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Adventures in Babysitting

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“Come on Alec, we’re going to be late!” Magnus called from the living room as he gathered his coat and his keys. He caught his reflection in the mirror one last time and smiled. He was dressed in his most elegantly sophisticated attire – dark slacks and the brightest, pinkest shirt he could find that was appropriate for a fancy restaurant – and his hair was styled and spiked to perfection. It had been a while since he and Alec had gone out for the night and so Magnus wanted to make an effort. Glancing at the watch on his wrist he sighed. “Alec, we’re going to miss our dinner reservation!”

“Coming!” called Alec as he stumbled into the living room, fidgeting with the sleeves of his shirt, Isabelle following him with a knowing grin. He smiled nervously at Magnus before anxiously turning to his sister. “Are you sure Simon knows what he’s doing? I mean he’s never actually looked after the boys before tonight.”

“I’ll be here the whole time. Nothing bad will happen, brother. Go out and have fun.” Isabelle laughed, reaching up and kissing his cheek. “Simon is just going to play some games with them, we’ll have dinner and then bath time and bed.”

“And you’ve got the takeaway menu right?”

Isabelle frowned. “I said I was cooking tonight Alec, don’t you remember? I’m doing Carbonara.”

Magnus stared at Isabelle in alarm. “I’m sure that your Carbonara would be lovely but we already told the boys that you were ordering takeout.”

“But I worked so hard on it! The sauce didn’t curdle the last time, I swear on the Angel.” Isabelle protested just as Simon walked in with the boys, carrying blankets and pillows to make a fort in the living room. Rafael dropped his things and hurried over to Magnus, hugging him tightly around his waist. Max looked up at Alec with wide eyes, his little horns just starting to curl at the sides of his six-year-old head.

“Daddy, do you and Papa have to go?” Max asked quietly, clutching his favourite comfort blanket to his chest. Alec knelt down and gave Max a tight smile.

“Yes Max. Papa and I are only going out for a few hours so we’ll be back soon.” Alec said, rubbing Max’s arm gently. “But hey, you have your Aunt Isabelle to play with and your Uncle Simon is here as well.”

“Yeah, of course.” Simon smiled at the young warlock. “I’m going to teach you and your brother how to play Dungeons and Dragons. It’ll be fun.”

“Dungeons and what?” Alec asked staring up at Simon in confusion.

“It’s a role playing game Alec,” Isabelle clarified. “Not that kind of role playing, but you use your imagination for it anyway.”

Alec stared at his sister unsure whether to be creeped out or surprised at how she knew what Simon was talking about. He decided he didn’t want to know. Pulling Max into a hug, he kissed his son goodnight and stood up. Magnus was trying his best to remove Rafael’s arms from around his waist. “Rafe, it’s time to let go of Papa. We promise we’ll be back soon.” Rafe shook his head and held on tighter. Magnus looked up at Alec and gave him a “help me quick” look.

Alec glanced around the apartment, looking for the one thing that they had found would help Rafe calm down whenever he got worked up. At last he found what he was looking for. Hiding unsuccessfully on top of Magnus’s bookshelf was Chairman Meow. Alec smiled as he reached up and picked up the cat, carefully bringing him down and with a scratch behind his ears. Chairman Meow purred happily as he was placed on his customised cushion on the sofa. “Rafael, why don’t you come over and give the Chairman some cat treats? You know how much he likes that.” Alec suggested stroking the little cat’s head as his ears perked up with interest.

Rafe looked over at the Chairman and slowly let go of Magnus, disappearing into the kitchen and returning with a pot full of cat treats, holding one in his fingers and offering it to Chairman Meow. The little cat gratefully gobbled the cat treat up and looked up expectantly for more. Rafael smiled.

“There you go Rafe. We’ll see you both tonight.” Alec pressed a kiss to Rafael’s head as he continued feeding Chairman Meow. Alec hugged his sister and added in a hushed voice. “If Rafael struggles to get to sleep tonight, just play the CD with the Spanish lullabies on it when he goes to bed. He’ll go right off to sleep then.” Isabelle nodded and shooed him out of the door, waving at Magnus with a smile before closing the door behind them.

Alec let out a nervous laugh and let Magnus lead him down the stairs. “They will be okay right?” Alec asked Magnus as the exited out on to the street and made their way to their date. Magnus nudged his side playfully.

“Of course they will. You just need to relax and take your mind off being a parent for a few hours.” Magnus replied reassuringly. Alec let out a slow breath and nodded.

“Yeah, you’re right.” Alec pressed a kiss to Magnus’s cheek and slowly felt himself relax as they walked. “What could possibly go wrong?”


Alec couldn’t remember the last time he had ever had this much fun. Spending the evening with Magnus alone, without any children or responsibilities to worry over, had felt like a breath of fresh air. They had laughed and smiled, drank cocktails and even had a drunkenly awkward dance together before they decided to call it a night (despite it already being the early hours of the morning) and head home for a nightcap – and to relieve Simon and Isabelle of their babysitting duties for the night, of course.

“We should do this more often!” Magnus cheered into Alec’s ear as they stumbled their way down the street to their apartment. “We’re too young to be all stuffy and in bed before midnight! Don’t you think my darling?”

“Speak for yourself.” Alec chuckled, pausing for a moment to regain his bearings as the world tilted around him. He groaned as he suddenly felt his stomach lurch uncomfortably. “I think it’ll be a while before I can drink that much again. My body is just not used to that level of alcohol.”

Magnus scoffed and tugged Alec around to face him. He stared blearily at him with a pout. “Perhaps we should just skip the nightcap and go straight to bed.” Magnus raised one of his eyebrows and gave Alec a slow suggestive smile, sliding his arms up Alec’s biceps. Alec could feel his heart steadily pounding in his chest as Magnus leaned close and whispered in his ear. “You looked so handsome tonight.”

“You always say that Magnus.”

Magnus gasped in mock offence. “I say that because it’s true.” Alec felt one of Magnus’s hands slide down his left arm until he touched his scarred skin. “Have I ever mentioned before how much I love your marks?”

