Disclaimer: I do not own Cassandra Clare's brilliant Mortal Instruments trilogy, nor the characters contained within. This is entirely for my own enjoyment, and hopefully for everyone who reads it as well.
By the Light of the Lake
An Alec/Magnus Romance Fic
Alec stared up at the door knocker with an uncertain expression on his pale features. It would be so easy to reach up and announce his presence, but for some reason he was hesitant. Maybe it was because it had only been a week since he had publicly outed himself in front of a hundred Shadowhunters via making out with a glittery warlock centuries his elder.
No, he thought, that's almost definitely the reason. It also didn't help that, now that he had finally declared his affection to Magnus Bane, warlock extraordinaire, he had no idea what to do next.
In fact, although he would never admit it aloud, Alec had been avoiding Magnus like the plague since they had returned from Alicante. Just because I know I care for him doesn't mean I'm not incredibly nervous being around him. Alec wasn't used to being infatuated by someone he could actually have for himself. The notion was terrifying.
Hence the lack of door-knocking.
Eventually he steeled himself and reached for the doorknob. I'm a Shadowhunter, he told himself firmly. I faced down the spawn of Satan and lived to tell the tale. I do it every day, for God's sake. Move!
"It's unlocked, you know."
Alec spun around so quickly that he nearly crashed into the person standing directly behind him. He caught himself before they both went tumbling to the floor. It was a good thing, as the sparkly-pink shirted warlock arching an eyebrow at him would never have let him live it down.
"Hey," Alec replied lamely.
Magnus batted his glitter-encrusted eyelashes at the young Shadowhunter. "If you want to hold me, all you have to do is ask."
"I was trying not to knock you over, actually."
It was hard to think straight when Magnus stared at him with those timeless feline eyes. Alec could feel his heartbeat quicken when the warlock raked an appreciative gaze over his body. Swallowing nervously, he took a step back and said, "I thought you were upstairs."
Magnus glanced around the empty street. Then his eyes snapped back to Alec's, as if he couldn't bear to look away for more than a moment. "I was," he agreed, tapping a black fingernail against his lips. "But then I spotted a scrumptious boy on my doorstep and simply had to see what he was up to."
Even though he was sure he knew the answer, Alec said hesitantly, "You mean me, right?"
The warlock sighed, reaching out to tuck a strand of Alec's dark hair away from his face. "It's always you, sugar plum. Do you still not get it?"
When Alec stared at him uncertainly, Magnus shot the sky a long-suffering look. Seizing the surprised teenager's hand, he waved a hand dramatically in the air. Before them appeared a downworlder motorcycle, complete with demon-energy engine and Christmas lights wrapped around the handlebars. Alec blinked at the bright lights. "Are those necessary?"
"Stop complaining and get on," the warlock instructed.
Recalling Jace's adventures with a downworlder motorcycle – hadn't they crashed and nearly died? – Alec had no interest in getting on the vehicle. But when Magnus's clothing suddenly shifted from sparkly pink to form-fitting black leather, Alec's mouth went dry. And when said warlock wrapped his lean body around the motorcycle seat and beckoned for him to join, Alec's body took over.
One twist of the handlebars and they were off, circling Magnus' apartment building then rising away from the ground and into the cool night air. Sitting behind the warlock, Alec wasn't sure what to do with his hands.
"Trying to fall off?" Magnus drawled.
Blushing, Alec quickly encircled the warlock's slender chest with his arms. He immediately felt warmer, more at peace. It was amazing how much Magnus affected him, how perfect it felt to be by his side. And still he couldn't manage to open up to the man. What is wrong with me?
They stayed like that for almost ten minutes, soaring over the Manhattan skyline in silence. A few times Alec tried to break the silence, but Magnus shushed him. "I'm trying to think," he said by way of explanation.
Living most of his life with Jace, the master of rash actions, Alec was not used to such a request. He knew that Magnus was brilliant, of course – he was the high warlock of Manhattan – but Alec couldn't begin to imagine what sort of matter required Magnus' complete and undivided attention. Perhaps he didn't know how to drive a motorcycle at all, and needed his concentration to keep them from crashing into the ground.
