Maryse arrived at the Institute and went to her son's office. She was obliged to inform him of her visit and also she wanted to know if he was going to be busy that day. Ever since Max had recovered she had been sent back to Alicante, but she had been given a couple of days off and had asked for them at her old Institute. She wanted to spend time with her children, wanted to be part of their lives as she had not been in years.
She walked down the aisles, watching the looks of respect from her former subordinates and kept her head steady. She knocked on the door, but no one answered. She turned the knob but saw that it was closed. Maybe Alec was training with Jace. She headed there but in the training room there were only Izzy and Max.
'Mom,' Izzy said as she stopped her brother's training when she saw her coming.
Max turned and smiled, coming toward her to give her a hug. Maryse hugged him happily seeing that he was fully recovered and training again.
'What brings you here?' Asked her daughter.
Maryse reached out, unconsciously putting on that pose of a warrior. 'I have a couple of days off and I thought I'd pay you a visit.' She was a little scared of her daughter’s reaction and didn’t wanted to look needy. She was afraid of her children’s rejection, of them not wanting to spend time with her, and she understood that the would not want to. When had she wanted to spend time with her children just for the sake of being with them? She couldn’t remembered the day for it was so long ago.
'How many days are you staying?’ Izzy asked, grabbing the water bottle and taking a sip.
Izzy nodded, thinking how to tell her mother that she couldn’t spend the day with her today. Isabelle wanted to spend time with her mother, especially after the conversation they had had about her addiction. She had always wanted their relationship to be closer, like they one her mother had with Jace, but at the same time it was hard to take that first step. Too many years of pretending she didn’t mind the lack of affection, of support.
‘I’ve gone to inform Alec of my stay but he wasn’t in his office,’ Maryse said noticing her daughter's silence.
'Today has the day off.'
Maryse looked at the floor, recomposing her strategy, but her daughter didn’t give her time.
'He left me in charge. I can sign your arrival, but I'm afraid I cannot spend the day with you. '
‘He left you in charge?’ Maryse asked, a little surprised. It was not common for the Heads to have days off, but she supposed Alec deserved one.
'Yes. Well, if something serious happens, I'll call him and he’ll come, but if it's not a case of extreme necessity, he wont be here until tomorrow.'
‘I see.’ Maryse looked at Max, wondering what to do next.
‘We can have the day off, too,’ the boy said. 'Let's have breakfast.'
'Max, you've already had breakfast,' Izzy said, putting on her leggings. 'And you have to train. Remember what Alec said.'
‘Have we? But Mom came to see us.’ Max wanted to use his mother as an excuse to escape, but Izzy was not going to let him.
'Remember that apart from being your brother, Alec is your boss. He ordered you to train and me to train you and that's what we're going to do.’ Izzy's voice left no room for argument, yet Max looked at his mother, begging with his eyes to stand by his side.
'Isabelle is right. Alec is your boss. The orders of the Head of the Institute must always be fulfilled. If he has ordered you to train, you must train.’ His voice was serious, for if there was something Maryse respected above all else was law and order. Something she intended to teach his younger son as he had done with the others.
Max sank his shoulders and went back to his sister.
'Is Jace here?'
‘No. He's on a mission with Clary,’ Izzy said with a smile of compassion. 'They left ten minutes ago.'
Maryse looked around, looking for some way to end the conversation with dignity, some way to go without seeming that nobody loved her. She understood that her children were busy, she had not, after all, reported on her arrival, but that didn’t mean that she was feeling unconsciously rejected by them.
'Why don’t you visit Alec? You could eat with him and Magnus.’ Izzy offered with a smile, trying to help.
'Surely the last thing your brother wants is to see me on his day off,' she replied, but what she really meant was that she had not come to New York to eat with Magnus Bane. She had accepted the relation of the warlock with his son, it had cost some time but she had done it. She had seen with her own eyes the warlock's charitable soul when he had saved Alec's life and tried to save Max's, but she had never talked to him since Max's disastrous party. She had never asked for forgiveness and she didn’t know if she would be able to. There was too much history between them, too many things her children didn’t know and that Maryse didn’t want to remember.
