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Major Alexander Lightwood.

Chapter Text

They told him that he had died in the line of duty.

Major Alexander Lightwood, United States Air Force.

Major Lightwood was survived by his husband of 4 years, Magnus Lightwood-Bane and their adopted son, Max. The devastating night that took away Alexander Lightwood-Bane from his family was the night of his fourth wedding anniversary when he was called for duty in the middle of the celebration dinner with their family and friends. An imminent attack on the American soil demanded that all the Defense Forces of the United States of America come together, under the direct orders from the President. Before leaving to fulfill his duty towards his country, Alexander bid his husband goodbye with a chaste kiss on the lips. Magnus leaned on the door frame, with a little over a year-old Max in his arms resting comfortably on his hip.

"I'll be back before you know it, hon. Happy Anniversary", Alec whispered in his ear as he exited the door, clad in his battle uniform.

“Be safe, Major. Happy Anniversary, babe”, Magnus waved goodbye as Alec disappeared into the elevator. "We'll wait for you", he lifted Max's tiny hand and waved it for his father. Alec blew a kiss in the air towards his husband and his son and left.

Magnus sighed and shut the door behind him. For a second, he rested his back on the door and threw his head back. Of course, it had to happen tonight. The one night that Magnus and Alec were supposed to celebrate together with their son. It was Max's first time with them, celebrating their wedding anniversary since they had adopted him about 7 months ago. Magnus walked over to the living room and sat on the couch cradling Max who was now playing with the beaded necklaces that hung on his chest. One of those necklaces happened to be Alec’s gift to him, on their first anniversary three years ago. Magnus softly caressed Max’s cheeks who giggled as he registered a familiar touch on his skin.

“Daddadaddaa…”, he hummed chortling in his arms and clapping, holding Magnus' necklace between his palms. Max had only recently begun making coherent words and Dadda was one of his firsts. That's what he called, Alec. 

“Your Dadda has gone to do his job. Fight the bad guys. I believe we won’t be seeing him for a few days, little fella”, Magnus sighed as he pressed a kiss on Max’s plump cheeks. The little boy grabbed the hemp of Magnus’ shirt and crawled a little on his father's chest - almost giving in to exhaustion. He cooed softly, drooling over his father's expensive satin shirt and dropped his head on Magnus’ shoulder gesturing the older man that it was time for him to go to sleep. He had been awake for quite some time being the apple of everyone's eyes, much to Magnus and Alec's amazement.

“Your wish is my command, Sir”, Magnus rubbed Max’s back and rhythmically patted his back to put him in slumber before he could settle him in his cradle in their room. Magnus walked back to their room and waited for Max to go to sleep. Once he heard little snores coming from his shoulder, he placed the baby in the cradle and gave it a swing. Max curled in his blanket and clutched his pillow with his tiny hands. The interior designer watched his son sleep blissfully unaware of the gloominess that was beginning to spread around him. 

Magnus returned to the balcony a few minutes later where he was welcomed by an anxious Isabelle and Simon.

“Where’s Alec?”, Izzy grabbed Magnus, holding his forearms.

“He had to report to the Command center. His Colonel called. Apparently, they need their best fighter pilot to lead this mission sanctioned by the President.", Magnus sighed, faking a smile and picking up empty glasses from the tables.

“On his wedding anniversary!”, Simon was appalled, carefully following his brother-in-law around.

“Simon, it’s ok. He has to do his job.”, Magnus mumbled, unable to face either his husband's sister or her husband.

“His team knew what day it is. Uncle Hodge knew it. He was on the guest list. They fucking knew that it was his anniversary.”, Isabelle shut her eyes in frustration, clenching her teeth together.

“It is his duty, Isabelle. He is fighting for the country. We signed up for this the moment as much as he did”

“I know, Magnus…but it doesn’t make it...alright”, she spat. He knew this anger wasn't meant for him. She was just angry at the world.

“I know it doesn't…it's ridiculous and inhuman. But, it is what it is”, Magnus pursed his lips as he controlled his own emotions and tears. Which husband in their right mind would willingly want to part with their better half on the night commemorating the most special day of their lives. “We love Alexander for all that he is. And that includes his duty to his country. I know how difficult it is, but if we don’t support Alexander, who will? He's counting on us to be strong while he puts up a brave front himself.”, Magnus consoled his sister-in-law.

Or himself.

It was rather difficult to guess.

He had been married to Alexander for 4 years and had dated him for the previous three. In his seven years of knowing the love of his life, he had come to terms with the fact that Alec was a soldier and that he loved that part of his life as much as he loved Magnus and his family. It had taken the two some time to get to the point where Alec now trusted Magnus to be by his side through everything. Every time the Major went for a mission, Magnus didn’t admit but it scared the shit out of him. The unpredictability and lethal nature of Alec's job just made Magnus pray for his healthy return. Nothing more. But never in their time together, did he ever try to discourage Alec or pull him away from performing his duties because that's what their love stood for. He loved Alec for all that he was - his job included.

After the guests left from their anniversary celebration, Magnus poured himself another drink and sat down on the couch to watch some TV. How much had he wanted this evening to go as mundane as it could. No drama, no emergency calls from the Base. But then again, the Lightwood-Banes attracted drama. He checked his phone and there was a text alert from an hour ago from a contact named “Major” with a purple heart.

 

 

 

Happy Wedding Anniversary, honey. I love you so much. I’ll see you very soon – Your Major

 

Magnus smiled and put his phone aside after sending a quick red heart response to his husband. He finished his drink and retreated to his room. Changing into a pair of pajamas and a lose t-shirt, he kissed Max goodnight and dropped under the duvet. Hugging Alec’s pillow which was still filled with his scent, Magnus dozed off to sleep.

A sharp cry from the cradle woke Magnus up next morning. He rubbed his eyes and looked at the watch. It was 6:30am in the morning. Way earlier than when he usually woke up. He got up from bed and hurried to his son who was crying monotonously.

“Max…I am here…Papa is here...”, Magnus picked his son up in his arms and pressed him on his chest, coddling him so that he stopped crying. Max quickly clutched the fabric of his father's cloth within his tiny fists and sobbed. Feeling the baby's diaper with his hands, which was still dry, Magnus recalled the last meal Max had had and concluded that he was hungry.

“My baby…we’ll go and get some food in your tummy right away…just a few more minutes, okay? Papa is really very sorry he overslept...”, Magnus cradled the boy and ran out to the kitchen to heat some milk. Subconsciously, Magnus had forgotten that Alec wasn't home. The soldier had taken two weeks off before this and so a sleepy Magnus assumed that Alec would have gotten up and made Max have something to eat in the morning like he usually did. Magnus placed Max in the cradle in the kitchen and boiled some milk. He also made some Cerelac in case Max was not interested in drinking milk.

The little baby was still sobbing when Magnus picked him up to feed him.

“Come on, baby boy…here we go”, Magnus smiled and offered a little Cerelac in a spoon. Max looked at his father and then the spoon and opened his mouth to take the food in. He smiled and moved his jaw up and down to chew the Cerelac.

“That’s like Dadda’s boy. You like it? Yes... you do... you love it", Magnus smiled at his baby. "Your Daddy will be so proud of you.”, Magnus grinned. Something very interesting in that statement made Max clap and giggle, only amusing Magnus further. “Daddadd…aa”, he chortled making his sleepy father smile. Their son recognized Alec. Thinking of, Magnus walked back into the room to check his phone. There were no calls or texts from Alec. In fact, Magnus last reply to Alec was still undelivered. Either he was still on the mission or resting somewhere with poor network. Max had stopped crying and was now fiddling with Magnus' shirt as the man continued to feed his son. Max had been starving. Feeling guilty for neglecting his son's needs, Magnus looked at his boy and placed a soft kiss on his forehead. He couldn’t remember how he managed Alec’s absence when they did not have Max in their lives. It was such a repelling thought for Magnus now even though they had spent 6 years together before Max actually entered their lives. He checked Max’s diaper again and replaced it, just in case. Putting him back in his cradle, Magnus yawned and proceeded to the bathroom to wash his face and start with his day.

His door clicked open at 8am in the morning, as per the schedule. It had to be Clary – Max’s babysitter and Alec’s brother Jace’s girlfriend. She was a freelance artist who sometimes Magnus hired for his assignments. She also helped Magnus babysit Max on her free days because the boy was very comfortable with the redhead and Magnus did not have to pay extra attention to his safety.

“Morning, Magnus”, she chimed putting her bag down.

“Morning, biscuit”, Magnus came out adjusting his rings in his hand.

“My my…someone looks like a showstopper”, she grinned.

“Well, thank you Clarissa Fray”, Magnus saluted her as he slipped his watch on his wrist.

“Who said anything about you…I was talking about this little prince here”, Clary scrunched her nose and picked up Max in her arms. The little boy giggled and clapped, recognizing Clary immediately.

“Max does look stunning, don’t you baby…”, Magnus cooed and bent down to kiss Max’s cheek. “Papa is going to miss you at work. Don’t trouble Aunt Clary ok? I'll be back before you know it, alright? In case you have to do work, just drop him off at the office, alright?”, he told his little son and was about to leave for his work when the phone rang. Magnus looked at the clock. It was 8:15am in the morning. Who could be calling at this hour?

“Hello”, he answered the call frowning his brows.

“Mr Magnus Bane?”, a hoarse voice spoke over the phone.

“Magnus Lightwood-Bane.”, Magnus corrected.

“Right Mr Lightwood-Bane…can you come over to the Air Force Base as soon as possible?”

“Is everything, alright?”, Magnus panicked as he heard the words.

“Can you come here, immediately? Colonel Starkweather would like to speak with you in person.”, the voice said and hung up the call. The caller sounded tensed but stiff. Just like every other worker at Alec's office. The voice wasn't anyone Magnus recognized among Alec's colleagues, but someone who was perhaps just ordered to summon the interior designer for what seemed to involve Alec. Magnus gulped and dropped everything he was holding – his laptop bag, his files and the coffee cup. He ran out of his loft in Brooklyn instructing Clary to keep an eye on Max while he was not there. He also spoke to Izzy about being late to work.

Something in his heart didn’t feel alright. 

“Mr Lightwood-Bane. You might want to sit down”, Colonel Starkweather, a stout man with a light grey stubble spoke. Magnus was hyperventilating by now. The trip to the Base had taken forever in Magnus' opinion and he couldn't wait to hear why he had been called at this odd hour.

“Colonel Starkweather, what is wrong?”, he stammered, his heart pounding in his chest.

“Major Alec Lightwood’s Viper was recovered in the Alaskan grounds this morning”, the Colonel informed. Magnus flickered his pupils reading the expression on his face but his eyes were blank. Devoid of any emotion.

“What did you mean recovered?”, Magnus choked, unable to swallow.

“We have reasons to believe that Major Lightwood died in action last night.”, he took a deep breath.

 

No . That's Bullshit. 

 

“What? What did you say?”, Magnus choked, feeling his heart sink and skip a beat. He couldn't have possibly heard what he did. It sounded like Alec was dead. Bullshit. He felt weak in his knees and stumbled on the table when a strong arm caught him. It was Lieutenant Jem Carstairs. Alec’s second-in-command and one of his most trusted colleagues.

“Magnus…hey…are you okay?”, he whispered as he helped Magnus sit on the chair next to that iron-table.

“I know how hard it is to believe the news... we haven't been able to process it either. But, we can’t even begin to imagine what you must be going through right now. Alec was one of our best soldiers and none of us can actually believe that we have lost Alec, but all the evidence unfortunately points to it. The Viper burst up in flames midair and we couldn’t even recover Alec's body. Our preliminary investigations on the crash site suggest that Alec’s remains could not have survive the blast in his plane. We did manage to find a shattered dental sample and it matched with his biological records in our system. That's all we have of him. The black box has been recovered from the burnt flight and it is being analyzed as we speak.", he explained in one breath. "I really am sorry to inform you, Magnus. But, Alec is no more...”

“Stop…stop right there, Colonel", Magnus lifted his finger at the senior officer. "…Alexander…he is not…I can feel it…he’s not dead. He is not! He cannot die. He told me that the mission was not dangerous... and that he would be back before I know it. He texted me last night, Colonel. You have got to make a mistake. He must have ejected himself out of the plane... search around. Please...”, Magnus’s chest suffocated as he grabbed his hair in his hands shaking on the chair to and fro.

“Magnus…I am so sorry. There's no evidence of him ejecting out. There was a fighter pilot just above Alec's plane and he saw it happen...”, Colonel sighed and pressed his hand on Magnus’ shoulder.

“HE IS NOT DEAD, COLONEL!”, Magnus spat at the Colonel. His eyes were red and burning with rage and pain at the same time. “He’s not dead.”, his voice broke into a sobbing whisper, the very next minute.

“I wish I could say the same, Mr Bane”

“Mr LIGHTWOOD-Bane”, Magnus interrupted the Colonel, correcting him. He fiddled his wedding ring in his finger and shut his eyes dropping his head on the table. This was not happening to him a day after his 4th wedding anniversary.

Alec was alive.

Magnus just refused to believe that he wasn't. He sat there in the visiting room for some time with Jem rubbing his back to calm him down. There was nothing anybody could say or do that would help the interior designer. Magnus was fighting his tears, moving to and fro on his chair like a maniac. His brain was telling him that they had found Alec's dental sample from the crash-site, and the fighter jet blasted into flames mid-air. Alec couldn't have survived the blast. The facts proved it. But his heart. His heart refused to believe that Alec was dead. His hands were shivering with fear and anger and as he fisted them together, the knuckles turned white, deprived of blood flow.

“Magnus…you have to believe it. The air force has searched everywhere. There's no sign of Alec's life.”, Jem sighed.

“Make myself believe that Alexander, my husband…is dead. It is a little cruel, don’t you think, Jem?”, Magnus chucked as tears trickled through his eyes that were now blood-red. He could feel the pain when he rolled his eyes around.

“Major Lightwood died in action, Magnus…I know that nothing I say will ever make it better but Major died a hero. And I am sure he fought valiantly until his last breath to make sure he made it back alive... but sometimes...”

“Jem…please... just don't...”, Magnus sighed rubbing away his tears violently. Jem was Alec's friend and Magnus adored him, but he couldn't hear anything remotely involved 'dead' and 'Alec' in the same sentence. “Can you leave me alone for some time. I don't think I can hear you explain this to me right now...”, he closed his eyes and looked away.

“Of course. I’ll go and get you some water?”, he said. Magnus simply nodded.

After Jem left him alone in the conference room, Magnus looked at the nothingness in front of him. The visiting room was only lit on the side that Magnus occupied and dark for the major part of it. He sniffed and stopped crying - tears drying out in a dark streak across his face. He waited for something to happen. For a snap that would wake him up from sleep and tell him that this was all a dream. That Alec is alive. He is fine. 

Was Alec really gone?

He took out his phone and looked at his messages, hoping that Alec would have sent him a text telling him that the Air Base was lying and he was absolutely fine, and he was coming home to make steak and pasta for dinner. The last text from Alec was still from last night and his red heart was still undelivered.

“You lied to me”, Magnus whispered looking at the phone, reading the text over and over again. “You said you were coming home, honey…where are you? These people are telling me that you died. Am I supposed to believe that?”, Magnus closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Come back, please Alec? Come home to me”, he lifted his head up and dropped his neck on the backrest of the chair.

Magnus returned home later that afternoon with Jem who had offered to drive him home. Isabelle and Maryse had received the news a little while ago  and Magnus was afraid of facing his in-laws. He, himself, had gone numb after his breakdown. The moment he had stopped crying at the Base, he just shut himself down. The Colonel spoke to him about something…some formality or the other, Magnus’ subconscious told him. He had simply nodded throughout the conversation, looking at the wall in front of him, barely registering anything that had been said to him. But he didn't care. His eyes burned because of the incessant crying and his chest ached with heartbreak. Jem escorted him upstairs to his and Alec's loft in Brooklyn and opened the door for him as he stepped foot inside.

The loft was buzzing with people. Alec's family, mostly. He shifted his gaze to the living room, scanning everyone who was there. Izzy was sitting on the couch, Simon rubbing her back. Maryse was standing near the lamp and Clary was holding Jace by his shoulders.

“Magnus!”, Izzy screeched as she saw her brother-in-law. She jumped off the couch and ran to Magnus. The man saw her, and she looked like a mess. Her kohl was smudged, pretty much like Magnus' and there were huge red bags under her eyes. “They’re lying…Alec is fine…right? It was nothing…Alec is fine. Tell me that this is part of some horrible prank that Alec has planned for us...”, she shook her head approaching Magnus who just stood there staring at Izzy. It was still too soon for him to be able to say it out loud that Alec was gone. It was still too soon.

“Mrs Lewis”, Jem straightened himself next to Magnus. Izzy frowned and looked at him.

“I am afraid the news is very much true.”, he sighed, doing Magnus' work for him. The widower mentally thanked Jem but listening to the words still pinched straight through his heart and ripped it apart.

“Jem…”, Izzy intervened. “Don’t you dare say it?”, she pointed her finger at Jem and tears formed in her eyes. “Alec's not dead. He must have been injured. He's fine. Just search harder. You'll find him...”, she sniffed.

“Magnus… I don't believe Jem. You tell me... they'll find Alec right? He's okay?”, she grabbed his shoulder and shook him. Magnus rolled his eyes and looked right into Izzy’s. They pleaded to the girl on behalf of Magnus to not let him say it out loud. Izzy stammered as she saw the look in them.

“No”, she shook her head again. “Magnus, NO!”, she repeated and dropped lifelessly in Magnus’ arms holding his shirt's lapels. Magnus took a deep breath and lifted his hands up to encircle her in his arms.

“I am sorry”, is all Magnus could whisper to her. Izzy broke into a sob and cried grabbing Magnus’ shirt. He numbly stood there comforting his husband’s sister…hoping that things would magically go back to the evening before when Alec was in his arms as they were getting ready for their anniversary celebration. How he was complaining when Magnus tried to put a little eyeliner on his eyes, and a little lip-color as well? Those issues seemed so easy and mundane.

Simon grabbed Izzy as she pulled away from Magnus. Izzy wasn't Alec's only family - his mother, and his brother Jace were also mourning his loss. Magnus spotted Maryse across the room and he knew what he had to do. A widow who single-handedly raised three beautiful kids was standing near the balcony, lifeless and frozen after her son's demise. He knew that she had a soft spot for Alec, because he was her eldest. And he sure as hell couldn’t even begin to imagine what she was going through.

“Mum”, he whispered as he shook his mother-in-law out of her thoughts. Maryse snapped out of her trance and looked at Magnus. Her eyes were dry, as if someone had sucked life out of them. Her lips trembled as she shot a questioning look at Magnus, as if asking him if all of this was real and actually happening to them. Magnus’s eyes teared up once again as he nodded. His eyelids felt warm and heavy, and he wondered how long he could continue tearing up like that before his eyelids gave up and started bleeding. Maryse gave in to her emotions and hugged Magnus tightly. She caressed his head and rubbed his back. Tears flowed down her own eyes but she knew that the only way they could get over this terrible nightmare was by supporting each other through everything. There were tough times ahead for them. And she was sure Magnus, of all people, was the one who was going to need most of the support. Losing the love of your life and the father of your kid was something Maryse had felt up close when Robert had passed away and she had hoped that no one ever got to bear that pain. And yet she was, consoling her son's widower. Magnus closed his eyes as he let himself be cared by his mother-in-law who loved him as much as she loved Alec.

Jem left the family mourning for their fallen hero.

A while later, Magnus made Maryse sit on the couch and he laid his head on her lap. Maryse closed her eyes and cradled Magnus comforting him as much as she could. For now, this was helping. They were broken from their grieving when Max yelled in the other room. Magnus came back to his sense…right, Max – his and Alec’s son. He got up and darted to their room to find the boy sitting on the carpet. He had his toys spread out in front of him.

“Dadadddaaa”, the boy clapped as he saw Magnus. The father shut his eyes in pain. His Dadda wasn’t coming back. Ever. Even the most adorable word from his son's mouth was hurting Magnus more than he could imagine.

“Hey, there little boy. How are you?”, Magnus threw away his pain and faked a smile picking Max in his arms. “Papa missed you”, Magnus sniffed and pressed a kiss on those pink and soft cheeks. Maybe playing with his son could distract him a little, make him forget about the pounding pain in the back of his head. Max clapped and gurgled in Magnus’ arms as he took him out to meet his Grandma and his uncles and aunts. Max occupied the Lightwoods and Magnus with his antics and for a few hours, their sorrow seemed to hurt a little less.

Everyone was gathered at the cemetary for the funeral. Alec had lived a noble life. He had helped so many people, and so many times and it looked as if half of Brooklyn and Queens was here to pay him their last respects. Magnus had Max in his arms as they put a wreath on an empty grave. The tombstone said, “Alexander G. Lightwood – husband, father, son, brother and a hero. We love you, and we miss you”.

Max was playing with the hemp of Magnus’ shirt, his father’s demise unbeknownst to him. Magnus wished he could be Max at the moment. The pain of losing his husband would be oblivious to him. He handed over Max to Clary and took a stand in the center.

“Thank you for coming here today. It means a lot to me and Alexander’s family. As you all know, Alexander was a brave soldier and he died in the line of duty, defending his country. He was also my husband and the man who made me fall in love with him in the blink of an eye. Today, I stand before you with a void in my heart where he is supposed to be - a void that only he is capable of filling. Alexander, darling…I love you and I will miss you. There was no one who could make me fall in love so hard and so deep before I fell for you and there will never be anyone after you. You were, are and always be the only love I wanted. Saying goodbye to you hasn’t been easy for any of us, but we promise you that we will take your legacy forward. Isabelle, Jace and I…we promise you that. Max will grow up to be the son you always wished for and if you can see him, I hope you are proud of him…proud of us. We won't let you down, Major. won't let you down.

Love you”

Magnus took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a moment. Had he finally accepted Alec's demise? Probably not. And he never would. But if this is how life was going to play with him, he was going to fight back with everything he had. For Alec's memories, and for Max. A strong hand squeezed his bicep, making him open his eyes. It was Ragnor. Why wouldn’t it be? His best friend and his adoptive brother. What he couldn’t believe that Ragnor would come all the way from London where he lived and worked. Magnus gave a painful glance to his best friend and buried his head in the latter’s chest.

“Let it out, Magnus”, Ragnor whispered comforting his best friend.

“Alec was my elder brother, as you all know. We had our moments. We fought like cats and dogs, but he was the best man I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He always joked about how good my life would be if he was gone… but that’s not true big brother. It has only been 5 days and mind you, the worst five days of my existence and I am certain… that the coming ones won't be any easier. I miss you, but I am also so proud of you Major Lightwood. Wherever you are, I hope you know that we are so proud that you are our family. There’s just one little request…come back to me if you can, okay? It will be very dull without you and I don't want to go through that.”, she pleaded and choked at her last line and Simon wrapped his arm around her.

“Iz…you’re strong and you can do this…come on”, he whispered rubbing her arm.

“Hold me, Si”, she covered her mouth with her hand as her lips trembled. "I don't think I can do this"

“You can. We'll do this together.”, Simon sighed and kissed her hair.

Maryse and Jace spoke about Alec next and the ceremony concluded with a few air force officers giving Alec a gun-salute and offered their condolences. The fact that Alec's remains were never recovered was another setback for the Lightwoods because they had to bury an empty coffin. The Lightwoods and Magnus had already attended the official funeral where Alec’s belongings - his various uniforms, and the personal items in his office were handed over the Magnus in a taped carton. Magnus lifted the box the Colonel gave him and silently took them to his car.

The Air Force Base was lit up in Alec’s honor and Magnus and the Lightwoods watched as Alec was paid tribute.

Magnus sat on the bed later that day, inspecting the carton that was given to him by the Base. There were several novels, a few photo frames of Magnus and Alec’s wedding, Izzy, Alec and Jace, Little Max, Maryse and several others. Magnus kept the frames aside. He would add them to their collection at home. There was another pair of his uniform – his battle uniform. The characteristic green camouflage print. Magnus picked up the shirt and smelled it, taking in Alec’s scent. His sandalwood scent was still fresh on the fabric. Alec must have worn it in the last week. He kissed the batch which was labelled A. Lightwood and kept it for safekeeping in his closet. There was a paper folded and kept in the bottom. He picked it up and scanned it. It didn’t mention that the document was confidential or Magnus would have to give it back to Colonel without opening it. There was a little something written in one corner.

To Magnus

Magnus gasped and unfolded the paper in a hurry. It was a letter in Alec’s beautiful handwriting. Magnus cleared his throat swallowing the lump in his throat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey hon,

I don’t know why I am doing this, but I am so…bear with me if I blabber rubbish things later. Izzy hates these letters and I am going to write her one too. Don't hate me for this. You know, when I joined the Air Force, I did not have a care in the world…I did not realize that I was risking my life and to be honest, I didn’t care if I died in action. I just wanted to do something good for the country, no matter the consequences. Then, I met you. And you made me fall in love with you. It was so easy…just like breathing. The night you proposed me…on my birthday, do you remember that? It was the best goddamn birthday I’ve ever had. I still remember how you almost gave me a heart attack when you went on your knees because I never thought you would want to marry me, even though we had been dating for what... four years then? Marrying a man in a uniform – it comes with a price. And you chose to live in fear of losing me every day and frankly, Magnus…I love you a little more every second of my life.

After you, I also sort of started fearing the day I might not return to you, and to Max. The thought that didn’t matter to me before, does now. Does it make me a bad person? I don't know... yes, it's not fair to my family but the truth is I don’t want to lose you. I don’t want you to lose me. But if you ever do, if I ever leave you before death do us part…remember that I loved you with everything I had. I love you both with every cell of my body and I promise you that I will find you in every life if there exist several.

I am writing this letter just for the sake of it and I hope you never find it because if you do, that means something went horribly wrong and I am not there to explain it. Only Colonel knows about this letter and it will find you only if something happened to me. I am sorry for leaving you alone, Magnus but I promise you that I tried my best to make it back to you. And sorry that I couldn't. I hope you can have the courage in your heart to forgive me.

I love you so much.

 Your Major.

 

 

Magnus finished reading the letter as his vision blurred. His eyes were burning with tears again and his throat was uncharacteristically dry. He kept the letter on the side table, below a photo frame of Alec and Magnus from their wedding and hugged the sweater he was wearing. It was Alec’s favorite sweater. He grabbed Alec’s pillow and pressed his eyes on it as tears flowed out, seeping in the pillow.

“Honey, come back please”, he moaned as he sobbed in the duvet. "I cannot do this without you. Please come home." The coldness of Alec’s side of the bed haunted Magnus but he knew he had to learn to live with it. Because Alec was gone, and he was not coming back.

Magnus returned to work another week later. There were so many assignments pending on his end and he realized that the only way he could live with the pain of Alec being gone was burying himself in his work until he stopped hurting that much. It was never going to stop hurting. He knew he couldn’t get over Alec’s death even if he tried for it all his life, but he had to become stronger to be able to tolerate his absence and bring their son up to become the man Alec would have wanted him to. It wasn't about him anymore. There was nothing left in him. Magnus Lightwood-Bane had died with his husband. Now, there was an empty shell that was going to live for his son. And that was it.

Izzy and Magnus co-owned the company that specialized in interior designing and he was glad, more than ever, to have a part of Alec still in his life, in the form of little sister. They developed a big photo of Alec in his service uniform and hung it right outside their offices as a tribute to their favorite person. That way, they could see Alec’s face every morning they came to work. Magnus couldn’t help but smile when he saw the frame because Alec was grinning ear-to-ear and that was how Magnus wanted to remember his husband like - happy and breathing.

5 years later,

“Alexander, you have no idea how happy I am. Max is a natural orator, born to be an audience-favorite. He is just so good. Whenever he speaks, he enthralls his entire audience. You should have seen him at the oration competition last night. Max just charmed every single one of the judges. Nobody could keep their eyes off of him while he narrated the story.”, Magnus chimed as he spoke to a photo that sat on his desk. It was that of his late husband, Alec Lightwood. Magnus was working on an assignment on a regular morning while he habitually spoke to the photo of his dead husband. That was Magnus' routine, telling Alec all about the ongoings of his and his son's lives while working for a living. Alec’s sister and his business partner, Isabelle had gone to drop her son at the playschool. Little Alex, named after his uncle, was three years old now and an exact replica of the late soldier. Simon had named him Alex the moment he saw his hazel eyes that resembled his late uncle. Magnus adored his nephew even though he reminded him of Alec on more than one occasions. He had the same smile, the same naughtiness in his eyes and the characteristic Alec Lightwood eye-roll. It was like Alec had returned to the Lightwoods in form of Izzy's little kid.

