It's that time of the year. Or time of the every few months and between. A birthday bundle package for my good friend, Ashley aka LittleNightDragon. Presenting Ashley gift #1
The Ups and Downs of Parenthood
2 months old: Quality Daddy and Simon time
Curly, thick dark-brown hair Alec already knew was going to be a shaggy mop when he got older. Big, brown eyes that was innocent as a baby doe's. Soft, tanned skin the color of rich caramel (his sister and boyfriend's words, not his). His body so small, so warm he could practically be fitted into one palm that was clad in a light blue onesie dotted with smiling blue dogs.
Key traits that were the making of a beautiful baby. And yet they were the elements that made up an opponent that had to be the toughest opponent Alec had faced yet. Even worse than the few times he and his team were up against Valentine's circle members, barely making it out alive.
"Alexander, you are aware that he's a baby, right?" Magnus chimed in, amused. "Not a demon?"
Alec peeled his away from the baby nestled in his crib, occupied with the fist he was trying to fit into his mouth, over to his boyfriend who appeared beside him. "The way he howls at night says otherwise."
Before Magnus could reply, the baby lowered his fist and banged them beside his head, whimpering building inside his body as he began to squirm, his face tightening.
Panic arose in Alec as he witnessed it, bracing himself for the inevitable as the small mouth formed into a O.
Magnus acted quickly, leaning in to scoop the baby out of the crib and into his arms, patting his back gently as he rocked him. "That's alright, Simon. Papa's here. Papa's got you."
Simon's small fists clenched, then unclenched. The scream that had been building up inside him changed into giggling. He entertained himself by playing with Magnus's scarf, fascinated by the blend of colors.
Magnus dropped a kiss on Simon's head, stroking his thick curls, and glanced over at Alec, studying his face that resembled a soldier who narrowly escaped being hit by a great blow. It took a great deal of concentration on Magnus's not to burst into laughter. "You know, you're more than free to lend a hand."
"Looks to me like you already have it covered."
He usually did. Magnus clucked his tongue, shaking his head in mock disappointment. "You remember what the books said, don't you? We both have to constantly hold him, so he knows he's in a safe place."
"Well, whenever I hold him, I apparently create the opposite feeling of safe."
Humming to himself, Magnus shrugged with one shoulder and gently pried his medallion away from Simon's hands, tucking it inside his shirt. "Well, not all of us are blessed with the magical touch."
Cheeky warlock. Making a vow to get back at him for the comment later, Alec's eyes lowered to their son.
A shiver crept up his spine at the word. He actually had a son. He was a dad. He was a dad to a son.
Simon came into their lives recently in the most unexpected way. During a group mission weeks back, Alec's team stumbled across butchery in Brooklyn that was known vampire territory. The team walked into the aftermath of a mass massacre, with some many bodies littered at nearly every direction. Several Seelie knights with their throats ripped out, werewolves with their claws cut off and daggers embedded in their bodies, and four vampires that were dried up into wan husks. One of those husks was a woman, long dead, who carried a bundle underneath her shirt. A baby, the lone survivor who blinked up at Magnus and reached for him.
No one knew what to make of it. The baby looked like an ordinary human, about a month old, until Isabelle examined his neck and saw there were dots, bluish-green dots lined down the column of his neck. One of the Shadowhunters threw in the suggestion that he was a possibly a feeder, or some sort of pet to the vampire he was with. But vampires weren't known to feed on those that young, and children were already off-limits in the accords. Yet, there was nothing to clarify exactly he was. Even Magnus was stumped for an answer, sensing something unusual in the baby but unable to identify what exactly it was.
But Alec knew this. Magnus fell hard for the baby just as much as the baby fell hard for him. It was clear he saw a lot of himself in the baby. Magnus was quick to tend to him if he squirmed and came to the Institute more often than before to check on him. Even Alec grew attached to the little guy. So they decided to adopt him. It wasn't easy, especially since the Clave still didn't approve of his preferences or who he chose as a partner. Nevertheless with persistence and charm and life-debts and old favors Magnus pulled out he felt were owed right then and there, then mountains and mountains of paperwork, a ritual or two, they were able to claim Simon Lightwood-Bane as their own.
Which was good. For the most part. Sure, Simon tended to spit up his food every now and then. And sure, whatever food he needed to keep down one end usually ended coming out the other end. And his sleeping schedule was still a grueling work in progress with him waking up at the oddest of hours, often screaming. But still Alec dealt with it. Besides, that wasn't the worst of it.
