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No Longer Bittersweet

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Year One

Magnus loved Valentine's Day.

It was the one day of the year that he could be ridiculously ostentatious and was unlikely to get any sass from his partner.

The first year of his and Alec's relationship was important, and he wanted to make it special. He bought all of Alec's favourite food into the loft and set the lighting to a soft glow. He had a soothing CD on the player and had found some movies that he thought Alec wouldn't find ridiculous all queued up on the DVR. It was going to be perfect.

When he heard Alec opening the door, he conjured two wine glasses so that he could hand one to his boyfriend as soon as he had shrugged out of his gear jacket.

When Alec saw the room, Magnus, who was attuned to his every movement knew that he'd done something wrong. Was it too much? Not enough? He put the glasses down onto the side board and reached for Alec, who got out of his jacket and then skirted around him and went directly up to the roof.

Magnus followed Alec up there. He hated that Alec loved the roof so much. He often found him sitting on the ledge, his legs swinging into nothingness. Magnus couldn't help but think of the time when he'd had to catch Alec when he'd jumped. He knew Alec wasn't in that frame of mind now, but it still made his heart leap into his throat every time he did it.

“Alec?” Magnus asked quietly, hoping not to startle him.

Alec didn't answer and Magnus moved closer, taking a deep breath and then sitting down next to his partner.

Alec pulled him back from the ledge until they ended up sitting in the middle of the roof, cross legged. Magnus loved that Alec knew that he didn't like to sit on the edge like him, and was momentarily floored by how much love he had for his boyfriend. The man who knew so much about him.

Alec was sitting with his arms crossed against his chest.

“Alec? What is it?” Magnus was starting to get quite worried now.

“I got you chocolates.” Alec said, thrusting the battered box towards him.

Magnus was stunned for a moment but then realised what the problem was, chuckling slightly.

“Alec, love. Look at me.”

Alec, who had been staring at the asphalt roof as if it held the secrets of the universe, looked up into the brown eyes of the man he loved.

Magnus cupped his hand on Alec's cheek, stroking softly.

“Thank you for the chocolates, Alexander,” Magnus said deliberately, “that was lovely of you.”

Alec's eyes dropped to the floor again and Magnus took his hand gently and lifted Alec's face up to his. He leaned in for a kiss and Alec moved to mirror him.

Magnus didn't think that kissing Alec would ever get old, it was new and different each time, regardless of the circumstance; but this one seemed special somehow, like they were starting something new. When they broke apart, Magnus tilted Alec's chin up so he could look him in the eyes.

“All I need for Valentine's Day is you.”

Alec smiled and Magnus vowed that he would do everything in his power to keep Alec smiling for as long as he would have him.

~~~

Year Two

Magnus was completely bowled over when their second Valentine’s came round. He walked into the loft to find rose petals strewn all over the place and he smiled. Alec was ridiculous.

When he walked further into the loft, he saw Alec, standing in the kitchen, humming to himself and stirring something in one of the saucepans that only ever got used occasionally. When Alec saw him, his eyes immediately widened and he moved towards his boyfriend arms outstretched.

“I didn't hear you come in! Um...no, you can't...” Alec started, looking flustered. “Can you go back out again?”

Magnus laughed but let himself be pushed towards the door.

“Count to...um...count to sixty then come in.”

Magnus laughed again and opened the door. Just before he closed it, he leant in to Alec's personal space and kissed him softly. “You're incorrigible.”

Alec gave him the blinding smile that he loved so much, and he felt himself falling in love with him all over again. It was like that giddy feeling of being at the top of a roller-coaster and knowing you'll be safe but your stomach dropping anyway.

“Sixty. Promise me.” Alec confirmed.

“Yes, yes.” Magnus said, pulling the door closed.

Seventy five seconds later, Magnus opened the door and gasped.

The light in the room had been dimmed and what seemed like hundreds of candles had been lit in the space. The flickering light danced off the petals strewn across the floor. Standing in the centre of the room, holding a bouquet of pink roses and a glass of wine was Alec, his beautiful boyfriend who was clearly the most wonderful thing about the whole tableau.

“Oh, Alexander.” Magnus said.

It was too much. Alec had clearly gone overboard to make up for the year before. Magnus himself had dialled down his own gift giving which now seemed woefully inadequate.

As if bidden by the words, Alec moved forward and handed both items to Magnus, cupping his face and giving him a long and slow kiss.

“Happy Valentine's Day.”

Not even the fire alarm that went off or the burnt food could dampen the occasion. Even Alec, who Magnus thought would get upset with his ruined meal, giggled along with him as they ordered take out and snuggled on the sofa instead.

