Better Than I Know Myself – Adam Lambert
Alec's throat swelled as his fingers grazed over the cold metal of his key to Magnus's apartment in his pocket. He stared at the door to the apartment complex, to the doorbells, to the one marked BANE. He remembered the first time he'd been here, for the party where they had found out the truth about Clary's past and her mother's dealings with the High Warlock. Alec remembered the first time he'd seen Magnus, the way the warlock had flirted with him, making him wonder for the first time if his homosexuality was really that obvious. Alec reached out and brushed his fingertips over the name and the doorbell next to it. He knew Magnus was not home, and did not press the call button, although some part of him longed to try, to hope that Magnus would buzz him up and pull him into his arms like always.
Alec's hand returned to the pocket of his pea coat and he wrapped his hand around the golden key there. He looked at the key hole in the door, separating out the one of two keys on the ring that went to it just by touch, and moved the key to his palm. He knew that he was being childish. He should just go upstairs and get his things like Magnus had asked, rip off the band aid, but he couldn't bring himself to think that way. He curled his fingers around the key, tighter, tighter, until he felt the metal break skin, barely wincing, and more from the deep rooted emotional pain than the sting in his palm. Alex swallowed hard and finally pulled the key from his pocket, stained with his blood, and slipped it into the key hole. It left a smear of red around the lock that, in some sick way, Alec found fitting. Magnus may still love the shadowhunter, but he was ripping his heart out, and his blood would stain his doorstep from the act.
Alec pushed the door open and started up the steep, half lit staircase, untouched by the early afternoon light in the narrow windowless corridor. Alec had meant to come earlier. When Magnus said he would be out all day, it meant he would be home anytime between 4 in the afternoon and 3 in the morning, as Alec had learned from many failed surprise dinner attempts and late nights up. So Alec had meant to go straight from the subway tunnel to the institute, to report Maureen, then come here, but as soon as he had walked out of the library, his former anger at Camille crashed like a wave. Depression hit him and he ran down the halls of the institute to his room. He locked the door and threw himself on the bed with a far too tight shirt he had worn for Magnus once, that still smelled like the warlock. And so here he was at just after one, coming to face the door to Magnus's apartment. Where the door downstairs had simply felt like walking through a door to his death, this one felt like a brick wall, suffocating and impenetrable. That doorstep held some of their simple first memories, but behind this door was everything they ever were.
Alec lifted his hand and touched the brass doorknob. The cool metal felt like it burned his skin with its chill, sending a jolt of ice straight to his heart and he cringed. His hand slid off the side of the doorknob, twisting it, and the door drifted open some, unlocked. Alec wondered for a moment if Magnus had done this on purpose, to get him in and out faster. Did Magnus really despise him so much for what he'd done? Not even what he had done, but what he had dared to consider. A consideration that seemed so ignorant and childish in the light of what Magnus had told him this morning. I was thinking about it, you know? That's part of why I wanted the Book of White…The one thing I hadn't experienced was growing old with someone – someone I loved. I thought perhaps it would be you… Alec swallowed the lump in his throat down with much effort and toed the door to the apartment open, trying to drown out the voice in his head, that silky smooth voice that he would never be able to forget, the voice of the love he had so foolishly lost.
Alec slipped the key back into his pocket and looked around the large open space that was the main room of the apartment. There was a couch and two chairs in front of the unlit fire place. Somehow the cool ashes on the hearth seemed fitting, stamped out like the love between him and Magnus, always there, but cold and dusty, forgotten. Alec forced himself to step into the apartment, and tripped. At first he thought it was over one of Magnus' many expensive carpets, but when he glanced down, he came face to face with a disapproving Charmain Meow. Great, Alec thought, even the cat hates me now.
Alec didn't have much here. He was a light packer, and if he admitted it, he didn't have much anywhere. Weapons and clothes, clothes and weapons and a rarely used cell phone. It was all he had, really. Clothes and weapons and a cell phone and a key…
A key that he no longer had the right to call his. His hand wrapped around it in his pocket again as he walked blindly to the bedroom. He knew the shape of the two keys by touch, so familiar to him from night after night of coming to this apartment. In truth, he lived more here now than at the Institute. But you don't live here anymore, he reminded himself, you've lost your privilege to call this place home. Alec bit his lip, not noticing the shimmering, thin tears that lay on his cheeks. Alec stepped into the bathroom first, taking his toothbrush from the holder, his shampoo and conditioner from inside the shower, his Gillette raiser from the medicine cabinet. He remembered remarking once that he and Magnus could use the same raiser, but for some reason Alec would probably never understand, Magnus had insisted that he liked using the Venus raisers better. They're exactly the same, Alec had told them, seeing as the fine print on the box specifically said Venus by Gillette, Those are just in girlier colors. But Magnus had continued to insist that it gave him a smoother shave and softer skin, and eventually, Alec had given up.
