Magnus stepped into the quiet loft and when he didn't see Alec anywhere, he went to place the coffees and bags of pastries from their favorite coffee shop on the kitchen counter. He had had to get up way too early to go take care of an emergency for a client, and he was back just in time to see Alec before he went to work. He looked at the clock on the wall and realized that Alec was normally in the foyer, lacing up his boots, by this time. He went through the loft to their bedroom, where he saw that their unmade bed was empty and the bathroom door was half-open.
Magnus pressed his head to the door. “Alec? Good morning. I have coffee,” he called into the room.
“Hey, you’re back. Okay. I’ll be there in a few minutes….I think,” he answered in a voice that was….off?
“Are you alright?” Magnus asked, his hand already on the door, ready to push it open.
The response was even weaker sounding this time, “I don't know. I'm sure I'll be fine. I just feel weird.”
Panic started to rise in Magnus chest and he said, “I'm coming in, okay?”
Magnus stepped into the bathroom to see Alec, still wet from his shower, with a towel wrapped around his waist. He was sitting on the teak bench near the vanity with his head tilted back against the wall and his arms slumped at his sides. He rushed over to his boyfriend, his magic already begging to fix whatever was wrong. He quickly tried to think of when Alec could have been injured, as his eyes raked over his naked torso. “Did something happen? What's wrong?!”
Alec lifted his head and gave him a weak, lopsided smile. “I'm fine really. I just think I need more sleep. It's taking me a long time to get moving today.”
Magnus was far from convinced. “This doesn't look like fatigue. You are pretty pale, even for you. Tell me about your other symptoms,” he said softly as he kneeled down in front of him and placed his hand on his knee.
“I just feel tired and kind of dizzy. My stomach doesn’t feel the greatest, but I haven’t eaten yet, either. I’ve gotta get dressed though..it’s freezing in here.”
Magnus frowned. It was very warm in the bathroom with the heated tile floors and the steam from the shower. He could hardly stand the warmth in his dress shirt and pants. “You are sick,” he said, leaning up to brush Alec’s dark locks off his forehead and place a kiss directly in the middle of it, just like his mother used to do when he was a child. The heat under his lips just confirmed his suspicion. “Oh, Alec, you are burning up. I’m sure you have a fever.”
Alec shook his head. “No, no. That can’t be. I haven’t been sick in ten years. Shadowhunters are resistant to mundane illnesses.”
Magnus smiled and huffed a breath at Alec’s stubbornness. “Resistant is not the same as immune. I think you have the flu. Stay home from work and let me take care of you. I can clear my sched….”
“That’s really not necessary. I’ve never taken a sick day, Magnus. Never. I’ll use my healing rune and push through it. I’ve been through worse.”
“You know that the iratze only speeds up healing, and I also happen to know that it doesn’t work as well on human illnesses. What happened when you were sick ten years ago?”
Alec rolled his eyes and sighed. “Not that it will surprise you, but my mother paid a warlock to heal me so that it wouldn’t interfere with my training.”
“I see.” Magnus shook his head, “If she hadn’t paid someone to heal you, then you probably wouldn’t be ill right now, because your body would have built up an immunity. It’s really best to let these things run their course. The flu is nothing to mess with. It could kill you if your body doesn’t know how to fight it.”
“Fine,” he relented, “but it can run it’s course while I’m working, can’t it?” Alec asked, standing up before the sentence was even out of his mouth.
Magnus stood with him, holding onto him when he swayed just a bit. “Alexander, please,” he asked in his softest “boyfriend” voice.
Alec squinted an eye at him. “That’s not fair. Don’t do that to me right now. I have important meetings today. I won’t be out hunting. Really, I’m fine.”
Magnus bit his tongue. He knew he was being overprotective, but that’s to be expected after you’ve kept the person you love the most alive with magic more times than you’d care to think about. It was hard, but it seemed he would have to let Alec figure this one out for himself.
“Fine, be stubborn. I’ll get your clothes,” he huffed, snapping his fingers.
Damn stubborn Shadowhunter and his impossibly unrealistic work ethic, Magnus thought as he tried to focus on the spell book on his desk. He had cleared his schedule and decided to work from home after Alec left for the Institute. He was trying to focus on work instead of worrying, but he had only gotten through ten pages in three hours. He pulled out his phone and checked his messages again. He thought Alec might check in before his meetings, but it seemed he hadn’t. His phone had barely touched his desk when it started ringing.
