The life of a shadowhunter was not an easy one, it didn’t usually allow for that much leeway and levity. Despite that, the Lightwoods children were a special case.
They were, without even knowing it, being punished by sins and errors made by the elder Lightwoods. However the kids were not friendless. Robert and Maryse might not have been around much, spending most of their time either in Idris or holed up behind the Head of the Institute’s desk writing up reports and notes.
The children, Alec in primis, were left in the care of Hodge and other senior shadowhunters more often than not.
It was then not a coincidence that those adults in their lives wanted to see Alec succeed where his parents were clearly failing.
Hodge had been the first one to consider that none of the Lightwood children would ever have the chance to a normal upbringing, leaving for the academy young and finish their education touring Institutes.
If they had to pay the same price as Hodge himself, of being confined to New York, unable to leave, with the restriction placed on himself and their parents, then it only made sense that the kids should have practical training learning the territory in which they would work.
And if Hodge had intentionally chosen a mundane holiday like the last day of October to place it, well no one who saw was ever willing to comment on the coincidence.
Alec was the oldest, it didn’t matter that he was only eight years old. He was the one responsible to make sure his little sister was safe. Hodge and Shammok had been clear on his mission, he was to go outside the institute, reach the library two block south east, and then infiltrate the mundane’s celebration going on and learning how to blend in.
They were taken to the prop room and allowed to choose anything they wanted for their camouflage.
Izzy went directly for the wigs and started admiring how different she looked with the different colours.
Despite her young age she had already clear ideas on how she wanted to appear.
Alec on the other had found that part of the assignment more difficult, he had tried to reason that a glamour rune would be way more efficient. Hodge however didn’t budge and insisted Alec to choose a costume so he would appear like other mundanes.
Unconvinced and uninspired Alec started rummaging through the available clothes. He moved them to the side, trying to guess what would be a good choice.
Alec had no real idea of what he was looking for, not until his hand stopped on a really soft hoodie. It was big, slightly baggy, but also made of the softest material Alec had ever touched.
And once Alec put it on, he discovered it was also warm.
At the end of their excursion in New York during halloween they all discovered that while Izzy was the charming and more extrovert one, earning tons of candies. Alec was the one with the sweet tooth.
For Alec that halloween was also one of the first time he could understand his sister’s enjoyment for fun, and appreciation of good clothes.
While their definitions and things they both held dear were different, the seed of uniqueness had been successfully planted.
In a little spiteful corner of Hodge’s soul, that first halloween had been the first step to his revenge. Encouraging their uniqueness and taking advantage of their isolation Hodge was going to make sure that the Lightwood children would never serve under Valentine, and when he’d return the children he was raising as his own were going to be his weapon to finally discrediting Maryse andRobert Lightwood.
When Jace Wayland arrived at the New York Institute, on his first halloween, when Izzy talked excited about their yearly tradition, he shoot her down.
Rudely commenting on how he was a soldier and not a child, he had no use for such childish frivolities. When he approached Alec, sure to have the older’s boy support, Jace’s view of the world was changed irremediably.
Alec was not seeing the chance of dressing up and go out to be around mundane children as frivolous nor as childish, and that allowed Jace to understand things were really different here. Alec had simply shrugged and commented that it was good training. There was no way to know if one day they had to find their way back without the protection of their glamour.
Either way, Alec had commented that he was going, but that Jace himself was welcome to stay back at the institute if he didn’t feel like join in the excursion.
The quiet acceptance and validation that it was not childish to succumb to the desire of dressing up, and leaving the Institute, even if for only a short amount of time. But also the deep desire to not be left behind alone played a part in Jace’s choice to join in the tradition.
All those were more than valid enough reasons for Jace to drop his cocky act and enjoy the experience.
Of course after the attitude he gave Izzy it was no surprise he was taunted mercielessy and challenged into a bet on who between the two would earn more candies.
By the time they returned Jace had to admit he never had so much fun and looked forward repeating the experience the following year.
Especially after discovering how animated and cuddly Alec got after indulging on just as much candies as Izzy and Jace.
When Alec was fifteen, many things started to happened all at once. Big irremediable changes were happening.
