The first day frightens Alec a little but he understands.
Magnus was immortal, time was a consideration that was optional at best. Alec knows that Magnus mostly ignored how fast time could go, the dread of seeing more friends die coupled with an endless life did that. He knows too that faced with an end point that, to someone who had lived many lifetimes, was frighteningly close anyone might go a little crazy.
So the first day frightens him, but only because he doesn’t know if there’s any way he can help. He watches Magnus quickly dress and he sets aside the tiny ache in his hips and pulls on his “sturdy shoes”.
The third day is harder. There’s so much happening between Jonathon and Heidi and Alec is desperate to catch a little sleep but evenings are the only time he has to be with Magnus as just himself.
At first he thinks it’s what he needs. Magnus is a gifted lover and Alec revels under his touch, no matter how wearing the day was. They have learned each other well and Alec never feels more himself than in the afterglow, his body a well played instrument and Magnus’ smile curving softer than ever. Except there is no time.
Magnus is out of bed before Alec has his breath back, already talking about plans for a late dinner and a quick stop at some poetry slam. Alec is tempted to beg off and get some sleep but, well, he loves Magnus, loves his company. He’ll try again tonight, to impress the importance of actually enjoying the moment.
The sixth day Alec does let Magnus go without him. Not alone, never alone, but he knows Catarina isn’t who Magnus intended to spend the evening with. He’s exhausted and he can’t afford not to get to bed early.
Jace still pulls him into the Hunter’s Moon on the way back from another fruitless lead on the Morning Star sword. Clary, a step ahead of them, twitches when Alec tries to make an excuse. He knows it’s not her fault, the darkness that bleeds into her, but it still hurts when she rounds on him after a moment of his stuttering.
“God Alec, you can’t do anything fun can you? The only thing you’re good for is working and bending over for-”
Jace’s hand is hard on her arm and she blinks, her big eyes welling with tears as she stumbles forward. Alec is sure that his expression was locked down, the stern frown he’s so good at. The one that feels more like the only version of him anyone wants around with every day that passes.
“Alec I’m so-”
“It’s alright Clary. You going to be alright to go in?” He cuts her off, it’s not her fault and she’s saying things that she knows hurts but that doesn’t mean it’s true.
She nods and he follows her and Jace, giving Jace a quick half-smile when his parabatai shoots him a worried look. He can get a damn beer if it helps her feel normal for a moment. He can be more than just his job.
Clary and Jace snag a table and Alec goes to order their drinks, better not to separate Clary from Jace. Alec tries not to feel a curl of something bitter when he sees the way they lean together, talking. Magnus has barely said anything to him that’s not an itinerary or a cut-off plan for them to go away somewhere. Alec wants to, he really does, but neither of them can exactly leave New York right now, they’re both needed.
He’s waiting for the drinks when he hears them.
“-Lightwood. He’s Head of the Institute.” A vampire.
“Maia said he’s a decent enough guy and isn’t he seeing a downworlder?” A young werewolf chimes in.
Huh, at least he’s good enough gossip that two nearly warring factions can stand to talk to each other.
“He’s Magnus Bane’s latest whore, though rumor has it Bane’s lost his power. Wonder how long it’ll last now.” Another vampire answers them and Alec closes his eyes. Control is about learning how to stop feeling things that threaten to tear you up inside. He’s good at control.
“Uh, you okay?” The bartender, a blonde woman, asks as he opens his eyes. He gives her a quick, false, smile.
“Yeah. Long day.”
She nods and though the purse of her lips makes him think she doesn’t believe him, she doesn’t push. He tips her plenty for it.
Day eight only hurts.
Magnus is carefully lining his eyes, something he’s gotten the hang of now. He’s talking rapidly about some pop-up event he saw on twitter that they have to leave for right now if they want to make it.
Alec barely hears him past the rushing noise in his head. There’s come on the inside of his thighs and the sweat on his skin hasn’t even dried yet, for God sake.
Magnus twirls, the tight pants he’d practically jumped into as soon as he’d finished with Alec aren’t even zipped and his shirt is still unbuttoned. He starts fixing that as he pouts at Alec where he’s laying, still as stone and trying to wrestle control of himself.
