Thank you all for the kind words on my return and the comments on the chapter! It was been a tough few weeks but writing has given me an outlet. If the last chapter was filled with fluff, this one is kind of the opposite. It is also long. Please let me know what you think. Also, just a reminder of the semi-AU nature of this story. A familiar character pops up here and while I've tried to characterize her as she is in canon material, the context that we meet her here vs in the book or TV show is very different.

This chapter also has some warnings: consensual adult sexual content, a flashback of child sexual abuse (brief and not explicit, it is italicized) and brief self-harming behavior.

September 2008

Alec could barely contain his giddiness as they pulled on wetsuits and secured their life jackets to their bodies.

"Daaaaaamn, shadowhunter. That wetsuit does wonders," Magnus announced, laughing at Alec's furrowed brows as he looked down at himself.

Magnus stepped towards him and Alec wrapped his arms around his hips. The life jackets kept them from getting closer but they pressed together as tightly as possible, kissing deeply.

Finally Magnus reluctantly pulled away. "If we go down this road, I'm not going to be as keen to get on that jet ski."

Alec laughed and nodded.

"Besides, I know of some secluded beaches we can reach with the jet ski," Magnus murmured against Alec's ear.

"Perfect," Alec said. "You ready for this adventure?"

"You know I can drive us with my magic," Magnus said.

"Nope," Alec said, happily. "I'm in control here and I'm driving."

Alec grabbed Magnus's hand and pulled him to the water where their jet ski waited.

"Aye, aye, captain," Magnus sang. "Lead the way, my fearless shadowhunter."

May 2008

Rays of sunshine filtered through the gaps in the curtain panels, making Magnus's brown skin glisten in the light. He was lying on his back, the sheets pooled around his waist, one hand resting on his bare stomach. His head lolled against his shoulder, ungelled hair splayed around him on the plush pillow and there was just the hint of a smile on his sleeping face.

Alec lay on his side beside him watching his boyfriends sleep. He was mesmerized by his beauty. He would hold onto this image in his mind, storing it away for when he needed it most.

In his 18 years, he never thought he could be happy. For so long, he believed that he was not allowed the emotion. He believed it with every fiber of his being. It was like every cruel touch and word that he had experienced had been imprinted into his soul, stripping him of any worthiness, leaving him open only to pain and shame.

But now he knew that this feeling of happiness was possible. It wasn't constant, this was true, but it did exist and slowly, he was learning how to access it.

He gently swept a strand of hair that had fallen into Magnus's face. Magnus stirred and lifted his head slightly so that Alec's hand was cupping his cheek.

"Good morning," Magnus murmured, nuzzling his face deeper into Alec's hand. His eyes opened only halfway, trying to shield them from the sunlight.

"Good morning, Magnus," Alec murmured back, his thumb stroking the soft skin.

Magnus tilted his head to the side, so his lips were pressed into Alec's palm. He hummed and peppered kisses into it.

Alec giggled at the tickling sensation and he could feel Magnus's lips curling upward into a grin. When he pulled away, his eyes twinkled with amusement. "I love a morning giggle."

"I do not giggle," Alec protested.

"Sometimes, you giggle," Magnus said, fiending seriousness and then bursting into laughter at Alec's unamused facial expression.

Alec was absently running his other hand over Magnus's abs, feeling them ripple as Magnus laughed. As he looked down at the warlock, his finger following the path of the ridges in his stomach, he felt a wave of another feeling that he only recently discovered was possible for him. Desire. His face flushed at the thought.

Magnus now had the back of his head resting in the pillow, looking up at Alec, his eyes heavy lidded. Trying not to think too much, Alec pressed his lips at the corner of Magnus's left eye and then his ear and then the corner of his lips.

He pulled up slightly, his lips hovering just above Magnus's. Magnus's head seemed to instantly follow him.

Alec moved to meet Magnus, their lips pressing together greedily. Without thinking, Alec swung one leg over Magnus, so he had one knee planted on either side of Magnus's torso. His hands gripped his face as both boys opened their mouths, their tongues exploring urgently.

Magnus had snaked his arms around Alec's lower back, pulling him down gently so that their bare chests were flush against each other. Alec rutted his hips against Magnus's stomach, gasping at the sensation of his growing erection being pressed into Magnus's hard abs between the thin material of his boxer shorts.

Alec drew his lips away from Magnus. His boyfriend moaned at the loss but Alec didn't give him much time to complain as he started nipping at Magnus's skin with his lips and teeth down the side of his neck and at his collarbone.

