(A Final Author's Note: Never owned the characters, still don't own the characters, will never own the characters. The characters belong to the lovely Cassandra Clare, as they have for the entire duration of this fanfic. This is the final part and I'd like to thank everyone who has been reading and reviewing and fangirling ^.^ Since this is partially based on a novel I've been writing (different characters, similar storyline) I hope that if I'm ever published, ya'll will pick up my book :-P Toodles! It's been fun.)

When You Say Forever

He wasn't sure exactly how he was supposed to react to what he was seeing. There was a glamour on him, but he felt like he was the pink elephant doing ballet in the center of the room. He couldn't make a sound, couldn't move, and he had never felt so helpless.

He wondered if this was how it felt to be dead. To be out of your body, looking down at how your family was reacting to it.

His mother—the strongest woman he knew—was bent over the bed, her arms wrapped around him as she cried. Well, it wasn't actually him... Magnus had taken great care to work up a glamour that would transform a dead Forsaken into a double of him.

It was surreal.

His father was standing back slightly behind his mother and just staring at him.

Alec took a deep breath just to remind himself that he could breathe.

Isabelle came into the room next, Jace shortly behind her, as Magnus had gone out only a moment ago and informed everyone that he hadn't survived the "demon attack." Isabelle and Jace were each bloodied, but it was the blood of the Forsaken rather than Alec's own.

But no one else knew that.

Isabelle stared at the Alec lying in the bed with eyes that were slightly glazed over. Jace looked over directly to where the real Alec was standing and Alec wondered what he saw. Of course, Jace and Isabelle knew he was there, so he wondered if they could see through the glamour, or if Magnus had put one strong enough that even they couldn't see.

His father put an arm around Isabelle, who leaned against him and continued to stare at her mother and dead-Alec.

When she let her eyes drift over to where he was standing, her gaze was filled with ice. He knew what she was thinking since he was thinking it himself.

How could I do this to her?

Magnus came into the room a moment later and stayed back by the door, watching the scene with genuine sympathy.

There were several long moments while everyone just stood and watched as his mother cried and Alec wished that someone would do something. He wanted to hug her, something he hadn't done in years, and tell her that it was okay. But he couldn't.

And no one else would.

His father turned around, as though sensing for the first time that Magnus was in the room. When Isabelle scowled at Magnus, his father saw it and Alec wondered if he'd question it.

Then he realized that it would be logical in a situation like this to blame the Downworlder who had been unable to save a Shadowhunter. Even when it wasn't Magnus's fault, Alec still knew that his father would understand Isabelle's contempt.

"You can go," he heard his father saw in a low tone. "Thank you for trying."

Magnus nodded solemnly and turned to walk out of the room without another word. Alec assumed he was meant to follow.

He moved as silently as possible, forcing his legs to move even when he wanted to fall back against the wall with exhaustion, and made it into the hallway only moments before his father closed the door.

Magnus was waiting for him at the end of the hall. He had just pressed the button on the elevator.

Alec felt heavy as they stepped into the rickety old elevator and they remained silent from the second the shaky gate closed until they were back at Magnus's home twenty minutes later.

Magnus touched his shoulder when he closed the front door and Alec felt like a weight had been lifted. He could only guess that the glamour was gone.

"Are you okay?" asked Magnus, his hand lingering on Alec's shoulder.

"I don't know," Alec said. "I'm—I'm really tired. Would it be okay if I slept?"

Magnus nodded and stepped back. Alec was thankful that Magnus was at least giving him space to breathe; he felt smothered by the situation itself.

He made his way into Magnus's room—he preferred it over the room Magnus was setting up for him because if felt more familiar—and curled into the canary-colored comforter.

He fell asleep almost immediately.

When he woke some time later, he stared up at the ceiling for several long moments and wondered what was happening at the Institute. Jace had sworn to keep him informed on happenings over there, but he wondered if Isabelle would keep him from it.

She wanted nothing to do with him.

There was a soft rapping at the door and Alec rolled over and saw Magnus cracking the door open.

"Hey," said Magnus. "Are you hungry?"

Alec shook his head on the pillow and then started to sit up.

"I'm still tired," he said. "I don't really want to move much."

Magnus nodded and continued into the room with caution.

"How are my parents?" Alec asked.

"Jace says they're preparing the body to be taken away. Your mother is the same as she was when we left," he said. He took a seat on the edge of the bed.

Alec sighed and felt horribly responsible for what his family was going through. It must have been written on his face because Magnus reached out and touched his face.

"This isn't your fault," he said. "This is what had to be done."

"Maybe we could have told them the truth," said Alec. "They would have understood eventually."

Magnus looked at him with great sympathy and shook his head slowly.

Alec looked down at his hands and knew deep down that he was wrong.

"You're right," he said. "It just would've brought shame to the family."

Magnus traced one of the faded red marks on his arm, the healed blisters that had appeared when his body rejected his Marks.

