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They called him the Ice Queen—six foot two inches of compact muscle on his lithe frame, dark spiky black hair, pointed features, sharp jaw and cheekbones, thin lips, and piercing cold blue eyes. He had a reputation for breaking hearts despite dating no one in school for the past four years he’s been in college. He had a nearly impenetrable demeanor around him which could only be permeated by his two siblings and their friends, in extension.

In the morning, Alec came to school with his siblings Isabelle and Jace. They met up with the others at the gates. They were the ‘it’ group, the ones who people either hate-on or want-to-be; with Clary, Jace’s current fascination, and Simon, Clary’s best friend and trying-to-be suitor of Isabelle. It was a weird circle but it suited him just fine. Having their small click seemingly matchy-matched made him a more obvious target for predators.

***

At lunch, Alexander Lightwood stood underneath a cherry blossom tree. It was large with thick branches spread wide and blooming with white-pink flowers. There was white pebble-stone path which led to it, and a circular outline surrounding it. A soft gust of wind blew and white-pink petal fells, just like a scene in a movie—in every highschool, rom-com, teenage romance.

He was dressed in his dark blue school jacket, grey waist coat, plain white shirt, black slacks, leather dress shoes, and his diagonally-striped midnight blue tie—a perfect example of the Institute’s male uniform. In front of him stood a girl dressed similarly but in a skirt. Her long red hair was gathered on one side, over her shoulder. She wore light make-up with lips a pretty glossy pink.

“I’m sorry,” he said in a blank tone, “But I can’t go out with you.”

“Why?” The girl shrilled, “Are you dating someone?”

Alec took a moment to respond and snorted. “Yes, and I love that person very much. So I can’t date you.”

“But—but,” her voice began to quiver. “That’s… that’s…” her face reddened with anger. He cannot remember how many times he’s gone through this very scenario since he started college. No matter how gently or rudely he refused, girls frequently ended up in dramatics.

“That’s not true! That’s a lie!” She cried, punctuating each sentence with a fist to Alec’s chest. He let her land the first few blows. “That isn’t possible! I’ve watched your around campus! There isn’t anyone! Or I should’ve seen them by now!”

“Stop,” he said quietly, expertly stopping her blows with one hand. “You’re only going to hurt yourself.”

“What do you care?!” She wailed, fighting against his hold. “You’re a liar and a fraud! You could have at least told me the truth that I’m not good enough for you Mr. Campus President!” She sneered at his face. “I was stupid to vote for you! You’re nothing but—a—liar!” She managed to free one of her hands and slap him across the face before walking away.

Alec stood there, with a bloodied lip, gaping at her retreating form. “Well, fuck. Not again.” He mumbled thumbing at the cut and seeing red. From above him, a deep voice chuckled, rumbling in laughter. He rolled his eyes, glancing up to see his best friend seated on a thick branch. “Don’t you have anything better to do than follow me around, Jace? Like, I don’t know, spend time with your girlfriend?”

The guy on the branch, Jace, stuttered and nearly fell out of the tree. “She is not my girlfriend!”

“Well, duh. You haven’t grown a pair and asked her yet.” Alec snorted. “You should just go ask her out already, get rejected or accepted, and either way move on. It’s embarrassing to you see you pining.” He scrunches his face and makes a bad impersonation of his best friend. “Oh I like her! Oh she doesn’t like me! Oh she’s wearing her racy lacy undies! Woes is me! Ouch!” He gets conked on the head with a shoe for the last one.

“One; I haven’t seen her underwear yet.” Jace stated proudly, making Alec snort. “Two—” he started to gingerly climb down from his perch, “—and miss this?” He jabs Alec on the side as he lands gracefully on his feet. “You being all cold and distant like Edward!” He laughed, finding himself hilarious, “It’s like watching a really badly twilight movie every single time! I can almost hear the ‘I know what you are’ line!”

Alec crossed his arms and rolled his eyes. “Your point?”

“That’s exactly why they call you Ice Queen, Alec! You totally have mastered the Bitch Face No. 23!” He said, gesturing to Alec’s current expression, “Add that to your forever scowl and the fact that you barely smile on campus! I can’t believe you got elected Campus President!”

“Elections are about platforms and programs, Jace.” Alec protested sourly, “It’s not supposed to be a popularity contest.”

Jace scoffed. “Tell that to the guy you beat. Do you even remember his face, Alec? You were way, waaaay easier on the eyes. It’s called ‘crush votes’, Alec, haven’t you heard of it?”

“Well, if that’s what it was, then I should resign from my position.” Alec said dryly. He gave Jace and eye roll and made his way back to the main buildings. “I don’t even know why she chose this godforsaken place out of all the gardens. It’s the farthest one! Argh!”

“Maybe she wanted a little…” Jace puckered his lips and made a kissy face. “Ya, know?”

“Urrgh! Grow up, will you?” Alec got gut off by the school bells ringing in the distance. “That’s the bell and I still have afternoon class. Come on, we’ve got to run! Loser buys whatever Isabelle is craving for later!” He yelled, speeding down the path before Jace could react.

