Alec didn't like kids, it was as simple as that.
Some people liked coffee, others preferred tea. Some people didn't like winters and others didn't like summers while some didn't- you get the point.
Alec didn't get what was so wrong with his dislike for children- it's totally reasonable. All the kids in the world were messy, noisy, talkative, naughty crying balls of shit and basically unnecessary boulders that Alec doesn't want to attract in his life. Max was different since he was his brother and he had had to put up with all the mess and constant yelling and crying and learn to love him- which didn't prove to be that difficult now that he was grown up. And to give him some credit, he had been much mature than any kid of his age.
But on a whole babies and small kids were tyrants whom Alec distinctly avoided. Which was why he was annoyed to find an unwanted addition to his daily coffee routine that morning, in the form of a 4 year old boy.
The day had started well enough with Alec gathering his laptop and other writing materials early in the morning to head out towards his favorite café across the street.
'Expresso Patronum' was a one of a kind café with Harry Potter as its theme. It seemed simple enough from the outside with a magic wand showering glitter on the café's unique name but the moment he entered it he was enveloped with its magical enviroment. The interior was decorated somewhat similarly as the Great Hall had been in the movies with owls perching on the window sills and wizard hats placed artfully everywhere. The oak tables and chairs were the comfiest things Alec had ever lounged in and he hadn't even come around to the best part of the place yet. A whole corner was filled with wooden bookshelves containing all kinds of harry potter graphic novels and various editions of the original series along with a variety of other books that the customers were free to browse through and read. Call him a nerd but Alec was in love with the place. It was like a second home to him.
He would enter the café early in the morning after a walk or a run and spend whole evenings there behind his laptop as he worked on his upcoming novel in a corner while sipping on his coffee and devouring the croasiants, occasionally venturing towards the bookshelf for a break. Him being a daily customer, Simon and Clary didn't really mind that he basically lived there. It also helped that Simon was a huge fan of his books and Alec often caught him peeking over his shoulder and had to shoo him away with his scariest death glare. Simon was a huge nerd, there was no denying that and he was annoying enough that Alec was starting to like the guy. The redhead was too cheery for his taste and Alec did his best to balance the atmosphere with his signature scowl whenever she was around. The two of them also seemed to take on the role of his mother sometimes. On days where he would find himself tormented by writer's block, deleting sentence after sentence he would find cinnamon buns and croissants magically appear on his table while his cup of coffee seemed to refill itself. No matter what Alec said none of them would admit their role in the magical appearance of food but the whole situation did usually cheer him up in the end so there was that.
That very day Simon was off duty so Alec had got in a very productive session of writing without any interruptions of poking heads and barely concealed gasps as Simon read over his shoulder. But it wasn't until he wrote well over three chapters that he allowed himself to take a well deserved break and bent forward in his seat, stretching his long arms to pick up a book from the shelf beside him. But it became rather hard to concentrate on how Hermione Granger had punched Draco Malfoy in the face when it soon became obvious that someone was staring at him. Alec lowered his book in annoyance to find a pair of bright blue eyes boring into him from across the table.
The chubby little kid seemed to be about 4 years old with a tuft of black hair, dressed in a baby blue onesie and matching shoes and wait- was that glitter in his hair? Alec blinked as the little boy continued to stare up at him, his little head propped up in his hands and elbows resting on the table nonchalantly.
Alec raised an eyebrow at him. He was trying his best to keep the disgust and irritation off his face as Isabelle had kicked him countless times about not scaring little kids to death with his glares and scowls. But it seemed so unfair that even when Alec was on a break he was to be disturbed by rude toddlers staring at him. The toddler in question seemed to be fascinated by Alec and tried to mimic his action of raising an eyebrow but only ended up in scrunching his face comically while glaring at his own brows.
Alec found himself exercising an increasing amount of self control as his lips twitched in betrayal and immediately rolled his eyes to cover it up. In an instant the little boy copied that too and although Alec would never admit it he was actually impressed at the kid's eye rolling skills. He was most certainly not an amateur.
"Aren't you a parrot", he mused, mostly to himself, sarcasm dripping from every word, but the kid's sharp ears caught what he was saying.
"I'm not parrot, I'm Max", he chimed in a high pitched voice, a huge grin appearing on his face which was bright enough to blind Alec.
"Alright", he snorted, despite himself. This kid seemed to be growing on him. "I'm Alec."
