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The Bodyguard

Chapter Text

Alec let his eyes rove over the house as he waited for someone to answer, scanning for any signs of vulnerabilities. His eyes narrowed at the cracked open windows—even though it was a warm summer, he could already see he'd have his work cut out for him with this lot.

The door opened.

"You must be Mr. Lightwood." a sallow-skinned man said, opening the door wider.

Alec held back an annoyed sigh. "Are you Raphael? Mr. Bane's manager?"

"That would be me. Come in. I'll take you to meet Magnus."

Alec followed the man down a hallway towards the growing volume of music. There was a group of dancers behind the star, all working in sequence while Magnus Bane took the spotlight.

The cameras were circling around, capturing every angle of the group, and Alec crossed his arms as he took in the scene.

There were service workers milling about, Magnus' posse lounging nearby and sipping at drinks, and most eyes were drawn towards the center of the room where the show was taking place.

Alec didn't follow the mainstream music scene, but even he had heard of the man. Shot to fame almost instantly after auditioning for one of the many talent-seeking reality shows, and every album broke more records than the last. He sold out venues, maxed out any place he was meeting fans at, and generally seemed to be one of the most talked about celebrities in the current spotlight.

He wasn't oblivious to talent—Magnus' body could certainly move and he definitely had a voice on him, but Alec wasn't much of a dance pop music fan so he didn't find himself star struck by any means.

The song ended, Magnus striking a pose, and the director signaling cut caused the room to burst into applause.

Magnus was breathing hard, beaming at the group, and he started in their direction when Raphael motioned for him to come over.

Alec gave him a good once over, which seemed to please Magnus a little too much, if his smug grin was anything to go by.

"Who are you?"

"Alec Lightwood." Alec said, holding out his hand.

Instead of shaking it, Magnus curled Alec's hand and then nudged his own knuckles against it. "You're so formal, Alexander."

"Alec." he corrected.

Raphael must have sensed his irritation since he cleared his throat. "I told you he dances to the beat of his own drum."

"I thought that was some sort of dancing celebrity pun." Alec admitted.

Magnus chuckled. "Raphael doesn't make jokes. That was your first mistake."

He let his eyes run slowly up and down Alec's form, and Alec tried not to blush. He felt like he was being x-rayed.

"So, Alexander… what brings you to my humble abode? Couldn't wait to see the video air in a few weeks time like everybody else?"

Raphael cut in before Alec could speak. "Magnus, we talked about this. I told you I'd be hiring you a new personal bodyguard."

Magnus sighed. "And I told you I don't need one."

"Your tour starts in less than a week. You're going to need better security than a bartender."

"Hey, Lucian can throw down if he needs to." Magnus commented, nodding towards a buff, dark-skinned man by the snack table.

"Magnus, I'm not risking your safety. This is non-optional. Mr. Lightwood is your head of security. And you will follow his directions, got it?"

Magnus waved his hand in mock-agreement.

Alec had a feeling he and the star were going to butt heads a lot, if his nonchalant attitude towards respecting him was anything to go by.

"So, what kind of qualifications do you have? Mall security?"

Alec didn't react. "I was Secret Service during Obama's run."

Magnus' eyebrows shot up. "And what caused you to leave that position? Too big of a salary?"

"The change in presidency. With that came a change of staff and I figured I wouldn't make the cut for the specifics set by the new man in charge."

Magnus found his response amusing, if his hidden smirk was anything to go by. "Well, I'm sure you'll be pretty bored babysitting me all the time. But no matter. Welcome to the party."

And with that, he headed back to his group of friends, who immediately fawned over him and started talking a mile a minute about how awesome his music video would be.

Alec turned to Raphael. "He has no idea why you hired me, does he?"

Raphael grimaced. "Not exactly. I trust you can still do your job without informing Mr. Bane of the specifics?"

"It's not how I usually work… but let's move on. I need to get to work on securing the premises. We need to talk about some major changes."

"Of course. Mr. Bane's safety has no price limit. Tell me what you need."

"Well, to start, the windows. Anyone can walk up to the house, pop one of those cracked windows wide open and climb in and wait to pounce. Especially with no security system in place. We need to start there. Surveillance cameras around any entrance, alarm on the windows or bars in place, and some sort of new way to welcome people in. You offered my name to me when I came, instead of letting me introduce myself. What happens if someone else does that and you give them a passable identity? You might as well leave the door wide open…"

Raphael was quickly scrawling down each of his suggestions on a notepad as they walked through the house, and Alec started pointing to other areas as they went.

Magnus was eying the newcomer skeptically but Alec paid him no mind. Their working relationship was going to be… interesting, to say the least.

Chapter Text

Unsurprisingly, Alec deduced that Magnus was not a fan of his presence in his home.

Raphael had been much more accommodating, though not overly friendly, but Alec figured that was his nature. He could understand that—he acted much the same himself.

Alec had given Raphael a list of concerns about the home's entry points – namely the unregulated entry allowances at the front door, the low, easily-opened-from-the-outside windows and the lack of accountability for people coming and going through the house. If someone wanted to sneak in, it would be all too easy. And with Magnus' popularity across the country, there was a large amount of people who wouldn't hesitate to get closer to the star if given the chance.

So Alec got things ordered through Raphael a few days prior and installation began on a Thursday. Security cameras were aimed around the property and inside towards potential access points. An alarm system was put into place, with a panic button in Magnus' bedroom in case of an emergency.

They were preparing the alarms on the upper windows so Alec made his way to the backyard to observe. He kept a close eye on what was being done in case he could pick up on any vulnerabilities, and an annoyed voice pulled him out of his calculating thoughts.

"Alexander, that racket is severely cutting into my sparse relaxation time. Can't you have them do this another day? Like… never?" Magnus said, treading water in the middle of the pool.

It was a large yard with a deep pool overlooking a natural drop off. Magnus also had a greenhouse and expansive patio that had been the host of plenty of parties over the years. It even had a built in bar that Magnus apparently manned himself during more intimate gatherings.

It was beautiful, and, in another world, Alec wouldn't have minded relaxing in the pool alongside him. But he had a job to do.

"Alec." He corrected automatically. "And no. The sooner we get some safety measures in place, the better."

"I don't know what has you so panicked." Magnus grumbled, pulling himself out of the pool and dragging a towel over to start drying his dripping hair.

Alec bit his tongue. He was tempted to tell the man about the main reason he was hired, but now wasn't the time. "It would not hurt for you to be more concerned about your personal safety."

"Who says I'm not? I told you—Raphael is overreacting. I can take care of myself. And I already have people who would jump to my defense if I needed it."

"Luke Garroway's bartending experience is not equivalent to someone trained to protect and serve."

"Ooh, is that your way of saying you would die for me, Alexander? In the line of duty?"

"Yes." Alec replied without missing a beat, and Magnus blanched.

It was the first time Alec had managed to catch him off guard. He tried not to smirk at the victory.

"You're just as dramatic as Raphael." Magnus muttered before sauntering back towards the house.

Alec had to wonder when he would ever see Magnus fully clothed. It seemed the man rarely wore a shirt, or at least a full one, and if he was wearing clothes, they left nothing to the imagination.

He refocused his attention back to observing the changes being put in place.

The next area was the garage on the side of the house.

Alec stepped through the room, eyes narrowed as he reviewed the layout. Thankfully Magnus wasn't obsessed with cars like some celebrities, so he only had his main limo for events and then a sports car for his own driving.

He slipped the keys out of his pocket and unlocked the door, testing the buttons on the fob and then laying on his stomach to look underneath. He was tapping at different pieces when another voice joined the mix.

"What the hell are you doing?"

Alec craned his neck to look at the newcomer. "Checking the car for tampering. Like car bombs or cut brake lines."

"Really?" Luke asked, face contorting in surprise.

It seemed catching people off-guard was the theme of the day.

Alec sat up. "Yes. I can show you what I'm looking for if you want."

Luke paused before nodding and followed his lead as Alec moved around the room, pointing to different areas on the vehicle and talking him through the chronological exam.

"People actually use car bombs? That's not just something that happens on Criminal Minds?"

Alec nodded. "Unfortunately. They're extremely easy to make, since they're all accessible materials, and the gasoline in the car makes for a larger explosion. It's minimal effort for maximum damage."

"Damn. And you think someone might do that to Magnus?"

Alec shrugged. "I'd rather be sure they won't by finding it before it gets detonated. But fans these days, especially with social media giving them an all access pass to a peek into their idol's life, can't be trusted to keep boundaries. And all it takes is someone believing they are owed more than they're given to get desperate to make a mark."

Luke nodded. "Wow. Raphael knew what he was doing when he hired you."

Alec smiled gratefully. At least someone appreciated his work.

Alec was cursing the ridiculous size of the house by the end of the day.

The installers were done for the day and Alec was testing out the new equipment, checking the camera views on the iPad as he walked through the house to ensure there were no blind spots in important areas.

Raphael came in the room and walked over when he spotted him.

"Mr. Lightwood. I have the list you requested." He handed him a multi-page document. "I tried to be thorough, but it's hard given Magnus' busy and social life to be able to recall all of the people he has come in contact over the years. I did include a current and past staff list like you asked."

Alec nodded. "I never expected you to remember every single person Magnus has ever interacted with. I only hoped you would be able to mainly compile the staff lists, including any badly ended employee contracts, and any long-term romantic or platonic relationships that had falling outs that you're aware of. Something that might point a finger towards a specific person that may mean Mr. Bane harm."

"You would likely get better information from the source." Raphael reminded him.

"I know. I figure he won't be as forthcoming with information if it is me asking." Alec said as he scanned through the names on the list.

"You're probably right. But he's upstairs on the balcony doing his usual cool down after rehearsal if you want to try." Raphael said before sweeping away.

Alec crossed the house to head to Magnus' balcony. It stretched out across the back of the house, giving a great view of the drop off.

Magnus was practicing Tai Chi, a regular de-stressor for the star.

Alec automatically went into soldier's pose, hands knotted behind his straightened back, as he waited for Magnus to finish his routine.

The corner of Magnus' mouth quirked at the sight of him in his peripheral and he finished a long stretched pose before grabbing a water bottle.

He pivoted on the balls of his feet to turn to Alec, smiling devilishly, and took a swig of water.

"If you wanted to see me with my clothes off, Alexander, all you had to do was ask. First the pool, now my balcony… I'm seeing a pattern. We can share a shower if you like?"

Alec felt the heat travel from his neck all the way up his face. Damn this man for being so good at getting under his skin.

"I… Uh, I actually came to ask you for some information."

Magnus wiped his face on the towel he grabbed off the railing, and Alec kept his eyes focused on his companion's eyebrow to stop his eyes from wandering down his barely clothed body.

"What do you want to know?"

"Raphael provided me with a list of people that have come and gone from your life. Past employees, old friends, that sort of thing. He said he wasn't able to give an accurate picture as he only saw so much, so he suggested I speak to you. Especially about your past romantic relationships." Alec said, looking down at the note Raphael wrote underneath a couple names that said 'Ask Magnus?'.

Magnus smirked. "Yes, well, Raphael doesn't tend to care much about that part of my life, so of course he's rather oblivious. But I'm afraid my memory is not impeccable. And frankly, I didn't ask every single person I've slept with for their social insurance number so I may not be much help either."

"I don't need every name of every person you've encountered – I just want to have an idea of anyone who may feel slighted or wronged by you. Anyone who may pose a threat, even down the road."

Magnus eyed him carefully. "You sure you want to know? I take it one look at the list I can come up with, just those that immediately come to mind, and I may send your prude little self into shock."

Alec tried not to sigh. "I am not here to judge you, Mr. Bane. Just protect you. My personal life or opinions should not concern you."

"Bit rich coming from someone invading my home and personal history, don't you think?"

Alec gave a nod. "Fair point. But remember I'm not doing this for my personal benefit or interest. I am trying to keep you safe."

"You could wrap me in those gorgeous arms of yours? Clothing optional of course." Magnus said cheekily and Alec tried not to flush at the visual.


"I knew I could get you to say my name. Different context than my ideal but I won't give up hope yet." he said with a wink.

Alec glowered at him. "You're relentless."

"And charming." Magnus added, grinning.

He rolled his eyes. "When you get a chance, the list? Please?"

Magnus nodded. "I'll do what I can."

"Thank you." Alec said before exiting the room, trying not to feel self-conscious about Magnus' eyes following his every move.

Chapter Text

"Is this really necessary, Alexander?"

Alec grumbled under his breath at the use of his full name, not bothering to correct the star anymore. He clearly enjoyed pushing his buttons, so giving in and showing how much it annoyed him was only fueling the fire.

It was only two weeks into the tour, and Alec's prediction that he'd be met with resistance on his plans to keep Magnus safe from the one in question was proving true.

He liked to do a full sweep of every venue prior to letting Magnus roam free. Especially since it was clear Magnus had no regard for personal safety.

Alec continued his patrol, withholding the sigh he longed to release. "Yes, Mr. Bane. I take my job seriously."

"Is there anything you don't take seriously?" Magnus drawled, examining his nails. "I need to get started on my pre-show prep so I'll be ready in time for dress rehearsal. Are you almost done deactivating the bombs at least?"

Alec rolled his eyes. "You know, just because you think you're invincible and everyone worships you, doesn't mean you're right."

"Whatever. Can we hurry this up? I'm starving."

Alec chose not to respond, instead speaking into his wire. "Are we clear?"

"All set. Set him free." Raj chuckled, knowing the impatience of the pop star.

He turned to Magnus. "We're clear."

"Finally." Magnus complained, heading towards his assigned dressing room with his prep team in tow.

Alec followed and leaned against the wall outside of his room, pulling out the mini tablet he had. He opened up the venue map and checked each of his staff's positioning.

Magnus may not outwardly appreciate his efforts, but Alec wasn't going to let that weaken his meticulous professionalism. He had been hired to keep the man safe, and that was exactly what he was going to do.

Magnus let his team do their work, trying not to think about the tall man outside of his dressing room acting like he was going to be tackled at any moment.

He knew Raphael had his reasons for hiring Alec, but he had mostly been a giant pain in his ass. Magnus had not taken well to the modifications done to his home or that the Lightwood man seemed to be the bossiest person on the planet.

He remembered when he came home from a day of shopping to find his house transformed from when he last left it.

"Why are there bars on my windows?! What is this, Alcatraz?!"

Alec inhaled slowly. "Mr. Bane, we will be taking every precaution to keep you safe. That means your home needed some changes."

"This is ridiculous! RAPH!"

Raphael came back into the room, hanging up the phone. "Listen to Mr. Lightwood, Magnus. He knows what he's doing."

"I don't care! I should not need a damn retina scan to enter the front door!"

Alec didn't speak to his over-exaggeration, instead forcing his voice into a steady calm. "Mr. Bane… we've added extra security measures for a reason. The fact that you haven't had more issues with break-ins and over-enthused fans is shocking. Your social media is littered with ways for your fans to track you to this address. You had no security or surveillance system in place, your windows were a completely accessible entry point, and you had so many people running around, anyone could slip in, especially without any proper screening process at your front door."

Magnus had pitched a celebrity-level temper tantrum but Alec didn't budge. It was clear Magnus wasn't getting through to him, so he reluctantly let him continue to run the show and got used to not having his way. Even though he didn't usually keep his mouth shut about it.

After that, Magnus gave up on arguing about it, since even Raphael wasn't sympathetic to him. He made sure to be home for the next set of changes, and that he pushed Alec's buttons at every opportunity during the process.

Still, despite Alec's irritating ways, he knew his heart was in the right place. He may be a hired gun of sorts but the changes did make Magnus start to think about what he was doing. Sometimes, when he was about to post something to social media, he'd now review it. Even going so far to crop certain parts out or blur them to make it a little more secure.

He'd never tell Alec that, of course. He could just picture the smug look on the tall man's face.

Still, annoying though he may be, he at least was easy on the eyes. And Magnus very much enjoyed riling him up at every opportunity. His buttons were so very easy to push. Flirting openly with him was especially rewarding, as it usually caused his porcelain skin to change to a lovely pink hue.

A knock on the door made Magnus look up from watching Meliorn work on his make-up.

Alec's voice came through the closed door. "Mr. Bane, there's a Camille Belcourt here to see you. She says you're old friends. Do you have time to see her or should I get Raphael to set up a time tomorrow?"

Magnus swallowed, the few of his team members who knew his past well looking awkward, and he forced a smile. "I'll be all right. You guys go take a break. Get some nourishment. I'll handle Camille."

"One of us can stay…?"

He shook his head, waving them off. "Go. I'll find out what she wants and then send her on her way."

The group of them left, and Magnus turned in his chair. "Let her in, Alec."

The door opened and the tall brunette entered, a wicked smirk on her lips.

"Magnus. It's been too long."

Alec met Magnus' eyes, and Magnus gave a subtle nod, confirming that she was who she said she was. Alec closed the door behind the pair.

"Camille. What brings you to my dressing room?"

She waltzed over to him in what she probably assumed was a seductive manner, but Magnus wasn't buying it. "Aww, can't I stop by? Or was that privilege revoked when we broke up?"

"You mean when you cheated on me with your agent for nearly a year and then got caught?" Magnus replied coldly.

She pouted. "Still holding a grudge I see."

Magnus crossed his arms, huffing out a breath. "Yeah, I'm stubborn like that, I guess."

"Oh, Magnus. I know we both made mistakes…"

"Some more than others." he interjected bitterly.

"… but I was hoping we could catch up. Reconnect. It's been too long."

"Is this because I got invited to that big award show next week? Are you thinking I'll take you and get you some spotlight time?"

"Now that is a wonderful idea! I could make myself available…"

Magnus sighed. "Camille, just because your modelling career has hit a plateau, it isn't a reason for you to try to manipulate me into letting you back into my life."

Camille stepped closer, looping her arms around his neck, her eyelashes fluttering over her green eyes in an attempt to be sultry. "Magnus, I miss you. We had something good for so long. And your fans love us together. Please? Just think about it. What me and you together could mean… How much fun we had… I know you remember that." she taunted, leaning into him further.

Before he could reply, Camille had backed him against the vanity table and grabbed his face in her hands to kiss him eagerly.

Magnus lost his balance, arms flailing as he fell backwards, before he grabbed her shoulders and shoved her off of him, hard.

"Camille! Don't—!"

But she was forcing herself on him again, her tongue invading his mouth, and before he could do something like bite down on it to get her off, she was wrenched away.

"I believe Mr. Bane told you no." a low voice growled, and Magnus looked up as he wiped his mouth to see Alec with a tight grip around Camille's wrist.

She was dead silent, eyes wide at the dangerous tone, and Alec dragged her by the arm to the door with little to no remorse.

"You've overstayed your welcome, Miss Belcourt. Mr. Garroway will escort you out. And you will not be welcomed back on my watch."

Camille shot a glare back at Magnus before letting an angry Luke direct her outside.

Magnus was speechless, chest rising and falling. He didn't know what to say. Alec looked furious, like he was ready to punch a hole in the wall, and Magnus hadn't seen him in such a state before. He was normally quite pulled together.

"Are you all right?" Alec finally asked.

Magnus managed to find words, hugging his middle and watching the floor instead of meeting his bodyguard's eyes. "Fine. Um… thanks."

Alec nodded. "I apologize for barging in. I promise I wasn't eavesdropping, but I heard you cry out and well…"

Magnus nodded, not lifting his gaze. He felt mortified, not really sure how to talk to him now. He was always giving Alec a hard time about his extensive measures, and, still, at the first sign of Magnus' lack of safety, he was swooping in to his rescue. It was his job, he supposed, but Magnus could've handled it himself too.

Alec took a step closer, eyes roaming over Magnus' form. "She didn't hurt you, did she?"

Magnus shook his head. "No, no, I'm okay. Just… humiliated." he muttered under his breath.

Alec crossed the distance between them then, reaching a hand out to cup Magnus' face so he'd look at him. He lowered himself slightly so he was at eye-level.

"Hey. You have nothing to be embarrassed about, okay?"

"Well, for starters, I let her in here despite my better judgment."

"You just have a good, trusting heart. Sometimes, those that know it, take advantage of it. Especially when they're a person like Camille. But that isn't your fault, okay? I know I've preached taking more precautions about your safety since the second we met—"

"And you were right! I mean, even my hair and make-up team know Camille is bad news, and yet I still let her in this room alone with me."

Alec smiled softly at him, and Magnus found himself mesmerized by the sight.

"You want to see the best in people. That's not something to be ashamed of. But you also mean a lot to a lot of people, and your personal safety is important to honour too."

"I know. I'll try to be less… difficult about it."

Alec laughed, and Magnus couldn't help but break into a grin at the sound. That was new.

"It hasn't hindered me doing my job yet, has it?"


Alec rolled his eyes amusedly. "All right. I'll send your team back in. Dress rehearsal is in fifteen minutes and you still need a lot of work…"


Alec grinned over his shoulder at him, and Magnus chewed his tongue as he tried not to laugh, unable to believe that Alec Lightwood had just made a joke.

But then his hair and make-up team returned with snacks and drinks for him, and Magnus was distracted with soothing their concerns that Camille was long gone.

He didn't share what had gone down during their absence, but they didn't look too worried. He figured that was because of the oddly giddy look on his face that Alec had imprinted on him before he left.

The show was a great success, as always. Magnus shone as bright as he always did in front of a huge crowd, every move he made followed by thousands of eyes and screaming cheers.

Alec directed the security that lined the stage as well as those that kept things clear backstage. He himself watched Magnus from the sidelines, always scanning the crowd for any signs of potential danger.

Thankfully, it was another uneventful night for danger and Magnus quickly cleaned himself up to go do the usual meet-and-greet outside for those lingering around.

Alec dutifully followed, the fan interaction always his most dreaded part of the evening. It was much harder to keep track of everyone and everything when they all were in such close quarters, desperate to get a handful of the star.

But he knew it was extremely important to Magnus and the fans and that it wasn't going anywhere any time soon, so he sucked it up and stayed tight to Magnus' side.

It was much harder to keep things organized when there were people leaping at Magnus and excitedly hugging him and reaching in their coats for their phones. These days, autographs were a thing of the past, so bulky phones came out for the two hundred selfies Magnus would take with his idolizers.

Still, it was hard not to smile seeing the way people would light up like all their dreams came true when Magnus gave them his undivided attention.

Magnus had a way with his fans—he maintained total eye contact, smiled so wide his eyes sparkled, and he listened to every word they said like they were telling him the most important thing he'd ever hear. He joined them in retelling of stories of his, became completely animated in his responses, and generally charmed them even more than they were already.

Each fan would leave, giggling with their companions and sifting through the many selfies he took with them to find the first one they'd post, and Magnus would embrace the next just as whole-heartedly and full of love as the last.

Even Alec couldn't help his entertainment watching the interactions, but he stayed watchful, making sure not to miss a beat.

Finally, things wrapped up and they headed back inside the venue to gather Magnus' things before heading to the local hotel. They'd leave for the next city in the morning.

"Well, tonight was a definite win for the books. I can't wait to lounge in a ridiculous-sized tub and then sleep with eighteen pillows." Magnus was babbling as they headed through the halls.

Alec tried to keep the amusement off his face but it was a hard feat. Working for Magnus was definitely a change of pace from his previous work.

Magnus led the way down the hall, rambling on about all the perks of getting the best suites at hotels and where his best stays were. It wasn't until he opened the door to his dressing room so he could gather the last of his belongings that he went silent.

Alec saw the blood drain from his face, his posture suddenly rigid, and he instinctively cut in front of him to barricade him from whatever horror he was facing.

The vanity mirror was covered in a series of polaroids, all taped in an arrangement. Alec stepped in the room further to get a closer look, but it was clear what the pattern was spelling out.


His eyes narrowed as he looked over the pictures. Most seemed to be candid shots—captured moments of Magnus walking down the street, stopping at cafes, even some from him around the house through what had to be his windows. Him rehearsing, eating dinner, even a couple where he was asleep on the couch.

"What the FUCK is THIS?!" Magnus finally said. Although he obviously meant to sound more malicious, it mostly came out hoarse from fear.

Alec pulled out his phone and started taking pictures immediately. He was trying to control the growing anger in the pit of his stomach. He had security staff everywhere. How had this person gotten in here?

Raphael had come by to see what the hold up was, as the car was waiting outside for them to go, and the smile melted right off of his face like candle wax.

"Do you want to tell him or should I?" Alec asked the silent man, his irritation not masked in the slightest.

"YOU knew about… about…. Whatever the hell THIS is?!" Magnus demanded, rounding on him now that he had a target.

Alec raised a hand in surrender and kept his cool. "Let's talk at the hotel. I'm going to get the police here to do a sweep in case there are any answers. And I'll need to speak to the director of this place to see if there is any surveillance near this room that might help us narrow this person down." He gestured at Luke. "Luke, please escort Mr. Bane outside and do not leave his side for a moment. Do a sweep of the car before getting in it too."

