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Summary: Magnus finds an Agony rune on Alec’s hip.
Cw: Implied/Reference to Self Harm, Implied/Reference to Torture
(Please let me know if there is anything you want me to change, I haven’t written anything like this before and I don’t want to upset anyone, so if there is something that I didn’t handle properly, PLEASE let me know and I will do my best to fix it.)
Magnus’ eyebrows were knit together in concentration, tongue sticking out a little bit as he tread carefully across the carpet, taking each step as slowly as possible. A droplet of sweat rolled down his forehead, and his fingers were threatening to shake, as he made his way to the couch. The knock on the door made Magnus jump, the cup of tea falling from his grasp and splattering the ground with chai. Magnus groaned, and snapped his fingers, the mug reforming and the puddle evaporating, all evidence of the offending spill wiped away with just a little bit of magic.
Magnus should have known this would happen, Alec had said he was on his way over no more than thirty minutes ago, but the apartment had been too quiet and Magnus had needed a distraction. He fixed his face into as flirtatious a smile as possible and opened the door, slow and dramatic “Hello, Mr. Lightwo…is that your blood?”
Blush formed on Alec’s cheeks as he looked down at himself, forehead, neck, shirt, pants, hands, and hair caked in a thick, dark blood. “No,” Alec replied casually “Shax demon, took me by surprise as I was rounding the corner and kind of just…” Alec waved his hands around “exploded, when I stabbed it,”
Normally, Alec would have already made his way into the apartment, pulling off his jacket and heading directly for the couch. Today he hesitated at the door, which, admittedly Magnus appreciated because he really didn’t want to deal with boot tracks of ichor sticking to his carpets. “Do you mind if I use your shower?”
Magnus frowned, and stroked his chin in an exaggerated thinking face “Hmmm,” he said, narrowing his eyes at Alec “The Head of the New York Institute, naked, and dripping wet in my bathroom…” he clicked his tongue and sucked in a breath “I suppose I’ll allow it,”
Alec rolled his eyes, but the unconscious posturing at the usage of his new title did not go unnoticed by Magnus. “Thank you, oh kind and gracious, High Warlock of Brooklyn,” Alec replied as he stepped into the apartment and closed the door behind him, kicking off his boots and tugging off his shirt as he made a beeline for the shower.
Between staring at the boots, brushing ichor on the floor, and Alexander’s delicious back, Magnus was impressed that he could close his dropped jaw long enough to manage a wolf whistle “If I had known there was going to be a strip show involved, I would have let you in my shower much sooner,”
“Oh, fuck off,” Alec said, but Magnus could see the red bloom across the back of Alec’s neck and shoulders.
“I love you too, darling!” Magnus called to Alec as the bathroom door closed behind him.
Alec took no time in peeling the sticky, stinking clothing off of his body, and crinkling his face in disgust. He muttered under his breath about the ruining of his favorite shirt, but didn’t fret too long, as the idea of washing the ichor off his skin, and the fact that he had a literally magical boyfriend who would more than happily return his outfit to it’s former glory, was more than enough comfort to convince him to go about his day.
It was strange to Alec, asking to use Magnus’ shower, considering how many times in the past few weeks he had showered here before work. When late night dates would turn into overnight stays, and he would wake in the morning with Magnus curled up against his side, the first rays of morning light streaming in through the cracks in the curtains. He made sure the faucet’s spout was pulled up, so the water would redirect itself to the shower head instead of pouring water down on his feet. It hadn’t taken Alec long to learn how big of a bath fan Magnus Bane truly was. He turned the dial to his usual setting, and pulled the knob out, releasing the water into a jet above him. He stood there for a minute, letting the water wash over his body and relax the tension in his muscles. He reached for his washcloth and the bar of soap, and rubbed at his skin until every last fleck of ichor was wiped away, and his whole body was red from how hard he had scrubbed. He ran some shampoo through his hair, and clasped his hair with both of his palms, forming as much of his hair as possible into a Mohawk in the center of his head. He hummed a little to himself, low and unintelligible from outside the general safety of the shower, glad that Magnus wasn’t here to see him making a fool of himself.
When the last of the suds had washed themselves down the drain and Alec felt like himself again, he turned off the water and stepped out of the shower, reaching for a towel and rubbing it through his hair quickly before wrapping it around his waist and holding it in place with his hand. He stepped over his dirty clothes, he would pick them up in a minute, and wandered into Magnus’ room, straight through to his closet, pulling open the underwear drawer and searching through it.