Alec gave Magnus a bemused look. “My Runes you mean? I didn’t know you liked the runes of the Nephilim so much.”

“No, I meant just your marks.” Magnus said slowly leading them both down the street again. “The things you can do with your runes. Your Strength rune, your Agility rune…your Stamina rune…” Magnus glanced at Alec from the corner of his eye as they rounded a corner on to their street.

“Magnus.”

“I mean the possibilities are endless. Just imagine what you could do with them when you, say for example, weren’t in a life and death situation…” Magnus continued.

Magnus.”

“I’m just saying it’s a possibility. You don’t have to if you don’t want to -”

“Magnus!” Alec interrupted in a serious tone. Magnus blinked at him in surprise wondering where this particular mood had come from. Alec pointed up at their apartment building ahead of them, his eyes wide in horror. “Magnus, I’m hoping this is just from the alcohol but please tell me that isn’t a dragon I’m seeing sitting on our windowsill…”

Magnus looked up at where Alec was pointing and felt his jaw drop in shock. Sitting on a windowsill of their apartment, snorting out puffs of lilac smoke from its nostrils was a short, fat emerald green dragon the size of a piglet, complete with leathery wings and scaly tail.

Without a moment to lose, Alec and Magnus sprinted to their building, leaping up the stairs and crashing the door open to find their loft in complete chaos. Chairman Meow was trembling up on top of Magnus’s bookshelf, hissing and spitting at several onyx bats that swooped by him. Spaghetti Carbonara – or what looked like it – was coating the walls and floors. The rest of the floor was covered in a thick muddy marsh, complete with a stinking bog and a bubbling pit of lava. Max and Rafael cowered together on the sofa with their Aunt Isabelle who was cracking her whip at bats and chubby dragons whilst Simon tried his hardest to fight off a thick slimy tentacle sliding up from beneath their feet.

“This is the worst idea you’ve ever had Simon!” Isabelle snapped as she cracked her whip and sent another bat flying into the wall above Magnus’s head.

“How was I supposed to know this would happen?” Simon replied squeakily, hacking at a tentacle sucker with a seraph blade. “I told them to imagine the swamp not actually create it!” 

“WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON HERE?” Magnus bellowed his voice echoing around the room as bright blue sparks danced around his fingers. Simon and Isabelle froze in shock, staring at Magnus and Alec fuming at the front door. A small canary-yellow dragon flew straight into a wall with a loud thump and promptly fell to the floor unconscious. Max and Rafael leapt off the sofa and ran towards their parents, clutching hold of them tightly with shaking hands.

“Oh, you’re back!” Simon blurted in surprise, glancing at Isabelle anxiously. “Izzy was meant to call you.”

Isabelle glared at Simon with a scoff and swiftly elbowed him in the ribs. “I would have called them, if someone didn’t knock my phone into the pit of boiling lava over there!” 

“Enough! I don’t want to hear it.” Magnus snapped, glowering at the pair of them as he waved his hands and sent his magic around the room, scouring and scrubbing away the swamp and the sticky Carbonara coating the wooden floorboards. The dragons and bats disappeared in a series of quiet pops before Magnus looked down at Max, who was clutching his trouser leg fearfully. “Max, what did I say about doing magic without my supervision?”

“It was an accident Papa! I didn’t mean to do it!” Max cried tearfully as Rafael nodded beside him, clutching hold of Alec’s legs. “It just got out of control.”

Alec stared around at the Carbonara slowly clearing away with a grimace, rubbing soothing circles on Rafael’s back. “I thought we told you to order takeout.”

Isabelle gaped at her brother and put a hand on her hip, stepping down from the sofa. “I hardly think that’s the worst of the problems at the moment, brother. For your information, I was just about to when everything went to hell!”

Magnus sighed and held up his hands. “We are not having this argument now. Both of you get out of our home so we can put the boys to bed. I’ll come by the Institute tomorrow with the bill for the damages and for the amount of therapy we’ll have to put the Chairman through.” Magnus pointed at the front door. Alec slowly shrugged apologetically at his sister as they slowly passed.

Just as they reached the door, Magnus threw his arm out and stopped Simon in his tracks. Simon gulped and looked at Magnus expectantly. Magnus fixed him with a cold stare, his yellow cat’s eyes narrow and filled with fury. “If you ever think of teaching my sons Dungeons and Dragons again, you will regret the day I ever found you and jogged your memories. Do I make myself clear?”

Simon nodded and hastily hurried after Isabelle, feeling the door slam shut behind him. Magnus turned to Alec and let out a slow breath. “Right, let’s get you two off to bed now shall we?” Magnus chirped, lifting Max up into his arms. “By the way darling, let’s not let them look after the boys on their own again.”

“Agreed.” Alec nodded, lifting Rafael up in a hug as they carried them off to bed.

Neither of them noticed the little green dragon from the windowsill slink after them and curl up underneath Rafael’s bed, falling fast asleep and sending little puffs of smoke into the air.

Chapter Text

After the last time Alec and Magnus left the boys with members of Alec’s family, they had come home to find their home in chaos. So it was understandable that they were nervous about going out again for a night and leaving the boys to the mercy of their babysitters. This time, to avoid coming home to find their home in a mess and Chairman Meow suffering with PTSD in a corner, they decided to take the boys to the Institute for the night to be looked after by Jace and Clary.

Magnus watched on patiently as he waited in the kitchen for Alec to finish talking to Clary about Max and Rafael’s bedtime routine. He had been waiting for the past hour. “Now, you will call us if anything goes wrong won’t you? Seriously, anything at all and you ring us straight away, no matter what time it is.” Alec said anxiously.

“I promise that if anything bad happens – not that anything could after last time from what I’ve heard from Simon – we will call you. Won’t we Jace?” Clary replied just as Jace walked into the room, carrying a paper bag of takeaway food from Taki’s Diner.

