Actions

Work Header

New Starts

Chapter Text

If you had told Magnus at the start of the day that he would have three Nephilim as semi-permanent house guests, he would have laughed. While he worked closely with a lot of the rebel Shadowhunters who continued to make New York home, he still kept mostly separate from their affairs when he could help it. He was rather too busy with his jobs as Head Warlock of NYC, of being a single father of two, AND the chief agent helping to sneak downworlders safely out of Idris.

Such was his life in the world post the Revised Accords. Magnus had been in the process of chasing Max that day, before everything began to change. Max, who had made a break for it after his bath, was running around the apartment in only his underwear while Madzie laughed from the couch. "Don't make me magic these on you, Blueberry!" Magnus called after his son.

Max paused, long enough for Magnus to scoop him up and blow a raspberry on his chubby blue tummy. This caused more shrieking laughter and a plea, "Help me Madzie!"

"He couldn't get you if you'd put your clothes on," Madzie said, with all the wisdom of a nine year old to a three year old. "It's your own fault."

Magnus set Max down, summoning the clothes from his room at the same time. He was finishing tugging Max's t-shirt over his little horns when the knock came. Sensing the disturbance against his wards, Magnus knew that whoever was at the door were Nephilm, most likely shadowhunters. Which was probably nothing, but since the Clave had only turned more evil during the Downworld Revolution with Valentine in power, it was always better to be safe in case something had crawled out of Idris looking for a fight.

"Madzie, take Max to the safe room, okay?" Magnus said, resting a gentle hand against Max's back to guide him in the right direction. Madzie set her book aside and hopped down to take her brother's hand, heading towards Magnus' bedroom and the safe room tucked behind the closet. "And if I don't come get you in an hour-"

"Portal to Aunt Catarina's, I know!" Madzie said. Once they vanished from Magnus' sight, he approached the door as another knock sounded. Tugging his vest straight, and feeling his magic close at hand, he opened the door.

Magnus had been right when he sensed three Nephilim. He just hadn't expected two of them to be children. There was a young teen, tucked protectively behind the tall, beautiful man at Magnus' door, and the man also held a young child, who could be no more than five, in his arms.

"Are you Magnus Bane?" the man asked, and he sounded desperate. So, unlikely the Clave had sent him to come take Magnus in for the crimes of freeing downworlders.

"I am," Magnus looked up into his face, and the man visibly relaxed. "Who do I have the honor-?"

"Alec Lightwood," he shifted the child in his arms to one hip, freeing a hand to offer it to Magnus. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you."

Magnus indeed knew Alec Lightwood, from reputation only. He was, to the Clave, one of their top generals in their “war” against the downworld. To Magnus, Alec was his contact within the Clave that helped him smuggle out downworlders who had been caught. The number of downworlders that together they had been able to save from death, torture, or enslavement in Idris was close to four hundred. Alec matched the description Magnus had been given from those they had saved, though he had never met the man in person.

Magnus took the offered hand, pressing it with both of his own. "The pleasure is all mine," he stepped back, letting go of the hand to make a welcoming gesture. "Please come in! I assume something has gone wrong?" Magnus felt fear at the thought of all their work saving downworlders from the Clave ending horribly.

Alec nodded, stepping past, the young teen behind him following. "Yes, though not with the operations we have worked on. It’s… rather more personal? I assure you I was not found out and I entrusted my work to someone I know will be able to continue it."

Magnus shut the door, which allowed him to remove the curiosity from his face because he couldn't think of much else besides being a downworlder sympathizer that could get a top General to go on the run. The Clave was rather desperate to keep their numbers up. But he could see from Alec's expression that he did not want to talk about it, probably with the kids around. "I'll make us some coffee and hot chocolate," Magnus said. "Please make yourselves at home. But first-” Magnus turned to the little boy who was peaking from Alec's shoulder and then the quiet teen with a smile. "Who are these other gentlemen?"

Alec beamed, bouncing the little one. "This is my son Rafe- Rafael." Rafe hid his face once more after staring at Magnus with his wide brown eyes, and it went right to Magnus' heart.

"And I'm Max," the teen stepped forward, holding out a hand. "I'm Alec's brother."

Magnus shook the hand. "It's wonderful to meet you."

Alec had walked over to Magnus' couch. "Hey, look Rafe, it's one of your favorite books," he held up one of the picture books from the floor as he sat, Rafe still staying close to him.

"Speaking of Max," Magnus said as this Max moved to follow his brother. "This’ll get a bit confusing, but my son is named Max as well."

"You have a son?" Alec asked, glancing around.

"And a daughter, you might remember them," Magnus smiled. "They are some of the warlocks you helped save from Idris. They went to my safe room when you disturbed my wards."

Magnus left the room with that, and went to find Madzie and Max. Slipped through his coats, he used his magic to unlock the door. Madzie had put on some cartoon on the laptop Magnus got just for this purpose. Max was watching, fully focused, while Madzie looked up from time to time from the book she was reading. She smiled when Magnus came in.

"Are they gone?" Madzie asked.

"No, but they're no danger," Magnus said, closing the laptop and picking up Max. Madzie stood up, nose still in her book. "Actually-" Magnus knew this would get her attention. "It's Alec Lightwood."

Madzie looked up so quickly, and almost dropped her book. "Alec?" When Madzie had first came to Magnus, she wouldn't stop talking about Alec. Her heroworship apparently hadn't dimmed in the three years since. She booked it past Magnus, running towards the living room. Magnus followed, Max watching this all curiously from his hip.

"Alec!" he heard Madzie shout, and when Magnus walked in, he found a startled but smiling Alec hugging Madzie back with one arm.

"Hey Madzie!" Alec said as she pulled away. "Wow, you've gotten so tall! How old are you now?"

"Nine," Madzie beamed, then held up her book. "And I'm really good at reading." Magnus wondered if Alec felt a similar pang, that if they hadn't gotten Madzie out of Idris, then she probably would never have made it to her 9th birthday.

Rafe was watching Madzie wearily. He was sitting on the couch now, but still pressed close to Alec. Magnus set Max on the ground, and the little boy hurried over to greet the new people in his house.

"I'm Max!" he announced.

"No way, I'm Max!" Alec's brother said. "Okay, this is going to be way too confusing. I’ll be Maxwell."

Max seemed confused by this, but smiled up at Maxwell anyway. "Hi!"

Maxwell laughed. "Hello there."

"Who wants cocoa?" Magnus called, moving towards the kitchen.

"Meeee!" Max said, running back over to Magnus, colliding with his leg.

"Yes please," Madzie and Maxwell both said.

"How about you Rafe?" Alec said to his shy son.

"Yes please," he murmured, and Magnus met Alec's smile with one of his own.

"And coffee for you?" Magnus cocked an eyebrow. He'd noticed the dark circles under Alec's eyes.

"That would be amazing, thank you," Alec said, smile growing.

 

The rest of the afternoon passed almost like a visit between friends, or maybe more like a playdate for the kids. Maxwell and Madzie talked about books while Max was able to draw Rafe out to help him build a city of large Lego blocks. And they all danced around the subject of why Alec seemed to be running from the Clave and needed to be protected, of why he was here. Magnus let it be with the kids around, and offered without any prompting, "Why don't you all stay the night here? I can make some twin beds to go in the guest room."

"Only if it's no trouble," Alec said after a moment where Magnus can been curious to see if he would decline, but Magnus could read the relief in his words.

"None in the slightest. Let me get takeout for dinner."

When they all sat down at the kitchen table (that Magnus had to expand a bit), Madzie sat closest to Alec and caught him up on her life since he last saw her. Magnus had tried to step in, worried that she might be too demanding, but Alec had just caught his eye and shook his head slightly. He chatted with her, proving to Magnus as he had been throughout the day, what a good dad he was.

Max sat in his booster attached to the table chair and had to be reminded not to play with his food as he tried to entertain Rafe. Rafe had also sat by his dad, but seemed to be coming out of his shell little by little, especially with a talkative blue three year old taking his attention.

That left Maxwell on Magnus’ other side. Magnus learned he was thirteen, and recently had his rune ceremony. He showed the rune to Magnus, who stopped himself from wincing at the pain that must have caused the child and the fact it was the sign that he was ready to go out and be a soldier. Magnus had always hated the fact that shadowhunters started so young. Talking with Maxwell a bit about rune theory made it clear that not only the boy was very smart, but that he was far more than just a little soldier. Even if he claimed it had taken him a long time to get the runes right.

When they were finished, Maxwell helped Madzie clear the table as Magnus focused on cleaning Max and Alec on Rafe. Magnus then made the guest room up to accommodate all three of the guests, and smiled when Alec murmured to him- "Rafe will probably crawl into my bed in the middle of the night."

"Does he then kick you right in the stomach?" Magnus murmured back, used to children crawling into bed if scared by a nightmare.

"Of course, and he always has perfect aim," Alec said, chuckling.

Alec and Magnus didn't actually get to talk until around nine, once everyone was in bed (Maxwell was reading, but wasn't in the room). When they finally settled back in Magnus' living room, it was with a mutual groan on relief that the kids were sleeping. Magnus walked over to the baby warlock proof cabinet he now kept his drink makings, long having given up having a drink cart.

"Want anything? Red wine, whiskey, a martini?" he asked, glancing to were Alec sat.

"Wine would be great, thank you," Alec sighed, his expression even more tired than it had been this morning. "I'm sorry to be leaning on your hospitality so much."

"Nonsense, but you can pay me back by telling me what is going on." Magnus opened a bottle, and poured two generous cups, before returning. He sat next to Alec on the couch and passed him a glass. Magnus then took a sip of his own and hummed. Dry and slightly buttery. "It can't be good, given you came to my door without anything packed."

"I didn't want to alert anyone to my plans," Alec said, taking a rather large gulp from his glass and making a face. It didn't stop him from taking another. "Given my position, I tend to have a lot of eyes on me."

"Makes sense," Magnus said, tipping his head to acknowledge before pulling on leg up so he could turn and face Alec. "What happened Alexander?"

Alec looked up at his full name, before pinching the bridge of his nose. "It was… it’s something a long time coming. It's pretty obvious that I don't believe in what the Clave has been doing.” Magnus smiled at this, inclining his head once more. “My sister and brother had both defected years ago, but I felt I could do the most good if I stayed. I wanted to change the system, and when that failed, I decided to focus on helping downworlders get to safety."

"But no one found out about that?" Magnus asked, wanting it confirmed again. He would have a lot of new work if that was not the case.

Alec shook his head. "No. It is... actually a more personal matter, like I said. I...." he blushed deeply, and took another swallow of wine. "Well, I've known for a long time.... that I.... and then Rafe said something and I knew couldn't put him through that."

"I'm not following," Magnus said gently, setting his own glass down and resting a hand on Alec's own that was clenched on his knee. Alec jumped at the touch, but didn't pull away. "You're safe here, I promise."

Alec blew out a long breath and looked away. "I'm... gay." Alec said it as if it was the first time he had out loud, and Magnus had a strong feeling that it was. Given how the Clave had gotten more regressive... He squeezed the hand under his own. Alec looked back at him and seemed to relax a bit at what he saw on Magnus' face. "I've always just accepted that it was something I would hide, that I wouldn't be fully able to be myself. But then... Rafe said something to me, asking if boys could have boyfriends. I realized I couldn't raise my son in the same toxic space I had been. So I decided it was time for me to defect, but given my position, it was hard to do. I had to plan, but it also had to be spontaneous. Plus, I had to make sure Lydia was set to take on my responsibilities to the downworld."

Magnus nodded, and when it was clear Alec was done talking, he said. "Alexander Lightwood, I'm proud of you."

Alec blushed even deeper than he already was. "Uh.. um thanks?"

"It takes a lot of courage to do what you are doing. Protecting yourself and your family." Magnus said. "What about Maxwell?"

"I talked to him, because I didn't want to leave him alone. He's the last of my siblings still in Idris," Alec explained. "I did a lot of help with raising him, and it would have been unfair, despite the risk, to just leave. He decided he wanted to join me instead of staying, and I wouldn't say no to that." He looked into his glass. "I came here, I looked for you... because I knew you would be able to hide us. I thought about going to my siblings, who are here in New York, but I didn't think it would be safe."

Magnus removed his hand after giving a final squeeze, and picked his glass back up. "Alexander, you and your family are welcome to stay here as long as you need. Given that you are a defecting General... Well maybe it would be best if I add some extra rooms."

Alec's eyes went wide. Goodness, they were a beautiful hazel. "You're saying-"

"I guess I'm saying you can move in," Magnus said, and sipped his wine. Maybe this wasn't the best idea he ever had, but he was sincerely worried about Alec being found by the Clave. "There’s no safer place in all of New York."

"I wouldn't want to impose," Alec protested.

"Think of it instead of me paying you back, for all the help you have given me," Magnus said. "And, if you think about it, the two children."

Alec looked like he was going to protest again. Magnus held up a finger, brushing it ever so slightly to Alec's lips. Alec nodded after a pause. "Thank you. I’ll think about it."

Magnus took his hand back, smiling softly. "Of course. You're welcome to stay here as long as you need." Alec smiled back at Magnus. "I can also help you get in touch with your siblings."

"Izzy and Jace," Alec grinned at the thought. "I haven't seen them in a long time. You know the rogue Shadowhunters?"

"I have semi frequent contact with the demon hunting teams, should they need help or should someone get hurt and Catarina isn't able to assist," Magnus said sitting back. "Izzy Lightwood I would consider a friend, though I don't see much of Jace." Magnus stopped himself from making a face. "I believe we have different circles... But let me text Izzy, maybe she’s free."

 

The first time Magnus Bane and Isabella Lightwood met, they were both at the Pandemonium and had eyes on the same seelie. The seelie was rather unimpressed with both of them, and Magnus and Izzy spent the rest of the night at the bar, bemoaning being single and not able to find a stable relationship.

"Do you think it has something to do with commitment issues, a fear of getting hurt, and the fact we keep having casual affairs?" Magnus asked her, waving one hand through the air.

"Maybe, though it could also be that neither of us has found the one," she leaned back against the bar, surveying the dance floor. "You know, they say nephilim only love once."

"That's bullshit, trust me, I’ve known a lot of shadowhunters in my days," Magnus said, then chuckled. "Including some very happy polyamorous ones."

"So I shouldn't be waiting for someone to drop from the sky and have a love at first sight moment?" Izzy asked, turning to glance at Magnus.

Magnus knocked back his drink, made a face, and shook his head. "No dear, love takes a little more work than that. But I need to call it a night. I'm not as young as I used to be."

Izzy had laughed brightly, "Could have fooled me!" Snagging his phone from the bar before he could, she typed in her number. "In case we need a drinking buddy again."

Magnus had seen Izzy many times after that, though less so since he found himself a father and she found herself a stable relationship. They still grabbed drinks, though those drinks tended to be coffee now, and they still swapped fashion advice. She knew where he lived, and sometimes brought in those that needed healing. He knew she lived across town in an apartment with a few of the other rogue shadowhunters, so tonight he was surprised at how quickly she showed up at his door after he texted that her brothers were here.

The wards let her in as she burst through the door, and sprinted to Alec. Alec managed to stand in time to catch Izzy, and they held each other closely. Following behind Izzy was Jace, who gave Magnus a nod before wrapping his arms around both Izzy and Alec. Magnus decided to leave them alone, and went to get Maxwell if he was still awake.

Sticking his head in the guest room, he saw that Rafe had already climbed from his bed to what would be Alec's. He seemed to be sleeping soundly though.

"What is it, Magnus?" Maxwell whispered, looking up from the book he had in his lap.

"You're other siblings have joined us," Magnus whispered back.

Maxwell's face light up. "Jace and Izzy?!" When Magnus nodded, he shot out of bed and hurried past him. His training as a shadowhunter was probably the only reason he didn't wake up Rafe in his hurry. Magnus wave a hand to tuck Rafe further into bed, then turned to head to his own room.

Passing through the living room, he found all four siblings happily rejoicing in being reunited. He paused, then snapped his fingers to have a pot of tea and another of decaf coffee appear on the coffee table, along with a little plate of cookies. This got Izzy's attention, and she jumped up from where she was sitting beside Alec to run over and pull Magnus into a hug.

"Thanks for agreeing to keep him safe," she murmured, before pulling back.

Magnus smiled at her. "Of course. For as long as he needs. I expect I will be seeing more of you?"

"You know it!" Izzy chuckled. "For one thing, I will need to meet my nephew! So expect me early in the morning tomorrow."

"Should I put brunch together?" Magnus asked, looking over at where Maxwell was excitedly showing Jace his first rune.

"Only if it's no trouble," Izzy said, to which Magnus wiggled his fingers in her face. "Okay, I get it, magic. But I know you put a lot of energy into keeping New York safe."

"Not so much that I can't make brunch, but I’m also rather rich so I could probably get something delivered," Magnus did his best to look thoughtful, causing Izzy to laugh.

"You're too good to us," Izzy said, pressing a kiss on his cheek before returning to her brothers. Magnus passed through, waving goodnight. That brought Alec over to his side, and Magnus wondered if he was going to make it through the living room to take his makeup off and go to sleep.

"Magnus, thank you again," Alec said, and he was so sincere it made Magnus' heartache.

"Alexander," Magnus reached out, pressing a hand to his arm. "It’s really no bother. Thank you for talking to me and telling me about yourself."

Alec blushed, but he looked both pleased and nervous. "I- I.... y-yes, I-"

Magnus smiled, "Go enjoy your family. I am going to sleep myself, just make sure to lock up when they leave."

"O-okay," Alec smiled. "Goodnight Magnus."

"Goodnight Alexander."

Chapter Text

Madzie and Max woke Magnus up the next morning by clambering all over him. Usually they only reserved this for Saturday mornings, because Saturdays were for pancakes and they wanted those pancakes as soon as (magically) possible. Madzie wasn't quiet skilled enough to handle pancake making or summoning on her own, and Max certainly wasn't, but it had made for a memorable father's day that year when they had tried.

"Can we go play with Rafe?" Madzie asked, once she saw Magnus open an eye, stopping her bouncing.

"Rafe!" Max cheered, bouncing even more before pausing to look thoughtful. "Like Uncle Raphael!"

Magnus sat up, the kids moving back enough to allow him to do so. "Yes, you can go play with Rafe, if he is also up."

Madzie slipped from the bed and then offered her arms to help Max get down. Madzie had really stepped in well to her role as a big sister, and it always made Magnus feel soft and fuzzy inside to see his kids getting along so well. That was not to say they didn't fight, and two warlocks under ten fighting was not something Magnus had ever expected to have the... pleasure of mediating, but he also wouldn't trade it for the world. Madzie looked back up at him and asked, "What’s for breakfast?"

"Cereal for breakfast, but only because I have offered to host brunch," Magnus said, and debated if he could get away with laying back down and catching a few more minutes of sleep. His home was rather young warlock proof, but he didn't know if that translated to being young shadowhunter proof. He was going to need to ask Alec what to watch out for with his little one. "Madzie, please make sure Max is okay, I'm going to shower really quickly."

"Okay!" she offered Max her hand and they took off out of the room.

"Max, please don't turn into a bat!" Magnus called, and slipped into the bathroom attached to the master bedroom.

Max's shouted "No!" was not a promising sign, but then again, he seemed to have decided it was his favorite word again. Magnus showered in under five minutes, a skill only truly learned with parenthood, threw on clothes in three, and magicked his makeup and hair to be perfect. He went out and found the kids being supervised by a tired but happy looking Alec Lightwood. Magnus admired the scene. Rafe seeming to decide that he would talk with Max, if only to try and instruct what blocks should go where on the growing city, and that he might want to talk with Madzie, if she would let him borrow her books.

Alec was lounging, bare feet tucked up on the couch, watching the kids with a soft smile. He was beautiful, tall, smart, and cared for his child and the cause of the downworld… Ah. That really might be a problem. But Magnus’ many years of living had made him great at compartmentalizing unwanted feelings. So instead of examining more deeply why he probably shouldn't be playing house with a hot single father who just happen to also be a Clave General on the run, he announced his presence with, "I'm going to make coffee."

Alec looked up at that, and smiled even wider. "Morning Magnus! Coffee would be a godsend."

Going into the kitchen, Magnus summoned coffee from one of his favorite spots, along with some muffins and donuts, depositing the proper payment in the register and a $100 bill in the tip jar. Pouring the coffee into two mugs and plating the baked goods, he returned to the living room to find the last of their group had joined: Maxwell was yawning in a chair, flipping through one of Magnus’ books.

"Can I have coffee?" Maxwell asked Magnus, as Magnus passed Alec a mug that said "say hi if you're bi" on one side and "say hey if you're gay" on the other. Magnus' just said "world's best cat dad". He should really get another cat…

"No," Magnus responded to Maxwell, not even looking at Alec until after he said it, but Alec nodded in agreement. "However, I do have a lot of black and green teas if you really need some caffeine, feel free to help yourself."

Maxwell pulled a face, leaning over to snag a blueberry muffin instead. "Thanks."

"You're welcome," Magnus chuckled. Madzie hurried over seeing the treats. She reached for a doughnut. "Did you have cereal?"

"No," Madzie said, and snagged the doughnut, making a run for it. Magnus sighed, a made a mental note to make sure she ate extra veggies with her dinner.

Alec watched all this with a half smile, then sipped the coffee. "Mmm, this is amazing."

"Do you need cream or sugar?" Magnus raised a hand to summon some.

"No, this is great, thank you," Alec said, and moved over a bit on the couch. Magnus took that an invitation, and sat on the other side. Swirling around him were the kids: Max coming to grab a doughnut for himself and Rafe to split, Maxwell getting up to look through Magnus' bookcases, Madzie reappearing with no doughnut and a sketch book Clary had gotten her. She sat down to draw, using Max and Rafe's ever growing Lego city as inspiration. Alec seemed to relax beside him, though something caught Magnus' eye. He was in the same clothes as the day before…

"You don't have any clean clothes, and neither do Maxwell or Rafe," he said, sitting up suddenly. "Or any shampoo or toothbrushes! I've been terrible host not to-"

Alec reached out a hand, laying it on Magnus' leg. "You've done more than enough. Izzy is going shopping and bringing some stuff when she comes over."

Magnus smiled at that, relaxing back into the couch, "She's a good sister."

"Auntie Izzy?" came a quiet voice, and Magnus and Alec turned to see Rafe looking at them.

Alec beamed, putting down his coffee to be able to scoop up his son. "Yes, you get to meet your Auntie Izzy! She is going to come over soon. Are you excited?"
Rafe nodded, and Magnus thought this was the most excited he had ever seen the boy. He bet Alec had been telling Rafe about his aunt for a long time.

"Your Aunt is one of the best dressers and smartest people I know," Magnus told Rafe with a smile. "So you also don't have to worry about her bringing you bad clothes.

Rafe smile turned a little shy, but he said, "Like Dad."

Magnus raised an eyebrow, trying to stop a grin. “What's like your dad?"

Rafe shook his head, and giggled. "Dad isn't good with fashion." He reached out and tugged the light scarf Magnus was wearing. "Your clothes are nice."

Magnus laughed as Alec made a face behind his son's head. "Well, maybe you can try some of my clothes on? Madzie and Max love to play dress up."

"There's a special trunk in Papa's closet we get to play in," Madzie popped up at Magnus' side. "You wanna go see?"

Rafe glanced at Alec, who smiled and nodded, before turning back to Madzie. "Yes please!"

"Max! Dress up time!" Madzie shouted and Max dropped the blocks he was playing with and took off towards Magnus' bedroom. Madzie and Rafe followed in hot pursuit.

The low rumble of Alec's laughter brought Magnus' attention back to him. "You're never going to get him out of there," Alec said, after Magnus caught his eye.

"We'll see if the boy has taste!" Magnus grinned, reaching over to tug the sleeve of the worn sweater Alec was wearing. "He's right that you don't have the skills."

"Hey," Alec pouted, but then started laughing again. "I know, but I try and let him explore how he likes to express himself."

"I could do a manicure day with the kids," Magnus mused. "Do you think he would like that?"

Alec's hazel eyes softened, and he nodded. "Rafe would love that."

"Consider it done!" Magnus said, wiggling his own deep blue nails at Alec. "Plus with magic to help, I will make sure the nails are dry so we'll have no unfortunate smudges."

"I'll leave such things to the experts."

Magnus hummed, and sipped his coffee, listening to the laughter of the kids in the distance.

 

Brunch with Izzy was a very exciting affair for Magnus’ Lightwood guests. Rafe, as predicted, absolutely adored his aunt from moment one. This was only increased when she showed him the outfits she had purchased. They had hurried off to have a fashion show, with some additions from Magnus' closet, while Alec and Maxwell showered and changed. Magnus offered the master bath to Alec, and was now being punished for this kindness with the fact Alec smelled like his shampoo.

Magnus had taken that time to do a mix of summoning, magic, and a little bit of actual cooking to put together a brunch that would have something that each of the kids would eat. Madzie and Max supervised him, and gave directors of what he should get. Magnus also used the time to feed them some fruit in the guise of taste testing.

Once everyone was gathered at the table, Izzy, Alec, Maxwell, and Rafe chatted away. Magnus didn't mind being out of the loop, and focused on checking in with Madzie and Max. He didn't want them to feel like they were left out or were getting less of Magnus’ attention because there were guests. He also knew they would need to do some catch up with their lessons. Magnus tried to keep their magic and academic lessons much to the times mundane children were in school when he was able, but he had let it slip so far yesterday and today. This seemed like a special enough occasion- plus, as much as he trusted Alec, he wasn't sure how the shadowhunter would react to what untrained magic sometimes looked like. Both Madzie and Max were already very powerful, so it took a lot of Magnus' power to keep them and his apartment safe when they practiced spells.

As the meal wound down, Izzy turned to Magnus, Rafe sitting contentedly on her lap. "Are you coming tonight?"

"Of course," Magnus said, looking over at Madzie and Max. "Clary agreed to come babysit."

"What's tonight?" Alec asked, looking between his sister and Magnus.

"There's a meeting, an update on demon hunting and general check in," Izzy explained. “Part of how we keep things very transparent between us rogue shadowhunters and the downworld."

"It's important, especially because demon hunting is a task for everyone now," Magnus wiped some yogurt from Max's face. "Izzy is head of one of the main task forces."

"I get along great with downworlders," Izzy grinned, and winked at Magnus. They both laughed at Alec's scandalized look. "But really, it's all Jocelyn and Luke. The close bond of us rogue shadowhunters and the New York pack have is really important."

"And the marriage between the two never hurt," Magnus nods. "There are plenty of... intermingled relationships among the shadowhunters and the downworlders." He raised an eyebrow at Izzy, wondering if she would tell her brother about her own relationship.

She huffed a sigh at him. "You can say it, Magnus."

"Oh, I wouldn't want to take that away from you," he leaned back, but glanced at Alec. "But let's just say, there are some other pack and shadowhunter connections."

Alec looked at Izzy, both brows raised. She shrugged and said, "I'm might be dating one of the werewolves near the top of the pack order. Her name is Maia and she-"

Alec frowned. "Her?"

Izzy paused. "Yeah, her. She’s a student learning marine biology. She also works as a bartender and makes better drinks than Magnus."

"Hey! I’ve had hundreds of years of practice," he joked, hoping to remove some tension he sensed now coming from Alec, mostly hurt and confusion. Magnus wondered if he was out to Izzy, though he also assumed Izzy would know even if he hadn't told her directly. She was rather observant when it came to people, especially those she cared about.

"And it shows in your out of fashion drinks," Izzy retorted back as she pulls a face, before turning back to Alec, looking a little nervous.

"Why didn't you tell me you like girls?" Alec asked, voice low and almost hurt.

Izzy sighed. "It's kinda... a new thing I figured out? And actually decided I could pursue. You know, without the Clave and all its watchful eyes."

Alec seemed to relax a bit, and his hurt turned to shame and worry. "And I should understand that best of all."

"At least you never let Mom actually put you in an arranged marriage," Izzy said. Magnus knew that was one of the reasons Izzy left, besides not believing in the Clave’s actions. She was being forced to marry someone twice her age.
Magnus had met her only a few months after she had made it to New York. Jocelyn and Luke tended to have a lot of work to do to help the shadowhunters that joined them work through what the Clave had subjected them too. Underhill was there much as Alec was, because he was gay and didn't want to deal with the fall out. Aline, one of Magnus' other favorites, also fell into that camp. Jace was there because he was bad at following orders, bad at structure, and needed a different kind of authority. Some just needed to get away from abusive family, some didn't believe in the cause, some just couldn't spend their whole lives in Idris. Jocelyn and Luke would take them all in, though some were shuffled out to live a relatively mundane life if that was what they wanted.

"What happens at these meetings," Alec asked bringing Magnus back from his thoughts.

"It’s mostly sharing of intelligence, such as if there are any particularly tricky infestations that needs to be teamed up on or if another city has asked for support, that sort of thing," Izzy said, waving her arm, the snake on it glinting in the morning light.

"Other cities?"

"We have one of the most stable and effective Downworlder-Shadowhunter Alliances," Magnus said. "Which took a lot of work and a lot of trust building. But other cities aren't so lucky. Some of them had too much history to make up easily."

Alec nodded. "I know the Clave usually talks about New York as a lost cause. The.... infestation, as they put it, is too out of control." He winces as he glances at Magnus and his children. Max is still making yogurt art but Madzie rolls her eyes at Alec.

"Well I'm proud to say, that it's probably because the rogues and the downworlders have things so under control. There really is no need for an Institute here," Izzy beamed. "You should come to the meeting! Clary can babysit Rafe as well."

Alec looked nervous, "I don't know this person. How do I know I can trust her-"

"She's Jace's girlfriend," Izzy said. "Trust me, if she can deal with Jace, she can handle some kids. She'll probably bring Simon along too, and he's great with kids."

"And rather indestructible when it comes to being crawled on or kicked by toddlers," Magnus said and vanishes Max’s yogurt art. When Max looked at him with a deep frown, he knew there would be trouble. Magnus and Max took a deep breath at the same time. "You'll excuse me," he shouted as Max began to throw a tantrum. Swooping the toddler up into his arms, he moved towards Max's bedroom. Max probably needed to use some magic and then take a nap.

He returned almost an hour later, changed into a new shirt, Max finally down for a nap. Madzie was sitting in the living room beside Alec while Rafe seemed to have fallen asleep with his head resting on Izzy's lap. Izzy was telling Alec some story about Jace, Magnus assumed, given the face Alec was making. It was somewhere between concern, humor, and dread.

"And you want me to leave my child with the person who decided to date Jace?" Alec asked, tone urgent but quiet with Rafe sleeping.

Magnus couldn't stop a snort of laughter, which brought Alec's attention to him. Though it was clear Alec was a serious man, Magnus had noted his face seemed to be made for smiling. The bright smile he flashed Magnus now was something Magnus wanted to keep, and he couldn't help but smile back.

Izzy cleared her throat, bringing both Alec and Magnus' attention back to her. She had a smirk and a sparkle in her eye that Magnus knew meant mischief, but she just said, "Clary isn't just some random girl Jace is dating. She's Jocelyn and Luke's daughter, not to mention Magnus' goddaughter."

Magnus nodded, settling next to Madzie and Alec. "Clary is very trustworthy, even if her taste in men is questionable."

"I don't know if I should be insulted on behalf of my brother or relieved," Alec passed Madzie a crayon when she held out her hand to him. Magnus saw now that Alec had the bucket of them in his lap, and seemed to be in charge of handing them to Madzie and putting them away when she was done. Madzie liked to keep her crayons in the proper color order, Max liked to mix them all up, and that’s how Magnus ended up with twice as many crayons as he really ought to need in his home.

"I think you should be both," Magnus said to Alec. "Simon is also dating Jace and Clary, but he keeps them both in line when needed, so it's even better he's helping tonight."

Alec blinked slowly, missing Madzie passing the crayon back to him until she nudged him. "Wh-what?" he managed, diligently taking the crayon and putting it away in the proper spot, before passing Madzie the next.

"Jace is dating Clary, Clary is also dating Simon, and Simon and Jace are dating," Izzy said, drawing a triangle in the air. She then turned to Magnus. "Is Simon also dating Raphael?"

Magnus shook his head. "No, that was a rumor. Remember when the rumor was you were dating Simon?"

Izzy rolled her eyes. "Everyone has been dating Simon at some point."

"Not me!" Magnus scoffed.

"That's because you're old, you're not in the hot gossip circles anymore," Izzy stuck out her tongue.

"Come on, when has that stopped? I think Simon was dating Ragnor, and he is much older than me!" Magnus pouted dramatically.

"What is... going on?" Alec asked, looking between the two of them. "Are you telling me Jace... likes guys?"

"Jace likes anyone who'll sleep with him, which is a surprising amount of people," Magnus said before amending, "but he's very devoted to Clary and Simon, so we can all hope he's settled down."

Alec looked over at Izzy for confirmation and she nodded. "It's true big brother, Jace has been a bit of a slu-"

Magnus cleared his throat loudly, looking down at Madzie. She was focused on drawing a purple cow, but Magnus still said, "We don't sex shame in this household."

Izzy nodded, but shrugged, "I'm his sister though, I am legally obliged to shame him."

"I don't think that's true," Alec said seeming to be coming to terms with this new world. "Is Simon a downworlder?"

"Vampire, sort of New York Clan, but he likes hanging out with the pack better," Magnus said. At Alec's surprise, Magnus shook his head. "It's rather complicated. But he and Maia and Luke get along, so he's kind of the pack's pet vampire."

"I don't think that's what he likes to be thought of, though," Izzy pointed out.

"So when you say there is a strong alliance between the shadowhunters and the downworlders..." Alec raised both brows.

"It's both interpersonal and political," Magnus supplied. "The friendships and romances, the families, that have been built since the revolution ended show just how similar we all are and how much stronger we are working together."

"It's what the Clave has always missed," Izzy added. "The fact that really, we’re much more alike than different. We’re slipping through the edges of the mundane world, we’re trying to keep them and us safe from the horrors they can't see. Why not join forces?"

Alec smiled, swapping another crayon for Madzie. "I'm glad to be apart of it more directly now, though I think it's best if I still keep a low profile for some time. I’d like to come to the meeting if possible?"

"Certainly," Magnus rested a hand briefly on his shoulder. "One of the things we will need to talk about it how we can continue to get downworlders out of Idris to safety. I know you mentioned something..."

"I have that mostly covered, yes," Alec grew serious. "Lydia Branwell has been trained on all I do, and she’s very trustworthy. She had been assisting me as she could for years, so it should be a smooth transition to have her be your contact."

Magnus nodded, pleased. He should have known Alec wouldn’t leave them in the lurch.

Izzy perked up before asking, "How’s Lydia? Have the two of you still be on and off engaged all this time?"

Alec pulled a face. "Yes, she's been very good about it. It's probably as much of a relief for her as it is for me to be out of there. Now she might be actually be able to find someone who can love her." He glanced at Magnus and explained. "Her first husband, young love, was 'accidentally' killed by another shadowhunter during a mission. She's been helping me cover my… personal preferences, and I've hopefully been giving her the time she needed to mourn."

Izzy sighed, “Kept her safe from arranged marriages, that’s for sure. She’s a good one.”

Alec nodded, “I’m sure she’ll be alright.”

“If not, I can always make another bedroom,” Magnus joked, before the conversation turned. But it certainly got him thinking about the reality that the nephilim in Idris must be facing. As much as they had made their own bed, having Valentine as consul was probably not good for anyone. He decided he should mention it to some of the other leaders, get their opinion on if there was anything more they could do.

 

It had been a bit of trouble to leave Rafe. He was obviously very attached to Alec and hadn't had the best luck with people other than Alec being kind to him. But when he saw how excited Max and Madzie were to see Clary and Simon, he calmed down a bit. Alec seemed impressed with how both Simon and Clary had talked to Rafe, getting on his level and doing what they could to make him feel comfortable. Once that was settled, Magnus had opened a portal to take himself, Alec, and Maxwell to the alleyway beside the shop.

The Downworlder-Shadowhunter Alliance meeting was held in the bookstore that Luke and Jocelyn used as a front for the main shadowhunter housing and training building. A good number had their own apartments, but it could be tricky to keep them when there wasn't any money to be made in fighting demons. The werewolves had the Jade Wolf, the vampires the Hotel DuMort, and the shadowhunters the Angel's Nest. Magnus thought they all could be more creative with the naming, but he still often referred to his apartment as a lair, so who was he to judge?

Izzy had gone right to her brothers when they had all walked in through the back of the shop to the meeting space and started to introduce them to those gathered. Magnus nodded to Raphael and Lily, who were sitting in their usual spots. Maia smiled at him, before Izzy thrust her upon meeting the brothers. Magnus made his way over to where Catarina and Ragnor stood, a put upon Lorenzo seated already at the table in front of them.

Technically, two people from each faction took a seat, but there were always plenty of those in standing room. Magnus and Lorenzo had found themselves a team, as they represented different warlock groups in New York City. Magnus' were largely those who had taken a great part in the revolution, and saw a vested interest in making sure the new world ran smoothly. Lorenzo's were those who had stepped back, didn't get their hands dirty unless absolutely necessary, and now thought that they should leave the mortals (and vampires) to their own devices. Catarina and Ragnor liked to tag along and this was not just because Magnus usually was able to meet them for drinks after (getting a babysitter for two little warlocks was hard), but it was also because they liked to remind Lorenzo that, in a near literal sense, his group was outnumbered three to one.

"Did you hear, Tessa's going to be in town next month!" Catarina smiled. "She said she was looking forward to seeing how much Max and Madzie grew."

"She sent me a message, it's been a while," Magnus gave Catarina a hug, and got one arm around Ragnor. Tessa had decided to keep an eye over London as their High Warlock. Much like with New York's Jocelyn and Luke as the power couple combining interests, Tessa had Jem on the Shadowhunter side, making London one of the most stable cities after the revolution. The revolution also meant they didn't have the rather horrible Institute building any more, for which Magnus was grateful. He had too many unpleasant memories of that place.

"Who's that Isabelle is showing around?" Ragnor asked, after he had pushed Magnus away. Catarina, like Magnus and Lorenzo, was glamoured, but Ragnor hadn't bothered. He was the oldest of them all, and was tired with the changing fads around either flaunting or hiding marks.

Magnus turned to find Ragnor was looking at Alec. Alec was easy to spot, given how tall and attractive he was. "That’s the mysterious General Alexander Lightwood."

Catarina gasped, hand going to Magnus' arm. "The Lightwood who has been helping save downworlders from Idris?"

"The very same," Magnus glanced at her before focusing back on Alec. Lorenzo was leaning back in his chair, not hiding that he was also listening. "He showed up at my door yesterday. Seems he decided it was time to save himself."

"Who is going to be our contact now?" Lorenzo asked in a clipped tone.

"Alexander left someone in his place," Magnus assured, not sparing a glance at Lorenzo.

"Is he going to be staying here at the Nest?" Ragnor wondered.
"No, he's staying at my loft until we know it’s safe," Magnus said. "He’s a defecting General after all."

"The Clave is not going to like that," Catarina agreed.

"No, and he's got a young son, not to mention the youngest Lightwood sibling joined him as well," Magnus pointed to Maxwell, who was standing to the side, a serious look on his young face.

"Magnus, are you saying that distressingly attractive shadowhunter, who is also a father, is staying in your house?" Ragnor asked. "You thought this was a good idea? My friend, you are dafter than I thought."

Magnus frowned, turning to Ragnor as if he hadn't just been staring at Alec across the room. "You really think-"

"He does look like your type," Catarina said, sounding worried as well, which would be touching if not for her smirk. "Is he good with children?"

"He's wonderful with children," Magnus muttered.

"Is he interested in men?"

"Yes."

"And we already know he is invested in the cause," Ragnor said. "But poor Magnus has been out of the game for a while."

"I've been busy!" Magnus huffed, looking back over. It seemed Alec had settled leaning against the wall with Underhill at his side, talking quietly.

"Is he interested in women?" Catarina asked.

"No. Why?"

"Well, guess I'm out."

"Dibs, then," Ragnor said.

"What?" Magnus protested.

"Since you insisted you're not interested," Ragnor grinned wickedly.

"Hmm, why do you get dibs?" Lorenzo asked, inserting himself where he wasn’t wanted, per usual.

"Because I'm not already taking a shadowhunter to bed!" Ragnor turned that grin on Lorenzo who shrugged.

"You have me there," he turned back to the table. Magnus shot Ragnor a look but then moved to take his own seat beside Lorenzo.

Luke and Maia had sat, Izzy joining Jocelyn at the table. Lily was looking excited, chatting with Meliorn, who was the only seelie there and Magnus was pretty sure he just played Candy Crush through most meetings. The Seelie Queen had no interest in joining them, had done little during the revolution, but liked to remind them of her presence. And who knows, maybe Meliorn was taking notes and not just playing phone games. The empty chair next to Meliorn was followed by Lorenzo, then Magnus, so he was sitting beside Maia, Jocelyn and Luke side by side. Around the room were various other representatives- Elliot and Griffin behind Raphael and Lily; the ever rotating members of Luke's pack, whose names Magnus had given up on keeping all straight; Underhill and Alec behind Jocelyn and Izzy. It could have made the space feel cramped if there was any tension between the groups, but at the moment, there were no recent squabbles. Instead, the warm wood walls, some of which were bookshelves, had a cozy feeling.

Magnus waved his hand and some tea and coffee joined the water at the center of the table. "Shall we begin?"

Jocelyn nodded, tapping the iPad she had in front of her. "We’re doing well this month, but we have some reports of mundanes who might have found a legitimate spell book in a church basement."

Magnus pulled a face. "I'm guessing it's not something innocent that they can't activate?"

"No, sounds like its weakening some dimension walls enough demons might slip through," Jocelyn said, and with that, the work started. The meeting lasted nearly two hours, Raphael and Ragnor agreeing to help run a taskforce to get the book back, encanto the mundanes, and heal any rifts. Then they had gone through other reports, as well as data on the last month. Magnus kept finding his eyes drifting to Alec, who was paying close attention, and offered an opinion twice. He was certainly a man of business, thoughtful and with a good understanding of demons and fighting tactics. A few times when Magnus had looked over, he found that Alec was looking his way. He would quickly glance away when Magnus' met his eyes, but Magnus couldn't stop the smile that came with each of those encounters.

As they all were leaving the meeting, Alec found his way to Magnus' side, Maxwell following close behind. Catarina and Ragnor were also there, and quickly introduced themselves. Alec was perfectly polite, but Magnus could sense he was anxious to get back home to Rafe. Turning to Ragnor and Catarina, Magnus asked, "Do you mind coming to mine for our usual?"

"That works for me," Catarina said, and Ragnor nodded.

Maxwell yawned. "Let's get on with it then!"

“Isn’t it past your bedtime?" Ragnor asked.

"I'm clearly too old for a bedtime," Maxwell retorted.

Ragnor laughed, "Yes, clearly." He turned to Magnus and whispered, “I don’t know how kids work.”

“I know, that’s why you never babysit,” Magnus chuckled.

He then summoned the portal, and lead them in. Alec followed him first out the otherside, then Maxwell, and then Catarina and Ragnor. "You're portals are always so lovely, dear," Catarina complimented, walking over to the drinks cabinet.

"Thank you," Magnus moved towards the kitchen where he could hear Simon and Clary, Alec at his side. They were sitting at the kitchen table, with Rafe, talking with him.

Clary looked up with some relief. "See Rafe, there's your dad. Told you he'd be home soon."

Rafe put down the glass of milk he had and ran to Alec. Alec knelt, and scooped him into a hug. The little boy clung on like a koala. "Dad!"

"Hey," Alec said, and walked out of the room. "I see you are almost ready for bed..."

Clary and Simon watched until he was gone. Magnus raised an eyebrow, "Everything okay?"

"Yeah, he just didn't want to go to bed until he'd seen Alec," Clary said.

"I got the sense something happened to his birth parents- that they never came home, so it got him a little wound up," Simon said.

"And my little monsters?" Magnus asked.

"Hopefully asleep?" Clary chuckled. "Max caught on a bit to Rafe's mood but Madzie helped get him settled."

Simon smiled. "She reminds me of my big sister."

Magnus felt relieved, and put a hand on both their heads to ruffle their hair as if they were still little kids themselves. They had been, not that long ago. "Thank you as always."

"No worries, any time," Clary assured, moving to stand. Magnus followed them to the front door.

"Do you need a portal?" he asked.

"No, it's a nice night out and we're going to meet Jace for drinks," Simon said.

“Alright,” Magnus snapped his fingers so that two hundred dollar bills from his safe appeared and handed one to Simon and one to Clary. "Tip well."

Clary rolled her eyes, knowing better than to fight for the millionth time about not needing payment. She stuck it in her wallet. "Thanks Magnus. See you at family dinner?"

"Wouldn't miss it," he beamed.

"Though it looks like your family has doubled," Simon said, leaning around as if he was going to catch sight of Alec again.

"Not you too," Magnus murmured.

"What," Clary blinked those wide eyes of her innocently. She had used this look to get many cookies out of Magnus over her years growing up. "Someone else wondering how this is all going to turn out?" She winked over his shoulder, and Magnus didn't even have to turn around to know Catarina was coming their way.

"Thoughts on Alec?" Catarina whispered, placing her hand on Magnus' shoulder.

"Tall, handsome, good dad?" Simon offered.

"And single," Clary pointed out. "Very, very single."

"Rather buff too," Simon added.

Magnus felt himself almost blushing. He prided himself on never blushing. "It's been just over 24 hours, please."

"Okay, we'll lay off. But after two weeks we'll need an update," Catarina said, and Clary nodded. Simon at least looked bashful about teasing Magnus. "Now you two go have fun. We'll match- I mean watch Magnus..."

"I need to go check on my kids first," Magnus sighed, and turned, leaving Catarina to lock up after Clary and Simon. For all the teasing, they were very good babysitters. Both Max and Madzie were in their pajamas, faces washed and teeth brushed. Madzie woke when Magnus slipped in, but fell back asleep after he kissed her forehead and tucked her back into bed. Max was a heavy sleeper and only cuddled closer to his teddy bear when Magnus kissed his forehead. Feeling content, Magnus returned to have drinks with his old friends.

Chapter Text

Alec sat beside Rafe after redirecting him, because Rafe had tried to climb into Alec's bed instead of his own. Maxwell was moving around the room, getting himself ready for bed and not even asking to stay up with the adults. Alec was sure his brother, who leaned to Alec's level of introversion, was pretty tired after the meeting and just wanted to climb in bed to read. That left Alec to focus on his son.

"Was everything okay tonight?" Alec asked him, pushing a hand through Rafe's dark curls. "Did you have fun?"

Rafe looked at him with his wide brown eyes, seeming thoughtful. He nodded finally, and smiled a little. "I like it here."

Alec felt himself relax. "Yeah? You're doing okay with the move?"

Rafe nodded again, though reached his arms out. Alec let him crawl into his lap and hugged him close. "You're happy, Dad."

Alec thought about that, then found himself smiling. He had a lot of emotions tied up in leaving Idris behind, but he had to admit this last day in New York had been nothing short of amazing. Alec got to reunite with all his siblings, he got to look forward to maybe finding love (something he had never dared hoped for), and he was in a place where everyone had been nothing but kind to him. It also looked a lot more like the world he wanted to raise his son in- a world where downworlders and shadowhunters worked together, where old prejudices had been dropped away. And there was Magnus. It was wonderful to meet the man Alec has been working so closely with for the past eight years.

Magnus was... well Magnus was not someone Alec could have prepared himself for. The powerful Warlock was a leader, a father, clearly a good friend, someone that cared about the world and the people around him. It didn't surprise Alec that the warlock who risked being found and destroyed for smuggling other downworlders out of Idris was selfless and compassionate. Alec just hadn't been prepared for all that compassion to be turned towards himself. It was clear that Magnus was going out of his way at every turn to make Alec and his family welcome and comfortable. Alec was going to have a hard time finding a way to fully thank him.

Rafe squirming out of his hold brought Alec's attention back to his son, "You know it's way past your bedtime."

"But I want you to read me a story!" Rafe pouted, flopping limply on the bed in preparation for Alec to try and pick him up.

"No, but I’ll read to you in the morning if you are good and sleep now," Alec said, standing. When Rafe didn't move, Alec asked, "Or do I have to bring out the tickle monster?"

"No!" Rafe squealed, sitting bolt upright and crawling under the covers. He closed his eyes and started to "snore".

"Alright, you’re safe for another night," Alec chuckled, tugging the blanket around Rafe, and pressing a kiss to his curls. "I'll keep the monster at bay."

Rafe giggled, interrupting his snores, "Night Dad!"

"Goodnight Rafe, love you," Alec said, moving to the door and shutting off the overhead light. Maxwell had already put on the little lamp beside his bed. "Maxie, you should probably sleep soon too."

