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The ad is messily stapled against the public announcement board in the quad.

It looks like someone wrote it with their non-dominant hand in the first pen they found. Its sloppy red ink reads in giant letters: “FOUR BEDROOMS. ONE BATH. PASSABLE KITCHEN. WILLING TO DELAY PAYMENT ON RENT. PLEASE DON’T TRY TO LIVE WITH US IF YOU’RE WEIRD, WE ALREADY HAVE SIMON.”

And there’s a number to call on the bottom.

Alec isn’t exactly in the position to be turning his back on a place to stay. He’s pretty sure that if he spends one more day sharing a bedroom with Jace, he’ll either murder his best friend or get kicked out before he has the chance.

The situation is dire. The night that he and Lydia had had their long conversation full of crying and nervous laughing and finally, finally coming out to each other as being attracted to the sex opposite the other, he was happy. He really was. He was happy for Lydia and Isabelle and he was happy for himself, because it was the first time that coming out felt natural.

He’d thought once during that night that the living situation probably wouldn’t work now that they weren’t dating, weren’t even pretending to be attracted to each other anymore. But he’d pushed that thought aside to make room for more happiness and only now was it becoming the top problem on his list.

He dials the number.

 

The place is cute, he has to admit it.

It has a few cracked stone steps up to the front door, handrails with ivy wrapping around them on both sides. Ivy is everywhere, actually. Climbing and curling and claiming the house as part of the earth. There’s a bike leaning against the steps, locked safely with a coil and Alec could see a cat curled up in one window near the top.

He could see himself living here, maybe. But it depends on who lives inside.

He knocks on the door twice and waits. And waits, and waits, and waits until finally the door is yanked open by an Asian man in a flowy red robe who looks so displaced that Alec can’t help but pity him. His hair is a tangled mess and he has smudges of makeup around his eyes and on his angular cheeks. Even in his disheveled state, Alec thinks he’s cute.

“Oh.” He gasps after a few seconds of blank staring at Alec. “You’re the guy looking at the spare room, right? God, I completely forgot.”

“I can come back another time if you need to…get dressed?” Alec offers, and he feels awkward as he tries to look everywhere that isn’t the man’s exposed abs. Which are very nice, but Alec shouldn’t think that. He barely knows the guy.

“Don’t be silly, Simon already baked cookies for you.” The man said as if this were a good enough reason to keep their appointment. “Don’t be alarmed, dear, he bakes for everyone.”

“Okay.” Alec says, because he doesn’t know how else to answer.

“I’m Magnus, by the way.” He says as he tugs Alec inside. Alec is honestly floored by the inside of the apartment. It looks like it couldn’t decide just who it wanted to reflect, what style it wanted to stick with. Some of the furniture was lavish and lofty, like the velvety red loveseat that Magnus chose to lounge on. There’s an alarming number of plants, some hanging from pots that attached to the ceiling and some crammed into windowsills and on the mantill of the fireplace. On the walls is a combination of elegant, professional looking paintings and vintage movie posters.

It’s wild. Alec is excited.

“So, this is it.” He tells Alec as he takes a hesitant seat on a worn and faded red couch. “The others are Simon and Clary. They’re attached at the hip, don’t even try to understand how they developed their telekinesis. Clary and Simon bed upstairs, that means you’ll get the room down here. Is that cool?”

“Yeah, totally.” Alec shrugs. “I don’t really care where I am. The room I have now is like, roughly the size of a broom closet so I’m fine with space--”

“Oh, actually.” Magnus smirks. “The room you’d get is bigger than any of ours.”

“Oh?” Alec’s never gotten a big room. Sure, the room in his old house had been pretty decent but he’d shared it with Max and his floor had always been a maze of legos and building blocks so it didn’t count in his mind. “How big?”

Magnus hums. “I suppose I can show it to you. Just promise not to run right out the front door when you see it first, okay? It’s not that bad, I mean we don’t want it but that doesn’t mean it won’t suit your...tastes, maybe.”

