Magnus was awoken in the middle of the night by a lizard poking at the back of his head and whisper-shouting in his ear.
“Magnus. Magnus! Wake up, Magnus!”
He grumbled something, then rolled over, arms falling away from the elf sleeping at his side. One eye opened, focused, and then he jerked awake.
“Carey!” he hissed, rushing to put a good foot and a half of space between him and Taako. “What the fuck are you doing in here?”
“Oh, don’t bother, the whole bureau knows you two are a thing,” she huffed, waving a hand and completely ignoring his question. “Also, rogue friend. Of course I already knew.”
“Not - not technically a thing.” Carey rolled her eyes, though Magnus didn’t notice in the dark, and he continued, “but - how did you get in here?” Magnus sputtered, sitting up and waving his hands. “This is my room!”
“Again, rogue friend. Now get up, I’m having a crisis and I need snuggles.”
At that, Magnus looked worried. He threw his legs over the side of the bed and stood up. “Are you okay? Why aren’t you asking Killian?”
Carey laughed at that, the sound a bit manic. “Yeah, no, that would not help. I’ll talk your ear off about it, obviously, but I need a hug first.”
Hugs being Magnus’ specialty, it wasn’t even a moment before his arms were around her in a gentle, friendly embrace. Carey relaxed into the hug, her arms reaching just about halfway around him.
It was a while before she let go, and when she did, Magnus asked, “what’s up? Is - did something happen with - “
On his bed, Taako shifted, mumbled something, and Carey shook her head. “Not in here, I already gotta tell a dumb fighter about my problems, I’m not letting a dumb wizard listen in.”
“Hey, now,” Magnus started, his tone joking, but he put a hand on Carey’s back and led her to their dorm room’s common area. He flipped the light switch and flopped down on the couch, and Carey immediately curled up in his lap, arms around her legs and head propped on her knees. Magnus kept his hand on her back, rubbing gentle circles. “What’s wrong, lizard girl?”
“Don’t call me that,” Carey grumbled. Then, she took a deep breath. “I’m - I’m kinda freakin’ out, Mags.” (The nickname tugged at the back of his mind, shrouded in static, but he didn’t think on that.)
“Was it - did Killian not like the - “
“Oh, I haven’t given it to her yet,” Carey said. “Yeah, definitely chickened out of that one. My dumb brain’s bein’ all weird about it.”
“You guys are already together, right?” Magnus asked, and Carey nodded. “So, there’s no risk, right? You’re just giving her a nice gift.”
Carey laughed, for a second, but it ended with a choked, panicked sound. “Right, right, right, yeah, sure, right. I’ll just give my girlfriend this cute duck box I made, along with a goddamn ring .” She looked up and Magnus, and her face read terror. “You don’t see how that’s risky , Magnus?”
“Oh,” he breathed, the sound soft. “ Oh. ”
“Yeah, oh, ” Carey huffed. She punched Magnus in the arm with no real intent, and dropped her head back onto her knees. “This is your fault, big guy, you’re gonna help me deal with it.”
“Okay,” Magnus said, shifting slightly and dropping his chin on Carey’s head. “I mean, it doesn’t have to - it can just be a ring, yaknow?”
Carey snorted, but tightened her grip around her legs. “Yeah, right, because I’m gonna give Killian a ring and not marry her. Gods, Magnus.”
Magnus looked perplexed. “I guess I’m not really seeing the problem, then. Have you just never talked about that, or…?
“We have.” Carey stopped, for a moment, sighed. “But it’s always, like, a “someday, after all this,” kind of thing. And - Magnus, what if it’s just talk, and when we get to that point, she’s not into it! But - gods, Mags, I really wanna marry her, and I didn’t know how much until now, and now I’m freaking out. ”
Magnus hummed and patted the dragonborn’s back. “Love is rough sometimes.”
“You’re telling me,” Carey groaned, releasing her grip on her legs to cover her face with her hands. “It’s been, like - what, two days since you gave me the ring, right? Three, now, maybe?” She whined, dragging her fingers down her face. “I can’t think about anything else. I’m used to dumb feelings, at this point, I’ve known her for years - but now it’s like - it’s like before we got together! My chest hurts all the time because I look at her, and I wanna marry her, like, right now. Immediately.” She shoved her palms against her eyes. “Gods, I almost called her my wife when I called my brother yesterday, and now I can’t stop thinking that. ‘My wife, Killian.’ I’m such a disaster. And, and - when I look at her, I just think, like.” She dropped her hands from her face and looked up at Magnus, who lifted his head off hers to meet her eyes. “Magnus, Killian is the best thing - she’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me! She makes me so happy, and it seems like I make her happy too, and I just. I never want to be away from her, and if we got married - I don’t know, it just feels like the best way to - to make that real? Concrete?” She looked back down. “I’m just being dumb, probably, I just…” she dug her claws into her shoulders, trailing off.
“I understand,” Magnus said, voice low. His heart ached as he thought of Julia (and a vague memory pressed at the back of his mind, too, though he couldn’t understand it enough through the strange static walls, it brought back echoes of a similar feeling). She’d been the one to propose, beat him to it in a spur-of-the-moment question, though he’d been thinking of it for months before she’d taken his hands and knelt to ask. He’d felt the same way Carey was describing, so absolutely in love and terrified and excited at the same time. Luckily, the worst that came of his hesitation was Julia asking first, but Magnus didn’t know Killian well enough to know where she was at with romantic initiative.
