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Alec didn’t know when food became a major part of his life. Before it was fuel, something he needed for survival. Now, it was both a friend and an enemy.

After Magnus left him (ditched, dumped, whatever) he found solace in sugar. He used the sweet, fatty, and indulgent foods as a cushion, something to take away from the fall. But then the cushion was letting him fall prey to weakness. He could barely function after his first heartbreak. He wasn’t naive enough to think that this wouldn’t ever happen. That was stupid to think. He’d always had insecurities, that Magnus would drop him as soon as he found someone better, someone more like him, someone more experienced. But he’d always viewed them as his mind playing tricks, and ignored them - for the most part. But now he can’t ignore them. Everything starts attacking him all at once. Guilt, blame, anger, confusion, sadness, and more. They spill over the edge of the glass.

He retreats to the friendliness of food, but he feels so out of control. So he takes it away. He feels better. He feels like he has normalcy again in the restricting. In a way he had always been restricting. Things he wants, things that he needs. And he returns to normal for a few days. And then he starts drowning again as he finds himself swimming into deeper water.

There’s twice the amount of pressure from the clave. Everyone around him are panicked and alert. He has to be in control, to set an example to all his subordinates. But he can’t. He feels out of his depth and powerless. Every time he comes up for a breath, he’s pushed down by another wave of paperwork, or something else. He feels like everyone can see through him into his soul and see the pathetic and worthless reality that hides behind the clothing, the skin and the flesh, wherein the real ugliness lies in his soul.

He falls back to the friend in food, but he feels less power than he had ever felt. And that’s how he finds himself breaking down in the bathroom with bile running down his fingers. Sat on the bathroom floor staring at the shower, feeling nothing but blank. His eyes are red and tearful. They are puffy and his lips are shiny. He doesn’t move until later. Taking a deep sigh flushing the toilet, and washing his hands refusing to meet his eyes in the mirror.

That was how it started. 

Chapter Text

Seeing Magnus for the first time since the breakup was like being stabbed in the chest. After the other had left Alec, his, as he referred to them, shameful behaviours had started to take a toll on his shadowhunting duties. He felt pathetic and weaker, nevertheless he felt in control. That's what Alec needed. Without it he's not sure he could survive. 

Talking in front of the Downworld council was Alec's idea of hell. He had become more self conscious of his appearance. Not typically his weight, but he was scared that people would recognise that he wasn't their strong leader, or for that matter strong in anyway. Just some broken little boy playing at his father's desk. He was afraid of looking like an idiot in front of the representatives, and that also had him on edge, though before it was fun with Magnus on his side; playfully joking, and he had the security of knowing someone had his back.

In that moment though, he wanted to find a large ditch and lay in it. He felt his heart fracture and the piece fall into his stomach. Magnus was stood behind the queen of the seelies refusing to meet his eye. Even after Alec's finely veiled apology to him, Magnus' eyes remain on the wall. 

When the queen was leaving she made sure to give him a sideways glance, making it unmistakable that she knew something. It's enough for Alec's mind to spiral in paranoia. 

That night he decided to skip out of the evening meal, instead retreated to his office. He denied Izzy's request to bring him something, claiming, not for the first time, that he'd get himself something later.

"You know, paperwork."

But not even fifteen minutes into the mountain of reports that he has to sign off on, he found himself on edge and tense. Cravings. He put his fists to his forehead, elbows rested on his desk, and he attempted to rid himself of those thoughts. But they were too strong and his flung the chair back and lashed out at the wall with a loud "Fuck!"

The fatigue, hunger, and the lightheadedness became too much, yet he refuses to let himself out of the office. Trying once again, to keep the thoughts at bay by burying himself in paperwork.

The days following were the same. Battling dizziness and hunger with aching fists. He lost the battle succumbing to the cravings and over indulging in anything that he could find in the kitchen before anyone noticed him. 

Then came the mission to stop Sebastian, in which he attempted to over exert himself until he didn't feel so useless for eating. But afterwards, he didn't feel satisfied, all he felt was exhaustion and the overwhelming need for sleep.

The next morning he woke up in his gear, headache banging against his skull. He stumbled into the bathroom, the idea to have a long shower tempted him. Instead he paused in front of the mirror just having managed to peel his shirt off, dust covering it from battling the forsaken at the cemetery. Failure. To Alec, he looked like he had never training in his life. He felt torn between crying and dry heaving. In the end he wasted more time loathing his reflection and picking out every flaw. So much time, that people began to wonder where he was.

