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I Will Catch You When You Fall, and Love You Above All Else

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Magnus Bane never had much of a family. He had never met his dad, didn't even know his name. His dad had apparently left after finding out his mom was pregnant, leaving the young Ms. Bane as a single mother to Magnus himself. This lasted well until Magnus was about 8 years old. His mother, who had been going through a particularly hard time at the moment, took her own life, leaving her son with an abusive stepfather and nowhere else to go. Magnus, at the age of 10, ran away from his abusive home and lived on his own in the rain for a couple hours until a police car pulled up next to him and a tall man with dark skin stepped out.

"Hey." The man said, cautiously stepping forward and kneeling down. "What are you doing out here all by yourself?" Magnus was silent, not prepared to trust the man yet. "My name's Luke. Luke Garroway. I'm a police officer. If you're in danger, I can help you." Magnus was still silent. "Can you tell me your name?"

"Magnus." Magnus whispered. "Magnus Bane."

"Well, hey Magnus." Luke said, a smile appearing on his face. "Do you have a mom?" Magnus shook his head, and Luke furrowed his brows in confusion. "Do you have a dad?" Another head shake. "So, you're all alone?" Magnus nodded this time, and Luke's brows furrowed further. "Okay, Magnus. Do you want to come with me? I can take you to my house and we can get you all warmed up and comfortable until we find a more permanent place to put you. Is that alright?"

Magnus, who had decided at that point that Luke was not of the mean men he had met in his life, nervously nodded before taking Luke's outstretched hand and stepping into the car with him. They drove in silence through the streets of Brooklyn before coming up to a small townhouse. Luke, still holding Magnus' hand, unlocked the front door and stepped inside, where the smell of freshly baked cookies and hot cocoa filled the apartment. "Jocelyn? Can I talk to you for a second?"

A woman with deep red hair and a kind face stepped into the entryway, a bright smile on her face as she walked forward to meet her husband, which faded slightly when she noticed the little Asian boy holding his hand. She quickly recovered though, and bent down so she was at Magnus' eye level. "Hello there. My name's Jocelyn. What's yours?"

"This is Magnus." Luke said, giving the boy's hand a squeeze.

"Well, hi Magnus." Jocelyn hesitated for a second before continuing. "You know, I have a daughter about your age. Would you like to meet her?"

Magnus nodded, and allowed Jocelyn to lead him into a small living room where a little girl with pale skin and bright red hair was sitting, a cup of cocoa in her hand as she watched a movie. "Magnus, this is my daughter Clary. Clary, this is Magnus. He's going to be staying here for a little bit." Jocelyn glanced over at Luke at that last point, but said nothing else.

"Hi." Clary said, smiling brightly at the boy. "Wanna watch cartoons with me?"

Magnus, who had never really had any friends his own age, nodded nervously and sat next to Clary, who was quick to offer him a share of the blanket she was buried under and a couple of chocolate chip cookies that her and her mom had just finished baking. All the while, Jocelyn and Luke had disappeared to discuss what to do with the quiet boy currently sitting on their couch befriending their daughter. They were all set to take him to the police station and find him a home when they walked out and found him and Clary fast asleep and curled up next to each other under the same blanket, their hands linked.

From that point on, Magnus always had a home with the Frays/Garroways.

Of course, Magnus would eventually learn that Luke wasn't actually Clary's father. Clary's dad, Valentine, was supposedly a very evil man who had committed multiple crimes, and even stalked Jocelyn after she ran away with their daughter. He's behind bars now, thank goodness, but things looked scary for Jocelyn and a baby Clarissa for a while. Luke came into the picture not long after, fell in love with Jocelyn, and now the two are married and raising Clary together.

For a couple years, things were good. Magnus finally had a home, and he had found a best friend in Clary, despite the fact that she was a couple years younger than him. Clary eventually met Simon, who became her other best friend, and the three became a trio to be reckoned with, always attached at the hip and doing everything together. Magnus got into law school, wanting to help other kids who had ever been in the same position he was in as a 10-year-old, and began building a career for himself and a life where he wasn't defined by who his family was. He had a beautiful girlfriend, good friends, a good career, and everything he had ever wanted.

So yeah, for a few years, things were good.

Until Jocelyn got into a tragic car crash that ended her life and for the second time in his life, Magnus was without a mom. Clary and Luke were devastated, leaving Magnus to be their shoulder to cry on. Then he found out Camille was cheating on him, ending the best relationship he's ever had. After that, Magnus decided not to open his heart up to anyone ever again, deeming it too fragile to suffer any more losses.

Clary and Luke took some time to recover. Luke eventually jumped back into work at the police station with vigour, not yet ready to jump into the dating scene yet. Clary went to the Brooklyn Academy of Art and inherited her mother's art studio, Simon went to NYU to major in music and now performs gigs at bars and other establishments to make money. In terms of their careers, both were thriving.

It was a few years after that though, that the real change came along. A new cop began working under Luke, by the name of Jace Lightwood. Clary was instantly smitten, and her and Jace began dating almost instantly after their first meeting. Not long after that, Simon got introduced to Jace's sister Isabelle, and they began a tentative relationship not long after. And then Luke got introduced to Maryse Lightwood, the recently divorced mother of Jace and Isabelle, and the two also began a new relationship along with their children.

So, all in all, Magnus was the only one of the trio not currently in a relationship, and to be perfectly honest, he was alright with it.

He was friends with the Lightwoods, mainly Isabelle, who he had bonded with over their shared love of fashion, however he remained tentative to open his heart to anyone ever again, not wanting it to be broken for the thousandth time in his life.

Little did he know that in the course of one summer, that pact he had made with himself would break almost instantly.

Chapter Text

"No."

"Magnus, come on!"

"I already told you no."

"I promise it's going to be fun!"

"And I can guarantee you that it won't be."

"Magnus!"

"Clary!"

It has now been 10 years since Jocelyn Fray passed away and changed Magnus' life, and 4 since Clary and Jace began dating, the catalyst for every other major event that had happened for Magnus and his family. Simon and Isabelle have been together for approximately three and a half years at this point after dancing around each other for months, and Maryse and Luke have been together for 3 after hiding their feelings to care for their children and make sure they were happy instead. Magnus, meanwhile, has been staying away from the relationship scene, instead finding nightly companions in packed clubs and turning to alcohol to fill the usually empty void in his heart. He was planning on doing the same thing this independence day weekend and probably for the rest of the summer, however his dear friend Clary seemed to have other plans.

Apparently, the Lightwood family was planning to spend the summer in their cabin outside of the city to reignite a tradition from when they were children, and all of their significant others had an automatic invitation. Clary, not wanting to leave Magnus alone to spend the summer by himself, had convinced the family to allow her to drag him along, an idea which Magnus was greatly opposed to.

"Magnus, you are not spending the entire summer alone in your apartment."

"Who says I'm always going to be alone?"

"Fine, you are not spending the summer alone except for when you want to have a one night stand so you walk over to the nearest bar to pick someone up who you'll sleep with and will then be gone before you're even awake the next morning!"

"Biscuit, you wound me." Magnus sighed, despite knowing she was almost entirely right. "As much as I may love the Lightwood family, I do not want to spend an entire summer with them."

"Why not? You like spending time with Izzy, me, Simon, Luke, Maryse... The only person you don't really like out of all of us is Jace."

"Which is precisely the reason that I will not be going."

"Magnus, I want you to get along with Jace, okay? He means a lot to me and he's become a huge part of my life, and I really love him! So please, can you come spend the summer with us and try to make an effort to get along with him? For my sake?"

"Oh, so then I'll be the third wheel among all of the couples? Sorry, Biscuit, not happening."

"You won't be the only single one there, though!" Clary exclaimed, desperate to get Magnus to agree and come with her. "Alec is coming home this summer."

"Who's Alec?"

"Jace and Izzy's older brother. He's a captain in the military; been overseas for the past five years but this summer he's coming home to spend some time with his family. Everyone's really excited to see him, and I don't want to miss Jace reuniting with his brother. He told me they've been best friends since Jace was adopted by the Lightwoods when he was 10."

Truthfully, Magnus didn't know the whole story behind Jace's adoption into the Lightwood clan. He knew that Jace was raised by a single dad after his mom died in childbirth, but he didn't know the reason for Jace ever leaving his dad or for his dad leaving him. He just knew that Jace was adopted by the Lightwoods, who were close family friends of his father, when he was 10 and has been with them ever since.

"Oh, so you're trying to set me up with the final Lightwood that's not in a relationship. Again, not happening." Magnus took a quick sip of his drink before continuing. "Plus, anyone who's best friends with Jace is somebody that I do not want to get involved with."

"No, Magnus, I am not trying to set you up with him I'm just..." Clary hesitated then, as if unsure of how to say what she wanted to voice. "Look, Izzy's worried about Alec. Last time he was home he had terrible nightmares that woke him up screaming and awful PTSD and she's worried about how he's going to react to being in a house full of strangers who have become a big part of his family and he missed it. I think it would be nice for the both of you to reach out to each other and make a friend this summer is all. God knows you both need it."

"I don't need any more friends, Clary."

"Magnus, the only person you're really friends with is me, and sometimes Simon. You haven't had a serious relationship since Camille..."

"Because she tore out my heart and ripped it to pieces, leaving nothing else for anyone after her." Magnus interrupted. "Look, Clary, I appreciate the effort, but you know I'm not interested in a relationship right now, or a friendship for that matter. And I'm definitely not the person for someone with PTSD from being in the military to talk to after having a nightmare. So, I think we'd all be better off if you went to the cabin with Jace and his family and I just stayed here by myself, with my cats and a margarita in hand so I can do my work in peace."

"Magnus, I don't want you to spend an entire summer by yourself. I want you to come with me and have fun instead. So please, start packing your bags. I'm done with this argument. We leave tomorrow morning at 10. Be ready or you're being dragged to the cabin without your wardrobe."

And with that, Magnus was left alone to contemplate his decision. Truthfully, he did not want to spend an entire summer by himself in his loft, no matter how big and comfy it might be, however he also didn't want to spend an entire summer befriending Clary's boyfriend and his family and being a therapist to a former soldier with PTSD.

After weighing his options for hours with a drink in hand, Magnus had finally made up his mind and went to his room to pack his bags.

So now, here Magnus stood, luggage surrounding him, in front of a large wooden cabin. Magnus had to admit, the cabin itself was gorgeous, right on the side of a glistening blue lake in the middle of the forest, surrounded by the sounds of grasshoppers and birds and other forest animals. It was a beautiful sanctuary to escape to, but Magnus had a feeling for him it was going to be more of a prison than a sactuary for the next two months of summer.

"Magnus." Jace said, sauntering over to where his girlfriend and one of her best friends were standing, giving Clary a hug and a kiss on the forehead and giving Magnus a nod of acknowledgement. "I'm glad you decided to come."

Magnus looked the boy up and down with disdain. He had to admit, Jace was traditionally handsome, with his blond hair, blue eyes, and chiseled face, but he was the typical male nowadays. Handsome and full of himself, Jace wasn't exactly the most likeable person in the world, prefering more to look in a mirror and admire himself than help another person. But for some reason, Clary still fell in love with him, and he was significantly less selfish and less of an asshole when she was around, finding space in his little world that revolved around him for her to occupy. Magnus and Jace had an instant dislike for each other when they first met, however Magnus knew it would kill Clary if they didn't at least try to get along with each other for her sake. So, Magnus would make the effort he had to, just to appease his friend.

"Nice to see you as well, Jace." Magnus said. "Thank you for inviting me. It's gonna be a nice break from my stuffy apartment, I must admit."

"Stuffy?" Simon exclaimed, walking up with Isabelle on his arm. "Dude, your apartment is huge."

Magnus regarded the couple with curious eyes. When they first met, Izzy was the definition of a party girl going through university to become a forensic pathologist, becoming quite famous around campus for her strings of one night stands and revealing clothing that she usually sported to her nightly parties. When her and Simon met through Jace and Clary, it was obvous that Simon was taken immediately by the stunning girl, however it took a bit more time for Izzy to come around before she realized she was falling for the nerd that was standing right in front of her. After they admitted their feelings for each other though, they were solid for life.

"So, when is Alec going to be here?" Clary asked. "I mean, I know you guys are really excited to see him."

"He told me he'd probably be here after dinner." Izzy replied. "His flight doesn't come in until 3."

"Oh, do we have to go pick him up at the airport?" Simon asked.

"No, he's going to take a taxi here." Izzy replied. "I offered to come pick him up but he said he could use the taxi ride to give him some time to get used to being in America again."

"Ah, yes." Magnus said. "Clary tells me he's been away for five years now?"

Jace nodded. "Yeah. Too long if you ask me. We were only ever allowed to Skype him on holidays, but even then he wasn't allowed to talk with us for long. I miss going to bars and hanging out with my brother."

"There were times when he was talking to us and we would hear gunshots going off in the background and then Alec would have to duck for cover and run before he could even say goodbye to us." Izzy shivered, and was quickly comforted by a rub on her shoulder from Simon. "But it's alright now. He's coming home, and he's safe."

"And I'm sure he's very excited to see you all." Magnus said. "Now, can someone please show me where I can put all of my luggage?"

"I can, Magnus." Maryse said, stepping out the front door of the cabin to greet her children as they chatted outside. "I'm so glad you all could make it. It's been a while since we've had a nice family getaway like this."

"You have a lovely cabin, Maryse." Magnus said. "Thank you so much for inviting me."

"Thank you, and it was my pleasure. The cabin was one of the good things I got from the divorce with Robert."

Magnus truly did like Maryse Lightwood, finding her to be a pleasant woman. According to Izzy though, Maryse wasn't always this lovely. During her marriage to Robert, she was apparently as cold as stone, nearly alienating her children entirely. When Robert cheated on her though, Maryse began a new outlook on life and started loosening her tight ponytail and involving herself more in her kids and their lives. Now she was one of the best moms Magnus thought he had ever met, and her kids seemed to agree.

"Alright, so Luke and I will be taking the master bedroom upstairs, Jace and Clary will be taking the bedroom across from us, Isabelle and Simon will be taking the room next to us, and then Alec will be taking his usual bedroom downstairs. Magnus, your bedroom is down the hall from the living room, across from Alec's."

"Wait," Jace interjected, "I won't be in the room across from Alec? I've slept in that room since I was a kid."

"Not this time, no." Maryse said apologetically. "I just assumed you and Clary would want the larger bed upstairs."

"But what about his nightmares?" Izzy said, concern etched on her beautiful face. "Last time he was home he woke up screaming almost every other night. Is it really a good idea for him to be alone downstairs?"

"You know what Alec is like." Maryse said. "When he has a nightmare he won't talk to anyone about it anyways. He'll probably just go for a run or go sit by the lake for a bit to cool himself down. It doesn't matter if somebody's across the hall from him or not." When Jace and Izzy didn't say anything, Maryse continued. "Look, I worry about your brother and his mental health just as much as you two do. But we can't force him to open up to us about it. We have to be patient and wait for him to come wake one of us up after a nightmare instead of following him and expecting him to tell us what it was all about."

"If it would make you guys more comfortable, I don't mind switching rooms so one of you can be close to Alec if he wakes up in the middle of the night." Magnus interjected, not wanting either of the siblings to worry about their brother's sanity with Magnus across the hall.

Izzy and Jace seemed to consider this for a second before ultimately deciding to leave things how they were for now, but if Alec wasn't ok in a few days, Magnus would switch with either of them so they could be there to comfort their older brother if needed. With the room assignments settled, everybody scattered off to their respective rooms to unpack. Magnus was fairly satisfied with his room, since it was a decent size with a queen bed and simple, but classy, decorations. He made quick work of unpacking his designer clothes into the large dresser and closet before quickly escaping to wander around the large cabin. He was shocked to find that the place was fairly modern, with a large, updated kitchen and an open living room that lead to a spiral staircase that Magnus assumed led to the other three bedrooms. There was also a large patio that overlooked the lake, which would provide a beautiful view of the sunrise in the morning. All in all, it was a beautiful space, but it didn't make Magnus' summer seem any better.