“Okay?”

Magnus gets up and leads him to the room adjacent to the kitchen, opening the door slowly and making Alec peek over his shoulder to get a view.

“Oh.” Alec gasps a bit, because even though the room is big and has two nice windows and a good sized bed, the walls are bright green. Not just bright green, more like neon green. Mucous green.

“Our old roommate, Ragnor, he was going for more of a forest vibe.” Magnus says thoughtfully. “Paint swatches got mixed up, the painters got confused. He got a job downtown and moved out before he bothered to fix it. So we’re left with this...nice little...spare room.”

“Well.” Alec rubs his eyes. It’s not what he was expecting, actually, he was expecting something worse. He was expecting a floor made out of mud or something. This he can deal with. This isn’t something to turn away a perfectly nice place to live over. “I can always paint over it?”

Magnus grins brightly. “I’ll help.”

Alec moves around the room curiously, checking in the decently sized closet and behind the minimalist furniture. Magnus talks the entire time, telling Alec about how Clary is an art student who’s always working on some kind of project that they may or may not have to help her with. Simon’s a music major who apparently talks nonstop and bakes for people, destroying the kitchen in the process.

“What about you?” Magnus pokes his shoulder eventually. “What do you do?”

“Uh, I play basketball.” Alec says, trying not to sound shy. When he tells most people that, they seem to assume that he loves it, that it’s his passion. They ask him technical questions about the game and what it’s like to stay so physically active and all that. No one ever asks him if he actually likes the game, which he can’t blame them for. Most people just assume that everyone else knows what they’re doing.

“Oh, that’s cool! Can I come to one of your games?”

Alec’s taken aback, to say the least. “You--you want to come?”

Magnus nods excitedly. “I like watching sports, actually. You wouldn’t guess it looking at me. Simon says it’s a healthy way for me to channel my deep seated need to see high powered intensity in a real-world setting.”

Alec blinks. He feels his cheeks getting warmer and he wishes he could control that, but he can’t so he merely rubs at his face with the sleeve of his sweater. “You can come if you want? Games are Tuesdays and Fridays.”

“Fabulous.” Magnus smiles again. Alec’s stomach flutters a bit when he realizes that no one, not even his family, has ever been excited at the idea of coming to his games.

The next hour is spent learning more about how the apartment runs. He learns that rent it divided equally and fairly, and everyone is good about paying their part on time. He learns that the chores are split up less evenly, that really the only person who’s good about keeping the place clean is Simon. Clary waters her plants and that’s basically it and oh, Magnus mentions in a very casual manner, each plant has a name and Alec is expected to learn them.

“There’s no laminated set of instructions or anything,” Magnus says with a straw between his teeth while he sips on one of the many soda stocked in the fridge. “Just don’t be one of those douchebags that you’d read about in a Twitter rant.”

“I can do that.” Alec promises, and Magnus hands him the keys.

 

“Did you do background checks? Goodness, Alexander, I hope you made sure none of these people were drug dealers.” Maryse says each word with bitterness, her knife cutting through her chicken a bit too roughly for Alec’s liking.

“Uh, yeah. I did a check.”

Alec didn’t do a check. No normal person does a check. But his parents still can’t really wrap their heads around his new living arrangement because they don’t know the reasons behind it. He definitely wasn’t ready to come out to his parents, ditto Lydia, so they’d made up a million excuses about why Isabelle was a better roommate for Lydia than Alec.

Lydia is allergic to all of Alec’s favorite foods, they said mournfully. Their schedules don’t line up, one of them is always coming home too late and waking up the other. Alec despises Lydia’s taste in music, so morning showers are intolerable.

Anything except the fact that Isabelle and Lydia were in love and they desperately wanted to spend every day together. That one wouldn’t work with either the Lightwoods or the Branwells.