***

As it turned out, Isabelle was decided on pastries and coffee for their after-school treat. They stopped at a newly opened artsy coffee shop slash book store with a forest-y motif; Seelie Court, it was called. The display case was lined with three layers of cakes and even more cases with assorted sweets from donuts to cookies to colorful dome-shaped Jello. Isabelle was thrilled! She hopped went straight for the chocolate section with Jace at her heels.

“I’ll just go…” Alec watched them go and sighed. “…find us tables.”

The pair behaved like middle schoolers, almost drooling over the glass which showcased the treats. He found a private booth. Lowering his bag, he slid in with little effort and took in the view of his siblings squabbling like children over who got to order what. It felt like they were still in their teens, in high school, before everything changed.

“Ohh, Nephilim.” The waitress cooed, stepping up to the table. She was tall and slim with milky-white skin, blonde hair, and sky blue eyes. She smiled at Alec, showing a hint of her teeth under her magenta-colored lips. “What is it you Shadowhunter Academy students like to say? …Ahh, yes, I remember! By the angel, what’s young angel folk like you doing in a place like this? Huh, angel-boy?”

“My sister heard this place had good reviews.” Alec deadpanned as politely as he can. He also heard rumors about terrible restaurants when one was rude to the wait-staff. Albeit this place does not seem like such a place, he preferred not to take stupid changes. “I’m sure it’ll live up your burgeoning reputation. And I don’t see why our school will affect our opinion of the food.”

“Huh, I didn’t expect that.” The waitress’ face, Kaelie he read on her tag, turned into a smile. “Well, alrightie then. I’ll be serving your table so feel free to signal me when you’re ready to order. Here are our menus.” She handed him three 15-inch wooden boards with papers attached to the front. “Take your time, honey.” She winked before leaving.

Isabelle whistled. “Wo-hoo, big brother, someone’s gonna be jealous when he hears about that.”

“What are you talking about, Izzy?” Alec glared first at her then at the menu, trying to buy time by pretending to choose a drink. All the names were in weird writing like it came from the Elvish-tongue in Lord of the Rings with smaller information underneath written in English. “How does the Blue Forrest sound to you?” He read the shop’s blueberry rendition of a Black Forrest cake-shake.

“Sounds to me like you’re avoiding the question, Alec.” Isabelle told him pointedly. She slid into the booth beside him and peered over his shoulder instead of getting her own menu like an adult. Again, it reminded him of their younger years when Isabelle and Jace were incorrigible little twerps. “Where is Mr. Tall-brown-and-delicious? I haven’t seen him all week.”

Alec rolled his eyes. He hated Isabelle’s nickname for Magnus. Ever since the part-Asian boy and he became a couple, she wouldn’t stop teasing him about his boyfriend, especially in front of their parents. It got bag at one point that he nearly fainted.

“He’s supposed to fly in tonight.” He said, checking his phone to make sure that he was giving the right details.

“Oh,” Isabelle said, blatantly peaking at his lockscreen. It was him and Magnus last summer when they went to Paris. “Where is your hunky man-meat of a fashion designer coming from this time? Milan? Beijing’? London?”

“Japan, actually.” Alec chuckled. “He signed a contract for Asia’s Next Top Model Season 4. He’s one of the guest designers this season. The shoot was in Japan. They asked him to design with Sanrio, Izzy, Sanrio. It was pink, pink, and more pink in the apartment for days!”

“I bet he loved that!” Isabelle laughed.

“Oh, he did.” Alec grinned, “but I didn’t.”

“Eww,” Jace cut in, joining the conversation. He slid onto the opposite side with a tray of goodies, glaring at Isabelle. “You dirty, cheat! You left me at the counter to pay for your food. I should ask Maryse to deduct it from your allowance!”

 “You will do no such thing!” Isabelle huffed, sounding scandalized. She immediately went for a green pistachio cake with white frosting and bit into it with glee.

Alec rolled his eyes. There was no less than a dozen things on the tray—three cake slices and numerous small sweet in the size of mini-cupcakes. They were lucky that they were all athletically inclined or else all that sugar would go to their thighs. He sighed and reached for the white and golden colored cake only to have Jace swat his hand away.

“That’s mine.” He grabbed the plate and barricaded it with his arm. “That’s yours.” He said, pointing to dome-shaped slice with custard and chocolate mousse filling. Alec was amendable to the surprise. He was a sucker for chocolate after Magnus introduced the … ahem… other things one can do with it.

“Excuse me,” came the voice of a girl that they faintly recalled as Whitelaw spoke up.

Jace being Jace, he swallowed the forkful of cakes in his mouth and swaggered around to face her. “Hey, babydoll,” he said, smoothing a hand over his messy blond hair. “What can I do for you?”

“I, uhm,” the girl flushed, sneaking glances at the area behind Jace beneath her lashes. She was a second year in the liberal arts department. Alec recalled seeing her in the student council room. She must be a staff member of one of the student offices. “I was actually… I wanted to talk to, ehrm, sir Lightwood.”

