Alec checked the time on his phone again. It was still too early. It was the first time since they started dating that Alec was taking Magnus out for food, instead of the other way around. So he'd made sure the restaurant was something Magnus would like, and he'd made sure he was on time. He didn’t dare count on the timeliness of the New York public transport, so he’d taken two trains early. The train actually had been on time, so now Alec was ridiculously early, waiting alone at the table in the restaurant he'd picked out. He'd been sitting there for ten minutes already, and he felt awkward and slightly embarrassed.
Unfortunately, Magnus wouldn't be early and save him from his embarrassment, because Magnus was always perfectly on time. One of the perks of being able to portal everywhere, Alec presumed. Before he got to know him, he thought Magnus would be one of those people who liked to be fashionably late — and Alec had seen him make difficult clients wait on more than one occasion. But he’d never once kept Alec waiting if they had a date.
Alec, on the other hand, had kept Magnus waiting once, thanks to his train not showing up. He hadn't thought to warn Magnus he'd be a little late, and Magnus had been kind of prickly the whole evening.
Alec had apologized, and Magnus had understood, but he'd still made his point. “I respect your schedule, Alexander,” he’d said. “I’d like you to respect mine.”
Alec did. He respected Magnus and his schedule. After all, Magnus was the High Warlock of Brooklyn, and with the whole Valentine aftermath, he was often busy. So, since then, he made sure to always be a little early, and keep Magnus posted if he ran late.
This time, he had probably overdone it, though, because by now he’d been sitting in the restaurant for fifteen minutes, and technically Magnus still had ten minutes to get here. The place was nice, though. It was one of those traditional Italian family-run restaurants. According to Clary, the food was all made by recipes of the current owner’s great-grandmother. However, the interior design had been modernized quite a lot, the bare structure of the building showing everywhere. Probably under the influence of the young tattooed woman who’d shown him the table and placed the menus.
“I think Magnus will like it,” Clary had said when he’d asked her for advice on where to take him on a date. “The food is really great and very traditional, but I went to art-school with the owner’s niece. They showcase young, local artists, and the building is amazing. It's right up Magnus' alley.”
Since the whole thing -- the atmosphere, the design, the architecture, the people and especially the hostess -- reminded him of Pandemonium, Alec thought Clary was right about that.
He still wasn’t really sure if he liked her, and she still had the tendency to doubt everything he was taught growing up. But of all the people he knew, she was the only one he dared ask for restaurant advice. He didn’t dare ask Izzy because her taste in food was atrocious. Half of the things she liked to eat weren’t actually edible as far as he was concerned. While there was a chance Magnus liked that kind of food as well — their tastes aligned on a lot of things — Alec would like to enjoy his food on his own date, so asking Izzy was out of the question. Jace wasn’t an option either. His taste in food wasn’t weird, but there was just too much risk of Jace pulling some kind of prank. Apparently, he still found Alec dating someone amusing, so there was a fifty-fifty percent chance of either the restaurant being terrible, or of Jace showing up himself.
“We should go out on a double date,” he’d said once, while they were sparring. Alec had looked at him in horror and then tried to smack the idea out of him with his quarterstaff. Magnus and Jace having to sit at the same table for over an hour was just a recipe for disaster as far as Alec was concerned. No way was he ever living through that voluntarily.
But as Alec looked around, he nodded to himself. Asking Clary for advice had been the right idea. Maybe he could do something nice for her in return, like offer to work on her footwork and evasive running skills.
Magnus could arrive any time now, so Alec was watching the door like a hawk when suddenly Izzy walked in. He was already half out of his chair, thinking there was some kind of emergency, when he realized she was wearing what she called her “dazzling-hot-date outfit”. In which she was always the dazzling and hot date. She only wore it for people she either wanted to genuinely impress, or for people she was planning on intimidating.
This wasn’t happening. Simon Lewis had just walked in behind his sister. In any other situation, he’d probably question his sister’s taste in dates — she deserved so much better than that mundane, and last he heard she was still sad about the Meliorn mess. But he had no time to either comfort or tease his sister, because Magnus was going to be here any minute now, and they couldn’t be here when he arrived.
So Alec jumped up and raced towards the entrance, where Simon was talking to the hostess.
“Alec,” Izzy said. She didn’t even look surprised.
“Izzy,” Alec hissed. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m on a date,” she said, in a tone that implied he was an idiot for asking.
