The Bet

Magnus was opening various small jars, using his fingers to flatten out or shape a point on brushes, and trying to find a blush that he thought would match Alec's pale skin tone. Alec, who was sitting on the edge of the bed, was frightened.

"Will it take long?" He asked, leaning sideways to see the tubes of lipstick that Magnus was rummaging through.

"Alec, you can't rush perfection," said Magnus without turning.

"Cant you just—You know, 'Poof!' and then it's done?" He leaned to the other side to try to see, but Magnus turned around quickly, and Alec raised his eyebrows in surprise.

"Honey, this—" He made a circular motion around his face with a ring-clad finger, "Is not done simply with a 'poof!' Alec Lightwood, I may love you, but you are not the brightest sparkle in the glitter jar."

Alec looked into the mirror from his seat as if to say goodbye to his plain skin. Magnus saw him looking and "tsked" several times before waving his hand at the mirror, which immediately was covered by an opaque layer of fuschia, taking away Alec's view.

"Why'd you—" Alec protested.

"You'll see yourself when I'm finished with you and not a moment before," Magnus said, picking up a small container of copper powder. He looked back at Alec and then changed his mind. He went back to the vanity and picked up a pair of tweezers.

"Uhh... What are those for?" Alec asked with a gulp.

"Your eyebrows are like little caterpillars," Magnus said, getting very close to Alec's face and inspecting his brows. "And it's unfortunate, because they have such a nice shape under all that excess." He plucked a single hair and Alec cried out. "Oh, don't be such a baby or I'll wax you. And believe me, darling, you don't want me getting out the wax. I may decide there are--" Magnus looked Alec up and down. "--Other places that are in need of it."

Alec blushed and did not say another word against the eyebrow-plucking, though he did feel the need to sneeze. Holding it back, he continued to furrow his brow each time the tweezers ripped another hair. A few moments later, Magnus blew on them tenderly to get rid of any hair that remained on Alec's forehead.

"That wasn't so bad, was it?" Magnus asked, kissing him on the forehead. He ran his fingers over Alec's freshly shaped eyebrows and it felt like they cooled under his touch. It was a soothing feeling that rid the warm ache that Alec had been experiencing.

"My parents are going to notice," Alec said.

"They won't be able to tell what's different, though. They'll just notice that your eye area has opened up drastically and they can pay more attention to those baby blues," Magnus said, putting his tweezers away and returning with the jar of copper powder.

"Close your eyes," he said and Alec obliged, however unwillingly.

A moment later, Alec felt the light pressure of a brush against the center of his eyeball. It was an intrusive pressure and he winced slightly, feeling as though any moment it was going to come crashing through his eyelid and pierce his eyeball. Bug Magnus did this all the time, didn't he?

"Open, lemme see."

He opened his eyes and blinked.

"Close," Magnus said without explanation. He seemed to fix one part and then Alec heard him walking back to the vanity. He peaked out and saw Magnus choosing between a light turqouise and light violet. This would have been a time when Alec would have crossed his fingers and hoped for one or the other, but he really didn't want either of them. But Magnus picked up the violet and walked back toward him. He closed his eyes.

He felt the color being applied to the inner sides of his eyes with a lighter pressure than the copper. This only took a moment before he was finished and heading back to the table. He didn't ask Alec to open his eyes, but Alec opened them slightly anyway to see which color would touch him next.

Magnus picked up a brighter shade of turquoise and seemed to contemplate it for a moment before shaking his head, as though deciding that Alec wasn't ready for such bright colors yet, and picked up a darker shade of violet.

Alec closed his eyes again as Magnus turned.

"I know you've been peaking," Magnus whispered into his ear. Alec started to reply, but Magnus put a finger to his lips and simply said, "How can you trust that I'm using the colors you see?" Alec could hear the grin in his words.

Great, Alec thought, Just great.

The next color (dark violet?) was applied to the outer corner of his eyes and the upper part of his brow bone. Alec wondered how mean Magnus was actually capable of being. This was where Alec really did question Magnus's taste; How could anyone love such bright colors on their face? Even Isabelle didn't wear such colorful makeup and she was a girl.

"Open, says me," Magnus said.

Alec opened his eyes and looked at Magnus, who was still holding the violet eyeshadow.

He seemed to concentrate on Alec's eyes for a moment and then turned around and went back to his vanity. When he put the shadow down, it turned a bright shade of green, making Alec's eyes open in quiet shock, but he didn't say anything.

Magnus picked up a small vial and a very thin brush. He spoke as he returned, "This is my eyeliner. It's custom made, by me of course, and I will be very upset with you if you don't appreciate the time and effort I take in putting this on you."

Alec gulped.

Magnus smirked at him and dipped the brush in the black vial. "Now stay still," he said, "Or I'm going to poke your eye out."