"Do they still hurt?" he asked.

"No. Thank you for the lotion," Alec said. "Most of the pain is gone. Now it's all just... internal, I guess."

Magnus frowned.

"It'll take time to get used to," said Magnus. "But I'm here for you."

---

It had been three weeks since Alec's death was staged. Since then, there had been little contact from the Institute, which surprised Magnus, since he was expecting to be contacted by the Clave. They usually investigated the deaths of Shadowhunters more thoroughly when the Silent Brothers weren't the ones who were called in to confirm the death.

Currently, Alec was sitting in the living room reading a book while Magnus planned out his own schedule for the following week. He had several things he needed to get done in relation to the bedroom he was setting up for Alec across from his own.

Although he would have preferred that Alec share his bedroom, he knew that it was a lot to ask from him at that particular point in time. The boy had just been separated from his family, friends, his life... Magnus knew he couldn't ask too much of him just yet.

But they had time.

Magnus smiled inwardly at that knowledge. Even when he saw how depressed Alec sometimes seemed to be, he couldn't help but feel happy when he realized that he had him back.

Even if it meant sleeping on his couch until Alec's room was ready. It wasn't that bad, really.

He let his pen drop back onto the table and stood, stretching as he walked from the kitchen into the living room.

"Think you're ready for bed?" Magnus asked.

Alec looked up from the book and then back down at it. He pulled the ribbon from behind the spine and tucked it into his page.

He had been having trouble sleeping as of late, so Magnus had to get him settled on most nights. He would wait until Alec had changed, brushed his teeth, and finished his other nightly activities before going into the room and calming his mind for him.

Though Magnus could think of many calming activities, Alec just preferred the spells Magnus knew by heart to keep the nightmares away.

Once he saw that Alec was sleeping contentedly, he kissed him on the forehead and left the room, heading off to the couch.

---

Alec woke feeling uncomfortable. Magnus had made sure that nightmares were well warded off, but that didn't stop other dreams from paying him frequent visits.

Sometimes he dreamed of Jace, but not the way he used to. No, he would dream about Jace being his friend again, since that was something he thought about often. He wanted Jace to be in his life, though he hadn't seen him in quite some time.

Sometimes he dreamed of Isabelle, wishing for the same thing. When he had tried to contact her, he had used Magnus as the medium between them and had him call her. She had told him that her brother was dead.

It hurt.

Now, however, he had been dreaming of Magnus. Then again, perhaps it wasn't a dream. Memories of his former life were not uncommon during sleep, or so Magnus said, and he had been having them often enough.

But this one had been different.

Alec hadn't felt like himself. He hadn't felt like it was him the way he did during the other dreams or those moments in real life when he would blink and find himself in the past.

It was here, he was sure, that he differed from himself.

Or he thought he did, at least.

In his dream, he had woken in Magnus's bedroom in the cabin. Of course, Alec thought right away that he was waking up as Alec having a memory rather than sleeping as Alec having a dream. So it had all been very strange to him.

He had never had memories of being with Magnus in any capacity other than kissing or the occasional brief touches, since he had never lived anything other than that. This is why it came as quite a shock when he rolled over in the bed and found a very naked Magnus lying next to him. Upon further inspection he found that he, too, was very naked.

Alec stared at the ceiling, remembering how he had felt like he shouldn't be looking at Magnus like that while he was asleep, but he couldn't help but notice the dark tattoos on his caramel-colored skin and the way his hair fanned out about his head like an ebony halo.

He hadn't been able to look away.

And then Magnus had stirred, as if feeling his gaze, and although Alec felt the need to look away, Alexander had decided that it was time to pounce.

That was the only word Alec could think of to describe it. He had, quite literally, pounced Magnus.

It was late in the afternoon, or so Alec would have guessed, and Alec could only assume that they had been taking a brief nap to, ah, recover from previous activities.

Activities, Alec reminded himself, hadn't happened in this day and age.

And now he was pretty sure he knew why.

He closed his eyes and remembered the way he hadn't had any control over his body; the way Alexander took control of him and did everything without his permission. Maybe that was why Alec felt the way he did now; he hadn't had any say in anything and it had been nothing like he would have wanted.

But wasn't that how it was supposed to be? Is that how Magnus would expect it?

Alec rolled over in the bed and looked at clock on the side table. It was just after three in the morning, telling him that Magnus would still be asleep.

He looked at the door and thought about going out there—waking Magnus—and just letting everything he wanted to say fall out of his mouth. There were so many things he wanted to ask Magnus, so many things he felt like he needed to tell him... But, as he always was when Alec felt the desperate need to talk to him, Magnus was unavailable.

Well, he was available, of course, but Alec felt guilty waking him at such an hour. He had done that enough with the nightmares. Alec felt as though Magnus might be a bit confused if he woke him to tell him he'd had a sex dream.

Alec sighed and rolled onto his back. There were a lot of things about the way Alexander had been that made him wonder exactly what would be expected of him in the future.