That raised three sets of eyebrows simultaneously.

“What?” Jace asked in surprise. He turned his head to Alec, giving his best friend the what the fuck look. “Did you just call him sir Lightwood? That’s got to be the funnies thing ever!” He laughed, making Alec blush and stutter in the background.

“Alec is fine,” said Alec after Jace regained composure. “Uhm, yes? What can I do for you…” he tried very hard to recall her name, “…Samantha…?”

The girl beamed. “Just Sam, actually.” She said shyly.

“Of course.” Alec nodded. “What can I do for you, Sam?”

“I was wondering if I could…” Sam glanced idly at Isabelle and at Jace before stammering, “ifIcouldbuyyoucoffee?”

“What?”

“If I could buy you coffee.”

Beside him, Isabelle and Jace ‘oooh-ed’. Alec was confused. “I’m, uhh, already having coffee? I know it doesn’t look like it but Isabelle and I have already decided what to order—oh right! Jace, you still haven’t chosen anything!” Jace snickered as he reached for the menu.

“I mean, erhm…” Sam was beet-red and was wringing her hands together. “I meant… I meant another time…”

“Oh,” Alec blinked stupidly. He tilted his head slightly to the side in puzzlement. “Then why did you ask me now? Couldn’t you have asked me when you intended to buy coffee?”

“I, erhm…”

“Owww!” Alec yelled when Isabelle hit him on the head. “By the angel, Izzy! What in Raziel’s name was that for! I wasn’t even talking to you!” He rubbed the sore spot with his fingers, checking for a bruise. Jace began to laugh and Alec glared at him. “What!”

“Jesus, Alec, it wasn’t even that hard.” Isabelle rolled her eyes. Then, she locked eyes with the girl. “Sam, right?” Sam nodded. Isabelle turned to back to her romantically-constipated older brother. “Sammie here is asking you out on a date, Alec.” She said plain as day, making Sam blush even redder.

Alec just looked at her like she was crazy. “No, she wasn’t. She would have said so.” He shook his head. “She was just asking me to hangout for coffee as friends. Right, Sam? It’s good exercise for student council member to work on your intrapersonal relationships. It helps with solving difficult problems as a whole.”

“I don’t think that’s what she meant, Alec.” Jace seconded the opinion after he stopped laughing.

Alec blinked warily. “Sam? It was a show of good faith, right?” But when he looked, the girl was nearly bursting into tears. “Sam? Sam? Hey! Why are you crying?”

“I…I…” the girl stuttered before turning her heels and running away. The door made a loud bang as she kicked it with her foot.

“Oh,” Alec said dumbly. “Oh, angel, she meant it like that, huh?”

Both his siblings just rolled their eyes.

“Christ, Alec,” Isabelle scolded. “You’re campus president. You deal with multiple negotiation with students orgs and the administration… and yet, you can’t figure it out when someone’s trying to flirt with you? I heard about the girl, Lovelace, right? You rejected her this morning and was a gentleman about it… so why couldn’t you get it that Whitehall was asking you out?”

“I… uhm…”

“Yeah, real gentleman-y, Alec. She cried and everything!” Jace teased while taking a huge bite of his cake. Isabelle shot daggers at him.

“Shutup, Herondale.”

“How was I supposed to know?” Alec complained raising his hands in defense. “You know I’m bad at stuff like that, right Izzy? You were there with the whole Magnus thing, right? It took forever for me to ‘get it’ and I had you whispering in my ear for almost an entire school year!”

“Oh yeah. I almost forgot that.” Isabelle drew back. “Still, Alec, it’s unfair to the girl population, hell, guy population of the school who has hots for you if you just keep on rejecting them—”

“NO,” Alec stated firmly. “I’m not interested in anyone else. I love Magnus and that’s that.”

“Then you should tell them that!”

“I already did!” He raised his voice.

“True,” Jace piped in as support. “I listened in during the Whitehall thing, right? Alec told her that he was already seeing someone but she wouldn’t believe him.”

Isabelle sighed in defeat. “That’s ‘cause Magnus isn’t from our school. Heck, not even out age group… I doubt anyone would believe that our campus president, our Ice Queen, who acted straight as an arrow was actually gay and happily in a relationship.”

“I resent that,” Alec mumbled. “Arrows bend while they fly through the air.”

Isabelle raised her hands up in desperations. “Oh right, archer. Urgh!”

“Can we stop talking about embarrassing things? I just want to spend some time with you guys before I go back to the apartment.” Alec sighed, picking at his food. He moved out of their house on the year he started college. It was originally Magnus’ place but now it was theirs. Half of it, the decorating, the mess, and the closet, was his.

“Yeah,” twin agreements came from Isabelle and Jace.

“Good,” he nodded, going at his cake again. He let himself get lost in the sweetness of the custard and the bitterness of the dark chocolate cream. He made a mental note to buy something for Magnus before they left. His boyfriend was an even bigger fan of sweets than him.

