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Universally Acknowledged

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Alec didn’t know how he would survive the day Magnus, Simon, and Raphael returned to Idris. He was up with the sun, tending to all his chores, but finished them before lunch.  He didn’t even know if the men would come past the Lightwood’s home or just continue on to duMort but he refused to leave in case he missed them.  Izzy wasn’t much better and in the end, Jace and Clary went to visit her parents rather than deal with the two Lightwoods who couldn’t sit still.  

A letter arrived mid-afternoon, inviting the entire family for dinner out at duMort.  The unexpected invitation sent Maryse into a tizzy, trying to decide what to wear and what everyone else should wear as well.  Eventually, Alec took her by the shoulders and assured her that everything was going to be fine.  “Just show up there and try not to get anyone engaged during the dinner.  If you pull that off, it will be just fine.”

Maryse looked slightly scandalized but recovered well, even blushing a little at the reminder of how impatient she had been to get her eldest children in married.  Particularly when, in the end, it was Jace who married first.  “I know, Alec,” she admitted.  “But I don’t want to make things any worse.  I know I didn’t come off very well the last time I met them and I would like to make amends.”

“You will find that Magnus and Simon are both very forgiving people.  Raphael will be harder to win over but you will do it eventually.  Just remember he will be difficult and to not get frustrated.”  It was strange, ever since his admission about his and Magnus’ relationships, he felt stronger in his relationship with his mother as well.  He didn’t need to cow to her every whim in order to be a good son and even stood up for himself more often, knowing that in the end, he decided what was best for his life, not anyone else.

Maryse nodded and went to finish getting ready.  At least calming down his mother (and his sister who was almost as bad but panicking for entirely other reasons) gave Alec something to focus on other than his own nerves.  

He knew Magnus loved him, and he loved Magnus.  Nothing would come between them, but after being apart for so long, he worried.  He just needed to see Magnus, Alec reasoned, and all those nerves would be behind him.  

Max was not thrilled about having to go to a formal dinner with a bunch of adults, so Alec sent him to find Clary and Jace at the Garroway’s temporary home.  If Jace and Clary wanted to come to dinner, then Max would have to come too.  But if they chose to stay home, Max could stay with them.  It was their decision.  He grinned and ran off, seemingly thankful for even a chance to avoid having to go to duMort.  

Not that Alec could blame him.  Stuffy dinners were no more his thing than they were Max’s, but Alec had an added incentive that Max did not and it motivated him to tie his tie and don his best jacket and hat.  While the invitation did not say formal attire specifically, everyone agreed it was at least implied, based on the fineness of the paper and the fact that a butler in a suit hand delivered it to their home.  

“Do you think he’s going to ask tonight?” Izzy asked Alec as he helped her into the carriage.  “I mean, is this just a dinner to welcome themselves back to Idris or do you think there is some other purpose here?  What has Magnus told you in those letters you two send back and forth constantly?”  Alec blushed and Izzy rolled her eyes fondly, “You’d better keep those locked up, brother.  Just because we are accepting doesn’t mean everyone else needs to know what goes on between you two.”

“They’re locked in my desk, Isabelle.  No one else will see them, I promise.”  He kissed her cheek and closed the door behind her and Maryse before climbing into the driver’s seat and heading for duMort Park.

The home was lit up like a Christmas tree, candles and lamps burning in every window that made it warm and inviting after the long ride.  Alec stepped down to help his sister and mother from the carriage to find that Simon beat him to it.  He and Izzy smiled brightly at one another and Alec watched the scene with joy in his heart for his sister’s happiness.  

So lost in watching Isabelle and the love of her life reunite that Alec didn’t notice someone coming up behind him until soft, warm hands covered his eyes.  “Guess who?” purred a voice in his ear and Alec’s heart jumped into overdrive, spinning around to see Magnus standing there, more beautiful than ever.  “Hello, darling.”