It wasn't that it hadn't been nice—the dream—but he couldn't see himself doing that. If he was completely honest with himself, he didn't want to be the one who--

There was a knock on the door, abruptly cutting off his thoughts.

"Alec?" Magnus said quietly as he opened the door. "Are you awake?"

Alec wondered if he should pretend to be asleep, but then decided not to. "Yeah," he said. "I just woke up."

"I thought I heard you rolling around. Did you have another nightmare?"

Magnus walked to the bed and sat down on the edge.

"No," replied Alec. "I don't know what woke me up." Lie.

"Oh," said Magnus.

"How did you hear me?" he asked. "You're in the living room."

"Well, A, I have great hearing for a three hundred year old and, B, I was just in the bathroom, so I was walking by your door," Magnus explained.

"Oh. I'm fine," he said. "Just rolled over wrong or something... Woke myself up." Also a lie.

Magnus looked at him as though he wasn't sure he believed Alec and then leaned over and kissed him softly before he stood.

"I'll let you go back to sleep," Magnus said as he walked toward the door. "If you wake up again, don't worry about waking me up if something's wrong."

Alec nodded, wondering if he should let Magnus leave. Hadn't he just been wishing he could talk to him?

"'Night," Magnus said.

And then the door closed, taking his chance to speak to Magnus away with the sound.

---

A few nights later, Alec found himself in another memory disguised as a dream.

The times when he could so clearly distinguish himself from Alexander were the times when he knew he wasn't awake. When he was awake, he could control his voice, his motions, his mind; but when he was Alexander, he had no choice. It was like being trapped in a body he didn't know.

It was so strange to touch Magnus and feel everything but not have the ability to do what he wanted.

Alexander didn't really seem to enjoy kissing Magnus quite as much as Alec did and even though Alec still had the strange pleasure of looking at Magnus as they kissed, the kisses ended too soon. And Alexander bit down on Magnus's flesh a bit harder than Alec would have.

"We don't have long," Alexander said while Alec could only listen. "They'll be wondering where I am."

Magnus nodded and tugged at the black sweater Alexander wore. Their hips were crushed together almost painfully and Alec wondered if Alexander ever woke with bruises.

When he felt how hard his hands were gripping Magnus's sides, he realized that Magnus was probably the one who was more likely to wake up with the marks.

There were so many unfamiliar things going on at once. It made Alec wish he could just wake up. He didn't want to think about it again; how harsh Alexander tended to be. Did Magnus really enjoy this? Could Alec do this when he was awake and didn't have Alexander doing everything for him?

"Alexander," gasped Magnus when Alexander began moving his hips against him.

Alec agreed that the sensation was very nice, but couldn't voice his opinion because Alexander was focused on ending it all as quickly as possible. Even without being able to know what Alexander was thinking, he could feel it in the way his own body started to thrust harder against Magnus's hips, aligning them perfectly, and how the pace began to get more erratic rather than a steady rhythm.

He wondered silently if they did this often. That thought made him wonder if it ever got uncomfortable... Wouldn't it make a mess?

Before he could think of any other strange questions, he felt Alexander's orgasm ripping through him. He couldn't count it as his own, since he really had no part in it, but it still felt gloriously warm. He gasped and cried out just before Magnus pushed himself up to kiss him—hard—and they both started to settle down.

"I love you," Magnus whispered, slinking his arms around his neck and kissing the side of his throat.

I love you, too, Alec thought.

But Alexander had other plans. "I—I should go."

"Mmhmm..." Magnus murmured. He snapped his fingers and Alec felt the mess in his pants evaporate. It was a strange sensation. Magnus kissed him again and then Alexander started to get up, just as Alec was starting to think that it might be comfortable to sleep there.

"I'll see you," Alexander said. "Soon."

Magnus got up as well and followed Alexander out.

For the first time, Alec found himself even more frustrated with Alexander's actions. He wanted to stay.

When the door opened, he woke up and was granted his wish. He was in Magnus's home and would never have to leave.

Or maybe he just never could.

"Alec?"

Alec realized that maybe he hadn't been awakened by the opening door in his dream.

"Did I wake you?" Magnus asked as he walked further into the room.

Alec shook his head on the pillow and turned his head to look at Magnus. He was standing a few feet from the bed, looking down at him in concern.

"You were saying things in your sleep," he explained. "You kept calling me. I wasn't sure if you were awake or not."

Alec rubbed the blur away from his eyes and tried to sit up.

"Sorry," he said dumbly.

"It's okay," said Magnus. He shifted awkwardly on his feet and Alec sniffed.

It tended to be like this when neither of them knew what to say. It hadn't been before, but now that Alec was living with Magnus, they had run out of things to say to one another. And Alec didn't want to talk about his family.

"You're flushed," Magnus noted a moment later. "Were you having a nightmare?"

Alec shook his head and felt his face getting redder.