“Of course we will. Look Alec, we aren’t going to be playing any weird games with them and I’ve just got the food so they’ll be fed. Just go out and enjoy yourselves, we’ve got this.”

“And we’ve put an extra bed in your old room so that Max and Rafe can sleep in the same room.” Clary added with a smile as she took out some plates from the kitchen cupboard and put them on the table.

“Come on Alec, it looks like they have everything in hand.” Magnus said, walking up behind Alec and placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. Alec let out an anxious breath.

“Okay. Where are the boys? I want to say goodbye to them quickly before we go.” Alec glanced over Magnus’s shoulder searching for their sons with wide eyes.

“They are having fun in Clary’s art studio. Let’s just leave them to it. We’ll see them in the morning. Come on.” Magnus pressed a kiss to Alec’s cheek and nudged him out of the kitchen, waving goodbye to Jace and Clary as they went. As soon as they were outside the Institute, Magnus pulled Alec close to his side and wrapped an arm around his waist. Alec shivered as a blustery chill tickled the back of his neck, tightening his scarf around his neck as he laid his head on Magnus’s shoulder.

“Come on my darling.” Magnus announced as they started walking down the street. “Tonight we can be just two regular guys, going out on a date with no responsibilities. We can do that can’t we?”

There was a moment of quiet before Alec reluctantly nodded, letting out a slow breath. “Okay, we can do this. The Institute is the safest place in New York.”

“Exactly. Plus, Max and Rafe know exactly what to do in an emergency. They’ll be fine.” Magnus said, rubbing his hand up and down Alec’s arm in a calming gesture. Alec nodded and slowly started to relax. Surely nothing bad could happen this time, thought Alec as the descended into the underground train station.


Alec was starting to think he and Magnus were jinxed somehow.

The evening had been going well. Magnus had received a tip off that there was a two-for-one deal on drinks at Pandemonium from Bat, who was happy to vouch for their entry into the club as he was the DJ for the night. Alec hated clubbing, preferring instead to have a quiet evening at home with Magnus and their sons but he didn’t want to disappoint him since he had been looking forward to go dancing for weeks. So they sipped their drinks and Magnus was steadily getting drunker throughout the night. The time for them to make their way home came at 4am when Magnus made his way over to Alec and tried to give him a lap dance, causing Alec’s cheeks to flush in embarrassment.

“I’m sorry, Alec. I didn’t mean to get this drunk.” Magnus slurred as they entered their apartment. “Those drinks were a lot stronger than I expected. I’ve really got to stop drinking Tequila…it never ends well.”

“It’s fine Magnus. We managed to get home safe and I’m glad you enjoyed yourself.” Alec replied closing the door behind him and locking it before shrugging off his coat. Magnus swayed slightly as he leaned on the kitchen counter and summoned a glass of water.

“Did you enjoy yourself Alexander?” Magnus asked with a small furrow of his brow. “You didn’t really dance much.”

“Clubs aren’t really my thing. But I’m happy that you enjoyed yourself. I know how much you were looking forward to tonight.” Alec shrugged, gliding over to Magnus and enveloping his arms around his waist. Alec pressed a chaste kiss to Magnus’s mouth, crinkling his nose at the smell of booze on Magnus’s breath. “Come on, let’s get to bed. You need to sober up a lot before we go and pick up the boys tomorrow.”

“I feel hungry. Do you feel hungry?”

Suddenly, Alec felt his phone buzz in his pocket so he slipped it out of his pocket and answered it in one sweep as he helped Magnus to their bedroom. “Hello?”

“Alec, its Clary.”

Alec stopped dead in his tracks causing Magnus to stare up at him in confusion. “Clary, what’s wrong? Are the boys okay?”

“Yes the boys are okay, but you’ll need to come and pick them up. Jace, grab him quickly! No Rafael that’s not for throwing!” Alec bit his lip anxiously as he heard Clary sigh on the other end of the phone. “Alec, just come quickly. We’ll explain when you get here.”

Clary hung up on the phone leaving Alec with a feeling of panic. “Something’s happened to the boys. Clary didn’t say what but it didn’t sound good. You stay here and sober up and I’ll go and get them.” Alec commanded heading to the door and shrugging on his coat and picking up his bow and quiver.

“I’m coming with you. No, I’ll be fine, just give me a minute.” Magnus replied despite Alec’s protests as he hurriedly rummaged through his kitchen cupboards before leaping over the counter and ran into his study.

“What are you looking for? We need to go!” Alec called just as Magnus reappeared with a grimace and holding a bottle of something that was green and looked like it had something crawling in it. “What the hell is that?”

“It’s essentially a hangover cure. It takes a few minutes to take effect but it’s a lot quicker than the mundane alternative.” Magnus sighed before he popped the lid and drank the whole bottle with a shudder. When he had finished it, Magnus chucked the empty bottle over his shoulder and grimaced. “I am never drinking one of those again.”

“I am never kissing your mouth again.” Alec added feeling suddenly ill.

Magnus gasped at Alec offended. “Hey, you wanted me sober, you got me sober. Now stop complaining and let’s go.”

Alec rolled his eyes as Magnus opened the door and hurried down the stairs. “Alright just make sure you brush your teeth before you kiss me again okay?” Alec didn’t need to see Magnus to know that he was rolling his eyes.


Alec and Magnus arrived shortly at the Institute expecting the worst possible situation to have happened. They weren’t far off the truth.

“I swear on the Angel Alec, I did not buy them!” Jace exclaimed as soon as they entered the kitchen, his blonde hair in a tangled sweaty mess and sporting dark circles of stress under his eyes. Alec gasped in shock as his eyes fell upon Rafael and Max, splattered in paint and spaced out one of the benches. Two large beige antlers were growing out of Rafael’s head but it didn’t seem like they were hurting him. Clary was bustling around them both, trying her best to get them to drink some water but they took no notice of her. Magnus hurried over to them worriedly, snapping his fingers in front of their faces in a bid to grab their attention.

Alec narrowed his eyes and tried to remain calm. “Tell me they haven’t eaten what I think they’ve eaten, Jace. Tell me that they didn’t eat faerie scones.”