He could see she was on a date, he wasn’t blind. But she was willfully missing the point, he was sure of it. “You know what I mean. Why are you in this restaurant? Magnus will be here any second. You can’t be here!”
“I’m here because this is where Simon invited me to. I’m not going to ruin my date just because you got your panties in a twist.”
Alec was about to argue that she was the one wearing panties when Simon finally realized he was there. Really, he would have assumed his spatial awareness would have improved by becoming a vampire, but apparently that hadn’t happened.
“Alec, hey! What are you doing here?”
“I’m on a date,” Alec said, echoing his sister, judgemental tone included.
Simon slowly looked behind him, around them and then back to where Alec was standing. He arched his brow. “Got stood up?” he asked, voice actually sympathetic.
Alec wanted to smack him. Izzy’s taste in people was the worst. “No! I just got here first.” And suddenly a lightbulb went up in his head. “I got here first. Which means you need to leave."
Izzy punched him in the shoulder. She didn't hold back either, so he would have a bruise later. "Disculpa Simon, ignóralo, como siempre, se está comportando como un imbécil,” she said.
Alec hated when she spoke Spanish to talk about him, he never understood what she was saying. He was still pretty certain she just called him an imbecile.
"No te preocupes por tu hermano. Ya sabía como era antes de invitarte a salir. Disfrutemos de la cena,” Simon said.
Alec wasn’t sure of course, but he sounded fluent, and fuck, that meant there were two of them now, and they could use their shared language against him. He was doomed, and Izzy and Simon would dance on his grave.
“Alec, don’t be an ass,” Izzy said to him. She grabbed Simon by the elbow and tucked him in beside her. “Simon, you are right, let's go sit down and enjoy our date.”
The hostess, who Alec suspected of having listened in on the entire conversation, guided them to the empty table right next to Alec’s table, where they settled down.
This was a disaster.
“Why, Alexander. I didn’t expect you to wait for me by the door,” Magnus said.
Alec swirled around, and like always, the sight of Magnus seemed to knock all the air right out of him. He forgot to be angry and anxious and annoyed, and was just amazed that this magnificent man wanted to spend time with him.
He looked amazing as always, in an outfit Alec hadn’t seen before, make-up bright and glittery. But it wasn't that that took Alec’s breath away. It was the smile that was bright and comfortable on his glossy lips. It was the warmth and affection in his eyes, his expression heated while he slowly checked out Alec’s appearance. All that was for him, because of him, and just like that, Alec felt happy.
“Hi,” he said, unable to get everything he felt across.
“Shall we get seated,” Magnus said, and Alec’s happiness fell right into the bottom of his shoes. He had no idea how to damage control this at all.
“Magnus, I didn’t know they would be here, otherwise, I’d have suggested some place else."
Magnus’ face fell a bit, and Alec wanted to start this whole evening over already. “My sister is on a date here as well,” he explained, pointing towards the table where Izzy was currently sitting alone. Simon must have gone to the bathroom, or something. Who left his date like that?
“Ah,” Magnus said. He patted Alec on the arm. “Well, it’s not ideal, but your sister is delightful, so let's just enjoy our evening.”
“We’re sitting right next to them,” Alec warned him before making his way to their table. He flopped down on his chair rather inelegantly, but this date was ruined anyway, he could give up on looking attractive.
“Magnus, hi,” Izzy greeted warmly. She was still seemingly unperturbed by this whole mess.
“Isabelle, you look radiant, as always,” Magnus said.
“Thanks, although I’m pretty sure you’re outshining me,” Izzy said.
Magnus grinned bashfully, and Alec relaxed somewhat. Maybe this wouldn't be that bad. “You do look really nice,” Alec said, making Magnus smile even brighter.
Of course, that was when Simon returned.
“Hi, Magnus!” he said while waving and sitting down simultaneously. Sometimes Alec wondered how Simon had made it until mundane adulthood, because Simon was so distracted he nearly sat down next to his chair. “Good that you’re here. Alec has been waiting for you long enough to be cranky.”
Then again, Alec hoped he would fall on the floor and break his neck.
“Simon,” Magnus said in greeting. “You are Isabelle’s date?”
He sounded utterly unbelieving, and Alec couldn't blame him. Simon was just so very much out of Izzy’s league. At least with Meliorn, he understood what had attracted Izzy. He was attractive, and powerful, and old, and had the whole touch of forbidden going for him. Alec could relate to that. Compared to that Simon was so… so very mundane, even as a vampire.
