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Magnus blinked and stared at his friend, his very best friend in the whole wide world, incredulous.  “I’m sorry, you need me to what?

 

Catarina huffed and put her hands on her lips.  “I need you to babysit the oldest of the Lightwood kids for a few hours.”  

 

Magnus wrinkled his nose at her.  “No!”  

 

“Stop that,” Catarina snapped.  “The other three are sick, he’s the only healthy one in his entire family - all of the others are down and out with that viral ichor related cold.”  

 

Magnus groaned.  “Why can’t you babysit him?”  

 

Catarina raised an eyebrow at him.  “You want to go heal Maryse and Robert Lightwood instead?  I thought I’d save you dealing with them.”  

 

Magnus winced and sighed.  “How long do I have to babysit the brat for?”  

 

“Overnight,” Catarina said, holding up her hand when Magnus immediately went to protest.  “You’ll have to deal with it. By all reports, he’s a serious and quiet boy, I’m sure you won’t even notice.”  

 

“Catarina,” Magnus sighed, long and loud.  “He’s a Lightwood.   He might spend the night trying to kill me.”  

 

“Well,” Catarina said cheerfully.  “I have all faith in your ability to fend off a seven year old!”  

 

Magnus had a retort for that, he did, but it was cut off by the sound of a portal, and caught a glimpse of Catarina’s back as she disappeared.  He groaned and strode towards his drink cart. He was going to need copious amounts of alcohol if he was even going to begin to be able to deal with this.

 

The sound of another portal had him turning around and he finished mixing his drink, turning to look at the boy Catarina had just walked through a portal with.  Wide hazel eyes met his and then darted around his loft, lingering on a number of objects before coming back to him.  

 

“Magnus, this is Alec Lightwood.  Alec, this is-” 

 

“Magnus Bane,” Alec said, squinting at him before he looked back down at his book.  “You’ll be back tomorrow, Ms. Loss?”  

 

Catarina softened.  “Yeah, Alec, I will.  I’ll pick you up in the morning.  Magnus’ll take good care of you.”  

 

He nodded.  “Thank you.”  

 

Catarina met Magnus’ eyes.  “Behave,” she growled, before stepping back through the portal.  

 

Magnus looked at the kid, and the backpack he was wearing.  He took a sip of his drink and sighed. The kid was still staring at him.  He let it go for a minute, then two, but the kid hadn’t moved. Was still staring at him.  “If you have something you want to say, hurry up and say it.”  

 

Alec frowned.  “My parents-” 

 

“Aren’t here, kid.  I’m not gonna judge, and certainly not going to care.  Guarantee I’ve heard worse,” Magnus drawled, taking a sip of his martini.  He’d heard far worse from this kid’s parents, but he had limits. The kid was only seven after all.  

 

“I can ask anything?” Alec hedged, continuing to frown.  

 

“Sure,” Magnus said with a magnanimous wave of his hand.  “Go ahead. Hit me with your best shot.”  

 

“You’re pretty.  Are all warlocks pretty like you?” Alec asked, tilting his head.  

 

Magnus choked.  He’d been mid-sip of his perfectly excellent martini and the kid decided to drop that on him.  “Wh-what?”  He coughed and snapped a napkin into his fingertips, dabbing at his mouth, staring at the kid in shock.  

 

“Probably not,” Alec said to himself.  He put his backpack down on the floor and walked closer to the warlock that was still staring at him with wide eyes.  “Ms. Loss is nice, but you’re prettier.”  

 

Magnus had never been more grateful that there was no one around to witness him choking on a breath of air.   He’d never live it down.  “I, uh, thank you?”  

 

“You’re welcome,” Alec said with a firm nod.  

 

Magnus blinked at him and stared in confusion at the kid who was now looking around his loft curiously.  “Aren’t you scared of me?”  

 

“No,” Alec said.  He turned back to Magnus and frowned again.  “Did I interrupt your work?”  

 

Magnus paused and looked towards his apothecary.  He had left a potion in stasis when Catarina had sent him the fire message, but he didn’t have to-  He blinked when the kid immediately pushed past him, holding a notebook from his backpack. “Wait, where are you-” he stopped when the kid turned to look at him in front of his apothecary.  

 

“You have work.  I have rune practice I can do,” Alec announced, stepping just inside the apothecary door before sitting down in front of one of the shelves, pulling out his notebook.  

 

Magnus gaped at the kid, but he didn’t move.  Instead, he seemed to be doing exactly what he’d said, carefully drawing out runes over and over again in his notebook, mouthing the names of each of the runes as he did so.  “Uh, right,” he muttered to himself.  

 

Magnus stepped into the room and picked up the next ingredient that he needed.  He looked down at the potion, but his attention was completely shot at the presence of another body in his apothecary, and the constant, minute pinging his wards were doing reminding him there was someone not to be trusted in his home.  

 

“Ugh shut up,” he growled his wards, waving his hand with a quick cackle of magic, adjusting them so the kid was keyed to them.  When he looked down, he found the kid staring at him again with wide eyes and felt guilty. “Sorry, I didn’t mean you.”  

 

“I know,” Alec said.  “I wasn’t saying anything.”  

 

What was it about this kid that made him feeling like a fucking idiot every time he opened his mouth?  “Right. Do you need anything?”  

 

Alec tilted his head at him and frowned.  “What?”

 

“I can’t leave you just sitting there,” Magnus said with another wave of his hands.  “Fuck I didn’t even get you a chair. Cat’s going to kill me.” 

 

“Stop worrying so much,” Alec said, looking back down at his notebook.  He stood up. “I’ll leave so you can get work done.”  

 

Magnus watched as he walked out the door and into the living room again, sitting next to the coffee table.  “You can sit on the couch!” he called. The boy didn’t move. He sighed and stared at the ceiling. He was woefully unequipped to babysit a seven year old.  What did they even like? 

 

Standing up in a flurry, he strode into the living room.  “Put your notebook away,” he ordered. When the kid looked up at him and blinked, Magnus became even more sure of his course of action.  He grinned. “We’re going out!”  

 

Alec put his pen and notebook into his backpack and frowned at the warlock.  “Where?”  

 

“Somewhere fun!” Magnus announced with a grin.  “I don’t exactly have things around here to entertain someone your age!”  

 

Alec scowled and looked at his bag.  “I have work to do.”  

 

"Are you honestly telling me," Magnus said, staring down at him.  "When you have the chance to do damn near anything you want, go anywhere, you're going to give that up?"  

 

Alec blinked up at the warlock and tilted his head, staring at him.  "Anywhere?"  

 

Magnus held up a finger.  "Within reason, yes. I am willing to portal you anywhere.  I won't even tell your parents."  

 

"Or Ms. Loss?" Alec asked, frowning.  

 

"As long as you don't end up injured, I'm not planning to tell Catarina how we spend our evening, no," Magnus said with a chuckle.  "Come on, kid. Where do you want to go?"  

