This was written because one of my friends played me Young and Beautiful from the Great Gatsby soundtrack, and told me to write something for it (she didn't need to tell me to, I mean hello this song this pairing I'm just like UGH WHY MY OTP SO FEELS). And since I hadn't been on tumblr except to check Cassandra Jean's and Cassandra Clare's blogs, I hadn't realised that apparently everyone was making graphics about it until I played the song to a friend and she told me. ugh.
Warnings for feels (hopefully) and kinda sexys. None of the characters belong to me, the song doesn't belong to me I just wrote for no profit etc. etc.
And The Descent will be updated on the 12th July. (More angsty (but AU) Malec, please read it ^_^)
Will You Still Love Me
They lie gasping for air on the familiar sheets, arms wrapped around each other, every inch of their bodies touching, limbs entwined.
Each breath is salvation.
Each breath drags them closer to hell.
The furious knocking on the door surprises Magnus- no one's come around at this time since-
Since it happened.
He's tempted to have the door throw the intruder back to the ground as the knocking continues, paused only for a few brief seconds.
His magically enhanced roar is cut short at the sight of the figure before him.
His black hair is messy, just as it always was, his cheeks are flushed with pink and he's breathing hard despite the visible stamina rune - which brings back memories which he really shouldn't be thinking about right now - and the blue eyes are blazing midnight fire.
He doesn't know how many seconds, minutes, hours have passed since he opened the door, but Alec hasn't done anything but stare at him either; so it's kind of okay, he supposes.
"Do you still love me?"
The words come out in a torrent, a rush that Magnus struggles to understand for the first few seconds.
Alec is looking straight at him, his gaze unrelenting. "Do you still love me?"
Magnus tries to stare him down, but there's something there, something in Alec's eyes that's almost frightening, somehow familiar, though he's never seen this determination before.
"I told you I did, didn't I?"
"But do you still?"
"Does it matter?"
"It always matters."
He can't help but flinch inwardly at that, and Alec's eyes are still burning into him, breaking something.
"Nothing's changed." When he says it he means the part that Alec doesn't, that just because he's so bloody in love with the kid doesn't mean that what he did- but it doesn't come out like that, he can feel it, he really is answering Alec's question. He looks away, stares hard at the door frame, tries to ignore his sped up breathing.
"Why?" His voice is softer now, but Magnus' head still snaps around at the word, he can feel himself staring incredulously at the gorgeous face, the questioning eyes, and finds himself running a hand through his hair in exasperation.
"Why? I-" How can one say why they love somebody, why they continue to love somebody, why they will always- "You love- loved me once, why was that?"
This time it is Alec who looks away, whose voice is shaky when he opens his mouth again. "I- I love you. Because- because everything!"
Alec's breathing harder now, and for some reason it feels as if his own heart rate has increased- who is he kidding, the longer they speak, the longer Alec asks these questions, the faster he's breaking down.
"Will you still love me in a year?"
This is easier. "I-" No. It isn't.
So much could change in a year. Rome saw four emperors come and go. He'd seduced, and fought, and helped and cried and broken his heart. He'd lived hundreds of them.
"I don't know." In a year, would he no longer be thinking of Alec, seeing Alec in everything, breathing him in on the wind and smelling him in coffee and incense and tasting him- "Yes."
He can see Alec's surprise, hear the quick taking in of breath, sense the way that he rocks forward just the slightest bit, and then stop himself, biting his lip.
"And in a decade, Magnus; will you love me?"
He can't see that far ahead, can't imagine, can't see anything but the person in front of him, right here, right now-
"I don't know, Alec, how am I supposed to know? I don't know what will be happening, but god knows if I can stop-"
"And when I'm old." Magnus definitely hears the catch in Alec's voice this time, the little sign of weakness as Alec steps forward, reaches out, catches hold of a tiny edge of his shirt. "When I'm old, and wrinkled, and can't move without someone helping me, can't do anything by myself- when I'm furthest from as beautiful as I could have ever been- will you still love me?"
With him standing there, almost touching, but still so far away, it's so damn hard not hold him, not to bend and comfort him, not to-
Reach out and brush some hair from his face, as Magnus does, run his fingertips over the side of his cheek before pulling himself away violently, getting the vital distance between them.
"I can't, Alec. I- I can't."