Up close, Alec could see small specks of color that had been left on Magnus's fingers from the eyeshadow, but there were too many colors to make out which ones were on his face and which were on Magnus's.

It felt very strange to him as Magnus ran the brush along the very edge of his eyelids, but it wasn't an unpleasant or pleasant feeling. Magnus finished off one of his eyes with a flourish outwards from the outer corner of his eye and then moved on to the other. That one seemed to come easier to him and Alec supposed that it was because Magnus was right handed and his left eye was at an easier angle for the right hand.

With a similar flourish, he was finished and putting a stopper in the vial. He blew on the brush and its bristles returned to a pale cream color.

"Blink for me," Magnus requested.

Alec blinked a few times, not feeling any different, and looked at Magnus, who was smiling at his artwork.

"Just a few more minutes and then I think I'll be done," Magnus said, turning and observing his vanity with his hands on his hips.

He picked out two small jars of glitter and placed both of them in the palm of his hand. With a wave of his other hand, the lids disappeared, and even though the jars were tilted to the side, the glitter did not shift or spill.

"Close 'em."

Alec closed his eyes. One of the jars had held a purply glitter and the other was clear. He felt a brush on the inner part of his eyelid lightly applying the glitter over the color there. It trailed up and over his brow bone. The pressure withdrew and then was replaced just below his eye, along the top of his bottom eyelid. The pressure was slightly harder around the outer corner. It disappeared with a dramatic twist away from the corner.

He didn't open his eyes when Magnus pulled the brush away because something seemed to tell him to keep them closed. A moment later, he felt Magnus's warm breath within centimeters of his lips. "You look fabulous." And then he kissed him slowly. It was a tender and genuinely loving kiss that Alec was trying to become accustomed to as time went on, but he still didn't understand how Magnus could put so many of his feelings into such short kisses. Alec never knew if he was doing the same, he just hoped.

"You can open them now," Magnus said, pulling away and standing to admire his work.

Magnus grabbed a tube of mascara and walked back towards Alec. "Now, you can't move while I do this, because it could make a tragic mess if this gets on you. So keep your eyes open and don't move."

Alec stared at Magnus as the mascara brush came at his face. Magnus held it steadily and then carefully stroked upwards with it, pulling Alec's eyelashes up and out as they were coated in what, at that proximity, appeared to be a black and copper sheen.

Magnus held the brush still between his eyes and said, "Blink."

Alec blinked.

He then moved to the other eye, repeating the same process, and then backed away again, looking at Alec as though he was a doll he got to play with.

"Lipstick or no lipstick?" Magnus asked himself.

"No lipstick?" Alec said hopefully.

Magnus sighed. "I guess."

He took a few steps forward and reached out to fool around with Alec's hair.

"And what should I do with this hot mess?" He asked, pulling several strands forward and looking at their unevenness in disappointment.

"I-I don't know." Alec said, looking up at the hair that was being brought out in front of his face.

"How about rainbow highlights? You could go home and you wouldn't even have to tell your parents. They'd just know," Magnus joked.

Alec's eyes opened wide in horror for a moment, but he calmed down when he realized that Magnus was, indeed, joking.

Magnus sighed and stepped back. "I suppose I'm done for now. Though eventually I want to do the full makeover. Hair, makeup," he looked up and down Alec, who wore the same sweater and pants (though different since he had several of them) every day, "--Wardrobe. And dear God, shoes," he said, kicking Alec's worn black shoes lightly. They were crusted with mud along the soles and the edges of the laces were frayed.

"Can I see now?"

"Mmhmm," Magnus replied.

Alec watched as the mirror faded back into being reflective, but all he saw was himself. Normal Alec.


"It really was the principle of the thing, Alec," Magnus said, going over the the bed and sitting closely next to Alec. He put one arm around him and rested his other hand on the boy's thigh. "You trusted me." He leaned his head onto Alec's shoulder and their eyes met in the mirror.

"So I've just been sitting here for the past half an hour?"

"Well, no, I did actually tweeze you. That was one thing I had to do," Magnus said, and Alec focused on his eyebrows. It wasn't the most noticeable thing, but they were different; thinner.

"I thought you said I looked 'fabulous,'" Alec said, looking at Magnus.

"You always look fabulous," Magnus said, leaning over and kissing him again. "It's just that only one of us can look fabulous in glitter and eyeshadow, and, sweetie, that's me."

Alec smiled at him and then looked back at the mirror.

"I guess you're right."

"I'm always right," Magnus replied. With a wave of his hand, each of the caps and lids to the jars and containers screwed themselves back onto their proper container, and then they lined themselves up in order by color and brightness.

"Now," Magnus said, pressing Alec backwards onto his back with a gentle push, "How about we take advantage of the rest of the time that we allotted to do your makeup?"

Alec's reply was promptly silenced by Magnus's mouth on his.