Alec Lightwood had a good life. At only twenty-five years old, he was working as a photographer for multiple prestigious magazines and living in a spacious loft in Brooklyn with his incredible fiancé of one year, Magnus Bane. He and Magnus had met when Alec was just twenty, and Magnus twenty-two, through Alec's little sister, Isabelle. Magnus and Izzy had been in different years of university but had both been studying journalism and they happened to earn an internship at the same little-known magazine. They were brought together by their love of fashion and a shared working space, and they'd got on like a house on fire, so it hadn't taken long for Isabelle to introduce Magnus to her family.
When Alec and Magnus met, there was an instant shared, infallible attraction to one another, and Alec’s breath had caught in his throat. Magnus was what Alec would define as the perfect man: well built, tall (but not taller than Alec!), and adorned in tight clothes that hugged him in all the right places where his bronze skin wasn’t bare. He was embellished in rings and dangling necklaces that nearly reached his navel, with stark lines of black and spots of glitter outlining his eyes. His lips were coated in gloss, sharp jawline emphasized by a highlighter a shade darker than his skin tone, dark hair spiked, a few strands bleached and elegantly drooping and framing his face--and those mesmerizing russet eyes, which sometimes would glow with flickers of green and gold, had been staring straight into Alec’s own hazels. Needless to say, Alec had never developed a crush so quickly.
With time, the two began to hang out without the rest of the Lightwood Clan. The eldest had fallen for Magnus' beauty from the second they had met eyes, but as they interacted more and more, Alec realized that Magnus' inner beauty was even more devastating than his attractive outside.
Magnus was affectionate, understanding and genuine. He would empathize with any who needed him to listen and lend a hand where it was necessary, supporting and caring you without question. Magnus nursed others with all his soul and loved with his entire heart. Alec had been awkward at first, his social skills almost nonexistent, but Magnus would shamelessly flirt with him, and Alec would blush and smile bashfully.
They'd quickly discovered that they were starkly different. Alec liked coffee and books while Magnus liked tea and television shows. Alec would rather stay at home to spend some time alone when Magnus preferred to go out with his friends and have fun, and sometimes make new friends. Magnus was a cat person while Alec liked dogs. Alec was an early riser who would go to the gym at six in the morning to do his cardio, Magnus would sleep until twelve in the afternoon and do some stretching on his yoga mat at home.
However, none of this mattered to them, as something indiscernible had always pulled them towards one another. Their instantaneous attraction had quickly become close friendship, and after two years of said friendship, they'd started dating. All their friends had been ecstatic since everyone had always known that in spite of their differences, they were meant to be together. Their friends would joke that they had acted like an old married couple sometimes, and deep down everyone had already felt that was what they would be eventually.
After just over a year of a happy, committed relationship, Alec had moved out of his shared apartment (with Izzy and Jace—Alec’s adoptive brother) and moved into Magnus' loft. They'd instantly created their own routine as if they'd been living together all their lives, and it'd been as natural for them as breathing.
Another year passed. At a weekly dinner with friends and the other Lightwood siblings, Alec had proposed to Magnus. He still couldn’t believe that he’d been brave enough to take Magnus’ trembling hand in his own and slide his own ring on his new fiancé’s only bare finger. They'd thrown an engagement party at their apartment the next weekend but hadn't decided on a date for the wedding, as they needed to reconcile it with both of their working schedules.
Magnus was working as a sub-editor in a magazine of mild popularity, Idris. He dedicated five years of his life to this magazine, and he wanted nothing more than to leave it and find his own place, a place where he belonged, a place where his talents and efforts would be truly valued and recognized. That's why he'd been spending nights and days working on his new project for a Vogue staff contest. Magnus had always dreamed of working at Vogue, and he was working his ass off now that he had a chance to achieve that dream.
They decided to get married at least one year later, as they'd been both too busy with their jobs to actually plan a proper wedding that the two both deserved. In fact, Alec was so busy with his job that he hadn't noticed the first warning signs.
For the last year he'd been working nonstop. He was booked for photography gigs for different magazines and brands, many of whom required night-time functioning and long, exhausting flights to other cities and countries. He loved his job, he really did, but it made him ignorant to the state of his own health.
The first thing to occur were headaches, that had become more frequent and severe with time. Then, he started to feel nauseous at times with no reason as to why and have issues with insomnia. He became fully alarmed when he realized that his feelings of fatigue and drowsiness were constant, and the difficulty in concentrating was abnormal.