"I understand." Alec steps backwards, one foot and then another, before turning away, and his face, his eyes, as Alec had said before- everything-
He doesn't know what he's doing when he says his name again, what he meant to do when he sees his face again, a glimpse of a bitter agony.
"You will always be beautiful."
The blue eyes are confused for a minute until Alec seems to have remembered his own words, but then he just looks even more confusedly at Magnus.
"You will always be beautiful because I love you."
The words are tearing at Magnus' heart even as he says them, tearing more at the pain on Alec's face as he digests them, at the tear that slides from the corner of his eye.
At the way he turns away again, that forces his mouth to slip-
Their eyes meet, and there's a kind of calm between them, while Magnus' heart is a screaming knot or turbulence and his hand slips from the doorknob of the door that he was meant to close.
He doesn't know who steps forward first, only that they're standing too close once more, and he tries to wipe away the tear from Alec's cheek-
But the moment that their skin brushes together they spark, they catch light, and their bodies are ablaze as they scramble for each other, to touch, to know every inch of the other once more-
And there are no more words.
Once their hearts have stopped pounding, they're still together, neither willing to part, to loosen their grasp, to ever let the other go.
And somehow their hearts beat in common rhythm, and their breaths merge and sleep beckons and finally drags them under.
Magnus' lips on Alec's forehead.
Alec is gone when he wakes in the morning, and without the aching body and a sock tucked beneath one of the armchairs in the lounge he would believe it was a dream, a wonderful terrible beautiful hallucination.
And Magnus can't blame him for leaving, and he needs to think about everything anyway, so maybe it's a good thing.
But he thinks, and he thinks, for hours and days and weeks and he doesn't know what to do, has no idea what is the right thing and does he even want the right thing anyway because all he knows and wants and needs is Alec.
He still hasn't made his decision when he finds himself outside the Institute, watching, waiting.
He doesn't know, even as he sees them.
He doesn't know who else there is - it's just Alec, always just Alec.
He catches him in his arms, delights at the look in his eyes, crushes his body to him and kisses him. Tastes the sweetness that he has missed, oh, how he's missed it,
All of Alec.
He doesn't know what he's doing, but everything is Alec, and that's all he wants right now.
It's only a week after Magnus kisses and runs that Alec turns up at his door again, and just says those words, Will you still love me? and Magnus barely has time to say "I will" before Alec has him up against the wall, hands searching for a part of his top that he can use to pull it off.
And Magnus let's him have what he needs happily, because he needs it too, needs it all.
Needs each moment of contact, every gasp and moan, the screams and the hoarseness of their voices, the sight of the black Marks on ivory skin, things that Magnus loves and hates.
The aftermath when he can curl into him.
It doesn't happen all of the time. Sometimes it might be only days between the nights - or, a couple of times, days - when he sees him, but sometimes it's weeks and Magnus has to try and stop himself from worrying, stop himself from going out and searching for him.
And sometimes Alec will still leave in the morning, but after one time that he was to exhausted to leave, he began to stay, eat breakfast in silence before running out the door, leaving a kiss on Magnus' cheek if he's lucky.
And there's still the ritual of the question, the promise, and mostly that's all they say, their bodies speak instead, and somehow he's still falling deeper in love.
Things slowly get tense, and Alec seems to show up more and less frequently and may appear at the oddest times, and sometimes he can see him fretting while they're lying in each other's arms, so Magnus will endeavour to take his mind off of everything else, and sometimes he thinks it works.
But he knows that something's happening, the people that he does work for mention things, and even if he never speaks to Alec about his family and friends, he knows that he's worried out of his mind.
The night that it's all over he has that feeling, and now it's him that's worried out of his mind, because he hasn't seen Alec in a fortnight and he's so fucking scared.
But his eyes fly open the moment he feels Alec's feet onto the first step of the fire escape, and he's practically flying out of the door, down the levels of steps until he's standing in front of Alec.
And he's covered in blood, his face is pale as parchment, and his eyes are scared, more scared than Magnus has ever seen him.
They don't need the words anymore.
Alec collapses into Magnus' open arms and lets himself be held, as tightly as Magnus can hold without hurting him.
And even as he sobs he's kissing Magnus, and Magnus finds himself making love to Alec more gently than he knew he could, as softly as he can, pouring all of himself and his love into Alec because that's all that he has to give.
At the funerals he stands at Alec's side, ever ready to help, to hold, to do whatever is needed of him.
