I. Catarina and Ragnor
"And then she poured the entire pot of tea on my head!"
Catarina roars with laughter and Magnus smiles, shaking his head at his friends' antics. Ragnor has told the same story about a hundred times and each time it gets more outrageous and unbelievable. And Catarina, ever the loyal friend, still reacts like it's the first time. Magnus can't resist smiling into his wine glass, too.
Ragnor starts up another story they've all heard before when Magnus' cell phone starts buzzing on the coffee table between them. There's a moment where nobody moves, everyone staring at the phone slowly sliding from the force of the vibrations. Then, all at once, everyone lunges. Magnus thankfully gets to it first.
In his joy at evading his friends' meddling, he doesn't even think before answering, "Hello?"
"Magnus!" Alec's cheerful voice rings out across the line. "How is the most handsome, sexy, beautiful man in New York?"
Magnus should be used to the compliments, they've been flowing non-stop since their first date, but it still makes him blush against his control. Ragnor and Catarina, both laser-focused on him, notice it immediately.
Magnus knows anything he says is going to incriminate him, and when he doesn't respond Alec asks, "Magnus? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," Magnus replies. His voice lacks any of the giddiness or affection he usually has when speaking to Alec. "How are you?"
"Are you sure?" Normally Alec's insistence on taking care of Magnus is wonderful, but right now Magnus is desperately trying to get through this conversation with minimal roasting from his friends. "Is now a bad time?"
"Actually, yes," Magnus says, relieved. Thank god for Alec giving him an out. "I'm with my friends right now, but I'll call you back later?"
"Okay," Magnus swears he can hear the pout in Alec's voice. "I'll talk to you later, then. Love you."
And Magnus, damn it all, can never resist responding when Alec says that.
"Love you, too."
Magnus hangs up before Alec could hear the shocked and delighted yelling of his friends.
As soon as Raphael reaches Magnus' door, he knows something is wrong. First of all, there's noise coming from inside when Magnus had told him earlier that he would be busy, and that the wards were adjusted to let Raphael in.
Secondly, and most concerning, Raphael is almost certain he smells Nephilim blood.
It's been a few years since he's smelt it, and with each decade the potency of angelic bloodlines becomes weaker, but the smell of sunshine on pavement is hard to forget.
Raphael curses the friendly and accommodating nature of Magnus' magic, because he has no chance to prepare before the front door is swinging open for him. When nothing immediately happens, Raphael is even more concerned.
It takes a lot of effort, but he manages to slowly creep in instead of zooming at full vamp-speed. Past the overwhelming smell of Nephilim, he can smell something cooking, too, so he makes a split second decision. He drops his fangs and goes full speed into the kitchen, stopping just before he crashes into the intruder.
"Holy shit!" The shadowhunter screams and drops the dish he was holding. Raphael looks down in distaste at the pasta sauce now staining his white shoes. He looks back up (and he does mean up, this guy is giant) when the man starts rambling. "Holy fuck, you scared the goddamn shit out of me. Jesus Christ! And now the lasagna is on the floor, fuck."
Raphael glares and feels proud when the Nephilim backs away.
"What are you doing here?" Raphael questions, voice low and fangs still exposed. He moves forward, carefully avoiding the shattered glass and pasta. "What do you want?"
"I wanted to make dinner..." The man's eyes narrow in on the fangs and, instead of recoiling in fear, his face lights up with recognition. "Oh! You're Raph!"
"Don't call me—"
"I'm Alec!" Alec smiles and holds out a hand. He's still wearing his oven mitts. "Magnus told me a lot about you! Including the vampire thing—cool fangs."
Raphael almost thanks him—his mother didn't raise an asshole—before he remembers that this shadowhunter is in Magnus' home and knows who he is. Magnus had told him in his letters that he just got his magic back, and Raphael can imagine this giant Nephilim easily overpowering him and torturing him for information.
"Where is he?" Raphael demands, moving forward again and grabbing a handful of Alec's shirt. Alec drops his hand from where he'd been holding it up for a handshake, and the movement has Raphael grabbing a knife and holding it to his throat in an instant. "Don't move!"
Alec stays still, fear making his breath come out in harsh pants.
"Look, there's been a misunderstanding."
"There's no misunderstanding," Raphael growls. "Tell me where he is, shadowhunter, or I spill your pretty angel blood all over the floor."
A noise comes from elsewhere in the loft and Alec looks away, in the direction of the main doorway. Raphael shakes him and presses forward with the knife again, just digging in but not cutting, "Answer me!"
Alec opens his mouth but nothing comes out. It isn't until Raphael tries to threaten him more that he realizes they've both been frozen in place.
"Raph, oh my god!" Magnus is still holding his hand out, visibly struggling to maintain the spell. "What are you doing?!"
