Alec had bought the ring after they’d been dating for three weeks.
He’d seen it in a display window and it had immediately caught his eye, the yellow color of the center stone reminding him of Magnus so much he'd lost his breath just a little. Before he'd really thought about it, Alec was paying for the ring. Only once he'd been handed the ring in its small velvet box did he really realize what he'd done, how it might seem to the jeweller smiling at him. He'd blushed and hurried out of the store, box shoved deep into his pocket so Izzy’d have no chance to see it once he got back to the Institute.
Once he made it back, Alec hid the box in the very back of his t-shirt drawer. No one would check there for anything and he could try to forget about how he slipped up and let himself think about something like marriage so early on. There were already so many forces working against them, he didn't need his own hasty feelings messing something up between them.
It wasn't until weeks later, after the ordeal with the Soul Sword and after Magnus made his choice that Alec let himself think about what the ring meant. He was wallowing and he knew it. He also knew he didn't have time to sit in his bedroom crying over the engagement ring he hadn't meant to buy, but he was gay and heartbroken. There were concessions to be made in these kinds of situations.
That's how his mother found him, just staring at the stupid ring with tear tracks still on his cheeks. He didn't even look up when she came in, assuming it was Izzy coming to check on him. Which was stupid. They'd all seen him after Magnus left. It wasn't the kind of thing he'd just be fine with in a few hours. Case in point: everything he was currently doing.
Maryse coming to see him, though, that was a surprise. He finally looked up when she sat next to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. When he looked at her, he could see something in her eyes that just broke him more. For the first time in years Alec collapsed in his mother's arms, sobbing hard and loud as she rubbed his back and made some nonsense soothing sounds. It hit him for maybe the 78th time in the past hour just how much losing Magnus hurt, and this only drove the point home a little more.
When he finally had it together enough to pull out of her arms, Alec could barely meet Maryse’s eyes. Luckily enough for him, she wasn't looking at his eyes. Instead, she was staring at the ring he was still holding. The ring that, to anyone who wasn't Alec distracted by thoughts of his boyfriend, was very clearly an engagement ring.
Well, the mother-son bonding was great while it lasted.
When Maryse finally met Alec’s eyes again, there wasn't any disgust or anger or disapproval like he'd expected. Instead, his heartbreak almost seemed to be reflected in her face. Confusing, to say the least. Of everything he'd expected his mother to feel about his warlock boyfriend ending it between them, sympathy wasn't really on the list. But here she was, looking like her heart was breaking for him. Because he was holding an engagement ring. For his ex-boyfriend. Who is a warlock. Surprise after surprise today.
Some of his surprise must have shown on his face, because Maryse took his hand and said, “I know I've told you how your father proposed, but I never told you that, when he did propose, we'd been seeing each other for something like 6 weeks at that point. We fell so fast and it was so perfect, just everything I'd ever dreamt of. He swept me off my feet, you know, ” she looked far away, thinking about the beginning of her marriage. Alec started to wipe away his tears, waiting for her to go on. She shook herself out of it and continued, “Alec, we're Lightwoods. We break noses and we accept the consequences. We also fall hard and fast and we only love once. It's this great, all-consuming feeling and it's worth fighting for, Alec.”
Alec was speechless. He really wasn't expecting that, and, if her smile was anything to go by, she knew it. “I'm sure you think I wanted something like this to happen. I haven't exactly been supportive of you since you came out, and for that I'm truly sorry. I can see now how serious you are about him, Alec, and I'd be the worst kind of mother to be anything other than elated that you've found that love. I also think I need to tell you, as a bit of mother's wisdom: this heartbreak won't last forever. We can all see how much Magnus loves you. It looks bleak right now, but as soon as he can I'm sure Magnus will come back to you. And when he does, it looks like you'll be ready,” she said, smiling again.
He could only curl back into her arms, too overwhelmed to respond. They stayed like that for a few minutes before Maryse pulled away, placing a kiss on his forehead and standing. Just before she left his room, she turned and said, smile on her face once more, “The ring is beautiful, Alec. Magnus will love it.”
Alec watched her go before pulling out his phone and sending a text to Magus that hopefully wouldn’t ruin everything.
Alec couldn’t bring himself to change Magnus’ contact name and he couldn’t bring himself to hide the ring away again either. As stupid as it was, he wanted it near him. Like, on his person at all times. Again, he was gay and heartbroken. Concessions.
It was only a matter of time before Izzy found him out, and quite frankly it was almost disappointing that it took her so long. They might have been in the middle of a war but she was really off her game. She would almost certainly make up for the time lost with the pure dramatics she brought when she finally did find it.
“Alec, Mom said you need t-” Izzy barged into his room at what some might call the absolute worst moment possible. Others (Izzy) would call it the most opportune moment in human history, but they would be wrong. Alec, who had been moping and brooding over the ring for the 10th time that week, nearly threw the thing clear across his room when Izzy rushed in, and he knew immediately there would be no way to explain away what he was doing. He was going to have to face all of Izzy’s feelings on the subject. Doom and despair were imminent.
