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Families can be made

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“I’m going to kill him.”

Jace says simply as he starts to pace the room back and forth.

They’re all at Alec’s apartment, Isabelle, Jace, their mom, Magnus and Alec.

His sister is sitting in the armchair opposite the couch her expression unreadable, but Alec can see the hint of sorrow and pain in her eyes.

Maryse has taken a place in the other lounger, looking calm as always, but her eyes are glistening with tears. She already knew, but it still hurts her to hear it.

Alec is seated with Magnus on the couch. His boyfriend holds his hand tightly, and has his arm around his shoulders, providing the most support and comfort he can. It helps, but it’s still really hard to talk about this.

Jace, who’s been sitting coolly on the couch next to them only a few minutes ago, has now been walking around the room, looking furious and everyone is afraid to even speak to him. They can see that he’s mad. Both at himself, but mostly at their father.

“Jace, calm down-“ Alec tries. He wishes his voice would come out stronger, but there’s still this lump in his throat and he barely gets any words out.

“No, Alec.” His brother shakes his head as he finally comes to a stop in front of him. “How could we-, how could I-, we didn’t see anything and-“ He huffs out and angry exhale as he struggles to find his way with words.

“Your brother is right.” It’s Maryse now. “Calm down, son. It’s was already hard for him to tell you this.”

“You’re right, I’m sorry.” Jace resorts as he takes in his mother’s words. He sits back down on the couch next to Alec, and puts his hand on his shoulder lightly. “I’m sorry, Alec.” He repeats, gaze focused on his brother now. “I just… I hate that you needed to go through that at all. And to be alone in that… I wish you told me, but I get why you couldn’t. Really I do, but I just… God I hate so much that I hadn’t dug into it, when I was suspecting something might be wrong.”

Alec closes his eyes, trying to compose himself. He knew it would be hard to share this with his siblings. To tell him the truth about the abuse he endured from their father’s hands when he was younger. He also knew that Jace would just lash out. He became even more protective of Alec since he came out, and their parents reaction wasn’t the best one. So to hear that his brother was getting beaten up by their father has been not only a shock, but a wave of disappoint at himself for not noticing. He got the closest to it. Sometime he saw bruises on Alec’s body, but his brother would only say that he fell, or had a fight with some kid in archery training. Jace asked a lot of times, but Alec knew he couldn’t tell him. It was all still fresh and Jace was new to the family.

The hearing for the divorce is coming up soon, and Alec will have to testify, so his father won’t take full custody over their younger brother Max. Alec won’t let that happen, and to come clean about the abuse might be the only way.

“Really, I’m going to kill him.” Jace says again after no one speaks. “I don’t care if I go to jail, he had no right to lay even a finger on you. If I hated him before, I despise him no. He’s no one.”

Alec lets out a long sigh, and he feels Magnus’ lips at his temple, placing a lingering kiss there in an attempt to sooth him. It helps a bit, but he can get fully rid of the tension he feels.

“Iz?” He prompts when again there are a few moments of silence. His sister hasn’t spoken a word since he told them everything. Alec knows that she was their father’s favourite. She was daddy’s girl, but she was never blindly staring at him. She hated his reaction to Alec’s coming out, and it hurt her that he could be so intolerant towards anyone, especially his own son. No matter what, she’d always have her brothers’ back, since they were the ones who were there for her. Their parents were away a lot, building up their careers. It was always more important than family.

“Are you okay?” Alec asks his sister, since she just keeps staring at the floor, head hung down. He’s unable to read her expression, something that has never happened before.

Her eyes snap back at him, and now Alec can see the traces of tears on her cheeks and even more of them filling her eyes. He hates to see her like this, looking so broken.

“I’m so sorry.” She says as another sob overtakes her and she’s starting to shake. “I’m so sorry, big brother.”

“Izzy…” Alec stands from the couch and goes to hug her. He squats in front of her and puts his arms around her, holding her tightly as she sobs into his shoulder. “I’m okay now.”

“But you weren’t.” She chokes out in between her weeps. “You weren’t, and you still protected us, made sure we were all okay.”

“I’m your big brother, that’s what I do.” He pulls back and cups her face to make sure she looks at him as he speaks. “I’ll always take care of you, so that what I was doing.”

“We’re supposed to take care of each other.” She sniffles.

“Yeah, and we do.” Alec resorts and smiles at her. “You’re always there for me, I could never ask for anything more.”

“You’re always doing so much for us, big brother.” Isabelle resorts more evenly now, since she calmed down a bit. “This isn’t what you deserve, you’re supposed to be loved and taken care of-“ She cuts off as another wave of tears floats out.

“And I am.” Alec declares. “I’ve always been, by you.” He adds. “All of you.”

He turns to face his family, his sight hovering over them. Jace still looks mad, but his expression kind of softens. Maryse looks guilty, even though Alec told her a million times it’s not her fault. And Magnus… he just looks back at him and smiles, but Alec can see the way his eyes are glistening.

Yeah, he is loved. Now probably more than ever.

Telling Magnus all this was a first step in a long, long way to some kind of recovery. He’s still not sure why he’s done it. Maybe it was the way Magnus figured it out himself, to this point, that admitting the truth was a matter of one word, or a nod of head. But when he did that, he just felt lighter. He thinks that back there, he decided to tell his family one day. This day came sooner than he thought, sooner than he was ready. But if this means saving Max, then he knows it’s a right thing to do.

He hugs his sister again, kissing the top of her head and holding her till she calms down again. Now, he really wishes he could just keep it to himself, if he knew how much pain it would cause his family.

Soon Isabelle calms down in his arms, and he goes back to sit on the couch next to his boyfriend. Magnus’ arms are already open for him, and he feels a bit better as they wrap around him. He doesn’t know, and doesn’t want to find out, what he would do without Magnus now. He gives him the strength, the courage, to speak up. And every time he says that it’s going to be okay, Alec always finds himself believing his words.

And yet again, silence falls around them. Alec relaxes a bit, as Magnus’ hand runs up and down his back lightly. Everyone just looks wrecked. Maryse has tears stained on her cheeks now too. Alec barely restrains from crying himself, but he knows he has to be strong for his family.

“So when it comes to the hearing,” Maryse starts after a while. “this might be the only thing we have for your father.”

“How are we proving this?” Jace asks.

“I’ll testify.” Alec answers and his head snaps back to him.

“Are you sure you want to? In front of all these people there.” He questions. “He doesn’t have to, right?” He directs his words at his mother.

“Of course he doesn’t have to.” Maryse agrees. “It would be the best, but no one is forcing your brother to do anything.”