Magnus huffed and stormed away, looking hurt and betrayed, and Alec tried not to let it bother him. He knew his response was entirely valid. Alec had urged Raphael on multiple occasions to tell Magnus, to warn him so things wouldn't come as such a shock and so he could be more wary, but Raphael feared making Magnus paranoid for no reason.

After all, until tonight, they had only received a couple of ransom-like letters in the mail. It could've been a prank. And once Alec was hired on, nothing else came. Obviously the manager had hoped it was over and he wouldn't have to worry the star, but Alec knew obsessions like these rarely faded on their own.

Alec hoped that one good thing would come out of the display left for them tonight—there would be something useful found to track the person down and end things before they got worse.

Of course, luck would have it that things wouldn't be that easy.

The police came and went, promising to call if any evidence lead to something, but Alec could tell by the looks in their eyes they weren't too hopeful. After all, so many people had been in and out of that room that night. And if, god forbid, it was someone on Magnus' team doing such things, it would be virtually impossible to pin it on them from their DNA being at the scene alone.

Naturally, the surveillance stopped shortly before reaching Magnus' dressing room, so they didn't have much to go on there. It was designed to capture where regular guests frequented, rather than more of the backstage situations, due to privacy. Many stars ended up undressing and redressing backstage or in the hallways—to avoid lawsuits or uncodely conduct, they limited the survaillence in those areas during show nights.

Defeated, Alec headed to the hotel to meet with a furious Magnus and hopefully smooth things over.

By the time he arrived, it looked as though Raphael had explained everything—how long ago things started, the few notes they received and what they looked like, and how, despite taking things to the police, nothing had really come of it yet. It was why Raphael had wanted better security during the tour, hence his hiring of Alec.

Alec entered the room quietly, standing with his hands behind his back in a soldier's stance as Magnus paced back and forth in front of a forlorn Raphael.

"So this has been going on for months and you just decided it was better I didn't know?!"

"I worried about making you paranoid, affecting your comfort on stage and with fans… If it was just a harmless prank or something to rattle you with no real intention of going further, it seemed cruel to burden you with it…" Raphael explained, looking at the shag rug with his head hung.

"And what about you? What's your excuse?" Magnus snapped at Alec.

He exhaled slowly. "I would've told you myself, but I figured you'd assume I was making it up in order to make you more compliant with the changes I implemented. I wanted you to trust me as your head of security and was worried you'd rebel even further against the new things in place if I gave you a reason to."

Magnus grumbled under his breath. "Damn."

Alec raised one eyebrow in question.

"You're probably right. I wouldn't have believed you. I guess I needed to see it for myself."

Magnus straightened up from his moping position and crossed his arms.

"So… now that everything is in the open, what comes next? Should we… should we be cancelling the tour?"

Alec noticed he was looking at him now; normally he'd go through Raphael first, but he supposed he could understand why he was a little less forgiving of the man he'd known for many years keeping secrets.

"Well, truth be told, no. I think, with stalkers of this nature, the more you keep moving the better. Now, of course, with a music tour such as yours, all of your dates and venues are posted. But if those pictures tonight are anything to go by, they know where you live. I'd feel better knowing they don't know where you're sleeping each night, as your hotel stays are private. And I will continue to make sure we have maximum security at each venue. In fact, I may double it if the police don't give us anything substantial from their findings tonight."

Magnus nodded. He seemed to accept Alec's input on the subject.

"Also, the last thing we want to give this person is the attention from you they're craving. So not a word of this to anyone, okay? All we need is the media getting wind of it and it'll explode. Not even anything cryptic on social media that could allude to the situation we're dealing with. Attention and the spotlight on them is exactly what this person wants. We don't want them to know they've gotten to you."

"But they have." Magnus muttered.

"I signed on to be your personal bodyguard, Mr. Bane. I'm good at what I do. You don't have anything to worry about as long as I'm nearby."

"Good." Magnus said, nodding. "In that case, Raphael… I want you to call our next series of hotels. Make sure I am booked in a suite with a double bedroom. I want Alexander staying in the next room for the rest of the tour."

Alec's eyes widened but he didn't say anything.

Raphael nodded quickly, pulling out his phone to get started. Alec figured he'd do anything to get back into Magnus' good graces.

"For tonight, Alexander, you have your own room and I'll stick to just having a hired gun outside my door. You better enjoy it while it lasts because I'll warn you… I'm a bathroom hog." Magnus said, a sly smile on the corner of his lips before he headed into his en-suite.

Alec swallowed, not really sure what to make of the new arrangements, but unable to deny that his job was continuing to get more interesting.

Chapter Text

Alec settled back further into the pillows, smiling to himself as he read over the most recent text he received.

It had only been a few days since Alec had 'moved in' with Magnus, and so far it hadn't been so bad. Magnus had an extensive evening and morning routine, but since Alec was typically low maintenance when it came to daily prep, they managed to make it work.

Alec typically was awake first, showered and sipped at coffee while Magnus got up later and took a luxuriously long shower, exfoliated, moisturized, and did a bunch more things that Alec tuned out whenever Magnus prattled on about it when he made a comment about it.

Have you met any celebrity pals of Magnus' yet?

Alec rolled his eyes at his sister's curiosity.

No, Iz. Been a little busy trying to, y'know, do my job.


He chuckled. Another text came through shortly after.

I miss you.

The three words made him sigh.

I miss you too. I wish the tour allowed me to take a visit home at some point but it's so busy. And with everything going on, I don't want to leave Magnus vulnerable.

I know. You always do what's right. Your brothers miss you too. Max is already taller. And he's acting more like you every day.

I miss them too. How is Max like me? I thought he'd end up more like Jace when he was younger to be honest. Too curious for his own good sometimes.

Oh he definitely has his mischievous side. But he's got a good head on his shoulders too. He looks up to you so much. He may want to be Jace's best pal but he wants to BE you.

I have no idea why. He'll grow out of it, I'm sure.

Alec! Don't be stupid.

Yeah, yeah, love you too.

You know I love you, dummy.

Before he could respond with some other mocking jest, a rap of knuckles on his open door startled him out of his texting.

"Hey. If you want the bathroom, I'm done."

Alec slipped off the bed, grabbing his clothes and sending Magnus a smile. "Thanks. I won't be long."

Magnus let him by and turned to head to his own room, using one hand to dry his hair with a towel, until a noise caught his attention.

It only took him a moment to track it to Alec's cell phone on the bedspread that he left behind.

Curiosity brewed under his skin, and the second vibrate made him skip over to pick up the device. Maybe it was urgent?

He swiped to open the recent texts and stumbled upon his conversation with someone named Izzy.

He read back a few messages, his brow furrowing, especially once he got a look at the icon attached to her contact.

His eyebrows rose into his hairline. The woman was beautiful. Gorgeous.

Did Alec have a girlfriend? How had he never mentioned her?

To be fair, he couldn't recall Alec sharing much of anything to do with his life. He was a rather quiet figure, except when it came to barking orders.

If his text conversation was anything to go by, they clearly were serious, what with the playful banter and exchanges of missing each other. The casually dropped I love yous. And it sounded as though she was close to his family—making comments about his brothers the way she did, as if she had been seeing them regularly despite his absence in their lives.

It wasn't that surprising that someone had snatched Alec up. After all, Magnus wasn't blind. Alec was an attractive guy. A little too serious and uptight at times, but his appearance was certainly lacking in faults. Although, with the quiet temperament of the man, it likely took a special someone to break through his walls.

Magnus didn't know why it made his chest feel heavier.

It caught up to him when he heard the faucet running in the bathroom, that Alec could be done any moment. He quickly replaced the phone where he found it and skittered away from the bed, not wanting to be caught snooping. Alec's personal life was none of his business.

Maybe he was just bothered about it because of the other night with Camille. Alec seeing a vulnerable piece of his relationship past, and Magnus not having a clue that Alec had a present one. He had felt closer to Alec since that night, and once he revealed to him the real reason he hired him. It made him feel like he could trust him. And Magnus wasn't one to hand out trust like that to just anyone.

He didn't realize he was still hovering at Alec's doorway until the man returned, surprise on his face.

"Uh… is something wrong? Did something happen?" Alec asked, going into business-mode immediately.

His face looked freshly clean, the evening stubble shadowing his cheeks, and Magnus found himself distracted at the sight of him so casually dressed in pajamas pants and a t-shirt that he almost forgot that he was expected to speak.

Izzy's one lucky lady.

"Uh… sorry. I…"

Magnus corrected his throat.

"I was just thinking back to the other night. With Camille. I was a little too dumbstruck to say it then I think, but I wanted to make sure I had thanked you for stepping in and removing her from the building."

"It's my job, remember?" Alec teased, and Magnus felt the tightness in his chest lift a little. Their banter was what he had been enjoying since that night. The side of Alec he only got to see snippets of, when he let his guard down.

"I know, I know. But not just that. What you said… I don't know, it stuck with me. So thank you for that too."

Alec leaned against the door jamb, looking a little amused. Before Magnus could ask, he explained, clearly catching the question in his expression.

"Words aren't really my specialty. Just sort of ironic, considering. But I appreciate it."

"Why, Alexander, words aren't your specialty? Since when?" Magnus asked, mock-incredulous, and Alec rolled his eyes.

"Yes, I should really run for office with my way with words. I'm sure the public is ready for a socially awkward introvert to lead them to greatness."

Magnus threw his head back and laughed at that, finding Alec's eyes sparkling with mirth right back at him. Alec certainly had a mischevious side to him too.

The trait made him pause and think back to the conversation he peeked at.

Right. Alec was… involved. He shouldn't be this playful with him. Some might take it as flirting, and he wasn't interested in being that guy. Even if Alec hadn't confided that he was in a relationship and he could feign obliviousness. He supposed he'd have to reel back his purposeful flirting now too, despite the lovely blush his words always forced on his companion.

He straightened up and forced a smile. "Well. I should head to bed. Goodnight, Alexander."

He slinked away, not wanting to look back in case Alec could sense the disappointment in his face.

"Night." he called back, before closing his bedroom door.

Alec crawled into bed, plugging his phone in and texting a quick response to Izzy before lying down to sleep.

He wondered what had gotten into Magnus. They seemed to be in a good place, but then he started acting odd. Did he do something wrong? Push too hard?

The troubling thoughts eventually cradled him to sleep.

Early mornings were not Magnus' thing.

Ironic, considering how often he had to get up at an ungodly hour to either make some talk show, start rehearsals, or begin travelling.

Still, despite his experience, he still had to drag his feet and grumble under his breath until at least after a hot shower and mug of strong coffee.

Alec, on the other hand, appeared like he did at any other time of day; bright, alert, and ready for anything. Magnus would have assumed he would be the grumpier of the two of them, but it seemed that mildly irritated was Alec's general state of being and it didn't exceed that just because of the early hour.

The only thing that seemed to really increase his irritation was Magnus himself.

Then again, Magnus could probably work on giving him less of a hard time or not pressing so many of his buttons, but it was so fun.

"Mr. Bane, please return to the inside of the vehicle." Alec said through a heavy sigh.

Magnus poked his head through the open roof. "Keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times." he imitated an amusement park ride operator robotically.

"Magnus… you are exposed out there. We don't know if who is stalking you is dangerous to your physical well-being and they no doubt know about your appearance on Ellen."

"My fans are also aware of my appearance and expect to get a glimpse of me on my way there. I can't disappoint them."

"They will be even more disappointed if you get a bullet in your head." Alec pointed out.

Magnus huffed and climbed down from his perch, collapsing back into his seat with his arms crossed. "You really know how to dampen a mood, Alexander."

"One of my many charms." Alec quipped, going back to his tablet.

Magnus tried not to watch him too closely from the corner of his eye. It was hard not to notice that Alec was actually an incredribly attractive man, somehow more noticable now that he knew he had an equally attractive partner. Or so he assumed. Alec had still not mentioned anything about having a girlfriend. If he did, he still hoped that Alec followed his sexuality spectrum more—at least if he was bisexual, he couldn't write off something happening between them someday completely off the table.

Then again, Alec also was infuriating at times, stubborn and callous, even though the softer side he had seen lately could melt his heart.

"We're here." Alec said as the car began to slow.

Magnus jumped up immediately and Alec's hand shot out to grab him.

"Remember what we talked about." Alec said exasperatedly, like he was dealing with a hyperactive child.

Magnus pouted and slunk back to his seat. He hated being told what to do and bossed around, but he knew that Alec knew what he was doing and it was important. After the other night, he wasn't looking to be risky at any venue, even one as well secured as Ellen DeGeneres' Warner Brothers studio.

Alec immediately went into Head of Security mode, directing the security team and going to meet with the main security person for the studio before even letting Magnus out of the car.

It would be boring if it wasn't so hot watching him take initiative and order people around with the cool confidence he exuded while he was working.

Still, Magnus was anxious to get inside and get prepped for the show. It was his favourite show to be on and he had only been on once before after he had won first place on the show. He loved watching Ellen even before he was famous. She always treated every guest equally, like they were a long-time friend, and he loved how comfortable he felt despite the millions of eyes on the pair of them and her unexpected questions or turns.

A moment later, Alec was opening the door for him.

"All right. All clear." Alec said warmly, gesturing him ahead.

Magnus reached out to clasp his arm for support to stand up. "Why thank you, Alexander. Such a gentleman." he teased, sashaying past him to head inside.

Alec rolled his eyes but he was fighting a smile.

Magnus heard an explosion of screams upon his exit from the limo, and he grinned brightly in direction to the fenced off area where fans were losing their mind over the sight of him.

"Can I go say hi?"

"I don't think that's a good idea. There has been no regulation of who is over there and if they're carrying any weapons…"

But Magnus was already skipping off to greet people, waving excitedly and embracing the ones he could reach.

Alec sighed as he trotted after him. This man was going to be the death of him.

Magnus took countless photos with exuberant fans and signed any paper thrust into his hand.

Finally, he pulled out his own phone. "I'm on Ellen today – and look at the beautiful sight that greets me!" he shouted into the camera, holding his phone far away to capture the rows of screaming teens jumping up and down. "You guys are amazing! So excited to meet more of you on this tour! Love you all!"

He ended the video as Alec put a hand on his lower back.

"Magnus, we're on a schedule. Time to go inside."

Magnus nodded. "Sorry, my bodyguard is a buzzkill. See you lovelies later!" he chirped at his audience before letting Alec lead him away back to the studio.

The screams didn't get cut off until the door of the studio closed behind them.

"Magnus! We've got to get you to hair and make-up." Raphael said, looking at his watch. "You're the second guest on the show so we need to get going."

Magnus waved a hand dismissively at him. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I hear you. I was giving the fans a little something they likely waited hours for. And now I have something to post to my Instagram story."

Alec met Raphael's eyes and shrugged one shoulder, admitting defeat at his ability to keep Magnus in line.

"You're fine with that, right? Since both my people and Ellen's show have been promoting my apperance here all week, so it's not as like some stalker will get new information that I'll be here today." Magnus said as he sat in the make-up chair.

Alec nodded. "Yes, exactly. It's like with your tour venues. Everything is posted well in advance, which is why we have to take such extra precautions when here, but not so much with social media."

Magnus grinned, not used to his approval, but also realizing belatedly that he never used to look for it so openly.

A well dressed woman came into the room then, wearing a headset and holding a clipboard, and her eyes went wide upon seeing the man standing off to the side of the star.

"Oh my god. Alec Lightwood?!" the blonde squeaked.

Alec's body language changed entirely. "Lydia? Hey! I didn't realize you worked here." he said as she pulled him into a big hug. She was very small compared to his tall form.

"I'm just filling in mostly, while their usual person is on maternity leave. Helping direct the show's schedule and keep things running smoothly. I thought you were working in Washington?"

"I was. But now that Trump is in office…"

"Ah. I'm sure he has certain specifications for his Secret Service team." Lydia said knowingly.

Magnus felt a little confused. Alec had implied something of the sort before when they met, but he didn't know what he meant by it. He figured he just wasn't a Trump supporter. Now he felt like he was missing something. Maybe Alec followed a disapproved religion? Or was an immigrant?

"Well, I also wouldn't want to protect someone who was against the safety of so many others just because they are different." Alec admitted. "It's really good to see you."

"You too." she said, smiling brightly up at him. She then seemed to remember there were others in the room. She clasped her hands together. "Sorry! Magnus! It is amazing to meet you. I'm Lydia."

"Nice to meet you too, Lydia." Magnus replied, kissing her proffered hand.

She giggled at his chivalry. "Let's get started with the plan for today, shall we?"

"You're not going to escort me out there, are you?"

"No. But I will be here on the sidelines to make sure nothing goes awry. I've got people stationed in different areas that I can direct from here."


"Have fun out there." Alec said, pressing a hand to his headset to listen in to the voice talking to him. He nodded at Magnus when Lydia gestured him to go on, so he assumed Alec had gotten the all clear from the others.

Magnus headed out to the stage as the music swelled and Ellen's voice announced his presence.

He danced in his spot for a moment, giving a twirl, before crossing the stage to hug Ellen and settle in the armchair across from her.

"Well, no surprises that you are a world famous singer/dancer. We should hire you to do dance solos every show! We can just kick Twitch out!"

Twitch laughed from his spot at the DJ booth, eyes sparkling with mirth.

Magnus laughed along. "I wish. I am so very lucky to get to do what I do each day. I am forever grateful for the talent reality shows growing in popularity so that people like me have a chance to be discovered when we never would've had the resources otherwise."

"Yes, there is a lot of talent in America and beyond, and it is so great that these incredible people reaching their dreams."

"Definitely." Magnus agreed, sipping at the mug of water in front of him.

"Speaking of dreams, how is your tour going? This is, what, your third US tour? Any plans to go further?"

"It's been incredible. We have a beautiful country that I get to see so much of and it is amazing to be able to meet so many fans from all over. I'd love to go further, like Europe or another continent, but there are a lot of logistics to work out when going that far. Also need to be sure the demand is high enough to warrant it."

"Oh come on. There has to be enough demand around the globe. You're amazing!"

The audience cheered alongside her sentiment.

Magnus wasn't great at taking compliments, and he was grateful his dark skin didn't show his blush well. "Thank you. We'll see. Hopefully next tour."

"So what is new this tour? I know you have a couple dates in Canada this time around, and obviously you're promoting your newest album, but I see you've also found yourself a bigger security team."

Magnus nodded. "Yes, my manager thought it would be wise to have people with better qualifications than a previous bouncer at a bar, given the magnitude of this tour."

"And your head of security, Alec. I met him earlier. He seems to know what he's doing."

A photo of Alec appeared on the screen behind them, his head bent to murmur directions in Magnus' ear as they moved through a crowd of people all trying to get a handful of the star. It was at one of the concert venues last week. His eyes were intense, one of his big hands on Magnus' lower back, but he was every bit as gorgeous as ever.

The audience certainly seemed to think so, if their sudden cheering was anything to go by.

Ellen grinned. "He's not for me, of course, but everyone here seems to think what my staff tell me – he's… pretty."

Magnus rolled his eyes. "Pretty infuriating, but sure."

She laughed. "Is this the old-married-couple bickering I've heard rumors about? The tabloids seem to catch the pair of you arguing a lot."

The photo on the screen changed to one of him and Alec clearly in the middle of some spat, Alec's eyes mid-rolling while Magnus' mouth was twisted in an irritated scowl.

"I wouldn't call it that, but yes, we argue a lot. He's a bit uptight and bossy and I've never been good at being told what to do. Makes for interesting interactions. But I do know what he is doing is important and he is good at what he does."

"So you trust him at least?"

Magnus nodded. "With my life."

There was a series of aws throughout the studio and he wrinkled his nose at the audience.

"Well, he works my security! I should hope he can protect my life!" he said exasperatedly to the group.

Laughter broke out through the studio and he shrugged at Ellen for her amused expression.

"You make a good point. It is important you feel safe. How does he do that? Lots of wrapping you in his big arms?"

Magnus shot her a warning look, which only made her laugh.

"Not quite. It typically means me sitting on the sidelines while—"

But his spiel was interrupted by the table next to them bursting open with a shriek and a glittery disco-ball-looking costumed person running away off stage.

Magnus had startled so badly he had moved without thinking and found himself half-straddled on the back of the chair before burying his face in the cushion.

"Ellen! Why?! I thought I was in the clear since you didn't scare me last time!" he shouted at her amongst the eruption from the audience at the scene.

She was cackling in her seat, wiping her eyes. "I didn't get you last time because I wanted to make sure you came back."

"Oh, I see, so you built my trust up just to break it?!" he said hysterically, climbing back into his seat.

It was when he was resettling that he spotted Alec losing it off-stage and he flipped him his middle finger.

The audience roared with laughter again.

"Sorry. Forgot this was day time TV. That is not a nice gesture to do, kids." Magnus said directly to the camera before turning back to the host.

"I see you were right about your relationship with your head of security."

Magnus shrugged. "We're complicated, but I think it works." He glanced back at Alec to see him smiling, small and private, aimed right at him. He felt something in his chest flutter.

He dragged his eyes back to Ellen to see him watching him knowingly and he corrected his throat.

"So now that my heart has restarted, shall we continue?" he asked.

"Speaking of your heart, anyone stolen it these days?"

He knew she wouldn't let it slide. She was a successful talk show host for a reason. She had incredible observation skills, a heart of gold, and knew how to ask direct questions without hesitation.

Magnus chuckled. "Not at the moment. This tour is keeping me pretty busy. I barely have time to FaceTime my cats."

"Nobody on your team? No one you travel with and stick close to their side…" she trailed off, glancing pointedly in Alec's direction, and he laughed.

"Nope. Just me."

Ellen sighed heavily, throwing him a forgiving grin, and then thankfully moved on to asking him about his inspiration for his most popular new song.

It was mid-morning the next day when Alec got a call from Izzy.

"Hey big bro. I saw Magnus on Ellen yesterday." she said teasingly, and he could tell it was going in a direction he didn't like.

"Glad you enjoyed the show." he said as he zipped his suitcase closed.

"Oh Alec, don't be like that. Be honest - is there something going on between you two?"

"No? Of course not! He's my client. And even if he wasn't, we bicker more than we talk. I told you—he drives me crazy some days."

"I know, but I figured that the best sex always starts with a little tension."

"Jesus, Izzy!" Alec groaned, rubbing a hand over his face.

She laughed. "Well, was he honest on the show? I know some fans still stupidly want him back together with Camille, but he never looked happy with her. Is he still single?"

"You know, I didn't take this job so I could be your spy on all things Magnus Bane." Alec said irritably, pushing his arm through his leather jacket.

Magnus was walking by when he heard it, and he couldn't help the swell of pride in his chest along with pure amusement at Alec's irritability. He nudged the door open further with a knock of his knuckles and held out his hand for the phone.

Alec sent him a look, but Magnus simply gestured for him to pass it over and Alec sighed as he gave him the phone.

"Magnus Bane speaking. Now, may I ask who's asking about me before I spill all my secrets?" Magnus said cheekily, eyes locked on Alec.

Alec was smothering a grin with difficulty, going back to getting ready. He knew his sister was about to lose her mind, especially since Alec hadn't been able to give her any warning. She had watched every episode of that damn reality show and had loved Magnus ever since. She was so excited when Alec told her he had been hired on to work with him.

"Holy shit." The female voice on the other end of the line breathed. "Hi. Sorry, I'm Isabelle. Or Izzy. Whatever you prefer."

The photo from Alec's phone popped into his head, along with the conversation he peeked at. So this was Izzy.

"Nice to make your acquaintance. Alec never told me he had a lady friend." Magnus said, slipping a little away from the bedroom now so Alec wouldn't necessarily hear.

To his surprise, Izzy broke out into loud laughter. "Yeah, well, Alec doesn't really do 'lady friends' of any kind. Regardless, I'm not his girlfriend—I'm his sister."

Magnus' eyebrows shot into his hairline and he couldn't help the grin that formed on his face by the news. He felt stupid for not considering that possibility before. Thinking back to her photo, the family resemblance was obvious.

"So you can't tell me about any top secret skeletons in his closet?"

Izzy laughed. "Not much to tell in the relationship area, if that's what you're after. I'll leave it to my big brother to fill you in on any… um… closeted details."

Although he knew her wording was a nod to his, he figured her awkwardness about it meant that maybe Alec was gay. He had hoped in his wildest dreams that it was a possibility, given the way Alec blushed so spectacularly at any flirting hew threw his direction and the way his eyes never followed even the most gorgeous of women that walked past, but after seeing him reacquaint with Lydia the day before, he was wondering if they were old flames. Her comment about not working for Trump certainly made sense – the current president was definitely not an LGBT ally.

He was enjoying this phone call more and more.

"Well, enough about your brother. Tell me about you. And you can ask me anything you want to know."

