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Captain Alec Lightwood has a plan, and that plan involves sex.

Well, sort of, anyway.

Magnus wants to go slow, to take their time and not rush into anything, and Alec respects that, he really does. But between the everyday emergencies of Atlantis and his siblings’ complete lack of timing and chronic inability to knock, going slow has basically turned into going nowhere.

Alec has the hottest boyfriend in two galaxies, and he’s barely gotten him out of his shirt, let alone his pants. He wouldn’t say he’s going crazy with sexual frustration, but Teyla, Ronon, and Jace are the only people in Atlantis who are still willing to spar with him.

So, a plan.

Jace’s team is offworld. Izzy is sequestered in her lab and will be for the foreseeable future. Santiago and most of the rest of Atlantis are busy with the Daedalus coming in this afternoon. Alec traded weapons inventory with Major Branwell for Daedalus duty, and now he’s off duty for the afternoon. A whole afternoon to spend with his boyfriend, and no one will bother them.

He had considered doing something nice and romantic, like a few hours on the mainland or a picnic on the south pier. But that just means more opportunities for people to see them and need something from them, so instead he just shows up at Magnus’s door.

“Hey,” Magnus says, “I thought you were -” He doesn’t get any farther than that because Alec takes his face in his hands and kisses him. Magnus responds immediately, opening his mouth and letting Alec’s tongue inside, and grabbing his hips and pulling him close.

Alec maybe isn’t the only sexually frustrated one here.

Alec has the presence of mind to close the door before he backs Magnus into the room toward the bed, still kissing him.

“Alec, what -” Magnus pulls his mouth away from Alec’s when the back of his knees hit the bed.

“I got the afternoon off,” Alec says and refocuses his attention on Magnus’s throat. He nips at a spot he knows is particularly sensitive, and Magnus’s grip on his hips tightens. “Jace is offworld.” Alec pulls Magnus’s t-shirt off. “Izzy’s in the lab.” He leans down and licks at Magnus’s collarbone. “No interruptions.” He goes back for Magnus’s mouth, and Magnus gets with the program, kissing him back and tugging at his shirt.

Alec pulls back just far enough for Magnus to get his shirt over his head, then kisses him again. He loves Magnus’s mouth. Sometimes he thinks he will never get enough of kissing him.

But he has a plan, and it goes beyond making out.

With one last peck to Magnus’s lips, Alec drops to his knees and pulls on the waistband of Magnus’s thin sweatpants.

“Alexander,” Magnus says, “you don’t have to…”

“Magnus,” Alec huffs. “I want to.” He turns his face into Magnus’s groin, feels the hard length of him against his cheek. “Please,” he says into the fabric. “Let me.”

Magnus lets out a small groan and runs his fingers through Alec’s hair. “Yeah,” he says, and it’s breathy and quiet. “Yes,” he says, a little louder. “Okay. Alexander,” he groans when Alec nuzzles the bulge in his pants. Alec wants to be smug, but he’s too turned on, and too afraid that something will happen and take this away from him.

With that in mind, he pulls Magnus’s pants down and over his bare feet. Apparently Magnus doesn’t wear underwear just to lounge around in his room, so Alec finally, finally has Magnus naked in front of him. He takes a moment to look, to really look at how beautiful Magnus is, how perfect. Alec is dizzy with how much he wants this.

He looks up at Magnus, who’s looking down at him with a slightly worried expression.

“I’ve thought about this,” Alec says. “A lot.” He says it to reassure Magnus, but also because it’s true. He’s literally lain awake some nights thinking about Magnus’s cock. What it would look like, and what it would feel like in Alec’s mouth. And now he gets to find out. He gently pushes Magnus back so that he sits on the bed with Alec between his legs. Magnus’s eyes widen and his breathing speeds up.

“Alec,” Magnus breathes out when Alec licks the tip. That seems like a good sign, so Alec licks it some more, around the head and then from the base to the tip. Then he decides to just go for it and takes as much as he can into his mouth. Magnus groans and runs his fingers through Alec’s hair again, which Alec really likes, so he grabs Magnus’s hand when he goes to move it and puts it back on Alec’s head.

And oh, Alec likes this. He really, really likes this. Magnus’s cock in his mouth and his hands in Alec’s hair, gently guiding him to a rhythm that Magnus likes. He likes the little push, likes feeling surrounded by Magnus. Alec can’t take his whole cock, but he promises himself he will one day. In the meantime, he uses a hand at the base and his tongue on the head, and Magnus seems okay with it, if the way he’s groaning is any indication.

Alec’s jaw gets sore pretty quickly, and he has to pull off twice to give himself a rest. He pants through his aching jaw and scratchy throat, but he goes back again because he wants to make Magnus lose it and be damned with his jaw.

“Fuck, Alec,” Magnus groans, and his hands tighten in Alec’s hair and pull him back. “I’m gonna…” Alec understands. Swallowing is maybe an advanced move for his first time. He uses his hand, jacking Magnus tight and quick. Magnus’s eyes are squeezed shut, and his head is thrown back, and he’s so perfect. Alec seriously considers whether or not he’s going to come in his pants.

But then Magnus gasps and comes, and Alec has to watch every second of it. Magnus stripes his own chest with his come, and the sight nearly undoes Alec.

He pumps Magnus through it until Magnus gently pushes his hand away. He leans up and licks a bit of come off of Magnus’s chest.

“Holy shit,” Magnus says, “come here,” and pulls Alec up until he can kiss him, open-mouthed and hungry. It feels like Magnus is trying to take ownership of Alec’s mouth, and Alec wants that. Wants to give it to Magnus and more besides. If Magnus would just let him.

“Was that okay?” Alec asks when Magnus lets his mouth go.

“More than okay,” Magnus says. “Now get your pants off.”

It was a tactical failure not to take his boots off before now, and he wastes precious seconds untying them before tossing them across the room and taking off his pants. Magnus has scooted back onto the bed by that time, and he smiles and crooks his finger at Alec. Alec crawls on top of him and pushes him back into the pillow before kissing him again.

This whole naked and lying pressed against each other thing is awesome, Alec decides. And it’s even more awesome when Magnus reaches down and takes Alec’s dick in his hand.

“God,” he pants into Magnus’s mouth. This isn’t going to take very long.

His radio squawks from the floor where he dropped it earlier.

“Don’t,” Alec says when Magnus goes to take his hand away. “Don’t stop, please.” He licks Magnus’s lips, and Magnus goes back to jerking him off. It’s not long before he can’t even manage to kiss properly, just breathe in the same air as Magnus’s mouth. Magnus takes his bottom lip between his teeth and bites down slowly but firmly, and Alec can’t stop himself from crying out and coming.

When he can open his eyes, Magnus is smiling at him, and Alec drops down to catch his mouth again. Eventually Magnus pulls away just far enough to tilt his forehead against Alec’s.

That’s when Alec realizes that someone is still trying to call him on his radio.

“Maybe it’s important,” Magnus whispers. The words puff against Alec’s lips, and he has never wanted to ignore possible disaster this badly.

He groans and crawls halfway off the bed so he can grab the radio from the floor.

“This is Lightwood,” he says as he tucks it onto his ear and sits up.

“Captain Lightwood,” Colonel Sheppard says. “Could you please come to the gateroom immediately.”

Colonel Sheppard is using the tone of voice that he thinks sounds calm and rational but actually sounds like he’s going to start shooting people in .23 seconds, and Alec’s mind immediately goes to all the things that could be wrong. Fuck, he’s stupid. There are no attacks from orbit, but someone could have infiltrated Atlantis through the gate. A part of the city could have failed or malfunctioned. People could be trapped. People could be dying. He’s off the bed and grabbing his pants as he replies.