“Magnus,” he breathed out.  He wanted to lean in and kiss him, to pull him into an embrace and never let him go.  But with everyone standing there, never having seen any displays of affection between the two men, Alec held back, his fingers twitching towards Magnus, even as he kept his distance.  

“Simon?” Magnus called, not looking away from Alec as he spoke.  “Why don’t you show our guests inside and I will help Alec get the carriage to the garage?”  Simon’s chuckle at that had Alec blushing deeper and Magnus grinned at him.  “Is that alright with you, Alexander?  It looked like you could use some help.”

Swallowing heavily, Alec nodded.  He glanced at his family - his sister who grinned proudly, and his mother who looked conflicted but determined to support him - and turned back to Magnus.  This was the life he’d chosen and Alec would never once regret it.  “I’d like that, thank you, Mr. Bane.”  Judging by the way Magnus’ eyes darkened slightly at the formality, Alec knew exactly what Magnus thought about that.

He climbed back up onto the driver’s seat and Magnus followed a moment later, the two of them wedged in tightly, Magnus’ leg pressed against his own in a way that was familiar and comforting.  Encouraging the horses forward, he looked straight ahead, afraid that if he looked at Magnus when they were so close, he would lose all self-control.

Arriving at the carriage house, Magnus jumped down and offered his hand to Alec who took it as he too climbed to the ground.  “Take care of the carriage for Mr. Lightwood, would you?” Magnus asked the staff who nodded and got to work.  With Magnus’ hand still firmly in his own, Alec followed him deeper into the carriage house and behind one of Simon’s own vehicles.  Once shielded from view, Magnus pushed Alec against the wall and kissed him, full of all the desire and love that pent up while they were apart.

“Three weeks was too long, Alexander,” Magnus said as he kissed down Alec’s neck, grinding his hips invitingly against Alec’s.  “I didn’t think I would make it.  I almost just left Simon behind and came up here to get you.  We are never parting again, darling.”

“No, we aren’t,” Alec agreed, guiding Magnus face back up to his to kiss him once more.  “I told my mother.  She knows and is...accepting, in her own way.  She is trying to understand, she’s trying to be better.”  

“Darling, you know I love you, but I really don’t want to talk about your mother right now.”  Alec grinned against Magnus’ lips and stopped talking in the best way he knew, by kissing his lover.  The kisses were frantic and messy, the two men too happy to be coordinated at that moment.  

Unfortunately, when Magnus’ hands started to go to Alec’s shirt, Alec had to push him back, slightly.  “Magnus, I want to continue this, but dinner?”  Their families were waiting for them and while he knew most of them understood the excitement Magnus and Alec were feeling, Alec wanted to be there in case Simon needed to ask him anything.  Or ask him one thing in particular.   “After they go home tonight, though, I am all yours.”

“Does that mean you’re staying?”  Magnus’ eyes shone with hope and Alec kissed his forehead, wanting to convey everything he felt for Magnus.

Smiling, he nodded, “I believe I told you when I left London that when we were reunited, I was never leaving you again.  If you don’t wish for me to stay here in the home with your brothers, I will understand and we can wait until we leave for Edom but...”

He was cut off by Magnus’ finger over his lips.  “I want nothing more than for you to stay with me tonight and always.  Simon and Raphael will understand.  I love you, Alexander.”  

Alec remembered how he’d wanted to say that to Magnus when he left London and Magnus wouldn’t let him, telling him to wait until they were together again.  Now, here, hearing those words brought the biggest smile to his lips and he nodded, “I love you too, Magnus.  Dinner?”

The two of them smoothed out their clothes and linked their hands together as they walked back to the home, shooting silent smiles at one another.  

Inside the home, they dropped their hands but stayed close.  While everyone there knew of the relationship, and the full extent of said relationship, public displays of affection would have been frowned upon, even if they were a man and a woman.  Alec didn’t want to break any more social barriers than absolutely necessary.  “Sorry for the delay,” he smiled, nodding at his mother and sister.  Maryse simply nodded back while Izzy beamed at him.  Simon’s smile was almost as bright while Raphael rolled his eyes, a soft smirk tugging at his lips.