Meanwhile, Alec finished getting ready and came out to find Magnus chatting animatedly with Izzy on the phone like they were old friends. He was sprawled out in the armchair, legs flopped over the armrest, and he seemed perfectly at ease.

Alec never would understand the ease at which Magnus could communicate with people. He never seemed nervous or worried about saying the wrong thing—it was like he knew exactly what to say or ask with everyone to keep them interested, entertained and above all else – feeling special. It was fascinating to witness, especially since all Alec had ever managed to do was make people feel afraid of him or just plain uncomfortable.

Alec met Magnus' eyes and twirled his finger in a 'wrap it up' gesture, pointing to his watch.

Magnus rolled his eyes. "Sorry, Izzy. Your brother is giving me the finger."


Magnus grinned, clearly pleased with himself for his choice of wording. "I'll text you my number, Isabelle, and we can continue this conversation later."

He said his goodbyes and tossed the phone back to Alec. He looked down to see Izzy had already hung up. Sheesh. She had called to talk to him originally and she hadn't even bothered to say bye.

He supposed that was the magic of Magnus though. He had the ability to make you feel like you were the only person in the world at the time.

"All right. Let's get going then." Magnus said, grabbing his bag and hoisting it over his shoulder. "I like your sister by the way. She had a lot of interesting things to say about you, too."

Alec blanched. "Wait, like what?"

Magnus continued walking out of the door, not turning back.

"Magnus! Like what?!"

Chapter Text

Alec flipped through various articles as Magnus was quiet next to him. It wasn't entirely unusual during their flights but he often chatted with various members of the team about whatever he had on his mind, asked questions about their lives, or got them pumped about the next city stop.

It was his head lolling to Alec's shoulder, almost startling him, that made him realize his silence was due to Magnus being asleep.

He couldn't help himself from inhaling the sandalwood smell now that Magnus was so close to him. It was nice. Calming.

Alec continued his searching, trying to find someone who might make sense as Magnus' stalker. Someone who commented on every article or post or said things that implied they weren't stable. The police hadn't been much help from the Chicago venue, and the list Raphael and Magnus provided hadn't had any glaringly obvious suspects, so he was trying to take things into his own hands the only way he knew how–Internet creeping.

Unfortunately, there were a lot of 'thirsty' comments across the internet so it was tough to narrow it down.

Where the stalker clearly knew where Magnus lived, and had a lot of intimate photos that suggested they had learned his routine, he wondered if it was someone who knew him personally. Maybe even before the fame, so that now that they felt he owed them more than he did others. More attention, more gratitude, it was hard to tell.

Alec stopped on an article about 'Banecourt'. Seeing Magnus posed with Camille hanging off his arm made his stomach twist. His only experience with her was not a positive one, and he knew that wasn't going to change if he spent more time with her.

Even looking at those photos, he could see a tightness in Magnus' eyes that wasn't something he saw these days. The photos were dated months prior to their 'devastating' break-up. The biggest war between fans about Magnus was those who shipped the couple and those who didn't – the latter arguing that Magnus was clearly happier without her, and Alec was inclined to agree.

Did that mean Camille had stalker tendencies? She clearly wasn't a stable, sane individual, but that didn't necessarily translate to becoming Magnus' personal stalker. She was there that night, at the venue the message was left at. She knew where his dressing room was. Was it possible she snuck back in somehow, past security, and planted the message while Magnus was on stage?

If not her, maybe another scorned lover? Or wanna-be-lover?

Magnus stirred in his sleep, and Alec flipped articles to his win on the talent show.

"Mm, we there yet?"

Alec looked out of the window. "I'm still seeing only clouds, so I'd say we're still in the air."

"Smart ass." Magnus grumbled, but he left his eyes closed and snuggled into Alec's shoulder further. Alec automatically adjusted himself and swept an arm around Magnus' waist to hold him more comfortably, grateful they hadn't put the armrest down between them earlier.

Magnus must have been exhausted; he normally wasn't this touchy-feely with Alec. And Alec didn't know when they got to a point that they were comfortable enough with each other to sit like this, especially without bickering, but he supposed Magnus not talking much was a good help.

"Shouldn't be much longer. The plane map says just over half an hour."

"Good." Magnus replied, breath fanning against Alec's neck as he settled closer against his side.

Alec couldn't help but think of his phone call with Izzy earlier, when she asked if anything was going on. He could certainly say this was new territory for him. Obama certainly had never cuddled up to him during a plane ride.

But it didn't have to mean anything. After all, Magnus was a celebrity, not the president of the United States. The professional line was much less strict. And he and Magnus sharing a hotel room had certainly sped up their relationship some. He didn't aggravate him as much as he once did, and Magnus listened to him more than he used to. That may have been aided by the stalker scare, but Alec still took it as a win.

He was touched when Magnus genuinely confessed on Ellen to trusting Alec with his life. He had hoped he was making the star feel safer but hearing the words from his usually stubborn mouth was still satisfying.

Still, trusting Alec to essentially do his job did not translate to wanting to date him, despite what Izzy thought. And Ellen had basically asked him about having feelings for Alec and he denied them, but that wasn't much to go on either, as he doubted even Magnus would use a public setting to broadcast feelings he had yet to share with the person they were for.

Alec didn't know why he was stressing over this. He didn't have feelings for Magnus. He was just growing to like him as a… friend of sorts.

Yeah. That was all.

He pointedly ignored the swoop in his stomach when Magnus snuggled even closer in his sleep.

"You're not going to put her in a headlock if she tries to hug me, are you?" Magnus asked with a raised eyebrow.

Alec shot him an unimpressed look. "No, obviously."

"I wouldn't claim it as obvious – you have put your hands up to stop more than one fan from getting too close, no matter their age." Magnus reminded him.

Alec scoffed. "Forgive me for fearing for your safety when some stranger runs at you at full speed, reaching their hands into their pocket or coat. My mind is trained to assume the worst."

Magnus rolled his eyes. "Well you can tell your mind to chill out. Raphael said the winner of the contest is young, around nine or ten, and she is a foster kid. I highly doubt a child, even in foster care, knows how to operate a gun or will pull a knife on me."

Alec put his hands up in mock surrender. "I'll keep my hands to myself."

Magnus typically was pretty involved with his fans, regularly hosting meet and greets, reaching out via social media, and, of course, holding contests. Most of his contests involved actually getting to meet him, whether it be VIP tickets to a show where he'd meet them backstage or pull them up during a song, or, like this one, they'd win a recreational day with him.

Magnus, as always, was thrilled to get a chance for one-on-one time with a fan, especially someone younger. It typically was teens or older who won these things, despite always being open to all ages.

"Magnus? Alec? Madzie just arrived." Luke told the pair, sticking his head into the room.

Magnus clapped his hands together excitedly before heading to the main room they had rented in the hotel to host the young girl.

A small, dark-skinned girl was standing shyly next to Dot, one of Magnus' back-up dancers. She was the one who had accompanied her in the limo as she also was part of the facilitators for the contests. Raphael wasn't much into running those types of contests, so she did the most of the work, including meeting up with them to bring them to Magnus.

"Here's Magnus!" Dot said excitedly, looking down at Madzie.

Madzie's little face broke into a big grin but she stepped behind Dot's leg a little to shield herself from his gaze.

Magnus' feigned offense, putting his hand on his chest. "Madzie! You don't have to be afraid of me. I've been counting down the days until I get to meet you. Are you ready for a fun day together?"

He crouched down several feet away, opening his arms, but leaving it entirely up to her to close the distance between them.

She only hesitated for a moment before running into his arms for a tight hug.

"Hi, sweet pea! Thank you so much for coming to see me today." Magnus told her as he let her go.

She was smiling brightly at him now.

"So! I have a few fun things planned for our day, but you let me know if there is anything you want to do, and I will do my best to make it happen."

He took her hand and led her out of the room, Alec following closely behind.

"Don't mind him. He's my bodyguard. He wants to make sure you and I both stay safe so he's going to hang out with us today too."

Madzie nodded and flashed a little smile over her shoulder. Alec smiled back easily.

They got into the hotel elevator and Magnus pressed the P button.

"Do you know where we're going? The P in this elevator does not mean Penthouse." Magnus leaned down to whisper. "I heard you like to swim."

Madzie's face lit up immediately, even if she hadn't said much yet, and Alec found himself smiling in the corner as they passed through the floors to their destination.

Magnus, thankfully, could hold a conversation all his own. He went on about all the places he wanted to swim someday, even fictional places, and Madzie giggled along and watched him like he hung the stars in the sky.

Alec could admit it was a little endearing to see Magnus so charming with children. He supposed he should have known, since he was charming with all people Alec had seen him interact with.

"So I have Dot bringing us down something special to wear, but this whole place is ours for the next couple hours!"

Madzie's eyes went huge as she looked around the large indoor pool, complete with a couple water slides and plenty of toys in the baskets along the wall.

Dot came in to the room a moment later, grinning widely at the pair. "So Madzie, I brought something for both you and Magnus to match if you're up for it. A swim suit, of course, but also… these!"

Madzie actually squealed this time, and Alec found his face breaking into a grin like the others. She was pretty adorable. This day would be more enjoyable than Alec had initially anticipated. He was expecting some spoiled child that would demand all of Magnus' attention and take advantage of the star. He was glad to be proven very wrong.

"Let's go get dressed and get this pool party started!" Magnus said, snatching the larger of the two mermaid tails from Dot's hands and bounding off to the change rooms.

Alec followed dutifully as Dot led Madzie to the girl's room.

"She is so precious." Magnus said, as he whipped his clothes off behind the curtain and pulled on swim trunks.

"She is." Alec agreed.

"I know you've noticed. I could tell even she melts your icy, Secret Service agent heart." Magnus teased.

"My heart is not icy. I just am focused on my work." Alec retorted. "Plus, I like kids."

"You do?"

"Yes. I grew up taking care of younger siblings, including my baby brother, who is ten years younger than me. And holidays at boarding school, I was always the oldest, so kind of the surrogate big brother."

Alec corrected his throat, realizing he was oversharing, but Magnus chose that moment to step out. Then his mind had to focus on not staring at Magnus' exposed upper body.

He had seen him shirtless plenty of times before. At his house, dancing on stage. A few of his numbers during his concerts involving no shirt or barely one, but being this close to him and in private made his head spin a bit.

"Izzy seems to think you're a good big brother. She wasn't shy about sharing how amazing she thinks you are, and I only talked to her for a few minutes."

Alec shifted his weight between his feet, looking away now.

Maybe recognizing his discomfort, Magnus changed the subject. "Time to swim!" He skipped past him and returned to his guest of honour.

Alec followed, reminding himself to be less awkward, and the pool party began.

It ended up being a pretty fun day, for all involved.

The swimming lasted a good couple hours, and Madzie started coming out of her shell more. She was giggling constantly, flipping her mermaid fin alongside Magnus' and having fun splashing and playing with the various toys. Magnus dragged her next to him through the water so she sped through it like a true ocean-dweller.

She even smiled up at Alec plenty, seeming to enjoy his and Magnus' banter back and forth, and preened under the compliment when Alec told him he liked her fins. She wagged her tail at him excitedly, and Magnus knew the mermaid tails were a good idea.

After swimming, it was time for eating lunch. Magnus had a whole kid-friendly buffet prepared and watched with glee as Madzie had fun picking different things to try and sample before loading her plate.

Following that, Magnus had rented out a private bakery kitchen and they worked on decorating pre-made cookies and cupcakes. Magnus insisted on Alec joining them, especially after seeing how much Madzie had warmed up to him in their short time together. Alec, apparently a sucker for her big brown eyes, agreed after she looked up at him hopefully.

Magnus' competitiveness came out as soon as they got down to business.

"I like lots of colours." Magnus was saying as he dolloped a blob of icing in spots on the cupcake he was working on while Madzie squirted wiggly lines on her cookie.

He opened his mouth to ask Alec if he wished there was a black coloured icing when he saw what Alec was working on.

"WHAT is THAT?!" Magnus exclaimed.

Alec startled at the attention, looking down at the cookie he was decorating as if searching for something he was missing.

"What do you mean?"

"That!" Magnus said, flailing a hand at it. "What, do you secretly run a bakery as a side job? Or go to Decorators Anonymous?!"

Alec laughed when he realized he was, in a back-handed way, complimenting his decorating skills.

"That last one doesn't even make sense, but is it really amazing or is it just because you can't even best a ten year old?"

Madzie seemed to love watching the two of them bicker, smiling to herself as she worked quietly, sporadically peeking up to watch the pair.

Magnus did not shy down from biting back a retort, accenting it with a flick of his wrist, but he unfortunately had the icing bag still in his hand and a spurt of it hit Alec's forearm.

Alec chewed his tongue for a moment, raising his eyebrows in challenge at Magnus.

"I… I swear I didn't mean to do that…" Magnus began, covering his mouth to hide a laugh.

"Oh? Is that right? I can see the deep-seated remorse in your eyes." Alec said, stepping slowly down the length of the counter, eyes locked on Magnus'.

Alec glanced towards Madzie, and his face twisted into a grin.

"Let's get him, Madzie!"

And with that, he grabbed a fistful of sprinkles from a bowl and threw it at Magnus. Madzie squealed and ducked behind Alec's giant form as Magnus shrieked and squeezed hard on the icing bag to send more in his opponent's direction.

And so began an epic food fight.

The clean up wasn't fun, but Alec told Magnus they had to do at least some of it so Madzie could see that actions have consequences. Magnus reminded him that Madzie was spending a day with her celebrity idol and wasn't there to learn life lessons but he felt too guilty leaving it all for someone else so he agreed in the end.

Magnus had a clean-up crew come in after them, shooting them a sheepish smile as he ushered the small girl out of the room, and Alec followed amusedly.

Next up was watching a movie in a recreational room the hotel had for rent – it was gigantic, a TV almost half as wide as the wall and nearly as tall. They had more snacks set up – bowls of candy, buttered popcorn and Shirley Temples.

Magnus, of course, proposed making a blanket fort with the provided puffy blankets and collection of pillows.

Once settled, with Moana playing on the big screen, Madzie sat between Alec's legs as he twisted parts of her hair into cute pigtail braids. He admitted his time with the Obama girls, when they were younger, involved requests like this during the more boring days at the White House, so he had some experience with her type of hair.

Once he had her feeling pretty, she scooted down to lay on her stomach to watch the screen intently. Alec and Magnus, laying outstretched against the couch, tossed popcorn back and forth at each other when the other wasn't looking. They kept trying to best the other by having the projectile land somewhere inconspicuous, like in the space behind Magnus' collar or the gaping pocket of Alec's pants.

The pair of them were downright giggly, which definitely was new for Alec. He blamed the ridiculous amount of sugar they had consumed aiding his hyperactivity.

The movie finished too quickly for any of them, and that was the finale on the day with Magnus for Madzie. Dot popped in the room with an apologetic smile.

"Time to go, Madzie."

Madzie pouted but jumped up obediently, hugging Alec first and then Magnus.

Alec was a little surprised but petted her hair affectionately, hugging her back, and when Magnus hugged her, he hugged so tight that he picked her up and swung her around.

"You were the perfect princess all day. Thank you for today." he told her genuinely.

"I'll miss you. Thank you for the best day ever." she said in her little voice, the most words she had strung together in a row all day.

Alec could practically see Magnus' heart swell in his chest.

Madzie hugged him a second time as a goodbye before following Dot out of the door with a final wave.

Magnus feigned fainting after that, pulling an unexpected laugh out of Alec.

"She is so precious. I would adopt her in a second if only I was looking to settle down with a family now. I don't know how no one has snatched her up yet." Magnus said as they started returning the fort materials to their rightful places.

"Well, is there ever a right time? Most parents get blindsided by kids coming around when they least expect it. I know my parents did."

"Yeah, I agree." Magnus sat on the couch. "I just… I feel like I need a partner. Not everyone needs one to raise kids, I get that, but I need someone who can reel me in when I'm tempted to spoil them rotten or going over-the-top. Honestly, I don't know if I'm father material. I didn't exactly have any parental role models growing up."

Alec looked sideways at him, getting comfortable on the other end of the couch. "Did you not see yourself with Madzie today? You're amazing with kids – I see it every day you interact with your young fans. You treat them like equals. Every one of them. You'd be an incredible dad. Madzie, or any kid, would be lucky to have you."

Magnus smiled, eyes on the carpet, and the softness in his eyes let the reality of what Alec said catch up to him. He hadn't meant to go on and on like that. He just wasn't used to seeing Magnus admit vulnerability, or fear, and it brought out his protective nature.

Magnus spoke after a pregnant pause. "You know, Dot said in the car, when she asked Madzie why she liked me so much, that she looked up to me because she said 'he's like me'. From foster care. I never really thought of inspiring those people when I set out to follow my own dreams, but I think I'd want to adopt someone from the system. I may have grown out of it myself but I'd love to save another kid, or more, from having to endure that."

Alec watched him, heart warming at the thought. He forgot what Izzy went on about when she tried to give him the run down of what made Magnus so amazing when she heard he got the job originally. Now that he said it, he remembered that Magnus had lost his parents young. His mom died when he was eight, father was never in the picture, and step-father gave up custody immediately. Or went to jail. Or both, Alec couldn't really remember. But the point was, he got thrown into the foster system early, with no family. He was passed from abusive home to neglectful home until he turned eighteen and could stand on his own.

"I think that's a great idea."

Magnus seemed lost in thought, so Alec got comfortable at the other end of the couch. He pulled out his phone and saw a new message from Izzy, commenting on the couple posts Magnus had put up already.

"Izzy approves of your Instagram choices." Alec commented.

Magnus beamed. "I do know how to pick them. Speaking of, I should finish the series off."

He grabbed his phone and sifted through his photos from the day, selecting a bunch to post. He reviewed his Instagram story, unable to help smiling at the sight of Madzie playing in the pool and throwing food before using Alec as a shield against Magnus' projectiles. When Magnus had tried to hide, Alec had thrown Madzie on his shoulders and got her to pelt him with marshmallows while he cried for mercy.

He wasn't used to seeing Alec looking so playful and lighthearted. He didn't know Alec could even have fun, but there was no doubt he was when he saw the video evidence. The skin around his hazel eyes crinkled, and Magnus swore his smile could light a city, his laugh melodic in the background mixed with Madzie's giggles.

It seemed his followers appreciated the bodyguard being included in the day's recap too. The comments on his posts could be divided by the usual thirsting for attention or reply from Magnus, gushing over how cute and lucky Madzie was, and then a good chunk talking about Alec.

@baneisbae Why is Magnus' bodyguard hot af AND good with kids?

@bane_lover: Pretty sure no one wrote on the contest that they would get both Magnus AND his smoking bodyguard for the day. I demand a recount.

@magnusis2fab4u: Okay Ellen totally called it – Magnus and his bodyguard are definitely a thing, right?! Magnus – you can't avoid the question forever! We want #Malec confirmed!

Magnus looked over at Alec, who was on his phone still, no doubt continuing to text Isabelle about his day. He had learned how close the two siblings were once he started getting to know Izzy, and that Alec was just as close if not closer to their adopted brother Jace.

Magnus looked at the time. It was still early. And honestly, he didn't feel anywhere near ready to turn in for the night.

He spotted the game console and jumped to his feet, perusing the collection of games in the cabinet before turning back to Alec with a smirk.

Alec felt his stare and looked up. "… What is that look for?"

"Fancy a friendly game?" Magnus waved a plastic case at him.

Alec raised an eyebrow at him. "If you're thinking we're going to play that game, friendly is the last word I'd use to describe how it will go."

Magnus grinned. "Oh don't use that as an excuse to get out of me creaming you. Here." He tossed him a controller. "You're player two though. You need to get used to the fact that I'll always be number one."

Alec rolled his eyes at him. "We'll see about that. Game on."

"Alexander! Are you kidding me?!" Magnus shouted as they sped around the race course and Alec once again shunted him on his way by and knocked him into a wall.

Alec just laughed. "Be lucky we're not on Rainbow Road right now."

"Oh just you wait."

"Magnus!" Alec groaned. "Stop throwing those damn green shells in the tunnel!"

"Ooh sorry! Can't hear you over my streak of getting first place!" Magnus taunted, his car doing its victory lap after crossing the finish line.

It had been a couple hours of MarioKart and it had gone about as well as Alec predicted. Lots of throwing insults at each other back and forth and nudging shoulders from their spot next to each other on the couch.

It wasn't long into the next track that Alec got some revenge.

"Alexander! Don't you fucking dar—"

"Sorry!" Alec laughed maniacally as he sped by Magnus' twirling car.

"Stupid red shells." Magnus grumbled as he tried to get back up to speed.

They were naturally competitive so this type of game was the worst idea, but there was no doubt both parties were having fun. Alec hadn't heard Magnus laugh this much in all his time knowing him, and Magnus was a generally jovial person, especially on stage and show appearances.

"Bastard! You did NOT just banana peel me right there?!" Alec griped, watching the other vehicles speed past his stalled car before going the extra inch to cross the finish line and coming in fifth.

"Rainbow Road time! Prepare to lose. Again. You must be used to it by now." Magnus teased.

"Hey, you've only won about half. I've held my own, thank you very much."

Sure enough, Magnus found Alec was better than expected at the famously challenging track. He had fallen off the edge a couple times on the sharper turns and well placed holes while Alec had still not slipped once despite some close calls.

They were starting on their third lap now and Alec was miles ahead of the rest, Magnus back in fourth, and he knew Alec wouldn't let him live it down if he beat him on the hardest level.

So he did the only logical thing he could think of.

"Hey!" Alec cried when Magnus suddenly snatched his controller out of his hands and held it above his head.

"Oh sorry, did you need this?" Magnus sneered, waving it behind him as Alec practically climbed in his lap to grapple for it.

"Magnus! Stop being such a child!" Alec complained, wrestling with him properly now.

They had been too close to the edge of the couch cushions due to the intensity of the game, so of course, with the shift of weight, their tangled form ended up toppling to the floor.

The controller bounced a few inches away out of Magnus' hand when Magnus' body slammed on top of Alec's.

"Oof." Alec grunted, hands automatically gripping Magnus' waist to steady him and unintentionally slipping under the loose material of his shirt.

Magnus was breathing heavily from their battle, their bodies fully aligned, and he looked down at his companion in surprise at their position.

Alec's bottom lip was between his teeth, his body frozen, and his hazel eyes searched Magnus', waiting for some sort of reaction. Some quip or innuendo that was typical of the other man.

Magnus couldn't help but have his eyes drawn to Alec's lip, watching the soft flesh yield to his blunt teeth, and he was licking his own without thinking.

He couldn't help his mind drifting back to the comments made by his followers. Alec really was gorgeous, all dark lashes and porcelain skin and sculpted cheekbones. And, thankfully, not dating his sister. And good with kids. And supportive and kind when he wasn't being a bossy, pain in the ass.


Just hearing his name said so breathily made Magnus' stomach flip. It had taken some time, but he finally stopped using 'Mr. Bane'. He liked the way his name sounded coming from the other man's mouth. Especially like this. So silky and unbridled.

Alec's thumbs were drawing slow arcs above his hip bones. Magnus wondered if he even realized he was doing it.

He could just lean down and kiss him. Pull that bottom lip in his mouth, suck and nibble and bring out a groan from Alec. Make him feel good. Make him give up control.

Fuck, what was he thinking? This was Alec he was talking about. He'd probably slap him silly for even trying. Alec may be kind but he still found Magnus infuriating—that much could not be denied.

Magnus corrected his throat and backed off of Alec so he could sit up, brushing his clothes and getting to his feet.

"Well, looks like we both lost this round." Magnus said, glancing up at the TV to see the other characters had long since finished the race and they were in 7th and 8th.

Alec got to his feet, and Magnus was disappointed to see he wasn't meeting his eyes.

"We should probably get back to our room. Tomorrow is another early one."

Magnus nodded and began packing up the gaming system, trying not to worry that his moment of weakness may have ruined their good, progressive day of friendship.

Alec lay in bed that night, staring at the ceiling, and tried to get the end of day's event out of his mind.

He had had a lot of fun that day, way more than he anticipated, and more than he ever expected as security detail. Taking this job on was certainly a change of pace, and it only was proven more every day. He didn't expect to end up actually liking spending time with Magnus, but today had proven him wrong. Especially after Madzie left and they still managed to have fun together.

And then Magnus had to fall on top of him and Alec had to feel every line of his body. Had to smell the warm, woodsy scent of his cologne. See every fleck of colour in his chocolate eyes.

Alec laid like a deer in headlights while Magnus stared down at him like he had never seen him before. Like he was some wondrous sight to behold.

But then, just as quick, he was getting off of him and referencing the failed game they had been playing, and Alec felt like an idiot.

Magnus had just been stunned by the fall, taken off guard. He hadn't been about to kiss him.


