The day Jace found his first gray hair was an event none of them would forget. Particularly Alec, for whom the day marked a turning point in his life. His life changing drastically with one small hair. Not that he realized it at the time.
“I think you are overreacting, Jace,” Alec laughed, not seeing the big deal. It was one gray hair. He certainly wouldn't react like that when he found his first. With them all in their mid-thirties now, it was only a matter of time. “With hair your color no one is even going to see it.” He sat on Jace’s bed in the Institute, his brother’s eyes locked on the mirror as he looked through his hair one by one, looking for any other silver ones that might be hiding amongst the golden strands.
“But I know it is there. And Clary will start to notice, she’ll know I’m getting older.” The fact that Jace still cared about what his wife thought of his appearance after all these years was rather adorable. Particularly since Clary looked older than she once had as well.
Alec chuckled, “We all are. Except for Magnus of course.” Really, if anyone had the right to complain about getting older, it was him, right? Everyone else got to grow older with their loved ones while Alec’s husband would stay eternally young and beautiful.
Jace, looking at him through the mirror, raised a brow. “Hate to tell you, man, but you haven’t aged. Well, not like I have. Or Clary or Izzy. How is it that you are older than all of us but look like the youngest?”
“I don’t know. You would think after everything you three put me through, I would have gone completely gray by now. Or bald from pulling out my own hair.”
“Exactly!” Jace cried, spinning around to look at him fully now. “So if Magnus is regularly giving you any sort of magical anti-aging potion or something, it is your obligation as my parabatai to share it with me.”
Alec laughed again, falling back on the bed as he found immense amusement in his brother’s struggle. “The only thing Magnus is giving me regularly is for me and me alone.”
Jace gaped at him, though whether he was truly horrified or just joking around, Alec wasn’t sure. “Seriously, Alec? I think I liked you better when you were more repressed. Izzy and I are supposed to be the ones with the active sex lives. You are our disapproving big brother and nothing should ever change that.”
“Hate to break it to you, Jace, but my sex life has been more active than yours for a decade now. Might be time to get over it.”
Considering that, Jace frowned and Alec decided against pointing out that it made his few wrinkles more noticeable. “You haven’t aged and you are still going at it like when you first got together? Maybe I will take some of what you are having.”
“Jace, no.” Alec sighed and left the room, leaving Jace to panic over his own mortality alone. Alec had done enough of that already. He didn’t need to deal with Jace’s, too.
“What’s your routine, big brother?” Izzy said the words as calmly as if they sentence actually made any sense in the context. A weekly movie night consisting of the Lightwood siblings and their spouses had become their tradition and the whole gang was piled in the Lightwood-Bane living room watching something mindless. Having reached the consensus that the movie was hardly worth their time, the couples were talking while it played in the background.
Isabelle and Alec were in the kitchen, Alec getting them snacks while simultaneously stopping Izzy from attempting to make them anything. Her skills had never improved and it was only the fact that Simon was human once more and able to taste food that saved them from the most disgusting dinner parties. But tonight, for once, she wasn’t arguing over not being allowed to help. Instead, that frankly perplexing question left her lips instead.
“What routine, Iz? You are there for all of my training and have been since you were twelve years old.” What other routine was there? He worked. He came home. He worked again. His life was regimented, scheduled. Routine. He liked it that way.
She rolled her eyes, the same look she gave him when he still wasn’t understanding something she believed to be obvious. “Your skincare routine, Alec. I’m guessing Magnus gave you some tips because you look fabulous.”
“People have a routine for skincare? Like on this day I wash with one type of soap while on other days I get covered in ichor and need something stronger?” Baffled was the only word he could come up with to describe how he was feeling right now. Why would he have a skincare routine and if she cared about that sort of thing (which he knew she did) she should have been asking his husband, not him?
“I want to know specifics. Creams, lotions, brands. Give me all of it. Alec, you better not be holding out on me. My big brother shouldn’t look better than me. It’s not fair, particularly when you still dress like that.” His style had gotten moderately better over the years. One could only live with Magnus Bane so long before some of his sense of fashion wore off on you, though mostly it was just Magnus buying him clothes and Alec wearing what was handed to him.
He shook his head, exasperated. “Iz, you know me better than that. In what universe do you think I would have some kind of cream for my face?” He knew better than to ask if people did that. Magnus took at least a half hour every night just washing his face. But never one to make a fuss over his appearance, Alec washed with whatever soap he found in the bathroom and called it good.