"Mmmhm." The sound reverberated from Magnus's lips as Alec's hands dragged down his sides. His fingers traced up and down the v-shaped line that disappeared into Magnus briefs as his lips followed in a trail of kisses.

A few months ago, Alec would have struggled to get this far without feeling the constant pull of painful memories and having to stop. Now, although it maintained a dull presence, Alec was able to more easily push it aside and allow his need to take center stage.

And Magnus also did everything in his power to keep it there. It was like he had listened to every word Alec had ever said and paid attention to every reaction to touch and used that information to create a set of unspoken guidelines on how to make sure Alec felt safe.

He didn't initiate touch without giving Alec a warning. Often it was as simple as hovering over his skin for a moment or catching his eyes. He also often waited for Alec to initiate anything sexual beyond kissing. At first it was hard, because Alec was too shy to initiate anything but as he allowed his need to touch Magnus take the lead, it became easier. And Alec wanted to touch Magnus all the time.

And when they started doing more than makeout sessions, Magnus knew how to listen to Alec's body for distress. He knew the way his shoulders tightened with something that was not linked to joy or the way his brow crinkled as if he was fighting with an unwanted memory or the way his breathing turned ragged when he was scared. Without Alec speaking, Magnus just knew and he would pause, a gentle hand resting at Alec's cheek and wait to see what he needed, without making him feel ashamed.

He also knew never to put his hands near Alec's neck, unless they were at his nape when they were kissing. The same applied to his wrists. They often laced fingers or gripped each other's biceps but Magnus never wrapped his fingers around Alec's wrists.

Now, Magnus's head was flung back as Alec continued to trail his fingers over his skin and leave little hickeys down the expanse of his stomach. Magnus's hands were rubbing softly up and down Alec's back. Alec pulled his mouth away and sat up, shifting his body downwards and feeling Magnus's erection against his backside through their underwear.

Alec's heart skipped a beat at the feeling and his shoulders tightened. As if on cue, Alec felt a gentle hand on his cheek. He looked down at Magnus. His usually narrow cat-like pupils were blown wide with desire but his voice was calm and gentle.

"Darling," Magnus said.

Alec smiled down at Magnus, his touch and voice centering him. He shimmied his body down, so they rested on Magnus's thighs and pressed his hands into Magnus's pelvis, his thumbs brushing against the base of his erection through his briefs.

"Morning sex, it's a thing, right?" Alec asked, smiling shyly at his boyfriend.

Over the four months that they had been more sexually active, they had never had penetrative sex of any kind but after the first time Magnus had made Alec come, they'd used the word sex. Alec knew it was deliberate on Magnus's part, showing Alec that what they did was sex and what was done to him was not.

"Oh, it's definitely a thing," Magnus said, his voice low and raspy.

Alec curled his fingers over the elastic of Magnus's underwear and pulled them down. Magnus lifted his hips and Alec lifted his weight off of his thighs to remove them and toss them over the side of the bed.

The younger man just stared for a moment. Magnus, naked, a thin sheen of sweat coating his golden brown skin. His body, long and lean. His golden-green eyes staring back longingly.

Magnus sat up, his hands resting at the elastic band of Alec's boxers. "Can I?" Magnus asked.

Alec nodded mutely and Magnus snapped his fingers. Alec felt a rush of cool air as the boxers disappeared off his body and landed unceremoniously on top of Magnus's briefs.

His cheeks tinged with pink as his boyfriend seemed to drink in the sight of Alec, naked and aroused. Alec could feel his heart pounding, a mixture of anticipation, arousal and anxiety, like a battle of emotions, with the outcome determining how the moment would play out.

"You, my angel, are everything," Magnus practically moaned into Alec's ear. His hands, which were at his hips, inched down. He looked at Alec and Alec nodded again, his eyes rolling back as Magnus wrapped his hand around his erection. He pressed his forehead into Magnus's shoulder and moaned loudly as Magnus started to move his hand up and down.

Alec bit down on Magnus's shoulder as he brought his hand between them to grasp Magnus's arousal. "Alec," Magnus gasped, lifting his hips into Alec's hand.

The shadowhunter pulled his head back so he could see Magnus. The wanton look on Magnus's face that greeted him sent instant sparks down Alec's spine and Alec wanted nothing more than to see Magnus come undone. Anticipation and arousal were quickly overriding his anxiety.