He shared a look with Magnus, who tore his eyes away from Simon sitting practically beside him with a faint trace of dismay still on his face. Looked like Magnus didn’t understand what Izzy saw in Simon either. He glanced at Izzy, who was trying to kill him with her eyes, so he faced straight ahead again and cleared his throat.
Magnus smiled at him and squared his shoulders. “So, Alexander, this place is lovely. How did you learn of it?”
Alec was relieved they were apparently going to try and pretend this was a normal date, no sisters included.
“I wasn’t really sure where to take you, Shadowhunters don’t eat out much-“
Isabelle snorted. Alec ground his teeth but managed to ignore her.
“Okay, I don’t eat out much,” he amended. “So I asked Clary, she thought-“
Next to them Simon nearly toppled over his glass in his enthusiastic quarter turn. “That explains it,” he yelled.
Alec and Magnus both moved back in their chairs a little. Simon didn’t seem to notice.
“I wanted to impress Izzy,” he said, and smiled at her apologetically. Izzy beamed back at him.
Alec and Magnus both rolled their eyes simultaneously.
“But I didn’t know what Shadowhunters do for dinner. So I asked Clary, and she said everyone likes Italian food, and that this place was really nice. Did you know all the art they showcase is by local artists?”
“Yes,” Alec said, voice clipped. “I did know, since Clary told me when I asked her for advice, for my date.” He pointed to him and Magnus to get his point across.
“Oh, right, sorry,” Simon said, without sounding apologetic at all. “Do you think Clary might be shown here some day?” He directed that last question to Izzy.
“She’s really busy with catching up on her Shadowhunting training now,” Izzy said. But Alec saw her looking around as if she was only noticing the art tastefully shown against the walls now. She was frowning, and it was distracting, even though Alec really wanted to pay attention to Magnus. “I don’t think she’s been working on her art much.”
“Oh,” Simon said. “That’s a shame, she really wanted to be an artist, you know, she was really great at it.”
Magnus cleared his throat. Alec turned towards him, a blush rising in his cheeks. Here he was, annoyed by Simon butting into his date, and then he couldn’t keep his own focus at is own table. Magnus arched his brow.
“I’m sorry,” Alec said. He was really screwing this up. But Magnus held out his finger and mouthed ‘I have an idea’ at him, before he turned towards Simon and Izzy himself.
“Hang on,” he said. “You said you worried what Shadowhunters did for eating out, but did you consider what Vampires do for eating out? I didn’t see blood on the menu.” Magnus winked. “Unless of course, you were planning on taking a bite out of Isabelle.” Alec’s mouth dropped open in horror. He didn’t want to know these things about his sister. Not even hypothetically.
Simon looked taken aback for a moment, before he smiled. “No worries, I asked Raphael about that. I’m just going to order fluids and then I’ve got this vial with blood I can add to it. Raphael had a warlock turn it invisible.”
Magnus nodded and turned back to face Alec. He shrugged. "Thwarted by my own success," he said.
"You tried", Alec mouthed, and then they were smiling at each other.
Izzy smacked him on the back of his head. “That’s enough of that,” she said. “I know this isn’t ideal, believe me, I’d rather enjoy my first date with Simon without a peanut gallery.”
Alec squirmed in his chair guiltily. He hadn't really thought about Izzy's date. To be fair, he was pretty sure Magnus was far more agreeable as an extra person on a date than Simon.
“But this is where we all ended up, so let’s make the best of it,” Izzy added. She turned to Magnus, who was wearing his ‘I’m innocent’ face. Alec liked that he was starting to recognize all of his expressions.
“You’re supposed to be a couple of centuries old, I’d expect you to at least behave like an adult.” Her voice sounded very much like Maryse scolding them for failing at their homework. He was never going to tell her that, though.
“Alec, I love you, but you’re an ass. Try not to act like one for two hours.” She looked him straight in the eyes while talking to him, and he could tell she really meant it.
He nodded. “I love you too,” he said.
She smiled at him. “I know,” she said. “Now, we’re going to move these tables together, and we’re going to enjoy this double date.”
Simon immediately got up and started moving his end of the table. He somewhat underestimated his new Vampire strength and nearly dropped all glasses that were precariously balancing on the table. But Izzy grabbed her end and managed to avert a glassware catastrophe. Or maybe it was Magnus who made sure no glass broke, because Alec could feel the familiar zing of Magnus’ magic in the air.
