Anyone who has known Alec for a while will know certain things about him.
Those who he's simply acquainted with will know that he's prepared for any situation - no matter what twist occurs, he always has a backup plan. He prepares for any eventuality, allows himself to imagine even the most outrageous situations in order to feel like he is in control.
Those who he's friendly with will know that his order and planning means he is amazing at giving advice. He's great at listening to people's issues, and giving advice on how to deal with them. He's good at problem solving and it's a well known fact among everybody that if somebody is in trouble, Alec will do everything in his power to help them, no matter what.
Those that he trusts and loves will know that his preparedness for anything and his thinking about any possibility has given him issues in both past and present. Jace, Isabelle, Clary, his mother. They know that his desire for control of a situation has led to him feeling inadequate too many times to count, and that feeling has been taken out on a punching bag, or his hands more times than he'd like to admit.
Those he loves impossibly will know that they make everything more bearable for Alec when he becomes overwhelmed. When a day at the Institute tips him over the edge, when The Clave have one too many bad words to say about him, when he fails people. He knows he can always return to them and everything will work out. They have a way of calming him even when the world seems to be crashing on Alec's shoulders, a rock for him to cling to.
So far in his life, only one person has truly slotted into that category like it was made for him.
And now, that person wasn't around to help him through this, because he was lying in an infirmary bed, looking so unlike Magnus. His makeup had been removed, his hair was flattened, free of product. He was incredibly still, not even a twitch of his hand that Alec couldn't bring himself to let go of. Yes, Alec had seen Magnus without makeup and products, and it only served to make him fall further in love, but this was different.
"Alec, he's gonna be alright," Izzy sighed as she entered the room, Alec not taking his eyes off his boyfriend, barely flinching as she rested a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"You don't know that," he said quietly, barely trusting himself to raise his voice in fear it would go completely.
"He's one of the strongest people I know," She replied, standing beside him in silence as he decided not to respond, instead raising Magnus' hand to his chin, resting his chin on it so softly.
"You need to eat though, brother. Get some rest," She encouraged, Alec instantly shaking his head in protest.
"I'm not leaving him," He said, raising his voice slightly so she knew he was serious.
"I can sit with him. Or Jace can, or Clary, or Simon. He won't be alone, but he's going to wake up to a shell of a boyfriend if you don't take care of yourself." Alec had to admit that he admired her certainty that he was going to wake up.
"I need to be here Iz," He shook his head, as Izzy moved her hand away from his shoulder and left the room without another word. He knew he had to sleep at some point, and he knew that three days without much food wasn't doing his body any good, but he couldn't tear his body from Magnus' bedside.
Truth be told, he couldn't sleep. He hadn't cried since Magnus began seizing on his floor, he hadn't felt much other than the sheer panic he felt whilst it was happening. Now, Magnus was eerily still, and so were Alec's emotions.
He was disturbed roughly half an hour later by the sound of a loud scraping against the floor as the door opened. When he dared take his eyes off Magnus, he turned to see Jace slowly coming through the door, dragging a heavy armchair behind him, smiling when he came to a stop with the chair beside Alec.
"Hop on," He said, only caring to elaborate when Alec's confused expression didn't change.
"If you're going to be here whilst he is, you might as well be a bit more comfortable. Also, Izzy gave me this to make sure you eat as well," he explained, gesturing to the bowl of pasta on the chair, making Alec shake his head, but move into the bigger chair anyway.
"I don't want it," He said simply, returning to his position of before.
Jace didn't fight him on the topic like Izzy had tried to. "Well at least let me draw a nourishment rune on you then."
He held out his arm without a word, allowing Jace to twist his arm and pull up his shirt sleeve until he found a spare patch of arm and drew the familiar rune on him, not that it would do much.
Still, it was better than nothing.
"Listen, I'm not saying this is an utter disaster, but this is an utter disaster!"
"I can't help but feel you're being a tad dramatic," Alec replied sarcastically, a fond smile on his face as he watched Magnus carefully look through his cabinet.
"Alexander, as a child who grew up in the noughties, it's a crime you've never seen any of the High School Musical films! It's what Clary was bloody raised on," Magnus said as he held up the DVD triumphantly.
"Well, that says it all about how good of a film it must be," Alec chuckled as Magnus whipped around.
"Don't you dare insult Zac! This film is iconic, as are the other two that we will be watching after this," Magnus declared as he settled beside Alec, naturally settling into his boyfriend's arms.
"Hmm, okay," He said sceptically as Magnus pressed play, already cringing at the quality of the film.
Regardless, he sat through the full three films, only giggling once at how Magnus hummed enthusiastically to each and every song from the films.
"So, what did you think?"
"If that girl was so in love with Troy, why did she leave in every damn film?" He said immediately, making Magnus burst out laughing.
"It shows how their love can withstand any distance," He chuckled. "Favourite song?"
"Scream was a fat ass mood to be honest," Alec said honestly.
