Chapter 1: Operation Compliment
"So here's what I'm going to do. I'm just going to... Walk up to him, alright? And I'll compliment him on how beautiful his eyes are, and how good he looks, and then he will blush that adorable blush of his, and say, 'Oh, Magnus, please don't flatter me,' and then I'll say, 'But of course not, darling. I'm merely stating facts.' We'll go back and forth like this for a while, and I'll ask him out, and then we'll go on a few dates during which I will work my magic on him and then he'll fall in love with me! What do you think?"
"I'm pretty sure Alec Lightwood doesn't blush."
"Of course he does, Ragnor! Did you not see him the other day?"
It should've been simple.
Magnus shared most of his classes with Alec, so finding him wasn't a problem. In fact, he'd gone up to the guy he had a hopeless crush on before the first period. Alec was in his seat, rifling through his bag, looking for something when Magnus tentatively spoke up.
Alec's head shot up, his beautiful blue eyes filled with intrigue, and Magnus forgot how to speak entirely.
"Yes?" Alec asked, and the question was directed right at Magnus, and how did people even deal with these kind of things?
"Uh," Magnus said stupidly. He was going to say something, right? What was it again? "Have you completed the chemistry homework?"
Alec blinked up at him. "We don't have any chemistry homework."
"Oh, right." Magnus smiled sheepishly. "My apologies. I forgot." And then he remembered why he had come here in the first place. "I really like your boots, by the way."
Magnus felt like hitting himself in the head the moment that sentence left his lips. He was supposed to compliment his beautiful eyes or his face or something, not his boots, which were worn out and scruffy and definitely not Magnus's type. But Alec had this way of looking incredibly attractive even in his stupid boots and old worn out hoodies and sweaters that had at least one hole in them. It was one of the many reasons he loved Alec.
Alec looked down at the sad-looking boots, and then up at Magnus. "Uh... Thanks?"
Magnus smiled his most charming smile at Alec. Maybe that would save him.
"See you later," he blurted out, and almost ran back to his place. Almost. He still had a dignity to maintain, even though some of it had been shredded in front of Alec.
Oh, well, he thought as the class began. Another day, another way to woo my Alexander.
Chapter 2: Operation Envy
“So, here’s what we’re gonna do at the party tonight. I’m gonna dress up as my usual fabulous self, and someone or the other is definitely going to hit on me - hopefully Alec. If not Alec, then I’ll just... you know, let them do their thing until Alexander notices and then obviously he’s going to get jealous and then he’ll walk over to us, and turn to the guy or girl or whomever, and he’ll say “Back off! He’s mine!” and proceed to kiss me senseless in front of everyone else and then voila! Alec is mine!”
“Should I tell him that Alec Lightwood is the least likely person to ‘kiss him senseless’ in front of everybody?”
Just as he had predicted, within a few minutes of sitting at the makeshift bar, which was basically just the kitchen counter, directly in line of sight of his Alec who was talking to his best friend Jace, some random girl came up to Magnus expecting to get some. She was going to be so disappointed, but Magnus didn’t really care.
“Hey,” she purred, leaning forward and putting her hands on the counter on both sides of Magnus. The already low neckline of her dress drooped, revealing more skin, but Magnus kept his eyes on her face. “You’re Magnus Bane, aren’t you? I’ve heard about you.”
”Did you?” Magnus asked casually, his eyes flicking over to Alec, who was listening to something Jace was saying. “What did you hear?”
”I heard that you have several types,” she said. Magnus smiled. It was an open secret that he was bisexual, or as he liked to say, ‘A man of both ways’. That is, most of the students knew about his sexuality, but the faculty didn’t, and Magnus preferred it that way. “Would I be one of them.”
”You heard wrong,” Magnus said, his smile widening. Then he raised his voice, mostly for Alec’s benefit, and added, “My type would have black hair and blue eyes. Black hair and blue eyes is my favourite combination, you know, although,” and this one was for the jealousy, “I might make an exception for you.”
The girl smiled, but Magnus’s eyes were on Alec, who still didn’t seem to notice him. Magnus watched as Alec’s eyes caught on to someone in the crowd, and he smiled, and his smile was so much better than anyone else’s that Magnus couldn’t help but wonder who it was for. Then Alec said something to Jace and stood up, making his way to whoever it was that had caught his interest, and Magnus watched in horror as he embraced the mystery person and kissed them on the cheek.
He couldn’t see the person’s face, only a glimpse of pale skin and the curve of their jawline. They wore what appeared to be a black leather jacket. Magnus couldn’t help but wonder what this person was to Alec. Surely they weren’t dating?
He turned away from the girl in front of him completely, trying to catch a glimpse of that mysterious person’s face. Alec was saying something to them, his eyes shining. Magnus wanted that shine to be there when Alec was talking to him.
Then the person turned, and Magnus was startled when he saw that they looked shockingly similar to Alec, with the same pale skin and black hair. He couldn’t tell from the distance and the lighting, but they appeared to have the same blue eyes as him. He still couldn’t tell their gender, and realised, Of course, dumbass. That’s probably what they were going for.
“Are you even listening to me?”
“Who’s that?” Magnus’s asked, ignoring the girl’s question. She turned to look at what Magnus was seeing, and her lip curled.
“Oh, her. She’s Anna Lightwood. She’s gay.”
Magnus frowned at that. He was relieved that Alec and the mysterious person, whom he now knew to be Anna Lightwood, were not dating, but the girl’s tone rubbed him off the wrong way. “So you have a problem with her being gay but not with me being bisexual?”
The girl’s eyes widened, and she moved away from Magnus. “You’re bi?! That’s what people meant when they said you had different types?”
”Well, duh,” Magnus felt obliged to say.
The girl shook her head and left, muttering “Gross” as she went. Magnus goggled after her. This wasn’t the first time Magnus had been rejected because of his sexuality, but no one had called him gross to his face before.
“She’s lucky Alec isn’t here,” Jace said from where he was sitting opposite Magnus. Magnus had forgotten that he was still there. “Or he would’ve cut her to pieces about that comment on Anna.”
Magnus blinked at him. “What is Anna to him, exactly?”
“Cousin,” Jace said, shrugging. Then he smiled mischievously. “Why do you care, anyway?”
Suddenly afraid that Jace could see right through him, Magnus looked away, and with all the casualness he could muster, said, “No reason.”
The smile widened. “I see.”
”You do not see.”
”I do see. You’re jealous.”
“No I’m not,” Magnus said a little too quickly. The smile widened even more, and Alec arrived at that exact moment.
“What’s up?” He asked Jace, clapping a hand on the boy’s shoulder.
“Nothing,” Jace said, and then oh-so-casually, he added, “Just talking to Magnus over here.”
Alec turned to him, and while Magnus was still internally contemplating whether to kill Jace or thank him, he smiled and gave Magnus a little wave.
”Hey,” he said.
”Hey,” Magnus said back, with a wave of his own, and then Alec turned back to Jace, saying something about returning home, but all Magnus could think about was that Alec fricking Lightwood smiled at me.
The plan wasn’t successful, but there was still hope. Right now, he knew what he was going to do. He was going to go home and pester Ragnor and Catarina about how Alec smiled at him.
Suddenly, that dream of having a home with Alec seemed much more closer.
Chapter 3: Operation Umbrella
"What's got you so jolly today?"
"The weather report is wrong today. No surprises there, but they said it wasn't going to rain and now the clouds outside say otherwise."
"I still don't see how that's a good thing."
"Oh, Ragnor. Let me explain. You know how Alec walks home everyday, right? Well, he won't be able to do that today, because of the rain. And because I have a spare umbrella in my locker, I can swoop in, offer to take him home under my umbrella. Alexander obviously won't be able to resist such an offer from a handsome man such as myself, and I'll walk him home. And we're going to be so close together because Alec won't want to get wet, and umbrellas are practically closed spaces without the walls. And at some point I'll just... slowly lean in and kiss my Alec softly under the rain, and it'll be so romantic, he'll definitely fall in love with me."
"This idea is... Not so bad. It might work."
"Thank you, Cat!"
The rain poured down in torrents, just as Magnus had predicted, and through the glass front doors of the school, Magnus could see Alec standing in the alcove were the doors were set. He was leaning against a wall, looking down at his phone, and up every now and then to check on the rain which had no intentions of stopping. Everything was going according to plan. Soon enough, Alec would be his.
Magnus casually strolled outside, brandishing his umbrella as if it were a staff. It was a nice, black umbrella, made of some silky material that looked nice and also did it's job well. Alec's eyes caught the movement and he straightened, his eyes still on the phone.
"You're not going home?" Magnus asked nonchalantly, switching his umbrella open and leaning it against his shoulder like a parasol. Alec looked up at him.
"No, I can't. I'll just have to wait till the rain calms down," Alec said. He seemed a little tense. Who wouldn't be, in the presence of a man as handsome as Magnus?
"I don't think it'll calm down any time soon," Magnus mused, more for Alec's sake than himself. "I could walk you home."
"Um, no thanks," Alec said, his eyes flickering to the umbrella over Magnus's shoulder. He seemed even more tense. "It'll probably be inconvenient for you."
Magnus chuckled at that. "Trust me, it won't."
Alec still looked hesitant, glancing up at Magnus through his lashes and biting his lip. It took all of Magnus's self control to not react to how cute Alec looked in that moment.
"Really, it's fine. You go on, I'll just wait for the rain to stop."
"And leave you hanging around? Now, that's not a very chivalrous thing to do, is it?"
Magus raised the umbrella over his head and took a step towards Alec who, to his uttermost shock and surprise, flinched. Magnus frowned at that.
"Are you alright?" He asked, lowering his umbrella. The movement seemed to rile up Alec even more, and he actually backed away from Magnus. Never in his wildest dreams did Magnus imagine Alec moving away from him, and especially not like this.
"Alec, what's wrong?" He asked, moving forward, meaning to place a hand on Alec's shoulder. Alec's face changed in that moment, morphing into what Magnus recognized as pure fear.
"KEEPTHATTHINGAWAYFROMME!!" Alec yelled, too fast for Magnus to comprehend what he had said. Alec pushed past Magnus and ran back into the school building so fast he could've beat Usain Bolt in a running race. Magnus stared after him, his mouth actually hanging a little open. He was perplexed and disappointed and even a little weirded out all at once.
He looked down at his umbrella. Even Catarina had said that the plan was good. Where had he gone wrong?
Magnus sighed, dejected, and left. Where he had hoped to be with Alec, he was all alone under the umbrella.
Later, he would find out that Alec had a very irrational fear of umbrellas and think it was adorable. But that later wouldn't come for a long, long, time, during which Magnus would wonder what he had done wrong.
That never stopped his spirits, of course. As the walk home under the rain cleared his mind, Magnus decided that he would right his wrong, and someday, Alec Lightwood would be in his arms.
Chapter 4: Operation Birthday
Updating early because it's Alec's birthday!!! Happy Birthday Alec!!!
"So, it's Alec's birthday in one week. Which means the perfect opportunity for me to get him to fall in love with me."
"You mean another perfect opportunity for you to get rejected by the so-called love of your life?"
"Shut up, Ragnor. Anyway, as I was saying. I have the perfect plan. All I have to do is get him a gift so good and so thoughtful that he'll be swept off his feet, straight into my arms. Figuratively, of course. What do you think?"
"The plan's fine and all, but what are you going to get him?"
"Biscuit, please!" Magnus protested. "I just want some information!"
"Last time you said that, I had to find out whether he was gay or not!" Clary yelled at him from the other side of the line. "I promised him, you know! I promised that I wouldn't tell anyone, but I told you - because you bribed me with a set of watercolors. Do you have any idea how that makes me feel?!"
"I'm really sorry, biscuit," Magnus said, "But I don't want any private information this time, I just want to know what he likes."
"Yeah, I don't really know anything about that. He and I aren't so close."
Magnus sighed and was about to cut the call when Clary's voice came over again.
"Wait! Jace says he wants to talk to you!"
After a hell lot of teasing, Jace had finally given him the information he needed. Magnus now knew a lot more about Alec's hobbies, likes and dislikes, and had several ideas for future gifts, but a leather biker jacket seemed excessive since Alec hardly knew him at all, which was why Magnus had gone simple for once and bought a keychain from a souvenir store near his house. It was a beautiful bronze color, shaped as a arrow in a bow, ready to be shot. Alec was, according to Jace, an archer (Magnus thought it was a crime that he hadn't been informed this before), and he should hopefully like this gift.
Just in case he didn't, Magnus had also stayed up late making a highly personalized greeting card with the choicest of words. He felt like a middle school kid, about to face his crush with a keychain and a greeting card. He felt stupid, but his brain had completely shut down at the topic of a birthday present for Alec, so he felt this was the best he could've done.
Magnus rounded a corner, Catarina by his side, and saw Alec, leaning against a locker. He was wearing a gray hoodie that he had probably found in a dumpster. Looking at him, one wouldn't even think it was his birthday.
Yet that didn't seem to deter the spirits of all the girls having crushes on Alec, for Isabelle, his sister stood in front of him, a stack of handmade greeting cards in her hand. One of Magnus's favorite daydreams was him walking through the hallways of the school, hand in hand with Alec, while these girls wailed for their 'love failure'. He often cackled just thinking about it.
"Roses are red, your eyes are blue, my love for you is so, so true," Isabelle read out from one of them, sounding very amused. Alec shook his head, clearly annoyed.
"No, put that away," he said. "Actually, put them all away, I don't want another cheesy greeting card."