Chapter Text

"Hit, hit, duck. Good." Alec directed, nodding in approval as the group hit their target clearly. "Luke, great form. You're getting good power with those hits. Keep your wrist straight."

Luke nodded and kept hitting the cushioned martial arts dummy in front of him.

Alec held these training sessions when he could, when they had a day or two between shows or Magnus was busy in dance rehearsals. Some of the security team he had hired on his own, but some had come from Magnus' original group. Naturally, those original people didn't have a lot of formal training in combat or disarming opponents, so Alec took it upon himself to prepare them. If something happened and Alec wasn't there, he wanted to make sure everyone was safe and knew what to do. He had night patrol keeping an eye on the floor they stayed on every night, even with Alec in the bedroom over from Magnus, and regularly stationed guards in positions around the venue. He needed them to be able to act efficiently and effectively in the event someone who did not belong tried to intrude.

The benefit concert Magnus was performing at tonight was a very small club, with not much room to place people, and Alec felt more nervous than ever at the idea of the team not being fully prepared to tackle down a dangerous suspect in the event it came up.

So far, the tour had been uneventful for actually coming across a suspicious person, but Alec knew that streak of luck was just that – luck.

Luke wiped the sweat off his brow as Alec paced by him while observing the room.

"You really don't go easy on us, huh?" Luke asked, taking a deep drink from his water bottle.

Alec smiled. "Not my style. Best way to ensure progress is to challenge. You've all come a long way in a short time."

"You're a good teacher. To be honest, Alec, I wasn't sure about you in the beginning, but you've been what we didn't know we needed. Magnus included. He probably will never admit it to you, but I can tell he's glad you're here."

Alec chuckled. "He definitely will never admit it. But thank you. I hope so. His safety is my ultimate concern, but it is easier to protect him when he lets me."

Luke was watching him closely, a spark of mischief in his eyes, and Alec wondered what he had said that made him look at him in such a way.

"You get him though. Even though I know he puts you through your paces. Something about the two of you works."

Alec regarded him skeptically. "Don't tell me you're joining the fans in 'shipping' the pair of us."

Luke laughed. "I didn't say that… but I haven't seen Magnus so smitten in all my years of working with him. You're good for each other."

"You guys are seeing things." He turned to the rest of the room, grateful the others weren't eavesdropping on the conversation. "All right, everyone! Let's practice some disarming!"

Luke smirked as he swept past him to head to the mats on the other side of the room.

Alec shifted uncomfortably at his spot on the sidelines, trying not to let Luke's comment nestle in his mind and manifest into hope.

The venue was small, smaller than Alec anticipated, and it made his anxiety jump upon seeing people filed around the block and the realization that it was in anticipation of the big night.

Magnus, of course, looked thrilled by the turnout, flipping through social media to see the posts from excited fans.

"Are we there yet?" Magnus asked, peeking through the tinted windows in an attempt to see how close they were to the hall.

"We're going through a back entrance, Magnus, to get you in past the crowd and where you're needed." Raphael explained.

"Alexander, will you relax? You're setting off my anxiety and I don't even have anxiety." Magnus said, placing a hand on his bouncing thigh.

Alec's leg stilled, surprised to find it had been moving of its own accord, and grimaced. "Sorry. I'm not looking forward to trying to keep things under control with this crowd."

"You worry too much, darling. It'll be fine. It's just a bunch of enthused people ready to donate and support the LGBT youth. Remember that that's why we're here."

Alec swallowed at the feeling of Magnus' fingers drawing circles on the inside of his knee. He tried to remind himself that Magnus threw pet names around easily, that it didn't mean anything.

"We're here. Stay." Alec said quickly, jumping from his seat as soon as the brakes kicked in and near-stumbling out of the car.

"Sit. Roll over." Magnus imitated, collapsing back onto his seat with his usual dramatic flair.

Alec ignored him as he set the security team in motion, clearing the main area and gesturing for Magnus to follow when the time came.

Magnus bounded after him, a little too much like a rogue puppy, and Alec tugged him to remain by his side while the others did their usual sweep.

"Honestly, Alexander. Why don't we clear my dressing room first? Or the rehearsal hall? Waiting around is so boring."

"And deprive myself of extra time in your extraordinary company?"

Alec missed Magnus' sarcastic reply, too intent on what was being said through his wire.

"Repeat that please." he said stonily, gripping Magnus' arm and immediately backing him to a nearby corner to block him in.

"Alec, what—"

But he heard it through the speaker then.

"It's like the others you showed us. Magazine clippings of letters to make up the words. Whoever it is, they know Magnus is here."

Alec closed his eyes, exhaling slowly, as Magnus gripped his jacket from behind. He jerked it back when Alec went to move.

"They're here?" Magnus asked hoarsely.

"Not necessarily. Just that they know you were coming. I… I don't like it." Alec admitted lowly.

Magnus pressed closer to him, even as Alec gave directions through his headset. He felt stupid for poking fun at Alec's anxiety now, when that was all he could feel rushing through his veins. He had been getting too comfortable, thinking that Alec's presence was more of an insurance policy, and that, even worst case scenario, Alec's position would scare off any half-assed stalker. It had been weeks since something happened.

It meant this person was for real, and they clearly meant business. They were following him through the tour; they had photos of him in his home, and then had posted a message at the Chicago venue, and now here.

What did they want from him? Why were they doing this?

Magnus felt Alec relax, even minutely, and pulled himself out of his thoughts to listen to him.

"No sign of any other danger or anyone out of the ordinary. If the person planted that today, they're gone now. It doesn't mean they won't come back tonight." he added. "Magnus, you should think about cancelling."

"Cancelling my appearance at the benefit?" Magnus asked just as Raphael came in the room.

"Alec! We can't cancel this late. Magnus would be ostracized. There are hundreds of people lined up outside who have been hanging around all day just to get a chance to be close to the stage he is on! It would kill his reputation, not to mention plummet the charitable donations…"

"Look, I don't like it either. I respect what this is about and what the fans want, but I am trying to keep Magnus safe!" Alec argued.

Magnus placed a hand on his arm. "Alexander. You said before… giving this person power, by showing that they've gotten to me, or putting a spotlight on them, is exactly what they want. Isn't cancelling because of one letter doing that?"

Alec met his eyes, considering his words, before sighing. "You have a point."

Raphael clapped his hands together. "Magnus is right. We wouldn't want to make things worse."

Alec ignored him and turned his full attention to Magnus. "This place is tight quarters and going to be crammed with people. I won't have as easy of access to you if things go south. Are you absolutely sure you want to go forward with this? This isn't like Chicago—we know before you're on stage that your safety is at higher risk. That they found a way in here before even we did and before the audience was let in. That isn't a good sign. It shows far too much eagerness for my liking, and there's nothing to say they won't attack once you're on stage solo and an easy target."

"I can't let the fans down, Alec. I want to do this." Magnus told him earnestly.

He nodded finally. "Okay. Let's get you to your dressing room. I want a better look at this letter."

He kept a hand wrapped around Magnus' bicep as they moved through the hall, eyes darting to every corner more than ever, and he prayed that whoever dared to threaten Magnus was long gone.

He didn't like the idea of how much bolder they were getting. It could only spell danger, and he would be damned if he let anything happen to Magnus while he was around.

Magnus tried to keep the underlying fear off of his face as his team worked away at getting him prepped for the show.

He didn't want to make a scene, or set off anyone else's fear, but he was panicking on the inside. The letter had been enough to send a shiver down his spine.





He didn't understand what the person wanted. If they wanted him dead, because he 'had everything', killing him wasn't going to let this person have his life or whatever they claimed was 'everything'. He knew that stalkers weren't necessarily rational, so maybe they did think that would happen.

Either way, the text certainly seemed to suggest some sort of psychosis, which did not make him feel excited about his decision to move forward with the benefit. But if running away was what this person wanted, he'd be damned before he gave it to them. They weren't going to take away one method he knew how to pay back his fans for their support over the years.

He was not going to run scared. He trusted Alec to keep him safe and the rest of the team. Even with Alec's warnings that it wouldn't be easy if something did happen.

Magnus couldn't remember a time he had seen Alec as tense as he was now. His eyes would not stay on one place for too long, and he seemed fidgety, which was not the norm for him. Magnus could see through the reflection in the mirror Alec's thumb nail digging deeply at the stretch of skin between his thumb and index finger on the opposite hand.

Magnus frowned. Alec's nervousness was offsetting his own stress even more, and that was the last thing he needed before he went out on stage to put on an upbeat, fun performance.

"Alexander. Can you go take a walk or something? Your presence is raising my blood pressure."

Alec scowled. "I'm not leaving. Your safety is at an increased risk. I don't want to take any chances."

"Well right now, you're risking my sanity."

"That's your problem."

Magnus moved to get out of his chair, ready to get up in the bodyguard's face, but Raphael pushed down on his shoulder to keep him seated.

"Alec. Talk me through your conversation with the police earlier." Raphael said, leading Alec away from the room.

"Raphael…" Alec started to warn, but the manager cut him off.

"He's surrounded by multiple people from his team—not a prime time to attack. As well I've… just summoned Luke to stand guard in your absence." he said as he typed in his phone.

Alec reluctantly followed Raphael, shooting a last, somewhat-hurt expression towards Magnus, which made Magnus immediately regret making a fuss.

He knew Alec meant well, and that he was stressed because he was worried about his well being. It was unfair of Magnus to punish him for it. It was incredibly difficult to relax and not think about the impending danger when the person meant to stay calm and collected was clearly freaking out but he couldn't exactly blame him for being worried.

One of his tour assistants came into the room then, carrying a collection of snacks for the group.

"Magnus, you should have something before you go out there. You need your energy."

"I can't, Iris. I feel too sick to eat." he admitted, though he accepted a water bottle gratefully.

She rubbed his shoulder supportively. "That bodyguard of yours has certainly made things harder for you."

Magnus narrowed his eyes. He remembered why he didn't always get along with the woman. She tended to jump right to blaming others or pointing a spotlight at negativity. He had known her from one of the group homes he had been in in his late teens, and back then they had quite a bit in common. She hadn't had an easy life, and, after he had gotten his big break, they had run into each other and she managed to pull at his heart strings when she was honest about how much she was struggling to find her footing. He offered her a job and she had been working with him ever since.

Since she was a tour assistant, she managed a lot of the administrative pieces Raphael passed off to her, like rearranging travel plans or confirming venues, meet and greets, and the like. It wasn't an easy job – it was a lot of problem solving and reorganizing previously established plans – but she seemed to do well since Raphael didn't complain about her any more than he complained about anyone else.

Magnus knew his success was only capable with a group of talented people in the background, often overlooked and underappreciated by the general population, but Magnus never shied away from rewarding them for their hard work whenever he could. Spontaneous gifts, all-inclusive resort vacation getaways, and of course a handsome paycheque to boot. He had never gotten into the business for the money—but given how little he had growing up, it was incredible to have the power to do so much.

Not to say he didn't still indulge himself too—that went without saying. But he also gave large portions to various charities and used his fame for things like that night's benefit to raise money for others.

Magnus dragged his attention back to his staff member. "Alec is… intense, but he means well. He just has a good habit of getting on my nerves. Nothing I can't handle."

Iris forced a smile, clearly catching the subtle reprimand. "My apologies, Magnus. He just seems to not know when to back off. I'm only trying to look out for you, after all these years, as you've done for me."

Magnus nodded. "I know. I appreciate your concern. Perhaps you should go check with Raphael before the show starts; see if there are any last minute emergencies that need handling."

She bobbed her head in acknowledgement before slipping away and out of the room.

Meliorn moved forward to finish his make-up, and Magnus left the offered food untouched.

Magnus let his team finish their aesthetic prep before being fit for a mic. It wasn't long before he was walking towards the wings of the stage to prepare for his entrance.

Unsurprisingly, Alec was behind him like a shadow as soon as he got close enough to the stage.

"Magnus…" He grabbed his wrist before he could pass, and Magnus found himself turning into the curve of his bodyguard's arm.


Alec closed his eyes for a moment, seemingly steeling himself for what he was about to say. "Look. I wanted to apologize, for before. I know this whole thing is stressful, for you more than anyone. I am hired to keep you safe, and I take that job very seriously. By not keeping my fears underwraps, I'm aiding in your discomfort, and that isn't fair of me. I'm sorry."

"Alexander." Magnus said, squeezing his bicep. "Thank you but I should be the one apologizing to you. I know I have a short fuse, but I shouldn't automatically take it out on you. Like you said, this whole thing is stressful. I know you're only stressed because you care, and I appreciate that."

Alec finally smiled, the first he had seen in a while, and Magnus found himself mirroring it.

"Magnus Bane, everyone!" the announcer's voice suddenly cut through their spell, and Magnus awkwardly stepped back out of his embrace. He didn't remember when he had started leaning into Alec so heavily.

"Ah, excuse me."

"I will be right here, just in case. I won't take my eyes off of you." Alec promised, and the sincerity in his eyes had to be what caused a shiver to roll up Magnus' spine.

Magnus stepped out onto the stage with his usual flair, greeting the crowd with his typical enthusiasm before the music started and he got into place.

Normally, his concert venues were larger, so he'd have a full band and back-up dancers/choreographed routines happening. The stage was too small for all of that, so it was just a solo act this time around, which made Alec all the more nervous.

He stayed watchful on the sidelines, scanning the crowd, keeping his promise to not let his eyes stray too far from Magnus.

Magnus was dancing along the central piece of the T-shaped stage, the audience on either side grabbing for him like he was a shower of cash they were trying to catch from the air. He would wiggle his fingers at them, brushing at a couple hands, but any time anyone got too close, he'd skip away with a playful grin.

Alec couldn't help his lips turning up at the corners at the sight. Magnus was totally in his element on stage, any stage. No one would be able to guess he'd spent the last couple hours with the growing fear that his life could be in danger at any moment.

Alec was jerked from his thoughts abruptly when an audience member finally managed to get a good hold on Magnus' hand, holding him in place and nearly causing him to lose his balance and make nice with the floor.

Alec was moving before he was even conscious of his decision, grabbing at his mouth piece to instruct the others that were nearby, but Magnus caught his eye and sent him a warning look. He raised a hand to get him to pause, moving his body with it to make it look like part of his routine, as he continued to sing like nothing had changed.

Magnus managed to get his hand free and swept away, moving to the other side of the stage to pay attention to that crowd.

Alec exhaled. He was really glad Magnus was only one of a few guests. He couldn't stand this anxiety for hours on end.

Magnus did a few more songs, a slow ballad among the more energetic ones, but it was his second last one that went downhill.

Due to the packed crowd, Alec's security team was stationed as close to the stage as they could be without being squashed by the over-enthused audience, but somehow, they still weren't close enough.

One person, with the help of a couple friends, managed to climb onto the stage when Magnus' back was turned.

"Underhill!" Alec hissed into his mouth piece, but even he could see the blonde man was struggling to get through the packed bodies to get to where the fan was now dancing on stage.

Magnus, ever the actor, simply smiled brightly and twirled the person, but Alec could see the underlying fear growing in his eyes.

"Get him out of there!" Alec shouted, poised ready to run on stage, but Magnus was raising his hand in a stop motion in his direction again and Alec paused mid-step to wait.

It was against his better judgment, but he wanted to respect Magnus' autonomy, and he knew he'd never forgive him if he ruined the show with his overprotective nature.

But then another friend of the group managed to make it on stage, with others following, and Magnus' mic was near-ripped from him as they tried to get a handful of the star and snagged the wired contraption well off of him in their haste.

Magnus' eyes were full of fear now, especially when, in his attempt to get away from them, he lost his footing and fell off the stage.

"Magnus!" Alec shouted, racing out there at lightening speed and shoving through the gleeful group on stage with no remorse. They scattered like mice, and he tried not to feel pleased.

Magnus had been caught by the ecstatic audience, their screams and cheers roaring in Alec's ears like white noise now, their arms holding him up like he was attempting to crowd surf at a rock concert. All he could hear was Magnus' broken protests, asking to be put down, for them to stop, although, for anyone else, it likely was getting swallowed up in the excitement.

Alec leapt off the platform and tore through the group of bodies to get to Magnus. Underhill, Garroway, and the others were helping thin the crowd as Alec finally caught up to where the star was.

He shoved the hands off of the star and pulled Magnus into his arms bridal style, Magnus' arms latching around his neck while he buried his face in his shoulder, trembling all over.

Hands still were desperate to get a handful of the celebrity, reaching in the crammed space to tug at his shirt, hair, whatever their hands could reach.

"Get your hands off of him!" Alec snarled, sounding more animal than man, and he used his shoulder and broad body to knock anyone in his path aside as he made his way to a clearing.

He didn't care if he was sending the more stubborn people stumbling. Served them right for caring more about the thrill of touching their so-called idol than respecting his personal space and safety.

Once free from the crowd, Alec spoke into his headset.

"Raphael, I need the car running and ready. Back exit. You have sixty seconds or I'm grabbing the nearest cab."

There was panic on the other end, Raphael demanding to know if Magnus was okay, but Alec didn't know how to answer that.

"I've got him. He's safe now." Alec said, which caused Magnus to look up at him.

Alec's heart clenched in his chest at the tearstains on Magnus' face. His grip on his neck loosened, fingertips brushing softly at the nape of Alec's neck, and his eyes were trained on Alec's hazel ones.

Alec leaned his forehead against Magnus' as they came to a stop at the back exit.

"I've got you." he murmured before opening the door to the night air.

Chapter Text

It was a short drive to the hotel, but it still felt longer than ever due to the adrenaline pumping through their bodies.

Thankfully, the limo had pulled up just as they hit the curb outside the venue so they didn't have to hail a cab or wait long.

Alec had been surprised when Magnus immediately pressed against his side once in the car, thigh to shoulder, but he did the same thing when they got in the elevator together. As if he needed physical contact to anchor him.

Alec could still feel the occasional shiver from him, so he slipped his hand in Magnus' and squeezed. He feared pulling him in, crowding him too much, given the way he was manhandled that night. He didn't want to make things harder on him. He still hadn't said a word.

Magnus interlaced their fingers, squeezing back, but his eyes stayed on the floor.

Alec let them into their shared room, and Magnus broke away from his hold once the door shut behind them.

"Stay here for a moment, please." Alec said softly, locking the padlock in addition to the main lock as always.

Magnus obeyed, still silent, thoughts clearly still tangled in what had happened.

Alec did a sweep, meticulous but speedier than usual, and made his way back to Magnus.

"All clear."

Magnus just nodded.

Alec reached a hand out to cup his face, turning his gaze up to him. "Hey. What do you need? How can I help?"

Magnus shook his head, forcing a grateful smile. "I'm going to shower, if you don't mind if I go first."

"Take as much time as you need." Alec told him, feeling cold when Magnus pulled away to disappear into his room.

Alec sat in the main living area of the suite, feeling too jittery to try to unwind for bed.

He settled for making some calls, letting the rest of the team know that Magnus was safe and back at the hotel. He reassured the security team that they still had their jobs and his respect; that he knew the venue was going to be tricky no matter what they did and he didn't blame anyone for what happened.

Once the calls were done, he didn't know what to do with himself. His adrenaline was still too high.

He could hear the shower still running. He wondered what was going through Magnus' head. He hadn't seen such true fear on the man before. It must have reached at something deep in him, shook his core.

Given that Magnus hadn't had an easy upbringing, he wondered if it triggered something from then. It would certainly explain his subdued behaviour.

He wished he knew how to help. His protective nature didn't just extend to physical well-being. He wanted to make sure Magnus was okay mentally too. Emotionally.

Figuring he knew one person who would understand what Magnus may be going through, he texted his brother.

Jace – I need your advice. Rough night at the benefit tonight – Magnus got manhandled pretty intensely by the crowd and I think it brought up some rough memories. He's silent and distant, like you get when you're stuck in your head about something dark from your past. I don't know what to do. Figured you know what works for you? Should I just keep giving him space?

Jace's reply was pretty quick.

Definitely. If you push too hard, he'll likely lash out or close off completely. Give him some time for his thoughts to process. He'll come to you when he's ready.

I hope so. I don't want to push too hard but if I don't push, I think he'll close off completely.

You usually read people well, Alec. You never pushed me too hard. Why are you asking me in the first place?

I just don't want to screw it up and making things worse. I have no idea what he's been through in his past but being tossed around in foster care likely wasn't full of sunshine and butterflies.

Good point. But the fact that you're even asking this shows how much you care and that'll be what shines through the most, no matter what you do or say.

Thanks, Jace. I hope you're right.

"Bathroom is free." Magnus' voice came from his left, and Alec jumped in surprise. He hadn't heard the water stop and Magnus' night time routine was usually much more extensive. He couldn't exactly blame him for streamlining it.

"Uh, right. Thanks."

Magnus nodded. "I'm going to go to bed. See you in the morning."

"Magnus…" Alec said, standing up. "Are you okay? Is there anything I can do? Or someone I can call?"

Magnus forced another smile, but it was so strained, it came across as more of a grimace.

"I'm all right, Alexander. Thank you for your rescue this evening. I'll see you in the morning."

Alec stood there helplessly as Magnus went to his room and shut the door.

He wished he knew how to bring the light back to Magnus' eyes.

It was the banging he heard first.

Alec startled awake, a muffled groaning coming from the room next to his, and it took him a moment to register what that meant.


Alec threw the duvet off of himself and grabbed his gun, pulling back the safety lock and racing out of his room as fast as his legs would take him.

The banging that woke him up sounded again. He realized then it must be the sound of the headboard hitting the night table, or maybe the wall, which meant it had to be quite a struggle.

Alec whipped open the door and scrambled for the light switch, gun aiming in every corner as he tried to find the perpetrator.

Instead, he only found Magnus, sobbing and shaking under the covers, his jerky movements coming to a slow as light filled the room.

He blinked repeatedly, covering his eyes with one hand as he sat up to take in his surroundings.

Alec replaced the safety on his gun as he lowered it to his side.

"…Magnus? Are you all right?"

Magnus was looking around the room as if lost, seeming to finally connect the dots and realize where he was.

He scrubbed at his forehead. "Sorry. Bad dream. I… I didn't mean to wake you."

Alec shut the light off since Magnus was still squinting painfully in his attempt to adjust to the bright light.

"It's fine. You were groaning and I guess thrashing so much it sounded like you were being attacked. I guess I… overreacted." he allowed, feeling a little bashful at his attempted heroics. He hadn't even contemplated that it may be a night terror–-he was too worried about Magnus being in danger.

Magnus shook his head, hugging his knees now. "No, no. You were just doing your job. Thank you for coming to my rescue. Again."

Alec came over and placed the gun on the night-table, sitting on the edge of the bed next to him.

"Do you want to talk about your nightmare?"

Magnus picked at the blanket, avoiding his eyes. "It's nothing, Alexander. Just a bad dream."

"Magnus. I know I'm not your favourite person in the world, but I do care about you. If you want to talk, I'm here for you."

He looked up at that, and Alec could see the weight of what he was carrying in his eyes. It was too heavy for one person to hold.

Alec let his fingers slip between Magnus', smiling a little when Magnus stroked his thumb across the back of his hand.

"I don't know if I'm ready to talk about it yet. Tonight, all those hands grabbing at me… it brought back some painful memories from my youth. Memories I've spent so much time burying, it was like they were almost blurred out completely."

Alec stayed silent, watching their hands, and gave a nod to indicate he understood.

"I… I didn't expect them to come flooding back quite like that. It was a different context. But I guess it was the same selfish, nonconsensual type of grabbing then as it was tonight. "

Alec swallowed. He had a feeling he knew what he was implying. He couldn't imagine what Magnus went through or was feeling now. Even just imagining him going through it made Alec's chest ache. Actually living it and having the memories to follow you? So much worse.

Magnus covered their joined hands with his other one and finally met his eyes.

"Thank you for what you did at the concert. I… I know I had warded you off when you wanted to get me earlier in the show, but I didn't want to have to make a scene if I didn't have to. You managed to get to me, when no one else could, and carried me out like some sort of knight in shining armor…"

"I told you. I am dedicated to keeping you safe. I'll do it by any means necessary."

"Raphael is paying you that well, huh?" Magnus teased.

Alec smiled, if only because it was the first joke he heard from the man in hours. "No. I told you already – I care about you. I want you safe because it is my job but even more so because I want you safe, period."

Magnus stared into his eyes then, his hand stroking over Alec's inner wrist in the barest of brushes, and he was leaning across the space between them to curve his face into Alec's.

Alec pulled back just a fraction, closing his eyes, and he released their hands.

"I'm sorry." Magnus whispered, staring at the blankets again, mortification bubbling up.

"It's not… I just… Not when you're like this. Not after the night you've had."

Magnus nodded.

Alec looked down at his attire. He supposed he should go back to bed now that the danger was eliminated. He was only dressed in black boxer briefs and he couldn't help feeling a little exposed.

Before he could move, Magnus reached out for his hand again.

