Magnus Bane is a man of many talents.
He could create wonders of magic with barely a flex of his fingers that would make you wonder what was real and what was fantasy. He could put together a dashing outfit that would look like it had just appeared on a catwalk in Milan (not to mention that he may or may not have inspired the Mad Hatter’s look when he was in Oxford during the 1800s on an errand for his friend Ragnor Fell). He could mix a delicious cocktail or two that could make you drunker than a sailor after just one glass all whilst serving as host at one of his unforgettable Downworld parties. And let’s just say he wasn’t too shabby when it comes to taking someone out on a date.
But dealing with a screeching baby having a tantrum? Well, he was still working on that. Whichever idiot who claimed parenting was a breeze deserved to go to Edom in a matchbox.
“Alexander, Max is still crying. I’ve changed him, fed him, burped him, played with him and he still won’t stop crying!” Magnus whined, trying to balance his mobile against his ear whilst bouncing a wailing Max in his arms. “I’ve tried everything. Please come back. He never cries when you’re around.”
“Magnus, I’ve already postponed this meeting three times now. I can’t postpone it any longer. He’s probably just tired. Or maybe he’s teething. Try warming some milk. It might help soothe his gums.” Alec sighed on the other end of the line.
“I’ve tried that. I’ve tried everything short of putting rum in his bottle, which at the moment is looking very tempting,” Magnus replied, eyeing up an open bottle of Captain Morgan’s on his kitchen table.
“Don’t you dare, Magnus! You can’t give a one-year-old alcohol. It will make him sick.”
“I was only going to put a capful in his bottle.” Magnus rolled his eyes.
“Alright, alright! No rum for the baby, okay?” At this point, Max let out a wail that was quickly cut short by an eruption of pale grey vomit that ended up down Magnus’s silk shirt. “What the- Oh, Blueberry! Why? Why must you vomit on all of my clothes? This is the fourth shirt I’ve had to throw out this week!”
Max looked tearfully up at Magnus, his little bottom lip pushed out in a trembling pout before he sniffled unhappily and cried some more, turning his round chubby face a dark shade of violet. Magnus felt his face drain of blood as he held up Max and put on a smile. “Oh no, Max, I’m sorry. Really, I’m very sorry! Please stop crying.”
“Magnus, are you still there? Look I have to go. I’ll be home as soon as I can later. I love you.”
“No wait, Alec!”
Alec’s voice was replaced by a dull pitched dial tone as he ended the call, leaving Magnus to fend for himself. Magnus huffed and let his phone fall to the floor. “You hear that, Blueberry? He’ll be home as soon as he can, all the while leaving poor old me to look after you on my own. What a cruel race these Shadowhunters are, eh? Utterly terrible creatures.”
Magnus wasn’t sure, but he could’ve have sworn Max’s crying got louder. Magnus held Max against his chest, his nose scrunching up in disgust from the smell of sour throw-up on his shirt as he headed over to the couch and picked up one of Max’s rattles. “Come on, Max, help me out. I’ll buy you a new toy if you stop crying. How about a giraffe? Or maybe a tambourine..?”
Magnus looked around his apartment for something to distract Max until he suddenly had a crazy idea. Maybe it was the constant screaming turning his brain to mush or maybe because he didn’t get to have breakfast before Max started up his tantrum, but he headed into the kitchen and opened the fridge. “Hey, Blueberry, look! Look! What’s this?” He shifted Max against his hip and closed the fridge door before opening it up. The fridge light flicked on and Magnus gasped. “Look! Light on, light off!”
Max fell quiet suddenly as he watched with a pout as Magnus opened and closed the fridge door. He was still crying and snot ran down from his nose and onto his chin. “No?” Magnus looked around frantically for a better distraction. His eyes fell on the toaster. “Ah, what about this,” He hastily put two slices of bread in the toaster and put it on its lowest setting. “You’ll like this, Max. Trust me, the first time I saw this back in the 1920s, it honestly made me jump.” Suddenly, the toast popped up with a ping, and Magnus watched as Max blinked in surprise. Magnus switched on the toaster again and minutes later the toast jumped up with another ping. Max stared in awe at the toaster as Magnus switched on the toaster again and again.