"I guess I'll go back to the living room, then," Magnus said. "Unless you want me to do another spell... Do you think you'll have another nightmare?"

Alec shook his head again and looked down at his hands, which were clasped together in his lap.

Magnus turned to leave and Alec remembered the dream and how he remembered the look in Magnus's eyes when Alexander walked out the door. He felt a pang in his heart and cleared the sleep from his throat, finally finding the voice he had been looking for.

"You could stay," he said quietly.

Magnus paused, his hand on the doorknob, and didn't turn for a moment. He took a deep breath and then turned his head.

"I don't know if that's a good idea, Alec," he said.

Alec remembered Alexander's words from so many memories. Usually he was the one to say it was a bad idea. When had they traded?

After a moment during which Magnus seemed to argue with himself within his head, he took a few hesitant steps toward the bed and, with equal hesitance, climbed into the bed next to Alec.

---

Alec wondered how often Alexander and Magnus would meet. It couldn't have been all too frequent, otherwise there probably wouldn't have been so much tension between them when they finally were allowed to be together. The problem was that Alec never knew how much time had elapsed between the last time they had been together and his current situation, since they only came to him in dreams. He wasn't even sure if these memories were in order and it was giving him headaches as he tried to keep up with a mental time line.

Though Magnus's lips at the hollow if his throat was not making it easy for him to calculate lapses in time.

Upon thinking this, he was viciously reminded that it was not his throat Magnus was lovingly attacking, it was Alexander's and he was only reminded of it because Alexander reached up around Magnus and was trying to trade places with him. He failed for a moment and then gasped when Magnus bit down against his shoulder.

Alec decided that he probably would've gasped, too. It was rather nice.

"Magnus," gasped Alexander. His voice remained foreign to Alec.

"Let me," Magnus pleaded as he kissed a warm trail down Alexander's chest and stomach.

Alexander shook his head against the pillow and started to sit up.

"Alexander--"

"No, Magnus. I've said--"

"I know you've said," said Magnus, looking slightly dejected. "I just don't understand why you don't trust me."

They were kneeling before each other in the center of the bed. Though Alec couldn't hear Alexander's thoughts, he could feel the frustration in his posture and from the very way alec was looking out from behind the eyelids of someone he didn't know.

"I do trust you," Alexander said. "I just--I can't do that."

Magnus sighed and leaned forward to kiss him and Alec understood exactly what the problem was, but he wasn't sure it was something he would want to address with Magnus in real life if he didn't have to. Although he had to admit to himself that it was a reassuring thought.

He tried to raise Alexander's hand but found that it was impossible to do anything that Alexander didn't want.

He wondered if Magnus felt that way.

---

"Alec?"

Alec had fallen asleep on the couch some time ago and Magnus was worried that he was having a nightmare. He hadn't done any of the usual spells to ward them off, so it wouldn't have surprised him if the younger man's profuse sweating was being caused by such a dream.

Alec stirred slightly, though he cried out just as he awoke.

"Are you okay?" Magnus said, crouching down in front of the couch. "Another nightmare?"

Magnus sometimes wondered if he was annoying Alec by constantly monitoring him when he slept, but he knew that it was likely that memories would start coming to Alec in his sleep. Memories of things that had not yet come to light during the day and were trying to get free in his sleep. He was afraid that Alec would begin to see the night that Alexander died in his dreams when the proper spells weren't put on as a precaution. He always asked if there were nightmares because he knew that Alec would think he was bothering him if he wanted to talk about it... He wanted him to know that he could trust him.

Alec stared at him for a moment before realizing that he was awake. It was another long moment before he blinked and rubbed the sleep from his eyes.

"Are you okay?" Magnus asked.

Alec nodded slowly and continued to stare at him. The blue eyes were looking at him as though torn between being confused and being happy to see him.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

He shook his head and then started to sit up. He wiped his forehead and seemed surprised to find that it was saturated with a cold sweat. He seemed equally surprised to find that he had, at some point, been covered by a fleece throw blanket with the several of the Rugrats characters on it.

"You were shaking a little in your sleep," Magnus explained. "I used that one just in case you..." He trailed off for a moment and Alec blushed. "When your nightmares were at their worst, you were vomiting.. I just..." He trailed off again and Alec nodded in understanding. Better the Rugrats than the Powerpuff Girls, afterall.

"Are you hungry?" Magnus asked.

Alec shook his head.

"Are you going to talk to me in the next decade?" Magnus asked his question with a grin, but he was partly serious. Alec's silence was worrying him.

But Alec smiled and some of the worry melted away. "Sorry," he said. "I'm just trying to wake up."

"It's okay," Magnus replied.

They were silent for several moments and Magnus decided to sit down on the floor in front of the couch. He played with dust bunny for a few minutes and then decided to send it away toward the dark and dismal world of Under The Couch.

"Magnus?"

