After all, Magnus had to keep reminding himself, Alec wasn’t even all that into Magnus. He was simply responding to the only male attention he’d ever had. Alec was closeted, shy, obviously insecure, and obviously hung up on his blond friend Trace Wayland. Magnus was fairly certain that was the name, but Wayland had reminded Magnus inexplicably of Will Herondale, and Magnus didn’t want to think about Will. He knew the best way to spare himself heartbreak was not to think about lost friends and not to get mixed up with Shadowhunters again.
Alec smiled. Maybe it didn’t matter if Alec did have a little thing for Apparently-Jace. Apparently-Jace was beautiful, but he was the sort of person that knew it, and they were often more trouble than they were worth. If Jace was gold, catching the light and the attention , Alec was silver: so used to everyone else looking at Jace that that was where he looked too, so used to living in Jace’s shadow that he didn’t expect to be seen. Maybe it was enough to be the first person to tell Alec that he was worth being seen ahead of anyone in a room, and of being looked at longest.
There was a crash as the glass hit the wood and splintered.
Alec looked like he had been shot and was extremely embarrassed about it.
“Wow,” said Magnus. “Your people are really overselling your elite Nephilim reflexes.”
Magnus had heard the story of how the Nephilim were created many times. They must have forgotten to leave out the bit that said: And the Angel descended from on high and gave his chosen ones fantastic abs.
“I’m— sorry about being a lousy date,” Alec muttered.
“What are you talking about ?” Magnus asked. “You’re a fantastic date. You’ve only been here ten minutes, and I already got half of your clothes off.”
“Aw, man, I’m really sorry,” said the mugger. “I wouldn’t want to mess up anybody’s first date with a ninja.”
“Um, what are the specials?” Alec asked.
“I can’t remember them while my emotions are under this kind of strain,” said Erik. “ A Shadowhunter killed my uncle.”
“I’ve never killed anyone’s uncle,” said Alec.
“How would you know?” demanded Erik. “When you’re about to kill someone, do you stop and ask them if they have nephews?”
“I kill demons,” Alec said. “Demons don’t have nephews.”
“Yes— or I’m not a werewolf or anything else, if that’s what you mean.”
“But you know she’s a werewolf.”
“Yes, dumbass!” snapped the girl. “She told me. I know all about it. I don’t care. It’s my fault. I encouraged her to go out.”
“I’m not the one encouraging werewolves to go out at the full moon and attack people on the dance floor,” Magnus said. “But perhaps we can settle which of us is the dumbass at a better time when there are not lives at stake.”
Words seemed to explode out of Alec in a rush, though judging by his expression he wished he could hold them back. “It was my fault. I got everything wrong even before I showed up, and you knew how to order at the restaurant and I had to stop myself laughing at that song on the subway. I have no idea what I’m doing and you’re, um, glamorous.”
Magnus’s heart broke.
“Alexander,” he murmured, wanting to say more than just “Alec,” to call him by a name that was longer than and different from the name everybody else called him, a name with weight and value to it . He whispered the name as if making a promise that he would take his time.
“Friday night would be fine ,” Magnus said, and Alec smiled his brilliant , light-up-the-world smile and backed out of the apartment, still looking at Magnus. He backed up all the way to the top of the stairs. There was a yell, but Magnus had already risen and closed the door before he could see Alec fall down the steps, as that was the sort of thing a man had to do in private.