“I understand you’re living with a female.” Robert interjects. His face already looks strained, like he’s imagining things that he’d rather not be. “I do hope that you’ll restrain yourself.”

Alec finds Isabelle’s eyes across the table, smirking a little when he sees her shoulders shaking with suppressed laughter.

“Uh, Clary won’t be a problem.” Alec promises. “She’s really nice but she’s more like a, um, a little sister.”

“And the boys?” His mother prods. “They’re well behaved? No fraternities or parties, right?”

“They’re fine.” Alec insists, feeling a bit tired of having to prove that his judgement isn't entirely horrible. “Simon is really studious and organized. I can’t imagine him partying. Magnus…”

Really, he can totally imagine Magnus partying. He’s pretty sure Magnus even mentioned throwing the occasional bash. But he’s not going to tell his conservative parents that, so he says, “He’s outgoing, but he’s smart.”

His father looks thoughtful as he chews his dinner. “Maybe Isabelle could get adjusted to one of them.”

Alec struggles to hide a smile and wipes his mouth with a napkin to cover. “Yeah, maybe. I don’t know if they’re, uh, Isabelle’s type.”

 

“You get up this early every day for this?” Simon asks with his sleepy early morning voice and his head propped against his fist. Alec watches his eyelids flutter open and closed and wonders when they’ll just stay closed and Simon will slump down to the kitchen table.

“Morning practice.” Alec says with a nod. “Then class, then the gym, then games on Tuesdays and Fridays.”

Simon huffs. “I’m seriously considering dropping this morning class. Where do you find your will to go on?”

Alec smiles and Simon grimaces at it, like any show of happiness at this hour is directly harmful. “I’m a morning person.”

Simon just rolls his eyes. “If I had to get up at six and run laps every morning, I’d cut off my legs.”

“Are you coming to the game?” Alec asks, trying to sound casual. He’s never really cared who came to his games before now, but Magnus’ vow to come had made him hungry for more. Having a whole section of new friends supporting him in the bleachers might just make basketball fun.

“Sure.” Simon smiles for the first time, and he looks considerably more awake. “I’ll make some celebratory cookies for when you win.”

Alec knows that he liked basketball at one point. He’s played every year since the fourth grade, and now it pays for some of his tuition to be on the NYU team, but he can't help but dread every game.

Somewhere along the way it just lost the appeal. Maybe it was the fact that winning wasn't fun anymore, just a requirement. Or that his parents even seem bored with it, seeing as they hardly come to a games.

It just wasn't the same as it was when he was a kid.

Something was different this week. During his workouts and practices he actually felt energized instead of staring at the barred clock. He awoke early without complaint and chatted with Simon and Clary on the mornings that they had their early classes.

People tended to categorize Alec as shy, but he never thought of himself as shy. Quiet, sure. Not shy. Shy meant that you wanted to get to know someone, but you didn’t have the nerve.

Alec could get to know someone when he really wanted to. He tended to trip over his words on occasion, but that was merely due to his mind working faster than his mouth. He only spoke when he had something to say.

His roommates were all people that he wanted to get to know. And, over the course of three weeks, that’s what he did.

Over weekly movie nights he discovered that Clary had a ridiculous tolerance for even the scariest scary movies. Nothing seemed to give her nightmares.

“It’s like your brain just doesn’t have fear receptors or something.” Alec commented one night, watching with despair as a girl tried to quiet every breath to hide from a killer.

Clary glanced at him and solemnly said “Real life is scary enough as it is.”

Simon had thrown a piece of popcorn at her, and it left a buttery stain on her forehead. “Stop trying to be deep. It’s just her serial killer fetish.”

Through many long dinner conversations he slowly began to grasp the basis of Simon’s favorite TV shows and movies. Rather than just having Alec watch them, Simon preferred to explain everything himself in painstaking detail. Alec made an attempt to reference Stranger Things, and Simon had nearly wept with delight.

