve got so far, maybe give me some pointers? I don’t know, I just … “

 

Alec paused his face was almost totally red at this point, his eyes wandering everywhere. He knew he was rambling badly, he needed to get to the point.

 

“You’re the best free mover I have ever seen, Magnus. I would value your opinion”.

 

Of course Alec had left out the fact that he was watching Magnus for more than just his awe for the other dancer’s skills. And of course he left out the fact that he had watched almost every day for over a year. Alec could not confess this without making himself a fool or making Magnus uncomfortable. That was a secret he’d keep close to his heart.

 

When Alec let his eyes finally fall back onto Magnus’ face he found a look of total shock at Alec’s compliments. Alec could tell that was the reason because underneath the shock was a smile and a hint of a humble look within his eyes. Magnus was staring and Alec could tell he was working something out in his mind.

 

Suddenly the amazed look was gone. Magnus’ eyes went hard the skin around them tightened, his lips pursed and Alec could read the wary and protective stance Magnus was giving off. It was a look Alec had seen many times before, he knew it well. It was the look that many who did not like or appreciate the Lightwood family gave.

 

There was undoubtedly good reason for people to be wary of the Lightwoods, Alec knew this. It was part of the hardships that came with the name, at least it was a hardship for him and his siblings. His parent’s never seemed to care if people didn’t like them.

 

“You really don’t like me much, do you?”, Alec asked softly trying to hide the dejected sound in his voice.

 

There was a few moments of awkward silence between them as Magnus studied Alec’s face. He was probably reading the crestfallen look Alec knew must have been so easily displayed there.

 

“Alexander I..”

 

Alec lifted his gaze up to meet Magnus’, his heart sped at the use of his full name again falling from those beautiful lips. Alec was frozen in delight at the sound, but Magnus seemed to misread the look and faltered.

 

“It is Alexander right? I did not presume it would be alright for me to call you Alec”, Magnus’ tone was colored with worry of misstepping over some invisible boundary.

 

“Y - yes, it is Alexander, but no one really calls me that”.

 

“Oh well I can use Alec if you prefer…”

 

“NO!” Alec shouted a little too quickly and with too much enthusiasm. “No, I don’t mind it actually. You can call me Alexander if you like”

 

Alec was blushing again and Magnus noticed, he offered Alec a smile of comfort before he continued.

 

“Alright then, Alexander, it isn’t that I don’t like you, I just don’t know you. And sometimes, for me, I find it difficult to trust people I don’t know very easily. I apologize if I hurt your feelings”.

 

“It’s okay, I mean like I said I understood it wouldn’t be easy for you to trust me”.

 

Magnus looked at Alec, confusion in his expression.

 

“I don’t get what you mean”, Magnus began. “How could you understand my mistrust of you if we really do not know each other?”

 

“Well, I’m a Lightwood. Mistrust comes with the territory sometimes, I’m used to it”, Alec shrugged then frowned, his eyes trained on the floor in front of him.

 

When he glanced up at Magnus again Alec found an apologetic smile waiting for him on Magnus’ lips.

 

“That sounds awful”.

 

Magnus voice was low, almost as if he hadn’t meant to say that out loud. When his eyes went wide Alec knew that was definitely the case.

 

“Like I said I totally get it. And it’s alright if you don’t want to help me”.

 

“Is it? Was this not a demand?”.

 

Magnus’ tone was skeptical and harsh causing Alec to wince slightly.  However Magnus did look slightly ashamed after he said it, and that made Alec feel better.

 

“Yes, of course, I mean no. I - I mean.”, Alec tried to lower the ever rising panic in his voice. “It was a request”.

 

Magnus stood quiet in front of Alec. His mouth slightly agape, his brows raised, he seemed to be stunned into silence. Magnus shook his head calmed his features, and cleared his throat. All the while Alec just watched and waited patiently for Magnus to find his voice again.

 

“I bet it isn’t often that a Lightwood makes a request, not a demand”, Magnus quirked his brow.

 

“No, probably not”, Alec shrugged.

 

In that moment Alec wanted to show Magnus he wasn’t a normal Lightwood.

 

“I promise I would never demand, you can totally say ‘no’”

 

“And you wouldn’t get angry, pissy, or hold it against me?”

 

“No”, Alec answered slightly cowed.

 

He was beginning to realize that he really did not know how deep the mistrust and dislike for his family really went within the New York arts world. Perhaps he misjudged Magnus as well.

 

Alec knew Magnus to be kind to everyone. The only person Magnus was somewhat unkind to was Camille, and she had earned the treatment when she hurt him. The connections were forming in Alec’s mind.

 

There had to be something under the surface that made Magnus think so poorly of him. Magnus himself said that they didn’t know each other, so how could he know if he really liked or disliked Alec? It definitely had something to do with the Lightwood name, he just felt it in his heart and soul. In that very moment Alec was more ashamed than he’d ever been to be a Lightwood.

 

“Magnus, I - I”, Alec’s voice was hoarse and sounded very defeated, he swallowed around the lump in his throat and tried again.  “I would not be angry if you said ‘no’, of course I’d be disappointed, but I can’t force you to do something you are uncomfortable with just for my benefit. What kind of person would that make me if I did that?”

 

Again Magnus looked somewhat taken aback by Alec’s words and actions. The sight made a fire light inside of Alec that had him feeling something he never felt before. Magnus really didn’t trust him, it hurt him yes, but it also caused the desire within him to fix that. Alec was determined from that second to prove himself worthy of Magnus’ trust.

 

“You really don’t trust me do you?”

 

A small scratchy sound of protest came from the back of Magnus throat.

 

“It’s okay. But I swear I’m going to do everything I can to prove myself trustworthy to you. Even if you don’t want to help me. I’d still like to change your mind about me, you know, like a friend”, Alec smiled through these words. “As I said before I truly admire your dancing, and you’re a good guy. You warned me about Camille. Those two things alone are enough to make me look stupid If I didn’t want to be your friend”.

 

The strength behind Alec’s words nearly bowled Magnus over. Alec saw Magnus once more become silent, a look of bewilderment on his face, he swayed where he stood as he watched Alec speak as if he could see the words hanging in the air between them.

 

“You don’t seem like the type of man who lets in too many new friends”, Magnus finally broke the silence.

 

“You’re absolutely right, I’m not. However that does not make me completely averse to getting to know new people. Especially people who share and comprehend the strength of my passion for dance”.

 

“I have to say, you continue to surprise me Alexander”, Magnus supplied with a laugh in his tone.

 

“I hope that is a good thing”, Alec countered.

 

“It has been so far”, Magnus gave Alec a genuine smile and the ballet dancer could have melted on the spot at the sight of it.

 

“Alec, Magnus, hey guys what’s up?”.

 

The familiar and friendly voice thankfully interrupted Alec becoming a near casualty of Magnus’ smile. Both Magnus and Alec noticed they’d been joined by Simon who stumbled over his own feet as he stopped just shy of the door to greet them. If he was surprised to find these two particular dancers talking together, Simon played it off well. He didn’t outwardly seem to be shocked as everyone else had been.

 

“Hello Simon, how are you today? No more trouble with the set cards I hope?”, Alec politely asked.

 

“No, everyone was pretty cool about it. I mean not everyone, but you know how it is”, Simon smiled just taking it in stride as he always seemed to.

 

Alec returned the smile, and Simon turned his attention to Magnus who had been watching the exchange curiously.

 

“I’m kinda glad you’re out here Magnus. I would  have felt really bad if I was too late for the second day in a row”, Simon shifted from foot to foot looking sheepish.

 

“You know I don’t mind when you have other duties, Simon. And you always think ahead and send the music with Clary so it really isn’t a problem”.

 

Simon nodded in thanks, “Cool, alright I’ll be inside setting up. See you in there”, he excused himself heading through the doors.

 

Clary... Alec thought to himself. That’s how he recognized the name Jace had shouted earlier. Clary was one of Magnus’ closest friends and a member of his crew. He peeked through the glass and caught a shock of red hair. Alec smirked, Jace always did have a thing for redheads.

 

“Something funny?”, Magnus asked catching Alec’s chuckle.

 

“Oh it’s just I think I just realized that my brother has the hots for your little redheaded friend over there”, Alec gestured toward Clary.

 

“Clary?”, Magnus’ tone pitched high in question. “So Jace is the boy she’s been hinting about”, Magnus murmured to himself. “Well then I hope Mr. Wayland is a nice guy, because Clary is more like a little sister to me than a friend”.

 

“Uh-oh, poor Jace”, was the only answer Alec gave causing them both to laugh a little.

 

Alec checked the clock on the wall and noticed he’d been here for twelve minutes, he’d promised Lydia he’d only be gone ten.

 

“Shoot, I really have to go, and it seems you do too, but please just think about what I asked earlier. I promise no pressure, take your time. Think about it and let me know, remember ‘no’ is an acceptable answer”.

 

Alec smiled one last time as he backed away then turned and sprinted down the hall towards Studio A leaving Magnus standing there watching after him. Although he did not know that.

 

When Alec arrived Lydia was waiting patiently. She was sitting on the floor in front of the sound system her back leaning against the wall as she looked over his notes. She offered a knowing smile.

 

“So are you going to tell me what that was all about or am I just going to have to guess? Since I’m your partner in this dance thing, knowing would be helpful”, she teased.

 

“Well”, Alec slid down to sit next to her and bumped his shoulder against hers. “I don’t have a definite answer just yet, but it’s possible we may have some help with our free movement ideas”.

 

“Oh really?”, Lydia smirked. “And this help - does it come in the form of a five foot eleven, gorgeous, extremely cut, athletic, sexy, crazy talented, sweet, and kind freestyler dancer; who also happened to show up at our lunch table this afternoon for the first time ever?”

 

Alec rolled his eyes but there was no hiding his blush, and to Lydia that was answer enough.

 

“Well if he agrees, we’d be extremely lucky to have him. I am so on board with whatever you have planned Alec. This is unlike anything this school has seen from either of us so I’m really excited”.

 

“Really?”, Alec asked his nerves audible in his voice. “So you don’t think I’m insane for trying this?”

 

“Not at all. I think this is going to be incredible. I’m proud of you”, she smiled. “Now let’s get to work”.

 

Lydia stood up and held her hand down to help Alec up. With the support of his friend and dance partner, Alec felt so much better about this idea than he had since he began planning it months ago.

 


 

Magnus stood utterly, and completely shell shocked for the second time that day and fourth time in two days. It seemed Alec Lightwood was making a habit of leaving Magnus confused and full of strange feelings after each of their interactions. Magnus was unsure how he felt about these strange new feelings, or being left to wonder what exactly just happened between the two of them. But right now he didn’t have the time to analyze their conversation.

 

When he swung the door open to the studio Magnus was met by a cacophony of raised voices all questioning what they just witnessed as they rushed at him. Magnus flinched and shrunk away from their verbal attack. Although the voices all meshed together creating a horrendous unintelligible sound, he understood exactly what they were trying to ask.

 

“Hey, quiet please!”, Magnus shouted with his hands out to stop them from advancing on him any further,

 

In a show of how much they respected him, everyone stopped immediately as the room fell silent. Although both Ragnor and Raphael were eyeing him with pure suspicion, Magnus just laughed at their looks and shook his head.

 

“I’m well aware that you’re all nosy little creeps who want to know what that was about”, Magnus gestured toward the door, “but we’ve - sorry - I’ve already taken up too much of our rehearsal time together. So let’s just drop this for now and get started”.

 

The shouts of disappointed protest rose loud, and echoed in an ungodly clatter around the studio. Magnus looked around at every face each of them smirking and shoving each other out of the way to try to get him to answer their specific questions.

 

It was then he noticed that both Clary and Simon were not among the mass of curious faces. His eyes cut to the right and he saw them both sitting patiently together on the floor smiling over at him, their eyes held a sparkle in their look.

 

Clary definitely knew him too well, and Simon - well, Simon had come up on him and Alec in the middle of their conversation. He must have felt the odd crackle of tension that Magnus himself had felt settled around the both of them as they spoke in the hallway.

 

“No arguments, we need to use our time wisely, so I suggest you guys form up. Take your positions from the top of the final section, first eight count of the third combination”

 

Magnus’ tone was firm and his resolve set. The crew sensed there was no use arguing and did as he asked. Still it didn’t stop Maureen and Rebecca from sending him pouty lips and sad eyes. Soon Elias joined their silent protest as well.

 

The feeling in Magnus’ heart swelled, he really did love his silly friends very much. They were a part of him, a part of his family now. Feeling the hold on his willpower crack slightly he smiled at them.

 

“Alright fine, I’ll make you guys a deal”.

 

All eyes turned to Magnus including Clary’s since she’d gotten herself into starting position for rehearsals. They really are a bunch of adorable dorks , Magnus thought to himself.

 

“We clean this full section and have it down solid. We run through from the top twice, and I mean perfection from start to finish both times, and then I’ll give you guys a break and tell you what that was about. Deal?”, Magnus gave them a cheeky smirk.

 

“Deal!”, they shouted finally in unison this time. All of them were tittering excitedly. Only Raphael and Ragnor held looks of worry around their eyes but still Magnus could read the curiosity within them as well.

 

“However”, Magnus countered, “ if I am not happy with what I’m seeing the deal is off. I mean it, this better be perfect”.

 

“Leave it to Magnus to use this as an excuse to work us to the bone”, Ragnor snarked and rolled his eyes as he got into position.

 

Magnus glanced over at Simon who was grinning like the Cheshire Cat as he watched the exchange unfold. Magnus narrowed his eyes and shook his head, they would never let up until he told them what was going on, he knew it.

 

“Music?”

 

“You got it”, Simon tapped the screen as his custom track began right where they needed it for this section.

 

Elias flipped through the air, a roundoff double backhandspring layout, landing him perfectly in the center of the group. Top rockin’ for a few steps he settled into a set of handhops that led into air flares. Once back on his feet Maureen and Rebecca flanked him stomping in at his sides, their hands rubbing up his arms and then pushing him back playfully and out of the way.

 

The two began their footwork section speeding gradually until Clary joined them at the center. They moved together in perfect unison their arms locking as their feet took off in a frenzy of movement. The three ladies stopped dead on a spin and smiled as they let their hips whine, roll and tick.

 

That’s when Ragnor and Raph came in, perfect movement fast paced and absolutely in sync. Their feet flying over the floor as the girls fell off and let them take over. Magnus slid in on his knee, his arms flowing over his head and out to the sides, his fingers moving in the most fluid way.

 

Everyone was now back together Magnus at the center and the combination took off to new heights. It began simply with everyone moving together locking into place and flowing at the same pace. Then slowly each person broke off into their own sets of eight, a staggered effect, the next dancer beginning their own count as the previous one went into their second set.

 

Magnus stepped back pleased with what he was seeing. The crew was bringing it strong today. A proud smile showed easily on his face he knew they would wreck this piece, he knew how strong and talented each one of them were.

 

His chest swelled once more with pride and love for his crew as he watched them dance their hearts out for him, for themselves, for the love of dance. When the music stopped the cheers rang so loud they were near deafening. Every single one of them knew that they’d just nailed that on the first try.

 

“My dear ones”, Magnus began trying to hold back his excitement but failing as his voice wavered. “That was PERFECT! I am so proud of you”, he shouted.

 

Moving around the group of happy dancers for hugs and fist bumps, Magnus felt the last vestiges of stress from the previous day officially let go. Those tiny feelings of sadness, loneliness, fear, and pain that were stubbornly hanging on to him at the back of his mind all day were now just a distant memory.

 

With the crew in high spirits they hit the section hard three times in a row, and then ran through from top to bottom damn near perfect both times. Magnus was over the moon with pride and excitement. However now he had to hold up his end of the bargain and spill the details about his conversation with a certain beautiful ballet boy who would not leave his thoughts.

 

“Okay, break time. You’ve earned it”, he clapped his hands.

 

Magnus tried to keep the grin from his face as they all cheered and went to settle in on the floor groaning as they stretched out their muscles, wiped the sweat from their faces, and sipped their water. They laughed and joked together while they waited patiently for their prize.

 

Simon moved to sit next to Clary on the floor, he smiled over at Raphael who winked when no one was watching but Magnus. Simon’s face burned a little red, and Magnus chuckled turning his back for a moment so as not to disturb the private moment he witnessed.

 

Perhaps they’ll leave me alone if I just walk over to my bag and start getting ready to go, Magnus thought to himself taking a tentative step away from the group.

 

“Spill Bane”, Raphael’s seemingly bored tone broke abruptly through the light chatter.

 

Magnus spun back around and glared, then pursed his lips giving Raph the side eye.

 

“You owe us, remember”, Rebecca added.

 

Magnus glanced over at Clary’s almost begging her with his eyes to save him. ‘ Please Biscuit’. Clary just shook her head and smirked. She couldn’t save him from this

 

“Fine”, Magnus sighed an exasperated sigh. “A deal is a deal, and you guys earned it”.

 

“Heck yeah we did”, Elias shouted and high fived Maureen.

 

Clary giggled at their excitement and shrugged at the narrowed eyes Magnus sent her way.

 

“Hey, you did promise”, was all she said.

 

“So”, Magnus started his voice wavering slightly. “I have a feeling most of you are going to be disappointed in this. By this time I know many of you have come up with some sordid ideas of what you think is going on between myself and Alec Lightwood”.

 

“Yeah we do”, Elias cut in. “Raj told me you went over to their table at lunch and asked to talk to Alec privately. What was that about?”.

 

The murmurs of surprise spread through the group and they all turned to watch Magnus’ reaction carefully. He couldn’t hide the slump of his shoulders at this. Magnus had hoped they wouldn’t hear of that, but he should have known better since Raj was Eli’s boyfriend.

 

It was not Magnus’ place to reveal Alec’s secret so he had to find a way to maneuver around that detail while explaining away the reason for them being seen together at lunch.

 

“Well if you must know, Camille - being the bitch she is - decided it would be fun to plan to spread rumors about Alec to throw him off his game. She was hoping to mess him up and then perhaps steal the spotlight from him for the ballet companies that will be attending the showcase. I found out about it and warned him. Simple as that”.

 

It was as simple as that. All eyes on Magnus held awe, admiration, respect; but also love, care, and concern. They knew Camille was a sore topic for Magnus, and they knew he understood what she was like. He didn’t have to explain further to anyone in that room why he would warn Alec, a total stranger, about Camille. No one deserved to be hurt the way Magnus had been at the hands of that she-devil.

 

“And that?”, Ragnor asked in a dry tone as he gestured to the door signifying the conversation they had in the hallway.

 

“That was Alec asking for my help with a dance project”.

 

“WHAT?”

 

Every shocked voice raised in perfect unison, and Magnus chuckled at their surprise. Who couldn’t blame them, he himself did not believe it either.

 

“Wait, let me get this right”, Ragnor began, “THE Alec Lightwood, number one senior male ballet prospect and NYAI wants help from the number one freestyle hip-hop dancer? I don’t understand that, unless - no way”

 

Ragnor’s eyes opened wide in understanding and he looked to Raph who figured it out as well.

 

“No creo”, Raphael grumbled.

 

Raph and Ragnor’s wide gazes snapped to Magnus who just nodded in assent at their assumptions. He knew they knew.

 

“What?”, everyone yelled as they watched the three old friends converse silently.

 

“Alec is adding free movement to his final dance piece, why is that such a surprise?”

 

It wasn’t Magnus, Raphael or Ragnor who answered, it was Simon. All eyes were on him at once and Simon blushed at the attention.

 

“What? I saw him dancing yesterday when I was delivering the set cards. He looked really good. He’s an incredible dancer to begin with, but it only makes sense that he’d look to the best if he was trying to learn something new. And Magnus is the best”.

 

Simon explained it away so easily but no one else in the room seemed to feel his sense of ease or see why this should be so normal. They all just glared at him incredulously causing Simon to shrink back against the wall.

 

“I don’t get what the big deal is”, Simon muttered crossing his arms over his chest.

 

Magnus caught the way Raph’s lips turned up as he tried to fight the smile at seeing Simon acting adorably. But when he noticed Magnus had seen him he stopped and glared. Magnus just smirked knowingly and raised his brow.

 

“Okay so is Simon right?”, Clary’s sweet voice brought everyone’s attention back onto Magnus.

 

“Yes, Biscuit, Simon is right. Alec is interested in expanding his dance experience into a more contemporary and modern style. He’s working on free movement on his own, and seems to be doing well, from what I understand. However he asked me to take a look at what he has so far and give him my honest opinion”.

 

“Wow”, Clary’s voice held awe.

 

“Yeah”, Becks agreed her tone very much the same.

 

“He must think pretty highly of you to ask for your help”, Simon added.

 

Magnus shrugged humbly, he was never one to brag or boast about his talent. He was the type to praise others for theirs, rather than look for approval of his own.

 

“I guess”.

 

“You guess? Magnus a guy you hardly know, who is ridiculously talented and well respected at this school came looking for your help and opinion. I’d say that is a lot more than a guess, it’s a fact”, Clary declared proudly as she stood up to give him a hug.

 

“Proud of you”, she whispered.

 

“Thank you Biscuit”, he smiled into her hair as he wrapped his arms around her tightly.

 

Once Clary released him to rejoin the crew. He let his gaze run over every face, watching their expressions gauging their reactions. Magnus was extremely curious as to what they thought he should do.

 

“So what do you guys think?”, he finally asked.

 

Ragnor spoke up first.

 

“It sound a little suspect to me, I mean his is a Lightwood”.

 

“And we all know how those Lightwoods are”, Raphael added harshly

 

“Hey, that’s unfair to think of Alec poorly just because of his last name. He’s always been nice to me, and not everyone is. Plus his sister has always been sweet to me as well. She smiles at me, when not many pretty girls at this school do”, Simon challenged.

 

Raphael being the oft times sullen and skeptical one in their group took this as a direct insult. Magnus saw his nostrils flare and watched Simon shrink further against the wall before staring down at his hands to avoid eye contact with Raph.

 

“What would you know about it rich boy?”, Raphael spat. “I guess your kind always sticks together huh?”

 

“Hey!”

 

“Raph!”

 

Both Clary and Magnus’ shouts melded together.

 

“I’m not rich”, was all Simon muttered from his hiding spot just behind Clary.

 

“Compared to some of us you are?”, Raphael started up again.

 

“Enough damnit!” Magnus shouted. “This is a ridiculous thing to be arguing over and I’d really like the opinions of my awesome crew on what I should do; before I leave for work. So can we just stop the shit right now? Please?”

 

Raphael still glared, Simon still hid and moped, and the crew still watched with wide and confused stares, but at least the petty arguing was over.

 

“Thank you for acting like the adults I know you to be”, Magnus added sarcastically. “Now please I’d like to know what you guys think”.

 

Ragnor started again this time gaping at Raphael as he did so.

 

“Like I said I’m suspicious, but that is just part of my nature. You however have always been kind, and you’re not a dumb guy. I suspect whatever you do will be the right thing”.

 

“Thank you, Ragnor”, Magnus nodded.

 

“I think it’s the coolest thing ever”, Elias offered up. “Ballet and free movement together is just a killer combination I like the idea a lot”.

 

“Yeah, you would, Mr. ‘I got the hots for a ballet boy ’ “, Magnus teased.

 

“Anyone else?”

 

“I think it sounds like an awesome opportunity for you”, Rebecca offered.

 

“Agreed”, Maureen added.

 

“If you assist in anyway with choreography Alec has to include you in the program notes. It’s a win - win Magnus. Your name on three separate featured pieces is a great accomplishment that will definitely get noticed”, Clary smiled.

 

“Thank you everyone. Raph?”

 

Magnus turned and waited patiently. He steeled himself for anything Raphael would say, after all he was one of his closest and oldest friends, and Magnus trusted him. He would accept any criticism, words of encouragement, or words to discourage the endeavor.

 

“I say, I don’t like it. I don’t trust him, but I can see the opportunity for you. So do with that whatever you will”.

 

Magnus smirked, that was the best he could have hoped for from this particular friend.

 

“Okay then. It’s settled, I think I may just be taking Alec up on his offer. However this is going to get tricky with our rehearsal schedules so I’m warning you ahead of time to expect times when I won’t be here or may be late. Alright guys, now that is over with, you know the drill, I gotta go. Raph is in charge and the studio is yours until five”.

 

Magnus went to turn towards his bag to get ready to go when he was attacked by a massive group hug. They were proud of him, just as he of them. They loved him, just as he loved them. They cared about him and wanted the best for him, just as he cared about and wanted the best for them.

 

In that moment Magnus felt a lightness in his soul that he had not felt in a very long time. He was slowly on his way to becoming whole again after his dark past broke him. These people, his friends, his family, his crew, they helped glue some more of the broken pieces of him back together.

 

He was smiling like an overgrown kid at these very thoughts as he slipped his street sneakers on.

 

“Magnus?”

 

It was Raph’s voice that broke him from his thoughts as he tied his laces. Standing beside him of course was Ragnor. Magnus knew this was coming.

 

“Yes, Raph?”, his voice gentle since he knew what to expect.

 

“You know why we’re worried”.

 

It was not a question.

 

“I do”.

 

“You will be careful?”, Ragnor pressed.

 

“I will”.

 

“Will it help to remind you that the private property you urinated on was The Lightwood Arts Center?”, Raphael tried to keep his tone humorous but Magnus heard the worry underneath.

 

“I remember, it was that time we swiped Madame Catarina’s cheap scotch”.

 

“You didn’t tell us why, but we knew there was something there. You were so angry”, Raph persisted.

 

“I was”.

 

“Okay. Well, just so you know we’ll be here for you no matter what. Understand?”

 

“Yes, Ragnor it’s good to know you guys always have my back. Now please you two keep these brats in line for me?”.

 

“Always”, came the answer from them both

 

Magnus blew his customary kiss to Clary and she sent one right back at him as he left. This time as Magnus made his way down the hall he knew he was heading to Studio A. Stopping at the door Magnus peered inside in time to see Alec lifting Lydia high above his head effortlessly as if she were a feather.

 

He could not help but admire the strength he witnessed clearly in each flexed muscle of Alec’s broad shoulders and back. The way his biceps and forearms twitched underneath his skin as he held her. Alec’s strong hands held her around the back, his long fingers splayed over her midsection.

Lydia was arched beautifully above him, her arms reaching towards the heavens, toes pointed one leg bent at the knee. Alec’s right leg was kicked out behind him keeping them steady, again Magnus saw the taught quadricep muscle bulging underneath Alec’s ballet tights. And once again Magnus lost all his breath at the sight of Alec’s beauty and strength.

 

Collecting his thoughts, Magnus waited until Alec put Lydia safely on the floor before he brought his hand up to wrap his knuckles against the door. The last thing he wanted to do was startle them and cause an accident.

 

Alec’s eyes shot to the door and that beautiful bright smile that made Magnus’ heart almost stop was aimed at him. Lydia’s gaze soon followed as did her smile. Alec gestured for Magnus to enter.

 

“You’re done early today?” Alec inquired taking in the fact that Magnus had his bag and looked ready to leave.

 

“Oh, I leave around this time every day. My crew is in good hands, they don’t need me babysitting. Besides I can’t be late to work, have to make the money somehow”.

 

“Of course”, Alec blushed looking slightly ashamed of himself.

 

Magnus had noticed it in their earlier conversation as well. When the topic of Alec’s last name came up, and the way Magnus reacted to him, he saw the shame. When Magnus let the painful emotions from his past escape, and showed Alec his resentment and anger, not only did Alec visibly flinch but the abashment was clear.

 

He had felt really bad after the way he was treating Alec earlier, especially after Alec surprised him with how kind, and understanding he was of the whole situation. Plus he kept stuttering and blushing around Magnus which didn’t help when Magnus was trying to focus on protecting himself. Magnus kept thinking about how cute Alec is instead of worrying about his motives behind asking him a favor.

 

Magnus was hopeless sometimes, and he knew it. A pretty face with beautiful eyes, and bright smile and poof his protective shields were  gone. Although Magnus did have to give himself some credit. He was able to get his point about trust across to Alec even while his mind fought itself over pushing Alec away or letting him in.

 

Why did he have to be so beautiful, so talented, and so understanding?, Magnus asked himself. It would be so easy to just tell Alec he did not want to help him, and be rid of the only Lightwood he truly had any real contact with.

 

However it wasn’t that easy for Magnus, he was drawn to the boy, out of respect, and out of admiration. He wasn’t stupid enough to fool himself into thinking that Alec’s good looks had nothing to do with it, but he did not want to even entertain the idea.

 

“So you’re here to politely turn me down then?”

 

Alec smiled a small smile that pulled at only one side of his mouth the disappointed tone was audible even through the attempt at humor.

 

“Actually, the opposite”, Magnus smiled shyly.

 

“Really?”

 

Alec’s voice rose in excitement and his brightest smile yet took over his face. Magnus was nearly floored by the outburst. He could not help but return the bright smile as he witnessed Alec hug Lydia.

 

“Thank you. I really appreciate you even considering this. Magnus you have no idea how incredible I find your dancing. It’s almost like witnessing music posses a soul and take over”.

 

Alec was gushing all these amazing compliments as he rambled on and on, eventually he caught himself and blushed very hot. Lydia was laughing at his outburst and patted him on the back to comfort him.

 

“Seems you found your number one fan over here”, she teased as Alec shot her a glare.

 

“I’m honored, Alexander. But you really flatter me too much. There is only one elite male dancer at this school who is at the top of everyone’s list, and that dancer is Alec Lightwood”.

 

“That is so not true”, Alec balked. “You’re right up there on par with me”.

 

“Not to the elite society I’m not”, Magnus argued. He was finding himself somewhat amused by Alec’s defense of him.

 

“What do they know?”, Alec smiled.

 

“I ask myself that every day”, he returned the smile.

 

Magnus saw Lydia watching the easy banter between the two of them, and caught the strange look in her eye. He smiled and nodded at her politely, but she just smirked and shook her head. She obviously knew something was up. Maybe she recognized Magnus’ attraction to Alec .

 

Magnus panicked for a moment his fear and mistrust taking over his mind. He forced himself to breathe deeply, and remembered the type of person he knew Lydia to be. Plus it seemed she was a very good friend to Alec, there was no way she would ever interfere there.

 

An awkward silence settled between the three of them before Magnus gained control of his thoughts and broke the silence.

 

“So, how do we go about this. I mean we should sit and hammer out the details. I don’t want to disturb your rehearsals, and I really do have to get going. Perhaps we should exchange phone numbers so we can plan a schedule?”

 

Magnus’ voice trailed up at the end trying to sound nonchalant about asking for Alec’s phone number. Why was he trying so hard to not sound weird? Why was he acting like he was asking Alec on a date? This was about dance, and Alec asked for help.

 

“Y - yeah, that sounds like a good idea”, Alec stuttered.

 

Chastising himself mentally Magnus pulled his phone out of his pocket and held it out for Alec to add his number. Once done he handed the phone back to Magnus who texted the number immediately and they heard a chime from Alec’s bag sitting across the room.

 

“Alright, I’ll be out of your way then, and I guess I’ll talk to you later, Alexander”.

 

“Yeah, sure thing”, Alec replied sounding slightly stunned.

 

Lydia’s snort could be heard  from somewhere behind Alec. She then came up behind him to hide her full on laughter against Alec’s back. Her shoulders were shaking visibly, and Alec look extremely mortified.

 

There was no time to figure out what that was about so Magnus turned with a smile and left. As he was unchaining his bike from the rack he heard his name being called. Turning he saw Alec running out with his sweats pulled haphazardly over his tights, a pair of socks on his feet and an unzipped hoodie hung from his shoulders.

 

“Alexander? Did the text not go through?”, Magnus questioned.

 

“No it’s just I forgot to ask if perhaps you wanted to have some dinner tonight. You see my parents are going away for a few days and my siblings and I do our own thing for dinner whenever they’re away. Maybe it would be a good time to talk, you know get things rolling”

 

Alec’s hand was running down the back of his head nervously and Magnus picked up on that right away.

 

The gesture was sweet it had been a long time since Magnus was invited to dinner by someone other than Clary, Luke, Jocelyn, or Madame Catarina. Plus Magnus could tell Alec was really excited about getting things started on his newest dance project. He really felt bad to turn him down, but this also helped him remember who Alec Lightwood was and how he’d probably be teaching the guy a thing or two about how the majority of the world lives.

 

“Like I said, I have work”.

 

“Yes, but how late do you work? Surely it can’t be too late, how else would you get things done for school?”, Alec asked truly confused.

 

Coming from anyone else Magnus might have been annoyed, but he was beginning to realize that Alec was not your average rich boy. Alec really was curious and did not understand. How could he? He didn’t know Magnus lived on his own and took care of himself.

 

“I work until about ten”, Magnus sighed trying to remain patient.

 

“Oh”, Alec’s shoulders slumped. “Okay some other time then”, the disappointment easily recognizable in his tone.

 

As he turned to leave Magnus got the sudden idea, but was unsure if he should act on it or just leave it alone. Closing his eyes he huffed out through his nose and decided to go for it.

 

“Alexander?”

 

“Yeah?”, Alec turned back his face slightly frowning.

 

“I get a dinner break at eight thirty. You can always come by and join me if you don’t mind heading into Chinatown that is”.

 

Alec’s face lit up and Magnus nearly choked on his own spit from how adorable it was. What was this guy doing to him, and how was he doing it so fast?

 

“Yeah, yeah that’s sounds good. I don’t mind at all”, Alec was slightly bouncing on the balls of his feet.

 

“I’ll text you the address, okay? I gotta go”

 

“Okay, see you later”

 

Magnus buckled his helmet, hopped up onto his bike and sped off to work. His thoughts were full of hazel eyes, strong muscular legs, thick black hair, and the brightest smile. Magnus could not help but think he just got himself into something he was not sure he would survive.



Chapter Text

At first he had been lost in the excitement of Magnus agreeing to help him with his dance piece, but then Alec’s mind caught up to all that just happened. In just a few short minutes not only did Magnus offer his assistance, but he had asked for Alec’s phone number, and texted him so Alec could have his as well.

 

Even though things felt off between them since Alec realized just how hard he’d have to work to gain Magnus’ trust, their conversation seemed to come easily about the elite dancers at the school. They even joked a little.

 

It was a disaster to Alec when Lydia chose that moment to start laughing at the awkward way Alec was reacting around Magnus. He cared about her very much, and considered her a good friend but right then he could have strangled her.

 

Embarrassed to no end, Alec hoped Magnus didn’t put the connection together with what caused her near hysterics. The last thing he needed was for Magnus to figure out how much Alec was crushing on him, especially after he just got him to agree to helping them. He didn’t want anyone scaring Magnus away.

 

“Lydia”, Alec hissed as he turned after Magnus left, and gave her the stink eye. “What the fuck?”

 

“I’m sorry”, Lydia gasped out through through the laughter. “Alec your heart eyes were showing so bad. I just - I - oh, I’m sorry”.

 

Lydia’s voice lowered as she took in the expression of fear that now washed over Alec’s face. He looked as he was about to be sick over it.

 

“Do you think he noticed?”, Alec lowered his voice too as he studied a suddenly interesting smudge of resin on the floor. “Izzy and Jace noticed, you noticed, do you think Magnus did too”.

 

“To be honest, I don’t think he did”, she patted his arm gently to comfort him. “Magnus did look somewhat confused by your reaction. But the way I see it, anyone who gets to know you finds you to be quite kind once you let them in. Perhaps Magnus is starting to realize that about you. Plus because we do know you, we know you never act like that, ever. So of course I saw it, but I don’t think Magnus fully gets that yet”.

 

Visibly relieved Alec let his shoulders relax and then gave a small smile to his friend. Still slightly nervous that she also figured out his crush, Alec sighed but finally let it go focusing on the more exciting piece of information.

 

“Magnus Bane is going to help us”, Lydia giggled reading his mind.

 

Her eyes were bright with happiness as she switched the topic over to dance again to help bring Alec back into his comfort zone.

 

“I still can’t believe he agreed. I’ve had so many dreams and hopes for this piece, I just wasn’t sure it was ever going to be good enough. I wanted - no - I needed the best to give me an opinion, and Magnus certainly is the best. I respect his talent so much, this is going to be amazing Lyd, I can feel it”.

 

Lydia’s grin grew and she shook her head in amusement as she watched her friend gush even more about his very obvious crush.

 

Alec was waving his hands around excitedly and his face was lit up with such enthusiasm it was so easy to see how truly passionate he was about this idea. What stood out even more was how important the concept was to Alec. Lydia told him she’d recognized it from the moment Alec began to show her his notes about the changes. There was something growing inside of him and this was his way of letting it out and sharing it with the world.

 

“Should I call him later to start brainstorming, or is that too soon?”, Alec asked eager but shy. “I truly can not wait to get started. Mother and father are away for a few days, that means no family dinner tonight, so I have free…”

 

Alec’s voice cut off abruptly mid sentence, his eyes bright with a sudden idea passing his mind. Grabbing for his sweats and socks Alec rushed to cover up so that he would be decent as he ran outside.

 

“Hold on a sec Lyd, I need to go try and catch Magnus. I just thought of something”

 

Lydia just laughed even harder, she had never seen Alec so charged, and stimulated over a dance piece; but also so undoubtedly infatuated with someone.  

 

“Sure, whatever. Not like we need to rehearse or anything important like that”, she teased, yelling after Alec as he hurried from the studio.

 

Alec was extremely nervous while asking Magnus if he wanted to discuss his dance piece over dinner tonight. He didn’t want to make it sound like it was a date or anything, even though the corners of his mind, and heart wished it could be.

 

When Magnus stated he had to work fairly late, it not only surprised, and confused Alec for a moment, it also left him disappointed. The way Magnus had said it made him feel something strange though. Magnus seemed to be taking care with him, like needed to explain it to Alec, but be kind while doing so.

 

The feeling made some of the sting of rejection ebb, but a perception of Magnus’ life was beginning to grow inside Alec. He was never foolish enough to believe everyone was as fortunate as he was when it came having more than the basics to survive life; however he did not think someone as young as Magnus would have to work so hard.

 

Of course when Magnus asked Alec if he wanted to meet him to talk and eat while he had his dinner break later that night, Alec jumped at the chance. Not only because he was anxious about getting started on his dance project, but also because he was beginning to find himself unbelievably curious about Magnus’ life.

 

Alec wanted to know Magnus, really know him. Alec knew of him, saw his talent, respected it. He was attracted to Magnus’ beauty, grace and kindness, but he did not really know the man at all. Alec had meant it earlier when he said he wanted to be friends with Magnus, even if Magnus had decided he didn’t want to help him out. To get to know him, and gain his friendship; for that Alec would gladly drive down into Chinatown. Even if he was nervous about where he would park his Maserati.


“Why did you and Lydia run late again? You’re so obsessed with that piece, it really isn’t fair. Jace and I had to call Hodge to pick us up”.

 

Izzy breezed through Alec’s bedroom door not bothering to knock or wait for an invitation. He was just stepping back into his room from his en suite, swiftly he dropped  the towel he was using to dry his hair onto his shoulders, and hurried his hands to secure the towel that was wrapped around his waist. He did not need his sister catching him naked yet again.

 

“Damnit Iz, how many times do I have to tell you to knock”, he asked, the annoyance seeping into his tone.

 

“Calm yourself big brother, it’s not like I haven’t seen it before”, she rolled her eyes and grinned over at him as she settled onto his large bed.

 

“That’s exactly the problem. You’re not supposed to see anything. It’s my room and there is this thing called privacy. Did you spin too fast today? Fall on your head? Do you need a dictionary, for your birthday? An encyclopedia for psych disorders perhaps? Somehow you need to learn that stuff like this isn’t normal”.

 

Alec grabbed the towel off his shoulder and snapped it in her direction catching her in the arm as he passed her.

 

“Ouch, you big bully, and stop being a jerk”, Izzy rubbed her arm dramatically.

 

“Me? A jerk in my own room, while you’re the one who came in uninvited? I don’t think it works that way. And I hardly grazed you”.

 

He laughed at the fake pout she put on trying to make him feel bad, it didn’t work. Instead Alec wadded the towel up and chucked it right at her face gaining an evil glare when she pulled it away from her and threw it on the floor with a disgusted look on her face. Grabbing a clean pair of boxer-briefs and his darkest wash designer jeans, he headed back into the bathroom to put them on in peace.

 

When Alec returned he found that Jace had joined their sister on his bed. Both of them just eyeing him and giving him huge innocent smiles, although to Alec they were anything but innocent looking.

 

“What?”, he stopped dead in his tracks suspicious of their expressions immediately.

 

“You promised the details”, Jace’s grin grew impossibly larger.

 

“You too?”, Alec rolled his eyes. “What is up with you taking Izzy’s side in all this - this - nosy prying stuff?”, Alec waved his hands around trying to find the right words to describe what his siblings were up to. “It’s usually not your style”.

 

“You mean it’s usually not my style when it comes to prying into your life”, Jace corrected with a half smirk on his lips. “However you never have a problem when I’m prying into Izzy’s life, you even participate sometimes. Speaking of which how is Meliorn?”

 

Jace turned to face Isabelle, she squinted her eyes at him, pure annoyance showing in them. She wanted the goods on Alec’s crush, not to hear another lecture from her brother’s about Mel’s intentions towards her.

 

“If you must know, he’s fine. He got the male lead in the featured ballet piece for the juniors showcase, and one of the seniors offered him a spot in their piece as well”, her voice held a slight worry and apprehension that both brothers recognized immediately.

 

Izzy had been nervous about securing the female lead for over a month. She obsessed about it constantly and their mother’s comments never helped. In fact they made Isabelle’s anxiety even worse.

 

“And you? Did you hear anything yet?”

 

Alec’s voice turned soft as he crouched in front of his sister to show his support of her. He ran his hand down her arm and squeezed her small hand gently in his large one. Jace also moved closer and smiled at her silently apologizing.

 

Isabelle lifted her hand and patted Jace’s cheek, forgiving him, then she sent a small smile to both him and Alec.

 

“I haven’t heard anything yet. They asked us to dance again today. I should find out tomorrow for sure”

 

“They’d be insane not to choose you, Iz”, Jace offered.

 

“It’s true. We may be biased as your brothers, but it is a known fact that you are the best junior ballerina at the Institute”, Alec soothed.

 

And you’re a Lightwood”, Jace added enthusiastically as he looked over at Alec for confirmation.

 

He however for the first time did not return Jace’s easy smile. Alec knew Jace was only trying to cheer Izzy up, but the whole ‘you’re a Lightwood’ as a reason to be treated special thing was starting to wear  on Alec even more now. And he knew why. Thoughts of the way Magnus spoke to him earlier and the understanding that it had to do with being privileged ran across his mind making him frown slightly.

 

Cutting his eyes away from Jace, Alec studied his sister’s face for signs that their words had helped. When she finally sighed and beamed at them, they knew they had eased her fears.

 

“You’ll get it Iz, I know you will”, Alec said softly as he stood.

 

“Thanks”

 

“You’re welcome, Lizard ”, Jace teased using her mean childhood nickname to lighten the mood.

 

Although Isabelle hated the name she still laughed at her brother’s efforts to cheer her up. They would do anything for her, she knew that, and she was grateful.

 

Alec walked over to his closet to pick out a shirt for himself. He wanted to look nice but of course not too fancy since this wasn’t a date. This was just two new friends meeting to discuss their new dance project, it was definitely not a date.

 

Although he kept telling himself this Alec could not help but feel like he needed to impress Magnus for some reason. He also could not help the excitement that rose inside his stomach and chest at the thought of sharing dinner with Magnus; making him feel almost sick in the absolute best way.

 

Choosing a sage green button down, that every woman in his life always told him brought out the green in his hazel eyes, Alec tugged it on knowing full well two other sets of eyes were still watching his every more. He avoided looking at them as he continued to get ready, and they played along staying quiet the entire time.

 

After putting on his deodorant and buttoning his shirt up he finally just decided to bite the bullet and let them have what they wanted. Alec sighed loudly, hung his head, shook it a little then lifted his gaze to theirs.

 

“Alright, ask”, he offered his voice resigned.

 

As he stood there waiting he felt like he was facing the firing squad. Isabelle bounced a little in excitement on his bed and Jace just snickered. They knew they would wear him down, especially together. When two of the Lightwood siblings, sometimes three when Max was home from boarding school, teamed up against one another there was no way getting around what they wanted.

 

“You sure know how to pick them, Alec. Magnus Bane?”, Izzy asked in shock again. “What a person to crush on, not that I blame you the guy is gorgeous. I’m just surprised you even admitted it to us”.

 

“I’m supposed to lie to you?”, Alec’s eyes shifted between both Isabelle and Jace. “The two people who can read me the best”.

 

“He has a point there”, Jace added.

 

“Did it start after the almost crash? Because that is just the absolute craziest but extremely cute way to …”

 

Isabelle’s ramble died on her lips as she saw her older brother’s face morph from fear to embarrassment, to nervousness, and back to fear in a matter of seconds. Jace just watched her confused as to why she stopped speaking.

 

“Longer than that?”, she asked her voice going more serious.

 

“Really?”, Jace was catching on now, his brow raised as he turned to eye Alec. “How? We never saw any indication”.

 

“Why do you think I always avoided him?”, Alec rubbed the back of his head and let his gaze wander around his room to avoid looking at the keen eyes of his siblings. “Do you know how hard it is to avoid someone that everyone flocks to? Especially when said person is in your same year and takes many of the same courses you do? It’s been a lot of work keeping this hidden”, Alec admitted his voice shaking at some points.

 

“How long?”, Izzy blurted her eyes narrowed, her arms crossed over her chest as she scrutinized Alec’s every mannerism.

 

“About two years”, Alec scrunched his face and rounded his shoulders to shield himself from the onslaught he knew was coming.

 

“TWO YEARS?”

 

And there it was. It came out exactly how Alec expected it to sound; loud, shocked, surprised, amazed, annoyed, and offended all at the same time. And in perfect unison between both Jace and Izzy. He flinched at the sound even though he thought he’d prepared himself for it. But now it was out there, he couldn’t take it back. Two of the most important people in his life now knew his deepest secret

 

Daring to peek, Alec snuck a glance out of the side of his eye to see their reactions. Again it was what he expected. They were both standing now, mouths agape, hands on hips, eyes furious and curious at the same time.

 

The anger and hurt in Isabelle’s expression made Alec feel really bad and he flinched yet again as if her look would do him physical harm. Jace’s expression was less angry, somewhat hurt, but also held a bit of admiration. Alec could not help but be amused that his brother was impressed with his ability to keep this from them for so long.

 

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. Iz?”, Alec’s voice was soft, and even he heard the tremble of long ago fears and panic rising behind his words.

 

The sound of it cooled Isabelle’s fire considerably. Of course she’d been hurt that her brother, whom she considered her best friend, didn’t trust her with this secret of his. But hearing him like that reminded her of what this meant for him. Alec remained closeted, shy, and scared about who he was for so many years. It was only with the love and support of herself, Jace and his friends that he had finally accepted who he is.

 

The past year had seen Alec growing in so many ways that Isabelle could not help but be proud. This was just another step for him, It was one thing for him to accept that he is gay, but it was entirely another to admit he had a very real attraction to a very specific man.

 

In moments like this, Isabelle found herself feeling a lot more like the big sister. Without a second thought for her original hurt feelings, Izzy moved closer to her brother and wrapped her arms around his middle smiling up at him.

 

“It’s okay, Alec. I still love you”.

 

“I love you too”, he offered back easily. “You’re not too mad?”, he smiled down at her.

 

“Not mad, a little hurt, but I understand”.

 

Alec leaned down to kiss the top of her head and wrapped his arms around her tightly before raising his eyes to find Jace watching with his own smile on his face.

 

“And you? Are you mad?”

 

“Mad? Hell no!”, Jace laughed. “I’m impressed man. How did you hide this from us for so long? You’re getting good at this, almost better than Iz and I”.

 

“I wouldn’t go that far”, Izzy added rolling her eyes and she pulled back from her Alec’s embrace.

 

“True, we still were able to read  him like an open book once Magnus was around”, Jace countered causing Alec to narrow his eyes at him, clearly irked. “But no brother, I am not mad at you”.

 

“Good. I never wanted to hide this from you. It’s just private, and you know how I am with my life. I always keep things hidden. You guys also know how hard it was for me to accept who I am so I didn’t really see the need to add to your own worry about me with this”.

 

“Yes, we both know how you are yet we still love you, and we still worry”, Isabelle said softly

 

“Always thinking about us, Alec. It’s time to think about you so I’m glad you’re doing that more often”, Jace added.

 

“Thank you both for understanding”, Alec gifted them a small smile of appreciation. “Okay, what else do you guys want to know? I know that can’t be it”, he aimed a wry look over at his sister.

 

“So astute”, she teased. “Of course I want to know more, look who you’re talking to”.

 

With that the three laughed, and the onslaught of questions began, both Jace and Izzy firing one query after another. Alec did his best to answer each one, of course he remained a little nervous and shy throughout the entire conversation but in the end they both got what they came for.

 

Alec explained to them that he had been attracted to Magnus probably from the first moment he saw him back in freshman year. Magnus started a few weeks after the school year began and everyone was talking about the new kid. When Alec finally saw him, he understood what the fuss was about, Magnus was different from the other guys at NYAI; original in every sense of the word. Of course back then there was no way Alec would have acted on his feelings since he was still trying to figure things out for himself. He was very much in the closet to everyone including his siblings, he was only nineteen and still getting over his childhood crush on Jace.

 

That was also now in the past and a secret between the siblings that had been handled with their own special brand of love and care for each other. Jace held no ill feelings for him, although that was what Alec had feared before that discussion. Their bond of brotherhood was strong, and they’d gotten each other through some very rough times in the past eleven years.

 

Alec explained his admiration and respect for Magnus grew over the next few years as he witnessed his incredible talent at the many showcases throughout the school years. He also reminded them that it was a well known fact how kind and generous Magnus was with everyone. All of these things were traits that Alec found extremely attractive.

 

The debacle with Camille brought his feelings front and center. They’d been dating for over a year when all the rumors began to fly about her cheating. During this time Alec started to watch Magnus more closely and wonder who could ever cheat on him. And that was when he knew he had a major crush on Magnus.

 

As Alec expressed just how terrible and sick it made him feel to witness Magnus go through the bullshit with Camille, both Izzy and Jace watched his face closely in absolute amazement. They couldn’t believe it, their incredible older brother was just so sweet and kind; but hardly anyone ever knew just how much because he let few people in.

 

All everyone ever saw from Alec was his exterior, the no nonsense persona he had to put on for the sake of their family’s reputation. If only more people could see this side of him. If only  Magnus had known what Alec was feeling for him, how he suffered with him. Isabelle and Jace were still discovering how deep the wells of his heart ran and they knew him better than anyone.

 

“So now you know”, Alec finished with a shrug and some uneasy shifting from foot to foot.

 

The room was silent for a few moments as everything Alec had just confessed was laying out and open between the three of them. Isabelle broke the silence first.

 

“So what are you going to do about this? Are you going to tell him?”, her tone tentative and very wary.

 

“Nothing, and absolutely not”, Alec answered his tone flat. “Why would I do that? It’s not like anything can come of it anyway, so why should I tell him?”

 

Alec’s back was rigid, he was protecting himself again. Why would his sister say that? Did she not understand how badly it hurt Alec that he could never have Magnus for himself, and had to settle with being his friend.

 

“What do you mean, that nothing can come of you telling him? You could possibly be happy for once in your life; you know, have a boyfriend. How do you know what will happen if you don’t let him know?” , Isabelle asked

 

Alec just looked at her like she had two heads, he was totally baffled by her line of questioning.

 

“What has you so confused?”, Jace added as he correctly deciphered the look on his brother’s face.

 

“Here I thought you guys loved me and didn’t want to see me suffer”, Alec started with a joke that fell flat as his siblings continued to just stare at him waiting for a real answer. “What? Why would you want me to make a fool of myself and tell a straight guy I like him?”

 

Isabelle and Jace just stood there looking at him once again in total shock before Jace turned to his sister.

 

“Do you want to tell him or should I?”, Jace teased.

 

“Tell me what?”, the anxiety in Alec’s voice was very noticeable.

 

“I don’t know, maybe it’s not our place to say anything”, Isabelle answered in a serious tone.

 

What the heck are they talking about , Alec  thought to himself as the anxiety spiked inside him. His eyes watched them snapping back and forth.

 

“It’s not like it’s a secret, Iz, everyone knows”.

 

“Apparently not everyone “, she tilted her head at Alec and Jace laughed.

 

“Guess not”

 

“Are you two going to tell me what the fuck you’re talking about or am I going to have to kick both your asses again like I used to”, Alec tried to sound menacing but the panic behind his tone was evident.

 

He really wanted to know what was going on, what did everyone know that he didn’t?

 

“Like you ‘used to’ are the key words here, buddy. You haven’t beaten us in a play fight in years”, Jace scoffed.

 

“That’s because you cheat”, he pointed at Jace , “and I started letting you win”, he pointed at Isabelle.

 

“Really? You let me win?”, her tone was incredulous.

 

“Can we please get back on topic”, Alec shouted waving his hands around frantically trying to avoid the full fury of his pint sized sister, well she was pint sized to him.

 

“Fine”, she huffed. “What makes you think Magnus is straight?”.

 

Izzy got right to the point and Alec stood there shell shocked for a second not knowing how to answer her.

 

That’s what this was about? Of course Magnus is straight, Alec thought he was positive about this but the way his brother and sister were staring at him told him he could be wrong.

 

“Well, for one thing he dated Camille, and he was in love with her”.

 

“So”, Jace answered.

 

“So that means he likes women, Jace”.

 

“Yeah it does, but that doesn’t mean he is straight”, Jace smirked.

 

“What the fuck are you talking about?”, the frustration in Alec’s voice was becoming quite apparent.

 

“Alec”, Izzy soothed, “I really don’t feel comfortable talking about Magnus’ private life like this, but just think about what we are, and aren’t saying here”, she raised her brow at him expectantly.

 

Alec stared at her one more time trying to piece together what she and Jace were trying to tell him. The frustration with the fact that they wouldn’t just tell him had him pinching the bridge of his nose, and sighing heavily.

 

“Leave it, Izzy, he’ll figure it out eventually.  Besides I have to get the snacks together, my study group will be here soon, and don’t you have a date with Mel tonight?”, Jace spoke up taking the heat off of Alec.

 

“Yeah, I better go finish getting ready, although…”

 

Isabelle stopped midway to the door halting her exit, and turned to let her eyes roam over Alec from head to toe. Her stare inspecting everything about his appearance before she spoke again.

 

“What are your plans for tonight, Alec? You seem to be going out”, she gestured to his outfit.

 

And here Alec thought he was getting over on her with this one, but he should have known better than to underestimate his sister.

 

“I have to meet someone”, Alec mumbled.

 

“Someone?”, Izzy raised her brow again.

 

This caught Jace’s attention and he peeked his head back in the door after he’d already vacated the room.

 

“Alright fine, I’m meeting Magnus”.

 

“You nasty liar. How dare you act like you don’t think he’s into you when you have a date”.

 

Isabelle rushed to grab a pillow off Alec’s bed and threw it at him. He ducked and it slammed against the wall behind him. As he turned to gloat he caught a face full of fluff as his sister sent a second pillow at him nailing her target this time.

 

“You have a date?”, Jace smirked and punched Alec in the arm playfully.

 

“It’s not a date”, Alec shrugged looking uncomfortable.

 

They both sent him skeptical looks, as if they didn’t believe him at all.

 

“I swear it isn’t a date. I - I”, Alec took a deep breath. “Okay you both know the new direction I am trying to go with in my dance piece this year”.

 

Jace and Isabelle nodded.

 

“Well I wanted the opinion and assistance of the best free mover attending the Institute. Someone with talent, but also someone I could trust. Magnus fits that perfectly so I asked for his help and he agreed. He’s actually very interested in helping me with some choreography. We made plans to meet up and discuss some details tonight during his dinner break at work”

 

Alec was trying to make this sound like it wasn’t a big deal, when in fact it was a HUGE deal. The looks on both of his siblings’ faces was a testament to that.

 

“He agreed to help you?”, Isabelle asked trying to keep the smile out of her tone.

 

“Wait, let me get this right, Magnus is going to work with you on free movement?”, Jace added.

 

“Yes, and yes”, Alec shrugged again.

 

“HOLY SHIT!”, Jace punched his arm harder this time. “This showcase piece it going to be epic”.

 

“Alec, I’m so excited for you, and proud of you for taking the initiative to plan this and ask for his help”, Izzy beamed.

 

“Thanks”, Alec tried to control his smile, but he couldn’t. When his siblings were happy for him it was hard for him not to smile.

 

“Are you sure this isn’t a date though?”, Isabelle teased.

 

“I’m positive, Iz. I was just so eager to begin working on the piece that I jumped at the first chance to sit and discuss ideas for our collaboration together. Besides like I said, Magnus is into wo…”

 

Alec’s words cut off and a strange look came over his face, his mind had been working at the meaning behind Jace and Izzy’s words earlier and the realization was beginning to dawn on him.

 

“Oh!”, he said with a start.

 

His brother and sister just watched his face for any clue of what was going on behind his unfocused yet bright eyes.

 

“Ohhhhhhh”, he repeated now as complete comprehension took over. “I understand what you were telling me about Magnus now”, his sheepish grin took over his face.

 

“Aha the lights are all on and finally someone is home”, Jace joked

 

“Shut up you jerk”, Alec swatted as his brother who ran from the room laughing.

 

When Alec’s gaze returned to his sister he saw a small look of worry on her face even underneath the smile she was showing.

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

“I’m glad you figured it out, but I’m worried now. I mean with this crush you had for so long, and all these feelings. How are you going to work together without this getting in the way? Are you planning on making a move now that you know about Magnus? I know I told you to tell him, but now I’m not so sure if you’re planning on working with him. I just worry about you Alec, I love you and..”

 

“I know, relax, Iz. It’s all going to be fine.”, Alec comforted his sister hugging her close to him again. “I swear I am just planning to work with him, and maybe be his friend. Yes I have a really bad crush on him, and yes it’s going to be awkward for me, but I can do this. Besides even now understanding that Magnus likes men as well as women, I still doubt I’m a blip on his radar. I don’t think he’d be interested in me. So quit your worrying”.

 

Isabelle tilted her head back so she could smile up at Alec her chin resting against his chest as he smirked down at her.

 

“Okay”, she whispered. “I trust your judgement. I’m still going to worry, but that’s what I do for my brothers. And just so you know, Magnus would be blind if he didn’t find you attractive. I would say there is a good chance he’d be interested, don’t sell yourself short, big brother. But be careful okay”.

 

“You’re my sister you have to say nice things about me, but don’t worry I’m a big boy I can take care of myself. And you need to take care of yourself too, I told you to be careful with Mel, he’s a nice guy but he has a lot of admirers.”

 

Izzy just smiled and nodded as she left the room to go get ready for her date. Alec pulled on his socks and the green boots that matched his shirt perfectly. Moving quickly he grabbed his dance tablet, his keys and scanned his phone to double check the directions to the address Magnus had texted him about an hour ago. Glancing one more time at his reflection he finally headed out.


It had been a long time since Alec had been to Chinatown. His parents hated coming here. It was loud, and Canal street was always really crowded and sometimes filthy. But you could not beat the food and tea at some of these restaurants. So even though they loathed the idea of being there, The Lightwoods would make exception on occasion in order to dine on some of the very delicious meals Chinatown had to offer.

 

Still it had been far too long for Alec, probably years since he’d been there. His life always revolved around the Institute, private dance classes, training, and of course his family’s annoying social calendar. There were the few summers where himself, Izzy and Jace were able to do their own things together but only if it was approved by their parents.

 

‘You’ll thank us later, and see that all your time was time well-spent. Not everyone can boast that’.

 

Alec heard his father’s voice in his head, he shook it and huffed as he made his way towards the restaurant. Alec was thankful that he thought to leave a little early, the nearest parking garage that had a decent rating was on Bowery just a block north of Canal, so that meant at least a three block walk towards Chatham Square to get to Doyers Street.

 

Sooner than expected Alec stood outside of a very well known Dim Sum and tea parlor. The place was crowded and there was a group of people waiting to be seated at the front of the restaurant in a small waiting area. Alec towered above almost everyone and immediately saw Magnus’ back.

 

He knew it was him from the blue streaks throughout the dark raven hair. The color changed from time to time, but this month it had been cobalt blue;  a favorite of Alec’s. Of course Alec would recognize Magnus’ strong broad shoulders anywhere as well. He’d stared at them far too often not to know just how wide they were; not that he would ever admit that. Alec also recognized how his shoulders looked so strong yet ofttimes held a weary position that made Alec feel bad for Magnus.

 

Magnus was speaking to a server and examining everything on the tray. He nodded his head and moved out of the way for the server to bring the food to the table. When Magnus turned, his eyes passed over the crowd at the front of the restaurant. Alec read a rattled expression on his face before he huffed, took a deep breath, and asked the busboy to clean the table to his left so that they could seat the next party.

 

As Magnus scanned over the crowd once more Alec saw his eyes snap back to the center and land on him. He brought his hand up to send a small wave and a raised brow over to Magnus who checked his watch, and held up one finger indicating for Alec to wait a moment.

 

His back to Alec once more Magnus disappeared into the kitchen for a few minutes. When he reappeared he was carrying trays of food and handed them off to servers who were just on their way to pick up their orders. He smirked at them both and they laughed.

 

When Magnus finally made his way over to Alec the clamor of people at the door tried to crowd him all asking when their table would be ready. Magnus just reassured them in the kindest voice that they would be seated soon. He then reached his hand into the center of the throng and grabbed for Alec’s forearm, tugging him to the front of the crowd. Magnus offered apologies and smiles to the grumbling patrons, easily winning everyone over with his charm.

 

Once free he pulled Alec along behind him towards a small booth at the back of the restaurant near the kitchens. His fingers were sending that now familiar warmth up Alec’s arm. Alec fought himself to not let Magnus feel the way it made him want to shudder.

 

All the chairs and booths were a red vinyl providing bright pops of color against the pale walls and mostly white tiled floors. Alec settled into the booth Magnus indicated for him to sit and dropped a menu in front of him.

 

“Hi”, he finally huffed out with a tired but sweet smile.

 

The sight of it made Alec feel a little less nervous than he had been from the very second he walked into this place and saw how busy Magnus was. He had felt like he was intruding or becoming a nuisance of some sort for Magnus to deal with, when he clearly had his hands full.

 

“Hi”, Alec returned the smile his voice showing his relief at being received so kindly.

 

“Sorry I didn’t see you. You’re a little early”, Magnus looked at his watch again to make sure he was correct in saying that.

 

“Yea, sorry I didn’t want to get slowed by traffic, and I had to find parking so I left a little early.  I see you’re really busy, maybe this isn’t such a good idea”, his voice began to falter towards the end.

 

Shifting his eyes aways from Magnus he let them land on the menu in front of him and bit his bottom lip nervously. He could not help the sinking feeling in his stomach if Magnus were to agree with what he himself just said.

 

What if Magnus decided he was too busy to sit and eat with me? What if he sent me away? Worse, what if he changed his mind about helping me?

 

The thoughts took over Alec’s mind swimming around in a pool of self doubt and nerves until he began to feel his stomach lurch. He was making himself feel sick again.

 

“No, it’s alright”, Magnus’ soft tone cut through the chaos in Alec’s mind reassuring him. “I’m always busy here, It’s a popular spot. It doesn’t matter if you were here or not, I’d still be super busy, and you’re not pulling me from anything since I’m about to go on break anyway. Have a look at the menu everything here is really good, I’m not just saying that because I work here.  I’ll be back when my break starts”.

 

Alec was extremely grateful for how gracious Magnus was being with him. He didn’t know why he expected the worst all of a sudden. He knew Magnus was wary around him after noticing the strange reactions during their conversations, but he should have known better than to think Magnus would just be rude after inviting him here.

 

With one more smile and a nod in return from Alec, Magnus left him to peruse the menu. Instead Alec found his eyes following the frenetic path Magnus cut while he was working. Helping to clear tables, grabbing orders from the kitchen, helping to pick up broken glasses that slipped from clumsy fingers, greeting and seating waiting patrons. There was a dedication to his job, the way he moved all over the place with purpose and sureness. It was impressive to watch.

 

It hit Alec in that moment pretty hard; an odd feeling of honor that he would be allowed to know such a man. He knew Magnus was only one year older than he was, but somehow not only did this young guy have a job, but he held a position of authority in this restaurant. He could tell by watching that Magnus was some sort of manager who held everyone’s respect. Alec was extremely impressed, and it was yet another amazing quality to add to his ever growing list of reasons of why ‘Magnus Bane Is Perfect’.

 

Alec tore his gaze from ogling Magnus, and mapping his every move. Focusing on the menu and actually figuring out what he wanted to eat would be helpful when Magnus came back; so that is what he did. He was still really very nervous to be spending any amount of extended time somewhat alone with Magnus. He found his leg bouncing underneath the table and slid his hand down to help still it. Alec then breathed deep, rolled his shoulders back and steeled his resolve.

 

You’re just talking about dancing Alec, you can do that easily , he told himself.

 

He reminded himself that dance is the one thing he truly had no trouble discussing with Magnus. With that he felt a lot better and started to read the menu again


During the entire bike ride to work Magnus kept asking himself why he had done it. Why he had asked Alec to join him for his dinner break when they could have easily rescheduled. It was nagging at the back of his mind and he couldn’t understand or explain it to himself at all.

 

There was something there just taking hold that he couldn’t quite put his finger on. A feeling, a thought, something that made Magnus feel like he needed to get to know Alec. Yes he thought Alec was hot, he’d already come to terms with that assessment years ago, but there was something else there now.

 

It was as if now that he’d gotten to know the man a little better through the few exchanges they had a whole new picture was being painted for him. All of Magnus’ preconceived notions of who Alec Lightwood was, were crumbling around him. Now Alexander, the sweet, blushing, gentle, shy, gorgeous, and still incredibly talented dancer was emerging in Magnus’ mind’s eye.

 

A bright light to be shed upon someone he thought he knew, but really did not. Magnus then scolded himself mentally. How dare he judge Alec so harshly for so many years. Even with the respect he felt for the man he still despised all he thought Alec stood for; he was a Lightwood. But now Magnus was beginning to feel ashamed he ever thought this way. He never liked it when people judged him before they truly knew him, so why was he doing that to Alec?

 

The question hung in his mind as he arrived at work, and grew into a deeper question as his shift wore on. No matter how busy he kept himself, and how frenzied the pace seemed to be around him Magnus’ mind kept focusing on Alec and this new question.

 

Can I trust a Lightwood?.

 

His mind and soul would immediately freak out at the thought but then he would constantly change his mental phrasing.

 

Can I trust Alexander?

 

Alec was slowly proving to Magnus that he was no ordinary Lightwood, showing he was more than his name suggested. There was just something in Alec’s very essence that made Magnus’ shields want to come down, and allow this new person in. Magnus prided himself on reading people well, but his prejudices against Alec kept him from letting his gut feelings take hold.

 

However now, Magnus was letting his senses work their magic. He was letting the feelings he felt whenever around Alec secure themselves inside him. It was then and only then that he  began to form a genuine opinion on the man separate from any enmity he may have held onto due to a surname.

 

The dinner crowd had the restaurant lost in a flurry of activity, and navigating the madness had become second nature to Magnus now. This was one part of his life he knew how to control easily. There was never a misstep or mistake on his part at least, and he always found himself exactly where he needed to be whenever any of the staff needed his support.

 

Magnus felt comfortable in the center of the throng, at home in the middle of chaos, frenzied and frantic energy didn’t rattle him for long, it only pulsed through him and pushed him to move with meaning.

 

With the hectic pace and demands of the mass of patrons, Magnus had lost track of time. His internal clock was telling him it was close to dinner time because he could feel himself burning out slowly. The need to refuel and take a breather from the frantic tempo he’d been moving with began to seep into his core.

 

This knowledge brought with it more thoughts of a handsome, long- legged dancer that was due to show up soon. Not that Alec had truly been far from Magnus’ mind all night. When he lifted his eyes to scan the front of the house once more looking to catch a mental head-count, his eyes suddenly caught sight of something that made them snap back and land on the very man who had been plaguing his thoughts.

 

Alexander, Magnus felt a bit less stressed at the sight of Alec and thought of his name. Stop it now, he chastised himself.

 

Alec was standing in the doorway head and shoulders above most of the crowd surrounding him. Alec was so tall his head was brushing close to the low dip of the decorative soffit near the entrance.

 

So very tall, how could I miss him?, Magnus thought.

 

A small wave in greeting directed at him, Magnus thought Alec looked awkward and very uncomfortable. In an instant he worried that perhaps this wasn’t the best idea, although it made Magnus feel at ease to be on his own turf, it put Alec at a disadvantage.

 

Checking his watch Magnus saw Alec was about twenty minutes early, so he gestured for Alec to wait a moment. Making his way to the back of the kitchen Magnus informed Mr. Ts’ai that his guest had arrived, and he would seat him at the employee break booth while he waited for Magnus.

 

“You like him”, Mr. Ts’ai’s tone suggested this was a statement not a question.

 

“No”, Magnus could hear the lie in his own voice. “No, he’s only a new friend. We’re working together on a dance project”.

 

He tried to keep his tone light, but there was no fooling Mr. Ts’ai. This man was one of two amazing father figures Magnus had in his life, he knew Magnus well. He was one of the people who taught Magnus how to read others, so of course he could read Magnus without a problem.

 

“Sure, whatever you say”, Mr. Ts’ai shrugged and rolled his eyes. “It is of no consequence to me. However lying to yourself only harms you”.

 

“You’re bad, old man”, Magnus teased pointing his finger at his boss. “And I break in eighteen”.

 

“Go to work, young man. And maybe find yourself a nice boyfriend while you’re on that break, huh?”

 

Magnus could not help but laugh at that. He turned his back and grabbed two waiting trays full of food on his way out.

 

Approaching the entrance, Magnus grabbed for Alec’s arm his intention was only to pull him through the crowd so he could seat him, but once again the slight touch had him feeling a strange warmth.

 

For some reason he could not bring himself to break contact and tugged Alec along behind him towards the employee break booth. When he felt the way Alec followed so willingly without hesitation it set an inexplicable charge throughout his every nerve ending. Magnus finally had to let go, holding on to him now made no sense, so he gestured for Alec to sit.

 

Noticing that the nervous and shy side of Alec’s personality was present again, Magnus knew his earlier assumption was right. Being in a place that was so unfamiliar to Alec yet known to himself was causing this discomfort. Reading the situation, Magnus did his best to ease the tension with small talk and a smile.

 

Magnus had to fight the smile he felt growing when Alec revealed he felt bad for being early. The fact that he did not want to be late just showed how considerate Alec was, and to Magnus that was a quality to be revered. It also softened Magnus’ resolve even more when Alec basically said he felt like a burden as he noticed the restaurant was so busy. It was very perceptive, mindful, and sweet that Alec would worry about these things.

 

Once he had Alec settled and feeling less out of place, he headed back to work, shaking his head at the strange man he was getting to know. The man who was nothing as many perceived him to be.

 

He felt it then and his stomach lurched. Magnus pushed away the feeling of joy in his soul that Alec’s mere presence seemed to be causing. He told himself these feelings were nothing, this was just him getting excited about working with someone as talented as Alec. He reminded himself that Alec wanted his help and he offered friendship as well, but nothing more. He cautioned himself about letting emotions get ahead of him like they had with Camille. And lastly he made himself feel the sting of the pain that was left behind after she broke his heart.

 

Never again.

 

His mind back in order he got to work. As he moved from task to task Magnus could feel Alec’s eyes on him. That gorgeous boy was watching his every move and the few times Magnus saw him out of the corner of his eye, Alec’s expression was one of great awe and deference. He could tell Alec hadn’t noticed he had gotten caught because he continued to watch everything from Magnus’ hands to his arms, to the way his legs moved when he side stepped out of the servers’ path.

 

It was a bit unnerving to Magnus to find that Alec was observing him so thoroughly. He didn’t want to let his mind supply what the reasons behind Alec’s careful examination of him could possibly be. Although he can say it made him feel a peculiar excitement at the knowledge. This was the second time that he realized Alec was watching him, and this time the feeling it brought with it was more than just curiosity.

 

Finishing up the last of his duties, Magnus made his way back to the employee restroom to wash his hands. Removing his black apron from his waist he hung it in his assigned locker and finally went to sit with his patient guest.

 

Sliding into the booth across from the other man he noticed Alec wouldn’t really bring his eyes up to meet his just yet, he seemed to be really focused on the menu. It was almost as if Alec was forcing himself not to look at Magnus. Again Magnus found this behavior strange and curious, but oddly endearing. Alec was extremely shy around him. Magnus wondered if he was like this with all new people he met. He admitted it to Magnus that he wasn’t one to make new friends often, so it was absolutely plausible for him to just be awkward with strangers.

 

“Okay”, Magnus clapped his hands together, keeping his voice light and friendly. “Have you decided what you’re having?

 

Alec looked up, and Magnus saw there were remnants of a blush high up on his cheeks now fading slowly. He fought the urge to stare and smile and Alec ducked his head once more before he brought his gaze to meet Magnus’; he nodded his assent.

 

“Uh, the shrimp dumplings sound good. And the sticky rice in lotus leaf as well”.

 

“Actually they’re both excellent, good choices”, Magnus approved earning a small smile from Alec. “Any teas? We can do them hot or iced”

 

“Um, iced would probably be best with dinner. The jasmine sounds really good, but I’m not sure about it. Perhaps the oolong?”, Alec’s face looked confused and his tone was adorable to Magnus’s ears.

 

He could see that Alec wanted to try something new with the jasmine tea but decided to play it safe with the oolong. From what he was learning slowly this seemed very in character for Alec. Wanting to branch out and try new things but always being afraid of a misstep. He could see why Alec felt afraid to ask for help with this new dance idea. It probably took the poor guy so long just to work up the courage to try free movement. Magnus felt very sorry for him in that moment. How could you learn what you enjoyed in life if you never tried new things.

 

“How about this”, Magnus offered kindly. “I get the iced jasmine, which might I say is delicious so your instincts are correct in assuming that, and you can take a sip. If you like it then we’ll order you that. If not, I’ll get you an iced oolong. Deal?”

 

He held out his hand for Alec to shake his brows raised. He was trying his best to make this young man who seemed so unsure of himself feel comfortable. How does someone like Alec Lightwood become so self conscious Magnus wondered.

 

Alec ducked his head again but smiled brightly at Magnus’ suggestion before taking his hand and shaking it firmly.

 

“I’d say that is a fair deal. Thanks”.

 

“No problem, my pleasure”.