Jace paled as Magnus looked between them in shock. “Faerie scones..?”

“It’s a long story.” Clary murmured to Magnus. He nodded as his fingers lit up with blue flames. He waved his hands in front of each of his sons faces and watched in relief when they started following his hands with awestruck expressions.

“I didn’t buy them intentionally. You remember what happened last time. I’ve completely sworn off them.” Jace explained as Alec started pacing worriedly. “One of the other customers must have slipped them in my bag when I wasn’t looking.”

Alec scoffed and stared at his parabatai in exasperation. “How is that possible? You’re always on alert whenever you leave the Institute, even if you are just walking to the front gates.”

“I was hungry! You know a guy can’t focus on anything with an empty stomach.” Jace replied affronted.

Clary suddenly huffed and stood up facing the two arguing friends and fixed them with an annoyed stare. “Okay, you two arguing isn’t going to solve anything. Jace, why don’t you go and clear up the mess the boys made in my studio? There’s a mop and bucket in the cupboard on the second floor.”

Jace sighed and nodded his head, turning to face Alec one last time. “I swear I didn’t mean for this to happen. If I had known they were in my bag I would have thrown them out straight away.”

Alec nodded and clapped his hands on Jace’s shoulders. “Okay, I believe you. I just don’t want them to get hurt."

“Neither do I, brother.” Jace replied casting a glance at Rafael and Max. “Let me know when the effects wear off.”

“I might have some news on that actually.” Magnus said not taking his eyes off of Rafael and Max. As Magnus moved his hands around, Alec noticed with relief that Max and Rafael slowly started blinking their eyes. The antlers coming out of Rafael’s head were starting to fade away in front of them. “They seem to be responding to my magic, so that’s good. Although, best not to let them have any more scones though.”

“Thank the Angel,” Jace murmured as Clary and Alec nodded in unison. Alec headed over to Magnus and placed a hand on Max’s knee, just as the young warlock shook his head as if out of a trance.

Max blinked and stared up at Alec and Magnus in confusion. “Papa…Daddy…”

“We’re here Blueberry, don’t worry.” Magnus replied just as Rafael shook himself out of his trance, antlers gone without a trace. There was a light green tinge to his face as he held his stomach tightly. Magnus summoned a bucket and passed it to Rafael who sat nursing it gingerly.

Max watched his brother with a frown before he turned to Magnus. “Papa, I think I had a weird dream.”

Magnus chuckled quietly, reaching up and stroking Max’s head affectionately. “You probably did but you’ll be back to normal soon.”

“Oh,” Max replied disappointedly.

Alec looked at his son in surprise, sitting next to his son on the bench. “Oh?”

Max sighed. “I dreamt that Rafael had antlers coming out of his head. He would be just like me then wouldn’t he?” Max pointed sadly to the two white horns on his forehead that were just starting to curl up into his hair.

Alec shared a quiet look with Magnus and wrapped a comforting arm around Max’s shoulders. “Oh Max…”

The young warlock leaned into Alec’s side just as Rafael vomited into the bucket in his lap. Alec caught Clary and Jace watching them quietly, unable to think of anything comforting to say to Max to cheer him up. Max knew the differences between warlocks and shadowhunters and knew that they would never change. They were just too different.

When Rafael had finished vomiting an hour later Magnus summoned a portal to take them home. Max was sleeping soundly in Alec’s arms whilst Rafael trudged groggily through the portal, heading straight to the bathroom. Magnus followed behind them collapsing the portal with a wave of his hand whilst Alec walked quietly to Max and Rafe’s room to put his son to bed. As Alec brought Max’s blankets over him, he placed a kiss to his forehead and quietly left the room, ruffling Rafael’s hair as they passed each other in the doorway.

Magnus was stood at the kitchen counter making himself a coffee when Alec came in and hung up his bow and quiver by the front door. “I doubt I’m going to get enough sleep before my first client comes tomorrow so I might as well pull an all-nighter. Want one?”

Alec shook his head and quietly pulled Magnus into a hug, resting his head against his shoulder and letting out a slow breath. Magnus could feel a slight tremble in Alec’s shoulders as he held him close, rubbing soothing circles into his back and patiently waited until the trembling stopped. “I want to cheer Max up but I don’t know how.” Alec mumbled helplessly into Magnus’s shoulder.

“I know.”

“Isn’t that what a parent is supposed to do? Make their child feel better?” Alec pulled away sadly and leaned back against the kitchen counter.

“We can’t fix everything Alexander, no matter how much we want to.” Magnus replied taking a sip of his coffee and shivered as the hot drink slipped down his throat. Alec fell quiet and stared at his hands. “On another note, we need some new babysitters.”

Alec nodded in agreement. “Who have we got left?”

“Well, there is Maia...”

“Maia has a lot on her plate at the moment with the pack and applying for that loan for the Pandemonium, remember?"

"Oh, of course! I remember Bat telling me about it now. What about Lily?"

"Maybe, but Lily can only do evenings. What if we're called away for a meeting during the day and we can't take the boys?"

“There’s your parents.” Magnus suggested.

"They're usually busy with Clave business as well." Alec sighed, running his hand through his hair at the back of his head.

“The only option we have left then is Catarina.”

Alec considered the idea and shrugged his shoulders. “She does work with kids at the hospital so she’ll know what to do if something bad happens.”

“And I’ve yet to call in my favours for this decade.” Magnus added as he took another sip of his coffee. “It honestly can’t get any worse.”

“You hope so. I’ve been thinking we’ve been jinxed lately. We’ve had so much bad luck with babysitters.”

Magnus paused with a thoughtful look on his face. “I’ll double-check the loft for foreign hex bags just in case.”

Alec raised an eyebrow at Magnus. “Are you serious?”

Magnus shrugged his shoulders. “Magic can sometimes do strange things to a warlock’s mind, especially if they’re amateurs. I’ll call Catarina in the morning and ask her when she’s free. You go to bed, you look shattered darling.”