And Alec doesn't speak, which surprises him, and maybe it's not just him-
But Alec ignores everyone except for Clary and the others who combination glare and look confused at Magnus, and, actually, everyone except for Alec is glaring at him, but Alec is all that matters, so he's here.
Magnus doesn't know whether Alec just doesn't want to be in the Institute any more, or whether he wants to spend more time with him, because he is spending more and more time in the loft, sometimes just sitting on a sofa, flicking through books, or learning recipes from cookbooks that Magnus didn't know that he had, or most of the time in bed - or on the floor, or the sofa, or the table or the armchair or the wall - or holding each other after the act.
And while sex with Alec is like he's combusting, like he's a little planet with an orbit too close to an expanding sun, getting swallowed up by its fiery power, in some ways he almost enjoys just touching him simply as much or more, knowing that he's there.
Gradually he notices Alec's things appearing again. Finds his clothes intermingled with his own in the washing, but he doesn't mention any of it to Alec for fear of him leaving again, for fear of the loss.
And the electricity that still jolts him when they touch, it winds him up inside, makes him ache again, makes him touch Alec when he's there, a constant brush of skin on skin, fingers, legs, arms, lips.
He feels like he's alive with him, shining through everything, awake only in every moment they touch.
And god, how he loves him.
Alec still doesn't speak much to him, even as Magnus begins to, telling him what he's doing, leaving notes before he goes out, talking to Alec about his day when he gets home.
And it doesn't seem like Alec minds, he'll stay lying in Magnus' arms while he goes on about nothing in particular, some magic he's done, the oddities of his clients, a trashy show that he's seen on the tv while Alec was out.
Alec calls him late one night, calls and asks him to meet him on a rooftop in the city.
It's a warm night, late July, and when Magnus arrives he opens the door to the roof to find Alec standing by the edge.
When he wraps his arms tightly around the other man, he feels Alec's body relax into his as he pulls him towards the centre of the roof, and after a second Alec begins to laugh, laughs at one of Magnus' greatest fears until Magnus pins him down and asks him what's going on.
It takes a while, and he realises that Alec's slightly tipsy, but eventually he sits down beside Magnus and hides his head in his hands.
"Izzy's had a baby."
Magnus hasn't seen Alec's sister in almost five years, so the news is surprising, but he also feels left out of Alec's life, because Alec has never said anything, never says anything of what he's doing or who he's seeing.
"Well, that's great, right-"
"It's a boy, Magnus," Alec interrupts. "She called him Max."
And then he understands, sees the pain in Alec's eyes properly, sees what this is doing.
"Maximilian Alexander Lightwood."
He falls sideways into Magnus' arms, and all Magnus can do is hold him tight, let him sob and scream in frustration and fear, and finally, accept his kiss.
As they touch that night, he feels as if something is happening, and after all, Alec's just spoken to him properly, and they're naked on the roof top, fire burning inside them both, sealing them together. Magnus kisses away Alec's tears and does everything he can to make this the best goddamn sex either of them have ever had, and cries out in pain and joy as Alec's nails dig into his back, as he smells his own blood mingling with their sweat.
And then they kiss and just lie there and there's something peaceful about the city lights and noise, in the gentle hum of life going on around them while they're safe in this tiny fragment of time.
Things aren't perfect, they're never perfect, not meant to be perfect.
Even after Alec begins to let him in a little more, it's still tough, because he still doesn't tell Magnus what he's doing, where he's going.
Obviously, he's fighting, killing demons, as is evident from the wounds that he comes home with, that he only reluctantly lets Magnus heal. It hurts to see the cuts, the bruises, all that blood, and now that he could help, he could prevent it, if only Alec would let him join him, if only was able to do all he could to protect the man he loves.
Sometimes he still disappears, will just leave like he always does, most days, with Magnus trying to keep him in the apartment for as long as possible, until Alec can wrest from his grasp and walk away with him staring after him.
Only he doesn't come back.
Each time it happens, Magnus panics, despite the fact that he always comes back perfectly fine, once he discounts minor injuries. Once it gets to a whole day that he's been gone, he'll calm down slightly, realising that it's just a slightly longer trip. But each hour that passes, soon enough, becomes torture, his mind flying back to and fretting over him.
When he's been gone a week, Magnus has to seriously restrain himself from casting a tracking spell and going to find him, but he knows that Alec will never forgive him if he barges in on his life like that. So instead he just sets up a spell that monitors his condition to make sure that he's not hurt or in danger because if something it happens, it will always be worth his ire to keep him safe.
