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The Troubles of Family

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“Absolutely not.”

“Alec, c’mon.”

Illuminated by the low light of his office, Alec silently gave up on the remaining reports he was due to finish that night. Instead, he took a long look through the room trying to focus on anything but the person who’d been bothering him with a single, absolutely impossible request.

Thinking back to how his day had begun, he sighed. With Magnus’ body pressed to his back, his warm breath hitting Alec’s neck, it had felt like the beginning of a perfect day. The golden rays of the sun had shone through the curtains, making Magnus’ bronze skin glow in a way that had left Alec breathless. And when those eyes had finally opened, and he had been met with hazy cat eyes and a soft smile, the only logical course of action had been to press sleepy kisses all over Magnus’ beautiful face. An hour later, Magnus had rushed off to breakfast with Luke while Alec had made his way over to the Institute, grin still on his face.

Nevertheless, his hopes for the day had been shattered the moment he reached the Ops centre, and thus, his brother. And now, three hours later, Alec still couldn’t believe the words double date have actually left Jace’s mouth.

“Alec, you’re my brother,” Jace said, Stele flitting between his fingers, “and you’ve never even had a single conversation with my boyfriend.”

His hand rose, but before Alec could voice his protests, Jace cut him off, “Threatening him doesn’t count.”

Taking a seat at the edge of Alec’s desk, Jace picked up the little rainbow flag Alec had surprisingly found in his office after his promotion. In truth, Alec had picked up on a change in Jace weeks ago, a spike of happiness every time he had been off patrol, a surge of warmth on particularly cold nights. Guilt crawled up his throat like bile when he realised that he had never been very nice to Simon after all.

“Look,” Jace continued, “I just want you to meet my boyfriend. And Simon loves Magnus, so I thought it’d be a good idea.”

Sighing, Alec turned off his tablet for good, all work forgotten. Looking up at Jace and seeing him nervously play with his Stele made him reconsider his previous reluctance, and like a true big brother, he caved.

“I’m going home for lunch. I’ll ask Magnus whether he wants to go.”

Grinning triumphantly, Jace pushed off the desk, and pulled his phone out of his back pocket. “Thank you, man. I really appreciate it.” Reaching the door, he stopped once and turned back. “You know if Magnus is working, we can do it another night, doesn’t have to be today.”

“He’s off at three today,” Alec answered absentmindedly, taking the pralines he bought earlier today out of the cupboard under his desk. His words were met with silence, and when he looked up, Jace had an amused smile on his face. “What?”

“Nothing,” Jace said, grin brighter than before, “see you later, brother. Enjoy lunch.”

 

There were many things that Alec expected to see once he arrived at their loft, but a vampire standing in the middle of the living room was not one of them.

“Oh! Hey, Alec. Hey!” Simon said when he saw Alec walk through the door, brows furrowed. “You know I was just talking to Magnus about that double date Jace and you organised and we— and that does not look like a happy face.”

“Where’s Magnus?”

Leaving his shoes at the door, Alec strode into the room. The curtains were wide open, sunlight streaming into the room.

“He’s making some potion for Bat. He’s new to the whole downworlder thing so Maia and I are helping him out a bit, showing him the ropes. You know how it is.”

A nod was all that Alec was willing to give in that moment, and it left them standing in silence. A few moments later, Simon raised his hand again, ready to fall into another anecdote when the door to the study opened.

“There you go— Alexander!”

Meeting Magnus half way, Alec let himself be pulled into a kiss, his hand lingering at Magnus’ neck. Slowly pulling apart, they kept their foreheads pressed together.

“Hey, baby,” Alec murmured, dragging his nose against Magnus’, “how was work?”

“It was good. Better now that you’re here,” Magnus answered, fond little smile on his face. Unfortunately, whatever else they were about to say was interrupted by a vampire underestimating his own speed and running into a cupboard.

“Ow,” Simon yelped, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt. You guys are really sweet, really, it’s just that I really need to take that potion to Bat.”

Pressing a last kiss to Alec’s cheek with a fond eyeroll, Magnus strode forward again, the grace in his body ever present.

“This time,” Magnus continued, “read the instructions carefully, the potion won’t work otherwise.”

Pressing the bottle into Simon’s hand, Magnus briefly raised his own to rest it on Simon’s shoulder. “Give Bartholomew and Maia my best, Simon.”

“I will. Thank you,” Simon said, blinding smile on his face. Alec had to admit that he appreciated his manners. “So, do I just call Luke, you know, because of the payment for— “

“Nonsense,” Magnus interjected, hand cutting Simon off with a flourish, “I’m always happy to help a young werewolf adjust to the Downworld. That being said, I am running low on vampire hair..”

Chuckling, Simon bowed, arms raised, “Take what you need.”