But with the threat of valentine, no one really paid that much attention to one another.

Chapter Text

Alec crept around the corner of the corridor, using his runes to make his footfalls silent - which was perhaps overkill, but he was too anxious to care. The only scales in the institute were in the infirmary. Alex was unsure why he was doing this - sneaking around at 3am to check his weight. It was his way of coping, and in hindsight this was where everything started blurring. He ignored his internal doubts and kept going, navigating himself through the institute's long corridors until he too soon ended up at the infirmary.

It was a quiet night at the institute. He knew only night patrol would be around, everyone else seizing any and every opportunity to sleep when they could. He didn't think anyone would be around. No one he knew of was staying in the infirmary.

He slowly opened the door - a small crack, then a little bit more, and then enough so he could fit his head through. Satisfied no one was around, he stepped in, the automatic lights cracking and clicking on, illuminating the room for him.

The scales were to the left of the door. Just a small square on the floor, with a monitor next to it. He looked around once again, the anxiety of getting caught still rampant in his mind. He stepped on the scales, refusing to look at the monitor as it went up and up.

Shadowhunters' weights never tended to change. Their training and eating schedules were constant. They had check-ups once a year, more if they were injured. Alec had never had anything negative.

187.

That was the number on the scale. He had definitely lost weight, which gave him a burst of elevation - dare he say - and happiness. A light feeling that went right to his head. A voice in his head protested that this wasn't healthy and that he should stop, but a louder voice shot it down, and shouted louder and made him more determined. His reasons were becoming less and less important. 

The next day the institute started getting the reports of demon activity in the city. Alec couldn’t think. His mind was so foggy and tired and all of his limbs felt heavy. The demons used the skies to their advantage, agile and determined, gliding their way between the buildings. With a sense of urgency, and a burst of caffeine he managed to shoot one down.

Having to call on his ex-boyfriend for help was not something he ever wanted to task himself with again. For not the first time, Magnus had tried to slam the door on him. And he couldn't help but feel a little bit of anger. It was frustrating. Especially since he was here on official business, and a little part of him just really wanted to be back at the loft. He had become accustomed to it and it was home, if only for a short while. But Magnus was looking at him, he thought he should know, shouldn't he? But at the same time Magnus looked so nonchalant about everything, his coping mechanism along with alcohol presumably. Alec was stood there only conscious of the fat on his body. Every time Alec took a step, he internally winced.

When at the rift, Alec was embarrassed that Magnus had to save him. He still couldn’t focus on the targets. The demon seemed even more resolute, protecting the entrance to the city – the one Alec had sworn to protect. Commanding himself to run faster, Alec’s legs were lead and non-compliant. His lungs burnt as he tried to outrun the beast, but in the end it was a close call. Magnus, had collapsed exerting himself, and Alec was not entirely sure that he wasn’t going to join him, but he couldn’t show weakness in front of him or his sister, so he kept going.

At the beginning of the celebration, Alec felt unease. He had been desperate to talk to Magnus properly, and when he eventually got the chance he felt a load of pressure finally release. He couldn’t help but think that it would be better now though. Alec held out hope, but a voice said otherwise.

You might not be able to live without him, but you can't live without me either.

Chapter Text

Magnus’ loft hadn’t changed dramatically over the couple of weeks they had been apart. When they returned, and Alec could have a proper look around without the door being swung into his line of vision, he noticed that Magnus had replaced the curtains and a couple of paintings on the wall had been moved around. But the books and jars had stayed on their respective shelves. The loft had a sombre feel, but there was an air of promise quickly rising.

Uncomfortability crept into with the situation, as though he had walked into stranger's home; he wasn't sure what to do with himself. Should he have sat, or should he have stood awkwardly near the door. Magnus had walked in too quickly, escaping the silence that filled their walk, to pour himself a large drink from the decanter near the windows. Alec, not being the biggest fan of drinking anything alcoholic, started to think he might be in need of one as well.

They stayed in silence for a while, both racking their brains for a conversation starter. A mutual decision lead them to decide to call it a night and head for bed.

The night was awful. Alec had tried to sleep. He laid down on the edge of Magnus' bed, curling into himself. If Magnus noticed, he didn't say anything. An hour after Magnus had started drifting, Alec had removed himself from the sheets and warmth, taking his phone with him, he checked it quickly, paranoid that the war was not over.