"I know I have no right to ask… but will you stay for a bit? We can talk about literally anything besides childhood trauma and I'll be happy."

Alec chuckled and climbed up on the bed, collapsing into the pillows next to him as he got comfortable on his side. "Too bad we don't have MarioKart to take our mind off of things."

"True, but then you'd lose again and be all pouty."

Alec's mouth gaped. "I did not lose! You cheated!"

"Spoken like a true sore loser." Magnus added cheekily.


The night grew later but neither man seemed to care much for sleep or separating. It was an attest to how much their friendship had grown over the last couple months that they were able to not only spend time in each other's company without wanting to kill the other, but they actually found themselves having a good time.

"What is it about cucumbers that has cats so afraid?" Alec laughed, tilting the screen of Magnus' phone more towards him to watch the compilation video of cats leaping in fear at the spontaneous green gourd behind them.

They had talked for a bit at first, Alec sticking to safe topics like his family and asking Magnus about his cats, and that led to Magnus having to show Alec why cats were a superior animal, which of course led to watching ridiculous videos on YouTube.

"Not all cats react that way though. Some are curious about them; others just plain ignore them. It's just funny how quickly it became a scare tactic for cat owners. Poor kitties."

"Are you saying you've never done this to your cats?" Alec asked with a raised eyebrow.

Magnus corrected his throat. "Listen. I am a good cat parent."

Alec chuckled. "I know you are. You FaceTime them every Sunday. If that doesn't show your dedication, I don't know what does."

"Yes, well, it's also to catch up with Ragnor. That old man needs to remember to interact with the living at times."

"Wait, Ragnor Fell is who takes care of your cats when you're away? The judge from the show you won?"

Magnus smiled. "Yes. Despite being the typical cranky Brit judge every reality show needs, he became a true friend during and after the show. He believed in me and my talent, vouched for me, and helped me make a lot of professional connections. I wouldn't be where I am today without him."

"Sounds like you guys have gotten close, if he's taking care of your cats." Alec noted.

"Oh definitely. He'd probably never admit it, but I know he agrees. We get along well – I have an old soul though, or so Catarina tells me."

"Catarina, your best friend?"

Magnus nodded, trying not to smile at the fact that Alec remembered from the few times he had mentioned her. "Yes. I've known her since childhood. We were both in the foster system and were housemates at one point. We survived a rough one together and vowed to stay in touch. She's been there for me through everything. Seen me at some of my worst. Always been that person I can rely on on my darkest days."

"Sounds like she's more like family."

Magnus hummed his agreement. "And what about you? I give you all these tidbits about me but I feel like I know nothing about you. I thought Izzy was your girlfriend until she told me otherwise."

Alec barked a laugh at that. "No, definitely not. She'd be bored as hell with someone like me anyways. She needs much more excitement in her life."

"You are not boring, Alexander. We all have our own individual needs when it comes to what we need in a partner."

Alec shrugged. "I don't know. I have only had the one relationship that counted and it wasn't overly long and I definitely wasn't in love. And that was years ago."

"That doesn't mean it's all over for you. Jesus, Alec, you're young, you're gorgeous and you're successful. You can afford to be picky."

Alec rolled his eyes, secretly burning under the compliment. "Anyways, there is not much to tell with me. My best friends are my siblings."

"Well, there is nothing wrong with that. What about Lydia?"

"Lydia Branwell? She and I… dated. Briefly. We're just old friends."

"Now that sounds like there is a story in there." Magnus said gleefully, grabbing a pillow and tucking his chin into it to give Alec his full attention.

Alec rolled his eyes as he moved to lay on his back. "Nah, not really. High school. She kissed me one night at a party. We were good friends, lab partners, and I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it out. Didn't take long into the relationship for her to realize I couldn't return her feelings. Maybe if she had been a man."

Magnus allowed himself to exhale fully, realizing that Alec had just admitted what he had been burning to know for sure—he was gay.

Alec continued on. "Anyways, it was pretty amicable, all things considered. I stayed in the closet until college, and then my first boyfriend happened, and we only lasted a handful of months before he got bored. It wasn't a huge loss for me, which was telling enough."

Magnus tugged Alec's hand in his, playing with his fingers now.

"Thank you for telling me. I know coming out sometimes feels like you have to do it every time you meet someone new."

Alec rolled back on his side to face him, watching their intertwined hands. "I know what you mean. I don't typically disclose unless I have to, because it shouldn't matter. But I don't know. I don't mind telling you. Maybe because I know you get it, being bisexual. But I also trust you."

Magnus' eyes flickered up to his, smile broadening. "Thank you, Alexander. I trust you too. I don't normally delve so much into my feelings with just anybody."

Alec locked eyes with him then, smiling in return, and Magnus felt the same magnetism he had felt earlier in the night. More so now that he knew Alec could physically reciprocate his feelings.

But he remembered what Alec had said, and he had a point. After such an emotional night, it wasn't a good idea to dive into something so new and vulnerable.

"Is it boring not painting your nails? Having them a bland colour all the time?" he said instead, causing Alec to laugh as he raised their intertwined hands to observe Alec's clean nails.

It broke the spell between them very effectively. A fact Magnus tried not to feel disappointed about.

A strip of sunlight was warming Magnus' face, making him twitch at the contrast of temperature. He was exhausted, body feeling like it could meld with the mattress, and he snuggled deeper into the soft blankets.

His eyes snapped open when he felt something shift next to him.

Gradually pulling himself out of his post-sleep haze, he registered a warm body pressed behind his own. Looking down, he saw an arm draped across his middle, hand brushing against his lower abdomen.


A grin broke across his face against his will. He could feel Alec's strong build lined up along his body, one leg slotted between both of Magnus'. If his heart hadn't been beating so loud, he would be able to hear the serene breathing that indicated Alec was still asleep.

He could get used to this. He didn't remember them falling asleep, but it seemed Alec had moved unconsciously. Always the protector.

Magnus couldn't help himself. He leaned back into the weight of the man, and he tried not to squeak when Alec's arm automatically pulled him in closer to situate them better.

And that's when he felt it. Hot and rigid pressing behind him.

He nearly moaned out loud. He knew it was morning, that it was just a physiological reaction, but damn did he want to grind back against it.

Magnus swallowed and ever so carefully pushed his ass back a little.

Alec's hips answered for him, pressing tighter against him as the slightest of groans slipped between his lips.


Magnus felt all of his blood rushing south, his body apparently wanting to mirror the reaction that was happening behind him, but he knew he had to think logically. He was not looking to delve into somnophilia, despite his body's desire for him to do so. He would love to give Alec Lightwood an orgasm, grind back against him until he was cumming in his clothes, but it would be much more fun if he was awake for it and an active participant.

It didn't help that Alec was practically naked except for one, very flattering, pair of boxer briefs. His skin felt like fire against Magnus' own. He himself only had a pair of yoga pants on, and the lack of layers between them was heating everything up in their entangled state. He loved feeling Alec's defined chest snug to his back, skin to skin.

He didn't want to, but he knew he should leave the bed and let Alec's problem resolve on its own. His, unfortunately, was going to need a hand.

Magnus slipped out of Alec's warm embrace, holding back a sigh, and headed for his second shower in twelve hours.

Alec woke up some time later, hand automatically reaching out next to him to seek the warmth it was missing.

It wasn't until he was more conscious that he realized he was looking for Magnus, that he had fallen asleep in his bed.

It was odd that his body sought him out unconsciously, especially since he normally slept alone.

Still, the sheets were slightly warm, which meant it hadn't been too long since Magnus had left.

He could hear the shower running and caught on to where he was. He had showered last night, so it was a little weird, but he knew he had skipped a good portion of his usual bedtime routine so maybe he was making up for it now.

Alec quickly made the bed and headed back to his own room to get dressed.

He pulled the charger off his phone and was immediately assaulted with messages.

I just saw the news – are you and Magnus okay? The media is saying he was assaulted by fans and had to be removed from the venue? Alec?

Most messages were from Izzy, with the odd one from Jace.

Hey man – just saw the news. Sounds like it really was rough. Did you get to talk to Magnus like you hoped?

And then of course Raphael and others from the team, begging for updates.

A knock on the door sounded and Alec heaved a sigh and went to deal with the person.

It was Dot and Maia, two of Magnus' back-up dancers.

"Hey, can we see him? Is he okay?" Dot asked.

Alec held the door open only a sliver and shook his head. "He's in the shower. He's fine. Let him have some space and then he'll come to you. I'll let him know you stopped by."

"Alec, please, just for a minute? We just want to know he's okay." Maia piped up.

"Later. You can feel free to message him but he will let you know when he wants to see people."

And with that, he closed the door.

More people came, all various members of Magnus' team, and Alec repeatedly turned them away. He wished he could've talked to Magnus about it first, but he figured he wasn't overstepping. This was Magnus' private hotel room. He didn't typically have visitors, even of his own team, come into his room. He couldn't imagine he'd suddenly change that after a traumatic event, and, if he did want to, he could do so once he gave consent for it. For now, Alec was satisfied with his protection of Magnus' privacy.

"Alexander? Who on earth is knocking so much?" Magnus said, coming out of his room.

Alec swallowed, trying not to be distracted by how good he looked. He always dressed to the nines, but he was wearing extremely tight skinny jeans and a deep V-neck dress shirt that showed off an incredible eyeful of tan skin.

"Mostly people from your team. Hoping to see you and check for themselves that you're okay. I told them you would let them know when you wanted visitors."

Magnus smiled. "Thank you. I'm not quite ready for all of the fussing. What do you say we order room service? Since we have a few days break before the next concert and travel, we might as well take advantage of this luxurious suite. And, frankly, I'm starving."

"Works for me." Alec said with a smile, joining him on the couch as Magnus pulled out the menu.

"So should we just order a buffet of desserts or did you have something specific in mind?"

"Magnus, it's the morning. Time for real food. You can have dessert later."


Alec was putting out the room service tray into the hallway for pickup when a dark-skinned woman scanning door numbers stopped short in front of him.

"I need to see Magnus."

Alec sighed. He was really getting tired of this conversation.

"If Magnus wants to see you—"

"He does. I'm his best friend. Raphael told me what happened. I flew in from New York to make sure he's okay. And you can stand there in all of your bodyguard glory, but I—"

"You're Cat?"

She stopped her rant. "Uh, yes. Catarina Loss."

Alec smiled. "Nice to meet you. I'm sure he'll make an exception for you. Come in."

Catarina looked a little ruffled, obviously having prepared for more of a fight, and followed him into the suite.

"Alexander, honestly, it's nearing lunch time now. They have to have dessert available to order now, right? They should know some people are jetlagged…"

He stopped talking when he turned around and saw him with company.

"Cat?" he said, voice full of awe and sounding smaller than Alec had ever heard it.

"Magnus." she replied warmly before crossing the room and pulling him into a tight hug.

"I'll leave you two to catch up. You know where to find me." Alec said before heading to his room to give them proper privacy.

Magnus squeezed his best friend tightly, his vision going blurry at the sudden onset of tears, and Catarina made a face when she pulled back.

"Don't you dare start crying or you'll set me off." she warned.

Magnus laughed. "Sorry, dear. I've been missing you something fierce. Come on. Let me catch you up on everything."

He dragged her to his bedroom, grateful that Alec had better manners and had made the bed before leaving to his own room, and began filling Catarina in on everything that had gone on the night before and since the start of tour. He hadn't wanted to let her know of the stalker over messages, it seeming like something you didn't just text someone about, and she was the perfect audience – gasping and exclaiming at all the right moments.

"Jesus, Magnus. I can't believe you're still going forward with the tour."

"Well, Alexander keeps me safe. He is good at what he does."

The playful glint that came to Catarina's eye made him wary.

"How are you handling having that fine piece of ass in the room over from you every night?"

Magnus fell back on the bed, burying his face in his elbow dramatically. "Ugh, Cat. It's torture being able to look but not touch. He slept in here last night with me and—"

"I'm sorry, he what?"

"It wasn't like that." Magnus waved her off. "I was feeling really… raw after the incident. He had come running in here, hearing me upset in my sleep I guess, and thought there was an intruder attacking me. After I told him it was just a nightmare, he stayed and we watched dumb YouTube videos and talked for hours. At some point, I guess we fell asleep."

Catarina arched an eyebrow at him. "And nothing else happened?"


"Why don't I believe you?"

"Catarina. I wish I had more to tell you. It takes all of my will power when I'm close to him not to kiss him. I tried, last night, but he basically said 'not now'. I don't know if that means someday I can or if he was just gently rejecting me. But I woke up this morning to him holding me, I guess he moved in his sleep, and it felt perfect."

Catarina leaned back on her elbows, regarding him carefully. "You really like this one."

Magnus shrugged. "He's a pain in the ass a lot of the time, but he's kind too. Generous. Loyal. Sometimes he can be so reserved and then the next moment he'll be so open and spilling his thoughts and feelings out like a dam just broke. He makes me feel… things I didn't know I could feel."

She sighed. "Oh, Magnus. I hope he takes care of your heart as well as he takes care of the rest of you."

"Yeah. I hope so too."

Chapter Text

Alec thought it was strange that, for all the anxious texts he got overnight from both of his siblings, they weren't so responsive once he got back to them.

He knew they lived busy lives, like any young adult trying to make it in the world, but he tried not to feel slighted that they weren't as eager to talk to him now that the drama had passed.

He probably wouldn't have noticed so much, if he wasn't holed up alone in his room trying to entertain himself. He didn't want to invade Magnus' time with Catarina, as he knew, if anyone, she would be the one he opened up to about his trauma the night before. They hadn't seen each other since before the tour started, and Alec knew himself how tough being away from family could be.

Still, crappy hotel TV could only amuse him for so long.

A rapid knock sounded on the door and Alec heaved himself out of his bed to go tell off yet another member of Magnus' team.

"I think that's for you." Magnus called from his spot on the couch, him and Cat having relocated to the main living space.

Alec's face screwed up in confusion. Who the hell would be asking for him specifically? And how would Magnus know?

Shaking his head, figuring he wouldn't know until he answered, he opened the door.

His jaw dropped at the sight before him.

"Surprise!" Izzy squealed, throwing her arms around his neck.

He squeezed her back on reflex, barely registering the motion as he stared in shock at the two people before him.

"Hey, man. Nice perks you get these days, huh?" Jace teased, pulling him into a hug once Izzy released him.

"What… how… what are you guys doing here?" Alec finally managed to ask, releasing Jace to look back and forth between them for answers.

"The 'how' would be my doing." Magnus' teasing voice came, and the siblings all turned to look at him as he made his way over to the trio. "After chatting with your sister so much lately, and the fact that we had a planned few days off between dates, I figured you could use some family time. And I had to meet the famous Isabelle."

Izzy went over and hugged him just as tightly as she had hugged her brother. "It's amazing to meet you, Magnus. Thank you for doing this."

"My pleasure." he promised, moving to greet Jace.

Alec was shaking his head in disbelief. "Magnus. You didn't have to do this."

Magnus moved to his side. "Alexander, I rarely do things I don't want to do." he said, patting his chest affectionately while smiling up at him.

Alec couldn't help but return it warmly, his heart swelling in appreciation and a little something else.

"And they're only here for 24 hours… so let's go make them count, shall we?" Magnus headed back towards the living area. "Cat? You coming?"

Jace turned to Alec and mouthed 'Alexander?'.

Alec pointedly ignored him.

Magnus took the group to an intimate restaurant with an extensive bar where they all shared a booth.

They ordered drinks and appetizers to share and fell into easy conversation.

Magnus and Izzy were chatting animatedly about the outfit she was sporting, to no one's surprise. Catarina excused herself to the ladies' room after the food was cleared away, so Jace took the distractions as an opportunity to turn to Alec, a sly smirk forming on his face.

"Don't start." Alec said before he could even open his mouth, and Jace laughed.

"Don't start what, Alexander?" Jace teased.

Alec rolled his eyes. "Trust me, I tried to convince him otherwise, but the argument got old. The more I corrected him, the more he did it, so I finally gave up."

"Fair enough. How did your talk about last night go?"

"Well, we really didn't delve into too much. Ended up doing other stuff."

"Other stuff?" Jace said, eyebrows in his hairline, and Alec glanced at Magnus and Izzy, who were entirely unaware there was anyone else at the table.

"Not that. Get your mind out of the gutter. We just watched ridiculous YouTube videos and talked about lighter stuff." Alec explained.

Jace let his eyes flicker over to Magnus before settling back on his brother. "So, are you planning on telling him you're in love with him?"

"Jace!" Alec hissed, kicking him under the table, eyes wild as he checked to make sure the other two hadn't overheard even though they were speaking quietly and the other two were very clearly invested in discussion about Izzy's accessories.

"What? It's a valid question. I'm your best friend and brother, Alec. I know you. I see the way you look at him."

"Look, it's not… Just, drop it, please?"

Before Jace could argue, Catarina returned to the table.

She took a long drink from her glass and grimaced. "Ugh. Anyone else's drink weak as hell?"

"Now, Catarina, we don't want to get sloppy this early in the night, do we?" Magnus said, finally pulling himself out of his conversation with Izzy.

"Speak for yourself." she replied with a grin.

He chuckled. "Our drunken adventures are always something to remember… or not remember."

"I'm up for hearing about the ones you do remember." Jace interjected, taking a swig of his beer.

"I second that." Izzy said.

"Don't you two go getting ideas." Alec groaned. "I am too old to be your chaperone anymore."

"You literally get paid to be a chaperone for a living!" Jace teased.

"Touché." he grumbled in return. "Does that mean you two will finally pay me for my services?"

"Not if it means I have to give you up. I'm not very good at sharing." Magnus said, locking eyes with Alec as he smirked slyly.

Alec chewed his tongue, trying to contain the smile threatening to cover his face. He didn't want to give Magnus the satisfaction of seeing his amusement.

"I'm sure there's enough of me to go around."

"Oh I don't doubt it. You certainly appear sizeable to me."

Alec rubbed his forehead. "Magnus…"

"Don't worry, Alec. I'm used to him." Catarina said supportively, patting his hand.

"Well these two aren't." Alec said, jerking his head to indicate his siblings.

Magnus laughed. "I'll admit – I'm an acquired taste."

"Alec seems to like the taste of you just fine." Izzy piped up with a devilish grin, and Alec nearly slammed his head on the table.


"You should've known getting the two of them together would be dangerous." Jace added helpfully.

"But oh so much fun for us." Magnus teased, clinking his glass with Izzy's as Alec silently begged the floor to swallow him whole.

Magnus managed to convince Catarina to go dance with him by the stereo system, despite no one else getting up or there being an actual designated dance floor. It was an attest to Magnus' power of persuasion that she followed his lead and danced alongside him.

Alec was happy to see him enjoying himself with his best friend, but the immediate mischievous look in his sister's big eyes made him regret their departure.

"So Alec…"

Alec sighed. "Not you too, Iz."

She raised an eyebrow at him. "I should be automatically given a pass to tease when you kept it under wraps that you had feelings for him. I asked you before if you did and you said no!"

"No, you asked me if there was anything going on and I said no, because there wasn't. Isn't." he corrected quickly.

"But you want there to be?" Jace prodded.

"I… Look, he's my client. No matter what I feel, I can't go there. Plus he's a famous celebrity – I doubt he wants to slum it with me."


"No, I mean it. He can have anybody he wants. People throw themselves at his feet on a regular basis. He has much better options, trust me. We may be becoming friends but he's not going to see me that way."

Izzy reached across the table to squeeze his hand. "Alec, I think he already does. He talks to me about you all the time, and I don't think it's just because you're common ground between us. You don't see the way he looks at you when you're not paying attention."

"You're seeing things."

Before the pair of siblings could continue trying to convince his denial away, the other two came back over.

Magnus slid into the seat next to Alec. "I just ordered a double round of shots, so get ready. Time to make some new memories."

"What happened to not wanting to get sloppy?" Jace asked amusedly.

"I have to catch the red eye tonight and I don't want to be anywhere near sober for that. I hate flying. I wish I could teleport." Catarina said.

"Our flight isn't until morning but I'm good with sleeping a hangover off on the plane." Izzy said, accepting the shot glass from the tray as the server came around.

"Alec, don't be shy." Magnus said, passing him one when he didn't immediately reach for the drink.

Alec took it from him and knocked back the liquid in one gulp. It didn't burn like he expected it to – it was actually quite smooth.

"I love a man who swallows." Magnus flirted without missing a beat.

Alec flushed, wishing it was warmer in the restaurant so he could blame it on that, while Magnus laughed and rubbed his back comfortingly.

"I'd say I'm only teasing, but, to be fair, it was a true statement. But I do promise I'm not trying to embarrass you." Magnus told him quietly.

Alec unconsciously leaned into his touch, and Magnus left his hand rubbing circles at the bottom of his spine.

"If it wasn't you, it'd be Izzy. I'm fine." he promised.

"Good. Are you having a good time?" Magnus asked while the others got lost in their own conversation about terrible flight stories.

"Definitely. What about you? After everything last night—"

Magnus put a hand up to stop him. "It's just what I need. A positive distraction. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. I had planned this with Izzy weeks ago, knowing this would be a proper day off after the benefit was done, but I hadn't had any clue then that last night would turn out the way it did."

"And you kept your plans from me all that time?"

Magnus smiled smugly, obviously pleased with himself for his power of secret keeping. "Well, I figured I owed you. About time I did something for you."

"Magnus, you do not owe me for doing my job. I'm only doing what I was hired to do." Alec reminded him.

"You know you've gone above and beyond for me, especially the last few days alone. I know I put up a fuss at first, but I do feel much safer knowing I have you."

Alec smiled, reaching over to squeeze Magnus' hand. "I was so reluctant to take this job in the beginning but now, well, there's nowhere I'd rather be."

Magnus' brilliant returning smile made his stomach flip.

Magnus looked away for a moment to grab another two shots off the table, and he passed one to Alec.

"To overcoming adversities?" Alec prompted, holding his glass out.

Magnus clinked his against it. "To us." he corrected before tossing it back.

Alec could barely contain a smile as he followed suit and swallowed the drink in full.

Magnus' eyes scanned the room and widened in excitement.

"Alexander. Fancy a game of pool?"

Alec glanced at his siblings but they were engrossed in Catarina's retelling of ridiculous horror stories from the ER, so he felt they wouldn't be missed.

"Let's do it."

Magnus led the way, passing Alec a pool cue then racking up the balls in the center of the table.

"Do you want to break?"

Alec chalked up the end of his cue.

"Nah, you go ahead."

Magnus clacked the balls together with a good level of strength, sending them apart in various directions.

He lined up his cue and knocked two solids into holes before getting one just shy of a corner pocket. He nodded to Alec to indicate it was his turn.

Alec stepped up to the table and proceeded to pocket four balls in succession without batting an eye.

Magnus' jaw dropped. "Alec, are you hustling me?"

Alec grinned, shrugging innocently.

Jace walked by at that point, heading to the bar for a refill, and snickered at the incredulous look on Magnus' face.

"I see Alec failed to mention he used to make money playing pool."

"Oddly, yes." Magnus said, shooting daggers at Alec while he laughed and lined up another shot.

Jace chuckled. "A way of making extra cash in college. He's always been good at angles and precision. He probably never told you he's a national champion at archery. Started in boarding school. Got first in every competition then took it further until he was winning trophies left and right."

"Okay, Jace, that's enough of a history lesson." Alec told him.

Jace grinned at him. "Gotta share my brotherly pride with anyone who will listen."

Alec shoved him playfully on his way, grinning at him in return, before turning back to their game.

Magnus sunk two more balls during his turn and grumbled when he missed the third.

"You're good, you know. Not as good as me but…" Alec said teasingly, knowing full well how competitive Magnus was.

Sure enough, he took the bait immediately.

"If you're so talented, why don't you come over here and show me how it's done?" Magnus asked, fire in his eyes.

Alec swallowed and came around to his side of the table. He was competitive too—he wasn't going to back down from a direct challenge.

"Line up your shot. Try to think ahead of what exact path you want the ball to follow, keeping in mind that where the second set of balls hit together should be equal in strength to if you were hitting it with your cue alone." Alec told him, his voice huskier than he planned.

Magnus seemed to notice, if the darkening of his eyes was any indicator.

Alec moved behind him, draping his body over his in order to mirror Magnus' position. He placed a hand on Magnus' hip and his other arm slid to cover his up to his wrist. He adjusted the angle of his arm slightly, slipping back to change the cue's position, and pressed his front flat against Magnus' back in order to see his line of sight to the best of his ability.

"Now. Not too hard. You want to pull back but pour your strength into the jab at the end, not the full motion." Alec instructed, breath hitting the back of his ear as he whispered. He imitated the motion, always stopping right before the cue made contact, and it forced him to press even closer to see the stretched position through.

Magnus shivered in his hold, and Alec tried not to feel triumphant.

