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Not Just About Being Pretty

Chapter Text


Alec Lightwood didn’t necessarily like being in front of the camera, it just so happened that he was good at it. For years he’d been told that he had that spark, that he was something people would pay to look at. At first he didn’t believe it, because how could he? He grew up in a home where he was told daily that he was an abomination and that if it weren’t for his sister, his mother would throw him out on the street.

Isabelle Lightwood was everything a parent could possibly want, all wrapped up in a tall, lean body and raven hair. Straight As her entire school career, an NYU graduate, and owner of her own fashion line, I.Z.Z.Y, which was doing extremely well worldwide. Isabelle threatened to never speak to her parents again and to cut all ties with them if they ever dared to leave Alec to fend for himself. Isabelle was a spitfire of burning beauty and brains.

But Alec? Alec just had a pretty face. Sometimes he thought that was all he would ever be. He was ten years old when he realized he wasn’t like the other boys at school. He didn’t want to kiss the girls, he wanted to kiss the boys. When he confronted his parents about his feelings, they were disgusted with him and told him he had to change. Years passed and Alec was no different, his parents losing their patience with each passing day. At fifteen, when he finally had his first kiss, he’d rushed home to tell Isabelle, unaware of his mother listening on the other side of the door. That’s when the coldness and cruelty started, and to this day, hasn’t ended.

Alec was twenty-three now and an openly gay supermodel, something he never even dreamed of being. Every day seemed to be packed with press conferences, photoshoots, TV appearances, radio shows, and meetings. Everyone knew who Alexander Lightwood was and everyone wanted him. His agent, Lydia Branwell, wouldn’t allow just anyone to photograph him though, they had to be the best of the best.

Which is why Alec was extremely confused when he walked into Lydia’s office to find a man he’d never seen before holding a camera. Alec stopped short, his breath hitching in his throat. The man was beautiful; golden skin, jet black hair, warm almond eyes…Alec was in heaven. His eyes traveled down the man’s body, taking in his attire. He was wearing tight leather pants, a purple shirt that was almost all the way unbuttoned, and he had an array of necklaces resting against his chest.

When Alec finally found the strength to speak, he wanted to kick himself for how breathless he sounded. “I-uh, is Lydia here?” he asked.

The man smirked, shamelessly looking Alec up and down. Alec was used to the attention and to being ogled, but rarely ever by someone this beautiful. “She just went to grab some paperwork. She should be right back,” the man said with a small gesture toward the door.

“Right, I-“ Alec was saved by the sound of Lydia’s heels on the hardwood floor.

“Alec!” she exclaimed, strutting into the office. “I was just about to call you after this meeting. What are you doing here?” Lydia’s long blond hair was falling in bouncing curls today, her face almost completely free of makeup. Alec thought she looked nice.

“Well, I wanted to see what was up with that Versace shoot and I was in the neighborhood, so I figured I would stop by,” Alec shrugged.

Lydia sighed and gathered her hair in her hand, lifting it off of her neck. “The Versace deal fell through.” Alec opened his mouth to complain, but Lydia cut him off. “But, don’t worry. Mr. Bane here has decided to work with you.”

Alec glanced at the man, Mr. Bane, before turning his attention back to Lydia. “No offense, but I’ve never even heard of this guy. How does he make up for losing a deal with Versace?”

Lydia rolled her eyes and gave Mr. Bane an apologetic look. “Alec, Mr. Bane here is the new head photographer for Vogue.”

“I’ve been on the cover of Vogue twice, Lydia,” Alec moaned. He knew he sounded spoiled and selfish, but being a supermodel wasn’t exactly easy. You had to always be doing something new, something different. This almost felt like three strikes and you’re out.

“I apologize for him,” Lydia said to Mr. Bane who just shrugged. She turned back to Alec, her expression very annoyed. “They’re doing an LGBT+ issue and they want you on the cover, dumbass.”

Alec felt as his cheeks began to heat up. “Oh, I-I- of course. Yeah, of course I’ll do it,” he stuttered, his embarrassment taking control. He faced Mr. Bane and held a hand out. “I’m so sorry for my behavior, Mr. Bane.”

Mr. Bane took Alec’s hand, giving it a firm shake. “Please, call me Magnus.”

Chapter Text

The first thing Alec thought was it’s too early for this.

It was seven o’clock on a Thursday morning and he was stepping into the studio where the photoshoot would be. He’d taken the B train from Brooklyn to get there instead of a private car because normally he enjoyed the subway; however, this was not one of those mornings. There’d been a screaming baby, three girls too scared to talk to him but not too scared to stare, someone who really needed a shower, and someone trying to convert people.

So, it was definitely too early now to be dealing with a photoshoot.

A small woman with hair the color of Isabelle’s was immediately at Alec’s side, a tape measure around her neck. “Mr. Lightwood!” she exclaimed and clapped her hands together.

“Hi,” Alec smiled, holding out a hand which the woman accepted rather enthusiastically.

“I’m Cristina, I’ll be handling wardrobe and Emma over there,” Cristina stopped to gesture toward a blond girl waving in the corner, “will be handling hair and makeup.”

“Cool,” Alec said and followed Cristina into the makeup room where Emma suddenly appeared.
“Hi, I’m Emma. Emma Carstairs. Huge fan,” she said immediately, a grin spreading across her face.

Alec grinned back at her shyly. “I’m Alec, but I guess you already know that. It’s nice to meet you.”

Emma sighed, but the smile didn’t leave her face. She gripped Alec’s arm lightly and sat him down in the white makeup chair. “I’d love to sit around and talk, but Magnus will flip if we don’t hurry up and get started.” Emma moved to the back of the chair so she could pump it up higher.

“Is he strict?” Alec asked, genuinely curious. He might as well find out who he was going to be working with for the next few days. Magnus had left the other day shortly after all papers were signed, leaving Alec no time to get to know him.

Emma laughed while pulling a black cart to her side. “Magnus? Strict? Never. A little sassy at times, but he just likes things to run smoothly.”

Alec was now staring into Emma’s brown eyes as she studied his face. “How long have you worked with him?”

“About a year, but I’ve known him longer. He took Cristina and I with him when he moved up at Vogue. It was one of his conditions of accepting the offer and they were pretty desperate for him,” Emma shrugged, pulling out a glass bottle of foundation the exact shade of Alec’s skin.

“So, he’s pretty good then?”

Emma had a color correcting palette resting on the top of the cart and was starting to dab green over the red blotches on Alec’s face. “The best. You didn’t look up any of his work before coming here?”

“I like to be surprised by the outcome,” Alec replied.


Once Alec’s face makeup and hair was completed, Emma pulled out a box of face paint. Alec raised his eyebrows at Emma in question.

“We’re gonna paint the gay pride flag on your cheek to represent what part of the community you come from,” Emma explained. “I’m not gonna like, turn you into a tiger or anything.”

Alec laughed and tilted his head so that Emma could get to his cheek from a better angle. “Do it with your fingers,” Alec suggested.

“That’s a great idea!” Emma yelped and threw her brushes down. She dipped her thumb into the red paint before smearing it from Alec’s cheekbone to his chin. She repeated the same with the rest of the colors and smiled at her work. “Perfect.”

Alec turned to look in the mirror, admiring Emma’s work. “I love it,” he said honestly. His black hair was tousled to look purposefully messy and his hazel eyes were shining with excitement. He was ready for this shoot.

Before Emma could get in another word, Cristina poked her head in. “Time to get you to wardrobe,” she said. Alec suddenly felt nervous. He always did before he was brought to wardrobe. He didn’t want to hate the clothes he was put in, knowing he would have to make them look good regardless.

He zoned out a little bit as he followed Cristina into the dressing room where racks and racks of clothing were spread out before him. “So, we got your measurements from Lydia. And you’re starting out shirtless anyway. Really we just need to get you in some pants.”

Alec had known part of the photoshoot was going to be done without a shirt because he’d had to get his chest waxed the day before. They’d wanted him smooth and hairless. Alec couldn’t complain. Money was money and it was for a powerful magazine issue.

Cristina thumbed through the racks for a minute before settling on a pair of ripped black jeans and tossing them to Alec. “Put these on and then meet me back in hair and makeup.” She walked out of the room, leaving Alec alone to change.

He undressed quickly and slipped the jeans on. The floor was cold against his bare feet, but Cristina hadn’t said anything about shoes so he assumed he was going barefoot as well. He found himself back in the makeup room, facing a smirking Emma and grinning Cristina.

“Now’s the fun part,” Emma said and grabbed his hand, pulling him through another door and into a room covered with sheets.

Alec was confused to say the least. He took in the different colored sheets hanging from the wall and covering the floor, leaving no space open. “What is going on?”

“We get to throw paint on you,” Cristina replied and pointed to the table with cans of paint spread across it.

The sheets now made perfect sense. They couldn’t very well get paint all over the walls and floor. “Since the rest of your shoot is tomorrow, we figured we’d get the messy part out of the way first,” Emma added when she saw the look of apprehension on Alec’s face. “This is what Magnus has envisioned. We’re just trying to follow through.”

Alec glanced back and forth between the two girls who were now staring back at him with nervous expressions. “No, it’s fine. Really interesting, actually. I was just a little confused.”

The smiles returned to the girls’ faces. “Just stand in the center of the room,” Cristina directed as she walked to the table of paint. There was a large brush next to each color, waiting to be used. Cristina picked one up and dipped it into a can of green paint. Emma followed, dipping hers in blue. “Close your eyes.”

Alec did. He jumped slightly when he felt the cold paint splatter against his skin, but quickly composed himself. He could hear Emma and Cristina laughing as they slung their brushes, flinging specks of paint across the room.

This continued for about ten minutes as the girls went through every color, making sure Alec’s chest was splattered enough. “Perfect,” Emma concluded after walking around Alec’s body a few times.

Alec looked in the mirror hanging against the door and smiled. The pride flag was bleeding down his cheek and he had the colors of the rainbow decorating his skin and jeans. He looked mesmerizing. “It’s wonderful,” Alec said over his shoulder.

“Magnus is going to be so excited!” Emma squealed.

Cristina opened the door, stepping out into the hallway. She waited for Alec and Emma to follow before closing the door. “Well, let’s not keep him waiting any longer.”

Magnus heard voices coming down the hallway and he jerked his head up immediately. He was more than ready to see the finished product. Not that Alec was an object.

He wouldn’t deny it, he had a slight crush on the man; but, could anyone blame him? Alec Lightwood was breathtakingly gorgeous and anyone who didn’t think so was obviously blind. Nothing could have prepared Magnus for the Alec that stepped into the room now. He didn’t try to hide his sharp intake of breath when his eyes settled on the tall man.

He looked perfect.

Alec held Magnus’ gaze for a few moments before coughing awkwardly and looking away, his face turning red. Magnus shook his head, trying to bring himself back down to reality. “Right, well. He looks wonderful, girls. You did an incredible job, as always.”

Magnus Bane was a lot of things, but a babbling idiot wasn’t one of them. He thought at that moment that it was probably best he didn’t open his mouth again until he composed himself. Alec’s bare chest was a sight to behold and how low those jeans were resting on his hips were doing things to Magnus. If he tried to speak, he was afraid it would just come out as an appreciative groan.

His eyes rested on the left v-line of Alec’s hips. There, in black scrawling ink, were the words “I am strong.” When Magnus managed to snap himself back to the present, he was attacked by the sight of Alec Lightwood with his head thrown back in laughter. He wanted to capture that moment so that it could live forever. Magnus was pretty sure he was going to faint.

I have to spend three days with this man, he thought. How am I going to control myself?

Magnus had been with both men and women in his lifetime, a fact he was not the least bit ashamed of, but never had he been in the presence of someone so beautiful. There wasn’t one physical flaw on Alec and Magnus was positive that if he looked even deeper, he wouldn’t find one in his soul either.

“Earth to Magnus,” Cristina said quite loudly. Magnus jumped a little bit. He’d zoned out yet again.

“Hmmmm?” Magnus hummed in question, dragging his eyes up to meet Cristina’s, which were alight with amusement. Emma was snickering behind her, a hand pressed to her lips. Alec just looked confused.

“I said, are you ready?” Cristina was trying not to laugh. Magnus appreciated it.

Magnus wasn’t about to let his embarrassment show over the fact that he’d been caught staring at Alec by two of his best friends; however, he wasn’t all that embarrassed to begin with. Beautiful artwork was something meant to be admired and Alexander Lightwood was no exception.

Alec was looking at Magnus now, shifting side-to-side on his bare feet. He had a small smile dancing on his face and his eyes were burning with something Magnus would almost dare say to be insecurity. But there was no way. Alec couldn’t be insecure, he was a masterpiece. He belonged in a museum where the whole world could admire his beauty. Hell, the whole world did admire his beauty. Alec was a successful supermodel and was constantly being told how perfect he was by tons of different people. There was no way he doubted himself.

“Of course, yeah,” Magnus answered Cristina as he took a few steps forward to stand in front of Alec. “You look great,” he murmured to Alec, noticing the blush that rose high on the younger man’s cheeks.

“Thanks,” Alec responded quietly. Magnus caught the nervous twisting together of his paint-splattered hands.

He had been expecting Alec to be a multitude of things: conceited, stuck-up, demanding, rude, etcetera. He had not been expecting him to be shy. And sure Magnus had watched Alec’s interviews and read a few in magazines where Alec had always come across as completely grounded and humble; but, Magnus knew all too well that could just be a facade.

“Can you stand in front of that white backdrop for me?” Magnus asked and pointed to the far end of the room where all of the photography equipment was set up.

Alec nodded in response and silently padded over to stand in front of the egg white backdrop.

Magnus glanced back at Cristina, jerking his head toward the stereo. Cristina immediately understood and moved to plug her phone into the auxiliary cord. Magnus didn’t like to work in silence.

Rihanna’s Needed Me began blaring through the speakers and Magnus smiled in approval before moving to stand behind his camera. He thought to himself a little absentmindedly that there was no way he could ever capture all of Alec’s magnificence in just a few measly pictures, but he was sure as hell going to try.
“Face that wall for me so that your cheek with the flag on it is facing the camera.” Magnus watched as Alec followed his orders, hazel eyes connecting with his. “Emma, make him laugh.”

Emma skipped over to stand in front of Alec, but out of the shot. “Just relax and be yourself. Don’t want it to look forced,” Emma whispered with a wink.

Magnus missed whatever story Emma was telling because he was completely enraptured by the way Alec’s eyes crinkled when he laughed and the way the muscles in his neck stretched. Magnus was watching everything through a camera, snapping as many pictures of the moment as he could. Alec’s laugh carried over the sound of the music until it drowned out everything else and it was the only thing Magnus could focus on hearing.

He had a perfect laugh, a perfect smile, a perfect body, perfect hair….Was there anything about Alec Lightwood that wasn’t perfect?

Magnus’ heart stuttered a little in his chest when Alec looked at him, that stunning smile present on his face.

This was going to be a long three days.

Chapter Text

7:23 PM
Queen Fray: where are you?
7:28 PM
Queen Fray: aleccccccccc
7:31 PM
7:36 PM
Queen Fray: ?????
7:41 PM
Queen Fray: fuck you. i used my key. i’m in your living room.

Alec lived in a brownstone in Park Slope and he rented out the top two rooms above him to people he really never saw. His home was his sanctuary, a place where he could be the Alec he wanted to be with no passing judgement.

Obviously, Alec was expecting Clary when he walked into his home. He was not expecting his other best friend, sister, and sister’s boyfriend to be there as well.

“Do you know how to respond to a text message? I can teach you if you’d like,” were the first words out of Clary’s mouth as soon as he stepped into the living area. Clary was sitting on the arm of Alec’s black leather couch, her wild flaming hair in a pony tail and tiny arms crossed over her chest. Her boyfriend and Alec’s other best friend, Jace Herondale, was sitting on the actual couch cushion, his hand resting on Clary’s bare thigh. Alec looked to him for support, but Jace just shrugged.


Alec sighed in immediate defeat. There was no point in arguing with Clary, he’d only lose. The phrase “though she be but little, she is fierce” had never rang so true for a person. “I’m sorry. By the time I saw your messages, I was already on the street.”

Clary rolled her eyes and uncrossed her arms, hopping off the couch. She strode across Alec’s Persian rug to stand on her tippy-toes and plant a kiss on Alec’s cheek, which was more like his jaw because no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t quite reach him. “You’re forgiven, but I’m your best friend and refuse to be treated this way,” she said in a teasing tone and patted him on the arm before returning to her spot next to Jace.

Excuse you. I’m his best friend,” Jace whined and pulled Clary down onto his lap, causing her to let out a squeal.

“Let’s not have a fight here. I love you both equally.” Alec swore they were twelve sometimes and not actually the twenty-one year olds they claimed to be.

Clary winked at him as if to say “I know it’s really me.”

“Yo, Fray. What the hell? I’m your best friend,” Simon, Isabelle’s boyfriend, said from his spot next to Jace.

“Well, of course you are Simon, but I’m Alec’s. It’s a big circle of love and friendship, Lewis. Accept it,” Clary responded, looking over at Simon.

Alec turned his attention to his sister who was smiling fondly at Simon. Simon was a great guy, but sometimes he wondered how the boy had ever scored his sister. Not that Simon wasn’t worthy of Isabelle’s love, but Isabelle was scary. Alec would admit it. Her beauty was more than intimidating and she used it to her advantage.

Isabelle tossed her long black hair over her shoulder before tearing her eyes away from Simon to focus on her big brother. “You’ve got paint on your cheek,” she said.

“Hi, Izzy. I’m doing fine, thanks. How are you?” Alec replied sarcastically.

Izzy grinned devilishly. “I’m wonderful. Signed a contract for New York Fashion Week today.”

Alec tried to look annoyed by Isabelle’s response, but he couldn’t manage it. His happiness for his sister was instantly written all over his face. “That’s great, Iz! I’m so happy for you!”

He realized he was still standing in the center of the room and decided it was probably time he sat down. He took a seat in his large maroon chair across from the couch and looked at his friends. They were an odd bunch, but he wouldn’t have them any other way.

“And what about you? You had your first session with Magnus Bane today. How’d that go?” Isabelle asked, her eyes glowing with genuine interest.

Alec thought back to the events of the day. The way Magnus had looked at him. The way Magnus’ stare had made him feel exceptionally warm inside. How he wanted to throw himself into the man’s arms and kiss him until he couldn’t breathe. “It was alright,” he said with a shrug, trying to appear indifferent.

Jace saw right through it. “You want to jump his bones,” Jace said like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

Alec’s eyes widened in shock as the others began to nod their heads in agreement. “Totally,” Simon added.

“I can literally see the sexual tension rolling off of you,” Clary pointed out.

Alec’s face was reddening with each additional comment. “Dammit, how do you guys do that?” He lifted a hand to run it haphazardly through his already messy hair.

“Literally have known you since I came out of the womb,” Isabelle answered.

Jace had a seriously??? look on his face. “Dude, I knew you were gay before you knew you were gay.”

Alec huffed and crossed his arms.

“Don’t pout,” Clary laughed. “No one is judging.”

“Who’s this Bane guy?” Simon asked.

Isabelle started speaking before anyone else could. “An up and coming photographer, which you would know if you ever listened to a word I said.”

Sometimes the way Simon looked at Isabelle made Alec sick. He stared at her like she’d hung the moon and granted his every wish. Simon was always doing whatever Isabelle wanted, and did the same for him in return. They complimented each other perfectly, the same way Clary and Jace did. Alec could only hope to find someone he could be that way with.

“I listen to everything you say, babe,” Simon lied.

Isabelle raised her eyebrows at her boyfriend. “No, you’re constantly in la-la land thinking about what’s next for you and Clary’s graphic novel series.”

Simon and Clary had started writing graphic novels their freshman year in college. Simon was the mastermind behind the words, and Clary was the artist behind the illustrations. Their series Shadowhunters had become surprisingly popular. People seemed to love the team of demon fighters they’d brought to life. All of Alec’s friends were successful, including Jace who was a beloved teacher of history at a local high school in Brooklyn.

Even though Alec was loved and admired by millions of people, he still felt like he couldn't compare to the things his friends had accomplished. They were in love, they were prospering, they were moving forward. Alec felt like he'd been stuck in the same place for years.

A pretty harmless argument had ensued, filled with laughter and teasing, but Alec wasn’t paying any attention to what was being said. He just watched as his friends smiled and loved each other. They felt so far away, like he couldn’t touch them even if he tried. He watched as Isabelle rested her feet in Simon’s lap, tilting her head back with laughter. His eyes followed Clary as she shrieked with happiness when Jace began to tickle her.

He had everything: money, a career, a pretty face, friends that were more like family, a roof over his head, food… He should be happy. He should feel complete.

He most definitely shouldn’t feel this empty.

A sad smile had made its way onto Alec’s face, but no one seemed to notice the pain in his eyes. His friends were untouchable, incredible, talented, and everything Alec wished he could be. All Alec was to this world was a pretty face for people to look at.

“Are you guys staying the night here or what’s going on? I have to be at the studio for twelve tomorrow, so it’s cool if you guys want to hang, order some takeout, whatever,” Alec said, bringing the attention back to him.

The talking stopped abruptly, four heads turning to look at Alec.

“If you wipe the sour look off of your face,” Clary said and frowned at Alec. “What’s wrong?”

Alec shook his head. “Nothing’s wrong.” He took the moment of silence to stand up from position in the chair and begin walking to the kitchen. “I’m getting the Taki’s take-out menu and then we can order,” he called over his shoulder.

Taki’s was a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that they’d been going to for years. They pretty much sold anything and everything, from steak (that Alec wouldn’t recommend) to Chinese food (which Alec would most definitely recommend). It had been their little sanctuary, their place ever since the day the five of them had stumbled upon it.

It wasn’t thirty seconds after he made it into his kitchen that he heard tiny footfalls come up behind him. He knew who it was before he even turned around. “I’m fine, Clary,” he grumbled, searching through a drawer full of take-out menus.

Clary huffed behind him. He could almost hear her rolling her eyes. There was no way she was going to buy this. “No, you’re not. Talk to me.”

Pleading green eyes were suddenly in his line of sight. He grabbed the Taki’s menu and stared at Clary. “Look, I’ll talk to you later, okay? Let’s just have fun for tonight.”

Clary looked unsure, but when she saw the desperate glint in Alec’s hazel eyes, she sighed in surrender. “Alright, but you’re not getting out of it.”

Alec laughed. “In no life would I ever think I was.”


“So, Alec Lightwood, huh?” Cristina said through a mouthful of salad.

Emma, Cristina, and Magnus were sitting on the studio floor, styrofoam containers of Greek salad in their laps.

Magnus looked up from his salad, slightly glaring at Cristina. He sighed rather dramatically and gestured for her to go on. “Your point, Cris?”

“Oh, come on, Magnus. We have eyes,” Emma butted in, putting unnecessary extra emphasis on some of her words.

Magnus nodded. “Yes, you do. Very pretty ones, in fact.” A wet piece of lettuce hit his face and fell to the floor.

“You think he’s pretty,” Cristina laughed, dragging out the end of the word “pretty.”

The infamous raise of Magnus’ eyebrows. “And you don’t?”

Emma and Cristina were looking at Magnus as if he’d just grown two heads. They tilted their heads in confusion at the same time before Emma spoke up. “Of course we do, but he’s gay, in case you forgot.”

“Just because someone is gay doesn’t make them any less attractive,” Magnus hummed.

Another piece of lettuce hit Magnus in the face. Emma was smiling. “Duh. That’s not what I meant. I meant you’re the one with the chance here, not us.”

Magnus choked on a piece of chicken. The seasoning burned his throat and his eyes began to water before he starting coughing violently. Cristina panicked and grabbed a bottle of water from the table above her head, handing it to Magnus, who accepted it gratefully.

There were a few more minutes of watering eyes and coughing before Magnus croaked out, “Me? Have a chance with Alexander Lightwood? Are you two nuts?”

Magnus wiped at his eyes, blue eyeliner smearing on his fingers. He was in a very ornate black and gold sheer shirt today with black jeans. He looked good and he knew it, which is why Emma and Cristina both said, “Are you kidding me?”

“What?” Magnus asked.

