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Rapture in the Dark (Magnus/Alec)

Title: Rapture in the Dark
Fandom: Shadowhunters
Pairings: Magnus/Alec
Rating: T
Summary: "It was a truth universally acknowledged that Shadowhunters feared everything that wasn’t of mundane or angelic origin. The Marks that Warlocks bore were no exception and they didn’t bother hiding their reaction whenever they saw them: fear, disgust and repulsion usually warred for attention in their eyes. It’d been stupid to expect something different from the new generation."
Also posted on FF.net and AO3.

Magnus wasn’t sure when he’d noticed it first. After all, it was all battles now – against Valentine’s newly created Shadowhunters, against demons and Lilith knows what else – so he used plenty of magic on a daily basis. Worse, he used it to attack people; he inflicted violence through it and that always brought out the worst in him.

Another thing it brought out was his Mark, and that was something he had no control over, no matter how hard he tried.

Usually, Magnus was fine with his Demon mark. On occasion, he was even grateful: there were Warlocks out there who could never fully hide what they were; his was relatively easy to mask and there were even people out there who went as far as to consider it beautiful. He rarely felt the need to hide it when he was with his own people.

The Shadowhunters, however, were an entirely different matter.

It was a truth universally acknowledged that Shadowhunters feared everything that wasn’t of mundane or angelic origin. The Marks that Warlocks bore were no exception and they didn’t bother hiding their reaction whenever they saw them: fear, disgust and repulsion usually warred for attention in their eyes.

It’d been stupid to expect something different from the new generation; from Alec. Most of them had been raised by the leftovers of the Circle, after all. Magnus had seen Maryse kill people like him without thinking twice about it and even if her children were different – and they were, Magnus had seen enough proof of that by now – she’d still been the one to raise them. Some lessons couldn’t be forgotten.

And here Alec was; a perfect textbook example of that deeply-rooted fear. Magnus knew that it would have been ridiculous to expect anything else – what else could be expected from the Shadowhunter poster boy? Even if he tried to hide it every time he startled at a mere glimpse of Magnus’s eyes, it was still there.

The thing was, Magnus was exhausted. The fight had just ended – the third fight this week, no less – and he was drained, both emotionally and physically. His glamour was slipping away and if Alec was going to avoid his gaze for the next few hours, then so be it. He couldn’t force himself to be understanding of his delicate views of what was considered demonic; he was tired.

“Doesn’t that require a lot of energy?” Jace asked, plopping down on the sofa next to him. “Keeping up the glamour all the time; it looks hard.”

Magnus didn’t even have the energy to think of something rude to say. “It is.”

“Then why bother?” Jace persisted. “It’s just us here anyway.”

There was no point in beating around the bush. “Alec gets twitchy whenever he sees them. It makes him uncomfortable.”

Magnus wasn’t sure what he’d expected in response – he’d just hoped that it wouldn’t be pity – but he definitely hadn’t expected the confusion that passed over Jace’s features. “No, it doesn’t.”

“Oh, doesn’t it?” Maybe he did have the energy to be rude. Or maybe Jace was just always capable of finding a way to coax it out of him. “It’s such a relief to hear that from the guy without the cat eyes.”

Jace kept going as if Magnus hadn’t said anything at all. “Look, I don’t know what Alec’s problem is, but I know it’s not your eyes. Don’t take my word for it,” he added at Magnus’s scoff. “Talk to him about it.”

“I don’t know what your relationship with Alec is like and whether you can just ask him why he keeps avoiding you, but I’d like to preserve a tiny bit of dignity,” Magnus said with the brightest smile he could muster. “I don’t expect you to be familiar with the concept, so don’t think too hard about it.”

Jace was giving him the look again. The one that said, “I’m sorely tempted to flip you off but Alec can see us and I don’t want to piss him off”. Magnus saw it often and it was a guaranteed conversation killer, so they could get back to the peaceful lands of mutual tolerance. Magnus silently came to the decision to test the Shadowhunter’s theory soon enough.

o.O.o

“Who decided that the client is always right?” Magnus complained as he sank into his favourite armchair with a groan. “The client is never right. The client is whiny and impatient and wants everything to be as cheap as possible.”

He could hear Alec’s faint laugh from the other end of the room and soon enough he could feel him too; firm, long fingers trying to drain the tension from his shoulders. It’d been two weeks already since they’d found Jace and had brought him in as quickly as possible and ever since then, Alec had been much more inclined to be in a good mood. It’d been less than a week since Magnus’s conversation with Jace and he had yet to determine whether he was right or wrong. There’d been no point for him to lie about it, but it was still possible that he didn’t know his parabatai as well as he thought he did.