~~~

Year Three

Third time was apparently the charm, as that year had just been perfect.

Neither of them went overboard and Magnus thought that was possibly because they were so in tune nowadays that they no longer felt the need to impress the other with grand gestures. They merely enjoyed each other's company. They didn't need dramatic declarations of love. They knew they loved each other. It was clear in the way Alec handed Magnus a coffee in the morning when he knew he'd been up late trying to master a spell. It was clear in the way Magnus always hung up Alec's bow on the peg by the door so that he didn't trip over it when he attempted to leave the next day. It was clear in the way they both just knew when the other one either needed space, or needed a hug. It was clear in the way they just were, inherently, in whatever they did. And it was clear when they made love to each other, slow and sensual and like they had all the time in the world.

Magnus walked back into their loft. He could never get over saying 'their' loft. To find that he now had someone that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, that he wanted to be in his space whenever they wanted to be was intoxicating.

Alec was sitting on the sofa reading a book when Magnus got home from a meeting with his client. He ached, the spell that he’d cast took a lot out of him and all he wanted was to melt into his partner's embrace and forget.

Magnus loved the way that Alec knew what he needed before he'd even voiced anything. He loved the way that he knew just from his posture.

“Come here.” Alec said softly, turning so that he was leaning against the arm of the sofa and opening his legs as he did so.

Magnus sat down, stretching out his legs and leaning back into Alec's body. He let himself be hugged for a moment, feeling Alec's strong arms around him and closing his eyes to the heady scent of sandalwood.

“Sit up.” Alec said after a moment.

Magnus complied and Alec immediately started to massage the aches and pains out of his neck and shoulders, kneading the muscles with his thumbs, rubbing in to each area until it loosened. After a while, Magnus' head fell backwards onto Alec's shoulder and he moaned. It felt so good and he was so relaxed. He thought he would burst with how much he loved the man with him.

Alec leant down, laughing and kissed the spot just behind Magnus' ear that he knew drove him crazy.

Magnus moaned again for a completely different reason and Alec smiled into his neck, kissing and biting softly until Magnus was just making soft gasping noises. With Alec's strong arms around him, Magnus had very little space to move or even touch Alec, so he impotently stroked his hands up and down Alec's thighs.

When Alec loosened his grip slightly, Magnus immediately took advantage of it and turned in his embrace, pushing him backwards until Alec was stuck between the arm of the sofa and his warm body.

“I thought you were tired?” Alec asked mischievously.

Magnus just smirked and dove down, kissing Alec languidly, his tongue lapping around his mouth and his hands holding his cheeks.

When Alec was almost breathless from the all-encompassing kiss, Magnus pulled back slightly, allowing him to shimmy down the sofa until he was lying flat. As soon as he had done so, Magnus straddled Alec's hips and went back down for another kiss, pinning his partner with his lips and running his hands through the hair at the nape of his neck and tugging slightly, making Alec gasp into his mouth.

Alec had his hands on Magnus' hips and was rocking up into him slightly, causing their erections to rub together through their pants, giving as good as he was getting, driving Magnus crazy.

On a particularly hard thrust, Magnus fell down onto Alec's chest, his hands pressed to either side of Alec's face.

“I love you,” Magnus whispered in between soft kisses that started on Alec's mouth and then left a trail down his jaw until he reached possibly his favourite part of his partner's body, the beautiful, sensitive Deflect rune.

Alec's answering 'I love you' was lost in a moan when Magnus started to suck against his neck, leaving a hickey right in the centre of the rune.

