Chapter 1: now
It had been almost eighty years, and yet Magnus still found it hard to wake up alone. He still sometimes reached out, and his heart broke when the space next to him was empty, cold. No one had gone to bed next to him, and no one would wake up next to him. He had considered getting a smaller bed, but he never got around to it, and he knew he never would.
Madzie and Max still visited, more so than they probably needed to, because they understood that their father hurt. They understood that probably forever could pass, and it would still hurt.
They hurt too. Three warlocks found comfort in each other, even after so much time.
And, as this was Magnus and Alec’s wedding anniversary, it hurt even more so than usual. Magnus didn’t even know it was possible. He woke early, with the dawn, and knew sleep was not going to come again. And so he pushed the covers off, and slipped into the kitchen, to make coffee. Alec would always insist on making coffee, and strictly forbid Magnus from using his magic.
“It’s an art,” he’d say, “these things can’t be rushed.”
And Magnus would humor him. Now Magnus only drank coffee he made with his own two hands, and sometimes his friends gave him funny looks, but it was force of habit now. He wasn’t going to stop.
He liked things that reminded him of Alec. If he tried hard enough he could pretend that Alec was just in the bathroom, taking a shower, before heading out to the Institute. He’d come out, they’d share a kiss- Alec would taste like toothpaste- and they’d part for the day. It was their routine.
It wasn’t all mourning. Magnus enjoyed the company of his children. He celebrated their accomplishments and when they invited him over, to meet lovers, or for conversations, he went. He helped out the Shadowhunters when asked, and ignored the questions about the Lightwood ring on his finger. It was rare he was called anymore. Things were bad again, worse than Magnus could remember them ever being.
If someone came to him, he did as they asked, and got paid for it, just like before. He summoned demons, and made potions and performed complex spells.
He tried dating, about fifty years after Alec died, but found he couldn’t do it. Tessa told him he didn’t have to rush. If he didn’t want to be with anyone for two hundred years, he didn’t have to.
Time was on his side.
Max had dated a werewolf girl for about a year, and had come to his father for advice.
“Should I not fall for a mortal?” he had asked. Magnus had tried to keep his face neutral, but he cracked the glass he was holding, “Because you hurt Papa. Is it worth it?”
Magnus nodded, without hesitation, “It is worth it a hundred times over. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss your father, but not a day goes by that I don’t appreciate the time that we had together. I wouldn’t trade anything for the life I spent with Alexander. If you love this girl, if she means something to you, you be with her. It’ll hurt Max, but if you love her, then the pain when is worth the life you get to live. When you fall in love- Mundane, Shadowhunter, Downworlder, whatever- you love and you love with all you are.”
It hadn’t lasted, Max’s relationship, but he took his father’s advice to heart, and lived and loved with all he had.
Magnus spent most of the anniversary at home. He tried to keep busy. He reorganized all of his books. He translated three spells for clients, and had coffee with Catarina, who was sympathetic, but also didn’t put up with any wallowing from Magnus. She understood he was in pain, but she also knew that hiding away and hating the world didn’t help. She’d always been like this, and he appreciated it.
“Have you heard about what’s going on in Alicante?” she asked, picking apart the bagel in front of her. Magnus hadn’t lost his love of hosting, whether it was a party or a simple breakfast.
Magnus shook his head and waved his hand dismissively “I don’t keep up with the news as much as I should, and especially now with the way things are. Is everything alright?”
She nodded, “They say the Angel appeared.”
“The one and only. Frankly I think it’s all rumors, but apparently the fact that there are so little Nephilim in the world is a bad thing, and so he tried to do something about it.”
“Sounds like wishful thinking to me,” Magnus said, “Can’t you only raise the angel if you have all of the Mortal Instruments?”
“Magnus I don’t understand the intricacies of the Shadowhunters. I think it’s a stupid rumor,” She said with a smile, “And I think you hope it has something to do with your Alec.”
“Alexander is dead, Cat.”
“I know. But you wish he wasn’t. You’d give anything, save for the lives of your children, to bring him back.”
“Alexander is dead,” he repeated, quieter, “But I would be very interested in this rumor.”
She got he wanted to change the subject, and so she allowed it, because it was an anniversary after all, and she promised if she heard anymore he’d be the first to know, and complimented him on how good this coffee was.
Half a world away, in a city of glass, Alexander Lightwood took his first breath in almost eighty years. He sputtered and coughed, not yet readjusted to life on Earth and looked around, to see what had happened.
Next to him, he saw the familiar blonde hair of his brother, who was helping Clary sit up. On his other side, he reached out to Isabelle, who sat up and looked around wildly, and seemed to be as confused as he felt. Simon on the other hand, strangely enough, was instantly on guard. Perhaps all of those Mundane science fiction movies had prepared him for strange situations like this.
“So-” Clary began, presumably to ask what was going on.
But the door flew open, and the five immediately understood they were in the presence of Raziel. Angels were easy enough to recognize, but he seemed to shine a little more, seemed to be a little more intimidating.
“The demons are winning,” he began, not even giving them a chance to ask what was going on, or why they were suddenly not dead, or what the actual hell had happened, “And my children are losing. You won the war once before, against Valentine Morgenstern and son. You must win again. If you do, I will grant you what you desire.”
He looked at them, like he was expecting questions, but Alec wasn’t sure who would dare to question the angel Raziel.
Then he remembered Jace was in the room. Jace would and Jace did.
“So wait,” Jace said, “We’re all suddenly alive again because these Shadowhunters are incapable of handling anything by themselves.”
Alec thought Jace was lucky the angel didn’t smite him right there.
“When you five roamed this Earth, you kept peace with those of demon blood. Together you managed to keep the demons at bay. Relations have deteriorated to a point where recovery seems impossible. If the Nephilim do not lose their superior ways, they will be wiped out. And the demons will win. I am entrusting this heavy burden to you. You are the last hope of uniting the Shadow world.”
It had been strange, readjusting to the new world. The Shadowhunters in Idris, those who had begged Raziel for help, didn’t see how five newly resurrected Shadowhunters were going to help them, but they were thrilled Raziel had answered the call.
They didn’t realize how bad things must truly be.
Alec felt like he was being gawked at, like an animal in a zoo. People stared at the five of them like they were some specticale, and even though they were, Alec thought people should be a little mature about the whole thing.
And he just wanted to find Magnus. He had no way to contact him really. He could be anywhere in the world now, or perhaps in hell with his father. It had been so long since they were last together, would Magnus have someone else?
While Alec wanted, very much for Magnus to be happy, he couldn’t pretend that if Magnus was with someone else, he wouldn’t be a little hurt. No, he told himself, you have a job to do here. If Magnus is dating or married again it doesn’t matter. You were dead.
The Inquisitor, one of Jace and Clary’s descendants, by the name of Sophia, sent word to the other Institutes, and explained to Alec and the rest that they’d be visiting different Institutes, in different countries, where smaller meetings would be held, so they could explain what Raziel had told them.
“What you’re saying is that we’re tools,” Clary said, putting her hands on her hips, “That you can just ship us off to wherever you want and we do as you ask. We’re Shadowhunters too.”
“The Inquisitor is right,” Alec said, “The sooner we explain things the sooner we can figure all of this out. We don’t have forever.”
Clary frowned, but seemed to concede the point, “I want the London Institute. Jace and I have fond memories there.” She seemed to blush slightly at the mention of fond memories, and Jace smirked.
The Inquisitor nodded, “Any other requests?”
