"Alec, did you hear what Simon said? Jace isn't Valentine's son. He never was."

Alec started, tearing his gaze away from the crowds of people filling the room. Isabelle was watching him expectantly, and Alec suddenly realized she'd been speaking to him. Scrambling to remember what she had just said, his eyes flickered involuntarily back to the

"So whose son is he?" He replied, returning his eyes to the flood of people. Where was he?

"Who cares!" Isabelle was exclaiming, her hands in the air. Alec sighed, glancing at Simon, who was looking embarrassed. "Actually, that's a good point. Who was his father? Michael Wayland after all?"

Simon shook his head, his eyes on Isabelle's flawless face. "Stephen Herondale."

Alec froze, focussing properly on Simon for the first time. "So he was the Inquisitor's grandson," Alec said. "That must be why she-" He broke off, his mind elsewhere. He had been about to say 'That must be why she saved his life', but didn't think now was the time to reveal this particular piece of information.

"Why she what?" Isabelle sounded frustrated. "Alec, pay attention. Or at least tell us what you're looking for."

Alec blinked at her. "Not what," He said, as though it should have been obvious. "Who. Magnus. I wanted to ask him if he'd be my partner in the battle. But I've no idea where he is. Have you seen him?" He asked Simon, a little too harshly.

Simon shook his head, looking apologetic. "He was up on the dais with Clary, but he's not now. He's probably in the crowd somewhere." Alec nodded without looking at Simon. Magnus was no-where to be seen but, Alec reminded himself, the crowd was huge.

"Really? Are you going to ask him to be your partner?" Isabelle asked excitedly. "It's like a cotillion, this partner business, except without the killing." Alec raised an eyebrow and Isabelle scowled.

"So, exactly like a cotillion," said Simon.

"Maybe I'll ask you to be my partner, Simon," Said isabelle, raising her eyebrow suggestively as she spoke, making Alec scowl. He heavily disapproved of his sister flirting with the vampire. What would their parents say, after all? Alec cringed internally at this last thought, as it brought back unwanted revelations of just what his parents would say when they found out he was gay. He noticed that Simon was watching him, and met his eyes with a flourish of his eyebrows.

"Isabelle, you don't need a partner, because you're not fighting. You're too young. And if you even think about it, I'll kill you." He jerked his head up suddenly. A figure was approaching their group, and butterflies erupted in Alec's chest. "Wait-is that Magnus?"

Isabelle snorted, drawing Alec's eyes to her face. "Alec, that's a werewolf. A girl werewolf. In fact, it's what's-her-name. May."

"Maia," Simon said, his eyes brightening. Alec had the urge to hit him, though he doubted it would have done much damage. This was another reason he hated the vampire; he was toying with Isabelle, and this flared up Alec's brotherly defense mechanism. As he thought, his eyes drifted absently over the crowd, stopping on a familiar looking face. It was Magnus. Alec's face lit up. "There's Magnus," He said, practically sprinting through the crowd towards the warlock, without so much as a backwards glance.

Magnus' surprise was evident on his face as Alec skidded to a halt in front of him. "Alec?" He asked warily, his eyes raking Alec's appearance.

"Magnus," Alec said breathlessly, leaning against a pillar while he caught his breath. "I was wondering if you...if you would be my partner."

Magnus raised his eyebrow, his eyes fixed on something over the top of Alec's head, and he knew Magnus was looking at his parents. "Have you told them yet?"

Alec looked at the floor. "No. I haven't. But that doesn't matter. I want you to-"

"No Alec." Magnus cut him off, and there was anger glinting in his amber eyes. "It does matter. What are they going to think?"

Alec scowled up at the warlock, his jaw locked. "I don't care what they think. I honestly couldn't care less."

Magnus' expression of shock made Alec smile. He pulled his stele out of the back pocket of his jeans, and held out his hand. Magnus took the stele obediently, and drew the rune on his hand, his head bent slightly. He was so close to Alec that he could smell the scent of his shampoo; French vanilla. Alec felt a shiver go down his back. How much he want to touch that hair...

"Done." Magnus had straighted up and was looking sceptically at Alec, who took the stele quickly, before Magnus could see the blush that darkened his cheeks. His hair fell into his eyes as he concentrated. He could feel Magnus' breath on his neck as he watched the Shadowhunter's progress. It made him nervous. When he was done, he held onto Magnus' hand a few seconds longer than he probably should have. He dropped it, looking embarrassed.

Magnus raised his eyebrow again. Alec noticed that he was visibly more tired and draw than he used to be. Swallowing the lump in his throat, he looked up into Magnus' eyes. "You know how you told me that you...you..."

"Love you?" Magnus offered, his face expressionless.

Alec nodded. "Yes. Well, I have something to tell you." He took a deep breath. "I love you too."

And ignoring Magnus' expression of shock, and the fact that they were in a room full of people, he drew the warlock's face down to his level, and kissed him hard on the mouth. He could hear the noises of surprise from the people surrounding them, and smiled into Magnus' mouth. He seemed frozen with shock, his hand fluttering at Alec's waist.

When he pulled back, Magnus' face showed what was obvious from his posture. "I...But you..." He spluttered, his eyes searching Alec's face for an explanation. When Alec raised an eyebrow, he finally smiled.

"Shut up." Alec said with a grin, and pulled his warlock in for another kiss.

- fin -