Alec wasn't exactly forbidding people from coming into his office—if people needed him for anything at all, they were more than welcome to come into his office and talk to him.

It was just. An unwritten rule these days that they weren't allowed to need him for anything less than life or death between certain hours every day, during which his office door was shut, the blinds were drawn, and the lights were turned down low as he attempted to sort through the stack of paperwork on his desk.

(He never got through much of the stack, and instead spent much of the time sitting with his head in his hands, staring at the same piece of paper for hours until something came up that he couldn't ignore, or until the pounding in his head just… stopped.)

It was fine. Everything went fine. If it was life or death, if they needed him, he got up, and he powered through the pain.

And God, was it painful.

Alec had been fighting demons and such his entire life, he had been beaten and bruised and bloodied, had been brought back from the brink of death, broken more bones than he could count, and everything in between, and he would take all of that at onceover the fucking pounding in his head. The pain was God damn indescribable, and it was fucking constant, and it made Alec want to slam his head against his desk in hopes that maybe that would help alleviate the pain some—a temptation which very much so told Alec he was in too much pain to be of any use to anyone when he was like this.

It was fine though, it usually went away after a couple of hours, and he was back to normal, could open his blinds, could turn up his light, open his door, and go back to being Head Of The Institute. It was fine.

(It wasn't, really; the Head of the Institute should not have been inaccessible to his people for hours at a time every single day, but it was fine. It would be fine.)

He was in the middle of one of his… Paperwork sessions one day, when a portal appeared just to the side of his desk, and he looked up at it, squinted his eyes at the brightness and the fucking way it made his head throb—fuck fuck fuck.

And Alec didn't know, in that moment, whether he was more upset about the fact that his head felt like it was imploding, or the fact that Magnus was choosing now to surprise him at work—Magnus was quite literally the only person who would be able to portal in or out of Alec's office, the warlock had made sure of that himself long ago—because while everyone at the Institute knew about Alec's quiet time…

Magnus did not.

Not to say that it was a secret exactly, because Alec would never dream of keeping secrets from Magnus, it was just… not something he had yet shared with his boyfriend—and that was completely different from keeping it from him, he swore it was.

"Alexander!" Magnus' chipper voice said as the warlock in question stepped through the portal and it vanished finally—Alec's head was grateful that the light source had vanished, but it was not as grateful for Magnus' voice, though his heart was, so that counted for something.

Alec forced a smile on his face, though he hadn't been able to help the way he had flinched as the sound had made it's way to his ears. God, he knew Magnus was going to see it, was going to notice and make a big deal of it. He was both wonderful and awful in that way.

Sure enough, Magnus' face was contorted into a frown as he made his way closer to Alec and his pile of untouched paperwork, though hopefully Magnus believed without Alec having to actually say anything that he had been hard at work dealing with it all.

"You look absolutely dreadful, darling," he said, fingers trailing over Alec's cheek before he leaned to press a kiss to the top of his head, and God, Alec very much so loved Magnus with his entire being, loved his touches and kisses and pet names…

But he desperately just needed for Magnus to just… take him home and fall into bed with him and silently cuddle him until the throbbing went away, if he was being honest with himself. But he wasn't going to get that cure just now. And it wasn't like he would just ask Magnus to leave—his heart would never forgive him, and he wouldn't blame it in the slightest—so he sat up all the straighter, ready to power through the pain like the good soldier and boyfriend that he tried to be.

"I swear you've been spending far too much time cooped up in this dark office with all that paperwork of yours—the sun is your friend, dear, how many times do I have to tell you that?" Magnus tsk'ed playfully, turned to the windows in that moment.

And fuck, Alec knew exactly what he was going to do before he did it, but that didn't give him any time at all to mentally prepare himself for the way his head felt like it had fucking exploded when Magnus snapped his fingers and the blinds flew open, the lights flicked onto the brightest god damn setting possible.

Alec let out a god damn whimper as he squeezed his eyes shut against it all, feeling the pain take over his entire head, his face, his entire body; it felt like a demon had stabbed him in the eye, and the poison was spreading through his entire body and leaving a painful trail everywhere it went, everywhere it touched.

Fuck, he just wanted it to stop.

"Alexander?" Magnus said, his voice softer now, closer, but still much too fucking loud.