Magnus was the one that Alec learned the most about. He was always busy, it seemed, but he had time for Alec. He’d sit on the counter while Magnus applied his complicated make-up and talk about anything that came to mind. Along with a perpetual good mood, Magnus just seemed to genuinely enjoy Alec’s company.

He’d never lived somewhere that had made him so happy.

“I want you to slaughter them, Alec, you hear me?” Clary has him bent at an awkward angle to look her in the eyes. They are filled with fire and hatred toward the opposing team, who isn’t much of a threat to Alec’s undefeated season.

“Got it.” He pats her shoulder. “Thanks for the encouragement. Where’s Magnus?”

Clary turns to face the bleachers, which are once again missing his primary family. Alec is surprised to feel nothing at all.

“Oh, there he is.” She points and Alec’s eyes follow the gesture to across the gym, where Magnus is draped across the water cooler and engrossed in a conversation with Raphael Santiago, one of Alec’s own teammates.

“Him and Raphael again.” Alec murmurs. He tries his best to squash the idiotic feeling of jealousy that arises whenever he sees them interact. Magnus just has a certain...comfort with Raphael. A certain back and forth that he hasn’t achieved with Magnus.

But he has no grounds to be jealous. Magnus isn’t his boyfriend or his best friend, even. Magnus is his roommate. Just his roommate.

After a few minutes of half-assed warm-up that’s mostly just watching Magnus’s teasing smirk be directed at Raphael, his roommate finally saunters over to join Alec.

“Let’s see some touchdowns!” Magnus cheers. It's a joke he makes every week. Alec hates that he laughs every single time.

“It’ll be an easy game.” Alec says with a confident roll of his shoulders. Magnus beams.

“Normally I’d offer a lunch date if you win,” Magnus remarks with a smile, “But of course we have to rush home to poor Simon.”

“I’ll win in memory of him.” Alec vows solemnly, thinking of their sick roommate at home who’d attempted to join them. As Clary explained it, Simon has asthma that needs to be carefully monitored, not because it’s severe but because he’s horrible at taking care of himself.

“Raphael says I'm his lucky charm for winning,” Magnus laughs and Alec’s heart dips involuntarily, “let’s hope Simon isn’t yours.”

He rejoins Clary in the bleachers and they scoot together to fill the spot where Simon usually occupies. Alec tells himself and his dumb, thumping heartbeat to relax. He has a game to win, and he’s not going to be the one to break the streak.

The game is easy, as expected. Alec feels the surge of excitement that had been missing for so many seasons when he scored and heard his friends cheer for him.

Annoyingly, he can’t help but find himself constantly checking the stands. Almost to make sure that Magnus and Clary haven’t lost interest and left.

They never do, and when the buzzer deafens the gym and announces another victory, Magnus and Clary hurry down to hug him.

“Another sweeping victory, Achilles.” Magnus teases, a glint in his green eyes. Even if the look on Magnus’s face isn’t pride, Alec still feels better about winning than he ever did with his family.

“I guess maybe you’re my lucky charm after all.” Alec says, feeling a jolt of surprise at his own boldness. It has to be post-game adrenaline. It’s definitely a new sensation. He’s never had anyone to flirt with after games before Magnus.

“Speaking of,” Magnus smiles brightly and squeezes Alec’s shoulder before breaking away. Alec watches him envelope Raphael, who looks less than thrilled, with a hug.

“What’s wrong?” Clary tugs on his sleeve as he watched Magnus and Raphael discuss something, their heads bent together intimately. “Victory isn’t satisfying after three straight weeks?”

Alec forces his eyes away and back towards Clary. He shakes his head and turns his back on the offending sight, already leading her toward the door.

“Nope.” He closes his eyes. “I feel great.”

 

The apartment is dark when they enter, and all talk of the game ceases when Alec and Clary see the current state of their roommate.

The ceiling fan swings lazily overhead, casting long shadows on the walls and hardwood floor. The light from the TV dances on Simon’s pale face and casts blues and soft greens on the knitted blanket that’s tangled along with his sleeping form.