"I want to…" Alec started. He bit his bottom lip and stopped moving his hand.

"What, love?" Magnus rasped.

Keeping one hand curled around the base of Magnus's erection, he gently pushed at Magnus's shoulder with his other, urging Magnus to fall back into the bed and causing him to dislodge his hand from Alec. Alec used his knee to nudge Magnus's legs apart and allow him to settle between them.

Trying not to think about anything but the next step, Alec shifted his body further down the bed, making it easier to bend down and press his lips at the space that would usually have a belly button. He kissed down until his lips reached his fingers that were still wrapped around Magnus's erection.

He pulled his eyes up so he could see Magnus.

"Alexander," Magnus started. Alec could see lust and concern mingled together on his face.

"I want to," Alec assured him.

Magnus nodded mutely. Alec could feel Magnus's pulse picking up speed in his groin. He could feel the rush of blood pumping through his own veins. Alec grabbed his own erection between his legs while his lips moved up Magnus's shaft with kisses, his fingers still around the base.

The pounding of his heart was loud in his ears. He pleaded with his mind to stay in the present. It was his boyfriend who was throbbing underneath his lips. It was his boyfriend's heavy breathing and soft moans in his ears.


Magnus gasped when Alec's warm mouth wrapped around him. He flung his head back, deep into the pillow at the sensation. He panted as Alec started to move, his fingers curling into his sheets, making sure not to jut his hips up to meet Alec's movements.

"Alexander," he moaned, his eyes fluttering back behind his eyelids. As Alec continued, he could feel his erection hitting the back of Alec's throat as he bobbed his head up and down. He tried to keep his pelvis deep into the mattress to make sure he wasn't hurting Alec but Alec just followed him down.

He could hear soft moans coming from his boyfriend and Magnus relaxed. As he continued, Alec moved his mouth faster and faster, using his tongue and fingers like they had magic seeping through them. Magnus could feel himself coming undone. The sounds of pleasure emitting from Alec vibrated against him.

"Alexander," he groaned. "I'm going to come." He reached down and gently pushed some strands of hair out of Alec's face. He didn't think it would be a good idea to come while inside Alec's mouth. At least not for Alec's first blow job. "Kiss me, babe."

When Alec didn't stop, Magnus felt his hips rut up, his body spazzing. He took hold of Alec's chin and tried to lift his head up.

Alexander's mouth slid off him with a pop as Magnus gently guided him away from Magnus's impending release. Alec looked at him, his eyes were dazed, like he was confused and then it disappeared and he smiled at Magnus, his hand still wrapped around him.

He shifted his body up so that he could kiss him. Magnus reached down. "Can I?" Magnus gasped. He could tell that Alec was also close by the way his body shuddered in tandem with Magnus.

As if not wanting to pull away from the kiss, Alec grabbed Magnus's hand and pressed it to his dripping erection. Both boys started moving their hands up and down the other, gasping and moaning into each other's mouths. Within seconds, Magnus's body was arching up into Alec's hand as he came.

It was almost like he lost time when he finally came down from the high, collapsing into the bed and sighing deeply. As the haze of his orgasm cleared just slightly, he could see that Alec had also come.

Magnus propped himself up on his elbows. Alec had retreated back to the space between his legs, his calves tucked in under his thighs. His lips were swollen and his cheeks were flushed. He was gripping Magnus's thighs, almost like it was anchoring him. His chest rose and fell with each breath. At first, he was smiling, a satiated smile as he seemed to soak in the image of Magnus but Magnus could see the smile start to falter as Alec came down from his climax.

Magnus's heart skipped a beat. "Alexander," Magnus said, gently. He sat up. Fear and concern instantly overpowered Magnus. He allowed his hands to hover over Alec's hands and when Alec did not show signs of objection, he allowed himself to lay them over Alec's fingers.

Alec flinched but didn't pull away. "Talk to me, babe," Magnus said. Alec closed his eyes. Magnus found himself silently chastising himself. They should have talked about it first. Oral sex was such a huge step.

They sat there silently, Alec deliberately controlling the pace of his breathing. He had turned his hands so he could intertwine them with Magnus. That was a good sign. He was not fully shutting down.

"I flooded my mind with you and only you and it was beautiful," Alec finally whispered, opening his eyes.

"You were amazing," Magnus said, keeping his voice equally low. "I felt like I was...was unraveling."