“I’ll do it, mom.” Alec speaks again. “It’s our best chance. We don’t even know if this will work. But it will be his word against mine.”

“I can testify too.” Jace offers. “I saw the bruises on your body a few times. Back then I didn’t know…” He shakes his head a little. “But I do now.”

“They'll want to speak with all of you anyway, so we can go with that.” Maryse resorts and nods at her sons. “We know he’ll throw the Morgenstern case against me, even though he was the one who made me take the bribe, I’ll tell that to the judge, but there’s no proof.”

Although Robert and Maryse share their law company, it was always Robert who held the power. And it was no different with the Morgenstern case. Alec recalls that that was the time, while things started to get bad between his parents. His mom mentioned the case when they met last, and later Magnus asked about it, so Alec explained.

It happened a few years ago, while Alec was still in college. His parents both knew that the case was a hard one. Valentine Morgenstern is a criminal and the chances were really low that they’d win his trial. Accused of a murder he actually committed. But still, he went to the best lawyer in the city and thought he’d get away with it. When he marched into the Lightwood company and asked for a lawyer, Maryse was firmly refusing to defend him. She didn’t want to lie, and protect a murder. But of course, it was Robert’s call. He wasn’t sure at the beginning, but when Valentine offered a fair amount of money for winning his process, he agreed and made Maryse defend him anyway. She was the one attending all of the Morgenstern meetings and she was the one who took the bribe physically. That’s why she’s the one figuring out at the papers on this case. Fortunately, her defence line wasn’t all that great and they’ve lost. So he ended up in prison anyway.

They all doubt that the judge will believe it.

“What if we got Morgenstern to testify?” Izzy suggests and all eyes turn to her widening. “What? He’s already in jail, telling the truth for once wouldn’t hurt that much. You said he told you he overheard your conversation with dad when you were setting it up, right?” She asks Maryse.

“Yes, but…” She seems to think a little. “it’s not that simple. He’s not a believable witness. He’s a criminal.”

“I don’t think Clary would like that.” Jace speaks then. Back then, they didn’t know it, but when Jace and Clary started dating, somehow it came up that Valentine is her father. She always hated him, so she’s glad he’s locked up in prison. She’s always considered Luke as her father, he was always there for her, not like Valentine. But still, to see her real father again… it would probably hurt.

“Clary will be at the hearing?” Isabelle asks.

“Yeah, she wanted to be there to support me… I told her she didn’t have to, but now, since this whole thing with Alec came up…” He sighs. “I could actually use some support.”

Izzy nods in agreement, a sympathetic expression on her face. She’ll probably bring Simon to get some of the support herself.

“But if that meant Alec didn’t need to testify…” Jace speaks again after a while. “If it would dismiss the Morgenstern case… I’m sure she could handle it-“

“No, Jace. Mom is right.” Alec starts. “Valentine isn’t a good example of a witness. I’ll testify, that’s settled.”

“Yeah, but maybe-“

“Just let me decide for myself.” Alec interrupts him again. “I can do this.”

“Of course you can, darling.” Magnus whispers to him. His hand never stopping creasing his back softly. “We’ll all be there to support you.”

Alec turns to him and nods lightly.

“Is there anything more we can do?” Alec asks. “To make sure this will work.”

“I don’t think there is.” Maryse replies a bit sadly. “The problem is, that it’s a family matter. The judge can just consider it a conspiracy against your father, since we’re all in this. If we could get someone outside of the family to somehow prove it… but we don’t have anyone.”

“I’m not family.” Magnus speaks. “Maybe I could-“

“You basically are.” Alec tells him, which earns him a small smile.

“Even if you’re not officially family,” Maryse continues to explain. “you’re still too close to this to be a believable source.”

Magnus doesn’t look pleased with the answer, but he doesn’t question anything further more.

“Look,” Maryse begins when she sees all of the uncertain expressions. “we all will be telling the truth. It’s him who should be worried, because if he denies, that means he’s lying.”

“Yeah, but with no chance to prove it…” Jace trails off, his tone worried.

“There’s nothing more we can do.” Maryse states one more time. “We still have some time and we need to prepared,” She addresses her children again. “I can practice some routine questions the judge or the defender might ask when you’ll testify.”

Alec nods along with his brother and sister, but then it’s Magnus who speaks.

“But maybe not tonight.” He says, his concerned gaze still fixated on his boyfriend. “You said there’s still a bit of time, and I think we had enough emotions for one night.”

Alec will never be thankful enough for Magnus. He knows exactly what he needs, and is very aware that Alec himself wouldn’t be able to speak about it furthermore tonight. He squeezes Magnus’ hand in a gesture that’s supposed to be saying thank you and is rewarded with a soft smile.

“Of course.” Maryse agrees easily. “We can do this sometime along the week. Just let me know.”

“Thanks, mom.” Alec replies gratefully and his mom smiles a little.

“Alright, I think it’s time to go.” She announces then and gets up from her spot. “If you’ll have any more questions, just let me know. I’ll do my best to prepare us for everything.”

They all nod as she looks at them one more time, before heading to the front door and leaving.

The silence falls between them for a few minutes after that, until it’s Isabelle who breaks it.

“Are you okay?” She directs this question at Alec.

“I’m fine.” He answers, but doesn’t quite look at her. When he does, he sees she’s not convinced with his words. “Really.” He adds.

“Do you want us to leave?” Jace questions lightly. “If you need some time alone-“

“No, it’s okay. You can stay.” Alec nods and his brother relaxes slightly.

But the awkward silence falls again, like none of them knows what to say not to trigger any more bad memories.

“Guys, we’re gonna handle this.” Alec speaks after a while, his sight hovering over his siblings. “It’s going to be fine. We can do this, as long as we’re together.”

Jace and Izzy both nod back at him, small smiles creeping onto their faces, when their big brother begins to show positivity about this. They always tend to believe him, and Alec really doesn’t want to give them false hope, but trusts that he doesn’t.

They just need to stick together. And he knows they will.

 

He’s not ready when the day comes.

Alec knows it, he’s not okay. He hasn’t slept basically the whole night, tossing and turning in bed, thoughts racing through is mind. He tried to cut them off, burrowed himself deeper into Magnus’ warm embrace, but it didn’t help. He’s nervous and scared, but he knows he has to put up his best game in front of his siblings.

Today, is the day of the hearing, and he wishes he had a few more days to settle his nerves.