Despite their efforts, Simon snaps awake when the rickety front door closes with its usual groan.

“Hey,” he mumbles hoarsely, “did you win?”

“Sure did.” Alec confirms and takes a seat on the coffee table adjacent to the sofa. “Just for you.”

“I could've gone.” Simon insists ruefully, disproving himself immediately after with a pitifully weak cough that makes something crackle in his chest.

“Show it to me.” Clary calls as she emerges from the kitchen. Simon’s suffering seems to summon her, like a sixth sense that’s built into her existence.

Simon fumbles for a minute before producing his tiny white inhaler that he constantly has to prove he has with him.

Clary nods in approval and moves back into the kitchen, leaving Simon and Alec alone. Simon settles back into his pillow and nudges Alec with his knee.

“Where’s Magnus?” He asks. “He went to the game, right?”

“He, uh, hung back. With that guy on my team--Raphael?”

Simon’s face is blank as he nods, his raspy voice low as he murmurs a simple, “I know Raphael.”

It would be easy in that moment to talk to Simon about the worries that’ve been bubbling up in Alec’s brain every few minutes. He could casually ask if Simon knew anything about Magnus and Raphael’s relationship and he could easily make it seem like he just wanted to know in order to tease Magnus.

But he’s worried because Simon, even feverish and exhausted, could probably see right through him.

So he says nothing and leaves to take a shower.

Magnus still isn't back when he emerges, clean and free of post-game grime. It kills him to sit idly on the couch and let his mind wander, so Alec makes himself productive by going to the drug store and buying something to help Simon’s throat.

By the time he’s back, relatively cheered up by his good deed and his jam session in the car, Magnus’s car is out front. He’s back.

“Lo siento,” Raphael is standing in their small entryway, trying to get around Alec. He looks like he’s in a hurry to leave and Alec, confused and slightly upset, stumbles out of his way as he leaves.

Magnus is in the living room, seated on the couch with an amused smirk on his face. As always. Alec can never garner any hint of what’s happening in any situation based on Magnus’s expressions because they’re always the same. He’s always amused.

“What was he doing here?” Alec blurts. It’s not at all what he meant to say, but it hangs in the air now and there’s no taking it back.

Magnus doesn’t seem bothered at all by the question. “He was visiting, that’s all. Did you get something for Simon?”

Just like that the conversation is over. And Alec is probably paranoid for thinking that Magnus is avoiding the topic on purpose. But isn’t he?

With any other topic Magnus can talk for hours. His stories are intricate and delicately woven, so they often take time. But when Raphael’s name comes up he has little to say, and that makes the pain in Alec’s stomach even worse.

“Yeah.” His plastic bag rustles as he holds it forward. “Cough syrup. Is he sleeping?”

Magnus shakes his head. “He’s in his room. Go give it to him, he needs it.”

Alec takes the short sojourn upstairs and enters Simon’s organized, nerdy room. He’s laying in bed with his several blankets cocooning him and Alec shakes him gently to get his eyes open.

“Hey,” he whispers, “you need to take some of this, okay?”

“Thanks, mom.” Simon mumbles sleepily, forcing himself to sit up. “Is Raphael still here?”

“He just left.” Alec tells him. What he would give to just ask Simon what he knew. “Why?”

“Just wondering.” Simon whispers. His cheeks are red from the fever as he nestles back into his blankets and drifts to sleep.

 

Lydia looks beautiful. Her hair is tied into a complex updo, her red lips matching her formal dress. Each step from her is fluidly graceful.

Alec can see Isabelle staring from across the room.

“So how are things between you two?” Robert asks when they’re all seated around the wide oak table. “You’re still seeing enough of each other now that you’re living apart?”

Alec doesn’t even realize he’s being spoken to until Lydia puts her hand on his thigh. It feels foreign, to both of them, and Alec has to remind himself that they only need to do this for the next three hours or so.

