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Higher than the Big Trees

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Alec reads the article three times through and feels anger licking up his spine.


His phone rings again and Alec swipes to accept the call just as Lydia’s number pops up.


“Don’t ‘what’ me, Alec. You have half an hour to get to my office so that we can start damage control or I’ll come get you and drag you here myself.”

“Understood,” Alec replies curtly and hangs up before tossing his phone onto his bed and scrubbing his hands over his face.

He gets ready in record time, making sure that he throws something on that looks sharply confident. Choosing a lightweight linen suit in a charming shade of burgundy, he leaves the throat open of his crisp white Oxford and leaves his bedroom.

He’s surprised to see that the coffee pot is already full and looks up when he hears the clearing of a throat.

“You’re up early,” he says to Izzy, raising an expectant brow.

Coming into the kitchen, Isabelle shrugs and heads directly to the fridge, pulling out a takeout container. “I have plans this morning and thought you might appreciate a little fortification.”

Alec looks at her sharply. “You know?”

Isabelle is quiet as she dumps out her leftovers onto a plate and takes it to the microwave. It’s only once she’s set the timer that she turns around and looks at Alec. He can’t help but feel a little exposed, nerves raw as his sister studies him.

“How could I not? It’s all over the internet. I even got a special Google Alert about it.”

“Shit,” Alec curses and runs a hand through his hair on impulse before desperately wishing that he hadn’t disheveled things too badly. He looks over at Isabelle but something in him stills as he sees her acting particularly nonchalant.

“You knew,” he accuses and can’t believe his eyes when Izzy shrugs again before rolling her own eyes.

“Of course I knew,” she says. “You think I wouldn’t check out the first guy my brother falls for? I’ve known since I saw the two of you on the floor.”

Alec considers her words carefully before asking, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Laughing quietly, Isabelle opens the microwave as it starts to beep, taking out her pasta. She sends him a look. “Can you stand there and honestly tell me that you wanted to know? You might have fallen for Magnus but that didn’t turn you into a dumbass. You were perfectly capable of having your private investigator do a little research.”

She takes a fork from a drawer and grabs a quick bite before continuing, “You deliberately decided not to do a little digging and I commend you for that. I don’t know if I’d have made the same choice if I was in your position.”

She points her fork at him. “When I saw that you weren’t going to protect yourself, I decided to step up. I checked Magnus out and I had to admit I was surprised. But does it change anything? No. Magnus isn’t his father and you should know more than most not to cast those particular sins. I see the way Magnus looks at you and for God’s sake, the man’s a tenured professor. I find it hard to believe that he’d con you, considering his reputation.”

The kitchen is quiet for a minute before Alec unfreezes and pulls out a mug, pouring a cup of coffee and dumping a few spoonfuls of sugar into it. He can feel the tension in his shoulders and his thoughts are a maelstrom-- though one in particular stands out.

“It’s my fault.”

He hears Isabelle still for a second before she walks over to him and lays a hand on his shoulder. “It was bound to get out eventually, hermano. Magnus is a grown man. He knew that dating you would necessarily place him in the spotlight. Don’t give yourself too much credit or take away his.”

Alec takes a bracing sip of the scalding coffee before he turns to look at her. “Obviously, he wasn’t ready. He hasn’t told me anything about his past and made it plain that he didn’t want to yet. Fuck,” he sighs and runs another distracted hand through his hair.

Isabelle lands a considering look on him and he meets her eyes steadily. “You’re not angry,” she asks carefully. “I’d think most people in your place would be feeling a mix of betrayed and furious. I don’t even think I could particularly blame you for it considering the amount of shit you’ve dealt with from other people.”

Alec’s reply is thoughtful as he replies, “I can’t deny that my first reaction was hurt-- you know that’s one of my biggest insecurities. But there’s just something about him, Iz,” Alec continues with a half-desperate, half-hopeful look in her direction.

“I’ve known him for months. I read that goddamn article from start to finish three times and I find that I can’t blame him for not telling me. He said that there were things in his past that were better off left alone and I respected his decision-- still do. I just hate that the goddamn media sniffed it out like fucking bloodhounds.”

“Talk to him, Alec,” Isabelle says urgently. “This must be one hell of a shock and he might need you.”