 

Alec stood up and looked to the window.  He walked towards it and glanced back at Magnus before opening the door and stepping out.  

 

Bemused, Magnus followed behind him and found the kid looking in the direction of Coney Island.  "You can just tell me, you don't need to point me in the direction or anything, kid-" 

 

"My name, is Alec," he growled, glaring at him.  Alec pointed to the ferris wheel he could see at the end of the boardwalk.  "I want to go there."  

 

Magnus blinked in surprise, looking down at him.  "There?"  

 

Alec nodded, his jaw tight.  "Yes. Please."  

 

Magnus softened and nodded, heading back inside with a quick whistle.  "I'm going to change my shoes," he called. "Then we can head over to the boardwalk.  We'll spend the evening there."  

 

Alec blinked in surprise.  "No, we don't have to spend-"  

 

"Too late!" Magnus called, summoning a portal for them in the middle of his apartment, holding out his hand for Alec.  "I'm going to take you to have fun at the Coney Island boardwalk for the evening. See if you can use those shadowhunter skills to win a ridiculous prize or two." 

 

Alec took his hand with a frown and followed him through the portal.  "You'll let me do that?"  

 

Magnus shrugged and stepped out of the portal, making sure the kid didn't stumble before he waved to the boardwalk around them.  "I'm here to make sure you don't end up kidnapped or puking, Alec. You tell me what you want to do."  

 

Alec's eyes widened and he looked around the boardwalk, taking in everything that there was to do around them.  "How long do we have?" 

 

"What's your normal bedtime?" Magnus asked, putting his hands into his pocket, rocking back on his heels.  "I'll add two hours to whatever it is, and say we need to be back by then."  

 

A burst of laughter escaped the kid and Magnus turned to him, grinning a little in surprise at the smile that was suddenly transforming the serious mini nephilim into a normal kid his age.  Magnus grinned and waved to the boardwalk again. "Lead the way, Alec."  

 

Alec immediately dashed for the cotton candy vendor nearby, staring up at it with wide eyes.  "What is it?"  

 

"Sugar," Magnus said with a laugh, purchasing two bags for the both of them before offering one to Alec.  "Designed to make your fingers sticky, spoil your dinner, and give you a sugar rush like no tomorrow." He watched Alec immediately stuff a huge handful into his mouth, his eyes widening in delight.  

 

"It's great!" Alec said, grabbing another handful, smacking his lips at the way it dissolved.  He looked around again and narrowed his eyes before looking back to Magnus. "Can we walk around and see what there is before I decide?"  

 

Magnus grinned back at him.  "I told you, it's your show. We can do whatever you want."  

 

Alec gave a firm nod and started walking, quickly eating his way through the cotton candy as he stared at the different games, the different rides and the people shouting and bustling through the crowd.  

 

Magnus couldn't help feeling a little bit sad as he watched the young nephilim walk through the crowd, his eyes wide and awed at everything around him.  This wasn't even a particularly impressive boardwalk, but for a shadowhunter who had likely never experienced something like that... Alec might never get a chance like this again.  

 

"Mister Bane?" Alec called, stopping in front of a ride.  He looked back at him and wrinkled his nose.  

 

Magnus snorted.  "Call me Magnus. Mister Bane just sounds weird."  

 

"Magnus," Alec said, a little relieved, looking up at the ride.  "Can I go on that?"  

 

Magnus twisted his fingers and a bracelet appeared on Alec's wrist.  Magnus pointed at it. "That'll let you ride it as many times as you want."  

 

Alec's eyes lit up and he immediately scrambled to go stand in line.  Magnus laughed and waved to him as the ride spun, leaving all the mundanes dizzy and stumbling, but a bright wide grin on Alec's face.  The kid was practically skipping when he came off the ride and immediately hurried into the line for the one next to it.  

 

It did take Alec almost two hours to tire of the rides (though he'd passed on the ferris wheel, wrinkling his nose at it), before he stopped in front of Magnus with a determined look in his eyes.  

 

Magnus raised his eyebrows at him.  "What's that look for?"  

 

"There's a game I want to play," he said, pointing to it.  "But it costs money, and I didn't bring-" 

 

"I got it," Magnus said with a snap, handing Alec a twenty.  "I'm treating you, after all." He followed Alec towards the game and raised both his eyebrows.  Hit the bell with a mallet, win a prize. He traced his eyes upward and narrowed when he caught the way the game was rigged.  

 

He watched Alec approach and offer the man the money, stuffing the change into his pocket before he picked up the mallet.  Magnus watched him test the weight of it before eyeing the target that he needed to hit. With a swing that was almost too fast for him to catch it, he watched Alec hit the target easily, sending the bell shooting up, about halfway up the meter.  

 

The operator offered Alec one of the consolation prizes and Magnus snapped a drink into his fingers, sipping it as Alec walked back towards him, his shoulders slumped.  

 

"I wanted to try to win one for Izzy," Alec said.  "She's my baby sister, and she'd like that pink bear," he said, pointing up at it.  

 

Magnus hummed, looking at it.  It was one of the top prizes and he looked back down to Alec.   "Want to know a secret about carnival games?" 

 

Alec frowned.  "What? Is there a trick to it?"  

 

Magnus pointed to the side of the meter.  "Look carefully. What do you see?"  

 

He waited while Alec watched someone else come up and play the game before his eyes widened in understanding.  

 

"It's, he's made it impossible to win," Alec said, narrowing his eyes in a glare.  "That's cheating."  

 

"Cheating at carnival games is a time honored tradition," Magnus told him with a bit of a grin.  "Tell you what though? How about I even the odds? I'll remove the cheat, and you can try again.  And if you can't, I'll take a turn, deal?"  

 

Alec frowned at him.  "No magic?"  

 

Magnus shook his head.  "Other than removing the cheat, no magic."  

 

Alec nodded and they both stepped into the line.  "Deal," he said, facing the operator, handing over his money again.  

 

Magnus twisted his fingers, removing the excess tension from the line and watched Alec approach the target.  He was far too serious for a seven year old, but the determination was adorable. Especially since he wanted the prize for his baby sister.  

 

This time when Alec hit it, the marker shot up, but fell just short of the bell at the top and Alec glared at it before he handed the mallet back to the surprised operator.  

 

"If I had a strength rune I could do it," Alec grumbled, crossing his arms over his chest.  

 

Magnus laughed.  "What happened to no magic, huh?" When Alec gave him a surprised look, Magnus sauntered forward and held out his hand for the mallet.  The operator took one look at his ringed fingers and the other jewelry he was wearing before he scoffed.  

 

"Go ahead, cupcake," he muttered.  

 

Magnus narrowed his eyes and with another quick twist of magic, removed the counterweight the man had installed entirely.  No more cheating for him tonight! He looked over at Alec and found the boy watching him curiously. Magnus hummed, dancing into place before he spun, swinging the hammer down hard, watching the marker shoot up the meter to hit the bell, setting off all of the lights with a loud ring.  

