Ever since his and Magnus’ first date, Alec has been feeling preoccupied. He isn’t sure what it is about the seemingly ordinary evening he spent in the warlock’s company that’s making him question himself so much, but there’s something. He hasn’t been able to focus on his work properly, has been too busy twisting and turning to get a proper night’s sleep, and he even let Clary handle a few mission reports in his stead yesterday.
“Did something happen during the date?” Izzy asks him when he goes to her for help. “Did he do something that bothered you? Did you do something that bothered him? Was it not as good as you thought it would be?”
He shakes his head, furrowing his brows in thought. The date was perfect. Magnus had been a perfect gentleman, hadn’t forced Alec into doing anything he didn’t want to do, and they had resolved any underlying tension that had remained after the Cabinet Meeting.
He should be elated, but instead he’s been stuck in this disturbing mood for two days. Part of him wants to call Magnus and tell him about it, ask him if he’s doing okay or if he’s just as lost as Alec is.
“I don’t know, Alec, maybe this is just the way you handle romantic feelings,” his sister shrugs. “You’ve never been on a date before, so this could just be your brain’s way of processing things. I wouldn’t worry too much about it if I were you; I’m sure you’ll be back to your usual, delightfully serious self in no time.”
He barely has the time to thank her before she’s hurrying out of the room, probably on her way to meet with her new werewolf friend. He can’t even work up the strength to chide her about her frequent absences, too bothered by his own inability to keep his thoughts in order.
His mind has always been the one thing he can trust to stay steady through everything, and now he’s not sure he can anymore. Not when his every move is accompanied by a memory of Magnus.
Magnus sipping at his drink elegantly, not even wincing at the taste. Magnus leaning over the pool table and winking at Alec suggestively. Magnus telling him hilarious stories about his past lovers. Magnus giving a passionate speech about equality within the Shadow World. Magnus leaning in to kiss Alec’s cheek. His every thought is Magnus, Magnus, Magnus, and he doesn’t know how to stop it.
The memories are only adding to the discomfort he’s been feeling ever since that night. He knows, rationally, that his sister is probably onto something. He’s never been interested in someone before Magnus, and this might just be his heart’s way of processing things.
Deep down, though, he knows there’s something else. Something else Magnus mentioned that night that’s been on the tip of his mind ever since. He keeps digging for the words, searching for the memory, but it slips out of his grasp every time he gets near it. It’s infuriating, especially since he knows the only person who can help him is Magnus.
Magnus, who hasn’t contacted him since their date. Oh sure, there have been one or two texts her and there, but Alec is starting to worry that whatever it is he’s forgotten about, it’s a lot bigger than himself. He’s starting to think there’s something he’s supposed to do, something he’s supposed to say.
If only he had passed up on all the drinks. He knows he was tipsy by the end of the night, and it’s not helping him recover all his blurry memories. Especially the memory.
Even now, he can feel it teasing at the edges of his mind. Magnus is sitting at the bar, leaning against the counter gracefully and staring at Alec intensely. His eyes are full of sincerity and concern and determination, and his lips are moving rapidly. Alec knows Magnus said something important right then, he knows it. If only he knew what.
He fidgets with his phone, twirling the device around in his hands as he ponders his next move. There are only two options, he knows. Either he gathers his courage, calls Magnus, and asks the warlock about their date, or he forgets about it all and prays it isn’t as important as he thinks it is.
In the end, the decision is taken out of his hands when his phone starts ringing and Magnus’ Caller ID shows up on the screen. He picks up before he can talk himself out of it, his fingers shaking as he accepts the call.
“Magnus,” he greets the warlock, his voice cracking on the last syllable. Alec curses himself internally for making a fool of himself in front of Magnus again. As if his intolerance for alcohol wasn’t enough. “Hey, do you need something?”
“Alexander!” He sounds happy, and Alec can easily picture his smile, fond and warm and brighter than anything the shadowhunter has ever seen. “And no, I just wanted to speak to you. I’ve been waiting for you to make the first move, but then I figured you might be the type to worry about this sort of thing. Holding back for two days was torture, but I’m sure it’ll all be worth it in the end.”
“Why-” Alec starts, clearing his throat when he realises his mouth has dried up at the mere sound of Magnus’ voice. “Why wait two days? I mean, I would have loved to hear from you earlier. I mean, I’m not mad at you! Not at all! I just… Is there a rule I don’t know about?”
“Something like that,” Magnus chuckles, his laugh tinny but no less entrancing. “I should have known you’d be clueless about it, though. I’m sorry for making you wait, darling, though you could have taken things in your own hands and called me, you know? I won’t bite.”
“I know,” Alec blurts out. “I’m sorry, I just… I’m not good at this, obviously, and I feel like I’m forgetting something about our evening together and it’s been bothering me ever since and I can’t put my finger on it and I- I don’t know, I was tipsy and now some things are blurry but I feel like this was important.”
The line is silent for a few moments, and Alec draws his phone away from his ear to see if Magnus hung up. Thankfully, the warlock starts speaking before Alec can worry he truly screwed things up.
“I see,” Magnus finally hums. “I suppose I understand why that might worry you, but you have to know that fuzzy memories are the norm after a night out drinking. I don’t blame you for not remembering everything, Alexander. Do I want a repeat of the conversation I think you’re talking about? No, but I’ll deal with it if you really can’t recall what I said.”
