His head thuds against the concrete as he slumps down, cursing mentally and wincing when some of his scales bend painfully with the fall. He knows his elbow is bleeding too and he kinda hurts all over because falling on your ass on a hard concrete is not pleasant under any circumstances.
And the rain only intensifies.
“Why this is… Alexander, you never cease to amaze me.”
Magnus’ voice is more surprised and cautious than angry or hateful, but Alec still doesn’t open his eyes, suddenly happy for the rain because at least it washes away his tears.
“Yeah?” Turning his head away from the direction Magnus’ voice came from, he finally allows himself to open his eyes, focusing on a dirty wall of the alley and feeling altogether achy and miserable.
“Alec, I cast a glamour on the entrance to the alley so that anyone walking by thinks there’s nothing but a wall here and so we don’t get interrupted, but I don’t really have any idea what else to do. Just… Alec, help me out here? What can I do for you now?”
And Alec chokes on his tears, finally turning to Magnus, who knelt down next to him and put a hand on his shoulder and Alec meets his eyes and there’s nothing but the usual love and support there and there’s nothing he can do but lift himself up on the bloodied elbow, not caring about the pain, and hide his face in Magnus’ chest, safe in his embrace.
Magnus doesn’t hate him.
It’s gonna be fine.
“Alexander, baby, you’re shivering. It’s cold and you’re laying on the ground, you’ll get sick. Is it fine if I lift you up and portal us home?”
Alec is shaking, and Magnus is sure it’s not all from the cold, so the weak nod against his chest is enough to gently tear Alec away from him and change his hold, putting one hand under his boyfriend’s back, Alec’s arms going around his neck, and another hand under his tail…
It still hasn’t quite sunk in, but really, Magnus has more important things to worry about right now.
Tail or no tail, Alec needs some TLC.
They step out of the portal into the living room and Magnus quickly conjures a blanket on the sofa because leather, as stylish as it is, has never been declared comfortable by anyone.
He gently lays Alec down, as reluctant as the Shadowhunter is to let him go, and grabs another blanket from where it’s carelessly thrown over the armchair that Magnus always reads in, draping it over the boy’s shoulders and tail that’s now curled into an impossibly small tight tangle of shimmery scales.
“Alec? Alexander, honey, are you alright? Do you need me to dry you? Do you prefer to get into the bath? Just talk to me, Alexander.”
And Alec looks at him with huge, wide eyes, something hesitant and sad in them that Magnus doesn’t want to see again.
“Do you still love me, Magnus?”
And Magnus’ heart breaks.
They meet in the most mundane of ways, really.
It’s the kind of situation Alec tries to not find himself in… ever. He’s alone in public, in a crowded shopping mall, unglamoured .
He’s decidedly not freaking out.
Maybe a bit.
But it’s Izzy’s birthday in a week and he has no idea what to get her and Jace is no help whatsoever.
So Alec is out shopping .
Oh sweet irony.
“Need some help?”
The voice startles Alec from where he is staring at some dress with a lost expression and he turns around and stops, because looking at him with amusement is decidedly not a shop assistant.
It’s the most gorgeous man Alec has ever seen.
And he’s talking to Alec.
Talking to Alec, the master of eloquence.
The man laughs and leans in closer to Alec, their breaths mingling or they would be if Alec wasn’t breathless, and then he whispers.
“You might have forgotten to glamour your runes.”
And Alec thinks shit but then then man winks and his eyes are golden and slitted like a cat for a second - warlock , Alec’s mind supplies - and they’re absolutely gorgeous and yes, Alec will have that takeaway with double glitter and no underwear.
“So, what were you looking for in the female section? You don’t seem like the crossdressing type, though who knows, I am not one to judge.”
Alec chokes, red in the face, but right there, he decides he wants that man.
“I, no… I’m just looking for a gift for my sister.”
Magnus smiles then, this time no longer predatory or teasing, just small and genuine and so soft and he extends his hand for Alec to shake.
“Well then, let’s get to know each other better. Magnus Bane. High Warlock of Brooklyn and your personal shopping assistant for today.”
Alec’s gone .
And that’s how it all begins.
For a repressed shadowhunter and a flamboyant warlock, their relationship is surprisingly free of drama.