 

“I’ll go put our orders in at the kitchen and be right back”

 

As Magnus got up he felt Alec’s eyes following him yet again, but this time he was expecting it so it didn’t surprise him, it just still confused him. Alec was a puzzle that he was slowly beginning to solve, and each time he had a piece in place he was afraid to find a spot for the next in fear of discovering how it made him feel to know this about Alec.

 

Magnus returned with a tall tumbler of pinkish gold iced tea, it had a white jasmine flower floating on top as a garnish. Offering the glass and an unopened straw to Alec he waited watching Alec’s reaction. When a huge smile and hum of approval crossed Alec’s lips as he tasted the tea Magnus could not help but smile as well.

 

“Okay, so now you know you like jasmine tea”, Magnus supplied easily.

 

He caught himself staring as Alec licked his lips after pulling the straw away and placing the glass back down onto the table. Magnus shook his head a little bemused by the reaction this was causing to stir inside him

 

“Um- um , that one can be yours and I’ll go get myself one”.

 

It was unlike Magnus to falter so easily but something about that pink tongue peeking out and licking those full lips had Magnus scrambling to get his thoughts back in order.

 

Stop it now, he warned himself yet again.

 

With his own tea in hand Magnus sat across from Alec once more and they both sipped while an uncomfortable silence settled in around them as they waited for their food.

 

Not wanting to be rude, or be the one to make this even more difficult for the obviously demure man, Magnus quickly refocused his mind to break the strange tension between them.

 

“Sooo - um - free movement?”, even Magnus winced at how unbelievably dorky that opener sounded in his own ears.

 

Alec didn’t seem to notice the stilted start of their conversation. He swallowed hard nodded along with his answer and rubbed his hands over his thighs nervously.

 

“Um, yeah. It’s interesting, and I’ve been wanting to experiment for awhile now, but I just. I don’t know”.

 

Alec shrugged and it confirmed Magnus’ earlier suspicions about him being uncomfortable with trying new things.

 

“May I ask what prompted your sudden interest in free movement, and expanding into contemporary dance? Or is that something you’re not comfortable discussing with me?”.

 

Magnus had read a odd look on Alec’s face while he was speaking, as if he was afraid or unsure how to answer this question so he gave him an out at the end.

 

“No, no it’s fine. I don’t mind it’s just ..”

 

Alec stopped rubbing his thighs and brought his hands to the top of the table and began to play with his paper napkin shredding it into pieces and twisting the pieces into spindle like shapes. Suddenly he shifted forward in his seat as if he needed to be closer to Magnus to explain this. He leaned in over the table his hands out in front dropping the napkin so he could have them free to help him express himself.

 

Magnus just watched and waited patiently for Alec to continue, he did not dare to say a word, make a move or even a face lest it derail the progress Alec seemed to be making towards letting his thoughts out.

 

“You see, I have had my whole life planned out for me long before I was even born. It’s kind of unfair in a way that I had no choice or say in the matter. My family - my parents, as you know are the freaking Lightwoods”, Alec dropped his voice lower at the impassioned last words, “there is a whole bunch of expectation that comes along with being in this family. It was an unspoken presumption before my siblings and I could even walk that we were to dance, or sing, or play an instrument. It’s a lot of pressure to handle, if you can imagine it”.

 

Magnus nodded, he knew what it felt like to have things expected of you. His mother had expected him to behave all the time, not a toe out of line like any normal child. His stepfather expected him to not be a bisexual, and an embarrassment. His boss although he was a friend, expected his best at work. His dance instructors expected his dedication. His crew expected his leadership. The tenants in his building expected his help when needed. Yes Magnus knew all about expectations.

 

“Anyway”, Alec blushed having gone off in a dark direction he may not  have intended to with this conversation. “The point is, I am a grown man and I am tired of being told what to do with my life, you know?”

 

Magnus did know.

 

“I love dance, my parents got that right. I live to dance, but I want to dance my way. Learn more, and grow. I want to create from my soul and give back to anyone watching what I am feeling when I dance. I don’t know if I can do that if I’m pushed into a box”

 

Alec’s words were beautiful and they nearly took Magnus’s breath away. Did this man not know that he already did that? Magnus always felt the passion and the meaning behind every single step when he watched Alec dance.

 

When Alec paused Magnus saw his friend and co-worker standing off to the side just behind Alec, holding a tray trying to catch his eye. She was silently asking if it was okay that she interrupt and bring the food over.

 

“Hold that thought for just a second”, Magnus offered trying to keep his tone as sweet as possible given the intensity of the conversation.

 

He then waved Jackie over and she placed their food in front of them. As she turned to leave she smirked at Magnus and raised her brows, he shook his head ‘no’ at her and rolled his eyes, but he could not help the small smile it caused. She left the table giggling.

 

Thankfully Alec didn’t seem to notice the exchange as he was staring at his food.

 

“This looks really good”, he peeked over at Magnus bowl. “What’re you having?”.

 

His voice was curious and playful, after having been so serious just moments ago it made Magnus happy to hear it.

 

“Oh this is the house special dumpling soup. Probably my favorite”

 

“Everything looks so good”, Alec’s eyes were lit up.

 

Alec grabbed for his chopsticks handling them expertly. Bringing one of his dumplings towards his mouth he took a bite, his full lips closing around the dumpling as he closed his eyes in enjoyment of the flavor. The sounds of delicious satisfaction humming out from the back of his throat as he chewed his bite.

 

The entire thing to Magnus was absolutely obscene. His eyes were locked on Alec’s lips and throat as he ate. He tried in vain to look away, he desperately needed to stop ogling Alec’s mouth, but he couldn’t it was so appealing to his senses but he needed to stop. Magnus squirmed in his seat slightly and bit back the raspy ‘fuuuuck’ he felt wanting to escape from his lips.

 

“Aren’t you going to eat?”.

 

The question and Alec’s concerned tone snapped Magnus back to reality. Shaking his head a little Magnus showed a small grin before he began to devour his dumplings and soup. He’d forgotten just how hungry he was before Alec showed up. It felt good to just sit and relax, he needed the break badly tonight especially after the stressful two days he had just faced. Not that he was privately blaming his present company but Alec had been part of the stress he’d faced.

 

However right now Alec was the picture of a perfect guest, and friend. Just smiling and enjoying his meal. His shyness still there around the edges waiting to show again whenever he felt awkward. It was funny for Magnus to think how he found himself sitting here eating dinner with someone he never thought he would ever talk to in his life. Still he found himself slowly liking Alec Lightwood, and the thought made a jolt go up his spine.

 

A Lightwood, he thought he’d never see the day he could call one a friend.

 

Life was funny that way. Although his life had held a lot of pain and hardship, fate always found a way to repay him, by bringing good people to care about into his life. The two of them sat in a pleasant silence as they ate exchanging looks of appreciation for the food, and small smiles. Once their meal was almost done Magnus felt he should get back to the topic they were discussing before his break was over.

 

“So I fear if you don’t start discussing your plans for your piece soon, this trip may have been a waste of your time”, he teased.

 

“Well I wouldn’t say it was a waste, good food, good company”, Alec gestured towards him, and Magnus caught his tiny blush again. “But you’re right, we should get started”.

 

“So what were you thinking about trying”.

 

Alec held up his finger, then  grabbed his tablet that held all his dancing videos, notes, ideas and photos. Tapping the screen a few times he opened a video and paused it.

 

“Okay so firstly I just wanted to know if you’d look at what I have so far, and let me know what you think. I just want to learn how to be more open and free with my movements not so strict and tight all the time”.

 

Magnus nodded in understanding as Alec handed the tablet over. Magnus tapped play, it was a video probably taken by Lydia of Alec incorporating some of his ideas. It was good he will admit, but to Magnus’ eye he saw what Alec meant about becoming more free.

 

“It’s a fantastic start, Alexander. I see where you are going with this, and it’s amazing. I do however also see what you’re talking about. You want to be more fluid?”, Magnus asked, his voice and brow raising in question.

 

“Yes, exactly. I knew you would see it right away”, Alec gushed excitedly his face lighting up even more. “I want to move easier, like this...”.

 

He grabbed for his tablet again and swiped a few times to find the right video. When he returned it, Magnus saw a contemporary dance video by one of his favorite dancers, he couldn’t keep the smile from his face. Alec definitely had the potential to be even greater than him, and Magnus knew this.

 

“You know who he is?”, Alec read Magnus’ expression properly.

 

“Yes, he’s amazing. But if you would allow me to praise a bit, I know you can be better. With the right practice Alexander I know you have potential to go beyond this”.

 

The blush that took over Alec’s face now was absolutely impossible to hide.

 

“I don’t believe that for a second, you’re far too kind.”, Alec answered shyly.

 

How? Magnus thought. How does he not understand how great he is?

 

The thoughts were shocking to say the least, that this talented man knew he was good, but did not think himself good enough. It was a shame, and Magnus had a feeling he knew where it came from. Once again that name made his stomach turn. This was Alec’s family’s influence over him and Magnus knew it.

 

“Alexander”, Magnus’ tone was very soft. “You are that good. I do not lie where dance is concerned”.

 

“Thank you”, Alec accepted modestly. “Just so you know, I find your dancing fascinating, and your talent incredible. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t”.

 

“Yes you’ve said this”, Magnus brushed it off.

 

“Yes, and I meant it. I don’t lie where dance is concerned either”, Alec smirked.

 

“Well it seems we have another thing in common”, Magnus joked.

 

“I guess we do”, Alec’s smile brightened his face.

 

“I hope you don’t mind my saying this, but the reason I see such great potential for you to move more fluidly is because I have seen the basis for it in past pieces of yours”.

 

“Oh?” , Alec was very curious.

 

“Yes. There was a piece you did about a year and a half ago a melodic, soft piece, with piano. The song spoke of unrequited love, a man’s voice aching. And you made the heartbreak show in every move. It was perfection, Alexander”.

 

Alec’s eyes dropped to the table, the smile was gone from his face, he hunched his shoulders and folded in on himself. The abrupt change in demeanor was quite shocking for Magnus to witness.

 

“I’m sorry did I say something wrong?”, Magnus whispered stretching his hand across the table to try and comfort Alec.

 

Before his hand could connect, Alec reached for his tablet, swiped a few more times, and handed it back to Magnus.

 

“This piece?”, he would not look Magnus in the eye.

 

As Magnus watched he nodded to himself. Alec had known exactly which piece he was describing, however he did not expect such a reaction. Perhaps the piece held a painful memory that Alec didn’t like to discuss. Magnus instantly felt terrible for bringing it up.

 

Magnus knew why the piece was so beautiful and stood out to him in memory. Alec’s heart was breaking when he danced this piece. Someone had hurt him, and his emotions were evident through his movement. It was a pain he knew too well, so he recognized it easily. Even now the memory was making Alec hurt.

 

“I am sorry. I didn’t realize”, Magnus kept his voice soft, and finally caught hold of Alec’s hand. He squeezed it gently. “I understand. Dance does that, it shows what you are feeling. I should have realized. I’m sorry”.

 

Alec squeezed back for a moment then straightened his back, lifted his head and gently pulled his hand from Magnus.

 

“It’s fine. You didn’t know”.

 

“Still of all people I should have seen it. I mean everyone knows what I went through with Camille”.

 

Magnus tried to lighten the mood with his nonchalant tone, but it only made Alec sit up taller and pull back further from him. The broken man he just witnessed was now hidden back underneath the hard shell.

 

“I said it was okay. I’m fine”, Alec’s voice held a rough edge.

 

Magnus saw it for what it was and didn’t take offense. He just nodded and smiled again.

 

“Okay”, Magnus made his voice as cheerful as possible. “Now that we know what we’re working with, and what you’re first goal for this piece is we have a place to start. I want you to think about any ultimate goals you may have for the final piece. Let your imagination go, and I will do my best to help you make this happen. Sound good?”

 

With this Alec brightened again.

 

“It sounds amazing”.

 

“I don’t have to work here tomorrow evening, but I have to meet with my crew for at least half an hour tomorrow after classes. I need to make sure they have rehearsals set up to where they need the most practice. After that I can devote some time to you and Lydia. Is that alright with you?”

 

“It’s more than alright. Listen Magnus, I - I see now just how busy you are. How important your time is. I mean between work, and your crew, and school. I feel kind of bad asking this of you. I really don’t want to be a burden”.

 

Seeing the sincere look of understanding on Alec’s face was enough to make Magnus forget any and all misconceptions still lingering in his mind about the boy.

 

“I wouldn’t have offered if I didn’t want to or think I could help”, he smiled to ease Alec’s worry

 

“I just want you to know I truly appreciate your time. I see now how precious it is to you”.

 

The look Alec was giving him was the most pure and innocent face. Almost like a puppy who just learned a new trick and was trying to impress anyone watching.

 

“Thank you for that. I appreciate you understanding this about me. Speaking of my time”, Magnus eyes looked to his watch and he frowned. “Mine is up. I need to get back to work. I’m sorry if I have to cut this short”

 

“No - no, not at all. We got started, you got to have your break, and the food was delicious”, Alec laughed. “This was good. I actually had a good time, thank you for inviting me, for making time for me”.

 

Alec stood up and grabbed his tablet, Magnus followed suit standing just in front of him.

 

“It was good”, Magnus agreed, and he realized he truly meant it. “Thank you for keeping me company, and adjusting your plans around my schedule. It’s appreciated”.

 

“Absolutely, not a problem. Alright I’m gonna go pay and get out of your way”, Alec ran his hand through the back of his hair nervously.

 

“No need”, Magnus smiled. “Dinner was on me. I invited you here and I don’t have to pay for my meal”.

 

“Magnus”, Alec lowered his voice and stepped a little closer. “I can’t let you do that, please let me pay”.

 

“Sorry it’s already been taken care of”, Magnus shrugged and smiled at Alec’s sweet insistence.

 

“Fine”, Alec huffed. “But I owe you a meal then. Next time my treat?”

 

His tone was sweet, and Magnus was sure Alec didn’t realize how much this sounded like they just had a date and were planning a second. Magnus just laughed at himself. Alec was his new friend and absolutely innocent to the ridiculous thoughts Magnus was having.

 

“Okay. You owe me, I’ll hold you to that”

 

“Goodnight Magnus”,

 

“Goodnight, Alexander”.

 

Alec waved as he left a small smile playing about his mouth. Magnus returned the wave and watched him turn and leave. Alec was definitely a puzzle this was true, but one this was clear to Magnus, being his friend and working with him was going to be both exciting, and interesting.

 

If tonight was anything to go on, there was so much more to Alec Lightwood than he let the world see, and Magnus was slowly discovering this.

Chapter Text

The wind had kicked up a few notches since earlier. It cooled the slightly warm night, and Alec could not help the shiver that slid down his spine as he walked back to the parking garage. It had been warmer than usual for this time of year, so he left his jacket in the car. It seemed the crisp Autumn weather was finally on its way to New York.

 

Alec let himself smile at the thought , he always enjoyed this time of year in the city. As he neared the corner of Bowery and Hester a strong gust of wind funneled by the street canyon hit him hard.

 

Shivering once more as he turned into the garage a thought crossed his mind, when Magnus left school earlier Alec didn’t see him wearing a jacket. Pulling his phone from his pocket he hesitated for a moment, his fingers hovering over the screen. Wondering if it would be weird to text Magnus after just leaving him, he second guessed himself; however the concern won out in the end.

 

His fingers shook a little as they flew over the screen. This was the first time he was initiating a text to Magnus, and it had nothing to do with dance. Alec told himself that this was his way of being a concerned friend. In all honesty he knew he would do this for anyone he cared for, and he did promise he would do his best to be a good friend to Magnus.

 

It’s just a friendly text, Lightwood calm down, he berated himself.

 

Alec kept it light, letting Magnus know that it had gotten windy and was now quite chilly outside. He wondered if he should offer his jacket to Magnus, he had one in his backseat that he wouldn’t need since he was driving. Pausing for a moment he thought better than to add that last part and hit send.

 

Magnus’ polite answer was very comforting to Alec. He was grateful for the notification, and let Alec know he kept a jacket in his locker at work in case such circumstances should arise. This not only set Alec’s mind at ease that his friend would not get cold on his way home, but also the fact that his warning was received kindly made his earlier unease disappear.

 

Yet another bright smile grew across Alec’s face as he got into his car and turned on the heat. Sure he could continue to tell himself that he was just being a good friend, because he was. But when he was alone Alec could also allow himself to take some sort of joy in the fact that he got to be close to the guy he was in love with even if they were just working together. The smile and warm feeling at knowing he had Magnus in his life now, even if it was for a short time, even if it was just as a friend, stayed with Alec his entire drive home.

 

When he reached his block he saw an unmarked police cruiser double parked outside of his house a tall man was sitting behind the wheel, and the man had his eyes locked on the Lightwood’s front door. The fear and concern ran through Alec’s mind causing him a momentary freak out. He rushed to park and ran for the large stone stoop trying to find out if everyone was okay.

 

As Alec’s foot hit the first step he heard a whistle meant to get his attention. He turned to see the police car’s occupant leaning across the passenger seat the window rolled down. The man was very handsome with smooth dark skin, a chiseled jaw partially covered by a bit of dark black stubble. The sight of this man’s bright friendly eyes, and shining smile took Alec by surprise and stole his breath for a moment.

 

“Um-uh, hello um..officer?”, Alec’s voice was shaky and unsure.

 

His thoughts were still racing as to why this cop would be outside of his house. It didn’t help Alec’s demeanor that as he got closer he realized just how gorgeous this man was. He was a lot older than Alec but he had the entire hot distinguished gentleman's vibe going for him.

 

“Detective, actually”, the man corrected in a kind tone. “Detective Luke Garroway”.

 

Detective Garroway shifted closer to the passenger side window and held his hand out for Alec to shake

 

“Alec Lightwood”, Alec shook his hand firmly his brain still a bit foggy with the haze of the detective’s good looks.

 

“You live here?”

 

“Yes, sir. Is there something I can help you with, detective? Is something wrong?”, the worry in Alec’s voice was beginning to show.

 

Detective Garroway heard it right away and smiled again to try and put Alec at ease.

 

“No need to call me sir or detective, Luke is fine. I’m not here on official business, I’m sorry if I worried you. I’m just here to pick up my step-daughter, she had a study group here tonight”.

 

“Oh - oh yeah, right”, Alec visibly relaxed and the calm seeped back into his tone. “My brother, Jace was hosting a study group tonight. Would you like me to let her know you’re here?

 

“Yes, please I’d appreciate that. I texted her and she said she would be right out but that was almost ten minutes ago. Her mother is going to be upset if we’re too late. We still have to drive back into Brooklyn”, Luke shook his head and chuckled.

 

Alec could tell Luke was trying to be serious about the subject but he obviously wasn’t too concerned or he would have been more stern with his tone. Luke seemed like a fun dad, Alec thought, nothing like his own.

 

“No problem, I’ll get her. What’s her name?”

 

“Clary. She’s a spitfire little redhead, can’t miss her”, Luke smiled again, and again Alec got lost in how it lit his face when he did.

 

Shaking himself from the haze once more, Alec realized who Luke’s step-daughter was. Clary, the girl Jace had been crushing on. The girl who was like a sister to Magnus, and a member of his dance crew. Alec realized that Luke must know Magnus, since he and Clary are so close.

 

He was tempted to mention that he knew Magnus just so that he could talk about him. Alec was finding himself oddly very proud that he could call himself, Magnus’ friend now. Giving it a second thought Alec controlled his urge to gush over Magnus with a complete stranger. He instead just returned Luke’s smile with his own.

“I’ll just go get her for you”, Alec turned to go up the steps.

 

“Nice to meet you Alec”.

 

Luke’s smooth voice caused Alec to stumble up the stairs a little and he blushed when he found that Luke had seen it.

 

“Um, yeah nice to meet you too, sir - I mean - Luke”.

 

Alec shook his head at himself and fished his keys out of his pocket to unlock the front door. The main foyer was quiet and empty. Alec thought he might find Jace’s group of study friends crowding the door but it seemed they hadn’t made any attempt to leave just yet.

 

Sighing to himself, Alec realized that he would have to be the voice of authority and reason. With their parents away, Jace was definitely taking advantage, just so he could be close to Clary for as long as possible.

 

Alec followed the path of low voices down the main corridor, past the front parlor and formal dining room. He turned left at the kitchen and took the stairs down into the garden level family room, knowing that was where he would find his brother’s ‘study’ group.

 

“Hey Jace? ”, Alec called out to alert them to his presence lest he catch them doing something he did not want to see. He heard the laughter so it couldn’t have been anything too bad.

 

“Alec?”

 

“Yeah it’s me man”, Alec came through the large open arch into the carpeted area full of comfy couches, recliners and arm chairs.

 

Jace and his friends were all eating popcorn and watching a movie on the huge projector screen of their state of the art home theater system. Clary was close to Jace and was laughing at something he was whispering to her.

 

“I thought you were studying”, he questioned Jace, his tone accusatory.

 

Clary jumped back a little at the sight of Alec, a small blush on her cheeks.

 

“We were”, Jace shrugged as he tried to scoot further away from Clary and grabbed the remote to pause the movie. “We finished and decided to watch a movie. No big deal”.

 

“Well it is a big deal when we have a NYPD detective waiting outside for over ten minutes”.

 

Alec huffed his arms crossed over his chest as he shot his brother a look of reprimand. Jace blanched slightly at the look and the news.

 

“Wha?”, his brother looked absolutely confused.

 

Alec turned to look Clary in the eye, and she blushed a little further. She had obviously not shared this detail with Jace just yet.

 

“Clary, your step-father is outside waiting for you, patiently I might add. He asked me to come get you”

 

With that her eyes went wide and she nodded at Alec in thanks. She then leaned in towards Jace, and Alec overheard her whisper.

 

“Yeah I’m sorry I didn’t tell you”.

 

Jace’s panicked eyes shot to Alec’s who just smirked and raised his brow before letting out a low chuckle and shaking his head at his brother. Boy did Jace know how to pick the ones that were tough to get.

 

“Come on Simon”, Clary got up and grabbed for her bags.

 

It was only then that Alec noticed Simon sitting off to the side on a pillow on the floor his phone in his hand furiously typing. Simon looked up and smiled right at Alec.

 

“Oh hey Alec”.

 

“Hey, Simon”.

 

It was Jace’s turn to give Alec a raised brown, Alec just shrugged.

 

“Luke’s waiting”, Clary added grabbing for Simon’s hand and the boy barely had enough time to gather his things before Clary was tugging him towards the stairs.

 

“It’s late, Jace”, Alec added looking at the remainder of the study group and then back up at his brother. “And we all have school tomorrow so I suggest you break this up and clean up the mess you made”.

 

“You need to lighten up Alec”, Jace teased. “Maybe have a little fun once in awhile”.

 

“Sure, I’ll remember that. And perhaps you should stop having fun, before you piss off any more police detectives”, Alec joked as he turned to leave. “Heading up to bed, make sure you lock up”.

 

Jace stood shocked for a moment then laughed. “Sure thing”.

 

As Alec ascended the stairs up to the main floor her overheard some of Jace’s classmates mumbling.

 

“Your brother really doesn’t like us”.

 

“Alec doesn’t like anybody”, Jace teased.

 

At that Alec just rolled his eyes and headed up the two more flights of stairs to his room. He knew Jace didn’t mean that to upset him, he was just joking. Alec knew his reputation at the Institute was solely based on his talent, and when it came to social status no one really knew much about him besides his inner group of friends and family.

 

It always made Alec laugh when Jace tried to use that to freak people out about Alec. What could he say his brother enjoyed pranking and messing with people, perhaps a bit too much sometimes.

 

As soon as Alec got to his room he changed into some pajama pants and a t-shirt before hitting the books. He let his mind get numb to all else but academic facts and figures, Alec took a strange comfort in this. Knowledge and the thirst for it were important to him, but they also kept everything else that nagged at the corners of his mind at bay. Whenever Alec needed time away from his troubles, reading, coursework and study were always great respites for him.   

 

Time ticked by slowly and soon Alec was done with the assignments required of him. As he prepared for bed he let his mind wander back to the many events of the day. The first contact with Magnus at lunch, and how it made him feel that Magnus warned him. Being figured out by Izzy and Jace in the hallway, then meeting up with Magnus after class. The awkward and strange feelings that conversation set through him as he realized where Magnus’ dislike for him stemmed from.

 

His heart then soared as he remembered the moments Magnus agreed to help him, and then to meet him for dinner. That was all it took, Alec’s mind was now gone poring over every single detail of his time spent with his crush this evening.

 

How Magnus looked, how he spoke. The welcoming tone in his voice that Alec recognized was for his benefit. The way Magnus praised Alec’s dancing and told him he had the potential to be better than one of his idols. It was all so much for Alec to deal with. He’d had such a great time this evening, a better time he’d had in a long time that didn’t involve his siblings.

 

Alec allowed himself to wonder if that was what being on a date felt like. He himself having never been on a proper date before had no clue. But the time he just spent with Magnus felt like it would be exactly what a good date should be. A lot of fun, and a lot of talk about mutual interests. As he himself stated it was ‘good food and good company’. If having dinner with Magnus as his friend was this awesome Alec could not fathom how amazing a date with him would be.

 

Everything about Magnus was just so beautiful and sincere. Alec felt himself falling further and remembered Izzy’s earlier warning about being careful. She warned him that working with Magnus while crushing on him would be a challenge, but Alec figured he could handle it. He was beginning to doubt himself though. Just a half hour with Magnus and Alec was over the moon, and smiling like a huge dork.

 

Stop it, get your thoughts under control. You promised Izzy, you promised yourself you can do this, Alec told himself.

 

His mind now on his sister Alec began to worry. After his long day, having to ‘parent’ Jace when he got home, his school work, and then letting his mind cloud with ‘Magnus haze’, he forgot to check her room to see if she was home from her date. It was unlike him to not think of her safety and he felt really bad in that moment. Like he was letting her down as her big brother.

 

Knowing he’d be unable to sleep until he knew she was safe he glanced at the clock to find it was nearly midnight now. Standing from his bed he padded silently in bare feet along the mahogany floors, avoiding the spots he knew squeaked loudly.

 

Stopping at the large door to the left at the top of the stairs Alec knocked gently, so as not to disturb her if she was sleeping or Jace from across the hall for that matter.

 

“Iz you awake?”, Alec whispered.

 

When he did not receive an answer Alec turned the knob slowly and pushed the door open as quiet as he possibly could. When he saw the form of his sleeping sister under her covers, her expression was peaceful as she slept soundly with a smile on her face, Alec breathed a sigh of relief.

 

Izzy was home, she was safe and she seemed happy even in her sleep. Jace had taken care of his mess and was now probably in his room either asleep already, or on his way, and Max was safe at school. Knowing his siblings were okay was always of utmost importance to Alec and it helped him sleep easier at night when he had the knowledge fresh in his mind.

 

Once back in his room he settled down onto his bed and hoped sleep would find him soon as well. However it was then that Alec’s mind went in a different direction. His face fell at the memory and his heart start beating wildly in his chest. Alec pulled at his hair a little and chewed his bottom lip.

 

Why? , he thought. Why did he Magnus have to choose ‘that’ particular piece?

 

In his heart Alec knew why. It was the first time he let his dance express the trueness of his emotions. Alec had been undoubtedly proud of the piece, and felt validated in all the praise he’d received afterwards. He felt like it was his first step in the right direction of taking his dance to new levels. Still the pain behind the choreography, the ache of his heart stung anew whenever he thought about the piece.

 

Since Magnus had brought it up, Alec had pushed away the panic and misery for as long as he could, but now that his body and mind were mostly at rest he couldn’t force these feelings aside any longer. When Magnus spoke of the passion and feeling he felt in a dance piece Alec had performed a year and a half ago, Alec nearly died right there.

 

His heart felt like it had stopped completely even though he knew that was not possible. Alec had feared he wouldn’t be able to draw breath either. His lungs had burned as he held his breath for a fraction too long the dread seeped into every bone of his body, every muscle, every fiber of his being.

 

He knew he must have looked cowed and slightly broken in front of Magnus as he curled in on himself, but Alec had to hold back the burning inside of himself. And grab tight of the fear that was threatening to consume him. The fear that Magnus would take one look at him and figure out what this was all about.

 

Finally sheltering his pain and hiding it once again behind the steel vault in which Alec kept all his hurts, he hoped he didn’t sound too harsh when he told Magnus he was ‘fine’. The way Magnus reacted told Alec that he knew something was wrong and did not take offense, but still Alec worried. Alec always worried it was one of the things he did best.

 

How could Alec sit across from the person his heart was broken over; the person he longed to love, but could not have, and explain that the very piece Magnus found appealing was about him? Of course Alec had been scared in that very moment, there was no way to properly express that the emotions Magnus felt in Alec’s dance was an echo of his very own ache.

 

Alec had choreographed that piece with so many feelings for Magnus on his mind. It was a dance of longing, and want, and unrequited love, but also a song of tremendous heartache. Alec’s heart was broken double when he danced that piece because he had discovered Camille was cheating on Magnus. Alec’s heart was broken because he could not have Magnus and because Magnus was about to face an even greater pain; the dance piece echoed that perfectly.

 

He let himself remember what it felt like working on it. The lyrics spoke to him immediately, the melody grabbed his heart and squeezed. The sadness in the singer’s voice gripped his very soul and dug in deep. It hurt, it hurt so bad choreographing it, but in the end the cathartic way it helped heal his pain was worth it. And he ended up fully tying his talent to his emotions. It was a turning point for Alec.

 

There was no way to express that to Magnus without exposing himself and opening up his heart and soul to rejection, or ridicule. Alec was in no way ready for either of those things and so he just shut down and turned off completely.

 

Oddly enough Magnus seemed to understand that the emotion behind Alec’s dance was heartbreak, however he hadn’t made the connection as to whom it was about. For that Alec felt grateful that he was able to keep this part his secret, the most important part.

 

When Alec thought about it again perhaps it wasn’t odd at all, Magnus had an innate way of seeing things in people and perceiving them in a correct light. He was a very astute man, and Alec found it made Magnus’ soul even more brilliant.

 

The one good thing that came out of that frightening and awkward moment was that Alec had earned yet another compliment from Magnus. He also felt that Magnus grew a greater understanding of who he is. For Alec it was almost worth the agonizing moments that had passed between them on the subject.

 

Almost.

 

Before he succumbed to the pull of sleep, the last thoughts through Alec’s mind that night were ones of a dazzling smile on pretty pink lips. Lips that parted to speak words of praise and kindness to him. Lips that looked as if they would be soft and luscious when pressed against his own. Lips that would most definitely turn bright red and swell delightfully when kissed repeatedly. Lips Alec would be more than willing to experiment these theories with further.


The bright rays of sunlight snaked through the blue curtains and bamboo blinds in Alec’s room to warm his face. As his alarm sounded Alec woke to find that allowing his mind to wander into dangerous territory before bed was never a good idea.

 

Staring down at the uncomfortable and really hard predicament he was now in Alec decided his best course of action would be the coldest shower known to man. It may not be appealing but it would get the job done in record time with little time wasted.

 

With his parents not at home Alec knew it was his job to keep his two favorite slackers in line and on schedule. Not that Jace and Izzy were truly slackers, they were just not as punctual as he was known to be.

 

Breakfast with the Lightwood siblings was always a blast whenever their parents were not around because Jace and Izzy found it funny to throw cereal and toast at each other. Of course they were always loud and free when there was no one there to truly reprimand them. Alec would never take these moments from them so his chides and remarks to ‘behave’ were all taken lightly.  

 

Alec leaned against the counter as he ate his hard boiled eggs. He watched with a smirk on his face as Isabelle fished Fruit Loops out of her hair, and Jace wiped butter and wheat toast crumbs from his face.

 

“So”, his sister’s tone changed from playful and annoyed to curious and nosy, Alec knew what was coming. “How was your ‘not date’ with Magnus?”

 

Two sets of eyes lit up as they studied his every movement and mannerism for the tiniest clue. Alec fought and controlled his urge to fidget thereby thwarting their plans to try and read him.

 

“We discussed my plans and hopes for the piece, it went well. Dinner was delicious”, Alec stated dryly with a shrug.

 

“That’s all?”, Jace’s voice held disbelief.

 

Alec just nodded and shrugged again. “Yup. He’s coming to work with Lydia and I this afternoon”.

 

“I don’t buy it. That can not be all”, Izzy was skeptical, her eyes narrowed as she watched Alec for any sign of more information.

 

“Well, that’s all there is to say. I have no idea what you guys were expecting. I told you what this was about, you’re the ones who didn’t want to believe me”, Alec turned to place his bowl and coffee mug into the open dishwasher.

 

When he turned back it was to the sight of two shocked faces. They could not believe that their brother who was usually quite transparent was actually doing a good job at blocking them out. Seeing them like that made Alec laugh, he was a bit proud that he’d been able to control himself when discussing Magnus with them this time around.

 

“Soooo”, he put on a playful tone that had both of his siblings eyeing him strangely, “are we going to sit here discussing my boring ‘not date’ all morning, or are we going to address Jace’s infatuation with a certain red-headed art major?”

 

Alec raised his brow, and Jace scoffed.

 

“I am not infatuated with anyone. If anything people are infatuated with me”, Jace tried to cover in his normal bold way.

 

“Really?”, Alec’s tone mocked. “So you didn’t host a study group just so you could have an excuse to be close to Clary Fray? And you weren’t cuddled up with her on the couch downstairs when I got home? And you didn’t keep her step-father, who is a New York City police detective I might add, waiting for over ten minutes while you were trying to get closer to her?”

 

Armed with this new information Isabelle’s eyes lit up and she pounced.

 

“Her dad is a cop? Holy shit, Jace you sure know how to pick them”.

 

“My thought exactly”, Alec added as he grabbed their now empty bowls and added them to the dishwasher.

 

Jace glared at Alec as Izzy peppered him with a bunch of questions about Clary. She wanted to know everything. Alec just smirked in triumph having moved the spotlight off of himself and onto his brother who was crumbling under their sister’s barrage of queries. Deciding to save Jace from the line of fire, Alec cut in, still not changing the subject but effectively stopping Isabelle.

 

“Magnus said she was telling him about you”, he smiled at Jace.

 

Jace’s face lit up at these words from his brother.

 

“She was?”

 

Alec just nodded nonchalantly, enjoying every second of torment he was causing his brother.

 

“Okay, look. I promise not to tease you anymore about Magnus if you could possibly bring my name up again when you’re working with Magnus this afternoon. See what he says about me. Please?”

 

Jace’s voice was uncharacteristically soft and vulnerable. The only two people who ever heard him like this were the two now standing with him in the kitchen. This is how both Alec and Izzy knew that Jace’s feelings for Clary weren’t a small thing.

 

“Oh my god, the great Jace Wayland is nervous over a girl?”, Izzy teased winking at him.

 

Alec made a noise of shock “Since when?”.

 

“I am not nervous, who wouldn’t want me? I’m amazing, I mean look at me” Jace answered back trying to seem cocksure but his siblings saw it as his defenses coming up.

 

“Yes, Jace that’s definitely the way to win a girl. Act like a conceited fool”, Izzy joked again.

 

Jace just scoffed at their joking ways and muttered to himself about ‘siblings being jerks’, as he left the kitchen to go get ready for school.

 

“Hey Iz”, Alec called to his sister as she made to follow Jace out and head upstairs herself.

 

“Yeah”.

 

“He really likes this one. It’s different I can see it in his face”.

 

“I know, me too”, Isabelle smiled. “Maybe I should go easy on him?”

 

“You? Go easy on your brothers when in comes to our personal lives? Since when Iz? We may grumble but we expect it, don’t let his mumbling fool you, he loves that you care”.

 

Alec rested his arm on her shoulders and they began to walk the hallway together towards the front of the house to the stairs.

 

“But this goes both ways, Isabelle. Don’t forget that. We want to know about what’s going on with you too. I may not be the teasing type to get information from you, but you can tell me how every this is going with Meliorn. I’m here for you”.

 

“Thank you big brother. I appreciate it, and I promise right now everything is good, okay?”

 

“Okay”.


As Alec approached his locker he found it blocked by Raj who was engaged in a googly eyed make-out session with his boyfriend. He couldn’t help the smile that found it’s way onto his face at seeing his friend so obviously happy, although he hated to disturb them  he really did need to get into his locker. Alec cleared his throat.

 

When Raj heard it his face turned red as he saw Alec standing with his dance bag in hand waiting, and looking both impatient but also a bit smug. Raj turned and realized that he and Elias had shifted over a few inches from his own locker and were now blocking Alec’s.

 

“Shit, sorry Alec”, Raj pulled from his boyfriend’s hold and tugged him by the hand a little and out of the way.

 

“No problem”, Alec just shook his head.

 

Alec watched out of the corner of his eye, trying to remain respectful of their privacy. He saw the way Raj was shifting from foot to foot as he held onto his boyfriend’s hand. He noticed the way Raj kept glancing upwards at his boyfriend’s face and then over at Alec and then away. Finally Raj broke the awkward silence between the three of them.

 

“Um Alec?”

 

“Yeah?”, Alec turned to face them.

 

Raj gestured towards his boyfriend with his free hand, “This is Elias, my boyfriend. Eli, this is Alec, one of my best friends”.

 

So that’s what that had been all about. Raj was a little shy about introducing Alec to his boyfriend. Alec could not understand why exactly but he figured the best thing he could do to support his friend was be polite and kind. Alec held out his hand in friendly greeting.

 

“Nice to meet you, Elias”.

 

“You too, Alec. Raj always speaks so highly of you”.

 

“Well I have known him a long time, he better speak highly of me”, Alec joked breaking the tension. “You’re in Magnus’ crew right?”

 

“Yes”, Elias smiled.

 

“I hear you guys are incredible”.

 

“Um- thanks”, Elias blushed a bit as his grin grew. “Coming from you that’s a major compliment”.

 

Raj smiled at his boyfriend and sent a look of gratitude towards Alec for making Elias feel so welcome.

 

“You’re welcome, and now I must say thank you”.

 

“What for?”

 

Both Elias and Raj wore matching confused expressions.

 

“For making this guy smile”, Alec pointed his thumb over to indicate he was talking about Raj. “Anyone who makes him happy is a good person in my book”.

 

“Oh”, Elias’ grin grew ever wider. “Well um- then you’re welcome too”, he gushed a bit. Turning his attention back on Raj, Elias kissed him quickly “Gotta go, baby. See you later?”

 

“Sure thing babe, text me?”

 

“Always”

 

Once alone with his friend Alec knew he had to say something to ease whatever lingering nervous feelings Raj had been holding onto. Before he could speak however, Raj spoke first.

 

“Sorry I didn’t do that sooner. It’s not that I didn’t want to I just feel like you’re a bit of a loner and I just - I don’t know. I felt like - “

 

“No need to explain”, Alec cut him off saving Raj the torment of trying to find the right words, god knows Alec understood what that was like. “You don’t need to feel like you can’t show your happiness around me, Raj. You’re my friend and I’m happy for you”

 

Raj brightened at that.

 

“Thanks, Alec”.

 

“You’re welcome. Now that’s out of the way there was something I wanted to tell you about as well. Something I haven’t had a chance to share with you”

 

Alec paused to steel himself and to make sure Raj was prepared to hear this before he continued.

 

“I’ve asked Magnus to help myself and Lydia with the free movement I’ll be adding to my senior piece and he agreed to help me. I figured you should hear it from me instead of finding out when the rumors fly, which in this school I know will happen”.

 

Before Raj could respond, Camille walked up behind Alec. It was as if she showed up on cue when the word ‘rumors’ was uttered. It was like her beacon calling her to where she might be able to inflict some damage.

 

“Good morning, gorgeous”, her tone was sickeningly sweet as she ran her long nails across Alec’s broad shoulders.

 

Alec shrugged away from her touch, her hand falling immediately from his body. He was unwilling to play any part of her game today, or any day.

 

“Just save it, Camille”, he replied icily.

 

“Ohhhh touchy touchy. Always rebuffing my advances, I wonder why?”, she cooed staring him down as she wiggled her fingers at him. “Ta ta”.

 

Alec never backed down from her before and he especially refused to do so now. His glare held fire as it bore back at hers. He would not give her an inch. Camille’s eyes narrowed and her smile faltered slightly. She knew he knew about her plan, and it pissed her off. She turned on her heel and marched away, the anger very visible in each of her steps.

 

Both Alec and Raj watched her storm off, Raj with a look of shock on his face, Alec’s expression was all amusement.

 

“You’re working with Magnus?”, Raj cleared his throat and turned back towards Alec.

 

“Yes”.

 

“Wow, that’s actually incredible, Alec. You guys are going to destroy this piece when you put your heads together I can feel it.

 

“Thanks”

 

The two friends walked comfortably towards class at a leisurely pace as they continued their conversation.

 

“That thing with Camille just now, and lunch yesterday, Magnus warned you didn’t he?”.

 

Raj’s tone was very concerned now, and Alec was grateful for his friend’s care.

 

“Yes he, warned me of some stupid scheme she cooked up. Elias tell you?”

 

Raj looked embarrassed at this.

 

“Yeah, sorry. But if Magnus warned you, does that mean that he -um - he knows? About you?”, Raj stopped for a moment his eyes scanning Alec’s face.

 

“My secret is safe with him”, Alec answered simply with firm conviction. “Although I promise you it won’t be a secret much longer. You knew that I was planning this, but now is definitely the time. I can’t let Camille win, I have to beat her at her own game. I refuse to be a piece in her chess match”.

 

“I’m proud of you”

 

“Thank you Raj, that means a lot”.

 


Alec watched the clock frantically. He was trying to hide this fact from Lydia but she’d caught him too many times for it to be a coincidence. She knew he was counting down the seconds in his mind until Magnus would show up.

 

As soon as the last of the senior master ballet class dispersed and they were alone, Lydia quietly asked how his dinner with Magnus went. It made Alec laugh because he realized he had two nosy ladies in his life. Both Izzy and Lydia were curious creatures but they had completely different ways of getting the information they wanted. Isabelle would pounce, and Lydia would coax slowly.

 

In answer Alec had just shrugged and said it went ‘fine’. He’d told her they watched videos for some ideas and that Magnus said he’d come to them in about half an hour after the last bell rang for the day.

 

They’d warmed up and then began working through some of the more classic sections of the piece so to make sure they had the ballet work down perfectly. Even though his body was present it was clear Alec’s mind was not all there, and it made Lydia giggle to herself whenever Alec wasn’t looking.

 

Alec’s body performed perfectly, his gran sissone ouverte from demi with attitude was brilliant as always; however his eyes were focused on the clock yet again not on the mirror watching their progress as it should have been.

 

As the minute hand ticked ever closer to the six Alec’s heart began to speed in anticipation. He excused himself to break for a moment and watched as Lydia shook her head at him, but kept plugging away at her steps.

 

Leaning with his back to the mirror, Alec opened his water to sip it. He closed his eyes for a moment so he would not be able to glance up at the clock. Alec asked himself why he was getting so worked up over Magnus showing up. He knew it was happening, he thought he’d let all of that goofy excitement out yesterday. Yet here he was wanting to do backflips and grinning like a fool over the thought of Magnus helping him.

 

Earlier today in the classes they had together and at lunch Magnus sent small smiles over at him whenever he caught Alec looking, which was often. Alec returned the smiles of course and hoped that Magnus did not mind him looking. Even more so he hoped no one around him could hear how fast his heart was beating every time Magnus smiled at him.

 

His eyes back open he forced them to remain on Lydia’s form, Alec knew he needed to get his attention back in this. It was imperative that he make sure this piece was perfect because it was important to both himself and Lydia, and now Magnus as well. All three of their names were at stake on this endeavor.

 

Just then the timid knock came from the door and Alec nearly jumped out of his skin. Pushing off of the mirror he rushed forward to gesture for Magnus to come in, but his enthusiasm got the better of him and he nearly tripped on his own feet earning a giggle from Lydia;  she earned a glare in return. Alec righted himself just in time to see Magnus enter the studio, but things only got worse for Alec from there.

 

Magnus was drenched in sweat the longer pieces of his dark hair were slicked back with the wetness. His white tank top was sticking to his skin revealing the outline of every dip and curve in Magnus’ abdominal muscles. His arms were exposed, his biceps seemed to bulge and flex as Magnus moved into the center of the space his hand outstretched to shake Alec’s own.

 

Alec could not help but stare, his gaze wandering up, then down, then up again taking in every inch of Magnus. The want inside Alec grew needier and he felt himself move closer to Magnus as if being pulled by a gravitational pull.

 

Oh fuck, he thought to himself. Izzy was right. How the fuck am I supposed to do this?

 

Alec refocused his mind, he swallowed around the hard lump in his throat, and set his eyes to concentrate on Magnus’ hand only. Taking it in his own he felt the warmth spread as it always seemed to whenever they touched. These hands felt at home in his.

 

Magnus’ hands were big, and heavy just like his own. Calloused from hard work, purpose, dance, and physical exertion yet still gentle; much like his own. Magnus’ fingers were long and elegant although not as long as Alec’s they still were so long they wrapped fully around Alec’s hand without much effort.

 

It was then that Alec noticed the polish Magnus now wore on his nails was a shade of green. He could have sworn that just yesterday they were the same blue that adorned his hair this past month. However now they were definitely green, almost the same green as the shirt Alec wore to dinner last night.

 

For some reason this knowledge made Alec feel excited. He knew it was probably just his hopeful mind supplying something that wasn’t there; but Alec allowed himself to believe that Magnus changed the color because of him.

 

The whole moment was strange to Alec. He’d shook hands with Magnus before, he’d even been brave enough to put his own hand on top of Magnus’ in thanks, so why was he examining Magnus’s hands so closely now? He wondered to himself for a moment longer then finally let go lest it make Magnus feel uncomfortable.

 

“Please pardon the appearance. Was just working hard with my crew as you two can relate, I am sure”,

 

Magnus gestured to his body, and the sweat on his clothes and skin. As Alec watched Magnus’ hand, and scanned his body once more,  he nearly squeaked out the strangled sound that was being held prisoner at the back of his throat.  

 

“Nice to see you again, Alexander”, his voice almost a song to Alec’s ears. “And you too, dear Lydia”.

 

Magnus moved towards her and gave her air kisses on both sides of her cheeks. Lydia blushed playing along and enjoying the feeling of happiness that Magnus brought with him everywhere he went. Alec could not lie he was enjoying the feeling too, of having Magnus here with them, and seeing him interact so genuinely with one of his best friends.

 

Alec felt an extreme urge  to do everything in his power to make sure Magnus felt absolutely welcome with them. Right now and in the future as well.  

 

“You know, Magnus you don’t have to knock, you’re welcome to just enter. We were expecting you, and you’re a part of this team. You have every right to be here”.

 

Magnus smiled brightly at Alec’s kind words of inclusion.

 

“Thank you for that, Alexander”.

 

“You’re welcome”, Alec breathed out, momentarily captivated by Magnus sounding so soft.

 

Alec knew he meant the phrase ‘you’re welcome’ in every sense of its meaning, and it must have been audible to everyone present in the room. Magnus shifted and looked away from them, and Lydia cleared her throat loudly gaining Alec’s attention. She raised her brow at him, he bit his lip and turned his face so that Magnus and Lydia would not see the blush.

 

Trying to play it off like Lydia had not noticed what just happened, Alec walked over to the sound system. He tapped his tablet a few times to find the right music and paused. Setting his back straight and taking a breath to calm himself Alec turned to face Lydia and Magnus once more.

 

“I thought we should run through what we have so far, what I showed you in the video, and the partner work with Lydia. I did not have that available for you to view since Lydia was recording yesterday. This way you have a full scope on what you’re working with, and then we can go from there”.

 

Alec kept his tone light, his expression showing he was clearly focused on their work together. This was an effort for him, but he was a strong man  he knew he could do this. Magnus nodded and settled himself against into one of the high stools.

 

“Sounds perfect. Alright you two beautiful ballet dancers, dazzle me”.

 

Magnus clapped his hands together then wiggled his fingers in a gesture that suggested magic; his playfulness and smile ever present. Lydia giggled her expression bright and excited. Alec knew he focused a beat too long on Magnus’ fingers fluttering through the air, but even he had to laugh a bit at the light feeling in the room. Magnus was going to be a lot of fun to work with Alec felt it.

 

Alec moved with grace and purpose. So much strength in each step, so much meaning. He always lost himself to the music when he danced, ever since he learned to tie his emotions to his movement. Today Alec felt like he was moving with greater purpose, he knew why every little step felt like it needed to perfect.

 

Magnus is watching.

 

Alec smiled to himself as he lifted Lydia effortlessly, his back arching slightly hers arching also almost mirroring his stance and she seemed to float above him cradled easily within his capable hands.

 

When he released her their feet kissed the sprung floors lightly before Alec moved immediately into balloné pas, Lydia following in chassés. Their form was rigid and solid, arms locked, yet so very graceful. Suddenly as they entered into their simultaneous string of petit sauts their form broke down, almost as if a switch was flipped and their spines seemed to almost melt from the hook that was holding their bodies so taut. Their arms still held with purpose flowed softer into the movements.

 

The disjointed way their feet moved from pointed toes to flexed feet and bent knees in almost awkward angled ways showed the transition of two forms of dance melding together in the middle.

 

Magnus is watching.

 

Pushing himself harder than ever, Alec let his heart take over his body. Dancing from every part of his soul. Offering the new unfamiliar movements to Magnus like a gift, something Alec had inside of him for so long and was just now letting out. He wanted Magnus to see this side of him, he wanted Magnus to understand he was so much more than the rich-boy, ballet dancer.

 

The music carried Alec through until he was left breathless and panting his mind foggy, his eyes unfocused, his arms shaking with a slight buzz from the excitement of it all. Himself and Lydia by his side just standing there in pose sweat dripping from almost every inch of them as they waited to hear from Magnus.

 

Alec had not let his gaze wander to Magnus the entire time he danced for fear that it would distract him, but now he let his eyes wander over Magnus’ gorgeous face. He was trying to decipher anything from the other man’s expression but it was not easy.

 

Magnus’ face was impassive, with the exception of his brows that were furrowed slightly like he was concentrating intently on something. In the blink of an eye the expression changed from one of contemplation to a bright one of great delight. Lydia and Alec beamed at this expression, they knew he liked it, and Alec felt a wave a relief flood his entire being.

 

“Okay, firstly I must always give credit where it is due, especially with dance. You two were sublimely exquisite”, his tone was so sincere and they knew he meant every word. “I have seen both your talent grow from afar but to be up close and watch the process, I am in awe”.

 

When Magnus pretended to bow down to them playfully, Lydia began to blush and giggle loudly; Alec however just looked shocked. It felt strange that Magnus would do that even in a playful manner. To Alec Magnus was incredible and untouchable, if anyone should feel honored it should be him for earning the assistance of someone as amazing as Magnus.

 

Alec didn’t know why he was feeling this passionately about something as small as a kind joke. He tried to smile and play it off but inside something was burning in his chest. It didn’t seem right even in jest.

 

Magnus should bow to no one.

 

His mind supplied him this thought shocking him back into the moment. Why was he letting his thoughts run away into things that he clearly had no right thinking about? Why was he feeling protective over Magnus? Why did he feel the sudden need to gush about Magnus’ greatness?

 

Shut up Lightwood, and focus.

 

“Alec”, Lydia’s concerned voice broke through the jumble in his mind.

 

“Y-yeah, sorry”.

 

“Still with us?”, Magnus teased with a tight smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.

 

Letting his mind wander like that, Alec knew it was his fault that Magnus seemed to be uncomfortable again. He needed to fix that right away so he gave one of his brightest smiles to Magnus laughing at himself and how weird he was being. It seemed to work because Magnus beamed back now, his eyes bright with happiness again.

 

“Yes, sorry I got a little lost. You know how it is, mind all on the dance”, Alec supplied as an excuse.

 

“I understand”, Magnus offered back easily.

 

“So what did you think about the newer stuff?” Lydia asked the nerves evident in her tone.

 

“I see exactly where you are going with this and you’re off to a great start, Alexander. You’ve really impressed me with your ability to choreograph in a style you are not entirely comfortable with just yet. And Lydia, you’re picking this up perfectly. However I also see that this piece can be so much more”.

 

Magnus let his eyes scan back and forth between Lydia and Alec, as they listened intently, hanging on every word. Magnus focused on Alec again.

 

“I asked you to think about what you truly want for this piece, have you had time to do so?”

 

Alec was still unsure about so many things that were attacking his mind where this piece was concerned. He had so many ideas and was afraid to reach for them all. It took him so long just to get this far.

 

“There is a lot about this piece that is still speaking to me”, Alec let his eyes drop to the floor, his voice quiet. “It’s like I am waiting for that final part to come to me. I have bits and pieces of the full image in my mind. I’m trying to figure it out slowly, but for some reason I can’t focus enough to find that last piece to make it perfect. Do you even understand what I mean? I sound like such an idiot rambling like this”.

 

Alec shifted around uncomfortably his hand running through the back of his hair his eyes flying everywhere but never dare landing on Lydia or Magnus. No, definitely not Magnus.

 

“It’s alright, Alec”, Lydia tried to soothe but it didn’t work.

 

The anxiety was rising ever higher within Alec as he fidgeted even more, biting his lip and rubbing his fingers together nervously.

 

“It’s normal. You’re normal, and I understand”.

 

The rich and calming tone of Magnus’ voice fell over Alec like a comforting blanket of warmth. His words were able to do what Lydia’s could not and Alec sighed in relief.

 

“I have a feeling about this piece”, Magnus continued in his soothing tone. “Artistic perfection takes time, and I really think you have something here. Something special I can feel it. Do you trust that I mean what I say? Do you trust my feeling?”

 

“Yes”, there was no hesitation at all in Alec’s answer. “I trust you ”.

 

That was not exactly what Magnus had asked but Alec felt that it was the right answer. The air around them felt heavy and weighted, Lydia seemed to feel it and took a step back turning away from them for a moment.

 

Alec chanced a glance up and saw the surprised look on Magnus’ face. His eyes were wide then narrowed slightly, his mouth ajar. He then tilted his head to the side and furrowed his brows. Alec came to understand this look meant that Magnus was thinking very hard about something, perhaps assessing it.

 

He squirmed under the scrutiny, however Alec knew it was his own fault for letting his emotions speak for him when he was supposed to be keeping a handle on them. Izzy would be so disappointed in him. Alec let his shoulders hunch and round over his body, shielding himself from his insecurities.

 

Magnus just watched quietly, his eyes taking in every movement, every expression. Alec just sighed and flicked his gaze away, tears pricking in the corners of his eyes. He was so obvious, he knew he just messed this up. Magnus had to know now. He had to understand, and Alec was sure he would leave now before they even got started.

 

Seeming to make his mind up about something, Magnus nodded then stepped back from Alec putting a little more space between them. He cleared his expression and put his smile on again. It was a genuine smile and once again Alec felt relief.

 

“Do you mind if I show you guys a few things?”, Magnus broke the silence.

 

Lydia bounced back over her excitement showing in the way she held herself. Alec could not help but be grateful that his friend was so wonderful and perceptive with him that she didn’t even flinch during that awkward moment. She sent a smile and a wink his way and immediately the gloom lifted and he was excited to get to work again.

 

“That’s what you’re here for right?”, she teased Magnus in an impish tone. “We’re ready to be molded, Master Bane”.

 

Lydia threw her hands up in the air and stood still like a statue waiting to be sculpted properly. She was giggling and the mood in the room lifted. Soon Alec was laughing at her, and Magnus was rolling his eyes and chuckling as well.

 


Magnus was smiling. He was really happy and felt light in that moment, he couldn’t fight the smile. He did not expect to have such a good time eating dinner with Alec Lightwood, but he really enjoyed himself.

 

The thing that set the ridiculous smile in motion, however was the fact that only a few moments after he had left him, his phone chimed with a text from Alexander warning him how the weather changed. It was evident that Alec was actually concerned enough to let Magnus know that it had gotten chilly out.

 

Why would he do that?.

 

Magnus thought about it for a moment letting his cynical and shielded side take over. Then he remembered just how sweet and unassuming Alec had been in almost every single interaction they had together. At no point whatsoever in the few conversations they’ve had did Alec ever show he was anything but sincere. Magnus had to chastise himself again and push away his feelings of distrust.

 

Until he proves otherwise Alexander is a kind and genuine man.

 

Magnus repeated this to himself like a mantra whenever he felt the skepticism taking hold of his mind. He could not in good conscience allow himself to be the close-minded one. He who dealt with so much discrimination, bigotry and hate in his life. No, he was not going to do this to another person that hadn’t done a thing wrong...yet.

 

That small ‘ yet’, was the only solace Magnus would offer his dark side as a peace offering to keep it at bay. With his mind made up Magnus politely thanked Alec for his thoughtfulness and reassured him that he had a jacket at work for just such times like this.

 

Through the rest of his shift Magnus could not help that his thoughts kept landing on his dinner with Alec. It was strange how easily they got on, even when both of them seemed to be holding things back. Magnus thought of the way Alec shut down when they discussed that older dance piece. Although Magnus realized it was heartbreak that fueled the piece he could not help but wonder who could have done this to Alec.

 

He now knew that Alec is gay and back then he was deep in the closet. He wondered if Alec fell in love and the person could not handle being his secret so he broke his heart. Magnus found himself creating scenarios and questions as to the story behind the soulful dance.

 

Was is someone from school? Was it a fellow rich boy? Was it the other boy who was not ready to come out? Did he move away? Had he used Alec?

 

The theories made Magnus’ head swim and his heart ache for the remainder of the night. The poor sweet young man he sat with earlier, his new friend, had been hurt once. Magnus knew very much how bad that pain was and so with his empathy in full swing he ached for Alec, even if it was in the past.

 

His shift done, Magnus retreated to the back of the house near the lockers. Changing quickly out of his staff shirt, he stuffed it into his bag and pulled his t-shirt up over his head, removed his apron and hung it up, then grabbed for his jacket.

 

“Is is cold out?”

 

Magnus swung around to see Jackie preparing to leave for the night as well.

 

“Yes, um Alexander texted me to let me know that the wind picked up. Do you have a jacket with you?”, Magnus was momentarily worried for his friend and co-worker.

 

“So that’s the beautiful boy’s name”, Jackie’s brow raised as she smirked at Magnus.

 

“Yes, yes”, Magnus waved away her teasing and rolled his eyes. “Do you have a jacket?”.

 

“Don’t worry about me, Magnus I’ve got a ride”.

 

“Good, but telling me not to worry is futile, you know that”.

 

“Of course I do”, Jackie smiled, “that’s why we love you”.

 

With this Magnus grabbed his bag, closed his locker and kissed her cheek as he passed her to leave.

 

“See you Friday?”, he asked.

 

“Yup, and Magnus?”

 

“Yeah?”, he turned to face her again.

 

“He was really hot ….big hands”, Jackie  wiggled her brows as she held her hands up.

 

“STOP IT!”, Magnus flushed as he shouted. “Byyyeee”.

 

“Goodniiiiight”, Jackie answered in a sing-song voice.

 

By the time Magnus got home it was just past eleven. He’d only have time for a few assignments tonight. Vowing to wake up early to get his work finished before school he cracked the books immediately, breezing through two assignments in twenty minutes. A quick shower, and it was time for bed.

 

As Magnus laid in bed he hoped that nothing would go wrong tonight, he really needed a good night’s sleep. His mind raced a little so he decided to do something he often did to help him relax for the night. Reaching for the shelf under the drawer of his nightstand he pulled up the basket of polishes, files, cotton balls and nail polish remover.

 

Stripping his fingers of the blue he’d had on for the past few days, Magnus thought about what color to paint them this time. He scanned his massive rainbow collection as he filed any uneven spots on his nail tips to perfection. Magnus’ gaze landed on a new green shade that for some reason made him smile. Reaching for it, he made quick and easy work painting them expertly, the task second nature to him.

 

Sealing them with the quick dry spray, Magnus waved his hands in the air a few times and blew on his nails for good measure. Pleased with the way the color looked against his warm skin tone, he settled his head down onto his soft pillows to get some rest.

 

Turning onto his side, Magnus tucked his hand underneath his pillow feeling the cool sheets against his fingers. He sighed happily, and closed his eyes, within minutes he was lost to the world.


Alec was dancing, the piano melody starting in and the man’s voice haunting and sad joining in, Magnus could not make out the lyrics, he did not know this song. Alec was leaping and turning, his feet flying over the stage. His form and technique were flawless as always, however Magnus could see Alec was crying, his face a mask of pain.

 

It was the dance performance from a year and a half ago, however it was Alec dancing it now. He was grown man, his full height and strength, his talent much improved from then to now. Alec’s form then faltered, his shoulders sagged he fell to the ground. Magnus’ heart broke as he watched this. He threw his hand out in front of him as if to try to touch Alec but he was so far away.

 

“Alexander?”, he called but no sound came out. “Alexander, it’s okay”

 

Again there was no sound, leaving him. There was only the song, and Alec’s cries and his own heart beating wildly in his chest. Just then Alec looked up into Magnus’ eyes, his eyes were rimmed red and so wet, his pale cheeks stained with the flow of tears. Magnus’ heart broke further, he clutched at his chest and cried out.

 

“Alexander!”, this time there was a sound and it woke him from his sleep.

 

Magnus sat up in bed swiftly he’d screamed in his sleep again, Alec’s name, but this wasn’t a nightmare this was a dream. It had been a long time since Magnus had a dream he could remember so vividly. There were usually only the dark nightmares or the haze of nothing, this was different.

 

Realizing his hands were on his chest Magnus could feel his heart pounding and his chest heaving. His face felt cold so he brought his fingertips up to his eyes and realized he’d been crying in his sleep.

 

“What the fuck was that?”, he whispered to himself outloud to break the spell the dream held over him.

 

His raspy whisper cut through the darkness and the low buzz of street noise and cars from far below his windows. Wiping the tears from his face he brought his hands down to look at dampness on them, as if he needed to make sure that had really happened.

 

Regaining control of his breathing, Magnus settled back onto his pillow, his heart slowed but his mind raced. He could not understand why he’d had such a dream, what his mind was trying to tell him. The one thing he did know is that Alec was not going anywhere, anytime soon.

 

Something about this man was special and important, and for some reason Magnus’ subconscious was getting to the reasons before he was. Of course he agreed to work with Alec, and they’d begun a tentative friendship, but there was something else there that Magnus could not quite place his finger on yet.

 

What Magnus had no problem understanding though was that Alec needed someone to understand. That pain he saw and felt in the dream was real, Magnus had witnessed some of it first hand earlier at dinner. The way the subject cowed Alec and made him defensive. Magnus knew what this felt like, maybe his mind was trying to explain that Alec needed a friend who would truly understand him.

 

Whatever it was, it helped Magnus remind himself that everything Alec allowed him to see, was revealing a very different person than he thought he would find once he got to know Alec better. Concentrating on the rise and fall of his chest Magnus soothed his body back into a restful state, and soon his eyes fluttered closed. This time he slept peacefully.


The alarm blared on Magnus’ phone and he grabbed for it with heavy uncooperative hands of his still sleepy body. He cracked one eye open and silenced it quickly. Six am had come up on him sooner than he thought, but Magnus had slept better than he had in a long time, and for that he was grateful.

 

Stretching, his shoulders popped loudly as he made his way to use the bathroom. Making himself a small breakfast of oatmeal and fruit, Magnus ate while he finished a another one of his assignments. There was still one more he was unable to get to but, he figured he could do it on the subway instead of biking to school today. He really didn’t need his bike if he wasn’t rushing off to work this afternoon.

 

Magnus packed his books and notebooks into his backpack, cleaned up his breakfast bowl and pulled on his coveralls to make his morning rounds of the building. Since the weather was cooling he figured it would be best to start in the basement. Magnus checked to make sure all space around the furnace was clear, then scanned the hot water heater for any cracks and leaks. The pilot was burning bright, and there was no gas smell.

 

Heading up to the maintenance closet, Magnus grabbed the broom and swept the entryway, hallways and stairs, then repeated the process with the mop. Once done he stopped by Mrs. Napoli’s apartment to check the knobs on her stove that were sticking, with a little bit of WD40 and a rag his morning rounds were officially done.

 

As Magnus was about to climb the stairs up to his loft to change for school, John popped his head out of his door, and Magnus sighed a heavy sigh.

 

“Magnus?”, he sounded ashamed.

 

“The hose again?”

 

“No, actually it’s the deadbolt”, John smiled. “I swear I’m never overloading that washer again. I promise”.

 

Magnus saw that John had the decency to look slightly apologetic and sorry for his past mistakes.

 

“I really have to go John, can I look at it later or do you want to wait for Mr. Renwick?”

 

“I’d really prefer you to fix it. Mr. Renwick doesn’t like me much”, John shrugged.

 

“Alright then I’ll check it out later if that’s alright”.

 

“That’s fine, thanks Magnus”.

 

“You’re welcome”, Magnus managed a smile even after the long morning he just endured.

 

The air was crisp this morning, just like it had been last night, Magnus pulled his large blue hoodie over his head and zipped it to keep the chill from getting to him. Turning towards High Street so he could catch the A train, Magnus put his earbuds in and let himself get carried by the music.

 

Just before he reached the stairs to head underground Magnus got a thought. Quickly opening the Institute's performance website for its students, Magnus typed in Alec’s name and up came the professionally shot videos of Alec’s last three years worth of performances.

 

He scanned the page for the one he wanted and clicked the description. Finding the song title and artist name he closed the page, and went to see if he could find and download the song onto his music app. Once done he started the song and looked the lyrics up in his browser letting the page load before descending underground.

 

During the eight minutes the train took to travel the tunnel Magnus began to realize a few more details about Alec’s old dance routine that was now haunting his dreams. The lyrics were telling the story of someone who was in love with someone who was unaware of their feelings, and in love with someone else.

 

As he transferred to the 4 / 5 train at Fulton, Magnus replayed the song and read the lyrics over again. There was something there tugging at the edges of his mind, definitely some deeper meaning, but he hadn’t a clue where to begin trying to find it. Once settled into a seat, Magnus turned the music off and cracked his notebook to finish his assignment, the rhythmic rocking of the train car not even bothering his quick pen strokes.

 

With time to spare the train pulled into his stop on the Upper East Side. Magnus was happy he didn’t need to rush, and could stop into Starbucks for some more coffee; he really needed the caffeine. Espresso in hand Magnus walked at a leisurely pace towards NYAI his head and body jamming to the music as he danced down the block.

 

When he realized he’d have to pass the student parking garage, Magnus could not help the urge to peek in and see if Alec’s car was there yet. When he spotted it in its rightful spot, he smiled and shook his head.

 

You’re ridiculously obvious, he mentally berated himself. Quit this nonsense now, before you let yourself fall too far.

 

The thought shook him a little. Magnus stood still to take stock in what his mind was trying to tell him. Had he really begun to let himself feel something other than friendship for Alec? No, he answered himself, no way that is possible.

 

Pushing the odd feeling that now raced through his body far away, Magnus turned the corner towards the Institute. He vowed to put him out of his mind completely until he had to work with the beautiful ballet boy, later on today. That was the plan, however it did not go as smoothly as he would have liked.

 

The moment he entered his second period class, the first class of the day he shared with Alec, his eyes wandered the room searching for the tall dancer. When they finally landed on Alec he had his back towards the door and Magnus recognized the broad shoulders immediately. He smiled to himself, for some reason just seeing Alec was comforting, but it didn’t explain why he stomach was flipping in the worst way.

 

Magnus moved towards his seat, still trying to fight himself on everything he thought he was feeling. He then felt the weight of someone’s stare on him, and lifted his gaze to find Alec watching him. As per usual Alec looked embarrassed about being caught, he shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

 

Strange as it was again Magnus found a peculiar comfort in knowing Alec watched him so carefully. Not wanting to make Alec feel even more uncomfortable Magnus just smiled at him, earning a friendly, bright grin in return.

 

That was how it continued throughout the day. Whenever Magnus had class with Alec, or when he saw him quickly in the halls and even at lunch, he would catch Alec’s gaze looking to find him, and then he’d smile.

 

This did nothing to help Magnus in his plan to keep the gorgeous Lightwood out of his thoughts until it was necessary. Instead this kept Alec on his mind pretty much the entire day. Whenever he wasn’t concentrating on class or thinking about choreography, his mind would show him a pair of bright hazel eyes.

 

NO!, he argued to himself silently. Not him. He is your friend, and that is all.

 

When the crew showed up for rehearsal their chatter died on their lips as soon as they caught sight of Magnus dancing. He had that effect on many people but he never let it go to his head. He felt their eyes watching as he pushed his body to crazy limits, bending and flipping in unimaginable ways, arms always free and flowing. His expression was pure bliss, Magnus was always happiest when he danced.

 

As the song came to an end the applause rang through the studio.

 

“Bravo sensei”, Maureen teased bowing playfully.

 

It may have been a joke but there was so much truth and respect even in her light tone. Everyone in the crew would agree that Magnus was truly their teacher in so many ways. Magnus bowed back and winked at Maureen.

 

“Thank you, my darling. Hope everyone came prepared to work, we’re going hard today. My time is limited so we need to do this full speed, and with conviction”.

 

The impish grins he received back from every face of his crew told him it wasn’t going to be that easy to start class until the nosy little gossips got what they wanted from him. He swore they’d all probably die if nothing interesting were to ever happen at the Institute again. This misfit rag-tag bunch of dancing fools thrived on juicy gossip and drama.

 

Clary was the first to speak up and Magnus sent a scornful look at his traitorous Biscuit.

 

“So how did it go?”

 

Magnus looked at her like he had no clue what she was referring to.

 

“With Alec?”, she clarified, her voice drawing out his name in a sing-song tone.

 

Everyone stopped preparing for class and set their wide eyes on him waiting with baited breath for his answer.

 

“If your nosy little behinds must know, it went well. I went to him after I left you lot, we discussed making a schedule, we exchanged number, blah-blah-blah, we sat down to discuss some ideas, blah-blah-blah, we begin work this afternoon”, Magnus waved his hands around him dramatically as he spoke.

 

“Wait, you what?” Raphael narrowed his eyes at Magnus and tilted his head.

 

“What did I say?”

 

Magnus asked not completely sure of what Raph chose to pinpoint in his explanation, but he knew his friend was keen with picking out very important details with very little being said.

 

“When did you sit down together?”, Raph raised his brow.

 

Busted.

 

Magnus’ heart sped and his mind raced trying to figure out how to say this without making it sound like they went on a date, even though to him it was feeling more and more like they had been on a first date.

 

Ragnor caught on to Magnus’ look and stepped closer just behind Raphael. Their expressions matched, and Magnus couldn’t help but think that of course they would. They were so alike in many ways, it’s why they got along well, but also bickered like siblings.

 

“If you left here to speak to Alec, but still had to make it to work on time, when did you sit together to discuss these ‘ideas’ “, Ragnor inquired making the finger quotations around the last word in his question.

 

He was caught, he knew he was, there was no way out but the truth. He really didn’t have time to play this twenty questions game with them, and they really did have to get to work ASAP. So Magnus decided he would have to just fess up.

 

“When he met me at work and we ate dinner together, that’s all”.

 

His voice was completely nonchalant and he turned away for them heading right for the sound system where Simon stood in shock. The boy seemed frozen in pose as he began plugging his laptop in, his hand still, his mouth agape at what Magnus just said.

 

The explosion of questions came firing at Magnus’ back from every single member of the crew, they were talking over each other and screaming, Magnus even heard a few playful slaps. He just ignored it all and kept his eyes on Simon’s screen which was now displaying a screensaver of glowing, pulsing laser lights, like at an EDM concert.

 

A high pitched whistle, that Magnus knew came from Clary, broke through the clamor causing the voices to come to a halt.

 

“Cool it”.

 

Her little voice held a fire larger than her stature that somehow had them all shrinking back. All except Raphael and Ragnor of course.

 

“That’s all? That’s all he says” , Raph’s voice went up in tone as he turned to Ragnor his hands flying up in exasperation.

 

“You had dinner together?” the concern very evident in Ragnor’s tone.

 

“It was just us working together, I swear”, Magnus defended although he didn’t know why he felt like he had to.

 

“We’re just worried about you”, Ragnor continued.

 

The three of them were huddled up now while Clary kept the rest of them at bay far behind so they couldn’t hear the three friends talking. Simon still stood quietly off to the side. When he shifted Raphael’s eyes snapped to the movement and he tilted his head at Simon as if silently asking him to go stand with Clary.

 

“Why are you so worried about me? I have always taken care of myself. There is no need for all of this”, Magnus’ voice was low but still the incredulity was audible.

 

“Because we know you, Magnus you forget that sometimes. Who put the pieces back together last time?”, Raph spat a little harshly earning a glare from Ragnor.

 

Magnus just folded in on himself and shied away from them slightly before he steeled himself and fired back.

 

“I did”, Magnus spoke defiantly staring them right in their faces. “You helped and I love you both, but I put me back together. Me, not you.

 

He was right and they knew it. Magnus was capable of taking care of himself and he was the only one who could have truly healed his heart when Camille shattered him. Still his two oldest friends knew how vulnerable he really was. The smile sometimes a facade, they knew the pain, Clary did too but she was rather busy at the moment.

 

“We’re wasting time, guys”, Magnus looked them both his eyes soft and pleading. “We need to get to work”.

 

“Was he at least grateful for your help? Is he being nice?”, Ragnor asked his voice laced with deep concern.

 

Magnus smiled and placed his hand on his friend’s shoulder squeezing gently.

 

“Alexander is very grateful, and he’s been nothing but kind, and a gentleman, I swear to it”.

 

“Ay dio, Magnus!” Raph sputtered. “You’re really transparent sometimes. You see this, Ragnor? Tell me I am not the only one?”

 

Ragnor just nodded at Raphael then turned back to Magnus.

 

“It’s exactly like you to do something like this”, Ragnor smirked.

 

“Isn’t it? You reach too high Magnus, Alec is out of your league. He’s rich, straight and unattainable, I don’t even understand you right now”, Raphael huffed crossing his arms over his chest.

 

“I truly have no idea what you are talking about. I told you we’re only friends, and we’re working together, we respect each other’s talent, and I reassured you he is not an asshole to me. What more do you want from me?

 

Raph raised his brow and opened his mouth to answer with, no doubt a rude retort, but Ragnor just place his hand over Raphael’s open mouth and cut him off.

 

“If he is anything other than what you swear, Raph here will kill him”.

 

Ragnor tilted his head at Raphael and the three men could no longer hold the laughter. With their little discussion come to some sort of conclusion at least for now, Magnus set the music and turned back to his crew.

 

“I know you’re curious. It’s fine I still love you all, even if you are nosy ingrates”, he mumbled under his breath. “Yes, I had dinner with Alexander, yes we’re sort of friends now, yes we are only working together, and that is all I have to say. Our time is precious loves, that means no chatter , only dance”.

 

Clary must have threatened them all with some form of dismemberment because they all just accepted his words, nodded and smiled as they formed up to learn the new choreo. Magnus was very grateful for his little Biscuit and sent her a wink and a smile.