Magnus's heart dropped. There went his greeting card plan.
Catarina tutted next to him. "At least give him the keychain."
Magnus nodded and was about to do just that when, out of nowhere, came Magnus's arch-nemesis, flouncing his red hair and taking Alec's hand without even asking.
"Happy birthday, Alec!" said Leon Verlac, shaking Alec's hand enthusiastically. He was smiling a smile that was probably meant to be charming, but looked anything but that.
Magnus had hated him ever since he saw Leon flirting with Alec one night, at some frat party. Alec had smiled and politely turned him down that night, but Leon was persistent. Sometimes Magnus wanted to pull a cloth bag over his face, drag him into a washroom and beat him up.
"Thanks, Leon," Alec replied, smiling.
"Oh, by the way, I got something for you," Leon said, reaching into his pocket. Before Alec could protest, Leon pressed a small box into Alec's hand.
"Go on," he urged. "Open it."
Magnus couldn't help but look at what was unfolding. He gasped when Alec opened the box and pulled out a keychain that looked exactly like the one in his pocket - the same bronze, the same bow-and-arrow design.
There went his keychain plan.
Alec smiled brightly, and turned the smile towards Leon. He was saying something, but Magnus had already decided that he couldn't watch anymore and turned away.
"Look on the bright side," Catarina reassured. "You and Alec have matching keychains now."
Despite himself, Magnus's lips quirked up into a smile. "Yeah, I suppose we do."
But Magnus still didn't give up. In the lunch break, he snuck out of school and bought one of those large, expensive chocolates from the store conveniently located right next to the school. One could never have too much chocolate.
Now he manoeuvered his way through the hallways, looking for Alec. He spotted his archer boy leaning against a wall and scrolling through his phone, a small smile on his face. Maybe he was looking at birthday greetings.
"Alec!" Magnus gasped out, pushing through a knot of students towards Alec. Alec looked up and spotted him, then straightened.
Magnus stopped right in front of him and held out the chocolate. "Happy birthday."
"Oh," Alec said softly, taking the chocolate. "Oh, you didn't have to."
"But I did," Magnus replied, smiling at him. Alec smiled back, and this smile was much brighter than the one he had given Leon Verlac earlier today.
"Thank you," Alec said, looking at Magnus with that bright, bright smile on his face. Magnus wanted to grab his face and kiss him right then and there.
"Sorry I didn't get you anything better. I only found out a few hours ago that it was your birthday today."
Alec grinned. "No, I love this! I love chocolates. Just ask any of my siblings."
Magnus made a mental note to punch Jace for having left out such a crucial piece of information.
They parted ways then, Alec's smile staying with Magnus for the rest of the day.
Later that night, when Magnus still couldn't get that smile of his mind, he opened his phone and scrolled through Alec's Instagram, admiring his crush until his eyes widened in horror and he immediately called Catarina.
"You better have a good reason for calling me at midnight, Magnus."
"I do, Cat! I accidentally liked a picture of his from three years ago!"
Chapter 5: Operation Hero
"I just got the most brilliant idea ever!!"
"Stop yelling and just tell us what it is."
"Such a spoilsport you are. Anyway, my idea is this. We hire someone to scare Alec and make it look like they're about to beat him up, and then, when Alec is scared and all hope seems lost, I will swoop and kick their asses and then Alec is going to run up to me and throw his arms around me all like 'Oh, my hero! You saved me!' and then he'll kiss me and I'll kiss him and-"
"Whoa, calm down, hero. We get it."
"Just don't take it to the back alley."
"Chill, Cat. I assure you that if I were to take it anywhere it would most definitely not be the back alley."
"That's not what I- Oh, forget it. By the way, who is going to be the villain in this little story of yours?"
"I don't know yet. I was hoping to ask someone at school."
"Don't worry guys. I know a man."
Ragnor's 'man' turned out to be a boy who appeared to be at least to years younger than Magnus. Yet he had a ferocious air about him that Magnus admired.
"Magnus, meet Raphael Santiago," Ragnor said, gesturing to the boy next to him. "Raphael, this is Magnus Bane."
"It's a pleasure to meet you," Magnus said, smiling and holding out a hand. Raphael's eyes took him in from top to bottom, his face one of judgement. He didn't even budge his hand. Magnus waited a full minute before awkwardly retracting his hand and wiping it on his jeans.
"Now that we got the introductions out of the way," Magnus said cheerfully, "Let's get to business. I hope Ragnor told you everything you needed to know."
"He did," Raphael confirmed. "Although I don't understand your intentions."
"Ah," Magnus said delicately as Ragnor snickered next to him. "Well, you see, this is all part of an elaborate plan to make Alec fall in love with me."
Raphael snorted. "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," he declared.
"Thank you," Magnus said dryly. "So are you going to be one of the people scaring him?"
Raphael shook his head and pointed behind Magnus. "Not me. Them."
Magnus turned around and saw three people, standing a little away from them, taking them in as Raphael introduced them.
"That's Elliot," a dark skinned boy with dreadlocks who appeared to be doing some boring dance waved at them, "Archer," he was the burliest of all, with thick muscles. He'd definitely be good at this. "And Walker." Walker didn't have anything remarkable about him, just your average guy who went around scaring people for kicks.
Magnus narrowed his eyes at them. "Are you sure?"
"Yes," Raphael replied.
"Okay, that's enough. Magnus, your man is coming," Ragnor interrupted. Magnus looked and saw that, yes, Alec indeed was coming their way. They were in the parking lot, which was deserted except for them. It connected the back gate and the front gate, which was why Alec was coming this way. He always took the back gate, probably to avoid the crowds of people who'd gather at the front gate right after school ended.
Alec looked like a vision, walking towards him with his head bowed. White earphone cords dangled from his ears, lacing about his shoulders before falling in a graceful line towards his hoodie pocket. Magnus tried not to focus on the hoodie itself. It looked hideous. But the face that wore the hoodie was an entirely different story...
Raphael made some gesture next to Magnus, and Archer and Walker went up to Alec, grabbing each of his arms and pinning them behind his back.
"Hey!" Alec yelled, more confunded than anything else. "What the-"
Elliot walked in then, going up to Alec. "Hey, you! You!"
Alec just stared at him incredulously.
"You know what I'm going to do to you, punk? I'm going to punch you in the face, punk!" Elliot accentuated his point by grabbing Alec's collar and raising his fist. He wouldn't dare hit Alec. Magnus had specifically warned Ragnor to warn these people not to hit Alec.
He was about to step in and unfold the crux of his plan when Alec, calmly looking at Elliot the whole time, swept his feet out from under him in one swift move. Elliot yelled as he fell to the ground. Walker growled and turned on Alec, only to get kneed in the bladder. Walker let go of Alec and was still recovering when Alec turned to Archer with a glare. Archer yelped and ran away. Actually ran away.
Raphael sighed and muttered something about people being idiots. Magnus turned back to his companions when he saw Alec resume his walk.
"Quick," he said as Alec approached closer. "Laugh as if I said something funny."
"Oh, haha, Magnus," Ragnor remarked dryly. Raphael just stood next to him, arms crossed. "Very funny, Magnus."
"I hate you both," Magnus muttered. Alec had already walked past them by then.
"Damn," Magnus said, looking back at his crush. "That was actually very, very hot."
"Ugh," said Raphael. "I'll thank you not to repeat that phrase every again."
Magnus ignored him. Ragnor went over to Elliot, probably to give him a piece of his mind, when Raphael asked him, "Why don't you just 'ask him out', as the people say?"
"I tried," Magnus replied. Raphael raised an eyebrow.
"Well? What happened?"
Magnus bit his lip, and told Raphael what had happened.
"Hey, Alec! Do you want to go out with me?!"
"I said- Do you want to go out with me?! Like a date?!"
"What did you say?!"
"DO YOU WANT TO GO ON A DATE WITH ME?!"
"Sorry, but I can't hear you! The music's too loud! What was that?!"
Raphael's other eyebrow shot up as Magnus concluded his tale.
"Well," he said, gesturing to the parking ground around them, "Now that this has failed, what are you going to do?"
Magnus shrugged eloquently, inspecting his nails. "Try again. Try something new."
Magnus looked up at him. Raphael's question was probably deeper than he thought, but he wouldn't give the other boy the benefit of seeing right through him. "Well, you know what they say. Try and try till you succeed."
And he would.
Chapter 6: Operation Music
“So, what’s the plan for today?”
”It’s simple, really. I’m going to serenade him with my charango.”
”I don’t see what’s the big deal about him playing a charango.”
”Thank you, Raphael. These two are simply jealous of my abilities as a charanguista.”
”No, Raphael, don’t listen to him. He’s horrible at the charango.”
”As I said, simply jealous.”
Alec spun around and waited as Magnus stopped to catch his breath. His charango was in one hand. This had to work - anyone with good musical sense would fall right into his net. And he was sure that Alec had great musical sense.
”I need your help,” Magnus said, straightening up. He wanted to take a moment to admire Alec - his hair was particularly nice today, tumbling over onto his face. Magnus wanted to reach out and brush it out of his eyes. Was it as silly as it looked?
He shook off thoughts of Alec’s hair and turned his mind to the more pressing matter at hand.
”I composed a new tune on my charango,” he explained, “And I was wondering if you’d hear it and just.. tell me how it is?”
”Um, I don’t know,” Alec replied, uncertainty clear in his voice. “What about your friends?”
”I asked them,” Magnus said, feigning sorrow. He cradled his charango and put on his best puppy face. No one could resist a puppy face. “But they said they were busy. No one wants to listen to me play. I was hoping you would.”
He could practically see the conflict in Alec’s eyes. Maybe he somewhere to be, something to do, and yet...
”Alright,” Alec said at last, giving in. “I’ll listen.”
Magnus grinned broadly at that, internally cheering for himself. What he had said wasn’t a complete lie anyway. Ragnor and Catarina had both refused to come to school so that they wouldn’t have to listen to Magnus play. He needed better friends. Preferably someone who was always supportive of his playing the charango.
”Prepare,” Magnus intoned, holding his charango in the proper position, “To be entranced.”
He began to play.
He let the music flow freely from his fingertips. They were one, the charango and he, and maybe Alec would recognise his talent and love him for it. He could picture them both getting cozy one night, somewhere in the distance future- Alec curled up beside him while he played a soft tone on the charango.
The song ended, and Magnus looked up at Alec, was staring back with a peculiar expression. He looked rather stunned.
”So,” said Magnus. “How was it?”
“Um,” Alec said, smiling a very obviously fake smile. “That was... I, uh... that was great!”
Alec’s smile grew, but was all clearly fake. Alec was a very bad liar.
Magnus had imagined something more than a simple ‘great’. He had imagined something along along the lines of Superb! Splendid! I love it! I love you! Marry me, Magnus!
He also hadn’t expected Alec to lie.
”Okay,” Magnus said, and smiled a fake smile- except his looked more real. “I’m glad.”
They both nodded at each other. Magnus wasn’t sure who turned away from the other more quickly- him or Alec.
He walked over to the space between two cars and looked at his charango. Why did Alec lie to him?
”Ragnor was right. You’re horrible at that thing.”
Magnus looked up, and saw Raphael standing nearby.
”Atleast you’re being honest,” Magnus mumbled. “He lied to me.”
He didn’t specify who ‘he’ was. He never had to, in front of his friends.
“I know.” Raphael moved to stand in front of him, leaning against the car door. “But lying isn’t always all that bad, you know. Take it from someone who knows. Sometimes you have to lie if you don’t want to hurt the people you care about.”
Magnus frowned at that, but it was the kind of frown one had when one was deep in thought. Alec lied to him... because he thought Magnus was bad at the charango... and didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Surely that meant... that Alec cared about him?
”Yeah,” Magnus said, and slowly nodded as well. “I suppose that makes sense.”
He couldn’t help but smile. After all, it was a small distance from ‘care’ to ‘love’, right?
“Can someone please explain why I’m being ambushed in the library?”
”It’s okay, Raphael. This is normal. You’ll understand.”
”Atleast you haven’t been woken up at three in the morning because someone wanted to talk about how Alec Lightwood’s eyes were, I quote, ‘the most beautiful things in the world’.”
”That’s because they are, Ragnor. You just don’t have good taste.”
”That’s enough, boys. Magnus, why did you call us here?”
”I have come up with the most brilliant idea, Cat!”
”What is it?”
”Well... you know I’m terrible at chemistry, right? Alec, on the other hand, is insanely good at it. Now, if our chemistry teacher was convinced that I needed tutoring, and she got Alec to do it... Let’s just say we’ll be doing a different kind of chemistry.”
”Stop. Right. There.”
”I see where you’re going. I think this might work.”
”But why would your chemistry teacher want to get you a tutor all of a sudden?”
”Well, I may have flunked last Monday’s test.”
”I swear, Cat, it wasn’t on purpose!”
“Magnus Bane,” The teacher said, slamming his incongruous test paper onto her desk, “Can you explain your horrible score?”
Magnus bit his lip. He was standing right in front of the desk, and said, “I’m really sorry, Ma’am.”
“Don’t say you’re sorry,” she snapped. “You don’t have to apologise to me. You’re ruining your own future. Try to improve your marks instead. Or is that too difficult a task for you?”
Someone tittered from behind him. Magnus resisted the urge to say that chemistry had nothing to do with the future he wanted - at least, not this kind of chemistry. Instead he said, “Oh no. Please don’t tell me you’re going to get me a tutor or something. Really, ma’am, I do not need a tutor. I can bring up my grades myself. I’ll do much better than I did since the beginning of high school.”