By the time Alec got home that evening, two whole loaves of bread had been burnt into blackened pieces of toast and Magnus was standing half asleep with a giggling Max on his hip as the toaster pinged.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only time Alec and Magnus have had to deal with one of Max’s tantrums, which became more frequent as he grew older. And it wasn’t just the tantrums they had to deal with either. Max was a Warlock after all. And Magnus knew that Max’s magic would start to manifest as he grew older.
He just didn’t expect it so soon.
Magnus was disappointed when his lovely dream was sadly interrupted by Chairman Meow yowling in his ear. Magnus tried to bat the pesky little cat away, but as he lifted his hand he heard the sound of Max’s wailing coming from the other room.
“Alec my love, it’s your turn,” Magnus grumbled as he rolled over and folded his pillow around his head in a bid to stifle the sound of Chairman Meow’s yowling.
“Magnus, I only got back from patrol an hour ago.” Alec grumbled, his body tired and unmoving from where he had flopped on top of the covers when he arrived home earlier. He had only just stripped out of his blood covered clothes before he collapsed.
“It’s still your turn, Alexander.” Magnus sighed, blearily peeking through his eyelashes at Alec’s silhouette. “Besides, I had to get him to bed and trust me you’ve got the easier job. That kid just doesn’t like routine.”
Alec groaned and slowly rolled out of bed. “Fine.” Alec rubbed his eyes tiredly as he quietly padded out of the room. Magnus closed his eyes again and listened as Alec called out to Max. “Max, it’s okay. Daddy’s coming.”
Magnus stretched out and yawned before falling back to sleep, wondering whether his dream would visit him again. He tried to remember what it was about. Something about Mojitos and Alec wearing just an apron he thought, when suddenly he was jolted awake at the sound of Alec yelling, “Magnus! Come quick!”
Magnus scrambled out of bed and ran after Alec in a panic, switching on Max’s bedroom light as he entered. Magnus balked at the sight before him. Alec was stood on Max’s toddler bed, trying to reach up to the ceiling where Max was floating in his favourite comfort blanket and crying in confusion. Alec glanced over his shoulder at Magnus with wide fearful eyes. “Magnus, help me! We have to get him down before he hurts himself.”
Magnus snapped his fingers and sent gentle blue flames upwards towards Max and slowly brought him down into Alec’s outstretched arms. Alec tried to calm Max down but the little warlock kept crying. Alec looked over at Magnus. “Magnus, how did Max end up on the ceiling? Is that normal for warlock babies?”
“How should I know?” Magnus replied exasperatedly as he joined Alec and Max on the bed. “It’s been centuries since I was his age. His magic must be manifesting sooner than I thought.”
“What do you mean ‘sooner than you thought’?”
“Well, my magic started manifesting when I was a small child but it was never this young. I just assumed it was like that for all warlocks but obviously it must be different for everyone,” Magnus said, reaching out and stroking Max’s head soothingly. Max stretched out his little chubby arms towards Magnus, so Alec passed him over. With Max lying against Magnus’s chest, he slowly started to calm down. Magnus looked over at Alec with a sigh. “Perhaps we should have him in with us tonight, just in case he ends up on the ceiling again.”
“Good idea.” Alec nodded, standing up and running a hand through his already messy hair, his fingers getting caught on the matted blood. He grimaced. “I’ll just go get cleaned up. I’ll meet you in there.”
“Okay, darling.” Magnus stood and pressed a small kiss to Alec’s lips as they exited Max’s bedroom and closed the door behind them. Magnus walked into his bedroom that he now shared with Alec, softly cooing at Max as he went. “Okay Blueberry, you’re going to sleep in Daddy and Papa’s room tonight. If the Chairman tries sleeping on your head just nudge him away, okay? He has a cushion to sleep on anyway but that doesn’t usually stop him from trying.”