Magnus went over to the large fridge in the kitchen to pour himself a glass of wine, but was interrupted by the sound of someone else walking into the room. "Do you like your room?" Izzy asked, reaching around Magnus to grab an apple. "All of the rooms here are pretty big, but I guess it just makes the most sense for you and Alec to have the smallest ones, you know, cause you're the only single ones."

Magnus nodded. "It's very cozy. The entire cabin is very beautiful, I must admit."

Izzy smiled in return, but Magnus could see that something was bothering her. "Look, Isabelle, are you sure that you're alright with me sleeping across the hallway from your brother? If it's bothering you that much I will gladly unpack my drawers and switch with you and Simon. I'll even switch the mattress if you want the bigger bed."

Izzy shook her head. "No, it's not that I'm worried about. My mom's right, Alec won't open up to any of us anyways after a nightmare. He never has." Izzy shrugged. "Alec and I were always really close growing up. Mom always tells me that he used to change my diaper and feed me when I was a baby, and that he was the first one there when I was crying. He was always my protector from day one. When Jace and I were in high school and got introduced to the party scene, Alec's the one who would always cover for us and come pick us up in the middle of the night if we needed a ride. He was always looking out for us, he was completely selfless. So much so that he never really set aside time for him to enjoy life himself and relax. I just worry that his selflessness is going to be the death of him one of these days."

"How so?" Magnus asked.

Izzy hesitated. "Well, first of all he would throw himself on top of a bomb in the middle of battle if it meant he could save even one of his soldier's lives. Second... look Magnus I'm sure Clary told you that Alec has pretty bad PTSD from some of the stuff he's seen overseas, but he doesn't talk to anyone about it because he doesn't want to burden anyone else with his troubles. I'm just worried that the stress of it all is going to be too much for him one of these days."

Magnus hesitated before placing a comforting hand on top of Izzy's on the counter. "Look, Isabelle, I may not have met your brother yet, but he sounds like a very strong and admirable man. I know if he ever thought he really needed help, he wouldn't hesitate to turn to you, or Jace, or your mom. He has an amazing support system with you three, one that I know he won't be able to ignore if it really comes down to it. He'll be alright."

Izzy nodded in return, but the concern in her eyes betrayed her. Before she could say anything else though, Maryse sauntered into the kitchen with a smile. "Ah, Magnus! I see you've already opened the wine."

"Of course." Magnus said, pouring out a couple glasses for Maryse and Izzy to sip. "I'm nothing if not a drinker."

Maryse chuckled. "Ah. I remember back in my young days when the only things I ever did was drink and go to parties. Back when life was a lot more simple."

Izzy nearly choked on her wine. "You used to go to parties?"

"Oh, yes. There's more reasons than just our similar appearances that people always said you were a mini-me, Isabelle."

"So what happened?"

Maryse sighed. "Well, I realized the real world was a bit more cruel than my high school. So I decided to settle down, get a job, get married, have kids.... the typical mundane lifestyle. Don't get me wrong I don't regret any of it whatsoever, but... sometimes I do miss the days when I could go to parties and not have a single care in the world."

"Well, you seem pretty carefree right about now?" Magnus inquired.

"Yes, well, meeting Lucian seemed to flip things around quite a bit for me. You know we actually went to high school together? Of course we never really liked each other much back then, but it's funny looking back on it now and thinking about how different we used to be. Of course I was completely in love with Robert at the time and Lucian was enamoured with Jocelyn despite the fact that she was with Valentine. It's crazy how we grew apart from each other for so long just to meet again through our children."

"I guess fate works in mysterious ways sometimes." Magnus said, taking another sip of his wine with a smile.

"I suppose it does." Maryse said, her eyes lighting up as she turned to Magnus again. "So, Magnus, Clary tells me you've been enjoying the single life for a while now?"

"For far too long, if you ask me." Clary joked, sauntering into the room with Jace, Luke and Simon. "He hasn't been in a relationship in over 10 years."

"What?" Izzy exclaimed. "Oh my God, you should have told me sooner I know so many people I could set you up with! You don't have any sort of preference when it comes to gender right? Oh, this is going to be so much fun!"

"Isabelle," Magnus interrupted, "the reason I haven't been in a relationship for the past 10 years is because I'm not looking for one."

"What?" Izzy declared. "Don't you ever get lonely?"

"No." Magnus declared. "Believe me, I find other ways to satisfy my loneliness. I don't need a partner right now, and maybe I never will. I'm fine just being Magnus for the time being."

Izzy pouted. "Ugh, you're just as bad as Alec. He never lets me set him up on blind dates."

Jace chuckled. "To be fair Iz, it's a little hard to have a relationship with his lifestyle. I mean, he'd be seeing the person for a month or so before he's sent away again."

"Ugh, don't remind me." Izzy whined. "I wish my brother was around more often. I miss him giving all of my boyfriend's a 'big brother' talk like he did in high school."

Simon's eyes widened in fear. "Oh no, is he going to come at me with like a shotgun or something? Cause I don't know if I can handle that, I mean, I think I would have a heart attack if somebody ever came at me with a knife let alone a fully loaded gun and-"

"Simon," Izzy smirked, "relax. Alec may try to intimidate you at the beginning but believe me, my brother's a huge softie on the inside. You just have to chip away at the hard outer shell for a while."

"Revealing all of my secrets behind my back, Iz?" A deep voice sounded, and everyone's heads immediately shot over to the doorway where probably the most gorgeous man Magnus has ever laid his eyes on was casually leaning against the doorway with his arms folded across his chest. He had curly black hair that seemed unable to maintain and that Magnus just wanted to run his hands through over and over, pale skin, gorgeous hazel eyes that Magnus could look into forever, and a strong, muscular build that probably came from all of the training he had in the military.

Izzy squealed. "Alec!" And ran towards her brother, jumping into his outstretched arms like a child. Jace sauntered over next with a wide smile, wrapping his arms around his siblings and giving Alec a couple pats on the back. Maryse was next, walking over and giving her eldest a kiss on the cheek before wrapping her arms tightly around him as she sobbed, overjoyed to see all her children together again. Clary, Luke and Simon meanwhile, just watched the reunion with a smile, whereas Magnus was completely in awe with the god standing in front of him, his face alight with a smile as he saw his siblings for the first time in five years.

"I thought your flight didn't land until 3!" Izzy exclaimed, still holding onto her brother for dear life. Looking at the both of them now, Magnus could easily see the family resemblance between them and their mother. The dark hair, bright smiles, bright eyes... everything about the trio matched. And Jace, despite looking nothing like any of them, still fit somehow. They were a perfect family. The one Magnus never had.

"Yeah, well, my flight landed early and I wanted to surprise you guys." The man-Alec-said. He squeezed his sister one more time before he seemed to notice the other people standing in the room and watching.

"Oh, Alec." Maryse said. "I guess we have some introductions to make. This is Luke Garroway, my boyfriend."

Luke stretched out a hand for Alec to shake, which he happily accepted. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Captain Lightwood."

"Please, call me Alec. I'm only Captain Lightwood on the battlefield."

"And then this is Clary Fray, Jace's girlfriend." Clary raised a nervous hand in greeting, and Alec returned it with a small smile and a nod.

"And this is my boyfriend, Simon Lewis." Izzy said, looping her arm through Simon's. "Play nice, big brother."

"Sh-should I salute you, or can I shake your hand, or-or-"

"Just," Alec said, raising his eyebrows at Izzy as if to say 'him, really?, "stop talking. No need for a handshake, or a salute or anything like that."

"And then this," Maryse continued, placing a hand on Magnus' shoulder, "is Magnus Bane, a dear friend of Clary's who has decided to join us for the summer."

"Alexander, I presume?" Magnus said with a flirty smile, outstretching his hand for Alec to shake. Alec's eyes seemed to widen a little when he saw Magnus, much to his delight.

"Uh, yeah. Yeah, but I-I usually go by Alec." Alec said, gripping Magnus' hand tightly, and Magnus could swear he felt a jolt of electricity go through their connected hands.

"Why?" Magnus asked, his smile growing. "Alexander is more regal, beautiful... more suiting for a man such as yourself."

Alec's smile grew, and a blush bloomed high on his face. "Right."

They stood in silence for a few more moments, their hands still intertwined, still staring into each others eyes when a cough broke their trance. Alec quickly jupmed away, looking in embarrassment at the knowing and amused glances of his family members as they witnessed the interaction. "Um, am I in my usual room, mom?"

Maryse just nodded, a smile on her face, leaving Alec to grab his luggage and scatter down the hall to unpack his bag, leaving everyone to stare at Magnus with raised eyebrows. Magnus just shrugged with an amused smirk and grabbed his wine glass, moving to walk down the hallway to his own bedroom. On the way though, he heard muffled sounds coming from Alec's room and peered in to see the soldier sitting on his bed, holding a small, framed photo as tears ran down his cheeks. Magnus thought he could hear Alec lightly mutering something, but he couldn't make it out.

"Alexander?" Magnus said, softly knocking on the door frame. "Are you alright?"

Alec's eyes shot up in alarm, and when he noticed Magnus in the doorway he quickly put the framed photo facedown and furiously wiped on his eyes. "Um, yeah, everything's-everything's fine. Um, can I help you with something? Or are you just peeking into my room for no reason?"

"Oh, I was just wondering where the bathroom was." Magnus stammered. "I didn't mean to pry."

Alec just stood up and waled to the doorway where Magnus was standing. "The bathroom is at the end of the hallway." And then he walked back out to sit with his family, leaving a concerned Magnus standing by himself in the hallway, fighting the urge to go in the room and see what that picture was for himself.

...

"So, Alec, what made you enlist in the military?" Luke asked later that night over dinner, a wine glass in hand as he joked with the family. Magnus and Alec hadn't spoken since the room incident, in fact it seemed like they were pretending that it didn't happen at all. They had all sat down to dinner and just spent the time catching Alec up on what he had missed and letting him get to know more about the newest additions to his family, and Magnus admitted he was more and more taken by the handsome soldier, who had proven himself in just the short time that Magnus had known him to be selfless, kind, loyal and many other qualities that made him one of the most intriguing people Alec had ever met. Now though, the conversation had turned to Alec himself, and to be honest, Magnus was intrigued.

Alec hesitated. "I've always wanted to help and protect people. Joining the military seemed like the easiest way to do that."

Luke raised his eyebrows in surprise. Magnus looked over at Jace and Isabelle and saw them sharing a concerned glance at Alec's explanation, and it became obvious to Magnus then that Alec wasn't telling the whole truth about why he enlisted.

"So, where were you stationed?" Simon asked, eager to hear stories about what Alec had seen during his time in the military.

Alec shook his head in return. "Sorry. That's, uh, classified information. All I can tell you is that I was overseas for the past five years."

Simon shook his head. "Damn. You must've seen a lot of pretty messed up stuff."

Alec visibly stiffed at this, closing his eyes and shaking his head. Izzy placed a comforting hand on her brother's arm, whereas Jace sent a murderous glare in Simon's direction. "Yeah. Yeah, I did." Alec choked out.

"Shit, Alec, I'm sorry..." Simon stuttered.

"Don't worry about it." Alec said, taking a long drink of his wine. "Let's just, change the topic of conversation."

It was silent for a couple minutes after that before Maryse finally spoke up to fill the silence. "Is everyone finished their dinner? If yes, I'm gonna start doing the dishes."

Maryse quickly collected the dishes, shooting her son a concerned glance on the way, before quickly scurrying off to the kitchen. "Come on, Alec." Isabelle encouraged. "Let's go watch tv for a bit."

Everyone quietly moved to the couch to watch some tv in peace, something which worked for a couple minutes.

Only a couple though.

There came a crash from the kitchen, presumably just Maryse dropping a glass or plate or something of the sort as she washed the dishes. To Alec though, it must have sounded like something a lot worse, because as soon as the crash sounded he started visibly shaking, his eyes squeezed shut as he shook his head in fear. He quickly stood up from the couch, still shaking, and declared, "I have to get outta here."

"Alec..." Isabelle started, reaching her hand out for her brother.

Jace took it one step further though, and followed Alec as he walked to the door. "Alec..." Jace started, grabbing his brother's arm.

"Don't touch me!" Alec screamed, shoving Jace away from him. Everyone was dead silent then, watching Alec as he paniced. Alec seemed to realize this, and quickly ran out of the house before anyone else could follow him, running out into the woods.

"Shouldn't someone go after him?" Magnus asked.

"No." Jace replied, somberly moving back to sit on the couch. "He likes to be alone when this happens. He'll probably tell anyone who follows him to leave him alone anyways." Jace shrugged then, wringing his hands nervously in his lap. "None of us will probably see him again until tomorrow morning."

Magnus glanced with concern at the door, wanting to follow Alec into the woods despite what Jace had said, and wanting to protect him from all the dangers he may have faced despite the fact that Alec was clearly stronger than him and could defend himself. Magnus wanted to be Alec's shield, despite the fact that he had only known him for a few hours.

What was happening to him?

Chapter Text

Jace would've been right about nobody seeing Alec again until the next morning. That is, if Magnus hadn't heard a sound coming from the kitchen in the middle of the night and decided to investigate. When he walked into the kitchen, he was pleasantly surprised by the sight of Alec leaning against the large island that occupied the middle, a bottle of water in hand. He seemed to be panting heavily, his gray t-shirt completely soaked through with sweat, and his dark, curly hair matted against his forehead. The sweat that clung to his pale skin seemed to make him glow in the moonlight. Even exhausted, Alec Lightwood still looked beautiful. He seemed to have calmed down significantly compared to dinner, however Magnus could still see the slight tremor of his hands as he raised the bottle to his lips. Cautiously, Magnus stepped forward, not wanting to startle the soldier any more than he already was.

Alec glanced over upon hearing the slight creak in the floorboards, being surprised upon seeing the figure of Magnus Bane, a complete stranger, step cautiously into the kitchen. "What are you doing up?" Alec asked, his voice raspy from lack of sleep and the screaming he had done in the silence of the woods.

"Couldn't really sleep." Magnus shrugged. "It usually takes me a couple of days to be able to sleep in a new environment. Why are you awake?"

Alec eyed Magnus with curiosity. "Couldn't sleep either."

And that was it. Alec didn't seem eager to elaborate on this, and Magnus didn't want to pry and give Alec another reason to distrust or fear him. So, he calmly walked over to the kitchen and made a show out of grabbing a water bottle off of the bottom shelf of the fridge and then sitting on one of the bar stools on the other side of the island with Alec's back facing him. Alec stayed where he was for a couple of seconds before slowly turning around so he was facing Magnus, giving him a shrug before rolling his eyes and speaking up. "What?"

"I didn't say anything." Magnus said, taking a slow sip of his water bottle.

Alec smiled, just a small one, but it was enough for Magnus to see that there was a bright light shining in this otherwise pretty dark soul. He wanted to see more of it. "You know, in the military if there were people I didn't know watching me I would usually shoot them. So... is there anything I can help you with or are you just gonna keep watching me?"

Magnus shrugged. "We could talk, if you want to. Other than that, I'm fairly content just watching you, pretty boy."

A faint blush rose on Alec's cheeks, much to Magnus' delight, but his eyes darkened at the prospect of talking. "What would we talk about?"

Magnus shrugged. "Whatever you want."

Alec rolled his eyes. "Let me guess, Izzy told you that my brain is all messed up and she invited you here to be my therapist when I couldn't sleep at night." He started to walk away at that point, throwing his water bottle in the trash on the way. "Trust me, she's done it before. Look, I appreciate her concern but she needs to butt out and she knows it. So, you can stop trying to be my therapist and just go home if you don't want to be here before you get too far into my brain and realize that I'm completely beyond help."