When Alec made an appointment with his doctor, he decided not to tell Magnus about it in order to not worry him in case it turned out to be nothing. The only person he decided to tell was his close friend, Elias, whom he had been friends with since college. They had bonded over their love of photography and had been close ever since. Elias was attractive and intelligent, but Alec had never seen him as anything more than a friend.
Elias had been there for Alec when he was at his lowest, when he was nineteen and he’d finally accepted himself for being gay and had come out to his parents, which had led to them nearly disowning him. Alec hadn’t had many friends at that time, and the only people he could depend on were his siblings and Elias. He’d even had suggested that Alec move in with him when his parents threw him out, but Izzy and Jace had beat him to it when they decided to leave home for Alec and rent an apartment together, so they could leave their bigoted parents behind.
Alec had introduced Elias to Magnus about two months after they had met, and they got along fairly well. At some point, however, something in Elias had changed, and he couldn’t pinpoint the cause. They started to drift apart when Magnus and Alec had plucked up the courage to actually go out, and the drift only furthered when the two got engaged. They hung out less and less and spoke rarely but remained friends nonetheless. Elias was still a person that Alec could rely on and go to for sage advice.
When Alec told him about his concerns for his health, Elias encouraged him to carve out some time from his busy schedule and go to the doctor. He'd given him a lecture on how health was the most important thing and how serious Alec's symptoms sounded. That was how Alec ended up in the cold, skimpily decorated room at the nearest hospital.
His doctor was a thin, emotionless man in his mid-fifties, Dr. Fisher. The doctor patiently listened to Alec rambling about his symptoms and scribbled things down in notebook. Alec went on and on about his issues and grew more and more anxious. The look on Dr. Fisher's face did nothing to calm Alec down, as it was completely unreadable. When Alec finished talking, he looked at the doctor expectantly and waited for him to say something.
"Well, it doesn't look good," was all the doctor said, and it sent Alec into a full panic mode, “I can't make a diagnosis judging only by your symptoms. It will require further examination." He paused for a second and furrowed his brows, "Here's the list of tests and check-ups you need to do, and other specialists you need to attend," Dr. Fisher continued, handing out a piece of paper to Alec, "The last two at the bottom are the most indicative,"
Alec gave Dr. Fisher an incredulous look and took the paper from his outstretched hand. He looked at the list and his eyes went straight to the bottom of it. "Computer tomography and magnetic resonance imaging?"
"Book another appointment with me once you do all of these and the results are sent in," Dr. Fisher’s voice brought him back to reality. He raised his eyes to meet the Doctor’s; he actually looked rather sympathetic.
While Alec was exiting the doctor's office and was turning the corner into the hallway, gaze cast down at his phone, he felt something - or rather someone - collide with his chest.
"Shit! I'm so sorry, I wasn't -" He began to apologize, but his words caught in his throat when he noticed who had bumped into him—one Catarina Loss. Catarina worked as a Nurse at this hospital, which he knew, but for some reason, he was surprised, frozen in front of her.
"Alec?" She offered him a friendly smile, "What are you doing here?"
"I... uh...I was just," Alec stuttered, and he rubbed the back of his neck instinctively. Alec's brain tended to turn off in any unexpected situation, and that’s exactly what was happening now, "-just wanted to do an annual check-up, you know."
She quirked an eyebrow at him. "You and Magnus both had yours done three months ago."
"Yeah, I-I know."
Catarina narrowed her eyes and gave him an inquiring look, waiting for further explanation.
“I forgot that we had, and the Doctor reminded me, so I feel pretty stupid,” He even sounded stupid, "I was actually leaving right now, so I'll just go. Bye!" He made a run for it down the hallway, only turning back when Catarina called his name.
"Why are you lying?" Catarina was too smart to fall for his bullshit, but he had to try. Well, he had just tried and failed miserably.
"It doesn't matter-- but please, under no circumstances, tell Magnus that you saw me here."
Catarina' brows furrowed, “Alec, is everything okay?"
"Yes--no. I don't know. Cat, please don't tell him."
Sighing heavily, Catarina took a moment to compose her thoughts. "I don't know what's going on, but I know that you wouldn’t do anything to hurt Magnus. In fact, I know that you'd do anything to prevent him from hurting." She gave Alec a once over, "Are you doing it for him?"