“Up, up Alexander! You’re going to love it!” Magnus strides to the closet, tugging out an outfit for Alec. He wonders if he just shoved a pillow inside the t-shirt Magnus tosses on the bed, if his boyfriend would even notice he wasn’t dragging Alec around.
He chastises himself immediately. It’s not fair of him to be like this. Magnus is struggling and Alec needs to be there for him. It’s not like Magnus is really ignoring him, he’s just trying so hard to do everything he can that he’s not really present in whatever they are doing.
Alec grabs the clothes and goes to the bathroom to clean himself up, ignoring the bloodshot eyes in the mirror. They’ll have a break soon, they have too.
Day eleven, he finally breaks.
He’s barely in the room before Magnus is kissing him. It’s not a hello kiss, not with the way that Magnus is tugging at his belt.
His head is pounding and he’s not had time to eat all day. He hates to admit it, even to himself, but he really needs to just be held tonight. Heidi is dead, but so are too many others, and Jonathon is locked in the cells but Clary is worried she might need to be too. Magnus is looking for a new place to live and still doesn’t have magic and Izzy had to let Simon drink from her and arrest Raphael and Alec absolutely cannot let any of his cracks show right now.
He can’t. They all need him and just because he’s tired, because he’s the one left balancing all of it and trying to run the institute normally while Jia scrutinizes everything from afar, doesn’t push aside how much they all need him to stand strong. His hurts are so much smaller than everyone else’s.
Magnus hums against his mouth and pulls his belt free with a thwip and throws it where it clatters behind him. The sounds are like spikes driving behind his eyes but the heat of Magnus’ hands tugging up his shirt is nice.
He stumbles forward, letting Magnus lead him.
“Missed you.” He mumbles between them, when Magnus draws back a little.
“You too.” Magnus kisses the words to his throat and then he’s spinning Alec, who feels his stomach clench unpleasantly as Magnus bends him over the side of the bed. He’s still mostly dressed and Clary’s harsh words ring his ears when Magnus only tugs his pants down far enough to expose him to the open air.
He closes his eyes and aims for a tease, “In a hurry?”
He thinks, hopes, that Magnus will laugh, will have some quip ready that explains it and will pull him into bed properly and love him instead of just fucking him like it’s another thing on the to do list for the day.
“We only have a few minutes.” Magnus says instead, pushing close to him. Alec’s eyes burn and the flush that rises on his skin isn’t from pleasure.
He’s not even bothering to get undressed anymore and something awful lodges itself in Alec’s chest. He can’t get his breath, not when Magnus leans over to drop kisses where he’s shoved Alec’s shirt up his back, and not when he feels the insistent press of Magnus’ wet fingers.
Magnus Bane’s latest whore.
The vampire’s words float through his mind and Alec can’t. Magnus is opening him up quickly now and Alec’s desperate attempt to get his breath probably reads as pleasure from behind.
Alec didn’t know sex could make him feel like this, like he is filthy.
“Stop. God, please, just-” He’s scrambling away, pulling his pants up as best he can as he shoves himself across his own bed, ignoring the sound as the fabric catches wrong and tears. He’s shaking when he finally gets his feet under himself, the bed between him and Magnus. He can’t bear to look at his boyfriend as he buttons his slacks with unsteady hands. He swipes hastily at his eyes and takes a deep breath.
“Alexander?” Magnus sounds so small and Alec shoves his bruised heart as far down his throat as he can, straightens his shoulders and looks.
Magnus is still standing, his own pants still open and his fidgeting hands definitely still have lube on them. His brown eyes are frightened and worried and as Alec watches his throat bobs as he swallows, taking a stuttering step like he’s going to move around the bed.
Alec’s hands come up before he can stop himself, palms out, the gesture he’s adopted that always means stop. Magnus freezes, his brown eyes darting over Alec’s face.
“Are you okay? Did I hurt you?”
There’s not a good way to answer that. Physically and mentally he’s exhausted and Magnus has contributed to that, emotionally he’s definitely hurt. The longer he stays quiet, hands still held up, trembling visibly, the more shuttered Magnus’ expression becomes.
“I’m fine.” Alec finally says, every reflex in him demanding that he get it together and figure out how to calm down enough that he can give Magnus what he needs. Magnus is the one struggling, the one who needs him most at this moment and if that means-
Alec drops his hands as Magnus takes a sharp breath in. The lines of his face are hard, his lips pressed tightly together.
