It was a horrible day. It had begun with Isabelle waking him up at the crack of dawn because demonic activity had been recorded in Brooklyn. Alec had readied himself hastily only to find out that the division hadn't planned on bringing him. After that, Alec had managed to ruin both his coffee and his pancakes by mixing up salt and sugar. Scowling, he had finally taken refuge in the library, where he'd made the mistake of sitting down on Church's favourite armchair. And while he nursed his scratched hand his father had told him off for dripping blood on an ancient book before asking him if there was any chance Alec would ever be "normal" again.

At that point, Alec had fled.

The weather outside was bleak and dreary. Clouds hung low on the greyish sky, making everything seem dull and colourless, and the wind that blew through the streets was so humid it might as well have been raining. It fit Alec's mood perfectly.

He let himself into Magnus's flat. He knew the warlock was busy and didn't need distraction – that was why Alec had spent the night at the Institute in the first place –, but he longed for the company of his boyfriend. He could at least sit and have a cup of unsalted coffee, Alec thought as he took off his coat and closed the door behind him.

Magnus was bent low over his desk, his finger moving over the pages of a crumbling brown book while he scribbled away intensely. He looked up when Alec entered. The warlock had dark circles under his eyes and his hair was messy, indicating that he'd worked through the night. Alec felt guilty for disturbing him.

"Don't mind me," he said, smiling and doing his best to look happy and content. "I just felt like being here, that's all."

Magnus gave him a quick smile and turned back to his work.

Alec dropped down on Magnus's couch, pulling his legs up and staring out of the window. He flinched when he felt long, elegant fingers cup his cheek tenderly. Looking around, he saw that Magnus had crouched down in front of the couch and was scrutinizing him with slightly furrowed brows.

"Alexander."

Magnus's voice was loving, gentle, with a warm, comforting tone that almost brought tears to Alec's eyes. For a moment he felt like a child, filled with the unwavering belief that everything would be fine as long as Magnus was there.

Magnus put his second hand to Alec's other cheek and stood up, drawing Alec to his feet in the process. He looked down into Alec's eyes, their foreheads touching, and murmured,

"Alexander."

This time, he said the name slowly, drawing out each syllable as if savouring their taste. He pronounced every letter with such care, such deliberation, that it seemed to Alec that he was hearing his name for the first time. It sounded strange to his ears – tuneful and melodic, not at all like the jarring mix of sounds he was used to. The sound of it reverberated in the space between the two bodies, filling it with warmth and comfort and making Alec feel like he was in a bubble, alone with Magnus and with all his worries shut safely away behind a wall of love. It made him feel like he was worth loving.

He closed his eyes as Magnus placed a kiss on his lips, soft and light and loving, and Alec felt warmth spill out of his heart and flow though his entire body. He took Magnus's hands and sat back down on the sofa, drawing his boyfriend down next to him. Magnus pulled up his legs and turned towards Alec, giving him another soft, lingering kiss. Then he leaned back and looked at Alec.

"Why don't you tell me what happened?" he said in a gentle voice.

Alec looked down at his hands, which were still entwined with Magnus's.

"It's nothing," he mumbled. "Just a bad day. I don't want to keep you from your work – you look like you haven't slept in days. Are you sure you're okay?"

Magnus waved his question aside. "That's exactly why I'm asking you – it'll be nice to deal with someone else's problems for a change. Mine are getting old. And that book is a waste of time anyway," he added, nodding at the heap of crumbling parchment on his desk. "So tell me. What kind of bad day?"

"A nothing-goes-right-and-nobody-likes-me day," Alec said. "Even Church scratched me."

"That's the worst kind of day," Magnus said earnestly. "When your cat's in a bad mood you know you're in for it." He pulled Chairman Meow out from under the couch, where he'd been busy gnawing on one of its wooden legs, and put him into Alec's lap. The tiny cat wriggled out of his grip and jumped to the floor.

"Tactless little bastard," Magnus grumbled after him.

Alec had to grin, but sobered up quickly. "My dad asked me if there was a cure for homosexuality," he said quietly.

Magnus looked up, the last trace of amusement leaving his face as his hands tightened around Alec's.

"I wish there was anything at all I could do to help you with this, Alexander," he said sincerely, his voice dark with suppressed anger. "I'd do anything to make him respect you. I hope you know that."

Alec stroked Magnus's hands soothingly. "I know you would."

"Why can't people just accept!" Magnus exclaimed fiercely, making Alec jump. "Tolerance. Equality. Is that so hard?"

Alec looked down. He'd never seen Magnus get so upset about this.

"I get it that they find me weird," the warlock continued. "I'm not like them. But you…" He turned to Alec, who was shocked to see the moisture in his lover's eyes. "What could possibly be wrong about you?"

Alec couldn't speak. He stared at Magnus, feeling a lump form in his throat.

"Magnus…"

"Look at you!" his boyfriend interrupted him. "Always hiding, always ducking behind Jace for fear someone will notice you." He looked straight into Alec's eyes. "A person like you shouldn't have to hide," he said in a low voice. "A person as wise, as gentle, as intelligent, as handsome, a person as wonderful as you should never have to hide because of anything."

He put his hands to Alec's cheeks, now wet with tears of emotion, and kissed him, long and hard and passionate. Alec wrapped his arms around his lover, pulling him close. Their kiss subsided, and Alec leaned against Magnus, burying his face in the warlock's shirt.

"It's not a nothing-goes-right-and-nobody-likes-me day anymore," he mumbled as Magnus took him in his arms and held him tight. "It's a nothing-matters-because-you-love-me day now."

Magnus smiled into Alec's hair. "And is that better?"

Alec closed his eyes. "That's perfect."