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Love on the Brain

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I didn’t mean to fall in love with my best friend. Honestly, I didn’t. It just kind of happened.

Ever since I was little I could always tell I was different from other kids. I didn’t play baseball and sports like the other guys. The only thing I was ever really into was archery and working out at the gym. I also didn’t enjoy sitting and playing video games when I would much rather be drawing or painting my sister’s nails. When I was about 12 years old there was a guy in my class who my sister had a crush on. I told her I didn’t get why she liked him but the truth was that I also found him kind of cute. I didn’t know what it was at the time and thought I just admired him but after having that feeling around a few more guys when all my friends were looking at girls I think I figured it out. I didn’t know there was a word to describe what I was feeling because we hadn’t been taught that in school or at home but when I was scrolling through Pinterest one day on my phone and saw an engagement post about two guys I finally understood. Was this why all my friends had crushes on girls and I was so hung up on guys? At first after doing some research I was ashamed of myself. Why did I feel this way when I should feel like this about girls? I was very shy and didn’t want anyone to hate me. Eventually I came to realize that there is nothing wrong with being gay, but before I realized this, I made some stupid decisions.

 

It kinda started one day when I was hanging with my friends. Ok so yeah, two of them are my siblings but it’s not my fault people don’t like to listen to me talk about Teen Wolf and Superheroes all the time. Jace (my brother) had been hanging out with this girl Clary and honestly it was the most serious I think I’d ever seen him about a girl. Clary’s best friend was named Lydia and yeah I’m kind of oblivious when it comes to feelings but even I could tell that she liked me. She would always giggle when I said anything even if it wasn’t funny and brushed my arm way more than was accidental. I didn’t want to ignore her, but I also didn’t want to have to explain why I didn’t feel the same. Every guy in the school wanted to be with her. Except for a few who had girlfriends or my best friend. Magnus Bane was probably one of the funniest guys at school. He was a total class clown and got in trouble a lot but did well in school and played sports. Funnily enough, he was considered more of a nerd than a jock because he hung out with me and my siblings instead of the “in crowd.” I had always known he was different. He wore extravagant clothes and makeup and was often bullied for it. My siblings and I would always fight back when people were teasing him but when he came out as bisexual none of us were really surprised. He dated Camille for a while and was really in love with her until she broke his heart. I was kind of left to pick up the pieces. If I’m going to be completely honest, I was probably just as broken as he was when she ended things. I mean, she hurt my best friend in the entire world and I had to fix him. During that time I guess I realized that I liked him as more than a friend but knew he would never feel the same so I kept my mouth shut.

 

Now I was still trying to hide who I was for fear of judgement so when Lydia finally asked me out I said yes. My siblings, Izzy and Jace, were super excited and proud of me and I just acted like I was happy too. We went on dates and I eventually kissed her. She started falling for me more and more and everyone thought we were the best couple in the school. I would drive her places and I guess I started ignoring Magnus because we hadn’t talked in a while and when he saw me in the hall he avoided eye contact.
I felt awful so I invited him over one day so we could just hang out and talk. Thankfully he said yes.
“Hey uh, come on in.” I opened the door for him. “Do you want anything to eat or drink?” I asked.
“Nah I’m good.” he replied. We went upstairs to my room and sat on the floor.
“I’m sorry.” I started. “I know I’ve been spending a lot of time with Lydia and I shouldn’t be ignoring you. If you’re mad at me I understand.”
“Alec, I’m not mad at you.”
“You’re not?”
“No, I’m just a little stressed. My dad is back in town and well... you know what happened last time I saw him.” When Magnus’s dad had been in town last, Magnus had come out to him and his father hadn’t taken it well. He called him names and said that he was a disgrace of a son and that he hadn’t raised him to be ‘one of those people.’
“Oh god Magnus I’m sorry I didn’t know.”
“It’s ok I didn’t tell anyone ‘cus I don’t want anyone to worry.”
“Well I’m always here for you, you know that.”
“Yeah, thanks Alexander.” He only called me that when he was really serious. He pulled me in for a hug and I rested my head on his shoulder just breathing in his scent. He smelled like Magnus. Like home. I wished I could just stay like that forever but I couldn’t so I slowly pulled away.
“You know, I think it’s time for us to get you back into the dating game huh?” I wiggled my eyebrows at him and he laughed.
“Well, there is someone…” My heart sunk. I knew it would never work between us and I had a girlfriend but it still hurt. I kept on a brave face and smiled.
“Guy or girl?” I asked.
“Guy.” he smirked.
“Ask him out Magnus!” I playfully pushed his shoulder.
“I can’t.” He looked down and frowned.
“Why not? Magnus dude, you’re literally one of the most attractive guys at our school and you’re funny and smart and athletic…”
“Alec just stop ok! He doesn’t feel the same so there’s no point.” My eyes were a little wide with shock.
“Sorry for yelling. It’s just...he’s dating someone so it doesn’t matter and he’s straighter than Izzy’s hair.”
“Oh. I’m sorry. He’s blind if he can’t see that you’re right in front of him. He isn’t worth it.” Magnus nodded but I thought I heard him whisper something under his breath that sounded a little like “He’s worth everything.”