“Yes sir, what’s going on?” Alec asks. He braces to hear the code words they’ve developed for exactly this situation.

“General Lightwood is here and would like to see you,”

Alec freezes, one leg in his pants and one out.

“What?”

“You heard me.”

“What is she doing here?” Alec asks, and can’t even be bothered at his lack of respect.

“Captain, I couldn’t tell you,” Sheppard says, and that is definitely his shooting people voice, and Alec should probably go make sure that the person he shoots isn’t his mother.

“I’m on my way, sir,” Alec says and frantically starts looking for the rest of his clothes. Magnus stands and starts dressing too.

“What’s going on?” he asks, looking ready to get down to the business of defending Atlantis or saving people. If only what was coming would be that easy.

Alec tightens his thigh holster and tries to tell himself that he won’t actually need any weapons. He looks at Magnus.

“My mother is here.”

***

They get to the gateroom just in time to hear Dr. McKay yell, “Dr. Lightwood is running a very sensitive experiment! She can’t just leave it unattended because you snap your fingers!” He crosses his arms and glares at the dark-haired woman in front of him. “Unless you want zombie Wraith hybrids shambling around Atlantis, you’ll just have to wait.”

Alec’s mother opens her mouth, probably to say something nasty and cold to Dr. McKay, but Sheppard sees Alec and Magnus and says loudly, “Oh look, here’s Captain Lightwood now.”

It has the desired effect of diverting the General’s attention from Dr. McKay, but that unfortunately means that all of General Maryse Lightwood’s attention is firmly on Alec.

He’s suddenly very aware of his hair - wild from Magnus running his hands through it, and his lips - do they look as swollen and bruised as they feel? He watches his mother take in his appearance, from his hastily-buttoned shirt, to the scar on his arm from the sand snake, to the tattoo crawling up his neck from when he passed Lomai warrior initiation on M5Y-237, and he feels all of ten years old again.

“Ma’am,” he says, saluting because she’s in uniform, even if it’s just fatigues.

“Alec,” she says, and waves her hand to indicate an informal talk, but doesn’t smile. “Where can we talk that’s less …” she looks around the gate room of the City of the Ancients like it’s a particularly grody subway station, “crowded,” she settles on.

“Mother,” Alec, says, deliberately not gritting his teeth. “I’d like you to meet a member of my gate team, Magnus Bane.” He looks around for Santiago, but he must have made himself scarce. Smart man.

“Nice to meet you, ma’am,” Magnus says and holds out his hand. Maryse looks at it but doesn’t take it, then looks up to study Magnus. In her defense, Magnus stands out. With his haircut and the spoils of his black market cosmetics deals with Izzy, he looks more likely to go to a rave than an offworld mission. But he’s wearing standard Atlantis BDUs and carries his weapons with easy familiarity. He has, Alec notices, a small bruise just above the collar of his shirt in the shape of Alec’s mouth.

“And what do you do, Magnus Bane?” Maryse asks.

“Mother,” Alec says in the tone of voice that has been known to send Genii running without firing a shot. It doesn’t work on her, of course. He learned it from her. “Magnus was Ascended, but chose to retake human form and fight the Wraith.” Magnus smiles. Maryse looks unimpressed.

“As I was saying,” Maryse says, dismissing Magnus entirely. “A place to talk?”

Alec is saved from having to reply by Colonel Carter.

“Captain Lightwood,” she says, “Captain Wayland’s team is late for their check-in.”

Crap.

Alec keys his radio. “Santiago, gear up and get to the jumper bay. We’re going after the ducklings.”

“Got it, Captain.”

“Magnus, go get -” behind Maryse Dr. McKay is shaking his head and waving his arms. Right. He told Maryse that Izzy couldn’t be interrupted due to Wraith zombies.

“Take Teyla,” Sheppard says. “We’ll inform Dr. Lightwood when she comes up for air.”

“Your funeral, sir,” Alec mutters.

“Jumper 5 is being prepped,” Carter informs him. “We’re ready to send you as soon as your team is assembled.”

Alec looks at Magnus. “See you in 10?” Magnus nods and takes off at a jog. He turns back to Sheppard. “Tell Teyla -”

“Ahem.”

Everyone pauses and looks at General Lightwood.

“Colonel Carter,” she says, “I’d like to accompany Captain Lightwood on this mission.”

Motherfucker, Alec thinks and clenches his fist by his side.

“Ma’am, I’m not sure that’s a good idea,” Carter says.

“Apparently one of my sons is in danger,” the general says sharply. “Besides, it will give me a good opportunity to see how things are run around here.”

The implication is clear: it’s not a request, it’s an order. And if General Lightwood doesn’t like how things are run around here, there will be hell to pay.

***

M9X-109 is supposedly uninhabited, but Alec takes the jumper through cloaked anyway. He takes it above the trees and hovers, then closes his eyes and reaches for Jace with the bond.

“Alec, what are you -” his mother asks.

“I need to concentrate, please,” he says. The last fucking thing he needs is his mother trying to tell him how to do his goddamn job.

“He is searching for Captain Wayland through the sibling bond they share,” Teyla says softly. Alec can’t interpret the sound his mother makes, but he has more important things to worry about.

“He’s alive,” Alec says. He can feel Jace, alive, conscious, alert. Worried, but not terrified. Jace can tell he’s on planet, so Alec sends out a formless question. If they could communicate through words or pictures, then this bond would be really useful.

He gets back a jumble of emotion, and because he’s now done this more than a few times, he has little problem pulling out the important parts. Relief, mostly. And an imperative that Alec interprets as ‘come quickly, but be careful.’ So probably not being suffocated or slowly crushed to death by an Ancient trash compactor, then.

“They’re not far,” he says when he opens his eyes. This part of the planet is heavily wooded, and Alec skims the treetops as he heads in Jace’s direction. “They’re -”

“Captain!” Teyla says suddenly, “I sense Wraith!”

“Shit!” Santiago says, then, “sorry, ma’am.”

Readings pop up on the HUD in response to Alec’s thoughts. Since Treviso, Ancient technology has been more responsive for him and no one can figure out why. “The jumper isn’t detecting an ships in atmosphere or on planet,” he says. “Teyla, can you tell how many? Or how close they are?”

“Close, I think,” Teyla says. “Getting closer. Like they are coming straight towards us.”

“They’re following Jace,” Alec says, certain.

“No ships, no darts, small band. It’s a hunting party,” Magnus says grimly.

“They have found another runner,” Teyla says, equally grim.

“Of course they have,” Alec mutters.

***

Alec sets the jumper down in the first clearing they see. In the thick tree cover, they won’t be able to see Jace’s team or the Wraith from the air.

“Stay ready, but try not to shoot our people,” Alec says. He can feel Jace making the slight adjustments needed to come straight to him. Adrenaline and fear have drowned out relief through the bond. “They’re not more than two klicks away. We’re heading straight southwest.”

“We should hold this ground,” the general says. “It’s less risky and we can use the jumper’s drones as back up.”

Alec counts to five in his head. “That assumes they make it here before the Wraith catch up with them. They’re tired. They might have injured. We need to meet them as fast as possible. Ma’am.” He holds the general’s gaze. This is his team, his mission. His brother. Now is not the time for this.

She nods.

“Let’s go!” Alec says.

He’ll say this for this mother: even after years spent mostly behind a desk, she can still keep up.

He sets a pace that will cover ground but won’t leave them too exhausted to fight if they have to run more than planned.

“Magnus,” he calls out. “Do you think you can hold them?”

“I can try,” Magnus calls back. He drops his P-90 to keep his hands free.