 

For the next half hour Magnus worked them hard, riding every mistake. Pushing them to perform faster and more precise. Calling them out on keeping lines clean, complaining when a transition didn’t flow smooth. He was a fierce leader, and they all knew he did it out of love, and the desire to help them become better at what they loved to do. So with every groan, and grunt they still showed him the utmost respect and love, even though right now Rebecca was cussing him under her breath and Elias was hatefully staring holes in the back of his head.

 

The moisture hung thick in the studio, the mass of seven extremely sweaty bodies in motion, and a slightly less sweaty music engineer were the main contributing factor. They were tired, and panting and dripping from every single inch of their bodies.

 

“You’ve given me all you could have in such a small amount of time. I am always in awe of you, and I always appreciate you”, Magnus spoke quietly to them as they wiped the sweat from their brows and sipped their water. “I’m sorry I was so rough today”.

 

“No big, Magnus”, Elias spoke the loudest cutting over the group. “We understand why you do it”.

 

“You push us because you know we can do it, we get it”, Maureen added.

 

Clary just grinned at him, her eyes bright and cheerful as ever. He could never not smile when looking at her sweet face. Beaming at them they all returned the smiles, even Ragnor and surprisingly enough Raphael.

 

“Okay my loves, it’s time for me to go work with Alec and Lydia. Please, you know the drill, Raph is in charge”, he blew them all kisses then turned to Clary. “Biscuit, may I speak with you for a moment?”.

 

Clary nodded and followed Magnus over to his bags and he gathered them up.

 

“What’s up? You Ragnor and Raph all okay? That was rather intense earlier, no?”.

 

“Stop firing questions at me so fast, I’m still catching my breath”, he teased.

 

She waited patiently, her eyes soft and caring. Magnus adored her very much.

 

“Okay, to answer your questions, nothing is really up just wanted to ask you about Jace Wayland”.

 

The blush rose high on Clary’s pale skin coloring her almost as bright as her red hair. Magnus chuckled at the sight and shook his head.

 

“Guess you weren’t expecting that huh?”

 

“Nope”, she made the ‘p’ pop and looked down at her feet, she drew circles with her toe along the wood floors.

 

“You can fill me in on the details later, but just know I am aware of what’s going on between you two”, he tucked his finger under her chin bringing her gaze back up.

 

“Okay”, she shrugged. “I knew I’d have to tell you sooner or later”.

 

“Only because I love you, Biscuit”.

 

She smiled again, and he hugged her close sweat be damned. They were both drenched anyway so it did not really matter.

 

“To finish your answers. Raph, Ragnor and I are fine, they were just being concerned about me like I am with you. I promised them and I promise you, nothing but dance is going on between Alec and I. We’re becoming friends, but that is all, and just to make you feel better, he’s very kind to me”.

 

“You don’t have to reassure me of anything, Magnus. You can take care of yourself, and believe me what I see from Alec, is nothing but kindness. You forget I have an artistic eye, I can see the soul sometimes”, she teased, adorably scrunched her nose, and bumped her shoulder against his bicep.

 

She may have been being cute and funny at the end but her statement held true and made Magnus understand even further how he was blessed to have her in his life. She got him, and although she worried, she trusted his judgement to do what was right for himself.

 

“Okay I better go, I really don’t need to ‘rules oriented’ ballet dancers pissed at me for being late, I’m already almost ten minutes later than I promised”.

 

With that Clary tip toed to kiss his cheek.

 

“Go, be magnificent”, she giggled.

 

Magnus rushed down the long hallway turned to the right and then he sprinted towards Studio A. He knew he’d promised he’d be there in half an hour but, he didn’t account for Ragnor, and Raphael’s third degree; although he really should have seen it coming. When he reached the door he’d noticed Lydia dancing alone, his eyes scanned everywhere for Alec, but he was unable to see wherever he was from his vantage point.

 

Bringing his knuckles up to knock softly Magnus saw Alec spring into his line of vision from the right. He waved Magnus inside, and both Lydia and Alec moved towards him in friendly greeting. Alec was doing little to mask the fact that he was shocked by Magnus’ appearance his eyes scanned up and down, and suddenly Magnus felt out of place in his baggy tank top, joggers and dripping sweat everywhere.

 

Sure Alec and Lydia were sweaty from dancing as well but they made it look good. Especially Alec. Magnus could not help but stare at his defined legs in those black tights, he’d never get over how good Alec’s muscle looked in them. He didn’t even want to think about the tight black tank top that hugged Alec’s torso revealing every single line of his defined abs to Magnus’ keen eye.

 

Although feeling slightly out of place, he did his best to nudge those feelings aside and be himself. Putting his hand out in friendly greeting Alec took it right away. Again Magnus felt the warmth of Alec’s touch spread over him. Alec’s had was so large that his own rather large hand felt small in comparison. It was the first time ever that Magnus felt like his hand was being cradled within another person’s.

 

Even more surprising Alec didn’t do that stupid, macho squeezing thing most guys did to assert their masculinity and strength. Instead Alec’s grasp was strong but somewhat assured in who he is. Magnus thought it was rare to see such self assurance in a young man finally acknowledging his sexuality. He doubted even Alec knew he came off that way since he often showed how shy he was.

 

Magnus felt somewhat like a nasty pervert marveling over Alec’s handshake and the way his skin felt against his own. When their hands broke apart Magnus excused his appearance, still slightly self conscious of how sloppy he must look. Offering Lydia air kisses hearing her giggle, and making Alec smile helped to relax him a little more.

 

Alec seemed to be going out of his way to be overly welcoming to Magnus, it was obvious and unbelievably sweet. Almost as if on cue Magnus’ doubt showed up to beg at the back of his mind what Alec’s motives must be for being this way, but he shook these thoughts away a little easier than before. Magnus had learned to trust himself again, and his instincts about Alec were repeatedly telling him that everything was on the level.

 

When Alec told Magnus he was part of the team and had every right to be there, he knew Alec had meant every single word. There was nothing about his demeanor and tone to suggest otherwise to Magnus. Alec Lightwood seemed to be a man of his word. Feeling he should thank him for such a welcome Magnus did so, but was not prepared for the sincere soft and breathless tone when Alec answered.

 

“You’re welcome”

 

Magnus had to shift his eyes away from Alec’s lips at that because the boy was too sweet and beautiful for his own good and Magnus was sure Alec or Lydia would see the hunger in his eyes from those sincere and gentle words.

 

Shifting back into work mode, Alec put the serious face and attitude on. Beginning the music Magnus told them to ‘dazzle’ him, and he knew they were so very capable of doing just that. He watched closely every move, every step, the way they held their arms and legs. Their frames taught and strong and beautiful. Magnus kept sighing in wonder at the way they stepped so lightly and gracefully. Alec and Lydia gliding like angels over the dance floor.

 

Forcing his eyes to focus on Lydia, Magnus saw her dedication to the piece, to her passion and of course to Alec. She was stepping out of her comfort zone for him, and Magnus could see how determined she was to make him proud.

 

Moving his gaze to watch only Alec, Magnus felt all his breath leave his lungs. Alec was dancing so differently, he looked like almost unearthly beautiful. There was his passion as always but there was a happiness and light behind his movement. Magnus was so taken with the glow that shined from inside of Alec.

 

How can he be even more perfect? , Magnus wondered.

 

Alec was already a ballet god but now this new form of dance was doing things to his soul that were just emanating out of him. It was so visible and absolutely exquisite. Magnus could not tear his eyes from the lithe, muscular form.

 

Even when they shifted into the more modern, and contemporary free movement, Magnus noticed Alec transition into it flawlessly almost as if he was meant to dance this way. This was his style of dance, this was what he was meant for. He was meant to dance the perfect balance of technique and expression.

 

The gooseflesh took over Magnus’ body and he shivered. He had to keep forcing his eyes to Lydia. He could not help them if he didn’t catch her strengths and weaknesses as well as Alec’s.

 

It was so hard for him to stop watching Alec move. The tall, and gorgeous ballet boy was electric when he danced like this, and the buzz was flying through the studio and burning into every nerve ending inside of Magnus’ body.

 

When they were finished, they stood panting and waiting for his words. Magnus had to calm himself and regain control of his thoughts and his body before he spoke to them. Thinking about everything he just witnessed he pieced together what he believed would be the most helpful opinion.

 

The one thing that stood out most to him was that the music was slightly off for where he had a feeling this piece should be going. Strangely enough he had a feeling that Alec may not realize this yet but he would eventually. Magnus had come to see that Alec was just as passionate and innately connected to dance as he was. Since this direction was new to him, perhaps Alec just needed a little more time to discover these things that Magnus picked up on right away.

 

With his thought in control Magnus got down to business, praising their talent first, of course. Lydia took the praise bashfully, but Alec surprised Magnus with a confused and almost angry expression. After Alec reassured them that his mind was just focused on dance, Magnus asked about what he’d envisioned for the piece.

 

The answer he received was almost astounding to Magnus. It was the perfect answer probably the same thing he would answer if asked. When he choreographed he never tried to control the dance, he let the feel of the piece speak to him and would follow along. Almost letting music and dance speak to him and guide him.

 

Magnus smiled to himself, Alec really was the real deal. A genius and true talent. Few people understood just how important this concept was for truly passionate dancing, but Magnus knew it well. It was the only way he could ever dance.

 

Alec showed himself to be self conscious over this concept though and felt his rambling was proof that something was wrong with him. Again Alec surprised Magnus. How did he not see how special he was? How incredible this talent is? After he reassured Alec that he was normal he wondered if Alec truly trusted his words, trusted him.

 

Why was it so important to Magnus that Alec trust him? He could never ask Alec that, how do you ask someone you hardly know if they trust you, the thought was preposterous. Yet still he found himself longing to ask and to earn Alec’s trust. Instead Magnus settled on asking if Alec trusted his meaning, and his feeling about this piece.

 

“I trust you

 

No hesitation, soft, quiet, sweet, perfect. Alec answered Magnus’ unspoken question, without realizing it. Magnus felt his body seize up. He was speechless, a bizarre feeling began to take over his senses. There was something in the way Alec said this to him, in the way he said ‘you’re welcome’ earlier. Everything seemed weighted with meaning. When Lydia very noticeably stepped away from them it further proved to Magnus that Alec answering him this way was no accident.

 

This meant something, something important. Magnus could feel it in his bones, something was happening. Alec said he trusted Magnus, but he could not help but wonder how he’d earned such trust when Alec hardly knew him. Magnus knew the shock he felt must have been very evident.

 

He watched Alec carefully, his mannerisms how he was shy, the way he hunched his shoulders, and almost shielded himself from hurt again. Magnus recognized it as something he’d seen Alec do before but also as something he himself did many times after Camille hurt him. Alec was squirming and nervous and then Magnus caught sight of the tears in the corner of Alec’s eyes although he was trying to look away from Magnus.

 

Every single interaction they’d had between the two of them played out in Magnus’ mind just then. The way Alec spoke to him, reacted to him, held himself around him, Magnus took mental note of it all as he replayed these moments in his mind. Watching him, blushing around him, these were all clues

 

The song? The dance piece?, Magnus thought with alarm.

 

The lyrics he researched this morning came flooding into his brain. The heartbreak and pain Alec showed in that old dance piece. Magnus’ own dream was crashing into his thoughts helping him to understand what was going on.

 

The timeline of a year and a half ago blaring obviously at Magnus like a neon sign. It matched perfectly to right before his breakup with Camille. It was clear as day to him now, he’d not let himself see it before because of his own prejudices against Alec, but now it was so very clear.

 

Alec Lightwood likes me. Has a crush on me, has had a crush on me for a long time. How long? Oh my god that piece was about me.

 

The realization shook Magnus, and nearly buckled his knees. This was absolutely impossible. No way possible. He shook his head trying to find a way to refute it, but deep down Magnus knew his conclusion was correct. He felt it.

 

Not knowing exactly what to do about this right now, Magnus did his best to gather his control. One thing was for sure, he saw Alec understood that he figured it out. The last thing he wanted to do was embarrass Alec, or hurt his feelings. Now that he knew this precious secret he felt like he needed to protect Alec even more, even from himself.

 

Knowing someone had those feeling for you held great power and he knew if he was a lesser man he could use that to hurt this poor boy. Instead it just made him understand Alec on a whole new level. And to be honest he was so extremely flattered that Alec Lightwood - The Alec Lightwood , would even think to look at him that way.

 

And then he heard it nagging just there at the back of his mind, his darkness, his pain, his hurt just scratching the corners of his brain to make a point.

 

You will get hurt, he will hurt you. Never let anyone get close. Never, you promised never again.

 

His mind was resolute, they were working together, and Magnus would remain a professional and an adult. He could control the new feeling he felt blooming from this realization. He could push it all away and focus on the task at hand. He would not give in or even entertain the thoughts. Ane he would never, absolutely never embarrass or make a fool out of Alec over his knowledge of these feelings. To do so would only make him the same as the monsters who hurt him.

 

Magnus liked Alec, more than he ever thought he would. He also thought Alec was fucking hot and his body was incredible, but he wasn’t ready for anything other than friendship right now. And letting himself feel something would only get in the way of their work. He couldn’t do that to Alec or himself. It wasn’t fair to either of them.

 

Burying his emotions and feelings deep Magnus nodded his head, and pressed on. It was time to get to work. With his signature bright smile and a playful tone from Lydia as she called him ‘Master Bane’ they began.

 

“Alright so what do you think of this movement?”

 

Magnus started in simple walkover holding himself in the handstand for a few beats toes pointed then flexed. As he came upright again he went right into a kick-spin or rather a leg hold pirouette to Lydia and Alec. Kicking off with his knees bent he used the strength to launch himself into the air in almost a flat spin. Landing gently onto his knees he spun three times then bounced back onto his feet his arms waving like water around him. He slid up onto the balls of his feet connecting into a string of pirouettes ending in a jeté entrelacé.

 

The awe on Lydia’s face was priceless, but Alec just smirked and nodded. His expression proved he was amazed but not surprised at all.

 

“Wow, Magnus”, Lydia breathed.

 

“You took ballet didn’t you?”, Alec just asked.

 

There was smile playing about Alec’s full pouty lips that Magnus was absolutely not imagining the feel of against his own. Nope, not at all.

 

“But of course”, Magnus answered trying to catch his breath. “Most dancers do, at least at the beginning. You should know that. Although I must say I am out of practice”.

 

“No Magnus that was really good’, Lydia gushed. “Those ballet sections were cleaner than some we see from our classmates in the senior master class”.

 

Magnus blinked his eyes, then left them wide as he pulled his head back in shock at her compliment.

 

“Wow, what a lovely thing to say, I’m sure you’re just being kind though, dear”.

 

“No, she means it”, Alec’s voice was hard but he was making a point, and Magnus could see it was for his benefit. “Remember how we said we don’t lie where dance is concerned, Lydia doesn’t either. And I have eyes and can back her up on this one. You’re good Magnus. How long since you’ve practiced your ballet steps?”

 

Again Magnus was shocked by their praise, but he knew better than to believe that both Lydia and Alec were telling anything but the truth. Especially because of the way Alec phrased it. He wouldn’t lie, Magnus knew that.

 

“Thank you. It means alot coming from you two. As for when I practiced ballet last, that’s a tricky question”, Magnus rubbed his fingers together as he thought about it. “I guess the best answer I can give is that I try to incorporate every style of dance in my routines, so in a way I practice ballet all the time. However if you’re talking a full hour long session of strict ballet it has been a few years, at least”.

 

“It doesn’t show”.

 

Alec smiled again his gaze flickering up from where they were watching Magnus’ fingers back to meet his. The sight of Alec’s hazel eyes flashing up at him from underneath his thick and beautiful dark eyelashes made Magnus’ resolve nearly crumble after setting it mere minutes ago.

 

Fuck he is so very beautiful.

 

Magnus controlled the small hitch that wanted to escape from the back of his throat and found his steady voice once more.

 

“So what did you think of my additions, Alexander? Would you like to give them a try?”, Magnus kept his tone soft and reassuring.

 

Alec’s answering smile was bright, “Yes actually. What you just did there”, Alec waved his hand in front of him, “that is all I ever want for this piece. For me actually. I want to be more free”.

 

The statement and the sentiment were beautiful. Magnus smiled at Alec and began to run through the piece a second time, Alec following perfectly without one mistake. He’d picked up the choreo after only seeing it one time, and Magnus was incredibly impressed.

 

Leaving Alec to work on the steps, Magnus turned his attentions to Lydia.

 

“I have some notes for you as well my dear, if you do not mind”

 

“Of course not”, Lydia bounced excitedly.

 

“I was paying attention to your strengths and you my dear are so graceful. I know you want to help Alec with this and you do very well with some of the freer sections, and should absolutely do them. But if you would consider this, if you stuck to strictly ballet movement in certain parts when Alexander moved into a contemporary freestyle it would create an insanely breathtaking dynamic. A clash and coexistence of styles so to speak. Do you get me?”

 

“Absolutely”, Lydia smiled. “I think what you just said makes perfect sense. This could be a great opportunity to not only mesh styles but show their contrasts side by side. Magnus you are a genius”.

 

Lydia jumped to hug him surprising him with the action. When his eyes found Alec he was laughing.

 

“You got her to hug you? Damn, you’re a wizard or a warlock or something. She doesn’t warm up easily”, Alec teased.

 

“Oh shut up, you”, Lydia fired back. “As Izzy always says you’re not exactly warm and fuzzy”.

 

“Hey I am with you guys”, Alec defended.

 

“Yeah with us, and that is only sometimes”.

 

Magnus watched them bickering and had to laugh to himself. They were almost as bad as the bunch of goofs he left back in Studio B. It was fun to finally see this side of Alec, The Alec he was with his friends and family. Magnus had witnessed the smiles before but never this much fun and banter. Soon he was full out laughing earning the embarrassed looks of two usually well behaved ballet dancers.

 

“Sorry about that”, Alec chuckled.

 

“Hey, no worries here. If you two are comfortable enough around me to bicker like that, we’ll have no problems working together at all. I know this from experience, my crew are a bunch of playful miscreants”.

 

“How’s their practice going?”

 

Alec chimed in taking Magnus off guard with this question, he seemed truly interested in knowing they were doing well.

 

“They were good when I left them this afternoon. Thank you for asking, that was sweet of you”.

 

Alec just shrugged “I don’t want these sessions to cause any problems with their piece. They’re really good, they don’t deserve that, and I’d feel like shit if that were to happen. Do you need to check on them? It’s totally cool with us”.

 

Lydia nodded in absolute agreement, and Magnus was so touched by their genuine consideration for his crew.

 

“I’m sure they’re fine for now. I’ll go check on them in a bit, how about we get down to work here?”

 

All three in agreement, Magnus helped Lydia tailor her sections to her strengths. Showing her how to transition into freer movement without making it obvious, letting her keep certain parts in strict ballet steps. She was doing so well and Magnus could not help but be in awe of her talent.

 

Leaving her to practice he moved to watch Alec. It seemed he’d taken the suggestions Magnus showed him and already expanded them into something more. It was flawless, Alec was a natural.

 

Alec had noticed him watching so closely and his step faltered. Righting himself easily Alec blushed a bit and Magnus just smiled.

 

“You’re really very good Alexander, a natural”.

 

“Thank you”, Alec’s blush grew.

 

“I have a minor suggestion. May I?”

 

Magnus put his hands out in front of him fingers flexed wordlessly asking if it was alright that he touch Alec to help position him. Alec nodded and Magnus saw him swallow hard. After what he figured out earlier, he knew the thought of Magnus touching him might make Alec very nervous.

 

Moving slowly Magnus walked around the back of Alec his hands held out, he gently placed them at Alec’s waist. Immediately he felt the shiver that Alec tried to hide, but failed to. Biting his lip and breathing deep, Magnus forced himself to focus on his task. Squeezing tight onto Alec’s left flank he moved his other hand around to the right oblique muscle.

 

Alec sucked in a breath and when Magnus looked up to the mirror his eyes met the hazel ones. Alec’s eyes were nearly all amber and black, hardly any green or flecks of blue were visible. Magnus knew what his touch was doing to Alec and he felt wrong for knowing.

 

The look must have shown in his eyes because Alec broke the awkward staring contest when he spoke suddenly.

 

“I’m sorry”, Alec whispered, his voice was broken. “I know you know. But I promise I won’t let it get in the way. I’ll figure this out, I promise”.

 

Alec’s vow was sweet and pure and nearly broke Magnus’ heart. If only he could allow himself to even consider it. But he knew he could not. Alec deserved a whole man, a man worthy of his love, a man who could love him back. Magnus was not that man.  Tamping down his own pain Magnus nodded curtly.

 

“It’s okay, Alexander. I understand. We’ll do just fine even with this out in the open. I swear I will not say a word”.

 

“Thank you”.

 

“You’re very welcome. May I show you what I wanted to now?”, Magnus felt like he needed to ask permission after that last exchange.

 

“Of course”, Alec was all business again, his posture rigid and tight.

 

Magnus saw the shield go back into place and could not help the small crack it made in his heart to see this poor boy still having to hide behind armor. For that he was so very sorry.

 

I’m sorry Alexander, I am not good for you, he thought to himself, then pushed it aside.

 

His hands still on Alec he explained that sometimes the way Alec kept these particular muscle so taut affected the way the free movement looked to the eye. Magnus ran his hand along the flank and oblique again, and this time they both ignored Alec’s shiver.

 

“Do you see how taut you are here? Relax them, shake it out if you must. Then try the section again.

 

Alec agreed to Magnus suggestion, shaking and stretching his entire torso so that all his muscles were even more loose.

 

“Now try again”, Magnus repeated.

 

Alec nodded. The difference was so very noticeable even to Alec as he watched himself in the mirror, he almost looked like Magnus for a few steps.

 

“Beautifully done”, Magnus praised. “You two keep it up, I’m going to check on my little brats for a bit. Be back soon?”.

 

It came out unintentionally sounding like a question. Lydia and Alec just nodded continuing their practice as Magnus left them to it.

Chapter Text

Alec was screaming; on the inside. On the outside he was holding himself with the most rigid and forced composure he could muster in the moment. Lydia moved closer she was smiling, she hadn’t noticed.

 

Alec swallowed hard to keep from screaming as the door swung closed behind Magnus’ retreating form. He flexed his hands, as they hung at his sides, balled them up tightly, then flexed them again needing desperately to ground himself. He was trying to rid his body of the panic he felt rising.

 

Lydia nodded at him, her bright eyes sparkling.

 

“Ready?”, she breathed out a happy tone in her question.

 

“Yes”

 

He could not hide the gravely strain in his voice. Thankfully Lydia didn’t seem to register this or perhaps she was just ignoring it for Alec’s sake. Either way he was glad for her ignorance or discretion.

 

They danced the section Magnus just reworked side by side. Two sets of focused eyes on the mirror watching the way their bodies moved together. The adjustments Magnus implemented made the choreography seem to come alive with a poetic artistry.

 

Magnus had completely changed the entire feel of this piece in just about forty minutes. Alec was so impressed watching the way their choreography worked so well together. His mind marveling at how Magnus added more free movement to Alec’s sets, removed freestyle from parts of Lydia’s sets, helped her clean up her lines where she was unsure, and did it separately, yet Magnus still had the combined look in mind.

 

Their movement was knotting together perfectly yet contrasting each other in the most exquisite way. Alec’s body was literally shaking with great awe and reverence for his further understanding of the greatness of Magnus’ abilities.

 

It was all too much for Alec to handle, he felt his protective shield starting to crumble and his panic took over. He knew Magnus was incredibly gifted and talented but to witness it and be part of it was taking a toll on his emotions. Even more so now that Alec realized Magnus figured out his secret. Still Alec danced, not wanting to alert Lydia to his inner turmoil. They ran through a second time, again it was perfection.

 

How was Alec supposed to keep his feelings for Magnus out of the way and focus on working together when Magnus kept proving himself to be so infuriatingly perfect? Alec felt his breath coming shorter and it wasn’t from the exertion of the dance. He was so afraid of ruining this, so scared of a misstep. He had messed up and now Magnus knew.

 

How could I have done this? Why do I always mess up?

 

The panicked feeling started to make Alec’s chest feel heavy. Lydia was bouncing around at his side cheerfully as they just finished the second go, but his mind was unfocused and fuzzy.

 

Turning to face her Alec forced a smile and with great effort focused his mind on what she was saying.

 

“Alec that was so good. Magnus is a genius. Did you see how great that looked?”

 

She was right, it was beyond great but Alec could not let himself feel the excitement at the moment. He had to validate his friend on her hard work, and reassure her that he agreed with her assessment; and he needed to do it quickly. Alec knew he had only a few minutes of control left so he smiled again and hugged Lydia close kissing the top of her head.

 

“It was fantastic, Lyd. This is all I ever wanted for this piece, and you’re killing it, thank you”.

 

He may have been focused on just getting the words out, but he found he meant every one of them even in his state of distress.

 

“And Magnus is so amazing, Alec. You’re plan of including him was really pretty genius”.

 

Alec had to smile through his panic and pain, Magnus is amazing and Alec was glad Lydia was seeing the extent of it as well. Feeling like at any second he was going to slip, Alec bit the side of his tongue, took a deep breath and rolled his shoulders.

 

“Lyd, I need a break for a sec. Restroom, too much water”, he rolled his eyes and fidgeted back and forth hoping he sounded nonchalant and played his ruse off well enough.

 

Lydia just scrunched her nose up and laughed at him.

 

“Don’t need the visual, Alec”, she teased. “You could have just said you needed a break”.

 

“Be back in a few”.

 

Alec didn’t even look back to see if she returned to rehearsing, he didn’t hear her reply, he didn’t hear anything but the pulsing of his own heart beating frantically in his chest. As soon as he was through the doors Alec bolted in the opposite direction of the back studios on the first floor. He didn’t want to risk running into Magnus right now. Once Alec neared the main lobby he cut to the right and slipped through a door that led to one of the many staging rooms, successfully avoiding detection by the security staff at the front desk.

 

Weaving his way through rows of costumes and large unlit vanity tables Alec made a beeline for the door at the back of the room. Taking the long hallway into the backstage area where some of the props for all the shows were kept Alec peeked through the curtains double checking to make sure the auditorium was not in use this afternoon.

 

Once Alec knew he was officially alone he let every emotion and feeling take over. It started as a low rumble in his chest that grew in strength and decibels as it traveled up his throat. When he finally released it was a full on pained shout of frustration and hurt.

 

“You’re a fucking idiot”, he screamed at himself with angry vehemence.

 

He slapped his hand through the air mindlessly to release some tension, and his palm hit the taut canvas panel for one of the scenic backdrops. Alec found he enjoyed the sting that the wood frame under the canvas spread through his hand. Suddenly Alec felt the desperate need for deliverance for his disheartened soul, he didn’t think before he acted which was very unlike him.

 

Balling his right hand tight, he swung full force this time, aiming for the canvas purposefully. Alec’s fist went through making a hole, and breaking the thick wood cross frame. His knuckles stung badly and it helped him focus his mind on the physical pain not the emotional distress. When he pulled his hand back the splintered wood broke through making the hole rip further down the canvas.

 

Feeling some relief break over him, Alec shook and flexed his injured hand, staring down at the broken skin on his knuckles. It hadn’t begun to bleed and he doubted it would but still seeing the broken skin put his head back in focus. Finally seeing and registering what he had done, Alec’s eyes widened at the damaged set piece. He felt like absolute shit, someone had worked so hard on this backdrop for the upcoming showcases and he had destroyed it without thought.

 

“Fuuuuuuuck”, he screamed into the fairly dark space his voice echoing loudly back onto his own ears making him flinch.

 

“You fucked something else up, Lightwood . How very original of you”, he mocked himself out loud spitting his own last name like a curse, his lips sneering.

 

Burying his fingers into his hair, Alec pulled at it in shame and irritation, as he fell back against the brick wall and slid to the cold concrete floor. His eyes still focused on the hole in the beautiful canvas, the jagged edges of wood breaking through. He thought to himself that the canvas looked exactly how he felt, broken from the inside out.

 

His eyes fluttered closed as he tilted his head back to rest it against the wall. His mind was a mess, his muscles were sore from dancing, his heart and soul ached and burned because Magnus knew he wanted him. And now his knuckles were throbbing, and his guilt was at a high thanks to his own stupidity.

 

“I’m sorry”, Alec rasped out to no one in particular since he was alone.

 

Perhaps he was apologizing to the creator of the backdrop he’d ruined, or to Magnus again, or to his sister for failing to keep his promise, to Lydia for spazzing out, to his parents for not being perfect, or to himself for not keeping better control on his emotions.

 

The feeling of being suffocated under a mountain of stress and fears started to press down on him and Alec found himself nearly bent in half over his knees from the weight of the agony.

 

Resting his forehead against his knees Alec let the pain take full hold so that he could move past it sooner. He knew that the only way forward was through it. Alec’s small gasps came quicker and soon he felt the tears spilling down his cheeks and onto his tights.

 

He hurt, everything just hurt, and he let himself feel it, every excruciating bit of pain. He balled his fists again and ground his teeth. His arms around his knees, head still hung over them, his shoulders rounded in a resigned manner. Letting the tears fall silently now, he surrendered to the moment.

 

Slowly the frustration and anger became less, Alec felt the tension leaving his body almost as if each tear pulled a piece of it from him when they fell freely. His breathing under control again the invisible weight on him lifted, the relentless ache inside his chest now a dull throb. It was still there but no longer as sharp now that the immediate panic had subsided.

 

Alec rested his cheek against his knees and stared off towards the back wall. There were so many other props leaning against the brick; his gaze landed on a faux set of prison bars that he knew were for a Chicago inspired jazz dance piece for the Junior’s Showcase.

 

The symbolism resonated within him, and he found a wry smile creeping over his lips. He’d have to lock these criminal feelings away behind metaphorical steel bars, and throw away the key. It was the only way to survive the pain and still be able to work with Magnus. Resolved in his decision Alec spoke his truths aloud, and vowed a small promise to himself before moving on.

 

“You love him. You want him. He does not love nor want you”, Alec’s voice broke slightly on these words.

 

He licked his dry lips, his eyes still on the bars that were spurring him on.

 

“This is his choice and you need to respect that. You want to work with him, he wants to work with you, make it happen. Your feelings are not important right now, this piece is. This piece is your future, Lydia’s future, and now Magnus’ future. They all ride on this, get your head right and disregard your heart for the time being”.

 

His voice was harder, determined, set.

 

“Magnus will help and he will not make this awkward. He promised, and he wouldn’t lie. He’s too good of a person to lie about that”.

 

The softness when Alec spoke these words of praise about Magnus felt like a betrayal to himself, but Alec knew that would always be the way for him. He could not hide it, he could only ignore it.

 

“Lock it away, move on. Now stop wasting their time and your own by wallowing here in tears. Time to grow the fuck up”.

 

With these final words growled out, Alec mentally pushed all his feelings over what just happened with Magnus behind the steel bars and locked the door. Pressing the palms of his hands into his eyes, Alec rubbed his tears away. He ran his hands over his face roughly to hopefully clear it of every sign that he’d been crying.

 

His mind set, pulse slowed to a normal range, tears ebbed, Alec took a deep breath and stood from the floor dusting off his tights. His shoulders stiff, his back straight, his jaw hard and his chin raised.

 

Armor in place again, Alec quickly escaped from his private haven stopping briefly at the restroom to wash his face and get some cold water onto his cut knuckles. He looked himself in the mirror and huffed. The thin skin of his eyelids were tinged slightly more pink than usual but other than that there was no evidence left of his tears.

 

Dabbing with a paper towel at his knuckles he exited the restroom to rush back to the studio. However just as he walked through the door he saw Magnus hurrying down the hall from the opposite direction muttering to himself about ‘shouldn’t keep him waiting like this’. Magnus seemed very frazzled and a bit worried.

 

Alec ducked back into the open door for a second so Magnus wouldn’t see him as he neared the door to Studio A. From his vantage point diagonally and to the right of the studio, Alec peeked and saw Magnus stop just in front of the door, his eyes were scanning for someone and Alec realized it must have been him. He was obviously seeing Lydia rehearse alone because Alec was standing in a restroom doorway spying yet again on an unsuspecting Magnus.

 

“Shit, did he leave?”

 

Alec heard Magnus ask himself this before he shook his head and sighed loudly. Plastering what looked to be a fake smile on his face, Magnus entered the studio. Before the doors could close Alec heard the cheerful tone Magnus put on for Lydia’s sake.

 

“Perfection, my dear as always”, Magnus complimented. “And where is Alexander?”, his intonation was high and playful.

 

The door swung shut cutting off Lydia’s answer but Alec knew she would easily cover for him. Lydia definitely had to know something weird was going on between himself and Magnus, but she was keeping it to herself. Alec let out the breath he did not realize he’d been holding. Once again he felt grateful to have such a wonderful friend and dance partner in Lydia.

 

Squaring his shoulders, his back rigid, Alec made for Studio A, he already felt like he’d been gone too long for this to be considered normal behavior. Once standing in front of the doors Alec took one more deep breath and entered like nothing had happened.

 

“I’m sorry for my absence, my mother called to check in. You know how it is, Lyd, what my parents expect of me when they’re gone”

 

Although it wasn’t exactly a lie since his parents did this all the time, the timing was in fact a lie. It surprised Alec that the fib fell easier from him than he ever thought capable, his gaze still avoided Magnus’ curious eyes.

 

“I’m really very sorry, Magnus”, he finally let himself look at the beautiful man, hiding the gasp in his breath in a dramatic huff. “They’re a bit overbearing. Did I miss anything good?”, he asked his voice strained to remain light.

 

“No worries, Alexander, I just got back myself and was worried I had kept you waiting”.

 

Magnus’ smile was tight, his eyes seemed to scan Alec’s face for something; but what it was Alec did not know. Magnus was far too observant though, and the thought that he would figure out Alec had been upset made Alec squirm a bit.

 

Knowing Magnus knew about his feelings was enough of an embarrassment. Alec didn’t need Magnus to know how badly it hurt him that they were unrequited. He really needed this arrangement to work.

 

Alec turned his face away and walked towards the sound system to escape the ever watchful and contemplative stare of Magnus Bane. Readjusting the music and pausing it. Alec gave himself a few seconds to find his calm once more.

 

“So it seems the both of us were busy and kept poor Lydia waiting around. So ungentlemanlike of us”, Alec teased with a smile as he whirled to face them again.

 

“Yes, how dare us jerks waste the time of this angel”, Magnus joked back his eyes shining.

 

“Well I wouldn’t exactly say she’s an angel, she can be a bit bossy at times”, Alec teased.

 

“Hush it Lightwood”, Lydia growled with a deadly smile painted on her lips.

 

The odd tension between them was broken for now, as they all laughed a little at their silly banter.

 

“Please guys, I know how this works. We’re all very busy and I don’t mind as long as we get the work done when we can”.

 

A worried thought from earlier came back to plague Alec’s thoughts. If Magnus was so needed by his crew that he’d been gone the entire time he himself was gone, then perhaps he really was asking too much of Magnus. The shame ate at his gut as he thought about how to word his next question without sounding like he was doubting or offending Magnus. That was the last thing he wanted in the world.

 

“Speaking of being busy and getting important work done, are you sure this is something you feel you can willingly devote your time to? I - I mean”, Alec began to stutter the unsure feeling growing at the stricken look on Magnus’ face, “it’s just I - I know we discussed it a little before, and you said you could manage, but I know you work a lot, and of course your crew should come first. Seeing that you were worried about getting back to us when they obviously needed your attention; it’s just I feel really bad”.

 

Alec was rambling again his eyes looking everywhere but at Magnus and Lydia, he was always so embarrassed that he could not often express himself easily. It was especially worse when he was feeling unsure of something; or worried he was the cause of other people’s pain or problems.

 

“Alexander”.

 

The smooth tone and the way Magnus’ voice seemed to embrace his full name had Alec fighting the need to squirm. Yet the silky intonation seemed to relax Alec a great deal from his previous harried state.

 

“They didn’t really need me, per se”, Magnus continued with a small smirk on his face.

 

Alec wondered if Magnus knew what hearing his name like that did to him, and if Magnus found it amusing to have this effect over him. Perhaps not in a bad way since he knew Magnus would not toy with him purposefully. Still the light in Magnus’ eyes confused him.

 

“I am always very confident in their skill”, Magnus continued obviously not knowing what was going on in Alec’s mind. “I know I can throw down choreo and have them pick it up almost immediately. I also have great faith that Ragnor, Raphael and Clary, for that matter, will keep things under control for the most part. There is no need for you to worry your pretty self..”

 

Magnus’ words seemed to cut off like he realized he’d slipped up a bit at calling Alec ‘pretty’ in front of Lydia. Of course Alec’s heart soared at hearing it, but he knew that Magnus was just a man who was appreciative of good looks and talent. It wasn’t anything meant to be special or personal. He’d heard Magnus call people sweet names many times, especially his friends and that was what Alec was now.

 

Only a friend, nothing more, Alec reminded himself.

 

“I took so long getting back because my little demons got into a bit of a heated argument, and I needed to intervene before Raph killed Eli”, Magnus tilted his head and raised his brow a funny expression on his face as if he were remembering the scene he witnessed.

 

“Oh my. Is everything alright?”, Lydia asked concerned her hands on her hips.

 

Alec furrowed his brow showing his concern as well as they waited for Magnus to answer.

 

“They’re fine”.

 

Magnus waved his hand, his tone nonchalant as a little chuckle escaped him that caused both Alec and Lydia to squint at him their gaze questioning. Rolling his eyes, he nodded at them to imply that he would in fact explain.

 

“It seems Eli and your charming friend Raj made plans to meet up and make-out. Elias skipped out under the guise of using the restroom and didn’t come back for a full twenty minutes. When he finally got back, he had quite the hickey and his hair was a mess, apparently those two can’t keep their hands off each other. Anyway when Raphael saw it he flipped on Eli. Raphael when he is angry is quite the funny thing to witness; I think we all mess with him on purpose just to see him lose it”.

 

By the time he finished Magnus was full on laughing as he tried to choke the words out; Lydia and Alec were laughing as well. They both knew their friend really had it bad for his boyfriend; whenever they saw Raj lately he was attached to Elias either in a lip lock or pressed against one another. When they weren’t together Raj had his eyes glued to his phone texting said boyfriend.

 

“Yeah” Alec offered smirking. “They were blocking my locker this morning during one of their rather heated make-out sessions. But at least I got to officially meet Elias, he seems like a cool guy”

 

Magnus perked up even more at this, seemingly pleased that Alec appreciated the beloved members of his makeshift family.

 

“Thank you for saying so, Alexander. Elias is very sweet and I promise he’ll be good to your Raj”, Magnus gestured to both members of his present company. “However I am sorry they were blocking your locker, it seems they are very taken with one another”.

 

“That’s an understatement”, Lydia grumbled and rolled her eyes away from them.

 

“What did you see?”, Alec knew that tone and had to ask while still smirking.

 

Magnus stood watching them both his own expression very curious as well.

 

“Honestly guys, you really don’t want to know”

 

“That bad huh?, Magnus asked chuckling lightly.

 

“Yes”

 

Lydia made a disgusted noise, and shook her head and shoulders like she was trying to get the image of what she’d witnessed out of her mind with force.

 

“Let’s just say I never have to wonder what one of best friend’s ass looks like”, she shivered.

 

Both Alec and Magnus bust out laughing at the look on her face, full belly laughs and everything felt so much lighter and happier. After the awkward, stilted feeling from earlier and then his meltdown, Alec welcomed this moment with fervor.

 

The joyous feeling was infectious and carried through the rest of the afternoon. Alec’s emotional armor was still in place, of course, but he allowed the warm feelings of friendship and camaraderie to seep through the cracks.

 

Light-hearted fun, mixed with the intensity and focus of crafting their dance piece, it was the perfect distraction. Even when they needed to make physical contact, Alec kept his composure.

 

Magnus, drifted his long fingers up Alec’s bicep to his shoulder, the shiver still showed itself, but it was easier for Alec to focus on what Magnus was teaching him, not how it made him feel.  Strong hands, and splayed fingers gripping his whole shoulder showing him the movement that made the joint seem like it was not connected to his body. Though the heat in the touch was there and the metaphoric steel bars rattled, nothing escaped.

 

Alec smiled to himself for holding on to his control. Magnus made eye contact with him in the mirror once again and returned the smile. However Alec could not help but see there was a sadness behind Magnus’ eyes, and he guessed that Magnus felt really guilty for knowing what he was doing to Alec with each touch.

 

Softening his gaze Alec tried to catch his attention, when Magnus looked up again he was greeted with the tender look. Alec shook his head almost imperceptibly, but Magnus caught it. The look that accompanied the head shake silently spoke for Alec.

 

Please don’t feel guilty , it begged. I’m fine.

 

With a nod and a tiny smile to show he understood, Magnus moved back to work with Lydia some more. And so they continued just like this, Magnus stepping back to watch and then adding his input. Teaching them any movement that was new or uncomfortable, tailoring the piece together with Alec to fit the strengths of each dancer.

 

When they had a full section finally blocked out they ran through it all three of them, Magnus slightly in front to give them a frame of reference for the newer movement. When they moved into their partner moves, Magnus just dance along freely; losing himself to the melody.

 

Alec kept finding himself watching Magnus’ movement in the mirror, and he couldn’t help but think how right this felt in his gut. The three of them dancing this together, it looked absolutely perfect. Alec knew how a good piece looked, it was one of his many gifts as a dancer and choreographer; to pinpoint with just his eyes where something looks and feels magical. He was feeling it now as Magnus moved with them and then made up his own steps while he and Lydia did their partner work.

 

Although it felt so right, one thing felt off, and Alec knew what is was immediately. To make this piece work Magnus needed to have more interaction with them, but they were only rehearsing what Alec and Magnus had already choreographed as a duet. They’d just begun to work together and this was so unexpected. Alec didn’t plan to have this happen but here it was taking over his mind and he could not make it leave.

 

Unsure of how well it would be received if Alec mentioned he had changed his mind about the choreography he clamped his mouth shut to keep the excited words from escaping. And he was excited. Alec was usually reserved and quiet, the type who was happy to watch and assess, but when it came to dance he often found himself openly passionate and loud.

 

This is what you’ve been looking for, his mind screamed at him. Another important piece to your final big picture.

 

It was the only way this piece would work for him now, Alec knew the only way to improve this was to officially change his original plans for the piece and ask Magnus to join them. There was a new story to tell, nothing else would suffice any more, it had to be at least a trio or nothing at all. Thoughts of an ensemble with background and choral dancers inched their way into the edges of his mind but Alec knew nothing would work unless Magnus danced with them.

 

The entire time they rehearsed Alec was mentally reblocking each movement to add Magnus. His choreographer’s mind adding new steps, and seeing it as if they were dancing the new piece instead of what they were actually doing. Alec knew his body was obeying and following along flawlessly but his mind was focused so far away on a greater endeavor.

 

Choreographing a three partner interaction that began with Alec and Lydia, switching to Magnus and Lydia, and finally Magnus and himself. Alec was smiling his skin was buzzing, just the thought of partner work with Magnus made him want to jump out of his skin, but more than that he was excited about this new direction.

 

“Stop, stop, stop”, Lydia’s voice cut through halting all movement.

 

Magnus spun to look at them confused for a moment and Lydia went to pause the music. The studio grew silent, only the panting of tired dancers trying to catch their breath and the elegant soft steps of Lydia’s pointe shoes on the sprung floors as she made her way back to them.

 

“I know that look Alec Lightwood”, Lydia accused, her finger wagging in front of his smiling face. “I know what you’re doing in that talented brain of yours”.

 

“Forgive me, dear would you mind sharing with the rest of the class?”

 

Magnus’ tone was light as he questioned Lydia, he seemed quite unsure of what was going on. The abrupt stop and Lydia’s words were very unexpected so his confusion was understandable.

 

“You’re changing this already, aren’t you? You’re choreographing in your head again. You’ve got it, I know you found it. I can see it in your smile and the way your eyes are lit up, Alec. You’re practically shaking”.

 

Lydia just continued to watch Alec’s face as he gave her a giant smile. She knew him well, he could not argue that. Turning his attention to a very confused Magnus, Alec explained himself.

 

“Remember when you asked me to think about my full vision for this piece, and earlier I told you I was still searching for parts of it?”

 

Magnus just nodded his answer, the look on his face spoke of his understanding. Alec could see that Magnus’ mind was working. It seemed that he already knew what Alec was going to say next. Of course he did. Alec was discovering that his and Magnus’ minds worked quite similarly in matters of dance.

 

“Yeah you can see it can’t you? It’s clearly there, isn’t it?”, Alec offered excitedly instead of continuing his explanation.

 

An expression of shock and a nervous swallow was all Magnus gave at first, but then he nodded once more. Their eyes locked and they were speaking without words. It was the language of dance, and they were both so gifted and passionate about it that it seemed words weren’t always necessary.

 

“Am I wrong?”, Alec asked, suddenly worried that he’d stepped over some invisible line.

 

“No”, Magnus answered his voice raspy. “You’re absolutely right, Alexander. I see it too and it’s really a very good concept”.

 

“It’s perfect”, Alec returned slightly breathless. “Thank you for seeing it”.

 

He smiled his biggest smile for Magnus, receiving a tiny one in return. Yes Alec was aching with want for the man in front of him, and yes everything between them was slightly more difficult to deal with now, but this was something so easy. Something connecting them that was effortless and pure.

 

Alec shared this special and almost magical ability with Magnus, and it made his stomach flip. His respect and admiration for the man grew even more, if that was possible. His heart was beating so fast in his chest he thought they would hear it.

 

“Okay”, Lydia interrupted, stepping between them. “Now I need both of you to share with the class because I’m lost here. What are two talking about? You didn’t really even say anything”.

 

Lydia looked back and forth between them waiting for an explanation to what what going on. Alec eyes sparkled as he stared at Magnus, watching and waiting, but Magnus seemed freaked out by the realization. Alec began to worry that perhaps he should be questioning it as well, but he was too pumped about his new ideas.

 

It was so very still in the studio, only the ticking of the clock on the wall was heard. The sound nearly deafening to Alec who was extremely nervous about what Magnus would say to his new direction.

 

Although his eyes showed whatever was going on in Alec’s mind was appealing to him, Magnus’ body language showed he was uncomfortable and even afraid to some extent. Fear gripped Alec’s heart, something was very wrong here. He fucked up again, he promised Magnus he wouldn’t let his feelings get in the way. Yet here he was staring all goo-goo eyed just because he discovered that he and Magnus had another dance related ability in common.

 

Shit, fix this Lightwood. Stop staring at him like a silly school boy in love.

 

“Um - uh”, Alec sputtered out not so smoothly.

 

He broke his eye contact with Magnus in favor of looking at Lydia who was giving him her knowing look her brow raised, her feet planted firm, arms across her chest.

 

Shit, fucked up again.

 

“Lyd, um - you’re right I was choreographing in my head. I found it, another piece to our puzzle”.

 

“And that silent conversation?”, one side of Lydia’s mouth lifted in a devious smirk.

 

“Well, um - uh- it seems - and stop me if I’m wrong, Magnus, it seems he saw it too”.

 

Lydia spun to look at Magnus, the shock on her face evident.

 

“Really?”, her voice held so much awe. “Magnus, you can do that too? Choreograph in your mind while you dance? See routines unfold and change in your mind’s eye?”

 

“I can”, Magnus shrugged like it was nothing.

 

He still looked a little uncomfortable but at least he smiled. That was a start to getting back on track and away from Alec’s mistake.

 

“Don’t you shrug at me”, Lydia smiled, lightening the mood further. “That’s incredible it’s a talent I envy, and this one here just blows me away all the time”, she thumbed towards Alec. “You’re telling me I have to deal with two dance geniuses? Great!”, she threw her hands up and laughed.

 

“Sorry?”, Magnus scrunched his face up and Alec nearly lost it with how adorable he looked, but he reined it in.

 

“You are so not sorry”, Lydia fired back, her tone teasing. “But please, in the future remember there is a third person here that doesn’t have your ‘dance mind voodoo powers’ who needs verbal explanations”.

 

“Yeah, about that, sorry Lyd”, Alec smiled.

 

“You’re not sorry either. You’re just happy to find another perfect and gorgeous genius like you”, Lydia teased. “Just fill me in, please”.

 

“Well in all honesty, I’m not sure it’s my place to say anything until I have confirmation, that is”.

 

Alec fidgeted nervously as he scanned Magnus’ face for any indication that it was okay to proceed with an answer for Lydia. Alec needed to know if Magnus was on board with this change. If he wasn’t, then Alec would have to learn how to deal with knowing anything else would be a second rate routine compared to what could have been.

 

Still all that mattered to Alec was that Magnus was fine joining them. He wanted this piece to be epic, but not at the expense of Magnus’ comfort. Alec stepped a little closer to Magnus fighting the instinct to reach out and grab his hand.

 

“Would you like to join us?”, Alec whispered. “And please don’t feel obligated to say yes. Just as before you can say no if you like”, he made his shaky voice as soft as he could.

 

“Are you sure about this, Alexander? Are you sure you can..?”, Magnus’ words trailed off discreetly, but the implication was clear.

 

Magnus was making sure Alec would be able to handle actually dancing with him, now that they both knew of Alec’s feelings. He was being kind and considerate of Alec’s emotions just like he promised he would be. The concern and care made Alec’s heart flutter but it also steeled his resolve. Magnus was a good man, as well as an amazing dancer. He deserved to be in this featured piece and perhaps gain the attention of dance troupes that he may not have had a chance to before.

 

“I can if you are willing to give this idea a shot. You and I both know already how right it feels. I can see it in your eyes. We don’t lie when it comes to dance, remember?”, Alec smiled softly. “It’s only for the love of the dance, I promise I will be fine”.

 

It was out there, Lydia had to have heard this. Alec’s emotions were now common confirmed knowledge between the three people in Studio A. And the fact that Magnus didn’t feel the same was known also. There was no turning back from this, though. Alec knew he had to sacrifice his dignity a little for the sake of what was right for the dance piece. It was worth it in his mind, although his skin was crawling from sheer terror at the moment.

 

“For the love of the dance”, Magnus repeated back with a smile in his tone.

 

A look of understanding for what he knew Alec had just sacrificed for this piece crossed his features.

 

“I’m in!”, Magnus stated firmly.

 

“Yes”, Alec clapped his hands together excitedly and began bouncing on the balls of his feet. “Thank you, for giving it a chance”.

 

“I can see it is the only way, who am I to deny the muse”, Magnus smirked.

 

Lydia rejoined them quietly without a word. Alec knew she would figure it out from what she’d heard and witnessed. He also knew that his moment of shame would stay forever between the three of them, Lydia wouldn’t do that to him.

 

Without missing a beat Lydia jumped in. Both she and Magnus took direction from Alec as he began to explain the new dynamic for the piece. The darkness, the heavy emotions the broken steps that meshed from one style into another easily. As he showed Magnus what he envisioned in his mind Alec could not keep the smile from his face. His excitement was palpable, and filled the studio with an effervescence that soon captured Magnus and Lydia as well.

 

Magnus is going to dance with me. Magnus ‘freaking’ Bane is going to dance with me.

 

Alec’s skin tingled every time Magnus’s fingers brushed against him or vice versa. Every time they helped each other with a move or partnered together with Lydia to lift her or just the two of them dancing. This was going to be so hard for him to handle but in the end Alec knew it would all be worth it. This was a story no one at The Institute was prepared to see from him, and he was almost buzzing with energy and the electricity throughout his body. This was a story meant to be told.

 

You can do this Lightwood, you three will be making school history. You deserve this as do they.

 

Alec watched Lydia and Magnus dance as if they were in a struggle against one another. This piece would certainly make a statement and send a message, Alec knew it in his heart and soul. This was it. This was what this piece was supposed to feel like. With a huge smile he rejoined the two and they continued their practice.


Magnus’ mind was spinning, his heart racing as he practically ran from Studio A down the long hall back towards Studio B. His mind was alway a slightly dark and tempestuous space even on good days, but ever since Magnus started talking, and working with Alec the darkness was taking over more often.

 

His chest felt like something heavy was pressing down on it squeezing the last bit of air from his lungs. Magnus felt like he was choking and struggling just to take a breath, his head pounded and ached.

 

Get away now, protect yourself. Never again.

 

How could you hurt him like that? You’re not worthy of someone like him.

 

Magnus’ thoughts were at war with him. The two sides of him fighting internally. The dark and scary place that needed him to shield himself from hurt, and the kind bright place that needed him to protect Alec from the hurt he could cause him.

 

As each step took him further away from the person plaguing his thoughts and emotions Magnus felt a calm wash over him. He’d be back with his crew in a few more steps, familiarity and predictable were things he desperately needed right now. He needed his friends, his family and their brand of crazy was something he could handle easier than his own.

 

He took it back the minute he walked through the doors to find Elias backed up against a mirror, Raphael inches away from his face cursing in Spanish as Simon and Ragnor  stood between the two men so that Raph wouldn’t be able to start swinging.

 

“I leave you alone for less than an hour and all hell breaks loose? I wonder what happens every day after I leave for work, how do you keep from killing one another? I suspect it’s Biscuit who keeps you all in line”.

 

Magnus pulled Clary’s giggling form into an embrace and sent his best exasperated look at those at the center of the issue. All shouting stopped and everyone was definitely surprised to see him.

 

“Weren’t expecting me to check up on you, huh?”, Magnus chided. “What’s going on here?”, his fingers fluttered dismissively towards the huddle of men.

 

The look on Raphael’s face was near murderous as he reached past the blockade of Simon and Ragnor, and used to fingers to push Eli’s chin off to the side. A bright purple splotch made itself visible to Magnus.

 

“This is what happened” Raph gestured to the rather large hickey Elias was sporting. “This pendejo here, said he was going to the bathroom , then wasted twenty minutes of practice time to go fuck off with his noviecito”.

 

“Leave him be, Raph”, Magnus’ voice was calm and full of amusement.

 

“But..?”

 

“But, nothing. You let yourself get so worked up for nothing all the time. Eli do you know your newest section clean?”, Magnus raised his brow at Elias in challenge.

 

“Of course I do”, Eli answered suredly.

 

“Show me”, Magnus smiled.

 

Elias pushed past Ragnor and bumped shoulders with Raphael on purpose staring him down the entire time. Simon had somehow moved quietly across the room to set the music to the right spot and hit play just as Elias pulled his skully over his head and immediately went into his baby spins before morphing into windmills and ending on a ridiculously amazing headspin.

 

“There, he knows what he is supposed to do, and he executed it flawlessly. I don’t see the problem”, Magnus narrowed his eyes at Raphael, his tone far too jovial to be serious.

 

Of course Raphael took it seriously, this is Raphael Santiago, they all knew he would make a big deal out of it. The tension mixed with amusement showed on every single face as they braced themselves for his tirade.

 

“The problem? The problem? Magnus are you kidding me? You left me in charge, how am I supposed to do my job when certain people don’t take practice as seriously as the rest of us?”, he glared at Eli as he spit his words angrily.

 

“I wasn’t gone that long”, Elias protested, sounding very apologetic.

 

“Twenty minutes is a long time Eli, don’t lie; we can’t have people fucking around. This routine and this show is important to us. If you don’t want to be here you shouldn’t be”, Raphael fired back.

 

“I know it’s important, I didn’t mean to…”, Elias’ voice was very quiet and soft.

 

Magnus shot him a look of understanding “It’s fine E”, Magnus insisted. “Raph calm down please, there is no harm done. This is Elias you’re yelling at, your brother in all of this. We’re family, remember that”.

 

“Fine whatever”, Raph huffed. “I still say he should see his boyfriend on his own time.

 

“I agree”, Magnus stated firmly but still smiled kindly at Eli.

 

“Finally, you speak some sense”

 

“I always speak sense”

 

“Not always ”, Raphael insisted, always wanting the last word.

 

“Now please my darlings, stay focused. Please. Let’s run through once and see how it goes, yes?”.

 

Magnus clapped his hands and glanced at the faces of those he loved more than most in this world. The faces of the people he let closer to him than anyone was allowed, yet still they were never as close as they could or should be. No one was, no one breached that inner wall, and Magnus preferred it that way.

 

However right now he felt the wall wavering slightly. He loved his annoying jerks in his crew, and they made him feel like being home. Although he always knew this for some reason it was affecting him so much more today. Magnus could only wonder what was causing this weakness in his long standing defenses. His traitorous mind only supplied him with hazel eyes, and a full lipped smile as an answer.

 

Nope! No, it has nothing to do with him.

 

Fighting against the truth his mind was showing him, Magnus chose to put his energy into settling his crew and dancing a run through with them before he had to return to Lydia and Alec.

 

Alec, Alexander.

 

Even the thought of his name was making Magnus stupidly giddy.

 

Stop it.

 

After a near perfect and very clean run Magnus glanced at the clock and cringed at how much time had passed. He’d been gone for too long for it to not be considered rude.

 

“Shit”, he muttered. “Okay, is everything back to normal now? I can leave without the world ending?”, Magnus teased to the answer of an angry huff from Raphael. “Alright, awesome work everyone, I’m proud of you”.

 

Just as he was about to leave Maureen moved to hug him.

 

“Thanks”, she whispered.

 

“For what, my dear”, Magnus chuckled as he hugged her close for a moment before pulling back to see her face.

 

“For stopping that bullshit. You always have the ability to fix it with us. Simon was getting antsy seeing Raph like that which made Rebecca nervous so…”

 

“Of course”, Magnus kissed her forehead. “You were worried too”

 

“Yeah”, Maureen blushed.

 

“No worries, okay. I will always have all of your back. And if you ever need to talk to me about anything, remember I am here. I may be busy but I will always make time for my family”.

 

“Thanks Magnus”.

 

“My pleasure, now go dance your heart out”.

 

Peace restored in his world, Magnus winked at his favorite girls, and favorite guys before rushing through the doors back towards the main studio of the building. As he ran the hallway he worried he may have put Alec and Lydia off by disappearing like he did.

 

Mumbling to himself about how rude he was for keeping them waiting Magnus stopped just in front of the studio doors. Lydia was rehearsing her new choreography alone, Alec was nowhere in sight. The shame crept into Magnus gut, maybe Alec realized Magnus wasn’t worth his time and left in anger.

 

“Shit, did he leave?”, he asked himself in worry and disappointment before shaking it off and putting on the brave face for Lydia.

 

Lydia’s explanation as to where Alec had gone seemed a little forced and unsure. Magnus was positive she herself had no idea why Alec had disappeared. The knowledge only made the fear inside Magnus churn faster, he knew this was all his fault.

 

When Alec reappeared through the doors apologizing and complaining that a phone call from his overbearing mother had kept him, Magnus didn’t doubt him. Knowing what he did about the Lightwoods, and seeing how very unsure of himself Alec often was Magnus could easily imagine what the poor guy’s home life was like. He imagined Alec’s parents weren’t very friendly, kind, or understanding at all. Magnus grit his teeth to keep from growling at the thought of the Lightwoods.

 

The only thing that didn’t add up for Magnus about Alec’s story was the pink splotches around his eyes. Magnus knew what it looked like when you tried to hide the fact that you were crying. He’d had to do it many times himself, so to him this detail was blaringly obvious. Magnus’ heart sank at the sight of it, he’d done that to the sweet young man, and now the guilt rose so high in his throat he felt he would choke on it.

 

You’re a fucking monster, you hurt him. You made him cry, you jerk. You’re a true asshole. Magnus mentally berated himself.

 

Noticing how Alec squirmed under his scrutiny, Magnus could have kicked himself for being so insensitive. Of course it would make Alec even more uncomfortable to know Magnus knew he was crying. It took every shred of strength inside him to keep from not only spiraling into the darkness as he continuously punished himself, but from reaching out and comforting Alec in some physical way.

 

Magnus fought the urge to hug him, just a hug. Something to let him know it’s okay to have feelings, and cry, and that he himself knows what these emotions feel like. He knew the hug wouldn’t be welcome, or perhaps it would be too welcome and complicate or confuse things further. Instead Magnus just stood silent and rigid until the feeling passed.

 

When Alec quickly switched the mood in the room by joking with Lydia, Magnus felt calm again. Since he’d let himself get so inside his own head, Magnus didn’t quite hear that Alec sounded worried. Finally listening to what was being said, he realized that Alec was expressing worry about taking his time away from his crew.

 

The deep warmth started at the center of Magnus’ chest and slowly bloomed outward until it was engulfing his torso. From shoulders to belly he felt the warmth gripping him as it settled into his very being. The feeling was sweet and caused a strange tenderness to grow whenever Magnus looked at Alec.

 

This sweet man, who of course knew the importance of time since he is a dancer too, was worried about wasting his. It wasn’t the first time Alec had mentioned this and Magnus wondered how horrible it must be for this young man to feel so nervous and stressed over wasting time.

 

Given his upbringing and Magnus’ assumptions on how the Lightwood household was run, he guessed Alec was forced to keep a tight and demanding schedule for probably his entire life, even as a child. It was most likely a contributing factor to all the nervous behavior Magnus saw displayed from Alec so often.

 

The thought made Magnus’ heart ache a bit. He knew what this was like, to not truly have a carefree childhood. To worry about work, and schedules and time, and how precious every second is. He especially knew how horrible it felt to waste someone’s time, because he hated when people did it to him.

 

Greater understanding and appreciation of Alec became known to Magnus. Not only had he uncovered yet another part of what made Alec Lightwood tick, but he was reminded of the compassion and concern he already had witnessed from him previously. Alec was genuine, of this he was sure, he’d seen too much proof to think otherwise.

 

Magnus then reassured Alec and Lydia that he was not truly needed by his crew, and inadvertently slipped. His mind was just so full, and tired that he didn’t realize he’d called Alec pretty until it left his lips. Even though he cut his words off he knew Alec heard it, Lydia as well.

 

FUCK! You’re supposed to be his friend, you’re supposed to be understanding and kind. You’re not supposed to call him pretty, that would be like leading him on. Don’t do that to him.

 

He quieted the shouting in his head as he filled them in on the silly drama he had to put up with, and Raj and Elias’ rendezvous. Both Alec and Lydia shared their own funny stories about the Institute’s newest hot couple, and soon they were laughing again.

 

Seeing Alec visibly relax at just the sound of his voice muttering on about the antics of his friends made Magnus feel quite off inside. Again he hated that his feelings were never black and white when in the company of Alec. He wanted things to be easily definable but somehow his mind and heart kept fighting for control of the rest of him. It was exhausting.

 

After some conversation about the adorable new couple with compliments and reassurances that they were good for each other, the three settled into rehearsal mode once more. Even though things were lighter and they were focusing on dance, Magnus couldn’t shake his feelings easily.

 

Working together with Alec this way, touching him, and feeling the way he trembled beneath his fingers felt so wrong to Magnus. How someone with such strength and power could crumble into shivers at his very touch was unnerving. What was worse was the way Alec blushed and the way his hands shook when it was necessary for him to touch Magnus.

 

Alec’s body was betraying him badly, but Magnus could tell he was definitely determined to keep himself in check. He had to credit the beautiful ballet dancer, for diligently working to keep his promise of not making the entire process awkward. Magnus knew that no matter how hard Alec tried it was bound to be complicated. Even when Alec’s eyes spoke his assurances that he was ‘fine’, Magnus still worried about the intensity of their closeness and their strange connection.

 

He was unable to do a damn thing to relieve Alec of this awful hardship, but he could do his best to ignore the reactions and hopefully ease the shame of what Alec was feeling. As the trio continued to rehearse the entire new section they’d just finished choreographing, Magnus stepped a bit into the forefront to give them an easy view for reference of any steps they may not feel comfortable with as of yet.

 

As they danced Magnus let his mind close, which was a very normal occurrence. Instead of fighting with his thoughts he let his body float on melody. The music almost carried him through the air and across the floor. Magnus often was lost to all else around him when he danced.

 

Feet planted firm, forearms together blocking his face, fists clenched he then spread his arms in a light fluttering motion one moving above him one out to the side. His fingers almost bloomed like flowers, head tilted, chin high, fierce eyes required for the feel of this movement then scanned the mirror. It was then that he nearly lost his step.

 

For the first time in a very long time Magnus Bane nearly faltered in dance at the sight before him. Alec was watching the three of them move, watching the way they seemed to flow perfectly in sync like they were meant to be dancing together. He knew it then when he saw the glint in Alec’s eye, he saw the look and recognized it as something he did often.

 

It was in that moment Magnus knew what was about to happen. He’d been here many times himself when a moment just felt right while in motion, and his mind worked endlessly to keep up and trace or rework the piece mentally. Oddly enough Magnus had seen it too, just how exquisitely they moved together almost too perfect and fated. He began to see the story they should be telling with this piece unfold before him. Magnus could feel it burning through his every nerve and muscle that this was the only true direction for this piece, but it wasn’t his piece, it was Alec’s. However from what he saw in the ballet dancer’s eyes he knew he wouldn’t have to say a thing. Alec had arrived at the same conclusion as he did.

 

Of course since he knew that Alec shared the same intense relationship with dance and choreography as he did himself he wasn’t completely surprised. The thing that nearly had Magnus short of breath and ready to run from the room is that he and Alec also shared this ability to see a piece for its true potential and rework it in their minds. This piece was screaming at them both to have Magnus officially join and dance it with them, and Magnus was unsure if he could do that. Not with Alec’s feelings and the story they both seemed to realize should accompany this piece. It was too personal, too close to home and Magnus did not want to be the cause of more pain for Alec.

 

Magnus almost felt relieved when Lydia paused their rehearsals, because the way Alec’s eyes were staring at him in the mirror had him damn near jumping out of his skin. This was too intense, too real. The relief soon faded though when Magnus heard the way Lydia was questioning Alec. He didn’t know if he wanted the confirmation of what he suspected to be out in front of them just yet.

 

Making it sound like he didn’t understand where Lydia was going with her queries, Magnus just waited for the inevitable. When Alec basically proved all his assumptions true with very little conversation, Magnus nearly lost his control. How were they this similar and compatible? How could they converse about dance without much use for words?

 

The feeling was palpable and damn near crushing. Magnus didn’t know how to react, what to say, what to think. He hated feeling so out of control of his emotions, nothing good could happen if he didn’t have control. Nevertheless no matter how hard he tried to find a way to discipline his emotions they continued to fly from one to the next with great speed.

 

He felt impressed with Alec’s ability, not very many people were gifted with the talent of being able to choreograph and feel the passion of dance mentally and physically. He also felt lust, because talent was a massive turn on for Magnus, and Alec had so much talent that the need to possess him was overwhelming. He felt fear that he would not be able to keep control of the lust and do something that would lead Alec on, eventually hurting him. He also felt panic that Alec would see the lust and perhaps use it to his advantage to get his way with Magnus, and then he would be the one getting hurt.

 

The quick span of emotions had Magnus’ mind spinning, he felt lightheaded and so dizzy for a quick moment. Why did it have to be Alec Lightwood? Why did he have to be so perfect? Why was he so intriguing, and gorgeous, and talented? Why did they have this intense connection? It was too much.

 

I can’t do this, his heart argued for a moment. But it is the only way this piece should be presented, his mind taking over. Your heart knows this to be true, have faith.

 

He knew what Alec was sacrificing, heck even Alec knew his dignity would take a major hit from this collaboration. Magnus read it clearly in his eyes, even when he explained to Lydia what was going on and through her jokes about having to deal with two dance geniuses. Alec’s eyes were pleading and begging and acknowledging that he knew it would be painful but still wanted this. Magnus almost felt disgusted in himself for knowing what this man was willing to put himself through, but he was also very impressed with his love for dance. Impressed that Alec would do anything to make this piece the perfection it should be.

 

Those eyes, those expressive and beautiful hazel eyes with their bright and bold colors churning and dancing together like light pouring through a stained glass window. They were begging so very sweetly making Magnus weak to the protests of his fears. Magnus was lost for a moment in the beauty of those eyes.

 

Alec’s voice when he officially asked Magnus to dance with them was so full of hope. It was very soft and Magnus could feel that denying Alec would probably break the ballet dancer’s heart a little. When Alec moved closer Magnus could feel a tingle of energy practically radiating off of Alec’s body. The feeling was heady and captured Magnus’ senses instantly, even though the fear remained constant in his thoughts this feeling was pushing it aside.

 

With another reassurance right in front of Lydia, even though it embarrassed him badly, Alec practically pleaded. Magnus knew he had to accept. There was no way he could deny this was the right direction for this piece. He asked again just to be sure if Alec felt he was up for this, and once again, Alec blew him away with the perfection of his answer.

 

“It’s only for the love of the dance, I promise I will be fine”.

 

For the love of dance, Magnus had to respect that. He was so afraid of letting anyone close, afraid of how it could break him. He was also so scared of breaking someone as incredible as Alec, no one especially not this wonderful man deserved that pain. But he also knew that surrendering to the power and pull of this piece was the only way to perform it to its true potential. He knew and Alec did as well, he could see it written in the joy and gratitude when he agreed to dance with them. Forcing his nerves away Magnus set his concentration on the new choreography as Alec explained his new vision.

 

With some explanation for Lydia, and minor readjustments they were ready to give the new choreography a shot. The excitement was coursing throughout the room capturing them all and soon everything but dance faded away into the background. Three bodies in motion, perfectly divine in telling a painful truth of being different in an unaccepting world.

 

Bodies turned into one another, holding on tight only to let go again, and find another soul to latch onto; a body that felt right this time. Holding fast to muscled arms and a strong torso not a curved and softer form. This dance was telling Alec’s story for him. What was expected of him, how he was viewed by the world, and how he really felt. The tale so many could relate to, the story of hiding who you are.

 

Their breath skipped, their limbs ached, soon everything was just sweat, heat, and movement, no time for fear or embarrassment. A thick tension and heavy passion engulfed the three dancers as the wove their web. A perfect mix of ballet and freestyle joining forces and contrasting at the right points, three sets of dancer’s eyes seeing the perfection unfold in the mirrors delighted at the vision. Three huge smiles bright and joyful, three hearts feeling the importance of this piece skipping and beating with purpose.

 

Reaching the end of this new section they’d danced perfectly on the first try, nothing could hold them back from embracing one another and laughing. Unspoken love and respect for the artform, and what they’d just accomplished showing in their actions before their minds could catch up. An unconscious reaction before heart could protest, it was an incredible moment, but alas it was over too soon.

 

The tension spiked as Alec squirmed against Magnus, his entire right side pressed so close to Magnus’ left side from shoulder to knees in their three way hug. Lydia noticed, and pulled away, but just continued to beam at them. Magnus once again observed that she was quite a dear soul for protecting her friend’s emotions like she was.

 

Magnus noticed the moment Alec finally realized he hadn’t removed his arm from around him; because he saw Alec’s eyes go wide before he jerked his arm away quickly, and began to pat the back of his head nervously. The stretch of silence grew longer and more awkward as the three of them stood there smiling and avoided looking at one another.

 

“That was incredible”, Lydia breathed, successfully breaking the tension as she braced her hands on her knees, her smile still firmly in place.

 

“Really?”, Alec raised his brows, and squinted his eye slightly. His tone showed that he himself knew it was perfect, but still needed their confirmation.

 

“Perfection, Alexander. You were correct this is the direction for this piece”, Magnus bowed his head slightly.

 

“Um - uh, well thank you, both of you. You were both amazing. Lydia you picked it all up so easily, and Magnus those freestyle movements were perfect additions. And honestly your ballet is still so good, I know we said that before but I needed you to know that because - um - yeah - um, we were excellent”

 

Alec’s long rambling statement sputtered out as he tried to hide his light blush. The awkward way he was holding his body and gesturing wildly around him made it all too easy to understand how flustered he was.

Magnus smiled at Lydia his brows raised, she just smirked back and shook her head slightly as Alec continued to look everywhere but at the two of them.

 

“Thanks, Alec”, Lydia answered suddenly grabbing his face in her two hands and keeping it still so she could lock eyes with him. “It’s beautiful, and I understand. We understand”, she gestured between herself and Magnus. “It’s okay to feel raw and exposed after that. We’re here for you okay?”

 

Alec nodded and smiled as she let go of his face, then turned to Magnus. In that moment Magnus did everything he could to make his eyes smile and reassure the scared man he saw in front of him. Alec’s emotions were catching up with him, the high of the dance was falling fast and the meaning behind it was beginning to grasp his fears.

 

“We’re here”, Magnus stated simply and firmly. “It’s exquisite, Alexander. You’re a true genius and this, well this is making a very important statement”.

 

“Thanks”, Alec offered quietly.

 

The frightened look still showed around Alec’s eyes and he still held his body a lot less proudly than when he danced, but Magnus could see he was slowly calming.

 

“This means a lot coming from you, from both of you. As dancers whom I respect, and as friends”.

 

Alec locked his eyes on Magnus as he said the word ‘friends’. Magnus felt his heart warm at the look. Alec meant this to be another reassurance and an official statement that he did in fact consider Magnus his friend now. Not just someone he was working with. It was sweet and beautiful, and Magnus couldn’t  help the feeling that spread through his body. He made friends easily this was true, but rarely did any of these friends surprise him the way Alec Lightwood had, he was truly an unexpected friend.

 

They all seemed to realize just how late it was at the exact same time because suddenly they all glanced up at the clock and broke into laughter.

 

“Dancer time I guess”, Lydia giggled.

 

“Indeed”, Magnus agreed.

 

“So how are we going to work this? I know you have work tomorrow”, Alec then turned to face Magnus again.

 

Before Magnus could answer, Lydia nudged Alec in the side, she raised her brows and tightened her lips, obviously trying to convey a message without speaking. Magnus watched in amusement as Alec’s faced remained in a comically confused state.

 

“What are you trying to say?”

 

“Dinner”, Lydia leaned in and whispered

 

“Oh - oh -um yeah I didn’t think about - um - shoot! So, Magnus since tonight is the last night my parents are away Lydia, Raj, Izzy, Jace and I are having dinner and game night at my place so - um -, you’re welcome to join us if you like. I could tell Raj to bring Elias so you don’t feel out of place. And - um - we could discuss the rehearsal schedule some more, maybe?”

 

The way Alec’s awkward stutters became hopeful, then ended up almost sounding defeated and disappointed at the end of his offer told Magnus that his expression had already spoken for him. With all the emotions they had been through this afternoon; the discovery of Alec’s feelings; the struggle to ignore them and still work together; and the new emotional and personal direction of the dance piece; Magnus knew he must tread lightly lest he hurt Alec’s feelings.

 

“I am so very sorry Alexander, but I already have plans for this evening”.

 

“Oh. I should have realized that”.

 

Alec’s absolutely crestfallen look tugged at Magnus’ heartstrings. Lydia clamped her lips even tighter together, and averted her eyes. The understanding dawned on Magnus, they thought he had a date.

 

Oh no, fix this, Magnus yelled at himself.