"Do you want me to—"
Alec leaned back. Not that, then.
They spiralled down at long last toward central park, that huge expanse of green that provided a welcome relief from the relentless gray skyline. The motorcycle touched down at the edge of a small lake. As they climbed off the bike, Alec was entranced by the way the moonlight reflected off of Magnus' crazily spiked hair. He wanted to reach out, touch those surprisingly silky locks, but he couldn't do it.
"Stop glowering," Magnus ordered, seizing Alec's hand again and leading him toward the lake's edge. "You're going to scare off the fish."
"I thought fish slept at night."
The warlock cast him a feral grin. "Not the kind we're looking for."
Alec watched in fascination as the older man knelt down beside the calm pool of water, giving Alec an excellent view of his behind. Focus, he told himself, wrenching his eyes away from his... boyfriend? Was that even the right word? If he couldn't even summon the courage to touch the warlock, Alec wasn't sure he deserved to call Magnus his own.
Magnus dipped a pale finger into the lake.
Immediately, blue sparks leaped from his hand and arched across the water surface in all directions. Within moments the entire lake was lit with a dim blue glow, the afterglow of the sparks as they splashed against the opposite bank and disappeared.
"What are we—"
Getting rather tired of being shushed every time he spoke, Alec opened his mouth to reprimand him. Magnus immediately clapped a hand across his face.
"They're coming," the warlock explained, eyes glittering in the starlight. Alec was momentarily lost in them, forgetting that he was supposed to still be in protest. "Watch."
There was nothing at first.
Then, ever so slowly, the surface of the water began to stir. At first, standing awkwardly beside Magnus, Alec thought that he had simply stirred up the fish from their sleep to come say hello.
A haunting melody pierced the air. Startled, Alec took a second look at the lake. Magnus released him just in time for Alec to gasp in amazement. There was a great splash of water as a man-sized creature broke the lake surface. It was a merman, pale and beautiful in the moonlight, mouth opening in closing in unfamiliar movements. Alec realized that it was the source of the music. It was singing.
Moments later, its voice was joined by a second. A second merman had appeared, raising his voice in harmony with the first. Together their song brought tears to Alec's eyes. He had never heard something so pure, so full of life, and love, and hope. Alec glanced sideways at Magnus. The warlock was staring intently at him, his eyes not even flickering toward the mermen. His entire attention was devoted to the young Shadowhunter by his side.
"They're wonderful," Alec said. It was the understatement of a century, but Magnus didn't point it out.
"Notice anything?" the warlock said softly, tracing his thumb in meandering patterns along Alec's hand. Slightly distracted by the tingling sensation rapidly rising up his arm, Alec turned back to the lake.
The mermen were facing each other now, hands clasping one another's. They were still singing, but Alec didn't have to know their language to understand what they were saying.
"They're in love," he whispered.
Magnus stepped closer to him, wrapping his other arm around the teenager's black-clad waist, but said nothing.
The mermen moved toward each other, clasped hands dropping to their sides.
"They look so happy," Alec said.
"Why shouldn't they?" Magnus said.
"I don't know," he replied honestly. Suddenly, looking at these two magical creatures, unafraid to express their love, uncaring that any passerby could see them, Alec realized why he had been so reticent since the battle in Alicante. Even though he had declared his love for Magnus in front of everyone he knew, and they had accepted him for who he was, Alec still hadn't accepted it himself.
Magnus was watching him with a calculating expression. This whole thing, the ride, the mermen... he's trying to get through to me, make me open my eyes and figure out that there's nothing wrong with us being together. Unbidden, a brilliant smile came to his face. He really is a magic worker.
As if he could read Alec's thoughts, the warlock closed the distance between them and planted a short, chaste kiss on his lips.
