Maryse Lightwood stood in her husband’s office staring out the window, though she did not see the view. No she was thinking about what she was about to do. Thinking about how she was about to crush her son in ways she never wanted to all for the need of duty and respectability.
She had resigned herself to knowing Alec would never marry for years now. Knowing he would never be able to have what he desired within the rigid confines of the Clave. No she had always accepted her eldest son would be alone in the eyes of the shadow world, though she had always hoped that he could find some happiness in private. That he could find a man who could make him happy.
But there was no chance of that now. No now all she could offer him was a life of duty and hiding, and she hated herself for it. But it was the only way. There was no other solution that would restore what was rightfully theirs. No other way to keep the family safe. She was going to have sacrifice Alec for the good of the family. No matter how much pain it caused her, or him. Their duty must be done.
But even those resolute words could not stop the tears from pooling in her eyes at all she knew he would be losing, at all the possibilities she was taking away from the boy she loved so very much.
She was pulled from her thoughts by the door opening behind her.
“Mother, you wanted to speak to me?” Alec asked making his way inside, though he frowned when he saw her fingers go to her face before she turned towards him. “What’s wrong?” He asked moving further into the room.
“Alec, my boy. Sit. We need to talk.”Maryse replied forcing a smile onto her lips as she stared at his concerned face. She needed to be strong now, do what needed to be done.
“What is it?” Alec asked taking a seat on the couch opposite her.
“The recent actives of this institute have been called into question by the Clave. And as such so has our family.” Maryse started to explain, though she knew she was leaving out a massive part of why that was, namely their previous connection to the Circle. Had that not been there, she doubted they would be in such a dire situation now. But she had made her decision then all she could do now was hope it didn’t affect her children, or any more than it as going to affecter her eldest son.
“What do you mean?” Alec asked with a frown. Yes he was aware there had been a few too many unsanctioned missions ever since Clary had arrived, but he didn’t understand why that would put their family in such a bad situation as the one his mom was describing.
“The Clave are questioning our ability to run this institute after all the unsanctioned missioned you have authorised. We need a way to show how united we are to the Claves cause.” Maryse replied hated herself for making it seem as if it was all his fault they were in their current predicament. But she knew she had to. Because if he felt the guilt, she knew he would do what she needed him to do, for the good of the family.
“What way?” Alec asked sitting straighter. He had a feeling he was not going to like what his mother had to say, but he knew he would do anything he could to protect his siblings.
“A marriage. Uniting our family with a strong household.” Maryse responded evenly, not letting any of her emotions show in her voice. She could not allow herself to feel them now.
“You want me to marry?” Alec asked in disbelief. Marriage, it was never something he had thought about. Had never been something he had considered, not since he realised that his personal preferences ran counter to those dictated by the Clave at any rate.
“Honour is in the deed, my son. I know you will do your duty.” Maryse replied sternly. She could not let him question her, not now not in this, because she knew if he did she would falter in her mission here. And she could not fail, they could not fail. Not if they wanted to keep the life they had built for themselves within the Clave.
“But-“ Alec started to say only to have Maryse override him.
“Think of Isabelle, Max and Jace, Alec. If we lose our standing, what will become of your siblings?” Maryse knew it was a low blow. But she had to convince him to do this, even if it broke her heart to do so. He was the only one who could restore the Lightwood name, and she needed him to do his duty for his family. She could hate herself later.
“Who?” Alec asked his voice going hollow as he realised he didn’t have a choice. He was going to have to marry, for his family. Even if the idea froze something inside him. Made him want to scream and rail against it all. But he knew he wouldn’t. Because he couldn’t. He was Alexander Gideon Lightwood, and he did his duty. He protected his family, and he would do everything he could to carry on doing so, even if that thing was marrying a stranger, marrying a female stranger.
“I have a few names in mind, but I wished to get your permission before I started investigating suitable brides.” Maryse replied standing up with the aim to move forwards to the next phase now she had his agreement, and she told herself it had nothing to do with not wanting to see the pain and emptiness she had caused to appear on his face.
“Very well. When?” Alec asked standing as well, wondering just how long he would have to resign himself to this new path in his life. How long he would have to accept he was going to become a husband. He hoped his mother choose someone nice. Someone he could at least be friends with, one day.
“I will return within a week with a name. That will give you time to go to Alicante and court her, before proposing.” Maryse replied mapping out the plan she had for him.
“A week.” Alec asked his eyes going wide, though whether it was the short time frame or the fact she expected him to court some woman, he wasn’t exactly sure.
“Yes.” Maryse nodded as if it was perfectly normal to have a week for a single man barely into his twenties to adapt to the idea of getting married.
At that Alec nodded. He knew to her it was nothing more than a transaction to cement their standing with the Clave, even if it was his life she was paying with. That wouldn’t matter to her. All he wanted then was to leave to the room, to go and find his siblings and maybe just maybe do something crazy. One last hurrah before he chained himself away for good. “Is there anything else you wished to discuss, mother?”
“No. That was all.” Maryse replied. She could see the edges of rebellion in his eyes and she couldn’t find it in herself to want to stop him. He deserved so much more than she was giving him. But then he always had. All she could do was hope to find him the best possible wife, one who would understand his lack of physical desire. Yes, she needed to find him a wife who understood him completely.
“Then I will see you in a week.” Alec responded stoically hands going behind his back as he stood in parade stance.
“You will.” She agreed before moving towards the door, her mind already turning, wondering if there was any woman of the Clave whom she felt would be able to be the wife her son needed her to be.
And Alec, well once she left he sagged back into the couch. He had never thought of marriage, had always assumed he would be single for life, it was the only way he could be. Gay shadow hunters did not marry. But it seemed he was, to a woman. By the angel, why him?