Warning: This is a mature, M-rated fic, centered around a M/M relationship. There may be mature language; there definitely will be mature content centered around their relations, since that's what this fic is all about. But hopefully you know that, if you've been reading all along. If you're still reading, how much worse can it get?
A/N: Thanks miyabita, katara-alchemist, Why So Sirius, and everyone else who's been riding me since I put out the last chapter, to finally get around to updating this fic. I know it seems like an awful tease, but in spite of the title, I really can't make magic happen when it doesn't want to come. I hope this turns out OK.
Visual: Thank you Katara-Alchemist! If you haven't seen her colored sketch, she made this beautiful (hot) piece after reading Chapter 32. Just google it under the deviantArt account katara-alchemist. The title is "Warming Up Colored".
I also love her latest piece, "Malec". I wrote a chapter of Inspiration after I saw it and it's totally my background. Is that too much? I just like looking at it every time I log on.
Chapter 34: Merge
Alec sucked a deep breath in; felt it catch and ripple in his throat, before shuddering back out.
Another desperate breath, another quivering exhale. It almost sounded like toneless sobbing, how shaky and ragged each breath was, being forced from his labored, expanding chest. But as many times as he breathed in and out, he still couldn't get enough air. The oxygen wasn't doing anything for him. He couldn't catch his breath.
Eyes clenched shut, face still teaming with color, he turned his face slightly into the pillow, gasping against the material.
Magnus's voice was so soft, a little whisper against the back of his naked shoulder. Alec didn't respond.
"Baby?" Magnus added. The sheets scraped and shifted as the warlock sat up, leaning over Alec's form. Alec was stretched out on his side, one leg drawn up slightly, back arched, fingers curled around the pillowcase he was burrowing into.
Alec eventually lifted his head, the cooling sweat cutting a slow trail down the side of his face, tickling along his jaw, and disappearing under his chin like a hot tear.
"Are you OK?" Magnus asked, his voice concerned, brows smoothing together.
Alec nodded a bit, his breath whooshing past his teeth. His lips felt chapped; Alec slid his tongue out to moisten them, feeling the fading imprints left in his bottom lip from his own teeth.
Magnus's eyes wandered over Alec's face, patiently waiting for a proper response, unsure how to proceed.
"Give me...a minute..." Alec managed, letting his head fall back against the pillow, eyes closing again, the heat leaving his skin through prickling pores. It felt like little stinging drops of rainwater, teasing him.
Magnus waited, though reaching out to touch Alec's arm, thumb stroking the warm skin, brushing over old scars. It was soothing; Magnus had a way of touching him, as if he didn't have these imperfections, his warm fingers gliding smoothly across Alec's skin as if the shadowhunter's body were as soft and yielding and unblemished as Magnus's was. Alec knew that definitely wasn't the case; he had so many scars, old marks, old reminders of roughly healed wounds that made it impossible. But he didn't care about any of it, not when Magnus touched him with adoration, caressed him like it was a new discovery of flesh and muscle every time his hands and fingers wandered over Alec's body, and stroked him like the warlock worshiped the very flaws that should have made Alec ugly and unappealing to someone as ethereal as Magnus.
Magnus seemed so perfect, and it had nothing to do with his complex skin care regimen or coating any possible defect with a fine sheet of glitter. He was just...striking, especially now, when the makeup was gone, much of the glitter had rubbed off on the sheets (or even on Alec), and his hair was loosed, if a bit disheveled, falling forward against his face.
But something should be said for Alec's scars. If he didn't have so many, like a road map of pain etched into his flesh, would Magnus find touching him half as fascinating? And would the feel of Magnus's soft fingertips feel half so good, skirting over Alec's skin?
Alec sighed as Magnus's hand traveled upward, his palm cupping the round of Alec's shoulder, the heel of Magnus's hand digging into his back, kneading the muscle.
"Does that feel good?" Magnus inquired, heel pushing in, palm pressing, fingers squeezing and releasing.
"Yes," Alec exhaled the word, his breathing starting to even out. He moaned when Magnus's other hand pressed against his back, a few inches lower, massaging tense muscle, working its way down to relax the stiffness in Alec's back.
Unconsciously, as Alec relaxed, his left side started easing down towards the bed, sinking into the wrinkled sheet until he was pressed flat on his stomach, breath coming in hot puffs against the pillow, his back spread out for the passage of Magnus's hands. Alec was aware that his skin was still sticky with sweat, still warm as the full-body blush hadn't had timed to fade, for the heat to be properly released. But he didn't mind Magnus's hands smoothing over his naked back, covering up the skin two handfuls at a time. What he was doing felt really good, calming and soothing, and...atoning. Alec thought maybe that's what he was trying to do, to apologize for any unintended pain - even though the pain couldn't be helped. Alec knew that much, without Magnus having to warn him.
