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The Reason He Won’t Give Up

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Alec was not one to hesitate in anything he did.

This could be proven in his professional life with little effort required to recollect. He was always the one to make the hard decisions, he never thought twice in battle, and he'd proposed to his fiancée within the first few days of meeting her. 

However, he found that in regards to personal issues, he was none too sure. Like now, for instance. His sister was about to be on trial for treason. She was in desperate need of representation, and he knew just the person to help get her acquitted, was standing outside the door of his apartment right now. Time was of the essence, but for some reason, all he could think about was whether his sleeves should be pushed up or not.

He decided to pull down his sleeves and raised his fist to knock on the door, strong and clear against the cherry wood finish. 

"Coming!" Called out a sultry voice that made his heart lurch momentarily. He tried not to think about how tired the man sounded, focusing instead on the gold-plated doorknob. It soon twisted open to reveal a stunning man, eyes smudged with thick black liner and a blank expression that quickly turned sour.

“Alexander,” He said sharply, his magnificent brown eyes narrowing. "Oddly enough, I didn't think I'd be seeing you anytime soon."

Alec let out the nervous breath he'd been holding. "Magnus. I need your help."

A mocking smirk made its way across the warlock's lips. "Yes, that would be the case, wouldn't it? All you shadowhunters come crawling to me whenever you get yourselves into bad situations."

"We do not—" Alec began, but Magnus cut him off.

"Take this as an example, dear boy: Isabelle gives top secret nephilim information to a Seelie and suddenly I am called upon to clean up her mess," He waved his hand about dismissively, indicating that this problem was not the reason he was acting less than civil.

Alec's lips pursed. "How did you know about that?"

"Word travels fast," Magnus replied vaguely. "Faster if you are a high warlock."

"Alright, fine. I don't care how you found out. I just need to know if you're willing to give this a shot," Alec crossed his arms over his chest.

Magnus sighed dramatically, turning away from the door and grabbing a drink from where he'd set it down to answer the door. Alec stared into the martini glass, intrigued by the quality of the liquid. It looked as if Magnus had purchased a tube of orange glitter glue from the craft store and squeezed its contents into the cup.  Alec took his retreat into the loft as an invitation to enter, which is just what he did, following the warlock into his sitting area and hearing the door slam closed behind him with a wave of Magnus's hand.

"Just name your price, and I promise to pay it. I'll do anything to keep Izzy from being exiled," Alec pushed up his sleeves, drawing the other man's attention to the way that his stark black soundless rune jumped out on the skin of his bulging forearm.

Magnus scoffed. "My price," He repeated, whirling around to look the taller man in the eye. "The Clave is against her. As far as I'm aware, they have always been the ones who've paid for my services. What could you and your gang of misfits possibly have to offer me?"

Alec opened his mouth as if to say something, but quickly shut it. He couldn't argue that he had nothing terribly valuable to his name.

"The only one of you that has any connection to the level of payment I would require is that vampire boy, Samuel," Magnus continued, and Alec had to hold back a sneer at the remark. "And last I checked, he wasn't too far up on the social pyramid over at Hotel Dumort."

Unlike your ex girlfriend , Alec thought, surprised by how bitter this fact made him. He shook the irritation off as he watched Magnus sink down into a plush blue chair, regaining focus on his mission. "Magnus, you know that I would do anything for my family."

"Isn't that the truth?" He quipped, taking a delicate sip of his mystery concoction.

Alec set his jaw. He knew what this was about, and he'd be lying if he said he hadn't known that convincing Magnus would be difficult. "I will do anything you ask in order to repay this favor."

Magnus straightened, eyes cutting into Alec with an unexpected intensity. "Careful what you say, shadowhunter. I've warned your friend Clary not to trust me. I would advise you to do the same."

"Why shouldn't I trust you?" Alec was perplexed. "You've done everything asked of you in return for proper compensation."

Magnus cocked an eyebrow. "Alexander, please. We both know what's going to happen now."

Alec gave him an exasperated look. "What?"

Magnus swirled his pinkie around in his drink, glaring up at the young man. "I'm going to help Isabelle free of charge, because I rather like her. Do you know why else?"

Alec ground his teeth together, shutting his eyes for almost a full minute. "Yes."

"I don't believe you do, Alexander," Magnus sat forward in his chair, silk rustling against velvet as his shirt slid across the fabric with him. His voice could cut through steel. "Have you seen the way I look at you? I'm not being very subtle in my advances, mind you."

Alec swallowed, considering what to say next. His mouth did not wait for him to catch up, however. He found himself replying with something he hadn't said out loud and had never expected to.

“Magnus, I may not be the densest person around, but I am the most inexperienced. I'm not used to people..." He tried to sort out a way to keep his next words from sounding conceited. "...flirting...with me, or whatever it is you're doing."

