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No One Looks Good In An Orange Jumpsuit

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“What’s a handsome guy like you doing in a place like this?”

Magnus winked as the man opposite looked up, staring at him in surprise. Admittedly, it wasn’t one of his best lines, but there was only so much one could do whilst handcuffed to a bench.

“Sorry?” His companion asked, brow furrowing adorably as he glanced around as if Magnus had been talking to someone else. Given that the back of the van was otherwise empty, it was unlikely.

“I’m not surprised to see you here,” Magnus continued, “Because looking that good is definitely illegal.”

The man stayed silent. Magnus might have been exaggerating a little, even he found it difficult to look good in an orange jumpsuit, but his fellow arrestee definitely had potential. Even if he did seem to be lacking a sense of humour.

“Let me guess, you’re in here for burglary?” He tried once more, “Because you certainly stole my heart.”

“Assault, actually.” The man finally said, in a tone that clearly told Magnus to back off. Magnus ignored it.

“Well in that case,” He quipped, “You can hit on me any time.”

Wrong move. The man’s gaze immediately darkened, and Magnus realised that he may have slightly crossed a line with that one.

“Is this a joke to you?” His companion spat, and Magnus suddenly remembered that not everyone who got arrested was as nice as he was.

“My apologies.” He said quickly, “I’m afraid I have somewhat inappropriate ways of dealing with stress.”

The suspicion didn’t leave the man’s eyes, but he didn’t look like he wanted to punch Magnus anymore, so Magnus ploughed on.

“Magnus Bane,” He offered, “I’d shake your hand, but I find myself otherwise occupied.”

He shook his chained hand to emphasize his point, the handcuffs rubbing uncomfortably against his wrists, and was surprised to see his companion smile. It was a weak smile, accompanied by a roll of his eyes, but Magnus would take whatever he could get at this point.

“Alec.” The man offered in return, leaning back against the wall of the van as he relaxed slightly.

“A pleasure to make your acquaintance.” Magnus said dramatically, “Although, assault? I am surprised, my next guess was going to be failing to pay parking tickets.”

“Parking tickets?”

“Because you have fine written all over you.”

His joke was met with a flat stare, and Magnus was just about resigning himself to another few hours of silence when Alec suddenly laughed. Apparently Alec was as surprised by this as Magnus was, his eyes widening as he bit his lip to stop his chuckling, glancing nervously at the wall that separated them from their driver.

“He can’t hear us.” Magnus reassured him. “Seb has a disturbing enthusiasm for eighties synth-pop.”

Alec merely raised an eyebrow.

“This may not be my first trip to prison.” Magnus confessed dismissively, “I have somewhat of a reputation amongst the guards.”

“I’m not surprised.” Said Alec, completely straight-faced, “Those pickup lines were criminal.”

Slowly, a grin spread across Magnus’ face and he laughed with delight.

“Not bad, Alexander.” He said, gambling at Alec’s full name. Alec ignored him.

“Your turn.” Alec said, “What are you in here for?”

“I may have liberated a few pieces of cultural significance from a museum.” Magnus answered, “The original owners were rather pleased to have them returned. Sadly, the museum didn’t agree.”

“You’re an art thief?”

“Oh, I’d hardly call it art,” Magnus said, wiggling his eyebrows playfully, “Not now that I’ve met you. You, my dear, are a masterpiece.”

Alec shook his head with an amused smile, and, emboldened, Magnus continued.

“I’d certainly love to pin you to my wall.”

Taken by surprise, Alec lost it, actually snorting as his shoulders shook with silent laughter. Magnus leant back, smug, as Alec struggled to compose himself. He was on his way to three years locked in a cell, and yet somehow he felt lighter than he could remember feeling in a long time.

“You don’t strike me as the kind of man who would commit assault, Alexander.” Magnus said suddenly, and Alec felt the laughter dry up in his throat. He stared down as his lap, the reality of his situation suddenly lodging itself in his chest like a sack of bricks.

“I-” He said, and suddenly the urge to tell the truth was more than he could bear. “Are you sure they can’t hear us?”

He’d lowered his voice, glancing at the solid wall between them and their driver before looking back at Magnus, who nodded.

“I didn’t.” He confessed, unable to meet Magnus’ eye. “There was this guy, in this bar, and he was, basically he was being a massive homophobe.”

There was a hum of sympathy from Magnus, but Alec didn’t look up, knowing that if he stopped now he might never find the courage to finish.

“He started on me, got pretty violent, and my brother Jace had drunk too much, ended up putting the guy in hospital. When the police came, I lied and told them it was me. Jace already has a record, and this- they probably would have sentenced him to life. So I confessed, except the jury weren’t exactly sympathetic.”

“You pled guilty to save your brother?” Magnus asked softly, and if Alec had looked up he would have seen the tears that glistened in the corner of his eyes.

“Pretty much.” Said Alec, with a disparaging laugh. “Stupid, right?”

“Maybe.” Magnus replied, biting down everything he wanted to say about honour, and selflessness, and how he thought Alec might just be the best man he’d ever had the fortune of meeting. “But luckily for you, you’ve ended up meeting me.”

“Well that makes it all worth it.” Alec said, deadpan, finally looking up from his lap.

“It does indeed, because art liberation isn’t the only thing I’m famous for.”

“Oh?”

“I also have quite the reputation for escaping.” Magnus announced, wishing his hands weren’t cuffed to the bench so he could add a dramatic flourish. “In fact, my accomplice should be enacting stage one of my daring escape as we speak.”

“You’re going to flee police custody?” Alec asked incredulously.

“I never say no to a holiday.” Said Magnus, “Although it would be better with two. How do you feel about Rio?”

“Are you seriously asking me to go on the run with you?”

“It would make an interesting first date.” Magnus said with a wink, “And although that jumpsuit somehow looks good on you, I’m betting it will look even better on my floor.”