Magnus didn’t know how to describe reincarnation. In fact, he didn’t even believe in it during the first several years of his life.
When he had turned fifteen years old he began having weird dreams, so vivid that they felt real, like they were memories that belonged to someone else. Looking back on it all now, he wondered, as a Shadowhunter of all things, how he forgot about the notion of all legends being true. Because now he knew that they were real memories. They were his memories from a past life he had.
He had no idea why the Angels decided to provide him with the memories, or why they chose him to live more than one life for starters, all he knew was that the High Warlock of Brooklyn, Alexander Lightwood was featured in a lot of them.
As he grew older the memories began to make sense, it was like he knew exactly who he used to be and it didn't even phase him that he had once been a woman. Now, he just couldn't believe how different the two really were, and any man that said getting hit in the balls was worse than having cramps would get his fist to the face.
When they became more clear, so did his love life in them. He'd been so curious about the warlock he'd apparently dated that he went into the Claves database to find out as much as he could about him. It was a pleasant surprise to find out Alec resided in New York still. He secretly saved the few pictures that they had in his file to his phone and wondered if fate would ever have them meet again.
Alec remembers a lot of the people that he has met and loved in his 700 years of living. They've all kept a special place in his heart, even the ones he can barely remember anymore. Some of them he’s forgotten the looks of, others their voice, and everything about some others even. But, there will always be one that Alec will never forget.
Magnolia Bane was a firecracker of a mundane.
Alec remembers the American Civil War like it was just yesterday, especially since New York had been the main provider of troops and supplies. He'd seen lots of wars in his long life but none ever seemed to have such progression along with downfall at the same time. Alec meets Magnolia, who tells him right after being introduced that she'd much rather just be called Maggie. Most of the men that she worked with would tease her for her name, so he did what his mother always told him to do and respected her request.
Maggie was one of the many women that took on the responsibility of a "man's place" when men were off serving in the war. She built bombs and forged shells for bullets, took care of her family’s farm and provided for them too. Alec had never seen a woman in mechanic clothing until he had met her, most women that he met were always dressed in nice gowns. Maggie was always covered in dirt or grease and Alec hadn’t known it could be so attractive.
She was the most headstrong woman Alec had ever met, he fell in love with her and it was as easy as breathing. Their relationship was one of their own, they never showed off to the world, but instead stayed in their own. She knew about what he was and adored his magic, especially his marks. She had even called them beautiful. He'd never trusted anyone enough to show them his warlock marks but she had helped him open up and soon he found that it wasn’t so hard to look into his own icy blue eyes in the mirror.
Losing her had hurt worse than anything he had ever felt in his life. The pain only grew when he realized he never got the chance to tell her how much he loved her.
There were only a handful of times Alec could remember helping the Shadowhunters willingly. Most of the time he was trying his damned hardest to not punch one of them in the face, especially when he was speaking to a Clave member. He'd accepted the offer of High Warlock of Brooklyn knowing that he'd have to interact with the Nephilim more often than not, but he'd mainly done it because he wanted to help his own people. He'd done it in hopes that he would possibly be able to make changes between the Downworlders and Shadowhunters.
The more recent generation of Shadowhunters were more open minded than their ancestors, he didn't feel the need to run and hide whenever he was called to the Institute for meetings anymore. Not that he would run and hide. They were a kinder group that made Downworlders feel as welcome as possible. Of course, there were still others that believed everything their parents said and it hadn't saved him the amount of glares he'd still received, but it had been improving.
His sister Isabelle was somewhere off in Europe at the moment and had actually made friends with quite a few members of the Paris Institute in the last few weeks. She was always the one saying there would be change one day, it was only waiting for the right group of people. Apparently, they were here now.
All of that had been why Alec didn't automatically sigh when he received a fire message from the New York Institute asking for their monthly update on wards with the promise of pay, on the morning of his free day.
In fact, he wasn't in any hurry and the message didn't exactly state a time they wanted him to arrive so he just sat quietly, drinking his coffee and staring at the magnolia flowers he'd planted on his balcony.