His own son, Max was six years old now and was the center of Magnus’ world. His life revolved around his boy. When he wasn't working on his assignments and projects at Lightwoods and Bane Co Pvt. Ltd., he would be at his loft playing with his son. Magnus was not only Max’s father but also his best friend. The two of them just had each other and Alec's memories to spend the remainder of their lives. They played together, danced together, cooked together and even did a little mechanical work together whenever possible. Alec had always wanted to have a friendly equation with his children and this was Magnus honoring his late-husband. Max also sometimes accompanied his father to work on weekends and he helped him with collecting the artworks and finished designs from Aunt Izzy.

Over the last 5 years, Magnus had gotten better with handling the grief of Alec’s death. Of course, he would have still done anything to forget the dreadful morning and the phone call that took Alec away from him, but now, it didn't feel like he wouldn't survive the pounding of his heart, or the persistent headache. He still hated sleeping alone at night, but it was better than sleeping with someone who wasn’t Alec. The idea itself was appalling to Magnus. Maryse and Isabelle had been the first few people who had coaxed Magnus to move on with his life and try to find love again but he couldn't. He could never do that to Alec. He couldn't do that to Max who was a living reminder of what he once had. The dead soldier's clothes had shriveled with time, but he did not have the heart to discard them. He had Alec’s perfume with him and every few days, he’d spray it on his clothes so that he could remember what Alec smelled like.

Every evening, Magnus came back and spoke to Alec’s photo in their room. He would tell him about his day and Max’s. For some reason, Magnus could not muster the courage to visit Alec's empty grave, even to put so much so as a flower on his death anniversary, he always had Isabelle take Max with a wreath to put on Alec's grave. But speaking to Alec's photograph brought him peace, and a small smile on his lips.

5 years ago,

“Viper to Falcon. Code Red. Viper to Falcon. Can you hear me?”, a distress call sounded from the communication systems. The pilot seated in a Falcon F-16 looked for the source of the distress call and he located a plane in the radar. It was tagged the Viper.

It was Major Lightwood’s fighter plane. His most trusted friend in the enemy territories.

“Falcon to Viper, I copy. Falcon to Viper”, the Captain responded.

“I see some suspicious activities, 238°N from here. I am headed there. Over and out”, Alec's voice sounded from the comms.

“Copy that, Viper. I have your coordinates. Will be on the lookout. Over and out”

The Viper took a dive through the clouds and vanished from the Falcon’s line of sight. There was no way the Falcon could trace Alec's jet without entering in the enemy's radar range. Alec always loved taking such insane risks. But it was still visible on the radar and the pilot of the Falcon was on high alert, noting any sudden movements that felt out of character for Alec. He waited for Major Lightwood to inform them when he needed back up, but the alert never came. The Falcon kept circling the skies for hours after Lightwood's jet disappeared, waiting for the Major's signal. And then, all of a sudden, the fighter plane vanished from the Falcon's radar. Just like that. The Falcon F-16 dived in the direction of the last communication signal that the plane received from Major Lightwood’s Viper and saw a plane go down in flames.

The Captain freaked out as he saw the remnants of the inflamed plane crash in the mountain. He alerted the emergency team to go down with medical supplies, to try and save Major Lightwood’s life but the blast was so severe that nothing, but a dental sample was ever recovered.

“I can’t believe this. My son has a sweeter tooth than my husband”, Magnus rolled his eyes at his son who was hogging at the chocolate cake in front of him. His off-white shirt had deep brown stains that only Magnus could imagine the pain of washing. “I never thought someone would like sweets more than Alexander did…but like they say…expect the unexpected”, he commented, leaning on his elbow.

“I am Dad’s son, after all. I will take after him…wouldn’t I?”, Max rolled his eyes, digging his spoon back in the chocolate cake. It was a regular Friday in their household and they were only getting started. It had been a tradition for Magnus and Max to have something special for each Friday. This way, both the boys could look forward to one day in a week. It was more important to Magnus than Max. Max never knew Alec... and the void that he had left in their lives. But Magnus did.

“You would”, Magnus chuckled as he pulled the cake away from the 6-year old. “That’s enough, buddy. I don’t want to take you to the dentist”, he warned.

“You’re mean”, the boy huffed.

“Every kid says the same for their parents, Maxie…it really doesn’t bother us...”, Magnus arched a brow and sighed.

“Whatever. I am going to my room if you won't let me eat the cake.", he frowned. "But, you do remember that it’s Pizza Friday…right? I won't let you ditch me for Pizzas... those aren't even sweet?”

“How can I forget?”, Magnus taunted. Another obsession. Pizza.

“Alexander…do you see our son’s obsession with Pizza and sweets?…I am beginning to think that you baby-whispered this in our son’s mind…”, Magnus looked at the photograph that just stood there, smiling at him.

He put the cake away and wiped his hands clean. Grabbing a glass of martini, he made his way out to the living room to drink and watch some TV in peace. It was going to be a rough couple of days for him. Magnus sometimes wondered if other people had the same difficulties, every few days... or was it just him. Day after tomorrow, on Sunday, was Alec and Magnus’ 9th wedding anniversary, and Alec’s 5th death anniversary. The irony. He put on the latest season of Masterchef Australia and cuddled on the couch with his blanket and Alec’s pillow that was kept on the couch for the same purpose.

There was a persistent knock at the door later that evening and Magnus grabbed his wallet to head towards it. It must be the delivery boy with their Pizza for Pizza Fridays. Magnus rolled his eyes and opened the door. To his surprise, it wasn’t the pizza boy but Jem Carstairs, who was now a Major in the Air Force. Magnus' smile vanished. Why was the Force bothering him on a Friday night of all days?

“Jem…what brings you by…at”, Magnus tilted his body bad to look at the wall clock. “9 in the evening”

“Can you come to the Base right now?”, Jem looked like he had seen a ghost. Magnus felt something hit his chest as a sense of déjà vu. 

“I can drop by tomorrow morning, before work? Please tell me that I don't have to sign any more documents as Alec's immediate family because I swear I have lost count over the years. The formalities. It's like you guys live on a pile of papers, and insane rules.”, Magnus sighed. He was tired of the number of document he had had to sign over the last half a decade.

“It is not about the documents, but it is about Major Lightwood. I would appreciate if you can come down to the Base with me, right now. I am not at the liberty of saying anything more than that”, he said, sounding rather desperate that made Magnus suspicious.

“I am expecting a Pizza delivery for my son, Jem. It's a Friday night and I promised him some family-time. Can’t leave him starving! I will come to the Base first thing in the morning?”, Magnus sighed. He was curious about what was going on.

“We can wait until then…but I am to escort you to the Base, Sir. Colonel Starkweather needs you there, immediately.”, Jem said.

“Ok then, Major Carstairs…come in. Make yourself comfortable”, Magnus decided to not argue. The soldier didn't seem like he would listen to Magnus anyway.

Jem sat on the couch, fidgeting his hands. This made Magnus all the more nervous. Something that was about Alec but didn't require him to do any more formalities. What did it mean? Magnus walked to and fro in his living room as thoughts clouded up his mind.

The pizza was delivered 10 minutes later, and Magnus took Max and the Pizza and dropped both of them at Izzy’s house.

“You promised no work on Friday night?”, Max complained as he walked in Izzy’s house, holding his father's hand.

“I did…I am sorry, bud but I have to go to Dad’s old work place”, Magnus sighed.

“Dada’s work place…?”, Max widened his eyes. “Ok… go”, he added.

“Ok?”, Magnus was taken aback.

“It’s about Dad…so, you should go”, Max bit his lip. "But be safe, Papa", he added.

“You’re my hero, Max”, Magnus smiled and kissed his son goodbye.

He came back and sat in Jem’s jeep as it made its way to the military Base. He hadn't been there in a very long time. Almost six months now. Magnus felt nauseous whenever he came here, not because of the armory and the weapons, but because of what this place had taken from him – his husband. Five years later, and he still couldn't shake the memories of the day they had buried an empty coffin wrapped in the national flag. He followed Jem to a building that looked like a Base Hospital. Magnus felt sick to his stomach and he just wanted to get out of here.

“Last night, a patrol team brought down an enemy camp in the Alaskan soil. It was the same group that Major Lightwood was tracking. The Circle. Right outside the boundaries of Sitka. There were at least 2 troops of terrorists and we rescued a few civilian hostages. They were being held as prisoners to negotiate deals with the US Government to release some of their allies that are in jail, including Valentine Morgenstern”, Jem randomly started speaking. Valentine was one of the militants that Alec was credited to have put behind bars. And it was his militant group that was thought to have crashed Alec's plane that night. Magnus' gaze was focused on the walls of the hospital as he walked next to Jem. He couldn't understand why the recently promoted Major was discussing mission details with a civilian. With Alec gone, Magnus could not be bothered in the least. But, this was not only a breach of protocol (like Alec had once explained him) but also risky, from the security point of view.

And then, Magnus was just fed up of listening to missions. He didn't care anymore because more or less, each one of them ended up with someone losing their life and that wasn't acceptable to Magnus anymore.

“Jem, why are you telling me this?”, Magnus sighed, feeling defeated and irritated, as he followed Jem through the lobby of the hospital.

“There was no way anyone would have survived the blast in Major Lightwood’s Viper all those years ago. Even the black box gave nothing away.”, Jem gulped as he anticipated Magnus' response to Alec's mention. He felt the interior designer freeze in his spot.

“Major Lightwood was one of the hostages that we rescued from that terrorist camp in Alaska.”, Jem informed Magnus as he stopped in front of a room. The room was lit with tube lights and two heavily armed guards stood at the gate. Magnus’ lips trembled as he came closer to the glass to have a closer view at the patient lying on the bed inside the room. He felt movements in his stomach as he recognized the height and stature of the man covered in white sheet. It couldn't be him. Alec was dead.

“Major Lightwood is alive”, Jem whispered near Magnus.

Magnus stumbled on his feet, feeling the same emotion he had years ago when Colonel Starkweather had told him of Alec's unexpected demise. Jem was telling the truth. His dead husband lay right in front of him, across the glass wall. And he was breathing. The man could see his chest rise and fall with each bout of breath. Magnus choked, pressing his fingertips on the cold glasswall separating him and his very much-alive husband of nine years.

“Would you like to go inside and see him?”, Jem asked, breaking the silence that was deafening Magnus. The man blinked as a single tear dropped from his eye. He turned to look at Jem who was standing in front of the door, holding it open for him. He was just a few steps and a door away from reuniting with the love of his life. The guards had stepped aside, and Alec was just waiting for him. His Alexander. He had come back to him. Magnus pursed his lips and took a deep breath. He was not sure if this was true. Could Alec really come back to him after all these years? Could it be just that simple that his prayers had been answered? He slowly walked inside, holding his breath. His heart thudded in his chest, waited to burst out of it with anxiety. Alec's heavy breathing became louder as he stepped forward. The closer he went to the bed where Alec lay unconscious, the more his heart ached in happiness and grief. He wasn’t the Alec he had said goodbye to, on the night of their fourth wedding anniversary. 

Five. Years. Ago.

“When we rescued him, he was severely starved and dehydrated. He was not conscious but responsive at the time. There are several fresh injuries and some scars that point to previous incurred blows on the Major. He was most probably being tortured for some kind of information that the terror-group needed. He has a fractured left arm but other than that, his vitals looked fine. The doctors think that it's miraculous, how Sir is responding to the treatment... even after being so severely injured and disoriented”, Jem began. “From the documents and recordings retrieved from the camp, we have no reason to believe that Major gave up any information that threatened US security.”, Jem explained as they drew closer to Alec's unconscious frame.

Magnus smiled at the fact that he had the most head-strong man as the love of his life. He couldn't be prouder of Alec if he tried. He asked Jem to leave him alone with his husband for a few minutes - just to make his head and heart believe that this was all very real and not a sick joke. Jem smiled and agreed, stepped to stand at the door of the room to guard it for the couple.

Magnus himself came closer and scanned Alec’s face. There was a deep crescent moon shaped scar over his left eye and it looked like it was still healing. It looked pink and tender around the centre. Alec’s hair had been trimmed off bald in the past – a fact Magnus could guess by the size of Alec’s short hair that had grown back. His lower lip was bruised purple and swollen and his upper lip had a cut on the corner. There were stitches on his left cheekbone which was probably the military's work post his rescue. But there was one thing that caught Magnus’ attention. Alec’s head was tilted towards his right, baring his neck to him. There was a big tattoo on the bare side of his neck – a curly Z slashed in the middle by a single line. The tattoo began right below his chin and went all the way down to his collarbone.

His blood boiled at the thought of the atrocities that marred his beautiful husband’s body. He looked a little tan and darker in complexion than Magnus remembered him from their last time together. Maybe he was being kept in the sun... and maybe it was just the fact that he had been deprived proper food, and water for five whole years. Magnus could trace a few cut lines here and there on his neck.

Alec's nose and mouth were covered by an oxygen mask and Magnus could hear Alec breathe – a sound that he had yearned for the last 5 years. Magnus sat on the bed next to his sleeping husband and just stared at him, endlessly and without blinking or looking away. As if Alec would disappear the second he tore his eyes away and he couldn't endure that. Not again. He couldn't let him go. One of Alec's hands had tubes running through the veins and the other was lying on his side. Curling his own fingers through Alec's good hand, Magnus lifted their hands to his lips and pressed a kiss on Alec's knuckles. His hand felt thin and weak to him, but it still felt like Alexander. Opening the Major's palm, Magnus pressed it on his own cheek and closed his eyes. For many a troubled nights, Magnus had dreamt about Alec cupping his face again. Just like this.

“There’s something more”, Jem folded his hands together in front of him and stepped ahead, breaking the silence. Magnus looked up at him, replacing Alec's hand gently by his side. “We did some tests on Major Lightwood, to see if he had any infections, so that we can start treatment accordingly”

“Hmm?”, Magnus narrowed his brows. "And?", he crossed his hands on his chest, standing up from the bed.

“Certain tests came back this morning…and uhh…I don’t know how to say this, Magnus”, Jem dropped his head down.

“Jem…”, Magnus sighed. "Tell me?". Alec was back and alive, and there was nothing that could ruin Magnus' happiness at that moment. Nothing.

“There are marks on Major Lightwood’s body that confirmed the diagnosis”, Jem was beating around the bush and he could sense that Magnus understood that.

“And…?”, Magnus arched a brow, waiting for an answer.

“There are evidences of sexual assault on Major Lightwood”, Jem closed his eyes as he blurted the report out. Magnus gasped and widened his eyes.

“Jem…are you telling me that…Alexander…was”, Magnus choked and looked at his unconscious husband. He reached out for his arm and squeezed it, as if he wanted to protect Alec from the world.

“Raped. That’s exactly what I am telling you, Magnus. I am really sorry you have to hear this from me, but it is what the tests show. And as Major Lightwood's next of kin, you are entitled to this information. And we can conclude that it may have happened on more than one occasion – by both men and women”, Jem pursed his lips. "I just didn't want you to be blindsided by it when the doctor or Colonel Starkweather spoke to you. And I just... I am sorry you had to find out like this", he looked away.

“Did he say something when you rescued him? Was he consious?”, Magnus faked calmness on his face. Nothing had changed. Alec was still the same man Magnus had fallen for... and that would never change.

“He has been in and out of consciousness. We found him tied to a hook in a stable and he looked like he had recently been beaten up again. But he did recognize the air force troops when the patrol team found him. We will know more of his psychological condition only after he properly wakes up. You’re free to stay for as long as you want. But the military will release the Major after they’re certain of what information he was tortured to give out”

“Thank you, Jem. I would just like some personal time with my husband, if you don't mind.”, Magnus took a deep breath and sat back on the bed. Jem tipped his head and walked out of the room, just as the guards took their place on the door. Magnus' hand shivered as held Alec's fragile and cold hands again. He didn't want to hurt him unknowingly. He could feel his bones under his touch. That is how frail the soldier's skin had become. In all the years of knowing his boyfriend-fiance-husband, he had never imagined that there would come a time when Alec would feel so helpless and weak to him. Releasing his hand carefully on his side, Magnus leaned forward and cupped Alec's cheek, gently stroking his face. The skin was dry and rough, chipping off around the edges of the Major's lips. Alec's throat hitched and he relaxed a little, instinctively leaning in his husband's hand which made Magnus' heart flutter. The sharp cheekbones under Magnus' touch were coarse but there was a warm flow of blood that relieved Magnus of all his worries of losing Alec all over again. Feeling Alec respond to touch only proved that he was alive - something Magnus had been fighting hard to believe for the last few minutes.

“You came back to me.”, Magnus smiled as tears rolled out of his eyes, caressing his cheek. “You fulfilled your promise to me, honey. I can't believe you're actually here with me right now.", he choked on his sniffles. "How long have you had to do this alone, babe? How long?", he asked, hoping his husband would respond to him, give him all the answers he would need. "Ok... okay, we won't think about all that. This is our second chance, Alexander and we will get through this together. We vowed right. In sickness and in health. Always", Magnus lifted Alec’s right hand and pressed a kiss on those protruding knuckles.

He was unsure whether Alec’s return was a wish granted or not. 5 years later, Alec wasn’t the man Magnus had lost. He was different. He looked different, for starters and then, only Alec knew how much had been tortured for every day in the last 5 years and how that had affected the Major, physically and emotionally. Magnus was certain that he wouldn’t let go off Alec’s hand but what if Alec was not willing to be with Magnus anymore. What if he did not love him anymore. The idea haunted Magnus while he sat there, waiting for Alec to give any signs of waking up.

Magnus’ heart sank as he felt Alec wince in the bed.

“Alexander”, he whispered. “You’re safe, honey…you’re safe. Go back to sleep now. You need to regain your strength. Sleep, my love”, he rubbed Alec’s cheekbone. He could not look at Alec for a very long time without breaking on the inside. The atrocities that Alec had faced were visible all over his body in form of those nasty scars. His soft brown hair that Magnus loved to play with were replaced by short and sharp hair that revealed his round shape of the skull. There was a persistent stubble on his face flanked by the scars of all the times he was hurt by his captors. His heart ached for the moment when Alec would wake up and realize that he was back to his family, but with horrifying memories of his captivity accompanying him. That burden, incomprehensible to Magnus, had the potential to ruin everything positive in their lives. There was a long turbulent road ahead of them before he could even imagine their lives becoming normal again.

“Magnus”, Jem cleared his throat and knocked at the door. Magnus blinked back into the present and looked over his shoulder. Major Carstairs was back, standing at the door of the room. “The Colonel would like to speak with you...”, he said.

Magnus straightened his clothes and got up. He let go Alec’s hand and walked out of the room, stealing one glance at his husband from the door. Wrapping his arms around himself, he stood listening.

“Magnus. I believe Jem has already updated you with Major Lightwood’s present condition. We know that it has been a trying time for your family ever since he was declared dead, but I assure you that we don’t want to prolong any further than we have to. Once he is fit to be discharged from our care, you can take Alec home. The rest of the legalities can be done per his convenience”

Magnus’ eyes popped open.

“I can take…Alexander…with me?”, Magnus choked closing his mouth with his hand unable to believe what he was hearing.

“You can. He might have to come back to the Base every now and then for questioning, but both the my seniors and I believe that Alec would recover and heal better in the presence of his family and loved ones. Especially you and your son.”, Colonel said.

“I understand. I would never stop Alec from fulfilling his responsibilities. Thank you for all that you're trying to do for him and us... it means alot to me.”, Magnus sighed.

“Both of you deserve it. Now, if I may be excused, I have some paperwork to file/”, the Colonel smiled and walked away from Magnus.

“I shall make arrangements for you to sleep over in the Major’s room tonight?”, Jem asked.

“I would like that…thank you Jem. Thank you for tonight”

“My pleasure, Mr Lightwood-Bane”

“Magnus, you can’t ask me to not see him. He is my son... and he is alive. I need to see my boy...”, Maryse sobbed on the couch in the Lightwood-Bane loft in Brooklyn next morning. Magnus had returned home as soon as he woke up to deliver the happy news to his family and get Max ready for school. There hadn't been a single day when Max had gone to school without seeing Magnus and the father wasn't going to change that for anything. Isabelle and Jace had also rushed to his loft as soon as Maryse informed them - eager to reunite with their long-lost brother.

“I am not asking you to do that. What I mean is that it would be much better if we don't spring in front of him, altogether. It has been five years since he saw anyone of us and he is still recovering. Alec has been through a lot, and we can’t even begin to imagine what it would have been like for him. So, he might get overwhelmed. And I know the last thing any of us wants is to put through something hard. I think we can all just take turns and slowly go and meet him, one by one”, Magnus sighed. He couldn't put Alec under the pressure of meeting his family barely days after being rescued from the enemy camps. The condition that Magnus had found Alec in last night was heart-wrenching and he couldn't even begin to imagine to extent of mental trauma his husband must have gone through.

“Magnus is right, Mum. We might not be able to see past it but he is right. It wouldn't be wise to throw us all on Alec together. He needs time to recover.”, Jace said. He was still shivering from the revelation and Clary was rubbing his arm to calm him down. “Magnus…I think you should go and see him now. Mom can go tomorrow, and Izzy and I will see him when he returns home. Will that be okay?”, Jace peered at his sister. Izzy was crying in Simon’s arms, but she smiled and nodded. Magnus smiled at how much Jace had matured after Alec's demise. He and Alec had always spoken of how the boy was all over the place and then suddenly, he grew up to a mature man and took care of the entire family for Alec. Magnus couldn't be prouder of his brother-in-law.

“Magnus go and take care of your husband, okay? Our brother can wait a while.”, Izzy smiled. “And I’ll take care of Max, don't worry about him. He and Alex will have the time of their lives and as long as you don't want Max to know, he wouldn't. Trust us.”, she nodded.

“Yeah, anyway he is quite fond of Uncle Simon”, Simon held his fingers in a V that lightened everyone’s mood for a bit.

Magnus rubbed Maryse’ arm, asking if she was okay spending one more day without seeing her son. Her head was dropped on Magnus’ shoulder, her hand covering her mouth as she cried. It hurt her, devastated her but she knew it was the right thing to do. 

Magnus reached the Base Hospital after Isabelle left with Max to drop him at the school. Major Jem Carstairs was waiting to meet him at the main door of the hospital.

“Is everything alright, Jem?”, Magnus sprinted across the road as he spotted Jem looking a little worried. “Is Alexander ok?”, he panicked.

“Major is fine. The doctor's report this morning was positive. He's responding to the medication and there are no signs of any persistent infection. They are very hopeful that he will be discharged soon enough", Jem informed as they walked back into the building. The scent of iodoform hit Magnus' nose. There were gurneys on the sides of the galleries they walked and more people than there had been last night. "He woke up an hour ago", there was a hint of joy in Major Carstair's voice. 

“He did”, Magnus’ eyes gleamed. His heart skipped a beat. He was going to meet Alec. He was going to talk to Alec. Finally. After all this time.

“He did…but…”, Jem rubbed the back of his hand with his thumb, nervously.

“But what…?”

“He has refused to see any visitors”

“Why? Why would Alec do that?”, Magnus screamed, climbing the stairs hurriedly.

“We don’t know. He just aid that he does not want to see anyone. We tried to calm him down but even the Colonel was helpless because Sir isn't ready to talk to anyone or see anyone yet...”

“He can’t do that to me”, Magnus blinked away his tears. “I am going in right now. I don't care what he thinks”, Magnus protested and walked towards Alec’s room. Jem wanted to stop him.

“Sir, Major made it abundantly clear…”, the junior officer tried to persuade Magnus.

“He is my husband, Jem. I don't take orders from like you do... not even he himself can stop me...”, Magnus spat back and brisk walked to the room. "I know you're only trying to follow Alec's orders but I am not an officer and as long as there's no threat to national security, I am going in to meet my husband", he huffed. Right before entering, he caught a glance at Alec. He was sitting upright on the bed, legs hanging down, almost touching the floor. His palms were pressed against the edge of the bed, fingers gripping the metal of the bed and knuckles white with the lack of blood flow. His head was dropped down as he tried to breathe. Magnus took a deep breath and clicked open the door, maintaining his distance to not startle his husband.

“I instructed no visitors, Jem!”, Alec roared from the bed and stiffened, sensing someone enter the room. He turned his head around his neck and looked over his shoulder. His eyes blinked when he registered his husband’s image in front of him. Alec didn't look like he was expecting Magnus there. The other man's heart sank. Magnus noticed Alec’s eyes glisten with tears as he struggled to fight his own. No more crying. Alec instinctively looked away, as if he wanted to hide himself from Magnus. He knew that he looked different and was different and Magnus could feel Alec’s fear of being noticed and judged for that.

“A husband is technically not a regular visitor, is he?”, Magnus cleared his throat, trying to lighten the mood of the room. The man sitting in front of him was still his husband and Magnus was going to treat him just like that.

“I don’t want to see anyone right now, please”, Alec roar broke into a muffled whisper. He sounded so weak and helpless at the moment.

“Ok…fair enough. But I can see you, right? That's not part of the order?”, Magnus put the bouquet he was holding on the vase next to Alec’s bed and fiddled his fingers together. How was he supposed to make Alec comfortable? Hell, how was he supposed to begin talking to Alec. It broke him because Alec was the one person Magnus could never get tired of talking to and 5 years later, he was struggling to say the right thing to his husband.

“The Doctors told me I can take you home in a few days, provided you listen to everything they tell you to do... ”, Magnus tried to make conversation as normal as he could. Alec did not need to see his hesitation, or how miserable he had been without the soldier because Alec hadn't been in a better place. Magnus waited for Alec to respond but that didn't happen.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

He can do this.

“Alexander, hey?”, Magnus proceeded towards Alec, a few moments later and saw the later notice his advance. Alec was responsive. It was a good sign. There were walls around Alec that were visible to Magnus - obviously, he had carefully took them down about a decade ago and he recognized them. He would gladly do it again, if that meant he could keep his husband with him for eternity.

Magnus dragged a stool and sat in front of Alec, making sure that they did not have physical contact - not until Alec himself asked for it. The soldier swallowed and looked further away to avoid Magnus' gaze completely.

“Go away”, he whispered in his raspy voice. "Magnus, please...", he pleaded. Magnus shut his eyes as his name flowed out of Alec's mouth with the same magic as it did five years ago. He had missed the way Alec would pronounce his name. That deep baritone. Everything.

“Alexander, it is not up to you.”, Magnus whispered with concern and love in his voice. He sounded determinate and firm, and yet, comforting at the same time. His posture spoke a lot about him. He knew Alec wanted someone to make him feel protected and loved and he was going to do just that.

“You don't have to see me look like this, please leave...”, Alec closed his eyes.

“See you like what? You're still Alec.”, Magnus sighed. His body was yelling at him to cradle Alec in his arms and hug him like there was no tomorrow.

“I am damaged beyond repair, Magnus”

“You’re not… you're not!”, Magnus shook his head and closed his eyes.

“I am…”, Alec argued. "And you cannot lie to make me feel better because I know the truth. I know how I look...", he choked.

“Well, if you think so. Fine. But, your looks don't bother me. It is your heart I love, and that is just the same. So, your point?”, Magnus could feel the tears building in his eyes.

“MAGNUS!”, Alec raised his voice in frustration and laid his eyes on Magnus for the first time in years. Alec's heart skipped a beat when he finally found a chance to lock his eyes with the love of his life and notice him. He looked different from his memories of Magnus. There were signs of ageing in the man that weren't there five years ago. Slight wrinkles beginning to appear on his face. Magnus was dressed in a simple white cotton shit and faded blue jeans with a pair of old sneakers that Alec didn't recognize as Magnus'. There was no eyeliner marking his brown eyes, and no foundation. Magnus' face was just bare. His perfectly quiffed hair had now been replaced with a simple fallen hairdo that Alec would have never imagine Magnus to go for.

Magnus felt awkward as he saw Alec looking at him. He knew exactly what Alec was wondering. And frankly, he had no explanation whatsoever on why his life had lost all its meaning and light after Alec had left him.

“Magnus”, Alec’s voice broke into a gasp. It felt like he was calling out to him, for help. For support.

Magnus flashed a soft smile, folding his leg together. “Yes, darling”

“Are you... alright?”, he scanned his face up and down. “...you look”, he blurted out and then realized how mean his thoughts would be if he ever decided to complete it. “Beautiful…but different...”

“As long as you find me beautiful, different is manageable, right?”, Magnus shrugged. He gently leaned forward and raised his palm flat in the air, offering it to his husband. He hoped Alec would feel comfortable placing his hand in Magnus’.

“When have you not been beautiful to me, Magnus?”, Alec confessed, tilting his head to one side. His eyes burned as he saw the pain that Magnus’ new look carried - it wasn't rocket science to understand why his husband looked the way he did now. And that pain that was only noticeable to Alec because of how well he knew the love of his life - even after five years. "No two cents about that...", he affirmed. Grief and suffering were written all over Magnus with the way he was dressed up and the way his eyes looked at Alec. The soldier wasn't the only one who had suffered. Magnus must have two. In his own way. Both of them had been forced to be alone and they didn't deserve that. Nobody deserved that.