It wasn't pain, however, that left Alec stiff and gasping. It wasn't fear or shock or regret that forced him face-down into the pillow, clutching at the sheets, hiding his face.
What happened between them, it was...indescribable. Indescribably good. Alec had never experienced anything remotely like it... had never conceived that it could be like that. Even the feeling of Magnus's mouth these last few weeks, his attentive hands, or the things he said that made Alec feel attractive and wanted, all of that paled in comparison - it just brushed the surface. They were external sensations that felt nice, that made Alec blush.
But when the moment arrived, and Alec finally understood what it was to go beneath the surface, to experience what lay beyond the words, the touching, the teasing, the foreplay... to be connected to Magnus, to be as close as they possibly could be, without the ability to somehow absorb the warlock into his very skin, Alec had no words. He could barely breathe. He couldn't find the strength or the concentration or even the will to tell Magnus what it had been like for him.
It was extraordinary. It was electric. It was exciting. It was everything.
If there was anything that Alec could hope to use as a point of reference, maybe...it was like being healed by Magnus, like the countless times Magnus had placed his hands on Alec's fresh wounds and drawn the pain out of him, sapped a little of his energy while setting his skin on fire. The healing energy raced across Alec's skin, penetrating the torn flesh, infusing his body with heat and jolting currents of electricity, making Alec's nerves dance and his body shudder, helpless to do anything except accept the alien invasion of magic and let it take over, trusting in Magnus to make it all better.
And he always did, withdrawing from a shaken, healed, dazed Alec. Magnus enfolded Alec in an embrace as the phantom tremors finished running their course, and Alec relaxed into him as he was doing at present, grateful to have a warlock boyfriend who enjoyed taking away his pain. It was pretty enjoyable for him too.
No, Alec didn't regret the temporary discomfort. If he was sore now, it was the last thing from his mind. It was immaterial; he was too distracted by Magnus's hands, the unexpected press of Magnus's mouth against the top of his back, between his shoulder blades. Then Magnus's voice, murmuring against the heated skin:
"What are you thinking?"
Alec opened his eyes, staring at the wall ahead of him, since the bed lacked a proper headboard. His chin rested against the pillow. Magnus's hands paused at Alec's lower back, framing his hips. It reminded Alec of the way they had been minutes ago, only Alec had been on his back, staring up into Magnus's face. And their bodies were still tangled together, the heat incredible, to connection intense. There was so much feeling. It was like experiencing the power of a rune new taking effect, except amplified, multiplied, intensified by a hundred. There was just so much raw energy, Alec wasn't sure how their bodies could contain it, much less survive it.
But now the sweat had cooled, and Alec's skin with it. He fought a shiver, the circulating air in the room touching his exposed torso. Only his lower body, where Magnus loomed over him, was protected from the chill.
"That..." Alec swallowed, moistening his suddenly dry lower lip again, choosing the words in his head before he said them, unsure if he should, but only giving himself three seconds to think it over before they came out, "I couldn't have asked for a better birthday present," he finished, in a muted voice.
But Magnus heard him clearly, chuckling from behind Alec's shoulder.
"Good. Then I don't have to feel completely selfish," Magnus replied, kissing Alec's shoulder.
Alec turned his cheek, shifting a bit to glance back at Magnus.
"I really wanted it too," Magnus admitted, leaning in to brush Alec's cheek with his lips. "I waited for this moment for a long time."
Alec smiled and looked back down, face heating up.
"Don't stop," Alec insisted, digging his nails into the warlock's lower back as Magnus froze at the slightest wince from the shadowhunter. The catch of breath, soft as it was, didn't escape him, and he wasn't going to press on when it was clear Alec was in pain.
But the pain was no consideration. It didn't mean anything. If Magnus freaked out on him now and called it off because of an unconscious jerk, Alec would never forgive him. He was a shadowhunter, damnit. He could handle a little pain. He wanted to say as much, but the pain was kind of intense and he didn't want a quiver in his voice to betray him as he breathed through it.
"I'm not going anywhere," Magnus reassured in a crooning voice, feeling Alec's legs tighten against his sides, refusing to let Magnus withdraw even if he wanted to - which he certainly didn't.
"You better not," Alec hissed. It might have sounded intimidating, if he wasn't currently lying beneath Magnus, eyes screwed shut, entirely vulnerable and exposed. Magnus had to wonder if that was perhaps more frightening to Alec than the physical discomfort; not knowing, not being in control, not having a weapon within arm's reach - although his nails were doing a fine job of scouring Magnus's lower back, digging into the skin to keep Magnus exactly where he was. But that was exactly where Magnus wanted to be, so there really was no need for the abuse or the commands.
