Theories Of Love
"If all else perished and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger."
― Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
It was well past one am and Magnus should have been in bed for hours now—and under normal circumstances he would have been, given his 8am class and his need for every second of beauty sleep that he could possibly get. But alas, he had a paper due later that evening that he knew he would have no time to finish that evening, and so he needed to finish it before he went to bed.
It wouldn't have been so terribly bad if it wasn't the week of finals, and he had to study and finish two other papers still, on top of working and trying to maintain a relatively healthy amount of beauty sleep.
He always forgot what a pain in the ass finals week was until it was upon him, and it never failed to give him a new wrinkle or grey hair he had to hide when it was all over and done with.
The only solace he could take in this particular paper that he was stressing over was that it was relatively easy when compared to the other two papers he had to finish that week. With good reason, of course; it was just a normal paper that just happened to have a due date of Finals Week, as opposed to an actual end of semester paper that counted for 30% of his final grade.
It was still shitty, but at least it wasn't super awful.
In addition to not being a colossal paper, it was an English paper; he was exploring the theme of love through-out literature. It was mostly googling love quotes and trying to tie them in with his half-baked ideas on what love was and how it was explored by this writer or that poet and why it was done well here and not so well there.
It was the easiest thing he would do all week, and even though it was a pain in the ass, he knew he should enjoy it while he could, because by the end of the week he would wish every other paper had been as easy as this one was.
And what a concept the paper was—love. How could someone who had never truly been in love have so many thoughts on it? How could he write pages about what the poets said, about whether he agreed with them or not when he didn't fully comprehend the feeling himself?
Not that he didn't want to understand it, of course; Magnus Bane was nothing if not a romantic at heart. He longed to have that Moment where he met his soul mate and sparks flew and he just knew that they were meant to be and they would have their happily ever after the end.
That wasn't to say that he hadn't dated and fooled around plenty in all his years, but he had never had That Moment. His best friend, Alec Lightwood, told him he was an idiot for waiting for such a moment to come along. Moments didn't just happen, he told Magnus, you had to make them happen, you had to work for them.
But oh, Magnus was foolish with romance, choosing to go with the flow and let things happen; in the same fashion, if a Moment was meant to happen, it would happen without any help from him.
In that sense, it was easy to write about the grandiosities of love, of falling in love, of that big Moment. Because surely there was plenty to work off of in that sense. Love was passion, and it was pain, and it was fighting every second for your love, and it was being so in love with someone that your whole life depended on when you next got to see them. Love was being in physical pain when you were away from them, and loving everything about each other, and thinking the other absolutely perfect—because they were. The person you were in love with was absolutely perfect for you one hundred percent of the time, and they could do no wrong, and neither could you.
Love was beautiful, and intense, and Magnus hoped to one day find that sort of all-consuming love. He hoped that he found his soul mate in the pouring rain and they would elope to Las Vegas the summer after meeting, because they would be so in love that they could hardly stand not being in wedded bliss for another moment.
That was what love was, Magnus thought, and that was what he set the tone of his paper to be before scouring the google dot com, as his dear Alexander liked to call it, to search for a few key quotes to back up his romantic claims.
He knew how Alec would have written this paper, were he the one writing it: he would have written about love being soft, and gentle, and well earned. He would have written of falling slowly and carefully, of falling without even realizing it. He would have written about waking up one day and realizing that you had been in love with someone for years upon years, you just hadn't realized it because it was so god damn natural. He would have written that the person you loved wasn't the person you happened to meet some late night at the bar as you two bonded over that obscure album you both adored, but the person you called the next morning when you found out that person was kind of a walking tumblr post that left you with a funny taste in your mouth because gross.
Alec would have written about a much more realistic kind of love, and Magnus almost found that admirable, but oh, he was quite foolish in that he wanted very much for his dream to be true, to meet someone who sat his soul on fire from the very first second he laid his eyes on them.
He quite envied his Alexander for his approach to love, some days. But…
There really was no changing who he was, what his views on love were, so he didn't see the point in envying him for too long at a time.
He was about to text Alexander, actually, to get his rant on the subject even though he already knew what he would say—because he was bored, because he hadn't had the chance to talk to Alec in a few hours because they were both Busy—when his phone dinged with a text from Alec bitching about the math final he had the following morning and how it was going to kick his ass even though they both knew that it wouldn't and that he would knock it out of the park like he always did.
Alec and Magnus had been best friends for pretty much their entire lives, and it was no small miracle that they both wound up going to the same university—they had planned that shit since the seventh grade, because absolutely nothing in the world was going to break them apart, not life, not boys, not girls, not college, absolutely nothing in the universe.