A part of him just wanted to grab Magnus’ hand and press a kiss on his gorgeous lips, telling him, assuring him that he was home but his body told him otherwise. He shuddered at the thought of letting another human body get close to him again - no matter if that body happened to be his husband's. He took a deep breath and looked away, unable to make eye-contact anymore. Nevertheless, he reached out and grabbed Magnus' hand without daring to look at his husband. A shiver ran down his spine almost immediately as Magnus’ skin came in contact with his. It was such a familiar touch. A touch that Alec had missed every day of his life for the past 5 years and the touch that kept him going through all the phases of his captivity. He rolled his fingers around Magnus’ palm and squeezed it, making it clear to Magnus that he didn't want him to go away - no matter what his lips told him. That he still held on to them. To his fortunate surprise, Magnus understood Alec’s anxiety and didn’t squeeze back.

There was an eerie silence when Alec looked up at Magnus again. The man was looking over his shoulder, his eyes squeezed shut with crease lines on it. His lips were trembling, and Alec knew what it was. Magnus was crying. He saw tears streaming down his beautiful husband’s face and his body acted in instinct. He rose from the bed and curled his arms around Magnus’ neck, burying his head in the crook of his neck. Magnus’ sobs deepened as he broke down completely. Alec shut his eyes in pain and rubbed his hands at the back of Magnus’ head, trying to console him.

“I am here”, he whispered. Magnus wanted to hug Alec back, but he was afraid of what touching him would do to the wounded soldier. He tried hard to stay frozen where he was, but his body moved instinctively, and his hands rubbed up Alec’s back. Alec shivered as Magnus touched him and pulled himself away.

“Don’t touch me”, he blurted out, sitting back on the bed horrified. His heartbeat went erratic at the response. Magnus’ mouth gaped wide open as he felt guilty for making Alec uncomfortable.

“I am sorry”, he moaned.

“It’s not your fault…you…I…”, Alec was struggling with the fact that he had to explain his husband that he had been violated sexually every single day in the last five years. There was a fear that Magnus would not want to be in his life anymore after he hears this. But he couldn’t have lied to him either.

“Magnus…I was…when…I…”, he stuttered. His hand moved in the air, like they always did when he was explaining something.

“Alexander…stop”, Magnus whispered raising his hand in the air. “I know”, he said in a very soft and considerate tone.

“No…you don’t”, Alec’s voice choked. “You’ve no idea”

“I am here…aren’t I?”, Magnus came closer until Alec’s knees brushed against his thighs. “The doctors…the tests…I know”, Magnus sighed and raised his hand. “Can I?”, he waited for Alec to give him permission to cup his face.

“It is just me…I promise I will just touch your face”, he whispered. Alec looked at him with tears in his eyes and nodded. "You can tell me when to stop?", he assured the soldier. Magnus’ eyes welled up and he cupped his face caressing his cheekbone with his thumb.

“You are back home, Major Lightwood. With me? Nothing else matters. Who cares what went by in these 5 years. We have decades ahead of us, to make better memories, to forget everything about this decade... okay?”, Magnus assured Alec. Alec’s lips trembled, and he leaned forward to rest his head on Magnus’ stomach. Magnus wrapped his arms around Alec’s neck and pulled him closer.

“For better or for worse, Major”, Magnus whispered.

“For better or for worse”, Alec repeated.

Later that day, Magnus walked in the Base Hospital with some food packets and novels. Alec had mentioned that he hadn't had good food since forever and he wanted something better than what these nurses were giving him. Magnus had gone back home to pack some of Maryse's special lasagna leftover from lunch. He was now certain that Alec was not comfortable with people touching him. There were moments in his life in captivity that horrified Alec and it would take some time before Alec started accepting that he was going to be ok again and no one will ever hurt him. And Magnus had all the time in the world.

Magnus pushed the door open and found Alec sitting on the bed, trying to read news on a Tablet.

“Hi”, Magnus whispered putting down the food next to Alec’s bed and smiled. Alec looked at him and his eyes widened in response. It was a good sign, Magnus thought. There was no smile on Alec’s face, but it was ok. Baby steps.

“Mm”, Alec mumbled and looked away. “Magnus?”, he asked a second later, noticing the man adjust the items kept in the room.

“Yes, darling?”

“How ugly do I look to you?”, Alec narrowed his brows, feeling his pointy beard.

Magnus heart flinched. Was it bothering Alec? Did Magnus make him feel something like that?

“Not one bit…”

“Be honest, Magnus”, Alec shook his head, unaware that he had just called Magnus by his nickname.

“I am as honest as I can be. You are still just as beautiful as the day I first saw you...!”, Magnus smiled and sat on the bed next to Alec, keeping his distance.

“I look like a mashed potato”, he complained.

“You’re my knight in shining armor. If you really want to know”, Magnus smiled, assuring his husband.

Alec was about to answer when Magnus’ phone rang. Alec was startled, and he sat straight up, jerking away from his husband. “It’s just my phone, honey”, Magnus raised his hands and excused himself to the corner of the room.

“Yes…”, Magnus answered the call. “he is absolutely ok!”, Magnus’ eyes gleamed with joy as he spoke over the phone. Alec wondered who it was Magnus was speaking to.

“Yes, my love. You’ll see me before you go to bed. I promised you... didn't I? Don’t forget to have dinner or I will be very sad.”, Magnus assured him. "Don't trouble Izzy, and Simon. And be very nice to Alex!"

“I love you too”, Magnus added and cut the call. He turned around and saw Alec looking at him with confused look on his face. He bit his lip and blushed. Alec looked a little jealous.

That, was your son”, Magnus hummed, clearing the air. Alec gasped as he realized. Max. Right. How could he have forgotten about him. “Our son…”, Magnus corrected and stepped towards Alec again.

“He…Max…how is he?”, Alec choked.

“He’s so beautiful, Alexander”, Magnus grinned as he spoke of their son. “So smart, and loving… and he has your love for sweets…I fear we’re going to have a lot of dentist visits in the future…but he is so kind and he is growing so fast…I miss the times when he just cooed in our arms and giggled when we kissed him”

“I…missed so much…of his time”, Alec sighed.

“You can make up for all the lost time… because he can’t wait to meet his Dadda”, Magnus smiled.

“I can’t wait to see him too”, he whispered under his breath.

Magnus took a seat on the couch that sat in one corner. He wanted to give Alec space, careful not to pry to much into his life. Alec fiddled with his plaster for a while and then the doctor came in to check on him.

“You look great, Major Lightwood.”, the doctor turned to Magnus who was now standing by Alec’s best with his hands crossed on his chest.

“Lightwood-Bane”, Alec muttered absentmindedly which made Magnus smile.

“You can take him home tomorrow evening, if you like?”, the doctor offered.

“I can?”, Magnus’ eyes looked hopeful and happy. Alec noticed that a smile brushed his lips.

“Of course. The Major is recovering well and there’s no reason to confine him in these walls”

“Thank you, doctor. I appreciate”, Magnus extended his hand towards the doctor who shook it gracefully.

The doctor left the room and Magnus started grabbing his stuff. Alec didn't look he was too happy about Magnus leaving but he couldn't imagine Max spending his night alone, without Magnus. “I’ll be back tomorrow morning, Alexander. You take rest. I’ll see you tomorrow, pretty boy”, he smiled and headed towards the door.

“Magnus?”, Alec called him back. Magnus turned around and saw Alec standing next to the bed.

“Yeah? Do you need something?”, he hummed.

“Can…I…can I hug you?”, Alec entangled his lips together as he waited for a reply.

“You can…?”, Magnus gasped.

“But…I just…don’t”

“I promise I won’t touch you…come here”, Magnus smiled and dropped his bag on the ground. Alec nodded and stepped forward. He quietly advanced towards Magnus and reaching him, wrapped his arms around Magnus’ arms trapping his biceps in his embrace. Magnus sighed as he let Alec hug him.

“I missed you, hon”, Alec choked under his breath. That was the first time Alec had said it since they met again this morning.

“I missed you too, Alexander”, Magnus fought very hard to control his tears. Alec needed him to be strong for the both of them. And he was going to be just that.

“Can I ask you one more thing…?”, Alec whispered as he pulled away from Magnus. Magnus shook his shoulders and relaxed himself. He blinked away his anxiety and flashed a smile on his face.

“Anything?”

“Why don’t you wear makeup anymore?”, Alec looked at him with curiosity.

“I…uhh”, Magnus gasped. He never thought about it. It just naturally went out-of-habit for him…sometime right after…right after Alec passed away. Or they thought he did. “I never…thought about it…but, after you…uhh, went away…I did find…it necessary…because…even though I liked putting it on…after I met you, I continued doing so…because you liked it…and then when you were gone…I didn’t want to get ready for anyone…like I did…for you.”, Magnus saw Alec’s lips curve into an “oh”

“I am sorry…?”

“Why would you be sorry, darling? It wasn’t in your hands”, Magnus shook his head.

“I miss my glittery Magnus”, Alec rubbed the back of his head. Magnus’ heart melted. He missed Alec doing that whenever he got nervous.

“I’ll tell him…and ask him to pay a visit to you very soon”, Magnus gave a shy smile. “Come on, lie down so that I know you’re going to sleep”

“I am not…tired”, Alec heaved a sigh.

“You need to rest, Alexander. Come on. You and your son, hyperenergetic all the time”, Magnus rolled his eyes which made the Lightwood boy chuckle. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning. Take care of yourself, okay?”

Magnus helped Alec get to bed without actually touching him anywhere. He made sure Alec was tucked in the blanket before he grabbed his stuff to head to the door again.

“Magnus?”, Alec called again. “I love you”

Magnus blushed and tears welled in his eyes, “I love you too, husband”

Magnus came out of the shower rubbing his wet hair. It was October 15th, Magnus and Alec’s ninth wedding anniversary. Two days ago, he was dreading this very day because it reminded him of the night he had lost Alec. And now, he was just anxious to get to the Hospital and meet with his husband who was recuperating fast. Max was still snoring in his room and Maryse had already come in early morning to make breakfast for her grandson and visit Alec later in the day. Izzy and Jace had decided to give some time to Alec before they bombarded him with emotions again. It was difficult for the siblings, but Alec’s well-being was more crucial to them than anything.

“Oh my God, those pancakes smell divine”, Magnus hummed as he joined Maryse for breakfast. Maryse gave a huge grin and popped two pancakes on his plate.

“Eat up. You’ll be out all day. I don’t want my other son falling sick”, she patted Magnus’ cheek and gave him a fork.

“You’re the best”, Magnus smiled and dug his knife and fork in the pancake.

“How did Max take it…did you tell him?”

“I did…I did…he is very excited to see his Daddy”, Magnus smiled. He was so proud of Max and how he had taken the news of Alec being back in their lives.

“He’s such a bright little boy, my Max”, Maryse grinned.

“He is…”, Magnus nodded proudly. “I’ll come back to take Max to his swimming tutorials in the afternoon. You can go and see Alexander then?”, he asked.

“Sounds good to me. Magnus…he is ok right?”, Maryse’s smile vanished.

Magnus stopped chewing and took a sip of juice from his glass.

“He is injured, Mom. There are excruciating marks on his body, I can’t even imagine how he survived in the camp in the last five years. It is difficult to forget about the pain he is in when you see him…but we have to be strong for him. He needs us to be strong…and normal. But, he is a strong man, our Alexander. He is holding up in the best way he can. I am sure he’ll be much better when he sees you today”, Magnus smiled and gulped the lump in his throat. Maryse stood up and walked around to Magnus wrapping her arms around him.

“You’re a strong boy, Magnus. I am so proud of you. Alec is lucky to have you”, she pulled apart and placed a kiss on Magnus’ forehead. “I love you”, she cupped his face.

“I love you too, Mom”, Magnus smiled and kissed the top of her knuckles.

“Happy Anniversary”, she added. Magnus chuckled.

“Thank you”

“Go…take care of your Major”, she pushed him gently. Magnus sniggered as he grabbed his bag and pushed out of the door.

Magnus pushed the door of Alec’s room with his shoulder. He was carrying two coffee cups in his hand and a food packet. Alec was sitting on the bed, half of the bed upright to support his back. He was reading a newspaper.

“Good morning”, Magnus huffed as he put down the food packet on the table. Alec looked at him and smiled. Magnus felt the rush of blood in his cheeks. Alec hadn’t smiled very often yesterday, and this was progress. “I brought you your favorite Irish Mocha Latte. There’s a café outside the Base that serves mean coffee”, Magnus hummed putting a glass down on the side table for Alec to pick it up. Alec looked between the mug and Magnus and widened his eyes.

“You remembered”, he gasped.

“Of course, I did”, Magnus smiled and put his bag down. “I got you fresh clothes to wear when I take you home, your watch…and your phone”

“My phone…?”

“Yeah…I got you a new one. Your contact number is the same. I kept the number alive”

“Why?”, Alec gasped as he took the phone from Magnus’ hand.

Magnus gulped.

“Your voicemail…was the only way I could hear you”, his voice shook as he spoke. He turned around, unable to face Alec.

“Magnus…look at me. It’s ok?”, Alec insisted.

Magnus composed himself down and turned around, flashing a false smile. “Anyway, Max…”, Magnus cleared his throat. “is very excited to see you…he wanted to come down as soon as I told him yesterday, but I had to stop him…”

“He is?”, Alec could not believe it.

“Of course. He is going to meet his favorite superhero. He is delighted”, Magnus grinned.

Magnus sat on the stool next to Alec to talk when a nurse walked in a cart in his hand. “Major Lightwood, I hope you’re doing well this morning?”

“I am. Thank you”, Alec nodded.

“Here’s a change of clothes. It’ll be good if you get cleaned up. I can assure you that the hospital smell is a little overwhelming sometimes”, the nurse rolled his eyes. “Should I assist you?”

Magnus saw Alec stiffen. He stood up and stepped closer to Alec, aware of the fact that he couldn’t go further without making Alec uncomfortable.

“I insist only because you have a fractured arm. You’ll find it difficult”, the nurse shook his head as he saw Alec panic. Alec absentmindedly grabbed Magnus’ wrist and squeezed it hard.

“Alexander, it is ok. No one is going to force you”, Magnus whispered. “Can I…help instead?”, Magnus asked the nurse.

“Ok? But…will you be able to…”

“I am his husband. I will be”, Magnus sounded determined. The nurse thought for a while and then nodded. He left the cart there and exited the room.

“See, he is gone. He won’t touch you. No one will”, Magnus assured Alec. Alec’s breath eased, and he let Magnus’ wrist go. Magnus’ wrist was red with Alec’s finger imprints on it.

“Did you…mean it?”, Alec asked a moment later.

“Mean what?”

“That you’d help me change…if I wanted to…?”, Alec arched his brows.

“Of course”, Magnus narrowed his brows.

“You’re ok…seeing those scars…on my body”, Alec heaved a deep sigh.

“Alexander…what are you saying?”

“I am just saying…you don’t have to help me…just because I am your husband and you took some vows…or anything”, Alec shook his head.

“Alexander…stop?”, Magnus raised his palm. “I meant every word I said to that nurse. You are my husband. I am in love with you…all of you. I don’t care about scars…they don’t define you. Your heart defines you and I know how scratch less that is. Do you understand? You’re not a burden to me!”, Magnus sounded hurt.

“I am sorry…I did not mean to hurt you, Magnus”

“I know you didn’t…you don’t have to apologize for anything. I love you. And I am here. Every step of the way”

“I love you too”, Alec nodded.

“Do you…do you want to clean yourself up…I’ll…I’ll help you?”

Alec blinked and stared at him. He was awkward and nervous.

“Forget I asked”, Magnus snapped him out of his trance.

“Yes…? Help me?”, Alec blurted out.

Magnus gaped his mouth.

“Are you sure?”, Magnus asked.

“I am.”, he dropped his legs out of the bed and stood up, tall in front of Magnus. Magnus gulped and groped for the cart. He pushed it towards the bathroom and turned the faucet to fill the bucket with water. The door closed behind him and his heart skipped a beat. He calmed himself down and swallowed softly. He turned around and saw Alec standing in front of the mirror, rubbing his stubble.

“Sit here, I’ll help you with it”

“How long do you think it’ll take for me to get back my hair?”, Alec frowned.

“A few weeks? I don’t know…I am kinda digging this rugged biker look”, Magnus winked. Alec tilted his head and rolled his eyes. Nine years of marriage three years of dating each other and Magnus still shamelessly flirted with him as if they were still in their courtship period. He sat on the stool and tilted his head up. Magnus turned on the shaving machine and the sound made Alec flinch a little.

“Alexander…hold my wrist and squeeze it tight whenever you want me to stop?”, Magnus raised his hand to hold Alec’s chin up. Alec nodded and curled his fingers around his husband’s wrist. Magnus pressed the machine against Alec’s cheek and rolled it down shaving his husband’s stubble. After the stubble was gone, Magnus wiped Alec’s cheek clean with a wet towel and went back to check the water temperature.

“You can pull out your shirt and keep the vest on”, Magnus mumbled and turned around. Alec had already removed his t-shirt and his vest. Magnus widened his eyes. The colonel was right about the scars. There was a long white scar across his chest running all the way to his pelvic region. It looked that a knife had been cut through his skin. The left side of his waist had a patch of skin healed after a burn. Regardless of the scars, Alec was still the most beautiful man Magnus had ever met.

“Or not”, he whispered and blinked away his awe. Magnus dipped the mug in the bucket and pulled it out filling it with water. The fact that Alec still made Magnus blush like that after a decade of their marriage was positively sinful.

“Magnus…you’ll get wet…”, Alec widened his eyes as he pulled his pants down and threw them away. Magnus didn’t make it obvious and ignored the fact that his husband was nervous and naked in front of him. It was brave of Alec to do something like that considering all the times he had been raped in his captivity. This act showed how much Alec still trusted Magnus with his integrity.

“I have a change of clothes. Don’t worry, Alexander. I never go out without a backup", he winked. Alec scoffed softly and smiled. "Place your plastered arm on my shoulder so that we don’t get it wet”

“Yeah”, Alec nodded and came closer until his elbow rested on Magnus’ shoulder. Magnus gasped as he poured water on Alec’s body making the latter flinch.

“Are you ok?”, Magnus asked. “I’ll stop…”

“I know you will…I am fine. Trust me”, Alec smiled. He kept his gaze fixed at Magnus as the man moved around rubbing soap on Alec’s body. Alec was relaxed that Magnus did not make a big deal about it but somewhere, he already knew that Magnus wouldn’t. He was a great man with a big heart. That’s what drew Alec to Magnus in the first place.

After the bath, Magnus dried Alec’s torso up and let him do it himself for his thighs and the lower part of his body. They slipped into dry clothes and came out of the bathroom. Alec was tired of the ordeal and he dropped on the bed. Magnus turned the lights dim and pulled a blanket over Alec as the soldier drifted to sleep. He came out of the room and sat in the cafeteria, taking in everything that had happened in his life in the last two days.

Magnus was busy packing Max’s bag for his swimming classes. Maryse had already left for the hospital, with Jem accompanying her.

“Can we go see Dadda?”, Max asked as he came out of his room.

“You can see him when he comes home tonight”

“He is coming home?”, Max yelped in joy. Magnus chuckled as he grabbed his hand and dragged him out of their loft.

Maryse opened the door of Alec’s room and found him sleeping peacefully. Her heart leaped in her chest. He was really alive. It wasn’t a dream. Her son was back to him. She put the bag she had brought to take him home with her. Magnus did not know about this. She wanted to surprise Magnus and Max when they returned to the loft and this was the perfect way to do it.

“Alec?”, she whispered sitting on the stool next to her sleeping son. Alec blinked open his eyes and moved around to find the source of the voice. As soon as his eyes met his mother’s, his pupils dilated, and he took a deep breath pulling himself up.

“Mom”, he gasped.

“Hi baby”, she smiled and felt tears drop out of her eyes. Alec’s eyes burned with tears.

“Hi…”, he whispered back. “How…how are you?”, he asked.

“I am good…actually, very good…now that I came here”, she smiled and wiped away her tears. “My brave boy”, she whispered. Alec shut his eyes and looked away. Maryse stood up and sat on the bed next to Alec. Surprisingly, he didn’t flinch at all.

“Alec…can I…can I touch you?”, she asked.

Alec looked at her with astonishment and nodded. Maryse cupped his face and pressed her lips on his cheek.

“I missed you”

“I missed you too”, he said in a sobbing voice. Leaning closer, he buried his head in her arms. Maryse smiled and let her son hug him, keeping her arms down…so as to not startle him. “I am sorry you’ve to see me like this”

“See you like what? I am blessed that I don’t get to talk to your grave anymore, Alec. That is all that matters”

“Mom”, Alec blinked to clear his vision.

“Alec…it’s ok. We’ll get through this. Ok? We will. I know that.”, she smiled.

Alec nodded and swallowed.

“How is…Izzy, and Jace?”, he whispered dropped back on the bed.

“They’re fine, Alec. Izzy and Simon have a son now, Alex. Simon named him after you…and Jace proposed to Clary last month. They’re going to get married in the winters”

“I’ve missed so much…of their lives”, Alec gasped for breath.

“You’ve your whole life to catch up with it. And we’re all here to help you”

“I know. It is just hard. How long has it been since I…five years?”, Alec sighed.

“Exactly, five years today…”, Maryse blurted out absentmindedly.

“Its October 15th?”, Alec widened his eyes.

Maryse realized her mistake. She shouldn’t have overwhelmed Alec. “Its Magnus and my wedding anniversary…”, he breathed heavily.

“Alec, I am sorry…”

“Why didn’t he mention it…why did Magnus not mention it”, Alec sounded a little frustrated.

“Alec…calm down, baby”, Maryse cupped his face. Alec pulled away from her touch. “Alec…listen to me”

“Magnus doesn’t want to be with me…I was right…he thinks I am ugly…he thinks I am damaged which is why he didn’t tell me anything…”

“Alec…calm down”

“He is ashamed of being my husband…”

“ALEC”, Maryse raised her voice and shook his shoulder. “Calm down”, her lips trembled. “Magnus loves you more than anything in this world. He would never let you go even if you pushed him away with everything you have. The reason he didn’t mention it is because he doesn’t want to overwhelm you. He wants you to be relaxed while you recover.”

“It’s my wedding anniversary…”

“And the day he lost you!”, Maryse interrupted. “He has been living the nightmare of losing you on this day, for the last five years…the most important day of your life…and he lost you”

“Mom…”

“I know what you’ve been through, my love. But he has been through enough too. I’ve seen him pull himself together for the sake of Max…after your death. I’ve seen him be devoted to his husband’s family because they lost their son and their brother”

“I…”

“He never abandoned me. Or Izzy…or Jace. Why do you think he would ever abandon you?”

“I…don’t…know”, Alec hid his eyes in his palm. “What was I even thinking…how could I doubt…Magnus…he…Mom, I am sorry”, Alec breathing disturbed again.

“Alec…calm down…you’re ok. Magnus is ok. You both are together…and things are going to be just fine”, Maryse rubbed his arms and helped him level his breathing.

“I need to see him…now”, Alec sniffed and crawled out of the bed.

“That’s what I am here for. Jem has prepared all your discharge papers, Major. Let’s get you home”

“Mom…do you mind stopping at a store nearby. I want to buy something for Magnus”, Alec asked.

“Why not!”, Maryse smiled.

Alec stepped in his loft for the first time in five years. It was exactly how I remembered it, except for a few changes here and there. Magnus and Alec had designed the interiors of the loft they bought together right after their wedding. It was suited to their every need – Magnus’ need for sunlight right in the morning while cool breeze entering the loft during the evening that pleased Alec. Everything was customized for Magnus and Alec’s preferences. Alec’s heart skipped a beat as he stepped his foot inside. Maryse followed him behind and dropped his bag on the couch as they walked inside. There was an unfinished game of chess on one side.

“Magnus and Max love playing chess together”, Maryse explained. Alec’s attention went to the corner where they had kept photographs. There were mostly the ones he knew about – their wedding photograph, Magnus and Alec holding their newborn Max, Max’s first Christmas, Alec and Magnus’ first wedding anniversary. But there were some new ones. In one frame, Magnus held a little boy in his arms. The boy’s mouth was cheerfully open as he held a shield in his tiny arms.

“This is when Max won the oration competition at school”, Maryse pointed at the photo frame when she noticed Alec looking at it. Alec picked the frame up and rubbed his thumb on Magnus and Max’s face.

“You have plenty of time to make memories of your own with them”

“I left Magnus alone in this…after vowing not to”

“It was not up to you. Stop beating yourself up, ok?”, Maryse squeezed his shoulder and Alec flinched a little.

“Make it up to him…you’ve both been given this chance. Do you understand, Alec?”, Maryse asked.

“I do…I promise, I’ll make it up to them”

“I know you will.”, Maryse pursed her lips. “Sit down now, I’ll make you pancakes”

“Well, I don’t like Chris…he tries to be this really cool person, but he is not”, Max complained. His hair was dripping, his arms wrapped around Magnus’ neck.

“Forgive him, Max. It’s not healthy to hold grudges. Jesus...”, Magnus rolled his eyes as he pushed the door of his loft open. He smelled pancakes. His eyes narrowed because no one was supposed to be at home.

“I don’t like him, Papa…and that is final”, Max crossed his hands on his chest and huffed out air.

“Come on, Max. He ain’t that bad…”, Magnus arched a brow at his son and pressed him closer to his chest, defensively.

“You’re right…he is badder”, Max declared.

“It’s not badder…it’s worse”, Magnus chortled as he walked inside.

He rubbed his eyes when he saw the dining table. Was he hallucinating Alec back in the loft. Alec couldn’t be here because he was supposed to be with Maryse at the hospital.

“DADDA”, Max screeched in Magnus’ ears pulling him out of his trance. “Papa…put me down”, Max patted Magnus’ shoulder. Magnus blinked and let Max go. Alec stood up as Max ran across the living room and jumped right into Alec’s arms who picked him up. Max wrapped his arms around Alec’s neck and giggled.

“It is you. Papa was right…it’s you”, he was delighted.

“Max”, Alec closed his eyes as tears ran down. He rubbed the back of his son’s head. Max pulled away and scanned Alec’s face.

Magnus closed his eyes as he dreaded Alec reacting to Max touching him. But Alec was surprisingly calm.

“Why are you crying?”, Max widened his little big eyes. He raised his little palm and wiped the tears away from Alec’s cheek. Alec’s face curved into a soft grin.

“I am…”, Alec stammered for words. “I am…just happy to see you”

“I am happy to see you too”, Alec choked. Max blinked at him and then looked at Magnus. Magnus smiled and nodded, making Max turn back to Alec and wrap his arms around his other father. Alec was dazed by Max’s reaction and he looked at Magnus. Magnus had tears glisten in his eyes. He crossed his hands on his chest and nodded asking Alec to go with the flow. Alec smiled and snuggled his head in his son’s neck.

“Max…? Why don’t you take your Daddy to your room and show him your stuff? I am sure he’ll love to see it.”

Max’s eyes widened, and he looked at Alec, “You will?”

Alec bit his lip, “I would be glad”, he grinned.

“Ok…then put me down”, Max chuckled. Alec dropped his son on the ground. Max grabbed Alec’s hand and pulled him towards him room, at the far end of the lobby.

Maryse turned to Magnus, “We need to talk”, she said pulling him in his room.

Chapter Text

 

“Magnus”, Maryse sighed as they both sat on Magnus’ bed. Magnus removed all signs of grief from his face and plastered a smile even though it was useless because Maryse could see right through him.

“Yes, Mom”, Magnus pursed his lips together and held Maryse’s hand in his, on his lap.

“You don’t have to put up the façade in front of me”, Maryse tilted her head.

“What…façade…what are you talking about?”

“This…you, that smile… I know what you're trying to do Magnus”, Maryse sighed. Magnus licked his lips and blinked, unable to react to anything. “You’ve not said a single thing about this situation…about Alec coming back?”

“What is there to say, Mom? I am so glad he is back…more than glad, in fact. It’s like, everything I ever wished for…and then more, and God just granted me…another life with a him…a second chance for Max, Alec and I to be a family we were supposed to…I couldn’t be happier if I searched for it. But you know that. There's no one I have loved more than I love him...”, he shook his head.

“Magnus…I know you. I’ve seen you build your life back up after Alec left us - for the sake of Max, and me. And ever since he’s returned, you have not had a chance to retrospect yourself and how you are taking it all in. You’re human too, my love… and I know how much you love Alec and how devastated you were when we lost him. But I also know that you haven't gotten a chance to express your overwhelming feelings because Alec needs someone to support him right now. You've put your needs aside and if you think I cannot see that-”

“I told you I am happy”, Magnus interrupted her and pursed his lips. He looked away to avoid Maryse’s gaze.

