Alec tapped his foot nervously while the phone rang, half of him praying he would answer, and the other half praying he wouldn't.
"You've reached Magnus. If this is a life-threatening emergency, figure something else out, because I'm busy. If it's anything else, leave a message."
Something terrible caught in Alec's throat at the warlock's voice, even if it was only a recording. "Hey, it's me again. I just wanted to say- I don't know what I wanted to say. I'm sorry. Bye." He hung up, mentally smacking himself over his own idiocy. Why couldn't he just stop calling, stop leaving messages like some overly-possessive psychotic ex?
"Calling him again?" A familiar voice echoed across the training room. Alec looked up, and saw his parabatai. Not so long ago the sight of Jace standing there would've set his heart racing… but everything was different now, and he saw his affection for Jace differently now. They were brothers, but nothing more.
"No," Alec denied uselessly as Jace frowned. His parabatai didn't like Alec's situation anymore than Alec did, but Jace recognized there was nothing to be done about it.
"You've got to stop calling him, Alec. I know you don't like it, but- he might not come back. And if he comes back, it won't be because you called. It'll be because of he decides to." Jace leaned against the wall by Alec. He didn't speak harshly, but the words stung just the same. Jace caught the injured look, and hurried to fix it. "I mean when. When he comes back."
Alec sighed. "I'm going for a walk." Jace tried to apologize but Alec only smiled a little as he left the training room. Izzy tried to talk to him on his way to the elevator, but something, probably the look on her brother's face, stopped her and let him pass by. He rode the elevator down and stepped out onto the dark streets.
Since the breakup he'd taken to walks in Central Park, usually at night. He could see the fairies and Luke's pack and even the occasional vampire, but they all knew better than to bother a Shadowhunter, even if it was a young one. He moved with the shadows, watching as the mundanes dashed along the paths, some alone and a painful few in pairs.
In each face he searched for cat-like eyes, in each motion he looked for Magnus's grace, in every person that went by, he looked for his warlock. But no matter how many people went by, how many glamours he saw through, there was no sign of Magnus anywhere in the park.
His breath slid out slowly, deep and resonant with disappointment. Another fruitless search. Jace and Izzy assumed he was calling Magnus so often because he missed him; that much was true, but Alec had an ulterior motive. Magnus had vanished from the face of the earth the day they broke up. The next day when Alec had gone to get his things, the apartment was completely empty, devoid of furniture, food, or Chairman Meow. All that was left were the few items Alec had left behind on his various overnight stays.
Ever since, Alec had kept an ear the ground, listening for any news of the High Warlock of Brooklyn. Something should have turned up, but nothing did. Not a whisper of gossip over one of his parties, not a single Downworlder looking to employ a warlock. Absolutely nothing.
And then, everything. People wondering when Magnus was going to host another of his famous soirees, where he had gotten to, if they could hire him for this or that. Pretty quickly word got around that the High Warlock was missing. No one had called in the Shadowhunters, of course. Nobody wanted the Nephilim nosing around Downworlder business. Clary's rune work had done a lot, but there were some habits that were difficult to break.
Alec had taken the investigation upon himself, checking Magnus's usual haunts and keeping tabs on any demonic activity in Magnus's area. But nothing had turned up. From what he could tell, Magnus had vanished into thin air. His phone buzzed. At first, Alec ignored it, assuming it was Jace or Izzy or -Angel forbid- Clary. Then an absurd hope rose up in him. Maybe it was him.
He fumbled at his phone, turning it on and plugging in his password before opening his messages with bated breath. It was from an unknown number. His heart sank a little, but he opened it anyway.
Nothing but an address, only a few blocks from where he was, and two little letters as a signature. MB. Without even thinking, he started to run to the address. By the time he arrived he was breathless and sweaty, but he didn't care. It was an older brownstone, something he would never have pictured Magnus in. Tentatively, almost turning back at the last moment, he pressed a finger to the intercom button. There was no response, only silence on the other end, but then the buzzer sounded and the door was unlocked.