Before leaving, Alec bought Magnus a small layered chocolate cream pie. He parted ways with his siblings at the subways station and passed by the corner-grocery on the way home. His boyfriend would be in later tonight, and he wanted to surprise the up-and-coming Brooklyn fashion designer with dinner and dessert.

He held the box almost reverently along with the groceries as he walked the steps to their shared apartment. He didn’t do it often because he had homework and SC-work after archery practice but he liked to cook. He loved how his boyfriend beamed whenever made dinner instead of ordering takeaway.

The boy juggled the items as he unlatched the door, careful not to let Chairman Meow out the door. The pesky little kitty always tried to squeeze through Alec’s naturally wide-stance in order to escape. Over the years, Alec’s gotten better at blocking with his instep.

“No, no, no, not this time, Chairman.” He grinned, entering with his right foot sideward to block the feline. “Nope. I am not chasing you for half a block before get tired. I’m making something special for daddy tonight, you hear me? You better behave or I will withhold the can of tuna I got you as a treat. Do we have a deal?”

The kitten stared up at Alec with its gold-green eyes unblinking. It’s tail slithering behind it like a grassland snake. Meow, said the cat, whisking its whiskers.

“Good.” Alec smiled, closing the door behind him. The apartment was warmer than usual, and in the corner of the living room the cling-clanged of their old heater. He left it on for the sake of the Chairman. It was hell on their bills but it would break Magnus’ heart if the cat were ever to die. Said cat walked straight to the sofa and curled up on one of the throw pillow, folding his head over his paws slowly.

Dropping his bag on an ottoman, he slid the cake into the fridge and started packing away the groceries. He had bought a large jar of Nutella and refilled their PopTarts. He stowed those in their usual cupboard for Magnus to find when he got home. After that, Alec pulled his phone from his back pocket and began put on his cooking essentials playlist which Magnus would definitely tease him about if his boyfriend were home. He figured that he was safe for now.

He tugged off his school jacket, hung it on the back of the ottoman with his bag, and folded up his sleeves to prep for dinner. It was easy to get lost in the rhythmic sound of the knife on the chopping board, the scrack srackkkk sscraaackkk of the ventilation fan, and his tunes. The water boiled, the oil sizzle, and the garlic and onions crackled in the pan. Cooking had a meditating effect on Alec. It was no surprise that he failed to noticed that he wasn’t alone.

“Smells good, Alexander.” Magnus’ voice came just seconds before he wrapped his arms around his boyfriend’s middle, startling the younger boy.

Alec jolted in surprise. “Magnus!” He cried out, dropping the wooden spoon that he was using to fry the aromatics. Utensil forgotten, he spun around and came face to face with the most beautiful boy he’d ever laid eyes on—Magnus Bane, his boyfriend, his lover, his life. He cupped the older boy’s jaw and leaned in for a kiss. “I thought you wouldn’t be back until tonight?”

“I came back on an earlier flight.” Magnus smiled against Alec’s lips, slowing breathing in and out. “Oh heavens, I missed you Alexander.” He whispered, dropping his face to the junction of Alec’s shoulder and neck before inhaling. “As much as I love the smell of your cooking, I missed you so much. Japan was lonely without you. I wish you came with me…” He pressed his nose to the pale skin and inhaled again.

Alec shivered under the ministrations. “You know I have class, right? I’m sorry, babe.” He said, kissing Magnus on the nose. He stared up at the sleepy golden-green eyes, finding the dark circles, the wrinkled brow, and the pouty mouth. “Why don’t you fix the table? I’ll finish dinner and bring it out in a while. You must have neglected Chairman Meow too. He was extra clinging when I came home.”

“Yeah,” Magnus laughed and pulled away, rubbing the back of his neck. “I may or may not have crashed in the bedroom when I got here… Caught an early flight if you can call nine am early. In my defense, I went back to the hotel at five in the morning.”

“Oh really?” Alec gave him a pointed look. “And may I ask why you went home so early in the morning, hmmm?”

Magnus grinned, obviously teasing. “Why I had to go socialize and network of course! It’s never a burden to know who’s who and who’s next and who’s it in the fashion industry. People think it’s all designs and color and glamour. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, darling, and you know I dislike mutts.”

“Fine.” Alec grumbled, turning back around dismissively. It wouldn’t be fair to be jealous because this was Magnus’ chosen career and it was just work. He knew that Magnus kept business-business and was strictly professional. Still, he cannot help but feel a little insignificant compared to all the beautiful people his boyfriend meets on a daily basis.

“Alec…”

“Go fix the table. Dinner’s almost done if I haven’t burnt it already.”

There was a small huff but then Magnus’ footsteps faded out of the kitchen. Alec knew he was being unreasonably selfish. It was Magnus’ first night back. They’re relationship had been a rocky at the start because he couldn’t control his green-eyed monster. He should go outside and apologize for being such a big insecure douche and not being happy for Magnus’ success.

“Alexander?” Magnus’ soft voice broke his reverie. It came from the dining area.

“I’ll be right out.” Alec hollered back, hiding his sniffle. He plated their dinner: stir-fry egg noodles in black bean paste with pork and sprouts, and a side dish of wild mushrooms. Magnus loved Asian foods, saying that it reminded him of his early childhood in Asia.