 

“Not that I don’t appreciate this offer because it really sounds like a lot of fun”, Magnus replied sincerely, “ it’s just that I promised Clary, Luke and Jocelyn that I’d hang out with them tonight. Sort of a family dinner”

 

Magnus smiled brightly hoping his explanation would make Alec feel a lot better, and less hurt by his declination of the invitation.

 

“Oh”, Alec added simply his face a little less sad, but now looking slightly confused. “Family?”, Alec seemed to be questioning himself because his voice was low before he shook his head as if to clear it. “I understand, another time then, I still owe you for dinner”.

 

Magnus smiled at this. Alec was quite adorable and although he promised to behave, Magnus allowed himself to feel this. There was no harm in appreciating how clueless and very sweet Alec tended to be at times. Suddenly Alec perked up completely for the first time since Magnus agreed to dance with them.

 

“Luke, Clary’s stepfather right?”

 

“Yes, do you know him?”, Magnus titled his head, his brows quizzical.

 

How did Alec know Luke?

 

“I just met him last night actually”, Alec rushed on and turned to Lydia trying to include her in the conversation again. “He was parked outside of my house waiting for Clary, she had a study group with Jace and some friends”.

 

“A study group? Jace?”, Lydia scoffed.

 

“Yeah, I know”, Alec rolled his eyes.

 

Magnus watched the exchange and a bit of nerves stirred his stomach. He didn’t want to offend them since Jace was family to Alec and a friend to Lydia, but he wanted to know more about Jace if his Biscuit was serious about dating him. However before he could ask, Alec continued his story.

 

“So Luke was parked outside and I got worried, because a cop was in front of my house”.

 

“HE’S A COP?”, Lydia interrupted .

 

“Detective”, both Alec and Magnus corrected together and then chuckled.

 

“Oh my”, Lydia mumbled.

 

“Exactly”, Alec smirked. “Anyway, Luke seems really nice, like a really great dad. He’s very handsome, he was kind, his smile was calming, and his eyes were friendly, but yeah a great guy”.

 

Alec’s odd rambling had both Lydia and Magnus staring at him with the strangest looks on their faces. Magnus was about to bust out laughing because Alec Lightwood was standing in front of him gushing about a man that Magnus considered like a father.

 

“What?”, Alec threw his hands up.

 

“You think he’s hot”, it wasn’t a question. Magnus tried to hold on to the laughter but was failing.

 

“What?”, Alec blushed slightly but then smiled, “everyone in this room knows I’m gay anyway so whatever”.

 

“Alec?”, Lydia shouted her eyes wide a smile on her lips.

 

Magnus’ look of shock was similar. Alec had yet ceased to amaze him with how surprising he could be.

 

“It’s true, and he is hot - you know - for an older guy”, Alec shrugged and smiled.

 

Every ounce of tension that was held over from earlier was gone as their full laughter broke out loudly echoing through the studio.

 

“Oh my god, Alec”, Lydia smacked his arm and laughed harder.

 

It was clear to Magnus that she hadn’t seen her friend this freely open about himself ever and it was both shocking and pleasing to her. If he was being honest it was pleasing to him as well. He may not know Alec as well as she did, but Magnus could tell that the guy deserved to smile, laugh and be more comfortable with himself.

 

“While I admit, Luke is a very handsome man, he is like a father to me so I really can’t let myself see it the way you could”, Magnus teased. “And Jocelyn is a goddess, they’re quite the beautiful couple, total goals for my future”, Magnus fluttered his eyes playfully gaining more smiles and laughter.

 

Even though Magnus did not want to bring the mood down he had to ask, it was for his Clary, his worry over her was an important part of his almost brotherly bond with her.

 

“Not to ruin the moment but, I do need to ask. I will be talking to Clary about Jace tonight. Is he, um - that is - how do I say this without offending?”, Magnus asked himself.

 

Alec seemed to understand because he cut in smoothly “Do you want me to talk to him for you, perhaps set it up that you can talk to him yourself? I get it you know I have a sister, and this one”, Alec hugged Lydia to his side. “I get it”.

 

“I - well - thank you for understanding. I didn’t want to offend you, you’re his brother. But I have to know, she’s like my sister, I adore her. Is he a good guy? Honestly please, not just a protective answer because he’s family. Please?”.

 

Alec nodded firmly and breathed deeply through his nose, Magnus could tell he was trying to choose his words carefully. This was a tough spot that he was putting Alec in and, he knew it.

 

“Jace can be a jerk from time to time, but he isn’t a bad guy. He had a hard life before he came to my family, and I guess it caused some issues. He always feels the need to prove himself to be perfect, but deep down he has a good heart. I know he seems like a stuck up guy who is full of himself, but he can be kind. I’m probably not helping him by telling you this, I am such a shitty brother”, Alec looked away and Lydia continued to just pat his arm.

 

Magnus felt bad for asking, he could see that the topic of Jace hit a raw nerve for Alec. He was worried for Clary, but if Alec could see good in Jace he knew it had to truly be there. The rumors about Jace and his cocky attitude were probably the same as most rumors….bullshit. Magnus never put stock in rumors.

 

“I’m sorry”.

 

“Don’t be, you asked for the truth. Before I ruin his chances can I tell you a little story that might make you think of him differently?”, Alec looked up at Magnus hopefully, his eyes begging.

 

“Sure”, Magnus fought the gasp this look caused inside him.

 

Alec is so very lovely.

 

What an awkward thought at an awkward time.

 

“He’d kill me if he knew I told you this, but when he found out we were going to be working together he practically begged me to bring up his name to you. He knows how much you mean to Clary and he wants you to like him”.

 

“Our Jace?”, Lydia’s raised one perfectly shaped brow.

 

“Yeah, he’s pretty smitten, Lyd. I’ve never seen him like this. He likes her a lot, Magnus. And I really don’t think he’d hurt her”.

 

“Thank you, Alexander I appreciate your honesty. And your secret about how smitten he is, is safe with me. However I do think I may like to talk to him. So if your offer still stands I’d like you to set it up”.

 

“Sure”, Alec shrugged.

 

As if her ears were ringing Clary breezed through the doors of Studio A with a bright and cheerful smile on her face. She ran over to Magnus and curled into his side. He bent to kiss her forehead and cuddled her close, his eyes on Alec. Alec nodded in understanding. Of course he knew what it meant to want to protect such a sweet creature.

 

“How was practice?”, she beamed up at him then turned to leave the question open for Lydia and Alec as well.

 

“It was really good, Biscuit”, Magnus answered.

 

“Magnus is incredible to work with. Hi I’m Lydia, since these jerks are so rude”, Lydia held out her hand.

 

“I’m Clary, and you’re right they are rude”, Clary teased as she shook Lydia’s hand. “As for Magnus? I know he’s amazing right”, she hugged Magnus tighter around his waist.

 

“He’s helped so much already. Thank you for sparing him”, Alec complimented.

 

“My pleasure, his genius shouldn’t be stuck babysitting us all the time. He needs to be with like minds, like you guys”.

 

Magnus smiled adoringly at Clary’s sweet words of praise.

 

“Oh hush, you. You’re a triple threat, anyone would be blessed to work with you, especially me. She dances, sings and paints I’ll have you know”, Magnus held his hands up as if displaying Clary’s greatness to Alec and Lydia.

 

“Please stop”, she burned red in embarrassment. “You ready to go?”

 

“Almost just wanted to tell you something. I wanted you to be the first to know”.

 

Magnus looked at Alec he wanted his blessing and permission first before sharing the news, after all this was his piece first before it became theirs. Alec nodded his assent with and accompanying smile.

 

“What is it”, Clary fidgeted excitedly.

 

“Well, Alexander and I have agreed that the piece would be best if I not only helped with the choreography but if I performed. He’s asked me to join them for his Senior piece, and I’ve agreed”.

 

“You mean our Senior piece”, Alec corrected quickly, in the most gentle and thoughtful tone. “This is now your baby as much as mine, you’re choreographing half of it and dancing it as well. It’s our piece”.

 

“Alright”, Magnus smiled so big at the sincerity of Alec’s words, “our piece. So what do you think, Biscuit?”.

 

Clary was watching Alec silently for a moment, while he was speaking; her head tilted her lips pursed. Magnus knew she was assessing him, seeing if he was on the level with Magnus, if he was being genuine. The love for her swelled in his heart and warmed him from the inside out. She was protecting him just like he always protected her.

 

The adorable red-headed ball of energy jumped up into his waiting arms and hugged him before she squealed in excitement.

 

“What do I think? I think I am so proud of you. This piece is going to be amazing you guys I just know it”. Clary turned her full smile to Alec, “Thank you for seeing this in him. I always tell him but he doesn’t listen”.

 

Alec just nodded awkwardly at the strange praise, and moved a little closer to Lydia. Magnus could tell he felt weird about the whole thing, like it wasn’t right for him to be thanked at all.

 

“Okay we should go, we don’t want to be late for dinner. Jocelyn might kill us especially if she cooked what I think she cooked. I know it takes almost all day”

 

“Braised brisket”, she confirmed.

 

Magnus placed Clary back down and went to gather up his bags. He had a feeling the events of the day were finally catching up to Alec full force and wanted to be out of his way so that Alec could process it without his crush there to watch him.

 

“Okay so I'll text you a little later, when I'm available and we can figure out the scheduling, yes?”, Magnus spoke gently as he walked back over to Alec.

 

“Sounds good. Um today was - uh - quite magical”.

 

Alec blushed so hot, the red splotches were visible down his neck and up to his ears. Magnus could tell he hadn’t meant to say that, and he felt really bad about it. Figuring he could take some of this away Magnus thought of what to say to make the slip up seem like nothing.

 

“Yes I agree, Alexander. Finding the direction of your dance piece is a magic all its own, and dancing is always magical”

 

With one last smile and a relieved look on Alec’s face. Magnus moved to kiss Lydia on the cheek and rushed out tugging Clary in tow.

 

“Nice to meet you Lydia, bye Alec”, Clary giggled.

 

Once they were out the main entrance and well on their way to the subway station, Clary’s giggles intensified.

 

“So um, ‘quite magical’ huh?”

 

“Oh hush up you”, Magnus shoved her playfully.

 

No matter how he tried to fight it, Magnus knew Alec was right. Their connection was magical, and so strangely intense. Of course he felt a euphoria as well, this piece was going to be the greatest thing he’d ever worked on. He could feel it in his bones. Magnus couldn’t help his smile the entire train ride into Brooklyn. Even Clary’s taunts couldn’t do anything to bring his mood down.

Chapter Text

Much to Magnus’ sanity and pleasure the last of Clary’s teasing finally stopped just before Union Square. It was rush hour and being one of the major stations in the city of course the platforms were crowded. The pair sped up as they heard the beeping alert that the L train into Brooklyn would arrive any second.

 

Pushing easily through the crowds with the practiced grace of typical New Yorkers, as well as dancers, they found themselves only one person from the train as the doors slid open. Of course there were no seats available so Magnus grabbed on to Clary’s hand and cut through the crowd easily until he found an open space.

 

Grabbing onto the highest hand rail just above the packed bench, Magnus gripped tight and held Clary close to him as the train lurched in movement once more. His stance was steady and sure as he made sure she didn’t fall whenever the train rocked more forcibly through turns and track changes.

 

“Thanks Magnus”, she grinned up at him.

 

“I’ve always got you, Biscuit”, he winked down at her.

 

It was only four stops in total but the long ride under the East River through the tunnel is what Magnus dreaded the most. He usually didn’t let it concern him often, most New Yorkers never give a second thought to it, but lately the dark thoughts and memories were hounding him. Although he was fighting them well enough the weak chinks in his armor were letting the darkness closer to him than he had let it get in years.

 

Magnus knew he really shouldn’t blame Alec for this at all, but something inside him wanted to hate the beautiful man for contributing to the weaknesses in his defenses lately.

 

Why was Alexander so kind and trustworthy? Magnus thought as he secretly wished Alec was just like all the rumors had made him out to be, because then he wouldn’t be in this predicament.

 

It was happening so fast, he was letting him in a little too quickly. Truthfully, Magnus knew this wasn’t a factual thought at all, they were only friends, but it felt so copiously charged with Alec for some reason. Everything inside him was screaming at him to back away and slow down. It was too late for that, Magnus knew it. He’d agreed to dance already and could not back out now, especially when his dance muse was pulling him on; almost as much as his unwanted obsession with a pair of incredibly vibrant hazel eyes.

 

In his weakened mental, and emotional state the panic rose inside him. Magnus felt like the crowd was too close, they were pressing into him and he couldn’t breath. He closed his eyes for a moment and saw a rush of water behind his eye-lids and heard a child screaming in his ears.

 

Fight it, this isn’t real, he battled himself.

 

His breath felt like it was pulled from his lungs and the pitch black of a starless and moonless night reached out to consume him. He was going to lose it on a train full of people, but any thoughts of embarrassment only served to make the panic worse. One second more, and he would be gone. Before he could surrender he felt the press of a small hand squeezing his own large one. A soft, and beautiful voice pulling him from the depths of the dark waters.

 

“Magnus, I’m here”, the kind voice rang clear as a bell in a gentle whisper. “You’re right next to me, holding my hand on the train. You’re okay. We’re okay”.

 

Magnus opened his eyes, and looked down to see Clary smiling up at him. Letting his eyes scan the subway car he calmed slightly as he took in his whereabouts. It helped that he realized no one had noticed his small panic stricken moment. No one had seen, except Clary that is, but her smile of understanding was a blanket of calm for Magnus.

 

She knew him, she understood him, and she loved him. Clary brought her other hand up to gently take his face and force his eyes back on hers.

 

“You’re okay”, she smiled brighter.

 

The sense of ease in which she was able to help him through this made him send her a small smile of apology.

 

“Sorry”, he shrugged, looking sheepish. “This hasn’t happened in a while. I just…”

 

Magnus didn’t like to show weakness, even to those closest to him, however there were times he couldn’t help it and this was one of them. Leave it to Clary to have him feeling vulnerable with the need to appear strong at the same time.

 

“I know”, she offered quietly and removed her hand from his face before snuggling closer to his side.

 

“It’s just the water and this specific tunnel these past few years. With the damage  ..”

 

“From superstorm Sandy”, she finished for him. “Magnus it’s okay, I understand. You never have to explain yourself to me. Perks of having a best friend who is like your little sister. We’re okay here”.

 

“You’re not embarrassed?”, his voice wavered a little even as he tried to make himself seem in control.

 

“Of you? Never. Haven’t I proven time and time again how I idolize you?”.

 

Clary made a small fist and lightly punched him in the ribs to break the tension.

 

“This is true, but who could blame you? I’m fabulous”, Magnus smirked with a cocky grin.

 

“There’s my Magnus”.

 

His sweet friend then smiled in pride as she poked his side; which he deftly avoided this time, expecting her playful attack. The last of the panic felt to be fleeing from the outermost edges of his soul, and his peaceful mind was known to him again. Magnus felt his rational side take over. He’d ridden these subways more times than he can count in his lifetime, and there was yet to be a problem with the tunnels.

 

Yes there was a river full of water just beyond the tons of concrete, steel, brick and sand, but it was not coming for him. He was safe, he was with Clary, he was fine. Swallowing and breathing deep he let the calm reach his core as he winked down at the giggling redhead next to him.

 

The mood was light again as the pair made their way through Greenpoint towards Clary’s building. The wind picked up stirring a few fallen leaves around them, Clary shivered pulling her sweater tight over her torso. Magnus zipped his jacket up further and pulled his hood onto his head.

 

“C-old”, Clary’s teeth chattered.

 

Magnus just nodded and picked up the pace so they’d get to the her place faster.

 

“No fair your legs are longer”, she teased trying to keep up.

 

“Not my fault you’re a tiny little thing”.

 

“I’m not little”, she complained before sending him that look that told him she was about to do something sneaky.

 

Poking his side again he put his arms down to try and block her, and just as he was distracted she started running fast. She yelled back after she was already half a block ahead of him.

 

“Race ya!”

 

“Now look who isn’t playing fair”, Magnus shouted as he huffed in annoyance and took off.

 

They both knew that even with Clary’s head start he’d catch up in no time so when he did he grabbed her around the waist and continued running. Her adorable scream and giggles sent his heart into happiness overdrive. If there were any residual feelings of pain, guilt and fear in him from earlier that would have definitely driven the last of it away.

 

“You’re too slow with your little legs, Biscuit”, he teased.

 

“Not little”, she tried to grumble again but it sounded too happy accompanied by her giggles.

 

Magnus could only shake his head at her as he placed her down in front of her door and waited for her to fish her keys out of her bag. They stood shivering as her hand went around and around to no avail. Finally she shook it almost violently and heard the keys jingle from the front pocket.

 

“Aha - victory is mine”, she held the keys up, her face lighting with joy at her silly behavior.

 

“Assignments first”

 

Magnus’ tone came firm as he rolled his eyes at her antics. Clary slipped the key into the lock of her front door and headed through with Magnus close behind her.

 

“I know”, her whiny tone was heard loud and clear this time.

 

“Hey. I’m just looking out for you. We can talk boys later I promise”, he kissed her forehead and gestured for her to go first.

 

“Okay”, she smiled and marched up the stairs.

 

The aroma that hit Magnus the second he made it through the apartment door was divine heaven to him. It had been awhile since he’d had something to eat for dinner that didn’t come from work. Not that he was complaining the food was good, but there was nothing like Jocelyn’s home cooking.

 

“Magnus”, the voice was soft and reverent.

 

The older but no less beautiful version of Clary was heading right for him, bright smile in place, and arms wide open to capture him in a hug that he knew would comfort his soul.

 

“Jocelyn”, he smiled and hugged her tight.

 

“Missed you”.

 

Jocelyn pressed a kiss to his cheek and then held his face in her hands as if she were examining him for any changes since the last time she’d seen him. It was such a motherly thing to do, and she did it every time; each time it warmed his heart more. Between her and Madame Catarina he was sure he had mothering covered.

 

“Missed you too”, he answered in a voice smaller than usual.

 

Jocelyn pulled his head down so she could place a kiss on his forehead and Magnus fought the urge to roll his eyes, he’d never disrespect her like that. In every aspect of his life he felt very much like an adult probably way beyond his years, but when he was around Jocelyn and Luke, and even Madame Catarina it was an odd mix. He felt like an equal to them for the most part, but many times he felt like a little boy again.

 

He was one of the lucky ones, despite his painful story. Not many young people who found themselves without parents ended up with adults who fought for them and cared for them. So many souls were lost to the foster system, and because of this family, and his dance mentor he was not one of them. He had to respect it, regardless of how hard it was for him to let their love touch him. Magnus knew the strength of their feelings for him; although he always fought against it with everything he had he gave it credence and appreciation.

 

“Joss, let him breath”.

 

Magnus heard the smooth voice of Luke, come up from behind him full of laughter. It made his smile grow. Luke always understood his need for some dignity and distance. Jocelyn looked past Magnus face and narrowed her eyes at Luke’s approaching form.

 

“He knows I’m going to fawn over him, and still he comes. He’s my boy, and he knows that. Besides, it’s not like he doesn’t enjoy it”.

 

“But he isn’t a boy, Joss, he’s a man”.

 

Jocelyn narrowed her eyes at him then cast her gaze back onto Magnus and kissed him one more time before finally letting him go. “Fine”, she sighed.

 

Magnus tried to hide his small smirk to no avail. No matter how much he pretended not to care, no matter how high he built his walls to protect his heart, he knew their love meant everything to him. It always made him feel good to be cared for by these wonderful people. His family.

 

“Luke”.

 

“Magnus, my man”.

 

The pair fist bumped and smiled as Luke caught Jocelyn around the waist stopping any attempts she may have tried to smooth Magnus’ hair down, and fuss over him some more, he knew her so well. Luke stood tall behind Jocelyn holding her close to him as they spoke to him, and it warmed Magnus’ heart to see it. All these years and they were still very much in love.

 

“How’s school? Work? Dance?”, Luke fired off the three questions that were pretty standard whenever they were together as if he knew Magnus would want them out of the way as quickly as possible.

 

“To answer your questions...good, busy, and - interesting ”.

 

As Magnus answered his voice trailed off when he thought of dancing with Alec and Lydia this afternoon. ‘Interesting’ was definitely one way to describe the odd connection he held with the gorgeous ballet dancer. But it definitely did not begin to cover the revelation that had hit Magnus about Alec’s feelings for him. That was something he couldn’t bring himself to discuss with Luke and Jocelyn just yet. Especially when it had him so confused and slightly panicked. If he didn’t know how to face the feelings that were growing inside him, how would he even begin to ask for advice?

 

“Interesting, huh?”, Luke’s tone was guilefully knowing and it set Magnus on edge.

 

Perhaps he wouldn’t have to say much at all, Luke seemed to always know things before they were said, Jocelyn too. Not only did they know him so well, but Luke was a detective, a damn good detective. Uncovering secrets, details, and motives were second nature to the man. Although it made him nervous, Magnus knew they would not push him until they knew he’d be comfortable discussing whatever was bothering him.

 

“Yes, interesting”, was all Magnus would give them as he smiled his sneaky ‘cover up’ smile that meant he wasn’t budging just yet.

 

“I see”, Jocelyn winked at him then turned to kiss Luke lightly before heading back into the kitchen. “Dinner in half and hour, guys”.

 

“You’d better get started on your assignments, she’s waiting impatiently”, Luke pointed towards Clary’s open bedroom door where she was undoubtedly already working.

 

As if on cue Clary’s loud sigh was heard causing both men to smile. Thankful that they’d dropped the subject, and definitely in need of getting to work on his class assignments Magnus turned and headed  for Clary’s room. When he crossed the threshold and closed the door behind him, Clary’s smirking face popped up from her open textbook to focus on him.

 

“Interesting? That’s all you’re going to give them? You’re not going to tell them about how the tall, gorgeous and mega talented Alec Lightwood asked you to help choreograph, and dance with him in his Senior piece? You’re not going to say anything about how incredible an opportunity this is for you? Are you even going to tell them that perhaps maybe you think Alec is really freaking hot and you kinda want to jump his bones? Or maybe mention how badly Alec wants you?”

 

Magnus near choked as her last questions rang in his ears, he knew his best friend would pounce about Alec again. She’d seen the way they were interacting and how awkward it was between them. It was rare that he was stuck for words but he didn’t want to say anything that would betray Alec’s secrets and trust. It did seem that Clary had figured out Alec’s attraction to him on her own, of course he trusted her with everything, but this wasn’t his secret to tell.

 

“Or are the answers to those last questions something you’re going to ignore?”

 

She was sitting up on her bed now, her knees hugged tight against her chest as she played with a strand of her hair and waited patiently for Magnus to process all she’d just threw at him.

 

“And pray tell, when will you tell them about Jace Wayland? And I thought we agreed, no boy talk until later?”, he raised his brow at her silently scolding. “I’m surprised at you Clarissa”.

 

“You agreed, I just said yes to appease you”, Clary flushed a bit at the mention of Jace.

 

“You may look like my innocent Biscuit, but I for one know better than to judge the book by its cover”, he squinted his eyes and pursed his lips at her playfully. “However my dear, we really do need to get as much work done as possible, Jocelyn will be calling us to dinner soon. Besides, Luke pretty much put me in charge of making sure you get your assignments done”, Magnus lifted his chin making him look hilariously like he was trying too hard to seem in charge of the situation.

 

“He did not, you liar. I heard him say we better get started but he didn’t put you in charge”, she glowered.

 

“He didn’t have to, we both know who the more responsible and mature person in this friendship is”.

 

Magnus dropped a wink and Clary just nodded in agreement, it was true. She may like to tease and joke with him but she knew Magnus was pretty much a born leader. Whenever they were together either just the two of them or the whole crew, Magnus was just automatically the one everyone looked to for direction. It was just the way things were, and she liked it that way. She liked having the older brother to look out for her and guide her, someone to keep her on track. Magnus knew it and took his role quite to heart.  

 

With no more discussion of either Jace or Alec, Magnus settled in on the floor in front of Clary’s bed to spread out his textbooks and notebooks. She threw him some pillows so he could make himself comfortable before she lay back down onto her bed, and returned her focus to her studies. They always worked well together, neither of them feeling uncomfortable in the silence that enclosed them in their own world of determination. When Clary needed help with something or Magnus needed an opinion neither of them hesitated to break the silence and ask. It was years worth of habit that had them working like a well oiled machine.

 

Due to the ideal environment surrounding them, and their ease of working together, both Clary and Magnus were not surprised to find they’d completed all of their assignments just before Jocelyn called them out to eat.

 

As always dinner was incredibly delicious and the company was even better. The makeshift family settled into a calm and happy silence as they ate, sending small smiles and few words of appreciation on how incredible the meal tasted. Magnus was in heaven, Jocelyn’s braised brisket was always so tender he looked forward to the first bite every time. However it was what she always served with it that usually made his mouth water and stomach rumble with excitement.

 

Jocelyn watched with a knowing smirk as Magnus dug his fork into the roasted tomato stuffed with goat cheese, mushrooms, garlic, and oregano. It was a favorite of his and she knew it, which was precisely why she made it. This was her way of spoiling him, he wasn’t starved for good food, since he worked at a great restaurant, but a home cooked meal was a rare treat for him.

 

Letting out the moan of pure bliss Jocelyn knew would come after he took his first bite, Magnus smiled up at her and nodded his approval as he hummed happily.

 

“Glad you like it”, she glowed with the joy only a parent could have when their children were happy and fed.

 

“Look at you making the mother hen pleased”, Luke joked to Magnus as he winked at Jocelyn.

 

“If she must spoil me with her delicious cooking who am I to stop her?”, Magnus shrugged with an innocent flutter of his lashes as he took another bite.

 

A few more moments of blissful peace passed while they ate, but Magnus could feel that is wouldn’t last very long. He sensed the questions coming like an annoying niggling feeling in the pit of his -fuller by the moment- stomach. Clary shifted in her seat beside him and he internally sighed.

 

Here we go

 

“So, Magnus”, Clary’s voice was a little too sweet for his liking, “how’s the new piece coming along. I didn’t catch any of it when I met you in Studio A, you’d finished by then”.

 

The devious smile that curled on her lips clashed with the innocent look she was trying to pull off with her puppy dog eyes. Magnus nearly kicked her under the table in annoyance but she pulled her legs away to the side of her chair to keep them from the long reach of his.

 

His eyes narrowed at her for a moment before he chanced a look out of the corner of his eye toward Jocelyn and Luke. Both of them held a look of utter confusion as they watched the exchange between the two friends. Magnus held onto his urge to wince and straightened up in his seat. If this was about to happen he’d do it on his terms and be dignified not cowed.

 

“New piece? You added another piece to the two you’re already choreographing? Do you think that’s wise with your schedule? Why were you in studio A? Are you not working with the crew any longer?”

 

Jocelyn’s tone held both puzzlement and very deep concern as she fired off her questions. Magnus knew she’d worry about his work load, and wonder if he could handle it. She was a worrier, it’s what she did best for those she loved. Well besides feed them until they were stuffed.

 

“Joss”, Luke comforted, his hand coming over hers on the table to squeeze gently and calm her. “Relax, let him speak”.

 

Luke was the voice of reason, the rock, the steady calm. Magnus couldn’t help but feel thankful yet again that fate had brought these two caring people into his life as parent figures. Jocelyn immediately calmed at Luke’s touch and tone, Magnus took a deep breath and glanced over to Clary who just nodded her support to him. Making eye contact with Jocelyn Magnus began.

 

“Okay, first things first I am still working with the crew. You know they wouldn’t be able to survive without me. They’d kill each other”.

 

“True” .

 

Clary, Jocelyn and Luke all spoke this together in agreement then laughed. Magnus smirked, they were always very in sync with each other these three. When the small laughs dissipated, Magnus continued.

 

“As for my work load, you know me, Jocelyn, I could choreograph in my sleep. The trio with Ragnor and Raphael has been planned for over a year between the three of us and only needs tiny tweaks and a run through now and again. The ensemble piece is coming along easily, as Clary could attest”, he gestured to Clary and she nodded her agreement. “Please don’t worry about me, you know I can, and have handled worse”, he smiled his most charming smile like he was trying to calm a snake about to strike.

 

“If you’re sure, then I’ll let it go”, Jocelyn relented. “You can tell me not to worry, and I’ll try not to, but I just want you to take care of yourself”, her voice was soft now.

 

It wasn’t easy getting her to back down from defense when she was worried about her family, but Magnus always had a knack for it. Luke chuckled under his breath, and Clary tried to stifle her giggle.

 

“I know, and thank you. I always take care of myself, maybe not to your standards but I’m fine”, he hurried on as it looked like she was about to interrupt. “I was in Studio A because I was invited to choreograph, and as of this afternoon - to dance - with one of the Institute’s ballet dancers”.

 

The ballet dancer”, Clary cut in correcting him causing Luke and Jocelyn’s gaze to shift over to her. “He’s being modest. Alec Lightwood, isn’t just any dancer at NYAI, he’s the number one ballet prospect in the entire school. Companies are going to be fighting to have him join them, and he asked Magnus to help him with a piece”

 

Three sets of eyes shot over to Magnus who was still sitting tall in his seat, although looking slightly more annoyed at Clary than usual. Luke and Jocelyn’s expressions were curious, amazed, proud and concerned all rolled into one.

 

“Alec Lightwood?”, Jocelyn asked tentatively. “As in the Lightwood Arts Center, Lightwoods?”

 

“Yes, that is the very Alec Lightwood of whom we’re speaking”, Magnus tried to play it cool keeping his voice as nonchalant as possible.

 

There was a look exchanged between Jocelyn and Luke, that Magnus read immediately and understood. Only three people other than himself were privy to the details surrounding his previous minor connections to the Lightwoods, and two of them were sitting at the table with him. Luke’s hand covered Jocelyn’s again as he rubbed his thumb over it to obviously comfort her.

 

“I think I met him last night”, Luke interjected, his tone smooth and reassuring. “When I went to pick Clary and Simon up from study group. He seemed like a nice guy”, Luke’s eyes flickered to Jocelyn.

 

This was definitely an attempt to soothe her. Luke was an apt judge of character with very minimal time spent with a person, it came with the job. If he thought Alec was nice, it was enough to appease Jocelyn for the time being. When he looked back over, Magnus felt grateful for his presence and cool head.

 

“That Jace guy you were studying with is Alec’s brother right?”, Luke aimed his question at Clary.

 

Seeing Clary, visibly gulp from the mention of Jace, made Magnus want to laugh at the way Luke turned the tables on her for his benefit. When she nodded, and her cheeks turned red, they both took pity on her and refocused onto their previous conversation.

 

“Clary isn’t lying, I’m sure you’ve both seen him dance at the showcases these past few years. He’s pretty unforgettable, not someone whose talent you’d miss easily”, Magnus spoke to both Jocelyn and Luke.

 

“He is pretty amazing”, Jocelyn spoke, her worry still evident in her tone before she shook her head and moved on. “He’s a gifted young man, as are you. I’m not surprised he’s seen your potential. Yet..?”

 

“Yet?”, Magnus lifted his brow and waited, he knew this was coming.

 

The hairs on the back of Magnus’ neck bristled a bit as he steeled himself for the question. It was strange how he felt so offended for Alec when he himself had worried about the same thing Jocelyn was about to ask.

 

“Are you..”, Jocelyn hesitated and squeezed Luke’s hand for strength, “are you positive he’s on the level with you. He’s interested in your talent? This isn’t a cruel joke”.

 

Magnus swallowed, and took a deep breath. I hurt his heart to hear someone thinking ill of Alec. Why was that? It was confusing, his mind was in such disarray over it. Had he not been worried about Alec’s intentions as well? This was Jocelyn, his mother for all intents and purposes, why was he so affected by her simple question? He breathed deep once more to focus his mind and heart before answering.

 

“It seems Alec Lightwood, is truthful, and straightforward in his intentions. He’s been quite friendly and polite”.

 

Magnus watched Luke and Jocelyn’s eyes to see if they’d believed him. Of course their concern still shone through. There was only one way to appease them.

 

“I know why you’re worried, I was too. In fact I was scared, still am”, it took everything he had in him to admit that to them. “I promise you both, I trust him. My instincts have yet to let me down with the exception of that one time. I swear he’s on the level, he’s - well - he’s going in a totally new and unexpected direction for his Senior piece and he needs and values my opinions and talent. He basically told me this repeatedly, I trust him”.

 

His eyes full of sincerity Magnus half begged, half argued for their belief in Alec’s intentions. It struck him so hard that he felt the need to have these people he loved respect and believe in Alec the way he was beginning to himself.

 

The room was silent for a few moments as his words washed over the pair. Clary’s face held a bit of confusion, she didn’t get the worry, and Magnus understood, she’d never known of his issues with the Lightwoods. Still Clary smiled at him in support and love, he adored her for it. Jocelyn looked from Luke to Magnus, and smiled.

 

“This is pretty amazing news, Magnus. We’re extremely proud of you”, Luke began

 

“We always knew you had this inside you”, Jocelyn interjected. “It’s about time those stuffy pompous idiots at that school recognized your talent”.

 

“Jocelyn!”, Luke growled low trying to contain his laugh.

 

“It’s true and you know it”, she pointed her finger at Luke. “You’ve said it too, don’t lie now”, she spoke in an accusatory tone.

 

Luke’s laugh broke loud and free, and soon everyone was laughing as well. His laughter was always so full of life it was hard not to join in when he let loose. Plus Jocelyn’s fiery and protective comments were quite amusing and sweet.

 

“Thank you”, Magnus spoke quietly as he held onto the stitch in his side and tried to calm the last of his laughter. “Thank you both for always having faith in me”.

 

“Wouldn’t have it any other way, kid. You’re too damn amazing for your own good”, Luke held out his fist for another fist bump.

 

Jocelyn just smiled proudly at Magnus. With the big news out of the way, the small talk began again, as the family enjoyed the rest of their meal in the jovial setting. Once dinner was finished, Magnus grabbed as many plates as he could and asked Clary to do so as well. With no words at all, he made it clear to Jocelyn and Luke that dishes were their responsibility, and they were to relax and enjoy themselves.

 

“We’re still on for that ping-pong rematch though”, Luke pointed at Magnus as he grabbed for Jocelyn’s hand pulling her towards the couch.

 

“Yup, right after Clary and I load the washer. Hope you’re prepared for the slaughter”, he laughed.

 

“We shall see”, Luke raised his brows.

 

Once in the privacy of the kitchen, Magnus and Clary scooped the leftovers into containers and placed them in the fridge. Clary began scraping the dishes into the garbage before handing them over to Magnus before he rinsed lightly with the sprayer and set them into the open washer.

 

They worked quietly for a few moments, Magnus watched Clary as her shoulders rounded and she tried to hide behind her hair a little. He knew she’d be both nervous and excited about this conversation so he waited just a little longer before she raised her eyes to his.

 

“Okay, let me have it”, she smirked.

 

“Jace”, was all he said.

 

“I like him”, she shrugged. “A lot”.

 

“So I noticed. What do you know about him? Besides that he’s blonde, rich, cute and one of the most revered musicians and composers at the Institute? Is he a nice guy? Will he treat you well? What’s he like? I’m trying here, Biscuit. I’m really trying not to listen to the rumors, you know how I don’t trust the gossip. But with you it’s a little hard not to worry”.

 

“I know that, Magnus, and thank you”, Clary’s voice was small for a moment before the fire shone in her eyes again. This was his bold girl making her stand. “I mean, he can come off as a jerk. I saw it at first, but I swear I told him off for it”.

 

“Did you now? Do tell”, Magnus asked completely curious.

 

“Well, he tried to use this cheesy pick up line like ‘How could I not know who you are? I should know a girl as beautiful as you ’, some lame crap and I just laughed at him and told him that it wouldn’t work on me. I told him that if he wanted to talk to me like a proper gentleman he’d have learned my name”.

 

Magnus smiled with pride at her. He should have known Clary could handle herself with just about any boy, even the charming Mr. Wayland.

 

“Then I dropped the fact that I know who he is, how his reputation at being arrogant precedes him”.

 

“And?”, Magnus’ brow raised in question.

 

“He pretty much turned sheet white and sputtered over his words”.

 

“Whiter than he already is? That’s impressive”, Magnus teased as Clary rolled her eyes at his joke. “And then?”, he gestured for her to continue.

 

“He backtracked after that. Called me ‘Clary’ to prove he really did know my name. He even complimented my newest art project proving he’d been interested enough in me to seek it out. Basically he proved his stupid reputation wrong, and showed me the real side of him”.

 

“Brava! I’m proud of you for setting him to the right before he could even begin. I’m also glad to know he’s not a total jerk. Like I said most people aren’t only the bad things they’ve said or done; although that’s all others tend to remember. However I’ve become more wary of this belief since Camille”, Magnus made a pointed look towards Clary.

 

“I don’t blame you for it”.

 

“Knowing her, how could anyone blame me?”, he made light of it but Clary always saw the underlying pain.

 

“No one ever does”, she reassured and gained a smile in return.

 

“You seem to have things in hand with the boy, and from what I gleaned from Alec about him this afternoon, Jace does seem to be up to par”.

 

“You asked Alec about Jace?”, Clary’s voice was shocked and nervous.

 

“I did”.

 

“Oh really”, her playful tone came back as she nudged him gently in the side with her elbow.

 

Clary was trying to flip this conversation on him, and veer it into dangerous territory. Territory involving Alec, and feelings, all the stuff she was nosy about. Magnus was far too wise to her schemes, and simply looked at her from the corner of his eye and nodded. He wouldn’t budge and give her the satisfaction.

 

“Of course I did, who else would know him better than a brother?”, Magnus shooed her back with his hands waiting for her to pass him the last plate. “While this is all well and good, I’ll still need to talk to Jace, get to know him. I’ve asked Alec to set up a good time for us to chat. Don’t give me that look, you knew I would”, Magnus pointed his finger at her.

 

“Yeah, I did”, Clary frowned and shrugged. “Please be nice, promise me. I know you’re protective but, Magnus please give him a chance. I - I really like him”, Clary’s voice got smaller towards the finish of her request.

 

“I know you do, and therein lies the problem. I can’t promise anything”.

 

“Fine”, Clary huffed sounding an awful lot like Jocelyn in that moment.

 

Magnus couldn’t hold back the loud, barking laugh that escaped.

 

“You sound like your mother”, he pursed his lips and narrowed his eyes at her.

 

“Oh my god, Magnus don’t you dare say that again!”.

 

Clary grabbed for something to throw, her hand landing on a nearby filthy dish towel. She wadded it up and chucked it at his head, but Magnus knew it was coming. He’d already shut the dishwasher, pressed the cycle, temperature, and the start button, then ran out towards the living room all before it could reach where he was standing.


“Ready to be destroyed?”, Luke’s deep yet affable tone taunted easily.

 

“Moi?”, Magnus played surprised as he pointed to himself in a grandiose manner. “Please, Luke, if I remember properly it was I who did the destroying last time”.

 

“That’s because you cheated, and I let you win”.

 

“Cheated?”, Magnus acted rightfully offended. “I resent that, it’s not my fault Jocelyn walked in at that precise moment and I happened to make it known. Besides you know I rock a lethal paddle and you’re just rattled. Now paddle up, old man, you’re going down. Best of seven?”

 

“Five”, Luke corrected in his best authoritative voice.  “Still have to drive you home, don’t want to leave too late”.

 

With that the much awaited ping-pong match was underway. For awhile Jocelyn and Clary sat around taunting and cheering. It was fun and easy being with his family, with Luke. If Magnus let himself relax around them, he never felt the need to chastise himself for it later. These were the people he allowed closest to the center of Magnus Bane; the people he wanted to let in completely. So even if he tried to hold them at a distance, he never regretted those small moments when he’d slip and allow them into his heart.

 

Soon enough the match grew too competitive in the most comedic way, it often did between them, and the ladies left in favor of binge watching a few episodes of their favorite show. With just the two men alone the dynamic seemed to shift. Magnus could feel Luke really wanted to talk to him about something, but was holding back. It was always his way.

 

Luke understood Magnus’ tendency to lean towards self reliance more than Jocelyn and Clary. This was something that Magnus appreciated very much. Luke cared enough to want to have these awkward yet helpful conversations, but he was respectful enough to let Magnus open up the option to listen when he was ready to do so.

 

With this in mind the ease of their bond, the light moments of teasing and bragging, and the fun from the actual match, Magnus felt lighter than he had in days. There was no darkness pressing in on him, nothing to run from or hide. Luke felt the shift in his mood and smiled wide as Magnus hit the winning point so far to his left that Luke was unable to get it in time.

 

“The winner and still the reigning champion of the Fray-Garroway ping pong table is...Magnus Bane!”.

 

Magnus threw his arms up in victory and began to dance circles around the game room.

 

“Yeah, yeah it was a lucky shot, kid. I was distracted”.

 

“Distracted? Again? Jocelyn isn’t here to catch your eye so now I know you’re lying”.

 

“Fine, I admit it, you bested me twice in a row. The student has surpassed the master”.

 

They mock bowed to each other in jest before letting the laughter consume them. Luke clapped Magnus on the back as they headed towards the living room.

 

“Alright time to get a move on, get your things”.

 

While in Clary’s room gathering up his bag and hoodie, Magnus overheard the teasing both Clary and Jocelyn were giving Luke at getting beat by Magnus again. He couldn’t help the smile on his face, moments like this he almost felt like he truly belonged somewhere in this world.

 

The goodnight hugs,  kisses, and Jocelyn’s motherly fawning done, she handed him a bag of some leftovers she had packed for him.

 

“Night, Biscuit”, Magnus hugged Clary tight. “See you tomorrow. And remember what I said”.

 

“I know”, she looked down at her feet knowing he was reminding her that he wanted to talk to Jace. Love you, okay?”

 

“Mmmhmm, sure you do”, he winked.

 

“Shut up, you know I do”.

 

“Of course, love you too”.


Ten minutes into the half hour drive to his loft from Greenpoint and Magnus could feel that the time had finally come. He’d put it off long enough but the weight of it was there, even if Luke hadn’t even said a word, Magnus knew.

 

“Okay”.

 

He sighed heavily and looked over at Luke for a moment out of respect, then let his eyes slide to the side and wander at the passing scenes beyond his window. It felt awkward to look directly at Luke the entire time when they had these conversations. The hum of the car engine and the new beat of a drizzling rain pattering around them were the only sounds for a few moments

 

“You know we’re proud of you”, Luke broke the silence as he turned on the wipers.

 

“I do, you tell me all the time”, Magnus felt a smile tug at the corner of his lips as he used his pointer finger to connect the small droplets of rain forming on his window.

 

“We mean every word of it. Don’t take that lightly, okay?”.

 

“I know you mean it. I’m sorry if I made it sound like it didn’t matter”.

 

“Magnus, I know you, and I know your moods. It’s fine. We know you don’t want to believe our feelings about you, it’s understandable, and we’ve had versions of this conversation so many times. The point is, that it isn’t a bother. Don’t ever think you’re a bother. Not to us”.

 

The weight of Luke’s words hit him, and Magnus shrunk in his seat a little. These moments were slightly humbling to him, and it was one of the reasons Luke always let him set the time for them. His heart beat faster in his chest as he tried to control his breathing. His eyes pricked like he was going to tear but he fought it with every bit of strength he had. Magnus hated letting people love him because love always hurt. But in all honesty he knew Luke, Clary and Jocelyn would never hurt him.

 

“You’re really okay with this arrangement with Alec?”, Luke’s voice was firm but held a tinge of worry.

 

“Yes”, Magnus shifted in his seat again.

 

“You truly trust him?”

 

The question swirled in his mind a few moments, because oddly enough he didn’t have to think about the answer at all. Magnus knew he trusted Alec, it just scared him that he knew it so quickly and that his feelings for Alec were growing so intensely. Of course this train of thought brought a fresh wave of guilt about Alec’s feelings for him, but then his heart leapt for a fraction of second. It felt good that someone like Alec wanted him. His mind, heart and stomach were a mess from all the mixed emotions. Magnus shook his head and turned to look Luke in the eye.

 

“I honestly do”, his voice was soft, eyes truthful, there was no way he’d lie to this man.

 

“Okay”, Luke hummed, his deep voice soothing to Magnus.

 

Once again a comfortable silence filled the car. Luke tapped his fingers against the steering wheel, and when Magnus snuck a look back at him he saw his lips pressed together tightly, his jaw set. Luke was thinking, there was still more to say, that was evident.

 

Magnus waited patiently trying not to let his thoughts wander back to the beautiful ballet boy and the way his muscles moved beneath his tights. He tried not to remember the way Alec’s eyes lit up when he spoke of dance. Magnus felt himself losing the battle and his heartbeat picked up even more but this time the feeling in his stomach wasn’t guilty it was a strange fluttering that he detested the second he felt it because he recognized it for what it was.

 

No , he chastised himself. Stop it now .

 

“You know it’s okay, right?”, Luke’s words broke through his haze of thoughts.

 

“What’s okay?”, he asked slightly out of breath as if he’d just been dancing himself instead of just thinking of Alec dancing. He was definitely a little confused at to what Luke was trying to say.

 

“To let people in”, Luke paused. “Especially if you trust them”.

 

Oh, ooohhhh!

 

He meant Alec. Luke was telling Magnus is was okay to let Alec in.

 

“You’re always protecting yourself. Sheltering your heart, your emotions. You keep yourself at a distance. It isn’t healthy, you’ve told me this yourself. We know your heart. We know how big it is, you try to hide but we see you, I see you”.

 

He should have known Luke would see right through him. He should have realized that just a few moments in his presence discussing Alec, and Luke - the seasoned detective - would figure him out. A panic rose in his chest for a moment before he swallowed it down.

 

This is Luke, you trust him.

 

“It’s not that easy”, Magnus shrugged and hated the way his voice sounded small.

 

“I didn’t think it would be. But you deserve personal happiness. You’re a good man, you work hard for your dreams and your future. Although these are admirable traits, you sometimes work too hard. Life is precious, Magnus and the people we let in just make it that much more important. Special people are worth the effort, not everyone will hurt you. Plus there will always be people here for you when things get rough, remember that”.

 

He knew he should listen to Luke’s very wise words, but he was just so afraid. This of course heightened his self loathing. Why was he so broken? It wasn’t fair. He wished it was easier to let people love him and love them back, but fear kept him stagnate. Knowing he should at least acknowledge Luke’s advice, Magnus nodded at him and smiled a half smile.

 

“Thanks”.

 

“You’re welcome”.

 

The last few moments of the ride were fairly quiet again, and Magnus used the time to reflect on Luke’s faith in his words. The conviction he had in the advice he gave. Luke wasn’t a guy to fuck around and lie to him to appease his fears, he was a straight shooter. The comfort of this washed over him setting a warmth through his body that continued to keep his fears at bay. Perhaps Luke was right and the risk was worth the reward. Magnus was a rational and wary man, he’d have to think on it a lot, but there was much merit to this concept. Too much merit to just ignore.

 

As they pulled up in front of Magnus’ building, Magnus made to cover his head with his hoodie for the mad dash in the rain to the front door. Grabbing his keys he hiked his bag over his shoulder, and turned to leave. He paused a moment and turned halfway around so Luke could see his face.

 

“I genuinely appreciate everything you guys do for me. Don’t take that lightly, okay?”, he echoed Luke’s words from earlier then smiled and ran for it before Luke could even answer.

 

It was his way of saying ‘I love you guys’, his way of acknowledging that they love him too, and they are allowed to love him. It was the best he could offer at the time, and he knew Luke would understand.

 

As Magnus made his way up the stairs his mind scrambled him back in maintenance mode. It happened every night when he got home, the automatic feeling of pushing everything else away because he had a job to do.

 

Remembering that John had asked him to fix his deadbolt this morning - had that only been this morning? It felt like an eternity. So much had happened in one day, so much had changed. His emotions were everywhere all day long, and he felt like his body was paying the price for their missteps. He ached everywhere and the fatigue was hitting him so hard. With a sigh Magnus headed right for his tools as soon as he entered his loft, and put his bag down, then went to go knock on John’s door.

 

“Magnus, so sorry about this man. You look beat”.

 

John was trying to be kind and make small talk as Magnus got to work on the lock.

 

“Yeah, it was a long day”, he yawned as if on cue.

 

“I thought you didn’t work Thursdays”.

 

“I don’t, but I had a new dance piece that needed some work. And working with new people is never easy. Then I went to Clary’s for dinner”.

 

“Oh, that’s cool. A new dance piece? How many does that make now? I remember you saying you were working on more than one”.

 

Magnus couldn’t help but smile, John wasn’t so bad. I mean at least John listened to him when he spoke, not like some of the other tenants. He seemed genuine, kind, and honestly curious about Magnus’ life. Always one to be adept at finding affable people, Magnus decided it couldn’t hurt to actually talk to John for once. In fact it might help that he didn’t have such a close bond with this person and could complain a little.

 

“This makes three dance pieces for the showcase”.

 

“Wow! Sounds like a lot to take on”.

 

With a nod to acknowledge John’s statement Magnus then explained about his workload at school being really stressful, and of course his two jobs being a constant struggle. He shared that the new piece was different than anything he’d ever done and that the challenge both excited him but also had him on edge with worry that he wouldn’t do it justice and perhaps disappoint his new dance partners in this particular piece.

 

When John shook his head to dispel Magnus’ worries, he looked up at him in great surprise.

 

“We may not talk much, but I’ve seen the way you are with everything you do. You commit whole-heartedly. Your work ethic is incredible, besides it seems you’re in demand at this school if you were asked to help create three separate dance routines. You must be good, I mean it’s one of the best schools for dance in the city”, John smiled and shrugged.

 

For a moment Magnus didn’t know what to say. Just the other day he was cursing this man in his head as he stood in a puddle of water at an ungodly hour. It was before the sun could rise, he was tired, grumpy and fixing the hose on John’s washer for the umpteenth time. But now - now he was actually starting to appreciate his hopeless neighbor.

 

“Thank you, that actually means a lot to me”.

 

“No problem, it’s only the truth”.

 

Magnus smiled and grabbed his #3 Phillips-head screwdriver as he finished replacing the deadbolt.

 

“So - um, you said something about this piece being more challenging, how so?”.

 

Laughing a little at how chatty John was tonight, Magnus screwed the last screw tight, and put his tools away in their box.

 

“You’re really interested?”, Magnus raised a brow sounding a little skeptical.

 

“Yeah. I can’t dance a step, but I’ve always appreciated dance. It’s crazy what dancers can do with their bodies”.

 

“Alright”, Magnus chuckled. “So this piece is a mix of styles, my specialty, which is Freestyle Hip-Hop, and Ballet. Although I trained in ballet it’s not a strong suit, and to make the mix of these two styles work well together you have to think outside the box. Plus the subject matter is powerful and personal”.

 

“This sounds like it’s going to be really cool”.

 

“Would you like to see a little?”, Magnus pulled his phone out of his back pocket.

 

“Cool - uh, yeah sure”.

 

Magnus tapped his phone a few times and set up some of the footage he’d filmed of Alec and Lydia dancing that afternoon. John held the phone and watched intently, he really did seem interested. Magnus watched his face carefully for any signs of what he was thinking, and was rewarded with obvious awe.

 

“So what do you think?”, Magnus asked as John gave his phone back.

 

“It’s really interesting, I like it. Also they’re a nice looking couple, he’s lucky, she’s pretty cute”, John gestured towards the phone with one hand and ran his hand through his hair with the other.

 

Magnus chuckled again, “Oh you’d think that by looking at them dance together, most people do, but they’re just good friends and dance partners”.

 

“Oh?”, John sounded really curious and extremely interested now.

 

The smirk Magnus tried to fight showed as he realized that John seemed to like what he saw watching Lydia dance.

 

“You’re right, she is cute. She’s also sweet but a tough cookie. Someone like you could use a bit of her influence. Slacker!”, Magnus teased as he grabbed his tool box and headed for the stairs.

 

John laughed at that. “Saw right through my pretenses, didn’t ya?”.

 

“You made them super obvious. Night, John. Thanks again for - you know”.

 

“Night, Magnus. Thanks for fixing the lock, and yeah no problem”.

 

With his day finally done, Magnus absentmindedly put the leftovers in the fridge, brushed his teeth, changed into sweats and flopped face down on his bed. Going through the soothing ritual of removing and changing his nail polish color, he chose a pale pink tonight. As he finished up and sprayed them to dry, he realized the color reminded him of something he’d seen earlier in the day but his tired mind couldn’t place it.

 

Setting his alarm , Magnus shot a quick text to Alec, as promised, to give him his work schedule and the times he was available for practice. Alec replied rather quickly, causing Magnus to grin the goofiest grin ever. Shaking his head at his own silly behavior, he read Alec’s reply. Alec promised to cross check it with his own schedule and get back to him tomorrow. He also profusely thanked Magnus yet again for his time, discretion, and agreement to join them. The boy was just too sweet for his own good and Magnus was beginning to feel overly giddy about knowing this.

 

With one more glance to his nails, Magnus shrugged and gave up trying to figure out what it reminded him of as sleep consumed him. As his body began to relax, and sleep tugged at the edges of his mind a pale pink set of lush lips flashed in his thoughts. Magnus curled up around his pillow and smiled a sleepy smile as he fell into blissful and quiet dreams. He finally slept well, for the first time in days, and there were no early morning knocks at his door to disturb him.


As the sun broke through the old windows of his loft, Magnus woke long before his alarm feeling warm and happy. It had been quite some time since he’d slept well enough, that he couldn’t remember one single dream. Grinning and whistling he went about his normal morning rounds of the building before calling to set up the appointment with their regular exterminator on Sunday. Since the monthly visit was due.

 

Done quicker than expected, and still in a good mood, Magnus decided to leave for the Institute earlier than usual. Wanting to make the most of the time he had and get some ideas in for the new piece, he hopped onto his bike and headed over the bridge.

 

NYAI always had their doors open early for students wanting to get extra work or practice done in the mornings, but Magnus had worried that perhaps an hour and a half was too early; he was relieved to find the doors unlocked. He greeted the security team team as he passed them, Magnus knew almost everyone on the school staff. That was just his charming way.

 

Passing Studio A on his way to Studio B, Magnus caught a flash of colors out of the corner of his eye and stopped immediately. Nude and black. His feet wouldn’t allow him to move further, he stood so very still. Letting his eyes wander right he found exactly what his mind already knew he would.

 

There in all his shirtless and sweaty glory was the incredibly gorgeous Alec Lightwood dancing his heart out, practicing some of the newer choreography they worked on yesterday. Magnus found himself mesmerized by the sight, and although his feet began to move again they carried him towards the door to Studio A almost against his will.

Almost.

 

Magnus remained still after he passed through the swinging door without a sound, his heart felt like it jumped up into his throat, his mouth hung open in awe, and his breath had definitely ceased. He should be dead, if he wasn’t breathing he was most likely dead, because this creature dancing in front of him was far too angelic to be human. Magnus watched unnoticed, as Alec leapt so far into the air it seemed he could fly, his talent was always awe inspiring, as his passion. But seeing him like this, so free, when he thought he was alone, his beautiful body half exposed it was breathtaking.

 

Noticing a thick, dark patch of hair across Alec’s chest, and the ripples and dips of well defined muscle, Magnus felt his nerve endings almost humming throughout his body. Alec had grown and matured since the last time Magnus accidentally saw him shirtless backstage during a showcase. This was definitely a man, no longer just a talented boy. Alexander Lightwood was a master danseur, an incredible person, and absolutely gorgeous to behold.

 

Suddenly Magnus felt too warm and his lips extremely dry, he licked to wet them and swallowed the sharp sound of beautiful agony that was aching to leave his throat. He fought to gain control of his expressions as he watched the exquisite rise and fall of Alec’s glistening chest breathing heavily through the strenuous dance.

 

Magnus felt almost like he didn’t belong here. He thought about leaving and knocking, to perhaps make himself known in a proper way. But the music stopped and Alec stood in front of him breathing even heavier, his bright eyes scanning over Magnus in great surprise at discovering he wasn’t alone.

 

“Magnus”, Alec rasped out in shock.

 

The tone sounded slightly accusatory, but perhaps that was Magnus’ guilt supplying what he felt for being caught. Alec rushed over towards the sound system and bent to grab his tablet off the floor so he could stop the music from repeating.

 

Magnus’ eyes opened wide as Alec bent over revealing his perfectly shaped and muscled rear-end. Magnus had seen it before, it was always so easily accessible to the eye in dance tights, but after witnessing the heaven that was Alec’s chest Magnus was fighting himself in every way.

 

You promised him, you promised yourself, get control now.

 

Magnus allowed himself to scan Alec’s body one more time as the other man turned to face him.

 

“Okay, I’m back”, he whispered to himself as he blinked a few times and held tight the reins of control.

 

“What?”, Alec asked confused.

 

Had he said that loud enough for Alec to hear? Magnus’ mind searched for what to say.

 

“I said, oh you’re back, as in you’re back at it. And early I might add”, Magnus covered for himself easily gesturing around the studio to add emphasis to his words.

 

Alec crossed over to the stool and pulled his black tank top over his head to cover himself, then zipped his warm up hoodie over it. He seemed quite embarrassed to have been caught like that by Magnus of all people. As Magnus watched him cover up all he could think about was flirting. Perhaps saying ‘you don’t have to get dressed up for me’, but he held his tongue this time. He promised not to lead Alec on.

 

“I guess great minds think alike”, Alec offered while inclining his head towards Magnus’ bag.

 

“I guess they do. Good morning, Alexander”, Magnus gave a half smile.

 

“Good morning, Magnus”, Alec’s eyes shifted away nervously as he tugged at the bottom of his hoodie like he was making sure he was covered.

 

“This is actually good that we’re here. Now we know that we’re willing to work early if need be. This seems like a free time for the both of us, we can definitely work with this”, Magnus kept his voice calm as he shook the last thoughts of Alec’s bare chest and perfect ass from his mind.

 

“I - um - I also checked my schedule against yours and came up with some ideas if you don’t mind going over them with me for a few minutes”, Alec’s tone was quite nervous again.

 

It seemed to Magnus, that Alec’s unsure side was back after he’d been caught by his crush dancing half naked. Magnus couldn’t blame the guy for reverting back to this state especially after yesterday afternoon. This was the first time they were in each other’s presence since those awkward moments and this time they were alone. Knowing the best way to put Alec at ease was to act as if none of that happened and all, Magnus just nodded.

 

“Sure, we’ve got to get this figured out, and we have some time. Then we can get some choreo done on the piece, yes?”, Magnus kept his tone light

 

“Y-yeah, perfect”, Alec sputtered still looking anywhere but at Magnus.

 

Folding his lanky and muscular body with pure ease, Alec sat down cross-legged on the spring floor,  and pulled out his phone. His brows furrowed as he focused on something on his screen with a few taps his eyes then wandered up as he looked at Magnus from underneath his thick lashes. Magnus’ knees felt weak in that very moment. This man was gorgeous and he was torturing Magnus slowly without realizing it. Alec was completely innocent to the effect he had on Magnus. Of course Alec also thought he was the only one feeling this intense connection, and obviously felt guilty about it.

 

Those beautiful sparkling, and ever-changing eyes looked like liquid amber today with a ring of dark green. Magnus felt them watching him, wondering, it made his skin tingle and his head fuzzy. There was a question in them, and he then realized Alec was checking to see if Magnus was okay sitting on the floor so near to him. With smooth grace Magnus sat himself next to Alec in answer to this unspoken query.

 

Of course he could sit next to Alec, was he not a professional who swore to keep his attraction at bay? Was he not a young, capable adult who could handle anything that came his way with style and poise? Even through this inner pep talk he was giving himself, Magnus still felt the hum of excitement under his skin. He couldn’t help his attraction but he could make sure Alec didn’t notice it.

 

Alec scooted a little closer and held his phone in front of Magnus. He was so close Magnus could feel the heat radiating from his body, and smell the sweat mixed with underlying tones of sun, spice and soap.

 

“Is this okay?”, Alec’s gaze shifted from the phone to the minimal space between them.

 

His adorable nervous mannerisms had Magnus taking pity.

 

“It’s fine, Alexander”, he soothed and leaned in a little closer not minding being this close at all.

 

That thought took him aback for a moment, but the more he fought his true feelings the more he would analyze everything about their interactions until he drove himself insane.

 

Turning his attention to Alec’s phone he noticed there was a schedule chart open with both their schedules already loaded. There were a few overlapping sections showing when both of them were available. He was impressed, although not at all surprised by Alec’s efficiency and drive for order. Magnus thought this seemed quite in character for someone as goal oriented as Alec.

 

“This is quite impressive”, Magnus showed his appreciation for Alec’s consideration and care.

 

“Thanks”, Alec smiled and blushed before continuing. “So as you can see our, afternoons line up to an extent but I adjusted for time spent with your crew, and came up with an even trade of forty-five to fifty minutes in each studio. Depending on which piece you feel needs more work that day you can always adjust accordingly”.

 

Alec then pointed his finger along the column until he got to Thursday and shifted his eyes to Magnus. He tried to remain focused on the screen, but Alec was making it very hard with those lovely eyes.

 

Hard , Magnus snickered at his internal pun.

 

“Thursday’s being your off day, are when we can get more done”, Alec continued, “you can devote an hour and a half to each piece. And Sunday’s, you’re completely free as am I, give or take a few hours these two Sundays”, Alec indicated these spaces on the screen. “So if we can book studio space we can find a time that’s good for both of us to meet. Lydia won’t always be able to make it on Sunday’s but we can fill her in on time we have here”.

 

Magnus nodded, he was deep in thought, desperately ignoring the tug in his gut to move ever closer to Alec. Instead he remained the pillar of concentration as he took in Alec’s hard work with the schedule. It was so quiet in the studio, he felt Alec’s eyes on him again, he knew he was watching, he was always watching. The feeling made his heart lighter and heavier at the same time, if that was even possible.

 

“Studio space on Sundays shouldn’t be a problem”, Magnus finally broke the silence. “My dance mentor owns a studio in Brooklyn and I’m sure she’ll let us use it anytime so we won’t have to worry about booking, since her studio is closed on Sunday. As long as you don’t mind coming into Brooklyn”.

 

“Oh that’s awesome, I wouldn’t mind at all”, Alec seemed excited. “Just let me know how much she’ll want and I’ll gladly pay, since it was my…”

 

“Alexander”, Magnus cut him off before Alec could make himself sound more clueless. “She won’t charge us. She’s a friend, more like family. No need for you to pay anything”.

 

Magnus tried to hide the biting edge in his tone as the blaringly obvious difference between them showed itself again, just when he was beginning to let himself forget and see the man behind the name. He must have failed though because Alec flinched visibly and the guilt flooded Magnus.

 

Shit!

 

“I - I, shit I’m sorry, Magnus. I didn’t mean to imply”.

 

“It’s alright, Alexander I didn’t mean to sound so harsh I just wanted it clear that she would let us use the space for free. I’m sorry I was so snappy”.

 

“So we’re even”, Alec smiled that devastating smile that Magnus couldn’t ignore.

 

“For now”, Magnus smirked and eased the tension in his back he felt just a moment ago.

 

“Good, I really am sorry”

 

“I know”.

 

Oddly enough Magnus really did know. It was strange how he could see past the ignorance and privilege with Alec. It was still there, of course it was, that doesn’t go away overnight; however Magnus always saw underneath Alec’s missteps. His apologies held sincerity, and a weight of purity. He meant what he said, and was absolutely upset with himself for making assumptions.

 

This strange realization had Magnus on edge. He’d been thinking about this on and off since his interactions with Alec became more frequent. Magnus questioned his every action, his every word around Alec. He questioned his gut feeling to trust Alec. It was tiresome and completely foreign to fight with himself this way.

 

Why were things so easy with Alec? Why did they connect on so many levels? It was unsettling, and completely at odds with all he’d learned about self preservation. Feeling his walls begin to build around him again, Magnus remembered Luke’s wise words in the car last night. While thinking on these words, and how they’d made him trust himself, how they made him understand Luke’s trust in him, Magnus continued to eye the schedule.

 

“Sundays will be good for getting as much choreography and practice done as possible. I’d love to be in the studio early on Sundays. But this right here, these Sunday’s”, Magnus gestured, “you said you’re unavailable early in the afternoon.  So a later time for these days then?”.

 

“Yes, um you’re completely right in wanting to start early but I really can’t reschedule these workshops”, Alec’s voice held regret but also a tone of defiance as if he thought Magnus was asking him to change his plans”.

 

“Alexander, I do hope you understand I wasn’t asking you to rearrange your schedule. If these workshops are important I understand completely”.

 

“You do?”, Alec’s voice was soft again.

 

“Of course. You didn’t even bat an eye at my crazy work schedule, you were willing to work around it”, Magnus kept his tone light and reassuring.

 

“But work is important and something necessary to you, I mean these are just workshops”.

 

“They’re important to you and that’s all that matters”.

 

Alec smiled his huge full grin again and nodded his head almost imperceptibly. “Thanks, I’d hate to disappoint them if I wasn’t there”.

 

“Your parents?”, Magnus asked dryly not really caring to hear about the elder Lightwoods.

 

“No the kids. Um - well you see”, Alec shifted a few times where he sat and seemed fairly uncomfortable again. “It’s just, Izzy, Jace and I devote a few hours, two Sunday’s every month to a free arts program for the um - the um- “, Alec was stuttering his eyes wandering everywhere never landing on Magnus.

 

It was then Magnus figured out where this was going, and what had Alec so nervous to speak about it. Steeling himself with a deep breath he reached out a hand to take Alec’s. The hazel eyes went wide in shock as they found Magnus’. It was evident he was surprised Magnus was comforting him physically.

 

“It’s okay, Alexander. You won’t offend me I promise”.

 

“Well um okay”, Alec swallowed hard. “The workshop is for inner city, and low income families whose children show interest and talent in one of the classical arts. So we volunteer for this free workshop. Iz and I teach ballet, Raj alternates with us. Jace teaches piano, guitar and music composition. There are also volunteers teaching paint, charcoal, and sketch art. I mean my parents, they see it as their children getting something philanthropic to put in our ‘life qualifications’ checklist so we can get a pat on the back. But what they don’t get is how much we love it, how much we love those kids. It’s a beautiful experience that gives my siblings and I great joy and a feeling of purpose. I wouldn’t trade that, or those kids for anything”.

 

Alec finished and shrugged as if it was no big deal, but to Magnus is was. This young man had just shattered every single presumption most of the school held about him in a mere two minute ramble. Magnus was in awe yet again, Alec had a way of doing that to him. The deeper he dug the more he discovered the beauty within Alec Lightwood, and it was so much more than the beauty without.

 

Watching Alec speak so passionately and freely about teaching dance ; his parents reason for allowing them to do the workshops versus his, Isabelle’s, and Jace’s was quite remarkable. Yes Alec Lightwood was far from perfect, but he was well on his way to understanding more than what he’d been force fed his entire life. Magnus couldn’t help but see the man underneath and he was liking what he saw more and more with each second they had together.

 

“That’s very admirable work. It holds a place close in my heart, because my dance mentor was the first person to give me a shot even when I couldn’t pay her for lessons any longer. She saw my potential and her love of dance helped her to see it in me as well. I wouldn’t be here without her, and to know that you’re out there doing it for the next generation, that isn’t something to shrug at, Alexander. You should be proud of yourself”, Magnus squeezed his hand then let go.

 

“I guess, I mean - thank you Magnus”.

 

“You’re welcome. And thank you for moulding the minds and bodies of the future of dance”, Magnus purposefully lightened the mood with his playful tone.

 

“I don’t know about all that” Alec laughed and it lit his face.

 

Magnus was glad he was able to bring this Alec back, the nervous worried guy was cute, but the laughing, happy Alec was so lovely to be around. Magnus also noticed the longer they spoke the less awkward Alec seemed, especially now with no other eyes on them. This was the first time they were truly alone together and Magnus could tell it put Alec on edge but also at ease. The tension Magnus has seen in Alec’s shoulders when he first came into the studio seemed to melt with the passing minutes of conversation.

 

Perhaps, Magnus thought, the tension was due to Alec’s worry over Magnus figuring out his feelings. Maybe he thought Magnus was going to change his mind. But one thing Magnus knew for sure was that pent up tension and energy needed to be spent which explained Alec’s appearance in the studio so early.

 

“Okay so should we begin?”, Magnus stood and dusted off his sweatpants with his hands.

 

“Sure thing”.

 

As Alec set the music, Magnus removed his hoodie and began to warm up. Once again he felt Alec’s eyes on him. That was something he was going to have to get used to. It was obvious the guy had no experience with these type of feelings if he was only just coming out. So Magnus didn’t fault him when he felt him ogling.

 

And ogling he was, Magnus caught it from the corner of his eye, Alec’s gaze was tracing the lines of his veins and the cuts of his large biceps along his bared arms. Not wanting to embarrass him, Magnus just continued his warm ups as if he hadn’t noticed. Of course the cheeky side of him was grinning internally of having caught the attention of such a gorgeous man.

 

Tugging off his warm up, hoodie it was Magnus’s turn to discreetly admire Alec’s arms. He was way better at not being caught, and Alec didn’t have cause to think Magnus was checking him out in the first place so it went easily unnoticed. As they stretched their legs and core muscles, Alec spoke up breaking the silence with a sweet query about his dinner with Clary, When Magnus affirmed he enjoyed his time with his family, this expectedly turned the topic onto Jace.

 

“I’ve informed her you were going to set up a time for me to speak with him. She’s quite nervous about that”.

 

“He’s nervous too”, Alec smirked and shook his head. “He wants you to like him”.

 

“I don’t want to dislike him, I hope you know that”.

 

“Oh I do. It’s just he’s rough around the edges, he had a tough time before coming to us”

 

They both stood and began to swing and stretch their arms out.

 

“As you’ve mentioned, if you’d like to talk about it I don’t mind. You can trust me, and I’d like some insight”, Magnus answered as a signal for Alec to continue.

 

“I know I can trust you with this, is that weird?”, Alec scrunched his face up adorably.

 

“Not at all”, Magnus smiled.

 

“So this might get dark pretty fast”, Alec warned. “Jace’s mom died when he was born, he was originally left in the care of his stepfather who wasn’t so bad. However his real father, who was an abusive man, fought for custody and sadly won. He skipped town and changed their names before anyone in Jace’s mother’s family came looking to take his son away from him. Long story short Jace was a victim of mental and physical child abuse until he was about ten. When he was taken away by the Child Protective Services, the social worker, who knew my parents, asked them to foster him, because he showed great talent in music,  Eventually when they saw how gifted he is they adopted him. We’ve been inseparable ever since. But the years of neglect, manipulation and abuse took their toll. He’s uses his arrogant facade as a shield”.

 

Magnus was silent and still. He’d have never thought he would have so much in common with Jace Wayland ‘the golden boy’. All everyone believed was the attitude he sold, and the privilege that came with being white, and adopted into a rich family with a famous last name. Magnus was completely dumbstruck for a moment before he recovered.

 

“He’s very lucky to have found a family who cares for him the way yours does”, was all Magnus could think to say.

 

“He knows that, but for my parents it came with a price. For Izzy, Max and I, we just love our brother. For my parents he knows he was given shelter and support because of his talent. It haunts him all the time, the pressure to be perfect. Shit I’m sorry for unloading this on you”, Alec ran his hand over the back of his head through the hair there.

 

“No, it’s perfectly alright. It bothers you, you care about him. He’s your brother. I get it, and I feel your sharing this with me has made me understand Jace, a bit more than I thought I would”, Magnus frowned slightly before putting on a fake half smile and pushing the sadness of his own past away.

 

“I’m sorry”, was all Alec could muster.

 

He must have recognized the look on Magnus’ face as one he’d seen on Jace’s many times. It was a certain look that many children who have been through hell carry with them everywhere for most of their lives. All Magnus knew is Alec understood, and was respectful enough not to pry.

 

“So when would you like to talk to him? Lunch?”, Alec purposefully pulled the conversation back onto its original path.

 

“I’m afraid I can’t this afternoon. I have plans to work on something with Ragnor and Raphael”.

 

“Oh the trio you guys have been planning for years, right?”.

 

There was no way to keep Magnus from smiling his biggest grin. Alec really did respect all Magnus’ work at the school, enough to know who his friends were and what he’d been working on.

 

“Yes, that’s the very piece. Fine tuning so to speak”.

 

“Okay so Monday at lunch?”

 

“That would be perfect. Thank you, Alexander. So I’m all warmed up, let’s go”, Magnus clapped his hands together excitedly.

 

As Alec started the music they got into place where the piece began Alec ignoring partner work where he would lift Lydia just flowing into his next moves easily as if she were there. Magnus focused on his steps, his eyes catching Alec pretty much nailing the new free movement at every turn, he grinned proudly. And when Magnus began to do some of the ballet work Alec showed him, he saw Alec’s eyes watching him in the mirror and the small smile on his face when Magnus performed it expertly.

 

The energy and the chemistry flowing between the two of them crackled like an electric current around the studio. They moved without one fumble or misstep, without a pause or need to clean choreography. The hairs on Magnus’ arms felt like they were standing on end and the piece picked up pace. Their legs and arms moving together in sync sometimes in contrasting styles sometimes in each other’s but still perfectly in time with one another.

 

There was no weak spot to see only strengths. Magnus began to feel a stifling almost suffocating heat fill his lungs. It was burning him from the inside, his fear and his pure admiration fighting each other. He was so confused, his head ached and his heart raced one moment in joy and another in dread. Why was it so easy with Alec? Why?

 

Together they danced and looked flawless, had it only been one day they worked together? It felt  like they’d been dancing together for years. As they reached the part where they left off yesterday, Alec showed Magnus the section he’d been working on when Magnus came in this morning. Alec had even choreographed freestyle on his own, and it was actually really good. Magnus was impressed and a great pride filled him battling the other emotions.

 

He was a mess inside, but on the outside he went into ‘beast’ mode. Focusing on Alec’s choreography, Magnus began to mimic and adapt sections to work with his freestyle flow. When Alec easily picked up the section Magnus had just added, they were both in awe at how right it felt. They didn’t stop they just kept moving, feet moving in a funky broken pattern across the floor then leaping to bring them heaven-bound, toes pointed perfectly. Fingers tutting in time one by one to the beat, then elegantly held as they floated tastefully to melody. Faster they went, each of them moving almost effortlessly the other following with only one time seeing it done.

 

And when they touched, time seemed to pause, and all sound seemed to leave his ears. Alec’s hand on his cheek, laying it there softly, made his hurt stutter in his chest. Alec’s eyes telling his truth about who he is. A gay man, a man ready to live his life as his genuine self, it was beautiful. Magnus also saw the way Alec tried to control his loving gaze when focused on Magnus. But it was too easily seen and fed Magnus’ guilty conscience.