“Dude. You’re hot and you know it, don’t play insecure when we all know it’s not true.” Emma was a very blunt person.

Cristina was nodding her head in agreement. “It’s true, Magnus. You’ve always been confident in your looks, as you should be. But don’t sit here and act like Alec could never find you attractive.”

Magnus had an incredulous look on his face. “Okay, but have you seen him? Sure, I may be attractive, but Alec is on another level.”

“I’d say you’re on the same level, just in different ways,” Cristina answered.

“I appreciate the flattery, but I disagree.”

Emma stood up, Cristina and Magnus mimicking her actions. She walked across the studio to grab her purse and toss Cristina hers. “Whatever, you don’t have to agree with us. You’re gonna be seeing him again tomorrow, you might as well ask him out for drinks. It’s not like he’s going to say no.”

Magnus made a high-pitched noise of protest, but Emma held a finger up. “Uh-uh. Don’t start. You’re going to ask him out and that’s final. It doesn’t have to be an I-want-to-spend-the-rest-of-my-life-with-you date. It’s literally just an opportunity to get to know him better. You guys could be perfect for each other.”

Magnus pointed a ring-clad finger at Emma. “Could be. Key words there.”

Cristina decided it was her turn to speak. “You’ll never know unless you try, idiot.”

Arguing with Emma and Cristina never got him anywhere. He honestly didn’t know why he even bothered at times. They always backed each other up and ended up double-teaming Magnus. Plus, this time he couldn’t deny the fact that they were right. He did want to get to know Alec better. He didn’t want it to be a one time business deal and then the most beautiful man he’d ever laid eyes on walk right out of his life forever when it was all said and done.

Magnus had never hesitated to ask someone he found attractive on a date. He’d always been pretty sure of his ability to charm and persuade. Not that he made people do anything they didn’t want to, but he was hard to resist. He knew if the person was single, they’d at least engage in a conversation with him.

Alec was different. Alec was untouchable, too far out of reach. Magnus felt like he could never be worthy of such a man’s love. How was he supposed to convince an angel to give the devil a chance?

Chapter Text

Exhausted was an understatement.

Alec had stayed up entirely too late with his friends, sharing memories, drinking wine, and playing Monopoly. He’d admit it wasn’t his brightest moment.

His bones felt heavy, like someone was weighing him down with metal chains. He couldn’t remember most of the photoshoot because his head hadn’t been in it. In his head, he was at home in bed with a cup of coffee watching The Office.

Magnus had been looking at him funny the whole day, never quite making eye contact with him. Alec figured his attraction to Magnus was probably obvious and Magnus was uncomfortable because the feeling was not mutual. How could it be? He was nothing other than pretty. A guy like Magnus wouldn’t ever want to be with a guy like him.

The interview was tomorrow and Alec had no idea if Magnus would even be there for it. His presence wasn’t exactly necessary. Alec hoped he would be though, he liked the way his stomach flipped when Magnus entered the room.

Alec was packing up his things and getting ready to leave when he heard the front door to the studio open. He quickly grabbed his bag, rushing around the corner to make sure Magnus hadn’t left yet. He wanted to thank him.

It wasn’t Magnus leaving. It was Jace and Clary, standing at the door with huge smiles on their faces like two big dorks. Magnus was sitting at the desk, his eyebrows raised in curiosity. “We’ve come to whisk you away, pretty boy,” Jace said.

Alec shook his head in disbelief. “I-you’ve come to what? That sounds like you mean going clubbing. Was the wine and game of Monopoly not enough for you two?”

Clary disentangled herself from Jace. She was wearing a green romper that made her eyes seem exceptionally bright. Her fiery red hair was blazing around her in its normal halo of curls and the promise ring Jace had given her hung on a chain from her neck.

“Actually, we were just going to go to dinner,” Clary answered. “But we will not speak of that particular game of Monopoly because you cheated.”

“I did not!” Alec exclaimed, pointing an accusatory finger at his tiny, yet feisty, best friend. “As the Monopoly Queen, you just can’t accept the fact that someone beat you for once.”

Clary huffed and stamped her foot. “Whatever. Are you coming to dinner or not?”

Alec glanced over at Magnus, who was watching the scene before him with mild amusement. Magnus met his eyes briefly before looking away. “Oh, wait. You’re him. You’re Magnus,” Jace realized.

Really sometimes Alec wished Jace could just keep his thoughts to himself. Thinking out loud wasn’t always acceptable.

“Jace,” Alec warned.

Alec didn’t like the devious grin Jace shot in his direction before he turned his attention back to Magnus. “So this is the Magnus you couldn’t stop babbling about after four glasses of wine.”

Alec opened and closed his mouth a few times, wheezing a little. “I’m going to kill you. I’m actually, seriously going to kill you.”

Clary spun on her heel to look at her boyfriend. “Jace!” she yelled.

Jace just shrugged. “He’ll thank me later.”

Alec could feel his body temperature rising with embarrassment. He knew his face had to have turned about fifteen different shades of red by now.

Magnus had a look of shock on his face and was staring at Alec with wide eyes.

Alec really, really, really wanted the ground to open up and swallow him. He also seriously hoped that if it did, it would take Jace with him.

When Magnus regained his composure and was sure he’d be able to speak, he turned to Alec. “Alexander, could I speak to you for a moment? In private?”

Alec heard Jace whistle. “Ooooooooh, in private.” There was a thwacking sound followed by an “ouch” and Alec knew Clary had just hit Jace.

“S-s-sure,” Alec spluttered, following Magnus as he began to walk toward the back and passing a very amused Emma and Cristina. He didn’t even realize they’d come into the room.


They stepped into the room where Emma and Cristina had covered Alec in paint. There were no sheets there now, just violet walls with gold trim and a lot of empty space.

Magnus sighed as he closed the door.

Oh God, Alec thought. This was it. Magnus was going to try to tell him as gently as possible that he just didn’t see him in that way. He was beautiful, but not the right guy for Magnus. He was sorry, but Alec would find someone someday. It’s not you, it’s me.

“I’m sorry,” Alec said at the same time Magnus said, “Would you like to go out for a drink sometime?”

Alec was pretty sure he looked like an idiot. His eyes were wide and his mouth was quite literally hanging open. “Wait, me? With you?” he choked out.

Magnus seemed to be enjoying Alec’s disbelief. He had a fond smile on his face and was slowly inching toward Alec. “You are the only other person in this room.”

Alec was dumbfounded. There was no way this gorgeous, talented, intelligent man actually wanted to take him out. He was dreaming, this wasn’t happening. “Well, yeah, but you’re you and I’m-I’m-“

“Beautiful?” Magnus offered.

Alec tried to ignore the little punch he felt in his gut at the comment. Maybe Magnus did only want to take him out because he was nice to look at. He tried to hide his grimace before he responded. “Not where I was going with that.”

“To be fair, I don’t think you even knew where you were going with that.”


Magnus was so close to Alec now, his confidence growing. Alec could see the specks of gold in his eyes now and memorize the curve of his lips. “So, is that a yes?” Magnus asked.

Alec’s stomach was doing somersaults and he thought for sure Magnus could hear his heart about to beat right out of his chest. He wanted to grab Magnus and kiss him, but he knew he couldn’t. “Can we?”

“What do you mean?”

“Was there anything in the contract like preventing us from having a personal relationship?” Alec took a slight step back and he didn’t miss the flash of hurt in Magnus’ eyes.

Magnus forced out a chuckle. “We aren’t longtime business partners. It was a two day magazine shoot.” When Magnus saw that Alec still looked unsure, he continued, “But to answer your question, no, there’s nothing preventing it.”

Alec smiled. “Then I would love to.”


Jace and Clary were standing in a circle with Emma and Cristina. They seemed to be talking very enthusiastically about something and Alec briefly wondered what it could be. As he and Magnus got closer, he began to catch pieces of the conversation.

“My best friend is an artist!” Emma exclaimed.

“I honestly love the Shadowhunters graphic novels. I can’t believe you’re one of the masterminds behind it,” Cristina said.

Clary was smiling widely while Jace looked on to the scene with an immense amount of pride and love in his eyes as he watched Clary.

Ugh. Couples.

Clary caught sight of Magnus and Alec, stopping mid-sentence which caused Cristina and Emma to turn around.

It was quiet for a moment, then, “Well, neither of you look extremely uncomfortable, so that’s a good sign,” Emma spoke up.

Magnus laughed and shook his head.

“Raincheck on dinner?” Alec asked, his focus on Jace and Clary.

“You’re welcome,” Jace said and grabbed Clary’s hand. “With that we’ll be off. It was nice meeting you guys. Emma. Cristina. Magnus.”
Everyone chorused a “goodbye” and Clary gave an excited little wave to everyone before letting Jace drag her out of the studio. Right before she stepped out, she looked over her shoulder and winked.


The bar was surprisingly laid back and quiet. It was nothing at all like a club, which he had been expecting. They’d ended up at one of the more popular hang outs in Manhattan for celebrities and people who didn’t want to be bothered.

A few people had smiled and waved at Alec as he weaved his way to the bar, but no one stopped or interrupted him. He was incredibly nervous as he took his place at the bar next to Magnus.

Alec couldn’t help but notice the way the gold light fell on Magnus, accentuating his black lined eyes and causing his jewelry to twinkle. The man was unreal, and he was here, with Alec.

“You’re staring,” Magnus said as he waved over the bartender.


Magnus gave Alec a quick wink. “Don’t worry, I like it.”

The bartender was a girl with darkened skin and wild black curls. She slid over to them with a smile on her face. Recognition flashed in her eyes as she looked at Alec, but it disappeared as quick as it had come. She had to be used to celebrities coming in here by now.

“Hi, I’m Maia. What can I get for you two?” the girl asked.

“Martini, two olives please,” Magnus replied immediately.

“Got it,” Maia nodded and turned her attention to Alec. “And for you?”


Maia smiled. “Coming right up.”

Magnus moved his body so that he was facing Alec. “Interesting,” he mused, running a finger over his bottom lip. Alec followed the motion with his eyes, gulping a little bit before forcing himself to look back at Magnus’ eyes.

“What’s interesting?” Alec questioned.

“I wouldn’t have guessed you were a mojito guy,” Magnus answered.

For some reason, Alec’s heart began to beat a little bit faster whenever Magnus spoke to him. “What kind of guy did you think I was?”

Magnus didn’t even have to think. He blurted out his answer immediately. “Beer, definitely.”
Alec shrugged. “You’re not entirely wrong. I drink beer sometimes.”

Maia returned, sliding their drinks across the bar. “Thank you, darling,” Magnus said and began to pull out his wallet.

Alec grabbed his wrist, stopping him. “No, I got it.” He reached the pocket of his black jeans and pulled out a fifty dollar bill, handing it to Maia. “Keep the change.”

She looked surprised. “But the drinks were only ten. I can’t take this.”

“I’m not giving you an option,” Alec replied and patted the girl’s hand gently.

Maia grinned, clutching on to the slip of money. “Thank you so much.”

“My pleasure,” Alec smiled before Maia nodded and walked away.

Magnus was staring at Alec, his eyes full of something Alec couldn’t quite place. “What?” Alec asked.

Magnus wrung his hands together before lifting his glass to his lips, taking a drink. Alec couldn’t help but watch as his throat bobbed when he swallowed. “Nothing.”

Alec grabbed his drink to save him from having to speak. He had no idea what to say now. Luckily, Magnus had something in mind.

“So, a mojito man, a talkative drunk, a generous person, and a cheater at Monopoly. Is there anything else I should know?” Magnus was grinning as he took another drink.

A noise of disagreement came from Alec’s throat. “Listen,” he started, holding a finger up. “I did not cheat. If anyone cheated it was Izzy because she was the banker. And Clary, Clary can’t accept the fact that she lost a game of Monopoly for the first time. So, she has to accuse me of cheating. But mark my words, I did not cheat. I won that game fair and square.”

Laughter bubbled up and spilled out of Magnus. He looked beautiful as he laughed, his head slightly thrown back and a wonderful sound pouring from within.

Alec was semi-pouting into his mojito.

Magnus held up his ring-covered hands in mock surrender. “Okay, okay. I believe you,” he giggled.


Magnus couldn’t believe he’d somehow actually ended up taking Alec Lightwood out. It seemed almost as if it had to be some sort of joke.

He’d been pleasantly surprised earlier when the couple had walked into the studio, asking for Alec. At first, he didn’t have a clue who they were and thought they might be some crazy fans, but then Alec came around the corner and that thought was quickly wiped away. He could tell by the expression on Alec’s face that these were clearly people he knew, clearly people who were important to him.

Watching Alec momentarily interact with his friends had caused a warm feeling to spread throughout Magnus’ chest. The past two days Alec had seemed like maybe he was a lonely person who didn’t much enjoy the company of other people, but Jace and Clary changed that opinion.

The pleasantly surprised part occurred when the blond one, Jace, had blurted out that Alec apparently had a thing for Magnus. Alec was mortified and if looks could kill, Jace would’ve been dead. The spirited red head had seemed sorry for Alec, but also like Jace was telling the truth.

At some point after Jace threw Alec under the bus, Magnus couldn’t exactly determine when, he’d decided he was going to take his friends’ advice and ask Alec out. He couldn’t help it, his confidence soared when the truth was as clear as day on Alec’s face for the whole world to see. There was nothing holding him back now.

Now, he sat at a bar, looking at Alec whose mouth was slightly turned up at the corners. The conversation about Monopoly seemed to have brought him out of his shell a little bit, and Magnus was thrilled.

“So, Izzy. That’s your sister, right? The fashion designer?” Magnus asked, twirling his stick of olives around his glass as he focused on Alec, maybe a little too much. He was caught up in the defined line of Alec’s jaw, the sharp angle of his cheekbones, the sparkling hazel of his eyes, the beautiful curve of his lips… oh, his lips. Magnus really wanted to know what they would feel like pressed against his own.

At the mention of his sister, Alec’s eyes seemed to burn with immense love and pride. He was smiling widely and beginning to nod. He looked adorable and sexy at the same time. Magnus was unreasonably warm now as he shifted in his seat, forcing his eyes to drop from Alec and onto his drink.

“Yeah! Yeah, that’s her,” Alec replied.

“I know it’s only October, but Fashion Week contracts started being distributed at the beginning of this month. Did Isabelle snag a spot?”

“She did. She won’t let it show, but I know she’s crazy excited about it. And I’m super proud of her.” Alec lifted his glass to his lips.

Magnus found it in him to look at Alec again, once his body temperature fell to a more stable place. “As you should be. I can’t imagine the pride your parents feel over the success of you two.”

Alec promptly proceeded to spit out his drink. He was coughing now and his eyes were beginning to water. It didn’t help that he also seemed extremely embarrassed. Maia ran over, grabbing a towel and a glass of water, handing the water to Alec.

Alec was still coughing a little and Magnus was slightly concerned. He reached out a hand and placed it on Alec’s shoulder. “Are you okay?” he asked, tilting his head to examine the younger man’s face.

Alec nodded and wiped at his eyes before taking a long drink of water. Everyone who had been staring was now back to focusing on themselves. He took a few deep breaths, composing himself before he began to speak. “I’m so sorry. I’m good, I’m okay. I just, my parents-they-I-I-“

Magnus shook his head and help up a finger to Alec’s lips to silence him. “It’s okay. You don’t have to explain.” Magnus made a mental note to himself to never bring up Alec and Isabelle’s parents again unless it was okay with Alec.

“Thank you.” An appreciate smile ghosted over Alec’s lips before it quickly faded away. “Look, I um, need to get back home. But, uh, can I see you again? Would that be okay?”

“I’d like that.”

Chapter Text

Alec drug himself into his dimly lit apartment, his heart already in his throat, threatening to spill out. He kicked his shoes off and walked straight into his bedroom, diving head first onto his bed.

He’d left the bar in such a random hurry, and he felt terrible. He didn’t want Magnus thinking it was his fault, because it wasn’t. It was Alec’s fault for being weak and not being able to get his emotions under control when it came to his parents.

The tears he’d been trying so hard to hold in, finally fell. He scrambled for his phone and went to his favorites, finding Clary’s contact and hitting call.

She answered almost immediately. “Alec?” she yawned into the phone. “It’s twelve in the morning, are you okay?”

Alec forced the guilty feeling back. He couldn’t call Isabelle, she didn’t deserve to have his emotional burden thrust upon her, not when she’d done so much during their childhood to protect him. He was the older sibling, he was supposed to be the one protecting her, not the other way around.

It wasn’t that Clary deserved to deal with his distress, but he knew that he could. His voice shook when he replied. “I could really use that talk right about now.” He knew Clary could hear the desperation in his voice.

“I’ll be there in fifteen,” Clary said and hung up.

Alec laid in the dark and cried.


There was a soft knock on his bedroom door around twenty minutes later and a soft whisper of his name. He heard the door creak open and then Clary was next to him on his bed. When Alec looked at her, he saw her hair was in a mess of a bun and she still had her pink sleep mask pushed up on her forehead. She was wearing a blue tank top and a pair of plaid sleeping shorts with her bunny slippers.

“Did you take the train like that?” Alec asked, hiccuping.

Clary’s heart shattered as she looked down at her best friend. He’s eyes were already swollen from crying and she could see the tear tracks staining his cheeks, even in the dark. “I had to get here as soon as I could. I knew I shouldn’t have let you go the other night without talking first.”

Alec hugged a fluffy red pillow to his chest and tried not to sob into it. Clary stretched out on her side next to him so that they were facing each other. She reached out and grabbed his giant hand in her ridiculously small one. “Sweetie, what is it?”

“I’m a failure,” Alec answered.

The shock and confusion flashed in Clary’s eyes. “A failure? Alec, what do you call being a successful supermodel?”

“Superficial and unfulfilling. I make money because I’m pretty. Not because someone thinks I have talent or that I’m worth anything. They only see me as a pretty face. All of you are so talented and happy. I look at you guys and I just feel lost.”

Before Clary could speak, another mop of raven hair appeared on the other side of Alec. He looked over his shoulder to find Isabelle looking at him sadly. A strangled sob escaped his throat. “You called her?” he cried, looking to Clary.

“Don’t get mad at Clary. I told her to call me if she heard anything from you. I knew something was up last night,” Isabelle whispered, running her fingers through Alec’s hair.

“Izzy, I can’t. You don’t deserve this. You’ve done so much for me and you shouldn’t have to take care of me. You never should have had to take care of me. I’m supposed to be strong for you,” Alec sobbed as he forced himself into a sitting position.

Izzy reached out, pulling Alec into her as he started to cry harder. “Don’t you ever think that you cannot call me. Don’t ever think that I won’t drop everything for you. You are my brother, Alec. I love you more than anything.”

Isabelle looked over Alec’s shaking shoulders to focus on Clary, who had tears of her own threatening to fall. “Alec,” Clary began, running a soothing hand up and down Alec’s back. “You are one of the most intelligent, kind, talented, courageous, and beautiful souls that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I don’t know what makes you think that there is nothing more to you than your looks, but just know that that couldn’t be farther from the truth.”

Alec pulled away from Izzy and started rubbing furiously at his eyes. “My own parents think I’m repulsive. It doesn’t matter how many magazine covers I’m on, they’ll never love me!” Alec screamed, fighting every fiber in his body not to lose it completely.
“Oh, Alec. Please,” Isabelle started. She was reaching out her hands again, but Alec flinched away.

“Tomorrow at this interview they’re going to ask me questions about how does it feel to be a role model? They’re going to want to know what gave me the courage to come out and how did I handle it so well when the truth is, Mom and Dad’s reaction destroys me every day. I don’t know why I even accepted to be the face for this feature. I’m weak. There are much stronger members of the community out there than me.” Alec’s breathing had become incredibly heavy, and his chest rattled with pain during each breath he took.

Isabelle couldn’t help it, she let a few tears roll freely down her cheeks. “You are not weak. You persevered in spite of everything. That is not the work of a weak person.”

Alec was shaking his head in rapid succession. “I can’t do it. I can’t sit there and answer their questions and pretend I’m not falling apart inside. I can’t pretend it doesn’t hurt every day that I remember my own parents think I’m a disgusting excuse for a human.”

His trembling hands were suddenly encased in Isabelle’s steady ones. She locked her dark eyes on his and squeezed. “You can. You can and you will. I’m coming with you and I will be right by your side the whole time.”

“You would do that?” Alec asked quietly, blinking out a few more tears.

“Of course I would, big brother. Of course I would,” Isabelle said softly and pressed a gentle kiss to her brother’s forehead.

Clary, Alec, and Isabelle took that moment to lay down, the three of them cuddling close together on Alec’s bed. “I’d be there too if Simon and I didn’t have a meeting with the editor in the morning,” Clary sighed.

“It’s okay, you’re here now,” Alec mumbled and reached out to squeeze Clary’s hand. “Thank you guys for coming here. I love you both more than you know.”

Isabelle gently patted Alec’s chest before shimmying her way under the covers. “We love you, too. Now, let’s get some rest.”

Alec closed his aching eyes, finally letting himself slip into the darkness. And in the morning when he woke up, he would find himself encased in warmth from both sides: his sister and his best friend, holding all of his shattered pieces together.

Chapter Text

It was a crisp fall day in New York and the sun was shining, the tall buildings casting shadows on the streets of Manhattan. Magnus pulled his long, black trench coat tighter around his body as he made his way toward the studio.

He’d been going back and forth with himself all morning, debating whether or not he was going to even bother going in today. He didn’t want to seem like he was invading Alec’s personal space, but then again, it was his photography studio he was allowing to be used for the interview. Plus, he had to go through the shots he’d gotten the past few days, deciding which ones to keep and which ones to throw out (although he seriously doubted there was going to be a single bad picture of Alec). So, really he had every reason to be opening the door to his studio at the same exact time Alec was supposed to be arriving.

It was for professional purposes.


On the other hand, he probably should have been prepared for Alec to already be there. Alec was sitting in an uncomfortable looking chair across from the interviewer who was an equally uncomfortable looking chair. The interview clearly hadn’t started yet, there were people milling around setting up voice recorders and the woman who would be conducting the interview was busy setting up her computer, paying almost no attention to Alec.

Alec had a navy Yankee’s baseball cap on his head and he was in a faded red sweater. Magnus couldn’t quite see his face since Alec hadn’t looked up, his attention was focused on a stunning raven haired girl who was kneeling in front of him. She had her hands on either side of his face and was talking rather intently, and if Magnus was seeing things correctly, wiping a few tears from Alec’s cheeks.

When the girl dropped her hands from Alec’s face, she forcefully pulled him into a hug. It was at this moment that Alec looked over his shoulder, eyes easily finding Magnus’.

Magnus found his heart shattering a little in his chest. Alec’s eyes were red rimmed and swollen, clearly the effects of a night spent crying. There was a nauseating feeling of panic that began to bubble in the pit of Magnus’ stomach. Was it his fault? Was it something he had said?
The girl removed herself from Alec’s grip and whispered something to him before standing up. She was even more beautiful when Magnus was able to fully look at her, and she was also very clearly Isabelle Lightwood. The midnight black hair and large, inviting eyes couldn’t lie. She noticed Magnus staring and smiled, starting to walk in his direction.

Isabelle moved with poise and grace. The red dress she was wearing clung to her body in all of the right places, accentuating all of her curves. The deep ruby of the dress made the bright crimson of her lips even more vibrant. Her hair seemed to bounce with every step she took as she sauntered toward Magnus.

The Lightwoods were sinfully beautiful.

“You must be Magnus,” she greeted with a pearly white grin when she reached him. “I’m Isabelle.”

A hand displaying black painted nails was held out to him, waiting. Magnus delicately took Isabelle’s hand in his own and brought it to his lips, kissing it. “The lovely Isabelle Lightwood. What a pleasure it is to meet you,” he said as he released her hand.

“Well, I can clearly see where Alec is so smitten,” Isabelle laughed.

At the mention of Alec’s name, Magnus’ eyes immediately flickered over to the younger man who was nervously shifting in his seat while answering the woman’s questions.

Isabelle whipped her head around, following Magnus’ gaze. “I hate to do this, but I need to get back over there. We will definitely talk afterwards though,” she said hurriedly and turned to walk back to her brother’s side.