Maxwell gave him a thumbs up, not looking up from his book, but Alec knew he would listen. Once upon a time, Maxwell would have tossed back, "You're not my dad!" to Alec telling him what to do. That was no longer the case, because when Maxwell was around eleven, he seemed to realize who’d done most of the parenting in his life, and it wasn't either Maryse or Robert. It both touched Alec's heart to get that recognition, as much as it broke it. A little kid shouldn't have to deal with such things from their parents. It hadn't surprised Alec when Maxwell had asked to leave with him. With all of his siblings gone and most of his training complete, there wasn't anything else holding Maxwell in Idris.

With the boys settled, Alec wasn't sure if he shouldn't just go to bed himself and leave Magnus to attend to his friends. Their host probably needed some time without Lightwoods, Alec decided, but he wanted to grab a snack before bed. Alec was going to have to get a job of some sort... that could be a way he could pay Magnus for his kindness? No matter what Magnus said to Alec, he didn't feel right just taking from him.

There was also… well, Alec wished Magnus didn't have one affect on him that he clearly did, but Alec couldn't help the attraction he felt. Even if it felt a little silly, to crush so hard on a man as soon as he was able to be out. Though... it was almost unfair that Magnus was so beautiful in every sense of the word. The kindness he showed would have been enough to have Alec tripping over his words… then you added to that the fact he was gorgeous. Being so completely in the other man's space was almost too much. Alec could only hope Magnus didn't notice. Alec felt as if his attraction was written all across his face.

"Alexander, come join us!" Magnus called as Alec tried to slip through the living room to the kitchen. "Would you like something to drink?"

"Ah,” Was it rude to refuse? Probably? “I liked the wine we had last night," Alec said as he approached. He hadn't really, but Alec wasn't much of a drinker. Magnus was sitting on one couch, Ragnor having taken a chair and Catarina sitting on the couch across from Magnus and they were all looking at Alec, which was uncomfortable.

Magnus smiled at Alec’s answer before standing to pour Alec a glass. After passing it to him, Alec found the only place to sit was beside Magnus on the couch. Alec felt as if Catarina and Ragnor were watching him, judging him, but he also had to assumed that was either his imagination or because they were worried that their friend had taken a Clave General into his home. Both were equally possible options, so Alec just sipped the wine and managed not to make a face.

"So," Magnus said to break then silence that had fallen, glancing around. "Ragnor, what have Catarina and I missed in the busy world of warlock gossip?"
"Why in the world do you think I keep up with such things?" Ragnor snapped, swirling his tumbler of whiskey in one green hand. "You’re both supposed to be the ones with the pulse of the youth."

"Where have you been?" Catarina laughed. "I've been working as a nurse for the past hundred years, and Magnus hasn't emerged since Madzie. You're clearly supposed to pick up the slack."

"You know only the two of you put up with me."

"What about Raphael?" Magnus pointed out, smiling over his martini. "His people must bring him the latest news..."

"You don't want vampire gossip, trust me, and most of what I have is from Raphael complaining to me," Ragnor shook his head. Alec thought it was interesting to have a warlock who didn't hide their marks. Alec assumed that Ragnor would when he was out among mundanes, but in his friend’s home and at the meeting, he didn't. It made Alec wonder what Magnus and Catarina's marks were, but he’d always understood it was rude to ask.

"I don't know how he deals with leading a clan, but I never know how any vampires do clans in general," Catarina said.

"Why’s that?" Alec asked before he could stop himself; he was genuinely curious. He needed to learn more about the downworld from downworlders and not the Clave.

She didn't seem insulted. "Living with each other for hundreds of years? Vampires are immortal like us, but warlocks know not to make community housing. I adore these two-" Catarina waved at Magnus and Ragnor - "But you need to be able to get breaks, especially when you’re going to know people forever. I don't think I could live with any of my friends for more than 50 years or so at a time."

Alec tried to understand, but maybe it really was something that was outside his understanding. 50 or so years would be how much he would have to live with a significant other, if he was lucky. Maybe that was all anyone was supposed to share. "I guess that's a long time to hold grudges about who's doing the dishes."

Magnus chuckled before Ragnor shot him a glare. "Mostly about who decides to take up playing a musical instrument he is dreadful at!"

Magnus did a dramatic gasp. "That was one time! And it was for a good cause!"

Catarina at Alec, leaning forward to stage whisper, "The good cause was this lovely young man who-"

Magnus pulled a face. "They joke now, but I was quite devastated when he didn't return my affections."

Catarina looked a bit sad to have brought it up, though Alec couldn't help but feel curious. He didn't know a lot of details about his host. He always knew Magnus' character, not his past, and he thought he would like to. He assumed though, like everyone, there were parts he would rather not revisit. Everyone made mistakes, it was human, and the longer someone lived, Alec guessed the more mistakes there were to be made.

"Not like Magnus?" Alec found himself saying before he could stop himself, but he wanted to lighten the mood that had settled on the man beside him. "That's impossible."

Magnus turned towards him, mouth open in surprise, before a smile replaced it. "Why thank you Alexander," he said, and Alec blushed at both his own words and the way that Magnus' voice sounded saying his name. He wasn't going to ask Magnus to call him Alec, and he didn't have to wonder why that was.

"Eh, give it time," Ragnor said, and Magnus tossed a pillow at him. Ragnor vanished it with a flick of his wrist before it hit him.

"Hey, that was designer!" Magnus protested.

"Shouldn't have thrown it then."

"We'll see about that," Magnus muttered, but shot Alec a wink.

Alec found he was able to relax and listen to Magnus and his friends banter. They didn't leave him out, but he was fine mostly just being present. It was nice to just relax, and not have any expectation to entertain. It was also wonderful to see Magnus laugh with ease, the way he and these two were obviously very close. The teasing, the checking in, reminded Alec a lot of his own relationship with his siblings. He excused himself after a half hour, grabbed a yogurt to eat in the kitchen before turning into be himself.

 

The next morning, Alec woke to a bony knee pressed into his back. Groaning, he carefully rolled over, not wanting to crush Rafe. Rafe had been doing better at sleeping in his own bed the past months, but being in this new space had clearly been a breaking point. He was back to crawling into bed sometime in the night. At least he didn't wake Alec up now, unless he had a very bad dream. It meant that Alec slept through most nights.

The sun was coming around the curtains, a welcoming day seemingly on the other side. Alec glanced at the time, and saw it was 8am. Later than they had slept yesterday, and he realized it was Saturday. By now, the Clave must have realized he had left for good, and that he had left and not been taken against his will. Alec didn't know how he felt about that, but he knew he would need to be more vigilant. He was not going to let the Clave hurt his family... or himself.

He carefully slipped out of bed, but Rafe still woke with the motion. He sleepily rolled over, then sat up with his arms held out, clearly asking to be picked up. Alec normally would, given the time, but Rafe had been up late last night. "I'm just going to be on the other side of the door, sleep more, mi hijo." Rafe nodded and flopped back down, hugging a pillow close to him. Alec made a note to ask if Izzy would be able to get Rafe some stuffed toys, because they had to leave all they had in Idris.

Throwing on a t-shirt, Alec moved towards the kitchen, hoping that maybe he could start coffee to start making up for all that Magnus had done for him. Instead he found Magnus standing in a robe, staring into the fridge. Alec nearly choked when Magnus closed the fridge and turned towards Alec, blinking sleepily before smiling at him. Magnus was dressed in a robe and some silk pajama pants. Alec could see that these pants were slung low on defined hips, because the robe was open. He also found out that the warlock had abs, under his golden skin. Quickly, but clearly not quickly enough by the slight smirk on Magnus' face, Alec looked up into his eyes. He wasn't wearing any make up, his dark brown eyes watching, his hair softly falling around his face. Alec wanted to reach out to tuck a strand that had fallen in front of Magnus' eyes behind his ear.

"Morning Alexander," Magnus said, his voice still sleep rough and that was rather unfair.

"Morning," Alec said, looking around. "No one else up yet?"

"No, Madzie will sleep late if you leave her to it. And I think Simon and Clary wore Max out," Magnus yawned, covering his mouth with a hand, nails a deep red now. "I was going to enjoy some quiet time before they all wake up on the balcony, if you want to join?"

"Sure," Alec smiled and let Magnus pass him. Following, he found the morning cool but pleasantly so. Magnus' balcony had several soft chairs, and it was rather private, given they were at the top apartment complex and had two brick walls on each side. Magnus left the sliding door open so they could hear when the kids started to wake up. Magnus sat in one of the chairs and Alec took the one closest to him. With a snap of Magnus’ fingers, the little glass table between them had two paper cups and a box that seemed to be filled with ham and cheese croissants. Magnus snagged the coffee, and drank deeply, humming contentedly. Alec helped himself one of the croissants and his own cup, settling back to enjoy and trying not to feel guilty about Magnus feeding him again.

The quiet that settled about them was relaxed and comfortable. It was the silence of two people who had an intimate knowledge of just how loud children could get. The city of New York was shining, huge, and Alec found himself excited about all he, Rafe, and Maxwell still had to discover.

It was nearly a half hour, with coffee finished, before Magnus spoke, "I wanted to see if you had thought more about moving in more permanently… I still think we should plan on you staying for at least several months. I received a text from Jocelyn saying it looks like there may be some Clave activity in the city. I assume they’re looking for you."

Alec sighed, wishing the relaxed morning could stay. But he knew it was important to get this settled and he had been thinking about it. "I don't want to be any trouble."

"Nonsense," Magnus said, as if it really were such an easy matter. "I can tweak the loft a bit, so you, Maxwell, and Rafe can each have your own rooms. We can get all the household items that you need."

"I couldn't ask you for that," Alec started to protest again, but he also just wanted to say yes. He liked how they had settled so far, beyond knowing that it would also be the safest for his family to stay here.

"I'm not suggesting we cut my apartment in half, just make it so both of our families can live here comfortably," Magnus reached out a hand, settling it on Alec's arm. Alec wished that wasn't enough to calm him down, but it seemed Magnus had some other kind of magic that worked on Alec. "It's really okay, or I wouldn't offer. It might actually be nice to have the help with the kids?"

Alec looked Magnus in the eyes once more, searching his face for any sense that he was lying. But all he saw was sincerity and kindness. "Okay. But I want to make sure I'm pulling my weight with helping."

Magnus nodded, giving his arm another pat, before pulling away. "You have yourself a deal."

That was how Alec found himself and his family becoming roommates with three warlocks and he couldn’t have been happier.

Chapter Text

Maxwell had found Magnus in his apothecary, and was now standing in the doorward, watching. Magnus had noticed him, but wasn’t sure what the boy wanted, so he smiled and asked after a moment, "Everything okay? You all settled with your room?"

"Yeah, thanks again," Maxwell said, but made no sign of moving. Magnus waited, knowing it was best to be patient. Maxwell finally asked, "Could you tell me about the rebel- the revolution? I'm just thinking that the Clave was probably pretty biased in what they taught as history."

"Certainly, I need to watch this potion closely though,” Magnus said, waving for Maxwell to come further into the room. “What do you want to know?"

"Ah... everything? Or a summary of everything?" Maxwell looked at the little drawers and shelves of ingredients as he settled on a foot stool Magnus kept in the corner. The stool would often be pulled up to the bench so that Madzie could do her lessons.

"Well," Magnus took a deep breath, grinding some thyme and vampire hair together, which was annoyingly a slow process. "It was a long time coming, though the revolution truly started in the 1960s. Maybe the mundanes inspired us a bit, there was enough crossover with injustices faced. The obvious had become clear to us, allowing for the start of change."

Maxwell had taken out a little notebook. He just seemed to be doodling in it, but paying perfect attention to what Magnus said. He wasn't going to question the ways the boy had found worked best with his learning. "What was so obvious? That the Clave sucked?"

Magnus laughed at that. "No, everyone already knew that. I don't think there has ever been a downworlder that actually liked the Clave. What was clear was that there are more of us than there are of all nephilim, and working together would allow us to be safe.”

Maxwell looked thoughtful, before nodding. “I guess that makes sense.”

“The total population of warlocks alone nearly matches, and that doesn't even take into account vampires and werewolves, who have much higher populations. Why should we allow the Clave to control and brutalize us?” Magnus said, feeling the old passion start to rise, before taking a deep breath. It was done now. “You could count the seelies as well... Which is hard to do because they played a bit of both sides during the revolution."

"But they ended up on yours... well the downworld’s?" Maxwell asked, no doubt thinking on whatever lessons the Clave had provided him.

"Yes, as did a rather good number of shadowhunters. Those who had lived outside of Idris most or all their lives had questioned Clave messages and methods at some point. The revolution pushed those who truly cared into action," Magnus said. "But it wasn't a short thing, mostly because we never went into a full out war. It was political in part, and there were a lot of rebel tactics. We infiltrated, we sabotaged, we stole. But the biggest change was that we were working together, instead of against each other. Standing up for each other. The Clave had sowed and used disunity for years to prevent actions against them. They had fueled anger between vampires and werewolves, had made it easy for warlocks to step out of the flow of time... and all that let the Clave get away with such actions." Magnus looked down at his work, scooping some and adding it to the potion.

"The Revised Accords were signed in 2003, limiting the Clave's reach significantly." Maxwell prompted. He seemed to be watching the beaker the potion was bubbling away in now.

"Yes, and we accomplished that by dismantling the Institutes and what they represented - the ever watchful, ever cruel policing force that did more harm than good," Magnus said. He had been thrilled to sign his name to end the Institutes. "The agreement comes with the fact that the downworld is now responsible for demon hunting, but it also leaves us to completely self govern. The way that the rebel shadowhunters work with the downworld in many cities represents the future that I think we are heading towards. That partnership and freedom is really what the revolution as based around."

Maxwell looked at Magnus and smiled. "I hope so. It... It's what I want as well. I mean, Alec has always taught me what he believed, but what he believes is right. It's pretty obvious to see."

"So, you don't think downworlders are less than nephilim?" Magnus asked, glancing upwards, mostly joking but still wanting to hear the answer.

"No!" Maxwell looked shocked, nearly dropping his pen. "You've been nothing but nice to us! And Izzy and Jace certainly seem happier here. Alec does too, and we've only been out of Idris for a few days." Max huffed. "Plus the Clave is wrong about a lot of stuff. Like how they don't think Alec can be gay."

"Yes, that's true," Magnus added the rest of the ingredients to the potion and began to stir clockwise. "The Clave is cruel to its own people. If it can’t rule its citizens in kindness, how could we trust them to take care of the rest of us?"

"Yeah, they can be real dumbasses."

"Language!" Magnus said with another laugh.

Maxwell rolled his eyes. "None of the little kids or Alec are here. I can swear."

"Okay," Magnus agreed, glancing through the doorway to confirm. "I'll allow that I'm an adult you can swear in front of."

Maxwell smirked, pushing his glasses up his nose as he stood. "Clearly. You're a cool dad."

Magnus greatly enjoyed that compliment, and preened a bit. "Well thank you Maxwell! You're a cool shadowhunter."

"No shit!" he said, wandering out of the room. "Thanks for the history lesson!"

"Anytime, anytime," Magnus said. "As long as you don't make me feel old," he added in lower tones before turning his attention back to the potion. It was turning the proper shade of purple.

Chapter Text

Once Alec had agreed to stay, the next several days were focused on getting himself and his family settled in. Magnus and Ragnor had to do some work to fit two other bedrooms in the loft and Magnus then helped Maxwell and Rafe decorate their rooms how they wanted. Alec wondered where all the furniture was coming from, but Magnus assured him that it was paid for. (Maybe there was a client of Magnus' that helped?)

Izzy and Jace then took Alec and Rafe shopping at toy and book stores, insisting that they needed to make up for all the holidays and Christmases they missed getting their nephew gifts. Rafe opened up to Jace as easily as he had with Izzy, which Alec couldn't be more overjoyed about. To see his family all together, it made things feel right in the world. Uncle Jace and Tía Izzy bought Rafe nearly everything he asked for and that was alright because Rafe was still weary to ask for too much. When Alec helped him set up his new toys, books, and stuffed animals in his room, Rafe chatted happily.

"I'm gonna share my toys with Madzie and Max!" he told Alec excitedly, once everything was nearly away.

Alec smiled at that, warmed by his son's thoughtfulness. "I'm sure they'd love that."

"They've shared their toys with me," Rafe pointed out.

"That’s very true, they’re good at sharing,” Alec said before asking. “You like them?” Rafe hadn't had any friends his own age back in Idris, because he was so shy and quiet. Suddenly living with two other young children, who were both very welcoming and outgoing, seemed to brighten Rafe's world.

Rafe nodded vigorously, hugging a stuffed horse to his chest. "They're very nice and I think their magic is so cool! Did you see Madzie's gills? She says she can breath underwater!"

Alec smiled. "That is very cool. I'm glad you're making friends."

Rafe grabbed a box of k-nexs, tucking the horse under one arm. "I'm going to show them these! We can use them to build our cities."

"Alright, dinner is soon though, so you’ll have to stop playing to eat," Alec reminded, standing and ruffling Rafe's hair as the boy ran passed.

"Okay Dad!"

Alec finished setting up the room, putting toys away in the toy box to show Rafe how things should look when clean. Tucking in sheets on the bed and making it, he smoothed a hand over the light purple blanket covered in delicate flowers. It was the one Rafe had wanted, and he didn't care he was looking in the "girls" section. It made Alec smile, and hope that he would now be able to let Rafe be Rafe, and not have to fear his mother interfering, trying to make Rafe only like "boy" things. If there was anyone who was going to exemplify ignoring the norms, it was Magnus and his own parenting. Madzie and Max had whatever toys they wanted, whatever clothes they wanted, could play with makeup and nail polish, style their hair however they wanted. It felt good to be in this safe space that Magnus had created for himself and his family- to be welcomed into it. Alec felt better, he knew Rafe did, and Maxwell seemed to be settling in well.

Alec stopped by Maxwell's bedroom next, which was at the end of this new little hall. Rafe’s room was in the middle, so he could reach Alec's bedroom easily, or Maxwell if Alec wasn't there. The door was open, and Maxwell was working on organizing his books. Magnus had taken a lot of time with Maxwell, sitting with him to determine just what he wanted. The care spoke to Alec of not just how kind Magnus was, but also how he was expecting these three shadowhunters to be staying for some time and wanted them to be at home.

Maxwell's room certainly showed that. It spoke of him completely. Most of the walls were devoted to bookshelves, which had been mostly filled, spaces left for new books as Maxwell got them. There was also a desk, and a window seat with hanging plants. Framed posters with some tasteful but nerdy art filled the wall space where Maxwell's bed was. He turned when he heard Alec and beamed.

"Look what Magnus was able to do!"

Alec wasn't sure where to start, but he smiled back. "You thanked him?"

"Of course," Maxwell said, straightening some of his books. "Though how can we really repay him for all this?"

"I'm not sure," Alec sighed, pulling out Maxwell's desk chair. "But there's got to be something. Let me know if you have any ideas okay?"

“Sure thing,” Maxwell said. “Shall I write a paper?”

Alec rolled his eyes at his brother’s teasing smile, and stood back up. “I’ll leave you to it.”

 

Alec did start finding little ways to help around the house. He started to help with meals, even going so far as to look up recipes and try them. Magnus did have to salvage some of the meals, but the thought seemed to be appreciated. Alec helped Max with some of his reading, and Madzie with hers, though only Magnus could help them with their magic lessons.

And days like today, Alec would take Madzie and Max with him when he took Rafe to the park, especially when Magnus was busy with a client. He had received a text from Magnus that there had been an issue in the Bronx with some wards, and he asked if Alec could keep Madzie and Max out of the apartment. Alec agreed right away, letting him know that it was no problem, and received a grateful chain of emojis in response. He laughed at the use of an old wizard, which didn't match Magnus at all, but the warlock seemed partial to it.

"Hey, do you want to go to see Luke and Jocelyn?" Alec asked. "I need to get Maxwell from there after his training, and it sounds like your Papa is busy." Alec directed the last to Max and Madzie. Madzie was pushing Max carefully on the swing set while Rafe had been trying to swing on his own beside them, protesting anytime Alec tried to help.

"Okay!" Max smiled up at him. He was wearing a bracelet that held a glamour charm, so that the mundanes wouldn't be concerned about the blue hair and skin. Instead, the little boy had his birth parent's skin tone, dark brown, and his curls were black. Only his eyes were still blue.

Madzie was also had a glamour, because she didn't like to have a scarf over her gills. She didn't seem to mind the glamour, but it was clear that Max didn't quite understand yet why he couldn't be blue all the time. It made Alec's heart go out for the little boy. But his mark was one that was hard to explain without a glamour. It made Alec wonder about if Ragnor had a different motivator than just not caring for his own refusal glamour. He was the only other warlock Alec had met who had both had an inhuman skin tone and horns, like little Max. Alec would bet the grumpy warlock had a soft spot for the kids, even if he didn't seem to understand them.

What Alec was surprised about during these outings, was that Madzie and Max seemed to trust him, as did Magnus. For those who had been hurt gravely by the Clave in the past, Alec felt honored that they didn't seem to be scared of him. It was also true that Alec was not the first friendly shadowhunter that they had met, and he was sure that Rafe also went a long way to making a good impression with the little ones. Watching them all play together, either out in the park or tearing through the loft, Alec thought about what the Clave would have felt about all of this: the mixing of downworlder and shadowhunter children, being treated as equals and creating friendships with each other.

It would probably give them even more of a heart attack than Rafe's shining pink nails, which Magnus had helped him do the night before. Alec couldn't be more thrilled with watching everything the Clave had taught him, drilled into him, that had taken him a long time to unlearn, easily leave Rafe. It was probably because he was still so young. Alec knew it had been the right choice to get his son out of that environment.

It wasn't too long of a walk from the park to the Angel's Nest, but Alec carried Max, who was a little too young not to tire easily, and kept Rafe's hand in his own. Madzie wandered a little ahead, but kept in sight of Alec. She paused in front of a book store that wasn't the Angel's Nest, pressing her hands on the glass to look in the window.

"What is it Madzie?" Alec asked looking in as he came to stand behind her.

"Pride month!" she pointed at the display. There were lots of rainbows, in flags and other forms, and different books that all seemed to be in some way...

"Oh!" Alec leaned closer, seeing kids books about having two moms or two dads, about knowing you’re a girl even your family thought you were a boy, and others that would make the Clave lose its mind. Books for families like his. He'd noticed some in the display that Magnus had, but there was something in Alec that wanted to buy these himself. So he asked the kids, "Do you want to go in?"

"Yeah!" Madzie said, hurrying to the door and managing to pull it open. Alec grabbed it, and Rafe followed her.

"Books!" Max said, squirming to also be let down.

"Okay buddy, let's go to the kid section first okay?" Alec said, stepping that way. Madzie was in the middle grade stacks, while Rafe was looking through some of the picture books and early readers. Alec let Max join him, while he got some of the books he saw in the window, reading some and deciding which to buy. He then let each of the kids pick out a book of their own. He had taken some money on his way out of the Clave, and he used that now to buy everything, though he knew that Magnus had no worry about money and would prefer Alec used his credit card. Alec didn't want any of the dept that went along with that.

It also felt important that Alec was doing this for himself, by himself. He felt nervous when he placed their purchases at the counter, but he kept his face blank because he didn’t want to show the kids. The mundane cashier just smiled and asked if there was anything else he needed. Alec shook his head, not quite able to speak. He managed a thank you at the end of the transaction and would have bolted if he didn’t have the kids. Instead he gathered them all up, giving them their own books, and scooping Max into his arms.

Bags of books in hand, they finished the walk to the Angel's Nest. The walk was what he needed to calm his heart rate. Alec didn't feel bad not buying books from Nest, because the shop was filled with old and specialty tomes. Luke seemed to love them, but they were not something the kids would be particularly interested in. Except maybe Maxwell, but he’d grown into that.

Jace was at the counter, looking bored as he flipped through his phone. He smiled when Madzie popped her head over the edge, and looked up to beam at Alec. "Hey, the gangs all here!"

"Hi Jace, where’s Clary?" Madzie asked.

"What, you don't want to hang out with me? You like Clary better?" Jace asked, faking hurt. Rafe had gone around the counter and Jace picked him up to balance against a hip.

Madzie giggled at Jace. "Clary is better."

Jace gasped. "At what?"

"Being a babysitter," Madzie said this with all the wisdom she could.

"I think someone has been telling lies and spreading scandal," Jace shook his head slowly. "Alec, can you believe this?"

Alec couldn't stop a laugh. "Yes. Have you ever managed to get a kid to sleep at bedtime?"

"No but-"

"Given candy instead of vegetables?"

"Hey I'm the cool Uncle, right Rafe?" Jace pouted at his nephew.

"Yeah!" Rafe wrapped his arms around Jace's neck. "Uncle Jace is the best."

"Uncle Maxwell is better at babysitting and he's 13," Alec told Jace. "Speaking of Maxwell, where is he?"

"Izzy was taking him through some tracking training, but they're probably done now," Jace said, gesturing to the door that led into the rest of the building. "Magnus with you?"

"No, he's still working with a client so Madzie and Max get to continue to hang out with Rafe and I," Alec smiled down at Madzie, who was trying to climb up on the counter, and Max, who was almost asleep leaning on Alec's shoulder. It had been a busy morning and was now past his nap time.

"Cool, you wanna grab lunch here?" Jace asked.

"Sure, that'd be great," Alec said and Jace set Rafe down and Madzie dropped back to the floor. They both ran ahead, going through the backdoor, Jace and Alec following. Alec had to duck a bit through the door frame, and he saw Luke was sitting back at the meeting table, going over some paperwork. Madzie had gone straight to Luke, peaking over his shoulder. Rafe stayed behind Madzie, his shyness coming back because he didn't know Luke well, just having seen him a few times when Alec popped by. Alec thought it was pretty cute that he trusted Madzie to protect him from unknown adults.

"Hey kiddo," Luke was saying as he smiled down at Madzie. "I think you have grown an extra head there."

Madzie giggled. "It's my new warlock's mark."

"Two heads?"

"Yeah! Better for thinking," Madzie said. Rafe couldn't help a giggle as well.

"Well, I'll take your word for it," Luke nodded. "Does your new head like ice cream as much as you do?"

"Yes!" Rafe said, eyes then going wide at the fact he had spoken.

"Very good to know. Maybe if you both eat lunch, you can see what ice cream Clary bought," Luke smiled, glancing at Alec and Jace in the doorway. Madzie nodded, and moved further into the building, seeming to know her way around. This left Rafe right in front of Luke. He looked at Luke with wide eyes, then hurried after Madzie.

"Mind of someone else takes guard duty out front?" Jace asked.

"No worries, I think Underhill is free, you can grab him," Luke said. "If not, I know Maia wouldn't mind. I think you covered for her a few days ago."

It was interesting to watch this little... well not institute. The Institutes had all fallen, most of them completely destroyed or converted for downworlder use. The New York one had been taken over by Ragnor and a few other warlocks, who were still going through everything that was left to categorize it, return or bury trophies, and save the library books and other artifacts. The Angel's Nest was more like a pack, a family, than anything else, and that was not just because of Luke. The overlap between the New York pack and shadowhunters seemed to be very comfortable. Maybe because they were the two mortal groups, it gave them something in common, not to mention Luke's history as a shadowhunter himself. But Alec got the sense it was also the trust that Jocelyn and Luke had in each other that translated to a sense of safety and security among the pack and the shadowhunters. Alec had noticed there were usually as many pack members wandering the halls as there were shadowhunters. Sometimes it was hard to tell them apart, because there were a good number among the shadowhunters who had been stripped of their runes before they had escaped the Clave.

Moving towards the training room through the tight halls, Alec was surprised once more about how welcome he seemed to be. He expected some resistance, at least outside of the other shadowhunters. Why would the downworlders have a reason to trust him, even if Alec knew he had been working to help the cause since he had the power to do so. He mentioned this easy trust to Izzy once they had found her, standing to the side as Rafe and Madzie ran to Maxwell in the training room.

Izzy gave him a look, one that was hard to understand. "Well, today at least, it might have something to do with the little warlock you have sleeping on your shoulder."

Alec was rubbing soothing circles on Max's back because he seemed to be having a bad dream. "Hm?"

Izzy rolled her eyes, shooting at look at Jace, who just shrugged. "Well, if you need it spelled out- the first is your obvious kindness to anyone, no matter if they are downworlder or shadowhunter.” She kept going before Alec could protest the compliment. “The second, and probably more compelling reason, is you have earned the trust of Magnus Bane. He hardly lets his children out of his sight."

"Oh," Alec looked over to see Maxwell was explaining to Madzie and Rafe how a tracking ruin worked and Madzie was offering to show how her tracking spell worked. "They're good kids."

"The best!" Izzy agreed. "But he has a set of very few people he'll let them stay with. Not to mention you seem to be living with him. You know Magnus is a big deal, right?"

Alec nodded, "Well, I got the sense. He sat with the other leaders at the meeting I went to."

"He's a bigger deal than that," Jace said, patting Alec's arm lightly, so as not to wake Max. "He's a hero from the revolution. He's one of the signatures of both the original and the revised Accords. He might just hold more power and respect than any other downworlder, certainly in New York at least."

"Why would he give me the time of day?" Alec asked, suddenly feeling nervous about Magnus for the first time since he had shown up at the man's door.

"Well, you were his Clave contact, so that is probably a good start," Izzy said. "But beyond that, I don't know. But it has certainly marked you to the other downworlders. They trust you, or are willing to try, and they also won't lay a finger on you."

"Which is impressive in itself because you were a general of the Clave," Jace said, and Alec winced. He didn’t like to think about that. "Even though you used that power for good, your hands can't be completely clean. I'm sure there are those who would want to make you an example. Not anyone of our New York allies, but it's a big world. Not every city is as settled."

"Not every city has Jocelyn and Luke," Alec said.

"Not every city has Magnus Bane either," Izzy smiled. "You know he was something like a second father to Clary? That's why they're so close. Magnus set his trust in Jocelyn and Luke. They would have had to work hard to gain any trust if Magnus hadn't given his unofficial approval in their leadership."

Alec sucked in a breath. "I had no idea. He didn't say anything."

"Why would he? He pretends to be someone who might brag and flaunt his power, but he is really the kindest among us," Izzy shook her head. "I'm glad he's been happier since Madzie and Max came into this life. When I first met him, he was in a pretty dark place."

"Watcha mean?" Jace asked, and Alec was rather glad that he didn't have to.

"Well, he's one of those people who is secretly always looking for the One, that soulmate," Izzy said. "He gets lonely, though he has all these people around him. It's good that he has so many friends and a family, but I'm sure it still gets to him."

"Why isn't someone dating him?" Alec asked, finding the notion rather absurd. He had been around Magnus for about a week now, and it was clear to him that the man was a catch. He decided to think of it that way, instead of digging more into his own direct feelings about the warlock. "Or married him, or whatever?"

Izzy shrugged. "That, we never talked about. I get the sense that his last relationship ended pretty badly, and he told me he hasn't seriously dated in almost a decade."

And that was the thing, wasn't it, about Magnus and any feelings Alec might or might not be beginning to feel towards the other man. He was immortal, apparently very powerful both magically and politically, who had probably seen more things than Alec could even imagine. There was no way such a man like that would look at Alec in a romantic way.

"Hey, what's up? Why does Alec look grumpier than usual?" the interrupting voice was Clary, who seemed determined to make an enemy out of Alec. He barely prevented himself from rolling his eyes as he followed his siblings attention to the little redhead.

"We're just talking about Magnus," Izzy said.

"And Alec looks grumpy about that?" Clary pointed up at his face.

"Please keep your voice down, Max is sleeping," he snapped at her.

Clary didn't look impressed or intimidated by him. Maybe Alec was still too used to junior shadowhunters like herself flinching to attention whenever they saw him. In New York, Clary was practically the princess of the shadowhunters here. She smiled softly at sleeping Max though, which gave her some points in Alec's book, no matter what he wanted to admit. She was very good with the kids.

"Is Magnus here?" Clary asked, voice softer despite her eye roll at Alec, looking around.

"No, Alec's apparently watching the kids," Izzy grinned.

"Oh, is he now," Clary suddenly looked incredibly smug. "And what were we saying about Magnus?"

"How incredibly single he is," Izzy said, which isn't really what they were talking about, but Alec wasn't going to correct her.

"Mmm, he does need a good person to sweep him off his feet," Clary nodded, shooting a look back over at Alec. "But such a person would also need to know how many people would be there to make them regret it, if they hurt Magnus in any way."

Okay, what was Alec supposed to do with that. But before he could say something that would express his irritation with the tiny shadowhunter, Madzie spotted Clary and tackled her leg in a hug.

"Clary! Uncle Luke said you had ice cream we could try," she said, Rafe peaking up at Clary from behind Madzie at the words ice cream.

"Oh did he now," Clary chuckled, shaking her head. "Well I guess we can see what I have, but you need to tell me you've had lunch first."

Chapter Text

Magnus felt a dull ache in his body due to the amount of magic he had used to help with the Bronx wards. He was going to be forever grateful that Alec had been able to watch over Max and Madzie. It had given Magnus both the time to recharge after the spell work that he needed and had kept the kids out of the way of any magical feedback. It wasn't everyday Magnus found someone he both trusted to take care of his little ones and that Max and Madzie got along with. It was very clear to Magnus that he didn't have to worry when they were spending time with Alec. Plus, Rafe was a wonderful playmate for them, close enough in age that it worked.

As they both gravitated to the living room after setting the kids to sleep, Alec said, "I heard a lot about you from others today..." He was focused on the mug of tea in his hands, looking rather bashful, as he said this. Any mention of his past made Magnus feel nervous, but it seemed Alec hadn’t learned anything that made him want to run for the hills. Especially when Alec followed that statement with, "But I want to learn more about you... from you. Only if you want though."

"Well," Magnus chuckled, trying to pretend real humor as he settled on the couch across from Alec's now usual perch. Alec looked up, with a delightful blush, like he was going to reach out to comfort Magnus, or to take the words back, but Magnus shook his head. "I have a lot of history. What do you want to know?"

"Izzy mentioned that you were a hero in the rebel- revolution," Alec started, correcting himself.

"Ah, there are always heroes in wars, but I don't know if they should be celebrated," Magnus took a long sip of his own tea. "I did my best to take care of people. That unfortunately meant more than just healing wounds and holding wards. I saw my fair of skirmishes."

"But you believed in it, the cause?" Alec asked.

"Completely, still do," Magnus said. "I’ve seen the Clave- shadowhunters, your whole lot- do many horrible things. I didn't want the children of the downworld to continue to face such horrors, to grow up as if they were lesser people than those with your angel blood. None of us asked for being labeled as demon blooded. You can argue it’s biologically true, especially with warlocks. But..." Magnus gestures behind him, where his two little ones were sleeping.

"Yeah," Alec agreed. "Even when Max had that tantrum earlier, I’ve never seen someone less close to a demon.” Alec took a deep breath. “Your family is beautiful. I can't understand how anyone would look at children and think they’re evil." Alec's gaze flicked up at met Magnus' own, so open and honest as he added, "I don't know how anyone could see that in you either."

Magnus tried to not show the way Alec sent his heart aflutter in the most cliche way. But it was hard to do, when faced with those hazel eyes looking at Magnus like he might just have placed the moon in the sky. He looked away, out the window to the sprawling New York night, clearing his throat. "That was the reason I helped build what became a revolution. I couldn't stand aside anymore, let the world come in and destroy what it did not understand. I've seen it happen too many times from the Clave, from close minded mundanes."

Alec moved, silently with his warrior's grace, and sat beside Magnus. "You did the right thing."

Magnus smiled, looking from the city back to Alec. "You did too. I don't know how you overcame whatever brainwashing the Clave put you through, but the work you did, getting downworlders out-"

"It was the right thing to do," Alec said, as if it could be so simple to shrug off all that you had been taught. Magnus had faced such personal demons himself. Alec huffed, rubbing the back of his neck. "I mean, some of it was what they taught me. They taught me, always, that we were protecting people. It didn't make sense that the people we were apparently protecting had fought us, unless we had done something wrong. And then it became clear that even now we punished downworlders for crimes they never did, just because they are downworlders."

Magnus nodded, because it did make sense. He knew Alec's good heart, it was clear in everything that he did. But thinking of a lost little boy, alone or nearly so, making the right choices despite everything around him. It made Magnus want to reach out and hold Alec. "Were you able to realize they were also wrong in teaching you that you shouldn't love other men?"

Alec frowned as this, seemed to fight with closing himself off. "I thought we were talking about you?" he deflected.

Magnus hummed, not wanting to push but also wanting to give Alec a place to talk. "I’ve known I felt the same for men as I did for women since I was about Maxwell’s age. But the times I grew up in, the different places I lived, the cultures, all had different opinions on if that was right or wrong. Unfortunately, I was born to a world where colonialism was in full swing and with it, the crushing homophobia of that particular brand of Christianity being pushed on more accepting cultures. But I found my places, and maybe it’s easier to make peace with the fact that people don't believe your love is right when they also don't believe you have magic."

"Did you ever hide?" Alec asked, voice so much quieter than it had been when talking about his belief in the rights of downworlders.

Magnus thought on this. "Sometimes. If I needed to lay low. But I usually found that I was happier when I was myself. It also helped that I am a powerful warlock, so it was not as if any mundanes could arrest me, and I could manipulate memories to keep lovers safe. I had a certain privilege in that." Magnus set his mug down, turning to face Alec fully. "But did it hurt? To experience people who would tell me how unholy I was, how wrong, how sick? It broke my heart at times. Facing hate for love is… it takes a lot of courage and care to take care of yourself."

Alec nodded, letting out a shaky breath. "It's harder for me to look at myself, to tell myself that they are wrong about me, than it was to figure out they were wrong about the downworld. How foolish is that?"

Magnus shook his head, reaching out and taking one of Alec's hands. His heart ached, no matter how much this made sense. Alec only decided that he could be himself when he saw his son possibly facing the same fate. The fact that Alec was harder on himself, that he saved so much of his compassion for others was clear. "Alexander, you're not foolish at all. If there is anything I have learned in this last week, it's not just how good you are, but also how intelligent."

"Which you really wouldn't expect, when you know Jace is my brother?" Alec joked, deflecting again, though he didn't pull away.

"Hey now, give Jace a little more credit," Magnus said. "...I can't believe you made me say that. Was this the trap all along? To get me to admit that Jace isn't that bad?"

Alec laughed, and it almost sounded genuine. "I won't tell him."

"You better not, I need him to be afraid of me."

"And why's that?"

"Because if he breaks Clary or Simon's heart, I’ll have to find him a new dimension to populate," Magnus took his hand slowly away, standing and picking up their mugs. He thought he saw a bit of disappointment flash across Alec's face as he moved away. He really wished he could spend the whole night talking with the man but- "I unfortunately need to turn in, the magic I performed today was quite taxing. But we can talk more about my past another time, if you would like?"

Alec jumped up, taking the mugs from Magnus' hand. "Let me handle these then," his eyes searched Magnus' face and must have seen more tiredness than Magnus usually liked to show. Such was the trouble of living with someone.

"Thank you," Magnus decided not to argue, savoring the little touch of their hands as he gave Alec the mugs. "Sleep well, Alexander."

"You too Magnus," Alec said, moving into the kitchen. Magnus passed, going into his bedroom and closing his door. As soon as Magnus was out of sight, he let his glamour fall, moving his way around his dark room with ease thanks to his cat eyes. But it was those soft hazel eyes, with the ridiculous lashes, that kept floating to the front of his mind. He didn't think it was good, the way that looking into them felt like coming home.

 

Maia grinned at Magnus from the other side of the bar counter, and he would guess that it was about something other than the fact he was going to give her the customary large tip. He looked over the top of his glass, finishing the half he hadn't in one gulp.

"Another?" Maia asked.

Magnus shook his head, pushing the empty glass to her. "No, but water would be nice."

"Ah, Dadnus Bane," Maia chuckled, but got him the water, placing a lime slice in the rim.

"Is that what I'm being called now?" Magnus shook his head again, but he couldn't stop the feeling of warmth at the thought. He never thought he would get to be a father, that he would be in a place with his own past to be ready to try. But he wouldn't trade anything in this world or any other for the family he had now.

"It's what I called you and it made Izzy laugh, so we're sticking with it," Maia's teasing smile went soft at the thought of her girlfriend.

"I assume you have some gossip from her, given the looks you were shooting me earlier?" Magnus raised an eyebrow at her. "Come on, give me the insider gossip from our shadowhunters."

"Well," Maia leaned forward, after looking to make sure none of the other patrons needed her. "Most of the gossip seems to be about your new roommate."

"Alexander," Magnus said, and tried not to smile.

By the look Maia gave him, it clearly did not work. "General Lightwood? He cuts quite the figure doesn't he."

"No looking at the other siblings," Magnus shook a finger at her, which she shoved away with a laugh. "Anyway, you're not his type."

"Clearly not, but you are," Maia put her chin in her hands, giving her best wolf grin.

Magnus rolled his eyes. "Not you too. Come now, the man has only been here a little over a week."

"And has clearly made an impression! Your little ones were over at the Angel's Nest with him, which caused quite the stir," Maia said. "I think Izzy is planning your wedding now."

Magnus shook his head. "Has she thought that meddling might just get her the opposite of what she wants?"

Maia searched his face at that, clearly looked for something again. Maia was a good bartender, a good second in command, because she knew how to read people. Magnus let her look and waited for her judgement. She straightened. "I'll tell Izzy that."

"Thank you," Magnus sipped his water. "Now if I can just get you to talk to Catarina and Ragnor..."

"You know they'll stop if you tell them to," Maia absently took out a cloth and wiped the counter.

"I know."

"So maybe you like a little teasing?"

"I think I can handle it just fine. I'm worried about Alexander spooking, when what he really needs is a safe place," Magnus passed her the cup and set the hundred on the counter. "He's got some healing to do, before anyone should attempt to woo him."

"I get that," Maia said, hand moving to almost touch the scars on her neck before she stopped herself. "Maybe he needs a friend though? One outside of the whole Clave mess and that he's not currently living with? I might reach out."

"I think that would be a really good idea," Magnus said as he stood. The bar was slowly growing more crowded as the clock turned to six. "Thank you Maia."

Maia nodded, taking his payment. "And thank you, Dadnus."

Magnus chuckled as he went out the door. He needed to stop by Catarina's to get Madzie and Max before heading home. Catarina had a day off and, bless her, had agreed to go through some magic lessons with the kids. Catarina adored children, was marvelous with them, had raised one in the past. But losing that baby, who had been mortal, was still a little too close for her to adopt another yet. This had come up when she and Magnus were discussing where to place Madzie. But Magnus wouldn't have been able to take the step to being a parent himself without her support. Madzie would have gone to one of them, with the other as doting aunt/uncle. In this universe at least, Magnus had the great honor of being Madzie's dad.

Magnus stepped through the door of Catarina's brownstone, her wards welcoming him, admiring the warm home that she had built. Even though Catarina had spent much of her life dedicated to healing, which was not in the business of turning a profit, she had lived long enough and been in on enough of Magnus’ and Ragnor's schemes to afford such a location on her nurse's salary.

"Papa!" both Madzie and Max called when they spotted Magnus. They were in the living room, which seemed to have been turned into a beauty spa. Very wise, for it let Catarina to be relaxed on the couch, her nails being done with focused attention by Max, Madzie supervising.

"Hello sweet-pea, blueberry," he pressed a kiss to each of their heads, before coming around to the side of Catarina' couch. He began to massage her shoulders, letting magic warm his hands and a bit of healing magic push through. "Hello Catarina. Did they behave?"

"They did, Max even went down for his nap," Catarina said, leaning into Magnus' hands. "And we did some work healing plants!"

"I'm going to work on the tomatoes on our roof," Madzie said. "I think they aren't getting the right... nutrients."

"Indeed. In that case, I'll have to have you check some of my potion plants as well," Magnus said.

Madzie's eyes lit up, clearly excited. Madzie and Max weren't allowed to touch the plants Magnus grew for his potions in the rooftop garden. They were carefully warded so nothing could get at them but Magnus and any pollinators. It had been a tricky ward to create, and Ragnor had worked on the spell with him for a long time. Madzie knew this meant she was getting more magical responsibility, and Magnus was proud of her and her ever eager passion.

"We should go home!" Madzie said, standing to begin picking up. She used a bit of her magic to do this too, keeping it very controlled to pick up the crumbs left from a popcorn bowl.

"I guess that's my cue," Magnus said, moving to help Max pick up the nail polish. He waved a hand to dry the colors, not changing anything in case Catarina wanted to leave it as is. Though the paint was messy, he was pretty sure she liked to brag about her niece and nephew to her coworkers. "Thank you so much for watching and teaching them today."

"You know they're always welcome, and so are you," Catarina moved to sit, picking Max up to cuddle him. She let her glamour fall so they were both different shades of beautiful blue. "But I was a little surprised too... I know Alec has been helping watch them."

"I can't impose on him all the time," Magnus said, looking around to make sure everything was back in order. "Plus, he can't teach them magic and I'm worried about their lessons slipping. It has been very busy lately."

She nodded, kissed Max's cheek. This made him giggle. She slipped his bracelet on, re-glamouring herself as Max was. "In that case, I'm once more always here to help! Unless I've worked a triple shift. In that case, I expect you to help me."

Magnus smiled, taking Max from her. "I certainly owe you at least that."

"Night Aunt Cat!" Madzie said, running to give Catarina a tight hug. "Thanks for the lessons!"

Catarina held her close, smiling up at Magnus. "Course my darling. You be good for your papa now."

Madzie let go, turning to face Magnus and rolling her eyes. "I'm always good, right Papa?"

"So far, you are well on track with your chores and lessons to pick out five new books at the end of the month," Magnus confirmed.

Madzie beamed, looking back at Catarina. "See?"

"Well, just keep it up then," Catarina said laughingly. "Be good to your little brother, too."

"And Rafe and Maxwell," Madzie added thoughtfully. Catarina shot Magnus a look at that, which Magnus did not want to unpack just then.

"Ready to portal sweet-pea?" Magnus asked, bringing her attention back to him. He made a portal with his free hand, then held it out for her to take. "We need to let Aunt Cat get some rest."

"Okay!" She gave Catarina one last hug, then walked over to take Magnus' hand. Max waved over Magnus' shoulder as the three of them stepped though, back into the loft's living room.

There, three nephilim were staring at where the portal had been and the three warlocks had just emerged. "Cool!" Rafe said, slipping off the couch were Alec seemed to have been reading to him, and running up. "Hi Magnus!"

"Hello pumpkin," Magnus smiled, crouching to put Max down. He had needed to come up with a name for Rafe, who seemed to be a little put out that he didn't have a nickname like Madzie and Max.

Rafe was much more comfortable now, at least in the loft with Magnus' family. But Magnus was surprised when the little boy made use of the fact Magnus was at his level to hurried forward and give him a hug.

The warmth and joy Magus felt was almost as close to the first time Madzie had called him Papa instead of Magnus. He carefully wrapped his arms around the boy, not wanting to startle him but also wanting to return the affection. He looked over at Alec, who was staring wide eyed but with a wide smile growing on his face.

When Rafe pulled back, Magnus gave his hair a little ruffle. "What'd you do today, pumpkin?"

This prompted Rafe to begin a play by play of his day: going to the park, going to Angel's Nest, practicing his runes and letters. It was the most he had ever spoken in Magnus' hearing, so Magnus gave his full attention, sitting cross legged on the floor right where he had portalled in. When he glanced at Alec, he either caught the biggest smile, so honest and warm, or him reading Rafe's abandoned book to Max, who apparently wasn't upset that his papa had his attention elsewhere as long as he had Alec's instead.

Magnus felt a matching smile on his own face. He cheeks might even have been sore the next hours, because he couldn't shake the warm, safe, domestic feeling that had settled over the loft, over his life. He couldn't deny how much he loved it either, at least not to himself. He would to anyone else (except maybe Alec, but Alec didn’t ask).

Chapter Text

Jace had a problem. Well, he had a lot of problems, Izzy would probably tease him by saying, but the particular problem that was taking up a lot of his thoughts was the fact that he had fallen in love. Not even fallen, more like tripped and then slow motion fell for about two years down a flight of stairs. Also, probably as painful as that, if he wanted to get real angst-y about it. But since he was now twenty and thus could not have teenage angst, he tried to logic himself out of that.

The biggest problem wasn’t really that he was in love, but rather who he was in love with. Or rather... whos? Whom? Grammar aside, what he was trying to say was two people had equally, but differently, captured his heart. To make matters more complicated, they were quite happily dating each other. Also, one of Clary, and he was pretty sure Jocelyn and Luke would murder him for trying to date their daughter. The other one was Simon, who was already the parental favorite: your good Jewish artist vampire that no one seemed to be able to not love. Well, besides Raphael, but Raphael only liked four people and those slots were filled by his aging sister, Magnus, Ragnor, and, somehow, Izzy.

So today, because the universe hated Jace and wanted him to suffer as much as possible, Clary had invited him to spar with her and Simon. Jace had walked into the training room to find Clary in her tight athletic clothes and Simon in a tank top and sweatpants. Simon had been nerd adorable before he was transformed, now he was nerd hot. More proof that the universe had it out for Jace, and Jace specifically.

