Of course Izzy would try to drag him along to one of the many annual parties their classmates throw.
He sighs again as Izzy hold up a pair of jeans, lifting them out of his cupboard. She'd made a habit of marching in his room at random times to ask him about his fashion sense, or lack thereof.
"How's this one?"
"Do I have to go?" Alec rolls his eyes.
Izzy makes a face at him, "Of course! It's saturday and there's no way you're getting out of it."
"Fine." Alec caves in, "And the jeans are okay, I guess."
"You better know, you're wearing them."
Alec rolls his eyes again but doesn't say anything, instead lounging on his bed with the play he'd started reading before Izzy had marched in and declared that the three of them were going to her friend's party.
"Who are you looking to catch?" Izzy asks suddenly.
Alec looks up to see a knowing smile on his sister's face and frowns at her, "I'm not catching anyone."
"Oh, come on, are there any guys you like in school?" she asks.
Alec makes a face, leaving that as his answer: an obvious no.
She sighs, "Fine, we'll just go with generally attractive."
As she rummages through his shirts, he puts her favourite song on repeat, making up for the lack of his talking to her.
Once she's picked his outfit for him, taking his approval, she throws it at him, "Get changed within the next two hours, I'll be back."
Alec shrugs before placing the shirt and jeans to one side and continuing to read his play for the next one hour and fifty five minutes. In the last five minutes, he quickly gets changed, just as Izzy walks back in.
While she wasn't dressed shabbily before, she's now gone for a striking look with a laced, black, knee length dress and dark make-up to match her deadly attire, a small amount of silver glitter shining on her skin. Her silver, coiled snake bracelet gleams on her wrist to match the hem of her dress. Her hair is left down, cascading over her shoulders in a sleek waterfall. A small silver diadem holds up the heart-shaped bead resting on her forehead, adding to her black and white look.
Alec laughs, "You look good."
"You sure?" she asks, fiddling with the bracelet on her wrist.
Alec nods, knowing that her question is a show of the vulnerability she usually hides away. But that vulnerability sometimes comes through when she's with Alec, something he gets to see only because he's her blood brother; it's his job to chase that away.
She nods in satisfaction and grabs his comb, raking it through his hair, "By the angel, Alec…"
"What? I didn't need to brush it for reading a play!" he says defensively.
She cracks a smile before deciding his hair is neat enough and pulling him along, somehow not losing equilibrium even in her high heels. When she catches him staring at them with disapproval, she sighs.
"Nothing less than seven inches, that's my motto."
"That motto will get you killed, you mushroom."
"Was that meant to be offensive?" Izzy flicks her hair over her shoulder as she scoffs.
Jace joins them at the door, his blue and yellow t-shirt with sporty trousers a contrast to Alec's grey shirt with black jeans.
He does a fake double take at Alec, "Alec Lightwood, willingly stepping out the house on a weekend?"
"Oh, shut it," Alec grumbles, amused nonetheless.
It takes them no less than half an hour to drive to the party venue, Alec having to drive because he'd gotten his driver's license first time so Maryse had said only he could use her car for outings.
The other two hadn't argued.
"Izzy…" Alec's voice takes a warning tone as he sees whose house it is, and something clicks inside his head.
"This can't be it..."
"This is the address," Alec confirms.
"But… Clary didn't tell me that-" she stops talking as her phone rings, answering it immediately.
Jace looks confused before he spots someone coming their way, "Iz, the downworlder guy?"
"Straight ahead." The downworlder who'd appeared tells them, pointing.
"Thanks man." Jace smiles as Alec takes a breath and drives ahead, parking their car.
"Izzy, you didn't know?" Alec questions as soon as they get down from the car and lock it.
"I know, I know…" she says to whoever's on the phone, simultaneously shaking her head as a no to Alec.
"I can't go to a party where they mistreat downworlders, I can't." Alec firmly folds his arms.
"I know but Clary's saying that he's going to leave, then it'll be fine."
"We'll just try not to draw any attention," Jace relents, clapping his hands together with a wink.
"Alright, fine." Alec's response is stoic.
The three of them make their way inside and through the hallway into the living room, where Clary and Simon greet them with small smiles and waves.
Clary's wearing a simple red dress that ends halfway down her shins, with red ballet pumps and a ruby pendant resting on her collarbone. Her make-up is clearly done to impress, pink blush on her cheeks and a pink arch on her eyelids. Her eyes are lined with double wings but there's no trace of glitter on her face.