"Hi, Alec", Max said solemnly, sticking out a hand. Alec stared at the kid in wonder. Two seconds ago Max had been grinning like mad and now he looked at Alec with such serious eyes that were quite beyond his years. To Alec's credit he accepted Max's little hand which seemed to disappear in his own one and shook it lightly. This little boy was the exact opposite of what he had expected- Izzy would be really proud that he wasn't 'glaring his eyes off' right now. As if to prove him wrong Max broke into giggles the next moment.
"What?" Alec frowned and turned his head in the direction Max was pointing to find Clary taking in a customer's order right behind him. It was only when he gave her a closer look that he spotted the generous amount of cream smeared on her forehead. Alec nearly choked on his own spit as he looked back at the boy, wondering if he had somehow managed to do that. He could definitely put up with anybody who humiliated Fray. Max was still giggling, his mouth puffed up adorably as he tried to stuff his fists in his mouth in an attempt to stop his laughter.
Holy shit, this kid was performing black magic on him. Alec had called him adorable.
"Did you do that?" he asked the boy, not too sternly, and as an answer Max merely shrugged, a devilish smile on his face. Alec studied the kid more closely, trying to note all the details that he had missed out earlier. Alec was an expert at picking up details, his observation powers had no match(at leat not in this world. He was dirt when compared to Sherlock Holmes). As a writer this helped him a great deal and he would spend hours just observing others- their habits, expressions, language- everything. It was part of the reason why his books sold quite well as he was able to capture the moment beautifully, going into the intricacies of life that many people just swept over in reality.
Max had a casual look on his face but Alec could tell that he was hiding something. The little boy's hand's were wrapped around a vanilla milkshake that he had finished a long time ago and he wasn't still for even a moment, fiddling with his hands or just tapping his fingers against his thigh as his bright blue eyes ran over everywhere, as if searching for something- no, someone.
"Where are your parents?" Alec frowned, looking around for any elderly person who seemed to be responsible for the kid. Maybe they were on a call or had gone to the counter for sone extra napkins but Alec couldn't really find anyone in such a situation. Infact the only people in the cafe were a bunch of teenagers laughing their heads off, an elderly women chatting merrily with her grand daughter and a straight couple busy sucking at each other's face. Alec grimaced and turned back to Max who was shrugging his shoulders carelessly, though her eyes were cast downwards in what seemed to be worry.
"Papa left me here. He told me not to leave and that he would come for me later", Max said, repeating his father's words obediently. Alec's frown didn't disappear. What had his father meant by later? Had he just abandoned Max?
Alec's eyes widened at the thought and he almost cursed out aloud. No, his imagination was running wild, this sort of stuff only happened in books and movies... right?
"How long have you been waiting here, Max?" he asked uneasily, eyes fixated on the blue boy. He prayed to God that his dad had just been gone a couple of minutes.
Beside him Max's face scrunched up for a moment as he looked at the clock on the wall to his left, trying to calculate the time. He looked back at Alec with a smile on his chubby face and held up three fingers.
"Three hours", he grinned proudly at his counting abilities but dread seeped through Alec's veins. No parent would ever leave their child alone for that long. The truth, though it seemed unnerving and hard to believe, was that Max had been abandoned by his father and now Alec was responsible for him.
Well, he could just get up and leave right now, pretend that this conversation had never happened and he had never seen a blue boy named Max but Alec didn't have to think about it twice. Even though he hated children he knew that he didn't have the heart to do this. His conscience wouldn't let him rest if he too deserted this little kid.
Max seemed to be catching on to the other man's anxiousness. "What's the matter?" he asked, frowning back. His face was suddenly stricken with fear. "Do you think Papa is hurt?" he asked, biting his lip and all but jumped up from his seat. "Did something bad happen to him? Is that why he hasn't come?" he demanded, his whole body trembling with worry and fear.
Looking at the Max's huge blue eyes that threatened to spill out tears at any moment, Alec couldn't gather the courage to tell him that his Papa had abandoned him. No kid deserved this, and suddenly Alec felt a fierce emotion of fury spread inside him, towards the boy's father. What had the man been thinking? Did he have any idea what he was inflicting upon Max? If Alec hadn't started talking to him would Max have sat here the whole day? Alec grit his teeth together, eyes shut tightly as he balled up his fists. But this was no time to lose his temper, Alec thought, unclenching his fists in an effort to get himself together. His eyes fluttered open and he took a deep breath to steady himself. The little kid needed him.