Magnus’ eyes lit up when Alec entered the dining area, so did Alec’s. Their small four-person table was set-up for two, with the two extra chairs hidden from view, and—Alec’s eyes grew even wider.

“Are those LOTR dinnerware?” He sputters, nearly dropping the bowl of noodles as he stumbled to the table. He stared at the gold-lined white plates, twisted silverware, and goblets that reminded him of waterlilies. There was an honest-to-god leaf-inspired table cloth that made the their cheap ikea-table look like it was made from stone and moss.

“Yes.”

His boyfriend sat on one end, legs crossed, one elbow on the table supporting his chin, looking smug. The fact that he was half-naked and only wore his pajama bottoms was both a blessing and a curse. While Alec was distracted from the fill-effect of their new dinnerware, he could help but see Magnus fitting right in the setting like he was some kind of otherworldly magical creature instead of human.

Alec laughed out loud. “You are such a geek. You do know that people don’t see fashion designers as geeks, right? Those are like putting the means girls with… I don’t know, the DOD cosplayers… like orcs and elves forced to cohabit!”

“I think it makes me unique.” Magnus smiled, standing up to bring his dumbstruck boyfriend to the table. He kissed Alec on the forehead as the younger man sat down. “What can I say, I’ve never been a cookie-cutter persona, haven’t I?” He laughed, taking a seat on the other side and automatically began playing footsie with Alec’s shoe-covered feet. “Wow, babe, this looks amazing! Filling me up for some action later?”

Alec blushed at the wink. He still wasn’t used to it—to them being so open and downright vulgar about what they did in the bedroom. He could feel Magnus’ naked feet worm their way up his ankle, toes hooking on the inside of his sock while the other foot tried to dislodge his shoe.

“You could ask me to just take it off, you know.” He grumbled into his food with little sass.

Magnus just gave another wink. “I know you like it too. Don’t be so coy, Alexander.” He grinned even wider when he succeeded. “Hah! One down and another to go!” He beamed openly, making Alec snort at the childishness that he will never get tired off. Then, he was laughing and smiling and eating, and Alec finally felt that he was back home again.

***

Saturday, and Alec completely forgot about the two girls from last week. He got confessed to almost as frequently as Jace when they were in high school and the number only doubled after Jace started pining over some art school girl. Nowadays it seemed that most of the girls on Team Jace had decided that the next best thing to dating their idol was dating their idol’s older brother, even if said brother rejected every single one, earning himself the name Ice Queen.

Names didn’t bother him as much as they had in high school. Dating a repeat-nicknamer like Magnus toughed up his skin. He ensured several embarrassing pet-names through the years of dating. He loved the older boy more than life itself, and a few names were an easy pill to swallow as long as Magnus smiled at him.

It was Magnus’ first weekend back and, customarily, their date-day. Being sent to various parts of the world for fashion week, designer expos, and guest appearances, Magnus often missed new movies or a good series. He was a fan of Project Runway, Say Yes to the Dress, What Not to Wear, and Queer Eye. Alec introduced him to sci-fi and fantasy show like Doctor Who, Temeraire, and Shadowhunters. Their favorite was the last one.

On free weekends like this, when Alec didn’t have pressing school work and when Magnus didn’t have a deadline to meet, they would go to the movie hour and catch the latest movie. Today it was Batman vs Superman. Albeit not big comicbook fans, they were familiar with old-school hero movies. This one was supposedly another attempt to reboot the franchise altogether.

“You know, they say that Ben Affleck was pretty hot in this movie,” Magnus said while they waited in line for the tickets. It was a small local theatre not like the ones on Manhattan Island, and catered mostly to the local Brooklynite community. The high school kids usually went here because of the cheap ticket price that came with a bucket of popcorn and a soda. They would know since this was where they had their first date.

Alec rolled his eyes because of course Magnus was crushing on the older dude. Teasingly, he replied. “I don’t know, Magnus, Izzy said that Cavill was much more convincing. He is the one wearing the spandex half the time in the movie. They say it wasn’t all CG-ed.”

Magnus pouted. “Hey! I thought we agreed no spoilers! Cheater! How could you read the Hollywood gossip rags behind my back!” He complained, going for a playful punch to the arm.

Alec light-heartedly let it land, laughing. “I didn’t I swear! But this movie was out last Thursday while you were away and I can’t help it if my siblings decided to do a double-date for the midnight premiere. I swear to the angels that they wouldn’t shut up about it the next day! I had to hide in the library during lunch time to keep myself from hearing too much!”

“Awwww,” Magnus batted his lashes flirtingly. “You did all that for lil’ ol’ me? I’m touched, Alexander!” He kissed Alec lightly on the cheek before turning to the counter, having arrived at the front of the line. “Hey, Bessy! Two please.” He told the old lady behind the window with a smile. They’ve gone here so many times that Bessy remembered them despite her old age. “Give us your best, ol’ girl.”

