Title: Somebody That I Used To Know
Synopsis: Spoilers for COLS! Read at your own risk! Even if they had locked eyes, Alec was sure that he wouldn't have come over to say hi, anyway. Malec.
A/N: City of Lost Souls has to do with the Malec shippers' souls. Because upon reading that epilogue, I knew that mine was lost. Anyhow, first TMI fic, despite the fact that I've been reading it since City of Ashes came out. Hope you enjoy. Also, if I say something that is incongruous with what was said in the first three books of the series… Sorry. I haven't re-read them in a long time and I occasionally forget details. And my Magnus quips are not quite quippy enough, I know. I can't help it that I'm just not as sarcastic as Cassandra Clare. Expect grammatical mistakes. Editing is boring.
Disclaimer: I don't own The Mortal Instruments, City of Lost Souls or anything else having to do with the series. These lovely characters and this lovely world was created by the grand Cassandra Clare; I, a mere mortal, just like to take them out and play with them as I wait (im)patiently for City of Heavenly Fire.
"But you didn't have to cut me off,
Make it out like it never happened and that we were nothing.
And I don't even need your love,
But you treat me like a stranger and I feel so rough.
No, you didn't have to stoop so low,
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number.
I guess I don't need that though…
Now you're just somebody that I used to know."
He didn't even notice him.
If it hadn't been for Isabelle pulling him away too quickly, saying that maybe the party hadn't been such a good idea and that maybe they should just go home, he wouldn't have noticed at all. But there he was, rainbow leather pants and all, weight on one leg as he stirred a little red umbrella in his toxic green drink. His hair was spiked, little flashes of glittering color turning off and on in his hair, like neon fireworks.
It had been Isabelle's idea to take Alec out for the night. "You met him at a party, right? No better place to find someone who's your type, then." Still feeling physically tired from his fight with Maureen a week before and mentally tired from his break-up, he was in no place to argue. He put on whatever he had that was clean—a black t-shirt and a pair of well-fitting but dull black jeans—and had headed out.
The party was being held by some warlock that Isabelle knew. Alec wasn't particularly interested when she had been explaining where they were going, just stared at the buildings they passed as they took a cab from the Institute across the bridge to Little Italy, where Isabelle picked up the wine as a hostess gift, and then walked over to the abandoned-looking building that this warlock's apartment was apparently in.
Almost as soon as they had walked in a tall female warlock with ram's horns on either side of her head accosted them, kissing each of Isabelle's cheeks and hurried away with the wine. Despite being Nephilim, the group—Simon came with Alec and Isabelle, since they were apparently inseparable now—didn't receive much attention from the Downworlders grinding against each other on the dance floor. The apartment was dark, lit only by a few floating lanterns, which swayed along with the loud techno music. Trays of drinks and food floated around; Isabelle's choice of red wine seemed a bit incongruous when compared with the neon concoctions being passed around. Alec's group hovered near the edge by a wall; Magnus held court at the edge of the dance floor.
Alec stared, but Magnus didn't look his way. Though, even if they had locked eyes, Alec was sure that he wouldn't have come over to say hi, anyway. He never wanted to see him again.
From behind Isabelle, Simon sighed. "We should have guessed that the…" He changed his inflection to mocking sarcasm, and though he was behind him, out of eyesight, Alec could tell that he was doing some sort of silly gesticulation to go along with his words, "High Warlock of Brooklyn…" And he was back to his normal tones. "Would show up to a Downworlder shindig."
"Shut up," Isabelle said, shifting. Alec heard Simon's 'Ahh!' and assumed that she must have elbowed him into the ribs or something. He didn't much care.
Magnus shifted to talk to someone else. There was a group hovering around him—warlocks and vampires mostly, but Alec could make out a werewolf hovering towards the back of their pack. Magnus laughed, tossing his head back and exposing his neck. A female vampire with auburn hair eyed it, licking her lips. A bit of dark purple lipstick smeared at the corner of her mouth. She lifted a long finger to trace his adam's apple with her pointed blood red nail.
"No," Alec said, not sure that it was loud enough to be heard over the music. "I'm fine. Let's just enjoy the party." He knew that behind him, Isabelle and Simon were exchanging worried glances, so he ripped his eyes away from Magnus's sly grin as he straightened up, the way that he took a step closer to the vampire and lowered his lids… He turned and looked at his sister and her boyfriend. "I'll be fine." He was even able to convince the corners of his lips to rise, though he was sure it was nothing like a smile. Isabelle began to open her mouth, probably trying to find some way to convince Alec that staying was a stupid, stupid idea, but he interrupted her. "I… I'm going to go get a drink."
Before Isabelle or Simon could stop him, Alec walked into the crowd on the dance floor, maneuvering himself between sweaty werewolves and stoic vampires to opposite side of the room. A warlock manned the DJ station, playing with different electric equipment in what seemed to Alec to be a completely random way. He had purple, scaly skin and instead of human ears, he had those that looked similar to a bat's. He glanced down at Alec and grinned; his teeth were pointed and yellow.
Alec gave a short smile and turned around, nearly walking into a werewolf couple, vigorously making-out. "Sorry…" he said, though trailed of when he realized they would never hear him over their own passionate grunting.
Sighing, Alec moved around them, towards one of the floating trays. He grabbed a random glass—filled with eggplant purple liquid—and brought it to his nose. He sniffed it twice; it smelled safe. He pulled it away from his nose and stuck the pinky finger of his other hand into it. It didn't burn his skin, so he brought the finger to his tongue. The liquid was sweet, the same sort of taste as a chalky mundane candy, though without the texture. When it had sat on his tongue for about two seconds, it burned. That must have been the alcohol.