Magnus was most definitely confused and a little concerned. Alec had done dozens of interviews before, why did he need his sister by his side for this particular one? Also, why wouldn’t Alec meet his eyes for longer than a split second? Magnus had thought their date had gone rather well last night, save for the mention of parents that caused Alec to nearly choke to death and proceed to rush out of the bar.

Really Magnus thought that had just been a personal thing Alec needed to handle, which he more than understood. But what if it had been something about Magnus?


After what Alec felt was the most agonizing hour of his life, the interview was finally complete and he was free to leave. However, he could never be so lucky.

Isabelle wanted to speak to Magnus. And it wasn’t that Alec didn’t want to see Magnus, it was just that he didn’t want Magnus to see him. Not like this, obviously broken.

There’d been a horrible sense of wrong resting on Alec’s shoulders ever since he stepped foot in the studio, and he figured it probably had something to do with the fact that he currently wanted to puke his guts out.

He was incredibly anxious to speak with Magnus after the way he’d rushed out of the bar last night, surely leaving Magnus confused despite Alec’s request to see him again. His heart was in his throat as he followed behind Isabelle, head down and face shadowed by the lip of his hat.

Izzy had figured out where the back office was and took it upon herself to go find Magnus back there. She also insisted that Alec join her. In her words, it would be “a horrible choice not to” because Magnus could “totally get the wrong idea and think that you’re not interested.”

Alec hated to admit that she had a point.

Isabelle knocked on the office door and waited for the okay before walking in. Magnus was sitting at a computer, rows of pictures displayed on the screen. All pictures of Alec. He didn’t know why, but this seemed to make Alec’s cheeks heat up.

Magnus turned around in his chair with a smile on his face, a smile that made Alec’s heart stop dead. “Isabelle, Alec,” he greeted and rose to a standing position.

This did not help Alec’s heart and the apparent struggle it seemed to be having with, you know, functioning. Magnus was wearing fitted maroon pants, black Chelsea boots, and a white blouse laced with gold that he might as well have just left completely unbuttoned since hardly of it was closed anyway. His normal jewelry was adorning his neck and fingers, along with a golden snake ear cuff and dark eyes lined with shimmering gold.

All of the air seemed to escape from Alec’s lungs. He’d seen Magnus when he walked in early and was speaking with Isabelle, but he didn’t really see him like he was now. He was very aware that he was staring and that this seemed to be a common issue whenever he was around Magnus.

Isabelle and Magnus had apparently been talking for a few minutes now, not that Alec had any idea what their conversation was about. When his ears finally started processing what was being said, he realized he must have been in space for longer than he thought. Isabelle was gearing up to leave.

“Well, I’m sure you have a lot of work to do and I’ve gotta get this one home so he can get some rest,” Isabelle was saying, jabbing a thumb in Alec’s direction. “It was so nice meeting you, and I hope we get to see each other again soon.”

Magnus smiled and openly accepted the quick hug Isabelle was offering. “It was lovely to meet you as well, darling. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of each other,” he answered with a wink.

Alec could see Magnus eyeing him with curiosity and deep concern. He knew he hadn’t said a word the entire time they’d been in there. It was now or never. “Uh, Izzy,” he started and grabbed his sister’s attention. “I’ll meet you outside in a second, okay?”

Isabelle stopped next to him on her way out of the door, a knowing smile on her face. “I’ll be there whenever you’re ready to go. Take your time,” she said and left, closing the door behind her.

It was surprisingly dark in Magnus’ office, but Alec figured that was so the colors stood out more vividly on the computer screen. There was enough light to see clearly, however. So, he didn’t miss the questioning stare he was receiving from Magnus.

“I wanted to apologize for last night. I shouldn’t have left like that. It’s just, personal stuff. But I don’t want you to think that it was anything you said or did, because it wasn’t your fault. My freak out was all on me,” Alec rushed out, hardly stopping to take a breath.

Magnus visibly relaxed and moved until he was standing right in front of Alec, their chests nearly touching. “Alexander,” Magnus said and Alec thought he was surely going to pass out. Something about the way his full name rolled of Magnus’ tongue made him feel hot all over.

Alec’s eyes flickered from Magnus’ eyes down to his lips.

A steady hand came to rest of Alec’s trembling arm. “I understand completely. We all have our demons. I would never hold that against you.” Magnus’ voice was coming out extremely quiet, words carried out on a gentle whisper. “Besides, I’m much too interested in you to let one little mishap derail things,” Magnus smiled.

“That’s a relief,” Alec laughed breathlessly.

Magnus’ eyes were now focused on Alec’s lips as well. “Alexander,” he breathed, flicking his brown eyes up to quickly meet hazel ones. “Would it be completely inappropriate if I kissed you right now?”

Alec couldn’t breathe, couldn’t speak. He just shook his head. Warm hands were now cupping either side of his face causing his entire body to tingle. Magnus leaned in slowly and Alec’s eyes closed, waiting. He felt a puff of air against his mouth before velvet lips were upon his.

A whimper escaped his mouth involuntarily and he wrapped his arms around Magnus’ waist, pulling him closer. He parted his mouth when he felt a smooth tongue against his lips. A fire erupted somewhere deep inside of him, every single one of his nerve endings seeming to burst into flames.

Alec had kissed many boys, many times, but none had ever felt like this. He let himself relax, moving his mouth in perfect sync with Magnus’. The cool feeling of metal was dancing over his scalp due to Magnus running his ringed fingers through Alec’s hair. He didn’t want to pull away. He was suffocating in the best way possible.

Reluctantly, Magnus broke the kiss. “As much as I hate to stop this, I think that’s enough for now. We need to go slow.”

“Slow. Slow is good,” Alec breathed out, a dazzling smile appearing.

He’d had a rough few hours, he knew, but it almost felt like all of it faded away when he was in Magnus’ arms.

He was possibly falling a little too hard, a little too fast.

Isabelle absolutely took the chance to call him out on it on the train ride back to Brooklyn.

Alec really couldn’t deny it.

Chapter Text

Alec Lightwood: coming out, dealing with hate, Isabelle Lightwood, and more!
Vogue interviewer Charlene Smith sat down with everyone’s favorite supermodel, Alec Lightwood, and got the scoop. (She also received the bonus of one Isabelle Lightwood). Read the interview below!

CS: So, Alec. It’s wonderful to be here today. Thanks for coming!
AL: Thank you for having me!

CS: Getting right into it, how has it been working with photographer Magnus Bane?
AL: Amazing. He’s incredibly talented. I haven’t seen the full spread since we just finished shooting yesterday, but the pictures that I have seen are incredible. I think it’s going to turn out really, really great. He’s just got such a vision for these kind of things, you know? So, I’m super excited to see the finished product.

CS: We’re excited as well! Now, what was your initial reaction when you were asked to be on the cover of this very special issue of Vogue?
AL: I was shocked at first. I didn’t understand why out of all of the great celebrities in the LGBT+ community, they wanted me. But, obviously I’m honored. This is a wonderful thing Vogue is doing and I feel blessed to be a part of it.

CS: You were pretty young when you came out to your parents, correct?
AL: Ah, yeah. I was ten, I think?

CS: How did they handle that?
AL: Not well. At all. I’d prefer to actually not talk too much about that if you don’t mind.

CS: Oh! Of course, I’m so sorry. What advice do you have for anyone is struggling with the decision to come out?
AL: Don’t apologize. It’s completely fine. Regarding advice, I think you just have to do what’s right for you. It’s whatever you’re comfortable with. Also, there’s a lot of people that look at coming out as some sort of milestone in your journey as a member of the LGBT+ community. I don’t see it that way at all. Straight people don’t announce that they’re straight, so I don’t think it should be considered the norm for anyone else to announce their sexuality. Of course, if you want to, by all means do so. I just know that it’s not for everyone.

CS: That’s a wonderful point. In the past, how have you dealt with negative comments on the Internet and in the media?
AL: Well, it’s something that never gets easy. Those jabs are always going to sting and hurt, there’s no way around it. However, the way you choose to handle it is key. Everyone in this world has different opinions. Most people don’t see eye to eye, and that’s okay. It’s not okay when you use that opinion to hurt someone else. Personally, I’ve always reminded myself that their words do not define me. And, adding to that, I have my rocks to keep me grounded when I need them.

CS: Would one of those rocks happen to be your sister, Isabelle Lightwood, who is here with us right now?
AL: One-hundred percent.

CS: Hi, Isabelle!
IL: Hi, Charlene!

CS: For you, what have been the most rewarding and most difficult things about watching your brother on this journey?
IL: Obviously his success and the way he inspires people never fails to make my heart full. I am beyond proud of his achievements and his ability to persevere in the face of adversity. Difficult? Not being able to fight his battles for him. Watching him struggle is always excruciating because I just wish there was something I could do. But he’s always able to pull through it.

CS: Sibling rivalries are common. Have the two of you ever competed against each other, or has your relationship always been this strong?
AL: We’ve always had each other’s backs and been each other’s number one cheerleader. I can’t speak for Isabelle, but I know that I’ve never felt like I’m competing with her.
IL: The same for me.
AL: Sure, I’ve felt like she’s doing much better than me in life, but I have never felt compelled to one-up her.
IL: Commenting on the strength of our relationship, it’s always been like this. Alec is my constant in this crazy life and I know I’m the same for him. You don’t build someone up from the ground and suddenly become distant from each other.

CS: Alec, who would you say is your other rock? You mentioned more than one.
AL: Clary Fray and Jace Herondale, my best friends.

CS: Clary Fray? She’s one of the creators of Shadowhunters, right?
AL: That’s her.

CS: Some people say the characters are based off of your friend group? What do you know about that?
AL: *laughs* Well, I can confirm that we were indeed the inspiration, but don’t hold that against us. None of us are the children of any evil megalomaniacs. Also, Isabelle and Jace are probably the only two of us that wouldn’t run screaming if faced with a demon.
IL: He doesn’t give himself enough credit! He’s great with a bow and arrow. Twelve years of archery classes do pay off.

CS: Well, we only have a little bit of time left. What do you have to say to anyone who may be struggling with their sexuality?
AL: It’s completely normal to struggle. Just remember that who you are is beautiful, and who you love will never change that. The opinions of closed-minded people cannot take that beauty away from you. Know that you are not alone in your struggle and that there are people in this world ready to accept you with open arms. You just have to find them.

CS: That's beautiful. Lastly, I have to ask for all of the hopeful boys out there. Is there anyone special in your life right now?
AL: No, not at this moment.
IL: There will be soon. You boys better hurry. 
AL: Izzy! 
IL: What? It's the truth. 

Chapter Text

December 24, 2017

One thing Alec had noticed about Magnus in their two months of dating was that Magnus always had a camera with him. Whether it was a large one around his neck, or a smaller one he kept in his pocket, he was never without one.

Everywhere the two went, Magnus managed to find something he deemed worth taking a picture of. It was one of the things Alec adored most about his boyfriend.

Shortly after the day of the Vogue interview, Magnus and Alec had their second date, which went a lot better than the first one (no one almost choked to death that time). After that night, something clicked and the two became inseparable. They never went a day without seeing each other, and their nights were always spent either at Magnus’ penthouse in Williamsburg, or Alec’s brownstone in Park Slope. Alec even had a drawer of his things at Magnus’ home.

Alec was becoming more and more comfortable around Magnus, finding it easier to share personal things about himself. The subject of his parents was still off limits, though. It was just something he couldn’t find it in him to discuss with Magnus at this point in their relationship.

The group hadn’t been surprised the day Alec met them for dinner and announced that he and Magnus were officially in a relationship. There was a collective “it’s about time” and then pure excitement from everyone. They were thrilled Alec was finally getting the happiness he deserved.

Magnus had fit in easily with the group, like he was meant to be there. He got along with everyone wonderfully, and it filled Alec’s heart with joy to see the people he cared about most in the world enjoying each other’s company.

The media had gotten ahold of their relationship pretty soon after they made things official. There were paparazzi pictures of the two of them everywhere Alec turned, which is why they preferred to stay in. The public did seem to be in love with their relationship though, and Alec was thankful it hadn’t ended up the other way around.

Currently, Magnus and Alec were at Jace and Clary’s house in Crown Heights for their annual Christmas Eve party. It was just like last year’s, except Alec knew there was something extra special coming tonight.

Alec was leaning against the wall with a cup in his hand filled with Jace’s famous spiked eggnog. He was watching Magnus as he weaved around the room, talking to people and taking pictures of smiling faces and beautiful memories. Anywhere Magnus went, the people around him seemed to light up. He was electric.

A smile involuntarily made its way onto Alec’s face, and he tried to hide it in his cup. Apparently, he failed.

“What are you grinning about?” Jace said suddenly, causing Alec to jump.

“Jesus!” Alec exclaimed and slapped his free hand to his chest.

“Just ‘Jace’ is fine,” Jace winked.

Alec reached out and slapped the back of Jace’s head. “You’re an ass. You’re off the hook this time because I know you’re nervous, but you should know you have absolutely nothing to worry about.”

Jace took a deep breath, his eyes closing briefly. When he opened them again, his gold eyes were shining with nerves. “I hope you’re right because we’re about to start presents.”

As if on cue, Clary skipped into the room with a set of flashing reindeer antlers on her head. “Alright, everyone!” she called. Alec briefly thought that for such a small girl, she sure did have a loud voice. “It’s time for presents!”

The party was fairly small, only made up of their closest friends and then some. Clary sat on the couch, closest to the Christmas tree and made a motion with her hand, waving Jace over. Jace sighed and put the red santa hat in his hand on his head before going to join his girlfriend. It was always like this, Clary sat by the tree while Jace played the role of Santa Claus, handing out presents to everyone.

Magnus sidled up alongside Alec and swiftly linked their fingers together. “Let’s go sit on the other couch,” he said and nodded toward the green couch directly across from the matching one Clary was sitting on.

When they sat down, Magnus took the spot closest to the tree and Alec took a moment to stare as the multi-colored lights illuminated his boyfriend’s golden skin. Alec sunk down so that he could lean his head on Magnus’ broad shoulder. “Don’t fall asleep on me. The fun part is just getting started,” Magnus whispered, absentmindedly rubbing circles on Alec’s hand with his thumb.

“Oh, trust me. I’m not,” Alec whispered back. No one but Alec and Jace knew what was about to happen and Alec was damn sure he wasn’t going to miss it for anything.

Jace threw a small box in Alec’s direction and Alec caught it in one hand, setting it on top of his and Magnus’ already growing pile of presents. A few more gifts were tossed around before underneath the tree was finally empty. Everyone had a stack of festively wrapped presents at their feet.

They had a tradition of everyone opening their presents at the same time. Once Jace said “dig in,” the wrapping paper began to scatter the floor. Alec got a Rolex watch from Isabelle and Simon, a painting of the New York skyline from Clary, a new pair of combat boots from Jace, a gift card to his favorite restaurant from Lydia, all nine seasons of The Office on DVD from Emma, and a lovely maroon silk scarf from Cristina.

Magnus received film for his Polaroid from Jace, a new black studded jacket (that was going to look incredible on him) from Isabelle and Simon, a Sephora gift card from Cristina, a very expensive looking gold ring from Clary, and a magic kit from Emma that was apparently some kind of inside joke judging by how hard Magnus had laughed at it.

Alec and Magnus had decided before coming to the party that they were going to exchange their gifts in private since it was their first Christmas together.

There was a moment of silence as everyone finished up, and Alec chanced a quick glance at Clary who looked like she was trying very hard to cover up the feeling of disappointment. Alec tried to fight a smile.

“Jace,” Clary said, catching her boyfriend’s attention. “I mean not that material things matter, but did you seriously forget to get me a Christmas present this year?”

Jace smiled nervously at Alec before standing from his seat next to Clary, walking to stand directly in front of her. “I’m glad you asked, babe. I did not forget; however, I did save the best for last.”

Everyone in the room was definitely confused at this point, except for Alec. He twisted his hands together nervously. Magnus furrowed his eyebrows, silently asking “what is going on?” Alec held up a finger to his lips, mouthing “just wait.”

“I wanted to do this in front of all the people that are most important to us in our life. I’m really sorry Jocelyn and Luke couldn’t physically be here, but they wish they could,” Jace said.

Clary looked to Isabelle for an answer, but Isabelle shrugged in response. “I have no idea what he’s talking about,” she said out loud.”

It was at that moment that Jace dropped to one knee in front of Clary. Her eyes went wide, a hand flying to her mouth. A gasp went around the room and a “holy shit” from Isabelle was heard.

“Clarissa Adele Fray,” Jace began, his voice shaking. “I never thought I would meet someone more infuriating than me, but then I spilled my coffee on you and little did I know that was the day I had met my match, and the love of my life. You have given me a run for my money, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. You are the most kindhearted, spirited, passionate, and loving person I have ever known. You challenge me every day and encourage me to become a better version of myself.”

Clary was crying now, her hand still covering her mouth. The whole room seemed tense and Magnus had a hand on Alec’s thigh, squeezing tightly.

Jace reached into his pocket and pulled out a little black box, opening it to reveal a stunning diamond ring. He took a deep breath before continuing. “You are, without a doubt, the person I am meant to spend the rest of my life with. If my remaining time on earth is not lived with you, I fear it is not worth living at all. You are my savior, my angel. You are my lifeline. So, with that being said, Clary Fray, will you marry me?”

A loud sob escaped Clary as she began nodding furiously. It took a moment, but she finally grasped what was happening and threw herself forward into Jace’s arms. He caught her effortlessly and buried his head in the flames of her hair. “Yes, oh my God, yes!” she cried.

Reluctantly, Jace pushed Clary back from him and reached into the pocket of his jeans. He grabbed the black box from the floor where he had dropped it when Clary rammed into him. Clary held out her shaking left hand and let Jace slide the ring onto her finger. As soon as it was in place, she crashed their mouths together in a kiss that said a thousand words.

The room erupted into cheers and clapping and “oh my Gods.” Alec didn’t realize it until he felt Magnus’ thumb brushing away tears that he had started crying. Clary and Jace were now surrounded by their friends, the girls wanting to get a closer look at the diamond.

Magnus and Alec just stayed on the couch, watching the scene before them. “That was beautiful,” Magnus said.

Alec turned to his boyfriend with a smile. “I’ve known about it since the end of October. Do you know how hard keeping this a secret has been?” he laughed. “All those times we laid in bed in silence, I just wanted to blurt it out. But I promised Jace that I wasn’t going to tell anyone.”
Magnus raised his eyebrows in mock offense. “Jace and Clary are what you think about while we’re in bed?” Magnus asked. “That’s flattering.”

Alec rolled his eyes and slapped Magnus’ shoulder. “Oh, shut up.”

Everyone began walking to the kitchen, leaving Jace and Clary alone in the living room. Magnus and Alec followed, their hands linked. “I feel like the rest of the night is now going to be anti-climatic. Screw our gift exchange, nothing is going to beat that moment,” Magnus chuckled.

The older man tried to keep walking into the kitchen, but there was a tug on his hand that stopped him from moving forward. Alec was grinning at Magnus and pointing a finger to the archway above them where mistletoe was hanging.

Magnus returned Alec’s smile and pulled him into his arms. Alec was taller than Magnus, but that didn’t stop Magnus from taking control most of the time. Control that Alec was glad to give up.

Alec leaned down, letting his lips meet Magnus’ in a soft kiss that quickly turned deep. Alec felt as Magnus tightened his arms around him, sliding his tongue into Alec’s mouth. There were a few whistles and cat calls coming from their group of friends in the kitchen behind them. The couple smiled in unison as they pulled away from each other.

Alec was starting to feel like this night couldn’t get any better.


Magnus watched as Alec embraced each and every one of his friends, bidding them goodnight and wishing them all a merry Christmas. Magnus had already said his goodbyes, so he was now standing by the door with his coat on, waiting for Alec.

There was a rough bro-hug between Jace and Alec right before Alec turned to Clary. Magnus stared as Alec brought the girl into his arms, engulfing her completely. “Congratulations, baby girl. You deserve all of the happiness in the world,” Magnus heard Alec say to her. He couldn’t help but smile.

“I love you,” Clary said and squeezed tighter.

“I love you more,” Alec replied without hesitation.

Watching Alec with Clary had to be on his list of top ten favorite things to do. There was something about their dynamic that was so pure. It was very blatantly a friendship you only found once in a lifetime. They just fit together, always bouncing sarcastic comments off of each other. Jace was Alec’s brother, but Clary was the friend every person wanted to have.

Hell, Magnus was a little jealous he didn’t have Clary as a best friend. They’d become closer over the past few months, getting along well, but nothing near the relationship she shared with Alec.

Alec kissed Clary’s forehead and hugged her one last time, then he turned around and made his way over to Magnus. “Ready, love?” Magnus asked, handing Alec his coat.

“Mmmhmm,” Alec hummed and slipped his coat on. Their fingers interlocked out of habit as they stepped out into the cold night air. Snow had fallen while they were inside and it was already turning to slosh on the streets.

It was better than the streets of Manhattan, but not by much. No matter what, it always seemed like the snow would turn into discolored mush anywhere Magnus went in New York. He had always loved the snow and the magical feeling it seemed to cast over the city. He also wasn’t complaining about the way it stuck to Alec’s dark hair, making him look like a work of art.

The air was biting at their skin, causing cheeks and noses to almost instantly turn pink. They hurried down the steps into the subway station, huddling close together for warmth. The ride to Williamsburg was spent mostly in silence, save for a few comments about ads that ran along the top of the car.

When they were safely in the warmth of Magnus’ loft, wrapped up in blankets by a blazing fire, they pulled out their gifts for each other. Magnus insisted Alec open his first. He watched intently as Alec opened his box, revealing a black Canon camera. “You always talk about how there’s moments with your friends that you wish you could save forever, and now you can. You’ll always have a little piece of the memory,” Magnus said while Alec continued staring at the box.

Magnus waited for Alec to look up and when he did, his eyes were shining with tears. “I don’t even know what to say. This is so thoughtful and expensive. Magnus, why did you spend this much money? I thought we agreed-“

“Alexander,” Magnus breathed. “I wanted to, okay?”

“But your gift from me literally didn’t cost anything,” Alec spluttered, his cheeks heating up.

“This isn’t about monetary value, dear,” Magnus responded and gripped the package in his hands. He looked down and slowly began peeling off the paper. He wasn’t blind to the way Alec was holding his breath.

Magnus had to admit he was a little confused when he discovered what was underneath the paper. A pretty worn copy of The Great Gatsby was staring up at him. He looked to Alec for some clarification.

Alec sighed, his body deflating. “It’s my original copy of The Great Gatsby that I got when I was fourteen years old. It has all of my initial thoughts and notes written in the margins, as well as sticky notes of words from the times I’ve re-read it. It’s my favorite book, and I know I’m not very good at opening up, but I thought that maybe if you had this, you’d be able to learn a little bit more about me by reading my thoughts.”

There weren’t really any words Magnus could come up with to respond to that. “Alexander,” he whispered, deciding that was a decent start. His heart felt like it was about to explode.

“I’m sorry, I know it’s stupid. I should’ve gotten you, like, some new lenses or something,” Alec muttered, toying with the frayed end of the cerulean blue blanket wrapped around his shoulders.

Magnus knew he had tears in his eyes, but he didn’t quite care. “No, it’s perfect. I love yo-I love it,” he said, catching himself before he blurted out something neither one of them was ready for.

“Really?” Alec asked, hopeful eyes looking up into Magnus’.

There was hardly a second between the time their eyes met and the moment their lips crashed together. Magnus didn’t trust himself to speak, so he figured this would be enough confirmation for Alec. He put pressure on Alec’s chest, pushing his back to the floor.

Magnus moved his mouth desperately against Alec’s, cupping his boyfriend’s face in his hands. He felt Alec’s legs wrap around his back, pulling him closer. Alec slid his hands up to grip the sides of Magnus’ neck and forcing the pressure of the kiss to increase.

The kiss was slow, deep, and was burning hotter than the fire of a thousand suns. Despite the pace of the kiss, there was no lack of passion. Magnus moved his tongue agonizingly slow against Alec’s, making sure Alec felt every moment of it.