Alec can feel Jace getting closer. “Everyone get ready!”

He sees Lt. Fray first, her bright red hair an easy beacon through the trees.

“Hold!” he tells his team.

“Captain Lightwood!” she yells.

“Get behind us!” he says, and lifts his P-90 to shooting position. From the corner of his eye, he can see Santiago, Teyla, and the general do the same.

Behind Lt. Fray is Raj, and behind him, Jace and Sgt. Garroway, supporting someone between them. Behind them, Alec knows, are the Wraith, even if he can’t see them yet.

Fray sprints through the space between him and Magnus and immediately turns and lifts her P-90.

“Magnus, get behind me,” Alec says. “Fray, take his place in the line.”

“Alec,” Magnus says.

“You’re going to be too busy to shoot,” Alec snaps. “Stay behind me.”

Raj reaches them and doubles over to catch his breath. “It’s one male and four drones,” he gasps out.

Alec can see them now, and they’re gaining on Jace and Garroway.

“Magnus, Fray,” he growls, and they scramble to do as he says. “Jace!” he yells. “Come on!”

The seconds stretch out, and Alec is sure they aren’t going to make it, but then they put on a final burst of speed and dive past Teyla. The Wraith are almost on them, and Alec says, “Now!” and blue light stops the Wraith in their tracks as Alec’s team starts shooting.

Two of the drones go down quickly, but the others must have fed very recently because they stay upright.

“I can’t hold them much longer,” Magnus says.

“Get back,” Alec tells him, because he’s almost out of ammo and doesn’t have time to change his magazine, and then the blue light goes out and the male leaps for him. He manages to drop his P-90 and pull his knife, but a burst of gunfire from behind him finishes the Wraith off. Alec glances behind him to see Jace, covered in dirt and still staring at the Wraith, making sure it won’t start moving again.

“Thanks,” Alec says. It’s quiet, which must mean that the other Wraith are dead too.

“Anytime, brother,” Jace says, and lowers his weapon.

“Everyone okay?” Alec asks and looks for Magnus. He’s crouched on the ground a few feet behind Alec, getting his breath back. A quick glance shows everyone is alive and conscious, and Alec breathes a silent sigh of relief.

Sgt. Garroway has propped up the runner against a tree and is kneeling down beside her. Alec’s first impression is that the Wraith are getting crueler, because this is a child. On second glance, she’s probably only a few years younger than Alec himself, but she’s slight, and probably hasn’t eaten well in months. One foot is bare and the ankle is bruised and swollen. Alec kneels down besides Garroway.

“More will come,” the runner is saying.

“We know,” Alec says. “Hopefully we’ll be gone by then. Our ship isn’t far. Think you can make it?”

“I can make it,” the runner says. Alec and Garroway pull her to her feet. She’s clearly in a lot of pain and trying to hide it.

“I’m Captain Alec Lightwood,” Alec says to distract her.

“I’m Maia,” she says. “Let’s go.”

***

In the end, Sgt. Garroway carries Maia piggyback so they can get to the jumper faster while Jace gives Alec the rundown of their mission.

“...so her plan was to let the Wraith have us and try to escape in the aftermath,” Jace explains.

“I said I was sorry,” Maia snaps.

“You know, it just doesn’t quite ease the sting of almost being eaten by a Wraith,” Jace bitches back.

Alec holds up his hand. “Enough. Let’s just get Dr. Keller to get that tracker out.” He drops back a little so he can walk next to Magnus. “Are you doing okay?”

“I’ll be fine. Just need a little nap.”

Alec bites his tongue to keep from asking if he wants company for that. Instead he scrubs his hand through his hair and says, “This really isn’t how I thought this afternoon would go.”

Magnus laughs softly. “Me neither. I guess we’ll have to do afterglow next time.”

Alec can’t help the goofy smile that spreads across his face at the thought of there being a next time. “Yeah,” he says. “Whenever that will be.”

“Well,” Magnus says, “maybe tonight after debrief we can -”

“Alec!”

Alec flinches at his mother’s bark. She makes an impatient hand gesture that indicates Alec should join her.

“We’ll catch up later,” Magnus says, and Alec really wants to kiss him, except they don’t do that on missions. Instead, he reaches out to brush their hands together, and then jogs to catch up with his mother. She doesn’t look pleased.

“Is this what missions are always like here?” she asks.

“No, ma’am,” Alec says honestly. “Most of the time things go wrong.”

She grimaces in surprise and displeasure, but then they reach the jumper, and they’re too busy getting everybody on board and calling Atlantis for her to say anything else.

***

Isabelle wants to know why they didn’t bring her back Wraith corpses, Dr. Keller wants Maia and Magnus in the infirmary, Colonel Carter wants a debrief, and the general wants a serious conversation.

Alec wants to know where his day off went.

He had planned to check on Magnus after debrief, but his mother catches his eye, and he’s apparently done all the avoiding of this conversation he can.

Since she lacks an office in Atlantis to properly dress him down in, they go to his room.

His room in Atlantis is small and plain, lacking all personal touches because he doesn’t spend much time here. His tablet is in Izzy’s lab, his e-reader is in Magnus’s room, his bow and quiver at the gym.

“I’ll get straight to the point,” she says, as if she ever does anything else. “It is time for you to come home.”

Alec blinks at her. “You came all this way, you literally traveled to another galaxy to tell me you want me to come home?”

“I suppose I can understand why you felt like you needed to come here, but that necessary deployment is over. I cannot fathom why you’ve chosen to stay here in this backwater run by commanders not fit for the title. You can do so much good, Alec.”

“I’m doing good here,” Alec says. “Did you know that Izzy has a prototype of a non-addictive serum that speeds up healing she derived from Wraith enzyme? Can you imagine the good that will do when it passes trials and is distributed to hospitals?”

“I’m not talking about Isabelle. I’m talking about you.”

“Who do you think killed the Wraith?”

“You may be content to let your career stagnate out here, but I -”

“Stagnate? Mother, I just received a commendation. Colonel Carter and Colonel Sheppard want to fast track me to Major. My career is fine, so why don’t you tell me what this is really about?”

The general presses her lips together into a thin line and breathes out through her nose. “Fine. Your father’s polls are troubling. His opponents have made some accusations of character that he’s having trouble shaking. His re-election could be in danger. Your family needs you home, Alec.”

“I’m not his campaign manager,” Alec says, crossing his arms and leaning back on his desk. He knows he’s channeling Colonel Sheppard and doesn’t bother stopping himself. “What do you expect me to do?”

“Don’t be naive, Alec. You’re a hero, and while you’re here you’ll get no recognition for it.”

“I get all the recognition I need here,” Alec says flatly. “You mean you and Dad won’t get recognition for it.”

“I mean that you can use your position to help restore our family’s name and honor so that your father can help people. People on Earth. Your people.”

“And how am I supposed to do that?”

“By showing that we’re a family that prioritizes values and service, and by helping us make alliances with others so that your father can get things done in Congress,” his mother says. She could be talking about his military career, but he doesn’t think so.

“Alliances?”

For the first time, his mother hesitates. “The Blackthorns have money and influence. They also have…”

“A daughter,” Alec finishes for her.

“Yes,” his mother says.

“You can’t be serious.”

“A wedding shows our commitment to values and ties the Blackthorns to us. Not to mention how well you’ll look in the press photos. Strategically timed, it could win the election for your father.”

“And it’ll only cost me the rest of my life.” He thinks maybe he should have expected this, but instead he’s completely blindsided. He wonders if she’s already told them he’ll do it. His mother rolls her eyes.

“Dispense with the melodrama, please. It’s to your advantage too. There are doors that will only open for you once you have a wife.”