Magnus, panicked, stood up quickly. "No, Alec, that's not what I meant by talking. And Izzy didn't invite me here, Clary did because she knew that otherwise I would be spending the entire summer alone in my apartment and she thought it would be good for me to come here and hang out with people and get to know the Lightwoods better because they've become such a huge part of her life." Alec had paused in his retreat to the bedroom and turned to glance at Magnus curiously, meaning that Magnus had gotten through to him somewhere. "So, really, us talking would benefit me more than it would benefit you."

"Okay." Alec decided, walking back over to where he was standing before so he was facing Magnus again. "Let's talk about you then."

Magnus, shocked, raised his eyebrows. "Well, that seems entirely unfair. Didn't I just say it would benefit me to get to know you, not the other way around?"

Alec leveled Magnus with a serious stare. "Look, I don't share my secrets with people that I just met. So, we can either talk about you so I can get to know you better before I decide I can trust you, or we can go back to standing here in silence while you watch me. It's your choice."

"Conversely," Magnus started, enjoying this little game the two had begun playing, "we could take turns asking each other questions?"

"What if it's a question I don't want to answer?" Alec asked, smirk turning into a frown.

"Then don't answer." Magnus shrugged. "I won't be offended."

Alec nodded. "Okay."

"Okay?"

"Okay."

"Good." Magnus smiled. "Now, it is 2 in the morning, so would you like some coffee before we begin? There's no use in talking to each other if we're going to fall asleep during."

Alec nodded and began to turn on the Keurig that was standing behind him, quickly making two cups of coffee and passing a mug to Magnus, who lifted it as if making a toast. "To us?"

Alec looked at Magnus and his mug cautiously before shrugging and clinking their glasses together. "To us."

Magnus took a sip before leaning forward in anticipation. "Okay. Ask away, Lightwood."

"What do you do for a living?"

"I'm a lawyer. I mostly work in cases involving children and abusive parents." Alec raised his eyebrows, but said nothing else, instead gesturing for Magnus to continue with his own question. "Where did you go? After you ran off earlier?"

Alec hesitated, but answered anyways. "I like to work out when I'm tense. There's no gym here, so whenever I start to get a little... anxious, I go for a run through the forest."

"You know there's more fun ways to work off tension, right?" Magnus answered with a sly grin, causing another blush to rise on Alec's cheeks.

"How did you meet Clary?" Alec asked, ignoring the insinuation in Magnus' question.

This time, it was Magnus who hesitated. "Her family adopted me when I was 10. She's been one of my best friends since." He took another sip of his coffee before asking his question. "Of all the people you could be best friends with, why Jace?"

Alec smirked. "Look, Jace may be a bit of an ass sometimes, but he's my brother, and he really is a good guy, once you chip away the parts of him that he tries to hide. I know he'll always have my back, and I'll always have his. You said you were going to spend the entire summer alone in your apartment?"

Magnus shrugged. "Not entirely alone. I have two cats, Chairman Meow and Church. But other than that, I don't really have a lot of close relationships with people. So yes, I would've spent almost the entirety of the summer myself, except for the occasional hook-up."

Alec chuckled. "Chairman Meow?"

"It's catchy." Magnus laughed, reveling in the fact that he was actually able to get a full smile out of the stoic soldier. "Where do you live when you're not stationed elsewhere?"

"I don't really have my own place. I usually just stay with Jace or Izzy when I'm in New York."

Magnus nearly choked on his coffee. "You don't have your own place?"

Alec merely shrugged, as if it wasn't a big deal that he didn't have his own place to live when he was home. "I'm always somewhere else for the army. Never really had time to get my own place and to be honest, I never really needed one."

"That must suck." Magnus said, staring at Alec with concern etched on his face. "Never having a permanent place to stay and call home."

"You get used to it after awhile." Alec shrugged, before looking at Magnus seriously. "I'm out of questions. Don't know enough of your secrets yet to keep prying."

"I have one more." Magnus asked, already prepared for Alec to pass on answering it. "Why did you really join the military?"

Alec paused. "I thought I answered that question at dinner."

"You lied. There's plenty of other ways you could have protected people and your country without going overseas to fight for it."

"If I did lie, it was for a reason. Me joining the military and the reasons behind it are none of your business." And just like that, Alec had closed himself off again, closing the door that Magnus had begun to inch open.

"Maybe it's not." Magnus agreed. "But I would still like to know."

"Why?" Alec asked. "Why do you want to know so much about me?"

"Because you intrigue me, Alexander." Magnus said, knowing that it was too early to be opening up about stuff like this to someone he just met and perfectly aware that it put him in a very vulnerable place, but for some reason he didn't seem to care. "For 10 years now, I've closed myself from feeling anything for anyone, man or woman, after my last relationship ended terribly. You've unlocked something in me." And it was true. When Magnus had first laid eyes on Alec he immediately just thought of him as another potential hook up, but now, after getting to know the boy he realized that Alec might be something special. Something that might finally break down the walls Magnus had built around his heart.

"If you knew the real me you wouldn't find me intriguing." Alec said softly, so quietly that Magnus had to strain to hear it.

"Well I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens then, won't we?" Magnus said just as softly in return. Alec looked down at him for a split second, and Magnus thought he saw a bit of hope in his eyes before it quickly faded away and all that was left was the guarded expression that Alec seemed to wear most often.

"Um, I'm getting a bit tired, so, I should uh, you know, head to bed." Alec stammered, pouring the rest of his coffee down the sink. "Goodnight." And then he was walking back in the direction of his bedroom, leaving Magnus alone with his coffee and his thoughts.

"Sweet dreams, Alexander." Magnus called out, and this seemed to make Alec stutter.

"I wanted to get away from my parents." Magnus heard, and looked over to see Alec standing in the open doorway of his bedroom.

"Pardon me?"

"I wanted to get away from my parents." Alec repeated, this time with a small shrug of his shoulders. "It's not the whole answer, but it's part of it at least."

And then he disappeared into his bedroom, leaving Magnus with a small smile on his face. It may not have been the answer he wanted, but it was still something, which meant that Magnus was slowly starting to chip away the cold exterior of Alec Lightwood to expose the softie underneath, something which he couldn't wait to discover.

"Good morning everyone!" Magnus declared the next morning, where the entire clan was gathered around the large island in the kitchen. "I hope you all had a good night's rest."

"You seem to have gotten one." Izzy stated, taking a much needed sip of her morning coffee. Magnus noted the dark circles under her eyes and her obvious bedhead, clear signs that Izzy wasn't entirely awake yet.

Truthfully, it took Magnus himself hours to get to sleep after chatting with Alec at 2am, even more intrigued with the serious soldier to the point where his entire thought process was consumed with Alec. So, he had finished his coffee and sat in wonder at what Maryse and Robert could have possibly done to make their son want to go as far as to join the military to escape them.

"Coffee, Magnus?" Alec himself asked, looking at Magnus with a hint of a smirk on his face at the memory from last night.

"No, thank you." Magnus smirked in return. "I think I've already had my fair share of coffee this morning."

Alec raised his eyebrows with a small smile, but said nothing in return. Everyone else, on the other hand, looked a mixture of amused and confused, Izzy especially, whose eyebrows were raised with interest as she looked between her brother and Magnus.

"Magnus," Izzy started, "I was just thinking we should go for a swim in the lake today. Want to come with?"

Magnus' face visibly paled. "Uh, no, Isabelle, I'm not much of a swimmer."

"Hmmm." Isabelle hummed, taking another sip of her coffee. "Alec can't swim either."

Alec seemed to tense when his sister said this. "I'm a captain in the military, Izzy. I can swim, and you know it."

"Then why don't you?"

Instead of responding, Alec just shook his head and took another long drink of his coffee. "I'm going for a run."

And then he was gone, out the door and speeding off into the woods again. Izzy's shoulders dropped when she realized that she had upset her brother, and Jace sadly shook his head as he watched Alec's form run away from the sanctuary of his cabin.

"Well Izzy," Clary started, "If it's all the same to you, I'd love to go for a swim in the lake."

"Yeah, Iz," Simon agreed, rubbing his girlfriend's shoulders, "I think it's a great idea."

"You guys go ahead." Magnus said. "I'll explore the area a little bit."

"Are you sure you don't want to join us, Magnus?" Maryse asked. "The lake water is usually a perfect temperature this time of year."

"I'm sure." Magnus said, and everyone seemed to accept this without consequence, heading off to their rooms to change into their swimming suits. Magnus, on the other hand, walked through the front door that he had just watched Alec escape through, wandering towards what looked like a worn-in dirt trail on the side of the cabin. He slowly walked through the trail, taking in the way the sunlight flickered through the gaps in the trees and the sounds of nature, seeing the occasional squirrel or bunny or frog jump in front of him as he wandered through the trail, listening and looking for any sign that Alec could have come here. Magnus was beginning to think it was a hopeless cause after wandering for a good half hour, but then he eventually heard the sound of someone muttering and what sounded like something hitting wood. He eventually came across a bend in the trail, and found a clearing where none other than Alec Lightwood himself was standing, a bow in hand with an arrow nocked. Painted on some of the trees where what looked to be targets, just little red dots that would not be visible to someone who wasn't paying attention. Magnus watched as Alec let the arrow fly, letting it hit the red dot perfectly in the centre. Alec moved to go dislodge it, still not looking over in Magnus' direction.

"Why'd you follow me?" He all of sudden said, much to Magnus' amusement.

"How'd you know I was here?" Magnus asked, but stepped forwards anyways.

"Not many people can sneak up on me." Alec answered, inspecting the arrow for damage. "Why'd you follow me?"

"What is this place?" Magnus asked, ignoring Alec's question.

Alec regarded Magnus for a couple seconds before answering. "When I was a kid, I became obsessed with archery. I bought this bow when I was a teenager and created a little clearing for myself here so I could practice archery whenever I wanted."

"Well, you seem to have developed quite the skill for it."

Alec shrugged. "I'm alright."

"You're gonna have to teach me someday." Magnus said, watching as Alec nocked another arrow and sent it to flying towards its target.

"You still haven't answered my question." Alec observed. "Why'd you follow me?"

Magnus shrugged. "I didn't. Everyone else went down to the lake, which I wasn't interested in doing, so I figured I'd explore the area a little bit. It was just a coincidence that I came across the trail that led me here." Magnus paused for a second before continuing. "Is this where you come when you need a break?"

Alec didn't answer, instead letting another arrow fly. "You should head back down to the lake with everyone else. Didn't you say you were here to get to know the Lightwoods better?"

"Aren't you a Lightwood?" Magnus asked. Alec just shot Magnus an exasperated look before letting another arrow go to its target. "Why didn't you go the lake? Didn't you come here to spend more time with your family?"

Alec shot the arrow a little harder this time, letting Magnus know he had hit a nerve. He shook his head, muttering to himself as he went to go retrieve it. Magnus watched him intently, watching as he inspected the arrow and then quickly nocked it again, a practiced routine that he clearly did whenever he needed to get some anger out. This routine continued for a couple minutes, Alec letting the arrow fly and Magnus watching him, observing as the tension slowly left his body. Eventually though, Magnus started to notice something else. There was droplets of red dripping onto the ground, right from Alec's hand.

"Holy shit, you're bleeding!" Magnus exclaimed, rushing up to grab Alec's hand, which was gushing blood from thin cuts that seemed to have been caused by holding the string of the bow too tightly. Alec quickly yanked his hand away in alarm, inspecting it quickly, watching the blood drip onto the dirt ground with seemed interest.

"It's fine." He dismissed. "Happens sometimes."

"You should put a bandage or something on it." Magnus insisted. "Come back to the cabin, I can help you treat it..."

"Magnus." Alec said, and this time it had a note of finality. "I'm good."

Magnus waited for a couple minutes before deciding he had spent enough time in the clearing and heading back to the cabin. When he got to the lake, Magnus saw Izzy, Simon, Jace and Clary all playing in the water while Maryse and Luke sat on the beach. Magnus moved over to sit down in a spot directly where the sun would hit him, stripping off his shirt to even out what he knew were his tan lines. He laid down for a few minutes in silence before the sound of someone moving towards him interrupted his quiet.

"You're blocking my sun." Magnus said.

"I'm sorry." A deep voice said, and Magnus opened his eyes to see Alec standing above him. "Mind if I sit?"

Magnus watched Alec quietly for a few seconds before gesturing to the ground beside him. Alec silently sat down, leaning back on his hands so he could watch his siblings and their significant others play in the water. Magnus knew that Maryse was looking over at them, but decided not to acknowledge it, letting her observe her son and Magnus interact.

"When we were kids," Alec started, "Jace and I used to take turns letting Izzy sit on our shoulders so she could hover above the water while we swam. She would always laugh so hard." Alec smiled then, a real one, as the memory of him and his siblings when they were kids filled his head.

"You should get in." Magnus said. "They look like they're having fun out there."

As if able to hear their interaction, Jace called out, "Alec! Come on, get in, the water's great!"

Alec hesitated for a second before calling back out, "I'm good!"

Magnus regarded Alec curiously, but remained silent nonetheless. Eventually, though, he spoke up. "Can I ask you a question?"

Alec chuckled. "Strange of you to ask that." But then he shrugged. "But go ahead."

"Aren't you warm?" Alec furrowed his brow in confusion. "It's got to be about 100 degrees outside, the sun is boiling, and you're sitting here with a black t-shirt on."

Alec shrugged. "Nope. I'm alright."

Magnus hummed in acknowledgement, not believing Alec for a second but not wanting to pry and make him upset any more, so he instead just laid back down on the sand and let the sun beat down on him in silence. Eventually he could feel Alec lean back more next to him until his own head was resting against the warm sand, just a couple inches away from Magnus. They laid next to each other for a few more minutes before Alec started to speak up again.

"Do you not like swimming?"

Magnus tensed. "I'm not a huge fan of the water."

Alec hummed in response, and then they were silent again, enjoying the peacefulness and the calm of the moment. After what felt like an hour, Alec started to shift and stood up, dusting the sand off of his clothes as he started to walk back towards the house.

"Where are you going?" Magnus called.

"To shower and cook dinner." Alec replied, walking into the house. Great, Magnus thought. Now the image of a naked Alec Lightwood under the water is going to be ingrained in my brain for the rest of the night. Standing with his head tilted back as the spray hits his face and drips down his neck, going down his chest and his muscular stomach, dripping down over the tip of his...

"Well, you two seem to be getting comfortable." Magnus opened his eyes to see a smirking Isabelle and Clary standing above him, their soaked hair framing their faces as water and sand dripping down their bodies. Magnus looked up to see that Jace and Simon were heading inside, leaving Magnus alone with their girlfriends.

"What do you mean?" Magnus asked.

"I mean," Izzy replied, sitting down next to Magnus on the sand, "my brother isn't exactly warm and fuzzy. It's nice to see him talking to somebody that isn't me or Jace."

"He's a good man, Isabelle." Magnus replied. "I'm just trying to get to know more about him."

Izzy snorted. "Good luck. Even Jace and I don't know all of Alec's secrets."

"I don't intend to know all of his secrets." Magnus shrugged. "I just want to know more about who he is."

Izzy smiled, seemingly satisfied with this. "Good." She sat in silence for a couple of minutes before sighing and standing up. "Well, I should go get dressed and dry off before dinner. Mom hates it when the dining table gets wet."

And then Isabelle was gone, leaving Magnus and Clary sitting in the sand alone. "Magnus," Clary hesitantly started, "you aren't just trying to use Alec for a hook-up, are you?"

Magnus scoffed. "You've never seemed to care about who shares my bed before, Clarissa."

"I know but," Clary began, "Alec is different. You know that Alec is different. He's not the type of person whose heart you should play with."