Alec felt Magnus's comforting hand on one of the ones that was somehow gripping the side of his head now? He wasn't sure when he had done that, but it was the least of his problems. "What's wrong? Talk to me, love," he continued, voice so full of concern that Alec could have cried—though that might have been from the headache, too, but who was to say?

Alec wanted to say something, wanted to tell him he was fine, it was just a headache, but his jaw was clenched so hard he couldn't open his mouth to say anything—which was just as well, as his head didn't need the added sound of him talking.

The next thing he was aware of, was complete darkness. And silence. And nothing.

The pain in his head was completely gone, and he wondered if he was actually dead. Maybe that headache hadn't been a headache after all, maybe it had never been a headache, maybe he really had been stung by some demon in the eye and the poison had slowly taken over his body and just made him think he had suffered from the same headache day after day after day for God only knew how long.

He thought he was actually glad to be dead finally, if that was the case.

So at peace with this thought, with the absence of pain, it didn't occur to him until a moment later that if he was dead, that meant that he had left Magnus—God, Magnus. He would take all that pain a million times over if it just meant he could say goodbye, could apologize to Magnus for having to die, for having to leave him. That grief and sadness sat hard in the bottom of his stomach, and he choked out a sob at that. He didn't know where he was, or what he was, all he knew was that he needed to find a way to see Magnus again. If the angels and demons could find their way back to earth, then he could do it too, would do it to see his Magnus one more time. He had to.

"Sssh, I'm right here, love," a too familiar voice said, close and soothing and worried, and he choked on another sob when he recognized it to be Magnus. God.

"Magnus?" he murmured, voice slurred, senses slowly starting to return to him now, finally.

And as they did, he realized that he wasn't actually dead—thank God—though he was somewhere where it was completely dark, and completely still, and silent, though the throbbing in his head was still gone and he probably didn't need to be. He was also warm, and tucked between bed and blanket and Magnus—Magnus' voice was right next to his head, so he was fairly certain they were in bed together at the loft.

"How did I get here?" he asked, moving to sit up, though he was stilled with a firm hand to his chest that he frowned at.

"You passed out in your office when I came to visit you for lunch," Magnus began softly, slowly, a frown in his tone that Alec could hear. "So I brought you home, made sure you weren't dying, got you tucked into bed, and then went to interrogate the entire Institute until I found out what was wrong—which didn't take long, might I add; apparently everyone at the Institute has known about your migraines for weeks now," he said, disapproving.

Alec open and shut his mouth for a moment before he said, insistent, "They're not migraines."

"No?" Magnus replied, shifting on the bed until his body was pressed against Alec's, providing comfort to let him know he wasn't mad at him over the situation. "Then pray tell, dear Alexander, just what are they?"

"Headaches," Alec replied easily, readily. "They're just headaches; it's no big deal."

"Just headaches that cause you to shut yourself away in your office for hours on end with no noise and no lights? Just headaches that made you pass out when you were exposed to too much noise and too much light at one time? Just headaches that made you clench your jaw so tight even in your sleep that I was afraid you were going to break a tooth? Just headaches that made you sleep for five hours after I took your pain away?" Magnus asked, though even his demands were soft and reassuring, rather than angry and accusing.

Alec shifted so he was laying on his side now, wishing more than anything that there was a light in the room so he could actually fucking see Magnus' face, though he knew and appreciated why Magnus had made the room pitch black to begin with.

"You stayed with me for five hours?" Alec asked instead of answering the question, voice full of surprise and wonder at the thought.

He felt the bed shift, and knew that Magnus had turned to lay on his side as well; he could feel, more than anything, how close they were, could almost make out Magnus' outline in the darkness. He moved his leg to rub against Magnus' just to test the distance, to see if they were really as close and he thought they were—and they were. He moved closer still until he could feel Magnus' breath on his face, until their limbs bumped together in the most comforting of ways.

"Of course," Magnus replied finally, the words feather-light and full of love. "I would have stayed as long as you needed me to," he promised, and suddenly Alec felt a hand playing at his bangs, combing through his hair, Magnus' thumb brushing over his forehead, his temple, his cheek.

It didn't occur to him until he leaned into the touch that Magnus was subtly dulling away a pain he hadn't been aware was creeping back up on him.