Oh no. That was reserved for the fact Simon seemed to hate him.
Magnus thought he was being silly, claiming Simon just needed time to adjust to the change. Izzy thought he was being paranoid. Jace laughed in his face, and harder when he saw for himself what Alec meant. They could think what they wanted, but Alec knew the truth. The facts didn't lie. Like the fact every single time Alec came near Simon, held him, or even breathed his direction, Simon burst into a loud, crying, screaming fit that only eased when someone else picked him up and Alec was a good several feet away from him.
Calling it crying was almost too generous. It was more like loud, ear-murdering, voice strangulation. One was always triggered by Alec.
"Face it, man," Jace said, the last time he visited. Simon giggled as he was bounced around on Jace's hip when seconds around he was sobbing. "You're, like, the anti-baby magnet."
Alec smacked him against the back of the head for that comment, but the words stayed with him.
Which was why an hour later, he, Alec Lightwood, nicknamed the Stoic King, was trying hard not to slip into panic mode.
Magnus was called in by an old friend to track down Camille, who managed to escape from the Clave's grip once again, leaving a trail of mayhem and bloodless bodies in her wake. He thought India was most likely her current hiding spot and was taking a portal there.
Meaning Alec was going to be left alone with the baby.
Hence, why he was trying not to slip into panic mode.
"Are you sure you don't want any backup?" Alec asked from the couch, watching Magnus check out his bags to make sure he had everything. "We could bring Simon and make it a family trip. I think he'll like India."
Magnus looked over his shoulder and quirked a curious eyebrow at him. "As much fun as that sounds, I'd rather not have our first family trip involve us chasing down my vindictive ex. One I wish to stay a million feet clear from my son. And also one who, may I add, can and will easily push your buttons."
The look on his face must have been disappointing since Magnus pulled away from his packing to drop a soft kiss on his lips.
"It will only take a few hours, a day tops, if Camille is trying to throw us off her trail. I'm sure you can manage."
He can. He wasn't sure if Simon could. And he knew he wouldn't be if Simon wasn't.
As if reading his thoughts, Magnus leaned in another kiss. A longer, deeper one that erased the frown off Alec's face. Smiling down at him, he stroked Alec's hair. "You worry too much."
Alec hummed, calmed by Magnus's touch.
"Simon is currently sleeping and most likely will be for the rest of the night," Magnus assured. "If not, then just give him a bottle and rock him to sleep."
Alec scoffed. Like it was that east.
He must have said it out loud since the following words, delivered with a small smirk, came out from Magnus's mouth: "Well, it is for me."
Alec pushed the laughing warlock away from him and pointed towards the shimmering blue portal. "Bye!"
One more smile and Magnus was gone.
Alec sighed, leaning back into the couch. Then rose up and tiptoed down the hall, into the room that was across from their bedroom, where Simon laid in his bed, peacefully sleeping.
Alec carefully walked over to the bed and looked down, his heart melting at the sight. Sprawled on his stomach, one fist lying next to his head, the other clutching onto his blankie, head turned towards Alec.
A piercing shriek burst against his eardrum.
Cries and screams erupted from Simon's throat as he thrashed around his crib, fully awake.
Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit.
Panicked, Alec picked him up and carried him over to the kitchen. Alec pulled open the fridge and searched around for the bottle.
Bottle. Bottle. Bottle. Not rice. Not grapes. Not-whatever it is Magnus packed up in that jar, orange and slimy. Bottle. Bottle. There, in the back.
Alec pulled out the bottle and stuffed the tip into Simon's mouth, silencing his crying.
Simon blinked once, twice, and then settled into Alec's arms, relaxing as he drank. Then, just as Alec was about to relax, Simon yanked his mouth away from the bottle, spat the milk into Alec's face, and burst into tears once more. Much loudly than before.
Well, that didn't work. Groaning, Alec switched the crying baby over to his right arm to grab a cloth and wipe the milk off his face, trying to ignore the warm feeling of it.
Simon's fists were banging against his chest, his sobbing growing louder.
Alec looked around for the pacifier that usually calmed Simon down when he got too fussy, his feet leading him into the living room. He found the sucker in the playpen, buried underneath a mountain of stuffed animals.
A quick wash, a short battle between a stubborn baby and a determined Alec, and the sucker was in.