When Izzy was sitting down again, she took a menu. “Now let's order, and then we really need to make a plan for creating time so Clary can draw again. It seems unfair she’d have to stop being an artist altogether.”
Alec supposed Clary was a safe subject. Magnus, Simon and Izzy all liked her, and Alec didn't dislike her anymore. And he was in charge of her training schedule.
“Clary recommended the beef tagliata,” Alec said. “So I think I’ll take that.”
“Oh, I love tagliata,” Magnus says. “Reminds me of that time I traveled through Italy, for my great Artistic Italian Journey.”
“Oooh, you’ve been to Italy?” Simon asks. “Awesome.”
Magnus smiled at him, and it was almost entirely genuine. Alec settled down a little more comfortably in his chair, to listen to one of Magnus' stories. Maybe he hadn't entirely screwed this up yet.
Almost three hours later, Magnus and Alec finally made it outside the restaurant. They’d agreed to have a nightcap at Magnus’ loft, but even if they hadn’t, Alec would still walk him home. He could never get enough of Magnus’ company, even if they were just walking next to each other in silence. It was like his heart just beat a little easier when Magnus was close. Even breathing was easier. Alec’s entire life was a little bit brighter and happier, simply because Magnus was in it.
“Not a bad evening,” Magnus said when they were nearly at his place. “Not quite what I expected, and I’m glad I still get to spend some time alone with you…” He leered a bit when he said alone, and Alec felt himself blush, again. They brushed shoulders for a couple of steps, and Alec forgot all about the nearly disastrous start of the evening. Everything was just Magnus. His hair, his smell, the feeling of his strong arms bumping into his.
“I always want to be alone with you,” Alec said.
“Alexander,” Magnus said, looking pleased. “Me too.”
Their hands brushed, and all of a sudden Alec felt bold enough to grab Magnus’ hand and continue their way like that. Magnus didn’t object.
“I hope Simon walks Isabelle home,” Magnus said.
Alec snorted. “It’s more likely that Izzy will walk him home,” he said. He still wasn’t sure he liked Simon for Izzy, but she had laughed a lot tonight, and he liked it when she was happy.
“True. Shadowhunters turn out to be very courteous,” Magnus said.
They reached Magnus’ building, but they stopped in front of it, for no discernible reason, except that it was a nice evening to be outside.
“It’s not so much about being courteous,” Alec said. “It’s about the reward you get for walking someone to their door.”
He couldn’t help but glance at Magnus lips, which were still shiny and glossy, even after having a long dinner. It must be some kind of magic.
Magnus’ eyes did the same, and then he smiled. “If anyone deserves a reward, it's me, for not making obvious Simon and Izzy eating out jokes."
Alec groaned, but had to laugh a little bit too.
Magnus stepped closer, and looked at Alec's lips again. "Pretty sure you’re the reward,” he whispered.
One second Alec was looking at Magnus’ mouth, the next they were kissing. It was always like that, like a landslide he didn’t see coming, Magnus lips on his. It’s wasn’t so much the feeling of Magnus’ soft lips pressing against his, or the feeling of Magnus’ tongue stroking his. It was the feeling of his swooping stomach, of his lungs running out of breath, of his heart skipping a beat or two.
Magnus kissed him, and Alec forgot everything, except being there in Magnus’ arms, kissing Magnus back.
It took a while before they came up for air. Magnus’ kisses were like Magnus himself, Alec figured. He couldn’t get enough of them.
“Mmmmh,” Magnus said. “You should definitely come upstairs for a nightcap.” He took Alec’s hand and pulled him into the building.
Alec didn’t think about his sister, or about her date anymore.
Across town, on the porch of Hotel Dumort, Izzy grabbed Simon by his tie, which was atrocious, but which she was willing to overlook, and pulled him towards her to kiss him softly on the mouth.
“That’s for dealing with my brother,” she said. She kissed him again. “That’s for dealing with my brother's boyfriend.” She kissed him again, using some tongue this time, and lingered. Simon kissed her back after only a breath or two.
When they finally parted, Simon looked dazed, exactly like Isabelle liked her dates to look after a kiss from her.
“That was for being you,” she said.
Simon blinked, and Izzy walked away, waving over her shoulder.