Alec placed all his toiletries by the bathroom door only to realize he hadn't thought to bring a box or anything. Alec sighed and went to the kitchen to grab a trash bag from under the sink. There he saw, hanging next to the stove, a bedazzled apron Magnus had made for him since he liked to make breakfast for them so often, considering that he always woke up considerably earlier than Magnus. After Magnus would grumble and come down the hall, he would eat whatever Alec had made and rag him back to bed, for activities other than sleeping… the thought made Alec's stomach pang and he ripped the bag quickly from the roll, turning around. He caught sight of the clock on the stove. It was 2:15. Somehow Alec had managed to waste an hour just gathering his things from the bathroom, always getting sidetracked by all the… memories, of him and Magnus in the shower. As Alec swallowed and turned to leave the kitchen, he spotted the apron again. Should he take it? Did he have a right too, or were gifts from your ex some unspoken forbidden token you were not allowed to keep. In the end Alec stood there staring at it for god knows how long before he took it down and stashed it in the bag, feeling selfish.
Alec walked back down the hall to the bathroom and just threw all his stuff into the bag. As he stood, brushing off his pants (Magnus rarely ever mopped, and Alec had been so busy with the search for Jace recently, he hadn't either). He spotted the shower, his shave gel still on the edge. He reached for it looking over the old claw foot tub that was just oh-so-Magnus, and swallowed uneasily. If he had to think about it, which he wished he weren't, Alec would say that that shower was the center of the second most mass of his and Magnus's memories. Images flashed through Alec's mind, a soft kiss, a golden hand trailing down his water slickened side, Magnus whispering in his ear as he bent him over, caressing the small of his back…
Alec clenched his eyes hard, pinching the bridge of his nose in an attempt to block out the images. They seemed surreal in the light of the trash bag rumpled on the floor. The memories seemed like they didn't belong to him anymore. They belonged to some other dark haired, blue eyed boy who would never dare to betray Magnus, never risk losing him lest he lose himself.
Alec forced his eyes open and grabbed the bag from the ground. He would not let himself cry, not here, not now. He could cry later, in the safety of his room at the institute, he told himself. He could allow that. Alec left the bathroom and moved towards the room that would be by far the hardest. Just go in, empty the drawer, and get out, Alec pep talked himself, Just pretend you're packing for another trip. A really long, possibly indefinite trip…
Alec swallowed hard, steadying himself before wrapping his Mark scarred hand around the doorknob. He really wished now that he would have thought to put on Clary's fearless rune, but it was too late. The door swung open slowly, with a slight creak that made Alec cringe, and he stepped under the threshold. Nothing had changed in the room. The canary yellow sheets were rumpled on Magnus's side, the way they were every morning because Alec would always smooth them out on his side when he got up. The floor was scattered with the sequined, glittered, sheer, neon splatter paint that was Magnus's clothes, one or two of Alex's black tee-shirts among them where they were haphazardly thrown in fits of passion. Alec picked one of them up at his feet, balling it up in his fist only to notice that one of Magnus's metallic shimmery tops had been wound up with it by the static. Alec unwound the gold shirt from his black one and stared at it, almost dripping in his palm like liquid gold, before bringing it up to his face and inhaling the scent that was uniquely Magnus. Alec could never quite pinpoint what it might be and eventually he had stopped trying. Alec clenched his jaw, eyes still closed, and thrust the shirt into the bag, leaving his own black one on the ground, forgetting about it. He couldn't imagine never smelling that again, the scent that comforted him in seconds. Alec could never have thought a scent could do that until he'd met Magnus.
Alec forced himself into the room, grabbing his copy of The Shadow Hunter's Codex off of the nightstand on his side, which some part deep in the pit of Alec's stomach, was glad was closest to the door. Alec picked up the book, his hand grazing over the silver engraved lettering on the dark maroon leather. Do you ever read anything for fun, Alexander? Magnus had teased him. I am reading this for fun, Alec had retorted, nose still in the book, to which Magnus had rolled his eyes, pulling the young shadowhunter on top of him, the book splaying on the floor as the warlock kissed him.
