Sometimes he throws things on the floor and then looks at them with such a quizzical and pained expression that Alec wants to laugh.
Instead, he always bends, and picks it up, and asks where Magnus wants this to go.
Alec quietly rearranges the loft to make it easier for Magnus to access the things he needs. He calls Catarina daily to check in, and Izzy comes round on the pretense of needing new make-up tips but in reality to make sure Magnus can do his eyeliner like usual.
He’s sure Magnus notices but chooses to say nothing, pride sometimes all that’s keeping him upright on the bad days.
On the bad days Alec can barely look at him and escapes to the Institute with the stench of guilt, cloying and strong, in his nostrils.
Alec doesn’t think he can take another morning like the first. Bare-faced, tired, pinched – nothing like he’s ever seen Magnus look before. He found him sitting on the edge of the bed, staring into space. Alec delicately sat next to him, and said absolutely nothing, just took his hand in his own. They had watched the sun reach its zenith and then Alec had kissed him softly and wrapped them both up in the comforter until they went back to sleep for a while, Alec needing more rest to recover. When he had woken up, a few hours later, Magnus was at least up and dressed, albeit in his robe, and was scrambling eggs for dinner. They ate in relative silence and then Alec had poured Magnus a drink and held him while his boyfriend’s tears soaked into the fabric of his sweater, smoothing down his back as his body juddered with the strength of his sobs. It had hurt more than his arrow wound.
He asks Magnus to take him shopping and says nothing about the Mundanes that swerve into his path. They play dress up for three hours and by the end of it, Magnus is smiling – small, but a smile nonetheless. Alec counts it as a victory.
Alec draws Magnus a bath and gets in behind him and makes such a fuss of looking after his boyfriend that Magnus is rolling his eyes and squirting water at Alec within ten minutes. It’s worth it just to see the lines on his face ease and fade.
Afterwards, Alec makes him stand there while he dries him off, and then proceeds to rub lotion into every bit of his skin, starting with his feet and working up methodically, until he’s standing in front of Magnus and can kiss him softly. He can feel Magnus’ cock stirring against his thigh and he drops back to his knees, sucking him into the heat of his mouth slowly. He loves how Magnus’ cock thickens on his tongue, sliding from his mouth as it swells until Alec has enough space to wrap his hand round the shaft and get to work. He feels Magnus’ hand settle softly in his hair and looks up to see Magnus’ head tipped back, looking down at Alec from hooded eyes.
There’s no glint of gold and Alec hates that he misses it.
They make sure they go to bed together – partly because Magnus told him about what his father really wanted and Alec hates the thought of them being parted, and partly because there are no longer wards on Magnus’ building. At some point, a landlord is going to question when, exactly, he got a penthouse in this building. Magnus curls up next to him on the sheets, making himself small and Alec frames him, hands touching the delicate bones of his wrists, his ankles, checking him over. So fragile and yet. It’s reassuring, and Alec feels sick to even think that.
“You have to stop blaming yourself.” Magnus knows. He knows before Alec knows, as always.
“It’s not. That. Exactly.”
Magnus raises his head. “Then what, Alexander. What’s eating at you so much you can barely speak to me sometimes.”
Alec flushes from head to toe.
“You’ll hate me.”
“I could never do that.” Alec chews his lip before relenting.
“I was… I was thinking that it’s nice. Almost nice. To think that right now, you’ll grow old with me. We’ll get your magic back, we’ll figure that out, but. It’s nice.”
Magnus is silent for a few minutes, so long that Alec grows cold and pulls back, afraid. Magnus reaches for him.
“No, don’t. I’m not mad. I was just thinking. You still believe either of us will grow old. You seem to nearly die every week, and I… well, I have so many enemies that will not hesitate to come for me. It’s still unlikely we’ll both be grey.”
Alec squeezes him. “Shush. I’m not going anywhere.”
“You said that before and nearly died on your own arrow.”
Magnus barks out a dry laugh.
“They do tend to come up.”
They lie in silence for a while until Alec works up the courage to ask what’s been on his mind for a while, hesitant in the dark.
“Do you… do you want to be with me still? If you only have one life.”
Magnus sits up and then rolls on top of him.
“How can you even ask me that?”
Alec can’t shrug while being pinned down but he tries on instinct.
“It’s all very well knowing you’ll get another chance at love. But if I’m all you have…”
“You’re all I want,” Magnus says firmly. “I love you, Alexander. Whether I die or not doesn’t change that.”
Alec raises his hand and traces the line of his eyebrows, the bridge of his nose.
“You gave up your magic for me. For Jace. You gave up… I mean, fuck, Magnus. You’re going to die. Do you get that? You’re going to die and it’s because of me.”
Magnus is already shaking his head vehemently and trying to shush him with a finger.
“My choice. My father’s desire to see me back under his control. Lilith’s cruelty. Those are the things we blame. Not you. Not your love for your brother.”
Alec thinks back to the times Jace stayed close, after Clary – well, after. Alec once woke from a nap to find Jace’s blond head in his lap, his arms curled protectively around him. He smiled softly and patted Jace with a gentle hand, trying not to wake him. A movement caught his eye and he had looked up to find Magnus leaning against the door jamb with a strange look on his face. Alec made a quizzical expression at him and Magnus shook his head and then smiled before leaving them in peace.
“He’s not your competition,” he tells Magnus now. He smiles crookedly back, looking tired.
“I know, darling. He just shares a soul with you. Something I will never feel and can never truly comprehend. A bit like how you feel – felt – about my immortality. Something that locks you out.”
Alec makes a pained noise in the back of his throat.
“That’s ok, love, it’s really alright. If we were laid bare to each other we wouldn’t have the fun of a lifetime of discovery.”
“But now you only have one lifetime,” Alec says softly and Magnus’ smile finally reaches his eyes as he rolls further on top of him.
“Yes, Alexander. But it’s with you. And oh, what a lifetime it will be.”