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Octopuses Cloud Judgement

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Alec saw it as soon as he walked into their bedroom. It was placed in the middle of the bed with a little note attached in Magnus’ infamous scrawling handwriting. He snickered as he picked up the note and tried to decipher the writing on the page. Everyone always expected Magnus to have handwriting that resembled beautiful calligraphy, and he did when he wanted to come off as the all-powerful High Warlock of Brooklyn. It fit with the aesthetic he told Alec as he used his magic to make the pen dance across the page. In reality, his handwriting was little more than squiggles arranged in a semi-meaningful order. Magnus said it was because he though faster than he could write, but Alec just wondered how he had made it 400+ years and could still barely read his own handwriting. They had been dating for 4 months and Alec was learning to read through the little quirks, like the a’s that looked like e’s and the v’s and r’s that were the same pen stroke.  

 

Alec’s eyes darted across the page, and he could just make out the words “reversible octopus” and “better communication” and “Love, Magnus”. The last bit sent a little flutter through his chest, and he smiled. Then, he turned his attentions towards the bright pink object on the bed. It was, indeed, a cartoon octopus that had a little smiley face. He flipped it around and saw that the other side was blue with a frowny face.

 

During his delineation of how this toy would help them “communicate better” he looked down at his watch and realized that his boyfriend would be getting home within the next hour. He quickly changed into more comfortable clothes and made his way to the kitchen, octopus tucked under his arm.

 

Exactly an hour later, the front door opened in a rush of wind and blue-tinted magic. Alec had just begun to drain the pasta and was on his way to taking the chicken out of the oven. He perked up when he felt arms wrap around him and a kiss placed on his shoulder.

 

“Hello, darling. I see you found my gift.”

 

Magnus picked up the little octopus and toyed with its legs for a moment.

 

“Yeah, its cute, but I don’t really understand the communication aspect?”

 

Magnus chuckled at his raised eyebrows, “I suppose my note was not the most detailed. I did write it rather quickly as I was running late to see a client. So, you saw that it had two different sides…”, he continued at Alec’s nod, “Well if you are having a good day or are just feeling good, you can leave it on the happy side, but if you have a bad day or are not feeling particularly good that day you can flip it.” Magnus demonstrated by flipping the little octopus upside down and doing an adorable copy of the little frown.

 

Alec tried to muffle his giggle, but he really was only one man with a very, very soft spot for his love and he quickly crossed the room to kiss the mock frown off Magnus’ face.

 

“What about you? How will I know what kind of day you’re having?”

 

Magnus raised his eyebrows at him, “Alexander, when have I ever made it difficult to tell what kind of day I have had?”

 

Alec thought back to just last week when in the span of three days Magnus had come in, yelled into a pillow and then ranted to him for an hour about the absolute imbecile who thought it was easy to summon demons and would only take five minutes seriously Alexander, then the next day came in and kissed Alec within an inch of his life with the simple proclamation of its been a good day, Alexander, and on the final day Alec had come in to find Magnus passed out on the couch at 5pm.

 

“Noted.”

 

Alec finished up dinner as Magnus sat on the counter and told him about his day. They ate, watched some kind of superhero show, then went to bed. The plushie forgotten on the kitchen counter.

 

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The octopus didn’t move for a few days as Alec had not been back to the loft. First, there was a random mass demon attack in downtown Manhattan that had required all of the New York Institute Shadowhunters, as well as a few from neighboring Institutes. Then, there was an emergency meeting called at the London Institute involving a rogue faerie and he was called in to consult.

 

Finally, after a week of only text messages and sporadic, short phone calls, the door of the loft opened to Alec with a duffle thrown over his shoulder and a tired frown across his face. Magnus met him halfway into the living room and pulled him into a bone crushing hug. Alec returned it full force then promptly went into the kitchen without a single word. Magnus stared after him confused and was about to follow when Alec walked back through the doorway.

 

The little octopus sat on his hands. He flipped it form the happy side to the sad side and showed it to Magnus.

 

Magnus muffled a laugh and instead simply said, “Oh, my dear, let’s get you into bed.”

 

The sun was bright the next morning as Magnus slowly opened his eyes. He reached out and instead of a warm, hard body he felt something small and soft. He frowned in confusion and let his eyes focus for a moment.

 

It was the octopus.

 

The little thing was staring straight at Magnus with a stitched smile. As cute as it was, he was a bit miffed to not wake up next to his boyfriend, especially after not seeing him for a week.

 

He began to sit up and suddenly the smell of maple syrup hit him. Before he could pull the covers off himself and go investigate, the door opened and he was greeted with the sight of his wonderful Alexander with a tray full of fluffy pancakes and a tall glass of orange juice.

 

Alec kicked the door closed with his foot and gave Magnus the softest smile he had ever seen on his boyfriend’s face, “Mornin’”.

 

Magnus smiled back. No matter how much Alec denied it, his New York accent always jumped out in the mornings and Magnus absolutely adored it, “Good morning, darling. I take it that you are feeling better?”, he asked as he gestured to the plushie on the bed.