They are seemingly so different, and yet deep down they agree on almost everything.
They go on dates that are so normal it’s almost possible to forget this whole supernatural world of shadows they live in, and they laugh more than they ever did before.
Alec is something Magnus thought he had lost before he ever had it.
Magnus is what Alec always wanted but never knew he could have.
They cuddle on the couch on the lazy Sunday afternoons they both have off, they go to the cinema and take strolls through the park. Once winter comes, Alec drags Magnus ice skating and finds out that in all his 400 years Magnus didn’t find time to learn that particular skill.
They are that average, disgustingly cute, normal couple.
And they love it that way.
They’re as normal as it gets.
Except for that part where Magnus can do magic and has cat eyes and Alec is an angelic warrior.
And the part where Alec always finds an excuse when Magnus wants to drag him into a shower or a bath or go swimming.
But it’s nothing and with Alec not really staying over that often, busy at the Institute as he is, Magnus thinks nothing of it.
Magnus is going through his weird nightly routine of hundreds of creams after the shower, and Alec is watching him from under the covers, full of wonder at this man, full of power and might, who could do it all with a snap of his fingers, who chooses to do it by hand instead, because it relaxes him .
Alec will never know what he ever did to deserve Magnus Bane for a boyfriend but it’s the best gift from the universe in his whole life.
He smiles at Magnus as the man finally turns away from the mirror and walks over to slide in next to him, immediately assuming his favourite position of being the little spoon. Alec buries his nose in Magnus hair, breathing in the sweet scent of sandalwood shampoo and relishing in the feeling of having his boyfriend in his arms after a long day.
Magnus turns, not allowing Alec’s embrace to loosen but shifting so that he can look at him and smile, getting lost in those hazel eyes.
“I’m so happy I met you, Alexander.”
And Alec smiles back, but instead of blushing or having a clever answer, he just leans in to whisper in Magnus’ ear.
“Your glamour has dropped.”
And he can feel Magnus tense in his arms before relaxing forcefully and when he looks again his eyes are brown and Alec can’t help but feel sad about it.
“No, Magnus, that was supposed to be a compliment. Don’t hide from me.”
And he thinks that he is so hypocritical about this, but this is not like his secret. And Magnus still hasn’t told him everything about his past, but this, this is the very essence of the warlock and Alec doesn’t want him to have to hide in front of him.
“I know… I know we still don’t know everything about each other. You have your secrets and I have mine. Things I’m not ready to tell you and stories you don’t want to remember. You’ve lived through a lot and you may not want to talk about it just yet, and it’s fine… But you shouldn’t have to hide those. Your eyes are beautiful, Magnus. You’re beautiful. I want you to be able to be fully yourself when you’re with me. Those stunning golden eyes included.”
And as Magnus’ glamour falls once again he can see that his words didn’t fall on deaf ears.
“What did I ever do to deserve you, Alexander?”
But Alec silences him with a kiss.
“I wonder the same. We deserve each other, Magnus. I love you.”
It’s easy, those three words slide off his tongue naturally, like they were always meant to be, like he had been saying them over and over for months now, and in nonverbal ways, he was.
It feels like barely a formality, and yet it feels important, it needs stating.
“I love you too, my Alexander.”
Magnus answers with equal ease and just like that, something settles between them, tying them together closer than anything and Alec knows no secrets will be able to tear them apart.
Alec finds out pretty early in their relationship that Magnus is the worrier. He demands regular check ins and acts as Alec’s shadow whenever he can.
Frankly, it’s quite cute.
It’s no different that day. Alec is sent on a solo hunt, and the moment he hits send, a blue tick informing him the message reached Magnus, there’s a familiar gentle shift of air behind him and he turns around with a smile, finding himself face to face with Magnus.
“I’m coming along.”
“Of course you are.”
That’s it. They just work like that, effortlessly, in sync, together . It’s not the first hunt Magnus joins him on. It’s a routine by now, it’s a dance. Alec’s bow and Magnus’ magic, together in a deadly harmony of power.
They are efficient and terrifying, and get a job done in no time.
It’s almost fun, as fun as killing demons can be. They are done and they just walk around, patrolling, but not very alert because it’s quiet, and demon activity has been generally low for a while now.