“Do you know where Magnus Bane is living?” Alec asked.
“No, I do not I’m afraid.”
“I’ll take New York,” Alec said, “I used to be the head there.”
Izzy reached out to squeeze his hand. She knew he was hoping Magnus was still in Brooklyn, or at least someone there would have an answer. Maybe Max or Madzie would be there. Max used to joke he'd never leave New York not in a million years. He was, however, only seven when he made the declaration.
And the Institute had hardly changed. The tech was more advanced of course, and due to the dwindling population, it wasn't as noisy or crowded as it usually was.
Alec was treated with the utmost respect, and given a room. They offered to show him around, but he declined. He had lived here for his entire childhood, and a portion of adulthood. He remembered it well.
He asked however, if anyone knew of Magnus Bane, or of the two warlocks Max and Madzie Lightwood-Bane. Surely someone where would?
Alec thought he was out of luck, until a blonde haired girl said that Magnus sometimes helped here if they asked and that Alec was welcome to visit the files they had on him. She didn't know where he lived however.
Alec’s hands were shaking as he flipped through screen after screen. Magnus had a long, illustrious history, one Alec was familiar with.
He found the information detailing their marriage and was more proud than he'd admit that Max and Madzie had both been recorded for refusing the Clave on a few occasions.
But there wasn't much information on where he could contact them. The address listed for Magnus was still their Brooklyn loft. Max’s said New York City, and Madzie’s just said United States.
Alec sighed, clenched his fists and figured the loft would be as good a place to start as any. When he'd arrived at the Institute, the head, (a descendent of Lydia which made Alec smile), John, had told Alec that they wouldn't be addressing the conclave until tomorrow, as people would be arriving throughout the night and into the morning. Alec didn't mind, since he had other plans anyway.
So, drudging up some newfound resolve, he started to head towards the door, when two Shadowhunters, presumably on guard duty, stepped in his path.
“What?” He asked, “am I a prisoner?”
“Orders from Alicante,” the taller of the two guards said, “Sorry Mr. Lightwood, but you are to remain in the Institute until further notice.”
Alec frowned, “so I am a prisoner.”
The two shifted uncomfortably and shot each other a sideways glance. They didn't like this job he could tell. And they weren't sure how to react.
“Look,” Alec began, “I have only been alive for about five hours, and I just want to see my husband. Come on. I'll be back long before the meeting and if anyone asks, just say I'm in my bedroom and don't want to be disturbed. I promise to be back.”
“I grew up in this Institute. I know every inch of this place. I'm getting out one way or another.”
“We'll fix the tapes,” the other one said Alec really thought he ought to start learning people's names, but that could wait, “but if you're not back it'll be my ass and I'm not getting in trouble because you wanted to see your warlock. That's not my issue.”
Alec nodded, doing everything to suppress the smile and the slight urge to hug this man out of sheer gratitude.
Alec remembered the path from the Institute without even trying. He'd walked it so many times, knew the every shortcut and the quickest way in every weather and every time of day.
It was getting very late, and he knew he should feel tired, but he wasn't. He'd never felt this awake. He could however go for something to eat. Hopefully he could convince Magnus to listen to him and not throw him out on the street or into another dimension.
He started speeding up, out of excitement and was practically running up the stairs and pounding on the door.
Magnus threw it open without paying too much attention, saying, “I told you you don't have to knock just come-”
And he froze. Alec froze too because he hadn't seen this man, this man who he loved with all he had, in eighty years.
Magnus was instantly on guard, and using his magic, he pinned Alec to the hallway wall. Alec had only seen Magnus this angry a few times in his life, and he had never been on the receiving end.
“You get your kicks out of impersonating my dead husband? Get ready to be sent back to whatever hell you came from. I'll make sure it hurts.”
“No Mags wait,” Alec choked out, “it's me. It's Alec.”
“Right,” Magnus scoffed.
“I mean it. We said I love you for the first time after Valentine’s massacre. The one at the Institute. I kissed you at my wedding to Lydia and Simon started prattling on about The Graduate. We spent our wedding night in Tokyo because I told you how much I loved it. You keep that photo booth photo in your wallet. I always told you you're a sap but I really think it's romantic.”
“You used to sing to the kids, sometimes in English, sometimes not. I used to listen in and then run back to bed so you wouldn't know I was spying. When I was dying you promised me that you'd love me until the end of time. And that you'd never loved anyone like you loved me.”
“You're dead,” Magnus said blankly, letting Alec go, “you died. I was there. You were too young. I told you not to go out on that damn mission but you love to save the world and I love you for it. You're dead Alexander.”
“I can explain it all. Can I come in?”
The apartment smelled like home, and Alec was instantly more comfortable than he'd been all day. They stood in the foyer, and Magnus shut the door. Quickly, Alec explained how he'd woken up in Alicante, and the angel’s words. Magnus was clutching Alec’s arms and taking deep breaths. He was working to prove to himself that Alec wasn't a ghost.
“So here I am,” Alec said finally.
“So here you are.”
“I just wanted to find you Mags, if I'm intruding on your life or whatever I can go. I just needed to see you.”
And Magnus pulled Alec into a kiss and it was like no time had passed at all. They hadn't been apart.
Alec melted into it, desperate for this, more than he'd been for anything in his whole life.
“There's no one else. There's never been anyone else. It's always been you. I love you.”
Alec chuckled, “Max and Madzie?”
“I'll call them. But I do think you and I deserve some time by ourselves. Don't you think?”
Alec nodded, “I agree.”
Chapter 2: then
this is so sad it made me sad to write it i apologize
The day had dawned, just as every day before it had, and every day after it would, and Magnus woke up to an empty bed. He sighed, and pushed the covers off, focusing on the smell of coffee from the kitchen to help him wake up.
Alec was half in his gear, trying to button his shirt while he poured coffee, and it was obvious he’d be heading out on an early morning mission. Magnus snuck behind him, to wrap his arms around his waist. Alec chuckled, and turned to kiss him.
“Are you called away from me?”
Alec sighed, “Unfortunately. Big demon infestation. I got the call from Jace about twenty minutes ago. I didn’t mean to wake you.”
Magnus shook his head, “I don’t sleep well alone anymore. Say goodbye to the kids before you go will you? Max still gets upset if you leave without saying goodbye.”
Alec nodded, “I will. It’s not going to be a big deal. I should be home for lunch.”
“You know I worry,” Magnus whispered, twisting the wedding band on his finger, “I always worry.”
“I know babe. I love you.” “Love you too.”
Magnus let Alec continue getting ready, watching but not speaking.
He ducked into both Max and Madzie’s rooms and returned to tell Magnus they were both sound asleep, “They’re getting so big.”
“Max is going to be twelve can you believe it?”
Alec shook his head, “Madzie’s almost an adult now,” he groaned slightly, hoisting his quiver over his shoulder, “I’m getting old too.”
“Oh please. You’re not even forty. You’re barely an adult.”
Alec laughed, “Thirty-five Mags. Well, thirty five next month. Ok, I’ve got to go.”
They kissed, once, and then again, because Magnus liked to delay Alec leaving as much as possible.
And Alec was usually good on his word. He was a gifted fighter, and with Jace by his side, it seemed he was invincible. He’d come home with scrapes and bruises, and Magnus would heal him in silence. But save for the time, back with Valentine was still around, Magnus had never come close to losing him. He’d always come back.
Until he didn’t.
And Magnus didn't know when that day would be but he lived in constant fear of it. And so, if he had known that today would be that day, he’d have never let Alec leave the house.