'I'm sure he’d love to see you.' Izzy walked over to her and put a hand on her arm in a gesture of encouragement. 'Go and see them. Magnus knows the best restaurants in the world, I would not miss it.'
Maryse wanted to say no but her daughter's smile was too honest, hopeful, and she couldn’t. She nodded and watched Isabelle's eyes light up. Maybe it was time to deal with her son's relationship more actively.
Alec opened his eyes and took a deep breath. He noticed Magnus standing next to him and didn’t need to see his face to know he had a grin from ear to ear.
'It was... Eh... It was good.'
'Just good?' The warlock's voice with false indignation. 'Is that the review? Three out of five stars? '
Alec smiled and turned, feeling like his body was butter under the sun. 'Four and a half stars.' He said just to see Magnus's face.
'And a half? Alexander, I have not spent centuries perfecting my technique when it comes to giving a blowjob for you to give me four and a half stars.’ His voice continued with that touch of annoyance, as if he were really angry. But Alec knew he wasn’t, he could see it in the way his nose twitched, his eyes moved, his body completely relaxed. That was something he adored, being able to tease Magnus and know exactly how far he could carry it.
Alec turned and looked at the ceiling. 'Well, I have some comments to make. You know... To get improve your technique.’ He couldn’t help but smile at the sound coming from Magnus's throat. It was too easy sometimes.
Even so, he couldn’t hear what would certainly be a response with a high sexual content on the part of his boyfriend because the bell rang insistently and both left the jokes aside and looked serious at each other.
'I thought you didn’t have clients today?' Alec asked.
'I don’t. Maybe it’s your siblings.'
'Impossible. I've sent Jace and Clary on a mission that will take them all day and Izzy is in charge of the Institute. '
The bell rang again insistently.
‘It must be an emergency,’ Magnus said, standing up and with a snap of his fingers he had the black silk pants on, the blue robe and a slight touch of makeup. He ran his fingers through his hair and it looked more presentable than it had been minutes ago after Alec's fingers work on it. 'Don’t move, I'll take care of this and be right back.’
Alec nodded, the last thing he wanted was to get out of bed. He leaned back and closed his eyes as Magnus closed the door of the room.
Magnus went to the door and opened it with the intention of telling whoever was on the other side that it was better be a death or live situation or they were going to know his rage, but he couldn’t, because the surprise left him speechless.
'Good morning,' said Maryse, stretching her back further, if that was possible. Her face expressionless as always, her hands together.
Magnus remembered at that moment that he was in pyjamas, that his robe was open and that he could still taste Alec's semen in his mouth. It was especially that last detail that made him step back unconsciously.
'Hello, Maryse. How can I help you?’ His voice sounded professional, the same tone he always used with his boyfriend's mother.
'I've been told that Alec has the day off and that I might find him here.'
Magnus nodded, watching as the possibility of a second round of sex for that morning disappearing in front of him. He remembered that Maryse was on the other side of the door and opened it more, signalling her to enter.
'Please come in. I'll go find Alec.’ He closed his robe and door once the shadowhunter was inside. ‘Please wait a second’, he said, and left Maryse in his hall.
He opened the door of the bedroom carefully and closed it behind him. He watched as Alec shook his head and looked at him affectionately, without any concern. Magnus hated to know that his words were going to give his boyfriend that frown back.
'Your mother’s here.'
Alec sat up surprise, the sheet covering his pelvis but making it harder for Magnus not to notice Alec's torso and he cried inside because he couldn’t enjoy that any more today.
'My mother? What does she want?'
'I don’t know. She went to see the Institute and they told her to come here.'
‘She’d have to be in Alicante.' Alec's voice was pensive and a little annoyed.
