The sounds of pitter pattering feet and hushed giggling is what Magnus woke up to on his birthday. He rolled over onto his back and rubbed his eyes groggily. Looking over at the alarm clock on his nightstand he was loathe to see it was still much to early to be awake, not even seven yet. Groaning he snuggled back into his blankets and was trying to doze back off when a quiet knock came from the door.
“Papa.” Someone whispered loudly.
Magnus looked over at the door so see his blue haired and blue skinned little boy peeking in through the doorway. He had something white smeared on his cheek and some lightly dusting his hair.
“Max.” Magnus murmured fondly, “Come here blueberry.”
Max grinned and scurried over to the bed, climbing in under the covers. Sleepily, Magnus pulled him close so the blue four year old was laying on his chest.
“Happy Birthday.” He said, pressing a wet kiss on Magnus’ nose.
Magnus scrunched up his face playfully before blowing a raspberry on his cheek, making the little boy squeal, “Thank you blueberry.”
“What are you doing up?” Magnus asked, “And what is in your hair?”
“We made pancakes,” Max said, squirming to get more comfortable, “Dad said we’re gonna have breakfast in bed for your birthday.”
Magnus smiled warmly at the antics of his husband, “Breakfast in bed sounds lovely.”
Magnus sat up, pulling Max into his lap just in time for the bedroom door to push all the way open. Alec and Rafael walked in, each carrying a part of their breakfast feast. Alec held a tray that was plated with pancakes and scrambled eggs and had two glasses of orange juice, while Rafael carried his favorite Star Wars cups and Max’s sippy cup.
“Happy Birthday Papa!” Rafael said happily.
“Thank you Rafe.” Magnus replied.
“I wanna help.” Max said, trying to get up. Magnus held onto him tightly, already knowing he would probably create a mess if he tried.
“You did help baby,” Alec said, “You woke up Papa, just like I asked.”
“Here, take your cup Max.” Rafael said, offering him the New York Giants sippy cup. Max didn’t even like the team nor had he ever even watched a game, but had a weird love for the design and colors. He took the cup happily, pleased he could help in some way.
Alec set down the tray carefully after sitting down next to Magnus. The Shadowhunter set down a towel and lifted Rafe up and deposited him in the middle of the two men, next to Max. Alec didn’t even bother trying to keep the boys from making a mess, especially Max who could be eating something completely contained and mess free and would still manage to get it everywhere. Alec secured a bib around the four year old’s neck, fending off comments of how he was too big for bibs and finally served the kids.
“Papa takes the first bite.” Alec reminded the boys as he an Magnus spooned eggs onto their plates.
“Cause the birthday boy takes the first bite,” Rafael piped up, “Right Dad?”
“That’s right buddy.”
Everyone was finally served, and the boys bounced eagerly as they waited for Magnus. The older warlock took his time deciding if he wanted pancakes or a bite of his cut fruit or his eggs until the boys started complaining. Magnus laughed and cut his pancakes, taking a dramatically huge bite.
“Delicious.” He said with his mouth full.
The boys dug in, putting the towel beneath them to good use. Magnus was pleased to note that his orange juice had a healthy dose of champagne added and he grinned at Alec, not surprised that his husband knew him so well.
Breakfast was devoured and Max had somehow gotten syrup in his hair.
“Alright blueberry, time for a bath.” Alec said, picking up the sticky boy.
“Can we take a shower?” Max asked, kicking his legs as Alec lifted him off the bed.
“You don’t want to play with your bath toys?”
“No I want a shower.”
Alec shrugged and disappeared into the bathroom, yelling at Magnus to leave the dishes in the sink. The warlock got up and started cleaning up their meal.
“Think you can get the cups Rafe?” Magnus said, piling the plates on the tray.
Rafe nodded and the two of them took the dishes into the kitchen, dropping them in the sink. Despite what Alec said, Magnus started rinsing and loading the dishes while Rafael hopped onto the counter.
“What do you wanna do for your birthday, Papa.” Rafael asked.
“I just want to spend all day with you and your brother.” Magnus said honestly, “Do you want to go the park? Or maybe we’ll go to the zoo.”