“We’re doing just great.” She says with her crystalline voice that the parents all love.

Alec gives a thin-lipped smile and a nod and tries not to look like he’s in physical pain.

Thanksgiving dinner with his family has always been an ordeal. Conversation usually consists of wildly invasive inquiries about the childrens’ social lives, questions about their selected activities (basketball, violin, gymnastics, science), and bigotry.

It’s harder now. Before, Alec had nothing better to do than to sit around a table and make faces across it at Jace. Now, he has a family waiting for him at his apartment.

Clary had cooked a meal. Simon was still sick in bed. Magnus had made fun of Alec’s formal sweater.

He aches to be home, but he’s with his family instead.

About halfway through a slow conversation about Jace’s orchestra recitals coming up in the near future, Alec’s phone buzzes.

“Alexander.” His mother admonishes. “No phones at the table. Or have you forgotten?”

“Sorry.” He murmurs, scrolling down his notifications. Two missed calls from Magnus and one from Clary. They’re probably just trying to call and ask how things are going, he thinks. He’d complained enough about this for them to be realistically concerned.

But it goes off again, a call that he has to pretend not to see. And again. Magnus doesn’t bother leaving voicemails.

Eventually he glances down at the solitary buzz of a text and on the screen is a message from Magnus that says: It’s Simon. Hospital room 2203. Meet us when you can.

“I have to go,” Alec is already out of his seat and carrying his full plate to the kitchen. Lydia breathes a slight sigh of relief.

“Alexander,” Robert’s voice is serious. As if this is a capital offense. As if he’d just thrown food across the room. “It’s Thanksgiving. You can’t possibly have something more important than family dinner.”

“It’s my roommate.” Alec insists, unfazed by the amount of eyes on him. “He’s really sick. He’s in the hospital, I have to go see him.”

“I’m sorry about your friend.” Maryse says, sounding not at all sorry. She doesn’t get it. None of them get it. “But visiting him can wait until you’ve spent time with your family.”

“Simon is my family.” Alec protests. “He’s not just my friend. He’s like, a brother to me. I have to go see him.”

“You’re being unfair, Alexander.” Robert says, and his voice borders on icy. “Family is family. Blood is blood. Sit.”

Maybe it’s the amount of times that Alec has pushed himself through basketball games with no one in the bleachers. Maybe it’s the amount of missed calls when he just wanted encouragement for school and his parents could bother to pick up their phones. Maybe it’s the mental image of Simon, who’d made him study cards for his economy exam, sick in a hospital bed that forces Alec to kind of fucking lose it.

“Family is family?” He hisses. “Where was my family when my team made it to state last year? Where was my family when I moved into a new apartment and no one came to help me move? I’m not blaming Izzy and Jace, because they have school and their own lives. But you two? My parents? You spend every day focused on yourselves and never on me. Or any of us.”

They’re all silent as he stares at them and their stupid fancy silverware and jewelry. Alec huffs, turning toward the door.

“I’m going to see my family.”

 

“You look rough.” Magnus says in way of greeting when Alec pulls open the heavy blue door. He probably does look pretty bad, with his hair messy from raking his hands through it and his cheeks slightly tear-stained. But he doesn’t want to talk about it.

“Not as rough as you guys.” He says softly, moving to stand beside the bed. Simon looks peaceful with his clean white covers pulled up to his chest and his eyelids slightly flickering. Two oxygen tubes snake up his face and supply him with extra help breathing.

“He had an asthma attack.” Clary mutters, her voice heavy and thick. “We couldn’t get it under control. He has a chest infection, that’s what they said. His mom is coming down to visit him soon.”

“Good.” Alec smiles, wrapping his arms around Clary and letting her lean into him just so. “He’ll be okay?”

“He’ll survive.” Magnus nods solemnly. “They’re keeping him overnight just to make sure everything’s fine.”