He looked up. It was unusual for Alec to address him first. Alec was fidgeting with his hands in his lap, just above the carrot-colored hair of the four-eyed Rugrat. Magnus couldn't remember his name at that moment... Alec's slender fingers distracted him. He followed the anxiety in Alec's hands up his arms to where they met his shoulders--tense and slightly hunched forward--and then to Alec's face. Alec wasn't looking at him. Instead, he was looking down at his hands and biting his lip.

"Did you and Alexander ever argue?"

Magnus was slightly surprised by the question and looked down at the ground before saying anything.

"Everyone argues, Alec. We argue. Alexander and I argued. It doesn't mean I didn't love him." God, thought Magnus, I sound like I'm telling my eight-year-old son why I was fighting with his mother or something.

He rethought his thoughts. Not that I even have an eight-year-old.

Then he wondered what kind of memory Alec could have had that would have involved an argument. Most of their arguments had been over Alexander becoming immortal, which Alec had already done. Thus, that memory should not have been prevalent.

Alec nodded at his answer and went back to playing with his fingers.

"What was your dream?" Magnus wondered, wishing he had the ability to read minds more than he ever had before. Alexander had never been too shy to come right out and say things, but from the weeks he had been living with Alec under his roof, he had discovered that there were some things that Alec found difficult to discuss.

His efforts to make Alec talk to him over the course of the next hour were in vain and soon he was feeling tired himself.

He walked Alec into the bedroom to put him to bed--including the spells to ward off the nightmares. Once Alec was settled in like the eight-year-old child Magnus didn't have, he leaned forward to kiss him goodnight. He put his hands on either side of Alec and pressed his lips softly against Alec's.

When he started to pull away, Alec reached out from below the blanket and held him steady, seeming to be slightly nervous as he deepened the kiss. He was surprised by this but stayed steady above him and kissed him back matching his intensity as best he could from his standing position.

Alec's other hand snuck out from under the blanket and came up to touch Magnus's waist. Magnus wasn't sure if he was supposed to take the gentle pull as a hint that he was being invited onto the bed, so he tentatively brought one knee up onto the bed, just in case he was misreading. When Alec's other hand left his neck and went to his other hip, he took this as the invitation and crawled up onto the bed.

It had been so long since they had last had any physical contact that Magnus was sure he wouldn't be able to stay much longer before he would have to force himself to leave for Alec's sake. There were too many things that Alec hadn't yet understood... Magnus couldn't force these things on him yet.

Alec, however, seemed to have other plans. His hands slipped below Magnus's shirt and traced his spine with cool fingertips, making Magnus shiver slowly and causing a soft sound to escape his lips. The parting of his lips allowed Alec to carefully slip his tongue between them. Magnus accepted the happy intrusion and slid his own against Alec's, causing Alec to make an equally soft sound, only it sounded louder to Magnus because it reverberated against his own mouth.

Magnus let one of his hands--really, it seemed to have a mind of its own and he was merely letting it go where it felt like it needed to be--travel to the center of Alec's chest. Through the thin fabric of Alec's t-shirt, he could feel his heart beating. It was a heart he had promised to hold.

They had to stop.

He broke the kiss against his own will and pulled back, but Alec's hands remained.

"We need to stop," Magnus said. He tried not to notice how full Alec's lips were or how the younger man's cheeks were tinted pink. Alec squeezed his eyes shut and seemed either be thinking very hard or reprimanding himself for something.

"It's okay, Alec... I just--I'm sorry. If I don't go now--"

"You could stay," Alec whispered. His eyes were still shut tight and Magnus wasn't even sure if he had spoken. It could've been his mind playing tricks; getting back at him for all the memories Alec was going through.

"Alec... I can't stay. Not tonight," he said, his breathing starting to return from jagged to normal.

"Please?" Alec asked, finally opening his eyes. "I-I want you to stay."

Magnus sucked in a shaky breath and touched his forehead against Alec's.

"Any other night, Alec," he said. "I just don't think it's a good idea tonight."

"Why?" Alec asked. His hands fell down Magnus's back and stopped on the skin of his hips. Alec--and Magnus would wonder where Alec got the nerve for a very long time--lifted himself slightly off the bed and kissed Magnus harder than he usually did. At the same time, he gripped his hips and tried to pull him closer.

This time it was harder for Magnus to pull away.

"Alec," he said when he was finally free of his hormones and more in touch with his senses. "Alec, I need to go."

He pulled away and hoped that he wasn't leaving Alec scarred for the rest of their days by walking away. Alec had to understand that it was so much harder to walk away than it would have been to stay, but it was something he needed to do.

"Please," Alec choked out.

Magnus stopped at the door but didn't turn around. He knew that if he did, there was no way he'd leave.

"Let me," said Alec. His voice was almost a whisper and Magnus froze completely. He hadn't been planning to move, but those two words made him turn to stone in place.

"Let me give you what he wouldn't."

