When You Say Forever

He woke to a soft rapping at the door. Midnight visitors weren't exactly uncommon, but as he walked to the door, he let himself hope for a certain someone to be on the other side. When he opened it, he wasn't disappointed.

There stood the object of his affections. He was slightly shorter than himself and his skin looked ghostly pale in contrast to his all-black attire. Magnus stepped aside to allow the young man to entire his small home.

"I'll always wish you lived closer to the city," the young man said. "Whenever I come out here, I nearly get eaten." He was removing his cloak as he spoke, and with his final words, he looked up at Magnus and blushed. "You know what I meant..."

Magnus simply smirked.

"Alexander," he said, taking his visitor's cloak and hanging it on a nail, "If it will make you happy, I will look into relocating. However, I don't think you came here to talk with me about my location." He took a step closer to Alexander, who still wore his weapon belt concealed beneath the bottom of his black sweater. Magnus could see the edge of a blade poking from beneath the wool. He frowned and did not move forward.

"What's wrong?" Alexander asked, taking a few steps toward him and stopping only inches away.

Magnus reached out and lifted the bottom of Alexander's shirt, only slightly, and began to undo the buckle of his belt. Alexander jumped slightly and then realized what Magnus was doing. He looked up at him apologetically and helped with the removal of the belt. Magnus carefully placed it on another nail and lingered there for a moment, staring at one of the soiled blades.

Seeing his lingering gaze, Alexander came up behind Magnus and wrapped his arms around his waist. "I told you," he followed his stare, "I had to fight off a few demons on my way here..."

Magnus turned in Alexander's arms and looked down at him. He leaned forward, letting their foreheads and noses touch, and whispered "I just worry."

"I'm fine, Magnus," Alexander said, wrapping his arms around the taller man's neck. "You don't have to worry about me."

He leaned upwards and kissed Magnus. It was light at first, meant to ease Magnus's worry, and then grew from there. Magnus let his hands fall to Alexander's waist and drew him in closer. Alexander tangled one of his hands in the soft hair on Magnus's head as they kissed.

Trying to get closer to him, Alexander took a few steps forward, backing Magnus up against the wall. Magnus pulled him even closer, as if trying to bring Alexander into himself through his night clothes and skin.

Magnus slipped his hands below Alexander's sweater, causing shivers to run through both of them as their skin touched. Alexander lifted his hands from Magnus's hair and raised them into the air and Magnus pulled the black sweater over Alec's head, their kiss only breaking for a moment.

Once his sweater had been discarded to the floor, Alexander began to fumble with the buttons on Magnus's nightshirt. It only took a few moments before that, too, was on the floor. Relishing in the warmth of the newly discovered skin, Alexander let his kisses stray away from Magnus's mouth, along his jaw, down his neck, and for a few moments he focused on the sensitive spot just below his lover's collarbone.

Magnus gasped softly as Alexander's teeth nipped lovingly at his skin. He gently grazed Alexander's spine with his nails as his other hand tousled his dark hair. Alexander carefully sucked on Magnus's skin. It was hard enough that it would leave a mark in a few moments, but not hard enough to be painful.

The soft pressure caused the other man to gasp audibly which in turn caused Alexander's lips to curve slightly upward. Deciding that he had left his mark, Alexander trailed his kisses back up Magnus's neck, following the same trail he had taken down, and placed a chaste kiss on his lips before touching his forehead to Magnus's and looking into his eyes.

They were close enough that they could not see each other's eyes in focus, and they were probably both slightly cross-eyed, but they could see the colors, could see the passion, could see the love... And that was okay.

Magnus, who had kissed many people before Alexander, would never have thought that kissing someone with his eyes open would be pleasurable. If he had been asked before, he would have said it sounded awkward and unappealing. But now, as Alexander's mouth closed over his while his eyes stared at his, he couldn't imagine not seeing those blue orbs as a warm tongue slid past his lips.

The only time it was awkward at all was when he needed to blink but was afraid that if he did, the connection would be lost. So he let his eyes beg him to close them as they began to burn and tear, not caring about the slight pain if it meant that he could keep this connection alive for a few seconds longer. When Alexander blinked, so did he, and not a moment sooner.