Magnus was just finished preparing another cup of tea when he heard Alec’s voice, muffled from behind the wall “Maaaaggss,”
Magnus smiled fondly to himself, but ignored it, holding preference over the tea he had wanted to drink this morning.
Magnus groaned internally, and placed the kettle on the stove before making his way into his bedroom. “Yes, dear?”
“I swear to the Angel if you disappeared my underwear again, just so that I would walk around naked, we’re breaking up,” Alec’s voice replied from the depths of Magnus’ closet, only somewhat joking.
“When have I ever done something like that?” Magnus feigned hurt and surprise.
“Two weeks ago,” Alec pointed out, head poking out to look Magnus in the eyes.
“Well, sorry to disappoint you, Alexander, but I did not disappear your hideous underwear,”
“How can there not be a single pair of clean boxers in this entire apartment? Half my clothes are in here…including my socks!” Alec shook a pair of socks in Magnus’ general direction for emphasis.
‘You mean your socks with the holes in the toes?”
Magnus shook his head, and circled around the room, looking for any of Alec’s clean laundry. “Here!” he said, pulling a pair out from a drawer in his dresser, and striding across the room, tossing them at his boyfriend when he had closed enough distance.
“Thanks,” Alec said, twisting to catch the flying piece of cloth. The grip on his towel slipped momentarily, revealing a scandalous portion of his hip. Not that it mattered much anyway, as Alec let the towel fall to the floor, and slipped his boxers on. “Where did you find them?”
Magnus’ only response was a shaky intake of breath. Alec turned around to face Magnus once more “Magnus?” he asked, taking in his sudden paleness and the look in his eyes. “Are you okay?”
Magnus looked down towards the floor, and then up at Alec, an unreadable flash of something appearing on his face. He took a step forward, and then another, and another until he was almost flush against Alec’s chest. His shaking fingers curled around the elastic waistband of Alec’s boxers.
“Magnus, what are you doing?” Alec asked as Magnus began to pull the fabric on his right hip down. Alec took Magnus’ hands in his and pulled them away from his underwear “I have to get dressed. Besides, ripping my clothes off would be kind of anticlimactic at this point, don’t you think?” Magnus barely seemed to register Alec’s words, as his hands slipped from Alec’s grasp and went back to his boxers, beginning to pull them down on one side “Magnus, seriously, what are you doi- oh,” the color drained from Alec’s face, his entire body feeling as if he had been plunged into ice, as his eyes trailed down to Magnus’ hand, hovering over the dark black lines carved into his hip.
“I know this rune,” Magnus said, voice tired and drained. Alec could not bring himself to look Magnus in the eye, focusing instead on the ceiling. The pain and anger in Magnus’ voice hit Alec hard enough he almost lost his balance. “Why do you have it?”
“I forgot that was there,”
“Is that all you have to say?!” Alec flinched at the harshness in Magnus’ tone “You forgot it was there? I don’t accept that,” he clenched his jaw “Why is it there?”
“I-I don’t know,” he told the floor, voice growing small.
“That’s bullshit, Alec! That rune is not something you draw on a whim, it’s not something to take lightly. Why is it there?!” the words ripped themselves out of Magnus’ throat, loud, and rough, and Alec could feel the panic starting to claw away at him.
“I wanted to know what…no, I-I had to know what you went through, what I put you through,”
“So you tortured yourself?” Magnus wheeled backwards “What were you expecting? That you’d feel better? Did it make you feel better?”
“No, no it made everything worse. When I came out of it for the first time, the guilt I felt about what happened made me want to rip my heart out of my chest,”
Magnus’ face fell, took a step back, hurt rushing to his face as if he had been slapped “The-the first time?”
Fuck. Alec’s eyes widened imperceptibly Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. FUC-
“Did you use it more than once?”
“No,” Alec replied.
“You’re lying to me,” disbelief flashed in Magnus’ eyes “Did you use it more than once?”
Alec closed his eyes tight, squaring his shoulders, and biting his lip. “Yes, I-, yes,”
“What were you thinking, Alexander?” there was no anger in his voice, no rage, just disappointment and…sadness.