Deciding that he liked the drink well enough, he took a sip and savored the tingle as it slipped down his throat. He walked along the edge of the dance floor drinking, letting the buzz of the alcohol begin to make him feel a bit more comfortable. So what if Magnus were here too? They broke-up; that didn't mean that Alec could never show his face at a Downworlder event again… He tried to look over the crowd, but Magnus was nowhere in view.
"Oh!" someone exclaimed from behind him; he ignored it, until he felt the tap on his shoulder. He tightened his grip on his glass, not sure it whether it was because he was angry at being interrupted, or nervous because it could have been… No, Alec told himself, he wouldn't just come up to me. Taking a deep breath, Alec turned. It was not Magnus; he let himself exhale. Instead it was a warlock that he had seen in Magnus's crowd earlier. "You're the pretty Nephilim that Roderick said was walking around…"
The warlock was male, and looked mostly human but for the beady black eyes and wings of a swan. And maybe it was just Alec, or just the lighting, but it seemed like his lips were the same shade as a swan's orange beak. He was tall, with chestnut colored hair that stood up as if he had touched an electrical outlet and skin a few shades lighter. It seemed to Alec that he was probably Latino, or at least he tanned a lot. He was dressed rather plainly compared to many of the Downworlders at the party, wearing a pinstripe suit jacket with nothing underneath and a pair of skin tight metallic trousers that left very little to Alec's imagination.
Alec looked away, blushing. He took a quick sip of his drink. "No need to be shy, Nephilim," the warlock said, drawing closer to Alec. Alec turned his head to see the warlock's black eyes dangerously close to his own. "They call me Petros. You are…?" He crocked his head to the side with the question, a movement seemingly more bird than human.
"Alec," Alec said, glancing around to see if Isabelle or Simon were nearby; they were nowhere in sight.
Petros smiled. "Do you need another drink, Alec?" He had some sort of exotic accent; Alec could have placed it, had the alcohol not been messing with his head a bit. Alec's eyes strayed down to Petros's tan chest and he swallowed.
"N-no," he said taking a moment to clear his throat, moving the hand holding his empty—when did that happen?—glass up to his mouth, hoping that the glass covered at least part of his blush.
Petros took the glass from Alec's hand, letting his fingers linger against Alec's for a moment longer than necessary. "Dance with me, then?" He turned to the left, where he set the drink down on a floating tray that had been slowly hovering closer to them the past few minutes. "You're a pretty boy, and it's a shame that you're standing on the sidelines all alone." He turned his head back to Alec, in that same inquisitive position that he had it in earlier. "What do you say?"
Alec took a moment to look behind him. Magnus was out of sight and the crowd that had been there earlier, as far as Alec could tell, was gone. Maybe he had seen Isabelle or Simon and had left. Other options wavered in his mind, but he tried to push down pictures of bedrooms with tousled sheets and attractive vampires out of his mind. "Sure," he said, hoping his voice didn't shake. "Let's dance."
With what Alec thought to be a sincere smile, but looked more like a smirk on his orange lips, Petros took Alec's hand and lead him to the middle of the dance floor. The song changed; still electronic in nature, the music was slower, more sultry. Petros grinned and leaned closer to Alec, "I love this song," he said in almost a purr, despite having to yell over the song. Alec contemplated asking how he could even really tell the difference between the previous song, but didn't, thinking that it may spoil the moment.
Obviously skilled at this sort of thing, Petros placed his hands on either side of Alec's hips and began to grind his groin against Alec's. Alec immediately went red, having spent most of his life with a hopeless crush on his best friend, and the rest of it was with Magnus. No one had ever… Grinded against him before.
Leaving Petros to do the majority of the work, Alec just tried to sway along with the music. Petros shimmied up and down, like Alec was a pole and he was a stripper. A little desperate, Alec looked through the crowd for Isabelle, but couldn't make her out. It wasn't that he didn't enjoy having an attractive warlock dance with him, it was just that this guy was the wrong attractive warlock.
Not to be rude, Alec decided to wait out the song and dance with Petros. Then he would find Isabelle and Simon and get the hell out of there. What was he thinking? It had only been a week; definitely not long enough to try to go out. He should rephrase that—what was Isabelle thinking? She was the sort of person who, well before Simon, could go out with a guy and get over him with a snap of her immaculately manicured fingers. Alec wasn't like that; he held on to his stupid feelings until he had to pry his fingers off, and even after that he'd dwell on the ache.
He needed to get out of there.
Petros drew closer, drew his head near Alec's. "You're not much of a dancer, are you?"
"Not particularly," Alec said, shying away just a bit. Petros pressed his chest on Alec's. Now painfully aware of how thin his black t-shirt was, he tried to ignore the sweat on Petros's chest now rubbing against him.
"Well…" Alec turned his attention to the DJ on his raised platform. He seemed to be picking what song he would play next, shuffling through a stack of old records before sighing and turning to a computer screen instead. "Perhaps after this song we could stop dancing. Go somewhere a bit more private. What do you say?"