“I’ll see you in the morning.” Alec kissed Magnus goodnight and left him to finish his coffee. Magnus threw himself on the couch and picked up his book just as a few sunrays trickled in through the curtains.  

Chapter Text

 

“Who's a scrumptious, delectable baby, eh? Who is it?”

“Lily, you do realise that Max isn't a baby anymore, right?” Alec sighed from his seat at the dining table as he looked over at Lily sitting on the couch next to a very uncomfortable Max. “And I don't think I appreciate you describing him as “delicious” either.”

Lily rolled her eyes at him as she pinched Max's cheeks. “Actually, I described him as delectable, Alec, but you're stressed so I'll forgive your momentary lapse in memory.” She turned and pulled Max into a tight hug. “Oh, little one, I could eat you up!”

“Lily...” Max whined as he tried to wriggle away from her. He was not successful. “Why can't you bother Rafael for once?”

“I'm sure I will once he gets home from his day out with Magnus. Don't you like my hugs, little one?” Lily asked, feeling slightly affronted.

“Of course I do, Lily, but I'm trying to read.” Max pouted as he gestured to the open book in his lap. Lily looked down at the cover of the book with a frown.

“You're reading Harry Potter? Why read the books when you can watch the movies instead?”

“Because I like to read,” Max grumbled as he made one last ditch attempt to peel Lily's arms away from him. “And before you even try, I don't want any spoilers! Not after last time. I'm still not over the spoiler about Harry's godfather yet.”

“Just wait until you get to book five.” Lily grinned. “My goodness, if I could cry, I would have bawled my eyes out when Sirius-”

“No! Stop it! I don't want to know!” Max exclaimed as he scrambled up from the sofa and ran out of the room with his hands clasped over his ears.

Alec raised an eyebrow at Lily who looked back at him and shrugged innocently. “What?”

Maia raised her head tiredly from the table, where for the past hour had been having a much-needed nap. “Could we possibly get on with the meeting now? I need to see Bat later to go over our business plans for the bank tomorrow.”

“Still planning on taking over Pandemonium then?” Lily replied as she reluctantly stood up and threw herself into a chair next to Alec. “I'd better get free drinks on opening night.”

“You can get a free kick up the backside if you hold up this meeting any longer.” Maia muttered under her breath as she sat up straight and turned her attention to Alec. “I’m sorry, I get really grumpy when I’m tired. How long until Magnus gets back?”

“He shouldn't be long now. He called me earlier to say that he was picking up Catarina on his way home, so she can babysit tonight.” Alec said as he spread out a map of New York on the table in front of them. “We've been trying to sort out this deal with the Paris Institute for some time, but we've not been getting anywhere with it until now.”

“And you’re taking Magnus with you to help negotiate?”

“He said he has connections to the monarchy over there. Some favour he did a few centuries back or something. To be honest, when he started talking about a hot air balloon and Marie Antoinette, I stopped trying to keep up with the conversation.”   

Lily scoffed. “Well, good luck with that one then. Speak of the devil.” she added when the front door suddenly opened to let Magnus, Rafael and Catarina through, carrying dozens of shopping bags between the three of them.

Magnus smiled widely as soon as he spotted Alec before he carefully made his way over and pressed a kiss on his temple, trying his best not to knock anything over with his bags. “Good evening darling, I'll just be a moment. Have you packed yet for Paris?”

“Not just yet but I didn't think I'd have to pack much anyway. I thought we were staying in the Paris Institute.” Alec said as he bent to press a kiss to the top of Rafael's head.

Magnus raised an eyebrow at Alec. “Really? We are going to one of the most romantic cities in the world and you thought we were going to be staying in the Institute. Oh, my dear Nephilim, you do make me laugh.”

“I still don't know why you didn't ask me to babysit the little ones. You know I'd love to watch them anytime.” Lily said as she grinned at Rafael and gave him a little wave. The young boy shuffled closer to Alec as he cast wary glances at Lily.

Alec shifted in his seat and lifted the young boy onto his lap, holding the boy comfortingly as Rafael hugged him tightly. “Catarina already offered before we asked.”

A half smile appeared on Catarina's light blue face as she put down her bags in the kitchen. “It has been a while since I've spent any time with them. You can't blame me for not taking a chance to look after them. There's not many years left until they become unbearable teenagers.”

“Excuse me Cat, my sons aren’t going to be unbearable teenagers. Alec’s too much of a disciplinarian to let them get into too much trouble.” Magnus grinned as he squeezed his arms around Alec’s shoulders from behind him in a hug.

“Too much information, guys.” Maia said, scrunching up her nose.

“I beg to differ there, Maia.” Lily announced as she stared interestedly at them with a teasing grin. “Do carry on, guys.”

Alec flushed a deep red as he spluttered out a reply. “I—I’m not. Magnus didn’t mean it like that! I—”

“Relax, I’m only pulling your leg.” Lily said rolling her eyes before she turned to Catarina and let out a sigh. “I suppose you have a point there. There's just something about puberty that turns adorable little angels into evil little devils. Maybe it's the acne.”

Maia made a sudden coughing noise, as if she was clearing her throat before she gazed around the room with a bored expression. “As titillating this conversation may be, can we get a move on now? It's getting really late and some of us need to get up early tomorrow morning.”

“Of course, Maia.” Alec smirked as he nudged Rafael off his lap, who hurried over to the kitchen and started to help put the groceries away.

When it was time for Alec and Magnus to leave for Paris, Alec was pleased to find that their preparations had gone according to plan. Max and Rafael were happily sitting on the sofa with Chairman Meow watching a film whilst Catarina was busy fixing dinner in the kitchen.

“Okay Alec, I'm hoping I can trust you enough to keep Magnus out of trouble whilst you're in Paris.” Catarina smiled as she shot a knowing look at her friend. Magnus rolled his eyes as he gathered their bags together by the front door. “And by Lilith, do not let him anywhere near Notre Dame, not after last time.”