Raphael rolls his eyes as if to say I can't answer when I'm stuck and Magnus finally releases them. Alec goes scrambling backwards so fast that he falls on his ass. Serves him right, Raphael thinks.
Magnus rushes over to the two of them and Raphael is already anticipating the mother hen act from Magnus, when he completely bypasses Raphael to kneel next to Alec.
"Alexander, darling, are you okay?" Magnus casts a few weak healing spells, but Alec holds on to his hands to stop him.
"I'm fine, babe," Alec frowns at the floor behind Raphael. "But dinner isn't."
Magnus laughs, helps Alec stand up, and then rounds on Raphael with a glare that reminds him of when he was just a fledgling. Raphael can't control the urge to start explaining himself in the face of all that parental disappointment.
"I thought there was an intruder. I smelt his blood and I just acted," Raphael only just manages to resist hanging his head in shame. "Your magic just came back and I thought..."
Magnus sighs. "I told you that my boyfriend would be here."
"You didn't say he was a shadowhunter!"
"A what?" Alec and Magnus say in unison, although Magnus is much more shocked.
"You're honestly telling me you didn't know?" Raphael looks up, as if asking the heavens for help. "You're a hopeless idiot."
"Hey!" Alec immediately comes to Magnus' defense, and it would be admirable if it wasn't so disgustingly cute. "You're the idiot!"
"Alexander," Magnus admonishes, but there's barely any heat behind it. He waves his hands and the mess is gone, and with a snap new pasta ingredients appear on the counter. Alec watches the whole thing with barely contained awe. Raphael thinks he heard Alec mutter wow under his breath.
"Why don't you try again with dinner and I can talk to Raph?" Magnus offers, standing up on his toes to kiss Alec's cheek. Alec's awed expression turns even more warm and fuzzy, so Raphael makes his leave.
By the time Magnus makes it to the living room, Raphael is desperately wishing he didn't have enhanced vampire hearing.
Lewis: You still coming over for movie night?
Lewis: :( Why?
Lewis: With what?
Lewis: What could be more important than me, your best friend?
Lewis: And don't say it's Izzy because she's right here.
Alec: date night
Lewis: What!!! You didn't tell me!!!! Tell me more, tell me more!!!
Lewis: Like does he have a car?? :)
Alec: anyway im busy leave me alone
Lewis: Fine :(
Alec: [photo attached]
Lewis: YOURE ON A DATE WITH THE FORTUNE TELLER???
Read: 6:52 PM
There's only two people in this world that would call him his full name. One of them is Magnus, who is currently standing in front of Alec, dressed in a suit and tentatively sipping a cocktail. Magnus didn't use the full version at first, but as soon as he learned that Alec was short for Alexander, he never switched back. Alec still hasn't told him how happy and warm hearing it makes him feel.
Given that his lovely boyfriend is in front of him and the voice came from behind, there's only one option left.
"Mother," Alec keeps his tone even as he turns around, purposely putting himself between Maryse and Magnus.
"It's been ages, hasn't it?" Her voice is falsely sweet in a way that still puts Alec on edge like he was a child again. "I've been worried about you."
Alec can't stop himself from huffing out a small, bitter laugh. "Really?"
"A mother worries about her eldest son," Her eyes flick briefly to a point behind him and Alec moves to stand where she's looking. Something in him doesn't want her to even look at Magnus, let alone speak to him. "Especially after you ran away on us, stopped calling—"
"You kicked me out."
"—Started spending time with," she pauses, completely ignoring Alec's interjection. "Unsavory people."
Her eyes flick back again and this time Alec turns to look. Magnus is standing there, still clutching his nearly-full cocktail, watching the exchange with wide eyes. Alec is struck, as he usually is, by how cute and handsome Magnus looks. He turns back to his mother with a challenge in his eyes that says: Just try it.
As expected, she does.
"Why, Alec, who's your friend?" Alec knows he isn't imagining the emphasis on 'friend'. "It's bad manners to not introduce someone."
Before Alec has the chance to tell her where she can shove her manners, Magnus speaks up.
"Magnus Bane," he says, moving to stand next to Alec. He holds out a hand and smiles, the perfect picture of innocent charm, and Maryse looks at him like a hawk eyeing its next meal.
"Maryse Lightwood. Charmed, I'm sure."
Alec rolls his eyes. He tries to draw her attention back to himself by asking, "What are you doing here?"
"Is that any way to speak to your mother? I was invited," she only briefly looks at Alec before focusing back on Magnus. Alec wants to contradict her—this is Alec's event, he would know if his parents were invited—but she continues. "What about you, Mr. Bane?"
"Oh, I'm," Magnus trails off, unsure of what exactly to say. Magnus had picked up on the obvious tension between Alec and his mother, and was wary of making anything worse by admitting they were dating. There was a time when Alec would have done the same, fearful of his parents' wrath and disapproval, but he hasn't been that person for years.