The DJ seemed to find something that he liked; his face lit up as he pressed quickly on the mouse pad four times. Shifting over to his turn table, he kept one hand on the mouse pad and one working the table, eyes shifting back and forth from one to the other; Alec processed that the song must have been ending and he was just waiting to cue in the next one. "I'm not sure," Alec said. "I just got—"
The music began to fade and shift into something else, a mundane song that Alec heard once when he passed by Isabelle and Simon making out in her room. "Come with me, Alec," Petros purred. Alec looked down at the floor. There was something glittery on the floor.
"I don't think that's—"
"I've wanted you since I saw you, Alec." It reminded him of the time on their world tour that he had knocked over a little tub of Magnus's glitter and it had gotten over the entire hotel room, somehow. "You're a beautiful Nephilim." Magnus had been out, so Alec had tried to clean it up himself. But Magnus had put a spell on it to make it stick to whatever it touched, so it was almost impossible. "Your eyes so blue… cerulean like the Mediterranean." Magnus had come back from getting groceries to find a thoroughly flustered Alec trying to use every Shadowhunter trick he knew to get the damned glitter off the couch. Most of the room was still covered. Alec was near to tears with frustration, but Magnus just laughed. "So come on, little Shadowhunter. Let me taste you." Magnus could have cleaned it, if he wanted to, but instead they had lived in the glitter-filled room for two days, and didn't clean it up when they left. The hotel had left Magnus a nasty message on the phone the next day, and they had to pay five hundred euros for the damage, but it had made Alec smile. "Come with me." Almost everything Magnus did had made Alec smile.
"Alexander, what in blazes are you doing?" Alec's head shot up. He blanched at seeing Magnus's lazy grin so soon, his hair sparking up with color. He took a step back—into the back of a particularly tall warlock, who didn't seem to notice at all—and tried to move his shoulders so that Petros would lose his grip on them. "And Petros, I see you've kept my Shadowhunter busy. But don't you think that Millicent is missing you? It's best that you were off, don't you think?"
The music shifted completely into the new song. It was heavy on bass and a metallic percussion sound that Alec guessed was xylophone, though he knew little about instrumentation. A raspy male voice sung mournful lyrics about love lost. It seemed oddly appropriate.
Petros rolled his small eyes and detached himself from Alec. "Whatever you wish, oh High Warlock of Brooklyn." He gave one last, seemingly mournful look at Alec, before striding off into the crowd, disappearing into the writhing bodies. Avoiding making eye contact with Magnus, Alec turned towards the other side of the room, intending to get out of there with or without Isabelle and her Downworlder, but a tight grasp on his shoulder stopped him. Shutting his eyes, he braced himself for whatever admonishment Magnus would give him.
"Dance with me," Magnus said. "You owe me that much, at least." Alec didn't move; just feeling the pressure of Magnus's hand on his body, something that he thought would never happen again, made him freeze. Even in the sweaty room with the booming music, screaming and laughing, he felt isolated. Like the only two people who were really there were him and Magnus—but that was silly. Magnus hated him, wanted to never see him again, there was no way that this was happening. "Alexander?"
Alec turned, still unable to look at Magnus's face. But the pants… Oh yes, those were his pants. No one else could go out in pants like those and still face themselves in the morning. "Sure," Alec said. "A dance."
Like Petros, Magnus took Alec by the waist, but only with one hand. He used the other to hold Alec's in a replication of an old-style dance position. And instead of grinding or shimming, Magnus lead Alec in a sort of perverted waltz. It was inappropriate for the music and they didn't have enough room to actually dance. Around them couples seemed to make a bit of space, whether that was because they were curious, or that they knew that Magnus was powerful enough to blow them all into dust, or they thought that Alec could decide that he had reason to kill them with all of the illegal drugs being passed around, Alec didn't know, but he appreciated it nonetheless.
Glancing up at the DJ, he saw the warlock continuing the song, mixing in different elements and manipulating the music. Part of Alec cursed him for the prolonged torture, but thanked him for giving him just a few more minutes with Magnus.
"What are you looking at?"
Alec cleared his throat and looked at a smear of glitter on Magnus's cheek. "The DJ," he said. "I haven't seen one this up-close before."
A drunk werewolf fell over nearby; it took three of his friends to carry him away, since he kept swatting at them and swearing. Magnus steered them away from the commotion and out of view of the DJ, waltzing with Alec closer and closer to one side of the room. Alec paid little attention to where they were going, just focused on trying to match Magnus's feet the best he could, to not step on them and make a fool of himself. Not that he should have cared what Magnus thought of him at this point—Magnus had made it clear in the subway tunnel what he thought of him.
"You could look at me, you know." Alec looked up with a start; Magnus was smiling, it was warm, like Alec was something endearing and not insulting to the eyes. "I may sparkle, but I promise that I don't blind." Alec gazed up into Magnus's cat-like pupils, sparkling even in the low light, but found that he couldn't keep it up. He looked back down at his feet.
Of course Alec hadn't forgotten Magnus's eyes; they were the ones that had been in his mind that night in Idris when Jace asked him who he really wanted. Those eyes had floated through his consciousness constantly through the past week, but the image of Magnus's eyes that Alec kept in his mind were nothing compared to the real things. Their colors were richer, the gold flecks popping out in no way that the mind could replicate. And they always shone with a sort of gentle irony, a sort of mocking in the way that they gazed, both judgmental and self-deprecating at the same time. If Alec kept looking, he knew that it would make it all the harder to fall asleep that night. It would make his image of Magnus's eyes more concrete, more staring and harder to forget.