A fire began to burn in Magnus’ stomach, much like the one burning in the fireplace next to the couple. Alec slid his hands down and gripped the hem of Magnus’ shirt, tugging it up. There was a moment when Alec moaned that Magnus really didn’t want to stop, but he knew he had to. He broke the kiss, panting a little.

The light from the fire was casting a beautiful glow over Alec’s face, making him seem even more unreal than usual. His hair was a tousled mess and his lips were deliciously swollen. Magnus really wanted to take him right there. “Why’d you stop,” Alec whined, letting his legs fall from their position around Magnus.

“Not yet. Slow, remember?” Magnus whispered, the fire crackling over his words. He took a finger and slid it down Alec’s heaving chest.

Alec groaned, throwing his head back a little in frustration, making the veins in his neck easily accessible to Magnus. It took everything in Magnus not to lean down and bite into the pale skin. “That was possibly the worst decision I’ve ever made,” Alec said, pouting a little bit.

Magnus laughed and let himself sit down, his knees encasing Alec’s hips. Alec bit his lip at the contact. “Patience is a virtue.”

“Yes, a virtue I am sorely lacking,” Alec sighed. “But you’re right. I’m not ready.”

Magnus pressed a soft kiss to Alec’s cheek. “I know, darling. I know.”

Alec caught Magnus’ lips with his own and pressed a few more kisses against them. When they separated, he whispered, “Merry Christmas, Magnus.”

“Merry Christmas, Alexander.”

Chapter Text

Alec loved weddings. He really did.

But if he had to walk into one more bridal shop today, he thought he was going to scream. The pushy associates, snotty cashiers, surrounding bridezillas, and entitled bridesmaids who couldn’t seem to understand it was not their wedding, were all starting to exceed his patience capacity for the day.

It had been two months since Jace proposed to Clary, and she was already dragging her friends along to look at wedding dresses. Overeager would be a tad bit of an understatement. Also, it didn’t help that Clary hated every dress she put on and that Isabelle loyally supported these opinions. Honestly, Alec thought Clary looked beautiful in about eighty percent of the gowns she tried on.

So now, after running around Manhattan all day, they were finally back in Brooklyn satiating their cramping stomachs at Taki’s. They were in one of the many multi-colored booths that lined the red brick walls under the large windows of the small restaurant. Clary sat comfortably next to Alec while Simon and Isabelle cuddled across from them.

“I really liked that Kiera Chang one,” Simon was saying through a mouthful of noodles.

Vera Wang, Simon,” Isabelle sighed, shaking her head.

Clary pushed her kung pao chicken around on her chipped white plate. “I don’t know. None of them felt right.”

“Well, it’s a good thing you have until next February to decide,” Alec chimed in and patted his best friend on the back. Clary and Jace had settled on February 16th, 2019 for their wedding day, deciding they wanted a winter wedding, but not one in the middle of the season.

“Speaking of February, have you and Magnus had sex yet?” Clary wondered, causing Alec to spit his tea back into his cup.

“How does February have anything to do with whether or not Magnus and I have had sex yet?” Alec asked.

“Well, I mean, it doesn’t. Unless you guys are gonna do it on Valentine’s Day. Oh, you should totally do it on Valentine’s Day,” Clary replied and clapped her hands together at her idea.

A moment passed where Alec wanted to tell Clary it was none of her business, but he knew that wouldn’t be fair. They’d never had the type of relationship where they kept things from each other, sometimes sharing a little too much (Alec knew more about what Jace liked in bed than he cared to admit). However, Alec didn’t know where he stood on Simon being a part of this conversation.

“And have the most cliche first time ever with my boyfriend? I think I’ll pass,” Alec snorted.

“Aha! So, you haven’t had sex,” Isabelle confirmed with a triumphant smile.

Alec narrowed his eyebrows, realizing what Clary and Isabelle had done. He should never underestimate the occasional devious nature of the girls. “You two are evil,” he hissed jokingly.

“Girls, man,” Simon commented and gave Alec a knowing nod. Alec couldn’t help but nod back in agreement. He was momentarily grateful Simon hadn’t contributed much to the conversation. He made a mental note to remember that in the future the next time Simon did something that made Alec want to kick him off of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Clary pushed her plate full of barely touched food away, turning in the booth so that she was facing Alec. Her green eyes were alight with curiosity. “What are you guys waiting for?”

Alec shrugged. “I don’t know. I’m just not ready yet.”

“But why? It’s not like you’re a stranger to sex,” Isabelle mused, tossing silky black hair behind her. She clasped her hands together, resting them under he chin to stare at Alec in a way that said I’m ready. What’s your excuse, big brother?

Alec took a moment to look away from Clary and focus his eyes on his sister. “No, but I am a stranger to sex with someone who I actually see myself having a future with. Also, what if it sucks?”

“Big brother, I doubt you’re terrible at sex. And I know for a fact Magnus isn’t. His ex, Camille Belcourt, was at New York Fashion Week last week. I talked to her and she had no complaints in that department. Said he was the best she ever had, actually.”

There was a moment of silence while Alec tried to come up with a response to that. Simon was raising his eyebrows at his girlfriend and Clary just looked like she was trying not to bust out laughing, a diamond ring adorned hand covering her smile. “You did what?” Alec was in shock.

Isabelle shifted her weight to one hand for a brief second while she used the other one to wave dismissively in the air. “Oh, re-lax. They’ve been broken up for years.”

A sinking feeling dug its claws into Alec’s stomach, planting uncertainty in the blink of an eye, or the utterance of a sentence in this case. “He’s never mentioned her before,” Alec muttered. All at once his appetite seemed to disappear. He dropped his forkful of noodles back into the bowl.

Clary and Isabelle chanced a panicked look at each other, registering the mistake Isabelle had just made. “Alec, I didn’t mean to make you doubt Magnus. Ask him about it first, don’t do what you always do,” Isabelle chided.

“Which is what?” Alec asked.

“Overthink things and come to some outlandish conclusion that normally ends up being the farthest thing from the truth,” Isabelle answered.

“I don’t do that!” Alec exclaimed. His shoulders deflated after a pause. “Do I?”

Simon’s face said it all, absolutely no words were needed. He had man, come on, is that even a question? written in flashing lights on his face. Clary was wearing a very similar expression.

“Okay, maybe I do,” Alec conceded. “But I can’t help it.”

Isabelle sat back, leaning her back against the booth and crossing her arms. She moved a hand to toy with the ruby necklace that rest on her chest. It was a family heirloom that had somehow ended up in Isabelle’s clutches. There was hardly ever a day that it wasn’t part of her outfit. “Just forget I said anything,” she said. She seemed to be thinking for a brief second before she continued on. “Look, Clary and I aren’t trying to force you to have sex with Magnus. Obviously that’s a personal decision to be made between the two of you. And I understand better than anyone why you’re hesitant. I’ve been here through it all, remember? You just do whatever feels right, whenever it feels right.”

Clary reached out to squeeze Alec’s knee. “Well, this has turned disgustingly serious. What say we leave here and go get some ice cream?” Three incredulous faces turned to look at her.

“It’s thirty-two degrees outside,” Alec deadpanned.

“It’s never too cold for ice cream.”


Just forget I said anything.

Isabelle’s voice floated through Alec’s thoughts for the umpteenth time in the last three hours. He was sitting on one of the couches in Magnus’ living room, trying to read a book, but to no avail. He’d been reading the first paragraph for fifteen minutes.

He wanted to listen to his sister, he really did, but the nagging voice in the back of his mind wouldn’t let up. Alec wanted to stuff a magical sock of silence in the mouth of his subconscious.

Magnus and Alec had talked about their exes, both agreeing that it would be healthy to get it all out in the open before their relationship progressed any further. This had been months ago, around their fifth date, which was in October.

On Magnus’ list of ex-lovers, there was no spot with the name Camille. Alec just wanted to know why Magnus had left her out of the line-up. Was he still in love with her? Was he seeing her again?

Stop it, Alec thought. Magnus wouldn’t cheat on you. You’re being paranoid.
The sound of a key turning in the lock snapped Alec out of his intrusive thoughts. He quickly directed his eyes back to the book, wanting to look like he was busy and hadn’t just been sitting on the couch for the past three hours agonizing over something he knew nothing about.

Alec hadn’t mentioned to Magnus that he was coming over after his late lunch. Alec himself hadn’t even been planning on it, he made the impetuous decision on the train ride to his home. He’d made the journey to the top floor of the building, using the small silver key that he always carried in his pocket to unlock the door.

“Alec?” Magnus questioned, shrugging his coat off and hanging it by the door. His cheeks were bitten from the cold and his eyes had a wet sheen over them from the harsh wind. “I didn’t know you were coming here. I thought I’d just swing by your place later.”

“Well, I’m here,” Alec snapped, much harsher than he’d intended.

Magnus looked taken aback by the sharp tone in Alec’s voice. “Is everything okay?” he asked, sitting down on the couch next to Alec’s feet that were currently covered by a red throw blanket.

“Sorry, I’m fine. I’ve just had it with people for the day,” Alec sighed and closed the book he was holding. He didn’t even realize it had been upside down. Briefly, he hoped Magnus didn’t notice.

“Ah, bridezillas got to you,” Magnus smiled and nudged Alec’s knees so they moved over enough for him to fit in the space on Alec’s side.

Alec tensed a little bit as Magnus slid up beside him, pressing a kiss to his lips that he returned half-heartedly. He slapped a fake smile on his face and looked at his boyfriend. “Yeah, just happy you’re here now.”

“Huh. I never would’ve guessed considering you’re acting like I have the plague,” Magnus observed, sitting up so he could look down at Alec. “You’re a terrible actor. What’s wrong?”

“Who’s Camille?” Alec’s voice came out barely above a whisper and he wouldn’t meet Magnus’ eyes. He heard Magnus’ breath hitch in his throat and felt as his boyfriend moved away from Alec so that he could get off of the couch and stand.

When he finally found the courage to look at Magnus, the man had a hand to his forehead and was pinching the bridge of his nose with his eyes closed. Alec couldn’t help but run his eyes along the length of Magnus’ body, taking in his surprisingly subtle attire. He was wearing all black: black long-sleeved shirt, black jeans, black boots. His normal array of necklaces and rings were there, and his face wore the normal amount of makeup.

Alec waited for Magnus’ eyes to open and meet his. When they did, they were full of something Alec couldn’t figure out. “Camille is my ex-girlfriend,” Magnus said finally.

“You never mentioned her when we discussed our exes.” Alec was toying with the frayed ends of his sweatshirt now, eyes no longer locked with Magnus’. Although he wasn’t actively watching him, Alec could tell that Magnus was pacing.

“I know,” Magnus sighed.

“Why? Why didn’t you say her name?” Alec took a deep breath, worry and dread climbing into his chest. “Do you-are you still in love with her?” Alec knew he sounded like a child when spoke that last sentence, but he currently felt small so he didn’t care.
Magnus stopped pacing immediately, rushing forward and dropping to his knees in front of Alec. He placed two fingers under Alec’s chin, forcing his defeated-seeming boyfriend to look at him. “God, Alec, no,” he breathed. “No, darling. I don’t care about anyone else but you. You have my heart.”

Alec’s bottom lip was trembling and he silently cursed himself. He hated that he was so weak and insecure. That he always found a reason to think the worst. “If that’s true, then why?” his voice shook.

“You know how your parents are the thing you’re not ready to talk about yet? Camille is that person for me,” Magnus answered honestly. “But I can assure you there is no love where she is concerned. Not anymore.”

Alec looked down at his lap again, twisting his hands together.

“It’s you, Alexander. It’s always going to be you. I have never felt this way about anyone. Ever. Especially not Camille. What she and I had can’t even come close to this or the way I feel about you. Please believe me,” Magnus pleaded.

“I do,” Alec said. “Believe you, that is.”

Magnus visibly relaxed, sitting back on his heels. “Come here,” he whispered and held his hand out.

Alec took Magnus’ hand and let himself be pulled down the floor. Magnus fell back so that he was laying down and pulled Alec to his chest, his arms snaking around the younger man. Alec wondered why they were on the floor instead of the couch, but then realized he actually didn’t care as long as he was in Magnus’ arms. He sighed as Magnus buried his head in the crook of Alec’s neck, letting a few soft kisses ghost over his skin.

“Don’t ever be afraid to talk to me if you’re concerned about something, Alec,” Magnus said, his words slightly muffled by Alec’s skin.

Alec rolled off of Magnus’ chest so that they were laying side by side, hands instinctively linking between them. “Okay,” he said quietly.

“Now that we’ve cleared that up, may I ask how exactly you found out about her?” Magnus asked with a little chuckle.

“Isabelle. She met her at Fashion Week last week,” Alec responded.

Magnus nodded his head in a knowing way. “I guess I should have thought of that. I knew you would eventually cross paths with her somehow.”

Alec raised his eyebrows for a second. “And you didn’t want me to hear it from you first? What if she’d told Isabelle some fabricated story?”

“I would hope that you would come to me before taking anything she said to heart. If she’d said something and I had to explain to you what happened between us, then I would. But unless I am forced to, I’ll wait until I’m ready. Until I’m a hundred and ten percent you won’t do the same thing,” Magnus explained.

It was understandable, what Magnus was saying. And Alec didn’t have any room to talk because the second his parents were brought up in conversation, everything in him seemed to freeze. The years of mental abuse and parental neglect were catching up to him. It wasn’t always like this. No, he never particularly liked talking about his parents, but he could do it without choking and slipping into a panic attack.

He tried to only think about his parents when he was alone and could allow himself to break. Or around Isabelle and Clary, the words always came out easily with them. He wanted so desperately for it to be that way with Magnus, but he just didn’t see a way to get there any faster. The only thing he could do was wait and hope something changed. Hoped something happened that would finally allow the dam to collapse.

“That’s fine. I’m sorry for being ridiculous,” Alec replied after a few moments.

“You’re not being ridiculous. I don’t blame you for the way you reacted.” Magnus moved across the floor so that his body was against Alec’s, every part of them touching all the way down to their toes.

“Can we just lay here for a minute? I want to be close to you.” Alec rested his forehead against Magnus’ and closed his eyes.

“We can lay here forever if that’s what you want.”

Chapter Text

there are two astricks where the smut begins for those who don't want to read. looks like this (**)


February 14, 2018

They’d agreed that Valentine’s Day was overrated. The cheesy movies, red roses, chocolates, and dinner dates had all become so repetitive and used up. It seemed like no one used Valentine’s Day anymore just to show someone that they loved them, they always had an ulterior motive, usually sex.

Alec and Magnus just weren’t into that. They didn’t need a special day filled with gifts and candy to prove how they felt about each other. No, they did that every day. In their world, you should be loved and cherished by your partner every day out of the year.

And it’s not to say that they weren’t doing anything for Valentine’s Day. Alec was cooking a nice dinner and then planned to curl up on the couch with his boyfriend in his pajamas and watch movies. No stress, no hassle, no presents, just Magnus and Alec.

He was just finishing pouring the penne into the sauce when he felt strong arms wrap around his middle. “What’s cookin’ good lookin’?” Magnus asked from behind.

Alec turned in Magnus’ embrace, resting his back against the counter. “Technically nothing is cooking anymore. I was just about to come tell you dinner is ready.” Despite the long photoshoot he’d had the day before, Alec still stood by his decision to make dinner and spend time with Magnus.

They hadn’t seen much of each other in what felt like weeks except for the occasional goodbye kiss in the mornings or hello/goodnight kiss when one of them crawled into bed late at night, after the moon had already taken its spot in sky. Alec had been incredibly busy between photoshoots and fittings for Isabelle’s launch of I.Z.Z.Y’s men’s clothing line. She’d practically begged him to be the face of it, saying if he was wearing the clothes, everyone would want to buy them.

And Magnus? Magnus had been booked solid for weeks with weddings. He had a different wedding to photograph for every day. Apparently people in New York would pay good money to have their wedding photos to look the best, because Magnus sure as hell didn’t come cheap.

Alec disentangled himself from Magnus and reached up to grab two plates out of the cabinet, his shirt riding up and exposing his skin as he did. He turned around and handed a plate to Magnus.

Once their plates were filled with penne alla vodka and fresh green beans, they moved to the couch with their glasses of white wine. Alec curled up like he always did, his left side leaning on Magnus.

Magnus took a bite of the pasta and moaned around his fork, making Alec jerk his head up. Magnus had his eyes closed and was chewing very slowly. “I missed your cooking,” he said after he swallowed. Alec just smiled and continued eating his dinner.

Pretty soon, their plates were cleared and they’d somehow ended up watching Disney’s Tangled. Rapunzel was finally seeing the lights for the first time when Alec looked over at Magnus, drinking him in.

He lost focus on the movie, instead all of his attention was on Magnus. He thought about the way the man had cared for him the way he never thought anyone would. He thought about Magnus’ patience, his kindness, his open heart. How he took pictures of anything he found beautiful, wanting to capture it forever. How his brows furrowed together whenever he was reading a book, or his lip curled when he concentrated hard enough.

If you asked him later, Alec wouldn’t be able to tell you which one of those things it was that made something finally click inside of him. Maybe it was everything together, maybe it was none of it at all, maybe it was just because Alec was tired of waiting.

Without saying a word, he leaned forward, grabbed the remote, and turned the TV off. “Dear God, Clary is never going to let me live this down,” he said after a long sigh.

Magnus looked beyond confused. “Never going to let you live what down? Why’d you turn the movie off? Alec, what is going on?”

Alec surged forward in a jump of desperation, capturing Magnus’ surprised mouth with his determined one. He didn’t waste any time in slinging his leg over Magnus’ and settling himself on his lap. Shaking hands gripped the back of Magnus’ neck tightly as he opened his mouth, parting his boyfriend’s lips.

It took a moment for Magnus to register everything, but when he did, he pushed Alec back, separating their mouths. “Alexander, what is going on? You’re worrying me.”

There was no going back. He needed this now, to be as close to Magnus as physically possible. “I’m ready,” he breathed, pausing. “If you are.”

Magnus still had a confused expression. No matter how much Alec wanted to, he refused to let himself break eye contact. He had to appear confident in this decision. Slowly, the puzzle pieces joined in Magnus’ head. Alec could see it written on his face as his eyes widened. “Are you sure? We don’t have to,” Magnus said and tightened his hold on Alec.

“I’m sure. I want this. Want you,” Alec whispered.

“Okay,” Magnus whispered back.

“Okay,” Alec responded right before kissing Magnus again, this time increasing the pressure. He rolled his hips forward, eliciting a broken sound from the man underneath him. 


****** I took the smut out because it made me extremely uncomfortable but just know that Alec said "I love you" okay. ******


He couldn’t hear anything and he couldn’t open his eyes. He didn’t know when Magnus had pulled out or when he’d gotten the warm wash cloth and cleaned Alec up before tucking him under the covers and pulling him into his chest.

Alec eventually came back down to earth, the feeling of Magnus tracing patterns on his back bringing him down. He removed his head from where it was buried in Magnus’ chest and looked up in a daze, meeting Magnus’ eyes.

Magnus smiled lazily and ran a hand through Alec’s hair. “Finally decided to come back and join us in the land of the living?” he joked, continuing to play with Alec’s hair.

“Shut up,” Alec mumbled.

“I was actually really worried about you, but now that I know you’re okay, I can say it,” Magnus sighed and his smile grew wider.

“Say what?”

“I literally rocked your world,” Magnus laughed. He cried out in mock pain as Alec punched him in the arm, continuing to laugh.

Alec was laughing now, too. “Oh my God, that’s so embarrassing. That’s never happened before.”

“Well, I’m flattered, my love,” Magnus said as his laughter died down. “We’ve gotta talk about what I said.”

Alec was shaking his head as he burrowed into the warmth of Magnus’ body, pressing them closer together. “There’s nothing to talk about. I love you, too.”

Magnus relaxed and hugged Alec tighter. Everything was so right in this moment. The sun and the stars were aligned in their hearts that were now beating as one. There was nothing that could ever take this away from them. After all of the times Magnus had had sex, he never experienced this. It was something ethereal, something so pure he didn’t even know it could possibly exist.

Every horrible remark from his parents and every doubt he had in his mind seemed to evaporate from Alec’s mind for a second. They would be back in the morning, but for now they were gone and it was just Magnus and Alec. The way it should be.

“So, are we gonna talk about the fact that you have an ‘I love you’ kink?” Magnus broke the silence.

Alec mumbled something that sounded a lot like “I'll kill you” before falling asleep in the arms of his true home.

Chapter Text

After that night with Magnus, things had most definitely changed between the couple, but in a good way. Alec would describe it as feeling much more “real.” He remembered the morning after when Magnus had held him close to his chest and whispered sweet nothings in his ear, the overwhelming feeling of completeness that had engulfed him more than the soft morning light dancing over the bed.

“I feel complete now, like everything is how it should be,” Alec had whispered.

“I’m so glad, Alexander,” Magnus whispered back.

Alec felt happier than he had in ages. He was in love with a wonderful man and surrounded by his incredible friends. It was almost starting to seem like he could get a grip on himself, stop beating himself up every chance he got. He even dared say that things were going right for once.

He should have known better.

It had been raining for a week straight and Alec was tired of it. Sure, it was the beginning of March and he’d expected rain, but not so constant. And to make it even better, it was still cold as ice outside.

Alec shivered as he stepped into Magnus’s studio, shaking out his umbrella and balancing the drink tray he was holding in his other hand. Cristina and Emma’s heads jerked up at the sound of his entrance, and he decided to brush off the alarmed looks on their faces. He chalked it up to the fact that he’d just surprised them.

“Hey,” he said with his award-winning smile.

Emma tried to smile back, but it came out as more of a grimace. Cristina took notice and slapped her blond headed friend on the arm before giving Alec a grin that she was trying really hard to make seem genuine.

He raised one eyebrow and walked across the studio floor until he was standing in front of the two girls.

“Alec! We didn’t know you were dropping by today,” Cristina said, her voice slightly strained.

“You guys never know when I’m dropping by…” he trailed off and noticed the way Emma was worrying at her bottom lip. Her eyes kept darting back and forth between Magnus’s office door and the end of the hallway and Alec. “Okay, what is going on? You two are acting extremely weird.”

Cristina’s eyes widened, her mouth opening and closing a few times as she searched her brain for something to say.

“Where’s Magnus?” Alec asked.

Emma and Cristina shared a worried glance. “He’s in his office, but Alec, don’t-“ Cristina started, but it was too late, he was already walking down the hallway.

“Oh shit,” Emma said in a way that made Alec’s stomach drop.

He told himself he was being ridiculous, there was nothing for him to worry about. Everything was fine. It had to be.

Voices drifted out from the crack in Magnus’s office door, one unmistakably Magnus and the other unidentifiable, but female. Alec stopped short, and so did his breathing.

“No, Camille,” he heard Magnus say. His voice sounded tired.

Every bit of assurance he’d felt that things were okay flew out of the window at that moment.

“Oh my God, you’re in love with him?” Camille asked, her voice nauseatingly pleased at this revelation. It sounded like an evil mastermind who’d just found out she had the perfect way to take her enemy down.

Magnus scoffed. “No, I’m not in love with him. Are you kidding? He’s just pretty, something nice have on my arm. You would know what’s that like, wouldn’t you-“

Alec didn’t get to hear whether or not Camille did in fact know what that was like. There was a roaring in his ears as the drink tray fell out of his hand, crashing to the ground. Two paper cups of hot coffee burst open, the dark liquid splashing up to stain Alec’s jeans and cover the floor.

He turned and started walking quickly down the hallway. He heard the office door open then Magnus calling a broken, “Alec, wait!” and Camille’s following laughter. But he didn’t wait, he didn’t grab his umbrella, he didn't tell Cristina and Emma goodbye. No, he just ran.

He ran until he couldn’t anymore. And when he looked up, he realized where his feet had taken him. The building that housed I.Z.Z.Y’s headquarters loomed tall and daunting in front of him. There was a moment of hesitation where he was back in the headspace of not wanting to bother Isabelle, but Clary was in New Jersey and he needed his sister, so he pushed the thought away and entered the building.

There were no tears. Alec just felt numb. He felt like he was floating through the dark gray storm clouds and there was nothing holding him to the ground anymore.

