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The Arrangement

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The music pounding and the lights flashing made it difficult for Alec to even think. He had dressed to fit in, with the excuse to Isabelle that he was meeting a girl he knew from where he used to work so they could have a night of dancing to celebrate the weekend. He made his way through the crowd, moving slowly to not seem suspicious. Being tall had its advantages, because the bar was easy to make his way to through the dancers all over. Wearing black jeans and a tight black t-shirt that belonged to Jace and was therefore a size too small, Alec almost fit in with the crowd. The way Izzy had mussed his hair and insisted he wear black leather cuffs made him seem all the more like any other club-goer.

When he got to the bar, he scanned the dancefloor slowly, eyes flickering from person to person. Everywhere he looked, there were people dancing and making out and drinking and having a good time. Alec didn’t see his contact yet, so he turned around and ordered a drink to cover his loitering there. He wasn’t even sure what the bartender had given him, but it was blue and strong, so he just sipped a little while he waited.

It didn’t take long before someone stepped up to the bar beside him and ordered a beer before turning to him. “So. Lightwood. We good?” he asked.

Alec swallowed hard, looking down at his glass. “Look. I need some time,” he said uneasily. “I got fired.”

“Not my problem.” Alec tensed, tapping his glass.

“Look. I’ll get it. I just need-“ Something hard pressed into his side and he glanced down, blood running cold as he saw it was the blade of a knife. “Shit,” he breathed.

“I told you, Lightwood. I need my money, or I’m taking it out on you.”

Alec swallowed hard. “Look, I’ll get the money. You know I- I can get it. I just need time.” He gasped as the knife slid and cut a hole in his shirt, the coldness touching his skin, though not breaking it yet. He looked down and saw the lights of the club reflecting off the blade. His voice went tight and high as he spoke again. “I can, I promise, I can do it, I-“

The knife dug into his skin ever-so-slightly, making him gasp at the slight pain. “Let’s take a walk, Lightwood,” he said, and Alec finally looked up, nodding as he locked eyes with the man he only knew as ‘Greg’. He turned and looked around, eyes flickering frantically, looking for any way out. Greg grabbed his arm in a punishing grip and kept the knife at his side, glistening with the slight few drops of Alec’s blood from where it nicked him. Greg pushed him towards the crowd on the dancefloor, all that stood between them and the exit.

Alec could see, as they started into the crowd, that the curtains to the VIP area were open and, in a raised area off to the left, there was a couch upon which sat at least a dozen people, all surrounding one man in the middle. He could also see that, much to his surprise, the man in the middle was watching him and Greg as they moved through the crowd. Alec figured that, as tall as he was, it wasn’t hard to notice him from an elevated position. He wondered briefly if any of those people could tell that he was about two seconds from pissing his pants. He knew damn well that when they got outside, Greg wasn’t going to take any promise he had to offer him.

Alec had gambled with his life that he could get an extension, and now he had lost.

When they approached the door, one of the bouncers backed into the way of the exit, his hand to his earpiece, though he didn’t look at either of them. Alec slowed, making Greg’s knife nick him again. Alec winced, clenching his eyes shut at the quick sting of pain. “Watch it, Lightwood,” Greg threatened under his breath, but before Alec could reply or move, a smooth, melodic voice came from behind them.

“Olsen, I know you don’t have a weapon in my club.” Alec turned his head and was surprised to see the man from the VIP area, the one who seemed to have been the center of the entire entourage. It made sense, he realized as he thought about it. The club owner would be the guest of honor, so to speak. He stepped closer, eyes narrowed at Greg. Somehow, Alec realized, the glittery makeup and dark eyeliner only made him seem even more threatening when he glared. “You know the rules-“

“I’m doing my business, just like always,” Greg retorted. “Look, Mr. Bane, I’m-“

“Holding a knife on a man in my club,” the man – Mr. Bane – interrupted. He glanced at Alec, then back down at the knife held to his side. He then looked up, between Greg and Alec, and nodded his head to one side. “Gentlemen, escort Mr. Olsen out and remove any weapons that were on his person while in my club. When you do that, send him on his way.”

“Yes, Mr. Bane.”

“Right away, Mr. Bane.”

Alec glanced as two large men – both just as tall as he was but much larger – came up behind him and grabbed Greg by the arms, snatching the knife away from his side before it was immediately taken from Greg’s hands. Alec put his hand to his side, feeling the small cuts that stung sharply, but didn’t seem to be more than just scratches, really. “And who might you be, Pretty Boy?” Alec turned in surprise and saw Mr. Bane standing in his same position, though this time he was looking at Alec with a curious smirk.

“A-Alec,” he stuttered out, his throat dry from the fear and then relief he had just felt in such quick succession over the past few minutes. The way the multi-colored lights of the club danced across Mr. Bane’s face, making all of his glitter sparkle, even that in his goatee, distracted him some at first, but as he looked at him longer, Mr. Bane was incredibly attractive. Alec blushed slightly when he actually realized how good-looking his savior was and noticed the amused little twist to his lips at Alec’s stuttering.

“Well, Alec,” Mr. Bane said in a softer voice, like he was mulling the name over as he spoke it, getting a feel for it with his lips and tongue. “It appears, by the blood on your fingers, that you’re in need of some first-aid.”

Alec looked down at his fingers, which had fallen from his side, and saw that there was blood on his fingertips. “It- it’s not much, I just- You don’t have to-“

“Nonsense!” Mr. Bane said instantly. He reached out for Alec’s other elbow, spinning with a bit of flair to stand at Alec’s side. “Come with me. I’d be a terrible host to leave you injured and uncared for.” He tugged Alec into motion, and Alec bent his arm as if he were escorting Mr. Bane somewhere rather than being dragged along.

“Mr. Bane, I’m very grateful for-“

Mr. Bane waved a hand. “Oh, no, it’s Magnus,” he said with a playful grin. “All my friends call me Magnus, and as pretty as you are, you get that privilege as well.” Alec blushed and Magnus’s eyes skimmed across his heated skin before he faced forward with a slight grin. “Right this way,” he said, and Alec had no choice but to follow him.

They skirted around the edge of the dancefloor and to the VIP area. Much to Alec’s surprise, there was a door off to the back of the VIP area that led into a long, well-lit and well-sound-proofed hallway. He didn’t say anything, simply allowed Magnus to lead him along the hallway until they turned a corner and were met with the sight of an elevator. “I live in the penthouse apartment,” Magnus explained as he pressed the button for the elevator. “Private elevator for guests from the club that I invite up for even more exclusive parties.”

“So, you own the club, right?” Alec asked, just to clarify, and Magnus nodded. “Huh, it must be convenient to live in the same building, but it has to be sort of annoying to have to go out of the way like this just to get home.”

Magnus chuckled, clearly surprised but amused. “I can’t say anyone has ever entertained that thought before,” he said, pausing only to step into the elevator with Alec and then press the only button in there. “But, no,” he said with a small smile. “This building spans the block, so the main entrance is on the other side.” He grinned up at Alec. “I don’t have to carry my groceries through a dancefloor,” he teased and Alec blushed, looking down at his feet.

“Oh. Yeah, that makes sense,” he murmured, glancing up at their reflection in the shiny elevator doors, only to see Magnus looking at the side of his face with the most amused look on his own.

~

Alec looked around the large, open foyer as they entered Magnus’s floor. He was surprised to see that there was no front door, the elevator they exited simply faced another elevator across from them. The foyer had large archway rather than a door, so they simply walked into his apartment.

Magnus gestured grandly to the surprisingly cozier and lived-in looking apartment than Alec had expected from the owner of the ultra-modern style club downstairs. He expected something that looked like it came out of a magazine, not something that looked like an actual person’s home. “Here, have a seat,” Magnus said, settling him on his sofa before darting away.

Alec looked around, eyes widening a bit when he saw the big floor to ceiling window that showed a beautiful view of the skyline across the river. “Wow.”

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Alec jerked some, blushing when Magnus’s voice came from right beside him. Magnus smirked. “No matter how far I go and for how long I’m away, something always calls me back to this city.” He sat down beside Alec and gestured to his side. “May I?”

Alec nodded, lifting the hem of his shirt. “Yeah, of course, but it’s really just a scratch,” he repeated, and Magnus tutted, dabbing at his side with a cloth dipped in something that stung as he cleaned the cut.

“I cannot believe the nerve of that man. He knows the rules. No weapons, no violence, not in my club.” He put the cloth down and grabbed a large Band-Aid, carefully sticking it to Alec’s side. “Well, you were correct, nothing even worthy of stitches, but still.” He patted the finished product. “At least you aren’t bleeding now.”

Alec blushed slightly as Magnus’s fingertips trailed flirtatiously from his side and along his hip before he pulled his hand away. “Thank you. I- um.” Alec looked around. “Why did you bring me here? Why didn’t you just send me on my way?” he asked in confusion.

Magnus sat back, smiling at Alec in amusement. “You really have no idea who I am, do you?” He tilted his head. “What’s your full name?”

“Alec Lightwood,” Alec offered. “And you said your name’s Magnus Bane, right?”

Magnus nodded, biting back a grin. “Yes, that’s correct, Alec Lightwood. However, you clearly aren’t in the business of the man you were dealing with if you don’t understand fully just what the connection to my club and your business is.” He leaned forward. “Alexander,” he said, and Alec raised an eyebrow at him for just guessing his name. “Why did he have a knife pulled on you? I assumed you were a contact of some sort, but now I’m less sure.”

Alec looked away, jaw clenching. “I owe money to a not-so-legitimate source and Greg is my usual collector. However, I lost my job, so this month I’m short.”

Magnus raised an eyebrow. “Drugs?” he asked, and Alec shook his head.

“A loan from several years ago.” He gave him a pointed look. “And personal business.”

Magnus held up his hands. “I respect that,” he said simply. “However, you clearly don’t understand that my rule about weapons isn’t just to protect myself from the law.” He gave him a serious look. “I don’t like people getting hurt. I don’t care if I don’t know you, I do not want people to get hurt. I may turn a blind eye to some stuff going on under the table in my club, but generally that’s because it’s safer than what would happen in a less neutral location. And if you had gone with that man, he would’ve hurt you.”

“I know that,” Alec said, swallowing hard. “But I didn’t expect you to care either way.” He managed a small smile. “It appears I was wrong.”

Magnus grinned suddenly. “The way I see it, if you leave now, there’s a solid chance you may be followed.” Alec’s blood ran cold as he thought about the potential for someone to follow him home to where his siblings were probably asleep right now. “Don’t worry,” Magnus said quickly, seeing his obvious fear. “You can stay here for a while. Wait it out.” He stood up, walking past Alec. “And, since I’m nothing if not a good host,” Magnus said, winking at him. “I’ll make us some drinks to make up for missing out down at the bar.”

Alec blushed. “You- you don’t have to, I-“

“Nonsense,” Magnus said simply. “It would be rude to just leave you sitting here without offering you a drink.” He smirked and turned to face him as he walked to the drink cart. “Now, are you a vodka kind of man, or is whiskey more your speed?” he asked, and Alec decided not to question it and allowed Magnus to make him a drink after all.

~

When Alec woke up in the morning, he sat up quickly, looking around in confusion at his unfamiliar surroundings. After a beat, he realized he was lying on the same couch as last night and his brain supplied that he must’ve fallen asleep on Magnus’s couch. He looked around, frowning, only to hear footsteps off to his left. He stood and followed the sound, pausing to blink at the sight that met him when he stopped in the doorway.

Magnus Bane was walking around what was clearly his bedroom, picking up various accessories, all while being followed by a gray and white cat. Magnus caught sight of his reflection almost immediately and he smiled, turning around. “Good morning, Alexander.” He shooed the cat behind him and walked over to Alec, looking up at him with an amused glint to his eyes. “Did you sleep well?”

Alec ducked his head, rubbing at his neck sheepishly. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to fall asleep. I’ll leave, I just wanted to apologize, and I-“ he squeaked in confusion as a fingertip hovered over his lips all of a sudden and he looked up to find a pair of beautiful brown eyes in front of him. He took in the quirk to Magnus’s lips and felt his cheeks heating again.

“Alexander, you were no imposition.” He lowered his hand. “I actually wanted to ask you if I could take you to breakfast this morning.” He gave Alec a long look, clearly trying to find something in his eyes. “I have a business proposition, of sorts, for you that I would love to discuss over more than just coffee.”

Alec wasn’t sure of much of anything about this entire situation, but he found himself nodding before he could even think about what this proposition might be. “Yeah, okay,” he said, even as his brain yelled at him to stop and think first.

Chapter Text

It was revealing to see the way that people reacted to Magnus. Alec had never seen someone so seemingly well-liked everywhere. As they walked down the sidewalk, every food stand owner, every grocer sweeping the sidewalk in front of their store, and even the mail man they passed all waved and said ‘hi, Mr. Bane’ to Magnus. When they arrived at a diner and were led to a secluded booth in the back corner without having to ask, it was obvious Magnus knew the people there, too. It wasn’t until a man came out of the back and greeted Magnus with a handshake that Alec started to get the idea that he might just be sitting in a diner with a member of an organized crime family.

“Sal, you haven’t had any trouble lately, have you?” Magnus greeted, and the man, Sal, just shook his head with a good-natured smile.

“None at all, Mr. Bane, thanks to you.” He grinned as he glanced at Alec. “How about I make you and your date something very special?”

Magnus smiled politely. “That sounds wonderful, Sal, thank you,” he said, watching as Sal left before he turned back to Alec with a smirk as if he was trying to show off for Alec for some reason.

“Are you in the mob or something?” Alec blurted out, looking at Magnus worriedly after he realized exactly what he’d just asked. “I mean, I- I wouldn’t say anything if you were, of course,” he said quickly. “I just-“

Instead of preparing a threat, however, Magnus laughed a big, open, bright laugh, clearly caught off-guard. “No, Alexander, Oh my God.” He rolled his eyes, shaking his head. “Oh, I see now that I’ve given you an entirely wrong idea.” He leaned forward, propping his elbows on the table as he gave him a mischievous smile. “No, nothing quite so formal. I’m just a businessman who uses his influence to look out for his neighbors, that’s all.”

“And that includes ‘protection’, huh?” he asked doubtfully.

Shaking his head, Magnus glanced around. “I do nothing illegal, Alec. I’m not involved in criminal activities. I facilitate transactions that, for my part, are entirely above board, and turn my head to smaller, independent transactions that go on in my club. Which also means I am owed a lot of favors,” he added. “If I need to call one in to help out a local business, then it’s just calling in a favor.” He shook his head, chuckling. “I said last night that I hate violence, and I meant that. Crime involves far too much violence and people getting hurt for my tastes.” He smirked. “I just know the right people, is all.”

Before Alec could ask anything else, Sal returned with their plates – some dish with bacon on top of it – and Alec had to wait until Magnus had sent Sal away to speak again. He figured it was rude to talk while eating, so instead, he waited until he and Magnus had both finished before speaking again. “You said you had a proposition or me,” Alec prompted, and Magnus nodded, expression growing more focused than before.

“Yes, I do.” He gestured with his hand. “Pardon my prying, but exactly how much money to you owe from your loan you’re paying back?”

Alec tried to remember and hummed. “I’m not sure about the exact amount left, but I borrowed a hundred grand six years ago, and I’ve been paying it back for two years, but with interest, I probably still haven’t even touched the principal.”

Magnus nodded, as if his suspicions were being answered. “And what do you do for a living?”

Alec winced. “I was a regional distributions manager for a printer paper company, but I was recently fired and I’m not finding an equally high-paying job available to me,” he admitted.

Magnus hummed. “And what was the money for?”

“That’s personal,” Alec said tightly, and Magnus held up a hand.

“Fine, sorry,” he said quickly. “I understand.” He looked Alec over. “What’s your family like?”

Alec wasn’t sure where all of this was going, but he answered anyways. He didn’t know why he trusted that he could answer without putting his family in danger, but for some reason, he believed Magnus when he said he didn’t like violence. “I have a brother and sister who are adults and a brother in high school.”

Magnus waited for him to continue, but when he didn’t, Magnus looked at him curiously. “And?”

“No and,” Alec said simply.

“So, Alexander,” Magnus said slowly as he looked him over. “You’re what, twenty-five? No family other than siblings. No job. I presume you and your siblings all take care of the brother who is still a child, meaning that if something were to happen with the people you owe money, they would struggle.”

Alec clenched his jaw, but nodded. “I’m twenty-six, but yes.” He looked at Magnus sharply. “What does that have to do with anything?”

Magnus sat up straighter, hands clasped in front of him on the table. “I have two propositions for you.” He held up a bejeweled finger on his right hand. “I have a lot of business dealings with important people and I find myself often I need for a reputable date for things. I also don’t have as much time for trying to find ‘the one’,” he drawled with a somewhat self-critical roll of his eyes. “I propose that we enter into an… arrangement,” he said delicately. “I can pay your debt back, in full, and you can take care of a few needs I have.” He quirked an eyebrow at him. “I hope my assumption about your sexual orientation is not off.”

Alec flushed some. “You assume correctly,” he allowed, giving Magnus a searching look. “Are you- are you suggesting you want me to pull a Pretty Woman?” he asked suspiciously.

Magnus nodded simply, though he looked amused by the comparison. “More or less. However, for the foreseeable future, not for one week. And you aren’t, to my knowledge, a sex worker, so not quite Pretty Woman.”

“So you want to be my sugar daddy,” Alec said flatly, and Magnus grimaced.

“That is the most appropriate way of saying it, though I very much ask you to not ever call me that,” he said, shuddering. “Nothing is more alarming than sexualization of a word for ‘father’,” he said and Alec chuckled a bit nervously.

“You want me to be your kept man and you’ll pay my debts?” he asked again, look at Magnus doubtfully. “Couldn’t you get whoever you wanted whenever you wanted them as it is?”

Magnus raised an eyebrow. “I need something far more than just someone ‘whenever I want’, Alexander,” he said simply. “I need someone to be available to me at all times.”

“Sexually?” Alec asked pointedly and Magnus’s lips twisted just a bit.

Magnus chuckled. “While sex is part of it, the much bigger need is someone who can accompany me places where I need a date, someone who can be ready to join me for social outings as well as business dinners. I need, and forgive me the absurdity of this, a professional boyfriend. And one that is respectable at that. I deal with far more than just those in questionable dealings, Alec. I have legitimate business contacts who require a certain elevated level of sophistication in my partner for things.” He sighed. “Frankly put, I don’t have time or a record of success when it comes to a relationship, but you are a handsome, clean cut, polite person who I can see enjoying to spend time around. This arrangement could be very beneficial for both of us.” He gestured absently. “The sexual aspect would be convenient, but I would never demand you always agree to have sex with me,” he stressed. “The only sex I’m interested in is entirely consensual, so you would always have the option of saying no if you aren’t in the mood or just don’t feel like it without any risk of me wanting out of our arrangement.”

For a moment, Alec didn’t respond. He stared at Magnus, at the curiosity and openness of his features. Finally it hit him that this guy was serious. He honestly wasn’t sure what to think. “I-“ He closed his mouth and hummed. “Look, I’m not saying you’re lying, but how can a sexual arrangement be truly consensual when the alternative is that I could be stabbed for not paying my debts?” he asked him. “You’re here offering to pay my debts if I sleep with you, and more, and if I don’t agree, I’m looking at potentially losing my life.”

Magnus shook his head quickly. “No, that was my other proposition,” he said quickly. “If you don’t want this, I offer to buy your debts from your current collectors and let you pay me back instead.” He gave him a very professional look, but Alec could see sympathy in his eyes. “You will still have to pay me back, with interest, but I’m far more willing to give you time to get the money. The only caveat would be the usual way that interest builds up more the longer you don’t pay back a loan.” He shook his head. “I wouldn’t ever threaten you or anyone you love.”

Alec raised an eyebrow. “Then how do you know I’d actually pay you?”

Magnus smirked. “You seem like a genuine kind of guy, Alexander Lightwood. I trust you to pay your debt to me if that’s the option you choose.” Magnus pulled his wallet out and, to Alec’s surprise, laid a business card on the table, sliding it across with his fingertip before standing. “Call me if you’re interested in either proposal,” he said with a small wink. “Have a nice day, Alexander.”

Alec watched him leave, stopping to slide a fifty dollar bill into Sal’s hand as he said goodbye to him, before disappearing out the door. Alec sat back, exhaling as he grabbed up the business card and started thinking about his options.

~

It was nearly noon before Alec got all the way home, and when he did, he hoped everybody would be gone. However, luck wasn’t in his favor, it seemed. He turned the corner from the front door and found Isabelle sitting on the couch. “Well hey,” she said with a wink. “Look who finally came home.”

Alec held up a hand, sighing. “Don’t- don’t even.” He rubbed a hand over his face.

“Somebody got lucky,” Isabelle teased, and he rolled his eyes.

Alec huffed out a laugh, looking up at the ceiling as he rested his hands on his hips and exhaled a heavy sigh. “I wish.” He shook his head. “I’m gonna get a shower. Try another day searching for jobs.”

Izzy frowned, but didn’t say anything as he left.

Alec stood under the spray of the hot shower and leaned his forehead against the wall. The hot water soothed some of the soreness from sleeping on an uncomfortable sofa all night, but there was far more weighing on him than a bad night’s sleep. He couldn’t stop thinking about the money he owed. He knew, without doing the math himself, that he probably still owed the entire hundred grand. He had been given four years before they started collecting, and the whole time the interest had been building. The past two years, he had been paying, as he promised. It was only a few weeks ago that he lost his job, and that meant all he was late on was the latest payment.

He wasn’t really sure what to think of the offer Magnus Bane had extended to him. On one hand, it seemed too easy. All he had to do was date an attractive man and he’d be debt-free. Just like that. Alec rubbed a hand over his face, pushing his hair back so he could wash the lingering sweat from the club off of his skin, groaning as he rolled his shoulders under the hot stream. It was such a weird proposition.

When he got out of the shower, he walked into his bedroom, towel around his waist, and nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw Isabelle lounging on his bed. “Jesus, Izzy!” He scrabbled not to drop the towel and she rolled her eyes at him.

“You’ve been brother my entire life, I’ve seen you naked before,” she said flatly. He glared at her as he walked to the closet, slamming the door behind him when he got there. “Didn’t you spend enough time in there when you were a teenager?” she yelled. When Alec re-emerged, he glared at her as he walked over and flopped onto the bed beside her. She smiled, reaching out to pet his we hair, untangling it gently. “So. What happened to going out with a girl form work?” She wiggled her eyebrows. “Girl my ass.”

He shook his head. “I didn’t get laid, I told you.” He propped his head on one hand, looking over at her. “Can I ask you something?” he asked suddenly, and she nodded, looking at him patiently. He looked down. “Would you judge someone for doing something for money that’s not… a normal job?”

She frowned. “Alec… you didn’t do anything illegal, did you? Both kidneys accounted for?” she asked, looking at his torso doubtfully.

Alec shook his head. “No, of course not,” he said, rolling his eyes at her. “I just mean. Like.” He hummed. “Providing a service. Just, you know, not a normal one-“

Isabelle waved a hand. “Alec, wait, are you talking about prostitution?” she asked, and Alec shrugged.

“I’m not saying I want to be a prostitute,” he said quickly. “But what do you think about it. Like, that sort of deal.” He bit his lip. “I mean, sex work is an honest job. Right?”

Isabelle raised an eyebrow at him, but nodded. “Yeah. An honest job is an honest job. Why?” She gave him a narrow-eyed look. “Are you thinking about giving up on trying to meet somebody the normal way and just hire a prostitute?” She groaned dramatically. “Alec, you’re a very attractive man. And I say this as your sister, someone who doesn’t see you that way. I can’t imagine what people who do see you that way think. You could get a great guy who loves you, not just one you gotta pay to sleep with you.”

Alec snorted. “That isn’t really what I was talking about, but you’re right, I guess.” He sighed, rubbing at his forehead. “But what guy wants an unemployed bum.”

Isabelle slapped him on the ass, making him yelp. “You are not a bum,” she argued. “You being unemployed doesn’t make you a bum. You’re a good man, Alec.” She reached out and cupped his face in her palm. “You’ll find a good job, because you’re smart and hardworking, and you will find a great guy, Alec.” She leaned in and kissed his forehead. “You’re my big brother. Anybody that doesn’t know how wonderful you are can take it up with me.”

Alec smiled and slug his arm around Isabelle’s shoulders, tugging her into a hug. “I love you,” he said, pressing a kiss to her temple. “You’re the best sister I’ve got.”

She laughed, shoving him off with a sigh. “I’m your only sister,” she replied, the same way she always did when he said that. She stood up and walked to his bedroom door. “Cheer up, Big Brother,” she said, hesitating with her hand on the doorknob. “It’s all going to be fine. You’ve taken good care of all of us, Alec.” She tapped her nails against the doorknob. “The way you handled this family, you can handle anything. I know it.”

Alec watched her as she left and sighed, flopping face-down on the bed. He laced his fingers together behind his head, whining into the covers for a moment before sitting up and reaching over to the bedside table to grab his laptop. He settled back against the head of the bed and opened it up, logged in, and went to Google to start searching, once again, for a job.

~

Alec’s phone rang again and he glanced at it, but then turned back, leaving it where it sat on the coffee table. Max looked up from where he was doing his homework on the floor in front of the television and looked at Alec’s phone, then up at Alec. “Alec, are you going to answer that?” he asked in an aggravated tone. Alec gave him a chastising look, and Max just rolled his eyes at him. Ever since he turned fourteen, he had started to get sort of sassy. It was both a blessing and a curse, Alec thought, because before, Max had treated him more like a father and less like a brother, and he liked having Max treat him like his brother. The downside of that was that Max wasn’t afraid of being a brat to Alec anymore. One of these days, Alec was going to have to ground him and remind him that Alec was still the boss of him and he couldn’t get away with just anything.

