The music pounding and the lights flashing made it difficult for Alec to even think. He had dressed to fit in, with the excuse to Isabelle that he was meeting a girl he knew from where he used to work so they could have a night of dancing to celebrate the weekend. He made his way through the crowd, moving slowly to not seem suspicious. Being tall had its advantages, because the bar was easy to make his way to through the dancers all over. Wearing black jeans and a tight black t-shirt that belonged to Jace and was therefore a size too small, Alec almost fit in with the crowd. The way Izzy had mussed his hair and insisted he wear black leather cuffs made him seem all the more like any other club-goer.
When he got to the bar, he scanned the dancefloor slowly, eyes flickering from person to person. Everywhere he looked, there were people dancing and making out and drinking and having a good time. Alec didn’t see his contact yet, so he turned around and ordered a drink to cover his loitering there. He wasn’t even sure what the bartender had given him, but it was blue and strong, so he just sipped a little while he waited.
It didn’t take long before someone stepped up to the bar beside him and ordered a beer before turning to him. “So. Lightwood. We good?” he asked.
Alec swallowed hard, looking down at his glass. “Look. I need some time,” he said uneasily. “I got fired.”
“Not my problem.” Alec tensed, tapping his glass.
“Look. I’ll get it. I just need-“ Something hard pressed into his side and he glanced down, blood running cold as he saw it was the blade of a knife. “Shit,” he breathed.
“I told you, Lightwood. I need my money, or I’m taking it out on you.”
Alec swallowed hard. “Look, I’ll get the money. You know I- I can get it. I just need time.” He gasped as the knife slid and cut a hole in his shirt, the coldness touching his skin, though not breaking it yet. He looked down and saw the lights of the club reflecting off the blade. His voice went tight and high as he spoke again. “I can, I promise, I can do it, I-“
The knife dug into his skin ever-so-slightly, making him gasp at the slight pain. “Let’s take a walk, Lightwood,” he said, and Alec finally looked up, nodding as he locked eyes with the man he only knew as ‘Greg’. He turned and looked around, eyes flickering frantically, looking for any way out. Greg grabbed his arm in a punishing grip and kept the knife at his side, glistening with the slight few drops of Alec’s blood from where it nicked him. Greg pushed him towards the crowd on the dancefloor, all that stood between them and the exit.
Alec could see, as they started into the crowd, that the curtains to the VIP area were open and, in a raised area off to the left, there was a couch upon which sat at least a dozen people, all surrounding one man in the middle. He could also see that, much to his surprise, the man in the middle was watching him and Greg as they moved through the crowd. Alec figured that, as tall as he was, it wasn’t hard to notice him from an elevated position. He wondered briefly if any of those people could tell that he was about two seconds from pissing his pants. He knew damn well that when they got outside, Greg wasn’t going to take any promise he had to offer him.
Alec had gambled with his life that he could get an extension, and now he had lost.
When they approached the door, one of the bouncers backed into the way of the exit, his hand to his earpiece, though he didn’t look at either of them. Alec slowed, making Greg’s knife nick him again. Alec winced, clenching his eyes shut at the quick sting of pain. “Watch it, Lightwood,” Greg threatened under his breath, but before Alec could reply or move, a smooth, melodic voice came from behind them.
“Olsen, I know you don’t have a weapon in my club.” Alec turned his head and was surprised to see the man from the VIP area, the one who seemed to have been the center of the entire entourage. It made sense, he realized as he thought about it. The club owner would be the guest of honor, so to speak. He stepped closer, eyes narrowed at Greg. Somehow, Alec realized, the glittery makeup and dark eyeliner only made him seem even more threatening when he glared. “You know the rules-“
“I’m doing my business, just like always,” Greg retorted. “Look, Mr. Bane, I’m-“
“Holding a knife on a man in my club,” the man – Mr. Bane – interrupted. He glanced at Alec, then back down at the knife held to his side. He then looked up, between Greg and Alec, and nodded his head to one side. “Gentlemen, escort Mr. Olsen out and remove any weapons that were on his person while in my club. When you do that, send him on his way.”
“Yes, Mr. Bane.”
“Right away, Mr. Bane.”