Maryse cupped his face and rubbed his cheek. “You don’t have to be strong in front of me. I am your mother too. You can tell me. Let your guards down, Magnus…”

“There’s nothing to tell”, Magnus choked. “I promise you, Mom. I’ll be okay”

“Let it out, Magnus…let it out…I am here for you. I won’t judge you and I won’t ask you to be strong for my son. I promise. I just ask you to let me take care of you while you take care of him...”, she patted his cheeks lightly as he broke into a sob. His cries pierced through Maryse’s heart, but she knew that Magnus had to get his emotions out before they ate him from the inside.

“I can’t do that…I have to be strong. Alexander needs me to be strong. He’s been through so much and he was alone. I still had all of you, and Max - I cannot compare my situation with him. Whenever, I look at him, I feel like my world is crashing down on me. How could someone hurt him so much…hurt him relentlessly everyday for five years…? How inhuman could they be?”, he complained covering his mouth with his palm.

“I can’t even begin to imagine what he went through…being raped everyday…Mom. I want to make it better for him…”

“I know, sweetie…I know you do. And you will. I trust you to bring my old Alec back to us, but I am not losing my Magnus in the process.”, Magnus saw Maryse’s lips tremble and tears spilled out of her eyes.

“I just don’t know how. I want to be there for him…hold him when he has nightmares of those dreadful nights…kiss his tears away, tend to his wounds, and help him forget those terrible days. Help him make good memories…of us, of Max…his family. The time he lost.”

“And you’ll do it. I have faith in you”

“What if I can’t…what if I lose myself in front of him. I cannot afford that Mom. He’ll break down, if he sees me like this. He won’t be able to handle it. What if I lose him? I cannot lose him”, he blabbered-with tears streaming down of his cheeks.

“We will not. Magnus…do you hear me? We will not lose him. He is our brave boy, and he is strong. With Max and you by his side, he is going to get even stronger with time...”, she leaned and wiped Magnus’ tears away.

“But you promise me one thing?”, Maryse widened her eyes. “You wouldn’t lose yourself in the process. I am not compromising on having only one of the two of you in my life…alright?”

Magnus nodded and dropped his head on her lap, stretching his legs out. He cried for some more time until his heart felt lighter.

“Are you going to live with us?”, Max popped a question as Alec was going through his son's sketchbooks. He was overwhelmed at how excited Max was while showing him his drawings. He behaved as if he had always known Alec. Magnus had brought him up with so much love and care, making sure the boy knew who his father was. Alec could feel the tears at the back of his eyes.

“I am”, Alec smiled, ruffling the little boy's hair.

“Every day?”, Max clapped his hand.

“Every day!”, Alec assured.

“That’s good…actually amazing. I cannot wait. We'll go and eat donuts together, and maybe you can pick me up from school. We can go and visit Papa's office on Saturdays, together. Surprise him", he exclaimed. Alec's cheeks ached from smiling as he listened to his son. "And, Papa will finally sleep with you and not your clothes and pillow”, Max chuckled, not knowing what information he had given out.

“Magnus sleeps with my pillow…”, Alec felt his heart skipping a beat at that last statement by Max.

“Yeah…he hugs it, every night when he goes to bed. He also sometimes wears your lose grey sweaters. The ones you wear in your photos. Papa says that he can still feel you in them. And it feels like he is hugging you. But you’re here now, he can directly hug you, right?”, Max smiled, dropping his head back to fish out some more books for Alec to see and appreciate. He had only ever dreamt of this moment where he could just show his father everything that was important to him.

“Yeah…you’re right, Max…he can hug me”, Alec smiled inwardly, although his heart ached trying to imagine the pain Magnus had been put through in the last five years. He wasn’t the only one who suffered. Magnus suffered a little every day, in his own way.

“Maxie…do you mind if I head out to see your Papa for a second? I promise I won’t be long. When I come back, we can go through your certificates and trophies. Your Papa told me you're so talented...”

“Yeah…whatever. Just don't be long...”, Max smiled and shrugged as he laid out his drawing stuff on the floor.

Alec smiled and ruffled Max’s hair as he stood up. He was at the door when Max called him back…

“Dadda?”, he asked.

“Yeah…?”

“I am reaaallly happy to see you”, Max rolled his tongue and grinned. Alec smiled and nodded.

“I am happy to see you too, buddy”

Alec walked out rubbing his hands together. Everything was quiet outside. Maryse was cooking dinner for them and she looked exactly like he remembered, albeit a little old. He asked her where Magnus was and Maryse tilted her head pointing at the door that led into their room. Alec took a deep breath and stepped towards his room. He picked up the package he had brought for Magnus on the way.

Inside the room, Magnus was cleaning his face with cotton and cream. His eyes looked puffed and a little sore. Alec understood that Magnus had cried during whatever conversation he had with his mother. He shut his eyes for a millisecond and then opened it. Magnus was now wearing a faded olive-green shirt and black pants. Everything looked so plain and normal. Alec couldn’t bear to look at his glittery husband void of any of his characteristic bling.

“Happy Anniversary”, he cleared his throat, stopping a little inside the door. Magnus’ hand stopped rubbing his eyes and he froze. How did Alec remember? He turned around and looked at Alec with surprised eyes. There was an expression of pain and guilt written on his face.

“I am sorry…I”, he began, wanting to explain why and how he had decided to not tell Alec about the day.

“I don’t need you to explain anything to me. I understand.”, Alec sighed and stepped forward stuffing his hands in his jeans and pressing his arms against his body, protectively.

“I didn’t…”

“I know, honey…I am not upset”, Alec assured. Magnus took a deep breath and dropped his cotton ball and cream on the dressing table. He turned his full attention towards his husband.

“I owe you… five years of anniversary presents and good memories…five years of companionship that you deserved.”, the soldier whispered. There was sadness on his face, and disappointment. For himself.

“You don’t…Alexander. You being here is the biggest gift I’ve got in half a decade and if I get to spend every day of the rest of my life with you, I don’t care about any other gift. I need you…nothing else.”

“Well, I do care…because, Magnus… you’ve been the strongest support my family and my son… our son… needed in the last five years. You were there for them while I was being held captive… being tortured every day for information. But you weren't in an easier situation. You were being held out of your comfort zone… facing the family of the man you lost…and you deserve to be appreciated for it”

“I don’t need appreciation…you were at war, Alexander. I vowed to protect you and your family… and I knew what I was signing up when I asked you to marry me. I meant what I said about being there for everyone you love and care…except that obnoxious brother of yours, maybe. Plus... they were there for me too. I wouldn't have been able to stabilize Max's life if your mother and sister hadn't been there for me”, Magnus rolled his eyes making Alec chuckle with tears spilling out of his eyes.

“You’re still keeping your promise. Staying by my side not knowing how long you’ve to see me avoid your proximity and fight with my own nightmares…”, he sniffed and wiped his nose.

“I don’t care how long I have to wait…”, Magnus shook his head. “I hear your heart beating…I see your chest go up and down with your breathing and that is enough for me…I don’t need anything else”

“I know…”, Alec stepped closer and stopped a few feet away from Magnus. Magnus stiffened. He was not sure how long he could resist touching his husband without giving up. He curled his hands around himself and looked away from his husband’s face. It was a little too difficult. He closed his eyes to calm himself down when he felt a strange sensation. He felt fingers curl around his waist and his eyes dropped down.

“Alexander”, he gasped for breath and whispered. “Are you sure about this?”, he said when he saw how Alec was using his fingers to pull the man closer.

“For you…I am”, Alec said, pulling Magnus closer to him. “I trust you with every cell of my body, Magnus. It might take me some time to get to where we were, but I trust you, every step of the way. I know you’ll never hurt me.”

“Never”, Magnus assured as fresh tears formed in his eyes. Alec moved his palm up Magnus’ back and placed it firmly on the back of his head. He gave it a gently push and buried Magnus’ head in the crook of his neck. In all honesty, it took everything in Alec to be near a human body again and to feel the touch of human skin. It was true that the body that he had just pressed against himself was of the man he had been in love with for over a decade…and the man who he knew, wouldn’t hurt him even his own life was at line. But, the touch of human skin was still revolting to the soldier who had been a prisoner of war for over 1500 days.

He was also sure of one more thing. Magnus had been yearning to hug him, wrap his arms around him and kiss him since the day they had met at the hospital…but, he had been gracious enough to not overstep his boundaries. So, the least Alec could do was bring a little smile on his husband’s face on the day of their ninth wedding anniversary. After all, Magnus had kept his family from falling apart in the last five years, taking care of them as if they were his own. He deserved to be loved and appreciated.

“I would love if you could hold me, Magnus…I still feel weak”

“Alexander”, Magnus breathed against Alec’s neck. “Are you sure? I won’t touch you if you are not comfortable with it.”

“I am…”, Alec nodded and took a deep breath as Magnus wrapped his arms around him. His breath hitched and his heart beat rose, but he kept his calm. He could do this for Magnus…for the both of them.

Magnus took a deep breath as emotions took the best of him. He broke down in Alec’s neck and tears flowed down. His sobs were audible and pierced Alec through his heart. He felt Magnus’ shoulder shake as he moved his hand up and down Magnus’ back.

“I am here…hold me, Magnus…”, he whispered, knowing what he was allowing Magnus to do. “I will never leave you again. I promise”, he promised.

“I missed you so much”, Magnus whimpered in his broken voice.

“I missed you too, honey”, Alec kissed his hair. “Happy Anniversary, Magnus”, he sighed.

“Happy Anniversary, darling”, Magnus cried for some more time and eventually slipped away from Alec and wiped his tears. This time, they didn't return to his eyes immediately. Alec’s breaths relaxed as he saw Magnus advance towards his side of the bed to grab his pillow and blanket.

“What are you doing?”

“I was thinking of shifting with Max for some time. This is a huge bed, and very comfortable. You’re still healing. It’ll be best if you sleep on it without the fear of being touched by met. I want you to be at ease, Alexander”

“And you think that I will have that without you…in our bed.”, Alec crossed his hands on his chest.

“I didn’t mean anything different than what I said. I know what being close to people is doing to you, Alexander. I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable. You're my husband and I know you love me... will always love me. But if you need time adjusting to being around people, I will give you that time...”

“You are not people. You’re the only one I feel safe with, Magnus. You need to stop sacrificing your life for me”

“I do it for us.”, Magnus gave a sad smile, putting the pillow and the duvet back.

“I know…I just want you to know that I am here now…I am here to do the same for us. You’re not alone anymore”, Alec sighed.

“Yeah…”, Magnus smiled. “I saw you got me something…”, Magnus changed the topic and peered at the packet Alec was holding.

“Oh…yeah…yeah, I just…I just got these from the market…umm, these are your favorite apricots. I know how much you loved them and I thought that it would be ok…if I got these for you. I didn't know what else to get... been away for a while”, Alec rubbed the back of his head and Magnus grinned…wide. He grabbed the packet.

"I love them. And, I love you", he announced, tearing the packet apart and popping one apricot in his mouth.

"I love you too", Alec smiled.

“Let’s just…go outside. Mom… must be waiting for us.”, Magnus checked his face in the mirror and he proceeded out, Alec closely following him. Maryse was sitting on the chair next to Max who was now drinking water, having finished his meal. He smiled at Magnus when he saw his fathers walk out of the room.

“I had my dinner.”, he chimed. Magnus arched his brows and kissed Max’s forehead.

“Someone is being a good boy”, Magnus smiled against Max’s hair. “Good first impression on Dada…I think I smell mischief, Max. What do you think?”, Alec smiled as he saw Max and Magnus’ banter.

“I am a good boy, Papa… there's mischief there!”, Max protested.

“Aah…except when you’re supposed to drink your milk…and with those chocolates and cakes…oh my good Lord”, Magnus rolled his eyes.

“Well…you can’t speak sweetly if you don’t eat sugar”, Max giggled.

“That’s my boy”, Alec blurted out absent-mindedly. Max winked…or rather attempted to wink at his Dada who giggled at the efforts. Maryse put food in Alec and Magnus’ plate and watched as the family ate and discussed first impressions, cakes and chocolates.

Alec had settled back in his home with Maryse’s help. She told him about the changes around the house, new alarm systems, security feeds and every pass-code he was supposed to know. She had also changed his dressings on the wounds. Maryse was staying over tonight because it was too late to go back home. She had updated Izzy and Jace with Alec’s improving health and was now in the guest room, preparing to sleep. As for Magnus, he was walking in the lobby, holding Max in his arms, lulling him to sleep. Max’s head was dropped on his shoulder and his eyes were closed. He was close to dozing off. Magnus’ palm rubbed Max’s back up and down and his torso gently cradled the boy with rhythmic shaking.

Soon, Max’s breaths turned even, and his body felt limp against his father's chest. Magnus heard soft snores come out of Max’s mouth and smiled. “Goodnight, buddy”, he kissed Max’s hair and turned around to head to Max’s room when he saw Alec staring at him. He was leaning on the door of their room. Magnus arched his brows to ask him what was he thinking. Alec shook his head and stepped forward. He gently rubbed Max’s head and whispered Goodnight.

“I’ll just go and tuck him in his bed. Be back in five. okay”, Magnus assured Alec.

“I’ll come with you.”, Alec stuffed his fingers in his pockets and followed Magnus to Max’s room. Magnus softly placed Max on the bed and pulled a duvet over him. He tucked him from all sides and pressing a kiss on his forehead, he got up to leave. Alec watched his husband care for their son and it warmed his heart.

"Does he always sleep in your arms?"

"Mostly... I know he's old enough to sleep on his own and I do get thrashed by your sister sometimes, but I am all about spoiling kids. And Max, he rarely gets time with me. So, I try to make most of it", Magnus shrugged.

"Max couldn't have asked for a better father", Alec smiled as he turned around to leave the room.

"...and yet, you should listen to his complaints", Magnus rolled his eyes.

Alec quietly followed Magnus out of the room and back into theirs while the man talked endlessly about their son. Once they were in their room, Magnus grabbed his clothes and went to the bathroom to change. When he came out, Alec was sitting holding the bed, looking lost.

“Everything ok?”, Magnus asked sitting on the bed next to Alec.

“I don’t have anything to wear”, Alec bit his lip. It was true…the clothes that Alec owned were too old and damaged for him to use them again and he didn’t have anything else to wear.

“Wear something of mine. I have asked my friend to get some clothes for you, but they arrive tomorrow morning. That's the fasted they could have done”, Magnus smiled and started going on about the clothes. Alec did not respond. “Alexander…what is the matter?”

“Life goes on…Magnus”, Alec muttered absent-mindedly. “No matter what happens…life goes on. I died…and…”, he dropped his head on his hands.

“It sure does, babe…”, Magnus inched closer and placed a hesitant hand on Alec’s shoulder. Alec shuddered a little but he did not mind. “But…it is worse if someone is forgotten…and you certainly weren’t. Not in this home. Not in our lives.”, Magnus assured Alec. Alec turned his head towards Magnus and gazed. “None of us forgot you…and would have never…you were the most important piece of puzzle that completed our lives and even if decades would have passed, you’d still be as fresh in our hearts as the day we had last seen you”

Alec nodded and smiled. He squeezed Magnus’ hand in his and then dropped his head on Magnus’ shoulder.

“I never thought I’d see any of you…ever again.”, he muttered. “That place…those people”, Alec shuddered.

“You’re here with us, Alexander…don’t think of anything else. It was a horrible nightmare and it has passed. It will take time but I am sure you'll forget about it...”, Magnus pressed on Alec’s forehead. “Come on, let me help you change into fresh clothes”, he pulled away and held out his hand for Alec. Alec looked at him with an uncertainty on his face and then grabbed the proffered hand.

Magnus took them to the closet and picked out his loose t-shirt and pajamas. Alec and Magnus proceeded to the bathroom where Magnus helped Alec get out of his shirt and pull on the t-shirt. It was a little tight on the shoulders, but they could manage for one night. Magnus looked away as Alec dropped his jeans. Magnus knew how scarred Alec was, mentally more than physically and he didn’t want to do anything to make him uneasy. There would come a time when Alec would be ok sharing himself with Magnus again and if that required to give his husband some space, he gladly would give it to him.

They proceeded to the bed. Magnus pulled a separate duvet for Alec. He tucked his husband in and turned the lights off except the night-lamp on Alec's side of the bed because Alec so insisted.

Somewhere in the nothingness of Alaska… [5 years ago]

“Major…Alec Lightwood…isn’t it? Such a celebrated soldier in the Air Force and yet, nobody has come to rescue you…it has only been 5 days and you’ve already been forgotten Major. So, I guess you know how this country treats the people who fight for it?”, a blonde-haired man spat near Alec’s ears. Alec’s hands were tied to a hook in the wall, stretching above his head. They ached but he couldn’t do a thing about it. There was a deep cut on his left brow, Alec could feel blood dripping out of it…and he had been burned with an iron box, on the left side of his abdomen. That burn stung him, but only little because it had been hours since the event. The temperatures were freezing cold in the cave that Alec was captured in, but all the man wore was black vest and the pants of his battle uniform. In a way, he was glad because he couldn't have tolerate the touch of fabric over his charred abdomen.

“Don’t be so sure”, Alec hissed. “They’ll come for you”, he spat back at the man.

“Oh, I am looking forward to meeting them…but I am sure they won’t be here until I am satisfied with you…”

“I wouldn’t tell you anything, if that is what you're expecting…”

“Don’t be so sure, Alec. We have all the time in the world. And I have to return the torture you put my father through. It's only fair.”, the man repeated Alec’s words. He grabbed some of Alec’s hair in his clutch and pressed his lips against Alec’s. He pressed his tongue inside Alec’s mouth and bit his lips with his sharp teeth. Alec groaned as he tried to move away from the man’s hold but he was weak and injured and couldn’t struggle much. Alec wanted to throw up when he felt his captor's tongue inside him, licking at his teeth. He felt dirty.

“You’re so tasty, Major”, the man hissed and kissed Alec again, biting and hurting his lips, until they bruised pink, ready to bleed any time. “I am going to have a lot of fun with you”, the man winked and pushed Alec. Alec lifelessly fell, his wrists clicked as his body weight dropped on them. He knew one of his wrists had cracked. He yelped in pain as the sensation spread through his body.

.

It had been two months since Alec’s Viper had crashed in the mountains…amidst nowhere, and he had been captured. Alec was being held in a cave next to a waterbody as he deduced by the sound of water hitting the rocks whenever he was out of his sleep or trance. The blonde-haired man…named Sebastian Morgenstern was the General in the enemy camp. He wanted information about the patrol routes in the sky but Alec had given him nothing as such in the last 60 days. Sebastian had seized Alec’s belongings which included his wallet. There was a photo of Alec and Magnus holding little Max in their hand and Sebastian knew exactly how to destroy Alec piece by piece.

One fine day, he walked out of Alec’s cave asking the guards to take over at the gate. A woman, Aline, hurried in after she saw General Sebastian leave Alec’s cave. She was one of his militant’s servant and was recruited to take care of Alec’s meals and other requirements. Her father had sold her to these militants because he had been unable to pay off their debts. Aline hated it here…because all she ever saw was bloodshed and pain. But when she met Alec, two months ago, she liked him…and he liked her. He was a good man in Aline's own words. They talked for hours at stretch. Alec would tell her about Magnus…and Max, his home in New York…and how she reminded him of Izzy - his younger sister. It was their little time together that restored Alec and Aline’s hopes that one day, they would get out of this hell hole and be with their families again.

Every time she heard of General Morgenstern interrogating Alec, she would scared to go inside and check on Alec because whenever Sebastian was done with him, she would find him bleeding and injured.

Alec lay on the ground, by the fireplace. As Aline came closer, she saw that he was naked from head-to-toe. There were fresh bite marks on his chest and abdomen…and his arms. There was hair lying around Alec and she noticed that he had been shaved bald with a shaving blade. There were cuts on his skull as well above his eyes. Aline’s heart wrenched. Her lips trembled as she groped for Alec’s clothes which were lying in one corner of the dark cave. Her eyes fell on the rest of his body. His thighs were painted with blood. Aline gasped as she saw Alec bleeding out from his anal area.

“ALEC”, she screeched and dropped next to him. He was barely conscious and his wrists were still handcuffed to the hook via a thick metal chain. She gently lifted his head up and patted his cheek to wake him up. Alec rolled his eyes open and looked at her - barely waking up. “Ali…”, he gasped and teared up, recalling the atrocity that had been done on him. Aline picked a flask of water and pressed it on Alec’s lips.

“Drink up…Alec. Drink it...”, she whispered. Alec hastily drank all the water and clutched Aline’s hands tightly as she cleaned him up. She wiped his face with water and a clean cloth. His anal area was marked with deep cuts and while she was cleaning him, he groaned and winced in pain but he let her tend to his wounds. There was a tiny iron rod lying next to the fireplace and it was drenched through half its length in blood. Her eyes closed as she realized that Sebastian had inserted that inside Alec.

She pulled him away from the place she found him in and dressed him in cleaner clothes that she had only just bought for him. He was conscious and definitely in pain but most importantly…he was disoriented. Sebastian had sexually assaulted him before but never to this extent. His mouth was sore, and his lips swollen. As he opened his mouth to drink the juice Aline had brought him, she saw that his tongue had a cut on its edge. She mentally cursed Sebastian to death while praying that someone would rescue Alec out of here because the boy did not deserve any of it.

That night, she sat against the wall of the cave and rested Alec’s head on her lap. Alec sulked and sobbed himself to sleep as Aline gently rubbed his arm.

[Present]

 

“MAGNUS”, Alec woke up and groaned in pain. He realized that he had put his body weight on his fractured arm.

“Alexander”, Magnus gasped and woke up next to his frantic husband. He panicked when he saw Alec sweating on the bed next to him. He was shaking in fear and panting for breath. Magnus placed a hand on Alec’s shoulder and Alec pushed it away harshly.

“Don’t touch me…Sebastian. Don't you dare lay a hand on me...”, he hissed in anger. Magnus was taken aback. He had never heard the name Sebastian before. Maybe it was one of the people who had kept Alec captive.

“It’s me…Magnus…not Sebas…tian”, Magnus whispered. Alec wiped his eyes rapidly with his palms and then ruffled his short-trimmed hair. “I will not tell you anything… no matter how many times you force your dick inside me...”, he groaned. Magnus was really scared now. Alec was hallucinating or sleep-talking - maybe reliving one of the horrific nights of his life as a captive. He got up on his knees and crawled on the bed in front of Alec. Alec glared at him with bloodshot eyes, unable to recognize him.

“Stay…away from me”, Alec snapped. Magnus took a deep breath and grabbed Alec’s shoulder.

“ALEXANDER”, he raised his voice.

“Sebastian…”, Alec gritted his head.

“IS NOT HERE”, Magnus was breathing heavily, almost competing with his husband. “ALEXANDER…WAKE UP!”, he called out. Alec shrugged to get out of Magnus’ hold but Magnus kept his hands steady. “ALEC…wake UP”, he called out again. Alec froze and looked at Magnus for a second before his eyes rolled into his skull and he fainted in Magnus’ arms. Magnus grabbed Alec as he was about to fall back on the bed and steadied him in his arms. He patted Alec’s cheek. It was dampened with sweat and to top that, Alec felt a little cold to him. Magnus pressed him at his chest and rubbed his back to bring him back to consciousness. He didn't want to take Alec to a hospital and was wishing that Alec would wake up soon.

Alec fluttered his eyes open and looked up at Magnus. Magnus gave him his sweetest smile as he helped Alec up on the bed.

“Hey…”, Magnus whispered cupping Alec’s face.

“Was…I…I was…dreaming again…right?”, Alec muttered as he wetted his lips. His eyes were red with fatigue and fear.

“Its ok…forget about it…you’re ok now. Absolutely ok.”, Magnus smiled and pulled a duvet on both of them. He helped Alec settle on his pillow and wiped the beads of sweat from his husband's forehead. A tear rolled down from Alec’s eyes. Magnus quickly moved his thumb and wiped it away.

“You’re here with me, Alexander…whatever you saw…was a nightmare…it won’t happen again. You’ll never be alone again. Just try to not think about it.”, Magnus tried to calm Alec’s nerves down. Alec simply nodded.

“Do you want to hold me…?”, Magnus offered. “Or…should I go out and sleep on the couch…whatever you’re comfortable with”

Alec took a deep breath and wrapped his arm around Magnus’ waist and snuggled in his chest.

“Ok…”, Magnus whispered and turned off the lights. Alec lifted one of his legs up and rolled it over Magnus’ curling them together. Magnus adjusted his head on the pillow and placed a firm hand on Alec’s back rubbing it up and down to ease out Alec’s uneven breathing pattern. Alec squeezed Magnus’ waist as he drifted off to sleep. Magnus stayed awake for a while until he was sure that Alec had gone to sleep and then he slept curling into his husband.

Magnus’ alarm went off at 7am next morning. Right…back to life on a Monday. He yawned and opened his eyes. For a moment, he couldn't remember that Alec was back. Alec's absence had become such a permanent feeling in Magnus' mind that it was going to take him some time to shake it off. His right hand felt heavy and that’s when it came back to him. He would never wake up alone again on a Monday morning now. His husband was back in his arms. He looked down and saw Alec sleeping peacefully on his shoulder. His cheek was squeezed between his nose and Magnus’ shoulder. Magnus snuggled him closer and pressed a kiss on his forehead. Alec moaned and tightened his grip around his husband, making Magnus smile.

“Alexander…I need to get Max…ready for school…”, he whispered in his ear. Alec blinked and opened his eyes, still tired and sleep-deprived. He looked at Magnus, disoriented and confused. “It’s ok, you keep sleeping…”, Magnus pulled himself out of Alec’s embrace and placed a pillow to replace him.

“I’ll be right back with you…ok?”, Magnus gently ruffled Alec’s hair and patted his cheek. Alec was too sleepy to understand anything, and he just nodded, drifting back to sleep.

Izzy walked in Magnus’ loft later that morning and found Magnus helping Max eat his cereals. She was supposed to pick up Max and drop him to school for Magnus. That's what their schedule had been for years now.

“Morning, hotshots”, she faked a smile. Magnus got up and embraced his sister-in-law, comforting her by rubbing her back. “How is he?”, she asked pulling away from the hug.

“Asleep, right now. Do you want me to wake him up…?”, Magnus raised a brow.

“No…no! I don’t want to…put him in shock…he’s ok…he’s alive…and he’s back with you…that’s enough for me…for now. He needs to rest. And rest a lot. I have so much to talk to him and he needs to be absolutely fit for it.”, she smiled with teary eyes.

“You want to see him…?”, Magnus grabbed her hand and pulled her to the doorway. She gasped when she saw Alec curled up in the duvet and sleeping hugging a pillow. Magnus could see how surprised she was. Knowing that Alec had been back was a different thing, but to finally see him... that was another feeling.

“He’ll be okay, right?”, she whispered…her voice choking. "I can't believe he is back, Magnus"

“He will be”, Magnus assured and squeezed her shoulder. "I can't believe either"

“Okay then…let me take Alex and Max to school while you take care of your husband. I'll see you at the officer later today?”, she wiped her face and smiled at Magnus. Magnus mouthed a thank-you as he grabbed Max’s bag for Izzy. Max ran towards the door.

“Max…stop. Wait?”, he walked to the doorway. “Your lunch - don't forget to eat it. And take care of yourself.”

“Always do…”, he pulled Magnus down and pressed a kiss on his cheek and left.

Magnus returned to his room and found that Alec was still asleep. He lifted the duvet and sat on the bed. Gently pressing his thumb against Alec’s face, Magnus whispered in his ear.

“Rise and shine…honey”

Alec mumbled something and grasped Magnus’ wrist. Magnus smiled and patted his cheek again. “Alexander…wake up. Its way past bedtime”, Magnus chuckled.

Alec whispered a no which amused Magnus even further. “Alexander…come on. We should be on our way…”, Magnus sighed as he recalled. He had received a notification from the Base that Alec was required for questioning.

“Hmm…”

“Come on, Major”, Magnus patted his cheek again and Alec blinked his eyes open. He looked up and saw Magnus’ face. Blinking away the blurred vision, his lips curved into a deep smile. What a sight to wake up to. How much he missed waking up to that face. He pulled his bruised body and wrapped his arms around Magnus. Magnus smiled and rubbed the back of Alec’s head, placing a kiss on his spiky short hair.

“Goodmorning”, Magnus whispered.

“The first morning in a long time when I can say the same…good morning”, Alec breathed against Magnus’ chest. “I love you, Magnus”, he mumbled.

“I love you too, Alexander”, Magnus hummed back. “More than I ever thought was humanly possible”

“I could die right now…and be at peace with it…dying in your arms…”, Alec sighed.

“NO”, Magnus shot back. “You’re not dying on me…not again”, Magnus pulled away and looked at Alec with fear in his eyes. Alec felt Magnus’ breaths go uneven and he widened his eyes.