"No, I don't think he is hurt", Alec told Max, hoping he sounded convincing enough. Thankfully the boy seemed to believe him and calmed down a little.
"We should go and find him", Max decided, blinking back his tears and putting on a brave face. If his Papa needed him then Max wasn't going to disappoint him.
Alec marveled the speed at which Max's mood has changed and his firm determination before remembering the problem at hand. Max turned his attention to Alec, eyes shining bright and wide as he gazed up expectantly.
"Will you help me find him, please?" Max pleaded, knowing that he would be needing some help. Max was very intelligent for his age but nobody took notice of children. He needed an adult on his side if he wanted to find his Papa. Plus, Alec seemed to be a nice man. They had both been talking for a while so he was no stranger- Papa had taught him to never go anywhere with a stranger.
Alec looked down at the kid, startled by his sudde request and analyzed his options. If Alec didn't accompany Max he was sure that the little hero would wander off himself to find his father, there would be no stopping him. Who knew what would happend then, nothing good for sure. And on the other hand there was no harm in accompanying Max as he searched for his father. Alec could call the police while they did so and then the police could gently explain the situation to Max. Yes, that sounded like a perfect plan.
"Alright", Alec nodded and smiled against his will as he saw Max's face light up with delight. God, this boy was something else. He took in a sharp breath as the boy grabbed onto his hand. Warmth seeped from Max's tiny little fingers to his own, seeming to fill up his entire body and Alec felt something stir in his chest, a feeling that made his toes curl up and lips to twitch into yet another smile. He felt contentment wash over him like he had found a missing piece the puzzle he never knew he was solving.
Max shook Alec out of his thoughts as he tugged at his hand, all but dragging him towards the door. Alec shook his head, coming back to earth and let go of Max's hand, rather unwillingly. "Alright, let me grab my bag", he murmured, quickly gathering his stuff and shoving it in his bag before slinging the it on his shoulder while an impatient Max waited for him near the door, bouncing up and down on his feet.
"So do you know where your house is?" Alec asked once they were outside, surrounded by the usual traffic and bustle of the city, lights shining brightly everywhere. New York was an enormoud place, it would be impossible to find the little boy's father here, provided he wnted to be found. The sun was rapidly sinking behind the towering skyscrapers as the sky coloured a beautiful pink with red streaks. Alec really wanted to get done with all this before the night set upon them.
Max frowned at the question, seeming to be more focused on swinging Alec's arm which Alec had reluctantly let him hold for the fear of losing him in the crowd. "I don't know", he said shaking his head sadly, but brightening up a second later.
"But I can describe my Papa", he grinned, eyes shining with love and affection. "He's really beautiful with spiky colorful hair, perfectly winged eyeliner and manicured nails and glitter everywhere", he said, enthusiastically waving his hands in Alec's face.
Alec, on the other hand stared down at Max, wondering if he was joking. Eyeliner, manicured nails and glitter. Who was he describing- his mum or dad? But Max's face was an open book and he really seemed to be telling the truth. Alec could feel an incoming headache and he sighed wearily. At least that explained the glitter in Max's hair. One problem solved. He wished finding his father would prove to be as easy.
"That should really make him stand out", Alec said instead, arching an eyebrow at the boy before pulling out his phone from the pocket. He and Max had been wandering outside for a while now and Alec was basically just humoring the boy as he ran here and there, never too far though, trying to find his Papa. They had come a lot more farther from the café than Alec had intended and he was trying to keel a sharp eye on Max as he dialed up Jace's number.
"Alec!" Jace's cheery voice greeted him from the other side and he instantly felt a little bit better. "What's up bro?"
"Hey", Alec spoke softly, as he watched Max ask yet another by-passer whether they had seen his Papa. The man barely gave him a glance before continuing on his way and Alec's heart gave a sharp pang as he saw Max's crestfallen expression before the boy pulled himself together and went on to ask someone else.
"Jace, you still on duty?"
"Yeah", Jace answered, stretching the answer and Alec could practically hear him roll his eyes. "I'm writing reports on the stupid Wyndal case that has been hanging on our heads since a week now", he scowled.
Alec groaned out loud. If he had to hear Jace whine about that case one more time he would slit off his own ears.
"I don't have time for that", Alec pressed him. "Listen, I was at the café today when I found this 4 year old boy- black hair blue eyes. His name is Max and he has apparently been waiting for his father to come back for him for hours now. I'm outside with the kid right now, helping him search for his father. You need to get here and handle this, Jace."