“So you’ve told me. Repeatedly. But you’ve never asked if they’re doors I want to go through.”

It’s been simmering all day, but now his mother’s anger finally breaks through. “And what would you rather?” she snaps. “Staying here? In obscurity? To play house with that … that alien?”

And he’s blindsided again. Guess that takes ‘figure out how to come out to my mother’ off my to-do list. All he can think to say is, “He’s human, actually.”

“You’re not even from the same galaxy,” his mother sneers.

“So is your issue that he’s a guy or that he’s from Pegasus?”

“My issue, as you say, is that this dalliance could destroy the career you’ve spent your entire life working for, as well as the reputation of this entire family.”

It’s the dismissive way his mother says ‘dalliance’ that pushes him from confused and angry to just angry. He pulls himself to his full height.

“If this family’s reputation is so fragile that it can’t handle me being who I am and dating who I want to date, then maybe it wasn’t all that great in the first place. Now if you’ll excuse me,” the door to his room opens so fast it screeches and his mother startles, “I have work to do.”

“Alec -”

“Enough. This conversation is over.”

He stands, fists clenched at his sides, for a few long minutes after his mother leaves. He wants to hit something, or maybe scream. He’s spent his whole life trying to live up to his parents’ expectations, but it seemed like every time he reached their goal, they would just invent a new one. In their eyes, he will never, ever do enough, and he knows this. He knew it and it was one of the reasons he came to Atlantis. And the fucked up thing is that there is still a part of him that wants their approval. Still a stupid, idiotic part of him that wanted to be able to introduce Magnus to his mother and have her accept him, accept Alec.

So fucking stupid.

When he feels like he can move without breaking apart, he leaves his room and goes to the infirmary. He can’t think of anything to do except find Magnus. Alec just wants to hear his voice.

But when he gets to the infirmary, Magnus is sleeping. Alec stands in the doorway and watches his chest rise and fall under the blanket. He has eyeliner smeared on his cheek, and his hair is soft and falling over his eyes. He’s so beautiful it hurts, and Alec gets angry all over again at his mother for trying to make him ashamed of this.

“He’s going to be fine,” Dr. Biro says softly, stepping up beside him. “You can go sit with him if you want.”

“Nah,” Alec says. “He needs his rest.”

“So do you, Captain,” she says and steps away.

She’s probably right. Alec is exhausted. Just one more minute.

A hand settles on his shoulder. “You wanna tell me what that was about?” Jace asks.

Alec considers. “You got any of of Zelenka’s moonshine left?”

“That bad, huh?”

This was really, really not how he wanted to spend his day off.

***

“They want you to WHAT?”

“Izzy, do you mind,” Alec hisses. The Lightwood siblings are gathered around their table in the Atlantis mess, and Alec is already regretting doing this here, but he needed coffee to combat the aching head that comes from a little too much moonshine.

“Tell me you said no.”

“Of course I said no. Jesus.”

“There was a time you would have done it if they asked,” Izzy huffs. “I just wanted to make sure.”

“Me and Izzy will talk to her,” Jace says. It’s nothing he didn’t say last night, but now he has Izzy nodding in agreement.

“Thanks,” Alec says, “but I don’t think it’ll help.”

“You don’t know that,” Izzy says. “Maybe if we -”

“She thinks I’m letting my career stagnate in obscurity to play house with an alien,” Alec snaps. “So no, I don’t think anything you or Jace say will make a difference.”

Izzy pales. “I’m sorry, Alec.”

Alec shakes his head. “She can’t make me do anything. Unless she plans on blackmailing the president, she doesn’t have the authority to reassign me.”

The conversation stalls, and they look at each other in growing horror as they realize that this is something General Lightwood would definitely do if she could.

“Morning,” Magnus says, sitting down beside Alec. He looks between them. “Something I’m missing?”

“Hey,” Alec spins in his chair to face Magnus, his knees brushing Magnus’s thighs. “How are you feeling?” He runs one hand over the curve of Magnus’s skull and back up, letting the short hairs bristle against his palm. They try not to do PDA much, and Alec isn’t normally all that comfortable with it, but with his mother’s words repeating themselves in the back of his mind, he’s running out of fucks to give.

Magnus raises an eyebrow at him but doesn’t comment on it. “All better,” he says. “Checked out and ready to go. What’s with the faces?”

“Our mother.” Alec grimaces and turns back to his breakfast.

“Problems?” Magnus asks, his tone deceptively light.

“No,” Alec says.

“Alec,” Izzy says.

“No, Izzy. I won’t let her run my life -”

“Hey.” They’re interrupted again. This time, when Alec looks up, it’s Garroway, holding a tray for a lost- but belligerent-looking Maia, struggling along with a pair of crutches. “Mind if we sit?” Garroway asks.

“Go ahead,” Alec says and ignores the glare Izzy sends him.

“How are you feeling?” Magnus asks Maia.

“These things are stupid,” Maia says once she’s in a chair. “I can’t believe you live in the city of the Ancestors but the best you can do is ‘walk with two sticks instead of one.’”

“Well, we could have left you with a Wraith tracker in your back on a planet with no medical care whatsoever, but we didn’t,” Jace says.

“Jace!” Izzy says. “We wouldn’t do that,” she says to Maia. “I’m Isabelle, by the way.”

“Hi.” Maia smiles beautifully at Izzy and then turns and scowls at Jace. “The rest of your people are much more courteous than you. You’re rude.”

“I’m rude?” Jace says.

Magnus laughs softly, and even Alec feels his lips twitching. Jace probably deserves to come up against someone he can’t charm.

“Room for one more?” And there’s Fray. Magnus makes room for her on his other side. For the first time in probably ever, Jace seems not to notice Fray’s presence, too busy bickering with Maia. Fray watches them go for a minute, then shrugs and turns to her food.

There’s still an hour before their morning briefing. “Wanna get out of here?” Alec asks Magnus softly.

Magnus reaches out and touches Alec’s knee under the table.

“Sure.”

***

He really meant to just tell Magnus about his mother without all of Atlantis offering their opinion. But when they get to Magnus’s room, he realizes that no one expects them anywhere for an hour, and everyone else is still at breakfast. He barely lets the door close behind him before he pulls Magnus to him, slouches down so their lips line up perfectly and kisses him.

Magnus makes a happy sort of humming sound into his mouth and melts into it, his weight pressing Alec back against the door. He wraps his arms around Magnus’s waist and pulls him closer, their legs slotting together. He feels Magnus’s fingers snag in his belt loops and pull his hips tight against Magnus’s own.

And that’s good. It’s so good Alec moans a little and hitches his hips against Magnus’s, trying for some friction.

Magnus pulls his mouth away from Alec’s, and Alec involuntarily follows his lips with his own, trying to get them back to where he needs them.

“Not that I wouldn’t rather be doing this,” Magnus says. “But I have a feeling you need to tell me what happened with your mother.”

Alec sighs and hugs Magnus close to him for another moment, just enjoying the feel of his body against Alec’s. “I know,” he says into Magnus’s shoulder.

He lets Magnus go reluctantly and sits on the end of Magnus’s bed while Magnus perches on the chair at his desk. He explains for the third time what his mother has come to Atlantis to demand of him. “Obviously I’m not going to do it,” Alec assures Magnus when he’s done.

“I know,” Mangus says. “We’d be having a very different conversation if you were.” Magnus goes quiet for a moment, his expression serious. When he speaks, he doesn’t say what Alec was expecting. “How are you doing with her knowing about you? About us?”

“Honestly,” Alec says, “I’m glad it’s out there but I wish …”

“That she accepted you?”

“That she still loved me,” Alec says.