Magnus considered this for a second. "Yes, I know that Alec is different. Which is exactly why I want to try to get to know him." Magnus shook his head. "For the first time in ten years, I actually want to get to know someone for who they are, instead of what they're like in bed. Is that so bad?"

Clary smiled. "Not at all. Just be careful, Magnus. Don't let your heart get broken again."

Magnus smiled softly at his best friend, giving her a light kiss on the cheek before they both stood up to go dry off before dinner. Clary quickly ran up the stairs to her bedroom while Magnus walked down the hallway to his own room, giving a quick glance into Alec's bedroom on the way, disappointed to find that it was still empty, meaning Alec was still occupying the bathroom. Magnus sighed in disappointment before stepping into his bedroom to change out of his sand-covered clothes into some nicer, more comfortable ones. He took his time coiffing up his hair and touching up his eye makeup, trying to make himself extra presentable for his second Lightwood family dinner.

When he finally exited his bedroom, he heard murmurs and giggles coming from the kitchen, entering it to see Alec standing at the counter cooking something with a beer in hand while Jace and Izzy sat at the island, watching him with their own drinks.

"I can't believe you actually did that!" Izzy squealed, laughing at her brother as he cooked.

"Did what?" Magnus asked, approaching the island and beginning to make himself a margarita.

Jace chuckled. "Alec and I used to share an apartment with each other after high school, and Alec would always get annoyed with me cause I would have girls over all of the time. So, one time, I was hooking up with this girl I picked up at a bar, Kaelie, and Alec literally walked in while we were making out in my bed and said he needed to talk to me."

"Were you guys clothed?" Izzy giggled.

Jace shook his head, taking a swig of his beer. "She was completely naked with her legs wrapped around me, and I had boxers on."

"So, what happened after Alec walked in?" Magnus asked, leaning against the island to listen in.

"Basically, Kaelie offered for him to join us, and his response was, and I quote 'I'm good.' And then Kaelie just gets up and leaves, still completely naked, and Alec throws my pants in my face and proceeds to yell at me for the next 5 minutes."

Magnus raised his eyebrows at Alec, who just smirked in response. "Jace never shut up about his sex life when we lived together." Alec explained. "I figured I already had to hear about it, what was the harm in walking in on it once to make him stop."

"Hey," Jace started, "it is not my fault that you never had your own sex life to brag about."

Alec just glared at his brother before turning back to whatever it was he was cooking. Izzy regarded her brother for a second before turning to Jace with a smirk.

"You remember that guy I was hooking up with in college, Meliorn?" Jace nodded in response. "Well, before Simon and I got together we went to a bar and Meliorn was there. He asked if Simon was my boyfriend, and when I responded that Simon was just a good friend Meliorn said he wanted to see me again, and that he would be thrilled if Simon came too." At this, Jace burst out laughing along with Izzy. "Simon looked absolutely traumatized!"

"About what?" Simon asked, entering the kitchen with Clary.

"Oh, nothing." Izzy smiled, giving her boyfriend a peck on the cheek. "Jace and I were just telling funny hook-up stories."

Clary smirked at this. "I'm sure Magnus has quite a few of those."

"Oh, please." Magnus scoffed. "I don't kiss and tell."

Alec glanced at Magnus for a few seconds before quickly turning back to his cooking before Magnus could notice.

"You know," Clary started, "I used to work with this girl, Dot. We became really good friends and one time I brought her to a bar to hang out with Magnus and I, and then a couple of nights later I walked in on the two of them in bed together." Clary shivered, as if reliving the memory. "Needless to say, I could never look at Dot the same way after that."

Magnus smiled. "Dot was a sweet girl, but I couldn't give her what she wanted."

Jace smirked. "It sounds like you did."

Magnus rolled his eyes. "Don't be crude. I meant in the long run. She was looking towards the future and wanted a committed relationship, something which I was not prepared for at the time." Magnus took a sip of his margarita. "Alright, Jace, Izzy and I have shared our stories, Simon it's your turn."

Simon thought for a second. "So, I used to sing with this one girl, Maureen, at gigs and stuff, and she was really, really into me. So, when I first met Izzy and she wasn't interested in me whatsoever, I decided to try and get over her by sleeping with Maureen instead. However, I may have accidentally called her Izzy at some point during the night."

At this, Jace burst out laughing. "Holy shit! You called a girl by the wrong name during sex! That is priceless!"

"No, no, not during." Simon amended. "After. She was asking me if I wanted a committed relationship with her, and I responded with 'Of course I do, Izzy.'" Simon shook his head in disappointment.

"Hey." Izzy said. "You have me now, that's all that matters." And then gave her boyfriend a quick kiss.

"Alright," Simon said, "I personally want to hear a story from the Captain over here. I mean, being a military man must get you a lot of girls."

Alec smiled, turning away from his cooking to smirk at Simon. "First of all, I don't do casual hook-ups. They've just never been my thing. Second of all, I don't play for that team."

Simon's eyes widened in fear while Jace and Izzy tried to hide their laughter by taking sips of their drinks. "Oh shit, man, uh, sorry, I didn't know no one told me..."

Alec rolled his eyes and looked at Izzy. "Does he ever stop talking?"

"Alec, dinner smells delicious!" Maryse exclaimed, sauntering into the kitchen with Luke and effectively stopping all conversation of their children's sex lives. "I forgot how much I missed your cooking!"

"What?" Izzy whined. "Don't you love my cooking, mom?"

This collectively caused everyone in the kitchen to wince. "Izzy," Simon started, "I love you, but last time you cooked me dinner you gave me food poisoning."

This caused everyone to start laughing immediately and Izzy to pout, much to Magnus' delight. Magnus was shocked by the overwhelming joy he was experiencing, being here with the Lightwoods, knowing that this was what he had been missing all of his life: this feeling of family and joy and happiness.

"Where did you learn how to cook, Alec?" Clary asked, as Alec took out a delicious-looking lasagna from the oven.

"I always liked to cook when I was a kid." Alec explained with a shrug. "When I was stationed somewhere else, with a ton of men who were away from their wives and kids and who slept in uncomfortable army barracks every night, sometimes a good meal was the perfect thing to cheer them up."

Magnus smiled. Because this man was so selfless that he took time out of his day to cook for men who were underneath him just so they would feel more at home every day. Alec made quick work of setting the table and putting the lasagna and garlic bread he had cooked down, allowing everyone to sit down and dig in.

"Alec," Magnus practically moaned, "this lasagna is delicious."

Alec blushed. "Thanks."

The rest of the family sounded their agreement, happily diving into their lasagna and scarfing it down in silence. All the while Magnus was watching Alec, observing the small smile on his face as he enjoyed his dinner and watched his family, all smiling and happy around him, and the blush still high on his cheeks as he absorbed the compliments that his family kept throwing his way, demonstrating that even the strongest man can have a humble side.

When they finished dinner the family decided to sit around and watch a movie, some comedy that Magnus had never heard of and wasn't intending on watching anyways because he was still looking at the quiet soldier as he nursed his beer. Every once in a while he could see Alec's eyes flit over to glance at Magnus, but he quickly averted them every time he noticed that Magnus was watching him too. After about a half hour of this practiced routine, Alec moved over without a word to walk out the patio doors and sit on one of the chairs as the sunset above the lake in front of him. After a couple moments of consideration Magnus stood up as well and followed Alec out, closing the door behind him as he sat next to Alexander and watched the sunset as well, taking a couple sips of his margarita.

"Why'd you follow me?" Alec asked, not taking his eyes off of the view in front of him.

Magnus smirked. "I thought that the invitation was obvious." Alec chuckled, a quick, breathy laugh, but a laugh nonetheless, and then he was quiet again. "The sunset is beautiful. I don't blame you for coming out here."

"The sunrise is even more beautiful." Alec murmured, seemingly deep in thought. "I've known I was gay since I was 12." Magnus looked at Alec in surprise, but remained silent anyways. "Around the same time as we adopted Jace. I thought I was in love with him for a while, but I realize now it was actually just teenage hormones and the fact that he was the only guy around combining to create what I thought was love. When I was 16 I came out to Izzy, but she didn't seem surprised. Honestly, she'd probably known for years before that. I came out to Jace and my parents a couple years later. Jace supported me, but my parents were furious. My dad even told me that I was no longer his son and kicked me out of his house. I enlisted in the military not long after that, to try and prove to my dad that I was still a man, that he still had some reason to be proud of me, but it didn't work. I never talked to him again after that. My mom came into contact with me after I enlisted, to tell me that dad had cheated on her and that she was sorry for the way that she treated me and she wanted to reconnect before I had to leave again." Alec looked at Magnus and shrugged, and Magnus was shocked to see that there were tears in his eyes. "You wanted to know why I enlisted in the military, well that's why."

"Why are you telling me this?" Magnus said, barely above a whisper.

"I trust you." Alec replied. "I don't know why, but I do." And then Alec was standing to go back inside, walking right past his family into his bedroom for the night. Magnus went back inside a couple of minutes later, facing the curious glances of Alec's family, but just smiled and sat back down to continue drinking his margarita and pretend to watch the movie.

It was a couple of minutes later when they all heard the screams.

Chapter Text

Isabelle was up in a second when the screams started and running to her brother's room, quickly followed by a concerned Jace and Maryse. Clary, Simon, and Luke stayed where they were, despite the concern evident on their faces, knowing that their presence wouldn't help Alec's current situation. Magnus knew it was probably for the best if he stayed with them and let Alec be comforted by his family, but for some reason he couldn't bring himself to stay put when he knew that the broken soldier was suffering, so he placed his margarita on the table in front of him and quickly ran over to Alec's room to assess the situation. When he got there, what he saw completely broke his already damaged heart. Alec was sitting upright on the bed now, his weak form being supported by his sister as he sobbed and screamed into her shoulder. Izzy herself looked terrified, tears streaming down her face as she wrapped her thin arms around her brother, making his form look small despite the fact that he was almost a foot taller than her. Jace was sitting next to Alec, comfortingly rubbing his back and whispering the occasional comment in his ear, while Maryse was standing in the doorway, her hand over her heart in shock as she watched her baby break right in front of her eyes.

"Alec!" Izzy cried. "Alec, please, it's me, you're safe, it's okay!"

"I'm sorry." Alec sobbed, visibly shaking as he shook his head back and forth in fear. "I killed them, they're dead because of me, I'm so fucking sorry!"

Izzy and Jace shared a concerned glance over Alec's sobbing form but said nothing else, instead letting their brother continue to sob in silence. Maryse eventually moved over as well once the shock had dissipated, wrapping her arms around her son and resting her chin atop his head. Magnus was fighting the urge to go and sit on the bed himself, but he knew that him and Alec weren't near that comfortable yet and Magnus being there would probably make Alec panic more than it would calm him down. Instead, Magnus ran into the kitchen and poured a cool glass of water and wetting a facecloth, running back into the room and passing both items to Isabelle.

"What are these for?" Izzy asked, looking at Magnus with concern and confusion etched on her tired face.

"Use the washcloth to wipe the sweat away from his forehead, it'll calm him down." Magnus explained. "When he's calm enough, make him take small sips of the water. His throat's probably going to be pretty dry from the screaming."

Izzy looked unsure, but nodded and began to dab the sweat away from her brother's shivering forehead. "Thank you."

"Of course." Magnus awkwardly stood in the doorway for a couple minutes as Alec calmed down, the shaking slowly coming to a halt and the sobs turning into breathless whimpers as he came to. His eyes, which were unfocused and squeezed shut, began to slowly open and widen when he realized what was going on around him and where he was.

"Izzy? What's going on?"

"Hey big brother." Izzy tearfully smiled. "You were having a nightmare, a bad one by the sounds of it. But you're safe now, it's okay."

Alec looked around him in confusion. "No, no, it's not okay. No, I was back there and they were all... and then there was..." Alec squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head. "I need to get out of here." And then he was pushing himself up and out of bed, despite the protests coming from his family members.

"No, Alec, you shouldn't be alone right now." Jace said, placing a hand on his best friends shoulder. "Please, just stay here and talk to us."

"No, no I c- I can't." Alec stuttered, furiously wiping his eyes. "I have to go."

"Alexander..."Magnus started, reaching out his hand despite knowing it wasn't his place.

"Don't." Alec said. "Everybody just... don't follow me. Please." And then Alec ran away, running past Luke, Clary, and Simon and out the door, making sure to slam it behind him as he left. Magnus knew exactly where he was going and that he was only going to come back after shooting so many arrows into the trees that they were barely able to stand anymore, and he knew that he could very easily follow him if he really wanted to, but he knew that would only upset Alec more, and Magnus didn't feel like explaining an arrow wound to Clary later.

So, he sat back down on the couch and picked his margarita back up, ignoring the concerned glances that Clary shot his way.

"Where'd he go?" Simon asked Izzy when she sat back down in his lap, her face still stained with tears. "Is he okay?"

"God only knows." Jace said, sitting back down on the couch next to Clary. "Instead of talking to us like any other person would he runs off somewhere and doesn't come back for hours, and then when he finally does come back he pretends that nothing ever happened." Jace shrugged bitterly. "It's what he always does when this happens."

"He said he killed them." Izzy whispered. "He said people died because of him." Then she shook her head, leaning her forehead against Simon's shoulder. "I just wish he would tell us what's going on, what happened to him over there. I don't understand why he thinks it has to be this burden for him alone to carry on his shoulders."

"He doesn't want you to think of him any differently." Magnus answered. "He thinks if he tells you what he saw and the things he might have done, you're going to think he's weak for letting it affect him or a monster for acting out on it. He wants you to just keep thinking you're his brave older brother who would never let anything hurt him or you."

Isabelle looked shocked. "I would never think of him any differently, no matter what he's been through. He'll always be my brave big brother."

Magnus shrugged. "Just give him some time. He'll tell you eventually."

"How do you know so much about my brother?" Jace asked.

"I don't." Magnus responded, and left it at that, trying to get the clear message across that it was not up for discussion how he knew exactly what Alec was going through. Everyone else seemed to have gotten the message, turning back to the movie with sadness in their eyes. Eventually, Maryse and Luke bid everyone goodnight to retreat to their bedroom for the night, leaving Magnus, Clary, Jace, Izzy, and Simon alone on the couch, with most of their thoughts, especially Magnus', consumed with worries about the missing Alexander. Before Magnus knew it the combination of the margarita in his hand and the all consuming thought of Alec's smile, his true and beautiful one, had Magnus nodding off, his head dipping off to the side and his eyes closing as the sleep he missed the night before caught up and overtook him until he was curled up like a cat on the small couch, sound asleep.

Izzy poked Simon with her elbow gently and nodded her head towards Magnus, not wanting to wake him by talking. Simon did the same to Clary and Jace, who both smiled softly before turning the movie off and moving to the kitchen so they could chat without waking Magnus up. Simon and Izzy moved to follow, however Izzy stopped along the way to quickly cover Magnus with a thin blanket, which he instinctually wrapped around himself in his sleep. Izzy smiled and gave Magnus a quick kiss on the forehead before grabbing her wine and moving to stand around the island with everyone else.

"He cares about Alec." Clary observed. "I don't think I've ever seen Magnus this obsessed with somebody before, not since..."

"Camille?" Simon finished, to which Clary nodded.

"Who's Camille?" Jace asked.

"Magnus' ex." Clary explained. "It didn't end well, and since then he's been almost afraid of relationships."

"Alec cares about Magnus too." Izzy admitted. "He may not be as obvious about it, but I know my brother. Magnus means something to him."

"Do you really think it's a good idea for them to get together though?" Jace asked. "I mean, clearly they both have a lot of emotional baggage to work through."

"Which they can help each other with." Izzy justified. "I just want to see my brother happy again. If Magnus is the one who can do that, then I'll support them."