Magnus is there with him the whole time. He spent the night, probably knowing how uneasy his boyfriend will get. He made them breakfast, which Alec barely even touched, shared funny stories about his adventures to try to relax Alec and make him laugh. It didn’t help a lot, but Alec really appreciates it. Magnus even took the whole day off, just to be there with him before and after the hearing. No matter how things will get.

While Magnus is cleaning up after their meal, Alec decided to start getting ready. He took a shower, thinking that it might soothe his nerves, but that didn’t happened. Quickly drying himself, he began to dress up, coming into the hallway mirror to button up his shirt. Only then he notices how hard his hands are shaking.

Taking another deep breathe, he does up another button, but when he goes to next his hands are trembling even more and he can’t steady them. His breaths are becoming more shallow with every second as he fumbles with his shirt, his sight goes blurry and he can’t even see his own reflection in the mirror.

There’s gonna be so many people, and you’ll need to speak in front of them. Tell them everything with every detail.

They won’t believe you.

You’ll lose anyway.

He’ll end you. Just like he always does. You’re not strong enough.

Alec tries to breathe through it, the voices in his head loud as they predict his failure. He can’t do it, he’s too weak.

For Max, you’re doing it for your brother.

But it doesn’t help. Not now. He’s choking, no air seems to be getting into his lungs. He braces his hands against the wall as he tries to inhale slowly, but it doesn’t work. He wants to call out for help, but even more panic overcomes him, when he realises he can’t.

“Darling, are you-“

Alec can vaguely hear Magnus’ voice, and the concern in this unfinished sentence. He tries to say he’s fine, but the truth is he’s not. He squeezes his eyes shut, trying to breathe once more, but yet again he’s unsuccessful. His hands, slippery with sweat, the only thing that seemed to be holding him up, slide down the wall and he lands on the floor.

“Alexander, look at me.” He hears Magnus again, this time he sound much closer. Alec opens his eyes to see him right in front of him. Alec shakes his head, but Magnus takes his face in between his hands and stops these frantic movements. He feels like he’s gonna pass out, the lack of air begins to be a serious trouble, but then Magnus speaks again. “There you are.” He tries to smile, but it still comes out concerned and even scared. “Breathe with me, darling, okay?” Alec shakes his head again, because he can’t. “Come on, angel. You’ve got this.”

“C-can’t.” Alec manages to choke out, but Magnus’ hold on him only tightens slightly.

“Of course you can.” His voice is still calm, even when tears begin to fall down Alec’s cheeks, he swiftly wipes them away. “I’m here, breathe with me. Inhale while I count to four, come on, love.”

Alec tries, slowly, as Magnus instructed, he manages to inhale shakily.

“Good,” Magnus’ caresses his cheeks lightly. “now hold it, till I say seven.”

Alec nods and does as he says, keeping his breathe in, almost choking again, but then he exhales when Magnus says:

“Now exhale slowly, while I count to eight.” Alec does and Magnus sweeps some hair out of his forehead, leaning in and kissing it softly. He lingers against his skin, and whispers. “You’re doing amazing, darling, now one more time.”

So they go again. Magnus instructing him as he tries to breathe, both of them crumbled on the floor. After another two attempts, Alec begins to breathe more evenly. They go through the whole exercise once more, and when he finally doesn’t feel like he’s choking anymore, he slumps against Magnus’ chest, inhaling deeply as he feels his boyfriend’s arms coming around him.

“It’s okay, baby. You’re alright.” Magnus presses the reassuring words to the top of his head, dropping a kiss there as he holds him close.

Alec wants to say he’s sorry, but he knows it’s pointless, since Magnus will only brush him off and say he’s got nothing to apologize for. It’s not the first time he witnessed his panic attack. They happen quite frequently when he’s stressed and just can’t get his anxiety under control. They spoke about it, when Magnus saw it for the first time. But he’s a doctor, and he knew what to do. Alec told him that the 4-7-8 exercise works the most effectively for him, so they stick to this, and it helps.

“Thank you.” Alec says instead, burying his head deeper into Magnus’ chest, placing his hand on his heart, feeling its steady beat. It calms him even more.

“That’s alright.” Magnus’ hands are rubbing his back up and down softly, but then Alec feels him let out and unsteady exhale, before he speaks in a low tone. “I don’t think you should do this.”

Alec pulls back, but Magnus still holds him close, face morphing into pure worry.

“I have to.” He says and his boyfriend closes his eyes and shakes his head with a heavy sigh.

“No, you don’t-“

“I do.” Alec interrupts gently. “It’s the only way.”

“I hate that you have to do this.” Magnus admits, eyes still closed.

“Baby,” Alec touches his cheek gently and his eyes snap open. “it’s gonna be fine-“

“Alec, you’ve just had a panic attack.” Magnus cuts in, his voice almost breaking. “We’re not even there yet. What will happen when you’ll step into the middle of the court?”

He doesn’t know. Doesn’t want to think about it. He hasn’t been this terrified in long, if not ever.

“I don’t know.” He states with a shrug, and it doesn’t seem to decrease any of Magnus’ worries. “But what I know, is that I can’t let him take my brother away.” His voice is now firmer than before. “I can’t. And I know you all will be there to support me. I can do this, if you believe in me.”

“I believe in you.” Magnus speaks without hesitation. “But I just… I don’t like seeing you like this. I’m just-“

“Scared?” Alec suggests and Magnus nods, biting his lip lightly, a gesture that indicates he’s also nervous. “I am too, babe. But we’ll get through this.”

Magnus nods again, and pulls him into his arms once more. None of them seems to care that they are still on the floor, with time running out. This is more important. Alec needs to put himself together, get back up, and Magnus is there to pull him.

“I thought I was the one who's supposed to give you a pep talk.” Magnus mumbles and Alec lets out a short chuckle.

“You can give me one at the court.” He resorts and Magnus hums.

“Okay.” Then, he agrees with a kiss to his temple. “I’ll be right by your side.”

And that’s the place Alec wants him to be forever.

 

The road to the court is mostly silent. Magnus keeps stealing glances at Alec, he can see how nervous and afraid he is, but still, he tries to cover this all up with a smile.

Well, Magnus sees right through it.

It’s infuriating, but deep down he knows he can’t do anything. Alec won’t change his mind, because this is about his family, and he’ll do anything to protect them. Magnus loves him for it, but he isn’t blind, and he sees how much mental pain it’s bringing him.

When they get to the court, everyone is already there. They’ve fallen behind a little, because of Alec’s panic attack, but Magnus wasn’t going to rush through it. He needed to calm him now, make him breathe properly. He really hates to see Alec like this, in such distress. He knows what usually triggers panic attacks for his boyfriend, and all of the reasons seems to accumulate today.