Time passed, and Magnus went about his life. He’d gotten his kids up and made them breakfast. Madzie mainly just slept at the loft now, as she had friends and, Magnus suspected, a little something more. But she could do as she pleased, as long as she checked in occasionally. Sometimes Alec took Max to the Institute with him, sometimes he stayed with Magnus and practiced his magic. No one had much on the schedule today, so Magnus thought he might take Max to the park, or perhaps on a walk. It was so lovely out. It was shaping up to be a wonderful day.
Calls from the mission were never good. It wasn’t just Magnus who knew this, but every Shadowhunter and everyone who loved a Shadowhunter. They existed by a no news is good news policy, and that was something Magnus accepted. So when Jace’s name came up on his phone screen, he dropped the book he had been holding, getting both Max and Madzie’s attention. Madzie had been telling Max a story that Magnus was only half listening to.
“Papa?” Max asked. Magnus motioned for him to be silent as he picked up the phone.
“Tell me,” Magnus said.
“It’s bad,” Jace choked out, “How fast can you get here?
“Bring them. He wants to see them.”
Magnus nodded, though Jace had no way of knowing that, and the phone slipped from his fingers. Madzie stood up, acutely aware of something going on.
“You have to portal us to the Institute,” Magnus said, his voice hoarse, “I can’t do it in this state.”
“What’s going on?” Max asked, but his sister hushed him.
Clary stayed out in the hall with the kids, her face red and tear stained. Magnus was shaking as he opened the door and Alec was blocked from his view by Jace and Isabelle.
And he rushed over, throwing himself at Alec’s side. Alec was pale, a sickly, feverish pale and Magnus tried to avoid the gaping wound that covered most of his abdomen. Despite the slightly pained look on his face, he was kind of smiling.
“I don't know-”
Alec shook his head, “can't do anything about it. ‘Sokay.”
Jace seemed to be shaking in his spot, and he had Alec’s hand pressed against his forehead. It looked like he was praying. Izzy was sort of laying her head on Alec, as if she didn't know what else to do.
“He already sent the healers away,” she whispered.
“Because I'm dying Iz,” his voice was slow, as if it took effort for him to get to words out, “they know it. I know it too."
“Alexander,” Magnus muttered, “please.”
Magnus took Alec’s free hand, and suppressed the sob that was threatening to escape. He didn't want to show Alec he understood what was going on. He wanted Alec to think he had hope.
“Let me see the kids,” Alec whispered.
“I'll get them,” Izzy hopped up, and quickly wiped her eyes, “I'll get them.”
Madzie understood of course. She took a place at Magnus’s side so Alec could address her.
“You take good care of your brother and your papa. You're such a brave girl. I love you."
Madzie nodded, “I promise. I love you.”
“And Max, you don't give papa too much trouble. I love you both so much. And I'm sorry. Take your brother out. I don't want you to see this. Remember me as I was.”
Madzie wiped her eyes and leaned down to kiss Alec's cheek.
Then she got up and took Max’s hand to take him out. They were not going to watch Alec die. And Max screamed. He clawed at Madzie to make her let go and even once the door shut, Jace thought he could still hear Max on the other side, as if he was trying to break the door down.
Izzy returned, and it was silent for a moment.
“Jace you take care of my Institute.”
Jace nodded, “course.”
Alec turned to face Magnus for the first time.
“I love you,” Magnus said, “I'm going to love you until the end of time.”
“I've never loved anyone like you,” he continued.
And that was it. Alec smiled a little wider, and shut his eyes. It was Jace’s turn to scream, presumably as their bond broke, and he sank to the floor, sobs racking his body.
“Ave Atque Vale Alexander,” Isabelle said, after about a minute of silence.
“Hail and farewell,” Magnus added, because it seemed as if Jace had lost the ability to speak.
“I'll get Clary to call Mom,” Izzy said, avoiding looking at anything but the floor, “Jace-”
“I'll talk to Jace,” Magnus said. He didn't know he'd said it. He couldn't process anything, as if he was on autopilot.
Jace and Magnus sat on opposite sides of Alec until the medics came and made them leave. He was dead. There was nothing to be done.
Chapter 3: now
As much as Alec wanted to just stay in bed with Magnus and never get up again, he was on a timeline, and there were also two more people he wanted to see. Magnus managed to keep Alec in bed for while, by laying on top of him, but Alec wanted to see his children.
“I’ll call them. It’s better to warn them, and sometimes they show up announced,” Magnus explained, pushing himself up and stretching.
“Tell me about them,” Alec said, reaching for his shirt, “I miss them so much.”
“You’ll be so proud. They are both so powerful. Madzie spends most of her time on the west coast. She says she loves the warm weather and the beaches, but I think New York holds too many painful memories. She’s gotten into so many crazy adventures- she reminds me of myself in my younger years. She’s great at battle magic. I think that may stem from her childhood, but it’s beneficial nonetheless. Max is much more serious, like you. He lives on the Upper West Side, practicing magic. It was hard for him you know? But I think he’s really made a name for himself. He’s going to be so excited Alexander, he adores you. Never missed an opportunity to talk about you. I know you both were close.”
Alec nodded. Max had taken quite an interest in him from the moment they found him. Alec didn’t know the first thing about parenting a warlock baby, since Madzie was already almost seven when they took her in, but Max was very adamant about his attachment. Alec was who he wanted to wake up with him, to feed him, to play with him. He loved Magnus too, but it was cute to see a tiny blue baby giggling in the arms of the head of the New York Institute, so Magnus didn’t mind. Quite a few pictures existed of Max playing under Alec’s desk, or asleep on the sofa in the office.
“I still think about how much he screamed,” Magnus whispered. He wasn’t quite sure why he said it outloud, but he felt Alec should know.
“I’m going to take a shower,” Alec said, “Let me know when they get here.”
“Of course,” Magnus said and they kissed, “I love you.”
“Love you too.”
Madzie was sure that her father had lost his mind, and so that’s why she was humoring him. She’d gotten a message from Magnus, informing her that she needed to come home because Alec wanted to see her. She’d been working on a novel on the beach in Santa Monica, having had a busy day, and usually she’d just call her father to see what was going on, but this was something she needed to see for herself.
Sighing, she packed up her things, and made a portal, hoping she’d be able to sort this out, whatever it was.
After Alec died, Madzie thought they should move. She had had enough of the horrors New York held, but Magnus had flat out refused. He was the High Warlock of Brooklyn, and this was where he had been with Alec. They were not moving.
So she spent a few more years there, to help Max, to mourn, and then she moved. Of course she often came back to visit. They’d been brought closer by Alec’s death. And she got homesick for her family if she was away too long.
“Hey papa, it’s me,” she called, “Where are you?”
“Hey sweetheart,” Alec replied. Madzie almost stumbled, she was so surprised. Alec was dead. How was he standing there?
“Is it really you?” She crossed her arms, but her voice was shaking. She was really fighting crying, because somehow, someone who was an exact copy of her dead father was standing in front of her. She was a little wary, but also incredibly hopeful.
Alec nodded, “It is. It’s a long story, but it’s me.”
“Prove it. And if this is some sick joke-”
Alec sighed, “When we first met, I told you I thought your gills were cool. You remembered I suppose, because you saved me on the day of Valentine’s massacre.”
Madzie’s hand went instinctively to the scarf around her neck at the mention of her warlock mark. It was a leftover habit from childhood. She’d always just covered her mark with a scarf instead of glamouring it, even when she learned how to.