The phone continued to ring, and Jace kicked Alec from the other end of the sofa, legs stretched across it. “Seriously, who is so hard up to get in contact with you?” He wiggled his eyebrows. “You got yourself a suitor, Bro?”

“What am I? A nineteenth century debutante?” Alec asked flatly. “And no, it’s nobody.” He picked his phone up and silenced it, so that the next call wouldn’t ring. “There, no more ringing.” He put it back on the coffee table and looked at the game on TV again, hoping Jace would get distracted once more.

Because he knew it wasn’t nobody. It was his collector calling once again. He knew he had to deal with that soon enough, one way or another.

~

Sitting on his bed, phone in hand, Alec checked the name and number on the business card one more time before dialing. His finger hovered over ‘call’, but for the moment, he hesitated. He looked around his room and just thought for a moment.

Every possible avenue had been explored. Alec had tried repeatedly to get a job that paid enough. Izzy and Jace repeatedly assured him that they could cover all their expenses for a few months while he looked for a job, but they didn’t know he had an extra chunk that nearly matched their rent he owed every month. Jace’s job didn’t pay much, since he hadn’t gone into a lucrative field after college, so he felt bad for putting more of a burden on Jace. Isabelle worked for the NYPD, so he felt especially guilty that he was tying her to this business of his.

Alec took a breath and checked one more time that his door was shut before he hit ‘call’. He raised his phone to his ear, swallowing against the sudden dryness in his throat, and he managed to keep the beating of his own rapid heart to a manageable level as he waited for his call to be answered.

“Bane.” Alec sucked in a breath but forged on, pushing himself to talk.

“M-Magnus. Hi. It’s Alec. Um, from the other day.” He cringed, putting his free hand over his eyes. “The other night, rather. Well, and then morning, so I guess- God, I’m shutting up now.”

Half of him expected to be hung up on, but instead he heard a warm chuckle. “Alexander, how could I ever forget such a pretty face?” Magnus asked. “I’m surprised to hear from you, I must admit. I didn’t hear from you, so I assumed you had found an option C for your predicament.”

Alec lowered his hand from his eyes and took a calming breath. “I- I think that, if you still want, I’d like to meet and- and maybe discuss the terms of the… arrangement.”

“So you’re interested with option A,” Magnus drawled. “Well, I am very much still interested in making my life a lot easier, and, I suspect, yours as well.” Alec relaxed some of the tension he didn’t even realized he was holding upon realization that Magnus’s offer was still on the table. “How about I take you to dinner, Alexander, and then you and I can make sure we both still want this, and, should the evening go well and we decide we won’t come to hate each other, we can settle on the terms.”

Alec closed his eyes, exhaling with relief. “That sounds great. Just tell me when and where and I’ll be there.”

He heard the tell-tale sound of papers flipping, like pages in a book, and Magnus hummed. “Are you free tonight at six? It’s a bit early, I know, but I have agreed to put in an appearance at the club tonight at nine-“

“No!” Alec said quickly, then grimaced. “I- I mean, six is fine. Any time is fine with me.”

Magnus hummed curiously, and Alec could only hope that was a good thing. “Text me your address and I’ll have a car downstairs at six o’clock on the dot, then.”

Alec startled a little at the idea of having a car waiting, but he decided not to say anything, lest he ruin his best option. “Alright. Great. I’ll be there.”

After hanging up with Magnus, Alec flopped back onto his bed and stared up at the ceiling, staring blankly at it in hopes that he could forget the incredibly terrible impression he had just made on the one man who could help him.

Chapter Text

Alec knocked on Isabelle’s bedroom door and she looked up from where she lay on her bed, painting her nails. “Well hey there, Hermano,” she said with a small smile. “Can I paint your nails?” she asked, shaking her bottle.

“Not tonight.” He walked over and hesitated beside her bed, shuffling some. “Um. I kind of…” He let out a breath and looked up at her, smiling apologetically. “Okay, so I never lied, technically, because you asked if I got laid and I didn’t,” he said in a rush. “But the other night I- um, I met this guy.” He tugged at his shirt nervously. “Can you maybe help me pick a date outfit?” he asked, and Isabelle positively squealed.

“Oh my God, you’re going on a date?!” She crawled to the side of the bed, careful of her nails, and threw her arms around his shoulders, smiling. “I’m so proud of you.” She hung off his neck, leaning back against the hold of her arms around him. “You’re so shy and you got a boy to ask you out!”

Alec blushed, because he thought of exactly what she would think if she knew the reason he was asking him out. “Well. He’s taking me somewhere really nice, probably. He’s picking me up at six. I doubt it’s a jeans kind of place, but I don’t know where we’re going.”

Izzy wiggled her eyebrows. “Ooohhh, nice one, Alec. Nothing like a man spoiling you for the first date.” She sat back, still holding her hands out so her nails could dry. “Alright, go start digging your clothes out while this dries, and I’ll be there in a few minutes. We can dress you up!” she said excitedly. “I’m just so happy for you, Alec. You deserve this.”

Alec smiled and nodded, but as soon as he got out of her room the smile faded. He was pretty sure he didn’t ‘deserve’ even half the opportunity Magnus was giving him so generously. He just hoped he didn’t screw this up and that Magnus Bane was the kind of man he seemed to be.

~

Isabelle huffed and shoved his closet doors even wider. “I can’t believe you worked in an office for so long and you don’t have a single jacket that won’t look like too boring for dinner.”

Jace, who had heard the news and decided to be a spectator, grinned from where he lay on Alec’s bed. “I’d lend you my clothes if you could return them without holes like the last time,” he accused.

Alec rolled his eyes, ignoring the rush of fear of what Jace would think if he knew how that hole got there. “I don’t fit in your clothes, Jace.”

Isabelle finally snatched something off the hanger and came out. “Here. You wear this shirt, it’ll bring out your eyes,” she said, handing him a dark green button down. “Leave the top buttons undone. You can just wear a black blazer without buttoning it and some black pants. You won’t look fabulous, but you can go for the ‘lazy fashionable’ look,” she said, and he took them, rolling his eyes at her.

“Lazy fashionable cannot be a thing,” he argued, moving to the bathroom door. As he got dressed, he worried he might not look good enough for wherever Magnus was taking them. He hoped his lack of fashion sense didn’t ruin his chances with this whole thing. Magnus had clearly been a very fashionable man, going by just the two outfits Alec had seen him in.

He put on accessories for breakfast.

He looked at himself in the mirror when he was dressed and sighed, tugging on the lapels of the jacket to get it settled better. He turned to look at himself from the side and then the other side, and he honestly couldn’t help but wonder what the hell Izzy was talking about when she said he was an attractive man.

Alec knew he was tall, and that was good. And he had nice eyes, but they weren’t exotic like Jace’s different colored eyes or a pretty chocolate color like Izzy’s. His hair was always a mess, though, he could never tame it. His lips were sort of big, he thought. His jaw was alright, but he could shave in the morning and have stubble by nightfall, his hair was so dark and grew so fast. He was big and muscled, but it wasn’t much good when he had almost no ass and skinny legs. It just made him look top-heavy. His ears were sort of funny, and he had a scar on his eyebrow that was very obvious.

Alec had never thought he was ugly, but he knew he was nothing special. Izzy and Jace were the attractive ones in the family, not him.

When Alec came out of the bathroom, he held his arms out and did a turn for Izzy and Jace. “Well. Am I decent?” he asked, turning back.

Isabelle smiled and nodded. “Yep! It’s not really fancy, but you’ll pass almost anywhere you go.”

“And next time, you can take this guy somewhere normal on a date,” Jace added. “Like to get coffee or something. I mean, who goes to a fancy restaurant on the first date?” he asked and Isabelle threw one of Alec’s socks at him.

“Guys trying to make a good impression on our big brother, that’s who,” she complained. “Alec’s managed to snag a date with a guy who clearly means business. I call that a win.”

Alec almost laughed at her unintentional ‘business’ quip, but he managed to reign it in. He put his hands on his jacket’s lapels and stood at the mirror, looking himself over. “I guess I’ll do.”

“And I guess you better go,” Isabelle chided and he looked at his watch only to curse when he saw it was nearly six.

“Shit, gotta run!” He ran over and kissed Isabelle’s cheek. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, you two don’t let Max stay up later than I let him, get out of my room, bye!” he cried, snatching his wallet off the dresser at the last minute before he took off running through the apartment.

He didn’t want to be late and make an even worse impression than he already inevitably would.

~

When Alec got into the town car waiting for him, he was alone, which surprised him. He asked the driver where they were going, but was simply told, “Mr. Bane wants it to be a surprise.” The car took him to a restaurant he recognized as one of his mother’s favorite places to do business lunches when he was younger. He felt a small pang as he exited, thanking the driver, and stepped towards the entrance.

He wasn’t sure what to say as he approached the hostess booth, and the look she gave him made him aware that he was the only person who entered that had no others with him who had approached her yet. “Good evening, Sir, what name is your reservation under?” she asked politely, and he cleared his throat.

“I- probably Bane? Magnus B-“

She immediately changed demeanor and he saw her eyes widen just a fraction. “Of course, Mr. Lightwood,” she said in a smooth tone. “Mr. Bane arrived just moments ago.” She turned to a man standing behind her and nodded to Alec. “Take Mr. Lightwood to the wine cellar,” she instructed, and Alec was very confused very quickly.

Meeting in the wine cellar of a restaurant sounded really strange, and Alec wasn’t sure what he was really meant to be doing down there. For a quick moment, he worried that maybe he had been wrong and Magnus really was a mob boss about to have him ‘taken out’, but he brushed that thought away as quickly as it arrived. It wasn’t the sixties, after all. That sort of thing didn’t really happen anymore.

At least Alec hoped so.

Upon descending a staircase, following the silent man in the waiters uniform, they exited into a narrow, stone hallway, only to immediately find themselves in – exactly what had been said – a wine cellar. However, there was a table set up in the wine cellar, and clear signs that the doorway to the left probably held a larger table and chairs that had been hastily cleared away, going by the scuffs on the floor. Sitting at the table was Magnus, who looked up at the sound of them coming in, and stood with a graceful fluidity that Alec had to admit was kind of hot.

“Alexander, I was worried you would have arrived before me,” he greeted, stepping up to rest a hand on Alec’s arm lightly. “Glad I made it just before you, because that would’ve been a bad impression.” He turned to the waiter and nodded his head. “Thank you, Henry,” he said, and the man bowed his head slightly and left as silently as they had come. Alec opened his mouth to speak, but Magnus simply tugged him over and pulled his chair out for him. “Sit, please,” he said, and Alec blushed slightly at someone pulling his chair out for him.

“Thanks,” he said, smiling as he sat down. Magnus returned to his seat and Alec looked around at the wine cellar. The wine racks were behind iron grates all around them, and the room was lit by a chandelier above them, dimly illuminating the dark, quiet room. “This is really weird,” he blurted out, then cringed. “Not bad weird, I just mean I- I didn’t expect.” He gestured around them with a shrug. “This much exclusivity,” he finished lamely.

Magnus perked up, smiling. “It’s actually one of the reasons I love this place. They have several private rooms, of varying sizes. A great place to talk business without interruption. This is one of the smaller rooms and seemed a bit more appropriately intimate for the nature of our business this evening,” he explained.

Alec hummed and nodded, looking around. He could see why his mother had chosen it for business meetings, then. “At least I’m not being stared at for how I’m dressed down here,” he said, looking down at himself. “Sorry about this. I didn’t have enough warning to get something more… dinner-y,” he said uncomfortably. “I don’t do ‘dinner’. Or expensive restaurants. Or dates,” he added with a roll of his eyes. “My sister helped me find the least-boring thing I own.”

Magnus’s eyes shined with amusement and he tilted his head. “You look lovely, Alexander,” he comforted. “That color really brings out the green in your eyes.”

Alec smiled bashfully, looking down at his shirt. “Thanks. My sister said the same thing.”

“I have a feeling your sister and I would get along well,” Magnus said with a grin. There was a sound of footsteps on the stairs and Magnus sat up a bit straighter. “I hope you don’t mind, but I took the liberty of ordering for us,” he said, looking a bit apologetic. “I promise, I don’t normally take control like that, I just thought since we’re in the wine cellar, it would be nice to order the courses and their best wine pairing and try to make a good impression on you.” He scrunched his nose some. “I realized after you got here that maybe that was actually a bad impression. I really don’t want to make you think I’m that kind of person.”

Alec shook his head with a small, nervous smile. “It’s fine. I wouldn’t know what to order anyways. I don’t drink wine, so you would probably order a wine that is horrible with whatever I get to eat.” Alec looked up to see a waiter arriving with dishes and another with wine.

“Lovely,” Magnus said as they approached, smiling to the waiter. “Perfect timing as always, Janelle,” he greeted and she smiled, nodding to him.

“Here you are, Sirs. Oxtail dumplings with a mushroom consommé, and to drink, our best Amarone,” she said, stepping back to let the other man pour their wine.

“Thank you,” Alec said uncomfortably. He was not in any way used to this much attention, that was for sure. Not since he was a child.

After they left, Magnus bid him try the first course, so Alec just went along with him. He was surprised by how good something that sounded so gross could be, and he blushed after letting out a moan of surprise. Magnus, however, equally embarrassed himself by giggling and then slapping a hand over his mouth after doing so. Alec raised an eyebrow and Magnus cleared his throat, resuming a blasé demeanor. “That never happened,” he said and Alec grinned, ducking his head.

“Sure it didn’t,” he drawled playfully. He couldn’t help but feel comfortable enough to tease a little after how much of his personality Magnus was showing. He wasn’t the only one nervous, it seemed.

As the meal progressed, more courses coming, Alec grew more comfortable from a mix of Magnus proving himself to be far more human than “Mr. Bane” seemed to him at first and the wine that came with each course. When Magnus commented about the shape of his potato soufflé looking oddly similar to Rudi Giuliani’s head, Alec let out a loud, open laugh, only to flush when he realized what he did. Magnus, whoever, looked pleasantly surprised to get Alec to laugh out loud and somewhat pleased with himself.

“Wow, are you that much of a lightweight, or was that actually funny to you?” Magnus asked, seeming genuinely curious.

Alec shook his head. “I’m not even tipsy, really,” he defended. “I mean, the wine is enough to make me feel it, but not enough to become a giddy drunk.”

Magnus smiled, and Alec was surprised by how much different and more open this smile looked. “Wow, you actually laughed at something I said for real.”

Alec frowned. “Should I not have?” He shrugged. “I mean, it was funny.”

Magnus’s smile grew much more private and he shook his head. “No, it’s just that I’m used to people laughing at my jokes because of who I am, not because I’m actually funny,” he admitted. “I was just surprised, is all. I’m glad you seem to approve of my sense of humor, though. That would make our arrangement together much more pleasant, actually getting along.”

Alec smiled. “Well, I don’t know you well, but you seem like a likeable person, Magnus. I’m sure we’ll get along in our time together.”

Sitting up straighter, Magnus seemed to go into business mode. “Right. Since we’re already on the subject, maybe now would be a good time to talk about this arrangement. Make sure we both agree before actually going into this.”

“Yeah, sure,” Alec said, sipping some water before sitting taller. “It’s your idea, so just tell me what sort of terms you have so far, and we’ll see how I feel about them,” he suggested.

Magnus started counting off on his fingers, clearly thinking hard. “Well, first off, I looked into your debt and you owe ninety-thousand still. I can take care of that easily, so that’s not a problem.” He counted off another finger, though he didn’t seem to notice he was doing it, much to Alec’s amusement. “Second, I remember you said you got fired. Are you looking for other jobs? Because having a job might make you less available to me.”

Alec raised an eyebrow. “You want me to not get a job? How will I explain to my brother and sisters why I stopped looking? Also, I still have bills to pay, even beyond the debt,” he reminded him.

Magnus hummed, nodding. “Right. Okay.” He waved a hand. “What if I can get you a job with someone I know so you can take off whenever I need you?”

Alec rubbed at his hair, sighing. “It’s not about just getting a job, Magnus. I need a job that makes as much money as I did before, which is why I haven’t just taken a job at Starbucks or something.”

Magnus tilted his head. “What did you study in college? Or did you go?” he added.

“Business,” Alec answered. “At my last job, I approved purchase orders, and oversaw shipping to make sure things were delivered efficiently, and did basically all the logistics of running a business that fulfilled large-scale orders of products. I’m good at numbers, simply put.”

Magnus hummed, tapping his lip. “How much did you make there?”

“Twenty-four hundred a week, before taxes,” Alec replied.

Magnus looked impressed. “Twenty-four hundred a week by twenty-six? That’s impressive. So you were clearing around a hundred thousand a year, take home, five years after college? That shows good business sense,” he said with a smile. “I’m almost positive I know somebody who knows somebody who could use a smart guy like you.” He waved a hand. “How about this, I’ll find you a job with someone who will let you come and go as you please, and until then, I’ll give you a credit card with an allowance of twenty-five hundred a week.”

Alec’s eyes widened. “On top of my debt, you’re going to just give me money to spend?” he asked skeptically and Magnus shrugged.

“I’ve never done this whole ‘sugar daddy’ thing before,” he said, making a face at the term. “But I’m pretty sure ‘you date me for money’ is how it is supposed to go.” He smiled. “Once you start your job, I’ll lower the allowance on the card to a few hundred, to cover whatever I ask you to do for that week.” He waved a hand. “You know, travel costs, clothing allowance for events, that sort of thing.” He smiled. “That sound okay?”

Alec nearly spluttered in his rush to say, “Yes, that, that sounds pretty fantastic, really.”

Magnus smiled brighter. “Good. Now!” He leaned forward, hands pressed together. “How about other details.” He tapped his nails on the tablecloth. “I need you available whenever I ask. Is that going to be a problem?” He held up a hand before Alec could answer. “And I mean, if I call at six in the morning and need you somewhere, I need you to be there, and if I need you at midnight, I need you to be there. That’s the point of this whole arrangement.”

Alec cleared his throat. “I’m okay with that, but I do have a family,” he reminded him. “I’m not asking you for limitless exceptions, I promise I won’t make a ton of excuses to get out of things, and I won’t abuse it, but I do need the power to refuse in case of a family emergency,” he said seriously. “I’m technically the legal guardian of my fourteen year old brother, so I literally have to be able to leave without notice if something happens with him, because my brother and sister can’t sign anything for him. It shouldn’t happen, but if he gets sick or hurt, I have to take him to the doctor, and if he’s in trouble at school, I have to go get him. Nobody else can do it but me.”

“Of course,” Magnus said quickly. “Don’t get me wrong, Alec, I need you available, but obviously, I understand emergency situations.” He reached out and put his hand over Alec’s on the table. “You’re supposed to be convenient, not a pet or something. Think of this like a job,” he said with a smile. “And of me as a very understanding boss who knows that your family comes first.”

“Good,” Alec said with a relieved slump of his shoulders. “That’s good.”

Magnus went forward. “I won’t ask you to move in with me, but I’ll give you a key to my place and clear out a closet for some things of yours for when you stay there, or if I need you to meet me there for whatever reason. I need you to be okay with my cat, because he’s my darling baby boy, and if you’re mean to him, we’ve got a problem,” he joked and Alec grinned.

“I like cats, so we’re good,” he agreed.

“Also, as I mentioned the first time we talked about this,” Magnus said more seriously. “Yes, there is a sexual aspect to our arrangement, but I want you to be very honest about whether or not you want to sleep with me, Alec. I do not want you to feel coerced into sex,” he stressed. “I’m not that kind of man, and I don’t want you to say yes to me if you want to say no. If you know right now you won’t ever want to have sex with me, just tell me before we get started, because I do not want to be that man.”

Alec could see the fears in Magnus’s eyes, and he was both surprised but relieved to see how seriously Magnus took Alec’s consent. Not many guys would question a ‘yes’ no matter how reluctant it was. “Look, I’m not saying I won’t ever say no, that’s going to happen, I’m sure,” Alec said honestly. “But you’re an attractive man, which is what I like since I’m gay, and I haven’t had sex since college. It’s not that big of a chore, believe me,” he said, blushing slightly at the admission.

Magnus actually gaped. “How have you not had sex since college?!” he asked, sitting up straight. “You’re… that!” he said, gesturing to Alec’s general person.

Alec shrugged. “I’ve been busy, I’m not very outgoing or personable, and I’m not into hooking up with strangers,” he said simply.

Magnus shook his head, and sighed. “The fact you’re single was a big enough shock to me, Alexander, because you’re a really beautiful person,” he said, and Alec blushed some, rolling his eyes. “Also, you’re a good guy, from what I can tell,” Magnus added. He smiled. “But you know what? Their loss then.” He winked. “At least you’ll get sex out of this deal,” he joked.

“About that,” Alec said quickly. “I don’t have unsafe sex. So, if you have any sort of ‘we’re both men so who needs condoms’ thing, I’m out automatically. Every man I’ve so much as attempted to go on a date with in the past few years has tried that, which is one of the main reasons I’m totally over trying to hook up.”

Magnus smiled. “A beautiful guy who is also not an idiot,” he said and nodded simply. “Absolutely, I agree. I don’t have unsafe sex either. I’m a bisexual man who, admittedly, is somewhat promiscuous. Because where you don’t hook up, I don’t date, so I only hook up.” He shook his head. “I’m not stupid or careless, and I would never disrespect you as a person to try and get you to have unsafe sex.” He sipped his wine, humming. “Also, this should probably go without saying, but I expect sexual exclusivity. I don’t want you sleeping with other people.”

Alec gestured to himself. “I just told you I haven’t had sex since college. I highly doubt I’m suddenly going to become unable to control myself,” he deadpanned, making Magnus grin.

“Well, you never know. I’m going to have you at the club sometimes, and dance clubs make everything more sexual,” he joked. “I won’t be sleeping with anyone else either,” he added, making Alec blink in surprise.

“Really?” Magnus narrowed his eyes and Alec held up his hands. “No, I’m not saying anything about you, but you just said you’re a promiscuous guy. I can’t imagine you suddenly becoming a one-man kinda guy when you could have tons of men and women.”

Magnus smiled gently and shook his head. “I’m not always promiscuous, Alec, and I don’t mean promiscuous as in ‘gets some multiple times a week’ or anything. I just mean I enjoy sex on occasion and I don’t have a good track record with relationships. Even if our relationship is a business arrangement, I wouldn’t disrespect you like that. To everyone else, I want our relationship to appear genuine, and I would think you do too, since you’ll have to tell your siblings something,” he added. “I am not a cheater, and I do not want people to think I am because they don’t know I’m paying you.” He grinned. “Besides, I think we can both agree sex with someone you sleep with regularly is far more enjoyable than a string of first-times.”

Alec chuckled, rubbing at his eyes. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” He sat back, looking around. “I’m trying to think of anything else we need to discuss first. I don’t want to make you have to negotiate along the way. You’re being very generous with this offer as it is.”

“I’m sure we will have other things crop up,” Magnus dismissed. “It’s fine. I think the only real thing left to determine is the length of our arrangement.”

Alec nodded. “I’m fine with whatever, honestly. I’m pretty sure you’ll get tired of me before I get tired of you, unless you’re secretly a horrible person and you’ve just been playing me.”

Magnus eyed him over his wine glass and hummed. “Let’s try for one year. I am paying a lot of money, and a year will be a ‘solid’ relationship to look good for people who think I’m bad at commitment. Also it’s a good amount of time for a relationship to burn out. I’m sure you’ve dated someone you didn’t love, and eventually things just fizzled.”

Alec didn’t bother correcting him, so he just nodded. “A year sounds fine with me. What happens if one of us wants out, early?”

“Honestly, the only reason I can imagine one of us wants out early is if we meet someone else,” Magnus said softly. “And I may not seem it yet, but you’ll come to find I’m quite the romantic.” He tilted his head. “I would never want our deal to stand in the way of love, Alexander. If you meet someone and start to fall for them, I’ll let you out without any penalty. Your debt will remain paid. I promise you, that.”

As someone who had no idea what love was even like, Alec was pretty sure that wasn’t going to be a problem. “Assuming we get along and don’t hate each other, I think we’ll be fine,” Alec assured him. “But the same goes for you, okay?” He gave a shy smile. “I’m not a sap, but if you’re a romantic, I don’t want you to think you have to stay with me if you meet someone just because of our agreement. I want us to be at least friendly, if not friends, so I wouldn’t want to do that to you either.”

Magnus brightened up, eyes crinkling at the corners as he smiled. It actually took Alec’s breath away for a moment how beautiful Magnus was. He was very lucky this was the man offering him this whole deal. “You’re a sweet guy, aren’t you, Alec?” Magnus shook his head. “I feel like we’re going to be friends quite easily. I’m lucky to have met someone so perfect for this arrangement,” he said, echoing Alec’s own thoughts on the matter.

Chapter Text

Alec got home and shut the door quietly so that he could take a moment to just lean against it and close his eyes. Magnus had been very polite and the entire situation seemed almost too generous. He couldn’t imagine his luck. There was a part of him that was still a little uneasy about the fact he was, more or less, a sex worker now, but like Isabelle had said, it was an honest job, and nobody would know what he was doing besides Magnus.

“Alec? You’re home early.” He opened his eyes and saw Isabelle heading from the kitchen towards the living room. She looked at him, frowning. “Was the guy you went out with a jerk?” she asked, gesturing for him to follow her.