“Jace,” he answered.
“Magnus, something is wrong with Alec. He just collapsed in the middle of a hunt and starting getting sick. I got him back to the institute, but I think he needs a warlock to heal him.”
Magnus squeezed his eyes shut. Of course he went out in the field when he wasn’t feeling well. Of course he did. He pinched the bridge of his nose, sighed and said, “He has the flu, and he doesn’t need a warlock to heal him. He needs me to take care of him until he heals on his own. I’m opening a portal. Can you get him to me?”
“Yeah, ok. Be right there,” Jace said.
Magnus opened a portal and waited. A few moments later, Jace and Izzy came through with Alec in tow, and Magnus pursed his lips to keep from emitting a sound of worry and frustration for how sick Alec looked.
“You want him in bed?” Jace asked.
It was Alec who answered, “Doesn’t he always?”
“Well it’s good to see you didn’t puke up your sense of humor,” Jace said as Izzy tried not to laugh.
“Yes, please take him to bed. I’m going to make some tea for him and get some more blankets.”
“Guys, I’m fi-” Alec started.
“Shut up, Alec. I love you, but I swear if you say you are fine one more time I’m going to kill you myself.” Jace growled.
Magnus chuckled and went to make them all some tea, with a little kick, of course.
He was just pouring hot tea into cups with a touch of bourbon when Jace came into the room looking worse for wear.
“Your patient is already fast asleep,” he said, “but Izzy is going to stay with him for a bit to be sure he’s not faking and just waiting to hop back up.”
“Thank you. Tea?” Magnus slid a cup to him.
“Yeah, sure. I can’t believe he has a mundane sickness, but it really explains a lot. I’ve been so tired the past few days and couldn’t figure out why. Then, when he showed up this morning looking like hell, I asked him, but he said-”
“I’m fine,” Magnus said in his “Alec” voice.
“If I never hear that phrase again, it will be too soon,” Magnus said, bringing his cup to his lips gently.
Jace nodded, “Totally. I think….it’s just that he’s not used to being the one who needs to be taken care of. He’s so used to protecting everyone else, and it’s not something that can easily be turned off.”
Magnus shook his head, “You’re right, and he also has a lot of weight on his shoulders for someone his age.”
“Yep. Not all of us have centuries under our belts.”
Magnus expression turned mock serious, “Are you calling me old, Herondale?”
“No, of course not. I would never,” he said with a sly grin.
“I’m going to go sit with my patient. Feel free to stay as long as you would like.”
“Ah, I wish I could, but Izzy and I have to get back to the institute. Our boss is out sick and someone needs to be in charge.”
“That’s a scary thought,” Magnus teased as he made his way to their bedroom.
His eyes immediately went to a sleeping Alexander. He was bundled up like a burrito in several blankets, only visible from the nose up. His head was sweaty and Magnus made a noise of disapproval. “If he still has a fever, he is going to overheat,” he whispered, setting Alec’s tea on the bedside table.
Izzy walked as quietly and carefully as she could in her heels toward the door, “I know. I was just trying to get him to stop shivering so he could sleep. He’s not the easiest person to take care of, you know.”
“I never have any problems,” Magnus said, wiping sweat from Alec’s forehead and unraveling him from blankets.”
Still whispering, Izzy said, “ Sure, that’s why he came into work sick this morning.”
Magnus rolled his eyes at her. “He’s stubborn. He just needs a little convincing.”
“You say that like it’s a good thing.” She stopped at the door frame and grinned at him.
Magnus gave up tugging blankets out from under his boyfriend’s sleeping frame and used a bit of magic instead.
“It’s one of my favorite things about him. Don’t tell anyone I said that though. I quite like pretending to be annoyed by this man’s iron-will. He thinks I’m upset and he lets me choose where we eat. A man can only eat so many bacon burgers.”
Izzy chuckled. “Your secret is safe with me, but I’m sure he would let you choose anyway.”
Magnus looked up at her and winked. “I’ll call later and let you know how he’s doing.”
“I’m not worried. He’s in the best hands.”