They all greet each other in front of the court room. Izzy brought Simon, and Jace brought Clary, as they announced they would. Max isn’t here, but he already had the hearing in presence of the psychologist, since he’s not old enough to testify, but his opinion matters the most in this matter. Or it should.

Maryse, as well as the rest, notices right away how uneasy Alec seems. None of them brings up the incident from the morning. It’s not time to make them all even more stressed. Just as they’re about to enter the court room, they can hear a voice calling out.

“Clary!” Luke rushes to them and greets them all with a nod, hugging his daughter lightly. “Maryse, good to see you.” He nods and smiles at her.

“Same to you, Lucian.” Maryse reciprocates the smile a bit.

“A shame that it needed to be under these circumstances.” Luke prompts a bit sadly and they all nod.

“Well, yes.” Maryse admits. “But what exactly are you doing here?”

“Oh, I’m here for work. I need to supervise a witness.” Luke explains. “Just thought I’d see how you’re all doing and wish you good luck.”

“Thank you. We appreciate it.” Maryse says gratefully and with one last smile. With his eyes lingering a bit longer on Maryse, Luke leaves to some other court room.

Maryse smiles a bit wider, but ducks her head, thinking that no one notices, but of course Magnus does.

He’ll ask her about it after the hearing.

Maryse’s associate lawyer is young Lydia Branwell, but she’s the best at her craft. She might be Alec’s age, but is fierce and dedicated. They already met her once, during the preparations for the hearing. She greets them all, and soon they take a seat in the court room. There’s still a bit of time left, and Robert is still not here.

As soon as they get seated, Magnus laces his fingers with Alec’s and squeezes his hand to gain his attention.

“How are you doing?” He asks, when Alec turns to him.

“I…” Magnus can see it in his eyes when the lie dies down on his tongue and he shakes his head a bit. “I’m not too good.”

Magnus smiles at him sympathetically.

“It’s going to be fine, love.” He tries as Alec lets out an uneven exhale.

“There’s gonna be all these people here…” Alec trails of as he looks around the room. “God, I don’t know if I can-“

“You can.” Magnus assures him. “You’re stronger than this. You need to show him, where is place is.”

Alec nods, but still doesn’t look quite convinced.

“Look, Alexander.” Magnus places his palm on his cheek and he leans into the touch immediately. “If it gets too much, just look at me, okay? I will be here the whole time.”

“Okay.” Alec manages as small nods, and Magnus leans in to place a quick kiss to his lips.

They’re sitting down through a few more minutes, Magnus has his arm around Alec’s shoulders, trying to give him as much comfort as he can. But Alec’s breathing still is uneven, he’s almost shaking from how unsettled he is. It truly breaks Magnus’ heart to see him like this.

They get startled when the doors to the room burst open, and Robert Lightwood with his crew enters.

Alec inhales sharply, and looks down, clearly not pleased at his father’s arrival. Magnus squeezes him a bit tighter, running his palm up and down Alec’s arm. He looks in Robert’s direction. The man barely spares a glance at his family. It’s only the second time Magnus sees him, and he truly hopes it will be the last.

“You okay?” Magnus asks in a low whisper, when Alec continues to look down.

“Mhm.” Alec mumbles in answer taking a few deep breathes himself. “I just need a minute.”

Magnus nods and kisses his temple lightly, lingering against his skin. He locks eyes with Izzy, above Alec’s head, and he can see the pure worry and fright in her expression. He tries to smile at her reassuringly, but knows that it doesn’t come out quite honest. He’s terrified himself.

Soon, the hearing begins. They all stand up as the judge enters. Maryse takes the stand first. Alec basically shakes next to Magnus, he’s so stressed. On the other side of him, Jace bounces his leg nervously, his hand clasped with Clary’s in a strong grip. Next to Alec, Simon and Izzy are keeping close too. Maryse says everything just like they practice. They throw the Morgenstern case right in her face, but she calmly answers the question truthfully. Now it’s up to the judge if he believes her. When she gets down from the stand, it’s time for the next witness.

And that’s Alec.

Chapter Text

With another heavy exhale, Alec gets up from his spot on his trembling legs. Magnus squeezes his hand one more time as he turns to him and attempts to smile.

“You’ve got this.” Magnus murmurs to him and with a nod, Alec leaves to take the stand.

He goes to take his rightful place, and the judge starts with the routine questions. He introduces himself, states his connections to the defendant, and then Lydia goes first with the next questions.

“Mr Lightwood,” She starts in her professional tone. “would you consider Maryse and Robert as good parents?”

Alec swallows thickly before answering.

“Not exactly.”

“And why is that?”

“They were always away a lot.” Alec begins to explain, his voice still a bit shaky. “Very focused on building their careers.”

“Both of them?” Lydia inquires.

“Yes.” Alec answers shortly and looks briefly at Maryse, but his mom only smiles lightly.

They couldn’t just start with what an amazing mother Maryse is, because it isn’t the truth. Alec didn’t plan on lying. Of course his mom made mistakes, but not on such scale that Robert. It’s not the point to glorify her person now, it’s time to tell the truth.

“So if they were away a lot, who mostly took care of your younger brother Max?” Lydia prompts another question.

“Mostly me and my siblings.”

“Do you think it worked out for the better?”

“Objection.” Robert’s lawyer states and they all turn to him. “This has nothing to do with the case.”

“Sustained.” The judge upholds. “Ms Branwell, please skip to the next question.”

Lydia nods not letting her expression fall and begins again.

“Mr Lightwood, what kind of a father is Robert?”

Alec exhales nervously and looks around the room. His eyes find Magnus’ for a moment and his boyfriend sends him and encouraging smile.

“Not a good one.” Alec settles for that. Through the whole trail he hasn’t even looked at Robert, and is probably not planning on it.

“And why is that, besides him begins away a lot?” Lydia questions further.

Magnus watches the whole scene in front of him basically at the edge of his seat. He can see how much Alec tries not to let it show, but he’s terrified inside. He never thought he’ll need to tell anyone about the abuse and now, with so many people here… it must be a real nightmare for him.

“Because…” Alec starts with a nervous exhale. “he abused me.”

Magnus can see Robert and his lawyer exchange nervous looks. They got him.

“What kind of abuse was it?” Lydia needs to ask this kind of questions to show how much of a damage Robert caused for Alec, but still, Magnus sees how his boyfriend flinches.

“First physical, and when I learned to defend myself, he switched to verbal.” Alec answers quickly on one exhale, getting the words out the fastest that he can.

“When did it start?”