“Oh my God. Alec. Is that. Oh my God,” Izzy was struggling for words and all Alec could do was wait for the inevitable Feelings Talk they would have over this. “When were you gonna propose to Magnus?” she finally blurted out, then slapped her hands over her mouth. Alec could feel heat rush to his face. Of all the questions Izzy could have asked, that one was maybe the most embarrassing to explain.
“I, uh, wasn't,” he blushed more, rubbed at the back of his neck, “I just sort of, um, bought it without really thinking.” He realized that having a plan to propose to Magnus would make the whole situation just a little less ridiculous, but he obviously wasn't very good at planning for anything when it came to Magnus. Disaster gay indeed.
“You just… bought an engagement ring… without really thinking?”
“Yeah, I mean. The stone reminded me of his eyes and I just…” he trailed off. There was no good justification for buying an engagement ring for your boyfriend of 3 weeks, even if it did remind you of his eyes.
At this, Izzy seemed less excited and more sad for him now. Which was just great. She sat down next to him on his bed and took his hands. They sat quietly like that for a few minutes before Izzy shifted suddenly. Alec braced himself for her next question, which didn't disappoint.
“When exactly did you buy that? Because you guys haven't been together since Max got hurt and that was like a week ago,” she asked. Alec couldn't bring himself to answer her, and his silence was only making her anticipation worse. “Alec, seriously, when did you buy that? You guys were only dating for like a month, I didn't think-”
Alec still couldn't meet her eyes and he was blushing like never before, but he finally said, as quietly as possible, “Three weeks after the wedding.”
Izzy’s gasp was too loud in the quiet of Alec’s room and he really just wanted the teasing over with already so he could go back to missing Magnus and being sad over the ring that didn't quite match his eyes. There was no way Izzy would let it go that easily, though. He had years of teasing ahead of him if he knew his sister at all.
“Three weeks? Did you say three weeks? Alec Lightwood, did you buy your first ever boyfriend, Magnus Bane, High Warlock of Brooklyn, an engagement ring after three weeks of dating? Three weeks?” She was only picking up steam, and all Alec could do was nod miserably. He knew it was ridiculous. She knew it was ridiculous. Restating that fact wasn't getting them anywhere. ”Alec, I love you, but you're such a disaster.”
“I know that, Izzy, you don't have to remind me.”
“Big brother, how are you gonna fix this?” Alex turned to her in surprise.
“Fix it? What do you mean, fix it? Magnus made his choice and all I can do is hope he comes back so I don't have this stupid ring that matches his stupid eyes for no reason at all. I can't fix it Iz, it's not my choice to make,” He was really miserable now, eyes downcast and fingers busy fidgeting with the ring still in his hands.
“Oh, Alec…” Izzy trailed off. They sat, Alec positively stewing in misery, Izzy unsure how to help.
“Did you know Mom and Dad got engaged after 6 weeks?” He said when the silence got unbearable. “Mom told me when she found me after Magnus, uh,” his voice cracked. Even now he couldn't get himself to say it out loud. “I was pretty much doing the same thing I was when you came in. I thought she'd be more disapproving, but I guess falling hard and fast runs in the family.” He laughed now. “Izzy, I don't know what I'll do if he doesn't come back.”
“What you've always done,” she responded. “You're so strong, Alec. If he doesn't come back, you'll move on. You'll still be the best Shadowhunter I know, and now you can be more you than ever. You'll be okay, Alec.” She sounded more confident in him than Alec had ever been in himself. “Besides, if he knows what's good for him, he'll come back. He couldn't pass up a ring like that, and he especially couldn't pass up a man like you, Alec.”
Alec wasn't sure if it was the arm around him or the pure conviction in Izzy’s voice, but Alec felt more okay about everything than he had since Max had been brought to the infirmary. He turned to place a kiss on Izzy's head and whispered a quiet thanks. Maybe things really would be okay.
Izzy, of course, was right. She somehow always was. That night at the Hunter's Moon, looking at Magnus in the neon lights and confessing his feelings, Alec almost pulled out the ring. He'd been carrying it in his pocket, and the temptation was almost great. He'd been so scared to lose Magnus forever, and the relief he felt was almost enough to have him get down on one knee right there. He'd hesitated, though, and that was probably for the best.
Discovering Magnus’ parentage and his memory box made Alec grateful he hadn't proposed. Not because it made him question his love for Magnus, but because he realized they still had things to learn about each other. Alec's easy acceptance of Magnus’ father situation seemed to shock Magnus, and Alec realized that, while he might not be competing with Magnus’ past for his affection, he did have things to prove to Magnus because of it. Magnus needed to know Alec wouldn't leave like others before him when Magnus revealed the darker parts of his past. He needed Alec to love not just Magnus Bane, High Warlock of Brooklyn but Magnus Bane, son of Asmodeus and a man with a rich history of love. Alec knew it would be difficult, but the best thing he could do was stick around, not pull away from Magnus.