Simon is dressed in his usual 'use the force' t-shirt and baggy bottoms that clearly show he isn't really bothered about the party as such. He has, however, gelled his hair to stay in a permanent quiff, perhaps to impress a certain Lightwood…
"Jace!" Clary grins and hug said shadowhunter.
Izzy goes over to Simon, nudging him as a greeting, "Hey, nerd."
"Greetings, empress." Simon salutes at her in return.
"Who are you?" Jace asks Simon, apparently not having seen him before.
Izzy glares, "That's Simon Lewis, and he is my boyfriend."
"Nerd love, huh Izzy?" Alec grins at his little sister as she rolls her eyes and loops an arm around Simon, the two of them going to get a drink and Izzy probably going to find Simon a stylish jacket from somewhere.
"Drinks?" a soft voice asks behind Alec, startling him.
"So sorry, I didn't mean to make you jump." The voice continues, "Drink?"
Alec finally blinks away his shock and stares at the boy facing him.
The downworlder with the most magnificent eyes he's ever seen. The kaleidoscopic yellow and green shaped into a vertical almond inside the pupil make them seem like cat's eyes, downright magical.
Alec's breath catches as he lets his gaze roam over the boy's warm caramel skin and inky black locks that fall over his eyebrows. The locks that look softer than velvet, smoother than chocolate and sleeker than Izzy's eyeliner.
With that thought, Alec notices the dark kohl drawn around his mesmerising eyes that seems to enhance the glitter on his skin. Izzy might have added a sprinkle of glitter to make her shine but the boy has much more glitter than one person should be allowed to use in a lifetime.
And yet, there's something so innocent about the boy's stance, the way his shoulders are dropping in a resigned manner and the way his feet are placed one behind the other, as if he's preparing himself to run away with a split second's notice.
His clothes are a vast array of colours bright enough to make him seem like the human embodiment of a rainbow. He's wearing purple skinny jeans and a cerulean shirt that seems to match Alec's eyes. Not that you can see much of it with the three scarves, all different shades of the same colour: emerald green, fern green and mint green.
Alec forces himself to breathe again as he shakes his head, "N-no, thank you."
He instantly chides himself for stuttering, especially in front of a downworlder.
Even if it was a handsome downworlder.
Said handsome downworlder smiles at him, a half-hearted smirk devoid of actual joy, before turning on his heel and walking away.
Only now does Alec notice that the boy is barefoot, small scars winding up from the soles of his feet. Only now does Alec see that the boy has shackles around his wrists, linked to the back of his waist with a silver but unnoticeable belt. Only now does he realise the downworlder is limping but walking a lot faster than he should be able to with such an injury.
Alec's heart twists.
He vows to find the downworlder again.
Clary nudges him, "Hey, earth to Alec, you need anything?"
Alec jolts out of his thoughts as he glances down at the redhead.
"What's his name?" he finds himself asking.
Clary tries to see who he's pointing at and shrugs, "Who, Magnus?"
Alec mentally rolls the name on his tongue and smiles, unable to help thinking that the name is absolutely perfect for the boy.
"Why?" Clary asks.
"I… put my phone on his plate," Alec lies, trying to make use of the otherwise pointless drama lessons he has to endure in school.
"Oh, that sucks. Try the balcony, he goes – um, works there a lot." Clary doesn't wait before sauntering off to join Jace, whose current focus is the pixie asking him about the newest trees planted outside.
"Magnus…" Alec whispers to himself.
He checks that Izzy and Simon aren't in trouble before weaving through the crowd and trying to find the balcony Clary had described. Half an hour, two polite tries to decline a drink and, not one but four awkward encounters with passionate couples later, he finally sees the silhouette of the boy. Honestly, why can't straight people control themselves?
"Magnus!" he calls, sliding to a stop next to the boy.
The boy jumps, his shackles rattling as he frantically stands upright, "Sorry Se- oh, it's you."
Alec frowns but sits next to him as Magnus resumes his previous position, rubbing his wrists.
"Do they hurt?" Alec asks.
"No, not anymore." Magnus looks to Alec, his eyes shining brightly, "Why do you care?"
Alec tries to feel offended but the plain question throws him off and he knows Magnus isn't being rude.
"I just… it doesn't seem fair."
"I'm dangerous." Magnus' reply is so droll, Alec can't help thinking he'd been told to say that.
"Oh really?" Alec raises an eyebrow, trying his best to make it a jovial matter.