The journey up to Isabelle’s office was a rather quick one. Without stopping to think about whether or not he should be doing this at ten o’clock in the morning, he walked through the glass doors to be greeted by Lily, Isabelle’s secretary.

Lily started to smile when she saw Alec, but it fell away as soon as she took in the distraught expression on his face. “Alec, hey,” she said.

“Hey, Lily. Is Izzy in?” he asked, trying not to let his voice crack.

Lily bit her lip and shook her head. “I’m sorry, she just walked into a meeting. You can wait here for her though, it shouldn’t be too long.”

Alec closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “No, it’s fine. I’ll see her later.”

“Do you want me to tell her you were here?” Lily questioned with her eyes full of worry.

The constant vibrating from Alec’s personal phone was finally starting to get to him. As he ripped it out of his pocket and turned it off, ignoring the forty text messages and ten phone calls from Magnus as well as the added messages from Emma and Cristina. “No,” he responded, opening the doors and walking out. “Don’t tell her,” he said before the doors shut and he was back on his way to the cold.

Once he stepped out of the elevator and walked through the lobby of the building, he found himself just standing outside in the crisp air, not knowing where to go. When he felt the tears finally begin to form, he knew where he wanted to be.

Isabelle exited the conference room and rubbed at her temples. She really didn’t know how many more clueless people she could deal with today. Her black stilettos clicked against the polished floor as she made her way to her office. Everybody always knew when Isabelle was coming by the sound of her heels.

She was just about to disappear into her office when she heard Lily call her name. “Yes?” she said, leaning against Lily's desk.

“Alec stopped by about thirty minutes ago. He was looking for you, but when I asked if he wanted to wait or if he wanted me to tell you he was here, he said no. He looked really messed up, I just thought you should know,” Lily explained to Isabelle with genuine concern.

There was sinking feeling in the pit of Isabelle’s stomach. Alec never left without waiting for his sister to be free or leaving a message. “Oh, God,” she sighed. “I have a feeling I’m not going to be coming back to the office today, but I trust you can handle things?”

“Yeah, of course! Go find Alec,” Lily said and shooed her boss away.

Isabelle grabbed her black trench coat and tied it around her body, then slung her purse over her shoulder before heading to the elevator. There weren’t many places she knew of that she could find Alec, but she had a feeling where to start.


Central Park never failed to make Isabelle smile, even when it was a gross day and the leaves on the plants around her were dripping with rain. She made her way down the familiar paths, her heels sliding on the wet pavement every now and then, but she never lost her balance. She was Isabelle Lightwood and Isabelle Lightwood did everything in heels.

She hadn’t even fully made it to Turtle Pond when she saw Alec’s head of black hair. The fact that he was here wasn’t a good sign. Every time there had been an issue with their parents, Alec had ran out of the house and he always came here. This is where Isabelle always knew where to find him when he was in a bad place.

The sinking feeling in her stomach that had been planted earlier was slowly starting to blossom into a very ugly flower.

Alec’s head didn’t turn even when Isabelle knew he could hear her heels making their familiar clicking sound on the pavement. She slowly lowered herself onto the large rock formation that jutted out from the side of the road, suspending them above the pond. The motion was all too familiar, and her heart broke a little bit more. “Thought I might find you here,” she said as she slipped her arm through Alec’s, hugging his to her tightly and resting her head on his shoulder.

“How’d you know?” Alec’s voice cracked when he spoke.

“This is where you always go when you’re hurting. You can’t hide from me, big brother,” Isabelle said, trying to make Alec at least let out a snort. But there was only silence.

“How did you know I was hurting?” he asked after a few moments.

“Something about the way Lily’s voice sounded when she explained. I could tell something was wrong. I always know, Alec. I don’t always try to force it out of you like Clary’s cathartic ass who is convinced talking it out helps, but I am aware of when you’re in pain,” Isabelle tried to sound irritated when she spoke of Clary’s tendencies, but Alec could hear the fond undertones in her voice.

This earned Isabelle a little bit of a laugh, but not much of one. “Yeah, I know,” Alec’s voice was tight and Isabelle could tell his throat was closing up the way it always did right as you were starting to cry and talk at the same time.

Isabelle tilted her head to look up at her brother. Tears had begun rolling down his face, a scene she’d seen too many times in her life for it to be okay. “Alec, what happened?” Isabelle asked, unlocking their arms. Alec let out a loud sob, his body starting to shake violently. Isabelle was momentarily glad that for once, no one else was around and it was just the two of them.

“Come here,” she whispered and wrapped her arms around him. He fell sideways into her lap and let his head rest there as he cried. And Isabelle’s heart didn’t just break, it shattered.

She ran her fingers through his dark hair in an attempt to be soothing, but she didn’t know if Alec could be calmed down at this moment. His sobbing was just progressively getting worse and Isabelle was worried that he might slip into a panic attack if he didn’t stop soon. “Alec,” she said softly, continuing her movements with her fingers, “you’ve got to tell me what’s wrong. I haven’t seen you like this since the day Mom and Dad told you they never wanted to see you again.”

At that, Alec coughed a little and tried to compose himself, but it didn’t really work. He forced out a garbled word and Isabelle immediately knew what it was.


Her entire body filled with a blinding rage that burned so hot she thought she might actually catch on fire. There was no telling what had happened, but she knew it had to be pretty bad if Alec was in this state. It was honestly the worst she’d seen him in years.

“I’ll kill him with a pair of Prada stilettos if I have to,” Isabelle gritted out and realized she wasn’t trying to be funny. She was dead serious. Alec had been through so much already, and he didn’t deserve this. Isabelle thought things were finally improving for him. She’d been so grateful for Magnus over the past few months and the joy he’d brought her brother.

But none of the good could make up for the way Alec was falling apart in her arms right now.

It was a little while before Alec finally calmed down enough to talk. Isabelle listened and waited patiently, giving him all of the time he needed to get through the events of the morning.

“I can’t believe this has all been some joke to him. I can’t believe I was so stupid,” Alec hiccuped and rubbed at his swollen eyes. He was sitting up now and facing his sister.

“You weren’t stupid. He had us all fooled, the bastard,” Isabelle muttered, trying so hard not to let out all of the other colorful words she really wanted to say about Magnus at the moment.

“I don’t know why he said that,” Alec sniffled.

Isabelle sighed. Although she liked to shoot first, ask questions later, she knew that wasn’t the right thing to do in this situation. “Maybe you need to talk to him and get his side of the story before you make any conclusions or decisions. I know your mind is taking this and running wild with it, but try not to let it until you have the truth.”

Alec laughed defeatedly. “How am I supposed to know if what he says is the truth?”

“You’ll know. Trust me, you’ll know,” Isabelle responded and grabbed her brother’s shaking hand in hers. He nodded and looked out over the water.

“God, Izzy. It hurts,” he said, his tone relaying just how much pain he was in.

“I know, I know,” Isabelle said and took out her phone. She was starting to second guess her decision to tell Alec to talk to Magnus. Maybe it was best that he stay away from him and find a way to start healing, not pouring salt in the wound. Whatever happened, it was ultimately going to be Alec’s decision and she was going to make damn sure of that.

Her fingers tapped her keyboard rapidly, firing out a message.

To: Magnus Bane
Don’t you EVER come near my brother ever again, do you understand?

Isabelle didn’t even have enough time to think about what she was doing before she’d pressed send. Her phone buzzed almost immediately with a response.

From: Magnus Bane
Isabelle, please. You have to let me explain.

To: Magnus Bane
I think you’ve done enough.

Izzy shoved her phone back in her pocket and stood up, holding a hand out to Alec. No matter what, she was always going to protect him. She was always going to be in his corner. “Come on. Let’s get you home.”

“I don’t even know where home is anymore.”

Chapter Text

“Are you sure you still want to do this, Alec? You don’t have to. I’d understand.” Isabelle’s voice carried through the room sweetly, honesty laced in her words.

It was two weeks after the horrible day that Alec had walked in and heard the conversation between Magnus and Camille. He still hadn’t returned any of Magnus’s calls or agreed to see him. He just wasn’t ready for a confrontation yet. It still hurt too bad and he didn’t know if he could take it if the truth was that Magnus really didn’t love him.

I.Z.Z.Y’s men’s line was debuting today, and well, Alec was the face of it. The fashion show was starting in less than an hour and here Isabelle was, telling him he didn’t have to go through with it. “Isabelle, the show starts in like, forty-five minutes. If I was going to back out, I would’ve done it before now.” He was standing on a raised platform, having the finishing touches taken care of.

“But, Magnus will be out there…” Isabelle said and looked down at her shoes. She’d already signed the contract with Vogue before everything went down between her brother and the head photographer for the magazine. The new men’s line was going to be featured in the May issue, and there was no getting out of it now.

“He won’t come near me, Iz,” Alec sighed, trying to hide the way his whole body flinched when Magnus’s name was mentioned.

Obviously,” Isabelle said with a roll of her eyes. “I won’t let him.” She pointed at the pair of red Prada stilettos that adorned her feet and smirked.

Alec grinned and kissed the top of Isabelle’s head as he stepped down off of the platform. His stomach was in knots, but there was no way he was going to be weak. Not now. He wasn’t going to give Magnus the satisfaction of seeing him broken.

A hand absentmindedly rested on his hip where his tattooed was painted on his skin underneath the layers of clothes.

He was strong.

“He might faint when he sees you anyway. You look incredible,” Isabelle cooed, clapping her hands together excitedly as she walked in a circle around her brother. The dark curls of her hair bounced with every step she took and her red lips screamed try me. Alec was really glad his sister was such a badass.

There were people milling all around them, but Alec couldn’t miss the head of bright red hair that was weaving through. Clary had been there for Alec ever since she found out what happened. .There wasn’t a day that went by that she didn’t stop by his apartment to check on him.

“Hey, I was just coming to say—whoa baby,” Clary said when she approached the siblings, her green eyes widening to a comical size. “Alec, you look amazing. Like wow.”

Isabelle smiled and rested a manicured hand on Alec’s shoulder. “He does, doesn't he? I think it’s the clothes. The designer must be a genius.” She winked, letting her gaze fall back on her brother.

Alec was in a pair of tight-fitted off-white pants that hugged his legs in all of the right places. A dark black button down with even darker black damask print swirling around it in velvet material sat on his torso, most of the buttons undone and exposing his bare chest. Then there was his favorite item, the maroon coat that fell to his things, completing the entire look. A pair of sleek black dress shoes were on his feet, and he sort of felt like he might bust his ass on the runway because they had been sliding all over the floor.

“A grand finale indeed,” Clary laughed.

He was going to be the last model to walk the runway, closing the show. Clary continued to mention that he was going to bring the house down.

“You flatter me, Clarissa,” Alec said and ruffled Clary’s hair.

Clary rolled her eyes fondly and turned to Isabelle. “Simon’s okay with you coming to Alec’s after the show, right? You told him we were having relaxation night?”

Isabelle rested her hands on her hips and pursed her blood red lips. “Of course, Clary. He’s fine with it. It’s Simon.”

“Just wanted to make sure!” Clary hugged Alec gently, taking caution not to wrinkle his clothes. “Okay, I just came back here to tell you good luck and that I know you’ll do amazing. Also, Izzy, I can’t tell you enough how proud I am of you.” She looked back and forth between brother and sister, clasping her hands together and holding them against her heart. “Man, I’m just so proud of you both. I really love you talented assholes.”

“We love you, too. Now, go find Jace before he gets lost,” Alec nodded towards the door.

Clary started walking out of the room backwards. “You’re right. I’m going now. Break a leg!” she called as turned around and walked out of the door.

Alec was just about to mention to Isabelle that Clary was truly insane when Lily came flying around the corner, looking a little crazed. “Isabelle, it’s time to start. They need you out there,” she breathed.

Isabelle gave Alec an apologetic glance. “I gotta go, but you’ll do great,” she said right before Lily grabbed her arm and drug her out of the room, leaving Alec by himself.

What felt like forever, but was probably really only thirty minutes, finally passed and they were calling for Alec, guiding him until he was standing at the entrance to the runway. White lights were shining in his eyes, making it a little difficult to see. Luckily, Alec was used to it.

He took a deep breath and held his head up. He could do this. Even if his heart felt like it was never going to heal, he could do this one thing for his sister who did so much for him. He wouldn’t back out, not now.

The last model passed him right as the new music began, signaling that it was time for him to start walking. He didn’t even realize that his feet had started moving until he was halfway down the runway and the lights burning down on him were starting to make him sweat.

When he finally made it to the end and stopped, he spotted all-too familiar spiked black hair and his stomach twisted painfully. He tried to make it a point not to look, but he couldn’t help it. If Magnus was in the room, that’s where his eyes would always inevitably land.

Magnus lowered his camera slowly, lips parting as their eyes locked. Alec bit his lip and tried to fight back the hot tears he could feel burning behind his eyes. He wanted to look away with everything in him, but he couldn’t.

He couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. Everything hurt and he was sure what he was feeling right now was what dying from a broken heart felt like. The force was magnetic and the emotions so powerful, Alec wanted to step down off of the runway and run into Magnus’s arms. That's all it was though. A want. He’d never get to feel those arms around him again.

At that, Alec shook his head and turned around, making his way back down the runway. He ignored the claps and cheers, the noise all blending into one jumbled mess in his head. As soon as he disappeared around the corner, he let himself breathe. He hadn’t even realized he’d been holding his breath.

Isabelle was beside him immediately, concern etched on her face. “I can’t go back out there for the closing, Iz. I can’t, I’m sorry,” Alec said, shaking his head.

“Hey, listen to me.” Izzy’s hands came up to cup both sides of Alec’s face, forcing her brother to look at her. “You’ve already done more than I ever would have asked you to. Now go change out of those clothes and wait for me. Clary, Jace, and Simon should already be on their way back there.”

Alec nodded and turned away from his sister, making his way back into the room he had gotten dressed in. Sure enough, Clary, Jace, and Simon were already in there waiting. Jace stepped forward immediately, roughly pulling Alec into a hug. “You did great, man,” he said, patting Alec on the back.

Clary had a look on her face that let Alec know that yes, she had seen that little moment between he and Magnus. He shook his head and she shrugged, deciding to let it go for once. “Thanks,” he said and pulled away from Jace. “I’m going to get changed and then once Izzy finishes up, we can head to the after party.”

“Actually,” Izzy said out of nowhere, causing all four heads to whip around. “I just got Lily to tell everyone that I’ve suddenly fallen incredibly ill. Had some bad sushi. We won’t be attending the party, we’ll be going straight to movie night. Simon and Jace, boys night out can start a little early.”

“Yes!” Jace and Simon exclaimed at the same time and high-fived.

“Wait, Izzy. You can’t skip your own launch party,” Alec interjected as he shrugged his coat off and handed it to the assistant that had appeared to start taking the clothes from him.

Isabelle waved a hand dismissively. “They’re no fun anyway. Besides, it’s not like it’s my first and it’s not like it’ll be my last. Lily can handle it, I promise.”

“Are you sure?” Alec asked and shifted on his feet.

“I’m sure. Now hurry up and get changed so we can get out of here,” Isabelle laughed and kneed her brother in the ass, pushing him into the dressing room.

“Bossy!” Alec called as he shut the door. He found himself genuinely smiling for a second as he changed out of Isabelle’s clothes and into his own jeans and button-down. It was only a second though, because as soon as he looked in the mirror, he frowned. Everything about him said heartbreak.

He sighed and hung the clothes on the rack provided for him before walking back outside to meet his sister and friends. If there was anyone on this earth that could make the pain lessen for a little while, it was them.

“We need more snacks,” Clary pouted as she stared down at her empty wine glass. “I think I’m gonna go get more snacks. And wine. We’re out of wine.”

Alec was sitting on his couch next to her and Isabelle was sprawled out on the Persian rug in front of them. They’d just finished watching The Shining and were about to watch Another Cinderella Story. “Will they let you purchase more alcohol while already slightly drunk?”

Clary shrugged and stood up, lurching sideways. She and Isabelle had pretty much finished the bottle of wine by themselves, Alec only having had a little bit. She slipped her feet in her shoes and walked to the door. “I guess we’re about to find out. I’m going to run down to the corner store.”

Isabelle held her arm up in the air, giving Clary a thumbs up. Clary grabbed her purse and walked out of the door, leaving Alec and Isabelle to fend for themselves momentarily. “She better hurry her tiny ass up. I’m ready to start the next movie,” Isabelle groaned and rolled over onto her stomach.

“If you puke on my rug, I don’t care if you’re my sister, I’ll choke you,” Alec laughed, nudging his sister with his bare foot. She leaned up on her elbows and narrowed her eyes at him.

“I can hold my liquor, thank you very much. I’ve had much more than this and kept it down.”

“I know. You can drink more than me,” Alec laughed again when Isabelle smiled up at him triumphantly. He was just about to pull her onto the couch with him when the buzzer sounded throughout his apartment. He sighed and got up, walking over to press the open button and let Clary in since she’d apparently forgotten her keys again.

Alec swore she’d forget her head if it wasn’t attached to her body. He’d almost made it back to the couch when there was a knock on the door. He rolled his eyes for what felt like the hundredth time that day and walked back to the door. “Clary, I know you’ve had a little bit to drink, but seriously, the door’s unlocked,” he called out on his way to the door.

He was grinning when he grabbed the handle and swung the door open, ready to tease Clary. The smile fell from his face instantaneously. “You’re not Clary,” he said and started to shut the door, but a foot prevented it from closing.

“Alec, please,” Magnus said, voice slightly muffled. “Just let me talk to you.”

Alec really thought he was going to throw up. He pulled the door back open slowly, bracing himself. He was just about to talk when Isabelle rammed into his back, a black studded heel in her hand. Alec recognized them as the pair that had been sitting by his door for quite some time now. Isabelle had forgotten them one night and he kept forgetting to bring them to her.

He spun around, grabbing Isabelle’s arm that was about to fling forward. “It’s not Prada, but it still works!” she yelled, struggling to get out of Alec’s grip.

Magnus’s eyes widened and he took a step back into the hallway. Alec couldn’t help the snort that came out as he pried the shoe out of his sister’s hand. Her face was comically furious and definitely influenced by half a bottle of wine. “Izzy,” he said, trying to sound stern, but it just came out as a laugh. He really loved his sister. “Go back to the couch. I’ll be there in a second.”

Isabelle eyes were narrowed and Alec turned her around, leading her back to the couch. The door was still wide open, and Magnus was just standing there confused. “I’ll kill him,” Isabelle muttered.

“I know you will,” Alec said and sat his sister down on the couch. He held a hand to his forehead and was back in front of Magnus. “Why are you here, Magnus?” The question came out exhausted, like Alec didn’t even have the energy to deal with the pain anymore. He noticed Magnus’s eyes were focused over his shoulder, and he turned around to find Isabelle sitting on the couch with the other heel in her hand. Alec didn’t know when she had grabbed it, but she was twirling it menacingly, her eyes burning a hole through Magnus.

Alec sighed heavily and pushed Magnus out into the hallway and followed, closing the door behind him. “Sorry, she’s had a few glasses of wine,” he shrugged and twisted his hands together, the way he always did when he was nervous.

Even standing here in front of Magnus was enough to make his legs give out. They were like jello beneath him, and if he didn’t get a grip on himself in the next few seconds, he really was going to fall down.

Every emotion he had felt over the past two weeks seemed to hit him all at once, full force. He almost stumbled backwards at the metaphorical pressure of it all. He wanted to hit Magnus, he wanted to kiss him, he wanted to cry, he wanted to scream, he wanted to know why.

Magnus hadn’t said anything yet. He was just staring at Alec, his eyes shining with tears. He took a step forward, a hand reaching out to touch Alec who flinched away. “Alexander,” he whispered.

Alec closed his eyes, the name sending another jolt of pain through his body. “You wanted to talk, so talk.”

“I love you,” Magnus blurted out and Alec swayed a little on his feet.

He held up a warning hand. “Don’t, Magnus. Just don’t.”

“Alec, I only said what I said to protect you. Camille is insane. She takes everything I love and she destroys it. That’s the way she’s always been. God, she destroyed me and that wasn’t enough for her. She wants to obliterate anything that makes me happy, too. I needed her to believe you weren’t important to me so she would leave you alone.” Magnus’s voice cracked at the end of his sentence and a traitorous tear escaped, falling down his cheek.

Alec shook his head and pressed his lips together. He wanted to fall forward and let Magnus hold him. He wanted to make the pain go away. But he couldn’t do that to himself. He’d been through too much. He just wasn’t ready and didn’t think he would be until he was more than positive that Magnus was telling the truth.

The explanation was believable, Alec would give him that. From the little bit he did know about Camille, he was aware she was a conniving, manipulative bitch that would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. Even if what she wanted was destruction.

But what Magnus didn’t know is that Camille had succeeded anyway. If it was true and Magnus had been trying to protect Alec, he failed. Camille got what she wanted. Alec was absolutely ruined. She had made his worst fears become a reality, and it was going to take a lot more than this to fix it.

“I want to believe you. God, you don’t know how much I want to believe you,” Alec said, his own tears escaping. “But I can’t. I’m sorry, I just can’t.” His bottom lip had started to tremble and each breath he took rattled in his chest.

“Darling, I can’t even imagine what this has done to you. And I am so sorry. I know you. I know your fears. And I know this is one of them. But you have to listen to me, I love you. I love you so much I don’t even know what to do with myself. You are my entire world, just please,” Magnus begged.

Despite his efforts to keep it from happening, Alec sobbed. “No, no. I can’t. It hurts so bad, I can’t.”

Alexander, please. I am begging you. I will get on my knees right now if I have to and beg for you. I will do whatever it takes. I will not give up on you, on us.”

Alec was saved from having to respond by Clary walking through the doors into hallway. She stopped, looking back and forth between Alec and Magnus. “Alright, so maybe I drank a little more than I thought because I know I’m not seeing what I think I’m seeing right now.” She walked forward until she was standing in front of Alec protectively. It was little funny since she was so short, but Alec didn’t have it in him to laugh.

“Just go, Magnus. Please, just go,” Alec whispered.

“I won’t give up, Alec,” Magnus breathed, stepping forward. Clary held a hand out, pushing it into his chest.

“You heard him. Go,” she said. Alec fumbled behind him for the door handle and turned it when his hand finally came into contact with the cold metal. Clary waited until Alec was in the apartment to put her hand down. “He’ll talk when he’s ready.”

That was the last thing Alec heard before the door closed.
The room was silent, neither Isabelle or Clary daring to say a word. Everyone had sobered up at this point, realizing the situation at hand. Isabelle started to get up off of the couch, but Alec gestured for her to stay where she was.

“Alec, do you want to…”

“Talk about it? No, Clary. I don’t.”

Clary set the plastic bags of snacks and wine on the coffee table. She looked over at Isabelle who just shrugged her shoulders. “Okay, well.”

“Look, just start the movie. I’ll be back in a minute,” Alec said.

And if Clary and Isabelle noticed he’d been crying when he came out of the bathroom, they didn’t say anything.

Chapter Text

“How’d it go?” Emma asked Magnus as soon as he walked through the door of his loft.

Emma and Cristina had encouraged him to go try to talk to Alec after the fashion show earlier in the day, and he’d stupidly taken their advice. He would never forget the look on Alec’s face during their conversation. Alec had looked so destroyed that Magnus didn’t think there was any way he could ever be put back together.

And Magnus couldn’t stand knowing that he was the cause of that destruction.

Magnus hung his coat on black iron coatrack by his door and turned to look at Emma and Cristina who were sitting on the couch with nervous expressions. He sighed and walked straight past them without a word to his drink tray, pouring a glass of whiskey.

“That bad?” Cristina questioned, wrapping her fingers tighter around her steaming mug of tea.

Magnus took a long gulp of his drink before settling his eyes on his two friends. “Isabelle tried to kill me with a shoe. That’s how it went.”

“A shoe?” Emma asked in disbelief.

Magnus nodded. “I believe her exact words were, ‘it’s not Prada, but it still works.’” He took a moment to finish his drink and let the empty glass clatter unceremoniously to the silver tray. “Clary told me he would talk to me whenever he’s ready, whatever that’s supposed to mean.”