 

Magnus bowed to the crowd that started cheering and pointed to the pink bear that Alec had been after, taking it happily from the man.  "Careful," he said to the man, his eyes narrowed. "Some of us don't take too kindly to comments like that." 

 

He ignored the sputter from the man and walked back over to Alec, holding out the bear to him.  

 

"Thank you," Alec said, taking the bear into his hands carefully.  He frowned at it and cleared his throat. "Can, can you send it back to the loft?"  

 

"Of course," Magnus said, giving a flourish of his fingers, sending the prize back to the loft in a quick shower of sparks.  "Now, what next? More games?"  

 

"I'm hungry," Alec announced.  "But the cleanliness level of these..." 

 

Magnus burst out laughing, he couldn't help it.  "You don't come to a carnival expecting health standards to be up to code, Alec.  Not quite how these places work. Anything you saw that was at least a little appetizing?" 

 

"It depends," Alec said, still frowning as he looked behind him.  "What's a corn dog?"  

 

"I shall show you," Magnus said with a spring in his step, striding towards the stall.  "After all, there is no wrong way to eat a corn dog, and they are delicious."  

 

Ten minutes, an exorbitant amount of money, and four corn dogs between the both of them later, Magnus dipped his into ketchup, mustard and finished it off with relish, taking a large bite with a happy hum.  

 

"This doesn't look healthy," Alec said, frowning at it.  He took a tentative bite and blinked. "It's good."  

 

"There are very few foods in the world that cannot be made better by a deep frying," Magnus told him, wagging the corndog in his direction.  "Now, eat up. What else do you want to do?"  

 

Alec glanced around and shrugged, taking a larger bite of the corn dog.  "The games all cost more money and I've been on the rides."  

 

"Well, why don't you tell me what games you want to try and we can talk about money afterward?" Magnus said, taking another bite with a happy hum.  

 

“Can we walk and eat while I look?” Alec asked, already starting to walk towards the games stalls.  

 

“Mmmhmm,” Magnus agreed, following behind Alec as he assessed the different games with the seriousness of a future hunter.  He grinned when Alec pointed to two different games, both marksmanship based. “All right,” he said, offering Alec two more twenties before he moved a few steps back to watch the show.  “There a particular prize you’re, heh, shooting for?”  

 

Based on the scowl, Alec understood his joke perfectly well and Magnus couldn’t help grinning at him.  He maybe deserved that scowl. He blinked in surprise when Alec pointed up at one of the prizes hanging in the corner.  A bright blue, orange and green...crossbow.  

 

“You’ll have to knock them all down if you want that prize, kid,” the operator said, leaning against the desk.  

 

“I got it,” Alec said, steadying the air rifle.  “I’ll need two tries to figure out the pattern, and I should be able to do it by the third.”  

 

Magnus grinned, admiring his plan, and his confidence, watching as in the first round, Alec knocked down more than sixty percent of the targets, nodding firmly as he paid for a second round.  At Magnus’ count, he got more than eighty percent.  

 

“You’re good kid,” the operator said.  

 

Alec paid for a third round and took a deep breath before nodding in confirmation that he was ready to start.  

 

Magnus watched him hit all but one target, growling in frustration when one was left standing at the end.  And after a fourth round, then a fifth, he was clearly frustrated that he couldn’t move fast enough. He stepped forward and crouched next to Alec, looking at the course.  “Want me to help?” he offered.  

 

“I don’t want you to do it for me!” Alec snapped, glaring at Magnus.  

 

Magnus snorted and pointed at the course.  “I’m not doing anything for you. You’re shooting in top down order.  You need to change your order and switch up five and seven. If you go from bottom to top there, you’ll still have time to make it to eight.”  

 

Alec blinked at him and looked back at the targets.  He stared at them and looked back at Magnus. “How did you...?” 

 

“You were watching the targets, I was watching the whole course,” Magnus said with a brief grin.  “Just a different angle, a different perspective, if you will.”  

 

Alec took a deep breath and paid for one more round.  The operator rolled his eyes and he ignored them, looking to Magnus.  

 

Magnus nodded at him.  “You can do it,” he said quietly.  “The game isn’t rigged. Seven, five, six and then over to eight.  You’ve got it.”  

 

Alec smiled briefly and turned back to the course.  “Yeah, I’ve got it,” he agreed.  

 

Magnus watched as Alec straightened and followed his recommendations perfectly, moving from target to target, every motion quick and fluid until the final target pinged and they were all down when he lowered the rifle.  

 

Alec turned to Magnus with a wide grin.  “I did it!”  

 

Magnus held both of his hands out for a high five and grinned back at Alec.  “Perfectly!” He gave Alec a small nudge and pointed him towards the man holding out the crossbow.  

 

Alec grabbed the crossbow with a giant grin on his face.  “Thank you!” He turned to Magnus and held it out proudly.  

 

Magnus grinned back at Alec.  “You did excellently!” He winked at Alec.  “I confess I like your prize a lot better than the one for your sister.  Do you want me to send it back to the loft?”  

 

Alec shook his head and held it close.  He yawned and frowned, covering his mouth.  “Can I ride a few more rides?”  

 

“Sure Alec,” Magnus said, watching him immediately race for one of the rides again, but it was easy to tell that he was tiring.  After another three rides, when Alec grudgingly came to stand in front of him, Magnus smiled. “Time to head back?” 

 

Alec nodded, clutching onto his crossbow like it was going to disappear if he let go.  “Yes, please.”  

 

Magnus found a discreet space between two booths and cast a glamour before summoning the portal, taking Alec’s free hand to guide him through.  Once they were in his loft again, Magnus watched Alec’s face fall as he took in the backpack waiting for him.  

 

“Come on,” Magnus said, holding out his hand, glad when Alec took it, despite the backpack he’d slung over his shoulder.  “Let’s get you settled in the guest room.” The room was rather bare and austere, and with another quick flick of his fingers and wave of his hand, it was painted in royal blues with white and silver accents, gaining a bit of personality.  

 

He turned back to Alec.  “There’s a bathroom through that other door.  My bedroom is on the other side of the living room, though I’ll probably be working for a bit longer yet.”  

 

Alec sighed.  “I’m sorry I kept you from work.”  

 

“I’m not,” Magnus said with a laugh, winking at Alec when the kid looked at him in surprise.  “Are you kidding? I had way more fun tonight than making a potion for a man, who, on a good day, smells decidedly like rotten fish.”  

 

Alec snickered and smiled.  “I had fun too, Magnus.”  

 

“Good!” Magnus said with a firm nod, watching Alec put his backpack down, feeling abruptly awkward as he put the crossbow down on the bed as well.  “Do you need anything else?”  

 

“I…” Alec fidgeted and frowned.  “You said I could ask anything, right?”  