He sat on the edge of the sofa cushion, elbows planted on his knees and his head rested in the palms of his hands. All of a sudden, everything was wrong and he couldn’t get over the urge that he should be doing something, despite his enervated limbs. He paced around, his mind feeling frantic. He made the conscious decision to activate a silencing rune, not wanting to invite Magnus into his madness.

He ceased his pacing when he received an alert from the institute that a member of the clave would visit the institute in the morning, to collect statements from everyone in the institute about what happened in New York, as well as from Clary and Jace in particular about what happened in Idris.

When Alec got to the institute in the morning everyone was bustling around as usual. Alec knew he would have to stand in front of everyone and let everyone know of the goings on before, or even after the clave member had arrived, due to him not giving them the curtesy of letting them know when they would be arriving.

As soon as he arrived at the institute he was immediately swamped. Like someone was tying bricks to his feet, one after the other, report after report. The shadowhunter sent by the clave was efficient, opting to get started straight away. He systematically read reports and reviewed files, then began the interviews, much to Alec’s dismay they went on all throughout the day and into the night. Alec was questioning the shadowhunters’ endurance as he was almost dead on his feet himself. The entirety of the day he was not allowed a minutes rest to eat, or drink even a drop. He had a massive headache and he could feel his vital organs deciding that they would shut down if he continued like this. When he looked over the past few weeks he was surprise that his heart hadn’t stopped. He believed he was better now. Everything was going to be okay, he was sure of it.

Walked down the hallway, he encountered Jace sulking outside the room where their visitor had set up shop.

“That guy is such an idiot. He asked me the same question at least six times.” Jace complained. “He said that he might follow up. Alec please save me, if I have to see that guy again I’m going to put my seraph blade through my eye.”

“Oh what a pity, I won’t be able to hear you whine anymore.” Alec replied, continuing his walk towards his office. “Though you wouldn’t be under scrutiny if you didn’t do problematic shit.”

“You’re supposed to be on my side.” Jace said. “By the way, what did you tell them?”

“I haven’t old them anything, yet.”

“Why not?”

“Because it took me half an hour to find where you were hiding, Clary ran off, again, and Izzy was less than compliant and was threatening to shove a boot somewhere if he so much as used the wrong tone.”

“That’s my girl.”

“Don’t encourage her. She’s been this close to being deruned before.” Alec resisted the ‘because of you’ on the end, despite how bitter he was feeling today. He had been on his feet the entire day, running around rounding up people for questioning since eight AM. 

They turned the corner to Alec’s office just as the clave member ran to catch up with them, notebook in hand. He was a small man, with short brown hair, neatly combed back. He straightened out his tie, and smoothed his jacket.

“Sorry to interrupt, but Mr. Lightwood you’re next.”

Alec turned to Jace, merely giving him a, “I’ll see you later,” and turned on his heel, following the clave member back down the corridor.

The room where they were holding the not-interrogations-but-very-much-an-interrogation was a smaller office that was rarely used. Set aside for interactions such as these, or if many high ranking clave delegates were visiting and needed somewhere to be, or more than likely where the head of institute would be forced into if somewhere of a higher stature claimed their office. Recently Maryse had been using it when back from Idris.

Alec returned to his office after the interrogation. He slumped at his desk and looked down at the paper work he was in the process of filling in between the lengthy stints when he had to hunt people down. He picked up his pen intending on getting started, but instead he put his head down on the desk, letting himself curl inwards to the desk. His head was aching, he thought that if he just closed his eyes for a minute he would regain some of his concentration and motivation.

Izzy’s heels woke Alec up an hour later. She was stood in front of his desk when he lifted his head from the vast papers littered across his desk.

He lifted his head, opening his eyes, feeling disoriented. “Yeah?”

“Don’t ‘yeah’ me. You fell asleep.” Izzy said pointedly, hand on her hip

“Great observational skills.” Alec replied groggily. “It’s been a long day.”

”Yeah, and you should go to sleep.”

“Well technically I was...”

“Somewhere that isn’t here. You work too hard anyway. I’m not going to stop bothering you until you’re at least a mile away from this place.”

He pushed himself up from where he was resting on the desk, sitting upright he started to protest, “Iz...”