There was a long pause at the other end and Alec frowned into the phone, wondering if Jace had hung up. Dammit, Alec shouldn't have groaned at Jace's whining.
"Jace? You there?" he said, crossing his fingers as he moved through the crowd to keep up with Max.
"You are out on the streets of New York City, helping out a little kid", Jace's incredulous voice rang into his ears. "Who are you and what have you done with my brother?" he demanded and it took all of Alec's patience to not snap at his brother.
"Jace!" Alec hissed from between his teeth.
"This is serious, get your ass here as soon as you can", he said, before rambling off their current address.
"Alright, alright", Jace said, much more seriously and Alec could faintly hear the scribble of a pencil against the paper of Jace's notepad. "I'll get it sanctioned by Chief Garroway and get there as soon as you can. But really, when did you start hanging out with 'repulsive little brats'?"
Now Alec really wanted to punch his brother in the face but he had barely opened his mouth when he heard Max shriek from the other side of the road.
"Alec", Max yelled, and Alec had a glimpse of the kid bouncing with excitement.
"Come here, quick!"
"I'll call you back", Alec murmured before quickly ending the call and running towards Max. Had the little guy really found his father- the man who had deserted him? But Max was standing there all alone, bouncing up and down on his feet as he pointed towards Starbucks. Alec stared at him in disbelief. "You want a drink? At this time?"
Max shook his head impatiently as if Alec had just said something stupid. "No", he answered, a grin on his face. "Papa said his office is near Starbucks, we can find Papa now!"
Alec stared down at Max wearily, eyes filled with pity. Should he tell Max that they were probably never going to find his Papa and even if they did he won't take him back? Maybe they could go on for a little more time, at least until Jace arrived with his unit. Alec swore to himself. This was why he didn't get involved with kids- they were nothing but trouble and Alec had always hated getting in trouble. Always the perfect boy, following the rules and staying miles away from danger and trouble. Eyes closed, he was still deciding what he was going to tell Max. They could play iy out a little more, couldn't they? Alec sighed opening his eyes to tell Max that this was definitely a good sign but instead found himself staring at the empty side-walk. He instantly started panicking
He swirled around on his feet as he tried to catch a glimpse of the little blue boy. The crowd was thickening and swarming around him like bees as the sky grew darker by the second. There was no sight of Max.
"Max!" he cried, in despair, desperately running and pushing himself through the crowds as his stomach churned with worry. The kid had been standing in front of him a second ago! Where could he have gone? Oh God- had someone kidnapped him? Shit, Alec would never be able to live with himself for losing a little child. Alec felt his heart hammeting against his chest, threatening to burst out. No, no, no. Nothing could happen to Max.
Then suddenly his frantic blue eyes landed on Max's mop of hair and bright eyes, about a head above the rest of the crowd before they disappeared again, behind another man's hair. Adrenaline surged through Alec as he rushed towards Max and all but ran over the other man, tearing Max away from his grip. He pushed the blue boy protectively behind himself and gave the kidnapper his best death glare.
"Don't even think of laying a hand on him", Alec growled menacingly.
The man was sprawled on the ground blinked back at him, stunned by the attack, giving Alec an equally sharp glare as his lips shaped up in a sneer. His spiky gold hair and kohl lined eyes may have made him look even more threatening but Alec was not afraid and he stood his ground, arms held outward to protect Max.
"What the fuck do you think you are doing?" the kidnapper snapped, rising up on his feet and taking a step closer towards Alec.
"Alec!" Max's voice squeaked from behind him.
"Don't worry, Max", Alec assured the little boy, eyes still trained on the man. "I've got everything under control."
"No, he's my Papa!" Max cried from behind. Several seconds passed by as max's words rung in his here and their meaning finally settled down. Alec's stance loosened and confusion rippled over his face. "What?" he asked, turning to look at Max and then back the kidnapper, or the boy's father. Max came out from behind Alec's long legs and ran straight into his Papa's arms. "Papa", he squealed, eyes shining with happiness as he cuddled into the man's chest.
"Oh", Alec exhaled, as things clicked into placed. So this was Max's father. Wait. This was Max's father- the one who had abandoned him.
"Yes, I'm his father", the man spoke, ruffling his son's hair, his tone sombering a bit as he flashed Max a quick smile. "But who are you?"