Magnus was woken what was probably hours later by the sound of a blood-curdling scream coming from Alec's room. He sat up quickly, about to rush in to make sure Alec was okay when the soldier himself ran out of his room and into the kitchen, promptly throwing up the delicious lasagna he had made for dinner into the sink. Magnus sat in silence for a couple minutes as Alec gathered his bearings, heaving and sobbing into the sink until there was nothing left in him to bring up.

Magnus cautiously stood up. "Alexander? Are you alright?"

Alec didn't move, staying bent over the sink with his back facing Magnus. "I'm fine." He replied, his voice hoarse from the screaming and puking he had just finished doing. Magnus slowly stepped closer, close enough that he could see Alec's hand was sliced raw from shooting so many arrows, fresh blood still spurting from the thin cuts between his fingers, meaning he probably hadn't been back for long. Considering how raw the cuts were, it looked like the second Alec had closed his eyes a nightmare hit. Magnus shook his head in sadness, thinking about the fact that the poor soul probably hasn't slept a full nights sleep in ages.

"No, you're not." Magnus replied, moving so he was standing right next to Alec and able to see into the tear filled hazel eyes. "You hope the pain here," he pointed to Alec's hand, "will overpower the pain here." He finished, pointing to his heart. "Which is why you shoot those arrows everytime you have a flashback or nightmare. You did something that you think justifies hurting yourself."

Alec observed Magnus for a few seconds, his eyebrows furrowing in confusion before he spoke again. "You don't know me. You don't know anything about me."

Magnus shrugged, a hint of a smile on his face. "You're right. I don't know you, but I'm trying to. I know enough though. I know that you're a captain in the military and have been serving overseas for the past five years, that you have a brother and sister who you would do anything to protect, that you're gay, and joined the military after your father dissaproved of you coming out. And I also know that you would blow up the very ground you stand on to make something right." Alec remained silent, but there were fresh tears dripping down his cheeks as his hands gripped the counter so hard Magnus thought that the marble was going to crumble right beneath his white fingers. "Do you want to come sit on the patio with me? It looks like the sun is about to rise."

Alec didn't say anything but nodded, wordlessly stepping around Magnus to walk through the double patio doors. Magnus grabbed a water bottle out of the fridge before following, finding Alec to be sitting down on one of the steps, his face buried in his hands. "Here." Magnus said, passing Alec the water bottle and pretending not to see the blood now streaked on Alec's face from having his hand pressed onto his cheek. "I know the taste of throw up kind of sucks, so this should help you rinse it away."

"Thanks." Alec muttered, taking a swig and rinsing it through his mouth before spitting it into the grass next to him. The two of them sat in silence for a few moments longer as the sun rose over the horizon, colouring the sky with pink and yellow and orange and reflecting on the clear lake in front of them. It was a beautiful sight, but Magnus' focus was on the pale faced soldier whose face was still streaked with the shine of fresh tears over his cheekbones and the dark, sunken circles underneath his hazel eyes.

"You look exhausted." Magnus observed, to which Alec scoffed.

"Sleep doesn't exactly come easily to me these days." He muttered, still looking out over this sunrise.

"I understand." Magnus replied, causing Alec to raise his eyebrows. "You're not the only one who gets nightmares sometimes."

"It's not just sometimes." Alec explained. "Every single damn time that I close my eyes I see them, and I'm forced to relive it over and over again..."

"Relive what?" Magnus encouraged when Alec paused.

Alec shook his head. "If you knew, you'd never talk to me again."

Magnus observed Alec silently for a few seconds before he spoke up again. "I think it's in human nature to blame ourselves for things that aren't our faults and that we probably could have done nothing to prevent anyways. I remember when I met my ex-girlfriend, Camille, I thought she was the love of my life. She was smart, beautiful, kind-hearted, charming... she was perfect. We dated for so many years, and I was so happy with her that I was getting ready to go to the store one day and buy an engagement ring."

"So what happened?" Alac asked, listening intently.

"I found out she had been cheating on me for the past year of our relationship." Magnus shrugged. "I remember telling her that I would try and be better, that I was sorry for not being good enough for her... she was the one who had been sleeping with other men yet I was the one who felt bad. Now, I know that my sob story about a girlfriend cheating on me probably doesn't compare to whatever plagues your mind at night, but it proves my point nevertheless."

"Which is?"

"We can't blame ourselves for something that isn't our fault, nor can we keep it to ourselves forever. Your brother and sister adore you, Alexander, and nothing you could have possibly done would make them think any less of you." Alec scoffed and shook his head. "They're worried about you, rightfully so. So, if you're not gonna talk to a professional about your troubles, talk to your siblings about it. Please."

Alec shook his head. "I can't. Izzy and Jace have their own things to worry about, they shouldn't be worrying about me and my problems too."

"But they do because they love you." Magnus replied. Alec just sat in silence, his eyes still watching the sun as it rose over the lake.

"You know," Alec started, "I used to watch the sunrise on base all the time. Sometimes I would wake up early and crawl out of my bunker or I'd stop fighting and hide behind a bush just to watch the same thing every morning; the colours rising over a bare horizon. Now, sometimes it would be marred by the sound of people screaming or gunshots going off, but every morning it was the exact same thing, these colours we're looking at right now. Like clockwork." Alec finally took his eyes off of the lake and looked over at Magnus. "I guess it kept me grounded, knowing that the world may be falling apart with war, but the sun will still rise and give the world a beautiful view every single day."

Magnus smiled. "You continue to surprise me, Alexander."

Alec smiled in return, his first one this entire morning, and Magnus beamed. They both then turned back to the finish watching the rising sun, sitting in complete silence as so they could hear the birds chirping as they woke up and observe the occassional animal that stepped out of the green expanse of the forest to take a drink from the clear lake water or to catch one of the fish that leaped in an arc over the glistening pond.

"Look!" Alec all of a sudden exclaimed, pointing to a corner of the lake. Magnus watched in awe as a beautiful deer stepped out of the woods, cautiously glancing around before making a small sound in the back of its throat. After a couple seconds, a baby deer stepped out and followed its mother eagerly towards the lake, stumbling over it's long legs as it did so, to bend its neck and take a slurp of the water.

"They're beautiful." Alec whispered, his eyes alight with joy and wonder.

"Reminds me of Bambi." Magnus agreed.

"Who?" Alec asked.

"You've never watched Bambi?!" Magnus exclaimed.

Alec shrugged. "We never really watched a lot of movies growing up. I guarantee Jace and Izzy haven't seen it either."

Magnus feigned offence. "Well, now I know what my purpose is here this summer. I have to introduce you all to some of my favourite movies, oh my goodness, you are in for the experience of your lives you have no idea what you've all been missing out on!"

Alec chuckled, shaking his head at Magnus' over the top antics. Magnus observed him for a couple more seconds before abrubtly standing up. "Are you tired? You should try and get some more sleep."

Alec froze. "No. No, I can't go back to sleep."

"Alright." Magnus replied. "Well, since neither of us are planning on going back to sleep anytime soon, do you want some breakfast? I can make a mean Belgian waffle."

"You know it's still early." Alec said. "You should try and get some more sleep if you can."

Magnus dismissed this thought with a simple hand wave. "I passed out on the couch pretty early. I'm not tired in the slightest. So, would you like a waffle?"

Alec hesitated for a second. "Sure."

Magnus clapped his hands together in excitement. "Excellent. Let me just go touch up my makeup and hair and then I'll meet you in the kitchen."

"Why do you wear all of that?" Alec blurted out, then blushed. "Not that I mind it or anything like that, I just don't understand why you think you need it. You're beautiful the way you are." Alec's blushed deepened at this, causing Magnus to smirk.

"I'll keep that in mind, Alexander." And then Magnus was off, his thoughts still consumed of the handsome soldier.

Isabelle woke up to the sounds of giggling and music coming from downstairs. She poked Simon's side to wake him. "Simon. Simon, wake up!"

Simon groggily blinked his eyes open. "Wha's going on?"

"Do you hear that?"

Simon blinked his eyes in confusion. "The music?"

"Yeah."

"Yeah, why? It's just music."

"The only person who would be awake at this ungodly hour is my brother, and my brother does not listen to music."

"He's probably just watching tv or something, just go back to sleep." Simon complained, flopping back down and covering his face with a pillow. Izzy rolled her eyes and pushed the covers off her before getting up, quietly opening the door and tiptoeing down the hallway to avoid waking anyone else up, slowly moving towards the top of the staircase where she would have a clear view of the kitchen.

And what she saw practically had tears filling her eyes.

Alec was sitting on the island, a stack of Belgian waffles sitting on a plate next to him, but what was most shocking was that Alec was laughing, really, truly, laughing, his eyes practically glowing as he watched the sight in front of him. Magnus was standing in the middle of the living room, dancing his heart out to Beyonce's Single Ladies, following the moves exactly as they were in the music video.

"Come on, Alexander, join me!" He exclaimed, shaking his hips in an erotic manner.

Alec shook his head, a wide smile on his face. "I don't dance, Magnus."

"Oh come on, let loose a little bit!" Magnus exclaimed, dancing closer and closer to where Alec was sitting. "Even a Captain has to have fun sometimes!"

"No, Magnus!" Alec exclaimed, as Magnus grabbed onto his hands and pulled him to his feet on the ground. Alec though, wasn't the most graceful person in the world and fell to the floor, dragging Magnus with him so they were now laid, Magnus on top of Alec, their entire bodies spread over each others so that every inch was pressed tightly together. Izzy watched with bated breath as her brother assessed the situation, noting that their lips were a mere couple inches from each other. Alec's eyes widened in panic when he realized what was going on, quickly pushing Magnus off and jumping to his feet, hands tugging at his hair frantically and his breath coming out in rapid gasps.

"Shit, Magnus, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to pull you down like that..."

"Hey, Alec." Magnus said, slowly standing up. "It's okay, it was my fault too. You don't have to panic, it was just an accident."

"Yeah, but..."

"No buts." Magnus stopped. "It was an accident, you have absolutely nothing to apologize or feel bad for so stop acting like it's the end of the world that we ended up on the floor like that. Truthfully, I've been wanting to get on top of you like that ever since I met you." Alec blushed furiously, but said nothing else. When he opened his mouth again, Magnus stopped him with a finger to his lips. "You don't have to say anything else. It's alright, Alexander."

Alec smirked at the finger on his lips. "Is this what you do? You flirt, and use your charm to get anybody you want?"

Magnus smiled. "Usually, yes. You though, are different."

"How? You could probably get anyone in the world... why me?"

"As much as I may want you in my bed sooner rather than later, I want to get to know you first, Alexander. But to do that, you have to let me in a little bit more."

Alec stepped back. "I-I'm not... We've only known each other for a couple days."

"Which is exactly the reason why I'm still trying to get to know you." Magnus explained. "Just let me in, Alec."

Alec hesitated, before shaking his head. "I can't. I-I'm sorry."

And then he stormed off to his bedroom, leaving Magnus standing alone in the living room. Magnus shook his head silently. "You can come out now, Isabelle."

Izzy sheepishly stepped down from the top of the stairs, walking down to the kitchen where Magnus was still standing. "Sorry. I didn't mean to eavesdrop."

Magnus waved her off. "It's alright." Then he shook his head in disappointment. "Perhaps I pushed him a bit too hard. I shouldn't have been so forward. I mean, he is right, we've only known each other for a couple days..."

"And in those couple of days I've never seen my brother happier than when he's with you." Izzy interrupted. "Just give Alec some time and he'll open up and realize that he feels the exact same way about you as you do about him."

Magnus shook his head sadly. "I could never give him what he needs, Isabelle. He needs somebody who'll open their heart up and give him a committed and loving relationship, something which I am very bad at..."

"No, you are not." Izzy said, placing a comforting hand on Magnus' arm. ""I know you want to find love as much as anyone else does Magnus, you're just afraid of opening your heart up because you don't want it to get broken."

"How would you know that?" Magnus asked.

"Because Jace and I used to be the exact same way before we met Clary and Simon. We went to bars, had one night stands, convinced ourselves that we didn't need love until Clary and Simon came along and proved us completely wrong. Someday, somebody is going to make you realize that you need love too. Maybe Alec is that person."

"It might be a bit harder when Alec himself hasn't realized he needs love yet, either."

Izzy shook her head. "Alec's been repressed for so long I'm surprised he hasn't exploded. Let me talk to him. I'll figure out what's going through my brother's head." Izzy placed a kiss on Magnus' forehead before turning to the stack of waffles sitting next to him. "Now, we are not letting these waffles go to waste. Come on, dig in!"

Hours later, the entire family was awake and milling about the cabin, trying to figure out what to do on that sunny day. Jace, Alec and Luke were all sitting on the patio with beers in hand, probably conversing about the similarities and differences between the police force and the army and the different things they've seen or done, because what else would the group possibly have in common? Simon, Izzy and Maryse were all sitting around the island munching on the leftover waffles from this morning, and Clary was standing in the corner in front of her eisel, working on her latest sketch. Magnus was leaning against the counter, observing everbody interact with each other and wishing he could have this everyday.

His thought were broken by Maryse's bright voice. "I was thinking we should all go out for dinner tonight. It's been a while since we've had a nice night out together, the entire family."

"I think that sounds like a lovely idea, Maryse." Magnus agreed.

"Me too. Let me go get the boys and we can find out what they think." Izzy said, standing up and walking over to the patio to get the guys attention, waving them inside.

"What's going on?" Jace asked.

"Mom was thinking that we should all go out for a nice family dinner tonight." Izzy explained. "And I agree that it would be a lovely idea."

"Alec and I were gonna go out for drinks tonight though." Jace argued. "It's been a while since we've hung out together, just the two of us."

"Well," Maryse started, "then we could go out for lunch so you guys can have your drinks tonight." When Jace tried to protest again, Maryse spoke up. "Jonathan, we are not going to this entire trip without a pleasant family excursion, so don't you dare try and argue with me now."

Alec and Jace seemed to have a conversation with their eyes for a second before reluctantly nodding their agreement. Magnus smiled softly and met Alec's eyes for a split second before he quickly looked away, refusing to acknowledge the interaction. Magnus hoped no one had noticed, but of course he wasn't that lucky, looking over at Izzy to see her own eyes flicking back and forth between her brother and Magnus with annoyance and interest.

"C'mon, Alec." Izzy said, tugging her brother's hand. "I need to help you decide what to wear for lunch."

"Um, Izzy." Alec said. "I can dress myself."

"Trust me, you can't." Izzy argued, pulling Alec into his bedroom and closing the door behind her. "The majority of your wardrobe is t-shirts and jeans and the occassional pair of shorts, none of which is suitable for a nice dinner out with your family." Izzy started picking through Alec's closet and holding up various shirts, trying to put together an outfit. "So, why are you icing Magnus out?"

Alec looked up in alarm. "Excuse me?"

"You and Magnus haven't spoken to each other all day, a very stark contrast to yesterday." Izzy explained. "So, what happened?"

Alec hesitated. "Nothing happened, Izzy. There's nothing going on between Magnus and I."

Izzy looked at Alec with an exasperated look in her eye. "I don't know why you're lying to me, big bro, you know you're not going to get away with it."

Alec rolled his eyes. "Can I not have my own life without you and Jace prying into it all the time?"

Izzy sat down next to Alec on his bed, leaning her head on his shoulder. "We just want you to be happy Alec, and we can see that Magnus is capable of doing that. I just want to know why you won't let him in and give him a chance."

Alec looked at Izzy with understanding in his eyes. "You saw what happened this morning, didn't you?"

Izzy nodded shamelessly. "A little bit of it."

Alec sighed. "Magnus just wants to get in my pants Izzy, he said it himself."

Izzy lifted her head so she could look at Alec incredulously. "You know that's not true, Alec. You know that he cares about you, so I don't understand why you won't talk to him and give him a chance!"