“Don’t you dare tell me you don’t know,” and it struck Alec in that moment just how terrifying Magnus could be, how exactly he could strike fear into the hearts of those who stood against him. Even without his magic flaring up around him, Alec could feel the sheer amount of power that coursed through Magnus’ veins. “That rune, it causes a kind of pain that I would never wish on anybody…not even Valentine. So let me ask you again…what. were. you. Thinking?”
“THAT I WOULD STOP THINKING!” Alec exploded, anger erupting form his chest. “That maybe I could concentrate on the pain and that I would stop feeling, stop thinking, that I could just….focus on one fucking thing, that my brain would go quiet…even for a second. But it didn’t, it hasn’t, all it did was make it worse. I fucked up, is that what you want to hear? I always fuck up. All I wanted to do was help my sister and instead I got you tortured and almost killed, I tried to be a good soldier, play by the rules, win back favor with the Clave even though they handed everything I had worked towards to Jace, and I betrayed your trust, again, I didn’t listen to my gut, again, and I’m doing it now. You were the one that suffered, you are the one trying to figure out how to live in your own body again, and I’ve made it all about me, because I’m stupid, and I’m selfish, and I ruin everything,”
“Hey, hey, hey, that’s not true,” Magnus stepped forward again and began to reach out to Alec, but he recoiled as if Magnus might burn him. “Your actions were justified, and expected–“
“Valentine is the most dangerous man alive. He manipulates people, he hurts people, and being suspicious of the things I was telling you when I was wearing his face. It was completely normal. It would have been bad if you hadn’t. I don-“
“JUST STOP!” Alec immediately regretted shouting when he noticed Magnus jump slightly, fear taking over his body for just a moment.
“Stop pretending like you don’t blame me, stop pretending like it wasn’t my fault. It was my fault. It was ALL my fault. Stop pretending like we’re okay, like you don’t hate me for what I did to you.” It took everything for Alec to speak through the tears and the tightness in his chest “I hate me. Stop pretending like you still trust me, how could you? I betrayed you, I hurt you, and I hurt you again, right after I promised you I wouldn’t. I just…need you to stop,”
The silence that settled between them was thick and suffocating, and Alec was more than happy to let it strangle him.
“Alexander, look at me,” Magnus’ tone was soft but forceful, leaving no room for argument, a command rather than a suggestion but one that Alec was willing to follow. “What happened with Azazel affected us both, hurt us both. What he did to me was…traumatic, and honesty I don’t know if I’ll ever fully get over it, but you were a victim too. And I’ve been so preoccupied with pretending like I’m fine, that I didn’t realize that you weren’t either. And…I forgot for a moment that you would give away every last part of yourself to help somebody else. Look, I’m sorry I snapped, and that I got angry with you, I just…I never wanted you to feel that kind of pain.” Magnus reached out slowly, resting his hand on Alec’s arm, when he didn’t try and pull away. “I want you to listen to me very carefully, Alexander, I don’t blame you for what happened. You don’t ruin everything you touch, you make it better. You learn from your mistakes, you love with your whole being, you would do anything for your friends or your family, for me,” He smiled softly, warmly “I know how hard it is for you to believe you’re good enough. But you’re coming into yourself, Alexander, you’ll have your ups and downs, but look at everything you have, you have Clary and Simon, Jace and Izzy, your mom, the council, the Institute, and you have me. You’ll always have me, no matter what, forever.” Magnus pressed a soft kiss to Alec’s cheek “I love you,”
Alec sighed, a calm he hadn’t felt in months washing over his body, pressing their foreheads together and breathing him in. “I love you too, and I’m sorry about…what I did. I never wanted to hurt you, I just…honestly I hoped you wouldn’t find out, that the rune would just fade in a couple days and you would never have to know about my…moment of weakness,”
There was hurt in the setting Magnus’ shoulders “I thought we’ve been through this, love” Magnus replied, rubbing small circles into his arms “I want you to tell me when things get bad. It would kill me to know you were going through something like this all on your own.”
“I know, I just…I didn’t want to make you relive the worst moment of your life because I…because I felt guilty, because I was being stupid,”
“You don’t have to hold all of this inside you, Alexander. Not here, not with me.”