“What happened last time?” Alec asked with a raised eyebrow at Magnus, who shrugged his shoulders with a frown.

Catarina let out a laugh and sent a devilish wink to Alec. “Oh, Nephilim, you do not want to know.”

Magnus turned to them both and crossed his arms in front of his chest. “Don't listen to her Alexander, she's making it up. I've not even been to Notre Dame.”

“Not whilst you were sober.” Catarina smirked.

Magnus shook his head in defeat before he headed over to the sofa. “Alright boys, you be good for Catarina and I'll bring home some presents for you both when your father and I get back.”

“Okay, Papa.” Max smiled as he reached up and pulled Magnus into a tight hug. “Have fun.”

Alec bent down and kissed Rafael's forehead with a smile. “Don't hesitate to call us if you start to miss us.”

Rafael looked up at Alec with a small smile. “We'll be okay. Catarina's here to look after us.”

“Right,” Alec nodded, trying to ignore the slight feeling of rejection that appeared in his chest. He pulled Rafael into a warm hug, holding on to him tightly even when he felt the young boy start to wriggle away.

“Come on, Alexander. Time to go.” Magnus said gently as Alec felt his hand rest on his shoulder comfortingly.

“Okay,” Alec grumbled as he reluctantly let go and stood up. “Alright, boys. We'll see you both soon. I love you both.” He took a deep breath and pressed a quick kiss to Max's forehead. The young warlock smiled up at his dad with a wide toothy grin.

With a round arching wave of his hand, Magnus opened up a portal by the front door. Inside the swirling whirlpool of magic, a dimly lit living room started to appear in front of them. With a cheerful smile, Magnus picked up their luggage and stepped through the portal, dropping their cases next to what looked like a very comfortable armchair. Magnus turned around and peered through the portal. “Come on darling, why are you still standing in New York? You know I can't stand long distance relationships.” Magnus called with a grin.

Alec shook his head with a light chuckle and caught Catarina rolling her eyes. “He makes that joke every time...” she muttered to herself.

With a final wave goodbye to Catarina and his sons, Alec followed Magnus. For just a fraction of a second, Alec thought about turning around and pulling his children through the portal to join them on their trip but as soon as his feet stepped onto the plush carpet of the living room in Magnus's swanky Paris apartment, the portal snapped shut behind him with a quiet pop. Magnus suddenly let out a satisfied huff, as the lights switched on with barely a flicker whilst their luggage levitated through the air into another room. He turned to Alec with a smile and leaned in close, pecking his cheek with a small kiss. “Well, seeing as we're all settled in now, what do you say we order in some takeout and have an early night? Then we can do some sightseeing tomorrow before popping into the Institute to drop off our proposals.”

“Sounds great.” Alec replied with a tight, anxious smile. The boys were going to be fine, he thought calmly in his head as he watched Magnus make his way into the kitchen to find a takeout menu. It wasn't as if they were worried about him and Magnus being in a different country for a couple of days. Alec thought back to Rafael's goodbye just moments ago, remembering how blasé his son seemed to be about them leaving.

No, they certainly weren't worried at all.

Perhaps it was all the rotten luck they previously had with baby-sitters that Alec was now subconsciously expecting something terrible to happen.

“Hmm, what do you fancy Alexander? I can't choose between Coq au vin and Beef Bourguignon.” Magnus asked, his gaze fixated hungrily at the takeout menus in his hands. “No, wait! What about Roasted Duck? It's been ages since I've eaten duck.”

Alec watched Magnus chat happily to him, his words falling on deaf ears as Alec thought about their children back home. It wasn't as if he hadn't been away from them before, and heaven knows how much he and Magnus needed some alone time. But there was still a niggling feeling of doubt in the back of his head urging him that this was a bad idea.

“Earth to Alexander? Hello?” Magnus asked suddenly as he waved his hand in front of Alec’s face.

Alec blinked and gave him a small smile. “Yeah, sounds great. I’m just going to go change into something more comfortable.” Alec replied, gesturing over his shoulder to where their luggage had disappeared through to the bedroom. He turned to go when Alec felt a hand on his arm.

There was a crease on Magnus’s brow as he stared at Alec in concern. “Are you alright with all of this? Being so far away from the kids that is.”

Alec nodded quickly. “Of course, Mags. It’s been ages since we’ve been alone together.”

Magnus sighed and pulled Alec into a chaste kiss. “Catarina has looked after children before and she’s a nurse, so she’ll know what to do in an emergency. I get that you’re worried, but I promise you that they’ll be fine. Just try to relax, darling.”

“I know. I’ll try. I guess I’m just not used to being this far away from them.” Alec sighed, wrapping his arms around Magnus’s waist in a hug. “It’s been so long since we’ve had a break from them without something going wrong.”

“I know. Which is why on this trip, I am going to do everything I can to help you enjoy yourself.” Magnus said as he pulled away, his mouth pulling into a seductive smile. “Why don’t I run you a bath, light some candles, play some romantic music whilst you sit back and relax on the sofa and pick us something to eat? Does that sound fair?”

Alec felt himself begin to relax and gave Magnus a wide smile. “Or we could just skip dinner altogether? I’m not that particularly hungry.”

“Neither am I, now that you mention it.” Magnus grinned mischievously as he began to guide Alec backwards out of the room.

“Or maybe you can join me? In the bathtub, I mean.” Alec said slowly in a suggestive tone.

Magnus let out a small giggle as he pressed his lips against Alec’s in a series of small teasing pecks. “By Lilith, are you trying to seduce me Alexander?” he whispered against his lips.

“Maybe. Is it working?” Alec replied, pressing his body against Magnus’s as he let himself be led through the hallways. Magnus pulled away and gave Alec a look before he snapped his fingers, a dazzling blue flame envelope his fingers. The hallway brightened around them as the door behind Alec suddenly opened to reveal a modern tiled bathroom. Alec raised an eyebrow at Magnus and grinned as he felt Magnus’s hands move to tug at the hem of his well-worn sweater.