 

The next day at school I was sitting in the library with Izzy and cuddling with Lydia when she pulled away and looked at me.
“Alec?”
“Yeah?” I looked at her confused. Was something wrong?”
“Um...I love you.” My heart stopped. I couldn’t breathe. What was I supposed to tell her? I didn’t want to lie but I didn’t want to hurt her either.
“Alec? Hello?” Izzy had been waving a hand in front of my face.
“Oh uh, I’m sorry I have to go.” I grabbed my backpack and left as quickly as I could.
“Did I do something?” Lydia turned to Alec with concern on her face.
“Let me go talk to him. He’s probably just shy.”

 

I was in the janitor’s closet when I heard a knock.
“Alec it’s Izzy, open up!”
I got up from the bucket where I was sitting and opened the door. She walked in and closed it behind her.
“Look Alec,”
“I’m gay.” I interrupted and immediately slapped a hand over my mouth. She looked a little surprised but smiled.
“I know.”
“Wait but…”
“Alec, you’ve never shown interest in Lydia. Any straight guy would, so I figured it out a while ago. Also, John Snow from ‘Game of Thrones’? You clearly had a crush on him.”
“Did not!” I protested. “Besides, he’s not my type,” I muttered.
“Oh I know.” she smirked. “I think your type is more along the lines of tall, dark, and Magnus.”
I jerked my head up in shock.
“What are you talking about?”
“C’mon Alec, don’t be dense. I see the way you look at him.”
“Is it that obvious?”
“Not to him, no. And clearly not to Lydia either.”
“Does Jace know?”
“Not sure. I think he suspects though.”
“Oh god.”
“Alec, he won’t care. Jace will love you just the same. Besides Magnus is bisexual, why would he care?”
“You’re right, I’ll tell him.”
“You should also tell Lydia and Magnus.”
“I can’t!”
“Why not?”
It’ll break her heart and Magnus…”
“You have to be honest with her Alec. It’s not nice to lead people on. As for Magnus, he’s your best friend he’ll love you more for telling him.”
“Not in the way I want him to.” I mumbled.
“Alec, you really are stupid.” And with that, she left me confused in the closet. (No pun intended).

 

That night I called Lydia and told her to meet me at the park a little before sundown. I told her I had some things to explain to her and that we needed to talk. She arrived a few minutes after I did and for almost 30 minutes we sat in silence. Once it was dark and the stars were out I finally spoke.
“Lydia, I really love you.” I hesitated. “But not in that way.” I looked at my feet.
“What do you mean?” she turned to me.
“I mean… Lydia, I’m gay.” Her eyes widened in shock and she looked at me confused. Then her eyes filled with tears.
“Then why on earth would you lead me on Alec!” She started to get up but I caught her wrist.
“Lydia, I-” She wrenched her arm away from me.
“Don’t touch me! You know what the worst part is? I don’t mind you being gay, I have a gay sister for god sakes! But the fact that you decided to date me and let me believe that you liked me the same way I liked you is just plain cruel Alec. You don’t do that to someone.” Before I could say anything else she ran down the hill and drove home.