“First when I was twelve.” Alec starts and closes his eyes for a brief moment, like he’s trying not to let the memories get to him, but he clearly is failing. “Then a few more times later on. After I came out it became verbal.”

“Do you have any idea, why would he do it? Beat up his own child?”

“He was thinking he’s giving me some sort of lesson?” Alec more questions than states and then shakes his head. “That he’s trying to make a man out of me? I don’t know. He did it basically every time I messed something up.”

“What about your siblings? Was he taking it out on them too?

“No.” Alec shakes his head immediately. “No, it was only me. I’m the oldest and he thought it’s my responsibility to be punished for mine and their mistakes.” He admits.

“Why to reveal it now, Mr Lightwood?” Lydia asks. “After all those years? Why didn’t you tell someone sooner?”

Alec exhales heavily again and runs a nervous hand through his hair.

“He forbid me to say anything.” He begins to explain in a trembling voice. “I was scared he might hurt mom or my siblings if I told anything. So I didn’t tell them. And later I just wanted to forget about it, it just hurt too much.” He adds the last part in a lower voice. “And now… I can’t let him get away with that, can’t let him take my brother away, because what if he does it to him if there’s no one protecting him.” His voice breaks down towards the end and he stops.

Lydia nods at his words and then turns to the judge.

“No further questions, your honour.” Then she turns to Robert’s table. “The witness is yours.”

Robert’s attorney, Hodge Starkweather, apparently one of the best in town, besides Robert himself, gets up and takes his place in the court. Alec drops his eyes, probably way too intimidated by his gaze.

“Mr Lightwood,” He starts, his tone kinda sharp. “you were the one to move out of the family house first, right?”

Alec nods at the question.

“And why was that?” Mr Starkwaether asks, but doesn’t let Alec answer as he swiftly continues. “Weren’t you afraid that this abuse,” He says the word with too much kind of boldness. “would continue with your younger siblings? You said you wanted to protect them?”

“Yes, but I couldn’t stay there.” Alec begins. “Of course I was worried, but I spoke with my siblings and the know they can tell me everything, no matter what. I believed they would tell me if anything happened.”

“So no one ever noticed anything?” The attorney continues and shrugs. “No marks on the body, no weird behaviours. Your mother never saw anything?”

“No, I hid it.” Alec admits.

“Why?” Mr Starkweather inquires. “Wouldn’t it just solve the case? Someone would notice and you’d have to tell.”

Alec closes his eyes for a brief second and exhales.

“He always chose the places where it wouldn’t be visible, so no one would notice. I hid it, because he forbid me to say anything-” He repeats.

“Or because it just wasn’t there.” The attorney states simply and Alec’s mouth hangs opened half-sentence. “Mr Lightwood, it’s an unusual thing, you suddenly decided to speak up about this. Just now, when your father wants to take care of your younger brother-“

“That’s the reason, that’s why you can’t let him.” Alec cuts in and tries, a desperate note in his tone.

“Can anyone confirm it, Mr Lightwood?” Starkweather continues. “I bet the ones who will are part of your family. Your honour, this is clearly a conspiracy against my client.”

Magnus clenches his fists. How can he even suggest something like this? Can’t everyone see the pain and sorrow on Alec’s face? It’s so clear that he’s telling the truth.

“There is no reason, why my client should not gain full custody over his own child.” The attorney keeps on rumbling.  “Mrs Lightwood is a person who cannot be trusted. The Morgenstern case proves that. And now she tries to blame it all on her husband, involves her children to lie about-“

“I’m not lying.” Alec grits out, his eyes are sharp when he looks at the lawyer.

“Well, but there’s no one to confirm that. You don’t have any proof.” Mr Starkweather states simply. “That’s it, your honour. No further questions.” He goes back to his place next to Robert.

“Witness is dismissed.” The judge speaks and Alec gets up on his shaky legs and goes back to his family.

Magnus immediately wraps his arm around him, as he goes to sit next to him. Trying to calm him down a bit, since he’s still shaking. His eyes are wide and so full of sorrow when he speaks.

“They don’t believe me.”

“We can’t know that, darling.” Magnus tries, but Alec already shakes his head. “It’s their strategy, but that doesn’t mean the judge doesn’t believe you. We can’t be sure-“

“Yeah, exactly Magnus. We can’t.” Alec states and looks back at him. “This isn’t good enough, I can’t risk my brother’s life on a ‘maybe’.”

Magnus lets out a heavy sigh. He knows what he means. It’s their only card, and if the judge really won’t believe him… they will be lost.

“Don’t worry brother,” Jace starts from Alec’s other side when he gets up. “I’ll convince them.” He moves just as the judge calls out his name.

Alec isn’t really paying attention to his brother’s words, since he’s still trying to get his breathing under control. They can’t lose. They just can’t. The voices predicting his failure get louder in his head again and he tries even harder to quiet them.

“Sweetheart, calm down.” Magnus tries again, hugging him lightly to his side. Isabelle throws him a worried gaze, her hand clasped tightly with Simon’s. Alec turns his eyes away, not able to bear her miserable expression.

It’s his fault. He was their only hope and he’s messing up.

Magnus does everything he can to calm him, whispering prising words, or just holding him. It doesn’t help a lot, but Alec feels that without it, he’d already crumbled.

He tries to focus his attention back on the trial, just when Mr Starkweather prompts another question to Jace.

“So it never crossed you mind that your brother might be lying?” He asks, his expression remaining neutral. “I mean, he had reasons to get back on his father, right? For example, not begin the favourite child regardless being the oldest and-“

Alec sighs heavily and drops his gaze. He hates being exposed like this, hearing the exact words he’s been afraid of. Not being believed. It’s truly scary how people try to twist the truth for their own personal gain.

“You really think Alec could be lying?” Jace suddenly blows up. “Look at him!” He nearly screams. “Can’t you see how broken he is by this?! How it still hurts him-“

“Mr Lightwood, you need to calm down-“ The judge orders, but Jace is too riled up.

“I will calm down, when this bastard gets what he deserves for hurting my brother!” He points at Robert.

“Silence!” The judge raises his voice and hits the gavel against the table. “I order a break. Ten minutes.” With one more hit everyone gets up and start to leave the hall.

Jace goes back to join the family, looking quite guilty.

“I’m sorry, guys.” He shakes his head. “I shouldn’t have blown up like this.”

Clary gives him a sympathetic look and rests her hand on his forearm in a comforting gesture.

“I just can’t look at him anymore.” Jace continues. “After what he did-“

“Calm down, son.” Maryse says and looks over at the place where Robert has just disappeared. She looks nervous too, as they move to leave the hall to get some air. You can basically see the thoughts running in her head through her eyes.