Alec nodded, “It’s me.”
Forgetting her original thoughts of her father losing his mind, and her own concerns that this was some kind of sick joke, she closed the distance between them, and let herself be hugged.
“You’re so grown up,” Alec whispered, “I hear you’ve been getting into trouble?”
“Just a little,” she buried her face in Alec’s shoulder, trying to remember the last time her father hugged her. The night before he died? Two days before? She hadn’t done it enough, she was sure of that. Alec’s mortality had always been a sore subject in the family, and so rather than accepting it, or at least trying to, Madzie had always ignored it. And by then it was too late.
“It’s a long story,” Alec said, “I’ll explain when your brother gets here. Papa said he’d be here soon.”
Madzie nodded, and reluctantly let go, “Where is papa?”
“He thought I’d like a moment alone. He’s just in the other room. We’ll go get him in a minute.”
Max too had received a message from his father, and had he been able to, he’d have portaled the moment he could, but he was busy helping out some vampires, and his parents had taught him that when he said he was going to do something, it was his duty to do it.
The second he’d finished however, he booked it and threw the door open, to be greeted by his sister, his papa, and his dad. His dad who he knew was dead, who he still had nightmares sometimes about losing.
Alec nodded, and Max seemed to be the only one who did not need convincing. He jumped into Alec arms, ignoring the “this was easier when you were smaller” and the laughs from Madzie.
“You’re so tall Max,” Alec said, when Max let him up and helped him off the floor where they had landed, “And I’m sorry I didn’t get to see you grow up. Both of you. I should have been there.”
“It’s not your fault,” Madzie said, accepting the coffee from Magnus. He had figured they had a long night ahead of them, and he wanted to do something with his hands while Alec reunited with the kids.
“Are you back for good?” Max asked. This was the question on everyone’s minds. It was wonderful that Alec was alive, and sitting right there, but was he going to be taken from them again. Would they get a proper goodbye this time? How long did they have?
“I don't know,” Alec admitted, “When Raziel brought me, and your aunts and uncles back, he said the Nephilim population is too low to deal with the demons on their own, but they absolutely refuse to work with Downworlders. Is that true?”
Max nodded, “The banned intermarriage again.”
“It's bad Alexander,” Magnus added.
“Raziel said if we were successful, then he'd grant us our hearts desires. I'm going to work my damn hardest to get the Shadowhunters to at least listen. Their problems could be solved so easily,” Alec sighed and shook his head, “we’re a stubborn lot. Listen, I'm going to need your help. Especially you Magnus. You were there too.”
“You think it's as simple as that?” He asked, and Madzie got up so Magnus could have the seat on the sofa. She chose a place at her father’s feet, because even the chair on the other side of the coffee table seemed too far away.
“I do,”Alec said, “there's no Valentine. No Jonathan. It's just the demons and we've been battling demons for centuries. We're meant to fight alongside the Downworlders. I know it's going to be different because there's less of us, but if the attention was less focused on stupid rules and more on the actual job, I think they'd find the problem sorting itself out.”
“No offense dad, I'm so happy you're here, but couldn't Raziel just tell the people in Alicante that?”
Alec shrugged, “I honestly don't think they'd have listened baby. They're stubborn.”
Both Madzie and Magnus scoffed.
“And we wonder where you get it from,” Magnus joked, pressing a kiss to Alec’s cheek, “when do you have to be at the Institute?”
“I should be there before six. I wasn't supposed to leave but screw that.”
“Can we come with you?” Max asked, “I know that they don't like us there, but if you're with us?”
“Max I intend to be with you three every moment I can. I have a lot of catching up to do.”
And I don't know how long I have, Alec added in his head.
Chapter 4: then
The very day he found out the Clave was allowing marriage between Shadowhunters and Downworlders- he’d have proposed the very hour, but he was stuck in a meeting in Alicante- Alec dug up the Lightwood ring his mother had given him, and proposed to Magnus. He made dinner, and Magnus had cried, because he’d never been married before, and the fact that Alexander Lightwood wanted to marry him was a lot to handle.
They’d already been parents for a little bit, and while they were married in theory, it wasn’t quite the same. They wanted to be married in every sense of the word. Alec had roped the kids into helping him make dinner, but wouldn’t tell them the occasion, because Max was terrible at keeping secrets, but he wouldn’t like it if Madzie knew and he didn’t.
For as much as he loved planning events, Magnus decided a more intimate affair was in order. The only people in attendance were close family and friends and not the entire shadow world as usually attend these sort of things. Jace had invited Lydia and her husband, which Alec thought was pretty funny. She had stopped in to wish the happy couple a wonderful marriage.
“Thank you,” Alec had said, “For all of it, because this wouldn’t be possible without you.”
“You deserve to be happy,” she had repeated, “And I’m glad it’s with Magnus because if you had dumped him I’d be a little mad considering the scene you made.”
“I’m glad you’re here Lydia. And I’m glad you found someone worth of someone like you. He is treating you right isn’t he? Beccause I have a lot of firepower at my disposal if he isn’t. Countless Shadowhunters, a few vampires. A very capable warlock. You name it”
She laughed,“He is, don’t worry. He's wonderful. We’re actually expecting our first child.”
“Congratulations!” he pulled her into a side hug, “I’m so thrilled for you.”
“I may call you for parenting advice.”
They had written their own vows and pledged to love each other forever and ever. Coming from someone immortal, like Magnus, that meant a lot. Forever and ever was a long time when you couldn’t die. Isabelle had managed to coax little Max into a suit, and they had let Madzie pick out her own dress. It was a deep green, which Magnus pointed out was wrong for a summer wedding, but agreed to it anyway. She was very proud of it and excited to be old enough to dress herself. Magnus had found her a golden scarf to wear with it, as she still refused to let people see her mark. Max had a gold tie, which had been pretty hard to find in clip on form, but Magnus was not giving up. They were too young to understand the significance of the color, and how much it meant to Magnus that he could wear it, but Max said gold was his favorite color. Magnus said gold was his favorite color too.
At the reception, Jace had made a speech, as had Raphael and Maryse. The microphone was open to anyone who wanted to talk honestly.
Maryse had welcomed Magnus into her family and said she was proud to have him as a son in law. Magnus would never admit it, but it was one of the nicest things she had ever said to him. He didn’t want her to know she’d had an affect on him. What would
Clary had whispered to Alec about the mundane tradition of smashing cake in your new spouses face, and Alec had loved the idea, despite his usual immense dislike of mundae customs. That’s how half the cake had ended on up the Alec, Magnus and their children. Madzie and Max were both very in to the fact that they had permission to smash cake on their parents. Magnus promised them they wouldn’t get in trouble, and Alec had knelt down so they could reach.
They’d danced long into the night, the newlyweds and their guests. Alec danced with his mother, who kept whispering how proud she was of him. Jace and Simon had sung a karaoke duet, and Jace would say he was drunk, but Alec was pretty sure he hadn’t had more than a glass of champagne. He just didn’t want to own up to it. Isabelle danced with Madzie and Max standing on her feet, and Lydia and her husband impressed them all by being able to tango. Robert, who was thrilled to have received an invite, after everything, stood to the side, and ended up in a very awkward conversation with Raphael. Luke and Clary had apparently established a dance routine to some song Alec had never heard when she was little, and they still remembered it. Maia got it all on video. She’d show it to the rest of the pack the next day.