"I am," Alec confirmed.
"Okay. I won't tell him," Catarina agreed, albeit still reluctantly.
"Thank you, Cat," Alec sighed, relieved, and squeezed her shoulder. He knew it was unfair to ask her to keep a secret from her best friend, but he hadn’t told Magnus anything yet and it wouldn’t end well if his fiancé found out about what was going on from another person first. Catarina usually wasn’t the one to just drop the subject, but if she had to keep a secret, it’d be better not to know everything there was to it herself.
"I hope you know what you're doing, Alec." Catarina looked calm, but worry was visible in her eyes.
"Yeah, me too." Alec was extremely agitated but refused to think of what this all might actually mean. He couldn't wait any longer than he already had, so the best option was to start his check-up right that day.
By the end of the week, he had managed to squeeze in all the necessary tests and examinations. The last ones were CT and MRI. He'd got them at the Lower Manhattan Cancer Center where they hadn't even shown him his scans, saying that they'd be sent straight to his hospital and then to his doctor, and that made Alec even more nervous about his next visit to the doctor than he already was.
The next appointment happened to be two days after his CT and MRI had been done. Alec was sitting in front of Dr. Fisher’s desk, fidgeting with the sleeves of his sweater nervously, while across from him, the other was closely examining the results with furrowed brows.
Eventually, Dr. Fisher sighed and finally looked at Alec. "I'm sorry to bring you this news, Mr. Lightwood, but my suspicions were correct. This really is not good." Alec was staring at him silently, wishing he would just go straight to the point and tell him what is wrong with him. "You have a brain tumor, and you've had it for quite a while."
Alec acknowledged the other continuing to speak, the words ringing in his ears. All he could focus on was those dreadful words: Alec had a brain tumor.
"Mr. Lightwood, are you listening to me?" Dr. Fisher’s voice snapped him out of his daze, "As I said, due to its size and location, we can't perform a surgery on you, as it will damage vital vessels or other permanent damage that will be fatal. Any other way of treatment is pointless in your case, because of how long you’ve had this tumor." His voice was calm, emotionlessly, as though he said those exact words for thousands of times. They didn’t have the same effect that they had on Alec.
"Are you saying that it's terminal? That I-" he swallowed audibly before continuing. "- that I can't be treated?"
"That's exactly what I'm saying, Mr. Lightwood."
Alec's heart was pounding in his chest, lungs swallowing mouthfuls of air. Nothing could be done. He couldn't be treated. He was going to die. "How long do I have?"
"I'd say a year, a year and a half at best."
All Alec could do was nod and try to compose himself.
"Even though the medicine can't treat you, it can still help you ease your symptoms. I'll prescribe you some steroids. They will help you feel better," Dr. Fisher said, scribbling on a prescription pad. He raised his gaze to Alec again and sighed, "You need to be prepared for this, Mr. Lightwood. It won't be easy on you or your loved ones. You will experience seizures and loss of consciousness. Eventually, you will lose control of your bodily functions. You will have issues with short-term memory, speech, coordination, and perhaps even personality changes. You will have changes in hearing and vision, perhaps loss of peripheral vision.
You will experience difficulty swallowing and with speech. You may become aggressive and neurotic, and at some point, will have memory loss. You will be unable to recognize your loved ones, nor the letters of the alphabet. In the end, you will be unable to walk or perform daily activities.”
So, Alec would become a burden to everyone he cared about?
Alec felt sick. He felt empty. All he wanted to do was curl into himself and cry until there was nothing left. He wanted to scream, to punch something, to storm out of that room, slam the door shut and forget everything that had been said. All he could do was stare at one point on the wall in silence.
Alec knocked at the door of Elias' apartment half an hour after leaving the hospital. The door opened, and Elias' smile fell from his face when he saw Alec. "Hey, man," He stepped aside to let Alec come inside, "How’d it go?" Elias followed Alec to the living room, keeping a safe distance from the bomb that could go off any second. Alec didn't say anything. Instead, he gave Elias the paper with a summary of all his medical exams and diagnosis. He watched his friend read through it, brows furrowed.
"Brain tumor? What?"
Alec just shrugged his shoulders in reply. Elias refolded the paper and returned it to Alec. They sat on the couch and stared straight ahead, both at a loss for words. The silence didn't last long, however.