She laughed, shaking her head. “I see you two are still attached at the hip. What happens when one of ya’ll get married, huh? Double wedding?” Bless her and her old values, she never really understood them but she never treated them differently.

“Something like that.” Alec piped up with a shrug. “Come on, Magnus.” He said, pulling his boyfriend out of the way. “Here,” he handed the popcorn claim stubs and took a seat ticket. “I’ll go save us seats and you can carry the popcorn this time. I don’t want to have to come back out because you forgot to buy your chocolates again.” Because that happened on their last date and Alec missed a good scene.

“Fine, fine,” Magnus sighed in resignation, “Make sure to get ones in the middle okay?”

“Don’t I always?” Alec shouted back, grinning, as he made his way inside the medium sized theatre. He chose a seat two-rows behind the eye-level area because Magnus’ eyes tended to water, and because it was better to make-out in if ever the urge arose. They tried the first row once and nearly got caught playing hanky-panky during a really boring montage scene.

“Hey, Alec,” Lydia Branwell, the SC vice-president, greeted him with her usual smile. “This is a pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect to see you here, erhm, you know, outside the campus and all. Haha. Kinda weird seeing you outside the uniform…” She pulled back and appraised him from head to and gave an appreciative nod. “It’s good. I like it. It suits you.”

“Uhm, uh, yeah, you too, Lydia.” Alec returned the pleasantries, albeit a little bit awkwardly seeing as an unknown girl was behind her.

“Is this seat taken?” Lydia asked, gesturing to the seat beside Alec, the one he wasn’t saving for Magnus so the boy shook his head. “Do you mind if I sit beside you? That’s not going to be too awkward, right?”

“Uh, no, no. That’s fine.”

Lydia shot him a grateful smile. “By the way, this is my little sister Sophie. She’s a first year Finance major. I’m not sure if you’ve seen her around.” She gestured to the blushing girl beside her who, upon closer inspection, looked like a miniature version of her. “This little nerd right here goes home before club activities even start. Can you believe that? Too much academics for my taste.”

“Wow, just like my sister.”

Lydia gave him a funny look. “I know your sister, Alec. Last I checked her name was Isabelle.”

“Heh,” Alec laughed uneasily, “It’s actually Isabelle Sophia but she doesn’t like to be reminded. Promise not to tell her?”

That made Lydia laugh. “Funny how I never realized you can be a bit of a wimp, Ice Queen.” She said jokingly. “Speaking of Isabelle, and that troublemaker Herondale, are they with you…” she tried to peer around the theatre looking for their heads. “…or did you finally agree to go on a date with one of the girls who confessed to you? God knows that you need to let loose a little, Alec. People might think that you’re…” she lowered her voice down a little and whispered, “…gay.”

Alec’s ear grew red, equal parts anger and equal parts embarrassment. He opened his mouth to agree with her little accusation but Magnus beat him to it.

“That’s because he is, sweetheart,” Magnus swooped in, straight onto Alec’s lap with the bag of popcorn and drink on the empty chair beside them. He pointedly glared at her, with his made-up winged eyes and dark purple eyeshadow. “My Alexander is very much so gay, as you so carefully put. Is that going to be a problem for you, darling?”

Alec gulped. Magnus was downright scary when he started calling people with endearments rather than curses. It only meant that his boyfriend was about to get into a bitch-fit, and not the pretty kind. It was the Hollywood-style, real housewives of Beverly hills, dance moms, Rupaul’s Drag Race Queen-B cat fight. He can see the gold claws on Magnus’ rings glimmering.

Lydia reeled back in open-mouthed shock, ping-ponging between Magnus and Alec. “That’s not… well, uhm… that’s…” A blush slowly rose up her cheeks.

“That’s what?” Magnus asked lowly.

She coughed in an attempt by some time. “That… certainly explains why you’ve been rejecting everyone.” She said flatly as if still trying to absorb the information. “You’ve been together since freshman year, haven’t you?” It was no spite in her question.

“High School.” Magnus automatically corrected, still poised to strike.

“Magnus,” Alec calmed him down by running a hand down the tall boy’s spine. “She’s not a threat. I promise. I…” he looked at Lydia meaningfully, “I know we can trust her. Right, Lydia?”

Lydia, and her sister Sophia, nodded at the same time. “Of course you can, Alec…” She nodded shyly at Magnus, “…Magnus, right? I’m Lydia Branwell. I frequently save your boyfriend’s ass during council meetings. You can thank me when he survives the school year with all his hair still intact.” She amicably extended her hand. “That’s if he starts paying attention instead of wallowing over his phone most of the time. Truce?”

“Hey, I do not!” Alec sputtered a complain that fell on deaf ears.

A terse silence fell over them like a blanket until Magnus began to laugh. “Ohh, you’re fun. But I still don’t like you yet.” He said, sticking out his tongue. “But wait, you can earn my favor if you tell me more about these rejections which my Alexander has been doing. Does he get confessed to a lot?” He leaned towards her, eyes sparkling.

