Alec's eyes never left the bundle in his arms as he walked back and forth across the loft, expertly weaving around the furniture without so much as a bump. His eyes, blue and gentle, gazed down lovingly at tiny little fingers grasping his own like a large bolster pillow. The sound of an infant's yawn brought a strange, unexplainable warmth to his heart and he resisted the urge to crush the child to his chest.
A gift from heaven itself, or payment for an unknown debt, Alec had been given charge of the male infant now sleeping soundly in his arms. The child's father had been slain by a demon and his mother had died during childbirth from a broken heart. He had fought hard for this; an arduous line of convincing the Clave that he was fit to raise the child, and despite the changing times, the fact that he was living with Magnus Bane didn't go unnoticed, still striking doubt in a few members of the Council. But he had persisted, and now in his arms was the reward of a lifetime.
In his arms, the baby shifted and cooed, tightening his grip on his father's hand before slipping back into deep slumber. Alec smiled.
The main door opened and Magnus strode in, smelling like the evening sky, dressed casually in a light cashmere sweater and faded black jeans, accented by the bright yellow scarf haphazardly dangling from his shoulders. "There you are. It's not a party when the guest of honour is missing."
Alec smiled and carefully sat down on an old green leather wingback chair by the window - his favourite, save for its matching partner in the bedroom. "Will fell asleep, and it was getting cold."
Magnus smiled and moved to stand by the two, placing one hand on the back of Alec's chair and leaving over them, almost protectively. It hadn't been that long ago that the two had been arguing about Alec's parental abilities given that his own family situation was less than perfect. You'll be perfect, he had said but Alec had merely scoffed it off as one-sided partiality.
"What?" Alec had looked up to see the look Magnus was giving him.
Shaking his head, Magnus crouched and played their little boy's small hands with a smile. "He looks just like you. Blue eyes, dark hair - my favourite."
Alec looked down and smiled. It was a strange but not unwelcome coincidence that Will's eyes were blue, a shade lighter than his but still beautiful and head of messy dark hair. "I should put him to bed," he said, glancing at the clock. "He might wake up."
"God knows it would be good to actually sleep at night," Magnus said in mock annoyance. He leaned across to place a loving kiss on the child's forehead. "Good night, William."
William. Even though the name had been given by the baby's mother, Magnus's mind conjured a fleeting image - a memory - of the Will he used to know. It felt like another life, a long time ago, brought together by the same naughty glint in brilliant blue eyes.
Wordless following Alec into the bedroom, he watched as Alec expertly tucked the slumbering bundle into his cot, lingering for a moment, before bending down to kiss the baby's forehead. "Good night," he whispered.
Carefully closing the bedroom door, Alec and Magnus sank onto the two-seater in the centre of the loft just as the main door burst open, a throng of partygoers streaming in - Jace, Clary, Simon, Isabelle, Jocelyn and Luke, with party hats and streamers. Alarmed, Magnus shot up and silenced the room with a sharp wave of his hand, leaving the guests scrambling as they clutched their throats in surprise.
"If you want to come in, please be quiet." Magnus stared each of them down until he faced repetitive nods; Jace was glaring at him. Satisfied, Magnus returned to Alec's side with a grateful sigh and beckoned them in. "Well? I can't imagine you all ploughed in here just to stand there giving each other uncomfortable looks."
Simon sounded as if he was testing a microphone for the first time. "Ah-ah." The rest followed suit. "Promise me you won't do that again," he said to Magnus.
Magnus smiled. "No."
With a face of complete delight, Isabel bounded towards them. "Where's my nephew?" she asked excitedly.
Alec's eyes scanned the room; Luke, Jocelyn, Clary and Simon were animatedly chatting by the window on the far end and Jace was on the couch, frowning at the long duck-pattered scarf wound around his neck - a gift from Luke and Jocelyn with a little input from Clary no doubt. His own mood dropped slightly at the absence of his own parents. Granted, it had been a while since they had spoken but he had still hoped.
"William's sleeping," Magnus replied, picking at his sweater. "And I-er-we would quite appreciate it if you didn't disturb him."
"Still not getting any sleep?" It was Jocelyn, who was now standing behind Clary with her arms comfortably resting on Luke's hip.
Alec managed a tired smile. "It's getting better," he said with a stifled yawn.
"So is he a Lightwood or a Bane?" Jace called out, having given up his mental argument with his scarf.
"Oh he's a Lightwood," Magnus replied with a smile.
