“This is, like, the fourth morning in a row that I’ve woken up to an empty bed,” Alec tells him, eyes full of concern, and his voice light and careful as he looks at Magnus more closely. “Is something bothering you?”
Magnus steps closer to him and dials up the smile he put on his face. He knows he’s slipping— knows Alec is bound to notice the way he can’t keep the cracks from showing when they spend as much time together as they do—but if he can just keep it together a few more days, then maybe the worst will pass, and Alec never has to see just how deep and ugly the darker parts of him go.
“Nothing’s bothering me,” he replies, moving a little closer still, congratulating himself on his choice of wardrobe when Alec’s eyes momentarily drop down to his chest. “I’ve even gotten used to your adorable little snores.”
“Hey. I don’t snore,” Alec protests, and Magnus congratulates himself on a diversion well executed.
He puts a hand on Alec’s chest and mimics the adorable, soft little sounds his boyfriend makes in his sleep. The fond memory is not quite enough to fully push back the dark ones that keep wanting back in, but it’s something, at least—a pleasant distraction that he can immerse himself in for a few moments of peace.
Keeping himself distracted is still relatively easy at night, when he’s had a full day’s work to redirect his focus, and Alec comes back to the loft and kisses him hello like it’s all he’s been able to think about for hours. He can let himself get swept up in Alec’s enthusiasm, then—let desire be the drug that turns his mind blissfully blank as they stumble together towards the nearest flat surface. Alec’s body is a marvel, honing itself into a devastating instrument of pleasure a little more every time they come together—as Alec finds out all the things he himself likes, along with every sensitive spot on Magnus’ body.
The sex is, in a word, glorious , and, besides the obvious rewards it brings, Magnus loves how it leaves him utterly punch-drunk and exhausted, letting sleep claim him afterwards.
At least for a couple of hours. Until the dreams start up again and drive him out of bed, nauseous and shaking. They come at him from every direction, and as soon as he thinks he’s succeeded in pushing one particular mind demon back into its cage, another grabs him and sends him reeling.
The memory of his mom’s death keeps circling back. How everything in the room was utterly normal , until he pulled away the blanket on top of her.
And then hundreds of others after her. Friends, lovers, enemies, all looking back at him with still, empty eyes.
“I know you well enough to know that something’s going on,” Alec says, ripping Magnus away from his thoughts. The expression on his face is open and earnest, practically begging Magnus to let go of the walls he’s meticulously built around his heart for centuries and just lay everything bare.
The most dangerous part about it is that Magnus finds himself wanting to. And if that isn’t a perfect example of the saying that ‘love makes fools of us all’, then Magnus doesn’t know what is.
So instead, he assures Alec that he’s fine, and then slides his hand up to cup Alec’s neck, leaning in for a soft kiss. He makes it sweet and light, kisses Alec like he wishes he felt right now—how he needs to start feeling again. He pulls back with the smile still firmly on his lips, intending to make a breezy comment about breakfast.
Alec stops him with a gentle hand coming up to cup his elbow. He doesn’t say anything outright, but the touch speaks for him: soft and steadying all at once; easy to pull away from, should Magnus want to.
Magnus swallows, feeling his smile grow stiff, and then gradually fall off his face altogether. Alec’s thumb traces small circles over his skin—a regular, soothing rhythm that chips away at Magnus’ self-control.
I’m here , the touch seems to be saying. If you need me, I’m right here.
Magnus just wants to get some stupid sleep.
Alec pulls him in right before he crumbles, wrapping his arms tightly around Magnus’ back as Magnus buries his face against his shoulder.
His entire body shakes as the grief he’s been trying to push back makes it out into the open. He’s too exhausted and too raw to break down with any sort of grace, and too fucking angry to even care about it. He wants to rage at the unfairness of it all; wants to march down to the Institute and pull every bit of air out of Valentine Morgenstern’s lungs with his magic. Every ugly part of him is rising to the surface, and the worst part is that Magnus can feel himself dangerously close to not giving a damn about stopping it.
Alec hugs him harder, murmuring well-meaning platitudes against his ear. It doesn’t really help, but Magnus still appreciates the gesture.
God, he’s such a fucking mess.
“Hey. It’s going to be okay,” Alec tells him, his hands rubbing soothingly up and down Magnus’ back in a way that makes Magnus want to scream in frustration. “Let’s go back to bed.”
Magnus isn't quite fast enough to stop the ugly laugh that escapes him. “No use. I can’t sleep.”
“Then I’ll stay awake with you,” Alec says simply. “Tell you all about the Clave paperwork I’ve been doing for the past week. How’s that?”
Magnus snorts. “Sounds like an antidote worth trying.”
“And you haven’t even heard about the new filing system I’ve put in,” Alec replies. “It’ll blow your mind, guaranteed.”
“Is that so?”
“Forty-five categories and counting. Five subheadings, minimum, for each of them. Come on, one foot in front of the other, here we go.”