“What do you think? Come on, get in there.” Magnus said saucily as he crowded Alec into the bathroom, swiftly kicking the door closed behind them.

 


 

 

Three days into their trip, things had been going well. The proposals that Magnus and Alec had given to the Paris Institute were initially met with sceptical looks but in the end were received well and were in the process of establishing a cabinet. Alec was pleased that things had been gotten off to a good start and with that news, Magnus decided that they should get on with their trip and see some sights.

Although Alec was enjoying being alone with Magnus without having much responsibilities to attend to, Alec was missing his sons. Throughout their whole trip he’d barely heard anything that was going on with his boys, other than they were having fun and that they were safe with Catarina. Every time she called, Alec would ask to speak to the boys and he would spend over an hour each night talking about how their days went, whilst fighting against the tight yearning he felt constricting his chest. Magnus often asked if he was okay after each call with a gentle look of concern on his face, but Alec would smile and nod, and the subject would be dropped. He didn’t want to spoil their trip.

Alec didn’t realise how much it was bothering him until now, when he was lying in bed with Magnus as the late afternoon light filtered in through the windows of Magnus’s apartment.

“By Lilith, Alexander. Promise me we’ll never leave it this long ever again.” Magnus sighed tiredly into the naked tattooed skin of Alec’s chest, their bodies trembling with exhaustion as they slowly caught their breath.

“Yes, definitely. Never again.” Alec replied, his thoughts a little muddled with exhaustion as he gathered Magnus in his arms and pressed a tired kiss against his damp forehead. Alec could feel the soft cotton sheets against his sweaty back as he settled deeper in Magnus’s bed. During their activities they had somehow managed to scatter all the multiple pillows on Magnus’s bedspread around the room, all except one single solitary pillow that they now had to share.

“I mean it, Alexander. Warlocks may not be susceptible to mundane ailments but I’m pretty sure I came close to having a heart attack for a second there.” Magnus looked up at the sound of Alec laughing and felt as if his heart was glowing at the sight. “Why are you laughing Alexander? I’m being completely serious.”

“And I totally believe you.” Alec said as he mockingly nodded his head. Magnus batted one of his bejewelled hands against Alec’s chest, letting it get trapped between Alec’s left pectoral and his hand. A quiet pleasant hush descended upon them as they held each other until Alec shifted his head to whisper into Magnus’s hair. “I’ve missed this, you know. Just us being together. It’s been too long.”

“Yes, I’ve missed having sex with you too Alexander.” Magnus hummed contentedly.

“No, not just that. I mean, holding each other like this. Not having to get up and attend to the boys or go to some urgent meeting. It’s nice to relax like this with you.” Alec said quietly, not wanting to disrupt the hush surrounding them.

“I’ve missed this too.” Magnus sighed. “We should try and do this more often. Maybe have that holiday in Venezuela that I promised you ages ago.”

“What about the boys? We could take them with us.”

“But that defeats the purpose of us going away in the first place, darling. Don’t get me wrong, I would go to Edom and back again and again for our boys if that’s what it took to keep them safe. But even we need a break from them from time to time. You’re only what, twenty-five? Twenty-six? You should be enjoying life as much as you can, while you still can.”

“You mean before I get old and senile.”

“You know that’s not what I meant.” Magnus pressed a comforting kiss to Alec’s lips and smiled contentedly at him. Alec raised his hand and stroked one of his fingers gently across Magnus’s forehead, brushing a long lock of his hair out of Magnus’s golden cat eyes before he kissed him again. Magnus felt a shiver ricochet up his spine, leaving tingles all over his skin.

Magnus gazed into Alec’s deep blue eyes and felt at peace with the world. “You know I love you, right Alexander?”

“Of course. And I love you.” Alec replied.

“Good. I just want you to enjoy yourself whilst we’re here and not let this trip become all about work.” Magnus shifted on the bed so that he was lying on his back with Alec’s head on his chest and his arms wrapped around him like a soft warm quilt. Alec let his fingers trace tiny runes on to Magnus’s chest as his thoughts began to wander.

“Did you see how the boys were when we left? They seemed so calm. Like they weren’t going to miss us or something.” Alec said.

“We’ve only been gone for a few days, Alec. They’ve probably been having so much fun they haven’t even noticed.” Magnus said. Alec felt a sharp sting of pain in his chest at the thought.

“But they’re growing up, aren’t they? One day, they’re going to move out and they’re not going to need us anymore and we’ll barely see them. They’ll have their own lives and possibly have their own children…” Alec sighed, letting his sentence trail off into nothing. “Rafael will be starting his training full time soon and then he’ll be going out into the field and he’ll have to fight demons all on his own. I know this is normal for every Shadowhunter to do, but I just want to keep them safe.”

“I do too, Alexander. I miss them too.” Magnus sighed and pressed a kiss into Alec’s dark hair.

Alec closed his eyes and whispered. “I’m sorry. I’m ruining the mood, aren’t I?”

“You’re not, Alexander, trust me. You can never ruin the mood.” Magnus said as he moved to face Alec and looked at his lover seriously. “Honey, be honest with me, okay? Are you alright?”

“Yes of course…I mean, maybe.” Alec mumbled, his gaze watching his hand trailing up and down Magnus’s arm. “It’s just the last time we left the boys with babysitters, they ended up needing us but now we’ve not heard a word from them. And I know I should feel relieved that they are happy, but I miss being the one they come to for help. I miss not being able to give them a hug or read them a bedtime story or cook them pancakes in the morning.”

“Do you want to go home?” Magnus asked gently.

There was a long quiet pause where everything around them went still before Alec gave a short nod and looked at Magnus apologetically. “I’m sorry. I just need to hold them.”

“Okay, it’s okay.” Magnus kissed Alec’s forehead and stroked the side of his face. “We’ll get dressed and I’ll get us all packed up.”

“Are you disappointed with me?”

“No, never.” Magnus pressed one last kiss on Alec’s lips before slipping out of their bed.

