Alec didn’t usually let himself get this drunk, but it was Isabelle’s 50th birthday, so he figured he was allowed to let himself go just a little bit. The loft was full of family and friends, but Alec hung back towards the entrance to the kitchen, sipping on his beer and people watching. Everything was a little bit hazy, except for his sister’s face, which was lit up as she laughed at something Maia said to her. The truth was that Alec was feeling uneasy, because even though she was clearly happy, his sister looked more tired than usual. She had been injured recently on a mission. She wasn’t really supposed to be going on missions anymore, but she was still as stubborn as ever, even now that she was older.
Alec held up his hand in front of his face, and noted that while his skin was still smooth aside from the scars that had accumulated over the years, Isabelle’s was weathered. She had aged gracefully, but the differences were still obvious. It made Alec feel a little bit sick, like his stomach was twisting- though that may have been due to the alcohol. He had stopped aging decades ago, and it hadn’t even really been a choice. He couldn’t leave Magnus behind, couldn’t watch the light in his eyes dim with each passing day as he grew older. He wanted his husband forever, and that would never change. Even so, he couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that his siblings were growing older, and one day they would be gone.
“What’s wrong, darling?” Magnus appeared then, and his voice was strangely calm in comparison to Alec’s jumbled thoughts. He wanted to explain the dread that was rushing through his veins, but he couldn’t seem to find the right words, so instead he kept it simple.
“They’re getting older,” he said, meeting his husband’s eyes, “and I’m staying the same. I’m always going to stay the same.”
An emotion crossed over Magnus’ face, but it was gone in the next second, too quick for Alec to interpret it, especially in his state. “I think it’s time for you to go to bed,” Magnus said in reply, and Alec didn’t protest as his husband took hold of his arm, guiding him through the crowd of people into their bedroom. He shut the door behind them and leaned against it, oddly quiet given the cheerful atmosphere that the party was creating, and Alec felt an underlying sense of anxiety. Something was wrong. He wasn’t sure what exactly it was, but he knew it was there. He had become very accustomed to Magnus’ behavior over the years.
“Are you okay?” he asked as he took off his shoes, stumbling a little bit as he tried to step forward at the same time.
Magnus looked at him for a few seconds, his expression blank, and then he offered a tiny smile and nodded. “Get some rest,” he said quietly, and without another word, he opened the door and slipped back out into the hallway to join the party once more. It took Alec a while to fall asleep that night, his heart racing in his chest for reasons that he wasn’t entirely sure of.
The first thing he noticed when he woke up was that Magnus’ familiar warmth was absent. It was an unusual occurrence at that point. They usually made a habit to wake up and make breakfast together before they went about their work days. It was their small little bubble of alone time, and it was one of Alec’s favorite things to do. That morning, however, he could already smell coffee. His mind flashed back to the night before, when Magnus’ walls slammed down so suddenly, and once again he felt anxious. Had he done something wrong? Been more drunk than he realized?
His head pounded painfully as he sat up, and he let out a quiet groan, raising his hand and running his fingers through his hair. He was so used to Magnus magicking away his hangovers that he couldn’t remember the last time he had one. After going to the bathroom and splashing some cold water on his face, he went out to the kitchen, where Magnus was standing with his back facing him. He seemed to be lost in thought, unmoving as he leaned against the counter.
“Good morning,” Alec spoke, and Magnus jumped slightly but didn’t turn around right away. Instead, he lifted the mug he was holding to his mouth, taking a long sip. Alec waited at the other side of the counter, feeling jittery and just a little bit impatient as Magnus turned around slowly.
“I made coffee,” Magnus replied in place of a greeting, and with every passing second Alec felt more and more wrong, like he was running toward a steel wall at full speed and he couldn’t stop or slow down no matter how much he wanted to.
“Magnus,” he said, pausing when he realized how desperate he already sounded. He continued after taking a deep breath, his nails digging into his palms so he had something else to focus on. “Did I do something wrong?”