Alexander pulled away after several moments and rested his head on Magnus's shoulder, his warm breath flowing out over his throat and chest, making the hair on the back of his neck stand up. Both of them were all but gasping for air and holding on to each other for dear life.

After a moment, Magnus ran both of his hands down Alexander's back, down to his waist, and then met his lover's hands on his own waist. They stood in silence for a moment, just listening to each other breathe. It was in moments like these when Magnus couldn't help but look back on every relationship he'd ever been in and realize how utterly different and beautiful this one was. He could have stopped now, gone to sleep, and been perfectly at peace and content. And even though he didn't necessarily want to stop and go to sleep, it amazed him that he could have if Alexander decided he needed to leave.

Which he hadn't decided, since half an hour later they were in a similar yet different position in Magnus's bed, gasping for quick breaths of air between fevered kisses as Alexander moved above him. Their hands were everywhere at once as Magnus encouraged his lover with subtle gasps and cries with each movement.

When it was over, they held each other in silence, as they always did, while they tried to learn to breathe again. Once they had managed to start breathing normally again, their chests rising and falling in unison, Alexander looked up at Magnus with sad eyes.

"I should get back..."

Magnus closed his eyes for a moment and tightened his arms around him. "You could stay here... I wouldn't mind."

"They'll be wondering where I am."

"You have hours to come up with an excuse."

But Alexander moved to get up, slipping from Magnus's arms with reluctance on both ends.

"Alex--"

"I'm sorry, Magnus, I just can't stay," he said, picking up his clothes from the floor. He put the bottom half of his clothing on and then moved toward the bedroom door to go find his sweater.

Magnus watched him leave the room, seemed to think for a moment, and then followed him, picking up his discarded pajama pants and hopping into them as he followed.

When he found Alexander, he was pulling his sweater over his head and reaching for his belt at the same time. Magnus put his hand over Alexander's against the top of the belt on the wall and looked him in the eyes. Alexander looked away as Magnus laced their fingers together and brought his hand to his lips, kissing Alexander's knuckles.

"Let me do it, Alexander."

Alexander shook his head but allowed Magnus to draw him into his arms.

"Please," he said. He kissed Alexander's forehead, eyelids, the tip of his nose, and then finally brushed over his lips, each time whispering the word.

"Not tonight, Magnus," Alexander breathed, reaching behind his lover and taking his belt from the wall.

Magnus backed away, looking slightly dejected.

"I promise, Magnus, I won't change my mind... I'm just... I'm not ready."

Magnus looked into the blue eyes that were gazing back at him and moved forward again, placing his hands on Alexander's waist, feeling the bumps under the wool where the blades seemed to be mocking him.

"It won't hurt," Magnus said, his face against Alexander's neck. "It will feel strange for a little while, but I promise you it won't hurt, if that's what you're afraid of..." He pressed his lips to his neck just above the neck of the sweater.

Alexander shook his head.

Magnus drew back with a sigh.

"I'm not afraid of that, Magnus," Alexander said, resting his forehead against Magnus's. "I'm just worried about my family."

"It'll be hard, yes," Magnus nodded slightly. "But it will be worth it in the long run... I promise, Alexander, it will be worth it."

"I'm just not ready now, Magnus." He kissed him quickly and then stepped back, letting go of Magnus and reaching for his cloak. "And I've really got to go."

He clasped his cloak around his neck and kissed Magnus once more. Their lips lingered for a moment before Alexander pulled away, smiled at him, and turned to go.

"Be careful," Magnus said as he watched him disappear into the woods. Alexander didn't turn back as he went on his way, his secret staying behind him, as always.

Magnus closed the door and leaned against it, praying that Alexander would make it back to the city in one piece. He sometimes wished the boy weren't so brave, so strong... It would have made it much easier for the both of them. Then again, if he weren't as strong and brave, he may not even have been able to make it to his house in the first place.

"City... He wants you to move into the city," Magnus said, thinking about it for a few moments. He hadn't ever lived in the city... He preferred to live alone, in a place where only his client pool knew he was. Living in the city would mean that more people would know where to find a warlock. He wasn't sure he wanted the attention just yet.

Magnus sighed and walked back toward his bedroom, suddenly feeling overwhelmingly alone, and locked the door to the house with a wave of his hand.