She glared, obviously trying to figure out if he was telling her the truth or not. In the end, Izzy sighed, “Fine, but if I find out you were lying, I will make you regret it.”
Alec knew she would. “Iz, I promise, I don’t have any kind of routine. I’d say good genetics. You and I both look better than Jace after all,” he grinned as they headed back toward their family.
“I heard that!” Jace called from the living room, causing them both to laugh.
Magnus chimed in, “And it’s true. Have you seen those two beauties? Simon and I are lucky men. Sorry, Biscuit.” Everyone laughed at Jace’s pout and the conversation was forgotten once more.
Alec was proud that he could tolerate Simon’s presence now. The improvement in their relationship made Izzy happy and in the end, that was one of the most important things in Alec’s mind. Even if the vampire-turned-human-again still drove him crazy, Alec learned to accept his quirks as something endearing and not as annoying as he used to be.
Even still, spending time just the two of them was not high on Alec’s list of things he wanted to do with his night. However, Simon was once again an untrained mundane and Izzy forced Alec to take the night off so Alec got stuck with brother-in-law babysitting duty. “Seriously, why are you making me watch this movie again? I think I’ve had to watch it at least once a year since the wedding.”
“The Graduate is a classic, Alec. You need to watch classics a lot. It reminds you why they are classics.” That sort of logic didn’t make sense to Alec but he knew, somehow, that Magnus would approve. Of course, the first night they watched it, Magnus spent the time telling them about seeing it in the theaters and the night he spent with both Dustin Hoffman and Katharine Ross. Alec kissed him to get him stop talking and they ended up not seeing the end of the movie. Simon must have let himself out of the night because Alec certainly didn’t notice him leaving.
Either way, while the rest were out shopping, Alec and Simon were hanging out in the loft. He even had Magnus get a copy of the movie because every time they were together, Simon suggested watching it. Alec actually enjoyed the movie but certainly wouldn't tell Simon that. He had a reputation to uphold, after all.
Finally, the movie was starting and Simon was shoving popcorn in his mouth – ever since he got changed back, he’d taken to food with gusto. As the character who Alec couldn’t remember was important or not was babbling about plastics, Simon turned to look at him closely. “You remind me of Dustin Hoffman.”
“I thought I reminded you of Elaine since I left my fiancé at the altar to run away with the world’s most attractive man?”
“That too,” Simon grinned. “But mostly, you are aging better than anyone I know. I mean, he looks almost as good now as he did then. You look virtually unchanged from the first time I met you. I spent a couple years as a vampire, was almost five years younger than you, and still look older than you do now. It isn’t fair.”
Alec rolled his eyes. One could only hear so many comments about their youthful appearance before it started to get annoying. “You aren’t the first person I’ve heard that from. Not my fault my genes are that good. Maybe being a vampire made you age faster after you changed back. Ever think about that?”
Simon’s eyes went wide and he mercifully fell silent, no doubt thinking of many obnoxious comments to ask Raphael the next time he went to visit his old friends at the hotel.
“Alec, what is your secret?” Clary asked one day while they were sparring in the training room at the Institute.
He sighed. He got the question often enough at this point, he already knew what was coming. “I have no secret, Clary. No moisturizer, no magical ointments. Why anyone thinks I would be remotely interested in making myself look younger than my age is beyond me. I do the exact same thing I always have. It apparently works for me but no one else believes me.” Sure, he hated that his husband would get stay forever youthful while he aged. Sure he hated that someday he would leave the love of his life heartbroken and alone but there wasn’t anything he could do about that so Alec chose to enjoy what time he had and not dwell on things that he couldn’t change.
Clary looked confused before shaking her head, “I mean, how have you put up with Jace for all these years? I love him but I’m pretty sure I will have killed him by the time I’ve known him as long as you have. And you share half a soul with him. If anyone knows the secret to not killing, it’s you.”
“Oh.” His signature blush crept up his cheeks, still not immune to the embarrassment after all these years. “Kick his ass in training. That usually puts him in his place. And even if it doesn't, it makes you feel better.”
“That’s just the thing,” Clary sighed, leaning on her staff as they talked. “He won’t train with me anymore.”