And it was so god damn nice to have Alec so close, to be able to walk to his apartment after he'd had an awful shift at work, or a hard test that he just knew he had failed. It was nice to be able to collapse on his couch with him and marathon shitty Netflix movies with take out they ordered from the shitty pizza place down the street. It was nice to be able to meet for coffee at the on campus café after he'd had a shitty date, or when he was broken up with by some fedora wearing douche or some chick who wore leggings and uggs even when it was damn near 90 degrees outside.
More than that, it was nice to have his Alexander close by to just be close by. It was so comforting—so god damn comforting to know that the world could fall apart around him, that he could fail all his classes, and write a shitty paper, and fail a test, and bomb a presentation, and his Alexander would still be there and not think any less of him for it. Rather, he would nod his head, and he would help Magnus build a pillow fort and eat ice cream out of the carton with him while they looked at shitty memes on their phones together.
Alec was such a constant, was the one thing in the universe that Magnus could count on, was the one thing that he wanted to count on. Truly, Magnus' entire life could fall apart around him, and as long as he had his Alexander he would be perfectly fine with that.
Huh. That thought was… incredibly reminiscent of an Emily Bronte quote he had just read, actually, but…
He shook that thought off and shot off a text to Alec in response to his math test woes, reassuring him that he would nail it, that he had never failed a single math test or even homework assignment before in his life and Magnus didn't see why he would start failing now.
He was grinning the whole time he typed out his response, he noticed self-consciously, though no one else was around to see it, and when Alec responded a moment later with whines that 'there's always a first time for everything' Magnus rolled his eyes so hard he was almost upset that Alec wasn't there to witness it, because truly, it was quite the accomplishment and Alec absolutely needed to be privy to each and every one of those.
How's the paper coming? Any closer to getting even an ounce of beauty sleep? Alec texted then, offering Magnus the perfect opportunity to change the topic and groan and moan about how he was so tired and the caffeine had stopped working three days ago and he was running on fumes at this point, and he was sure he had at least three new wrinkles now.
And it would go on like that for some time, Magnus knew, him complaining and Alec offering his words of wisdom and support, and offering up his apartment for a weekend long movie marathon after finals were over. And Magnus would accept graciously, and the idea of getting to hole himself up in Alec's apartment for a solid forty-eight hours after everything was all said and done would get him through the rest of the week.
He would show up Friday night, and he would let himself in without incident and collapse on Alec's couch until Alec arrived home from his 6pm class—what kind of special idiot took such a late class, Magnus couldn't say, but he loved Alec so he supposed—
Oh well shit.
Huh. That was.
That was something, wasn't it?
Magnus leaned back in his chair and let his phone fall to the desk in front of him, a thoughtful look on his face now, though it was confused and concerned all the same.
Magnus knew that he loved Alec because Alec was his Alexander and he had loved him for years, and would love him until his dying breath, but… Well, that was the thing of it, wasn't it? You didn't think things like that about 'just friends', not even best friends. He didn't even tell people he considered family that he would love them until his dying breath, but oh, he thought as much about Alec and then some.
In fact, he thought a lot of things about Alec that he didn't think about his other friends, about his family, but, well, he had always just thought that it was because they weren't just friends, they were best friends, and that was a different level of friendship that afforded different thoughts and different actions, and was just… Different.
But this was different different, Magnus thought then, suddenly. Because everything with Alec was so easy, and so right. They talked about everything and nothing, and they knew every secret that was hidden in every scar and laugh line of each other. They were there for each other through every heartbreak, and every tragedy, and every acceptance letter, and award and job offer, and every passed class and every family squabble.
Alec was the first person Magnus wanted to tell about everything that happened to him, was the first person he thought to text when he woke up in the morning, was the last person he texted at night before he went to bed, and was the person he texted or called when he woke up from a nightmare that shook him to his very core.
It was Alec that he had shared his entire life with, and Magnus didn't know where his life was going to take him exactly, but he did know that no matter what road he considered in life, he always knew Alec would be there with him every step of the way. There was no future in which his Alexander was not his Alexander, in which they drifted apart or moved to different cities or lived separate lives. In every possible future, Alec was his, and he was Alec's, and for the first time Magnus was considering that maybe that wasn't the sort of thing that was quite normal for best friends to think about each other.
He picked up his phone, then, and dialed Alec without any preamble, and was met with Alec's scruffy, 2am, cramming for final's voice that made him smile to himself and oh. Of course. Of course. How could he have been so foolish? God, all these years—all these years wasted.
"That English paper kicking your ass so hard you forgot how to word irl?" Alec teased from the other end, cheerful and amused and still very much so himself.
