It was strange being back at the New York Institute as such a passive member of the Clave. It certainly had a different feel to it than when it was under previous leadership. Perhaps it was the young age of the newer leader, inspiring more of his fellow comrades than the ones before, or maybe it was because of everything that had happened with Valentine and the recent uprising gaining fire in the Shadow World, but there was something more community-like than before.
Maryse knew she could blame it on a lot of things, but her pride in it being her son at the helm at a time of change was unwavering.
She had hoped for Alec to find his place as Head of the Institute at some point. She and Robert, when they had better days, had always saw his leadership skills and level head even in crises to be fitting of a future leader of the Institute. He didn't let emotions cloud his judgment and could see farther than just what was right in front of him. The selfish part of them enjoyed the idea of a Lightwood being in such an honorary role, but Maryse knew it also was a pride in their son's career blooming that lead the desire to set him up for such a role down the road.
So when Jace handed the leadership over to Alec easily, she knew it wasn't just she and her husband who had faith in him. There were others, peers, that saw him in such a light too. And Alec already was stepping up and making change the way she never imagined she'd see in such an aged institution and with the Clave breathing down his neck. But he stood tall and marched on, and for that, she was immeasurably proud.
Still, she found herself musing over when he became such a strong, independent and confident man. Her little boy had come a long way from the shy, quiet child she once knew.
Passing the head office, she paused, knowing Alec was hard at work inside. She didn't want to interrupt his work but she was curious if he was enjoying the job as much as he led on. She knew it was not a walk in the park, many tough decisions falling entirely in his hands, and, as capable as he may be, it was still a burden to bear.
Maryse knew she had made enough mistakes in the past trying to pressure Alec into something he was not; she'd hate if, on some level, he was taking this job on to appease anyone outside of himself.
Knowing it wasn't a guilt-free indulgence, she drew a quick rune that created a secret window to let her peek inside the room.
Alec, sure enough, was inside, fingers flying over the tablet before him, his brow furrowed in concentration. She couldn't believe how grown up he looked these days. It was like he flew from preteen to adulthood before she even had a chance to blink. She knew that was hardly true; it was just hard for a parent to really grasp how fast their kids grow up when they're there to witness it all along.
A portal suddenly opened behind Alec, and she nearly shouted in terror like she was watching a mundane horror movie, but outstepped Magnus Bane, and Maryse realized that of course it would be him. They had wards up at the institute after all, ones that he himself put in place. He would be the only one able to portal in.
Alec's entire body language changed when Magnus appeared in the room, and Maryse watched in fascination at the sight of her son with his boyfriend properly for the first time.
She had witnessed their dramatic declaration at Alec's wedding of course; that wasn't something she would forget any time soon. But beyond that, she'd been at Idris or Alec hadn't been with Magnus in front of her, so it was too easy to forget that all this time they had been getting closer and more serious. She knew they were romantically involved and had been for some time, but witnessing it firsthand was definitely new and she couldn't help but be a little curious.
Especially now that she saw how quickly Alec changed at the sight of the other man. He had immediately risen to his feet, his expression warming as a smile graced his face.
"Am I going to have to stage an intervention? You are spending way too much time holed up in this office. And, though adorable, that crease in your brow is going to be a permanent fixture if you don't take some breaks now and then." Magnus was teasing him as Alec tucked an arm around his waist.
Alec rolled his eyes. "Adorable, huh? Did you really come all this way to mock me?"
"Hmm. No, you caught me. I came for the kiss." Magnus said, cupping Alec's jaw as Alec dipped his head down to kiss him.
"I just have a couple things to do then we can go home." Alec was saying, kissing Magnus once more before breaking away to reorganize some files on his desk.
Home. Maryse felt her heart warm that Alec referred to their shared space as such. She wondered how long it had taken for him to take residence with the one he loved.
Magnus seated himself on the couch, crossing his legs as he stretched out his arms across the leather backing. "You know, this office is really nice. Sure you didn't accept the promotion just to have this to yourself?"
Alec chuckled, sending him an amused look. "And here I thought I was being subtle. It was not about having a position of power to actually make a long overdue change within the Shadow World. It was all about the fine decor."
Magnus smirked mischievously and dragged Alec backwards so he fell into his lap.
"A man after my own heart. But, you know, if that was the reason, you would probably be home on time more." he said conversationally, as if he hadn't just pulled his lanky boyfriend on top of him.
Alec sighed exasperatedly. "You know, this is why I don't have you visit me at the Institute more often. I can't get a thing done here with you around."
But Alec was settling into his hold, his fingers playing with the hair at the nape of his boyfriend's neck.
"But I do miss you when I'm here." he admitted softly.
Magnus' face changed, resembling melted chocolate as he smiled back tenderly at the Nephilim. "I miss you too."
His own fingers were drawing circles into Alec's lower back, and Alec leaned his head onto Magnus' shoulder, nuzzling his face into his neck. Magnus pulled him more comfortably against him, pressing a light kiss to his forehead.
Alec yawned. "I'm exhausted. The rest of this can wait. Can we go home now?"
"Of course, my love. Your wish is my command." Magnus replied, and, with a flick of his wrist, a portal surfaced in the corner of the room.
Alec stood up, interlocking their fingers immediately as Magnus followed, and the pair walked through the portal together, leaving nothing but the quiet office behind.
Maryse reversed her rune and leaned against the wall, wiping a stray tear off her cheek.
Her son had found the love she had always hoped he would. And she may not have understood it at first, but she did now. And she was over the moon to see the changes true love had made to her prodigal son.
She knew she'd never speak ill of him dating a Downworlder again. Both men clearly shared something special, something that invoked change in both of them, and it was a beautiful sight to see.
Alec laughing and teasing and tender with another person; he had similar moments with his siblings, but nothing to the degree he shared with Magnus just then. The way he melted into his touch, kissed him casually, maintained physical contact at all times–she knew that was not something he once would have done so easily. He trusted Magnus deeply, possibly more than any other person, even his parabatai. She was sure it took some time, as it would for anyone but especially someone as distrustful of his own heart as Alec had been, but she was glad he had finally found someone to pour his heart into.
She could only hope the rest of her children would be so lucky to have what Magnus and Alec had.
And with that, Maryse left the hallway, planning to tuck the exchange she witnessed away to remember for a long time to come, when she needed reminding that there was always hope when love like that was out there in the world.