Magnus doesn’t realize it at first.
One morning, when he wakes up, his left leg hurts. Probably he slept in a bad position, he reasons but his leg continues to feel weird great part of the morning.
Alec comes later that day. He has been training new recruits at the Institute so he has been spending a lot of time there. Magnus appreciates that he comes to the loft to sleep, even if it’s just for a few hours.
When he arrives, Alec comes directly to his studio, where Magnus is going through some books looking for a very particular spell that he hasn’t used in almost two centuries. Alec stands under the doorframe, just watching at Magnus work with a smile on his face. Magnus looks up, feeling his presence and immediately notices something strange on his husband. It's not precisely in his posture but him in general. Like something at the back of his head is telling him that there is something different with Alec. That Alec has changed.
“Darling, are you okay?” asks Magnus by instinct.
“Yes, I’m fine.” Alec kisses him hello and it’s in those few steps between the door and his desk that Magnus notices it, Alec is limping.
Surely, is that what Magnus finds different.
“What happened to your leg?”
Alec sighs and his expression is slightly annoyed when he starts talking. He had taken the new recruits for the first time to a field training session. They split into groups of three, each group supervised by a veteran shadowhunter. Demon activity in the mornings was practically non-existent but Alec thought that it was better this way than throw them right into a den of demons like they used to do in the good ol' days. He sits on the edge of Magnus’ desk, gesturing more and more with his hands as the story comes to its climax.
“Everything was going smoothly. Then, Tina came running and told me her two partners had diverted and Jez was looking for them.” Magnus magics a martini in Alec’s hand and he murmurs a soft thank you and sips it before continuing. “These two boys thought the exercise was ‘too easy’ and ‘too boring’ for them.”
“Those are a lot of air quotes. Then what did the little rascals?”
“They were in the search of some demons, and guess what?”
Magnus arches his eyebrow in interrogation.
“They found them.” Alec drinks up the rest of his martini. “Three Ravener demons. Jez was taking care of one them so I went for the other two because our revels were too shocked to even move, but one of the Ravener pierced me on the leg before I killed it.”
“Well, I think my morning was much less thrilling in comparison.”
“Seriously, all these kids are like mini Jaces and Frays, I can’t blink without them causing trouble." Alec shakes his head and leaves the empty martini glass over the desk. "You know what? I take it back, Jace and Fray occasionally listen.”
Alec sighs again and Magnus caresses Alec’s thigh with his thumb.
“At least I trust they learned their lesson. How is your leg now, should I kiss it better?” Magnus offers, running his hand up and down Alec’s leg.
Alec smiles down at him.
“I went to the infirmary at the Institute and applied an iratze … but I could use a little of warlock TLC.”
Magnus can only laugh as he hauls Alec towards their bedroom.
He doesn’t pay attention to the fact that when Alec stops limping, the weird sensation of his leg stops too.
Magnus is helping Isabelle and Clary to get ready for the annual Christmas Ball in Alicante. It seems not even Nephilim are too good for Christmas. Magnus is going too, now that downworlders that are significant others to the Nephilim are allowed the entry. It’s not much but is something, a step forward.
Magnus is doing Clary’s makeup when they hear Isabelle’s breath catch. “Iz, are you okay?” Clary asks and Magnus stops applying her eyeshadow so she can turn her head towards Isabelle.
Isabelle shakes her head, she’s looking closely at something in her head in the mirror of the vanity. “No, I’m not.”
Magnus and Clary frown, confused. Magnus approaches her and puts a hand on her shoulder. “Isabelle…?”
“A gray hair.”
“What?” Clary stands up and takes place next to Magnus.
“It’s a gray hair!” she exclaims.
“It’s okay, dear. Let’s just—” Magnus is about to pull the offending gray hair out but Isabelle screams, stopping him mid-action.
“No! Two more will grow.”
“That’s only a myth.” says Clary, looking at her through the mirror.
“I’m not taking risks.” Isabelle covers the gray hair with her ebony strands “I’m only thirty, why do I have it? Mom hasn’t a sole gray hair and she’s Mom!”
Clary shrugs and goes back to the armchair where she was sat. “Gray hairs are not always signs of aging. Simon has a few since high school.”
“I know but I don’t like them,” she says as she clips a brooch in her hair. “I’m surprised Alec doesn’t have any, are you making them disappear?”