"I'm the one who found your son all alone in an almost empty cafe after he had been abandoned by his so called father for 3 hours", Alec clipped back with a glare. "What the fuck is wrong with you?"
The man winced at his words, shifting his grip on Max slightly. At least he was decent enough to look guilty but maybe that was because of the look alec was casting.
"Ah, I guess thanks are in order. Maybe we should start over with the introductions, I'm Magnus Bane and you are?"
"Alexander Lightwood", Alec said, dismissively, letting himself relax as a smiling Max looked back at his from Magnus's arms. "I must warn you though, I already called the police."
Magnus sighed woefully as if somebody had just told him that his potted plants had withered away. "I'll have to deal with them, I guess, though I really do appreciate your actions", he assured the blue eyed man.
"I do not need your appreciation, I need an explanation", Alec said, crossing his arms over his chest as he tapped his foot, waiting for an answer. This had better be good.
Magnus flushed under the blue eyed man's gaze. "Now I do know that this sounds really bad on my part, but I had an urgent phone call so I asked Max to stay put and exited the café to attend to it. That call turned into a heated argument and then an emergency so I rushed towards my workplace, which is not far away..." he trailed off, setting Max down on the pavement. His face was as red as his honey coloured skin could get when he leaned in towards Alec.
"I forgot that I had left Max there", he whispered in his ear, so that his little Blueberry wouldn't hear.
Alec stared at the man's face in shock, not even noticing their proximity as he blinked his eyes at the absurd explanation.
"You're kidding me!" he gushed out, mouth open in disbelief. "I mean that's your boy, anything could have happened!" Alec spluttered at the man's carelessness.
"I know, I know", Magnus hurried, biting down on his lip, head bowed as he looked at Max. "It's totally my fault and I know I've been very carreless. I ran all the way here as soon as I realised, I would have killed myself if anything happened to Max", he whispered the last line.
Alec had a good mind to tell off Magnus some more but one look at his troubled face and Alec stopped. Anyone could see that he knew he had committed a grave mistake, and the consequences could have been hazardous. His love for his son was plainly written across his face and Alec imagined the pain of not knowing what his son may be up to and the fact that he himself was responsible for that was quite enough of a punishment for Magnus.
"Alright", he exhaled, not fully forgiving the man. "But you had better make sure that it doesn't happen again", he said, gruffly, looking down at little Max. "Your wife would have be worried sick."
"Of course", Magnus nodded his head, vigorously, a smile full of relief appearing on his face. "You have no idea how thankful I am for what you have donw for my son. And I don't have a wife, Max is my only family", he looked back at Max fondly.
"Oh... It was my pleasure", Alec nodded, awkwardly looking at the other man. Now that his anger had cooled down significantly he was suddenly aware of how close they were standing and Magnus was indeed, as Max had said, beautiful. And Alec was a stuttering gay mess in front of hot and beautiful men.
Magnus's gaze flickered down as his son tugged on his hand, looking up at his Papa and Alec. "Can Alec please come home and play with me?" the liitle boy pleaded, insistently.
Alec's heart flipped on it's own account as he was attacked by Max's big blue eyes. This wasn't fair. A gorgeous hot man and an adorable little kid. He had no chance in front of them.
"Alexander will have to decide that for himself, Blueberry", Magnus purred at his son, before looking back at Alec with a mischievous glint in his eyes.
Alec's heart lurched to his throat when Magnus's lips formed his name, his full name, that could only have been a lucky guess. Nobody called him that but Alec wasn't complaining.
"Really, if it's no trouble you should come to our house, it's quite nearby. And I'll get a chance to thank you properly", Magnus smiled, charmingly and little Max's head bobbed in agreement.
Alec felt his blush make an appearance and colour his face as he looked at Magnus who only smirked in return. "I-I guess that would be great", he flushed, eyes fixated on Magnus.
Max whooped in delight and grabbed Alec and Magnus' hand, looking at both of them smilingly.
Magnus chuckled at his little Blueberry before glancing at Alexander who was busy smiling down at Max. His messy black hair fell over his blue eyes, brighter and more exquisite than Max's and his pale skin was illuminated with happiness and love making Magnus briefly wondered how the two of them had bonded in such little time. Whatever it was, Magnus was happy to have met Alexander.
And as the three of them walked ahead in the night, hand in hand, Alec found that he didn't really dislike children. Not anymore.