"Any revelations yet?" he said, eyeing the Shadowhunter carefully. He's afraid I'm going to bolt, Alec realized. Not this time. This is the right thing. We are right. How can I even pretend to doubt that anymore?
Alec glanced back at the lake. The mermen had stopped singing, and were now inching their faces towards one another. When their lips met, Alec averted his eyes. Not out of unease, but because he finally understood, and wanted to give them privacy. Love didn't care who it drew together. Love was simply that, love, and Alec was a fool for trying to evade its embrace.
He turned in Magnus' arms and raised a hand, tracing it down the warlock's surprised face. "I love you," he told Magnus seriously. "I truly, completely, and eternally love you. I'm sorry it took me this long to figure it out."
Magnus favoured him with a lazy grin. "It took you long enough."
"This whole thing," Alec said, gesturing to the motorcycle a few meters away, and to the lake, where the merman had now disappeared from sight. "You did all this for me. Just to convince me of something that I should have figured out myself."
"That's right," the warlock smirked. "How awesome am I?"
Alec sighed happily and leaned forward, inhaling Magnus' deliciously exotic scent.
"I'm going to take that as a 'you're the awesomest warlock in existence'," Magnus decided. His amused expression softened into a tender smile. "I love you too. But you knew that."
"When you dropped everything to run to my rescue for the fourth time, I suspected," Alec said. Now that he had finally stopped fighting it, loving this man came as naturally to him as breathing. "Magnus, can you... um..."
Not so naturally, apparently. Luckily, Magnus knew him well enough to figure out what he wanted. The warlock raised their joined hands, brushing them against Alec's cheek. Then, almost too quickly for Alec to follow, he swooped forward and caught his lips in a searing kiss. He gasped, and Magnus seized the opportunity, tongue swirling into his mouth. Alec moaned and pulled him closer, if that was even possible.
When air became an issue, Magnus was already pulling away, waiting for his love to catch his breath. "I'm... such an idiot," Alec panted, staring at Magnus in all his sparkly perfection. How could he have even doubted devoting himself, body and mind, to this man? It was no choice at all, in retrospect.
"Yes, you are," Magnus agreed with a fond smile, taking his hand and stepping away. "But it's a little late for you to be out, muffin. Your parents will wonder if the nasty downworlder has kidnapped you and tarnished your virtue."
Shocking himself with his boldness, Alec said, "Who says I don't want my virtue tarnished?"
Magnus' cat-eyes widened. Drawing a raspy breath, he took a smart step away from Alec and began to lead him back to the motorcycle. "Do not tempt me," he groaned softly, but not softly enough that Alec couldn't hear him. It brought an elated smile to his face.
Wrapping his arms around the warlock once more, but infinitely more eagerly than last time, Alec watched the ground recede as they lifted up into the sky. This ride was much shorter, and within minutes they touched down silently beside the Institute.
"Home already?" Alec said, shocked. He had finally figured out what he wanted, and he never wanted this night to end. Magnus leapt off the motorcycle and pulled him up.
"It's midnight, little prince," he said. "Time for you to turn into a pumpkin."
"I'm not sure that's how it works," Alec snorted. Magnus turned and began to climb back on the motorcycle. "Are you leaving already?" He felt a sudden sense of loss, as if something precious had been taken from him. And, he realized, it had been. Will I feel this way every time Magnus leaves my side? He wondered.
As always, Magnus seemed to know what he was thinking before he had even thought it. He got back up off the motorcycle and, without warning, began kissing Alec passionately. Not that Alec minded. He sighed happily and tangled his hands thoroughly up in Magnus' hair. When Magnus finally stepped away, the sense of loss was even more profound.
Magnus was smirking. "If I'd known all it took was a few mermen making out, I would have taken you on a ride weeks ago."
"Shut up," Alec laughed, punching the warlock's shoulder.
"Careful," Magnus warned. "I'm the most powerful warlock in Manhattan. You shouldn't manhandle me unless you want to face the consequences."
"Ooh, I'm scared," Alec teased.
Magnus swooped forward and seized his lips in another kiss.