Alec ran his hands up under Magnus' shirt stroking up and down his sides and pulling him in closer so that they could become one.

“Too. Many. Clothes.” Alec gasped out in between moans.

Magnus pulled back slightly and then with a click of his fingers, they were both only clothed in their underwear and Alec tilted his head back and gave out a long and low moan as the friction between their cocks intensified. Magnus gave one slow roll to his hips and saw that Alec lost all coherency there for a second, so he did it again.

Magnus went back to sucking against Alec's neck, while Alec moved his hands up to his boyfriend's nipples, rolling them softly between his fingers in just the way Magnus liked.

“No. Fair.” Magnus gasped, nuzzling Alec's neck as he pulled away to look at him.

Alec looked at him incredulously and then slowly rolled Magnus' nipples again, causing Magnus to tilt his head back and groan.

Magnus moved off Alec a little, sliding down his body so that he could lie next to him, one leg thrown over Alec's, allowing him to rut against his hip whilst he palmed his boyfriend through his underwear.

Alec pulled him up for another kiss, it was sloppy and Magnus could see him falling apart in front of him and knew he needed to speed things up a bit.

“Want to ride you, Angel.”

Alec's eyes turned to pools of lust and Magnus chuckled. “Take it you like that idea?”

Alec nodded and Magnus smiled his maddening smile again.

Magnus loved that his boyfriend might have a Stamina rune, but he had had years of practice so could still give him a run for his money. That, and it didn't look like the Stamina rune was currently active, so he did need to be a little careful that this wasn't over too soon.

Magnus reached down and slowly pulled Alec's boxers down his legs until Alec could kick them off. He often removed most of their clothes with magic, but they both loved the way the last bit still needed to be unwrapped, like a particularly naughty Christmas present. He took him in hand and gave one stroke which made Alec arch off the sofa, making a guttural noise deep in his throat.

Magnus decided to stop teasing and leant down to kiss Alec again softly, calming the fires of desire slightly that had well and truly been lit with his ministrations.

He conjured a bottle of lube out of thin air and handed it to Alec, who squeezed a generous amount out onto his palm, warming it before he coated his fingers with it.

Magnus knelt with one leg on the inside of the sofa and put his other foot down on the side of Alec's other hip, allowing Alec the space to prepare him.

Alec worked him open slowly, clearly enjoying being just as much of a tease as Magnus had been earlier. He very slowly massaged the bundle of nerves inside him, curling his fingers and making him jump. When he was just making a keening noise in the back of his throat, Alec pulled his fingers out with an obscene squelching noise which did absolutely nothing to calm the feelings that were overwhelming him.

Magnus lowered himself slowly onto Alec who groaned when Magnus rose and fell on his arousal until he bottomed out, moaning. Magnus knew that moaning when he was surrounded by Alec's heat made his boyfriend lose it, so he did it again. When he felt able to do so, he moved slightly and Alec let out a moan so loud that he blushed immediately after he realised what he'd done.

Alec thrust up into Magnus without warning and Magnus cried out.

“Like that, is it?” Magnus said.

Alec just rolled his hips slowly up into Magnus again, who closed his eyes and simpered, the noise coming unbidden to his lips.

Magnus lent down so that he could kiss Alec, the angle causing a delicious friction that he couldn't ignore and he ended up merely moaning into Alec's mouth. He felt Alec smile which was all the notice he had that Alec was going to thrust up into him again.

Magnus tilted his head back and moaned low and loud.

“Again.” He said, his voice sounding wrecked. He was clinging on to Alec's shoulders, fingers digging in to his soft flesh.

Alec complied, thrusting into him slowly, then fast, varying the speed every time so he had no idea what to expect. Magnus might be literally on top of Alec but he was clearly the one being dominated at that moment.

His sweat soaked hair fell into his eyes as he leant down and sucked Alec's neck, giving him another hickey.

Alec gasped and thrust up into him so hard that Magnus bounced.

“Ugh! Alec!” Magnus said pulling back so that he could sit up, the angle change making both men groan.

“Fuck, Magnus you're so beautiful like this.” Alec said, and Magnus was surprised that he could speak in complete sentences.