"Hey, why the long face man," Simon asked, giving Jace a light punch on the shoulder. "I thought you'd love a reason to kick my ass."

Jace didn't have anything to say to that, so he just grunted.

Clary laughed at them, that beautiful free laugh of hers, her long hair up in a messy bun. "You know any ass kicking is going to be from me."

"Wouldn't doubt it," Jace said, as Simon hopped back to Clary's side, as if hopping like a video game fighting character would help him against a trained shadowhunter.

"So, two against one?" Clary asked, lopsided smile drawing a matching on from Jace.

Jace shrugged. "I'm sure I can take Simon, so it's the same as one on one as far as I can see."

"Hey! I've been practicing my vampire skills!" Simon protested, and popped his fangs. God, why did Jace find that both hot and adorable?

"...Anyway, what I meant is that I take you two boys on, take down the patriarchy and all that," Clary said, twirling her twin blades in her hands.

"Well, if we do that we should do hand to hand combat," Jace said before he could stop himself. No way in hell did he need to be rolling around on the floor with his two crushes, no way in hell. But maybe Izzy was right and his brain wasn’t attached to his mouth.

Clary smirked, eyes sparkling up at him, before she went and put her blades to the side. Jace definitely didn’t check out the way her arms and shoulders flexed. "Yeah, you're right. Ready to go?"

"What, not warm up stretches?" Simon asked before demonstrating, and managed to give Jace quite the show of his back and ass. Jace really should just leave the room right now before he did something that would embarrass them all.

"I'm set," Jace said, rolling his shoulders. "I think you're just stalling. Afraid to face Clary?"

"Oh completely," Simon smiled, then lunged at Clary. She easily used his momentum to pin him down. Jace watched this and had to remind himself that he was on Simon's team so he should probably rescue him. Moving to knock Clary off Simon, she was ready for it and rolled out of the way. Jace fell as she kicked his feet out from under him, and he joined Simon on the floor.

"That was too easy," Clary grinned down at them. Jace just stared up at her before remembering he probably shouldn't ogle Simon's girlfriend in front of him.

"Um Clary," Simon said, and Jace looked over to find him lying on his side, hand propping his head up. "I'm wondering if maybe we should just talk to Jace instead of this."

Clary plopped down, sitting cross legged on the mat of the training room floor at their feet. "You might be right."

"What're we talking to Jace about," Jace asked, focusing his gaze up to the ceiling, so that he didn’t oggle Simon instead, his arm bulging where it was keeping him up.

"We’ve been talking," Simon said. "And are hoping that you might agree with our findings."

"Findings? You make it sound like a science experiment," Clary chuckled, before her knee nudged Jace. "What Simon's trying to say, is we're wondering if you would like to go on a date with us."

Jace felt all the breath rush out of his body, more successfully than when he hit the floor. "Wha-"

"And she does mean both of us, we're a package deal," Simon seemed to need to add. But Jace's brain felt stuck on what Clary said.

Taking a few deep breaths, which confirmed he was alive and not dead in some weird alternate dimension, Jace looked over at Simon and Clary. They both were blushing, which was impressive for Simon because of his undead state. "You want to go on a date with me?"

"A date that will hopefully lead to dating," Simon clarified. "But again, package deal."

"Man, you know you drive me nuts," Jace huffed a chuckle, but stopped himself. Was he going to use humor and deprive himself of what felt like a dream come true. Honesty was the best policy and all that... "Yeah, I’d really like to go on a date with you both."

"Yes!" cheered Simon, standing up. "Oh this is going to be great. Clary will have someone else to model for her figure drawing practice!"

"Ah, that's why you're in on this, Lewis," Clary rolled her eyes, but accepted a kissed on her cheek from him as he pulled her up.

Simon walked over to Jace and offered him a hand up as well. Jace took it, and let himself be tugged into Simon's personal space. The vampire grinned, then leaned forward as if he was going to give Jace a kiss on the cheek too.

"Like hell, I've waited long enough for this," Jace moved and captured Simon's lips with his own, taking the vampire’s face in his hands. Simon hummed and returned the kiss that quickly turned heated, hungry. All those times they had bickered, all those times they had rushed to backup Clary, all those little moments were only Simon could make Jace laugh was poured into the kiss. The heady feeling of his fangs brushing Jace's lips only fueled him further. When they pulled back, they were both panting, though Jace knew Simon didn't really need to breath.

They both looked over to Clary, who had a soft smile on her face. "Shall we say, Hunter’s Moon, tonight?” she asked, head cocking to one side, before being tugged close to them.

Jace pressed his face to the top of her head, breathing her in. Another piece of proof that this was real, that it was really happening. He pulled away as she moved, looking up at him with those smiling eyes. Leaning in towards her, kissing her was gentler than Simon. Clary had been his rock through so much, could find him even when he was lost to himself. So as his hands cupped her face, their lips pressing gently together, he tried to thank her for seeing the true him through it all. When she sucked on his lower lip, he sighed, feeling her smile pressed to his own.

Slowly, they moved away and Jace opened his eyes. There was the smile on Clary’s face that he had made, and he wanted to do whatever he could to make sure she always had a reason to smile. Glancing at Simon, Jace knew he felt similarly for him, though maybe he wanted Simon to always have a reason to laugh.

“How about Hunter’s Moon now?” Jace asked, his voice rougher than he expected. Clearing his throat he added. “None of us have patrolls tonight.”

Simon nodded, “My logic exactly with asking you today! Either you’d say yes, and we need time for a date, or you’d say no and Clary and I could eat ice cream and cry.”

Clary elbowed Simon, but she was smiling. They all were. It seemed impossible to stop. This was really happening?

“Well, we still have ice cream, but we can save that for after the date,” Clary said pulling away but with a hand in one of Jace’s and one of Simon’s. “Let’s hit the showers and meet back here in ten minutes! No… fifteen, I need to steal a dress from Izzy.”

“Please don’t wear my sister’s dresses on our dates,” Jace said, mortified.

Clary looked thoughtful at this, then nodded, “Fair enough! I guess mine will have to be good enough. You don’t mind some paint splotches?”

“I don’t think we’d have it any other way,” Simon said, then hurried ahead to pull them all along.

Jace didn’t think he’d ever be able to stop smiling.

Chapter Text

When Magnus had first been invited to Jocelyn's family dinner, it was at the beginning of the new world. Clary was still very young, and no one else was really in the picture. It was just Luke, Jocelyn, Clary, and Magnus. He appreciated being invited as he liked and respected both Jocelyn and Luke a lot, and he adored his little Biscuit. At dinner, they managed to mostly talk about things other than politics, which was what they were all busy with most days (and many nights). The revised Accords were under consideration, with a lot of push back from both sides. Clary telling them all about her day at preschool, Jocelyn talking about maybe getting back into painting, or Luke talking about the police academy was a much needed distraction. It reminded Magnus that life went on.

Years later, Magnus had gotten used to the bustle of family dinners. Jocelyn and Luke didn't like to leave anyone out, and so they had grown quickly through the years.

The first frequent addition to the family dinners was Simon Lewis, which was a bit tricky considering how wrapped up they all were in the Shadow World. But Clary had insisted that her best friend should be able to join them. Then Catarina and even sometimes Ragnor, when Jocelyn insisted Magnus pass the offer along. Maia was taken in after her transformation, making something of a second daughter in the household. Raphael started making an appearance when Simon was turned, bringing food for them both. When Clary and Maia each had significant others to bring along, that had brought up their numbers again. This was around the same time that Magnus adopted Madzie, and Max soon after.

When Alec followed Magnus into the warm, big living room of the Fairchild-Garroway household, Magnus kept an eye on him. Sometimes the bustle was a bit much, for those unused to it. They were running a bit late (the forever struggle of those with young children), so just about everyone else was there. Alec's eyes went wide, as did Rafe's (who was in his father's arms), as they walked in.

"It's busy but cozy," Magnus said, leaning out of the way as Madzie dashed into the kitchen, probably hoping Luke would sneak her a treat or have her “help” with taste testing. Magnus put Max down, and he moved as fast as he could over to where Raphael was sitting alone looking bored.

"I feel sort of like this is another alliance meeting," Alec murmured, leaning close to Magnus' ear.

"We've all grown very close," Magnus offers as a response even as he grinned. "And your family sure has wiggled its way in."

"Hey, the New York Institute was to be under the Lightwoods," Alec said, raising his eyebrows. "Maybe we're just natural leaders."

"You and Izzy maybe, but Jace," Magnus flicked his eyes over to the man in question. He was on the couch with Simon, who had set up the Smash Brothers game, and Jace kept bumping Simon to try and get him to lose. Simon was laughing and gave Jace a kiss, getting his revenge as Jace was distracted by kicking Jace's character off the platform.

Alec shook his head, but he was grinning. At Magnus' questioning look he said, "I don't remember him ever being this happy in Idris."

"Hmm," Magnus offered. Magnus genuinely liked Jace, despite all his teasing. It was hard to picture the boisterous man unhappy, but Magnus didn’t like the thought.

"I guess we have that it common. Being happier in New York, that is," Alec said far too casually. He glanced through his eyelashes at Magnus then turned to carry Rafe over to see what his uncle was up to.

Magnus probably would have simply stared at him sighing lovelornly if Maxwell hadn’t asked, "Shall we go get drinks?" He was looking up at Magnus as he pushed his glasses up his nose.

Magnus chuckled, patting Maxwell's shoulder as he moved fully into the room. "That sounds good. But you are not quite old enough for alcohol, even here. Give it a few years, then you can have some wine with dinner."

Maxwell almost pouted, then sighed with a nod. "Okay."

"I do make some mean virgin cocktails though," Magnus moved towards the kitchen. The island was covered in drink makings. Madzie spotted him and probably decided he would stop her fun, so she took off to join in watching the video games.

"Why's it called virgin?" Maxwell asked, blushing a bit.

"It just means there's no booze in it," Magnus said, selecting some juices and seltzer. He looked up at where Luke was on the other side, tossing a large salad. "Ready to feed an army?"

"Always," Luke huffed a laugh. "Shadowhunter stamina comes with some downsides. You don't want to see either Jocelyn or Clary when they're hungry."

"I'll take your word for it then," Magnus smiled, shaking the cocktail for Maxwell. Grabbing a clear plastic glass, he poured the mix out and handed to him.

"Thanks Magnus," Maxwell then wandered away, heading to see what was going on with the rest. Jace and Simon seemed to be excitedly trying to explain to Alec how the controls worked.

"They're lucky Maia had to pop out to grab some ingredients with Izzy or she’d be wiping the floor with them," Luke said, a warm smile on his face. Magnus knew that much like himself, Luke had for a long time thought he could never have a family life like this. Jocelyn, Clary, and then Maia proved to him that he was wrong in the best way possible.

Magnus grinned, turning back to measure a shot into what was left of the drink he made for Maxwell. He added two more, knowing his warlock tolerance and that he would soon be eating a big dinner would balance everything out.

"Oh, we got a pool table," Luke said, as Magnus finish pouring his own drink and sipped it with a happy sigh.

"Not one that has been in the Hunters Moon, I hope," Magnus said. "Those have a bit... too much character."

"No, but Maia found a used one that was in pretty good condition and got it into her old room," Luke said. "She has decided that Jocelyn and I had taken too long figuring out what to do with it, so she's turning it into a game room."

Magnus shook his head. "And Clary's turned hers into a studio?"

"It really already was," Luke smiled, looking at where Clary and Jocelyn had just entered from the hallway.

Clary ran over to Magnus and he put his drink down in time to hug her. "Hey biscuit."

"You made it!" Clary said, pulling back and snagging his drink. She sipped it with an approving hum.

"That’s warlock strength, little shadowhunter," Magnus said, and she handed it back to him with a roll of her eyes. "What were you up too?"

"Oh, she was just hustling me at pool," Jocelyn shook her head, intercepting Magnus' drink and having a sip as well. Magnus huffed and went to work making new drinks. "Magnus, do you have any idea where my daughter learned to hustle pool?"

Magnus cleared his throat and looked innocent, "Ah, Jace?"

"I think she might have started pretty young," Jocelyn walked around the island, kissing Luke briefly, then checking what was in the oven. Turning back to Magnus and taking the drink he handed her, she continued, "And some of her moves were awful familiar."

"You never know when you might need to make some money!" Magnus protested. "It's a good life skill to have, I was just looking out for her." He now hands Clary a drink. Sometimes he can't believe that she was now in her twenties; he remembered so well when she was just a toddler. The day when Jocelyn had shown up at his door and asked for his help protecting her... now here he was, handing her a cocktail.

"Cheers to life skills," Clary chuckled, clinking her glass to Magnus'. She then turned to Luke. "Anything I can do to help?"

"Set the table?" Luke asked, and Clary set to work.

"And me?" Magnus asked.

"Go relax," Luke grinned back.

Rolling his eyes, Magnus went to check on Max and Raphael. Max had crawled up onto Raphael's lap and was talking away at the vampire. Max and Raphael had bonded since Max had been a baby, because Max would talk (or “talk” when he was younger) and Raphael would always listen. A couple of times, Max would tell something to Raphael he was scared to tell Magnus, and then Raphael would let Magnus know how to check in on his son.

Raphael had pulled out one of the dining room tables to sit in, so that he was away from rowdy behavior that happened on the living room side of the huge open living space. Magnus pulled one out as well, settling so he was angled to face the living room and Raphael. Max had gone quiet, watching Magnus, before grinning.

"Hello Raphael," Magnus said. "Hello Max."

"Papa!" Max said. "Do you know what's for dessert?"

"I didn't ask, but you can check with Uncle Luke or Aunt Jocelyn," Magnus smiled. Max nodded and slipped off Raphael's lap with a little assistance. He hurried over to the kitchen. Magnus didn't know why children were always in a hurry, but he had rarely seen anything slow down his little ones.

"Max likes the shadowhunters," Raphael said, bringing Magnus' attention back to him.

"Alec?" Magnus asked, glancing briefly at where Madzie was showing Alec how to use the controller, having apparently decided Jace and Simon were being bad teachers.

"Yes, and the little ones," Raphael picked up his glass of blood, and sipped it.

"That's good, I was worried he might feel like he's not getting enough attention," Magnus admitted.

"No, he likes Rafe to have around as a friend," the vampire smirked. "Apparently he thinks Rafe is more interesting to play with than Madzie."

Magnus sighed, but smiled. "It's probably because they are closer in age. Six years is a pretty big gap at that age."

"Indeed," Raphael turned to Magnus, leaning in a little closer. "Are you okay with all this? It seems like a lot to ask, to have this Lightwood in your home."

"What, not going to tease me about having a hot single man living with me?" Magnus whispered back, raising one brow.

Raphael shook his head. "No, I know Ragnor and Catarina have that covered." Raphael took a breath, almost a sigh. He was serious. "I haven't known you as long as them, but I saw you after Camille, after Etta..."

Magnus picked his drink back up and suddenly wished for a few more shots. He took a large swallow. He already knew well enough that no one could really see themselves staying with him. What was Raphael’s point?

Raphael fiddled with the little cross he always kept in his pocket, not wincing at the sting if it. "But that's not what I mean. I don't know how you feel and I won't bother you with that. I mean, are you okay with putting this target on your family's back?"

Magnus frowned into his glass, both relieved in not going deeper into the subject of his love life, and catching on to Raphael’s worry. "I don't feel like there are any other options."

"There are," Raphael said. "But you have decided to take this on yourself."

"Well, he came to my door. I'm the only downworlder contact he had."

"There are lots of places we could put him and have them well warded," Raphael said.

"But none as safe as with me," Magnus didn't know why they were arguing about this.

And then Raphael got to the point, stuffing the cross back away. "Is he worth it?"

Magnus looked across the room again. Alec met his eyes for a moment, a lopsided smile coming to his face, before Madzie demanded his attention back to her. Rafe was in Jace's lap, and Maxwell had taken one of the controllers. Simon was helping in the kitchen now that Maia had come back. But Magnus' eyes went back to Alec, to the way he spoke to his daughter. All the kindness Magnus had seen from a man that was hurting, that had been hurting for a long time and who was only just learning to heal.

"Yes, he's worth it," Magnus said, looking Raphael in the eye with helpless little shrug.

"Okay," Raphael nodded, his face its usual seriousness. “I’ll do what I can to help.”

"Thank you… Speaking of Ragnor and Catarina," Magnus moved to stand. "I haven't heard from either of them today, have you?"

"Nothing from Catarina, but she mentioned she might have to work an extra shift. Ragnor texted and said he wasn't going to make it," Raphael huffed. Magnus knew that Ragnor was Raphael's preferred companion for such outings. "He thinks he's onto something with an old book of runes he's found."

"Onto something for what?" Magnus asked. Clary scooted by them to put plates on the table.

"Whatever project he's currently working on, they’re very hard to follow," Raphael stood as well. "Clary, let me help."

"Sure, thanks!" Clary said, then tossed a pile of napkins to Raphael. He caught them with ease. Magnus chuckled as he stood and pushed in the chair he had been sitting on and finally moved to the living room.

Maia had taken Simon's place, Izzy perched on the arm of the large couch. Alec was standing now, leaning against the other side with Max in his arms. Jace, Maxwell, Rafe, and Madzie managed to squeeze on the rest of the couch, though Jace was sitting on the back cushions, Rafe leaning against his legs. Magnus watched as characters, some familiar to him, some not, battled it out. They reached the end of a game as Magnus came up and he tapped Madzie's shoulder.

"Let your old man show them how it's done kiddo."

Madzie giggled, passing Magnus the controller she had. Magnus leaned over the back of the couch, selected Pikachu at Madzie's urging, and shot Maia a look.

"Ready to have your reign defeated?" he grinned the challenge.

"You wish," Maia said, and probably would have flipped him off in friendly fashion, if not for the kids.

"Oh you know I've been playing these since before you were born," Magnus teased.

"You know they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks," Maia fired back. Jace laughed and removed his controller from the fight. Rafe looked up and copied as Maxwell did the same.

Maia proceeded to kick his ass, even when Magnus weakly asked for best of two out of three. The kids were cracking up by the end of it, and Jace patted Magnus' shoulder comfortingly. "No one can beat her, man."

"And I've taught the children an important lesson about not being too cocky?" Magnus asked. He had ended up sitting on the couch, Madzie and Rafe practically on top of him as they tried to help. They both giggled in his ears now.

"Well gamers, it's a perfect time to come to an end," Jocelyn said, hands on her hips and doing a very good stern 'mom' look. "Dinner is served!"

Jace and Maia shot up, probably to make sure they got seats by their significant others. Raphael had taken one of the heads of the table so that he could be a bit removed from the action. Magnus took Max from Alec, blowing a raspberry against his cheek.

"Let's find your chair," Magnus said, looking for the booster seat that was there for Max. It was near the middle of the table, so Magnus sat beside him. Clary settled on the other side of Max, for which Magnus was grateful to have the backup if needed. On Magnus' other side a certain shadowhunter sat, Rafe settled next to him.

"Hi," Alec said, glancing at Magnus with an almost bashful smile. What gave him the right to be so pretty?

"Why hello there, do you come here often?" Magnus asked, and couldn’t keep himself from winking.

Alec blushed but smiled. "No, first time."

Magnus couldn't say more, because the food began to be passed around. He carefully chose things for Max's plate. Max wasn't a picky eater, at least not yet, but he could get very distracted when they were not eating at home. Magnus would probably be feeding Max most of what he ate.

"Do you want mashed potatoes?" Magnus asked Max.

"No," Max said.

"Why?"

"They look like clouds."

How was he supposed to argue with that logic? Luckily, Luke and Jocelyn, with all their parental wisdom, had made some mac and cheese for the kids, always a crowd pleaser. Madzie, seated next to Luke, was insisting on eating the whole "grown up" meal. But Rafe had quite happily tucked into his mac and cheese, and Alec was encouraging him to eat some vegetables as well.

Max, especially when he saw was Madzie and Rafe were doing, behaved well. He still made some cheese art and Magnus would have to vanish some peas from Luke and Jocelyn's floor, but you were only three once. Might as well have a good time and play with your food.

Magnus was a little distracted from the delicious meal himself. He bumped elbows with Alec a few times, their hands brushing as they passed food. Alec seemed to not be able to stop smiling, as he looked around at the people gathered around the table. He was so beautiful when he smiled. He met Magnus' eyes partway through the meal and leaned over to murmur, "Thank you for inviting me to this."

Magnus felt a contented warmth in his chest. "It's my pleasure Alexander."

Magnus might be in a little bit more trouble with hazel eyes and wide smiles and fluffy hair that begged to be messed up than he wanted to admit. Raphael shot him a look and Magnus just gave his friend a helpless little smile.

 

It was Sunday, nearly a week after the family dinner, and Alec and Magnus were both free to take the kids to the park. Maxwell had declined to join the park adventure, deciding to spend the day with Jace. Magnus had packed a picnic, and was wondering if they should go to the zoo. He bet Rafe had never seen animals such as the ones in the Bronx Zoo, though it also could be too crowded for the boy's comfort…. Before he got to suggest anything to Alec though, as they walked behind the kids (who were keeping in sight but had started to play a game of tag along the path), Magnus sensed a Seraph blade thrown in their direction.

It was second nature for Magnus to turn, throwing up a shield with one hand so the blade harmlessly fell away and a portal with the other. He knew Catarina was working that day, so the portal would go to Ragnor's. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Madzie, used to his magic and old enough to understand, grab Max and Rafe and run into the portal.

Before Magnus could shout for Alec to follow, the full force of a shadowhunter struck the shield and the portal dropped away. Focusing on the shield, Magnus saw the grinning face of a shadowhunter in Clave uniform. Alec had pulled out his bow, kept hidden but always in reach when they were out, for this very reason. It was a sign of how much Magnus trusted Alec that he had let Alec keep it since he first walked in the loft.

"General Lightwood," the shadowhunter pushed off from Magnus' shield, eyes now focused on Alec. "Is this really where you've run off to? You've decided to be a pet to a warlock?"

"General Aldertree, always a pleasure," Alec said, his voice flat and deadly, arrow knocked and aimed. "Tasked with bringing me in? Sorry to hear they demoted you to such work."

"Oh no, I asked for this assignment," Aldertree grinned. The man would have been beautiful, if not for his personality. Aldertree ran his sword along Magnus' shield. "I wanted to be the one to prove what you really are. More than just some pervert, some traitor. I've always had my suspicions but no one believed me."

"Congratulations, maybe you're more competent than I thought," Alec said, voice dangerous but mocking. "But don't get excited by that, it wouldn't take much, the bar you've set is so low."

Magnus was enjoying the back and forth too much to add anything of his own, but the clear unhurried disdain Alec wore let him now there wasn't much to worry about. Magnus would have to agree, he and Alec were an easy match for one shadowhunter.

Aldertree snarled, before his face settled again. "I really don't have time to trade insults with the likes of you. Why don't you ask your warlock to lower that shield, and I can prove to you what it is to be a real man."

"Oh a real man," Alec scoffed. "I didn't know we were still barely runed teenagers. I'm perfectly comfortable in my own honor, though I understand why you aren't. When was the last time you did anything good? Go home, Aldertree."

"No! What you're doing is beyond wrong," Aldertree said, his voice serious but in a tone as if he was explaining something simple to a child, like not touching a hot stove. "You're letting your son be corrupted by these demons? I need to take him home so he can be given to a proper parent."

That struck a cord of true anger with Alec, and while Magnus had to agree, he knew this had to stop. "Not that this little reunion isn't just the sweetest," Magnus said, putting on his best fake smile. "But, Alexander, we have other plans today. How do you want to do this?"

Alec looked over at him, and Magnus saw he was more worried than he wanted Aldertree to know. Magnus tried to make sure Alec understood Magnus would follow his lead, however he wanted to handle this. Turning back to Aldertree, Alec's mask fell back in place. "Thoughts Aldertree? I don't think these are the usual odds for you. I understand you like something less fair."

Aldertree looked over at Magnus, really seemed to look at him, and Magnus saw recognition, fear, flash through his eyes for the first time. Suddenly, Magnus had switched from a random warlock in his way to Magnus Bane. "Ah..."

"Good to see Idris still warns about me," Magnus let his cat eyes flash and a cruel smile take his face further. "Alexander Lightwood is under my protection until he doesn't want it. So I suggest you run back-"

"Lightwood, you don't understand the danger you're in," Aldertree kept his blade up but had taken a step back.

"I rather think I do," Alec said, still aimed at Aldertree. "Magnus is right, you should leave. You may inform the council that I’ll not be returning."

"You know that they can't allow this," Aldertree said, but he had taken more steps away from them. He had probably just expected to just take Alec one on one, or maybe with his young son and brother. Disgusting.

"I think they will find they have to allow it," Alec said. He and Magnus stood at attention till Aldertree was gone from their sight. Magnus reached out with his magic, searching for the telltale angelic magic of adamas. Sensing that Aldertree must have portalled (and making note of that, because that meant there was a warlock in need of help), Magnus relaxed his stance, putting the shield down. Alec copied, slipping his arrow away and shouldering its bow, the glamour causing both to vanish from sight.

"Magnus, I'm sorry-" Alec started.

Magnus shook his head, resting his hands on Alec's shoulders to get his full attention. "You have nothing to be sorry for. We assumed this would happen. I think it went about as well as we could expect."

Alec stared down at him, the tension slowly leaving his face. "Thank you Magnus, I... I'm not sure how that would have gone without you."

"Oh Alexander," Magnus pressed a hand briefly to his cheek, before releasing him. "I know you'd have thought of something. Now let's go save Ragnor from our children.... Or possibly the other way around."

Alec caught his arm before he could take more than a step, causing Magnus to turn back toward him. "I'm serious Magnus. Thank you. Not just for standing with me but for getting Rafe out of here."

Magnus found it hard to meet Alec's gaze, and the genuine emotions held there. It wasn’t the time for such thoughts, but he wanted to fall into Alec or to play the game of flirting, of pursuing someone who seemed to fit so well with him. But he wouldn't play with his own heart or his children's. He had only known Alexander for a few weeks after all… And Alec had a lot on his own plate. It didn’t matter that it felt as though Alec had unlocked something in Magnus that had been dormant for a very long time.

"You're welcome Alexander," he smiled, hoping it seemed real as he looked over Alec’s shoulder. "Though we will need to report this to Jocelyn, Luke, and the other leaders. They’ll want to know the Clave made a direct showing. Downworlders will want to go out in pairs." Catching the look on Alec's face, Magnus assured. "It's not your fault. You shouldn't have to put up with this. Anyway, they try and crack down every couple of years, we know what to do."

"Okay," Alec said, and Magnus knew he didn't believe that it wasn't his fault.

"Shall we go get the kids?"

"Yeah, can't leave Ragnor to fend for himself," Alec followed Magnus off the path. Though Magnus had glamoured most of what happened, it was still better to make a portal away from mundanes if possible. He stepped through, Alec close on his heels.

"Oh good, you're both alive," Ragnor said, sitting on a couch, the kids all around him. Max was in his lap, and Madzie on one side holding Rafe's hand. "The children were worried."

"Glad to see you were too," Magnus rolled his eyes, as Madzie and Max ran towards him. He knelt and managed to pick them both up, pressing kisses to each their cheeks. "You both okay?"

"Yes Papa," Madzie threw her arms around his neck.

"What happened?" Ragnor asked, remaining seated on the couch.

"Oh, just a minor complication," Magnus assured, not wanting to get into detail with the kids. "Nothing to be worried about at all really, Alexander and I were able to get him to leave without any violence." On their part at least, but again Magnus didn't want to scare the kids.

Rafe looked over at Magnus with those heartbreaking wide brown eyes. He was secure in Alec's arms. "Thank you for keeping Dad safe," he whispered.

"Of course, pumpkin," Magnus said, then leaned forward and pressed a kiss to Rafe's curls, trying not to think about how he was now in Alec’s space. "Thank you for being so good and staying with Madzie."

Rafe gave a little smile, then tucked his face against Alec's shoulder. Magnus guessed he would not want to be put down for the next several hours. Magnus knelt and set Madzie down, who ran back over to Ragnor, bouncing on his couch without much of a care now that the danger was over. Max stayed clinging to Magnus, but he wasn't hiding the way Rafe was, just watched everything curiously. Ragnor flicked the fire messaged he was writing off and stood.

"Needed to call off the troops," Ragnor explained. "I sent a message to Jocelyn when the kids came through without you."

"So you were worried!" Magnus teased, and Ragnor rolled his eyes.

"Of course I was, you don't let me babysit unless it’s an end of the world type of situation," Ragnor turned and walked out of the room. "I can make tea, but I'm not prepared to host lunch."

"Thank you Ragnor, but I think Magnus and I should bring the kids back to the loft," Alec said, the first thing he had besides the soothing whispers to Rafe to try and get him to calm down.

Magnus wasn't going to question him, and nodded. "Do you mind making a portal? I'm a little drained," Magnus asked Ragnor as he reappeared.

"I don't mind at all," Ragnor waved his hand and in the hallway behind Magnus and Alec a portal appeared. Madzie jumped off the couch and hurried toward it.

"Bye Uncle Ragnor!" she said, bolting through. Alec and Rafe followed after her.

Little Max waved at Ragnor too. "Bye-bye!"

"Thanks old friend," Magnus said, turning to leave as well.

"Be careful Magnus," Ragnor said, and it was clear just how worried he was by his tone.

"When am I not?" Magnus joked, and stepped through to his own living room. As soon as he did, he set Max down, who ran over to play with his blocks.

Alec was still holding Rafe, face pinched with worry. Magnus wished he knew how to help, walking up to him once he had spotted Madzie in the kitchen, probably getting herself a snack. "Hey pumpkin, do you want something to eat?" Magnus offered, resting a hand on the boy's back.

Rafe shook his head, not even peaking Magnus' way. Alec looked at Magnus and said, "I think he just needs some down time."

Magnus nodded, and tried, "Rafe, would you like to watch me put up some more wards? That way you can see how safe we are!"

Rafe peaked up at that and Alec smiled. "You like magic, don't you Rafe?" Alec said.

"I wanna help!" Max said, running and stopping only to latch onto Alec's leg, looking up at all of them with his big, blue eyes.

"You can't help blueberry, but it would be a good lesson for you to watch," Magnus said, then called towards the kitchen. "Madzie, want to work on your ward spells?"

She wandered out, eating a granola bar. Magnus only kept healthy snacks in kid reach. "Wards are pretty cool," she said, directing those words at Rafe, who had almost completely uncurled, and was watching them all.

"To the roof!" Magnus said, scooping Max back up and walking to the spiral staircase. Alec put Rafe down so he could follow and Rafe allowed it, following Magnus up, Madzie close behind.

"I'll remake our picnic and join you all shortly," Alec called after them, and Magnus couldn't help the smile, nor how right it felt to have Alec and Rafe as part of his own little family. He really was doomed indeed, and didn’t feel any of the motivation he had earlier to try and stop his feelings.

Chapter Text

Alec was attempting to cook again. He, Rafe, and Jace had gone grocery shopping, which had felt a little like having two kids to watch out for. Both of them kept trying to sneak oreos into the carts. Rafe had gotten his own little cart, and had taken the responsibility very seriously until Jace had started putting candy in it. Then he was giggling through the rest of the mission. But in the end, Alec had managed to buy food and ingredients, Rafe had felt more comfortable being around a lot of people, and Jace was able to bring home ramen and pizza pockets. Alec was a little concerned about his brother's food choices, but decided the busy frozen food aisle was not the place to get into it.

Alec had his phone on the counter, an easy lasagna recipe up. Rafe and Madzie were sitting at the kitchen table in his line of sight, both working on some math problems (Rafe's was more tracing the proper shapes of numbers, but he wanted to be cool like Madzie and insisted it was math). Max was in his booster seat, coloring and sometimes adding to Rafe and Madzie's finished pages. Maxwell was in the living room watching something Simon had gotten him into called TED Talks. Alec understood they were supposed to be educational, so he left Maxwell to it.

"Alec, that smells good!" Madzie said, looking up, nose scrunched adorably.

"Don't sound so surprised," Alec chuckled.

"Your stew was terrible and smelled terrible," Madzie informed him, focusing back on her paper. "And that's the most recent scientific data I have!"

"It was really bad," Rafe agreed sadly. "Sorry Dad."

Alec just shook his head. They weren't wrong, figuring out how to cook was much harder than it looked. But he had decided to stick to simple things after the stew fiasco. How can one go wrong with cheese, noodles, and tomato sauce? He also wanted to surprise Magnus by making something that was more than just edible. Magnus had been in his apothecary for most of the day, so Alec had taken care of the kids. He was glad that Madzie and Max seemed to like him, because it meant they would listen to him when he gave them school work or other tasks.

Rafe, similarly, really liked Magnus and would stay with him without complaint. Which Alec appreciated, given that tonight he was joining Jace and Izzy and some others on a demon hunting mission. Alec needed to get out of the house and do the work he had always trained for, or he’d go a bit stir crazy.

It also felt like a good way to give back to all these people who were helping him. If he could help with some of the demon problems, it was the least Alec could do. He peaked in the oven to see that the cheese on the lasagna was bubbling but not burning. Making dinner was also the least Alec could do, on a more personal level with Magnus. Alec was getting better at telling when Magnus was worn out, and shouldn't be using his magic for things such as summoning dinner (not to even get into the morals of stealing food, as Alec now understood it was, even if Magnus left money behind).

Whatever Magnus was currently working on was probably magic intensive, so it seemed like the right time to try cooking again. If all else failed, Alec would order take-out.

After cleaning the kitchen of his cooking mess, Alec put some tinfoil on the lasagna so the cheese wouldn't burn. Then he went to the table where the kids were still working. Max was antsy, and held his hands up to get help getting out of his chair. Alec moved to stand beside him and asked, "What is the magic word?" before he could think better of that wording.

Max used his magic to push the chair back, but put his hands up again. "Please!"

Alec scooped the boy up and was surprised when instead of squirming to get right down, he wrapped his arms around Alec's neck. "You want to be carried?" Alec asked. Max put a thumb in his mouth and nodded. Alec gently moved the hand away. "You know that's not something your papa wants you to do."

Max frowned dramatically, but dropped his hand away from his mouth. His cheeks were still very round with baby fat, his eyes wide and dark blue like his skin. He had tiny little horns sticking out of curly navy hair. He was utterly adorable, had been nothing but kind to Rafe and good for Alec, yet the Clave would see him as a threat to be eliminated. It made Alec want to hold him even closer, protect him from anything cruel the world wanted to throw his way.

"Do you want to go check on your papa?" Alec asked, when Max looked away from his gaze to stare at the now clean kitchen.

"Yes!" Max crowed, turning and patting Alec's cheek.

"Alright," Alec said, checking for the 10th time he had set the timer on the stove. It would be all for naught if he burned the food. "Rafe and Madzie, you good?"

"I don't want to do math any more," Madzie complained, pushing the worksheets away and laying her head on the table.

"Yeah! I don't want to do math either," Rafe said, before copying Madzie.

Alec looked at Max, who was watching this with a serious expression. Then he walked around the table to look at the work Madzie and Rafe had done. "Don't quite now, you are both almost done your last page!" Alec said. "And once you finish that, you earn dessert, remember?"

Rafe's head shot up at that. "Dessert!?"

"Yep, M&M cookies," Alec said.

"Did you make them?" Madzie asked suspiciously, head still on the table but turned so she could talk.

"No, Luke sent them over," Alec said.

Madzie's head came up at that, and she pulled the papers back to her. "Okay, but only because Uncle Luke makes the BEST cookies. He puts extra love in them."

"By love, do you mean chocolate?" Alec asked and Madzie grinned at him.

"Same thing!" Madzie said before focusing on her last two lines of addition and subtraction problems.

"You finish those while Max and I check on Magnus, okay?" Alec said, already heading out of the dining area. Maxwell was still laying on the sofa.

"You going to write a paper on those talks?" Alec asked. Max nodded from Alec's arms, seeming to decide to back Alec up on what he said to the other kids.

"Yeah, I can do that," Maxwell popped one headphone out, so Alec knew he was listening. "But first I gotta figure out what topic to do it on. There are just so many!"

"How about... something to do with history?" Alec asked. "Knowing mundane history is probably good now that we have started to become part of that world."

"History!" Max agreed. "Papa has history books. He likes to write in them, but drawing in books is bad." Max pouted at this, probably feeling that some of his picture books would be improved by his own artwork.

Alec looked over at the shelves and wondered again how much history Magnus had seen. It was intimidating in a lot of ways - how was Alec supposed to match the parenting skills of a hundreds of years old warlock? Then again, Magnus had told Alec that Madzie and Max were the first kids he’d had, had even confided some fear of messing up to him. Magnus apparently didn't see the amazing father he was everyday with his kids. "Writing in books is usually bad," Alec finally offered Max.

Maxwell just rolled his eyes and put his headphone back in. Alec knew that he and Max had been dismissed, so he continued to Magnus' workshop. The door was closed, but Alec could hear some music playing behind it. Knocking loudly in hope of Magnus hearing over the music, he shifted Max in his arms. The door opened with a slide, going into the wall. Magnus still at his table, several beakers and what looked like a little cauldron bubbling away. Alec kept Max in his grip, even as the boy started to wiggle a bit to try and get down.

"Hello Alexander and my blueberry," Magnus smiled, glancing up. Alec gasped, as Magnus' eyes were not his usual brown. Instead, they were a beautiful golden yellow, with pupils like a cat’s. Magnus spotted his reaction and with the next blink, his beautiful cat eyes were gone behind the usual glamour. Alec realized that was it, that was Magnus' mark.

He took a deep breath, feeling his plus quicken. Alec thought this was rather unfair, because he had just started to feel he had a handle on all the gorgeous that was Magnus Bane. He cleared his throat, meaning to tell Magnus that dinner would be ready in about 20 minutes, but instead he said, voice rough, "Magnus, they're beautiful."

Magnus, who had turned to look down at his work, met Alec's eyes once more. "Just tired, that's why my glamour-" He looked at Max. Alec knew that Magnus didn't want his children to be ashamed of their marks. But Alec also bet that Magnus had a very complicated history with his own, if how he was reacting now was any signal- that someone had made him feel ashamed.

"Papa has really pretty eyes," Max confirmed, looking at Alec while nodding with all the solemness of a three year old who knew what they were talking about.

"He does indeed," Alec smiled at Max, booping his noise. Max giggled and swatted Alec's hand away. Alec looked back to Magnus and his breath caught once more, because Magnus' true eyes were showing again. Alec didn't want Magnus to think that Alec didn't like the eyes, or was reacting badly to them, so instead he said, "Max and I just wanted to check in. Dinner will be ready soon."

Magnus smiled, "Okay, I'm just finishing up. I'm going to send these along with you Alexander, when you go to the shadowhunters."

"What are they?" Alec asked, because the room didn't smell... bad, but it did smell very herb-y.

"Things to slow various demon poisoning, so that there’s more time to get help," Magnus said, using a tool to take a beaker off the burner. "I've been meaning to send a fresh supply down."

"I'm sure Jocelyn and Luke will be grateful," Alec said, heart feeling a bit too full. It did that a lot around Magnus. Swallowing he stepped back out of the room. "Max, let's leave your papa to it, okay? You can help me set the table."

"No!" Max protested, wiggling to get down. Alec was glad he was strong enough, or he would drop the kid.

"Max, do what Alec says," Magnus' tone broached no argument. Max stopped moving, and pouted instead.

Alec took another step back, and freed a hand to close the door with. He needed to leave, because otherwise he would stare at Magnus, could probably spend hours just watching him work. Alec had been so distracted by his eyes, he hadn't fully processed that Magnus was just in a button up shirt and a vest, sleeves rolled up exposing his strong arms. His makeup and hair were still perfect, even after hours working, do doubt because of the magic he used on them. His rings were off, graceful hands moving delicately over his workstation.

Alec quickly closed the door and went back to the kitchen. Max didn't seem to notice Alec had been distracted, which was good. A three-year-old wouldn't catch on to how he was feeling at least. The older kids though, Alec was a bit more worried about them catching on. Especially Maxwell, who gave him very knowing looks from time to time.

“Let’s go make sure Rafe and Madzie are all set,” Alec said and set Max down to toddle off towards the other kids. Alec took a deep breath and tried to still the ache of longing in his chest.

 

After dropping the potions off with Underhill, Alec met with the group he was going on a mission with. Izzy was running point with Aline and Jace as her seconds. Also there was the vampire Raphael and a warlock Alec hadn't met before who went by Dot. Alec’s presence was almost extra, but he didn't mind. He needed to hunt some demons, but he also needed to make sure he came home to his son. This felt like a safe middle ground.

Izzy was being seen off by Maia, who Alec still hadn't really spent time with. He was going to have to find a way to sit down with both his siblings’ significant others. He did know that Magnus spoke highly of all three, and that was good enough for now.

"Hey, you ready to see some real action?" Jace asked with a grin, bumping Alec's shoulder with a closed fist.

"You mean what I've been doing before wasn't real?" Alec asked, eyebrow raised.

"Nah, fighting demons in Idris is nothing compared to a fight in a NYC alleyway," Jace rested his hand against the side of his blade.

"You're a fool," Raphael drawled, looking at Jace with complete boredom. "No wonder Simon likes you."

"Are you really going to insult my boyfriend right now?" Jace snapped, apparently not caring much about the insult to himself. Jace had always been good at letting such things roll off him. Alec thought it was probably good Jace cared about things outside of hunting demons now, which was another point in Clary and Simon’s favor. It meant Jace was more careful, less self destructive.

"Both of you, I don't need this tonight," Izzy stepped into their circle. Alec and Jace motioned at the same time to indicate her lipstick was a bit smudged. She swiped a finger to fix it. "Alright, this should be an easy one. There’s a minor nest of ravener demons that needs to be destroyed."

"Those are usually summoned-" Alec started to point out.

"A little warlock was coming into their powers, and accidentally summoned them," Dot said, flicking her eyes over at Alec. She seemed to be sizing him up. Most warlocks did this when he met them, more so than other downworlders.

"Are they okay?" Alec asked, not wanting to think of little Madzie or Max facing such terror.

Dot's face softened at this. "Yes, they’re fine. Tired, but fine, and know never to do that again."

"So where is this nest?" Aline asked. Like Jace, she was fiddling with her weapons, clearly ready to get started.

"It's in Brooklyn, by the water, so we want to get it cleared out quick," Izzy said, pulling out her phone and sending the address to them all in case they got split up. "Jace and Dot, you're with me. Aline, you take Raphael and Alec. We'll come at it from different sides so there is no chance of any trying to get away."

One distance fighter in each group too, Alec noted the good strategy. It didn't surprise him that his sister had found her place, but it also really made him proud. He remembered the angry, directionless teenager who had run away from Idris. Now, here was Izzy, happy and successful and confident. It was all Alec could have wanted for his sister, and it made him think that maybe he could have something like it as well.

Aline gave Izzy a salute and headed out of the room, Raphael and Alec close behind. She took a running jump and made it onto a fire escape on a nearby building. Raphael followed her with ease, and Alec activated his stamina rune before hurrying after them. Aline set off across the rooftops in the direction of the nest at a good pace, not pushing too hard.

Alec decided now was as good a time as any to ask a question he had. "Raphael, what’re your blades made of?" Regular steel could kill a demon if used correctly, but Alec thought the downworld had probably needed to find something more effective if they didn't have seraph blades. Raphael had two daggers in holsters on each hip. Alec has seen a lot of downworlders that frequented the Angel's Nest with such weapons, and guessed that vampires and werewolves didn't want to have to tear demons apart with their mouths.

"Magically enforced steal," Raphael answered. He wasn't breathing hard, because he didn't need to breath and shadowhunters were much slower than vampires, even with activated runes. "Warlocks like Dot have helped make massive quantities of weapons that can kill demons effectively."

"Not as effectively, but nearly," Aline added. "Izzy has been doing additional research, seeing if there’s a way we could get seraph blades to react to those without angel blood. There are lots that were stolen during the rebellion and are just lying around unused."

"Magnus did a lot of the crafting and all the spell work on mine," Raphael said, pulling one of the blades out without missing a step. He easily launched himself to the next rooftop, waiting for Aline and Alec to make it after him. When Alec landed beside him, Raphael passed the blade over handle first.

The blade was well balanced, simple but clearly deadly. Alec felt a little pulse of energy when he took it, and recognized Magnus' magic. It was hard for him not to at this point, he was used to that magic being all around him- the touch of Magnus' wards, a spark on a summoned object. It caused Alec to smile. "Does Magnus enchant a lot of weapons?" he asked as he passed the dagger back.

"No," Raphael and Aline said at the same time.

"We wish he did," Aline added. "But he's got a lot of other work that takes his energy. Now come on, enough show and tell. We have demons to kill."

Alec and Raphael fell in on either side of her. Alec was impressed by how Aline and Raphael seemed in tune with each other, like what Alec would see with shadowhunters under his command. It was clear that there was complete overlap between the demon hunting groups of the downworld and the rogue shadowhunters, and the strength that had been found in those partnerships. When they made it to the abandoned building the nest was in, Alec could see Izzy, Jace, and Dot on the opposite roof. They dropped down, while Aline lead her team to the building’s roof. Finding an opening, Raphael used his strength to bash in a blocked door. From there, they began their decent.

Alec had his bow in hand, and tried not to smile. It wasn’t the time, but he felt the familiar adrenaline pulsing through his body, fingertips tingling from their place on his bow string. Taking deep breaths to keep his heart rate steady, Alec stayed behind Aline and Raphael, ready to find a high place he could use to make sure nothing could sneak up on his partners. It was where he was most comfortable, watching out for those under his care or part of his team.

The creepy stairwell opened into an even creepier floor, maybe three up from the bottom level. It seemed to have once been a dance studio, the wood floors warped by time and water damage. No good place for Alec to get a vantage point, but he spotted Dot and took his place beside her.

Jace and Izzy were already engaging the demon nest, Aline and Raphael springing into action to join them. Dot was holding up force fields that blocked any exits from the room. Alec saw a demon, crawling towards them on the ceiling, having avoided Jace. Dot had no way to protect herself with her focus elsewhere, so Alec stuck close, shooting down the demon. It fell to the floor before disintegrating.

Alec shot another that was trying to come up on Izzy from behind, taking out a third that tried to slip towards a window away from the main group. It couldn't get past Dot's magic, hissing when it touched it, and Alec easily hit it while it was distracted. All this felt like it happened in a matter of seconds, but Alec knew that battles tended to feel shorter than they were when he got into that zone.

Dot's magic came down with a golden shimmer once Izzy called, "All clear!"

"Thanks," Dot said, turning to Alec. Alec still felt as if she were sizing him up and hadn't yet decided what to think of him. He hoped taking out that demon was a big point in his favor.

"Of course, glad I'm not rusty from the last few weeks," Alec said, moving to pick up the arrow closest to them.

Dot followed him and seeming unbothered by the location now it was demon free, asking, "How are Magnus and the kids?"

"They're great." Alec couldn't stop the smile that came to his face. Just thinking about Magnus made the world feel brighter. "They're having movie night tonight."

When he had left them, Magnus had set up a screen and movie projector on the roof and all the kids had grabbed pillows and blankets and built a huge nest for them all. Alec was sure pigeons would be finding popcorn up there for days after, but it was such an adorable scene. Even Maxwell had gone up, though he had a tablet in hand, clearly thinking he would need additional entertainment to Moana. When Alec had pressed a kiss goodbye to Rafe's forehead, Rafe hadn't protested Alec leaving at all. He just settled in beside Magnus, bouncing slightly in excitement about the film. There were very few people Rafe had ever felt truly comfortable with and it was clear that he trusted Magnus almost as much as he did Alec. If Alec hadn’t already found himself falling for the warlock, his son’s trust of Magnus would have sealed the deal. As it was, it made everything a little overwhelming.

"That sounds fun," Dot said, handing Alec his last arrow and bringing him back to the present. Her face had softened. Maybe it was really obvious how in awe Alec was of Magnus? He hoped not.

"Yeah, he's so good with kids," Alec said, accepting the arrow. "Thanks."

Dot shrugged and smirked, "Sure."

"Dorothea," Raphael appeared at her side and Alec almost jumped. "Are you interrogating Lightwood without me?"

Dot shoved Raphael playfully though it didn’t shift the vampire at all, and Alec couldn’t help but smile at their antics. It was one of those moments where it struck Alec how he would be missing these kinds of connections if he was still with the Clave. Even if he felt a little intimidated by most of the warlocks he met, even if Raphael was rather short in his dealings, it felt good to be fighting side by side with them. It felt like he was finally on the right side.

"Sorry, I'm just weary," Dot offered, bringing Alec's attention back to her. "I was a prisoner of war of Valentines' for a time."

Alec looked at her with more respect. She was clearly strong, hopefully healed or healing from such trauma. "I understand," he offered, knowing saying sorry would be rather meaningless to Dot.