They walk hand in hand, Magnus’ magic in a protective bubble around them, ready to let them know if they need to pay attention, and neither of them having a care in the world, or seeing anything besides each other’s eyes.
High on adrenaline and warmed up by love, neither of them even notice the cold and it’s only after a demon screech draws them into an alley and they kill it that Alec realises just how much the weather has changed.
The scorching sun that was up when they left is long gone and heavy clouds now riddle the sky. The thunder reverberates and Alec’s heart skips a beat as he realises the storm is already there and there is nowhere he has to hide.
“Magnus, we…” He takes a deep breath, trying to now work himself into a panic attack and focus on finding somewhere to hide. “Magnus, we need to go.”
Magnus turns to look at him, confused and raises an eyebrow, ready to ask the question, but then the first drop falls and Alec chokes on his fear.
It’s too late.
“I don’t know why I am like that. I just… Just one day, you know, after I turned fourteen, just went into the bath and… well. It wasn’t long after I realised I was gay, you know? I thought maybe Raziel was punishing me.”
Alec’s voice breaks and Magnus puts down the towel that he’s been holding trying to dry Alec gently, running his hand through his boyfriend's hair instead.
“Alexander… My darling Alexander. There is nothing you should be punished for. This is just how you are.”
When Alec looks up at him his eyes are damp.
“I know that. I know that now. But I didn’t back then, I didn’t before… not before I met you I think. I have at some point made my peace with the fact I am gay but never really accepted it before I met you.”
He leans in to kiss Magnus, sweetly, slowly, with so much love and care.
“And it’s not something that happens to people every day, Magnus. It was hard. Merfolk don’t exist, not like that. Mermaids are monsters, I was something else, something straight out of a fairy tale. I was still myself, I just…”
“Had a tail?”
Magnus provides with a smile.
“Had a tail.”
Alec shrugs, his tone suddenly lighter, more relieved.
“God, Magnus, you have no idea how much it means to me, that you don't have a problem with that. That you can accept me that way. I know you would never reject me for it but... it's hard not to be afraid."
Magnus' eyes are full of sympathy as he caresses Alec's cheek.
"Hey, you're right. It must have been hard for you. But I'm here now. I'm here now for you. You will no longer have to hide, you won't be alone. Does anyone at all know about this?"
Alec shakes his head.
"I told Izzy I am gay and later Jace too, because we started dating, but not this. Not even Max."
"Oh my darling. You've been hiding all those years, so alone. Let me love you."
"Do you want me to dry it out completely with magic, so it disappears faster?"
"I..." Alec seems to hesitate. "No. Actually, it's kinda nice, you know? Like stretching long unused muscles. Do you know that feeling when you take off your shoes after a whole day of walking? It's a bit like that."
"How about we take a bath then? I know now why you never really wanted to join me in the shower before, so how does a long warm soak together sound like?"
Alec looked at him with wonder in his eyes.
"Will we even fit in the bath? I'm huge!"
Magnus laughed, loud and carefree, caressing Alec's tail and making the man shiver. He was truly a sight to behold, his tail as beautiful as the rest of him, long, slender and elegant, in very deep gold with a dark blue-green shimmer, reflecting light with Alec's every move and taking Magnus' breath away.
It matched Magnus' eyes, in a way, and it made the warlock inexplicably happy.
"Magic." He whispered, before lifting Alec up in a bridal hold and walking them both to the bathroom, magicking his own clothes off on the way causing Alec to blush and his face in Magnus' shoulder.
He enlarged the bath with a blink of an eye, filling it with steaming hot water, before walking in and lowering Alec next to him. The merman snuggled to his side, curling his tail around them and melting into the warmth, sighing contentedly.
By the Angel, Magnus regretted he didn't know about the tail before if Alec in a bath was something he's been missing on for the past year.
Alec hummed in agreement, not opening his eyes.
"Like I never was before."
And Magnus felt his shoulder getting damp from what was not bathwater.
When Alec was a toddler, he was the center of attention.
The firstborn, only child, always running around and bringing much needed fresh energy to everyone at the Institute.
He was always jumping and falling on his ass and laughing more than speaking.