Magnus used his new angle to bounce up and down a few more times on Alec's member, making Alec roll his eyes back in his head.

“Fuck, Magn...ah! I'm so close.” Alec said, thrusting up into Magnus again but losing his rhythm almost immediately.

“Then come.” Magnus said softly, leaning back down to whisper in Alec's ear, knowing that the small breath he felt across his ear would be enough to undo him.

Alec thrust up into him one more time and then released, his hips seeming to move of his own accord as he unwittingly milked himself dry.

Magnus smiled down at him when he sat up, taking himself in hand to finish off the job.

“Not a chance.” Alec said, once he'd regained coherency, batting away his hand and gripping Magnus in his own calloused hand.

Magnus leant back against Alec's knees, bracing his back as he closed his eyes, leaning back his head and moaning. He could feel Alec's softening member inside him and that, as well as the fast pace of his partner's hand was utterly divine.

“Al...oh...Mm, Alex...ALEXANDER!” He shouted, spurting his seed all across his partner's chest and down onto the sides of the sofa; a sofa he'd paid a small fortune for and couldn't care less was now possibly stained irreparably.

Once the dancing spots behind his eyes had receded, he looked down at his partner who had a very self-satisfied look on his face. Magnus couldn't help it, he leant down and kissed him again before carefully extricating himself from the warmth surrounding him.

With a wave of his hand, he cleaned them both up and snuggled into Alec's side. Alec put his arm around him so that he could lean against his chest, hearing his heartbeat.

Alec pulled the maroon throw off the back of the sofa and covered them both with it.

Before they both drifted off into a blissed out sleep, Alec spoke.

“I love you, Magnus.”

“Happy Valentine's Day, Alexander.”

~~~

Year Five

Magnus and Alec stumbled in to the loft, covered in demonic ichor and aching in places they had no idea they even had.

Alec stumbled towards the sofa, Magnus next to him and just before they both squelched into the cushions, Magnus had enough presence of mind to click his fingers and make them both squeaky clean. He knew that Alec didn't normally like it when he did that, but he also knew that neither of them were awake enough to clean themselves manually so he hoped it wouldn't be a faux pas.

“Thanks.” Alec said quietly, sinking into the sofa cushions, pulling his legs up beside him and draping the throw from the top of the chair over himself.

Magnus leant into him, his own legs pulled up and resting on the cushions.

Alec moved the throw so that it covered the both of them and they sat in companionable silence for a while, just breathing, half asleep.

“Oh by the angel!” Alec said loudly just as Magnus was drifting off to sleep.

Magnus jumped immediately, assuming there was a threat, his magic rising to the forefront.

“I forgot to get you a Valentine's gift.”

Magnus laughed sinking back into the warmth of both the blanket and his partner.

“This is all I want.” Magnus said, sleepily.

Alec smiled the smile Magnus loved so dearly and he drifted off into a restful slumber.

~~~

Year Seven

Magnus had cooked an amazing meal for them this year. He didn't know why really, just that for some reason he had wanted to. And he'd cooked it entirely by hand as well, which was new for him.

That had been several hours ago and he'd waited and waited at the loft, getting progressively more worried. He and Alec had had something of a disagreement that morning and he didn't want to think that Alec was still angry with him. It had been a petty fight and he regretted it now. He didn't think, even if they were fighting, Alec would let him worry like this, which troubled him more.

After another half an hour, anxiety getting the better of him, he called Alec's cellphone. Hearing it ring and ring, made his blood run cold. When Isabelle picked up the phone, Magnus could swear his heart skipped a beat.

“Come to the Institute.” She said.

That was all she had said before the phone disconnected.

Before he'd even had the conscious thought, he was conjuring a portal and stepping through it to the road outside the Institute, then running inside.

“Where?” He shouted at the nearest Shadowhunter. He had no idea who it was, it didn't matter anyway.

“Infirmary!” They shouted as Magnus barrelled past them to the lift.

He jammed his hand into the button over and over again, willing the lift to arrive quicker and cursing the fact that he'd made the wards so strong in the Institute that he couldn't just portal directly there.