"Indeed it was. Personally, I like Can I Have This Dance, regardless of how ridiculously staged it was," Magnus hummed, as Alec frowned.
"I don't remember that one," He frowned, as Magnus picked up the TV remote without a word and quickly found the scene where they dance on the rooftop.
"It all seems a bit over the top for an end of school dance," Alec commented.
"Alexander, it was for prom. Prom is a big deal to the mundanes. I presume Shadowhunters do nothing of the sort?" Magnus asked as Alec nodded in confirmation.
"Dance with me Alexander," Magnus suddenly said, hopping off the couch and holding out his hand to Alec, waiting for him to take it as the film played in the background.
"Yes, now Alexander," Magnus chuckled as he confirmed before taking Alec's hand and pulling him off the sofa, eventually managing to get the tall Shadowhunter to sway from side to side with him.
"You're putting in so much effort here Alexander," Magnus commented subtly as he looped his arms loosely around Alec's neck.
"If you don't mind, I'm currently trying my best not to step on your toes," Alec said seriously, making Magnus chuckle as he shook his head fondly, leaning up ever so slightly to press a gentle kiss to Alec's cheek.
"I love you," He said quietly as Alec grinned. He could never feel more at home than in this loft, in Magnus' arms. He truly was his home.
"Magnus..." He veered off as he frowned, tilting Magnus' head gently and only frowning further when he watched Magnus dab at his nose before pulling away from his boyfriend.
"Alec.." He mumbled before turning back to his boyfriend, blood pouring out of his mouth.
He awoke with a start, instantly moving his head to check on Magnus. Despite his best wishes, he was still lying in the hospital bed, in the exact same state as when he had drifted off.
He was hoping to wake up and find this to all be some horrific nightmare.
"You okay?" He startled a bit at hearing another voice, before he hazily looked around and sat Catarina stood at the foot of Magnus' bed as Alec rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and stretched slightly, never once letting go of Magnus' hand.
"Mhm, what's wrong?" He asked automatically.
"I went to talk to Lorenzo like you asked. I didn't even know he went to Lorenzo," She shook her head as he nodded.
"Mhm, a couple of days ago. If I knew this had happened, I'd never have let him do it," He sighed, Catarina nodding in agreement.
"She said that he was aware of the risks involved with the transfusion of magic, and that he wanted it anyway. Obviously he wasn't going to admit he'd done anything wrong, but he did say that he used a transfusion that he doesn't know the healing process for."
"So he used a type of magic on Magnus that he doesn't even know how to reverse?!" Alec let out as he groaned and rubbed his temples.
"I know, it's awful. I still don't know how he got the High Warlock position at all, quite frankly. Anyway, without a healing process, I can't do anything to help him, and if Lorenzo does know one, he won't be telling me," She replied, rolling her eyes. "I can use magic to keep him stable and to try and prevent him slipping any further, but there's no guarantee, and it won't wake him."
"Thank you," He just replied as he reluctantly let Magnus' hand go to stand up and stretch before walking over to stand beside Catarina.
"You don't need to thank me, Alec."
Nobody expected to see Alec ready to work the following morning at 8am.
The room fell silent as the Shadowhunters became aware of his presence, dressed as he usually would be, the only sign that anything was wrong was the bags under his eyes. His hair had been washed, his clothes ironed, his Shadowhunter mode switched on.
He didn't say anything as he walked through the Ops Centre, tapping a few screens to hand out assignments before disappearing to his office without even a glance at his people staring.
He didn't notice Jace following him until he heard his office door crack open.
"Alec, mate, what are you doing?" He sighed as he closed the door behind him.
"Working?" Alec asked as he locked the screen of the tablet he had balanced in his lap.
"You should be with Magnus. Me and Izzy have everything under control here," Jace replied as he moved closer to Alec's desk.
"I know you want to be near to him, you don't have to be here right now," Jace continued when he received no response from his Parabatai.
"Like Catarina said, there's nothing I can do for a minute. I can't let this place fall apart and let the Clave have something else to hold over me," Alec replied in a flat voice as he logged onto the computer, waiting for the home screen to load.
"Okay. Look, if you need anything at all, let one of us know alright? If you wanna go back and be with Magnus, or you want us to take over or anything, just tell us, alright?" Jace said, patting Alec's shoulder as he nodded before turning his focus back to the computer screen.
After that, he was left alone again. He didn't quite know whether he wanted to be disturbed, distracted or just alone. He knew he had work to do, and he knew there was no point in just sitting beside Magnus' bed, but god had it taken him a lot of energy to drag himself out of that chair and into his current state.
He was alright until a fresh email from the Clave popped into his inbox. He only got a chance to read the opening line and already felt his emotions bubbling up inside him for the first time in days when there was a knock on his office door.
"Come in," He called, rubbing his face as two young shadowhunters entered his office, who he recognised as Tristan and Micah. He knew both would grow up to be good soldiers with some more training already, despite being so young.
