Magnus is frozen, fingertips hooked into the waistband of Alec’s underwear as he stares at the rune that lies low on his lover’s hip. Alec’s hands are gripping Magnus’ thighs, and he groans his name at the interruption. The sound barely registers in Magnus’ mind, too caught up in that one, small black mark as he tries to believe in what he’s seeing. It’s only when Alec’s hand leaves his leg to gently brush the crease of his eye that he realises he’s crying.
“Oh Alexander.” He breathes, but the rest of the words find themselves stuck in his throat.
Alec is clearly confused, but his hands are gentle as he pulls Magnus from his lap to instead lay them side by side, Magnus’ hand falling to trace the discovered mark as he tucks himself under Alec’s protective arm. They lay in silence for a while, Alec running his fingers comfortingly through Magnus’ hair as Magnus rests his head on the shadowhunter’s bare chest, his gaze never leaving the rune as if it would disappear should he look away.
“I never thought I would see this again.” He says eventually, and he softens the circling of his fingers as he feels Alec tense beneath him.
“You know what it is?”
Surprised, Magnus lifts his head to look at Alec’s face. Alec shakes his head, and although there’s a wariness to his gaze it’s softened by the trust that shines from his eyes as he waits for Magnus to explain.
“It’s a reincarnation rune.” Magnus says, and he glances back down at it as if half-expecting it to have disappeared.
“It’s a carefully guarded secret amongst shadowhunters and warlocks alike.” He continues, “It took us a long time to find it.”
“You had a different name then.” Magnus says with a smile, a mixture of sadness and fondness that makes Alec want to lean down and kiss him. He can, and so he does, and Magnus returns the kiss with a gentleness that makes Alec lose his breath. It ends all too soon, Magnus slowly pulling away, desperate for Alec to understand just how much that one rune means to him.
“You only had a few years left by the time we found out how to work the rune, but you were determined to have more, and I was far too selfish to say no. You wanted to put it here,” Magnus pauses to touch the inside of Alec’s wrist, “But I convinced you to hide it, to place it somewhere only I would be able to find it.”
“It’s been there since I was born.” Alec says, “Magnus, what does it do?”
“It ensures that it’s bearer will be reborn.” Magnus says simply, “Although I confess, I didn’t think it would take this long.”
“I- Magnus what are you saying?”
“I’ve been waiting for you, Alexander.” Magnus says, and he finds he has to close his eyes as they begin to once more fill with tears. “Would you like to remember?”
“The reason this rune was so well hidden,” Magnus explains, blinking away the dampness in his eyes and gazing intently at Alec, “Is because once, someone found a way to combine runes with warlock magic. It was my magic that activated this rune, although over the past century I had come to believe I had failed. Now though, I can activate it once more, if you wish?”
Alec stares down at the rune. He still doesn’t fully understand, but as he gazes down at the mark that he’s had since birth, the man he loves cradled in his arms, he knows he wants to.
“I trust you.”
It’s not an answer, but it’s the only response he can give. Magnus kisses him, pouring everything he feels and everything he’s failed to say into that one act of love. When Magnus pulls away, Alec cups his face in his hand, leaning forwards to capture Magnus’ lips once more before lying back, placing his hand on top of Magnus’ where it still rests on his rune. Closing his eyes, Magnus breaths deeply, directing every last spark of his blue magic to the unassuming black mark as he whispers the words that he’s been waiting centuries to say.
“Aku cinta kamu.”
A sharp jolt spreads across Alec’s hip, and he remembers. He remembers knowing Magnus, loving Magnus, he remembers a different name and a different body, he remembers his hands steady as they carved the rune into his hip, every risk worth it for the chance of another lifetime with the man he loved so much he had barely dreamt it possible. He remembers everything of his first life, and then he remembers just how long it has been.
“Magnus.” He whispers, and Magnus looks into his eyes and sees Alec, the same man and yet so, so much more.
“I’m so sorry I kept you waiting.”