"What am I supposed to do now? How am I supposed to tell anyone? Am I supposed to just exist and wait for the end to come?" Alec was full on panicking now, breathing heavily and voice breaking every other word, "How will I tell Izzy? Jace? Oh God, how will I tell Magnus?" he exclaimed, as if only now realizing that he would have to do so. He felt Elias shift beside him and looked over. "How do I tell my fiancé, who I'm supposed to marry in seven months, that I will only live for eleven months after our wedding at best? I can't do that to him."
"Maybe you don't have to," Elias murmured.
"What?" Alec asked, confused, "What do you mean?"
"I don't know," Elias continued. It seemed as though he was hiding something from Alec, but he didn't press him.
That's when Alec actually stopped to think about it, about how this news would affect Magnus. Alec knew that Magnus loved him with all his heart. The fact that Alec was gravely ill would destroy him. Eventually, Alec wouldn't be able to work, and Magnus would have to provide for the both of them. Alec imagined the pain he would see in Magnus' eyes one morning when they'd wake up and he wouldn't be able to recognize him.
Alec would slowly die in front of Magnus' eyes, and Magnus would constantly feel worried, helpless and so agonizingly hurt, knowing that he couldn’t do a damn thing about it. Alec would be half dead by the time of their wedding. He would require Magnus' help with the most mundane things, and knowing Magnus, he would even quit his job to be able to take care of Alec. Even when he was halfway to his dream job.
After all of his suffering, when Alec was gone, Magnus would grieve. He would mourn him every day of his life. He would miss him, cry for him as he lay in their bed, alone and broken. It would take him ages to accept Alec's absence and even more to move on, if he even could.
Alec felt hot tears streaming down his face. He didn't know if he said it all out loud or just thought it, but it made no difference whatsoever in his feelings. "I can't. I can't do this to Magnus.”
"Are you thinking of leaving him?" Elias asked quietly, as if speaking louder than that would break Alec.
"It's the only way."
"I don't know," Alec admitted, because how could he know the right way to leave the love of his life? "but I'll figure it out. I have time."
"I know how it sounds, but the sooner, the better." Elias spoke tentatively, cautiously. Alec watched him, already knowing what he'd say next. "The longer you wait, the harder it would be for him when-," he paused abruptly, not brave enough to continue his thought.
"When I'm gone?"
"Yeah," Elias whispered, his voice barely audible.
"There's no easy way to say, so just say it how it is. I'm going to die."
"Alec, I'm so sorry," Elias was tangibly upset, but clearly didn’t know what else to say.
"Yeah, me too."
They both fell silent.
Elias opened his mouth a couple of times, hesitant, as if he wanted to say something but didn't know if he should.
“I can tell you want to say something, so spill,” Alec snapped.
“It's just… maybe you can tell him something that will make him break up with you.” The way he said it implied that Elias knew exactly what he was talking about.
“Like what?” Alec asked, brows arched.
“That you've cheated on him?”
“What? What kind of idea is that?”
Elias hung his hand, evidently uncomfortable that he brought it up. Alec would never intentionally hit Magnus where it hurt the most.
One of Magnus' exes, Camille, had cheated on him. It'd happened before he met Alec, but it'd hit him hard. Magnus knew Camille since high school and had dated her for four years before he saw her for what she was: a selfish, cold hearted, manipulative bitch. She'd been using him, and he was too blinded by what he'd thought was love, to see it.
She'd just wanted someone to stay by her side, someone to shower her with money, attention, and gifts, and Magnus... Magnus had just wanted to be loved. He'd wanted to be cared for and cherished. He'd grown up not knowing how it felt to be loved, and he'd tried to find his sanctuary in Camille. He'd noticed her being distant and cold at times, but he'd thought she'd been the best he could do. Until he had caught her in bed with another man. It had broken Magnus and shattered his trust in other people. He had not opened his heart for anyone until Alec'd come along and unlocked something in him, giving him hope to be loved again.
He'd told Alec about what had happened, he trusted him with his greatest fear and Alec wouldn't be the one making him go through this all over again. The pain, the loss, the betrayal. He couldn’t do that to the person he loved most in the world. “No. That’s not an option,” he said sternly.
Elias just nodded in response.
"I need to go tell my siblings. I can’t hide this from them,” Alec stood, taking a moment to breathe.
"Thank you for listening to me."