Emma scooted over on the couch so that there was room for Magnus and patted the spot next to her which he gratefully accepted. With an exhausted sigh, he sunk into the cushions.

“So, you’ve told us what Clary and Isabelle had to say, but what did Alec say?” Cristina prodded.

“That he wanted to believe me, but he couldn’t. And I just don’t understand why he can’t trust that I’m telling the truth. I know that what happened was fucked up, but I didn’t mean what I said. I did it to protect him and I need him to understand that, if anything.” Magnus bit his lip and looked up at the ceiling, trying to keep his tears at bay. When his friends didn’t respond, he brought his eyes down to rest on them. They were both staring very intently into their cups of tea.

“What do you two know that I don’t?” Magnus asked, knowing his friends well enough to know what those looks meant.

Emma sighed for an unnecessary amount of time before setting her mug down on the coffee table in front of her and maneuvering herself so that she was criss-crossed and facing Magnus. “If you don’t know this already, then I’m guessing there was a reason Alec didn’t tell you. However, this came out when Cristina and I had drinks with Clary about a month or so ago. And it’s making me think it’s not so much that he doesn’t trust you as it is that his mind won’t allow him to get over this.”

Magnus could feel the dread building slowly in the pit of his stomach. Whatever Emma was about to tell him, he wasn’t going to like it. “What is it?” he asked and closed his eyes in an attempt to brace himself for whatever was coming.

“When Alec was growing up, I assume you know he didn’t have a great relationship with his parents?” Emma started, asking Magnus a preliminary question before getting into the meat of it all. He nodded, giving her the okay to continue.

“Well, it was a little more than that. They hated him. Once they found out he was gay, they told him basically every day that he was an abomination and if it weren’t for Isabelle, they would’ve tossed him out on the street already. But that’s not even really the part I think this is stemming from. They also told him frequently that the only reason anyone was ever going to want him was for his looks, because everything else about him was disgusting.”

Cristina was crying silently behind Emma, trying not to interrupt with any loud noises. Emma had tears of her own threatening to spill, and Magnus’s mouth was hanging open in shock. “Oh my God,” he breathed, slowly bringing a hand to cover his mouth.

“Clary thinks that’s part of the reason he became a model. Because he truly believed there was nothing else appealing or talented about him. She said he used to sleep around with anyone, letting them do whatever they wanted to him while he just laid there. And that he would always come to her afterwards hysterical, saying that’s all he was worth anyway.” Emma took a deep breath, wiping at her wet cheeks. “Mag, I think he thought with you he’d finally found something. He finally found someone who loved him for something other than physical appearances. And then he heard what you said to Camille and now his brain can’t process it any other way. Even if what you’re saying is the truth, he can’t wrap his head around that.”

Magnus couldn’t speak. Every part of him felt like it was breaking inside.

“It wasn’t my place to tell you that, but I think it’s something you need to know in order to understand this. Understand him. I hope it helps giving him his space a little easier,” Emma finished and reached out a hand to grip Magnus’s.

“Oh, my angel. My poor angel,” Magnus cried, the reality of it all finally hitting him and causing the dam of emotions to break. He tugged his hand away from Emma’s so that he could bring both of his own up to his face to sob into. “Why didn’t he tell me? Oh God, this is all my fault. What have I done? What have I done to him?”

The weight on the couch shifted, and Magnus became aware of Cristina kneeling beside him. A soothing hand came to rest on his back, rubbing up and down. “Magnus, it’s not your fault, okay? You didn’t know. You were just trying to protect him from Camille, which we understand better than anyone. You can’t beat yourself up.”

Magnus pulled his hands away from his face, ignoring the streaks of black that stained them, and looked at Cristina with swollen eyes. “How can I not? You didn’t see him, Cris. My Alec wasn’t in there. I killed him.”

Emma reached out with both arms, pulling Magnus into her. “I’m sorry we didn’t tell you before. It just wasn’t our place. We figured there was a reason he didn’t want you to know. But I feel like now you have to know so that you don’t take this so personally.”

It seemed as if the world was caving in on itself and crushing Magnus along with it. The pain in his chest was unreal, unlike anything he’d ever experienced before. It was a feeling as strong as his love for Alec, just on the opposite end of the spectrum. The only word he could place on it was agony.

Pure, unadulterated agony.

Magnus didn’t know how long he’d laid there crying in Emma’s arms, but at some point he’d fallen asleep. The clock on the wall he was staring at now through puffy, sleep crusted eyes read nine fifty-five a.m.

There was a note on the coffee table that said:


Had to get to the studio. Don’t worry about coming in today. We’ll take care of everything and cover for you. Plus, it’s Saturday anyway. Just get some rest, take a hot bath, relax. Take care of yourself, please.

Remember that we love you and this is NOT YOUR FAULT.

-Ems & Cris

He smiled a little sadly and dropped the note back down on the table where he’d found it. With tired bones, he made his way into the bathroom to brush his teeth and follow Emma and Cristina’s directions to take a hot bath.

While the water was running, there was a knock at his door. In nothing but a blue satin bath robe, he drug the door open to find none other than Isabelle Lightwood: Stiletto Stabber.

“Have you come to actually follow through with stabbing me with a heel? Because I’m very inclined to let you,” Magnus said in a tired voice.

Isabelle smiled a little embarrassedly. “Actually, I was just leaving Alec’s and decided to take the train over here to apologize for that. Better to apologize for attempted murder in person than over a text message, I believe.”

Magnus couldn’t help the little grin that tugged at his lips. “Well, you’re forgiven.” He sort of wanted to start crying again, standing here in front of Isabelle who looked so much like her brother. Those same wide eyes and that beautiful raven hair.

“I guess I should get going then. Probably need to get home and make sure Simon is still alive after his night with Jace,” Isabelle explained, starting to turn around. Magnus was starting to close the door when her voice stopped him. “Alec told me this morning what you said last night. Is it true? About Camille, I mean.”

Slowly, he let the door open fully again. “Yes, it’s true.”

Isabelle nodded and looked down at her feet for a second. “I believe you. I’m just afraid that’s not going to be enough.”

“I love him, Isabelle. More than I’ve ever loved anyone or anything. I want to spend the rest of my life with him. I will never give up on him,” Magnus murmured.

“Good. He needs you. He’s never been happier than he is with you.” Isabelle’s voice was barely above a whisper, but Magnus heard every word. “I wish there was something I could do to make him believe you, but I…”

“I know,” Magnus interrupted, saving Isabelle from having to try to explain.

A few stray, betraying tears had fallen from Isabelle’s eyes and she wiped them away while laughing sadly. “I’m sorry for crying. I just wish I could save him, but I’ve never been able to. I never will be able to. I think…I think maybe you could, though.”

Magnus took a deep breath. “I hope I at least get the chance to try.”

Nothing more than a shared, broken smile was needed between the two of them. It said everything they both wanted to say.

I love him.

I want him to be okay.

I’ll do anything to protect him.

I trust you.

With a quick nod, Isabelle departed, her heels silent against the carpeted hallway floor. Magnus watched her go until she disappeared behind the metal doors of the elevator.

Silently, he walked to the bathroom and let his robe fall from his shoulders, stepping into the bathtub that was extremely close to overflowing. He imagined that the scalding water was burning away all of the pain and sadness, gifting him with a fresh layer of unscarred skin.

But it was just exactly that. His imagination. No amount of hot water could penetrate to his insides, where he hurt the most. The only thing that could ever reach that deep into his soul and make the agony go away was the person he’d caused more pain than he’d caused himself.


The name fell from his lips in the broken echo of a whisper. He wanted to sink under the water and let it fill his ears, drowning out the mantra of the name that was being repeated in his head. He wanted to forget the name, he wanted to say it every second of every day for the rest of his life.

Maybe Magnus sat there in silence for thirty minutes, maybe it was an hour. He didn’t know anything except the water was now as cold as his broken heart and that he desperately wanted to hold Alec in his arms until all of the pain went away.

All day, Magnus stayed in the loft, wearing his pajamas and watching Netflix. For a while, he’d stared at the cover for The 100, the show he and Alec had started together. He was tempted to press play, but then he realized that he didn’t want to know if Clarke and Bellamy succeeded unless Alec was there too.

Instead, he’d settled on The Office, another show that reminded him of Alec. They’d spent many nights curled up in the soft mountain of pillows on Magnus’s bed watching episodes they’d both seen thousands of times before, laughing into the darkness and holding onto each other tightly.

“I want a Jim Halpert,” Alec laughed, cuddling closer to Magnus’s chest.

“I think I’m pretty great,” Magnus responded, pressing a kiss to the top of Alec’s head. Alec looked up, the light from the TV flashing across his pale skin, illuminating his face and those hazel eyes that Magnus thought he’d be happy looking into forever.

“You are,” Alec whispered. “You’re incredible.” In a swift motion, he planted his mouth against Magnus’s, taking his time in parting his boyfriend’s lips. The kiss was slow and sweet, causing the familiar butterflies to make their appearance in Alec’s stomach.

“I love you, my angel” Magnus murmured and nudged his nose against Alec’s, letting their lips hover mere centimeters apart.

“I love you, too,” Alec replied softly, ghosting his lips over Magnus’s, barely letting them touch. “So much.”

Magnus raised his hand to cup the side of Alec’s face before letting his thumb drag across Alec’s lower lip. He watched as Alec closed his eyes at the action, leaning his head into the palm of Magnus’s hand. “How did I get so lucky?” he asked and moved his thumb to draw a soft line across Alec’s cheekbone.

Alec’s eyes were still closed and his lips slightly parted. There was no response from him, except that when Magnus’s thumb moved back to his lips, he opened his mouth and closed it around the tip of the finger. It was resting between his teeth, and he bit down lightly as he opened his eyes to meet Magnus’s, whose pupils were blown wide with desire.

The TV was forgotten as Alec lifted himself up, bracing his body with his hands on Magnus’s shoulders as he moved to straddle his boyfriend’s lap. He leaned forward with his hands gently gripping each side of Magnus’s neck, pressing a featherlight kiss to corner of his eye. His kisses continued until they reached Magnus’s jaw line, where he slowly allowed his teeth to graze against the skin there.

Alec could feel Magnus’s pulse beginning to rise and his breathing quickening with each movement. He smiled into the skin at the base of Magnus’s throat, where he’d ended up.

Magnus let out a whimper that was so quiet, it almost couldn’t be heard. He slid his hands under Alec’s shirt so that they could rest on the hot skin of his angel’s back. He moved his hands continuously higher until each palm was resting where wings would be if Alec had any. “Angel,” he breathed, increasing the pressure where his palms where.

Alec pulled away from Magnus’s skin so that he could look him in the eye. He almost wanted to bury his head in the pillows and hide because Magnus was looking at him like he’d hung the moon. But he refrained, finding the strength to hold the intense gaze. Everything was being spoken without saying a word.

Magnus flipped them over so that Alec lie beneath him. “What do you want to do?” he asked, resting his forehead against Alec’s. “We can just lay here and go to sleep if that’s what you want.”

“No, I want to show you how much I love you. I want you to do whatever you want to me. I’m yours.”

Magnus shook his head, forcing himself not to think any further. He couldn’t believe that had only been a little over a month ago. At the time, it had seemed like another way Alec was demonstrating his trust in Magnus, but now he wasn’t so sure.

Was it just habit? Did he think he had to give himself up completely like that? Did he think that’s all he was worth?

The memory was tainted now, no longer something Magnus could reflect on happily. He turned the TV off, punching a fist into the couch. Just before he could scream, there was a knock on the door for the second time today. He tried to get a grip on himself before he opened the door, not wanting to scare whoever was on the other side with his anger.

The knock came again, hesitant this time.

Magnus gripped the door handle and turned, swinging the door open. His eyes immediately filled with tears and his breath caught in his throat.


Chapter Text

writing twitter: @katsmatt

main twitter: @harryclary 

Alec really didn’t know what had come over him or why he was standing in front of Magnus’s door at eight p.m. with a shaking fist raised and ready to knock. He guessed it probably had something to do with the nagging feeling he'd been experiencing ever since Magnus showed up at his apartment the previous night, almost exactly like Alec was doing now.

He’d been standing in this position for longer than what most people would consider acceptable. He could hear The Office theme song blaring from the TV, and then just like that, it was silent. The sweat dripping down his neck seemed to turn ice cold the second his hand made contact with the hard black surface of the door.

He found himself knocking for a second time, hesitantly.

What am I doing here? he thought.

There was no planned speech, just Alec standing there clueless as to why he was there in the first place. Just when he’d decided it was probably best that he turn around and leave, the door opened and he felt the pieces of his broken heart lodge themselves in his rapidly closing throat.

Magnus was in front of him, looking as devastatingly beautiful as ever. Black hair void of any product, falling gently across his forehead and his face free of makeup. He was wearing a pair of red plaid pajama pants and a plain black t-shirt. The pain in his eyes was a pretty good example of how Alec currently felt.

“Alec?” Magnus breathed out, like he couldn’t believe Alec was really standing there in front of him. He held an arm out as if he meant to touch Alec, but then thought better of it, lowering the limb back to his side.

“I’m sorry. I-I don’t know why I’m here. I’m just going to go,” Alec stuttered, hands locking together in their normal twist of nerves. He desperately tried to shove down the pieces of his heart that wanted to spill out of his mouth and onto the floor in front of Magnus, putting him on display like an open book.

“No, Alec, please. Please stay. Just for a minute. Please come inside,” Magnus pleaded, opening the door wider so that there was enough room for Alec to enter.

Maybe it was because Alec was tired of hurting and just wanted to feel okay for a little while, or maybe it was because his mind had completely shut off, his shattered heart controlling all of his decisions. Whatever it was, it didn’t matter. Alec went inside.

An immediate sense of home washed over him, almost causing him to stagger backwards. The familiarity of it all made him stumble a little bit as he made his way to the couch, trying not to let his emotions wash him away with whatever was left of who he was.

Even sitting on the couch made him feel like he was inside of a life he couldn’t touch anymore, one he was standing on the outside of looking in with unbearable longing in the hollow center of his chest.

He flinched involuntarily when Magnus sat down on the couch next to him; close enough to feel the heat radiating off of his body, but not close enough to touch. The silence that ensued was the loudest sound Alec had ever heard.

All he knew was that he’d done enough by coming here, he wasn’t going to try to start the conversation too. He didn’t have it in him. Physically making himself come had taken all of the little energy he’d had to begin with.

He wouldn’t know what to say anyway. I’m sorry? But no, what did he have to be sorry for? On the other hand, he didn’t want Magnus to apologize again either because it wouldn’t change anything. He knew Magnus was sorry, he knew how horrible Magnus felt about the entire situation; however, that did nothing to stop the throbbing ache in his chest.

“Alec, I’m so sorry,” Magnus whispered into the deafening quiet that had been surrounding them.

There it was: the sentence that would have no effect. Oh, how Alec wished it would. He wished those words could solve everything, could make his mind stop running. But every time he heard “I’m sorry,” No, I’m not in love with him and He’s just pretty echoed right behind it.

“Don’t apologize, it won’t change anything,” Alec whispered, the frayed end of his sweater becoming extremely interesting.

“Then what will?” It was obvious in the tone of his voice that Magnus was desperate, and part of Alec wanted to reach out and hold him.

Alec sighed and allowed a single tear to fall. “I wish I knew.”

“I love you,” Magnus stated as if it were the one thing in his life he was absolutely sure of.

“I know,” Alec responded quietly.

Magnus snorted, but it wasn’t because Alec’s response was genuinely funny. It was because it was so painful that he couldn't do anything but laugh. “That’s the answer a guy wants when he says ‘I love you.’”

At this, Alec looked up so that his gaze was even with Magnus’s. “I love you. You know I love you. Don’t do that,” he said. “Don’t make me feel like I’m the one who has something to be sorry for.”

Magnus bit his bottom lip, and Alec watched as his fists clenched at his sides. He wondered briefly if it was out of anger or if it was his way of keeping himself from touching Alec. “I know, angel. I know you don’t have anything to be sorry for.” Alec didn’t know what Magnus was really saying right in this moment, but he would.

“I don’t know why I’m here,” Alec repeated his words from earlier.

“I’m glad you are,” Magnus answered and slowly, very slowly moved his hand to rest on Alec’s knee. Alec’s body tensed, but relaxed shortly afterward.

“I miss you,” Alec admitted, giving into his body’s desires and allowing himself to lean against Magnus, his pounding head resting on a comfortingly familiar shoulder. A strong arm enclosed around him, pulling him tighter against the well-known dips and curves of Magnus’s body.

Magnus felt unbelievably lucky to be holding Alec in his arms right now, and he was scared to move for fear of ruining it. However, he didn’t stop himself from pressing a long kiss to the top of Alec’s head. “I miss you, too,” Magnus whispered into Alec’s disheveled black hair.

“I haven’t been sleeping well. Lydia’s getting pissed because she says it shows in my shoots. I have one starting Tuesday. I’m sure she’ll be thrilled with my appearance,” Alec said. It was a bit painful for Magnus to hear that Alec hadn’t been sleeping well, knowing that he was the reason. “Not my fault my mind won’t shut up.”

Alec snuggled closer to Magnus, burying his face in the fabric of Magnus’s t-shirt and inhaling deeply. He didn’t know if he would ever get this again, so he wanted to remember every last thing about it. The smell of sandalwood filled his nose and he smiled a little brokenly, remembering a time when they’d deemed that “their” scent.

The isles of Target were filled with what seemed like thousands of different scents of body wash. Alec leaned against the shopping cart with a bored expression as Magnus perused silently.

“What do you want?” Magnus said suddenly, causing Alec to jump a little bit.

“Magnus, these are your groceries. This is for your house. I don’t care, get whatever you like,” Alec replied, laughing a little bit through his words.

Magnus walked until he was standing next to Alec and pursed his lips in a pout that made Alec want to reach down and kiss him endlessly. “You spend so much of your time there, it’s only fair you get a say in what you have to bathe with.”

Sometimes Alec was a little bit in awe of Magnus. He couldn’t believe things that had once seemed so trivial were now symbols of love. Who cared whether or not their significant other liked their body wash or not? Not many people that Alec knew of. He knew for a fact that Clary had grapefruit body wash that Jace used without thinking twice.

It just wasn’t something that crossed most people’s minds as something to be compromised on in a relationship; but then again, Magnus wasn’t most people. Alec smiled, pecking his boyfriend’s lips quickly. “Alright, give me options.” Magnus grinned in victory before skipping back over to the shelf to grab a few different bottles. When he returned, he held them all out to Alec, who smelled each one individually. “I like the sandalwood.”

“Truly my soulmate. I was hoping you’d pick that one,” Magnus said with a lovestruck tone in his voice.

Alec laughed and shook his head as Magnus dropped the bottle of body wash into the shopping cart. “So, is this like our scent now?” he asked, interlocking his fingers with Magnus’s.

“Whatever you want, Alexander,” Magnus responded and gave Alec’s hand a little squeeze.

“Okay. Sandalwood is our scent.”

“What?” Alec asked, not bothering to pull his face away from where it was buried in Magnus’s chest. He realized that while he’d been living in the past, Magnus had said something.

“While you were wherever you just were, I said you can get sleep now,” Magnus answered.

This time, Alec did pull away to look at Magnus. “Would that be okay? Would you just hold me for a little while and not expect it to mean anything?”

Magnus brushed a few stray strands of hair off of Alec’s forehead. “Of course, Alexander.” He separated himself from Alec and stood up, holding out a hand. He wasn’t really expecting Alec to accept the offer, but he surprised him by grabbing hold.

They walked in silence to the dark bedroom where they climbed into the soft bed and slid under the abundance of covers. Even though Alec had asked Magnus to hold him, Magnus didn’t dare do anything Alec wasn’t going to be okay with. “What do you want?” He waited for his directions.

“Just hold me like you always used to,” Alec whispered into the darkness.

Magnus shut his eyes tightly, trying not to cry at the past tense Alec had spoken in. “Okay,” he said instead of crying. With his chest pressed against Alec’s back, he slid his arm around Alec’s side, holding him tightly. His hand covered the top of Alec’s where it rested on the pillow, sliding his fingers in between the gaps.

It was so natural between the two of them and how perfectly they fit together was almost comical. If anyone looked at them now, they’d think Magnus and Alec were meant for each other because they fit in every way.

Alec closed his eyes and permitted himself to pretend that everything was okay. That they were okay. Even if it were just for tonight, he would embrace the feeling of strong arms wrapped around him, holding him tightly.

He felt like he should say something, but he didn’t know what. They always talked until they fell asleep, and lying there in complete silence seemed wrong.

“I know you don’t see it right now,” Magnus started in a quiet voice, “but I will never stop loving you. You’re it for me and I’ll wait forever if I have to.”

“Forever’s an awfully long time,” Alec murmured, closing his hand into a fist so that he could squeeze Magnus’s fingers.

“You’re worth waiting for. It’s not every day an angel walks into your life.” There weren’t any words in the dictionary to describe what Alec was feeling right now, all he knew is that he was incredibly confused. “Now, sleep.”

And for the first time in what felt like years, Alec slept.

When Alec woke up the next morning, he was careful in his movements so that he wouldn’t wake Magnus. He made his side of the bed and snuck out of the loft before Magnus came to.

It was almost like he’d never been there at all.

Chapter Text

Thankfully it had started to warm up a little bit outside and Alec didn’t have to put on his coat as he walked down the busy streets to the subway stop. He had plans to meet Clary and Isabelle for coffee at Taki’s, which, no it wasn’t exactly a place known for having great coffee, but it was their place and they loved it and all of its grungy glory.

The familiar screeching of a train coming to a stop filled Alec’s ears as he hurried down the steps, knowing by the time that that was most likely the B train, which he needed to get on. Gusts of cool wind that smelled of hot rubber struck his body as he weaved his way through the scattered crowd of people to make it to the edge of the platform.

When the doors slid open, Alec quickly moved to the side to allow the passengers who were exiting to get off of the train. A gap opened and he slipped through, sort of stumbling a little ungracefully into the car. His hand met cold metal as he reached out to steady himself.

There were a few empty seats, but he didn’t mind standing. It would give him something else to focus on, like staying upright. He’d expected there to be more people following behind him, but the doors closed abruptly and the train lurched into motion, causing him to have to hold himself steady.

He was sort of grateful for how loud it was. The sound of the cars clicking along the tracks with rhythmic thun thun, thun thuns and air connecting with the force of the train left no room for Alec to actually think about what had just happened. What he’d just left.

Normally he had earphones to tune out the notorious echoes of the subway and actually use his time on there to think; however, all he could think about now was how the hell people made it this far into the tunnels to spray paint the walls without getting killed. Really, he thought about this at least once a week and could never come up with any plausible answer. It was just a thought he liked to entertain at times.

Sometimes he would get stopped on the subway by “fans” or people who recognized him, but mostly people kept to themselves, which he was eternally grateful for. Especially this particular morning where he felt that if anyone spoke to him besides Clary or Isabelle, he was going to break.

Finally, it was his turn to get off. When the doors open, he rushed out of the doors and across the dirty platform to the stairs. With burning leg muscles, he took them two at a time, just wanting to get out of there. Usually riding the train was a comfort to him, but not today. Today he just needed to be out. Away.

However, it didn’t matter how fast he got out of the subway station or how far he walked, he’d never be able to get away from the main thing he was trying to: himself.

He was pretty grateful that Taki’s wasn’t too far from his brownstone. That made it a lot easier for him to leave after coffee and mope all day (yes, he knew it was unhealthy, but to answer the question on everyone’s minds: no, he didn’t care). The sign that was hanging on one side, the other half dangling above the door, came into view and Alec picked up his pace so that he could hurry and get inside.

Pushing open the door, he immediately spotted Isabelle and Clary huddled with their heads bent  together in their usual booth  and walked over there, sitting down across from them without announcing his presence vocally. Isabelle jumped and almost knocked her head against Clary’s when she looked away from the bridal magazine they’d most likely been dissecting.

“Fuck, Alec!” Isabelle shouted, causing a few heads to turn in their direction. She slapped a hand over her heart. “Jesus Christ.”

Clary raised a fist to her mouth, trying to stifle her laughter.