It took Magnus less than an hour to pack up all their luggage, cover all the furniture with white sheets to prevent it from getting dusty and switch off all the essential supplies for the apartment. Alec stood anxiously next to Magnus holding their bags as he twirled his arms in sweeping arches to create a glittering portal in the centre of their living room at home. Alec could just make out the shape of Catarina sitting in an armchair, reading by lamplight before her head looked up at them in surprise.

Alec hurriedly stepped through, his feet landing on familiar carpet and dropped their bags by the couch. Magnus quickly followed behind him and closed the portal with a satisfied sigh.

“Evening Catarina.” Magnus greeted with a smile as he pressed a kiss to her light blue cheek. Alec looked towards the boys shared bedroom door, wondering whether Catarina would mind if he just slipped out of the room to check on them.

“Magnus, Alec. What are you doing back so soon?” Catarina asked with a bemused smile. “Did the trip go well?”

“It went fantastically.” Magnus replied just as Alec spotted their sons’ bedroom door open slowly as Rafael peered through the gap. Upon seeing Alec and Magnus, Rafael let out a gasp and flung the door open as he and Max ran into the living room. Alec crouched down and stretched out his arms ready to catch him.

“Daddy!” Max exclaimed as he threw himself into Alec’s arms. Rafael did the same with Magnus with a wide grin. Alec gathered Max tightly against his chest and grinned, feeling his chest loosen from the yearning he had felt over the time he had been away.

“Hey Blueberry, did you miss us?” Alec felt Max nodding his head against his shoulder and he squeezed tighter. “I missed you too, Max.”

Magnus had just put Rafael on the ground when Alec loosened one of his arms and gathered eldest into another hug. Rafael squeezed back tightly.

“Rafe, honey, I missed you too.” Alec whispered as he kissed his son’s forehead, before using all his strength to lift them up. They barely weighed a bag of potatoes each and Alec had lifted heavier weights in his weekly training at the Institute. Both of his sons clung to either side of him and giggled.

Magnus watched Alec with their sons and smiled gently at the sight. Magnus knew that Alec had been missing their children but seeing them all together made him realise just how much. Magnus reached over and ruffled Max’s dark blue hair in greeting as he caught Alec’s eye. He asked. “Do you want to put them back to bed?”

Alec nodded, his bright blue eyes filled with grateful thanks before he took their sons back to bed. Magnus watched them go for a moment before he turned to Catarina. “Coffee?”

“Decaf, please.” Catarina nodded as she stood and followed him into the kitchenette. Magnus waved his hands in a series of small gestures as mugs, teaspoons and coffee beans danced in the air to the tune of the kettle boiling.

“So,” Catarina began as she leaned against the kitchen counter next to Magnus. “Alec was missing the boys, then?”

Magnus nodded. “He’s a new parent. It was bound to happen.”

“You’re a new parent as well. Were you missing them too?” Catarina asked just as the kettle finished boiling. Magnus snapped his fingers as the boiling water transferred from inside the kettle into the two mugs in front of him, swirling his finger around a teaspoon as the coffee beans dissolved into a muddy liquid.

“Yes, I did. But, I don’t know. It would have been nice to spend just a little bit more time alone with Alec before we came back. Is that selfish of me?” Magnus said as he sipped his drink.

Catarina gave a slow shrug. “I don’t really know. When I had little Ephraim, there were times when I thought I couldn’t manage being a single parent and there were other times when I couldn’t bear to be apart from him. It varied day to day. But in the end our time together was too short. He was only mortal, after all.” 

“I guess you’re right.”

“I am right, Magnus.” Catarina replied with a gentle bump against his shoulder. “Why don’t you help Alec put your boys to bed?”

Magnus shook his head. “No, I’ll let Alec do it tonight. Let him have his time with them. He’s going to have so little time with them, so I’ll let him make the most of it. I’ll wake them up in the morning.”

“All the more reason for you to go now. I know what I’m talking about here, Mags. Go spend time with your family together while you still can.” Catarina said as she firmly nudged him away from the counter. Magnus finally relented and snapped his fingers, quickly vanishing his mug into the sink.

“Very well, if only to put your mind at ease.” Magnus leaned over and gave her a chaste kiss on the cheek.

“Good. Oh, by the way, before I forget. Did you know there was a little green dragon under Rafael’s bed?” 

“What?!”

“Don’t worry, I sent it to the Spiral Labyrinth for the council to look after.” Catarina said as she patted Magnus’s shoulder. He let out a quiet sigh of relief. “You’re welcome, by the way.”

“Let’s not tell Alec about that or he’ll never have them out of his sight.”

“Okay, if you wish. I’m going to head home and leave you guys to it, now that you’re back. I’ll come by after work tomorrow to collect my things.”

“Goodnight Catarina.” Magnus wrapped Catarina in a hug.

“Goodnight Magnus. Give Alec my love for me, won’t you?” she said as she headed towards the front door.

Magnus made his way towards his sons’ room and watched the sight of his small family from the doorway. Alec was sat on Rafael’s bed, the bigger of the two, with a book in his lap and their boys snuggled up on either side of him as he read to them. Alec looked up at Magnus and gestured with a nod of his head for Magnus to join them. Magnus smiled as he walked over and lifted Max onto his lap as he sat next to Alec. The young boy immediately curled into Magnus’s chest and quietly yawned.

“You just arrived in time for the good bit.” Alec whispered in Magnus’s ear. Alec turned over the last page and began to read. “And so, with an almighty crash, the demon fell to the ground and faded away into dust. The shadowhunters had saved the day again and they could all go home to their families to live the rest of their lives in peace.”

“No room for warlocks in those Nephilim fairy tales?” Magnus asked teasingly.

“Well, I’m sure there’s at least one shadowhunter going home to his warlock family.” Alec turned to Magnus and kissed his lips. Magnus smiled against his mouth.

“Can we have another story?” Rafael asked sleepily into Alec’s shirt.

Alec looked over at Magnus questioningly. Magnus snapped his fingers. “Okay, one more. Just for tonight.”