 

“Yeah, Alec,” Magnus said, meeting his eyes.  “You can ask me anything.”  

 

“My family is gonna be okay, right?” he asked, scowling as he stuffed his hands into his pockets.  “I, I mean, I know they are, Ms. Loss said so, but I can’t help…” 

 

“Alec,” Magnus said, crouching down in front of the boy, meeting his worried eyes.  “Catarina is not only one of the best healers I’ve ever met in the hundreds of years I’ve been on this earth, she’s one of my best friends.  She’s not going to let anything happen to your family.”  

 

Alec bit down on his lip and nodded. “Okay, okay good.”  

 

“Why don’t you shower,” Magnus said, gesturing to the bathroom door.  “If you let me know when you’re done, I’ll tell you a story before you go to sleep.”  

 

Alec scowled.  “I don’t need a bedtime story!”  

 

Magnus raised an eyebrow at him.  “Well, I was going to tell you about the time I got chased out of Singapore, and had to hide in Japan for two months before training to be a samurai but if you don’t want to hear that story….” 

 

Alec stared with wide eyes and shook his head.  “No, no, I do. I’ll go change. Will you be in your, um.  Office? When I’m done?”  

 

Magnus smiled at him.  “I will. Go get changed,” he urged, standing up again, watching Alec hurry off.  He headed over to the apothecary and checked on the potion in stasis, adding a few more ingredients with a hum, summoning more potion bottles to him.  He didn’t register the sound of the water stopping, or the footsteps approaching his apothecary door.  

 

In fact, it wasn’t until after he’d finished stirring in the next few ingredients that he heard Alec clear his throat.  Magnus looked up at him and grinned. “Hey, Alec, I’m sorry, were you standing there long?”  

 

“Your magic is beautiful,” Alec blurted, staring at him with wide eyes, looking down at his hands.  

 

Magnus blinked and then smiled.  “Thank you, Alec.”  

 

“Can I…” Alec bit down on his lower lip.  “You said two hours after my normal bed time, right?”  

 

Magnus raised both his eyebrows and nodded.  “Yes, I did.”  

 

“That means I have another hour.  Can, can I watch you work?” Alec asked, his voice barely a whisper.  

 

Magnus smiled and summoned a chair into the corner, watching as Alec immediately crawled into it, still holding onto that plastic crossbow.  “No playing target practice with me or any of my ingredients.”  

 

Alec shook his head hard, settling back into the chair.  “No, I won’t, I promise.”  

 

“All right,” Magnus said, turning his focus back to the potion.  He hummed quietly as he worked, glancing up at Alec every few minutes.  He could see that the kid was fighting to stay awake, and he made it nearly twenty minutes before he was sleeping quietly, curled up in the chair.  

 

Magnus got the potion finished and walked over to the sleeping boy, realizing just how young he looked when he didn’t have that frown or glare on his face.  “Alec,” he said, keeping his voice quiet, reaching out to touch Alec’s arm, watching him jolt awake.  

 

“Magnus,” Alec mumbled, rubbing his eyes.  “You done?”  

 

“Yeah, and it’s time for you to get to bed,” Magnus said.  His smile softened. “Want me to carry you to bed?”  

 

Alec scowled.  “I can get myself there.” 

 

“I won’t tell anyone,” Magnus promised, meeting surprised hazel eyes.  He watched Alec hesitate, studying him before he gave the tiniest of nods.  Moving easily, Magnus picked Alec up and carried him to the bedroom.  

 

“You’re stronger than you look,” Alec muttered, yawning again.  “Strong and pretty.”  

 

Magnus grinned and brought Alec back to the guest room.  “Thank you Alec.” He got the kid settled into bed, tucking him in.  He made sure that Alec’s breathing had steadied before he closed the door behind him and summoned a glass of wine, pulling out his phone to check his texts from Catarina.  Who would have thought that the son of Maryse and Robert Lightwood could be such a delight?  

 

~!~

 

When Magnus woke the next morning, it was to the smell of breakfast and he blinked in confusion, because there was no one… 

 

His eyes flew wide as he remembered Alec, and he was out of his bed, snapping himself into lounge wear in a second, only to hurry into the kitchen to find a large plate of pancakes, two glasses of orange juice, and fresh syrup waiting for him.  He blinked.  

 

Magnus blinked again, but the image didn’t waver, and neither did Alec using the stove from a goddamn footstool.  “Alec? Did you make all this?”  

 

“No, the ghost in your apartment did,” Alec said, looking over his shoulder to scowl at him.  “You didn’t have much food. I got pancake mix, syrup and orange juice from the grocery store across the street with the money I had left over from yesterday.”  

 

“You…” Magnus stared and couldn’t help smiling helplessly.  “You made me breakfast?”  

 

Alec gave a determined nod.  “I can’t do eggs, but Izzy likes pancakes, so I thought those would be okay?”  

 

“This is great, Alec, thank you.  You didn’t have to-” 

 

“Yes I did,” Alec said, stubbornly as he lifted the last pancake onto the plate and turned off the stove.  “You were so nice last night, it was the least I could do.”  

 

Magnus wanted to laugh at this stubborn nephilim child, but he couldn’t find himself anything other than charmed.  “It looks delicious,” he said, sliding into one of the seats at the counter.  

 

“There’s coffee in the machine,” Alec said, pointing with the spatula as he brought the mixing bowl and the frying pan over to the sink.  He frowned. “I think. Your machine is more complicated than the one at the Institute.”  

 

Magnus snapped himself a cup of the coffee Alec had made and added some cream with another snap of his fingers.  He watched Alec’s eyes dart to the coffee machine, and caught the kid smiling when he saw that there was definitely some missing from the pot.  He took a sip and hummed. “Definitely coffee, thank you.” A thought occurred. “How’d you know I like coffee?”  

 

Alec slid into a seat and paused before pouring syrup over his pancakes.  “Magnus, you have a coffee machine.”  

 

Magnus opened his mouth and shut it, sighing.  It was worth the laugh it got out of Alec and he smiled.  “In my defense, I’m not entirely awake yet,” he said, pouring syrup over his own pancakes.  A quick glance at his phone and the text from Catarina had him smiling.  

 

“Cat says your parents and sister are feeling much better.  She’ll be by to pick you up in an hour or so,” Magnus said, smiling at Alec.  He picked up his glass of orange juice and saluted Alec, before tucking into the pancakes that were far better than he would have expected possible for a seven year old to make.  

 

“That’s great,” Alec said.  He looked over at Magnus as he ate through his pancakes.  “They’re good?”  

 

Magnus nodded and took another bite.  “Very,” he managed, sipping more of his coffee.  He watched Alec nod, going back to his own stack.  

 

“Good,” Alec said.  “When we’re married, I’ll make you breakfast all of the time.”  

 

Magnus paused with his next mouthful of pancakes balanced on his fork.  He blinked. “Excuse me?”  