How could he be so calm at a time like this? Magnus thought to himself, before he realized that he was no mind reader and had no idea about the revelation Magnus had just had.
"No," Magnus replied finally, slowly, coming out of his reprieve. And it was quite the curious thing, that moment; it was like waking up, like he saw the world so much more clearly now, like everything was crisper and made so much more sense. "I just… I had to call to tell you you were right," he said.
"I usually am," Alec quipped, though Magnus could tell that he had his attention anyway. "You'll have to be more specific, Mags. What am I right about this time?"
"I'm writing this paper," Magnus said, as if Alec didn't already know that. "And… I just. I needed to tell you that your theory about love is right, Alexander. I… I needed to tell you that I've just realized I'm in love with you, and I probably have been for quite a few years now, but I just never realized it because everything with you is so natural and right, and you are my best friend, and I love you. I just… I thought you deserved to know that," he finished, swallowing thickly as he finished his speech.
The silence that followed made Magnus want to cry, and the only thing that actually kept him from doing as much was the way Alec inhaled sharply on the other end, and Magnus thought that he owed him a few moments to come to terms with all this—it was a lot to take in, after all, so Magnus could afford him a minute or two to figure out how to reply, even if every second that he was quiet on the other end lasted an entire eternity.
Finally, though, Alec said, with plenty of humor, "It took you long enough."
Magnus sighed, another realization hitting him before Alec added, "I love you too. God, where did you think my theory about love came from, Magnus? It's you. It has always been you that I am in love with, that I have been in love with. I love you, Magnus."
Magnus let out a laugh at that that was half tears, half actual laugh, so relieved—so god damn relieved.
"Too long, not long enough. It doesn't even matter, you know? I love you, that's all that matters."
"I love you too," Magnus said then, the words automatic now that he realized they needed to be said a million times over to make up for however long Alec had waited to be able to say them to him, to be able to hear them. "I can't wait for this weekend," he sighed then, realizing that he and Alec wouldn't get any time together at all until then, as busy as the week was for the both of them.
And how unfair was the universe that he would realize he was in love with his best friend during the same week in which he wouldn't get a moment to kiss him to seal the deal until days later?
"Me either. It'll be Friday before you know it though," Alec said, his voice soothing if not equal parts disappointed by that fact.
"I don't know about you," Magnus snorted, "but as soon as I hit your couch Friday afternoon I'm passing out for an eternity. We could aim for Saturday though, Saturday works a tad bit better for me."
"Oh come on now, Magnus," Alec whined, though Magnus could very well hear the smile in his voice all the same. "You've already made me wait long enough, you can muster up one make out session Friday night, can't you? For me?"
"You are impossible to please," Magnus laughed.
"I'm really not. I just need you and I'm happy."
And his tone was so sincere that Magnus was sorely tempted to march over to Alec's apartment right that second to kiss him senseless, but, well, he knew Alec would just end up yelling at him for not staying home to finish his paper if he did that, and the last thing he wanted while he was trying to kiss him was that.
"Maybe for you, then," Magnus began, smile and tone so soft he worried for a moment that Alec hadn't heard him at all. "I can muster up one make out session after you get home Friday night. But only if you bring home dinner from the good pizza place."
Alec laughed on the other end of the phone, and Magnus marveled over how that was still one of his favorite sounds ever, and how nothing had changed between their conversation or their tones since Magnus had confessed. It was the same—they were the same, they were just being more honest with themselves, with each other. And Magnus suspected the only real things that would change would be the levels of physical intimacy that they shared in, though even that didn't have much to go either.
"I think that's a fair trade off," Alec hummed agreeably.
"It's a date," Magnus said.
"It's a date," Alec parroted back.
And God, Magnus really didn't want to get off the phone with Alec then, didn't want to go back to writing that dumb paper, and he was sure Alec didn't want to go back to studying for that dumb math test, but…
God, it was final's week. Why the hell did it have to be finals week?
"I love you," Alec said then, sounding for the world like he would never get tired of saying it.
And Magnus would never get tired of hearing it.
"I love you, too. I should probably finish my paper, though," he said, as much as he didn't want to.
"Don't forget to change it now to say that your handsome boyfriend was right all these years and you were wrong," Alec teased, the word boyfriend rolling off his tongue all too easily and making Magnus' heart stutter.
He quite liked that word, especially in regards to his Alexander, he thought.
"Don't push your luck, handsome," Magnus replied, his tone one of low, amused warning.
Alec laughed at that, though, really, if Magnus did go back and completely change his paper to allow Alec's own theory some time in the pages… it wasn't like he was ever really going to know, now was he?