Max burbled quietly as he wriggled in Magnus’s arms whilst Magnus got back into bed, gently nudging Chairman Meow along to make room for Max to sleep next to him in the centre of the bed. Alec joined them shortly after, placing a kiss to Max’s forehead as he quietly slept curled into Magnus’s side. Magnus looked over at him and gave him a smile, tightening his hold on Max before they all went back to sleep.
This became the norm for several nights as Magnus and Alec woke groggily to find Max on the ceiling once again during the night despite trying all sorts of things to keep him on the ground. They tried tightening his blankets, dressing him in heavy pyjamas, everything short of chaining him to the bed, but still he somehow managed to be floating above his bed in the early hours of the morning. Alec and Magnus even took turns staying in Max’s room to watch over him as he slept.
But the sleepless nights began to take its toll on them both as days changed into weeks and then changed into months. Magnus became so sleep deprived that he almost ended up giving a client a potion for removing warts when they had asked for an elixir to give them ethereal beauty (although Magnus thought he wasn’t far off the correct potion). Alec had fallen asleep many times at the Institute, quite often during meetings and even once whilst he was training with Isabelle and Jace.
“This can’t go on brother,” Jace huffed as he and Isabelle hefted a tired Alec up the stairs to Magnus’s apartment. “You need to sleep, Alec. You can’t keep loading yourself up on caffeine and alertness runes all the time.”
“Well if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.” Alec replied dryly with eyes barely open as he fumbled with his keys, to which Isabelle took them from him and opened the door with her stele. They entered the apartment to find Magnus lying on the sofa, his clothes crumpled and Chairman Meow nestled happily in his hair as the warlock dozed. Max was on the floor in front of him looking at a picture book, completely at ease.
Isabelle and Jace looked at each other with a sigh and nodded before Isabelle kicked the door behind them shut with a bang. Max looked up in surprise as Magnus jolted awake. “WHO DARES TO CALL ON THE HIGH – Oh, Alexander, it’s you. When did you get back?”
Jace rolled his eyes as he guided Alec around the sofa. Isabelle marched over to Magnus and helped him up. “Right, come on. You and Alec are going to get some rest whilst Jace and I watch Max for a little while.”
Alec straightened up in protest. “What? Izzy, we’re fine, we don’t need any help.”
Magnus scoffed. “Speak for yourself, darling.” He let out a yawn as he rounded the sofa and took hold of Alec who swayed and leaned into Magnus instead. “Come on, sleep deprivation can kill Nephilim as well as demons you know.”
“Okay, maybe just ten minutes…” Alec grumbled as he and Magnus were frogmarched from the room by Isabelle and quietly tucked into their bed, falling fast asleep as soon as their heads hit the numerous pillows. Isabelle shook her head and tutted at the sight of her big brother and his boyfriend, smoothing out Alec’s hair and kissing his head before quietly leaving them alone.
Isabelle quickly found Jace sitting on the floor with Max in his lap, reading one of Max’s colourful picture books. Max pointed at a small square of colour with a frown. “That’s red, Max, like the demon towers in Alicante. We’ll take you to see them when you’re a bit older,” Jace said, smiling quietly as Max pointed at another colour. “That’s blue. Can you show me what else is blue, Max?” The young warlock looked up at Jace in thought before he pointed at himself inquisitively. Jace nodded with a smile. “Well done, Max! You’re blue too.” Max nodded with a smile before pointing at another colour.
Isabelle smiled before she sat down next to them and flipped her hair out of her face. “Alec and Magnus are completely exhausted, poor things. We’ve got to sort something out with Max’s routine. Or at least offer to look after him more.”
Jace nodded in agreement as Max began turning pages of his book. Isabelle tickled Max’s armpit, earning a squeal from her nephew. “We should come up with a rota! We can all have turns looking after him. I’m sure Simon and Clary won’t mind.”
“They’re still in the middle of training, Iz. They should focus more on that.”
Isabelle raised an eyebrow at him. “If they want to be a part of our family, then they can pitch in once in awhile. Besides, it’s not as if they’re training around the clock, is it? They’ve got to have a break sometime.”
Jace gave a half shrug. “I suppose so. I’m not changing his diaper though. Simon can do that.”