As he crawled into bed he wondered if he would ever convince Alexander to do what he wanted to do so desperately... He curled up inside his blankets. They were cool, but they still faintly smelled of Alexander, and Magnus was able to fall asleep quickly with the scent filling his senses.

--

It had been two weeks since he had last seen Alexander, so he was surprised when his younger sister showed up on his doorstep.

He hadn't seen her in a few months, since the last time the Shadowhunters had called on him to assist with an injured comrade.

When Magnus opened the door, he hadn't been expecting anyone. But when he saw her standing there, panting and out of breath as though she had run all the way from the outskirts of the woods, he automatically felt his heart sink into his stomach. Something was wrong.

She grasped the door frame for support and he offered to let her inside to sit down and regain her breath, but she merely said "No time! Come with me!" and pulled him out with her.

He wanted to ask her what was wrong, who was hurt, what had happened... But he was running beside her, trying not to trip or run into any trees. It was several minutes before he realized that he wasn't wearing proper shoes for running through the terrain and that he would probably be sore when he stopped, but he didn't care.

The girl slowed down slightly, trying to pace herself, and Magnus took the opportunity to ask the question he'd been dreading: "Irena... What's going on?"

"Alexander," she gasped out as she ran.

His heart felt heavy as they ran and he wanted to stop and beg her to tell him more so that he wasn't too broken when he arrived, but he knew there wasn't time. She wouldn't be rushing him like this if it wasn't important.

When they arrived, she all but pulled him through the door by his sleeve, down the hall, and into a room. His parents were there, as were two other Shadowhunters. Irena stopped, panting, at the edge of the bed.

"Mom, Dad... This is Magnus Bane. He helps us sometimes..." She looked as though she were going to collapse, but Magnus wouldn't have cared if she dropped dead at that moment. It wasn't that he was heartless or didn't like her, but he was too busy looking at Alexander... His Alexander... Who was lying in the bed, covered in his own blood, his skin and lips pale as the moon.

He sucked in a breath and tried to act as though it weren't tearing him apart inside to see Alexander like this, but he was sure he wasn't doing a good job of it.

Alexander's father looked at him with a questioning stare as his mother sobbed in her seat and held her son's hand.

"What was it?" Magnus asked, trying to assess the situation. If he knew what kind of demon he was working with, he could probably stop the venom and buy himself some time to heal the other wounds.

"We don't know," Irena said.

"You--"

"He went out on his own tonight. Mitchem found him like this," said his father, indicating a Shadowhunter who was standing in the corner of the room.

He went out on his own, Magnus thought. Why would he do that? And then the words played in his mind, each syllable like a new knife being stabbed through his heart: "Whenever I come out here, I nearly get eaten."

"Where did you find him?" Did you need to ask?

"By the outskirts of the woods, just outside of the city. If I had known that Irena was going to bring you from there, we would have brought him to you... It would have taken less time," replied the one named Mitchem.

"I'm going to have to ask you to leave the room," Magnus said, trying to remain calm.

Alexander's mother kissed her son's hand as she rose from her seat. Her husband put an arm around her shoulders and lead her out of the room. The other Shadowhunters followed and then he noticed that Irena hadn't gone.

"You, too, Irena..." He said, nodding toward the door. "I can't do this with anyone else in the room."

"Magnus..." She said, approaching him. "He told me what he was doing when he left..."

Magnus looked away from her.

"He was coming to you." He had expected her voice to be bitter, but it was soothing.

"Magnus, he was going to do it."

Now he looked at her, confused.

"He told me he was going to let you make him stop aging. And that when he got back in a day or two, he'd need me to cover for him."

Magnus swallowed the rising lump in his throat.

"You probably can't do anything about this now..." She said, looking at her brother with sad eyes. "But... I thought you should know... He had chosen you." Her voice broke as she said the words and then she rushed out of the room, pulling the door shut behind her.

Alone, Magnus walked over to the bed and pulled back the cover that had been pulled over Alexander's chest. He held his breath, not wanting to smell all of the blood, but the stench burned his eyes, as if rubbing salt on the wound hadn't been enough.

He looked at Alexander's face, beautiful even now, though his hair was sticking to his forehead, gummed by blood.

Magnus felt sick but knew that he had to do something.