Alec made a hitched sound. Hidden tears were now caught in his lashes.

"Alec, darling," Magnus said, more desperately now. Somehow, he had said the wrong thing.

"I...," Alec stammered. "I know."

"You know? You know what?" Magnus asked.

Alec pulled his hands away and pressed them against his own thighs, digging his nails into his skin. They were too short to cause any damage but Magnus knew what the little gesture meant. Alec wanted to hurt himself.

"Hey, hey," Magnus said, carefully pulling his nails away from his skin. "What do you know?" he repeated.

"I know I was good."

Magnus could only look back in confusion. Why was this upsetting Alec?

"Without even thinking, I knew exactly what to do to make it good, Magnus." His voice was small and laced with shame. " riding a bike."

Magnus's eyes widened as he realized what Alec was thinking.

Alec sobbed. "It felt so good, Magnus, feeling you like that. But now...I just...I feel I did exactly what he trained me to do. I...I remember the first time, I wasn't very good, Magnus. I mean, how could I be, right?" He was rambling. Speaking much too fast for a response. "But he...he would tell me what to do over and over until finally, I didn't need to be told. I...I just knew what to do...and I did it."

Magnus tried to keep the horror from manifesting itself on his face. His angel was in so much pain and Magnus didn't know what to do.

"I'm going to touch your face," Magnus said. "Okay?"

"Okay," Alec said, his voice hoarse and drained.

Magnus cupped his face, rubbing away the tears on his cheeks with his thumbs.

Alec tried to turn his head away but Magnus urged him to keep looking at him.

"You are amazing and you made me unravel because you are the man I love, the man I am in love with. That is all."

Alec shook his head. "That's not true. I knew exactly what to do."

"You knew what to do because you listened to my body. Because you know me. Because we are connected. Because you love me and I love you. And if and when you are ready for me to give you a blow job…" Alec blushed and Magnus smiled. "I will listen to you and your body."

Alec leaned his forehead against Magnus's. "Thank you, Magnus."

"Tell me what you're thinking now," Magnus implored.

"I am thinking that you are magical." Magnus chuckled and Alec continued. "And I am going to try to focus on how it made me feel. Giving…" He paused, the blush deepening. "Giving you a blow job turned me feel you and make you come like that, turned me on."

Magnus smiled and rubbed their noses together.

"The other thoughts...they...they haven't gone away but I'm working on that too."

Magnus lifted his lips and pressed them against Alec's forehead. His angel's demons were locked away there, trying to harm him and everyday, Alec fought them as fiercely as he did the physical ones.

Alec had his arrows and seraph blade to slay those demons. He glanced at the old, self-inflicted scars scattered across his body. He had used a blade against the internal ones too.

Magnus wrapped his arms around Alec, drawing him into a tight hug, as if he could keep him safe from those demons with the embrace. Alec melted into his arms.

"Not alone," Magnus whispered.


Alec could feel Magnus watching him carefully as he stood at the kitchen counter waiting for the coffee to drip down into the coffee pot. The coffee maker was one of Alec's contributions to Magnus's apartment. So he didn't need to summon drinks from unsuspecting coffee shops, Alec had told him. Alec was pretty sure it was only used when he was there.

When he finished making them coffee, he turned around and placed the two mugs of piping hot liquid on the table and sat down across from his boyfriend. Magnus wrapped his fingers around the mug, his gaze still fixed on Alec.

The younger man shifted in his seat under the scrutiny. "I'm ok, Magnus," Alec insisted. Even as he said it, he knew he was lying. It was like something heavy sitting in the pit of his stomach. He hadn't fully processed his feelings yet.

Magnus pressed his lips together and shook his head before taking a sip from his mug. They sat in uncomfortable silence before Alec finally broke it.

"Magnus, you didn't do anything wrong." His voice was firm and unwavering, trying to impress upon Magnus the truth of the statement.

"We should have…" Magnus started.

"I wanted to," Alec cut in. He hated seeing the guilt on Magnus's beautiful face and he hated himself more for causing it. He placed a hand over Magnus's.

"Shit," Magnus said. "Now you feel guilty that I feel guilty. Alec, listen…"

Alec shook his head. He closed his eyes, taking himself back to when they were in the bedroom together. The kissing and touching and butterflies in his stomach. The racing of his heart and desire to feel Magnus inside his mouth. He blushed thinking about it. It sounded crude in his mind but that's what he had wanted to do and he had enjoyed every minute of the experience. He had relished seeing Magnus satiated and knowing that he was the reason for his boyfriend's bliss. It wasn't until a few moments afterwards that his past had come crashing down on him.