“Come on big brother. Everyone’s already suffocating in Jace’s angst, you have the option to escape. Run, fast.” Izzy noticed his hesitation. “I thought you and Magnus had…”

“We have, it’s just…” Not wanting to get into all of his many insecurities he decided to just leave, facing that he needed the break and the chance to leave. “Actually never mind I’m going.”

 

It was going to take him time to be able to refer to the loft as home again. He was disassociated from the building, he didn't feel like he belonged there anymore, as if he was an intruder or some kind of pest that couldn't be removed. He briefly thought how thankful how full his hands were at the institute.

Alec found Magnus on his sofa legs splayed in front of him as he lay back with his head resting on the arm. Alec wasn't surprised to find a drink in one hand, letting it rest against his thigh. Takeaway food from a fancy Thai pace they had tried before was laid out on the coffee table.

"I wasn't sure when you were going to be back. But I thought I'd be prepared." Magnus kicked his legs off the sofa, now sat upright and he leant forward and placed his drink onto the table.

"This is great." Alec smiled, but was already beginning to overthink the food and made quick work to push away the thoughts. He immediately started pulling away the packaging and serving the food up onto his plate. He hesitated when picking up the fork but he ate quickly when he finally managed to take a bite. He kept eating past fullness feeling himself spiral into thoughts of disgust and complete lack of control he let himself revel in the defiance. But he was only really fighting against himself.

"You should really slow down, you might choke." Alec felt embarrassed about being called out about eating, but it didn't dissuade him from continuing to shove food into his mouth. He began to feel sick, hating the fullness that he felt, yet he continued. But by the end of the meal he still wanted more. And self-loathing thoughts grew and got louder.

Magnus on the other hand want to start talking and of course this was good time to start bring it up.

"I think we need to lay out some ground rules." Magnus started.

"Like...?" Alec prompted.

"No lying. If this is going to work, we need to be open and honest with each other."

"Okay, what else."

"On the topic of honesty, we don't need to bottle things up. We can't push each other away." Magnus continued adding. "Our problems should be sorted, together. No holding back for the sake of the other.”

And like that it was resolved. Alec does feel better now that the issue had been sorted and they are back together. Like everything could finally be better. He doesn't feel so bad, and he doesn't feel so cornered about eating when he's with Magnus, and he grabs control back and that he can live his life freely.

Well, that's what he was telling himself anyway.

Chapter Text

For the past month, normalcy had prevailed. He felt like it was old times - but improved. He felt as though everyone got on better, and there wasn't the intense and awkward atmosphere that was held before they had met Clary and everything changed. And it did, for everyone. Instead of doing the same, as Isabelle had once described, they went a different route, did new things, met new people. Even if then was bad, it paid off now. And that's what Alec felt as he sat down for breakfast with Magnus that morning - something they did most mornings. He'd started off eating regularly (lunch at the institute, or Izzy and Jace wanted to go out he would join them), so he considered himself to have gotten over whatever it was he was feeling, in regards to food over the past months. 

Until he caught himself in the mirror one morning and it stuck in his mind all day, and by the time four PM came around he realised he hadn't eaten anythingAnother day, for an extended period of time, he stood in front of the mirror rubbing at his collar bones, at the muscles in his arms, his ribs, stomach. Staring in disappointment. What he saw in the mirror was not the body of a soldier, he wasn't good enough. He needed to be better. 

This would become a common exercise in his life. He would stand in front of the mirror for ten, fifteen, twenty minutes before continuing his day as normal. For those minutes he would completely leave reality and become transfixed by the mirror, becoming more and more frustrated with what he saw. 

 

Isabelle had said it would be 'quick and fun', and had basically begged Alec to come out and do some hunting, like old times. Considering the nostalgic, sentimental mood he had been in lately how could he say no. Except, that for most of the day he had been battling fatigue, light headedness (especially the black spots in his vision), and general sloth-ness all day. It was simple, but yet again, he was off his game. According to the report they had received it was a group of shifters just milling around, causing problems with mundanes

He mostly hung back, shooting arrows and trying to cover other shadowhunters. When two came at him from the side he was forced to strike quickly with his seraph blade, killing one of the demons disguised as an accountant, but was knocked down by the other.  His ankle was fine until they started walking back to the institute. He tried to hide the limping, lagging behind the group – also not wanting to draw the attention of drawing an iratze rune. He hoped it would come across as brooding. Isabelle was towards the front and turner around and caught his eye. He gave her a pathetic attempt at a smile, one that didn't reach his eyes or even engage with the muscles in his face. But was reassuring enough for her to turn around and continue her conversation with Clary. 