(It’s not like Mom and Dad were high on the list of words he would have to speak. He just took care of himself, like toddlers tend to do when they have workaholic parents.)
Then, when Alec was a little bit over two, Alec got a sister.
She was soooo tiny but very adorable and she loved Alec very much even if she tugged at his hair a lot.
But then she got bigger and stopped tugging at Alec’s hair, instead picking her own verbal battles.
Alec and Izzy were brilliant together. They were always together, always smiling, always ready to help, to the point some people assumed they were twins. They did look a lot like twins actually, before Alec’s growth spurt hit.
And then, when Alec was eleven, he got two new brothers.
Max was tiny and breakable and Alec loved him but he was very afraid he would hurt him because he was so much bigger now that he got taller. But he often played with little Max when Max was laying on the bed and Alec was kneeling next to it and Max would grab his nose and make Alec make silly faces at him.
Jace on the other hand, Jace was Alec’s age and they got to train together.
But when Alec tried to talk to Jace, Jace would only answer in monosyllables and go somewhere to sulk. Jace was quiet a lot and so Alec decided to be quiet around Jace too and sometimes they would be quiet together until finally Jace started smiling at Alec, even if he still didn’t speak too much.
And then Alec was thirteen and Jace stopped being quiet and no one could even hear Alec over Jace and Izzy anymore, so he just rolled his eyes at them.
And then… Then Alec turned fourteen, and he got quiet himself.
He didn’t really want to speak or be with people or be himself.
Because when he was fourteen, Alec realised he liked to watch Jace train. He realised he like to watch other boys train and that he generally likes to watch boys when other boys like to watch girls.
And then, a few weeks after the terrifying realisation that he likes boys, he took a bath that changed his life forever and that took all the remaining will to speak away from him.
Alec is dozing off on Magnus' shoulder by the time the water starts to go cold, so the warlock stands up, taking his boyfriend into his arms again and emptying bath before stepping it out. He kisses Alec on the shoulder before drying him magically, watching in wonder as where the tail was are familiar muscled legs, all in a blink of an eyes, the moment of transformation quite unclear to Magnus despite the fact he saw it happen.
Alec nuzzles into Magnus' neck, and the warlock can't help but wonder at how relaxed he is, not waking up when Magnus puts him to bed and magicks his pyjama pants on, changing by hand himself before sliding in next to Alec and settling in to be the big spoon.
The tension that has come to be familiar, a permanent part of Alec he could never get rid off and Magnus had to accept, that tension is gone, Alec truly and really is sleeping soundly, feeling calm and safe for the first time in seven years, it seems.
Magnus wants to cry as he hugs him close, but even if bittersweet, they are happy tears, because even if it took years, Alec is finally free, finally himself, finally home.
And he's Magnus' .
Magnus is staring at Alec with a look of utmost betrayal, but his boyfriend walks over to him and gathers him in a warm embrace and all his fears melt away.
"It will be fine, Magnus. It's the same, just a thousand times more beautiful, trust me."
Magnus looks at him, biting his lip, and nods slowly.
After four centuries, he's not afraid of water anymore, quite the opposite. He's come to love water and swimming and he takes long baths and sometimes goes to a swimming pool or magicks himself one on the roof.
He actually had one permanently installed in one of the huge free spaces on the second floor of the loft once Alec moved in, to help with the tail situation. It was a lot more comfortable for Alec to swim there instead of squeezing himself into the small bathtub.
But even if Magnus Bane liked swimming now, he still wasn't a fan of open water. Seas, lakes, rivers , he thinks with a shudder, weren't really his thing. The water wasn't clear, there were no walls and the bottom could be treacherous.
And yes, it still brought out memories he tried to forget, even after four centuries.
But Alec, sweet, innocent Alec, with his huge, hazel eyes, with his blinding smile, his Alexander, of course, had to drag him out on holidays at the seaside.
Apparently, back when Alec was ten, and his parents still celebrated wedding anniversaries, they took him and Izzy on a cruise around Costa Brava and Alec got to dive with fish, which he loved, even back when he had legs, and now wanted to repeat.
And who would Magnus be to refuse his beautiful, amazing, perfect, stunning, handsome, caring...
Ugh, he was getting distracted.
Who would Magnus be to refuse his darling Alexander?