Alec shook his head, following her to the living room, where Jace was already waiting. Max wasn’t there, but Isabelle and Jace were both watching some reality TV show, so he felt no shame flopping across them on the couch, putting his legs in Jace’s lap and his head on Isabelle’s after she sat. “Hey, Bro. I thought you were out tonight?” Jace asked, looking at the time on the television. “It’s not even nine.”

Isabelle petted his hair, frowning. “Was he not what you expected?”

Alec smiled, shaking his head as he thought back to the way Magnus had walked him to the car waiting for him and opened his door for him before saying that, even for an arrangement, he didn’t want to kiss Alec on the first date like a total creep, so he had settled for kissing Alec’s cheek as he saw him into the car. “Actually, that’s probably the best date I’ve ever been on,” he admitted.

“Well must not’ve been too great if you’re home, instead of with him,” Jace said, wiggling his eyebrows.

Alec chuckled, shaking his head. “We had dinner so early because he had a work thing tonight. He owns a night club, and he’d agreed to make an appearance tonight,” he explained.

“Oooh, owns a night club? Damn, Alec,” Isabelle said. “However, if it was at the club, why didn’t he invite you?” she asked skeptically. “You’re telling me he couldn’t ask you to a club if he met you at a club?”

Alec blushed. “He, uh.” He put a hand over his face. “He said he isn’t the sort of creep that asks for a kiss on the first date, so I highly doubt he wants to get drunk and grind up on each other either.”

Jace whistled. “Wow. Old fashioned.” He looked at Isabelle. “That’s so Alec.”

“Awwww,” Isabelle cooed, petting his head. “That’s so sweet!” She poked Alec’s cheek. “What’s his name?”

“Magnus,” Alec said, smiling bashfully. “He’s really handsome, and he took me to this really swanky place and we had dinner in a private room.” He chuckled. “He’s funny, too. Charming.” He shook his head. “I don’t know how I got so lucky.”

Jace smirked. “Hear that, Iz? Funny, handsome, and charming.” He winked. “Alec’s definitely getting catfished, but in real life.”

“He is not,” Isabelle argued. “Alec is awesome, it makes sense he’d attract an awesome guy!” She grinned down at Alec. “So, what’s this Magnus look like?”

Alec hummed, getting more comfortable. “Well. He’s got black hair, very stylish black hair,” he started. “Big, pretty brown eyes that I have yet to see not lined and glittered.” He blushed some. “He has a great jawline. Pretty lips.” He shrugged. “He has a nice goatee, too.”

Isabelle made a face. “Ew, facial hair.”

“I like facial hair,” Alec argued. “Very manly. I really like how masculine he looks. He’s kinda on the taller side of average, too,” he added. “I mean, short compared to me, but everybody is,” he said and Jace rolled his eyes at him. “He’s as tall as Jace, probably.”

Isabelle hummed. “Sounds cute. And rich,” she added, wiggling her eyebrows.

Alec shrugged. “He’s not a poor man,” he dismissed.

“You go, Buddy,” Jace said, patting his leg. “Good for you.”

Alec looked up at Isabelle and she winked, leaning down to kiss Alec on the forehead. Alec closed his eyes and relaxed against her lap, sighing. Alec felt so much less stressed out knowing that his debts would be paid and his family was safe. They had no idea how much Magnus was good for all of them, not just Alec.

~

Alec’s first ‘date’ with Magnus was just the two of them, but it was still business. They met for coffee across the street from Magnus’s place, and when Magnus sat down, smiling at Alec, who was already there, he immediately slid him an envelope. “Always nice to find out you’re a prompt kinda guy, since I tend to be late already,” he greeted.

“I’m good at being on time,” Alec said with a shrug, picking up the envelope. “What’s this?”

Magnus took off his sunglasses and sat them and his phone on the table. “Key to my apartment. I’ve already given your name and photo to the doorman, the key is for the elevator. Just stick it in and turn and you can go to the penthouse,” he explained. “Receipt to prove I paid the money you owed,” he continued, and Alec fished out a letter that simply said, ‘Nice doing business, Lightwood’. “And your credit card,” Magnus finished. “The spending limit is ten-thousand per month, and I encourage you to actually spend it,” he said with a grin. “You seem like a frugal guy, but I am paying you via credit spending allowance, so if you don’t spend it, it’s like you’re not getting paid what we agreed.”

Alec chuckled, but nodded. “It sounds like a ton of money until I realize it’s just like having an extra week’s paycheck from my previous job every month.” He shook his head. “This is an expensive city when you’ve got a big apartment and four people used to a certain lifestyle.”

Magnus nodded. “Trust me, I grew up poor,” he said, which Alec hadn’t expected. “If I had known as a child that one day I’d have enough money to just drop ninety grand in one day like I did yesterday, I’d probably have had a heart attack at eight years old,” he joked. “Probably the reason I’m such a hedonist. I know how lucky I am to have what I have and I am damn well going to enjoy it.”

Alec smiled sadly. “Kind of the opposite for me,” he admitted, deciding he may as well be honest with Magnus since Magnus offered him something first. “I’m from the Upper East Side.” He shook his head. “Townhouse, maid, personal chef, private car service day or night, prep school, the whole thing.” He scratched at the back of his neck. “Let’s just say I never would’ve thought when I was eight that a few thousand bucks was a lot of money.” He shrugged. “I know, intellectually, that my family still lives pretty well, but it’s a lot different when you grew up rich.”

Magnus nodded. “I can imagine so,” he agreed. “Hmmm, personal chef. I should look into that,” he said with a chuckle. “My diet is horrible. The only reason I’m not fat is natural metabolism and dancing most every night at the club.” He shrugged. “I mean, I have a room in my house that’s a ‘gym’ but I pretty much just lift weights, I don’t do anything for my health in there.” He sipped his coffee. “So, here’s what we are gonna do next!” Magnus announced grandly. “You and I are going to my tailor. You’re getting measured for future reference, in case I need something suddenly, especially since your giant ass could never fit in something off the rack,” he added and Alec rolled his eyes. “That way if something comes up super soon, I don’t have to worry about you looking properly fashionable.”

Alec grinned at Magnus. “So I get to go be a dress-up doll now?”

Magnus nodded seriously. “Exactly, yes.” He clapped his hands together. “I’m excited! This is fun!” He swatted Alec on the arm absently. “I should’ve got a professional boyfriend ages ago, because normal boyfriends get angry when you try and dress them up like your personal Ken Doll.”

“Well, I do have a sister, so I’m used to it,” Alec said, face entirely straight as he added, “You should see the color of my toenails right now.”

Magnus’s eyes widened and he looked too stunned to speak for a moment before he burst into a bright, glowing smile. “Oh my GOD are your toes painted?! Oh my God, you really are the best Ken Doll ever,” he said excitedly. He calmed down and reached out, putting his hand on Alec’s wrist. “I promise, Darling, your patience is greatly appreciated, seriously.”

“Well,” Alec said with a small shrug. “It is what you’re paying me for, so it wouldn’t be fair of me to be a jerk about it. Besides, it’s totally fine. I’ve got nothing better to do, and at least you’re another guy, not a bratty little sister.”

Magnus smirked. “The more I hear about your sister, the more I’m convinced we would be great friends,” he said confidently, and Alec cringed at the thought of those two together. It was terrifying.

~

Magnus stood, watching Alec being measured, and shook his head. “It’s absolutely astounding how tall he is, huh, Samir?” he asked, and the tailor chuckled as he measured Alec’s sleeve length.

“You may find this surprising, but he isn’t actually that tall compared to several other clients,” Samir answered Magnus. “I’ve had female models I measure for a designer friend of mine who are this tall.” He gestured with a finger towards Alec’s bottom half. “And, being women, their legs are longer.”

Alec grinned. “I’m tall, but I’m far from freakishly tall.”

“Alec,” Magnus complained. “You’re giant. I’m tall, you’re a tree!”

Alec gave him a look. “I’m pretty sure you’re average,” he teased and Magnus huffed.

“I’m Asian, if you didn’t notice. I’m freaking tall,” he repeated.

Samir returned from writing things down and asked Alec to turn so he could measure his legs. “One thing is certain, Mr. Lightwood. You will look very nice in a slim-fit suit,” he murmured, marking another measurement. “Have you ever considered modeling?” he asked, and Alec raised an eyebrow doubtfully.

“Uh, I think that’s a no.”

“Too bad,” Samir said, going to write something down. “You have a forty-four inch chest and a thirty-two inch waist. That’s pretty ideal for a model.”

Alec hummed. “No, thanks. I’m not really ‘model’ material.”

Magnus grinned. “You’re definitely pretty enough,” he teased, winking, and Alec just ducked his eyes, blushing some.

Once the measurements were finished, Magnus hooked an arm through Alec’s, leading the way down the sidewalk. “So, I need you for a dinner tomorrow night at eight. Nothing too dressy, just a collared shirt and some slacks will do. It’s at an associate’s house, very casual, just a ‘show off their new dining room remodel’ sort of thing,” he said, waving a hand vacantly. “I’ll have a car there at seven to pick you up,” he explained. “And after dinner, I’d like if you would come home with me, but if you aren’t comfortable with that so soon, that’s entirely understandable,” he added, giving Alec an encouraging smile. “I can just have a car take you home.”

Alec nodded, throat a little dry at the thought. “Okay. Seven,” he agreed, and Magnus smiled warmly.

“Well, I need to get going, but thank you for a lovely morning, Alexander,” Magnus said, standing on his toes to press a kiss to the corner of Alec’s mouth. He winked as he backed away, hand trailing down Alec’s wrist. “See you tomorrow.”

Alec managed an awkward wave and nodded. “Bye, Magnus.”

Alec waited until Magnus disappeared before exhaling hard, putting his hands on top of his head as he just breathed for a moment. He laced his fingers together and bit back a nervous smile as he thought about the fact that this was real now. He had accepted. His debt was paid. He has a key and a credit card and their first official business arrangement outing tomorrow night. To be honest, Alec wasn’t sure what to think. Part of him was excited. Another part was scared that somehow this was going to blow up in his face, or that it was all a prank, or that he hadn’t actually found such an amazingly generous offer to fix his problem.

An even smaller part of Alec soured some at the thought that, without this business arrangement, a guy like him would never get a guy like Magnus. He didn’t know him well yet, but right off the bat, he sorta liked the guy. He was attractive and clearly a smart guy, and Alec felt a very small pang of bitterness at the idea that it took a monetary arrangement for him to get a boyfriend that was nice, attractive, and intelligent all at the same time.

~

Alec got out of the shower and walked into his room, naked, only to yelp and jump, covering himself with nothing more than his hands when he saw Isabelle on his bed, waiting expectantly. “IZZY OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO STOP THAT!” he cried, frantically reaching behind him to grab something – anything – to cover up with. He ended up wrapping a shirt around his waist blindly. “I generally am naked when I come out of my bathroom-“

“And I’m generally a grown ass woman who cuts up dead bodies all day,” Isabelle said blandly. “I’ve seen all of my brothers naked, I’ve seen other men who aren’t my brothers naked, and I’ve literally cut off a dead guy’s penis once to examine his urethra more easily,” she stressed. “Nudity does not mean shit to me.”

Alec grimaced at that thought, and sighed. “Fine, what?” he asked her pointedly.

Her facial expression shifted and she grew far more devious looking by the moment. “So. Somebody’s going out tonight. Again. That’s three dates in one weekend,” she said, wiggling her eyebrows. “You must really like this Magnus guy.”

Alec sighed and leaned back against his bedroom door. “Isabelle, yes, I like him. We established that when I said we were actually dating now, not just ‘a’ date. It’s new, sure, but I think it’s going well, so far.”

“Yeah, but the third date,” she said, giving him a smirk. “Third date.”

The blood in his body decided to all relocate to his face, and he glowered at her. “That’s a dumb rule,” he mumbled and she just grinned.

“But it could happen-“

“Well, yeah?” Alec spluttered. “It could have happened when we had coffee yesterday morning, but it didn’t.”

She rolled her eyes. “Alec, stop being so stubborn. It’s no fun teasing you if you’re gonna get all defensive,” she said, sitting upon her knees on the bed. “I’m just saying, make sure you have a condom.”

“Yes, Isabelle,” he said flatly. “I need to be reminded to use condoms.”

Isabelle scoffed. “Remember the time Jace freaked out because he thought he got his ex pregnant? Clearly somebody had a reason to think that, so you never know.”

“Ew, that’s true,” he said, shuddering. “I bet Jace is full of diseases,” he said simply. “Make sure we don’t drink behind him, we’ll get his herpes,” he said and she laughed, rolling her eyes. “Look, I’m going out to a dinner at his friends place, and if I won’t be home, I’ll text,” he said simply, fidgeting a little with the sleeve of the shirt he’d wrapped around himself.

It wasn’t the ‘third date rule’ that had him nervous, though. He knew ahead of time he wouldn’t be home, and he knew ahead of time that most likely he was going to have sex tonight, but he wasn’t about to tell Isabelle that he and Magnus had agreed ahead of time that he would go home with Magnus and sleep with him and stay the night as part of their arrangement. He would text her later and tell her he was staying with Magnus, and make it seem as natural as possible.

Alec looked down at the shirt wrapped around him and groaned. “Shit, this is the shirt I was wearing tonight!” he hissed, then pointed at the door. “Okay, you, out. I’ve gotta find another shirt.” He carefully moved the now-wet shirt to cover his butt as he walked to the closet and ducked into it.

~

Dinner with Magnus’s ‘associates’ was a clear power-play. Every single person there was trying to be the biggest guy on the field, and prove he or she was the wealthiest and most connected, and yet they all acted like they were friends instead of competitors. It was absolutely the strangest thing Alec had ever experienced.

… or it had been, until he and Magnus went back to Magnus’s place to have sex.

At first, things had been pretty expected. Alec was nervous, and it was clear Magnus was trying to overcompensate for that by being overly welcoming. He poured them a glass of wine each, and put on some music, and put the cat in the spare room where all his food was, and they sat on the couch to begin with. They carried on a bit of light conversation before Alec finally got up the courage to lean in and kiss Magnus. It wasn’t a bad first kiss, all things considering. Magnus was a good kisser, even when Alec was sort of rusty, so it felt pretty okay. When Alec slid his hand down Magnus’s front to palm at him through his pants, Magnus suggested they take things to the bedroom, and Alec had been happy to do so, however nervous he was.

For a while, things were okay. It was a little weird, Alec thought, but he had agreed to it, and was even looking forward to having sex after so long, and Magnus was the most beautiful guy he’d ever managed to get out of his pants, so it was worth a little weird. It didn’t seem to get much better, though, even when he finally slid into Magnus, looking down at his pretty face and incredibly body beneath him, spread out on the bed.

The problem, Alec found, was that, after the initial pleasure of actually having his penis inside another person for the first time in years, it actually wasn’t all that great. Magnus had his eyes shut, and his face was mostly impassive, so Alec wasn’t sure if Magnus enjoyed it or if he was trying to not let Alec work out that he was hurting him, and when he asked him, “Is this okay?” Magnus would just say, “Yes, fine,” in an equally calm tone.

Magnus was still hard, so Alec tried kissing his neck and slowly stroking his cock, but after a while longer, Magnus let out a heavy sigh, putting a hand over his eyes. “Alexander,” he said in a tentative voice, and Alec stopped immediately. Magnus pulled his hand away, spots of red showing through his makeup high on his cheeks. “Be honest with me,” he said, resting his hand on Alec’s forearm where it was braced on the bed beside his head. “Are you enjoying this?”

Alec flushed. “What, I-“ He swallowed, throat clicking, and nodded. “Yeah, of course, I- it’s-“

Magnus continued on in a rush. “I’m really, really sorry, but I’m just so not in the mood right now, and I sorta think-“

Alec exhaled in relief and let his head hang. “Oh thank God,” he said, carefully pulling out of Magnus’s body and pushing himself back onto his knees. Magnus raised up onto his elbows, eyebrow going up. Alec pushed his hair back off his forehead. “I’m so, so not feeling this,” he admitted and Magnus blinked in surprise, but, to Alec’s relief, a smile slowly spread across his face.

“Oh, good.” He rolled his lips together. “I- It’s not you, Alec, I swear, I just-“

Alec shook his head quickly. “It’s not you, either. You’re-“ Alec groaned. “I honestly just wasn’t, as you said, ‘in the mood’ at all. I mean, I’m young enough getting it up is still crazy easy if I want to, and I mean, you’re really beautiful and I really did want to have sex, but I just-“

“Aren’t horny right now?” Magnus asked, chuckling bashfully. Alec nodded, cheeks pink, and Magnus just smiled. “Yeah, me neither.” He looked around. “Um… I’ve got ice cream in the freezer and we can watch a movie?” he suggested, and Alec’s shoulders relaxed some as he saw the hopeful look in Magnus’s eyes.

Alec nodded eagerly. “Yes, that sounds great.”

Magnus sat up and leaned in, pecking his lips. “I’ll get you something comfy to wear,” he said, scrambling off the bed.

~

Alec was surprised, but very amused to find that Magnus loved superhero movies, just like Max did, and he was more than happy to lounge on the couch beside Magnus, both of them with their feet up on the coffee table, slumped down with bowls of ice cream far too big for any sane person to eat. “Hey Alec,” Magnus asked around a mouthful of ice cream. “Who would you rather see naked, Superman or Captain America?” he asked, seemingly out of nowhere.

Humming, Alec thought about it, then waved his spoon. “Cavill Superman or Routh Superman?”

Magnus made a face. “Cavill, obviously.” He rolled his eyes. “Who the hell gives a shit about Ray Palmer as Superman?” he posed, and Alec snorted.

“You and my baby brother would get along great,” he said flatly. He hummed. “Captain America,” he said, and Magnus nodded.

“Same,” he agreed. He hummed suddenly around his mouthful of ice cream. “Captain America or Falcon?” he asked and Alec snickered into his ice cream.

“Falcon for sure,” he said and Magnus giggled – something Alec had heard him do before – and leaned into Alec’s side.

Magnus rubbed his cheek against Alec’s sleeve – of Magnus’s own shirt, no less – and then leaned forward to put his empty bowl on the coffee table. Not long after, Alec did the same, and Magnus immediately made big, wide puppy eyes at him, batting his lashes. “Cuddle me?” he asked, and Alec grinned in amusement but nodded, opening his arms. Magnus did a funny little victory wiggle, throwing a fist into the air, and crawled halfway into Alec’s lap, snuggling into his side. Alec let Magnus arrange himself and then curled his arm around his shoulders.

It wasn’t until the end of the movie, when Captain America was falling into the water, that Magnus yawned and shifted until he was almost on top of Alec, after they had progressively slid further down towards a lying position, and tucked his face into Alec’s shoulder. “I’m sorry about earlier, but I like this. This is good, too,” Magnus mumbled tiredly, and Alec ignored the flutter of nerves in his belly as he curled both arms around Magnus, rubbing his back comfortingly.

“It’s okay, Magnus. I think we both should’ve spoken up before we actually got to the sex part. It’s just as much my fault as yours,” he soothed.

Magnus hummed. “For what it’s worth, it did feel good. I just wasn’t all that turned on. You’re not bad at sex or anything. Gotta nice dick n’ stuff,” he said and Alec fought the urge to snicker into Magnus’s hair. “Next time, though, for sure.”

Alec smiled and nodded. “Next time.” He rested his cheek against Magnus’s soft hair and relaxed into the warmth of Magnus’s body and let the feeling of a full stomach lull him to sleep.

Chapter Text

The morning after their failed attempt at sex, even though their night had ended well, with them cuddling on the couch, Alec couldn’t stop thinking about how bad of an investment Magnus had to think he was if they were so incompatible that they couldn’t even have sex without being bored.

He was quiet and distant all morning, even after Magnus decided they should go to breakfast together. After their food had come and Magnus’s attempt at keeping the conversation going had waned, Alec looked at Magnus across the table at the café and cleared his throat. “Look, I know it’s nobody’s fault, but I’m still really sorry about last night,” he said, tapping at his plate with his knife. “I mean- I just-“ He hesitated, lifting his eyes to meet Magnus’s. “I don’t know if I can be any better,” he confessed. “I don’t remember whether or not anybody actually enjoyed my company in the bedroom. I might just be bad in bed,” he said bluntly.

“Alexander, I told you,” Magnus said gently, giving him a pointed look. “I was just as uninterested as you were last night. It’s not your fault any more than it’s mine.” He tilted his head. “Is that what’s had you quiet all morning?” He shook his head slightly. “We had a nice night anyways, didn’t we? I enjoyed watching a movie with you. I can’t say I’ve had a living room sleepover in forever,” he said earnestly.

Alec still felt guilty as he looked down at his plate. “I know, but I’m just-“ He looked up, out towards the street. “You’re helping me out a lot, and I know you’re the one who offered this deal, but I feel like I owe you to be what you paid for, for lack of a better wording,” he explained. He shrugged, glancing down at his plate before peeking up through his hair at Magnus. “Maybe… maybe you should rethink that ‘not sleeping with other people’ thing.”

Magnus stared at him for a long while, not saying anything, not making any readable expressions, nothing. He just stared. He put down his fork and sat up a bit straighter, adjusting his posture in his seat. “Alec,” he said quietly. “I want to remind you that the point of this arrangement is that I need a relationship to all those looking at it.” He shook his head. “It doesn’t advertise stability and trustworthiness if I’m seen sleeping around with other people while I’ve got a boyfriend,” he reminded him a little bit more firmly. “If this lack of confidence is going to be that big of a problem, we need to deal with that now.”

Alec’s blood ran cold for a moment at the thought of Magnus wanting out of their deal. He was finally not afraid for his near-future now that they had cemented this deal. He kept his face as blank as possible and said, in the most casual tone he could manage, “Meaning what, exactly?”

“I don’t know,” Magnus said simply. “We need to either sit down and talk about this, or maybe discuss our sexual interests outside of ‘heat of the moment’, or hell, call up your exes for character reference,” he said sarcastically. “But we have to do something, Alec. You shouldn’t be this insecure,” he said, not unkindly, but honestly. “It was fine, Alec. I can’t help I wasn’t feeling it any more than you can. Neither of us wanted to be having sex, we just did it because it was what we planned on, and when we worked out it wasn’t happening, we didn’t try to force anything, and I thought that was a pretty healthy, if somewhat embarrassing, experience,” he said bluntly.

He continued, growing a little more animated, though not enough to attract anybody else’s attention. “I liked our evening together, even if nobody had an orgasm. You did your job at the dinner party perfectly, you looked nice, you were polite, you convinced everybody you were genuinely interested in me, and then after the sex incident, we had fun together!” Magnus waved a hand. “That’s a good night, in my opinion. Awkward, sure! Uncomfortable, yeah! But nobody else knows about what happens in my bedroom, so to everyone that mattered, you were the perfect boyfriend.” Magnus sighed, rubbing at his temples. “You’re not technically a sex worker, Alec. You don’t owe me sex. The sex is a perk and a way to keep us both from having to be celibate for the duration of this deal. Your job is to be a boyfriend in public, and you’re great at that.”

Alec nodded slowly, looking down at the drips of condensation sliding off his glass. “Yeah. Okay,” he said, though he wasn’t really feeling it. He knew Magnus was right, and he knew Magnus wasn’t upset with him, but after a lifetime of trying to be perfect, it still stung to know he wasn’t holding up his side of the un-spoken deal of the bargain. The sex may just be a perk, but how long would Magnus be happy if he was terrible at sex and Magnus spent the next year frustrated from unfulfilling sex? If he was serious about monogamy, then they really did have to figure something out, because Alec didn’t want to be the one to ruin their deal.

~

Alec felt like a complete idiot as he walked through Barnes & Noble with a book clutched to his middle, his large hand splayed over the back so nobody could read the title. He felt like he should have a trench coat and sunglasses, even though he’d taken the train all the way downtown to a place he knew nobody would ever see him out and about. He had thought about ordering something online, but his siblings would ask what he’d bought. He also thought about going to a sex-shop instead, but if he forgot to throw out the bag or receipt before he got home, he would never live it down.

Even though nobody would know, he still looked around suspiciously at the register, as if everybody he had ever known was suddenly going to walk past him as he handed a twenty to the cashier who rang up his book as if it was absolutely nothing (which it probably wasn’t).

It was absolutely humiliating, but Magnus was right. They needed to deal with the sex issue, and Alec was pretty confident that the problem was him. And when Alec got home, he had plans to at least try and learn how to fix that problem.

~

“Hey, Alec,” Jace said as he burst into Alec’s room without knocking.

Alec, who was lounging on his bed reading his book, jumped, scrambling to shove the book under his pillow. “JACE! You’re as bad as Isabelle about privacy!” he cried, glaring. “What if I had been naked?!”

Jace snorted, coming to flop onto the bed beside him. “Dude, so? I had a roommate my first year of college. At least you’re my brother. That dude was so creepy and he jerked off all the time.” Jace reached under the pillow, and Alec grabbed for the book. “So, what’re you reading that you’re so worried abou-“ Jace stopped, and then stared at the cover. “Oh, Alec.”

Alec groaned into his hands as he slid further down and dragged his pillow on top of his head. “Please stop.”

Jace cleared his throat, and read the title. “‘How To Tickle His Pickle: A Gay Man’s Guide to Sex’. Really, Alec?” he asked flatly. Alec groaned wordlessly with the pillow over his head. “Alec, you’re gonna suffocate under there,” Jace pointed out and Alec whimpered.

“Let me die.”

Jace dragged the pillow out of his hands and looked down at Alec. “Alec.” He raised the book and Alec curled onto his side with a strained whimper. “What is this?”