About two weeks in, a regular client points out that he's grown thinner, his face is bare of make-up and his hair's a mess. When he looks at himself in the mirror, he sees that it's true, that his face is beginning to hollow and his clothes are ones that he's simply put on because they were the ones closest to him while he was getting dressed and basically he looks like complete shit and feels it too. But he doesn't care, knows that he can't because all he can think about is Alec and he's just passing time once again.
He's still assured by the spell that Alec is alright, though, so he decides to try and get his mind off of him, but it doesn't work, just as he suspected it probably wouldn't, and he drifts through the streets until he bumps past someone and turns to apologise.
"Oh!" They exclaim at the same time.
Isabelle, whose face has matured, but is still as stunning as ever, recovers from the shock first. "Where's Alec?"
The way she asks it hurts, the way that she expects that he should know. He barely knows anything about her now, because Alec hasn't told him and Magnus doesn't want to pry, but does she know about him? Does Alec talk about him when he's with his sister, does she know how their relationship is? Does he talk with her like he never does with Magnus?
Does she know the parts of Alec's life that Magnus doesn't?
But then again - does she see him, talk to him often enough to know that Magnus hasn't seen him for two and a half weeks? Or is it Magnus that Alec is avoiding?
Magnus knows that she can tell from his expression that something's wrong, as she adjusts the dark haired baby on her hip, grabs his arm, and pulls him into a small park nearby where she sits him down.
"Have you seen him?" She is worried, after all, not just curious as to what they're doing.
"No, not for a while, I-"
"Do you know where he is?" She looks at him in a desperate kind of way that has Magnus reaching out for the thread of magic to check on Alec.
"No, do you?"
She shakes her head. "We haven't seen him for a while, he didn't say that he was going anywhere, and he hasn't contacted us, so I'm worried, Magnus, what if-"
Izzy breathes a sigh of relief that Magnus shares. "So he's let you know-"
"No, I haven't heard from him, I've just been using a spell."
She looks angry. "You're tracking him?"
"No, he'd hate me if I invaded his privacy- I'm just checking that he's okay."
"That's the same reason I haven't tried to either."
They're both silent for a minute.
"So, you're- oww!" She's cut off by her own squeal of pain as the baby grabs at some of her long black hair and tugs. Magnus finds himself chucking at the way the boy giggles and continues to pull, while Izzy pouts and makes faces at him as she attempts to detach the tiny, pudgy hand from her hair.
Finally she manages it, and glares at Magnus for a second before moving the baby into his arms.
The child stares up at him wonderingly with light blue eyes for a few moments before smiling, and Magnus can't help but smile back. "Hey, Max."
"Alec has told you about him? Does he talk about us?" He looks back at her in shock, and sees the strange expression on her face. "I had the impression that he doesn't exactly... Share all that much."
"I-" Magnus can't look at her any longer and turns back to Max, who's still smiling and attempting to grab at his sparkly shirt. "He told me about Max, but there's a lot that I don't know."
"Oh." She's silent for a moment, then; "Would you like to know?"
"I'd love to, really, I wish I knew what was going on with you, to share that part of him, but- He doesn't tell me a lot of things, Izzy. I wish he would, but I'm not going to make him. If he wants me to know, then I'm grateful, I'm happy. So if he chooses not share it with me, then that's his choice and I want to respect that."
He can't bear to look at her in the silence, doesn't want to see the look on her face.
Eventually he can't hear it anymore and looks over. "Does he... Ever talk about me?"
This is worse, so much worse, the sad smile, the way that she reaches out and clasps his shoulder. "He doesn't talk about important things to me much anymore, Magnus. But he's happy, being with you. That's one thing that I always know he tells the truth about."
He nods and he can feel a tear well up in the corner of his eye, so he looks back at Max again, who won't notice that he's crying, to wipe it away.
Max grabs a hold of one of Magnus' fingers as he moves it back to cradle him again, and stares at his prize for a minute or two before biting down hard onthe end of it.
Izzy giggles and Magnus chuckles and soon they're both laughing at the simple antics of the baby, who stares at them quizzically while he gnaws on Magnus' finger.
"How old is he now?"
"About seven months." Her voice is proud, and as he looks at her Magnus realises that she looks truly happy now, something he hasn't seen on someone for a while, and it makes his heart hurt more than the rest of this meeting, more than he can stomach.