The teacher narrowed her eyes at him, a small smug smile spreading across her face. “Actually, Magnus, I believe a tutor is exactly what you need.”
Magnus blanched, but only on the outside.
Magnus did not need to look behind to see that Alec had snapped to attention, his eyes focused on the scene in front of him. “Yes, ma’am?”
“From today onwards, I want you to help Magnus in whatever way you can. Help him improve in this subject. Can you do that?”
“Good. Magnus, I suggest you both start having sessions starting today. You may improve if you practice with Alec regularly.”
Magnus resisted the urge to smirk, or dance in joy, or any such thing. “Okay, ma’am.”
“So,” Alec said, taking out his books, “Where shall we start?”
Magnus was slightly disappointed, partly because Alec wasn’t looking at him, partly because he had seemed to take the chemistry teacher’s words to heart and was serious about the whole tutoring thing. They were in the library, books open between them, and Alec was taking out even more.
Maybe he’s in love with me and thinks that I’ll fall in love with him if he helps me out... or something, Magnus thought, trying to reassure himself. It didn’t work.
“How about organic chemistry?” Alec suggested quietly, looking up at him at last. Magnus nodded and noticed that Alec had already opened the required. He wasn’t particularly interested in studying chemistry, and especially organic chemistry, which was the bane of any student’s existence. That particular title had been taken from Magnus and given to organic chemistry by Ragnor Fell himself.
“Okay,” Magnus said, and for no particular reason, pointed at one of the compounds at random. “What’s that?”
“Oh.” Alec looked at the compound Magnus was pointing at, some combination of carbons and oxygens and hydrogens he didn’t really care for. “That’s cis-butene-di-oic acid. Maleic acid.”
Magnus’s lips twitched upwards into a smile. “What?”
Alec looked up at him, his lips parted slightly. He blinked, seemingly confused that Magnus was smiling. “It’s, um, it’s also called Maleic acid.”
God bless his poor oblivious head.
Magnus knew they were talking about two completely different words here, but the pronounciation was only slightly different. This wasn’t Malec acid they were talking about, but he would take it all the same. He couldn’t help his smile.
”Tell me more about this Malec acid,” Magnus said. Alec didn’t seem to notice the slip up, however, and explained.
”Well, it’s one of the geometrical isomers of butene-di-oic acid.” Magnus must’ve looked confused, because Alec moved to explain further. “Geometrical isomers? Cis and trans?”
Magnus knew what ‘cis’ and ‘trans’ meant, of course, but he didn’t really understand what gender identities had to do with chemistry. Or maybe he was just spending too much time on Tumblr.
”Um,” he said. He was beginning to look like a complete idiot in front of Alec, and he didn’t like it. “I think I fell asleep in that class.”
Magnus hadn’t been sleeping that day. Alec was very distracting during classes, but he didn’t need to hear that, of course.
Alec looked like he was wondering exactly why he was here. Magnus was kind of wondering the same thing.
”Okay,” Alec sighed, sounding defeated. “Okay, I’ll just explain it to you.”
And he did. Except Magnus stopped paying attention somewhere around the fourth time he said the word ‘carbon’, and stared at Alec instead. Alec seemed grounded for once, and not faraway like he looked when Magnus occasionally glanced at him when he was around his siblings and friends. Magnus stared at his hands, which were moving rapidly, and his eyes, which kept darting between Magnus and the books, but mostly at his lips. No one could blame Magnus for that. Alec had very distracting lips. Magnus wondered if Alec would mind if he suddenly pulled him into a kiss.
”Did you understand?”
He wondered how those lips would feel against his.
Were they as soft as they looked?
Alec waved a hand in front of his face. “Magnus!”
Magnus started. “Oh, um, yes, what?”
Well done, Bane, he thought dryly. That was very eloquent.
Alec looked highly exasperated at this point.
”Don’t mind me,” Magnus said quickly, waving his hand in a dismissive manner. “I don’t know anything in organic chemistry.”
That was an exaggeration. He knew only the basics. He didn’t know anything that came after that.
Alec must’ve caught on, because he asked, “Well, there has to be something you do know right? If you tell me what it is, we can start from there.”
“I know all the lines to despacito,” Magnus said with complete irrelevance. He leaned forward in his chair. “I can sing them too.”
Alec put his head between his hands. His shoulders were shaking and he kept letting out little bursts of air through his nose. Magnus couldn’t tell if he was laughing or crying.
He felt bad suddenly. Here Alec was genuinely trying to help him, and Magnus was... well, he wasn’t exactly taking it.
”Um, I’m sorry,” he said tentatively. “I’m just not really interested in chemistry, like, at all.”
Alec straightened and leaned back in his chair. Magnus saw that he was actually smiling, albeit a small smile, and braced himself for the inevitable question. If you’re not interested in chemistry, then why did you take it? He hated that question. It often resulted in him contemplating existence and also his bad life choices.
Instead, Alec said, “Don’t be sorry. It’s alright, you know. Take Jace for example - he can hurl a basketball right across the court with one arm but he doesn’t even know what the word ‘projectile’ means. And you... you’re glamorous and you’re bad at chemistry, and that’s okay.”
Alec had started blushing somewhere around ‘glamorous’. Magnus found the whole thing incredibly cute - and nice, even - and had to resist the urge to pull Alec into a hug and kiss him all over his red face.
Instead, he just smiled and said, “Actually, I am good at chemistry. Just not this one.”
Alec laughed at that. Magnus realised that this was the first time he had ever heard him laugh. Somehow, that sound made him fall for Alec just a little more.
This is the perfect chance! Yelled the voice in his brain. Ask him out now!
“Alec?” Magnus said, and Alec stopped laughing. He looked at Magnus, his expression serious, though his eyes were still smiling. “Do you maybe want to-“
They were interrupted by the shrill note of the bell. Alec started, and looked at his watch.
”Oh no,” he said. “The library is closing. We need to go.” He shoved a bunch of books towards Magnus, and started putting the rest in his bag. “Can you please return these to their shelves?”
“Of course,” Magnus grabbed the books and headed for the shelves, the moment between him and Alec broken. When he looked back a few moments later, Alec was gone.
Magnus sighed, precariously leaning against a bookshelf. It was all going backwards. Alec was supposed to be falling for him, instead he was falling for Alec even more. It was a little worrying - because Magnus knew that once he hit rock bottom, there was no coming back.
He turned his head upward, looking at the ceiling high above him. God, why did Alec Lightwood have to be so perfect?
Sorry I couldn’t update last week! I was on tour until now, and to make up for it, I’ll be posting another chapter tomorrow! It won’t be a problem, really, since these are pretty short.
Chapter 8: Operation CPR
“Okay, everyone. Today’s plan is very complicated, so listen carefully.”
”Good. So, today we have gym class. And, obviously Alec is going to be there. I’m going to time it right, and when I get the opportunity, I’ll pretend to faint near Alec, and he’ll catch me like the Saint he is. And then- here’s where it gets complicated. Alec will be asked to take me to the infirmary, which is a given since I’m in his arms. Meanwhile, I want one of you to distract the school nurse and get her away from the infirmary, another to keep watch and warn us in case the distraction doesn’t work and she returns, and the third will pose as a nurse. When Alec gets me to the infirmary, the fake nurse will tell him that I can only be saved by the means of- um..”
”Stop blushing and tell us the plan.”
”Ragnor! I am not blushing. Anyway, as I was saying, the fake nurse will tell Alec that he has to give me mouth to mouth to save me. And then Alec will kiss me, and it will be like something out of a fairy tale!”
”I’ll distract the nurse.”
”The plan is ridiculous, but fine. I’ll keep watch.”
”Cat? Raphael? You’re both seriously agreeing?”
”Yes, why not? Wait. If I’m distracting the nurse and Raphael is keeping watch, that leaves-“
“Ragnor, my dearest, oldest, friend. You have to help me!”
”I will not!”
Sometimes Magnus wondered why he even bothered with gym class. The coach’s whistle was too high-pitched for his taste, he was the worst at dodgeball (though he got lucky sometimes), and it was the worst possible way to get hot and sweaty.
Although, he reminded himself, there could be a few advantages. Like Alec Lightwood’s heavenly biceps on full display. It was one of the rare occasions where Alec didn’t completely cover up his arms, and Magnus intended to take full advantage of it. (Sometimes the staring resulted in a dodgeball slamming into him, but it was worth it.)
Presently, Alec stood next to him as Coach Stark walked back and forth, taking attendance. This was maybe the only opportunity he had. Besides, he couldn’t keep his friends waiting for long. So he did something he’d always wanted to try.
”Mr Stark,” he said, raising his hand and trying not to smile, “I don’t feel so good.”
Then he ‘fainted’, dropping in Alec’s direction. Just as he’d predicted, Alec caught him, his strong arms going around Magnus.
There were a few murmurs, and then Magnus heard Coach Stark’s voice, instructing Alec to take Magnus to the nurse. Alec obliged, and then one of his arms hooked around Magnus’s legs, lifting him up. Magnus had to resist the urge to throw his arms around Alec’s neck and hold on. He was sure Alec wouldn’t drop him, so he lay limp.
He almost groaned when someone offered to help.
“It’s fine,” Alec replied. “I’ll take care of him.”
Magnus almost perked up at the words. It was becoming incredibly harder to lay still, but he held on. His cheek was pressed against Alec’s chest, and he could feel Alec’s bare arms through the thin fabric of the gym clothing. It was bliss. Alec smelled vaguely of some sort of fruity soap. Magnus made a mental note to introduce him to sandalwood sometime.
They reached the infirmary, and Magnus could hear Alec calling out for the nurse.
"The school nurse isn't here today." Magnus had to exert enormous self control to stop himself from laughing at Ragnor's imitation of a woman's voice. They had agreed that it would make more sense for the school nurse to be a woman rather than a man, and now Ragnor was dressed in a curly wig and scrubs. "I'll be taking her place. How may I help you?"
There was a silence, during which Magnus could only assume that Alec was giving Ragnor a 'I'm holding an unconscious dude in my arms what do you think?' kind of look.
"Oh, right," Ragnor said, having gotten the hint, "Please, put him here."
Alec moved, and then Magnus was being set on the firm yet somewhat comfortable bed of the infirmary. Ragnor hovered over him, pretending to check Magnus. What he really was doing was subtly poking Magnus in all his ticklish spots. Magnus was going to strangle him later.
"He fainted due to shortage of oxygen," Ragnor declared finally, sounding professional. "We'll have to give him CPR."
"CPR?" Alec echoed. "You mean like... Mouth to mouth?"
"Yes! But I can't do it. You have to."
"I just said that I can't do it."
"You're a nurse and you don't know how to give mouth to mouth?"
"I do know!" Ragnor replied indignantly. "But I can't!"
"I just can't!"
Way to go, Ragnor, Magnus thought sarcastically.
"Ok, fine. I'll do it," Alec said at last.
Magnus forced himself to lie extremely still. He could sense Alec hovering over him, could feel the dip in the pillow as Alec laid a hand there, beside his head. Alec was so close, close enough that Magnus could feel his breath...
The door burst open. "What's going on here?!"
Alec jumped away from Magnus, who almost whined in despair.
"Who are you?" asked the original nurse. Magnus assumed that the question was directed towards Ragnor.
"I just realized I have something important to do," Ragnor said. "See you later!"
Magnus could hear the telltale click-clack of Ragnor's slippers - which he had borrowed from Catarina - as he scurried out of the room.
"And what's wrong with him?" The nurse asked.
"Um," said Alec, "he fainted. The other nurse said that we have to give him CPR."
"Oh, is it?" The nurse's voice was icy. A moment later, Magnus felt a pressure on his chest so hard that he sat up, gasping.
"What," Magnus said, blinking rapidly and hoping he sounded convincing enough, "What just happened?"
"You fainted in gym class," Alec told him. The nurse had her arms crossed and was staring down her nose at Magnus.
"Are you feeling better young man?" The nurse asked. Her expression suggested that she was very likely to kill him if he said no.
"Yes," Magnus said. "I'm feeling good. I think I can go back to class now."
"Good." With that, the nurse turned away, going back to her business.
Just then, Catarina burst into the room.
”Magnus!” The concern in her voice sounded so real that Magnus was taken aback for a moment. Catarina was clearly a method actor. “Are you alright?!”
”Yes,” Magnus said, and turned to Alec. “You go ahead. I’ll join you in a moment.”
Alec nodded and left. Magnus was sorry to see him go, but it had to be done.
He turned to Catarina and hissed in a low voice, “Where did it go wrong?”
”I don’t know,” Catarina whispered. “I distracted her for a while, but I couldn’t hold her for too long. Wasn’t Raphael supposed to warn you?”
”Raphael,” Magnus said, and drew in a long breath. “I’m going to kill him.”
”Do what you want to later,” Catarina advised. “Let’s go back to class. My hall pass isn’t going to excuse being outside for too long.”
Magnus nodded, and they left the infirmary together, parting ways to go to their individual classes. Magnus prepped himself once again for the horrors of gym class.
To his surprise, Alec was pacing the hallway outside the gym doors. He looked annoyed and appeared to be muttering ‘stupid’ over and over under his breath.
Alec’s head snapped up, towards Magnus, and he immediately asked, “How are you feeling?”
Magnus blinked. “I’m... fine.”
Alec nodded. “Okay. Let’s go in.”
”Were you waiting for me?” Magnus asked, slightly incredulous. Alec blushed.