“Sorry,” Alec shrugged, dropping his unused coat onto the empty space next to him. Isabelle raised a lazy eyebrow at him before shrugging herself.

“Well, we waited for you to order,” she said, closing the magazine in between her and Clary and shoving it to the side.

“You say that like I’m late,” Alec huffed and crossed his arms over his chest.

Clary and Isabelle looked at each other before looking back at Alec. “You are late, dipshit,” Clary said and rolled her eyes. “You act like you don’t live a few blocks away. Where were you coming from? Mars?”

Alec looked down at his lap, but he could still feel their gazes burning holes through him. “Ah, not exactly…” A balled up napkin hit his forehead and he looked back up.

“Well, are you just gonna sit there or are you gonna tell us where you were?” Isabelle asked, preparing to throw another napkin ball at her brother.

He opened his mouth to respond, but Kaelie, their usual waitress had appeared with notepad in hand and ready to take their orders. Taking turns, each of them repeated what they were having which was just a formality because it wasn’t like Kaelie didn’t already know.

“So, what were you guys looking at in the magazine?” he asked when Kaelie walked away, hoping to get himself off of the hook he’d trapped himself on. He started to reach for the bound stack of glossy paper, but a tiny hand with a fat diamond ring came slamming down, dragging the magazine away from him.

Hazel eyes met determined green ones. “Oh no, you’re not getting out of it. Where were you?” Clary asked.

“Magnus’s,” he muttered and hoped they would leave it alone, even though he knew better.

“What?” Clary said at the same time Isabelle said “Figured.”

“So, are you guys, like, back together?” Alec thought Clary looked way too hopeful, which meant that Isabelle had told Clary the story of her trip to Magnus’s; although, when he looked at his sister, she was wearing an equally hopeful expression.

Steaming mugs of coffee were set down on the table in front of them along with cream and sugar. Alec reached for a few packets of sugar and creamer to stir into his coffee. He watched as the white sugar sunk into the dark liquid, disappearing when he stirred with his spoon. “No, we’re not,” he said, not looking away from his cup.

“Because…?” Isabelle drawled.

“You know why,” Alec told his sister.

A simultaneous sigh came from Isabelle and Clary. “Alec, I know we’ve talked about this before, but it’s been a few years. You need to get professional help, or you’re never going to be able to live the life you deserve to,” Isabelle said and reached across the table to rest a hand on Alec’s wrist.

“Emma’s boyfriend, Julian, one of his sisters is a psychologist. You could go see her, or if that’s too close to home and makes you uncomfortable, I’m sure she could refer you to someone else,” Clary added.

At the mention of Emma and Julian being in a relationship, Alec’s head jerked up. “Wait, when did they finally stop trying to deny it and make it official?” he asked.

“Like, two weeks ago, but that’s beside the point,” Clary answered, waving her hand away a few times.

Alec’s phone buzzed and he pulled it out of his pocket, reading the name that flashed across the screen with a text message notification.

9:31 A.M.

Mags: Are you okay?

9:31 A.M.

Alec: I’m fine.

Alec was about to leave it at those two words, but thought better of it. He typed out another message.

9:32 A.M.

Alec: Went to meet Fray & Izzy for coffee.

This was progress. It was the first text Magnus had sent in the past three weeks that Alec actually responded to.

He set his phone down on the table, bringing his attention back to Clary and Isabelle. “I know I need help,” he said and drug a hand down his face.

Isabelle smiled sadly and leaned forward. “Look, I know you’ve never been comfortable with the idea, but you don’t have any other options at this point except to be miserable for the rest of your life. That may sound harsh, but I can’t stand to watch you go down this path anymore. There’s only so much Clary and I can do to help.”

She sighed, stopping for a moment to make sure Alec was listening to what she was about to say. “You’re giving up your future because you still haven’t dealt with the past.”

Many talks and discussions had been had in this very booth, but Alec didn’t think he could recall one that ever hit him as hard as this one was. He felt the urge to cry, but no tears would come. Instead, he looked out of the window and watched as people of all different sizes, ethnicities, and genders walked by. Talking to the foggy window, he said two simple words, “I know.”

“Would you like me to call Emma to get in touch with Julian’s sister?” Clary asked softly like she was afraid that if she spoke too loud, Alec would change his mind.

“Yeah,” he said and gave her a tight-lipped smile. Clary pulled out her phone a dialed a number. “Wait, you’re doing it now?”

Clary drug her eyes away from her phone screen for a second so that she could look at Alec. “Well, yeah. You need to get in there as soon as possible and it isn’t exactly easy to get appointments. We’ll have a little leverage because of personal connections, but not much.”

“Okay,” he responded and refocused his attention on the weekend.

Clary pressed “call.”

“So, um. I just got an interesting call?” Emma said as she walked out of Magnus’s bathroom with her wet hair wrapped in a towel.

Magnus had asked her to come over after he woke up and realized that Alec left without warning or leaving a note or anything. Which he guessed he probably should have expected. In fact, he wasn’t entirely shocked. But, that didn’t mean he wanted to be left alone with his thoughts all day. Emma agreed to come over as long as she could “use his luxurious shower.”

He looked up from his blank phone screen that he’d been staring at for too long, waiting for Alec to say something else; but, it had been fifteen minutes since Magnus sent his last text and if Alec hadn’t responded yet, he probably wasn’t going to. He was a bit uninterested in Emma’s interesting phone call if he was being honest. “Mmmm, nice,” he said and turned his attention back to his phone.

Emma rolled her eyes, plopping down on the couch next to Magnus with one foot stuffed underneath her. “Yeah, you’re about to be hella interested when I tell you it was about Alec,” she said in a playfully annoyed tone.

Magnus’s head shot up, almost involuntarily. “Alec? What about him? Is he hurt? Is he okay? Did something happen?” His heart had begun pounding rapidly in his chest and it was getting a little bit harder to breathe as he thought of all the possible scenarios.

“Dude, don’t have a panic attack. Calm your mopey ass down. I would’ve run out of the bathroom in my pale little birthday suit if something had happened. It’s nothing to panic about,” Emma explained in her usual, very Emma, way of speaking.

Slowly, Magnus’s heart began to slow down and he found it was easier to breathe. “Then what is it?”

“Clary just called and asked if I could get her in touch with Helen.” Helen was Emma’s recently-established-boyfriend-used-to-be-best-friend’s older sister, and a psychologist. Magnus was slightly confused. “She wants to know if it would be possible to get Alec an appointment any time soon.”

Magnus was no longer confused. The subject of Alec getting professional help had come up a few times in their relationship, and every time Alec shut the idea down. He would say that if he couldn’t even talk to Magnus about it, how was he supposed to tell some random stranger. Magnus would always respond with it might be easier to tell a stranger because they had no pre-conceived notions about him that he was worried about being changed.

“Magnus? You still with me?” Emma asked, waving a hand in front of his face.

He shook his head, snapping himself out of the state of shock he’d been in. “Yeah, I’m just very surprised is all. He always refused to get help.”

“This is a good thing, Mag,” Emma said and grabbed Magnus’s hands in hers. “That he’s getting help, I mean. There’s hope. If he can deal with the past, maybe then he can allow himself to be with you.”

“You’re right,” Magnus sighed. “I just wish I could be helping him through it; but, I have to stay back. Keep my distance so he can heal without me reopening the wound every time he makes any progress.”

“Yes, but he knows he has you if he needs you. And that’s enough. You’re doing enough just by being ready when he’s ready.” Emma’s gaze was intense. Sincere. She clearly saw a light at the end of this dark tunnel that seemed to Magnus like it was going to stay infinitely black.

“That doesn’t make it any easier,” Magnus murmured, catching the tears forming before they could escape.

Emma moved forward to rest her head on his shoulder in a comforting gesture. “I know it’s hard. You just have to wait.”

And so he did.

Chapter Text

May 2018

Two months had passed since Alec decided to go to therapy. During those two months, he’d probably only allowed himself to talk to Magnus about four times. Every one of those times though, Magnus reassured Alec that he was still waiting and Alec could take all of the time he needed.

Every day that passed that he didn’t speak to Magnus was so agonizing it was almost unbearable; but, he knew it was for the best. Helen Blackthorn, his psychologist and a friend of Emma’s, made it very clear to him that it was a good idea for him to have limited contact with Magnus while he picked up the pieces from the past. Having too much of Magnus would do  nothing but delay the healing process, making it even longer before Alec could have the life he wanted so desperately.

Alec had made tremendous progress in the two months filled with appointments. With the support of his sister and his friends, he felt stronger than he had in a long time. He felt like he was actually on the road to somewhere now instead of running in place, never moving forward.

Doctor Blackthorn made it clear that he was never going to be able to forget what happened to him, and that it wasn’t something he would ever be able to get over; however, it was something that he could learn to deal with. Something he could learn to overcome. At first, he wasn’t okay with that. He wanted to forget it ever happened. But now he knew that wasn’t possible, and he was learning to accept it.

One week. One week until he could see Magnus in person for the first time in two months. He was nervous and scared. Scared Magnus wouldn’t recognize the person he was, scared Magnus wouldn’t want him anymore. All of the fears he’d been working so hard to control were bubbling up, and he knew they wouldn’t go away until he was face to face with Magnus and got his answers.

Every night he yearned for the feeling of Magnus’s skin pressed against his, warm familiar arms holding him tightly. He wanted to see Magnus, not just hear his voice, but touch him, feel him. Make sure he was real and still there.

In the grand scheme of things, two months doesn’t seem all that long; but Alec was convinced it felt like an eternity when you had to force yourself to stay away from the one person you loved more than anything else in the world.

Emma sent him updates about Magnus every now and then. Apparently he’d been spending most of his time locked away in his dark room working on some secret project Emma was allowed to know absolutely nothing about. Alec was slightly worried that maybe Magnus was depressed and that it was all his fault, but Emma reassured him that that couldn’t be farther from the truth. She said that Magnus missed him more than anything, yes, but was extremely happy that Alec was taking care of himself.

He also knew that Isabelle was sending Magnus updates about him as well, the same way Emma was. She’d left her phone unlocked one day at lunch about a week ago and Alec happened to see the text message she sent to Magnus that said: He’s doing a lot better. I’m honestly so proud of him I could just cry. But, according to Helen, it shouldn’t be too long now. At least that’s what he says she says. He could be full of shit.

Alec was not full of shit. Doctor Blackthorn made it clear that if in what was now a week, he felt comfortable enough to see Magnus in person, that it would be an excellent and healthy idea. She made sure it was known that he was no where done with the therapy, but by this time it was completely up to Alec on how quickly he rekindled things with Magnus and whether or not he decided to at all.

He wasn’t sure what he wanted beyond seeing Magnus. He didn’t know how fast he wanted to take things, or if he just wanted to slowly ease his way back in. All he knew was that he wanted to physically be near Magnus and to thank him for waiting, because Alec didn’t deserve it. He didn’t even have a clue what Magnus had actually been feeling all this time because he knew for a fact that Magnus would never honestly tell Emma enough to worry Alec.

He thought for sure that this was going to be the longest week of his life.

Magnus was now one hundred and ten percent sure that this next week was going to be the longest week he ever had to live through.

Ten minutes ago, he’d received a text message from Alec asking if they could meet on Monday, exactly one week from now. He didn’t know what to say, he’d been waiting for this moment for so long. All he could think of to respond with was: Of course. Where and what time? I’ll be there.

Surprisingly, Alec had responded with ten a.m. at his apartment. Magnus didn’t know if it was a good thing or a bad thing that Alec didn’t want to meet in public. He guessed it didn’t really matter. Regardless, he knew exactly what he was going to say and what he was going to do. He’d been working on it for months.

The idea had come to him shortly after he found out about Alec’s decision to attend therapy. He knew he had everything he needed to do it, and had been grateful for his tendency to take pictures of absolutely everything. He only hoped Alec would see the truth and meaning behind it.

Magnus knew Alec was still in love with him, and that he still wanted to try to fix things between them; but, Magnus wanted Alec to have no doubts that he was where Magnus’s entire heart lied. He was just praying that his two months of hard work and secrecy from his friends would pay off.

So many times, Emma and Cristina had tried to sneak into his dark room when he wasn’t paying attention, both at his loft and at the studio. But he didn’t want them to know what it was he’d been working on for the fear that they’d tell him it was stupid or that it was too much. He didn’t want to be talked out of his plan at all.

There wasn’t a day that passed that Alec wasn’t at the forefront of Magnus’s thoughts, which he guessed was kind of his own fault since he spent almost, if not all, of his free time working on a project that was entirely Alec.

He missed the way Alec’s eyes lit up when he smiled, the way his lips felt, the way he tasted… He missed absolutely everything about him and all of the little things he loved so much. Whenever he was around Alec, everything seemed to be in place. It was like he had everything he would ever need all in one person.

All he could hope for was the chance to feel that way again.

It was time.

It was time and Alec was not as ready as he thought he’d be. He was more nervous than anything. He couldn’t stop pacing around the room as he waited for the buzzer to signal that Magnus had arrived.                

Alec said ten in his text message, he was sure of it; but, it was five minutes past ten and Magnus still wasn’t there. He figured maybe Magnus wasn’t coming since Magnus was never late to anything. Then, he made himself stop and remember that Magnus wouldn’t miss this. There must have been a delay with the trains or something.

But why hadn’t Magnus sent him a message to let him know that he would be running late?

When the buzzer sounded, he almost knocked over the glass vase full of roses that sat on the table by the door. Cursing to himself, he pressed a shaking finger to the button that would grant Magnus entrance into the foyer.

There was the familiar rap of knuckles on the door that he hadn’t heard in so long, and he found himself eagerly throwing the door open. All of the worry about not being good enough and the nerves he felt about Magnus possibly not wanting him anymore evaporated the second he saw Magnus’s face.

He noticed that Magnus had a rather large box in his hands, but before he could stop himself, he threw his body forward and crashed against Magnus, who promptly proceeded to stumble backwards and drop the box between them.

Alec was slightly embarrassed by his actions, but didn’t really care as soon as he felt Magnus wrap his arms around him. He buried his face in Magnus’s neck, inhaling deeply and trying not to let any tears fall. For a moment he wondered how there was ever a time he thought he could live without the man he was currently holding onto for dear life.

“Hi,” Alec breathed, giving Magnus one last squeeze before pulling away. When he looked into Magnus’s shining eyes, he had to fight every urge in him to lean forward and kiss him. No, he knew there were things that needed to be discussed before anything like that could happen. They needed to be on the same page.

“Hi, darling,” Magnus replied in a breathless manner. He didn’t try to hide the way his eyes trailed up and down Alec’s body, drinking him all in. Reluctantly, he broke his eyes away from Alec so that he could bend down to pick up the box that had tumbled to the floor. 

Alec moved to the side to allow Magnus to walk into the apartment. He watched as Magnus set the box down on the coffee table in front of the couch, and then took a seat on said couch. Alec followed, allowing himself to sit unreasonably close to Magnus with their knees touching. “What’s that?” he asked and pointed toward the box.

Magnus grinned at Alec as he patted him gently on the knee. “Something for you, but we need to talk first.”

Alec couldn’t stop the furrow of his brows as he looked away from the box to Magnus. “I didn’t get you anything,” he said, his voice filled with obvious confusion. He watched as Magnus laughed and turned to face Alec, their knees knocking together.

“It’s not a present, Alec. You’ll see,” Magnus smiled. “Now, how are you?”

“I’m better. Not one hundred percent, but good enough,” Alec responded and tried very hard not to twist his hands together like he always did. He didn’t want to give away the fact that he was nervous.

“Good enough for what?” Magnus asked, raising his eyebrows in curiosity.

Alec took a deep breath before answering. “You,” he said, his voice shaking an embarrassing amount. At Magnus’s shocked expression, he began to ramble. “At least, I hope. Obviously, you don’t have to take me back and I’d understand completely. It wasn’t fair of me to ask you to wait for me, but I-I guess I just thought now that I’m ready to give things another shot, maybe you would be too? I don’t even know what I’m saying.”

Magnus reached out a hand to steady Alec’s trembling ones. “I thought you said you were going to therapy,” he joked.

“Shut up,” Alec mumbled and hit his shoulder against Magnus’s playfully, trying to hide his smile.

“Alexander,” Magnus whispered and brought a finger to rest under Alec’s chin, making the younger man look at him. “Of course I’m ready for you. I’ve always been ready. It was just a matter of when you were.”

Not knowing what to say in response, Alec leaned forward to kiss Magnus, but was stopped by a ringed finger. “You don’t want to kiss me?” Alec asked, jerking his head back and away from Magnus. He was seriously confused now.

Magnus scoffed. “What kind of question is that? I want to do a hell of a lot more than kiss you, which I’m sorry if that’s too forward, but I’ve missed you so much I can’t take it anymore.”

“Then what-?”

“There’s something you need to know first. I don’t want you to take me back without knowing how completely serious I am about you. I’ve been trying to think of the best way to tell you for these past two months, but I finally decided I would in the best way I know how.” Magnus reached for the box on the coffee table and handed it to Alec carefully. “I’ve been working on it for a while now.”

Alec’s hands had started shaking once again. He had no idea what the hell Magnus was talking about or what was going to be in the box. With a deep breath, he pulled the tape and ripped open the box.


Chapter Text

Magnus watched as Alec’s expression changed from one of nervousness to one of absolute confusion. Alec reached into the box, pulling out the large black scrap book that had Alexander Gideon Lightwood written cross it in beautiful golden script. He ran his fingers delicately over the lettering before looking back up to Magnus.

“What is this?” he asked, his voice barely above a whisper.

Magnus’s heart skipped a beat in his abnormally tight chest. Alec’s eyes were full of childlike wonder, making him look incredibly innocent (something Magnus knew he was not). “Open it and see,” he replied gently.

Alec held Magnus’s gaze for a second longer before he focused his eyes back on the book, slowly pulling it open. He inhaled sharply as his eyes took in what was on the first page. It was just a picture of him, sleeping on the couch. It was a moment Alec couldn’t even remember since it was something he did so often.

He continued on, looking at the second photograph that rested below the first one. Alec stared at the captured moment of himself with his brow furrowed as he sat at the kitchen table reading a book.

The next page had two pictures as well. The first one was Clary on Alec’s back, her head of wild red curls thrown back in laughter and a giant grin on Alec’s face in the snapshot of him carrying her around her and Jace’s living room. The second picture was a picture of Alec rolling his eyes as Jace dropped a handful of vibrant green grass on his head.

Every page after that consisted of two pictures. Alec hugging Isabelle, Alec on the runway at Isabelle’s fashion show, Alec pouring a glass of wine, Alec cooking dinner, Alec covered in rainbow paint, laughing with Emma and Cristina on the first day of his Vogue photoshoot with Magnus, Alec biting his lip while trying what bread to buy at Target, Alec extremely concentrated on painting Magnus’s toenails, Alec on the couch watching TV, Alec grinning lazily up at Magnus  from his spot on the bed with the soft morning light casting an ethereal glow across his face, Alec doing laundry, Alec on the phone, just Alec Alec Alec.

Alec couldn’t breathe, couldn’t speak.

“Magnus, I don’t-,” he said and didn’t try to stop his voice from cracking. “I don’t understand. This is just me living my life.”

Magnus smiled softly. “Exactly.”

“What is this supposed to tell me? What am I supposed to know?” Alec asked, noticing he was only halfway through the book.

“I’m about to go on a slight tangent to try to explain this to you,” Magnus said and met Alec’s eyes. “It’s you, darling. It’s everything about you that I could possibly capture in a simple photograph. It’s how beautiful you are, and not just on the outside. The way you are with your family, your friends… it’s beautiful. God, you’re beautiful. I don’t know how else to make you see what I see. I’ve been taking pictures of you since we met, of every moment where I’ve felt overwhelmingly in love with you. Take notice that most of them have absolutely nothing to do with how you look, it’s who you are. It’s not just about being pretty, Alexander. Not for me.”

Alec’s bottom lip began to tremble and he took a deep, shaky breath. “Magnus,” he said and wiped at his eyes, trying to stop himself from breaking down into an uncontrollable, sobbing mess. He set the book to the side before covering his face with his hands, making a fruitless attempt to steady his breathing. He didn’t think he could finish looking through the book without completely losing control over his already unsteady emotions.

Magnus stretched his body across Alec’s so that he could gain possession of the book. Once he had it in his grasp, he sat back against the couch and pulled Alec’s back into his chest, placing the book in front of them. Alec still had his hands covering his face and Magnus thought he could feel every cell in Alec’s body beginning to shake. “You have to finish looking at it,” Magnus said and turned to the next page. He wrapped his fingers around Alec’s wrists and pulled his hands down, away from his face.

Alec was now looking at a picture of him hugging Clary the night of her engagement to Jace. His face was buried in her fiery hair and you could practically feel how tight he was holding onto her just by looking at the image. Beneath that picture was one of him playing with Isabelle’s hair while she slept soundly with her head in his lap.

His breath hitched when Magnus turned to the next page. It wasn’t a picture of him. No, it was a picture of something he had done. Angry red scratch marks decorated a caramel colored back that Alec couldn’t mistake for anyone else. It was definitely Magnus, and Alec had definitely left those there.

They flipped through the rest of the book, Alec looking at himself doing totally mundane things that somehow were important to Magnus. When they got to the last page, however, Alec burst into tears. There was only one picture. It was a zoomed in image of Alec’s hip where his tattooed rested.

I am strong.

In the space underneath the picture, Magnus had written: Yes, you are.

Alec buried his face in the thin material of Magnus’s shirt, clutching onto the fabric tightly with both of his hands as he cried. “I can’t believe you did this,” he hiccuped and relaxed into the sensation of Magnus running his fingers up and down the wide expanse of his back.

“I love you,” Magnus said, pulling Alec’s face up so that he could press their mouths together. Alec went pliant beneath Magnus, his body entirely relaxing into the kiss. Magnus pushed against Alec harder, forcing him to lie on his back. The book was knocked to the ground as Magnus slid up Alec’s body, never breaking the  kiss.

It had been too long since either one of them felt this, this wholeness. They’d almost forgotten what it was like to kiss the other, to be close to the other, to feel the other’s skin against their own. The kiss tasted of salt and tears, the warmth mixing with their battling mouths.

Alec’s legs parted so that Magnus could settle between them. He reached up, throwing his arms around Magnus’s neck as he pulled him closer. His mouth fell open the second he felt Magnus lick at his lips. Their tongues moved together in a familiar dance, neither one of them claiming dominance.

Magnus slid a warm hand under Alec’s shirt to press against the taut muscles of his abdomen. He pulled back from Alec when the younger man started to tug up on Magnus’s shirt, trying to pull it off. “We need to stop,” Magnus breathed, squeezing his eyes shut in an attempt to get the image of Alec wrecked beneath him with swollen lips and glassy eyes out of his head.

“It’s okay, I’m okay,” Alec responded and let a hand come to rest on the side of Magnus’s face. “I wouldn’t do anything I wasn’t ready for. I have to completely trust you again at some point.”

Magnus sat back on his heels and rubbed a hand down in his face in frustration. “That’s my point. I don’t want to do anything other than kiss you until you’re one hundred and ten percent ready for it. I will not fuck this up again, Alexander.”

With a roll of his eyes, Alec switched their positions so that he was now the one on top of Magnus. He bent his head down to level his mouth with the space where Magnus’s jaw met his neck, and bit down lightly before pressing a kiss over the spot. Magnus’s breathing was starting to speed up, and Alec wasn’t oblivious to the reaction he was getting. “I’m fine, Magnus,” he said into the skin of Magnus’s neck and continued trailing sloppy kisses around the area.

Deft fingers gripped the edge of Magnus’s shirt and tugged upwards, the piece of clothing coming off in one swift motion. Alec wasted no time in moving his mouth to the newly bared skin of Magnus’s chest, letting his messy kisses make a home there.

Magnus pulled Alec’s shirt off almost as quickly as Alec had pulled his off, allowing Alec to immediately return to his task of kissing every inch of visible skin on Magnus’s body. He let his hands rest on Alec’s hips before slowly moving them to the button of his jeans, hesitating.

Alec kissed Magnus’s lips quickly. “It’s okay,” he whispered. “I promise you aren’t going to ruin anything by doing this.”