When they got back to the institute there was talk of getting cleaned up and then going somewhere to eat, or drink. Alec used the excuse of paper work to hide. There was always an abundance of it.     

 

 

The next time Alec went down to the infirmary it was because he couldn't trust his own eyes. In his confused hurried frenzy, he pushed open the infirmary door and was met with one of the medics pushing another shadowhunter off the examination table. 

"Uh, sir... This is not... it's... I don't have a good excuse." She looked to shadowhunter she had pushed for help, but he scowled at her in response. 

Alec stared on in a shocked silence, mostly from his own almost being caught and not having a good explanation for being there either.

"We're just going to go..." The medic straightened herself out, and left with a hurried walk. The other shadowhunter picked himself up from the floor, nodding at Alec, before excusing himself.

Alec didn't have time to process what had just happened, making  beeline for the scales. Stepping on, refusing to look down until he heard the beep.

When he did persuade himself to bite the bullet and look, a breath caught in his throat. 

184. 

He smiled slightly as he stepped off the scale. He felt pretty good for once. He wasn't sure whether this was what it took to make him happy, in that case he wasn't going to stop.

Chapter Text

After the long day everyone had, Alec was sure that the institute would be dead silent, with only the people who were supposed to be up that night, half doing their jobs. Either drinking coffee to stay awake, or making small talk with each other to pass the time.

Alec walked with an air of pretend confidence, he strolled through the institute, putting on his strong leader façade. He passed some of the night shifters, nodding to them, trying to stay looking confident, and not let on to his secret. Recently he had made it almost routine to exercise at night, and he used the feeling of exhaustion to sate the voice in his head; it gave him the feeling of achievement.

At first he had started exercising away from everyone else because he was embarrassed to let anyone see his perceived weakness. He felt inferior to the other shadowhunters. When Jace had began pushing him to train with him, despite there still being tension around Jace not telling him the truth about Idris. Alec had used the excuse of being too busy, and had taken to training late at night.

Setting up in the training room making sure to be at the back corner, away from anyone’s line of sight, he began to do circuits. Performing sets of one exercise after the other. An hour had past and his joints began to ache, and his muscles protested more, still sore from the nights before. Of recent he had found that working out resulted in more injuries, and that after his joints and muscles would still ache, even after drawing a healing rune. 

It wasn’t for a few minutes he noticed Jace standing in the doorway, looking on with a look of betrayal, but clear annoyance also on his face.

“Jace.” Alec acknowledged him, getting up from the floor quickly in surprise. “What are you doing up?”

“Couldn’t sleep.” Jace folded his arms over his chest. “What are you doing?”

“Uh, just training.” Alec said awakwardly, playing with the sleeve of his t-shirt. 

“Yeah, alone. Strange considering you told me you didn’t have time.”

“I don’t-“

“Why are you avoiding me?” Jace raised his voice. “After Idris all you’ve done is avoid me.”

“Jace, I am busy and maybe I’ve got other things on my mind now.” 

“But things are different between us.” 

“Maybe because you died Jace.” He was about to protest, but Alec held up his hand to stop him. “No, you died. I know you died. You don’t know how much pain I went through. And you won’t even tell me the truth. So, things are different, but maybe that’s not a bad thing.” 

“Alec wait.” Alec stormed out frustrated at Jace, and himself. He had tried to stop comparing himself to Jace, but even in that moment he could only taunt himself about the many ways Jace is better than him. 

Outside of the institute he leans against the west wall, leaning his head back. One hand runs through his hair. As he lets out a frustrated groan, he connects his fist with the wall several times. 

Part of him was glad, it was happy that he had pushed Jace away. It told him it was for the best.

 

A few days later, Alec held a Downworld council meeting to discuss the future now once and for all truly post-Valentine. The leaders of the Downworld were there, each with members stood behind them, standing in support and defence. 

“All I’m asking is that the people responsible be held accountable.” The Seelie Queen declared, even though her tone left everyone imagining what she meant by that. 

“As well as that includes those who aided and abetted.” Isabels mumbled. Alex casts her a glare over his shoulder, but from the seelie queens look she’s daring Isabelle to continue.