Magnus set his mug down on the counter, all of his movements slow and controlled. Alec had always loved Magnus’ elegance, how everything he did was calculated and smooth, but now he seemed so robotic. Alec tapped his foot nervously as he waited for an answer.
“Do you regret it?” Magnus asked, his eyes finally rising to meet Alec’s. They were harder than usual, guarded in a way Alec hadn’t seen directed at himself in years.
“Regret what?” Magnus shook his head, dropping his gaze to his half empty mug.
“They’re getting older, and I’m staying the same. I’m always going to stay the same,” Magnus quoted, and Alec felt cold, like someone had injected ice water into his bloodstream. “That’s what you said to me last night. So please, Alexander, tell me. Do you regret choosing this life? Choosing me?”
“No.” He couldn’t get the word out fast enough, every cell in his body vibrating with panic. The truth was that no words could describe just how ridiculous the thought of that was. Magnus Bane was the love of his life, he was in him, a vital piece of him that would tear him apart if he was removed. There was no world in which Alec would choose any differently. Not a single one.
“Magnus,” he said breathily, stepping around the counter. “I have never regretted staying with you. Not for a single second. Choosing you was the easiest decision I’ve ever had to make, easier than giving away my bow and quiver, and kissing you in front of everyone, and speaking out against the Inquisitor. Those were all hard and scary things for me, but choosing to stay with you? That didn’t even require a second of thought. You’re it for me. You have been since we met.” He reached forward slowly to rest his hand on Magnus’ shoulder, and stopped himself from sighing in relief when he didn’t pull away.
Magnus was still for a moment, and then he turned to face Alec, his cat eyes out in their full glory. They were full to the brim with tears, and Alec’s heart felt like it was ripping in half as he swept him thumbs across his husband’s cheeks. There were few things more painful than seeing Magnus cry. He was usually so put together, so bright and positive, but his tears were like a dark storm across his eyes, closing him off from the world that had been so cruel to him.
“Then why?” Why were you so upset last night? Why did you sound like you wished you were going with them?
Alec sighed, and pulled Magnus into him, feeling a little bit steadier when his husband dipped his head to rest against his shoulder. “I’m going to miss them,” he admitted, as if it was a secret. “I spent a good portion of my life constantly looking after them, making sure they were okay and staying out of too much trouble, and now I’m watching them head toward old age and I can’t do anything about it. I can’t save them, and I know that they didn’t want this life, but sometimes I wish that they would have chosen it for me anyway.”
It was a selfish wish, one that he knew he had no right to hold onto, but he couldn’t exactly help it. They were still his little siblings, no matter what. Magnus sagged against him then, his arms wrapping loosely around his waist. They stayed like that for a while, letting the words and the reality of their situation sink in.
“I’m sorry,” Alec said a few moments later, and Magnus stepped back enough so that their eyes met. He hadn’t put his glamour back up, which Alec appreciated greatly.
“I shouldn’t have assumed the worst of you.” He lifted his hand to rest on Alec’s cheek, and Alec leaned into the touch, reveling in the warmth his husband gave off. “Your siblings love you, Alexander. I can assure you that they don’t want to leave you behind. But if there’s one thing I learned over the centuries, it’s that you can’t expect the people you love to choose a life they were never meant to live.”
The ghost of past lovers and the flare of pain that he had endured over and over again was evident in Magnus’ eyes, and although it would be hard when his siblings left him behind, he knew that he was lucky. He already had the love of his life in his arms. He didn’t have to go through centuries of agony in order to find the person he was meant to be with forever, and he vowed that he would never take that privilege for granted.
“I guess it’s a good thing that this is the path I’m meant to be on, then,” Alec said, grinning when the tension in the room vanished completely as Magnus smiled.
He lifted his arms to rest on Alec’s shoulder’s and leaned in close, so that their lips were almost touching, and whispered, “I’m right there beside you,” and Alec’s heart may or may not have skipped like this was new, like they had just met and the spark had just ignited. He wouldn’t trade it for anything.