“Magnus…calm down…”, Alec sat up and held Magnus’ shoulder. “I was…I meant…that I am at peace…being back with you…that’s all. I didn’t mean anything else…I am sorry”, Alec cupped Magnus’ panic-stricken face and pulled his head in his neck. “Never again…you’ve had enough…”, he whispered. Magnus breathed against Alec’s body…taking in his warmth and scent.

Alec and Magnus got ready to report at the Base in the next hour. One of Magnus’ assistants brought new clothes, the ones Magnus had ordered his designer friend, Carlie to make on special demand.

Alec wore a denim button up shirt and black jeans. Magnus helped him with his clothes, now that Alec was a little more comfortable letting Magnus near him. They got in Magnus’ car to proceed to the Base. It was a quiet drive. Magnus could feel that Alec was nervous and a little at unrest. He kept quiet and focused on the road, not wanting to freak Alec out with any sudden outburst.

Colonel Starkweather himself welcome Alec back to the Base and his old team mates stood in line to salute him as he entered.

“We’re so happy to see you back and alive, Major Lightwood”, Colonel Starkweather held out his hand. Alec smiled and shook it, straightening himself like the soldier that he was. Magnus stepped back as he allowed Alec to mingle with his colleagues. Being a soldier ran through his veins and he was such a natural at it. Magnus had always been proud of what Alec was, but this whole deal had only made him prouder.

“I am happy to be back”, Alec gave them a weak smile.

“Mr Lightwood-Bane”, Colonel turned to Magnus. “Do you mind waiting in Major Lightwood’s old office. He wouldn’t be gone long. We’re just going to have a little talk”

“Of course, Colonel Starkweather. Just don't keep him away for too long”, Magnus smiled warmly and turned to Alec. “I am right here. Find me when you’re done, ok? We’ll go back home together.”, Magnus smiled and patted Alec’s cheek. Alec leaned in on the touch and hummed. He turned towards the lobby that led to Alec’s office, escorted by two lieutenants.

Alec and Colonel took to the other room and Alec sat on the chair, fisting his hands together on the table.

“I understand that you might not want to relive those moments when you were captured, Alec…”

“The camp was led by General Sebastian Morgenstern, son of Valentine Morgenstern, the man who we incarcerated after that undercover mission in 2003. He hacked the radar of my Viper and pulled me out of it before blasting off the plane”, Alec began without wasting too much time. Hodge could notice how changed Alec looked. Not only physically, but the way he now carried himself.

“You weren’t there in the plane? Why did we find your dental record in the crash site?”, Colonel pressed his knuckles on the table and bend forward.

“You found this”, Alec opened his mouth and showed them a cavity where his premolar was supposed to be.

“They extracted it out the second they caught me. It was a planned extraction. They just wanted me. No one else from the team. I was one of the members who worked on that secret mission. They were tracking me.”, Alec took a deep breath as the pain flared in his veins again.

“Where did Sebastian keep you?”

“I am not sure…it is not the place you found me in, definitely…I was usually in a cave…there was waterbody nearby…and that’s about all I know…I never stepped foot outside a 50m radius”, Alec shrugged.

“What did they want, Alec? Why you…? There were 15 other people who had gone on the same mission”

“They’d been following my cases for a long time before they captured me. Apparently, you cared about me enough to rescue me at whatever price they asked you to pay…”

“But they never used you for ransom. Five years and we did not know that you were alive”

“…Sebastian…found me too interesting to part with…”, Alec gritted his teeth together. “He was…”, Alec stopped, and his heart throbbed in his chest. The memory of the first time Sebastian grabbed him by his balls ran a shiver down his spine. “…h…he wanted…me, more than he wanted to rescue his father... at least that is what it looked like...”, Alec managed to get it out of his mouth.

“Alec, you don’t have to”, Colonel shook his head. Alec had always been like a son to him. He and Maryse were childhood friends and when Alec decided to join the Air Force, the Colonel was delighted and proud of his Godson.

“No, Colonel…”, Alec held his forehead and dropped his gaze down to the table. Colonel gestured at one of his guards, asking them to summon Magnus. Alec would need him.

“It started with Sebastian kissing me…relentlessly every night when he came to check on me after his day of planning Valentine's rescue”, Alec began, his words shaking with fear. He heard the door click and there was Magnus, standing at the entrance, waiting to be permitted inside. Alec was shivering and had gone cold when a steady hand wrapped around his neck and pressed a palm firmly on his collarbone.

“Here with you, Major. Always”, Magnus whispered in Alec’s ear and Alec heaved a sigh. His breath steadied a bit and he took a moment to close his eyes. “Then, he would just come and grab me…he told me I was beautiful…the most beautiful man he had ever seen…and it was a sadness that I was a soldier and one day, I had to die by his hands… in another life, he would have loved me... his own words, not mine Hodge.”, Alec gulped. Magnus took a seat behind Alec and rubbed his arm with his free hand.

“One night…he was really happy… and he felt the need to celebrate... of course, with me. I was his favorite toy by then. Hooking my wrists to the wall, he could practically do everything he wanted...”, Alec chuckled with disgust in his tone. “He came to me and tore my clothes apart. He tied my hands to a hook and pulled my pants and the rest of my clothes until I was naked in front of him”

“Magnus…I am sorry”, Alec turned and whispered to Magnus. Magnus was fuming with rage. He wanted to find Sebastian and skewer him, to say the least.

“Never be…”, Magnus assured Alec.

“He asked me for the location of the prison we kept Valentine in…”, Alec continued. “I refused to divulge the information and he just pressed himself on top of me. Then, he took a shaving blade…and shaved my hair…threatening to torture me further if I didn’t tell him”

“Believe me, Colonel…I said nothing… We had killed Valentine, executed him right after his trial but that news had never come out... and he never knew about it. Sometimes, I thought that I could have told him about this... but he would have used that information... I never said a word...”, Alec gritted his teeth together. He was surprisingly calm and determined to reveal everything and it pained Magnus because he could feel Alec’s inner turmoil.

“I know…Alec…I know you wouldn’t”, Colonel nodded.

“That fucking bastard…just threw himself on me…and pressed his disgusting cock…”, Alec shut his eyes and turned around to squeeze Magnus’ hand to assure him that he was ok. Magnus chuckled in pain because even now, Alec was brave enough to look out for his husband first.

“…inside me…I wanted to rip him to shreds but he just”, Alec’s eyes teared up with fury. “I wasn’t sure what he wanted more…me or the return of his father”, Alec rolled his eyes. “Can…we…can we do this later…I can’t”, Alec shook his head. Magnus had sunken on his chair, shock evident all over his face. The Colonel asked everyone to leave Alec and Magnus alone as he excused himself out.

Alec sat there, holding Magnus’ hand. It felt cold and shaky to him. Magnus looked furious.

“I understand…”, Alec’s breath hitched. “…if you decide to not…”

Magnus’ eyes rolled up at him. “Decide what not to…”, he spoke with a shriveled voice.

“…us…if you…”, Alec shook his head.

“Is that what you think of me?”, Magnus spat at Alec, removing his hand away from Alec's.

“I don’t know what…to think at this point, Magnus…”, Alec sighed.

“Do I look like the type of person who’d do something like that…? Alec…”, Magnus gaped his mouth.

“I am sorry, Magnus”

“YOU SHOULD BE”, Magnus roared.

“I am…I shouldn’t…I am sorry. I did not mean to hurt you…”, Alec gently placed his hand over Magnus’ palm. But Magnus didn't respond, other than looking hurt by Alec's comment. “I am really sorry”, Alec repeated.

A second later, Magnus nodded gently and squeezed Alec’s hand back. He didn’t say anything else on his way to their car. Alec felt guilty for even assuming that Magnus could ever even dream about letting Alec go because of something like that. For the last five years, he had lived as Alec’s widower…without complaining…or even being bothered about it. Being Alec's widower brought him more peace than attempting to move on. Alec couldn't believe himself for having doubted Magnus.

“Magnus, please talk to me?”, Alec said, softly. Magnus’ eyes were fixed on the road as they pulled into the highway.

“Hm”, Magnus sounded upset.

“I am sorry”, Alec sighed.

“I heard you, Alexander…”, Magnus replied, coldly.

“You’re mad at me?”, Alec shut his eyes. He knew the answer. Magnus was disappointed. But the man did not reply.

“Do you want to stop for coffee?”, Magnus interrupted the chain of thoughts and asked.

“Coffee?”, Alec widened his brows.

“There’s a café a mile from here…serves good coffee. I also know the baristas there…so”

“Ok…”, Alec bit his lip. He didn't know what to do to make his husband talk to him. “Magnus…I am still injured…you shouldn’t be mad at your injured husband…it’s not fair”, he tried to play the cute-husband card.

“Well, what to do…my husband doesn’t trust me”, Magnus gruntled. Alec understood that the anger was melting away slowly.

“He does trust you. In fact, you might just be the only person in this world that he trusts right now. But, he’s just a little more damaged than he thought he was”, Alec pursed his lips and closed his eyes.

“I will have to disagree with you on that. He’s not damaged. He’s the strongest person I know. He literally just explained to a room full of people how he was vandalized in his captivity, day after day, and still…is sitting next to me without so much so as a frown on his face. He is stronger than he thinks he is. And I am willing to wait for as long as I can until he starts believing the same for himself. Meanwhile, I would fight you…if you ever say that my husband is damaged”

“Fine…I wouldn’t say it. But, he loves you…you know”

“I love him too…what are you getting at?”, Magnus narrowed his brows.

“Can…we…stop talking about me…in the third person”, Alec sucked his lips inside. "It was cute in the beginning but now... I am just, Magnus please...?". A soft smile curved Magnus’ lips.

“Don’t you dare say anything like that…ever again, Alexander”, Magnus warned.

“I promise…”, Alec replied instantly. “I am sorry”

Magnus did not reply but Alec could sense that he was not as upset as before. He pulled the car on the service road and stopped in front of the café. Alec looked at him as he undid his seatbelt. Magnus had already started walking towards the door. Alec sprinted across the road and caught Magnus mid-way. He wrapped his arms around his husband and breathed heavily against his neck.

“I am so sorry”, he whispered.

“Yeah. I know.”, Magnus sighed. Alec knew Magnus was trying to let it go…but he wasn’t being very successful at it. He squeezed him against his chest and rested his chin on his shoulder.

“I did not mean…”

“Alexander…”, Magnus rolled his eyes and turned around to face him, still in Alec's embrace. “I’ve been your widower for half a decade and in love with you for over a full one. I couldn’t even dream of letting you go even if I tried. I did not move on after you…not because of Max…not entirely, but because I could never give anyone the place that you had…have…in my life. You’re the man I fell in love with… and married. Of all the people I’ve met in my life…you opened my heart in ways only you could have… and therefore, I would have spent my lifetime with your memories rather than letting you go or move on.”, Magnus sniffed as he grabbed Alec’s biceps.

“When you were gone…there’s not a part of me that didn’t wish for your return…every morning when I woke up…I wished I could talk to you again…hold you again…say that I love you…even if it was for one last time. I never had gotten to say goodbye you know? And then, my wish was granted…that’s all that fucking matters, Alexander. We have all the time in the world to make things right.”, Magnus was sobbing relentlessly by now.

“You’re my hero, Major. There’s nothing in the world that can make me think lesser of you”, Magnus shook his head and covered his mouth as his lips trembled.

Alec was frozen.

Yes, he knew Magnus loved him.

He was the love of Magnus’ life.

But he never understood how much he truly meant to Magnus.

“I…”, Alec stammered. Magnus wiped his tears and cupped his face.

“I know…I understand…I’ll wait, Alec. For as long as you want me to”, he nodded.

“I…”, Alec widened his eyes. “I love you…”, he pursed his lips. Magnus chuckled softly and nodded.

“I know…I love you too”, he smiled and slipped his hand down Alec’s face.

“I am sorry I said that…back at the Base. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that someone would wait their entire life for me…”

“You’re worth it, babe”, Magnus smiled. Alec softly came closer and wiped Magnus’ eyes of the remnants of tears.

“You’re the very best part of my life, Magnus Bane”, Alec nodded.

“As you are mine”, Magnus winked. “Can we go get my coffee now…I am yearning for it”

“Yeah…”, Alec smiled as Magnus turned around, stepping away from Alec. As he walked in front of the Major, Alec wondered how lucky he had been. It had been two days since they’d found each other again and Magnus hadn’t, for once, asked Alec to kiss him…or be near him. He had come only as far as touching Alec and that too after making sure he felt ok being touched. He knew how much Magnus missed him…he missed him equally but only a few people could have done what Magnus was doing for a prisoner of war.

He walked inside the coffee shop and the air curtain blew against his face.

“If it isn’t the infamous Magnus Bane”, a blonde girl, in her late-twenties gleamed at Magnus as he proceeded to the counter. She went around the counter and came to the other side extending her hands. Alec narrowed his brows as he took his seat on a secluded table meant for two people.

“Emma Jones. What a surprise!”, Magnus winked and took her in his embrace. Emma grinned at his neck and pulled away a moment later, pressing a kiss on his cheek. Alec took a deep breath. She was probably one of Magnus’ new friends that he didn’t know about.

“You’ve not been here since…since last Friday”, Emma complained. Alec leaned on the table and dropped his chin on his wrist, carefully listening to their conversation. "Any particular reason?"

“Uhh…yeah”, Magnus rubbed his temple. “I was…busy”, he shrugged.

“Busy enough to forget your favorite café?”, Emma winked as she put her apron back on and returned to her place behind the counter.

“Well, been occupied by something I love a lot more than coffee”, Magnus blushed. 

“Do tell”, Emma arched a brow. “Anyway, your usual order?”

“Yeah…and one Irish Mocha Latte…on the go, please”, Magnus tapped his nails on the counter and receded back to where Alec was sitting. Alec had a smile on his face, with a hint of mischief.

“Ok…spill up. What is on your mind?”, Magnus rolled his eyes and sat on the chair opposite to Alec.

“Who is she?”, Alec wiggled his brows.

“Emma…she used to work at your Mom’s café…and then she shifted here…so”, Magnus shrugged.

“She likes you…”, Alec smirked and pursed his lips.

“Don’t be silly, Alexander…she has known about you…and everything”, Magnus stammered. “ever since I met her…and she…”

“That doesn’t stop her from having feelings for you, love”, Alec winked.

“She is a very good friend, Alexander…wait, are you jealous?”

“Me…jealous…? After the conversation we had outside…and well, even before it…the one thing I can’t be…is jealous. You’re too much in love with me…honey”, Alec smiled. "But she likes you..."

“That I am disgustingly in love with you", Magnus laughed, throwing his head back. Alec just smiled a little - his heart warming up at the normalcy of everything. He was having coffee with his husband, on a roadside cafe and teasing him. "…but seriously, she’s just a friend. Anyway, who would want to go out with me…I am a boring father…and a regular…mundane…interior designer”, Magnus said, faking modesty.

“Who wouldn’t wanna go out with you, Magnus? Have you seen yourself…?”, Alec chuckled as Emma placed a tray with two coffees on their table.

“Here we go…who is this, Magnus? I have never seen him before with you”, she curiously gazed at Alec. Alec opened his mouth to answer.

“He is Alexander Lightwood”, Magnus interrupted.

“Alexander…Lightwood…as in the Alec Lightwood”, Emma coughed and cleared her throat. All the color slowly disappearing from her face. Alec widened his eyes at her reaction because it only confirmed his suspicions.

“Major Alec Lightwood”, Alec smiled and introduced himself formally.

“Oh my God. He is alive”, Emma was shocked…and devastated at the same time. Alec could notice that. She had a smile on her face…but her eyes looked sad. “I am glad you’re alive…”, she stuttered out. "Welcome back..."

Magnus was shocked at her reaction. Alec was right. She did like him.

“I’ll be in the car, Magnus…”, Alec squeezed his husband’s hand and excused himself leaving Magnus speechless. 

“Emma”, Magnus gasped.

Emma sniffed and turned to Magnus flashing a smile. Magnus’ heart broke. It wasn’t her fault that she liked him. “I am happy for you… you know that right?”, she smiled and pulled him in a hug. Magnus rubbed her back.

“You deserve to be so happy, Magnus”, she pulled away and cupped his face. “I am so glad he came back to you”, she smiled.

“You deserve someone to love you too, Emma…and don’t worry. You’ll find that person…very soon”, Magnus smiled and bent down to kiss her cheek.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, ok?”, he added and grabbed his coffee. Alec was standing by the car, leaning on the bonnet.

“Everything, ok?”, he asked as Magnus headed to the driver’s seat.

“Yeah…let’s just get back…ok?”, he added. Alec nodded and proceeded to his seat.

“It’s not your fault, Magnus”, Alec sighed. Magnus hadn't spoken a word since he got back in the car. He was feeling guilty and Alec could sense that. 

“I love you…Alexander”, Magnus turned to him…with an aim of reassuring his husband.

“I know…I know, Magnus. This is not about me…it’s about…”

“I should have realized sooner”, Magnus shook his head. "I was so stupid"

“Stop the car…”

“Why…we’re still halfway from home”

“Stop the car…”, Alec repeated. Magnus narrowed his brows and agreed. Alec turned to Magnus.

“It’s not your fault”, he began.

“But…she is…”, Magnus sighed. “She is heartbroken… I didn’t even realize…I shouldn’t have promoted…”

“You didn’t do anything…you’re just so likeable, hon”, Alec moved closer and cupped Magnus’ face. “I was not here…you were alone…and you found a friend in her…someone you could talk to, share your feelings with… someone who could make you smile, when I was incapable of it. If you ask me…I am happy you had her as a friend. And it’s ok if she developed feelings for you… you were technically not with someone, right…”

“Alexander”, Magnus protested.

“Let me speak, Magnus”

“You were alone…and supposedly, I did get killed in that attack, it was absolutely ok for you to find comfort elsewhere!”, Alec sighed.

“Don’t say that…you’re not dead”, Magnus choked.

“I am not…I know. I am here…with you…but what I am trying to tell you is…this is not your fault…neither is it hers…ok?”, Alec explained.

“You’re not angry?”

“Why would I be?”, Alec gaped. “You’re my husband. I love you… but you’re also my best friend… I would always want you to be happy…and I would always love anyone who makes you happy…”

“I feel like…I betrayed…you…”

“You did not”, Alec raised his voice. “Don’t think that…”, he extended his hands and pulled Magnus in his arms. “You’re a good man. Don’t doubt on that, ever again”, he whispered against his neck.

“I am sorry”, Magnus shook his head.

“For what?”, Alec pulled away.

“You’re still recovering from everything and you don’t deserve to be burdened with my baggage…”, Magnus sighed.

our…baggage, Magnus. You and I…we’re one heart. What bothers you…bothers me too”, Alec cupped his face. “We’ll handle this together…like we always have”, Alec smiled.

“I am so proud of you Major…”, Magnus smiled.

“I am proud of you too…”, Alec smiled and returned to his seat. Magnus turned on the ignition of the car.

“Your firm still looks the same. Except for that huge portrait. I look like I am about to burst with joy.”, Alec walked in with Magnus, one morning after they dropped Max to school. Magnus wanted to pick up a few designs for his projects and the firm was on their way back from Max’s school anyway. Plus, Alec was very keen on visiting the firm to see how much it had changed.

“Yeah…? Well, it is Izzy and my favorite portrait of you...”, Magnus smiled as he pushed the door of his office and gave way for Alec to walk in. His office was just like how Alec and Magnus had decorated it. Alec walked around sipping his coffee while Magnus searched through the rolls of his designs.

“I am sorry, Alexander…I’ll just be one more minute”, Magnus hummed.

“Take your time…I am ok. Don't worry.”, Alec smiled and sat on Magnus’ chair, inspecting his table. He gazed at the stack of frames in front of him. Max and Magnus…and him and Alec.

“Where’s this from?”, Alec chuckled at a photo where Magnus’ face was scrunched because he was shivering. His body was wet, and his clothes were sticking to his skin.

“Oh that…”, Magnus peered and chuckled. “Your darling son directed a water hose at me… It was summer of last year, I think...”, Magnus rolled his eyes eliciting a giggle from his husband.

“Barry told me you’re in your cabin to pick up a few things, Magnus”, Izzy walked in pushing the door with her shoulder. She had her specs on her nose and a ton of papers in one hand and a coffee in the other. “You really need to…fix…”, she stopped when she saw Alec sitting on Magnus’ chair. She batted her eyelids as Alec stood up muttering her name. She hadn't had a chance to meet him, yet.

Her pupils burnt as fresh tears formed in her eyes. “Alec”, she whispered, and a smile curved her face. Alec licked his lips and put his coffee on the table.

“Hi…”, she managed to say as she put her things down on Magnus’ coffee table. “Are you feeling better?”, she asked blinking away her tears. There were so many things she wanted to say but she had to be careful to not overwhelm herself, or her brother.

“Yes. I am”, Alec nodded and stepped forward. He gently squeezed Izzy’s shoulders and pulled her in his arms. Izzy grabbed the back of Alec’s shirt as she wrapped his arms around him.

“I am so glad you’re ok. Welcome back”, she whispered.

“I missed you, Iz”, Alec smiled and kissed her hair.

“I missed you too, big brother”, Izzy chuckled and kissed his chest.

“How is my dear brother-in-law?”, Alec winked as they pulled away. Magnus was leaning on the table watching the reunion with adoration written all over his face.

“Simon’s uhh…”, she chuckled as they sat on the couch. “He’s fine.”, she rolled her eyes. “He’s going to be so happy when he sees you. He hasn't stopped talking about all the games we'll play on game nights...”, Izzy mumbled. Alec shook her shoulders and pulled her in his arms again.

“Can’t wait”, Alec rolled his eyes. They spoke for some time and then Magnus and Izzy tended to their job, going over the designs. The last time Alec had seen Izzy, she had barely passed the exam that had certified her as an Interior Designer with Magnus' help. She started her career as his trainee and now he could see how established Izzy had become and he could not be prouder if he tried. He waited patiently as Magnus grabbed his designs to take home. He kissed Izzy goodbye as he sat in the car, ready to be driven back home with his husband.

“Dad…do you think I can become as strong as you, when I grow up?”, Max asked on the dining table one afternoon. Alec had been home for a half a month now. His arm had recovered from the fracture and his other injuries were fading away too. Magnus had resumed going to the office from the second week of Alec’s return and the Lightwood-Bane household was falling back in place.

“I think you can become stronger than me…”, Alec ruffled his son’s hair as they headed for the couch.

“Really?”, Max hopped from his chair and dropped on his father’s lap making Alec chuckle. They were watching Tom n Jerry together.

“Yeah…really”, Alec smiled and wrapped his arms around his boy. Max snuggled in Alec’s sweater and leaned on his arms as his eyes were glued to the TV screen. Alec held a bowl of popcorn in his hand and he popped one in his mouth and one in Max’s as they giggled at Tom’s miseries.

“Although Jerry is the smarter one…I think I like Tom more”

“Come on, Max…Jerry’s the best”, Alec frowned.

“No Dadda…Tom…is the best”, Max turned around in his lap to face his father. “See…it’s one thing to be smart…but, it’s an entirely different thing to actually be innocent and think that everyone in the world is fair…and honest”, Max explained.

“Ok…well”, Alec was amazed. “I never really thought about…”

“Exactly…see, new perspectives…”, Max made a failed attempt at winking and turned back to see the TV again.

It was the middle of the afternoon and they weren’t expecting anybody. Max dozed off in Alec’s arms and slowly, Alec tilted on the armrest of the couch and closed his eyes. His son snuggled closer to him and Alec drifted to sleep as well.

Alec had been home for a couple weeks now. He still had difficulty sleeping and being around anybody for too long, but Magnus and Alec had wrapped their heads around this fact. They did sleep on the same bed, but Magnus didn’t touch Alec more than what was required. They hadn’t shared a kiss in over five years and although Magnus missed it, he knew it would happen when the time was right, and Alec was ok with it. They spent their evenings speaking to each other about their time alone. Alec was more comfortable talking to Magnus than a therapist and it was working well for them too.

Alec told him stories about this girl he met in his cave – Aline Penhallow. She was one of Sebastian’s militant’s slaves and one of Alec’s closest friend and he almost considered her as his sister. They had so much in common, their captivity, them being away from their soulmate…Alec told Magnus that one night, after Sebastian was done with him, Aline found him, like usual. She had sneaked in a bottle of whiskey and they drank to their miseries, laughing all night…promising each other that they would do anything to return to their families.

He missed her…and hoped that she was ok. He was now safe with his family, but his mind wandered to her…she had helped him flee Sebastian’s cave the night he heard that the Air Force was marching in on the camp.

“I am sure she’s ok”, Magnus had comforted Alec. “If she is as strong as you’ve told me, she is going to be ok…and one day, she will find her love back too”

Magnus also accompanied Alec to his interrogations and although it was against the protocol, the Colonel allowed it…under special circumstances.

“There were days when he wouldn’t leave me at all…I have no idea how much stamina that bastard had”, Alec chuckled. Over the weeks, Alec had gotten used to joking about his captor and captivity and even Magnus felt that it was progress.

“What about that tattoo, Alec?”, the Colonel pointed at the nape of Alec’s neck. Magnus had always wanted to ask about the same but he was too scared to initiate the conversation. It was a gorgeous addition to his husband's looks, but from what it looked like, Alec didn't have much say in how he had acquired it. Unfortunately, he wasn't there for this session of interrogation.

“They used to call it the stealth tattoo, said it was an honor to bear this symbol and every member of the Morgenstern’s troop had a similar one etched on the neck of their mates and slaves."

“Their…mates”, Colonel gasped. “What world do they live in…”

“I have no idea, Colonel…but Sebastian took me to one of their bonfires as his mate…chained and subdued mate…if I may add”

“Yeah…I haven’t told Magnus…but the Z represented that the particular person was a mate of one of the militants in the Morgenstern army”

“And the strike across it?”, Colonel flinched.

“That was all me…”, Alec chuckled. “I did it to spite Sebastian. I had to make it clear to him that the only person I could ever be a mate of is waiting for me outside, Colonel”, Alec explained.

“Alec…I understand…what happened after that”

“The night he saw the addition to my tattoo…, he beat me whole night…there used to be this rod in the cave…he loved thrusting it inside me. And when I would start bleeding, he’d let me go. Of course, if I was injured more than I should have been, he’d leave me alone to heal”

“He’d abstain…?”

“Something like that…he’d still come in to ask me about Valentine…but he’d refrain himself from having sex with me. Because who would want to have sex with a dead man? He wanted me alive so that he could insert his dick inside me”

“He only wanted to know about the prison location for Valentine…and the secrets of our Base…but Colonel, I knew he had given up on that long ago. After the first year…all he wanted was to keep me as his sex toy”, Alec rolled his eyes.

“Eventually, I realized this…for myself. And I found a way to keep him off me”, Alec fisted his hands together.

“What did…?”, Colonel saw Magnus walk in the room and sit on the chair behind Alec.

“I knew he wouldn’t hurt me…if he was scared that I could succumb to my injuries…”

“Alec”, Colonel gasped. “You did not…”

“I had to…I had to keep those injuries fresh…so that he wouldn’t hurt me…use me”, Alec gritted his teeth together.

The Colonel dropped on his chair and held his forehead in his palms. “Alec”, he whispered, breaking down. Magnus came closer and held Alec’s shoulder. He was appalled to see the Colonel because he had never seen the officer so devastated.

The Colonel stood up a while later and Alec stood up, in response to it. The older man came closer and pulled Alec in for a hug. “I am so sorry we left you there…”

“It’s not your fault…Colonel. You didn't know I was alive. They staged my death perfectly.”

“I promised your mother…”, the Colonel choked.

“She knew what I was getting myself into…the moment I joined the Air Force. It is not your fault, Colonel. I signed up for this”

“You did not. You signed up for fighting for the country…not having to fight for your own integrity, Magnus did not sign up to lose his husband to a maniac…”, the Colonel complained. “You’re a strong man, Alec. I am so proud of you”, he added. Alec squeezed him comfortingly.

“I am ok, Uncle Hodge”, Alec called him that after a while. “I am fine”, he added. The Colonel smiled and excused himself leaving Magnus alone with Alec. Magnus wrapped his hands around Alec’s arm and hugged it.

“I don’t want to sound like a broken record, Alexander…but I am so proud of you”

“I know”, Alec rubbed Magnus’ arm. “Come on…we have to pick up Max…and get back home”

Alec looked ok on his way back, but Magnus knew him. He could feel Alec’s hands shake in fear and he kept holding his while they drove back.

Magnus headed straight into his room after they reached home that day. Alec put his jacket on the couch and followed Magnus inside after making sure Max had had his lunch and changed his clothes.

