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Love Used To Be

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Peru had seemed to be the right choice. Arequipa, to be precise, the only region in the country that he had ever heard of before he packed his bags, grabbed his passport, skin still red and burning from the removal of his runes, and went to start a new life. He never dreamed anyone would look for him there, it was a place that was far removed from his life at the time. Another country. To the best of his knowledge there wasn’t even and Institute there.

He also knew, with great certainty, that Magnus Bane would never cross these borders, banned as he was.

And he'd never told Alec the reason for his being banned. Shocker.

Just another one of the multitude of secrets he'd kept from him, the things he would never discuss. Alec had been here nearing on twelve years now, without seeing a familiar face or any that would remind him of home. Nothing to grieve that way. It was easier to push the thoughts out of his head if he had nothing around to remind him.

Izzy had been the only weakness he'd had in those twelve years. As often as she'd asked him to tell her where he was, to please, please see her, he had never given up his location to his sister, not even so that she could write a letter. Skype had been good enough every few months and a few times he'd managed to see Jace and Clary and the hoard of nieces and nephews his siblings had managed to make in the decade since he'd been gone.

He hated that he missed it; seeing Izzy pregnant with her children and giving birth to them, seeing what kind of father Jace would be. Wanting to be an uncle so badly to all of the tiny faces he'd seen, yet knowing that he would never be able to meet them, much less send them a birthday gift. He hated that he had to miss it, that he had to miss them at all. But, it was for the best.

Even talking as little as they did as far away as he was, he knew it was still a dangerous thing for his sister. Shadowhunters who lost their runes, who let themselves be shunned out of the Clave, were no longer allowed to associate with anyone they'd left behind. It was against their law.

The Law Was Hard --

It was beautiful here though. The sunrises and sunsets he bore witness to every single morning and every single evening, with the beautiful colors that were mirrored on the ocean from which it rose and set, made keeping himself away from those he loved, worthwhile. Or so he told himself. He would never admit, even to himself, the misery he felt on birthdays and holidays, he would never admit how much he missed simply picking out a cheap gift or a card, just a small token to show he cared.

He had a small home on the beach, that he'd built with his own hands, the plot of beach he'd bought with the salary he'd saved from his prior career as a Shadowhunter. He had been surprised at how easy it had been. Even without his runes he still possessed a great deal of strength from all the years he'd trained to keep himself in peak physical shape in order to better fight demons.

Alec had done alright for himself. He'd picked up Spanish quickly, he thought, but he hadn't made a single friend in twelve years. That was alright, though. He had never really been all that social anyway — he had books he ordered and articles on the Internet to keep him occupied. And then there was the promise of death one day.

Most people regarded him as boring. Everything about him had been boring, from his clothes to his taste in books and music. He was just - dull. But Magnus had never seemed to think so.

There were days that he wondered about him; what he was doing, where he was, if he ever thought about Alec at all since they'd broken up. Who had replaced him? That was the thought that drove him to drink, to drown the painful memories, even though those were the ones he tried to remember the most because the kissing, laughing, glittering, happy ones just hurt too much even after all this time had passed.

He hadn't lied when he told Magnus he would love him until the day he died. He was an honest person, after all. Honest and dull, and certainly not yet dead. And he was still undoubtedly in love with an immortal man who very possibly didn't even remember his name anymore.

That was why he'd come here. A place where he would never have to face what he'd lost or allowed himself to grieve for the thing he wanted more than anything he'd ever wanted in the world. That's why he'd thought Peru was a brilliant idea.

Until tonight.

The job Alec had taken - doing small repairs at a hotel nearby didn't pay him very much, but it kept him in food, and more importantly, it kept him from having to take up a tab at the small bar he frequented nightly. While he hadn't made a friend keeping to himself as he did, Alec was a known regular and at least friendly with the other patrons, enough so that no one bothered him and simply left him alone with his beer. Tonight had been no different.

He walked in wearing his usual faded with age blackish-brown long sleeved t-shirt with grubby, work-worn jeans and sat on the same stool facing the door that he had been for years. Right away his usual (whatever was on tap and keep it coming) was brought to him by the bartender with nary a word exchanged.

The setting was always the same; dark and dingy, the only light seemed to come from a set of lights hanging from the ceiling above the bar that were so dust covered that they lent a yellow glow to the already dank atmosphere, and a little more light that came from a television sat on a pool table that hadn't been used in years - at least never that Alec had seen.

His bar, as he thought of it fondly, was always typically empty. But tonight, there were tourists. A trio of people that walked in and settled around a table nearest to the door, and carried on loud conversations as though they didn't care who overheard every word they were saying. He rolled his eyes. Tourists.

One voice had Alec freezing with parted lips, one familiar voice that caused him to pause as he lifted the chipped mug to take a drink.

That voice. He knew that voice.

It was impossible. He knew it wasn't possible, but that voice sent shockwaves coursing through his entire body and had his breath catching in his throat. He didn't want to turn and look, he didn't want to draw attention to himself, but the voice, the laughter, the soft lilting of an unplaceable accent —

Alec turned his head slowly, looking off to his right, blue eyes scouring the empty tables cautiously until they landed on the group of newcomers. For a brief moment, he was hopeful, he thought he'd imagined it; it wouldn't be the first time, but then there was more laughter and one of the men leaned back, clapping his hands together. The man seated in front of him, the one with the Cheshire grin and wavy black hair tipped with all the colors of the rainbow. No longer done up in spikes, and a bit longer than he remembered, but the face was exactly the same. He would know that face anywhere.

Alec met the greenish-yellow eyes with a sudden jolt of absolute recognition on both ends and he tried to look away, tried to do anything but sit there and stare, lips parted slightly as he couldn't seem to break the gaze. He could see the shock in the Warlock's face, they were wearing the same expression, but before he could pick up his wallet and bolt he saw him rise swiftly, with all the grace of a feline, and make a direct beeline to the bar.

Alec turned back around and downed his beer motioning for another when he felt a presence move to stand behind him. It felt like an eternity passed, his heart was thudding loudly in his ears and drowning out the noises that the newcomers had brought in with them when finally th presence spoke.

"Alexander," came a soft, smooth voice. One that nearly brought tears to his eyes. There had been no question, but rather a simple address. The years had changed Alec a great deal, he had hoped for a moment that his blue eyes had been what had drawn the reaction as he knew Magnus had a weakness for them. But no. He had recognized him.

Alec ignored him, and he heard his name again, this time from his right as Magnus took up a stool next to him. He waved his hand dismissively and shook his head, pretending that he didn't speak English, that he didn't want to be bothered, that he was anyone but the person whose name had just been spoken, knowing damn well the ruse wouldn't work.

"It's been years, Alexander. You vanished off of the face of the earth without as much as a goodbye. At the very least I think you owe me at least a simple hell-," Alec turned to face him then, his brows knitted together as he frowned.

"I don't owe you a damn thing, Magnus,” Alec said, his words full of bite and venom. Very revealing to anyone listening that the last twelve years had done nothing to ease his pain. Still, he continued, Alec couldn’t help himself. “You said you didn't want to see me again, and you haven't, not until you walked into a place you weren't supposed to ever be."

He shifted uncomfortably in his seat, turning back to his mug, his next set of words muffled as he lifted it for another long drink. "And you should just walk right back out of it and leave me the hell alone."