"Or maybe I am blinding you? What a pity; I thought that this was an interesting way to do my hair." Magnus sighed dramatically; the song wound down the last few guitar chords played. "And I guess that's my cue. It was a pleasure, Alec. I'll be—"
Reflexively, Alec tightened his grip on Magnus's hand. It was just for a moment, he let go immediately after realizing what he was doing, but it seemed too late. When he looked up to meet Magnus's gaze, it was surprised; Alec couldn't tell whether he was angry or not, but he was sure that he must have been. "Sorry," he murmured, detaching himself from Magnus as quickly as he could. "I'll be…" He blinked back tears and started into the crowd, pushing through Downworlders and wiping furiously at his eyes.
Isabelle and Simon were nowhere to be seen; Alec was sure that they were off in some dark corner making out or doing god-knows-what, and as much as Alec didn't like the idea of his little sister with a vampire, he also didn't much like the idea of staying at the party for another minute. Still, he couldn't leave without them, which is why—after a quick circulation of the main room—he found himself in a hallway of small bedrooms, which he guessed were for couples. Make the wrong choice and he would see what two vampires did after hours and as pleasing as that sounded, Alec had no intention of learning that part of a Downworlder's pass time.
He cleared his throat and walked slowly past each door. "Isabelle?" he called as he knocked on one. "Simon?" Putting his ear to the wooden door to check if there was a response, all he heard was muffled panting. He shuddered; the sound of two werewolves getting frisky was something he thought he'd never have to witness.
Moving quickly on to the next door, he knocked and asked the same thing. There was laughter from the other side. "Move along, boy," someone said from behind the door, which Alec appreciated. After three more doors on the first side of the hallway, he turned to the second side. Nothing at the first or second door.
"Simon? Izzy? Are you in there? I really need to—"
The door opened, and for a moment Alec thought that it was Isabelle's hand reaching out to grab him, but also knew that Isabelle would never paint her nails bright orange. Alec began to pull away, but his foot slipped on some kind of puddle—whose contents Alec didn't want to even contemplate—which gave the arm enough momentum to pull him into the room and shut the door behind him.
Alec immediately crouched in a battle position; he had a dagger stashed in his boot, which he reached down to grab instinctively. "Woah there," Magnus said. "Don't go all Crouching-Tiger Hidden-Shadowhunter on me. If you want to go, you can." Magnus looked down at the dingy bed for a moment, seeming almost vulnerable.
The room was dingy, much like the rest of the apartment. There was hardly any lighting, only that which came from the almost-full moon outside of the curtained window. Everything had a sense of blue-grey to it, from the bed—white sheets with a red comforter—which looked like it could only hold a person, maybe a person and half, if they lay sort of on top of each other, to the small wooden desk that sat under the window. The room was decorated to have maroon curtains, blankets and carpet, but it almost didn't come through in the dimness.
From outside, the music blared through the thin white walls. Lyrics were muffled, but the bass pounded. The song currently playing was faster, and Alec could hear the whoops and yells of the Downworlders outside mingling with the grunts and moans of the couple next door.
"Say something, Alexander." Magnus looked up at him from where he stood across the room.
Alec straightened up, crossed his arms over his chest. He still didn't want to look at Magnus; it was cruel of Magnus to drag him into this, to force him to talk when he didn't want to. Hadn't Magnus had his fun in the subway tunnel? "You seemed to be having fun with that vampire earlier." His voice came out scratchy and Alec wasn't even sure what he was saying besides the fact that it was cruel. "Why don't you get her to come talk to you?"
Hazarding a glance over at Magnus, Alec saw that had struck the way he intended it to. "Yes," Magnus began. "You could say that it didn't take you very long to find another warlock. It seems that you've got a type, now doesn't it?" Magnus's words were just as sharp as Alec's.
"You don't understand; we were just dancing—"
"Don't be foolish. He was using you as a stripper pole."
"Which I don't see as being any of your concern anymore!" It came out louder than Alec had anticipated, more of a shout to keep Magnus from saying anything else. "Besides," Alec said, more quietly, rubbing at his eyes with his hand. "I was trying to get away. I wanted to leave."
The bass pounded and one song switched to the next. "Alec—"
"You're the one who wanted to break up. You're the one who said it was over." He paused. "So I'm just trying to get on with my life. Unlike you, I don't have unlimited time." Magnus flinched, grimaced. He moved to the bed and sat down on it. He raked a hand through his still-sparking hair and stared at the wall. "Thank you though." Magnus looked up, over at Alec. Alec stared at his boots. "I didn't want to dance with him anymore."
A small smile played on Magnus's lips. "I can see why." He looked up, through the window on the other wall. "Those pinstripes haven't been popular since…" Magnus chuckled. "I can't even think of something witty to say." Pausing, he picked an imaginary piece of lint off of his pants. "I didn't think I would see you so soon, let alone here."
Despite it being winter, there was a bird flying past the window. It was black and small—probably a sparrow. Squinting, Alec could see its black eyes in the moonlight. "It was Isabelle's idea." He lowered his voice. "She said that since I met you at a party like this, there was a chance I could find someone else. I didn't want to argue." The bird perched on a branch. "If I knew you would be here I wouldn't have come."
"A party full of Downworlders and you didn't expect me to be there?" Magnus chuckled. "That smells of a lack of sense."
With a sudden realization, Alec noticed how badly he had dressed. Not that he ever made much of an effort in his appearance, but he had literally grabbed whatever he had on the floor. He knew that Magnus didn't care what he was wearing—he didn't when they were dating and it would matter less to him now that they weren't. Still, he wished he had checked if the pants were stained, at least.