 

“Yeah,” Alec said, reaching out for his orange juice.  “I can learn to make waffles and eggs.” he looked up and squinted at Magnus.  “Do you like eggs?”  

 

“I, yes,” Magnus blinked again.  He was doing too much of that this morning.  “With lots of cheese, usually.”  

 

“Lots of cheese,” Alec repeated with a nod.  “Got it. I’ll make sure I remember.”  

 

Magnus swallowed.  “Alec?”  

 

Alec looked up at him.  “Hm?”  

 

“What was that about us getting married?” he asked.  

 

“Oh, right,” Alec said, taking another sip of orange juice.  “I decided I’m going to marry you when I get older.”  

 

“Marry...me?” Magnus asked, unable to keep the shock out of his voice.  “Why?”  

 

“Because you’re perfect,” Alec said, matter of fact, chewing through another mouthful of pancake.  “You’re pretty, and nice, and kind, and you make bad jokes, but your laugh is good.” 

 

Magnus was more than four hundred years old.  He was not blushing at the matter of fact statements being listed off.  “Alec-” 

 

“You knew I was worried and helped distract me, and you didn’t baby me,” Alec continued, meeting Magnus’ eyes.  “You even helped me win the prize for Izzy.” He shrugged. “So of course I’m going to marry you, you’re perfect, Magnus.”  

 

Magnus let out a hoarse laugh and took a sip of his orange juice, desperately wishing it had vodka in it to help him relax.  “Alec, we can’t get married.”  

 

Alec’s face fell.  “Oh. You don’t want to marry another boy?  Or, is it because I’m a shadowhunter?” He frowned.  “Couldn’t we figure that part out?”  

 

“No, I mean, I like both boys and girls,” Magnus corrected, watching Alec light up with another grin.  “But the Clave doesn’t allow marriage between shadowhunters and downworlders.”  

 

Alec waved that away and speared more pancakes onto his fork.  “I’ll make them. They’re not gonna stop me.” He shrugged. “I promise I’ll be a good husband.”  

 

Magnus couldn’t help smiling, meeting Alec’s serious eyes.  “Yeah? What kind of husband would you be?”  

 

“I’d be the kind who always comes home from work on time,” Alec said with a nod.  “And if I was gonna be late, I’d fire message you to let you know.” He paused, thinking hard.  “I’d bring you presents sometimes, because husbands deserve presents, not just wives.” He looked back up at Magnus.  “Do you like flowers?”  

 

“I do,” Magnus admitted, his voice soft.  He couldn’t help the small part of him that wanted the picture that Alec was painting, even though it was impossible and would never happen.  

 

“Then flowers too,” Alec said, eating the last of his pancakes with a hum.  “And I’d cook you breakfast, and bring you breakfast in bed. Take good care of you.”  

 

Magnus swallowed, his mouth dry.  “I can take care of myself, Alec.”  

 

“Obviously,” Alec said with an eyeroll, sliding off his stool to bring his plate to the sink.  “Immortal warlock and all that.”  

 

Bemusedly, he watched Alec start the water in the sink and then leave the kitchen, heading into the loft again.  When he re-emerged, holding his backpack and the brightly colored crossbow, Magnus turned to look at him and waved a hand to turn the water off.  “Alec, is everything okay?”  

 

Alec sighed and put his backpack down before stepping up to the counter.  “I can’t take this back with me.”  

 

Magnus blinked at him and looked down at the crossbow when Alec gestured to it.  “Alec, it’s a toy. Why can’t you take it with you?”  

 

“Because it’s a toy,” Alec explained.  He frowned. “I’ll be asked why I’m playing with a toy instead of practicing with a real weapon.”  

 

The reminder of the world Alec lived in made his heart ache and Magnus took a deep breath.  “It’s yours though,” he said, watching Alec put it down on the table, a sad look in his eyes.  

 

“I can’t keep it, though,” Alec said, looking down at it with a frown.  “It’s not like I could hide it.”  

 

Magnus grinned, an idea striking him.  “What if I made it so you could hide it?”  

 

Alec’s head shot up, his eyes wide.  “You can do that?”  

 

“I,” Magnus said with a flourish of his magic, winking at Alec.  “Can do almost anything.” He twisted his fingers and in a heartbeat, the crossbow was a fraction of the size, more than able to fit in Alec’s palm and into a pocket.  “There, how about that?” With two additional quick flourishes, he added small spells to it.  

 

“Now,” Magnus said, meeting Alec’s eyes when the boy looked back up at him.  “Not only will that stay hidden perfectly well in your backpack or pocket, I’ve made it pretty impervious to damage, and, if it falls out of your pocket, it’ll reappear the next morning in the pocket it fell out of.”  

 

“You, you did all that?” Alec asked, his voice soft. “Because I want to keep it?”  

 

Magnus smiled sadly, but nodded.  “I did. It’ll even grow to the bigger size again if you wrap your hand around it and think at it hard enough.”  

 

Alec nodded and stuffed the crossbow into his pocket.  “Magnus?” 

 

“Yeah, Alec?” Magnus asked, raising his eyebrows.  

 

“Thank you,” Alec whispered, taking a deep breath.  He squared his shoulders and met Magnus’ eyes, his voice growing stronger.  “I promise I’m going to work hard to be the husband you deserve someday, okay?”  

 

Magnus opened his mouth to respond, but the sound of a portal and Catarina calling out for Alec had him snapping his mouth shut before he cleared his throat.  “In here Cat,” he called. 

 

Alec picked up his backpack and met Magnus’ eyes again, straightening his shoulders.  “Thank you, Magnus.”  

 

Ignoring the questioning look from Catarina, Magnus met Alec’s eyes and offered him a quick wink.  “You’re welcome Alec. I’ll see you in, about fifteen years?” he teased.  

 

Alec’s eyes widened and he nodded.  “Y, yeah.”  

 

“Ready to go?” Catarina asked, holding out her hand, frowning at Magnus.  “Your parents and sister want to see you.”  

 

“Yes, Ms. Loss,” Alec said, his face growing solemn.  He took her hand and followed her through the portal, but cast one quick look back at Magnus, still sitting at the counter.  Fifteen years. He stuffed his hand into his pocket and squeezed the tiny crossbow. 

 

Magnus stood up and waved some music on, summoning a glass of wine into his hands as he made his way into his apothecary.  He smiled faintly at the memory of Alec’s serious eyes on him and shook his head. Such a silly thing. He’d have to tell Catarina about it when she finished taking care of the Lightwoods.  













~!~ Sixteen Years Later ~!~ 



Magnus was not in the habit of inviting nephilim into his lair.  He’d learned his lesson, more than once. Every warlock had.  

 

But when his wards pinged a pleasant “Welcome back!” around a nephilim when he was face to face with a Circle member trying to kill him?  Well, it was certainly a point of concern. But he had to deal with what was in front of him, first. When an arrow flew past him and into the Circle member for the second time in less than twenty-four hours, Magnus wanted to huff.  At least he’d been rescued by the hot archer again.  