Alec glanced as two large men – both just as tall as he was but much larger – came up behind him and grabbed Greg by the arms, snatching the knife away from his side before it was immediately taken from Greg’s hands. Alec put his hand to his side, feeling the small cuts that stung sharply, but didn’t seem to be more than just scratches, really. “And who might you be, Pretty Boy?” Alec turned in surprise and saw Mr. Bane standing in his same position, though this time he was looking at Alec with a curious smirk.
“A-Alec,” he stuttered out, his throat dry from the fear and then relief he had just felt in such quick succession over the past few minutes. The way the multi-colored lights of the club danced across Mr. Bane’s face, making all of his glitter sparkle, even that in his goatee, distracted him some at first, but as he looked at him longer, Mr. Bane was incredibly attractive. Alec blushed slightly when he actually realized how good-looking his savior was and noticed the amused little twist to his lips at Alec’s stuttering.
“Well, Alec,” Mr. Bane said in a softer voice, like he was mulling the name over as he spoke it, getting a feel for it with his lips and tongue. “It appears, by the blood on your fingers, that you’re in need of some first-aid.”
Alec looked down at his fingers, which had fallen from his side, and saw that there was blood on his fingertips. “It- it’s not much, I just- You don’t have to-“
“Nonsense!” Mr. Bane said instantly. He reached out for Alec’s other elbow, spinning with a bit of flair to stand at Alec’s side. “Come with me. I’d be a terrible host to leave you injured and uncared for.” He tugged Alec into motion, and Alec bent his arm as if he were escorting Mr. Bane somewhere rather than being dragged along.
“Mr. Bane, I’m very grateful for-“
Mr. Bane waved a hand. “Oh, no, it’s Magnus,” he said with a playful grin. “All my friends call me Magnus, and as pretty as you are, you get that privilege as well.” Alec blushed and Magnus’s eyes skimmed across his heated skin before he faced forward with a slight grin. “Right this way,” he said, and Alec had no choice but to follow him.
They skirted around the edge of the dancefloor and to the VIP area. Much to Alec’s surprise, there was a door off to the back of the VIP area that led into a long, well-lit and well-sound-proofed hallway. He didn’t say anything, simply allowed Magnus to lead him along the hallway until they turned a corner and were met with the sight of an elevator. “I live in the penthouse apartment,” Magnus explained as he pressed the button for the elevator. “Private elevator for guests from the club that I invite up for even more exclusive parties.”
“So, you own the club, right?” Alec asked, just to clarify, and Magnus nodded. “Huh, it must be convenient to live in the same building, but it has to be sort of annoying to have to go out of the way like this just to get home.”
Magnus chuckled, clearly surprised but amused. “I can’t say anyone has ever entertained that thought before,” he said, pausing only to step into the elevator with Alec and then press the only button in there. “But, no,” he said with a small smile. “This building spans the block, so the main entrance is on the other side.” He grinned up at Alec. “I don’t have to carry my groceries through a dancefloor,” he teased and Alec blushed, looking down at his feet.
“Oh. Yeah, that makes sense,” he murmured, glancing up at their reflection in the shiny elevator doors, only to see Magnus looking at the side of his face with the most amused look on his own.
Alec looked around the large, open foyer as they entered Magnus’s floor. He was surprised to see that there was no front door, the elevator they exited simply faced another elevator across from them. The foyer had large archway rather than a door, so they simply walked into his apartment.
Magnus gestured grandly to the surprisingly cozier and lived-in looking apartment than Alec had expected from the owner of the ultra-modern style club downstairs. He expected something that looked like it came out of a magazine, not something that looked like an actual person’s home. “Here, have a seat,” Magnus said, settling him on his sofa before darting away.
Alec looked around, eyes widening a bit when he saw the big floor to ceiling window that showed a beautiful view of the skyline across the river. “Wow.”
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Alec jerked some, blushing when Magnus’s voice came from right beside him. Magnus smirked. “No matter how far I go and for how long I’m away, something always calls me back to this city.” He sat down beside Alec and gestured to his side. “May I?”
Alec nodded, lifting the hem of his shirt. “Yeah, of course, but it’s really just a scratch,” he repeated, and Magnus tutted, dabbing at his side with a cloth dipped in something that stung as he cleaned the cut.