"Because he deserves someone better than a damaged soldier with serious PTSD issues!" Alec exclaimed, throwing his arms up in exasperation. "He deserves someone who's capable of loving him and caring about him above all else and who can sleep next to him without waking him up in the middle of the night from a nightmare and who is capable of opening up emotionally and who freakin deserves love!" Alec groaned and pinched the space between his eyebrows as a migraine began to form. "I can't be that person for him, Izzy. I just can't."

"But you might be able to." Izzy replied, softly. "If you just told him what was going on in that head of yours and opened up your mind up more so that there was room for love in there. You don't have to be an emotionless soldier all of the time, Alec. You deserve love as much as the rest of us do."

"If I tell him what goes on in my head," Alec started, "he won't want me anymore. Nobody in their right mind would."

Izzy thought for a second. "Do you remember what I told you when you came out to me?"

Alec smiled, just a small one, but a smile nonetheless. "You told me that one day somebody was going to love me, heart and soul."

Izzy nodded. "What if Magnus might be that person?"

Alec considered this for a second, before shaking his head. "Did you pick out something for me to wear?"

Izzy rolled her eyes at the obvious deflect before showing Alec the chosen outfit, which admittedly wasn't as bad as he thought it was going to be, just a simple park of dark jeans and a button down gray shirt, along with a dark blazer. "Go ahead, put it on." Izzy encouraged.

"Can you turn around?" Alec awkwardly asked.

Izzy furrowed her eyebrows. "It's not like I've never seen you shirtless before, Alec."

"I know but..." Alec started, but didn't know how to finish. "Can you just turn around, please?"

Izzy still looked confused but turned around anyways, leaving Alec to quickly strip without looking in a mirror and then turn Izzy around to get her approval. Izzy smiled and nodded, signalling that she liked it, before throwing her arms around Alec in a quick embrace. "I love you, big brother."

Alec smiled and kissed her forehead. "I love you too, Izzy."

Magnus couldn't get over how good Alec looked when he dressed up. Everybody looked stunning, dressed in some of their nicest clothes for the family lunch, but it was Alec who continued to catch Magnus' attention over and over again. Magnus knew that Izzy had talked to Alec before they left, but there still had been no development since, with the two not even talking to each other since the incident this morning.

"Jace." Alec said with a smirk, once the entire table had finished dinner and were now just chatting joyously. "There's a pool table in the corner over there. Wanna play me?"

Jace furiously shook his head. "No. No freakin way. Everytime we play you kick my ass."

Alec chuckled. "Oh, come on, you never know you could've gotten better in my absence. Or I could've gotten worse, but that's a lot less likely."

"Not happening, man." Jace shook his head again with a smirk.

"I could play you." Magnus spoke up. "I mean, I haven't played in a while but I certainly know my way around a pool table."

"Dude," Simon said excitedly, "let me play you. I'm super good, I swear-OW!" Magnus could tell by the slight shift in Izzy's leg and the innocent smile on her face that she had just kicked her boyfriend in the leg to get him to shut up. "Why the hell did you kick me?"

"Alec," Izzy said, shooting Magnus a wink as she spoke "you should totally play Magnus."

Alec considered the situation for a minute before shrugging. "Sure. Let's see what you've got."

Magnus smirked and followed Alec to the pool table, where everything was already set up and ready to go for the boys to play, allowing Magnus to wordlessly gesture for Alec to break. Alec quickly started his turn without a word, landing five balls in a row before turning to Magnus again with a triumphant smile on his face. "You see, Magnus? It's all about the aim."

Magnus shrugged. "I didn't realize it was such an exact science."

Alec looked at Magnus for a couple seconds, realizing that Magnus had yet to have his turn, before he purposefully missed his next shot so that the look of disappointment that he hated so much was wiped completely off of Magnus' handsome face. "Well, you can't win them all." Alec shrugged, turning his back while Magnus took his turn to have another swig of his beer. While his back was turned though, he heard the sound of multiple balls landing in their targets. Alec turned his back in surprise to see Magnus with a wide smirk on his face.

"I thought you said it's been a while since you've played?" Alec exclaimed.

"Magnus' smirk seemed to grow wider. "Haven't you ever heard the saying, 'if you don't know the person getting hustled in a pool hall, it's probably you.'" And to prove his point, Magnus smacked another one of the balls in a trick jump shot.

Alec shook his head in amusement. "Okay."

"Okay?"

"Okay. Let's play."

The two ended up playing multiple games, causing a line to hold for the pool table, but they didn't seem to care in the slightest, enjoying the battle for who was going to win the most games, which ended up being neither of them after they tied in total and the people in the line up were growing increasingly patient.

"Where did you learn to play like that?" Alec laughed, taking a swig of what was probably his sixth beer.

Magnus shrugged in amusement. "When you frequent bars as often as I do, you learn to master the various bar games."

"You're gonna have to teach me how to do those trick shots." Alec exclaimed.

"We can do a trade." Magnus replied. "You teach me archery, I'll teach you how to do all those trick shots!"

"Deal." Alec laughed, shaking Magnus' hand in agreement and trying to ignore the jolt of electricity that seemed to pass through their linked fingers. "Listen Magnus, about this morning, I-I..."

"Don't." Magnus said. "Let's just pretend it never happened, ok?"

Alec sighed, seemingly relieved. "Ok."

The two walked back over to the table with wide smiles on their faces. "Hey boys," Izzy greeted, "so, we were thinking that since the guys want to go to the bar and the girls don't, the boys could walk across to the street to the Hunter's Moon and then the ladies could walk just a little bit further to this cute little spa I saw on the way here."

Alec shrugged. "Sure. Sounds like a fair trade off to me."

"And then when we're done we'll come get you guys, since you'll all be drinking." Clary explained, taking a sip of hr water. Clary and Maryse had both already agreed not to drink today so that somebody would be sober enough to drive the two vans they had back to the cabin safely, much to Magnus' relief.

"Deal." Jace agreed, standing up enthusiastically and wrapping an arm around Alec's shoulders. "C'mon man, let's go get drunk!"

Alec chuckled, but followed Jace anyways. Simon and Luke shared a quick glance before they fllowed as well, leaving Magnus alone in the restaurant with the three girls. "Magnus," Clary started, "if you don't want to go to a bar with them, you're welcome to come to the spa with us and get a mani pedi."

Magnus was about to agree with Clary and go with the girls, when out of the corner of his eye he saw Alec freeze as soon as he entered the bar, and judging by the concern on Jace's face as he looked after his brother, Alec must've looked completely panicked. "No." Magnus replied. "I should go and make sure they stay safe over there."

And then Magnus was running across the busy street to where Jace and Alec were standing. Jace was now gripping Alec's shoulder tightly and looking in his eyes, searching his face thoroughly with panic. Magnus ran a little bit faster so he could stand next to Jace, and looked more closely at Alec, who looked to be in some sort of faraway place as he stared at the bar, tears filling his wide, hazel eyes.

"What happened?" Magnus asked.

"Nothing." Jace answered. "As soon as we walked into the bar it's like he transported somewhere. He's completely out of it."

"Maybe taking him to a bar wasn't the best idea." Magnus muttered. "Alexander? Hey, can you look at me? Alexander?"

Alec gulped, swallowing down air. "I haven't been to a bar in so long. The last time was with my team, before they all..."

Jace and Magnus exchanged a concerned look before Jace wrapped his arm around Alec's shoulder. "C'mon Alec, let's get you back to the cabin."

"I'll come with you." Magnus said, hailing one of the multiple taxis that was lining the busy street.

"No, Magnus it's okay." Jace said. "He's my brother, let me take care of him. You should go tell Izzy and mom what's going on."

"But..."

"Seriously, Magnus. I got him."

Magnus understood the finality in Jace's voice and watched with concern as the two brothers climbed into the taxi, which abrubtly drove off in the direction of the cabin. "Okay." Magnus muttered to himself. "I guess I have to break the news to everybody else."

...

"C'mon, Alec, let's go sit on the couch." Jace said, gently escorting his brother inside the cabin. Alec had remained silent the entire cab ride home, his eyes still unfocused, but Jace could see the little parts of himself that were beginning to come back. Jace had made quick work of paying the driver and then wrapping an arm around Alec's shoulders to guide him back inside the comfort of their cabin, gently guiding his brother to sit on the couch and grabbing him a bottle of water. Jace knew that Alec wasn't drunk, having seen him drunk enought times to be able to pick out the signs, but he definitely wasn't sober either. Alec took slow sips of the water, slowly starting to become focused again. "Jace?"

"Alec," Jace said, "hey man. What happened back there?"

Alec shook his head. "Sorry, Jace, I know you were looking forward to going to a bar tonight. I didn't mean to screw it up, man."

"Alec." Jace exclaimed, holding onto his brother's shoulder for dear life. "You didn't mess it up. All I wanted was tp hang out with you again, we can do that here." Alec remained emotionless. "Alec, what happened back at the bar?"

Alec shook his head. "Nothing."

"Alec..."

"Nothing, Jace. It's fine." Jace looked apprehensive, but didn't say anything else in response. "So, how are things between you and Clary?" Jace looked at Alec, confused. "What? You wanted to hang out and have 'guy talk', this is our chance."

Jace smirked. "They're amazing, she's amazing. God, man I love her so much. She just seems to understand me, you know? Like, all my life there hasn't been a single girl who's been able to break me down like Clary can and get through to me emotionally instead of just physically. I mean, don't get me wrong though, the physical side of our relationship is great, I mean, there's this thing Clary can do with her tongue..."

"Woah!" Alec exclaimed, causing Jace to burst out laughing. "I'm happy for you, but I don't need to hear that."

"What about you?" Jace said, once he had calmed down. "There's no way you went these past five years without hooking up with a single guy." Alec shrugged, causing Jace to gape. "Holy shit, you've actually gone the past five years without having sex?! How is that even possible?"

Alec shrugged. "It's really not as hard as you'd think. I mean, most of the time I was more focused on getting through each day without someone dying than whether or not I was getting laid on a regular basis."

This made Jace look sorrowful. "Shit, man, sorry. I didn't even..."

"It's okay." Alec smirked. "I didn't mean anything by it." Realization hit Jace's face before he burst out laughing, lightly punching his brother in the arm.

"Seriously, though? Nobody caught your eye over there." When Alec shook his head, Jace smirked. "Is Magnus catching your eye over here?"

Now it was Alec' turn to punch Jace in the arm.

Chapter Text

Magnus was once again up at 2am the next morning like he had been every other morning since arriving at the cabin, but this time it wasn't a result of Alec's nightmares. It was a result of his own.

Magnus startled awake with a shout, sweat pouring off of his body and his eyes wide and alert with fear. He quickly looked around, trying to assess his situation, but visibly calmed when he realized that he was still safe in his bedroom at the Lightwood cabin and the nightmare was just that: a nightmare. Magnus sat in silence for a few more seconds, anxiously running a hand over his face and hair a couple of times before he was able to fully calm down. He was able to quietly lay back down, but before he could drift off to sleep, a hesitant and soft knock sounded at the door, keeping Magnus awake.

"Magnus?" The voice of Alexander called out. "Are you alright? I heard the shouting and just wanted to make sure you were ok..."

Magnus stood up and opened the door to see Alec awkwardly standing in the threshold, his hands nervously wringing in front of him. His eyes quickly flickered down to Magnus' bare chest for a brief couple of seconds before quickly flickering back upwards to assess Magnus' face and make sure there was no threat of danger nearby. Magnus smiled tiredly. "I'm alright, Alexander. As I told you before, you're not the only one who gets nightmares."

Alec nodded, but didn't move from his position. "Oh. Do you, um, do you want to talk about it?"

Magnus quirked an eyebrow. "Kind of hypocritical for you to ask me that, don't you think?"

Alec stepped back, shocked. "Oh, um, yeah I guess you're right. I'll let you get back to sleep now."

"Wait, Alec!" Magnus said, with an outstretched hand. "I was just kidding. Please, you can come in if you want."

"Oh." Alec smiled softly. "Okay."

Alec awkwardly walked in and observed the room that he had probably seen over a thousand times as if it was completely transformed. "Jace usually sleeps in this room. We usually like to be nearby to each other, to protect each other in case of a threat, he used to say. Don't tell him I said this, but I think he just liked to sleep near me in case he had a nightmare so he could crawl into my bed and sleep with me. Izzy used to do the same, when she was little. I would wake up some mornings with the two of them on either side of me and I didn't even hear them walk in."

Magnus smiled, sitting down on the bed and patting for Alec to sit next to him. "Isabelle told me you were always her biggest protector."

Alec's smile grew. "I would never let anything happen to her or Jace. When Izzy started dating, I used to give all of her boyfriends a 'talk' whenever they came over and she wasn't around, but I had to stop when she got pissed off and thought I didn't trust her to make good decisions."

Magnus smirked. "She's an independent woman, capable of choosing her own boyfriends."

Alec shrugged. "I know, and I'd trust her with my life, but she's still my baby sister. I still have to protect her." Alec's smile slowly transformed into a smirk. "Ok, now stop deflecting. What was your nightmare about?"

Magnus looked down, so he could avoid looking Alec in the eye. "Um, my father left before I was born. To be perfectly honest with you, I don't even know his name, and frankly, I have no interest in it whatsoever. My mom raised me on her own for a while, until she met my stepdad. Things were good for a while after that. And then, when I turned eight, I walked into my mother's bedroom and found that she had taken her own life by putting a blade through her stomach."

"Magnus," Alec started, "I'm so sorry."

Magnus waved the apology away. "Don't be. It's not like it was your fault. Besides, she wasn't really happy anyways. I may not have realized it at the time, but I realize it now."

"So, was the nightmare about her?"

Magnus nodded, laying back on the sheets so he could look at the ceiling as he recalled his worst memory. "I have a recurring nightmare where I'm a child again, walking into my mother's bedroom and seeing her laying on the bed, coated in her own blood. It's crazy how it happened so long ago, but I seem to remember every single miniscule detail about that night. I was wearing a red, silk shirt, with matching pants because I was getting ready to go to bed and was looking for my mother to kiss me goodnight. My mother was wearing a white nightgown, and I remember that I thought it was pink at first because the blood was beginning to soak in and dying the white fabric and making it look this pretty pink, almost like a flamingo. And she was laying on these red, satin sheets, and her hair was laying all around her head like some sort of halo, as if she had already become an angel in heaven somewhere. I even remember the squiggle of the dagger she had ended her life with. It was in the shape of an s, I believe. The handle was sticking out, but I could see the hint of blood in the curved blade. It terrified me."

"What'd you do?" Alec whispered, as if afraid he would startle Magnus if he spoke any louder. "When you found her body?"

"I screamed." Magnus said, his voice soft as if in some sort of dream. "At the top of my lungs. My stepfather came running in..."

"And then what?" Alec inquired.

Magnus hesitated. "I think you're learning a bit too much about me tonight, Alexander." Magnus flipped onto his side, where he came face to face with the handsome soldier, who had laid down on his side next to Magnus at some point during his rant without Magnus realizing it. "If you want me to reveal all of my secrets, it's about time you reveal some of your own. Like the reason why you didn't go to sleep tonight?"

Alec paused. "I went to sleep."

Magnus smirked and shook his head. "The dark circles under your eyes say otherwise. You haven't been sleeping at all since we got here. Something's preventing you from getting a good night's rest and I want to know what it is."

Alec hesitated, and then shook his head adamantly. "No. Not yet. I can't tell anyone, Magnus. I just can't."

Magnus sighed. "Have you ever considered going on sleeping pills? They might help you rest at night."

Alec furrowed his brows. "I've considered it, but I've witnessed too many soldiers go nuts after being prescribed drugs, even something as simple as sleeping pills. I don't want to go down the same path."

Magnus frowned at this. "You need to sleep, Alexander."

Alec shrugged. "I'm fine."