”Well.. I just felt awkward going in by myself, so I thought I’d wait for you,” he explained, rubbing the back of his neck. Magnus accepted the explanation with a nod and jerked his head toward the door.
”After you, then.”
Alec gave him a small smile, and went for the door, Magnus close behind him. As soon as Alec pushed open the door, a voice called out,
Chapter 9: Operation Flowers
"Magnus, you need to calm down."
"HOW CAN YOU EXPECT ME TO BE CALM?!"
"It's not your fault Alec ended up in the infirmary."
"Maybe it is! I let him go into the gym first, which is why the ball struck him! He almost passed out!"
"Please tell me you caught him."
"Of course I did, Ragnor! But then he started muttering stuff about heaven and stars. The nurse said that he was mildly concussed. He has a concussion, for God's sake!"
"Really, Magnus, calm down. Maybe you could, you know, get him some flowers. I'm pretty sure Alec would like that."
"Cat, you're a genius. Maybe I could get some-"
"Raphael you slimy little-"
"Where have you been?!" Magnus yelled at Raphael as he settled down in one of the rickety cafeteria chairs, hardly paying any attention to Magnus.
"I was making a new contact," was all he said. "I've acquired a spy within the ranks of our target."
"What?" Ragnor asked, clearly confused. Raphael took a bite of his salad and explained,
"I couldn't warn you because I was talking to someone who could prove to be useful to us later. She should be here-" Raphael looked around, searching for his someone, and raised his arm when he saw her. "Lily! Over here!"
Magnus froze. Lily Chen, everyone knew, was one of Alec's closest friends. She was definitely someone who could prove to be useful.
He watched as a tiny girl maneuvered her way through the cafeteria. She was shorter than even Clary, which was saying something.
"Hey, Raph!" She exclaimed when she reached their table, waving her fingers at Raphael and ignoring the rest of them.
"Hey," Raphael said with significantly less enthusiasm. "Lily, this is Ragnor, and Catarina, and Magnus. Everyone, this is Lily Chen."
Lily gave them another wave of her fingers, digging into her food. Then, unexpectedly, she looked up at Magnus.
"So," she said. "You're the famous Magnus Bane. I've heard a lot about you."
Magnus blinked. He knew that a lot of people knew him - he had been waved at by many a stranger in the hallways with a friendly, "Hey, Magnus!". He'd always wave back, then turn to his friends and say, "I have no idea who that is." This was something like that, except he never really thought of himself as 'famous'.
"Yes," he said in the manner of someone who was extremely famous and knew it. "That's me."
"I called you here for a reason," Raphael said, unprompted. Magnus, Ragnor and Catarina turned to him in unison, all their faces showing the same alarm. "Magnus here is-"
"Raphael!" Catarina cut in, her eyes wide as she met Raphael's. Then she turned to Lily. "Really, it's nothing. He's just-"
"It's not nothing," said Raphael. "We need to have more allies. Look, Lily, the thing is, Magnus here wants to score a date with Alec."
Lily looked at Raphael, her eyes wide, and turned her gaze to Magnus. Then she burst out laughing.
Magnus pointed at Lily. "I'll have you know that this is very insulting."
"No, it's just-" Lily paused as another wave of laughter overcame her. " You. You want a date with my best friend, and you think I'll just allow it?"
Magnus made a helpless gesture with his hands. "Yes?"
"No." Lily said, sounding entirely serious. "I'm skeptical of you. You've dated a lot of people, Magnus. You've broken their hearts. I don't want Alec's broken heart to be added to your collection."
Well, that got serious fast.
Lily leaned back in her chair, crossing her arms and looking at Magnus. Magnus stared back. Despite everything, he could tell that Lily genuinely cared for Alec. Catarina and Ragnor were being entirely useless and silently watching the exchange. Raphael was completely ignoring them, focusing on his food instead.
"In my defense, I never broke anyone's hearts. They broke mine. And I'd never do anything to hurt Alec." Magnus hoped no one from outside was eavesdropping on this conversation. His voice had gone soft enough to become embarrassing. "I want a very, very long-term relationship with Alec. In fact, I-"
"I'm going to stop you right there," Ragnor interrupted, holding up a hand. "I've heard you gone on for two hours straight about holding hands with Alec. I dread to think what would happen if I let you talk freely right now." Ragnor shuddered, and Lily cracked a smile.
"Relax," she said. "I was testing you. Sort of. Alec may think you're a hot cookie, but he doesn't really know you and I-"
"He- what?!" Magnus demanded, his jaw practically on the floor. He has stopped listening at 'hot cookie'. Lily was smiling as if she'd said something she wasn't supposed to.
"It's nothing," she said immediately. "I was pestering him about who he thought was hot, and he said you. That's all."
'That's all', she was saying. But it wasn't 'that's all' to Magnus. His brain was practically having a meltdown. Alec Lightwood thought he was hot!
There was a silence, and Magnus turned to Catarina when his meltdown had calmed somewhat. "So what flowers do you think I should get for Alec?"
Lily's head turned sharply towards him. "What was that?"
"Magnus is planning to get flowers for Alec," Catarina explained. "Since he's in the infirmary and all."
"Oh." Lily picked up her tray and got up. As she made to leave, however, she turned over her shoulder and said, "By the way, Alec is allergic to tulips. Thought you should know."
The conveniently placed supermarket had a conveniently placed floral shop in the parking lot, so Magnus was able to get a simple bouquet before lunch ended. He wanted to be subtle, so it was just a bunch of pink roses and white gardenias.
Okay, maybe the gardenias weren't exactly subtle, but Magnus didn't particularly care.
The infirmary was nearly empty but for Alec, and the nurse, who was minding her own business, and Jace, who was listening to Alec as he spoke with wide gestures. He was looking animated in a way Magnus had never really seen him before.
Alec caught sight of Magnus and waved him over. "Magnus! C'mere!"
Magnus smiled and went over to stand beside him. "How are you feeling?"
"Fine," Alec said, squinting up at Magnus. "You look nice. Shiny, but also nice."
Magnus looked up at Jace, who simply shrugged. He was clearly suppressing a smile.
"Thanks," he told Alec, and handed him the flowers. "These are for you. Hope you get better."
Alec gasped and took the flowers, delighted, but then his smile fell and he looked up at Magnus with large, mournful eyes. "I didn't get you any flowers."
Magnus remembered that it was him in this bed a while ago, though that was him faking. Alec was probably still a bit concussed.
"It's fine," Magnus assured him. "You can get me something else later."
A tiny smile returned to Alec's face. "Or maybe I can give you something else now. C'mere."
He stretched one hand out towards Magnus, the other clutching his bouquet. Magnus bent down, wondering what Alec meant. To his utmost surprise, Alec looped a hand around his neck and kissed him on the cheek.
"Hope you get better, too," he murmured.
Magnus froze. He wished Alec would realize that that kiss had the complete opposite effect.
"Um, yes," he said. "Fine, sure, I'll be fine."
"Great!" Alec exclaimed. He was definitely still concussed.
"I'm going," Magnus said, a little too quickly. "See you tomorrow. Hope you have a nice night."
"Goodbye!" Alec waved at him. Magnus turned around and quickly walked out, almost crashing into the door. He could hear Jace chuckling behind him.
As soon as the door shut behind him, Magnus stopped short. He was in a daze. His fingers reached up of their own accord, brushing the spot where Alec's lips had been moments ago. It was unbelievable and wondrous, at the same time.
Magnus smiled, and made his way to the next class. Poor Ragnor and Catarina had no idea what they were in for tonight.
Chapter 10: Operation Letter
A few people have asked me for a chapter from Alec's POV. This is for you! Hope you enjoy! :)
(BTW, only the reality is from Alec's POV)
"I have some news for you."
"I was talking to Lily Chen, earlier, and she told me that she heard someone say that Alec was ugly."
"What the hell?!"
"Magnus, calm down-"
"I shall not calm down, Cat. Raphael, tell me the name of that miscreant and I shall hunt him down and fight him and maybe even fix that poor soul's eyesight. I can't b-"
"It was Alec himself."
"Raphael, I think you broke him."
"What. The. Fresh. Hell?!"
"Clearly he is not broken."
"Why would he think that?! Surely Alec's house has mirrors in it? He has to have looked into a mirror at least once, right?"
"Yeah, not everyone is as self-absorbed about their looks as you are."
"But still! Actually, wait. This gives me a fantastic idea!"
"What is it?"
"I'm going to write him a secret letter, waxing all sorts of poetry about his beauty, enough to make sure that he believes it, you know? And naturally, Alec will be curious, and he'll try to find out who wrote it. He'll hunt through the whole school for me, and when he finds me, he'll tell me how he fell in love with me through the letters, and I'll tell him about how much I loved him this whole time, and then we'll kiss each other, and go on a date and then-"
"Enough. That's enough. I do not want this to turn into an eight-hour discussion about your future with Alec."
Alec sighed as his sister, Isabelle, went on a ranting spree about her ex-boyfriend of a few hours, Meliorn, for the thousandth time. The first few times he'd listened to, wanting to know what wrong that ass had done to his sister, but right now he was completely exasperated, and completely done with her ranting, thought he wouldn't tell her so. It would probably do her some good to get the feelings out of her system.
The pair reached Alec's locker. Alec tuned Isabelle out and opened his locker, only to have an unopened envelope fall to the ground. Someone must've slid it in though the slits in the locker.
"Wow," Isabelle said, picking up the envelope. "Looks like you got another secret admirer."
Alec sighed again. The letters weren't uncommon, and he was almost always embarrassed about having other people read them. "Give that letter to me. I'll deal with it later."
But Isabelle was smiling that mischievous smile of hers and tore open the envelope, which was a baby blue color and appeared to be covered in specks of glitter.
Alec reached for the letter, but Isabelle bounded away from him, pulling out a paper from the envelope and reaching out loud from it.
"'Dear Alec'," she read, dodging another attempt to steal back the letter. A few heads turned in their direction. "'You're insecure, don't know what for-' Hey, aren't these lines from a One Direction song?"
Alec held out a hand for the letter with an unimpressed look on his face. "Now that that's settled, can I have the letter back?"
Isabelle shook her head and tossed him the empty envelope. "You're turning heads when you walk through the do-o-or!" she sang.
Soon enough, other people caught on, and the whole hallway was belting out the lyrics to 'What Makes You Beautiful'. Alec was obviously embarrassed, considering that technically, the song was being dedicated to him, but he couldn't help but notice the few people not participating in the singing.
One was Magnus Bane, leaning against a locker and trying not to meet his friend Catarina's gaze as she stared at him with a highly incredulous look. His other friend, Ragnor, appeared to be cackling.
Opposite them was a boy Agreed recognized as Raphael Santiago, who was leaning against the lockers as well and looking directly at Alec. His eyes widened when he saw Alec looking, and he turned, briskly walking out of the hallway. Alec made a gamble and ran after him.
"Raphael!" He called out as he ran after the boy. "Raphael, wait!"
Raphael stiffened and slowly turned around. "What?" he asked gruffly.
Alec held up the envelope. "Do you know who wrote this?"
"No," said Raphael. Judging by his tone, he was obviously lying.
"You're lying," Alec pointed out.
"Okay, maybe I am," he admitted. "What will you do after knowing the writer's identity?"
Alec was stumped. "I- I don't know."
"You know what, I'll tell you who they are," Raphael offered, "on the sole condition that you take them out on a date afterwards."
Alec blinked at him, incredulous. "Why would I do that?"
Raphael shrugged. "Then why should I tell you who they are?"
Before Alec could argue with that twisted logic, Raphael was gone.
When Alec returned to his locker, because he still hadn't taken his books, the singing has ceased, and Isabelle was staring at Magnus with narrowed eyes, her gaze scrutinizing. Alec assumed she was probably interested in Magnus. Alec didn't mind. Magnus was admittedly handsome, and really nice, even if he was kind of weird.
Isabelle gave him the letter with no further argument, and then Alec went to class, and didn't see Magnus again until later that evening, in the parking lot.
Alec turned around, pulling out one of his earbuds, and saw Magnus running towards him. He stopped in front of Alec, pausing for a moment to catch his breath, and then asked, "Can I have your phone number?"
Alec blinked. "For what?"
Magnus blinked back at him. He probably thought that Alec was an idiot.
"Well, we have a chemistry test coming up, and I might get a doubt it two while revising at home, and it would be a bother to come over to your place or have you come over to mine - not that I mind, if course, you're welcome to my place whenever you want - but it would be difficult to travel for every silly little doubt, and I don't think I could remember all of them when I come to school next day, and-"
Alec held up a hand to stop Magnus's ramblings. It was funny, he thought, how Magnus could annoy him and make him want to laugh at the same time.
He smiled, and held out his hand for Magnus's phone. "Okay."
Magnus grinned - it was the kind of grin that lit up his whole face - and gave Alec his phone. Alec typed in his number, and tried to come up with something cool for the contact name, but ending up leaving that part to Magnus.
He returned the phone with another smile, Magnus's own never wavering from his face.
"By the way, Magnus?" Alec said as the other boy was about to go. He blushed as he spoke on. "I'm.. sorry about the other day. In the infirmary. When I kissed your cheek. I have no idea what I was thinking."
"Oh, no," Magnus said, and his smile only seemed to widen. "It's completely fine."
That night, Alec stayed up late to finish his homework which was due tomorrow. He wasn't in the mood, but he supposed that was the only outcome he could expect after procrastinating until now.
Alec stretched, deciding to take a small break for now. He bent down and retrieved the envelope from his bag. Isabelle was smart, but she hadn't noticed the second piece of paper inside the envelope.