“Jace, c’mon-“

“Alec, trust me, I am not Isabelle, I do not care to know details about your sex life,” he stressed. He waved the book over Alec’s face. “But really?” He snickered, reading the title again. “Dude, that’s the best title ever, for one thing,” he said, and then looked down at Alec again. “Also, you’re not like… a virgin, right?” he asked skeptically.

Alec sighed, stretching. “No, Jace, I’m not a virgin,” he said, rolling his eyes.

“Then why the hell do you have a sex guide?” Jace asked him, flipping through it. “Also, you’re gay, dude. You have the same parts as the person you’re doing it with. How badly could you fuck that up?” he asked simply.

Alec grimaced. “You would be surprised.”

Jace looked at him suddenly. “Why? Did this new guy say something to you?” He nudged Alec. “If he was shitty to you, I’ll kick his ass if you want.”

“No, Jace, it’s fine,” Alec said with a sigh. “I just-“ He groaned, putting his hands over his face. “I haven’t had sex since college, and I’m worried I might be bad at it. It’s not a big deal. I just figured I’d read a book.”

Jace looked at him closely. “You sure, Bro? Iz can teach me how to not go to jail.”

Alec smiled and shook his head. “No, it’s cool, Jace, I promise.” He rolled his eyes. “I just-“ He exhaled slowly, shaking his head. “I want this relationship to work out.” He shrugged. “That’s all.”

Jace grinned. “Well don’t let me interrupt your research,” he said, dropping the book on Alec’s face, making him swat it away. “It still has the best title of all times,” he said as he swung his legs to the side and slid off the bed. “Have fun learning how to ‘tickle his-“

“Okay, okay, stop,” Alec complained kicking at Jace’s butt as he stood up. “Do not tell Isabelle,” he said, and Jace saluted him.

“Will do.”

Alec watched Jace leave and then picked up the book again, looking at its ridiculous title with a miserable cringe.

~

Magnus had called and asked Alec to come over so they could talk. He wanted Alec to meet him at home, so Alec worried that Magnus had re-thought his ‘it’s just sex’ claim. It sincerely had his nerves in a bunch when he got to Magnus’s place, because he didn’t want to lose the deal they had. He had no idea how long it would be before he got another job, and even though Magnus would still let him take the ‘pay him back’ option, he needed the rest of their deal to.

He already was so generous to Alec, and Alec didn’t just feel responsible, but he wanted to show Magnus that he was going to be able to be a good professional boyfriend in private as well as for their public deal.

Upon getting to Magnus’s living room, he was surprised to see Magnus seemed to be pacing in front of the window, holding his cat in his arms. “Magnus?” he asked, and Magnus spun around in surprise.

“Alexander, hi!” he said almost too quickly. He walked over to the couch and sat down, patting the seat. “Join me,” he said, and Alec sat down, shrugging off his jacket.

The gray and white cat on Magnus’s lap looked at Alec curiously and Alec leaned in, smiling. “Hey, you’re pretty cute,” he said, looking into the cats golden eyes.

Magnus chuckled. “You guys haven’t met actually, have you?” he asked, stroking the cats back. “Alec, this is Chairman Meow. Chairman, this is Alexander, Daddy’s new friend.” He picked Chairman up and kissed him on the face. “Be sweet, okay?”

Alec reached out and petted the cat between the ears, smiling when he blinked slowly and pressed into Alec’s rubbing. “Awww, he’s so cute. And soft,” he realized. “I don’t think I’ve ever petted a cat before.”

Magnus gave him a look like he was insane. “Your life is sad, Alec,” he said with a sniff, and then chuckled at Alec’s unimpressed look. “I asked you to come over so we could talk about something.”

Alec sat up straighter and nodded. “Yeah. I figured.”

Magnus fidgeted some and his cat ran away, making him look even more uncomfortable. “Traitor,” he muttered. He sighed, leaning back against the back of the couch, bracing one elbow on the top as he turned to face Alec, legs coming up on the couch with him. “I want to talk about the other night, and the morning after, and this- this…” He took a breath, clearly trying to think of a word. “Insecurity or whatever it is that you have,” he said, and Alec frowned some. “No, I know, that sounds wrong,” Magnus said, groaning. “I was sort of mean to you when I called you insecure that morning, but I still don’t know a better word.” He floundered some. “I just-“

“Magnus, I know that you didn’t seem to think it was as big of a deal as I did,” Alec interjected. “I know that you were okay just brushing it off, and I’m sorry that I got so weird about it. I just feel like I should be better-“

“But that’s the problem!” Magnus stressed, reaching out to touch Alec’s arm to stop him gesturing with his hands. “Alec, I’ve never done this, and you’ve never done this, but I feel like I- I just-“ He hesitated and then held his hand out, palm flat, and calmly said, “I feel like it’s my responsibility to make it clear that I do not want you to think you owe me sex.” He seemed to feel more confident in what he wanted to say, now, and Alec had to admire that ability, because Alec could barely string a whole sentence together without doubting what he had just said. “I feel like, since I’m in the more ‘powerful’ position here, that it’s my responsibility to make sure there are clear boundaries and that everything is truly consensual.” He shook his head, eyes full of nothing but honesty as he looked at Alec. “After the things you said, I got the idea you meant something about feeling like you owed it to me to be good in bed, and feeling obligated to have sex with me doesn’t seem entirely consensual in my mind. I only want real consent,” he stressed. “If you don’t want it, please, please trust me when I say it’s okay to say ‘no’ to anything I ask of you.” Magnus grabbed Alec’s hands, holding them in his own as he looked him directly in the eyes. “I just have this terrible feeling that I have the ability to pressure you into something you don’t want, and that would kill me.” He shook his head. “Please, be honest with me. I’m just so unsure of everything about the other night now, and I feel like a fucking rapist or something-“

Alec groaned. “Oh God, no, Magnus,” he said firmly. “I promise you, the other night was entirely consensual.” He sighed, keeping hold of Magnus’s hands. “I do feel like I owe you, but not like some ‘I have to do it’, thing,” he confessed and Magnus frowned some. “I want you to not regret this,” he tried to explain. “You needed something that I could fulfill and it’s pretty much a great deal for both of us, I think, but I feel like I’m getting the better deal even though I’m the one that’s technically being paid for my services. I want you to not regret giving me a really good opportunity when I needed it.” He made a face. “And maybe that’s sort of feeling like I owe you something and that might not be a good thing, necessarily, but I don’t feel like you’re gonna replace me if I don’t do what you want.” He tried to find a better way to finish his explanation, but ended up having to say, “I don’t think I have to owe you, but I want to owe you?”

Magnus sighed. “The fact you made that sound like a question says that it’s still somewhat questionable,” he said flatly.

“Okay, how about ‘a really hot guy is willing to sleep with me, and I want him to enjoy making that decision’,” Alec said a little bit testily. “It’s not me being coerced, Magus. You don’t have to feel responsible for my insecurities.”

Silence stretched between them for a moment and Magnus finally smiled a bit embarrassedly. “I think we’re still going about this entirely wrong.” Magnus leaned back some. “We don’t know each other very well, which is fine, because in a normal relationship, this phase still happens,” he added. “I think it’s probably normal for people to have an awkward first time having sex, and both of us just went spectacularly overboard with the awkwardness because we had agreed to it prior to actually getting home and testing the waters.”

Alec chuckled. “Now that I’m totally sure is true,” he agreed and Magnus seemed to relax a little, even going so far as to give Alec a little laugh. Alec tilted his head, giving Magnus a bashful grin. “Look, we don’t know each other well, but I like you, Magnus. You seem to be a really nice guy and I really do think what I said when we started this is true, I think we can be friends. Once we know each other better, this will be way less confusing, because you’ll know for sure that you’re not coercing me into anything.”

“I hope so, too,” Magnus said earnestly. “You are one of the rare people I actually feel comfortable to be myself around, and I don’t know why, because I met you at random,” Magnus reminded him. “But I do. The other night, I think the reason I was so put off by your reaction in the morning, was because I don’t do hanging out like that, really,” he explained. “It’s been at least a few years since the last time a friend sat around eating junk and watching TV with me. I’m not that kind of guy. I’m the kind that has friends you hang out with and then they trash talk you when you’re gone,” he said a little bitterly. “And with you, I felt really comfortable and I’m not used to that, so something I thought was way better than sex was something that you were ashamed of, and it just threw me off.”

Alec felt a pang of sadness at that, and he frowned some. “I didn’t realize you felt that way.”

Magnus smiled sadly. “Again, we don’t know each other incredibly well, so that’s not surprising.”

“Then I want to get to know you,” Alec said simply. “We’ve only been doing this for like a week, if we’ve got fifty more of these to go, we’re going to spend a lot of time together, and if you don’t have friends you can feel as comfortable around as a guy you met a week ago, I want to be that friend for you.” Alec smiled when Magnus’s eyes brightened. “We’re pretty much the opposites, really. You’re outgoing, you have fun with strangers, you actually have a sex life,” he joked and Magnus snorted. “I’m an introvert, for the most part. I don’t have many friends either, but that’s because I don’t meet people. My best friend is my brother Jace, and my other friends are my sister and friends of theirs. I don’t have a single friend that wasn’t their friend first, because I do sit around watching movies and eating junk. I don’t go to clubs and dance and get laid.”

Magnus grinned. “I guess we get to learn something about each other’s worlds then, huh?” He leaned against the back of the couch and smirked. “Wanna drink cocktails and watch cooking shows?” he asked suddenly, and Alec laughed in surprise.

“It’s not even noon,” he said and Magnus shrugged.

“It’s five o’clock somewhere.”

Alec grinned and shook his head, but shrugged. “Sure, why not.”

“Sweet!” Magnus said, throwing his arms in the air before hopping to his feet. “I’m gonna get the booze, you find my remote!”

~

Somewhere around the third drinks and the fourth episode of some cooking show Magnus found, Alec had cooked them grilled cheese sandwiches – without burning himself, even though he was a little tipsy – and the food sobered them both up some, so that they were just full, relaxed, and comfortable as they sat on the couch, Magnus’s feet in Alec’s lap and Magnus’s cat on the back of the couch between them.

“Alec, can I ask you a question?” Alec looked at Magnus and nodded. Magnus looked at him searchingly. “Why are you so weird about sex?”

Alec snorted, shaking his head. “Really?”

Magnus nodded, leaning forward some to give him his full attention. “Yeah. And be honest, because you’ve been inside of me before,” he said with a teasing wiggle of his eyebrows.

Alec sighed, leaning his head against the back of the couch. “Because I am so fucking inexperience,” he admitted. “I have had sex four times in my entire life, not counting you and me failing at it,” he said, and Magnus raised an eyebrow.

“I know you said you haven’t had sex since college, but you mean you really only ever had sex four times?” he asked, and Alec admired his lack of judgement.

“Yep,” Alec said simply. “I was drunk two of the times, the other two times were with the only guy I’ve ever even semi-dated,” he admitted. “I’ve never had a boyfriend.” He shook his head. “I went out with that guy for about a week before he decided he didn’t want a relationship, he just wanted the normal ‘no strings’ college lifestyle.” He sighed with a wry grin. “That’s the kinda guy I lost my virginity to when I was twenty.”

Magnus scrunched up his nose. “You’re shy, aren’t you?” he asked. “You never struck me as shy, but it takes a shy person to be like that.”

Alec shook his head. “I’m not shy, really. I’m just not out-going. My sister says I’m ‘surly’,” he said with a dramatic expression.

Magnus examined him for a moment, then grinned. “Well, if you haven’t had sober sex but twice, and drunk sex twice, how can you know you’re bad at it? The other night we were both pretty crappy,” he added. “So tell me, did everybody get a happy ending those other four times?”

Alec blushed some. “I- uh- I don’t really know?” he said with a cringe. “I mean, both times with the guy I was dating, basically, but the drunk times, I don’t really remember.”

Magnus frowned. “What does ‘basically’ mean? That’s a yes or no kinda question,” he pointed out.

“Well, the first time, I just sucked his dick,” Alec admitted. “He didn’t, uh, you know. Do anything back.” He chuckled. “And the second time, yeah, we had full on sex, and we both got off.” He nodded. “So ‘basically’, everybody that was supposed to get off did.”

Magnus hummed. “So what do you like?” he asked suddenly. “I mean, we should talk about this, right?” he asked, crossing his legs under him so he could scoot closer to Alec. “If we’re gonna have sex again, we should talk about what we like and boundaries and stuff we don’t like.”

Alec shrugged. “Yeah, I guess?”

Magnus rolled his eyes, tutting. “Okay, to start with, which do you prefer, top or bottom? Or do you really not have a preference? Cause I don’t,” he said simply. “I know people say you have to have a preference at least kinda, but I really don’t prefer one over the other.”

Alec leaned back and thought for a moment. “Honestly? I think I’d like bottoming more, but I’ve never done it,” he confessed, cheeks a little pink. “I mean, I never got a chance. Everybody is like ‘oh, you’re big and strong’ and wanted me to fuck them, but I-“ He blushed and looked down. “You know, I like- uh- doing it to myself.”

“Alexander,” Magnus said sweetly, reaching out to tug his hand so Alec leaned closer. “Come on. We’ve had sex, don’t be shy about your masturbatory habits around me,” he teased. “And I think that’s pretty lame of the guys you’ve been with. Presuming you being big and strong means you want to top is stereotyping.”

Alec chuckled, rubbing at the back of his neck. “Yeah, well, I could have always gone looking for sex since then. I just haven’t.” He looked at Magnus. “What about you? What do you like? Other than being fine with top or bottom.”

Magnus hummed. “Well,” he mused, tapping his chin. “I don’t like having my hair pulled, because my scalp is sensitive, and not in a good way, in a ‘ow that hurts’ way. My nipples aren’t very sensitive at all, so when somebody pays those attention, it really does nothing for me.” He clicked his teeth together, clearly thinking. “I like sensual sex a lot,” he said after a bit. “Like, any sex is good, obviously, but I really like it in bed, fully naked, touching and kissing the whole time. Sure, there’s a time and place where ‘pants half down, bent over a table’ is really the way to go, but I’m a sucker for slower, more sensual sex.”

Alec chuckled. “My nipples aren’t crazy sensitive, but it does feel nice, so I’m not like you in that respect, but my neck is what really drives me crazy,” he said, shaking his head. “It’s probably good I didn’t go out looking for sex often, because I would’ve never been able to maintain a job for all the hickeys I’d end up with. I’m lucky it only is sensitive like that when I’m actually turned on, because getting a haircut would make me hard if it did, that’s how sensitive it is during sex.”

Magnus smirked. “Well that sounds fun, I’m filing that one away,” he said flirtatiously. “What else?” he asked.

“The main reason I feel like I’d really like bottoming,” Alec said, cheeks heating up just to admit something so personal. “I can get myself off without jerking off.”

Magnus’s eyes widened slightly and he actually looked away, swallowing visibly. “Oh wow. That’s really hot,” he admitted with a slight blush. “Wow, yep, you should totally bottom. I mean, being that sensitive might make it hurt more at first, but it would probably be worth it for you.”

Alec chuckled and rolled his eyes. “So, yeah, I’m just a pretty sensitive guy. And, I mean, I like being touched all over, but that’s not surprising. I’m a touch-feely kinda guy, so it makes sense I’d like ‘sensual sex’ like you said. I just haven’t really did that. I just know I like being touched because like, before I ever got to the main event, the guy I slept with sober was really into foreplay so we took our time feeling each other up before actually getting down to business.”

Magnus brightened up. “I noticed you’re a touchy-feely guy, that’s one of the best things about our date the other night! You were totally cool snuggling with me. I never meet guys who want to cuddle me that long, and you’re bigger than me, so it’s even more comfortable. You’re a great cuddler,” he declared.

“Well, like I said, I’ve got siblings,” Alec said simply. “Not the same kind of cuddling, but I’m a hell of a totally platonic big-spoon, that’s for sure. Especially my sister. She has this really shitty boyfriend she always gets back together with, but every time they break up, she ends up crawling in my bed crying and I never kick her out, even when I’ve got work in the morning.”

Alec was a little surprised at the warm, curious look that crossed Magnus’s face at that little anecdote, but it was comforting to see that Magnus actually seemed interested in learning about Alec’s personal life. “You’re a good man, aren’t you, Alexander?” Magnus asked slowly, tilting his head as he looked at Alec as if seeing him in a new light. Alec wasn’t sure how to respond to that, so he just shrugged, but whatever it was, it was enough to make Magnus slide across the couch and tuck himself into Alec’s side, snagging Chairman Meow to settle in his lap while he rested his head on Alec’s shoulder and turned back to the television.

Alec assumed that meant the conversation was settled for now, and he felt comfortable with that as he settled his arm over Magnus’s shoulders and turned his attention to the television as well.

Chapter Text

The following couple of weeks were pretty smooth sailing for them. Alec didn’t see Magnus nearly as often, since this was more of Magnus’s normal lifestyle, but having established themselves more clearly, it was pretty easygoing. Magnus only had two things he needed Alec for over that period of time, but he would still text Alec and chat throughout the day. Alec got the idea that Magnus wasn’t exaggerating when he said he didn’t have that kind of friends, really, because Magnus seemed very excited to text Alec about his day.

Alec wasn’t sure, but he had a feeling Magnus was a lonely person. It made him sad to think about that, because Magnus was a really fun person. What time they did spend together other than Magnus’s ‘official’ dates and events, they usually did in the afternoon before Magnus had to go to the club that evening. They would meet up for coffee or go shopping together, just normal ‘hanging out’ things. Getting to know Magnus only cemented Alec’s opinion that he was lucky to have met Magnus when he did in order to make all of this happen.

Magnus was still looking for him a job, and it was clear his siblings were getting suspicious of him suddenly ‘tapping into his savings account’ to help cover the bills when he was really using Magnus’s credit card, but they didn’t call him on it, so he didn’t feel too bad about it. He still continued to look for jobs, because that would make it obvious to them something was up. Alec had been so obsessive about job-hunting before Magnus that he knew if he quit, it would make them worry about him even more than they did over the fact he had a boyfriend all of a sudden.

Jace and Isabelle both dated, they both had relationships, and each of them had a couple of ‘serious’ relationships, but Alec had never been in a relationship before, so they both were incredibly suspicious about Magnus. Not in a bad way, Alec realized – with relief – early on, but they were protective. It was a little amusing to see them being the protective siblings when that was usually his job, but every time he texted Magnus around them or went out with him, they asked nosy questions about whether Magnus was a good guy or if he was treating Alec right.

Since he had discovered Alec’s ‘sex problem’, Jace in particular would corner Alec and demand reassurance that the guy Alec was dating wasn’t forcing him to do things he didn’t want to do. Alec was both touched and amused and slightly annoyed by that.

“I’m just saying,” Jace urged, voice low so Isabelle and Max wouldn’t hear him out in the living room. “I don’t know much about this guy, but I know you, and I know if some chick was pressuring me to do shit I wasn’t comfortable with, you’d be all over it. It’s only fair I do the same.”

Alec chuckled and rolled his eyes. “Jace, it’s really not a big deal. I swear to you, Magnus is a good guy, he isn’t like that.”

Jace eyed him dubiously but shrugged. “Okay.” He clapped Alec on the shoulder. “But seriously, you’ve been going out for weeks now. It’s clearly ‘boyfriends’, right? You should introduce him to us.”

“Jace, no-“ Alec’s eyes widened when Jace ignored him and walked out with his bottle of water.

“Hey, Izzy, Max, Alec’s gonna introduce us to his boyfriend sometime soon,” Jace announced and Alec groaned in frustration.

Before he could run damage control, however, he heard Isabelle yell, “About damn time!” and he realized that no matter what he did now, he wasn’t getting out of this.

~

Magnus had asked him to coffee in the morning, so Alec decided to wait and bring up the ‘my family demands to meet you’ thing. What he wasn’t expecting was for Magnus to perk up, clearly excited. “Oooh, the infamous siblings.” He wiggled excitedly in his seat. “Tell me about them so that, when we meet, I can go ‘oh, he’s told me all about you!’ and it be real.” He tapped his coffee cup. “I know you said your sister works for the police, but is she a cop?”

Alec shook his head. “Medical examiner.” He tilted his head. “Well, not like the main actual medical examiner, but like a technician. Either way, she works at the medical examiner’s office.”

Magnus made a slightly freaked out face. “Uh, cool?” he asked, grimacing. “Ew, does that mean she touches dead bodies?” he asked and Alec nodded, eyes wide.

“And tells us about it,” he stressed. “And when I complain about her being in my room when I come out of the shower naked, she just brings up some anecdote about dead guys being naked and how her brother naked is totally nothing compared to that.”

Magnus mimed gagging. “Alright, well that’s gross.” He sipped his coffee. “What about Jace, what does he do?”

Alec snickered. “He works at a coffee truck in the park. He’s a mobile barista, basically.”

“Wow, you and your sibling are very different people,” Magnus said with a chuckle. “Your sister looks at naked dead guys, your brother serves coffee, and you make sure people do things right and do math and stuff.” He hesitated then wiggled his eyebrows. “And, you know, date a really hot guy for money.”

Alec nodded. “Yep. And my baby brother wants to work at a zoo.” He shook his head with an amused grin. “No joke, his goal in life is to be the guy shoveling elephant shit, and he’s totally sure that’s where he’ll be happy.”

Magnus snickered. “Yeah, well, I own a night club and turn my head to criminal activity, I can’t say much. There’s no high road when your job is only legal because of plausible deniability.” He sighed, shaking his head. “Oh man, I can’t wait to meet your family. Your sister sounds like we should be best friends,” he said eagerly and Alec groaned.

“Please, please don’t embarrass me.” He reached for Magnus’s arm and shook him dramatically. “My brother and sister will ruin my life if you let her, Magnus, I’m super serious!”

Magnus just giggled, swatting Alec’s hand away. “Oh come on, how bad can it be?”

~

Jace opened the door and smirked suddenly. “Alec! You never told me your boyfriend was a giant nerd!”

Alec groaned, letting his feet fall off the coffee table as he stood up and went to shove Jace out of the way and open the door fully. He looked at the Captain America tee-shirt Magnus wore and rolled his eyes. “He’s wearing a shirt, Jace, Jesus Christ,” he said, stepping aside to let Magnus walk under his arm. “Jace, Magnus, Magnus, Jace,” he said and Magnus brightened up.

“Well hey, there!” he introduced, smiling as he let Alec grab his hand and bring him through to the living room. Magnus looked around, frowning. “Am I early?” he asked in a lower voice. “It appears nobody else is home.”

Alec shook his head. “Max is grounded, Isabelle is cooking- do not eat it,” he added quickly, and Jace nodded very seriously over Alec’s shoulders.

“Tell her you’re allergic. We did,” he said, and Alec nodded quickly.

Alec nodded over his shoulder. “Jace, go get Max. The pizza will be here about five minutes after Isabelle says-“

“Dinner’s ready!” Isabelle’s voice called from the kitchen.

Alec smirked, looking down at Magnus. “She still hasn’t figured it out. Shhh,” he whispered.

Magnus snickered and rolled his eyes. “If she gets mad at me, I’m snitching,” he said, sliding his hands into Alec’s. “I don’t know if I said hi,” he said and Alec blushed some when Magnus stood on his toes and pecked his cheek.

“Whoa, Alec wasn’t making him up?” Alec turned and glared as Max walked past with Jace. “What?” he asked, eyebrows high. “I thought your boyfriend was imaginary, you never had a boyfriend before.”

Magnus turned around and smiled. “You must be Max, right? Hi, I’m Magnus,” he said with a little wave.

Alec narrowed his eyes at Max. “Someone is grounded, so he’s lucky you’re here and he gets to leave his room.”

Magnus wiggled his eyebrows. “Soooo, what didja do?” he asked. “Was it something cool at least?” he asked in a lowered voice, grinning when Alec sucked his teeth and crossed his arms.

Max smirked. “I just wanted to see how big the flame from the Bunsen burner would go in science class. It’s not my fault stuff caught on fire, the teacher should’ve been paying more attention to what his students were doing with open flame!”

“Yeah, yeah, you’ll be laughing after another week without your cell phone,” Alec said simply and Max huffed, rolling his eyes. Alec pointed to the kitchen. “And you have to eat Isabelle’s cooking.”

Max gave him a horrified look. “What?!”

Alec smirked. “Kidding, but you deserve it,” he said, ruffling his hair. “Come on, pizza will be here, soon. Go set the table.”

Jace snickered at his hasty retreat. “That was just cruel, Bro,” he said, knocking his fist into Alec’s shoulder on the way past.

Magnus raised an eyebrow after they were all gone and Alec chuckled. “Don’t ask,” he said, shaking his head. “And really.” He grew more serious. “Don’t eat Isabelle’s food.”

“Oh come on,” Magnus complained. “It can’t be that bad.”

~

Isabelle frowned and cooed as she led Magnus back into the living room, holding onto his elbow. “You poor thing, I wish I had known you were allergic to soy before I let you eat any of that,” she apologized once again. She led him to the loveseat beside Alec and he sat down, grimacing as he rubbed his stomach again.

Alec tried not to snicker and say ‘I told you so’ as he put his arm around Magnus’s shoulders, rubbing his arm supportively. “You feeling better?” he asked, and Magnus nodded with a tight smile.

“Yeah, I just didn’t expect such a… reaction to dinner at your place, Alexander,” Magnus said, still a little pale and smelling like the mouthwash he must’ve used half of after spending twenty minutes regretting his decision to eat Isabelle’s cooking instead of pizza. Alec had warned him, though.