The words less than a whisper; they were like a breath being exhaled into the wind and finding their way to his ears.

It was at that moment that Magnus realized the extent of Alec's dreams and why he wouldn't discuss them.

"Alec--"

"Magnus, please don't..." Alec trailed off and looked down at his hands, fiddling with them again in his lap.

"Alec, I don't even know if you understand what you're asking for."

Alec tossed the comforter aside and swung his legs over the side of the bed. Magnus stayed put as Alec approached him, looking about half as predatory as Alexander had. But the idea was still there.

"I can't stand the dreams, Magnus," Alec said, putting his hands on Magnus's waist. "He holds you too tight and kisses you too hard and those are the only memories I have." He flexed his fingers and slipped them below Magnus's shirt, touching gently at spots where Magnus had frequently awoken with purple bruises shaped like fingertips. "He was always in such a hurry, wasn't he?" Alec was looking down at him with nervous and sympathetic eyes. "He always had to get back before anyone realized he was missing. And he always had to have control." Alec pressed their foreheads together and looked Magnus in the eye. "It's all I have, Magnus," he said, his voice barely above a whisper. "And it's killing me to keep having these memories where I can't do anything but just... go through the motions."

Magnus was silent for a long moment and Alec took his right hand and held it tight.

"I think that this is where the memories stop, Magnus," he said. "I think that this is where Alexander and me are different."

Magnus couldn't meet Alec's eyes and looked down at their clasped hands.

"I know you wanted him to give himself to you. And that's what I want, Magnus, it's exactly what I want."

He had no idea how to answer Alec. Yes, it was something he wanted, but it had never been something he had expected. And now it was standing right in front of him and he still had a hard time believing that he was in the present--awake and present--and Alec was actually serious. He wasn't sure what had gotten into Alec, and he knew he should have questioned it, but then Alec took his silence as a good sign and leaned forward and kissed him.

He decided not to fight it.

As soon as he let his mind switch to off, his body seemed to click on. He put his hands on Alec's shoulders as they kissed and pressed him back toward the bed. He was as gentle as possible to ensure that he wouldn't make Alec think he was pushing him away. From the way Alec took hold of his waist when Magnus started pressing backwards, Magnus realized there was no way Alec would have let him push him away.

The backs of Alec's thighs brushed the mattress and they paused for a moment, quickly discarding each other's t-shirts with only the briefest break in their kiss, and then Alec fell backwards, pulling Magnus down with him.

They took a moment to situate themselves, hands wandering everywhere at once, and then were back into their kiss. After a few brief moments, Magnus broke the kiss and started to suck and nip at the side of Alec's neck, trailing downward and causing Alec to throw his head back on the pillows and squeeze his eyes shut. Magnus playfully dipped his tongue into his lover's bellybutton, causing him to arch upward in search of more attention.

Remembering how quickly everything had ended with Alexander the first time, he decided not to press his luck by going downwards and began to retrace his trail back up to Alec's neck. As he tried to leave a pleasant mark next to one of Alec's faded Marks, he slipped his hands into the waistband of Alec's pajama bottoms and began to shimmy them off the younger man's hips. Alec lifted off the bed to assist in the effort and Magnus lifted himself higher to ensure he wasn't going to get kneed in the crotch as Alec kicked the pants away.

"Not fair," Alec gasped, quickly reaching down to try to unbutton Magnus's jeans. Alec was right--It wasn't actually fair. Alec was completely naked, aside from his black socks, and Magnus's pants would be a project. For the first time in many, many years Magnus inwardly scolded himself for wearing such tight pants.

The button was undone, but Magnus's jeans weren't made with an erection in mind, which made the zipper slightly more difficult to deal with. After a bit of awkward fumbling that was sure not to be the last of the night, the offending jeans were slipped off of his hips and they worked together to kick them down to the end of the bed, where they joined Alec's pajamas and one of their shirts. Magnus tried not to grimace when he realized that his shirt must have found its way to the floor earlier.

He straddled Alec's waist and leaned in to kiss him again when he realized that Alec was trembling nervously.

"You're shaking," Magnus said.

"Thanks so much for pointing that out," Alec replied. His cheeks flushed and he closed his eyes as though he didn't want to look at Magnus.

It was several moments before Alec opened his eyes again, but when he did, Magnus's eyes looked back at him as they kissed soundly. After another bout of awkward fumbling, they were each left wearing only their socks. As Magnus felt his body align against Alec's without the various layers between them for the first time, he realized how unfamiliar Alec was to him in comparison to Alexander.

He placed a hand on Alec's waist and pulled him closer, lifting him slightly, and Alec instinctively wrapped one leg around Magnus, pulling him closer than a moment before.

Magnus broke the kiss and pressed their foreheads together, the tips of their noses touching slightly, and began to grind his hips against Alec's. The unfamiliar skin-to-skin friction made Alec's mouth open in a perfect circle and his eyes flutter shut. Magnus would have smirked if he hadn't been so concentrated on not losing himself in the feeling entirely.