Alec strides around the bed until he can reach Magnus, taking his still slippery hands, “I was just overwhelmed, is all. I’m alright, I just needed a moment.”
He squeezes Magnus’s hands and smiles at him, waiting for Magnus’ eyes to go soft again before he leans in for a kiss. Magnus let’s him, keeping it soft. Alec’s head is screaming, in more ways than one, but he can do this for his boyfriend, if this is what Magnus needs that Alec can give it.
He reaches for where Magnus’ pants are still undone, pressing the flat of his palm into them to cup him.
Magnus breaks the kiss, eyebrows drawn together in confusion, “Alexander I don’t-”
“I know you don’t have much time, but I can be quick.” Alec promises.
Huh. He didn’t know he could make himself numb at moments like this. He’s had plenty of practice at shutting out his feelings when he’s in meetings, when Jace is angry with him or Izzy shouts, when his mother was still a commander before anything else. He never thought he’d need to do it to get his boyfriend off.
His fingers twitch where he’s cupping Magnus’ half-hard cock and he moves to free it but Magnus grabs his wrist.
He looks into his boyfriends brown eyes and is startled by the pain in them. Dammit he’s supposed to be helping fix that.
Magnus draws his hand away and steps back and Alec hates the relief that floods him as Magnus fixes his pants. Maybe he wasted too much time and Magnus’ schedule is too tight for him to fuck Alec right now. He’s going to pay for this later, he can feel the acid that’s slowly replacing the numbness, already burning low in his stomach.
“I can’t come with you tonight I need-”
He starts, trying to explain that whatever list of things Magnus has planned, he can’t be part of. He’s going to lose it and he doesn’t want Magnus to see that, doesn’t want to spoil another rapidly made memory. Magnus cuts him off.
“Alec, it’s okay, just...sit down.” Magnus sounds worried and Alec frowns but slowly sits on the edge of his bed. From the lower angle the light is more direct in his eyes and he closes them, grimacing.
“Here.” He hears Magnus’ footsteps and the room behind his lids is darker. He opens his eyes and only his floor lamp is on, he smiles, another tight little curl of his mouth.
“Alexander I need to know what I did wrong.” Magnus drags the chair he keeps in the corner over so he can sit facing Alec.
“Nothing, you just surprised me, I’m sorry.”
Magnus’ mouth twists, “Please, don’t lie to me Alec. I’ve never seen you do that to me before.”
“Do what?” Alec has to swallow again, he can feel his fingers twitching.
“I’ve seen you shut people out enough times to know what it looks like, the way it feels like you’re hiding your soul to keep it safe but, I need to know why you tried to do it with me, when you were touching me?”
Magnus’ hands flutter over his knees but he doesn’t touch and Alec hates it. He shakes his head, sucking in a breath.
“You sounded like you were crying, when you asked me to stop, and then you walked around the bed and shut down on me. You’re not alright and I need to know why.”
Alec blinks fast but stays quiet. Magnus makes a sound in his throat and wipes his hands on his shirt quickly before reaching up to cup Alec’s face in his hands.
“Please Alexander,” he pleads, “What’s wrong?”
Alec can feel the tears that gather and his voice is a whisper when he asks, “What number am I on your list?”
Magnus thumbs away his tears, “What list?”
Alec knows it’s not the right way to talk about this but the part of him that’s still a little boy with too much pressure on him knows, if he bites it makes it easier to pretend he’s not hurt.
“I’m asking, where on the list of stuff you want to do in a day does fucking me usually go?”
Magnus’ hands fall away and Alec feels the fist around his heart squeeze. Why is he such an asshole sometimes?
“I’m sorry if my wanting to make my suddenly finite time count means that I want to have sex with my boyfriend more.” Magnus’ voice is hard and Alec closes his eyes again.
Both of them are too good at fighting fire with fire for this to go anywhere good and with the pain shooting through his head with every heartbeat and the way he feels pathetic and used and a bit like the shadow world’s punching bag he can’t stomach the thought of a fight. He doesn’t bother schooling his face as he sits there, waiting for Magnus to continue.
Instead there’s hands on his cheeks again, “I’m sorry Alexander. It’s not fair of me to lash out right now, you’re clearly hurting.”