Alec shoved the book in the trash bag and grabbed his spare phone charger from the wall beside the bed, tossing it in too. Alec finally turned to the dresser. Alec didn't keep anything hung in the closet, he didn't really keep anything nice enough here for it to be necessary, but he had two drawers full of his generic black and grey clothing and shadowhunter gear. Alec dropped the trash bag and pulled open the top drawer. It was stalked neatly with his jeans and black pants, a couple pairs of the pants used with gear, and, deep in the bottom, a pair of bedazzled blue jeans that said DAT ASS on the back pockets which Alec had worn once, for Magnus's birthday, and which had been hastily removed… Alec shoved all of this into the bag and thrust the drawer back home. He quickly opened the next drawer down that held his shirts, and froze.
Right there on top of all his shirts, was the blue scarf Magnus had talked him into wearing a few weeks ago. Was it a few weeks, or a few days? Alec couldn't remember anymore, only stare at the blue fabric that matched his eyes. This was exactly the kind of thing Magnus would do. If there was a piece of clothing Magnus thought Alec looked particularly good in, or a color he thought Alec needed to add to his bleak wardrobe, Magnus would sneak the article of clothing into Alec's drawers in a poor attempt to get Alec to wear it. Alec's hand moved up slowly to touch the soft fabric of the scarf. He dragged it gently out of the drawer, unfurling it so it hung, folding unequally in half in his hand as his thumb stroked the soft, blue fibers. Alec stood there for a second, frozen as he felt the final fissure crack in his heart before he fell to his knees, clutching the scarf in a white knuckled fist. Alec gathered the scarf between both his hands, bent his head to it, and cried. He let himself cry shamelessly, tears spilling onto the delicate blue fabric.
Alec sat there on his knees, letting his body tremble with sobs, the one thing he told himself he wouldn't do, but it was involuntary now. He felt as if his heart was being ripped out of his chest and he knew he only had himself to blame. His betrayal and his own god damn insecurity. This scarf was just another illustration of that. Alec remembered the fight, or more of just a little quip, they'd had the morning Magnus had sent him off with the scarf. Am I the newest thing in this apartment? It was such a stupid question. Such a stupid, insecure, childish question, and Alec hated himself now for ever letting the words leave his lips. Alec didn't know how long he cried. It would have been hours or minutes, but at some point, he drifted off to sleep.
When Alec woke, it was with a start, to someone saying his name. A smooth, rich voice, like caramel that matched the color of the speaker's skin. At first Alec thought he must still be dreaming as he blinked and the image in front of him focused, but as soon as he saw the look of distaste on the warlock's face, he knew he couldn't be. "Magnus," he said questioningly, his voice thick with the remnants of his tears. Alec forced himself into a sitting position, realizing that the blue scarf was still tangled around his hands.
"What are you doing here, Alexander," Magnus demanded in a flat, emotionless voice. Alec felt like his cat eyes were staring into his soul, burning him with their disapproval, and he swallowed hard.
"I was…" Alec took a deep breath to try to steady his voice but it didn't do much. "I was packing," Alec held up the scarf, his head looking down at the blue fabric in his hands.
"It's 8 o'clock, Alexander," Magnus said, shaking his head in the manor a of a parent who is disappointed in their child, "Don't you think you could have done that sooner?"
Alec dragged himself to his feet. 8 o'clock? Had he really slept that long? He couldn't remember what time it had been last he checked. "I… I was, but I…" Alec couldn't bring himself to complete a sentence. Standing here in front of Magnus, with that bank look in the warlock's eyes, was like being slice open all over again.
"Fell asleep?" Magnus's tone almost seemed mocking, irritated, "Yes I see that. I would appreciate if you finished now and left." Magnus's words were certain and harsh. Alec cringed.
Even still, Alec took a step towards Magnus, the scarf in one hand, the other reaching out to his boyfriend, because in his head Alec couldn't bear to call him his ex. "Magnus, please, we can talk through this-"
Magnus stepped back with one foot and put a hand up, "Just stop there, Alexander. There's nothing for us to talk about."
"But there is," Alec insisted desperately, taking another step towards him, "I acted selfishly and insecurely, but I can make up for it, we can work through this-"
"I don't want to work through it," Magnus growled, "You were going to shorten my life Alexander. Selfish doesn't cover what you are."