“Alexander, I’m sure she loves you - even if she has a terrible way of showing it,” Magnus says.

Alec shakes his head. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so angry. So disappointed.”

“Maybe she’ll come around. Give her time.”

“No,” Alec says. “She’s had time. She wasn’t surprised. She knew. Not just about me, but about us.”

“I didn’t think we were that obvious,” Magnus says, eyebrows raised.

“We’re not, I don’t think. I don’t know why I didn’t consider this before, but I’m sure she has someone here spying for her.” Alec sighs. Of course she does. She wouldn’t trust her children to report back to her faithfully. She’d want to make sure.

“Spying?” Magnus says, alarmed.

“Uh, not in a particularly sinister way,” Alec says. “But it was the same at the Academy. I never found out who it was but she always knew the stuff that only cadets would know.” Alec shrugs. “I said I didn’t want to hide, and I meant it. Actually, despite everything, I’m a little relieved I don’t have to tell her. Is that stupid?”

“Of course not,” Magnus says. He moves to crouch in front of Alec, resting his arms on top of Alec’s thighs. “Can she make things difficult for you?”

“Professionally? Not without damaging her own plans. Personally?” Alec shrugs. “She’s my mom.”

“I’m sorry, Alexander.”

“She has to go back to Earth soon, and then she’ll be back to trying to make my life miserable through e-mail again. I just have to make it till the Daedalus leaves.”

Magnus smirks up at him, then shifts his weight up and over until his knees are on either side of Alec’s hips and he’s straddling Alec’s lap. “Anything I can do to ease your frustration?”

Alec grabs onto his hips and tilts his head up. “I can think of a few things,” he says as Magnus leans down to takes his lips in a deep kiss.

When Magnus slips his tongue into Alec’s mouth, Alec slides his hands to Magnus’s ass and pulls him close. The pressure feels so good he does it again, and then Magnus gets the hint and starts grinding his hips down into Alec’s on his own.

“Shit,” Alec has to pull away from Magnus’s mouth to gasp because he’s gone from zero to hard in just a few seconds, and it suddenly feels like oxygen is in short supply. Magnus moves to kiss just under Alec’s jaw and follow the black line of the tattoo down to the collar of his t-shirt.

“Magnus.” Alec fumbles for the zipper of Magnus’s pants, because he’s pretty sure he can come like this, and quickly, but he doesn’t want to do it in his pants.

The hands that were clutching at Alec’s shoulders push him back until he’s lying on the bed with his feet on the floor, and Magnus is flushed and glassy-eyed above him, still moving his hips in a way that is going to push Alec right over the edge embarrassingly quickly.

“Fuck,” he breathes

“Alec,” Magnus whines. He folds over Alec’s chest, seeking his mouth again. “I need…”

“Yeah,” Alec says against Magnus’s lips, his hands on Magnus’s ass urging him along. “I got you.” Alec gives up on his pants as a lost cause.

The door chimes.

Magnus stops his hips and lifts his head.

“Maybe they’ll go away,” Alec whispers. The door chimes again, and then again.

“Alec!” his mother says.

Alec’s head thumps down on Magnus’s blanket. “Well, fuck,” he says.

Magnus is already scrambling off him and the bed and zipping up his pants.

Alec gives himself time for one deep breath before he gets up. His mother’s voice has pretty much taken care of his erection, so he straightens his clothes as best he can and opens the door.

From his mother’s expression, ‘as best he can’ isn’t enough to disguise what they were doing. Alec does not particularly care.

“Mother,” he says. “Do you need something?”

“I need to speak with you,” she says.

“I think we said all we needed to last night.”

“Alec, please.”

Alec sighs. He turns to Magnus. “I’ll see you at the briefing?” Magnus waves his hand, shooing Alec, and more importantly General Lightwood, away.

“Alec, it’s the middle of the day,” his mother snaps as soon as the door closes.

“It’s none of your business,” Alec says, “so I don’t see why the time of day matters.”

“Of course it’s my business! Everything you do reflects on this family! Did you know, when I couldn’t find you, I asked, and a marine told me to check that Descended’s room!”

“And you found me,” Alec says flatly. “Guess that marine was well-informed.”

“Alec, if you want to … do whatever it is you do in there, in private, well, I suppose that’s your choice. But to go around flaunting it! Everybody on this base knows!”

Alec stops dead in the middle of the corridor.

“Yes, Mother. Everybody on this base knows. Not because we’re ‘flaunting’ anything, but because it’s a small base and people gossip, and most importantly because we’re not trying to hide anything and we have nothing to be ashamed of.”

“How can you be so naive? You may think because this base is classified, it will stay here -”

“I don’t think that. And I don’t care if it doesn’t. Now, I have a briefing to get to.”

“I’ll -”

“If you care about my career so much, you need to stop undermining my authority.”

The general closes her mouth and her lips thin. Alec is right and she knows it.

“Mother, I am gay. And I’m not going to marry the Blackthorn girl, or any girl. And I am with Magnus. And all of those are just facts that you are going to have to deal with. I suggest you start now.”

He leaves his mother in the corridor and goes to his briefing.

***

Alec finds Jace waiting for him outside the gym after his lessons with Teyla that afternoon.

“What’s up?” Alec asks him. He can feel some minor conflict seeping through the bond.

“Raj is going back to Earth,” Jace says. He falls into step with Alec. “He got some offer with a private corporation. Very lucrative, according to him.”

“Okay, so you’re going to have to replace him?” Alec doesn’t understand the conflict coming from this. He knows Jace’s team got along with Raj fine, but they weren’t particularly close. Of course replacing a team member is never easy, but that’s a frustration, maybe, not a conflict.

“I think I’m going to ask Maia,” Jace says.

“The Maia you’ve spent the past 24 hours arguing with? The one who tried to feed you to a Wraith?”

Jace shrugs. “It wasn’t a terrible plan, you know, objectively.”

“Jace -”

“She’s tough. She’s smart. She doesn’t want to go back to her home planet. I think she could be an asset.”

“I don’t disagree,” Alec says. “But you’ve only known her for a day, and you don’t get along.”

“We’ll work it out.”

“If you’re sure, then you should ask her,” Alec says. Jace brightens, like he was only waiting for Alec’s approval, and the conflict Alec feels through the bond lightens.

“Thanks, brother,” Jace says, pats Alec on the shoulder, and jogs off.

Alec rolls his eyes. He has training schedules to sign off on and a vague plan to find Magnus and finish what they started this morning, but all of that is pushed back when Colonel Carter calls him on the radio.

“Captain Lightwood, can I see you in my office, please?”

“On my way, ma’am.”

***

Alec’s not quite sure what he was expecting in Colonel Carter’s office, but it definitely wasn’t Colonel Carter and Colonel Sheppard looking grim. He mentally reviews every mission and action for the past two weeks, but finds nothing that would put that look on both their faces.

“Ma’am. Sir,” he says and stands straight and still inside the doorway. “You wanted to see me?”

“Have a seat, Captain,” Carter says.

Alec sits on the edge of a chair warily and waits for the dressing down he assumes is coming.

“Captain, Magnus came to us earlier today, very upset. He said you think General Lightwood has a spy in Atlantis?”

Alec blinks, then relaxes slightly. He should have made sure Magnus understood; of course he was upset.

“I”m sorry,” he tells Carter and Sheppard. “I think Magnus misunderstood what I was saying. I didn’t mean she’s spying on Atlantis. I meant that she does this. To me and Jace and Izzy. She always had someone reporting to her when we were all at boarding school, and when Jace and I were at the academy, and when Izzy was at Hopkins. If I thought the security of Atlantis had been compromised, I would have come to you right away, ma’am.”