Isabelle sighed, flopping onto the couch between Max and Jace. “Well great, I almost killed Alec’s first real boyfriend. I’m a horrible sister.”

Alec flushed slightly. “I love the fact you keep pointing out that I’ve never had a boyfriend. Thanks for embarrassing me.”

“What, did Magnus not know that?” Jace asked.

Magnus patted Alec’s knee. “Magnus did know that, Magnus just doesn’t understand how the fuck allll of this was single at all, nonetheless eternally single,” he said, gesturing to Alec like a gameshow host. He flushed suddenly, putting a hand over his mouth as he looked at Max. “Oh crap, sorry about the language,” he said quickly.

Isabelle snickered. “Awww, you’re a respectful guy, too? Wow, Alec, you got yourself a nice guy who’s pretty too.” She held out a hand. “Your eyeliner is amazing,” she said and Magnus smiled brightly.

“Thank you! I love your lipstick! I can never pull off bold lipstick, I just go with a slightly tinted moisturizer,” he said, gesturing to his own lips. “You’re so lucky, you and Alec both have such big, pouty lips.” He rolled his eyes. “I’m lucky my eyes are so much better than my lips, because I feel so unbalanced with my makeup sometimes.”

Alec looked closer at his mouth. “Huh, I wondered why your lips were so soft,” he said, and Magnus gave him a flirty wink which made him blush as he realized what he said out loud.

“Yes, Darling, and my lips don’t naturally taste like watermelon either,” he teased, patting Alec’s knee with a dramatic eye roll at Isabelle. “Your brother is such a ‘man’.”

She chuckled. “They all are.”

“So, Magnus, where’re you from?” Max asked, and Jace swatted at him, glaring.

“Max! That’s so racist!”

Max frowned, and then gaped, shoving Jace. “Oh come on, I meant like what neighborhood he lives in, not that!”

Alec put a hand over his face and Magnus just snickered, leaning into his side. “I live in Williamsburg, but I’m not from here. My parents lived in California when I was born, I didn’t move here until I was a teenager.” He gave a teasing wink. “And they were from Hong Kong.”

“I really wasn’t asking that,” Max grumbled, rolling his eyes, but Alec could see that Magnus was just teasing.

“It’s cool,” Isabelle joked. “Jace is the only immigrant here,” she said, and Magnus raised an eyebrow.

“Oh?” he asked, frowning. He looked at Alec. “Were you and Jace born somewhere else, or…” He trailed off and Alec laughed, realizing he had never explained Jace.

“Oh, no, sorry, I just never mentioned,” Alec said, gesturing to Jace. “Jace is adopted, his dad was my dad’s best friend.”

Jace snickered, nodding. “Yeah, my mother died when I was a baby and my father died when I was eight, so Mom and Dad adopted me. My parents were German and French, so when our parents adopted me, I was an immigrant.”

“Oh, I didn’t realize you were adopted,” Magnus said with a glance at them. “That does explain why you don’t look like the others, though. I was wondering, but I didn’t think it was my place to ask.”

Alec gave him an apologetic shake of the head. “Nah, I just forgot to tell you. My fault.”

Magnus hummed, and then turned to Max. “So Max, Alec tells me you want to be a zookeeper,” he said, and Alec’s stomach did a strange little wiggle when Max lit up and Magnus engaged him in conversation, paying attention to all of his siblings, not just the adult ones. It was really sort of cool how well Magnus remembered the things Alec told him so he could get along with Alec’s family.

Alec zoned out on the conversation some, but it was nice to see how easily Magnus was charming his siblings, making sure that they wouldn’t ask Alec any questions about whether or not he and Magnus were a real couple anytime soon.

~

Magnus had taken the train, not a car, and he didn’t want to call his driver so late at night, so he had asked Alec to borrow an umbrella when they realized it was storming outside. Everybody else had gone to their rooms when Magnus started to leave, so Alec dug through his closet, looking for an umbrella while Magnus waited in his room.

“I could’ve sworn we had one. I mean, Izzy does, but she won’t let you borrow it for anything,” Alec muttered, shoving another boot aside. “God, why do I have so many boots? I barely ever wear more than the one pair.” He stood up, hands going to his hips as he looked up in the top of the closet. “Sure you don’t want to just stay the night?”

Magnus chuckled behind him. “Why, you gonna ‘tickle my pickle’?” he asked in a teasing voice and Alec’s heart absolutely stopped. He spun around and squeaked when he saw Magnus lounging on his bed with the sex guide he thought he had hidden pretty well open in his hands. Magnus peeked over the top edge and wiggled his eyebrows. “Why Alexander!”

Alec groaned, already feeling his face turn bright red. “I bought that before we actually had that talk about what we like and stuff,” he defended.

Magnus and Alec hadn’t tried having sex again after that first time. It wasn’t like they were waiting or were uncomfortable still, it just hadn’t come up again. Magnus seemed to realize that pre-planning was the reason they both had tried to have sex even though neither of them even wanted to and without pre-planning, it just hadn’t happened. He and Magnus mostly hung out together without it being a ‘date’ or they went home separately after their ‘dates’. It wasn’t a problem, not at all, it just hadn’t come up yet. Alec was sure it would eventually.

“Have you at least learned something?” Magnus asked, flipping pages.

Alec chuckled, coming to sit on the bed beside him. “Not much I didn’t already know from self-exploration and just talking to you about what we like different from each other.” He plucked the book out of Magnus’s hands. “At least it is comforting to know that lots of people have very little experience with mind-blowing and flawless sex.”

Magnus nodded seriously. “Trust me, as someone who has had plenty of sex, it’s very rarely ‘mind-blowing’. Usually sex is just ‘okay’. Worth the time, but nothing that special. I read somewhere that the average sex-session lasts like seven minutes or something, and I find that seriously depressing,” he said, crossing his arms behind his head on Alec’s pillows. “I like just the foreplay before you start to get naked to last at least that long, if not longer.”

Alec scrunched up his nose. “Maybe they mean like seven minutes once you get to the actual main event? I can see how, if you’ve had all the foreplay and stuff, the actual ‘penis in vagina’ part might not last much more than that.” He snorted. “What would I know, though, the only naked woman I’ve ever seen in real life is my sister, and there’s nothing sexual about your baby sister naked.”

Magnus grinned. “I don’t have siblings, but you four sure seem awfully lacking in boundaries. You talk about nudity all the time.”

“Because they have no boundaries,” Alec said very seriously. “I have a sister who doesn’t like to wear pants at home and who doesn’t have any problems seeing the rest of us naked. Jace is like allergic to shirts, and Max only wears boxers around the house, nothing on top of them. He does wear a shirt, at least,” he amended. “They’re nudists. All of them.”

Magnus giggled and rolled into Alec’s side. “I love your family, Alexander. They’re great.”

Alec reached down, ruffling Magnus’s hair, just to annoy him for messing it up. “Hey, I was serious,” he said more softly. “You can just stay the night.” He patted his side. “I’m sure Chairman Meow will be fine until tomorrow. You can borrow some clothes, we’ve got spare toothbrushes and plenty of makeup removal wipes in the closet, my siblings already think we’re spending more nights together than we are, so as long as they don’t hear us having sex, they won’t care.”

“Ooh,” Magnus purred exaggeratedly. “Are you going to seduce me, then? Is that what you’re implying?”

“No, but I’ll cuddle the crap out of you, and I know how much you like that,” he said with a grin.

Magnus batted his eyelashes at him. “Will you play with my hair until I fall to sleep?” he asked, and Alec nodded seriously.

“I’ll even rub your back,” he offered and Magnus sat up, arms going up.

“Woo! Score!” He stood up and pecked Alec’s cheek. “You win, I’ll stay! Show me to the spare toothbrushes and makeup wipes, find me some comfy clothes, and get prepared to become my snuggle-bitch.”

Alec chortled, shaking his head. “You’re so weird,” he sighed in amusement, leading Magnus to find the things he needed so they could get to bed.

Once Magnus was dressed in a big, warm hoodie and fuzzy pajamas Alec never wore since they were too short, make-up free, and with minty fresh teeth, Alec got ready for bed as well. When he came back and joined Magnus in bed, he barely got the light off before Magnus was sprawling himself half-across Alec’s body, tucking his face into Alec’s neck. “Mmmmm, yesssss,” Magnus sighed. “Big, warm men are the best. Don’t get me wrong, I love how soft and cuddly women are, but I’ve only been with a few guys bigger than me, so it’s just something special. You can’t really sprawl over someone smaller than you or the same size.”

Alec smiled, wrapping his arms around Magnus, one hand going to his hair and the other sliding up the back of his hoodie to splay across his back. “Sprawl away, Magnus,” he murmured, kissing his temple sweetly.

Magnus relaxed in Alec’s arms, practically becoming jello as Alec rubbed soothing circles low on his back and played with his short, soft hair, and it was all Alec could do to keep from falling asleep right then and there. Magnus’s body in his arms was oddly comforting. He had always slept better with someone beside him, as rarely as that happened, but Magnus specifically just felt really comfortable and good to Alec. He found himself really glad that he had suggested Magnus stay with him.

Chapter Text

Alec woke up slowly, grumbling as he pressed closer into the warm pillow in his arms, only to frown when his ‘pillow’ poked him. He opened his eyes blearily only to blink and open them fully when he found himself about three inches from the upper half of Magnus’s face.

The upper half, because Magnus had the covers up around his nose, only his eyes and forehead showing. “Why’s it cold?” Magnus demanded, voice muffled by the covers as he continued poking him in the ribs.

Alec grinned, rubbing his face into his actual pillow and tightened his arm around Magnus, tugging him close. “Cause I like it cold when I sleep,” he muttered, tightening his hold even more until Magnus squeaked as he was dragged the last few inches separating them. “Mmmmm, you’re warm, though,” he said, flinging a leg over Magnus’s thigh, almost wrapping him up in a full body hug.

Magnus wiggled his face out from under the covers more, raising an eyebrow at Alec. “I’m pretty sure you’re closer to me now than when your dick was inside of me,” he said, and Alec just chuckled, rubbing his cheek against Magnus’s hair. “Ow, stubble on my forehead, that’s great.”

“Mmmm, shhhhh,” Alec whispered, kissing his forehead. “Sorry. But it’s early. Don’t be too loud or Isabelle will totally just burst in trying to catch us in bed together.”

“Really?” Magnus asked, scrunching his nose.

Alec slid down further so that he was level with Magnus’s face. “Mmm, yep. She’s a freak. I hate her sometimes,” he said and Magnus smirked. Alec narrowed his eyes and Magnus slid his hand down to curl around Alec’s thigh, tugging him until their hips were flush and Alec raised an eyebrow. “What’re you doing?” he asked and Magnus bit his bottom lip mischievously.

“I’m seducing you, duh,” he whispered as he closed the gap between them and pecked Alec’s lips. “If she bursts in she’ll never do it again if she catches us doing things,” he said and Alec grimaced, but couldn’t deny the fact his body definitely knew it was early morning and there was a hot guy in his bed. Magnus slid his hand up Alec’s leg, sneaking a grab of his ass before sliding up to slip under his shirt. Alec closed his eyes and exhaled some when Magnus’s fingers teased across his hip. “May I?” Magnus asked, pressing a kiss to the corner of his lips.

Alec nodded, sliding his hand from Magnus’s back to his hip. “You have great ideas,” he murmured, smile audible in his voice. He sought out Magnus’s lips, eyes still closed, and sighed through his nose when Magnus kissed him, keeping it soft and chaste, just a lazy, sleepy sort of kiss that felt nice and comfortable. Magnus’s fingers slid ever-so-lightly across his stomach and Alec gave just the softest of moans as shivers ran up his spine. Alec curled his hand around the back of Magnus’s head, gently sliding his fingers into Magnus’s hair. He knew Magnus enjoyed having his hair played with, but he was careful not to tug, since it would hurt him. “Can I take your top off?” Alec whispered and Magnus snorted.

“No way in hell, it’s cold, Alexander.” He snickered at the pout Alec turned on him but Alec understood.

“Fine,” he said, then kissed Magnus again, sliding his hand up the hoodie he was wearing. “I’ll just have to imagine how hot you look,” he joked and Magnus snickered, pecking his lip in apology.

“Take it up with your thermostat,” he said with a grin. Alec kissed him again and Magnus sighed into the kiss. “Better,” he mumbled, immediately claiming Alec’s lips again. Alec freed his other hand and slid it up the front of Magnus’s hoodie, splaying his hand low on Magnus’s abs. Magnus sucked in his stomach at the cold touch, but relaxed as Alec’s hands warmed up. Magnus slid his hand to Alec’s ass, holding him as he rolled his hips against Alec’s. Alec moaned at the welcome friction, fingers twitching on Magnus’s abs.

Alec gasped some when Magnus squeezed his ass, grinding harder against him. “Oh,” Alec whispered and Magnus grinned.

“‘Oh’ is right,” he said in a low, slightly hoarse tone that made Alec shiver. Alec closed his eyes, only to have them fly open when Magnus ducked in and kissed his neck. Alec jerked with a soft groan. Magnus kissed higher on his throat, licking slightly as he pulled away. “You weren’t kidding about your neck, huh?” Alec tipped his head back, letting Magnus get at him better, and he wrapped his leg around Magnus’s hip, meeting every roll of his hips eagerly. He slid his hands higher, one around Magnus’s back and the other splayed over his chest, holding onto him as their movements became more fluid.

Alec’s breath hitched as Magnus sucked on a spot just under Alec’s jaw. “If you keep that up, I’m gonna come,” he said with a breathless laugh.

“Good,” Magnus murmured, tightening his hold on Alec’s ass to thrust against him harder. “Alec,” he panted, biting ever so gently at Alec’s throat, and Alec muffled a cry of pleasure against the side of Magnus’s head. “Oh, Alexander.”

Magnus licked over the tender spot where he had just bitten, and Alec shivered, but then Magnus, without warning, sucked on that same, hypersensitive spot, and Alec had only a second to think ‘wait, fuck-‘ before he came, giving a long, hoarse moan as his hips stuttered against Magnus’s. Alec was slow to come down, but when he did, he gently turned his head away from where Magnus was pressing soft, soothing kisses to the spot he’d bruised on Alec’s neck. “Too- Too much,” he panted, and Magnus pulled away, trailing sweet, tiny kisses along his chin until he could kiss his lips. Alec kissed him, cupping the back of Magnus’s neck in his hand.

“God, you really are sensitive,” Magnus moaned against his lips.

Alec grinned and pressed their foreheads together as he slid his hand to the front of Magnus’s pants, rubbing the heel of his palm teasingly over the bulge there. “Can I?” he asked, and Magnus nodded, swallowing so that his throat bobbed visibly. Alec kissed him again as he slid his hand into Magnus’s pants. He took him in his hand and Magnus moaned low in his throat. Alec didn’t think about trying anything fancy, he just stroked Magnus as he would himself, kissing him as he jerked him off. His other hand splayed on Magnus’s stomach and he really liked the feeling of Magnus’s abs contracting under his fingertips. When Magnus came, Alec pulled away, letting Magnus pant against his lips. “Oh, Alexander,” he purred, arching his back as he pressed against Alec, stretching like a cat. “Mmmmm.”

Alec snickered, pecking his jaw. “Good morning, Magnus.”

Magnus burst into giggles – even if he denied it, Alec loved Magnus’s giggles – and he hugged Alec, pressing his face into his shoulder. “Good morning.”

Alec glanced over at his clock and sighed. “It’s too early to be awake.”

“So?” Magnus wiggled his eyebrows. “We can just clean up and go back to sleep,” he suggested and Alec hesitated for only a moment before he kissed Magnus quickly.

“You have the best ideas.”

~

The second time they woke up, it was to the sound of the apartment door squeaking as it shut, signaling that Jace had left for work. He was up and out first, and Jace leaving at half past six was usually Alec, Isabelle, and Max’s cue to get up.

Magnus sighed, rolling away from Alec to look at the clock behind him. “God, you people get up so early.” He stretched, arms over his head. “I’m still awake now some nights.”

Alec chuckled, sitting up to stretch. “Yeah, well, some of us have real jobs.” He yawned, stretching his arms high. “And by that I mean Izzy, since I make Max breakfast and then go back to bed for another two hours lately.” He turned to Magnus. “You can sleep some more if you want,” he said and Magnus hummed, snuggling back into the pillows.

“I should probably go,” Magnus decided with a pout. “Chairman Meow will be hungry. And worried. I’m always back home by now, so he’ll be worried somebody stole his daddy.”

Alec smiled as he looked at Magnus. “You and your cat,” he said, rolling his eyes comically. “You can shower if you want. I’m gonna go make Max breakfast and I’ll put on a pot of coffee.”

“Thank you, Alexander,” Magnus said, winking at Alec as he stood and walked around the bed. “Have fun asking your sister for concealer for your neck,” he teased, and Alec flushed, slapping a hand over his neck immediately on his way out the door.

Alec set to making breakfast, and since he needed both hands, he quickly forgot the hickey on his neck. He continued to not remember it was there right up until Max came walking in, opened the refrigerator, took out the juice, and as soon as he turned to face Alec, he jerked and nearly sloshed juice all over himself when he saw him. “Jesus Christ, what happened to your neck?!”

Isabelle, who had just walked in wearing nothing but one of Alec’s old tee-shirts and panties, overheard him and looked up. “What do you- Whoa, Alec!” she said, eyes going wide, only to promptly burst into laughter. “Well that explains when Magnus left last night, I guess.” She winked. “He didn’t, did he?”

Alec groaned, hand over his neck. “Can I borrow makeup?”

Isabelle smirked. “Nope! You and your freaky vampire boyfriend can live with it.” She whistled. “Good thing you guys are quiet, because hearing you get laid would’ve scarred us all for life,” she said and Alec just blushed darker. “Is he still here?” she asked, gesturing to herself. “Should I put on pants?”

“Oh, don’t get dressed up on my account.” Magnus strolled in, wearing one of Alec’s hoodies – not the one he’d gotten dirty early that morning, thankfully – over his clothes from yesterday. “I’m not one to complain about a frankly amazing set of legs,” he purred, winking.

Alec rolled his eyes. “New rule, no hitting on my sister in front of me, while wearing my clothes, after sleeping in my bed,” he joked and Magnus brightened up as he walked over to him.

“And with a rather stark bruise of mine, I see.” He leaned in and pecked Alec’s cheek. “Very sorry, Darling. It was too dark to see what I was doing,” he lied, and Alec knew that because Magnus enjoyed aggravating that same spot over and over just to make him more aroused last night.

Isabelle made a face. “Thanks for defiling my big brother in the night while I was next door,” she said sarcastically and Magnus just smirked.

“Shouldn’t keep it so cold, then.” He winked. “Had to warm up somehow.”

Max groaned. “Ew, please, stop. Little ears!” he complained and Magnus snorted.

“You’re in high school, if you don’t know what happens when two guys have a special cuddle in bed together yet, we really need to write a letter to the Board of Education,” he joked and Isabelle laughed.

Alec glared at the three of them, snickering at the table, as he sat Max’s eggs down in front of him. “Coffee’s ready,” he said with narrowed eyes and Magnus just gave him a sweet look.

“Thanks, Darling,” he said, standing up to go get some coffee. He stopped to kiss Alec’s cheek again, trailing a hand down his side on the way past. “I really do need to go soon, though. My cat will be missing me, after all.”

Alec nodded, leaning against the counter. “You need anything before you go? I need to take a shower,” he explained.

Magnus shook his head, crooking his finger for Alec to come to him. “Just a kiss goodbye,” he said, and Alec rolled his eyes but leaned in, kissing Magnus sweetly. “Mmmm,” Magnus hummed. “I’m gonna remember that one all day,” he sighed and Alec sighed, shaking his head.

“You’re so weird,” he said, though he could tell Magnus saw the humor in his eyes as he turned and walked away.

It was only when he was in the shower, finally alone, that Alec took a moment to just lean against the shower wall and smile to himself as he remembered how cute Magnus looked, snuggled under the covers in his bed that morning. Sex was nice, but there was just something about the way Magnus looked at him, and the way Magnus fit in his arms that made him feel weirdly giddy.

Alec shook his head, laughing at himself as he ducked under the hot water. “You’re losing it, Lightwood,” he muttered to himself, even though the smile wouldn’t go away just yet, no matter what.

~

It was only a few more weeks before Magnus found him a job managing the shipping and receiving office at a warehouse at the port. It was similar work, in general, to what he had done before, and it paid almost as much, enough that Magnus’s offer to supplement his income wasn’t necessary. All in all, it was nice to have a job again, so he didn’t feel like he was laying around and failing his family.

Alec suspected his job was only legal because he didn’t know what was in the boxes being shipped from the warehouse, but he decided he’d let it slide, because as long as he didn’t know what was up, he and the other employees in his office were legally not liable for anything illegal that went on.

Having a job meant that Magnus stopped asking him out to brunch and to coffee and to generally hang out as much when he didn’t need to, and Alec found he, surprisingly, really missed hanging out with Magnus as often. Magnus did, occasionally, get him days off after a late night event meant he couldn’t be in at nine the following morning, but unless Magnus needed him to do his ‘professional boyfriend’ duty for something, he let him work like a normal person. They still hung out when he was off work and Magnus wasn’t busy, and he still stayed the night with Magnus and went to work in the morning sometimes, so it wasn’t that bad. It was just different than what Alec had gotten used to.

It was also really, really fun to have a sexual relationship with someone, Alec discovered. He and Magnus didn’t suddenly go sex-crazed whenever they were alone in a room together or anything, but after that morning in bed, they usually got up to something that ended in orgasms at least once a week. More often than not, it was just like the first time, waking up after a late night and spending a little while in bed just kissing and touching and making each other feel good. Alec was really surprised to find that Magnus was actually into making out like teenagers without ever getting around to the sex part. More than a few nights involved laying on the couch in front of a movie with Magnus lying on top of him as they traded slow, lazy kisses and light, teasing touches.

Alec learned enough about what Magnus liked and what he didn’t like that, by the time they had been together for – surprisingly – almost four months, only around two of which had involved any sex at all, he knew how to give Magnus a blowjob that stretched for a long time by avoiding all the things Magnus liked best and drove him slowly to the edge. (It drove Magnus crazy when he teased him, but as much as he complained, he never told Alec not to do it.)

The one thing they hadn’t tried – at least not after the first time – was actually fucking, and Alec was pretty sure Magnus was well aware that Alec was nervous about it being bad again. Alec wanted to, he just couldn’t help the insecurities coming back and making him think that he was so much better at making Magnus feel good all the other ways, so that one had to be his weak spot. Magnus didn’t push, so Alec didn’t suggest they try it again.

Other than the sexual awakening, Magnus was also, almost certainly inadvertently, driving Alec crazy in another way. A way that Alec never expected when they began this. A way he never suspected would ever happen to him. Magnus was digging himself deeper and deeper into Alec’s life and Alec wasn’t sure he even knew what it was doing to Alec’s heart.

Alec had somehow missed it all along the way, the feeling Magnus caused him, right up until the day it hit him, all at once, all without warning.

Alec had fallen for Magnus. And he didn’t know how the hell to deal with that.

Chapter Text

Magnus’s club, Pandemonium, was not Alec’s favorite place. He didn’t go very often, because Magnus was a nice guy and didn’t force him to do things he didn’t like. Alec wasn’t fond of crowds like that. The subway was all the ‘strangers pressed against me’ Alec wanted to deal with, and Magnus understood. However, on occasion, Magnus had business guests in the VIP area, and he would ask Alec to show up for a while, so that people he worked with could see how Magnus was a good, stable boyfriend, someone they could count on being reliable and trustworthy.

Alec didn’t mind the VIP area so much. Magnus’s usual entourage consisted mostly of people who Magnus met through business and liked well enough to invite to hang out with him. It was amusing to Alec how Magnus seemed like a king amongst his harem with his ‘sit on this couch and have hot people fawn over me’ attitude, but in reality, most of them weren’t actually gunning to get in Magnus’s pants. In fact, he learned from Jessica, one of the women that liked to hang all over Magnus, that Magnus made it very clear to everybody who he danced with or had a drink with that he was a taken man. Alec had to fight the fluttering in his belly that had been growing when around Magnus at that news.

Currently, Magnus was out dancing with some guys who asked him to dance while Alec sat with a drink, chatting with some of Magnus’s friends. He didn’t know any of them very well, and they didn’t really know him, but it was enough to make small talk so they weren’t entirely bored.

“Oh, looks like your man’s coming back,” one girl said, and Alec turned with a smile for Magnus, who slid into the seat and stole Alec’s drink.

“Sorry, Darling, thirsty,” he said, and Alec rolled his eyes.

Alec took his cocktail back, poking Magnus in the side. “Then get something without alcohol, because this won’t help that.”

Magnus perked up and looked over Alec’s shoulder. “Oh, I wanted you guys to meet my boyfriend,” he said to someone, and Alec turned to glance at them, only to have his polite smile fall as he turned around all the way.

“What the fuck are you doing with him?” Alec asked in a tight voice.

Meliorn at least had it in him to look somewhat ashamed as he glanced down at the hand in his own. Magnus leaned forward, putting his hand on Alec’s wrist. “Alec? Do you know them-“

The other man slid his arms around Meliorn’s waist, leaning into his side. “Well Alec Lightwood, fancy seeing you anywhere.” He looked at Meliorn. “How do you know Lightwood?”