Magnus gives her a glance, Isabelle looks stunning as always in her red gown. The beauty runs in the family, without a doubt.
“No, and I haven’t seen him any.”
Isabelle seems to ponder on this new information. “It’s weird… dad started to lose his hair in his thirties.”
“Let’s hope your brother hasn’t inherited that trait. I love him more than anything and anyone in this world but baldness is a trial I’m not sure our love can get through.” Magnus jokes, he would stay by Alec’s side even after baldness and wrinkles but for that, there was still a lot of time. He prefers to focus on the present, especially tonight when they’ll get to have a fancy dinner with part of their family and friends, and dance in front of all the uptight members of the Clave and Shadowhunters’ society. It’s a win-win.
“If your love survived the mustache phase, it’ll survive baldness.”
Magnus laughs at that, remembering the time Alec had grown a mustache. It lasted about two months before he discarded it.
“The mustache was sort of hot, though.” he says, putting on his jacket now that he’s done with Clary. “Excellent for Western scenarios, you know?”
Magnus winks at Isabelle and she purses her red lips. “I want to hear everything and nothing about it at the same time.”
“Probably would be better for you to don’t know.” he tells her.
“Yep, you are right.”
The third time Magnus is aware that there is something off.
They have just gotten up and are preparing breakfast, still half slept. It’s about eleven in the morning but they both have the day off, certainly a feat for a High Warlock and a Head of Institute.
Alec is making pancakes and sprinkling some blueberries and chocolate chips in others, meanwhile, Magnus is setting up the table. It’s in little moments like this when Magnus treasures his life more than ever and can’t help but smile. He never dreamed of having anything as remotely domestic as this. Centuries, even decades ago he wouldn’t have believed that one day, he would be preparing breakfast with his husband and feeling so happy that he could feel his chest about burst.
Alec is finally sitting down, with a tower of pancakes on a plate when his phone buzzes. Magnus is completely sure he hears him growl.
“Who is it? It’s your day off.” Magnus frowns.
“Fray.” Alec purses his lips but taps the screen to read the text. “I hope they haven’t burned down the Institute. I have not even been out for twelve hours.
Magnus sips his orange juice. “You don’t need twelve hours to burn the Institute down.” Alec gives him a look, unamused. He’s always a little grumpy before his morning coffee. “Okay, Mr. Lightwood-Bane, tell me what says Biscuit.”
Alec turns his attention to the text again. “It says that she’s been trying to create more new runes and that she made this one especially… for me?”
Magnus is intrigued, so he looks over Alec’s shoulder to look at it. “It’s an anti-snoring rune?”
“You woke up really funny today, didn’t you?” Alec deadpans. “And no, it says is a…” Alec raises an eyebrow. “Caffeine rune?”
Alec starts typing an answer. “What did you tell her?”
“That she still must hand me in a report so better work on that, or create actually useful runes if she’d do that.
Magnus sits back in his chair. “Don’t be so harsh on her, that rune seems… practical, I guess. If you run out of coffee or you are late for work, for example.”
“No, you are too soft on her.”
“I got to watch her grow up. She’s my Biscuit, after all.” Magnus shrugs.
“She’s typing.” murmurs Alec, resting his head in his palm. “She wants me to try it now because… is obvious that I haven’t had my coffee yet. What’s that supposed to mean?
“Nothing, dear.” Magnus chuckles because Alec seems actually puzzled about what Clary means. “Just try that new rune so we can have breakfast.”
Magnus snaps his fingers and Alec’s stele appears on the table. Alec gives a last look at the picture Clary sent him and starts to draw the new rune on his wrist.
And just two seconds later, Magnus feels fully awake. All rests of slumber gone and there is even a bitter taste at the end of his tongue.
“Well, at least it works.”
“Yes, I think it does.”
Magnus’ suspicions start to get form from there.
It’s a week later when he confirms it. They are walking back to the loft after having dinner at the new sensation restaurant in New York.
They run into some Shax demons but deal with them without any major complications or before any mundane can see them. Alec has only a scratch on his cheek and Magnus in his hand. Alec pulls out his stele to draw an iratze, even when this was supposed to be a night free of demons and shadowhunting he never leaves without it and a seraph blade. His husband is a cautious man.
Magnus is about to heal his hand when sees his skin patching up by itself slowly until his hand is again smooth tan skin. He frowns, warlocks heal fast but not that fast.