When he ran into the room, Isabelle looked up, her face tear stained.

“No, no, no.” Magnus said, running to Alec's side, his magic already forming and attempting to heal whatever it was that was afflicting his partner.

Alec smiled at him weakly, reaching for his hand. “I thought you were mad at me?”

Magnus let out a small laugh which sounded like a sob, that was so far from his mind right now it was unreal. He couldn't believe that his stupid, amazing boyfriend thought that that would matter right now.

"We can talk about that later,” he said quietly, his magic finally finding the internal injury and sending waves of healing magic to the location, “right now, just don't die on me. Please."

Alec arched his back in pain and Magnus wanted to stop what he was doing. He never wanted to cause his boyfriend pain, but it was the only way to heal him. He looked imploringly at Izzy, who reached forward and activated Alec's Iratze rune. He seemed to quieten then, his back falling back to the bed and a serene smile across his face as he passed out.

“Is he?” Isabelle asked quietly. Magnus knew that she didn't really want to know the answer but had to ask.

“No. He's alive. He just needs time.”

Isabelle fell into his side and he caught her and guided her to a chair. They both sat there, keeping vigil, as if both of their presences could keep the person they loved most in the world alive.

“Hi.” Alec said weakly, after several hours.

Magnus immediately leapt to his side, clasping his boyfriend's hand.

“I thought I lost you.” He said, the words coming out through a choked sob.

Alec raised his other hand and cupped his cheek and Magnus let himself be pulled down into a soft kiss.

“On Valentine's Day? Never.”

Magnus laughed weakly and clutched Alec's hand harder.

“I love you, Alexander.”

“I love you too.”

~~~

Year Nine

“It's Valentine's day soon!” Rafe said conspiratorially at Magnus when they were sitting down reading one day.

“It is.” Magnus said, smiling.

Was Rafael already at an age when he had to start worrying about Valentine's Day? He knew that as a father there was a lot of things he was going to have to deal with, but he thought he'd have had a few years of this left. Apparently he had been wrong. “Do you want to make something special for someone?”

Rafe screwed up his face. “Ugh. No, girls are gross.”

Magnus looked over his book at his son, trying not to laugh.

“Boys are gross too.” Rafe said definitively, misunderstanding Magnus' look.

Magnus did laugh then, proud his son knew that he had options but finding the fact that he had decided that, for the moment, those two genders were off limits, pretty hilarious.

“What are we talking about then?”

“You need to decide what you're going to do for Dad.”

Magnus laughed again. “I do, do I?”

“Yes,” His son said with a nod, “and I'm going to help.”

Over the next few days, he took all of his cues from Rafe and quietly thought that Max was doing something similar with Alec as the young warlock would shush his other dad whenever Magnus walked into the room. If that wasn't the most adorable thing that had happened this year he didn't know what was.

When the big day came around, Magnus had a card which was covered in hundreds of little hearts in many different colours and a chocolate bar almost the size of him with many more hearts stuck to the wrapper (“because Daddy likes chocolate and also he likes sharing too”).

Alec handed over a piece of paper with macaroni on it and what could be a pair of stick figures if you squinted hard enough and tilted your head, and the same giant bar of chocolate (“Papa! Chocolate!”)

Magnus took one look at his family and beamed. This was absolutely the best Valentine's Day yet. It got better the moment that the boys, very seriously, pulled both of their hands together to make them hold hands and then chanted 'Kiss' until they did.

“Ugh. Gross.” Rafe said after a moment. He'd wanted his dads to kiss in theory, because they loved each other, but in practice it was still disgusting.

Max disappeared one of the chocolate bars and made it reappear between Magnus and Alec's bodies, so it was resting near their hips.

Magnus broke away from the kiss and sat on the floor, pulling Alec down with him. Max immediately sat in his lap and Rafe immediately leant against Alec, who put his arm around him.

“Who wants chocolate?” Magnus asked.

“Me!” Three voice chorused.

He looked over the top of the children's heads and into his partner’s eyes and saw the love he felt reflected back in them.

This was perfect.