“I’ll have you know that this isn’t helping me relax in the slightest,” Magnus informed his lover as the grip on his shoulders tightened further; Alec’s fingers kneading deeper into his aching muscles. “It just hurts.”

“Massages are supposed to hurt. That means that they’re working.” There was a hesitant pause. “Or at least, that’s what Izzy says.”

Magnus had received his fair share of massages through the years, but never one from a Shadowhunter and he was quite sure that Alec was using more of his strength than strictly necessary, but he tried to keep quiet. And sure enough, minutes later the ache was starting to gain a pleasant edge to it as the tension slowly seeped out of Magnus’s body.

“How’s that?” Alec murmured from above and Magnus gave a drowsy hum, rolling his shoulders towards the touch. He intentionally let his glamour slip away – it was always a relief to do it, like getting cobwebs away from his eyes – and leant back to send a lazy smile Alec’s way.

“It’s perfect.”

He watched carefully as Alec’s eyes widened for a fraction of a second and then strayed to Magnus’s lips. He leant in for a kiss, his fingers roaming down Magnus’s neck and under his shirt until he shivered.

“A Spider-Man kiss, really?” Magnus teased and had the pleasure to see Alec grin down at him. Spider-Man was one of the few references Alec seemed to actually get and Magnus brought it up whenever the opportunity arose.

“Really,” Alec confirmed and as adorable as it was, Magnus couldn’t get the thought of Alec’s strange reluctance for eye contact out of his head. It seemed to be the only thing that bothered him for some reason. He’d already seen Magnus naked and hadn’t freaked out from the distinct lack of belly button, so why would his eyes affect him so much?

But then Alec got back to the business at hand – quite literally – and Magnus couldn’t be bothered to think about anything else but how nice it was to just forget about everything, even if it was just for a little while.

o.O.o

The attack had been swift and sudden and Magnus was still couldn’t quite believe that hadn't seen it coming. And he knew that he should have - with the way things were and the ever present threat of Valentine hanging over their heads, he knew that he should have known better than that.

The thing about being a High Warlock was that as soon as you assumed the position, you acquired the responsibility of the other Warlocks in your area. Sometimes it felt a bit like an additional sense - like a hive mind; a nervous system that connected Magnus to every single Warlock in his territory. He could feel their presence and their magic, albeit much more vaguely than his own and just like that, out of nowhere, three of those lights had just blinked out. It was as if they'd been disconnected from his mind like it was nothing and a few minutes later, as soon as he'd recovered from the shock, Magnus had acted. He'd summoned everyone who was still in the city - and most Warlocks wouldn't dare to leave when the threat was so constant and so merciless - and within the next few hours, an unending trail of Warlocks had poured through his front door. Magnus welcomed them all, reinforced the Wards of his flat, now used as a lair once more, and had then called the Institute.

Alec's grim voice had floated through the line and he'd had one answer: Valentine. After that, he'd only said, "We're on our way" and had hung up, and there had been no sign of him ever since.

Just as Magnus had busied himself with distributing food and drinks - emergency or not, he had to at least maintain a level of normalcy in order to deal with the situation without anyone currently in the flat having a breakdown - he heard the sound of the doorbell yet again. He hurried to get it before someone else did - his presence seemed to calm the others down.

"Hello," Magnus droned on, eyes straying to the hallway behind the newcomers. His doorbell was magicked to keep away any unwanted visitors, but that didn't mean that there weren't intruders as well. "Welcome. Make yourself comfortable. I've called for help and- Alexander!"

Magnus relaxed just a fraction when he noticed Alec and Jace at his front door. He tried to speak again but instead found himself enveloped in an unexpected hug.

Alec wasn't the sort of person who willingly initiated physical contact in front of other people, but that didn't seem to matter now. Magnus felt himself sink into the touch and only then realised just how wound up he was. He berated himself for it even though he know that he should have been expecting it: the sudden loss of contact with three of the people in his care combined with everything else that had happened afterwards had to take its toll eventually.

"My condolences," Alec murmured in his ear. "I'm sorry we couldn't find them in time."

"He bled them dry," Magnus said, face buried in Alec's shoulder. He couldn't bring himself to move. "And we don't even know why."

There were more words of comfort, but Magnus barely paid attention to them, suddenly aware that he was hoarding the Shadowhunters that he'd called for help and he stepped back, leading them both into the flat.