“Hey?”, he asked, stopping at the door. Magnus was sitting on the floor in front of their bed, head between his legs. He did not respond to the voice. Alec grew tensed and he stepped foot inside.

“Magnus?”, he called out again. Toeing his shoes off, he sat on the floor next to Magnus and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“I am fine, Alexander”, Magnus whispered. Alec took a deep breath.

“You shouldn’t have been there…”, Alec shook his head and rubbed his eyes.

“Alexand-“, Magnus argued.

“No…I mean what I say. I went through some shit with Sebastian…but that doesn’t mean that you had to listen to it…”

“If you went through it…and had the courage to talk about it…I should do too…It’s just, when I close my eyes…I see that bastard hurting you…and I can’t…”, Magnus protested.

“Magnus…I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t have the courage to live through it”

“I know you wouldn’t…but…how do you do it…be so strong after…”

“It’s not simple…Magnus. But then, it kind of also is. I have you and Max…Mom, Izzy and Jace…I have everyone. You know the best part about all of you…when I look at you…I see love in your eyes…Izzy and Jace’s eyes tell me that they love their brother…and Mom can’t help but show how proud she is of me…as a son. And then there’s you…and Max. You look at me like I am the most important person to the two of you. None of you make me feel that there’s something broken inside me…even though there is. And believe me Magnus, it doesn’t make everything go away, but it helps. It makes it easier for me…because I can be myself with all of you…forgetting what all happened in Alaska”

“But…”

“No buts. Magnus. It is what it is…alright? We can’t do anything to change it…I am trying to get better and that’s about it. We’ll get through this together. I have a really nice idea though…”, Alec blinked and slipped on the ground to come in front of Magnus. Their knees brushed together as Alec grabbed Magnus’ hands.

“And that is?”, Magnus arched a brow as his back straightened against the bed.

“How about…you and I…we go out Thursday night. There’s an Ed Sheeran concert in town…and I am well-aware of how much my husband loves Ed”, Alec shrugged.

“It’s a school-night, Alexander…what about Max?”

“He’s sleeping over at Izzy’s”, Alec pursed his lips.

“You weren’t really asking…were you?”, Magnus sniffed and rolled his eyes.

“I did book tickets in advance…if that is what you’re implying”, Alec shrugged and pulled Magnus’ knees closer to his chest, momentarily putting Magnus off his balance.

“Whhooop”, Magnus yelped as he pressed his palm on the floor. His lips curved into a chuckle as Alec cupped his cheeks and rubbed his cheekbones.

“I like it when you smile. Don’t let it ever vanish from your face”

“It’s strange how I should be the one to hold you and take care of you”, Magnus sighed.

“You and me…it’s one and the same thing, Magnus. You’re a part of me…as I am a part of you…”, Alec smiled and pressed a kiss on his forehead.

“I love you, Alexander”, Magnus shook his head.

“I love you too”

“You stay the hell away from me…Sebastian…”, Alec moaned in his sleep. Magnus woke up when he heard Alec’s whimpers and turned around to find Alec lying on his bed clutching the ends of his blanket and squeezing it tightly. Magnus sighed and pulled himself up closer to his husband. He placed a steady hand on his forehead which was sweaty and cold and placed his other hand on Alec’s arms squeezing it tightly.

“Alexander…relax, baby”, Magnus whispered near Alec’s ear. Alec was breathing heavily, and his lips and cheeks were trembling.

“You don’t get to hurt me again…I’ll never let you touch me…”, Alec whispered in broken syllables.

“You’re dreaming, Alexander”, Magnus whispered again rubbing his forehead in the backward direction. Alec gulped and jerked his shoulders.

“You won’t”, Alec gasped and heaved out a huge breath. His eyes rolled inside his closed lids. Magnus came closer and gently rubbed Alec’s cheekbone.

“You’re home…with me, Magnus. Your son is sleeping in the other room and it is all ok, Alexander”, Magnus told him. Alec’s clenched jaw relaxed, and he coughed softly. Fluttering his eyes, he opened them and looked around. Magnus was looking down at him while rubbing his forehead.

“I…”, he asked in an inquisitive tone.

“You’re doing well, Alexander. There’s nothing to worry about…”, Magnus assured his husband. “This is the first nightmare you’ve had in over 10 days…we’re making progress. Alec nodded. He sniffed and rolled over as Magnus settled back on his pillow. He crawled next to Magnus and lifted his hand to place it over his abdomen. Magnus smiled as he slipped his hand tightly around Alec’s waist, as directed by the soldier and pulled his head closer to his lips.

“Close your eyes, Alec. You’re going to be ok”, Magnus started rhythmically patting Alec’s chest as the latter drifted off to sleep again.

They woke up next day, curled into each other. Alec pressed a lingering kiss on Magnus’ forehead and gazed at him until his husband woke up as well.

“Oh my God, Alec”, Izzy gasped as she entered his room in Maryse’s apartment. He wore a dark purple button up shirt with top buttons undone. The black jeans gracefully exposed his long and muscular legs. He was sitting on the bed, putting on his combat boots. He looked up at her and smiled.

“You look amazing”, she clapped and dropped on the bed next to him.

“And you look like you’re…six months pregnant”, Alec winked. He received a smack on his arm as Izzy rubbed her belly.

He got up adjusting his shirt and went to the mirror. “My hair looks ok, right?”, he ruffled it up a bit.

“It’s perfect. Your hair is as long as you liked to keep it…and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Stop touching it now”, Izzy rubbed her temple in irritation.

“Fine…”, Alec grinned and grabbed his jacket. It was a piece of art. There were silver chains running all around it and they clanked into each other as Alec put it on. He grabbed his keys and wallet and headed out of his room where Maryse was waiting for him.

“Don’t worry about Max…he’ll be perfectly safe with Izzy and Simon”

“I know”, Alec smiled and bent down to kiss her. Max was sitting on a high-chair with a big grump on his face.

Alec pursed his lips as he sensed his son’s anger.

“No…don’t talk to me…”, Max jerked off as Alec came closer. “You and Papa are going to have fun while I am…not allowed to come…”

“Max…the concert…it’s a loud place…and you’re small”

“I am not…I am a big boy. I can ever tie my own shoelaces”

“Yes…you’re a big boy…but…”

“No buts, Dada…I am not…speaking to you…”, Max huffed and looked away. Izzy giggled and sat next to Max.

“Listen to me…big guy”, she winked. “Let your Dada and Papa have some fun…they don’t know what they’re missing at home…”

“What…?”, Max complained.

“I made a fairly large apple-pie…the one you like”

“Apple-pie…?”, Max’s eyes widened.

“Yeah…and I myself asked your Dada and Papa to not come with me…because its only for you…”

“Really?”, Max looked at Alec with curiosity. Alec licked his lips and smiled. “Yes, Aunt Izzy made it specially for you…”, Alec added.

“In that case…you and Papa can go ahead…”, Max shrugged. Alec’s face crinkled into a smile as he bent down to kiss Max’s forehead. “We’ll be back soon…be a good boy”

“Always am”, Max craned his neck up and pressed a kiss on Alec’s cheek. “Have fun with Papa”, he waved as Alec walked out of the door.

“I will”, Alec shouted from his way.

“Magnus…hello?? Where are you? Let's go. We can't be late, honey”, Alec called as he pushed open the door of his loft. The lights in the living room were dim and the place was lit with candles.

“Don’t come in…Alexander…I’ll be out in a minute”, Magnus called.

“Everything ok in there?”, Alec narrowed his brows as he sat on one of the bar stools.

“Everything is fine”, he heard back from Magnus.

A moment later, Magnus walked out of the room adjusting his cufflinks. Alec was playing with a paper weight which dropped from his grip as soon as he saw Magnus. He wore a silk maroon button-up shirt which was open all the way down to his belt buckle. Glitter contoured his exquisitely carved out abs enhancing their curves. His jeans held on his waist by a thick belt with a shiny buckle were black with pattern printed on it. The jeans hugged his legs all the way down to the shoes.

The shoes.

Alec gulped.

Leather motor cycle boots with chains adorning it mid-height. They clicked against the wooden flooring of Magnus’ loft announcing that Magnus was walking in.

His hair was trimmed on the sides and the rest of it was spiked up with gel. The tips of the hair shaft were streaked with maroon color complementing his shirt.

Magnus had a heavy eye-makeup on. His eyes were lined with kohl and glitter and thick black eye-shadow that covered the entirety of his lids. There were shades of silver and white over the black eye-shadow and sprayed on with glitter. His cheeks were contoured with a light and shimmery shade of maroon. His lips were glossed with a nude shade. His neck was adorned with black stone necklaces that reached all the way down to his belt.

Alec stared at Magnus without blinking.

“Close your mouth, Alexander”, Magnus lifted his chin up…chuckling. Alec caught his wrist and noticed. The black nail paint and his rings. They were all back. His wrist was decorated with bracelets.

“Monumentally beautiful”, Alec gaped. Magnus felt blush rush up his cheeks as he looked away. Alec held his chin in his hand and turned it back to face him. He lifted it up slightly and scanned Magnus’ face.

“Breathtakingly stunning”, Alec commented. His eyes were gleaming.

“Stop it…you’re making me nervous, Alexander”, Magnus slapped him lightly on his cheek. Alec licked and pursed his lips.

“You dressed up…”, he was in awe.

“I was told by a certain someone…that they miss Magnus glittery Bane. So, as promised…I asked him for a little visit”

“I missed my glittery husband…for sure. Thank you for coming…”, Alec winked. He looked at the blazer Magnus was holding and helped his date get into it.

“I brought you something…”, Magnus grabbed his hand pulling him back. He pulled out a small box. Alec opened it and saw a ring…identical to the one Magnus had given him on their wedding.

“I know it’s not the same one…but I had Luke replicate the design”, Magnus shrugged as he explained.

“Thank you”, Alec looked at Magnus with tearful eyes. He was about to put it on when Magnus snatched it from his hand and slipped it on his finger himself.

“It’s more traditional that way. So...do you?”, Magnus raised his brows.

“I do. Magnus. I do. Always. Forever. I do”, Alec nodded as he felt his finger that adorned his wedding ring again. He felt complete.

“I brought you something too…it’s not…as special”

“What is it?”, Magnus smiled. Alec held out a small red totem thing.

“It’s an omamori charm. Aline gave it to me…it was one of the things I had in the trunk they brought back with me. She told me that it was for luck and protection. I obviously didn’t believe her and chucked it away in one corner…but the night I was rescued, I had it in my pocket…and it might mean nothing Magnus…but the charm gave me hope…and I want you to have it”, Alec whispered.

“Its beautiful”, Magnus awed at the piece of shining beauty. He didn’t realize when Alec stepped closer, but he felt a breath brush against the bridge of his nose. When he looked up, he saw beautiful and big hazels looking at him with dilated pupils. Magnus gulped the lump in his throat as Alec’s minted breath came closer to his nose.

He felt a gentle nudge on his chin and his face tilted up. He let out a deep breath as the air between his lips and Alec’s was replaced by warmth of Alec’s lips. His warm and wet lips came closer and pressed on Magnus’ glossed ones. Magnus closed his eyes. Alec sucked Magnus’ lower lip and then his upper until the gloss was spread all over, messily.

“I love you”, Alec whispered in Magnus’ mouth. Magnus moaned and nodded, too overwhelmed to utter a single syllable.

“Maybe, Ed Sheeran can wait…”, Magnus stood up on his toes and wrapped his arms around Alec’s neck.

Alec brought his lips near Magnus’ ear. His skin brushed against Magnus’ cheek making the latter blush. Alec inhaled rubbing his nose against Magnus’ cheek. Magnus reflexively jerked as Alec’s breath tickled him.

“We’re getting late”, Alec whispered. He placed one palm on Magnus’ back and slipped the other behind his knees lifting Magnus off his feet. Magnus yelped as he tightly gripped Alec’s shoulder and closed his eyes pressing his forehead on Alec’s cheek.

“What are you doing?”, he protested.

“Taking you to the car, honey”, Alec looked straight ahead as his lips curved into a smile. They stepped into the elevator and Mrs Robbins, the elderly widow who lived upstairs gasped. Magnus gulped as he hid his face in Alec’s neck, not able to take the embarrassment any further.

“Alec…put me down, please”, he muttered near his ear. Alec chortled softly and shook his head in a no and Magnus sighed in distress. Quite a few people saw them as Alec carried Magnus through the parking area to the place where his SUV was parked. Magnus sighed in relief when Alec put him on the seat next to the driver’s.

“I swear to God if I didn’t love you so much…”, Magnus gritted his teeth as a grinning Alec sat from the other side.

“It’s a good thing then…”

“WHAT”, Magnus yelled as he crossed his hands on his chest and huffed, leaning back on the seat.

“…that you love me so much”, Alec winked and leaned closer. Magnus moved back as he let Alec put on his seatbelt.

“I love you too”, Alec pecked Magnus’ cheek and pulled away giggling. Magnus shook his head, a smile appearing on his face.

This is the Alexander he loved and had missed so deeply.

And I'm thinking 'bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways

Maybe just the touch of a hand…

The crowd was swaying to the soft beats of the song as Ed crooned from the center of the stage, dedicating the song to every couple that was in love. Magnus and Alec stood in the front row. Magnus hands were fisted together and pressed against his chest as he watched Ed perform in awe. Alec’s arm encircled Magnus’ waist and his big hazel eyes watched Magnus because the only thing that meant something to Alec was his husband. No one else.

 

Oh, me I fall in love with you every single day

And I just wanna tell you I am

“…that was dreamy”, Magnus sighed.

“I agree”, Alec gazed at Magnus. Magnus narrowed his brows and looked at Alec who was staring at him. He blushed and nudged Alec who pressed his palm on his chest, faking being hurt.

“Drama queen”, Magnus shook his head. He turned around to watch Ed again and leaned back resting his head in the crook of Alec’s neck.

 

So honey now

Take me into your loving arms

Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars

Magnus felt Alec’s arms wound tightly around him. He lifted his hand up and curled it around Alec’s tensed muscles that rested on his collar. He tilted his head back and rested it on Alec’s neck. “Thank you”, he mouthed to his husband.

Alec looked at the watch in his hand. It was 11:58pm.

He slipped one hand in his pocket and took out a small box. Magnus did not notice it.

 

Place your head on my beating heart

I'm thinking out loud

Magnus felt a cold sensation on his neck. He looked down and saw Alec’s big hands tying a beautiful silver chain around his neck. “Woah”, he gaped and was about to turn when Alec whispered in his ear. “Happy Birthday, baby”, Magnus shuddered as Alec’s minted breath brushed against his skin.

 

Maybe we found love right where we are

Magnus maneuvered around in Alec’s arms and buried his face in his chest. His hands were curled in a fist and clutching Alec’s jacket. Alec felt warm tears wet his shirt and pierce through to his skin and he looked down.

“No tears, Magnus”, Alec blindly moved his thumb to Magnus’ eye and rubbed the tears away.

Magnus released the fist and moved his hands around Alec’s chest to hug him tightly.

“I got you…”, Alec whispered as he dropped his cheek on Magnus’ hair.

“I should go and make sure Chairman Meow is clean…maybe I should give him a bubble bath”, Magnus pressed his finger on his chin as Alec was bolting the doors of their loft at 4am in the morning.

“Chairman and Max are both at Izzy’s, Magnus…”, Alec rolled his eyes at his drunk husband. “I should’ve known better. You still can’t handle your liquor”

“I can…I can, Alexander…I caaann…”, Magnus pointed until he waved his head and was about to fall backwards when Alec grabbed his waist and steadied him.

“You can”, Alec chuckled as Magnus clutched the lapels of Alec’s shirt.

“Magnus Bane…drunk as a skunk…”, Magnus sang as Alec pushed him towards their room. He could hear muffled noises of Alec smiling. How beautiful Alec looked when he smiled…beautiful and pretty…just like a pastry.

“I look like a pastry”, Alec arched a brow.

How can he hear what I am thinking? Magnus wondered.

“Because your thoughts are pretty loud, husband”, Alec chuckled as he put Magnus on the bed. Alec bent down and untied Magnus’ boots and pulled them out one by one.

“Alexander…aren’t you beautiful”, Magnus awed his husband. Alec licked his lips and blushed. “But…do you know what day it is…today?” he arched his brows.

“No?”, Alec lifted his shoulders up casually.

“It’s my birthday, pretty boy”, Magnus remarked proudly. “And…might I tell you…I have a very beautiful husband who gifted me this…”, Magnus pulled out his chain.

“Oh…my my, Mr Bane. Your husband really loves you”, Alec gasped. “Happy Birthday”, Alec winked.

“He does…a lot. I love him too…he’ll probably argue that he loves me more…but I love him…more…regardless of the fact that he thinks that he loves me more. I love him more-er…also…thanks!”, Magnus commented. Alec chortled at the amount of times Magnus had repeated the last though.

“Of course…”, Alec nodded as he pulled out Magnus’ blazer and then his shirt. He removed the necklaces one by one except for the chain that he had gifted him, possibly because Magnus was holding it close to his chest.

“My husband is a Major in the US Air Force”, Magnus informed.

“Oh…is he?”, Alec replied sitting in front of Magnus with his makeup kit. He dipped a cotton ball in cream. “Stay still, Magnus”, he ordered. Magnus hummed and closed his eyes. Alec gently wiped off his eye make-up. It took him quite some time because Magnus was being very cranky…almost like a child.

“I love my husband”, Magnus informed Alec.

“Yeah…I think you’ve said that already”

“I did…I am just making it clear to you…you shouldn’t have any other thoughts…”, Magnus shrugged. Alec chuckled at the bean Magnus was being.

“Do you think it’s legal…good looks, I mean?”

“Huh?”

“Yeah…I mean my husband could be arrested for being…good looking. I sometimes wonder…”, Magnus rolled his eyes. Alec widened his hazels and then broke into a laughter. His chest panted for breath and his stomach ached.

Magnus Bane was hands down the most adorable person when he got drunk.

“You’re laughing because you haven’t see my Alexander”, Magnus said with pride. Alec’s heart was filled with joy as he resumed his job of cleaning Magnus’ face. He brought a soft t-shirt and put Magnus’ head through it after a lot of resentment from the interior designer.

Alec pulled down Magnus’ jeans next and slipped loose pajamas. Magnus was drowsy by the time Alec came out changing his own clothes. His head was dropped on the pillow, but hand was extended out…looking for Alec. As soon as Alec slipped in the blanket with him, Magnus crawled up on Alec’s chest and dropped his head on it.

Alec squeezed his arm that was curled around Magnus and pressed his husband closer.

“I think we should sleep”, Magnus mumbled. Alec smiled and kissed Magnus’ forehead.

“Yea…yea I think we should”

“Can I give you a goodnight kiss?”, Magnus looked up with red eyes. Alec smiled and nodded. Magnus pulled his body up and dropped his lips on Alec. Alec cupped Magnus’ face and kissed him back. Magnus’ head slipped down Alec’s cheek and fell on the pillow. He drifted off to sleep in that position. Alec heaved a sigh and turned around, falling asleep next to his husband.

Chapter Text

Alec Lightwood came into the waiting room outside the runway. He wore his uniform - his battle uniform. The one Magnus had grown fond of during the early days of their relationship, and the one he had begun hating since the night of his 4th wedding anniversary. Magnus and Maryse sat on the couch. They stood up when they saw Alec walk in. Magnus’ eyes flickered as the last memory of Alec wearing the uniform flashed in his mind. The one where Alec had left through the door, waving him and his then toddler son goodbye and never come back. He gulped but said nothing. Alec rubbed his hands together as he met the Colonel mid-way.

“Thank you for letting me do this, Colonel”, Alec crossed his hands together behind his back.

“It’s good to have you back, Major”, Colonel Starkweather shook Alec’s hand. Alec had been cleared off from all the investigations after almost 6 months of his return. His information had helped build up a case against Sebastian Morgenstern, the anonymous General of Valentine's militant organization. Post his official clearance by the department, Alec had asked for voluntary retirement to spend the rest of his time with his family but when this particular mission came up, he couldn’t help himself. The force was raiding the Morgenstern camping site in Alaska, again - all this possible because of the valuable information that Alec had given them. But this also meant that Alec had an opportunity to capture Sebastian, and mostly, rescue Aline.

The Force had asked Alec to take over the Academy where novice officers were trained. After his retirement was processed, this administrative job would have kept Alec in touch with his career and give him the safety and stability that his family - his husband and son needed from him. Alec had agreed for this position after having an hour-long discussion with Magnus because this decision affected his life too. Magnus had always been okay with Alec's career and even after losing him for 5 years, he let him take up this job because Alec could stay in New York - no deployments or assignments involved.

“Take care of yourself, Alec”, the Colonel whispered after the official instructions had been given to his team. Hodge patted Alec’s hair and excused himself, to give Alec time to talk to his family, as he looked over the mission reports.

Alec turned towards his family – Magnus held Max in his arms and Maryse stood by his side. Max was curiously looking around, because this was his first time visiting Dadda's work place as he always called it. Alec gestured his mother and she took Max from Magnus’ arms and excused herself, stepping a few steps away to give Alec and Magnus some time alone.

Alec sighed because he knew Magnus wasn’t happy with Alec’s decision of going back to that place. Not even for one last assignment. Magnus didn’t even pretend to hide his disapproval for the same. Ever since Alec informed Magnus about this mission, Magnus had gone silent...not talking more than what was required. He couldn't argue with him because in a way he felt like he owed Aline a chance at a new life when all she had done was help Alec in whatever ways she could. But the thought of Alec being back with that horrifying militant had given him so many sleepless nights. Alec lifted his hands up when he came closer to him, but Magnus didn’t make an eye-contact or take his offered hand. Instead, he kept looking outside.

“I will take care of myself”, Alec assured Magnus but nothing Alec could say would have made it better for the interior designer. He closed his eyes and looked away. Alec was lying. There was no way he could ascertain that he'd be okay. His job description didn't allow that.

Magnus did not reply.

“You haven’t said a word since last night. Magnus...please...”, Alec pleaded, hoping to hear Magnus’ husky voice again - even if it was for one last time.

“I have nothing to say”, Magnus spoke up. Alec felt this urge to keep listening to him because God he had missed his husband’s voice.

“Nothing at all?”, Alec arched a brow.

“Nothing I can think of, in this moment.”, Magnus pursed his lips and lifted his shoulders. Alec dropped his hands and they fell to his sides. If this was the way they were going to part, Alec couldn't argue anymore.

“I love you”, Alec said.

“I love you too”, Magnus said, immediately.

Alec took a deep breath, feeling defeated. Magnus would never forgive him if something happened this time. Max would never forgive him. Alec gulped the lump in his throat. Maybe this mission was a mistake. He dropped his shoulders wearily and turned to leave when Magnus’ hand caught his arm. The man pulled Alec back and tight fists grabbed Alec by his collar.

“I will not lose you again, Major Alexander Gideon Lightwood. You hear me?”, Magnus mumbled. His eyes looked sleep-deprived and angry. They were a little bloodshot because of tears. “I don’t have the physical or emotional strength in me to go through that all over again.”, he warned. Alec’s eyes closed as they burned with tears. He stepped back and pulled Magnus by his waist. Magnus succumbed to his emotions and wrapped his hands around Alec’s neck breaking into a sob. Alec’s hand pressed against the back of his head as Magnus cried.

“You won’t. I’d be right back with you, a fortnight later, and make you your favorite steak and pasta”, Alec mumbled as he buried his nose in Magnus’ shoulder.

“Steak and Pasta. You promise?”, Magnus pulled away and wiped his face.

“I promise”

Magnus took a deep breath and nodded. He clutched Alec’s hand as he walked up to Maryse. She smiled when she saw Magnus and Alec holding hands.

“Max…hey, come here?”, Alec took his son in his arms. “I am going away for a bit…”, he sighed as his son’s eyes popped open and he turned his attention to his father.

“Again…you just came…back?”, Max complained.

“I know…buddy. There’s some urgent work”, Alec felt guilty. In all this, Max had been suffering as much as Magnus had.

“Some bad guy…?”

“Yeah”, Alec smiled. “…very bad guy”

“You’re going to defeat him, right?”, Max clapped.

“I will. But I want you to take care of your Grandma…and your Papa”, Alec asked.

“Of course. I will”, Max nodded playing with Alec’s badge. “But you promise you’ll come back?”

“Super soon, buddy. Super soon”

“Ok…because I will miss you. And I know Papa will too”, his voice softened, glancing at Magnus. Alec sighed and kissed his cheek. Max unwillingly parted with his father, returning to the ground. Magnus grabbed his hand and pulled him closer. Alec turned to Maryse and hugged her, bidding her goodbye. She was surprisingly calmer than both Magnus and Max. They walked out into the runway. Alec took his helmet and walked towards his new plane. Turning around, he waved at his family. Max was tucked in Magnus’ arms while Maryse held Magnus close to her. They waved back at him as he disappeared into his bird.

“Major, I can lead the troops inside…if the place is bringing back…”, Jem whispered as they marched inside the maze of caves. Alec was unfazed by the whole situation even though the only memory he had of the place was his captivity and Sebastian’s sexual assaults on him.

The Air Force had been sitting on the camp for 6 days now, watching and registering every movement in and out of the camp. The satellite images, heat signatures and the radars fed them with information they needed to break in. The seventh day of their mission, the Force had decided to go in. Sebastian hadn't been seen leaving the camp for 48 hours and Alec couldn't wait further. Everytime he registered his face in one of the satellite images, his blood boiled with anger. He had taken 5 years away from his life, and his family. And Alec was going to make sure the man suffered a little for each day he had kept Alec from his loved ones.

“I am fine, Major Carstairs. You take 15 people with you and take the south-end position. Other than that, there are no other exits to this place.”, Alec ordered. He squeezed his gun in his hand, as he stepped ahead. The caves were dark, and he couldn’t risk being seen. But he had been in those caves so many times that he could move blindly. There was light at the end of it.

He knew it was Sebastian’s room, Alec had been there on more than one occasions when Sebastian didn’t feel like fucking Alec in his cave. Alec set the trigger of his gun and tiptoed to the entrance. He could hear muffled voices of moans and groans. Sebastian was with someone. Alec gritted his teeth together and peered through the corner. There was a woman, cuffed to the headboard of the bed. She was blindfolded with a black cloth and her mouth was sealed with a tape. Alec flinched at the sight. Sebastian was on top of her, in all his naked glory.  His hand was pressing on her boob and his hips were curved, his cock pressing inside her.

“Hands where I can see them, Sebastian Morgenstern”, Alec clicked his gun and aimed it towards Sebastian. The General froze and raised his hands in the air. He turned around to see his arrester’s face.

“Alexander”, he gasped when he recognized his old hostage Alec Lightwood’s face in the flicker of the lamp.

“Don’t you dare call me that. It’s Major Lightwood for you.”, Alec hissed. He waved his gun, gesturing him to leave the woman alone. Sebastian lifted his shoulders up and exited the lady, standing up on his feet. Alec was about to throw him a shirt when he felt the nozzle of a gun press against the nape of his neck.

“Put your gun down”, the voice whispered. Alec retracted his gun and obliged. Sebastian put on his pants and snickered.

“You thought you had me, Lightwood?”, he chuckled. "Have you not learnt... living with me for 5 years that I will always be 10 steps ahead of you and your petty little army of brats", Alec rolled his eyes around as he thought of a way out. His eyes found something, and he licked his lips, trying to find a way out. There was no way he’d let Sebastian get to him a second time.

“It’s a good thing I like you so much, otherwise…my dear old Kane would have blown your brains out by now.”, the man who had aimed the gun at Alec’s neck chortled. “It’s funny that you came back… because I am surprisingly glad to see you again…”, Sebastian winked and came closer to Alec and the soldier felt his mouth dry. Sebastian cupped Alec’s face after Kane grabbed Alec’s wrists together and subdued him. Alec felt Sebastian’s stinking breath near his nose again as the latter pressed his lips onto Alec. “I missed you so much”, Alec groaned as he tried to pull away from Sebastian’s hold.

He had no time to formulate any plan.

As soon as Sebastian moved away, Alec fixed his gaze at the something behind Sebastian and yelled. “Now”, he faked. Defensively, Kane and Sebastian looked around and that moment was enough for Alec to react. He felt Kane’s grip loosen around his wrists. With a strong push, Alec pulled launched a kick at Sebastian’s groin throwing the man off his feet and flat onto the ground. He gripped his gun in his other hand and registered a tight blow on Kane’s nose with the back of his gun. Kane’s nose bled as he collapsed on the ground and fainted.

Sebastian whined on the floor as Alec picked up Kane’s gun. He aimed one gun at Kane while pressing his heel on Sebastian’s neck.

“Don’t you dare touch me again”, he growled. The unit surrounded Sebastian’s room as Jem came inside for backing Alec up.