“Please sit and we can start supper.”  Simon gestured to the seats and Alec was pleased to find he’d be sitting between Raphael and Magnus.  “I hope you don’t mind mediating between those two,” Simon laughed.  “They have been fighting like children since we left London.”

“Until Magnus apologizes for insulting my clothing, I want nothing to do with him,” Raphael said haughtily and Alec barely kept himself from laughing.  It was so much like watching him and his siblings interact that he felt at home almost immediately.  He could easily be part of this family, he realized, looking at Magnus who was arguing with Raphael.  And after tonight, he would be part of this family.  Because he wasn’t returning home.  He was staying here and this would be his life.

“Magnus,” he said calmly, “do you also hate all my clothes?”  He’d caught the tail end of Magnus’ rant, something about Raphael putting in the barest effort to make himself look good.  Something Alec also did.  Even when he was dressed up, there was often ink on his hands and under his fingernails and his hair was never neatly styled, no matter how hard he tried.  

Magnus’ eyes went wide, and he reached up to cup Alec’s cheek, thumb stroking lightly down his cheekbone.   “No, darling, of course not.  You look gorgeous no matter what you are or are not wearing.” Their attention was drawn away from one another when Maryse choked on her wine and Alec remembered that they weren’t alone.

Even Magnus blushed a little, something Alec found endlessly attractive.  “My apologies, Mrs. Lightwood.  I forgot my place for a moment.  I do hope you understand, though, just how beautiful your son is, inside and out.  My life is better for having met him.”  At some point in his speech, Magnus turned to look at Alec, who quickly lost himself in his lover’s eyes.  Whenever he looked at Magnus, everything else fell away and all Alec felt was warmth and joy.

“I can see how much you two mean to each other,” Maryse said.  “And while I do not understand this, and am not sure I ever will if this is what makes Alec happy, I will be as supportive as I can.”  It was the same thing Maryse had said to him the day he told her about their relationship, but hearing her say it to Magnus made it all the more real.  

Magnus took Alec’s hand under the table and gave it a quick squeeze.  They smiled at each other before Alec turned to his mother, “That’s all I ask, Mom.  He makes me happy and I hope that is enough for you.”  

“And your son makes me happy, as well,” Magnus replied.  “You have raised a wonderful man and I hope you are proud.”  Izzy cooed as the dinner was brought out to them, plates set in front of each person and they began eating.  The food was exquisite and Alec briefly wondered if this was what his and Izzy’s lives were going to be like now.  Fancy food, the table filled with family and friends, large houses and smiles that never left their faces.  It almost seemed too good to be true, but as he felt Magnus’ hand creeping up his thigh, he knew this was in fact happening and he was the luckiest man in the world.

With bellies full, they all sipped their tea and chatted amongst each other when Simon stood abruptly.  “Mr. Lightwood, could I have a word with you?”  Beside him, Isabelle looked nervously between Simon and Alec, and even though Alec felt certain he knew what this was about, he still hoped that he gave the right answer, the one that would lead to his sister’s unending happiness.  

“Of course,” he smiled, standing and excusing himself from the table.  Magnus gave him a soft smile and squeezed his hand lightly.  Alec nodded back to him and then followed Simon from the room.  The walk was tense, all his nerves for his sister boiling inside him.  Not that Alec had any doubts as to what he would say.  Without a doubt, he wanted Simon and Izzy to marry.  It was clear how much they loved one another, and it was clear that the happiness of the other person was their main priority.  Isabelle had so much love to give, love she’d bestowed upon her brothers for so long, and love that she would now direct towards the man who would be her husband.

Reaching Simon’s office, Alec stepped inside, accepting the seat offered to him.  “Mr. Lightwood,” Simon started, clearly nervous.

“Simon, I think we are past those formalities now, don’t you think?” Alec asked, a small smile on his lips as he attempted to lighten the mood.  “We’re family, are we not?”  Even without Simon’s pending proposal to his sister, Alec considered himself all but married to Magnus, which would make Magnus’ brothers his brothers as well.  