Alec considers Izzy’s words before shaking his head. “He probably doesn’t want to even look at me right now. I told him this would happen but we were both fucking fools. I thought we had more time before everything blew up in my face,” he says with bitter self-deprecation. “Plus, Lydia’s court-martialed me to her office and I’m--” he looks at his watch, “Shit, I’m running late. I’ll talk to him later.”

Izzy opens her mouth before biting her tongue. “Just don’t let this fester. I’d hate for this to come between you.”

Alec doesn’t say anything, just nods once before downing the rest of his coffee and starting toward the door.

He pushes down the thought that it already has, that the fucking paps have ruined things just when they were getting started.


Pushing himself off the elevator wall, Alec slips his sunglasses on and mutters a curse as he sees the crowd of photographers standing out on the sidewalk. Through the row of windows, he sees Charles acting unaffected even as he stubbornly keeps them at bay as best he can.

“Showtime,” he murmurs and smooths his suit jacket down as Charles reaches for the door and the paps leap forward, cameras flashing and calling out questions.

“Hey, Alec! Tell us a little bit about Magnus? Is it true that he’s just using you?”

“How does it feel to be officially off the market-- or have things fallen apart between you and Bane already?”

“Alec, our sources say you were planning on proposing soon. Did you know Magnus was playing you from the start and do you plan to return the ring?”

Jesus Christ, Alec thinks but he smiles easily while sending up a silent prayer when he sees Dave already waiting at the curb, door open.

“Sorry guys but I have a meeting I can’t reschedule.” He makes his way through the journalists at an insistent pace, glad that he’d snagged his sunglasses on his way out.

He just hopes no one catches his clenched jaw.

“Everyone at Glitz Magazine is sorry to hear that you got played, Alec,” A pap says with faux sympathy dripping from his tone. “Want to give us the inside scoop?”

“There’s nothing to tell,” Alec says coolly.

“Really,” someone else asks, shoving their microphone in his face. “Then it’s not true that you’re in a relationship with the heir to Asmodeus Bane’s ill-gained fortune?”

“No comment.”

At Alec’s reply, camera shutters sound with alarming force and he rolls his eyes from behind his sunglasses.

He sees Dave watching him with a raised brow and shakes his head minutely. He doesn’t need help getting through the pack of vipers.

It’s a few seconds later that feel like hours before he’s climbing into the back of the town car. He doesn’t relax until Dave shuts the car door and then he sliding his glasses off and blowing out a breath.

Dave slides behind the wheel and starts pulling away from the curb. Alec stares stubbornly ahead and ignores the flashes that shine through the darkened car windows.

“Wanna talk about it, boss?”

“I don’t think so, Dave.” He meets his driver’s eyes in the rear-view mirror. “I take it Lydia called you?”

Dave nods as he makes a turn on red. “She did. You had eight more minutes before she was going to come over herself.”

Laughing softly, Alec murmurs, “Well, then, what luck that I made it.”

The rest of the car ride is silent and Dave pulls smoothly up to the renovated townhouse that houses Lydia’s agency. Alec has just placed his hand on the handle when he hears Dave speak up.

“For what it’s worth, boss, I like Magnus. I don’t think that a trashy article should condemn him. When I picked him up for your date, he was polite as all get out and seemed excited to see you. What do I know, though,” Dave trails off and turns to give Alec a pointed look.

“Note taken,” Alec says dryly and quickly exits the car, not wanting to linger and attract any paparazzi.

Alec opens the door and gives a tight lipped smile to the receptionist. He doesn’t have a chance to say anything, however, before she’s pointing upstairs where Lydia’s office is located.

He raises a brow. “How many times has she come down here?”


Wincing, Alec nods in acknowledgement before turning towards the stairs. He’s on the landing when he hears the clack of heels coming toward him. Looking up, he sees Lydia standing at the top of the stairs with a serious look on her face.

Swallowing a sigh, Alec trudges up the rest of the flight until he’s standing next to one of his best friends and the best agent he’s ever had.

He’s expecting verbal whiplash and his eyebrows shoot up when instead of starting in on him, Lydia steps forward and pulls him into a hug.

“How are you doing, Alec?”

Alec returns her hug but steps back after a minute, shooting Lydia an incredulous glance.

“How am I doing,” he repeats. “I thought you were about to flay me alive not ask after my well-being.”

Sniffing, Lydia replies, “I might be your manager but I’m also your friend and it can’t have been easy to find out that your boyfriend was a fucking snake. I wanted to see how you were holding up.”