"You know I'm always here for you, man." Elias walked him to the door and offered him a sad smile.
"I'll see you." Alec stood in the hallway, feeling out of sorts.
Elias moved towards him hesitantly and enveloped him in a tight hug, something they did very rarely.
"Yeah," Elias said, stepping away, not really believing it. "Goodbye, Alec."
The whole ride to Izzy and Jace's apartment, Alec had been attempting to figure out how to tell his siblings and had been so lost in it that he didn’t even realize he was already at his destination. He knocked once, twice, and had almost chickened out and moved to leave when Jace opened the door.
"Hey, buddy!" Jace exclaimed and went for a hug, "We didn't know you were coming over."
"Yeah, uh...I-I didn't know I'd come," Alec stuttered, trying to smile, even though he knew Jace would know it was forced anyway.
"Is everything okay?" Jace's face shifted from excitement to worry.
The lie was on a tip of his tongue, ready to roll off smoothly, but Alec knew he couldn't lie to them, not about this. "No. Not really."
"Come in, let's go to the living room. I'm sure Izzy should hear it too, whatever it is," Jace said, ushering him to the room.
Izzy was sitting on the couch watching some reality TV shows, expression showing just how uninterested she really was. When she saw Alec, she jumped off the couch and rushed to hug him. "Hey, big brother!”
"What brought you here today?" She asked.
"Am I not welcome?" Alec wanted to play along but failed.
"You know you always are," She spoke more seriously, her fierce dark brown eyes locking with his.
"I need to tell you both something," He blurted, then sat on the coffee table so that he could face his siblings, who were both seated on the couch expectantly.
"So?" Izzy inquired impatiently, raising her eyebrows in question.
"Uh... well..." Where was he supposed to start? He meant it when he said there was no easy way to say it, especially to the people who he was closest to.
"Alec," Jace spoke with care in his voice, "you know you can tell us everything, right?"
"Yeah, it's just..."
"Whatever it is, we are here for you," Izzy interrupted.
Alec knew it was inevitable. Even if he found a way to keep it a secret from them as well, they would find out eventually, and it wouldn’t be pretty. They would be pissed and outraged, and they'd end up being hurt by it anyway, so there was no way to save them the pain. That didn’t mean it was easy. He was about to tell his siblings that he was dying. Who would have thought that it would come to this so early in their lives? He didn't want to leave them. Izzy and Jace had always admired him, looked up to him. The three of them were each other's family, and it was supposed to stay that way forever. The universe had other plans.
Alec wasn't ready to leave his siblings on their own, with no one to look after them. They would probably starve to death without him, since Izzy's cooking skills could be harmful and Jace was just too lazy to cook. Even though Alec hadn't been living with them for a while, he was still their overprotective older brother, who was supposed to be there for his siblings at their worst and best times, just like they’d been for him. His siblings had moved out of their childhood house and cut off the contact with their parents for him, and now he was going to leave them, and -
Alec was brought back to reality by Jace clearing his throat.
Right, telling the truth.
"I haven't been feeling well lately," he started. Alec could already see concern written on their faces. How was he supposed to get through this? "So, uh..." he took a deep breath. "I went to the hospital, they ran tests on me and apparently I have a brain tumor.”
Well, shit. Definitely not the best way to break the news. He'd been thinking about the way to tell them for almost an hour and ended up just blurting it all out. Good job, Lightwood.
"What?" Izzy’s voice was barely above a whisper.
"Is this a joke?" Jace's voice had gone a pitch higher, which usually meant that he was trying to keep it together.
Jace was never one to show his emotions. Even when they were kids, he would always hide behind a mask. So, the fact that he had tears forming in his eyes right now showed how much it pained him. Alec expected it, but it still hurt him to see his brother like this.
"I wish it was," Alec said, squeezing his eyes shut, fingers pinching the bridge of his nose.
"Is there anything they can do? Like surgery? Or some type of therapy? There's supposed to be something they can do!” Jace’s face was stained from tears.
"There's nothing anyone can do. It's terminal." Alec heard Izzy's broken sob and his heart fell apart.
Izzy launched herself at him, clinging to his right side, wrapping her hands around him and hid her face in his neck. Jace stood up and did the same, hugging Alec from his left side. Alec wrapped his arms around both of his siblings' shaking forms and held them close.