Alec pulled it out now. He had noticed it before, but still hadn't read it. Leaning back in his desk chair, he unfolded the paper.
A little birdie has informed me that you called yourself 'ugly' which, let me tell you, darling, is a TRAVESTY. Have you ever seen yourself in a mirror? Perhaps you do not have an idea of just how beautiful you are, so let me tell you.
You are so, so beautiful, Alexander. I don't know where to start, to be honest. Every inch of you, from your moonlit skin, to your ebony hair, to those eyes I could drown and die in - every part of you is beautiful. I mean it.
And that's just the outside. I can only imagine how much more beautiful you'd be in the inside. I want to see it all, I want to know every part of you, if you'd let me.
The letter wasn't signed, but only vexed Alec further. He wanted to know who it was who wrote this. It was really nice, and really sweet to be honest, but...
"It's probably just some random girl," he muttered to himself, stowing the letter away and returned to his homework.
Chapter 11: Operation Light
"I was wondering."
"Why do you love Alec so much anyway?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean- Why Alec? You know, plenty of fish in the sea and all, and you had to go for Alec, who's probably the most oblivious person in the world. Why?"
"Ah, yes. There are plenty of fish in the sea, but not all of them are good fish, are they?"
"Well, who wouldn't like Alec? He's perfect. He's kind, he's beautiful, he's great boyfriend material."
"But what drew you in? I mean, I don't know much about romance, but aren't you supposed to have a 'he's the one' kind of moment? What was it for you?"
"I don't really know? I just... saw him at a party one day and liked him and just... sure if developed a crush on him afterwards. That's all."
"Alright. If you say so."
It was a few months ago, when they first met.
It was the night of the forth of July, and one of the richer kids at school had set up a fireworks display in his backyard, preceded by a party. A lot of people had been invited, Magnus among them.
Of course, he hadn't expected to walk in on his then-girlfriend, Camille, making out with some other guy. While she was completely sober. It had quickly escalated into a huge argument, and soon after, they were no longer dating.
It was too much drama for even Magnus. He found one of the guest bedrooms and sat in the bed in there, his head in his hands, completely devastated. He had planned to watch the fireworks with Camille by his side. He had planned so much for them. And now, none of it was going to happen.
The door creaked open slowly, casting a pale strip of light in the floor. Someone stepped into the room, and Magnus looked up to see a boy who appeared to be of the same age as himself. He looked at Magnus as if he was uncertain about something. He definitely looked out of place in this room, wearing a worn out sweater over trashy jeans.
"Are you okay?" he asked slowly. "You looked kind of upset when you came in here."
"Oh, no, I'm totally fine," Magnus said dryly. "I was just about to dress in drag and do the hula. Wanna join me?"
Even in the dim light, Magnus could see the blush that spread across his face.
"I'm sorry," he said, scratching the back of his neck. "I just- I just heard what happened with your girlfriend and thought that maybe, you'd, uh, you'd like some company?"
"I don't want any," Magnus snapped. "So, pleasure. Take your company and get out."
A quick look of hurt flashed across the boys face. It was gone as fast as it came, and he was about to turn and leave, when Magnus called out,
The boy turned, and Magnus scrubbed a hand across his face in face. He gestured vaguely to the space beside him. "Fine. You can stay."
The boy smiled softly at him, and the smile seemed to light up his eyes, like twin lamps in the dark. Magnus was briefly taken away by it all.
"What's your name?" Magnus asked him as he settled on the bed beside him.
"Alec," the boy said. "Alec Lightwood."
They sat in silence for a while after that. Then someone came and told them that the fireworks were about to start. Magnus wasn't in the mood, but Alec would have none of it.
"But you have to come!" he was saying. "It's not everyday you get to see fireworks."
Magnus shrugged. "I don't really care."
Alec frowned at him, and then reached out to take his hand. Magnus looked at their linked hands, and then at Alec.
"Come on," Alec said, his voice serious. "We're going outside and that's that."
Magnus sighed and gave in, letting Alec pull him to his feet. Alec dragged him outside, and suddenly there was light everywhere, filling his vision. He blinked the light away as he ran behind Alec, and found Alec smiling back at him, his blue eyes radiant.
Somewhere within him, Magnus's heart skipped a beat.
It was a moonless, cloudless night. The clear sky was filled with stars, and soon there were the fireworks, shooting up every few seconds and brightening the sky with an shower of light. Magnus and Alec were sitting in the grass, surrounded by other students from the school cheering at the display. None of them noticed Alec's hand, lying on the grass, still curled around Magnus's. Alec probably didn't realize it - not that Magnus blamed him. He was looking at the fireworks as if they were the first light he'd seen in a million years.
Magnus could see the fire light reflected in the depths of Alec's eyes. He could see the way Alec's pupils constantly flickered from side to side, as if trying to catch every single spark with his eyes. Alec watched the light, and Magnus watched Alec.
He could feel his heart beating in his chest, that slow, euphoric beating that made your stomach twist and your breathing shallow.
When he was with Camille, it was almost always dark - kisses exchanged in dark bedrooms, laughter echoing through dark streets. But Alec had dragged him out into the light within the first hour that they knew each other. It was exhilarating.
He could feel every line of Alec's warm, calloused hand against his.
It was then that he knew. He knew this was love, bright and new and terrifying. Maybe not at the moment, but he knew he would get there, somehow, someday, eventually.
Some would say that he was moving on too fast, but Magnus was the type to forget easily. There was no point moping about something bad that had already gone by - especially if you had a beautiful boy to give you company.
Magnus thought about how wonderful these few moments with Alec were. He could only imagine how it would be if they were together, if Alec and he were in love.
Maybe they'd get there, too. Somehow, someday, eventually, they'd get there.
Chapter 12: Operation Halloween
"I have the most brilliant idea ever!!"
"Quit shouting in my ear!"
"I wasn't- okay, nevermind. Look at this article!"
"What's it supposed to be about?"
"Just read it!"
"We're too lazy, Bane. Just tell us."
"Basically, it's about how people grade closer when they go through scary times together. And it's Halloween, which means...."
"Ah, I see where this is going."
"Me and Alec. All alone. In an abandoned haunted house. Who knows what'll happen? Maybe I'll be Alec's knight in shining armor. Maybe Alec will save me from getting dismembered by a ghost. We're definitely kissing at the end of the night though."
"That's what you always say."
"I'm going to ignore that."
Ragnor narrowed his eyes at Magnus as he approached, hanging onto one of Catarina's sleeves. "What on Earth are you supposed to be?"
"I'm a warlock," Magnus said, "Dressed up as a Maserati."
Ragnor looked like he was reconsidering his friendship with Magnus. "Why a Maserati?"
"Because Alec likes Maseratis. Lily told me."
He was in fact, dressed up as Maserati as best as he could, with a red leather racer jacket and matching pants, both with black highlights, the outfit complete with silver heelys. He was also sporting silver and red stripes in his hair, and a necklace in the shape of the signature trident symbol of the Maserati.
"Shh," said Raphael. "They're coming."
Magnus could indeed see Alec, along with his friends coming towards them. Alec, Jace and Isabelle were wearing matching black leathery clothing and had fake weapons with them. Clary appeared to be a fairy, and her friend Sheldon was a vampire.
Upon seeing Raphael, who was also a vampire, he broke out into a grin.
"Hey!" He said, pointing at Raphael, "We're matching!"
Raphael curled his mouth in distaste. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Come on! We're both literally vampires!"
"I don't see it."
Alec's eyes widened when he saw Magnus.
"Are you-" Alec asked incredulously, "Are you dressed up as a Maserati?!"
Magnus grinned at him. "Yes." Only for you.
Alec did a double take, and finally said, "You look good."
Magnus's grin simmered down to an amused smile. He was slightly disappointed by the reaction though. A tiny part of him had expected Alec to drop to his knees on the spot and propose to him.
"Listen up, everyone!" Ragnor called out. "We're here because I bet Magnus that he couldn't stay in that abandoned house for an hour, and he bet otherwise, and miss we're going to see who wins!"
"So we're just going to be witnesses?" Jace raised an eyebrow.
"Yes," Ragnor confirmed. "also, one of you has to accompany him inside. Someone responsible."
"Alec will do it!" Jace and Isabelle exclaimed almost immediately, pushing Alec forward. Alec looked at the both of them, and then at Magnus, and shrugged.
"It's not that scary," Alec commented. He was right, of course - the house was covered in a layer of dust, and seemed to be pulled out of the Victorian era, with massive creaky chandeliers hanging from the altar and candelabras in disuse.
Okay, maybe it was a little scary.
"Yeah," Magnus said smoothly, trying to make out a painting that was covered in grease, "I'm not scared at all."
"You're holding my hand," he pointed out, sounding amused.
Magnus shot him a sloppy glare. "Because I can't walk around in heelys by myself."
Alec nodded, his eyes fixated on something in the corner of the room. He separated from Magnus, heading to whatever he wanted to see, the torchlight of his phone bobbing as he went. Magnus turned his light towards the mysterious painting, trying to see what it was about, when Alec screamed.
Magnus turned around just as Alec barrelled into him. The heelys being of no help at all, he fell backwards, hitting the ground hard. There was something in top of him - it took him a moment to realize that it was Alec, his arms around Magnus's waist and face buried in his chest. Magnus could hear his own heartbeat pounding in his ears. He hoped Alec couldn't.
"Alec," he said, a little dazed, "What-"
"Spider," Alec muttered into his chest. "Big spider. Over there."
Magnus blinked. "You're afraid of spiders?"
"Okay." He patted Alec's head. His hair was soft, just as Magnus had imagined. "Okay, then, let's get out of this room."
There were on one of the upper levels of the house when they heard the sound.
Alec stopped suddenly, turning around. "Did you hear that?"
Magnus nodded, looking at the end of the corridor. It came again - a distant, high pitched wailing.
And it was getting louder.
Magnus and Alec looked at each other, completely afraid if whatever was making that sound.
"Run!" Alec exclaimed, and ran, dragging Magnus along. Magnus squawked, but didn't really have to work hard. The heelys were doing all the work for him.
Except when Alec stopped in front of the door at the end of the corridor, Magnus didn't. Alec managed to get the door only half-closed before Magnus toppled to the ground a good distance away from the door, and Alec followed. Surprisingly, none of the arrows from his quiver fell out. He must've dinner something to keep them in place.
They sat up straight just in time to hear another wail. This one seemed to come from right outside the door. Magnus gripped Alec's hands tightly, and looked at him. Alec was looking back at him.
"Alec," he said, "just in case we don't make it, I-"
The thing flopped into the room, catching Magnus and Alec's attention. It took them both a moment to realize that it was a bat.
It flopped around a little more, then stared up at Alec and Magnus through beady black eyes. They stared back, and then slowly inched towards the bat, whose tiny snout was up in the air.
"It's kind of cute," Alec said, reaching out a hand to pet it. The bat nuzzled into Alec's hand purring in delight.
"It is," Magnus agreed, only slightly jealous of how much attention it was getting from Alec. Why couldn't Alec pet him like that?
"It seems to be injured," Alec realized, brushing a spot where the bat's wing was bent unnaturally.
"Well, we can't just leave it here, now can we?" Magnus said, a small smile creeping onto his face.
"No," Alec agreed. "We can't."
Of course, everyone was confused when Magnus and Alec walked out of the house with a bat in their hands. Ragnor and Catarina and Raphael were even more confused when Magnus refered to it as his son.
Some things, though, were worth making the memories.
Chapter 13: Operation Cookie
"Magnus, what on Earth are you doing?"
"I'm baking cookies, my dear Catarina!"
"Obviously they're for Alec. Lily told Raphael, and Raphael told me, that Alec has a sweet tooth. So, now, if I were to perfect the recipe for chocolate chip cookies, and present them to Alec, then he'll fall in love with me at the first bite and maybe we'll end up opening a tiny bakery in a street somewhere and live there in a tiny apartment above the bakery with the Chairman and our bat! Also, Raphael, put that spoon down. I don't want you to eat up all of the cookie dough."
"Does that imply I can eat a little?"
"It's actually a really good idea."
"If you don't wind up giving him food poisoning, that is."
"Ragnor, be positive for at least once- Raphael! I said stop eating."
The cookies came out surprisingly good, so Magnus carried a Tupperware container of them - or at least, what was left after Catarina, Ragnor and Raphael insisted on a test tasting - to school the next day. At lunch, Magnus went over to the table where Alec and his friends usually sat. Presently only Clary sat there, and Magnus greeted her saying,
Clary looked up from her lunch. "Why are you here?"
"Ouch." Magnus put his hand on his heart in mock offense. "You wound me. Can't I sit with one of my closest friends at lunch?"
Clary just stared at him, unimpressed. "You're here for Alec, aren't you?"
Magnus smiled sheepishly and sat down. "You know me so well."
He opened his lunch bag just as Alec walked over to the table. He sat down beside Magnus without saying anything, setting his own lunch bag on the table.
"Hey," Magnus said in the general tone of someone was ignored. Alec looked up at him and was clearly surprised to see Magnus there.
"I hope you don't mind," Magnus said and smiled patronizingly. "Biscuit invited me over."
Clary glared at him from across the table. Magnus ignored her and took out the container of cookies. "Anyone wants cookies?"
Both Alec and Clary brightened at the mention of cookies, so Magnus gave both one cookie each. Just as Alec was about to eat his, however, someone grabbed it out of his hand.
