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You Aren't Broken

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“Magnus, you have nothing to worry about. I want this,” Alec said as he backed Magnus into the master bedroom by his lips. As Alec’s hands started to slide down from their position gripping Magnus’s shirt to the hem, Magnus brought his hand between them pushing them apart.

“Alexander, wait.” Alec looked hurt. A million thoughts started running through his mind. Why he rejecting me? Why doesn’t he want this? Want me? Am I not good enough? I can’t compete with Casanova, or any of the other 17,000... Alec’s mind kept rattling on as he continued to avoid meeting Magnus’s eyes. “Are you sure you really want this? There is no need to rush. I was happy with the way things were...are. I thought you were too?” He phrased the last sentence as a question.

Alec gave a little noncommittal shrug, his mind still running through the questions of self-doubt. “Yeah, I guess.”

“So talk to me.” Magnus sat down on the love seat near the window in his bedroom and motioned for Alec to join him. Alec sat beside him, head still hung low. “Why this sudden shift, Alexander? It just doesn’t seem very you.”

At that, Alec looked up and caught Magnus’s soft gaze. He felt like he should have maybe been offended that Magnus was telling him who he is, especially considering they haven’t known each other that long. But in reality, he actually felt maybe a little relieved? He really, really cares for Magnus. He knows that what they have, what they are building is special. And he knows that logically sex is the next step in a relationship, forging that bond of intimacy he so desperately wants to have. Sure he’s apprehensive and scared. All these feelings are new and life changing, but isn’t it normal to feel this way before your first time? Maybe he should have asked Izzy about that. Then again as much as he loves his sister, he really does not need to know details about her sex life.

“I just…Isn’t this what I’m supposed to want?” Alec angrily stood up from the couch, arms flailing as he continued to talk. “Jace has practically turned that guest room into his sex den. Izzy told me I was overthinking this and should just go for it. I- I just really like you and I thought this is how relationships work.” Fuck, I’m fucking this up, were the words Alec did not speak.

Magnus huffed out a short laugh, rising from the couch to place a tentative hand on Alec’s arm. “Oh Alexander. There is no playbook on relationships. Each one is different and unique. Only we can decide what is right for us, for our relationship.” He paused, surveying Alec’s face for a hint he was unwelcome before continuing. “Can I ask, why do you, Alec Lightwood, want to have sex with me? And I don’t mean why you think we should or how you think relationships are supposed to work. What I’m asking is deep in your heart, is having sex with me really what you truly want?”

Alec took a step back, putting some physical distance between them while he took in Magnus’s words and searched for an answer. He wanted to have sex with Magnus because they were in a relationship and that is what couples do. He wanted to prove to Magnus that he cares for him a lot and wanted to make Magnus happy. He doesn’t want to lose him because of his anxiety and fears of not being good enough. But with each answer that turned over in his mind, Alec was realising why Magnus was asking this question in the first place. Every answer he wanted to give was not so much about what Alec, himself, wanted, but what he thought he was supposed to want. Was there really a difference though?

This is what Alec knew: he wanted to be with Magnus. He wanted the warmth and comfort and happiness that comes with being here in the loft with the man he’s come to care for with all his heart and soul. He wanted to feel loved and protected and trusted and make Magnus feel the same. And he was starting to feel all of this, to an extent, but he couldn’t help but fear Magnus was eventually going to get bored of him and move on to someone else. Magnus had a lot of experience. Alec didn’t want to think that he was competing with 17,000 past lovers, and he meant it when he said he didn’t care about Magnus’s past, but he couldn’t help but feel incredibly insecure about it all. He’d never had sex before, hell, he’d never even been on a real date or had a real relationship before now, so couldn’t it be possible that this was what he wanted, he just wouldn’t really be sure until he had it? Then again, he’d never been in love before and he knew he wanted that with Magnus. But are sex and love really that different? After all, from what he’s absorbed from his siblings relationships and the little he’s been exposed to in popular culture, all of that, those feelings, are expressed through sex and physical intimacy. This was what he was supposed to want, right? But did he really want it? Why was this so hard?

“Alexander, have you heard of asexuality?” Magnus asked finally breaking the silence and pulling Alec back out of his own head. Alec looked up at him again and just shook his head. Magnus motioned back to the love seat and the two resumed their previous position sitting side by side. “Okay. Asexuality is a term used to define those who feel no sexual attraction. No desire for sex. One who identifies as asexual can still fall in love and feel other emotions, they just don’t feel the need to express those feelings with sex. You see, there are more kinds of attraction than just sexual attraction, such as romantic, sensual, platonic, etc, and plenty of ways to express those feelings that don’t involve sex. You aren’t broken if you don’t want to have sex, and you don’t need to convince yourself sex is something you want if it isn’t. I’ve already told you, Alexander, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be here if you want to have sex, and I’ll still be here if you don’t. Because it’s not what we do when we are alone that matters, but how we feel, and this feeling that I feel for you is one of the rarest emotions. I can’t tell you whether or not you are asexual, it’s something only you can figure out for yourself, but I do think it is something you should look into and learn more about, and I can share something with you that maybe might help you understand why this is so important for me for you to figure out.” Magnus paused to make sure Alec was still listening before continuing. Alec’s face was hard to read, but he gave the slightest nod of encouragement.

“I keep telling you that what I feel for you is something I’ve rarely felt before, and that’s the truth, but there is more to it than that. When I mentioned that there are more kinds of attraction, than just sexual attraction, there are also more ways to define one’s orientation. I might be bisexual and proud, but beyond my sexuality, I also identify as demiromantic. Demiromantic falls under the aromantic spectrum, which is like asexuality, but romance instead of sex. It basically means that I don’t feel romantic attraction until I’ve first formed a strong emotional bond with the person. I’ve lived for centuries, I’ve had a lot of lovers, but I can count on my fingers the number of people who I’ve been romantically attracted to and wanted a meaningful relationship. And even then, this,” he gestures between himself and Alec, “far surpasses what I felt then for most of the others.”

To both of their surprises, Alec suddenly closed the gap between them, kissing Magnus, slowly, but full of feelings he’s never been good at communicating with words. Magnus pulled back just enough to break the kiss and look into Alec’s eyes when he felt the wetness of tears on his cheeks, unsure who they actually belonged to. Streaks of tears were running down Alec’s face, but he was smiling.

“Thank you,” Alec said, not really having the words to say anything more.

“What for?” Magnus asked. Of course he had some idea, but he also wanted to hear Alexander say the words on his mind.

“For telling me that. For trusting me. For knowing me better than I know myself, even if we’ve barely known each other for a month. For knowing there was something wrong when even I didn’t know myself. For telling me I’m not broken.” The tears began falling again at that last phrase.

It was probably the longest string of words Magnus had heard Alec string together that wasn’t about one of his siblings. Magnus was incredibly touched, and could feel his own eyes welling up too.

“Of course. Come here.” Magnus pulled Alec into a hug, each holding each other until the tears passed. “Why don’t we go to bed? You can stay over. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted now and it’s a long trip back to the Institute. And maybe we can talk more in the morning?”

Alec hadn’t spent the night yet. He always left once it started getting late. But that anxiety he had been feeling of sleeping together becoming sleeping together was dissipating. Even with all the uncertainty and questions running through Alec’s head, it was the best night’s sleep he had in a very long time. Because he felt safe, here, wrapped up in the warmth of his boyfriend’s arms in his too large bed. He knew, that no matter what happened, no matter what he discovered, he had the love and support he needed to get through.