Jace had volunteered to babysit that night, and Alec joked he still owed them one because both Max and Maddie slept the rest of the night, and into the morning. He hadn’t had to do very much.
The wedding night was a short one, as it was after dawn by the time they got to their hotel, and they were both too tired to do much of anything. Alec loved Tokyo, but he was too tired to appreciate it just yet.
“We have the morning,” Alec had said, yawning. Magnus wasn’t sure if he was referring to enjoying the sights, or enjoying each other, but they could do both. Alec wasn’t even fully undressed when he’d fallen asleep, still in his pants and undershirt. Magnus had taken his time, watching the sleeping Alec, and trying to imagine what his past self would have said if he knew that one day he’d be married, and that he’d have gotten married in gold. When had this become his life?
He pressed a kiss to the top of Alec’s head, changed, and fell asleep too.
The morning was lazy and slow, and they’d made love, and kissed, and laughed, and called each other husband, like it was some kind of holy phrase. No one else had ever put so much emotion behind the word.
“Forever and ever,” Magnus had said, kissing the ring on Alec’s left hand.
“Forever and ever,” Alec repeated.
Chapter 5: now
“We’re not allowed in the Institute,” Max said, “They expressly forbid Downworlders except under very specific circumstances. They don’t let us forget it.”
They were at the gates of the Institute. Max had been telling Alec that the entire way, but his statement was falling on deaf ears because Alec had not slowed down. He could be very obstinate. It was an admirable fault.
“I understand Max, but this is a very special circumstance. I wasn’t supposed to sneak out, yet here I am. If they want me back in, they’ll include my children and husband- wait, are we still married?”
Magnus chuckled, “I didn’t marry anyone else. We never got a divorce.”
Alec nodded and waved his hand dismissively, “We can always renew our vows.”
He’d decided to act as if they had forever, and discuss the future in a positive light, and not the more probable future, where Alec would be separated again from these people who loved him. If he said we’ll do it later enough times, maybe Raziel would take pity on him. Alec hadn’t asked to wake up alive again. He honestly hadn’t thought it was a possibility, but he couldn’t imagine leaving. The first time hadn’t been by choice, obviously. He hadn’t seen it coming, and he couldn’t really have stopped it. But this time he had a chance. Perhaps he had a choice. If he managed, by some miracle to get these people to listen to him, perhaps he’d get a do over. Even if he could just live a long and happy life, and die at a ripe old age, they’d have more time to prepare. They could have the life Alec had promised Magnus in whispers under the sheets. A long life together was all Alec could give him, and that chance had been ripped from them. He’d fight like hell for this one. Clave be damned. Logic be damned.
Alec set his jaw, “It’s not a hard concept. They get their shit together, make peace, get down off their high horse, and problem solved. I can’t believe the damn Angel had to get involved to tell them that.”
“Alexander darling, maybe don’t sound quite so angry when you speak with them. That’s not your leader voice, and frankly it’s a little condescending. The Nephilim don’t take kindly to that.”
“Sorry,” Alec smiled, “Just venting.”
It was nearly morning. The sun was peaking over the horizon, and the family stood there for a moment. Alec tilted his head up towards the sun. He had always loved the early mornings. In the mornings, things could sort themselves out. The problems seemed dissolve, ever for just a little bit. Sometimes he snuck to the roof to watch the sunrise, and he’d swear to himself that today was the day he’d grow up. He’d stand up to his parents and tell them the truth about him, or tell a certain warlock his feelings, or tell everyone that he was the head damnit, so they could take their snide comments somewhere else because he was very tired of them.
“They'll listen to you,” Madzie decided, “I mean, they haven't much of a choice. Dead people don't just come back to life for minor things. They're lucky to have you.”
“I don’t know about that. I didn’t do much when Valentine was around. I just used common sense,” Alec shrugged, “Jace and Clary were the ones with the real abilities.”
“Alexander no one had ever really done what you did. You are a brilliant leader. They are lucky to have you,” Magnus said, “This world is lucky to have you because it does not deserve you, especially now.”
Max nodded in agreement, “Papa is right. Your attitude, and our aunts and uncles of course, but your attitude in particular is pretty nonexistent. Let’s be honest, the downworlders will exist, we’ll continue to exist regardless of the Clave, or the Shadowhunters or whatever. We’re a resilient bunch. And we have little problem banding together to solve a demon problem. But they clearly aren’t surviving. And you realize the problem Dad. You’re one of the only ones who will put aside any superiority complex and actually try to survive. It’s no skin off our noses if they don’t get their shit together.”
“I missed you Max,” Alec said with a smile, “You’re well spoken. Even if you’re too young to be talking like that.”
“Didn’t used to be well spoken,” Madzie rolled her eyes, “He’d read the dictionary, pick big words, and then use them wrong. It was really funny, because Papa wouldn’t correct him because he thought it was cute. That was until he called a werewolf pack leader obtuse because he thought it was a good thing.”
“Let’s get inside,” Magnus said, stealing a glance at Alec’s half angry, half anxious look, “So no one gets in trouble for sneaking out.”
It was a bit of a hassle convincing the Shadowhunters to listen. Alec had to keep threatening to walk out and never return and that they could just figure it out themselves. He was bluffing, because Raziel could force him to do what he wanted, and if Alec didn’t help, there was no chance that he could remain here with his family.
They, however, did not need to know that.
The head told him to wait in the office while he gathered everyone to listen. Madzie and Max had a brief silent argument for the head’s chair- Madzie won- and Magnus sunk into the couch. Alec ran his hands over the fireplace, over the desk and the chairs. It was as if only yesterday this had been his office. It was lacking in Alec's little pieces though. There was no picture of his family on the desk. Nothing of Jace's or Izzy's on the sofa. They were always leaving things there. Magnus always kept flowers on the mantel. Clary had gifted him a painting at their wedding, and Alec had kept in on the fireplace.
“You think it’s still there?” Max asked.
“Your signature?” Alec replied, jolting back to the present.
“What?” Madzie looked up from the papers she was reading, even though they were not for her to read.
“When Max was seven, he signed the underside of my desk,” Alec explained. Max got down on all fours, and climbed under the desk, “Is it there?”
Max laughed, “Yeah. I can’t believe no one had seen this.”
Alec joined his son on the floor, and sure enough, underneath the desk was the name Max Lightwood-Bane in little kid handwriting, and Alec joined in on the laugh.
“We’re really defiled this office,” Magnus muttered, and Alec blushed at the meaning of his words. Thankfully, neither Max nor Madzie seemed to pick up on it.
And that is how the new head of the Institute, John, walked in one two people under the desk, a warlock at his seat, and another lying on the sofa.
He cleared his throat, perhaps to save them some embarrassment at being discovered fooling around like this, and Alec nearly banged his head sitting up so quickly. For someone as talented at archery and fighting as he was, he was pretty clumsy. Magnus thought he just never learned how to be as tall as he was.
“We’re ready for you,” he said, looking them over with a mix of mild annoyance and mild amusement.
Alec stood up, and brushed himself off, and offered his hand to Magnus.
Magnus didn't even hesitate to take it. It felt so strange but so wonderfully perfect to be back in the New York Institute, holding hands with Alec Lightwood. They used to keep their affection daily private. Confined to Alec’s office, or empty hallways, but people, especially visiting Shadowhunters thought it was perfectly acceptable to make snide or sometimes outright cruel comments about Downworlders and so Alec decided two could play at that game. Yes, he'd meet with you, but his warlock boyfriend (and later husband) might be there and they might hold hands or, shockingly even kiss.