"Has anyone seen Simon?" Isabelle Lightwood asked, taking a bite out of Alec's cookie. Alec stared at her, incredulous, while Magnus gave her a very annoyed look. "I've been searching everywhere but I can't find him."
"Have you checked the gym?" Alec asked, clearly annoyed as well.
Isabelle shook her head no, and grabbed another cookie as she went, vexing Magnus even further. "For Simon," she explained.
There was a brief silence, which was broken by Clary saying, "These are pretty good, actually."
Magnus inclined his head towards her. "Thank you, biscuit."
Alec, on the other hand, had the look of someone who wasn't sure what to do with their life anymore, so Magnus slid the container over to him with a small smile.
"It's okay," he said. "You can have another."
Alec brightened, and reached for the container when, once again, another hand deprived him of eating a cookie. Except this time they took the whole container away from Alec.
"Oh, no, you don't," Jace said, holding the container in one hand and sitting down beside Clary. He pointed one finger at Alec, shoving a whole cookie into his mouth with the other hand. "You know very well that mom forbade you from eating any sweets."
"No, she didn't!" Alec protested.
"Yes, she did." Jace ate another cookie. Magnus very obviously, very unsubtly glared at him. Those cookies were for Alec - not him! "You just weren't there to hear it."
Then he turned towards Magnus, and said in a conspirational tone, "He has three cavities."
Alec flushed. "I don't!"
"You will if you keep this up," Jace said, eating yet another cookie. Magnus increased the intensity of his glare. "You need to think more about your dental hygiene."
"Oh, you don't talk about dental hygiene!" Alec snapped. "Your idea of romance is sharing a toothbrush with your girlfriend!"
Magnus choked. Now it was Jace's turn to flush and stammer in protest. Alec was looking very smug about it, and Magnus thought that Alec looked very cute with that smile on his face.
He turned to Clary and saw, to his horror, that she had a very strange expression on her face.
"Biscuit," he warned, "I hope you're not considering-"
"No!" Clary yelled almost immediately and shook her head fast. "No, of course not!"
Her tone did nothing to reassure him. Magus narrowed his eyes at her for a moment, and then pointed at Jace with a look that said, Do something!
Clary nodded and nudged Jace with her elbow. Jace turned to her, having just eaten yet another cookie. "What?"
"Magnus made those cookies."
"Oh my God," he coughed, offering Magnus an apologetic smile. "Sorry about that."
He took one look at the remaining contents of the container and then slid it towards Alec. "You can have the last one."
Magnus gaped at Jace. Surely there wasn't only one left?
There was only one left. Magnus decided that he would get back at Jace for it later. For now, he watched Alec, inspecting his expression as he took one bite of the cookie. Alec chewed consideringly, and then turned to Magnus with a bright smile.
"It's really good," he told Magnus, who exhaled in relief. Alec quickly ate the rest of the cookie and stared wistfully at the container, as if wishing for more.
Across the table, Jace and Clary were deep in conversation. Magnus leaned in closer to Alec and said in a low voice, "I could make some more for you, if you want."
Alec's eyes shot up towards him. "Really?"
Magnus smiled at him. "Yes. But only," he accentuated, "if you promise not to share them with Jace."
Alec grinned. "It's a deal."
Chapter 14: Operation Texting
"Guess what? It's our chemistry test tomorrow!"
"I don't see why you have to be so happy about it."
"Well, Alec said that I could text him on the day before the test if I had any doubts. So I'm obviously going to do just that, and then at some point the conversation might get sidetracked, and we'll end up spending a good few hours texting continuously and getting to know each other, and then I'll ask him out!"
"I think you should ask him out in person. Face to face."
"Well, that hasn't exactly worked out in the past, has it Cat?"
"I'll see. If I get an opening, I'll ask him over text, or I'll ask him after the test tomorrow."
[8:05 PM] Hey Alec
[8:05 PM] This is Magnus
[8:06 PM] You said I could message you
[8:08 PM] Oh yeah
[8:08 PM] Hey
[8:09 PM] You have any doubts?
[8:09 PM] A lot, actually.
[8:09 PM] Like
[8:11 PM] What're you typing for so long?
[8:12 PM] I DON'T KNOW SHIT IN ORGANIC! WHAT IS OPTICAL ISOMERISM?! WHAT'S A FREE RADICAL?! AND ALL THOSE MIGRATORY EFFECT THINGS?! AND THOSE REACTIONS????? LIKE I GET THEM BUT I DON'T GET THEM. THE FUCK IS A HOFFMAN?? THE FUCK IS A MARKOVNIKOV??? AND WHY THE FUCK IS THAT ONE THING CALLED FRIES REARRANGEMENT I HATE IT IT MAKES ME CRAVE FRIES
[8:13 PM] Um. Wow. Now I'm craving fries. Kind of.
[8:14 PM] I know this little place nearby. They sell really great fries. How about we go there and get fries and then you can teach me some chemistry? ;)
[8:15 PM] Nah maybe some other time.
[8:15 PM] I think it's better if I call you and explain it to you.
[8:15 PM] Okie.
Alexander ❤❤❤ started a call.
[10:40 PM] You understood everything, right?
[10:41 PM] Oh yes, absolutely
[10:41 PM] I'm going to pass chem for once
[10:42 PM] This is a historic occasion, and I say we celebrate with a drink :)
[10:42 PM] I'll have to take a raincheck on that drink
[10:43 PM] And so do you. I suggest you revise for the test.
[10:43 PM] Ok
[11:56 PM] Hey
[11:56 PM] Help
[11:56 PM] I'm stuck
[11:57 PM] I'm not understanding this lasagna thing
[11:58 PM] Alec???
[11:58 PM] You there??
[11:59 PM] Heyyyyyy
[12:00 AM] Help me understand the lasagna
[12:00 AM] ?????
[12:01 AM] Alec?!?!!?
[12:01 AM] Please! You're my only hope!
[12:02 AM] I'll buy you dinner at that new restaurant in town
[12:02 AM] I heard that they're really good
[12:03 AM] And that their cheesecake is to die for
[12:03 AM] Help meeeeeee (ToT)
[2:05 AM] Oh shit
[2:05 AM] I'm so sorry
[2:06 AM] I just saw your messages.
[2:06 AM] Can I call you now?
[2:08 AM] Wait why are you still up were you revising until now?
[2:09 AM] Uhh… yeah
[2:09 AM] Why are you still up?
[2:10 AM] Well I can't go to bed with the lasagna bouncing around in my head
[2:11 AM] Do you mean Lassaigne?
[2:11 AM] Yeah that
Alexander ❤❤❤ started a call.
[2:40 AM] Thanks you saved my life (^3^) <3
[2:40 AM] No prob
[2:41 AM] Do you always stay up this late
[2:41 AM] You should get more sleep
[2:42 AM] It's k I'm used to it
[2:42 AM] No I mean it
[2:42 AM] You should go to sleep now
[2:43 AM] Ok if you say so
[2:43 AM] See you tomorrow
[2:44 AM] See you tomorrow :)
[7:12 AM] Hey Magnus
[7:12 AM] This is Isabelle
[7:13 AM] Look, I know you have a huge crush on my brother
[7:14 AM] It's ok I didn't tell anyone yet
[7:14 AM] But I'm willing to help you score a date with him
[7:15 AM] Meet me at school tomorrow and we can talk.
Chapter 15: Operation Closet
"What did you want to talk about?"
"What I said in my text messages, duh. You want to date my brother. I'm willing to help you ask him out."
"It's not that simple, Isabelle. Magnus here is… well, let's just say he's trying to set himself up with Alec."
"Ah, going the indirect route, then?"
"Something like that."
"Great! Because I have it all figured out. I have a plan. In the lunch break, wait outside the janitor's closet near the gym. I'll get Alec there, and then I'll take care of the rest."
"What're you going to do, lock them up in a closet together?"
"You, Isabelle Lightwood, are a genius."
"Are we sure this is a good idea?"
" Of course it's a good idea, Cat! Just imagine - me and Alec, all alone, in a tiny closed space with nowhere else to go. Who knows what could happen?"
"Perfect! Don't forget - lunch break, janitor's closet near the gym."
"Okay- Wait a minute! Can you give this to Alec?"
"Is that coffee? Did you buy coffee for Alec?! Aww-"
"Just shut up and go."
"Where is she?" Magnus muttered to himself as he looked left and right for any sight of Isabelle, but she was nowhere to be seen.
"That's the third time in two minutes you've asked that question," Catarina pointed out. Magnus ignored her and continued looking for Isabelle. Instead he saw Alec, coming right towards him.
"Magnus!" Alec called out as he came closer, "Have you seen Isabelle anywhere? She asked me to come here for some reason, but…"
Alec looked left and right, and then shrugged, elucidating his point. Magnus shook his head.
"No, I haven't seen her."
Alec opened his mouth, about to say something, when the closet door burst open and something yanked at his sleeve, hard. The next thing he knew, he was falling to the ground with a yelp, Alec right beside him. The door clanged shut, and there was a sound of a lock clicking, and then all was dark.
" Isabelle," Alec muttered through gritted teeth, ruefully rubbing at his head. Magnus had banged his own shoulder on one of the shelves, and now he rubbed it as he watched Alec stand up and yell at the door. He wasn't going to complain about it, though - he had an excellent view from down here.
"Isabelle!" Alec crossed the infinitesimal distance between himself and the door and banged on it. "Isabelle, let me out! "
"No!" came Isabelle's voice from the other side of the door. Magnus realized now that she had been hiding inside the closet. Smart.
"For God's sake, Isabelle-" Alec banged the door the few more times. Magnus just watched from below, feeling a little insulted that Alec didn't want to spend time with him in a tiny closet.
Magnus clucked his tongue when Alec tried to shoulder the door open and said, "It opens to the inside."
Even in the semi-darkness, he could clearly see Alec's frown directed at him. "Why didn't you say something?"
Magnus shrugged. "I just did."
Alec turned back to the door and attempted to pull it open, only for the knob to come off on the first try. Magnus laughed.
Alec threw the knob to the ground and sat down beside him, his head bowed and shoulder brushing against Magnus's. Magnus tentatively put his hand around Alec's shoulder.
"Hey," he said. "It's okay."
Alec looked up at him. "It's not okay. We have the chemistry test next period, remember?"
Magnus's smile slipped. "I completely forgot."
Alec just stared at him for a moment, dumbfounded, and then turned away.
They sat in silence for a few moments, and then Alec laughed silently. Magnus looked at him.
"What's so funny?"
"I just think it's funny, you know." Alec shook his head. "Because I'm here in an actual closet, and I'm also…" Alec bit his lip. "I'm also in the.. you know.. metaphorical closet, and stuff…"
Magnus smiled and lay a supportive hand on Alec's. "I know. I think my case is funnier, though. Out of the metaphorical closet, into a literal one."
Alec cringed. "Sorry about that, by the way. My sister's always trying to set me up with guys. I just didn't expect her to pick you." Alec's eyes fell away from Magnus at that. "I thought she was interested in you."
Magnus blinked at him, once, then twice. "Why?"
Alec flushed. "Well, you're… you're literally the most wanted person at school. You're beautiful, and kind and amazing, and honestly, I can see why anyone would want to date you."
Magnus's heart skipped a beat. What about you? he wanted to ask. Would you date me?
Instead, he moved his hand away from Alec's hand and placed it against the shelf behind Alec.
"Is that what you think," he asked. "Or is it just the general public's consensus."
"It's, it's just what I think," Alec said, his voice slightly raspy in a way that sent tingles down Magnus's spine.
Magnus shifted a little closer, his other hand still curled around Alec's shoulders. Their lips were only a couple of inches apart.
"I'm glad," he said, and was about to lean in when something plonked on to his head.
"What the-" Alec and he looked up to see several more of those things cascade from somewhere, onto the two of them. They made crinkly noises as they fell to the ground, and Magnus could see an overturned cardboard box on the top shelf.
"What are these?" Alec muttered, and picked up one of the tiny packets which were strewn all over the floor. Magnus was still cursing that at stupid box - he had been so close.
"Magnus," Alec said, alarmed, and held out the packet in his hand. It was about as big as a cracker, and Magnus only had to take a proper look at it to realise what it was.
"Alec," he said, and gestured to the packets all around them. "Why does our school have a secret stash of condoms?"
Alec blushed, and looked at the box. "Maybe Isabelle put them here."
Magnus shook his head. "I don't think Isabelle would've been able to acquire these many. Let's clean it up."
They both made short work of the condoms, shoving them back into the box. Magnus stuffed a few in his pockets, and when saw Alec looking he simply said, "You never know when you might need them."
Once they were done, Alec tried the door again - it didn't budge - and no one even unlocked the door when he knocked, so he gave up and sat beside Magnus, their shoulders pressed against each other.
"Looks like we're stuck here forever," he jokes.
"Yeah," Magnus agreed. They sat in silence for a while, and then he felt the weight of Alec's head on his shoulder. Magnus forced himself to be extremely still.
This is it, Magnus! Ask him out now !!
Magnus took a deep breath and said, "So, Alec, do you want to maybe go on a date sometime?"
When there was no reply, Magnus turned to look at Alec, only to find him sound asleep. He smiled - Alec needed the rest anyway - and laid his cheek against Alec's head, feeling his own eyes closing.
"Why didn't he tell me that?" Raphael pondered aloud as the three of them walked through the hallway.
Ragnor shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe he didn't feel like it."
"Wasn't it a little fast though? Falling for Alec?"