When Magnus and Alec had first brought Max home, they’d agreed it would be best for Magnus to stay home with him full time. Not only out of convenience, since Alec was head of the Institute, but Max was a baby warlock and it was safer for everyone if another warlock stayed with him. Alec would stay home with him when Magnus had clients or other downworld business, and after he got the hang of his son sometimes making things disappear or float or explode he would even bring him to the institute. When they adopted Rafael he was still so skittish and afraid of the Shadow world, and since Magnus was already staying home with Max, the two parents elected to keep Rafael home as well. In any case, Magnus liked being with his kids. He’d been alive for centuries and he’d seen so many things and met so many people, but nothing compared to the days he would spend teaching Rafael history or playing legos with Max. Magnus joked that fatherhood made him boring and domestic, but Alec always joked that parties with a four year old and a nine year old were plenty wild.
A sudden squeal echoed through the loft and Magnus looked up to see a tiny blue body streaking through the living room. Alec came from the bedroom, soap still in his hair and a towel wrapped around his waist. Magnus took one look at him and burst out laughing.
“Having a good shower my dear.” He said between giggles.
Alec rolled his eyes good naturedly, “Please get your son before he treats Manhattan to a blue eye full.”
“Oh so he’s my son when he’s pursuing a career in streaking.” Magnus said jokingly, trailing after the boy.
“Yes.” Alec said dryly and turned to continue his shower.
Magnus found Max hiding in the hall closet, giggling wildy behind the coats.
“Where o where has my little boy blue gone.” Magnus said pushing the coats aside, “We’re gonna miss him when we go to the park.”
Max popped out in all his naked glory, “Right here!”
“There he is.” Magnus said, scooping the boy up, “Good thing too. Who would help me make the perfect snowman.”
“Rafael makes good snowman.” Max pointed out.
He wrestled the toddler into pants and a sweater before letting him lose on the loft. Magnus tried to go back to cleaning the kitchen but was shooed out by Alec, so he helped Rafael get dressed and then got ready himself. He threw on his favorite jeans, the ones frayed at the bottoms, and a black, gold flecked button up. He did minimal makeup with gold highlight on his cheeks and some dusted in his hair. Magnus was just finishing up, trying to decide which boots he should wear when Alec walked in.
“Have I told you ‘happy birthday’ yet,” He asked, coming up behind Magnus and wrapping his arms around him.
“You have not.” Magnus said, “But I’ll forgive you since the sight of you in a towel was all I wanted today.”
Magnus turned and pulled him into a proper kiss. Alec wrapped his arms around his waist, drawing him close. For a moment, they didn’t have a care in the world– no institute to get to, no children who needed supervision– just them and the love between them.
“Papa, can you help me with the juice. I spilled it on the counter.”
Alec pulled away from the kiss, breathing only a bit harder. He nosed Magnus’ cheek before pulling away completely.
“You’re Papa.” He said, escaping into their closet.
“Traitor.” Magnus grumbled before turning to a guilty looking Rafael, “It’s okay Rafe, we’ll clean it up.”
“I’m sorry”, The nine year old said, “It was really heavy.”
Magnus ruffled his brown hair, “It’s okay mi amor.”
It was nine by the time the Lightwood-Bane household was ready for the day. Alec kissed his boys goodbye, wishing them a good day, and left to catch the subway to the Institute. Magnus bundled the boys up, squeezing hats and gloves onto the squirmy children and then they were off to Central Park.
Magnus loved Christmas, and having a birthday that was in the heart of the Christmas season was the best for him. He loved the lights and the snow and the cheer and, now that he had kids, he loved going all out on decorations and gifts. He’d had their Christmas tree up since the day after Thanksgiving and was able to preserve with his magic so it smelled just as fresh as the day they picked it out.
Central Park was beautiful as well, the snow creating the perfect Christmas scene. Magnus and the boys found an undisturbed spot and set about making snowman and snow angels. Rafael was a perfectionist and spent nearly an hour creating his snowman masterpiece, with a red scarf and top hat Magnus portaled in from their loft. Max’s snowman was more or less a snow lump and was about the same height as him since he wasn’t able to pile snow much higher and Max had insisted on Magnus changing the snow color so it was blue like him. Afterwards Magnus took them to a cafe nearby for hot chocolate and then for a trip to the zoo. Alec wouldn’t be finished until later that night and there was no use sitting at home cooper up when New York had endless activities at their disposal.
“Papa,” Rafael said, tugging on Magnus’ coat sleeve, “Look, that monkey has a Christmas tree.”
Magnus followed his gaze and sure enough they had set up a little Christmas tree in the habitat, “He does! That’s so cute.”
“Can we get a monkey?” Max asked, leaning against the bars.