“Ready to leave?” this time Magnus looks at Alec thoroughly. Everything in him looks exactly as he always has and that’s what hits Magnus in the gut. “You okay, Magnus?”
Alec searches for his eyes. “Yes, is nothing.” Magnus pats Alec’s chest and rests his hand there. Alec’s heartbeat is steady and slower than he remembers it, almost like it is in sync with Magnus’. The possibility is remote but is still that; a possibility. He needs to talk with Catarina. She may not have an answer but at least can freak out with her. “Let’s go home.” he says, pecking Alec on the lips. He’ll contact Catarina once they get home.
The next day, he goes to see Catarina at the hospital. She’s on her break but knows that what Magnus wants to tell her is important enough for him to come and interrupt her short lunch. Magnus explains to his friend what is happening and his suspicions about him and Alec somehow bonding. “But I don’t have an idea of how it could have happened.”
He takes a sip of his glass of whiskey, it’s barely eleven in the morning but he needs it if they are going to have this conversation.
“Well, maybe…” Cat starts, chewing on her salad.
“Maybe what?” Magnus feels agonizing in the time Catarina takes to swallow her last mouthful of salad. She puts her arms on the table.
“Do you remember that time that you depleted your magic to the point that you passed out.”
“So Alec shared his energy with you but he was exhausted too, so there wasn’t a lot to share.”
Magnus stiffens. “Why are you reminding me this, Cat?”
“I think you bonded your souls.”
“That’s what I’ve been thinking but... I mean, is that even possible, without using a spell?”
Catarina’s expression is deadly serious. The waiter comes to ask if they need something else and she waits until he’s gone to continue talking. “Yes, I saw this happen once when I lived in Denmark. I told you about it.”
Magnus shakes his head and drinks up the rest of his whiskey, maybe he does need something. A double. “I think I would remember it, dear.”
“Maybe I told Ragnor.”
There is a sudden silence like every time they mention their deceased friend. As if they are still trying to assimilate he’s gone after all these years but they know that no matter the time that passes, there are some people you will never be ready to let go.
Catarina clears her throat after a moment. “My theory is that from that time your souls merged somehow when they were trying to hold onto something. Another theory is that it was something gradual. Remember that time in which both of you were constantly using the Alliance rune, during the war against Lilith and Jonathan?”
Magnus nods and discreetly magics his glass full again. “Of course I remember. War is not something you just forget, not even after centuries.”
“Well, I think your energies, at their very core, got used to being together so they started to intertwine on their own.”
Magnus tries to process her words as well as possible in the lapse of a minute.
“How bad would it be?”
“I don’t think it is something bad, because I’m pretty sure that’s what happened. However, it all depends on how you see it?”
“Stop being eerie, Cat!”
Catarina rolls her eyes and sips of her drink.
“Your souls are bonded, it’s similar to the parabatai bond but stronger. You’ll be able to feel his pain and when he’s in danger, the same for him. However, the threads of your lives are so intertwined that if any of you received a mortal wound or… died for any reason, the other will as well.”
“But I’m immortal, Alec is not. How will that work?” Magnus murmurs cautiously, that is something he chooses not to think about most of the time.
“You are lucky. In the Denmark case, one of them was a warlock like us and the other human.” Catarina lowers her voice, so none of the mundanes in the establishment hear them. “They lived eighty years together until the Black Death came, but Rita didn’t age one day.”
Magnus’ heart flutters just at the thought. Eighty more years with Alec by his side, that would be a dream come true.
“Then, immortality would be it. Since from the both you are the strongest, at least magic wise. Nephilims’ gifts cannot compare to warlocks’.”
Magnus is breathing heavily and is practically on the edge of his seat. “And that means…?”
“His lifespan will be the same as yours. The more time that passes, the more the bond strengths, everything will be more intense. You’ll feel what he feels; pain, worries, love.”
Magnus is still trying to process this knowledge and figure out how he will tell Alec. He leans back in his chair. He closes his eyes and breathes deeply in and out.
“I guess that makes a lot of sense.”
Catarina puts a hand over his, worried. “Why, have you felt bad?”
Magnus laughs and dismisses her worries with a hand, trying to lighten the mood. “Far from it.” she gives him a puzzled expression. Magnus smirks. “The sex has been mind-blowing, Cat.”
His friend mirrors his smirk. “Of course you would focus on that part.”