He hands Max back, and Izzy looks disappointed.
"Can we meet up again sometime?"
Magnus shakes his head. "I don't think so. I can't- If Alec wants to keep us, different parts of his life separate - I can't disobey him. I just can't do that, I love him too much to do something-"
"I know, Magnus."
She understands, but makes him exchange their phone numbers and gives him her address, which they agree can only be used to contact the other in an emergency.
They hug goodbye and then Magnus has to watch them go, walk back out of his life. Like a part of Alec that he has had the briefest contact with be shut off again.
Alec falls into his arms only a few days later, burns covering one arm and exhaustion lining his face, and though Magnus wants to question him, and is weighed down by guilt over the unexpected meeting while he way away, he just has to quietly work to heal him, fade his skin from an ugly red back to pale pink, and tries to take the pain away as much as he can.
And when Alec, who's obviously so tired that he has trouble keeping his eyes open while Magnus carries him to their bed, manages to stay awake long enough to murmur a quiet thank you and then kisses him on the cheek before falling into a deep slumber, god, he wants to die for the betrayal that he has made.
Alec looks so at peace, lying beside him, hand curled with one of his, fingers intertwined. Magnus watches as Alec breathes slowly in the dark, listens to the tiny sounds that he makes, as he shifts in the bed, moves just that little bit closer.
His hair needs cutting, it's grown a bit long, now it brushes against his neck. The temptation is too great to manage, and Magnus brushes the dark tendrils to the side, slides closer and lets his lips skim the pale surface of Alec's shoulder and neck, breathes him in.
But that's all he can have. All that he can take right now.
But it's enough for him to go to sleep, assured that Alec is In his arms once again.
Occasionally, now, Magnus might look from his work to see Alec standing there, see him beckon. And he'll pull him out of the house, take him to random places, to a park, to an ice cream shop-
And Alec will smile, shyly at first and then his face gradually becomes more and more radiant, he shines like the brightest stars that could be seen from the sky hundreds of years ago.
Magnus continually finds himself transfixed, he's forgotten the incredible beauty of Alec when he's joyful like he is.
He loves the way Alec's hand slips into his when they're walking, loves the way he raises an eyebrow when Magnus stumbles over his words because his boyfriend has distracted him in some way, loves the glare he has when Magnus flicks water from a dew-laden tree at him.
But still, through everything, all this good that is happening, Alec will sometimes go quiet. Will leave Magnus feeling stranded, feeling lost even with Alec right beside him. All he can do is hold him tighter, do everything that he can to bring him back to life.
And he always does come back.
One day, the sound of glass smashing brings Magnus rushing to the bathroom, where he finds Alec leaning heavily against the benchtop, head resting against what used to be a large mirror, surrounded by glass.
He doesn't know what's going on, but Alec's hand is bleeding and he looks angry and upset at the same time, so he ignores all of his protests and lifts him, carrying him like a bride over the threshold, into their bedroom, where he can pick the shards of glass from his hand, wipe away the blood.
Several times Alec tries to pull his hand away, but Magnus glares at him until he ceases and soon the skin has melded around the wound, healing finished.
Alec, who hasn't looked at him since he'd tried to stop him for the last time, turns away even more, staring at the wall opposite like it holds the answer.
"Alec, something must have happened, the mirror is shattered on the ground and you look like-"
"I overreacted, okay! It doesn't matter." He moves away, as if to get off of the bed, but Magnus grabs his wrist and pulls him back.
"Please, Alec, if anything, tell me this."
"No, it's stupid, I-"
He groans, but turns back to face him, running a hand through his hair before freezing and dropping his hands to his lap. "Your foot's bleeding."
When Magnus looks at it, his foot really is bleeding, from when he must have stepped on the glass in the bathroom, but it doesn't matter right now, so he waves his hand, sending the slivers of glass shooting into the wall behind him and turns back to Alec. "Damn my fucking foot, Alec, tell me!"
"I've got grey hairs!" He claps his hands over his mouth as soon as he's said it, but Magnus has heard and stares incredulously.
"That's what you broke the mirror for?"
"It wasn't on purpose! I- oh, fuck this. I shouldn't have."
Magnus grabs his legs before he can try to get up again, holding him down. "Alec."
"I'm fucking old, alright? I tried to ignore it but I can't, I'm too old and you're not and I can't-"
Alec tries to pull away, but all he succeeds in doing is making Magnus fall on top of him, where Magnus uses his position to keep Alec still while he examines his hair. "Where are these grey hairs?"