 

“Yeah, I guess I may have overworked myself just a bit…”, Alec rubbed the back of his neck as a light blush spread across his face and down his neck. He sat the breakfast tray on the nightstand and leaned down to give Magnus a kiss. He moved to his side of the bed and pulled the covers over his lower half. He put the breakfast tray over his own lap and sat the octopus in all its happy glory beside the food. He began to cut the pancakes into little bites and once he got a good pile and drenched it in maple syrup he looked over at Magnus.

 

“Open up, please.”

 

Magnus did as told and was rewarded with a mouthful of absolutely delicious homemade pancakes. He hummed in contentment and snuggled deeper in the covers. Lilith, he had missed Alexander. Not just for the heavenly cooking, but it certainly was not a downside.

 

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Jace steps into Alec’s office and thinks about walking right back out. He must have gotten the door wrong, but no, that’s his parabatai behind the desk. His eyes go back down to the thing on the desk.

 

“Hey, buddy.”

 

Alec looked up from his paperwork, “Hey, you need something?”

 

Jace can see the stress written all over Alec’s face. He can feel it in the bond, too. It’s a tension that feels like its pulling on his side. Pulling him towards Alec. To see what’s wrong. To make it right. That’s what his job as a parabatai is, to make sure the other half of his soul is okay.

 

But the blue frowny octopus on the desk is really throwing him off.

 

“Ummmmm.”

 

He points at the octopus and waits for an answer. Alec just stares back at him.

 

“Who’s your new friend?”

 

“Magnus got him for me to help me learn to communicate my emotions in a healthier way.”

 

“Okayyyyyyy.”

 

The door to the office creaked open a bit more and Magnus stuck his head through the gap.

 

“Hello Shadowhunters, done anything stupidly reckless today?” He asked while walking up to the desk. He patted the octopus plush and then gave Alec a kiss on the cheek. “I have come to kidnap the Head of the Institute and take him away to that really good by- the-slice pizza place on 15th street.”

 

“So… you got Alec a new friend?” Jace asked once Magnus had stepped back from the desk.

 

“Ah, yes, I see you’ve met our newest addition. Now, if you don’t mind, I only have an hour between clients.”

 

“Yeah, of course. You guys have fun.” Jace left the office, but not before glancing at the small octopus one last time.

 

PAGE BREAK

 

Alec wasn’t panicking, per say, but he wasn’t having a good time either. It should be right here. He had set it down right beside his coffee this morning. Right above the mission reports that had to be reviewed today. Next to the transfer requests- both to and from the New York Institute- that needed to be approved or denied this week.

 

He had barely left the office, just long enough to confirm an early afternoon meeting with Underhill to go over new security procedure ideas. But the little octopus was gone.

 

He had been frowning. Alec was in a bit of a grumpy mood, considering he had to stay late due to a patrol that went less than ideal. Only two were injured- in and out of the infirmary in under an hour-, but he had gotten the distress call right before the end of his shift so had opted to wait until the original patrol and the back-up Shadowhunters came back. While he was glad to see all of his people back safe and sound, it did mean that he had missed dinner with Magnus, for the third night in a row. By the Angels, he needs to do better.

 

Magnus had understood of course. The mission debrief had taken longer than expected, and then he had to meet with their demon specialist to double check that the demon species was something that they had information on. He didn’t want to send another patrol into that sector until they knew for sure how the demons operated. This meeting had lasted well into the night and, while very helpful, had taken a lot of brain power. He sent off a text to Magnus when the meeting had finished then collapsed into his bed where he got around 3 hours of sleep before his alarm woke him the next morning.

 

Alec checked the floor and decided that the little octopus would turn up sooner or later. Maybe he had left him in his bedroom and just hallucinated putting him on the desk. For good measure, he took his stele out of his pocket and activated his stamina rune. He also took a big gulp of coffee and picked up the first mission report to review.

 

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It was here. Right where he had put it this morning. Above the mission reports he was halfway down with. Next to the untouched transfer requests. He did a quick double take and would have thought he was going crazy if it hadn’t been for the new addition to the object in question. Dotted all around the octopus, even along each tentacle, were tiny runes. He flipped it around and sure enough they had also been drawn all along the side with the smile as well.

 

Alec took out his phone, tapped on a text thread, and sent a simple What the fuck?. Then, he sat back down and began working on the alerts to send out about new safety patrols.

 

An hour later his phone dinged with a simple ???.  

 

You know what you did. Alec sent back just as the door to his office opened. In came his parabatai, still sweaty from training and with a bruise forming on the top of his arm.

 

“Clary improving that fast?” Alec asked while gesturing to the bruise.

 

“Yeah, maybe if it actually happened while we were sparring and not right before when she was getting a staff down from the wall and dropped it.” Jace rolled his eyes and Alec snorted, “Anyway, what are you accusing me of?”

 

Alec threw the small octopus at Jace.

 

“Oh, Magnus do this?”

 

“You did this, you asshole. I had it in my office this morning, it disappeared, and then reappeared like this. You are one of five people that have access to my office when I’m not here.” Alec raised his eyebrows in an unimpressed gesture.