Alec doesn’t know what to say, so he stays silent. He thinks his lack of answer will probably be more than enough for Magnus. As the warlock sighs deeply, Alec once again wishes he could remember whatever Magnus told him that night.
“We were talking about where we want to take this relationship,” Magnus says softly. “You mentioned future dates and I thought I would make a few things clear. I should have known you were too out of it to really register my words, but I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. It’s one of the reasons it took me so long to call you. I was waiting for an answer to a question you don’t seem to remember.”
Alec frowns, trying to reach for the memory again. The details are still blurry, but he can easily imagine Magnus’ distressed and anxious voice. The warlock had tried to appear confident, but Alec remembers how fragile he’d seemed. His words, however, are still locked behind some sort of door Alec can’t open.
“I don’t want to be your dirty little secret, Alexander.”
As soon as the sentence is out of Magnus’ mouth, the memory hits Alec full force, making him wince in phantom pain.
I don’t want to be your dirty little secret, Alexander. I can tell you’re interested, and this date has been nothing but wonderful, however I refuse to hide back into the closet for your sake. You don’t have to tell the entire Clave immediately, but at least promise me you won’t lie about your connection to me if someone asks about it. You’ve unlocked something in me, and I want nothing more than to take you out and show you the world, but only if you’re willing to accept me in front of your people.
He hadn’t said anything in return. He vaguely recalls stammering and blushing and trying to assure Magnus that he would never lie about their relationship, but Magnus must have stopped him from giving a drunken confession. He must have asked him to sleep on it and give him an answer later.
“Magnus…” he whispers, inhaling sharply as the end of the conversation finally comes back to him.
This is my one request, Alexander. One thing, and then I’m all yours.
“Magnus, I would never keep our relationship a secret,” he says, complete certainty colouring his words. “I may not… I may not be out to everyone in the Institute, but I’m still in charge. I’m still the one they look to when they need help, and my sexuality shouldn’t change that. They’ll either respect what we have, or I’ll make them leave my territory. Look, I know we don’t know each other very well yet, but what we have… There’s something about you, Magnus, that makes me feel like I’m finally alive. I’m not willing to throw all that away just because of a few judgemental shadowhunters.”
“I-” Magnus’ voice is hoarse when he speaks again, and Alec has to refrain from smiling smugly. He made the High Warlock of Brooklyn speechless, a feat he’s almost certain many have failed to accomplish. “I’m glad to hear this… relationship means as much to you as it does me. You’re not the only one who felt the connection between us, and it would have been utterly disappointing to find out you weren’t ready to share it with everyone else.”
“Well, I certainly don’t want to share you with anyone else,” Alec answers, a blush rising on his cheeks as he realises how possessive he must sound. “But showing everyone how lucky I am? That’s not an issue at all. Screw everyone who thinks they can boss me around and choose who I date. The Clave has no control over my personal life, Magnus.”
“But they could still make your life infinitely more difficult,” Magnus points out. “I may not be a shadowhunter, but I know how your little society works. Are you sure you’re ready to put your job on the line for a lowly warlock?”
“First of all, you’re the furthest thing from lowly,” Alec rolls his eyes, hoping Magnus can feel his exasperation over the phone. “You’re the most fabulous warlock I’ve ever met. Hell, you’re the most fabulous person I’ve ever met. But even if you were lowly, there’s nothing in the law that forbids us from dating downworlders. Believe me, Magnus, our relationship will not impact my professional life.”
“Well, except for your precious Downworld Cabinet,” Magnus chuckles. “I can’t imagine it’ll be easy to keep things purely formal between the two of us. Should I continue calling you Mister Lightwood? Or do you want me to stake my claim in front of all the representatives?”
As tempting as the second offer is, Alec knows he isn’t ready for such obvious displays of affection yet. He’s not going to hide his relationship with Magnus, but he’s not going to rub it in people’s faces either. Thankfully, he thinks Magnus understands that, might even agree with it.
“I think we’ll have to stick to the formalities for now, Magnus,” he answers amusedly. “As tempting as it is to show you off to everyone, I’m not quite there yet.”
“Yet!” Magnus exclaims, whooping triumphantly at the other end of the line. Alec bursts out laughing at his antics. “So there’s still hope. I’ll keep that in mind, Mister Lightwood. In the meantime, thank you for answering my question and giving us the future we deserve. I can’t wait for our second date. This time, I’m planning.”
“I’m sorry for taking so long to give you an answer,” Alec huffs. “But if it makes you feel any better, I was just as distressed about this as you were. Thank you for being so patient and understanding. I’m looking forward to seeing what you have in mind for our second date.”
“Oh darling.” Alec can hear the smile in the warlock’s voice. “You have no idea what’s coming for you. You better sit tight, Lightwood, because it only gets worse from here on out.”
“That’s fine by me,” Alec grins, hanging up the phone before Magnus can say anything else. There’s only so much teasing the shadowhunter can handle, and he’s dangerously close to reaching his limit.
Still, there’s no acting like the warlock’s call didn’t cheer him up significantly. He spends the entire day smiling, apologising to his shadowhunters for being snippy these past two days, and generally enjoying living without a weight on his chest from forgotten memories and important conversations.
And when one of his subordinates asks him if something happened, he doesn’t hesitate to tell them about the wonderful warlock who’s well on his way to stealing Alec’s heart.