He got appointed as the Acting Head of the Institute. Which was a lot of big words, to basically saying that he would be held responsible for his siblings’ behavior.
So there was nothing new in there, but also it gave his parents the official excuse to dump on him all their paperwork…
He had also bonded with Jace, accepting the offer of being parabatai. Efficiently making sure that no one could tear them apart.
All seemed good, only minor inconveniences and troubles, but then Maryse was the one dropping the bomb on Alec.
Alec’s little brother Max had been granted the permission to tour the other institutes. And he would soon leave New York behind to complete his shadowhunter education.
Max Lightwood was only six years old, and Alec was already losing him. There wasn’t much he could do. Suddenly his promotion to appointed head made sense, in his new political position Alec was unable to put any stink about Max leaving.
If Alec was to demanding for Max to stay, he would reek of favoritism and arrogance on Alec’s part.
But worse, any accomplishment Max could achieve would be ignored as inconsequential and the fruit of nepotism.
Alec had been yanked into the reality of being an adult way before his time, and long before his siblings.
His own childhood was at an end.
The only choice he had was of sacrificing whatever remained of his own innocence to the Clave’s altar…
And to make damn sure that Alec himself was going to be the only one who had to pay such high price. No one else in his family would have to if he had any saying in it.
And as far as it concerned Izzy, Jace and Max, no matter how much Maryse and Robert wanted to believe otherwise, Alec had made sure he would be the one to have the final saying.
While he could not prevent the separation looming on the horizon, Alec could still make sure that Max could experience at least once their end of October’s training in New York.
The official code name for those missions had not changed through the years. Nor had it changed much how they were to prepare to those field trips.
Seeing Max lighting up at the thought of having a real field trip, a mission, with them, made up Alec’s mind.
It reinforced the thought that any sacrifice was worth seeing the pure unadulterated carefree joy on his siblings’ faces.
Being in his position offered him the chance to be their group’s chaperone, not intruding on other older shadowhunters’ plans like they did in the past.
That was the first year Alec stopped allowing himself one night of walking publicly in comfort clothes. He also decided to put a stop on having the one evening of overindulging his sweet tooth.
It was not like he had any more reasons to celebrate. And he could no longer have the luxury of being as carefree as his sibling…
In the excitement of making it a memorable evening for their little brother Max, no one realised all the sacrifices Alec had already started to make for them.
And sadly it would take many more years before anyone would get a clue.
When Magnus came into Alec’s life they were at war. There was no space for anyone to have time to celebrate mundane holidays, not with Valentine still as a threat.
In the following year life moved so fast, with so many thing happening, and so many important matters to take care of that Alec had barely the time to realise time was passing at all.
Their little blueberry was still too young, to actually appreciate something like celebrating halloween the mundane way. Plus being a baby warlock of course things were different for him and it was making more sense going to parties with other downworlders instead.
But when a little shadowhunter was entrusted in their care things changed.
Rafael was both easier and harder to understand, but with love and affection both Alec and Magnus managed to warm their way into the child’s heart.
It took almost a year for the both of them to officially adopt Rafael in the eyes of the Clave. But when it was done no one could have been able to take Rafael away from their care.
And that helped settling the fears of their son a lot.
It had taken two years for them to get there, and October was once more reaching the end.
With Rafael still intending to become a shadowhunter like his dad, it was time for Alec to bring back the End of October’s Field Training Mission.
And in true tradition sake he passed on to Rafael the same debrief he had received at his son’s age. And then proceeded with the preparation.
Magnus and Max had returned home just in time to catch the end of the debrief and to hear the name of the operation.
Magnus then winked at Max and whispered in his ear that warlock of their position should introduce themselves to the local shadowhunters and offer their services, after all it sounded like a very important mission that would require their help…
Max was just as excited as his brother and readily joined in.
After so many years, that night was the first time Magnus ever saw his husband let go the mantle of responsibility that sat heavily on his shoulder from even before they met.
After that night Magnus made sure to tease that side of his husband out as much as he was able to, especially on each halloween, after all it was a season of trick and treats, and Alec had suffered through too many tricks that he deserved all the treats Magnus could manage to give him…