Chapter 6: then
Madzie took an immediate interest in the new baby. She’d climb up on the crib to peer at him while he slept, and it was clear she wasn’t quite sure what to say about him. He took up a lot of her parents time, and the house was full of baby toys and baby sounds. She liked Max well enough. He was cute and she had wanted a little sibling. Her papa said she just needed to adjust to another person in the house and that Max was going to grow up with the same love Madzie had. Madzie had to agree that she wanted that for the baby. Even at her young age, she could understand that it wasn’t always so easy for baby warlocks.
“He’s loud,” she finally decided, one night, around midnight. Alec was trying to soothe Max into falling back asleep. They were in the kitchen, the only light coming from the one above the stove, which barely lit up the kitchen enough to see well. Madzie hadn’t been asleep anyway, but Alec had been too tired to send her back to bed. He didn’t say anything as she pulled herself into the kitchen chair. She was old enough to know if she didn’t sleep, she’d be tired in the morning.
“Babies cry alot,” Alec replied, thinking back to his siblings. Izzy had been a very fussy baby and an even fussier toddler, and he used to sneak into her room at night and help her go back to sleep. His parents to this day just thought she was a great sleeper.“Life is still so new for them. You cried a lot as baby I’ll bet.”
Max wailed again, and Alec shifted him in his arms.
“Did you change him?” Madzie suggested. She knew little about babies, just what she had learned from the other babies at her Nana’s. But she was still so little then, the memories were a little fuzzy. Her daddy and papa didn’t talk about that. She didn’t ask. When she thought long and hard, she had memories of a bad man, and a lot of people getting hurt.
“I think he’s just fussy,” Alec sighed, “Magnus said that his magic might make him fussy. Plus those horns can’t be comfy can they?”
His last sentence was directed at the baby, whose wails had turned into quiet sniffling. Madzie frowned.
“Daddy?” Madzie asked.
“If you and papa hadn’t taken me and baby Max in what woulda happened?”
Alec seemed to be taken aback by this question. He considered it. Max turned a little, and looked to be asleep. Alec stayed silent. He got up, and set Max down in the playpen they kept in the kitchen.
Still, he didn’t have an answer. He wasn’t really sure what to say.
He returned to the seat across from his daughter and smiled finally, “Sometimes, when mundanes have warlock children they’re scared. Max’s mother was scared. They don’t know that demons or any of that exists. Imagine now knowing about warlocks and discovering your newborn baby was a deep blue, or had gills like you. It’s going to come as a bit of a shock, no matter how cool the gills are.”
Madzie smiled, and nodded.
“So the mundanes look for something to do, someone to take the baby. They know they can’t raise this child, but that’s about all they know. They try find someone who has the knowledge to raise a baby warlock. There’s places for Downworld children-”
Alec paused to continue. This wasn’t entirely true. Magnus had told him that warlock babies were often left on the streets, to fend for themselves or taken in by groups like the Silent Brothers, as Magnus himself had been. It was never ideal for the child. But she didn’t need to know that. Not yet anyway. He could lie a little bit. Parents probably lied to their very little children about the horrors of the world. Little Madzie has seen enough horrors, Alec thought to himself, let me sugarcoat this. Don’t frighten her.
Alec wished he hadn’t seen the horrors of the world until he was old enough to understand them, but in his line of work, it wasn’t always an option.
“But they’re not the best. I can’t say what would have happened to you and your brother. I don’t know. Perhaps another family would have taken you in, another warlock.”
Madzie knew, somewhere deep inside of her, that this was a cop out. But she was too young to know what a cop out was, so she just nodded and said, “I’m happy that you adopted me and Max.”
Alec breathed a sigh of relief because she wasn’t asking him any other serious questions, “Me too. Madzie, you can’t understand this, but your father and I never expected to have children of our own, for various reasons. You two are the best thing to ever happen to us.”
As children often do, when their parents get sentimental and affectionate, Madzie rolled her eyes. Alec didn’t mind, because his own parents hadn’t ever been that sentimental, and he was overdoing it. He knew that. It didn’t mean he was ever going to stop.
“Papa is like one thousand years old,” Madzie said/
Alec laughed, “Has he been telling you that? He’s not a thousand years old.”
“He’s still old though.”
“Am I old?” Alec asked, still laughing to himself. A thousand?
She nodded and said matter-of-factly, “All daddies are old.”
Then she hopped down from her chair, and climbed into Alec’s lap. They sat like that for a moment, his head resting lightly on top of hers and her arms wrapped around his neck. She clearly wished to be carried to bed. He didn’t mind since she let him hold her for a moment, instead of insisting that she’s too big to be held.
After tucking her in, he kissed her forehead, and returned to the kitchen to put Max back to bed. She called a goodnight after him.
Magnus rolled over in bed when Alec returned.
“Ok?” he whispered, squinting at Alec.
Alec pulled back the covers and nodded, “All’s quiet. I think Max might be teething or something. Maye his horns. He’s just fussy. Madie was up, but I put her back to bed. I think he woke her up too”
Magnus sighed, and threw an arm over Alec, “My turn next.”
An hour later, Max was hungry. And Alec made sure Magnus took his turn by stealing all the covers and holding them out of reach until he felt Magnus get off the bed and heard him step out of the room.
And he smiled to himself.
Chapter 7: now
John introduced Alec, and reminded the current Shadowhunters of the New York Institute how important it was that they listen to Alec, who was literally a gift to them from the angel. Alec thought he was being a little dramatic, but Magnus could hardly contain his laughter at the stupidity of the whole scenario.
Alec couldn’t help but notice that there were half as many living here now as there had been when Alec was in charge. And the amount of Shadowhunters from the other institutes around the country, was under twenty in total. It was a little sad, to see the small number, how beaten down they looked. But, Alec saw they still had the nerve to sneer at Magnus and the kids.
Could Alec still call them kids, when they were both adults, technically older than him?
(Yes, he thought, of course they’ll always be my kids).
“So, if you’ll all turn your attention to Mr.Lightwood, I’m sure he’ll have lots to tell us about our current demon problem,” John yielded the floor to Alec, who remembered how much he liked being a leader. It wasn’t something that had ever crossed his mind to miss, leading people, and instructing him. But as he stood there with expectant faces staring up at him, he settled back into that old routine.
After a glance at Magnus and the others, he smiled tightly and got down to business, and made sure to not to call them stupid, haughty, or any of the other words running through his head. Isabelle used to keep a jar in her room, and he would have to put a dollar in every time he made a mean comment or was snarky to someone.
It didn’t work, but Alec really did work on being less rude.
Magnus could tell Alec was biting his tongue though.
“So, in conclusion,” Alec said, “we could not have beaten Valentine, couldn’t have won the war without the help from the Downworlders. Without Clary’s alliance rune. You’re problem stems from the lack of respect you show the other half of the shadow world.”
It was harsh, a bit blunt, but he kept the meanness out of his tone as best he could.
“Any questions?” he tried. Magnus nodded, and smiled.
He wondered how much luck the rest of his family was having.
A woman in the back raised her hand to get Alec’s attention, but didn’t wait for him to acknowledge her before speaking. She was probably in her twenties, and she stood with the group from the other Institutes. She looked mildly annoyed, though Alec couldn’t begin to imagine why. He was there to help after all.
“The Downworlders don’t want to work with us,” she said, crossing her arms, “It’s simple.”