"Don't do that. You need to shut down your poor brain every once in a while." Alec shrugged again, and it was obvious that he was done discussing it so Magnus decided to change the topic. "Tell me a secret."

"What?"

"I just told you one of my secrets. You tell me one of yours. It doesn't have to be anything army related if you don't want it to be."

Alec thought for a moment. "Okay but you have to promise me you won't tell Jace and Izzy, cause they don't know." Magnus, intrigued, nodded enthusiastically. "When I was 2, my mom got pregnant again, with a little baby boy. She was gonna name him Maxwell, and call him Max for short. I remember being so excited to be a big brother and have a little brother to take care of and teach how to play sports and stuff like that. But then, little baby Max ended up stillborn. I held his body at one point and all I can remember was how cold he was and how he looked almost blue, because he wasn't breathing or anything and there was no blood pumping through him. I was terrified and traumatized, but I promised my mom that day that when I had a son some day, I would name him Max, in honour of my baby brother." Alec scoffed. "I didn't realize at the time that I would end up being gay and would probably never have kids of my own."

Magnus frowned. "Don't say that. You could always adopt, or use a surrogate. Nothing is impossible, Alexander."

Alec smiled in return. "I always told my team that impossible just means try again."

"You must've been a good captain. I'm sure they all looked up to you."

Alec's small smile faded. "I hope they did. They were the real heroes though."

Magnus quietly observed the change in Alec's expression at the mention of his team, noting that he looked almost depressed as soon as they were brought up. "Sorry. I didn't mean to hit a nerve."

Alec quickly shook his head. "No, it's ok. I just... miss them, I guess. They were like a family. My home away from home."

"I'm sure you'll be able to keep in touch somehow..."

"Maybe." Alec quietly murmured, but Magnus could tell that the conversation about his team overseas was over. Magnus wanted to know more about them, wanted to know why it was that Alexander missed them so much, but that could be a conversation for another time. Right now, he was more concerned with the fact that Alec looked like he was going to drop if he didn't go to sleep soon.

"We really need to stop meeting at 2 in the morning." Magnus chuckled, to which Alec nodded. "You should really try and go to sleep, Alexander."

"I can't." Alec replied, his voice breaking with the fear of the nightmares returning.

"You can sleep here if you want." Magnus blurted out. Alec's eyes widened in shock, but Magnus interrupted him before he could deny it. "Just to sleep, I promise I won't try anything funny. I usually take a guy out on a couple of dates before that."

Alec chuckled awkwardly, but still looked unsure. "I don't know, Magnus, I don't want to wake you... or worse..."

"What could possibly be worse than waking me?" Magnus exclaimed.

Alec hesitated, but replied anyway. "I used to sleep with a knife under my pillow. One time, Jace walked into my room when I was having a nightmare and I almost impaled him, even though I was half asleep. I'm pretty sure there's still a knife print beside the door frame." Magnus' eyebrows shot up to his forehead. "Don't worry, they took the knife away from me after that. But then, one time Izzy fell asleep next to me and when I woke up, I was strangling her. She almost stopped breathing because of me." Alec shook his head, his eyes filling with tears. "I don't want to hurt anybody else, Magnus. Especially not you."

Magnus, despite his reservations, reached up a gentle hand to brush away a stray tear on Alec's face. Much to his surprise, instead of flinching away from the gentle caress of Magnus' hand on his cheek like he seemed to do with everyone else, Alec leaned into it, closing his eyes at the warm hand and letting out a soft sigh. "I'll stay awake." Magnus replied. "And make sure you don't hurt me. But you need to rest, Alexander, or you're going to crash."

Alec seemed hesitant still, so Magnus decided that the only way to get him to stay was to continue talking. "Did I ever tell you about the time I traveled to Peru?" At Alec's confused head shake, Magnus launched into one of his most famous stories involving getting drunk, having his first threesome (to which Alec delightfully blushed), insulting politicians, going to multiple parties in one night and ultimately getting banned from Peru for life. Alec's eyes lit up as he laughed throughout the story, but then by the end of it, Magnus noted that he had gone quiet, his eyes softly closing as the lack of sleep from the past few days overtook him. "Rest, Alexander. I'll be here in the morning."

Magnus tried to stay awake long after Alec's breathing evened out and his form became heavy across the bed, but ultimately the lack of sleep he had received over the past few days overtook him as well, and his eyes drifted shut as well.

"Morning everybody!" Izzy exclaimed, sauntering into the kitchen where the entire family was gathered around the island. Except for... "Where's Alec and Magnus?" It was strange for the two not to be up already, usually having been awake long before anyone else was.

Clary looked around in confusion. "I didn't even realize they weren't here. We all just woke up, too."

Izzy quickly ran down the hallway to Alec's bedroom, panicking when she saw that the room was completely empty, the bed made as if nobody had even been in there. "Alec's not in his room!"

"Relax, Izzy." Jace said, walking down the hallway to meet her. "He probably just went for a run or something, I guarantee he's been up for hours."

"Uh, guys." Clary said, peeking through Magnus' open door. "Come see this."

Izzy and Jace hesitantly walked into Magnus' bedroom to see their brother and Magnus fast asleep on top of the covers, facing each other so that their faces were a mere couple inches apart from each other and their legs were intertwined. One of Alec's arms was stretched out so that it was wrapped tightly around Magnus' waist and back, securing him tightly.

"Did they..." Jace hesitantly asked, taking in Magnus' shirtless form.

"No." Izzy shook her head in disgust. "They're both wearing pants, and Alec has a shirt on."

"They probably fell asleep talking." Clary explained. "Magnus told me last night that him and Alec have woken each other up every night since we got here and talked for a couple hours before everyone else gets up."

"I've never seen him sleep this peacefully." Maryse softly exclaimed, coming down the hallway to see what was going on. "Not since he was a child."

"He needs it." Izzy said. "They both do."

The small group watched the two boys in silence for a couple moments longer before Maryse spoke up again, grabbing the door handle and quietly closing the door behind her. "Come on. Let's leave them to rest for a couple more hours."

Alec groggily blinked his eyes open, taking in his surroundings in confusion. The sun looked like it had been up for hours, his room looked different, and his arm was wrapped around...

Shit.

Alec jumped up in panic as the memories from earlier this morning came rushing back to him. Hearing the story about Magnus' mom, telling him about Max, falling asleep at some point while Magnus was telling the story about he got banned from Peru... falling asleep curled up right next to the man he was slowly falling for. "Shit." Alec murmured. "Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit..."

"Alexander?" He heard, and looked over to see Magnus slowly blinking his eyes open, squinting when he saw the sun shining brightly through the curtain. A small smile spread over Alec's face as he watched Magnus waking up, the way his face scrunched up cutely in confusion as he witnessed Alec scrambling around the room in panic. "What's going on?"

"Sorry." Alec said, his face burning up in embarrassment. "We must've fallen asleep last night."

Magnus hummed his agreement, looking around the room as he rubbed the sleepiness out of his eyes. He stretched his arms above his head lazily, in the same manner that a cat might, and it took all of Alec's effort not to look at Magnus' defined abs. "What time is it?" Magnus murmured, his voice slightly raspy.

"Um." Alec whipped his phone out of his pocket to check the time. "Holy shit. It's almost 2 in the afternoon!"

Magnus smirked. "I guess we both needed a good night's rest." He paused then, thoughts consuming his sleep addled brain. "Did you have any nightmares last night?"

Alec furrowed his brow. "What?"

"Did you have any nightmares? After we fell asleep?"

Alec thought for a moment, his eyes widening in realization. "No. No, I didn't. Last night was the best I've slept in... months. Maybe even years."

Magnus smiled widely, sauntering over so he was standing right in front of Alec. "Well, you're welcome to sleep with me whenever you want if it means making your horrendous nightmares go away."

Alec blushed a bright hue of red before just shaking his head with a smirk and walking out of the room and into his own to get dressed. Magnus stood in his room for a couple of minutes with a wide smirk on his face before getting dressed himself, unable to wipe the wide smile off of his face at his success: he was finally able to get Alexander Lightwood in his bed!

Alec, meanwhile, quickly changed his clothes without sparing so much as a quick glance in the mirror before he walked out into the kitchen where his entire family was gathered, probably having been awake for hours.

"Good morning." Clary piped up. "Or should I say, good afternoon."

Alec chose not to answer, instead moving to the Keurig he had stationed on the counter to make his usual black coffee. "So," Izzy spoke next, and Alec could practically hear the smirk on her face, "you spent the night in Magnus' room?"

Alec blushed, but made sure not to turn his face so Izzy couldn't see it. "Didn't do much sleeping." At Jace's cough and Izzy's amused chuckle, Alec knew he had messed up by saying that and quickly turned around so he could fix his mistake. "We-we were talking, and then we fell asleep. Nothing else happened."

Izzy shrugged, a wide smirk still present on her face. "I wouldn't blame you if something did happen. Magnus is a very attractive man."

Alec blushed. "Izzy..."

"What? It's not like I'm lying!" When Alec still didn't respond, she kept pushing. "Oh come on, even you have to admit it. You don't have to be so freakin repressed all the time, Alec."

Alec shook his head. "I'm not repressed, Iz. And even if I was, it's not any of your business anyways."

Izzy rolled her eyes. "Someone needs to get laid."

"Isabelle!" Maryse reprimanded, but it was obvious she was hiding her own smile behind her coffee mug.

Alec shook his head, grabbing his coffee and walking through the living room to get to the patio. "Leave it alone, Izzy."

Instead of sitting in the chair like he usually did, Alec walked down to the beach and sat down on the white sand, right in front of the lake so that he could dip his toes into the warm water. Alec sighed at the feeling, remembering sunny days as a kid when he would walk in the sand with soaking wet feet and then get yelled at for coming into the cabin with grains of sand stuck to his toes and heels so he'd have to go outside and dip his foot into the water again so it could be clean before he finally stepped into the spotless cabin. But it was worth it, being able to feel the warm sand on his cool feet, and the only thing he had to worry about was making sure his feet were clean so his parents wouldn't reprimand him. Back when he actually cared about being the perfect child.

Enjoying the feeling of the water on his feet, Alec decided to be a little more brave and set his coffee mug down in the sand beside him, slowly scooting forward a bit more so his bottom half was completely submerged into the warm water, soaking his black shorts but he didn't care because he missed the feeling of the lake water surrounding him like this. Alec itched to take his shirt off and submerge himself completely under the soft waves, but his family was inside and one of them could very easily walk out and see it all. But he wanted to be able to float again, to feel weightless and like he did when he was young, so he kept moving forward until he could submerge himself underwater, fully clothed, looking around with open eyes at the little fish that scooted out of his way and the way that the water made his burgundy shirt billow around him, exposing some of the pale skin underneath. Alec gripped the edge of his shirt and tugged it down, not wanting to see the skin that he usually kept hidden underneath the fabric. But he enjoyed the feeling of his hair floating around his head like a halo and the cool water on his face, so he stayed underwater a little bit longer, just so he wouldn't have to let go of this weightless, carefree feeling anytime soon. He kept floating until even his lungs felt weightless, and he swore he could see the faces of his team in front of him...

And then he was yanked away from it by a hand on his arm and pulled out of the sanctuary that the water provided for him and yanked onto the warm sand again. He felt a hand on his back, patting him heartily until he was coughing up water straight from his lungs onto the pure, white sand below him. Almost as if he were tainting the pureness with his sins...

"Hey, you okay?" A deep voice asked, and Alec turned his head to see a bleary Luke sitting down in the sand next to him, his shirt discarded onto the sand and his own shorts soaked.

"What happened?" Alec croaked, his voice raspy from the force of coughing up so much lake water. He sat back on his heels and looked behind him to see the still shimmering lake, and then looked above him to see the sun shining down. He looked in front of him to see the concerned faces of his family members through the glass double doors that lead out to the patio. He couldn't see the faces of his team anymore, no matter where and how hard he looked.

"You were underwater for about 10 minutes." Luke said, placing a concerned hand on Alec's arm. "When I came out you were just sitting on the bottom of the lake. It looked like you were losing consciousness for a minute there. Good thing I pulled you out when I did, or your lungs would've filled with water and you would've drowned faster than you could count to 10."

Alec flopped back down on the sand. "Yeah. Yeah, good thing." He wasn't sure if it was though. He could swear Lydia was holding her hand out to him...

Luke observed Alec sadly, the way his eyes were red with what might be tears, the slight tremor in his usually steady hands, the sadness and depression in his posture. And then Luke realized with a start that Alec would've been okay with staying underwater, with drowning. He wanted to feel nothing. "Alec, are you alright?"

Alec nodded his head, but his eyes were far away. "Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine."

Luke didn't believe him for a second. "You know, I've seen a lot of really messed up stuff working on police cases and stuff like that. I've interrogated murderers, watched a dead body decompose, seen first hand what drugs can do to a person and their mind. None of it ever really stayed with me though, cause I always thought it was just part of the job. But then one day, there was this kid, probably about 10 years old, a little Asian boy, who got into a car accident with his mom. His mom died on the spot, but the kid still had some life left in him. I gave him CPR, did everything I could to keep him alive until the paramedics got there, but he didn't make it anyways. He died, right there in my arms. I punched a hole right through my office wall that night, because I thought that I could've done more, that I could've tried harder and then maybe he would've been able to live. I shut myself off completely from Jocelyn and Clary, because I thought they wouldn't love me anymore if they knew that I had let this little ten year old kid die. Eventually, Jocelyn sat me down one night and made me tell her what happened. I thought she would hate me, but instead she hugged me as tight as she possibly could and told me how brave and strong I was for trying to help the kid, and she told me she had never loved me more than she did in that moment. And then, finally, instead of being angry like I had been, it was like a dam broke and I couldn't stop crying because I had held this little Asian boy's dead body in my arms. And then, when I found Magnus on the street one day, he reminded me so much of that little Asian boy that I took him home with me and never let him leave."

Alec looked speechless, but after a couple of seconds, was able to speak, only to form one simple question. "Was Jocelyn Clary's mother?"

Luke looked surprised, but nodded anyways. "Yeah. She died in a car accident about 10 years ago."

"I'm sorry." Alec replied. "That must've been hard, losing your wife like that."

Luke looked out at the lake, deep in thought. "It was. I never thought I would find love again. And then I met your mom, and it started to look like things were turning up for me after all."

"You're good for her." Alec mused. "You make her happy, a lot happier than she ever was with my father."

Luke smiled. "I'm glad to hear it." When Alec didn't respond, Luke continued. "Look, Alec, I know you're probably really sick of hearing people tell you that you need to open up about whatever is troubling you, but trust me, it helps. If I hadn't opened up to Jocelyn about the little Asian boy, I would've probably ended my own life from guilt like I know that you were about to in the water just then. And I know it may be scary, thinking that the people you love might look at you a different way, but they could never see you as anything other than what they know you are; a brave soldier, and their loved one."

Alec looked at Luke in thought for a couple of seconds before patting his shoulder in thanks and standing up to go inside. Luke followed a couple of steps behind him as he walked through the double doors to see the concerned faces of his family members. He waved them off and moved to get a shower to wash the scent of the lake water off of him, stripping off his soaked clothes with the shortest glance in the mirror and the stepping under the warm water, letting it fall over him and soak his cold body that had begun trembling from being submerged for as long as he was.

This water wasn't making him feel weightless, though.

After Alec had gotten out of the shower, he walked right by the concerned glances everybody was shooting his way and walked right out the front door to his archery clearing, needing to shoot a couple arrows to clear his head. He shot arrow after arrow into the various targets he had painted in bright red paint on the trees, even shooting the occasional one into the tree to take down a stray pinecone that he could see from the ground. He could feel the satisfying burn of the string digging into his bare hand, and knew that there was blood soiling the ground underneath him, but he didn't really care. He deserved the pain.