Alec slides his phone off after a few too many messages from his relatives. He doesn’t want to focus on that now. Instead he focuses on the story Clary is telling about how Simon once worked himself into an asthma attack by merely talking too excitedly about Star Wars.

They fall into a comfortable therapy session comprised of stories and laughing until the door cracks open again.

“Raphael!” Magnus sounds delighted as he gets up to hug the man who is here, again, in their space.

Alec honestly can’t handle it. The twisting in his stomach (jealousy? curiosity?) and the worry for Simon is multiplied until he offers a quick promise to return shortly and hurries into the hall.

He finds a great spot outside. The bench is made of stone and Alec collapses into it. There’s a small park right outside the children's wing, but the play structure and swings remain empty. Alec hopes this means that there aren’t any kids at the hospital.

He’s not sure how long he sits there, moping, until Magnus wordlessly sits beside him.

“If you don’t like him, you can just say so.” Magnus mumbles. It’s the first time Alec’s ever heard his voice anything but teasing and confident. He turns to look at Magnus who, upon closer examination, has smudges of makeup under his eyes.

He’s lived with Simon longer than Alec has, Alec reminds himself.

“What makes you think that I don’t?” Alec’s voice fails completely at sounding convincing.

“Every time he’s around you leave the room. Give some excuse. Usually you just do exactly what you’re doing now. Being anywhere but where he is.”

Alec sighs. It’s cold enough outside that his breath makes tiny puffs of air and he waits until they’ve dissipated to speak.

“I just don’t understand why you act differently when your boyfriend is around than you do when he isn’t.” Alec huffs, all in one breath. “I mean, you’re so quiet when it comes to him--”

“Wait, wait. Oh my god. Alec, oh my--” Magnus heaves a laugh and Alec stares as he slumps over on the bench, shoulders shaking. “You think, oh my god, you think Raphael is my boyfriend?”

“Well I did,” Alec says slowly, “but now I’m not really sure.”

It takes a good five minutes for Magnus to control himself before his answers are coherent enough to decipher.

“Alec. Sweet, sweet Alec. Raphael is madly, wildly, into Simon.”

“But you two--”

“We’re close friends, it’s true.” Magnus clarifies. “But having anything remotely romantic with him? I can’t imagine it. Oh god.”

He laughs again and Alec reviews the facts in his head. The basketball game, where Raphael had looked so serious while he talked with Magnus. The basketball game that Simon hadn’t been at.

The apartment, when Raphael was rushing out and Simon was quietly asking about him from the comfort of his bed.

And now here, at the hospital, probably leaving his own family dinner to see Simon.

He can’t believe how long this took him.

“Is this why you never respond when I flirt with you?” Magnus asks suddenly, sounding fairly accusatory. “Because you thought I was dating Raphael?”

The answer is yes, that’s exactly what happened. Alec was always telling himself that Magnus wasn’t flirting, he was just being nice. He was just being a friend. He’d thought that maybe Magnus said the same things about Simon’s eyes and Alec just hadn’t ever been around to hear it.

But it’s easier to kiss him than it is to explain that, so that’s what Alec does.

It’s wonderful. It’s like the feeling of winning state championships and moving into the new house and finishing his favorite books all at once. The kiss is everything good in the world, and so is Magnus’s face afterwards.

 

“This is so embarrassing.” Simon mumbles, his flushed face hidden by splayed fingers. “I’m so sorry, guys. I didn’t mean to make you all miss your Thanksgiving dinners. Alec, you parents are so strict! Were they mad?”

“They...were.” Alec allows. “But less about me leaving and more about the little...tantrum that I kind of threw.”

Magnus smirks from beside him, his hand still in Alec’s like it has been for an hour and a half.

“Simon, dear, you’re family.” Magnus promises, reaching over to pat his shoulder. “And I would say that today, arguably, has been the best Thanksgiving I’ve had in quite a while.”

Alec has to agree.