Jace whistled upon seeing just how crowded the place was this time around. "Is that every Warlock in Brooklyn?" He asked, taking in the majority of the apartment; eyes lingering on the people wandering about and sitting on every flat surface Magnus had to offer. "There are a lot of you."

"Every Warlock in New York," Magnus corrected. "The only way for us to see this through is to stay together." And plus, who else would they go to? He was the only High Warlock in the city, and no one would have thought of trying to flee now - it was too late to hide anywhere but in plain sight.

Alec had sprung into action immediately, taking the time to say a few words to everyone in the room individually before moving on again. Most of the Warlocks in New York recognised him as either Magnus's boyfriend, the Head of the Institute, or both and it wasn't that difficult for him to gain their trust. He tried to explain the situation while Jace distributed first aid kits - Warlocks were immortal, but they were relatively easy to kill and magic could only take them so far if they were physically hurt - when one of the few children in the flat spotted them.

"Shadowhunters!" The boy cried and Alec rushed to him, sinking to his knees in front of his chair.

“No, it’s fine, see?” he said, indicating his neck and the distinct lack of a Circle rune there. “What’s your name?”

The boy still seemed wary but let his guard down at least a bit. Magnus was secretly happy that his first reaction to Shadowhunters was fear – he’d been lucky now, but that didn’t mean that that would always be the case; with the Accords in place or not, the recent events were proof enough that Warlocks were safer away from them. “Patrick,” he said at last.

“We’ve got everything under control, Patrick,” Alec said with the air of someone who had dealt with the problem all on his own and placed a hand on Patrick’s shoulder. It was a blatant lie, but it was also a convincing one – the boy relaxed slightly under his touch. “You’re going to be perfectly safe here, okay?”

Magnus’s expression must have shifted from slightly uneasy to surprised because Jace was watching him with mild amusement slipping through the dark expression he’d had ever since arriving. “He’s always been the older brother,” he said. “He’s bound to have picked up a thing or two along the way.”

“I guess so,” Magnus nodded absently, eyes still fixed on Alec and the young Warlock.

Patrick’s upper arms were covered in bright red scales instead of skin; an hour ago, when he had first arrived with another two Warlocks who had taken him under their wing, Magnus had tried to help him relax by comparing them to a dragon’s. He’d been delighted at the comparison and Magnus had felt like he’d killed two birds with one stone – he’d distracted the boy from the danger they were all in and had made him feel a little better about something that probably made him feel ashamed on a daily basis. Now, he watched as Alec noticed them and immediately drew his hand away as if he’d been burned.

Magnus chanced a look in Jace’s direction and saw him staring at Alec too, an emotion somewhere between disappointment and confusion clear on his face. He sighed and prepared himself for a “sometimes the people we love are assholes and that’s fine” speech, but was cut short when the Shadowhunter’s face brightened considerably.

“It’s the Codex,” Jace said, almost too quietly for Magnus to hear.

“The what,” Magnus asked flatly. He wanted to be included in whatever revelation Jace had just gone through because really, Alec being uncomfortable with his eyes was one thing but flinching away from a child was an inch – or several feet – over the line.

“The Codex,” Jace repeated as if that explained everything. “You know, the book that we’re given when we’re kids and–”

“I know what the Codex is,” Magnus cut him off impatiently. “What does it have to do with any of this?”

“Have you ever read it?” Jace asked with unexplainable mirth shining in his eyes. And not just that; it was relief – whatever it was that he’d just realised apparently absolved Alec of any Warlock-related guilt.

“Once, a long time ago,” Magnus said, scrunching up his nose. “It was written in true Shadowhunter fashion. Needless to say, I didn’t find it very pleasant.”

“There’s a chapter about Warlocks there,” Jace went on in a hushed voice. “And there’s this bit about how we’re supposed to interact with Warlocks. It says that staring at a Warlock’s Mark is considered rude.”

“That’s, ah,” ‘nonsense’ was the first thing that came to mind, but Magnus decided to give the Codex a little credit – for all he knew, it might have been as important to Shadowhunters as the Book of the White was to Warlocks. “That’s not as– accurate as you probably think. It is rude if it’s followed by ‘spawn of Satan’ or any variation thereof, but other than that, it’s understandable. Most of our Marks are unique, after all.”