“Magnus…”

“No, no, Alexander.” Magnus shushed. “You didn’t tell me that you’re Mr. Popular now that you’re in university… So, Lydia, do tell me. Pretty please? And then I can forget thinking about scratching your face of for even looking at my Alexander with your flirty eyes and too-pink lips.”

“Me? Interested in him. Puh-lease.” Lydia snorted. “I’m happily engaged, thank you very much. Speaking of which…” she turned to look at the doorway and waved to a young man with dark brown hair entering the cinema. “Right on time! That’s my Johnny. And, oops, don’t tell him that I let that name slip. He’s names John.” She blushed, slapping a hand over her mouth but Magnus grinned mischievously. “I fold. I’ll tell you everything you need to know. Just… just…”

“Hey squirt, hey honey. I can’t wait to see if this lives up to the hype!” John said excitedly before noticing they had company. “Oh,” he mumbled in surprise, staring at the two men in a very affectionate pose. “I… uhm… I didn’t know this was a group-thing… Lydia…”

Lydia shook her head, leaning up to kiss him. “Total coincidence. John, this is Alec our campus president and his boyfriend Magnus. Alec, Magnus, this is John.”

Magnus eyed the new man suspiciously.

John raised his hands in submission. “Hey, dudes, not my place to judge, okay? My uncles finally got married last year after thirty years of living together. Why’d you think Lydia and I are watching this on the second week of showing? It’s blasphemy I tell you! I had to wear earplugs for a whole week and withhold Facebook! It was a nightmare.”

That made both Alec and Magnus finally relax.

“Hey guys,” Sophia’s small voice cut them all off. “The movie’s about to start.”

***

Lydia made due on her promise. Magnus was adamant to be told about what happened with Alexander immediately and ‘demanded’ a double-date the very next day. They went to mini-golfing in the afternoon. Magnus and Lydia were in an in-depth discussion about the story of the Ice Queen while Alec kept behind in embarrassment. John was a sport about the entire affair and entertained Alec with conversations about post-college plans. The day ended with two new friends for both couples.

***

By Monday, the whole Ice Queen thing was forgotten.

At least, that’s what Alec thought.

Mondays were the worst days because it carried over the leftover laziness from the weekend. A blanket of lethargy always draped over the school on Mondays. Everybody was sluggish from the morning classes down to the club activities in the afternoon. Everyone hated Monday with evident conviction—even the officers of the student council.

“Eliza,” Alec barked at the council secretary who appeared to be daydreaming and drooling. “For Angel’s sake, Eliza, did you even take notes for the second half of the meeting? We were discussing the plans for this year’s school fair. Those notes are important to distribute the information down to the individual clubs!”

Eliza nearly stumbled back if not for Micheal, the treasurer, pushing her seat upright.

“Lay off, Alec, it’s Monday. Cut us some slack.” Michael complained, throwing his arms behind his head and stretching. “Either way, I’ve got the notes on the latter half so we’re safe. Don’t be so hard on Elie.”

“Just because today is Monday isn’t an excuse. It’s the first day of the week and we should start it right. Accomplish one task, then another and another. That’s how we make for a productive week.” Alec groaned, rubbing his temples. “Although, I do thank you for taking down notes, I firmly believe that it’s still Eliza’s responsibility as an elected to follow her duties and responsibilities as written in the handbook.”

“I’m sorry, Alec.” Eliza whispered quietly, looking down at her hands. “I’ll…I’ll do better, I promise.”

“Thank you, Eliza. That’s very commendable.” Alec gave her one of his rare half-smiles. He glanced over the rest of his officers and sighed. All four of them were weary and hungry. It was selfish of him to push the meeting without stopping. In all honestly, he really just wanted to go back home and cuddle his boyfriend. He was being completely unfair again.

“You’re right. I’m sorry about pushing too hard. Why don’t we all take fifteen minutes? Get some fresh air, some food, and take a bathroom break. I’ll see you all back here at—” He checked his watched “—six o’clock.”

There was a chorus of ‘yeahs’ and ‘whopiees’ that followed. Alec sat back down, leaned back against his seat, and closed his eyes—exhausted. He didn’t want to get up from the chair to do any of the things that he suggested. His legs were a little jelly and his hips ached. Magnus tended to be overzealous on his first few nights back. He kept one ear open to the movements of the room but closed his eyes.

A single set of feet were missing now.

“Where’s Lydia?” Alec asked when he opened his eyes. Eliza and Michael brought the smell of chicken nuggets with them, giggling amongst themselves. They stopped abruptly after Alec’s question.

“Uhm…” Michael bit into the nugget awkwardly, glancing at Eliza.

“I saw her talking to some really hot dude by the gate,” the girl quipped up uneasily. “They looked pretty close too.”

John,’ Alec thought bitterly. He grabbed his phone from the table and flipped it open. He thumbed on the screen finding Lydia’s name on the contact, and jabbing the ‘call’ button. He listened impatiently to the brring brrrng. She picked up on the third ring.