Carter and Sheppard exchange a look that Alec can’t interpret, but neither of them looks particularly reassured. Sheppard raises his eyebrows and tilts his head in Alec’s direction. Carter sighs.

“Captain, when you were first assigned to Atlantis, we were worried. Do you know why?”

“No, ma’am,” Alec says. He remembers the distrust Sheppard had initially regarded him with, and had assumed it was due to Sheppard’s personal relationship with his mother. Of course he would distrust the son of a woman who tried to have him court-martialed.

“We were worried that the Trust had finally succeeded in getting a spy here.”

Alec freezes. “I’m sorry?”

“We asked Magnus to keep an eye on you. He was very insistent you were trustworthy after your first mission together. We know you’re not a Trust sympathizer, Captain.”

Alec is caught for a moment on the fact that Magnus had apparently been spying on him. He remembers very clearly his first few weeks in Atlantis, how Magnus’s attention had seemed like some kind of warm light shining on him. Alec hadn’t known what he’d done to attract it, but he’d basked in it all the same. Maybe he hadn’t done anything to attract it. Was everything a lie? Every goddamned - No. Alec forces himself to take a deep breath. Magnus wouldn’t go that far, not when he’d told Carter and Sheppard what they wanted to know months ago. He has to believe that.

He drags his thoughts back to the matter at hand.

“But why -” Why in the world would they think he was spying for the Trust?

“General and Congressman Lightwood were well-known Trust sympathizers, back in the day,” Carter says.

“They … what?”

“You didn’t know,” Sheppard says.

Understatement, Alec thinks, but still can’t bring himself to speak.

“They denounced the Trust several years ago and gave evidence against them,” Carter says. “But with the recent resurgence of Trust ideologies, we’ve been worried.”

Alec is barely listening. All he can think about is the way his mother told him it was his responsibility to help restore his family’s reputation. How she thought his love life would bring them shame, and not the fact that his parents had been part of a criminal organization. The genuine disgust in her voice when she called Magnus an alien.

“...so if you have any idea who could be passing information to General Lightwood, it’s imperative that you let us know,” Carter finishes.

“I will,” Alec says. He notices that his hand is clenching the material of his pants so hard his knuckles are white. He concentrates on relaxing it, finger by finger. “I’ll find out who’s doing it, and I’ll put a stop to it,” he promises, looking back up at Carter and Sheppard. Sheppard is looking at him neutrally, but Alec can tell he’s satisfied. Carter looks at him with sympathy.

“Captain, we would never ask you to work against your own mother.”

“I won’t let anyone compromise the safety of this base or the people in it,” Alec says. Carter nods.

“Thank you, Captain.”

Alec leaves Carter’s office in a daze. He has so many things to do. Find a spy. Talk to his mother. Tell Jace and Izzy about what’s going on.

But there’s only one thing he really wants to do.

He goes to find Magnus.

***

“Alexander,” Magnus says when he opens his door to Alec’s chime. “I’m sorry. I -”

And he does look sorry. Almost like he’s worried about nothing else since he spoke to Carter and Sheppard. Alec doesn’t care.

“I don’t care,” Alec says.

Magnus’s face falls. “I’m sorry.”

Alec reaches out and tips his chin up before kissing him, hard. “It’s okay,” he manages to get out between kisses. “It was the right thing to do.”

Magnus kisses him back equally hard, wrapping his hands around Alec’s neck. “But -” he says.

Alec finally pulls back just enough to tip their foreheads together. “Seriously, Magnus, I’m not mad. And we can talk about it later, but right now I really need you to fuck me.”

Magnus sucks in a breath, and Alec watches his eyes widen and then become very intent. Before he can say or do anything else, he’s being spun around pushed back onto the bed. He bounces once before he pushes himself up on his elbows. Magnus is just looking at him, practically devouring him with his eyes, and Alec feels it like a touch.

Alec scrambles to untie his boots, because he can learn from his mistakes, thank you very much. He tosses them across the room and doesn’t care very much where they land. Magnus kneels between his legs and runs his hands up his thighs, carefully undoing his thigh holster and setting it aside.

“Are you sure?” Magnus asks, but his fingers are on the buttons of Alec’s pants, and Alec’s ability to think in complete sentences is dwindling rapidly.

“Fuck, Magnus, I’ve been sure. Please,” he pleads.

“Okay, I’ve got you,” Magnus says and finally undoes Alec’s pants, tugging them and his boxers down and off. He leans over the ammo box by his bedside table and pulls out a tube of infirmary-issued lube. Alec has one just like it, though probably more full. Alec flushes when he thinks of how the lube has been used.

Magnus runs his hands back up Alec’s legs until his thumbs are brushing the inside of Alec’s thighs. “I want to taste you,” he says, his eyes dark and his voice raspy.

Alec can only make a strangled sort of groan, which Magnus takes as encouragement and leans down to swallow Alec to the root.

“Fuck!” Alec can’t help the way his hips snap forward, but Magnus rides it out, taking Alec’s dick and then starting to suck when Alec’s hips settle back down. It’s so overwhelmingly good that Alec is afraid he isn’t going to make it to the actual fucking part. “Magnus, I -”

Magnus hums a little and his finger, wet with lube, reaches back and circles Alec’s entrance.

“Shit! Magnus, I’m gonna -”

Magnus pulls off and uses one hand to hold Alec tight at the base of his cock while the finger of his other hand rests against Alec’s entrance. “Okay?” he asks.

“Just, uh, give me a second,” Alec pants. He closes his eyes against Magnus’s gaze and does missile trajectory calculations in his head until he feels like he’s not 2 seconds from coming. “Okay,” he says when he opens his eyes. Magnus smiles at him, and Alec smiles back helplessly.

Still smiling, Magus gently pushes his finger into Alec to the first knuckle. Alec chokes on the breath he was taking. “Okay?” he asks again. Alec nods, and Magnus keeps going.

Alec can’t explain it. He’s done this to himself before, but this is nothing like he’s ever experienced. Maybe it’s the simple fact that it’s Magnus, that a part of Magnus is inside Alec, that makes it so overwhelming.

“More,” Alec groans. Magnus adds a second finger. Alec is just getting used to it when Magnus pulls both fingers out, and Alec whines at the loss.

“Scoot back,” Magnus says. “And take off your shirt.” Alec almost tears his t-shirt pulling it over his head, then moves back until he reaches Magnus’s pillows. He looks up in time to see Magnus kicking off his pants. Magnus naked is still new and still glorious, and at some point Alec is going to take his time looking. Some point later, when he’s not burning up with need.

Magnus tosses the lube onto the bed and then climbs on himself. Slowly, without looking away from Alec, he lifts Alec’s legs and pushes his knees back towards his shoulders. Alec’s face is hot, but he can’t look away. He’s exposed and vulnerable and there’s a part of him that just wants to hide. But there’s another part of him that just wants Magnus’s fingers back inside of him, and that part is winning.

“Magnus, come on, please,” Alec says.

“Fuck, Alec. You have no idea what you’re doing to me.”

“You have no idea what I’m going to do to you if you don’t fuck me really soon.” Alec meant it to sound at least sort of intimidating, but instead it sounds like pleading, and Alec can’t be bothered to care because Magnus picks up the lube and promptly puts two fingers back inside of Alec.

“Ffffuuuuuu -” Alec cuts off when Magnus finds that spot that makes colors explode over the back of his eyelids, and his mouth is open but he can’t get any sounds out. He wants to push back against Magnus’s fingers, but he can’t get any leverage like this. He can only grip his knees until he feels his nails digging into his skin while Magnus makes him see stars. Magnus adds a third finger, and that’s more than Alec usually does to himself, and the stretch burns a little, but it only makes him harder.

