Chapter 1: neither cis nor straight
i: neither cis nor straight
For weeks, Alex had been going on about a surprise she'd got planned for the last day of term before the Christmas holidays. She'd refused to tell anyone what it was, saying that it would ruin the surprise.
The last day of school was finally upon them and Magnus, Alex, Sam, Mallory, Halfborn and T.J. were sitting around a table, eating their lunch.
“Who's hyped for my surprise?” Alex asked, a grin on her face. “I think it's gonna top all the other crazy things I've done this year.”
“Just this year?” Magnus asked, smiling. “Not counting the time you brought a shit ton of water pistols and water balloons into school and started a water fight?”
Alex laughed. “I don't think I could top that if I tried. But this is gonna be pretty great.”
“What about the time you made the speakers play All Star on repeat for two days before they found out it was you?” Sam asked, smiling at her sister.
Alex smiled wider. “That was fun, but I got detention for a week. I actually have permission for this one.”
Magnus looked at Alex. Alex had never asked for a teacher's permission to do something. She usually just did it, no thoughts whatsoever. But this time Alex had planned this a month in advance and asked for permission. This was going to be different.
Magnus glanced across the room to see two of the teachers, Mr. Hearthstone and Mr. Blitzen walking over to their table.
Alex looked up at them. “Is it that time already?”
Blitzen nodded. “Go on, Alex. We're proud of you.”
Alex stood up. “My time to shine,” she grinned, running a hand through her green hair. “Sam, could you film this? Maggie, wish me luck.”
Magnus watched her watched her walk towards the stage at the front of the hall. He turned to Sam, who had just started filming on her phone. “Sam, there's a stage involved. I fear for my life.”
Sam laughed, “She'll be fine, Magnus.”
Magnus turned around to face Halfborn, Mallory and T.J. “Does anyone know what the hell she's going to do?” Magnus asked.
They all shrugged.
Magnus turned around again to face Alex. She was sitting on the steps leading up to the stage, talking to Blitzen. Blitzen turned to Hearthstone, who handed him a microphone. He cleared his throat. “Ladies, gentlemen and people of all genders, Alex Fierro would like to say something.”
Alex jumped up onto her feet, taking the microphone from Blitzen and hopping up onto the stage.
“Hey, people,” she said, waving at her audience. “Especially my dude Mango Cheese over there.” She pointed at Magnus and winked. He hid his face and cringed as a bunch of people turned around to look at him.
“So the thing is,” Alex continued, “your buddy Alex Fierro, that's me,” she pointed at herself, “is neither cis nor straight.” She grinned.
Magnus' table clapped and cheered, causing others to join in.
Alex waited for the noise to die down. “Yeah, yeah. I'm not done yet. So I'm gender fluid. I'm queer. I don't like to label my sexuality, mainly because I have no idea what the hell it is.” A few people laughed. “But who cares? Well, you obviously do. You clapped and everything. But, honestly, why does it matter? People's reactions when I come out to them are either 'Wow I'm so proud of you' or 'Get the hell out of my house'”, she paused, “shoutout to my parents for that last one. But why? Why are people proud of me? Why do they want me out of their house? What did I do? All I did was… exist. And after existing I just told them a little bit about myself. What's the big deal? Are you proud of me for existing? Are you proud of me for reminding you that LGBTQ+ people exist? Are you proud of me for being LGBTQ+? We should all just accept each other. Gender, sexuality, race, religion… it doesn't matter. We're all human. As humans, we should make it our duty to love, support and accept each other. Even if you don't understand my gender or how it works. You don't have to understand, I'm just asking you to have enough human decency to accept me and other people who aren't straight white cis males.”
The room erupted into applause.
Alex smiled. “Now, that's when it's acceptable to clap.” She paused for a moment. “I'm here and I'm queer. Don't forget it.” She jumped off the stage, high fived Blitzen and Hearthstone, and walked back towards her friends. All eyes were on her. She sat down next to Magnus, who hadn't taken his eyes off her since she'd stepped on stage.