 

Still they were perfection in motion, Magnus saw it, Alec did as well. This knowledge scared Magnus deep down in his soul. Why Alec? Why was he the one who could bring this out in him? Why was their connection saw raw, so visceral so - fucking perfect?

 

Why? , he asked himself again and again.

 

When they stopped to catch a breath Magnus saw the perfect joy on Alec’s face, and despite his own fears he felt that joy as well. The respect, the beauty and the odd connection they share for this love of dance. Their passion and their talent intertwined now in ways they couldn’t explain. It rocked Magnus’ mind to even begin to think of how this was possible.

 

They both understood that the story they were telling with this dance was heavy, deep, emotional, yet at the moment their joy was overtaking them because they had executed it so well that it had them soaring. That perfect feeling a dancer chases, that incredible moment of release racing throughout their bodies usually only came from performing in front of an audience. Yet here they stood feeling that very way just from choreography and rehearsal.

 

Their chests heaved, the sweat poured down their faces and necks, and they were both speechless with goofy grins taking over their features. The moment was powerful, the silence spoke so loudly.

 

“Magnus”, Alec tried through gasps.

 

“I know”, Magnus did know.

 

Alec moved closer his skin so warm radiating heat once again that added to Magnus’ own. Alec’s eyes flickered down to Magnus’ lips and then up again as his face flushed pink. It was obvious what was going on in Alec’s mind and Magnus really felt like shit for it. He felt it was somehow his fault that Alec had a crush on him.

 

When Alec’s eyes flickered once more he bit his bottom lip like he was keeping himself from doing what he knew he shouldn’t. Magnus’ breath came short as his eyes shot to Alec’s lips, it was hard not to look at the with him chewing on them

 

Pale pink.

 

Quickly Magnus looked down at his nails and rolled his eyes at himself.

 

Pale pink.

 

He remembered his nail color from the day before and Alec’s shirt from their dinner in Chinatown came into his mind’s eye. Sage green. He gasped hard as he fought for air, the studio walls seemed to be spinning and closing in on him. He was falling, but he knew he wasn’t supposed to do that.

 

Alec smiled and it made his eyes sparkle in a way that had Magnus ready to say ‘fuck it’ but he couldn’t, not when he swore to respect their arrangement, with regard to Alec’s feelings. He couldn’t give Alec what he wanted or deserved, he couldn’t let anyone love him, so it wasn’t fair to let himself have this attraction. Not with someone as wonderful as Alec.

 

Magnus felt overwhelmed all at once. His confusion and emotional distress causing his evasion tactics to take over. He took a small step back putting some space between the two of them as he gained control of his breathing. He hoped to all things holy that Alec hadn’t noticed his slight panic and momentary lapse in judgement. Clearing his throat he found his voice.

 

“One more run through?”.

 

“Yes”, Alec nodded his smile still intact.

 

He hadn’t noticed. Magnus breathed a sigh of relief.

 

As they danced Magnus felt as if every moment of their time together moved too fast yet stood frozen. Two extremes at once, it was an off putting yet exhilarating feeling. Afterwards they made notations on the new choreography, so they could teach it to Lydia and block it properly that afternoon. Soon the school day was approaching and they both headed to the locker rooms for showers and to change out of their dance morning dance gear.

 

Magnus tried hard not to think about the very beautiful body showering somewhere in one of the many private stalls not too far from where he was, but of course he let it cross his mind at least once. Smirking at his own stupidity Magnus dressed quickly and walked towards the doors.

 

“Alexander?” he called out, knowing full well he was still somewhere in the locker room, he’d heard the sounds of him dressing.

 

“Yes?”, came Alec’s voice echoing through the room.

 

“See ya later, have a good day”.

 

“Thanks you too”


Magnus took a deep breath and held it as he closed his eyes and counted to ten. With a dramatic exhale he opened his eyes and entered Studio B, his shoulders squared and his chin high. He had to tell them, Ragnor and Raphael were his two oldest friends and they were both quite prickly. Usually he knew how to work them, but with this news he was unsure what would happen.

 

Still he knew he had to tell them, he owed them that. The chance to know right after Clary, Jocelyn and Luke, because they too were his family. The deserved to know before he told the crew. As he steeled himself for the conversation ahead Ragnor and Raphael were both sitting on the floor stretching their legs, their heads shot up almost simultaneously as he drew near. Magnus tried to stifle his chuckle, it was often like that with them, two sides of the same coin. They were a package deal, you ask for one you get them both.

 

“What?”, Ragnor asked curtly, cutting through all pretenses.

 

Raphael raised a brow at that. Everyone knew Ragnor usually read Magnus easily. As Raphael eyed Magnus closer he smirk shifted into narrowed eyes and tight lips.

 

“I see it too!”

 

Magnus knew there was no way around this, he could tease and banter back and forth but their time was limited and they needed to practice. It had been weeks since their last run through, and although they knew this piece backwards and forwards it always left them feeling better when they could get together and nail it down a few times.

 

“If I tell you now, and you don’t react well will you still dance or will you storm out and leave?”, Magnus questioned, and both he and Ragnor turned to Raphael.

 

“Fine”, Raphael huffed, “let’s get this done with”.

 

The piece was a freestyle mixed with tap dance, Ragnor’s first dance love. This is how Magnus learned to mesh styles together in the first place. His crew was a mix of many styles and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

The three men danced in such a practiced way that it was like there was no effort, it was like breathing or blinking. No troubles, no mistakes, a perfect unit. They’d been dancing together for too long for it to be anything otherwise, but this time the exhilarating feeling eluded Magnus. This didn’t feel as amazing as it used to feel, it didn’t feel the way if felt like dancing with - . And there it was his name in Magnus’ mind again.

 

How was he able to dance so in tune with Alec Lightwood when he’d only just begun to work with him? This dynamic between himself Ragnor and Raph took years to cultivate. Again the confusion and chaos plagued his mind, but still he danced, on beat and in sync with his best friends. After two more perfect run throughs, they called it quits.

 

“Now, Magnus”, Ragnor’s tone said he wasn’t to be fucked with.

 

Magnus just rolled his eyes, he was not one to fuck with either but he’d come here knowing this had to be done, no matter what their reaction.

 

“Just tell us, idiota!”, Raphael complained. “You’re driving me insane with these stupid looks of yours”.

 

Narrowing his eyes at the insult Magnus let it go, for now.

 

“So the new dance collaboration with Alec Lightwood, he asked me to dance as well as help with choreography and I agreed”.

 

Bracing himself for the onslaught Magnus was surprised when he was met with silence. Raphael breathed heavily through flared nostrils and Ragnor’s  jaw was clenching and unclenching repeatedly. However neither of them had said a word. Raphael leaned in and Magnus could have sworn he said ‘I told you’.

 

“You agreed?”, Ragnor broke the silence, his voice calm but tight.

 

“Yes, I have. It’s actually the only way the piece makes sense”.

 

“The only way it makes sense?”, Raphael cussed under his breath.

 

“Raph, calm down”, Ragnor begged.

 

They both glared at Magnus, Raphael now under control now that his outburst was done.

 

“You’re going to do this no matter what we say, or how we feel about it, aren’t you?”, Ragnor’s cool tone was back

 

“You know I am”.

 

“Is it so important you’ll risk your sanity?”, Raphael tried to make it sound angry but, Magnus and Ragnor heard the concern.

 

“I saw it, I felt it. You two of all people know how my mind works with dance. I’d hoped you would understand. It spoke to me”, Magnus’ fire and passion was evident even though he kept his voice soft.

 

“We’re not happy about it, but we’re proud, and we’ll support you”, Ragnor resigned.

 

“Madre de Dios, I swear if he hurts you I’ll break his long legs”, Raphael grumbled.

 

The three friends laughed for a short while, but they were never the ones for sitting around and chuckling. Their idea of fun was sarcastic remarks and dry humor usually at each other’s expense. This was the best Magnus could hope for where these two were concerned. Feeling better now this was out of the way, they ate quickly before parting ways for the day.


 

When the crew showed up for practice, Magnus made sure to check in with Elias that he and Raphael were okay after yesterday’s argument. When Eli pulled him to the side and informed him that he’d been at Alec’s last night with his boyfriend, Magnus raised his brows in pure curiosity.

 

“Is it true?” Elias fidgeted nervously. “ I mean, I’m sorry if I’m overstepping but I heard Alec and Lydia telling Jace, Izzy and Raj about it. So I mean, I guess - is it true - you’re going to dance with them?”/

 

“You heard correct, you’re not overstepping”, Magnus smiled and patted Eli’s arm in reassurance.

 

Eli fist pumped and shouted in excitement gaining the attention from the rest of the crew so of course Magnus had to confess his news to the rest of them. Their reactions were about as enthusiastic as he expected of them, they were a lively bunch, save Raphael and Ragnor, and he knew he had their love and support. And of course they all saw what this opportunity could mean for him.

 

After Magnus showed them the three new sets of eight counts he’d choreographed, they ran through twice. Then rehearsed the piece from the top a few more times before Magnus was satisfied with what he saw.

 

Magnus left Studio B in a hurry, he had to book it down the long hall towards Studio A, not wanting to waste a minute of his and their time before he had to leave for work. Before he could break into a light jog he saw Alec Lightwood who was standing there with a grin on his face.

 

“What are you doing here? I thought I was supposed to meet you in Studio A”, Magnus asked absolutely confused.

 

“You were, but we’re working in Studio C now. I figured it would be easier for you with the scheduling if you didn’t have to go so far between studios. Plus you can stay close to your crew if they need you. All they have to do is come next door and grab you”, Alec shrugged again.

 

Why did this boy not think the things he said or did out of the kindness of his heart were perfectly worthy of more than a shrug? Magnus stood dumbstruck again, what was Alec doing to him?

 

“You gave up your right, as the number one ranked dancer at the Institute, for the use of Studio A for practice?”, Magnus’s voice went up in shock, he was absolutely amazed by this gesture.

 

“Sure, it wasn’t important. Where we rehearse isn’t important, as long as we can make this work”, Alec smiled again. “It was the least I could do”.

 

“But it’s your right, it’s tradition”, Magnus argued.

 

“So, we’re making new traditions, breaking the mould. Isn’t that partially was this is about? “, Alec asked easily.

 

Touched by the strange sacrifice of the space that was rightfully his, Magnus couldn’t keep his heart from feeling lighter, or the smile from his face. This was something that Magnus would never believe Alec capable of before he knew him.

 

“Thank you, Alexander. I appreciate this very much”.

 

“You’re welcome”.

 

“I’m going to go tell the crew I’ll be right next door if they need me”.

 

“Okay see you in there”, Alec turned towards the doors of Studio C.

 

Before he could enter Magnus turned to stop him as a thought crossed his mind.

 

“Wait, if you gave up the right to the space, that means it goes automatically to Camille”, Magnus blanched at the thought.

 

Camille would just love that wouldn’t she? The honor of the use of the main studio at the school and the ability to spy on him easily since she’d be on the same floor. Alec chuckled at the concern and expression Magnus was giving him.

 

“That’s the best part. I requested that the studio be given to Raj’s dance group for their rehearsals. Besides they’re a larger group, they need the space. Since Camille insisted on doing a solo when I refused to partner with her. They directors agreed this made more sense”.

 

Magnus barking laugh came loud and echoed through the hall.

 

“Good for you, she doesn’t deserve the honor. Although I’m not so sure you thought this through”, Magnus smirked.

 

“How so?”, Alec’s brows furrowed in confusion.

 

“You just put Raj and Elias on the same floor, and they can’t seem to keep their hands off each other”.

 

It was Alec’s turn to laugh loud.

 

“Oh boy, did I drop the ball on that one or what?”

 

Magnus nodded and left to speak to his crew.

 

Ten minutes later they were blocking out the new steps with Lydia when Alec stopped them completely. His eyes were focused as he let the music play, his head inclined like he was listening for something in particular. Both Lydia and Magnus watched him carefully.

 

“What is it?”, Lydia finally asked when he went back to play one particular section over for the third time.

 

“It’s not right is it? The music, it’s off”, Alec spoke as if he was talking to himself. “With the new direction for this piece it doesn’t flow properly with the music now”.

 

Magnus knew Alec would hear it eventually, because this was the first thing he himself noticed about the piece. It was definitely not right for this new choreography. Magnus was pleased, yet again not surprised to know that Alec was indeed the real deal on every level.

 

“Well if you don’t mind me making a suggestion, I think I know someone who can help us”, Magnus offered.

 

“I don’t mind if Lydia doesn’t”.

 

With them all in agreement, Magnus told them of Simon’s prowess with mixing beats and melody. He was number one in their school for this type of music and only an underclassmen it was quite an accomplishment. Magnus let the pride he had in his friend speak volumes to Alec and Lydia, hoping they would give Simon a chance.

 

“Well if you trust him so do I”, Lydia smiled.

 

“I like Simon”, Alec added his voice seemingly not all there at the moment, “and his reputation for making incredible mixes is well known however we just have one small problem”, Alec sighed.

 

“Jace?”, Lydia giggled.

 

“Yup”, Alec answered before going on to explain to Magnus. “You see Jace and I always work together to create the music for my pieces, and well, I don’t know how he’s going to take it having to work with Simon on this. He’s a bit of a snob about music”.

 

Magnus smirked, his eyes squinting and shining with a bit in mischief as he thought of the perfect plan to make this work.

 

“Your brother is extremely talented and we do need him on board for this, but I think I have a way to make him think twice about working with Simon”.

 

“Really?”, Alec crossed his arms over his chest his expression skeptical.

 

“If it means more time he can spend with Biscuit I’m sure Jace will jump at the chance”.

 

“Biscuit?”, Lydia asked scrunching her face up.

 

“Clary”, Magnus clarified and both Alec and Lydia’s expressions turned to smiles. “You see Clary, Maureen and their friend Maia often do harmonies on Simon’s tracks. If it means more time to see her I’m sure Jace would gladly agree to working with our mix master extraordinaire. Plus we get the added flair of vocals for our track”.

 

Alec’s grin took over his face, the creases around his eyes that showed whenever he let his smile grow out of control became visible. The green in his eyes shone bright with excitement, as he shook his finger at Magnus.

 

“I like the way you think, Magnus. Jace will definitely go for that”.

 

“You two are devious, I swear”, Lydia threw her hands up and laughed. “Poor Jace”.

 

With all the details for music figured out they rehearsed until Magnus had to leave for work earlier than he usually did. It was Friday and work promised to be busy and hectic. As he waved his goodbyes he promised to text Alec about Sunday.

 

Sunday . He thought. He needed to visit Madame Catarina ASAP.

Chapter Text

Alec tried not to laugh as the small red-head eyed him with a clear purpose in her stare. She had to be a whole foot shorter than him, but she definitely had fire in her. Clary was protective of those she cared about that was for sure, Alec understood that and admired it. She was also proud of Magnus, it was clear when he told her his news. She wasn’t surprised though, Clary had faith in Magnus.

 

Knowing those two things about her made Alec smile even though the raw, exposed feeling was trying to gnaw at him after all that had just happened this afternoon. It was their first practice together and it all seemed to go somewhere he wasn’t prepared for. Yes he’d allowed himself to feel his pain and anxiety earlier when Magnus found out but there was more to it now. Forcing his wounded thoughts away he focused on Clary again, and could tell why Jace liked her so much.

 

Alec watched Magnus leave the studio with Clary, and thought how he said she was like his sister more than once. Now seeing for himself their very sibling like dynamic Alec wondered about Magnus’ family life. He didn’t know much about him outside of the Institute walls, just what he’d gleaned from rumors, and spying. At that the feeling of immense guilt pulsed through as he remembered his moments of peeping at Magnus from afar.

 

Of course now that they’d begun working together Alec had learned a little more. Magnus had a job he needed, and he worked very hard. But where did he go after work? Magnus referred to Luke, Clary’s stepdad, and Clary’s mom as his family as well. What was Magnus’ family like?

 

Alec’s family life was pretty much common knowledge to almost everyone at the NYAI, he was sure Magnus knew. Everyone knew the Lightwoods lived in comfort in a posh townhouse on the Upper West Side. Everyone knew the Lightwood parents to be a bit cold and demanding; but the Lightwood siblings were very close and caring to one another. Making the mental notes Alec’s mind seemed to be trying to help him understand something important, something he didn’t think could even be a possibility.

 

Who does Magnus go home to? Did Magnus have any family who cared for him? Did he not get along with his parents?

 

His curiosity grew, and he knew he shouldn’t let it, but he wanted to know Magnus. Alec had wanted to know everything about him for a long time, now was finally his chance. Even if it was impossible to have Magnus in his life the way he truly wished, he wouldn’t turn down a friendship with someone he’d grown to care for and admire.

 

The sweet feeling of their odd connection through dance made itself known to him again and Alec grinned wider,  before shaking the reverie from his mind. It was then he remembered what he said before Magnus left. The embarrassment took over, and Alec’s smile fell. The feeling made him want to shrivel up and die. He was usually composed and a lot more confident now than in past years; why couldn’t he control himself around Magnus? Why did he have to make himself look like a fool in front of Lydia and Clary as an audience?

 

Quite magical?, he internally groaned at himself. You’re an idiot, Lightwood .

 

Even though Magnus was kind, and didn’t draw attention to his slip up Alec began to feel like his emotions were getting the better of him. He hated his inability to keep it together where Magnus was concerned. Feeling the need to lash out yet again, and knowing his heart and soul couldn’t take it if he did, he closed his eyes and took a deep cleansing breath to calm himself.

 

When he opened them he was met with bright blue eyes watching carefully. Lydia’s understanding of the way he worked made him feel a lot better. She didn’t push or judge, or even say a word. She just showed an impassive expression on her face and smiled when she thought he needed some wordless comfort.

 

Now all of his secrets were out there. She knew something was up before and said as much, but now Lydia saw and heard with her own eyes and ears. It was confirmed, Alec’s enormous crush on Magnus was a lot more than just a crush. His action and reactions to Magnus pretty much showed like a confession or admission to an unspoken query. And the way he just acted didn’t help him to hide, there was no use of reason anyhow. Plus he basically admitted it in inexact words, but the meaning was clear.

 

Of course she didn’t shame him because she cared too much to joke about his feelings, but still Alec had a moment of tension and fear well up within him; it was almost instinctual, he knew  it wasn’t necessary.

 

“So dinner tonight, right? What are we eating and playing?”, her voice lightening the mood.

 

Alec shook his head to control his thoughts and refocus himself back into the conversation at hand. Clearing his throat he answered her in the best light tone he could muster.

 

“I’m making hot wings and dips, and four different pizzas with lots of toppings. All the stuff mother and father refuse to let us eat, the bad stuff with lots of cheese”, Alec grinned brightly. “As for the games Jace wants to play Cards Against Humanity again, plus the usual board games to choose from. Oh and Iz wants a rematch against you on Mario Kart so be warned she’s out for blood”.

 

“Yes of course, Raj is itching for a win as well”, Lydia giggled.

 

“Yeah, he keeps hinting …”

 

The rest of Alec’s sentence died on his lips as the very friend they were just discussing entered the Studio his smile shining brighter than the lights on Broadway.

 

“I take it practice went well, or was it your secret rendezvous with Elias that has you smiling like a clown?”, Lydia teased

 

“Oh so you know about that”, Raj ducked his head and chuckled as he grew nearer to his friends.

 

“We’re working with Magnus. Or did you forget he’s your boyfriend’s dance mentor?”, Alec smirked his voice full of mirth.

 

“Oh-um. Oh yeah”, his eyes went wide.

 

“As much as I’d love to hear Raj stutter over his explanation, I’m in desperate need of a shower. Plus I’ll get to grill him over it later. See ya, lovely boys”, Lydia called to them as she grabbed up her bags and left.

 

“Later?”, Raj asked confused. “What is she on about now?”.

 

“Don’t tell me you forgot? Did Elias kiss your mind out of you?”, Alec bumped his shoulder into his friends and laughed playfully. “Game night, my parents will be back tomorrow, ring any bells? Oh geez, Elias really did kiss you silly”

 

“Shit!”, Raj growled and grabbed for his phone quickly.

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

“It’s just I promised Eli we could go out for dinner together tonight, I owe him, I got him in trouble with Raph, almost Magnus too, because of that hickey”, Raj gestured frantically with his hands. “I’m sorry Alec, I totally blanked on game night. We had plans first, I’ll text him to reschedule, give me a second”.

 

Placing his hand on Raj’s forearm to stop him from texting Alec comforted his friend.

 

“There’s no need to reschedule. I invited Magnus and suggested you bring Elias to help him feel less out of place, but he had plans”, Alec tried to hold the disappointment from his voice. “Still it got me thinking, why not bring Elias anyway. He’s your boyfriend, he’s welcome anytime”.

 

Raj’s face was a bit shocked at the suggestion forcing Alec to look away for a moment. Had he really seemed that rigid to his friends all the time? This was the second time today Raj was a little strange discussing Elias around him.

 

“I-I, um wow, are you sure? I mean I know how you are with new people and..”

 

“Raj it’s fine, I’m sorry I’ve made you feel like you can’t be open around me. I told you that this morning and I mean it”, Alec gave a tiny smile as he went to pack up his dance bag.

 

“It’s not that Alec, we know your heart, it’s just”, Raj looked down at the floor for a moment then set his jaw, “we know you’re not really out to everyone and I didn’t tell Elias. It’s not my place to do so, if something is said while we’re hanging out, I mean”.

 

A look of complete understanding, came over Alec’s face, as a warmth filled his chest. He really did have very considerate people around him, Alec was thankful for them every time he was reminded of this.

 

“Thanks”, Alec hitched his bag over his shoulder and patted his friend on the shoulder, “but I promise it’s okay. I trust you, so I trust Elias. Besides it doesn’t matter, I’ll be out to my parents soon, and after that I don’t care who knows. I don’t want to hide myself anymore”.

 

Raj’s smile brightened even more showing a pride that was quite evidently for Alec. The studio was silent for a few moments before Alec felt it was okay to speak again.

 

“Also we could always use a second set of eyes on you, you’re a known cheater when it comes to games”, Alec elbowed Raj earning a glare that morphed into smile.

 

“I think you have me confused with Jace”, came Raj’s slick retort.

 

“True, so either way it’s another person to help me keep you guys in check, Plus Iz wants to meet him, she’s been bothering me for more information for weeks”.

 

“What did you say? She’s relentless sometimes, she asks me about him every day”, Raj seemed quite amused by this.

 

Alec shrugged “I told her you weren’t ready for us to meet him”.

 

“I am now”, Raj smiled big.

 

“Well you better text him then”, Alec gestured to the phone still in Raj’s hand.

 

Alec shut the sound system down, and turned the lights off before the two friends walked out together.

 

“One more question. You really invited Magnus?”, Raj asked in obvious awe.

 

The question was expected but still Alec didn’t know how to respond right away. He was sure Raj could read his expression of panic and fear. His mind raced to find the words that would get them off the subject of Magnus as soon as possible, he didn’t need to keep thinking about how broken his heart was and how rough it was going to be working with Magnus. Alec needed peace, and time with his friends, and siblings. He also wanted to look at the positive hope and excitement over the future direction for the dance piece, not the downfalls.

 

Not wanting to reveal the news that Magnus was dancing with them until everyone was together Alec licked his lips and swallowed around the dry lump in his throat.

 

“Yes”, he rasped out. “I knew he didn’t have to work tonight, I just thought it would be a good time to go over some notes for the piece”, Alec finished his tone stronger, much more resolute.

 

“Cool, you guys are really working well together. That’s pretty amazing”.

 

“Thanks”

 

Raj nodded before he turned his attention to his phone, Alec imagined to text Elias the invite. As they reached the base of the wide stairs where Alec often waited for Isabelle and Jace at the end of the day, Raj looked up from his phone. The full on grin from earlier was back in place.

 

“I take it he’s coming”, Alec showed a small smile at his friend’s happiness.

 

“Yes, he’s really pumped to meet everyone. It made him nervous that he hadn’t met my friends yet. He tried not to be pushy about it but - well - this just made his day. Thanks Alec, I appreciate it”, Raj patted Alec’s arm as he spoke with emotion and excitement.

 

“Don’t thank me just yet, now he’ll be exposed to all your dirty secrets”, Alec’s brow raised, his tone was flat. It looked a bit cold, but those close to him would know he was teasing.

 

The smile on Raj’s face fell almost comically causing Alec to bark out laughing.

 

“Hadn’t thought of that had you? It’s alright we’ll go easy on you - this time”.

 

If the eye roll wasn’t enough of an indication that Raj was still at ease to the joking he pretended to punch Alec in the shoulder.

 

“Okay going to meet Elias out front, see you a little later?”.

 

“Sure thing”, Alec smiled as his friend turned and left.


Isabelle’s squeal of delight from the backseat of Alec’s car was adorable and caused both her brothers to grin. She found such joy in the sweetest things, and was always excited for the happiness of those she cared about.

 

“He’s really bringing Elias?”, Izzy asked

 

“The man said he’s bringing his boyfriend Iz, relax”, Jace mocked annoyance to tease her.

 

“Hush up you, I’m excited. Can’t wait to meet him, I’ve heard so much about him”.

 

“You have?”, Alec’s surprised tone suggested that if he could take his eyes off the road to look at her he would have.

 

“Of course, I have. You forget Raj is my friend too. And who would you rather spill the details about your cute boyfriend with, Mr. Not-So-Warm-and-Fuzzy, Mr. Head-Full-of-Himself, or Ms. Amazing-Awesome-and-Cute?” Isabelle gestured around the car to Alec, Jace and then proudly lifted her chin at the description she gave as she pointed to herself.

 

The expression on both brothers faces was identical, a mix of indignation and amusement. She wasn’t exactly wrong, but she liked to poke fun at them a little too much. However they knew her well enough to not let her playful remarks hurt.

 

“You’re lucky we love you”, came Alec’s curt reply.

 

“Really lucky”, Jace narrowed his eyes at her and tried to control the smile itching to take over his lips before he chucked a crumpled piece of notebook paper at her.

 

A short sound of shock and false anger came from the backseat and Alec knew he needed to end this before it escalated. Parking with speed and precision Alec turned the car off and spun with the authoritative look in his eyes, and not a moment too soon, as Izzy was grabbing her notebook to rip out a sheet.

 

“Out”, he growled. “Not in my car, you want to play fight in your rooms I don’t care. You guys can deal with the consequences when mother and father get back, but not in my car, and not in any other places in the house”.

 

“Yes Dad ”, Izzy and Jace grumbled in unison as they had many times before at Alec’s dad-like speech.

 

It wasn’t new territory, this was the way it had always been for the three of them, four when Max was home. Alec shook his head and laughed at their over dramatic eye-rolls and smirks. Locking up, Alec clicked his alarm button, as he turned he was met with a faceful of crunchy leaves from two directions. When he looked at Izzy and Jace they were shrugging.

 

“What?”, Jace chuckled, “you said nothing about continuing our fight outside”.

 

“He’s absolutely right, you know”, Iz agreed.

 

“Why do I always feel like I need to be prepared for the apocalypse when you two agree on something?”, Alec joked. “You’re lucky you didn’t grab a handful of dog poop in those piles of leaves, haven’t I taught you anything”.

 

“You mean how to be a wet blanket?”, Jace grumbled.

 

“Wet blanket you say? Guess you don’t want to know what Magnus said about you and Clary”,

 

Alec raised one brow in challenge, winked at a giggling Izzy and left a stunned Jace standing there as he headed up the stone steps to unlock the doors. As if on cue he heard Jace rush up behind him.

 

“I didn’t mean that bro, you know that”, Jace’s voice cracked a little.

 

“Mmm hmm sure you didn’t” the playful tone evident as Alec stepped aside to let Isabelle in. “We’ll talk about it later I promise, we have to get some coursework done and prep for game night”, he patted his brother’s shoulder to show he meant it, he wouldn’t leave Jace hanging.


 

With limited assistance from Isabelle, knowing she could set the kitchen ablaze if unsupervised Alec was just finishing up the last pizza and the dip for the hot wings when the doorbell rang. Jace was downstairs setting up the family room for game night. Alec eyed Izzy who was using the pizza cutter to cut wedges into the feta, chicken and spinach pizza.

 

“I’m on it”, she relinquished the pizza cutter and wiped her hands on a paper towel as she turned from the kitchen.

 

Alec heard her socked feet quickly padding down the long hallway to the front door, and then suddenly a rush of excited voices as their friends showed up. Hearing Izzy’s squeal, Alec popped his head out of the kitchen to see she was hugging a very shocked Elias. Shaking his head he whistled to gain Raj’s attention.

 

“Help me with these?”

 

“Sure thing”, Raj smiled as he looked up to see Alec then turned back to Elias. “Be right back babe, gonna help Alec get the food downstairs”.

 

“What’s up, man?”, Raj grabbed Alec’s hand in his grip and they pulled close and patted each other on the back. “Dang you did all this? It looks fantastic”.

 

Alec just shrugged “You know I enjoy it so it wasn’t any trouble. Seems Iz took well to Elias”, Alec gestured towards the hall where their chatter could be heard.

 

“I tried to warn him the best I could.”, Raj smirked.

 

“He’ll be fine”, Alec reassured as they grabbed two pizzas each.

 

“Just waiting for Lyd, she texted and said she’d be here in a sec”, Izzy informed Alec as he exited the kitchen and made for the stairs.

 

With a nod to show he understood, Alec watched for a second. Isabelle’s eyes lit up as she and Elias spoke animatedly. She was in her element and already having a good time, Alec couldn’t help but be happy for her. Their parents would be back tomorrow and her smiles at home would be limited again.

 

Placing the pizzas down on the long buffet table, Alec nodded over to Jace and Raj.

 

“Set up the drinks from the fridge in the back, and the plates and cups, I’m going to get the rest of the food”.

 

When Alec made it back up, Lydia, Elias and Izzy were already in the hallway heading towards him.

 

“Be right down guys, just going to help Alec”, she offered as she followed him into the kitchen.

 

Once they heard the footsteps fade and knew they were alone she leaned in.

 

“So when are we going to spill the good news? I’m really excited about this and it’s been killing me not to say anything”, she smiled.

 

“How do you think I felt? I’ve had to try and control my emotions in front of both Izzy and Jace, you know how I am with that”.

 

“Okay so the sooner the better?”, she asked in excitement.

 

“Sure, let’s eat first”, Alec’s voice shook a little

 

“Nervous?”, she guessed correctly.

 

“They know how I feel about Magnus, like you do now. My true feelings”, Alec’s eyes went to the floor and his shoulders hunched a little. “They might be worried, you know?”.

 

“I do know, but it’s okay. This is your piece, your dream, you have the right to do what you need to make it happen. If your brother and sister are worried, that’s fine; however they can’t change your mind, Alec. This is what you want for yourself they need to understand. Especially now seeing the way the piece has evolved, I know you’re making the right choice”.

 

“Thanks Lyd”, his voice was quiet.

 

Despite knowing she was right, Alec still couldn’t ignore the mental and emotional battle going on inside him since this afternoon. Sure he pushed it aside over and over to get things done, but he knew it would crash down on him later, with force to spare. Talking to Raj helped, taking care of his siblings helped, coursework helped, cooking helped, they were all things he enjoyed so it distracted him easily.

 

Game night would be the ultimate distraction except for the part when he had to tell everyone his news, but still the food, company and fun would have him winning the battle, but what would happen when it was done and he was alone with his thoughts tonight?. Alec felt the rattle of the metaphoric bars he hid his feelings behind, they were fighting for release, but it was impossible.

 

Standing taller, Alec rolled his shoulders and smiled at Lydia, between the two of them, they managed to get the two trays of wings and the dips down onto the already packed table.

 

“Alright let’s dig in, I’m starving”, Jace shouted loudly and clapped his hands together.

 

“You don’t know the meaning of the word”, Alec shot him an unamused look.

 

Raj stood with Elias at his side looking slightly shy but Alec noticed that fade as soon as he saw all the food.

 

“Wow”, Elias’ eyes went wide, he looked at Raj who just nodded and tilted his head. “You did all this, Alec?”, his voice shook a little at first but smoothed out towards the end.

 

“Yes”, Alec shrugged, “I like cooking and trying different recipes”.

 

“And thank goodness for that”, Jace cut in, “if we had to rely on Izzy’s cooking whenever the ‘rents were away we’d be dead”.

 

“Shut up you”, Izzy pointed with one of the wings she just picked up, “or I’ll chuck this at your pretty head. And Elias, don’t let Alec fool you, he’s being modest because these are easy fun foods. He can really throw down in the kitchen if given the chance”.

 

Raj nodded in agreement, at his boyfriend’s impressed look. It seemed Elias was getting more comfortable with his surroundings, which was proven the second Raj winked at him and he smirked before winking back.

 

“That’s really cool, Alec. Color me impressed”, he offered in compliment as he gave Alec a small smile.

 

It made Alec smile in return. Eye contact, Elias was sincere, kind, and looked cute when he smiled. No wonder Raj liked him so much.

 

“Thank you, Elias”.

 

“Eli is okay, most my friends and Raj fluctuate between the two. Eli tends to be easier”.

 

He was definitely getting comfortable, if he didn’t mind being called Eli.

 

“So does that mean I’m not your friend?”, Raj mocked offense. “You said your friends and Raj, like an afterthought”.

 

“You know what I mean”, Eli lowered his voice and blushed just a little.

 

Everyone else was busy filling their plates with their choices but Alec caught the exchange, and let out a small huff of amusement. Hearing it, Raj looked at him and smirked. He was glad his friend was being himself in front of them while his boyfriend was around.

 

Alec surveyed the room, almost everyone he cared about smiling laughing and enjoying the food he’d prepared for them. It brought a much needed light feeling to his heart, soul and mind. Digging in for some pepperoni and provolone Alec didn’t notice that both Isabelle and Jace had flanked him almost boxing him in with the wall at his back and the table just in front of him.

 

“Don’t think we didn’t notice you haven’t said a word about your first rehearsal working with Magnus”, Izzy teased.

 

“You’ve been too quiet, which isn’t exactly news, but because it’s him this is a little suspicious”, Jace added.

 

With that they left him standing there, as they snickered together. They were definitely trying to make him sweat it out. Closing his eyes and breathing through his nose, Alec centered himself. Their lack of pestering him before this point was too good to be true, he knew they were bound to attack sooner or later.

 

Once they’d all seemed have their fill of the food, Alec caught a look from Lydia. She was wondering if he was going to spill, most likely so she could be there to back him up when he did. With a curt nod Alec wiped his hands on his napkin and was about to speak before Isabelle beat him to the punch, her tone light but loud cutting over the chatter”

 

“Okay everyone, now that we’re all full of delicious food”, she turned to wink at Alec, “and the games are about to begin, I have an announcement to make. I, Isabelle Lightwood have been named as the lead female role in the Junior’s Showcase ballet piece - finally”, she added sarcastically, but her smile was radiant and spoke of her happiness.

 

Cheers, applause and an obscenely loud whistle from Jace had her bowing dramatically. Alec loved seeing her so happy it made his gut twist a little with guilt at possibly worrying her with his own news.

 

“We knew you’d get it, Iz”, Alec pushed his feelings aside and pulled his sister into a tight hug.

 

“Congrats, Lizard”, Jace ribbed, also hugging her .

 

When everyone was finished congratulating her, Alec cleared his throat, and held his shoulders stiff. All eyes turned to him full of curiosity, when he spoke his voice wasn’t as loud as Isabelle’s had been but he knew they’d hear him just fine.

 

“I have some news as well”, he cleared his throat again, almost as a coping mechanism. “As all of you know Magnus agreed to work on some choreography with Lydia and I for my Senior Showcase piece. As of this afternoon, the three of us realized that it’s in the best interest - that is for the piece to reach its fullest potential, Magnus would have to dance with us”.

 

A few gasps and murmurs of surprise interrupted Alec again. Taking a deep breath he felt Lydia move closer to his side and steeled himself again so he could continue.

 

“So to clarify, that means Magnus is not only adding choreography to my own, he’s dancing in the showcase as part of the production of the final piece”.

 

His tone was a bit off sounding and stiff even to his own ears. It was like he was trying to convince himself that dancing with Magnus wasn’t a big deal, even though he knew otherwise. The room was silent for a few minutes.

 

“Holy crap, this is exciting”, Raj spoke first, not fully understanding the weight of this news.

 

Both Isabelle and Jace smiled and although their happiness was sincere, Alec could see the concern in their eyes.

 

“It’s very exciting”, Lydia answered Raj. “While we were working this afternoon it became clear pretty quickly that this was the right direction for the piece”.

 

Her tone showed her excitement as she grabbed for Raj’s arm, ushering him further towards the large couch area where Eli was sitting quietly. She knew Jace and Izzy would want to talk to Alec alone for a moment.

 

“It’s definitely exciting. It’s going to be incredible”, Jace clapped Alec on the back and pulled his lips into his mouth to chew on them nervously, looking everywhere but at his brother or sister.

 

“Are you sure?”, Isabelle whispered very low her worry evident. “With your feelings about him, are you sure you can handle it?”.

 

“Trust me?”, Alec’s eyes flitted between Jace and Izzy.

 

“You know we do”, Jace answered first.

 

“I’m okay with this, I’m not foolish enough to think it won’t be an issue sometimes, Iz”, he directed his answer to her knowing her worry was greater than Jace’s. “But it really is in the best interest of the piece, there is no other possibility now that I’ve seen it. You know how I am”.

 

“Yes”, Izzy resigned her attack at the far off look in Alec’s eyes and the passionate tone he was speaking with. “Once you know, you always fight to get it near perfection. It’s your way”, she sighed.

 

“But, he’s always right in the end, Iz”, Jace consoled her.

 

“I know he is”, the pride in her tone was evident.

 

“So we’re good?”, Alec eyed her with his killer puppy dog eyes.

 

“Of course”, she smiled.

 

“So this is why you didn’t say anything about how rehearsals went today?”, Jace asked in a teasing tone.

 

“Yeah”, Alec shrugged.

 

With another pat on the back from Jace and a kiss on the cheek from Isabelle, the three Lightwoods joined their friends and game night got underway.

 

After the worrying and the tensions of Alec’s announcement faded the fun feeling took over. Of course there were a few times Alec had to step in to stop Izzy and Jace from killing each other, they were both so competitive and it made them ridiculous in these type of settings.

 

Cards against Humanity had them hysterical with the sick combinations they were coming up with. Everyone was holding their sides from laughing so hard when Elias answered ‘It’s a slippery slope that leads to’ with the card ‘doin’ it in the butt’. He was definitely going to fit in just fine, Alec thought with a smile.

 

Isabelle finally got her Mario Kart win against Lydia, Raj decided to play against his boyfriend instead of challenging Lydia, and there was a moment about ten minutes into Alec and Jace’s air hockey match when Raj and Eli just disappeared for awhile. When they came back with their hair all messed, a fresh hickey on Raj’s neck and guilt written all over their faces, everyone knew what they’d been up to.

 

Alec really didn’t mind he just hoped they didn’t break anything or leave evidence of their hook-up somewhere his parents could discover.

 

“Just tell me where”, Alec sighed as he leaned in close to Raj so as not to embarrass him.

 

“Main floor powder room”, Raj blushed. “We cleaned up I promise”.

 

“Okay, thank you”, Alec nodded and made a mental note to give it a wipe down anyway.

 

“And um Raj?”, Jace called

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Nice”, Jace smirked causing Alec to shake his head and roll his eyes at how uncouth his brother could be sometimes

 

“Thanks”, Raj mumbled and blushed hotter before he hurried back to his boyfriend.

 

The night was an overall success, everyone helped clean up as the games began to wind down, after all they did have classes tomorrow. During the clean up, Alec got a good laugh when he told Jace that Magnus wanted to talk to him about Clary, and his intentions. When Jace’s face fell from his smile and then morphed into panic, Alec couldn’t hold it together much longer, neither could any one else.

 

They said their goodbyes at the door and Alec locked up. With Iz and Jace already upstairs Alec stood alone in the main foyer. It was completely quiet save the loud tick of his mother’s antique Grandfather Clock in the parlor.

 

He was alone with his thoughts and feelings for the first time since this afternoon when he lashed out in anger in the back stage prop area. Alec let his head fall back against the inner set of doors to the entryway. The weight of it all was closing in on him and he felt it, but he couldn’t let it take hold not just yet, not until he was absolutely alone for the night.

 

Climbing the stairs up to their bedrooms Alec stopped along the way shutting off every light his siblings had carelessly left blazing. As he neared Izzy’s room he heard her laughing on the phone, it wasn’t the flirty tone she usually used with Meliorn, this was something different. Somehow he knew it would be best to knock before popping his head in, which he did. He heard her end her call before saying it was alright for him to open the door.

 

“What’s on your mind big brother?”, Izzy smiled at him genuinely when he peeked through.

 

“Just wanted to say goodnight and talk to you and Jace for a minute if that’s okay”.

 

“Of course it is”.

 

“Jace?”

 

Alec shouted out his head tilted towards the slightly open door across the hall.

 

“Yeah?”, came the grumbled reply.

 

“Come here a sec”.

 

“Alright”.

 

“Family meeting?”.

 

Jace joked raising his brows as he made his way past Alec and sat next to Isabelle on her bed.

 

“Something like that”, Alec moved to sit in Izzy’s desk chair. “I just wanted to thank you for understanding about my news. I know you’re both concerned and I get it. I also know you trust me to be able to handle it, but there was something else you need to know.”

 

“More about Magnus?”, Izzy’s tone went up in curiosity.

 

“No”, his voice was quiet

 

He really should’ve told them that Magnus had figured out his crush, but he didn’t want to cause them more unease than he already had this evening. Alec ran his hand through the back of his hair nervously and they both waited patiently. They knew his ticks so well.

 

“I’m planning to tell mother and father this weekend, you know, about - um - about me - that I’m gay”, he stuttered a bit. He always seemed to lose some confidence when discussing this particular subject and his parents. “I’ve been thinking about this for some time, and I figure they’ll be in good spirits from their trip. Business went well, or so they said when I spoke to them earlier. I’m done waiting, and I want any fallout to be dealt with before Max gets home for the holiday. It’ll give them a few weeks time to get a handle on things. You know, just in case their reaction is really bad. I needed you guys to be prepared for it.”

 

After the soft and unsure sound of Alec’s tone faded, the room fell silent. Two sets of eyes that held sorrow, concern and pride were aimed in his direction, it was enough, and Alec showed a half smile at their evident love and support.

 

“We’re here, whatever you need”, Jace rasped out.

 

“We promise, no matter what we’ve got your back”, Isabelle added almost solemnly.

 

“Thank you both, love you.”.

 

“Love you too”, they offered in unison.

 

“Bed”, he showed a tired smile pointing at them both, authoritative timbre back in place.

 

Rising from his perch he laid a gentle kiss on Izzy’s head, and patted Jace’s shoulder before leaving. Once in the comfort of his room Alec sat heavy on his bed, letting the burden of the entire day  just fall with him onto the supple mattress. He hung his head in his hands for a few minutes, his mind a bees nest swarming with so much doubt and dread.

 

Alec rubbed at his closed lids with the heels of his palms a few times, wishing he could make it all disappear by the time he opened his eyes again. The next few days were going to be a whirlwind of emotions. He was still trying to get a handle on things with Magnus, ignoring the fact he had to work with the man he desperately wanted. He had to learn to deal with the pressure to get the showcase piece right. He was also ready to come out to his parents, and face the chaos it would undoubtedly cause. Add to this Jace’s infatuation with Clary, and all that brought with it; and the feeling that something was definitely going on with Isabelle and Meliorn.

 

She was keeping secrets, which was very unlike her, she obviously wasn’t ready to share what was going on. But still he made a mental note to keep a closer eye on her, to pay attention to her behavior. He wouldn’t pry, but Alec wanted to be handy should his sister need him at any given moment.

 

Unable to fight the rise in tension that often came when he let his worries overtake him, Alec rolled his neck hearing it pop loudly in several spots. Grabbing his foam roller and changing into his shorts, Alec prepped himself on the hardwood floor of his room. The chill of the floor against his skin caused gooseflesh for a moment before he settled into position.

 

He shook his head when he remembered there was once a comfy rug he could stretch out on, but his mother complained he was sweating on a priceless carpet handcrafted in France.

 

Why did she do that?, he wondered not for the first time in his life.

 

What possessed his parents to do things like this. Why did she put such an item in a young man’s bedroom in the first place if she was only going to complain. Also why was she complaining when she had rugs to spare from all over the world. It spoke to the silly opulent lifestyle they lived and how blind they were to what really mattered sometimes. In this case, their son. Their child, the one they wanted to be the best, yet chastised when he did what was necessary to keep himself in top performing shape - because of a fucking rug.

 

The anger rose in his chest, too high for his liking. His mind flooded again with everything stressing him. Alec didn’t need this right now, he needed release, calm, peace. That was the purpose of this, to ease his physical tension from his overworked body, and at the same time find some ease in his mind. These things worked hand in hand for Alec, yet now he was letting himself fall victim to the anger again. He wouldn’t let it win, not right now.

 

Deep cleansing breaths, Alec let his mind go blank for a moment, nothing, just bright lights fading to black emptiness, and the hum of white noise buzzing. His mind wandered from his parents, the way they made him and him siblings feel, his upbringing. It searched, his thoughts looking for somewhere to settle, somewhere to go, away from these worries that plagued most of his life.

 

Finally it all settled, and where it settled was no surprise to him. One name, so many emotions and new set of concerns - Magnus. Of course, it wasn’t exactly a safe place to settle, but although thoughts of Magnus brought so many scary feelings, they also brought a strange calm. Alec didn’t even want to think about why that was, it was something he wasn’t afforded the luxury of exploring without hurting himself further. Yet here he was thinking about the man who haunted his private thoughts for two years.

 

Magnus promised to text, Alec hadn’t forgotten this detail. Not at all - in fact it was scratching at the back of his mind since he arrived home. His phone had purposefully never been far from him the entirety of game night. He’d set it to vibrate as well as chime loudly just in case. Still it remained mostly dark and silent with the occasional text from his parents and Max earlier in the evening. And now it lay about a half meter away where Alec could continue to eye it easily.

 

He’ll text, he’s a man of his word, Alec reminded himself, a small smile tugging at one corner of his lips.

 

Sure he knew he was fooling himself to find so much comfort in this, Magnus was calling for dance related reasons, but Alec let it go. He needed to leave his emotions out of it, the burdensome pressures from every direction were just too much for him. So he let himself have this small bit of peace, if only for a small while.

 

Alec pushed through the long routine of thoroughly stretching every taut and strained muscle in his legs, torso, back and arms. The physical pain peaked over and over, sharp and overbearing; then it would thrum lower into a satisfying ache. Painful yet full of relief, the torment that settled into joy. It was always a balance between heaven and hell to extend his muscles and tendons after a hard day of dance and of course his ever present stress.

 

Closing his eyes, gritting his teeth, and groaning when each muscle relaxed into submission, Alec felt lighter as he worked through the agony. Soon his body held that tingle, the euphoric feeling, often left behind after the torturous process, raced through every nerve ending under his skin.

 

Sighing deeply Alec slowly uncoiled his rounded back into sitting position, relaxing as his spine straightened through the movement. Before he could roll his shoulders and lift his head up he heard the buzz and the chime. Snapping his neck up to look at his phone, he knew he must have looked ridiculously foolish but dove for it anyway.

 

Magnus.

 

The text was simple, just the days and hours he worked weekly, a request for some time allotted to working with his crew, and best time for him to devote to their new endeavor. It was all business, Alec expected nothing less, or more, still he smiled and bit brighter than he had most of the night. He was acting impossibly foolish and he knew that, but at the moment he didn’t care.

 

Promising to cross check Magnus’ schedule with his own, Alec fired his text back, grin still firmly in place as he fought hard to control the urge to wish Magnus a good night. Instead he just let his word vomit around Magnus, morph into text vomit as he spewed his gushing thanks yet again.

 

You’re an idiot, Lightwood.

 

He could be angry with himself for being such a dork if he wanted, but at least he was telling the truth, if not for Magnus his dream for this dance piece would not be a reality. Vowing not to be too hard on himself. Alec rose from the floor and got right to work, diligently checking and double checking his schedule against Magnus to find the best times for them to work together throughout the week.

 

Pleased with his plan, he hit the shower to wash away every drop of shame, fear, worry, and of course sweat from his day. As the heat from the water beat hard on his skin easing the last of his physical tension away, Alec purposefully remembered his emotional strain so he could hopefully let it wash down the drain with the soap bubbles and salty grit from his body.

 

Pinpointing the moment clearly in his mindseye - It had been a disaster, Magnus knew about Alec’s feelings. Alec had been mortified and crippled by fear over this fact even though he put on a brave facade. The bright blessing was that now it was out in the open. There was no longer reason to hide his secret, he would have to control himself, yes, but hide - no.

 

Besides Magnus didn’t seem like someone who would force Alec to hide himself. In fact he knew this to be true, given the knowledge of Magnus’s personality and kindness. Alec couldn’t have Magnus for his own, but he didn’t have to hide the fact that he wanted him.

 

Finding a modicum of peace Alec finally left the steam of his shower, and dressed quickly for bed. He was tired now, so tired. There was nothing else he could do to ease his mind or body except get a good night’s sleep. Sleep was a salve for a dancer, earned with every movement, every moment of devotion to the dance, every drop of sweat, every ache and pain. Yes sleep would do him well right now. With one last echo of the name that seemed to be etched into all of his thoughts lately, Alec closed his eyes and fell blissfully into a much needed deep sleep.


 

He was hot, overly so. A lingering slow heat burned through Alec’s entire being. He couldn’t find the source, but he felt the trail of soft touches across his torso. It was definitely the feel of hands, hands maneuvering his body into position. He must have been dancing, these hands were guiding him. The trail led lower, leaving an icy yet blazing feeling in its wake.

 

Lower still the hands moved, fingers finding their way into the indentations and outlines of his defined body. The hands went even lower, dipping inside his tights without hesitation. Long, lithe, and warm fingers wrapping firmly around him, where he’d never been touched by anyone but himself.

 

Alec’s eyes snapped open, his hands moved of their own volition to run along the places on his midsection where he could still feel the ghost of the touch from his dream. It was as if he were trying to hold onto the feeling he’d just been experiencing. Returning to some sense of reality he realized he was definitely still in his bed, alone.

 

Turning his head to the side Alec could see through the small spaces in his blinds, it was still dark. Morning’s light had yet to touch the sky which meant it was either really early or really late. He’d been awoken by the intensity of his dream, his really hot dream.

 

Alec felt his face flush with heat that spread lower until his body felt almost aflame. He didn’t have to see the source of the touch inside his dream, he knew who it was, who it always was. Yes Alec had dirty dreams in the past, quite a few about Magnus, but this one was entirely different.

 

Every other time Alec had to imagine what Magnus smelled like when he was close, what his hands would feel like on his body, but after yesterday afternoon he knew the answer to these things. The memory of it was overwhelming for Alec, he knew he shouldn’t let the innocent touches meant for dance work feed his fantasies, yet he couldn’t control himself. Alec’s had been panting from the second his eyes opened, his heart was speeding and he was rock hard in his pajama pants.

 

Yesterday morning he’d been able to fight it off with a cold shower, today he wouldn’t be so lucky, he knew it to be true. He was too far gone. The knowledge of long wondered questions answered didn’t help him fight the urge to continue down this dangerous path. Arguing with the small iota of guilt that flooded him as he thought of betraying Magnus’ trust, Alec told himself this was a smart idea. It was the only way he’d get through working with the object of his every desire, without causing more of an issue.

 

Magnus wouldn’t leave his thoughts, the way his sweaty tank top had clung to his chest revealing everything underneath. He wouldn’t leave from under Alec’s skin, he still felt the chill down his spine when Magnus had touched him. The mounting tension was nearly unbearable, and would never make for an easy work environment. The haze in Alec’s mind surrounded the guilt, smothering it with the arguments he deemed sensible from his compromised state.

 

Letting go of his last bit of fight, Alec held onto everything he found desirable about Magnus. His confidence, his kindness, his talent, his ability to be understanding. Then things morphed into the more lustful realm his, body, the way he moved, his smile that lit his incredible eyes. The way the sweat dripped from the base of his hairline down his neck, and how Alec absolutely did NOT follow the trail with his eyes.

 

His hand slid almost painfully slow into his pants much like the hand in his dream. Alec closed his eyes and remembered what Magnus’ hands felt like on his muscles yesterday, he remembered it felt like they’d almost burned through his own tank top. The heat rose from inside Alec, as he wrapped his hand around his erection. He’d been hard for so long he was leaking precum all over his sleep pants. Gently running his fingers over the sensitive head, Alec spread it like a lubricant down his length.

 

“Please”, he rasped out low as if begging himself and the phantom Magnus for permission to continue.

 

With a bite to his lip to keep his moans in check, Alec pumped into his hand slowly. Sometimes he let his hand slide down over his cock, other’s he lifted his hips up into his fist. Alternating his grip between gentle and tight, he kept the speed slow at first wanting to draw out the experience before his sensibilities took over again.

 

His free hand found it’s way into his hair and tugged gently as Alec pumped faster, his eyes still shut tight he twisted his wrist around the now aching head of his cock. Undulating his hips now in combination with the motion of his hand the feverish demand made itself known. Alec whimpered low, trying to control the volume of noise he was making.

 

This was definitely unlike any other time he’d done this, without a doubt, his mind flying through the few touches of skin, and private moments of discussion between himself and Magnus. The way it felt to be so close to him finally, to have a reason to be so close, for it to be okay. His senses went into overload recalling everything about Magnus, his scent, what his touch felt like, how gorgeous he always looked, and how his voice just made Alec’s stomach flip. The only sense left unhelped was taste, but Alec’s imagination supplied any delicious taste his mind dared to find.

 

“Alexander”.

 

Alec heard fantasy Magnus’ voice caress his name and his heart felt like it stopped beating. His breath caught sharp in his throat, his eyes flew open, and the hand that was just in his hair clamped over his mouth as he nearly shouted through his orgasm.

 

He’d come harder than he ever had before. It was so intense, it seemed like there were pops of light hanging in the dark space above him in his bed. Shaking and whimpering he finished himself off and lay very still as he came down slowly.

 

“I’m so fucked”, his hysterical whisper to himself was of no comfort at all.

 

Not like he hadn’t known that already but now, it was even more clear just how fucked he was.


 

The glow of early morning sun flooded Studio A through the large, beautiful windows, bathing the wood spring floors in rays of golden light. Alec stood alone in the vast space, he’d always felt more at peace when in a dance studio. It was only natural he practically jetted here early this morning.

 

Warming up for practice, he tried to ignore the shameful guilt he felt flooding in from the very second he cleaned himself up after his lapse in judgement earlier. It hit him like a bucket of ice the moment the exhilaration from his release faded. Those blessed few moments were sheer perfection, but the feeling that followed was like a brick to a window; shattering.

 

Knowing there was no way he’d get back to sleep after that Alec had checked the time discovering like many times before it was the perfect time to get up and get some extra dance time in. He dressed, and prepped his dance and class bags quickly before he headed downstairs to make breakfast for Jace and Izzy. Alec left their food in the warmer, tip-toed into their rooms to make sure their alarms were set, and called the car service to make sure Hodge was there to pick them up for classes.

 

Big brother duties finished, Alec had driven like a maniac finding himself at the Institute almost two hours before classes began. This was a common occurrence for him so he’d marched into Studio A without pause, only purpose and determination. The guilt was eating him from the inside, and his tension was back, there was only one cure for this, diving into work.

 

This was where he stood now, warming up to begin working on some new ideas for the piece for which he now had an entirely different vision. Muscles warmed, music at the ready, Alec began mapping out steps in his mind taking into consideration partner work and steps tailored to both Magnus and Lydia.

 

Allowing the music to take over his soul Alec let himself go for the second time that morning. This time it was something he was completely familiar with, something that brought him true peace, dance. The fetters that always bound his mind and body tight in the hold of rigid ballet form were loosened and Alec’s movement was free.

 

This was freer than he’d ever let himself be. He was alone in a fairly empty building no chance of anyone with authority to correct or judge him walking in. Grace in movement, arms not held above stiff in a set frame, instead they flowed, his fingers individually mapping out their own dance as he’d seen Magnus do often, it felt right. Wrapping his arms around himself he rocked left and right, feet not set in any known position. He let himself fall gently, folded into himself, closed off, before he burst from his cocoon into the air like an explosion. Legs and arms thrown out from his body almost as if he was extending wings.

 

Landing momentarily he added a string of ballet steps, and they also felt right, they weren’t out of place they fit, he fit, both sides of this dance fit. Glissade, brise, glissade, brise, glissade, assemble, sissone. His breathing became heavy but his heart and head felt lighter. This was working, and he felt it in his bones.

 

The sweat was dripping now, as he worked. The warmth of the the sunlight mingling with the heating system; which was now on full blast trying to take the chill from the large building that had laid empty all night. Soon it would be full of students and faculty and the temperature needed to be warmer than the crisp fall air outside. The effect coupled with Alec’s added heat left the studio feeling like a sauna.

 

Alec removed his tank top without a second thought, as he’d mused earlier he was absolutely alone. Why worry about being caught dancing shirtless? Besides he’d danced shirtless many times on stage, but that was on stage, this wasn’t.

 

Getting back to work, he continued into some new movement, Alec decided to work on a step he’d been imagining for awhile. Almost crumbling to the floor like small stones off a steep cliff, he rolled from his knees onto his back, then gracefully rose again using the strength of his legs his arms coursing fluidly, before going up into tour en l’air. The emotion was guiding him, his story was pushing him.

 

Lost in the tidal of emotion and music Alec’s body moved on its own into the section they’d worked on yesterday, Magnus guidance in the back of his mind, his voice. And Alec danced it without misstep, without questioning himself. Magnus was not there physically guiding him but he managed it perfectly as if he’d been proficient in the style for years. He bent his body back twisting around, and leapt larger than life so pleased with this feeling. Pride, something he and his parents rarely let him feel.

 

Descending from his literal and fantastical high, Alec suddenly felt like there were eyes on him. The music ended and he somehow knew he wasn’t alone any longer. Turning about his breathing was labored but it wasn’t just from the effort of the dance - no, not at all. Magnus was there his eyes scanning, watching carefully. The welcome sight of Alec’s every dream, and the source of Alec’s greatest heartache was here looking beautiful, perfect, and watching him.

 

“Magnus”, Alec rasped out not a question and even he heard the accusation in his tone.

 

He hadn’t expected to see Magnus now, he wasn’t prepared especially after what he’d done that morning. And now the subject of that dream was standing in the studio with him, a lot earlier than most students at the Institute. Why did he have to be there now of all times to break Alec from his respite?

 

Alec grabbed his tablet off the floor to stop it before it could circle back. He could have sworn he heard Magnus say something but it was so low he was unsure if he’d imagined it. Politely he asked to make sure he hadn’t missed something, and it seems he had. Magnus had complimented him for being here so early and working hard on the new choreography, his tone sounded truly impressed.

 

Alec felt the pink flush threatening to take over his face and spread down his neck at Magnus’ praise. Perhaps it was the blush that made him realize that he was half dressed, and standing very close to Magnus. He suddenly felt naked in every sense of the word, knowing Magnus saw him, raw and exposed emotionally, but also quite literally bare.

 

He needed to focus before he could absent-mindedly reveal himself further, perhaps stuttering out his words as per usual. Maybe his thoughts would supply some mistaken meaning to the way Magnus was staring at his chest, because he knew Magnus didn’t want him that way. Figuring it best to cover himself up, Alec did so and immediately felt a lot less vulnerable.

 

A thought crossed Alec’s mind when he realized Magnus was there to work on the piece, just like he was. It seemed a good topic to break the awkward tension between them. This was the first time they were absolutely alone together since Magnus had figured out his crush. It made Alec happy to know his thoughts and habits when it came to dance were so much in line with Magnus’.

 

“I guess great minds think alike”, he said making it known that he noticed the bag.

 

It must have worked because after that the pleasantries were a bit easier, although the way Magnus smiled at Alec had him feeling slightly exposed again, and he tugged at the edge of his hoodie nervously. Needing to feel completely covered at least physically.

 

When Magnus broached the subject of early mornings being available to them both, Alec was grateful to have something else to focus on. It helped him to ignore how being around Magnus in such a private setting made his heart beat faster, and his stomach flip. Of course his stuttered speech returned as he began discussing the schedule he was able to put together.

 

Having this to center his attentions on, Alec swiftly sat cross-legged on the floor and took out his phone. With a few taps he had the schedule on screen to show Magnus, he was nervous because he hoped it was something they could agree on easy without discussion, they truly needed to get this going. Alec hoped he made no mistakes in the schedule even though he knew he’d been extremely careful with it. He glanced up shyly, his eyes taking in the tall and muscular build standing above him, he felt his mouth go dry as his eyes found Magnus’.

 

Why did he have to be so beautiful? Alec berated himself.

 

Swallowing around the lump caught in his throat, Alec wondered if Magnus would be okay sitting on the floor so close to his side. Just the thought of them being so near one another was enough to make Alec want to jump out of his own skin, but he fought the shiver from his spine so Magnus would not notice.

 

When Magnus sat, he moved with purpose and grace, so unlike the way Alec had practically folded himself in half. There was always that worry in the back of Alec’s mind that he didn’t move quite right when he wasn’t dancing. It was one of those things he was quite self conscious over.

 

Alec cautiously scooted closer so that they both could view the screen feeling the buzz and warmth from Magnus’ body. The clean scent of Magnus’ soap, shampoo and the smell of the crisp outdoors filled Alec’s senses. His guilt was there again, as he recalled the earlier reason he purposefully remembered the way Magnus smelled. Feeling like he should ask if it was alright to be closer to Magnus, he did so; receiving permission, and then some, as Magnus’ mouth stroked his full name again.

 

“It’s fine, Alexander”.

 

Not for the first time, Alec wished he could control himself better because Magnus was making him breathless just from sitting so close. His nerves shook through him, but thankfully Magnus was now examining the schedule chart and didn’t notice. Magnus was again impressed, and Alec felt like a silly dog trying to gain love from a human by jumping through hoops or rolling over. Blushing at the dumb thought, Alec found his voice, and explained everything, he’d been meticulous on purpose, not wanting to make Magnus feel like he wasn’t serious about this. Even more he wanted Magnus to understand how greatly he respected his time.

 

Magnus showed his undivided attention for every word Alec spoke and of course it had Alec on edge. When he’d finished speaking the studio fell so silent, and Alec fought to keep his control just watching Magnus’ face. The sharp edges of his jawline, his beautiful deep brown eyes speckled with an almost gold color when viewed in the right light, high cheekbones, and the way he said so much with just small adjustments to his expressions. The sunlight seemed to be Alec’s enemy because it lit Magnus, creating an almost glowing aura, and he had to catch his breath again.

 

Alec was so smitten and he knew it, If Magnus said the word, he would gladly just move into Magnus’ lap and wrap his arms around him tightly, and never let go. But that wouldn’t be welcome, would never be welcome.

 

Pushing his pain aside Alec perked up as Magnus spoke of his dance mentor’s studio in Brooklyn. Somewhere Magnus felt comfortable and at home was a very good idea to Alec, so he didn’t think twice about Magnus’ questioning if he’d being willing to go into Brooklyn. He also didn’t think twice about offering to pay, since it was his idea that got them here in the first place. He’d pay whatever Magnus’ mentor wanted if it meant he could make Magnus happy.

 

What Alec didn’t expect was the cold and angry tone in which Magnus replied when he made it understood that Alec’s money would not be necessary. Alec shrank into himself, flinching at his own stupidity. He messed up, he assumed, he offended and upset Magnus, which was the very last thing he ever wanted to do.

 

Alec felt sick, he always seemed to fuck things up with Magnus by making assumptions. Of course for him, money was everything, even held before talent by many in his parents’ circle. He hadn’t meant to imply anything wrong, but here he was, realizing that he had in fact said something really asinine. Magnus didn’t deserve this, Alec had to just accept his fuck-up, and apologize.

 

Thankfully Magnus seemed to accept his apology, but somehow Alec felt it was only part of his gracious nature. This was definitely not over, and perhaps he wouldn’t get off so easy if he continued to be so daft in the future. Alec had a feeling he could never live up to all the good Magnus had within.

 

With another apology and a smile that broke the tension, Alec had one positive thought on the matter before they moved on. It must have been nice for Magnus to have someone he looked up to in his life that didn’t expect anything from him. People who cared for him, liked, or loved him for who he was. Not what he could give them or do for them. The only people Alec had were his friends and siblings, but no parent, instructor, nor mentor had ever looked at him and just cared regardless of his name, or wealth.

 

Lost for a moment in his reverie Alec snapped back into attention when Magnus pointed out the Sundays on the schedule where he would be unavailable until late afternoon. Alec hoped Magnus wasn’t trying to suggest he change his schedule and sacrifice those days. He didn’t want to disappoint Magnus or make their collaboration harder to manage than it already was, but the workshops he led on every other Sunday were important to him.

 

When Alec spoke of not being able reschedule, he realized just how defiant he sounded. Magnus hadn’t said anything about the subject, he’d only asked a question and already Alec was defensive. The next words from Magnus had Alec mentally kicking himself in the ass.

 

Yes, it surprised Alec a little, but it shouldn’t have. Of course Magnus would understand, he always seemed to listen to people when they spoke, really listen. Magnus’ reassurances that he would have never asked Alec to reschedule something that was important to him, when he himself had a crazy schedule that Alec was willing to work around.

 

It made his heart soar and his smile grow when Magnus was able to see how important these workshops were to him, but he nearly deflated with the realization that Magnus thought the workshops were some sort of duty or an obligation his parents required of him. That was as far from the real reason Alec didn’t want to miss them.

 

Watching Magnus’ face as he took in the explanation, Alec let go. Working with the children, he and his siblings, and how they enjoyed it so much. Even as he faltered and worried he’d offend Magnus in some way, because he knew Magnus worked so hard for everything he had, he still kept his head on and Magnus reassured him it was alright to confide in him.

 

When Magnus reached out to squeeze his hand tight Alec had to fight his own speechless nature at finding himself in such a dream like situation with the man he so desired to thank him for his words. This was the second time Magnus had initiated a touch between them that had nothing to do with dance, the first time being at the restaurant. However this time it was different, Magnus now knew of Alec’s feeling for him, although the touch sent Alec flying, the weight of his guilt kept him close to ground.

 

The glow of the sun had nothing on Magnus’ smile right now, Alec was nearly choked with the vision of it. How it made his eyes shine bright, how his smooth tawny skin would wrinkle a bit around his eyes and mouth when his smile was biggest. If that wasn’t enough to kill Alec, Magnus’ words were the death knell. Magnus found Alec’s work admirable, and important, and told Alec to be proud of himself. His voice was so sincere, his face soft, Alec knew he meant every word.

 

Soon Magnus’ sweet and funny ways had them both relaxed again, and Alec was grateful for it. Their smiles and laughter were back, and it seemed to please Magnus greatly. Everything felt right in the moment, comfortable, something Alec didn’t know he could feel when alone with Magnus.

 

As they moved to warm up, Magnus removed his hoodie and Alec was once again lost. He really couldn’t help the way his eyes roamed over Magnus. The man’s form looked as if it was chiseled by the gods themselves. He was ogling, he knew he was, Alec’s eyes watched every muscle in Magnus’ arms ripple when he moved. His large biceps made Alec almost want to look away for fear that he might start panting or drool or maybe even bite them.

 

And then there was that vein, that pulsing vein that drew Alec’s eyes to their path. And what a perfect path it was; from sculpted shoulder, down through that aforementioned bicep, through the equally perfect forearms, and wrists ending on the back of one of those large, sexy, and rugged hands that Alec seemed to be fascinated with.

 

It was especially intriguing that Magnus had a way of holding such rugged hands in a gentle manner, and the way he challenged societal ideas of masculine hands by unapologetically rocking nail polish better than half the women Alec knew. Today is was pale pink, Alec noted and laughed to himself since it proved his thoughts beautifully.

 

Letting his eyes wander right back up the path in the opposite direction, Alec felt like he would never be able to control the obvious way he stared at Magnus. He just hoped it didn’t make him too uncomfortable.

 

Fuuuck, he thought to himself, as he bit his lip and shook his head from the haze.

 

There was no way Magnus couldn’t feel the heat of his gaze so he decided to just soldier on, removing his own hoodie, Alec began to warm up as well. As they both stretched and prepared their muscles for work, Alec tried to think of something pleasant to bring up. Something to keep him from continually ogling Magnus as he stretched obscenely, mere meters from Alec’s body which was responding against his will.

 

When he asked Magnus about his dinner with his family, he didn’t expect the topic to turn to Jace and the dark demons he held as well. Alec didn’t know why he felt it was something Magnus needed to know, he didn’t know why he was so comfortable talking to him about it in the first place, but somehow he was. Alec needed to make this known, almost as if he had to share it for his own sake.

 

The Lightwoods weren’t the warm and fuzzy type, they never discussed feelings unless it was emotions put into artform, used as inspiration; ‘talking about feelings leads to nothing’, was their motto. So it went without saying that all the darkness surrounding Jace’s past was never discussed among them. Alec and Izzy knew of it, they felt it, they carried it along with their brother to ease his burden but still there was no one in Alec’s life he felt comfortable discussing this with, no one to help ease his own part of the burden.

 

Why am I saying this? Why am I telling him? It’s Jace’s past, Jace’s secrets. I have no right.

 

Alec was berating himself and yet he couldn’t stop. He somehow knew Magnus was the right person to trust with this. And in all honesty he wanted Magnus to like Jace, and to like his brother meant you needed to understand him better. Jace was important to him, and oddly enough Alec knew Magnus was special to him too. Magnus may never be his in the capacity he wanted him, but since the moment they began to speak there was a sense of familiarity, respect, and admiration. Magnus was definitely someone he was meant to know and care about, it seemed only normal to him that he’d want Magnus to at least understand Jace.

 

Every word came with pain, fear and relief. He kept it as brief as possible, not wanting to delve too deep and bring darkness down when they still needed to work. The entire thing felt cathartic, the release something Alec never knew he needed to get out. The pressure to be perfect in their family was something all of the Lightwood children felt, something Alec knew all too well. He was rambling, letting his own feelings seep in.

 

When he stopped to apologize, Alec was quite taken aback by the painful and sorrowful look in Magnus’ expression. Even the way he spoke held an understanding. Alec knew in that moment that Magnus had something in common with Jace. Magnus had definitely had some seriously fucked up shit happn to him in his childhood, he was making the same face, speaking the same way Jace did when the topic was too close to home. His eyes alone, his eyes spoke volumes and Alec wanted to just hug Magnus the way he did Jace when he saw them swimming in pain.

 

Who hurt him? Who could hurt such a person as him? How could they ever touch him in hate?

 

His inner thoughts spit angrily as they often did when he asked this for Jace as well. Criticizing himself internally Alec knew he’d fucked up - again. He brought up a subject that Magnus was not willing to share or think on, yet here he was rambling for the sake of his brother.

 

You’re the biggest asshole ever, Lightwood.

 

Apologizing yet again, it seemed he would never have to stop doing that, Alec moved on to setting up a talk between Magnus and Jace. When he suggested lunch break, Magnus had to decline due to rehearsal times for another piece. It made Alec happy when Magnus showed his surprise that he knew about his trio with Ragnor and Raphael. The smile he was gifted in return made Alec feel a whole lot better after screwing up so much in such a short span of time. Both of them agreeing on a time for ‘the talk’, they finally began to work.

 

Without the third member of their piece present, Alec just went through the motions of his arms lifting an absent Lydia as if nothing was missing. It was a habit of his, so that he didn’t miss practicing any step. It was in his meticulous nature to want everything right every single time he rehearsed. He didn’t expect it from everyone he worked with but he expected it of himself.

 

It wasn’t long before Alec found himself watching Magnus out of the corner of his eye and through the mirrored reflection. He found himself so enraptured by Magnus’ ability to pick up the ballet and execute it so well. Especially since Magnus confessed he didn’t keep up with the style often. Not once did Alec need to correct a step, sure Magnus was not near his level of precision but he made up for it in great style, that was something sorely lacking in this piece before

 

Alec could only hope he was doing as well with the freestyle and contemporary movement, but Magnus didn’t correct him either, so he took it as a good sign. Watching his own movement in the mirror he saw to his surprise he was quite instep with Magnus. It was foreign to him but it felt very fluid and right. They were definite opposite but complementary energies because Alec did not hold Magnus finesse and easy flow, but he sure as hell could add a clean and strong dynamic to the steps.

 

He could feel it, he knew Magnus felt it too, and electricity, a spark, excitement. This was perfection. Not a step out of place, no corrections or pauses needed, not a word of assistance, nothing. Their movement in sync and out of sync in the purposeful way that made the piece burn with excellence. They were so strong together a fortitude that had Alec’s mind and gut churning even as he danced, but when he dance nothing else mattered and so he kept on.

 

The air seemed to be gone from his lungs, gone from the whole room. His chest burned, the feeling of suffocation, but in the most welcome way. This dance was pleasure and pain, sin and blessing. How could they work so well together? It was near madness and it had Alec’s head spinning. They were so in tune with one another, like they’d done this their whole lives.

 

With great nerves shooting through his entire body, Alec immediately went into the newer choreographed sections including the freestyle showing Magnus what he’d done. He wanted to die on the spot, the pressure of choreographing in Magnus’ style and then dancing it in front of person he deemed ‘the master’ was nearly too much for Alec to handle. But again he was a beast when he danced, he’d show himself with confidence when he brought music alive with movement.

 

He felt Magnus’ eyes watching him for a moment before he also snapped into step. Easily adapting, Magnus moved with Alec like he knew what was going to come next, no misstep. It was like he could see where Alec was going with this, predict and adapt it to his strengths. The warmth in Alecs body took over, it wasn’t just the body heat from dance that had him ignited - no - it was Magnus.

 

Alec was falling deeper and deeper. He wanted to chastise himself, smack himself, curse himself but he couldn’t. Dancing alongside this man, this perfect, gorgeous and talented man. Having someone who thought like him, choreographed like him, someone he never needed to say a word to, just show a step. A man who spoke and communicated through dance the way he did, if Alec wasn’t a goner before he was beyond so now. Down the rabbit hole with no chance of ever returning.

 

Their movement was exquisite, and although Alec was momentarily scared he’d not get the finger and hand isolations right, he pushed through and then they were touching and all traces of fear left him. Time seemed to be non existent, Alec couldn’t hear a thing, he was moving on instinct the music drowned in the sea of emotions inside him.

 

Softly he held his fingers to Magnus’ cheek displaying the meaning and sentiment behind the piece. Showing himself within the story they were telling through dance. A man in love with another man, how his love for a man is right, is true. How no matter what the world says, love is love. How even though he knows this, love seems unreachable for him. Not as easy as it may be for another, because he’s a man, and his love would be another man. The tale spoke of a man who knew the struggle but was ready to take it, ready to grasp his own future.