"Magnus, get off, this isn't funny-"
"Found them." There's a few pale hairs near the top and the sides of his face, but it's not much, and Magnus finds himself imagining how Alec will look when he's older, with more of his hair having a silvery sheen, and he smiles, because he still looks as beautiful as ever, and-
"Magnus!" Alec is repeatedly trying to shove him off, so he let's him pull him down until their faces are level.
Alec ceases his actions for a second, confused. "What?"
"You look sexy."
"Magnus, I'm not in the mood for you being comforting or whatever the hell you're trying to do-"
"I'm not trying to do anything, I'm just telling you the truth. I love the way you look. I always do."
Alec's body is relaxing into the bed, the fight draining out of him. "But-"
"Do you remember what you asked me all those years ago, after-"
Magnus stares down into the bright blue eyes, trying to see whether he's taking this in properly, whether he's listening. "We've seen the truth in my answers from then, Alec. Will you ask me them again?"
Alec's breath comes in short bursts and his voice shakes as he begins, "Do you still-"
"Yes." He drops his head until their noses are barely brushing. "Yes, yes, it's always yes. I love you, Alec. I always will."
"I'm a hell of a lot more sure now than I was 20 years ago. And it's never been about how you look. Just because you don't have black in some of your hair doesn't mean you're not my Alec. And I plan on loving my Alec for a long time, I hope you know."
The man beneath him blushes at the words, but he's smiling slightly now.
"And there's that same old blush. Nothing about your looks or age changes how I feel, or the fact that I am so incredibly attracted to you."
Finally, Alec, face still flushed, though lightened to a pink dusting in his cheeks, tentatively reaches his arms up to Magnus' face and strokes his cheek briefly before looping his hands around his neck. "Really?"
Without waiting for an answer his boyfriend pulls Magnus closer for a long kiss, one that is somehow unlike most they've had for a long time, more understanding, closer to each others' hearts.
When they break apart, Magnus feels like he's regressed to the sexual impatience of his youth, only now with the added urges that come with Alec.
"Do I really need to answer that question verbally?"
Alec gives one of his odd little chuckles and kisses him swiftly again. "Not verbally, but it may need reiterating."
Magnus is happy to oblige.
It's a while before Alec mentions his family again, but it's still very surprising when he does so. And then he talks about them again, begins to tell Magnus what's happening in their lives. It's nice, finally hearing about them all, hearing about the children, knowing what's been going on with them since he last saw them, all those years ago.
"Can you keep next Sunday free?" The request surprises Magnus, has him raising his eyebrows in a suggestive way until Alec gets fed up and hits him, which of course degenerates into childish pouting and then to sexual endeavours on Magnus' part, at least until Alec remembers his question and rebuffs him.
Magnus who'd intended on taking Alec out that day anyway, makes a show of deciding before simply shrugging and agreeing.
To his disappointment, Alec refuses all allegations that he's planning a surprise seduction - though Magnus keeps his hopes up, because if it was a surprise seduction then telling him would be defeating the point - or any of the possibilities that Magnus thinks of.
By the time it gets to the appointed day, Magnus is figuratively dying to know what it is that Alec has planned.
Nothing in particular happens that morning, unless he counts the particularly passionate way that Alec made love to him that morning. Which he definitely does count.
All Alec will tell him is that they're going to have lunch somewhere, so Magnus dresses in his most outrageously eye catching clothing just to annoy him, but his boyfriend simply rolls his eyes, aware of the tactic, and kisses him fondly.
They take the subway, stopping on the way to buy chocolate cake that Magnus refuses to hold unless Alec tells him where they're going (which only means that holding Alec is awkward with the cake box in between them), before getting out at a station in Queens that Magnus doesn't recognise.
Alec looks like he's starting to get annoyed by the time they get to a section of several storied row houses, stopping outside one of dark brick and ornate iron railings.
"Alec, where are we?"
Alec ignores him and proceeds to rap the metal knocker against the door.
It swings open.
"Hey, Al- Magnus!" Isabelle leaps at them, grabbing Magnus in a tight hug. She then proceeds to smack Alec, saying, "I can't believe you didn't tell me you were bringing Magnus!"
She begins to usher them into the house.