Izzy called to them, "We're ready to head back. One group this time!"

Dot and Raphael made their way over to the others. Jace tried to give Raphael a pat on the back and got flipped off for his efforts. Dot snapped her fingers and cleared the ichor on all the close range fighters’ jackets and clothes. Alec joined them and felt better than he had in a long while. It was good to do the kind of work he felt the Clave always should have been doing, with the right allies.

 

He was walking with Jace and Izzy to a bar called the Hunters Moon. It seemed to be one of the main hangouts in the shadow world and Alec was excited to see a place he had heard so much about.

Maybe Alec invoked the Clave by thinking about them so much. He'd really not wanted to see Aldertree and he shuddered as he heard that voice say, "Ah, General Lightwood. How good to see you without your warlock... companion."

Spinning toward the alley they were walking past, Alec raised his bow. He was glad they hadn't had time to drop their weapons off at the Angel's Nest before making their way to the bar. Izzy and Jace easily slipped into their battle stances, weapons in hand, stepping ahead of Alec by a pace so that he could shoot over their shoulders. It was the kind of stance they had once practiced for hours, but he hadn't coordinated attack positions with them since they were all teens.

Alec cleared his throat, not wanting Aldertree to think Alec's emotions about how good it was to have his sibling at his side was some kind of fear towards himself. "I thought I made it clear last time, I'm not coming back to Idris."

"And I think I made it clear that staying here is not an option for you," Aldertree said, two more shadowhunters landing on either side of him, weapons raised.

"Were you hoping it would be three on two?" Alec asked, taking a deep breath. He needed to stay in control of this situation. Aldertree was someone Alec felt he could handle in most situations- he understood the man. But if he threatened Rafe again...

"Who do you have with you..." Aldertree boldly stepped closer. Alec wondered if he should just shoot him and get it over with. "Is that the beautiful Isabelle?"

"Victor," Izzy said, her voice dripping poison. "And here I thought I was going to be lucky and never have to see your face again."

"Charming as your brother I see," Aldertree seemed almost disappointed with this reaction. Alec was going to shoot him.

"Why don't you fuck off," Jace said, giving his blade a twirl. "Go back to your land of cowards."

"I'm afraid I'm going to have to take General Lightwood with me," Aldertree said as his two companions shifted closer. Alec saw one was Raj, who had served for a time as Alec's second in command. He gave Alec a shrug when their eyes met. Alec raised his eyebrows, surprising because while Raj was an asshole, they had started to work through that and get along. Alec deserting probably undid any of that good work.

"I don't think you are," Jace was responding to Aldertree. He moved forward, pointing his blade at Aldertree like an accusation.

"Well, I could always take you instead," Aldertree had a smile on his face now, eyeing Jace. "The last of the Herondale line isn’t it? You’d be a much better prize."

"The name's Lightwood," Jace tossed back. "And I think I'm too tainted for the Clave's tastes at this point. See I've let a vampire fuck my-"

"Okay Jace," Alec said, but couldn't keep all the humor from his voice. Trust his siblings to make this horrible reality even a little bit better. Looking Aldertree in the eye, "I think you should just leave, don't you? You're not going to be able to take us down."

"I'm not about to fail this mission," Aldertree as he fell fully into an attack stance.

Alec let the arrow he had been aiming fly, hitting Aldertree in the shoulder. Aldertree stumbled back, Raj bracing him. Before that could launch them into a battle (as the third, unknown shadowhunter was clearly ready to do) Alec called, in a voice that was clear and calm, "Just so you know, we had been hunting some demons before this. Helping people as the Clave should. But that arrow... it might still have ichor on it." Aldertree stumbled further, the third shadowhunter now hurrying to help.

"I'd get that looked at right away," Izzy said, relaxing the arm with her whip. "That close to the heart could cause some long term damage."

They didn't move to stop the three Clave soldiers as a portal appeared. "Raj, don't forget to tell the Clave I'm not coming back!" Alec called.

Raj just rolled his eyes and helped his new commander through to safety.

It was several minutes after the portal closed before Alec, Izzy, and Jace fully relaxed. Izzy slapped Jace's arm. "Were you really going to tell a Clave official you get fucked in the ass by a vampire on the regular?"

Jace snorted, shrugging as he sheathed his weapons. "It's true! Clary also has this stra-"

"God I hate you and love you so much, but please don't tell me about your sex life," Izzy wrapped her whip around her wrist as she spoke over him. They turned to Alec. "How’re you doing hermano?"

"I now know more about Clary and Simon than I ever wanted," Alec tried to joke, tried to remove himself from what just happened. He didn't want to still feel the Clave so close.

"I've hardly said anything," Jace threw his hands in the air, moving back onto the street. Alec followed him.

"We're really just going to the bar like none of this just happened?" Izzy asked, not following them.

Alec turned towards her, standing in the alley opening. He ran a hand through his hair, and tried to continue to breathe normally. "I don't know what else to do."

"Well they can't keep threatening you or your family!" Izzy said, hands on her hips. "We need to figure out a plan of action. Do you and Magnus not already have one?"

"It's hard to make a plan when there are so many unknowns," Alec said, trying to keep all the different emotions he had about this out of his voice. Because he was scared, angry, frustrated, and oh so tired.

It would have been too good to be true that the confrontation with Aldertree on Sunday was all the Clave would do, but Alec had hoped. He wanted to put all of what the Clave represented in his life in his past. Being reunited with his family, being out, and being with Magnus... Alec couldn't remember ever being happier. Of course the Clave couldn't just let him have this.

There was a small part of Alec, one that he tried to ignore, that told him being harassed by the Clave was what he deserved. Though he had never fully served them, he had done things in their name that he was not proud of. He had been named a General for a reason- even if his personal reason was so that he could better help smuggle downworlders out of Idris. Maybe because he had helped in the torture and capture of several downworlders, it didn't matter than he had also gotten them to safety. Why would he get to be happy after all he'd done?

Izzy pulling him into a hug dragged him out of these thoughts. "We will figure this out," she said, fierce and strong, as he moved to hold her back. He didn't even flinch when Jace collided into them, joining in the hug.

"Yeah man, they can't have you back," Jace said, and squeezed a little tighter.

Alec took a shaky breath and let it out. Maybe... maybe he would be okay. "Thanks."

"What are little siblings for if not to have your back!" Jace said, releasing them and moving back in the direction of the Hunters Moon.

"To get me into trouble?" Alec offered.

"I think you have that handled all on your own," Jace teased, and Alec almost bought the lightness in his tone. "Now who's ready for a beer?"

"Gross," Izzy and Alec said at the same time, and laughed, following Jace and leaving thoughts of the Clave behind, if only for a couple hours.

 

When Alec got home, it was midnight. He had expected the loft to be asleep, but Magnus was in the living room. As Alec approached though, he saw that the warlock was sound asleep, book open on his chest and a cold cup of tea on the side table. His face was relaxed, makeup slightly smudged, and hair going everywhere. Alec felt a rush of protectiveness at the sight. Magnus was the High Warlock, a name that struck fear in the Clave because of his power and his drive to bring justice to his people.

But right now, Magnus' barriers and masks were down. Alec had seen more and more of who Magnus Bane really was. He could see some of the loneliness that his sister had mentioned, he could see how tired Magnus could get performing all his roles. Alec saw how Magnus would give into Madzie or Max if they gave him puppy eyes, despite his best efforts. Alec got to see how much Magnus loved his family, and just how big that family was. Magnus had made and found this family for himself, and he would do anything in his power to protect it.

Here Alec was, having been let into Magnus' home, into a place where he could tear everything down. Magnus was trusting Alec, helping and supporting him, even now when it was clear that the Clave was going to pursue him. Magnus shouldn't... he really should send Alec away, but he didn't. Alec wasn't sure why, wasn't sure how Magnus figured helping Alec was worth it. He didn't know how to ask Magnus either, especially not in a way that wouldn’t sound ungrateful. Because Alec had never been more grateful to anyone in his life.

Alec also knew he was falling for Magnus. Alec had never been in love before, not really, and at first he didn't understand quite why Magnus seemed so different. It seemed that his emotions toward Magnus were brighter. Alec had understood his attraction to Magnus, it was clear. But that attraction hadn't gone away, had changed in a way that Alec hadn't felt before. And as he looked down at Magnus now, the warmth he felt towards the warlock made him feel more at home than he ever had.

He should really stop staring at Magnus though and he doubted Magnus would feel great if he slept the whole night on the couch. Alec knelt beside Magnus, carefully slipped the book out of his hands. Apparently the warlock was a sound sleeper, because this didn't even cause Magnus to stir. Alec felt it would probably be inappropriate to pick Magnus up and carry him to bed and shut the thought down as soon as it crossed his mind.

"Magnus," Alec whispered, reaching out a hand to gently rest it on Magnus' shoulder. Magnus shifted then, eyes blinking slowly opening. Alec lost his breath when he saw Magnus' glamour was down. His beautiful golden cat's eyes regarded Alec, pupils going wide in the dim light.

"Alexander," Magnus' voice was rough with sleep. "What time is it?"

"Midnight," Alec moved away reluctantly. "I thought you'd probably not want to sleep on the couch all night."

"Oof," Magnus pushed up until he was sitting, stretching his arms over his head. "Indeed. Two hours was more than enough to begin realigning my back in the worst way."

Alec stood, resting his hand briefly once more on Magnus' shoulder to give it a squeeze. He must have been mistaken in the way that Magnus leaned into the touch, leaning towards Alec. Alec focused on picking up the tea mug and carrying it into the kitchen. He heard Magnus stand with a groan and his soft footfalls follow Alec across the loft.

"Good night's hunt?" Magnus asked. Alec turned and watched as with a snap of his fingers, Magnus removed his usual makeup and whatever product he put in his hair. By the Angel, he was beautiful, golden eyes looking through his falling bangs.

Alec had to replay Magnus' words before responding, too distracted by the warlock himself. "It was. But Izzy, Jace, and I were... interrupted on our way to the Hunters Moon after."

Magnus' sleepiness seemed to fall away in an instant. He moved around the counter to look Alec over, seeming to search for any injury. "The Clave?"

"Yes, we're all fine," Alec assured, trying not to blush under Magnus' eye. "But we should talk about this in the morning. We both could use some sleep."

Magnus frowned, clearly not liking this, but nodded. "Alright. But we will be figuring this out. Was it that Aldertree guy?"

Alec pulled a face, "Yes, he’s never been my biggest fan. I'm sure my defection was the greatest day of his life."

"Sounds like he is in need of a hobby," Magnus hummed.

Alec couldn't help but laugh. How did Magnus manage to do that, always find a way to make Alec feel better, no matter what? "You could say that."

"Well, you're right that we won't figure this out sleep deprived," Magnus sighed. Before he left though, he reached up and pressed a hand to Alec's cheek. Alec leaned into the touch before he could think better of it. "You're really okay, Alexander?"

"Physically, yes," Alec murmured.

"Emotionally?"

Alec would always been honest with Magnus when he could. "We're getting there."

Magnus gave him a little smile, his thumb running over Alec's cheek bone. "That's all we can ask."

Alec thought that the fact he didn't lean down and kiss Magnus in that moment was the thing that took the most strength from him that night.

Chapter Text

The dating pool when you’re a rogue shadowhunter in NYC is really as large a population as you wanted it to be. Izzy had been thrilled about that when she escaped Idris, thrilled to play and experiment and not have to worry about her mother's ire. To not fear being married off because it would suit the Lightwood name under Valentine's Clave rule. She was free, about to turn eighteen, and was really only responsible for herself. It was exhilarating and she was happy.

Izzy dated downworlders and mundanes. She didn't date other shadowhunters, though a few had expressed interest. It would get messy dating the people she was working with and later who reported to her. Especially when she wasn’t thinking of any of her dates as serious, while she was still finding herself.

But people change, they grow, and she began to feel rather lonely. Maybe because Clary and Simon had stumbled into their adorable courtship, maybe because Izzy wanted to share an apartment and her house plants with, maybe just because she was ready to try a different sort of adventure. Whatever set it off, Meliorn hadn't been interested in something that was the level of commitment she found she now wanted, so he was the last person she seriously dated for nearly a year.

In that time, Izzy did the thing she had read mundane article recommended and dated herself. She would do things on her own or with friends. She met up with Magnus to go clothes shopping (he was the only one she could truly trust with such matters). She and Clary went to art classes together (she wasn't very good, but it was fun). Simon sat her down and they watched movies and TV shows for whole weekends (her favorites were all science fiction, the fantasy was too unrealistic). Aline agreed to do dance classes with her (these were very fun and Aline had used her skills to seduce Helen). And Jace helped her find old shadowhunter weapons abandoned outside of Idris after the revolution (she then got to make them as good as new).

Between all these activities and her usual demon hunting duties, Izzy didn't notice the way she was being drawn to Maia. She and Maia had worked closely together since Izzy had left Idris, because Maia had been turned around the same time. Getting their bearing in the new worlds they found themselves in had been hard, and they had leaned on each other instinctively. They both then worked their way up the ranks to stand near the top of the leadership, which took more work and dedication. There were many late nights spent with take out, pouring over reports in the Angel’s Nest.

Tonight though, Izzy was crouching on a rooftop, Maia close to her side. The winter was clinging to New York, and Izzy rubbed her hands together to keep them warm. Maia didn't seem as affected, no doubt due to some werewolf perk.

"You're lucky you're not freezing," Izzy chattered, pulling her leather jacket tighter around her neck.

"It's not luck," Maia said with her wide crooked grin, slipping her gloves off. In each palm was a hand warmer. "I just came prepared. Shadowhunters too cool for gloves and a reasonable coat?"

Izzy felt silly for her assumption. At least blushing warmed her face up a little. "I’ve never felt more cool than this moment, I can assure you."

Maia laughed. Snow flakes were collecting in her curls, which was distractly adorable. "You're lucky I have an extra pair," Maia dug in her pocket, pulling out little gloves and two more hand warmers. Instead of passing them to Izzy, she took Izzy's hands one by one. Rubbing them to warm them up with her own, she then slipped the gloves on.

Izzy watched, breathless in the cold air, suddenly feeling almost too warm. Having Maia touch her with such care made a lot of things click into place that probably should have been obvious. The fact that one or the other always got coffee or lunch for them both, depending on who was working. That when they went out with a group of friends, they always ended up on one side of the booth wrapped up in talking to each other. The additional thrill Izzy got when she and Maia got to spar. Izzy had fallen in love when she wasn't looking for it, and with someone who was right under her nose.

She was surprised by how calm she was with this realization, feelings of both giddiness and tranquility passing through her mind in waves. Izzy took the hot pads and activated them by squeezing. "Thanks Maia," she smiled, taking a deep breath to settle into her new reality. "How're your classes going?"

Maia had replaced her own gloves, stuffing the warmers back in, eyes focused on the house they were staking out for demon activity. Izzy heard the excitement in her voice as she answered, "Amazing! Marine Bio 3 has started the section on cephalopods, I can't wait to discuss the reading."

Izzy leaned, resting her shoulder against Maia's. "Wanna go over it with me? I can't say I'll be able to follow, but I love to hear you this excited."

Maia leaned in as well, her curls tickling Izzy's cheek. "How about we grab dinner after this? I can tell you then."

"As long as dinner doesn't involve squid, I think I'd feel too guilty," Izzy said, and Maia chuckled. It warmed Izzy once more.

"Deal," Maia said. The sounds of cars driving down the street below them was all the sound for a long moment, before Maia whispered into the night air, "I'd ask to kiss you if it wouldn't compromise the mission."

 

Maia did get to kiss Izzy that night. It was hours later, there was demon ichor on both their clothes, and they both just wanted to go home to shower. But Izzy had remembered Maia's words, had used them to fuel her through the fight when backup came late. She took Maia's coat lapels and whispered, "I'm going to kiss you now."

"Not if I kiss you first," Maia said back, eyes flicking from Izzy's eyes to her lips. As they came together, Izzy couldn't stop smiling. She felt Maia's smile as well, and their kiss turned to many, interspersed with giggles of joy, relief. To Izzy it felt like everything fell into place completely and she looked forward to what this next adventure would hold.

When Izzy pulled Maia closer, hands on her waist, Maia hummed, tilting her head back. "Let's go to Angel's Nest, have showers, and then pick this back up?"

Izzy blinked slowly, coming back to herself, before nodding. "Is this just a ploy to get my clothes off?"

"Only if you want it to be," Maia's grin was infectious, as she stepped away, hand finding Izzy's. "Though usually I'm a at least one date sorta girl."

"You don't consider demon hunting a date?" Izzy asked, giving a teasing pout when Maia looked back at her.

"Nope, you didn't bring me flowers before hand."

"Noted," Izzy said. "Bring roses to the next stake out."

They laughed and joked all the way back to the Angel's Nest, and into their first date, and into each other's beds, then each other’s lives. There was something about being with Maia that felt easy because it was right, they understood each other. They celebrated each others successes, complained about work together, and had sex with more orgasms than Izzy had managed with any other partner. As great as it was to date herself for a year, Izzy found she liked everything even better knowing she had Maia by her side or to go home to at the end of the day.

Chapter Text

Alec wasn't sure what he should expect when Jace invited him, Maxwell, and Rafe over for a family dinner. He had accepted the invite right away, of course. But he'd not yet been to Jace's apartment, nor spent a lot of time around Jace when he was with his significant others. Izzy was also going to be there with Maia, another person Alec hadn't spent much time with. He wanted to make a good impression on Maia, Simon, and Clary, because it was clear they were important to his siblings. And while he didn't think Jace or Izzy would appreciate Alec giving anyone the shovel talk, Alec felt he still needed it to be implied.

Alec was beyond thrilled that Jace and Izzy were out of Idris and were safe to be who they were. To fall in love without fear of consequences. But Alec felt a little... jealous, cheated. He had been so alone for so long, had not been able to talk to anyone about how he felt. Feeling ashamed and angry in equal measures. And here were his siblings, easily out. Having discovered who they were with more freedom than Alec ever had. And feeling jealous of this was also felt rotten, because he knew all he should be was ecstatic. He would talk to them about it, make up for all the time they were apart, as well as all the time he thought he was alone.

But he couldn't yet. In Alec's head, he could hear Magnus telling him this was okay, that he was allowed to go at his own pace. To give himself a break, after growing up in such a toxic environment.

When had Magnus become the voice of the angel on his shoulder?

Well that didn't matter, because right now, Alec was standing with Rafe on his hip and Maxwell by his side in front of Jace's apartment door. The door had once maybe been white, but it had seen better days. It was clean though, as was the hallway, just well worn. Alec could hear voices behind it, but was too busy gathering his thoughts to reach out. Maxwell knocked, bringing Alec back to this moment, and he put a smile on his face. It felt like it could be real.

Footsteps could be heard and then the door was pulled open by Jace. "Maxwell! You brought Alec."

"He's my ride," Maxwell said, accepting a fist bump from Jace before slipping around him into the main part of the apartment.

Jace laughed, shaking his head. "Were we that bad as teenagers?"

"Yes," Alec said, and the smile was real now. He’d missed Jace. "Now are you going to let me in?"

"Nope, just Rafe," Jace reached out and Rafe squirmed until Alec put him down. Only then did Jace step out of the way and Alec followed him, closing the door.

The apartment wasn't huge (only magic could get you a place like Magnus' in NYC), but it was tidy. Or at least organized clutter is what Alec would put it as, but it didn't feel claustrophobic. Clary's art was on most of the walls, though there were some band posters from Simon. Alec had to admit that it seemed Clary was very good at painting. There were finished and half finished canvases tucked in various places - behind the couch, leaning against the side of a bookcase. A stack of weights took up a corner. A big TV was probably the most expensive thing in the apartment, along with the four or five different game consoles attached to it. This was where Maxwell had gone, and he was flipping through the collection of games.

The TV was used as a divider between the living "room" and the dining "room". An old table that seemed sturdy but second hand took up most of that space, a half wall giving a look into the kitchen. The chairs around the table all seemed to be the right height, but were a collection of designs instead of a matching set. Everything spoke of those who might not be able to afford the nicest, newest items, but everything felt more than just functional. It felt like a home.

Simon was in the kitchen, looking under the lids of the pots on the stove. Clary appeared from one of the doors near the front door. Her hair was slightly damp, but she smiled to see the guests.

"I hope we're not too early," Alec said when he saw her.

Clary shook her head with a smile. "Not at all! Jace said you probably would be. And of course, Izzy will probably be late. Not even Maia can cure her of that habit."

They stood there for a moment, an awkward silence falling. Alec cleared his throat, "I... ah... you're art is amazing."

Clary smiled at that, "Why thank you. It's taken a lot of work, so don't go telling me I was gifted with talent or I'll kick your ass."

That surprised a laugh out of Alec, and he held up his hands. "Okay. Noted."

Jace reappeared from checking on Simon in the kitchen. Rafe had wandered over to watch what Maxwell was doing. "You need the tour?" Jace asked, sweeping his hand around the room in a grand gesture. Alec spotted a pile of leather jackets near the door and had the urge to hang them up. Maybe he's why Jace never learned.

"It's not that big of a place, I think Alec gets the idea," Clary put a hand on Jace's arm. "The master bedroom is there" she gestured to the door she’d come out of "there is a spare bedroom there" she pointed at a door on the other side of the room "and the door beside it is the bathroom."

"The spare is also the bedroom Clary goes to when she needs a break from us to paint," Simon appeared between Jace and Clary. He was so fast and quiet (vampire) Alec jumped.

"That seems important," Alec offered. He wasn't entirely sure how Jace's relationship with Simon and Clary worked. He was also pretty sure it wasn't his place to ask.

"Dinner ready?" Clary asked Simon, wandering towards the kitchen.

Jace grinned after them before turning to Alec, looking proud. Or maybe besotted would be more accurate. "Aren't they great?"

Alec still felt he didn't really know Simon and Clary. But anyone who could make Jace this happy was good in his books. He'd still kick their asses if they ever broke Jace's heart though. "Yeah, they are," Alec slapped Jace's shoulder. "Especially if they are good cooks."

"The Lightwoods are cursed in the kitchen," this was Maia, walking in the apartment door without knocking. She seemed right at home, and Alec wondered how often Izzy and Jace got together and had these types of dinners. Maia had a bottle of wine in each hand, and walked past Alec and Jace to put them on the table.

Izzy appeared next, in a beautiful dress that showed off a lot of her runes. Her hair fell in perfect waves. Her tall heals didn't prevent her from catching Rafe when he came running to her, swinging him up into her arms.

"Tía Izzy!" Rafe cheered. He spread his hands out before her. "Look at my nails."

"Oh you need to let me join you for a spa day!" Izzy said, taking Rafe's hand in her own. "These are beautiful."

"Magnus did them!" Rafe smiled. "He even painted a little star on my thumbs!"

"I see that," Izzy smiled, looking up at Alec. He felt as if his heart was full, seeing his family all together. Though it was almost odd to be away from Magnus, he was still there in a lot of ways. Magnus was spending the night with his kids, Catarina, Ragnor, and old friends Alec had not met named Tessa and Jem.

"Dad hasn't gotten his nails done yet," Rafe informed Izzy.

"Well, when we have a spa day, we’ll have to change that," Izzy said. "What color do you think your dad would like?"

Rafe looked thoughtful for a long moment, then said, "Black."

Izzy laughed so hard Rafe shook a bit in her arms. "I think you just might be right. You ready to eat Simon and Clary's tasty dinner?"

"No Lightwoods were a part of making this meal," Simon assured, setting a steaming dish of asparagus on the table.

"I did a little shopping," Jace pouted, and Simon rolled his eyes, pressing a quick kiss to his lips.

"Okay, fine, a small part," Simon said. "Everyone, please sit! Rafe, go wash your hands."

Rafe frowned. "Why am I the only one who has to!"

Alec knew he should probably tell Rafe not to talk back, but he was just so happy that Rafe was comfortable enough to do so. Normally, in situations with so many people, he would be attached to Alec, hardly lifting his head from Alec's shoulder. But Rafe knew his aunt and uncle, and he knew Clary and Simon. Only Maia was someone he didn't really know, but she was one person in many that he trusted.

"Come on Rafe, I need to wash my hands too," Maxwell appeared at Izzy's side. She put Rafe down, hugged Maxwell, and then the kids went off to guest bath.

Izzy walked over to Alec, and hugged him as well. "I'm so glad you're here."

Alec held her close, and let out a sigh of relief. "Me too." And they both meant much more than Alec just being here, tonight, for family dinner. They meant him being here in New York, free of the Clave, with those who loved him. It really was a whole new world.

Dinner was delicious, and the wine Maia brought pared perfectly. "Bartender," she explained to Alec with a smile from where she sat across from him. Alec listened to the stories shared between the group of their weeks, and he saw the easy friendship that existed between them all. Alec found out that Simon and Maia had dated for a while, but where still the very best of friends. "Though it's a little weird to have ended up dating people who are siblings to each other," Simon said. He couldn't eat much of the meal he prepared, but he seemed to be making it work.

Alec was surprised at how comfortable he ended up being around Maia, Clary, and Simon. Maybe a bit like Rafe, it was because he saw the way they cared for the people he cared about. But he also found himself laughing with Clary talking about the time she tried to be an art model for a class, or Simon's worst venue stories. Maia's stories of bar customers were amazing, if not necessary child appropriate. But Simon had set Rafe and Maxwell up to play Super Smash Brothers after the meal, so they were well distracted as the adults sat around the table, drinking wine and nibbling on what was left of dessert.

"So this seelie, he's puked sparkles, finally striking out with all the girls left he could hit on," Maia said, giggling into her cup. "And normally, this is a nightmare. I hate having to clean up after this shit. But that's when Magnus saunters in. He takes one look at this scene, cleans everything up with a snap of his fingers and sends the seelie away with one of his friends." Maia looked pleased as the story ended. "And, you know, he always tips with a hundred dollars."

"Never trust a stingy warlock," Clary tried to imitate Magnus, but failed. She waved her hands around a bit as if she were casting a spell to add to her character work. Alec shook his head.

"I mean, dude's rich right?" Jace asked, looking from Clary to Maia.

"Have you seen his wardrobe?" Izzy asked as an answer. "I've been shopping with him. I think he's got things invested from hundreds of years ago."

"And that's why you don't trust a stingy warlock!" Simon points out.

"Hey, what if a warlock is down on their luck? Or, or maybe they gambled it all away!" Jace asked. "I mean, do vampires acquire wealth like that?" He gently hits Simon's chest with the back of his hand.

"Not as much... but vampires also don't have magic powers they can hire out," Simon said. "And the whole not being able to meet in the daylight limits legitimate business ventures."

Jace nodded like that made perfect sense to him. He looked more relaxed that Alec had ever seen him, an arm thrown over the back of each of Simon and Clary's chairs.

"So what’s the answer then?" Maia asked. She was putting a braid in Izzy's hair absently.

"That Magnus Bane is always right?" Alec offered, wondering if he was blushing because of the wine or because he was talking about Magnus.

"Allleeccc," Izzy pointed at him. He was pretty sure she’d had more wine than him. "Do you like Magnus?"

Alec choked on his sip of wine. Grabbing a glass of water, he drank that down quickly. He should probably switch to water anyway. "Yes, he has been amazing."

"No, she wants to know-" Jace started but Clary put a hand over his mouth.

"Okay, who's doing the dishes?" Clary asked, eyeing Jace.

Jace sighed, standing and starting to pick up. "Those who cook don't have to clean," he muttered.

Alec was still blushing, because of course he knew what Izzy really meant. But he also wasn't going to talk about that. Maybe if it were just Izzy. But he didn't like the sparkle in Maia's eye, or the knowing look in Clary's.

Simon leaned forward, putting his elbows on the table now that his plate was out of the way. "Hey, Alec, I wanted to invite you to my next gig! We're all going to be there."

"Um," Alec started.

"It's at a gay bar that the shadow world has mostly claimed," Izzy said, reaching out to pat Alec's shoulder. "It's. The. Place. And we need to show you the queer scene here."

Alec did want to go to a gay bar. Having people around him he trusted would probably make it a better experience. Otherwise he would feel too out of place, and probably just find a corner of the bar to sit in for the amount of time that felt like enough before he could leave.

"I'd love to join you," Alec said, nodding. "Though if you’ve also invited Magnus, we'd need to find someone other than Clary and Simon to watch the kids."

"Ah, Jocelyn and Luke probably would," Izzy said, looking over at Clary, who nodded confirmation.

"They'd probably get a kick out of spoiling them too." She moved to Jace's chair so she could lean on Simon and he wrapped an arm around her, pressing a kiss to her hair.

Alec watched these little touches, little pieces of easy intimacy, and felt an ache. He knew he wanted to find someone- to have something like this. To lean on and share looks with. He picked his wine glass up and finished it, grounding himself, and resisting the urge to text Magnus.

 

"Alexander," Magnus' voice came from the other side of the door. Alec turned from digging around in his closet and opened the door. He was shirtless because he was having a lot of trouble figuring out what he should wear for Simon's gig. "I wanted to see if you were re- oh."

"I'm having trouble choosing a shirt," Alec confessed, turning to walk back into the room. He felt Magnus' eyes follow him, and it felt like there was a war of embarrassed and thrilled butterflies in his stomach. He turned to face Magnus again, who was still standing in the doorway.

Magnus blinked a few times. "Okay, I'm back," he flashed Alec a smile, meeting his eyes.

Magnus was dressed in a shirt that was open almost to the navel, his makeup and hair more colorful and glittery than usual. It wasn't Alec's personal style and he hoped it wasn't what was expected (was he only thinking in stereotypes?), but Magnus looked glorious.

"I mean, you could get away with just-" Magnus gestured to Alec's bare chest. "Trust me, you would find a very appreciative crowd. I also have some fishnet shirts that would look marvelous..." Alec shifted uncomfortably, and Magnus said. "But we want you to be comfortable and yourself. Let me see what you have."

"Izzy got me some button ups that have to be at least slightly stylish," Alec gestured to the far corner of the closet. Magnus moved past him and flipped through them.

"Well, hazel eyes, wearing green will make them pop," Magnus said, holding out a green shirt. "But the bar will be pretty dark, so we can save that for a sunny outing." Magnus hung the shirt back up. "Why not this black one? It seems like the color you are most comfortable in."

"I was actually wondering about that denim one," Alec grabbed the sleeve of the shirt in question. "Especially because I'm already wearing black pants."

Magnus turned around and Alec realized how close they had gotten. They were practically breathing the same air. Alec looked at Magnus' beautiful brown eyes, highlighted by his dark makeup. He determinedly did not glance down at Magnus' lips. He knew that would be his downfall, even has his breath quicken. He took a step back and sucked in a deep breath of air.

"Did you steal some of my shampoo?" Magnus asked, his eyebrows coming together.

"Ah," Alec was already blushing, but his face must be entirely red now. "A little?"

Magnus' face relaxed and he smiled, shaking his head. "Would you like me to brew you some?"

"You make it?" Alec asked and Magnus nodded with a shrug. "No wonder I couldn't find anything like it."

"It took me quite some time to perfect it," Magnus said. "But I'm happy to share. Now the question of the denim shirt." Magnus took the shirt off its hanger, stepping close again while holding the shirt up to Alec, creating a barrier between them. "I think it should do. Not flashy, but I have the feeling that you don't want to stand out."

"Yeah, I just kinda... want to be there," Alec said, taking the shirt and shrugging it on.

"Makes perfect sense to me!" Magnus said, stepping back and looking Alec over as he did the buttons. "Do you want any accessories?"

"Maybe next time?"

Magnus gave Alec the warmest smile. "Then, I'm ready to go whenever you are?"

"Yeah, yeah," Alec grabbed his leather jacket from where it was tossed on the bed. As he put it on, he tried to tell his body that it wasn't going into battle, so it didn't need to be so nervous. And in any case, he had Magnus Bane at his side. "Let's go."

 

The night was pleasant. First, there were no emergency calls about the kids. Alec should have known that Jocelyn and Luke would be able to handle even Rafe's fears. Second, Simon actually had a good voice, and his music was decent overall. Alec never really thought about if he had a taste for particular music, but he could appreciate Simon's. There were a few love songs that seemed very directed at his partners (admittedly very cute), and one that got a lot of people dancing. Not Alec, he has stayed at the booth and watched, but everyone else went out on the floor. Magnus managed to dip all their friends, from little Clary to Jace. The only one who could out dance him was Catarina.

And third fact, beyond that it was a perfect summer evening with people he liked, in a place where he could be out and safe, was Alec felt like he was getting a chance to really be himself. Not just in the sense of his identity, but also just being a twenty something out on the town, having fun. He wouldn't give up being Rafe's dad for the world, but Alec also knew he hadn't really gotten the chance to play. Not as a kid, not as a teen, and not now that he was an adult. And it felt good to do so, to let loose a little bit.

Which was how he allowed Catarina to bring him to the floor, once Simon was done singing and a DJ took his place. Alec was a horrible dancer, he found quickly, but he managed to mostly avoid Catarina's feet and her laughter was worth it. He excused himself after two songs, and went back to the booth. Maia was there, breathing heavily but with a smile on her face.

"So, whatcha think?" Maia asked.

"Um," Alec offered, sipping his warming beer and making a face. "Simon's good."

"Yeah, but what about all this," Maia spread her arms out, encompassing the bar, and possibly the whole city.

"Very good," Alec said, and smiled.

"If you ever want to see the city through the eyes of someone other than a shadowhunter or a hundred of years old warlock, hit me up okay?" Maia's face softened here. "You've got a family here Alec, if you want it, and it's not just your siblings."

Alec looked down at his glass, not quite knowing what to say. "Thanks Maia."

"Sure thing man," Maia grinned and bumped his shoulder with a fist before slipping away. "I'm going to go find your sister now and definitely not have sex with her in the bathroom."

Alec choked, and didn't get anything out before Maia had vanished into the crowd.

 

"Let's walk home," Alec said before he could think through what that meant- one on one time with Magnus after several beers. "The kids are staying the night with Luke and Jocelyn, so there is no need to rush."

Magnus hummed, standing on the sidewalk and breathing deeply. "I think I'm up for it, though I haven't danced that much in ages." He stretched his arms up for a long moment then started walking. Alec strode to fall in step with him.

"You had a good time?" Alec asked, smiling down at Magnus. His make up was still perfect, probably because of magic, but his hair and clothes were rumpled. Magnus had his jacket draped over one arm, only in his dress shirt in the warm summer night.

"I feel like I should be asking you this!" Magnus said, nudging Alec with an elbow. “I had a wonderful time. I normally bow out of such things as of late, especially with your young friends."

"I'm sure you've been the center of attention on many dance floors," Alec said. He had tried not to just watch Magnus, tried to look at the others around, but how could someone look away from all that Magnus was?

"I've had my moments," Magnus agreed lightly. "But it's been a little while. I’ve a lot more in my life with the kids. And they make me happy."

"You deserve to be happy," Alec said, looking over at Magnus.

"As do you, Alexander," Magnus reached out a hand. Alec, all the etiquette training that had been given to him to help him properly secure a wife, kicked in and he found himself offering Magnus his arm. Magnus looked a bit surprised, but took it before Alec could come to his senses. The warmth of Magnus' touch, the fact they were walking so much closer now, filled Alec's full awareness.

"I.. um..." Alec's mouth now went to its usual state of failure when important emotional moments were happening.

"Did you have a good time?" Magnus asked. Alec could pull him closer and kiss him just for making conversation easy even for someone as awkward as himself.

"Yeah, I did."

"I noticed you didn't dance much," Magnus looked up at Alec, and Alec guided them around a puddle.

"No, but that's okay," Alec said. "I wouldn't have known how, and it was nice just to watch."

Magnus grinned, "Oh, did anyone catch your attention? There was that-"

"No... or um," Alec was not going to survive his own idea of a walk. Because he had watched Magnus most the night, when he wasn’t talking with one of their group. "Not really, it was just nice to be there. And not be alone."

"Ah," Magnus said and Alec knew that he understood. He understood why it was so important to just be in a space like that. Magnus seemed to lean a little closer. "I'm glad."

They walked for several blocks in silence, and Alec couldn't stop the small smile that never left his face. Magnus was a warm and safe presence at his side. As they got closer to the loft, there were less people around. Alec nearly jumped out of his skin when something moved in an alley. He didn't have his bow on him, but he had a little blade just in case. His hand went to it now, though Magnus' magic would be the best weapon they had in this situation.

Magnus did let Alec go, but he surprised Alec by crouching in the opening of the alley way. There was plenty of trash, as well as some garbage and recycling bins in it, and Magnus' coat would get dirty. Alec stood at his back, trying to see what Magnus had.

"I think it was a kitten," Magnus whispers. "I feed a lot of the cats in the area, and a good number of them know me on sight. But this little one ran away." Magnus called the cat making some clicking and kissing sounds. And as Alec watched, hand falling away from his knife, a tiny little head with reflecting eyes peaked out from behind a trash bag.

"It looks too young to be on its own," Alec whispered, squatting beside Magnus.

"I agree, I want to grab it so we can bring it home," Magnus called the kitten some more, but it was clear it wasn't going to trust them to come any closer. Magnus reached out then with magic, and gently picked up the kitten by the scruff. He then stood and hurried forward. Soon the little ball of grey and white fluff was in Magnus' hands.

"It's so small," Alec reaching out and gently ran a finger over its head. "Do we need to pick anything up to take care of it?"

"No, I have all the supplies at home," Magnus assured, looking the kitten over. "But I am going to open a portal there, so we can get this little one taken care of."

The kitten let out a meow so small that Alec could barely hear it. "Yes of course. Need me to hold it?"

Magnus nodded, transferring the kitten to Alec's hands. It looked even smaller there, and Alec knew that he didn't want anything to harm this tiny creature. Magnus waved his hands to open a portal, and then they both stepped quickly in.

Alec continued to hold the kitten, petting it and trying to sooth it. Magnus directed him to the living room, and then came out with everything Alec could assume was needed to take care of a kitten. Little blankets, a bottle, kitten formula, wipes to clean the kitten. Alec handed the kitten over and sat back, handing Magnus things as he was directed. Of course Magnus Bane would know how to take care of a kitten in need. Alec was pretty sure there wasn't anything Magnus couldn't do to help someone.

"Before you ask, we aren't keeping it," Magnus said. He had started to gently rub the kitten's stomach now that it had stopped drinking from the bottle.

"The kids would love it," Alec stated, trying not to put his own stake in.

Magnus gave him a look. "I'd love a cat, it's been a while since I last had one, but I want Max to be a little older."

"Plus, you have someone on the run from the Clave in your home," Alec huffed, reaching out a finger to gently rub behind the kitten's ears.

"I wonder if Catarina would want her though..." Magnus mused. "Or we could see if your brother's household is up to the challenge?"

Alec laughed, but they both turned full attention to the kitten when it yawned. Alec couldn't believe something could be so small... He looked over at Magnus and realized how close they were sitting. Magnus was still dressed to the nines in his evening out clothes, looking as if he could step into any of the most fashionable clubs in the city. His face sparkled with glittery makeup, his clothes leaving little to the imagination. And here he was, shoulder to shoulder with Alec, staring at a tiny kitten that easily fit in his hands.

Alec didn't lean over and kiss Magnus. He was tempted though. Instead, he directed his gaze to the floor, deciding that was safest, and offered, "Maybe Luke and Jocelyn need to fill their empty nest?"

"Oh, that's a good idea!" Magnus said and Alec peaked up to see he was beaming. "Why don't you text them, we can bring this little one over in the morning when we get the kids." Magnus carefully wrapped the kitten up, and let her lay in his lap. Alec watched as he pulled out his own phone and set several alarms throughout the night.

"What are those for?" Alec shot a text off to Luke that he hoped wasn't too rambling and misspelled, trying to explain the situation.

"I'll need to wake up and check on her, feed her," Magnus explained, setting the phone down and running his magic over the kitten. "There, she's bug free." The kitten mewled as if in thanks and then seemed to fall fast asleep. "We should copy her."

"And make sure we're bug free?" Alec asked, one brow raised.

Magnus gave a laugh as Alec had hoped, bumping his shoulder against Alec's. "No, sleep. I don't know about you, but I think I might be getting too old to dance the night away."

Alec didn't say he'd never really tried dancing a night away, but he was also quite tired. They needed to get the kids early in the morning too (Rafe's insistence). Standing, Alec looked down at Magnus and said, "You want me to take any of the kitten shifts?"

Magnus shook his head. "I can handle it better with my magic. You rest."

Alec decided not to argue. He was probably right. "Okay, goodnight Magnus."

"I hope you really had a wonderful time tonight," Magnus smiled, standing with the sleeping kitten held carefully in his hands. Despite his outfit and makeup, Magnus looked soft in a way that Alec wanted to hold on to.

"I did," Alec assured, rubbing the back of his neck.

"Next time, will you dance with me?" Magnus asked with the same smile, but there seemed to be something shy about it.

Alec took a deep breath. He didn't want to read into anything, but he couldn't say no. "Of course."

Seeming satisfied, Magnus turned and walked across the loft to his room. If Alec let himself admire the view of Magnus' broad shoulders and frankly fantastic ass, he'd allow that it was because of the beers he'd had. And if he dreamed about what it would be like to have that body dance close to his own, then that wouldn't be anyone's business but his own.

Chapter Text

Magnus felt the breach in his wards, waking him. The loft was quiet, but the warning crawling through his magic couldn't be more clear to him. Whoever it was were nephilim, not attuned to his wards, and had already passed through the first level. They were making quick progress, as another ward was breached by a rune, spurring Magnus to jump out of bed, and run to Madzie's room. He needed to move quickly and quietly.

Shaking his daughter awake was a bit of a challenge, until she saw his eyes in the dark. "Papa?"

"I need you to get Max and go to the safe room. Keep it open until Maxwell and Rafe get in as well," Magnus said. He hated to put this on her, knew that she was too young to have to deal with this, but also knew that she would always step up.

Madzie stood and Magnus helped her put on a robe. Then she was off and Magnus was hurrying across the loft to Alec's side. He went to Alec's room first, and the back of his mind noted that Alec slept shirtless. However he didn't hesitate to touch Alec's arm, jumping back when Alec's warrior training kicked in and he sat bolt upright, knife in hand.

"You're going to want that," Magnus said, keeping his voice low. The nephilim were at the third ward, which was halfway up the building. It was giving them some trouble, and Magnus could feel the energy draining from him to keep it up.

"Magnus," Alec's voice was rough, but he was standing on the bed, grabbing his bow and arrows from high on the wall (outside of the reach of any of the kids).

"There is a party of-" Magnus winced as he felt as the third ward was breached. It gave him the count he needed though "-five nephilim and a warlock in their service making their way towards us. They’re breaking my wards, so I would say they are not friendly."

Alec's face was dark. "What do we do?"

"You need to go stand by the door," Magnus said. "I might need you to buy some time, but I want you to let me take the lead on this. Though first, I'm going to send Rafe and Maxwell to the safe room." Magnus didn’t mention how much he wanted to kick something. It was not good that they had found his lair. This was going to come back and bite him in the ass and he wasn't going to like it.

Alec hurried to do what Magnus said, pulling on a shirt and some fingerless gloves to protect from his bowstring. Magnus left him too it, going to Rafe's room. The boy was already awake, staring at Magnus with wide fearful eyes. At first Magnus thought it might be him that Rafe was scared of (his eyes were not glamoured at the moment), but then Rafe reached out his arms to be picked up.

Magnus hurried forward, sweeping the boy into his arms. Rafe clunk tight and sniffled like he was keeping from crying. "Shh, pumpkin it's going to be okay. I'm going to bring you to Madzie and Max, okay?"

He felt Rafe nod against his shoulder and the little boy held tight to him. Magnus felt tears dampening his shoulder and rubbed Rafe's back soothingly as he made his way to Maxwell's room. Maxwell seemed to be able to sleep through just about anything, like most teenagers, and Magnus had his hands full with Rafe. Shooting some magic to wake up Maxwell, Magnus tried to hum soothingly to Rafe.

"Wha-- Magnus?" Maxwell groaned, trying to push his face into his pillow.

"You need to get up, we have some in coming-" Magnus glanced at Rafe and didn't want to startle him more. "Some trouble. I need you to get to the safe room.

This got Maxwell's attention, and he rolled out of bed. "But I can help."

"Yes, you can help. By staying with your nephew," Magnus said, and hurried out of the room. Maxwell followed after retrieving his blade. Alec was watching the door, and nodded as Magnus swept by.

Magnus brought Rafe and Maxwell to the safe room, through all his clothes. Magnus tried to put Rafe down, but he wouldn't let go. He then tried to pass the boy to Maxwell, but there was no luck.

"Pumpkin, I need to go help keep your dad safe," Magnus said.

"You'll come back?" Rafe sniffled.

"Yes, I will come get you when it's safe," Magnus said.

Rafe let go and stood watching Magnus with wide teary eyes. Max hurried over, wide awake despite the late night wake up. He hugged Rafe tight, even though Magnus saw his little boy also had tears in his eyes. Magnus pulled them both quickly into a hug.

"I love you. Be good," Magnus said, and then hurried off. Closing the door, he added additional glamours and wards to it. All the while he could feel the nephilim, who had made it to the floor of the loft. Magnus hurried to his front door.

Moving to stand at Alec's side felt natural. They both took stances ready for the door to be broken down. Magnus pushed more power into the final wards around the loft. Who ever the shadowhunters had with them was nearly as well trained in wards as Magnus or Ragnor, the way they had torn through what Magnus had in place. Either that, or they were strongly motivated to break in.

"I sent a fire message," Alec whispered. "It went straight to Jocelyn and Luke. They should be able to get us help."

"Madzie knows how to portal to Catarina's if she needs to," Magnus said, hoping to assure. "They’re okay, let's keep ourselves safe."

"Thank you," Alec said, and the words sounded so broken. A large popping sound on the other side of the door signaled to Alec just where the nephilim were. Magnus could feel them and hated it. "Thank you for standing beside me."

"You deserve to be happy and free from these bastards, Alexander," Magnus said back, not keeping his voice down now. There was little point, and he tossed up a shield in front of Alec and himself. "I'm honored to stand beside you."

"I feel like I should have at least taken you to dinner first," Alec joked and Magnus was so surprised - by the flirtiness not to mention the situation - that he let out a little laugh.

"You're living with me, I think you owe me more than one dinner darling," Magnus said, and the door in front of them exploded inward. Magnus' shield took all the shrapnel, but it was weakened greatly. Magnus was weary of putting more power in it, in case he needed his magic for other things. Moving closer to Alec he murmured, "We just need to stall them long enough for backup to come."

"Alec Lightwood, by the authority of the Clave, I am placing you under arrest," One General Aldertree said, stepping through the mess they had made of Magnus' front hallway and the brick dust.

"Excuse me," Magnus strode forward, moving through the shield to stand in front of Aldertree, leaving Alec still behind the magical protection. "This is a breach of the revised Accords. Clave representatives are no longer allowed to raid downworlder residences."

"The Accords," Aldertree sneered, getting Magnus' face. "Don't cover downworlders who harbor traitors to the Clave. Lightwood is under our rule of law, and he has broken it. I would appreciate it if you stayed out of this affair."

Magnus didn't like to be talked down to on a good day. And having his home, his children, his Alexander threatened because of these fools made this the very opposite of a good day. "You are in my home, a downworlder residence. I have not let you in. You have thus violated the Accords. You want things to go back to how they were before the revisions?" Magnus said, keeping his voice calm, nearly airy, but he was sure that Aldertree heard the threat in them. Or he would if he knew what was good for him.

"It wasn't a Clave member that broke in though," Aldertree gestured, and Magnus saw her now. The warlock who had broken through his wards.

"Iris," Magnus breathed. She seemed almost listless, veins a dark black, standing out against her pale skin. He did not like Iris, but she should have been in downworlder custody for her crimes, not the Clave's. Turning back to Aldertree he couldn't keep his voice calm as he asked, "What have you done with her?"

"Just... persuaded her to help a good cause," Aldertree smiled. "She was even more willing when she found out where her precious Madzie was."

Iris' head came up at Madzie's name and Magnus felt his stomach sink. No way in hell was that woman coming near his daughter. She didn't deserve whatever the Clave had pumped into her, but it was a near thing. "What you're doing to control her, that’s also a breach of the Accords. I should be writing this down, for when I drag you and your little minions in front of the leaders of both our people."

"Just turn Lightwood over," Aldertree said, sounding exasperated and not nearly as threatened as he should be feeling. Did the Clave really not tell their younger people about the revolution leaders? Aldertree had been afraid when they first met, but he’d also been alone then.

"No, Alec is no longer of the Clave," Magnus repeated forcefully. "And as someone of the shadow world no longer in Idris, he is now under the protection of the Accords." That was fudging the language a bit, but Aldertree had already done so himself.

"If that’s the case, we do need to remove Rafael Lightwood from his care," Aldertree said airily. "And Alec will have added charges of kidnapping Maxwell Lightwood, who we are also tasked with bringing home."