Ragnor snorted. "You should've seen me the next day. We were walking to school the next day, and he wouldn't stop blabbering all about Alec, and I was so confused because I had no idea who he was, and when I asked Magnus about Camille, he just casually said, 'She cheated on me so we broke up.'"
"Magnus has always been fast," Catarina put in. "This is literally the longest he's been single ever since he started dating."
Raphael nodded, and then asked again, "Why all these schemes? Why doesn't he just ask Alec out on a date and take it from there?"
This time, Ragnor and Catarina both shrugged together.
"You can never tell with Magnus," Catarina said. "Maybe he's testing the waters. Maybe he just wants assurance that Alec won't turn out to be like Camille. Maybe he hasn't completely moved on from Camille."
"He used to tell us, 'life is too short to be hung up on one person'," Ragnor shook his head and smiled. "Look where he is now."
They reached the closet door - Isabelle had instructed them not to open it until school hours ended - and unlocked it.
"Aw," Catarina cooed when she saw them inside, curled up together and fast asleep, their heads resting against each other's. Magnus had one arm wrapped around Alec's shoulders, and the two of them looked so peaceful together. She quickly pulled out her phone and snapped a few pictures.
Raphael wrinkled his nose at the sight. "I can't believe they fell asleep in a closet."
Catarina slapped his arm lightly. "Shut up."
"It's filthy in there!"
"That's enough you guys," Ragnor said, and smiled at the sight of the two boys sleeping contentedly in the closet. "I think we should wake them up now."
Chapter 16: Operation Pick-up
"Bro, stop looking at your phone and tell us the plan."
"Ragnor?! Did you just call me 'bro'?"
"This is a historic occasion. The first ever time when Ragnor decided to use the lingo of our people. I'm so proud of you, Ragnor."
"Magnus. The plan."
"Oh, yes! The plan - just look at these!"
"'Chem students do it on the table periodically'? Magnus, that better not be what I think it is."
"Pick up lines! And chemistry themed! Alec will definitely fall flat for me if I tell him these."
"Yeah, I don't think-"
"Don't be silly, Cat. It'll be great! Like, the next time we're both alone together, I'll just drop a few of these, and then Alec will be so impressed, he'll have to fall in love with me. Like, just picture this - the two of us, in a lonely corner somewhere, and we're so close to each other, and then I say, 'Can you feel the Van der Waal's force between us? I can move closer if you can't', and then I'll just move a little bit closer-"
"Wait, Cat, just let me finish. Anyway, we both will be so close that our lips are almost touching, and then I'll lean in just that little-"
"What's wrong with you both? Chill, seriously. Oh, and then I'll just kiss him softly and then ask him to be my boyfriend and- why are you both looking like that? Speak properly, Cat, you know I can't read lips-"
Catarina and Ragnor were insistedly but subtly pointing to something behind him, so Magnus turned around, wondering what was up with his friends - and froze.
"Um," said Alec. He looked as if he was feeling extremely awkward, and Magnus didn't blame him one bit. "Hey."
"Hey," Magnus said. His brain was malfunctioning, the way it sometimes did around Alec. "What are you doing here?"
Alec blinked. "It's chem now. I just figured - if we're both going down, we might as well go together."
Ah, yes. They still had to face the consequences of having fallen asleep in a closet and missing the chemistry test because Isabelle Lightwood locked them up together in an attempt of matchmaking. Magnus's life was getting crazier, and he only had himself to blame, but it would all be worth it in the end.
"Okay," Magnus said and turned to wave at Catarina and Ragnor. "See you later, then."
The duo waved back, and then Magnus and Alec set down the corridor. Magnus waited a few moments, and then said
"Hey, Alec, are you made up of copper and tellurium?"
Alec scrunched up his face adorably. "No, of course not."
"Then you've got to be made up of beryllium, gold and titanium," Magnus said, and commended himself on the smooth save. "Because you're BeAuTi-ful."
Alec stopped short. He blinked once, and then turned to Magnus, his face tinged pink. "Did you just-"
"Yes." Magnus stepped closer to Alec, who moved back slowly, until he was backed up against a locker and Magnus was right in front of him. The hallway was mostly empty but for a few stragglers who didn't look in their direction. "In fact, forget about hydrogen."
Alec's expression of surprise turned to one of confusion. "What?"
Magnus smirked. "Because you're my number one element."
Alec's blush deepened, and he looked even more confused. "That doesn't… make any sense."
Magnus, pleased by the reaction, continued on. "You must be made up of Uranium and Iodine…" he rested one arm above Alec's head and leaned in to whisper in Alec's ear, "... because all I can see is U and I together."
"Magnus, what-" he heard Alec say, his voice a few octaves higher, and then Magnus turned his head towards Alec's, and then-
The loud jarr of the bell interrupted them.
Alec's face changed entirely in that moment. He grabbed Magnus's hand and began running in the direction of the chemistry classroom.
"Alec!" Magnus called out. "Slow down!"
Alec shook his head. "I can't! We're already late!"
"You know, I wish I was adenine," Magnus attempted one last time. "Because then I'd be paired up with U!"
"Okay, cool!" Alec yelled out. Clearly he didn't know much about pick up lines.
They reached the classroom and exchanged a quick glance before Alec reached out and pushed open the door.
The class suddenly came to a silent still. Everyone was staring at them. Magnus walked into the classroom, Alec right behind him.
The teacher frowned at them through her glasses. "Where have you two been?" she asked.
"We're sorry, ma'am," Magnus answered, not feeling sorry at all, "but Alec and I were- held up, and-"
The teacher raised an eyebrow. "Was it more important than your test, Mr.Bane?" she turned on Alec, next. "And you, Mr.Lightwood. I did not expect you of all people to skip the test. Next time, don't choose the chemistry hour to go on your little dates or I'll have to-"
"What?!" Alec's face turned red. "I- no, we're not-"
"Look at his blush!" someone shouted, and the whole class burst into laughter. Magnus looked away, and all he could think was Shit.
"Magnus and Alec sitting in a tree!" someone else chanted, and the rest of the class joined in. " K-I-S-S-I-N-G!"
"Shut up!" Alec snapped, and his face was redder than Magnus had ever seen it before. "I'm not- I am not dating Magnus, I'm not interested in dating Magnus and I'll never be, so shut up!"
Something snapped inside Magnus in that moment.
Alec bit his lip and turned to Magnus, who quickly schooled his features into nonchalancy.
"No offence," Alec said apologetically. Magnus dismissed it with a flick of his hand.
"None taken," he replied. "It's fine."
It wasn't fine.
"I can't believe he did that!" Catarina ranted. "And in front of the whole class!"
Magnus hummed under his breath. He was resting his head against a window in his house, staring out into the golden sunset.
He'd only just told Catarina about what had happened in class. He couldn't stop thinking about it either. About Alec's face when he said those words, his eyes wide and voice trembling. It didn't match with what had almost happened in the hallway.
If it weren't for that damned bell-
"He's scared," Magnus realized suddenly. He could feel Catarina's gaze on him.
Magnus shrugged, and rested one of his hands against the warm glass.
"I don't know," he said with a small smile, his voice incredibly soft. "But I'll show him. I'll show him that there's nothing to be afraid of."
Chapter 17: Operation Drama
“Okay, guys, here’s my plan for today. I’m going to try and convince Alec that he doesn’t have to be afraid of… whatever he’s afraid of.”
“Look at this.”
“This is.. This is a fake script for Romeo and Juliet.”
“Well… I wouldn’t call it fake. It’s a revised version for the scene where Juliet’s afraid of what might happen if she and Romeo got together, and then Romeo just reassures her that everything will be fine.”
“You’ve read Romeo and Juliet?”
“Well no, but - Oh! Don’t give me that look Ragnor. Romeo and Juliet is a forbidden love story. There has to be one such scene, right?"
"Well, maybe… "
"Okay then, it's settled! I'm going to make up some excuse about an audition, and I'll act out Romeo's parts while asking Alec to act out Juliet's parts, and boom! This has to work."
"Well if you say so…"
Alec stopped and turned around in the middle of the parking lot and Magnus almost crashed into him. Almost.
"I need your help," he told Alec and handed him the papers in his hand. "I'm auditioning for the role of Romeo in an upcoming school play and I need to practice these lines. Can you help me out? Just read out Juliet's lines, that's all."
"Oh." Alec blinked and took the papers. "Okay, then."
Alec read through the dialogue once, and then started reading out the first lines, which were Juliet's.
"Dear Romeo," he read out loud. "I fear we cannot be together in love. Our families are sworn enemies. They would never let us get married. Besides, you are betrothed to another, as am I."
Alec squinted at the papers. "I don't think this is the original text."
Magnus nodded. "It's a revised version."
He cleared his throat and started reciting his own lines.
"Fear not, my beautiful Juliet," he said, and took Alec's hands in his. Alec looked at him, surprised. "Yes, our families are sworn enemies. Yes, we are both betrothed. But surely, our love is greater than all of that? Surely our love matters more? Surely we can cross all those divides and find happiness for ourselves? Aren't all these things but mere obstacles in our journey of love?"
Magnus stepped closer to Alec. "Together, we can rise above all of that. Trust me. Just take my hand. That is all I ask of you."
Alec's eyes flickered down to the papers again. "But- how? Romeo, they'll kill us if they ever found out."
“We won’t let them,” Magnus assured him. “Run away with me, Juliet. Run away with me, and we’ll be happy together, away from all these feuds.”
Alec blinked, his eyes flickering between Magnus and the papers, and then he stepped away from Magnus.
“You did great.” He smiled and handed the papers back to Magnus. “They’ll definitely choose you. You’ll make a great Romeo.”
And with that, he turned and left.
“But-“ Magnus muttered after his retreating form, “I want to be your Romeo.”
He looked down at the script again, at the bottom of the page where the words They kiss were written in square brackets, a tiny pout on his face.
Magnus turned his head up to look at Alec again. Sometimes, he wished he knew what exactly was going on in that boy’s head.
Chapter 18: Operation Poetry
"You guys, I just had the most brilliant idea for making Alec fall in love with me!"
"What happened to the whole making Alec less scared thing?"
"Oh, don't worry about that. It'll happen on it's own, I'm sure. Anyway, about this plan. I'm going to write some poetry for him."
" You're going to write poetry declaiming your love for Alec Lightwood?"
"Yes, Ragnor. That's what I just said."
"Think twice, Magnus. Remember the charango incident?"
"Oh, I can assure you, Cat, that was very different. I am an artiste of words. I will make Alexander swoon with my poetry."
"I highly doubt it. You can't even properly describe how you feel about him to us."
"Of course I can!"
"Very well, then. Alec… he's just something special, you know? Everytime I look at him, it's like he's all I see. The rest of the world just… becomes a blur."
"Because that's just how vision works, dummy."
"Boys, calm down. Magnus, go write your poetry. We'll just have to see how this works out."
Magnus's heart was skittering nervously in his chest as he made his way to Alec's table in the cafeteria in the lunch break, a paper clutched in his hands.
Except, when he got there, Alec wasn't anywhere to be seen. Jace, Clary, Isabelle, Simon and Lily were already there. Lily appeared to be pestering Jace about something while the others were deep in conversation.
Magnus cleared his throat, and everyone at the table looked at him. "Do any of you know where Alec is?"
Isabelle shook her head. "No, why?"
"I just wanted to talk to him," Magnus said, and their gazes seemed to be prodding him, so he reluctantly added. "I wrote some poetry about him, so…"
It was as if he'd told a bunch of kids that the ice cream truck was coming. Everyone was all over him all of a sudden - not literally, of course - demanding to hear the poem. Magnus looked around the cafeteria. Alec was still nowhere to be seen, so surely one quick reading would be harmless, right?
"Okay, fine." Magnus gave in, and the table cheered. "Here goes."
With one last look at the five's enthusiastic faces, Magnus began reading the poem.
"My dear Alexander
You make my heart wander
Away from me, towards you
My love for you is so, so, true
You ask me, 'How, are you?' and I say 'Fine'
But deep down, I just wish you were mine
We could go out and have a fondue
With a cherry on top and split in two
They say, 'You are what you eat'
Is that why you're so sweet?
Because, darling, your voice is just like honey
And your smile is always bright and sunny
And all I want is to look into your eyes so blue
And say 'Alexander, baby, I love you.'"
Magnus took a deep breath and looked up from the paper. Five faces stared back at him in stunned silence, no doubt in awe of his amazing writing skills.
And then they burst out laughing.
Magnus scowled at them. "What's so funny?"
"Your poem!" Lily exclaimed, and promptly started laughing again.
"No, offence, dude, but-" Simon paused, clearly trying to hold back more laughter, and then said, "the lyrics could've been better."
Magnus's scowl deepened, and he crossed his arms. "Well I hardly doubt that Salacious Mold could do better than me."
"Actually, we're Millennial Lint now."
Magnus rolled his eyes. He had much better things to do than keep track of Sylvester's ever-changing band name."
The laughter subsided at last - not completely, for Lily was still in the middle of a fit of giggles - and Magnus was about to give them a piece of his mind when a voice came from behind,
"What's going on?"
Magnus didn't have to turn around to know it was Alec, with his adorable rumpled hair and his lunch tray in his hands, but he did so anyway.
"Alec!" Magnus exclaimed with a grin. "Hey."
"Hey." Alec nodded at him, and jerked his head towards Lily. "What's gotten into her?"
"Magnus wrote a poem about you," Jace piped up from behind. Magnus whirled around and glared at him.