'Well, she's in our hall.' Magnus realized too late how he had said 'our' instead of 'my'. He hoped Alexander hadn’t noticed. That was not the way he had imagined asking him to move in with him. Luckily Alec was too busy looking for the sport pants he used to be comfortable at Magnus' house. He found them on the ground and put them on. Grabbing a T-shirt and going to the door.
‘I’m going to see what she wants,’ he said leaving the room but not before giving Magnus a kiss on the cheek as an apology. Apology Magnus didn’t want nor need, but Alec felt he should give.
He saw his mother within three feet of the door, where Magnus had left her. A part of Alec felt bad because his mother was not able to come in and feel at home, to sit on the couch and wait for him as Jace used to. But if he had to be honest, this was the second time his mother had stepped into the loft.
'Alec,' said Maryse.
'Is something wrong?' Alec had always liked to deal with anything directly, and his mother had never suggested that he should do otherwise.
‘No. I only…’
He watched as his mother was speechless for a moment, saw a few seconds of hesitation before she lifted her head and regained that impassive pose that Alec knew and hated so much.
'They've given me some days off and I thought it would be a good idea to spend them with you and your siblings, but of course you're busy.' Maryse turned to the door and Alec understood what her mother really wanted. 'Sorry to have bothered you. I'll go back to the Institute and help Isabelle. '
'Wait,' Alec said when his mother was about to open the door. It was true that he had made other plans for his day off, the vast majority of them focused on Magnus's bed, but he couldn’t let his mother leave. She was making an effort to change, to accept him, to really know him. He didn’t know when it would be the next time he could spend time with her, he didn’t know when it had been the last time he had been with her for a nonofficial reason, or life or death situation. It was clear that she had come to get him to spend the day together. She had gone to Magnus's house. She had taken that first step. 'Why don’t you stay? We haven’t had breakfast yet, do you want breakfast?'
Maryse was about to mention that it was nine-thirty, she had gotten up at six-thirty, and had a toast with coffee as she did every morning at seven. After eight o'clock it was no time for breakfast, something she had instilled in her children from childhood.
'I don’t want to bother you.’ That was all she said.
'It's no trouble. Magnus conjures up some very good Belgian waffles, you should try them.’ Something inside Alec prayed because his mother’s say yes, for her to stay for breakfast with them, to be able to live a moment in family with her where he didn’t have to be hiding or defensive, where he could be him, where he could share his happiness. He didn’t know how that desire had appeared in him, but he wasn’t about to let the opportunity go when presented in front of him, it was not in his nature.
‘Okay.’ Maryse turned and tried to relax her posture, putting on a small smile. ‘I’ll stay.'
They were silent for a few seconds until Alec realized that he had to change and warn Magnus. He moved into the living room knowing his mother was following him.
'Get comfortable, I'm going to change and I'll be right back.'
Maryse nodded and looked around, thinking about how to wait or do.
'You can go out on the balcony or up the terrace, whatever you want.'
‘I remember the loft.’ Maryse knew that the conversation they were having was a bit awkward for both of them, but she was willing to go through it if she could spend time with her firstborn.
Alec nodded and turned, entering a room with a sliding door. Maryse looked at the state of the bed and the red sheets that covered it. Alec closed the door behind him and she was left alone, aware of something she hadn’t thought of before. His son had slept in that bed. Her son had had sex on that bed. Sex with a man. With a warlock. In that bed.
Maryse went to the balcony and opened the doors, needing fresh air. She breathed and tried to relax her mind. It was very difficult to go against everything that had been taught to her, all their beliefs. She thought she had reached a state of acceptance with Alec, especially after seeing the clear feeling of love in his son's eyes as he looked at the warlock. It was impossible to deny the evidence. Her son was in love and had fought for that love. That made her proud, that dedication, that commitment. But on the other hand, she remembered that Alec had chosen a man and a downworlder at that... That was another story. The man she could understand. If she had to be honest, she'd always known it, though she'd never wanted to accept it. She knew that there were men and women who were attracted to people of the same gender, that wasn’t new in their culture, but it was not accepted by the Clave. Homosexuality has no place in a society that was based on procreation as their major weapon against evil. More children equaled more soldiers.