"He's with me," Alec wraps a possessive arm around his waist. Magnus tenses up first before melting into the gesture.
"Of course," Maryse responds, but doesn't elaborate any further. Magnus shifts awkwardly under the weight of her glare.
"If you don't have anything important to discuss, then we'll be leaving," Alec finally declares after a few seconds of tense silence. "I would say it was nice to see you."
Alec leaves the second half of the sentence unsaid, but it wasn't, and all but drags Magnus away. He leads them fully out of the ballroom and into a hallway that leads to the kitchens. Some waitstaff pass by but they respectfully look away.
"God, I'm so sorry about that," Alec runs a hand through his hair in his frustration. "If I knew she was coming—"
"It's fine, Alexander," Magnus smiles softly at him and leans against the wall, next to a stack of cardboard boxes labeled with various food names. Alec moves into his personal space as if drawn by a magnet, gently putting his hands on Magnus' waist.
"She's just so fucking vile," Alec continues. Magnus wraps his arms around Alec's neck and Alec relaxes into his hold, resting his forehead against Magnus' shoulder. "I— What she—"
Magnus shushes him, rubbing his thumb along his nape. Alec has told Magnus countless stories of his siblings, but so far he has never mentioned his parents. Magnus can see why, after only five minutes with the woman.
"There's a part of me," Alec mumbles against his suit jacket. "That is still so scared of her. Like I'm eighteen again and it's that night, when— when they found out."
Magnus knows a little bit about terrifying parents, so he holds Alec closer and whispers, "It's fine, you're fine."
It takes ten minutes before they break apart and another five before Alec is willing to head back to the party. He wants to leave, but he's on the clock. When they get back, Maryse is nowhere to be found and they both relax, managing to have a good time in the end.
"Hey, isn't that Alex?" Jace asks, narrowing his eyes at the tall figure he can see in the distance.
"Alec," Simon corrects automatically, then adds. "Wait, where?"
"Yeah, that looks like him," Clary agrees, helpfully pointing to the ice cream shop across the street. When Simon looks, he can see a tall man with dark hair leading a shorter man dressed like a grandpa into the shop.
"Oh, yeah," Simon confirms. "That's definitely Alec and Magnus."
Jace's next question is "Who's Magnus?" but Clary and Simon both ignore him.
"They're going on an ice cream date, that's so cute," Clary gushes. Then she turns to Jace and smacks him on the arm. "Why don't you take me on cute dates?"
Jace frowns, rubbing his arm like he's in pain, "Don't I?"
Clary shares a look with Simon, as if to say men, am I right?
"Alec tells me all about their dates," Simon replies and Clary leans forward, clearly interested. Jace is still frowning. "They've been to every fancy restaurant in the city."
Once Simon starts sharing details, he and Clary get more and more animated. They talk about how romantic Alec is, how sweet Magnus is, how they hope to find a love like that someday. Somewhere in the middle of Simon recounting Alec's Valentine's Day plans, a thought occurs to Jace.
"Wait," he says, and Simon and Clary turn to look at him. "Alec is gay?"
Alec is having a great morning. He slept in late (eight instead of seven—scandalous!), killed his workout, drank some delicious coffee on his balcony, and now he's getting ready to meet Magnus at the park. He hasn't been this happy and stress-free for years.
Which means he should've expected the disaster that suddenly arrived on his doorstep.
"Alexander motherfucking Gideon Lightwood!" Izzy yells from outside his front door. She punctuates her words with loud banging on the surface of it. "You open this door right now!"
Alec shudders at the way she sounds like their mother and rushes to open the door before his neighbors complain. He rips the door open and Izzy stares at him from the hallway, her fist still raised.
"Izzy, god, what is going on?" He pulls her inside and gives her a quick once over. No injuries, no tears, only a minimal amount of bad fashion choices.
"You didn't tell me!" She shouts, moving her fist to punch weakly at his chest. "I had to hear about it from Simon of all people! I'm your sister!"
Alec still has no idea what's going on.
"I have no idea what's going on," he says.
"You told Simon you were on a date! You sent him a picture," Izzy's voice has gotten quieter but not any less mad. Alec regrets, not for the first time, ever letting Simon have his number.
Alec truly has no excuse, especially when Isabelle tells him everything about Simon whether he wants to hear it or not. He offers a small, "I'm sorry?"
"You owe me so much for this," she moves past him and drops dramatically on his living room couch. "Starting with coffee and how you two met."
Alec dutifully prepares her coffee and brings it to her, sitting down next to her on the couch. She takes a sip, makes a pleased hum, and then eyes him studiously. Alec isn't sure what she sees in him, but she comes to a conclusion quickly.
"You really like him, don't you?"
Alec doesn't try to hide his grin.