He must have blanked out, because Carey was giving him a contemplative look when he managed to focus back on her. “You do?” she asked, voice a little higher than usual.
Magnus realized he hadn’t talked about his wife, yet - not really to anyone in the Bureau, not beyond the brief mention to Taako that he was a widower (it was for the sake of honesty, and he hadn’t pried - Magnus had been relieved, unsure he was ready to go into detail, anyway). Anyone who’d been at the lab might recognize her name, but beyond that - well, recovering from her death was a longer process than he’d expected.
“Her name was Julia,” Magnus said, and his heart twisted in his chest. Carey let out a soft, “oh,” but he continued. “I felt that way about her for - for a long time. And I mean - I’m usually a kind of “rush in” sort of guy,” - and Carey snorted, at that - “but I hesitated. Got lucky, though, she asked me before I could do it.”
“And you married her?”
Magnus took a deep breath, ignored the hot tears burning his eyes, blinked them away - this wasn’t his time to mourn, this was Reassuring Carey time. He had years before and years ahead to keep dwelling. “Yeah. Best decision I ever made.” His voice cracked, but Carey didn’t mention it.
Carey made a sympathetic sound a human couldn’t imitate, then leaned into Magnus, who wrapped his arms around her. They sat like that, for a moment, before Carey took a deep breath and spoke.
“Killian won’t ask me anytime soon,” she said. “She’s - she focuses a lot on the mission. But, I really, really wanna marry her. Soon.”
Magnus smiled. “Then ask her.”
Carey whined. “But what if - “
“She loves you, Carey,” Magnus said, and they both knew the truth of that. “Even if she turned you down, it would be a “not right now,” not a “never.” And I really don’t think she’ll turn you down.”
Carey made a face, sticking her tongue out in a distinctly lizardy way, and narrowed her eyes in what Magnus knew, at this point, was the dragonborn equivalent of a blush. “I mean, you’re right, yeah,” she mumbled. “But also, like - we could be getting married today and I’d still be worried she wasn’t that into me.”
“Yeah, I think that’s something everyone gets,” Magnus chuckled.
Carey pulled out of his hug just enough to punch him him at about 8% power in the gut. “Just let me whine, asshole.”
Magnus, unfazed by her hit, laughed louder. “I’m being helpful, you just don’t wanna admit it.”
“Oh, I’ll admit it,” Carey replied, “but you’re still an asshole.”
Magnus smiled and planted a friendly kiss on the top of Carey’s head. “I’m glad I’m helping.”
“Yeah, whatever, don’t gotta be all proud of it,” Carey grumbled, arms back around her friend.
Magnus snorted. “Yeah, yeah.” He patted Carey’s back. “You don’t gotta worry, though, got it?”
“I still will.”
“I mean, yeah.”
They both laughed, at that, and Carey pulled away. “Okay, okay, enough sappy shit. I should get back to - back to Killian. She sleeps like the dead, but I definitely don’t wanna be gone when she wakes up.”
“Oh, yeah, don’t wanna make your wife worry.”
“Not so much worry, she’s just super cute when she wa - “ Carey cut herself off again, glared at Magnus with a dragon-blush. “Hey, watch it, ruffboy.”
“Get used to it,” he said, smug. “You’re gonna get married to her soon enough.”
“You better help me plan it, with all the shit you’re pulling on me,” Carey huffed.
“Only if I get to be best man,” Magnus replied with a grin. “Move aside, Scales.”
“Oh, no, you’ve definitely got first dibs. No cishets in my lesbian wedding party,” Carey declared, making a face.
Magnus laughed. “Glad I meet the criteria.”
“You’re on thin ice, big guy,” Carey snorted. “We could still go lesbians only.”
Magnus whined at that. “I’ll be on my best behavior, I promise.”
“You think that’s what we want at our wedding? No way, chaotic gay energies only. You better be makin’ mischief.”
They laughed, again, and Magnus poked Carey in the side. “Go back to your girl, Carey.”
Carey smiled, softly, not really directed at Magnus. “Yeah,” she sighed, and she jumped off Magnus’ lap, hands on her hips. “Wanna go work out with us in the morning?”
“Only if you promise to stop procrastinating.”
The dragonborn rolled narrowed eyes and huffed. “Whatever, we have a date tomorrow night, I’ll - I’ll do it then.”
Magnus grinned, at that, and stood up, patting his friend on the shoulder. “Go get ‘em, lizard girl.”
“Every time you call me that, we get closer to a lesbian-only wedding party.”
“Go get ‘em, dragonborn girl.”
“There ya go.”
There was a pause, and Magnus rolled his eyes. “Don’t make me tell you again to go back to your girlfriend, Carey.”
“I’m going, I’m going!” Carey laughed, turning around towards the door.
“Try knocking next time, by the way. And maybe wearing a shirt.”
Carey flipped him off without turning around, and he chuckled as she opened the door and stepped into the hall.
As the door began to close, he took a deep breath and stretched, preparing himself to go back to bed before Taako noticed he was gone - the elf got whiny waking up alone, he’d learned that the time he’d tried (and failed) to be a sweet guy and make him breakfast in bed (also a no-no, to a “baller chef like Taako”). Before he could return, though, the door opened back up just enough for Carey to stick her head back inside.
“Hey, Magnus?” she asked, voice soft.
She paused, stuck her tongue out bashfully. “Thanks.”
Magnus smiled. “Anytime.”