“Yeah, Simon is definitely doing that.” Isabelle laughed, tickling Max’s neck and making him giggle.
Two months later, things were finally getting back to normal. There were no more troubles of Max floating on the ceiling, and Alec and Magnus were able to get a full night’s sleep again. Things were looking up.
Alec felt good to be finally home as he pulled out his keys and unlocked the front door to the loft.
“Magnus, I’m back,” he called out with a yawn as he deposited his bow and quiver in its place beside the door. Since he had moved his things out of the Institute he had never felt more at home than when he found his things mixed in with Magnus’s. Sometimes he’d find one of his sweaters folded up on a table next to one of Magnus’s summoning books or he’d find Magnus himself fixing one of Alec’s arrows whilst Chairman Meow batted the fletches. Now with the addition of Max he’d often come across a stray stuffed cat or bottle that had been left on the side.
“In here, Sweet Pea,” Magnus called from his study area where he often kept his potion ingredients out of reach of Max. Alec smiled.
“I thought we agreed on a different name.” Alec chuckled as he plodded towards the kitchen and opened the fridge to get out some milk.
“Not whilst we have company, Alexander.” Alec felt Magnus’s arms wrap around his waist as Magnus pressed a kiss to his neck. Alec grinned as he twisted round and pressed a loving kiss on Magnus’s lips. When they broke away Alec noticed another man standing awkwardly by the couch, holding a box of various sized vials and bottles, his purple eyes looking very pointedly everywhere but at them. Magnus gestured to the man with a wave of his hand. “Alec, this is Malcolm Fade, the High Warlock of Los Angeles. Malcolm, this is Alexander Lightwood, my gorgeous boyfriend. You might have met before, I don’t care right now. Do you want a coffee, darling?”
“Oh goodness, no. Too much caffeine. Can I have a smoothie instead?” Malcolm beamed before Alec could reply and Magnus rolled his cat eyes. Alec shrugged off his jacket and went to hang it up next to Max’s coat by the door.
“Don’t mind him, Alec. He’s here on business with Catarina and he thought he’d drop by.” Magnus said over his shoulder as he switched on the coffee machine and conjured up two cups, one with the glittery words Better than Gandalf written on it and the other Better than Legolas written on it in green. Magnus had picked out his cup which is probably why Alec had no clue what a legolas was.
Malcolm nodded with an attempt at a serious frown. “Oh yes, I’m looking to make a potion for poor Julian Blackthorn’s uncle.”
“Is he alright?” Alec felt concern for the boy. He remembered Jace telling him about the young boy Clary had come across back when they were in Idris during the Dark War. He remembered when the young boy was called upon to hold the Mortal Sword after the battle was over.
Malcolm shook his head. “Not quite. His nephew said he hasn’t been himself since the war. Keeps talking about ghosts chatting to him when there’s nothing there. He’s probably just exhausted. This potion should help though.” Alec caught Magnus’s eye and they shared a look of grim uncertainty.
Chairman Meow suddenly appeared from around the couch looking frazzled, shortly followed by Max who was dragging a lead behind him. Max was dressed in a green T-shirt and a pair of worn out jeans which barely reached his dark blue ankles. When Max spotted Alec a bright grin exploded on his face as he dropped the lead and ran straight into Alec’s arms.
“Hello there, Max, have you been a good boy for Papa whilst I’ve been away with Uncle Jace?” Max nodded his head as he ran back to the lead and picked it up to show Alec. “Are you trying to take the Chairman for a walk? He won’t like that you know.”
“He’s having fun, Alec. At least he’s not playing with my glitter anymore. It took me ages to get it out of the carpet.” Magnus sighed, his fingers twitching as a blue flicker began to weave through them. “Maybe next time I’ll just redecorate. I’m thinking roaring twenties, with a spatter of Parisian monarchy tradition thrown in. What do you reckon?”
“The loft looks fine, Magnus. We’ll just get a new carpet.”