"I could kill you with a snap of my fingers," Magnus says, humouring him.
"How?" Alec asks, now curious.
Magnus cocks his head at him as if he can't believe how someone could be so oblivious, "I'm a warlock."
Alec kicks himself for not making the connection.
Of course he was a warlock; his eyes are his warlock mark.
"So, you have magic?"
Magnus sighs, "Look, sweet pea, I know warlocks aren't exactly a subject in school but having magic is rather an obvious, is it not?"
Alec blinks before laughing, properly laughing for the first time in weeks. A small blush appears on his cheeks due to the nickname, which goes unnoticed by Alec but not Magnus. The warlock looks surprised but his mouth curves up into an amused smile.
"You're not exactly dressed up for a party," the warlock comments.
"I don't do parties so this is me 'dressed up'." Alec grins.
"Oh consarn, the party!" Magnus exclaims, the smile sliding off his face.
"How old are you?" Alec asks, puzzled.
Magnus pauses, "Pretty boy, I was alive when the Dead Sea was just a lake that was feeling a little poorly."
Alec feels the blood rush to his face again and has to cough before he can talk again. By this time, Magnus has assembled the small snacks on his tray and is standing up with his shoulders angled downwards again.
"You just swore straight out of an 1854 dictionary." Alec chuckles.
Magnus winks, "I'm a vintage warlock, you literature geek."
"Hey!" Alec protests, but not unkindly.
Magnus salutes before slipping back inside, pausing briefly before joining in with the crowd as if he never left, offering the bitesize food to shadowhunters as he goes.
Alec smiles sadly, wanting to spend more time with the enigmatic warlock.
He ends up claiming a table in the corner, watching as people go past and keeping an eye out for a certain colourful warlock.
It's about half an hour later when a hushed rumour spreads through the masses like a long awaited wildfire: Sebastian has left.
After a few minutes of clarification, there's an explosion of excitement where shadowhunters are drawing runes on the downworlders' shackles to break them. Naturally, some shadowhunters leave, unreasonably repulsed at the very notion of equality. They're swiftly escorted out of the house, less than politely, and they'll be the ones who complain on just about every social media platform, also being ignored on most of them.
Unfortunately, Alec has lost sight of the one downworlder whose shackles he'd like to shatter.
"Alec, where did you go?" Izzy asks, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"Have you seen Magnus?" he asks her, not bothering to answer her question.
"I have," Simon interrupts, "someone asked him to grab their coat from the storage room."
"That can't be good." The lightwood siblings say in unison.
Alec thinks he manages to thank the nerd before making his way to the aforementioned storage room, knowing that nobody leaves a party like this with their coat. Nobody even comes to these kinds of parties with a coat in the first place because they know that getting it back is almost certainly impossible.
With a stone weighting down his heart, he notices that the cupboard is locked. Strangely, he can't hear anything from inside, the silence only adding to his worries.
He curses as he drops his stele, quickly drawing a rune – a perfect one – to unlock the door.
The door swings open and Alec gasps.
Magnus sighs with relief.
The warlock is currently unable to move, his shackles looped and knotted behind one of the racks at an awkward height that renders him incapable of both standing and sitting, forcing him to kneel with his arms uncomfortably pulled behind him.
Alec rushes forwards and redraws the same rune he'd used for the door on the silver metal, having to do it thrice before the shackles give way and unclasp themselves.
Magnus gasps as his numb legs tremble and the momentum of his arms falling forwards causes him to tilt forwards.
He lands on top of Alec, whose knees fold and send them both toppling to the floor.
Strangely, both Alec and Magnus are laughing instantly, pulling themselves upright.
"Thank you, sweet pea."
"My name's Alec. Well, Alexander. But most people call me Alec."
"In that case, Alexander, it's a good thing I'm not 'most people'."
Magnus winks before rubbing his arms, purple tendrils of what seems to be a fusion of smoke and fire twirling around his arms as the bruises fade away into nonexistence.
Alec watches, transfixed, as the magic dances around the warlock's eternally sun-kissed arms.
Magnus smiles as he looks up, clicking his fingers as the magic folds in on itself, vanishing with one last curl around his pinky finger. Alec finds himself noticing the warlock's nails – each one a different base colour and small patterns drawn on with yet another colour. It looks like the rainbow shattered and his nails caught each fragment, placing them all together to make miniscule art.
"You should let me paint yours."
