“Can we read this one?” Max asks, thrusting the book into Alec’s grip.
“Oh, well.” Alec’s hesitancy is evident in his voice, no matter how he tries to hold it back. “Are you sure you don’t want Hansel and Gretel?”
Max shakes his head.
“What about the Princess and the Pea?”
This only earns him a silent glare.
“Or Beauty and the Beast? I know that’s your favourite.”
Max pouts in an obvious sulk and Alec can sense the beginning of a headache just behind his eyes.
“Why won’t you ever read me this one?” There’s a shimmer of tears in his eyes now. “Everyone else gets to hear it. James says it’s the best one.”
Alec should have known. Max and James had become fast friends over the past few weeks and whatever James does Max will copy, whatever James likes Max now likes too. Sighing he settles down onto the bed beside Max, resting the book on the sheets between them.
“Once upon a time there were hunters blessed by angels that protected the world from monsters.” Alec begins.
Max is terrible listener, but for Alec it’s the best part of telling him a story. He’s always been this way, constantly interrupting and asking questions.
“Like Dad?” He asks when Alec introduces a warlock.
“Why doesn’t he marry the Warlock?” He demands when Alec tells him the Hunter has proposed to the new leader.
“This story is dumb.” He complains, arms crossed in frustration, when Alec begins to describe the wedding ceremony.
“What happened to them?” Max queries, as Alec finishes the last page.
“They lived happily ever after.” A voice from the doorway has both their heads turning, and there stands Magnus, leaning against the doorjamb a wistful look on his face.
“Forever?” Max yawns as Alec shifts off the bed to tuck him.
“Forever and ever.” Alec whispers, smoothing the hair from his forehead and placing a kiss there, he’s asleep before Alec finishes the words.
He walks over to Magnus, into the arm that’s outstretched and waiting for him. With one final glance back at Max he switches the light off.
“That’s my favourite fairy tale.” Magnus tells him.