“What did you think, Maggie?” she asked, smiling. “Did you like it?”
Magnus smiled. “You just came out to the whole school.”
“Yes I did,” she laughed. “I'll leave you to recover from shock.”
Chapter 2: no plan, no problem
Alex agrees to teach Magnus the ways of a public coming out.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
ii: no plan, no problem
“Sam, he was brilliant,” Magnus complained, walking through the busy corridor, Sam and Mallory walking next to him. “He looked so hot and he was so confident. I'll never be that confident.”
Sam smiled at him. “Magnus, your crush is showing.”
Magnus blushed. “Well, it's not my fault he's perfect.”
“Magnus loves Alex, Magnus loves Alex!” Mallory sang at the top of her voice. “Operation Fierrochase is go.”
“Mallory,” said Magnus, “I'm saying this in the kindest way possible and I mean no offence, but fuck you.”
Mallory and Sam laughed.
“Who are we fucking?” Alex laughed, running to catch up with them.
“Me, apparently,” Mallory said. “Though, that's definitely not your job, Magnus.”
Magnus sulked. “This is bullying.”
“It's called friendship,” said Mallory. She glanced at Alex, then back at Magnus before smiling and grabbing Sam's arm. “I need to talk to Sam about something.” She pulled Sam away, leaving Alex and Magnus alone.
Magnus looked up at Alex. Damn, he thought. Alex was dressed in a pair of green jeans and pink and green plaid shirt, sleeves rolled up to his elbows, open over a pink t-shirt, which had a button badge reading He/Him pinned to it.
“You might wanna stop staring, Maggie,” Alex smirked.
Magnus blushed, looking away. “Uh… you look nice,” he said. “Nice badge.”
Alex smiled, touching the badge. “Oh, you like? I got a She/Her one too. I thought it might be useful to people, stop them asking what my pronouns are, y'know? I won't have to text everyone my pronouns every morning.”
Magnus frowned. “You send that to everyone? I thought it was just me.”
Alex laughed nervously. “Aww, Maggie. Don't be sad. I send you a lot of special, personal texts.”
“Really?” Magnus smiled, blushing slightly.
“Sure,” said Alex. “For example, you're the only person I text to wake up at 3a.m.”
“I don't think 'WAKE UP MOTHERFUCKER!' really counts as a special, personal text,” Magnus laughed.
“Sure it does,” said Alex. “It's like telling you you're special to me in the form of yelling and forcing you to read gay fanfiction.”
Magnus laughed, then blushed and looked up at Alex, smiling. “You were great yesterday”
“Thanks,” he said, smiling. “You're cute when you're blushing.”
That caused Magnus to blush even more, making Alex's smile widen. They stood in silence for a while until the bell went, signalling that it was time for lessons to start.
“See you soon,” Magnus said, hurrying off to class.
The next time Magnus saw Alex was at lunch. Mallory and Sam had insisted on Magnus talking to Alex alone while Sam talked to Amir and Mallory made out with Halfborn, T.J. fifth wheeling.
“Do you eat anything that isn't falafel?” Alex laughed as they sat down.
Magnus smirked. “Do you wear anything that isn't pink or green?”
“Touché,” he said. “Why aren't the others with us?”
“It's two couples,” Magnus said. “They're probably having a big love fest.”
Alex laughed. “What about T.J?”
“He's a shipper,” Magnus smiled. “Probably watching, taking pictures, posting them on Instagram.”
“Pervert,” Alex smiled. “What did you want to ask me?”
Magnus had texted him while he was in science class, telling him to meet him for lunch so he could ask him something. Magnus thought it was probably a bad idea now.
“Oh yeah,” said Magnus. “Since you were so great yesterday, I wanted to tell you that I'm pansexual and wanted to ask you if you could teach me your ways of a brilliant public coming out.”
“Maggie,” said Alex. “You're attracted to pans? I always thought you had a thing for falafel.”
Magnus laughed. “Fuck you, Alex. Tell me how you had the confidence to go up there and do that.”
“Okay, okay,” said Alex. “Come to my house after school. I'll teach you my ways.”