There was an easy familiarity between them, in the way the respect shone in Simon’s eyes, the way Magnus inquired after Simon’s family, his Yom Kippur dinner. Alec watched as the sunlight hit them, bathing their forms in its golden glow. He was momentarily distracted by Magnus’ beauty, by the desire to kiss the fond smile on his face, but then his eyes turned right to the sight of Simon lifting his hand into the rays of the sun. A small smile bloomed on his face, drenched in tragedy. It made Alec remember something Magnus said during one of their late night conversations. The Downworld lives with a shared pain, Alexander.

Fighting the developing lump in his throat, he watched Simon wave at him before speeding back to the door, and disappearing through it. When he turned back to Magnus there was a knowing smile on his face.

“So, that double date..,” Magnus trailed off, stepping closer to Alec.

“Yeah.” Alec sighed.

Frowning, Magnus lead them both to the couch, and once seated raised a hand to Alec’s cheek.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, it’s just..” Alec answered, taking a moment to kiss Magnus’ palm, “I love our dates because it’s just us. Together. Sharing this with someone else feels.. weird.”

“You know we don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”

“No, I do.” Alec shook his head with a chuckle. “I think it’s time to finally meet my brother’s boyfriend. Jace has been talking about him nonstop for weeks. I can’t hold it off any longer.”

Turning around, Alec laid back against Magnus’ chest, strong arms immediately wrapping around him. Suddenly, a soft melody began playing in the background, and everything seemed bearable again.

“You and Simon.. seem close,” Alec said after a few seconds of silence. He felt a kiss being pressed into his hair.

“We are,” Magnus began, “Simon had been lost when he first came to me, and Camille had already tried to sink her claws into him. I offered to help him find his place. He did most of the work himself, but I’m not one to refuse rightful praise no matter how small the part I played.”

Chuckling, Magnus dragged his hand up Alec’s torso, until it reached his own hand lying on his chest. Their fingers tangled together, fitting perfectly into the space inbetween. And as Magnus’ thumb gently started caressing Alec’s skin, his voice grew softer as well.

“He reminds me of myself, sometimes. A young boy who is thrown into this new world, alone, without any guidance. I won’t let anyone else suffer through it on their own.”

Alec felt his chest expand, adoration and admiration rushing into him. In moments like these, he could scarcely believe that he was the one allowed to hold the strongest of hearts in his shaking hands. Then, Alec became all too aware of the smirk being pressed against his hair. There was something else, something that Magnus had---

“So, we’re really going on that double date then?”

“We are,” Magnus said, amusement strong in his tone.

“Babe,” Alec whined.

“Don’t babe me,” Magnus admonished, “You’re going to like Simon. I know it.”

A few seconds, and Alec looked up, worrying at his bottom lip. “You sure?”

“Yes, absolutely. I promise you.”

“I trust you,” Alec answered with as much conviction he could pour into his voice. Turning his head slightly, he pressed his lips to Magnus’ cheek. “We still have a little time, don’t we?”

Magnus’ hum reverberated through Alec’s whole body, just as the warmth when he finally pressed his lips to Alec’s own. Seconds turned into minutes, and lunch was soon forgotten.

 

The Hunter’s Moon was filled with chatter, easily overpowering the low music playing through the jukebox in the corner of the room. It was loud and slightly chaotic, exactly the way Alec remembered it to be. He sent a smile to Maia at the bar, who threw both of them a wink, before spotting Simon waving at them from a booth to the far right. Immediately, he was full of determination to turn right back around, but was dragged forward by Magnus and their intertwined hands.

“Alec! Magnus! Hey!” Simon’s voice carried through the space between them. There was a bright smile nearly splitting his face in two, and a slight flush to his cheek that told Alec, as he had expected from Jace, that they had been there a while longer already.

“Hello, Simon,” Magnus said, nudging Alec until he gave a short nod. Pursing his lips, he took a look around the room.

“Hey! Jace is getting us drinks. Well, us as in us two. We didn’t know what you liked, well Jace said Alec doesn’t like anything but I know you guys go out drinking together, so I’m pretty sure that’s not true. But then I’ve never seen him drink, and I didn’t want to— “

“I’m going to get us,” Alec interrupted, gesturing between Magnus and himself, “some drinks.”

He took a moment to press a kiss to Magnus’ cheek before making his way over to the bar, occasionally greeting the people he recognized from previous visits. Jace wasn’t hard to spot, considering that he attracted the annoyed looks from all other people at the bar for keeping Maia in a heated discussion.

“I’m not asking for a free drink, Maia, I would never do that.”

“He says, while asking for a free drink.”

“Jace, stop bothering Maia, she’s got a job to do,” Alec said, amusement colouring his features. Leaning against the bar, he watched Jace give him an affronted look.

“Betrayed by my own Parabatai, my brother,” he said dramatically, pressing a hand to his chest.

Rolling his eyes, Alec greeted Maia with a smile before turning back to Jace. “You’re spending too much time with Simon.”

“I can never spend too much time with Simon.”