"Don't leave us, Alec," Izzy whispered in his neck, sniffing, her voice muffled.
"I won't," Alec spoke through the lump in his throat, "Not yet."
They stayed like this, crying in the middle of their living room, for what felt like hours before they let go of each other and flopped back on the couch side by side.
"Have you told Magnus?" Izzy asked.
"No—and I'm not going to."
"What are you going to do, then?" asked Jace.
"I'm going to break off the engagement."
"What?" Izzy interjected, "What kind of a stupid plan is that?"
"It's the right thing to do," was all Alec could reply.
"How can breaking off the engagement with Magnus ever be the right thing to do?! Have you thought about what it'll do to him? It will break him, it's not fair to him, it's-"
Alec stood, "Izzy, stop!" he snapped, "I am thinking about Magnus! I'm doing this for him! This illness," he spit out, "it will only get worse with time, and eventually I'll become this burden to him, and he will have to watch me fade away, and it will ruin him!" Alec was screaming now, hot tears rolling down his cheeks, "It will ruin his life! He will be left alone in his loft where everything will remind him of me and the life we could've had! How is this fair to him?" Alec was breathing heavily, staring at his astonished siblings.
"I don't want his last memory of me to be of my body on a deathbed," Alec was quiet again, "I don't want him to sit by my side until my last breath and hold my hand until it gets limp in his own." He fell back on the couch, "We were supposed to get married." Alec was not in control of his own feelings and emotions anymore. Could you blame him? "We were supposed to adopt two precious children and have a happy family of our own." He started to sob, "We were supposed to see you two getting married to Clary and Simon and raise our children alongside yours."
"We know, Alec. We know." Izzy’s tears were soaking his sweater. Jace stayed silent, but Alec could feel his body shaking with sobs against him.
"We were supposed to grow old together." Alec couldn't bring himself to say anything more after this.
The three siblings stayed clutching one another and sobbing until they fell asleep where they sat. When Alec woke up, it was already four in the morning. He knew he couldn't fall back to sleep now, pain nearly suffocating him. Alec needed to numb that pain, so he stood and started searching the kitchen for a bottle of whisky. It was strong, full and exactly what Alec needed right now.
He sat back on the couch and started chugging straight from the bottle, strong liquid burning his throat. Alec stayed up drinking and staring at the wall until there was nothing to drink. He sat there, an empty bottle in hand. Alec knew what he needed to do next, but he didn’t want to do it.
Alec stood at the door of his and Magnus' loft only twenty minutes later. He was already so done with this shit of an illness. He considered telling Magnus the truth, telling him everything and then they could go through all of that together and- The sound of the door opening interrupted his train of thought and he stared at Magnus' relieved face in front of him.
"Alexander?" Magnus took Alec's hand and tugged him inside the loft, "Oh God, I was so worried!" He wrapped one arm around Alec’s neck while the other went around his waist, holding onto him for dear life, "Where have you been all night? Why haven't you picked up your phone?"
Alec selfishly let himself relax in Magnus' embrace for a second, enjoying the warmth of him. "Sorry, it's dead," he managed to mumble.
"You're drunk." Magnus stated, retreating from Alec’s side. "Where have you been?" Magnus asked again, cupping Alec's cheek with his hand.
“I was at Izzy and Jace’s,” Alec replied, his speech slurred.
“Well, I guess it explains why they didn't pick up their phones either.” Alec just nodded. “Why would you get so drunk?”
“Magnus, I need to tell you something.”
“Darling, you're barely standing and you're obviously struggling to keep your eyes open,” Magnus spoke softly, “Come on, let’s get you to bed.” Magnus lead him towards their bedroom, and Alec fought the embrace.
“No, Magnus, it’s important.”
Magnus offered him an affectionate smile as he continued to drag him along. “Whatever it is, we’ll talk about it first thing in the morning, I promise.” Once in the bedroom, Magnus started helping Alec out of his clothes, “Let's just go to sleep.” Magnus’ voice was soothing and gentle, and it made Alec even more sleepy.
With Magnus curled up beneath the covers, Alec couldn’t resist. “G’d night, Magnus.” He buried his face in Magnus’s neck.
“Good night, darling.”
Alec woke up at two in the afternoon with a killer headache. He noticed that he was alone in bed, but heard sounds coming from their kitchen, which meant that Magnus was probably making breakfast (if you can call a meal in mid afternoon breakfast). Alec’s mind was still foggy, and the events of the previous day were not clear in his mind. He rolled out of the bed and headed to the shower, hoping it would help him remember.