 

Powerful convictions pulled at Alec and Magnus as they moved as one. Alec was not naive enough to think that Magnus wouldn’t see his own personal feelings toward him etched in his face. They were too close, these emotions were real, very real and there was no way to hide them, not now when he was raw and bare.

 

Remain strong . Sacrifice, for the dance, Alec. Always for the dance.

 

He could let the weight crush him later, for now he pressed on. Never missing the transcendent completeness of the feeling, he was glowing despite his pain. They were meant to dance this together, he knew it deep in his heart. It was joy, absolute felicity, almost like the high of performing to a mass and gaining roaring applause.

 

They were dripping wet, gasping for air, pain in their sides, yet they were grinning. Two fools grinning with pure elation. It was a poignant moment, and the silence spoke volumes.

 

“Magnus”, Alec gasped with reverence and awe.

 

“I know”, Magnus answered.

 

And Alec could hear in his tone that Magnus really did know. He’d felt it too, the sheer power of the piece. As if pulled by some magnetic force, Alec moved closer to Magnus, his eyes flickered to Magnus’ lips full of longing. There was no way Magnus didn’t notice.

 

Why are you doing this to yourself? He not yours, you can’t have him. Alec reminded himself.

 

Gaining some control, Alec chewed on his bottom lip in an effort to not steal a kiss. He didn’t want to take something that wasn’t his. Continuing to fight himself as he took one last look at Magnus’ mouth. Magnus stayed silent, and Alec knew he was making this whole thing an uncomfortable mess.

 

A smile, a big smile, Alec knew it would push them out of this awkward tension, and so he forced it on and was surprised when it ended up becoming a real smile. Magnus took a small step back and although it hurt a bit, Alec was grateful for the space between them. It was for the best and Magnus was only helping Alec keep his promise of not letting his feelings get in the way.

 

We need to dance, now .

 

Alec felt almost panicked and dancing always helped. As if reading Alec’s mind, Magnus suggested another run through. At this point, how in tune they were was no longer a surprise to Alec, but it still drove him slightly mad that it was Magnus he held this connection with, the one he could never have.

 

They danced, the touches were killing Alec now, the looks physically hurt, their connection thrummed strong through the air and with each vibration pulled Alec apart piece by piece. Time was not his friend, it seemed to stand still causing his death to be slow and painful, yet heartbreakingly lovely. Alec shook it away, shook it away like he’d always done, not exactly hiding, but protecting himself and Magnus from the ache and guilt respectively.

 

There was not much more they could do after another perfect run through, so they both made notations for Lydia and headed for the showers. It seems they’d both danced their hearts out and sweaty, stinky bodies weren’t exactly welcome regardless of the fact that this was an arts school. .

 

He was aware of the precarious predicament, of course he was, how could he not be? Just the knowledge that Magnus was as naked and wet as him somewhere in these showers was enough to drive him to the brink, but then there were the noises. Magnus’ pleasurable deep moans as the hot water worked out his aching muscles echoed through the showers. It’s not like Alec could blame him, the water felt incredible on his sore body as well, but Magnus was killing him again. Of course he couldn’t have known the effect he was having on Alec.

 

After this morning’s ‘session’ in bed, and then getting half hard watching Magnus take off his sweater, and the obscene way he bent during their stretches, Alec couldn’t help it anymore. He was solid again - at the Institute - in a school stall - hard as steel because Magnus was moaning so loud.

 

“Fuuuck”, Alec cursed low.

 

Alec’s fingers ghosted lightly along his length, and he bit back the groan in his throat. He didn’t want to, especially since he already felt like he’d betrayed his friend today, but there was no helping it. He needed it gone. Brushing the backs of his fingers back down, Alec shivered as his head fell back against the wall, his eyes towards the ceiling begging some unseen, unnamed deity for strength. He couldn’t do it, not with Magnus in the same room, it was wrong.

 

Braced for the icy blast Alec twisted the dial all the way to cold. He grit his teeth and balled his fists tight to keep from crying out from just how freezing the water felt. He was taken off guard when he heard Magnus shout his goodbyes and his brain raced to find coherent words to reply, but he had. And now Magnus was gone, and so was his hard on. Thankfully.

 

His head hung low leaning against his arm braced on the opposite wall, as he turned the water off. Shaking his head at his inability to control himself like some hormone crazed preteen boy, Alec rolled his eyes and got dressed for his day in an angry fit.

 

As he made his way to his first class for the day, Alec thought about all the fuck ups with Magnus this morning. Assuming he’d have to pay Magnus’ mentor, getting so deep with the Jace thing, wanting him so desperately but worse than that letting it show. And of course the whole jerking off and getting hard to thoughts of Magnus. Although Magnus had no idea about those last two, Alec still knew it was a fuck up.

 

Alec wanted to make it up to Magnus somehow, do something to show he wasn’t always a daft, oblivious fool. Letting his mind think on it for a bit, Alec finally realized what he had to do. With a free hour after his first class, Alec set off towards the Directors’ office and put his name down for an appointment during his free time. As each letter left the pen, Alec knew it was the right thing. Smiling to himself he headed off to class.


 

“Raj”, Alec shouted over the loud crowd spotting his friend and waving him over.

 

“Hey Alec, what’s up? Was it the powder room? Did I forget to clean something?”

 

Alec gave Raj the squinty eye and shook his head in disgust.

 

“Eww, thankfully - no. That’s not it. I wanted to know if you’d come with me off campus for lunch today? I want to talk to you about something”.

 

“Sure”, Raj sounded confused but willing. “What do you have in mind?”

 

They both stared at each other and a matching smile grew on their faces.

 

“Vindaloo”, they spoke in unison, and laughed afterwards.

 

“Bengal Tiger?”, Alec asked and Raj nodded happily.

 

They both loved the chicken vindaloo at Bengal Tiger. It had been a while since the two friends went out together to eat, it was usually the gang, all of them. It was nice to have this time, especially since Alec was about to make Raj’s day as well as Magnus’ later. Alec couldn’t help his grin the entire time they headed into midtown. He had to avoid the continued ‘what are you smiling about’ questions from Raj, but he knew the surprise would be worth it. About fifteen minutes into lunch Raj couldn’t take it anymore.

 

“Spill, Lightwood”, he commanded and smiled around his biteful of food.

 

“Alright”, Alec chuckled. “So make sure your group knows to meet you in front of Studio A this afternoon”.

 

Alec added a shrug as if that was going to be enough explanation, and a smirk because he knew it wasn’t.

 

“For what”, Raj gave him the side-eye, his tone curious and wary.

 

“It’s your new rehearsal space”, he added trying to sound nonchalant.

 

“What are you talking about, Alec. That’s your space. I’m confused”.

 

Alec leaned in with a big grin, “It’s your space now”.

 

“Explain. No more games”, Raj gestured with his hands frantically, his patience wearing thin.

 

“Alright, so you know how Magnus is pretty much giving up time with his crew to work on our piece?”

 

Raj nodded and listened.

 

“So I wanted to make things easier for him. Since he’ll be back and forth I asked for usage of Studio C, since it’s right next to the studio they use. He’ll be able to manage easier. I’ve already told Lydia, and she’s cool with it”, Alec rushed out.

 

Raj nearly choked on his food, at Alec’s words but he composed himself before he spoke.

 

“Wait, you gave up your right, as the number one ranked ballet dancer at the Institute for the usage of Studio A for - to make things - for Magnus?”, his tone showed his confusion and shock.

 

“And for you”, Alec supplied easily with a grin.

 

“For me?”

 

“Yes for you”.

 

“But Alec, why?”

 

Alec shrugged again like it was nothing.

 

“I asked for a meeting with the Directors, I had to let them know that Magnus and I were working together on the piece as a joint effort anyway. I told them about the new direction. They both seemed impressed with me, they said they were proud to see me branching out to do something different. Of course they warned me of the risk I was taking with it being the Senior piece that all the companies would see. However they both seemed to have faith in mine and Magnus’ skill and talent. That’s another thing, they were really excited to know Magnus agreed to working with me. They said the two most naturally gifted and stylistically opposite dancers the Institute had seen in years would definitely provide a piece to be remembered”, Alec beamed.

 

“Wow!”, was all Raj could manage. “You have their blessing for the piece”, it was a statement filled with pride, not a question.

 

“I do”, Alec’s smile grew. “Although I was told I could expect pushback from the some of the more traditional Ballet Masters, especially Dauberval. Probably some friction with the Board of Investors and Alumni, both of which include my parents”, Alec’s brows rose at that and his shoulders rounded, showing his vulnerability.

 

“But you have the Directors on your side, Alec. That’s a big win”, Raj soothed.

 

“I know. It’s crazy, I went in there prepared for a battle but should have known better. Directors Gordon and Collins have always been fairly open to different styles. They’re the ones who spearheaded the scholarship programs for less classically trained dancers”.

 

“True, we should have known”, Raj agreed. “Okay but what does this have to do with the studio switch?”.

 

“Well they asked me what I needed from them to make this work. I figured making things easier for Magnus was the first step. Having the studios where he was working on his ensemble piece with his crew and our contemporary piece with Lydia and I right next to each other just made sense”.

 

“But it’s your right”.

 

“Yeah they said that too. However it’s the least I could do for Magnus, he’s sacrificing his time for this”.

 

Alec smiled his full smile and he knew Raj could read something in it from the scrutinizing look he gave him. It wouldn’t be long before he’d figure it out too, but Alec didn’t care about that. Yes he may have been too shy to say the words, but Raj was one of his closest friends so he didn’t mind if he knew.

 

“Okay but how did I get the studio?, Raj finally asked.

 

“That’s why I said it was for you as well. I requested your group get the usage. Besides you need the space, and you’re right up there with the best ballet dancers in our year, you deserve it”.

 

The smile that broke over Raj’s face made Alec feel light. He knew he’d done the right thing the second he began planning it, but seeing his friend so happy, and so touched by his gesture and words made it so much better.

 

They both knew what this honor meant among those at NYAI, it was a big deal actually. A tradition that meant something. A spot to earn, hold, and keep. But Alec didn’t want any of that, it wasn’t really important to him in the first place, he just took it because he was told he’d earned it, not because he thought he should have it. And to be able to give both Magnus and Raj something they deserve was more important to him than his stupid ‘right’.

 

“But A-Alec it’s, um - wow. I’m so honored, thank you”, his voice shook with emotion.

 

“You’re an amazing dancer Raj. You deserve the space”.

 

A pleasant and comfortable silence fell between them after that, and they smiled at each other. Finishing up their lunch they headed back to campus for afternoon classes.

 

“So tell me more about Eli”, Alec smirked as they walked towards the subway. “It seems you’ve been holding out on me. Or so Izzy made it seem”.


 

It went over just as well as he’d hoped. Alec waited for Magnus in the hallway that afternoon to surprise him with the new studio setup. And surprised he was. Although confused at first Alec could tell how much it meant to Magnus that Alec had done this for him.

 

Magnus too, just like the Directors and Raj, had brought up that the right to Studio A was Alec’s but he made sure Magnus knew that none of that was important. He wanted to do this, and if it made Magnus’ life easier it would benefit them all actually. They were in this together.

 

Alec had made Magnus smile, after all the wrong he’d done this morning he did something right this time. And Magnus was beautiful when he smiled, so beautiful that Alec’s heart stuttered in his chest at the sight.

 

The loud laugh Magnus let out when Alec told him how he cleverly orchestrated it that the studio go to Raj and not Camille, was so perfect that Alec nearly lost it. Such a perfect sound, Magnus being truly happy was everything to Alec.

 

And then they were moving again, teaching Lydia the new choreography. But now things felt so off, so wrong, so out of place. Yes they were perfect, the three of them spinning their web making the story unfold, but now something didn’t work.

 

Alec’s realization that Jace’s original composition wasn’t flowing with the new piece hit him hard. They needed new music to compliment it, and that was not going to go over well with Jace, so of course Alec panicked a bit.

 

Simon, Alec should have remembered. He himself knew of Simon’s talent with mixes, so when Magnus suggested him working with Jace; and even gave Alec a way to sweeten Jace up by including Clary and her friends in the mix, Alec’s anxiety fled easily. When he saw how proud Magnus was over Simon, and Clary Alec was pretty much sold on the idea. Anything to make him smile again.

 

With that squared they spent the rest of their precious time dancing, and perfecting the steps now that they were all there. Time again was not a friend, to Alec, no Alec was beginning to think time hated him. It felt like mere seconds although it wasn’t, but now he had to watch as Magnus left again.

 

Life seemed so much less without Magnus, it was something Alec was discovering rather quickly. It was a scary thought to have after knowing him such a short time. He’d been absolutely capable of enjoying his day before he befriended Magnus, but now he didn’t want to think of a day without being around him. Maybe he was being overly dramatic but it felt like all the light had left the room when the doors swung behind Magnus’ retreating form.

 

Sunday.

 

The promise of a text and working together again on Sunday, made Alec stop pouting, and staring at a still closed door. Alec perked up at the thoughts of Sunday, Lydia smirked at the sight and broke her silence.

 

“The schedule was meticulous Alec, you really put a lot of thought into it, I saw it the second you sent it to me. You went to a lot of trouble working around his free time, that was very sweet of you”, she paused. “Changing studios is understandable as well, practical”, she paused again. Alec had a feeling she was trying to make a point.

 

“I’m glad we got the approval of the Directors, I was prepared to fight alongside you, I hope you know, I’m sure Magnus was too”.

 

Alec nodded, he knew they would without a doubt, they both had faith in this piece.

 

“But this visible pining, Alec”, Lydia continued. “This mopey Alec, this is just too much. I love you, but you’re wearing your heart on your sleeve. Be careful with it, especially because we’re working together. This could end up bad, Alec”.

 

“I know”, Alec sighed, because he did know. “I’m trying not to be so - you know - obvious”.

 

“Oh I know”, she patted his arm “For the most part you keep things professional, I can never fault you that. And I promise I’m not trying to be a bitch, I’m just trying to think of the piece. This could fuck it up for all of us if you’re not careful. This has to be the potential to be one of the greatest things I’ll ever have the pleasure to work on, the meaning, the personal connection, the skill and dance styles. Alec this is too precious to toy with. Lastly you need to know this friendship between the two of you, this strange connection and the way you work well together, it’s also precious. Again I say be careful, don’t risk what you have for something you can’t”.

 

There was nothing he could say, she was right. He’d been letting himself get far too lax with his feelings around Magnus. If Lydia could see the way he was pining he’d definitely let it get out of hand. He’d made a promise to keep his feelings in check. Magnus was keeping his end of the deal and what was he doing? He was barely coping. With a nod, Alec clenched his jaw, took a deep breath to center himself and rolled his shoulders back. He felt the metaphorical cage rattle in his mind again.

 

“I get it, Lyd”

 

“Okay”, she spoke softly one word with so much compassion.

 

“Let’s do this”, he added sharply, his eyes set hard, the light gone.

 

“Let’s do this”, she offered in return her smile small didn’t reach her eyes.

Chapter Text

The sound of his own heart was beating an uneven, and deafening rhythm in Alec’s ears drowning out almost everything else. He was successfully ignoring the sinking feeling in his gut that threatened to send him back into his en suite for a second heaving fit. The muted fog that held his hearing captive had then lifted, and now he could hear his own shoes echoing almost too loud on the hardwood as he paced his room like a madman.

 

To say Alec was nervous was an understatement, he was downright terrified. The years of keeping this truth from his parents from everyone, the fear of their reaction, the pain of not being allowed to live openly, it was all catching up with him. This was his moment, he was tired of waiting. Next year would find Alec working hard to gain a name in his new dance company, and traveling the world. How would he ever fully enjoy his dream coming to fruition if he was still hiding a part of himself?

 

It was now or never. Even in his own panicked state Alec, still thought about Max, Jace and Isabelle. He knew the sooner in the year he handled this the more time their parents would have to come to terms with it.  For their sake, for their love, Alec would nervously take the step he’d been planning for half his life. He needed his parents to process this so his brothers and sister didn’t bear the burden when he was gone.

 

The Lightwood parents had returned home early this morning, as usual Alec, Isabelle and Jace were there to greet them at the door, fake smiles in place. Cold hugs from their mother, weak back pats, and handshakes for his sons from their father were the norm. Coupled with the brusque discussion of business it was pretty much everything the Lightwood children expected of their parents after being away.

 

The few quick questions they bothered to ask were about school and their rehearsals, never anything personal or emotional. Maryse and Robert never cared to show interest about these parts of their children’s lives. They hadn’t even noticed their sons who were usually close and supportive weren’t even speaking to one another.

 

Shortly after their arrival the Lightwoods had seen themselves out of the company of their children to their bedroom, and offices and hadn’t been heard from for the remainder of the day. It was their housekeeper, Daiva, who informed Alec, Isabelle and Jace that dinner would be served in the formal dining room at eight that evening.

 

Alec reached for the doorknob, but swiftly pulled his hand back when he saw how badly it was shaking along with the other. He flexed  them, balling them up and releasing a few times, then shook them out. Another deep breath to steady himself, Alec finally opened his door.

 

“Iz?”

 

The smile he offered was small but genuine when Alec realized, Isabelle had stood quietly on the other side just waiting for her brother to be ready. She was obviously worried about him but determined to keep her promise to be there when he needed her most. Alec’s heart sank a bit, noticing she was alone.

 

He’d hoped Jace would’ve gotten over it by now, but they still hadn’t spoken one word to each other since yesterday. On the way home from their rehearsals, Alec had mentioned the problems with the music, hoping to keep Jace from flipping out too badly since they could be seen in traffic, but his plan failed. Jace took offense and whined like a child. The mention of Clary had sweetened him up a bit, but as soon as Alec mentioned collaborating with Simon, Jace began to shout. Apparently Jace thought his music was too pure and refined to work with someone like Simon.

 

The argument continued after they’d reached home, Jace got bolder and louder, while Alec tried to reason with him. They’d always been able to work well in past collaborations. Alec explaining the feeling and emotions behind the piece, Jace interpreting it into the perfect music to accompany the vision, and Alec just letting him be free to make choices unless it sounded off, which it usually never did. This time things had changed, they shifted when Alec’s piece shifted so of course he’d need new music. Deep down Alec knew his brother would understand eventually, and back down, but his pride wouldn’t let him play nice just yet. He wouldn’t be Jace if he didn’t make a big show of things first.

 

Alec wished Jace would put their personal issues aside at least for Saturday night dinner with their parents, but it seemed that wishes were just false hope. Here he was about to do something that was probably going to be a defining moment in his life; something extremely important and life changing without his brother by his side. And all over a stupid musical accompaniment piece for his dance project.

 

Isabelle felt her brother tense up as his expression fell in utter disappointment. Pressing herself close into the warmth of his chest she wrapped her arms tightly around his middle and squeezed with all her strength. Alec smiled as he squeezed back, resting his cheek atop her head. It never surprised him that his sister’s physical strength matched her inner strength. She was a force to be reckoned with and he knew that.

 

“I’m here”, she mumbled into his sweater.

 

“Thanks, Iz”.

 

“He’s just sulking, you know, being his stubborn self. He’d never purposefully do this to you. You’ll see”, Isabelle loosened her grip and tilted her head back to look up at her brother.

 

“I don’t know. He’s kinda pissed at me right now”.

 

“He won’t let you down, not with this”.

 

“Then where is he?”.

 

“Have faith”.

 

Alec huffed and hugged her close for another short moment before releasing her. His hands felt clammy so he wiped them against his thighs onto his jeans. He blew out a breath, lips pursed, brows raised and gave Isabelle a wide eyed look.

 

“You don’t have to do this you know, not if you aren’t ready. We’d never think less of you, and we’ll be there whenever you finally are ready”.

 

Izzy’s voice was soft and soothing. Alec shook his head almost as if he needed to break from the comfort her words were giving him before they could convince him to not do this.

 

“No, Isabelle. I can’t keep living a lie. This is my life, they’ve stolen so much from our past, I won’t let them steal my future, my truth, my chance. They can’t have it, it’s mine”.

 

As he spoke, Alec’s voice grew stronger, more determined. His fears and nerves were still there but they were taking a back seat. He smiled his half smile at Isabelle when she showed him how proud of him she was with another hug and bright smile of her own.

 

“Feel better?”, she chuckled.

 

“A little”.

 

“Good, then let’s do this”.

 

Starting down the stairs, Alec was only able to take two steps before he felt a squeeze on his shoulder. Izzy was just ahead of him, it could only be Jace. Sighing in relief he turned to see the regretful face of his brother and best friend.

 

“Didn’t think I’d let you do this without me did you?”, Jace’s voice broke slightly, his eyes looked so sad.

 

“Not really”, Alec shrugged his tone quiet but happy. “Are we okay?”.

 

“We’re fine, brother”.

 

Jace held his right hand out in front of him thumb up palm facing outward. Alec took it with his right, they clasped them and pulled each other in for a hug. It was one of their things,  a way for their close bond to comfort them when one of them needed it most. This time it was Alec.

 

***

 

Dinner began with more talk of business, it was dull and grating for the three siblings, but they were used to it. Maryse glowed happily as she spoke of the money they were able to raise to lure the company that boasted Italy’s best danseur as a principal to perform Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet at The Lightwood Arts Center early next year and again later in the year.

 

Robert went next speaking quietly as was his way, but still obvious gloating about the funds he was able to help raise with the Board of Investors for the Institute. It was always quite the sight when their parents tried to ‘one up’ each other with their news of great success on their endeavors. Of course their mother couldn’t be outdone so she spoke for herself and their father when she boasted the exclusive booking rights for the LIC Gallery to show the work of the youngest and brightest artist to come out of Ecuador in over a decade.

 

It was all background noise and buzzing to Alec. His nerves had returned as soon as his parents were out of business topics to brag about. He knew this was their cue to begin digging into their children. A unsettling quiet hung over the table as they ate, only the very light tapping of forks and knives on fine china. Alec could see Isabelle and Jace squirming uncomfortably in their seats almost as much as he was. It was only a question of who Maryse would start with, but Alec should have known better.

 

“Isabelle dear”, his mother’s tone was less joyful and held a sharp edge and Alec shot a look of sympathy towards Izzy. “I do hope you’ve planned out your diet, now that you’ve finally secured the lead for the Junior’s Showcase piece. It is easier to lift someone when they’re light as a feather, you want to soar don’t you? I’m sure you could spare a few pounds”.

 

Maryse’s stare seemed to cut right to Isabelle’s fork that was halfway to her mouth with her second to last bite of steak. Izzy paused, closed her mouth and placed the fork gently back onto her plate as her eyes went to her lap.

 

“Yes mother”, her voice quiet.

 

Alec’s jaw clenched, and his nostrils flared. He shot a look at Jace, and was met with pretty much the same expression he knew he was wearing; outright indignation.

 

“I think you’re perfect, Lizard”, Jace spoke boldly.

 

Although they saw the small smile lift the corner of their sister’s mouth, she didn’t raise her head to look at them. Oh this would not go unchecked, Alec squared his shoulders because he knew this wasn’t over, not by a long shot.

 

“I wish you wouldn’t continue to call her that ridiculous name”, Maryse complained pulling a repulsed face. “And what do you know of dance? It isn’t easy”.

 

“C’mon mother, I know that, I’ve lived with these two dancers for half my life”, Jace gestured towards Alec and Izzy.  “I just think Iz looks great is all”.

 

“Looking great and being light enough to lift repeatedly are two different things, Jace. You’re a gifted musician no doubt, but please just stick to what you know darling”

 

The tone was unmistakably patronizing. Cowed for a moment, Jace bit his bottom lip, his gaze back on Isabelle. He’d done it on purpose to take some of the heat off of her. She held her head higher now, her smile bigger. His only response was an inconspicuous wink that only the three of them noticed.

 

“Well now that you’ve made it about you, how’s your featured composition coming along? It’s expected to be remarkable, have you been up to the challenge?”, Robert questioned Jace, his tone less stern than his wife’s but no where near kind.

 

“Madame Arrau and Monsieur Thibaudet are quite pleased. As if you didn’t already know”.

 

Jace’s tone was light and teasing, Alec was awed at how his brother continued to try and keep the tension at bay. Jace smiled and wagged his finger at their father earning a tight smile, it was the best they could hope for.

 

“I was almost certain they had sent their latest praises to you both, while you were away. They swore that they would”, Jace had basically called them on their little game, and he’d won.

 

“Of course they did. We asked all your instructors to keep up well informed. He’s only trying to rattle you, dear”.

 

Maryse’s mouth held a tight, fake smile. She tried to sound like she was comforting Jace, but it came off fabricated, she wasn’t exactly a nurturer. Perhaps it was just the way Alec heard anything coming out of her mouth no matter the circumstances. In his mind his mother was the very definition of phony.

 

With a quick glance at his siblings, Alec saw they didn’t believe her either. Isabelle’s eyes locked on Alec’s before he could look away, pulling him in. He saw her expression change into the most sympathetic and sweet smile, and he nodded imperceptibly. Jace sent Alec his ‘here we go’ look, they knew he was up next. None of the Lightwood children were exempt from scrutiny.

 

Having not noticed the exchange between her children Maryse sipped her wine before turning her attention to Alec. Her eyes narrowed as she cleared her throat, Alec readied himself the best he could for the nitpicking, sitting straighter in his chair.

 

“And how are things with Ms. Branwell? Is she up to par? Able to follow your choreography? I know she’s talented but can she keep up with your level of skill?”

 

“Yes, mother. Lydia is doing an excellent job. The piece is coming along nicely”, Alec’s monotone voice cut over her many questions, before she could fire more.

 

“You are reaching higher with your standards this year, correct? You promised your instructors and directors you would aim for a loftier goal this year; gain the attention of all the prestigious companies, yes?”, Maryse countered back.

 

“Alec, I hope you’ve prepared for the stress levels. Handling it well, and keeping to task, right?”, Robert added trying to sound like he was at least concerned for his eldest son.

 

Alec knew it for what it was though, an attempt at playing good cop to their mother’s eternal bad cop. Jaw tensed, Alec paused to make sure they were both done firing questions at him before he answered. The light tapping of his mother’s nails on the one hundred year old walnut dining table as she waited his answer bothered the last of his nerves. Alec rolled his neck and sighed heavily this was it.

 

“The stress isn’t bothering me, I’m working through it”, Alec paused and looked as his father. “The piece is really good. It’s coming along well, in fact I’m more excited about this, and have more faith in it than I’ve had in any piece I’ve ever choreographed or danced before”.

 

Alec took a moment to savor the surprised ‘o’ on his mother’s lips before her smug grin took over matching the one her husband wore as he nodded. His parent’s were pleased with him, he held onto that for the split second they gave. It wasn’t in them to lavish praise, and the way he was about to steer this conversation would definitely keep him from hearing any rare kind words any time soon.

 

“You needn't worry where dance is concerned, I’m always on top of it”, even Alec heard the edge of resentment in his tone. “There is however something else I’ve been meaning to discuss with you both, if you don’t mind?”.

 

Isabelle shifted to sit taller in her seat, and Alec saw Jace’s square his shoulders from the corner of his eye. They were with him. Maryse’s brows knit together, confusion on her face. Robert seemed a tad more curious than his wife but equally as confused.

 

“But if the dance is coming along well, and there are no issues with your coursework, than I don’t understand what you could possibly have to tell us”, Maryse eyed her son warily, her nature always suspicious.

 

“Is it the car? Is something wrong with it? Does it need servicing? Perhaps it’s time for an upgrade”, Robert rambled on speaking more to himself than his son on that last thought.

 

“No it’s not the car or school, it’s personal”, his voice solid, his parents didn’t tolerate weakness, and they hated personal topics of discussion but his mind was made up he would not waver.

 

Exactly as expected his mother’s eyes turned hard.

 

“Talking about feelings leads to….”

 

“Nothing? Is that what you were going to say, mother?”, Alec interrupted, brow raised in challenge, she sat back in her seat. “It may be personal but it is important. Actually it’s very important to me”.

 

“Then by all means Alec, speak”, he could hear she was slightly annoyed.

 

“Well, mother, father”, he turned to each of them respectively, making eye contact. “I only ask that you let me finish before you respond, you may not like what I have to say but you could give me the respect of listening. Haven’t I at least earned that?”.

 

“Of course, Alec”, his father shifted uncomfortably in his seat and grabbed for his wife to try and get her to calm down. Maryse just pressed her lips together tightly.

 

“Alright then. When you say ‘talking about feelings leads to nothing’ you’re absolutely wrong. If we spoke about them more often in this family perhaps I wouldn’t be so apprehensive and overly anxious about this”.

 

“And what is this?”, Robert asked since Maryse seemed intent on being impossible.

 

There was no easy way to try and sugarcoat this for them, so he was just going to say it. Alec squared his shoulders again, one deep breath, and then another, he calmed himself before his eyes locked with those of his mother’s.

 

“I’m - I’m gay”.

 

Maryse’s scoff of disbelief was loud. In that one sound Alec heard ridicule, disdain and mocking.

 

“You are not”, she spoke firm as if her words were more truthful than his because she had said them.

 

Her contemptuous laughter, and dismissive gestures shocked Alec into silence. Chancing a glance at his siblings, Alec found them both wearing equally horrified expressions. It was obvious that, just like him, neither of them expected this reaction. Finding his voice Alec spit his question through gritted teeth

 

“Excuse me?”, he squinted his eyes, tensed his jaw, and stared hard at his mother.

 

“Maryse!”, Robert rasped, a strange panic in his expression.

 

This was dangerous territory, they all sensed it. There was an odd dance going on here, a power play of sorts, and Maryse was used to being the person who held all the power.

 

“What?”, her pitch rose high and she gestured wildly at her eldest child, eyes on her husband. “He isn’t. You aren’t”, her attention returned to Alec. “You think we don’t know what goes on in the arts world? Us, the Lightwoods? We’re pillars in this community. We know how the artistic people tend to think. It’s a well known fact that dancers, artists, and musicians, like to experiment. One minute they’re gay, the next they aren’t, this is probably his little gay friend, Raj’s influence.  How are you supposed to know what you want if you’ve never even dated? You haven’t had time to date since you’re focused on your goals and that’s fine, but when you do I’ll bet you’ll like girls just fine”.

 

“Mother!”, Isabelle’s outburst was filled with warning but Alec also heard just how appalled she was.

 

Jace just sat there mouth hanging open at the audacity of their mother’s words, his eyes shifting back and forth between her and Alec. Robert looked slightly uncomfortable and surprised by the entire situation.

 

Alec was in shock again, his mind racing over his mother’s choice of words. He was standing now, having risen from his seat in angry disbelief. Was she truly being this dismissive of him when this was an important moment in his life?

 

Closing his eyes for a moment, he took a deep breath through his flared nostrils to center himself. When he opened them again they practically nailed his mother to the wall behind her with their fire. His voice as calm as he could handle, Alec finally spoke.

 

“Are you being serious right now, mother? Or is this a joke to you?”

 

“I’m serious, Alec”, Maryse answered making the ‘c’ at the end of his name sharper than normal. “You don’t even know yourself”, she laughed again.

 

“And you know me?”, incredulity colored his tone. “Know us? Truly know any of your children? Don’t kid yourself, mother!”, he began to round the table moving closer to her to make his point known.

 

Robert stood and moved in between his son and his wife.

 

“Alexan - Alec, please”.

 

Receiving a glare of pure animosity from his son at the use of his full name his father corrected himself. His hands out almost as a barrier between them.

 

“And you?”, Alec asked his father, anger painting his timbre.

 

His father was unprepared for the question and stood flapping his mouth open and closed a few times.

 

“Truthfully I don’t understand this”, he finally answered.

 

“You’re no better than her”, Alec pointed at his mother before focusing on his father again. “You never give a word of kindness. You drill into us that we could always do better, like we aren’t good enough for you right now. The constant pressure to be perfect from the both of you. Don’t you see what that does to us?”

 

Silence filled the room, Alec could see the tears forming in Izzy’s eyes. He knew if she blinked they’d definitely fall. Jace’s head was bowed, he was standing as well almost in solidarity with his brother, his hands braced on the dining room table. Their parents still hadn’t said a word in return of his accusations.

 

“I’m sorry to ruin your delusions of perfection, but your avoidance on what I’ve said is bullshit”, Alec continued, he was eerily calm but his intonation was powerful and steady. “I am, in fact, gay, and this has nothing to do with Raj, how dare you place unnecessary blame on him. I don’t care what you think this is, I don’t care what lies you tell yourself but you are not allowed to put them on me. If you choose to believe me or not is on you, and only you. To think I feared this day, feared your reaction, worried how angry you’d be, what you would do to me, say to me. In all my visualizations I never thought of this scenario, although I realize now I should have seen this. You won’t accept what I’m telling you as truth, you don’t even understand how your disregard and indifference is worse than outrage and rejection to me”.

 

He was finally quiet, having used almost the last of his strength to try and make them understand what he was telling them. Alec placed his hands on the table now using it to hold him up, his breath coming heavy in his chest, waiting.

 

“Oh please”, came Maryse’s cold reply. “You really believe you’re gay? Fine then play your little game while you can”, she was still dismissing him. “But remember this - all that matters right now is your future. Don’t let these choices you’ve made distract you”.

 

“IT’S NOT A CHOICE!”, Alec roared, his fists slamming hard on the table rattling all the silverware, china, and glassware. “I’ve lost my appetite”.

 

Moving around the table in the opposite direction so he wouldn’t have to pass his parents Alec pushed past his siblings towards the foyer. Jace tried to grab for his arm but he just pulled it free.

 

“Not now, Jace”, he tried to sound less angry for his brother’s sake.

 

“Alec”, Isabelle tried to calm him.

 

“They’re a lost cause, Iz, but it’s finally out. I’ll be fine, I just need to be alone”, he mumbled as he grabbed his coat from the main hall closet and slammed the front door behind him.

 


 

Up early with the light of dawn, Alec stretched long, shaking from the effort, it felt both exquisite and like hell at the same time . His entire body was absolutely sore in every muscle he moved. Carefully he opened his swollen eyes wincing at the ache he felt. Last night after storming out he drove around for awhile, then remembered his gym bag was in the trunk. Knowing some weight training and a few rounds with the punching bag would do him well, he hit the 24 hour gym closest to his house and let out all his frustrations.

 

When he had returned home it was well after midnight, the house was dark and quiet, his family sleeping. After a quick shower he crawled into bed and let every callous word from his mother sink into his mind. It hurt, probably more than he wanted it to. She hadn’t shouted in anger and hate, instead she brushed him off like an afterthought. His mother refused to believe he knew himself better than she did. Refused to accept the part of him he’d been afraid to share with her. This confirmed he’d been right to keep it from his parent’s all these years, they didn’t deserve to know him at all.

 

On the flip side of this there was a pride and relief that spread through him. Alec Lightwood had come out to his parents, who cares what they chose to believe. He’d done it, there would be no more hiding. A weight seemed to be lifted from his chest, a burden that had held him down for far too long.

 

The light happiness filled him but was mixed with the pain of his parents’ reactions. Too many conflicting emotions, with nowhere for the feelings to go. Alec couldn’t leave it bottled up, he’d learned that was what often led to his anxiety attacks and angry outbursts. He had been alone in his room where no one could hear, so Alec rolled onto his side and let the tears come until he’d cried himself to sleep.

 

This was where morning found him. The releases Alec allowed himself made his body and mind feel less heavy than it felt last night when he had left the table. He just wanted to leave it behind today, it was Sunday, and that meant dancing. Knowing he would be working on his dance piece in a few short hours brought Alec a sense of calm, dance always did that for him.

 

As of right now though it was far too early to do anything. Not wanting to risk seeing his parents, Alec decided to stay in his room for a while reading and getting a jumpstart on coursework due in the next few days. It was about forty five minutes before his stomach growled not allowing him to continue without sustenance.

 

Dressed for the day, Alec was about to leave his room when the text came through from Magnus. There was a goofy grin on his face, and he knew it was the first true smile he’d worn since yesterday. The text showed an address in Williamsburg Brooklyn and a time about an hour and a half from then. Mapping it out quickly on his phone Alec saw that with the light traffic on Sunday mornings he’d make it there in about thirty five minutes. Just enough time for breakfast and a stop for coffee.

 

With a smile and an idea in his mind, Alec fired a text back asking Magnus how he took his coffee or tea. If Magnus was going to take the time to meet with him so early the least Alec could do was grab him his morning drink of choice.

 

Isn’t that something friends did for one another? , Alec asked himself.

 

Besides Blue Bottle Coffee was along the way and Alec always enjoyed their brew. When the text came back ‘a latte would be most welcome, not too sweet’, Alec couldn’t help how big his grin grew. He’d done something right again, perhaps this day would help him get over the bitter feeling caused by the memories of last nights dinner.

 

Before leaving his room, Alec grabbed for his dance bag, now that he knew he’d be leaving for rehearsal soon. Heading down into the kitchen while smiling down at his phone, Alec bumped into a very grumpy, very sleepy, very ruffled looking Jace in the first floor hallway as he rounded the top of the stairs from the garden level where his music studio was tucked away behind the family room.

 

“You look like shit”, Alec teased.

 

Jace grumbled, scratched at his belly in a sleepy way and yawned, “Been up all night”.

 

“What? Why?”, the teasing was gone and the concern was now showing itself.

 

“In the studio”, Jace bit his lip and looked away for a moment then stared back at his brother. “I was working on your music”.

 

To say Alec was surprised was an understatement, he was truly shocked that his brother had done this. The fear that perhaps he’d made Jace feel like crap with his words during their argument on Friday twisted in his gut.

 

“Shit, Jace if this is about that argument, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you feel..”

 

“No, Alec it isn’t”, Jace interrupted, “I mean yeah it is, but I was the jerk, not you. And then last night I - I mean”.

 

It was then Alec realized what was going on. Sure, Jace had felt guilty for fighting with him, but after hearing what their parents said to his brother last night, Jace wanted to support him any way he could. The warm feeling of gratitude filled Alec as he smiled, and sent a small nod to Jace to wordlessly say ‘I understand’.

 

“I knew you’d be working with Magnus today. Couldn’t have you dancing with no music, or trying to choreograph to something that wasn’t right for the piece”, Jace shrugged. “I used the basis for the original piece, remembered your new notes and descriptions, and I went from there. It’s only a bare bones composition, and we’ll tweak it to get it right, I promise, but it’s a start”.

 

“We?”, Alec’s brow rose in suspicion when he heard it. “Who is we?”

 

Jace laughed, and lightly punched his brother in the shoulder.

 

“Simon, I sent it to him and he worked in some new beats on his mixing board. We were back and forth with it most of the night, but it’s still not perfect. We’ll add vocals soon”

 

“And how did you?”

 

“Clary”, Jace shrugged again.

 

“Of course”.

 

“Anyway, he’s annoying as hell, but the guy knows his music. He’s really good actually. So, um - you were right. Happy now?”

 

“Ecstatic”, Alec laughed.

 

It wasn’t often that Jace admitted he was wrong and that one of his siblings was right, part of that pride thing he liked to display. Jace moved closer his eyes finding his brother’s, his palm out again, Alec took it as they hugged.

 

“I’m sorry, it was the least I could do”, he spoke quietly, and Alec knew if he could take the sting away from the events of last night Jace would do it in heartbeat.

 

“Thank you, I appreciate this more than you know”.

 

Alec stepped back and the silence of the house took over for a few seconds before he spoke.

 

“So where’s this music, can I listen? I know it’s going to be perfect”.

 

A devilish grin broke across Jace’s face. “Actually it’s a surprise for you. After Simon and I agreed on the last edits he sent it to Magnus, something about the sound system at the studio only taking a flash drive. Anyway I figured it was a good opportunity to make it a proper surprise”.

 

“I see”, Alec crossed his arms over his chest. “I’m not exactly good with surprises”.

 

“I know”, Jace laughed as he walked past his brother towards the stairs.

 

“Jerk”.

 

“Even after that you call me a jerk?”

 

“Always”, Alec chuckled. “Get some rest”.

 

“See you later have a good rehearsal”.

 

With that, Alec made his way into the kitchen for a quick breakfast. When he was ready to go, Alec punched the address into the gps on his phone, and locked the door behind him as he left.

 


 

Alec pulled up to a row of three story red brick buildings in a quiet neighborhood in Williamsburg. The GPS stating that the address he was looking for was the corner building on this street. Magnus was bundled up in a large purple scarf and rather warm looking double breasted long black coat. His hood was pulled up, but Alec still recognized him in an instant. He was sitting on the curb of the sidewalk his feet in the street, he stood the moment he seemed to recognize Alec’s car so he could park.

 

“Was holding the spot for you, parking can often be a chore in this area”, Magnus spoke as Alec walked toward him, coffees in hand. “Lots of shops and homes, no driveways”.

 

Alec almost stuttered but controlled it at the last second, “Thanks”

 

It was a sweet gesture on Magnus’ part, and Alec refused to let the giddy feeling it caused show on his face. Instead he held out the latte for Magnus to take.

 

“Not too sweet”, Alec smiled. “Figured you could use it, it’s early and freezing out here”.

 

“Then let’s get inside and warm up, shall we? ”, Magnus sipped and hummed happily. “Perfect, thanks”.

 

The smile Magnus gave lit his face and sent Alec’s heart fluttering. Mentally chastising himself again, he wondered if he would ever truly be over the excited and nervous feeling when around Magnus. He doubted it.

 

Magnus led Alec down a narrow alley in between the corner building and the one next to it, towards a set of metal stairs. Alec tried his best not to appraise the way Magnus’ coat pulled tight around his ass as they ascended the steps, but it was right in front of his face, he couldn’t help but look.

 

Forcing his eyes to look away, because he felt wrong, he nearly bumped into Magnus when he stopped on the first landing in front of a large steel door. Magnus passed his latte back to Alec to hold for a moment as he searched his bag for a set of keys. A click of the locks and Magnus had them inside in no time at all. When they entered the warmth hit them immediately, and Alec was grateful for a chance to get out of the wind

 

“Bluebird must have set the timer for the heat for us”, Magnus spoke quietly, a fond smile pulling at the corners of his mouth before sipping his latte again.

 

“Bluebird?”, Alec asked softly, he didn’t want to disturb whatever happy thoughts were causing Magnus to smile in that way, because it made his heart feel light at being allowed to witness the beauty.

 

Magnus waved his hands like he was figuratively brushing away the private moment he’d accidentally shared with Alec. Noticing it for what is was Alec took a step back and set his gaze about the semi-darkened space in which they were standing to avoid eye contact and possibly help ease Magnus’ anxiety.

 

Through the faint light from the small window behind them Alec realized it was some sort of maintenance area. Magnus closed and locked the door behind them, then moved to switch on the lights using a rather large electrical panel just across from the door.

 

Alec found his voice again, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to ...”.

 

“No apology necessary, I just meant Madame Catarina Loss, my dance mentor. This is her building, she knew we were going to be working this morning and left the heat on a timer so we wouldn’t be cold when we showed up”.

 

“Oh! That was really kind of her”.

 

“It’s her way. She doesn’t tell you she cares or worries, she shows you instead, with small things like this”.

 

“Sounds like a wonderful woman”

 

Magnus chuckled at that. “Wonderful? I wouldn’t say that exactly. She’s a bit of a tyrant, obstinate even, but I suppose she can be quite wonderful. She’s like a mother to me”, it was easy for Alec to discern the fondness in his tone.

 

As Magnus led the way through a small arch door into a rather large space, Alec let his eyes wander again to take in the place he and Magnus would be working every Sunday. The walls were a dark red brick and the ceiling had exposed wood beams running across. The far wall boasted a row of twelve three-centered arched colonial style windows that Alec knew would let a ton of natural light into the room when the sun was shining. Directly across was a full floor to ceiling mirrored wall. Both these walls had movable ballet bars set in front of them.

 

It was a dance studio, nothing new there for Alec since he’d spent the majority of his life in dance studios. However there was definitely something different about this space that Alec never felt in any studio he’d been in before. The unfamiliar feeling had him slightly on edge. Realizing he’d been quiet far too long, he turned when he felt Magnus’ eyes watching him.

 

Magnus looked nervous and fidgety, his eyes cast down for a second before he sighed and returned them to Alec’s face. He was looking for something in Alec’s expression.

 

“So, what do you think? Will it do?”

 

It hit Alec square in the chest, and shocked him to see it from someone normally so confident. Magnus was feeling a bit insecure about a place that was special to him. He knew Alec had danced in some of the most state of the art, pristine, impeccably designed studios across New York. It was pretty obvious that he was unsure if Alec would like or even agree to the use of the space. He had to say something to ease Magnus’ insecurity, Alec smiled bright before he spoke.

 

“It’s perfect, private, quiet, and yeah it’s just perfect”, he shrugged, losing the words he wished would help him describe the feeling the studio had been giving him.

 

“It’s my home This is where I learned to dance, leaned to fly”, Magnus’ voice was reverent as he turned on his heel, his hands out as if trying to display the studio properly.

 

Home. This place was somewhere Magnus called home. Catarina was like his mother.

 

Finally Alec was able to put a name to the feeling he got standing in this studio, a place so sacred to Magnus. It felt different than any other studio he’d danced in because those places were impersonal and cold. Those studios were well funded with all the most lavish details, but they were all about work, and perfection. This place had felt lived in, loved, homey. It may not have been state of the art, but it was clean, well kept, and had everything they needed. The design held an old style of beauty unlike the sterile environment of the other studios. Magnus’ home studio felt quaint and cozy, and suddenly Alec felt like he was getting a hug from one of his siblings. That was the feeling, he felt, home.

 

And then he saw it, the look on Magnus’ face morphed into something more pained, a bit fearful and cautious. It was an expression he’d seen Jace wear from time to time, and he remembered the discovery that Magnus and Jace had similar childhood horrors. Although, of course, Alec didn’t exactly know anything about Magnus’ past, but he was starting to realize it must have been seriously bad.

 

If this was where he considered his home, and Madame Catarina, and Clary’s parents were his family, where was his actual family? Shaking the thoughts away, Alec broke the awkward tension and quiet between them.

 

“Like I said, it’s perfect. I can see how much you care about this place, and I don’t blame you at all”, he smiled again trying to sooth Magnus in some way.

 

It worked because Magnus was smiling again, his sad expression was gone.

 

“Thank you for that, Alexander. I do love this place very much and I’m glad you like it as well. You can find the changing rooms and rest room through there”, Magnus gestured to the large open arch, “but mind the stairs, Madame Catarina often forgets to close the door”.

 

“Stairs?”.

 

“The whole building is hers. She has a dance supply and apparel shop on the first floor along with her office, the studio is here on the second floor, and her apartment is upstairs”, he pointed up at the ceiling.

 

Alec was quite impressed with a woman he didn’t even know, and understood even more why Magnus cared for her. However he must have let his nervous concern show about dancing in Madame Catarina’s studio when she was just upstairs because Magnus laughed and clarified immediately.

 

“Don’t worry yourself, she’s not here. Madame spends her Sundays in Jersey with her family”.

 

Alec blushed at being read so easily, and nodded in thanks, he backed out of the room to the area Magnus specified to change into his tights, slippers and tank. When he returned he found Magnus already changed into basketball shorts and a t-shirt. His back was to Alec bending over as he dug through his bag. It gave Alec a lovely view of the perfect round ass he tried not to stare at earlier.

 

Now his gorgeous bum was on display and there was nothing Alec could do but bite his lip to hide the groan he felt trying to escape. After all he’d promised not only himself but Lydia that he would focus on his working relationship with Magnus, nothing more.

 

“So I hear your musical genius and my musical genius have graced us with a new track they worked on last night”.

 

The words broke Alec’s reverie. Magnus hadn’t moved, his head was still down as he continued to dig through his bag, but he spoke loud enough so Alec could hear him.

 

“Yeah, Jace told me about it this morning. I was surprised to say the least. Can’t believe he did that, actually. I mean yesterday he was about to bite my head off and then our p..- uh”, Alec had been rambling and caught himself before he said something he didn’t want to share. “Yeah it surprised me is all”, he finished weakly.

 

“Me as well - Aha!”

 

Magnus turned around, his palm open, a bright purple sparkly flash drive lay nestled in his hand. He eyes Alec, as a strange expression passed over his features before Alec noticed it disappear quickly.

 

“Simon sent it early this morning, have you had a chance to listen to it yet?

 

Alec shook his head ‘no’.

 

“I haven’t either, hectic morning. I guess it’s fated that we hear it together for the first time”, Magnus offered happily.

 

“I guess so”, Alec smiled. “In fact, Jace said something about not sending it to me on purpose, he really wanted me to be surprised”.

 

“What a sweet, gesture. Your brother does have some good under that cocky smirk, doesn’t he?”

 

Alec only nodded in answer a goofy grin still in place.

 

“Alright then, let’s have a listen, shall we?”

 

It was then Alec spied the wide shelved sound cabinet, stained the same shade as the floor it was nestled in the far corner of the full brick wall. The equipment wasn’t ancient, most likely only five years old, but it wasn’t the stuff they had at the Institute, so that explained the flash drive. As if Magnus read his mind Alec heard his words as he spoke over his shoulder while setting up the music.

 

“I hope you don’t mind I had to add the music to a flash drive, I do have it in my soundcloud and can send it to you digitally as well for use at the Institute. It’s just Madame Catarina hasn’t had a chance to update her system as of yet”

 

Even if he tried to hide it there was a hint of embarrassment in his words which Alec caught. Alec knew all about being embarrassed, his parents did it to him all the time when in social settings. But this , this was nothing Magnus needed to be embarrassed about. The system worked, and his dance mentor was able to do her job well, with what she had, that’s all that mattered.

 

“No worries”, Alec tried to find the words to make Magnus’ fretting go away. “This is perfect Magnus, I promise. I trust you, besides new and updated doesn’t always mean better”, Alec smirked.

 

Magnus’ shoulders relaxed at that, he peaked at Alec over his shoulder his eyes were bright. “How true. Your understanding surprises me sometimes, Alexander”.

 

“What? Not expecting it from the rich kid?”, Alec joked.

 

“Exactly”, Magnus smiled but there was too much truth in his tone for it to be taken lightly.

 

Magnus returned to Alec’s side, remote in hand ready to begin the music as they finished the last of their coffee.

 

“Ready?”, Magnus asked, brow raised.

 

“Let’s hear if our musical fools are really worth a damn”.

 

With another chuckle at Alec’s words, Magnus pressed play and the music filled the space around them. The effect was almost immediate for Alec, and he could see it was the same for Magnus. He was not at all surprised by this, in the short time he’d learned to accept the strange dance connection they shared. Jace’s piano started low, sweet, gentle, until it grew almost haunted, the pain reverberating around the studio echoing back on their ears.

 

And then the shift, the strength in the way Jace hit the keys, then a sudden mix of drums and somehow strings moved the piece into contemporary and almost hip-hop feel. The tone of the piece was breathing from the dance beat coming in to join, to compliment what Jace had started. This was all Simon, he was working his magic, and the blend was perfection. A bassline guitar riff, and snare taking over and then the piece exploded. Jace’s original composition morphing into a perfect dance both traditional and modern. It breathed and ached, even with the new feel the pain was so relevant so deep. But then it changed again, the deviation into where the music became peaceful and full of joy was palpable.

 

Alec’s mouth fell open, his body shook, the hairs on his arm were standing on end, and the gooseflesh ran over his skin. One glance to his right and he saw Magnus was feeling every single thing he felt.

 

“Did you feel that too?”, Magnus rasped pulling his gaze from the stereo towards Alec.

 

All Alec could offer was a gulp and a nod in answer. It felt like his tongue was stuck to the roof of his mouth and he was afraid to even try to speak. His eyes went wide, and he locked them with Magnus’.

 

“It’s perfect”, they spoke in unison to one another then laughed. Alec cleared his throat.

 

“Jace mentioned adding vocals, I um - I really have a feeling about this”, his smile grew wider and his heart was soaring with excitement.

 

Jace and Simon had done it. They’d embodied the feeling of the piece in sound. It was up to him, Magnus and Lydia to bring it to life in motion.

 

“If I know Biscuit, Maureen and Maia the harmonies on this will be epic. I can promise you that”.

 

“I trust it - you - them”, Alec sputtered and blushed. “Shall we, you know, dance?”

 

“Yes”

 

Magnus started the song back from the beginning and the two of them began to piece together every step they’d blocked out up to this point. This time it felt perfect to Alec, even with the absence of their third member, the emotion of the music coupled with the meaningful movement felt as if it were meant to be. Two pieces of the puzzle Alec had been searching for relentlessly finally falling together in place.

 

The relief and joy were infectious, because Magnus seemed to be feeling it as well. His steps were larger than life. Ballet sections clean, bolder, his free movement more fluid than Alec had ever seen. If he were being truthful, Alec was impressed with himself as well when catching sight of his movements in the mirror. Synchronization with perfect imperfections dancing on the edge of euphoric ecstasy.  

 

And then it happened the first stumble and misstep ever from both parties. Alec trying to master the concept of a free flared spin but falling short. While Magnus failed to keep tight lines in rigid ballet form as he spun in a string of fouetté turns. The magic bubble that seemed to surround them whenever they danced wavered and Alec worried for just a moment. He knew he shouldn’t have because he and Magnus were so alike in their work ethic.

 

Everything halted and Alec’s bashful smile made Magnus shake his head.

 

“It’s alright Alexander I floundered too. We’re human”.

 

“I know it’s just..”

 

“It was bound to happen sooner or later. Let’s work through it, shall we?”

 

“What do you suggest?”

 

“For starters I’ll give you a tip on that jump. If you start too low on that right leg when you push off your flare will become imbalanced. Stop calculating. Let go”.

 

“Thanks”, Alec bit his lip. “It’s hard for me to let go of the structure sometimes”.

 

“I understand”, Magnus soothed. “But I’ve seen you do it before, you’ve got this”.

 

There was an awkward silence hanging between them as Alec thought of a way to correct Magnus. He didn’t want to, because no one he’d seen dance held such a raw and natural talent. Magnus definitely made up for his lack of technique with style, but Alec was so afraid to offend.

 

Magnus must have seen the gears working over time in Alec’s mind from the expression on his face because his next words addressed Alec’s thoughts directly.

 

“Let me have it, I’m a big boy I can take it”.

 

The implications of that statement and Alec’s precarious control around Magnus had him near ready to groan. However Alec behaved, breathing through his nostrils and tensing his jaw like grasping for a thread of strength.

 

“Okay, so - um - you’re tucking too far under”, Alec tried to keep his voice neutral, but couldn’t keep the blush from growing on his cheeks. “May I?”, he asked quietly, his hands open indicating he was asking permission to touch Magnus.

 

Magnus nodded easily, and Alec doubted the torment going on inside of him, could ever be known to Magnus. It was like a bees nest buzzing in his mind, chest and stomach. Moving cautiously almost as if to stop himself from pouncing, Alec took his place behind Magnus. Their eyes found each other’s in their reflection, he looked away quickly trying to prepare himself for the power of touching Magnus in a professional capacity. All he really wanted to do was pull Magnus against his chest and hold him, but that was not a welcome or a good idea.

 

Controlling his thoughts once more Alec let his long fingers slide tentatively along Magnus’ side landing on his hips to lock them in proper position. Magnus seemed to freeze as Alec’s thumbs brushed just under the hem of his shirt. Alec breathed deep as he fought the urge to grip tighter or let his thumbs rub circles into Magnus’ warm skin.

 

“Right there is perfect”, his voice was raw, and even he heard how it exposed him.

 

Feeling like he was shocked by a jolt or a spark, Alec reluctantly pulled away. There couldn’t be something there, he wasn’t allowed this, not with Magnus. It had been made clear the parameters of their friendship and working relationship. Alec cleared his throat again and moved away quickly his eyes focused anywhere but on Magnus’ reflection in the mirror.

 

“You’ve got it, perfect. Um - start in that form and you’re golden”

 

“Thank you, Alexander”.

 

The answer came low and for some reason Alec thought there was far too much understanding in it. It almost felt too much like pity. He grit his teeth and fought his anger from rising up. Forcing his eyes back on Magnus he saw that, of course, Magnus had easily mastered the turn after that. Almost feeling as if he had to prove something Alec hit the splayed jump perfectly after readjusting with the notes Magnus gave him. Their competitive nature when it came to dance was present as they both smiled smugly.

 

“Again from the top?”, Magnus asked his breath coming in a gasp.

 

“Yup”, Alec grinned.

 

Every step was perfect this time, in balance the bubble was back. Yet for some reason Alec was feeling a little off, he knew he had to distance himself from Magnus, and touching him hadn’t helped. The memories of last night’s conversation with his parents flooded his mind as he danced. His parents would never accept this part of him, they’d not do something as rash as disown him for fear of looking wrong or even homophobic in the arts community, that could be a death sentence. However Alec knew his mother especially would continue to look the other way and act like this part of him wasn’t real. like he wasn’t real.

 

The anger grew louder in his chest bubbling up and coming through. It began to show itself in his steps, the choreography angry and sharp when it was supposed to be softer. When his hand lifted to Magnus’ face Alec pulled it back too quick, his brow furrowed, face fierce.

 

He didn’t mean to let his emotions cloud his dancing skill but his feelings for Magnus were a constant reminder of his truth, and how that part of him disappointed his parents. Fighting his feelings for Magnus, while at the same time fighting the emotional stress his parents put on him was finally too much. The pain set in as the anger took over, a large growl ripped from his lungs when Alec flubbed a rather large leap that should have been easy for him.

 

“Something’s wrong”, Magnus stopped the music, his tone was firm, this wasn’t a question.

 

Gritting his teeth again, Alec hands flew up to his face as he violently ran them up into his hair and gripped tight. He panted trying to catch his breath his gaze on the floors, he kept stepping back slowly until his back hit a solid surface and he slid to the ground.

 

Trying to find his center, Alec breathed deep. The silence was welcome but somehow knowing Magnus’ concerned eyes were on him even though he dared not look, was breaking his heart all over again. The pressure was too much to handle, Izzy was right to worry, he couldn’t do this.

 

“Take your time”, the reassurance was sweet and full of understanding it nearly broke Alec.

 

“S-sorry”, was all Alec could offer as he lay his face back in his hands. “I’m wasting our time”.

 

“No need to be. Something is obviously very wrong, Alec”.

 

“I just - I feel bad putting this on you”, Alec groaned but finally raised his head to look Magnus in the eye. “ I mean you promised to help, then agreed to dance and I’m just falling apart and it’s a mess. It’s just not a good time for me, you know? Personal shit. I’m really very sorry”.

 

“Stop apologizing”.

 

The bite in Magnus’ voice caught Alec by surprise but soon he understood why Magnus had done it. He was trying to help stop his self pitying spiral, he was being a good friend. The word stung but tugged at the edges of Alec’s mind, this was a kindness.

 

“I’ve been there Alexander, I know pain when I see it. If you want to talk about it I’ll gladly listen. If not, that’s okay too. But it may help to get you up and focusing on dance again”.

 

“Dance has always been my escape”, Alec sighed.

 

“My point exactly. Don’t let whatever this is invade your escape”, Magnus nodded the right corner of his mouth lifting in a tiny smile.

 

If he hadn’t already known it, Alec was reminded of the strange feeling of discerning that he could unequivocally trust Magnus with his deepest thoughts, secrets and emotions. Alec hung his head, sighed loudly and scratched the back of his head nervously. It was now or never, and he needed to get his focus back on dance, what could this hurt?.

 

“I came out to my parents last night”, Alec mumbled his voice faltering a bit.

 

“Oh Alec”, came a soft reply from Magnus, and suddenly Alec felt his entire side grow warm as Magnus slid to sit next to him on the floor. “I take it, it didn’t go very well?”.

 

Alec shook his head and huffed at the memory. “No, not well at all. Although it was typical Lightwood form, I should have known”.

 

“Are you going to be okay?”.

 

The worry was unmistakable,Magnus knew what it was like to be different, he’d had a tough life. As a bisexual man, he must have been through his own similar experiences. Of course Alec could depend on Magnus to be there as he’d been there for so many of his friends, Magnus was a good man. Still Alec felt bad for causing worry, he was luckier than many to not be in any immediate danger, some people didn’t have a choice but to leave home after coming out. Alec felt shame rise again inside him, maybe he was overreacting to the way his parents had reacted.

 

“Um, yeah”, Alec found his voice. “I mean, my parents are far too concerned with appearances, and their public image to oust me from the family, but they basically chose to be indifferent and ignore what I was telling them. Basically my mother believes she knows me better than myself”, Alec shrugged. “I guess I shouldn’t complain though it could be worse”.

 

“Oh Alec”, Magnus repeated, this time his hand grasped onto Alec’s forearm and squeezed gently. “I’m sorry they reacted so poorly, but please don’t let yourself think that what you’re experiencing is any less significant than what others go through. It’s still the failure of your parents to accept you for who you are, people who should love you unconditionally”.

 

The pain in Magnus’ voice when he said that nearly broke Alec’s heart. He did know exactly what this felt like. Magnus sighed and rubbed his hand up Alec’s arm leaving a trail of fire in its wake before he locked eyes with Alec and spoke again.

 

“Sometimes disregard and callousness hurt more than severe hate or even a fist striking you. I may not know exactly what your life is like, but I can imagine having a part of you neglected and ignored can’t be easy. You have every right to let yourself feel this, don’t you dare second guess your emotions”.

 

The words were exactly what Alec needed to hear, but coming from someone whom he respected, someone he knew had his own troubles and still smiled every day made an even greater impact on Alec. Magnus’ words had been firm but his tone held a kindness. It was yet another time Alec felt grateful to know him.

 

A silence dripping with emotion felt suspended in the studio, it made the air around them feel thick and stifling. The feeling wasn’t necessarily uncomfortable so Alec remained quiet instead of trying to fill the silence with awkward words. Magnus kept his hand on Alec’s moving it from his arm across his back, comforting him. It felt good in a way Alec hadn’t expected, welcome amiable affection.

 

This wasn’t exactly how Alec thought their rehearsal would go, but here he was laying his problems out for Magnus. He was supposed to be putting the wall back up, keeping his feelings behind them. He’d planned to do just that, but now his parents were threatening his peace and sanity by invading his soul. If Alec couldn’t dance because of how they made him feel he would have no serenity. Magnus was the only person keeping him from falling into the abyss of self doubt.

 

Sure Izzy and Jace had his back, and understood him to a degree, but Magnus, Magnus got Alec on every level, including dance. Their connection was frightening but right now Alec welcomed it and held on tight like a lifeline. Knowing there was no way he could keep the wall up any longer Alec just sighed and accepted whatever fate held for him. If he lay his feelings too bare for Magnus so be it. As long as he could call Magnus a friend and they could get this damn dance to the standard of perfection they both knew it deserved, Alec could live with that.

 

“Thank you”, Alec broke the silence.

 

“You’re very welcome”.

 

Bracing himself for whatever may come now, Alec pushed up off the floor and set his shoulders back to stand tall. He smiled at Magnus and offered his hand down to help him up. The ever present spark whenever they touched did not disappoint, but Alec was getting better at ignoring it.

 

“I think it’s time I get my peace back, don’t you?”

 

Magnus gave that smile that always seemed to light him up from the inside, and nodded playfully.

 

“Alright”, he clapped his hands together then clicked the remote before pocketing it again.

 

Once more their minds and bodies came together. They were working in tune as the music embraced them, melting away all the tumult that had just occurred. They both seemed to feel the shift back into their normal kinship. Everything came easy for them again. The pain, the beauty, the ache, the pulse. When they touched their bodies felt like liquid sun, hot but also golden, and full of life. Magnus took Alec’s notes and nailed his fouetté turns again, same for Alec with his free layout leap. It was as if nothing happened to disturb their zone.

 

The world outside felt far away, all that matter was the beat of the music, the blood pulsing in their veins, their feet hitting the floors, their arms rising, flowing, and the points on their body where they touched softly.

 

Exquisite joy through storytelling, Alec felt euphoric relief when they ran through three times perfectly without stopping. His hand absentmindedly slipped down where it had been on Magnus’ cheek and rest on Magnus’ chest over his heart. Alec felt it beating erratically matching his own heart rate. He hadn’t even registered that he was touching Magnus outside of dance, that his hand may not have been welcome there. He was just smiling his big smile knowing Magnus’ heart felt the same about the way they just danced.

 

Warm breath fanned Alec’s neck, Magnus’ sweat damp shirt grew cooler under his touch. Alec wished he could just take what he wanted just for a moment at least, but he couldn’t. Magnus seemed to tense up and the spell was broken.

 

“Alec?”, Magnus asked, his voice sounded raspy and laced with concern.

 

Had Magnus really been staring at his lips or was that a daydream, or wishful thinking?

 

“I’m sorry”, Alec immediately dropped his hand and took a step back.

 

Magnus ignored the apology and Alec felt that was for his benefit, perhaps not to draw attention to it would be less awkward.

 

“I’m glad you were able to shake yourself out of the bad place you were in. That was wonderful, Alexander. The piece is really coming along perfectly. I’m impressed with how well you took to the free movement”.

 

Business, always business, Alec fought the disappointment he felt.

 

“You nailed those turns, Magnus. It - it really was perfect wasn’t it?”, Alec beamed proudly.

 

“Yes, and full of important meaning”.

 

Alec bit his lip and nodded, the weight of the piece heavy on his mind especially after what happened with his parents and his talk with Magnus.

 

“Yeah”.

 

It was quiet between them once again but for some reason it bothered Alec less and less every time it happened. As if being quiet with Magnus was better than talking aimlessly with anyone else.

 

“Um, I do really hate to cut this short but I’ve got to head out. I’ve got an appointment in about an hour, it’s the weekend, and you know how the trains are. I hope you don’t mind”.

 

Magnus sounded almost guilty and sad that he had to cut their rehearsal short before they could work on new choreography. He was enjoying their work together and that in turn made Alec happy as well. Seeing how quickly he was packing up, and how frantic he was, Alec felt bad. This was obviously something important that Magnus had to do, and still he’d made time for Alec.

 

The thought came to him easily, and soon the words came out of him without second guessing himself.

 

“Where are you heading?”

 

“Brooklyn Heights, why?”, Magnus sounded suspicious as he grabbed for his change of clothes from his bag.

 

“The train ride is like forty minutes, if you let me give you a ride I can have you there in fifteen minutes. Twenty, tops”.

 

“You don’t have to, I don’t mind taking the trains, Alec. Besides I don’t want to be a nuisance”.

 

“I wouldn’t have offered if I didn’t want to. And you’re not a nuisance, we’re dance partners and um - well - I’d like to think we’re friends. We are friends right?”, Alec’s voice cracked and got lower towards the end of his question. Had he assumed something wrong?

 

The small chuckle Magnus made soothed Alec’s worry and eased his fear. “Yes, Alec, I would say we’re friends”.

 

“Good, and friends offer each other rides all the time right?”, Alec raised his brow playfully.

 

“I guess they do”, Magnus smiled and shrugged.

 

“Besides it’s cold and you’re all sweaty. I’d feel better if you let me do this for you, since you made time for me. And your mentor let us use her space”.

 

Magnus watched Alec carefully his eyes narrowed, scrutinizing, seemingly looking for something. After a few long minutes he breathed heavily and showed a tiny smile.

 

“Fine”, he relented. “I’d love a ride, thank you”, he added, his tone terse.

 

“You’re welcome”, Alec smirked.

 


 

It had been a long grueling night at the restaurant, Friday nights were busy. Date night, tourists, friends meeting for dinner. The best restaurants in Chinatown always teemed with people every weekend, it was expected, but still it wore Magnus down every single time.

 

Finally home, Magnus dragged himself up the stairs slowly. So much was nagging at the back of his mind all day and a lot of it circled a certain hazel eyed person. The advice Luke had given him, the overprotective anger that ended in blunt acceptance from Ragnor and Raphael. And what had Raphael meant by ‘if he hurts you’?. Did he mean just physically due to a mishap during dance or did he mean something else? What was everyone seeing? What was he inadvertently projecting?

 

Of course his unexpected early morning dance session and talk with Alec, as well as the kindness Alec showed changing studios it was all there going around and around in his mind. Churning in the pit of his stomach, urging him to do something but he didn’t know what, exactly.

 

He didn’t want to let himself accept that this had something to do with his growing feelings and attraction toward the ballet dancer, he couldn’t let that happen. It hadn’t helped that Alec was absolutely sweet, and adorable. Even when Magnus wanted to put him in his place for overstepping or being blind to his privilege. There was something about his genuine puppy dog eyes that practically melted Magnus’ heart. There was no way Alec was using them to be manipulative, Magnus doubted he even knew what he was doing to him.

 

Alec didn’t intend to make the mistakes he had been, that much was definitely obvious now. Alexander Lightwood had proven time and time again, he was not who Magnus expected him to be at all. And that was most likely the source of all his mental strain and uneasiness all night. That man, that beautiful man was so much more than Magnus could have ever imagined.

 

So lost in his thoughts and emotions, Magnus nearly missed the sound of footsteps quickly coming up behind him just as he reached the third landing.

 

“Hey Magnus, you look dead on your feet, again”, John spoke quietly. “Just getting in from work?”.

 

Magnus nodded and tried to smile but he was too tired to even think about a conversation let alone have one.

 

“Damn, I’m sorry I’ll let you get some rest, looks like you could use it”.

 

Although he was trying to be polite, Magnus could see John looked slightly disillusioned and sad. It wasn’t his usual cheery demeanor at all. Putting aside his own needs Magnus turned back before continuing up to his loft, catching John before he could unlock his door.

 

“Are you alright?”, Magnus spoke gently. “You don’t look so great either. If you need to talk, I could - ”.

 

“Nope, I’ll be fine, just another date gone wrong. Can’t seem to find me the right girl”, he mumbled. “You’ve been nicer to me than most since I moved here, but I can’t in good conscience let you sit around, and listen to me complain about dating disasters. Especially when you look so beat”.

 

“Alright”, Magnus smiled and tilted his head to the side a strange idea in his mind, but it would have to wait. “Don’t let it get you down though, okay?”, he encouraged to the best his fatigue would allow.

 

John just nodded in reply and finally got his lock open before Magnus left him to get some much needed rest. Once cleaned up and relaxed in his bed Magnus checked his texts. The last one was from Madame Catarina in answer to his own asking if he could come by to talk to her tomorrow before his shift. Of course she complained he didn’t come see her enough, and called him a horrible person. However she then told him to come by anytime he liked, and called him her sweet boy. Magnus chuckled at her ridiculous ways, but they always made him smile. She was a bit tough on the outside but there were some people who got to see the heart inside. He was one of those people.

 

Setting his alarm and putting his phone on the charger Magnus removed his pink nail polish and laughed at the array of colors in the basket. Now that he’d figured out what his subconscious mind was doing with the colors he’d chosen for the past few days, he rolled his eyes and purposefully grabbed for his favorite shade of blue, the color of a bluebird’s feathers. This color definitely had nothing to do with Alec Lightwood, and how he’d been torturing Magnus’ thoughts. Nope.

 

Snorting at his ridiculous behavior Magnus set about painting his nails meticulously and spraying them to dry. If he lied to himself he would say he didn’t think of Alec once while he worked on his nails, but of course he was not one to tell lies easily. It concerned him that he was having so much trouble keeping Alec out of his thoughts, why couldn’t he just stop and be his friend just like he himself had wanted?

 

Friends, only friends and nothing more.

 

For some reason the words stuck hard in his mind like they would in his throat had he said them aloud. Tensing his jaw and gritting his teeth Magnus pushed all thoughts of that damned ballet dancer from his mind focusing instead on choreography for his crew. With a smile on his face he closed his eyes, and fell asleep blissful in the knowledge that he wasn’t on call tonight. All emergencies would be Mr. Renwick’s responsibility tonight.

 


 

The delightful and melodious sound of Magnus’ whistled tune carried through the air of the small shop as he made his way towards the open door of Madame Catarina’s office. It was something he’d done since he was a young boy working in her shop and studio to help pay off his lessons. Madame played the bluebird game in the beginners dance classes; and he’d noticed her penchant for all things the very shade of blue he’d painted his nails the night before.

 

Madame wore at least one article of clothing or accessory in this particular blue every single day. Be it a decorative hair pin, a skirt, a dance leotard. As their bond grew, so began his love for the very same color. His whistling grew softer as he got closer to the office.

 

Bluebird, bluebird through my window, he heard the words in his mind that accompanied the tune as he leaned against the doorjamb and smiled at his dance mentor who was grinning back.

 

Madame Catarina was very lovely for her age. Now in her late fifties and she still hadn’t much grey in her thick black hair, that she often kept in a tight chignon, just a wisp or two at the temples. Her sepia toned skin almost glowed a cool rose tint when she smiled; and it remained so smooth and supple, not one wrinkle in sight.

 

She walked around her desk to stand just in front of Magnus, her boy. Catarina was three inches shorter than him now, but still she made him feel just like the child who looked up at her in awe. Her long elegant fingers landed on his shoulders and tapped them lightly.

 

Take a little boy and tap him on the shoulders.

 

“Oh, Magnus, I am tired”, she huffed in lieu of singing adding his name as she always did, a soft smile on her lips as they completed their song.

 

She kissed one cheek and then the other, as was her way. “How are you my sweet boy?”, she then changed mood suddenly slapping his arm in mock anger. “Where have you been? What do you mean not coming to see me more often? You ungrateful wretch”, she hissed.

 

Magnus just laughed and flinched away from a few more of her playful slaps before grabbing her in a tight hug.

 

“I missed you too, bluebird”, he hummed into her hair.

 

When they pulled apart Magnus couldn’t help but see the look of adoration in her eyes. He truly was her boy, just like he was Luke and Jocelyn’s. His heart was happy in that moment. Even when he tried to keep people at a distance it was so hard for him not to let in those that mattered to him. For certain people he would weather the fear and pain of letting them love him.

 

“To what do I owe this honor? I mean you’re a fancy arts school senior, soon to be out sharing the art of dance with the world. What are you doing with lowly old me?”, she joked and returned to her seat grabbing up the ledger she was working on earlier to set it aside.

 

“Lowly? Hardly. Without you I would not be at that fancy arts school, remember?”, his voice was tender.

 

“Oh hush you”, she silenced him with a look that only she could give. “You did that on your own with all that incredible talent of yours. Now tell me what you need, I’m a very busy woman. Intermediate tap class starts in an hour and I have to finish this inventory for the shop”, she grumbled and glared at the ledger.

 

“I know, you’re busy, sorry”.

 

“Don’t apologize, you rarely have to with me, but speak or forever hold your peace”, she joked gaining another smile in return.

 

Magnus sat taller in his chair as Madame eyed his posture with a scrutinizing eye. Taking a second to get his thoughts in order, he cleared his throat and spoke.

 

“I’ve been asked to collaborate on a very important dance piece in the showcase”,

 

Magnus squirmed under her watchful eye. She was one of the only people who could do this to him. And then her questions were asked quick fire style, one right after the other. It was how she spoke business, and dance was her number one business.