Alec raised a brow. That didn't sound like Jace at all. He never missed an opportunity to train, no matter who his opponent was. His wife certainly made it to the top of his list. Alec knew the proud look Jace had every time Clary managed to take him down. “Why?”
Sighing, Clary smiled, “Because he’s afraid he’ll hurt me. And…” Alec waited for her to continue, “And our baby.”
Suddenly the joy and concern he’d been feeling through their bond made sense. Alec couldn’t stop himself from grinning widely. “I can’t believe you’re letting Jace be a father. That was a terrible idea.” He pulled Clary into a hug. Their relationship had progressed a long way since she first came stumbling into their lives. “Congratulations. And if you had told me sooner, I wouldn’t have trained with you either.”
“I’m pregnant, not invalid,” she grinned, accepting the hug gladly. But thanks.” Alec turned to place his staff back on the rack. “Wait, you really aren’t going to train with me?”
“Of course not. You’re off field duty now too.”
Clary pouted, though one hand rested on her belly and Alec knew it was the right move, regardless of what she thought. “You know, you were more fun when you were younger.”
“No, I wasn’t.”
Laughing, she shook her head, “No, you weren’t. But at least you still look like you did. Being happy looks good on you, Alec.”
“You too, Biscuit.”
Ten years had passed. Ten years since they were able to stand in front of their friends, family, and detractors at the Institute and say their vows in gold.
Looking at the pictures, Alec runs his fingers over Magnus’ face, the bright smile that used to only be directed at Alec. These days, Alec saw it all the time and it directed at everyone in their family; Jace and Clary and their daughter, Izzy and Simon, Maryse even on one memorable occasion, and their beloved son, Max.
Alec still found it hard to believe he had all of this. If someone had told him fifteen years ago that he would one day be a happily married man with a family he adored, he would have scoffed at the word happily and been sadly resigned to the rest of it. Now, he couldn’t imagine a better than the one he had.
Despite it being their anniversary, Alec was curled up on the couch in the black silk pajama pants Magnus had bought him a few years prior. They planned a weekend in Tokyo starting on Friday but with Max in kindergarten, they didn’t want to disrupt his routine in the middle of the week. So they opted for a quiet night in, a dinner for just the three of them, and the promise of a movie the minute Max was asleep.
While Magnus put him to bed, Alec pulled out the photo album from the wedding. And he still thumbed through the pages when Magnus returned. “The best day of my life,” the warlock sighed, sitting down next to Alec and leaning his head on his husband’s shoulder. “The only day that came close was the day we officially adopted Max as our son.”
Alec nodded, smiling as he turned to catch Magnus’ lips in a kiss. “I can’t believe it has been ten years already. So much has changed.” They had Max. They had their niece who seemed to have inherited her parents’ penchant for troublemaking. Simon was human again. Ragnor decided to stop pretending to be dead and was now an active part of their family, often with Raphael by his side.
They’d lost Max.
His eyes scanned to the picture of his youngest brother, smiling and happy standing next to him at the altar. Alec missed him every single day and when they adopted their son, there was no other name he wanted to use. Magnus readily agreed so at least a part of Max lived on in his lively, blue-skinned nephew.
“He’d be the age I was when we met,” Alec said softly, still staring at his brother. “I wonder what he would have looked like, what kind of Shadowhunter he would have been. What kind of man he would have been.”
Magnus wrapped an arm around Alec and shook his head, “Probably the best kind. Look at who his role models were. Between you, your siblings and Biscuit, how could he have been anything but amazing?”
“He always looked more like me than he did anyone else in the family. I wonder if it would have been like looking in a mirror by the time he reached my age?”
Magnus hummed, not having an answer and clearly lost in his own thoughts.
Alec looked at the pictures, frowning as he finally started to see what everyone else had been pointing out for a few years now. “Magnus? Is it weird that I look exactly the same? Everyone else has been commenting on it but I figured they were exaggerating but look, I have changed.”
Whatever expression Alec expected from his husband, fear didn’t factor into it. But that was exactly how Magnus looked. Fearful. Nervous. “No, Alec,” he said softly. “Not that weird. I….I knew this day would come eventually. Just, don’t be too angry, okay?”
“Magnus, you have me worried.”
“I know. Just listen to everything before you reply, okay?”
Alec nodded, turned to face Magnus, and waited.