~~~

Year Eleven

Catarina had the children for Valentine's Day, something that she was more than happy to do and something which Magnus really needed her to do this year. He had plans.

Alec and Magnus strolled through their favourite park in Tokyo, holding hands and silently walking in companionable silence. They had just had dinner at their favourite restaurant and taken a set of four photos at their favourite photo booth.

The photo booth had become a bit of a tradition, wherever they were in the world, and they now had a board plastered with tiny pictures of them. A history of their lives together which made Magnus just ache every time he saw it. He had no idea how he had become so lucky, but he had and he was so thankful. He was with the man that he loved, a man who he hoped would be with him forever.

Alec pulled Magnus under one of the beautiful trees dotted around the park.

It was their tree. A tree that they had sat under so many times that Magnus had lost count. A tree that they had had silly conversations underneath. A tree that they had had serious, deep, universe changing conversations underneath. A tree that they had had many a picnic underneath. A tree that they had kissed softly and languidly over many hours underneath. A tree that Magnus had thrown a glamour up around as they had hot and steamy sex underneath. A tree that meant so much to both of them.

Magnus reached into his jacket pocket as they were kissing. Alec was lying beneath him and he was lying half on top of him, his leg thrown over one of his. It was a perfect position for kissing and one that he used as often as possible. It meant he had a free hand to trail up and down his partner's lithe body. Now though, it meant he had a free hand to reach for a box that meant absolutely everything to him.

He pulled back from the kiss sitting up, and Alec pushed himself up off the ground so he was leaning on his elbows. He sported the look of confusion he always did when Magnus pulled back from a kiss. It was a look that said “Why have we stopped?” His hair was sticking out every which way, his lips were plump and glistening and his eyes were hazy with lust. Magnus thought he was beautiful.

Magnus took out the tiny box that had been burning a hole in his pocket all evening and opened it in front of his partner.

“Alexander Lightwood, will you do me the honour of being my husband?” Magnus asked, his voice choking slightly with the weight of the emotions.

Alec laughed.

Magnus was momentarily hurt, wondering if he'd misunderstood the moment, whether he'd misunderstood Alec. He thought they were on the same page, at the same point in their lives. They had two kids together, the Clave were finally warming up to the idea of Shadowhunters and Downworlders being together, maybe...

Magnus was stopped from his train of thought by Alec sitting up fully and reaching into his own jacket pocket.

“I can't believe you managed to get there before me.” Alec said, tears glistening in his eyes as he opened his own similar box.

“Yes!” Magnus crowed, jumping forward and kissing Alec passionately.

Alec pushed him back after a moment and he was smiling that gorgeous smile that Magnus loved so much.

“Yes.” Alec said softly, looking deeply into Magnus' eyes.

Magnus swore his heart skipped a beat. He had been wrong. This was the best Valentine's Day ever.

~~~

Year Fifty One

Magnus could see that Alec was getting older.

He could see it in the lines of his face, see it in the slow way that he moved nowadays, at the way that he sometimes winced when he walked, at the way he now had to wear glasses to read.

He could tell that Max and Rafe had noticed it too. He saw the pained look on Rafe's face which said “I've already lost my other two parents, I don't want to lose my adopted ones too.” He saw the pained look on Max's face when he realised that this was just the first in a long line of people he would lose in his immortal life. He wanted to console his children, but he didn't know what to say. Neither of those things was untrue.

Magnus thought he had been being subtle, but apparently he hadn't been, because Alec pulled him onto the sofa, the same sofa that they'd sat on thousands of times before, the same sofa that Magnus continuously updated with magic so that they never had to get rid of it.

“Magnus,” his love started, seeming to know exactly what he had been thinking, “it's okay.”

“I'm not ready.” Magnus said, his voice cracking on the last word.

“Do you regret it?” Alec asked sadly, knowing that his own passing was causing the man he loved irreparable pain.

“Not for a second.” Magnus said with conviction.

Alec leant in to kiss him then, his mouth catching his lips and lifting his head up.

It was the perfect bookend to the kiss that had started it all.

Magnus didn't count the urgent kiss that Alec had lost himself in at his ill-fated wedding to Lydia. That kiss had been born out of desperation. He covets that kiss, that was the kiss that started everything and he loves that Alec had the courage to do it, loves that that started off their relationship and is so, so thankful that it did; but the kiss that he truly believed was the start, was a hesitant kiss that Alec had planted on him, taking them firmly into relationship status. It was cautious but so full of wonder and promise that it made Magnus ache to think about.

The kiss that Alec was giving him now was exactly like that.

Magnus was grateful for how long he'd had. Shadowhunters didn't often see old age, and he knew he was incredibly lucky; but he did wonder how many more Valentine's they'd get to have together.

“Happy Valentine's Day, Magnus.” Alec said with as much love and conviction as he could muster though his tired body.

“Happy Valentine's Day, Alexander.” Magnus replied, wondering whether he'd ever get to say those words again.

