“What’s that you have there, sweetie?” Lily asked as Alec came in.
“What he has is my phone,” said Alec. “Which he stole.”
In Rafael’s hands, Alec’s phone buzzed. Alec reached for it, but Rafael moved casually out of reach. He didn’t seem terribly concerned that Alec had grabbed for him. He was staring at the phone.
Alec reached for the phone, then stopped, caught off guard. As Rafael studied the phone, the sullen line of his mouth twitched, then slowly curved into a smile. The smile, slow and warm and sweet, altered his whole face.
Alec’s hand dropped. Rafael turned a suddenly-bright countenance up to him and chirped a question. Even his voice sounded different when he was happy.
“I don’t understand you,” Alec said helplessly.
Rafael waved the phone in Alec’s face to illustrate his point. Alec looked at the screen, and kept looking. He’d had a sick unsteady feeling in his chest since he realized what the Shadowhunters were doing here, but the world felt steady again now.
Magnus had sent a picture with the caption “Blueberry and I home from a wild and dangerous mission with a swingset.”
Magnus was leaning against their front door. Max was laughing, all dimples, the way he did whenever Magnus did magic to amuse him. There were blue and golden lights streaming all around them, and huge iridescent bubbles that seemed made of light too. Magnus was smiling a small fond smile, and the black spikes of his hair were wreathed with radiant ribbons of magic.
Alec had asked Magnus to send him pictures whenever he was away, after their first mission when Max was a baby. To remind Alec what he was fighting for.
Lily cleared her throat. “The kid asked: ‘Who is that cool man?’”
“Oh,” said Alec, kneeling by the bed. “Oh, that’s—that’s Magnus. His name is Magnus Bane. He’s my—I’m his–he and I are going to get married.”
One day, they would.
Alec wasn’t sure why it felt important to tell this child.
Lily translated. Rafael looked from the phone to Alec’s face, then back again, his brow furrowed in clear surprise. Alec waited. He’d heard kids say terrible things before now. Adults poured poison in their minds and then it came out of their mouths.
“He said,” Lily reported with unholy joy, “‘What is that cool man doing with you?’”
Alec said: “Rafael, give me back my phone.”
Alec Lightwood, partner of the High Warlock of Brooklyn and father of a warlock child, is sent to Buenos Aires to re-establish the Shadowhunters amidst the ruins left by the Dark War. When he arrives, he is not welcomed by the Shadowhunters there. He believes it is because of his companion Lily, the head of the New York vampire clan, until a Shadowhunter orphan confides a dark secret to him under cover of the Shadow Market.