Instead of answering immediately, Magnus turned his attention to the photo album in Alec’s lap. “That was the best day of my uncomfortably long life. To stand there with you, declaring our love and our desire to share it for the rest of our lives, nothing could ever top that. I’d waited centuries for someone to come along who loves me the way you do. And, here you are.” Magnus smiled at Alec, the expression a little off though Alec couldn’t put his finger on exactly what was wrong with it.
“You know sometimes my magic tends to have a life of its own?” Alec nodded, knowing that all too well. He doubted many other people had their lovers set fire to the curtains or turn the room to crystal when they made love. Magnus told him it was rare for him to lose control like that but more often than not, when they were together, Magnus magic worked in tandem with them, whether he intended it to or not.
Magnus dropped his eyes back to the pictures. “You can’t always see my magic when I am doing something but I can always feel it. It’s a part of me, an extension of my very being. If it is working, I am aware.” In one of the pictures, his cat eyes were clearly visible and he placed his fingers over it for a moment.
Alec remembered when that happened. Magnus kept them glamoured through the ceremony but there was one time, right in the middle of their vows, that he let Alec see those golden orbs he adored. They were gone as quickly as they came on and Alec thought he was the only one to have seen them. It appeared their photographer managed to get a picture at exactly the right moment and it was Alec’s favorite in the whole album. Something about Magnus with his cat eyes just screamed perfect to Alec.
“I’ve been selfish,” Magnus continued after some time. “I should have told you when it happened. You deserved to know. But we were so happy and I didn’t want to ruin our wedding day. Then we had the honeymoon and then… It never seemed like the right time. Now ten years have passed and I worry if you will be able to forgive me.”
Taking Magnus’ hand in his, Alec looked at his husband with concern and compassion. Nothing could ever change the way he felt about him and he told him so. Magnus laughed, humorless and empty, and shook his head. “You don’t even know what I did.”
But Alec was beginning to get a good idea. He didn’t know for certain yet, but things were starting to fall into place. “Magnus, it doesn’t matter. Just tell me, okay? You are scaring me.”
“Remember our vows? How we agonized over getting the wording just right?” Alec would never forget them. They took snippets from various marriage vows and other binding ceremonies. There was even a line from the parabatai ritual that seemed appropriate for their particular wedding. “Remember the word I messed up?”
He frowned, “Yes?” Because during the line from parabatai ritual, instead of saying if ought but death parts me from thee, Magnus had said if even death parts me from thee. Alec knew his mortality was a sore spot and the fact that Magnus slipped and let some of his pain through didn’t change anything for him.
Magnus appeared sheepish, a look that was so foreign on his husband’s face that Alec felt unnerved by it entirely. “I may have accidentally put some magic behind that phrase. And I may not have told you about it for a decade in the hopes that you wouldn’t notice.”
“Magnus…” His name held a warning but more than Alec wanted him to just tell him already.
“I think I accidentally made you immortal in our wedding vows,” he said quickly. “I can fix it. I figured out how. If you want to be mortal again, I can grant that to you.” Magnus bit his lip, waiting for Alec to say something. Anything. But Alec could hear the heartbreak in Magnus’ voice as he made the offer.
“You accidentally made me immortal with our wedding vows?” The words sounded ridiculous and yet, so much of his life was strange that Alec knew they were the truth. He didn’t say anything else for several long minutes, the implications of it weighing on his mind.
And then he laughed.
He laughed until tears streamed from his eyes. He laughed until he collapsed against Magnus, holding tight to his husband who was too shell-shocked to do anything but sit there. At some point, the tears turned from laughter to grief, though it was for the ones he would lose.
“I don’t want you to fix it,” he finally managed when he got the laughter and crying under control. “I figured I had a few more years before I went to Raphael to have him make me a vampire. I don’t want to leave you, Magnus. And I don’t want to leave Max. And now I don’t have to because apparently, your magic loves me enough to want to keep me around forever.”
The tears started to fall from Magnus’ eyes and he cupped Alec’s face with both of his hands and kissed him again and again. “How many times do I have to tell you, you stupid nephilim, that every part of me loves every part of you? That is as true now as it was the day we first said the words to each other outside the church. I will keep you and love you forever, Alexander Lightwood-Bane, if you will let me.”
“It will be my pleasure, Magnus Lightwood-Bane,” Alec smiled, leaning in to kiss his husband with all the love and passion he felt. “But you are the one who has to explain this to everyone else.”