 

“Collaborate how?”

 

“Joint choreography and performance”.

 

“Full credit for your contribution?”.

 

“Yes, ma’am, of course”.

 

“What style of dance?”

 

“Contemporary, a fusion of ballet and freestyle”.

 

Magnus’ brow lifted and he smirked playfully, he knew this would stop her innocuous attack. The look on her face held intrigue and fascination. Catarina knew ballet wasn’t Magnus’ forte but the mix of these dance styles was something in which she had great interest. She’d flirted with the fusion in the choreography for a few of her advanced class recital pieces.

 

“Hmmm”, was all she’d give him but her expression lit up with excitement. She couldn’t hide that from him. “You said ‘important’, how important?”, her eyes narrowed watching his every movement.

 

Magnus was nervous for a second but found his strength quickly. She was one of the people who had taught him how to be strong in the first place, so he knew he’d better keep his footing where Madame was concerned.

 

“The featured piece”, he answered firmly.

 

“The featured piece?”, Madame mused in a far off tone, one corner of her mouth turning up in delight. “I knew you had this in you, my sweet boy”, her voice was full of pride and joy. “I always had faith”.

 

“I know you did”, Magnus looked away momentarily to control his emotions then met her doting gaze.

 

“How are you faring with the ballet?”, she was back to the quickfire questions.

 

“Better than I thought, actually. I have you to thank for that”.

 

“Damn right you do”, she winked. “And I suppose you’re choreographing most of the free movement?”

 

“Yes, I was asked specifically because of that skillset”.

 

“Of course you were”, she laughed, “anyone with a lick of sense can see your skill level is beyond most. Was it the Lightwood boy who asked?”

 

The question took him aback but of course she would know, he shouldn’t have been surprised. Just like Jocelyn and Luke, Catarina had been to all of his dance showcases since he started at NYAI. Plus given her eye for talent, it only made sense she kept track of the names who showed the greatest skill in all forms of dance. He told her it was the featured piece and Alec, well Alec was at the top of their class it was a given it would be his piece, because the Lightwoods were well known in the New York arts scene.

 

“Yes”, there was no way Magnus could deny it even if he wanted to.

 

“I’m proud of you, I hope you know that. I knew this day would come, when others saw your true talent. I’m supposing this whole visit is about access to the studio on Sundays for rehearsal?”

 

Magnus hid his small blush, abashed at her praise and again at being read so easily. What was it lately that had him pretty much an open book to everyone closest to him? He shook off the weird feeling of unnecessary shame and answered her quietly.

 

“You know me well”, was all he said.

 

Madame Catarina pulled the top right drawer of her desk open, the contents shifting loudly against the front. Magnus heard the unmistakable jingle as she grabbed the spare set of keys before passing them to him, and closing the drawer.

 

“As I’ve always said, these were yours whenever you wanted them. You’ve just been too stubborn to accept them. You know my hours, and when the studio is free; this is your home too, whatever you need it’s yours”.

 

Nodding at her gentle words Magnus took the keys from her proffered hand pocketing them before grabbing her hand again to hold tight within his.

 

“Thank you, bluebird”.

 

“You’re my sweet boy, I’m supposed to say no to the face I love?”, she squished his cheeks together with her other hand causing them both to laugh. “Besides this place is as much yours as it is mine”.

 

The statement made Magnus’ heart leap from gratitude. How could this woman, who had once been a stranger to him, love him so much that she would say her home was his? Everything she worked for, he felt unworthy of this honor, but knew better than to say a thing. When Madame Catarina offered such words you accepted it without question.

 

“Thank you”, was all he could muster.

 

Magnus stood again knowing she needed to get back to work and not wanting to take too much of her time. No matter how much she cared for him, Madame Catarina was a woman who never wanted to daly when she was busy.

 

“I’ll be out of your way now”.

 

Before he could even turn to leave she cut off his escape with a few vague words and a tone that insinuated more than Magnus cared to admit.

 

“I see it. There’s more to this than you’re telling me”.

 

“You’re seeing things now? Maybe the age is finally catching up with you”, Magnus teased trying to get away from what he knew was coming next, but there was no avoiding her all seeing eye.

 

“Oh joke all you want, Magnus but you know that I know you. You shy away from your feelings, you hide. You never let people in, never let people love you properly”.

 

“Luke said that too”, Magnus mumbled.

 

“Luke is wise. And Jocelyn is worried, she called me the other day all in a tizzy over you. She wouldn’t give specifics but I can see what this is, even if you won’t tell me. I know this is about that Lightwood boy?”

 

“What would make you say that?”, even Magnus heard the crack in his voice as his head snapped up to look at her, his body went stiff and his mind was swimming with thoughts of Alec.

 

How could she see? Why did she see?, he panicked.

 

“I’m not blind, and neither is Luke or Jocelyn. Stop hiding yourself away. Besides I’m more worried for him than I am for you”, Madame Catarina sighed and turned her sharp eyes from him to focus elsewhere to give him a reprieve from the onslaught of her words.

 

“Why would you worry about Alec?”, Magnus rasped, knowing full well she had done this on purpose to draw him out, force him to face the feelings in a small way. She knew he couldn’t deny her, the woman was good at this.

 

“Because you, my boy, are a handsome, kind, sweet, charming, man and you have the most beautiful soul. You’ll pull him in like a moth to a flame, but sadly you keep people at a distance, that boy’s wings will get burned just like a moth, mark my words”, she added dramatically with a chuckle and a pointed stare.

 

It irked him momentarily, how could she be making assumptions about things he would never let happen? And how could she say Alec would get hurt when she knew very well that the Lightwoods were the cause of some of his most somber memories.

 

“So now you believe yourself clairvoyant?”, Magnus joked finding his voice.

 

“You better get a move on or you’ll be late for work, Mr. Ts’ai won’t have that”, was all Catarina would answer before turning her full attention to her ledger once more.

 

“Thank you bluebird”, Magnus called as he left her office, doing his best to ignore her warning that was now churning in his gut. “And you’re wrong”, he added with a huff of indignation.

 

“You’re welcome sweet boy, and we shall see”, she sing-songed smugly, ignoring his tone completely.

 


 

Saturdays at the restaurant were just as bad as Fridays only they had the added displeasure of more hours on the clock dealing with far too many patrons. Magnus was tired, mind, body and soul. Of course there were bright spots but even those were a drain on his patience because Jackie kept teasing him about the hot guy with the big hands that he had dinner with, she would wiggle her finger and mouth ‘big hands’ over and over until he laughed. Mr. Ts’ai wasn’t helping , he kept bringing up the fact that he needed a boyfriend or girlfriend in his life.

 

The full weight of the week finally upon him, it was no surprise that Magnus found himself face down in a puddle of drool on Sunday morning not truly remembering when he’d gotten home the night before. Noticing he was out of his work clothes, he realized he must have had the wherewithal to change into some comfy sweats, but he couldn’t recall actually doing so.

 

Grabbing for his phone Magnus saw the time and remembered it was Sunday, dance day, Alec Lightwood day. It had been a day and a half reprieve from being in the beautiful ballet boy’s presence and now the reality was crashing in on him. In just a few short hours Magnus would not only have to be around him and dance again, but he’d have to share one of his most special and private parts of his life with Alec.

 

The fear crept up his spine leaving a twinge in its wake that made his entire body respond with a shake. The connection between himself and Alec was undeniable now, neither were Alec’s obvious feelings towards him. However the constant terror of letting himself slip and allowing Alec to get too close held Magnus hostage in his mind.

 

Magnus cracked his neck and sighed heavily as he rolled his shoulders. He needed to focus on the task at hand, and right now that meant letting Alec know where to meet him and getting ready for dance rehearsals. Texting Alec the address quickly he got up to get dressed, pack his dance bag and make something to eat.

 

He hadn’t expected a response so quickly since it was pretty early so the buzzing of his phone surprised him. When he opened the text it took him a few minutes before he could stop staring in shock and actually smile at how sweet it was. Alec had offered to bring him some coffee, the gesture was not lost on Magnus, it was only further proof of Alec’s true nature.

 

After an unsurprisingly deserted train ride and a short walk through the cold November air, Magnus found himself in front of Catarina’s building just waiting for Alec to arrive. A car that was parked right in front was pulling out and Magnus got the idea of holding the space for Alec. There was no doubt in Magnus’ mind that Alec would be driving into Brooklyn instead of taking the subway.

 

With the knowledge that parking could be a bit rough, Magnus sat on the curb, his feet in the street physically holding the parking spot as the wind whipped around him causing him to shiver. Drawing his coat tighter around his body Magnus hugged himself to keep warm, and wondered just how much longer Alec would keep him waiting.

 

In the end it wasn’t long at all, only about three minutes later Magnus spied the unmistakable gleam of the trident emblem on Alec’s grill creeping slowly up the block towards him. He shook his head and laughed at the memory of the last time that sight was coming at him, the day he nearly let himself get hit in the student parking garage. The day all this started, the day they finally crossed paths. The day he finally saw Alec Lightwood the person not the reputation.

 

Wiping his hands on his jeans Magnus got up and waited for Alec to park his car. When he walked around, Alec was holding two cups of coffee and he looked absolutely gorgeous. Magnus didn’t know whether to be angry or pleased for allowing himself to notice the way the wind ruffled through Alec’s dark messy hair. He quickly looked away to fight the urge he felt to run his fingers through it and perhaps tame the strands in some way or maybe tug on them, but that thought just directed his mind into areas best left in the dark.

 

Thankfully distracting him from his thoughts, Alec held out the latte he’d brought and reassured him it wasn’t too sweet as per his request. He did so with the most adorable look on his face that always seemed to make Magnus feel warm inside and also sent his mind reeling. Of course Alec had to then go and be sweet worrying about how cold Magnus was waiting for him. Why did that boy have to always say the right things? Instead of letting the thoughts bother him Magnus just thanked Alec and smiled, and when he sipped his latte it was indeed perfect. Checking the cup he noticed, sure enough it was Blue Bottle, yet another thing he and Alec had in common.

 

Promising Alec that they’d have a chance to warm up once inside, Magnus took the brunt of the brutal wind barreling between the buildings as he led Alec down the alley towards the side entrance. The nerves began to set in again. This time the sensitivity was almost too much for Magnus to deal with. He was showing Alec somewhere he considered home, letting him into a private space in his life, a precious space.

 

The space was beautiful and a perfectly functioning studio, Madame Catarina kept it pristine. Of course it had it’s own charms perhaps less state of the art as Alec was used to but it was quite lovely. At least Magnus thought so, but maybe that was just his sentimental connection to the place.

 

Nervous energy plagued him, he shivered but that could easily be attributed to the cold wind so he let it go not worrying about Alec seeing. Once the door was open and the warmth of the heat enveloped his body, Magnus felt all worry dissipate. Other feelings took over, fondness, and gratitude.

 

His bluebird had put the timer on the heat knowing he’d be there practicing with his dance partner. She wasn’t even going to be home until tomorrow morning but still she did this small favor for him. Magnus’ heart was full of such warmth. He knew what it felt like, he knew who loved him, it was just so hard for him to let them love him.

 

He realized he’d let it slip a split second after he heard Alec’s deep voice ask ‘bluebird’ in his questioning and curious tone. Magnus had said his nickname for Madame Catarina out loud and mentioned the heat thing. He didn’t mean to, but somehow it just slipped like water through fingertips.

 

For a moment Magnus wanted to call an end to the entire thing. Why had he let this precious secret slip? Why to Alec? A weird sense of anger and panic battled inside him. He didn’t want Alec to know all his soft spots, it would only complicate things between them, change them into something he couldn’t handle. Besides these tender parts of him were for him only, no one else.

 

There was also that small part of him that asked if he wanted that; did he want someone to share these gentle secrets with? Someone to let into the private spaces in his mind and soul. Everyone who loved him seemed to want him to take things for himself, to let himself be open, but was it what he truly wanted?

 

Tamping down his emotions, Magnus brushed it away like the slip of his tongue had been nothing really. He noticed Alec’s gaze wandering, avoiding eye contact, he must have realized how uncomfortable he made Magnus. In true Alec form he apologized.

 

Magnus wanted to just forget it had happened, he was already feeling vulnerable to begin with, but he needed Alec to understand why he was acting so strange. It was the least he could do knowing Alec was blaming himself, because it seemed that was what he always did, and Magnus couldn’t have that. He let himself share one more thing.

 

“She’s like a mother to me”.

 

He knew it would be enough to get his point across but not overshare what he was unwilling to give. As Alec moved into the studio Magnus could see his taking it all in, analyzing just like he did with dance. He couldn’t help but wonder what Alec was thinking. The nerves that hadn’t really left him started to make him feel slightly sick.

 

This place didn’t stack up to the studios Alec was used to, places like the studios at NYAI. His insecurity rose, this studio meant the world to him. Along with Clary’s apartment these places were home to him. The people in these spaces were home to him, not where he lived, it was something Magnus learned young, after his mother was taken from him.

 

Afraid that Alec was only trying to make him feel better, and pay him lip service when he said he thought the studio ‘was perfect’, Magnus felt exposed. However Alec reassured him, Magnus knew Alec was sweet and genuine, and he had to have meant every word. He knew Alec better now, knew he wouldn’t lie about this.

 

When Magnus showed Alec where he could change he recognized the nervous look on Alec’s face after mentioning his dance mentor lived on the premises. It was a look that screamed ‘I don’t want to get caught in someone else’s space’. He was uncomfortable for sure.

 

It was one of those moments when Magnus felt his control slip, his need to reach out and maybe kiss that adorable and worried look off Alec’s face. This was something Magnus fought, but secretly wished he could let take over. Instead he just reassured Alec that Catarina was away, and was rewarded with one of those sweet blushes Alec often gave. Once left alone, Magnus quickly changed out of his jeans into basketball shorts and a t-shirt.

 

As he searched his bag for the flash drive containing their new music, Magnus heard Alec come back and decided to break the tension that seemed to float between them sometimes. His voice was light as he mentioned the music Simon and Jace had, last night, worked on together to create for them. Magnus smiled at the thought of the odd pairing working together. Alec must have had to do some serious convincing, and Magnus wondered if he’d mentioned Clary.

 

When Alec’s explanation of Jace telling him about the music this morning cut off in a strangled sound that finished in a weak tone, Magnus’ shoulders went stiff for a moment. Something was there. Alec must have almost divulged a secret of his own, just like Magnus had earlier. It seemed Magnus wasn’t the only one trying to hold back from sharing too much.

 

At last after digging relentlessly through his bag Magnus found his favorite purple flash drive stuck in the lining of the small back pocket, with a shout of triumph he turned back to face Alec. It was then he nearly died on the spot, for a short moment Magnus thought he was going to pass out.

 

There he stood the tormentor of Magnus’ thoughts and dreams, Alec Lightwood. Dark black hair a mess on his head, piercing hazel eyes looking a shockingly dark green today. Those full pink lips that he kept licking incessantly, drawing Magnus eyes. Of course those long fucking legs in those tight black tights that never hid a fucking thing, every curve, every muscle, every swell and bulge available to Magnus’ eye. And then the tank top.

 

Why that color? Magnus thought to himself in an almost whiny inner voice.

 

Most days, Alec was known to wear a black or white tank top, as was customary in a professional setting. But today, because they were in a private studio, he was wearing a blue one, bluebird blue. The color Catarina adored, the very color lacquer that still graced his fingernails from yesterday. The very color he chose because it had nothing to do with Alec Lightwood. How could this have happened? How had fate done this to him?

 

Feeling his head spin and like the breath was being choked out of him, Magnus pulled himself together in mere seconds as these thoughts flew through his mind. Being skilled in the art of bullshit had its perks, he knew Alec would never truly understand what had just happened. Covering quickly with talk of the new music and Jace actually being somewhat sweet, Magnus was given the cutest goofy grin as he turned to set up the music.

 

It was then the fresh wave of embarrassment washed over Magnus. The self conscious feelings he hated to let bother him. He didn’t want to let the way others viewed his life affect him, but sometimes he couldn’t help it. And for some stupid reason Alec was one of the people whose opinion he was beginning to wonder and worry about.

 

The sound equipment in Catarina’s studio wasn’t old, and was still in perfect working condition, in fact she was saving for an update. Still Magnus shrunk a little at the thought of Alec being offended by the older system.

 

Once again Alec surprised Magnus although the surprise was becoming less acute as he got to know the real Alec. Alec put his trust in Magnus, and for some reason that meant so much to him. Someone he actually looked up to and revered in his own dance world, was trusting him.

 

When Alec made a joke at his own expense calling out the ‘rich kid’ it took everything in Magnus’ strength to hold onto the serious note of Alec checking his own privilege. He wanted to acknowledge it because Alec was learning and taking strides but this wasn’t something that would go away overnight. However he was a bit proud and did have a sudden violent urge to hug Alec.

 

Alec made one last teasing remark about Simon and Jace as Magnus started the music. The entire mood in the room shifted with just the few beginning notes that echoed throughout the space. Everything seemed to tilt on its axis and distort around the edges snapping back into focus and place within the span of seconds. Magnus felt pain all too familiar to his own played out in Jace’s beautiful keystrokes. It nearly crippled him in anguish on the spot, but he pushed the feeling down just as the music became stronger, bolder.

 

Magnus recognized Simon’s introduction a split second before it even began. It was like he could feel the build to the music in his chest, breathing with him. Like the music lived inside of him, was part of him, part of Alec and therefore they were connected as one. He knew when the music was going to change, and when it would grow, where it would take him, as if he were on a life’s journey which in fact he was. This was Alec’s journey, and in some ways his own. And so many other people who had to live a lie, hiding who they were.

 

The mix of dance and classical was breathtakingly well executed for sure; but the feeling behind every single sound blaring through the speakers, was boring into even the tiniest cracks of Magnus’ heart and soul. The anguish and hope warred with one another speaking of the conflict so many people had inside themselves when they came out, ending in the state of peace and joy. The music was exquisite, it was perfect. Simon and Jace had captured the riotous emotion of a tortured yet hopeful soul on the brink of self acceptance.

 

Magnus was taken with the music,  metaphorically thrown into the atmosphere only to be placed back down; his body still woozy from the effects of the journey. Alec stood to his left, quiet, in shock mouth agape. He’d felt it too. Magnus asked to make sure but he knew, they both knew this was definitely the perfect accompaniment to their dance piece.

 

“It’s perfect”, their voices overlapping one another speaking the same sentiment.

 

Their laughter rang breaking the hold the music held over them. With Alec’s mention of the vocals, Magnus reassured that his favorite singing angels would do the song justice. However when Alec stuttered out the trust he had in Magnus, the words sent a jolt into all of his nerve endings. He was honored, but he couldn’t lie, he was also very excited that Alec had such faith in him. He wanted Alec to believe in him, and it annoyed him that he did.

 

As they first began rehearsals Magnus could almost feel the joy radiating off Alec as he danced. He could tell Alec was relieved that things were finally falling into place for this special dance piece. It was so obvious how hard Alec was working to get this right because his free movement was so fluid yet clean. Magnus felt another wave of pride, and it seemed Alec was just as thrilled with Magnus’ execution of the ballet.

 

Even in this state of almost euphoric perfection, Magnus felt that there was something off from the moment they began dancing. Something that perhaps Alec was hiding the entire time since they’d met up outside. There was this dark cloud almost a sadness pulling at Alec from the inside, a sadness Magnus could easily see. When Alec danced everything he felt was so clear.

 

He pressed on, it wasn’t his business, as long as it didn’t affect their dancing Magnus would have to let it go. If Alec didn’t want to share it with him, it wasn’t his place to push. Perhaps it was this realization and the weight of whatever was bothering him, that finally made Magnus and Alec falter.

 

It had never happened before, when they worked together it had always come easy. Yes it had only been a short time, but Magnus had come to rely on the way they usually synced up. He saw the worry and embarrassment paint Alec’s face. Although he was concerned, Magnus held back and reminded Alec that they were only human, and mistakes happened.

 

They worked through it, it was the only way forward, Magnus didn’t want to dwell on something he had no idea about. The things Alec held beneath the surface were his own unless he shared them. He gave Alec a tip on the flared spin jump he was attempting, and listened attentively when Alec confessed that letting go of the rigid frames of ballet were hard for him. The adorable look on his face, as if it were a confession, made Magnus want to smile and shake his head.

 

He watched Alec’s face contemplate something, Magnus had a feeling this was Alec trying to figure out a way to assist his misstep without offending. It was very sweet, but it was the continual lip biting and licking, that held Magnus’ attention, why did Alec have to be so tempting? He was sure those damned lips were the reason he fucked up and let innuendo slip into his next words.

 

“Let me have it, I’m a big boy I can take it”.

 

What have you done? Fuck, fuck, fuck!

 

Guilt about knowing Alec’s feelings towards him, popped front and center in Magnus’ gut. He’d forgotten for a second he wasn’t supposed to do that with Alec. He’d messed up, he’d promised himself and Alec he wouldn’t lead him on. Even if his own attraction and affection for Alec were growing faster than he cared to admit, he would never forgive himself for doing this.

 

Watching Alec compose himself made Magnus feel like absolute scum. He’d done that, but for some reason Alec didn’t seem angry, it was as if he thought once again this was his fault. As if he had heard something that wasn’t there when Magnus knew it was. This was on him, and he needed to fix it, but before he could say a world Alec was speaking and asking permission to touch him for corrections on his fouetté turns.

 

One of Alec’s sweetest blushes, his soft tone, his open hands seeking permission, it wasn’t exactly Magnus’ fault when his brain short circuited leaving an apology dead on his tongue. All he could do was nod his assent as he tried to remain calm, he’s Magnus Bane, of course he could stay calm.

 

The doubt resurfaced when Alec stood behind him and their eyes locked in the reflection of the mirror for a split second before Alec looked away. Magnus could tell this must have been something that was taking a lot of strength for him to handle.

 

Alec’s hands were noticeably uncertain as the moved to touch Magnus’ sides. He slid them slowly at a measured pace, his fingers were long, strong and quickly becoming more steady. Trying not to react to the fact that Alec’s hands on him made Magnus want more, he schooled his expression. That was until Alec’s hands locked his hips into position and his thumb grazed the skin underneath the hem of Magnus’ shirt.

 

Freezing in place, Magnus bit back a deep groan threatening to escape. Alec’s accidental touch on his exposed pelvic muscles had sent a charge of heat throughout his entire body. It didn’t help that when Alec spoke his voice was coarse, deep, and low, in fact it only fueled the want.

 

No!

 

Alec looked embarrassed, when he felt Magnus tense up, he’d pulled away, panic clearly written on his face. For the umpteenth time Magnus felt like shit, he’d set these rules and now he was being drawn into this beautiful man, and close to breaking them. He was being unfair and he knew it, but Alec’s hands had felt so good, and he realized he cared for the ballet dancer more than he’d originally planned.

 

Magnus internally scoffed at himself. Perhaps he’d been too long without a partner, maybe he was just projecting his wants onto Alec because he was beautiful, and willing. But deep down his heart told him those thoughts were bullshit. He was falling again, and he wasn’t ready for this. Never he had promised himself, never had come too soon.

 

Snapping off his emotions he thanked Alec quickly before he could ridicule himself some more. Not surprisingly both he, and Alec took the correction easily nailing the turns and jump they’d missed earlier. And with competitive smiles they got back to work thankfully distracting Magnus from his self torment.

 

The relief was short lived, although their perfection remained, that odd tugging feeling Magnus felt earlier returned, but now it was stronger. They were in balance, perfect in step, perfect in theory but Alec’s emotions were pointed and bitter. Something was wrong, and Magnus feared it was somehow his fault. Had Alec finally realized what was going on inside Magnus, maybe he saw how much Magnus was into him.

 

Alec’s expression was so brutally intense when it should have been soft. No matter what, Magnus figured this was going to come to a head and soon. There was no way Alec could continue dancing when he was this worked up. As if on cue a broken and furious growl, filled with so much pain ripped from Alec’s lungs as he missed a leap that was usually easy for him.

 

Magnus braced for whatever would come, even if it was Alec yelling at him, rightfully accusing him. He had to be ready and accept his own mistakes, it was the least he could do. Urging Alec to talk about it, Magnus waited for a storm that never came. Instead Alec collapsed to the ground, gritting his teeth, breathing to calm himself. This was definitely something else. Something deep, Magnus had a feeling where this could be going. Making his voice soft and understanding Magnus nudged gently.

 

“Take your time”.

 

It must have been the right thing to say because Alec finally spoke, another unneeded apology stuttered out and muffled as Alec’s face lay in his hands. There was something so upsetting going on inside this man, however here he was still apologizing and blaming himself for wasting Magnus’ time. It nearly broke Magnus’ heart to see this wonderful person constantly berating himself. He momentarily wondered if that’s how his loved ones felt about him and his own behavior. While Alec did admit it was something personal, if he continued to spiral into self hatred and pity he would never get through what was bothering him.

 

With experience in the realm of dealing with self hatred, Magnus knew the only way to nip it in the bud would be to be a bit harsh. A sharp reprimand and the reassurance that he was there to lend an ear seemed to work. Magnus knew pain, he understood it all too well, if anyone could walk Alec through this it was him.

 

As expected Alec admitted these emotions were clouding his ability to dance. Dance was peace for Magnus, and the same for Alec. Having your peaceful place inundated with agony was something that could make anyone lose hope. Alec looked lost, and Magnus’ felt like his heart was being crushed in his chest at the sound of Alec’s hopeless tone. With a tiny smile for consolation, Magnus finally broke through to him.

 

“I came out to my parents last night”, his voice was small.

 

There was a break in Alec’s tone that spoke of  heartache and anger. Magnus’ mind spun and his stomach churned. From what he knew about the elder Lightwoods he couldn’t see them handling this news from their son very well. Magnus knew what was expected of Alec, everyone did. His family’s name and pride was at stake.

 

The emotional worry quickly turned into something more as he asked after Alec’s well being. Magnus remembered what it was like for him, he’d never really had a chance to come out to his mother. The only time he’d mentioned his attraction to both boys and girls he was beaten by his stepfather. Fear shot through him as he imagined something equally as terrible happening to Alec. He hoped the beautiful boy in front of him hadn’t suffered a similar experience.

 

Magnus’ fear turned promptly into pure anger when Alec revealed the Lightwoods actually dismissed their son’s sexuality, and brushed his feelings to the side as if they were nothing. Their own son. He wasn’t surprised, but he was actually pissed for Alec. Especially when Alec began to make his own experience sound unimportant compared to what others go through. No Magnus wouldn’t have that, he was so disgusted with the Lightwoods behavior, their son was kind and brilliant, he should have their unconditional love and support.

 

He squeezed Alec’s arm showing his own support and put his thoughts into gentler words of reassurance rather than the angry mass of chaos in his mind. Magnus put all his own pain, torment and the support he didn’t get into his words and actions. He ran his hand up Alec’s arm and did his best to ignore the heat he felt under his palm, that same pulsing heat every time their bare skin touched. This was about Alec, it was important, and Magnus would not play into his own wants or needs right now.

 

The studio fell silent save the few car horns honking in the distance outside. But the sound didn’t truly reach either of them as they sat in the quietude, a thick air of emotion gripping at every bit of their bodies, and holding them suspended there. Magnus stayed quiet letting Alec work this out. He ran his arm over Alec’s back, to show Alec he wasn’t alone ever, there were people who had been there, people who understood what he was going through.

 

In the process of comforting Alec everything changed, the heat of his touch was no longer burning it was now warm. The anger seemed to lift from the both of them and fade away, as a lightness settled over them. Magnus saw something click inside Alec, he felt it too, their connection was growing in ways he wasn’t sure how to deal with just yet. But right now the only thing that really did matter was that they were actually friends.

 

Sure they’d said it before, but this was different, there was a real bond between them that neither expected. Magnus knew right then that no matter what happened in the future Alec Lightwood would be in his life, even if only as a friend. From experience with the few people he let close he knew there was no shaking a connection like this.

 

The feeling was both exciting and terrifying to Magnus, although he hid it well. He accepted Alec’s thanks and they decided to get back to work. The flicker of fire between them was back when Alec helped him up, and the fear seared into Magnus’ entire being. His growing feelings for Alec were going to be a problem, especially now that there was no way he’d escape this bond.

 

What if he was ruining his own chances of happiness or ended up destroying a promising friendship by protecting his heart so fervently. Catarina’s words took hold in his mind, coming back and haunting him. Would he be the one to hurt Alec by pushing him away to save himself? He sure as hell hoped not.

 

When they danced now all the heavy weight and anger were gone from Alec. Even with his own troubles pulling at the back of his mind Magnus was able to work diligently, because he saw how happy and light Alec looked. He was back to normal, and to witness it was pure joy. The grief and grace of the piece stripped away all the chaos that preceded this moment. The music carried them, melody and pounding beat joined together pushing them on.

 

Nothing mattered but their movement, the way their bodies interacted, together and apart. The way their touches told the story burning through the both of them. A pure joining of mind, body and talent. Arms and legs sinuous and strong at the same time, sheer perfection. Magnus felt the blaze in each touch, the rush of blood pumping through him as they both gave their all to fix every mistake they’d previously made. It was as if all their troubles had left them, nothing existed but the two of them, this studio and the music.

 

Unspoken agreements to continue another run-through, and another, their strange connection at work again. Three times now they’d perfected this dance and now they stood still Alec’s hand where the choreography ended lingered on Magnus’ cheek. Alec’s eyes were unfocused, his breath came heavy from the exertion, the sweat made his messy hair stick to his forehead in some places, but his hand is what held most of Magnus’ attention. Alec’s hand seemed to be moving of its own accord, it slipped gently down to rest against the pounding beat of his heart.

 

The touch seared right through Magnus’ damp t-shirt almost leaving an imaginary mark on his skin and definitely leaving one on his soul. This wasn’t part of the dance, Alec hadn’t meant to, but his emotions must have taken over. Alec had to have felt the way Magnus’ heart was beating erratically from the touch, he tried to control it but it felt like it was colliding with his ribs. Alec was smiling, Alec was beautiful, Alec was happy, and Magnus was dying, falling, getting lost.

 

The dance had been perfect, and the joy from that was part of the reason his heart leapt, but the beautiful man touching him was definitely the main cause. Magnus breathed deeply to calm himself, and fought against the shiver from his cooling sweat-soaked shirt lest he give Alec the wrong impression.

 

Alec was so innocent, so oblivious to the torment inside Magnus. For a small moment, Magnus wished he could fight his control and just take something his mind, body, and heart had been trying to tell him about. Magnus tensed up, he needed to control his need to keep Alec close, to hold him tight. His gaze landed on Alec’s full lips, of course Alec had licked them again. They were a dark pink, glistening in the sunlight streaming through the windows, oh how he just wanted to kiss them.

 

Alarm bells sounded in his mind and it was time to stop this. The warning in his tone when he said Alec’s name, was weak but Alec had heard it and let go, apologizing, as was his way. Of course Alec would blame himself, he didn’t know about Magnus’ growing feelings, that he himself was just beginning to embrace.

 

Wanting to divert attention from the tension between them Magnus complimented the dance and Alec’s ability to break from his earlier mood. Although he could read disappointment in Alec’s expression he was pleased to see the ballet dancer bounce back quickly with compliments for Magnus in return.

 

The soft silence found them again, but it wasn’t awkward or laced with tension or pain this time. Instead it seemed serene, like spending quiet moments with Alec were more meaningful than mindless chatter. The thought made Magnus smile to himself.

 

When Magnus let his eyes wander around the room his gaze landed on the wall clock, and he realized how close he was cutting it to being late for his appointment with the exterminator for the building. It was funny how most days he never had a problem with keeping his schedule, but whenever he was with Alec, he lost track of time. His responsibilities took priority once more as his mind shifted out of the clouds and into work mode.

 

Excusing himself from their rehearsal Magnus explained he had to leave now if he were going to make it in time, the subways were slow on weekends. He did feel bad they couldn’t get further with their choreo, but they had gotten a lot done to clean up their existing sections.

 

“Where are you heading?”

 

The question took Magnus off guard, and he knew he sounded suspicious when he asked ‘why’. And then Alec - freaking - Lightwood just offered him a ride home, like there was no room for objection or malice behind it. Alec was just being himself, being kind. Magnus wondered if he would ever get over his habit of questioning everyone, and everything. Or get over the habit of not trusting easily.

 

Magnus couldn’t help the smile and chuckle when Alec adorably stuttered out that they were friends in a confused question. How could he not be questioning himself with the way Magnus had turned slightly cool and cautious.

 

This was definitely going to be weird and a very strange experience but how could Magnus refuse such a sweet gesture? Especially when the person asking actually admitted they were worried about you catching cold. Honestly he couldn’t refuse, even if this might come back to bite him in the ass later.

 


 

The car was even more luxurious on the inside than on the outside, Magnus was slightly uncomfortable on the cream leather seats fearing his sweaty body would mar them in some way. In all honesty he knew he was being ridiculous, Alec was just as sweaty as him and he just sat down in his seat without a thought. The real problem was that Magnus had never been in such an expensive car and he was beginning to feel out of place and slightly overwhelmed by this entire experience.

 

His mind was racing and a weird panic began to rise in his chest, but before he could let it take over Magnus was shocked out of it by a surge of heat through his body, shoulders to knees from underneath him. Alec had turned on the seat warmers for them, and the warmth felt so good on his sore and cold muscles. Magnus sighed loudly and sunk deeper into comfortable leather, all his concerns forgotten.

 

“You alright over there?”, Alec asked in an adorable higher pitch that Magnus hadn’t heard before, his eyes on the road.

 

Taken off guard yet again he just laughed, and nodded and gestured to the seat. “Thanks”.

 

“Ahhh the seat warmers, huh? I love them too, figured you might be as cold as I was”.

 

“Indeed”, Magnus raised his brow and smiled wider.

 

He couldn’t help it the warmth was surrounding him now, and Alec was so sweet and comfortable on his own turf. It made Magnus happy to see this side of Alec, the confident side, almost like when he danced. It was an absolute turn on, but Magnus didn’t want to admit that at all. Instead he just admired, Alec’s ease as he followed the directions he’d given Alec on the GPS.

 

“Would you like some music?”, Alec’s voice was nervous again, it seemed he was sensing Magnus’ earlier tension. “It’s automatically linked to the car with the bluetooth”, Alec handed Magnus his phone. “Pick anything you like, and if it isn’t there just search for it, I don’t mind”.

 

Magnus took the phone from Alec avoiding contact, he didn’t need another jolt of whatever that weird electricity was between them. Especially not on Alec’s home field, where Magnus was at a disadvantage. As Magnus scrolled he was surprised to see a pretty eclectic mix of different music genres. Everything from classical, of course, to pop, soul, r&b, dance, house, hip-hop. In fact there was a lot of hip-hop, it seemed Alec had a lot of the same tastes in music as him. It was a surprise to say the least, but he should have known by now Alec was full of surprises. As if Alec read his mind his next question broke Magnus’ reverie.

 

“Not expecting all the hip-hop, huh?”, the teasing tone made Magnus smile.

 

“Not really, but then again, you often surprise me, Alexander. You’re not exactly what I expected”

 

“You mean a stuffy, stuck-up rich boy?”.

 

“Exactly”, Magnus mocked

 

“Sorry to disappoint”, Alec teased back.

 

They both laughed now the heavy tension forgotten completely.

 

“Then again, Alexander, music is subjective. It’s not the genre that classifies the attraction to the song, but the lyrics and music itself that determines the feeling it evokes”.

 

Magnus watched the corner of Alec’s mouth draw up and his brows raise  for a second before he nodded, not once taking his eyes of the road.

 

“My thoughts exactly”.

 

Yet another thing in common, Magnus internally rolled his eyes at himself, as he chose an old school hip-hop classic from the 80’s and set the phone down. He saw Alec smile at the choice and bop his head in time with the music and Magnus settled back into his chair.

 

Soon it all became too much, the low hum of the music, the way the car smelled so good, like Alec and leather, the warmth from the seat and the heater it was all smothering him. He was falling into the insistent tug of sleep, his body had been so tired lately running on all cylinders. Magnus closed his eyes for just a second - just a second.

 

“Magnus”, Alec’s voice was soft and concerned, but where was he?

 

There was a gentle shake at his left shoulder to accompany the voice. Magnus could hear him, and feel him but didn’t see him. The touch at his shoulder grew warmer, Alec’s long fingers squeezing softly. Magnus moaned, at the touch, and it startled him awake. His eyes shot open in fear scanning the car in confusion to see Alec leaning slightly over the console wearing a sheepish grin.

 

The fear gripped Magnus tightly, his stomach flipped and his breathing picked up as he tried to sit himself up in the passenger seat of Alec’s car. Even though Alec had removed his hand, Magnus could still feel it there. He had moaned, out loud, in his sleep, and Alec had heard it. He hoped to all things sacred and holy Alec’s name hadn’t slipped from his lips.

 

“Sorry I scared you, and I’m sorry to wake you but I think we’re here”.

 

There was no blush, no stutter, no awkward tension, just a slightly concerned Alec hoping he didn’t scare Magnus too much when he woke him. Thank goodness. Magnus sighed in relief and rubbed his fists against his eyes.

 

“Shit, Alexander, damn I’m sorry I fell asleep in your car”, he grabbed for his bag.

 

“It’s fine, you seem exhausted, it’s why I felt bad waking you but - um - is this it?”, Alec gestured to the 4 story red brick building with the tall windows and double glass doors.

 

“Um - yeah, this is it. Home sweet home”, Magnus tried to sound normal but the tone sounded dull even to his own ears.

 

He was home, as in the place he lived and lay his head at night, but this building had never been his true home, in fact he’d left that behind the minute he locked the doors behind them at Catarina’s studio. Everything felt heavy in that moment, the weight and pressure of his responsibilities on his shoulders. Sometimes the thoughts and feelings would cause anxiety attacks, but this wasn’t the place or time to be feeling this way. Not in front of Alec.

 

“Are you sure you’re alright?”, Alec asked the kindness in his tone music to Magnus’ ears. “You seem really out of it”.

 

“I’m fine”, Magnus answered a little too brusquely before trying to bite it back but it was too late, Alec had flinched. “Shit, I’m sorry again, I just - you’re right I’m tired but I can’t rest. Like I said work to do, an appointment”.

 

Alec’s eyes went wide before his brows furrowed, Magnus knew he was thinking. He was probably confused. Why would Magnus come home if he had to work? Why was he so tired? But Alec must have been paying attention and learning not to ask these questions because the curiosity stayed only in his expressions.

 

A weird feeling started to grow in Magnus’ chest. Alec was learning, taking note, making an effort to be a good friend, he even shared with Magnus something as private and painful as coming out to his parents. Magnus knew he owed Alec nothing, and of course Alec expected nothing, but he himself felt like a jerk for not letting Alec in.

 

Luke’s words, as well as Catarina’s played heavily in his mind once more. He needed to let people in, especially someone he just realized was going to be in his life for some time. Before he could think on it, debate, or talk himself out of it, Magnus swallowed hard around the lump in his throat and let his eyes find Alec’s curious gaze.

 

“So I really appreciate the ride, it was very kind of you to offer. And I mean I know I cut rehearsals short for this thing I have to do but if you don’t mind waiting about two hours I can return the favor. I mean we have to eat right? That is unless you have to be somewhere?”, Magnus heard the unsure disappointment at the end of his question and hated himself for it.

 

The surprise on Alec’s face lit his beautiful hazel eyes and a huge smile took residence on his lips. Magnus knew right then he’d made the right choice, if only to make Alec look so happy.

 

“You mean, hang out with you here? At y-your place?”, Alec’s stutter had returned.

 

“Yeah”, Magnus shrugged trying to play cool.

 

“Yes - um - yeah, I can wait and I’ve got no where else to be today”, the excitement was so evident in Alec’s tone that Magnus couldn’t fight his grin.

 

“Alright, c’mon”, he sent a playful smile to Alec as he got out of the car and headed to his door.

 

Everything felt a little claustrophobic, the fear was back in full swing. The same fear Magnus had felt letting Alec into the studio, the embarrassment about the sound equipment. But this, this was that multiplied by a thousand, this was his private space, his apartment, somewhere even he never truly felt at peace or at home. For someone like Alec Lightwood, who had probably every luxury at his fingertips his entire life, to be standing in his tiny, sparse loft filled with make-shift furniture and the bare necessities, it must have been a shock.

 

Magnus bit his lips, and ignored the flip of his stomach that wanted to cause bile to rise in his throat. He’d gripped his keys tight in his hand to the point where they were digging in and causing slight pain, all the while keeping his back to Alec. He was afraid to turn around, afraid to see the look on Alec’s face. Would it be disgust, pity, or something else equally as unwelcome. Only one way to find out. Magnus bit the side of his tongue hard and breathed deep before turning to face Alec.

 

Nothing could have prepared him for the look on Alec’s face, it was none of the expressions he feared, instead it was awe mixed with confusion. Magnus breathed a small sigh of relief, and wondered if Alec would ever cease to amaze him with his odd actions and reactions. Alec was turning and taking in every last corner of the small loft.

 

“You live here alone?”, he asked, his voice low.

 

“Yes”.

 

Magnus didn’t know what to make of Alec’s behavior or question so he kept his answer short and to the point. Alec turned towards the bedroom area and scanned the space for another like it, Magnus knew he wouldn’t find one.

 

“Where’s your family?”, Alec blurted almost involuntarily.

 

It was the wince when he realized he shouldn’t have asked this question that saved Alec from upsetting Magnus too much with his prying.

 

“I’d rather not talk about that”, Magnus answered politely.

 

Alec scrunched his face up and  looked adorably apologetic,  “Yeah, um - sorry. Didn’t mean to -”.

 

“I know, I could tell you didn’t”, he cut in and finished for Alec.

 

“Thanks”, Alec shrugged and held his lips in a tight line for a moment his eyes darting about again.

 

The loud buzz of the intercom startled them both, even though Magnus was expecting it to come soon. He rushed over to press the button to speak.

 

“Yes?”

 

“Magnus?”, the deep voice crackled through the speaker.

 

“Yeah, T, it’s me, I’ll be down in a few minutes”, he answered before turning to Alec. “This is going to take awhile, you’re welcome to come along or wait up here if you like”.

 

The sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach returned, the nerves rattling him as he waited for Alec’s answer. He wasn’t sure which option he preferred, leaving Alec alone to nose around his apartment, or bringing him along on a bit of an embarrassing task that was required of him.

 

“Oh, I’d like to tag along if I won’t be in the way”, Alec’s answer broke his train of thought settling the matter for him.

 

“You won’t be”.

 

For the next hour and a half, Alec followed Magnus along as he knocked on doors or unlocked the apartments of those not home. They waited in the doorways for the exterminator to do his job. Sometimes they talked about dance, their love of it, songs on their wishlist to choreograph to, and of course their hopes for their own piece they were creating together.

 

Other times Alec just watched Magnus, his expression unreadable, and it was making him really uncomfortable. He was good at reading people and Alec usually made it easy, but right now when he needed it most Magnus couldn’t figure out what Alec was thinking. When they got to John’s apartment, Magnus reluctantly introduced them and received a knowing look and a playful brow raise from John when Alec’s back was turned.

 

Once the basement was done, Magnus shook hands with T and handed him an envelope. Making sure the front entrance was secured he headed back up the stairs, Alec hot on his heels, and a bit too quiet. When they were back in the comfort of his loft Magnus forced a smile trying to ignore the torment of not knowing what was going on in Alec’s mind.

 

“You can wash your hands through there”, he directed Alec to the bathroom. “I’ll heat up some lasagna Jocelyn brought over for me -oh - um that’s Clary’s mom. She likes to spoil me”.

 

He felt the heat burn up his cheeks as his jaw tensed. Why was he blurting out his secrets like this? Why was Alec letting him? Why hadn’t Alec acted disgusted when he saw Magnus doing one of his jobs? The anger and confusion was beginning to drive him mad. He washed his hands and let the thoughts go around and round as he warmed the leftovers. It was Alec’s voice that finally snapped him from his inner turmoil.

 

“You run this place”, it was a statement and it held actual awe within his words.

 

“Nights and certain weekends. Glamorous isn’t it?”, he shrugged making a joke at his own expense.

 

“Don’t do that, you’re amazing Magnus”.

 

Alec’s tone was soft, sweet and kind, he wasn’t stuttering but Magnus could tell he was nervous. Magnus placed the dishes on the small table in his kitchen area and they sat to eat.

 

“This is good”, Alec smiled taking a bite around the food and nearly killing Magnus in the process.

 

Why did he have to be so beautiful and understanding?

 

“Jocelyn is a fantastic cook, she’s also like a mother to me”.

 

Alec nodded, it seemed he was starting to figure out that Magnus didn’t have a traditional family. He was beginning to know when not to ask questions. Magnus appreciated that.

 

“I meant what I said”.

 

“What, that I’m amazing. Why because I run a crummy apartment building?”, he laughed and rolled his eyes.

 

Better to laugh at yourself before others could.

 

“No”, Alec spoke firmly almost as if he was upset that Magnus felt he needed to be so self depreciating. “Because you obviously have an insane amount of responsibility on your shoulders, and still you manage. You do this all by yourself, two jobs, living alone, all while attending NYAI, and chasing your dream. Magnus I’m - I’m , what I’m trying to say is that you’re an extremely impressive person”, Alec finished his tone quieter than when he began.

 

And there it was, the thing Magnus had been wondering, and worrying about. What Alec had been thinking all along, and it wasn’t exactly what he expected. Then when was it ever where Alec was concerned. His heart swelled and beat harder against his ribs, his eyes locked on Alec’s, he could see how honest and genuine Alec’s words were. This never happened to him with someone like Alec before, someone from the world Alec lived in.

 

His wary, cautious nature had him ringing the alarm bells, but somehow this smiling, caring, beautiful man was silencing them. If he could trust Alec was no longer a question, neither was should he, it was more of self control issue now, should you really be letting him this close? Will you be able to handle this?

 

“Thank you, Alexander”, Magnus spoke his voice hoarse from the emotion he was trying to hold back.

 

If Luke could see me now, Magnus thought.

 

He’d most likely be proud, worried but proud. Everyone thought he could do this, allow people closer to him, allow himself to find some form of happiness; however the  jury was still out on whether or not he believed it was possible. But right now, it didn’t matter because for some reason Alec had wormed his way into Magnus life, so much so that he was in his apartment, eating dinner with him. Something Magnus could never fathom just a week ago.

 

Fucking Alec Lightwood, Magnus mocked himself internally, but on the outside he was smiling and enjoying the moment for what it was - new and actually a lot of fun.

Chapter Text

The late autumn sun dipped lower in the sky taking with it the bright orange hues that had painted the wall of Magnus’ loft during their impromptu dinner and chat. The wind outside the high windows had picked up; the force of which shook the industrial lead glass slightly, and the howling sound shook Alec back to reality. It was getting late, quite late for a Sunday evening out. There were still a few things Alec needed to get done before he felt prepared to returned to regular classes and weekday rehearsals tomorrow.

 

He hadn’t meant to get so lost in the feeling of the past few hours spent with Magnus, or to be honest with himself, the entire day. In truth he should have expected it, though; everything Magnus had said and done since they began their association fascinated him. Even with the awkward, painful, tense, and anxious moments, Alec wouldn’t trade them for anything because getting to know Magnus a little better, and letting Magnus get to know him had been a joy.

 

Today had helped him fully come to terms with the fact that nothing he did would diminish his growing affections for Magnus. All he could do was embrace it, but keep the recognition of his regard in the forefront of his mind ahead of anything else. He’d promised Lydia, but she would never understand the full weight of how he felt, so her words of caution didn’t matter any more. Alec’s faith, respect, and passion for dance would be his guide in this.

 

After spending the day in the warm glowing aura of Magnus’ orbit, Alec felt the cold edge of Lydia’s words anger him slightly. So what did it matter what anyone else said or thought? There was no way Alec would let anything deter him from bringing this dance piece to the highest peak of its potential, he knew Magnus wouldn’t either. Their mutual reverence for dance and the piece itself would keep them on track no matter what his personal feelings towards Magnus might be, nothing was more important than getting this right.

 

Alec had truly accepted that friendship is all they’d have, and he didn’t let himself fret when he felt the desire to stay around Magnus’ inner light and warmth. The excitement from their growing kinship taking hold, he now understood from the inside why Magnus was so well loved with his friends. Still real life beckoned without apology, parting was inevitable. Even if he didn’t want to leave the peaceful feeling he felt when together, Alec knew he had to go.  

 

Magnus seemed to be a bit disappointed and somewhat sad when Alec finally mentioned having to get home, surprising Alec. Perhaps he’s lonely here all alone , Alec thought grievously; the distress gripped his heart tight as it ached for the other man.

 

They were quiet as Magnus walked Alec down to the lobby, it was a sweet gesture not lost on Alec. The awkward feeling from earlier had returned, and the bubble of peace they’d found shattered now that reality was upon them. Alec offered a small wave with a tiny smile which Magnus returned before he closed the main door of the lobby, tugging it to make sure it locked, and then he was gone, back up to his apartment.

 

It felt like it had all been a strange and elaborate dream his mind concocted to appease his heart of its love for Magnus. Alec clicked the button to unlock the doors and the other to start his car; he shook his head to clear it and pulled his coat tighter fighting the shivers the wind was causing. Once in the welcoming embrace of his car seat, Alec turned up the heat and the seat warmers on high, he knew it would be seconds before warmth weaved back into his bones and relaxed his body, but his mind was a whole different story.

 

Alec pulled out of the space quickly trying to clear all thoughts of wanting to go back and stay with Magnus for awhile longer. As he headed for Manhattan Bridge, it took only a matter of seconds before the warmth carried the scent over to him and Alec gripped the steering wheel tight. Magnus , his car smelled like Magnus’ soap, his shampoo, and the salty light sweat smell that was a sign of an afternoon spent rehearsing.

 

His breath came sharper at the memory, and it reassured him that it had all been real. Magnus had been in his car earlier that afternoon. Had invited him into his home, and they’d had dinner together and became even closer friends. It was all real. There was no way possible or any reason to fight the smile. When he’d caught his reflection in the rearview mirror it only confirmed what Alec knew.

 

On the drive home Alec let his mind wander over the past few hours, the way Magnus had first looked like he felt uncomfortable and out of place in his car. The adorable surprise that took over his face when Magnus felt the seat warmers. Magnus’ delightful wonder when he realized how much their musical tastes intersected. And then Alec remembered the way his heart clenched when he’d realized Magnus had fallen asleep during the ride.

 

There was nothing that could ever tear the memory of how beautiful Magnus looked in tranquil repose from Alec’s mind. He was so peaceful at rest it was sweet to witness; especially the light humming sound he’d made while dreaming. It broke Alec’s heart and felt like a crime to have to disturb him, but he knew Magnus had something important to do. So he’d turned his car off and admired the sight for only a second before  he finally woke him gently.

 

And then Magnus invited him in, something Alec had not expected at all, figuring they were at their quota for sharing for the day. Still Magnus had in fact asked Alec if he’d like to stick around and eat with him, it was nice to see Magnus beginning to feel more comfortable around him, less guarded. This would only serve to help them both inside the studio and out.

 

As if the invite wasn’t enough the shock of discovering that Magnus lived alone, and was partly responsible for keeping the entire building running held Alec in awe. A task he took on quite capably, and although Alec felt how tense and awkward Magnus was showing him this part of himself, Alec held nothing but fascination. He lived alone no parents or siblings; Magnus’ family were truly the people he’d already mentioned to Alec. These parts of his life were very private and Alec felt honored to know them.

 

Sooner than he thought Alec found himself pulling up to his reserved spot on his block. With his mind running through every last word, every last glance, every reaction, every single second of his evening with Magnus it was no wonder the ride seemed to flash by. And now he was home, the warm spot of happiness in the literally cold day fading. He was home; somewhere he wasn’t sure he wanted to be after what happened last night with his parents. One thing was for sure there was no way he was ready to even speak to them, so he was thankful for yet another reason that Magnus had offered him dinner, because it had kept him out of the house for longer.

 

Isabelle was in there, probably worried about him after not hearing from or seeing him since last night. He was sure Jace probably told her he’d seen him this morning, but Iz was the ever caring little sister; her worry was something he hated to cause. With a precious few more moments to hold onto his glow, Alec glanced at the passenger seat and smiled, recalling the beauty of its most recent former occupant. With a breath to steady himself for any onslaught of what may come, Alec grabbed his bags, locked up, and headed for the unknown.

 

It was easier than Alec thought it would be to avoid his parents. As he peeked into the foyer, the main floor was quiet and fairly dark. It seemed his parents were just as keen to stay out of his way as he was out of theirs. However he knew there would be no avoiding Iz, and Jace, so he locked and set the alarm before he climbed up to face the music. Alec knew they’d hear him on the steps and if not, then they’d hear the door to his bedroom.

 

Sure enough as soon as his foot his the last stair and he moved towards his room he heard two sets of feet following him. Alec smirked and without turning addressed them with amusement in his tone.

 

“Nothing better to do than wait up for your big brother?”.

 

He opened the door and stepped aside to let them pass, knowing they’d want to invade his space. It didn’t bother him much, of course they were both mostly concerned, however he knew they were nosy as well. With an eye roll from Jace, and a playful slap across his chest from Isabelle; they entered his room and took up residence on his bed.

 

“After last night you think you could avoid this?”, Isabelle’s voice was slightly angry.

 

Alec just shook his head and shrugged. “No not really”.

 

“Good because you made me panic, big brother”.

 

“I told you I saw him this morning. I swear I told her, Alec”, Jace looked back and forth between them.

 

“It’s alright, Jace”, Alec sighed before locking eyes on his little sister. He bent in front on his bed, resting on the balls of his feet and took her hands in his. “I’m alright. I promise, Izzy. It hurt but I swear to you I’m alright with this. It’s on them, not me.”, his voice was soft as it reassured her.

 

Isabelle watched his eyes, her gaze scanning his face, she knew when he was lying but right now he was telling her the truth. He could tell the second she realized he was being truthful because her panic stricken look faded along with the tense hold of her shoulders.

 

“Okay”, she conceded but still sounded slightly off put, “but you should have called or texted me at least some time during the day”.

 

“I was just really busy, and I forgot”, Alec begged lightly catching her eyes again. “I’m sorry”.

 

The bright smile that took over her lips made him and Jace smile as well, he couldn’t help that, when she was happy so were her brothers.

 

“Okay, but just so you know I’m really proud of you”.

 

“We both are”, Jace patted his shoulder.

 

“What they said was awful”, Isabelle looked on the verge of tears.

 

“Come on, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, right?”, Alec made his tone lighter trying to ease the mood.

 

Yes it was bad, but he was ready to leave that behind him and he didn’t want his siblings dwelling somewhere in the darkness he wouldn’t even let himself live. Especially after the wonderful advice Magnus had given him earlier. He’d planned this for awhile and although it stung he was ready to move on with his life, living for himself.

 

“You handled them so well, Alec. I’m just really proud”, Isabelle wrapped her arms around his shoulders and hugged him tight.

 

“Seriously, bro”, came Jace’s impressed voice from Izzy’s right. “You wouldn’t back down, you didn’t let them speak to you so harshly. It was pretty amazing to watch you, Alec”.

 

“Thanks”, he mumbled into Izzy’s shoulder before she finally let him go. “Just so you know having you both on my side gave me strength, and I appreciate it very much”.

 

“Lightwood siblings stick together”, Jace offered in a resonant tone full of meaning.

 

“That we do”, Alec answered while slapping his brother on the knee, he stood then and spun his desk chair to straddle it in front of them.

 

“Damn right we do”, came Isabelle’s voice.

 

“Alright so you done, chastising me?”, Alec teased, the mood in the room was much lighter. They both nodded and Alec figured he’d head them off at the pass. “Okay good now let me have the questions I know you’re dying to ask”.

 

When both Izzy and Jace showed matching devious grins, Alec almost regretted his words but, regardless they were going to ask. Isabelle danced in her seat on the bed and just as she opened her mouth, Jace cut across her. It seemed he’d been quite anxious about one very important thing.

 

“What did you think of the music? Did it fit? Did Magnus like it?”

 

Jace’s music was everything to him, just as important to him as dance was to Alec and he knew that about his brother. The vulnerability in his questions, and even the fact that Jace had worked with someone else on the music all for Alec showed how much he really cared about his brother. Still Alec knew a person’s passions could make them feel very exposed, and although Jace played bold and brave most of the time, his siblings knew when he needed reassurance. Even if he wanted to tease him or drag the suspense on for Alec just couldn’t bring himself to do so.

 

“It was pretty damn near perfect. Both Magnus and I agreed, you and Simon hit the nail right on the head. It embodies the piece to the letter, we can’t wait to see what you guys do with the vocals”.

 

The relief flooded Jace’s face which quickly morphed into his cocky grin.

 

“Of course it was perfect”.

 

Alec just rolled his eyes knowing it was awkward for his brother to stay in the emotional zone for too long. Still he needed just a few more seconds.

 

“Thanks Jace. I mean it, it was perfect”, he locked eyes with his brother

 

“Always welcome”, Jace replied firmly and nodded to acknowledge the moment.

 

“And now you’ll have an excuse to ogle Clary why you lay the vocals down”, Alec joked, and Jace smirked again thankful that Alec understood his need to keep things light.

 

“And now you know my true motivation”

 

“Figured it was more your obsession with the cute redhead than just brotherly love”.

 

“Okay my turn”, Isabelle interrupted. “Where were you all day? Practice must have gone really well since you zoned out and didn’t think to call me, or anyone for that matter. Raj was panicking you should text him. But that still doesn’t explain you coming home so late, were you trying to avoid mother and father? I wouldn’t blame you, but still you should have been done by late this afternoon”.

 

The quickfire questions and bits of information nearly made Alec’s head spin but this was Isabelle, it was her way. After years of putting up with this he’d managed a technique to focus on certain words in her attack to help him keep up.

 

Alec’s eyes cut to Jace for a second who was trying to suppress a snicker of amusement, but his expression was curious. Seems they’d been discussing this topic together while he was out.

 

“So nosy”, Alec mumbled and rolled his eyes again. Focused on his sister, he cleared his throat, he knew how they’d react. “Dancing went really well. Magnus’ mentor’s studio is beautiful, I like it there. We got some good work done, and it felt perfect with the new music. Um”, Alec rubbed the back of his neck nervously.

 

“Ummm?”, Iz prompted her brow lifting in question.

 

“Magnus had somewhere to be so I gave him a ride home, and he invited me to hang out and eat, so we did. That’s it, no big”

 

The two sets of unbelieving eyes stared at him. Izzy’s mouth hung open and Jace looked like he was trying hard not to laugh again.

 

“No big? Alec are you kidding me right now?”.

 

Isabelle looked like she wanted to throw something at him. Alec was glad the pillows were tucked neatly under his comforter and his sister was too lazy to pry them loose.

 

“Alec, your crush asked you to dinner after you guys spent the day alone dancing together in a hot, sweaty, da…”

 

Isabelle’s words were cut off by the intense staredown her brother was giving her and how serious he was.

 

“Alright, sorry”, she put her hands up in defense. “But did you at least have a good time?”.

 

“Honestly Iz, your investment in my personal life if far too high”, he had to laugh at the pouty face she was giving him. “Not that it’s any of your business, but yeah we had fun talking, like friends , because we’re friends ”, Alec made sure to stress the word ‘friends’ sarcastically more than once to annoy his sister.

 

“See Iz, I told you he wouldn’t go for it”, Jace poked her in the side as she sent him a look like daggers and scooted closer to the end of the bed.

 

“You know what about you two?”, Alec’s tone was teasing. “I don’t bother you about your personal lives as much, maybe I should treat you like you both seem to like treating me. Like you Jace, you and Clary seem pretty much a done deal, but oops wait still gotta deal with Magnus’ chat. And you Iz, how are things with Mel? Or was that someone else making you giggle the other night on the phone?”

 

Isabelle’s eyes went wide and her brows shot up, Jace frowned for a moment at Alec’s teasing but then put his hands over his mouth in mock shock over Izzy’s bombshell.

 

“Ohhhhhh”, he joked.

 

“Shut up you”, she pushed Jace back onto the bed. “And you she turned to Alec what are you doing spying on me?”.

 

“I wasn’t really just overheard you when I came to talk to you the other day. Is everything okay with Mel?”, his concern was real even though he’d just been joking.

 

“Everything is fine actually. We’re both just really stressed out with the showcase. Prep has made things a bit hectic and has us both on the edge. He finds solace in his group of friends and, well I made a new friend who makes me laugh. He gets me in a way Mel can’t. Mel is very sexy, serious and I love that, but sometimes I just want to goof around like I do with you guys”.

 

“Are you thinking about breaking up with Mel?”, Jace asked sweetly, his concern showing now as well.

 

“No, this other guy is just a friend, like Magnus is your friend “, Izzy mocked, and Alec rolled his eyes. “Besides he has a boyfriend, and him and I just like to commiserate over our super serious guys”.

 

“So he’s gay?”, Alec asked actually curious and interested in knowing there were more out people at the Institute.

 

“Pansexual”, she supplied with a smile. “For a second I thought he had a crush on me, so I asked him. He said he’d definitely be interested if he wasn’t so into his boyfriend. Then we got closer and he was gushing about how incredible you are when you dance”, she turned to Alec.

 

“Me”, Alec blanched in shock. “No way”, you’re teasing me now.

 

“I’m totally serious, brother mine. So I asked him about crushing on you and he laughed saying you were out of his league. But for some strange reason the real Lightwood he finds the absolute prettiest is our sweet little Jacey”, she pinched Jace’s cheeks as he batted her hands away.

 

“Not like I can blame him, have you seen me”, Jace sat taller and smiled.

 

“Calm yourself”, Isabelle shook her head at him.

 

“Geez, you’re a narcissist”, Alec mumbled.

 

“So who’s this mystery Lightwood obsessor?”, Jace leaned in, it was obvious he was curious to find out who else, beside himself thought he was the prettiest.

 

“Simon”, she shrugged.

 

“Simon?”, Alec and Jace shouted in unison.

 

“Clary’s Simon?”, Jace asked and Iz nodded.

 

“Magnus’ friend Simon, the mixmaster for all his beats?”, Alec questioned in shock. Isabelle just nodded again.

 

“The guy I was just working with last night?”, Jace’s tone shot up a bit at that realization and Isabelle’s grin grew wide.

 

“Yup”.

 

“Aww you make sweet music together”, Alec smiled.

 

“Well we do”, Jace just shook off the chiding. “Too bad we’re both taken”, he smiled that carefree smile at them both as they laughed.

 

“Speaking of being ‘taken’ that leads us to you, and Clary”, Alec turned to a more somber looking Jace. “You care about her a lot, don’t you? Enough to be subjected to a chat with Magnus tomorrow”.

 

Jace just nodded and wiped his hands on the thighs of his jeans. “Yeah, I care about her very much. Um, Alec do you think Magnus is going to give me that cliche shovel talk?”, he laughed but Alec could see he was nervous.

 

“I doubt it, Magnus looks at Clary like a sister. From the way he talks about her I can tell he knows she can take care of herself. I’m guessing it’s more of him wanting to know you a little more because you’re important to Clary”, Alec smiled hoping these were the right words to make his brother feel better.

 

It seemed they had been because Jace visibly relaxed nodded in thanks to his brother.

 

“So I have one assignment to handle and need to stretch out before I hit the shower, anything else you two have on your mind?”

 

“Since you’re not dishing on Magnus ‘Babe’, I guess that’s it”, Isabelle laughed.

 

“Leave him be, Iz can’t ya see the guy’s had to hide how sprung he is all day. Imagine how hard that must be in ballet tights”.

 

Jace saw Alec’s facial expression turn murderous and darted for the door before Alec could grab him.

 

“That’s the thanks I get for calming your fears, you jerk”, Alec yelled out his door to the answer of Jace’s maniacal laughter.

 

Isabelle and Alec rolled their eyes so used to his silly behavior, and she stood to leave him alone.

 

“One more thing?”, Alec’s voice wavered slightly and Izzy nodded. “How was dinner?”

 

“Mother and father didn’t attend, so Jace and I ate in the family room downstairs while watching a movie”, Isabelle sighed knowing their behavior would cause some strain for Alec. “I’m sorry”.

 

“Don’t be. Remember this is on them. Okay? And I promise to text Raj. Night Iz”.

 

“Night”, she smiled and closed his door behind her.

 

A half hours worth of writing, a solid twenty minutes of stretching out and Alec grabbed for his phone to text Raj. He apologized for not texting sooner, but Raj took it in stride, if anyone understood the stresses of what Alec had done last night, it would be Raj. A gay man from an affluent family in the city, with cultural pressures added in, yeah Raj understood. And he made that known in his text back to Alec, reminding him how proud he is of his friend. With a smile that Raj would never see, and a promise to catch up with him and Eli  tomorrow, Alec laid his phone aside and headed for the shower.

 

The hot water soothing his muscles; the steam filling his lungs making him feel calm, the quiet surrounding him; the only sound the water flowing from the waterfall showerhead, it wasn’t long before all his tensions and cares were gone from Alec’s mind. However there were certain tensions of his body that didn’t want to let up. Jace’s earlier joke made him smirk, his brother hadn’t been wrong.  

 

It was another betrayal, especially now more than ever, but there was no way avoiding it. He’d made his peace with it and he wouldn’t let himself feel guilty for being human. Taking himself in hand Alec let his mind wander to those memories of the day when he’d found himself in awe of Magnus’ beauty, and remembered the want he felt in those moments. That split second in the studio when his mind was telling him they were close enough to kiss, and the way it excited him.

 

Alec let himself want, there was more to Magnus, more than just the physical and Alec knew that. That was why Alec gave up fighting because the more he learned about Magnus the more he wanted, it was inevitable. And so the flush on his face was not embarrassment, it was the steam from the shower and the heat from inside him combined. And the tremor through his body wasn’t nervous guilt but pleasure he was allowing himself to feel.

 

These were his private emotions and thoughts, and he was allowed them. He’d never disrespect Magnus’ boundaries, ever. However he couldn’t help the way being near Magnus made him feel and he didn’t want to. He was learning that these things were alright to feel, alright to do, they belonged to him, and they weren’t dirty. Embracing the joy of allowing himself to feel, truthfully this wasn’t even about Magnus, this was about Alec letting go of the mental and emotional boundaries he’d been setting for himself. And so with his eyes closed, forehead resting against the cold tile, and warm water cascading down his back Alec groaned loudly not giving a shit if anyone heard.

 


 

The morning was quite cold but very sunny, Alec stood in the kitchen leaning against the counter eating his oatmeal wearing a goofy grin. He was turned toward the large windows and door looking out onto the back deck patio as he let the rays of sun warm his face. His parents were most likely still avoiding him since they hadn’t come down yet. Still Alec knew that even if he saw them his mood could not be ruined.

 

It was like a lightswitch inside him had suddenly been flicked to the on setting and stuck in place. Alec felt lighter than he’d felt in years. When he first woke up this morning his sleep addled brain couldn’t pinpoint it, but as he dressed and prepped his bags for the day he realized. He’d come out to the only two people he feared telling, and he was on the path to getting over their bullshit reactions.

 

He was out, he was free from one of the boxes he’s been forced into, and he was proud of himself. Sure he’d been learning to accept his true self for years but now there were no roadblocks in his personal life to hold him back from living his truth.

 

When Jace and Izzy had joined him in the kitchen they hadn’t said a word. It seemed they noticed the peace about him, and didn’t want to disturb it. Instead they just smiled at him, and sat at the kitchen island to eat their own breakfast. It was a serene atmosphere, made better when Alec caught his siblings speaking their happiness for him with their eyes, no words needed.

 

The harmonious sibling feelings continued when Isabelle gave her right to the front seat up for Jace without argument. He was fidgeting more than usual and they both knew it was because Magnus wanted to talk to him today. Alec was quiet, just smiling at Izzy’s sweet gesture. Internally, Alec toyed with the idea of comforting his brother again, but stopped short of doing so. Perhaps Jace should be squirming a bit, his cocky nature although a part of him they understood, wasn’t always appreciated by others, and often misconstrued. If he truly cared about Clary as he said he did, maybe he needed to be brought down a notch. So Alec let Jace sweat it out on the ride to the Institute.

 


 

As Alec walked to his first lecture of the day he saw a smiling Raj holding hands with Eli walking towards him.

 

“Hey guys”.

 

“Wow you look happy today. You’re all smiley and bright”, Raj teased and bumped his shoulder into Alec’s.

 

“What’re you talking about?”, Alec ducked his head a little trying to hide his big smile.

 

“You know what I’m talking about”, Raj whispered so that even his boyfriend wouldn’t hear out of respect for Alec’s privacy.

 

When Alec noticed the gesture his heart clenched, he really did have the best friends ever, but this simply would not do. He’d embraced his truth and this morning had been riding the high of his revelation, no more hiding. With his shoulders set firmer Alec lifted his head and smiled at Raj before speaking clearly and loud enough that he knew not only Eli but the few students nearby would hear.

 

“Yeah, I do. It was scary coming out to them, but I did it Raj, no matter what their reactions I’m out now - free. Thank you for being a good friend to me”.

 

Alec hugged his friend, then nodded at Elias, who had heard, and was watching with a huge smile on his face. It seemed even Raj’s boyfriend was proud of Alec; the gratitude swelled inside Alec. He had the right people on his side, further cementing in his mind that his parents’ reactions didn’t truly matter any more.

 

The day had continued to feel lighter, Alec was smiling and people were beginning to take notice of the way his inside was affecting the way he looked on the outside. There was a confidence and completeness about him, and they’d begun to see it. Acquaintances of his were smiling at him, even if they looked slightly confused by his change in demeanor, they waved or said ‘hello’.

 

And then there was Magnus. Although Alec thought he seemed nervous, Magnus always looked really good. Alec guessed the nerves were mutual in their tentative beginning steps of friendship. The few times Alec had seen him in passing it was different than it ever had been. Magnus actually stopped to say hello to him, asked how his commute home went, and smiled. They were friends, and it felt good that Alec could acknowledge this, that he could have this.

 

The high of the day almost came to an abrupt halt during midday break. Alec was planning to get a sandwich from his favorite deli nearby and make himself ready to check in with Jace when he got back from lunch with Magnus. However his plans and his good mood were shortly disrupted in the form a long legged beauty with a deadly smile on her lips blocking his path to the south court entrance on the first floor.

 

“Alec”, she clipped the ‘c’ as she was wont to do.

 

Alec gritted his teeth and tensed his jaw, he should have known she’d confront him sooner or later.

 

“Camille”, he crossed his arms, jutted his jaw out and stood straighter so he purposefully towered above her at his full height.

 

“You gave up your right to Studio A”. It wasn’t a question.

 

“I did”.

 

“You asked the directors to give the space to Raj and his ensemble”. Another non question dripping in a venomous tone.

 

“I did”, Alec answered, his tone flat.

 

Camille’s eyes narrowed, he knew what was coming next.

 

“You’re ridiculous do you know that?”, she tried to sound sympathetic, but it was part of her game.

 

“Am I now? Enlighten me”, Alec raised a brow, his voice still flat and even.

 

“Giving that space up, your right, for what? For Magnus? To make things easier on him? Like I can’t see the way you look at him. it’s sickeningly sappy. Giving up your honor at this school, for a silly street dancer who will never amount to anything on the hopes you’ll get to bang him. Truly pathetic”.

 

Alec grit his teeth at her words, it stung but not because of her taunts to him, it stung because of the way she spoke of Magnus. Magnus had given this snake his heart once, and to hear the way she thought of him made Alec’s stomach churn in disgust. Balling his fingers tight into his palms then flexing them to control the anger rising inside him Alec spoke, his tone still flat not wanting to give her the satisfaction of knowing she riled him up.

 

“If I’m not mistaken, you thought he was something more than a silly street dancer a few years ago”, Alec stared her down.

 

“I was wrong”, Camille leaned in making her voice grossly sweet. “People around here think he’s this amazing creature, but he’s just a broken, useless mess”, her eyes lit up as if she was excitedly waiting for an explosion.

 

“I beg to differ”, Alec denied her what she was waiting for, keeping his calm. He leaned down so his eyes were level with hers and kept his tone icy “You were right back then. You see, Magnus is incredible and you, well you’re not special at all. He figured that out, and you hate him for it”.

 

Alec’s words had their intended effect because the look on Camille’s face was akin to him slapping her. She stepped back from him and narrowed her eyes again, all trace of her cool exterior was gone and the fire had arrived.

 

“That space was mine, and you know it. If you didn’t want it well then you’re just stupid, but it should have gone to me”, her voice rose in clear anger.

 

“This is about a dance space?”, Alec fired back, steel in his voice. “Saying these disgusting things about a good man, over a dance space. You’re pathetic”.

 

“Me?”.

 

Camille stepped back once more, and raised her voice louder to try and gain attention from the nearby students passing or standing in the halls.

 

“You’re the one still in the closet, you coward”, she grinned like she’d just won a prize.

 

She was acting like her plan of outing him previously hadn’t backfired in her face with Magnus’ warning. Like she’d figured a way to still win even though Alec told her he was prepared and not willing to play. The group of students passing had stopped now and all eyes were on the two of them as her evil smile grew wide and her eyes sparkled. Camille’s brow raised in challenge, waiting for him to say something, waiting to claim her victory, but soon her face began to morph into a strange look of panicked defeat as she realized Alec was smiling with just as much intent and spite as she had been. It was almost comical for Alec to witness.

 

“Wrong, again. How does it feel always being wrong, Camille? The door is open, and I’ve been out. I doubt your small mind could truly comprehend that Magnus is more than a street dancer, that I’m more than a previously closeted gay man, and that none of us are your pawns. The space is Raj’s because he deserved it, you however don’t deserve the breath I’m using to speak, so - “.

 

Alec tilted his head at a now very stunned and furious Camille, and moved around her to leave. Most of the small group of students who had witnessed this now eyed Alec with fascination and respect. A few others looked a bit repulsed but Alec didn’t care what they thought, not any more.

 


 

“You’ve been smiling a lot today”, Lydia shook her head as she warmed up for rehearsals.

 

Alec just shrugged in answer.

 

“This doesn’t have anything to do with your showdown with Camille earlier today does it?”, she smirked not looking at him, her body bent over  her legs in a butterfly stretch.

 

“You heard about that?”, Alec laughed as he stretched his quads, leaning forward with one leg flat against the spring floors, other knee bent, bracing his body.

 

“Everyone heard about it”, she shook her head. “I’m glad you finally told them - your parents - you deserve to be happy”.

 

“Thanks Lyd”.

 

Business as usual between them, just the way Alec preferred it. No more talks about feelings, and emotions. It was time to get serious about work. Alec played the new music, and coached her through the latest steps, they kept focused on the task. By the time Magnus showed up after spending time working with his crew, they had the piece on lock.