"Really?" Something in Alec's voice made Magnus turn back to him. He was staring at Magnus, his eyes wide and surprised, and there was the sublest hint of a smile on his lips. "Can I read it?"
Magnus in a flux. On one hand, he just wanted to give into Alec's gaze and show him the poem, but on the other…
He thought again of the other's reactions when he read out the poem. No, there was no way he could show Alec the poem.
"Maybe later," he said a little too quickly. "I need to go."
And then he ran away from there.
Magnus couldn't help but chide himself once he got away. He wasn't supposed to be running away. But the thought of Alec reading about his feelings and then laughing in his face stung.
When Magnus told his friends about what had happened and showed them the poem, Raphael just shrugged and said, "I told you so."
Ragnor clapped him on the back. "That was the absolute worst poem I've ever read," he said with all the air of an encouraging grandparent. "Please don't do it again."
Magnus sighed and turned to Catarina.
"It's okay," he told her. "You can laugh."
"I'm sorry, but-" Catarina giggled, and then the giggles bubbled up into laughter, and Magnus couldn't help but give a twinge of a smile.
Maybe someday he would show the poem to Alec, and they both would laugh about it together. Just not today.
Chapter 19: Operation Surprise
This one's for Magnus. Happy birthday, Magnus!
“Ragnor, why did you call us here? And where’s Magnus?”
“Magnus is probably at home. It doesn’t matter. I called you here because I have a plan.”
“ You have a plan?!”
“Yes, Cat, don’t be so surprised. It’s not as ridiculous as Magnus’s plots, of course, but I think this will work.”
“Okay, speak up.”
“So, you both know that tomorrow’s Magnus’s birthday, right?”
“I didn’t actually know that.”
“Well now you do, Raphael. So I was thinking we could plan a surprise party at his home-“
“How will you do that without him finding out?”
“Good question. We’ll just get Alec to distract him.”
“So you’re saying… that we’ll tell Alec to distract Magnus for a whole evening because we’re planning him a surprise party?”
“Yes, and if he thinks Magnus is, in his own words, ‘a charming gentleman’, then everything should work out for the two of them.”
“But is the surprise party really necessary?”
“Well, Raphael, it would look really suspicious if we told Alec that we were planning a surprise party, and then we didn’t.”
“Do I have to be present at the party?”
“Yes! Don’t pull that face, Raphael. It’s just this once.”
“So when are you going to talk to Alec about this?”
“ We are going to talk to Alec about this. And as for when… he should be arriving somewhere around… there he is!”
At midnight, Magnus got exactly three messages wishing him a happy birthday.
The first was from Catarina, who had sent him a minimalist ‘Happy Birthday’ followed by a long string of sweet messages about how he was one of the best people in her life and so on. Magnus had replied with a bunch of heart emojis.
The second was Ragnor, who sent him a silly graphic of a cake with the words ‘Happy Birthday Magnus’ written on it in Comic Sans. Magnus had grinned and replied with a silly GIF.
The third, to his utter surprise, was Alec.
He had put his phone on the nightstand a few minutes after Ragnor wished him, and was about to turn off the lights when his phone lit up with a new notification. A message from Alec that read,
Hey, Happy Birthday
Hope you have a great day
Magnus had smiled and replied with a thanks and a kissy face emoji, wondering if Alec had been staring at his phone for a few minutes, fingers hovering over the keyboard and thinking about what he should type.
The smile was still on his face when he fell asleep.
The next morning was disappointingly moderate.
Sure, Magnus had had a thousand people come up to him and wish him, more greeting cards in his locker than he could count and a new shirt from Catarina. Raphael, apparently, had 'absolutely no interest in useless endeavors such as gift gifting', and Ragnor had simply told him,
"It's a surprise. You'll find out later."
All three of them had claimed they were too busy to hang out later, and didn't relent no matter how much Magnus pouted at them. Which was why Magnus was walking home alone when he heard a very familiar voice call out for him when he was maybe a few buildings away from school.
"Magnus!" Alec had called out, and Magnus turned around in surprise. "Magnus, wait!"
Magnus did wait until Alec stopped in front of him and paused a moment to catch his breath.
"Happy Birthday," he said at last and held out a hand. Magnus shook it.
"Thanks," he said. Alec smiled at him and dropped his hand.
"So, where are you going?" Alec asked him. Magnus shrugged.
"I usually spend time with my friends," he said, "but they're all busy today, so I'll just go home and-"
"No!" Alec exclaimed, a little too loudly. Magnus goggled at him. Alec looked surprised at his own outburst.
"I mean," Alec said immediately, "I was thinking… do you maybe want to…" Magnus's heart skipped a beat. Was Alec asking him out?
"You know, hang out?"
Still, Magnus smiled and took it with an easy grace. "Sure."
Alec smiled back.
After a quick detour back to the school to leave their backpacks in some safe place, since Alec seemed recalcitrant about letting Magnus go home to do it, the two of them stepped out of school, walking side by side, their steps in sync and hands centimeters away from each other.
"If you don't mind," Magnus said, turning into the conveniently placed floral shop near the school. "I'd like to meet someone before we go… wherever you want to go."
Alec blinked. "Okay."
Magnus smiled at him and bought a bouquet of daisies from the florist. He couldn't help but notice that Alec kept glancing at the bouquet as they walked, block after block, until they reached a graveyard.
Alec's lips parted when he saw it, his eyes flickering between the gate and Magnus.
Magnus gave him a smile. "It'll be only a few minutes."
He didn't have to look where he was going to find her. When he did, he smiled down at her and said, "Hey, mom."
So here he was, on his birthday, all alone in a graveyard and talking to his dead mother with his crush just outside. Life was fun.
"I hope you're doing great," Magnus continued, completely aware of how deranged he sounded. "I sure am. Dad.. I have no idea. He hasn't called me yet. Not that I really care whether he does."
Magnus bit his lip and whispered, quiet enough that it wouldn't carry around, "I miss you. I wonder a lot, you know, whether you miss me too. It's been- God, it's been so many years, but still…"
A car accident. That's how she had gone. Some stupid person had gotten drunk and crashed into her car. Magnus could still hear her last words, spoken as she left for work, as if it was yesterday. Goodbye, sayang. I love you.
It was almost as if she knew.
Magnus shook it off and raised his head, looking outside the graveyard. Alec was leaning against the fence, facing away from him. Magnus turned back to the headstone in front of him.
"That's Alec, by the way," he said. "Alexander Lightwood. He's… well, Ragnor calls him my latest disaster, but we're not really there, you know. And I don't want it to be a disaster. He's really sweet. I think you would've liked him."
He bent over and put the bouquet in front of the grave, ending his tirade. The last thing he wanted was Alec overhearing him gush about his crush to his dead mother.
Magnus stepped out of the graveyard, and smiled when he saw Alec, his head bowed and phone in hand.
He decided not to think too much about his past anymore. Not when his future was here.
Alec looked and spotted him, and Magnus explained,
"My mother. She had passed away when I was nine."
Alec nodded and put away his phone. "Are you okay?"
He didn't say 'I'm sorry'. Magnus loved him just for that.
"So what you want to do?" Magnus asked.
Alec shrugged. "It's your birthday. You choose."
Magnus didn't have to think long. His lips slowly stretched into a wide grin.
"So," Magnus spun away from the mirror. "How do I look?"
Alec was sitting on a red plush stool with his head in his hands. "I can't believe I agreed to this."
Magnus clicked his tongue. "You should've expected it, darling."
Alec sighed and looked up, his eyes flickering up and down Magnus's lithe frame. Magnus smiled to himself. If he was trying to impress Alec with his amazing dressing sense, no one had to know.
"You look great," Alec said at last. Magnus raised an eyebrow.
"Just great? I was expecting something along the lines of 'magnificent, fantastic, absolutely mind blowing'."
Alec looked indignant. "I'm sorry, okay? I'm bad at this."
Magnus gave him a reassuring smile. "Good thing I'm fashionable enough for the both of us, then."
He turned back to the mirror, examining the glittery cowl-neck sweater with sequins cascading down the front. It was getting cold, after all, and Magnus expected the first snow to fall any time soon. He needed functional, fashionable wear for the winter.
He finally decided on a few outfits, including the cowl-neck, and just as he and Alec stepped out the store, Magnus’s phone rang.
“Oh, now he calls,” Magnus muttered, and pulled out his phone. Sure enough, it was his father.
“Give me a few minutes,” he told Alec, and went aside to take the call, internally groaning. Putting his bags down, near his feet, he leant against a pillar nearby and answered the call.
“Hello?” he said gruffly.
“Happy Birthday, son,” said Magnus’s father from the other side of the line.
“Thank you,” Magnus replied automatically, and then said, rolling his eyes, “Is that all? I don’t want to be wasting your precious time.”
“Actually, I have a few things I want to be talking to you about.”
Magnus almost groaned out loud this time. “What is it?”
“You’re practically an adult now, Magnus. I need you to be more serious, especially since you’ll be taking over after me.”
“I don’t want to run your stupid company,” Magnus snapped.
“Don’t be silly, Magnus,” his father chided. “If you don’t take over after I retire, then who will?”
“I’m pretty sure there are a lot of people interested,” Magnus pointed out.
“I need to go,” Magnus said quickly, “my friends are waiting for me.”
He cut the call before his father could say anything else and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He hated his father. He was hardly around in Magnus’s life, and when he was, he was like this - always going on about his company. It was so tedious.
Magnus brushed aside all lingering thoughts of his father, and went back to where he had left Alec.
Except Alec wasn’t there.
Magnus panicked, and looked around, and panicked even more when he couldn’t see Alec anywhere. All sorts of scenarios ran through his head about what could’ve happened to Alec.
Did someone kidnap him? Did he get bored and decided to leave? Did someone whisk him away for an impromptu date? Did-
Magnus whipped around and sighed in relief when he saw that it was just Alec. “Where did you go?!”
“Um,” Alec held out a paper bag for Magnus. “I just went to grab something for you.”
“Oh.” Magnus’s heart swelled up, and he took the bag. When he saw out was inside, he couldn’t help but let out a shriek of delight.
“Oh, Alec!” He exclaimed, pulling out the eyeshadow palette in the bag. “I love this!”
Alec grinned. “I’m glad.”
Magnus put the palette back in the bag, and was contemplating kissing Alec right then and there, when Alec said,
“So, now that we’re done with shopping-“
“Oh, but Alec,” Magnus interrupted, putting a finger to Alec’s lips. He slowly shook his head and said in a sing-song voice, “ We’re not done yet.”
It was past seven when they were finally done.
Magnus was holding several bags in his hands, and Alec was holding more in his hands - a couple of which were his, for Magnus managed to convince him to let him buy a few clothes for Alec - and an ice cream. He’d had a lot of fun buying clothes for Alec, who seemed embarrassed about the whole affair and got flustered whenever Magnus examined how he looked in a particular outfit. He was so endearing.
Alec had insisted that he walk Magnus home, like the perfect gentleman he was, and Magnus had agreed, because how could he not?
When they finally reached the front gate of Magnus’s house, he said, “I had fun today.”
Alec nodded. "I'd be disappointed if you didn't."
Magnus smiled and turned towards Alec entirely, and Alec smiled back.
“We should do this more often,” Magnus said.
“I think I’d like that,” Alec said, and Magnus smiled even more.
Their eyes met, and something passed between them. Magnus stared into Alec’s eyes for a few minutes, and slowly leaned in, his eyes slipping shut.
He felt Alec’s fingers on his face, and then there was something silky over his eyes. A blindfold. He could feel Alec’s hands at the back of his head, tying the silky cloth.
“Alexander,” Magnus said, confused. “What-?”
“Trust me,” was all Alec said, and he did.
Alec’s hands were on his shoulders next, leading him towards his house. Magnus couldn’t help but wonder what exactly was going on.
They moved forward, going even past the front door - how that happened, Magnus had no idea.
The door shut behind him, and Alec moved away from him. Magnus waited with bated breath until Alec said, "You can remove it now."
Magnus pulled off the blindfold, and blinked into the darkness for a few seconds before the lights came on.
Blinking against the brightness, Magnus could see that the room was full of people - Ragnor, Catarina, Raphael; Jace and Isabelle and Clary among many others - all smiling broadly at him (except, of course, for Raphael) and yelling, "Happy Birthday, Magnus!"
Magnus's jaw dropped, and he put his hnads over his mouth. His heart felt like it was going to explode with happiness. He tried his hardest to move his mouth to form words, until at last he pointed at Ragnor and said, "You sneaky little-" Magnus just shook his head, unable to continue.
Ragnor shrugged. "Hope you liked your present."
Magnus grinned broadly at him, and he could see Alec standing beside his sister, smiling at him. So it was all Ragnor's doing.
"Ragnor, my sweet cabbage," Magnus said, even though Ragnor would chew him out later for calling him that in front of so many people, " it's perfect."
It was late in the night when the party ended. Everyone had gone home, except for Magnus's closest friends. Magnus had no idea when Raphael had managed to worm himself into that category, but it didn't matter now.
They were sitting on the couch, having been playing a minimal game of 'Never Have I Ever' with Tessa Gray and her boys, who had only left a few moments ago.
"It's getting late," Catarina said, looking at her watch. "We should get going-"
"Oh, but guys," Magnus interrupted, standing up and gesturing at them to stay seated. He remembered his entire episode with Alec at the mall, and said in a sing-song voice, shaking his head the same way he had done with Alec at the mall, " We're not done yet."
He grinned when Catarina and Raphael turned in sync to glare at Ragnor accusingly, who looked horrified. They were in for a long night.