“I think you two are the only monkey’s Dad and I can handle.”
“I could take care of it.” Rafael said, “I’m real good with the Chairman. Dad taught me how to clean out the litter box and everything.”
“I don’t know,” Magnus said, and looked down to receive the full force of the boys’ puppy dog eyes, “Maybe for Christmas.” He offered placatingly.
That satisfied them and they moved onto the next exhibit, where Max startled everyone with the force of his Elephant calls.
Noon came and he got the boys hot dogs from the Zoo food stand and then portalled them home. While the boys played in their room, Magnus caught up on things around the house. He hadn’t been home the past week as he was visiting Europe to work with the High Warlock in Spain and Portugal. Max and Rafael spent most of it with Alec or Isabelle at the institute and at night, if Alec had demons to hunt, Catarina would stop by.
By two, Max was cranky so Magnus put on Polar Express in the living room and sat with him until he fell asleep. Magnus had glamoured him when they went outside, but in the comforts of their home he proudly blue. The buds of horns were just starting to sprout on his forehead and Magnus traced them softly.
Rafael strolled in, his hands covered in marker, “Can we watch Rudolph?” He asked, climbing onto the couch to snuggle into Magnus’ other side.
“Sure baby.” Magnus grabbed the remote and flicked over to the DVR and turned on the old program. He’d pre recorded every Christmas movie he could think of specifically so the boy’s could watch them. Rafael’s favorite was Rudolph and Charlie Brown while Max’s was How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Magnus draped his other arm around Rafael, pulling the boy close. He brushed the boy’s brown hair out his face, mentally taking a note that he needed a haircut. Rafael cuddled sleepily into Magnus’ side.
This was how Magnus wanted to spend his birthday every year. Sandwiched between his two boys, watching Christmas movies. The only thing that could make this better was his Alexander.
Speak of the devil, Magnus looked up upon hearing the locks turning over and watched happily as his husband cleared the door. Rafael’s head popped up at the door closing.
“Dad!” He said, scrambling off Magnus lap to the man.
Alec smiled and swung the boy into his arms, “Hi Rafe.”
“You’re home early.” Magnus noted softly, rubbing Max’s back soothingly so he wouldn’t wake up.
Alec walked around to the couch and noticed the sleeping toddler, “Slow day.” He said softly, sitting on the couch, “Guess all the demons are hiding from the cold.”
Alec leaned over, kissing Magnus briefly before leaning down to kiss Max’s forehead. He set Rafael in his lap, “We watching Rudolph?”
“Mmhm.” Rafael said, making himself comfortable, “Do you want to start it over? So you can watch from the beginning?”
Alec smiled, “No, but thank you Rafe.”
The family settled in for the movie, Magnus talking along with some of the parts. Eventually, Rafael fell asleep as well, slumped onto Alec shoulder. If Magnus had his phone he would have taken a picture, they were so cute.
“Did you guys have a good day.” Alec asked softly, shifting the sleeping boy.
“Yeah we had a fun morning,” Magnus said, “I took them to the park and they made snowman. Then we went to the zoo. I told them I would consider giving them a monkey for Christmas.”
Alec’s eyes widened, “No. We are not getting them a monkey.”
Magnus laughed quietly, his body shaking with laughter, “It’d be fun. Rafael said he would take good care of them.”
“Sure, Magnus.” Alec said wryly.
Magnus grinned, bumping his shoulder with his, “Maybe monkey toys. Stuffed animals.”
Alec didn’t respond, but Magnus saw a smile pull at his lips. The shadowhunter moved his hand over, twining his fingers with Magnus’. He brought their hands up and pressed a kiss to the back of his hand.
“I may be lonely/But I’m never alone…” (”I Never Cry” by Alice Cooper) By slightly adapting those lyrics, a depressing message is transformed into an inspiring one: “I may be alone/But I’m never lonely…” Central Park provided a rare experience of solitude within Midtown Manhattan. Being the only one in the Hallett Nature Sanctuary, a famous line of poetry came to mind: “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…” (”Twas The Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore) However, I did spot a squirrel as I was leaving:) (Photo taken on January 18, 2018)
“I switched today’s morning shift for a night one in exchange for one more day off around holidays to spend with the family which is awesome. After getting in and out all morning i think I've finally finished my early shopping, maybe some little things are missing still. But these next weeks will be pretty hectic at work, so it’s nice to be ahead for a change.”- Ellie.