He took Alexander's hand in his own in a feeble attempt to comfort the shivering young man. "I'm here, Alexander. I'm here."

He tried to concentrate on giving Alexander some of his energy. Maybe if he could fight for just a little while longer, Magnus could try to stop the venom that was currently surging through his veins.

After a few moments, Alexander feebly opened his eyes. The corners of his mouth turned weakly and Magnus tried to smile back, even through the hopelessness of the situation.

"You're here," he said.

"I should've been here sooner."

"I was coming to see you..." Alexander said. He promptly began coughing, small drops of blood flying from his mouth and onto the blanket.

"You shouldn't have come alone."

"I've done it before."

Magnus couldn't argue.

"I'm not going to make it, am I?" Alexander said.

"What—What makes you think that?" Magnus asked, wondering if it was obvious.

"Because you're talking to me instead of being frantic. You're trying--" He coughed violently. "You're trying to keep me calm."

"I'm trying to keep myself calm," he whispered. "I can't lose you, Alexander. I'm just trying to buy myself time to think of something..."

"I couldn't do it without Irena being okay..." Alexander said.

"Alexander--"

"She told me she'd never speak to me again if I went through with it... Today I told her that I was going to do it anyway, just to see what she'd say, and she told me... She told me she supported me, because I obviously loved you..." He took a deep breath and then coughed again, making Magnus wonder how long he could hold this off. "She said I was lucky to find someone I wanted to love forever..."

His eyes were fluttering slightly.

Forever. The word echoed in Magnus's head and he had an idea.

No, his conscience told him. Don't be selfish.

"Alexander..." Magnus said, holding his hand tightly within both of his own. "I love you."

"I love you, too."

"I will always love you."

Alexander opened his mouth to reply but was overtaken by a sudden pain that shot through his entire body, making him convulse violently. He shouted out in pain, his eyes wide open in terror, and Magnus knew what he had to do.

He let go of Alexander's hand and held out both of his palms above him, wondering how long he had before the demon's attack would finally take Alexander from him.. He had to work quickly, since his spell would only work while Alexander was alive.

That was what was supposed to make it so difficult to perform the spell... Since it had to be performed while the person was still living, the one performing it had to decide in the final moments whether to attempt to save the live or let go.

Even though it wasn't his choice to make whether Alexander lived or died, his parents had left him alone with Alexander, knowing that there was the chance that their son could die while Magnus did his work.

There were several flashes of light, a few separate whooshing sounds, sparks, and a steady stream of thoughts coming from Magnus that filled the room.

When all was said and done, Magnus sank to the floor, his entire body drained of his power, just as Alexander took his last breath.

The door opened and the family came in, Alexander's mother breaking down into fresh sobs as Magnus shook his head to indicate that he hadn't been able to save her son. Irena looked at him in disbelief... Apparently she hadn't believed the words she'd said about him not being able to do anyithng. She began sobbing with her mother, both of them holding onto Alexander's father. Mitchem came over and tried to help Magnus off of the floor, but he was too weak to even stand. Or perhaps he liked the position he was in... From where he was, he could still see Alexander, who looked as though he were smiling.

It had been eight weeks since Alexander had died and Magnus had moved into a small apartment within the city. He wondered if everything could have been avoided if he had taken Alexander's advice sooner.

He walked outside and stood in the rain, wondering how long it would be before his spell took effect. He sat down on the steps of the building, watching puddles grow in the street, and wishing that he didn't feel as though he had been cut in half.

Since his death, Magnus had been trying to relive every moment he had ever spent with Alexander. The first time they had met, their first kiss, their first time... But not just the good things.. He had relived their first fight, the day that Alexander had told Irena about their relationship, the various times that Alexander had called on Magnus to help the Shadowhunters and then tried to pay him, because he hadn't thought that it would be appropriate not to pay him...

He didn't know how long it would be until the spell worked, but he knew he didn't want to wait. He felt broken and didn't know how long he could survive with that feeling. Magnus knew he had something to look forward to, even though it didn't feel like it right now, but he just needed Alexander there to remind him that life was worth living.

Forever, he thought. He was willing to be with me forever.

And, being the selfish Warlock that he was, Magnus Bane intended to make him hold his end of the deal.

--

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