“You’re right,” Alec replied, “It’s simple. You’ve all been acting like you’re the best thing to ever be on this Earth, like you’re better than everyone else. You’re not. If you treat the Downworlders with a shread of decency, they might be a little more inclined to work with you.”
“Aren’t you a little biased?” a man called. Alec couldn’t see who spoke, but it was clear this was about his marriage. He was used to it. He’d been called biased more time than he could count.
“Sure. Biased. Whatever. I won the war. I was there. None of you were. Your parents might not have even been there. If you don’t want to listen to me, that’s fine. If you don’t want to try and make peace with the others, to try and work things out that’s fine. If you want to stand there and think terrible things about me, about my husband, my kids, go right ahead. Up until yesterday, I was dead. If demons overtake the world, and kill every single one of you, it won’t matter to me, it won’t matter to the Downworld. This is your choice.”
And silence fell over the crowd.
“I think it went well,” Magnus said, as the group dispersed, the guests returning home to spread the word, the New York residents going about their daily activities, “You got their attention.”
“You freaked them out,” Max added, “You made them feel like shit Dad.”
“Don’t swear,” Alec muttered, and ruffled Max’s hair, “But thanks. I think.”
“Was that it?” Madzie asked, sounding slightly frantic, “Do you have to leave now?”
No one spoke for a moment. Alec knew he had said all he needed to say. Sure, he could oversee some accords or some meetings, but he knew deep down, that there wasn’t anything else he could really do. He’d said his piece, and he had a sinking feeling that Raziel would agree he was done here.
“How will he judge if you’ve succeeded or not?” Magnus asked, gripping Alec’s wrist, as if to stop him from leaving, “How will he know?”
Alec shook his head. They moved a little closer to each other, the four of them, and spoke in voices that were just above a whisper, “I don’t know. I’ll go to Alicante. Try to meet up with Jace or Izzy. Maybe he’ll let me stay here until there’s some success. That could buy us some more time, to get everything in order.”
“Don’t go,” Madzie said, “Can’t you stay?”
“No. I’ve got to figure this out. I’m sorry.”
Magnus nodded, “I understand. I can portal you.”
Alec drew a shaky breath, “I don’t want to go. I need you to tell me you know that. Max?”
Max nodded, “I know dad. You have to know. It’s alright.”
Alec pulled Max and Madzie into a hug, one after the other. He pulled Magnus into a kiss, which Magnus didn’t let him pull away from for a little bit. Alec didn’t mind.
No one had said much on the way back to the apartment. The light conversation and reminiscing had stopped. There wasn't even any attempts to convince Alec to stay. His mind was made up. Alec was working on something to say, some way to apologize to his family for leaving again, when he’d only just got back.
He kissed each of them once on the forehead, then went back to kiss Magnus again.
“I’ll let you know,” he said, forcing himself to smile, “I’m sure nothing will happen until everyone is finished, and Jace has a habit of showing rather than telling, so he’ll be at his Institute for awhile.”
And before he could stop himself, he stepped through the portal, and was greeted by the sunny, warm, summer morning of Alicante.
He wanted desperately to turn back. Sure, Raziel could find him with probably no effort, but Alec wanted to spend as much time as possible with the man he loved, and the kids he didn’t get to see grow up.
He knew the world wasn’t fair. If the world was fair, he and Magnus would have lived a long and happy life together. If the world was fair, Max’s screams wouldn’t frequent Magnus’s dreams eighty years later. If the world was fair, Alec wouldn’t have such a desire to do good, regardless of what it did to him, and he’d be on Magnus’s couch right now, and he’d thank Raziel for bringing him back and say, if you want me, you’re going to have to come get me.
But the world wasn’t fair, and Alec Lightwood was standing in Alicante, getting ready to speak to the angel, who was probably going to tell him that he either hadn’t done a good enough job, or that it was time for him to return to the afterlife.
He twisted the wedding ring on his finger. He was very glad that he had woken up with it. Perhaps if you died wearing something, it was on you for all eternity.
“You’ve finished?” Raziel asked.
Alec nodded, “I’ve done the best I can.”
“You are the first. I cannot know if you have succeeded or not.”
“I thought as much. Does my success hinge on the others as well?”
“It does. Go. Spend time with your family. Once this has ended, and I have made my judgment, I shall visit you.”
“Of course,” Alec jumped up, “Thank you.”
And, in case this was some sort of joke, or great misunderstanding, Alec booked it out of there, with the intention of returning to Brooklyn as soon as possible.
Chapter 8: then
this is kind of sad, just as an fyi
The topic of Alec’s mortality was a touchy subject in the Lightwood-Bane household. From a young age, Max and Madzie could understand that they would never age, while Alec would grow old, and one day, he’d die.
Max, in particular, given how young he was, took this realization very hard. When he first understood it, he didn’t speak to anyone for two days. No one understood what had happened, and Magnus thought he was sick. He kept to himself, and just seemed all around unwell. They let him stay home and took care of him like you would a sick child.
Finally, when Alec was tucking him into bed for the night, the truth came out.
Alec pulled Max’s covers up and was getting up to shut the window and close the curtains when Max grabbed his sleeve. It was a frantic action, like the thought of Alec leaving his side was his worst fear come to life.
“What’s going on baby huh? Do you feel sick?” Alec sat on the edge of the bed and put a hand to Max’s forehead to see if he had a fever. This illness didn’t seem to have any symptoms, which made Alec think it wasn’t really an illness. He'd done it once or twice himself. Pretended to be sick when something was really bothering him.
Max shook his head, “I don’t want you to die.”
Alec actually felt his heart speed up and the color leave his face. What was he going to say to this? It wasn’t something he could explain away or some irrational fear where he could smile and assure Max was just a bad dream. It wasn’t even a fear of demons or something, which Alec could banish with an explanation of his runes. This was the honest to God truth. It was the inevitable end to the family Alec had built.
“I’m not going to die,” Alec said, forcing a smile onto his face, “I’m just going to bed. It’s late. I'm pretty tired.”
Jace used humor to avoid talking about tough things, so Alec thought he would give it a shot.
It didn't appear to work, as Max’s frown didn't falter.
Max shook his head, “I know that me and Papa and Mads are gonna live forever and you’re gonna die one day.”
Alec swallowed, “Not for a long time. By the time I’m an old man, you’ll have had plenty of time to accept this. We’ve got so much time baby.”
“Can’t you just be immortal like us?”
“No, I can’t. It’s not the way things are. I wish things were that simple. And I’m so sorry that’s how it is.”
Max sniffed and wiped his eyes. Alec pulled him onto his lap. They sat there for a minute and didn’t say anything. Max was shivering slightly.
“Maxie, even when I’m dead- which isn’t going to be for a long, long time, you’re still going to be my little man. I’m still going to be your daddy. When you love someone, they’re not really gone. I’m going to die one day baby, and you’re immortal. Life isn’t fair sometimes, and we can’t change things. But it’s alright. Because right now, I’m alive and when we worry about the future, we just suffer. There's no need to suffer any more than is necessary. Especially about things you can't do anything about.”
“How do I not worry?” Max asked, looking up at Alec.
“I worry all the time kid, so I don’t know how much I can offer as advice. You just have to live in this minute. Nobody knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, or ten years from now, or a hundred years from now. But now, we’re here right? And it’s a beautiful summer night. Your sister is sleeping peacefully in her room, and your Papa is probably asleep on the couch even though he’s not supposed to sleep there.”
“You promise that you’ll still be my daddy? Even when I’m a million, billion years old?”