 

Things were rocky between us for a while. She finally caught on to the way I felt about Magnus and I could tell it really hurt her to see me look at someone else the way she looked at me. I understood where she was coming from. Even though Magnus hadn’t told me who he liked so I couldn’t get jealous of someone specific it still hurt to know that he wasn’t interested in me that way. People started to question why we broke up so I came up with a plan. Since I wasn’t ready to out myself to the whole school, Lydia said that we decided to end it because we thought it would interfere with Jace and Clary’s relationship and cared about them too much. We made it seem like a mutual decision so neither of us were to blame even though I knew it was my fault. Even still, people bullied her because they thought that I had cheated or something and that was the real reason. My siblings ended these rumors immediately, but I knew Lydia would never have the life she did before dating me.

 

Things between me and Magnus were rough again. He could tell that me and Lydia had broken up for a different reason but I just wasn’t ready to tell him. I was terrified that the second I came out to him he would know how I felt and reject me. I just couldn’t handle that at the time. He came up to me after class and told me to come over to his house so we could talk. I was nervous because I didn’t know what he knew at this point and I didn’t want us to grow apart further.

 

When I arrived at his house, I knocked on the door and waited for him to open it. A few short moments later he did. He wasn’t smiling, but he wasn’t frowning. I couldn’t read his expression which made me even more nervous. We went up to his room and sat on the floor.
“Alec, I know you’re lying to me about you and Lydia. What really happened between you two?”
I sighed.
“I broke up with her.”
“Why? You two were adorable together!”
“Why does everyone keep saying that!? Obviously if people knew me, they’d know that I wasn’t happy!” I was getting so frustrated. Why couldn’t people tell that I never liked her? I couldn’t be that good of an actor.
“Jeez Alec don’t get all defensive on me. I just want to know what happened. I’m your best friend, don’t I get to hear the full story?”
“It’s just…”
“Just what? You don’t trust me enough to tell me why you and your girlfriend broke up? Why she’s been so depressed lately? I know Lydia and she doesn’t get that sad over any break up. Whatever you did to her must have been pretty heart wrenching. So enlighten me Alexander? What could you have done that was so horrible you can’t even tell me?”
“It’s not like that Magnus! I can’t deal with this right now. I can’t tell you ok! I can’t.” My eyes were filled with tears. I knew this would happen. Why couldn’t I just be normal and not have to be hung up on my best friend who is pining over another guy? Magnus’s face looked shocked.
“Alec, I’m sorry I didn’t realize… Did she do something? Because if she did I swear to god..” His face turned to one of anger.
“No, no. It wasn’t her I hurt her and I never meant to. I just never liked her that way. I shouldn’t have led her on.”
“No offense, but then why are you crying?”
“I just… I like someone else ok?” I looked to floor embarrassed and played with the frayed ends of my shoelaces.
“Oh.” Magnus looked a little sad and I couldn’t fathom why. “What’s her name?” he asked.
“Uh…” I clearly hadn’t thought this through. I swallowed. If I didn’t tell Magnus the truth now, I don’t think I’d ever get the courage to.
“It’s… it’s not a girl.” My face was bright red at this point and I couldn’t meet his eyes.
“Wait but… you just told me you liked someone, I’m confused.”
“My god Magnus, of all the people I didn’t expect you to be this stupid.”
“What? What am I missing?” he looked genuinely confused.
“Wow. Do I seriously have to spell it out for you? I’m gay Magnus. I like boys. I’m a homosexual. Starting to make sense?”
“Wait but you…” He looked at me until his eyes widened and it started to finally make sense.
“Is that why you two broke up?”
“Yeah, I told her I couldn’t do it anymore and she’s less mad at me now but she’s upset. Understandably so.”
“Oh. Well I mean you know I don’t think of you any differently. I mean I do, but like.... You know what I mean.” I honestly didn’t but I nodded my head anyway. I had to admit that when he said he didn’t think of me differently it kind of hurt. I know he meant that I was still his best friend and he wasn’t weirded out by it but I kind of wished that now that he knew I was gay I might have a chance with him. I knew I was being delusional so I put on a brave face.
“Wait, does this mean I get to put makeup on you?” Magnus looked excited.
“Absolutely not.” I glared at him and he frowned.
“Well maybe we can at least talk about hot guys together.” I pretended to agree and just nodded. This was going to be harder than I thought.