“Lydia,” he growled upon hearing her mid-laugh on the other side followed by a male voice in the background. He was up and walking out the door before Eliza or Michael would stop him, out for blood. “Where the hell are you? You’re the only one missing. This is unprofessional if you go out gallivanting with your boyfriend during club activities. We’re only gone over half the agenda and it would be nice to go home sometime today.”

Lydia was quiet through the whole exchange which aggravated Alec’s anger.

“Lydia Branwell—” He saw her at the entrance of the school building as if she wasn’t skipping out or delaying a very important club meeting. “Where have you—” but Lydia raised a hand to stop him. 

“I’m choosing to be the better woman and turning a blind eye to this.” She said with the audacity to smile cheekily at him. “I think everyone needs a break from your prissy-ness today. So I brought you a little surprise.” She patted him on the chest with a pink plastic bag in hand. “I’m taking this to the club room. Fifteen minutes!”

“Oh, Alec,” Magnus magically appeared underneath the archway, clad in tight leather pants, layering a shirt, a tribal-print sweater, and cardigan, ankle-high black boots, a red beanie, and sunglasses. “If I knew you got this prissy when I’m not around, I would have visited more often, babe.”

Then, there it was the Cheshire smile that stole Alec’s heart. God, Alec thought, his boyfriend was gorgeous. That fact was noticeable with the number of students who began gathering around them like nosy little bystanders.

“Magnus, what are you doing here?” Alec asked in surprise.

“A little humming bird told me that my Alexander’s been getting all sorts of attention.” Magnus replied coolly. He casually took off his sunglasses and tucked it at his neckline. He closed the gap between them and wrapped his arms around Alec’s neck possessively, boots giving him the extra-height. “I’m just here to stake my claim over the Shadowhunter Academy’s Ice Queen.”

Alec’s eyes widened. “I’m at school, Magnus.” But he made no move to push away.

“I know but Ice Queen. Seriously, Alec?” Magnus frowned, rubbing their noses together. “Let’s show them exactly who can melt your figuratively frozen heart. Let me warm you up with a kiss, baby.”

When Magnus’ rebel-colored lips touched his, Alec was powerless to resist. He loved Magnus’ kisses, anywhere and anytime. It was like water to a thirst he never knew, sating a yearning that he didn’t realize until it was here and now and they were together. He wound his arms instinctively around Magnus’ waist and pressed their bodies together.

Magnus’ moaned into the kiss, and Alec took the chance to plunder his boyfriend’s mouth. Magnus tasted like cherries and chocolate and mint. He must have been in the studio all day working on another design. He normally overdosed on coffee when he was drawing his designs. Alec licked into the hot wet cavern, at every crevice, at every curve, making love to Magnus’ mouth with his tongue.

In response, Magnus’ gripped him by the lapels of his school jacket, wrinkling the fabric but he didn’t care. He wanted Magnus and Magnus wanted him. That was enough. That would always be enough. He forgot that the rest of the world existed; the school and the students melted into a plain white background. It was just them—Magnus and Alec, Alec and Magnus—kissing and kissing and kissing.

“Ahem,” a cough broke them apart.

Alec was blushing profusely at the crowd that gathered around them. At the front were his siblings; Jace looked like he was about to hurl, a childish response the he never got over even after he accepted the unusual pair, while Isabelle was smugly grinning and collecting money—dear god, she probably made a betting pool—from crying college girls.

“Finally!” Isabelle sighed, counting the money with a lick of her finger. “Snacks are on me! Pay-up, Jace, you bet this wouldn’t happen in a million years’, right? Haha! You owe me fifty-bucks!”

“I said it wouldn’t come one until after Alec graduated!” He grumbled but coughed-up fifty nonetheless.

Alec was staring at the crowd with horror. This wasn’t how he pictured revealing his long happy relationship. It wasn’t so much for his sake as it was for Magnus’. Their age-gap alone was a bit questionable and he didn’t want to cause more problems for the fashion designer if they went public. He was long over the ‘gay’ comments from high school. He was a proud man with a stunning boyfriend!

Magnus said it for him. “So, yes, he is my Alexander, and don’t any of you forget about it. Yes, he is gay. Yes, he is out. Yes, he is loved.” He winked at his boyfriend cheekily. “He is happily committed to a same-sex relationship with moi. No, he isn’t an Ice Queen. He’s not pompous or snobbish or cold-hearted. He’s the sweetest guy I know and the only reason he keeps on rejecting everyone is because, even if I’m not here most of the time, he’s still faithful to me. Got it?”

With that, Isabelle grumpily returned the fifty bucks to Jace with a scowl.

“Yes!” The blond boy cheered, “I knew Magnus was one for cheesy declarations of love! I got you there, Izzy! Hahaha!”

Alec faced-palmed himself. Those were his siblings, alright. This wasn’t some out-of-body bizarre alien world in his dreams. It was real. All of this was real. There was a million different ways that this whole thing could have gone pear-shaped. In hindsight, he realized that he barely cared at all if it meant that he didn’t have to listen to any more confessions. It finally felt like his life again.

This was his life.

This was his school.

And, yes, the hot guy that everyone was talking about until graduation day was his boyfriend.