"Well, I didn't know I was coming either, Alec wouldn't tell me anything. I was hoping that he was taking me to a nice hotel where we could spend the afternoon with him inside me and-"
Alec's hand claps over his mouth a few seconds too late, and the door swings shut, allowing Magnus to see the skinny teenager standing on the other side of the room, looking aghast. "I heard nothing."
He runs from the room as Izzy laughs and Magnus turns to Alec, to apologise, but he just shakes his head and says that he should have expected something like that to happen, and at least he didn't drop the cake.
And Alec kisses him, a short, sweet kiss on the cheek, but it fills Magnus with joy, with love, gives him the courage.
He can do anything for Alec.
Seeing Alec interact with the children, with the teenagers, makes Magnus smile, seeing the happiness on his boyfriend's face, but it saddens him a little as well, wondering if Alec wishes that they could have had children, wondering if Alec would have had children by some means if he hadn't been with Magnus.
But he never brings it up, can't bear to.
It's still hard seeing Alec grow old. He's still beautiful, even if he doubts it sometimes. What hurts the most is the fear that Alec will leave him, suddenly, unexpectedly- he's never been with someone so long, never stayed by their bedside when they're ill, and he knows why, it's so painful, a harsh tugging on is heart, a pressure.
A knife, twisting around, every time he sees Alec stumble or cough and he can't help, not in the way he wants to, needs to-
They say that Alec'll be okay, that it was just a small fall while Magnus was out of the house. That he just needs to rest.
But Alec is frailer now, so delicate, it seems to Magnus, even if his boyfriend denies that it is so.
So Magnus sits by his bed in the hospital and watches him, holds his hand gently, and fears.
"Do you still love me?"
Alec turns to him, surprised. "I thought that was my question, Magnus. You don't need to ask it."
"I do, I- I know that I'm not a good person to love anymore."
Alec frowns. "What do you mean? You're the best person to love- I love you."
"I have always loved you, always will."
"Now that I'm so weak, unable to move without you beside me, unable to leave without crying, I can't even think without you, Alec. Now that I'm old, I'm no good."
"I don't even know how I'm supposed to live anymore. You bring out the things that I have liked about myself, you show me all of the good things in the world, you bring a light that I can no longer see without."
His hand is clasped tightly in Alec's,
"If anyone deserves paradise, Alec, it's you, I know it is, we both know it is. And I... I'll be nowhere near you. Ever again."
"It's true, I don't-"
"Even if there is a paradise, I'm not sure if I would want to go, if I can't see you again." Alec smiles softly at him.
"You mean you'd make them let me in if you could?"
"I don't know if I can do it Alec, without you, I'm not worth anything, I don't have a purpose, can't go on-"
"Don't you dare, Magnus Bane." Alec's face is set. "If you follow me any time soon I'll never forgive you."
Magnus begins to chuckle dryly but is stopped by the hard pressure that Alec is exerting on his hand.
"You have to stay. You know that. And you can do so much, help so many people- if you went after everyone you loved, there would be so many people dead now. I would never have been born, probably. And you have so much left to do. You have to look after Max and the others, now."
His tears are falling again and Magnus hates it, hates the way this boy has got under his skin and stayed there, made him fall in love time and time again, could do such wrong and do no wrong at the same time, and now be readying himself to leave.
"I can't, Alec, you- I have never stayed with someone for this long before. I have loved you, and cursed you, and still I love you, and- I don't know what to do now."
The last words are wrenched from him like he once saw a bloody heart ripped from a chest, but Alec is taking his hands, and holding his head, and pulls him towards him and kisses him firmly, and it's just as it once was, Alec taking his life and turning it topsy turvy over him- only now he's close to leaving for the last time.
The effort has left Alec looking weak when he lets Magnus go, but he's smiling.
"Hopefully we shocked some nurses."
This makes him chuckle slightly. "Once you would have hated the thought of that."
Alec looks away. "Once I feared growing old and having you leave me, but I've grown old and for some reason, you haven't left yet."
He leans over Alec this time, places his hands on either side of Alec's cheeks to keep him from turning away and looks into the now clouded blue eyes as he speaks. "Because of a little reason called 'I love you.' No matter what you think, Alec, you have always been beautiful, no matter what time of the morning, no matter what clothes, no matter how old you were. And your soul has always been so pure, so gorgeous and perfect, no matter how I attempted to sully it, and-"
"It's just as you said all of those years ago, Alec. It's everything. All of you."