"Hello," He greeted as Tristan nudged Micah, who rolled his eyes before turning to Alec to speak.
"We were told to come and get you," he stated as Alec frowned, getting up from his chair and moving so he was on the same side of the desk as the two young boys.
"Who sent you to come and get me?"
"The warlock who's here, in the infirmary. Said it was important," He shrugged as Alec felt his breathing hitch, putting on a small smile as he nodded.
"Okay, thank you for letting me know. You're free to go," He said, barely keeping the smile on his face as they left the room, only letting his facade drop once the door was closed.
He didn't waste any time in leaving the office, and his work behind as he almost sprinted through the halls of the institute towards the infirmary. He only made it as far as the ops center before bumping into the woman he was looking for.
"What's wrong with him?" he rushed out before even uttering a greeting, barely relaxing when she rested her hands on his shoulders gently.
"He hasn't changed for a minute, but we might want to go into your office to talk-"
"About what? You just said he was the same," Alec said, confused as his voice rose a bit, catching the attention of some of the shadowhunters in the center.
"Yes, but Lorenzo got in touch, and he said something you might want to hear in private," She urged as he shook his head.
"Tell me. Now!" He said, barely aware that the ops center had quietened considerably following his small outburst.
"He said that if the transfusion doesn't get reversed soon, it's going to be too late. He'll be too far gone for anyone to do anything, and we'll have to- to," She stuttered, not being able to say the final words as Alec's breath hitched in his throat.
"Let him die," he whispered through a gulp, feeling tears pooling in his eyes at the very thought, her nod only confirming the words he had spoken.
It was one thing for Magnus to be lying in that bed, still, unconscious, not responding to Alec in one way. It was another thing entirely to imagine him not even being in that bed, but being in the ground somewhere, never being able to see his face again-
His own thoughts were cut off by a sob, that he only realised was coming from him when he felt tears dripping off his chin, and Catarina's arms around him. He didn't care where they were, all that was running around in his head were terrifying images of a world without Magnus in it, without the love of his life around.
"I can't lose him," He sobbed into her shoulder as she attempted to comfort the older shadowhunter, despite knowing it was pointless. The only person who could truly comfort him was the one person they couldn't go to right now.
"Alec?" He heard a call of his name, and he looked up from Cat's shoulder to see Jace running into the Ops Center, their eyes locking before a fresh wave of tears overcame Alec, and suddenly Jace was in front of him, pulling his brother into his arms, his tight grip not letting up as Alec hugged him back with equal force.
"Get back to what you were doing," Alec thought he heard Izzy say, but he couldn't really tell, barely being able to process the soothing whispers Jace was saying to him in his ear.
Then they were moving, out of the Ops Center, through the corridors that became impossibly quieter, if that was even possible.
"Shh, he's gonna be alright, Alec," Jace said softly as they stopped outside the infirmary, Alec shaking his head as he attempted to wipe away some of his tears.
"You can't promise that anymore," he sniffled. "And now I've made a right twat of myself in the middle of the Institute-"
"Hey, none of that. Nobody was even expecting you to turn up today, so it doesn't matter, alright? Everybody will understand how tough it is for you at the moment," Jace said as he rubbed his hand up and down Alec's bicep before moving away a bit.
"Me and Iz will take over for the time being. I'll bring you up some food in a bit, yeah? None of Izzy's cooking this time," He promised, making Alec crack a small smile just to reassure Jace that he wasn't completely falling apart (he was).
He didn't reply, instead just hugging his brother once more before letting him go and slowly walking back into the infirmary, which was silent bar the beeping of the monitors that reassured him that Magnus was still alive. He hadn't changed since Alec had left him early that morning.
But suddenly it felt like there was a ticking time bomb in the room, constantly putting Alec on edge, knowing there was nothing he could do.
He sighed, collapsing in the chair beside Magnus, gripping his hand with immeasurable force as he rested his head on top of it.
"Magnus... Please," he whispered, already feeling himself getting emotional again. "You're my world, Magnus, you have to stay. I promised you a walk in wardrobe, yeah?" His voice cracked through his whispers, feeling tears begin to run again, but silently this time. "I love you. You can't leave me."
He didn't try to stop his tears this time, just let them flow freely down his face, onto Magnus' hand and the bedsheets below it. Here, he was allowed to feel, even if the person who taught him that couldn't respond.
And that was how Jace found them a couple of hours later when he brought the promised food to Alec. Magnus, in the same position as when he'd first been laid on the bed by a frantic Alec, and Alec bent over the bed, one of Magnus' hands gripped tightly in both of his own, using it as an anchor as he slept. His head resting on the mattress beside Magnus, tear tracks still evident on his face, mouth slightly open to let him breathe despite his slightly snotty nose from all the crying he had done.
He didn't dare disturb him. But if anyone was strong enough to pull through this, it was these two.