When Clary came to him with the immortality rune, Alec knew it was the right time, and he wouldn't hesitate. There was no better way to prove that Alec was in it for the long haul, regardless of the past. And he was. He'd thought about it for weeks before Clary came to him, and the fact that she got the rune just when it became a potential path for him was as good a sign as any that it was the right decision. It was possibly the closest he'd ever get to having their union personally blessed by the angels.
All he had left to do was plan the perfect proposal. He agonised over his plan for weeks, even going so far as asking Izzy and Clary for help.
Of course, being him, the plan got thrown out the window because he couldn't control himself around Magnus.
Even after they got back together, Alec still carried the ring around with him. It had been a constant weight keeping him grounded during bad times, and he kept it around as a solid reminder of Magnus even now. Which was lucky for him, because he was clearly intent on destroying every plan he ever laid.
They'd been sitting on the balcony at daybreak, appreciating the morning together. Alec had to be at the Institute in a few hours and Magnus had a few appointments later in the day, but the sunrise was just for them. They were laid out on the lounge chair, Alec settled between Magnus’ legs, idly playing with the rings on Magnus’ right hand while his left carded through Alec's hair. He'd leaned his head back to look at Magnus’ face, and when Magnus smiled down at him, he'd just blurted it out.
“Will you marry me?
Magnus’ whole body froze and Alec almost panicked for a second before conviction settled into his bones. He loved Magnus and any moment would be perfect as long as Magnus was there loving him, so he sat up to face the man he loved and kept going.
“I know we haven't been together for that long and I know I don't have any experience with love besides you, but Magnus, I know that I love you. All my life I've dreamt of getting just a chance at something exactly like this, with someone exactly like you. I never thought I'd get anywhere near it, though, until you stepped into that chapel and I finally saw everything I could have. It's never been simple, but loving you is the easiest thing I've ever done. You were scared to show me your past but you don't have to be. Your mind, your heart, your everything, including your past, make loving you easier than breathing. Relationships take effort, and we have to choose to make that effort. Every day I get to choose you and I want to keep choosing you forever, Magnus. ”
Alec pulled the ring out of his pocket and looked back up to Magnus, who had tears in his eyes and his hands clasped over his mouth. Alec couldn't stop the word vomit even if he tried.
“I bought this ring three weeks after we started dating. I saw in a display window and it reminded me of your eyes and how much I love you, even then, and I bought without even thinking. I've been carrying it around with me ever since, and I had a whole proposal planned out, but you always make me forget all my plans. Magnus, Clary came to me with a new rune a few weeks ago. An immortality rune. If you'll have me, I want to spend the rest of our lives with you.”
Alec was breathless now, mind completely blanked out as he waited for Magnus’ response. It took a few seconds, but Magnus finally looked back up from the ring Alec was holding to meet his eyes.
“An immortality rune?” he whispered. His eyes were shining with unshed tears, and, to Alec's relief, hope. All Alec could do now was nod. He was on the verge of tears himself. “So when you say forever, you mean forever? No holds barred, all of eternity?”
Alec nodded again, “Clary said that's how the rune should work. All of forever. Will you have me for that long, Magnus?” Alec felt nerves creeping up on him now as the weight of everything came down on him, but he didn't let it show. He wanted this, and he could only hope Magnus did too.
Magnus glanced back down at the ring, the ring Alec had bought on a lovestruck whim, and back up at Alec, then smiled bright enough to rival the sun and pulled Alec into a searing kiss, one that conveyed all the love and joy Magnus felt. It made Alec dizzy, just how much feeling Magnus put into the kiss. Before Alec could fully catch up, Magnus pulled back, still smiling wide and nodding furiously.
“Yes, yes, yes, of course I'll have you Alexander. I'd have you for as long as you'll allow me, and forever might not be long enough.” Alec had to kiss him again. This time, it was more clacking teeth together than kiss. Neither could stop smiling even as they pulled away and Alec finally slipped the ring on Magnus’ finger. Magnus smiled beatifically up at him, and Alec fell in love with him all over again.
They stayed like that for another hour, wrapped up in each other, stealing kisses and admiring the ring. The air around them nearly glowed, their happiness was so bright.
After some time, Alec spoke up, “You know, I can't help but feel like we were blessed by the angels.” Magnus looked up, puzzled look on his face, and Alec continued, “I'd spent weeks before Clary came to me agonizing about the whole immortality thing. By the time she came to me, I'd started looking into ways to extend my lifetime. The timing just seems too perfect to me.”
Magnus smiled gently at him, “Darling, the angels themselves should be jealous of me, and I'm sure they couldn't be half as happy as I am right now, even up in Heaven. If this is their blessing, I'm more than happy to accept it.” Alec blushed hard, and Magnus giggled at him. Alec shoved at his shoulder, only to reel him in for another kiss. Magnus was radiant, and Alec was sure he was right. Raziel himself could never be so happy as Alec right now, wrapped up with his fiancé, the man he loved more deeply than he ever thought possible, eternity stretched out before them.