The soft silk sheets of Magnus’s bed rustled as Alec’s hand searched for Magnus’s, only to find the space next to him empty. It wasn’t unusual for either of the two of them to wake up to an empty bed, but it was definitely unusual for one of them to not be in bed in the middle of the night.
Alec sat up with a jerk and frantically looked around the room. All sorts of thoughts flooded his mind as he got out of bed….and shivered.
It took him a while to realize that he wasn’t wearing anything but his boxers. He blushed slightly as he remembered what happened before.
Alec surprisingly didn’t have any paperwork to do. Seeing that he wasn’t needed in the Institute, he decided to go home early and surprise his boyfriend. Magnus wouldn’t be back until nine because of some annoying client in China…or was it Austria? He didn’t remember.
The loft was empty when Alec switched on the lights, save for the Chairman, who was lounging on one of the ottomans. Alec wasn’t really in the mood to do anything. So he went over to one of the bookshelves, took out a random book and started reading.
Two hours later, Alec heard the door click and he instantly dropped his book to go greet his boyfriend.
Magnus looked tired and worn out. His mascara was smudged, as if he had been crying. Alec was about to ask what happened, but Magnus walked over, wrapped his arms around Alec and pulled him close for a kiss. And quite naturally, he lost himself in it and forgot to ask.
But something was wrong. Alec could tell by the way Magnus kissed him. It wasn’t the soft, ‘welcome home’ kiss they usually shared. This one was fierce and passionate. And before Alec knew it, he was being pushed back towards the bedroom.
The cold night air made Alec shiver. So he quickly put on one of Magnus’s robes(he preferred his sweater but, desperate times?) and checked the time.
Midnight. Why on earth would Magnus be up at midnight? Alec thought as he left the room and checked all the possible places in which Magnus could be. The kitchen, hall, guest rooms….
But Magnus wasn’t in any of those places.
As a last resort, Alec decided to check his office. He walked hurriedly across the hall and almost missed the figure sitting in the balcony.
Alec did a double take.
Magnus was there, sitting on one of the couches with the Chairman curled up on his lap. He looked lost and….sad? Alec couldn’t tell because he had only a side view of Magnus.
But whatever it was, Alec hated seeing his warlock unhappy.
Magnus was midway through saying something when the Chairman jumped down from his lap and dashed inside. Magnus looked dejected but didn’t bother to see where the Chairman was going.
Then he heard the door click open and a very worried voice.
“Magnus? What are you doing out here in the middle of the night?”
Magnus took a deep shaky breath before replying, trying his best to conceal his sadness.
Without turning around, he said “Just needed some air, darling.”
But it didn’t come out the way he wanted it to. It came out shaky. He knew Alec had found out something was wrong.
The way Magnus said it made Alec’s heart skip a beat. Magnus never showed his emotions out like this. Even with Alec, he always guarded them. To see this side of Magnus was a rare sight.
Alec moved in two long strides and pulled Magnus close. Much to his surprise, Magnus started to sob. Alec didn’t what was wrong, so he didn’t know what to say. For Alec, gestures always spoke what he wanted to say verbally. So he just held his boyfriend tighter and whispered comforting words into his ear.
About fifteen minutes later, Magnus had calmed down and Alec had changed positions, such that he was now sitting on the chair with Magnus leaning against him.
“Tell me what’s wrong, babe.”
“Today is the day four hundred years ago when—“ Magnus’s breath hitched. But he forced himself to get it under control and continued.
“When my mother hung herself in the barn,” he finished.
Alec didn’t know what to say. He knew who Magnus’s real father was and that his mother had died soon after he had been born. But he never knew the cause of her death.
Now he did. And it killed him to know that Magnus had to see it when he was just a kid. Comforting people wasn’t exactly his expertise. But he was more than willing to try for Magnus.
“It’s alright, Alexander. I didn’t expect you to understand.”
Alec looked mildly horrified.
“What? No! I completely understand! It just hurts me to see that you had to see her like that when you were so young. No kid should ever have to see things like that.”
Alec suddenly started to panic, worried that he had said something wrong. “Magnus? What’s wrong? I’m sorry…I shouldn’t have said that. Please don’t be mad…”
“Do you even know how much I love you right now?”
Alec blushed at his sudden question. “I—Uh—“
For the first time since this whole thing began, Magnus smiled. “It was a rhetorical question, Alexander. You weren’t supposed to answer that. Do remind me to teach you the difference between an actual question and a rhetorical one.”
Alec rolled his eyes, half in exasperation at his constant misunderstanding of these questions and half out of fondness, and lifted the warlock’s chin to place a soft kiss in the hopes that it would cheer him up a bit. And it did.
“How did you cope with it for all these years? I mean, didn’t you ever tell anyone?”
“No. I didn’t.”
Alec looked at him in disbelief, “But—why not?”
“It was because I thought they would detest me. My mother hung herself because she was unable to live with the fact that she bore a demon. Not everyone was so accepting back then.”
“You are everything but a demon. You’re wonderful and if people can’t see that, then screw them. Everything about you says beautiful. But what I love the most about you is your eyes. Cat eyes. I’ve always been enchanted by them and I still am. I’m tired of having to see you hide your true self. That’s why I hate it when you glamour your eyes.”
When Alec finished, he felt something wet fall onto his robe. Magnus was shedding silent tears.
Why do I always keep messing up?, Alec moaned to himself.
“For the first decade or so after my mother’s death, I wished so bad for someone to help me through the pain. But every year, I ended up having no one. I gave up after that, finally accepting the fact that I was damned and born to live in sufferance. Every year, I cried myself to sleep. Then you came along. But you didn’t know. And as much as I wanted to tell you, something stopped me. I assumed you’d hate me too. And I loved you too much to lose you. But now? Now I know you’d never do that. Right?”
Alec didn’t know how, but tears had started to form in his eyes. Magnus looked startled and his face became one of pain and he inwardly cursed himself for having caused his lover agony. He reached out to wipe the now freely falling tears from the Nephilim’s eyes, but Alec caught his hand midway and placed it to his lips.
“You didn’t do anything, babe. It’s just a little hard for me to know that you spent all those years feeling unloved. But you know what? Now you have me. And I’ll be there for you for as long as I live.”
Magnus looked at the blue-eyed Shadowhunter and wondered how he had gotten so lucky. It surprised him sometimes. How a Shadowhunter could be so caring.
But he didn’t go further than that. Instead of saying anything, he just snapped his fingers and conjured up a huge blanket to cover them both before snuggling into Alec, who he thought was very warm and toasty. On a normal day, Alec would have chided Magnus for doing that. But today wasn’t normal, so he let it pass.
Alec wrapped his arms tightly around the warlock and closed his eyes. Magnus was already asleep.
Alec was sure they would wake up to numb bones and aching bodies.
But it was all worth it when he saw his warlock sleeping contently with a small smile.
© Alison Silverstorm, 2019. All rights reserved.