He had done this so many times, but it was becoming increasingly harder for him to remember that Alec never had.

Letting go of Alec's hip, he steadied himself on his other hand and reached between them to grasp both of their erections. As soon as his fingers closed around the both of them, Alec let out a sharp hiss and his head fell away and onto the pillows. Magnus looked down between them, surprised by how hard it seemed to be for Alec to breathe steadily in that moment, and watched as his hand stroked up and down, creating yet another new feeling for Alec to enjoy. After a moment, he stopped including himself and just stroked Alec in long, teasing pulls.

Alec opened his eyes and then squeezed them shut so tightly and sucked in a breath.

"Please," Alec said simply when he exhaled sharply. It wasn't begging, pleading, or demanding. It was just a word that Alec seemed to hope would get his point across.

Magnus, who had always been slightly bothered by how fast and desperate his times with Alexander had been, realized in that moment that there was nothing about this that had the urgency caused by a lack of time or a fear of being discovered. He kissed Alec, pressing his tongue into Alec's warm and receptive mouth, and decided that the only thing that made him want to go faster was his need to have all of Alec right then.

He tried to break the kiss but Alec pulled him closer and pressed his hips upwards while tightening his leg around him, holding him in place. Magnus made a mental note to make sure that Alec continued to get regular exercise; he had very strong legs.

When Alec let him pull back a long moment later, he let a soft moan of disappointment escape his lips.

Magnus smiled at him and tried to breathe regularly, if only for a moment.

"How do you want me to do this?" Magnus asked. He looked at Alec's red cheeks and thoroughly disheveled hair and swallowed hard. When Alec's eyes looked up at him in slight confusion, Magnus wondered if his own cheeks began to color. Though Magnus wasn't even sure if his blood was flowing properly anymore. It had been a long time.

He cleared his throat nervously. "It might be easier if, ah, you're on your hands and knees--Just the first time," he added quickly, though he wasn't sure how quickly he was speaking, since his voice was betraying him from his quick breathing.

Understanding flashed in Alec's eyes and he immediately shook his head. Magnus wondered if Alec was having second thoughts--and immediately prayed that he wasn't. His face must have been readable because Alec took a deep breath and swallowed.

"I mean," Alec said, like he was picking the words very carefully, "Could we just..." He paused, seeming afraid to say it.

Magnus feared the worst.

One of Alec's hands was on the lower side of his back and Alec ran it all the way up to Magnus's shoulders and then brought it around to his chest.

"Couldn't we--" He swallowed again and Magnus watched the way his throat contracted around the air Alec was taking in. He noticed a red patch that he had succeeded in creating and then the subsequent patches that had followed in a short trail down to the center of Alec's chest, which was rising and falling with nervous breaths. "Like this?"

Magnus broke away from admiring his handiwork and looked at Alec, who was looking at his hand on his chest.

"Like this?" Magnus was surprised, of course, but he wasn't going to complain. Alec nodded and Magnus kissed him again and began to snake his hand down between them. He briefly wondered whether he should use magic as a lubricant or get out of bed and find one. Then he wondered why he even had to ask himself in the first place.

Bed, nice and warm, or out naked into the other room where it is most certainly not warm? Really?

He shifted their positions so that Alec had a chance to spread his legs just enough for Magnus to slip his hand between them.

He broke the kiss and ran his tongue along Alec's jawline until, enjoying the way it made Alec shiver, and placed a soft kiss at the spot where his jaw connected, just below his ear. "This is probably going to be a little uncomfortable," he whispered honestly. Alec's breathing hitched slightly and he tensed, like he was preparing himself for the ultimate discomfort, and Magnus added, "Just try to relax." Alec nodded but remained tense.

Magnus turned his head away from Alec and whispered a few words, thankful for magic that could aid him in bed without involving stealing from one of the hundreds of sex stores in New York City, and felt his fingers become warm and slippery. He rubbed his thumb and forefinger together without looking down at his hand and turned back to place a kiss against the side of Alec's neck as he slowly pressed his middle finger into Alec's body.

He was only in up to his first knuckle when he paused on Alec's sharp intake of breath. When Alec exhaled, he pressed further, to the second knuckle, and let Alec breathe every time. It took several moments for Alec to get used to his finger alone and Magnus realized that maybe this was going to take longer than he thought it would. But judging by the heat and sheer tightness of it all, Magnus was sure it would be worth the hundred-year wait.

"I'm okay," Alec said, not quite sounding convinced himself. "Keep going."

With the same gentleness, Magnus repeated with a second finger, followed several moments later by a third. He held himself up on one hand and watched as Alec became more and more accustomed to the feeling, eventually meeting Magnus's thrusting fingers by moving his body to meet them mid-way.