 

“Well done!”  

 

And damn if that deep voice didn’t make him want to do indecent things to said archer.  “More like medium rare!” he quipped and turned around. His breath caught as he got a better look at the man standing in the doorway to his loft.  Magnus strode closer and gave him a bright grin. “I’m, Magnus, I don’t think we’ve been…” then knowing hazel eyes met his and Magnus froze. He knew those hazel eyes, knew them far better than he perhaps should considering how long it had been. 

 

“Alec,” the Shadowhunter managed to introduce himself, swallowing. “I, we, should, uh…” 

 

Magnus refocused and nodded.  “Yeah, we should rejoin the party.”  He met Alec’s eyes again and couldn’t help smiling.  “It’s good to see you again, Alec.”  

 

Alec flushed and nodded, gesturing behind him before turning to hurry into the next room.  

 

Magnus let out a low whistle, shaking his head as he followed.  But that at least explained his wards responding to Alec, and why he’d been welcomed back into them so easily.  He wrinkled his nose, wondering exactly how long it had been since he’d last seen Alec. More than a decade, surely?  

 

But for now, they both had more pressing concerns, and it would be best if he focused on those before he let his mind wander elsewhere.  Magnus disposed of the body and followed after the shadowhunter.  

 

~!~

 

Agreeing to summon the memory demon for Clary wasn’t one of his smartest ideas, but he had promised her, and while she was right about the war they were all going to be in very soon, that didn’t mean that he wanted to put himself on the front lines just yet. But if getting her memories back meant that he could keep the Mortal Cup out of Valentine’s hands, it was worth it. 

 

“All right, Shadowhunters, last but not least - the memory demon will demand payment, but no matter what the demand is, we cannot break the bond,” Magnus warned, briefly tightening his hand around Alec’s before he looked at the others.  Once he had nods from all of them, he rolled his shoulders and began to chant.  

 

The demon descended on them with the ferocity of a storm and Magnus was glad when none of the shadowhunters flinched, holding firm under the weight of the demon in their midst.  Magnus met the red and gold tinged eyes of Valak and smirked at him, lowering his chin as the demon's voice hissed into his mind, demanding the price of a treasured memory.  

 

"The demon's price is a treasured memory," Magnus shouted to the others over the maelstrom taking place in his spare room.  "Of who we love most."  

 

He closed his eyes and watched a memory of Catarina and Ragnor fade, smiling faintly at it.  Next came Isabelle Lightwood, and when her brother smiled in the memory, Magnus couldn't help grinning.  Next came Clary, and obviously with her mother. Jace followed, and Magnus didn't recognize the face shown, but then Alec's eyes were widening and he took a step back.  

 

"Alec-" Magnus warned, but then his eyes caught on the image of his own face flashing in the clouds of the demon.  

 

"No!" Alec shouted, throwing his hands back.  "You can't have it, not that one!"  

 

"Fuck!" Magnus swore, the full weight of the demon's power falling on him as he grunted, the demon's power beginning to grow and swirl in the room.  He cursed again and turned the full weight of his magic at the demon, struggling to force Valak back into the circle, even with it broken.  

 

"I can't hold it!" he shouted.  Magnus watched Valak lash out at Jace, throwing him into a wall, and then Clary was standing between the demon and Jace, holding a seraph blade in her hands.  

 

"Banish it!" Isabelle shouted.  "Banish it back, Magnus!"  

 

"If I do, her memories are lost forever!" Magnus snapped back, sweat breaking out on his brow as he threw more power at the demon, ducking under a swipe of his arm.  

 

Clary swallowed, but then the demon's eyes were turning to her and she tried to steady her hands.  "Do it!"  

 

Magnus grunted and dropped to his knees, slamming his hands to two of the chalk circles, flooding it with power.  With a scream that shook the building, Valak was banished and Magnus coughed hard, struggling to draw air into his lungs as his body stung with the excess use of magic.  

 

"Well that," Jace muttered, pushing himself upright.  "Didn't go well."  

 

Isabelle looked around with a frown.  "Where's Alec? Why did he break the chain?"  

 

Magnus closed his eyes and took a deep breath, remembering the fear that had twisted Alec's face at the sight of the memory being taken before he had turned and bolted.  "The reason doesn't matter any longer." He turned apologetic eyes to Clary and gave her a small smile. "I'm sorry we weren't able to get your memories back."  

 

Clary sighed and helped Jace to his feet.  

 

"Dammit," Jace cursed, pushing his fingers through his hair.  He looked to the warlock. "Can you feel if Alec is still here?"  

 

Magnus shook his head.  "He left, in a hurry." He looked to the group of them and shook his head.  "There's nothing more I can do for you tonight, shadowhunters. Now, if you'll excuse me, I desperately need a glass of wine, or seven."  

 

He strode past all of them and back towards his drink cart, his eyes watching them as they slowly left.  He turned away from the inquisitive stare from Clary and once they were gone and quiet settled around his home again, Magnus sank down into one of his chairs, hanging his head. 

 

What the hell was he doing as the memory that Alec had to give up?  Surely there were dozens, hundreds of other memories of his siblings, his family, other lovers, that could have taken his place.  A random outing fifteen years ago didn't mean anything in the grand scheme of that much time.  

 

Or did it...?  

 

Magnus looked at the door and blew out a hard breath.  Maybe one day he'd be able to ask Alec.  

 

~!~ 

 

One day, of course, turned out to be the following day, under the worst circumstances that he could imagine.  Magnus grunted under the sheer force of pushing the alpha venom back from Luke's heart, but he was rapidly weakening and he couldn't keep this up for much longer.  

 

He started to sway, glancing towards the cauldron where Clary was eyeing the door fearfully when it banged open.  Then someone was behind him, carefully supporting him and holding him upright. Magnus blinked up at the sight of Alec and swallowed hard, holding out his hand.  "Help," he managed. "I need your help."  

 

Alec's hand clasped his.  “Take what you need.” Magnus closed his eyes, allowing himself to reach for the energy practically bleeding off the nephilim next to him.  He expected Alec to resist, or to pull back from the power transfer, but Alec only pressed in closer, almost pushing power at him. Magnus redoubled his focus on Luke, pressing the venom back from his heart, movement behind him alerting him that the end might be in sight.  

 

Moments later, Clary was kneeling next to Luke, pouring the potion down his throat and Magnus felt it take effect, letting his magic fade as he sagged back against Alec.  His whole being felt scraped raw, but he could still feel the weight and power of the nephilim strength he had pulled from Alec.  

 

“You okay?” Alec whispered, panting a bit.  

 

Magnus wanted to laugh and make a joke about how he was always okay when he was being tenderly cradled by tall, dark, and handsome, but he was a bit too tired for it.  "Yeah," he managed to get out, after a moment, closing his eyes to relax for another second before he forced himself upright with a grunt. He looked to Luke and raised his eyebrows.  