He finally got Alec out from under all the covers. He immediately started shivering, his shirt dampened with sweat. Magnus snapped his fingers and the shirt disappeared, which only made Alec shiver more.
He made a sound of displeasure. “Magnus. So cold.”
“Shhhh. I know. I’m going to fix it.” Another few pulses of magic and they were both shirtless and in clean lounge pants. Magnus laid down, pulled Alec’s back into his chest to warm him, and settled a light sheet over them both.
“Better?” he asked, nestling his face into his neck.
“Jace went back to the Institute, right?”
“Alexander Lightwood. The world is not going to implode because you are taking a sick day.”
Alec sniffled and pulled Magnus’ arm tighter around him. “I love you. Thanks for taking care of me.”
“Thank you for letting me.”
--------------------- 5 years later------------------------
Magnus flipped the page on his book of poetry. He was relaxing on the small couch near the huge window of their top floor resort suite in Sigiriya. Rainy season in Sri Lanka was a favorite of Magnus’, even if Catarina always complained about him choosing this time of year for their meeting with the warlocks of South Asia. He paid her no mind because he thought the rain made their stay in the mountains that much more beautiful. He listened to the rain pelt the window as he read Nona’s words.
“Mag-nus,” Alec whined from the large bed across the space.
“You’re awake,” Magnus said, closing the book and rising gracefully from his seat. They’d had a busy morning of exploring, and when he’d seen how tired Alec looked, he’d encouraged him to have a rest before their social dinner. He looked over his horizontal beauty and frowned.
“I feel bad,” Alec said, as if he’d read his mind.
“Bad like when you got food poisoning on our honeymoon? Or like when you had the flu?” Magnus asked, sitting on the edge of the bed gingerly, so as to not jostle him.
“Flu, I think.”
Oh no. Magnus couldn’t help but brace himself. A sick Alec was a challenge, as he insisted on trying to work through his normal duties no matter how terrible he felt, and it made Magnus sick with worry for him. He wasn’t a good patient, as Catarina would say.
“Darling, not again.” Magnus kissed his forehead, relieved to find that he wasn’t hot, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t feeling terrible. He tried to think of how he was going to get Alec to stay in bed and try and rest to head this thing off.
“Will you get me some hot tea?” his husband asked in a meek voice.
He was happy to do that. At least he could get some hot honey and lemon tea in this man before he insisted on showering and dressing for dinner. “Of course I will.”
Not wanting to waste a minute, he used a little magic to summon a cup and handed it to Alec, who was sitting up in bed and positioning pillows behind himself. Funny. He looked like he was actually planning to stay in bed for a while. Magnus checked the time. They had reservations soon.
“Alexander, it really isn’t necessary to go to this thing tonight. Everyone will understand you aren’t feeling well.”
“Yeah, okay. We could even catch up on Ouran episodes if you want?” Alec said, before taking a big sip of his tea.
“You hate Ouran.” Magnus was more than a little surprised. When he said everyone would understand, he meant Alec’s absence, and not his own too, and he hadn’t thought he would even be able to convince him to stay at all.
“It’s growing on me.”
“Wait. So you are actually going to stay here and rest?” he questioned. "You are going to miss this dinner with the other warlocks and the Shadowhunter liaisons? And you want me to stay here too?”
“Shit. I’m sorry, Magnus. I’m being selfish, aren’t I? It’s just...I like when you take care of me,” he said sheepishly.
Magnus blinked. What the hell kind of alternate universe had he stepped into? “Since when?”
Alec balked, “Since always.”
“Well, my love, I wish I had known that. It would have made all those times I had to force my care on a certain grumpy man a whole lot easier.” Magnus shook his head, still in disbelief.
“I’m sorry for being a stubborn ass before.” He stuck his bottom lip out dramatically. “Please stay? It would make me feel a whole lot better.”
“Are you kidding me? This is like a dream come true.” He waved his hand over Alec. “Besides the you being ill part, of course. I’ll just text Cat and let her know we will see them in the morning.”
“What if I’m still sick then?”
“Well, then, I guess I’ll just have to cancel the whole weekend to stay in and bring you tea and watch TV with you.”
“Okay,” he grinned.
“Oh my. I’ve created a monster,” Magnus said, leaning down to kiss him.