He finally moved Magnus' cue with him, cracking the ball against the stick with measured strength and it bounced off one and then another, both rolling into their designated holes.

"Perfect." Alec murmured, finally releasing him and stepping back.

Magnus turned to look at him, licking his lips. "You're a good teacher."

Alec noted his voice was lower too.

His eyes watched Magnus' tongue's movement, wishing it was his own getting to explore the softness.

"We should… we should get back to the others." Alec finally said, knowing if they didn't get themselves around witnesses soon, he was going to do something stupid like pin Magnus to the table and kiss the breath from his mouth.

"Good idea." Magnus said, his playful gaze indicating he knew exactly where Alec's mind went.

Alec followed him back to the table, hoping his indecent thoughts were at least hidden from their company.

The rest of the night went well, ending much later than Alec had originally anticipated.

He was definitely the soberest of the four as they walked through downtown LA. Catarina had to leave earlier than the rest to catch her flight, and all of them had been sad to see her go.

Naturally, Magnus was the drunkest even when Catarina was in the running, so Alec had his arm around his waist to keep him walking in as straight of a line as an attached duo could move.

"Alexander, will you carry me like you did the other night? I'm so tired." Magnus whined.

Alec pointedly ignored his siblings' gazes as he scooped Magnus up bridal-style without a word.

Magnus immediately clung to him, snuggling into his chest. "You smell so good."

Alec could hear Jace and Izzy giggling to themselves a few paces back, and he knew from many years of experience that it was at his expense. He wasn't helping dispute their delusions about Magnus' feelings for him by having the drunk man in his arms in such a traditionally romantic way.

"Boys, I have an idea. Rather than waste money on an extra room when we get back to the hotel… you two have a double bedroom in your suite, right? There's no reason we can't all take advantage of the beautiful suite you have."

"But Iz, how would we divide up the beds? All three of us can't fit in one." Jace asked in painfully fake curiosity, and if Magnus wasn't super drunk, Alec knew he would've been able to read the extremely poor acting on his brother's part for pretending like that thought had just occurred to him.

"Well, I figure you and I can share… and Alec and Magnus! After all, the closer Alec is to Magnus, the better. For safety." Izzy said mischievously.

Alec glared at her over his shoulder.

"Sounds perfect to me." Magnus mumbled. "I like sleeping in your arms."

Alec felt his skin redden for the second time that night, and he tried not to panic at how Magnus would know that. Was the reason he was instinctively searching for Magnus in bed that morning because they somehow ended up spooning? Did his heart rule his body when he was sleeping?

He was grateful that Magnus spoke softly enough that the other two hadn't overheard that last bit.

Once they got to the hotel, Alec shifted Magnus in his arms to hit the elevator button.

"Is he asleep?" Jace asked amusedly.

Alec looked down and saw that Magnus' eyes were closed and his chest was rising and falling in even breaths.

A tender smile slipped out without him meaning to.

"So it seems. He's never this quiet otherwise."

Izzy was smiling knowingly at him when he looked up, and he rolled his eyes at her in response. He was not going to bite at her teasing for her satisfaction.

They got back to their hotel suite and separated so Jace and Izzy could grab their luggage from the living room and Alec could place Magnus on the bed.

He came back out to make sure the other two didn't need anything further.

"Smart – taking the bigger bed. You might need that extra space." Izzy teased, ruffling Alec's hair before slipping into the bedroom that usually would be Alec's. "Jace, I know I signed up for this, but you better have cut your toenails this time!"

"Hey! You better keep your kicks to yourself or you're sleeping on the floor!" Jace argued back.

He chanced a glance at Alec and then moved to close the door until it was just about shut.

"Hey. If this is too much, I can sleep on the couch and you can share with Izzy."

Alec forced a smile. "Thanks, Jace. It's all right. We're just going to sleep."

"All right. You know where I am if you change your mind." Jace said, clapping him on the shoulder before heading into his assigned room.

Alec slipped into the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth. Seeing Magnus' makeup wipes, he sighed and gathered what he needed before returning to his now-shared room with Magnus.

Magnus was still sleeping, hugging a pillow to his chest now, and Alec felt bad waking him. But he knew that Magnus would regret not taking his makeup off in the morning.

He nudged Magnus gently, pulling the pillow away, and Magnus grumbled.

"I'm sleepy." he pouted.

"I know. But I need to get your makeup off. Can you just tilt your face up for me? Please?"

Magnus acquiesced, blinking up at him, eyebrows furrowing. Alec got to work wiping away the colours, Magnus closing his eyes so he could take off his eyeliner and shadow. Thankfully, it only took a couple minutes and then he was clean.

"I know you're tired, but do you want to go to the bathroom or anything before sleeping?"

"Mm… maybe."

Alec chuckled. "All right. Come on. Let's go."

He guided Magnus to the bathroom, arm wound around his waist, and left him to do his thing. The bathroom was en-suite so if Magnus needed him, all he had to do was shout.

Alec undressed until he was in just his boxers and a t-shirt and he jumped in surprise when he turned around to find Magnus standing there staring at him.

"You're so hot."

Alec's usual porcelain skin flushed a bright red once again, and he cursed his reactive blood vessels.

"Uh, are-are you ready for bed?"

"Mm, yeah. Just gotta change."

"Okay, should I—"

Before he could finish his sentence, Magnus had started unbuttoning his pants and kicked them off his legs. He tried to undo his dress shirt but the buttons were too numerous and complicated for his uncoordinated fingers so Alec crossed the room to help him.

Magnus' eyes never left Alec's deft fingers as they unlooped the buttons from their fabric prisons.

Once unbuttoned, Alec pushed the fabric off of his shoulders and let it drop to the floor.

He had to swallow. Magnus was currently wearing very little clothing and was standing very close to him.

Magnus reached up to stroke a hand down Alec's chest, watching its movement. "Thank you for your help, Alexander."

Alec nodded, not trusting himself to speak. He took Magnus' wandering hand and led him to bed, helping him climb under the covers on his side before moving to his own and climbing in.

Magnus immediately scooted over and cuddled up to his side, tucking his head into Alec's shoulder and throwing a leg over Alec's thigh to slip between his.

"Uh, what are you… is this comfortable for you?" Alec asked instead.

Magnus sighed happily, nuzzling his cheek against Alec's pec. "Very. This okay?"

"Uh, yeah, yes. All good."

Alec felt Magnus' smile against his skin, and his hand automatically moved to stroke through his hair. He expected to be met with a lot of product but it was actually quite soft and flitted through his fingers easily.

Magnus fell back to sleep quickly, but Alec lay awake, wondering if he wasn't wrong to hope his siblings were right about the two of them. Because one thing was for sure—Alec was falling hard and fast for Magnus Bane.

Chapter Text

Magnus woke up feeling like something died in his mouth overnight, but at least he was warm. He nuzzled into the pillow further, no desire to open his eyes coming once the head pounding kicked in.

His pillow felt oddly firm – not that he didn't like a well supported neck, but he was used to fluffier pillows at the hotels Raphael usually booked.

Consciousness gradually caught up with him, and that's when he realized he wasn't laying his head on a pillow at all.

It was the movement of the material under his cheek that alerted him of the fact whatever he was laying on was clothed, not a pillow case. And, drunken night or not, he knew there was only one man he could be tangled up with in his hotel bed.

Magnus opened his eyes slowly, peeking up to see that Alec was thankfully still sleeping soundly. He was spread underneath Magnus, Magnus somehow becoming an octopus overnight if his body curled around Alec's was any indicator. He had a leg between his, one arm stretched across him and tucked near his ribcage, and of course his head nestled comfortably on his torso.

He gently took back his enthuasiastic limbs and pulled away. Magnus couldn't help but stop to admire the man laid out in bed sleeping peacefully. His body was well defined, a light dusting of chest hair peeking up through the lopsided t-shirt, and his dark eyelashes framed beautifully against his pale skin.

He was gorgeous. Breathtaking. Lying there like the angels had carved him from marble. At least he was comfier than stone.

"Uh, what are you… is this comfortable for you?"

"Very. This okay?"

"Uh, yeah, yes. All good."

Magnus nearly groaned at the memory. Drunk him was not very restrained. He thought back to the night before, how he ended up tangled around Alec, and he was stunned by the bluntness of his desire for the other man.

How had Alec not been freaked out?

Magnus had blamed a lot on Alec being his bodyguard and his work ethic being the reasoning behind why he was kind or protective. But he knew he wasn't crazy to think there was something growing between them. At the bar last night, there was no way Alec wasn't flirting with him, showing him how to play pool the way he did. And Magnus stroking down his body did nothing but darken his gaze with desire.

His musing about all the times he maybe wasn't misreading Alec's feelings only lasted so long as he felt a sudden lurch in his stomach, and then he was running to the ensuite with his hand over his mouth before he could lose the contents of his stomach all over the hotel rug.

He closed the door a little too hard behind him, dropping to his knees as he began retching in the toilet, the disgusting regurgitation spilling out of him before he even made contact with the floor.

It didn't last long and was all liquid – his own fault for not eating enough the night before – and he shakily sat back against the wall as he recovered his breath once it was over.

"Magnus? Magnus, are you all right?"

Damn it. He woke Alec. He was hoping he could miss hearing him puking his guts out like some sort of freshly-turned-legal young adult. It wasn't exactly a shining achievement.

"I'm fine." Magnus croaked back, his throat more raw than he'd anticipated, making him sound like a long-term smoker with tar-drenched lungs.

"What can I do?" Alec asked, softer now, the concern slipping into his voice.

Magnus couldn't help but feel his heart warm at the sound. He and Alec may have had their differences, and frankly they still bickered regularly, but he knew there was no denying that Alec genuinely cared for his well being. He had made that pretty clear over the last week.

"Nothing. I'm fine, Alexander, I promise. I'll be out in a minute."


Magnus heard him step away from the door and he took that as a win. He got to his feet and splashed some cool water on his face, trying not to groan at how the pounding in his head didn't seem to want to let up any time soon. He needed more sleep and hydration. Maybe some more cuddling wouldn't hurt either, seeing as Alec apparently wasn't opposed.

He brushed his teeth quickly, wanting to rid the vomit taste from his mouth, and headed back to the bedroom.

He was surprised to find Alec not there, but he was too tired and feeling too gross to go investigate where he disappeared to. For all he knew, he could be checking on his siblings in the other room. Izzy especially had matched him pretty closely drink for drink and he doubted she had the level of tolerance he did.

Magnus collapsed back on the bed, letting the duvet envelope him in a comforting cocoon of fluff, and he closed his eyes in the hope that the room would stop spinning so much.

He heard someone enter the room, and though he normally was more paranoid, he didn't have the energy to be anxious.

"Hey. Can you sit up for a minute?"

Alec had returned. If Magnus wasn't so hungover, he'd probably be grinning giddily at this point, now that he had some time to reflect on things. Could Alec really return his feelings?

He did as he was told, opening his eyes to see Alec holding out a cold bottle of ginger ale for him and some aspirin.

"I think you're going to need these." he explained.

Magnus nodded his thanks as he swallowed them down, the cool fizz easing his sore throat.

"Thank you, Alexander."

He watched as Alec headed into the bathroom and he closed his eyes again, ready for sleep to take him under to avoid feeling so wretched. He could celebrate his potential romantic victory later.

A loud noise made his eyes snap back open and he saw Alec flash a sheepish smile.

"Sorry. This thing isn't very cooperative."

Magnus stared as Alec carried over the obnoxious stand-up fan that was knocking against the floor every few steps. Alec turned the air on and pointed it at Magnus. He then moved to sit on the edge of the bed, running a cool cloth over his face and leaving it resting on his forehead.

The cool blowing air mixed with the damp cloth immediately helped ease some of his headache and discomfort, and Magnus found himself sighing in content as he laid flatter on the bed.

"That should help get you to sleep." Alec explained, the smile evident in his voice even if Magnus wasn't looking at him.

"You never cease to amaze me, Alec."

"Sleep." Alec murmured, running a comforting hand through his hair, and Magnus found his body obeying.

The next time Magnus woke up, he was feeling much more like a member of the living.

The damp cloth was off his forehead now, but the cool air blowing against his skin made it clear it hadn't been missing for long.

His headache was gone and his stomach was already beginning to grumble in protest at how empty it was. It seemed his puking earlier in the night was all it needed to clear it of the junk he had forced it to digest.

Magnus couldn't help but reach out to search for Alec, hoping to find him asleep next to him, but his space was empty and a little cooler than Magnus would like. It was clear he had left him to sleep a while ago.

He finally sat up and stretched, figuring he could use a shower before hunting down his bodyguard.

Alec had gotten up a couple hours prior to Magnus' second wakeup, knowing his siblings would be leaving soon. He knew Magnus would normally be the perfect host and want to make a fuss about them before they left, but he also knew his hangover was going to be rough enough, so he figured Magnus would forgive him for letting him sleep it off.

Izzy and Jace were fairing a bit better, Izzy the worst of the two, but that didn't stop her from being her usual meddling self.

"Hey, big brother. How'd you sleep?" she teased when he came back to the room after his morning workout.

Something must have shone in his eyes because her expression immediately melted from taunting to concern.

"Hey. You know I'm only teasing, right? You can tell me to screw off."

He shrugged, not meeting her eyes. She wasn't one to give up easily though.

"Alec. I know I push all of your buttons, especially about this stuff. But I'm not trying to be malicious. I'm sorry if I've pushed too hard." she said honestly, squeezing his arm. "I just want you to be with someone who you can be yourself with, who appreciates you and you have actual fun with. I haven't seen you this comfortable with another person outside of family before. You just seem like… you're actually happy. That's all I ever want for you."

"I'm not upset with you, Iz. I know you're only teasing. I just… it's not like you and Jace are wrong. I have fallen for him, against my better judgment. I know I'm falling too fast but I don't know how to stop it now. The more time I spend with him, the harder I fall. I just… I'm terrified. Of how this is all going to blow up in my face."

Izzy took his hands in hers. "Alec. Have a little faith, okay? I know you're not alone in your feelings. But even if things don't work out? You are amazing. Nothing can change that. You deserve big love and you will find it someday, I know it."

"Thanks, Izzy."

She pulled him into a tight hug. "I love you, big brother. I'm so glad we got to see you even for a day."

"Same here." he agreed.

Jace chose that moment to come out of the bathroom, running a towel through his hair. "Aw, did I miss the sappy family hug moment? What a shame!"

"Oh get over here, you idiot." Izzy laughed.

Jace fake-sighed before bounding over and tackling the two of them in a group hug, the trio laughing together.

Jace ruffled Alec's hair as they separated. "Thanks for having us, Alec. We better head out since security takes forever at LAX. But take care of yourself, all right? And we're just a phone call away."

Alec hugged him solo this time, patting him gratefully on the back. "Thanks, Jace. I'll see you guys again soon, okay?"

"The tour is only a little longer!" Izzy added, slipping her sunglasses back into place and tugging her suitcase behind her. "Now let's go get some greasy airport food!"

Alec waved the pair of them out of the door before locking it properly. He would definitely miss them, but he also wasn't entirely adverse to having Magnus to himself again. He liked being 'forced' to share a bed with Magnus, but at least when they shared a hotel room it was a time when it was just the two of them, no other members of the team imposing on their space.

He figured he should go check on him but Izzy's last comment made him pause. Jace had said Izzy had been up a few times puking – if she was hungry for food now, maybe Magnus would be too.

Alec changed his direction and headed to the hotel phone, picking up the room service menu as he began to dial.

Magnus, feeling much more refreshed, headed out into the main area of the suite to find Alec waving off the hotel employee dropping off breakfast.

There were multiple trays on the trolley and Magnus felt his stomach grumble in anticipation.

"Feeling hungry this morning? I suppose with a body like that, you need your fuel."

Alec ducked his head at the compliment, busying himself with pushing the trolley further into the room and over to where Magnus had settled into the couch.

"It's not all for me. I figured you'd probably be hungry when you woke up. I wanted to get a jump on ordering it since I know you have such specific needs."

"Excuse me, are you calling me a diva?"

"When it comes to how you like your food, yes."

As Magnus eyed the food laid out before him, he felt his curiosity peak. "And how do you know how I like my food?"

Alec rolled his eyes. "Magnus. I've been by your side for pretty much every meal you've eaten for this entire tour. Let me prove it."

"Fine. Dazzle me with your knowledge." Magnus said with a smirk, crossing his arms behind his head as he leaned back in his seat.

"All right. First up, eggs. If scrambled, you want cheese in them. Cheddar is preferred but you'll take Monterary Jack if you can get it. Smoked cheddar is ideal. However, you prefer poached eggs. Medium, because you like a bit of a loose yolk but not too runny. If you're having toast, you want the poached eggs on there unless you're in the mood for your usual – which is sourdough toast with jam when you have a full course breakfast. Raspberry jam if you can get it. Bacon – cooked to the point where it's stiff but not crispy or crunchy. You want a little give to it, a little flexibility. Hashbrowns are always a must – you typically eat them with ketchup unless you have egg yolk to dip them in. And then of course freshly squeezed orange juice as you like lots of pulp. And coffee. With far too much cream and sugar for my taste. Unless you're half-asleep and it's a lighter roast or flavoured then you like it black."

Magnus simply stared at him, taken aback at Alec's detailed summary of his breakfast preferences. It was a little scary how accurate he was, down to his cheese preferences and ideal choices for bread type and jam flavour.

"So. Do I get full marks?" Alec asked, biting into his toast.

"Yes. You continue to amaze me, Alec." Magnus admitted, taking a drink of his coffee before moving to dig into his eggs.

Alec shrugged one shoulder, looking a little bashful as he continued eating, and Magnus knew this man was going to be the death of him.

"So. Plans for today?"

"I figured you'd be sleeping off your hangover." Alec told him.

Magnus blew out a breath. "To be honest, I'm feeling much better. Was thinking about getting Raphael to book me some time at a local studio, get some rehearsal in. I have to make sure I bring the final tour performance to the next level. Can't be rusty after these few days off."

"I don't think a man with your talent and dedication gets 'rusty' but sounds good. I was thinking I should get the team together for some more training, so I can always keep busy with that if I can get an adjacent room. Don't want you too far away just in case."

"Works for me. I'll text Raph."

"We have to leave tomorrow for the next tour stop, don't forget. So don't work yourself too hard and put yourself out when you do have to get back on stage."

"Yes, Mom."

It was a few hours later when Alec finished up with the security team and set them free so he could go track down Magnus. He had received a call from Raphael regarding their flight changes and wanted to make sure Magnus wasn't planning on a repeat of the night before with the extra time they were allotted.

He hoped the fear of another hangover after the rough one he endured was enough to keep him away from binge-drinking. It probably helped he didn't have special company to entertain as well.

Still, Alec wasn't getting a response to his texts and he couldn't help feeling a little uneasy at the fact that, room apart or not, he had left Magnus alone without backup. It was unlikely that his stalker would show up to the rehearsal space they only had booked earlier that day, but Alec hadn't ruled out the fact that it may be someone on Magnus' team who didn't have his best interests at heart.

He could hear the music pumping through the door so he figured Magnus was still working away.

Alec slipped unnoticed into the room, unable to help the corner of his mouth upturning at the sight of Magnus moving in front of the mirror. Not many people had the pleasure of seeing him practice unrestrained, without an audience to woo or play off that he's perfect. Instead, his face would furrow in concentration as he tried move after different move, trying to find the one he liked. Redoing certain choreography, replaying the song or parts over and over again until he found the thing that worked.

Although Alec had been reluctant to be personal security for a celebrity, it was because he had assumed it would be a spoiled airhead who had just been blessed with talent and the kind of personality that attracted attention. Instead, he discovered just how much work and how many hours were spent making things seem effortless. It wasn't just Magnus' design team, who plastered him with make-up, hair products and spent hours having him try on every clothing item they had come across to find the right combination. It was the hours of sound checks, rehearsals, choreographing, vocal work, from sun up to sun down day after day and then full on nonstop live performances night after night. Every waking minute for Magnus was spent perfecting his image, his showmanship, or travelling and Alec was rather blown away by all of the little things that went into making him successful. He felt exhausted just watching him sometimes.

But he also saw the exhilaration and pure joy on Magnus' face after a performance or a great rehearsal in a new venue. The way he lit up like a thousand suns as soon as he stepped out onto stage and had the audience lose their mind.

The few days off they had had been used productively, outside of Izzy, Jace and Catarina's visit. Magnus had squeezed in a few more interviews on both TV and radio, but the last tour performance was in a few short weeks and Alec knew Magnus would bring his all to it for the fans.

"Like what you see, Alexander?"

Magnus' coy voice interrupted his contemplation.

Alec's smile widened, stepping further into the room now that he was caught. He couldn't help the small chuckle from escaping him. "Just thinking about how exhausted you look."

Magnus pouted, but Alec could see the hint of a smile threatening to break out. He picked up his towel and wiped off his face, making his way over after turning off the music.

"Well you try doing these moves without breaking a sweat."

Alec laughed fully. "I don't dance, thank you."

Magnus grinned. "I could make you."

"Now that sounds like a nightmare come true." Alec teased, rolling his eyes at the foolish man.

Magnus looked him up and down, a hint of suggestiveness in his eyes. "Not for me."

Alec chewed his tongue, trying not to read into anything too much. He knew Magnus was like that with people. Automatically flirty. It didn't have to mean anything. But he couldn't help the swoop in his gut from the flattering attention, hoping he could rely on the genuinity in Magnus' eyes and the encouragement from his siblings.

He knotted his hands behind his back and let out a breath. "Magnus… I came here to let you know that the flights got moved tomorrow to a later time so we've got some time to kill in the morning. I wasn't sure if you had anything you wanted to do while we wait. Raphael mentioned he could likely set up another interview or two."

"Hmm… I think I'm interviewed out for now. I have a better idea – I want you to come with me somewhere."

"All right, where are we heading? I'll need to figure out where to station the others…"

Magnus interrupted, sly smirk gracing his handsome face. "Oh, no. Not everyone. Just you."

"Okay…. Now I'm afraid." Alec admitted.

Magnus grinned. "Don't worry. I'll protect you."

"You know, I can't ensure your safety if you don't give me a warning for where we are going." Alec reminded him as he followed Magnus through the streets of LA.

"Oh lighten up already. It won't kill you to be spontaneous." Magnus threw over his shoulder.

"But it might kill you." Alec reminded him.

Alec didn't have to see him to know he was rolling his eyes. "Now who's being dramatic?"

"You're insufferable."

"And yet I'm right." Magnus quipped.

Alec looked up at the blinking sign before following Magnus through the door – Pandemonium.

Leave it to Magnus to take him to a busy night club.

There were people packed on the dance floor and many seated at different booths around the place. There were multiple bars to buy drinks from, and Alec knew immediately where he'd be spending his time.

"Now this… this is exactly what I've been looking for." Magnus said, spreading his arms widely as he took in the scene.

Alec looked sideways at him to see him beaming, trying not to roll his eyes at how different they were.

He may be feeling something for Magnus, something he was trying to bury until he was positive Magnus returned his feelings, but it was times like these he wondered how he ever imagined they'd work when they were so opposite. Where Magnus saw fun and a good time, Alec saw a headache and claustrophobia.

Still, it was worth it to see Magnus so excited.

"Drink?" Alec asked, placing a hand on the small of his back to tether them together as they wove through different bodies.

"Mm I like the way your mind works." Magnus purred, leading him to the more empty of the bars towards the back.

Alec followed obediently, keeping his hand glued to Magnus even as he leaned against the dark wood.

"What's your poison?"

"Uh, beer, usually."

"Well we can't have that. Can we get two Singapore Slings?" Magnus asked the bartender when he came to their end, flashing a brilliant smile.

Alec sighed and accepted the drink that was passed to him, trying a sip.

"All right?"

Alec was surprised by his own answer. "Uh, yeah, it's actually really good."

Magnus beamed. "I had a feeling you'd like gin."

Alec took a deeper drink, enjoying the flavours mixed together.

"So. You got me here. Now what?"

"Now we dance." Magnus beamed.

"Oh no, no, no. I told you already I don't dance."

"Now, now. Remember who your partner is. I won't let you make a fool of yourself. You tutored me in pool—now it's time for me to return the favour."

"How about I stay here and keep an eye on things and you dance? I can already see several interested people watching you. I'm sure they won't step on your feet."

The song changed to an upbeat dance song and Magnus sighed.

"Fine, I will start without you. But only because I refuse to waste this Selena song."

Alec smiled, happy with his victory, and slid onto the bar stool. He swiveled to face the dance floor, eyes only leaving Magnus to make sure there were no impending threats and to signal the bartender for another when the time came.

A group of young girls, likely only recently of legal age, were down a couple paces clinking shot glasses and chatting animatedly.

