Magnus snaps his fingers.
The summoned martini falls to the floor. Glass crashes against wood, liquid soaking the edge of the thick Persian carpet.
Magnus stares at the display without seeing it. His heart hammers against his ribcage like an overly enthusiastic drummer performing a solo, every breath stabbing into his throat like the air is full of needles. He stares at his hand – fingers bejeweled, nail polish immaculate.
Wisps of familiar blue, fading and soaking back into his skin.
It had been instinct, a reflex born out of having done the exact same thing for almost as long as he’s been alive—it had been an impulse that, for months, hadn’t offered anything other than empty air and crippling disappointment. Up until a week ago.
The glass-shards on the floor glisten.
It’s barely a murmur, a mere echo of sound, but Magnus still tenses. The instinct to hide, to plaster on a smile and pretend like everything is all right, like he hadn’t just forgotten that he got his magic back and that the fear that nothing would happen when he snapped his fingers hadn’t momentarily paralyzed him, is a self-defense mechanism that’s been cultivated for centuries.
But they’re not supposed to push each other away.
Magnus swallows, and looks up.
Alec is watching him from the doorway to the bedroom, fresh out from the shower after his evening patrol, his brow furrowed in slight concern. Magnus opens his mouth—to reassure, maybe—but no words come. Alec’s eyes flick to the mess on the floor and his expression softens, whole posture curving around a gentle smile. For some reason, the sight brings tears to Magnus’s eyes.
Wordlessly, Alec moves across the room, sidesteps the pool of glass, until he’s close enough to grasp Magnus’s arm. His hand trails down loosely-fitted silk until he can tangle their fingers together. He leans in, his lips brushing Magnus’s temple.
Relaxing into it is second nature, Magnus’s body and mind conditioned to be lulled into stillness by Alec’s mere presence. He feels Alec smile against his skin, and it’s just another murmur of peace, lapping at frayed nerves.
Magnus doesn’t know how long they’ve been standing there, soaking in each other’s proximity, simply existing in this nebulous state of quasi-awareness, when Alec takes a step back, his body angling toward the mess on the floor.
Magnus shakes his head.
“I’ll take care of it.”
Alec’s hands come up and cover Magnus’s own where they’re gripping Alec’s shirt in an unconscious attempt to keep him close. His hands that, Magnus now realizes, are shaking ever so slightly.
“Let me,” Alec offers, as Magnus frowns down at his hands. There is no trace of judgment in Alec’s voice, and he would back off if Magnus asked him to—but Magnus swallows the swell of embarrassment, the automatic I’m fine and I can take care of myself and I don’t need to be coddled that press at the back of his tongue and that all belong to some past version of himself, and nods.
The surprised smile flickering across Alec’s face is all the relief Magnus needs.
When Alec nudges him toward the couch, Magnus goes, unresisting. He watches as Alec brings out the cleaning supplies and goes about fixing Magnus’s little mishap without complaint and with that single-minded focus with which he tackles everything in life, and helpless adoration surges through him, folds itself around his heart like an embrace just short of painful. The benevolent cousin of a heart attack.
“You really don’t have to do that, you know,” he murmurs, not caring if the words come out slightly hoarse.
“I know,” Alec says, frowning in charming concentration as he carefully mops up the spilt liquid while trying to avoid cutting himself on the shattered pieces of glass. And then, because he has no regard for Magnus’s crumbling composure, he adds, “But you’re my boyfriend, and I love you. I don’t need a reason to want to take care of you.”
Given how often Alec verbalizes his feelings, treating each declaration like it’s an irrefutable truth, it shouldn’t still catch Magnus by surprise. The surprise lies, perhaps, in that he’s starting to believe it. That this is his to have. His to keep.
“Well, in that case.” Magnus blinks the emotion from his eyes. “I think you missed a spot.”
Alec snorts. His hair, tips still damp from his shower, is falling over his face, but Magnus still catches the grin.
The chuckle bubbles up Magnus’s throat, ripples of warmth pushing out, reaching—a stream, gentle but insistent, eroding the cutting angles of those walls he has hid behind for so long. He remembers a scene similar to this one, from what feels like years ago. How he had watched this reserved, painfully uptight young Shadowhunter kneeling by his couch, towel in hand as he wiped blood from Magnus’s couch, offering assistance to a warlock he hadn’t even known at the time. Magnus remembers watching him and being hit with the staggering realization that, for the first time since Camille, he wanted.
He doesn’t have to stop at watching now.
Magnus snaps his fingers, and the last bit of the mess disappears.
“Hey,” Alec starts, eyes narrowing, but Magnus just lifts a hand, beckoning.
Alec sighs in mock-exasperation, but he’s up and settling himself beside Magnus on the couch seconds later, the faux-serious scowl on his face smoothing out when Magnus cups his face and brings their lips together.
“Thank you,” Magnus mumbles into the nonexistent space between them, thumbs caressing Alec’s cheeks, keeping him close for the sole reason that he can.
Alec shakes his head, his eyes burning with quiet affection, no doubt hearing the full depth of Magnus’s gratitude.
“You don’t have to thank me for loving you, Magnus.” Lean archer fingers curl around Magnus’s wrists, infinitely gentle—as if Magnus is something precious, someone that deserves to be handled with care. “It’s my privilege.”
Magnus’s glamour has been wonky ever since he got his magic back, and it stands no chance against the candor of Alec’s words.
Kissing him is the most natural thing in the world.