 

Luke smiled faintly.  "Thanks, Magnus."  

 

Magnus stood up with a grunt, already missing the comforting circle of Alec's arms around him.  "You are welcome, as always, Lucian. Now, let's get you to bed so you can recover and contact your pack."  

 

Luke nodded and let Magnus help him upright, walking towards the guest room.  

 

~!~ 

 

Alec watched the two of them head into the loft and turned back to Clary, Jace and Simon with a sigh.  "All of you head back to the Institute. I'm going to stay to help clean things up."  

 

Jace frowned.  "Alec-" 

 

Alec held up a hand and shook his head.  "Not tonight, Jace. I'm going to help clean the blood off his couch and I'll be back tomorrow.  Get going and get your report started."  

 

"Fine," Jace grumbled, ushering Clary and the mundane out of the warlock's lair, casting one more glance back at Alec before he shut the door behind himself.  

 

Alec took a deep breath and pressed a hand absently to his pocket before heading to the kitchen, locating a towel he could use as a rag and a few basic cleaning supplies.  He brought them back to the couch and cleaned up the potion, bottling what was left, putting away the ingredients that he could see were lying around and got them all sorted before he turned his focus on the couch.  

 

He was so focused on his task, he didn't realize that Magnus had joined him again and was mixing himself a drink.  He stayed focused on the couch, but his heart was pounding, even as he felt Magnus looking at him. 

 

"You know I have magic for that, right?" Magnus teased, walking closer to Alec, watching him scrub at the couch with a determination that should have been reserved for killing demons.  

 

"I got it," Alec muttered with a huff.  "You've expended yourself enough for one night."  He looked up at Magnus and the drink in his hand, raising an eyebrow.  "Speaking of which, shouldn't you be sitting down?" 

 

Magnus hummed and leaned against the couch.  "You know, most nephilim wouldn't do that."  

 

Alec paused in his scrubbing and looked back up at Magnus, curious.  "Wouldn't, what?"  

 

"Offer up their precious Raziel-granted strength to save a downworlder," Magnus said with another sip of his martini.  "Normally the experience is a borderline unpleasant one, but you seem fine. Are you?"  

 

Alec shrugged.  "Little tired. Nothing new, after getting here as quickly as I could." 

 

Magnus snorted, considering that as he leaned against the couch, watching Alec.  "Would you like to make more awkward small talk before I ask you about the memory demon?"  

 

Alec sighed and closed his eyes before dropping the rag on the couch.  "I'd prefer not to talk about it at all, actually," he said, putting the cleaning supplies back into the kitchen before returning, surprised to find Magnus holding a second glass.  

 

"Here, this might help," Magnus said with a grin.  "I'm assuming you're old enough to take that now."  

 

"I'm twenty-three," Alec said with a brief glare, taking the glass and sipping the drink.  His nose wrinkled with a frown and he took another sip.  

 

Well that answered one question he'd had at least.  Sixteen years since he had last seen little Alec Lightwood in person. "Well, I am relieved to hear that, I wouldn't want to give alcohol to a minor."  

 

Alec snorted and took another sip of the alcohol.  "You want to know why that was my memory, don't you?"  

 

Magnus hummed and tapped his fingers against the glass.  "Yes... and no?" When Alec raised his eyebrows he cleared his throat and continued.  "I, obviously, know it means that that was the person you love the most and your happiest memory of them."  

 

Alec swallowed and dropped his eyes to the floor.  

 

"But what I don't understand," Magnus continued, his voice softening.  "Is why that memory is still it? Have you..." he trailed off and frowned.  "Have you experienced so little love and kindness in your life, Alexander?" 

 

Alec's lips twitched.  "Alexander?"  

 

Magnus shrugged.  "Fits you better as an adult."  

 

Alec nodded and tapped the side of his glass before looking back up at Magnus again.  "It's less that I... haven't experienced happiness. Framing it that way makes my existence sound bleak, even for a nephilim."  

 

Magnus couldn't help the small snort of laughter that escaped and dammit, he wasn't captivated by the way Alec lit up at the sound.  He was not. "But...?"  

 

"But..." Alec sighed and took a deep breath.  "I didn't have to care about anything that night.  I could, you let me do whatever I wanted. I got to be a kid, Magnus.  I didn't have to be a Lightwood, I didn't have to be a nephilim, or a shadowhunter."  

 

Magnus' breath caught.  

 

"That chance, that gift..." Alec swallowed and carefully reached into his pocket, pulling out a small orange, blue and green crossbow that sat in the palm of his hand.  "This constant reminder of your kindness?"  

 

Magnus stared at the crossbow in Alec's hand, his eyes wide with shock.  It was the exact same one that he had spelled more than fifteen years ago.  He could still feel the faint traces of his magic on it, even now. "You kept it?"  

 

"It's come with me on every mission I have ever been on," Alec admitted, looking down at it.  "A good luck charm, if I were to have one, I guess."  

 

Lifting his eyes to Alec, Magnus opened his mouth to respond and shook his head, fighting down a laugh.  "I can't believe you kept it," he whispered.  

 

Alec shrugged a little helplessly and smiled at Magnus.  "I needed the reminder, sometimes. That there was a life outside the Institute, and, even if only for a night, I got the chance to experience that."  He flashed a quick grin. "With a very pretty warlock, as memory served."  

 

Magnus choked on the next sip of his drink, which sent Alec into peels of laughter, even as he glared at the nephilim who was grinning at him, all crinkled eyes and bright teeth.  "That was unfair."  

 

"You telling me you always play by the rules?" Alec asked, taking a step closer to him, sipping at his martini.  

 

Magnus narrowed his eyes and tilted his head, watching Alec approach, slow and steady, that grin still on his face.  "Oh very rarely, but normally I know the rules before I bend and break them, Alexander."  

 

Alec snorted and carefully put the crossbow back into his pocket.  "Well, how about this?"  

 

Magnus raised both of his eyebrows and finished off his drink.  "Hmm?"  

 

"I'm not going to propose again," Alec said, his lips twitching up into a smile.  "Not yet, anyways." When Magnus narrowed his eyes at him, Alec couldn't help winking.  "However, I thought that maybe I could take you on a date?"  

 

Magnus blinked in surprise, his mouth dropping open.  "You...want to take me on a date?"  

 

Alec nodded, rocking back on his heels for a second.  "Yeah. Back to the pier, actually."  

 

Magnus laughed, the idea of a first date being a repeat of one that had already had both charming and ridiculous.  "Any reason in particular you want to do that?"  

 

"Well, I was thinking that I could win you a prize and you wouldn't have to help me cheat to win it this time?" Alec said, his eyes glinting.  

 

"Excuse you," Magnus said, lifting his nose into the air.  I did not help you cheat when you won your crossbow. I simply gave you the advice you needed!" he informed Alec with a huff.  