 

Jace set the now runed octopus back down on the desk and propped up next to it, “Bro, it couldn’t have been me. I’ve been training all day. I helped Iz test out some new weapons this morning, helped with the new recruits, and just got out of a session with Clary. I have alibis, Lightwood.”

 

“Half of your alibis would rat you out if I asked, and Iz would do it for a basket of fresh fries. Try again, Lightwood.”

 

They stared each other down for a tense minute and then Jace shrugged his shoulders cockily, “So what if I did.”

 

Alec jumped up and put Jace in a headlock and ran his hand back and forth to mess up his hair.

 

“We’re parabatai! Parabatai!” Jace laughed as he tried to escape.

 

“Right now, I am a big brother teaching his very annoying younger brother a lesson.” Alec said mock seriously before moving his hand down to Jace’s ribs and moving fast in a merciless tickle.

 

The door to his office opened just as Jace began to howl in laughter. Alec turned towards it and Jace used this distraction to wiggle his way out and dart across the room to evade Alec’s grabbing hands.

 

“Okayyyyyy,” Isabelle stepped into the office with her eyebrows raised.

 

“Isabelle, was Jace with you this morning trying out new weapons?”

 

“Yeah, except when he disappeared for like half an hour down this hallway.”

 

“Iz!”

 

Isabelle turned her gaze towards Jace and threw her arms up, “That was his big brother voice! You know what I walked in on! I’m not willing to test my luck right now.”

 

Alec gave her a fist bump and then rounded back on Jace.

 

“Look, I think we should all just take a step back and think about our actions.” Jace said with his hands raised in surrender.

 

Our actions?” Alec said incredulously.

 

What is going on here?” Isabelle raised her voice to get both of their attention.

 

Alec pointed to the plushy octopus on the desk, a blue frown staring back at them.

 

Isabelle went over and picked up the octopus. She raised her eyebrows at Alec.

 

Alec sighed, “Magnus got it for me to help show my emotions. It did not originally come with runes.” He finished in a deadpan tone while glaring at Jace.

 

“I thought it needed some…pazzazz.” Jace said, waving his hands in front of him in a silly manner.

 

“Your shampoo is going to get some pazazz if you aren’t careful.”

 

“Hey!”, Isabelle piped up, “You know messing with hair and makeup products is prohibited in the sibling bylaws. You know why.”

 

Alec did know why. A few years ago, Isabelle had put blue hair dye into Jace’s shampoo, when Alec got a new pink hairdo due to the misunderstanding (Jace had assumed it was Alec who had orchestrated the prank due to another argument), the boys had thought it only fair that Izzy get a little surprise as well.

 

And of course, it had been up to Alec to explain to their mother why she had come home to all of her children sporting different hues of neon. Luckily, Isabelle was the least likely to hold a grudge back then and had figured out how to dye everyone back to a semi-normal color.

 

Jace gave her a fist bump and then looked back to Alec.

 

Alec sighed, he took the octopus that Isabelle had put back on the desk and turned it to the pink side. He faced the smile towards his siblings and they both gave him matching smiles back.

 

PAGE BREAK

 

As he walked into the loft that night, he tossed the plushie onto the couch and began to take his jacket off while kicking his boots onto the mat. He made his way into the kitchen where he could smell dinner cooking.  

 

Magnus smiled brightly at him and scooted over so Alec could finish chopping the vegetables. He watched as his boyfriend went over to check the rice and then open the oven to take the salmon out. This was something Alec looked forward to coming home to. Don’t get him wrong, getting takeout after a long day for either -or both- of them was also nice, but he and Magnus being a team, without the doom and gloom of the end of the world, was his favorite thing about their relationship. The way they moved around each other, playing to each other’s strengths -whether that was Alec’s knife skills or Magnus’s ability to season dishes perfectly- made him happier then he thought possible.

 

When dinner was done, they fixed their plates and headed into the living room. They had just started a new nature documentary and Alec was excited to watch another episode. Magnus sat down, frowned, and pulled the octopus out from under him. As soon as he saw the new decorations, he burst out laughing, “Alexander…”

 

Alec sighed, but couldn’t help the small smile that broke through, “Jace.”

 

That was all he really needed to say.

 

“Well, it does add a certain resemblance.” Magnus turned the plushie to its frowny side and then pulled his own frown. Alec knew what he was doing. He knew that was the same frown he gave insubordinate troops and sometimes his siblings when they were really getting on his nerves.

 

It was the same one he was giving Magnus now.

 

As his boyfriend laughed in his face again, Alec plucked the octopus from his hands and turned it back into a smile. He then set it on the side table and leaned in to kiss the other man. Magnus returned it with a sweet kiss of his own. They continued to trade loving kisses until Alec’s stomach made its hunger known and so they picked up their plates and continued with their documentary.

 
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The next day, as Alec’s octopus sat on his desk smiling for all to see, Jace came in with an identical plush octopus under his arm, runes and all. He threw it at Alec, plopped down on the couch, and grumbled out, “Clary thought this was a great idea.”

 

Alec chucked. He had maybe encouraged Magnus to share with Clary his plan to turn Shadowhunters into well-adjusted individuals. But no one needed to know that.