“I know,” Alec and Magnus’ hands were intertwined, their foreheads pressed together, Magnus could feel Alec’s heart beating slow and strong in his chest, and he used that to ground him. To wipe away the anger, the pain. To stop the tears prickling at the corner of his eyes. Alec had felt so guilty about what had happened he had tortured himself. Not just hurt himself through overuse and neglect, like he had after Jocelyn’s death. No, he had actively, and purposely drew a mark meant to cause him agony, he had carved it in to his skin, he had sat in his room triggering it over and over again until the memories had blurred together and all that remained was exhaustion, and the knowledge that Magnus had gone through the same thing. But he hadn’t been alone, Alec had been there watching, letting it happen, and he hadn’t been in his own body. And Magnus didn’t quite know how to reconcile that “Magnus, I am so sorry,”
“For not coming to you when I first started thinking about it. For not coming to you when I did it. For…trying to keep it a secret from you. For not telling you I was struggling. For thinking I could just deal with it on my own. I just…I didn’t want to burden you with any more shit. I love you, and I never want to hurt you, or cause you pain.”
“Alexander,” Magnus said, wrapping his arms around Alec’s waist and pulling him impossibly closer, so no space at all existed between their bodies. “No one can walk through this world alone.”
Alec was quiet, only the sound of his breathing and the beating of his heart. “Do you know what I saw?” Alec whispered, lips brushing across Magnus’.
“Do I want to know?” Magnus replied, a nervous lilt in his voice.
“Yeah,” and Magnus was struck by how sure Alec was. “Yeah. It’s good, actually, in a twisted way. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, who could? It was the day Valentine attacked the Institute, and the Soul Sword was activated. I had almost forgotten the taste of fear at this point, so much has happened since, but seeing all those Downworlders, seeing the look of horror in Jace’s eyes, I could feel the guilt spreading through my body from our rune, like it was a poison. And Clary, the realization on her face when she saw me, when she remembered that you had been here too. And I was scared, Magnus. I was afraid, I was devastated, I thought of every way you could have died a horrible death. I was beating myself up, thinking that I might have stepped right over your body on the way down to the control room, that you could have died, alone in a place that you hated. Or worse, that some of Valentine’s men lingered, what they would do to your body if they found you. I was falling apart with every step that I took. I could feel the panic rising up in my chest, overwhelming the hope that you would be okay, with every room that I walked in, with every second that I didn’t see your body laying there, life drained from your eyes. And that’s where it ended. It ended at the moment that I had begun to lose hope, when the thought that I might never see you again flashed through my mind, the moment I was ready to die.”
“How is that good?”
“Because you’re still alive, you’re still here. Because I remember feeling all those things, but I also remember the way my heart leapt out of my chest when you grabbed my arm. The relief that spread through my body the moment I saw your face. How glad I was to see you, to know that I still had time with you. To know that I loved you, that I love you. With all my heart.”
“I love you, too,” Magnus smiled, although he did not lean in for a kiss like he usually did, just holding him there, trying to keep him grounded. “Alec, we need to talk about this,”
“This rune, your hand, the night of Max’s Rune Ceremony,”
“It doesn’t have to be now, it doesn’t even have to be this week, but, Alexander, I love you, and I want to be there for you, to talk through healthy ways to deal with your emotions that don’t involve you dramatically leaping from my balcony, or literally torturing yourself,”
Alec sighed, closing his eyes and resting his forehead against Magnus’ “Okay,” ‘
“Thank you,” and the last droplets of despair evaporated from Magnus’ body, exhaustion seeping in to his bones instead. Mind thick and foggy from too many relived memories. “Alexander?” Magnus said after a moment, fighting the urge to bite his lip and reveal his uncertainty in Alec’s future answer.
“Mmm?” Alec hummed in response, his eyes closed, and breathe beginning to slow to a steady rate as he followed the rise and fall of Magnus’ chest.
“Will you hold me?” Magnus asked, voice too small for a High Warlock, too quiet and doubtful for the likes of Magnus Bane. But it was a voice Alec was used to, the voice of his lover, of Magnus, not the leader, not the mask, just him, laid bare and hoping for the best despite leaving his heart open and vulnerable to attack.
“I’ll never let go,” Alec replied, entwining their fingers and pulling Magnus gently to the bed. And if Magnus trembled in Alec’s arms, fighting back tears, reliving the darkest moments of his life, neither of them said anything. They just hold eachother closer, tighter, and press soft kisses across bare skin, until the sun sets behind the horizon and they fall asleep.