Several deep breaths later, Alec stepped inside and up the stairs. He could hear something –music maybe- from an upstairs room. He followed the sound, one hand on the seraph blade in his belt just in case this would prove to be a trap. With a gulp of air, he found the one closed door with a light shining under it, and he rapped lightly on the wood with the back of his hand.
At the first knock the door swung open. He saw the room first. It was sparsely furnished, all black and white and clean lines. He stepped inside to get a better look around, and immediately found himself caught by one arm with a knife at his throat. The arms were familiar, although this type of embrace was foreign.
A moment later his captor seemed to recognize him and he was released. Rubbing his throat, Alec turned to face Magnus. "What the hell?" Alec exclaimed, glaring at the warlock.
"I'm sorry, Alec, but what the hell are you doing here?" Magnus demanded, setting his knife down on the bedside table.
"What am I doing here? You texted me the address!" Alec shot back, but even as he said it, a deep suspicion was growing in his stomach.
"I most certainly did not. I've been out of the country since- well, for a while. I got a call about an emergency and they told me to come here." Magnus's eyes –God, those eyes- were clear and guileless, for once.
"Then who…" Alec trailed off, looking to the doorway where a recognizable figure was leaning against the doorjamb.
"Well, that would be me," Jace commented smoothly, flipping out a mundane pocketknife and cleaning his nails. Alec groaned. Leave it to his parabatai to take a bad situation and make it worse.
"Alexander…" Magnus said warningly.
"Hey, I had nothing to do with this. This is all on him," Alec muttered darkly, telling his brother exactly what he thought of him through looks alone. Jace only grinned innocently, a face that always seemed to fool the ladies. It got nowhere with Magnus or Alec. The grin faded away.
"You," Jace said, pointing to Alec, "have been nothing but miserable for weeks. And you," he continued, gesturing to Magnus, "have been gallivanting around London, trying to act like nothing's bothering you." Jace stepped to the opposite side of the door, pulling it shut behind him. Alec stepped forward quickly, hoping to lodge his foot in and stop the door, but he was too slow.
"Jace! You ass, open this door!" Alec exclaimed, knowing as he did that it was useless.
A laugh sounded from the hall. "Don't bother, Clary drew the Locking rune. You guys won't come out until you've solved your problems. Condoms are in the drawer." Alec could hear Jace walking away.
"Clary was in on this too?" Alec demanded, hoping Jace could still hear and ignoring his last comment.
"Only a little. She drew it on there before I sent the text. I didn't tell her why I needed it, but I think she knew," Jace called, and then the house was silent.
Magnus was sprawled on the bed, looking furious. "I hope you weren't counting on getting the bed. We're going to be here a while, and after all, you should respect your elders."
Alec turned, angry for no reason he could think of. "Shut up, Magnus."
The warlock looked stunned for a moment, and then a lazy grin spread across his face. "You really didn't know, did you?" He sounded delighted at the idea.
"No, I didn't know my crazy brother was going to lock me in a room with my ex-boyfriend who I was pretty sure had been murdered or kidnapped," Alec snapped, realizing as the words left his mouth how scared he'd actually been that something had happened. And now, to find out Magnus had been perfectly fine, just on holiday in London- It made him furious. "Come to think of it, I didn't even think I'd speak to you again, much less be stuck in the same room." The last was made of pure spite.
"There's that Lightwood in you," Magnus observed, his expression going cold.
"Just stop right there. Stop acting like you know everything. Yes, you knew my family, but you don't know me," Alec spat, surprised at his own ferocity and bitterness. He'd never spoken to anyone this way, except perhaps Clary, and she really didn't count at any rate.