Malcolm placed the box of bottles on the couch and crouched down to Max’s height. “Your little child is growing fast, isn’t he? It’s been decades since I’ve seen a Warlock child this age.” Malcolm tipped his head to the side and beamed with fascination when Max copied him. When Malcolm clasped his hands together, he let out a playful chuckle when Max clapped his hands too. “He’s copying me. Delightful!”
“He does that from time to time.” Magnus smiled fondly as he swept up Chairman Meow and gave him a scratch behind the ears. Alec joined Magnus by the counter and poured some coffee into the mugs, stirring in the milk as he watched Max playing with Malcolm.
The older warlock was poking out his tongue at the same time as Max when suddenly Max let out a sneeze. It was so unexpected what happened next that Alec wasn’t entirely sure how it happened. He found himself suddenly on his back next to Magnus with the Chairman yowling in protest at the sound of Max crying on the other side of the counter. Alec scrambled up as quickly as he could, his coffee lying forgotten in it’s own puddle on the floor, and leapt over the counter. Max was sat on his bottom with tears spilling out of his bright blue eyes and Malcolm kneeling next to him frozen in surprise. Alec scooped up the bawling child into a hug and rubbed his back. “Ssh, ssh, it’s okay, Max. It’s okay.”
“Is everyone alright?” Magnus called as he made his way over to Malcolm and tried to get his attention. Malcolm shook his head as if coming out of a trance and scratched the side of his temple, slicking back his white blonde hair.
“Peachy. What just happened?” Malcolm chirped, looking from the floor to Max in confusion.
“Max just sneezed and we all ended up on our asses,” Magnus explained as he helped Malcolm up before turning to Max who was still crying in Alec’s arms. “I think perhaps we should take him to the park to calm down. A bit of fresh air will do him good. I’ll finish up here and meet you there.”
Alec nodded, handing Max over to Magnus so that he could glamour him to look normal. They did this every time they took Max outside just in case any mundanes spotted that Max was literally blue from head to foot. They often got enough stares as it was just being out together as a couple, some of them not too kind but New York was like that. Magnus didn’t want to have to glamour the little boy all the time, but he knew that in order to keep him safe it was a necessity and it wouldn’t be forever. It was only until Max could control his magic and he could learn to do it himself, whenever that was. Alec dressed Max in his coat and pulled a purple woolly hat on his head covering his now glamoured dark hair. Alec kissed Magnus goodbye, shouldered his bow and quiver (you could never be too careful in Central Park) and walked Max out of the loft.
By the time they got off the train in Central Park, Max had finally stopped crying, inquisitively looking about at everything as they walked. Alec smiled down at the little warlock as Max excitedly pointed at a woman walking her dog and then again at a group of teenagers having a picnic. Alec remembered his little brother Max being exactly the same, the first time he and Isabelle took him to Central Park. At the time, Alec had to sneak Isabelle and Max out of the Institute so that they could actually have some fun without their parents arguing around them. Looking back on it, Alec wondered how he didn’t see the cracks in his parents’ marriage before now. But he supposed it was one of those life lessons that you learn when you got older.
“Hey, Blueberry,” Alec smiled, crouching down next to his son. Max looked up at Alec, frowning in concentration. Alec knew he had to be quick. His son often struggled to stay focused when there were other things in need of his attention happening around him. “Why don’t we go get an ice cream? Would you like that, Max?”
Max gasped and nodded excitedly, bouncing up and down on the spot with a giggle as Alec stood up and took his hand. Max tugged on Alec’s hand as they made their way over to an ice cream stand that was pitched next to a playground filled with shrieking mundane children and their mothers.
“Two vanilla cones with chocolate sauce please,” Alec requested as he fished through his pockets for the right money. The vendor looked up from his magazine with a bored expression and sighed before he rummaged through a cardboard box sat beside him on the serving counter. Max watched the vendor with fascination.
“Ew, look at him! He looks so freaky!”
Alec looked up in alarm to find a small group of children by the playground laughing and pointing at him. He spotted another child in the playground run up to one of the mothers sat on a bench, tugging on her coat and pointing at Alec. The mother looked over curiously before her hand went to her mouth.