As soon as Alec stepped into the shower and cool water hit his skin, realization struck him. Alec had come home at the crack of dawn and Magnus had been waiting up for him. Alec had been away from home for one night and this man had been worried sick already. That only proved that Alec couldn't make Magnus go through all the effects of his illness and that he needed to break up with him. The problem was he had no idea how to do it.
Fifteen minutes later, Alec walked into the kitchen wearing a plain t-shirt, black sweatpants and trainers. Magnus turned around from the stove with a small smile on his face and his brows furrowed at seeing Alec in his running attire. “Alexander, are you seriously going to go for a run first thing after waking up from last night?” he asked, amused, “I'm pretty sure your headache is killing you.”
“I’m fine, running and fresh air is the best remedy,” Alec tried to be convincing. Magnus was right in that Alec’s head felt like it would split open at any moment. If only the other knew that that was nothing new.
“Okay then, I'll go with you,” Magnus said instantly, already heading towards their bedroom, “Let me just change into more appropriate clothes and we can-”
“No!” Alec exclaimed, too fast to sound normal. Magnus was startled by his sudden reaction, “That won't be necessary,” he added more calmly.
“Why not?” Magnus looked at him with a puzzled expression, “It's just that I finally don't have work today and we haven't been spending much time together lately and I just thought that we could spend today together.” Magnus sounded hesitant all of a sudden, his words trailing off at the end.
“I just want to go for a quick run and then I’ll come home, and we can have breakfast,” Alec said, trying to tell Magnus what he wanted to without actually saying it, but Magnus seemed to not get the hint.
“You don't want me to go with you?” he asked in a small voice, “But I thought-”
“No, Magnus, I don’t!” Alec snapped, causing Magnus to flinch., “I just want to be left alone!”
With that, Alec turned around and left the loft, leaving a hurt and confused Magnus behind.
When he returned an hour later, he noticed Magnus sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea in front of him, stirring it with a teaspoon absentmindedly. Alec sat on a chair beside him, taking the very cold toast from his plate and took a bite without saying a word. He didn't even go for a quick shower first. He wasn't all sweaty and smelly because the truth was that he hadn't been running at all. He'd just wandered the streets without pause.
“So,” Magnus broke the silence suddenly, “what did you want to tell me?”
Alec hoped that Magnus would just forget about it but apparently, he hadn't. “Uh...nothing?”
“I'm pretty sure it isn't nothing, darling. You put a lot of effort into your attempts at telling me this,” he waved his hand, “whatever it is,” Magnus said, a small teasing smile on his lips.
“And I'm pretty sure it is nothing, so just drop it,” Alec said, more harsh than necessary.
Magnus didn't push further that day.
It had been a week since Alec had first became cold and distant. He would start working early in the morning and come back home late at night, only to shower and go to bed. He even had a three-day gig in Chicago, during which he hadn't texted or called Magnus himself, only answered Magnus’ texts. Those three days happened to be Magnus’ days off--he’d hung out with their company but it wasn’t the same without Alec. At least Elias had been there and had kept him distracted with lively discussion.
Magnus missed Alec terribly and he couldn't understand when and why everything had gone wrong between them. That's why he decided to have a talk with Alec when he’d return from Chicago.
“Alexander, we need to talk,” Magnus broached the subject after Alec had unpacked, at least.
“Magnus, I'm really exhausted. I just want to eat my dinner and go sleep.” Alec took a plate of pasta that Magnus had made and moved to the living room to eat. Magnus took the remote from the table and put it on the china cabinet so that Alec couldn't reach it. “What do you want, Magnus?” Alec asked, irritated. He was frustrated, he knew what he had to do but hadn’t resolved on how he would. If Magnus could just leave him alone for two seconds--
“We need to talk.”
“Okay, talk,” Alec didn’t even look at him, instead, he poked at the noodles on his plate.
“Will you at least look at me?” Magnus’ blood started to boil.
“You wanted to talk, so talk, Magnus. I just want to eat.”
That was the last straw for Magnus. He snatched the plate from Alec’s hands and slammed it onto the coffee table.
Alec glared at him from his position on the couch. “What is wrong with you?”