Simon relaxed and nodded, “Yes, I suppose we are.  I wanted to thank you for everything.  For coming here over the months whenever I wanted to see Isabelle.  For sitting through Rebecca’s games that I cannot apologize enough for.  For loving my brother the way he has deserved for so long, but never found the right person.  Until you.  So thank you, Alec.  I want you to know, that whatever your answer is, I am proud to consider you my family.”

Alec nearly blurted out his reply immediately but he could see Simon steeling himself to ask the question he needed to get out, so he waited as patiently as he could for him to gather his thoughts.  “Your sister is the most remarkable woman I’ve ever met.  Her kind heart is equaled only by her sharp mind.  I don’t know what I did to win her affections but I will never question how lucky I am to have her.  I was wondering if I might have permission to ask her hand in marriage.”  

Seeing Simon visibly trembling in front of him, any thought of delaying went right from Alec’s mind.  “Simon, I would love for you to marry my sister.  I’ve never seen her happier than when she is with you, and I believe you both deserve the joy that you bring to each other.  Of course, you can marry my sister.  But you have to ask her first.  I’m not going to risk getting in trouble with her for beating her to the punch.”  

Simon laughed and nodded, and Alec could see how happy he was at the mere thought of marrying Izzy.  “Thank you, Alec.  Thank you.  I...I can’t wait to ask her.  Do you think I could ask her tonight?  Is that too soon?”

A thought popped into Alec’s mind and he laughed heartily, causing Simon’s brow to furrow.  “No, I don’t think it’s too soon, Simon.  Particularly when you consider that before we even met you, I told my mother I would simply send you a letter that gave you permission to marry Isabelle whenever you wished.”  Simon’s confusion only grew deeper and Alec continued, “I thought it was just another of my mother’s schemes and I attempted to call her out on it.  Of course, it was, and she made that clear several times that you marrying Izzy was more important than anything else, but even I can see the love between the two of you.  I would never come between that.”

He looked at Simon and his humor dissipated a little, “I also want to thank you.  I know that it can’t be easy to hear all the rumors and stories that circulate about your brother, and yet, you stand by him.  I know it is only going to get worse when I move to Edom and people begin to speculate about what that means.  So thank you for being Magnus support through everything leading up to this point, and thank you for loving my sister despite knowing I’m only going to make things more difficult.”

“Alec, you are making things so much better and I don’t know how you can’t see that.”  Simon leaned forward, steepling his hands, he smiled.  “Magnus smiles so much now.  You should have seen him pouring his heart out to you in those letters the last few weeks, and the giddiness every time he received one from you.  I would put up with any amount of gossip in order to see my brother happy like that.  So don’t ever feel like you need to thank me when I feel like I should be the one thanking you.”

Standing, Simon pulled him into a hug.  While Alec generally hated people touching him, right now, he couldn’t help but hug him back.  He’d found love and acceptance for who he was in a family that wasn’t his own, a family that would soon include Izzy among their ranks as well.  Alec didn’t think this kind of happiness was possible and tears burned his eyes as he blinked them away.

As they hugged, a small knock sounded at the door and Magnus walked in a moment later.  “My lover and my brother, caught in an embrace.  Whatever shall I do?” he laughed, smiling at them both.  “This may be even too scandalous for me.”

“Is there anything too scandalous for you, Magnus?” Alec laughed, too happy to feel any concern over his words and how they might be taken.

Thankfully, Magnus understood the joke for what it was and simply nodded, stepping closer to him.  “There might be but that would be something for you and me to discuss away from Simon’s innocent ears.”

Those innocent ears burned bright red at the implications of what Magnus said and he hurried from the room.  “I’m...going to go back to dinner now.  If you do any of, um, that, can you take it to your room first, please?  Because, this is my office and I don’t want you to ruin it.”