 

It wasn’t too long before rumors started going around that were different from what Lydia and I had been telling people. Some people were even whispering that I had gotten Lydia pregnant but that wasn’t the one that even bothered me the most. I don’t know if people thought of this, or if somehow my friends had leaked but there was a rumor that I was gay and that was the real reason Lydia and I broke up. Homecoming was coming up, and I didn’t have a date so I decided to just go with my siblings, and Magnus. They all brought their significant others along except for Magnus who still wouldn’t tell me who he liked. I knew that I couldn’t let these rumors go around any longer so I decided to end them once and for all. With the truth this time. When the Homecoming king and queen had finished their dance, I asked one of the organizers from the committee if I could use the mic. They didn’t really care so I went onstage and swallowed. This might be the most nerve wracking event of my life. I cleared my throat and the microphone squeaked. I cringed.
“Um… can I have everyone’s attention please?” People slowly turned to look at me.
“So there have been rumors going around about the split between me and Lydia, and I just wanted to clear things up.” All my friends were now looking at me with wide eyes. Magnus turned to Izzy and whispered, “Is he…”
“Ok so this isn’t really easy to say wow there’s a lot of you ok I’m just gonna do this fast.” I was starting to ramble.
“I had to end things with Lydia not only for myself, but for her. It wasn’t fair to be with someone I didn’t have feelings for. Couldn’t have feelings for. And that’s because I’m gay.” People started cheering and Magnus looked at me with the brightest smile I think I’d ever seen him have. I just about wanted to cry. I wished he would smile at me like that everyday, but I knew it just wasn’t possible.
“Lydia and I are still on good terms and hopefully she finds someone who loves her unconditionally because she deserves the world.” Lydia’s eyes were filling with tears. SHe murmured a quiet ‘thank you’ that I couldn’t hear but I could see her lips moving. I put the microphone back and got off the stage. All my friends gave me a huge group hug and told me how proud they were of me. I had told Jace a few days after I had broken up with Lydia and he said that he still loved me the same and that we’d be brothers no matter what. I guess finally accepting who I was really paid off. I couldn’t help feeling that I was the luckiest guy alive. If only…

 

That night Magnus invited me to stay over at his house to get away from Izzy and Jace and their significant others, so of course, why would I pass up an opportunity to spend more time with Magnus than listen to my siblings, and you know what I’m gonna stop. We got to his house around 1 in the morning and we were both hungry so I made us some quesadillas which weren’t too bad considering my lack of expertise in cooking. We sat and talked for a while, I asked him about the lacrosse season, and he asked me about my archery practice. It started getting late and we were both tired so we went upstairs to his room.
“You can take the bed,” he offered.
“Nah it’s cool I’ll sleep on the floor.”
“No. C’mon Alec just sleep on the bed it’s fine, really.” I stood defiantly with my arms over my chest.
“Wow ok, if your gonna be like that we’ll share the bed.” My eyes widened. I couldn’t think of an excuse that sounded valid so I tried to hide my blush and just mumbled “Ok, sure.”
I changed in the bathroom and when I walked back into his room he was under the blanket already with his glasses on, reading a book. I blushed. I had always found his reading glasses super attractive. I got under the covers and made sure to leave a good foot and a half between us. He turned off the lamp and got comfortable.
“Goodnight Alexander,” he yawned.
“Night Magnus.” I turned over and tried to fall asleep but when he moved closer and I could suddenly feel his body heat radiating onto me and his breath hot on my neck, I knew I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep. I just tried to keep my breathing quiet so I wouldn’t wake him. I had just closed my eyes when the bed shifted and now he was pressed up against me. My breath caught in my throat and my heart started beating faster. I was about to try and move away from him when I heard, or more like felt him whisper against my back.
“Alec?”
“Yes?” My breath whoosed out of me in one gust.
“I’m sorry.”
“What for?”
“For everything. God why can’t I just-”
“Magnus, what is it?”
“Nothing, it’s nothing. Goodnight Alec.” He sounded almost mad. My heart tugged painfully in my chest and when he rolled over I shut my eyes and tried not to make too much noise as tears ran down my cheeks. I fell asleep to the sound of his steady breathing.