"You're right. There is no room for you or me to feel guilty, Magnus. The only person who is guilty here is…" He paused and squeezed Magnus's hand, the gesture giving him strength to continue. "Benedict Manson."

"You are so brave," Magnus said, a sense of awe in his voice.

Alec blushed at the way Magnus was looking at him, like he was capable of moving mountains.

"I didn't get to this place alone. I have had you and Jace and Izzy to help me get through this. For so long, I allowed the abuse to consume me and control the way I went through life. But these last 8 months, I'm finally starting to understand hope and happiness and starting to believe that I am allowed these things."

"We might have helped but what you are saying and thinking now, you did that. So, yes, you are so fucking brave and strong."

Alec nodding, trying to accept the compliment. "Thank you."

They sat in silence again but this time it was comfortable. They were still holding hands over the table and Magnus was rubbing his thumb over the back of Alec's hand.

"I think the next time we take things to a new level, we can talk about it first," Alec started, his face flushed again. "I got caught up in the moment. You make me feel so safe that sometimes I forget that my brain isn't always going to cooperate with what I am feeling. Talking about what might happen or what I've experienced in the past might help. I don't like to talk about that stuff much but I also don't want it to have so much power. I don't really know but it's worth a try, right?"

"I think that's a very good idea," Magnus said, earnestly.

Alec smiled and stood up so he could lean over and kiss Magnus. Magnus leaned into the kiss, capturing Alec with his lips. Both boys shuffled to the end of the table and past it, lips still locked. Alec found himself pushing Magnus forward until Magnus's back was pressed against a wall. Alec's hands were buried deep within Magnus's ungelled hair. Magnus's arms were wrapped around Alec's waist.

When Alec pulled away, he was gasping for air. "Okay, I should go," he said, smiling and shaking his head at the intensity of the kiss.

"Hmmm," Magnus whined. "Do you have to?"

"I'm meeting James to play basketball soon."

"Right," Magnus said. Alec chuckled lightly as Magnus quickly covered up his disappointment.

"We'll talk more tonight," Alec promised. They had planned to meet at Hunter's Moon for a date night. They were doing more and more of those. Magnus had even taken him on a date in Prague one night.

Magnus smiled. "See you tonight, babe."


"I don't think it's fair that you're now better at this than I am," James panted as the two boys collapsed on the grass adjacent to the basketball court.

Alec chuckled and shrugged, wiping away the sweat from getting into his eyes. "I mean, my height is an advantage."

James rolled his eyes. "And those runes," he grumbled. "What does that one mean?" he said, pointing at one on his bicep.

"Agility," Alec said, sheepishly.

"Exactly!" James said, triumphantly. "Shadowhunters are always cheating."

"That's always there," Alec protested.

"Still cheating," James concluded.

Alec smiled. "Well, I'll only help you get better."

"I'm already better than my friends."

"But do they all have werewolf strength?"

Now James looked sheepish. "No. But I bet I could beat werewolf kids too."

Alec was suddenly reminded of James fighting a grown wolf while teen werewolves egged him on. He shuddered.

"What's wrong?" asked the younger teen, who had only recently turned 14.

"Nothing," Alec said, shaking his head. "How are things at home?"

"Better," James said, soberly. "They're fighting less."

Alec thought about his own parents who seemed to be fighting more now.

"That's great, James."

James looked at Alec shyly. "The therapy is helping, too."

Alec knew that was part of the plan James's parents came up with after Alec brought James back from the wolf games but he didn't really know much about it. It was very mundane.

"She helps me figure out my feelings and stuff," James continued.

Alec bit his bottom lip, thinking about earlier today with Magnus. How he still hadn't unpacked those feelings and instead, tried to put them aside.

"Hey, Alec," James said. "Are you okay?"

James was looking at him with wide, concerned eyes. "I'm fine," the older teen murmured.

James sat silently for a moment before speaking again. He shifted nervously in the grass.

"Maybe she could help you too."

Alec shook his head. "That's not possible."

"She knows about the shadow world," James continued, starting to sound eager.

"Really?" Alec said, surprised.

"Her daughter is a werewolf. She knows all about shadowhunters." He paused, looking almost fearful. "She knows about you," he said quietly, looking down at his fingers.