"My god, he has caught on,” Magnus joked, but Alec had no time to appreciate jokes. He had a sister to save, a parabatai and to find, and a little girl to deal with. That was what he should be focused on, not on the way his name rolled off of this man's tongue or the slender grip of his fingers on the stem of his glass.

"Magnus, about the marr—"

"Hold on, Alexander," Magnus held up a finger, his brow furrowing, seemingly piecing something together. "When you say inexperienced, what exactly are you implying?"

"I'll let you sort that one out on your own, thank you," Alec was in no mood to be discussing his love life—or mortifying lack thereof.

"Never had sex?" Magnus probed. Alec folded his arms and shook his head so slightly that Magnus almost didn't catch it. "Never dated?" Now Magnus was thoroughly intrigued. How had a boy like this remained untouched?

"No," Alec growled. "You know about Jace, everyone seems to know now, and he came to live with us when I was twelve. Connect the dots from there."

"Could it be..." Magnus dared not speak it, a dark, giddy smile crossing his face at the notion. "It couldn't be. Alexander, have you never been ki—"

Alec yanked a hand through his hair, interrupting the humiliating (but true) accusation about to leave Magnus's lips. "Enough with the twenty questions already! I admit it, okay? I have less experience than Max, for Raziel's sake! Is that what you wanted to hear me say!?"

Magnus did nothing to disguise the pure glee this fact gave him. "Actually, yes. Thank you, Alexander," He took a long swig from his martini glass. "This is quite valuable information indeed."

"Alright, can we stop talking about it? Please?" He begged, never wanting to look Magnus in the eye ever again.

"Absolutely not," Magnus chided, eliciting a frustrated groan from the shadowhunter. "Tell me, does your fiancée happen to be clued in to this little secret of yours?"

"No. No, Lydia doesn't know. And to be perfectly frank, I'm not too keen on giving up my first kiss at the altar, but this is the decision I've made, and I can't back out now," Alec found that the words once again tumbled out without a filter, feeling as helpless to his body's expungement as one did when vomiting.

The hard stare returned to Magnus's face at the mention of marriage. Alec hesitated, but only for a second, before more uncontrolled thoughts burst forth out into the open.

"I know how I'll pay you for helping my sister," He declared.

Magnus raised his eyebrows, pushing himself from his chair to stand right in front of Alec. "Oh?"

"Yes," He nodded, more enthusiastically than he felt, body seemingly decided on its next course of action despite the screams of confusion and protest from his brain.

Alec shakily teetered forward on his usually steady legs. He didn't even think for once, just did, just stooped down with closed eyes and lightly pressed a kiss to the warlock's lips, startled by the bumping of their noses and pulling back just as soon as he'd made contact. There had been a brief roaring in his ears, a tingling, a something, but he was certainly not brave enough to dive in deeper to explore the sensations.

"I-Izzy needs you," He blurted out, instantly regretting saying his sister's name right after his first kiss. He attempted to correct this blunder by adding, "I mean, what I meant was, um...I need you," But that felt worse, too embarrassing, too corny. He grimaced. Why did he even say that?

Admitting his dependency on Magnus was a whole other issue in and of itself. He'd never relied on anyone but himself, let alone told them if he had. Who was this Magnus Bane, this magical creature who spoke nary a spell nor snapped his fingers, yet managed to turn the young man into a stuttering mess with just one glance? Something in him was desperate to find out—yet he still suspected an enchantment was to blame.

Magnus had been staring, watching the shell-shocked nephilim mull over what he'd just done in his mind. When his gaze snapped up from the floor, his eyes met ones that glowed hazel, strangely similar to his own, the result of a slow magical transformation from brown to yellow. Right as he saw the blown pupils pulling into thin slits he straightened up, held his shoulders higher than he ever had before. He was back to business, covering up the stammering little boy inside with a warrior's stance and sharp features.

"I'll inform Izzy of your cooperation and contact you tomorrow. I trust that you'll be able to formulate a rough draft of an argument by then?"

Magnus nodded slowly, taken aback by Alec's ability to turn this soldier attitude of his on and off like a light switch. "Need you even ask?" He retorted with a mischievous glint in his cat's eyes.

Alec smirked, and goddamn if it wasn't the best thing Magnus had seen all day. "Of course not. Good day, Magnus."

“Good day" sounded much more hopeful to him than "goodbye".

Once Alec had exited Magnus's apartment, however, all the bravado vanished. He slumped against the door and, with a small, cracked voice, exhaled, "By the Angel."

He'd been so distracted by his own awkwardness that he didn't even notice how Magnus had reacted when Alec had kissed him. If he had to guess, he would've thought something along the lines of horrified or violated, but those descriptions were as far from the other man's feelings as words could get. He would soon find this out. If Magnus's muttered curse and surprised chuckle once the shadowhunter had left were any indication, he'd have known that there was no way Magnus would ever say "goodbye" so easily again.