“Lydia,” Alec starts slowly. “I’m doing just fine. I’m not mad at Magnus. I was just stunned when I saw the magazine article.”

At that, Lydia’s expression changes from caring friend to ruthless agent. “We need to talk,” she says crisply and turns on her heel, walking straight to her office.

Alec follows and sits down in front of Lydia’s desk. He watches as Lydia closes the door and takes a bracing breath before going around her desk to sit in her late model, customized Aeron chair that’d been a gift from him last Christmas.

“Alec, we needed to start damage control hours ago. Have you seen the news,” she demands. “Everyone is calling you a fucking idiot for letting yourself be played by Magnus. When are you planning on ending things-- if you haven’t already,” she asks brusquely, turning toward her computer and skimming through whatever’s on the screen.

“I’m not breaking up with him.”

At Alec’s response, steady and brooking no argument, Lydia looks up from her computer and narrows her eyes. “What do you mean, you aren’t breaking up with him? It’s obvious that Bane had an ulterior motive for dating you. While I know it’s hard, you need to nip this shit in the bud before everyone loses their sympathy and you really do become a goddamn idiot.”

Alec’s eyes flash. “I’m not ending things with Magnus, Lydia. Let’s be clear on that. I don’t blame Magnus and if he turns out to be a mistake-- if I’m wrong-- then I’ll eat crow until the goddamn apocalypse. Until that day, I’m standing by him.”

Lydia leans closer, voice taking on a kind of urgency that Alec hasn’t heard since he was caught with that European prince a few years back.

“Alec, I don’t think you understand. Everyone is rueing the day that you’re finally on the other end of the stick. You’ve earned a reputation as a devil-may-care playboy and people are saying that you’re finally getting what you deserve. I’ve had calls from dozens of print and news companies wanting to know what’s going on. People are even going so far as to say that you’ve known since the beginning and the two of you have planned your own con. It’s ridiculous bullshit but since when have the press ever concerned themselves with being practical or even right?”

Alec echoes her movement, leaning close and making sure that he’s looking her dead in the eye when he replies, “I don’t give a flying fuck what they’re saying Lydia. While I didn’t know exactly what Magnus was hiding, I knew enough. I’m not abandoning him to those damned vultures and I’m not holding this against him.”

“Are you really willing to risk your reputation over a goddamn man, Alec? Do you know what people are going to say, if they haven’t started already? They’re going to say that you’ve lost your touch, that you’re another stupid celebrity thinking with his fucking dick instead of his head. Is that what you want? To become the laughingstock of the entire world? Because that’s where you’re heading if you don’t end things.”

“Listen to me carefully, Lydia,” Alec says, voice even. “I like Magnus a lot and even that feels too tame. I’m not giving up on him-- on us-- because a sleazy trash rag wrote an unpleasant article about him. That’s just not going to happen so I suggest that you get the idea out of your head right now. What I need is for my agent to work with me to minimize the damage.”

Lydia doesn’t say anything for a minute, just sits back in her chair and studies him with a sharp gaze before finally sighing.

“You know that I can’t force you to break up with him, Alec. I can strongly advise but I can’t make you do anything that you don’t want to.”

Shaking her head, Lydia turns back to her computer for a few seconds before swiveling her chair around to the printer. She turns back to Alec when her document finishes printing and slides the pages over to him.

“Damage control, step one--”

“Make a public appearance,” they say together and Lydia grins at him. It’s not soft or even pleasant. It’s sharp and in control and eases something in Alec as he sees his friend rising to the occasion to do what she does best.

“Make a public appearance,” Lydia repeats. “Now, there’s a festival in Paris tomorrow and we could squeeze you into their lineup if you fly out this afternoon. I can have you on a plane in two hours,” Lydia mutters.

“No,” Alec says, firmly. “I’m not going anywhere until I talk to Magnus.”

Seeing that Lydia’s about to protest, Alec sends her a pointed look that she recognizes as meaning that he’s officially dug in his heels. “I need to talk to Magnus and I can’t wait days to do it.” He sighs. “Even if I don’t know if he even wants to talk to me.”

“Why wouldn’t he want to talk to you,” Lydia asks, confused.

Alec sends her an incredulous look. “What do you mean, why wouldn’t he want to talk to me? His entire past has been revealed to the world and it’s because he’s with me.”

“You have to know this isn’t your fault. You couldn’t have protected him, Alec. It was bound to get out sooner or later and there’s nothing you could have done to prevent it.”