"What?" Alec said, loudly, his body tensing.

"I'm sorry," James rushed. "I just, I just...I've been telling her everything and you're a really big part of my life, especially...especially when it…to..." He was stumbling over his words, desperate, as if Alec was going to reject him if he didn't get out the right explanation.

Alec cursed at his own reaction. He never wanted to cause James distress. "Hey, hey, it's okay James, I get it. I'm not mad, okay?"

"You seemed a little mad," James muttered. "I mean, I get it. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything about you."

"I promise you, James. You have nothing to be sorry about. I'm really glad you have someone to talk to about all this and I won't ever stop you from talking about me to her, okay?"

James nodded, still looking unsure. "There's this thing called client confidentiality. Whatever I say, stays with her."

"That makes me feel better," Alec said, more to reassure James than himself. He wasn't totally comfortable about a stranger knowing about his darkest secrets but he would never stop James from getting the help he needed.

Then he beamed at James and leapt to his feet, not wanting to think about mundane therapists anymore. "Come on, let's go another round. Maybe you'll beat me this time."

James jumped up and glared at Alec. "I'll beat this time, nephilim."


Magnus was sitting at the bar chatting with Maia while he waited for Alec.

"Your shadowhunter boyfriend has arrived," Maia said, nodding towards the entrance. Magnus ignored the disdain in her voice and turned in his stool.

Alec was standing just inside the door, his eyes scanning the packed bar. He had one hand clutching his other arm, absently, like he didn't feel totally comfortable in the space.

He was wearing his usual beat-up jacket, unzipped, but underneath, he was sporting a surprisingly crisp, fitted black tee. His face lit up when he spotted Magnus and he started pushing through the crowd.

"Well, hello, beautiful," Magnus greeted him, sultry.

Alec blushed and kissed him quickly on the cheek. "Hello, Magnus."

Magnus silently cheered when Alec didn't react negatively to him calling him beautiful. The moment he had said it, he had worried that Alec would tense up as he sometimes did when he was called beautiful.

Sometimes Magnus just wanted to break into Benedict Manson's cell and strangle the bastard to death. How could one man so thoroughly destroy a life? He pushed the thought away. Alec was not destroyed. In fact, in all his centuries, Magnus had not met someone so beautiful, strong and kind in every way possible. Manson did not have the power to destroy that.

Alec curled his hand over Magnus's knee. "How was your day, Mags?"

"Summoned a couple of demons and made a potion for a vampire. The usual warlock affairs. And you, darling? The usual basketball and hunting?"

"Pretty much," Alec nodded and smiled shyly. "Was mostly looking forward to now."

Magnus beamed, feeling that flutter in his stomach that he wasn't used to. He leaned forward. Alec smiled and Magnus kissed him, hard against the lips, Alec's hands absently moving up Magnus's leg until it settled mid-thigh.

Someone cleared their throat and they pulled away. "All right, lovebirds, what shall it be?" Maia said, standing in front of them behind the bar, looking at them with amused exasperation. "You're occupying prime real estate. Better order up."

Alec laughed lightly and ordered a beer. His laughter was like a melody in Magnus's ears. "I'll have a Manhattan."

The time flew by as the boys drank and chatted and stole kisses that Magnus didn't even realize when the air seemed to shift, like trying to warn him of an impending doom.

He recognized the silky voice before he did the cascade of blond hair and piercing green eyes.

"Well, aren't you a beautiful little thing?" the voice that belonged to his ex-girlfriend, Camille Belcourt, sang as she sat down beside Alec.

Alec tensed and Magnus instinctively grabbed Alec's stool, pulling it closer to him.

"Excuse me?" Alec managed to say, staring at the slender, pale-skinned vampire.

Camille didn't attempt to get close to Alec, which was the only reason Magnus didn't get up to put himself between his boyfriend and Camille. He didn't want to overreact unless necessary.

"What's your name, doll?"

Alec narrowed his eyes, unfazed. "Who are you?" he countered.

"Oh my. Magnus never mentioned me?"

"Camille, this is not your usual haunt," Magnus said evenly. He hadn't told Alec much about his past, any of it, and this was not the way he wanted to introduce Alec to it.

"Rumors fly, Magnus, dear. I heard that you were spending an awful lot of time with a nephilim and I just needed to see it for myself."

"Magnus," Alec said, turning to the warlock. "Who is this woman?"

"Yes, Magnus," Camille said. "Who am I?"