“Mom?” Isabelle prompts lightly and Maryse turns see her daughter kind of mirroring the expression she wears. “What do we do now?”

“I…” Maryse tries, but only shakes her head looking at Isabelle. From all of her thoughts, none is left now.

“We need to continue this.” Suddenly Lydia speaks. “We’re telling the truth. We need to hope the judge believes us-“

“Hope isn’t enough.” Alec repeats the words he told Magnus a few minutes ago. “We need to be sure.”

“Well, we can’t.” Lydia says without further ado. “This is how it is, you can never be sure-“

“This is our brother’s life we’re talking about.” Alec speaks in a sharp tone. “I’m not going to put him at risk-“

“Darling, we know.” Magnus speaks softly next to him, trying too sooth his emotions a bit. “But it isn’t Lydia’s fault-“

“You’re right, it’s mine-“

“No, angel. Definitely not yours.” Magnus adds in a stern tone.

Alec sighs heavily, but doesn’t try to argue with him.

It’s sure that Robert won’t tell the truth, won’t admit it. If he was, his attorney wouldn’t have kept his strategy of trying to deny it, to prove that it’s apparently a lie. If they could just make him admit, they would be sure that they’ll win. It’s disgusting, how this whole thing seems so corrupted.

Everyone seems lost in their thoughts as nobody speaks for a longer moment, as if trying to come up with some plan.

“I’ve got an idea.” Alec suddenly starts and all eyes turn to him, waiting for him to elaborate. He glances at Robert, where he disappears into another hallway. Then, his sights moves back to his family. “Trust me.” They all nod and Alec starts to walk away in the same direction as Robert.

“Alexander-“ Magnus tries, but Alec interrupts with one look.

“Stay here.” He throws over his shoulder, and even if he sees some displeasure on his family members’ face, none of them comments or follows.

He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes briefly to compose himself before taking the turn to find Robert in a hallway.

“Dad!” He calls out and Robert turns to him just as he ends some phone call.

“Dad?” He repeats with a snort. “You think you still have a right to call me that? After the stunt you just pulled of?”

“I’m telling the truth and you know it.” Alec tries, but his father only shrugs.

“I don’t know what’s going on in that head of yours.” He resorts bitterly. “You’re insane.”

Alec lets the comment slide, only rolling his eyes. He just needs to put the right amount of pressure, he can do this. He knows his father enough to know how to get him rilled up.

“Why are you even doing this?” Alec asks then in a serious voice. “Why do you want to take Max away?”  

Robert lets out a long exhale, but comes closer to him, so close that they are only inches away.

“Your mother is not capable of taking care of a child.” He states.

“And you are?” Alec asks with disbelief. “Look at you, you’re always away. Max deserves to have a family, to be taken care of, loved-“

“You think I’m not able to give him that?”

“I know you’re not.” Alec admits, he tries to speaks with as much courage as he has left. “You haven’t made any of us feel this way.”

“Maybe because you just don’t deserve this.” Roberts spats.

He’s getting riled up. Alec can see it, and that’s exactly what he’s been counting on. He just needs to play this right.

“So in your opinion, a child who’s done no wrong is unworthy of love?” He tries.

“Done no wrong?” Robert questions with a laugh. “Alexander, look at yourself.”

“And what do you think is wrong with me?”

“What’s not?” Robert says and Alec flinches at his cold tone. It shouldn’t hurt him the way it did. “What you became-“

“I’ve always been this way.” Alec says, still remaining proud with his head high.

“That only proves your mother can’t properly raise a child.” Robert resorts, full bitterness in his voice. “She should have been harder on you. Maybe you wouldn’t turn up this way. That was what I was trying to do-“

“By beating me up?” Alec prompts.

“Maybe I should have hit your head harder, maybe then you would have been normal. Not the fag you are, you’re no man.” Robert grits angrily.

That’s enough, he has him.

Alec lets a winning smile overcome his face as he looks down on his father.

“Maybe you should have, father.”

Alec decides it’s the last time he’s ever called him that. With these words, he turns and attempts to walk away, but before he gets to, Robert grabs his arm.

“I’m not done talking. Don’t you dare walk away from me.”

“Let go of me.” Alec grits out, trying to rip his hand away from his grip.

He won’t let him hurt him. Not again. Not after everything.

Before he gets to say or do something more, they hear a voice coming from down the hallway.

“Hey!” Jace is marching towards them, fury evident on his face. Magnus is right beside him, not equally angry, more worried, but there’s some glint in his eyes too.

As soon as they get closer, Jace basically throws himself at Robert, and if not Alec between them to separate them, punches would definitely have been thrown.

“He’s not worth it, Jace.” Alec whisper to his brother, trying to calm him down.

Jace jerks away from his hold, but doesn’t make more of a scene.

“Don’t you dare to even touch him again.” He points and accusing finger at their father. “I swear to God, don’t even come close to him.”

Robert only shakes his head amusingly with a small laugh and walks away, probably not even aware of his earlier words, said in a wave of anger.

“Are you okay?” Magnus comes up to Alec, wrapping an arm around his waist in a protective gesture and cupping his cheek. His eyes immediately search his, tracing his features as if looking for any sort of discomfort or hurt.

“I’m okay.” Alec assures with a small smile, hand wandering to caress his cheek.

“That was your plan?” Jace prompts next to them. He’s started pacing around to calm himself down, but then comes to a stop. “Why did you do that?”

He looks at him with questioning eyes, same as Magnus, but Alec only lets his smile widen a bit, as he pulls out his phone from his jacket pocket and stops the recording before holding it out to them.

“He confessed.” He says, but the quizzical expressions on his boyfriend’s and brother’s face don’t fall. Alec lets his voice drop to a whisper as he adds. “I recorded it all, the whole conversation.”

Their eyes widen as Jace and Magnus look at themselves, before they let the smiles overcome their faces too. Alec lets out a relieved breath, since it’s all basically coming to a close. They have the proof, a confession of Robert himself.

“Darling…” Magnus lets the word trail of as he looks at him with shining eyes, sweeping some hair from his face and smiling.

“Brother, you are the best.” Jace states and pats him on the shoulder. “We need to tell the others.”

They all agree with a nod and begin to walk down the hallway to join the family. But after only a few steps, Alec feels Magnus’ hand tugging lightly onto his own, so he turns to face him.