After about a half an hour of his silent shooting, he could hear the telltale rustle in the forest that meant Magnus had followed him. "I was wondering what was taking you so long." Alec joked, turning his head to look at Magnus just as he let another arrow fly.

Magnus shrugged, an amused smile on his face. "I was worried, but I think a part of me knew that you needed some space. You've been gone for over an hour though. Everyone was getting worried."

Alec bit his lip, knowing his family was concerned about him but not knowing what exactly he could do about it. So, he let another arrow fly instead.

"You know," Magnus started, "I distinctly remember you saying you would teach me archery someday. How about we just get it over with and do it now?"

Alec considered this for a second before wordlessly holding out the bow for an eager Magnus to take. "Here." Magnus held it up in front of him, clearly trying to mimic Alec's posture but failing entirely. Alec chuckled before stepping closer so he could adjust the horrible posture himself. "Okay, straighten your back a little bit. Stand with your feet a little further apart. Alright, now pull the string back, right about to... here. There. Now, relax your shoulders, you're way too tense. Okay, straighten this arm. Lift your elbow." Alec stepped back for a moment to admire his handiwork before nodding his approval. "Okay. Now, remember that posture, and I'll give you an arrow to try." Alec quickly guided Magnus in adding the arrow to the equation, and then stood, cuddled up beside him without even realizing it so he could help Magnus aim. "Okay, look at your target. Don't move your arm when you shoot the arrow. Just release it, and then see what happens."

Magnus shivered a little when he felt Alec's warm breath right against his ear, but tried to remain focused on the task at hand. He quickly moved his finger so he could release the arrow, watching as it sailed towards the tree and landed just above the target. Magnus smiled in celebration and stepped backward, pressing into Alec to get revenge and inwardly cheering when he felt the soldier's breath hitch.

"That was good, right?" Magnus asked, to which Alec smirked.

"It was alright."

"Just alright?! It was my first time ever trying archery and I almost hit the target."

"I did hit the target my first time." Alec shrugged, giving Magnus the opportunity to punch him lightly in the shoulder.

"Nobody's perfect their first time, Alexander." Magnus said, to which flustered Alec made his reappearance at the innuendo.

"Well, let's keep practicing." Alec managed to stammer out, and then retrieved the arrow for Magnus to keep practicing.

Add practice he did. He wordlessly shot arrow after arrow, each time narrowly missing the target, until finally, just when he was about to give up, he finally shot an arrow that landed right in the centre of the red dot. Magnus threw his arms up and jumped up and down in celebration, much to Alec's enjoyment. The enjoyment quickly turned to embarrassment though, when Magnus surged forward and wrapped his arms around the soldier in a tight embrace. After hesitating for a second, Alec returned the embrace with a small smile, allowing him and Magnus to stand there for a couple seconds in their own, happy little world.

Eventually though, Magnus pulled away. "Sorry. I got excited."

"It's okay." Alec replied. "You did good."

"I know." Magnus sarcastically flaunted, but then dissolved into adorable giggles when Alec gave him a light shove. "Well, I admit to having an excellent teacher."

Alec blushed, but a small smile broke through. "You were a great student."

"I actually enjoyed learning archery." Magnus replied. "Much more than I thought I would."

Alec's smile grew. "I'm glad."

They stood, smiling at each other for a couple seconds longer before Magnus broke the silence. "Well, I'm sure we've been gone for quite some time now, so what would you say to heading back so you're poor family doesn't have to worry so much about you?"

Alec's smile diminished, but he nodded nevertheless. "Yeah. Yeah sure, let's head back."

They started wordlessly walking back down the dirt trail in silence, until finally Magnus couldn't take it anymore. "Look, I just wanted to let you know that, I've seen a lot of scary things in my life, but nothing was more terrifying than waiting for you to come out from underneath the water."

"Magnus..."

"No, let me talk. Look, I know life can really suck sometimes. Believe me, I've been there myself." Magnus hesitated, but pushed on nonetheless. "Look, I haven't been completely honest with you." Alec quirked an intrigued eyebrow at this, but said nothing. "Camille was cheating on me, yes, but I went back to her afterwards. You see, I found out she was cheating on me around the same time as Jocelyn, my adoptive mother, died in a tragic car crash. I was in such a low place after that, Alexander. Both of my mothers, two women I loved with all my heart, had died in tragic ways and the girl I was in love with didn't, and never would, love me back. So, I climbed to the edge of the Brooklyn Bridge and was about to jump, when Camille's voice called out to me. She pulled me back from the ledge and told me she loved me, and I went back to her without argument. I would later find out that she didn't really mean it and pulling me back was just another way to manipulate me to do whatever she pleased, but she had me under her spell for a while. When I walked in on her cheating on me again a couple of months later, I ended it for good. Luckily, I was in a better place that time around and didn't feel like jumping anymore, but the point is, that I know what it feels like to want to end things, and I want you to know that if you ever feel that way again, you're welcome to talk to me about it."

Alec hesitated. "Thank you, Magnus, but I didn't want to die when I went into the lake."

"Then why didn't you come back up?" Magnus asked, worried for what the reply might be.

Alec smiled. "Because floating in the lake like that made me feel weightless, like I didn't need to have a care in the world as long as I stayed in that lake. And I swear I could see my team, looking at me with smiles on their faces, and one of them was holding out her hand for me to take and..." Alec shook his head, his voice breaking with the next thought. "And I wanted to take it. Just so I could be with them again."

Magnus thought for a moment, thinking about the implications of this statement. "Alexander? Is your team... dead?"

Alec swallowed back a cry. "Yeah."

Magnus nodded, but said nothing else. They walked in silence the rest of the way to the cabin, wordlessly stepping inside to see that the family had started dinner without them.

"Where did you guys go?" Izzy exclaimed, launching herself from the table to go inspect her brother with interest. "You've been gone for hours, we were so worried!"

"We merely went for a pleasant walk through the forest, Isabelle." Magnus exclaimed. "Nothing to worry about."

Izzy looked like she didn't believe him, but sauntered off back to the dining table anyways. "Well, you both missed dinner. The food is getting cold."

Alec and Magnus solemnly nodded and sat down, eating their slightly less than warm dinner in silence. They knew all eyes were on them, but they didn't really seem to care that much. Even when everyone sat down to watch a movie, they were being watched as they sat down next to each other on the couch, and everyone pretended not to notice when Alec's pinkie hesitantly slid over so it was resting just atop of Magnus'. Magnus didn't move his hand any closer, but didn't move it away either, so Alec counted the situation as a win.

Maryse and Luke, as usual, went to bed first, giving their children gentle kisses on the forehead. Clary and Jace went next, feigning tiredness but Magnus could see the hidden lust in their eyes and pitied the poor soul who had to share a wall with them tonight. Simon and Izzy went next, Izzy pulling her brother in for a tight hug before kissing Magnus' forehead and dragging Simon off to their bedroom. This left Magnus and Alec alone with their thoughts and each other.

Magnus noticed that every couple of minutes Alec would stare longingly out at the lake, wanting to feel weightless and carefree again. Magnus however, had very little interest in going in the water and therefore pretended he didn't notice Alec's longing stares. After a while though, it became too much to bear, so Magnus excused himself to go to bed, allowing Alec to do whatever it was he pleased with the intention of watching him through a window.

Alec waited for a couple minutes after Magnus went to bed to make sure that everybody was permanently retired for the night, so he could silently step out the patio doors and do what he had been wanting to do all day. He slowly walked out to the water, smiling at the way that the full moon shining above reflected off of the calm lake. Alec slowly pulled his shirt off, fighting the urge to look down as he did so, and then he pulled off the sweatpants as well, leaving him in his plain, black boxers. One step at a time, Alec stepped into the still warm water until it was up to his hips. And then he stood there, basking in the moonlight and the warmth of the water at his hips. Just as he was about to completely submerge himself though, a voice broke him out of his trance.

"I didn't know you had tattoos." Magnus' voice called out, just at the edge of the water. Alec quickly submerged himself so his bare chest was no longer visible, awkwardly peering at Magnus over the water line.

"Why are you always following me?"

Magnus shrugged. "I wanted to see what you were doing out here." Alec didn't move from where he was crouched, so Magnus tried again. "Listen, Alexander, water isn't really my thing, so the only way we're having our nightly chit chat tonight is if you come over here."

"Showing people my bare chest isn't really my thing." Alec replied with a hint of malice. "So, I guess you have to come out here."

Magnus raised an eyebrow in surprise. "Well, I guess we have reached an impasse. I don't know why you refuse to show me your bare chest though, from the quick glance I got it looked glorious."

Alec flushed, but didn't move from where he was. "It isn't. Maybe it used to be, but it's ruined now."

Magnus frowned, sitting cross legged in the sand. "How can your body possibly be ruined, Alexander?"

Alec hesitated greatly, but then made up his mind and stalked out of the water so he was standing in front of Magnus in just his plain black boxers. At first glance, Magnus could only see the defined and muscular chest and stomach that seemed to glow in the moonlight and was only disturbed by the black tattoos that Magnus didn't know Alec had. Magnus tried to avoid looking any lower to make Alec uncomfortable, but he had to admit it took more effort than he would have liked to say. Eventually, though, Magnus could see the way that the moon highlighted little patches of skin on Alec's body, and it took Magnus a couple of moments to realize they were scars. Magnus stood up and reached out a gentle hand with the intention of running his fingers over the puckered skin on the boys shoulder, but drew his hand back when Alec flinched away.

"What happened to your shoulder?" Magnus asked.

Alec glanced down at the offending wound. "Bullet wound. They took the bullet out on the field and then I had to walk back to base so they could bandage me. The doctor thought I was gonna bleed out."

Magnus continued scanning and then came across another scar on Alec's side. "What about this one?"

"Someone from the other side stabbed me with a knife."

Magnus shook his head. "I can't believe they didn't send you home after stuff like that."

Alec shrugged. "As long as the injury will heal in a couple weeks and I'll be able to fight again when it's fully recovered, they don't see the point in sending their captain home."

Magnus kept scanning, finding a couple more minor scratches and bruises but nothing else major. "Those were my two major ones." Alec explained. "I also broke my wrist once, but that didn't really leave a scar."

Magnus shook his head. "Why would you think you're body is ruined because of these?"

Alec looked down. "Because everybody else here has this flawless skin, and mine is covered in scars and bruises. That's all anybody is ever going to see when they look at me."

Magnus shook his head. "No. When I look at you and I see those scars, I think of a brave soldier who risked his own life to protect the people he cares about and his country and who has the evidence right on his skin to prove it." Alec still looked disbelieving, so Magnus reached up and cupped his face with a gentle hand. "Alexander, you are gorgeous. Don't ever let anyone else tell you otherwise, and don't ever let yourself believe otherwise either."

Alec leaned into Magnus' hand for a couple seconds and then pulled away. "Um, do you want to know what my tattoos mean?"

Magnus smiled. "Yes. Please."

Alec smiled. "Ok, um, well this one," he pointed to an intricate shape right above his hip bone, "means friendship. Jace has a matching one in the exact same spot. This one," he turned around so Magnus could see another one of his lower back, "means courage in combat. And this one," he pointed to one on the back of the shoulder with the bullet wound, "means accuracy." Alec continued to point out different shapes on each part of his body that meant a different attribute, including talent, block (that was Magnus' favourite because of its position on Alec's neck, really he didn't know how he had never noticed it before), stealth, strength, stamina, soundless, promise, agility, painless, expectation, recall, power, calm/anger, endurance, equilibrium and flexibility. They were littered over his chest and arms and back so there was barely an inch of him that wasn't covered in black ink.

"Where did you get the idea for all of these?" Magnus asked, breathless over the sight in front of him.

"Me and my team all have them, to remind ourselves of the different attributes that a soldier must have and to present ourselves as a united front. We were all going to get a family one next, before..."

"I think it's amazing." Magnus interrupted, when it became obvious Alec didn't want to finish that statement.

"Thanks." Alec smiled. "I-I thought so too." They stood smiling at each other for a few seconds before a thought popped into Alec's mind. "Um, do you want to go for a swim?"

Magnus' brain immediately went into panic mode. "No. No, I don't."

"What, why not the water's great..."

"Because I don't want to!" Magnus practically yelled, leaving Alec to jump back in shock.

"Sorry."

"No, um, it's not your fault. I didn't mean to snap at you like that."

"Still, I shouldn't have pushed..."

"Oh please, if anything I'm the one who should apologize for pushing too hard."

Alec lightly chuckled. "Do-do you have a bad experience in the water or something?"

Magnus shrugged. "You could say that."

Alec could tell that Magnus didn't want to say what it was just yet, so he decided to try a different approach. "Do you trust me, Magnus?"

Magnus nodded. "I do."

"Ok." Alec said. "Than I want to try something, if that's ok?" When Magnus nodded, Alec continued. "Ok, so I faced my fear of showing somebody my scars today, so I want to help you face your fear of the water. Can you take your clothes off?"

Magnus scoffed despite the terror coursing through his veins. "That I can do. I've been waiting for you to ask me that."

Magnus quickly stripped himself of his layers until he was only wearing his bright red boxers. Alec blushed a little bit, but grabbed Magnus' hand gently guided him to the water until Magnus' toes were in it. "Is this... ok?"

Magnus, despite his shaking, nodded. "Yeah."

Alec gently guided Magnus a little bit further into the water until they were now knee deep, and Magnus could feel his terror rising with every step further into the lake. Eventually, they got up to mid thigh and Magnus seized in terror, not being able to go any further without experiencing every nightmare from his childhood over and over again. "Alec. Alec, I can't do this. You have to get me out of here."

Alec immediately rushed into protector mode and lifting Magnus up into his arms and out of the water, quickly running into the house to grab a fluffy towel to wrap Magnus in and warm him up. Magnus, who was still shivering not only from the cold but from the terror of being submerged in the water like that, appreciated the gesture but knew it wasn't going to help. "I-I'm sorry, Alexander."

"Don't you dare apologize." Alec said, wrapping one of his long arms around Magnus' shoulder so he could rub warmth into his arms. "It's not your fault."

Magnus nodded, and the two of them sat in silence for a couple more minutes, just staring out at the lake as the moonlight reflected off of it in silence.

"Are you ever going to tell me what happened to your team?" Magnus asked, breaking the effective silence.

"Are you ever going to tell me what caused you to be afraid of the water?"

Magnus smiled softly. "Someday."

"I will someday too, then."

Magnus' smile grew and then he was leaning further into Alec's warm body until they were practically cuddled up next to each other. Magnus could tell that Alec was uncomfortable from the stiffness in his body, but he couldn't really bring himself to care at this point in time.

"Hey Alexander," Magnus whispered after a couple minutes, "if we stay out here any longer I might end up falling asleep out here."

Alec chuckled and then stood up, wrapping the other towel he had brought out around his own shoulders. "Well, let's go to bed then."

Magnus smirked and then followed Alec inside, where Jace was standing in the kitchen with only a pair of sweatpants on and a water bottle in hand. His eyebrows raised up to his hairline when he saw his brother and Magnus walk into the living room, soaking wet, with only their boxers on and wide grins on their faces. "Uh, what the hell were you guys doing?"

Alec immediately panicked when he saw his brother standing there, quickly moving his towel so it was covering his bare chest. "Jace... uh what are you doing up?"

Jace smirked, gesturing to the water bottle. "Clary and I were a little thirsty."

Magnus rolled his eyes. "I could've guessed that. We were just going for a midnight swim, Jace. Nothing to concern your little brain over."

Alec scoffed out a bark of laughter and then scurried away to his bedroom. Magnus gave Jace a quick salute before scurrying off as well to his own bedroom. Jace shook his head in amusement before moving to head back upstairs where Clary was waiting for him.

And if he saw Alec move across the hall towards Magnus' bedroom, he didn't have to say anything about it.