Maryse knew of the story of Robert with his parabatai Michael, how it had affected them both, and she had always feared that something like that would happen between Alec and Jace. Maybe that's why she'd always tried to keep Alec from accepting that part of him, accepting his attraction to the same genre. She didn’t want to see him as she had seen Michael after Robert had pushed him aside. She didn’t want her son to lead a life of grief and misery. She had always hoped that, like Michael, Alec would find a woman that would change his mind, to satisfy him enough to let go of those feelings. Now she realized that that idea had been absurd. Michael was attracted to both genders, he had fallen in love with Eliza. Maryse had seen how he looked at his wife, who he enjoyed kissing her. Alec was not like that. Alec had never shown any interest in women. He had never been like Jace or Isabelle, ready to sneak out just to have a date. He had always stayed in his room, reading, training, being the perfect soldier Maryse wanted him to be. Now that she thought about it she had no memory of Alec enjoying life when he had been a teenager. She didn’t remember him smiling, not until Magnus arrived.
Magnus... The warlock had always been a pain in the ass for Maryse, from the day she had met him. He represented all that was to be hated and avoided. Magnus was a downworlder, he was half demon, someone who didn’t hesitate to say what he thought, someone who would fuck everything that moved, with a power unknown by the Clave but certainly greater than any other warlock. There was something in Magnus that shouted freedom: his makeup, his clothes, his nails, his attitude, his sexuality. It was this freedom that reminded Maryse that she was not free, and that had bothered her since she was very young. She did not want to remember the meetings she had had with Magnus, how the warlock had seen her in her worst moments, how he had witnessed the event for which the Clave would judge her later on. Magnus knew everything she and Robert had done under Valentine's orders, something Maryse was praying he hadn’t told Alec. She didn’t know if she would be able to look at her son in the eyes afterward.
Maryse leaned against the railing and looked out over the city. She couldn’t deny that the view was beautiful. She breathed again, trying to compose herself. She had decided to change, she had decided to remove that band of hate and resignation that she had been carrying for so many years. She wanted to be a better mother and a better person. She wanted to know Alec, to discover who the man was under all that determination and security. For she was still amazed and proud to see how Alec had taken control of the Institute only with his effort and, first and foremost, how he had started the committee for cooperation between shadowhunters and downworlders, how he had succeeded in ending Valentine threat and keeping New York is safe at the same time. It was true that many bad things had happened, that he had made mistakes, but Maryse couldn’t deny that Alec, at his young age, had done more than Aldertree or Robert. Alec had a promising future, and something told Maryse that Magnus was part of the reason for the change in Alec. Ever since he had kissed the warlock at his wedding it was as if he had awakened a part of him that Maryse didn’t know he possessed. Now there was security in his son's steps, there was determination, there was an inquisitive and proactive mind instead of a soldier that didn’t question the orders that were given, a boy who always stayed in the shadows.
Maryse turned and saw Alec at the balcony door. He wore a different T-shirt and jeans. His hair was slightly wet and Maryse supposed he had taken a shower. Maryse smiled, trying to put all her thoughts aside and enjoying the moment.
'Are you going us?’
'Sure,' she said, following Alec inside the apartment until they reached the kitchen.
There was an island in the middle of the kitchen that separated a round table from where it was cooked. On the table there was a coffee pot and plates placed for three along with a small flowered vase. It was not extremely large, but it was functional and pretty, elegant like the rest of the house. It overlooked the street and let the light in, making the red color of the main wall give a warm tone to the rest of the room.
Magnus was dressed as well. He wore tight trousers and a slightly open shirt where the necklaces did little to cover the skin. Maryse didn’t know how anyone could dress so elegantly and at the same time so domestic. His hair was perfect, just like his make-up, and his smile was honest as he set the plate with the waffles on the table, inviting her to sit down. Maryse sat on the side, letting Alec and Magnus sit together.