Alec nods, then coughs, "Wait, what?"
Magnus laugh sounds as lovely as someone releasing auditory beauty into the air around them.
"I said you should let me paint your nails, sweet pea."
"I don't know…" Alec can hear the conflict in his voice as clear as crystals.
Magnus only winks, "Maybe that's a third date thing?"
Magnus walks backwards until he's out of the room, then lifts a hand, curling one finger with a sly grin, "Why don't you come out of the closet first, then we can carry on talking…"
Alec would be mad if it weren't for how clever the warlock's pun is. As it is, he shakes his head and walks out after Magnus, locking the door behind him.
"Nothing gets past you, huh?"
"Well, some shadowhunters did…" Magnus admits quietly.
"Who were they?" Alec demands, "I'm going to kill them!"
He can't explain the sudden blaze of protective anger that surrounds his heart and rushes through his veins, he can't think of a reason for him wanting to pay revenge on behalf of the warlock. But it turns out he doesn't have to.
"It'll be the ones who don't turn up to your school on monday," Magnus tells him with a sly smirk and a twirl of his magic.
Alec laughs, pulling the warlock back into the main room and quickly locating Izzy.
"You found him!" Izzy cheers, Simon making a four – fingered peace sign.
To Alec's shock, Magnus does the peace sign back at Simon and smiles, "How's Raph?"
"Raph?" Jace asks, joining their conversation along with Clary.
Magnus rolls his eyes, "Raphael Santiago? The head of the vampire clan?"
Izzy's eyes widen, "Simon, you know him? And you didn't tell me?"
"It's not exactly an everyday casual conversation, is it?" Clary laughs before Simon can attempt to explain himself.
"You lose, Iz." Jace elbows her, which only makes her pout.
"Hey Biscuit, you might want to remove the soundproofing on the cupboard." Magnus looks to Clary, who profoundly swears.
"Woah, calm it down, spitfire." Alec holds his hands above his head with his fingers splayed.
Clary sighs, "Sorry. It's just that I only undid that an hour ago…"
"Why don't you try making a rune for it?"
"You really believe I came do that?"
"I swear on us, there isn't anything I believe in more." Jace puts an arm around her shoulders, giving her a sideways hug of encouragement that makes her smile widely.
"And anyway, it's not your fault shadowhunters are crazy!" Simon protests.
She gives him a pointed look, gesturing between their small gang.
"It's not your fault that certain shadowhunters are crazy." Magnus winks.
"And what are the rest?" Izzy asks.
"Dateable," Magnus jokes, intertwining his hand with Alec's and letting their fingers lock together, his warm hand a pleasant shock to Alec, whose breath seems to get stuck in his lungs.
"Breathe, sweet pea, breathe," Magnus whispers softly, squeezing his hand.
Alec grins and, much to everyone's shock – especially Izzy's – kisses Magnus' cheek softly.
So softly that his lips barely even brush the warlock's glittery cheek, but it's a kiss nonetheless.
"Dude, get a room!" Jace whisper-yells, clapping Alec on the shoulder.
"Oh, trust me, that's the plan," Magnus says coolly.
Alec, on the other hand, chokes.
Simon whispers something to Izzy, who unceremoniously bursts out laughing before clapping a hand over her mouth.
"Ah, nerd love…" Alec uses this as something to cover up his own embarrassment.
"It's a beautiful thing, whilst also being an object of hilarity and mockery for those of us who are more sophisticated…" Magnus finishes, smiling fondly despite his words.
Izzy just smiles back and Simon goggles at her before his face splits into a broad grin.
"Should we make this party more private?" Clary suggests, "We could all go to my room?"
Jace gives her a lopsided smirk; Clary whacks him.
"Shut up, I didn't mean it like that!"
"I agree with Biscuit, let's go." Magnus suggests.
Izzy and Simon follow as Clary leads the way, the redhead obviously hand in hand with Jace.
Alec glances at Magnus with a proud, happy smile.
Magnus returns the gesture, "Speechless, Alexander?"
"Maybe?" Alec murmurs.
"That's okay, you have centuries to find your words again," Magnus murmurs back.
"You think we'll be together for that long?"
"I hope so." Magnus' eyes suddenly stop focusing on Alec as he loses himself in the thought.
Alec nudges him softly, "We'll find a way."
Magnus nods, "That we will, Alexander. That we will."
And, with the promise of an entwined future, the two of them head upstairs.
Hand in hand.