Magnus stood up and crossed the room until he and Alec were eye to eye. "But I do know you, Alexander. You don't set much in store by clothing, because you know that whatever Jace and Isabelle have planned usually ruins what clothes you have. You can't cook any more than your sister can, not even eggs. You bite your lips when you're nervous, you're doing it now. You hated that Jace was stronger, faster, and more reckless than you because you thought it made him better than you. You're softer than your siblings, and it bothers you, you think it's a flaw. You wonder if your parents look at you differently now, if things can ever go back to how they were before you came out. You're brave and kind, and more than anything, you're the future I wish I deserved."
Magnus's voice caught, as if he'd said too much. He coughed and started to step back, until Alec grabbed the front of his shirt. In a strange replaying of the day they first kissed, Alec dragged Magnus to him, pressing his lips against the warlock's. For a moment Magnus froze, but a second later he relaxed and pulled Alec tight against him.
Alec's lips parted and Magnus's tongue slipped inside. Alec's knees nearly gave out, but through sheer force of will he held himself up, pressing closer to Magnus. The warlock's hands had slid under his shirt, tracing the faint scars of old Marks and various injuries. Alec was equally explorative, removing Magnus's shirt quickly so they could be closer. Magnus's mouth plundered his, leaving nothing in its wake but a primal desire for more, more of this feeling.
Somehow Alec's shirt was gone, and he didn't even care where it went. Still wrapped together, they stumbled back onto the bed. Jeans came off quickly, and soon they fell into a familiar yet new rhythm beneath the sheets. Magnus's green-gold eyes burned into Alec's, making fire roar through his body. He pressed kisses down the warlock's chest, lower and lower until Magnus couldn't stand it anymore and pulled him back up to recapture his mouth. Magnus's lips trailed fire down Alec's neck and across his collarbone, nipping at the sensitive skin right where his neck met his shoulders.
Involuntarily, Alec's body jerked at the bite, not away from Magnus, but to him. Magnus's hands on Alec's sides tightened, and Alec knew he'd have bruises in the morning, but he just couldn't bring himself to care.
Alec flashed back to their first time together, when Magnus had first suggested their world tour. It had been sweet, and gentle, and nothing at all like he'd expected it. In that aspect, this was similar. He'd come here expecting to fight, or to apologize. Then again, he wasn't about to argue with the current events.
Magnus pulled out all too soon and tugged Alec to him until they were curled together on the bed.
"Alexander," Magnus whispered into Alec's hair, "I'm sorry." Alec blinked, trying to imagine what Magnus could be talking about. "I didn't believe you, and I should have. I should have trusted you enough. No, I'm not done," he said, when Alec made to protest. "I acted as if you were someone you weren't. As if Camille could make you something other than who you are. And for that, I'm sorry."
With a huff, Alec blew the dark bangs out of his face so he could look Magnus right in the eye. "I'll be honest. There was a moment when I didn't know what to do. But it was brief. All I knew is one day I will die."
"Alec, you know if I could, I would. But to make you like me…" Magnus broke off, looking sadly at something Alec couldn't even imagine.
"I'm not saying that's what I want. What I want, Magnus, is you. More than anything else. Just you," Alec said firmly.
Magnus buried his face in Alec's shoulder. "I love you, Alec."
"Then you'll give me another chance?" Alec asked hopefully, praying he would say yes and dreading he would say no. Magnus nodded, kissing Alec playfully. Things probably would have progressed from there, but at that moment Jace swung open the door.
"Well, I think we've all learned our lesson, haven't we?" Jace asked confidently, ignoring the fact that his parabatai was naked in bed with a warlock and carrying on as if it was perfectly natural. And maybe, for him, it was.
Alec and Magnus exchanged a look. Alec reached to the nightstand, laid hold of the box of condoms Jace had so thoughtfully provided, and proceeded to fling them at his head. His parabatai wasn't expecting it, and the box bounced right off his temple, scattering Trojans across the floor. "Go away, Jace," Alec said simply.
Jace laughed and walked away, pulling the door shut behind him with more tact than Alec thought possible.
"Did he honestly think we were going to use the entire box?" Magnus asked, glancing at the floor.
"I'm sure we could try," Alec replied with a grin.