Their eyes kept sweeping the dance floor and then glancing at Alec while they whispered to each other, and Alec felt his discomfort rise. He really hoped he wouldn't have to turn down yet another request to dance, this time from those very much not his type.

A blonde man stepped forward to order a drink, putting a barrier between Alec and the girl group. It wasn't until he accepted a very full beer from the bartender that Alec's luck declined and one of the girls bumped into the man, causing him to lose his footing and stumble backwards, accidentally sloshing his beer onto Alec.

Alec could hear the girls giggling and apologizing and the man dismissed them politely before turning to him with apologetic eyes.

"I am so very sorry. Can I do anything?" he asked with a strong British accent.

Alec accepted a couple paper towel sheets from him that the bartender had given him to help clean up the mess.

"No, no, I'm fine. It mostly landed on my shoes, and they'll be fine."

"Can I buy you a drink? It's the least I can do."

He was certainly good looking, with a megawatt smile and smooth voice, but Alec's heart was already well and truly stolen.

"I appreciate it but I'm really fine. Still nursing this one." he added, gesturing to the drink in his hand that only had a few swallows out of it.

"So are you drinking alone?"

"No, I just lost the person I came with to the allure of the dance floor."

The guy chuckled, eyes following the line of sight Alec kept returning to, and he held out a hand.

"I'm Sebastian."

"Alec." he replied politely.

"So why aren't you out there? It looks to me like you're in impressive shape so I bet your body knows how to move."

Alec didn't miss the purr to his voice as he said it, and he tried not to blush at the attention. He wasn't used to being outwardly flirted with by men. The odd woman, sure, but they were far less intimidating. Usually he let off such an unapproachable vibe he was left alone.

"I was born with two left feet."

"Oh dear. Did you see a podiatry specialist for that?"

It took Alec a beat and then he laughed despite himself. "I suppose I should have. Now it's too late."

Sebastian moved closer, sitting in the stool next to him. "I could always try to teach you. Can't say I'm any better of a dancer though."

Alec opened his mouth to reply then shut it, not sure what to say to that.

Sebastian smiled for a moment, looking like he was about to say something, but a body pressing into Alec's and an arm snaking around his waist interrupted the private conversation.

"Okay, I've been patient, but you really need to come dance now." Magnus whined, leaning his weight into Alec before turning to the blonde. "Who's this?"

"Sebastian Verlac." the British man explained, reaching out a hand to shake.

"Magnus Bane." Magnus said, arm tightening around Alec, and Alec tried not to smile at the possessiveness in his hold and the fact that he didn't lift a hand to reciprocate.

Sebastian clearly had picked up on the tension too, hand lowering slowly. "I had just been apologizing to Alec for my clumsiness. I managed to spill some of my drink on him."

"It wasn't your fault. You were bumped into. And you barely got any on me." Alec reminded him.

Magnus' eyes darted between them, narrowing at the soft smile on Sebastian's face at the defence.

"It was nice to meet you, Sebastian. Magnus, shall we?" Alec said, steering Magnus away without waiting for an answer.

It was hard to keep the grin off of his face, and Magnus' glare once they were alone made it clear that he was failing miserably at doing so.

"Why are you so amused?"

"I didn't take you for the jealous type." Alec admitted.

"I am not jealous!" Magnus exclaimed. He then seemed to catch on to the hysterical edge to his voice and pouted.

"It's flattering, really. A celebrity like yourself…" Alec teased.

"You know, your smugness is not an attractive quality."

"Mm I don't know. I think you find me plenty attractive anyways." he grinned.

"Oh, shut up and dance already." Magnus grumbled, twirling away from him as he started moving to the song. Alec recognized it as a popular single by Camila Cabello that Izzy used to sing around the house.

Maybe it was the alcohol in his system or the ego boost from Magnus' obvious jealousy at another man stealing his attention away, but Alec was feeling more confident that he was right that there was something growing between them.

Alec reached for Magnus' waist, tugging his body flush to him, and he saw Magnus' eyes darken immediately.

"I thought you wanted to dance together?" Alec murmured, hands clutching Magnus' hips to keep their pelvises snug as they moved in rhythm.

Magnus' body responded immediately, grinding against him, and his hand slid up his chest to cup Alec's neck.

"I thought you said you don't dance." Magnus breathed into his skin, nosing along his collarbone.

"I said I don't–not that I can't." Alec replied, palming across Magnus' lower back and slipping under the hem of his shirt to stroke his skin.

It was like it was just the two of them in the room. A fight could break out inches away and they'd be oblivious, far too focused on the feel of being so close after so long of denying themselves.

Alec rotated Magnus so they were entwined back to front, Magnus' ass nestling into the contour of his hips. Magnus grinded back into him, groaning at the feel of Alec's arousal trapped between them and feeling his own spring to life.

"Alexander…" Magnus whispered, head falling back to his shoulder so he could speak against his cheek, intentionally letting his lips brush the soft skin. "We're going to have to move this or this is going to get very embarrassing for me soon."

Alec knew he wouldn't be alone in that, and that Magnus must be able to feel his body responding to the friction they were creating between their bodies.

"Let's go." Alec said huskily, separating them and heading towards the door.

Magnus interlaced their fingers and let Alec lead him out of the club, the shiver that went through his body having nothing to do with the night air.

Chapter Text

Back at the hotel, Alec left Magnus at the front door as he did his usual sweep.

They hadn't spoken a word the entire walk back, and Alec felt like he was going to jump out of his skin. His cells were humming with energy, anxious for his body to finally act on what he had been denying it for months.

"All clear." Alec said quietly when he was finally done, and he peeked at Magnus' face to try to read where his head was.

Magnus nodded, licking his lips, and Alec couldn't hold back any longer.

He grabbed the front of Magnus' shirt to yank him forward and their lips crashed together.

Magnus kissed him back hungrily, twisting his fingers in Alec's hair as they stumbled into each other. Alec's mouth opened to him like butter, tongue gliding to meet his as they tangled together. The only sounds in the room were the short, hot breaths between them and the desperate pressing of lips.

Magnus immediately moved to rid Alec of his belt, tugging it out of the loops and the force causing their hips to press together even further. He didn't hesitate to rub up into his personal space so he could feel how aroused he was at where things were heading.

Alec's head was spinning. He knew he was breaking some major rules engaging in this with a client, but he didn't care. He always did the 'right' thing – he wanted to do what he wanted for once. And he very much wanted Magnus.

Magnus seemed to share the sentiment. He dug at the rest of Alec's clothes in a desperate attempt to get them out of the way. Alec returned the gesture, letting the articles fall whenever they managed to remove one, and they both nearly lost their balance on more than one occasion.

"You know, for a dancer, your balance needs some work." Alec teased as he held Magnus steady while he stepped out of his slacks.

Magnus rolled his eyes. "Being a dancer may involve poise, but it also means I am quite flexible. A fact you will soon be very grateful for." he promised before latching his mouth onto Alec's neck.

Alec let them fall back against the nearest wall, hand slipping into Magnus' hair as his head tipped to welcome more of Magnus' lips against his sensitive skin.

Magnus didn't seem to care that he was sucking bruises into very obvious spots that would be impossible to hide the next day. A part of Alec cared, but it was drowned out by the spike of arousal that hit him when Magnus finally stood naked before him and finished undressing Alec a moment later.

God, it had been a while, but Alec knew he had never been so eager to be with someone like this before.

Alec ran his hands down Magnus' bare chest, stroking the hard muscle below his belly button and trying not to flush at how close Magnus' hard cock was to his hand.

"Bedroom." Magnus demanded, leading him to a much softer surface to continue on.

Alec tried to keep the grin off his face as they near-toppled to the bed, fallen clothes tangling around their feet as they moved through the room.

Magnus was burying his laughs in Alec's chest as Alec tumbled on top of him.

"Hmm, you certainly are graceful yourself." Magnus teased.

Alec kissed him to shut him up, pressing his body down into his partner's so he could feel every line of him.

Magnus groaned at that, rutting his hips up against him. "God, I can't wait for you to get inside me."

Alec froze for a moment, stunned by the comment, and Magnus immediately tensed underneath him.

"I mean, not that we have to do that. Or that way. I didn't mean to assume—"

"No, no. It's not that." Alec told him, holding himself above Magus so he could look him in the eyes properly. "I just… That sounds amazing. Truly. I've just only ever… been on the receiving end."

Magnus smiled wickedly. "Oh, well then, if you think you're up for trying something new…."

Alec licked his lips, unable to help return the smile, and pink crossed his cheeks. "I am. God, I definitely am. I've always wanted to try it. My ex was sort of… well, he struggled with being gay, and I guess a part of him felt it was less gay to be on top, so I always bottomed."

Magnus sighed. "Internalized homophobia can certainly warp someone's thinking. Somehow, having sex with a man wasn't gay enough, but anyways…"

"Yes, yes, he was an idiot." Alec mused, dipping down to capture Magnus' mouth in his again, hands tracing the curves of his waist and hips. He was eager to get back to what they were doing.

He reached around to cup Magnus' ass, pulling so they could both get a little friction to release some of the building tension. He still was having trouble believing this was really happening, but his body certainly was going to ruin it all if he didn't take back some control.

Magnus slipped out from beneath him, Alec grumbling when he dodged his kiss, and he rummaged around in his nighttable drawer.

"You know, I've kept this in here at every hotel for the last dozen in the hopes this would happen. My hand was getting awful lonely being the sole user." Magnus teased as he dropped the bottle of lube next to them.

"Magnus. I'm trying to last here." Alec muttered, not able to ignore the flare of desire that sparked at the image of Magnus slickly stroking himself one room over from Alec during the tour.

Magnus simply grinned wickedly in response, shuffling in time with him as they got into a better position.

Alec poured an overly generous amount of lubricant on his fingers and held his breath as he let his damp fingers slip behind Magnus to touch him intimately.

Magnus' back arched as he finally made contact and he pulled his legs towards his chest to give Alec better access.

There was that flexibility he promised. Alec tried not to think about it as he began to breach him, nearly losing his mind with how quickly his body welcomed more.

Magnus was groaning, hips following his movement like he was chasing the burn, and Alec had to grip himself at the base to stem off his oncoming climax. Magnus looked utterly wrecked like this, sweat making his hair stick to his forehead, his skin flushed and slightly glistening, his lips red from their kissing and biting his lip to control his noises. God, Alec was absolutely enraptured with this man.

"Please, Alexander. I can't wait anymore. I need you."

Magnus' voice was just as wrecked, and Alec breathed heavily through his nose to suck back in some semblance of control.

Finally ready, he licked his lips, swallowing and moving forward to position himself. It was strange being on the other side of things, but he had imagined it so many times. He never would have predicted his first foray would be with Magnus Bane of all people, but no part of him was disappointed.

He near-gasped when the tip of him slipped inside and was immediately enveloped with tight, delicious heat. It was nothing like getting off with a tightened fist or even a well-trained mouth.

"Nngh, fuck."

"Mm, you feel so good. Keep going." Magnus encouraged, voice like honey and silk.

Alec was near-shaking in the effort to not finish things right then, but he managed to push his hips forward to have Magnus take more of him.

He started slow, wanting Magnus to get used to the intrusion, but Magnus was wrapping his legs around him before long.

"I won't break, Alec." he told him, stroking his cheek before pulling him into a soft kiss.

Alec deepened the kiss before pushing his pelvis forward. The appreciative moan from Magnus only spurred him on. He wanted to give him so much pleasure, wanted to utterly ruin him the way he was ruining Alec.

His thrusts picked up speed and power, his hands tugging Magnus' thighs to better position the pair of them, and Magnus cried out at one particularly deep hit. He knew he had finally located his prostate, the spot that no doubt made him see stars any time it was brushed.

Alec couldn't keep up with coordinated kissing while they were moving together so desperately, so he settled for placing his lips against his neck and breathing hotly against the skin there as he snapped his hips over and over again, ensuring he hit that spot dead-on every time.

Magnus was crying out beneath him, nails digging into Alec's back and raking across the tensed muscles there as he met his thrusts with all the power and eagerness one would expect.

"A-Alec. Alexander." he cried, hand slipping to his own neglected cock to stroke himself off in time with their lovemaking.

"Magnus." Alec breathed out, unable to stop his body this time as his pleasure crested and he stuttered his release inside Magnus.

Magnus followed not long after, trembling as he painted Alec's chest and stomach with his climax.

They stayed intertwined for a few minutes, just catching their breath and letting the aftershocks of pleasure settle into their bones.

Alec's arms felt like jelly as he maneuvered himself backwards and off the bed, ignoring the disappointment that crossed his skin from separating himself from Magnus.

He padded into the adjacent bathroom and came back with a warm washcloth to clean them both up.

Magnus hummed delightedly in response as Alec wiped between his legs to rid him of the remnants of Alec's release and residual lube.

Alec finally tossed the towel somewhere to their left and climbed up the bed to collapse into the pillows.

Magnus reached out for him and nestled into his side, head moving to rest on his chest.

Alec let his fingers play with his damp hair, stroking gentle patterns along his scalp.

"God, Alec. I fear for my ability to control myself now that I know sex with you is like that."

Alec couldn't help but glow with pride from the inside out. "Well we still have the last of the tour to get through and then the Grammys. Outside of public appearances, there's nothing to stop us from spending all of our time in our shared room."

Magnus chuckled. "Always the professional first, sexy boyfriend second."

"Hmm you'll get used to it." Alec teased, trying not to beam at the term boyfriend falling so casually from Magnus' mouth. He thought he had interpreted Magnus' feelings as more than just attraction and desire for sex, but it was nice to have it confirmed so quickly.

"I hope so." Magnus mumbled, nuzzling into him further as the beginnings of sleep began to steal his consciousness.

Alec settled down more comfortably and let the exhaustion take hold.

Waking in the morning, Magnus was warm and more comfortable than he could ever remember being. He had no desire to get up or move, so tempted to let the heavy tug of drowsiness allow him to slip back into sleep.

His limbs were tangled with Alec's, and, as he shifted to a more comfortable position, he felt Alec began to stir next to him.

"Good morning." Magnus murmured.

"Morning." Alec replied, voice still thick with sleep.

Magnus reached out to brush the wavy hair off of Alec's forehead.

The action caused Alec to smile softly at him, until his expression changed to mild panic. "Oh damn. I've got to go run training drills with the team."

Magnus shuffled backwards to put some space between them. "Oh."

Alec's face twisted into a pleased smirk. "I'm kidding. Just kidding. Did you really think I was going to go?"

"No, of course not." Magnus lied, scratching at his ear in a hopefully disarming gesture.

Alec chuckled, clearly not buying it, and Magnus tried not to get defensive on reflex.

"I'm not going anywhere." Alec promised, reaching out to intertwine their hands.

Magnus smiled at that. "Honestly, I expected you to have a freakout this morning about the whole crossing-the-professional-line thing and go running off."

Alec lay on his back, pulling Magnus into his side so he could rest his head on his chest. "Mmm. Maybe if you hadn't exhausted me so much."

"You better not be too tired. I plan on repeating last night this morning, and maybe even trying some new things too."

"Magnus, it's your final tour date tonight. Don't you want to conserve your energy to give it your all?"

"Hmm… nah. I'd much rather ravish you."

Alec laughed, pulling him up to kiss him and make good on Magnus' promise, morning breath be damned.

Alec sensed it as soon as he walked into the dark hotel room. He didn't know what it was that set him off – maybe a lingering scent of perfume – but the hairs on the back of his neck stood up instantly.

Magnus had finished his final tour date with a bang, and Alec was relieved when they had finally finished with the endless fans outside and had taken the limo back to the hotel.

If only they had been free of danger once away from the venue, but Alec knew now that they weren't that lucky. He put a hand out to halt Magnus' walking.

Magnus picked up on his tense posture. "Alexander…?"

Alec hushed him with a flick of his hand. He slipped his glock out of his thigh holster and pulled back the safety.

"Stay here." he murmured to Magnus, stalking forward into the room.

Should he call Luke or Andrew to take him to a safe place?

He supposed it was possible he was just being paranoid. His instincts were screaming at him that something was not right and he had always trusted his gut. He wasn't about to question it now.

Sure enough, when he cleared the main areas and pushed the door of the bedroom open, there was a figure sitting on the floor, only the moonlight illuminating their silhouette.

Still, despite the darkness, Alec recognized her instantly.

"Iris." Alec said, not lowering his gun. She had no reason to be just sitting in the bedroom of a private hotel room that she shouldn't have a key for.

No reason except one.

"You and Magnus have been busy." she slurred, jutting a foot out to kick at the garbage can next to the bed.

Alec knew there were multiple used condoms in there. He tried not to let the bile exit his mouth at the idea that she snooped and came across such a thing. He was not ashamed of his and Magnus' sex life, however new, but he was a naturally private person and having someone see physical evidence of it was uncomfortable.

He watched her tip back a bottle of something dark amber into her mouth, and, based on the wrappings scattered next to her, he had a feeling she had gone through the whole thing in one sitting. There were only a few mouthfuls left and it was not a small bottle.

"Iris, what are you doing here?" Alec asked, keeping his eyes on her back leaning against the side of the bed while he silently texted Luke to get to their room immediately to remove Magnus.

Before he could press send, Iris responded.

"I wanted to know for sure. I see the way he looks at you. Has always looked at you. He's never looked at me that way. Never, in all our years of knowing each other. Hell, he never even looked at Camille like that. That wretch."

"Okay… So you're here to prove that Magnus and I are together? You've done that. So now what?"

Iris blew out a breath, leaning her head back against the bed. The new angle gave him a view of what was sitting next to her. He held his gun steadier, not wanting to give her the chance to use hers.

"Alex. Alec. Do you believe in karma?"

"I… what?"

She scoffed in annoyance, impressively irritated despite her level of intoxication. "Sometimes, irony is a bitch, and karma even more so. I've been so stupid. So, so stupid. How I ever thought my luck could turn around…"

"Iris, what are you talking about?"

He already knew. He just needed to hear her say it. He clicked record on his phone.

"It was me, Alec. The reason why you were hired."

"You placed a bomb disguised as a doll in Magnus' dressing room, which prompted Raphael to finally take the threatening letters seriously and hire a bodyguard?"

"No. I sent the letters."

"You sent the letters?"

It wasn't Alec who asked the question, and he whipped around to see Magnus standing behind him.

"Magnus. Leave. Now." Alec growled.

Magnus was stubborn as always. "No. Iris, you sent the letters? The ones that threatened to kill me? You… you claimed my death was imminent… that I had everything and you had nothing…"

"Well it's true!" Iris slurred in a shout, whirling around to glare daggers at Magnus. "You and I were supposed to have a band together, remember? Get famous and be successful as a team?"

"Iris, we were thirteen at the time!" Magnus shouted in exasperation, his incredulity overshadowing his fear.

"So? I never gave up on it. I never gave up on you. You always saw me for me, Magnus… and then a couple weeks with this brooding giant and you're head over heels? I've waited years! Hoping one day you would see the truth – that the only person right for you is me. What we could do together. You auditioned for that talent show years ago, but did you forget that quick that I did too? And while you got put straight through I only got half the votes and didn't pass even the initial audition. And then you hire me on as an assistant to your personal manager? What did you think I would do? Be grateful? You hired me as an underling to your underling! You have all of these connections and you didn't even think to try to make my dreams come true too?"

"There are so many things wrong with that I can't even being to unpack it, but Iris, I thought I was helping you. You had been unemployed for almost two years and had been abusing drugs and alcohol to cope. Giving you a structured schedule and accountability on being somewhere pulled you away from that life."

She rolled her eyes. "Oh the great Magnus, saving the day!"

"I was trying to be a friend to you, Iris!"

"Well I don't want to be your friend, Magnus!"

"So you threaten to kill me?"

That sobered her up instantly. "No… I… I only meant to scare you. Hoped you'd cancel the tour. Have it disappoint your fans and lower your fame. Hoped the photos of you in your home would make you want to move somewhere inconspicuous or hide away from the world until it forgot you. I never wanted to hurt you – just destroy your career."

"And in what reality would destroying everything I've worked for and built not hurt me?"

"Maybe it would make you remember who you were and where you came from! Remind you that these superficial people are not your real friends! They don't know you like I know you! They will never understand you like I will! You think Alec would even look twice at you if you were still an abused foster kid who graffitied the town?"

"Don't speak about Alec. You don't know him. But he knows me. More than you ever have or will."

Alec stepped in front of Magnus, not liking the wild look in Iris' eyes at that. He wasn't even sure Magnus noticed the gun next to her. Her hand had been gravitating towards it more during their argument, and he knew Magnus insulting her wasn't helping.

"If I mean so little to you then why am I even here? What's the point?" Iris shouted, hand grasping the gun next to her.

Alec shielded Magnus, raising his own to aim directly at Iris.

Instead of targeting Magnus, she pressed the gun to her temple.

"Iris, no!" Magnus shouted, horrified and trying to fight Alec's sturdy hold on him.

"Why do you even care?!" she screeched.

Before Magnus could respond, Luke was bursting into the room with Raj in tow, and Alec took that opportunity to back Magnus out of the room.

If Alec wasn't so busy near-tackling Magnus to get him out of harm's way, he would've been pretty impressed with his team for their disarming capabilities. They managed to get the gun away from a now-sobbing Iris and half-carried her out of the suite.

"I love you, Magnus! I've always loved you!"

Magnus looked stunned even as her cries grew further away.

Alec stepped into his line of vision to gently get his attention. "I have to help them take care of things. Will you be all right for a few minutes?"

Magnus seemed to deflate instantly as the reality of the situation finally sunk in.

"Magnus?" Alec prompted, eyebrows furrowing now at the lost look on his boyfriend's face.

"I… I'm just going to get in the shower. I'll be fine, Alexander. Go."

Alec didn't believe him, but he knew he had to handle things with Iris. He was head of security – he couldn't just bow out because he didn't want to leave Magnus' side when he seemed emotionally vulnerable.

He knew he didn't have a choice, so he let Magnus process things solo while he went to speak to the police.

He found Magnus sitting alone on the end of the bed after everything was handled, not even a light on in the room. It was clear he was still stuck in troubling thoughts if the expression on his face was anything to go by.


Magnus barely even blinked in response.

Alec lowered himself to sit down next to him. "Magnus, are you okay?"

"I can't believe it was Iris. I've known her longer than most, almost as long as Cat." he said hoarsely.

Alec simply rested a comforting hand on his knee, not wanting to crowd Magnus' space when he was still processing something of such magnitude.

"What's going to happen to her?"

Alec sighed. "Well, given her clear mental instability, she will be evaluated by a psychiatrist at the precinct. They'll be transferring her back to New York since that's where she normally lives. If I had to guess, I assume she'll be admitted instead of imprisoned."

"That's probably for the best. She…" he trailed off. "I just can't believe this."

"I know." Alec murmured, not really sure what other comfort he could offer.

"I know I can be flirty with just about anybody… but I purposely never was with her. I knew she had feelings for me. I had hoped they had ended in our youth or at least died down over the years but clearly I was naïve. I should have made things clearer, actually confronted her about them and let her know I didn't see her that way. My reluctance to endure an uncomfortable conversation led to… well, all of this." he said, gesturing around the room, which Alec understood to mean his hiring and the drama of the night.

"Magnus, you can't shoulder all of the blame. All that she said… it's her own mind twisting things to rationalize her actions. She needs psychiatric help and likely has for some time. And you could blame me for giving in to my feelings and getting involved with you, since that clearly set her off."

Magnus sighed, apparently getting his point. "I don't know what to do now. What happens next?"

"Well, we're transferring all the evidence to New York in the event Iris does need to go through a trial. I had it routed directly to Jace so he can keep us updated. They'll process it, prove the link to her if she won't admit to it."

"Perks of having a brother as a lead detective on the force." Magnus laid back on the bed, exhaling slowly. "This feels like someone else's life sometimes, but never more than it does today."

"How about we forget about it for a while? Watch some trashy TV and make fun of reality show contestants or something?"

Magnus smiled, climbing up the bed further and snuggling up to Alec when he laid next to him.

"Mm. I knew you were the man for me." he teased, kissing him softly before resting his head against Alec's chest and flipping the hotel TV on.

Alec held him close, glad to have the physical proof that Magnus was okay.

After all those months of fear, it was so strange to realize it was over. They were safe.

He should've known to listen to his gut when it was still tight with anticipation.

It wasn't over yet.

Chapter Text

"Magnus! Magnus, over here!"

Magnus merely waved at the eager paparazzi, camera flashes making it seem like there was a strobe light going off. There were people lining the red carpet behind the barriers, photographers desperate for the perfect shot of one of the most popular music stars of the current era.

Alec was glued to Magnus' side, eyes never staying on one area for too long, and his hand never left Magnus' lower back as they wove around interviews and lined up guests.

These events were thankfully heavy on security, but if there was anything Alec had learned lately, it was that he could never be too careful when it came to Magnus' safety.