“What is wrong with me?” Magnus asked, incredulously, “What is wrong with you! You've been acting weird since that night you came home drunk and you refuse to talk to me about something that you kept saying was serious!”
“There’s nothing to talk about.”
“I know you well enough to see when something is wrong,” Magnus insisted.
“Well, maybe you don't.” Alec stood from the couch and got into Magnus’ face.
“Alexander, you don't have to hide anything from me,” Magnus stepped closer to Alec, “You can tell me.”
Magnus was looking at him with so much love and affection that it made Alec’s heart break and his blood boil simultaneously. He needed to leave Magnus and Magnus was making it ten times harder for him. “Let’s just sit down and talk about what’s bothering you. I can bring some wine if you want, and we can watch some movies afterwards or take a relaxing bath. We can deal with everything together, you and me.” Magnus put a hand on Alec’s shoulder and Alec instantly shrugged it off.
“Magnus stop!” he snapped, stepping away from him, “Just stop!”
Magnus' features were pained, “I'm just worried about you.”
“I don't need your worry! I don't need you to coddle me and solve my problems! Why can't you just leave me alone? Stop always asking what is wrong! Don't you understand that I don't want to tell you? Are you so blind that you can't see it? I'm so sick of it! I don't need any of this!” Alec gestured with his hands, “I don't want any of this! So just let it go! Let me go!”
Magnus' lower lip trembled, and a broken sob escaped his chest, Alec’s heart crushed at the mere sight. Alec realized what he had just said and that there was no going back from it. He knew there was no point in fixing everything now only to break it later. Magnus quickly composed himself, trying not to show Alec all his emotions. “If that's what you really want, Alec, I will not hold you back.”
Alec winced at the use of his nickname. Magnus had always called him Alexander, even if they were fighting. He was the only one Alec allowed to call him by his full name, and now Magnus called him Alec and his heart broke. “You can walk out that door right now and I'll know that's what you want.” Alec could hear Magnus’ voice quivering and see tears in his eyes.
Alec knew what he was going to do, what he needed to do. He knew it was better than the truth. This way he would make it easier for Magnus. Not easy, but easier. Magnus would hurt, he would cry, he would be angry, he would hate him, and he would move on. It would take time, but it'd be better this way.
Magnus would think Alec was just another asshole who stole his heart and stomped on it. He'd be angry at him until he wouldn't care anymore. He would stop thinking about Alec, stop seeing him in every person in the streets, stop longing to hear his voice. It'd take him some time to trust someone again, to open his heart, but he would do it, eventually. He'd bare his heart and soul and let someone love him again. When he found out that Alec was gone, he'd be sad, and he'd cry, but it wouldn't hurt him so much as they'd be almost strangers by then. Almost. Maybe somebody would be there for him, to hold him in their arms, to whisper soothing words in his ear, and to love him, purely and wholeheartedly, like Alec did.
So maybe, just maybe, Alec was about to do the right thing.
Alec stared at Magnus, trying to memorize every single detail of the man he was leaving behind. The man whose heart he was about to break. The man whose eyes were filled with anger and pain, the same eyes that were once filled with love and tenderness. Alec's own eyes filled with tears and he struggled to fight them back.
So this is it , Alec thought, this is the last time I see him .
Magnus' eyes were full of fear and hope, and it took all the strength in him to turn from the love of his life and slam the door behind him. Now outside, he leaned against the door and squeezed his eyes shut; he could still hear Magnus’ sobs from here.
How Alec wished he could just take him in his arms right that moment and tell him that he meant the world to him. He wished he could reassure Magnus that he was what Alec wanted and would always want. He wanted to tell him that he didn't need anyone or anything else as long as he had Magnus. He desperately wanted Magnus to know that he loved him so much that he was willing to leave him, to cause him this pain just to save him from something infinitely worse. Just one last time, even though Magnus wouldn't hear it, he allowed himself to say those three words. “I love you.”
Alec knocked at the door of his old apartment, and it instantly flung open, revealing both of his siblings. “Can I move back for a while?" he asked weakly, already knowing the answer.
They let him inside. "Your room is still yours, man," Jace said.
"I'll go brew us some coffee," Izzy added.
Just like that, Alec was back to the start, living with his siblings, feeling lonely, broken and lost. He was back to being that miserable person he'd been before he met Magnus. Except now, there was no bright future to look forward to. Alec was going to die, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.