Magnus found Alex waiting for him at his locker after school. “Sorry,” he said. “I'm pretty sure that teacher hates me. He kept me in for ten minutes because I doodled in my book. I mean, c'mon, maths is boring. How the hell am I supposed to keep myself interested without drawing the Harry Potter characters as stick figures?”
Alex smiled. “You're really cute, you know that?”
Magnus blushed. “Did Sam already leave?”
Alex sighed. “Always ruining the moment, aren't you Maggie?” He paused. “Yeah, she left. It's your fault for being such a potterhead.”
Magnus grabbed his bag and let the green haired boy lead the way. After they'd been walking for a while, Alex turned to face Magnus. “Yeah, I forgot to mention. We're not going to my house. We're going to Fadlan's Falafel.”
Magnus' eyes widened. “Really?”
Alex shrugged. “A man should be in his favourite place while discussing his public coming out.”
They sat down in Fadlan's Falafel. Magnus had a wide smile plastered on his face. Alex smiled at him. “I've never seen someone so enthusiastic about food.”
“Falafel isn't just a food, it's a way of life,” Magnus told him, completely serious. “Now, how do you plan a perfect public coming out?”
Alex shook his head. “Oh, Magnus,” he said. “You have a lot to learn. Did I plan any of my best moments? No, I did not. The school water fight of 2014? I just decided to buy some water pistols on the way to school. The great All Star hacking of 2015? I just decided to do it. The Chewbacca mask incident? I just happened to wear the mask to school. The public coming out? I needed permission. All that time I spend 'planning' was really just me pleading for permission. I don't plan, Maggie. Spontaneous, random, in the moment. You're not going to plan, Maggie. You're gonna get up there and do your thing.”
“No plan?” Magnus asked.
“If you have a plan, things can go wrong. With no plan, nothing can go wrong because there wasn't a way it was supposed to go in the first place. There was never a plan, so things can't go differently than planned.” He smiled. “Maggie, I live by three rules. One: be yourself, two: punch assholes in the face, and three: no plan, no problem.”
“I'm really going in there with no plan?” Magnus asked, still uncertain.
Alex nodded. “You're really going in there without a plan.”
I'm back already.
Chapter 3: i am not sexually attracted to pans or falafel
They're both disasters. But good disasters.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
iii: no, i am not sexually attracted to pans or falafel
Alex: did it arrive?
Magnus: it arrived
Magnus: fuck i'm nervous
Alex: don't worry, i'll be there with you
Magnus tucked his phone into his pocket, picked up his bag and started walking to school.
At school, the first thing Magnus saw was Alex, a She/Her button badge pinned to her green shirt, a crowd of people surrounding her, telling her how brave she was, telling her that she was an inspiration. Magnus felt a pang of jealousy.
Alex looked happy. Happy with those people, random kids she barely knew. She was laughing and smiling, bending down to talk to the younger kids, offering advice to all of them. They all seemed to look up to her. Everyone had seen her coming out. If they hadn't been there on the day, they'd seen the video. It'd gone viral on YouTube. Gender Fluid Teen Comes Out To Whole School. She'd become an inspiration and an idol to a lot of the students, and it had all happened almost overnight. Magnus felt suddenly inadequate. Alex was now an LGBTQ+ icon and Magnus was just… Magnus. Magnus Chase. Mango Cheese. Alex's boring friend. Boring, falafel-obsessed Magnus.
Magnus looked up again at Alex. More people were crowding around her. Magnus sighed, turned around and was about to walk away when he heard a familiar voice shout “MAGNUS!”
He turned around to see Alex smiling at him and waving. She apologised to the kids surrounding her and ran towards Magnus, skidding to a halt next to him and swinging an arm around him.
“Hi, Alex,” he said, smiling at her.
“So, how are you gonna do it?” she asked.
“I don't know,” he shrugged. “No plan, no problem. Just like you said.”
“Dude, I'm so proud of you,” she grinned, “now get your butt to class, Maggie.”