"Alec, dear," he started.

"Once upon a time, I was Magnus's lover," Camille interrupted.

"Lover?" Alec said quietly, his voice sounding weak as he looked between the two immortals.

"And one day, when you are no longer handsome, little shadowhunter, I will still be here for him, right, Magnus?"

"Absolutely not," Magnus snapped, his cat eyes narrowing dangerously.

"Magnus," Alec started. His body radiated with heat. He sat between them, tense, refusing to lean closer to Magnus.

But Camille did not give him the opportunity to say anything else. "I see why he would want you now, shadowhunter. You are quite delicious. Long and lean and smelling of innocence."

Alec made an incomprehensible noise but didn't move, like he was frozen in place. Magnus wanted to touch him but wasn't sure if that was the right thing to do.

"You need to leave," Magnus said dangerously.

"He reminds me of another nephilim you loved," Camille continued. "Dark hair and beautiful blue eyes."

Alec shuddered.

Magnus felt magic spark at his fingertips.

"Just like William Hernondale."

And then time slowed, like a horror movie in slow motion. Like Magnus could see everything happen in clear detail but didn't actually have the time to react.

"Maybe we can share this nephilim toy , this time," she whispered so only Magnus and Alec could hear her. Her fingers were on Alec's neck, dragging her nails down the side of his long neck.

And that was when all hell broke loose.

Magic sparks were flying from Magnus's hands but Alec reacted faster and before he knew it, chairs had been flipped over and Camille was flat on her back on the ground and Alec's forearm was pressed into her neck.

Vampires did not breathe, so Alec's force was only keeping her down and not cutting off any air.

She pushed her head up hissing at him, baring her fangs up at the shadowhunter.

Alec was breathing heavily, grounding his arm further into her neck.

Magnus went to touch his shoulder but it was like Alec could sense his approach and he moved his shoulder out of his reach.

Shouts and whispered voices filled the room.

"Fucking nephilim," someone hissed.

"And they think we're the barbaric ones," shouted someone else.

"She didn't even do anything to him," came another voice.

Maia had stepped out from behind the bar. "Magnus, you have to get him out of here."

Alec seemed to sense the tension in the room and sprang to his feet turning in different directions, seeming to realize he was surrounded by angry faces.

Magnus tried to approach him again.

"Stay away," he said, his voice shaking.

Camille sat up, the anger in her eyes slipping away, leaving an amused expression on her deadly beautiful face.

"I was wrong, Magnus. Looks like you have a broken toy ," she said, laughing loudly.


Alec had run. He focused on the pounding of his feet against the pavement and the beating of his heart before he collapsed against a brick wall. Lanterns were strung between the wall and another wall in front of him, the lights twinkling above him.

His breathing was ragged and his vision was blurring dangerously.

The panting above him lessened but the hands tightening his airway was still gripped around his neck. He felt the familiar wetness between his legs from the man's release, mirroring the tears that silently spilled over the sides of his face.

"Shhh," Manson whispered, loosening his grip around his neck, allowing the boy to gasp for air desperately. He coughed and spluttered, turning his face to the side but not bothering to move otherwise, the weight of the man above him keeping him locked in place.

"You're such a good little toy ," he murmured as he ran his fingers down his bruised neck, with mock gentleness. "My beautiful, blue-eyed toy."

Alec slammed his head back, trying to dislodge the memory.

"No," screamed Magnus as he rushed up to him.

Without asking, Magnus grabbed the back of his head and instantly felt blood from where his head had connected with the brick.

He didn't even register the pain or Magnus's touch.

He only started protesting when Magnus tried to fix the gash.

"Get away from," he yelled, pushing him away.

He didn't push hard but Magnus moved back anyway.

Magnus raised his hand to show Alec the blood on his fingers.

"Alec, we have to fix this."

"You can't fix me," Alec snapped. His eyes blazed angrily.

Magnus knelt in front of Alec but didn't try to touch him.

"Alec, I'm so sorry that she-."

"You never mentioned her," Alec cut in. "You've never mentioned anyone else."

"Oh, Alec, I've been alive for so long."

"So you've had a lot of relationships." Alec finally started feeling the pain from his head. It was throbbing and sharp pangs of pain shot through him.

"Alec." Magnus sounded so unlike himself. Not calm and assured but desperate.

"I don't know anything about you."

"You know me, Alec. My past is so vast, even I don't have a clear grasp on every moment. But you know the me that is here now."

