He isn’t breathing when the music stops and he hears their laughter, bright and trilling, against the backdrop of silence.
A woman’s laughter. Magnus’s laughter.
And Alec, standing on the wrong side of the door, feeling miles away and not allowed any closer.
The apology sits heavy on his tongue, warring with the fear in his veins as his hand trembles when he reaches for the doorknob. He knows Magnus wouldn’t, he just wouldn’t, but Alec is still terrified of what he’ll see on the other side, scared the sight will rip his heart in two. I’m sorry, he wants to say. I’m sorry I put them first, I’m sorry it seemed like I didn’t love you enough, I’m sorry I’m even thinking what I’m thinking right now. But he doesn’t open the door, he doesn’t say those words, because Magnus is in there with someone else, and somehow, it’s almost okay because he’s seems happy, happier than he’s been in too long.
Without warning, the door swings open, and Dorothea Rollins appears before him, pretty in a pink dress, eyes wide and wet.
“Alec Lightwood,” she says, mouth open wide.
His nails dig hard into the flesh of his palms as he stares at her, beautiful and immortal and everything he isn’t.
She smiles, lips pressed tightly together, and looks up at Alec. “Don’t think it,” she says. “Nothing happened. Nothing happened because he told me there’s a boy he’s in love with.”
Alec swallows, heart pounding.
“Be better to him,” Dot says, voice strangled. “He deserves… Magnus deserves better.”
And she’s gone before he can say anything.
I know, he should have told her. I know he does.
He walks into the loft quietly, eyes landing on Magnus’s back as he leans against the railing of the balcony, gracing Brooklyn with his presence. Alec drinks in the sight of him, the broadness of his shoulders, the careless elegance in how he stands, the shine of light off his jewelry.
I would do anything for you, Alec realizes with startling clarity as he nears. I would do anything for you and I didn’t even know.
It grows inside him as he draws closer, until he can feel it bubbling out of his skin, overwhelming him in its unexpected intensity. He’s close enough to touch Magnus’s waist, or the sharpness of his knuckles, the soft skin of his cheek.
“Magnus,” he breathes.
And then Magnus turns around, meeting Alec’s eyes with nervous hesitation, and Alec reaches forward, slow but sure, with open arms and his heart burning bright in the palms of his hands.