“Magnus,” Alec manages to choke out, “please, I need -”

“I know,” Magnus says. He pulls his fingers back slowly, and Alec groans at the slide and the empty feeling. A few seconds later, Alec feels the head of Magnus’s cock resting against his entrance. Magnus guides Alec’s legs up and over his shoulders. “Deep breath,” he says, and Alec obeys. When Alec breathes out, Magnus presses in.

Magnus is watching his face, either waiting to see if it’s too much or just cataloguing what he looks like as Magnus fills him fuller than he’s ever been. It hurts, no getting around it, but it’s not the worst pain Alec’s ever felt, and no other pain has ever been so intimate, so enticing, so Magnus.

Magnus pauses when he’s fully inside Alec, waiting for him to adjust, but Alec doesn’t want to adjust. He wants to feel everything and he wants to feel it now. “Magnus.” He uses the little bit of leverage he can get from Magnus’s shoulders to lift his hips. “Magnus, fuck me.”

Magnus’s hips stutter a bit, and it’s the first sign that he’s not completely in control. “Alec, I -”

“Come on, please.” Alec barely recognizes his own voice. It’s rough and wrecked, and it’s apparently exactly what Magnus needs to hear because he pulls back and snaps his hips forward, and Alec keens.

“Alexander, fuck, you feel so good,” Magnus says. He has Alec practically folded in half, and Alec knows he’ll be feeling it tomorrow and he doesn’t care, because Magnus is fucking him hard and steady and Alec has never felt this good. Then Magnus shifts slightly, gets a slightly different angle, and it’s stars again. Just a few more thrusts that hit that spot, and Alec comes with an incoherent moan.

When the room stops spinning, he looks up at Magnus. He’s wild-eyed and trembling and perfect. “Come on,” Alec whispers. Magnus fucks into him, no rhythm now, his thrusts getting shallower and more erratic. “Magnus, come on,” Alec says again. Magnus makes a small choked-off sound and does.

***

Later, after Alec realizes that he’s really not as flexible as his lust-addled brain told him he was; after Magnus cleans them up as best he can; after they kiss until they’re both breathless, Magnus pulls the blankets over top of them and settles his head into the hollow of Alec’s shoulder.

“Alexander,” Magnus says, “I need to tell you why I -”

“I already told you,” Alec says into Magnus’s hair. “You did the right thing. I didn’t realize my parents were…” he trails off, unsure of how to even vocalize the betrayal he feels. “Not trustworthy,” he finishes.

“I know,” Magnus says. “But I also wanted to explain why I agreed to keep an eye on you in the first place.”

In the end, after everything he learned in the conversation with Carter and Sheppard, the fact that Magnus had been supposed to spy on him had rated pretty low on things Alec was worried about.

“They obviously couldn’t ask Izzy,” Alec says. “They couldn’t ask Santiago to report on a superior officer. You’re observant and had an objective perspective. It makes sense.”

Magnus traces a finger along Alec’s collarbone. “I spent months listening to Isabelle talk about you, you know,” he says. “She was so excited for you to be here, and I was excited to meet you. I didn’t think the man she loved so much would knowingly support an organization like Colonel Carter described. After I felt your energy when you helped me with the shield, I knew there was no way you would betray us.”

“Thank you,” Alec says. It means a lot to have gained the trust of someone like Magnus. Alec won’t take it for granted.

“What are you going to do now?” Magnus asks.

“I’m going to take a nap,” Alec says, “and then I’m going to convince you to fuck me again.”

Magnus snorts out a laugh that tickles Alec’s chest. “I don’t think it’ll take much convincing. I meant about your mother.”

“I know.” Alec sighs and brushes his hand through Magnus’s hair. “I’m going to find whoever she has spying for her. Then I’m going to confront her about the Trust and tell her she can’t use me to fix her and Dad’s mistakes. Then she’ll go back to Earth.”

“And will you be okay?”

Alec wraps his arms around Magnus’s shoulders and hangs on.

“Yeah. Eventually.”

***

It’s still early when Alec gets back to his room. Too early for most of Atlantis to be awake yet.

Which is why he’s surprised to see Lt. Clary Fray sitting in front of his door.

Alec hasn’t shaved and he’s still wearing yesterday’s clothes, horribly wrinkled from spending the night on Magnus’s floor. He’s tired and sore but also a little giddy, which ends up feeling like he’s a little drunk and a little hungover all at the same time. He’s starving.

He’s not in the mood for whatever disaster Lt. Fray is bringing with her today.

“Lieutenant,” he says flatly. “It’s early.”

She wrinkles her nose at him. “We aren’t exactly on duty right now. You can call me Clary.”

Alec is not going to call her Clary. He sighs. “What do you want, Fray?”

“Can I talk to you? It’s about Ja - Captain Wayland.”

Alec sees that she is not going to leave him to shower in peace, so he leans over and opens the door. He waves her inside. She scurries in and immediately begins pacing in front of Alec’s desk. Alec crosses his arms. She does look kind of upset. Alec’s starting to wonder if it’s actually serious. “What is it?”

Fray stops. “Does Jace like Maia?”

Or not. “What?”

“He’s going to ask Maia to join our team,” Fray says.

“I know,” Alec says. “Do you have a problem with Maia? Because that should really be directed to Jace or Colonel Sheppard -”

Fray makes a strangled noise. “I don’t have a problem with Maia, I just. Does Jace, you know, like her? Because he says she irritates him but he also won’t stop talking about her? Or to her? And now he wants her to join our team and…”

Alec finally figures out what she’s really asking him and nearly screams. “Fray, I can’t have this conversation with you.”

“Why not? You’re his brother, you know him better than anyone. You can, like, feel his emotions.”

“Which is also why I shouldn’t go around talking about them to people without his permission,” Alec says.

Fray deflates and drops onto Alec’s bed. She looks down at her hands. “I just wanna know if I should just give up or what. He won’t say anything because he’s my commanding officer, but I just kinda thought … but now with Maia, and it’s like I don’t exist anymore. And she’s not under his command, technically, so he wouldn’t have to worry.”

She looks sad and unsure, and Alec feels his resolve to tell her to fuck off crumbling. Maybe getting laid has made him a sap, but being in love with Jace is hard. He should know.

He sits next to her on the bed. “Look,” he says. “Jace just doesn’t know what to do with someone who doesn’t fall for his bullshit.” Fray opens her mouth like she’s going to object, but Alec holds up his hand to stop her. “He’s trying to do what’s best for your team, but I know that he cares about you, okay?”

“Really?” Fray asks.

“Yeah. I mean, obviously that doesn’t solve all your problems or anything, so if you want to give up, that’s up to you. But don’t think he doesn’t care, because that’s not true.”

Fray beams at him. “Thanks, Captain Lightwood.”

Alec rolls his eyes. “Get out and let me shower.”

She smiles wider in response to his gruffness, and practically bounces off the bed. “Okay, okay, but really, thank you.” Alec doesn’t really get it, but he supposes this is why people like her.

Something clicks in the back of his mind, and he tilts his head as he watches her walk to the door. People like her. They trust her. She’s good at reading people.

“Wait.”

And she has an incredible expression of the Ancient gene. Lt. Clary Fray might be exactly what he needs.

Fray stops and turns back.

“I need your help with something,” Alec says.

“What do you need my help with?” Fray asks.

“I need you to help me catch a spy.”

***

“What are we doing here, Alec?” Izzy asks. “And where have you been all day?”