"I won't move until you're ready," Magnus pointed out, trying to match his breathing to Alec's, so that when Alec drew in a shaky breath and tensed, Magnus held still with him. And when Alec relaxed marginally and released the breath, Magnus stroked his cheek and breathed with him, waiting for the cue to move forward. Their chests expanded together. Alec's heartbeat pulsed faster than Magnus's, but Magnus felt sure that was about to change.
Alec's breath quivered from his throat, past his lips. Eventually the nails let up on Magnus's lower back. That was a good sign. Then Alec shifted a little bit beneath him, his legs not digging so hard into Magnus's sides. Finally, Alec opened his eyes, bit his lower lip, and stared up at Magnus.
Magnus's brows lifted a little. Alec's dark eyelashes fluttered a bit, eyes wanting to close or maybe look away. But he continued to stare back into Magnus's eyes, as if it were a challenge. Alec's hand right hand squeezed the back of Magnus's neck, releasing a little tension.
Then Alec gave the nod.
"Are you sure?" Magnus asked, lowering his forehead, until his warm skin rested against Alec's, their breath touching. Alec's breathing picked up a fraction, but his chin lowered and lifted once more.
"Yes," Alec whispered, pressing his palm flat against Magnus's back, urging him on.
Magnus began to move, easing forward. Alec gasped against Magnus's ear, knees digging in. But not the nails. He wasn't scratching Magnus. He was still OK. He was fine. It was a reassuring mantra he repeated in his head, convincing himself that the worst had past.
The moan against Magnus's ear only confirmed as much a few moments later.
Magnus smiled, turning his cheek and pressing hot lips against Alec's throat, kissing the moist skin.
Yes, he had to agree. It was exquisite.
It was fortunate, having a warlock for a boyfriend. It meant not having to get up to change the sheets, or turn out the lights, or grab a glass of water. All of that was accomplished with a snap.
Alec finished off the glass, then reached over gingerly and set it back down on the bedside table. When he turned back, Magnus was lying on his back, watching him carefully.
"What?" he asked after a few seconds of silence, very self-aware. But not embarrassed. Not yet.
"You look so hot from that angle."
Scratch that. Alec was definitely blushing again, and not sure if he wanted to curl up with Magnus after all, or go back to reclining on his side. Or smack the man and storm out to spend the night on the couch. But storming out would just afford Magnus a prolonged view of him from behind, and at the present moment, Alec found himself exceptionally self-conscious. And he really didn't want to spend the night alone, potentially curling up with Chairman Meow and an afghan. He's just made love for the first time. That shouldn't be the end to the evening.
"It got me thinking," Magnus continued, sounding thoughtful and serious. Alec tentatively glanced up, curious. When Magnus didn't finish that thought, Alec lifted his brows, prompting him. The storming could wait.
"How I want to spend my birthday," Magnus mused, still not smiling, although his eyes had that look, the edges crinkling with amusement. Alec tried not to look away, tried not to back down, even though he had an idea where this was leading.
"Oh?" Alec asked, wishing that one word didn't sound quite so breathless.
"Mhm. I was thinking, maybe I'll just splurge and get a headboard for the bed and proper frame. It's about time."
"Oh," Alec answered, sounding disappointed this time.
"There are so many benefits to having a real bed."
Alec didn't ask him to elaborate, staring at his own hand splayed against the mattress. But then Magnus's darker fingers slid into view, crawling over his skin until his hand laid opposite across Alec's.
"That way," Magnus continued, leaning forward, his voice low and appealing. Alec felt the warmth race across his skin, "You can grip the headboard instead of ripping my sheets."
Alec made an embarrassed sound, wrenching his hand free from Magnus's. "I didn't rip them. Your sheets were already a ruin."
"But you made your mark," Magnus chuckled, still teasing him.
"Your sheets needed changing anyway," Alec replied, disgust flavoring his voice. He turned away and moved to lie down on his side, stubbornly looking for defects in the opposite wall.
"I ought to keep them as a memento," Magnus considered, unwilling to let it drop.
"No," Alec replied, growling - though his averted face was burning with heat. He was trying to fixate on the chipped paint, but it wasn't enough to resist the spell of Magnus's voice, taunting him.
"You're right. I don't really need to hang onto old sheets to remember tonight," Magnus said, his voice drawing closer.
Alec closed his eyes, curling one arm up against his chest. He would probably go to sleep and relive it all in a dream. Even now, it was playing over and over in Alec's mind like a reel, so vivid.
"I love you," Magnus added, his voice softer than before.
Alec responded to the tenderness, instantly forgiving Magnus for his relentless teasing. "I love you," he echoed, not resisting as he felt Magnus's hand graze his side, his arm sliding around Alec's belly, completing the embrace. Alec relaxed back against him, and Magnus snuggled closer.