"I didn't think you'd be well enough to be here." He crossed his feet at the ankle, just tried to focus on balancing. "What with being stabbed and all."
With a soft grunt, Magnus rolled onto the bed, stretching his legs out. His hand rested on his ribcage where Alec knew there was a scar. He shut his eyes and sighed. "I am tired, Alec. Very tired." His lips curled up. "But one can never be too tired for one of Hecate's social events. Anyone who is anyone is at this party. I should have guessed that dear Isabelle would have ended up here."
Latching onto that, Alec found his escape route. "That's right… and I should probably go find her. I as going to go, so—"
"So you're going to leave without even trying to talk to me. Typical." Though his words were cold, his tone was lazy and expectant. Like he anticipated Alec to run away. Magnus continued, lifting his arm to gesticulate in lazy circles as he spoke. "Even after I went to all this trouble to get us into a room together, all you want is to ignore—"
"Shut up!" Detaching his legs, Alec took two long strides forward. Magnus sat up, grimacing, with his hand back on his wound. Locking eyes with Magnus's, Alec lost that steam. He stopped moving and looked away, over at the window. The bird had flown away. "You don't know what you're talking about."
"Don't I?" Magnus asked, his eyes cold. "I—"
"Have told me nothing." Alec tried to keep his voice from cracking. "You've told me nothing and I know that you have some sort of dark, mysterious past, but it's—it was terrible." An oppressing silence came from the bed, so Alec continued. "I went to Camille because… I could talk to her. About you. Because you wouldn't tell me anything. Not because I wanted to take away your immortality—I'm not that stupid! I didn't… I'd never…" A sob escaped his chest; he tried to muffle it in the crook of his arm. He turned to the side, facing the window. "I didn't…" He couldn't talk. His voice kept breaking and his arm couldn't keep pace with the rogue tears that kept falling.
"Alec?" He didn't move. "Alec, look at me." If he was already crying, the only thing that could make it worse was look at Magnus—whether he was still angry, or if he was pitying him, Alec didn't know and didn't want to know. All he wanted was to get out of there, to grab Isabelle and go home and to visit Jace and pretend they could all go back to before their lives had gotten so insane and before he had ever met Magnus Bane. There was a rustling of sheets; Magnus was getting up. Taking a deep breath, trying to calm himself, Alec turned his back to Magnus.
When he had told Isabelle what had happened between him and Magnus and she refused to believe it, he had cried. Cried like a kid, cheeks red, snot dripping from his nose, going through tissues and chick flicks like they were going out of style. Isabelle had saved lecturing on what Alec had done, and had just let him lay on her lap as she petted his hair. But she had warned him that the next time he'd see Magnus—because of course he would; despite him not wanting to be a part of the Shadowhunters' problems anymore, he would inevitably be involved at some point or another—he'd have to be strong. There was nothing worse than breaking down in front of the guy who dumped you. That was part of why he had stayed at the party—he knew that if he left, he'd just be giving up.
Yet here he was, going exactly against what Isabelle had told him, showing how pathetic he was, just how much he missed Magnus and how he obviously couldn't function without him.
Alec wrapped his arms around himself, hoping that Magnus would just sit back down or, even better, leave the room. But the footsteps came closer, out of time with the pounding music from the main room, until Alec could sense Magnus hovering behind him. Alec could sense Magnus's hand hesitating, hovering behind him, unsure whether to try to make contact. "Alec—"
"You told me that I didn't trust you, but how could I?" Alec's voice sounded raw and hoarse in his own ears, but he couldn't stop it from coming. "I told you everything about myself, and I know that it may not be that much, but I can't help it that I'm eighteen and you're eight hundred. You just…" His breaths came out heavier, more labored. A shiver came over him, and he clutched himself harder. It felt like the temperature of the room had gotten colder with a sudden draft of winter air. "You told me I wasn't trivial. But one mistake and it's over. So you lied; I am trivial. You'll find someone else soon, someone like Camille… Worldly and attractive and I'll disappear. Just a six month blip in your life that you'll probably forget in fifty years or maybe a hundred—"
"Alexander…" Suddenly there was warmth. Magnus's arms were wrapped around his shoulders, Magnus resting his forehead on the back of Alec's head. Alec's shivering only got worse and he felt as if he were moments from breaking apart. At one time having Magnus near him had made him feel complete, like all of those things that Alec lacked could be found in Magnus. Now it just reminded Alec more of the terrible emptiness, of the cold bed in the Institute and waking up without Chairman Meow sitting on his head. "Alec, listen to me. I am not a liar. I told you that you are not trivial, and you are not. I also told you that there would not be a next time and I meant that." Alec inhaled sharply; shut his eyes. "Do you really think that I'd be able to get over you in a week? You were the only love that I ever considered dying for." He could feel Magnus's breath on the back of his neck and Alec shivered for different reasons. "I'm no liar."
It killed Alec, but with Magnus's arms around him, his breathing was easier. "What are you doing?"
"Comforting you, idiot."
"Why are you doing that?"