Magnus felt as anger surged through him, hearing the blood rush in his ears and feeling his magic crackle over his skin and clothes. Aldertree actually took a step back but Magnus followed him, staying in his face. "You, and all the Clave, will leave those children alone. They’ve spent enough time in your toxic, insular community."

"Are you threatening me?" Aldertree tried to remain firm, but Magnus heard a tremor in his voice.

"Yes, thanks for finally noticing," Magnus said, reaching out and adjusting Aldertree's lapels, letting his magic grow dangerous enough to hurt. He pushed Aldertree, but the man didn't even stumble over the debris from the door.

"Well in that case," Aldertree pulled out his blades and Magnus found his attention drawn to the others that had come into his home. A good six shadowhunters, armed to the teeth, plus Iris. Not great odds, but Magnus had survived worse. "Alec Lightwood, stop hiding behind your pet warlock and turn yourself in."

"Don't disrespect Magnus," Alec was back at his side. Magnus moved the shield up, feeling his own magic as a passing warmth. "And I'm not going to turn myself in, because I have done nothing wrong."

"Wonderful," Aldertree said, smile sharp. "I can't wait to add attacking your fellow soldiers to your list of crimes."

The sound of a portal came from behind Magnus, and he saw the same familiar light in the hall as well. Magnus didn't need to turn around, because Catarina and Dot were now on either side of him, Izzy next to Alec. The shadowhunters behind Aldertree did not turn in time, and Magnus grinned as they dropped their weapons as the additional backup pressed weapons into their backs.

"If I remember correctly," Magnus glanced at his nails and then lazily back up at Aldertree. "You Clave types only like to fight unfair battles. How do you feel to be out numbered I wonder?"

Aldertree's face was twisted with rage, but he dropped his weapons as Jace pushed his sword tip into his back. "You can't hold us. That's against your precious Accords."

"No, but we can send you on your way," Magnus said. "And Iris is staying with us." He leaned close to Catarina to murmur. "I want you to get a sample of whatever is in her blood. It looks like a new weapon."

"I can do that, but then we need to lock her in the Spiral Labyrinth," Catarina whispered back.

"General Lightwood," Aldertree sneethed at being thwarted and then so promptly ignored. "This is your last warning. We won't be so lenient next time."

Alec stepped up to Aldertree, making full use of his height. "You've threatened my family. I won't be lenient either."

Aldertree was too much of a business man to spit at Alec's feet, but Magnus thought it was a close thing. Jace had Aldertree's hands roughly behind his back now. Catarina had moved to Iris, taking her hand and portalling out. Magnus was glad- he didn't want them to lose time in figuring out what new horror the Clave had cooked up to control downworlders. Clary, Izzy, and Aline, with some assistance from Ragnor, had gotten the rest of the shadowhunters under control.

"Well," Magnus looked around and changed his clothes to a suit with a snap of his fingers. "I don't believe I’ll be getting anymore sleep. Let's send our unwelcome guests on their way." Magnus turned to Alec as their friends and family worked on clearing the room. Ragnor would need to portal them all to the Angel's Nest so that Jocelyn could officially send them back to Idris with a smack on the wrist. Magnus knew that he would need to be there, but there was something much more pressing.

"The kids," Alec said, before Magnus could utter a sound.

Magnus shut his mouth and nodded. "They should still be in the safe room, and they wouldn't have heard anything. I don't think Madzie would have teleported them out, otherwise Catarina would have sent them back through."

"Is Catarina safe with that warlock?" Alec asked.

"Good question- Dot?"

Dot nodded. "I'll go help her."

"Thank you," Magnus let out a sigh of relief. "I don't know what will happen when whatever the Clave gave her wears off."

"Probably nothing good, knowing Iris," Dot agreed and set up a portal. She vanished through in a moment.

"Jace, we need to check on the kids," Alec called to his brother, who was moving Aldertree through the portal Ragnor had set up. He was the last shadowhunter left.

"Roger that, I'll let Jocelyn know," Jace said, then kicked at Aldertree's shins as he shoved the Clave general through.

Magnus and Alec moved at the same time, fading adrenaline fueling their dash to get to the kids. Magnus couldn’t imagine how scared they must be, having been woken up and hidden away in such a mad dash.

Magnus reached the door to the safe room, his magic signalling to the wards that it was okay to allow him in. He lowered them all the way so that they wouldn't react poorly to Alec and potentially hurt him. Opening the door, he knelt and was imminently covered in worried kids. Rafe was the first one, clinging to Magnus' suit jacket so hard that it almost lost its buttons. Max crawled right under Rafe, nestling against Magnus' chest, blinking at his own tears. Magnus wrapped his arms around them both and scooted out of the way so that Alec could enter the room behind him. When Alec came to kneel beside Magnus, Rafe reached out his other hand and pulled Alec close. He was making it clear that he wanted both of them and Alec leaned closer, an arm going around Madzie who had come to cling to Alec's side.

Rafe had tears running down his face, but he cried silently as he wedged himself between Alec and Magnus. Magnus looped an arm around Alec's waist to keep balanced and to feel that Alec was still there, was okay. Apparently he needed that as much as Rafe did. Maxwell just watched all this, fiddling with his little seraph blade and almost looking put out that he had been left with the kids. Or maybe he just wanted to join the cuddle pile.

"Rafe, it's okay, we're not going anywhere," Magnus murmured. "We love you, we just needed to keep you safe, okay?"

Rafe sniffled and tucked his face into Magnus' side. Alec rubbed the boy's back. "Magnus is right. You did such a good job Rafe."

"I don't want you to leave me!" Rafe choked out. "I don't want to be alone again!"

"You got me Rafe!" Max's face was also wet, but he seemed to be distracted from his own fear by Rafe. He reached out and wrapped his arms around Rafe, resting his head on Rafe's back. "You're neva alone again!"

Madzie reached out as well, ruffling Rafe's hair as she had seen Magnus and Alec do many times. "Yeah Rafe, you got lots of family now."

Magnus felt proud of his kids, taking care of Rafe. He would need to get them some extra dessert and give them extra hugs. He wrapped his free arm around Max and smiled at Madzie, feeling his own eyes become a bit damp and blinking quickly so as not to worry the kids with more tears. He met Alec's gaze and saw he seemed similarly affected.

 

"I've been reviewing the Revised Accords," Ragnor said, setting paper and notes out across the meeting room table. The only people there were Magnus, Alec, Jocelyne, and Ragnor. They had decided to figure out what could be done to protect Alec with Aldertree's parting threats, once the Shadowhunters had been deposited back in Idris. If Magnus had portalled them a good few miles away from Alicante… well. That wasn’t against the rules. "And I think there is a loophole we can use to have Alec protected as if he were a downworlder."

Jocelyn rubbed her temples. "We really should have tried to get more wording in there for defecting shadowhunters."

"The legal language would have been so complicated," Magnus said, though he had to agree. Especially now that they were seeing the issues such oversight raised. But the downworld hadn't wanted to delude their rights, and the rogue shadowhunters had wanted to be good allies.

Jocelyn hummed in agreement, before turning to look at what Ragnor had put down. "What did you find?"

"Well," Ragnor sighed. "It's a pretty drastic measure... in these circumstances at least."

"We're waiting, old friend," Magnus said, and wished they were doing this in his loft so that he could have a drink. But after they had been able to calm down the kids and leave them under Luke and Clary’s watch at the Fairchild-Garroway home, they had come straight to the Angel’s Nest to get this straightened out as soon as possible.

"The way to cover a shadowhunter under the Accords is to have them become part of a downworlder family," Ragnor said, eyes flicking up to Magnus and Alec. Alec had so far been very quiet, and Magnus was worried about him deciding to do something self sacrificing.

"Which means?" Jocelyn prompted when neither Alec nor Magnus did.

"Marriage and adoption are the two most likely methods," Ragnor said, picking up the page in question and passing it to Magnus. Magnus looked down at it, but his brain couldn't process the words on the page as Ragnor continued. "The revisions have a section legalizing unions and adoptions between shadowhunters and downworlders. However, the Clave sees that legitimacy as the shadowhunter fully renouncing the Clave and legally becoming a downworlder themselves. So Jocelyn, you and Clary are covered by the Accords, because you are married to Luke and Clary is his adopted daughter. The only way I can find to make sure Alec is covered would be to have him marry a downworlder, who would also need to adopt little Rafe."

Magnus cursed, letting the paper drop to the table. "That's not fair though, Alexander finally has the chance to find love. What we would need to do with this would be to rush him into a relationship."

"It could just be political," Ragnor pointed out.

"That's what he would have had to do in Idris!" Magnus was angry on behalf of Alec, who had picked up what Magnus had dropped and had begun to read it. "We should be able to do better than that."

"It's the Clave's fault we have to resort to this," Ragnor pointed out, but it was clear from his frown that he didn't like having to back Alec into this corner either. Magnus knew Ragnor was right. The only people really backing Alec into a corner was the Clave. Which was really fucking sad, because that just meant they had found a way to control Alec again.

Magnus reached a hand out, resting it on Alec's shoulder. Alec didn't pull away, just continued to read. In fact, he leaned towards Magnus, and Magnus was completely willing to be the support Alec needed. They were all quiet, waiting for Alec's feelings about this.

Alec took a shaky breath five minutes later, looking directly at Ragnor. "You're interpretation seems sound. I don't see a way the Clave could argue a legal familial bond doesn’t protect all of a downwolder's family, with how the law is written."

"And we all know, the law is the law," Magnus muttered, but didn't feel at all in his usual joking mood about the subject.

"I don't know... How I could ask someone to do this for me and Rafe though? It's a big ask," Alec sighed, his expression stiff. "And Maxwell would still be potentially vulnerable."

"Maxwell is a simple rogue shadowhunter, at the end of the day," Jocelyn said, tapping her index finger against the table. "He wasn't a Clave general. I bet if we moved him to the barracks here or even under Luke and my roof, they would leave him out of this."

"You're right. Maryse and Robert would be the only risk then," Alec said, the inflection on his parents' names bitter. "The Clave itself wouldn’t find it valuable to use resources just to hunt after Maxwell, even if he’s no doubt currently seen as the last Lightwood heir."

"That solves one issue," Magnus said, and he let a little bit of weight drop off his shoulders. He was saddened by the idea of Maxwell no longer being under his roof... He was sure the boy could and would still spend a good majority of his time with Alec and Rafe.

"Even if I’m fine marrying someone just for... protection, that seems very selfish," Alec said, bringing them back to the elephant in the room. "It wouldn't be fair of me to ask someone to do that."

"But you need to be safe," Jocelyn said, moving to stand on Alec's other side. "It's not fair for this to be pushed upon you."

"And there are plenty of single downworlders," Ragnor said. "And a decent number who would be happy to marry for a time, until the Clave is off your back."

Alec shook his head and repeated, "I couldn't ask anyone to do that."

"What if you didn't have to ask?" Magnus said, because it suddenly became clear, the easiest answer to all of this. His heart rate sped up, and there was a part of him that wanted to run, that said this was also unfair to him. Magnus had never been married before. Shouldn't the first, and possibly only, time be sacred? Of course the Clave would find a way to taint that.

"What?" Alec said, though Magnus caught Ragnor putting his face in his hands, having figured out what Magnus was about to do.

"You could marry me," Magnus said, and he didn’t choke on the words. "The Clave might buy it more too, because they have seen you with me when they’ve attacked."

Alec blinked those hazel eyes at him, as if he couldn’t quite understand what Magnus was saying. He finally managed, "Magnus I couldn't ask that of you. Especially after everything you've already done for me."

Magnus knew he was going to have to fight Alec to make the right choice, even as he was arguing with himself. Magnus didn't want to say what he was really thinking. That he had... begun to hope that maybe, when Alec was ready, if Alec felt the same, then Magnus would take him on a date. And maybe that date would lead to more. Magnus knew Alexander Lightwood had already left quite a mark on his heart and he had only known him a little over a month. But throwing a... marriage for political, safety, and citizenship reasons on that brand new spark of possibility would probably crush it forever. That hurt more than Magnus could believe, so much that he almost wanted to take away the words that he had said.

But Alec needed this and Magnus needed Alec and Rafe to be safe. His feelings be damned, Magnus shrugged and said, "Alexander, will you marry me?"

Alec's rubbed a hand over his face. "Magnus..."

"Alexander, you need to be safe," Magnus said. He also felt that despite his other, more logical feelings, he might not be able to watch Alec marry someone else, no matter what the reason. "And you would at least not be marrying some perfect shadowhunter girl."

Alec shook his head, but there was a little bit of hope in his expression, and a little bit of Alec possibly hyperventilating. Magnus slid his hand to rest on the back of Alec's neck, fingers curled in the hair there, trying to ground him. Alec finally looked at Magnus. "I won't agree until we have both thought about this. Because this affects more than just us."

Magnus nodded. It would be a very hard thing to explain to Max and Madzie, and equally hard to explain to Rafe. Keeping the kids in the dark would most likely backfire. "That sounds like the best course of action. Maybe we can also discuss it more over... dinner?"

Alec's eyebrows both raised, but then a little smile came to his mouth. The first one since they entered the room. "Okay, yeah. I'd like that. Though I thought we decided I owed you dinner?"

Magnus smiled back, heart squeezing tight. "Oh if you insist. I'll pick the restaurant though."

 

Magnus and Alec walked through New York in silence. It was getting close to lunch time, but neither of them were ready to return to the kids without an answer, even with the teasing about dinner. They needed this time to think, to talk.Magnus wasn't sure what he could say to Alec, wasn't sure how he could put his own thoughts into words. The only comfort was that they were in this together. Whatever they decided, Magnus knew it would be a solution they both agreed on.

Alec's shoulder bumped against Magnus', "Want to grab a coffee?"

"My god, we're trying to make this decision without having coffee," Magnus said in near real horror, then chuckled. "Maybe that's why it feels like my brain isn't working."

"I'll remember to ask the Clave not to give us a courtesy wake up call tomorrow?" Alec asked, looking over at him, Magnus saw Alec with a slight smile and messy hair as he joked.

"I think that's for the best," Magnus said. "The Hotel de Bane has its own services you know? In fact, I have a three-year-old who will run in and start jumping on the pillows any hour you choose."

Alec hummed thoughtfully. "Very state of the art."

"I like to think so."

Magnus lead them to the nearest cafe that wasn't a Starbucks, where they ordered and found a seat tucked away from students and the passing business professionals. Alec thoughtfully ate a doughnut and sipped his coffee while Magnus waited for him to talk. One of Alec's knees was pressed against Magnus' own, because when Alec didn't move away, Magnus hadn’t either.

"I'm serious that I can't ask you to do this," Alec finally said, giving in to Magnus’ watchful gaze.

"And thus I’m equally serious in asking you instead," Magnus said, raising an eyebrow. "Alexander, this sounds like the best and possibly the only way to keep you and Rafe safe."

Alec sighed, running a hand through his hair. "You're too selfless. Especially when I want to say no to all of this for a very selfish reason."

Magnus shook his head as he fiddled with his M ring. "You're emotional well being isn't selfish."

"I think it is a little bit in this case," Alec huffed. "But... Rafe comes first. And I can't think of any other options."

Magnus perked up, "You'll do it?"

Alec shrugged, pushing his empty plate aside. "Magnus... What would you do in this situation?"
Magnus shook his head, because if Alexander Lightwood had just asked Magnus to marry him, he'd be hard pressed to say no. Magnus had been finding himself hoping that he could see Alec's smiles in the morning, and watch him help raise their children and all sorts of soft domestic things that Catarina and Ragnor would probably tease him about daydreaming of. Alec just so happened to fit so well in all those fantasies. It was categorically unfair. And now here Magnus was, trying to help the man again.

But the real question at hand was what Magnus would do to keep his children safe. And the answer was, he would do anything. Some duties, some loves came before all others. And he told Alec so. "I'm sorry," he finished and they faced the corner Alec was backed into.

But Alec's eyes were bright, rather than angry. "No, thank you," he reached out, taking Magnus hand. His voice was a bit rough, but he didn’t look as devastated as Magnus feared he would be. "You're right, of course, and you've done more than I could ever ask."

Magnus smiled. "Well, you're lucky I like you, Alexander."

Alec matched his smile. "Yes, I really am."

Magnus let out a breath. "I've never been married before. This should be interesting."

Alec's eyebrows shot up, and he looked so surprised it was almost comical. "You've never been married? In all the hundreds of years you've lived?"

Magnus shook his head, and admitted with bitterness instead of the breezy he was aiming for. "I guess no one thought I was worth staying with."

Now Alec was frowning. "That doesn't seem right"

Magnus scoffed, letting go of Alec's hand and looking away from his gaze. He shouldn't have said anything. "I don't know if you noticed, but I can be a lot of handle."

"I haven't, because you aren’t," Alec said, and his voice was so firm that Magnus looked back up at him. "Magnus, you're one of, if not the, kindest person I've ever met. The way you care for those around you, the way you always have time... You're so strong to take on the weight you carry. Anyone who has made you feel small-" Alec shook his head, as if he couldn't get the words out around his anger. Anger on behalf of Magnus. "-anyone who has told you anything other than how wonderful you are isn't worth your time."

Magnus knew he was openly staring at Alec, and that he was blushing. He cleared his throat and joked, "While I appreciate the flattery, I was going to marry you regardless."

"Don't deflect this," Alec said, as if making Magnus believe what he said was the most important thing he could do. "Magnus, you're amazing."

"You don't know the ugly things I've done," Magnus said, not understanding why Alec made him want to share, made him want to be seen.

"I can't believe there is anything ugly about you," Alec responded and oh, how Magnus wanted to believe that. But Alec didn't know who Magnus' father was, he didn't know what Magnus had done. Alec was looking at him like he was something special and Magnus wanted to be worthy of that so badly he felt it like an ache.

Instead of arguing more, he looked down at his coffee cup, and turned the conversation back to what they needed to do. "How do you want to explain the marriage to the kids?"

"I think telling the truth would be best," Alec said after only a moment’s pause. "They're all young, but lying to them doesn't make sense."

And what would that lie even be, Magnus wondered. It really wasn't an ideal situation. But Magnus had also told Rafe he'd protect Alec, and this was protecting Alec. Hopefully the boy would understand, and still understand when this all ended. Magnus sighed, not wanting to think of the boy possibly feeling like Magnus was abandoning him. "You're right. We should talk with them as soon as possible, so that they have time to process."

"We should probably give them some time after last night though," Alec said, and moved to stand, cleaning up their dishes. Magnus stood and soon they were back on the busy New York sidewalk. No one gave the two of them more than a second glance, and Magnus wondered how they could all miss the way the very world was shifting to center around Alec.

"Speaking of the kids, shall we head back home? I need to do some work before it’ll be safe for them." Magnus said, moving towards the loft.

"Alright," Alec said. "I feel like we still have more to talk about."

"Like getting our story straight about how we madly fell in love?" Magnus asked.

"Well... there really wouldn't be anything straight about it," Alec said, ducking his head but peeking up through his lashes.

Magnus gave a real laugh. "Now Alexander, are you flirting with me through my love of puns?" Magnus teased.

Alec straightened, shoulders squaring as if he were about to enter a battle. It was such a shift from his playfulness the second before, Magnus felt off balance. It didn't help in the slightest when Alec asked, "What if I was?"

"What?" Magnus managed, feeling breathless as he looked up at Alec. There was really only one way he could interpret that...

Alec's tongue swept over his lips and Magnus determinedly focused on Alec's eyes. He saw all the nervousness, fear, but gentle hope and so much honesty as Alec asked, "What if I was flirting with you?"

Chapter Text

Magnus let the words hang there, wanting to examine them, to savor them. Alec was blushing but seemed to still have his daring from the confession in hand. He just watched Magnus as people passed around them, the two of them in their own private little world.

"You're smiling," Alec said, sounding hopeful as he stepped closer to Magnus. "Does that mean you'd say yes if I asked you on a date?"

"Alexander," Magnus managed, but he was grinning and he didn’t think he could stop if he tried. It was rising feeling, chasing away the worry and the darkness for a moment. Shining a light so he could get a look at what could be. But Magnus had too much to lose to dive right in. "Do you think this is a good idea?"

Alec shrugged, but looked considering, “I like you a lot. And if you feel similarly, wouldn’t it be foolish to let this slip through our fingers?"

"But what about the Clave?" Magnus asked even as he reached out and took Alec's hand. Those beautiful long archer's fingers could take Magnus appart. "What about marrying to keep you safe?"

"Why does it have to be mutually exclusive? In fact, I'm lead to believe that the ideal of marriage is liking your spouse," Alec said, and Magnus rolled his eyes at the gentle, teasing tone.

"What if it all goes horribly wrong and we end up hating each other?" Magnus needed to think rationally. But goodness, Alec smelled like his shampoo. There was something so domestic yet so possessive in that, and Magnus wanted to pull Alec closer.

Alec reached out with the hand not caught in Magnus', resting it against Magnus's cheek. He seemed to search Magnus eyes before he said, "I could never hate you."

Magnus wanted to protest that Alec didn't understand, that he always ended up being too much in the end. That people regret the years they spend with Magnus and what if he did too? But Magnus was selfish and he wanted Alec to be the one to break that cycle. He'd never felt for anyone the way he felt with Alec. The man had changed his world, had looked at Magnus with kindness and stood by his side as much as Magnus stood by Alec's. The inherent trust, especially with their children…

Maybe Magnus could hold that trust tight and make that leap. Alec was looking at him with such a face of open hope. Magnus managed to nod, "Where do you propose we have our first date?"

"Was that a pun? Given our impending marriage?" Alec asked, beaming wider than Magnus had ever seen.

Magnus turned, beginning to walk and tugging Alec along by his hand. Goddamn he was doomed over this shadowhunter. "How about Japan? Tokyo is quite lovely this time of year."

"Anywhere you want," Alec said, easily keeping up with Magnus' pace and staying close so as to not interrupt the flow of pedestrians. "I just want to spend time with you."
Could it really be that simple? Maybe with Alec, it could be.

 

When they reached the loft, Magnus sighed, resting a hand on the outer wall before stepping through the ruined door. This had been a wonderful location, but there was no helping it. He could always move back when the dust settled.

Alec frowned, looking around at a piece of door. He looked devastated. "I'm making you leave your home," he whispered.

"No such thing," Magnus said, stepping away and moving to the center of the loft. He motioned Alec to come stand beside him. "Would you believe this was once in Greenwich? I do love Brooklyn, but as long as we're still in New York, I’m home."

First, he fixed the broken front door and hall. Then, Magnus closed his eyes and found the full perimeter of the loft. It was larger than when he last moved, with the added bedrooms. He could send Maxwell's off to wherever they determined was safest for the boy, but he’d keep it for now. Alec appeared as a presence of faint angelic magic, but it wasn't disruptive to Magnus' spell work. Magnus' magic had adapted to Alec, as well as to Rafe and Maxwell, so that they didn't weaken his spells.

Gathering the loft in his magic, he held it close and turned his focus to where he and Ragnor had decided would be safest. Magnus didn't want to endanger anyone else, and he was sure Alec felt the same, so he had declined Catarina's suggestion he put the loft in her brownstone. Plus, that would take some additional dimension spells to fit. Ragnor's idea would allow Magnus to take some of those down and let the loft spill freely through the space.

Cradling the loft, Magnus took a breath and moved it. There was portal magic involved, very complicated portal magic because it needed to be both large and concentrated so that Magnus didn't take any of the building the loft was in. Settling the loft down, feeling it settle through the new space, Magnus double checked everything was still there. Opening his eyes and reaching out to catch himself on the back of a chair, he found himself holding on to Alec instead.

Alec was staring at him, eyes wide. "I felt you... your magic, it was everywhere."

Magnus nodded, taking a deep breath. "Yes, that wasn't a simple one." Righting himself, Magnus moved towards the door. Opening it, Magnus looked around the dull, stone hallway he found on the other side. Tamping down his distaste, he stepping out with Alec close on his heels. "Welcome, Alexander, to the New York Institute," he waved his hands, and moved further down the hall. "You're going to be the first Shadowhunter to live here in over a decade."

Alec looked around wide eyed. "I sort of remember it."

Magnus raised an eyebrow. "You've been here?"

"When I was a kid before all children were pulled back to Idris," Alec said. "Remember, the New York Institute is supposed to be run by the Lightwoods. My mother was in charge for a time, she's quite high in Valentines inner circle." He says the last words with an emotional less tone. Magnus knows that Alec doesn't like to talk about his parents, and this would certainly explain why.

Magnus shook his head from that image, and instead tried to picture a little Alexander running through these halls. The loft was in the barracks, where the shadowhunter soldiers and their families would live. Ragnor had assured that would keep them out of the way of his work and that of the other researchers. They passed through the dusty mess hall, and moved to another hallway lined with offices. They both eyed the broken and burned door of the Head of the Institute office, the top completely gone so that they could see in. The room had been stripped of anything Ragnor or his team could use, and what was left was just as bad off as the door. It was clear that frustrations had been taken out here, marks of graffiti on the walls with slogans from the revolution and the desk in pieces across the floor.

"Now that looks different than I remember," Alec joked, and Magnus turned to search his face. Alec continued to surprise Magnus in not seeming upset or flinching away from the reminders of how hated the Clave was. While Magnus believed completely that Alec was against what the Clave stood for, it was still what he had grown up around, what he had spent his life surrounded by. An involuntary flinch wouldn't be shocking.

"I think the rest is in better repair," Magnus said, not knowing what else to. It wasn’t like he was sorry for what happened, far from it.

Instead he lead them onward. Alec kept close, as they entered the ops center. Dot was sitting at one of the computers that had been set up, working on scanning documents in. She had headphones in and nodded at them with a smile. There were a few others moving about, using the rest of the room for research and cataloging. Much of it was low tech, to Ragnor's preference, but Magnus was glad they were doing the work to bring the collection to the present. Dot had been leading the way in this.

Walking over to her, Magnus asked, "Is Catarina okay?" He hadn’t heard from her since she’d left with Iris that morning beyond the offer to move the loft into her home.

Dot nodded, "She's still in the Labyrinth working on Iris. But she was able to get the sample you wanted. I think she'll be home once Iris is stabilized."

Before Magnus could ask anymore questions, such as what Catarina or Dot thought of the substance that controlled Iris, Ragnor appeared from a hallway all flustered. "I thought I felt your magic. Now help me put the wards back in place."

Magnus chuckled as Ragnor grabbed his arm and dragged him away. "See you later Dot. Alexander, feel free to explore!"

"I think I'll got make sure the loft is all set for the kids," Alec smiled and headed back the way they had come. Soon Magnus lost sight of him, and of anyone else as Ragnor brought him down a long corridor. He was clearly in a huff, so Magnus let his oldest friend lead the way.

"What the hell are you thinking!" Ragnor snapped, when they came out into the Institute garden. Ragnor had changed it to host a lot of exotic potion ingredients, warmed or cooled by a large variety of spells. But Magnus didn't get a chance to go look for any new additions, because Ragnor was demanding all of his attention.

"What do you mean?" Magnus asked, arm now freed from Ragnor's grip. He straightened his suit jacket with a tug, glaring at his friend.

"You know very well," Ragnor growled, then started to pace. Magnus watched all these dramatics; Magnus had certainly learned it from someone, even if Ragnor liked to pretend he was the rational one. "You can't marry."

Magnus sobered at this. "It's what will keep Alexander and Rafe safe."

"Can you think of yourself for one moment in your life?" Ragnor said, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Of your own happiness?"

Magnus crossed his arms, frustrated. He knew Ragnor was trying to be a good friend, but this wasn't the talk he needed right now. "He asked me on a date."

Ragnor stopped short. "Alec did?"

Magnus nodded, biting his lip to try and stop from smiling. "I think I'm falling in love with him and I think he at least has some feelings for me."

"He's completely infatuated with you, you daft man," Ragnor said, his breathing becoming less labored as he started to calm down. "He doesn't look at anyone else when you're in the room."

Magnus felt as if his heart was trying to catch up, it was beating so fast. He watched Ragnor's face. "You think so?"

"I wouldn't tell you so if I didn't," Ragnor said, moving closer and laying a hand on Magnus' shoulder. "I'm certainly not going to play with your heart, especially when you’ve become so enamored with the man." Sighing, he turned back away and returned to pacing, though it was much slower now. "Well that complicates my plan to yell at you."

Magnus gave a breathy laugh, "I'm not going to lie, it’s still a very messy situation... But there is a chance we could make this real."

"You're going to marry him, then date him?" Ragnor asked, before tossing his hands in the air. "You know what, why not? You're already parenting each other's children. You know it usually goes dating, marriage, then co-parenting, not the other way around."

"I really like him, Ragnor," Magnus said the words so quietly, he wasn't sure his friend would hear them.

"I know," Ragnor said, and he smiled. It was small, but it meant Ragnor wasn’t angry anymore. "I told you, one day, you'd find someone who would love you as you deserve, who could get past all your walls."

"You think Alexander could be that person?" Magnus still felt breathless.

"If you continue to fight for him?" Ragnor was nodding slowly. "I think he could be."

 

"Where is home now?" Madzie asked, running to where the loft balcony had been to look outside.

"We're at Uncle Ragnor's work." Magnus had done some additional spells on the loft after talking with Ragnor, and the balcony was now more of a porch. They could see the park around the Institute and the passing mundanes who didn't find the old church interesting. Magnus had brought his plants that had been on the roof to make a garden around the porch.

"I like it," Madzie grinned. "We're going to get even more stray cats!" All cats seemed to have the Sight, and the wards wouldn't stop them unless they were actually a transformed warlock. "Can I put out some dishes?"

Magnus smiled down at her, "Of course. Don't forget to put out water and make sure any milk-"

"-doesn't have lactose!" Madzie finished, pushing the door open and dashing out. Magnus waved his hand to put up a ward that would stop bugs from coming in the open door.

Max appeared from his bedroom, stuffed animal (parrot, for his pirate games) tucked under his arm. "My room hasn't changed."

"Do you want to redecorate?" Magnus asked, kneeling down.

Max looked thoughtful, which was to say adorable. "Maybeeee..."

"You know, we can only redecorate clean rooms," Magnus raised an eyebrow, hoping Max would take the bait.
"No thank you!" Max said instead. Magnus could only shake his head, reaching out to pull Max into a hug. Max happily launched himself at Magnus, the stuffed toy squished between them. Magnus swooped both up into his arms. "What's Madzie doing?"

"She's trying to make friends with the new cats," Magnus said. "Let's go help her."

Walking out into what was now his backyard (and didn't that seem extravagant, especially in a city), Magnus tried to figure out what he was going to say to the kids. He had been chasing different ideas around in his head since Alec had agreed, though he knew he should probably just explain and let them ask questions.

Madzie had set out several bowls, mostly with dry food and some water. She had one with milk, and was watching the cat she had already attracted from a chair. She was peeking around at it, and whispered, "Shh! This one's very shy."

"Scaredy cat!" Max whispered back and giggled.

Magnus sat in the chair across Madzie, settling Max on his lap. "Do you think the scaredy cat would mind if I call a family meeting?"

Madzie turned around from watching the cat, sitting to face Magnus and Max. "He won't mind," Madzie assured. "Serious family meeting?"

"Yes," Magnus said. Max had settled against his chest, and Madzie was giving him her full attention. He really had such good kids. "First, I wanted to make sure you both were okay after this morning. I know that was very scary."

Max nodded and Magnus felt it. He smoothed a hand over his son's curls. "Didn't like it," Max murmured.

"I didn't either," Magnus said. "That's why I moved the loft. We should be very safe here." Magnus took a deep breath. "I wanted to make sure you knew that I’m very proud of you both listening, and how much I love you."

Both his kiddos were still young enough they weren't embarrassed by him saying this, and they both said “Love you too Papa!” back right away. Magnus really hoped they would never feel that way, but he could (very distantly) remember what being a teenager was like.

"Papa?" Madzie asked before Magnus could move on to his next thought.

"Yes sweet pea?"

"Do you love Rafe too?" Madzie was very serious.

"Of course," Magnus replied, not needing to think about it. He knew he would do anything to protect the boy, as he would do anything for Madzie and Max.

"Can he be our brother?" Max asked, tipping his head back so he could look up at Magnus.

"Rafe already has a family..." Magnus said, though this might be the perfect segue into the main topic of the meeting.

"So you marry Alec," Madzie said and didn't notice the way Magnus choked on air. "And then Rafe is our brother! Plus, you love Alec too."

Out of the mouth of babes. Magnus could just picture Ragnor laughing at this. "It doesn't... there are other steps..." Magnus managed, but really why was he trying to argue his way out of this? It would make explaining the plan to them that much harder. "Alexander did ask me to go on a date." He believed it a little more each time he said it.

Madzie's face lit up and Max climbed off Magnus' lap so he could jump up and down in excitement. Magnus hadn’t gone on many dates at all since they both came into his life and only a couple he felt worth telling them about.

Magnus couldn't help but chuckle. This was much easier than he expected. He still held up a finger to get them both to calm down. "I care for Alexander and his family a lot. But remember dating is different than marriage."

They both nodded.

"That said," Magnus wanted to run a hand over his face, but he also was not going to smug his makeup. "Another thing we are doing to make sure Alexander and Rafe are safe is to have them legally be a part of our family." Max looked confused, but Madzie seemed to understand. "That means, the people from the Clave will stop bugging us because papers will say that Alexander and Rafe are family."

"Okay!" Max said after a moment, clearly still not fully understanding but trusting Magnus and liking the idea of Alec and Rafe being part of the family.

Madzie nodded, "They’ll still live with us?"

"Yes, it's safest for them here as well," Magnus said.

Madzie smiled. "And you get a date."

"That’s a separate development," Magnus told her, though in truth it was prompted by this reality Magnus was now living in. It didn't quite feel real, because every time Magnus thought about it, the sense of happy warmth that filled him felt too good to be true.

"Max and I will have to help you get ready," Madzie said.

"You don't trust my fashion sense? Have my own children betrayed me?" Magnus asked, placing a hand over his heart.

Madzie giggled, and got up to sit beside him. Max climbed back up on his lap saying, "Noooo."

"Alexander may need help though," Magnus stage whispered, which caused Madzie to giggle more.

"I heard my name," Alec said, standing in the doorway. Rafe was by his side, but ran to climb onto the chair with Magnus, holding onto his arm to balance.

"Puppy pile!" Max called.

"Papa said you need fashion help!" Madzie tattled to Alec right away.

"He's right," Alec said, moving to take the chair Madzie had been sitting in. Looking around at the little garden and yard Magnus had made, he seemed impressed. "I didn't know this space was here."

"Anythings possible with some magic," Magnus wiggled the fingers of one hand, a little spark of blue bouncing over them. Madzie reached out and took it, playing with it in her hands while the boys watched on.

 

That night, Magnus was just finishing getting ready for bed (make up off, hair down, pajamas on), when there was a quiet knock at his door. Assuming it was Madzie or Max woken up from a bad dream, he waved the door open as he sat at the bottom of his bed.

The little face that peaked around the door though was Rafe's, but Magnus covered his surprise. "Hey pumpkin, do you want to talk?"

Rafe nodded, rubbing one of his eyes with a fist, a soft little blanket clutched in his other hand. He walked over to Magnus, and Magnus picked him up, settling him to sit at his side.

"Did you have a bad dream?" Magnus asked, resting a hand between Rafe's shoulder blades.

Rafe shook his head, and Magnus caught a shy smile was on the boy's face. He was peeking up through his bangs at Magnus. "Dad said you're also adopting me."

Magnus swallowed, feeling nervous. He'd thought a lot about how his own children would react, but he had also worried about Rafe. "Yes, I am. Are you okay with that?"

Rafe didn't even hesitate before nodding. He turned and looked directly up at Magnus. "Dad said it's to keep us safe."

"I promised I would," Magnus said, staring down into those huge brown eyes. They were filled with so much trust, Magnus knew he would do everything in his power to be worthy of it. "I'm not going anywhere Rafe. No matter what happens, I'll be in your life as much as you want me to be."

Rafe threw his arms around Magnus as best he could, and Magnus hugged him back. This was not something Magnus could have predicted when he'd helped start the revolution- a tiny little nephilim who was becoming like a son to him. But it was also something he'd never trade. He rubbed Rafe's back, then picked him up. Rafe rested his head on Magnus' shoulder and yawned.

"Time for bed?" Magnus asked.

"Mhm," Rafe seemed to grow a little more limp, relaxed and safe in Magnus' arms after what had been a very long day.

As Magnus crossed through the living room, Alec was coming out of Maxwell's room. He must have been talking with the older boy, deciding where he would like to live. Alec caught sight of Magnus and Rafe, and a soft expression came over his face that Magnus wasn't quite sure the meaning of, but he was beginning to have a suspicion.

"Are we up past our bedtime?" Alec asked, coming close enough to rest a hand on Rafe's back.

"We were just having a very good talk," Magnus assured. "Weren't we, pumpkin?"

"Ya," Rafe said, turning his head to look over at Alec.

"I'm glad, but I was sure I put you to bed an hour ago," Alec raised his eyebrows at Rafe, but his smile showed just how serious he was. "You ready to sleep now?"

"Okay," Rafe yawned.

"I'll tuck him back in," Magnus assured.

"Thank you," Alec said, before leaning down a pressing a kiss to Rafe's hair. As he pulled away, his face was close to Magnus'. They met eyes for a long moment, and Magnus felt his breath catch. When Alec then pressed a soft kiss to Magnus' forehead, before moving away and vanishing into his own room, all Magnus could do was stand there until Rafe started to snore against his shoulder.

Chapter Text

The only difficulty with the move of the loft was that Magnus needed to find a new place to meet with his mundane clients. He didn't have many, but those that he kept were either friends or paid very well. Jocelyn agreed he could use the meeting room in the Angel's Nest when it wasn't busy, so that was where he had set up the next day. Madzie and Max had come with him, and Madzie had been doing her school work, asking Magnus questions between the clients. Max had gotten bored and had asked Underhill, when the shadowhunter passed by, to take him to Alec.

Underhill met Magnus' eyes, and Magnus had surprised himself by nodding. He knew Alec and Rafe were there, doing some sparing and rune training. Magnus might not agree with training children to fight, but he'd taken the time to watch how Alec taught Rafe. Alec was mostly letting Rafe explore and play, to test his body’s limits in a very controlled environment. There were a lot of stretches, and then martial arts basics. Alec was only just adding a little staff work at Rafe’s insistence. Rafe clearly had a lot of fun and Magnus had let Alec teach Madzie a bit, and Max had been doing some tumbling practices. Mostly though, Max would climb around on Alec, and a couple times Magnus had watched as Max and Rafe perched on Alec's back while Alec did push ups. That had certainly been something to walk in on.

As Magnus walked his most recent client out, he came back into the room to find Alec, Rafe, and Max had joined, and came baring lunch. Madzie had happily slid her writing homework away, and was digging into a sandwich. Alec was redirecting Max's hand from a cookie he was trying to snag by giving him a juicebox. Rafe patted the seat next to him for Magnus to sit in.

“Papa, sit here!” he called and both Magnus and Alec froze. The kids didn’t seem to think anything of it, as Max tugged the juicebox unceremoniously from Alec’s hand.

Magnus had told Rafe that he would be whatever the boy needed. And legally, Magnus was going to be his other father. He moved and sat beside Rafe, not wanting to hurt the boy’s feelings while meeting Alec’s eyes. He knew they would probably need to talk about this, but that now was not the time.

When Alec carefully cut the crust off the sandwich Max was going to eat, Max smiled up at him and said, “Thanks, Dad!”

Ah. Well. This was certainly going to be a thing, wasn’t it. Magnus shrugged, not able to stop a smile, when Alec looked at him. It felt right and Magnus couldn’t see any real harm. He knew that no matter what happened, Alec was going to be a presence in his children's lives going forward. Alec smiled back with a single nod, and turned to ask Madzie about her writing. The new normal started as easy as that.

 

Magnus and Alec had settled to have their date in NYC. Magnus found an up and coming Italian restaurant with no strict dress code so he and Alec could dress nice but there would be no need for suits and ties. Though, Magnus did really want to know what Alexander looked like in a suit. He had a good idea that he would be rather irresistible…

The kicker behind all this was before too much time had passed at all, Alec and Magnus needed to get married. This would be achieved through documenting it properly in the records of the rebel shadowhunters and the records that existed within the Spiral Labyrinth. Since it had become legal for shadowhunters and downworlders to marry, most did not bother to go about it the mundane way.

Thus on the morning before the first date, Magnus had decided to go to the Spiral Labyrinth to gather the necessary paperwork. He needed to make sure this was as official as possible, so that the Clave would legally have to leave Alec alone. They had no guarantee that would stop the Clave, but if it didn't, different options would open up. Magnus would quite like the excuse to blast Aldertree across a room. Right now, dispensing justice on Aldertree wasn't worth starting a war over. But protecting Alec just might be…

Stepping out of a portal and into the Labyrinth with that alarming thought, Magnus found Lorenzo was there to meet him. Magnus made a face and didn't try and hide it, "What are you doing here?"

"I'm availing myself to the Spiral Council," Lorenzo said with an easy smile.

"You're sucking up to them?" Magnus asked, moving past him. He had been in the Labyrinth many times and didn't need anyone to escort him, especially not Lorenzo.

"No, I'm building my resume," Lorenzo said. "But Magnus wait-"

Magnus felt Lorenzo grab his arm and spun toward the man. "Don't touch me."

Lorenzo held both his hands up, but he stepped closer, frown on his face as he whispered, "Just listen to me for one second, damn it! I need to warn you."

Magnus turned, then snapped his fingers so a ward sprang up around them to prevent eavesdroppers. "What is it?"

"There are those among the Council that don't like how you've gotten involved with a Clave general-"

Magnus felt anger rise, felt his magic gather close to his skin. "What do you mean?"

"They believe you’re antagonizing the Clave unnecessarily." At Magnus' flashing eyes, Lorenzo quickly added, "I don't believe that, but you know I'm... sympathetic for personal reasons. I've tried to argue your case, and it hasn't gone well."

"Most of the Council hasn't been out of the Labyrinth since the revised accords were signed," Magnus said, looking around the entry. It was airy and light, with orange and pomegranate trees growing between pillars and fountains. It was not at all what they tried to make it out to be, not at all dark and twisting, but the Warlocks didn't want to share their sanctuary. Magnus turned back to Lorenzo. "They have no idea what it's like now, the teamwork we have archived with those who have defected from the Clave."

Lorenzo nodded, "I agree. I’m not sure what you will find, but I wanted to warn you before you met push back."

"Thank you," Magnus said, and thought he might just mean it.

Lorenzo nodded, "Of course. We may not always see eye to eye... But I try not to stand on the side of injustice."

Magnus wanted to say "when such injustice affects you" but stopped himself by rolling his eyes instead. That had to mean though- he couldn't help but lean closer to Lorenzo and asked, "Are you letting me be a guinea pig for a nephilim/warlock marriage?"

Lorenzo looked away, refusing to meet Magnus' eyes. He tugged on the cuffs of his coat sleeves. "I wouldn't know what you're talking about. Besides, Tessa Grey has already had such a union."

Magnus couldn't keep his face straight. Oh he was going to have to keep an eye on Underhill. "We all know Tessa and Will, and now Tessa and Jem are not quite so simple. Tessa is part nephilim after all...."

Lorenzo sighed as if he held the weight of the Labyrinth's pocket dimension on his shoulders. "What do you want me to say, Bane?"

"Ah, back to last names," Magnus chuckled, snapping his fingers to bring the eavesdropping spell back down. "And here I thought we were bonding. I shouldn't look forward to an invite to a double date then?"

Lorenzo seemed to be fighting a smile of his own, "Come with me, I'll bring you to the council members that are free to meet. At least one should be sympathetic as well."

They passed through the entry into the impossible towering structure that was the Labyrinth proper. It seemed to be several hundred palaces, mansions, shrines, and churches layered together haphazardly. The dimension they were in meant it wouldn't come all tumbling down, but it did create a rather real labyrinth to navigate. Magnus found he was a bit grateful to Lorenzo for guiding him through, as well as for warning him. Sounded like he might have wanted to bring back up, but taking on his persona of High Warlock Magnus Bane should get him through this meeting.

Three faces looked up as Lorenzo let Magnus into a room not far from the entry. They all had that ancient quality, this particular look in their eyes, that let Magnus know they were all over a thousand years old. The older the warlock, the more resistant to change he’d found. Lovely.

“Councilors, thank you for meeting with me,” Magnus said, nodding to them. He was surprised that Lorenzo stayed, leaning against the wall by the door.

“Magnus Bane, we’ve heard a lot about you,” said the one to the far right. Jenkins, if Magnus remembered correctly.

“I am a High Warlock and some call me a war hero, after all,” Magnus beamed, swaggering a bit as he came to sit in the chair across from them.

“Please, be serious, we don’t need to waste time,” Yoon said, though ze gave Magnus a smile from their middle seat.

Jenkins huffed, crossing his hands on the table. “Your request is quite odd.”

Magnus crossed his legs, leaning back in his chair. He let his rings flash in the light. “But not unheard of. Warlocks have been known to marry mundanes, other downworlders, sometimes even each other!”

Yoon nodded, and Magnus remembered that ze was married to a vampire. “I see no issue with the request, and Lorenzo has made a compelling case on your behalf.”

“He’s a good friend,” Magnus smiled sharp, but it was good to know he had at least two allies here. The question was, where did this final warlock stand. He looked over to her, where she sat focused on her knitting.

She looked up and Magnus did his best to remember her name. She was the oldest, her youthful face having little wrinkles at the corners of her eyes and mouth. Something that started with N…

“Ninlil,” Jenkins prompted, and she looked up from her work. “Do you have anything to add?”

“We’re meeting on the question of the marriage between a nephilim and a warlock?” Ninlil asked, frowning slightly. Magnus didn’t think it was in distaste, but rather that she couldn’t quite remember.

“Yes,” Jenkins sighed rudely and Yoon kicked him.

“I remember when there was a time without these shadowhunters running about…” Ninlil tapped a knitting needle to her chin.

“We just need to provide Bane with the paperwork,” Yoon prompted gently. “I understand it’s a matter of life and death.”

“No need to be dramatic,” Jenkins grumbled.

Ninlil squinted at her two companions before saying in a huff, “Give him the paperwork! Who cares! Is that really why you brought me here? I don’t need your petty political squabbles.” She picked up her knitting and stood, walking around. Though she looked to be about 17-years-old, she held herself as one ancient. She pinched Magnus’ and Lorenzo’s cheeks on her way out of the room.

Yoon beamed, and Magnus stood to take the folder ze held out before anyone could disagree. Jenkins seemed to be sulking and Magnus wondered at the petty politics among the council he’d stepped in. He was decidedly on Yoon’s side, whatever that was.

“I’ve signed them in all the places they need to be signed by a council member,” Yoon said. “All you need to do is have the leader of the shadowhunter side of things complete their part.”

“Thank you,” Magnus said, and felt a smile. “I’ll see myself out. I have a date to prepare for.”

Yoon sighed with a smile, “Young love, isn’t it wonderful, Jenkins?”

He glared at zem in answer. “We shouldn’t be mixing with the nephilim.”

“Tisk, tisk, it’s a brand new world! Keep up with the times!”

Magnus looked through the paperwork. “Ah, there are a few pages missing. I’m also adopting Rafael Lightwood.”

Both Yoon and Jenkins looked at him wide eyed. “A mortal child?” Yoon asked.

“Yes,” Magnus said, swallowing. He knew why they were surprised, why he could almost hear Lorenzo flinch.

To lose a child to the passage of time was nearly unthinkable. But Magnus knew Catarina and Tessa had both survived, that they had given their mortal children all the love they had. He also knew those deaths had broken something that couldn’t be fully healed. But Magnus would take that risk so Rafe would be safe. And he said as much.

Yoon summoned the paperwork with a pinched mouth, magically putting zeir signature in place. Jenkins just looked at Magnus pityingly. Magnus couldn’t keep his unaffected air but he did stand firm. Yoon handed over the documents and Magnus slipped them in with the rest.

“Now I really must be off,” Magnus shook both their hands and turned, leaving the room. He let his face fall with this shoulders and moved quickly away. But Lorenzo decided to stay as a bur on his side.

“I need to go back to New York too, I thought we could share a portal out?” Lorenzo offered. One needed to portal twice to get to the Labyrinth, as there was a little landing area that allowed the crossover between dimensions.

“You have a date too?” Magnus asked snappily, but Lorenzo looked away bashfully. It made Magnus curious despite himself. “How long have you and Underhill been together?”

“Andrew and I have been together for five years,” Lorenzo said, not evening needing to think about it. “We met after one of the meetings.”

“Hmm,” Magnus offered. He couldn’t help but wonder if Lorenzo would have been more of an ally during the revolution if he was with Underhill then. He got to listen to Lorenzo chat about Underhill (Andrew) all the way back to New York.