“What I’m suggesting,” Alec starts, “is that we turn over a new leaf, create a better world now that valentine is really gone. We can work together m, and we have to, if we’re ever going to make any change.” 

He sits down again, slumping slightly, his head feeling heavy and all he felt was exhaustion. He doesn’t know if it’s the lack of sleep his received lately, or the lack of food he’d had that day, or even that week. He had barely eaten a meal average, feeling nothing but dread when he did eventually eat. 

It wasn’t until everyone had left did the seelie queen approach him. Another sly grin on her face, she gestures for him to bend slightly to her height, once again in her child form.

“I know what you’re doing.” Raising an eyebrow at him, still a tight grin on her face. Almost like she basked in the image of him when his blood ran cold, and his heart stopped in his chest.

“Well I hope to be seeing more of you.” And she walks off, her stoned faced fae walking in sync behind her.

“What was that about?” Isabelle asked him. “What did she say?” 

“Nothing that wasn’t trying to manipulate me.” He stumbled through his lie. “I’ve got to go Iz.”

“Alec wait.” She grabbed his forearm. “Come on, you’ve been really off today. Are you sick? You’re shaking.” 

He seized the opportunity to divert suspicion. “Yeah I’ve been feeling really bad today.”

“Go to Magnus.” She laughed. “Let him deal with your sickness.” 

“No,” he said quickly. “I’m not that bad, but I promise I’ll leave early.” He gave her a weak smile.

“Okay.” Isabelle didn’t seem happy with that answer, but she didn’t press further. He wasn’t happy about lying to his sister, but he was glad she relented at his promise not to stay late, but he didn’t predict her taking it upon herself to text Magnus and tell him that Alec was sick. Although he probably should have expected it. 

Alec had tried to reassure Magnus that he was fine, but at 7pm Magnus showed up at the institute intent on them having dinner at the loft.

As always Magnus had gone overboard with the food. It was laid out across the table, the dimmed lighting made Alec feel like he was going into the depths of his dread. He put on his facade again as he ate. The old Alec breaking through. But after the meal was over, he snuck away, quickly retreating to the bathroom. Facing the toilet bowl he only took a moment to hesitate before starting to purge. It was ten minutes later that Magnus knocked on the door.

“Alec? Are you okay?” He didn’t enter the bathroom, so Alec quickly tore off a bit of toilet paper and wiped his finger and another bit to wipe his mouth. 

“I’m okay.” He croaked. 

“Can I come in?” Magnus asked.

“Yeah.” Alec flushes the toilet, running the tap to wash his face.

He knew he should be more embarrassed about being caught but he’s more irritated that he was stopped before he could get everything up.

Magnus was stood behind him in the mirror, his hands on Alec’s shoulders. 

“Are you sure you’re alright?”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine.” He said and pulled his lips into a smile that was a lie. 

Chapter Text

For the next week, all the nights are the same. Alec slept very little, tossing and turning for the majority of the hours. Sometimes he got up to have a glass of water, hoping it would settle the crippling hunger pains. Other times he wound up catching his reflection in the mirror. He would gape at it in horror as he looked at himself in disgust. 

To hide his actions, he had started to avoid everyone at all costs. Not even replying to calls and texts. Although for the first few days, he had taken time off to add plausibility to his sickness excuse. During this time he stayed in bed, not eating most part, and sleeping which was easy due to his exhaustion. When Alec not in bed, he would sneak into the bathroom to exercise. It was hard to enjoy the time off though, as Magnus’ concerns made him feel somewhat suffocated. He started to wish that he had his own space where he could be free to do what he wanted. He kept telling himself that this was stupid and illogical. He doesn’t want to be alone, not again. And he does love Magnus, and he wants to be with him. But honestly how can Magnus want him when he is like this, when he looks like this?

The day he does return to his command post, it’s mainly a quiet day with the buildup of paperwork left for him. Alec preferred it this way, he can retreat to the office, and close the door to ensure his privacy, and he can avoid everyone. 

Halfway through the day Alec fell asleep at the desk, head rested on the papers he had signed. Isabelle caught him. She had come to check on her brother, but only left with further concerns. She had tried to encourage him to go back to Magnus’ and sleep, but he refused. She reluctantly left, with a large sigh, slamming the door and not without loudly muttering “Fine, don’t accept my help...” 