 

Alec blinked, his posture going loose and soft, his eyes wide.  "You didn't?" 

 

"Of course not," Magnus said, looking at Alec, at the way the rest of the tension seemed to bleed out of him and his eyes got big and soft, a shy grin starting on his face.  "You won that all on your own."  

 

"Oh," Alec whispered.  

 

Magnus watched Alec put down his glass and stride towards him with intent, those hazel eyes that were just as determined as they had been more than a decade ago.  When Alec kissed him, Magnus laughed into it and wrapped his arms around Alec's shoulders, pulling him in close.  

 

By the time they broke apart, the both of them panting quietly in the silence of his loft, Magnus had his hands tangled in Alec's hair at his neck.  He grinned and appreciated just how pink his lips looked now, all freshly kiss-swollen.  

 

"You'll go on a date with me, right?" Alec whispered, his eyes tracing all over Magnus' face.  "Please?"  

 

"On one condition," Magnus breathed, tugging him in for another quick kiss.  "You win me the biggest prize they've got." Alec's surprised and delighted laughter was easy enough to silence with another kiss and Magnus let himself melt against the shadowhunter with a content hum.  

 

~!~ 

 

"Listen, I'm telling you, Gregory is a perfectly acceptable name-" 

 

"Absolutely not," Alec said with a shake of his head.  "If I didn't think you would end up calling him something like Quad G-" 

 

Magnus looked down at the giant green gorilla overflowing out of his arms and huffed.  "Did you hear that, George? As though I would call you anything so blasé!"  

 

Alec laughed, even as he kept his arm around Magnus' waist, looking down at the gorilla.  "You're going to call him that, aren't you?"  

 

"Now knowing that you hate it?" Magnus asked with a grin up at Alec.  "I am absolutely going to call him that."  

 

Alec huffed and pressed a kiss to Magnus' temple, letting him lead the way to an alley not far away before he paused.  "Hm? Magnus?"  

 

With a wave of his hand, Magnus banished George back to the loft and changed the location of the portal with another twist of his fingers before turning to Alec.  "I have an idea!"  

 

Alec raised both of his eyebrows before he held out his hand to Magnus.  "All right, well, lead the way. Let's see what this idea of yours is."  

 

Magnus tugged Alec through the portal and behind a large building.  "We're glamoured, so no one can see us, but careful, it's crowded," he cautioned, stepping out behind the large pavilion.  

 

Alec's eyes widened at the sudden change in scenery and temperature, immediately taking off his leather jacket.  

 

"Stripping for me already, Alexander?" Magnus teased, glancing at him.  

 

Alec snorted.  "Those of us humans are a little warm when it's suddenly forty degrees warmer."  

 

Magnus reached out and took Alec's hand.  "Hopefully not too warm to hold hands with me?"  

 

Alec's smile softened.  "There's no such thing as too warm to hold your hand," he said with a gentle squeeze.  

 

Magnus cleared his throat before his heart did something ridiculous and tripped right into Alexander Lightwood's hands at those simple words.  "Well, I am relieved to hear that. Now, we have to hurry, it's almost time for the show!"  

 

"What show are we seeing, hm?" Alec asked, shifting so he could step around a mundane easily.  The scent of food and drink was thick in the air, and the amount of people laughing and grinning was far more prevalent than in New York.  "Where are we?"  

 

Magnus tugged them to a spot on the shoreline and turned his eyes up to the sky, knowing precisely where the show was going to start.  "The most magical place on earth!"  

 

Alec blinked and moved up behind Magnus, wrapping his arms comfortably around his waist, giving a slow squeeze.  "Oh? And where is that?"  

 

"Shhh, it's about to start," Magnus said with a wave of his hand.  

 

When the first shot of a canon went off, Alec tensed, until the firework exploded across the sky.  His breath caught and he felt Magnus' delighted laughter, even as he watched firework after firework go off.  The only thing more beautiful than the fireworks themselves was the way the lights played off of Magnus' skin and Alec tightened his arms around Magnus, just a little, grateful for the hundredth, thousandth time, that he was standing right here.  

 

"Beautiful, isn't it?" Magnus whispered, his head tilted back.  

 

Alec's eyes darted to Magnus again and he leaned in, pressing his lips to Magnus' cheek.  "Yeah. Beautiful," he agreed. Another boom drew his attention skyward.  

 

Maybe someday he would propose to Magnus on a night like this.  Alec couldn't help grinning at the thought.  

 

~!~ 

 

"Before we commence the ceremony, Alec has vows he would like to give."  

 

Alec took a deep breath when Brother Zachariah's words echoed in his mind and looked up to meet Magnus' curious eyes.  He smiled faintly.  

 

"I thought it was time to come clean," he admitted.  "You see, Magnus. I knew I was going to marry you a long, long time ago."  Alec watched Magnus start to flush and grinned. He glanced at Catarina and saw her smile deepen, knowing what he was about to say.  

 

"The first time I ever proposed to Magnus was when I was seven years old," Alec continued, listening to the crowd start to laugh.  "Poor Magnus was stuck babysitting the most stick in the mud seven year old you had ever met in your life."  

 

Magnus started to laugh, blinking hard through the tears gathering in his eyes.  

 

Alec smiled and then grew serious, his voice softening.  "You see, even then, even as a kid, I knew how kind, and special you were, Magnus," he whispered.  "I knew that despite having no idea to do with a kid, and believe me, he had no idea," he teased, their guests laughing again.  "He even made me sit on the floor."  

 

"I did not!" Magnus protested, quickly wiping away a tear, even as he laughed.  "You did that yourself!"  

 

Alec winked at him.  "You were kind, generous, and sweet.  You told jokes that, frankly, are still horrible, but you were everything I could have ever dreamed of wanting.  I uh," he flushed and cleared his throat. "I used to think if fairy tale princes existed, you were one of them."  

 

Magnus' eyes widened and flickered briefly to gold as he stared at Alec.  

 

"I just want you to know," Alec continued, meeting Magnus' eyes with a smile.  "I know that that's the truth, now. You are my fairytale prince, and your kindness, generosity, and love for your family, friends, and people, has only proven that to me again and again."  

 

Magnus huffed and smoothed away another tear.  "You are going to ruin my makeup," he grumbled, listening to their guests chuckle.  

 

"I will, forever, be grateful at seven year old me knowing exactly what he wanted then, and for you giving me a chance when we met again sixteen years later," Alec continued, leaning in to press his forehead against Magnus'.  "Loving you will always be an adventure, Magnus, and I can't wait to see where we go next."  

 

Despite knowing that he was supposed to wait until after their formal vows, Magnus couldn't help pulling Alec into a kiss, listening to the crowd cheer.  "I love you too, Alexander."  

 

“Thank you, Alec Lightwood.  Now, gentlemen, proceed with your vows to each other.”