It’s impossible for Magnus and Alec to fully separate their personal lives from their work. In order to do that, they would have to rearrange parts of themselves. They would have to limit their smiles, keep their distance; each word would have to carry less meaning than before. They couldn’t let their stares or touches linger until they’re alone.
But shrouding their love in secrecy feels too ancient, too compromising. They’ve fought too hard to suddenly back down. It’d be impossible to find a way to unravel their souls, as if they weren’t living lives as two jagged halves with a desire to feel whole.
They stay connected, but make it subtle. They keep it between themselves, the way they like it. In a bustling room of dozens, Alec’s hand on Magnus’ back could make the others fall into the floorboards. While Magnus speaks, all confident hand gestures and a perfect posture, their eyes are locked, and Alec covers his mouth to conceal a smile. Their formal greetings are filled with mocking accents and handshakes lingering in midair for just a moment too long, smiles too broad, outfits too coordinated as one man tries to outdo the other with rolled-up sleeves and shirts partially unbuttoned.
They don’t realize that they practically shine in a room of scowling diplomats. Everyone sees them interact with an unimaginable level of fondness, focused on each other as if there is no mission, no negotiation. They hear sprinkles of Magnus’ editing in the final cuts of Alec’s speeches, and hear Alec’s words of consolation and comfort mumbled behind the door before the two step into a room of Clave representatives.
But the Downworlders, the Shadowhunters, they all turn a blind eye to any bouts of affection, because happiness is in short supply these days, and Magnus and Alec deserve their share.
At the end of the day, when the discussions end and everyone parts ways, Magnus and Alec stay behind. Nobody thinks to interrupt them as they lean against the sturdy mahogany tabletop and laugh at the day’s events, conversing at a distance but slowly pressing up against one another, hands inching closer like they’re teenagers and doing something unlawful, dangerous, risky.
They reach Magnus’ loft bathed in pale moonlight, confessions and desires spilling from grasping hands and shedded suit jackets, the air hot and heavy as lips are pressed to soft skin.
They are entwined as they sleep, and separate reluctantly in the morning.
‘I’ll be by your side the whole time,’ Magnus tells Alec, a familiar sentence that brings comfort in any context. He fixes Alec’s tie with precise movements, even as their eyes lock and the outside world dissolves.
Alec smiles in reply, warlock favoritism be damned.