Magnus slowly withdrew his fingers and when Alec whimpered slightly at the loss, Magnus knew that he was ready. "Here," Magnus said, taking one of Alec's hands and holding it for a moment. He whispered the spell again and Alec's hand was slicked with a warm lubrication. He guided Alec's hand to his cock and Alec instinctively closed his fingers around it and began to pump up and down.

Magnus put his hands on either side of Alec and tried to remain steady. He let his head fall forward to rest against Alec's and when Alec began to quicken his rhythm, Magnus had to stop him, lest everything end far too soon.

"I'll go slow," said Magnus as he positioned the tip of his cock against Alec's opening.

Alec nodded and closed his eyes, clearly still not sure of himself, and bit down on his lip to brace himself. When Magnus began to press into him, he cried out in surprise and Magnus stopped immediately, fearing that he had hurt him.

"I'm... I'm fine," Alec said quickly. "I'm fine."

"Just relax," Magnus said, biting the inside of his cheek. It had been too long.

Alec nodded again and Magnus continued to enter him, inch by inch. He was nearly fully encased by his lover's body when Alec tensed again and Magnus realized he needed to slow down. He wordlessly gave Alec a moment to adjust before continuing. A few long moments later, he was finally inside him and he took a few heaving breaths at the realization that they were as close as they could possibly get.

"Are you okay?" Magnus asked. He was afraid to move. Alec hadn't really made any sound other than a few uncomfortable gasps in the last few minutes.

Alec nodded and bit his lip. "It hurts a little bit," he said, breathing hard.

"It'll be okay," Magnus said. "We'll wait until you're comfortable."

Magnus, feeling steady, reached up and wiped Alec's brow, which had grown moist and now had hair clinging to Alec's skin.

He wasn't sure how long it would take for Alec to grow accustomed to the strange fullness inside his body and it had been so long since Magnus's first time that he really didn't remember himself. So, to fill the awkward moments, he leaned forward slightly--carefully so as not to move and hurt Alec--and kissed his forehead before kissing the tip of his nose and finally finding his lips.

Alec kissed him back tentatively and in the moments that their kiss lasted, Magnus could almost feel the adjustment taking place. Alec went from kissing him nervously and breathing harshly through his nose to deepening the kiss and beginning to breathe more erratically, though no longer due to pain. A long moment after that realization, Alec broke the kiss and looked Magnus in the eye for the first time in a while.

"I think I'm okay now," he said.

Magnus nodded and slowly began to move. He watched Alec's face for any changes as best he could, but as he withdrew partly and then pressed himself back into the glorious and unfamiliar warmth, it became increasingly hard to concentrate.

They had soon managed to work into a rhythm and Alec began to move with him, letting Magnus know that he was no longer in pain.

Magnus looked down between them and wasn't surprised to see that Alec was only half-erect and as his eyes moved back up toward Alec's face, he watched his chest rise and fall quickly as his breathing began to quicken. When Magnus's eyes found Alec's, he was surprised to find them open rather than shut tight again, and Magnus moved in to kiss him, not even bothering to close his eyes as he locked their lips together.

He stared into Alec's eyes, unblinking, as their tongues met and slid along each other in a similar way to their bodies. Alec lifted his legs and wrapped them around Alec's waist, creating a new angle for the both of them, and each of them gasped into the other's mouth when Magnus's thrust went deeper than it had only a moment before.

Magnus reached between them and took Alec's cock into his hand, stroking it in time with his thrusts, and tried to keep himself balanced on his other arm.

After a few short moments, Alec broke their kiss and his eyes squeezed shut again. He bit his lip hard, turning the skin around it almost white, and gasped Magnus's name.

"Almost?" was the only word Magnus could manage in that moment.

Alec nodded quickly and his legs squeezed tighter, almost making it hard for Magnus to get the same depth into his movements, and Magnus began to stroke his cock faster, trying to match his speed with thrusts that were becoming more out of rhythm with each moment.

"Oh God," Alec gasped and his eyes went wide, the opposite of what Alexander did when he came, and Magnus's palm twisted around Alec's cock as the first string of fluid erupted from the tip. "Magnus," Alec gasped and Magnus felt Alec's fingernails digging harshly into the skin on his back. His name pouring from Alec's lips in such a euphoric way combined with the tension that was shooting through Alec's body as his orgasm continued to flow through him pushed Magnus over the edge and he buried himself inside Alec as deep as he could and let go, crying out his lover's name as he did.

It took several minutes for them to recover and even when their breathing began to return to normal, neither of them wanted to move. They didn't have to say anything to affirm the fact; it was clear.

"I love you," Magnus whispered, planting a string of kisses along Alec's throat and jawline.

Alec ran a hand along Magnus's side and sighed warmly against the side of his face. "I love you, too."

Magnus looked at him and smiled lovingly.

"Forever," Alec added. "I'll love you forever."

"You know what happens when you say forever, don't you?" Magnus joked.

Alec shifted below him and wrapped his arms around Magnus, hugging him to him.

"I get it."