After Isabelle left, Alec returned to his work, but as the day goes on he notices his concentration wavering, and all you can think about is what he has eaten, and what he will eat, and how much he had to exercise to burn it off. He shook the thoughts away, directing his thinking back to the report in front of him, but his writing got sloppier, and he found it harder and harder to get the words down as he becomes more fatigued. And at the end of the day, he was about ready to lie onto the floor and give up. Food was only thing on his mind.

All he really wanted to do was lay down his head once again on the table, but he resisted thinking that getting up to stretch his legs was a better option, but as soon as he rose from the chair, his vision darken and he stumbled back, and his head flopped down on to his chest. 

As he sat there, regaining consciousness, slumped back in the chair. His thoughts clouded, until one came through. It was that voice again. It told him exactly what he needed to do. 

Alec hates to be formal, but nevertheless he sends a fire message to Jace, declaring him as the head of the institute while he takes time off, but he didn’t declare how long.  Knowing Imogen Herondale would be happy by the choices and that she may not pry too much into him, despite her not being his biggest, or any sort of, fan.

Tidying everything, he leaves, not sparing a glance behind him. Once again he left, and he promised himself he would return a better version of himself. 

Reaching Magnus’ loft is like finding an oasis in the desert. Forcing himself to take the stairs he realised may have been a mistake though, he’s out of breath and dragging his feet down the hallway. 

Alec lets himself in, but Magnus is there with someone. By the formal setting Alec assumes a client.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt.” He says.

“No, no. We were just finishing up. Don’t worry.” Magnus smiles at him, but it was laced with worry. 

“I’ll see you again next week.” Magnus bids his client farewell, but as soon as he’s gone he turns his attention to his boyfriend.

Before he could ask Alec how he’s doing, Alec waves dismissively. 

“I’m fine.” He says sitting down on the sofa the client was just sat on. 

“But why are you back? Not that it’s a problem.” 

“I think I’m still sick. I was planning on taking sometime off, I just feel-“

“I know what you’re doing.” 

Alec doesn’t answer, and the pause gets longer as he searches for an answer. He couldn’t ignore the pounding in chest echoing in his ears. 

“No you don’t.” 

“Alec, I do. I can help you.” The pain on Magnus’ face is too overwhelming for Alec, and he wanted to leave as quickly as he could. 

“This isn’t something-“ Alec stands, but as soon as he does, the wave of dizziness comes over him again, flooding his vision with black spots and he feels himself tip over. 

 

Chapter Text

Alec awoke the next day on the sofa. With careful eyes in the arm chair, Magnus was sitting tentatively as if Alec might faint again. Alec opened his eyes and tried to adjust his vision to the day's brightness. 

"Isabelle said that you left Jace in charge." Magnus confronted him.

Alec nodded groggily, and wiped sleep from his eyes.

"Please, Alec, tell me what's going on. I want to help you." He asked with pleading eyes.

"Nothing's going on, I'm fine. Just leave it." He sat up, beginning to get defensive, crossing his arms over his stomach.

"Come on. I talked to Catarina, she knows someone who ca-" Alec's blood ran cold.

"You talked to people about this. Why would you-"

"Because I want to help." Magnus tried to keep his emotions under control, but Alec could tell that this was hurting him, but in that moment he didn't care. Nothing was important anymore.

"You can't help me Magnus. I don't want it."

"Why are you doing this?" Magnus tried to blink back tears.

"Because of you!" he took in a breath. He could feel everything he had felt over the last few months coming up to he surface.

"While everything was crashing around me, you left! I can't control anything in my life... Everyone betrays me, leaves me. I killed Jocelyn... I need this. I'm not going to let anyone to take this away from me."

Magnus didn't speak, he looked down, playing with his rings. Alec took in a shuddering breath, and broke the silence.

"I need to leave."

He heard the start of Magnus' protests, but the rest became background noise. Stuffing hings quickly into his bag he left abruptly. 

"Alec stop. You can't just leave."

"Are you going to stop me?" 

"No, I-"

"Then I've got to."

"Alexander, you're going to kill yourself." Magnus called out desperately. 

Alec bit his lip, still angry and he knew he wasn't able to keep composure and would have another outburst. He continued down the hallway.

Walking out onto the street, he started to feel lost. He had no set destination in mind, at that moment he wanted to run until his knees went weak and he fainted again. 

 

 

He did have a thought, although he wasn't keen on it, and he was sure to be asked dozens of questions he didn't want to answer.

Knocking on the door to the boathouse, he hitched his bag further onto his shoulder.