“Yes, ma'am,” he saluted, watching his friend's smile grow wider upon hearing him refer to her as 'ma'am' rather than 'sir'.
Class was horrendous. Magnus constantly tapped his foot, unable to sit still. He couldn't tell if he was nervous or excited. At one point, he found himself swinging dangerously on his chair, left to right, forwards and backwards, left to right again, crashing into Sam, who shot him an annoyed glare. Mouthing the word 'sorry' to her, he sat up straight and tried to sit through the whole lesson without moving. Suddenly it occurred to him. He took his phone out of his pocket and texted Alex.
Magnus: i know what i’m gonna do
Alex: tell me
Magnus: i’m not
Magnus: i’m not gonna have a big coming out. i can’t think of words to say. imma just walk out wearing my flag or something and just let people ask questions
Alex: i guess i had to let everyone know so i wouldn’t get misgendered
Alex: it’s great that you can just do a casual thing
Magnus: yeah i guess it’s pretty cool
Magnus: also can you meet me somewhere after class? i kinda wanna talk to you about some stuff
Alex: okay i’m scared now
Alex: jk you’re like the least scary person i’ve ever met
Alex: where do you want to meet?
Magnus: is my classroom okay? the teacher never stays in after class
Alex: i’ll be there
Magnus sat on one of the tables in the classroom as he waited for Alex. He was already regretting his decision. He had no idea what to say or what to do. What the fuck was he supposed to say?
He was still deep in thought when Alex walked into the room. Magnus heard the door slam and looked up. Alex’s smile was gentle and kind, unlike her usual sarcastic smirk. This smile seemed more genuine. “Hey, buddy,” Alex said, sitting down on the table opposite Magnus. “You wanna talk about something?”
Magnus nodded. “Yeah, I’m just bad with words. I’m just gonna say some things and see what happens. Is that okay?”
Alex nodded. “Yeah, go ahead. Let me just change my badge real quick.” He took the She/Her badge off and replaced it with the He/Him badge he kept in his pocket. “Now you know what pronouns to use if you talk about me. Now shoot.”
Magnus was silent for a moment. He realised he had no idea how to say this. The words that eventually came out of his mouth were, “You know you’re really hot, right?” As soon as the words left his mouth, he was mentally punching himself in the face.
“What?” Alex laughed.
“I like you,” Magnus blurted out. He no longer had control over anything he was saying. “I’m sometimes really gay for you?”
Alex raised an eyebrow. “Only sometimes?”
Magnus nodded. “Well the rest of the time you’re a girl, so sometimes I’m gay for you and sometimes I’m straight for you.” He stared at the ground, nervously tapping his hand against the desk, not being able to make eye contact with Alex. “Sorry. I’m an idiot. You can leave if you’re uncomfortable.”
“Hey,” Magnus felt a hand take hold of his and looked up to see Alex smiling. “You’re right about the idiot part. But I’m not going anywhere.”
“What?” Magnus asked, confused.
Alex sighed. “The problem with crushing on a complete idiot is that you can be constantly dropping hints about liking them, but they will never pick up on those hints.” He squeezed Magnus’ hand. “The complete idiot is you, by the way.”
“Nice,” Magnus said, still very nervous. “Cool. I’m glad that the idiot is me.”
Alex rolled his eyes. “Stop acting so weird. So, now we’ve got all that cleared up, tell me how you’re coming out.”
Ten minutes later, Alex and Magnus exited the classroom, Magnus dressed in a pansexual flag and holding hands with Alex as they walked down the corridor. He could feel people staring and hear people whispering but he tried to ignore it.
“Are you okay?” Alex whispered to him. “Is it too much for you?”
Magnus shook his head. “No, I can do this.”
Alex smiled. “I’m proud of you, Maggie.”
“Good,” said Magnus. “I’d be disappointed in you if you weren’t.”
“I’m not sure if that makes sense but I’m still really proud of you.”
Magnus smiled. “You’ve inspired me. I want to do a public coming out thing.”