It didn't take him long to get up and get dressed for the day, he figured since he had no other plans that he would stock up on ingredients for potions after updating the wards at the Institute. Since it was cold out, his hair had began to curl naturally so he didn't spend much time messing with it, snapped on a clean outfit and opened a portal in his living room that would place him right outside of the Institute.
Ragnor Fell was a grumpy old Shadowhunter but he was polite and kind to most of the Downworlders, so Alec was glad when he was greeted by him.
"Good morning, Mr. Lightwood." Ragnor said, holding out his hand. "Thank you for coming in today."
Alec took his hand without hesitation, shaking momentarily. "G'morning Mr. Fell. It's really no problem."
Ragnor led him into the Institute, not bothering to make small talk as they walked through the Ops Center, Alec nodded to a few Shadowhunters that respected him. That was one of Alec's favorite things about the Head of the Institute, he didn't ever brother to try to make conversation if it wasn't needed and he wouldn't let anyone even look at a Downworlder the wrong way. He went over what needed to be done to the wards, making it brief and to the point. Before Alec knew it, he was finished and signing a few papers for payment.
Just as Alec was getting ready to leave, two female Shadowhunters stumbled into the room, giggling and poking each other. The older woman was clearly in her early thirties and the younger was maybe around 10 years old, and Alec watched Ragnor practically melt.
"Papa!" The younger one practically shouted before sprinting right into Ragnor's legs.
Alec was surprised to see Ragnor laugh and hug the little girl, his daughter. "Hi Madzie. How'd your classes go?"
The older women, Alec assumed was Madzies mother, walked up to the two of them and answered for her. "She passed all of her tests and will receive her first rune next week!"
Alec couldn't help but smile watching the family interact, Ragnor was clearly delighted, spinning the child around his arms, making her giggle. A gasp was heard behind him.
"Did I just hear my favorite little warrior is going to receive her first rune?" A new voice asked, one that Alec almost recognized.
Madzie squirmed out of her father's grip, practically darting past Alec and straight into another pair of legs. The Shadowhunter made an "oof" sound as she collided with him, but recovered quickly. Alec eyes slowly trailed up the body belonging to the Shadowhunter, having to swallow down his sudden interest towards the fit body, before his heart stopped as he took in the familiar face.
Maggie had one of the most distinct faces Alec had ever seen, he could easily pick her out of a crowd but it was her eyes that were always so unique. Eyes Alec would recognize anywhere, in every life he was destined to live. Eyes that he never thought he'd see ever again, were staring back at him in the same shock that he was feeling.
Ragnor spoke suddenly, returning back to his formal self, introducing everyone. "Oh– Apologies for my behavior. Mr. Lightwood, this is my wife Catarina and my daughter, Madzie and Madzies godfather, Magnus Bane."
Alec tried to come out of his shock, politely shaking Catarinas hand and smiling sweetly when Madzie said "hello" to him shyly. He let her hold onto his finger to shake his hand and greeted her softly, telling her that he liked her pearl necklace.
When it was Magnus' turn, Alec felt his heart speed up so fast he thought he might pass out. Magnus was looking at him with awe in his eyes and Alec thought for a moment that maybe, just maybe, the Angels had chosen them. When their hands met it felt like electricity was crackling in his veins, like his magic was unstable and about to explode everywhere. Alec had felt hope and happiness before, all on different levels but Magnus just looked so much like her, like he was her, and it made Alec feel like he was on top of the world and even if Magnus didn't remember anything maybe they still had a chance.
It took a throat clearing before Alec was able to pull himself out of his head.
"Sir," one of the many Shadowhunters in the Institute interrupted, speaking softly to Ragnor before the Head of the Institute smiled at all of them.
"It seems that I am needed elsewhere. Magnus, would you be so kind as to walk Mr. Lightwood out?"
Magnus nodded, glancing briefly at Ragnor. "Uh, yes! Yes, of course. Right this way, Mr. Lightwood." He said, still in a bit of a daze.