 

When I opened my eyes, sun was streaming through the window. I turned to see that Magnus had already gotten up and was probably downstairs so I got out of bed and put on a pair of his sweats, hoping he wouldn’t mind. When I got downstairs he was making coffee and the smell of fresh bacon wafted through the kitchen. He turned and looked at me, his eyes widening. They zeroed in on my hips and then snapped back up to look at me.
“Oh, uh, morning Alec.”
“Morning,” I yawned, rubbing my eyes. When I opened them he had a soft but hesitant expression on his face that I couldn’t read.
I sat down on one of the stools on the island and scrolled through my phone.
“Since when can you cook?” I asked.
“Not long, I’ve been making easy things for Madzie when she comes over.”
Madzie was his 5 year old cousin and she loved both of us. She thought we didn’t notice, but we could hear her whisper to Izzy that she thought we were in love. I mean, she was half right, but maybe she didn’t realize that Magnus didn’t feel the same.

 

*** time skip ***

 

It had been almost two weeks since we had really talked. After that one night where Magnus had almost admitted something on his mind, we had been distanced. I hated this with a passion. He was my best friend why couldn’t he see that I needed him? That I loved him. It was burning a hole in my heart seeing him like this and I didn’t understand. I knew we had been apart but wasn’t there still that guy he liked? That night I was texting Izzy about how miserable my life was and that I wasn’t going to be able to stand this any longer but I was too chicken to tell him. She told me that one night Magnus had called her crying about a boy. He was saying that he was in love with the guy and had been forever but knew he would never feel the same way and it broke my heart. Not only because Magnus was pining over someone else, but because he was hurting as well. Izzy was about to say something else when I told her I had to go and hung up. I ignored her pleas for me to not go but tears were streaming down my cheeks and my heart felt like it was being ripped in two. I fell asleep that night desperately hoping that my feelings would dissipate so I didn’t have to be in so much pain.

 

When I walked into class the next morning, the only seat was by Magnus. I looked across the room and looked at Izzy. She must have planned this. With a soft sigh that no one but me could hear, I sat down next to Magnus. We were silent most of the class until a few seconds before the bell rang, I couldn’t take it anymore.
“Meet me at the park at three.” I said and left the class with him sitting there, stunned.

 

It was 3:05 and I was starting to get worried. I looked down at my phone again and that’s when his car pulled up. He got out and walked over to me. He was looking down and his hands were in his pockets.
“Alec I’m sorry,” he said at the same time I said,
“Magnus I’m sorry.” We looked at each other.
“You can go first,” he said.
“Look Magnus, I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable or if you feel like you can’t tell me things because you mean so so much to me I don’t even think you get it and I’m sorry about the guy you like not liking you back because they’re ridiculous. What’s not to love about you?” I gulped.
“No, it’s my fault Alexander. I let my feelings get in the way of us because I was so hurt and I didn’t think I would ever get over you. Honestly I don’t think I ever will but I realize that I can’t not have you in my life because it hurts too much.” My brain short-circuited.
“Wait, did you say your feelings for me?”
“Um, yeah?”
“Wait, but I don’t understand.”
“Oh my gosh Alec I swear you are so dense sometimes. I’m in love with you okay! I have been for years and you’re too stupid and blind not to notice it and I hate myself because I wish I could get over you but I can’t because you’re too perfect and all the peoplel I’ve dated have just been a distraction from you because I love you and I- mmph!” I surged forward and cut him off by pressing my lips to his. I thought I had stepped over the line when he stood frozen but then he slowly started to kiss back. The kiss was slow and sweet and everything ten times better than anything I’d ever pictured. The kiss got more intense and I pushed him against a tree and slid my hands over his hips and under the hem of his shirt. When he gasped, I took that as an invitation to slip my tongue in. We were clutching each other like our lives depended on it and when we pulled away our eyes were wide and we were out of breath.
“I love you so much Magnus. I always have, always will. I wrapped my arms around him and buried my face into his neck, breathing in his scent.
“I love you, I love you…” I kept whispering like a chant and when we pulled apart his eyes were glistening with tears.
“Did I do something wrong?” I asked, suddenly worried.
“No, no, I just really love you.” he smiled.
“Me too.” We walked home holding hands and ever since that day, I’ve loved Magnus and never looked back. I can’t believe in less than two weeks I get to call him my husband. This journey has been a huge struggle, but in the end it was so worth it.