“I cannot believe the nerve of that man. He knows the rules. No weapons, no violence, not in my club.” He put the cloth down and grabbed a large Band-Aid, carefully sticking it to Alec’s side. “Well, you were correct, nothing even worthy of stitches, but still.” He patted the finished product. “At least you aren’t bleeding now.”
Alec blushed slightly as Magnus’s fingertips trailed flirtatiously from his side and along his hip before he pulled his hand away. “Thank you. I- um.” Alec looked around. “Why did you bring me here? Why didn’t you just send me on my way?” he asked in confusion.
Magnus sat back, smiling at Alec in amusement. “You really have no idea who I am, do you?” He tilted his head. “What’s your full name?”
“Alec Lightwood,” Alec offered. “And you said your name’s Magnus Bane, right?”
Magnus nodded, biting back a grin. “Yes, that’s correct, Alec Lightwood. However, you clearly aren’t in the business of the man you were dealing with if you don’t understand fully just what the connection to my club and your business is.” He leaned forward. “Alexander,” he said, and Alec raised an eyebrow at him for just guessing his name. “Why did he have a knife pulled on you? I assumed you were a contact of some sort, but now I’m less sure.”
Alec looked away, jaw clenching. “I owe money to a not-so-legitimate source and Greg is my usual collector. However, I lost my job, so this month I’m short.”
Magnus raised an eyebrow. “Drugs?” he asked, and Alec shook his head.
“A loan from several years ago.” He gave him a pointed look. “And personal business.”
Magnus held up his hands. “I respect that,” he said simply. “However, you clearly don’t understand that my rule about weapons isn’t just to protect myself from the law.” He gave him a serious look. “I don’t like people getting hurt. I don’t care if I don’t know you, I do not want people to get hurt. I may turn a blind eye to some stuff going on under the table in my club, but generally that’s because it’s safer than what would happen in a less neutral location. And if you had gone with that man, he would’ve hurt you.”
“I know that,” Alec said, swallowing hard. “But I didn’t expect you to care either way.” He managed a small smile. “It appears I was wrong.”
Magnus grinned suddenly. “The way I see it, if you leave now, there’s a solid chance you may be followed.” Alec’s blood ran cold as he thought about the potential for someone to follow him home to where his siblings were probably asleep right now. “Don’t worry,” Magnus said quickly, seeing his obvious fear. “You can stay here for a while. Wait it out.” He stood up, walking past Alec. “And, since I’m nothing if not a good host,” Magnus said, winking at him. “I’ll make us some drinks to make up for missing out down at the bar.”
Alec blushed. “You- you don’t have to, I-“
“Nonsense,” Magnus said simply. “It would be rude to just leave you sitting here without offering you a drink.” He smirked and turned to face him as he walked to the drink cart. “Now, are you a vodka kind of man, or is whiskey more your speed?” he asked, and Alec decided not to question it and allowed Magnus to make him a drink after all.
When Alec woke up in the morning, he sat up quickly, looking around in confusion at his unfamiliar surroundings. After a beat, he realized he was lying on the same couch as last night and his brain supplied that he must’ve fallen asleep on Magnus’s couch. He looked around, frowning, only to hear footsteps off to his left. He stood and followed the sound, pausing to blink at the sight that met him when he stopped in the doorway.
Magnus Bane was walking around what was clearly his bedroom, picking up various accessories, all while being followed by a gray and white cat. Magnus caught sight of his reflection almost immediately and he smiled, turning around. “Good morning, Alexander.” He shooed the cat behind him and walked over to Alec, looking up at him with an amused glint to his eyes. “Did you sleep well?”
Alec ducked his head, rubbing at his neck sheepishly. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to fall asleep. I’ll leave, I just wanted to apologize, and I-“ he squeaked in confusion as a fingertip hovered over his lips all of a sudden and he looked up to find a pair of beautiful brown eyes in front of him. He took in the quirk to Magnus’s lips and felt his cheeks heating again.
“Alexander, you were no imposition.” He lowered his hand. “I actually wanted to ask you if I could take you to breakfast this morning.” He gave Alec a long look, clearly trying to find something in his eyes. “I have a business proposition, of sorts, for you that I would love to discuss over more than just coffee.”
Alec wasn’t sure of much of anything about this entire situation, but he found himself nodding before he could even think about what this proposition might be. “Yeah, okay,” he said, even as his brain yelled at him to stop and think first.