“Take them out to the chopper, Major Carstairs. Hands where I can see them, Sebastian. It’s game over for you, General Morgenstern. See you in prison”, Alec grunted at the General. “Leave. I need no one here. The lady needs her privacy”, Alec protectively covered her naked body from the view by standing between the rescue unit and the bed. Sebastian and Kane were taken out and Jem waited outside as Alec went to the bed.

He knew he recognized the woman. First things first, he pulled a duvet over her and then gently dropped on the bed. He pulled the blindfold from her eyes and Aline Penhallow looked straight into his eyes. He teared up when he saw the swollen bags below her beautiful brown eyes. He smiled gently as she widened her eyes in delight. He pulled the tape from her mouth and then gently uncuffed her. She sniffled as he helped her get into her clothes.

“You came back”, she moaned as she sat up on the bed with Alec’s help.

Alec cupped her face. “I had to”, he smiled as Aline wrapped her arms around Alec’s neck breaking into a sob.

“You really came back”, she cried relentlessly. Tears fell out of Alec’s eyes too as he rubbed her back incessantly.

“Let’s get you back to Helen”, he wiped her tears away and lifted her in his arms. She winced in pain as she lifelessly dropped her head on Alec’s shoulder.

Jem was waiting outside with status report.

“We’ve rescued at least 76 hostages – both men and women. Most of the militants on the camp were away at the moment but we have captured about 25 of them”

“People who need medical attention will be taken out first”, Alec instructed as he walked out of the caves and into the field. “Put the militants in one plane. I don’t care if they get enough space to sit or not. And leave 3 units here. Arrest anyone who returns to the caves and fly them back to the States.”

“Copy that, Major”, Jem fisted his hands together behind his back.

Alec walked to the cargo plane that was waiting to fly out the hostages. He placed Aline on one of the stretchers and woke her up.

“We’re going home, Aline. I have to get back to my Viper…but I’ll see you when we land”, he whispered after she opened her eyes.

“Promise?”, she whispered.

“I promise. You’re safe. Major Carstairs here is a very good man. He’ll take good care of all of you”, Alec kissed her forehead and stepped out of the plane, proceeding to his own bird. He climbed into his seat and put on his helmet.

“I am coming home, Magnus”, he smiled as he called out to his Air Traffic Control, taking permission for the flight. The Viper ran on the runway and then launched off its wheels after Alec was given clearance. He was delighted to return because the mission was over 7 days before the official duration and Alec had rescued his friend, among the other hostages.

Alec’s Viper landed after the cargo plane carrying the hostages landed on the runway. Alec jumped out of his plane and took out his helmet. Jem was waiting for him on the runway.

“Ms Penhallow has severe injuries, both internal and external. Some of them…are…uhh…”, Jem stammered. “…very similar to the ones…”

“On me…”, Alec completed. He looked straight ahead as they walked towards the Base. Alec’s helmet was tucked below his arm.

“I apologize, Sir”

“No…Major Carstairs…you don’t need to. Can you make a list of all the hostages and contact their family members?”

“The unit has begun doing that as we speak, Sir”, Jem informed.

“Alright, I need to rush home to Magnus…but I will be back to check on everyone”

“Right, Sir. I’ll inform the Colonel”

“Thank you, Jem. You did a great job”, Alec patted his shoulder and walked past his junior officer.

It was a normal Sunday morning in the Lightwood-Bane loft. Alec had been away on mission for a week now and there had been no news on that front. No news is good news - Magnus repeated it to himself like a mantra. Most days, it didn't work. Today, he was cleaning the living room because he had no other work to do. Max was out for a picnic with the Lightwoods, the Lewises and Clary. He didn’t feel like partying because well, he just didn’t. Nothing without Alec seemed relevant to him. He had become such a sap. And cleaning was his go-to thing whenever he felt alone or whenever he missed Alec.

It had been only week since Alec left for his mission in Alaska and even though Magnus felt like his whole world had come crashing down on him again, he knew and more importantly, understood that Alec needed to do this for himself and the girl who had saved his life so many times when he was captive in the Morgenstern camp.

That, however, didn’t stop Magnus from worrying about Alec. This was the first time the Major had left since he returned from the dead. When Magnus came home from the Base that day, he felt like his old life had returned. The life where he was the widower of Major Alexander Lightwood, the celebrated martyr of the US Air Force. The life where he was alone, having lost the love of his life. The same eeriness surrounded their loft and Magnus couldn’t help but be fearful of the various ways this mission could end up. He couldn’t have lost Alec again. He just couldn’t.

He pulled out the books in his hand and wiped the dust off them with the dust-cloth. His legs held him firmly on the ladder. Their personal library was pretty huge, and Magnus was content with the fact that he had enough work to last him a day. For the past week, Magnus was spending each day exhausting himself so that his mind didn’t waiver to Alec and the thought of him fighting his way through the place which held him captive for half a decade.

“You still do that...don’t you? Clean up things when...when you’re upset...or anxious”, a voice echoed from the ground. Magnus stopped dusting and looked in the direction of the sound. It was Alec, in his Air Force uniform. His lips were curved into a smile while his hands were crossed on his chest. Magnus looked at him and snorted, rolling his eyes. Not again, he thought.

“Go away, Alexander”, he rolled his eyes and resumed his dusting. “I am busy”

“Excuse me?”, Alec was appalled.

“I know you’re not really here... so just stop distracting me from work”, Magnus complained as he put the novel back in its place and pulled out another one roughly hitting it to get the dust off of it.

“You think I am not real...?”, Alec chuckled and stepped closer.

“I know you’re not. For the past week, all you do is distract me from work, popping up at the most ridiculous times. During meetings, my peaceful showera... even while I am driving. Enough already...”, Magnus blew out air from his mouth. “On second thoughts, I might go crazy before you return next Sunday. Way to go Magnus Lightwood-Bane”, he rolled his eyes.

“It is really me, Magnus...”, Alec sighed. “You’re not dreaming or hallucinating me this time.”

“I know it’s you...but from inside my head...a figment of my imagination”, Magnus sighed and pulled his ladder towards the right. "It's just my brain's way to fight off my anxiety of missing you. That's what it is..."

“Come down, babe and touch me...if you want proof”, Alec placed his hand on the ladder. Magnus stumbled. “What the hell! You've never been tangible before...”, Magnus grumbled and steadied himself on the ladder. “I am so sleep-deprived. Come on, Magnus. You can do this...Alec will be back next week. And as for you, imaginary Alec, go away”, Magnus yelled.

“Oh my God...you’re so cute”, Alec chuckled. “Either you come down...or I am coming up”, Alec challenged.

“I am not listening to you...because you’re a fucking dream...”, Magnus was adamant.

“Fine...be stubborn. I am coming up. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.”, Alec shrugged and rolled his eyes. He placed both his hands on the ladder. Magnus wasn’t holding anything, and he squeaked as his feet stumbled. “What the fuck...”, he yelled as he lost his grip over the ladder and his hand waved in the air as he slipped.

“Wooahh”, Alec stepped back as Magnus dropped right in his arms. His eyes were squeezed shut in fear of dying. The ever dramatic Magnus Bane.

“Ow.”, Alec groaned as the hard bind of the book that Magnus was holding hit his forehead. Magnus gasped when he realized he hadn’t hit the ground but had been captured mid-air by someone. He gently opened his eyes and saw that the someone was no other than his gorgeous husband, Alec Lightwood.

“Oh my...”, he looked up at Alec whose eyes were closed, and he was frowning. There was a tiny red bruise on his forehead. “It’s really you”, he gasped again. His palm went up to feel Alec's face, just to be sure.

“Yeah...thank God you believe me”, Alec muttered under his breath. “Was that a book or a dumbbell?”, he complained. Magnus didn’t pay attention to anything and pulled himself up to lock his lips with Alec’s. Alec stumbled back but steadied himself. Oh he had missed Magnus. So much. The taste of Magnus' favorite strawberry lip balm and the softness of the way Magnus kissed him. The man’s arms were wrapped tightly around his neck. Alec pushed his head forward and kissed Magnus back with everything he had. He let go his hand below Magnus’ knees and the latter landed on his feet.

Magnus lips pulled away and he buried his head in Alec’s arms.

“You’re back...you’re ok. Oh my God.”, he chuckled and cried together. Tears streamed out of his kohled eyes. “You’re back”, he repeated incessantly, confirming it to himself that he wasn't dreaming, as his moans soaked Alec’s uniform.

“I am...back”, Alec chuckled as he lifted Magnus off his feet and rotated him around. Magnus squealed and sniffled.

He pulled away holding Alec’s shoulder. “Are you hurt?”, he grabbed his chin and shifted it towards both sides to scan his face. “I am ok, Magnus”, Alec replied.

“Shut up”, Magnus checked his neck for any hidden injuries. He grabbed the buttons of his shirt and started unbuttoning it.

“Magnus...Max...what are you doing?”, Alec shied away, looking around to find his son.

“He’s out with your family for a picnic by the lake”, Magnus shrugged. "I am trying to check if you're lying to me about any injuries..."

Alec grasped Magnus’ hands to stop him. “I am alright. I swear to you. Just some bruises...otherwise, I am absolutely ok”, he assured Magnus. “Fool me once...Magnus. Sebastian couldn’t lay a hand on me this time, even if he tried”

“You promise?”, Magnus looked at him with tear-stricken eyes. Alec smiled and wiped them away, gently nodding.

“I do. I promise, I am ok”, He cupped his face and pulled the man in for a kiss. “More than ok because I am back with you forever.”, Magnus sighed in relief and pressed his head on Alec’s chest wrapping his arms around the Major. Alec dipped his head and dropped it atop Magnus’ hair.

“Did you say Max is not home?”, Alec broke the silence between them.

“Yeah...he’s out with the family...why?”, Magnus pulled away and looked at Alec curiously.

“Because...I missed you so much.”, Alec whispered and pressed his lips on Magnus. Magnus let out a moan as he was positively taken aback by this passionate version of the kiss that he had longed for almost 5 years. Alec slipped his hands down to the interior designer’s butt and squeezed it - eliciting another sound from him. Magnus groaned happily as he was pulled between Alec’s legs. He grabbed Alec’s neck between his hands and stuck his tongue inside the soldier, whilst giving him full access of his back. Alec gave his hand a little pull and picked Magnus up.

“Are you sure...?”, Magnus moaned between their sloppy kisses.

“Don’t talk”, Alec shook his head and groaned as Magnus’ hard cock hit his belly. Magnus wrapped his thighs around Alec’s waist tightly and clutched his hair at the back of his head. He could feel Alec’s member tingling in his pants. Their kiss was a constant war between the lips and tongue, each overpowering the other while chasing their companion for one touch.

Alec carried them to their bedroom and closed the door behind them with a kick of his leg. Their faces were glued to each other all the way to their bed. Alec and Magnus had done this a million times before and it felt good to fall back into this habit where they could know each other so intimately. Alec felt the edge of the bed with the back of his knees and he pressed his palm flat on the bed as he sat down, taking Magnus with him. Magnus pulled his legs from behind Alec as the man made his way to lie down on his back. Magnus landed atop Alec, his hands stuck between the mattress and Alec's back.

Alec's fingers grabbed the ends of Magnus’ blouse and he pulled it up to relieve Magnus' torso of any type of clothing. Their lips parted for a second as Magnus slipped out of shirt. His cold necklaces dangled over Alec’s chest, running a shiver down the soldier's spine. With a swift movement, Alec gently removed the necklaces one by one, without letting Magnus' lips go for more than a few seconds. Their lips turned pink and sensitive to touch but they continued kissing each other as if they hadn't done so in forever. Alec's fingers trailed up from the nape of his neck to his ear where he plucked out the earcuff. Magnus all but squealed a little, humming Alec to get rid of it and place his hands back on his body. God he had missed it so much. Magnus was balanced over Alec with his knees folded on his sides. His chest was rubbing against Alec, the friction warming them up, as well as causing them to shiver. Magnus' fingers were lodged on both sides of Alec's face, holding his hair within his fists while he played with his lips. Alec found Magnus' hands on him and grabbed them. The ornamental rings had to go off too. He pulled himself off the mattress, chasing Magnus' lips as he pulled away to catch breath momentarily. 

This wasn't the first time he had tasted Alec's lips, but it sure as hell felt like that. 

“Unbutton...”, Alec moaned between their kisses, as he directed Magnus’ hands to the buttons on his own shirt. Another uniform was going to be lost to the power of their passionate love. He snorted a little as Magnus undid them, as quickly as he could and then chucked it off on the floor. He gazed at his husband’s chest, pressing his palms flat on it. Alec was breathing heavily. Most of the wounds healed by now, scars fading because they weren't being refreshed. The burn wound on Alec's abdomen still made Magnus' jaw clench a little, only imagining how painful it must have felt - but he knew that he had to put their past behind, as much as Alec had to. Both had suffered long enough, but no more. Their time alone, was over.

“Alexander...”, Magnus moaned as he rubbed Alec's chest. His raging hormones made it difficult for him to complete his sentences. “...are you ok with this...”, he whispered. “I’ll not...we’ll not...if...”, as much as he wanted this, he knew that he had all the life left with Alec. They could wait, if Alec was still healing.

“I want you...Magnus... I want you...every part of you...with me...for the rest of my life... I have waited long enough”, he gasped. “Just...”

“We’ll take it slow...I promise...”, Magnus rubbed Alec’s cheekbone with his thumb. The soldier leaned in on the touch. Magnus dipped his neck again and pressed his lips on the nape of Alec’s neck, right over his tattoo. Alec clasped the bedsheet within his fists as Magnus traced his tattoo with his tongue, making wet circles on it. He was terrified and exhilarated, all at once. Terrified when he realized that he had forgotten how it felt to have Magnus smother him all over his body with his lips and the only memories he had were the ones that still traumatized him sometimes. And, exhilarated because he never could have believed, 6 months ago, that he would ever get a chance to feel this again. Feel Magnus touch him...kiss him...again. This love, this passion could ever return to him. The man who was captive in the caves of Alaska, living on the whims of a certain Sebastian Morgenster, never thought it was possible.

“Alexander...”, Magnus gasped as he parted. He observed Alec, pressing his head back on the pillow and eyes shut tight. “I need you...now”, he requested and pulled them around, Alec now atop Magnus. The soldier was taken aback by the sudden change in their positions.

Alec looked at him with widened eyes. “Babe?”, he whispered.

“Alexander...I am waiting”, he moaned. Alec nodded and trailed his hands to Magnus’ pants. Tugging his thumb on both sides of Magnus' hips, Alec pulled Magnus' pants down. Magnus arched his abdomen, helping with the movement. Magnus used his toes to get rid of them and pushed them off the bed. A gasp escaped Alec's mouth as his gaze fell on a now and very naked Magnus. He looked back and forth between Magnus' hardened cock and his face that was looking at him with the most beautiful smile in the world.

He gently stroked Magnus’ member with his palms a few times eliciting a groan from his husband and then looked at him. Magnus nodded...with a gentle and shy smile on his face. With every strong stroke, Magnus gasped and clutched the golden sheets of their bed. It had been such a long time since he had felt that. His lips were parted in amazement as his body jerked in rhythm with the movement of Alec's hand around his member. And then the stroking soft. Magnus opened his eyes and Alec was smiling at him. He bent down and Magnus felt it. He let out a relieved sigh as wet and warm lips curved around his organs. Alec slipped his tongue out of his lips to taste the precum on the tip of Magnus' cock and Magnus jerked his head up, gasping.

“Alexander”, Magnus managed to say as he arched his back. “I missed you so much”, he said in a shriveled voice. Alec hummed in agreement. One of his hand groped and reached to grab Magnus' wrist, holding him in his position. The other hand squeezed Magnus' thigh, digging his fingertips in his soft skin. The tip of Magnus' cock rammed into the roof of Alec's warm palate and the man's lips did the rest. "Alexander...", Magnus repeated his lover's name. 

"I've got you...", Alec used his tongue to trace patterns on Magnus’ cock. “You’re so tasty”, he whispered, momentarily pulling away...before resuming the position of his mouth around Magnus’ member. Magnus could feel it in his bones. His orgasm was building in his body and sooner than later, it was going to come out of him.

“Alexander...I am going to come”, Magnus moaned as he felt the sudden rush of adrenaline to his brain. His eyes blacked out for a bit and the next thing he felt, was coming all around him. His vision normalized a second later and he felt his abdomen and pelvis covered in his own cum. Alec wiped his neck and pulled himself up to kiss Magnus.

Magnus felt like he missed a heartbeat or two, as he tasted himself on Alec’s lips. It was surreal. Alec looked over his shoulder and opened the drawer. The lube bottle was lying there. He pulled it out and poured it on his fingers.

“Magnus?”, he asked his husband...for his permission. Magnus nodded, and Alec inserted his finger inside Magnus’ hole. Magnus arched his back again and grabbed Alec’s shoulder. The feeling of Alec inside him. It was serenity, in all sorts of way. Alec twisted his finger around playing with Magnus’ desires, a tiny smile forming on his lips. Magnus was vulnerable, and he looked stunning when he was all turned on and overwhelmed.

“You ok?”, the Major asked the man.

“Shut up, Alec...shuuttt....up”, he moaned and waited as Alec inserted another finger inside Magnus. Magnus’s breath hitched. His head pressed back on the pillow and his chin arched up. Alec had driven Magnus crazy.

“You’re beautiful, Magnus”, Alec caressed Magnus’ cheek with his free thumb.

“Not as beautiful as you...”, Magnus moaned again.

He could feel Alec playing with his fingers inside him. His overwhelming desire ended up with him coming again...this time on Alec’s arm. “You’re in trouble, Magnus”, Alec chuckled as he heard Magnus squeak. Alec had found a pleasure point. He pulled his fingers out and straddled Magnus’ legs apart. He pushed his hands between Magnus’ butt and the bed and pulled the interior designer to arch them up, off the bed. Magnus pressed his sole firmly on the bed, his toes digging in the bedsheet to hold himself up.

“Stay still...Magnus”, he instructed and settled between Magnus’ legs. He adjusted their hips until his member faced Magnus hole. Lubing his cock, Alec placed it at the entrance of the hole. He poured a little lube in his finger and wiped it around Magnus’ hole. This was it, Magnus couldn’t wait anymore. “Alexander...faster... I can’t wait”, he gasped.

“I love...you”, he whispered to his husband.

“I love you too, Alexander. So much”, Magnus choked. His eyes watered as he felt Alec slowly draw himself inside the man. He squeezed his palms against the bedsheet clasping it within his fists. Alec crawled forward as his member made its way inside Magnus. He leaned forward and pressed his lips on Magnus’ neck after he completely locked his cock inside Magnus’ hole.

Magnus moved a little to adjust their hips. Getting a better angle, Alec’s cock slipped further inside, and Magnus squeaked again...with a sob in his voice. Alec looked up and saw Magnus’ kohl smudging to the sides as the man’s tears brimmed out of his eyes.

“Shhh...Magnus”, he panicked pulling himself on his palms. “Why are you crying? Am I hurting you...?”, he asked.

“No such thing...babe...I...just missed you so much. All of this...feels so surreal”, he choked. Alec felt a lump in his throat as he saw Magnus’ lips tremble. Occasionally, he heard Magnus whimper as Alec shifted his position inside Magnus.

“I am sorry”, Alec blurted out as he wiped Magnus’ tears away. “I am sorry I left you alone...to fight...to struggle...”, he mumbled.

“It’s not your fault...you didn’t do this...shut up”, Magnus sniffed and pulled Alec to crash his lips on him. He arched his back and their hips rocked against each other. Magnus bit at Alec’s lips when his emotions got better of him.

“You’re the best”, he announced.

“I know”, Alec chided as he turned his hips to change the position and Magnus stretched himself passionately. Magnus managed to pull a blanket over them...as sleep grasped him. He was tired and happy...but mostly tired of crying and feeling on top of the world. His head tilted on the pillow and he closed his eyes. Alec snuggled in Magnus’ neck and closed his eyes too.

...

Magnus opened his eyes found himself straddled on his bed. He moved his head wearily and felt Alec’s head on his chest, his warm breath brushing against his chest bone. He gently moved and felt Alec inside him. Fuck. Blood rushed to his member again as he recalled the events of a few hours ago. He was stuck there...couldn’t do a thing until Alec woke up and pulled himself out.

“Alexander...”, the man whispered against Alec’s forehead. Alec moved in his sleep unaware of their position and Magnus squealed again. The strange sensation of Alec’s cock rubbing inside his hole.

“Baby...”, he patted Alec’s cheek again. “You...are still...I am...still...”, he gasped as Alec crawled over Magnus. “Alexander...stop”, he moaned, hoping Alec wouldn’t move any further.

“Alec...wake up, honey”

“Mmm?”, Alec complained.

“You’re still...”, Magnus chuckled at his helplessness. “...all the way inside me”, he managed to complete. Alec woke up with a jerk making Magnus squeeze his eyes shut as he felt Alec twist inside him, again.

“I am sorry”, he widened his eyes. He gasped when he realized that he had slept in that position.

“It’s ok”, Magnus scoffed as he wailed again, for the last time. He felt Alec exit him and his breath heaved out. He pulled his legs together and realized how sore he was.

“Oh...fuck”, he swore as his muscles ached. Alec dropped on the bed next to him and curling into a blanket, drifted back to sleep. Magnus, however, was wide awake. He sat up, with a hell of a lot of difficulty. Everything hurt.

He trudged to the washroom and stood below the shower. As the water trickled down his sore body, he rubbed it with his fingers and realized how truly content he felt...content and happy. There were marks on his arm where Alec had squeezed him while sucking at his member. There was dried out cum on his abdomen and neck and between his thighs.

He could barely move his lower body without it aching in return.

...

“When did you say Max was coming back?”, Alec walked out of their room rubbing his wet locks with a towel. Magnus sat on a stool on their kitchen counter scrolling through his phone.

“I didn’t”, Magnus smiled. “Tomorrow night, most probably. All of them are camping out tonight.”

“Ohh...”, Alec sighed and walked towards Magnus. He turned the stool around to have Magnus face him and pressed a wet kiss on his lips.

“I put the sheets and the blanket for wash”, he informed.

“Hmm”, Magnus hummed against his husband’s lips. “Could you pass me that jug though?”. Magnus pointed at jug of water.

“Here...”, Alec pushed it towards Magnus. Magnus extended his hand on the table and whimpered softly. Alec licked his lips in realization. “Are you...”, he whispered pursing his lips together as a grin peeked on them.

“No...”, Magnus shook his head and looked away, disapprovingly.

“Oh my GOD...Magnus”, Alec closed his mouth as he scoffed. “You’re sore...”, he chortled, unable to control.

“Really, Alexander?”, Magnus arched his brows and crossed his hands on his chest. “Are you...oh my God you’re laughing...how...you slept with your cock inside me...! It’s your fault I am hurting so much...and look at you, laughing like an evil person.”, Magnus was appalled at Alec’s adorable audacity.

“I am sorry”, Alec spoke between his incessant giggles.

“How dare you...stop laughing Alexander Lightwood”, Magnus got up, forgetting how much it hurt him. “Ow...shit”, he exclaimed in pain, which only made Alec laugh harder. Magnus gritted his teeth together and pinned Alec to the table. He pressed his index finger on Alec’s lips.

“Shut up. Stop laughing”, he ordered but Alec’s eyes couldn’t stop crinkling.

“Alexander”, Magnus raised his voice. “Stop it right now...or...”

“Or what...”, Alec arched a brow.

“Or I’ll make you”, Magnus grabbed Alec’s neck and pulled him in for a kiss. “I can do that...”, he bit Alec’s lip which made the boy squeak.

“That’s not...fair...”, Alec complained.

“It is...Major Lightwood”, Magnus was furious.

...

“I hate that you’re making me do this, Alexander”, Magnus adjusted himself on the seat and pulled the seat belt on.

“I want to surprise our son, Magnus...”, Alec rolled his eyes and sat on the driver’s seat and turned on the ignition.

“I can...”, he groaned as the car jerked off. “Easy there...tiger...you did this”, he pointed at his groin making Alec’s eyes crinkle with laughter. “Easy...please”, he heaved a sigh and pleaded.

“I am sorry. I’ll... I’ll just be very slow”, Alec’s incessant laughter died as Magnus put on soft music.

They were going to gatecrash the picnic and surprise Max. But before that, Alec had to check on Aline at the Base Hospital. He filled in Magnus on their way to the same and the interior designer got excited to see her as well. She meant a lot to him because she was the one person who stood by Alec when he needed someone.

“I’ll just be outside. You go and talk to her”, Magnus slipped out his hand from Alec’s and looked at his husband. “She needs to be comfortable, Alexander”, Magnus nodded and pressed a kiss on Alec’s cheek as the Major stepped inside Aline’s room.

Magnus slipped to the glass wall and stood watching. Aline was surrounded by machines. She looked pale and injured, just like he had seen Alec a couple months ago. His throat lumped up as the events of that flashed in his mind. How devastated Alec had been.

Alec sat on the stool next to Aline’s bed and placed his hand on her palm. She twitched and opened her eyes.

“Alec, is that you?”, she moaned.

“It’s me...Aline”, Alec whispered. She opened her eyes and looked at her friend. Really looked at him. He was chubbier than she remembered him...the paleness of his eyes and the dark circles were inconspicuous. He looked healthy and was glowing more than she remembered. His tattoo shown from his navy-blue button up shirt but unlike before, Alec wasn’t fiddling to hide his embarrassed. His hair had grown back, and the silky locks fell haphazardly on his forehead.

“You look different...”, she smiled and shifted aside, giving Alec space to sit on the bed next to her.

“I am glad Magnus is taking good care of you”, she moaned.

“I missed you, Al...so much”, Alec wiped the tears that streamed out of her eyes. “I am glad you’re ok. I told Magnus about you...he’s so thrilled to see you...”

“You kept your promise...you came back for me! Wait...Magnus, he’s here?”, her eyes popped open.

“Yeah...just outside. He is waiting to come inside. Do you want to...will you be ok meeting him?”

“I want to...I want to see the man who has your heart. And I’ve heard so much about him from you...it’s about time.”, she smiled and pushed hair away from his forehead. Alec stepped outside to escort Magnus inside the room. Magnus was very gentle with Aline and he maintained his distance until she was comfortable.

“Honey, meet Aline...and Aline, that’s Magnus, my husband.”, Alec introduced them to each other as soon as the man entered holding Alec’s hand.

“Hi...”, he whispered fisting his hands together and stepping away from Alec.

“Hi...”, Aline smiled. Alec pulled the lever of her bed such that it tilted up.

“How do you...feel? I hope you’re recovering well”, Magnus sat on the stool and spoke in a considerate tone.

“I am ok...thank you for asking”, Aline smiled. She was holding Alec’s hand tightly between hers as they lay on her waist.

“I am glad you’re ok. Alexander was really worried for you”, Magnus smiled and glanced at his husband who was stroking Aline’s knuckles.

“That’s just how he is...isn’t he?”, she replied, feeling proud of her friend.

“He is...uhh. It’s probably the worst time to do this but Aline...I wanted to thank you...”

“Thank me?”, Aline’s eyes widened.

Magnus’ eyes watered and he took a deep breath. “Thank you for being there for him...when no one was. He needed a friend...and a support system and you...”

“He was kind to me...in that hell hole”

“Thank you...for taking care of him”, Magnus’ last words choked into a sob. “I don’t think I can repay this debt even if I tried for my whole life. I owe you. So much. He is my life...Aline...and it destroyed me to lose him...and everytime I try to think of his time in Alaska, it just horrifies me...”, Magnus sniffled. Alec let go off Aline’s hand and reached out to his husband encircling him from behind. He kissed the back of Magnus’ head as the latter broke down.

“Thank you”, he ended.

“Magnus...it’s ok”, Alec whispered. Aline leaned forward and grabbed Magnus’ hand which was placed on the edge of the bed. “I am here”, he rubbed his arm.

“It was my pleasure. It was my duty to do this for Major Lightwood...and your husband. You owe me nothing, Magnus. It was something any good person would do for someone.”, she smiled and rubbed his knuckles.

“I do... I owe my life to you...”, Magnus nodded. “I can’t...live without him”

“I know... he is so lucky to have you...”

“I am the lucky one...”

“You both are. Not everyone gets their happy endings”, Aline sighed as her mind went to her lost soulmate. The woman who was the love of her life, her Helen Blackthorn.

“Don’t say that, Al...you just don’t know yet... Besides, my team is doing their best to locate your family...”, Alec sighed. “We have to go now...but I’ll come back and check on you tomorrow morning. Ok? If you need anything...you tell Jem...alright? Anything at all...”

“I promise...Alec. I’ll tell him. You go and have a nice day with your husband. Don’t worry about me. I am ok here...”

“I’ll always worry about you...”

“Well...add me to the list of the people who worry about the both of you”, Magnus wiped his eyes and gently raised his hand in the air. Alec scoffed as he kissed Magnus’ forehead.