“Alexander,” Magnus starts as he laces their fingers together. “are you sure you’re okay? Whatever Robert said-“

“I’m fine, Magnus.” Alec assures and squeezes his hand with a smile. “What he said… those were lies. He means nothing, just like his words.”

Magnus lets the corners of his lips quirk too and he leans in to quickly peck Alec on the lips.

“I’m proud of you.” He says.

“Well, don’t be too proud yet.” Alec states with an exhale. “We still need to figure it out.”

“Let the lawyers handle it, angel.” Magnus says and with another nod, he leads them further out of the hallway.

When they approach the rest of the family, Jace is already in the middle of explaining Alec’s plan to the rest. Izzy is looking at him with wide eyes, and goes to stand at his side, hugging him lightly. Alec can’t help, but smile at the way she’s brightened up. Maryse looks better too, but she still tries for her expression to remain unreadable, so no one can know what’s happening.

“You got a confession?” Lydia asks in a whisper and comes to stand next to him.

Alec pulls out his phone and hands it to her.

“He said, I quote: ‘maybe I should have hit your head harder, maybe then you would have been normal’. Plus some homophobic slurs.” Alec recalls them the conversation in a low tone.

Jace shakes his head in disbelief at his father’s words and Magnus holds him a bit tighter, but Alec tries to dismiss his worry with a smile.

“Will it be enough?” Alec asks, a hint of nervousness returning to him.

“It should.” Maryse admits. “He basically confessed to the abuse.”

“Which makes their whole plan fail, since the strategy was to deny it.” Lydia adds. “If Robert had already testified and hadn’t come clean about it, he would have been accused of perjury.” She says thoughtfully.

“I don’t care about him.” Alec starts and waves his hand dismissively. “Will it be enough to get Max away from him?” He questions again.

“We need to go deal with his attorney, since the way you got this recording is not exactly legal.” Maryse explains, but lets a hint of smile crawl onto her face. “But even then, if we threaten to take this to the judge, he will be destroyed. Better to settle this peacefully.” She says and Lydia nods at her words, then they walk away to talk to Robert and his team, as Maryse throws Alec another smile over her shoulder.

What comes next are a few unsettling minutes of waiting. Alec can’t help, but feel a bit nervous. There’s still a chance this won’t work. He did get the recording in kind of unlawful way, but it was the only thing he could do, the only solution he could think of. Hell, they can even punish him for it, if it matters Max is safe because of the confession itself.

Magnus runs his palm along his back in a soothing gesture and looks at him with a smile.

“It’s gonna be fine, darling.” He assures one more time and Alec finds himself nodding.

After what feels like forever, Maryse and Lydia return.

“And?” Isabelle prompts and Maryse exhales before speaking.

“We settled everything.” She begins. “We won’t hand the proof to the judge and he will withdraw all of the charges on me. He’ll say he did this out of spite, which isn’t actually a lie, and he’ll allow me to gain full custody over Max.” She finishes with a smile and all of them let out a relieved breath.

Alec finds himself in Magnus’ embrace and holds onto him tightly for a few minutes. They can’t make much of a scene yet, so for now, it’s gotta do.

Then, they need to head back to hall, but before Alec gets to step through, his mom comes in his way. He lets go of Magnus’ hand and sends a nod his way, informing that he’s okay and to just give them a moment. His boyfriend nods back with a smile and goes further into the room to take a seat.

“Alec,” Maryse starts and takes his hand. “thank you. This wouldn’t happen without you.”

“Mom, I told you. I’d do anything to keep Max safe.” Alec says once more and his mom smiles at him. “I know you’ll take great care of him.”

Maryse’s eyes are glistening as he moves to hug him. They both take a few seconds to compose themselves, before she pulls back and sweeps a hand over his hair.

“I love you so much, son.” She says softly.

“I love you too, mom.”

With that, they both go to join the rest in the hall and watch Robert try not to make a complete fool out of himself.

 

Alec lets out a relieved breath when the judge is announcing the verdict. Robert had a lot of explaining to do, but in the end the fear of being totally exposed won over him and he admitted of doing this whole thing out of spite and withdrew any charges against Maryse. She’ll remain the legal guardian of Max and they will need to meet at the court one more time to discuss the visiting hours for Robert. If Maryse will even allow them.

Magnus catches his hand as they leave the court room, now all of them in good spirits. It was such a stressful day than Alec wants nothing more than to bury himself in his boyfriend’s embrace and not move for another week. But of course, his family has other plans.

“We should celebrate.” Isabelle announces cheerfully as they walk. “What do you say, dinner?”

Everyone doesn’t look quite convinced, it’s been a hard day for them all, but Izzy is not backing down.

“Come on! It’s a big thing, we still need to break the news to Max.” She says and then turns to Maryse. “Mom, you can go get him and we’ll meet at a restaurant.”

The rest looks up at Maryse as if waiting for guidance, like she’s the one to decide here. Her eyes sweep over her family for a few seconds, but in the end, she nods and Izzy’s expression breaks into a soft smile.

“Great!” She exclaims. “We’ll see each other in a bit.” With that, she drags Simon back to their car.

Alec looks after them a bit and then, as the rest goes their separate ways for now, he feels Magnus squeezing his hand so he turns to him.

“You sure you wanna go?” His boyfriend asks, his expression morphing into worry again. “I know today’s been hard, so if you’re tired…”

“I want to see my brother.” Alec states and nods, more to himself than to Magnus. “And I’m hungry.” He adds which prompts a chuckle from the other man.

Magnus only smiles at him, but Alec can see the pride behind it. The truth is, he wouldn’t be able to stand up to his father without Magnus. His undying support is what makes him brave, pushes him to fight for himself and for his family.

He’s not sure how he’s ever gonna repay Magnus for being by his side during this hard time, but he’ll sure as hell try his best. And something tells him, that Magnus won’t demand a lot, he’ll just wave his hand dismissively and say something about him doing the same if the situation was reversed.

Alec knows him enough now. Almost half of a year in a relationship, but he still feels he’ll get positively surprised many more times.

 

When Maryse finally arrives at the restaurant with Max, his siblings welcome him with crushing hugs. Alec doesn’t let go of his baby brother for more than two minutes, and even if the boy is a little confused, he doesn’t seem to mind. If he only knew what kind of hell his big brother’s been through today…

Magnus stands next to them, observing the scene with teary eyes. The love and care they all hold for each other is truly a beautiful scene and he finds himself mesmerised by the view. Soon they all dive into a big family hug, and Magnus can’t quite hide how taken aback he his, when Alec waves at him to join them. He shakes his head, but can see in the eyes of his boyfriend that he doesn’t take no for an answer, so eventually he comes closer and wraps his arms around the happy family.