 

Magnus looked incredible to Alec as always, even more so when there was proof of how hard he’d been working. The sweat always took the height from his hair making it adorably floppy. It also made his shirts stick to his well defined chest and abdomen, and for that Alec was grateful.

 

Sue me, he’s beautiful, Alec yelled at his inner angel siding with the demon today.

 

Although he was smiling Alec could see things were a little off with Magnus. Perhaps the talk with Jace hadn’t gone so well. Due to Camille’s little show of force, Alec hadn’t enough time after eating to make it back and talk to Jace so he didn’t know the details.

 

There was still that hint of vulnerability that Alec was beginning to connect to the times when Magnus was opening up about something. Perhaps his behavior was a residual effect of their time spent together yesterday and all he’d shared with Alec. It seemed more likely this was the reason, and so Alec kept things light never bringing up their time spent together other than rehearsal.

 

It must have been the right choice because Magnus visibly relaxed as they settled in to begin the run through of the first completed section with all three of them present. Magnus’ smile grew brighter, his eyes looked so happy as they all hit each freestyle move he’d taught them hard and clean. It was so obvious both Alec and Lydia worked hard and Alec could see the pride on Magnus’ face as he watched their movement in the mirror.

 

The prideful look was returned in kind as Alec watched Magnus keep up with Lydia for two eight counts of mostly ballet movement. Once again nothing else mattered, no words spoken as the trio moved through the section over again, Lydia fading away when need be and coming back in flawlessly for her parts.

 

And then they hit the end after the third run through and Alec kept dancing, he couldn’t stop. The joy from his day, the high he’d felt embraced him head to toe, every muscle pulsing with energy and joy. Ballet leaps and turns, so precisely executed breaking down into a more freestyle movement that made Magnus smile so big, and Lydia watch with wide eyes.

 

“Do that again”, Magnus rushed out excitedly.

 

And so Alec did, and there Magnus was beside him. His movement contrasting Alec’s yet complementing it at the same time. Alec spinning high in the air, Magnus spinning low on his knees. Alec’s arms extended, hands held soft, Magnus arms bent, his fingers rocking their own sharp movements cutting from elegant to artistically raw. On they moved together choreographing mentally watching one another, eyes locked in the mirror. It was building, and it was beautiful.

 

And then it shifted, Alec embracing the break from traditional and structured, matching Magnus’ movement to the best of his ability. Breaking free in dance form, embracing freedom in each unaccustomed move. Magnus was smiling so wide the grin took half his face and Alec nearly lost his breath at the sight of it.

 

A full section speaking of joys. Oh how it fit where Alec was right now. It was the dance fates speaking to him, and giving him the steps to express himself. It was the dance fates showing Magnus the steps to accompany Alec’s own choreography, the fates were on their side. And when they’d finished they doubled over and breathed heavy from the effort, eyes on the floor in front of them until they both snapped over to one another.

 

“Did you get that?”, Alec was buzzing.

 

“Every step”, Magnus was nearly vibrating. “Not one off”.

 

Alec rushed for his tablet making notations and handed Magnus the notebook to add them there as well. Lydia was standing quietly in awe just shaking her head at them.

 

“Dance ESP”, she giggled earning their laughter.

 

Once they were certain they had it all down they began to break it down into counts teaching Lydia the parts she would need and showing her when she needed to step out. They were about halfway through when the door swung open and the three of them turned to see a man standing there that only two of them recognized. Alec had only met him just yesterday.

 

“Sorry to interrupt, it looked great, amazing actually um - ”. The man looked at his feet nervously and then up again his gaze landing on Lydia. “It was beautiful”.

 

Magnus cleared his throat and it seemed to snap their guest back to attention. Alec looked back and forth between John and Lydia who was biting the corner of her lip trying to keep herself from smiling.

 

“Shit, sorry Magnus, I really am but you did tell me I could swing by and ride downtown with you before work. I asked the guys at the front desk and they sent me back here”

 

“It’s quite alright, I didn’t realize it had gotten so late”, Magnus beckoned for John to come closer. “You’ve met Alec”, he gestured and Alec nodded, “This is Lydia Branwell. Lydia this is my friend and neighbor John Monteverde”.

 

It hit Alec quickly when John’s eyes turned hazy as he took Lydia’s hand gently. It was almost as if he thought he’d break her from touching her. Lydia however was having none of it and gripped his hand tight, her full smile showing now. This is what he must have looked like to other people when around Magnus. It seemed John had a thing for Lydia, and somehow Magnus was responsible for it. He shook his head to clear it and eyed Magnus who was trying to hide his laughter.

 

“Um - may I speak with you for a second Alexander?”.

 

Magnus held his hand hovering over his bicep and Alec realized he was silently asking for permission to touch him. Alec nodded. Wrapping his long fingers around as they moved away from John and Lydia, who were chatting politely, Alec felt the jolt inside, but was getting a lot better at hiding it on the outside. Magnus’ hands was always warm and comforting, drawing Alec’s eye to where they were touching. It was then he noticed there was no color on Magnus’ fingernails today, just a clear shiny coat, and he felt oddly disappointed.

 

Such a strange thing to feel , Alec thought.

 

He wondered why the change of colors made him smile, and how the lack of color was a bit of a let down. Alec could guess that the colorful polish just made him think of how colorful Magnus is in every way; so when the color was gone it caused Alec to become worried something was wrong.

 

Magnus had seemed skittish most of the day, so maybe this was just another way of expressing his emotions, letting his feelings out. Alec understood the need for that greatly so he just swallowed around the lump in his throat that was probably all for nothing anyway. Once they were out of earshot, their backs turned away from the other two Magnus spoke quietly.

 

“Hey, I heard what happened with Camille. I’m sorry she did that to you”. He sounded deeply concerned, his eyes scanning Alec’s face, hand still warm on Alec’s bicep.

 

“There’s nothing for you to be sorry for, Magnus. Because of you I had full warning. Even though I shut her down, I knew she’d think she could still come after me. It wasn’t really an issue”, Alec soothed Magnus fears. He felt wrong not telling Magnus what she said about him, but he didn’t want to cause the man more unnecessary pain.

 

Magnus looked down, and away for a moment. Alec watched him swallow, his adam’s apple bobbing, his eyes closed as he gathered himself before speaking. He was so beautiful, and Alec let himself think this without regret. When Magnus’ eyes returned to his they looked sad, but so very soft.

 

“Thank you for defending me”.

 

Alec nearly deflated.

 

“You heard”.

 

“Gossip at the Institute is quite a popular pastime, Alexander”, he tried to sound light, but Alec heard the catch in his tone. “I heard you said some very kind things on my behalf, and I wanted to make sure you know I appreciated your effort. Although with Camille the effort is never worth much”. He shrugged.

 

“It was only the truth Magnus”, Alec started very softly. “Putting her in her place was definitely worth the effort. No thanks needed”.

 

A small smile pulled about the edges of Magnus’ lips as if he were fighting the full grin. Alec was happy to see he’d made Magnus feel better about the situation that wasn’t even his responsibility to apologize for.

 

“You’re sweet, and I’m still giving them, so thank you”.

 

“Since I have no choice, I guess I’ll have to accept them. You’re welcome”.

 

They were both grinning now, gazes locking then shifting away again and again. An awkward but sweet dance, that made Alec’s heart flutter. Magnus squeezed the spot where his hand still lay for a second, Alec’s cheeks flushed, and then it was gone. A cold spot where warmth once had hold. Magnus cleared his throat and turned back to face Lydia and John, the moment had passed, and the flutters of Alec’s heart were gone as well.

 

“Alright we really kicked major ass this afternoon. Alexander that was intense, you’re remarkable I can’t believe we got so much done. Lydia, you’re catching it all so quickly. I’m actually very sorry to have to leave, and miss all the hard work, but alas I must”.

 

Magnus had crossed the room while he’d been speaking. He wiped off the sweat with a towel, changed into his kicks, pulled on his hoodie and grabbed his coat and bag. Alec watched quietly while his heart raced. He’d only had Magnus for a short time today and it didn’t seem like enough. It was nothing new, and there was nothing he could do, but after being spoiled yesterday Alec couldn’t stop that horrible aching feeling of watching Magnus go.

 

“John you ready?”

 

John just nodded his eyes were still focused on Lydia who was oddly silent. “Uh - uh - yeah”.

 

“Alright then, see you two tomorrow”, Magnus smiled so big and for a moment all the grey left Alec’s mind.

 

“See you tomorrow”, Alec let the corner of his mouth turn up into a half smile.

 

Tomorrow was better than never.

 


 

The day was crisp, cold but not freezing in contrast to the day before when it had been bitterly so. The sky was clear though, not a snow cloud in sight only crisp blue sky as far as the eye could see. It was actually quite lovely weather for late November, and the bright sun filtered through the beautiful windows adding even more warmth to the studio.

 

The crisp breezes weren’t a nuisance because Alec and Magnus were nestled in the warmth of Madame Catarina’s studio, on this beautiful Sunday; the glow of creation flowing through them. It was the creative roadblock they’d hit that was the real bother. They’d been working tirelessly every moment they could spare for the past three weeks. Now they were coming to the end of the choreography part of the process, and for the life of them they couldn’t seem to get it just right.

 

They had both tried a few things, and it never fit. Everything leading up to this moment had fit, almost every step coming to them as if gifted from the universe freely. However this last piece of the puzzle , it seemed, was something they had to truly work for. It was as if they had to make payment to the fates, but they couldn’t figure out just what that might be.

 

It was frustrating to say the least, both men priding themselves on their ability to choreograph with deep emotion easily; yet the right set of movements to end their epic piece was eluding them. Alec sat on the floor, his back against the warm brick of the wall, knees up arms resting on them, sipping water, and watching Magnus try to find something - anything - that would work. They’d been there since early this morning and it was closing in on late afternoon. Having only stopped at noon for some some green monster protein shakes that Alec had made for them, water and bathroom breaks, they were tired mentally and physically.

 

Alec watched the intense focus Magnus was wearing on his face as he tried a few combinations before starting over again, and he let his mind wander to the past few weeks. It was now a month since the ‘accident’ when he’d first met Magnus in the parking garage, the next day asked for his help with the showcase piece. And this month had been the most insane ride of emotions that Alec had ever felt in his entire life.

 

Spending so much time with Magnus and getting to know him had been heaven -and- hell; torture -and- comfort; pleasure -and -pain, as well as any other cliches that denoted the duality of the good and bad in life. Their bond had grown, and it was easy for Alec to say he was Magnus’ friend, but there was still so much Magnus held close to his chest. Alec knew he may never be allowed a glimpse into that part of him, and he was okay with that, however he wished there were something more he could do to let Magnus know he was there for him if need be.

 

All this didn’t diminish Alec’s feelings for Magnus one bit, he hadn’t expected it to be easy, Alec knew what he signed up for. Every day watching Magnus’ incredible talent, seeing how in sync it was with his own, and how much power Magnus had over his own movement made Alec fall deeper. Learning how Magnus viewed the world when they had time to sit and talk, seeing the world through his eyes, hearing his intelligence and thoughtfulness; Alec fell harder. Watching Magnus’ kindness with people, not only his friends, his love for those around him, his love for life and dance even when people and life hadn’t always been kind to him; Alec fell faster.

 

He hadn’t gone into this with hope or agenda, and no lie, it ached quite profoundly inside him; however what he did have with Magnus now was something Alec would never trade or risk. There were a few times when Magnus said or did something that made it seem like he was feeling something more for Alec, but Alec just chalked it up to the fact that Magnus was always an attentive friend.

 

The sexual tension was another story, it was palpable at times especially with all the partnered choreography they’d added in sections throughout the piece. Sections that required intense focus, eye contact, and a lot of touching. It never failed to excite Alec, and he found new and creative ways to try and hide the proof of this in his unforgiving dance tights, especially at the Institute when Lydia was in session with them.

 

When they were alone, with no one else to pull attention, it was harder for Alec to find a moment of privacy to adjust himself. He’d been caught by Magnus on more than one occasion, but Magnus never drew attention to it. He never made Alec feel weird or uncomfortable for being turned on, because Alec knew Magnus wouldn’t want to hinder any progress Alec was making in accepting his sexuality. And embarrassing Alec was not helpful in any way.

 

Alec’s attention snapped momentarily back to the present watching Magnus try a new approach beginning in freestyle tutting, Alec tapped his foot to the perfected music that Jace and Simon produced for them and smiled. His mind wandering back again.

 

It had been a week after Jace and Simon had originally laid the groundwork for the music, the week after Alec had his first glimpse into Magnus’ private life. They’d finally booked time in the largest  sound studio at the Institute. Clary, Maureen, and Maia were in the booth smiling and nearly vibrating with excitement. They held the harmonization chords and lyrics in their hands, the headphones on and ready to go.

 

Jace and Simon were bent in concentration over the mixing board console, adjusting all the dials and button. However Jace kept snapping his head up to wink at Clary who just smiled adorably. Things were going really well with the two of them, even with the rocky start  between Jace and Magnus. Alec was happy for his brother, he’d never seen him so taken by a girl, and Jace was indeed taken. He spent every free moment with Clary, and Alec rarely saw him nowadays.

 

Raphael was there too, brooding in the corner nearest Simon, there to support his boyfriend, he was still eyeing Alec with what looked like distaste. Alec figured not all of Magnus’ friends would be as welcoming as Simon, and Clary. Isabelle had tagged along wanting to hang out with her brothers and her new friend Simon. She was sitting with Rebecca, Simon’s sister and Maureen’s girlfriend and laughing. She was always better at fitting in than Alec had ever been.

 

Magnus and Alec sat side by side, a tension in their bodies holding tight their nerves and anticipation. This was the very basis for their entire piece, and although they loved the music they were both so afraid to let go and trust. This was another similarity between them and they smiled at one another when they noticed the other reacting the exact same way.

 

Then Simon hushed everyone, the red light went on, Jace pointed at the trio, and a heavenly harmony surrounded them. The meaningful words here and there spaced throughout. It was a glorious sweet sound, like honey in their ears. And it ached in just the right places. Maia’s soulful tone vibrating the undertones of pain and fear. Maureen’s medium range accompanying it and Clary’s clear bell tone all coming together to help lead the emotional story behind the dance piece. And when it hit the joyous part, the vocals exploded over the dance beat with such strength no one in the room could keep from smiling, except Raphael of course.

 

The tension was drained from both Magnus and Alec, they laughed and watched as some of their friends were coming together right before their eyes, two sides merging to weave perfection.

 

Alec remembered the day as one of the most fun he’d had. Then he remembered every Sunday rehearsal in the past few weeks, the now customary car rides home that Alec never failed to offer. Magnus hadn’t invited him in since that first time, and although it hurt, Alec couldn’t let it weigh on him heavily. Especially now that their friendship and their dance piece were taking off to new heights.

 

It had also become a little easier for them to talk to one another, as they grew to understand their similarities. Their conversations about dance were full of passion and excitement, their personal conversations continued to be educational and interesting, and Magnus way of comforting Alec never failed to be appreciated.

 

Just last Friday Alec’s mood was off, and it was affecting his dance, when Magnus asked him about it kindly, Alec had no problems sharing what was wrong. His little brother Max had been home from school for Thanksgiving, and Alec was just so happy to see him. The only downside was it meant he’d have to spend time with his parents for the first time since he came out to them.

 

Max of course took Alec’s news in stride, his big brother was always perfect to him, but anytime Max asked more questions their parents would swoop in and make up things Max needed to do. As if Alec answering the innocent questions of his little brother, about his sexuality was a bad thing. It made him feel ashamed for the first time in awhile.

 

The holiday family dinner the night before was the worst, aunt’s, uncles, and cousins, all discussing politics, upcoming social events, business, school, performance pieces, and money. All the while Alec was fairly silent, unwilling to share words with his parents even in front of his extended family. Magnus had comforted him easily, reminding him of how happy he’d been after embracing his sexuality and living his truth.

 

“Look at the good not the bad” , Magnus had said. “Max accepts you for who you are, and he was the only reason you were looking forward to the holiday. Your siblings accept you as do all of your friends. Be kind to yourself, Alexander, and don’t dwell on the ignorance of others.”

 

It had been very sound advice, just what Alec needed to hear, and he was able to put all the bullshit aside to enjoy his time with his siblings. Alec, Izzy and Jace spent the large portion of the weekend playing games with their little brother. When Max had left that Sunday morning to head back to boarding school, Alec had crouched down and Max hugged him so tight while he whispered in his ear.

 

“I don’t care that you’re gay, you’re still my big brother”

 

That moment with his brother had meant everything to Alec, and he was thankful to have someone as wise as Magnus in his life to help him focus on the important things when he needed it. Now here he sat another week later, frustrated with the dance complications but content with watching the man he’d fallen for so easily, stubbornly trying to find the fit for the final section of the showcase piece.

 

Alec couldn’t fight the smile taking over his face; it wasn’t his fault how adorably perfect Magnus was. Tongue sticking out as he concentrated, hair tucked under a backwards ball cap today, a jade green tank top that was soaked with sweat and loose black basketball shorts. The line of glitter under his eyes was catching the sunlight; and the color on Magnus’ nails returned this week after a few weeks of a clear coat. Alec was happy to see a pretty golden honey-yellow color adorning his friend’s fingertips.

 

To Alec’s eye Magnus always moved with such grace. His ballet was improved, and it was very clever. He handled the firm yet soft looking way to hold his body well, but there was always an added layer, a flare that only Magnus could pull off while conforming to ballet norms.

 

“Magnus”, Alec called loudly knowing it was the only way to break his concentration.

 

Alec knew how it was, when they were in their head choreographing, they shut the world away.

 

“Magnus”, he repeated louder when the first attempt hadn’t worked.

 

Magnus turned to face Alec, eyes wide and brows raised in question.

 

“Yeah?”, he was out of breath, sweat dripping from his chin.

 

Grabbing Magnus’ water bottle that had been next to him on the floor Alec held it out in front of him.

 

“Please take a break, you’re killing yourself”, Alec plead.

 

“Alexander we need to figure this out. I can see it, feel it, but it’s just out of reach. It’s maddening”, he smiled and Alec’s heart clenched as it often did at the sight of Magnus’ smile.

 

“I know we need to figure it out but it’s not happening right now. If we keep pushing ourselves we’re gonna burn out. It’ll come to us, Magnus. Has dance ever failed you?”

 

Alec shoved the bottle out further and shook it to make his point.

 

“Sit, take a break”.

 

“Fine”, Magnus relented sounding annoyed.

 

He snatched the bottle from Alec, and chugged for a bit before sitting next to Alec leaning himself up against the brick. Magnus tilted his head back and closed his eyes trying to steady his breath. Alec just watched him quietly, taking the moment to allow himself to admire the man.

 

“Don’t let it get to you, it’s frustrating me too”, Alec sighed and leaned further over his knees, his eyes shifting to the side towards Magnus.

 

“I know, sorry I snapped”.

 

“It happens”.

 

Magnus was silent, the steady rise and fall of his chest drawing Alec’s attention. He’d opened his eyes and slumped back even farther down the wall. His jaw was tense, his eyes soft, and flickering around the studio not focusing on any one thing in particular. Alec could tell there was something else wrong, but he still hadn’t figured out the right way to approach it.

 

Whenever Magnus helped him, Alec offered an ear in return but Magnus seldom took it unless it was dance related. Most of the time Alec tried to let it go because he’d learned when not to press where he shouldn’t; however right now Alec felt like he needed to push the subject. This wasn’t like the other times, Alec could sense it had nothing to do with the parts of his life that Magnus liked to keep private.

 

This was very different, just from the way Magnus would look at him for a moment then look away, the way his body seemed to want to jump out its skin, and Magnus was holding it back. Magnus had been there for him so many times, he needed to try and be there for Magnus as well.

 

“You know you can talk to me, right?”, Alec began his voice unsure but very soft.

 

Magnus closed his eyes and breathed deep again, seemingly focusing himself.

 

“It’s just the dance, Alexander. I’ll be fine” he sighed.

 

He certainly didn’t look like he would be ’fine’.

“I can tell something else is wrong, Magnus. You can tell me if you want”.

 

Magnus’ body went slightly stiff and his jaw tight. Alec tensed at the sight but turned on his spot on the floor so that he was now facing Magnus, whose eyes were still closed. He made his voice softer, hoping he could break through just a little bit.

 

“I - I know you’re a private person, and there are things you just don’t like talking about and that’s fine. It’s just, you’re always helping me with my personal issues. We’ve gotten to be decent friends lately, and I wanted you to understand that I’m here for you too. I don’t expect anything, just -  if - if you need to talk, I don’t mind”.

 

Magnus’ eyes opened his gaze was softer than Alec expected it to be, his body sunk lower into the wall as if he hoped it would swallow him up. Alec watched him scan his face over and over, his eyes growing softer by the second like he was looking for something and found it.

 

“I’m not very good at letting people get close to me”, his voice was low and raw.

 

Somehow Alec knew he shouldn’t say a word or interrupt so he just nodded for Magnus to continue.

 

“I know on the outside looking in, it seems otherwise because I have all these friends and people I consider family, whom I love very much. But -”, Magnus paused and rubbed his fingers together, a nervous tick showing, “But most people who truly know all of me can tell you it’s still hard to get through to me”.

 

Sitting up a little taller Magnus looked right into Alec’s eyes, and Alec tried to fight the shiver it caused from showing. There was such vulnerability in his eyes, he was speaking to Alec, telling him the story with just his eyes.

 

“It’s not easy holding people at a distance all the time, it’s exhausting actually. I know the solution is to trust more, and to trust my own judgement, but that’s easier said than done. You don’t really know me Alec, and I’m not trying to be mean, and this is not me blaming you. It’s me blaming me, it’s me blaming my fucked up past”.

 

His voice caught in a small strangled sound and his eyes shifted away, Alec feeling the loss of their warmth and power over him right away. He must have felt he was sharing too much, and was trying to stop himself from saying more. The studio was silent, just the muffled sound of cars driving by disturbing the quiet.

 

The mood had shifted, everything felt weighted. Alec searched his mind trying to find the right thing to say to comfort Magnus. The silence between them grew longer, heavier, more pointed, and Alec could tell it was beginning to make Magnus feel very uncomfortable; his last words about his past just hanging there in the air. Alec moved slowly trying to make sure it was alright with Magnus that he get closer. Gaining eye contact and a nod, Alec shifted so that he was sitting just in front of Magnus, their knees touching. He moved his hand towards Magnus placing it on his arm and squeezing gently, the ever present heat when they touched spiking.

 

“Look, I know I’m never going to truly understand everything you’ve been through”, Alec started gently rubbing his thumb on Magnus arm in what he hoped was a soothing gesture. “And I know you think you’re not good at letting people in, but you have to know how very good you are at caring for people, and making them feel welcome. I’m sure you know by now that anyone truly worth it will wait for you to let them in on your own time. I think that’s why you found so many people who care about you, Clary, Jocelyn, Luke, Madame Catarina, your entire crew; they know you’re worth the wait”.

 

The smile tugged at the corner of Magnus’ lips as Alec’s words settled over him, Alec watched his face flicker through too many emotions to count or name. It was like an internal battle Magnus waged against himself. Finally his brow raised and the right side of his smile went up into a tiny smile.

 

“And my newest friend?, he asked.

 

The tone was meant to be teasing but Alec heard the nervous yet genuine curiosity. It took Alec by surprise. He was asking Alec if he thought he was worth the wait, and all the synapses in Alec’s brain seemed to be fried.

 

Worth it, as a friend, or more? What was Magnus implying? Should he even let himself hope?

 

Deciding it best not to hope, but to accept what he knew was given, Alec answered because Magnus already knew his deepest feelings for him.

 

“I know you are, always have known”, he shrugged and tried to fight the heat in his cheeks at his confession.

 

Magnus watched Alec carefully, studying, always studying, his smile grew now at Alec’s words.

 

“You’re sweet, Alexander”.

 

The heavy feeling around them seemed to expand expelling the original emotions, then suddenly contract around them again bringing with it a new set of feelings. It was different, and Alec felt it immediately, it confused him, because he couldn’t grasp what this was between them. The name for it failing to find his mind just like the right choreography had been failing to find them all day. He felt strange, as if walking through mud on unfamiliar terrain.

 

Not knowing what to do or say as this new sentiment gripped a hold he looked to Magnus for some guidance but only found someone looking just as confused and unnerved as himself. As if he could read Alec’s thoughts Magnus pressed his lips together in a tight line, locked eyes with Alec and leaned in.

 

“Things have been confusing for me lately. I’ve been feeling things I haven’t felt in a long time, and I guess I’m just scared. I know you understand that much - fear - the way it grips you”.

 

Alec wet his lips nervously, his eyes wide; he was unsure of what Magnus meant exactly in this statement, but he was happy he was finally sharing. The one thing Alec did get without question was that - yes-  fear had a way of gripping tight and freezing a person in place. So he nodded his assent to show Magnus he knew that much at least.

 

Magnus chuckled watching Alec’s reaction, something in the way his eyes lit up in absolute amusement made Alec’s stomach flip.

 

What the heck was going on?

 

Shaking his head at himself Magnus shifted to put a little space between himself and Alec. He then spoke so low it seemed he was talking to himself.

 

“I’m usually very good at this, but this is so very different than all those times”.

 

“Excuse me, I - I’m really sorry, Magnus, but I don’t follow”, Alec shook his head knowing he must look so pathetically lost.

 

“That’s okay, Alexander, I didn’t mean anything by it really, not yet anyway. It’s just one of those things about you that - nevermind -”, Magnus cut himself off and began to get up from his spot on the floor.

 

Alec was so confused, he didn’t truly understand but he wanted to desperately. The good thing was that even if he didn’t get it, Magnus seemed to be in a better mood. Perhaps their strange conversation that left Alec with more questions than answers was helpful. Alec just smiled and laughed to himself, resting his forearms on his knees and staring at the floor.

 

“You’re right though”, Magnus voice broke through the haze in his mind, Alec snapped his head up to look at him, “we’re not going to get this today, and it’s getting late, maybe we should call it for the day”.

 

As if on cue Alec’s stomach grumbled in agreement with Magnus and the idea came to him. They were on the brink of something here, Alec had felt it in his bones. Maybe if he could help Magnus push past this barrier bothering him, their friendship would grow stronger, and they could clear their minds and finally get this final dance section right. He couldn’t leave Magnus just yet, not like this.

 

“Okay”, Alec smiled bright and Magnus seemed to be taken aback by it. “I think you’re right, but I’m starving. You’ve treated me to dinner twice now, and I promised I’d treat you next time yet here we are weeks later and I haven’t kept my end of the bargain. There’s this really great sandwich place nearby, what would you say if I got us some loaded heros and kettle chips, then found us a nice place to sit and eat outside? It looks like it may be the last nice evening before the icy cold hits the city”

 

Alec knew his voice was on the verge of begging, but in this case he didn’t really care. Something was going on, and he wanted to be the good friend Magnus had been to him. Magnus seemed to be contemplating, sure he looked stunned, and slightly guarded, but he was also smiling.

 

“I’d say - I’d love to, Alexander”, Magnus’ shoulders swayed as he answered, and Alec’s eyes lit up.

 

“Great, let’s go”.

 

Alec grabbed his bag and rushed for the back changing area wearing a huge goofy grin. He was a man determined, if Magnus didn’t want to talk to him, the least he could do is continue to show Magnus he cared. And returning the favor with dinner was a step in that direction.

 


 

“I should probably get going”.

 

Five words, nothing special about each one, words Magnus heard many times before; yet when strung together in this moment by this man they made his heart ache slightly. Magnus was trying, and there was something about Alec that made him want to try. He couldn’t really be mad at himself because despite the fear and anxiety he’d felt by inviting Alec into his building and his life, he had a really good time tonight.

 

He was being as cautious as ever, however he was learning that silly chats with Alec actually came quite easy. They’d talked over dinner like old friends, safe topics like dance, and the gossip at the Institute, Magnus’ crew and Alec’s siblings. It all felt so warm, and light, Magnus couldn’t help but smile and laugh. Alec seemed to be letting that heavy pressure he carried on his shoulders so often, dissipate. Magnus noticed it and was happy for him.

 

Something had changed between them, Alec seemed less nervous about how to handle himself when with Magnus. It was like a confidence and acceptance that his feelings were valid, although they weren’t reciprocated. He was normal, and embracing himself, and it was so satisfying to watch. The shift inside Alec must have helped him find the focus to concentrate on their collaboration and friendship, just like Magnus had asked of him; but for some reason Magnus felt a weird disappointment instead of relief.

 

Alec had waved goodbye and a sinking feeling pulled at Magnus’ gut. The crisp air swirled around Magnus’ ankles as he pushed the thick double paned glass door, with its black iron detail, closed until it locked into place; the slight buzz informing him that it latched. Loneliness gripped him stronger than it had in awhile, he didn’t mind living alone usually, but there were some days the dark feeling consumed him.

 

Sighing, he accepting his plight and marched back up the stairs, of course John was standing in his open doorway. This guy was a pain in the ass, but for some reason Magnus like him.

 

“Now I get it”, he smirked.

 

“Get what?”, Magnus played innocent.

 

“Why you were so quick to tell me he and his dance partner weren’t dating”.

 

“I’m in no mood, John”.

 

“Okay, but he’s cute, and totally into you. I saw him staring”.

 

“I know he is”.

 

“And you’re not interested?”, John asked in disbelief.

 

“It’s not that, I just really don’t need a relationship right now”.

 

“Look I get that, but maybe you should think about it. He seems sweet, I mean he followed you around the whole building while you were working, laughed at all your jokes. I mean you don’t do that for just anyone. And sure you can tell me to stuff it if you want, but like I said you’re a good guy, Magnus, you deserve more”.

 

Magnus had to laugh at his assessment of Alec, John was friendly, kind and funny, and he couldn’t fault him for being blunt. He wasn’t wrong though, Alec was awesome, a little too awesome. Magnus realized this was more than once that John in his own weird way was being genuine with him, and with his strange feeling taking hold he wanted to return the favor.

 

“Thanks for that”, he started up to his own apartment then stopped dramatically. “Say John, what are you up to tomorrow, early evening? I know your schedule fluctuates”.

 

The question seemed to surprise John but he lit up with a smile.

 

“Have some meeting uptown during the morning and midtown in the afternoon, before returning to the Brooklyn office to clock out, why?”

 

“So you’ll be riding the train into Brooklyn early evening?”, Magnus was hiding his smirk the best he could.

 

“Yeah?”, the confusion showing in John’s tone.

 

“Cool, then stop by NYAI around five, five-fifteen. You can catch some of the dance piece up close, since you seemed interested, and we can ride the train downtown together. Just give the security at the front desk my name and they’ll tell you where to go, cool?”

 

John’s smile grew so wide and his eyes lit, Magnus had a feeling he knew why.

 

“Sure that would be great, um, thanks Magnus”.

 

“Alright, see you tomorrow”.

 

The full weight of all that had happened today settled in on Magnus’ psyche and body as he finished up some assignments and cleaned the dishes from dinner. The magnitude of the this all was so heavy, but he knew he’d manage, he always did. He was happy to be able to help Alec in his struggle to live his truth; knowing first hand to not have the acceptance of a person’s parents was painful.

 

Alec. Alexander. Why was he still on his mind? Why did he never leave his mind?

 

It annoyed him slightly that he couldn’t just shake the man from his head and heart, and now he’d let him into his life. Invited him into his home, into his world.

 

Why did you let him in?

 

As if the universe was trying to answer him, his phone rang at that precise moment displaying Madame Catarina’s number. He should have known she’d check in on him, Magnus smiled as he answered.

 

“How did rehearsals go?” her voice came over the line, cutting right to the chase as was her way.

 

“Quite well, Madame. Thank you for setting the timer for the heat for us. It was cold today”, he answered sounding very much like the child she made him feel like.

 

“You’re welcome my sweet boy”.

 

“I promise I left everything how I found it, not a thing out of place”, Magnus swore knowing she’d worry about order if he didn’t reassure her.

 

“Of course you did, and I trust you. Just wanted to check and make sure you’re alright”.

 

The tone in her voice sounded concerned. Far too concerned for just making sure his rehearsals went well. There was more to this.

 

“Of course I’m alright. What do you mean by that?”, he knew he sounded suspicious.

 

“You know what I mean” , she offered simply.

 

It dawned on Magnus, they were in this together, the three of them, this was about him working with Alec so closely.

 

“Oh I see, you drew the short straw with Jocelyn and Luke to check up on me?”, he mocked.

 

“Don’t you dare sass me, sweet boy” , her words came sharp and commanding.

 

“I’m sorry, bluebird”, he couldn’t help sounding truly apologetic, the woman had that effect on him.

 

“I know you are” , she soothed.

 

“I’m fine, I promise”.

 

“Magnus” , she sighed adoration painting her tone, “if it ever gets too much you can call any of us, you know. We worry, we know you and we see it”.

 

“He’s just a friend”, Magnus wanted to be annoyed but instead just whispered it. She saw his soul and he hated that sometimes.

 

“So you’ve said, I won’t badger you. I love you sweet boy, rest well”.

 

“I love you too, bluebird”.

 

Long conversations weren’t her strength but damn could she get through to him with so very few words. Magnus felt the weight he’d felt earlier grow and every muscle in his shoulders go tense from the strain. Knowing a hot shower may help, he finished his packing up his bags for classes tomorrow, and headed into the bathroom.

 

Once done, Magnus felt a lot better, his mind was clear and free of its tormentor, or at least he thought it was. Grabbing onto his basket of polishes, Magnus began his ritual removing the lacquer and choosing a new color. When Alec’s beautiful eyes flashed in his mind’s eye Magnus felt the loneliness grip him so tight his bones ached. Shoving the thoughts that made him feel weak aside, Magnus grabbed the clear coat out of spite. Grumbling to himself how ‘everyone should mind their business and pretty ballet dancers are just friends’.

 

He was acting like a petulant child and he knew it, still he didn’t care. Everyone needed to back off, he was NOT interested in Alec Lightwood.

 


 

Magnus was standing on something that felt like it shouldn’t be holding his weight but was too afraid to look down. Bright colors were bursting all around him drawing his attention away from any fears he may have felt, beautiful bright colors in a haze of grey. It was like fireworks without the boom, that once exploded looked like watercolors spreading to take over the grey surroundings.

 

The colors made him feel calm, and safe, there was no reason he should not look down now. His eyes were wide with panic, he was inexplicably standing on water. Just balancing on the surface of water in the middle of nowhere; water stretching as far as the eye could see with no way to know how deep it went.

 

Panic began to rise inside him, gripping his gut and taking his breath, his head was spinning. Suddenly someone was there, and his panic fled from the light in fear of it. A warm hand rested over his, a bright smile, and hazel eyes, all came into focus so slowly. It was him, centered in the middle of the chaos,he was beautiful, and Magnus was unafraid.

 

Alec’s hand brushed along his cheek, it’s was warm, and welcome. Magnus’ eyes fluttered closed at the touch, he felt secure. A golden light surrounded them as they touched, and pink, full lips smiled before caressing his name.

 

“Magnus” , they said sweetly.

 

Magnus sighed, he felt light, the colors around them grew brighter the grey faded, the water beneath them receded, whatever they stood on grew firm.

 

“Magnus”, he repeated.

 

But now it shifted, the softness still there around the edges, but was now growing into something more. The way his name was said always so sweet from those lips was not becoming something carnal, and thick with need. Alec moaned his name and Magnus’ body flushed in a dense heat.

 

Those beautiful hazel eyes were now half closed, those big hands gripped at his back, and they were no longer standing. Side by side on a bed of downy softness that seemed like clouds, Alec moaned louder, and all Magnus knew was that he wanted this man. This soft, sweet, yet sexy man.

 

“Alexander”, he called out.

 

Magnus’ eyes snapped open, sweat was dripping from his head, his sheets were tangled all around the lower half of his body like he’d been thrashing pretty fiercely. His heart, was another story altogether and matched the pace of his fast tempo breathing. But none of that drew his attention first, no, the pull of heavy pressure between his legs gripped his body first. He was hard, harder than he’d been in quite some time, and he groaned in displeasure.

 

The realization of who was in his dream and what it was about hit Magnus so hard he clutched the side of his head as if fending off a headache. Huffing a breath and out and throwing himself back onto his bed, Magnus tried to maneuver onto his belly. Of course he truly couldn’t with the situation down below so he grabbed his pillow, shoved his face into it and shouted in irritation.

 

He was afraid to go back to sleep in the state he was still in for fear the dream would attack him again. He’d let Alec too close, he knew it. After the days spent admiring his physical beauty he now let the man in such close quarters alone. He’d opened himself up and let Alec in. Alec was not only on his mind in a normal sexual attraction way, but on his heart due to his sweet and accepting nature.

 

Magnus groaned louder into his pillow trying to will away his hard-on. Thinking of work shifts, upcoming exams, that grease trap in the kitchen at the restaurant that no one knew how to clean properly but him, the papers he had due, anything. Anything to get his mind away from the dangerous person whom he didn’t want to name right now.

 

Successful but so very grumpy because of it, Magnus fell asleep once more. A few hours later his alarm woke him and the tell-tale signs of the dull ache in the lower regions of his body reminded him what had happened earlier. He was so very annoyed now, what a way to start a Monday.

 

Damn Alec Lightwood!

 

In truth Magnus didn’t really blame the guy, he was honestly resentful of himself in more ways than one. He was right when he remembered he hadn’t had a sexual partner in a while, but that was only part of the problem, because usually that wasn’t a big deal for him.

 

He was also angry at himself for his inability to keep walls up. He’d done it for so many years easily but somehow, around Alec they were crumbling. What was worse was the guilt and desire to actually want to let the walls down for Alec. It was a mental conundrum driving him to the brink of insanity.

 

Magnus wasn’t sure that he wanted to want Alec this way, but he couldn’t ignore it any longer. Everyone close to him had seen it, he knew what they were seeing, he was just trying his best to deny it to the bitter end. Last night, however the barrage of information. John noticed and he didn’t know Magnus that well, Cat knew just from knowing  Magnus and hearing him talking about Alec, and then the dreams. The two dreams, one soft and one so raw and needy. This all meant one thing.

 

“Fuck! I have a crush on Alec Lightwood”

 

His throat was slightly rough as he grumbled out his confession, eyes staring at the steel beams across his ceiling, hands gripping into his hair and tugging anxiously. It was as if speaking it made it real, as if the way he’d been feeling this past few days meant nothing until he voiced the words to himself out loud.

 

It was out there now, the words seemingly hovering around him, expanding before latching themselves onto every fiber of his being. Magnus had no idea what the day would hold for him but it couldn’t be great if it began with a personal realization that shook him to the very core of his soul.

 

During his train ride, Magnus kept himself calm, focusing only on his music and choreographing in his mind. It calmed him, even if he never did anything with the pieces he thought up, they were his, and he needed the peace right now.

 

When he’d seen Alec that morning, the first thing his mind did was remind him just how fine the man was, he wanted to deny it but that was bullshit. But then he felt more awkward than ever before. Knowing Alec’s feelings for him, and finally trying to figure out his own. He kept things polite and friendly of course.

 

“You got home alright? Not too much traffic late on a Sunday”, Magnus knew he must have sounded off but he fought through that insecurity.

 

“It went faster than I thought, thanks”, came Alec’s light answer.

 

“Good to hear”.

 

They were friends, that’s what he wanted, it’s what he asked for. But then why was he mad at himself for pushing their friendship? And why did he feel like holding Alec’s hand and asking him to sit near him in one of the classes they had together?

 

The annoyance with himself and everyone around him grew. He usually wasn’t like this. He’d been moody, unsure, nervous, jumpy and angry all day, and a few of his friends noticed. Just when he felt himself relax thinking he could get away at midday and enjoy some time alone, Clary bounced up next to him, kissed his cheek, and smiled. The anger dissipated at seeing her until he remembered today was Monday. He was supposed to have lunch with Jace.

 

“Hi Biscuit”, he tried to smile.

 

“Are you okay? Everyone is a bit worried, Mom and Luke were..”

 

“Please don’t worry about me, or what they say, my mind’s just a bit of a mess lately, but I’m fine”, he pressed a kiss to her forehead and winked.

 

“Okay”, she beamed. “I don’t exactly believe you but I trust you to know yourself”.

 

“Thank you, and this is why I adore you”.

 

“You ready for lunch with Jace?”, Clary bit her lip and fidgeted nervously.

 

“Not really but it was my idea”.

 

“Well, here he comes, can you at least try to be nice?”, she begged as Magnus gave her an eye roll.

 

Jace arrived kissing Clary on the cheek, which Magnus guessed was for his benefit not to suck her face in front of the guy who was like her brother. He shook hands with Magnus politely and they were on their way.

 

This was not going to be fun, especially after the morning he had.

 

It was a pretty bad. At Jace’s suggestion they went to a nearby hamburger place, and Magnus agreed wanting Jace to feel comfortable in his surroundings. After ordering, there was that long awkward silence they contended with waiting for the meal. When the food arrived they talked politely about Simon and Jace’s collaboration, and Magnus thanked him kindly for his hard work, making sure to tell him it was perfect.

 

But that was where it all went sideways. The reason for their lunch together loomed over them and Jace wasn’t handling the pressure well at all. He fidgeted with his fork, twirling it between his fingers, he nodded and smiled at groups of friends who walked into the restaurant, all NYAI students, all part of the elite group of trust fund children, all people who’d shit on people Magnus knew. Some of the girls giggled and waved, and Jace smiled at them.

 

It annoyed Magnus and he really didn’t want to blame Jace for this but the arrogance surrounding Jace’s personality was well known. Alec had given him a glimpse into who the real Jace was when he slipped about his past, but Magnus didn’t see that in front of him. He saw the phony, the fake, the man hiding behind the attitude to mask his pain.

 

Magnus clenched his jaw, breathed deep for strength and stared Jace down until the blonde finally realized he should stop looking at all the friends and listen to Magnus.

 

“That’s not going to cut it”, he said flatly trying not to smirk.

 

“What’s not going to cut it?”, Jace leaned back on his chair legs his tone truly confused.

 

“This, this persona you’re putting on for your friends, this attitude, it won’t cut it with Clary”.

 

“What do you mean”, Jace’s voice went up a bit at that. “You mean she doesn’t like me, for who I am? You think you know her feelings for me?”

 

Jace was getting slightly angry for no reason, which further proved to Magus that the way he was handling the situation was correct.

 

“That’s not what I said”, Magnus kept his voice low and even. “I said this persona is something she won’t like. Clary likes you, we both know that, but this”, Magnus waved his hand at the way Jace was holding himself, “this isn’t you”.

 

“You don’t know me. Besides I thought you were going to give me that, ‘you better be good to her or I’ll kick your ass lecture’. Alec said you wouldn’t but still I thought that’s what this was, not you attacking my character”.

 

Magnus sighed and took a sip of his water before returning his attention to Jace.

 

“I would never presume to do such a thing to someone Clary likes. I trust her judgement, she’s a smart girl and doesn’t need me speaking for her. Basically she can handle herself, perhaps you should have listened to your brother he seems the more rational of you two. And I wasn’t attacking your character, if you thought that you weren’t paying attention”.

 

“But you said my attitude wouldn’t cut it”.

 

“It won’t” Magnus gestured again trying to help Jace understand what he was saying.

 

Finally understanding, Jace sat his seat down on all four legs, stopped smirking and put his fork down.

 

“Oh”

 

Magnus nodded and smiled.

 

“But most girls usually like that”.

 

Jace put on his best charming smile, as if trying to win Magnus over like he usually does these girls he was talking about. However it was lost on Magnus completely.

 

“Clary isn’t like most girls, and I think you know that”.

 

That caught Jace’s wandering attention immediately, he moved closer to the table and his voice lowered.

 

“She’s not, and that’s why I like her so much”.

 

“I figured as much. Jace, you’re used to getting what you want. I know you’ve not always been a spoiled rich boy like the rest of these jerks”, Magnus gestured around them. “But you are used to a certain way of living now, and the persona you use makes you seem obnoxiously cocky. Clary’s a tough girl who hasn’t always had it easy, you should know that. She probably sees the real you, the you who took time to rework your brother’s music. That’s who she likes. Tap into your instincts and don’t let your privilege blind you, Clary learned that and won’t stand for the bullshit games if you play them. If you’re in this, you have to be real. You could take this advice and learn from it, or ignore me and see how many ways you can fuck up. That choice is on you”.

 

Jace was stunned silent, Magnus could tell he’d probably been called on his bullshit before but never quite like this. He seemed mad but impressed at the same time. Magnus laid his part of the bill down on the table, and with a nod, a pat on the shoulder left Jace to think about their conversation. Magnus hoped Clary wouldn’t hate him for being so blunt, but somehow Jace didn’t seem like the type to understand things if he was coddled.

 

Once back on campus, Magnus noticed a few people staring at him but brushed it off as nothing. Gossip at the Institute was ridiculous sometimes, he’d learned that from his relationship with Camille.

 

When he entered the lecture hall Magnus was greeted by a most welcome sight, Maia’s crown of springy black curls and her smile like sunshine made him feel instantly better. Taking the seat next to her, Maia leaned closer and gestured for him to move in. It was obvious she had something to tell him and didn’t want other people to hear.

 

“Your ex was starting shit today”, she whispered in a low tone and gave him an apologetic look.

 

Think of the devil .

 

“What did she do?”, Magnus pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes.

 

“She made a scene during the midday break. She was shouting at Alec Lightwood in the hall. She said some nasty things about you. I was ready to rip her face off, but Alec beat me to it”, she smiled and shrugged.

 

“Wait he hit her?”, Magnus asked confused, eyes open wide, voice rising a little gaining some attention.

 

“No”, Maia giggled. “But he did tell her off, he defended you, and he was so calm about it. I’ve never seen her put in her place like that”, her voice sounded amazed.

 

“He defended me how”, Magnus mind was spinning, and Maia moved closer her smile looking slightly devilish.

 

“Well he used her words against her saying you were more than she thought you were.  Told her he thought you are incredible, and that she isn’t special. Her face was unbelievable”.

 

“Yeah I can imagine”, Magnus pressed his lips tight in worry.

 

He knew Camille’s games, and when she was losing she went for the throat. Magnus’ stomach churned with worry for Alec. She had to have said something, she always had to win. Maia must have seen the worry on his face, because her next words cleared it all up.

 

“She tried to out him, Magnus, well I mean she kinda did. But it was already buzzing around school since this morning that he’d said it himself. This just confirmed it. When she realized she hadn’t bothered him, that she failed, and he just left her standing there pissed, seriously it was epic”.

 

Alec had defended him, he didn’t have to, but he did. It was impressive especially against Camille after what she’d planned to do to him. He felt a weird happiness that Alec would be so sweet, and also the guilt he always felt whenever Camille was involved. The feeling curled in his stomach, knowing the way she liked to manipulate. Magnus couldn’t help but feel gratitude, and the smile that escaped was also hard to fight. Maia caught it, her smile lighting her face again.

 

“That smile for someone special?”, she asked knowingly.

 

“I think so”, he winked at her and they focused on their lecture.

 

When his last dance class was done for the day, Magnus prepared himself for rehearsals with his crew. Simon showed up first this afternoon which was surprising but a good thing because he wanted time to thank him for his work on the music for his and Alec’s piece. Raphael showed up next and overheard Magnus praising his boyfriend which put him in a good mood, and whenever Raph was in a good mood life was easier.

 

As the mass of loud voices arrived Magnus laughed and blew air kisses to them all. Ragnor was oddly attentive watching his every expression and hanging on every word. He’d be concerned if he didn’t know Ragnor so well, but he did. This was about that bullshit with Camille.

 

“I’m fine”, Magnus said low and patted his friend’s back.

 

Last to arrive was Clary which meant she had probably just left Jace. She looked slightly miffed which would confirm that he’d told her about lunch but her ire wasn’t aimed at him so that made him wonder what this was about.

 

“So things didn’t go so well with Jace”, she laughed nervously.

 

Ah he had told her, perhaps things got heated and she’d agreed with Magnus. He knew her well.

 

“It’ll be fine, Biscuit”, he kissed her forehead. “He’s a big boy, and will stop sulking soon. Plus he really cares about you. I can see it, so that’s a plus. But it’s time to dance my darling, no more talk of boys”.

 

“You sure about that Mr. ‘Incredible’”, Clary teased having probably heard about Alec’s defense of him against Camille.

 

“You cheeky girl, yes I’m sure now get into your proper formation”.

 

Magnus snapped his fingers and all eyes were on him.

 

“Let’s go, from the top all finished sections clean three times without stopping. Here we go. Five, six, seven and - ”

 

The music started and the crew began.

 

They were perfect, and Magnus was proud. Three times clean and he was grinning ear to ear. These felt like not only his friends but his babies. The youngest of them merely five years his junior but still he felt like he was at least their big brother when he was leading them like this.

 

“You’re all perfect and I love you all”, Magnus went around the room collecting kisses and hugs. “Keep working I’ll see you tomorrow.

 

Checking in with Ragnor and Raph about working on their trio a bit tomorrow, and giving another reassuring glance to them both, Magnus headed next door. It was still odd to him working with his crew knowing Alec was right here waiting, so close. Especially now after speaking his realization into existence.

 

His head was spinning, his day had been so all over the place that he hadn’t time to truly think about what he let himself figure out this morning since earlier in the day. When he entered the studio Alec looked as gorgeous as ever, and he wanted to kick himself. All the feelings and fear attacked him, he wished he could just close up and rebuild his wall. Magnus found himself remembering yesterday after practice and hoped Alec hadn’t mentioned them spending time together outside of the studio.

 

He wasn’t ashamed, just nervous and not ready to face other people’s impressions on the matter. Magnus didn’t even know what was going on inside of him, not completely anyway, so he didn’t want to share how they’d gotten closer.

 

“How were rehearsals yesterday?”, Lydia asked innocently smiling at them both.

 

Magnus tensed.

 

“Really good, when we got the new track it just took off. Now that Magnus is here we can show you properly”.

 

Magnus relaxed. Alec left it there never saying a word more on the topic. They got to work and Magnus seemed to be having a good time, there was a strange energy about them today, all his fears from earlier were far away right now. Magnus felt pride, the same as he often felt with his crew, they were picking up the free movement so well, it was obvious they’d been working hard.

 

Then Alec was the one to show pride, he’d noticed Magnus digging in and putting so much effort into the ballet steps required of him. He wasn’t about to let himself be the weak link in this piece, and Alec had seen his dedication.

 

It was perfection, from the flawless movement to the uplifting feeling of everything being so incredibly right. Three times through and the elation inside Alec was radiating off of him latching onto Magnus and Lydia. And when they touched the heat was still there, it was burning Magnus at a deeper level now, but Alec wasn’t letting it slow him down he’d accepted his truth, but Magnus was just beginning his path.

 

When they’d reached the end to their completed sections, Alec couldn’t stop dancing. He was in high spirits embracing his life, he was free, and Magnus thought he looked quite beautiful. Moving from ballet, into freestyle that was untaught, his instincts were good and the movement fit. Magnus couldn’t help but be impressed, their odd dance connection pulling them together again, connecting them in ways they never knew possible.

 

“Do that again”, Magnus needed to be sure.

 

And once he saw it, he was. He picked up the steps quickly adapting it to fit his style and matching it with his own flare. Both of them moved through the styles effortlessly combining them, no words needed. Alec completely in step from delicate and polished to fresh and rugged. They watched each other in the mirror, Alec shifting into the free movement like he’d been dancing this way his whole life. Magnus was taken, his breath wanted to leave him completely but he needed it. He felt like he was fighting a losing battle to keep his lungs working.

 

A full section that spoke of grabbing hold of the exquisite highs in life. Embracing the realizations and self discoveries. It was breathtaking and somehow Alec was speaking to him through dance. He didn’t know anything about how Magnus was feeling yet here he stood speaking to Magnus’ soul. His dance destiny helping show him the clear path.

 

The feelings from this morning came back and dug into his bones with a vice like grip. He felt the pull in his stomach, the flutter of his heart, the need to just whisper sweet words of praise. He was not only so proud of Alec he was in so in lo - .

 

Wait, no that couldn’t be right at all.

 

Magnus shook the thought from his head, it was too soon to think that way. The stopped and caught their breath, Alec looked at him and although they knew both of them had it locked in their brains they took the notes to cement this gift given to them from the universe into reality. Lydia teased about their ‘dance ESP’, but really what else could you call it?

 

The excitement surrounding the bestowal of these steps kept them all in high spirits for the rest of rehearsal, Magnus hadn’t even noticed the time until a familiar face came through the door. He’d asked John to meet up with him for more than one reason and from the look on Lydia’s face when he introduced them he’d made a good observation of the two.

 

He had to leave, he really wasn’t sure how to feel about it. Being around Alec was confusing him so much more now. Magnus wanted to keep away, and maybe rebuild his wall, but he also couldn’t deny how happy he felt to be so near to Alec. The tug of regret pulled at his heart at the thought of leaving him right now. Still he had to go, but first he needed to make sure of one thing.

 

Alec was his usual self, brushing off what Camille had tried to do to him as nothing. Although it was far from nothing, both Alec and Magnus knew it was truly disgusting to try and out someone against their will. He took in stride and Magnus felt that was for his sake, Alec knowing Magnus had once loved her.

 

Magnus let his eyes watch Alec as he thanked him for defending him so sweetly, his emotions were running away from him because he was so grateful. Alec’s expression and question made him realize he wished Magnus didn’t have to hear about the awful things she had said, but he’d made light of it with the talk of gossip at the Institute.

 

Alec was resolute when he answered that what he said to her was ‘only the truth’. It was smooth, a very smooth line. Magnus knew Alec had said it without even realizing, it was one of those things that made him even more attractive. He tried not to smile but it was useless, Alec was far too adorable for his own good.

 

As they both smiled and Alec’s eyes wandered everywhere Magnus understood he was in this way too far already. The ballet boy was lovely in every way. He wanted to kiss him right then, and thank him properly, instead he settled for squeezing the place on Alec’s arm where his hand had stayed before releasing it.

 

With praise to his dance partners and a promise to see them tomorrow, Magnus and John left.

 

Magnus said ‘tomorrow’ but his heart and head were laughing at him because they knew Alec would haunt his every thought until tomorrow. He wasn’t leaving Alec behind at all.

 


 

Three weeks of absolute misery, but three weeks of infinite bliss.

 

Getting to know Alec and having their friendship grow in new ways was both satisfying and disheartening. Although Magnus knew about Alec’s feelings and saw how they were ever present, Alec had learned to put their friendship and dance relationship first. This caused such a conflict with Magnus, not knowing whether to feel relieved over it, or to let himself cry.

 

Everything about Alec was so appealing to him. Talent, innocence, strength, intelligence and attitude. And the way he was with his siblings, so caring, but firm, especially the salty manner in which he dealt with Jace, made Magnus laugh and gave him a lighthearted feeling. Sometimes he just wanted to punch himself in the face for being so sappy and gross. He knew he was falling deeply, it was confusing and so frightening. He loved it, and hated it equally.

 

Magnus mind was shouting at him, because it was bad enough thinking about all the things that made him like Alec’s personality, but there was one line of thought that was starting to kill him a little. The damned sexual tension between them was off the charts. Magnus wasn’t a person to be only about sex, he never was. It was just that after Camille broke his heart, the physical part of relationships was the only thing he allowed himself. He didn’t sleep around, just a few people he trusted who were in the same mind as him meeting up once in awhile for a hook up.

 

After awhile that had gotten old as well and Magnus had stopped seeing anyone even in just a casual way. Now however he wished he hadn’t because the physical attraction to Alec was so strong, and he knew he was probably a bit desperate. The part that made it worse, was that Alec, that sweet man was so obvious. He couldn’t blame him,  he doubted Alec had much experience in the sexual realm of relationships. He’d only just come out so this must have been very new to Alec.

 

The emotions behind the dance couldn’t have been easy for him either. The intensity of it all, it was all connected to Alec’s coming out emotionally, but it was also about his sexual awakening. If it was effecting Magnus so deeply, and it was, he could only imagine what it was doing to poor Alec.

 

Watching Alec trying to hide his obvious erections in his tights whenever he and Magnus had to be intimately close, was becoming uncomfortable . Sexual attraction was normal to Magnus, but knowing how badly Alec wanted him made matters worse. He was thankful his dance clothes of choice were all baggy shorts and sweats, or he’d be in the same predicament sometimes. All in all Magnus felt it best to not bring attention to things lest he embarrass Alec.

 

The day they’d met up to listen to Maia, Clary and Maureen lay down the vocals was a lot of fun. Magnus was amused watching his group of friends and Alec’s siblings come together. The shouldn’t have fit together, yet they were here working well and getting along. Raphael was the only holdout for somewhat normal behavior, he preferred making weird eye contact with his boyfriend, and occasionally staring at Magnus with this knowing smirk. It was like he knew Magnus’ feelings for Alec were growing.

 

Clary and Jace were doing well in their budding relationship, it seemed Jace had paid attention to Magnus’ advice after all. And oddly enough Isabelle was laughing with Rebecca but kept smiling at Maia making her blush.

 

All the distractions still couldn’t keep Magnus from being extremely nervous about the music coming out right, for him, but mostly for Alec. He felt the same tension rolling off of Alec as well, they were very much in tune and sometimes it scared him. The voices of his angels, however calmed both of their fears. He knew his girls wouldn’t let him down, their vocals taking the song to a new level.

 

“The bonds you create can’t hold me, I will break free” .

 

The three voices sang in harmony, and Magnus couldn’t tear his eyes from Alec’s face. He studied the lovely profile for a moment, Alec seemed at peace. This song was his anthem, this dance piece was his emotions laid bare. Magnus watched Alec blink slowly, his long lashes brushing the tops of his cheeks, his full lips held slightly open in awe of the music. He was beautiful.

 

Magnus tore his eyes from the sight to clear his mind, he looked down at the bench where he sat beside Alec. Their hands were so close, their pinkies almost touching if he moved his finger a fraction of an inch over they’d be connected. Oh how he wished it were that easy, wished he could just grab tight and hold his hand.

 

Raphael cleared his throat, and to everyone else it was a normal sound, but to Magnus is was a warning. Magnus’ eyes snapped up and Raph gave him a pointed stare. It said ‘I see you’, and ‘be careful’. Magnus rolled his eyes and gave his attention back to his cuties in the booth.

 

Then there was last week, they’d scheduled a Friday practice at Madame Catarina’s, since the Institute was closed for the holiday weekend, but when Alec showed up he seemed off. When he danced Magnus saw how lost he looked, it was just like a few weeks back when he’d come out to his parents. Of course he wanted to help in any way he could, and when Alec spoke of his little brother, Magnus told him to embrace the good in the situation. His little brother loved and accepted him, who cared what his parents thought, they’d proven themselves unworthy anyway.

 

Alec smiled, that big smile, that perfect smile. Making Alec smile had become one of Magnus’ favorite things to do whenever they were together. He was so far gone now, but too afraid to take the leap, too scared to give in to what he knew he wanted. Magnus wanted to cry that night alone in his bed, the frustration choking him. Instead he groaned and grabbed for the clear polish, it was the only way to make sure he wouldn’t subconsciously choose colors that reminded him of Alec; and so he’d stubbornly worn it for three weeks. His poor fingers looking as sad and pathetic as he felt.

 

The following Friday, Magnus was sitting out on the stairs of NYAI during one of his breaks watching video on his phone. Alec had brought his DSLR and tripod to rehearsals this week to capture some video for reference. They’d been struggling to find inspiration for the final section of the dance piece and it was driving Magnus crazy.

 

To be honest his entire body, and mind were making him angry with everyone around him. He kept pushing what everyone close to him and what his own heart was telling him, fighting for dear life. He was scared of falling without anyone to catch him like the last time. Camille had dropped him, he loved her, he let her in and she let him fall. Just like his stepfather, even his mother who at least loved him, and his mother’s family in Indonesia, they’d never looked for him. They all let him fall.

 

Why was he so willing to trust a Lightwood with his heart?

 

Still he watched Alec dance in the video, his eyes hazy, his heart beating faster, he knew he was a goner. Magnus was so engrossed in the video and his thoughts that he hadn’t heard Ragnor come up behind him and sit next to him on the stairs.

 

“That bad?”, Ragnor’s tone was deep and calm.

 

Magnus hadn’t flinched at the sound of his voice.

 

“I didn’t want to let myself get this deep, but here I am”, Magnus’ voice sounded sad.

 

“Magnus”, Ragnor tried to comfort him.

 

“Look what happened last time”, his voice rose in panic.

 

“But he’s not Camille”, Ragnor replied calmly.

 

“Might as well be, he’s a Lightwood”, Magnus argued but his words tasted like the lie he knew them to be.

 

“You’re a bad liar. I’m sure he’s proved himself more than just his name to you”.

 

“He has”, Magnus slumped and sighed.

 

“Then?”, Ragnor patted his friend’s shoulder.

 

“I’m afraid”.

 

Magnus eased into the touch and hung his head in his hands.

 

“You’re one of the bravest people I know given what you’ve faced, but you survived. You’re stubborn and you fight with a smile on your face. Don’t let fear hold you back if you want this go for it. Also don’t tell Raph I said this because he wants me to hate the guy on principle alone, but I’ve watched him with you. You light each other up. Clary’s seen it too”.

 

Magnus just hummed and nodded a small smile pulling at the corner of his mouth.

 

“Luke, Jocelyn and Bluebird have been bothering me about holding people at a distance”.

 

“They’re right and you know it”.

 

“What do I do, Rag?”, Magnus sounded lost as he turned to search his friend’s face for answers.

 

“Use your fear to make you strong. I’ll not tell you what to do, but happiness and a chance at love are not things you should throw away easily if presented with them”.

 

Magnus swallowed hard around the lump in his throat, he didn’t want to admit that they’d all been right, that Ragnor was right, his stubborn streak held him tight. However the were, and this self torment and holding himself back in fear needed to stop.

 

“You give the best advice”, Magnus then smiled a full smile.

 

“I know, if only people listened to me more often”, Ragnor teased.

 

Now here he stood two days later trying to ignore the eyes he knew were watching his every step, trying to fight the tension and frustration for dance as well as his emotional and physical need for Alec. Trying to power through this last section over and over, although it wasn’t working. He just wanted to gift it to Alec, he deserved to have his piece fully realized and they were stalled.

 

I started out in Alec’s mind and ended up connecting them, helping them grow into more but now the dance gods have denied him the final piece to give to Alec wrapped in a gold bow. He wasn’t in this alone, Alec had been trying too, but nothing seemed to be working. It’s like he could see the movement right there but the dance gods wanted payment for such a gift.

 

Magnus knew he was pushing himself too far, his body felt so fatigued but he needed to find it. Every time he let his eyes fall on Alec his heart stuttered in his chest. The day was so sunny and warm for late November, which made matters worse because the sun was shining on Alec making him look like a glowing angel and the warmth had Alec sweating through his tank top.

 

Focus

 

Bringing his attention back Magnus put his focus on the movement of his hands when a voice broke his concentration. It was his name said sweet but loud, as if Alec had to repeat it to get Magnus’ attention. Alec was asking him to take a break he was concerned and it warmed Magnus’ heart. However the frustrations that warred inside Magnus made his voice come harsh when he hadn’t really meant it to be, so now the guilt started in. As he sat down next to Alec he shut his eyes so he wouldn’t have to see if he’d cause him hurt.

 

Alec was irked about the dance issues too, so he apologized. But this was about more than dance, he just didn’t know what to say to this wonderful man sitting there, who didn’t think he had a chance at a relationship with his crush when Magnus knew otherwise. This man who was willing to accept friendship over anything else and who just wanted to offer Magnus a person to talk to when he needed a friend.

 

What was he supposed to say to Alec: ‘Look I know I told you I didn’t want to date you, I know I said we should only be friends. But this past month has been torturous bliss because I do want you in every sense of the word, and you’re wonderful and may I kiss you?’

 

NO!

 

He couldn’t say that, it wasn’t fair, so he blamed his mood on their dancing issue which wasn’t exactly a lie. But Alec persisted, it seemed he was learning about Magnus’ mannerisms and moods, and when to press. Magnus’ heart stuttered again.

 

Could this man really be the one?

 

Magnus reminded Alec that he wasn’t good at letting people close, he was getting nervous now his heart pounding his stomach churning. He rubbed his fingers together nervously. He was rambling a little instead of focusing on saying what he felt. It was obvious Alec felt bad but didn’t know how to comfort him without crossing the line that Magnus himself had set.

 

The mood felt heavy and so very deep, Magnus was beating himself up mentally. This was not the way a conversation to tell someone how you feel about them should begin. Not with ghosts of his messed up past now floating in the air above them, the last words he spoke awkwardly.

 

And then Alec went and said the sweetest thing, he’d told Magnus that he was worth the wait. That the people who loved him in his life knew this regardless of how close he let them. And then everything inside Magnus broke, he felt exposed, his skin tingled it felt like electric currents were running over it, and his pulse quickened.

 

Alec didn’t presume to know what Magnus had been through, but he was still there and helping, showing kindness and respect. Magnus found himself wondering how he ended up knowing this man who was so different from himself in so many ways, yet so alike. His emotions were a mess, he wanted to smile, and cry, and kiss Alec, or hold him tight, but it wasn’t the right time for any of that.

 

To be clear and to tease a bit Magnus wanted confirmation that Alec included himself in those people who believed Magnus was worth the wait, and so with an effort to try and sound playful, Magnus asked.

 

Alec looked so very surprised at being asked such a thing, the shock and adorable look of hope was there and Alec couldn’t hide it. He guessed it was okay for Alec to hope because he found himself hoping as well.

 

“I know you are, always  have known”.

 

Alecs words were gentle and so very sweet, but the blush, oh that blush would be the death of Magnus one day. Magnus studied Alec’s face, he knew he was sincere but the last of his own insecurities took hold and he searched for the lie, not finding it. Alec was sweet and Magnus told him so.

 

The heavy feeling was leaving now floating up and away carried by some unseen force, and was now replaced with a tight cocoon of charged energy. Alec seemed so confused by the change but Magnus knew it for what it was. It was excitement, flirtation, and mutual attraction. The only confusion Magnus felt was how - how could it be this deep so fast?.

 

Magnus tried to explain himself but failed, miserably so. He couldn’t help Alec understand what was going on inside him, the poor boy was still so adorably lost, and Magnus didn’t know how to fix it. Perhaps now wasn’t the right time all his fears were trying to keep him in safe territory while his heart just wanted to leap and latch onto Alec’s.

 

As he stood Magnus was reminded of the barrier they’d hit where the dance was concerned and his brain suddenly clicked into place. Magnus wanted to kick himself, it was obvious, this was all tied to their emotions. It was about how he wasn’t accepting his feelings, the creative block thoroughly entwined with his emotional block.

 

There was no way this was going to be solved today, they’d definitely have to let it go until Magnus could figure out a way to say what he should. As they called it for the day Alec’s eyes lit up surprising Magnus a bit, Alec always seemed slightly mopey when they parted, and he was beginning to understand the feeling.

 

Alec’s offer to treat him to dinner, citing that he owed Magnus, was absolutely adorable, but it also sounded quite appealing. Magnus stomach was growling from hunger and the sandwiches Alec was proposing sounding delicious. And then Alec mentioned finding them somewhere nice to eat and it felt oddly like a date, a real date. He hadn’t revealed his feelings but who was he to say no to a ‘non-date’ with the beautiful ballet boy who had infiltrated his soul.

 


 

The sun hadn’t set yet and although the it was chilly it still wasn’t cold. Alec and Magnus had ordered their sandwiches, sides and drinks to go, and now they were pulling up to one of the piers at the edge of Brooklyn Heights. Alec parked the car and turned to give his full smile to Magnus.

 

“This is it. C’mon”, his eyes were sparkling with excitement.

 

Magnus panic rose slightly, but he pushed it down and took a deep breath. Alec grabbed the bags from the back seat and got out of the car. Magnus was confused for a moment until he saw Alec leaning against the hood of his car placing the bag down and digging in for his food.

 

Zipping his jacket and pulling his hoodie over his head, Magnus finally got out of the car slowly, controlling his fears with deep breathing and rationalization. Magnus copied Alec taking a place next to him leaning against the car, and trying to smile at the grinning man beside him.

 

“Nice right? This view of the city”, Alec’s brow rose hopefully. He was trying to impress Magnus.

 

“It’s - um - it’s very pretty Alexander”, Magnus’ voice came soft, measured.

 

“Hodge - that’s our family’s driver - he used to take my brothers, my sister and I here sometimes when things were rough at home. He’d get us goodies we weren’t supposed to have and park here. He’d tell us it was good to see our world from the other side sometimes, he was trying to show us we weren’t prisoners of our life”, Alec smiled and took a bite of his sandwich.

 

Magnus leaned a little closer to Alec, ignoring the panic rising. He was safe here next to Alec, and he’d enjoyed listening to him talk. They were quiet for awhile as they ate, just enjoying the view and the food.

 

“These are really good”, Magnus mumbled over a big bite and held his hand over his mouth to be polite.

 

“I knew you’d like them. They’re some of the best sandwiches in Brooklyn”.

 

It did feel like a date, and the ease at which they could be quiet together and talk occasionally felt comforting to Magnus and soon he forgot where he was. As they finished up, Alec cleaned their mess and took it to the nearest trashcan about three feet in front of them to the left, and closer to the water.

 

“You want to get a closer look?”, Alec spun back to face Magnus, his bright smile stealing Magnus’ breath for a second, but then suddenly he couldn’t pull air into his lungs.

 

Alec hadn’t noticed because he took a step backwards and even closer to the railing and the water.

 

“As it gets darker the reflection of the city lights and the moon on the water is really beautiful”.

 

Magnus’ muscles tensed, and he felt like there was cotton in his ears because Alec’s words were dulled.

 

“No please”, Magnus breathed almost silently.

 

Alec must have heard the distress in those two small words because he was right in front of Magnus in an instant.

 

“Magnus what’s wrong?”, Alec’s panic was audible even in it’s muffled state. “Did I do something wrong?”

 

His breathing came faster now, and Magnus’ eyes went out of focus, he felt sick, and his head was aching.

 

“Oh shit”, Alec swore loudly. “Magnus focus on my voice. I’m not going to touch you, because I don’t like being touched when I panic. Just stay with me please. Listen to my voice, I’m standing in front of, just in front of you, you’re not alone. You’re leaning on my car, it’s holding you up. Stay with me. Breath with me while I count Magnus please. I’m going to count to ten, please just breath slowly. You can do this”.

 

It was an anchor, keeping him from drifting away. The smooth deep voice like velvet pulled him gently, kept him focused. The voice was counting, the voice was begging, the voice was calm but he heard the worry.

 

“I’m with you”, the voice said again.

 

It was Alec. Alec was here, he was counting, and Magnus tried to focus on the numbers, tried to match his breathing to the pace. Alec wanted him to breathe, Alec said he wouldn’t touch him but he needed to hold onto something. Magnus shot his hand out grasping for Alec and felt the warmth of his hand wrap around his own.

 

“I have you, keep breathing. You’ve got this”.

 

Alec’s hand held his gently and Magnus knew he was gripping it for dear life. His eyes focused slowly, his breathing was evening out, and the swirling in his head was gently stopping, his head still ached, and his stomach felt sick. But he was calming.

 

Wide hazel eyes were close watching him with so much concern.

 

“You okay?”, the owner of the pretty eyes asked sweetly.

 

“Yeah”, he breathed out and tried to smile.

 

The were still holding hands and the fire was now making it’s way through his fingers that were just a moment ago ice cold and numb. Magnus ached all over but felt safe again. Alec was quiet just standing there letting Magnus collect his thoughts as he came back from the panic attack. Who knows how long they stood there just holding hands and breathing together. If Magnus guessed he’s say a good fifteen minutes, and Alec was tender through the whole thing, his thumb rubbing the spot over Magnus’ knuckles. Finally when he felt fairly calm Magnus broke the silence.

 

“I don’t like being so near to the water, when I’m anxious or stressed the fear takes over”

 

“I’m sorry, Magnus”, Alec sounded defeated. “We can go. I’m such a -”

 

“Don’t finish that sentence because it isn’t true. You didn’t do anything wrong. I was having fun before that”, he gestured with his free hand waving it in front of his face. “I just didn’t like seeing you so close to the water, and I felt weird telling you I didn’t want to go with you, because you like this place”.

 

“But you don’t”, Alec moved a little closer, his voice still soft.

 

“I didn’t say that, I just said I didn’t want to be close to the water. It’s very beautiful here and I’m fine where I am. Thank you for sharing it with me”.

 

“I feel like a shitty friend”, Alec grumbled.

 

The word ‘friend’ bothered Magnus this time more than it ever had. Alec had just got him through a panic attack like a pro, and he hadn’t run screaming afterwards. He knew what this felt like, Magnus guessed it was first hand experience. It was as if Alec really was meant to be in his life.

 

“Let me get you home”, Alec continued to grumble. He was blaming himself.

 

“You’re not a shitty friend”, Magnus stopped him from walking away pulling him back by the hand he hadn’t let go.

 

“What?”

 

“You’re amazing, Alexander. Look what you just did for me”.

 

“But I caused it”, his voice sounded low and sad.

 

“No you certainly did not. That’s not on you at all, don’t blame yourself, please”, Magnus begged.

 

“Easier said than done”, Alec rolled his eyes at himself and smiled a small smile.

 

Magnus smiled at the sight, he really was adorable.

 

“Thank you, for helping me”.

 

“You’re welcome”.

 

Alec let his eyes drop to their hands, he shifted so that his fingers were holding onto Magnus’ index finger and wiggled it lightly. He then ran his finger down to Magnus’ nails.

 

“I like this”, Alec looked away nervously.

 

“The color?”. Magnus was surprised at where the conversation had led.

 

“Yeah. I um - I missed it. I was worried for awhile, the colors seem to express so much about you. It was clear for so long, and I guess I was just - I don’t know”, Alec shrugged.

 

Damnit he’s too freaking cute.

 

Magnus wasn’t surprised anymore, Alec seemed to do things exactly the opposite way he expected. He was also so observant, and yet he hadn’t seen Magnus falling. Alec stood there, his sweet smile, his flushed cheeks from his confession, his eyes darting nervously away. He must have felt so wrong, because he thought Magnus wanted to only be his friend. Magnus couldn’t leave him hurting, not at his hands, it was time to fess up.

 

Clearing his throat and taking a deep breath Magnus rolled his shoulders back and waited for Alec’s eyes to find his. When they did, they were so soft and full of emotion, Magnus nearly lost his nerve, but when shame tried to creep onto Alec’s expression he let go.

 

“I chose it because it reminds me of the amber color in your eyes”.

 

Alec went stiff, his fingers nearly slipping from Magnus’, his mouth open in confusion.

 

“What?”. Alec’s brows furrowed and his head jerked back.

 

Magnus didn