Simon answered the boathouse door cautiously, but he was shocked to see Alec stood there.

"Any chance I could stay here?" Alec asked.

Simon was still stood in a shocked silence only nodding, and eventually stepping away from the door.

"Not that it's a problem, but why are you here? I feel like I'm the last person you would come to."

"I don't really want to talk about it. Can I just sleep in your chair?" He pointed over to the tatty arm chair. 

"Yeah sure. You could sleep in one of the boats. They're more comfortable than they look."

"Yeah, no I will not be doing that."

"Okay, I was going to head out anyways. So, just- Yeah going to go now."

"Simon." Alec called out, stopping him in his tracks. "Don't tell anyone I'm here."

He nodded and headed outside, while Alec let his exhaustion take over. He was woken up a few hours later by Simon arguing with Clary.

"He asked me not to tell anyone." Simon said.

"But Izzy isn't just anyone, she's his sister." Clary sighed in frustration, "Something's obviously wrong."

"Yeah, and he would have gone to Isabelle but he came to me, so he obviously doesn't want her to be involved."

"Isn't that more reason to tell her." 

"Clary, come on..."

"No, Simon. I have to- Alec, we didn't realise you were awake."

"Clearly."

"I didn't tell her she came by and I-" Alec held up his hand dismissively, "Sorry."

"Please Clary, don't tell anyone I'm here. I just need a break, okay?"

"Is this about Jace? I know he-"

"It's not about him. I just need time, just don't tell anyone. Please."

"Is this about Magnus?" Clary tried again.

"I'm not talking about it."

Clary reluctantly left, Simon following trying to give him space, which left Alec alone in the dimly lit boathouse. He stood up from the chair, swaying at the blackness that clouded over his vision, and began to pace around the room, his muscles and joints aching each step.

He wanted to feel stronger, but right now he was the weakest he had ever felt. The longer he went without food, the more he felt he was achieving, but even though he hadn't had a decent meal in days, it wasn't enough.

Death hadn't been his goal, but Alec was at a point of no return in his mind. He had wanted to die once, and it was what he wanted now, and he'd successfully pushed everyone away that could stop him.

Alec paced for forty minutes until one of his legs gave out from underneath him, and all he could do was lie on the boathouse floor. In moment like this he had thoughts of accepting or seeking out help, but just like getting off the floor in that moment, he had no motivation to do it.


Simon found him when he returned, and even though Alec protested it, helped him off the ground. Alec would have pushed him away and attempted to get up alone, but it was like bricks were covering him.

Chapter Text

The only thing that hurt more than the discomfort of his stomach was his head. Every car that went past, every conversation he overheard. Road works, construction, all of it. Just another prod in his brain.

Alec had gone out with the intent of finding a way to measure his progress, or failure, not that he could tell the difference anymore. Although that was his intention he ended up glamoured and stealing food from a convenience store. He had finished it all within seven minutes. After, he barely had to stick his fingers into his mouth. Alec stumbled backwards until he was sat slumped forward on the floor of the alleyway, black spots dancing in front of him. He couldn't tell if this way rock bottom, or if he had hit that long ago.

Laving the alleyway, Alec caught his reflection in a shop window. The dark circles under his eyes, the baggy clothes - those he could see. But everything else seemed so... big. He knew he had begun to make new holes in his belt, and there was an ounce of logic somewhere, that told him he wasn't overweight. But Alec's brain was just too clouded to recognise that. Clouded and confused, nothing was making sense anymore.

All the conflicting thoughts did was make his headache worse and the pounding in his chest, and the gushing in his ears distinct. It was the debate that kept going on and on, with no conclusion. On one hand, there was the voice that wanted him to keep going, push everyone away, and it would tell him that he deserved this, which part of Alec wanted to hear. The contradicting voice told him to reach out, call someone, ask for help. The war went on inside his head while he stood there watching himself in the shop window.

On his way back to the boathouse, Alec began to feel worse, his heart still pounding against his chest, beats missing, and he was sweating, out of breath. He felt someone he never really felt. Fear. Fear of this unknown. Fear of being afraid. Fear of the question, 'Is this it?'

He slumped back onto the ratty sofa, trying to breathe normally hoping it would settle his heart, though to no avail. It took minutes for him to work the courage up, and longer for him to actually go through with it. Fighting the conflicting sides.

“Magnus, help me.”