"Because I'm still in love with you." A giggling couple was making noise outside, banging on the walls as they stumbled with drink and perhaps drug. Alec could hear them knocking on doors and laughing as they were sent away. One slammed into the wall next to their own door. The other, a female by the sound of her voice, cackled as the other swore. "Because seeing you this upset and knowing that I'm the cause of it hurts just as much as being stabbed did." The couple, having apparently straightened the one out, knocked on their door. Magnus moved one of his hands in a small circle and Alec could hear the deadbolt locking the door. The couple tried it and when they realized that it was locked, giggled, hollered at the two inside to have fun, and went along. "Because I miss you and I've missed you since the moment I walked out of that tunnel."
On the wall Alec was facing was a wooden closet with its door slightly ajar. Alec could make out some dark fabrics, dresses seemingly made of black velvet and lace. They were probably old—there was a scent of rot about them, like the warlock who owned the place had neglected to put mothballs in the closet before forgetting about the clothes inside. "What does that mean, then?" Alec asked, voice quiet. On the floor of the closet were a few pairs of sinister looking black boots with deadly heels—the sort of thing Isabelle might have worn when she was out at a party like this.
"I don't know." The song outside was slow; Alec could just make out some mournful singer breathing heavily into the microphone as he sung about his woes. "But I came out tonight with no intention of seeing you. I thought I'd just go over to a friend's for some fun. I thought I could use some good ol' American fun."
"And by 'fun' do you mean 'drinking'?"
Alec could feel Magnus smirk—it was sort of a sixth sense. "You know me too well, Alexander. Anyhow, I got here and I saw you arrive and I knew everything would go to complete hell. I tried to ignore you, but it was useless. When you're in a room, I have to look at you; it's been that was since I met you. And you seemed so sad, though you were obviously trying to fake it. I couldn't tell if you had seen me or not, so I tried to watch you sneakily, but after the one moment I looked away, you were with that asshole and I couldn't take it anymore."
"I knew you were there." Alec didn't know why he was talking, or why his hand had moved up to where Magnus's lay on his chest, why his fingers were stroking Magnus's. "I saw you as soon as I walked in… You were laughing, and a vampire looked like she wanted nothing more than to bite you." He didn't even try to filter out the bitter jealousy; it was worthless to try to lie at this point.
Magnus's grip around Alec tightened and he moved his head so that his lips were against Alec's neck, brushing against the bristle of black hair at the back of his head. "Yes, but only a chosen few can take a bite from Magnus Bane." He paused, his nose pressing softly against Alec's hair and causing Alec's legs to momentarily feel like jello. "And how many people can take a bite from you, Alec Lightwood?" he muttered, "Would you have let Petros, had I not intervened?"
"N-no," Alec managed, squirming as well as he could in Magnus's tight grasp. "I told you, I had been trying to leave…"
And then Magnus's grip loosened, his voice grew harsher. "And now?"
"Now, Alec, do you want to leave now?" There was just a hint of pleading in the last few words, a hint of Magnus saying what he truly wanted that made Alec feel more sure. But after all of that it wasn't enough.
"Magnus… Do you want me to stay?"
There was a terrifying moment when all Alec could hear was the pulsating beat of the music and the sound of Magnus's breath as he exhaled. Where Alec looked down and saw his pale hands against Magnus's tan ones, both ethereal in the bluish light. And all Alec could think was that Magnus was just waiting for a moment, getting the courage to tell Alec that he wanted him to leave, to tell him like he did in the tunnel that he didn't want to see him again. That this night was a mistake and they should just return to their homes and pretend none of this ever happened and to forget that the other ever happened.
Alec thought that Magnus was just trying to find a way to tell Alec that he was trivial.
"Please," Magnus said quietly. "Please Alexander Lightwood, please stay with me." His grip tightened again and Alec could relax. "At least for a little longer."
Alec nodded. "I will," he whispered.
"Good," Magnus said before he kissed Alec's neck. "Good," he repeated as he kissed Alec's neck again, shooting shivers down Alec's spine.
Magnus let go of Alec for a moment, then took his forearms into his hands and spun him around to face him. Alec's mouth went dry as he looked at Magnus up close. Smeared glitter around his cat-like eyes, his lips quirked in happy self-satisfaction and… It had only been a week but he had missed this face more than he could remember missing anything besides Max.
And then they were kissing, hard and sloppy and probably much less gracefully than they should have been. The music outside was wild and erratic, matching the beat of Alec's heart. Grabbing Magnus's hips, he dug his fingers as far as he could into Magus's shirt's material, as if by clutching as hard as he could, Alec could lodge himself in there and stay connected to Magnus forever. Magnus ran his hands through Alec's dirty hair, pulling it and pushing it, almost massaging his scalp.
As Alec pulled away to catch his breath, Magnus began to make his way down Alec's neck with kisses and bites, down to where his skin peeked out from his shirt and dark runes shone against his pale skin. Biting down on his lip to keep from moaning, Alec forced his eyes open.
It was happening—it was real. He hadn't thought that Magnus would ever stand to be in the same room as him, let alone be as intimate as this. He wanted to memorize every aspect of Magnus, keep him locked tight in his memory in case this never happened again. Magnus had never said if he was forgiven, and chances were that this was just a drink-induced bad decision, one that Magnus would regret in the morning. It was best to be realistic and enjoy the moment for what it was. A blip in Magnus's life, one of significance in Alec's.
Straightening up, Magnus reached over to Alec's hair. He stroked it gently, smoothing it behind his ears. There was that infuriating smile on Magnus's face, the one that he worse to mask what he was really feeling. That smile that Alec had no idea how to decipher. Taking a lock of Alec's hair between two fingers, Magnus seemed content to just stare at it as he twisted it around. Alec looked away, over at the corner of the room. "You're done, then?" There seemed to be a web there, though Alec couldn't tell whether it was a spider web or a cobweb. Probably the latter—it may have been dirty, but the room didn't seem infested.