"Who's William Herondale?" he said. Another dark-haired, blue-eyed nephilim, Alec thought.

"I never loved him, Alec. He was just a friend."

"A friend like Camille," Alec spat, not believing Magnus.

"I did date Camille," Magnus said.

"You loved her?"

"A long time ago, Alec."

"And you can go back to her whenever you want."

"That's never going to happen."

Alec wasn't really listening. His head felt foggy. "I'm just...I'm just a…" His voice hitched. "I'm just a toy you will eventually get bored of."

Maybe we can share this nephilim toy, this time.

Looks like you have a broken toy.

My beautiful, blue-eyed toy

"No," Magnus implored.

Alec closed his eyes, the street seemed to tilt around him and then suddenly, things started to clear. The sounds of the cars nearby came into focus followed by the image of a concerned Magnus kneeling in front of him.

The pain was receding quickly and his head was throbbing less.

"You healed me," he said.

Magnus nodded.

"I didn't ask you to do that," he hissed.

"You were going to pass out," Magnus said, his eyes sorrowful.

"I want you to leave," Alec said.

He had been so stupid. How could he have ever believed that this was going to work? What good was Alec to Magnus? He was a fucking used up toy and Magnus was a centuries old warlock. Magnus deserved more than some used up mortal when he could have sultry immortals.

Alec would never amount to anything more than a demon hunter or a sex toy.

"Alec, I love you."

"You don't have to keep saying that."

Tears ran down Magnus's face. Alec rarely saw the warlock cry. In fact, he only ever cried because of Alec.

"Alec, I know that you are in a lot of pain."

"I'm not. You fixed it."

"You know that's not what I mean."

"Please leave, Magnus. If you care about me, please honor my wishes."

Alec knew he was manipulating the older man in the same way he tried with Jace. Deep down he knew the only reason he could manipulate Magnus that way is because Magnus did love him but in his current state, that rational thought process had no place in his reality.

Magnus's shoulders fell in defeat but nodded. "I cannot leave you here alone."

"I'm not a child," Alec snapped.

"I'm sorry, Alec. Let me get you home."

"No," he said, stubbornly.

He knew he was being difficult.

"I cannot leave you alone," Magnus repeated.

"I can leave without you," Alec countered, angrily.

He pushed himself away from the wall and stood up. Magnus quickly got up with him. The two men stood, facing each other with about a foot between them.

"I'm walking away," Alec said, stepping to the side.

Magnus mirrored his movement, keeping his body in front of him. "Call your brother or sister, Alec. That is the only way I will leave."

Somehow, Alec knew this was where it would end, with him having to call Jace or Izzy. He was never allowed to be alone when they knew he was being self-destructive. No matter how hard he tried, they would not leave him to his own destruction.

Alec took out his phone and dialed Jace's number.

Jace picked up instantly, as he always did if Alec called. "Hey, brother," he answered, jovially.

Alec was silent at first which instantly changed Jace's tone. "Alec, what's wrong?

"Hey Jace," he finally said. His voice sounded hoarse.

"Where are you?" Jace demanded over the phone, not needing any explanation other than the pain in Alec's voice. It hurt Alec to think how conditioned Jace was to Alec's needs. It made him feel weak and pathetic.

Alec rattled off the location.

"I'll be there in 15," Jace said.

"Okay," Alec said, defeated, before leaning against the wall and looking at Magnus.

Magnus looked utterly devastated. Alec wanted so badly to wrap his arms around the older man and take away his pain but his own pain was beating down on him and seemed to swallow him whole. It probably made him selfish but he couldn't bring himself to process his own hurt so that he could be there for Magnus.

"He'll be here in 15," he said hollowly.

Magnus nodded and leaned against the wall facing Alec, a few feet away.

Alec knew there was no point arguing for Magnus to leave so both men stood silently against opposite brick walls, with tinkling lanterns strung between them along with centuries of mystery and six long years of pain and self-destruction.

Well, that was a bit of a rollercoaster to write. As is life. So Alec has had some highs on his journey to heal and he will have some lows. In the book and the show, often time, Magnus is the one who puts a halt on their relationship but like I said, this is semi-AU and the characters go where my keyboard takes me. I also want to give some time for Alec to discover that he needs to do this for himself and not only rely on the happiness that comes from being in a relationship. James might be able to help him with that. I would love to hear what your thoughts are on the different parts of this chapter. Thank you always, Jennynivea