~~~

Year Fifty Two

Magnus hadn't thought that they'd get to have another Valentine's Day and he didn't know if this made it better or worse.

Alec looked small in the bed, like he had shrunk a foot just from age. His once strong, proud and tall Shadowhunter looked a shell of what he once was, the runes littering his wrinkled skin mere swirls now, very rarely activated now.

He was lying in bed, Max and Rafe sitting on one side.

Max had grown up into an amazing adult, but had stopped ageing as a teenager, much to his chagrin. Rafe, who looked so much like his adopted dad it was as if they were biologically related, was looking old too and Magnus knew that at some point, sooner rather than later, it would be Rafe that they were saying goodbye to.

Isabelle was sitting on the other side of the bed, holding Alec's papery hand in hers and trying not to let the tears fall. Magnus loved Alec's sister more than he could bear sometimes, the love that she had shown her brother throughout everything that had happened in his life was sometimes blinding to see. He knew that he would support her through this grief without question, just as she would do for him.

She turned to see Magnus standing off to one side. He hadn't wanted to intrude on such a private moment but she rolled her eyes at him, seeming to understand his misgivings.

“You're family, Magnus. Get over here.” She said, laughing slightly despite the situation.

Alec smiled at that and Magnus felt himself smiling in return.

Isabelle moved down the bed so that she could still rest her hand softly on one of Alec's legs. Magnus took up the vacated space, sitting by Alec's hip. He looked down into his lovers eyes and saw the depth of love there and knew that his eyes reflected back the same.

“You've made me so happy.” Alec said, the words quiet, as if even the act of talking was too much.

“I love you, Alexander, so much.” Magnus replied, tears starting to fall down his face.

Alec smiled at him, lifting his hand to wipe the tears away from his lover’s cheeks.

Magnus turned his face into Alec's hand, reaching up to cup it between his cheek and his own hand.

Magnus felt Alec's hand go limp in his, and he turned to kiss his palm before lowering his hand back to the bed. He had died with that amazing smile plastering his face and Magnus was at once terribly broken and terribly grateful at the same time. Pleased he'd got to see it, one last time.

~~~

One Year Later

The year after Alec's death, Magnus trashed the loft.

Over the last year, many things had set him off into practically hysterical crying. Memories of the wonderful life he'd spent with his love taunted him and it was too much. He knew that he should cherish them, and he did. But today of all days he was angry with the universe, angry that it had made him fall in love with a mortal, angry that a mortal had made him feel these things, angry that he hadn't been strong enough to stop himself falling head over heels.

The many mementoes of their lives together he banished to his vault with a wave of his hand. He knew that at some point he would want to see them again, but right now he couldn't bear to even look at them. Everything that reminded him of Alec needed to be gone.

He couldn't do this without him. How dare he leave him like this? He was broken and hurt and so alone he could taste it and it was all. Alec's. fault.

When he was finished, the room in tatters, he sank to the floor, sobbing. All he wanted was his strong Shadowhunter to wrap his arms around him and tell him that everything was going to be okay. But that was never going to happen again and therefore nothing was going to be okay.

Several hours later, his children found him, still sitting in the same position where he had fallen.

“Oh Papa.” Max said, running towards him and sinking to his knees next to him. “Papa, it's okay.”

“He's gone.” Magnus said, his sobs starting up again when the two words permeated his consciousness. Had he said those words before? Had he let himself think it? He wasn't sure.

“Dad,” Rafe said, dropping to the side of him not taken up by his brother, who was awkwardly hugging his father sideways, “this is for you.”

Magnus took the small piece of card from his son and turned it over.

It was a Valentine's card.

It was white and had a simple red heart on the front. Inside the inscription simply said,

We love you,

Rafe's beautifully scripted handwriting looked so much like his father's.

“We didn't want you to be alone.” Rafe said quietly.

Magnus offered his sons a small smile and wrapped both of his arms around them. He wasn't alone.