“Come on...we got ourselves a picnic to gatecrash”, Alec patted Magnus’ shoulder and offered his hand. Magnus took the hand and waved at Aline as they exited the room.

As they walked out of Aline’s room and towards their car, Alec gently pulled his husband closer to him and wrapped an arm around his shoulder. “I love you”, he whispered against Magnus’ temple.

“I love you too”, Magnus moaned and smiled on Alec’s chest.

“Come on now, Sore guy...let’s just go...before you get all emotional again...just kidding...I missed you...”, Alec chuckled. Magnus pushed him on his chest.

They got in the car and proceeded to the campsite to join their family on the picnic. It was right outside the city, on the banks of the river. They pulled outside the camp area.

...

“You know, Izz, you need to calm down. It’s not good for the baby. You’re almost there...”, Simon sat next to his pregnant wife who was rubbing her belly.

“There should be...some sort of way...for them to let the family know...if their officers are ok. I mean...what’s the use of technology when...”, she closed her eyes and buried her head in her husband’s neck.

“Alec is supposed to return next week. Let’s just hope it’s all going ok, babe. That’s all we can do. I mean, I know it’s tough. I agree with that...but imagine what Magnus must be going through...or the woman who helped Alec in the camp. Alec owes her...we all owe her, and it’s only fair that he led the mission to rescue her”

“I don’t say that Alec going away wasn’t fair. It was. We owe it enough to the woman to rescue her. But, it’s the not knowing that hurts the most. I want to know that he is ok. Just that”, she pulled away from Simon and focused her gaze at her son and her nephew who were fishing in the river with a tall and robust man.

“I am absolutely ok, Iz”, might arms wrapped around Izzy’s collarbone.

“Alec?”, her breath hitched and turned around. She saw her brother grinning at her.

“Yo, Maxie...”, Magnus called out to his son. Max turned towards the direction of the voice and ran as soon as he recognized Alec.

“Oh my God. How are you back so early?”, she squeaked.

“We pulled through the mission earlier. I got her back, Iz”, Alec said, with pride in his voice.

“Dadaa”, Max cooed as he ran straight into Alec’s arms.

“Hey...”, Alec sang back and dropped on his knees to welcome a running Max in his arms. Max wrapped himself tightly around his father’s neck. “You’re back early”, he was delighted.

“I am”, Alec hummed. His voice was laden with happiness and emotions. Max pulled away and pointed towards the man who had Alec’s nephew in his arms as he walked towards them.

“Luke, helped me fish... I caught a fish”, Max announced.

“Wow...really? You know I could never catch one for myself”, Alec admitted. “I was really bad at it”

“No worries, Dada... I got your back. I can teach you to fish once I am good at it”, Max patted his father’s cheek making him scoff.

“I am sure you will, buddy”, Alec saw the man approaching them. He pulled Max in his arms and stood up.

“I am Luke Garroway”, the man extended his hand towards Alec. Alec narrowed his brows and took the proffered hand for a shake.

“Major Alec Lightwood. You’re the one who owns the jewelry shop in Manhattan...don’t you? Thanks for fixing this...”, Alec pointed at his wedding ring.

“Yeah...that would be me. I...uhh, anytime, Major Lightwood. It is a pleasure meeting you, finally. I feel incredibly proud whenever I meet someone from the defense forces”, the man smiled. Alec was not sure what Luke was doing here. He wasn’t family. He had heard Magnus talk about him on a few occasions...but mostly in regards to Luke’s job. What was he doing in a family picnic? He frowned his face trying to analyze the type of man Luke was when his mother joined them. Alec smiled and leaned forward to kiss her.

She extended her hand in the air. Alec put Max on the ground and hugged his mother.

“I am so proud of you”, she whispered. “Glad you’re back...and that you’re completely ok”, she kissed his temple and cupped his face as tears ran out of her eyes. Alec wiped them away and hugged her back.

“I am...”, Alec assured. “I told you I’d be careful”

Max looked around for Magnus and ran towards him as soon as he saw him.

“Papa”, he grinned and hugged his father who picked him up. Magnus kissed his son’s cheek and hugged him back. He was as confused as his husband as to why Luke was there on a family trip.

“Alec... I want you to meet Luke...”, Maryse bit her lip and introduced Alec to Luke, again.

“Yeah...we just met”, Alec shrugged. His arm rested on his mother’s shoulder as they approached the jeweler again.

“Umm...Luke is...uhh...very special to me, Alec”, Maryse spoke in a very low tone. Alec raised his brows and his lips curved in an O. Magnus shifted Max in his other arm as he realized what was going on.

“Oh...”, the Major gasped.

“Can I talk to you alone...both you and Magnus?”, she pursed her lips. Magnus nodded and put Max down asking him to join his cousin Alex while the couple and Maryse stepped aside.

“I am sorry I should have said something to you before. Luke...he, visited me a couple of times in regard to Jace and Clary’s upcoming wedding...and I just...we...started talking...and I know I should have told you and Magnus earlier...but it all happened when I wasn’t expecting. When I thought I could never be with someone again...and you and Magnus were settling in after you came back and I did not want to”

“Mom...calm down”, Alec held her shoulder.

“I am so sorry, Alec”, she panicked.

“Mom...”, Alec and Magnus said in unison. Maryse looked at him with a confusion on her face.

“Do you like him...?”, Alec asked. “and does he make you happy?”

Maryse bit her lip and nodded.

“Then, I am happy for you...right, Magnus? We’re happy for you...”, he glanced at his husband who put a hand on his shoulder and nodded.

“You deserve this, Mom”, Magnus added. Alec pulled Maryse to his chest. Magnus smiled and wrapped his arms around both his husband and mother-in-law.

They joined the picnic a moment later. Luke looked a little nervous. Probably because Alec didn’t look warm and fuzzy when he first met him. The soldier walked to his mother’s boyfriend with the conviction of a soldier.

“Thank you for taking care of my mother”

Luke gasped when he heard those words coming out of that scary looking son of the woman he liked.

“I...your welcome, Major Lightwood”

“You can call me Alec...and I don’t think I need to remind you but...if you hurt her...”

“You’ll shoot me right between my eyes...gotcha”, Luke completed his sentenced. Alec raised a brow and chuckled. They shook hands and Alec gestured him to join the rest of his family at the picnic table.

...

After dinner, the family sat around a bonfire. Alec and Magnus were curled up together, with Magnus arm wrapped around Alec’s shoulder and his hand entangled in Alec’s. Alec’s head was resting on Magnus’ shoulder. They had a single blanket over their legs.

“She looks happy”, Alec whispered looking at Maryse who was sitting on the log with Luke who was giving her marshmallows.

“I don’t remember her being this happy...since...well since Dad passed away”, Alec thought about his late-father who passed away when the kids were all toddlers. Alec was the only one who vaguely remembered him while both Jace and Izzy had been too small at the time.

“You did good...Major”, Magnus heaved a sigh and pressed a kiss on Alec’s hair.

“Hm?”

“This could have gone in such a different direction if you hadn’t been so welcoming about your mother’s relationship”

“Who am I to judge what they have, Magnus? Yes...probably the 5-year ago version of me must have reacted differently...and probably that’s the reason she panicked”, Alec felt guilt writhing up his throat.

“You were always just protective about your family, Alexander...and that, in my opinion, is justified. I, for one, would have loved to have a family to be protective over...”

“Magnus...”, Alec got up and turned around to face his husband. “You do have a family”, he protested and crashed his lips on Magnus’. Magnus moaned and grabbed Alec’s waist as his husband’s tongue made it’s way inside Magnus’ mouth.

“I know I do now...of all the things you have done for me, giving me a family...”, Magnus breathed against Alec’s mouth. “...has been one of the best things anyone has ever done for me...”, Magnus grinned.

“I love you”, Alec whispered and kissed Magnus again.

“I love you too”, Magnus sighed. Alec dropped his head nuzzling in the crook of Magnus’ neck. He wrapped his hand around Magnus’ waist. Magnus placed his palm on Alec’s back as they cuddled together in their blanket.

He looked around and saw Simon sitting with Izzy rubbing her belly. They were so happy. Clary and Jace were with Alex and Max, playing, God knows what game. Magnus rolled his eyes. He loved his family. He loved what he had been bestowed with. Alec had given him so much joy. A man, who he just happened to meet in the train almost a decade ago, became the center of his universe.

...

Magnus woke up all of a sudden when he felt warm and wet on his chest. He looked down and saw tears running down Alec’s eyes and the Major whimpering in pain. The sobs gradually became louder alerting Luke and Maryse who rushed to Magnus’ help. Magnus stopped them holding his palm in the air and asked them to stay back while he comforted his husband.

“Alexander”, Magnus rubbed Alec’s back. He could feel the sweat below Alec’s shirt as the shirt was warm and sticking to his husband’s body.

“Don’tt...h-urtt...him”, Alec groaned, his body shivering. Magnus felt the shaking beneath his touch and a wave of anxiety rushed through his mind. Who was Alec trying to stop...and who was going to get hurt?

“Hurt...who?”, Magnus popped his eyes open.

“Don’t...hurt...my husband...he”, Alec’s voice dropped to pleas. Magnus’ heart wrenched in pain. Alec was dreaming about someone trying to hurt Magnus.

“Nobody...is going to hurt...me”, Magnus rubbed Alec’s back, frantically. He didn’t know where this nightmare of Alec came from. For a while before Alec left for the mission, the nightmares had ceased. He had just gotten one episode or two last month and his PTSD was also getting better, one day at a time. But, this. This wasn’t something Magnus had noticed before. Not when Alec shook up at a very loud sound...or when he saw fire...he’d get these flashes of memories but most of them surrounded Sebastian’s attempts to sexually assault him. None of those flashes before featured Magnus as the subject of any harm.

“He...he’s... I can’t...lose him...Sebastian...”, Alec moaned. Magnus gritted his teeth together. That bastard. Sometimes he just wished he could see Sebastian and then punch the shit out of him. Sometimes, he also just missed his husband from before Alec was captured. Not that this Alec wasn’t good...he was the best. Any version of Alec was the best when it came to Magnus. He loved him no matter who he became. But, he missed how unharmed and safe Alec used to be feel before he took on that dreadful mission. He missed his flirty husband who had a witty comeback for everything. Sebastian had taken away that part of Alec and even though both he and the Major were trying to get the old Alec back, it was tougher than they though. Of course, they were getting there...but I am sure it was going to be a lot more years of struggle before Alec returned to his old self.

“Alexander...wake up honey”, Magnus patted Alec’s cheek. At this point, he just wanted to break Alec’s nightmare and wake him up so that he understood that whatever Alec was seeing, was not real.

Luke gripped Maryse tightly against his chest when he saw her lose control. “He’ll be ok...he’ll be ok”, he whispered. Her hands clasped against Luke’s shirt watching her son writhe in his sleep.

“Alexander”, Magnus raised his voice and shook his husband’s shoulder. Alec broke out of trance and fluttered his eyes open. Maryse took a step forward but Luke held her back. Alec blinked away his sleep and scanned his environment. When his gaze fell back on Magnus, he leaped on his husband wrapping his arms tightly around him.

“You’re ok”, he cried, breathing heavily.

“I am...”, Magnus narrowed his brows, still rubbing Alec’s back.

“When...I was at the camp...”, Alec whispered against Magnus’ neck. “Sebastian...would give me...something to drink...that drink...it was bitter and then made me see you...usually in place of someone from his camp...but I could see you...”, Alec pulled away and tightly grasped Magnus’ shirt.

“Hm...”, Magnus wiped Alec’s tears away.

“And then...he would...he would...kill that person in front of me...or pretend to, I don’t know...he would hurt him...hurt you”, Alec’s eyes were bleeding of fear.

“Alexander”, Magnus gasped.

“and leave me alone to think that it was you who he killed. I saw you die...Magnus, over and over again. I saw you die.”, Alec closed his eyes.

“It’s ok...we’ll get through this. Look at me, I am safe...living...breathing”, he held Alec’s wrist and lifted his palm to rest on his chest. “Do you feel it...my heart beating?”, he whispered.

Alec felt the throbbing of Magnus’ heart against his chest and nodded, biting his lip.

Maryse relaxed when she saw Alec dropping back in Magnus’ arms and relaxing his muscles. Luke and her, stepped back to give Magnus and Alec some space.

“And...”, Magnus took his lips close to Alec’s ear. “...my groin is still sore...from this morning. So, that’s also good evidence that I am very much alive and at pleasure”, he whispered. Alec scoffed and looked at Magnus.

“You’re impossible”, he cried. He rubbed his eyes and wiped off the moisture.

“I know, baby”, Magnus nudged Alec’s chin and pressed a kiss on it. “Goodnight, Alexander. Sleep and when you wake up, I’ll still be here.”, he assured his husband.

“Night...Magnus”, Alec mumbled and settled in a comfortable spot on Magnus’ chest.

...

 

The crashing of the waves of the lake on the shore woke Alec up from his sleep. He was curled on his husband’s chest. The bonfire had gone out and there was just smoke coming out from the burnt woods. He tilted his head up with only one eye open. Izzy and Simon must have been asleep in their tent. Jace and Clary were cuddled by the logs while Alex and Max were snoring in a sleeping bag in front of Simon and Izzy’s tent.

He looked towards the dock area and Luke was sitting on the edge of the dock with a fishing rod that was stretching inside the lake. Maryse was standing by the picnic table chopping something. He stretched and looked up. Magnus’ head was tilted away from him, but his palm rested on Alec’s shoulder blade. Alec cupped his chin and turned it to the other side which was a little more comfortable spot. He gently pulled him out of Magnus’ embrace tucking his sleeping husband in their large and warm blanket. Magnus relaxed as he used the rest of the blanket as a pillow and cuddled into it. Alec smiled and kissed his temple before getting up.

He stretched his arms in the air and yawned. It was a beautiful and chilly morning. But it was perfect. He had everyone he loved, around him and there’s nothing the Major desired more. He walked to the picnic table and sat down dropping his head on both his wrists.

“What are you making?”, he asked in his raspy voice, a yawn escaping his lips.

“The fruit cream that you, Iz and Jace love so much”, she smiled. “Go, wash your face and come back. Your hair is all over the place”, Maryse narrowed her brows and ruffled his thick locks.

“Um, not yet”, Alec complained and crossed his hands on the table, burying his head in them. Luke joined them with his freshly caught fishes.

“Morning, Alec”, he mumbled. Alec looked up catching Luke and Maryse pull away after a soft kiss. He smiled and removed his gaze from them not making them aware that he had seen the two of them share a kiss.

“Morning, Luke”, Alec replied, in a warmer tone than was expected from the Major. Or so, the Lightwoods expected.

“Alec...”, Maryse rose her voice. “Go and wash your face. Come on, baby”

“Fine...”, Alec whined and got up to go. When he came back, he went to check up on Alex and Max. They were both up, surprisingly and giggling on their sleeping bags.

“Morning...”, Alec smiled kneeling next to his son and nephew.

“Morning, Dada”, Max smiled. “Morning, Uncle Alec”, Alex added. “Dadda?”, Max sat up and narrowed his brows at his father. “We want to go and check out the forest...”, he asked.

“No”, Alec shook his head.

“Please...come on, please. You come with us. And we’ll come back before anyone wakes up”, Max eyed him, pleadingly.

“No... it’s too dangerous, Max. I can’t. Nope. Besides, Alex’s mother will cut me into pieces if I took you two on a hike, inside the forest. Nope.”, Alec shook his head, determined to not give in to his son’s puppy dog eyes.

“Please...Dada...please. We haven’t had an adventure together...Papa and I... we have...but I need something between you and me too”, Max played his emotional blackmail card and Alec seemed to have fallen for it.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea. Your Papa will be mad at me if any of us gets hurt”, Alec sighed looking at Magnus who was still fast asleep.

“Fine...then...there’s a little geyser a little further from here. Can we go there, atleast? Everyone can still see us from here. And it is safe.”, Max folded his hands together, almost on his knees.

“Fine...ok. We can go there. But you and Alex...you stay right in front of my eyes. No scurrying around or I will be very cross. Is that understood?”, Alec lifted his index finger to emphasize.

“We promise...we won’t leave your sight”, Max smiled, clapping his hands.

...

“Morning, Mum”, Magnus yawned and took a seat at the picnic table. Alec’s army jacket was hanging on his shoulders as his eyes darted around to locate his son and his husband. Maryse lifted her chin up towards one direction and Magnus saw Alec sitting by the geyser while the two kids played around. His lips curved into a smile.

“He’s ok?”, he asked his mother-in-law. Maryse looked at Alec and back at Magnus and nodded in assurance.

“Since morning, he is. In fact, I am surprised at how warm he is with Luke. Magnus, this is our Alec. He would have never accepted me with anyone. Do you remember the ruckus he created when Isabelle told us about Simon”?

“In fact, I do...but we know he is like that because he is protective of us. Overprotective sometimes but then, that’s Major for us. He’ll do anything, be anything to make sure his family is safe”, Magnus shrugged thinking back at the time Isabelle first brought Simon home for Thanksgiving and introduced him as her boyfriend. Alec almost pinned him to his chair, scaring the boy to death. Isabelle hadn’t spoken to him for weeks when finally, Alec had to apologize for being so firm with Simon.

That’s how he always had been. A softie on the inside but a monster when it came to his family. So, when he actually accepted Luke without so much so as an interrogation, everyone was taken aback.

“I miss him sometimes. Our Alec. The one who would have killed Luke yesterday just because I had started dating him”, Maryse sighed and sat down on the table curling her hands together in a fist. Magnus looked at Alec again and nodded, a tint of moisture collecting in his eyes.

“He’s still in there...we just have to be patient”, Magnus assured.

Alec returned with Alex and Max, a few minutes later. The kids were cooing and singing with joy as they held little shells in their tiny hands. Max showed the shells to Magnus who was very proud of him as he kissed his forehead. Magnus was now sitting by Isabelle’s tent where she was having her soup. Simon had gone out to arrange their vehicles for their return because there had been a storm forecast and it wasn’t safe for Izzy to stay out in that weather. Alec kissed Izzy’s cheek as he joined her and Magnus. He dropped next to his husband and cupped his face to press a kiss on his lips.

“Morning”, he whispered against Magnus’ lips. Magnus smiled and mouthed Good Morning with a grin on his face.

“I had actually forgotten how diabetically sappy the two of you are”, Izzy rolled her eyes. Alec parted his lips from Magnus and glared at his little sister.

“You, don’t get to...”, he raised his index finger. “You and Simon can’t keep your hands off each most of the time. I’ve got proof”, he pointed at her belly.

“Alexander...”, Magnus gasped. “Don’t be mean”, he chuckled.

“Fuck you, Alexander Lightwood”, Izzy growled. She leaned forward and slapped his arm and Alec, being a kid again, slapper her arm back.

...

“Izz, what are you doing here...and where’s Magnus?”, Alec narrowed his brows as he pushed the door of Isabelle’s office open. She wasn’t supposed to be there. She was on the end of her term and her belly had become really huge.

“He is out in the field. Going over the building plans with the Branwells. What are you doing here? I thought you’d be at the Base Academy for the first training session with the new recruits of the Air Force?”, Izzy interrogated back, looking up from her laptop, with her specs resting on her nose.

“He...I had to pick him up because his car broke down...and the training session was good...it was the first day and the only thing that had to be done was giving them their first assignments...and you still didn’t tell me what are you doing here? You should be at home”, Alec arched a brow.

“I know...I know. I had forgotten some files in this system. Jace dropped me to pick them up. I’ll be on my way...just uploading them on the Cloud”

“Jace...where’s your chocolate boy...Simon?”, Alec frowned. Izzy pursed her lips and shot him a death stare.

“He’s not a chocolate boy, Alec...come on. It’s been over 5 years...cut him some slack. He fears you...and for good reason”, she shrugged.

“He’s so...so...”, Alec’s face curved into a chuckle and he ducked down seeing a pencil flying towards him. “I’ll be back...let me see if Magnus has left a note on his desk”, Alec waved and closed the door of her room. He was right...Magnus had left him a note, apologizing for disappearing and asking him to go back home...and that he would catch a cab back to their loft.

Alec sighed and turned around to leave. He put on his coat and pushed out of Magnus’ office when a screech captured his attention. He rushed to Izzy’s room and found her leaning back on her chair and groaning in pain. He called her name and walked to her.

“Alec...”, she mumbled. “My water...broke”, she informed. Alec gulped and kneeled in front of her.

“What can I do...?”, he panicked and squeezed her wrist.

“Take me to the hospital...you idiot”, she complained. Alec nodded and picked her up.

“You’re heavy”, he panted as he opened the door of her office with his shoulder. She smacked his chest and then pressed her nails on his arm as a sharp pain rose in her belly.

“Ow...Iz, relax”, Alec winced in pain. He ran towards his car and helped her sit in the front seat, reclining the back of the seat to give her a more comfortable position. She was holding her belly and breathing heavily.

“Where the hell is Simon?”, Alec cursed. He was dialing Simon but it was going out of reach.

“He’s out for a meeting in Ontario”, Izzy informed as Alec sat in the driver’s seat and put on his seatbelt.

“He’s out of town...leaving you like this?...I will kill him when he returns”, Alec growled and dialed Magnus.

“Magnus...hey Magnus...Izzy’s going into labor...and I am taking her to the hospital...but...”, he blurted out in one breath.

“Alexander...relax...tell me everything one by one...don’t rush anything”

“Izzy...is going into labor”, Alec slowed down as he watched Izzy and the road ahead. “I am taking her to the clinic...”, he added.

“Ok...give her something to bite on...and make sure the car isn’t too cold...or too warm”, Magnus instructed. Alec nodded and pulled out a towel from the dashboard and handed it over to Izzy. “Bite this...Izz. Magnus says it’ll help you”, he said. He turned the regulator to a moderate temperature.

“Magnus...I am scared. I haven’t done this before...”, he cried.

“You’ll be ok. I trust you Major. Don’t worry, I am rescheduling my meeting...and on my way...just hold on. I'll see you at the hospital...”

“You stay on line...Magnus...I need you”

“I am here...”

“Alec...it hurts”, Izzy groaned. Alec’s heart winced in pain. Watching his little sister cry and squeal as her belly twisted.

“Izz...hey...do you want to hold my hand?”, he offered his free hand, plugging a bluetooth in his ear. “Come on...sweetie, breathe with me...we’ll count to 10 and breath in and breathe out...”, he whispered as Izzy squeezed his wrist digging his nails in them.

“Breathe in...”, he nodded. “Yes...just like that...see you’re doing good...so good...”, he smiled at her...relaxing a bit when he felt that he could take care of her.

“Honey...distract her...”, Magnus instructed in his ear.

“Hey...Iz...uhh...do you remember that creepy crazy doll that you used to have?”

“Mrs Shortcake...yeah”, she narrowed her brows.

“Breathe in...breathe out...yeah...why Mrs Shortcake though. That’s the weirdest name ever”, Alec shook his head.

“Shut up...you called your teddy as Church...what kind of a name was that? Church...”, she spat.

“Fair enough...anyway. So... Mrs Shortcake...remember she got lost...?”, Alec asked.

“Yeah...yeah...because of you...you lost her”, she growled squeezing Alec’s wrist under her grasp.

“Izzz...stop...oh my God”, he winced. “I didn’t lose...her...it was Jace...”, he huffed in pain. “It was Jace”, he sighed when Izzy loosened her grip around his wrist.

“Jace lost her...?”, she popped her eyes open.

“Yeah...he actually accidentally threw her out of the car window...when you were asleep...on our way to the picnic”, Alec chuckled. Izzy grumbled.

“I’ll kill Jace...he took Mrs Shortcake from me...I’ll kill him. But why did you say that you lost it?”

“Because Jace and Mom...asked me to...Mom knew you couldn’t be angry with me for a very long time...breathe in...little one...we’re almost there...and Mom was right. You did accept my apologies a week later”, Alec smiled and entwined his fingers in his sister’s.

“Alec...”, she sighed and lost her voice. “You always could get through to me...”, she smiled and then squeaked again.

Alec drove the car in the parking and rushed out to the other side. He opened the door and lifted his sister up and ran towards the ER. The medics saw him rush in with a pregnant woman and a wheelchair was summoned. Izzy was scared, and she didn’t leave Alec’s hand even after she sat down.

“I am here”, he sat in front of her when she refused to go inside the operation theatre. “You trust me right...Izz? I am here...every step of the way”, he smiled and kissed her forehead and then instructed the medics to take her in. She requested that her brother be let in with her and they allowed.

They transferred Isabelle to the stretcher and helped Alec scrub in to avoid infections. He rushed to Izzy’s bedside as soon as his cap and mask were in place. She was lying on the table with her knees folded up and legs straddled. There was a sheet covering her lower part of the body.

Alec grabbed her hand and rubbed her forehead which was drenched in sweat.

“Push...Iz...you can do this...do this for my niece...push...little one”, she whispered caressing her forehead.

“Alec...”, she moaned and opened her eyes. He curved his mouth in an “o” and gestured her to breathe out air. She imitated him and nodded when he gave her an assuring smile. “You’re doing so good...so good...I am so proud of you Iz...so proud.”, he brushed her hair away from her sweaty face.

“You know...”, she spoke. “...when you died...when we thought...when we...”

Alec felt a lump in his throat. “Don’t say anything...it’s ok. I am back...you don't need to think of that time when I was gone...alright?”, he tried to calm his own emotions down.

“No...no I need...when we thought you died... I felt... I felt guilty for being angry with you...all those times in our childhood when we fought...”, she winced and pushed again as Alec encouraged her. “I thought that if I hadn’t...hadn’t been angry with you...we would have had more time... because when I stood there...in front of your tombstone...I felt so empty Alec...so empty...like someone had taken away a part from me...”, she felt tears form in her eyes. Alec wiped the tears away from her face and kissed her knuckles.

“You have all the time now...I am here...with you...ok?”, he whispered. She smiled and nodded, and used all her energy to push again.

“Mrs Lewis...”, the doctor called. Alec looked at the doctor and then at Izzy when he saw her eyes drooping. “Mr Lightwood...she needs to do this...she can’t give up”, the doctor informed. Alec straightened himself up and patted her cheek.

“Izz...wake up...wake up. Come on...wake up”, he called out to her. “Come on...you’re the strongest woman I know...you can do this”

“Alec...”, she moaned, rolling her eyes inside her eyelids.

“Yes...yes...do it for my niece...come on...push”, he rubbed her forehead. She looked at him and then gave another push...and dropped back on the bed, shutting her eyes. Alec pressed her hand on his chest as he heard the shrill cry of a newborn baby.

“Mrs Lewis...you have a beautiful baby girl...Mr Lightwood, congratulations...your niece is healthy and extremely beautiful. Would you like to hold her?”, the doctor smiled and wrapped the baby in a white towel, giving her to Alec. Alec held the cooing baby in his arms and his eyes widened with tears clouding his vision. She was so beautiful.

“Iz”, he turned towards his sister who had fallen unconscious after the labor. Something made Alec look up towards the glass wall in front of him and there he saw him. His husband, standing on the other side, his hands crossed on his chest. He had a smile on his face. Alec gestured at the baby in his arms and Magnus nodded.

He gave the baby back to the nurse who took her away to clean her up. Alec waited as they took Izzy away to the other room after cleaning her up. He disposed off his scrubs and came out of the door and saw Magnus waiting for him.

Absent-mindedly he walked into Magnus’ arms and wrapped his hands tightly around his husband.

“Congratulations, Alexander...”, Magnus kissed the nape of Alec’s neck and rubbed his back.

“Magnus”, Alec pulled away and placed his hands on Magnus’ shoulder. “I... that...all of that...my niece...she is so beautiful...I had forgotten how I had felt when we first held Max in our arms...but all that...came back to me. And that girl is just so beautiful...she has Izzy's eyes...they're just like her, and when she looked at me...she smiled...Magnus...she smiled...just like Max...”, he mumbled...lips trembling as he spoke. “I had forgotten how much I missed Max being a baby again...in our arms”, he choked.

“Yeah...I know...I know. I was there when Alex was born...and I relived everything we felt with Max. He’s growing up so fast...sometimes I just wish he’d stop growing... he should just stay our little boy forever”, Magnus cupped his face.

“Magnus...I... think...I... we should...”, he breathed out heavily, not sure how to put forth what was on his mind.

“I know what you’re thinking...Alexander...and yes...yes...me too”, Magnus smiled and kissed his forehead.

“Yes...what? You too...what?”, Alec popped his eyes open.

“I would love to have another child of ours...someone we can cuddle with and pamper, now that Max is growing up”, Magnus smiled.

“How did...?”, Alec gasped.

“They say...marriages do that...to people...”, Magnus winked. Alec scoffed and kissed Magnus.

“Let’s have another child...”, Alec breathed against Magnus’ neck.

Yes.

That felt like the right thing to do.