 

(POV)

Alec opened his bedroom door to find Madzie and Max outside it, Rafe behind them. Madzie had a little bag in hand, and pushed past him, the boys following in a line behind her. Rafe closed the door as three very serious faces looked up at Alec. Rafe and Madzie shared a look and then Rafe went to get into Alec's closet.

"Alright, what's going on?" Alec asked, sitting on the end of his bed. Max climbed up (Alec reached down to help) and settled in the middle of the bed like a starfish.

"Rafe and I are going to help you get ready for the date," Madzie said, holding up the little bag. Alec realized that it was probably for make up and quelled the slight panic that rose at the thought. "Max is here to supervise."

"Oh yeah?" Alec turned and tickled the boy's side. Max giggled, little sparks of purple light flying off him. "What if I distract him?"

"Dad! This is serious!" Rafe said, peeking his head out from Alec's shirts. "You need to look good for Papa!"

Alec felt his heart swoop, as it had every time Rafe called Magnus 'papa.' He couldn't be happier that Rafe trusted Magnus so much. What really got to Alec though was that he was so close to having everything he ever could have wanted, but it was also still so frustratingly far away. Yes, he was going on a date with a man he was, quite frankly, already more than half in love with. Yes, Alec had an amazing kid, well, kids now it seemed. A beautiful family protected from the Clave, but the fact that this was a first date needed to be highlighted. He didn't want to force Magnus into anything, not after all Magnus had done. Alec really wanted this date to go well and for there to be others to follow.

Rafe was right then, this was serious. Alec straightened, pulling out his phone to check the time. He had a little over an hour, but Catarina would be coming by to stay with the kids in less than that. "Okay, where do we start?"

Madzie nodded, putting down her makeup bag, and going to dig in his dresser. "You need nice pants and a nice shirt and little bit of eyeliner."

"I've found some good shirts," Rafe said, nearly tripping over what he had in his arms. Alec stood and helped him lay them out on the bed. Max giggled as some were put over him then tried to stay still, a lump under the shirts in the center of the bed.

Madzie came over with two pairs of pants. Alec knew that they were not going to be the pants he wore, but he sure as hell wasn't going to explain to any of the children that "date pants should be judged by how good they made your ass look" (direct Izzy quote). But the other help was going to be beneficial.

"Is Magn- ah Papa going to get any help?" Alec asked, watching Max wiggle out from under the dress shirts and start to try to unbutton one.
"No, he knows what he's doing," Madzie said, putting the pants down and looking over the shirts. She pointed to the dark green one and then to a navy. "I like these two."

Rafe nodded, then picked up the navy and handed it to Alec. Should Alec be worried that his five year old seemed to know more about this than him? Rafe did spend a lot of time listening to Izzy and Magnus though. And unlike Alec, he’d escaped years of Clave uniform regulations being drilled into him.

"Okay, what's next?" Alec asked, picking up and putting away the other shirts but the one they had chosen and one that Max was now wearing, the tiny warlock almost lost from sight.

"Just a touch of eyeliner!" Madzie said. "To make your eyes pop!"

"I'm not really comfortable with makeup," Alec said, kneeling in front of Madzie.

Madzie tilted her head to one side, clearly confused. "Why not?"

Alec wasn't sure how to explain this. "Well... I guess because where I grew up, people think boys shouldn't wear makeup."
"That's dumb," Madzie said. "Do you believe that?"

"No," Alec assured. "I agree that it's dumb. But it can be hard for me."

"Because the words hurt you?" Madzie asked, stepping a little closer. "They were bullies."

"Yeah," Alec let out a sigh. "Yeah that's why."

What he wasn't expecting was for Madzie to throw her arms around his neck, pulling him into a hug. He hugged her back, blinking quickly. The kindness of this little one... She wanted to help him feel better. She had clearly learned from her papa.

When she pulled away, Madzie's expression was fierce. "You should wear eyeliner because it would make those bullies mad. And because you'll look pretty."

Alec felt his eyebrows shoot up, but he couldn't stop a smile. "Okay. But if I don't like it or I think it looks bad, you can take it off?"

Madzie nodded. "It's a deal!"

Alec ended up wearing eyeliner; very subtle, almost unnoticeable, but enough to make it look like he put an effort in. The kids didn't know that they helped with something else- preventing Alec from overthinking and panicking about the date that was ahead. When they had finished helping him, Alec could only find excitement, with a mix of disbelief that it was actually happening.

 

(POV)
Magnus listened as Alec greeted Catarina and chatted with her about what the kids would want. Magnus was still getting ready, though he could really just wave his hands and look however he wanted. Which might be the problem- despite the fact that Alec had seen Magnus at this point in all states of composure, he still wanted to pay special attention on his look for this date. It was also his armor; Magnus wanted to feel comfortable.

Magnus grabbed his phone and sent a quick text. Catarina slipped into the room a moment later, knowing smile on her face.

"You came early on purpose," Magnus accused her, eyes narrowed.

"Did I assume either you or Alec would need help? Yes," Catarina grinned, looking him over. "He looks dashing though, you have that to look forward too. What's the issue here?"

"I'm going to be late for my own date that is quite literally starting from my own house," Magnus said. His hair and makeup were already perfect, but the clothes... the clothes. He wasn't sure what he would like to be seen in most. Right now, he was just standing in a robe.

Catarina tutted, and turned to the outfits on the bed. She picked out a whole new outfit with the combinations there, passing it wordlessly over to Magnus. "Put this on. Alec doesn't care what you're wearing, he just wants to go on a date with you."

Magnus let out a breath. "You agree with Ragnor's assessment?"

"Which one? That Alec is smitten with you and you should stop being an idiot?" Catarina asked, crossing her arms and trying to look serious.

"That's one way to put it," Magnus rolled his eyes at her.

"Then yes," Catarina said. "But if you are referring to his assessment on those new tie-dye Starbucks drinks, then no. They’re horrible and an affront to taste buds." She turned then and left the room.

Magnus put on the black pants (tight, but soft), red shirt, and grey jacket she had handed him. Looking in the mirror, he waved his hand to add a few red highlights to his hair. Catarina was spot on, but she had been watching his fashion sense for decades. She knew what he liked and what looked best on him. Stepping out of the room, he found Catarina was in the kitchen, setting out what was needed to make brownies and popcorn, all three kids watching intently as they crowding around her.

“Good-bye!” he called, and all three of them waved but didn’t come to hug him. Shaking his head and chuckling, he went to the living room.

Alec was standing, looking out into the night. The door was open to let in the cool summer evening, the smell of the rain from earlier filling the home. Alec looked gorgeous, as he always did, in a navy shirt that fit him perfectly, as did his dark grey jeans. Magnus didn’t stop himself from looking like he usually would, because this was really happening. They were going on a date.

Stepping to Alec’s side, resting a hand in the middle of his back, Magnus watched as Alec turned. Alec’s mouth fell open a bit as he looked Magnus over, and Magnus couldn’t help but stand a little taller. It felt good to be admired, but what was even better was the way Alec’s eyes settled on Magnus’ own. “Hey,” he whispered, and Magnus felt like they were the only people in the world.

“Hey yourself,” Magnus pushed himself forward and pressed his lips to Alec’s cheek. He nudged Alec with his nose, breathing the smell of sandalwood and mint, before pulling back. “Ready to go?”

“Yes,” Alec was curling towards Magnus, his full presence completely focused on Magnus. Magnus liked the feel of Alec’s body against his and it was a struggle not to say screw it and portal them both to the bedroom in Magnus’ apartment in Paris.

 

But that wasn’t what Magnus wanted Alec to think all this was (though it was possible that, like Magnus, Alec was equally in a dry spell caused by being a single parent of a small child). Instead Magnus pulled away slowly, but slipped his hand into Alec’s. “Want to start with a night time walk in the park?”

Alec seemed a little breathless, though he collected himself quickly. “Yeah, that sounds nice. Do we have reservations we need to make?”

Magnus nodded, “They’re still an hour out, and I can portal us there.”

“Don’t need to worry about traffic when your date is a warlock?” Alec asked. His face was still so temptingly close.

“One of the perks to dating a talented one at least,” Magnus said, making no move to step away, though he tried not to flick his eyes to Alec’s mouth.

“You’re saying your talented?”

“In many things,” Magnus let his voice go low, almost a purr. Alec was certainly affected, his pupils dilating-

“Are you two still here?” Catarina’s voice broke through, laughter clear. Magnus and Alec moved their faces away from each other. None of the kids were there, just Catarina looking around the wall.

“We got distracted,” Alec said, and his eyes seemed golden to Magnus. He then moved through the open door, Magnus following, hands still clasped tight. Magnus wondered at the feeling pushing at his throat and then he knew. Alec felt safe, he could trust Alec with all of himself, and Magnus couldn’t remember the last person who had made him feel that way.

 

(POV)
Alec wondered how long he was going to be able to stop himself from kissing Magnus, especially when Magnus kept looking at him like he was something remarkable. They had spent a good portion of the walk in companionable silence, just enjoying each other’s presence and walking hand in hand. Everytime they passed under one of the lamps that lit the park path, Alec caught Magnus’ eyes and nearly stopped, thinking of pulling Magnus close, cradling his face in his hands, and leaning down to brush his lips-

“Alexander, we should find a place to portal,” Magnus said, as they passed beneath some trees. “We don’t want to be late for the reservations.”

Alec didn’t say the first thing that came to his head, which was to hell with the reservations. He just wanted to stay close to Magnus, wanted to bask in the reality that he got to be on a date with a man. Not just any man, but Magnus, who was the kindest person he’d met. Not to mention the most beautiful… Instead Alec said, “Okay, there are some hedges over there that should shield us from view.”

They slipped out of sight and suddenly Magnus was very close. He was warm and solid and right there. When Alec felt Magnus’ breath on his own lips, he closed the gap before he could think of a good reason not to.

Magnus met him and it quickly turned into something other than the chaste first kiss Alec had been imagining just moments before. When Alec gasped, Magnus deepened the kiss, and Alec felt hungry for more. They pulled back for a moment, and Alec thought he couldn’t breath but more important than anything was kissing Magnus again. Magnus seemed to agree, meeting Alec once more as one of his hands tangled in the hair at the nape of Alec’s neck; warm, grounding, and not enough.

It turned out kissing Magnus was better than anything Alec could have imagined. It felt like Alec could express to Magnus everything he wanted to- how much Alec cared for him, how much he needed Magnus in his life, how Alec was falling for him. And Magnus seemed to answer, their bodies now flush, kissing promises Alec trusted him to keep. He moved his hands down to rest on Magnus’ hips, not wanting to let there be any space between them.

“Alexander,” Magnus said. His voice was rough, and it sent a spark of desire through Alec.

“Magnus,” Alec panted back, resting their foreheads together.

“Do you want to skip out on our reservations?”

Was Magnus asking what Alec thought he was? Alec felt his hands tighten on Magnus hips, causing Magnus to let out a small gasp. “Yes. Please.”

Before Alec could try and think of what the next steps would be, Magnus was creating a portal while still keeping himself pressed against Alec. “To Paris,” Magnus said.

“Why Paris?” Alec managed, though he would follow Magnus anywhere.

“I have another home there,” Magnus said casually, and stepped away. Alec stopped a very undignified noise at the loss of contact and hurried to follow, clutching Magnus’ hand close.

“Another benefit of dating a talented warlock?” he managed to tease.

“Oh darling, you’re about to find out how talented I can be,” Magnus’ eyes glittered in the light of the portal before he stepped through. Alec was quick to follow.

 

(POV*)
Alec was kissing him, as soon as Magnus closed the portal and lit the candles he had around this room, large hands cradling Magnus’ face. Magnus reached up to hold Alec’s shoulders, then giggled with Alec when he tripped over his shoes trying to remove them. Magnus took that as a cue to toss off his own jacket, then to reach out and help Alec take off his shirt. They fumbled with the buttons, causing more laughter between them.

That feeling of safety had settled over Magnus, making him warm as he divested Alec of his shirt. This felt right and Magnus was suddenly unsure why he had hesitated. Hadn’t Alec proven over and over that he was as committed to this as Magnus? Hadn’t Alec asked him out first, pushing past any fears to make sure they didn’t lose the possibility of this moment?

Magnus turned them, so Alec landed on his back amid the emerald sheets with Magnus on top of him. Magnus wanted to take the time to admire the sight but Alec arched towards him, demanding to be kissed. And who was Magnus to say no to that?

Magnus slid a leg between Alec’s, as he made the shadowhunter reach. Then he felt Alec making quick, determined work of the buttons of Magnus’ shirt, before he pushed the shirt aside, hands running over Magnus’ chest, sides, lower back. Those touches made desire flare and Magnus felt the control of his magic slip. His glamour went down.

He pulled back from Alec, his body still hovering over his, necklaces pooling against his chest. Alec opened his eyes, meeting Magnus’ gaze. The look of awe, followed by a soft smile, nearly caused Magnus to melt against the other man. His heart ached with feeling so full, to have such acceptance from the last place he’d expect.

One of Alec’s hands moved to rest on Magnus’ cheek, the other staying on his waist. “You’re gorgeous,” Alec whispered and all Magnus could do was gaze back for a long moment.

“This okay?” Magnus whispered back, realizing he should check in before they went further, as much as he wanted to use his magic to strip them both naked.

Alec smiled, pulling Magnus’ face closer. “More than okay. You good?”

“More than good,” Magnus answered, before kissing Alec once more, trying to convey all he was feeling in this moment. Good didn’t even begin to cover it. Magnus pulled away enough to finish pushing off his shirt. In doing so their hips become flush to each other and they both groaned at the contact. Magnus straddled Alec and ground down with more purpose, and watched as this shadowhunter, his shadowhunter, arched for more contact.

Magnus had never given runes much thought, but he leaned down now, mouthing along one before seeking out another. Alec sighed happily, and gasped with a shuddered breath when Magnus moved his attention to one nipple, then the other. Goodness that chest hair. Magnus returned to kissing Alec’s mouth, and he scratched his fingers through it.

Alec bucked against him then, and Magnus had to wonder how long he would last. It had been a long time, and Alec was here and warm and safe. Alec seemed to have the same thought, creating enough space to say, sounding thoroughly wrecked already, “Can I go down on you?” His hands moved to finger along the waistband of Magnus’ pants.

Magnus felt he could probably come to those words along, but managed to nod. Alec was then switching their positions, Magnus relaxing back on the sheets as Alec made surprisingly quick work of both their pants. Neither of their underwear could cover their current states, and Magnus thought he’d be imagining Alec in those black boxer briefs for a long time.

“So beautiful,” Alec murmured, looking down at Magnus spread before him, and Magnus couldn’t help but smile back. Alec kissed Magnus as if proving all his mouth could do, before pulling away and kissing down to Magnus’ waistband. He looked up then through his lashes and checked. “Still good?”

“Alexander, yes,” Magnus managed, feeling both his emotions and his arousal competing for attention.

Alec gave that lopsided smile before divesting Magnus of his final piece of clothing. Magnus had just enough awareness to apply a general protection spell before Alec took him in hand. When Alec’s mouth was added to the equation, all Magnus could do was bury his hand in Alec’s hair and enjoy the hum that earned him.

Magnus enjoyed himself thoroughly and wasn’t sure this got any better. Then Alec ignored his warning and swallowed with another contented hum. And then, when Magnus offered to return the favor, he found Alec had gotten off by going down on Magnus alone. Fuck.

As they lay side by side an unknown (to Magnus) amount of time later, Magnus held Alec close and their breathing coming back to normal. Magnus said, “Who knew, Alexander Lightwood liked to suck dick.”

“Excuse me, I’d say I love to,” Alec teased back, eyes sparkling.

*“Noted,” Magnus said, before they both started to laugh. It felt so good, this kind of companionship, these kinds of release. After all the stress, it felt more than earned. When they both calmed down, Magnus asked, “You still hungry?”

Alec’s stomach weighed in, causing additional laugher. “Yeah,” he said sheepishly after they caught their breath.

“What do you want? We can’t go to the Italian place now,” Magnus said. “And it’s after midnight in Paris.”

“I think I want… a cheeseburger,” Alec said, biting his lower lip and making Magnus want to kiss him senseless all over again.

“I know all the best all night diners in a little place you might have heard of, called New York City?” Magnus said, running a hand through Alec’s hair. “But we should probably shower first.”

Alec’s eyes filled with heat again. “I think you’re right.”

 

They did make it to a diner about two hours later, clean and completely satisfied. When they got home, Catarina was relaxing on the couch reading. She didn’t make any comments at the late hour, beyond, “I hope the date went well!” and reporting the kids were sound asleep. But as she hugged them both goodnight, there was a knowing twinkle in her eye and Magnus had a feeling he would be hearing from both her and Ragnor about this development.

Magnus couldn’t find himself in it to care much. Even though he and Alec both went to their separate rooms (after another long kiss), it was with a clear understanding that it was so if the kids woke up, they would be where they were expected. And maybe soon, they could change where that was. Magnus climbed into his bed and it didn’t seem lonely, but instead full of possibility. He slept better than he had in many years.

Chapter Text

Alec found Magnus in his apothecary, but he didn't seem to be working on anything. That was good, it meant that Alec wasn't intruding, but it also just made him more nervous. What would he say? Before he could turn away without Magnus spotting him, dark eyes found his own. Magnus was sitting on the floor, a box in front of him, seeming to be staring at what was in it without touching anything.

"Alexander," Magnus' voice cracked, his face expressionless, and Alec knew he couldn't leave. He needed to make sure that Magnus was okay. "What can I do for you?"

Alec moved and knelt at Magnus' side. "Nothing. Are you okay?"

He could see the battle on Magnus' eyes as the warlock decided if he should lie. Finally, Magnus just shook his head, and looked back at the box. Alec followed his line of sight. The box seemed to be filled with random items, things that didn't make sense all together.

"What's this?" Alec settled, sitting on the floor, his knee brushing Magnus' own.

"Memories," Magnus reached a hand out, brushing it over the top, but didn't pick anything up. "Items from friends, partners, family... those whom my immortal life have left behind. I have so many memories that it's helpful to have something to ground them."

Alec took a deep breath, as he felt his heart crack. It hurt to think of the loneliness Magnus had experienced, and it hurt that maybe something of his own might end up in this box. And that was if he was lucky enough to make sure an impression on Magnus. Maybe Alec should be hoping he got to be that lucky.

"Do you want me to leave you alone?" Alec asked.

"No," Magnus' ringed hand brushed Alec's own for a moment. "I probably... it's probably not a good thing to look through alone."

"Okay," Alec reached out. He could do this. He wouldn't run away. Magnus had stood beside him through so much, it was good to give him some of that support back. "Will you tell me about some of them? Help you remember?"

Magnus nodded, leaned so his shoulder was even closer to Alec's. His breath was shaky but his voice was strong once more when he said, "I can give you more of my history. Pick up an item and I will do my best to tell you."

Alec felt scared that he might hurt something in the box. But as he looked at the layer of items on the top, he could see few were truly fragile, probably so that they could keep longer. Feeling a little sick, Alec picked up the largest item on the top. It seemed to be a small knife wrapped in cloth, unique because the blade wasn't straight but wavy. When he looked up at Magnus he knew he had made a bad choice in memory. Magnus’ eyes were stormy, mouth pinched.

"You don't need to," Alec whispered, covering the blade once more.

Magnus shook his head, reaching out for it. Alec set it in his palm. "This is for my mother. It's near the top because I only recently was able to return it to my possession." Magnus stared at the hilt, before laying it back into the box. "I don't have anything else from her... it's the knife my father... my step father I guess, not my demonic father... It's the knife he used to cut my mother down after she hung herself."

Alec felt as if the breath was knocked out of him. "Oh Magnus..."

Magnus shook his head, as if such a thing was nothing. "It's four hundred years in the past. I was just a child..." As if this made it better instead of worse.

Alec leaned fully into Magnus' space, but didn't know if Magnus truly wanted to be touched. "Should we stop?"

"No, no, not all are so tragic," Magnus smiled, and Alec didn't believe it for a second. Magnus' eyes didn't hold tears, but Alec thought maybe it would be best to change the subject. He picked up a long pearl necklace. A smile that was almost real was on Magnus' face as he passed the necklace over. "Ah, Etta."

"A good memory?" Alec said, keeping his voice low. His heart ached for Magnus. He didn't know it was possible to feel this much of someone else's pain. It felt hard to breath from it.

"Mmm," Magnus ran the pearls through his fingers thoughtfully. "Etta was the last person I was in a relationship with. She decided that my immortality, that I couldn't grow old with her or give her a family, was too much. But we were together for nearly two decades... she was there when I took Raphael in, though Raphael wanted no mother figure other than his own."

"When was this?" Alec asked, not sure if he truly wanted an answer. Was he jealous of the woman or angry at the fact she had left Magnus alone? He hoped it was the latter.

"Ah, we parted in 1956... I would visit her, the years before she passed away in the early 80s," Magnus put the necklace away. "But she didn't remember me any more by then."

Alec did the math quickly in his head. Magnus had been alone for over sixty years. "Did you love her?"

"I did, I loved her a lot," Magnus smiled still. "We'd dance in my apartment or her own when we didn't make it out to the clubs. She was a singer, and that got us sometimes into places that normally would turn her away and not know what to do with me." Magnus laughed, looking up at Alec. "One time, we were able to sneak around after she sang. Fancy club, whites only, all that good stuff. We caused quite the fuss- and not because we were the best dancers or the best dressed."

Alec nodded. "I'm sure you were fantastically dressed."

"I was trying out an improved look of those private eye stories," Magnus said. "In fact, I tried my hand at being a PI."

"How did that go?"

"I got a broody vampire roommate who was really into Jesus."

Alec shook his head, but cracked a smile, "Raphael." He was almost nervous to pick out another item. He took a silver snuffbox though, turning it over in his hands.

"Woolsey Scott," Magnus said and Alec raised both eyebrows.

"The founder of the Praetor Lupus?"

"One and the same," Magnus smiled, tapping a nail on the box. "Friend, roommate... ah occasional tension releasing shag." These last words were said in a flawless London accent. "He couldn’t keep this because it's silver and he was a werewolf."

Alec picked up another necklace, this one beautiful silver with a blood red gem. The word Amor was caved into the back. "Another partner?"

Magnus sighed. "I guess, though there was nothing equal in the feelings shared. Camille Belcourt, she was beautiful, charming, cruel, manipulative... she was not a person that could love. I wish I'd known that sooner, before I had given her so much of my heart. She was killed by shadowhunters along with a good portion of her clan in the 80s when they mistook the clan's addiction as a new downworlder attack."

Alec was unsure what to say. "You keep the good and the bad together," he finally noted, setting the necklace back.

"Yes, that's how life is. It's important to remember both, even if I don't always want to," Magnus shrugged. "It is actually helpful to have someone with me, so thank you, Alexander."

"Of course," Alec said and wished he was brave enough to press a kiss to Magnus' forehead, or offer some other kind of comfort. They sat there a little longer, talking about George, lover from the civil war, and Will Herondale, close friend and shadowhunter. When he was done, Magnus let Alec close the lid, and then he picked up the box, placing it under a stack of papers and books on potions.

Magnus held out a hand, and helped Alec to his feet. They stood close in the small room, "So Alexander, do you feel like you know your roommate a bit more?"

"Thank you for sharing with me," Alec whispered. “I didn’t mean to pry.”

Magnus looked up at him and murmured, "I'm... not always the most open, but believe me it is not in malice."

"You don't have to explain yourself," Alec assured, resting his hands on Magnus' shoulders. "You have taken me into your home, taken care of me and my family. I owe you so much."

Magnus shook his head. "You don't owe me anything Alexander."

They stood there for a long moment, and Alec tried to figure out what he was feeling. He knew that he had begun to fall for Magnus a long time ago. Maybe even before they met, in those curling words of written plan rescues. The warmth and compassion that Magnus held was nothing like Alec had ever seen. How could he not fall?

Chapter Text

Alec woke up with a start, but relaxed when he saw what had woken him was just Magnus coming into his room. Since their first, and so far only, official date three days ago, their personal space had shrunk further than before. Thus Alec wasn't very surprised when Magnus wandered into his bedroom, still in his own pajamas and with two mugs of coffee. Alec picked up his phone to see it was only 6am and sighed. He might have been able to get another hour or so of sleep before Rafe woke up, and he flopped back down. Turning, he watched Magnus sit on the right side of the bed.

Alec wanted to be upset by the wake up, but then Magnus looked so beautiful and soft in the early mornings before he put on his armor of makeup and fashion was put on. Magnus always looked beautiful, but the trust he showed Alec was something Alec treasured. Alec smiled, trying to hide it in his pillow, as he watched Magnus. He’d put both cups of coffee down and leaned down to give Alec a kiss on the cheek. Now Alec didn’t hide his smile, and shifted closer to Magnus' warmth. He’d found himself daydreaming about the day he got to wake up in the same bed as Magnus, even as his mind pointed he didn't want to push it, didn't want to go too fast.

"Morning," he managed, blinking and trying to gather his thoughts.

"Good morning," Magnus grinned down at him, running a hand through Alec's hair, which had to be a mess. Alec was not going to complain about Magnus’ attentions, but he could feel Magnus' nervous energy.

"What's up?" he asked, turning enough to look up at Magnus.

"With everything that has been going on, I haven't had time to start planning Max's birthday," Magnus said, picking his coffee back up and taking a long sip.

Alec tried not to pout at the fact that Magnus was no longer playing with his hair. This was important and he pushed up on his elbows with a sigh. "When is it?" he asked, sitting up and leaning against the headboard next to Magnus.

"This weekend!" Magnus answered, passing Alec the second mug of coffee before leaning until their shoulders touched. "He's going to be four and I hardly have anything prepared."

"What do you have?" Alec thought about how he would need to get a gift for Max, and one for Rafe to give him as well. Rafe liked to give his own gifts, not liking to be just added onto what Alec was giving.

"Some presents, I've been picking things up whenever I see them-" Magnus said, which made a lot of sense to Alec. Of course Magnus was always looking for things that his kids would like. "I think I'll just hold it here, in the loft, because that is what's safest. And I think he'd appreciate a birthday at a zoo when he's a little older..."

"We need to get the loft ready then, and invite people?" Alec asked. He also bet that Luke and Jocelyn already had the birthday marked somewhere, and that they’d probably have planned ahead. "What about food?"

"I can order some, and then materialize the rest..." Magnus turned to Alec. "Did you say we?"

"I want to help however I can." Alec thought at this point it was pretty clear they were doing much of the parenting together, as a team. But he worried that he had over stepped. Maybe Magnus didn't want him to take too active a role until they were sure this was something that would last?

Alec knew that he wanted it to last, however, he couldn't make assumptions of what Magnus wanted. But he got to see a bright smile spread across Magnus' face and a kiss pressed to his hair. Alec could really get used to this...

"I take that a yes to helping?" Alec smiled over at Magnus.

"Please! I think having you take the little ones out will give me some time to put everything together," Magnus said thoughtfully. "Max said he wanted a surprise party, so that's what I want it to be. I'll send the invitations to my family and yours..." Alec didn't jump when a notebook suddenly appeared beside Magnus. Putting his coffee aside, Magnus flipped to a blank page and began writing.

Alec was already so far gone, he just sat beside Magnus drinking his coffee, their shoulders touching, watching as he planned out Max's party. That this was the life he had was something Alec held close in the quiet, savoring it. That he got to be here, beside Magnus, happy. In that quiet morning moment, Alec knew there was no way in hell he was going to ever let the Clave take this away from him.

 

That Friday, Alec woke up early so he could put lunch together before they all went to the Angel's Nest. The house was largely quiet, though he heard some noises from Madzie's room. She hadn't come out though, so Alec assumed she just wanted to play by herself, or maybe she was reading, or doing an art project. Something she didn't want either of the little boys to bother her with. Alec remembered what it had been like to have little siblings, though Magnus and Alec both tried not to put Madzie in the position of watching either Max or Rafe. It wouldn't be fair to her, and Alec knew that well. Even with this, there were quiet projects she would disappear and do on her own to have a break. Alec certainly wasn’t going to interrupt that.

Once he put together a simple PB&J lunch for each of the kids with the snacks Magnus always kept stocked, he poured a second cup of coffee for himself and one for Magnus. Moved across the loft, he paused at Magnus' door and started to second guess. This was all so new and Alec wanted to make sure that they did this right. Then again, they were really in uncharted territory here, with proper relationship etiquette. Magnus had already completed the adoption paperwork for Rafe. Today, Jocelyn was going to have them complete their portion of the marriage license.

What that meant was, for all intents and purposes, he and Magnus were getting married today, even if it didn't quite feel like it. It was in a way so clinical, but in another? Alec couldn't deny his nerves and the excitement that had become tied to thinking about Magnus. About what this represented and what it could represent.

Taking a deep breath, he carefully opened Magnus' door. Peaking in, Alec found Magnus was still sleeping, curled towards the center of the bed. Slipping further in and closing the door with his foot, Alec placed the coffee he brought for Magnus on his side table. Not wanting to wake up Magnus, Alec moved to leave again, but a hand lightly grabbed his wrist.

"Now isn't this a nice surprise," Magnus said, voice rough with sleep. He blinked slowly up at Alec, and Alec found himself lost for a moment. Magnus' golden eyes looked up at him, matched with the soft smile on Magnus face. It made Alec feel... light and as if he could take on the impossible.

Did Alec dare to hope that maybe Magnus could love him as Alec found himself falling for Magnus?

Instead of following those thoughts down paths that he knew lead to over thinking, he put down his own cup of coffee and then leaned down to kiss Magnus, resting his hand against Magnus' cheek. Magnus stretched up to meet him. Alec had just been going for a peck, but when Magnus swept his tongue over Alec's lower lip, he opened to him with a sigh. Magnus shifted enough to tug Alec down, and Alec found himself straddling Magnus' lap.

Magnus pulled back and they breathed together for a moment. Then he teased, "We're having the hazelnut coffee today?"

Alec blushed, though he didn't really have anything to be embarrassed about. Maybe it was just the domesticity of it all. "I thought it might be a nice change."

"Mmm," Magnus kissed him again, slow and lazy. Alec couldn't help but push closer, wanting to melt against Magnus' body. When they parted next, Alec stayed close, pressing kisses to Magnus' forehead, cheeks, the tip of his nose. Trying to shower the man in the same feelings he caused in Alec. Magnus' hands rested on Alec's hips, nothing possessive, just grounding.

"Hey, is it bad luck that I'm seeing you?" Alec asked absently, admiring the smile he’d been able to bring to Magnus’ face.

"Dear Alexander, that is the joy of being two men getting married," Magnus winked. "Neither one of us is the bride."

"Isn't that then unfair when two women-" Alec started, leaning back a bit, grinning at Magnus' exasperation.

Magnus shook his head. "It is also specifically related to the dress, and I'm sorry to disappoint, but I’ve not hidden a wedding gown in my closet," Magnus rolled his eyes, but the smile that never left the corners of his mouth let Alec know he was enjoying this.

Alec leaned forward and kissed each corner, enjoying the rasp of Magnus’ goatee. "I'm gravely disappointed."

"You seem it," Magnus' voice was warm with laughter, but turned into more of a purr as he said. "Now, corsets, lingerie? A few very specific dresses? Those I certainly have."

Alec found himself freezing, even as his body flushed. He'd never had the space to think of... well anything like that. Getting dressed specifically to be undressed. Or clothes specifically to be kept on. Back in Idris, his encounters tended to be quick, both parties completely understanding the need for secrecy and discretion. There was nothing romantic about them, at least for Alec. But now his mind gave him some very interesting images based on Magnus' words.

"Alec?" Magnus asked, bringing him back to the fact he was straddling Magnus. As Alec focused back on him, he saw Magnus' face was pinched with worry. "I'm sorry if I overstepped, I didn't mean-"

Alec reached out to rest his hand back on Magnus' cheek. "You didn't overstep, I... I would like to revisit this. But maybe not when we have-" he reached over to tap Magnus' phone screen- "a little over an hour before we're supposed to be out of the house."

Magnus nodded, but still looked a little worried. Alec leaned forward and kissed him again. Magnus kissed back, relaxing into Alec's touch. To have such power over Magnus Bane... Alec hummed happily and wanted to forget about the time limit he'd just set for them. Magnus seemed to agree, until his phone's alarm went off. Sighing, he pulled away from Alec and silenced it. "Looks like our time's up... unless..." his eyes sparkled up at Alec, pupils wide.

"Yes?" Alec prompted, feeling like he really would like to go back to kissing.

"Well, I take it you haven't showered," Magnus said. "And neither have I. I also happen to have a rather large shower..."

"I remember," Alec said, thinking back to the first morning in the loft. "We can wake up the kids when we're both... showered."

"You're a quick study, Alexander," Magnus winked again.

Alec had a good feeling he was really going to like being married to Magnus.

 

They made it to the Angel's Nest in plenty of time for Magnus to meet with his first client. Alec took all the kids to work off some energy in the sparring room, and ran into Izzy and Clary there. They were both doing some stretches, clearly preparing to go a few rounds. Rafe ran over to hug his tia, and Madzie and Max wanted to say hi to Clary. Alec followed at a slower pace, smiling as Rafe talked a mile a minute to Izzy.

In one breath Rafe was saying, "And Madzie and I made sure Dad had a nice shirt, not an uncool shirt, but a nice shirt that Papa would like-"

"Wait," Izzy held up her hand. "Repeat that?"

"Madzie and I made sure Dad looked nice for his date," Rafe repeated happily.

"With Magnus," Izzy clarified.

"Yeah! Papa always looks so nice so Madzie and I-" Rafe was off again, but Izzy met Alec's eyes over Rafe's head.

'Papa?' she mouthed and Alec wasn't sure how to justify it. How did this all look to those outside? He'd spoken with Izzy, Jace, and Maxwell about the choice he and Magnus were faced with. She didn't argue against it, just looked a little sad that he was being forced into something by the Clave. Again. But when he mentioned he'd asked Magnus on a date and Magnus had accepted, that look of pity left. She’d smiled and given some tips and some teasing. Jace had just said, “Told you so” and Maxwell, “Called it.”

Now, Izzy was just confused. And so Alec shrugged and nodded, letting her know that they'd talk about it. Izzy didn't know how nice it was to have someone looking out for him like she was. Alec knew that Izzy would back him up, would listen to him. It wasn't like the choked feeling of when their mother or father asked after what Alec had been up to. It was because of such things as he is pretty sure Robert thought Alec wanted to marry Lydia, a grave misunderstanding of who Alec was. On the flip side, Maryse always looked pinched and worried when Lydia came up. Though if she truly knew, truly cared, wouldn't she have tried to stop Alec?

Alec took a deep breath, grounding himself in the now. He was safe. After a few deep breaths, Alec called the kids to him. Alec set up a mat so Max could continue to practice his “cartwheels,” while Madzie and Rafe he took through some stretches. They were similar to what Izzy and Clary did, but toned down to be gentler on growing bodies. After about an hour, Luke came and asked if he could take over, saying Jocelyn was free. Alec just nodded, back to feeling oddly nervous.

He paused in the doorway, "Oh Luke, they have snacks in their lunch boxes, if they need them."

"Don't worry, I have cookies-" all the kids turned to focus on Luke "-but only for those who behave."

Alec smiled, knowing that Luke would have no trouble with the kids now. Waving, he left and navigated through the small halls and stairways to Jocelyn's office. It was on the top floor, and the window looked out into the street. There were many books, those from Ragnor that weren't needed because they were copies or had been scanned into the system. They were mostly the ones on Clave history and culture, and demon hunting. All the books that treated downworlders the same as demons or listed them like animals for study had not been given back, though they had not been destroyed. "You can't learn from history you've chosen to forget," was how Ragnor had put it, and those books were now part of the collections scanned in.

Jocelyn was sitting behind a large old desk, the wood light maple, in places worn down with use. Plants crowded the windows, and a stack of sketchbooks rested in one corner. It was warm, bright, welcoming, and homey, where as what Alec remembered of the Institute office was dark and intimidating. Given to the way it had been destroyed, he guessed the downworlders had thought similarly.

"Alec," Jocelyn smiled as she looked up. She gestured to one of the two chairs pulled up to her desk. "How are you doing?"

"I'm doing better," Alec said, returning her smile. "Thank you for your help with this."

"Of course," Jocelyn took out a folder from the papers on her desk and set it out, facing Alec. Looking them over, Alec could see what Jocelyn had completed, and the signature of the warlock representative. "I try to serve as some form of representative to those of us outside Idris, at least in this city. But it's not like I was elected."

Alec was surprised he'd never thought of that. He'd come in and just accepted Jocelyn's place as the head of the rogue shadowhunters here. "I guess we've all been well trained by the nepotism in Alicante to overlook such things," Alec mused out loud.

"Yes, and I'm not sure when that will change, but I know I don't want this position forever," Jocelyn said. "I've broached the topic a few times with your sister, and a few others. It would be a change in dynamic to have an election for the next leader."

"We warlocks seem to be able to handle it," Magnus said, sweeping into the room. Alec found himself staring, but he usually found that Magnus drew his attention. He was beautiful in the warm light, the golden accents of his blue shirt only seeming to enhance the warmth of the room. "I've talked with Raphael and Luke about making their people more democratic as well."

"It's a valuable question," Jocelyn said, but then tapped the paper she had set before them. "But not what we're here to discuss."

Magnus nodded, settling in the free chair, hand moving to rest calmingly on Alec's leg. Alec hadn't noticed he was bouncing it, but he leaned towards Magnus. "What needs to be done?" Alec asked.

"We just need some personal information and your signatures, and it will be official," Jocelyn said.

"How are we getting it to the Clave?" Magnus asked, a pen appearing in his hand as he picked up the paperwork.

"I will be sending it with other records I share with them, as I do from time to time," Jocelyn said.

"Why types of records?" Alec asked, watching as Magnus completed the forms.

"Deaths mostly. I don't like to reveal when a baby is born to us," Jocelyn admitted. "And not all the deaths are those who have... died. There are those who want nothing to do with the Clave now that they are here."

Alec nodded, thinking of that option. He didn't think he and Rafe would have been those who could disappear from the shadow world. Alec also knew he wouldn't want to. He accepted the pen and paperwork as Magnus passed it over. There wasn't much left for him to do, but his hand shook slightly as he completed the blanks spaces, listing his name, his birth date, his parents. He glanced at Magnus' birth date, but couldn't focus on the numbers, his eyes drifting away. Alec guessed it had a spell over it just for that purpose, and shook his head with a smile.

Alec paused at the spot where it listed an intent to change names. Magnus hadn't completed this and Alec took a shaky breath. Maybe if they made this real, if Magnus fell for Alec too, they could revisit changing their names. There was a certain ring to Lightwood-Bane...

Signing and dating, Alec let out the breath he was holding, passing the pen back to Magnus. Jocelyn took the file, looked it over, and nodded. Smiling at them she said, "Congratulations, you're married! Just need Idris to put the official stamp on it."

Magnus glanced over at Alec, looking at him through his lashes. Unfair, in Alec's opinion, reminding him of that morning. "How does it feel to be a married man, Alexander?"

"I'm glad it's you," Alec found himself saying honestly. Before an awkward silence could settle, Alec pushed his chair back. Magnus stood with him. "I better get back to the kids."

"And I better get back before my next appointment," Magnus said, then sighed. "You know, I always supposed I'd get to plan a party, if ever I got married."

Alec felt a little sick, to have taken that away from Magnus. He tried to lighten the mood by saying, "I'm a traditional kind of guy. No ceremony until after the third date."

Magnus chuckled, resting a hand on the small of Alec's back as they left Jocelyn's office. "Traditional, hmm? Now what about this morning-"

"How about we go to dinner properly?" Alec interrupted, not wanting anyone to overhear, but also smiling. Okay, maybe there was a small part of him that wanted to shout the ways that Magnus was his.

"Alright, but you will have to try and be less distracting," Magnus said, and Alec blushed. By the Angel, what was he going to do with this man?

"Fair enough," he said instead, as they descended the stairs back to the lower levels. "I'll put something together. There are lots of restaurants we haven't angered by not showing up to reservations after all."

"Certainly," Magnus spread his hands. “The joys of New York!”

When they reached the first floor once more, Alec leaned in and placed a quick kiss on Magnus' cheek. The smile he got as a reward was blinding. Alec always wanted to find a way to make Magnus smile. "Back to the kids," he repeated and turned before he could get distracted by the way Magnus’ eyes crinkled.

"Hate to see you go, love to see you leave!" Magnus called after him. Alec could only laugh at that, waving a dismissive hand. Magnus’ chuckles followed him down the hallway.

 

Saturday morning found Alec in charge of Rafe and Madzie. Max, not knowing he was getting a surprise party, was getting pampered by his Aunt Catarina and Uncle Ragnor. Magnus was working on making the loft perfect and didn't want any distractions. So Alec, Rafe, and Madzie had been kicked out.

"Shall we go to a toy store?" Alec asked, and they both cheered. Laughing he continued, "We need to get some presents for Max. It's his birthday after all."

Madzie sighed deeply, as only an older sibling could. "Oh I guess."

Rafe jumped up and down, still excited. "I want to help choose what we get him!"

Alec grinned down at them both. Despite Madzie's drama, it was clear she was ready to give her attention to the task. But his son's excitement over getting Max a gift made Alec's heart feel too big for his chest. The boy really was the best thing to happen to him. Scooping Rafe up, who was still small for his age but catching up every day, Alec solidified this moment in his mind. He was going to want to be able to remember when he was still able to do this.

"Madzie, do you know a store that would have something Max definitely would like?" Alec asked, holding out a hand for her to take. She slipped her hand in his without hesitation and they walked out of the park.

Madzie shrugged, then began to swing their joined hands back and forth. "No."

Alec shook his head. "Do you think if you saw it, you could find the toy that Max would like best?"

"Yes," Madzie said, not hesitating at all. "He wants the smaller legos now that he’s old enough."

Alec was sure he could look forward to stepping on those, but he did like the idea of getting Max something that they could work on together. "That's great thinking."

"I know," Madzie said.

"Are you feeling contrary today?" Alec asked, smiling down at her.

"What's contrary?"

"Um, you want to disagree with me," Alec explained. He needed to get better at fitting lessons into the day to day. Magnus made it seem so easy.

"I don't like that you and Papa are keeping a secret from us," Madzie said outright.

Alec thought about what she might mean. Then he realized it was probably just Max's party. He and Magnus had been trying to play their cards close to the chest, but it might look suspicious to Madzie. Alec also wondered that, while she seemed accepting of the current situation with him and Magnus, if she didn't have deeper questions or thoughts on the matter, being older than Rafe and Max.

"I can tell you both the secret, but you have to promise not to tell Max," Alec paused, looking around for a bench so they might pause outside of the pedestrian traffic. Leading them further towards the mall he'd looked up that morning, he thought over what he could say.

"Oh, that's it?" Madzie said from his side. She sounded relieved. "You're just talking about the surprise party?"

Alec looked down at her again. "How'd you know about it?"

"I guessed, and I don't know why else Papa would need us out of the house," Madzie said, then tugged Alec's hand. "Let's go! We want to find the present and not be late for the party."

"We can't tell Max, remember," Alec checked.

"Duh," was Madzie's response, but she seemed happier now. Alec was glad. He didn't want to little girl to be upset with him or the changes he brought.

"Hey Madzie?"

"Yeah?"

"You know, if there is anything you have questions about, or are worried about, please let me and your papa know, okay?" Alec said. "We want to make sure you're happy."

"I know," Madzie said. "I trust you. Now be serious! We need to find the perfect set of legos!"

 

When Alec and the kids got back, they found Magnus adding some animated decorations to a large number of cupcakes. Madzie ran to him, standing on her toes to get the best look. "Alec said we're having a surprise party?"

"For Max, yes. Do you think he'll like it?" Magnus asked, smiling at her.

"Yeah," Madzie said. "Max loves surprises. I hate surprises!"

"Is that so?" Magnus asked, glancing up and smiling at Alec, before looking down where Rafe hovered. "What about you Rafe, how do you feel about surprises?"

Rafe shook his head. "They can be scary!"

"Fair enough," Magnus picked up two spoons, each with a little bit of frosting on them. Rafe hurried over and accepted a spoon and Madzie took the other. "Now tell me what you think of the frosting."

"Mmmm!" Rafe said with the spoon in his mouth.

Madzie's eyes were bright. "Strawberry! Max will love it."

"Do I get to try?" Alec asked. He loved just watching Magnus interact with the kids. If there was anyone who was made to be a dad, it was Magnus. Setting the bags down with presents, Alec moved to look over the work Magnus had done. There were lots of decorations hidden, made to be revealed with a flick of magic. All of it was pirate themed, and Alec could only imagine how excited Max was going to be when he saw it all.

Magnus rolled his eyes, but handed another spoon over. Alec tried, and hummed as Rafe had.

"Where did you get this?" Alec asked, gathering the used spoons from Madzie and Rafe and taking them into the kitchen. The cupcakes had little pirate ships on them, or chests of treasure. The pink frosting was magicked blue on top with little waves.

"I made them, with some help from my magic," Magnus said, waving his hand so the trays of cupcakes followed Alec. They settled along the counter, and plastic covers descended from who knows where to cover them.

"You made them?" Alec repeating, looking around the kitchen which was spotless but for a few mixing bowls in the sink.

"I am quite good at baking, but only with the help of my powers," Magnus admitted the last part with a shrug. "Without them, I'm unsure I could make anything edible."

"Papa tried once and the pancakes were very sad," Madzie said, having followed the adults.

"It's true," Magnus sighed, then placed his hands on his hips and looked around the loft. "I think we're ready. Guests will be here in the next couple of hours."

"I'll wrap the presents, I think that's all that's left," Alec said, moving back into the living room. "Though someone might need a bath." He looked over at Rafe, who had climbed on the couch, watching them all.

"No!" Rafe shrieked, bolting off the couch and towards Magnus. Magnus held still as the little nephilim hid behind him.

"Pumpkin, you know I have to side with your dad on this," Magnus said, looking behind him.

"No you don't!" Rafe said, hanging on to Magnus' leg. Alec tried to keep a serious expression on his face in case Rafe looked his way, but this was too cute. "He's not the boss of you!"

Laughing, Magnus knelt. "No, but your dad is right. It’s bath time. And if he’s right, I have to agree."

Rafe pouted, "Why?"

"Because you’ll get stinky," Madzie offered helpfully. Rafe stuck his tongue out at her.

"Don't you want to play with the bath toys?" Alec said, as Magnus scoped Rafe up and handed him over to Alec. Rafe only struggled a little bit, before going limp.

"No, I want to help with the surprise!" Rafe grumbled.

"You can't surprise Max if you're smelly," Madzie said, reaching up to poke Rafe's side, which got a giggle.

"Come on, let's get it over with," Alec carried Rafe away. "You know, I'll bet you a cupcake you won't want to come out of the bath once you're in there."

"No!" Rafe sounded scandalized, as he always did when Alec pointed out bath time was actually pretty fun.

"Yes!" Alec argued back, and prepared to be splashed once he finally got the tub filled.

 

To say the party was a success would be an understatement. Magnus had really outdone himself, with foods from the Caribbean and China, each plate with some pirate facts on it. There were plenty of things for the kids to do, and Maxwell and a young warlock named Zoe joined Rafe, Max, and Madzie in finding all the different games Magnus had hid around the loft. The adults had mostly gathered out on the deck, which was lit by strings of lights. Catarina settled beside Alec to tell him just what Max had been upto that day, and Alec laughed harder than he had in a very long while.

At some point, Alec noted that Jocelyn had slipped out of the party. Alec wasn't sure exactly when because keeping the kids from eating too many cupcakes had been a continuous adventure. Two tiny shadowhunters and three small warlocks apparently could come up with more schemes to get more cake than Alec knew possible.

But Jocelyn returned now from the Institute proper, meeting Alec's eyes. He knew that expression, and his heart felt like it stopped for a moment. She motioned for him to follow, and Alec caught Magnus' arm as he did, Catarina also spotting him and nodding, moving to take over cupcake watching duty.

As the three of them stood in the Institute hallway, the sounds of the party echoing erily off the cold stone, Jocelyn took a deep breath. Alec moved closer to Magnus, wishing he could protect him from whatever it was that Jocelyn had to say. From her expression, it wasn’t something good.

"I just received word from the Clave," Jocelyn sighed. "It’s their response to the marriage license I sent to them. I didn’t mention this but... I decided to include with yours the others that had piled up. I hadn't been bothering to get Clave acknowledgement until I learned how it can protect both parties with the Accords."

Magnus' took Alec's hand, and Alec focused on that, and focused on his breathing. He could get through what Jocelyn had to say. He'd heard the worst the Clave had to say.

"What happened Jocelyn?" Magnus asked, voice soft.

"They sent the whole stack back, years of unions that have happened in New York, with a red stamp on them," Jocelyn sighed. "They all said denied. Me and Luke, you and Alec, everyone."

"Doesn't that violate the Accords?" Alec asked, remembering what he had read and what Ragnor had explained. It didn't seem possible the Clave would deny the law. Because the Law is Hard, but it is the Law.