“Oh, my god…Sandra, look at that child over there. He’s bright blue!”
Alec glanced down at Max who didn’t seem to have noticed the commotion in the playground but was almost buzzing in excitement as the vendor placed two ice cream cones in front of them. “That’ll be four dollars and ten cents please.”
Alec scooped up Max in his arms and sent an apologetic look to the vendor. “I’m sorry, I’ve got to go.”
“Are you serious? I can’t waste stock. Hey, buddy, come back!”
Alec ignored the vendor’s shouting as he hurried away as quickly as he could without looking suspicious. Max wriggled and whined unhappily, staring over Alec’s shoulder at the ice cream stall. “I’m sorry, Max. I’ll make it up to you, but I’ve got to get you out of sight quickly before any more mundanes see your demon marks.”
Alec had just reached the exit to Central Park when he spotted Magnus across the road, waiting casually for the traffic to stop. Alec let out a sigh of relief and headed towards him, casting nervous glances at the bustling New Yorkers going about their business around him. Alec tried to relax and pretend that he was just a regular mundane out for a walk with his son on an ordinary day, but the worrying thoughts that Max’s glamour had failed and had been seen – in public no less – wouldn’t leave his mind. What if someone reported it and the Clave found out? Would the Clave take Max away from them to keep the shadow world secret?
Alec crossed the road just as Magnus looked up. His smile faltered when he saw Alec’s worried expression. “Alexander, what’s wrong?”
“Magnus, we have to get Max home now.” Alec murmured to him, grasping hold of Magnus’s arm and tugged him along the street. Magnus frowned in concern.
“Why? What happened?”
“I’ll tell you on the way but we need to move quickly.” Alec replied, casting a furtive glance around them as they ducked into a nearby alleyway. Alec stood huddled in a shadowy corner, rubbing soothing circles on Max’s back as the toddler pouted. Magnus crossed his arms and frowned at his lover in concern, his broad shoulders blocking the view of the main road.
“Okay, can you tell me now? I thought we were meeting at the park.”
“We were, Mags. I’m sorry. Max’s glamour failed for some reason and everyone saw his blue skin. I couldn’t think of what to do, so I picked up Max and took him away.” Alec glanced at the other end of the alley sure that he had heard a noise, but when he saw nothing he returned his attention to Magnus. “What if the Clave finds out? After everything with the Cold Peace treaty, some Shadowhunters have been demanding more restrictions for Downworlders -”
“Alexander, calm down.” Magnus reached out and calmly touched Alec’s face. “The Clave isn’t going to take Max. Trust me. The mundanes will probably forget all about what they saw by lunchtime. They’ll just think that they were seeing things, a trick of the light.”
Alec let out a slow breath and tried to relax. He could still feel his heart pounding unsteadily in his chest with adrenaline. Magnus was right. He was just being paranoid. But who could blame him really, what with everything he has seen in his lifetime. In the short space of a couple of years he and his whole family and friends have been involved in two devastating wars. Was it too much to ask that he wanted a little bit of normalcy without something happening to rip his family apart again?
A soft scuttling noise alerted Alec’s attention to the end of the alley once more and he frowned. There was nothing there. He was definitely sure this time that he had heard something.
“Come on let’s go. We can reapply Max’s glamour and take him to that toy shop he likes. That’ll cheer him up.” Magnus suggested, smiling at Max as he held his little blue hand. “Would you like that Blueberry? Do you want Papa and Daddy to take you to the toy shop?”
“Shush, Magnus, I’m trying to listen. Here, take Max for a moment, will you?” Alec handed Max into Magnus’s waiting arms before his un-shouldered his bow and knocked it with an arrow. Magnus fell silent as he watched Alec in alarm, cradling Max protectively to his chest.
Alec slipped his stele out of his pocket and quickly drew a hearing rune on the right side of his neck, directly under his earlobe where his ear canal would be closest. He cautiously made his way around the edge of the alley, following the sound of the scuttling noise. Alec ended up by a fire exit by one of the dumpsters, his attention fixed on a rustling rubbish bag.