Alec pressed a kiss to Max’s forehead. “I was your father from the very moment that we found you on the steps of the Academy, I’ll be your father for my entire life, and I’ll be your father ten thousand, thousand years from now. Even when you’re a million, billion, trillion years old. And I love you now, and I’ll love you then. I won’t ever stop loving you. Alright?”
Max nodded, “Yeah. Only don’t die for a long time though ok?”
Alec chuckled, but he thought it sounded a little fake. Shadowhunters didn’t often live to even see a grey hair, much less to die of old age. He and Magnus knew this, but they had agreed not to share that with the kids. It was one thing to tell them that they wouldn’t ever die, and their dad would, but it was another to tell them Alec could easily die tomorrow. Max, however, didn’t seem to notice any falseness in his father’s tone, and threw his arms around Alec for a hug. That was the beauty of little kids. They didn't understand when someone wasn't being truthful. A laugh meant everything was alright and since Alec had laughed, to Max, everything was alright.
“Can you stay with me tonight?” Max asked, stifling a yawn, “don't wanna be by myself.”
Alec nodded,“But not in your room Max. I think I’m too tall for this bed, but you can sleep in my bed with Papa tonight. Deal?”
“Deal,” Max said, and they shook hands on it because they always shook hands since Max said it made him feel like the important people Alec met with at the Institute. One time, Magnus had taken him to a Downworlder cabinet meeting, and Max talked about it for three days straight afterwards.
Alec stood up, Max in his arms, and went out into the living room to find Magnus.
Magnus was, in fact, asleep on the couch. Alec shook him awake, muttered that Max was sleeping in their room tonight, and half dragged Magnus to bed with him and Max.
Both Magnus and Max fell asleep fairly quickly, leaving Alec awake, to ponder his own morality, and the implications it had on his family of warlocks.
It was a very long night.
Chapter 9: now
While Alec was thrilled to get back to Brooklyn, and Magnus was thrilled to have him, the cloud of what-is-Raziel-going-to-decide hung over all of them like a storm cloud. They tried to pretend it was alright, because what else could they do?
Well, they could sit there tensely, not speak to each other, and stress themselves out, or they could enjoy this night, because it could very well be the last night they’d share. Magnus conjured up and elaborate dinner, and Max entertained them all with a story of a girl he’d dated who he thought was a mundane, but turned out to be another warlock, who thought Max was the mundane.
Alec didn’t think he’d ever laughed so hard. Max had clearly learned Magnus’s flare for the dramatics in storytelling. There had been a bottle (or two) of wine, and it had taken Alec a moment to realize that both children were well past the age where they could start drinking.
Madzie had told a story about a demon summoning where the demon had ended up flirting with her, and Magnus had said that it was not as uncommon as one might think.
Subconsciously, they were all trying to cram as much storytelling and laughter into the next twelve hours, even if no one wanted to admit to it. Even if no one realized it.
“So where were you?” Max finally asked. It was nearing two in the morning, but no one seemed at all tired, “I mean, what happened?”
“I can’t really describe it Maxie. I suppose it’s an afterlife. There were people there, Shadowhunters that had died. Clary’s mother. After some time, Izzy showed up, and Jace,” he took a sip of his wine, “It’s the reward for a lifetime of service to the Angel.”
“Would you go back?”
The silence descended, broken only by the occasional siren from outside.
“Jace and I share a soul,” he began. He wasn’t sure where he was going with this, because he wasn’t sure what his answer was going to be, “If he was to be dead, or away from me, it would be like a part of my soul was gone too. But, from the moment my life ended, to the moment I woke up in Alicante, I would have given anything to be with you again. Anything. I’ve said this to your father before, and he’d had similar feelings. It’s not always easy to be in a family of both Shadowhunters and Downworlders.”
“If you want to go back,” Madzie said, though her voice sounded a little strained, “To be with Uncle Jace and Aunt Izzy, then you should.”
Magnus nodded, but it looked painful for him, like he’d suddenly found nodding a very difficult task. He didn’t want Alec to go. He’d have said anything, done anything, to convince Alec to stay. But if Alec was alone here, for an eternity, Magnus thought it might have been just as bad as if Alec was dead.
“I don’t know,” Alec said. The laugher from earlier was gone now, replaced by this. Alec wasn’t sure that this feeling was, but it was not a nice feeling, “So, Max, Madzie, are you seeing anyone now? I feel like I should be able to threaten them if they hurt you.”
Magnus was very familiar with Alec’s habit of changing the topic when things got very uncomfortable, but he smiled too, leaned in, and said, “If they are it’ll be news to me. Last we spoke, Madzie was single and proud of it, and Max had recently broken up with a Seelie.”
“There is this vampire,” Madzie began, “Alright, listen to this.”
There was a knocking on the door.
It had been almost dawn when they’d finally grown too tired to sit up any longer. Alec assured them he’d still be there in the morning, and that everyone should sleeping.
Alec tried to ignore it. He tried waiting it out, because maybe whoever it was would go away. Maybe it was one of Magnus’s clients, and they’d go away if they weren’t let in soon. Maybe it was Raphael or one of the kids friends. They could come back later. No one needed to be knocking this early.
The knocking didn’t appear to be waking Magnus up, so Alec slid out of Magnus’s arms, and pushed the covers off of himself. He wasn’t going back to sleep now. When he lived in the Institute, and still went regularly on missions, he could go on three or four hours of sleep a night. Well, he could function. Even Nephilim need some sleep, but his sleeping schedule was a mess. He was lucky if he could get through the day with only two cups of coffee, and he was lucky if he was in bed before two, and still asleep before sunrise. When he moved in with Magnus, he could get eight or ten hours of sleep. It was miraculous was real sleep did to improve a person’s outlook and attitude. That, and Magnus’s bed was probably the most comfortable thing Alec had even slept on. Seriously, whoever made that bed was a real professional. It was much easier to stay in bed.
The knocking continued, despite how long Alec was taking to get to the door.
Whoever it was, was very persistent.
Alec squinted at the light from the hallway, until he realized it wasn’t coming from the hallway, it was coming from the person knocking. The person, was, in fact, an angel.
“Have you decided?” Alec asked, clearing his throat of sleep. Anxiety was creeping into his tone, “About if we succeeded or not?”
“I have. I am prepared to offer you immortality Alexander Lightwood. You will be permitted to spend lifetimes with the family you have built. You will not be invulnerable, but you will not age. You will not get sick. You will not die of any natural cause.”
Alec should have be thrilled, but the thought of the other half of his family made him not as happy as he could have been.
“I will also grant you, as well as the others, the ability to travel between this life, and the next as you see fit. I do believe it would be very difficult for you to live forever without your brother and sister. You will be able to see each other whenever you see fit.”
Alec nodded, “I can have both?”
Raziel nodded, “You can have both.”
“Should things deteriorate between the Nephilim and the others, I will depend on you to step in. You will be closer to them both than anyone else. Think of it as your purpose. Perhaps it has always been. A bridge of some sort.”
“You have my word.”
“And your word is very powerful Alexander. Do enjoy your family. You did not get that in the previous life you lived.”
As soon as the door shut, Alec woke up the entire apartment. Madzie and Magnus were both slightly horrified about being woken up after a few hours of sleep. They both made a similar comment about beauty rest, and Max just refused to get up at first.
“I get to stay,” Alec said, when everyone asked why they were being woken up, “I get to stay here forever. We’re going to be a family again.”