“Then, I’m going to do the only thing I can now that it’s happened,” Alec replies resolutely. “I’m going to be there for him as long as he wants.”

“You’ve really fallen for him, haven’t you,” Lydia asks, voice traitorously soft.

“Yeah,” Alec admits. “I don’t know if it’ll turn out to be the dumbest fucking thing I’ve ever done, but I refuse to regret whatever happens. I’m in this, Lydia. Now tell me what we need to do.”

Lydia nods and points to the pages she’d just printed. The two of them spend hours in her office, pouring over press release drafts and hammering over a schedule. They throw ideas out and debate their merits, their end goal always stopping the gossip in its tracks and protecting Magnus’s-- and Alec’s-- image.

Lydia is on the phone as often as she’s talking to him and it’s late afternoon by the time Alec looks at his cell. He tamps down on the disappointment he feels when he sees that Magnus hasn’t tried to get in touch and shoves his phone back in his pocket.

If Magnus wants space then Alec figures the least he could do is respect that.

Lydia’s just booked his travel to London in a few days and landed him a spot on a few NYC morning radio shows when she abruptly stops her running monologue.

“You should text him.”

Alec sends her an incredulous look. “I don’t think that’s for the best.”

“Why not,” she scoffs. “You’re obviously worried. Plus, this is a shit storm that even we’re caught in. I’m sure Magnus is feeling far worse. You should talk to him.”

“I thought you didn’t like him,” Alec asks with raised brows.

Sighing in her seat, Lydia just gives him a look. “I liked him before this morning and you’re faith in him does him a credit. You’re my friend, Alec-- one of my best friends. I just don’t want to see you get hurt.”

Alec smiles, reaching over to lay a hand over hers. “I appreciate the concern but I’m a big boy,” he says bemusedly. “I can take care of myself.”

Rolling her eyes, Lydia pulls her hand out from under his and goes back to typing the few revisions they’d agreed on.

“Are you sure you don’t want to accept any appearances right now? You know that time is of the essence.”

“I’m sure. I’m not even sure about the damned press releases. I want to talk to Magnus before we send anything to news outlets, okay?”

“Then why don’t you text him,” Lydia asks between clenched teeth.

Rolling his eyes, Alec takes his phone out. He debates what to type but there’s no point in dawdling any further and things have come to a head-- he needs to talk to Magnus and see where they stand but he also needs to look out for his career and tamp down on the looming scandal.

Magnus, when are you free? We need to talk.

He hits send and stares at his phone as if he can will a timely answer. He feels his pulse pickup as he gets a text notification less than a minute after he’d first hit send and takes a deep breath, ignoring Lydia’s steady stare as she watches him from behind her desk.

Opening his thread with Magnus he swallows hard at the reply, feels just the tiniest bit of tension seep from his shoulders.

I’ll be home for the rest of the day. You’re more than welcome whenever, Alexander.

Alec’s standing before he even knows what he’s doing. Shrugging into his jacket, he spares a look at Lydia. “I’m heading over to Magnus’s now. I’ll let you know how everything goes.”

“See that you do,” Lydia replies dryly. “I want a reply within the hour-- don’t make me hunt you down.”

Laughing a little breathlessly, Alec nods before he turns toward the door.


Looking back, he raises a brow as he sees Lydia studying him with a small smile. “Relax,” she orders. “You’re not going into battle and if Magnus is the one to end things then he wasn’t the right one for you anyway. You need someone who can handle the spotlight. Not someone who cowers away from it.”

Alec wants to protest but finds that he can’t. As much as it pains him to say it, he knows that Lydia is right. Alec signed up for this life and he needs someone who can stand by him, who can brave the press and photographers and relentless scrutiny without shrinking away.

Magnus might not be that person.

But Alec sure as hell hopes he is.


Alec knocks on the door to Magnus’s apartment and takes a breath. He leans against the door jamb and stares at the floor absently, waiting for Magnus to answer.

The door opens less than a minute later and Alec looks up to see that Magnus’s face is a blank slate.

He can see the cracks, though.

The two of them consider each other for a minute, without saying anything. Alec studies Magnus, sees the nearly imperceptible slump of his shoulders and the tension in his jaw. He takes in the way Magnus’s eyes don’t quite meet his and something in him slides into place.

If he’d had any doubt about Magnus’s intentions, they’re easily erased now. Without thinking, Alec pushes off from the side of the door and takes the few steps over to Magnus, wrapping him in his arms for a hug that’s just a hair too tight.