“Got it,” Alex grinned. He stepped forward into the centre of the corridor and yelled at the top of his voice, “MAGNUS CHASE HAS AN ANNOUNCEMENT TO MAKE! CAN I PLEASE HAVE EVERYONE’S ATTENTION?”
Magnus laughed as he watched the people in the corridor forming into a crowd. “Not exactly what I had in mind but thank you.”
“No problem,” Alex said. “The stage is yours.”
Magnus glanced across the crowd in front of him. He could see his friends and classmates in the crowd and waved at them. “So,” Magnus started. “Hi. I’m Magnus Chase and I’m pansexual.” He lifted a corner of the flag up. “Which is why I’m wearing this. I’m not just a fashion icon.”
“No, you’re a pan icon!” Alex yelled from the front row of the crowd. “He’s sexually attracted to pans, everybody.”
Magnus rolled his eyes. “No, I’m not. Ignore Alex. He’s an idiot. I’m pansexual, which means I’m attracted to all genders. Not pans, like Alex just told you. And not falafel, either, which I know will be Alex’s next idea.” He heard a few people in the crowd laugh. “I am not attracted to pans or falafel.”
“He’s attracted to me!” Alex yelled again, grinning at Magnus.
Magnus laughed. “That one’s true. I-”
“He’s going on a date with me tonight!” Alex interrupted. “If he wants to.”
Magnus grinned. “Of course I do.”
“Nice,” Alex said. “Sounds gay. I’m in. I can’t believe you asked me out.”
“You asked me out, you liar.” Magnus said. “Stop confusing me.”
“I think the public speech thing is over,” Alex said, a smile on his face.
Magnus looked at the crowd. “Oh shit, I completely forgot I was doing that. Yeah, you can leave.”
The crowd walked off as Alex ran up to Magnus and hugged him. “Good job, you gay shit,” he said.
“It would’ve been better if you hadn’t interrupted every five seconds,” Magnus laughed.
“Nah,” Alex said. “I was there for moral support and comedic effect.”
“Were you? I didn’t notice.”
“Shut up. You’re mean,” Alex complained.
Magnus laughed. “You’re the mean one. By the way, where are we going tonight?”
“No idea,” Alex shrugged.
“Please tell me,” Magnus begged him. “I want to know.”
Alex shook his head. “Magnus how am I supposed to tell you if I don’t know the answer?”
“Ugh,” Magnus sighed. “Is this your ‘no plan, no problem’ thing again?”
Alex nodded. “You’re gonna have to get used to my ‘no plan, no problem’ thing.”
“What happens if I don’t?” Magnus asked.
“Then we’ll have problems, Magnus! It’s in the name!” Alex yelled.
Magnus laughed. “You’re fucking ridiculous.”
“You love it,” Alex grinned.
Magnus was about to reply when he felt someone tap him on the shoulder. He turned around to see Sam. “Oh, hey,” he said.
“Magnus, I love you, but did you have to do that? I owe Mallory $40!” Sam complained. “I’m happy for you and everything, but $40!”
“You guys were betting on my sexuality?” Magnus asked.
Sam shook her head. “No, we’ve always known you’re not straight. We were betting on how long it would take you and Alex to get together.”
Magnus looked at Alex. “Is that better or worse?”
Alex shrugged. “I think it’s the same. Sam, here’s $5 towards the Mallory fund.”
Sam took the money and ran away, off to complain more to her other friends.
“You gave her money?” Magnus asked.
“Of course,” Alex said. “The girl’s losing money over us. I had to pay her.”
“How much money do you have left?” Magnus asked.
“Ummm,” Alex reached into his pockets. “Another $5. Looks like you’re paying for our date, Maggie.”
Magnus sighed. “You’re a disaster.”
“That’s a lie.”
“I’m pretty sure you tried to decapitate me when we first met.”
“Maybe I am a bit of a disaster.”
Magnus smiled. “You’re a pretty good disaster, though.”
“You’re a pretty good disaster too, Magnus,” Alex smiled.
"I think that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me."
So I haven't slept properly in 3 weeks so I'm not quite sure if this is good or not but I really hope it's good.