“Magnus, take Max out of here.” Alec called over his shoulder as he pulled back the string of his bow, arrow knocked and ready to be released.
“I’m not leaving you, Alec.”
“I’ll be fine, just go. Take Max somewhere safe.”
Magnus bit his bottom lip before he reluctantly backed out of the alleyway, his eyes staying on Alec as he went. Alec stepped forward, taking a deep breath before he swiftly kicked the bag aside.
A filthy black rat squeaked in fright before it hastily scuttled away. Alec let out a sigh of relief, relaxed his stance and turned to Magnus with a smile. “It’s okay. It was just a rat -”
Suddenly Alec heard an explosion behind him and he was knocked forward, landing heavily on the floor with a grunt of pain. He vaguely heard Magnus call out his name as he lifted his head up to find a huge screeching demon wriggling towards him. Alec thought that the demon looked like a huge slimy worm. Magnus was at his side a minute later, minus Max in his arms, as he helped Alec to his feet.
“Bloody lightworms…” Magnus muttered under his breath, glowering up at the demon with disgust.
“What did you call me?” Alec asked as he knocked another arrow onto the string of his bow and aimed at the demon’s head.
“Not you, him!” Magnus pointed at the demon. Alec gave him a look as if to say Magnus was going to be in serious trouble if he didn’t start explaining himself. Magnus sighed and ignited the magic in his hands. “It’s a long story, I’ll tell you about it later if we survive.”
Alec finally noticed that Max was nowhere to be seen. “Where’s Max?”
“Don’t worry. He’s hidden. I’ve put a protection shield around him, but it won’t last so we’d better hurry up and kill this demon.”
Alec nodded and loosed his arrow, watching it zip through the air towards the creature’s head. The arrow buried itself with a squelching noise, earning a piercing screech from the demon as it flailed about. It swayed left into the nearby building, ripping the fire escape down from the brick wall and leaving it hanging limply in a tangle of rust and steel. Alec leapt into action, shooting arrow after arrow in an attempt to confuse the demon until he could get into a better position. On the other side of the alleyway, Magnus shot fireball after fireball at the demon as he leapt about, trying to keep the demon’s attention on him.
“Yeah that’s right! Look at me! Don’t I look like a tasty Warlock?” Magnus yelled, flinging another ball of magic into the air. He glanced over at Alec, who was currently climbing the hanging fire escape as swiftly as he could. Magnus felt a small anxious ache of worry in his chest at the thought of Alec losing his footing and falling, but he pushed it away, knowing that Alec did this sort of thing all the time. Magnus turned back to the demon, which looked back at him with hatred. “Come on! Come and get me you fat, ugly piece of -”
The demon suddenly flicked its tail at Magnus, sending him flying back into the street behind them and landing heavily on the pavement. Magnus felt his magic slowly drain from his body and his eyes slid shut, slipping into unconsciousness. The demon screeched loudly as if it were laughing at what it did.
Alec stared on in horror, unable to make a sound as he crouched unsteadily on the fire escape. To make it even worse, Alec spotted Max suddenly crawling towards Magnus completely unprotected as the demon shuffled towards them. “MAX, NO!” Alec screamed, the words flying from his throat before he could stop them. The demon twisted around and stared at Alec before it resumed its shuffling, its blistered skin scraping horribly along the ground in haste.
Max finally reached Magnus’s unconscious body as if he hadn’t heard his Dad. The little warlock reached out and touched his Papa’s limp hair, tugging gently on one of the spikes as he tried to get his attention. Tears started to fill Max’s eyes as Magnus remained still. “P-Papa..?”
Through his enhanced hearing, Alec gasped as he heard Max’s first word. Alec determinedly got to his feet, the fire escape lurching beneath his weight.
Max nudged Magnus’s shoulder, his little blue fingers clenching the fabric of his shirt tightly. “Papa...” Max began to cry, his dark blue cheeks turning violet and his body shaking with shuddering gasps. He didn’t notice the demon rise up behind him ready to crush them with its huge, bulbous body but Max didn’t care. His Papa was hurt.