'Tea or coffee?' Asked Magnus, who had a lovely Japanese-style teapot in his hand.
‘Coffee, thank you,’ Maryse replied politely. She had decided to make the effort to meet Magnus, to give him that opportunity she had never given him. The warlock deserved it, especially after how he had supported Alec when Max had been attacked. She didn’t find out until later thanks to Isabelle that Alec and Magnus had had a fight before the accident and Magnus and him were not on speaking terms. However, the wizard had left that aside and tried to help. Even when he'd said there was nothing he could do, he'd stayed to support Alec. That was something Maryse had not overlooked, something she didn’t intend to forget.
Magnus put the teapot on his side of the table, letting Alec pick up some jars of syrup and sit in the middle of the two. Maryse went to pour coffee, but Magnus stepped forward, picking up the coffee pot and pouring it until she said enough. There was one thing Maryse couldn’t deny and it was Magnus' perfect manners. It was something that had really bothered her about Max’s party: everything so perfect, Magnus so cordial and exquisite host. Maryse had been prepared to see a disaster, to tell her son "I told you so," but what Magnus had prepared was not one of those sinful raves the other shadowhunters spoke about, but a perfect celebration and with class.
‘Why the visit?’ Magnus asked, trying to break the somewhat awkward silence that had been in the room since she'd entered.
‘I’ve been given a couple of days off and I thought about visiting my children. See how the Institute is doing, those things.’ She knew that her voice sounded more professional and serious than the occasion required, but she couldn’t help it.
'How long are you staying?’ Alec asked, serving her some waffles.
‘It's not much,’ his son replied.
‘According to the Clave it's more than enough,’ she said helplessly, in a tone that Magnus noticed and Maryse saw a small smile appearing on the warlock's lips.
‘What plans do you have?’ Alec asked, unaware of the small interaction.
‘None. Like I said I wanted to get away from Alicante and see you, that's all.'
Alec knew that what her mother meant was that she wanted to get away from her father and his lover and all the gossip she was undoubtedly living. He didn’t doubt that his mother wanted to spend more time with them, for she had made it clear that she wanted to know them better, to amend their relationship, and Alec had nothing against it, indeed, if he could his mother would never return to Alicante.
‘I know a very good spa in Manhattan,’ Magnus said and Maryse looked at him as she cut her waffle. 'If you want you could go. Nothing says a holiday like a massage with mud.'
Maryse was surprised at the warlock's proposal, but she had to admit that the idea was appealing. She couldn’t remember the last time she'd been given a massage.
'Or if you want something more picturesque I know a place on Kauai that does some wonderful treatments with clay on the beach.'
‘I doubt she wants to fly to Hawaii,’ Alec said, unable to help the small smile as he looked at Magnus.
'Fly? Alexander, please,’ replied the warlock, pouring himself chocolate syrup. He looked at Maryse, who took the jar with caramel. 'If you want to go you just have to say it and I’ll open a portal.'
Maryse knew how expensive it was for a warlock to open a portal. She had spent much of her life paying warlock, especially Magnus, for a service like that. But something told her that this time both the spa and the portal would not be on the Institute's end-of-month bill.
'I don’t want to bother you.’ Well, it was true. She had not gone there to take advantage of his son's boyfriend, no matter how appealing the idea might be.
'It's no trouble,' said the warlock before putting a piece in his mouth.
Maryse looked at Alec, whose eyes were open, as if asking her to do whatever she wanted, begging her that if she wanted to go to the spa, that was fine.
'Maybe I'll take the offer,' Maryse said, and then bit the waffle. She couldn’t help groaning in pleasure at the waffle. 'It’s delicious.’
'Right?' Said Alec eating with a smile on his lips.
Maryse couldn’t remember the last time she'd seen her son like that. Having breakfast with a smile, enjoying the moment. Inside, she knew she owed it to Magnus, and that made her resolve to know the warlock even bigger.
To Be Continued…