"Was that the consequence?" Alec said breathlessly.
"Wouldn't you like to know," the warlock grinned. The glint in his eye had Alec's heart doing somersaults in his chest.
A beeping noise brought a halt to their flirting. Startled, Alec hastily pulled out his cell phone and flipped it open. It was Isabelle, wondering where he was.
"Go," Magnus said. Overcome with love for this incredibly kind, patient man, Alec grabbed him and kissed him with all the passion he possessed. It was the warlock's turn to melt against him, wrap his arms around Alec's neck.
"I love you," he told Magnus. "I don't think I'll ever get tired of saying that."
Magnus snorted. "I should hope not. You managed to bag Magnus Bane. As if you could possibly be so lucky."
They stared at each other, neither one willing to speak and ruin the moment.
Finally, Alec turned to go inside. Magnus caught his arm with his hand, stepped forward, and kissed his forehead so tenderly that Alec's heart nearly broke. "Good night," the warlock said softly. "Try not to get swept off your feet while I'm away."
"I'm not a damsel in distress," he frowned.
Magnus gave him an exaggerated wink, and with a flick of his hand disappeared, the motorcycle vanishing with him. All of a sudden, Alec was alone by the Institute's old wooden doors, staring at the empty street with longing.
Shaking his head, Alec turned and made his way inside the building. He spent the elevator ride in silence, going over the evening's events, trying to commit every glorious detail to memory. When the golden doors slid open, Isabelle was waiting for him, an expectant look on her face.
"Well?" she snapped. "How did it go?"
"I love him," was all Alec could say, staring at her in a daze. He couldn't remember ever having been so happy. Isabelle cast him an annoyed look.
"I know that. Everyone knows that. Jace knew that, for the Angel's sake, and he's emotionally incompetent."
"Tell that to Clary."
"Oh, believe me, she knows," Isabelle laughed. "Okay, so your date went well?"
Alec blinked. "I guess it was a date, wasn't it?"
"Well, it certainly wasn't tea and crumpets," she said, eyeing his dazzled expression. "Wow, he must be a great kisser."
"Isn't that what you were doing?"
"More or less," he admitted, starting to blush, and then realizing there was no reason for him to. He had no reason to be ashamed of his relationship with Magnus. They loved each other. Nothing else mattered.
Isabelle nodded approvingly. "I can't imagine how much effort it took him to convince you that you were meant for each other. If anyone deserves you, he does."
Alec, unable to express the sudden rush of affection he felt for his sister vocally, drew her into his arms and hugged her fiercely. Isabelle grinned and hugged him back. "I'm glad you're happy," she whispered.
Releasing her, he took a step back and said, "Believe me, so am I."
"So," she said, suddenly changing topics entirely. "What did he say?"
Isabelle eyed him like he had grown a second head. "Alec, you only went to see Magnus in the first place because Mom and Dad invited him over for dinner. You were supposed to invite him. It's tomorrow night. Ring any bells?"
Alec felt a wave of panic wash over him. "I completely forgot," he admitted. "Mom is going to kill me..."
"Just go see him and ask him tomorrow," Isabelle shrugged. "He's your boyfriend, you're allowed to show up out of the blue whenever you want. He won't mind." She glanced at her watch. "Damn, it's late. I have to wake up early tomorrow."
He watched her wave at him and sprint away down the corridor. Shaking his head, Alec followed after her at a more sedate pace. Reaching his room, Alec slipped inside and moved immediately to his bed, which he proceeded to collapse upon with a content sigh.
It had been bliss, spending the evening with Magnus, just enjoying his company. And kissing him senseless, but that wasn't the point. And tomorrow, Alec realized, I get to see him again. And the day after that. And the day after that. Every day, for the rest of my life, if I wanted, he thought. A warm feeling suffused his body. I love being in love.
Not bothering to take off his shirt, Alec burrowed under the covers and shut his eyes.
He drifted into a peaceful sleep, images of a dancing Magnus in his sparkly pink shirt filling his dreams.