Sometimes when Magnus thought about his past life, he thought it was all just some weird game that the Angels were playing. At times they would leave him feeling hopeless, like he had found his soulmate once and was destined to never meet him again. To only look at his photos and wonder what he was doing with his life now that Magnus wasn't in it. Now though Magnus didn't know what to do with himself.
Alec cleared his throat when everyone was gone, "Uhm, do you think we could talk in private?" He asked, scratching the back of his neck.
"Uh, yeah. Yeah, of course. Here–" Magnus grabbed Alec's hand, sending tingles through him again, pulling him to his room that was just down one of the halls.
Alec followed without question, smiling a bit at the fairy lights hanging over Magnus' bed, before turning around just as the Shadowhunter closed the door and locked it with a click. Magnus leaned back against the door and Alec simply couldn't believe his luck.
"Hi," Alec breathed out, taking a small step forward.
Magnus bit his lip, seemingly slumping against the door.
It took Alec a few seconds, he was too busy looking into the eyes of the person he loves with his whole being, but then it hit him. Nobody ever called him 'Alexander' not even Izzy... except for Maggie. Maggie only called him…
"You remember?" He asked, his ability to breathe leaving him winded for a few moments.
Magnus nodded, taking a small step closer to him, swallowing nervously. "Yeah. It took awhile for everything to really make sense when the memories started coming through. But, it all seemed to really click in place when I saw you," he explained. "Like, since you are real, then that means that they could be too."
Alec felt tears start to burn in his eyes. He never thought that he'd get a second chance with Maggie, never thought he'd even get the chance to love someone as much as he loved her, but here Magnus was right in front of him living and breathing. The Shadowhunter must have seen his tears because he was stepping closer, so close that chests brushed and Alec couldn't stop himself from leaning closer, brushing his hands against Magnus'.
"I always felt so weird being in love with someone that I had never met. Sometimes I'd wake up in the middle of the night after one of those memories and long for you. Sometimes I didn't know how to handle it." Magnus admitted, tangling their fingers together.
"Hell, I figured out how to handle once being a woman faster than I could that."
Alec laughed softly, raising a hand to brush some hair out of Magnus' eyes, blinking back tears when the Shadowhunter leaned into his hand.
"You don't–" Magnus sighed, frustrated when he couldn't find his words. "You don't care about that right? That I'm not exactly the same?" He asked.
"Magnus," Alec started, "I could care less about what's in your pants. You should know that."
Magnus couldn't help but giggle, "Yes of course. How could I forget."
"I think all that matters is that im a one soul at a time kind of guy. You were just the last one."
"Wait–" Magnus gasped. "Alexander, you haven't been with anyone since..?" He asked.
Alec shrugged, "I couldn't make myself be with anyone after you. You stole my heart and never gave it back, Magnus."
Magnus sighed, shaking his head but decided not to comment on it. Yet.
"By the angel," Alec breathed, unable to stop his hands from landing on Magnus' hips, tugging him closer until they were pressed together. "I missed you so much."
Magnus hummed in agreement, "and you don't care that I'm a Shadowhunter now?" He just wanted to make sure everything was cleared up.
Alec shook his head with a playful roll of his eyes. "No Magnus." He hooked a finger around the collar of the Shadowhunters shirt, pulling it down and brushing his fingers against the strength rune that was drawn over Magnus' collarbone. "In fact, I quite like these. I'm sure they'll come in handy."
The blush that covered Magnus' cheeks was beautiful and Alec found that he could no longer resist the need to kiss the Shadowhunter. He tilted his head downward, giving Magnus the time to push him away but he was relieved when Magnus only leaned closer, pressing their lips together.
Alec's heart started racing again, Magnus tasted almost exactly the same as he remembers. Sweet but a little minty too. Magnus was a little taller as a male so Alec didn't have to lean down so much to kiss him properly and he could feel how muscular Magnus was now. It was weird, but also a pleasant change, one Alec could easily get used to. They kissed like it was their first and last kiss, like they were both preparing for a new start that they'd both been waiting so long for.
When they finally pulled away, Alec took his first deep breath in centuries.
"I'll have to admit," Magnus said with a laugh. "It's nice not being two heads shorter than you."