"Magnus Bane!" the TV host cried when they reached her, and Magnus pulled her into a hug. "Tell me, Magnus, how excited are you for tonight? You are up for three Grammys this evening! That's incredible!"

"Well, I'm not Taylor Swift or Adele, so I hope I at least take home one. But truly, just being here is as much a reward as any. Getting a chance to celebrate so much talent in one evening." Magnus said smoothly, not batting an eye at the camera man stepping in for a closeup.

Alec stayed to the side, itching to get Magnus back in his orbit, and he kept his eyes trained on the crowd and impending guests.

"Well, I know you don't need it, but good luck tonight. Have fun!" the host said, waving at the next celebrity before pressing a quick kiss to Magnus' cheek.

Magnus smiled in return before leading the way down the carpet, Alec immediately gravitating to his side again.

"I know you can't help yourself, but since you are technically my date by default, relationship status notwithstanding, can you at least try to look like you aren't trying to murder everyone with a simple look?" Magnus said to him in an undertone, eyes sparkling with mischief.

Alec rolled his eyes. "I can't relax until I know you're safe, so this is just my face."

"Alexander. I feel perfectly safe with you by my side. Now can you please try to make me look like a half-decent boyfriend?"

Alec chuckled, and Magnus reached up to stroke his cheek affectionately.

"There's that gorgeous smile. I would like more of that, please."

Alec couldn't keep his smile at bay after that, especially with Magnus looking up at him like he was one of the seven wonders of the world.

"You look amazing tonight. You sure you want to imply I'm your date when you'll no doubt have half the audience on their knees begging for a chance with you?"

"Mm I'd much rather have you on your knees."

Alec knew he walked into that one. He continued on, ignoring Magnus' smugness. "I wish I was sitting with you, but it makes more sense to have me near the stage, especially for when you present and when you win."

"If I win."

"When." Alec argued. "Look, I see what you do each day on stage. I see the fans reactions firsthand to your very presence. Your talent is limitless. You are going to win."

"I'm not the only talented person here, Alec. Hence why it is a nomination, not an outright award. And it's an honour—"

"Don't say 'to be nominated'."

"Well it is!" Magnus laughed.

Raphael came down the carpet, Luke in tow, and raised an eyebrow at the pair.

"Do you guys ever stop bickering?" he drawled.

Magnus shrugged.

Raphael looked around, trying to peer over heads but his height not helping. "Great turnout as always. Gotten starstruck yet?"

"Not yet. Don't ask that like you didn't nearly pass out when you saw Tan France at the last award show we attended together."

Alec turned to Luke, tuning out Raphael's protests. "Andrew is already inside. These events have their own high level of security given the prestige of the event, so we don't need a big team. You and I will be backstage and he'll be down in the auditorium but on the sidelines."

Luke nodded.

"Good luck, Magnus. I have a good feeling about your wins tonight—I think you'll be taking home more than one."

"You guys are going to jinx me." Magnus groaned. "But thank you, Lucian. Be safe."

"You too." Alec added pointedly to him before leading Luke away to check in for their backstage access.

Magnus linked an arm with Raphael, who simply rolled his eyes at the star, before the two marched into the auditorium to find their seats.

Once set free backstage, Alec felt his nerves spike again. There were quite a few people milling about—people responsible for lights, sound, directing the MCs and presenters, and every type of service worker needed to pull off an extraordinary event like this.

It made it difficult to keep an eye on everyone, as everyone seemed to be rushing past others and slipping in and out of dressing rooms or manning the tech behind the scenes.

When he tried to look out at the audience to locate Magnus, the bright lights pointed at the stage made it impossible.

"Damn it." he said under his breath. "Underhill, how are we looking?"

"Good. People are still piling in but Magnus seems to know the people behind him and in his row since he's chatting with them like they're old friends."

"Keep me posted if you see absolutely anything suspicious, okay?"

"You got it, boss."

Alec wanted to be comforted by Underhill's words, but he knew that Magnus was like that with everyone, and, frankly, it could go either way—Iris was a prime example of how someone close to him couldn't be trusted—and that meant everyone who was friendly with him was still a suspect.

It was going to be a long night.

The show moved on, with epic performances and awards passed out to tearful or giddy artists.

Alec had been given an itinerary of the awards being given out and saw that Magnus' categories were in the latter half of the event while his presenting was in the first half.

He soon would be pulled from the audience and taken backstage to be touched up and given a rundown of the script, even with the prompter in place. It allowed the presentation to flow more naturally if he had a chance to review it.

Knowing Magnus, he'd probably tweak it to suit his needs, but that was to be expected. Raphael had been right all those months ago when he said Magnus danced to the beat of his own drum.

Alec's phone buzzed against his leg and he slipped it out of his pocket to see a surprising number calling.

Jace (work)

He wanted to hit ignore and go back to people watching, but it may be about Iris or the evidence they processed.

"I have to take this." Alec told Luke. "Keep your eyes peeled."

He held the phone up to his ear. "Hello?"

Jace sounded stressed. "Alec. Sorry to call – I know you have the Grammys tonight. But there's been some new information about Magnus' situation and figured it was best you knew immediately."

"What's going on?"

"I'm going to let someone else explain."

The phone was apparently passed over since there was a shuffle before he could hear someone release a breath into the receiver.


"…Iris?" Alec asked, unable to hide the surprise in his voice.

Luke glanced at him at the name but returned to scanning the room when Alec gestured at him.

"I know you're not my biggest fan right now but there's something I need to tell you."

"Okay… what is it?"

"I was too upset the other night to say anything. I just wanted Magnus to understand that I hadn't been doing what I was doing to hurt him – only scare him. Scare him into hiding or cancelling the tour but instead he accepted your hiring and then you two became inseparable in every way…"

"Iris. Make your point."

"They asked me here about the small bomb that was placed in his dressing room before you were hired, and I remembered you had asked me that too. But that wasn't me. I never wanted to hurt Magnus. I love him and want him to be with me."

Alec felt goosebumps rise along his arms. He normally wouldn't believe someone so unstable but she had a point. It seems counterproductive to murder the object of your affection when your endgame was to be with them. "Then who did?"

"That's just it. I don't know."

Alec inhaled through his nose, trying to rein in his temper. "So you're calling to tell me someone else means Magnus harm?"



She sighed. "I thought it was a dream, but now it makes sense. I forgot about the bomb. Nothing else physically harmful happened to Magnus so I swore it was just a vivid dream… but now… Look, before the tour started, I was desperate. I relapsed and got really high and drunk because, even though I had 'broken' into the house, left threatening letters and messages and photos, Magnus hadn't even seemed fazed. I didn't know then that Raphael had been hiding everything from him. And Raphael announced he was going to hire Magnus a personal bodyguard so the tour could go on without a hitch. So I was heavily intoxicated at this bar and bitching to some lovely voiced stranger and went on and on about how I wished someone would do what I threatened to do in those letters and then maybe Magnus would finally see sense… and the guy said he could do it. And I… I just handed over all the cash I had and told him to do whatever he had to."

"You hired a hitman? An actual hitman?" Alec said, feeling like the floor beneath him was shifting. How was this real? Could Iris even be trusted?

"I wanted to call it off as soon as I heard a bomb went off in his dressing room at one of the last concert venues before the tour took off. I couldn't believe it. I knew then it wasn't just some drunken fantasy and had actually happened. But I never got the man's name. I don't even know what he looked like. I have no way to track him down, Alec. I'm sorry."

Alec was glad he was in public or else he would've had to break something. "You're sorry? You hire someone to kill Magnus, you pay them to end his life, with the excuse of substance abuse, and you're sorry? You have no way of me tracking this person down, no idea when they might strike, and you want, what, my forgiveness?"

"No. I know I'll never deserve that. But I needed you to know so you can keep him safe. I don't know when he'll strike but if he's as good as he said he is, Magnus won't stand a chance."

"I'll make sure he does." Alec snarled into the phone, ending the call before he said something horrible to the very troubled woman on the other end of the line.

Luke made his way over, no doubt seeing the fire in his eyes from all the way across the room.

"Everything okay?"

Alec exhaled. "Far from it. We're not out of the woods yet."

Magnus was ushered backstage and he nearly tripped in his haste. He probably should've been looking at the floor more, what with all the cameras and wires around, but he was too eager to find Alec who he knew would be waiting for him.

Sure enough, once Magnus was nudged in the right direction, a strong arm pulled him aside and he found himself near-stumbling into his bodyguard.

"Well hello to you too." he teased, leaning up to kiss him now that they were behind a barrier. He hadn't been able to concentrate on the event like he had hoped, knowing that Alec was back there likely burning a hole in the floor with his pacing.

He was grateful that Alec took his job so seriously, but he also didn't like seeing the stress weigh down his boyfriend the way it did.

Instead of returning the kiss, Alec pulled back and placed a hand on his shoulder.

"Magnus, we need to talk."

"Worst four words strung together in the English language." Magnus said, hoping for Alec to interject that it was nothing to worry about, but he got a good look at his eyes then and could see the pain there. "Alexander, what is it?"

Alec proceeded to explain the phone call he had received, who had been on the other end and what she had said, from the bomb to the anonymous hiring.

Magnus simply stood dumbfounded. "So we caught my stalker, the one sending all the threatening letters and photo collages… and that's not the same person as the one who nearly blew me up? There's still someone out there who is planning to kill me and we have absolutely no idea who they might be or how to track them down?"

Alec nodded, watching him carefully, rubbing a hand over his shoulder soothingly.

"I know it's a lot to take in. As unbelievably furious as I am, it is better we know so we can make sure you stay safe."

Magnus nodded numbly, swallowing and staring distantly at a spot on the wall.

Alec lowered himself slightly so he was at eye level with Magnus. "Listen. I am not going to let anything happen to you. I am good at what I do. We've gotten this far, right?"

"Magnus Bane? Has anyone seen Magnus Bane?!" a voice was shouting from the other side of the room.

"I need to go get touched up." Magnus said robotically, and he walked away like he was on autopilot to the makeup chair.

Alec watched him go, heart aching at the heaviness that had settled on his shoulders. Maybe he shouldn't have told him. Should've waited until after the awards show. But he wanted Magnus to be on the alert, to not think that because Iris was in custody, the risk to his safety was back to being minimal.

Touch-ups didn't take long and then Magnus was linking arms with his co-presenter, all smiles and laid-back energy.

Alec watched from the sidelines, directing Luke to the other side of the stage.

"There is so much talent showcased in this room tonight, and I'm not just talking about the make-up artists and fashion designers who manage to make us all look amazing." Magnus was saying with his usual flourish, the crowd tittering as expected. "Sometimes it is a single person that manages to light up the stage, and other times, it is a group of people who have come together to make something bigger."

"That's right." Magnus' presenting partner said, a beautiful brunette woman Alec couldn't name but had definitely seen before. "The following category features a wide range of talented and standout groups. The nominees for Best Pop Duo/Group are…"

She read them out to the crowd, applause following each group name.

"And the winner is…"

Before she could say it, Magnus suddenly froze before quietly rushing off the stage without a word.

The woman faltered slightly, eyes following him briefly before plastering on a smile and reading the card from the envelope.

The applause grew and then there was a group of young men taking turns thanking people on stage.

Alec moved to make his way to Magnus, slipping between bodies to get there as fast as he could.

"Why… why did you have to tell me all of this? Right before I go on? Now I see someone get up to go to the bathroom and I feel like I need to throw myself at the ground to avoid a bullet. I just humiliated myself in front of thousands of people all because you were too impatient to wait the extra hour when the show is over!" Magnus shouted at him.

Alec was slightly taken aback by the outburst, having been on the receiving end of Magnus' heated temper before but not usually to this extent.

He knew he had a point. Magnus wasn't anymore in danger now than he would be an hour from now – being oblivious to it would've been the kinder thing to do. After all, the hitman had been hired months before and had yet to strike – there was no guarantee he or she would strike tonight.

"Magnus, I'm sorry. It felt wrong keeping it from you. You're right—I should've respected how important tonight was and thought it through more. I'm just afraid."

"You're afraid?" Magnus asked incredulously, looking at him with such shock Alec nearly laughed.

"Yes, I am. I'm terrified of you getting hurt. Of this event being where he decides to strike. I… You have to know how much I care about you." Alec admitted quietly.

Magnus stepped into his space, looping his arms around his waist and smiling softly at him. "I care about you too. I'm sorry for snapping at you. I'm really just angry at myself. For ignoring the signs for so long with Iris. For angering her enough to get us to this point."

"Well, it hasn't been all bad." Alec reminded him, stroking a hand along Magnus' waist.

"You have been a good consolation prize." Magnus noted, and he laughed when Alec's face screwed up in annoyance. "I'm kidding, darling. You're very much the top prize."

"Mm a Grammy would be nice too though." Alec reminded him after giving him a quick peck on the lips. "Speaking of, you should return to Raphael before he sends out a search party or sends me extremely well punctuated texts that show he means business."

"Raphael is harmless. But I would like to see how the night's awards go."

Alec smiled. "Go. I promise I will do everything in my power to keep you safe."

"Fine. But I expect some very celebratory sex later if I win. And if I lose, sex to make me feel better."

Alec rolled his eyes but nodded. Magnus gave him another swift kiss on the cheek this time and headed off to return to his seat.

With Magnus' presenting out of the way, Alec felt a little calmer. With the itinerary laid out well in advance for what order the awards were presented, it made more sense for someone to attack when he was scheduled on stage versus waiting for him to potential win one of the three categories he was nominated for.

Still, Alec wasn't one to get lax with his professionalism. He still kept a close eye on every moving body and checked in with the two on his team to ensure they were doing the same.

He let his eyes rove over the crowd, catching sight of Magnus speaking quietly to Raphael as they applauded the current receiver of the award.

Alec knew Magnus was scared, maybe even more scared than Alec, but he hoped he had nothing to worry about. It had been months since the hit-man was hired – for all they knew, he had given up after his failed bomb attempt. It's not as though it was a contractually sound hiring. He had already been paid.

"You can't have that back here. It's interfering with the mic." a man with a headset of his own said, interrupting his thoughts, and Alec had to work to keep his face from scowling at him.

"I've been using it all night and it hasn't been an issue. It's my contact with my security team. My client is at risk in an event as open as this—"

Before he could finish, the guy interrupted. "I'm sure that's true but I've been given explicit orders. It's either give up your communication device or leave the event. Your choice."

Alec grumbled under his breath while he passed over the electronic device and nodded when Luke sent him a questioning look to silently ask if he should do the same.

Not having the wire in his ear made him feel exposed and on edge, but he had a job to do and would do so with or without the help of technology.

He shot a text to Underhill to let him know that they had been cut off and that they'd have to stay that much more alert to their surroundings.

Someone nudged past him, nearly causing him to trip over a collection of wires across the floor, and Alec remembered why being backstage was the worst location to have to hover.

A hand on his arm steadied him and he turned to the person to thank them, but it got lost on the way out of his mouth.


The blond man smiled broadly at the sight of him. "Alec! I never expected to see you here. I didn't realize you were in the Hollywood scene."

Alec grimaced. "It's not really by choice; I work personal security. I go where he goes. What are you doing here?"

"Ah. I'm a photo journalist. This many celebrities in one place? It's like Christmas for us." he explained, gesturing to the large camera kit in his hand. "I should get to it, but lovely to see you, Alec."

"You too." Alec said automatically, eyes drawn to the duffel-like bag in his hand. It seemed to be quite a bulky piece of equipment. He knew many cameras could be large or have a lot of different lens and such, but the new technological age tended to provide much more compact options.

He didn't know why he felt that familiar unease climbing his spine. Maybe it was his suspicious nature but he suddenly was seeing something sly in the smile Sebastian flashed him before slipping away to go down to the sidelines of the auditorium.

Alec watched Underhill across the room from him and moved to say something into his mouthpiece, only to remember that it wasn't there.

He crossed the room to speak to Luke.

"I need you to keep close to that British man. Something about him… I don't know. I don't like it. And he's been somewhere Magnus and I have been before. I'm hoping it's just coincidental but I'm not taking any chances."

Luke nodded and left backstage to move closer.

"And the Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic Album is… Magnus Bane, for Shadow World!"

Alec couldn't help the proud beam that graced his face when the words sunk in. He couldn't wait to say 'I told you so' to Magnus.

Speaking of Magnus, he was absolutely glowing as the auditorium filled with cheers and applause and he hugged many people before jogging up to the stage.

Alec couldn't take his eyes off of him. He had never seen him so happy.

But then something caught his eye on Magnus' grey and white suit. A pinpoint red light dancing over his chest as he shook hands with both presenters and accepted the gramophone-shaped trophy.

Alec scanned the room desperately for where the light was originating from and his eyes landed on Sebastian.

It was him. He had his large camera hoisted up on his shoulder, but Alec could see now that it was simply a sniper rifle disguised in the shape of a bulky camera. It was how he would've gotten it in the door. Unless they took apart his camera, they'd never have known it to house a weapon.

Alec frantically looked for Luke and Andrew but they were simply clapping along with everyone else, eyes scanning the crowd but clearly missing the imminent threat.

Magnus raised the award above his head before he reached the podium, setting off another round of applause, and Alec watched in horror as the laser stayed still on his chest above his heart.

He'd never get to Sebastian in time. He was too far away. He'd be stupidly lucky if he could signal to either Luke or Andrew in all the excitement and communicate enough to have them apprehend Sebastian before he pulled the trigger.

Alec was running before he could think, his mind focused solely on blocking Magnus from the fatal blow, and he pulled his gun from his thigh holster as he raced onto the stage.

He heard the shot more than felt it, the subsequent quiet before terrified screams broke out made the whole experience that much more disorienting.

He had hit Magnus with the full force of his body, knocking him to the stage floor and causing the trophy to topple across the linoleum.

The pain hit him after the force of his fall jarred his alertness and he raised his gun with difficulty to point it at the assassin.

White-hot fire spread from his shoulder like a firework, and he knew there was a bullet lodged in his collarbone if his agony could be relied on.

The audience was racing for the exits, screams and cries exploding from every row as people scrambled in their gowns and best suits to leave the building.

Alec aimed at Sebastian and let his gun fire a couple shots, managing to hit Sebastian's hand and rifle to splinter it into pieces.

He went down and Alec was grateful to see Luke pushing through the crowd to get to the shooter, likely to tackle him into submission.

But Sebastian pulled out a handgun with his other hand from his suit pocket and aimed it towards Luke.

Alec didn't hold back from releasing a bullet that nestled between his eyebrows and knocked his lifeless body to the floor.

Knowing they were finally safe, Alec let his arm sag and he collapsed against the floor.

"Alec? Alec!" Magnus was suddenly beside him, having been knocked over and apart from him by a few feet.

"Magnus! Are you okay? You're bleeding! Where were you shot?!" Raphael was saying, having finally made his way up on the stage to crouch next to his long-time friend.

Magnus patted his hands against his chest, seeing the blotches of blood everywhere. His eyes widened as he saw the way Alec's eyelids were too heavy for him to keep open.

"It's not me! Alec? Alexander, please, look at me. What in the hell were you thinking? You threw yourself in front of a bullet for me?!"

Alec rolled onto his back with Magnus' help and Luke was next to them, Andrew in tow, and Luke bent down to put pressure on Alec's bleeding shoulder.

"Told you… I'd do anything… to keep you safe…"

Magnus had tears streaming down his face now as his hands flitted uselessly over him.

Alec felt himself growing weaker, knowing it was the blood loss, and it was hard to keep his eyes open let alone reassure Magnus he was fine. He knew he wasn't fine. He was starting to feel cold climbing up his extremities.

"Alec… Alec! Alexander, don't you fucking dare die on me, do you hear me?! Don't you dare!"

Alec chuckled weakly. "You know me, Magnus. Never been one to listen to you."

Magnus half-laughed, sobbing more than anything. "Please, Alec. Don't leave me like this. Stay with me."

Alec's eyelids grew too heavy and he let them win the battle, head lolling against the tiled floor.

"Alec, please. I love you! Do you hear me? I love you! Don't leave me! Stay with me!"

Alec wanted to promise him he'd never leave willingly, to return the sentiment, but the unconsciousness was pulling him under.

Before he could form the words, everything went black.

Chapter Text

A few weeks later…

Magnus settled into his private jet, stretching out his legs and accepting a glass from the stewardess.

After the hassle of the last few months, he wasn't afraid to spend a little money to reduce the amount of exposure he had to unknown people. And having his own mode of flight transportation certainly came with its share of perks.

"Thank you. That'll be all. We'll buzz if we need you."

Magnus smiled as his bodyguard entered the cabin after locking the door and sat next to him. "You kicked the attendant out awful quick. Are you planning on using the privacy to our advantage?"

Alec rolled his eyes and gestured at his slung arm. "Still damaged goods, remember? And you know I'm not as much of an exhibitionist as you."

Magnus grinned wickedly. "I think I can change that. And I can think of plenty we can do that doesn't require the use of your arm…"


"Oh quit your scolding. You love me."

"I do." Alec said easily, unable to help the besotted look on his face as he gazed over at him.

Magnus matched his expression. "I love you too."

Alec knew it too. He woke up in the hospital to Magnus seated in his private room, learning later that he hadn't left his side except when Alec had been in surgery to remove the bullet from his shoulder and repair the damage.

He still was enduring physical therapy, and, even with all the press Magnus had post-Grammy win and after the dramatic end to the night, Magnus still was next to him every step of the way.

He spoke to Magnus after he was free of anesthetic disorientation and found out that Sebastian hadn't survived their altercation (unsurprising, considering the bullet to his frontal lobe) and that Iris was officially admitted to a psychiatric facility to receive the overdue care she needed.

Alec was aware that the threat to Magnus' life was gone which meant his contract had ended. He had done what he agreed to do.

Of course, when he brought this up, Magnus looked more hurt than anything, and Alec quickly reminded him that they could still be together even if he wasn't his bodyguard. He had trained the others well and they'd be much more suited to keep him safe than they were when he first led the team.

In the end, Magnus convinced him that having him as his personal bodyguard was crucial, and, since Magnus would be bringing him as his date everywhere, he'd be unable to stop his natural instincts so he might as well have the title and paycheque too.

Alec had been more than happy to agree, prefering to be officially responsible for Magnus' safety and knowing it meant they'd be able to be as inseparable as ever instead of having Alec assigned somewhere far away.

"So, Alexander. Ready to check out honeymoon spots?"

Alec rolled his eyes. "We're not even married yet."

"Never too early to start planning!"

Alec picked up Magnus' left hand in his right, letting his thumb brush over the intricate band around his third finger. "If it makes you happy, I'm all for it."

"You being here makes me happy." Magnus confirmed, watching their hands and enjoying the glint of their matching bands in the sunlight streaming through the windows.

"And there is no place I'd rather be."

His eyes drifted to the city growing smaller as they climbed higher in the sky. It wasn't long after Alec's near death experience that he realized that he wasn't one to wait around to act anymore. He had been a nervous wreck, but Izzy and Jace's combined powers had talked him down and convinced him that Magnus was just as utterly infatuated as he was and wouldn't say no.

They were right, of course. It may have been far, far, far too soon in many people's eyes, but neither of them cared. Sometimes you could be sure on something and just knew when something was right.

Alec hadn't wanted this job when it was first offered. It took a lot of convincing and the lack of job opportunities to have him make the decision to accept. Now he knew it was the best decision he ever made. He never could've predicted the whirlwind that would follow, but now, sitting next to the love of his life on a flight to a faraway destination to explore the world together, well, he couldn't imagine a better life.

"You know, Sebastian may have been out to kill me, but he did take some great photos of us at that club. There are always dozens of new comments daily on that article with fans losing their minds about us." Magnus said, screenshotting the picture to save to his phone photos.

Alec rolled his eyes. "That's one way to view the hit-man hired to kill you. At least he was honest about being a photo journalist."

"Well it must be easier to claim reasons for stalking people when you have a job as a camera man."

"Thankfully, I caught on to his shifty character."

"Not at that club, you didn't. I had to drag you away so he would stop making eyes at you!"

Alec sent him a look. "You should know by now that I've only had eyes for you for too long for a British accent and nice bone structure to pull me away."

"Oh, so you think he's handsome?"

"Magnus! You're actually getting jealous of a man I literally shot in the head with a bullet?"

Magnus sighed. "Fine, fine. You're right. I'm being ridiculous."

"Plus, if I was going to talk about handsome men I've met—"

"Oh, Alexander, you flatterer—" Magnus started to say.

"—I'd talk about Underhill. Ever since he got that haircut? Damn."

"Alec!" Magnus exclaimed, hand to his chest in its usual dramatic fashion.

Alec laughed in response, squeezing his hand in apology for his jest, as Magnus searched for something to toss at him in retaliation.

No matter where they ended up, they had been right to predict their relationship would be interesting to say the least.

And neither of them would have it any other way.

* * * The End* * *