The late afternoon sun shines through the windows of the conference room Alec’s chosen and glints off Izzy’s hair. Alec stops himself from smiling at her. It would only freak her out more. Alec has been doing that a lot today. Fray had noticed earlier and asked if everything was alright, and Alec had blushed bright red, and now Fray knows way more about his sex life than he’d prefer.

“And does it have anything to do with where Clary’s been all day?” Jace asks.

“Clary?” Izzy says. “Alec, what the hell is going on?”

“I’ll explain everything as soon as Mom gets here.”

“Mom? What the fu -” But Izzy is cut off when General Lightwood walks into the room.

If she’s surprised to see all of her children waiting for her, she doesn’t show it. “Alec,” she says. “I’ve been looking for you all day.”

“I’ve been on duty,” Alec says, crossing his arms and leaning back against the wall.

“So Colonel Carter kept saying,” the general says sourly. “I need to talk to Alec,” she says to Izzy and Jace. “So if you’ll please -”

“No,” Alec says. “They stay. They need to hear this.”

“It’s not like we don’t know what you’re trying to make Alec do,” Izzy says. The general grimaces.

“What do we need to hear?” Jace asks.

“I had an interesting meeting with Carter and Sheppard yesterday,” Alec says. “They were understandably upset when they found out we might have a spy in Atlantis.”

“What?”

“A spy?” Izzy and Jace speak at the same time, and Alec holds up his hand to get them to stop. The general hasn’t changed her expression except to blink a few times. It’s not much, but Alec’s been interpreting her most minute facial tics since he was a child.

“So, Mother. Do you want to tell them about Dad’s polling numbers? Want to tell them about how my relationship with Magnus is what’s bringing shame on this family, and not the fact that you were members of the Trust?”

Izzy and Jace are stunned into silence, which is a feat in and of itself. The general’s face finally betrays some emotion: she looks down and presses her lips together.

“That was a long time ago,” she says finally.

“Are you serious?” Izzy snaps. “You were really part of the Trust?”

“Maryse, how could you?” Jace asks.

The general glares at Alec. “Your father and I both left and gave evidence against them. It was years ago.”

“But that doesn’t stop you from parroting their stupid xenophobic ideas at me. From compromising the safety of everyone on this base, including Izzy and Jace by soliciting classified information.”

“Asking an acquaintance to tell me how my children are doing isn’t a crime, Alec,” the general grits out.

“Actually,” Alec says, “it is, when your acquaintance is using base resources to send encrypted messages that include classified information like personnel information and mission details.”

Right on time, Major Branwell walks by the transparent walls of the conference room. She and Lt. Fray have Dr. Aldertree between them, handcuffed.

“Dr. Aldertree will be going back to face charges of espionage,” Alec says. “And you’re lucky that you’re not joining him. Did it occur to you that if he was willing to pass information to you, he would be willing to pass information to other people too? People with motives a little more malicious than spying on their kids?”

The general pales. “Who?”

“That’s not your concern,” Alec says. “Luckily, he wasn’t great at covering his tracks.”

And he wasn’t. Once some of Fray’s friendly and artless questions had pointed them in the right direction, it was a matter of a few hours to find the evidence, buried in non-essential Atlantis systems.

“I may have made mistakes in the past,” the general says, “but everything I’ve done, I’ve done to protect this family.”

“We’re fine, Maryse,” Jace says. “We’re happy here. We don’t need protecting anymore.”

The general doesn’t roll her eyes, but only because rolling one’s eyes is not dignified. Alec can practically hear her calling Jace naive in her head. She’s not concerned with their happiness.

“What’s going on with Dad’s polls?” Alec asks.

“I told you -”

“Accusations against his character, I know.” Alec sighs. What small triumph this conversation had is fading, and now he’s just tired. But there’s something that’s still bothering him. “What accusations? It can’t be about the Trust, not directly, and it can’t be about me yet, so what accusations?”

The general tilts her chin up and looks resolutely past Alec, and he realizes that her eyes are filling with tears. He has never once in his life seen his mother cry, and the panic he feels drowns out everything else.

“Mom?” He reaches out for her, but she stiffens, even as the tears spill over and run down her cheeks. “Is he having an affair?” He ignores the gasps from his siblings and watches for his mom’s slight nod. He slumps back against the wall. Of course. That’s why she needs a wedding to show their family’s commitment to values. To combat his father’s blatant disregard for them.

“That fucking bastard,” Jace breathes.

“I can’t fix this,” Alec says. “I’m sorry, but I can’t. You know that, right?”

His mom finally meets his eyes and nods. He’s saved from saying anything else by Jace getting up and gathering their mom into his arms. From him, she accepts it, turning her head into his shoulder to hide her sobs.

He meets Izzy’s eyes from across the room. She’s always been closest to their father, and he sees the distress and betrayal she’s feeling, and it kills him that he can’t make it better. But what he can do is sit down next to her and offer a shoulder to lean on, which she does, and make a silent promise that Izzy gets dibs on the rest of the moonshine later tonight.

His siblings will be okay. He’ll make sure of it.

***

“We’re very good at that,” Magnus says smugly. He’s attached himself to Alec’s side, one leg thrown over Alec’s thigh. They’re sticky with sweat and whatever come they might have missed during their cursory clean up, and it’s the best Alec’s felt in basically ever.

“Are we?” Alec laughs. “I’ll take your word for it.”

“We are,” Magnus says. “And we’re only going to get better.” He hums happily and rubs his cheek against Alec’s chest.

Alec smiles helplessly down at the top of Magnus’s head. He does that a lot now. Since meeting Magnus.

“Hey,” he says, nudging Magnus’s shoulder. Magnus picks up his head reluctantly. “I love you.”

Magnus’s eyes crinkle with his smile, the same kind of helpless happiness that Alec feels every time he looks at Magnus. “I love you too,” he says.

“Oh good.”

Magnus laughs and kisses him, and it all gets a little out of hand before they realize no one is getting hard again any time soon and settle back down.

“So,” Magnus says eventually, “the Daedalus left today.”

Alec knows, of course. He, Jace, and Izzy had seen their mother to the gateroom for beam up, and then he’d made sure he was here, with Magnus inside him, when the ship left orbit. He thinks maybe he should be feeling like he’s grown or something - he finally came out to his mother, and stood up to her, and all those things he was never able to do growing up. But instead he just feels relieved that things can get back to normal. Well, as normal as anything ever gets in Atlantis.

“Will your mother be okay?”

Before this visit, Alec would have said that Maryse Lightwood would always be okay, but he’s been given a shocking introduction to her vulnerability, and he’s still not quite comfortable with it. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that his mother is only human, but to be fair, she spent his entire life trying to convince him and everyone else that she wasn’t.

“I think so,” he says.

“What is she going to do?”

“I don’t know.” Alec runs his hand over the short hair on the back of Magnus’s head. He likes the way it bristles against his palm. “We all told her she should divorce him, but I’m not sure she will.”

“Maybe she should think of her own happiness instead of status or power for once.”

“Yeah, but…” Alec struggles to put what he knows about his mother into words. “I think she thinks they’re the same thing. Like, she spent her whole life doing things for her career and his career and the family name, and I don’t know if she even knows what to do if she’s not putting those things first.”

“I think that’s sad,” Magnus says softly.

“Me too,” Alec says, and hugs Magnus closer. Because that was him, before he came to Atlantis. And he’s grateful beyond words that it isn’t anymore.

“Hey, do you think -”

Whatever Magnus was going to say is interrupted by both their radios letting out bursts of noise. Alec groans and reaches for his.

“- repeat, unscheduled offworld activation, all personnel -”

He groans and starts hunting for his pants.

“Well,” Magnus says, doing the same on the other side of the bed, “looks like everything is back to normal.”

“Yeah,” Alec says happily. “It is.”