"They didn't include any explanation," Jocelyn said, pinching the bridge of her nose. "We can only know what they’re thinking if we contact them. And we know they don't like to talk to me."

"Nor should you have to talk to them, to him," Magnus said, and his grip on Alec's hand tightened. He understood why Magnus wouldn't want Jocelyn put in such a position. She shouldn't be forced to talk with Valentine, any more than Alec should have to reach out to Inquisitor Lightwood.

Alec would face his mother if he had to. Because he now had a life that he would fight for. He needed to make sure that Rafe was safe, and Alec needed to stay with here. With Magnus, with his own freedom. Alec took a deep breath, meeting Jocelyn's eyes. He could see that she held the same fight, to keep this family she'd built safe. "What do we need to do?"

Chapter Text

Alec woke in Magnus' arms. All around them, he could feel Magnus' magic, as if while Magnus was sleeping it had reached out to protect them. Alec had slipped lower in the bed so his head rested against Magnus' chest. Listening to Magnus' heartbeat and feeling his magic, Alec felt completely safe, utterly content.

Alec knew the world outside was just as dangerous, if not more so, with what Jocelyn had told them that evening. But for the first time the Clave was messing with an Alexander Lightwood who knew what it was like to be free, to be loved and cared for in his whole true self. There was no way in hell Alec was letting them touch the life that he was building.

One of Magnus' hands ran down Alec's back. Alec peaked up at him, to see sleepy eyes looking back. "You're awake."

"You tensed," Magnus murmured, hand moving to tangle in Alec's hair, scratching through it soothingly. "We'll work better if we're well rested."

"I'm sorry I woke you," Alec pulled back, but Magnus' arms didn't move. Alec chuckled as he settled on his back and Magnus rolled over to sprawl over him.

"I wasn't upset, I want you to sleep," Magnus said, though it was clear he hadn't fully woken. Alec felt as Magnus tucked his face against the deflect rune, lashes tickling the sensitive skin. It was followed by a very slight brush of lips. Alec held still as Magnus' breath evened back out and his magic settled back around them.

Alec ran a hand through Magnus' hair, breathed in the scent of sandalwood. Letting Magnus' steady breathing and comforting weight settle him, Alec waited for sleep.

They were both woke a few hours later when Rafe came running through the door. Alec sitting up caused Magnus to roll out of the way, and a small body flew into Alec's arms. As his son clung to his neck, Alec tried to check him for injury as best he could, before holding Rafe tightly back. Feeling Rafe's gasping breaths and little sniffles, he rocked slightly.

"Hey, hey, what happened?" Alec whispered, pressing a kiss to Rafe's hair. Rafe wouldn't let Alec pull away to look at his face, just clung tighter.

Magnus was suddenly there, leaning behind Alec to try and catch Rafe's eye, hand resting on Rafe's back above Alec's arms. "Pumpkin, did you have a bad dream?"

Alec felt the answering nod. "I'm sorry buddy, you probably couldn't find me."

Rafe shrugged this time. He pulled away, and let Magnus wipe at his face with a conjured tissue. "I knew where you'd be."

"Do you want to talk about your dream, Rafe?" Magnus asked. Rafe settled sideways in Alec's arms, facing Magnus and shook his head. Magnus reached out to gently wipe away a stray tear. "Are you sure pumpkin? I find when I talk about my scary dreams, they don't feel quite so big anymore."

Rafe tried to bury his face in the t-shirt Alec wore. "Papa is right. When we talk about what scares us with those we love, it helps make the monsters go away," Alec murmured, giving Rafe a little squeeze.

Rafe took a shaky breath, before reaching out a little hand. Magnus took it, scooting closer so that Rafe was surrounded on two sides by Alec and Magnus. "I... I was all alone... no monsters. Just dark and I was alone."

"Sometimes being alone is the greatest monster of all," Magnus said. "But you're not alone. So many people love you, pumpkin."

Alec nodded, pressing another kiss to Rafe's hair. It hurt to see his baby so upset. "I know how scary it is to be alone. I was alone for a long time, but then I met someone very special."

Rafe tipped his head back, peaking at Alec. "Who?"

"You," Alec said, and swallowed the rising lump in his throat at the memory. Both he and Rafe had been so scared, the mission gone so wrong.

"When did you know... I was your son?" Rafe asked, voice very quiet.

"The moment I met you," Alec said, tightening his arms around Rafe a little bit. "I knew you were all alone, and you needed help. But when I met you, I felt... I felt like I wasn't alone anymore. I knew I would always protect you."

Rafe pressed his face against Alec's chest again, but he didn't seem to be crying anymore.

"Rafe, I love you and you'll never be alone again," Alec promised, blinking quickly. Magnus looked at him and Alec could see complete understanding.

"Love you Dad," Rafe murmured, muffled by the shirt. He was still clinging tight to Alec, but Alec didn't mind.

"Do you want to sleep here tonight?" Magnus asked, bringing both Lightwoods' attention to him. "I can conjure a bed, just for the night." Rafe nodded, sniffling a little bit. "Madzie used to need this," Magnus explained and with a wave of his hand, the window seat turned into a bed, curtains around it to keep out the light. "Your stuffed animals and blankets are in there too."

"Thank you," Rafe said, and held on as Alec stood up.

In this moment, Alec felt so grateful that he and Magnus had been brought together, it seemed to fill his whole being. Magnus understood, and cared, where someone else might be annoyed by Rafe. Say he was too old to be needing such comfort. Pressing a kiss to Rafe's head, and pulling the blankets up around him, Alec asked, "Feeling better?"

Rafe nodded, and yawned. He held his stuffed horse close.

"Love you kiddo," Alec whispered and let the curtains fall. He then turned and climbed back in beside Magnus. "Thank you."

Magnus shook his head, with a soft smile. "No need."

Alec bit his lip, because he did need to thank Magnus. He didn't know if he should tell Magnus that, after Rafe, Magnus was the best thing to ever happen to Alec. Knowing Magnus would protest, or might feel uncomfortable, Alec just held him close, and ran his hands gently through Magnus' hair once more. Feeling Magnus relax against him, Alec whispered, "Let me take care of you sometimes."

"Oh Alexander," Magnus sighed back, holding on to him a little tighter. He felt a kiss be pressed against his collarbone.

And Alec thought that maybe, Magnus knew what he really meant. That he heard the 'I love you' in those words, even if Alec knew better than to say them directly yet.

 

The conference room in the Angel's Nest was in an uproar. There were a few representatives from outside of New York, such as Jem and Tessa from London, and Diana Wrayburn from the Los Angeles “Uninstitute.” Alec just tried to listen, given that he wasn't part of creating the original Accords or the revised ones. Magnus was being tugged from one group or another, had expanded the room to fit everyone, and had found the time to pause and comfort the most distressed downworlders. Alec had been able to get him some coffee and some water, tried to catch his hand for a moment or two if he was nearby to lend support.

The issue was figuring out if the Clave was in violation of the revised Accords. Even if they were not, this was the first time they had tried to control the downworld and rogue shadowhunter interpretations of such laws. Others had reported sending documents to Idris from time to time, but they had never been rejected. Probably because the Clave knew if there as a rejection, it would only mean less information would get to them from the outside world.

Alec wished this was as simple as deciding to ignore what the Clave said and go about as they wanted. But because they were specifically trying to invoke the protections of the Accords so that the Clave would back off, it was infinitely more complex. After several hours, Jocelyn moved to stand at the table and called to get everyone's attention.

Before she could though, a fire message appeared in front of Magnus. He snatched it, eyes skimming quickly, before they closed. "Fuck," he murmured to the quiet room.

Alec stood and moved quickly to Magnus' side. Magnus passed him the note and turned to address those there. "Sorry, it seems there is a warlock in Clave custody. I will need to deal with this."

Alec's eyes widened as he read Lydia's message. It was hastily written, not her usual neat and orderly handwriting. The warlock, name listed as Elias, wasn't just in Clave custody. He was apparently being held in Consul Morganstein's private laboratory. Alec had never been able to get information about the laboratory, and thus had never managed to save anyone from it.

There was only one way they would be able to get this Elias out. They would need a distraction big enough to get Valentine's attention. Alec looked up at Jocelyn, heart sinking. Magnus would never ask Jocelyn, but it was probably the only way...

Jocelyn met Alec's eyes, and followed as he moved out of the room. Magnus and Catarina slipped out after them, Luke taking control of the room.

"What is it Alec?" Jocelyn asked, voice low.

"You and I need to be the ones to go to Idris," Alec said, talking quickly over Magnus' protests. "We can cause a distraction and get this addressed. If we go, we will be addressed by the Consul and the Inquisitor themselves."

Jocelyn nodded, "I was thinking that would need to be the case anyway, at least that I would need to go."

"There is something else," Alec said, holding up the fire message. "There is no way that Lydia is going to be able to get Elias out on her own."

Magnus was fiddling with his ear cuff. "I wasn't sure that Valentine's lab was even real."

"It is," Alec said, wincing. "I have never been able to get additional information on it. Lydia has stumbled upon something we may never get again. This is our chance not just to save this warlock, but get a look into what Valentine has planned."

"Magnus and I should go then," Catarina said, frowning. "If we could get some more samples of the mind control drug they used on Iris, I should be able to find a way to cure it."

Magnus and Alec looked at each other, and Alec saw the same worry. If they were both going... But they could figure that out later. "This is going to be dangerous," Magnus said. His tone let Alec know he wanted to address this now. Because this was the kind of danger you might not come back from. Could they both risk it with the kids?

"Wouldn't it be more dangerous to let Valentine figure out how to control downworlders? To let him break the Accords?" Alec said, even though there was a part of him that knew Magnus was right. Because he had promised Rafe he would always be there for him and he had no intention of breaking that promise.

"I think this is what we have to do," Jocelyn said, looking between them. "But I would also understand if one or both of you want to step back. I'm sure we can find a way to do this without-"

Magnus waved a hand. "No. At least, unless we find a different way that will truly work as well. We should go back in there and announce the plan for you and Alec. They don't need to know the details on the lab yet, I want to make sure that information is kept quiet."

Jocelyn nodded, and slipped through them all to lead the way back to the room. Her commanding voice brought everyone's attention. Alec and Magnus stood side by side, but Alec could feel the tension rolling off Magnus. It was clear he wasn't going to say anything else until they were home, so Alec waited, nervous and full of fear at the idea of going back to Idris, while knowing it was the only way.

 

Alec could tell that Magnus was upset. He hid it well as he paid Clary for babysitting, then prepared lunch for them all. Max was still talking about his party the night before and that got a smile from Magnus. Alec decided to busy himself with tidying up, because they hadn't been able to do much the night before. He knew Magnus could put everything right with a snap of his fingers, but Alec didn't want him to use magic if he didn't have to. Especially with what they would need to do.

Magnus found Alec on the porch putting the cat food dishes out and refilled their water bowl. Alec watched as Magnus waved a hand and a ripple of magic went across the porch doorway. "We'll be able to hear the kids, but they won't hear us," Magnus explained, fiddling with his rings.

Alec felt more nervous than he ever had around Magnus. He hadn't been able to eat any of the lunch Magnus had put out for the kids and them, mind running through everything that Magnus might have to say. He moved a step forward, but there was a chair still separating them.

"I know you're upset with me," Alec started, wanting to get this out of the way.

To his surprise, Magnus looked baffled and said, "I'm not upset with you, Alexander."

"But I know you don't like this plan," Alec said, hands resting behind his back. It was his drilled in soldier stance, as he braced for the worst.

Magnus moved towards him, stepping around the chair and coming to the edge of Alec's personal space. He didn't touch Alec though. "I'm angry at the Clave, not you. I hate that this is even coming up. I had hoped, foolishly, that with the revised Accords we were done with this kind of work."

Alec searched Magnus' face, and found it as open as it usually was with him. And Alec trusted Magnus, trusted Magnus more than anyone. Shoulders relaxing, Alec nodded. "It's unfair."

"I don't think you should go," Magnus said, holding up a hand to stop Alec from protesting. "I will go, I think you're right that Lydia will need magical assistance and Catarina will need backup if she is going to be able to get samples. However, we can find someone else to go with Jocelyn. Luke maybe?"

"Luke is a downworlder and won't be let in, or worse, will be captured and held," Alec said, because he had been thinking over other options while he cleaned.

"But isn't this just handing yourself over?" Magnus asked. "This is what they want, to get you back into Alicante."

"It will be a more successful distraction if we are able to meet with both the Consul and the Inquisitor," Alec pointed out. "And I will not ask Izzy or Jace to go in my place. I know how the politics work there, even better than Jocelyn does. I can make sure they don't lie to her."

Magnus looked upset again, but Alec saw now it was fear and sorrow. "What about the kids?"

Alec looked over into the house. He saw Max had recruited Madzie and Rafe to turn one of the couches into a pirate ship. Several stuffed animals and dolls were waiting to be added as crew. Giggles and commands were tossed back and forth between them as they set to work.

"We're both coming back," Alec said, turning to Magnus. He didn't allow a waiver into his voice because it had to be the truth. Alec reached out, holding his hand for Magnus to take. Magnus stopped fiddling with his rings and laced their fingers together.

"I hate this," Magnus sighed heavily. "I want the record to show, I hate this and I don't want both of us sent on a mission ever again."

"I'll do what I can," Alec murmured back, tugged gently until he could hold Magnus in his arms. They stood there, holding each other tight, and Alec remembered how he vowed never to let the Clave take him away from this. "I want us both to promise not to be self sacrificing idiots."

Magnus chuckled and pressed closer. "Who, us?"

"Yes, us," Alec glanced down. "If it gets bad on either end, we do what we need to get home alive. I don't think any of the kids would forgive us otherwise."

"And they'd be right," Magnus pulled away, looking in at them. Madzie spotted them watching and waved.

Rafe turned a toy telescope their way and called, "Sea monsters spotted!"

Magnus waved his hand and the shielding vanished so the kids could hear them again. "Sea monsters?" he called back, moving towards the door. "I think you are mistaken. We’re merely friendly tickle monsters."

"Nooo!" Max shouted. "Madzie, Rafe, load the cannons!"

"Aye aye captain!" Rafe said, grabbing an armful of pillows.

Alec couldn't stop his smile as he followed Magnus back into the loft, nor the ache in his heart that maybe, Magnus was right and they shouldn't do this. But Alec knew also that they couldn't let the Clave get away with ignoring the Accords. Being tackled by a pillow armed Rafe brought him back to the present.

And really, what a wonderful present that was; something more than worth fighting for.

 

Two days later, Dot was at the Angel’s Nest to open the portal for Alec and Jocelyn. No other shadowhunters were going with them, because there would be little point. Either the Clave was going to honor the terms they agreed on, letting them meet then leave, or they wouldn't. Putting more people at risk didn't make sense. Alec spun the ring resting on his left hand that Magnus had given him. It was not just a prop to make their marriage more convincing, it was also wrapped in protection spells and would grow warm when Magnus and Catarina had finished their mission. This would let Alec and Jocelyn know when they could make their escape or if they needed to drag out the meeting.

"Alec," Jocelyn nudged him, and pointed. Magnus had slipped in the room. Even though he and Magnus had technically already said their goodbyes, Alec wasn't going to pass up the chance to kiss Magnus. Knowing they only had a minute left, he strode back to the door, and pulled Magnus toward him by the lapels of his jacket. Magnus kissed him back just of fiercely.

"Good luck," Alec whispered as they parted.

"You too," Magnus didn't smile, it was too serious, but his eyes were warm. "Now go before Dot get annoyed."

Alec nodded, reluctantly letting Magnus go and returning to Jocelyn's side. "Ready." He looked over at Dot. "Thanks."

Dot just chuckled and shook her head, then cast the portal. Jocelyn took a deep breath and stepped into the portal. Alec glanced back to Magnus, pressed a kiss to the ring, and followed Jocelyn through.

Dot's portal was almost as smooth as Magnus', and he and Jocelyn landed on a hill overlooking Alicante. Alec suppressed a shudder at the sight of the towers, and moved to stand beside Jocelyn. Turning away from the view, Alec was faced with a worse one. He had been right that Valentine wouldn't be able to resist coming in person to meet with his ex-wife. Nor had his mother turned away at the chance to confront Alec. Falling into proper soldier stance, he stood a little behind Jocelyn, indicating her authority. Behind his back, he fiddled with the ring, feeling the gentle comfort of Magnus' magic.

Behind the Consul and the Inquisitor were about a dozen shadowhunters. Alec caught sight of Aldertree's smug face, and Raj's bored one. They stood a ways back though, and moved further when Valentine waved a hand. Apparently he didn't want anyone to overhear what passed between them. The Inquisitor stayed beside him, her face unreadable.

"Jocelyn," Valentine said, spreading his arms. "It has been a long time."

"Not long enough," Jocelyn answered, crossing her arms in front of her.

This didn't seem to upset Valentine and it was like ice trickling down Alec's spine. He’d met the Consul from time to time, in part because Maryse and Robert thought that he might one day hold the title if they groomed him properly. But he had never seen the man quite so cold in his anger. The cruel smile on his face made Alec feel unclean.

"Always the diplomat," Valentine sighed, as if he were hurt. "No time for pleasantries then? You want to get straight to business?"

"That would be ideal," Jocelyn said, head held high. "We want to discuss some recently submitted documents that were rejected. We believe there has been a mistake, given the laws of the revised Accords."

"Ah yes, I looked into these when your request for this meeting reached me," Valentine said, and nodded to Maryse. "I thought the Inquisitor would like to explain how it is incorrect that downworlders and nephilim are allowed to marry." Valentine laughed, and Alec saw Jocelyn shiver. "It's such a ridiculous concept, I can't quite believe there is any debate."

Alec watched as Jocelyn touched the ring she always wore, the one he could only assume Luke proposed to her with. Alec knew they both needed to handle this diplomatically, logically, but it was going to be hard. There were a lot of emotions tangled up for them both.

"Actually," Maryse spoke and Alec stood a little straighter. He met her gaze as she looked right at him. "I believe there was a mistake on our end." She turned to Valentine. "I have reviewed the Accords and my assistant's work she did when she denied the certificates.” Maryse took a deep breath. “I found that marriages of downworlders and nephilim are indeed permitted under the revised Accords."

Chapter Text

The night before the mission:
Magnus’ feelings of anxiety and worry had him checking on the kids more than once after they were in bed. He needed to reassure himself that they were fine. He'd read to them all, cuddled up on the couch, until heads had drooped (or rather Max and Rafe's had, Madzie would listen all night if she could). Even with them tucked in safe now, knowing what tomorrow would bring, Magnus didn't think he would be able to sleep anytime soon.

He found Alec sitting in the living room, watching the stray cats come and go from the food. He didn't look up when Magnus sat beside him, but did lean into Magnus' side. He felt just as tense, and Magnus wanted to kiss it all away. He rested a hand in Alec's lap, and Alec played absently with his rings.

"Maybe I should paint my nails before I leave, just make as dramatic an entrance as possible," Alec mused, absently touching Magnus' navy paint.

"What color?" Magnus asked, resting his chin on Alec's shoulder. "Something that you can't help but notice?"

"Of course! A very hot pink? Would that do?" Alec's laughter rumbled deep in his chest. "No, when I paint my nails, it will be Rafe doing it because I wanted to. Not to bug my mother."

"Fair enough," Magnus pressed a kiss against Alec's neck. He was so solid, so real. It was hard to believe that Magnus got to hold him, to have him here. "Revenge is never the best way to learn about yourself."

"Yeah, and I want to set a good example for Rafe," Alec said, voice soft and serious. Magnus didn't know if he could love the man more, but every day proved him wrong. Alec was just so kind and thoughtful. Then Magnus caught up with what he'd thought. Love. He must have gone tense again, because Alec asked, "You okay?"

What could Magnus say but, "Yes, just worrying about tomorrow." He couldn't tell Alec what he had just realized, because Magnus would never forgive himself if he scared Alec off. But Magnus was also Magnus, and he needed to find a way to show Alec how he felt. Gently freeing his hand from Alec's, he snapped his fingers, and two rings appeared in the palm of his hand.

Alec gasped, holding completely still. He wasn't running away, just watching to see what Magnus would do next. That was a good sign.

"We need to keep up appearances tomorrow," Magnus said.

"Ah, of course," Alec said, and sounded... almost disappointed?

"I think... these represent more than that," Magnus had to be honest, or as honest as he could be with Alec. "Or I'd like them too. Not what they'd mean if we were... going about all this in the correct order."

"We're rebels though," Alec said. He moved, turning to face Magnus, those big hazel eyes focused solely on him. He reached out and took one of the rings, leaving the other in Magnus' palm.

Magnus chuckled, keeping his eyes on Alec's. He liked what he saw there, even if he still felt worried that Alec didn't feel the same way he did. "Before I put this on you, I'm going to weave some protection spells into it."

"Will you put protection spells on your own?" Alec murmured, fiddling with the ring he was now holding.

"I have spells in these two," Magnus tapped his M and B rings. "Hundreds of years worth.” ‘I wish I could spend such time on your own,’ he thought.

Alec nodded, but continued to fiddle with the ring. Magnus began the process of wrapping magic into Alec's ring, still resting in his hand. Whispering spells in many languages, human and demon alike, Magnus remained focused until he began to feel tired. He put a final spell on the ring that didn't have to do with protection.

"We will be able to have some communication through these," Magnus said, reaching to tap his finger on the ring in Alec's hands to complete the spell. Sighing deeply, he reached for Alec's left hand. "Well, Alexander, I guess I don't have to ask you to marry me."

Alec gave a chuckle, letting Magnus take his hand and slip the ring on. With a little bit of added magic, it fit perfectly. Magnus tried not to think of how seeing it there made him feel. Like he had a claim to Alec for his life time. As if maybe they did love each other in the way marriage indicated. That together they could be a family with their little brood of kids.

He was shaken from these thoughts as Alec took his hand and slipped the other ring onto his free finger. Magnus thought that this would be the only ring he didn't take off, because it meant something more. "Magnus, would you marry me?"

Magnus looked up at Alec, and into those honest eyes. He could sink into their depths and live happily, drowning in all there was to Alec. The spark of humor over that steady honesty was the perfect combination. "I'll think about it."

Alec smiled and then they were leaning forward at the same time. Kissing Alexander could be something Magnus never got over. Every time it seemed to be different, every time he thought he might shatter. The warmth that filled him, it made him feel so vulnerable. And yet, Magnus almost wanted Alec to crack open all that he held too close for too long.

 

Alec and Jocelyn vanished through Dot’s portal. Magnus had already said many times that he didn't like this, but it was happening now with no turning back. He'd given Max, Madzie, and Rafe extra hugs and kisses before leaving them in Luke’s care.

Magnus reminded himself that he was good at solving problems, he was good at completing missions, he was good at fighting. That’s why he was helped lead the revolution. He wasn't feeling like he wanted to do these things anymore, if they put his family at risk. But he knew that Alec was right, that they couldn’t let this stand- not the rejected marriage licenses and not the capture and torture of downworlders.

When it was all said and done, Magnus would also love to give Valentine a piece of his mind. Or a one way trip to hell. That might actually amount to the same thing...

"Ready?" Catarina asked, walking into the room and nudging Magnus with her shoulder.

“Yes,” Magnus answered as they moved further into the room Jocelyn and Alec had portalled from. Dot was going to do the same for them both, so they could conserve their energy.

"See you later Dot,” Catarina said as Magnus fiddled with the ring on his hand. He would be able to use it to signal to Alec when they had finished their task with a simple activating charm. But it felt like much more than that, especially after last night.

Dot powered up a portal. It was a tricky one Magnus knew, and she was only able to do it because her magic signature had been given the ability to get through the wards around Alicante for Alec and Jocelyn’s transport. She was now able to deposit Magnus and Catarina far into the city where Lydia would meet them.

There were so many places where this all could fall apart; Magnus couldn’t let that distracting him. When Magnus and Catarina stepped through the portal, they were in a dusty room that was mostly empty but for a young woman. She matched the description Alec had given, and she stepped forward with a smile. "Lydia Branwell, pleasure to meet you."

"Catarina," Catarina took the offered hand. She didn't give her last name, even if it would likely be easy to look her up in the shadowhunter records. Magnus understood her though, better to make it as hard as possible for them to be tracked.

That said, it was silly to try and hide his own identity. His involvement in all this was clearly know. "Magnus Bane. I worked with-"

"My ancestor Henry to make the portals!" Lydia said, a light of pure excitement shining through before she snapped back into the stance of a soldier. "It’s an honor to meet you. I hope we might get back to a place of such cooperation again."

Magnus wasn't going to comment on how horrible most of the shadowhunters he had interacted with in the 1800s were, just nodded. "Are we close to the lab?"

"Yes, it’s in the same neighborhood," Lydia said, and began to move. "However, it is away from any other buildings. It looks like a shed but goes underground... It took me a long time to figure out exactly where it was."

"Will we be in danger of being seen?" Catarina said, as they moved through a little hallway. It was clear to Magnus they were in an old home, now abandoned. He wondered how much the nephilim population had decreased in the years since the revised Accords. If this home was anything to go by, at least the outer building were being deserted.

Lydia was saying, "-not much danger, there aren't many people around. However, if you have some spell that would make you invisible...."

"I'll glamour us so anyone who looks, their eyes will slip away," Catarina said, and Magnus felt the warmth of her magic running over him. He smiled. “And a charm so you won’t be affected.” Lydia blinked but let Catarina do her work.

"Much less draining than full invisibility, and just as effective," Magnus said, and opened the front door. He didn't want to be in the creepy house any longer. Not that he expected he'd feel very welcome anywhere in Alicante.

Lydia slipped past, and walked as if she had every right to be there. Magnus and Catarina fell in step just behind her. They passed one soldier who seemed to be wandering the perimeter of Alicante, and she'd merely nodded at Lydia. Looking behind them, Magnus saw more houses like the one they had been in. They were old Victorians and were in need of paint. Most had boarded up windows. It looked like a ghost town, tangling gardens reaching out onto cracked sidewalks. It was not the image of a thriving people that the Clave like to portray whenever possible, but one in decline.

They made it to the shed that opened to the lab without trouble. Lydia took out a key card, holding up to some very high tech connected to a very old door. It might have been easier just to kick in than go through the trouble of the lock, except that would alert Valentine that someone had broken in (they wanted him to be unaware as long as possible). The shed itself looked to be in the same repair as most of the buildings around it. The lockbox beeped, and the door clicked open, Lydia waving Catarina and Magnus to follow her. Magnus held his breath, but there was nothing yet. Just a very obvious metal staircase down into the rotting wooden floor.

Lydia took the lead again, Catarina directly behind her, and Magnus bringing up the rear. He kept an eye on the room behind them, wondering if Valentine had any lackies that he let use this lab or made to help him.

Another door, another key card. This one took a little longer, but Lydia relaxed when it finally beeped. "I had to steal Valentine's to make copies," Lydia whispered. Magnus was impressed. Lydia was going through a lot of risk to help them, and he fully understood why Alec trusted her so much. She was clearly capable and knew her stuff. It was a pity she was trapped in this society she could be nothing higher than a soldier. She had her blade in hand as she lead them in, before relaxing. "It's clear."

Catarina hurried in, and Magnus followed. It was like being hit in the gut, and he reached out to hold Catarina's hand as they looked over the lab. It was primarily one big room, and as high tech as the locks. Stainless steel and white was almost blinding as the fluorescent lights flickered on with a motion sensor.

The horror was the pieces of downworlders on display like trophies. The tables had the tools of torture, and the walls were covered with what had not been used. Five different heads caught in the course of a werewolf transformation, stuffed and mounted. The head of a vampire, skin removed from half to display the workings of their fangs and venom, carefully, painfully labeled. A tray of warlock marks like butterflies pinned, with notes theorizing how they worked as part of a warlock's magic. A full seelie skeleton, the same careful labeling.

Magnus felt ill at how completely and utterly dehumanizing it was. He couldn't guess what was old, from collections before the original Accords, and what, if anything, was new. He hadn't heard of any warlocks going missing outside of Elias, and he and Alec had gotten most caught downworlders out of Idris. Squeezing Catarina's hand, he tried to take control of what they were going to do.

"I'll go find Elias, you locate the mind control drug and anything else that looks concerning," Magnus said to Catarina.

"Everything looks concerning," Catarina responded but got moving, going to the fridge and cupboards at the other end of the room.

"Lydia, stay at the door and keep Catarina safe," Magnus said, and turned to the only other door in the room. It was to the side, the full werewolf head snarling down. Murmuring an apology, Magnus stepped under it and opened the door, glad it didn't have the same key lock as the others before. He shivered as the cold of the room hit him, and fumbled until he found a light. This revealed that there were several cells. Only one had anyone in it, and Magnus hurried forward. Elias was laying on the floor; Magnus spelled the cell open and came to his side.

Turning over the younger warlock, Magnus was relieved to see he was breathing. Like Iris, he had something turning his blood veins dark. With a quick scan from his magic, it seemed the foreign substance of the truth drug was the only thing wrong, besides a broken wrist and some dehydration. Magnus fixed the wrist with ease, but didn't want to wake Elias. He had no idea if Elias had been given instructions to attack in case he was rescued. It would be better not to risk it. Before he picked Elias up, he went through the room and put several different spells in his cell and the three others. They should not be detected and anyone with demon blood should be able to set them off and let Magnus know Valentine had taken another prisoner. That done, he picked up Elias and headed back to Lydia and Catarina.

"Got everything?" Magnus asked. They needed to make this quick, for their sakes as well as Alec and Jocelyn's.

Catarina was carefully putting vials of various colors into the safety of a case she had conjured. "Almost. I want to make sure I have a sample of everything they have in here." She looked up and her face grew worried at Elias limp in Magnus' arms. "Is he okay?"

"He will be," Magnus assured. "He'll probably need your attention once we get back, but he's not in any danger now. No more danger than any of us are."

"Okay, okay," Catarina closed the fridge, and did a final sweep through the drawers and cabinets. "I think we're good."

Magnus nodded, looking around the room once more. "We should destroy this."

"Yes," Catarina paused next to him, then looked over at Lydia in almost a challenge.

"As long as no one will notice until they get down here, you can do whatever you think is needed," Lydia said.

"Can you take Elias?" Magnus asked. Lydia nodded, slipping her blade away, and Magnus moved closer to her, setting the warlock in her arms. She was strong like any good soldier, holding Elias carefully. "You and Catarina go up the stairs. I'll just be a moment."

Turning back to the room as their steps retreated, Magnus took a deep breath. Murmuring a few of the prayers he knew, unsure what beliefs these fallen downworlders had, he stepped back to the bottom stair. He needed to be controlled, but also thorough. He couldn't let anything of use be left. Valentine would be able to use the room again, use those cells, but he would have to start from the beginning with his poisons. And Magnus would know if he ever captured another downworlder.

Gathering his rage and his sorrow, Magnus let the emotions feed his magic just enough. He couldn't let himself be overwhelmed, but he knew the power both emotions held.

When Magnus climbed up the stairs, letting the door close behind him, he nodded. Taking Elias back, Catarina recast the glamour over them. "Ready."

Lydia nodded, and lend them back through the ghosts of shadowhunter homes and the families that once filled them.

 

Magnus had sent the spell through his ring to Alec's before leaving Alicante. He and Catarina had gone directly from the Angel's Nest to Magnus' loft. With what Elias had faced, he was going to need to be close to Catarina but secure. Given that Magnus' loft was one of the most secure locations in New York…

Going into the guest room, Magnus rested Elias on the bed. Then he turned and with a flick of his hand moved Alec's belongings into the master bedroom. He would need to talk to Alec about that, and would be happy to make a new bedroom, when he had the energy recovered to manipulate the loft's structure in such a way. Catarina moved to begin healing Elias' greater ailments, while Magnus magicked him clean and into comfortable clothes. He then changed the sheets.

"He's going to need food and a lot of liquids," Catarina said. "How much magic to you have left?"

"Enough," Magnus assured. He had channelled a lot into leaving the senor spells and destroying the lab. But he conjured a glass of water, as well as all Catarina needed to set up an IV. He hated stealing things, but Catarina always put aside supplies at the hospital, so he grabbed from those.

"Thank you," Catarina smiled at him. "I got this, you go rest. Or pace worriedly until Alec gets back."

"How about what you took, is there anything I can do with it?" Magnus asked.

"No, I have everything in a stasis field until I'm able to start work," Catarina assured, then waved her hand. "Now leave me to do my job."

Magnus smiled tiredly, and closed the bedroom door. The living room was in its usual state of slight clutter with the kids' toys and books. It was grounding. Magnus really wanted to scrub himself clean of all he had seen with a long shower. But he couldn't do that though until he was sure that Alec was back home.

Catarina was right, worried pacing it was.

Chapter Text

While Jocelyn said she couldn't remember when she fell in love with him, because it was so many moments together, Luke knew exactly when he had given her his heart. Valentine had called a meeting with his inner circle, and she had stood up to Valentine, stood against him. Told him that it didn't make sense to burn down the home of the Chicago vampire clan. Her logic, her compassion, were both sound, and Luke had stood to back her up.

But before he could, Valentine laughed at Jocelyn, his own wife and partner. Luke felt sick as Valentine tossed away her concern, saying it was just her hormones from being pregnant. Luke remembered being struck by the question of: how could anyone toss aside the passion and intelligence of Jocelyn? He fell in love with Jocelyn as his trust in Valentine, his parabatai, shattered for a final time. Valentine had professed a way to end the bloodshed, the fighting between the shadowhunters and the downworld, but it was clear now that he only wanted to instigate more.

Not long after, Luke tried to stand up to Valentine against the massacre of a werewolf family whose only crime was that they were werewolves. He was rewarded for this by Valentine betraying him, finding him some wolves who had no qualms taking down one of the Circle. And how could Luke blame them?

Jocelyn got him through that. Together, they made it out of Idris for good, the child she carried becoming Luke's, not Valentine's.

The first person they had gone to was the warlock that Luke remembered had tried to stop the Circle from killing the werewolf family. He didn't know at the time that Magnus Bane was one of the key figures in the rebellion, the revolution that he and Jocelyn had decided to take on as their own. They couldn't let Valentine's power go unchecked.

That's how it started, but the downworld quickly became home. Catarina delivered Clary. Magnus would babysit her when Jocelyn and Luke were fighting on the front lines. Raphael would watch their backs; would give pointers when, five years later, Luke took on the place as pack leader.

And they won. They helped with the final push, and suddenly, the revolution was moving on to be a part of history. Valentine wasn't pushed from power, but he was pushed out of the rest of the world. The Clave and the Circle, now one and the same, when back to Idris to lick their wounds.

So when it all settled, Luke and Jocelyn had lived together for years, had fought together, and were raising a child together. But they had never gone on a first date. There was too much going on, had always been too much, until now. It was the time to rebuild, to become stronger, and that was what the downworld was throwing itself into now. Luke decided that he should do the same with his relationship with Jocelyn.

Clary was sleeping over at Simon's for the weekend, the revised Accords had officially passed, the pack and the rebel shadowhunters both were either celebrating or finally taking vacations. Luke had gotten Magnus' help to plan everything to make sure it was perfect, before the warlock had vanished to join the celebrations (this was said with a wink, Luke wasn't going to ask for more details).

When Jocelyn woke up that Saturday morning, it was to find a little card on Luke's pillow, with instructions on how to get to a little diner that served the best brunch in the Village. Luke waited nervously, but she came in looking just as beautiful as she ever did, sleepy smile on her face.

Sliding into the booth across from him, Jocelyn raised both eyebrows. "Now, what’s all this about?"

Luke smiled back, reaching across the table. She put her hands in his own without a second thought, and Luke felt calm settled over him. There was no need to be nervous. He knew Jocelyn better than he knew himself. "I thought it was about time I took you on a first date."

Jocelyn opened her mouth to protest, but Luke watched as her eyes grew distant. They had been through so much, their relationship was solid. But Luke could see it dawn on Jocelyn that they really had never been on a true date. "Lucian... I guess you beat me to it."

Luke brings her hands up to kiss each one. "Shall we start with breakfast?"

"Certainly," Jocelyn grinned. "What else do you have planned for today?"

"Well, I can't fit all the dates we missed in one day, but I thought we might hit some key ones," Luke said, smiling back. His heart felt full, knew that this was right. He and Jocelyn just fit together. The ring box in his pocket didn't weigh heavy- he was excited to ask. "Walk in the park, watch a movie, fancy dinner..."

"Any downtime between that third and fourth date?" Jocelyn chuckled, biting her lip and looking a bit bashful. Like they were both much younger, as if they hadn't been soldiers in a war.

Luke pressed another kiss to her left hand, before releasing both. "We can certainly make some time... the day is yours."

Jocelyn settled, her legs slotting with his under the table. She looked... content, that the world and her life was good. He hadn't seen her look like that since they were kids at the Academy. Picking up the menu, she grinned up at Luke. And he knew, now as he had those years ago when they were on the wrong side of a war, that he would do anything in his power to make her happy and keep her safe.

 

That evening, they stumbled into their apartment, laughing and bodies warm with good food and wine. The sun had set, but their home was quickly filled with warm light. Luke kissed Jocelyn, tasting the chocolate cake and red wine they had shared after dinner. She tugged him along to sit on the couch, taking full advantage once more that they had the house to themselves. But he didn't follow her all the way. Instead, he knelt in front of her, and pulled away.

As Jocelyn blinked her eyes slowly open, Luke fell in love again. Her smile was soft, head tilted slightly in question. He had already long ago decided to stand by her side, in whatever way she needed. He was awed, humbled, by the way she loved him back, gave him as much as he gave her. Slipping his hand to take out the ring box, he got to watch as Jocelyn's eyes went wider, and her smile grew as well.

"Jocelyn Fairchild," Luke whispered, not wanting to break the moment. He reached out to wipe away the tear that slid down her face. "I was wondering if, even after just four dates-" she chuckled, blinking away more tears "-you would marry me? You're the bravest, most beautiful, most intelligent person I know. I want to tell the world I will stand by your side till the end of my days."

Jocelyn started nodding, and whispered in a cracking voice. "Yes, oh Luke. Of course."

The ring was simple, old. The jewels, a diamond with two red rubies on either side, were flat and set into the band. It was a ring made to not get caught, to stay in place during battle and training. But it was also a jewel for each member of their little family. Jocelyn understood, Luke could tell, as she ran her fingers over it.

"I guess you beat me to doing this too," Jocelyn whispered, letting Luke brush away her tears. He pressed a kiss to her forehead. "Clary is going to be so excited." Jocelyn reached out, and tugged for Luke to join her on the couch. She curled into his lap as soon as he did.

"Speaking of Clary, I was wondering... I want to adopt her," Luke said, looking down as Jocelyn. He felt a little nervous again, but he knew that this was his family. "Officially."

She pulled back enough to look him in the eyes, and he watched as she smiled wider than ever. Kissing his chin, Jocelyn nodded. "She would love that. I would love that."

They sat like that, kissing whenever the mood struck them, long into the night, talking about the future that now spread before them.

Chapter Text

Alec stumbled from the portal into the loft. Magnus felt as if his heart was caught in his throat, and he hurried to catch his arms. Looking him over, Magnus was relieved not see any obvious injuries. Alec was just focused on a piece of paper that was crumpled in his hand.

"Alexander?" Magnus whispered, trying to draw his attention, but not wanting to startle him. There was a slight tremor in his shoulders that made Magnus worried. "Were you able to do what was needed?"

Alec nodded, looking up at Magnus now. He moved, engulfing Magnus in his arms, pulling him close. Magnus was surprised, but couldn't help but relax into him. He was quickly finding there was nothing better than those strong arms, the smell of Alec, and knowing they were both safe. Magnus felt his own fingers clutch the fabric of Alec’s jacket.

They stayed like that for a long time. When Alec pulled back, he was still clutching the paper. But he smiled at Magnus, a little smile but a real one. "Um, apparently my mother, the Inquisitor, had reversed the rejections. She claimed she didn't know they’d come through her office at all, that an assistant had rejected them on principle."

"I'm sure that principle is shared by most of the Clave," Magnus muttered, trying not to think of Valentine’s lab. But he then frowned, "I'd assume to count your mother among them."

"She quoted the Accords when Valentine grew angry. He didn't like that she hadn't told him what had happened, nor what she’d done. She stood her ground though." Alec's face clouded, lips pinched in distaste, "But it wasn't all positive.”

"I would be shocked if it was," Magnus reached up, resting a hand on the back of Alec's neck, playing idly with his hair to ground them both.

“Valentine is going to look for to repeal what my mother has done." Alec seemed to have stopped shaking. His voice was firm as he said, "There is no hope of trying to change the Clave without... Well restarting. It’s clear to me, more than ever, that it has completely broken down. The fact that the Circle was almost welcomed in..."

Magnus nodded, still playing with Alec’s hair. "They couldn't handle the fact the downworld wanted to have nothing to do with them. That we wanted to be free from such control. Instead, they welcomed in the violence the Circle offered and instigated the complete shutdown of all communication." He took a deep breath, because it was history he had lived. It still seemed too close for comfort, and he didn't want to see it again.

"My mother... she slipped me this," Alec held up the crumpled piece of paper. "Slipped it in my hand without Valentine seeing it."

"What do you think it is?" Magnus asked, not liking at all what he'd heard of the woman or when he'd interacted with her during the revolution. But she had stood by the Accords in with their marriages...

"I don't know, I didn't share it with Jocelyn because I wanted to see what it was first," Alec admitted, handing it to Magnus.

"You want me to do the honors?" Magnus asked. When Alec nodded, he took the paper and carefully unfolded it, trying to work out some of the creases from Alec's handling. He held it so both he and Alec could read what Inquisitor Lightwood had to say that she didn't want Valentine to know about.

"Alec-

I hope you and your siblings are doing well. I’m not able to write a lot, but I wanted to reach out because I have begun looking into the possibility of removing Valentine from power. I don't know if you have any contacts within the Clave or other rebel members that could help me, but I need to make amends for everything the Circle has done. I hope you will be able to help me so that I can make things right.

Hopefully, I can make things right with you too.

Love,
Mom"

Alec shook his head, pacing away from Magnus, both his hands in his hair. He stared back at the paper as if it was some venomous snake. "No way, no way in hell," he said, moving back to take the paper. Magnus watched as he reread it several times.

"Alexander..." Magnus started, not knowing what to say.

"Please be honest with me Magnus, don't leave anything out to spare my feelings," Alec said. "There is no way I can respond rationally to this right now."

Magnus nodded, taking a deep breath. His body was still thrumming with the relief that Alec was okay, that they both made it back unscathed. But this letter could change that. "My first concern is that it's a trap."

Alec nodded. "A way to reveal those shadowhunters in Alicante who are against the Clave. Using the approval of the marriage licenses to get us to trust her."

Magnus felt sick, his stomach tight at the thought that Alec thought the same things. Knowing that Maryse had betrayed his trust enough in the past that he didn't believe her now. "Yes. Though, it could be too obvious. And we could use such an ally. We’ve never been able to get a true resistance in Idris because we don't have enough people, and no one in high places." Taking a breath and resting a hand on Alec's arm. "But it does feel too good to be true."

Alec leaned into Magnus, nodding slowly. "I need to think about this."

Magnus nodded. "Yes. We don't need to tell anyone until you do."

Alec shook his head. "No, everyone should know. Even if I am unable to believe her or if I am the only one to believe her, it isn't my decision. What needs to be thought of is what is best for the greater good."

"Okay, but let's do that tomorrow," Magnus said, searching Alec's face. He saw the same exhaustion as Magnus felt reflected back.

Alec sagged, leaning further towards Magnus, "We should get the kids."

Magnus winced. "I don't have enough energy to make a portal at the moment."

Alec surprised Magnus by smiling. "I could use a walk to clear my head." Crossing the room, he took out a book and slipped the note from Maryse into it. Closing it, he turned back to Magnus expectantly.

Magnus might admit to lovingly gazing at the man. Alec didn't take Magnus not being able to use his magic at every whim, or even more serious things like this, as an inconvenience, but something to respect. Not many people Magnus had previously been with had understood his limits. Some, like Camille, would get angry when he couldn't do what she asked. But not his Alexander.

Moving across the room to Alec, the sound of Catarina moving about reminded Magnus. "Oh, we have a house guest."

"We do?" Alec's eyebrows were up. "Not one of the cats, is it?"

"No, Elias will be recovering here," Magnus said, gesturing towards the guest room. "I've, ah, moved your possessions into my room." At Alec's widening eyes he added, "I’ll make you a new room, once I have my energy back, don't worry."

Alec glanced at the door, then turned back to Magnus. Leaning down to kiss him, Alec smiled and assured. "I'm fine staying with you, if you don't mind."

Magnus’ whole body relaxed. He hadn't realized how worried he was about Alec's reaction. Alec wasn't offended, but actually... wanted to stay with Magnus. When would Magnus get used to this? Or would Alec always surprise him?

Taking Alec's offered arm as they moved to leave, he couldn't stop the smile on his face.

 

Magnus knocked on the door to Jocelyn and Luke's apartment. He listened, trying to pick up the sounds of the kids. Alec had been silent much of the walk over, but Magnus hadn't minded. It was clear that he'd been left with a lot to think about. Magnus could only hope Alec would share his thoughts when he was ready. And Magnus found he trusted that he would.

Luke answered the door, smiling brightly. "Hey, come on in. Jocelyn was just telling me how it went before vanishing to shower."

Magnus couldn't help but smile as well as he stepped in. "Sounds like you're still a married man."

"You too," Luke gave Magnus a slap on the back. "All well that ends well?"

"I'm not sure it's the end," Alec spoke up as he shut the door. He was clearly pensive, and Luke looked worriedly between the two of them before sighing.

"Valentine isn't going to let this go easily," Luke said, voice low.

"No, but I think we have some allies on the inside," Magnus said. "I was quite impressed with Ms. Branwell."

Alec smiled at that. "Yeah, Lydia's great."

"You don't think she’ll get in trouble for what she's done?" Magnus asked, fearing for the woman's safety.

“She knows what she’s doing,” Alec assured. "What, you don't need another house guest?" Magnus rolled his eyes at the little bit of teasing.

"I’m a fabulous host," Magnus said, reaching up to pat Alec's cheek before turning back to Luke.

"You couldn't marry all of them though," Luke pointed out. They were all still standing in the little hallway, blocked by a short wall from the main living space, but Magnus could hear the kids.

"I only wanted to marry one anyway," Magnus said before he could think better of it. Cheeks growing hot, he swept past Luke. "I hope you didn't feed them too many cookies. Max will never nap if he's had that much sugar."

"No, but the juice boxes are always unlimited," Luke said.

Stepping into the main living area, one could really see what this was the home of an artist. Most of the works were huge canvases with beautiful scenes of stained glass or fall leaves and made the big room feel cozy. How Jocelyn had mounted them on the brick wall, Magnus didn't know because he'd always just used magic. There were some of Clary's pieces too, hung up on the wall in the dining area. Next to those were a couple of Maia's papers that had been published in a science journal or that had earned her grants. The sheet music of one of Simon's songs was there as well, and one of the blades Isabelle had made. It was only a matter of time before they put something up of Jace's.

Seeing these always made Magnus smile. He had some of Madzie's art framed, and some of Max's. He’d asked Rafe to choose his favorite picture to go up as well. He had them near his office, so he could be reminded of his kids while he worked.

Those kids were currently hiding in a pillow fort that they'd made from the huge couch in the living room. A movie played in the background, but it seemed that they had more interesting things to do. Madzie was perched on the top, reading, while Max and Rafe were nowhere to be seen, if you ignored the giggles and movement under the blankets used.

Walking over to Madzie and pressing a kiss to her hair, Magnus looked at the book. "You're almost finished with that. Are you going to need to buy the next one?"

Madzie shook her head, glancing up at him for only a moment, "No, I have the whole series. Uncle Ragnor bought them for me for my birthday, remember?"

Madzie got so many books as presents that Magnus honestly didn't. Madzie just rolled her eyes when he shook his head though, before turning back to the book. He was sure he was interrupting the best part and left her to it. Moving around and kneeling next to the fort instead, he called, "Knock knock!"

"No one's home!" Max called. "Unless you know the password."

"Who am I telling the password to if no one is home?" Magnus asked. Alec knelt beside him, resting a hand on Magnus' back.

"Um..." Max seemed to be listening to whatever Rafe was whispering to him. Magnus could hear them whispering but not the words. "A computer! It’ll let you in."

"Ah, but you see I don't want to come in if my kiddos aren't home," Magnus sighed dramatically. "I wanted to see if they would be ready to come home, and maybe stop to get ice cream along the way..."

The roof of the fort exploded as Max jumped up, and Rafe soon followed. Madzie said a quick "hey!" as some of the blankets fell over her book.

"Ice cream was the password," Rafe said, trying to fully free himself from the blankets. Magnus reached out and picked him up, swinging him out of the fort and getting a delighted giggle for his efforts. Setting him down, Magnus tried to fix Rafe's hair, which was messy and static-y.