"Your eyes were open." And Magnus's eyes were trained on that lock of hair. "I may be an old man, but I'm by no means lecherous. I have no intention of taking advantage of an eighteen year-old boy. So if you don't want to anymore, just tell me. I'll—"
Before Magnus could finish, Alec was on him, clutching his face between his hands and kissing him harshly. Taking out all of the frustration, anger and sadness of the past week, trying to tell Magnus with darting tongues how much he hated him and loved him, and how much he wanted him, even now. Beneath his lips, Alec could feel Magnus grin, which just made Alec angrier and want to take control of the situation.
It had been Magnus who had taken the initiative with Alec and Magnus who had broken his heart. From the very beginning, Alec had never stood a chance when it came to power in their relationship. Not that he had ever cared about being domineering, but it was nice to, just this once, be the one in charge.
Without much coherent thought, Alec began tugging at Magnus's shirt to no avail. Laughing between kisses, Magnus caught the idea and took it off, linking his lips with Alec's until the last moment where he had to lift the shirt over his head, and then coming back in the moment after. Alec began touching Magnus's bare chest, tracing his fingers down from his neck to his pecks, pausing to press his fingers over Magnus's nipples. Magnus shivered at the touch and wrapped his arms around Alec, bringing him in closer. Alec moved his hands out to the sides of Magnus, trailing until his right found the wound that Amatis Herondale had given him during the battle with Sebastian.
Alec tensed, unable to return the adamant kisses Magnus kept giving him. Upon realizing the distress, Magnus drew away, just to reach his lips up to Alec's ear. He kissed the top gently before whispering. "You saved me, Alexander Lightwood." He nuzzled his face against the side of Alec's and moved his hand down the one of Alec's that was touching the scar. Alec hadn't realized that it was shaking until Magnus's touch kept it from doing so. "And yet, you're the one who was worrying about immortality."
And as much as he had craved Magnus's touch, Alec took a step back. Immediately, Magnus loosened his grip and shied away. The heartbroken look on his face killed Alec; he didn't even seem that upset when Chairman Meow ran away for two days and Magnus couldn't convince him to come back, even with his favorite catnip. Still, there was something Alec needed to know. "Is that why you're doing this?" he asked, breathing heavily from the physical exertion—because making-out was sometimes more exercise than killing demons—and maintaining eye contact, as difficult as it was.
"What?" Magnus asked breathily.
"Is the fact that I saved you why you're doing this. Because if it is, I—"
"Are you slow?" The compassion of a moment ago was drained from Magnus's voice. Alec merely stared as Magnus closed the space between them again and placed a hand on either side of Alec's head. "Is that it? Because I honestly can't fathom why you say the things that you do. I love you. Do you really have such low self-esteem that you'd think that I'd do this just because you shot an impeccably timed arrow? Because if that's the case, there are quite a few people that I owe a make-out session like this." The anger faded from Magnus's voice; Alec exhaled a breath he hadn't realized he was holding. "No," Magnus said, moving his right thumb onto Alec's cheekbone and stroking it. "No, this is for you. Because I miss feeling your breath against my neck when I wake-up even if it stinks like a rabid dog's."
"It does not," Alec said too lightly.
Magnus grinned. "It does, and I'd know. I won't tell you how, because you may never see me in the same way, but I…" Alec's face fell. Frowning, Magnus stopped stroking Alec's cheek and looked away. "And that's the problem, isn't it?" Magnus ran his tongue along his bottom lip absently. "I can't just…" He looked back at Alec, his grip on his cheeks tighter now, eyes blazing. "I can't give you what you want."
When Magnus let go of Alec's face, Alec noticed the music outside for the first time in what felt like an hour, though it couldn't have been more than twenty minutes. It was quieter now and there was less screaming—if he had to guess, Alec would have estimated that the vampires had begun to leave, to return to the Hotel before it got too late and the sun began to rise.
Still, even with the thought of sunrise on its way, Alec couldn't drag his eyes away from Magnus's. His hands, shaking again, found their way to Magnus's bare waist. He held on for fear that if he let go, Magnus would disappear forever. "But…" He swallowed, feeling tears well up in the back of his eyes again. "But you're what I want," he said quietly, a strange incongruity with the intensity of the moment.
"Am I?" A self-deprecating smile played with his lips; he looked down. His fingers moved slightly, rustling Alec's hair softly between them. Magnus spoke softly with a joking coldness. "There are many people in the world. I know that you thinking your dating pool to be limited, but there are countless Downworlders and even Mundanes that would love to fall in love with you. Do you really want to take a chance with me again?" Magnus's hair began to loose its sparkle, Alec noted. The colors jumped and danced less and became dim, even in the low light. "It would be jumping into the same trap twice, knowing the results. All it will do is—"
And something snapped. Alec wrenched himself from Magnus's grasp and took a few harsh strides towards the closet, hands pulling at his hair, a guttural grunt coming from his mouth. "Why are you doing this?" he shouted to the wall. He took a few heaving breaths before saying softer, "Why are you pulling me in just to disappoint me?" He stood staring at the closet, feeling uncontrollable words spill from his lips, as if he had the fearless rune on him. "I've been a mess, a mess since we broke-up." He couldn't stop his voice from breaking on the word. "And then you were here and wanted me and I'm… I was so happy. But if you're just playing with me that's cruel. I know I messed-up, screwed-up and you're torturing me for it and… I haven't been able to function. My best friend is a candlestick and I can't help him because I just keep thinking about you and I start…" He lost the anger; he just sounded defeated, now. "I start shaking."