Alec bit his lip as their skin pressed together, the sheet flattened beneath them, but not between them. He was so hyper-aware now, of every place that their bodies met, feeling a new ache build, a feverish need, an undeniable impulse to draw Magnus in even closer, to absorb that heat and hold the warlock captive inside him. It was incredibly empowering, knowing that he could, knowing that he very likely would and soon.
It was gratifying to know that, as strong and limitless as Magnus's power seemed, Alec still that had power over him.
"Al...Ah," Magnus ground out, not able to finish Alec's name as the word turned into a moan, strangled in his throat.
Alec bit his lip and arched his head back against the pillow. His legs were wrapped around Magnus's slender hips, gripping the warlock tight. There might be bruises in the morning. But if the pressure was too much, Magnus wasn't complaining. He took the abuse, and gasped Alec's name, again and again. Maybe it was only fair, considering what Alec gave up for him.
But it didn't feel like he was giving up much of anything as Magnus's pace became fast and disjointed, their bodies grinding together, a passionate meeting of sharp bones and rippling muscle and sticking skin.
If Alec had any reservations about the act, they faded into oblivion by the time he was experiencing nothing but pleasure, intense friction, soaring heat, and the rush that come with claiming Magnus as surely as he was being claimed. Alec had a fairly strong grip on his waist, and his free hand slid into Magnus's hair, knotting around the dark strands. Magnus nibbled on his own lower lip, eyes dazed as he glanced down at Alec.
Alec worried at first, unsure about that vacant look.
But then Magnus struggled to say Alec's name again, his free hand moving between them. Alec gasped when he felt a hot palm encircle him, and Magnus's eyes focused, bright and alert again - and hungry on Alec's face as the shadowhunter reacted to that touch, thrusting upward.
It changed everything. Magnus slid deeper, Alec quaked beneath him, the friction coupled with the stroking almost too much. He felt like a dancing wire, caught between the two incredible sensations, an electric pulse - throbbing and humming, and growing hotter still.
And yet it was Magnus whose fingers dug into the sheet to keep from hurting Alec. He didn't want to leave half-moons or slashing scratches from his manicured fingernails. Alec could hear the cloth ripping, but there was also the rhythmic creaking of the bed, the rustling of the sheets, their skin smacking and rubbing, and of course, their erratic breathing, racing towards hyperventilation.
And just when Alec thought he wouldn't be able to take his next breath, when he was sure he was going to pass out because he couldn't get the oxygen he needed, and he was simply too hot to contain it anymore, Magnus lowered his mouth and kissed him. Magnus's palm twisted, and his moan was muffled against Alec's lips. Alec cried out in response and then let go.
He was shaking, legs tensing, fingers gripping what they could. Magnus broke off from his mouth and Alec realized he was shaking too, finishing the last downward thrust and experiencing the same overwhelming climax, their bodies seizing together.
Afterward, as if to make up for throwing all of his weight into Alec at the last moment, Magnus gently withdrew, rolling onto his side, leaving Alec gasping, experiencing the potent aftershocks and fisting his hands against the worn sheets.
"Alec," Magnus murmured against his bare shoulder after a couple minutes of comfortable silence and even breathing, their bodies completely relaxing into the familiarity of sleeping beside one another.
"My birthday is in two months and seven days."
"OK," a sleepy Alec responded, not registering what he meant at first.
"Alec," Magnus began again, clearly not satisfied with Alec's initial reaction.
"What?" Alec replied, sounding a little irritable now, cheek scraping against the pillow.
"We can get a lot of practice time in before then."
"Just a thought," Magnus chuckled, kissing Alec's bare shoulder.
Alec opened his eyes to the darkness of the bedroom, breath hitching. "You mean...?"
Alec swallowed. He blinked a few times; waiting for some of the heat to fade back out of his face, and to be sure his voice wouldn't crack. As he paused, Alec glanced over at the alarm clock he'd bought Magnus, resting on top of the bedside table on his side. The green digital numbers flashed 11:35. "Well, technically it's still my birthday." At least for the next twenty-five minutes.
"So it is," Magnus hummed.
Alec breathed in and out with care, biting his lower lip. Then he slowly turned back towards Magnus, aware that the warlock could probably see his face clearly in the darkness, whereas all he could make out was a shadow of Magnus's face and his shining eyes. Still, Alec smiled a little, looking up at Magnus through the fringe of his lashes.
"I think I know how I want to spend it."
Alec could see the flash of Magnus's teeth, then feel as well as heard Magnus shifting closer, until those long arms were around him again and the soft, warm mouth was working its way back up from Alec's chin to brush against his lips.
"I think I have the perfect spell."
"I knew you would," Alec murmured in agreement, smiling against Magnus's mouth, before deepening the kiss.