Meliorn cleared his throat, fixing on a plastic smile. “Alec, I assume you know Craig-“

Alec ignored him, glaring at Craig. “He’s Isabelle’s fucking boyfriend, that’s how I know him,” Alec snapped. “I knew Meliorn was a lying, cheating bastard, but I didn’t know he was low enough to fuck you behind Isabelle’s back-“

“Alec, what’s going on?” Magnus interrupted, his face serious. He looked at Meliorn and Craig. “Meliorn, are you the ‘shitty boyfriend’ of Isabelle’s I’ve heard about?” he asked in an almost warning tone.

Meliorn looked between Alec and Craig, looking uncomfortable. “Look, Alec, I- I know I said I wouldn’t sleep around again, but she’s the one who hung up on me yesterday, I assumed it was over again, she probably went out to hook up with somebody else, too-“

“Oh, I didn’t know he was Isabelle’s boyfriend,” Craig said with a sneer. “But now that I know he is, I’m even more happy about hooking up with him,” he said to Alec. “Besides, everybody knows your sister’s as big of a whore as your mother was.”

Alec was vaguely aware of Meliorn snatching away from Craig and saying something in defense of Isabelle with a glare on his face, and he somewhat felt Magnus’s hand on his back, but otherwise, he saw red and, in seconds, he was out of his seat and had Craig by the throat. Alec could only hear his pulse pounding and his own breath, ragged and panting, as he watched Craig struggle, clawing at Alec’s hand and wrist as Alec choked him with one hand and held him by a handful of hair with the other.

It was only when he realized that the hands on his arms and the chants of his name were real, and it was Magnus’s voice saying, “Alec! Alec! Alexander, stop! Alec, please!” that he finally snapped out of it and let go of Craig. Craig sagged to the table behind him, and Alec was absently aware of the two bouncers coming their way, but Magnus grabbing him around the middle was all that pulled him back to earth. “Alexander, it’s okay, it’s okay,” he soothed, reaching up to cup Alec’s face in his hands. “You’re okay,” he said, and Alec stared at the glitter on his chin – freshly smooth, after he had decided to give cleanly-shaven a go recently – while Magnus spoke to the bouncers. “Get him out of my club, and take his date with you.”

Alec was still somewhat in a daze as Magnus led him somewhere, and it wasn’t until the door shutting and silencing the noise from the club shocked him out of it that he realized Magnus had taken him to the hallway leading to the elevator to his home. “Are you okay?” Magnus asked him, and Alec nodded numbly. Magnus looked startled and somewhat upset. “Alec, you’re scaring me. Are you feeling okay?” He rubbed his cheek gently. “What do you need?”

It was such a loaded question, but all Alec could manage was a whisper as he looked into Magnus’s eyes. “You.”

Magnus sucked in a breath, but nodded. “Alright,” he said, and Alec let Magnus guide him to the elevator, up to his apartment, and all the way to the bathroom.

Alec knew that Magnus hated going home from the club all sweaty from dancing and doing anything before he took a shower, and Alec didn’t intend to sit and wait while Magnus showered. Something in him snapped when Magnus turned on the water, though he could hear Magnus talking to him in spite of his haze, and he scooped Magnus into his arms. Magnus squeaked in surprise, but melted when Alec kissed him.

Alec stripped them both of their clothes quickly and dragged Magnus into the shower. Magnus’s shower was huge, so it was nothing at all for them both to move around without banging elbows or knees. They didn’t really do shower sex, though they had showered together before and spent the time kissing and touching more innocently. Alec intended to change that. There were no condoms nearby, so he couldn’t do what he really wanted, and suck Magnus until all he could focus on was Magnus’s hands on his body, his cock in his mouth, and the sounds of Magnus’s moans echoing around them, but he could still pin Magnus against the shower wall and feel nothing except Magnus’s bare body and the water beating down on his back.

His hands dug into Magnus’s thigh that was wrapped around his waist, and he kissed him like he was drowning and Magnus was all he needed, because in that moment, it was true. He ground their bodies together, writhing and grabbing and stroking Magnus’s cock until he cried out against his cheek and came between their bodies. Alec held him as he shook, and then gently relaxed his hold on him.

Alec didn’t come. He wasn’t even hard. Even before Magnus was entirely back with him, Alec hugged him tightly and pressed his face into Magnus’s neck, hiding his tears from Magnus since he was too tall for the showerhead to get his face wet unless he ducked under it. Magnus held him, stroking his back comfortingly, seeming confused and somewhat worried at the fact Alec hadn’t even been hard during their whole exchange. “Alexander? Darling?” He reached up, stroking Alec’s hair from his face to try and get him to look at him. “Are you alright?”

It was such a simple question, but the only reply Alec gave was to bite back a whimper and burst into tears, shoulders shaking with silent tears.

Magnus didn’t show his alarm, but simply maneuvered Alec so that he could wash them both well enough to get out of the shower. Magnus watched as Alec walked through, getting clothes and dressing, as though he were going through the motions but wasn’t even really all there. Alec was there, though. He could tell he was scaring Magnus, but he just didn’t want to talk yet. After they got in bed, Chairman Meow climbed into the bed immediately and settled right in between Magnus and Alec. Alec looked down at the cat, who blinked back at him, and he reached out, petting his soft, furry little body. Magnus’s hand joined his and he gently tapped Alec’s finger with his own. “That Meliorn guy, that’s the shitty boyfriend of Isabelle’s you mentioned?” Alec nodded. “Who was the other guy? He seemed to know you.”

Alec swallowed, looking up at Magnus’s eyes for a moment, before looking back at Chairman Meow. “My parents are dead,” he said softly, and Magnus nodded.

“I kind of guessed that,” he said apologetically. “Mine, too,” he offered, and Alec hadn’t known that, but he didn’t know much about Magnus’s past at all. “It was horrible of him to say that about your sister and your mother,” Magnus comforted.

“Craig is Max’s half-brother,” Alec whispered. Magnus’s hand stilled and Alec sighed. “M-my mom cheated on my dad. My dad found out, but she was pregnant, so he didn’t leave. I didn’t know any of this, obviously, neither Izzy or I or Jace knew it. They didn’t know if Max was Dad’s or- or the other guy.” He shook his head. “When Max was born, it wasn’t something you could tell looking at him, and the other guy was white, and Dad was white and Mom was Latina, so there was no way to tell as a baby.” Alec continued petting Chairman Meow. “Max- Max’s hair grew and it was blond. His eyes stayed blue. It wasn’t definite, but by the time he was a toddler, it was clear he didn’t look like me and Izzy so they knew it was possible he wasn’t Dad’s. Dad loved him, though, so he didn’t care. Max is his son no matter what.” He shook his head. “When- when they died, they were getting a divorce. I was nearly done with college, Izzy and Jace had both already graduated high school, and they had held out as long as they could for us, but they hated each other by then. They didn’t want to try and stick it out another ten years for Max to leave home. They died in a car crash on the way to sign the final papers.”

“Oh Alec,” Magnus whispered, and Alec laughed weakly.

“Turns out they did a blood test when Max was three. They were sure of who his biological father was all that time. He knew about Max, his kids knew about Max, all of them. I didn’t want him to find out, he was eight and his parents were dead, so I needed to get legal guardianship of Max, not his biological father, since that was on record.” Alec shook his head, disgust in his eyes. “I had our lawyers contact him, he invited me and the lawyers to his office. He wanted to sue for parental rights. He said my mother never told him about Max, and he wanted custody of him, which was a lie, he knew when I asked him, and there was this- this horrible legal battle.” He sniffed, turning his head. “He knew about my mom being pregnant, he knew it might be his baby, he knew when they confirmed the blood tests because my dad offered to let him see Max, Dad wanted him to have the option because Dad loved his kids and knew how horrible it would be to not be able to see one of them, but he didn’t want anything to do with Max.” Alec rolled his eyes, fighting tears. “I had to deal with him and his three adult kids for weeks with the whole legal battle. They all knew about Max. They were all from the guy’s first marriage so they didn’t care about the wife he’d cheated on with my mom, they thought the whole thing was funny. My baby brother was a joke to them,” he gritted out.

“And Craig was one of those kids, huh?” Magnus asked, reaching out to curl his fingers around Alec’s hand.

Alec nodded, gripping Magnus’s hand tightly. “Jace and Isabelle, they don’t know about all the details. They never saw the nasty side of all of it. They found out about Max’s biological father, and they met him and Craig and the other’s, but only once and in a polite setting, but it was bad.” He shook his head. “Craig joked about how if they got Max, it meant his inheritance would be higher, since Max’s inheritance would go to their father. They only wanted Max for his money.”

Magnus shook his head. “How much is Max’s inheritance?”

Alec grimaced. “Not nearly as much, now.” He looked at Magnus with guilt in his eyes. “I exhausted my inheritance first. Then I had to cut into Izzy’s and Jace’s. Our parents didn’t have a Will giving us any exact amounts, so I had control of their money. Insurance payout for the person they hit when they died went first. Then all their outstanding debts. Then the medical costs, since they both survived a few days before they died, and then the funeral costs. Everything that was left, it was supposed to be split between the four of us, but I used all of my money first, paying our lawyers’ legal fees for the custody battle. Then Jace’s money, since he has a trust he’ll have access to when he turns thirty from his birth parents.” Alec’s voice clicked and a tear slipped from his eye. “Then some of Isabelle’s. And when we finally reached an agreement on a settlement, in order to get them to just all walk away, I had to spend all that was left. Izzy’s and Max’s.”

Magnus reached up to brush the tear off his cheek. “Oh Alec,” he breathed.

Alec nodded. “Izzy and Jace didn’t know I’d done that, and I didn’t- I couldn’t leave them with nothing. They were both just starting college. Mom and Dad had paid for their first year for both of them, but they- they had the rest of that time, and all the money we had left, it wasn’t enough for the house and all our employees. I convinced them we should move, because we didn’t have enough money for all that when they needed it for college. I sold the house and got enough to pay the up-front costs for our apartment, and I put a quarter of a million dollars in a trust fund for Max. When he is eighteen, he’ll get some of it to pay for college, and then the rest when he’s thirty. There wasn’t that much left after that, so I tried to get a loan from a bank, to try and hide that I’d blown so much on fucking legal fees and the settlement,” Alec whispered painfully. “But I didn’t have credit or collateral.”

Magnus’s eyes widened and Alec saw the moment he understood. “The loan for one hundred thousand dollars.”

Alec nodded with a bitter smile. “Half for Izzy and half for Jace. Put with what little we had left so I could tell them it was their inheritance. Enough to finish college on.”

For the longest time, Magnus just looked at Alec, eyes searching for something, though Alec didn’t know what. “You have carried so much all on your own just to keep it from ever touching your brothers and sister,” Magnus murmured, and Alec shrugged slightly. Magnus leaned in, careful of Chairman Meow, and kissed Alec gently. “You’re a good man, Alexander Lightwood.”

Alec pulled away from him slightly, and he felt terrible when he saw the hurt in Magnus’s eyes from his rejection, but Alec just didn’t feel like being touched just now. Magnus seemed to accept and understand Alec’s need to be left alone, however, and he simply leaned across to turn off the lamp, plunging the room into darkness.

~

It seemed like forever that they had lain in the darkness, but Alec couldn’t sleep and he could sense the tense line of Magnus’s body across from him. Chairman Meow had left the room ages ago, clearly bored with them when they weren’t petting him, and the space between Magnus and himself felt so much larger to Alec. Part of him longed to reach across the bed and pull Magnus close again, but the other part recognized that he was the one who wanted to not be touched in the first place.

The slightest inhale of breath was all that warned Alec before Magnus spoke, breaking the silence without startling him thanks to that warning. “I was conceived from rape.”

Alec’s blood ran cold and he choked on his words or a moment. “Magnus- I- what?”

Magnus sighed. “You told me something intensely personal, and private, and I want- I want to share something just as secret and personal and painful with you, too. I want you to feel you can trust me.”

“Magnus, I trust you without needing you to- to talk about something that painful,” Alec managed, searching for the best words to use to not upset Magnus. “I- that’s so much different than- than-“

Magnus scooted closer and Alec found himself only about six inches from Magnus now. Magnus curled his fingers through Alec’s and rolled over, tugging Alec’s arm around him. Alec scooched closer, obediently following Magnus’s silent request to be the big spoon. “Much like Max looking blonde and blue-eyed tipping them off something might be up, my mother was only half-Chinese,” he said softly. “I only sort of lied to your family when I said my parents were from Hong Kong. My mother’s husband, the one I called my father, met my mother on a few months-long business trip in Hong Kong. He was white. He asked her to come back to California with him, but before they left, my mother was raped. They still came to California, and when she found out she was pregnant, they hoped it was his baby.” Magnus shook his head, his hair brushing Alec’s lips. “I wasn’t,” he whispered in a pained tone. “But they didn’t find out for a while. They didn’t want to do a DNA test in case I really was a rapist’s baby. But the older I got, the more obvious it was that I didn’t look like a half-white women and white man’s baby.” Alec tightened his arm around Magnus’s middle when he felt him shiver. “When I was seven, my mother finally had to know. She had to know if the man who raped her was the one that made me, not my father. When she found out that he was, she- she couldn’t take it. She killed herself.”

Alec’s heart sank. “Oh God, Magnus,” he breathed. He hugged Magnus closer, pressing his face into the back of Magnus’s hair. “Babe, I’m so sorry.”

“After that, my father blamed me,” Magnus continued and Alec’s stomach tightened at the thought that there was more. “He blamed me for her suicide. He had always treated me like his son until then, I can still remember him being my dad, you know?” He snorted harshly. “He hated me after that. He treated me like shit. And when I was ten, after three years of treating me like shit, he had some sort of mental breakdown, which had been a long time coming, because my parents loved each other so much, and she killed herself because she couldn’t love me the same after finding out a monster who hurt her made me, and he hadn’t been okay since the woman he loved committed suicide, and he just snapped and tried to murder me,” Magnus gritted out. “My dad tried to kill me because he blamed me for my mom killing herself because some bastard hurt my mom.”

“Fuck.” Alec held him close. “Fuck, Magnus.”

Magnus nodded. “I didn’t die, obviously. He tried to drown me at the ocean, but he got caught, and I was in various group homes and foster homes until I aged out. Then I did whatever I could. I managed to get here, and I worked shitty jobs and lived in even shittier places and worked my ass off for years.” Magnus snorted. “I turn my head to all the stuff that goes on in my club because I made more money selling drugs than I did working three jobs when I was twenty-four, and all that I have now? It’s from being smart and investing all the money I made.” He shook his head. “I’m not rich because I’m a crime boss like most people seem to think, I’m rich because I invested in the right stocks in my mid-twenties, and now I’m thirty-five and successful. My dad died in prison, and I’m a fucking millionaire,” he spat out. “Also, fuck that dick ‘Craig’ and his father for wanting to use a child for money, you’re a good man and you love your family and you take care of them and fuck them for giving you shit for it,” he finished and Alec laughed wetly.

“Well that was a surprising twist,” Alec managed and Magnus turned his head to press his lips to Alec’s quickly. Alec sighed, kissing back, seeking the same comfort Magnus wanted from him.

“Max was almost the same age I was when my life went to shit,” Magnus murmured against his lips. “You saved him from the sort of horrible experience I went through after my mom died, and it just pisses me off those shitty people forced you to fight so hard for your family. Good people like you don’t deserve that shit. Nobody was ever that good to me. I got lucky. Any number of things could’ve gone differently and instead of where I am now, I would’ve ended up in and out of prison for the rest of my life. You almost got stabbed the night I met you because of those bastards.”

Alec smiled, pressing his lips to the side of Magnus’s neck. “But I didn’t. I met you instead.” He ignored the way his chest grew warmer as he thought the next words to leave his lips. “I don’t regret anything that led me here, right now, holding you in my arms.”

Magnus’s breath hitched and Alec feared for one, terrifying moment, that he had read this all wrong, that he’d just fucked up. Instead, Magnus squeezed his hand and let out a small huff. “I don’t regret it either, Alexander. Not one bit.” He turned his head and looked at Alec again and, in that moment, Alec wanted nothing more than to kiss him.

So he did.

Magnus moaned softly, barely more than a whisper, as he nipped at Magnus’s upper lip. Alec slid his hand from Magnus’s chest up to his neck, thumb on Magnus’s chin to angle his face closer. “Alec,” he breathed when the kiss was broken, and Alec touched Magnus’s bottom lip gently with his thumbnail. Magnus met his eyes in the dim light, and Alec shifted, brushing a kiss to Magnus’s cheekbone, and then the corner of his eye.

“You’re so beautiful,” Alec murmured, and Magnus hummed, sliding his hand to curl around Alec’s forearm. Magnus stroked at his strong, solid forearms as Alec kissed the corner of his lips again. “I want you,” Alec whispered, stomach twisting, but with desire, not nerves.

Magnus seemed surprised, but pleasantly so. “Oh?” Magnus carefully pulled away from Alec, rolling onto his back to face him better. “And how do you want me?” he asked, nuzzling against Alec’s jaw, pressing kisses from his ear to his lips. “Do you want me toooooo cook you ramen noodles?” he teased. “Or to buy you a new coat?” He pecked Alec’s lips. “Maybe you want me to fix you a glass of wine,” he purred.

Alec, however, didn’t feel like playing. He slid his hand directly to Magnus’s groin, making it perfectly clear what he wanted. “I want you inside of me,” he whispered in Magnus’s ear, and he grinned when he felt Magnus’s cock twitch beneath his palm. “Mmmm, like that, don’t you?” he asked, gently rubbing at Magnus as he slowly hardened.

Magnus swallowed, and Alec watched as his Adam’s apple bobbed. “I- uh- really?”

Alec chuckled, lifting up to crawl on top of Magnus, kneeling over him as he continued to rub at the bulge in his pants. “Mmmhmm,” he said, looking down at Magnus. “I want this,” he said, squeezing Magnus’s length once, “Right here,” he said, grabbing Magnus’s hand to guide to his ass. Magnus’s eyes widened slightly and Alec felt him lightly squeeze his ass. Alec leaned down, kissing him quickly. “You know I want to bottom. And I want to do it now.” He pressed a lingering kiss to Magnus’s cheek, just beside his ear. “Please?”

Magnus turned and caught his lips, kissing him firmly. “You don’t have to convince me,” he chuckled, sliding his hands up Alec’s back. He looked up at him as he tugged Alec’s shirt up and Alec set back on his heels, allowing Magnus to sit up and pull his shirt off. When Magnus dropped the shirt aside, Alec curled his hand around Magnus’s neck, kissing him slowly. Magnus moaned, sliding his hands over Alec’s chest and abs. “I love your chest hair,” he murmured and Alec chuckled, shivering when Magnus’s fingers slid over his sternum. “How do you want it?” Magnus asked softly.

Alec tugged at Magnus’s shirt until Magnus held his arms up and let Alec take it off as well. “Whatever way gets you inside of me and keeps you touching me as much as possible.” Alec gave Magnus a look that showed more vulnerability than he really wanted. “I just- I need you to keep touching me. Not any other time we do this, but tonight, I just- I need you, Magnus,” he finished, and he was relieved to see understanding in Magnus’s eyes. Alec didn’t feel so embarrassed. It was easier to be honest with what he wanted after what all he and Magnus had discussed tonight. Magnus had opened up to him, and he had opened up to Magnus, and he felt so raw and vulnerable but so safe as well.

“Okay,” Magnus whispered, kissing him before he tightened his hold around Alec’s middle and shifted quickly, rolling them over so that Alec was beneath him. “Let me take care of you,” he breathed, kissing him deeply. “Okay?” he asked and Alec smiled, curling his hands around Magnus’s face, pulling him in to press their foreheads together.

“You do so much to take care of me already,” Alec murmured. “No reason to not trust you this time.”

Magnus smirked at that and pressed a kiss to Alec’s jaw. “Damn straight.”

Alec let his mind go blank, and it felt so good to let go of all the stress, all the pain he had relived tonight, and let Magnus touch him in ways that made it all melt away. Magnus removed the rest of their clothes eventually, and though this was nothing new anymore, it still felt different when their bodies moved together this time. It felt like more now. Alec didn’t know why, but he didn’t doubt it had something to do with the intimacy of the rawness of their emotions on both sides. They had both revealed big secrets to each other and, because of that, they had a deeper trust now than they ever had before.

When Magnus moved him onto his stomach, he closed his eyes and bit his lips in anticipation. He canted his hips, unable to stay still as he eagerly waited for Magnus to touch him. “God, you have no idea how gorgeous you are like this,” Magnus said, voice hoarse with want. “You’re so fucking eager, it’s killing me.”

“Cause I know what I want,” Alec said honestly.

Magnus’s hands slid up the back of his thighs and Alec unthinkingly, almost instinctually, spread his legs a little further. “Fuck, some day, I am going to take a good, long time to open you up with my mouth,” Magnus said in a tone of voice that, even if the words and the thought was enough alone to do so, made Alec groan in anticipation. Alec sucked in a breath, jerking when Magnus pressed a kiss to the base of his spine. “But I’m missing a few things before we can do that,” he murmured, sliding his hands to cup Alec’s ass in each palm, massaging firmly.

“Magnus,” Alec moaned, and Magnus wasted no time leaning over to his bedside table – so cliché, but so useful, Alec had teased him once – to take out what he needed. Alec turned his head, eyes shut as he grasped at the sheets beneath him. The covers had been kicked down away from them, but Alec didn’t feel any chill. His body was overheated with lust and it only got hotter when Magnus began to tease him open. “Fuck, Magnus,” he panted, pushing back as Magnus stretched things out, going far slower than Alec really needed as he fingered him.

Every time Alec tried to rock back onto his fingers, Magnus grabbed his hip, stopping him from taking what he wanted. It was frustrating, and yet it felt so damn good. Alec was no stranger to fingering himself, but Magnus’s fingers were shorter and slimmer than his own, so it was the worst and best tease of all time.

Eventually, Magnus’s fingers withdrew, and Alec shivered at the loss. He looked over his shoulder with a grumpy pout and Magnus just grinned, rubbing at his back gently. “Patience, Darling,” he purred, grabbing a condom. Alec watched, raised up on his elbows, as Magnus got himself ready, and Alec couldn’t help grinding against the bed a little, yearning for Magnus to get inside of him already. Magnus crawled forward, stretching out over Alec’s body, and Alec sighed, tilting his head as, at first, Magnus just rested his body on top of Alec’s. Magnus kissed his shoulder, and then his neck, and then nipped at his earlobe, making Alec let out a soft ‘uh’ sound. “I want you just like this, okay?” Magnus whispered, hands sliding down Alec’s sides. “Just lift your hips just a little,” he directed, gripping Alec’s hips to lift them just enough that Alec’s thighs were engaged, pushing his ass up. “Gonna keep it slow and easy, like this, since you’ve never done this.” He kissed the skin behind Alec’s ear. “It might hurt a little, because of how sensitive you are,” he warned and Alec just whimpered impatiently, pressing his ass up against Magnus.

“Not if you never get in me,” he complained, and Magnus nipped at his neck as ‘punishment’, making Alec shudder.

“So impatient,” Magnus grumbled, shifting his hips some. Alec felt Magnus’s cock slide across his entrance and he expected Magnus to shift off of him more, but Magnus’s upper body stayed in contact with his. One hand moved from Alec’s side, but the other stayed splayed across Alec’s ribs as Magnus pressed against him and slowly pressed inside.

At first, it was just a nice, good stretch, but once his body opened up under the pressure, a shudder skated up Alec’s spine and his mouth fell open. Magnus’s hand moved back to his side and slowly, as Magnus entered him, his legs came into contact with Alec’s, right up until he was fully inside of him. Alec shook harder, letting out a whimper at the feeling. “Shhh, you’re okay,” Magnus soothed, rubbing at his ribs, but it wasn’t pain Alec felt.

It was overwhelming how good Magnus felt inside of him. Yes, the stretch was greater than any he’d felt before, but the burn of the stretch was good. Alec could feel Magnus everywhere, and every point at which their bodies touched was like electricity. Alec whimpered and shifted, not because it hurt, but because it felt so much better than Alec had ever imagined. “Oh, oh, oh,” he exhaled in bursts, grinding back against Magnus since Magnus wasn’t moving. “Oh fuck.”

“You need a minute? We can stop and-“

Alec reached down to his ribs and grabbed Magnus’s hand, holding it tightly. “If you pull out of me, I might cry,” Alec gritted out, barely keeping it together as he shook harder. “Oh my God, if this feels this good, I’m going to come the second you move,” he panted, laughing weakly as he rubbed his face against the pillow. “Magnus, I- oh God!”

Magnus hummed against his shoulder blade, rolling his hip a little more after Alec’s exclamation. “You’re such a bottom,” he teased, but Alec couldn’t even manage a retort. Magnus’s cock was moving inside of him just enough that every time Magnus grinded into him, it brushed his prostate. “Are you okay?” Magnus asked and Alec nodded frantically, face still pressed into the pillow.

“Just don’t stop.”

Magnus didn’t stop. Instead, Alec was treated to sex unlike anything he’d ever experienced before. Magnus knew what he was doing, that was for sure, because Alec never got a moment where he wasn’t being assaulted by pleasured touches. Magnus’s kisses between his shoulder blades, his cock inside of Alec, his hands trailing over Alec’s skin only to lace with Alec’s hands beside his head after a while.

Alec was so raw and open he could feel Magnus’s shivers in his hands and knew he wasn’t alone. Magnus made love to him so passionately Alec thought he was going to cry at one point, only to whimper in protest when Magnus pulled out of him. Before he could voice his displeasure, Magnus pulled him upright, and Alec found himself sitting on Magnus’s lap, knees splayed wide as Magnus filled him once more from his position kneeling upright, arms around Alec. From that angle, it was deeper and harder, and Magnus’s hands splayed over his chest and his inner thigh, holding him close as he thrust up into him. Alec let his head fall back over Magnus’s shoulder, panting and moaning without any shame. Magnus sucked and licked at his throat, moving around so as not to leave another big bruise like he had more than once before, but it was no less pleasurable.

