Alec took a deep breath and pushed his way into the loft, his whole body tense as he rubbed his hand over his face. He was exhausted and all he wanted was to fall asleep and not have to wake up for days. But that wasn’t an option, and with Aldertree still around and causing issues, he had to make sure that things continued to run as smoothly as possible. He glanced around and his nose wrinkled when he realized Magnus had redecorated and headed for the bedroom.
“Magnus?” he called out. "You in here?“
"Yes,” Magnus said, sitting at his vanity. "Thankfully my last client decided that demon summoning was a little out of his paygrade and I got to come home early. You look dead on your feet.“
Alec nodded, about to respond properly when he caught sight of the bed. Gold sheets were gone and in their place were white and he froze, staring at them. He shook his head and forced himself to look away. "White silk,” he murmured, shaking his head again. "I’m going to go shower, Magnus. I’ll be back.“
Magnus frowned at Alec’s back and looked back at the bed. It was true that he’d changed the sheets to another color, but he hadn’t thought that Alec would mind, or even care about the different color. He redecorated the loft often enough that if Alec had problems with it, he should have mentioned things long ago.
Alec took a quick shower, cranking the water up to scalding, trying to get the image of white silk sheets out of his head. He’d have to ask Magnus to change them. He wouldn’t be able to relax in bed with his sheets that color. He finished showering and managed to relax a little at the familiar scent of shampoo, before he headed back into the bedroom, wearing only his boxers. Magnus was still sitting at his vanity, but now he was sipping a drink and staring at the bed curiously. Alec stopped and glanced between him and the bed. "Is…everything okay?”
Magnus hummed and glanced at Alec. "You don’t like the white, do you?“ He flicked his fingers and the sheets shifted to black with gold thread on the edges and Alec visibly relaxed at the change. "Is there a reason?”
Alec shrugged. "It’s Shadowhunter superstition. Shouldn’t bother me, but there’s some colors that just-“
"Colors?” Magnus echoed, sitting up, giving Alexander all of his attention. "I know you have certain colors for things, like gold for weddings and black for hunting, but are there other things colors represent to shadowhunters?“
Alec nodded, glancing towards the bed again, smiling. "There’s an old poem. You learn it as a kid. Helps you to know what’s going on in your family at any given time. You could always tell if a family was mourning or celebrating with the colors alone.”
Magnus was interested, more so than he wanted to admit. "Tell me more?“ he asked, his voice soft.
Alec walked over to the bed, sitting on the edge of it, rubbing his fingers over the fabric. "It’s just a children’s poem, but it goes like this.” he took a deep breath and looked up at Magnus. "Black for hunting through the night,“
Magnus smiled, glancing towards the wardrobe and where Alexander’s almost entirely black wardrobe resided.
"For death and mourning, the color’s white,” Alec continued, glancing back towards the bed, glad the sheets were now a comforting black.
“Ah,” Magnus said, his voice soft. "I did know that, I suppose. I’ve seen enough Nephilim in mourning.“
"Gold for a bride in her wedding gown.” He smiled faintly. "Gold represents all things weddings and permeance. Remember Izzy’s gown?“
Magnus rolled his eyes. "I wasn’t looking at Isabelle at your first wedding, my darling. But that does explain why you like the gold sheets so much.”
Alec definitely didn’t blush as he thought back to the next line of the poem. "And red to call enchantment down.“ He paused and tilted his head, shaking it. "Such a silly line. Magic comes in every color.”
Magnus didn’t offer up his agreement, though he did agree. Magic came in every color possible and then, more often than not, was controlled by the emotion of the user.
“White silk when our bodies burn, and blue banners for when the lost return,” Alec said, clearing his throat. "Why the white bothered me,“ he added, gesturing to the bed. "The blue bit is confusing, we don’t really celebrate ‘returns’, not like they used to centuries ago.”
Magnus hummed and didn’t offer up the fact that he had seen many shadowhunter families throw blue themed parties centuries ago. Back then, he’d assumed it had simply been a flight of fancy or a preference, but there was cultural meaning to it.
“Flames,” Alec cleared his throat and kept going. "Flames for the birth of a Nephilim, and to wash away our sins.“ He scowled.
"Yeah,” Magnus agreed, standing up to walk towards Alec. "I don’t like the idea of flames being used to wash away any sins. As someone who has been to Edom, more than once, I can quite honestly confirm that that isn’t how it works.“
Alec laughed and shook his head, squinting at Magnus. "That’s not funny.”
“Of course it is,” Magnus said with a wink, gesturing for Alec to continue as he sat beside him.
“Gray for knowledge best untold, Bone for those who don’t grow old,” Alec continued. He reached out to take Magnus’ hand, giving it a squeeze. Magnus hadn’t entirely confided who Brother Zachariah had been to him at one time, but it was clear that he had been an important person in Magnus’ life.
“Saffron lights the victory march, green will mend our broken hearts,” Alec whispered, lifting Magnus’ hand to kiss the back of it.
“Silver for the demon towers, and bronze to summon wicked powers.” Alec stopped and considered that last line. “I don’t even know what the bronze piece is referencing, honestly.”
Magnus hummed. “And all together that’s a nursery rhyme? Or something?”
Alec nodded, leaning into Magnus’ shoulder. “Sorry I made you change the sheets.”
“Don’t be,” Magnus whispered. “You’re going to need to write that down for me, or at least recite it a few more times. Don’t want you to have this problem again.”
“They’re just colors,” Alec grumbled. “Shouldn’t bother me.”
“But they do, and that’s all right. Not like I care one way or another,” Magnus said, waving a hand.
Alec smiled and closed his eyes. “Thanks,” he managed, squeezing Magnus’ hands again. “No white sheets?”
Magnus nodded firmly. “No white sheets.”