~~~

Ten Years Later

“I know today is hard for you, Papa.”

Magnus marvels at the fact that his son, even after decades had gone by, still called him Papa. He supposed children always did, but it still made him smile anyway, that for the rest of eternity this man who looked like a teenager would always call him by a childhood endearment. It made him feel an up-swelling of love that he could barely contain.

Magnus knew that Max wanted to talk to him about something. He always had this slight hitch to his breath when he did so, a slight hunch to his shoulders.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about Rafe recently...” His son said.

Oh.

Magnus had been waiting for this conversation. Rafe wasn't getting any younger and he would be the first death after Alec that he had had to deal with. The first few deaths were always the worst in an immortals life. It was the time that made you realise just what you were, just what you would have to cope with. This was the time that you finally realised that immortality was both a blessing and a curse.

Magnus didn't say anything, just waited for his youngest son, who was so close to his brother, to carry on speaking.

“How do you do it?” He asked quietly.

“It...” Magnus tried to compose himself. “I'm not going to say 'it gets easier'; but you do get used to it.”

Max shifted so that he could lean into his father and Magnus wrapped his arms around him. He wasn't ready either. Logically he had known that one day it would just be him and Max, but the reality of it had seemed so far off that he hadn't thought about it too much. He wondered whether that was his failing.

Perhaps he should have prepared himself for this.

~~~

Twenty Years Later

For some reason, year twenty was the worst, after the first year without Alec.

He couldn't stop thinking about their twentieth wedding anniversary, how they had jokingly gone on holiday to China, which had made them laugh so hard they wept whenever they talked about it. The Chinese people they met had thought they were crazy, but they didn't care, they were happy and in love and they didn't care who knew it.

Magnus went to the same places that he had frequented with Alec. A lot had changed over the last nearly sixty years. The only thing that was immutable was the Great Wall itself. He spent several days just sitting on it, glamoured, attempting to eat their favourite food and trying very hard not to think too much.

He couldn't work out whether being in China was the best thing or the worst thing for him and he didn't want to leave to work it out. America could do without him for a while.

When a portal opened on the roof of one of the towers that he was sitting on, he was ready to tell whomever it was that had stepped through it to go to hell. Brooklyn could look after itself for a while, Magnus Bane was closed for business.

Except the person who walked through the portal was his oldest friend, someone who he could never lie to, someone whom he loved more than almost anyone else in the world. Catarina Loss, looking beautiful and poised as ever, walking through a portal looking exactly like she meant to be there, despite the fact she was still wearing purple hospital scrubs.

“Oh, Magnus.” She said, dropping to her knees and pulling him into a hug.

The dam broke then and all of the tears that he had been holding back over the last...however long he had been in Asia, fell almost all at once.

When he was merely sniffing, his old friend pulled away from him and held him at arm’s length.

“He wouldn't want you to wallow forever.” She said, gently.

“It's only been twenty years, Cat. Give me time.” Magnus replied.

He just wanted to grieve.

~~~

Fifty Years Later

The day Magnus saw a set of beautiful hazel eyes that didn't send him into either a pit of despair or a fit of rage, he knew he had started to heal.

To begin with, it felt like he was doing Alec a disservice, like he was disrespecting his memory for even thinking that someone else was pretty; but he knew that Alec wouldn't want him to be alone forever, in fact they'd had that conversation numerous times in the twilight years of his life.

He knew that he would never love another like he loved his Alexander, but he also knew that didn't mean he would never love again.

So, he smiled back.