Magnus moaned praises and obscenities against Alec’s neck and Alec held onto Magnus’s forearm and the back of his neck as he craned to kiss him. Magnus kissed him sloppily, breathing hard from his thrusts up into Alec’s body. “Alexander, oh, I’m close, Darling, are you-“

“Harder!” Alec begged, voice hoarse. Magnus slid his hand from Alec’s thigh to his cock, and it was only a matter of time before Alec came. He cried Magnus’s name as he slipped over the edge, and Magnus’s hard, quick thrusts made it all the better as he came right on the backend over Alec’s orgasm, groaning right in Alec’s ear. Alec had never heard anything more beautiful than the wrecked, ragged sound of his name on Magnus’s lips.

Alexander.”

Chapter Text

Isabelle threw a fry at Alec and he frowned when it bounced off his cheek. “Earth to Alec, what’s got you all day-dreamy?” she asked.

“Probably his boyfriend,” Isabelle’s friend, Clary, cooed. “Izzy told me all about this guy you’ve been dating,” she said, and Alec ducked his head and smiled bashfully.

In reality, all he could think about was both last night and this morning. Last night had involved some really hard topics and some painful memories, but then Magnus had turned things around and shown him something he had no idea he’d been missing. After the sex they had, both of them had been exhausted and had barely managed to clean up before falling asleep, but in the morning, Alec had woken up to find Magnus watching him with the most adorably contented look in his eyes. After spending a little while exchanging admittedly sappy good mornings and kissing playfully, it had morphed into something more, and Magnus had made love to him again.

Now, Alec couldn’t get the image of Magnus’s honey-golden skin shimmering from the glitter that never seemed to fully go away in the morning sunshine, the way that Magnus’s brown eyes glowed in the sunlight, and the memory of the white and red lines he’d marked into Magnus’s back that took a few minutes to fade as they lay tangled together in the afterglow. He felt like a creep for thinking about sex while having lunch with his sister and her friend – while waiting for Jace to join them, no less – but the way Magnus looked at him after they shared so much more than just physical intimacy the night before made his chest tighten with the three words that had flitted through his mind more than once when he looked at Magnus.

“And he’s gone again.” Isabelle snapped her fingers in front of him, glaring playfully when he looked up at her. “Seriously, Alec.”

He rolled his eyes, shrugging. “I’m just a little distractible today,” he defended.

Isabelle made a face. “I don’t even what to know what Magnus did to you last night to make you this spacey today.” She nudged Clary. “Seriously, it’s been like four months, and it’s like the last few weeks something’s come over him. The first little while he seemed sorta casually into this guy, and then Magnus met us and he was really cool, but Alec wasn’t all sappy like this, and then now it’s like he just met the guy all over again.” She stopped, then gasped. “Alec, you’re not cheating on him with somebody else, are you?”

Alec glared. “No,” he said firmly. “I would not cheat on Magnus. I wouldn’t cheat on anybody, unlike that asshole Mel-“ Alec stopped, freezing when he realized what he almost said, but Isabelle just glared suddenly.

“Did you run into Meliorn last night?” she asked, and Alec ducked his head, nodding uncomfortably. She groaned. “Goddammit. I hate him. I really do. If he didn’t fuck so good, I’d dump his ass for good.”

Alec gave her a horrified look. “Izzy!”

She scoffed. “It’s just true, that man is better at sex than every other man I’ve slept with combined. It’s the only thing he’s good for, that cheating, lying sack of shit.”

Alec sighed, rubbing at his face. “Yeah, I saw him. Magnus was dancing with some guys and when he brought them to the VIP area with him to introduce them to everybody, I realized it was Meliorn there on a date with some guy when, last I heard, you two were dating again. That prick, out with somebody else when he’s supposed to be dating my sister,” he grumbled. “You’re way too good for him, Iz. He’s lucky I’m not still into the ‘kick the shit out of boys that hurt my sister’ thing from high school.”

“No, don’t hit him,” Isabelle said with a dismissive wave. “His pretty face is half the reason I like him.” She shrugged. “It’s okay. I don’t love him or anything, he’s just good in bed. As soon as I find somebody else that’s that good, he’s gone for good.”

“Ew, no, I arrived at the wrong time,” Jace said from behind Alec, and Alec gave him a helpless look, shoving the chair beside him out with his foot.

“Save me!”

Isabelle smirked. “Alec caught Meliorn with a guy last night when he’s supposed to be dating me again, so I explained that his pretty face and his excellent dick are the only things I like about him, so it’s not that bad.”

Jace groaned, dropping into the chair heavily. “I don’t want to hear about your sex life, Izzy. It’s bad enough Alec walked around with that massive hickey for days.”

Clary chuckled. “You better get used to it, because something has Alec all day-dreamy today.” She wiggled her eyebrows at Alec. “So tell me, is this guy hot naked, or what? Isabelle already said he’s really handsome, but what about his body?”

“No,” Jace said firmly. “We’re not talking about Alec’s boyfriend’s body.”

Alec blushed but grinned impishly at her. “Sorry, that’s for me to know and you to never, ever find out,” he said, then casually leaned her way. “But just between you and me,” he said in a mock-whisper, “He’s got bigger arms and better abs than Jace.” Jace spluttered and Alec shrugged. “Not a sex thing, anybody could see that if he wears one of his mesh shirts to dance at the club. He is very muscular.”

Clary made an intrigued sound while Jace indignantly denied the claims, giving Alec a moment to go back into his happy place of remembering how Magnus’s eyelashes cast shadows on his cheeks from the morning light coming through his bedroom windows.

~

Magnus had asked him to come with him to an event at a luxury hotel, where he planned to stay the night and then go to a brunch meeting the next day at an equally swanky place, the night after their emotional breakthrough, but Alec never stayed away from home two nights in a row, and Magnus didn’t need him for a professional date.

However, the night after that event, he did need him as an official date, so, while Magnus was either still at the hotel or at his brunch meeting, Alec went to his place to pick up the suit Magnus had ordered to be made for him. He felt a little giddy even going back to Magnus’s apartment, since the last time he was there, he had been with Magnus, spending the morning making love, and he couldn’t stop thinking about how Magnus might just feel for him the same way he felt for Magnus. It was a heady feeling to think that, for the first time in his life, he felt that word for someone in a romantic sense.

Alec realized he must be grinning like an idiot because, when he walked into the lobby, the doorman gave him a strange look. Alec just ducked his head as he disappeared into the elevator, shaking himself out of his emotional demeanor. He was a grown ass man, he shouldn’t act like a kid with his first crush in public.

It seemed weird when he got out of the elevator that Chairman Meow didn’t come running. Anytime Magnus wasn’t already home, Chairman Meow came running to greet Alec, or Alec and Magnus when they got home. He made a note to go look for the Chairman and check on him after he found his suit. He knew it was probably in Magnus’s bedroom closet, so he went there first. He found it hanging right on the door and took a moment to admire it. It was a light gray suit with a blue shirt and he was pretty sure he was going to look very nice in it.

Alec walked back into the living room, admiring his suit as he went, so he was startled into nearly screaming when he heard a voice. “Well aren’t you a pretty thing.” Alec looked up and was shocked, confused, and a little scared to see a woman standing in the doorway to the kitchen holding Chairman Meow. However, after his surprise faded, his eyes flickered over her appearance and his stomach tightened.

“Who are you?” he asked, voice hollow as he looked at her messy hair, slept-in makeup, and the lingerie she was wearing under Magnus’s silk kimono. He noticed now that he could hear the shower running and he realized exactly why the doorman had looked at him like he had.

He knew the woman who had already gone up to Magnus’s apartment hadn’t left yet and didn’t know why Alec was going up there, too.

She walked closer, holding out her hand. “Camille. I’m sure Magnus has mentioned me.” She tutted when he didn’t take her hand and looked at his suit. “Wow, that’s nice. Samir, huh? Magnus loves playing dress-up, doesn’t he?” she asked him. “Well, I won’t keep you,” she said, putting Chairman Meow down. “I was just on my way to the shower,” she said with a little wink. “I’d ask you to join, but, well, I doubt Magnus would like that little addition.”

Alec watched her, throat dry and tight, as she sauntered away. He heard her muffled voice after she shut the bathroom door, and he looked away as he tried to understand what was going on. He felt a touch on his ankles and looked down to see Chairman Meow rubbing against him affectionately. Chairman Meow looked up at him and meowed, pawing at Alec’s leg to try and get him to pick him up, but Alec just turned and walked back to the elevator, suit clutched so tightly the plastic suit-cover crinkled and stretched.

Chairman Meow followed him to the elevator and Alec watched him through the closing door as he sat and meowed at Alec, clearly wanting him to stop and play like he usually did.

Something about the door shutting and cutting off Chairman Meow’s meows was what finally caused the cracks to be complete, and Alec’s heart shattered. He wrapped his arms around the suit and closed his eyes as he leaned against the elevator door, gritting his teeth against the urge to cry that nearly overwhelmed him.

~

Alec looked at himself in the mirrored elevator doors and he hated that he and Magnus looked like such a beautiful couple. Magnus was wearing a black suit with a purple shirt that was the same cut as his suit, and he looked so handsome it made Alec feel sick to remember that he wasn’t the only one who had looked at Magnus today and thought ‘he’s so gorgeous’.”

“You seem so bummed, Alexander,” Magnus said, squeezing his hand with a warm smile up at him. “Don’t worry. It’s very chill. Have a few drinks, dance with me once or twice, eat dinner, laugh at my jokes in front of the people I’m schmoozing.” He grinned, tipping his face up to peck Alec’s cheek. “God, you’re so handsome in that suit,” he gushed. “I missed you all yesterday and last night and today and then you show up looking like this.” Magnus leaned his head on Alec’s shoulder for a moment, looking at their reflection in the doors. “The only time you’re more beautiful is when you’re naked,” he said with a flirty wink.

Normally, that would make Alec blush, but today he just forced a smile and squeezed Magnus’s hand. “Thanks. Samir did a good job for both of us.” The doors open and he cleared his throat, looking to Magnus. “Lead the way,” he said, and Magnus grinned, lacing their fingers together more tightly as he did so, immediately waving to someone the minute they got off the elevator.

Throughout the evening, Magnus was brighter and more vibrant than Alec was used to, which was saying a lot, and even Magnus’s acquaintances commented that Magnus seemed particularly happy and joked about how much he’d had to drink. Alec couldn’t help but picturing the woman – Camille – from Magnus’s apartment and feeling a wave of disgust when he thought about exactly why Magnus was so damn happy today. He could only imagine she was someone important to him for her to be such a mood lifter for him. Sure, she was hot, Alec guessed. She had the kind of figure most women seemed to want, and he assumed Magnus liked that kind of body. But Magnus was so cheerful and that was not something that came from a nice pair of tits, Alec was pretty sure. Alec knew she hadn’t been around for a while, because he would’ve noticed that. He figured she must be a girl Magnus had real, true feelings for that had come back into his life. It was all Alec could figure Magnus would risk his ‘if I’m not monogamous it’s pointless’ rule for.

Magnus hadn’t been that bright and happy the morning after their emotional evening together, Alec noted. So it clearly wasn’t just sex that had him all cheerful.

This morning, all Alec had wanted was to see Magnus again, because he was so sure that the way he felt might be reciprocated. Now, every time Magnus smiled at him, he saw Camille walking around Magnus’s apartment while Magnus waited on her in the shower and it made him want to run away.

When the night ended and they got into the car, Magnus exhaled heavily and turned to Alec. “I was so ready to leave like half an hour ago,” he said, laying his head on Alec’s shoulder. “The past twenty-four hours were annoying. That party wasn’t as fun as it was supposed to be, and there was a disturbance at the club, and I had to deal with a crazy ex of mine, and all I could think about was you.” He hugged Alec’s arm and turned to kiss his jaw. “You looked so sexy tonight, Alexander,” he said, pressing kisses from his jaw to his lips. Alec turned to kiss him, but when Magnus gave him a real, solid kiss, Alec tasted his lip balm and his stomach twisted as he wondered what Camille’s lipstick had tasted like. Alec turned his head, breaking the kiss, and took a deep breath, trying to get a hold of himself. “Darling?” Magnus asked, frowning slightly. “You okay?”

Alec nodded, smiling forcedly as he leaned in to peck Magnus’s lips again. “Yeah, Babe, I’m fine.”

“Mmmmm, I love when you call me Babe,” Magnus purred against his lips, sliding one hand up to curl around Alec’s neck. “I missed you. I know that sounds crazy, but I’ve wanted to kiss you again since the last time I kissed you. I can’t wait to get you home and out of this amazing suit.”

Alec kissed him, trying to lose himself in the simple pleasure. It was still part of their agreement to be Magnus’s boyfriend, and he was the one who let himself forget that agreement. However, when Magnus pressed a hand to his chest, Alec thought about how different it must feel from Camille’s decent sized breasts, and he turned away so fast that he gasped. “Alec?” Magnus asked, and Alec sighed heavily, ducking his head.

“I- I think I’m gonna go home,” Alec said in a small voice. “I don’t- I don’t feel so great.”

Magnus gave him a sympathetic look, curling a hand around his cheek. “I thought you were acting pretty strange today,” he cooed, tutting as he shook his head. “Oh, Darling, if you felt bad, why didn’t you just tell me? I would’ve let you skip tonight.” He pulled him into a hug, stroking his hair. “Make sure your brother makes you some tea, okay? That’ll help you feel better no matter what’s wrong.” He turned to his driver and raised his voice. “We’re taking Mr. Lightwood to his address first, then we’ll head to mine.”

“Yes, Mr. Bane,” the driver said, and instantly turned on his signal to turn.

Alec let Magnus pull him over until he had his head on Magnus’s shoulder, Magnus petting his hair and rubbing his neck soothingly, and it only made Alec want to cry again. No wonder he had convinced himself Magnus had feelings for him if this was how Magnus treated someone he wasn’t in love with. Magnus was just too kind, too caring, and too good, Alec realized. He wasn’t special at all, Magnus was just good like that.

When they got to his place, Magnus kissed his forehead before letting him leave. “Rest up, Alexander. I hope you feel better, soon.”

Alec didn’t have to fake his smile this time, though he was sure it was sad and strained. “Goodnight, Magnus.”

Magnus kissed him sweetly. “Goodnight, Darling,” he said, and then slid back into his car.

Alec found himself, once again, in an elevator, fighting the urge to cry because now he was sure he had read it all wrong. Magnus never felt more for him. Alec had just done the one thing he’d never thought might happen: he’d fallen for the man who was paying him to be his boyfriend.

Chapter Text

The next couple of weeks were hard on Alec, but he was good at keeping secrets. It was the one thing he’d done well for a long time now. He still went on dates with Magnus and he still went to hang out with Magnus, and he continued on as if nothing had changed.

But it did change.

Magnus noticed how distant he had gotten, and Alec tried not to be, but Magnus clearly saw it. However, Magnus was also, if nothing else, supremely understanding. He knew Alec had a rough life, so he let him be distant and just tried to make up for it. Looking at things from the other side, knowing now that it wasn’t Magnus falling in love with him, it wasn’t hard to see where he had been fooled into thinking he was. Magnus was just a good guy. It wasn’t his fault Alec had taken such kindness and caring as a sign of too much. Alec didn’t blame Magnus for his broken heart, because Magnus only ever treated him well.

And sometimes it wasn’t so bad. Alec knew that Magnus really didn’t have friends like Alec, so when he wasn’t thinking things like ‘God, I love you’ and being reminded of what he was missing, it was just like old times. He and Magnus had fun together, and it was nice. Sex was about the only time that Alec still struggled some, and that was just because, unlike Magnus, who had been with a lot of people, Alec had only ever been with a handful, and for him now, sex with Magnus was always more than just sex. He couldn’t shut off the part of him that felt more when they were having sex, and afterwards, he had to face the fact that it really wasn’t more.

The first few times they had sex after being reminded of what he was and who he was to Magnus, Alec had been forced to make excuses to get up and skip the ‘cuddling’ part because he was going to cry and he couldn’t do in front of Magnus. However, he got over that. It became easier to just tune out his heart and focus on the physical. Sex was still good, no matter how different of a meaning it had for him than it did for Magnus. All in all, Alec tried his best to keep from tipping Magnus off that anything was wrong.

Eventually, though, Magnus noticed, and when he did, he didn’t have any problems asking Alec what was wrong.

~

Alec had not had the best day. He was working hard to finish something by deadline at work when his boss called to let him know that he’d been given the afternoon off so he could go get ready for a surprise outing with Magnus. Magnus had called his boss before he even called Alec, and Alec was more than a little annoyed at that. Sure, he was free of consequences for missing the deadline, but he and his coworkers had all worked hard to try and reach that deadline, so it was frustrating.

On top of that, Max got in trouble at school that day, so he had letters from both his teacher and the principal about his behavior waiting on him, but Max was nowhere to be found, having gone out without permission to a fucking petting zoo because, of course, only his brother would skip out on punishment to go play with fucking goats. Alec had to get dressed while calling Max’s teacher to talk about his behavior, only to find out this teacher clearly didn’t know about Max’s parents being dead, because she started harping about how ‘I really would rather talk to his mother or father’ and when Alec said he was his guardian, she said, ‘well that explains it’, and Alec had hung up on her rather than risk accidentally calling Max’s teacher a bitch.

Magnus being far too cheerful when he arrived didn’t do Alec’s mood any good at all. Magnus’s praise for Alec and his affectionate touches and the gleam in his eyes when he introduced Alec just, because he was already feeling shitty, made Alec annoyed more than anything, and definitely not flattered. Some older woman gushing about how adorably in love new couples were, and how much she missed that feeling, and how Alec should really hang on to Magnus with a firm grip because he was the best man she knew, just made Alec want to punch something and simultaneously curl up in a ball and ignore the world.

When they finally got back to Magnus’s place, Magnus kissed him and started to go make them some drinks so they could sit and relax for a while, but Alec didn’t want to sit and relax, so instead of releasing Magnus, he pulled him into a deeper kiss. Magnus hummed excitedly at the new plan, and smirked as Alec guided them to the bedroom. Chairman Meow had been lounging on the bed, but when they came in he made an unhappy sound and ran from the room, so Alec shut the door behind them and guided Magnus to the bed. He stripped them both efficiently, wasting no time in getting them both naked.

Magnus started to catch on that something might be wrong and looked at Alec as he pushed Magnus onto his back and sat back, rolling a condom onto Magnus’s cock quickly. “Hey, Alec, slow down some. We’ve got all night,” he said, rubbing at Alec’s side, but Alec ignored him, grabbing the lube.

“But we don’t need all night,” Alec said simply and then, after slicking Magnus’s cock, crawled forward to straddle Magnus. He held Magnus as he started to lower himself down onto him, and Magnus grabbed his hips.

“Alec, you didn’t stretch yourself, that’s gonna- oh!” Alec knew it would hurt, but he simply tossed his head back as he slid onto Magnus, taking him deep inside him in one fast, rough slide. Magnus was clearly surprised by the move, but when Alec started riding him almost immediately, Magnus didn’t complain, obviously a little overwhelmed by how tight Alec was, especially as deeply seated as Magnus was from this angle. “Okay, shit, Alec, whatever you want,” he panted, eyes rolling as Alec rode him hard and without pause.

It hurt, and Alec wanted it to hurt. He was frustrated with Magnus and the world in general. His day sucked. He was angry at Max, angry at Max’s teacher, angry at that woman for reminding him how gone he was for Magnus. He was angry at himself, for getting into this entire situation. He was angry at himself for falling for the man who paid him to date him. Craig had been wrong, it wasn’t Isabelle that was a whore, he was the whore – almost literally.

He was angry at Magnus for making him love him at every fucking turn when he didn’t love Alec back.

Alec was so fucking upset that, because his body was just as much of weird and frustrating problem as his life was, he came pretty quickly even though it was probably the least enjoyable sex he had ever had. Magnus looked up at him with sex-drunken eyes after Alec came, taking him in like he was the hottest thing Magnus had ever seen, and it only made Alec angrier at his body for being so weird that painful, angry fucking still made him come like a teenager. He didn’t want to enjoy it, but his body sure had responded like he had.

Magnus’s expression changed some when he rode Magnus harder and faster, moving until his thighs burned, his lower back cramped, and sweat shimmered all over his skin. Magnus gritted his teeth as Alec clenched around him. “Alec, Darling, slow down. You’re going to hurt yourself-“

“But doesn’t it feel good?” Alec asked him, voice hoarse.

Magnus huffed out a weak laugh. “It feels fucking amazing, but you have to be over-sensitive by now, that can’t feel good to you-“

“Let me worry about that,” Alec said simply, kissing Magnus as he leaned over him. “Fuck me,” he groaned, rocking backwards onto Magnus’s cock. “Fuck me, Magnus. Fuck me harder,” he moaned, and Magnus looked at him in confusion, but Alec kissed him and his eyes shut again.

When Magnus came with a sharp cry, he buried his face in Alec’s neck, clinging to him, as he shook through the aftershocks. When he collapsed onto the bed, Alec lifted off of him quickly. Alec moved off of him, and his legs shook from the exertion when he stood. His body was screaming at him for the treatment as he went to the bathroom and cleaned up. He passed Magnus on his way out the bathroom, but he went to grab a pair of his lounge pants to put on, ignoring him. He could feel Magnus’s eyes on his back as he went into the bathroom after Alec left.

When Magnus came out, Alec was in the kitchen, making coffee. He really needed some caffeine if he was going to go home later and not fall asleep on the way there. Alec could feel Magnus watching him and ignored him. “Are we going to talk about that?” Magnus asked suddenly, breaking the silence.

“Talk about what?” Alec asked mildly and Magnus sighed.

“Whatever the hell that was just now.”

“Sex?” Alec asked, and Magnus walked over, grabbing Alec’s arm.

Magnus tugged Alec around and ducked under his arm, trying to hug him around the middle, only Alec turned away from him to reach for the sugar. “Alec, that hurt you. I know it did, I can see how you’re moving,” he said, and Alec couldn’t deny that he was sore, far worse than it ever had felt before.

“So. Why does it matter?” Alec asked, mumbling under his breath as he put sugar in his coffee.

Magnus huffed. “It matters because something is wrong and I’m worried. Alec, I let you do what you wanted, but I don’t feel good about having you hurt yourself during sex.”

Alec snorted, picking up his mug. “Why does it matter, Magnus? You didn’t hurt me, so it’s not on you.”

Magnus frowned. “Alexander, it’s on me because something is bothering you and I didn’t notice until you decided to fuck the shit out of me without any regard to yourself. Did I do something? I know I can be distracted sometimes, but I’m sorry if I did something to make you angry at me.” He scrunched his nose up. “Although, I’d think if you were angry at me, you wouldn’t want to make love at all.”

Alec sighed, deflating some. He rubbed at his face. “It’s not you I’m angry at,” he admitted, and it was true. He was mad at himself. His own stupid self.

Magnus slid his arms around Alec’s middle, hugging him. “Then what’s bothering you, Alexander?” he asked in a soft, gentle tone. He rubbed at his back slowly, looking into Alec’s eyes. “I feel like a pretty crappy boyfriend for not noticing earlier.”

Alec laughed humorlessly at the irony of his words. “But you’re not, Magnus,” he said a bit harshly. “You aren’t my boyfriend, so why does it matter?”

Magnus physically flinched back and Alec momentarily felt bad. “Alec, what’s going on?”

“It’s just the truth,” Alec said simply. He sighed, shaking his head. “Magnus,” he said in a more measured tone. “You aren’t my boyfriend, you’re the man paying me to date you. Yeah, we’re friends, but our relationship is based on an exchange of money for services. We’re not in a romantic relationship, we’re boss and employee who are also friends.” Alec shook his head. “So my problems are not your concern unless it keeps me from showing up when you need me to do the things I’m being paid for.”

Magnus looked at him with wide, confused eyes. “Alec… why would you say that?” he asked in a small voice, looking at Alec like he didn’t know who he was right now.

Alec just shrugged, holding his gaze. “Because it’s true.” Alec looked away finally, sighing. “Look, Magnus I-“ He stopped, shaking his head. “I have to go home. Max is in trouble for being a little shit at school and I didn’t get a chance to deal with that before going out with you tonight. I’ll talk to you later,” he said, walking past Magnus to go get his clothes and his things so he could leave.

Magnus didn’t walk him to the door. He just stood across the room, watching Alec leave with wide, confused eyes, like he didn’t understand why Alec was upset. And Alec knew he probably didn’t. It wasn’t fair to take all of this out on Magnus when Magnus had never done anything wrong. Magnus never promised him anything he didn’t deliver on. Alec had never had any reason to expect more than what they were, he had just gone there all on his own, and it was his own damn fault he was hurting like this now. Magnus didn’t do anything to deserve this or whatever else Alec might dump on him.

It was all on Alec.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t long before others noticed his and Magnus’s strange distance. He’d gone to the club with Magnus, to put in an appearance, and he didn’t dance with Magnus once. Magnus’s friends kept asking him what was wrong and Magnus just fully committed to dancing all night rather than coming to sit down with Alec and the others and deal with Alec. Alec couldn’t blame him. He hated how bad things were between them. It wasn’t Magnus’s fault and he felt guilty for that.

“Sugar, what’s got you and Magnus all out of whack?” Trinity, one of Magnus’s friends, asked, leaning forward to hand Alec a drink as she sat down at his side.