Magnus is rigid in his arms for a few long seconds before he relaxes, bringing his arms up to wrap around his waist. They don’t say anything and Alec finds that the silence speaks louder than most words he could offer.

They hold on to each other and Alec breathes in the scent of sandalwood that’s already so damned familiar.

Magnus is the one to pull away but he doesn’t go far. He pulls back enough to see Alec’s face as he asks, “What was that for?”

“You looked like you could use a hug. And to be honest, so could I.”

Magnus smiles. It’s barely there and easily gone but Alec counts it as a victory nonetheless. Magnus takes a step back before asking over his shoulder, “Would you like a drink?”

Alec raises a brow. “Do I need one?”

“I guess that depends on how long you’re planning on staying.” Magnus laughs but it’s an ugly thing-- brittle and just a little broken.

“Hey,” Alec says softly. “Look at me, babe.”

At the name, Magnus’s sends a sharp look to Alec, looking like he doesn’t know how to react.

“I’m here because I want to be, Magnus. Now let’s talk.”

Magnus eases out a breath before picking up his half-empty glass. “If you insist.”

Alec sits down first, choosing one end of the couch. He’s a little confused-- apprehensive-- when Magnus chooses the chair across from him.

“I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry.”

They look at each other, mouths parted in surprise as they both apologize at the same time. Magnus looks at him bewildered. “Why on earth are you apologizing, Alexander?”

Shrugging uncomfortably, Alec says, “If you weren’t with me then the press never would have revealed your past. I’m sorry that happened and that they officially know about us. I’m sorry that you had that taken from you and that I’m partly to blame.”

Frowning, Magnus is shaking his head before Alec even finishes. “You have absolutely nothing to be sorry about, darling. I knew what being with you meant and I chose to take that chance. I’m sorry for not telling you before you had to hear it from someone else. I can’t imagine that was pleasant and honestly, I’m just glad you’re here at all.”

Alec listens to Magnus’s words and something eases in him as he realizes that Magnus isn’t angry at him. He can’t ignore the rest of what he’d said, though.

“Magnus, you told me that you had a past and that you weren’t ready to tell me. I respect that-- still do. You don’t need to tell me anything that you don’t want to.”

Magnus throws him a dry look. “You probably know quite a bit at this point.”

“Still,” Alec insists. “I don’t want you to feel like you need to tell me any more details.”

“I think we passed that point when Idris News published that article. That’d be a bit like closing the gate after the horse has escaped, wouldn’t it?”

It’s quiet for a minute and Alec doesn’t know what to say, how to let Magnus know that he doesn’t think less of him now that he’s found out a little of his past.

“If you want to leave, you’re more than welcome to. No questions asked, darling.”

Alec’s gaze snaps up as he meets Magnus’s. “What,” he asks dumbly.

Waving a negligent hand, Magnus gestures toward the front door. “Even if you aren’t angry at me-- which I don’t even begin to comprehend-- there’s little doubt that you don’t want to be with me anymore. So please, feel free to leave. No hard feelings.”

“No hard feelings-- Magnus,” Alec asks in a strangled voice. “What the fuck are you talking about?”

Magnus takes his time answering and Alec hopes to God that he’s not imagining the emotion swimming in his eyes. “I’m a liability for you now, Alec. It’s well known-- I know-- that your career always, always comes first. I refuse to be something that holds you back. You can’t very well be with someone with such a sordid past.”

“You never--could never-- hold me back. I like you, Magnus, and a story in a trashy magazine won’t change that.”

“My father is one of the worst criminals in the United States, Alexander.” Magnus’s voice is quiet as he continues, “That’s too much.”

“It’s not too much for me,” Alec argues. “For fuck’s sake, you know what a nightmare my dad is and you still listened, you were still there for me. Give me the same chance. Or have you already figured everything out?”

“I haven’t figured anything out, Alexander,” Magnus snaps. “I woke up this morning on top of the goddamn world and here I am less than twelve hours later telling you things that I’d really rather wouldn’t. I’m flying by the seat of my fucking pants right now.”

“Then let’s talk this through.”

“Let’s,” Magnus says bitterly. “What do you want to know? Yes, I loved my father and as much as it pains me, I still do frighteningly often. No, I had no idea that he was a swindler to rival Madoff-- that he was a right bastard that neither wants nor needs anyone’s forgiveness. Yes, I had to deal with the goddamn media circus his trial turned into when I was in high school and yeah, I bounced around the foster care system until I went to college.”