Maryse’s already told Max about the court hearing and what the verdict was, because he was too impatient to wait and actually deserved to know as soon as it was announced. He just puts it off with a casual ‘I knew it’, which bursted out a laugh from the rest of the table when they get settled. They don’t dive into the details. Max wouldn’t understand anyway, they all just bask in the happy atmosphere that’s fallen around them, talking, laughing, eating dinner. Magnus doesn’t feel uncomfortable around Alec’s family, not anymore, but he does feel like he’s kind of privying onto a scene he shouldn’t have. Although Simon and Clary are here too, Magnus feels like he’s the newest addition to the Lightwood’s family life now. He tries to think of some excuse to leave, to give them some proper family time, but he must have not been so subtle about it, since Alec gently lays his hand on his thigh under the table and turns to him.

“Is everything okay?” He asks, concern painting on his face.

“Yes.” Magnus kind of lies, but Alec throws him a resigned look. Damn it, he really knows him too well now. “I just…” Magnus pauses, and Alec’s patiently waiting for an elaboration. “I’m not sure if I should be here. It’s just such a family moment you’re having, I feel like I’m interrupting-“

“Magnus.” Alec cuts him off, soft but yet stern. They’re talking in hushed voices, for the rest of the table not to hear, although they’re too deep into some conversation to notice anything. “I don’t know where this is all coming from, but if I have to repeat myself I will. I consider you my family.” He states like it was the most obvious thing in the world. Magnus’ expression must turn surprised again, but Alec just shrugs lightly and continues. “I do. I’m not sure when this happened, but… you support me, all of us actually, you are there for me, we love each other more than anything… if this isn’t what being a family is about, then what is?” He resorts and Magnus can’t help but smile, something warm blooming inside his chest. “So yeah, it’s a family moment, and you’re very much part of this family.”

Magnus just nods, kind of lost of words at this moment. This idea of such a family… it was something he always wanted, but couldn’t believe he would get. And now, here with Alec, surrounded by his family, their family. It feels real.

It is real.

Alec leans in and kisses him on the lips softly, pulling back with a smile and swiftly joining into some conversation.

And if Magnus doesn’t say a lot for a while, no one minds. He’s pretty content with watching his family being happy.

 

A while later, when Alec leaves his side to talk to Max more, Maryse comes closer and settles herself on Alec’s previous spot. Magnus tears his eyes away from his boyfriend and his baby brother to give her a smile, which she easily reciprocates. The conversations still sound around them, but for a moment, none of them prompts a talk, so they just sit, until Maryse starts.

“I wanted to thank you.” She says and gains Magnus’ full attention now. Before he gets to question anything, she continues. “I can’t even imagine how hard it was for Alec. But to know that he had you by his side… I trust you to take care of him, I really do and I just… thank you Magnus, I know it’s not enough, but-“ She shakes her head, but Magnus decides to interrupts.

“You don’t need to thank me.” He states with a smile. He does appreciate the gesture. It’s nice to know Maryse thinks so highly of him, he wants to keep good relations with her. “It’s nothing, really. I love him, so it’s obvious I’ll stand by him, no matter what.” He resorts and Maryse takes his hand and squeezes it lightly.

“I’m just very happy he has you.” She smiles again, Magnus instantly mirroring it. “I feel like you will fit into our family quite well.” She adds a bit teasingly, but Magnus knows she’s being honest.

And it means more to him than he could ever express. Before he gets to tear up, he decides to change the subject.

"So…" He clears his throat and Maryse glances at him with furrowed brows. "it seemed like Luke just couldn't take hs eyes of you at the court…" He trials off and Maryse duckes her head, trying to hide her blush and pulling a loose lock of hair behind her ear. Now Magnus knows where Alec got this beautiful flushed cheekes from. 

"I..." Maryse just shakes her head lightly. "we met once, or twice…" She bites her lip nervously.

"Maryse," Magnus rests his hand over her and it makes her look up at him. "that's great. You deserve to be happy, please remember that."

She smiles at him gratefully as he squezees her hand a bit. Her eyes are shining as she looks at him, and her smile is as bright as the sun.

They talk a bit more, just about everything, and then Alec approaches again. He smiles at the sight of them, indulged into some conversation, but as soon as Magnus’ eyes land on him, he smiles lovingly and Maryse notices his presence then too.

“Everything okay?” Magnus prompts and Alec nods lightly, reaching for his hand and lacing their fingers together.

“Everything’s perfect.” He answers and glances briefly at his mom, assuring her with another smile, and then turns back to Magnus. “I was just wondering if we could head home? I’m kind of tired. Today’s been… a lot.” He admits and Magnus immediately nods.

“Of course, darling.” He replies and gives his hand a tight squeeze. They take a route around the table to make sure to say goodbye to everyone. Magnus throws one more smile in Maryse’s direction as they leave, and her expression seems to be saying the thing it always says when they part.

Take care of him.

Magnus can promise with his life that he will.

As they leave the restaurant and head to the car, Alec lets out a long exhale as if releasing some part of tension.

“How are you feeling?” Magnus asks gently.

“Good.” Alec says with a nod. “Really good.”

Magnus smiles and drapes his arm over his shoulders as they walk.

“You were so brave out there.” He tells him and brings him a bit closer, trying to transform all of this pride words can’t with his gestures.

“You make me brave.” Alec speaks with a smile and Magnus mirrors his expression as he recalls the familiarity of these words.

“Well, but you did amazing.” Magnus resorts then. “I’m really proud of you.”

“I know.” Alec says and leans into him. “And thank you. I know you probably don’t want to hear it, but I need to say this. Thank you for being there for me.” Alec states and turns his face to him, with those honest to God eyes, shining beautifully in the night light.

“There is no other place I’d like to be, Alexander.” Magnus just answers, and means every damn word.

“Same here, babe.” Alec says, prompting a chuckle from both of them. “But I actually want to be home now, crawl into bed and don’t come out for another week.” He adds then and they both laugh out loud now. “I need some rest.” He resorts and drops his head on Magnus’ shoulder.

“You certainly deserve it, love.” Magnus states just as they get to the car. He opens the door for Alec and then himself climbs into the driver’s seat.

He doesn’t mind that Alec falls asleep on the way home. Doesn’t care that he’ll probably have to carry him to the apartment. The most important thing, is that today has been successful, that they fought and won. Because they stuck together.

If that isn’t what family does, then Magnus doesn’t know what is.

What he knows, is that he’s proud to call the man next to him, and all of the amazing people he’s spent today with, his family.