Alec sighed, shaking his head. “It’s nothing. Just- just things,” he said with a sad smile.

She rolled her eyes at him. “You better fix those ‘things’ then.” She looked out at Magnus, sliding her arm around Alec’s shoulder to lean her chin on his arm. “You see that man?” she asked, and he looked at Magnus, who was dancing and smiling with some people. “That man hasn’t ever been as bright and cheerful as he has these last few months.” She tapped him on the arm. “You’ve changed him.”

Alec thought about how happy Magnus was the day after spending a night with Camille and he rolled his eyes, downing his drink in one go. “Yeah, it’s all on me,” he said flatly, watching Magnus wrap his arms around the neck of some guy and grin while grinding on him. Normally, he wouldn’t care, but it just reminded him how many people Magnus was probably sleeping with besides him.

But Magnus wasn’t his boyfriend, so it didn’t really matter.

~

When Magnus and Alec left, slipping into the private hallway to go to Magnus’s place, Magnus didn’t look at Alec while they walked in silence, so Alec didn’t look at him either. When they got to the elevator, Magnus leaned against the wall across from him and finally looked his way. “Are you going home?”

Alec nodded. “Unless you want me to stay for some reason.”

Magus gave a bitter laugh. “Sadly, Alexander, what I want isn’t what matters, it’s what you want.”

Alec looked at him, raising an eyebrow. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“How the hell should I know?” Magnus muttered under his breath, pushing his bangs from his face as he leaned against the wall of the elevator.

Alec crossed his arms. “No, what is that supposed to mean?” he demanded. “I’m sorry I want to go home, I had work today and now I’ve been up like twenty hours, and if you don’t need me for something, why should I be here?”

“Why don’t you want to be here?!” Magnus cried, eyes wide, and when the doors dinged open, he stormed out. “I’m sorry, Alec. Ignore me. You don’t have to want what I want,” he said as he stalked into his apartment. “Just- just go ahead,” he finished in a softer tone as he walked over to the cat on the windowsill and picked him up, hugging him close.

Alec stared at him and groaned in frustration. “I don’t understand why you want me here, Magnus. You don’t need me and it’s late. You’re just gonna go to bed, so it’s not like we could hang out-“

Magnus turned around and Alec was shocked out of his frustration at the sight of tears in Magnus’s eyes. “Look, I’m sorry okay?!” Magnus whimpered. “I just don’t know why you don’t even want to be around me anymore. I know the feelings I have wasn’t part of our arrangement, but I didn’t expect that to happen. I thought you would still want to be my friend, though.” He walked over to the couch and sat down, visibly deflating as he hugged Chairman Meow to his chest. “I just- I trust you, and I don’t trust easy. I don’t know what happened so that for the past few weeks you don’t even like me anymore, but whatever it was, it sucks,” Magnus said heavily.

Alec sighed, rubbing a hand over his face. “Magnus.” He shook his head, walking over to sit beside him, looking at Magnus over the knees he had pulled to his chest as he sat, propped against the arm of the couch facing Alec. “It’s not your fault. I just- I read things wrong, I guess. I got confused about how you felt about me, and it’s not anything you did.”

Magnus pouted some, and it pained Alec to see one tear slip down Magnus’s cheek, that he quickly wiped away, smearing his mascara slightly. “If- it’s easier for you, we can just- just keep up the appearances of the arrangement. If you don’t want to come hang out with me, or sleep with me, or be my friend or whatever, because it’s harder for you to deal with things that way, just let me know,” Magnus said almost under his breath. He kept his eyes on Chairman Meow. “I know this isn’t what you signed up for.”

Alec thought about Camille and snorted. Actually, he had expected to be one of Magnus’s multiple sexual partners, so honestly, it was exactly what he signed up for. “It is what I signed up for. I just- I didn’t mean to let it affect me so much for your feelings to change. I really thought they were something else than what they are.”

“It’s okay,” Magnus said, giving him a sad smile. “You go home. We can talk another time. Just- just please continue our agreement? I like my reputation with you as my boyfriend.”

Alec nodded, patting Magnus’s knee as he stood up. “Of course, Magnus. I agreed to that no matter what.” He headed out, grabbing the jacket he had left on Magnus’s chair. “It’s not your fault.”

Magnus sighed behind him. “No, I didn’t plan on falling for you, that’s for sure.”

Freezing in his steps, Alec stared ahead of him, jacket dropping from his hand. His ears rang for a moment and he tried to work out any other thing Magnus could have said except what he thought he said. Alec turned around and Magnus frowned at him in confusion. Alec held up a hand. “You mean ‘for her’, right?” he asked and Magnus gave him a look as if he’d just said something in another language.

“What?”

“No, you ‘what’,” Alec said slowly. “What you just said doesn’t make sense.”

Magnus rolled his eyes. “Alec, stop this, you don’t get to act like you don’t know what I said when we just had this conversation-“

“We did not have that conversation,” Alec argued. “What do you mean falling for me?”

Magnus looked at him like he’d grown two heads, voice rising in volume. “What the hell did you think we were just talking about, Alec?! You’ve been so weird ever since we got too emotionally close, so you clearly know what I mean-“

“I’ve been weird because you were sleeping with other people after I had convinced myself you had feelings for me!” Alec asked angrily. “Why would you sleep with her if you were falling for me? I don’t care that you were sleeping with other people, I figured it would happen when I signed up for this, I just had fucked up and fallen for you and I was kinda hurt by finding out I wasn’t the only person you were screwing, which okay, it isn’t your problem, but why are you-“

Magnus huffed and stood up, dropping Chairman Meow on the couch. “Who the fuck do you think I’m sleeping with, Alec?” he snapped. “Having women around at the club doesn’t mean I’m fucking them-“

“The one that was here, in her underwear, and clearly slept here!” Alec shouted, gesturing to the apartment around them. “She was here the morning after our ‘morning after’ when I told you all that shit and you fucked me for the first time! I thought you felt the same way I did, and then I get here to pick up my suit and Camille was walking around practically naked and you were waiting in the shower for her, so why the hell would I think you had fallen for me when that happened?”

Magnus gaped. “Camille?! You think I’m fucking Camille?! I told you about my psychotic ex, well THAT is my psychotic ex!” Magnus cried, stalking closer to Alec. “How could you think I’d do that to you! And certainly not with her,” Magnus said, as if her name was too horrible to repeat. “She didn’t join me in the shower, what the fuck, I got home and she’d broken into my place and was waiting for me in her lingerie and I told her I would call the cops if she didn’t leave, and I had to physically remove her from my house, and I told you I had to deal with a crazy ex that day.”

“Yeah, right,” Alec said doubtfully. “You were so happy that night, you were giddy after spending the night and the morning with her, you were happier than I’d ever seen you and acting so overly cheerful, what else could’ve made you so weird? I went home that night because I couldn’t stand being around you when you were so happy because you got back with her, and it hurt that she made you so much happier than I did, because I had forgotten that I’m just the guy you paid to date you. I couldn’t take seeing how freaking bright she made you.” Alec deflated some, the fight leaving him. “I’m adjusting, Magnus, I’ll get over it, but don’t lie to me-“

“I’m not!” Magnus argued and Alec gritted his teeth, looking him in the eyes.

“Then why were you so damn happy after dealing with your crazy ex if not making up with her?” he asked more softly, looking Magnus in the eyes so he had to watch while he lied to him.

Magnus just shook his head minutely, big, beautiful brown eyes, shimmering with glitter still, boring into his own without any hesitation. “I was happy because I had gone a whole day and night without seeing you after a beautiful night together, and I had missed you, and now you were there, and I was excited because I realized I’d fallen in love with you.” He reached out, slowly, carefully, like he was afraid Alec wouldn’t let him touch him, and laid his hand on Alec’s cheek, stepping into his space. “I thought you loved me back, and then the past few weeks you’ve been so- so distant. And cold,” he whispered. “I thought you had realized how I feel and didn’t feel the same and it had ruined the friendship we had otherwise.” His eyes widened just a fraction as he looked right up into Alec’s eyes, bodies nearly touching. “Are- are you saying you- you have feelings- feel things for-“ Alec’s breath caught and, as he looked into Magnus’s eyes, he knew Magnus wasn’t lying to him. He interrupted with the only thing that he could think to say that adequately made up for what he had put Magnus and himself through.

“I love you, Magnus.”

Magnus’s eyes glistened and his breath caught in a sound so soft Alec could barely hear it, and then, in a blink, his face went from desperate to sporting a smile so big and so beautiful Alec’s heart felt like it was going to burst. “Oh,” he whispered, and Alec couldn’t help copying his smile. “Oh!” he said, laughing lightly. “Alexander, I-“

“I love you,” Alec said, pulling him into his arms. “I love you,” he repeated, leaning down to peck his cheek. “I love you,” he whispered, kissing his nose. “I love you,” he said once more, lips brushing the corner of Magnus’s eye. “Babe, I love you-“

“I love you, too,” Magnus blurted out and then tugged him into a kiss, on the lips this time, that Alec gratefully gave in to.

Magnus squeaked when Alec grabbed him by the waist and hefted him up, scrambling to get his legs around Alec to hang onto him as Alec turned and carried him towards the bedroom. Magnus moaned, clinging to Alec. “I’m sorry,” Alec panted against his lips as he lowered Magnus down onto the bed. “I was stupid, and I’m sorry-“

“No, no I fucked up,” Magnus soothed, shaking his head. “I’m sorry, too,” he said, tugging Alec on top of him. “But I don’t want to waste time on apologies.”

Alec grinned, kissing him again. “I can get on board with that.” Magnus beamed at him as he scrambled to push Magnus’s shirt up, and Magnus flipped them over, settling on Alec’s belly as he tugged his top off and then tugged Alec into a sitting position, moving back to tug Alec’s shirt off as well. Alec smirked and shoved Magnus backwards, making him squawk and then giggle at his own noises as he pinned him to the bed, their heads near the foot of the bed rather than up near the pillows. Alec took his time kissing a line down Magnus’s body as he slowly wiggled his jeans down his hips and legs. When he got to Magnus’s knees, Magnus shoved him back and furiously kicked his jeans off with a huff.

“Teasing isn’t fair,” he said with a pout and Alec just grinned and started trailing kisses down his calf, making Magnus twitch as the kisses tickled the hairs on his leg. “Aleeeeeeeec!” he whined, and Alec crawled back up over him, kissing him firmly. Magnus moaned against his lips, smiling when Alec pulled back. “Much better.”

Alec rolled his eyes. “You’re ridiculous,” he said, looking down into Magnus’s dark, warm eyes. He raised a finger to smudge the line of makeup that Magnus’s tears had left and frowned. “I don’t like it when you cry,” he said softly, and Magnus gave him a loving look that made his insides twist delightedly.

“Good thing you make me smile, then,” he said simply, sliding his hands down Alec’s back to pluck at the waistband of his jeans. “Wanna take these off?” he asked, voice dropping into a lower, more sultry tone, and Alec shivered before sitting up on his knees to go for the button of his pants. Magnus sat up, knees parted as he leaned in and distracted Alec by pressing his lips to Alec’s chest right above his heart. Alec’s pulse raced for a second at how much he adored such a sappy gesture, only to race again for an entirely different reason when Magnus smirked up at him and then flattened his tongue over Alec’s nipple instead.

“Oh, that was dirty,” Alec accused and Magnus just gave him a smug little wink as he slid his hand through the hair on Alec’s chest and his other hand around to Alec’s back as he pulled his chest closer to his mouth. Alec fumbled with his jeans and moved his hands instead of Magnus’s shoulders, gasping slightly at the sensation of Magnus licking his nipple. Unlike Magnus, whose nipples had no sensitivity whatsoever, Alec whimpered at the pleasure shooting down his spine. “Magnus,” he moaned softly, curling his hand around the back of Magnus’s head, careful not to tug his hair. Magnus turned and looked up at him, hands sliding down to rest on Alec’s waist.

Magnus gave him a smug little grin. “What’s taking so long with those jeans?”

Alec narrowed his eyes and then pushed Magnus back down onto the bed and hopped off in one athletic move, shoving his jeans and underwear down as he dug into the drawer for lube and a condom. When he came back, Magnus lay propped on one elbow, lazily sliding a hand up and down his body, from chest to thighs, occasionally giving a lazy rub to his erection, though he clearly wasn’t in any hurry to get things over fast. Alec crawled back up onto the bed – the both of them still on it the wrong direction – and pushed Magnus onto his back, propping himself over Magnus on all fours with a predatory grin. Magnus just wiggled his eyebrows. “I really like the look in your eyes right now, Darling.”

Alec slid his hand slowly down Magnus’s side and over his hip to his thigh, making Magnus shiver. “You’re gonna like it even more in a minute,” he said and Magnus just bit his lip, probably in attempt to be seductive, but he squirmed in anticipation, making it seem more desperate than seductive.

“I don’t doubt that, Alexander,” he breathed, and Alec kissed him instantly.

What had started out as such an emotional, dramatic moment led to surprisingly playful sex that Alec couldn’t remember ever having before, even when things were still good between him and Magnus. While stretching Magnus open, he got lube on the bottle, so when Magnus grabbed it, it shot out of his hands like a bar of soap in the shower and smacked Alec in the face, leaving them both laughing too hard to continue for a few minutes. And once he did get inside of Magnus, their eagerness led to Alec’s harder thrusts slowly scooting them towards the edge of the bed until they almost fell off, both of them shouting in surprise when they started to tip, and then laugh at each other when they stabilized.

Alec hadn’t danced at all, sitting in one place for several hours, and Magnus had danced all night to avoid sitting with Alec, so every time they started to get into it again, somebody got a cramp, and at one point, they had to take a break to just tease one another over how ridiculous people as young and in shape as them couldn’t even make love without injury.

By the time they actually found a position that worked, they were both tired, so everything slowed down until it was just deep, slow thrusts that made them both shiver. Alec looked down at Magnus, faces only inches apart as Magnus lay nestled among the pillows, legs around Alec’s body while Alec rested his elbows on either side of Magnus’s head, bodies locked together intimately as every single movement drove them both closer to the edge. Magnus’s fingers slipped against Alec’s sweat-slick skin as he used his hold on Alec’s side and shoulder to roll with every thrust, meeting Alec’s movements head on. Alec kissed him, tasting salt on his lips from their exertion. “Babe?” he murmured as Magnus began to tremble, and Magnus closed his eyes, rolling his head back into the pillows.

“I- I’m getting there,” he breathed. “It’s sooo good,” he moaned. “You’re rubbing your abs against my cock,” he said with a grin.

Alec grinned, pressing their lips together lightly, more a touch than a kiss. “Is that all?” he asked, giving a bit more of a snap of his hips as he thrust into Magnus, and Magnus tightened his arms and legs around him with a mewl of pleasure.

“No- no, you’re- that’s- your aim is impressive,” he whispered, eyebrows crinkling together as he bit his bottom lip and scratched slightly at Alec’s upper arm. “Alec.”

Alec could feel the desperation in Magnus’s trembling, grasping hands as he urged Alec along with the legs clenched around his sides. Alec himself was barely able to see straight, the pleasure was so intense. He had never been one for torturously slow, but as they continued on their slow, intense pace, Magnus began to gasp and scratch at his upper arms and toss his head. “Please, please, it’s too much, it’s too good, Alec, please, please make me come I love you, God I love you so much, Alexander, Darling,” he whimpered, and Alec knew exactly how he felt.

Alec felt like he was on the very edge of orgasm for minutes now and it was almost so pleasurable it was painful. “I love you, too, Magnus, Babe, I love you so much,” he said, kissing him sloppily. He kept up his slow pace for a few seconds more, until Magnus thrashed against him with a desperate cry. “Alec!”

With Magnus on the verge of coming, Alec snapped his hips into him, thrusting hard and fast, and Magnus’s cry became choked off and his body bowed sharply as he came, his mouth open in a silent scream. It only took a few hard, fast thrusts before Alec came with a hoarse shout, burying his face in Magnus’s neck as he came, hips stuttering into Magnus’s body, shaking as he emptied himself into the condom. Magnus caught his breath in a few wet, rough gasps as Alec still clutched at him, almost too tightly, and by the time he collapsed on top of Magnus, Magnus was moaning and shaking in the aftermath, too dazed by the pleasure still flooding his system to hold still or form words.

Alec tried to be gentle as he shifted his hips to pull out of Magnus, but he still whimpered. Alec rolled to the side rather than leave his heavy weight lying on top of Magnus, but Magnus didn’t seem to care as he just clutched at the pillow and pressed his legs together, eyes dazed as he looked at the ceiling. Alec lay beside him, staring up at the ceiling as well, panting hard like he had been running as he came down slowly. After a little while, Alec wasn’t sure how long, Alec reached out and found Magnus’s hand and Magnus welcomed lacing their fingers together between them on the bed. “Holy shit,” Alec finally managed, voice high and a little shaky.

Magnus managed a slightly hysterical giggle. “I might actually be dead, Darling.”

They both lay, catching their breath in silence, comfortable just basking in the afterglow side by side rather than bother to move to cuddle or clean up or anything. After a little while, Alec nodded slowly, the sound of his skin on the sheets catching Magnus’s attention so he glanced over at him to see him looking at the ceiling. “That was definitely more than seven minutes.”

It took a moment, Alec realized, but when Magnus suddenly burst out laughing he blushed some and looked over to grin at him. Magnus’s entire body shook with laughter and he finally rolled over, sliding an arm around Alec to press his head to Alec’s upper arm. Alec grinned, shifting his arm to curl around Magnus’s shoulders so he could slide closer and lay his head on Alec’s shoulder. “What? It’s just true.”

Magnus stifled his giggles in Alec’s skin and smiled up at him brightly, eyes crinkling at the edges. “I’m pretty sure I was coming for seven minutes,” he agreed, shaking his head. “That was just so random,” he said and Alec blushed with a shy smile. Magnus sighed, rubbing a hand up and down Alec’s belly. “Oh how I love you, Alexander Lightwood.”

Turning his head to press a gentle kiss to Magnus’s sweaty forehead, Alec sighed. “I know, I’m just too irresistible,” he said with a little shrug. “It’s a problem. Men can’t help themselves-“

Magnus snorted and swatted at him, making him grin impishly, losing his innocent demeanor. “You are where your baby brother gets it,” he accused and a warmth bubbled up in Alec at the thought that this was real. Magnus knew his family, Magnus knew his entire life story, Magnus knew all his darkest secrets, and he still loved him.

Alec twisted and pulled Magnus into his arms, hugging him close as he burrowed his way into Magnus’s arms. “I love you so much,” he mumbled, voice muffled by Magnus’s skin. “I wanted this so much. This- this feeling. I wanted you to love me like I love you and I just- I just-“ He exhaled, closing his eyes as he clung to him. “You’re my best friend and the thought that I was losing that broke my heart, and it’s so amazing that I get to keep you.”

Magnus kissed his shoulder and then the side of his neck, and then pulled back to kiss his lips. “I’ve never felt this way about anybody before, Alexander. You can keep me for however long you want. I want to know that every single day, I get to talk to my best friend and tell him I love him,” he agreed.

Alec exhaled, hugging him tighter. They lay together for a moment, quietly enjoying the comfort of each other’s arms, before Alec eventually chuckled. “This is so ‘Pretty Woman’,” he mumbled and Magnus snorted, squeezing him around the waist.

“Yeah, well, don’t expect me to climb any fire-escapes,” he murmured before settling back into Alec’s arms once more.

Chapter Text

Alec knew how ridiculous they looked, him walking with Magnus on his back through the park, a few steps behind Izzy, Clary, and Max, but Magnus refused to walk on the grass in his new shoes and sticking to the path would make it take so much longer. Magnus was heavy, and Alec’s muscles were sore from the night before, but Magnus was just so damn cute when he pouted and batted his eyes at him.

“Seriously, Alec, I’m wearing heels and you’re falling behind!” Isabelle called, and Alec stuck his tongue out at her.

“I’m carrying a grown man on my back, excuse me for being a little slow,” he said, hefting Magnus higher, hands under his knees.

Magnus just pecked his cheek. “You’re so strong and such a good boyfriend,” he purred and Alec rolled his eyes.

“I’m a sucker for a pretty face is what I am,” he said dryly and Magnus just snickered.

Max made a face. “Ew, I’m going on up ahead,” he said, taking off at a run around the next turn.

“DON’T GET KIDNAPPED!” Alec shouted after him, and Clary snorted.

“They’d give him back,” she said and Isabelle grinned.

“They’d pay us to take him back, even,” she said, sliding her hand into Clary’s. “Come on, Jace is working, we can piss him off by making him do the little foam designs,” she said, swinging her and Clary’s hands between them as they started towards the coffee truck.

Magnus hummed curiously and Alec followed his gaze to Clary and Isabelle’s fingers. “Alec, have you ever thought about Clary and your sister being… not just friends?”

Alec shuddered. “I never want to think about that ever in my life, thanks.”

Magnus sucked his teeth, smacking him in the shoulder. “Pervert, I didn’t mean that! I mean, they’re really close and they hold hands and Isabelle’s boyfriend is a dick. Any chance you could set her up with her lady friend instead?”

Alec chuckled. “Pretty sure Isabelle likes men even more than I do, but who knows. At least if she dated Clary she’d stop dating Meliorn over and over again.” He turned and pecked Magnus’s cheek. “Why don’t you hint and see what you find out,” he suggested, earning a devious grin.

“This is why I love you,” Magnus said decisively. “You encourage me in all things, even if it’s getting your sister to come over to my side of the spectrum.”

They caught up with the others as they were ordering – and demanding Jace make them little foam designs to the point he was going red from how hard he was glaring – and Alec tugged at one of Isabelle’s curls, making her yelp and kick him. “Leave him alone, he’s working,” he chastised and she scoffed.

“I’m not Max, you can’t boss me around,” she said, turning back to Jace. “A flower,” she said decisively.

Jace pointed at her with his marker with a nod. “A dick it is, then,” he said simply, writing down her order on her cup.

Alec sighed, rolling his eyes. “Jace.”

Jace grinned at him, then raised an eyebrow at Magnus. “Well hey there, Buddy, why do you have a really weird backpack?” he asked and Alec glanced at Magnus, having sort of forgotten he could put him down any time now.

Magnus just smirked and trailed a finger along Alec’s jaw, making him blush some when his nail scraped down his neck. “Alexander wanted a break from being the one who does the riding,” he purred in the dirtiest voice Alec had ever heard from him.

Alec spluttered, blushing. “Magnus! Max is right there!” he said, turning back to Jace, who looked horrified. Alec let go of Magnus’s thighs and he fell to his feet gracefully. “You’re terrible,” he said and Magnus just giggled, sliding his arms around Alec’s middle, ducking into his side.

“You love me anyways,” he teased and Alec rolled his eyes.

“God knows why,” he said, though he knew from Izzy’s cooing and Clary miming gagging at Max that he had to be giving Magnus that sappy look he knew he did sometimes. “Alright, alright, did you three all order?” he asked, pulling out his wallet. He turned to Jace, who pointed at him with the marker.

“I hate you, your boyfriend is disgusting, you don’t get coffee. Neither of you,” he said and Magnus just scoffed.

“I’ll give you a twenty-dollar tip,” he offered and Jace turned right back around.

“You both get coffee,” he amended and Alec just smirked when Magnus plucked Alec’s wallet out of his hand and dug out the credit card he’d given Alec to hand to Jace while Alec ordered for them both.

When they went to join the others at a table – after Magnus did as he said and tipped Jace very well – Alec sat down and immediately tugged Magnus into his lap, curling both arms around his middle. Magnus settled an arm around his shoulders and smiled down at him, pecking his lips in thanks. Alec rubbed at his side absently, stealing one more sweet, chaste little peck before letting him pull away, even though Magnus didn’t take his eyes off of Alec.

“Bleh, you two are sweeter than the gross crap Max orders,” Isabelle said, making a face at them. “You have barely talked about Magnus in weeks and now you’re two seconds from reciting love poetry in front of us,” she accused Alec, and he ducked his head bashfully. “What the hell happened to you two?”

Magnus winked at her, glancing to make sure Max was still waiting for their coffees, and Alec paled. “Magnus, no-“

“The best sex I’ve ever had, that’s what,” Magnus said proudly, patting Alec’s back. “I mean, we always have pretty good sex, but in the twenty years I’ve been having sex, that was a winner last night,” he said, and Alec whimpered, letting his face fall to Magnus’s chest with a thud.

“Magnus, why-“

Magnus tutted, petting his hair. “Because I love you, Darling, and she did ask, so it’s only right to be honest, lying is bad-“

“Please lie to her,” Alec begged, pouting up at him. “Babe, you just talked about my sex life with my baby sister-“

“She’s a grown woman and sees you naked almost as often as I do, she can suck it up if she wants to ask questions like that, at least I didn’t tell her that we swapped it up last night since you usually like to bo-“

Alec shut him up the best way he knew how, kissing him firmly. Magnus, predictably, melted, sighing as Alec’s lips caressed his. His hand came up to cradle Alec’s face and when the kiss slowed to a stop, he exhaled dreamily, eyes still shut when Alec opened his eyes. “Can you please stop embarrassing me just because you can?” he asked and Magnus opened his eyes, smiling softly.

“Anything for you, Alexander,” he said, stealing one more sweet little kiss. He sucked in a breath, sighing it out into a bright smile as he turned back to the table. “So, what’re you guys up to today?” he asked, and Alec smiled up at him, unable to stop staring at Magnus and thinking about how he was in love with such a fun, beautiful, incredible man.

It made him breathless every time he remembered that that man loved him right back.