"I'm glad I was able to hack the system," Magnus said and laughed as Rafe tried to push his hand away. "Oof!" Max must have jumped onto Magnus' back, and Magnus quickly reached his hands back so he could catch him and make sure he didn't fall off.

"Rafe, I'm gonna save you!" Max tried to grip onto Magnus' arms, to stop him from being able to help Rafe with his hair. Rafe bolted, running to hide behind Luke, who was laughing at the scene.

"You gave them cookies after all, didn't you?" Magnus asked, still stuck with Max on his back. Alec came to his rescue, gently scooping the little boy into his arms.

"Max, did you eat too many cookies?" Alec asked, and Magnus turned around to watch the adorable sight. Max had his arms wrapped around Alec's neck and was snuggling closer. Magnus could agree that hugs from Alec were the best.

"No!" Max said, which sounded very suspicious to Magnus.

"So you have room for ice cream?" Alec asked, looking over at Luke, who was watching at the edge of the room.

Luke nodded, "They had some snacks and those juice boxes, but no cookies."

"And you got them to behave?" Magnus asked, pretending to be shocked.

"Yes, I don't always have to resort to bribery," Luke said, shaking his head. Magnus knew that. Luke had raised Clary after all, and she'd turned out alright.

"We'll get out of your hair. Thank you, Luke," Alec said, settling Max on his hip and offering Madzie her bookmark.

"Anytime, anytime," Luke said and Magnus knew he was being honest. It was a mix of him and Jocelyn both being good with the kids, and paying back for all the times Magnus watched Clary over the years. Luke saw them back to the door with a little wave, giving Rafe a high five as he passed.

 

Life settled largely back to normal after that, with the exception of Catarina stopping by once a day and Elias' presence in the house. Elias spent the first several days in bed, and Magnus kept the kids away from him. They didn't know if Valentine might still have a hold of control over him, and anyway, the kids probably wouldn't be very helpful with the healing process. But Magnus spent some time sitting with Elias when he was awake, and Ragnor and Dot did as well.

"I wasn't sure I'd make it out of there," Elias' voice was rough, but he'd started to smile again. "Thank you Magnus."

"Of course," Magnus set down the tea he'd brought in and handed Elias the book he'd requested.

"You've changed since I last saw you," Elias set the book in his lap, fingers tapping on the cover. "You seem more content."

Magnus couldn't help but smile, and he ducked his head. "Yes. A lot of things have changed for me since the revised Accords were signed."

"Whatever they all are, must suit you," Elias leaned back in his pillows, and Magnus moved to leave. "I'm not surprised fatherhood has. I remember when I was just coming into my powers and you took me under your wing..." He yawned.

"I'll let you get back to your rest," Magnus said, patting his hand gently. "Please, let me know if you need anything."

Magnus slipped out of the room, shutting the door. Catarina would be in later, and he made the mental note to let her know about Elias' easy fatigue. He smiled as the kids came running in from the front door. They had been playing hide and seek with Alec in the Institute. Rafe and Max ran to Magnus, clutching his legs.

"You have to hide us!" Rafe said, slightly out of breath and grinning widely. "He's after us!"

Knowing that Max was too young to be out of Alec's sight, Magnus had a good idea as to who they were running from. He leaned down and whispered, "Is it a tickle monster?"

"Yes! And he's it!" Rafe was nearly dancing, as he hopped from one leg to the other. "We need to hide!"

"Try behind the curtains in my bedroom," Magnus said, and they both took off. Magnus had magically secured those curtains so they could not tumble down on any small heads. Madzie came running in next, took one look around, and vanished behind a couch.

Alec was flushed and laughing as he appeared next, closing the door behind him. He pressed a quick kiss to Magnus’ cheek. "You look lovely."

"Oh, you're not going to get me to reveal their locations with flattery," Magnus said, pecking Alec's lips and then reaching up to try and set his hair right. "You need to use your shadowhunter skills to find those three kids."

"Well, two really, because wherever Rafe is, Max also is," Alec said, smiling down at Magnus. His hazel eyes were a warm brown right now, and Magnus wanted to keep staring at them. But Alec was on the move as soon as Magnus stopped touching his hair.

Magnus could only laugh and watch as Alec set off to find where the kids were hiding.

 

It was nearly a week after the mission to Idris that Magnus received an early morning fire message. He decided the sender was lucky he’d caught it. Rolling off Alec, who settled to contentedly relaxing and catching his breath, Magnus sat up to read. Flicking on the bedside lamp, he held the paper under it.

"Nothing good?" Alec asked after a moment, drawing his attention. Alec was laying on his side now, watching Magnus worriedly.

"It's from Jocelyn to... me," Magnus tried to make sense of the words in front of him. "Apparently your mother has requested a meeting."

"With you?" Alec's face was scrunched in a rather adorable frown, but now was not the time to think about kissing it away.

Magnus passed the letter over, "Apparently she wants to talk about how one goes about starting a revolution."

Chapter Text

The coordinates Magnus had been given weren't for a location in Alicante, but they were still within Idris’ borders. He’d had to borrow a bit of Alec’s memory to be able to portal to the exact meeting place Maryse had chosen. He knew it would be suspicious if Maryse left Idris, even if it would be safer for Magnus. All activity out of Idris was closely monitored due to the high levels of defection.

All that being said, this old cabin in the woods was rather creepy and a perfect place to stage a murder. Magnus wasn't sure that this wasn't a trap. The pine trees hunched on all sides but the front, filling the air with the smell of crushed nettles. A misty rain fell, limiting visibility to a few feet. There could be twenty shadowhunters around him and he’d never be the wiser until it was too late.

If Magnus was honest, he was very hopeful it wasn't a trap. And maybe that was foolish, but it was the break he'd been looking for. The chokehold on Idris that the Circle had, it could be lifted if a Circle member became a double agent. Jocelyn and Luke hadn't been in a position to do so, because they were both too close to Valentine. But Maryse, with her high position in Idris as well, could be what they needed to remove Valentine and the rest from power.

Magnus took a deep breath, casting another deflection spell over himself and stepped up to the door. He fiddled with his wedding band and tried not to think of what it meant that Alec still wore his as well. Such thoughts would cloud his judgment, were a distraction. He needed to focus.

Before he could knock, Maryse opened the door, her face looking relieved. She didn't have any weapons on her, Magnus saw as he stepped into the room. There was a fire going, and the space was small but cozy. An old getaway for the Lightwoods? That would explain why Alec had a memory of the location. Magnus could picture Alec being comfortable in the warm wooden beams and filled bookshelves of the house.

"I can't thank you enough for coming," Maryse said, her hands clasped nervously together in front of herself. Magnus took her in. She was clearly a powerful woman, even dressed down for the location they found themselves in, in jeans and a sweater. Her long hair was in a tight braid, her runes stark on her light brown skin. He could see a bit of both Alec and Izzy in her.

"I appreciate you taking the risk to reach out," Magnus said back, with a nod of his head. This was a diplomatic mission, as far as he was concerned. He couldn't let their personal connections distract him.

"Please, sit," Maryse gestured to one of the large chairs by the fire. She moved to take her seat, and Magnus settled across from her.

After thanking her, Magnus asked, "What are you able to do for us?" He leaned forward slightly, keeping his eyes on her face. He needed to catch any tell of a lie.

Maryse raised a perfect eyebrow at his directness, then nodded, "In my position, I have nearly as much control as the consul. I would like to use that to begin making a change."

"To change the way you're talking about will take too long at this point," Magnus said. The fire popped beside them. "We need more direct action at this point, to stop the injustice and the crimes the Clave has committed and continues to commit." Magnus stared at her and waited to see if she'd look away.

And she did. She bit her lip, and then stood. But then she sat again. Looking Magnus in the eye once more, Maryse said, "I need to make things right."

"Why?" Magnus asked, and hoped he didn’t sound unkind. He just needed to know she had thought about this completely. "Are you doing this for the right reasons? I can't endanger people if you're not in this all the way."

Maryse almost looked like she might argue. Her cheeks flushed, but she also kept her mouth shut. She was thinking, it was similar to the expression Alec would have on his face. "What the Circle has done is wrong. What I have helped the Circle do, is wrong."

"Yes, but why is it wrong?" Magnus pushed, and leaned further forward. "Because you lost your children? Or because you actually see downworlders as equals?"

"I'll be honest,” Maryse took a breath that was almost shaky. Magnus had never seen her as anything less than cool and controlled until this meeting. She seemed more human to him now, as she fiddled with the sleeves of her sweater. “It’s both. Or rather, one lead to the other."

“Go on,” Magnus said, now settling back in his chair. It was surprisingly comfortable.

"I was upset, when Alec left," Maryse said, then took a deep breath. "Really I was more than upset. I was so angry I didn't know what to do with myself. Then I realized that I was much more sad than angry."

“That’s common with grief,” Magnus offered as he watched her.

"All my children escaped, escaped me as much as they escaped the Clave," Maryse, standing and beginning to pace. "I wanted to be mad at them, but I realized that... they were probably right. Or rather, all of them couldn’t be wrong. I decided to trust that they must have a good reason for leaving. So, I started to look at my values and the things that I had done and tried to see what they had." She continued to move nervously, pausing facing away from Magnus, looking out a window into the rain. "The first thing I realized was that the system the Clave is built upon is one based on the inherent mistreatment of downworlders."

"That is one of the more blatant crimes, yes," Magnus said, and couldn't help the condescension that entered his voice. Anyone with a second to spare could see the horrors the Clave committed in the names of their angels. But Magnus understood it was probably very hard for a Circle member to realize what they were doing was wrong.

Maryse didn't seem put off by his honesty, far from it. She nodded and moved to sit again. "I knew that Izzy and Alec both were brilliant. They must have seen something that I overlooked. And my ignorance and blind hatred have left me without my children. Without my grandchild." Maryse took a shaky breathe and turned big tear-filled eyes to Magnus.

He wasn't going to buy it completely, not yet, but he would certainly file it away. He didn’t want to imagine what it would be like to be separated in such a way from his children. "It sounds like you have made the right calls. However, your children don't need to forgive you. It’s not something you're owed."

Maryse flinched, and Magnus saw a little bit of the anger he expected in Maryse Lightwood. But then she sat back and seemed to think over his words. "That’s true, even if I don't want to admit it."

"You might just have to be happy in the fact that they are happy," Magnus said, voice soft. "That's the goal of all parents, right?"

Maryse nodded, "I can make up for what I have done, and help them make sure they are happy. That's why I want to help change the Clave."

That seemed like a decent answer. Magnus knew they would test her before putting too much at risk. Getting Maryse to do little things to see if she would actually go through with them. But there was something more personal he also needed to protect. If she’d brought in the personal than he could as well. "Inquisitor, may I step out of my professional role for a moment?"

Maryse nodded, though she didn't seem to relax. "I would appreciate that." She was watching him almost expectantly.

Magnus knew why. "I don't have any direct messages from your children at this time." He thought about and decided to add, "I'm sorry."

Maryse was clearly disappointed, but she nodded. "This meeting was rather last minute."

"And we didn't know if you were being honest about your intentions," Magnus added. "You must see how important this cause is to your children."

"I know that you and Alec have... gotten acquainted," Maryse said, with little emotion in her voice.

Magnus laughed. He wasn’t sure how else to respond. "That's one way to put it. Inquisitor, you approved our marriage certificate."

"Yes..." Maryse didn't look... angry or disgusted as he half expected she would, so Magnus thought there might be hope getting through to her. Considering that her three oldest children were in some sort of same-sex relationship with different downworlders, she'd better. Otherwise she might not be a good ally; certainly Magnus wouldn't want to invite her into his home. Maryse surprised him by smiling a little bit then. "You're testing me."

"Yes," Magnus shrugged. "But what's family for."

Now Maryse's eyes widened. "By the angel, you're..."

"Legally your son-in-law, yes," Magnus said, then stood. He took a step towards her, using what height advantage he had to lean over her. Letting a little bit of magic spark around his form, he continued. "I will not let you hurt Alexander again."

Maryse surprised Magnus with a little gasp, then a smile. "You do love him!" her words were warm.

Magnus took a step back, glancing towards the fire, hoping that might cover his blush. There was no reason to deny what Maryse said. It was true, even if he hadn't yet been able to say the words to Alec.

Maryse rested a hand on his arm, and looking back, he saw something truly kind in her eyes for the first time. "At least I can be glad of that. I worried it was just a political match, after admittedly, being hopeful it was just a political match."

Magnus looked at her and it was his turn to be surprised. He felt fear at the fact his emotions were so obvious, especially to someone like Maryse. She continued to surprise him. "I... I will do whatever I need to in order to make sure your son is happy. I can promise the same for your grandson."

Maryse seemed to latch onto that. "Rafe. Is he alright?"

“He is,” Magnus nodded. "I'm sorry, I can’t speak more on this." He didn't want to give Maryse anything that Alec wouldn't want her to know. It was not his place.

She took a shaky breath. "I want my kids to be happy. You're right in what you said. I can't expect them to forgive me. But I can try to be worthy of forgiveness."

"I think that’s an admirable goal," Magnus looked at the door and Maryse stood, understanding. Magnus held out his hand, and she took it. "It was good to meet with you, Inquisitor. I hope this is the beginning of a successful relationship."

Maryse shook his hand in a firm grip. "I do as well." Letting go, she walked him to the door. Before he stepped out of it, she reached out to touch his arm once more.

Magnus stopped and turned to her.

"Alec's birthday is September 12th," she said with a little smile. "He probably didn't tell you and he certainly deserves a party."

Magnus gave Maryse a real smile. "I'll make sure of it."

"Thank you, for loving my boy," Maryse said, voice rough. Magnus blinked his surprise, but felt some more warmth and affection towards the woman. "Especially when I was being a fool and couldn't."

Magnus nodded again, not sure what to say in response. Neither of them was going to go for a hug, which Magnus was grateful for. This meeting had already gone far afield from what he expected. He settled for saying, "There was never a question in me loving him. Some part of me knew from the moment he showed up at my door that he was it."

Magnus turned and walked away from Maryse, not wanting to give anything more away with his expression. Making a portal, he stepped through without looking back.

 

The meeting held the next night felt like a fever dream to Magnus. He was able to report on everything that he and Maryse talked about at the start. Everything relevant to the revolution. The other words chased themselves around his mind when he sat and listened to everyone talk and debate their next move. The night before, Magnus had told Alec most of what his mother had said, leaving out only the parts where she had figured out that Magnus loved, was in love with, Alec.

It seemed, in the logical part of his mind that sounded either like Ragnor or Catarina, silly to hide such feelings from Alec. If there was anyone in the world Magnus wanted to be completely honest with, it was Alec. Sitting in the meeting, watching Alec speak about what he knew of the Idris resistance, Magnus could only feel jumpy. His skin tingled; he was nervous and excited and wanted to run away from something that could hurt as bad as Alec was able to hurt him.

Magnus had learned to stay when something was worth fighting for. Alec and Rafe certainly were that. And Magnus would fight to keep them in his life, even if who he was fighting were his own anxieties and fears.

Getting home that night, Magnus and Alec fell into the routine they had found over their time together. There were a few rounds of getting all the kids bathed and making sure everyone ate a good dinner. Catarina popped in and out to check on Elias, and was invited to stay for dessert. Then on to the final playtime for the kids as bedtime approached. Madzie asked to stay up a little later to finish her book (she always did), Rafe insisted on hearing two stories (one he picked and one Max picked), and Max fell asleep on Alec (and only drooled a little).

It was after eight before everyone was settled. Magnus and Alec met in the living room, as they usually did. They were sitting side by side, rain battering against the windows. The little bubble of candlelight felt as if it kept them safe. After everything that had happened recently, that was a very needed feeling.

Sharing a couch, sitting in silence reading or watching tv, there was nothing better than just existing together. Tonight though, all Magnus' thoughts from the meeting came rushing back, as Alec leaned into his side.

Alec himself was being thoughtful, quiet, and Magnus wondered what he could do to draw him out. Alec was playing with Magnus’ left hand, gently touching the wedding ring that rested on Magnus’ finger.

Alec must have sensed some of Magnus agitation, as Magnus moved, resting his legs over Alec’s lap, and curling against Alec’s side. Magnus had set the book down he had been trying to read, and just watched Alec’s hands and his own.

“Magnus... You’ve been in love before,” Alec said, and Magnus could feel the words rumble in his chest. It wasn’t a question.

“I have, a few times, and several more when I thought I was.” There was no reason to lie to Alec. There never had been.

“How did you know?” This question is so quiet, Magnus wasn’t sure he’d heard right.

Pulling back enough to look Alec in the eye, Magnus tried to think. “I don’t know. You just find yourself fitting together, understanding each other. But...” Magnus took a deep breath. He would regret it if he didn’t tell Alec. There was only a small chance he would regret it if he did. “You should know. What I feel for you... I never knew it could be like this.”

Alec’s hands stilled, his eyes focused on Magnus’. In those quiet moments, Magnus thought about everything Alec could say in response to those words. Would he even understand?

Alec moved, resting his forehead against Magnus’, and said the last words Magnus expected, but the ones he wanted most, “Magnus… I love you.”

It was as if the wind had been knocked out of him, at the same time it felt as if he’d started floating. Magnus saw nothing but steady conviction in Alec’s eyes. That made it surprisingly easy to say, “Alexander, I love you too.”

Alec let out a breath, then smiled. “I honestly don’t know where I would be without you. You have been one of the best things to happen to me. I can’t imagine not having you in my life.”

“I never thought I could find this,” Magnus murmured the confession.

“And I never thought I could have this,” Alec said, moving only to press a kiss to Magnus’ forehead.

Magnus blinked quickly, feeling happier than he ever thought possible. The feeling of home that he had whenever he was with Alec, settled fully. This, after all the time he’d been alive, was what had always been waiting for him.

Magnus was never more thankful he’d made it here. To Alec, to this family, they were building together. Part of him wished he could tell his past self what was waiting for him. That he’d get to be a father. That he would find someone who fit like Alec did.

Magnus pulled Alec close, burying his face into Alec’s shoulder, and it felt like he could breathe for the first time.

Chapter Text

High Warlock Magnus Bane,

I have sent this letter with my sister, who has escaped Idris, to ensure its security. I wanted to make contact, as I am in a unique position in the Clave. I have access to be able to free downworlders who are captured and imprisoned here. I would like to find a safe way to get them out of Idris and Consul Valentine's cruelty.

I understand I will need to prove myself a trustworthy partner before you agree. However, there is a werewolf who was just captured for entering into Idris, and I fear that she will disappear if she is not assisted. If you are able to give any support or respond with urgency, that would be appreciated. If you are able to make a portal to the coordinates on the enclosed map or to send a fire message there, I will be able to receive it without giving away my position.

Sincerely,

Lieutenant A. Lightwood

 

Lightwood-

I will keep this message brief. I will be able to make a portal to this same location in exactly 24 hours, through which the werewolf can travel. If any nephilim step into this portal they will be destroyed, so this better not be a trap.

-Bane

 

Mr. Bane,

Thank you so much for your help. I have sent this message through with Juana, who I hope you were able to provide proper care. She tells me she is from a pack in Mexico City, hopefully, you will be able to send her home once she has healed.

Now that I have proven myself, at least once, I hope we can continue this partnership. However, it will be difficult for me to message you when a new downworlder needs transportation. If you are able to send a message to the same location to answer if there is a spell or some other magic that could give us a secure way to communicate? If not, please let me know and I will continue looking for an option on my side.

Thank you again,

Lt. Lightwood

 

Lightwood,

I am impressed, if not fully convinced of your intentions. Juana is healing well and should be able to go home in the next few days.

As you can see, this message is enclosed in a blank journal. Hopefully, you will be able to hide it securely. I have its duplicate and what you write here will show up on my end as well. So please don't use it as a diary, unless you what me knowing your inner thoughts. This way, we’ll be able to communicate securely and nearly instantaneously. Use it when there are downwolders that need to be rescued from Idris.

On the topic, if you could do some snooping, we believe there may be some vampires and warlocks being held as personal servants/slaves in some Alicante households. Any information on this would be appreciated.

I hope the weather is pleasant, curses upon your parents, all such sensibilities, etc.

Bane

 

Mr. Bane,

I have begun my investigation and found there is a vampire being held in the Lovelace home. It will be much harder to get him out, so I will message you with this book (which is a very good idea). I am guessing you will want to have blood ready for him to eat once he comes through, as well as a healer on hand.

Weather is fine, I mentally cursed at my parents if that helps, etc. I will try and remember my etiquette lessons...

Lt. Lightwood

 

Lightwood,

Received and understood, I'll keep the book with me. Maybe I should have just given you my cell number? Remind me to ask what shadowhunter etiquette lessons are like at a less dire time.

Bane

 

Portal needed now for rescued vampire - Lightwood

 

Lightwood,

Thank you for the heads up about the blood. Kye is healing well with the care of the New York clan and wanted me to pass along apologies for trying to bite you. The poor boy seemed very embarrassed about it once we got some food in him. He also mentioned seeing at least one other vampire that he remembered while in Alicante. Please let me know if you are able to find them.

Now, etiquette lessons. Dancing? Dinner table setting? Which side of the plate does one put their stele, I've always wondered...

Also, thanks for not calling me "Warlock Bane." Never been said to me in kind contexts.

Bane

 

Mr. Bane,

I hope Kye doesn't feel embarrassed when I am the one ashamed and horrified at what he'd been through. I hope he has recovered well. Also, about cell phones. Idris does not have good service, and all devices are heavily monitored. Don't ask me how the Clave never seemed the most tech-savvy bunch. Maybe I need to keep an eye out for some captured Mundane IT employees? Joking (I hope).

I have continued my search. Haven't found anyone else yet, but there have been some rumblings about capturing a warlock in Paris who has been "causing trouble." I will send more information when I can.

Steles are not allowed on the dinner table (best imagined in a stern, motherly tone).

Lt. Lightwood.

 

Lightwood,

Thank you for the information. I have reached out to the warlocks in Paris, including the High Warlock, and they are on alert. Hopefully, this will prevent you from needing to do another rescue of that nature and can continue investigating the families of Alicante. Please pass along other such information if you have it, I am sure I can get it to the right people.

What does the "A" stand for in that first letter you sent me? Seems silly you know my first name but I don't know yours.

Let me guess: Andrew. Anthony? Aaron.

Sincerely,

Magnus Bane

 

Mr. Bane,

I am glad you were able to use such information. I can't promise I will come across a lot of it, given my position at the moment, but I am trying to work to higher ranks. I will be better able to help then.

I have a lead on the vampire Kye talked about. They are being held in a prison I didn't know about. Similar procedure to get them out, I will message you when I am able to get them out safe.

My name is Alexander. Everyone calls me Alec.

Sincerely,

Lt. Alec Lightwood

 

Lightwood,

I will be ready. Bummer about the cellphones really.

Call me Magnus.

-Magnus

 

Magnus- Tran is ready for transport. A

 

Alec (hope it is okay to call you that, Lieutenant),

I am pleased to once more report that, with your help, we have another success story! Tran has already gone back to their clan in San Francisco. I think I can say you have certainly proven your dedication to the cause.

I also wanted to say, I saw your sister. She seems to be doing well in her first couple of months in New York. It is a wonderful city, though I may be a bit biased.

-Magnus

 

Magnus,

I am very glad to hear it. Both about Tran and my sister. Think I'm going to need to help my brother get out next- he doesn't work well in the military setting they have all shadowhunters in.

You can call me Alec.

Sincerely,

Alec

 

[two years later]

Magnus-

Sorry to write so soon, but a young warlock has come into Clave custody. She is only six at the most, though her magic seems strong. I am going to try and save her- I don't want her to have to meet Valentine at all.

Yours,

Alec

 

Alec, Understood, ready whenever you are. I have a friend who is a healer on call as well. -Magnus

 

Ready. She's pretty upset, but I was able to calm her down. Her name is Madzie. -Alec

 

Thank you, Alec. Madzie is safe with us. She speaks highly of you. -Magnus

 

She seems like a great kid. -Alec

 

Alec,

We're working to find Madzie a home and family; she has nearly completely recovered. Your fast acting really saved the day. Thank you.

Did you receive that promotion you were talking about?

Also, I'll send a new book through soon. I see we're running out of pages again.

Yours,

Magnus

 

Magnus,

I did. You're now talking to General Lightwood. Skipped me right up from Lt. Commander, probably because there are fewer and fewer of us. Ah, and the nepotism. Can't forget that.

Should put me in an even better standing to help.

A new book would be useful unless you want me to write smaller. I can't promise how legible it will be after a certain point.

Yours,

Alec

 

Alec,

Hope this fresh book finds you well. Reminder: not a diary. Unless you want to talk about your crushes? I could be persuaded. What do shadowhunters find attractive anyway? Stele length?

I would tell you not to put down your accomplishments, but I don't really think highly of what makes an accomplished Clave soldier. The overall sentiment still stands, though. You have done so much to help save downworlders in Idris. I can't give you a promotion however. I have included a gold star sticker instead.

Yours,

Magnus

 

Magnus,

I think I've outgrown crushes, do not fear. Thank you for the laugh though. And your kind words with the sticker. I'm only doing what is right.

They have me leading an upcoming "patrol." We may come back with a prisoner, so be prepared. I'm not sure how to keep under the radar in my new position yet, but I will figure it out.

Yours,

Alec

 

Be careful Alexander. -M

 

When am I not? -A

 

Often, I’d wager. -M

 

[two years later]

Magnus,

A whole family of werewolves was captured, three individuals in total. It is going to be hard to get them to the usual coordinates. Are there any other places you can generate a portal?

Yours,

Alec

 

Alec,

Certainly dear. I have attempted to draw a general map of Alicante below. The x's are where I can generate a portal, with the exact latitude and longitude so you can find the spots on a better map. Let me know what works best for you.

Yours,

Magnus

 

Circled what works best. Your "attempt" looks better than my official map. Are you a secret cartographer? - Alec

 

I am many things, Alexander. ;)

 

[some scribbled out words] ...I have no doubt. I should be in place in 12 hours at the circled location. - A

 

I'll be ready. - M

 

Magnus,

Hope everything went smoothly on your end.

Alec

 

Alec,

The McConnells are safe. Hope you are too, it sounded like there was someone on your tail.

Yours,

Magnus

 

Magnus,

I'm glad. Everything fine on my end. I’m very good at lying.

Yours,

Alec

 

That shouldn't be as comforting as it is, given our partnership. -Magnus

 

Maybe I'm just saying you're not the only one who is many things. -Alec

 

I have a follow-up question. -M

 

Alright. -A

 

What the fuck does that even mean? - M <- (my handwriting is shaky because I'm laughing)

 

Can't say. :)

 

And I thought I was the one who had an air of mystery. -M

 

I'm trying one on for size. Do you think it suits me? -A

 

Maybe. My sense of you is you're a very straightforward person, however, and that tends to clash. -M

 

[nearly illegible crossed out words. close inspection reveals something to the effect of "There is nothing (???) about me."]

 

Well, now the sense of mystery thickens. -M

 

Sorry about that. -A

 

Did you forget this wasn't a diary? -M

 

Something like that. -A

 

At this point Alexander, you can probably tell me anything. I can certainly keep secrets safe. -M

 

Thank you, Magnus. I'll keep that in mind. -A

Chapter Text

Magnus gasped against Alec’s mouth, breaking the kiss. Alec shifted his attention to nip along his jaw, trailing down to his neck gentler kisses and Magnus arched against the bed, head falling back. Once Alec reached Magnus' shoulder, he became rougher, with no fear of a mark showing and raising questions.

This drew a moan from Magnus, his hips stuttering up and his brain filled with the thought of Alec. Alec was a very attentive lover, and Magnus loved it all: Alec’s total focus on Magnus, that he was still able to manage a practical thought of not wanting to explain a hickey, the way his big hands felt against Magnus’ skin. Alec had thrown himself fully into finding what felt best for Magnus and revealing in the fact that he himself was able to enjoy such intimacy instead of finding secret corners for quick liaisons.

Magnus very much enjoyed giving back as good as he got, but this morning Alec had stated in no uncertain terms that Magnus was the focus. Alec moved back up, forehead pressed against Magnus’ own, hazel eyes so dark Magnus couldn’t look away.

“God you’re gorgeous,” Alec panted, eyes seeming to trace every line of Magnus’ face. And like this, bracketed in Alec’s arms as he slowly, reverently fucked Magnus... Magnus could believe that he was gorgeous.

“Kiss me,” Magnus sighed into the space between them, hand in Alec’s hair tugging with the request.

“Mmm,” Alec gave him a peck on the lips before pulling back with a little smile. “But I want to watch you lose yourself.” He punctuated this a deeper thrust and Magnus couldn’t quiet his reaction to that. Nor would he want to, given Alec’s reaction.

 

*As they lay tangled together after the weak fall sunlight was beginning to filter through the curtains. Magnus had never felt warmer, as he idly traced his finger through Alec’s chest hair, one of Alec’s arms around him. The loft had been Magnus’ home for a very long time, he loved it and loved New York City. But this place, this room... it felt more like a home than it ever had before. When Magnus decided he was going to start a family on his own and not wait for the perfect partner, it had been both scary and freeing. He’d feared for so long that no one could truly love him for all his flaws or all the parts of himself that made him feel monstrous. This had changed with Alec bursting into his life.

Alec gently took Magnus’ hand on his chest, bringing it to his lips and kissing the wedding band. Magnus turned to smile at him, tangling their fingers together. “What are you thinking about?” Alec asked.

“Finding home in unexpected places,” Magnus said honestly. He would always be honest with Alec, there was no reason not to be. And that in itself was a shift from the relationships he’d had before.

“I love you,” Alec said as if it was as natural to him as breathing.

“I love you, too,” Magnus smiled, because it was just as natural to him.

“Did you know, when you’re sleeping-”

“Hey, any snoring is you,” Magnus teased, cutting him off. Alec just rolled his eyes at that and Magnus scooted further up in bed so he could kiss the corner of Alec’s mouth.

“So you claim,” Alec said. He kept his arm firmly around Magnus, the hand not tangled with Magnus’ resting on Magnus’ hip. “What I was actually going to ask, do you know your magic settles over us at night?”

Magnus felt his whole body tense, as his mind went on high alert. Magnus knew his magic sometimes acted on his thoughts without him meaning to and he knew what he wanted most was to protect Alec and their family. But his power often scared people away. And Alec was a shadowhunter, trained to fear magic...

Pulling away from Alec so that he could look into his eyes, Magnus took a deep breath and started, “I’ll do better, I’m sorry-”

Alec was frowning, sitting up as well. He reached out the palm of his hand against Magnus’ face. “Why are you apologizing?” His eyes searched Magnus’ face.

Magnus didn’t pull away. “I don’t want to scare you. I don’t want you to hate me.”

“I could never hate you,” Alec said with utter conviction. The pad of his thumb gently brushed his cheek. “And why would it scare me? Magnus, your magic is beautiful. It feels like warmth and safety. For the first time I can remember, I can sleep the whole night through, because I know nothing can hurt me.”

Magnus didn’t know what to say. No one had ever told him his magic made them feel safe. Most saw it as a tool they might be able to get something out of, but it was always something that could turn on them. Though Magnus knew his magic reacted to his love, tried to wrap itself around those whom he loved. He should have noticed it had started to do so with Alec, but it had felt so natural.

“Magnus, you’re amazing in every sense of the word,” Alec leaned forward, capturing Magnus’ lips in a kiss. Magnus leaned into it, always chasing after him when Alec pulled away. Their foreheads still pressed together. “I love every part of you, including your magic, not despite it.”

Magnus smiled and loosened his hold on his magic. He tried to keep it close, but when he let go, it hurried to Alec as soon as he let it.

Alec leaned back as the blue light settling over his cheeks and hair. Magnus watched as he smiled in awe, holding up his hands. More of Magnus’ magic settled over his arms, and Magnus could feel Alec’s warmth through it. He also got a sense of calm, as Alec looked at his hands and continued to smile.

“It’s beautiful,” Alec murmured, and magic settled briefly on his lips as if to kiss him. Magnus had to smile at that, and slowly his body relaxed from fight or flight mode. Alec accepted something that was such a part of who Magnus was, of how he experienced the world, with such ease and care.

“I love you,” Magnus said because there was nothing else that could express how he was feeling. Not even those three words felt like enough.

“I love you too,” Alec said, leaning in to kiss Magnus again. Magnus’ magic settled once more within him, contented after it got to explore Alec. “Thank you for trusting me.”

“I think I should be saying that to you.” Magnus looked down, linking their hands.

“No, and I will fight with whoever made you think so,” Alec’s eyebrows pulled down, and his face was so grumpy that it made Magnus laugh.

“Come on, time to get ready for the day,” Magnus climbed out of bed, turning to hold his hand out to Alec.

Alec groaned and flopped on his side. “But it’s so early.”

Magnus laughed. “Fine, sleep while I shower.”

“I plan to,” Alec was burrowing into the blankets on Magnus’ side of the bed.

Shaking his head at how quickly the mood changed, Magnus went to the bathroom, finding himself more contented and relaxed than he could remember in years.

 

“So pumpkin, do you want to go to school?” Magnus asked, looking over at the little boy. “The mundanes will be able to teach all you need to know about reading and writing. Plus you will be able to make new friends!”

Rafael eyed him skeptically, looking over at Alec who was sitting beside him. “What about Madzie and Max?”

“Madzie will be going to school too,” Alec said.

This would be Madzie’s first year, but Magnus had needed to make sure she had a good basis of her magic. She would be able to control her magic too so that there was no danger of her hurting other students or being hurt.

“Max is too young though,” Magnus added.

“Okay,” Rafael smiled, bouncing slightly. “Do I get to buy notebooks?”

“Sure thing,” Magnus chuckled, and Alec’s eyes were warm as they met. “I have been working on getting a tour set up for you and Madzie. You wouldn’t be in the same class, but you’ll see each other at recess.”

“What’s recess?” Rafael asked, looking over at Alec again.

“Um,” Alec shot Magnus a look.

“We’ll watch some more shows about school,” Magnus assured. “Then you can know what to expect.”

Rafael smiled at that. “Awesome!” He slipped off the couch and went running out of the room.

“Where are you going?” Alec called after him.

“To get the iPad!” was tossed over his shoulder.

“Do we let them use technology too much?” Magnus asked, flopping back in his chair.

Alec stuck out his foot, gently nudging Magnus’ own. “I don’t think so...”

“Maybe I’m just old.” Magnus thought of his childhood, what he could remember of it.

Alec’s gentle laughter brought his out of his thoughts, “That’s certainly a theory.” He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “Do you think they will be safe?”

“Where?” Magnus mirrored him.

“At school,” Alec said, reaching one of his hands out, the wedding band shining in the light. “We won’t be with them, if the Clave were to attack. And I’ve read about the mundane shootings... there have been so many and they don’t seem to be stopping.”

Magnus caught Alec’s hand in his own. “They will have charms and spells to keep them as safe as I can make them. The school I am getting them into has fantastic reviews.”

“But you can’t guarantee their safety,” Alec said. “And neither can I.”

“No,” Magnus said, feeling the slight panic rise in his chest. “But that’s something every parent faces. We can’t protect them from everything. And if we try, they won’t live the best lives that they can.”

Alec nodded. “I just don’t want to make the same mistakes that my parents did.”

“I know,” Magnus squeezed his hand. “I don’t either. But we can catch each other now.”

That brought Alec’s smile back. “Yeah. We’re a good team.”

 

When Elias was well enough, he was transferred to the Spiral Labyrinth. That was the only place safer than Magnus’ loft. It never came up for Alec to return to the guest room, and Magnus certainly wasn’t going to ask him too. He was already used to having someone to share his bed with. Alec specifically.

Walking through the Institute that evening, Magnus found Ragnor settled at a table in the main room. It wasn’t as busy as usual, given the late hour. In fact, it seemed Ragnor was the last one there. Sitting across from him, Magnus set down a bottle of good whiskey.

“And what’s this for?” Ragnor said, finally looking up and raising an eyebrow.

“It’s your birthday,” Magnus prompted with a smile. “And because it is Saturday and the kids have their first day of school on Monday, I have some time to recover.”

“Who’s watching them?” Ragnor settled back, actually closing the old tome he had been looking over.

“Alec,” Magnus said, and knew his face must have been a little too soft and dreamy because Ragnor rolled his eyes.

“Of course he is,” Ragno grumbled. “How is domestic bliss?”

“Good,” Magnus said, and he meant it. It was much better than good.

Ragnor seemed to be able to tell. “It seems you have finally found someone to love you as you deserve. Which is good, it would have been awkward to try and hide his body...”

“I’m glad you’re not planning on murdering Alexander.” Magnus shook his head, materializing four tumblers with large cubes of ice in them. Pouring as good finger of whiskey into each, Magnus handed one to Ragnor.

“Only if he was an asshole, which considering who he is, I was right to be suspicious,” Ragnor pointed out, taking a sip.

“Enough about me,” Magnus said, taking his own cup. “This is your day.”

“And where are my other two adoring fans?” Ragnor huffed, glaring at the unclaimed glasses.

“Maybe we decided not to come,” Catarina said, walking from around the corner. She leaned over and gave Ragnor a peck on the cheek before he could duck away. Laughing she settled opposite him beside Magnus.

Raphael was next, dropping dramatically from the ceiling. He gave a dry chuckle at all their faces. “Missed me?”

“Always my boy,” Magnus smiled behind his cup. “Ready for a good time?”

“If I have to,” Raphael was smirking, settling beside Ragnor. “How is the old man feeling.”

“Worse and worse, thank you,” Ragnor grumbled, finishing his whiskey. Catarina copied him then refilled both their glasses. “What madness did you three plan?”

“We left this in Raphael’s capable hands,” Catarina said, turning with a smile.

“We have reservations in an hour are Ragnor’s favorite New York restaurant,” Raphael said flatly as if delivering the worst news. “We are then going to go tipsy book shopping. With a few portals, we can do so anywhere in the world.”

Ragnor hummed. “That actually sounds wonderful.”

“Of course it does,” Raphael said, and knocked his glass against Ragnor’s before downing the whiskey. “But first we, as the kids say-”

“I’m not that old!” Ragnor protested.

“-we pregame,” Raphael finished over him. “Thank you for the whiskey.”

Magnus nodded, unable to stop smiling. “I was keeping it for a special occasion.”

“I guess I’m good enough,” Ragnor huffed. “Didn’t you all forget last year?”

“Nope,” Catarina said. “You just didn’t know why we were paying attention to you.”

“Humph.”

By the time they got to the restaurant, specializing in authentic Chinese cuisine, they had all started to feel the effects of the alcohol. Raphael drank less than the warlocks, not quite able to keep up with their tolerance. The meal was wonderful, filled with carbs that helped soak up some of the alcohol they had consumed. They shared plates, laughing and joking, and Magnus found himself able to focus on the moment, even as in the back of his mind he worried about what would come next from Idris and if Madzie and Rafe would do well in school.

Once dinner was finished, Catarina opened them a portal and they jumped over to London. Stepping through, Magnus clutched Raphael’s arm with a giggle. “This is going to be so much fun.”

Going to a 24-hour bookstore and letting a tipsy Ragnor Fell loose might not be the best idea. But now he had back up, it was probably even worse. Raphael followed him around, while Magnus and Catarina went off and would find them again when they saw something Ragnor would like. Magnus also grabbed some things he wanted, or that he thought Alec or one of the kids would like. If they alarmed any of the mundane patrons, they at least didn’t get themselves thrown out.

“Oh, I met Mary Shelley,” Catarina said, taking out a new edition of Frankenstein. “She lost so many of her babies. I tried to get doctors to listen to me about better methods for childbirth, but would they? Noooo.”

“A lot of that is common practice now,” Magnus patted her arm. He had heard this argument a lot through the years- understandably with the amount of progress and then regression in medicine due to colonial rule. He tried to cheer her up. “What is your favorite book again?”

That set Catarina off on a whole different topic, though now she was grinning. Magnus picked up some of the books she mentioned and would hand them to her, which got her talking about cover art and different edited versions over the years.

Ragnor and Raphael found them sitting in the young adult section, pulling out books at random to see what things had changed and what things had stayed the same. “So this is what distracted you,” Ragnor muttered, but he was in the best spirits Magnus had seen him in a long time.

“Don’t you want to know what the kids are reading?” Magnus asked, holding up Twilight.

“I don’t think the kids are reading that anymore,” Catarina took it from him and put it back on the shelf.

“Raphael, do the kids still read Twilight?” Magnus said through his laughter, as Ragnor offered him a hand to stand up.

“If you think I haven’t blocked anything related to Twilight at this point in my immortal life...” Raphael helped Catarina up, a small smile still on his lips.

“I saw one of your clan had the whole set,” Magnus countered. “You haven’t blocked it in your own home.”

“Elliot also has all of Ann Rice’s books, some Trueblood, and several copies of Dracula,” Raphael explained calmly. “You can’t judge us based on him. Lily has also held some Twilight movie marathons, but those were mostly a drinking game as far as I could tell.”

“Sure, sure,” Catarina said, ruffling Raphael’s hair. “We should return the body glitter we have been saving for your birthday?”

“I should just leave you all here,” Raphael threatened.

“We’re your ride home,” Catarina pointed out.

“Tessa would make me a portal if I asked,” Raphael said, and turned to head for the checkout. “But first I need to buy these books.”

Magnus threw his arms around Catarina and Ragnor’s waists. “Shall we follow?”

Ragnor looked mournfully around at all the books he wouldn’t be buying. “I guess.”

“Great, I left my books up there already,” Magnus said, guiding them in that direction and trying to move Ragnor away from being distracted by other books.

“We should do this again,” Catarina hummed, resting her head on Magnus’ shoulder. “Oh, we should throw you a bachelor party, Magnus.”

“And take me drunk book shopping?” Magnus asked. “As long as I get to wear one of my club outfits.”

“Sexy drunk book shopping,” Catarina started giggling and didn’t seem to be able to stop.

“Book shopping is always sexy,” Ragnor said, managing to snag a book off a display and adding it to his shopping basket.

“How many people have you managed to seduce in a bookstore?” Magnus asked, as Catarina laughed harder.

“A good number,” Ragnor said, as they settled behind Raphael in line. The cashier eyed them all with mild trepidation. “Five at least. But you don’t need to seduce anyone, we would be celebrating your successful seduction.”

“A very complicated seduction it was too,” Catarina set down the five books she had managed to limit herself to. Wiping tears from her eyes from her laughter, she nodded at them as she looked over her shoulder. Raphael whispered an apology to the cashier.

“Not really,” Magnus muttered. His cheeks hurt from smiling, which always seemed to be the case when the four of them managed to all go out. “Oh, I’m paying for his books as well as mine,” Magnus said to the cashier, taking Ragnor’s basket from him and beginning to put the books on the counter.

“Alright,” the cashier said, and started to ring everything up.

“Thank you,” Magnus smiled, turning back to Ragnor. “Alexander and I are... reasonably normal given the circumstances.”

“You have been at least curious about this man since you started exchanging letters,” Ragnor huffed, accepting the bag Magnus handed him.

“Have a good evening,” the cashier offered, giving Magnus an excuse to ignore Ragnor.

“You too!” Magnus said. “Thanks for the help.”

Stepping out into the night was sobering, though London was still a bit milder than the fall descending on New York. “Shall we find a pub?” Ragnor asked. “I want something stereotypical British food.”

“It will be so bland but okay,” Raphael sighed and Magnus and Catarina shrugged in agreement.

“Rude,” Ragnor huffed but accepted as Magnus and Catarina each took one of his arms. “But true. But also you can’t eat anyway!”

As Ragnor guided them through the streets of London, Magnus relaxed. This was what they had all fought for, a world where they could safely be themselves without fear of the Clave. To find and build families, communities, find love and happiness and success. The darkness of the Clave still lurked at the horizon, and Magnus could accept there was more work to do. But it was nice to be reminded of what they had already accomplished. And being out with one part of his family, knowing the other part was safe at home, was the happiest Magnus had ever found himself.

“Alec told me he loves me,” Magnus admitted into the night, as they stepped into a pub that had been a lot classier a hundred years ago.

Raphael came up beside Magnus, “Why didn’t you lead with this?”

“It’s Ragnor’s birthday!” Magnus said, as they settled into a booth. He waved his hand to make the table clean.

“Yes, but Ragnor wants all the juicy details,” Catarina said, putting her chin in her hands.

Ragnor pushed himself up to go order. “I do so you better not start talking until I get back.”

“I mean, it was obvious you were going to have something with Alec,” Catarina said, ignoring Ragnor.

“Probably good it doesn’t seem to be a fling,” Raphael pointed out.

“I think getting married to someone is the opposite definition of a fling.” Magnus tried to sulk, but he was too content.

“Not a political marriage,” Catarina said. She put her feet up, resting them in Magnus’ lap. Magnus didn’t ask where her shoes went.

With her job, she was on her feet so much of the day, so Magnus massaged the arch of her heel. “It’s complicated.”

“That would probably the Facebook relationship definition,” Catarina said.

“Do you still use Facebook?” Raphael asked. “I can confirm the kids are not using that anymore.”

“No but the other nurses are, and how am I supposed to keep up their mortal lives and remember their birthdays!” Catarina protested, sliding her phone over to Raphael. “Time passes so differently for me, it’s a good way to judge if questions I ask are weird.”

Ragnor returned, putting a pint in front of each of them. “What’d I miss?”

“Catarina still has a Facebook,” Raphael reported, scrolling through Catarina’s feed.

“What’s a Facebook?” Ragnor asked, before taking a long draw from his glass. “And what does it have to do with interrogating Magnus on his love life?”

“Nothing, let’s go back to that,” Catarina said, looking over Raphael’s shoulder. He was sitting beside her, while Ragnor settled beside Magnus. “Don’t like anything embarrassing.”

“I am going to angry react to everything,” Raphael said flatly, and Catarina swiped the phone away. He then looked up at Magnus. “Alright, so Alexander Lightwood.”

“A shadowhunter!” Catarina pointed out, wiping some foam from her mouth.

“But also a dad, that was always going to be the weakness,” Ragnor said.

“Who said ‘I love you’ first?” Catarina asked, turning her attention back to Magnus.

“Alec did,” Magnus said, trying to hide his smile behind his glass.

“Point for Lightwood,” Raphael said, holding up a finger.

“Good dad, very tall and strong,” Catarina added, reaching over to put more of Raphael’s fingers down.

Magnus put his head on the table with a groan. “Please don’t call me out.”

“Seemly truthful, not an asshole,” Catarina continued. “Could pick you up and who you could probably pick up. Oh! Is he a good dancer?”

“I haven’t asked,” Magnus said to the table. “And the only time it came up was that night we all went out.”

“We’re torturing the poor man,” Ragnor said, patting Magnus’ back. “Just tell him we approve.”

“Not that our disapproval has stopped him in the past,” Raphael said, sounding annoyed.

“Magnus, we approved but will still kick Alec’s ass at the slightest provocation,” Catarina said, voice sounding closer as she must have leaned over to speak in his ear.

“Thank you, I’ll let him know.”

 

“I’m home,” Magnus whispered, slipping into the bedroom. Alec was sitting up in bed, reading.

“How was it?” Alec smiled, setting the book aside. Magnus put the bag with the books he had purchased down, and walked over, moving to lay down on top Alec.

Alec just wrapped his arms around Magnus, and kissed him with a smile. Magnus looked up at him, and wondered about the last time he had smiled for so long. He wasn’t coming home to an empty bed, he knew his kids were safe, and he was warmed by the time spent with Ragnor, Catarina, and Raphael.

“They have decided they won’t kick your ass,” Magnus offered, falling to one side so he could cuddle.

Alec chuckled, turning with Magnus so that they were facing. Propping himself up with one arm he offered, “Well that’s good. I didn’t know that was something I had to worry about though.”

“Mmhmm,” Magnus yawned. Alec leaned forward and pressed a kiss to his forehead. “But they like you which is good!”

“I’m glad the in-laws approve,” Alec said. “Want me to grab your pajamas?”

Magnus waved a hand to change his clothes. “I’m good.”

“Okay, but I am going to get you a glass of water,” Alec said, standing up despite Magnus’ protests.

Magnus watched Alec leave the room and sighed happily. It was nice to be taken care of, even when you were just drunk from a night out with friends. When Alec returned, Magnus sat up, drinking the entire glass, then settled back down. Alec wrapped himself around Magnus’ back, pressing a kiss to his neck.

“Thank you,” Magnus murmured, head still fuzzy and swimming in warmth.

“For what?” Alec asked, tangling his fingers with Magnus.

“The water, watching the kids, loving me,” Magnus said, focusing on their hands. “Just pick one.”

“Magnus, thank you for letting me into your life,” Alec said instead. “Everyday with you is happier than I ever thought I’d be able to be.”

Magnus didn’t know how to respond to that. Instead, he lifted Alec’s hand still tangled in his own, pressing a kiss to each knuckle. As sleep fell over him, Magnus wondered what tomorrow might hold and if anything could get better than this.