Suddenly the ground shook violently as a loud, piercing wail erupted from Max. The demon squealed and reared back as if in pain, scrambling backwards as best it could. Alec clapped his hands over his ears, his knees nearly buckling beneath him from the sound. The fire escape broke away from the wall with a loud creak and Alec had no choice but to leap into the air. The vicious smell of the demon hit his senses before he landed on the demon’s disgusting head with a smack. Digging his feet into the ridges of the demon’s skin, Alec held on tight as the creature tried to shake him off.
Max continued to wail and desperately shake Magnus’s shoulder. Out on the street around them, mundanes scrambled about in panic probably thinking that they were in the middle of an earthquake. Cars crashed into each other as mundanes ran for cover. Max smacked Magnus’s cheek. “Papa, wake up!”
Alec gritted his teeth and pulled a small seraph dagger from the side of his boot (a small necessity after the last patrol he went on with Jace and Isabelle went sideways) swiftly invoking an angel’s name, before he plunged the shining blade deep into the demon’s skull. Alec felt the demon tense beneath him, falling limply forward and disintegrated in a puddle of its own blood. Alec landed on the ground and rolled to his feet, gathering Max into a hug and kissing his son’s head.
“Blueberry, I’m so happy that you’re safe.” He reached out to check Magnus’s pulse, blinking back tears and then sighing in relief when he felt a threading beat under his fingers. “Oh thank the Angel!”
“P-Papa!” sniffled Max, crying into Alec’s shoulder.
“Papa is going to be okay, Blueberry. Don’t worry.” Alec said soothingly, rubbing Max’s back.
Alec looked up at the sound of hurried footsteps, spotting Jace and Isabelle running up the street towards them. “Alec, I felt you were in trouble. What happened? Are you all alright?” Jace demanded, anxiously checking over his parabatai and Max whilst Isabelle tended to Magnus.
Alec trembled as he tightly held Magnus’s hand. “I’m okay. Just help Magnus, please. He got knocked out by a demon and I – Please, please just help him.”
“We’ll take him back to the Institute. Come on,” Isabelle said, taking Max from Alec and standing up. Alec and Jace carefully lifted Magnus up and carried him back to the Institute between them, Isabelle leading the way.
Magnus woke hours later with the help of some magic from Malcolm and Catarina, whom Alec had called as soon as they arrived in the Institutes’ infirmary. He had a splitting headache and his body felt like he had been run over with a car.
“Magnus, thank the Angel you’re awake,” Alec said shakily as he suddenly sat down on the edge of Magnus’s bed, picking up his hand and pressing a kiss to his knuckles. “Are you alright?”
“Alexander…wait, where’s Max?” Magnus asked, his brow creasing in worry.
“He’s okay, Jace has got him.”
“What happened? All I remember is being sent flying into the street by that demon and then nothing.” Magnus groaned, letting his head relax against his pillows. He noted that he had a lot more pillows than all of the other cots in the room and wanted to smile, knowing somehow that it was all Alec’s doing.
“It doesn’t matter now. I’m just glad that you’re safe.” Alec leaned down and pressed a tender kiss to Magnus’s lips.
The sound of a door opening made Alec and Magnus look up to find Jace walking in with Max in his arms, the little warlock wriggling impatiently and reaching out for his parents. “Papa, Papa!”
Magnus looked up at Alec in joy. “Did you hear that? He said ‘Papa’, Alexander. I’m his first word! Yes!”
“He saved your life, Magnus.” Alec replied with a small smile, taking Max and sitting the toddler in his lap. Magnus couldn’t find the words to speak so he gazed at his son and smiled, feeling his heart fill with heart warming pride.
Jace patted Magnus’s shoulder. “I’m glad you’re okay, Magnus. I’ll leave you guys alone for a bit.” He shared a look with Alec before he disappeared from the room.
Magnus felt Max grasp one of his fingers firmly. “Papa,” he chirped happily with a smile, receiving a kiss on the top of his head from Alec.
“Yes, Blueberry, that’s right. I’m your Papa.” Magnus smiled back, reaching up and ruffling the toddler’s hair. “And he loves you very much.”