He laughs but it’s derisive. “Yeah, I have a bit of a record-- the cops busted me a time or twelve for spray painting the school or for drinking up on the ridge. Yeah, maybe I’ve worked my fucking ass off to be better than that-- to leave that version of me with its daddy issues and blistering anger away. Is that enough talking? Or do you want to hear about how life was a fucking nightmare before I left the city and my records were sealed? About how I heard the whispers behind my back every goddamn day about how the apple didn't fall far from the tree, that I was ruined.”

Alec takes in Magnus’s scathing words, his anger and hears the strain of bitterness etched into his impassioned speech. Before he quite knows what he’s doing, he finds himself kneeling in front of Magnus, resting hesitant hands on his thighs.

Magnus watches him with barely concealed dread and regret already simmering at his outburst.

“Listen to me,” Alec says quietly, stubbornly keeping eye contact. “I don’t care who your father is. I care who you are. Yeah, I want to know the boy you were but really? I just want to know the man in front of me.”

He smiles a little, lips barely turning up. “I happen to like him quite a lot,” he confesses. “I love his intelligence and kindness and wit and sense of humor. I like that he’s built a life for himself that seems damned satisfying. I’m proud of him and I’m thankful that he likes me. So, your dad’s in jail. Unfortunate but not the end of the world. Want to know a secret?”

Magnus nods mutely.

Leaning closer, Alec murmurs, “I’m head over heels for you, babe. I don’t think there’s much you could do-- much you could tell me at this point-- that would change that.”

“Darling,” Magnus says, voice cracking. “You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. Our relationship was always going to be fodder for the press. But add my history? It’s just turned into a media frenzy.”

“Then we’ll deal with it,” Alec says firmly. His eyes search Magnus before he quietly adds, “Together.”

“And what if it ends up being too much? What if I’m too much for you?”

Humming, Alec thinks for a second. “And what if I’m too much for you? I’d be the first one to admit that this life-- the life I’ve chosen for myself-- isn’t the easiest. Are you sure you want to put yourself through that, even considering your past?”

“Of course, Alexander. I decided months ago that you were worth it.”

“Then trust me when I say that you’re worth any possible media shit storm that comes our way.”

Seeing Magnus’s uncertainty, Alec reaches a hand up, placing careful fingers under his chin. “There’s nothing ugly about you, Magnus. You’ve got me,” he says quietly. “As long as you want me.”

Magnus studies Alec. He feels like his boyfriend is peering into his goddamn soul and takes a shaky breath.

This is it.

He’s laid himself bare. He’s done everything he can to make Magnus see that Alec is in this, all the way.

He wonders if it’s enough.

If he’s enough.

Magnus lifts a hand, sweeping a gentle thumb over Alec’s cheek.

“I want you, Alexander. You’ve got me as long as you want me.”

Alec smiles, using the hand still under Magnus’s chin to tilt his head. He leans forward and kisses him. It starts slow with an undercurrent of wonder and a shuddering sense of familiarity that Alec finds himself craving.

They kiss for long minutes, losing themselves in it. Magnus widens his knees, letting Alec fall closer. It turns hungry and heated and Alec gasps into Magnus’s mouth and a particularly sharp nip of teeth.

“I want you, Alexander,” Magnus breathes, kissing down his throat, and Alec pulls back, breathing harsh in the stillness of the room.

“You can have me.”

Magnus’s eyes, hazy with lust, sharpen at his words. “Darling?”

Alec’s mouth tilts up in a grin. “I’m all yours,” he says and feels giddy as the words leave his lips.

He’s confused as Magnus stands up, takes a step away from him. Looking up, he sees Magnus watching him with glowing eyes that makes Alec’s breath catch in his throat.

They’re full of everything he’s ever wanted.


Holding out a hand, Magnus smiles, tilting his head toward the hallway.

“I think it’s time we moved things to my bedroom, darling. Don’t you?”

Alec feels lightheaded as he stands, taking Magnus’s outstretched hand.

Magnus pulls him closer until Alec bumps against his chest, their hand still intertwined.

He doesn’t think-- can’t-- not when Magnus makes him so goddamn dizzy with lust and want and--


He lets his boyfriend guide him to the bedroom and surrenders to Magnus.

Always Magnus.