They make it back to the bedroom, and Magnus doesn’t protest when Alec sits him down on the side of the bed and kneels down, removing the slippers Magnus is wearing. True to his word, Alec starts outlining the ins and outs of Clave bureaucracy as he works on getting Magnus back into bed, and Magnus closes his eyes and tries to focus on his voice, willing his body to relax.
Once Alec has both of them stripped down to their underwear, he guides them under the covers and onto their sides, one arm wrapping itself loosely around Magnus’ waist as he slots their bodies together, still talking.
“Now, the fourth filing cabinet is something else altogether. My parents had the contents in it arranged alphabetically, but I find that a chronological system gives you a much better overview of the chain of events for each case—”
It almost works. The continuous sound of Alec’s voice is definitely soothing, and Magnus can’t help but smile a little whenever Alec goes too deep into detail about something and ends up going off on tangents that just leave them both confused. He’s warm and present against Magnus, spooned up close against Magnus’ back, and his breath keeps tickling the back of Magnus’ neck as he talks.
It’s good. But it’s not enough.
He moves his hand to rest on top of Alec’s on his stomach and squeezes it, stilling the stream of words.
“It’s not working. But thanks; I appreciate you trying.”
He can feel Alec nod, and then his lips come down to brush over the back of Magnus’ neck. A second kiss lands right behind his ear, sending a small shiver through Magnus’ body.
“I could try something else,” Alec suggests, pressing another couple of kisses to Magnus’ neck and then moving lower, down to his shoulder. “You’re usually sleepy, you know, after .”
Magnus shifts his body back a little, loving the way the heat of Alec’s skin seems to wrap itself all around him. Alec responds by sliding his hand down to Magnus’ waist, pressing their hips together gently, equal parts an offer and a question.
“I’m afraid I wouldn’t be of much use,” Magnus replies with a sigh, even as another press of Alec’s hips sends a spark of excitement through him. “Just thinking about moving is exhausting.”
“So don’t move.”
Magnus feels his breath catch in his throat as Alec’s hand starts moving lower, the tips of his fingers slipping beneath the elastic of Magnus’ underwear.
“That won’t be much fun for you,” he tries. It comes out weaker than he intended, the last word hitching on another interrupted breath as Alec slides his hand fully inside Magnus’ boxer briefs to gently cup his cock.
“I don’t care about that,” Alec replies quietly, and then his fingers are wrapping themselves in a loose fist around Magnus’ shaft, beginning to stroke him slowly, up and down. “I’m here, whenever you need me. However you need me. Just let me take care of you, okay?”
Magnus swallows and lets his head drop back a little further against the pillows to give Alec better access to his neck. His right hand moves down to wrap over Alec’s on his cock, sending out a small spark of magic to turn Alec’s grip slick and perfect.
Alec takes it for the invitation it is, and over the next god knows how long, he sets out to completely take Magnus apart. He’ll tighten his grip and up the speed until he has Magnus panting, then slow down again, placing soothing kisses to the top of Magnus’ spine until his pulse drops down a little. And then he starts the loop all over again, pushing Magnus right up to the edge and keeping him there, pulling him back at the last possible moment.
It works . Oh, god, does it ever.
For the first time since he got back to his own body, Magnus feels utterly and completely grounded —his body, mind and soul moving in perfect unison, with a single, laser-sharp focus as Alec nudges him closer and closer to orgasm. Alec’s body is bracketing him, heating him up from the inside out, keeping him in the moment—keeping him safe— and effectively blocking out every thought and emotion that isn’t born from the overwhelming intimacy of their lovemaking.
Alec holds him close, pressing soothing kisses into Magnus’ shoulder as Magnus trashes in his arms, desperately seeking that last touch which will push him over the edge.
“You are amazing,” Alec murmurs against his ear, right as he twists his hand and makes Magnus groan. “Best man I’ve ever met. I can’t believe I got so lucky.”
Magnus squeezes his eyes tightly shut, hot wetness rising back up and burning more fiercely beneath his lids the longer Alec talks. He’s used to people praising his looks, his prowess in bed, his power, status, or any of the other things that comes from being a High Warlock with a number of centuries under his belt. He’s not used to this—this honest, artless adoration when he isn’t even doing anything.
Right when he feels like he can’t take it anymore, Alec stops teasing him, pulling Magnus off with quick, efficient strokes until he curls in on himself and comes for what feels like forever, Alec’s hands and lips and words milking him until he’s completely and utterly spent.
“I love you so much,” Alec whispers, shattering the last pieces of Magnus’ heart and putting it all back together again.
Magnus can’t answer; his words are all gone, lost in the maelstrom of feelings that all seem intent to grab him at once.
He takes Alec’s hand instead; brings it to his lips and presses a hard, desperate kiss to the back of it. Alec kisses Magnus’ shoulder in reply, holding him impossibly close until Magnus’ pulse starts dropping, his breathing following it down to a deep, even rhythm.
The dreams still come, but they stay oddly out of focus, inching along the sidelines of his mind, unable to fully touch him.
It’s the best sleep he’s had in weeks.
When he wakes up again, hours later, Alec’s arms are still around him.