After all clothing had been removed, and they’d somehow ended up in Alec’s bed, they were finally, finally together in the way they’d both been desperately craving for months. Fervent hands explored exposed skin and dug into wild hair, pulling roughly.

The room was completely dark thanks to Alec’s blackout curtains. The only thing anyone would be able to see if they walked in was two silhouettes dancing in devoted tandem. Harsh breathing and declarations of love bounced off of the walls, ricocheting back into the whirlwind of moving bodies.

When everything became too much to handle, the pair burst into flames, an eruption of sparkling embers raining down around them.

It was a fire that was filled with the hope of burning forever.

There was a comfortable silence draped over Magnus and Alec as they laid with their bodies tangled together. Alec had his ear pressed against Magnus’s chest, listening to the steady thump thump of his heart.

He shifted his body impossibly closer to Magnus, reveling in the way it felt to be with him again. All of the years of doubt and self-loathing couldn’t take this away from him, not anymore. And he was going to make damn sure his demons never had the chance to dig their venomous claws into his relationship ever again.

Magnus was currently playing with the fingers of Alec’s left hand that was resting on his tan stomach. He didn’t notice the sudden shift in Alec’s mood, or the slight tensing of his body. It wasn’t until Alec inhaled extremely deep that Magnus looked down, realizing the tight grimace on Alec’s face. He tried to push the feeling of dread down before it could make it’s way out into the open air between them. “Alexander? What is it?”

“I realize now is probably not the best time to do this,” Alec started, gripping Magnus’s hand tightly and stopping the older man’s movements, “but I need to say it while I feel like I can.” He closed his eyes when Magnus dropped a quick kiss to the top of his head, proceeding to rest his cheek against a mop of messy black hair. “It wasn’t always so hard for me to talk about my parents. Honestly, it wasn’t until a few years ago that it started becoming an almost impossible task.”

“Alec, you don’t have to…” Magnus inhaled sharply, wanting to tell Alec that he already knew; but, he stopped himself. He knew that this was probably a very important step in Alec’s healing process. A step he had to take to move forward. Magnus squeezed Alec’s hand tightly.

“Yes, I do,” Alec replied and gripped Magnus’s hand with equal pressure. “My parents, they hate me. They used to tell me that the only reason anyone was ever going to love me was because I was pretty. They said that everything else about me was repulsive. I was an abomination, a stain on society.”

Magnus didn’t know if he could hear this story again without crying. He closed his eyes, willing himself to be strong for Alec.

Alec took a deep breath and continued. “I guess that just kind of stuck with me my whole life and it’s something I’ve never been able to get out of my head. I’ve tried convincing myself that what they told me isn’t the truth, but it’s been nearly impossible. I used to give myself away to anyone who wanted me, feeling like that’s all I was worth anyway.” He sniffled for a second and Magnus felt warm tears hitting his chest. Alec’s voice was strained with unreleased sobs and broken cries when he began talking again. “That’s why I couldn’t forgive you. Couldn’t forget what… what you said. I honestly couldn’t hear anything you told me without those horrible words echoing right behind it.”

“Alexander, baby,” Magnus breathed and wrapped his arms around Alec, hugging him with every bit of strength he had left in him. He was trying to hide Alec away from his own tears, wanting to be Alec’s rock right now. “I’m so sorry.”

Muffled, chopped up cries were filling the air, each one breaking Magnus’s heart a little bit more. “No, I’m-I’m s-s-sorry I couldn’t, couldn’t believe you,” Alec choked out through thick, wet sobs. “It just hurt so bad and I can’t feel that way again because,” Alec broke up, his tone becoming increasingly panicked. “I can’t, I can’t. I can’t breathe.”

Magnus started running his hands up and down Alec’s arms in slow, soothing motions. “Hey, hey, I know, Alec. I know.”

Alec hiccuped multiple times in a row before trying to struggle out of Magnus’s grasp, but there wasn’t anyway Magnus was letting Alec go. Never again. “I have to tell you what happened, I have to finish, I have to-“

“Alexander, listen to me. I know, okay? Emma already told me a while back. I understand. You don’t have to tell me anything you aren’t ready to,” Magnus whispered against the shell of Alec’s ear. Rather than being angry that Magnus already knew and hadn’t said anything, Alec just relaxed, a relieved sigh falling past his lips. “And because you’ve been so incredibly strong and brave, you’ve inspired me to try and be the same. So, I’ll tell you about Camille now. If you want to know.”

There was a bit of a prolonged silence, the only thing that could be heard was Alec sniffling. He turned on his side and propped himself up on his elbow, looking down at Magnus with red-rimmed eyes and tear-stained cheeks. He really hated the fact that he cried so easily.

Alec leaned down, letting his lips ghost over Magnus’s for a brief moment before connecting them. Magnus whined a little bit, digging his hands into Alec’s shoulder in a frenzied attempt to pull Alec fully against him. Alec swallowed the sound, replacing it with the music of their kisses.

They were both totally naked underneath the sheets, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by either one of them. Alec slid a bare leg in between Magnus’s, curling his body around his boyfriend’s side.

The kisses weren’t rushed. They were full of promises, want, and hope for the future. Hope that they’d get to have this forever. Alec gently bit down on Magnus’s lower lip, pulling it out slightly before releasing it and reattaching his lips to the spot. Urgent fingers were sliding through his hair, down his back, across his chest…

He broke away to breathe, the crying having caused his nose to become annoyingly stuffy. This didn’t slow Magnus down though, his mouth was immediately on Alec’s neck. Alec groaned when Magnus bit down with just enough pressure to drive him insane. “Magnus,” he panted, pushing his entire body harder against Magnus’s.

“We are not going for round two right now,” Magnus said breathlessly against the bruising skin of Alec’s neck. “I’m serious. I’ll tell you about Camille.”

Alec’s eyes were wild when he looked at Magnus. “I don’t want you to do anything you’re not comfortable with. I know she’s not easy to talk about and if we’re being honest, it’s not going to be easy for me to hear about.”

The cool metal of Magnus’s rings brushed against Alec’s overheated scalp as Magnus ran a hand through his hair. “Life isn’t easy, my love.” His hand fell down to cup the side of Alec’s face,  thumb swiping across the defined cheek bone. “Camille broke my heart. So much so that I thought I’d never be able to fall in love again.”

Alec put his head back down on Magnus’s chest and sighed. “Guess I’m not getting out of this.”

“Definitely not. You’ve talked, and now it’s my turn. I won’t get into all the details, I promise. Short and sweet.” Magnus took a deep breath and exhaled, the motion causing Alec’s head to rise and fall in sync with the movement of Magnus’s chest. “We were together for five years. I thought she was the person I was meant to spend the rest of my life with, so I proposed. She laughed in my face and told me to get off of my knees, I looked pathetic. When I asked her what she meant by that, she informed me that I was just fun for her, something to pass the time. She could never marry me. According to her, I wasn’t marriage material. I was a fling of fun. Of course, I don’t know how you consider five years a fling, but it doesn’t matter. It’s in the past.”

Alec struggled to find something to say, searching his brain for anything that would make it okay. But what exactly do you say when someone tells you something like that? “I’m sorry” wouldn’t be good enough, just empty words used to fill a silence.

His heart ached. It wasn’t fair that Magnus ever had to deal with something like that. Alec also couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that someone could ever view Magnus as a fling or that someone wouldn’t want to marry him. He felt unbelievably lucky to have such a patient and forgiving man in love with him. Not many people would want to wait around for or deal with Alec, but Magnus did. There wasn’t anyone else he could imagine spending the rest of his life with.

The thought shocked him, but he wasn’t as terrified of it as he’d expected to be. He was actually sort of calm knowing that he’d made his choice, whether Magnus had or not. If Magnus didn’t want to marry him, then he was perfectly content staying the way they were forever, as long as Magnus belonged to him and him only.

“She’s insane and it’s her loss. You’re amazing,” Alec murmured. “Everything you’ve done for me…I don’t know anyone else who would be so dedicated.”

“It’s a good thing it happened. She’s not who the universe intended for me to end up with. That, my dear, would be you,” Magnus replied.

A warm feeling spread throughout Alec’s chest and he smiled.

He was exactly where he needed to be.

Isabelle’s laugh rang through the room, the sound of it infectious. Everyone else couldn’t help but crack a smile when they heard it, Clary beginning to giggle a little bit herself.

Alec grinned as his sister sauntered into the Clary and Jace’s living room with wine glasses, Simon following close behind her with the bottle of wine and the rest of the glasses.

It’d been about week since Magnus and Alec had officially deemed themselves “back together” and this was the first time since then that the entire group had gotten together as one. Taki’s takeout containers were spread out across the floor (what else would they be eating?) and each couple was sprawled in a different place. Clary was across Jace’s lap on the couch, Magnus and Alec were next to each other on the floor, and Isabelle and Simon took a seat on the couch opposite from Jace and Clary.

“Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit?” Jace asked, gesturing to the two board games he’d laid out on the table in front of him.

Clary sat up faster than Alec could blink. “We are not playing Monopoly,” she huffed, crossing her arms over her chest.

“Don’t start,” Alec warned jokingly and held a hand up. Magnus was stifling his laughter with his fist.

“YOU CHEAT!” Clary exclaimed.

“I DO NOT! THAT WAS ISABELLE, I TOLD YOU!” Alec yelled back.

“Hey, hey, hey,” Isabelle interjected. “Why are we dragging me into this?”

Alec looked quickly at his sister. “We all know it was you, Izzy.”

Isabelle feigned mock offensive, opening her mouth in shock. “Maybe I just can’t count money!”

“Okay, but we all know it was actually Simon who cheated,” Jace interjected, starting an all-out war among the group.

Alec looked around. He saw Isabelle yelling as she defended herself and Simon, Jace and Clary teaming up against the two of them, and Magnus taking Simon’s side. He had his friends, his family, surrounding him and he thought that nothing had ever been more perfect.

He no longer observed them and felt lesser than, he just felt like a part of them. The feeling of being on the outside was gone, and for once realized that he didn’t feel like he was stuck in place.

Simon was now asking Alec for some support, and Alec sighed, giving in.

They were crazy, but he wouldn’t have them any other way.

This was where he was meant to end up, he was sure of it.

This was home.

Chapter Text

February 16, 2019

Alec rolled his eyes affectionately as Magnus continued messing with his bowtie, trying to situate it right.

“Magnus, it’s fine. Clary isn’t going to have a meltdown if my bowtie is a little lopsided,” Alec said, grabbing Magnus’s hands in his and pulling them away from his neck.

Magnus sighed. “I know. It’s just that it’s her wedding day and she deserves to have everything go right for her.”

Alec couldn’t stop the grin that began to creep across his face. Not counting the breakup, he and Magnus had been together for a little over a year and damn if it wasn’t the happiest year of his life (again, excluding the breakup). He’d sold his brownstone and moved into Magnus’s loft in Williamsburg, not wanting them to ever be separated. He wanted one house. One home.

“Have I told you how much I’m enjoying this stubble you’ve got going on?” Magnus asked, running a finger down Alec’s jawline.

“About twenty times or so,” Alec laughed and pressed a chaste kiss to Magnus’s lips.

The door to the room they were in creaked open, revealing Isabelle dressed in a long, navy dress with thin straps and a plunging neckline. Around her neck was a simple gold necklace and her hair was falling in its usual black waves. “Showtime,” she said, giving them both a wink before turning around and heading out, leaving the door open behind her.

It was set to be a small wedding, with only Alec and Izzy to be in the ceremony. Alec as Jace’s best man, and Izzy as Clary’s maid of honor. They’d rented out a decent sized ballroom for the reception, while the ceremony itself would be taking place in the same building, just a smaller room that had been decorated for the occasion.

Alec and Magnus split up, Magnus going to find his seat, and Alec going to join Jace at the doors. He found Jace waiting nervously with his father, Stephen and mother, Celine, standing right behind him. A look of relief crossed Jace’s face the second he spotted Alec.

“Oh, thank God you’re here,” Jace breathed. “I think I might pass out.”

Alec laughed, pulling Jace into a hug. “You’re going to be just fine. This is Clary we’re talking about here.”

“I know. I know you’re right. I don’t know why I’m so nervous,” Jace said when he stepped away.

“It’s normal to be nervous, Jace,” Stephen said and placed a hand on his son’s shoulder. “But trust me when I tell you, everything is going to be just fine.”

“I hope you’re right.”

The room was decorated in gold, navy, and white. The colors mixing together in the most beautiful way possible, creating a perfect tone for a wedding.

Jace had already taken his place at the altar, his father and mother having walked him down. Isabelle joined Alec shortly after, her bouquet of white and navy roses in her hands.

“Can you believe this is really happening?” she whispered as she slipped her arm through her brother’s, a move so practiced and normal that it just came naturally.

Alec was just about to reply and tell his sister that no, he really couldn’t believe this was happening; but, the music started, cueing the siblings to start their walk to the altar. They made it fairly quickly considering the room wasn’t that big and it wasn’t that far of a walk. Alec helped Isabelle up onto the platform where she waited behind where Clary would stand, and Alec took his place behind Jace, who looked like he might actually pass out.

Clary had chosen the dress Alec hoped she would. It wasn’t the Vera Wang one Simon was petitioning for, but it was no less beautiful and it was absolutely meant for Clary. He couldn’t wait to see it on her now, on the day it was meant to be worn.

The violinists and cellist began to play their cover of Tale As Old As Time from Beauty and the Beast. Just hearing the music had tears welling up in Alec’s eyes, and Clary hadn’t even made an appearance yet. The doors opened, and there Clary was, her mother Jocelyn and step-father, Luke, on either side of her.

Alec’s breath hitched in his throat as he tried to stop the tears welling up in his eyes. She looked like something straight out of a fairy-tale. Her dress was a cream color with thick lace straps that cupped her shoulders. A satin bow was tied around her mid-section, cutting the dress off into a mass of tulle with lace weaved throughout it.

Her fiery hair looked like melting fire against the cream of the dress. She wore no veil, just had her hair in bouncing curls and some of it pulled back to hold a few flowers in. In her hands was a beautiful bouquet of navy, white, and gold flowers of all different types.

Alec looked over at Jace, who had tears falling freely down his face. He glanced at Isabelle, who was also crying. When he spotted Magnus and saw the tears in his eyes, he gave up, letting his own tears fall.

The song came to a close as Clary arrived at the altar, Jocelyn and Luke handing her over to Jace. She handed her bouquet to Isabelle and faced Jace. She had her own tears falling and really it was just one big room full of crying people because when Alec looked out to the crowd, he saw Emma, Cristina, Julian, all of Julian’s siblings, Simon, Jocelyn, Luke, Celine, Stephen, and Magnus were all crying as well.

He gave Clary a watery smile, which she returned. Then the vows began. Alec couldn’t really pay attention to what was being said until it was time for him to hand Jace the ring. The couple exchanged rings, and soon the long-awaited words of, “I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride,” were uttered. Jace swept Clary into his arms, kissing her forcefully on the mouth. The room erupted into applause and whistles, Alec joining in right along with them.

He caught Magnus’s eye and winked before linking arms with Isabelle once again, and leading her back down the isle.

The ballroom was alight with happiness and laughter. Everyone was smiling, talking, and sharing memories. Alec was just about to grab a glass of champagne when Isabelle appeared beside him. “Make that two, it’s time to make our toasts,” she said.

Alec grabbed two flutes of champagne and handed one to his sister, grabbing her free hand in his as they made their way to the stage. Clary and Jace were at their table, smiling up at their friends as they silenced the crowd by speaking through a microphone.

“Sorry to stop the fun, but it’s time for me to embarrass Jace and make Clary want to divorce him,” Alec said, causing everyone to laugh. “I’m just kidding; but, seriously. I have a few things I want to say.” He pulled the folded up piece of paper from his pocket and began to read.

When I met Jace, I wasn’t more than five years old. Some kid had pushed me down on the playground at school, and Jace was there punching the kid in the face before I could blink. It’s safe to say he got in trouble, but we’ve been best-friends ever since.

If you know Jace, you know he’s the most hard-headed person you’ll ever meet. He never backs down, never gives up, and has always been an inspiration in my own life. If I could be as determined and passionate as he is, I don’t think I’d have as many problems in life.

Now, while Jace has a ton of great qualities, don’t think for a second I’m saying he’s not a pain in my ass. His determination and passion causes him to be reckless at times, and in the past, it’s been my job to pull him out of whatever situation he’d gotten himself into that time.

However, that’s not my job anymore.

I never knew whether or not Jace would ever find someone that could tolerate him for long enough to actually marry him. Then one day, Clary came along. You know how people say you need balance in a relationship? One person uses their head, the other person uses their heart, and you find a middle ground?

Yeah, that’s not Clary and Jace.

You’d never think throwing two stubborn, strong-willed hearts together would actually work, but for some reason, it does.

This was supposed to be about Jace, which it is, but I can’t ignore the fact that he brought one of the best people I’ve ever known into my life.

Clary, I don’t know what I’d do without you. You have been there for me every single time I’ve ever needed you. You are, without a doubt, one of a kind.

Seeing my two best-friends committing to each other for the rest of their lives has brought me a joy like no other. I love you two more than you’ll ever know, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such a huge part of my life. I wish you both all of the joy, love, and happiness the earth has to offer.

Isabelle took the microphone out of Alec’s hand and unfolded her own paper. Alec smiled at Jace and Clary, who were both grinning wildly back at him.

Clary cupped her hands around her mouth. “I love you!” she yelled.

“Mmm, yeah, we’ll you’re about to love me more,” Isabelle said into the microphone, causing a chuckle to travel around the room.

I’ve only known Clary for the amount of time she’s been with Jace, but God do I wish I’d known her way beforehand.

Clary Fray, well, Clary Herondale, is the most kind, caring, loving, and determined person in this world. I’m convinced that she is filled with nothing but the light from the sun and it pours out of her in everything she does. Sometimes I wonder if her hair is so bright because it’s the sun trying to burst out of her.

Any time I’ve had a problem, Clary was jumping in to fix it.

Model bailed on a show? Clary’s there to take her place.

Heel breaks after a night out? Clary’s there to give me a piggy-back ride to the nearest subway station.

Sick? Clary’s there with chicken noodle soup, candy, and movies.

I’ll never forget the one time Alec called Clary in the middle of the night, asking her to come over because he needed her, but didn’t want me to know. But, seeing as she’s Clary, she called me immediately, letting me know to get up and be on my way as well. When I arrived, not only did I find Clary comforting my brother, I discovered that she was in a blue tank top, plaid pajama shorts, and bunny slippers with a sleep mask still pushed up on her head. She took the train like that just so she would get to Alec as soon as she could, because that’s the type of person she is. There’s no story to get across everything that’s so special about Clary, but if I had to pick one, this would be it. 

She is the best friend a girl could ask for. There is no one I’d rather have screaming matches with over a simple game of Monopoly. There’s no one I’d rather make fun of for constantly having ink or charcoal on her hands from a day spent drawing. There’s no one I’d rather call my sister.

Clary deserves eternal happiness in return for the amount of love she gives out on a daily basis.

Thank you for the drunken nights of laughter, the never-ending amount of inside jokes, the three-day-long shopping sprees, but most importantly, thank you for being my friend.

I love you.

Clary was up and on her feet, hurrying over to Alec and Isabelle before they could ever get off of the stage. She threw her arms around both of them at once, choking out a tearful “I love you.” She stepped back, and wiped gently under her eyes so that she wouldn’t ruin her makeup.

”I hate crying,” she mumbled, laughing a little bit. 

Isabelle linked all three of their arms together. “Enough of the sappiness. Let’s dance.”

Alec was standing on the dance floor with Magnus in his arms, his boyfriend’s head resting on his chest as they swayed back and forth to the music. Magnus looked up at him and there was a look in his eyes that Alec couldn’t describe. “I love you,” Magnus whispered, running his fingers through Alec’s hair.

“I love you,” Alec replied and pressed a kiss against Magnus’s forehead.

Magnus had been hired, naturally, to be the photographer for the weddding and was taking a small break to dance with Alec. This was much appreciated on Alec’s end since he had to leave in two days for a shoot in Los Angeles and Magnus wasn’t coming with him due to conflicting work schedules. So, Alec wanted to spend as much time with Magnus as he possibly could before they were separated for three days.

Magnus slid his hands down Alec’s back, then back up to comb through Alec’s hair. 

They both jumped a little when the music abruptly stopped and Clary’s voice rang through the room. “Alright, so this is normally the time where I’m supposed to throw my bouquet to the girls and we find out who’s getting married next,” she started, holding the microphone close to her face. “However, we already know Isabelle is the one getting married next,” Clary gestured to Isabelle and Isabelle held up her hand, showing off her engagement ring that had been there for months. Simon smiled and kissed Isabelle’s cheek before they both turned their attention back to Clary. “Also, I like my bouquet and I want to keep it so, none of you can have it.”

Alec laughed and locked hands with Magnus, who was now standing beside him instead of in his arms.

“We have a little something else planned for now, so if everyone could please clear the dance floor…”

Everyone looked slightly confused, but Alec expected nothing less from Clary. He had no idea what she was about to do, but he figured it was something outlandish. He started to walk, trying to follow the rest of the crowd leaving the area, but Magnus didn’t budge.

Now Alec was confused. He turned around to look back at Magnus who was just smiling at him.

“Weddings are supposed to be about celebrating love, so, you’re just gonna get a little bit of an overdose tonight, guys. Magnus, the floor is yours,” Clary said and turned off the microphone. Alec watched her as she found her way to Jace and discovered they were both grinning like idiots. Alec also noticed that everyone was crowded around he and Magnus.

There was a collective gasp.

“Magnus, what is going-oh my God.” When Alec turned around, Magnus was no longer standing. He was on one knee with a black velvet box in his hand. “What are you-what is?”

“You are my everything,” Magnus started and Alec’s eyes widened as he fully processed what was happening. “I have never loved anyone the way I love you. You are the smell of coffee in the morning, the feeling of cold, silk sheets against hot skin, you are a nap on a rainy day, and the brightest star in the night sky. We have been through so much together, and though it hasn’t been all that long, I’m already more than positive that you are the one I’m supposed to be with forever.”

Alec didn’t know when he’d started crying, or when he’d dropped to his knees next to Magnus. All he knew was that his heart felt like it was about to beat right out of his chest.

Magnus wasn’t done yet, though. “There is no one else I want to wake up with in the morning. No one else I want to watch Disney movies with. No one else I want to hear snore in the middle of the night. No one else I want to hear say ‘I love you’ because when you say it, it’s like my whole world is being handed to me on a silver platter. There is no one else I want to kiss good morning and hold at night. It’s you, Alec. You are it for me.”

Alec couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, couldn’t speak. His body felt like it was on fire when Magnus opened the black box, revealing a simple golden band with one small diamond embedded in the center.

“Alexander Gideon Lightwood, will you marry me?”

Alec was nodding, but he wasn’t speaking. There were tears blurring his vision and he was vaguely aware of the cheers around him as he surged forward, throwing his arms around Magnus. 

When he finally found words, they were just a simple repetition of, “Yes, yes, yes. I love you. Yes, of course.”

Magnus grabbed Alec’s left hand, slipping the ring onto his finger. He held both of Alec’s hands as he helped him stand up. When they were both in an upright position, Alec saw Isabelle sobbing against Simon and Clary sobbing against Jace. He caught Cristina and Emma crying with their hands clasped together in happiness.

Alec turned back to Magnus, who was wearing the biggest smile Alec thought he’d ever seen. Without thinking twice, he cupped Magnus’s face in his hands and crashed their mouths together, causing the room to erupt once more. He hadn’t intended for it to end up lasting as long as it did, but their friends just kept cheering them on.

Magnus pressed harder against him, their tears mixing together and causing the kiss to taste of salt. After a few more kisses, Alec reluctantly pulled away to rest his forehead against Magnus’s. He was slightly overwhelmed, but he knew that no matter what, one thing was for sure.

No amount of past thoughts could take this away from him.

No amount of insecurities could rip it out of his hands.

No amount of abusive parents could cause him to let go.

This was happiness, this was home, this was love.

But most importantly?

This was his.