Alec on the other hand rolled his eyes. "Magnus refuses to give Will his name. It's ridiculous."
Magnus turned his head and frowned. "William Lightwood, there is nothing wrong with that name. He's a shadowhunter and he has a fitting name."
"You can still give him your name," Luke offered. "You two are clearly in it for the long run. He's just as much your son now."
"William Bane Lightwood," suggested Simon, his brows raised. "Doesn't that sound like they got married?"
There was a chorus of laughter as Alec and Magnus' face grew hot in matching blushes. Alec smiled as he turned to Magnus and took his hand. "Perfect."
Magnus, wide-eyed and smiling bent down to steal a quick kiss. "If you say so," he said, joining the chorus of muted laughter around them.
A soft knock at the front door surprised Alec. Sharing a questioning look between them, Alec stood up at Magnus' shrug and moved to answer the door. Behind the green wood-panelled door, Alec was met with a pair of fiery blue eyes, framed by a river of black hair pinned up at the back. "Mom.." he whispered.
Magnus stood up, casting a weary glance at his new guest. Despite the welcomed support they had received from their friends, Magnus knew that the absence of the Lightwoods was upsetting to Alec, though he would never admit it. Protective of his new family, Magnus was by Alec's side in an instant. "Maryse," Magnus said with a curt nod.
Dressed in a dark navy blue with a deep green shawl hanging off her shoulders, Maryse looked up with a brief look of hesitation. "Magnus," she replied, shocking the warlock and her son as she reached out and gently squeezed Magnus' hand - a kind and comforting gesture that Magnus never imagined would come from Maryse Lightwood of all people.
Alec remained frozen. "Is... is Dad?"
Maryse's face fell as she shook her head sadly. "I'm sorry, Alexander. He's-"
"It doesn't matter," Magnus cut in. Placing a hand on Alec's back, he moved aside and gestured her in. "Please."
"In a moment," Maryse gently refused with a smile. "I need to speak to Alec first."
Still frozen beside him, Magnus nodded and nudged the statue beside him out the door. Maryse called out his name just as he was about to close the door to give them privacy, and he turned around.
"Thank you, Magnus," Maryse said, her motherly gaze taking Magnus by surprise; he had never seen such a look, at least not directed at him, not when his own mother had flinched in disgust at the very sight of him. This was very much unlike the Maryse Lightwood he knew; a disparity between the mother and the strong, earnest shadowhunter he knew her as.
With a nod, Magnus smiled and closed the door to face a wall of questioning eyes. "Cake anyone?"
Absentmindedly kicking at the dusty floor of the landing, Alec remained wasn't sure what to say. His hands were stuffed into the pockets of his dark jeans that Magnus had once commented gave him a flattering ass. He blushed at the inappropriate thought, especially with his mother standing in front of him. "I didn't think you'd come," he finally said.
Maryse seemed hurt, her frame sagging slightly as she wrapped her arms around herself. "Do you think that badly of me?" Her voice was soft and her eyes had dropped to the floor.
Alec widened his eyes in alarm. "No-I mean, I wasn't, you-you-" He stopped to recollect himself and embraced the woman standing before him with affection. "I'm glad you came," he whispered, his face buried in her shoulder.
After a moment - or an eternity, she wasn't sure - with her son, Maryse cleared her throat and spoke kindly, an unfitting tone to her words. "I never believed you when you told me you loved him. I thought it was a silly phase that I had to let you go through."
Alec tensed and moved back, incredulous. "He's not a phase," he said hoarsely, concealing the anger within. "Is that why you came here?"
Maryse seemed unaffected by her son's accusations. Instead, she took in stride and shook her head, as a mother would. "I wasn't finished, Alexander."
His body still tense, Alec crossed his arms and waited, his stance decidedly unwelcome.
"What I was saying," she began. "Before you so defensively interrupted, was that I was wrong. I have it on good authority that he cares for you a great deal and there is no greater news for a mother to know that her child is loved."
Blinking, Alec relaxed as he furrowed his brows. As a child, he was never starved of affection but now having ascended to adulthood at 18, it was unexpected; it had been so long since his mother had looked in that manner that he stuttered, lost for words. "I, ah-"
Placing a gentle arm on her son's, Maryse smiled and leaned forward to kiss his cheek. "Now, show me my grandson," she said, reaching past him for the door. "I'm sure the pictures Magnus sent don't do him justice."
Alec silently followed, wondering when Magnus had sent those pictures.
A/N: Thanks for reading. Please leave a review.