“There’s no way for Alec to know that, though,” Jace said, although it was clear that his focus wasn’t on the conversation anymore – his eyes had wandered over to his parabatai once again. Alec was already sitting on the floor and had somehow coaxed a shy smile out of Patrick and he seemed to be telling him a story. “He’s born in Idris and even after his family took over the New York Institute, he’s only known Warlocks professionally. He wouldn’t ask about anything as personal as your Marks and the Codex is like the Bible to him. He wouldn’t even think to ask about it.”

“Of course not,” Magnus hummed noncommittally and made a mental note to deal with that once and for all as soon as the dust after the attack finally settled.

o.O.o

It took a little more than a week for everyone to come to the conclusion that a second attack wouldn’t come and for the Warlocks of New York to gradually find their way back home. Magnus wasn’t eager to let them out of his sight, but even he knew that he couldn’t sustain the entire magical population of the city for too long.

“Are you sure they’ll be okay?” Alec asked anxiously as he watched the last of Magnus’s guests leave. “We could arrange for them to be safer, I could bring it up on the next Clave meeting–”

“Better not,” Magnus cut him off. He knew that Alec meant well, but he also knew what such a request would look like to Alec’s superiors – no one had forgotten what had happened at the wedding and they wouldn’t forget it anytime soon, so at least for the time being, it was better for Alec to keep well away from the topic of Warlocks during the now weekly Clave meetings. “They’ll be fine. I know how to take care of my people.”

“Yes, of course,” Alec agreed quickly, although it was clear that he was still running on leftover energy of everything that had happened today. Magnus couldn’t blame him; adrenaline could do that to most people and Shadowhunters were even worse than mundanes when it came to that. “But it’s still–”

“Alec, look at me.” Magnus interrupted, raising his voice just enough to assert his control over the conversation. It worked, at least partially – Alec froze; his eyes focused somewhere about Magnus’s jaw. “Look at me,” he repeated, putting a finger under Alec’s chin to force his head up. He’d got rid of the glamour a few hours ago – it was always easier to deal with Warlocks when he held nothing back, because they tended to take him more seriously that way – and now he saw the same look of reluctant wonder in Alec’s eyes as he finally met his gaze. “You did great,” he continued. “Everything after the attack– you made them trust you. It’s not often that a Shadowhunter can gain the trust of so many Warlocks at once.”

“That’s my job,” Alec said, a little mystified, as if he really wasn’t sure where this conversation was going. “I’m the Head of the Institute.”

“Nothing personal, darling, but that really doesn’t mean much to most Downworlders,” Magnus countered and grinned at Alec’s affronted expression. “My point here is,” he went on, raising a finger to Alec’s lips to stop him from talking, “you don’t have to do everything by the rules. You know that, right? You don’t have to tiptoe around me.”

Alec opened his mouth to speak and then closed it again, narrowing his eyes in suspicion. “Have you spoken to Jace?” he asked. Magnus couldn’t really judge him for the slightly horrified expression that had replaced his confusion – Magnus and Jace talking rarely resulted in anything good and Alec knew that better than anyone. “I don’t know what he’s told you–”

“Nothing compromising, I promise,” Magnus hurried to assure him. “He just said– I thought you were afraid of me. Or, well, of this,” he clarified, pointing to his eyes. “But he said–”

“You thought what?” Somehow, the disbelief in Alec’s voice made this even better. “How did you even– And to think I thought it was a pity that you didn’t let your glamour fall more often.”

So that was how things were. Not only did Alec not mind seeing Magnus exactly the way he was, but he liked seeing it as well. That could easily explain the way Alec had been looking at him every time he’d seen his Mark; as if he wanted to speak his mind but felt that he wasn’t allowed to because of whatever ridiculous instructions the generations before him had left for him. Magnus gave a fleeting thought to how someone had managed to grow up under Maryse Lightwood’s wing and come out so unscathed, but didn’t give it any more attention. It seemed almost ridiculous, now, that he’d even thought that Alec could be bothered by something as inconsequential as his eyes.

But he couldn’t say any of that; not yet, anyway, because Alec wouldn’t understand what the big deal was and he always tended to get suspicious whenever people tried to compliment him on anything that wasn’t related to demon hunting. That, and the fact that it was too early – Magnus couldn’t bring himself to say anything that would sound like he was getting more attached to Alec than he would have liked to admit.

“You want to see them more often?” Magnus asked instead, trying to keep his expression as neutral as possible and failing utterly when Alec’s only response was a quick nod. He felt himself smile; hope blooming in his chest with a strength he hadn’t expected. “You know, I think I can work with that.”

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