"Magnus, you don't have to—" he began.

"Of course I do," he interrupted, pressing a kiss to Alec's forehead that he leaned into, and he couldn't tell anymore whether he was leaning into the touches to get relief from the pain or because he reveled in Magnus' touches and kisses. "I can't have you in so much pain you can't even talk to me, can't even look at me because you're in so much pain—that's not fair to either of us," he insisted, rubbing his fingers in gentle circles on Alec's temples.

Alec felt his eyes begin to droop again the longer Magnus showered him with such simple affections, and he feared he was doomed to fall back asleep before he could fully and successfully enjoy Magnus' company.

He moved forward just enough that his forehead pressed against Magnus' in the dark, and then moved the rest of his face just enough that his lips came to press against Magnus', kissing him sweetly, thoughtfully, thankfully.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Magnus sighed when they pulled back, moving his touch back to Alec's temples.

"You have more important things to worry about, to use your magic on, I—"

"There is nothing in the world that is more important than you, Alexander," Magnus interrupted sternly. "If I can't use my magic to make sure the love of my life isn't in pain, then what good is it for anything else? Besides, it's an easy fix—if I didn't like touching you so much, I could have it all taken care of in a snap," he said, moving his hand away from Alec's head and snapping his fingers in example, causing the pain in his head to vanish all at once.


Everything was so much more clear without the throbbing in his head, without pain, pain, and more pain clouding his vision, his senses. It shouldn't have been possible to forget what it was like to exist without a constant sort of pain that made your life a living hell, but, well, it felt, in that moment, like Alec was pain free for the first time in decades.

"See? Easy as that," Magnus insisted, returning his touch to Alec's temple, though Alec was sure, now, that it was for the excuse to touch him than it was for anything else. "All these weeks of you suffering for nothing," he sighed then, and Alec surged forward to kiss him again to silence that train of thought, lest Magnus try to blame himself for not noticing what Alec was going through. It wasn't his fault Alec hadn't told him about it, and Alec would not have him blaming himself for it.

"I'm sorry," Alec murmured against his lips. "I didn't want to bother you, but by not bothering you from the beginning I've gone and monopolized your entire day, and ruined your surprise lunch plans for us," he lamented, kissing him again. "What can I do to make it up to you?"

Magnus made a thoughtful sort of noise as he continued kissing Alec, slow and lazy, taking his time thinking it over and pressing kiss after kiss to Alec's lips—which was really just as well; Alec could lay there the rest of the night and do nothing but kiss Magnus if that was what he wanted. It would be his pleasure.

"For starters, next time you have a migraine—I should make you admit to me that they were migraines and not just headaches, but I know a losing battle when I see one—just… tell me, okay? I don't want you in pain if I can help you," he insisted, his words wracking Alec with guilt all the while. "But other than that, you can let me dote on you for the rest of the night, and then I think we'll call it even."

Alec snorted, brushed his nose against Magnus' sloppily, more a bump than a brush in the darkness, but, well, at least he had gotten the nose bit right and hadn't shoved his nose into Magnus' mouth or eye or something; truly a testament to how much time he spent near Magnus' face in the dark, he thought.

"That sounds like it's doing more for me than you," he pointed out.

Magnus made a noise that sounded like he shrugged before he said, "Taking care of my boyfriend makes me happy—sue me. And anyway, what exactly would it be about cuddling and kissing you for the rest of the night that would be a loss for me? We might even look into alternative methods for curing those migraines of yours, if you don't want to use my magic; orgasms have wonderful healing properties too, you know," he said, voice low and husky, his cat eyes lighting up the darkness suddenly, ever so slightly, sending a shiver down Alec's spine.

"I love you," Alec said then, at a loss for what else he could possibly say that would fully get across how much Magnus meant to him, how much he appreciated him and everything that he did. "And I wouldn't exactly be opposed to looking into those alternative methods of yours, but… what about if we took a nap first? I think sleeping without you holding me just made me all the more exhausted."

Magnus laughed at that, at the utter absurdity of it, but he pressed a kiss to Alec's forehead anyway, and moved so he was holding Alec close, his nose pressed into the crook of Magnus' neck, their hearts beating steadily against one another, pain free, and blissed out as he could possibly be.