Alec can’t help the hitching breath he takes, pushing into the soft touch without opening his eyes.
“I just...I miss you.”
Magnus’ thumbs rub across his cheeks, “I see you every evening, I make sure of it.”
Alec shrugs, “Before tonight, when have you touched me except to fuck me? Magnus, you always have somewhere to be. Do you even remember half of the places we went this week?”
He opens his eyes again to see Magnus’ crumpled expression, the shine of his eyes as his gaze darts over Alec’s face.
“You’re right.” He admits, after a long moment, and sniffs, moving a hand to wipe at his face.
“I’ve been so focused trying to do everything I can, now that I have limited time, I’ve not stopped to enjoy what I’m already doing.”
“It was okay, for a while, but yesterday? Your alarm went off before mine in the morning. I get up at 5. Did you even notice that I didn’t finish when you dragged me into bed at lunch?”
Magnus blinks and more tears start as he shakes his head. A self-deprecating laugh left him, “I was too focused on making it to my date with Catarina. God, Alec, I-” he swallows, “How did we get this bad? How did I do this to us?”
Alec shakes his head, “I let it happen. I thought you needed to adjust, I thought it would...I thought I could handle it but,” He leans further into the warm press of Magnus’ hand and shudders, “You didn’t even say anything, you didn’t-you’re pants were still on. I felt like-” Alec feels cold prickle through him, “I felt like a whore.” He whispers the last.
Magnus is on his feet in a moment, pulling Alec into a tight hug. Alec’s face is pressed to his chest and he melts into the tight, warm hold.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I never meant to make you feel that way Alexander, you’re so precious to me. I was just caught up in fitting everything in and being with you is important to me so I wanted to make sure there was still time for that, I didn’t mean for this to happen."
Alec nods against him.
“If you still want to do something tonight-”
“Shh, no.” Magnus cards his fingers through Alec’s hair and he sags further into his boyfriends hold, letting go of his feelings in full. He knows they’ll have to figure out how to balance Magnus’ maniac need to do everything, at least until he’s adjusted more, but for right now, they don’t have to.
“We have time.” Alec mumbles, sniffing.
“We have time.” Magnus agrees, and Alec cries harder for it.
They stay like that until Alec is calm again and Magnus steps back, but not out of reach as Alec’s phone buzzes. They’ve both been ignoring it for a while now.
Alec reaches for it, wincing at the display.
Jace 8:15 pm
-Alec, man, you alright?
Jace 8:19 pm
Jace 8:25 pm
-I’m coming to check on you
Jace 8:26 pm
-Clary said I’m not allowed and that you’re fine. Please, it feels...you feel bad.
Jace 8:45 pm
-I can tell it’s better but Raziel help me, if you don’t answer…
Jace 9:10 pm
-I’m coming anyway.
“It’s Jace. I guess he could-the bond was-uh,” Alec starts but Magnus takes his phone gently.
Alec 9:12 pm
-Blondie! Alexander is fine, well, I may have been a terrible boyfriend, but he’s fine now. If you’re still coming to check on him, bring dinner and Advil.
“There. He’ll bring us something to eat and we can just spend tonight right here.” Magnus sinks down onto the bed beside him, sitting so he’s pressed close. Alec smiles and rubs a thumb under Magnus’ brown eye.
“If we’re having a night in, you should probably take off some of the makeup, you know it leaves marks all over the pillows.”
Magnus chuckles, catching his hand for a kiss.
“Are you going to be alright Alexander?”
Alec thinks, evaluates himself. He’s still exhausted and achy but the foul feeling was mostly cried out of him and the rest he knows will fade if Magnus just holds him for a while.
Magnus steals another kiss, hums and smiles and waltz to the bathroom, no doubt to take off his “going out” look.
He returns quickly enough and Alec shuffles up the bed, leaning against the headboard and opening his arms silently.
With a soft huff of laughter, Magnus comes and lays with him, moving them so he’s the one cradling Alec gently.
“I’ll try to make a better schedule, tomorrow. I won’t let you feel like that again.” Magnus presses the promise into his hair with soft kisses and Alec closes his eyes, content to wait for Jace to bring food.
Magnus laughs, “I love you, too, Alexander.”