Suddenly, two glasses were placed in front of them, and Alec smiled at the sight of them. For a moment, memories of the nights spent testing various drinks came to his mind. Magnus’ delighted laughter when Alec spit out the whiskey he tried at the distillery they visited, the fondness when he kissed Magnus with wine stained lips. Fancy drinks suit you well, Alexander.

“Two glasses of champagne for Magnus’ favourite Shadowhunter,” Maia said, deliberately ignoring Jace’s indignant protests.

“Thank you,” Alec answered. He was almost out of his seat when his gaze fell on Magnus across the room. The low light made his skin glow gold, and when he threw back his head to laugh at something Simon had said, Alec couldn’t help but let out a small sigh.

“You’ll have to wait that’s his ‘I just saw my boyfriend’ look, he’ll be back in a minute,” Jace explained, smirk on his lips.

“Shut up.” Alec countered intellectually, “Thank you, Maia. Could I get a whole bottle, please?”

“Coming right up.”

He threw her another thankful smile, already laying the money onto the counter. Jace was quick to grab him by his arm, leaning into his space.

“Dude,” he said, “that’s a huge tip. I’m pretty sure even the Head of the Institute doesn’t get paid that much.”

Taking the bottle from Maia, as well as the two glasses off the counter, Alec turned, already making his way back to the table before throwing his next words over his shoulder.

“My boyfriend’s rich.”

 

To Alec’s surprise, talking to Simon was easy. He had always thought him too wordy, but his enthusiasm was infectious, and he found himself laughing along to whatever story he told. It helped that Magnus had a permanent smile on his face, and if Alec missed the ending of several jokes because he was too busy staring at his man’s beautiful face, no one was the wiser. One hour turned to two, to three, and when Magnus ordered their second bottle of champagne, he felt the alcohol buzzing in his blood.

“Wait a second,” Alec said, hands raised as if he had just experienced the most riveting epiphany. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw Magnus slowly put his glass back onto the table. “Simon. If Magnus is like a father figure to you, does that mean... that I'm your stepfather?”

“Oh my god.”

“Alec, no.”

“Alexander..”

Not one to be deterred, Alec turned to Magnus, his raised hands coming to rest on his shoulders. His very broad.. focus, Alec.

“I will take good care of Simon, Magnus. I promise.”

“Thank you, Alexander,” Magnus said, gaze just as serious as Alec’s. There was, however, a slight twitch to his lips that Alec missed, too focused on bringing his words across.

“Magnus,” he continued, “I want to have your children.”

“Alexander,” Magnus brought his own hands up to cup Alec’s face, “that’s not how it works.”

“Magnus,” Alec tried a second time, “I want to adopt your children.”

“That’s.. better, surprisingly.”

“Does that mean I get to call Alec Dad now?”

Magnus kept Alec’s eyes on him when they grew wide, but he still saw Jace turn Simon’s face to him, shaking his head fondly. A few whispered words and their lips met, both smiling into the kiss. However, this made it possible for him to miss Alec very elegantly reaching for their last pizza slice and throwing it at Jace’s head.

“No smooching my son, Jace!”

Putting his head in his hands, Magnus took a deep breath, but even that couldn’t prevent the giggles from spilling past his lips. He was in the midst of trying to block out the sounds of kissing from the two men in front of him when he was startled by the face nuzzling into his shoulder blades.

“Don’t be mad at me, Magnus,” Alec murmured, face pressed into his back.

Turning slowly, Magnus wrapped his arms back around Alec, one hand on his neck pulling him closer. “I’m not mad. What makes you say that?”

“I’m not a good father,” Alec clarified, pouting.

Pushing their foreheads together, Magnus kissed the pout off his mouth, “You’ll be a wonderful father, baby.” Another kiss to his nose, and Alec was beaming again. “Actually, if you want we could visit Catarina and Madzie tomorrow? I’m sure she’ll be delighted to see her uncles again.”

Smile growing impossibly wider, Alec grabbed Magnus’ lapels and pushed their lips together.

Their laughter brought the kiss to a quick end, and Alec leaned back, surveying the people before him. The love of his life, his brother, his.. close friend he supposed, it couldn’t be more perfect. He was proven wrong mere seconds later when their laughter filled their shared space. Alec closed his eyes briefly, revelling in the happiness around him. The way Jace and Simon seemed to fit together so well, the way Magnus’ laughter was genuine and beautiful. Opening them again, he was met with Magnus’ gentle smile, the light hitting him just right, framing his face, his goatee. He looked like liquid gold, like a painting drawn with as much love as the artist could muster. But with all his beauty, the one thing that made Alec’s heart beat faster, made his breathing heavier, was the kindness in Magnus’ eyes as he moved his hand to softly caress Alec’s shoulder.

Something slotted into place in that moment. And a feeling Alec had known for a long while finally made itself clear.

This is the man I am going to marry. This is my family.