Alec chuckled, pressing their foreheads together as he continued. "Hey! It's true. I always felt like it had to stand on a stool to be able to kiss you and I always felt bad because you'd always have to lean down so much." He said it a little nervously and Alec knew it was because despite his reassurances, Magnus still didn't believe him.
"Magnus, I don't care. I don't care if you're a man or woman. I don't care if you have long hair or short hair. If you're tall or short, have brown eyes or green eyes. I just want you. Anytime, anywhere, any universe." Alec tried to put as much passion as he could into the words, but had to swallow down some other emotions. "One of my biggest regrets after you–after," he couldn't even say it. "Was not telling you just how much I love you. Even in a different body and a different century, I still feel the same."
Magnus had tears in his eyes when he finished, "I love you too, Alexander," He whispered.
They stayed in Magnus' room for a few hours after Magnus popped out to tell Ragnor that he was clocking out for the day. Then they ended up going out for dinner since they never had the chance to back during the war and after they ended up at Alec's loft, which Magnus giggled upon walking into.
"Wow," he breathed as he looked around the room. "You haven't changed this place one bit since the last time I was here."
Alec hummed, following Magnus as he walked further into the living room. "Well, you know me. I'm not super big on decorating."
Magnus sat down on his leather couch, humming as he practically sunk into it, relaxing in the familiar environment.
"It's okay, I think it still looks great."
The next few weeks are pretty eventful, at least they are for Alec. He hadn't really seen a lot of action since the Civil War mainly because he had no reason to be apart of any of it. Now though with Magnus he had become friends with Ragnor and Catarina and according to everyone Madzie adored him, so much that he was even invited to her rune ceremony. Alec had never been so touched to be invited to a Shadowhunters event. Being friends with them and being Magnus' boyfriend, especially, meant that he felt so protective of them all and found himself going on hunts with them.
It wasn't too horrible, Alec actually found himself enjoying killing demons as there was a nice thrill to it. It had his blood pumping every time. Until, Magnus had an accident one day.
It wasn't anything too serious, one of the demons they had been fighting had gotten to Magnus' blindspot before anyone could notice and had gotten a minor scratch from one of its talons. It wasn't anything severe, Alec was able to heal it within minutes of the fight ending and Magnus barely had a scar but it still left him a little shaken. And Magnus had noticed.
"I'm sorry," Magnus said as they walked into the loft together, fingers tangled together. "I know you said you were fine with me being a Shadowhunter, but I know how hard it can be seeing something like that happen. You didn't sign up for this."
Alec sighed, rubbing his thumb against Magnus' knuckles as he thought up his reply. Yes, he'd been terrified of losing Magnus again. The first time had been like getting his heart ripped from his chest and then stepped all over right in front of him. To put it lightly, it had hurt. But, at the end of the day Magnus was safe, alive, breathing. That wound had barely even left a mark and the Shadowhunter had done a fantastic job of defending himself even with an injury. It left Alec feelings so relieved he could cry. So yes, it had been scary but it was something Alec could handle with some practice.
"Magnus, I promise you, I don't care that you're a Shadowhunter. And you're right, I didn't sign up for this but even if I had the choice I would still have taken the chance without a second thought. I love you Magnus. I don't want to lose you, but I know the possibility is out there so I'll cherish every moment I get to spend with you."
Magnus stepped close, leaning his head against Alec chest. "I can't promise to survive, but I promise that I'll do everything in my power to make it home to you."
Alec held him close, pressing a kiss to his forehead and breathing in his scent.
"That's all I can ask for Maggie."
"Oh wow, I haven't heard that name in a long time."
Magnus felt familiar fingers brush against his cheek, quickly realizing that he was in one of those dreams again. The fingers brushed long black strands out of his face, his first instinct being to lean closer, smiling as the soft chuckle that he received.
"You look like you had a long day."
Magnus opened his eyes, instantly meeting icy blue eyes that always had his heart racing. He hummed, listened to the extra high pitched noise, not recognizing his own voice again.
"It's better now that you're here."
The kiss pressed to his forehead would make his heart ache when he would wake up, but for now he savoured the loving gesture.