Alec was blushing just as bright as Simon and buried his face against Magnus’ neck.  He felt his lover laugh as Magnus wrapped his arms around him.  “I give you my word, we will not desecrate your office, Sherman.  Now, go away and let me kiss Alexander before we have to go back to the party and be proper once more.”

Simon took that cue and vanished almost immediately, probably relieved to be away from them.  Alec smiled, relieved to be away from prying eyes, and pulled back to look at Magnus with absolute love and devotion.  “I love you, Magnus.  I know we can’t marry but when we get home to Edom, can we do some sort of ceremony?  Even if it is just for the two of us.  I want to call you my husband, if only in the privacy of our own home.”

“I’ve already thought it over, Alexander.  If that is what you want, I have an idea in mind.”  Magnus captured Alec’s lips and the two of them kissed softly, lost in the feeling of the man he loved.  When they broke apart, Alec rested his forehead against Magnus’.  “We really should get back to the party.  I think your brother is about to propose to my sister and I don’t want to miss it.”

“I don’t want to miss it either,” Magnus agreed, stealing one last kiss before heading for the door.  “Do you ever think how lucky we are?” he asked as they walked down the hall.  “We don’t have to worry about ceremonies and certificates, for blessings and nuptials in order to share our love with one another.  It will be at least a month before Simon can take your sister to bed, while tonight I can have you in my arms in whatever state of undress we like.”

“Magnus, I really don’t want to think about what my sister and Simon might get up to someday in their bedroom.  Particularly not in the same sentence regarding what we do in the bedroom together.”  

Magnus grinned and leaned in, “What we are going to do once this party is over.  It’s been three long weeks, Alexander.  I’ve missed you.  Including that beautiful body of yours.”

“Yes, you made that clear in your letters,” Alec laughed, trying to sound aloof but the blush gave him away.  “But I missed you too.”

The two of them were still grinning at one another when they returned to the room.  The conversation halted when all the eyes turned to them and Magnus gave a little bow, something Alec rolled his eyes about.  He loved Magnus; the dramatic, center-of-attention that he was.

Simon seemed to take the lull in conversation as a cue and dropped to his knee next to Izzy.

“Isabelle Sophia Lightwood, I love you with all my heart and soul.  I want nothing more than to love you for the rest of our lives.  It would be my honor to be your husband if you would take me as such.  Izzy, will you marry me?”

No one made a sound, waiting for Izzy to reply.  She took a moment, a long deep breath before Izzy grinned and jumped into his arms.  “Yes!  Yes, Simon, I will marry you!  I love you!”’  Simon slipped a ring on Izzy’s finger and Alec wondered if he’d ever seen his sister smile as broadly as she was in that moment.

Tears burned at Alec’s eyes as he watched his sister accept the love of her life’s proposal.  And when she turned on him and pulled him into a hug.  “Thank you, Alec,” she laughed through her tears, kissing his cheek.  “I told you we would get our men.”

“Yes, you did.  You’re very smart, Iz.”

The rest of the night was spent with Simon, Maryse, and Izzy talking about the wedding, while Magnus and Alec cuddled close on the couch, talking with Raphael.  Well past midnight, Alec yawned and tucked his head against Magnus’ neck, hearing his lover’s soft chuckle.  “If you will excuse us, I’m going to take this one to bed.  Simon, might I recommend the rooms Isabelle and Alexander stayed in last time.  It would be unsafe for Mrs and Miss Lightwood to return home tonight.”

“Alec?” Maryse asked, looking over at her eldest.  “You won’t be returning home?”

“No, Mother, we discussed this.”  Alec didn’t want to talk about this in front of everyone.  “When Magnus returned, I was going to be moving in with him.  He’s here.  He’s my home now.”  Seeing the moisture in Magnus’ eyes, Alec smiled warmly at him.  “We can talk about this in the morning.  Right now, we’re going to bed.  Good night mom.  Iz.  Simon and Raphael, have a lovely night.”  He laced his fingers with Magnus’ and tugged him out of the room, and into the next stage of his life.