Abruptly the music got louder and there was a tremendous scream from the crowd outside. The pulsating bass vibrated in the same quickened pace as Alec's heart beat. "Alec, I—"
"No, don't talk. I don't want to hear it." His voice lost all of the anger, sounding only bitter and resigned. "If we're not getting back together, and we're not going to try, then I need to… I dunno, pick up my life and get on with it." Taking a breath, he turned to look at Magnus. All he could bring himself to notice was that in the dark light, his bear chest seemed paler than usual. Alec hazarded a false smile, the edges of his lips feeling like cardboard. "Because I only have so long and I need—"
"Me." Magnus marched forward and grabbed Alec's face firmly between his hands. "You need me."
A small breath escaped Alec's lips. His voice came in a whisper. "But do you need me?"
Magnus's smile was small, but kind. There was nothing lustful about it, no secret sexual desire, but something brighter. It was loving. The edges of his lips crinkled and he stroked Alec's cheek absently. "Of course," he said. "Stupid." He leaned down and kissed Alec's cheek; he pulled away after letting the touch linger. "But you're just the right sort of stupid for me." He blinked, long eyelashes' shadow lost in the glitter around his eyes, sparkling even in the dim light. "Remember when we were in Idris and you saved my life?" Alec nodded numbly; Magnus's thumbs were warm to the touch. "You asked me if I didn't call you because you were an idiot—"
"Actually," Alec interjected, "I asked you if you didn't call me back because I was an idiot."
Magnus momentarily stuck his tongue out of the silly grin on his face. "Fine," he said, toning the grin down. "You asked me if I didn't call you back because you were an idiot. That wasn't true then." The grin was subdued now. Magnus's eyes raked Alec's face, looking from his hairline down to his chin, circling his neck and traveling up to his ears. Alec bounced a bit on the ball of one of his feet. "But I tried that out and it didn't work for me. You were an idiot, but I was unfair." His eyes met Alec's; Alec's foot stopped twitching. "And I'd like to try again, if you would."
Unable to take it any longer, Alec weaseled out of Magnus's grasp, flung his arms around the warlock and held tightly. Head resting in the crook of Magnus's shoulder, he kissed the base of Magnus's neck. Surprised and ridged, it took Magnus a moment before he relaxed into Alec's embrace. When he did, he stroked the back of Alec's neck tenderly, playing with the bit of hair that rested there.
Eventually, Alec worked his way from Magnus's neck up to his mouth and they were kissing again. Warm and familiar, though not as bittersweet as the last few kisses that they had shared in this room and in the subway tunnel. Something cold settled in Alec's stomach as he broke away. "She's dead," he said. Magnus furrowed his eyebrows, mouth slightly agape in confusion. "Camille, I mean. She's dead." Magnus dropped his hands.
"Wait, wasn't it you accusing me of having feelings for her? I don't understand why it is that you're thinking of her when we're—"
"Just tell me that you're…" He didn't know what words he was looking for. Unhappy? No—he knew that Camille and Magnus had been friends for a long time; he didn't Magnus to feel nothing about her death.
Magnus rolled his eyes dramatically, using his entire head to emphasize the movement. "I knew what happened, Alec. I am the High Warlock of Brooklyn. I have connections even with the Children of the Night." He looked away, eyes open, over towards the window. "When I found out how she had been manipulating you, I contemplated killing her. Lord knows I had thought of it a few times before, though never quite seriously. So I guess I call it poetic justice." He looked back at Alec, eyes a bit colder. "Of course I'm not happy about what happened to her. There were aspects about her that I liked, things that I loved at one time. But…" He pulled Alec close to him, resting his head against Alec's neck, opposite from where it was before. "I heard that you had an encounter with the vampire who killed her. I'm just glad you're alive." It could have been his ears, but Alec though he heard Magnus's voice crack.
"I don't plan on dying anytime soon." Though he was trying to be reassuring, there was still those uncertainties that he felt waver in his voice whenever he talked about the future, about dying. "One vampire won't get the best of me."
Magnus straightened up, putting his hands on either of Alec's shoulders. "I know that you're not sure what's going to happen, but you have to trust me, Alexander. It won't be easy, but we can figure this out. Alright?" Alec nodded. "I'll need something verbal. Use your words like a big boy."
Smiling, Alec spoke. "I'll try," he said.
Seemingly satisfied, Magnus pecked Alec's lips, hovering over them, breath warm. "I'd keep you here all night, but you should find your sister."
"You didn't let me finish." Magnus grinned, still hovering close enough to Alec that most of Alec's field of vision was Magnus. "You should go find your sister and tell her that you're coming home with me tonight. And also tell her that you may be away for a few days and when you come back, you're going to be very, very sore."
Trying to hide his grin, Alec turned away. "Fine," he said. There was a tug at Alec's chin; Magnus had lifted a hand to turn his face back to him.
"Go," he said, giving him a peck on the cheek. "And be back here in less than five minutes."
Alec nodded and backed away, still facing Magnus. Nodding twice, he turned and ran through the door. The music was blasting, but Alec's heart beat so loudly that he could barely notice the song. It was over—he and Magnus were back together and, for once, the world seemed right.