"I wasn't going to though!" Alec pleaded desperately. He was only a little over a foot from the warlock now, "I never came close. I was childish and insecure. If you just gave me another chance, I know now. Just let me tr-"
When Alec was maybe 8 inches away from him, Magnus grabbed Alec by the collar of his pea coat and shoved him against the dresser. For a split second, Alec was terrified. Terrified that Magnus would yell at him, or hurt him even, but in the time it took Alec's eyes to widen, Magnus's lips crashed against his, forcing them open. Magnus's tongue probed its way around the young shadowhunter's mouth, not gently. He was pushing Alec against the dresser so hard the knobs were digging into his back painfully, but he didn't care. Because Magnus was kissing him. After Alec could get some semblance of a handle on his shock, he kissed the warlock back, desperately, pleadingly. Alec's tongue danced with Magnus's but he would always back down to his dominance.
Magnus's lips left the blue eyed boy's, and for a second he panicked. No, this couldn't be happening again. He couldn't let Magnus walk away the way he had in the station. But then Magnus's teeth were on his neck. He was biting and sucking at the pale flesh there with rough intensity. Normally Alec would have opposed to this kind of roughness, but he couldn't care right now. He was with Magnus, and they were making out, sort of. Alec's mind was a blur.
Magnus suddenly pulled the shadowhunter by his lapel and threw him onto the bed, so his chest was flat against it, his legs still over the side. Alec didn't have the coherence to think to climb onto the bed before Magnus grabbed his hips, pinning him in his position anyway. With a ferocity that should have scared Alec, but didn't, Magnus pulled Alec's pants down to his knees. For the first time Alec could feel some clarity. Magnus was going to fuck him. They were actually going to sleep together. What did this mean? Was it make-up sex? Could Alec be that lucky?
A moment later, Alec felt Magnus slide a lubed finger slowly into his entrance. Where Alec had been slightly aroused before, he now jumped to attention. Alec closed his eyes tight as Magnus, much less gently than he was used to, forced in another finger, scissoring him to prepare for what was coming. All too soon, Magnus's fingers left him and he whimpered at the emptiness. Magnus shoved into him then, not slowly, without care to the way it tore Alec apart. Alec screamed, clenching the sheets and his jaw, but he didn't want Magnus to stop. He still felt too good inside of him, so familiar, and in a way, Alec felt like he deserved the pain. As Magnus kept on, the pain decreased, and Alec was on the verge of cumming faster than he could have imagined, not since the first time he and Magnus had slept together, and even then, Magnus had blown him first.
"Don't stop," Alec begged, "Magnus, Angel, please don't stop…" Alec chanted. He could tell by the disjointed rhythm Magnus's thrusts had taken on that he was close too. Alec felt it pool inside him, warm and true and so familiar it hurt and then he was cumming on Magnus's yellow sheets just before Magnus buried himself deep inside the teen and let his own orgasm spill.
Magnus collapsed on top of the boy, but instead of staying like that for several minutes, kissing his neck, and whispering of his love the way Magnus usually did after they made love, Magnus rolled off of to the side, pulling out of him. The sensation was foreign to him and Alec could feel something spill slowly down his thighs as he gasped for air. For several minutes there was only silence filled by heavy breathing between them, and Alec allowed himself to relax a little, but was instantly retensed when Magnus spoke, "You should go now, Alexander," He said in the same flat voice, "I'll have the rest of your things shipped to you."
Alec rolled over so that he could see Magnus, his eyes widened with shock as he forced himself not to cry. "But… we just… I thought, maybe…"
"That was a goodbye, Alexander. This changes nothing."
Alec stared at the warlock for a moment locker before scooting to the edge of the bed and pulling his pants up hastily, even though his skin was covered in mess. He had to get out of there before he broke down completely. Alec got up off the bed, grabbing the bag of his things from the floor, and ran. He ran out the door and down the steps, down the vacant, chilled street in front of Magnus's building, and took a sharp turn into the alleyway beside the building. There, Alec fell to the ground, curled up against the wall, and cried.
Inside Magnus groaned, throwing his arm over his face. He couldn't have made this harder. He decided that all those things people said about a clean break were bullshit. There was never a clean break. Magnus sat up in the center of the bed, pressing the heels of his hands against his eyes after pulling his pants up. When he took them away, he saw the blue scarf sprawled on the bed where Alec's hands had been thrown. Magnus reached over and touched it tentatively, gathering it loosely in his hands. Magnus put his head in his hands and could smell the salt of Alec's tears on the scarf. Within seconds, he was adding his own.
A/N: So there it is. I listened to the song at the top on a loop for like 3 days straight after reading about the Malec break up and I just had to write this! I'm not sure if it came out quite the way I would have liked it though, so please R&R. Let me know:
-Did you like it?
-Did I make you cry?
-Do you want me to write more?
-Did you like the song?
-Any other Malecy depression that you need to get out, go ahead and throw it out there, too. We could all use a shoulder to cry on!