Then instantly out, hitting Alec right in the eye.
"Fuc-" he bit his lip to keep in the reminder of the word.
Simon was fighting him now, banging his fists against Alec's chest, his legs kicking wildly, trying to escape from his hold.
"Okay, okay, okay." Bottles weren't working. The sucker was a no-go. And Alec had a feeling if he tried the mashed-up baby food, it'd be another thing Simon spat back at his face.
"You gotta help me out, Simon. What is it? What's wrong?"
His questions were met with more crying.
Alec ranked through his brain on what could make a baby cry. Food was out. Pacifier was out. The only thing left was-Alec placed a hand against Simon's bum, feeling something heavy and hot against his skin.
Minutes later, Simon was lying on his back on the changing table, fists swinging, legs flinging, screaming heightening. He was screaming so loudly, his face was bright red-and he fought with Alec every step of the way as he unhooked his soiled diaper, cleaned him, and tried to slip a new one on.
In those past few minutes, Alec was reminded again of the surprising but undeniable strength a baby had in that small body in theirs, being a victim of those flying fists and legs. "Simon, by the angel, hold still!"
At that point, Simon switched from screaming to full-on (full-blast) howling, as if he was being murdered, pushing Alec's patience and frustrations past the limit.
Forgetting the diaper, Alec brought Simon to his chest, tightening his hold around the squirming baby, trying to bounce him the way Magnus had earlier.
"Simon, what are you trying to tell me?" Alec patted a hand against his back. "What is it?"
Just as the screaming was about to hit deafening heights, it dimmed to a low burp, fading into silence. So sudden, so heavy, Alec thought for a second Simon had died.
What the-Alec glanced over at him. Simon's face that was seconds ago tight and beet-red smoothened into a calm, almost-sleepy expression. Letting out another burp, he nuzzled against Alec's shoulder, sighing happily.
Oh. Oh….realization flicked on inside Alec's head like a light bulb. "So that was it? You just needed to burp?"
Drool trickled down Simon's cheek as he blew a raspberry and smiled. Alec took that as a yes, smiling along with him.
And then stilled as he felt something hot, heavy, and slimy plot down on his shirt, sliding down.
He forgot to put a diaper on him.
Simon giggled as several more brick-size feces popped from his butt onto Alec's shirt, along with a steam of hot piss.
Biting his lip hard to keep in the curses boiling on his tongue, Alec grunted out, "You're a lot like your aunt and uncle. Just get a kick out of my misery."
Simon just laughed more.
After Alec put on a diaper on Simon and changed his baby-soiled shirt, the rest of the night went by surprisingly smoothly. Maybe there was something about letting your kid do his diaper business on you that cleared the air between you two. It certainly did for Simon. He didn't cry anymore when Alec held him. He didn't cry when Alec set him down for a bath. If anything, Simon sought him out more, whimpering when Alec had a move to put down into the playpen, wanting to be carried.
Alec was in the middle of telling Simon a story when Magnus popped into the living room.
"How was India?"
"The country, pleasant. Camille?" Magnus made a sour face as if he was the one who had to deal with a baby-soiled shirt. "The exact opposite of pleasant. But it's the Clave's problem now. Although knowing my dear black widow, she'll find a way to escape. She usually does."
Alec hoped for their sake's that escape didn't happen any time too. His fingers running over Simon's bare stomach, causing the baby to burst into more giggling, Alec commented, "You do know when," Because it was always a when, never an if with Camille. "that happens, you'll be entitled to help them out again."
"Which means my bill will be twice as large." Magnus happily replied. "Just in time too, with the Marc Jacobs spring collection coming out next week."
Alec scoffed, shaking his head. Magnus took his spot beside him on the couch, wrapping his arm around Alec, bringing him and Simon close to him.
"As lovely as India was, along with the generous paycheck for my services, I did miss Brooklyn. I missed my boys." He dropped a soft kiss on Alec's lips. "Both my boys." He smiled down at Simon and stroked his hair.
Simon grabbed his hand and played with his fingers, drooling on them like a chew toy.
"Looks like Simon missed you a whole lot." Alec commented.
Magnus wasn't fazed by the drool. If anything he was more delighted by it. He pulled Simon away from Alec's lap over to his, bouncing him on his knees. "Ooh, did you miss your Papa, sweet boy? Did you miss your Papa?"
Before Simon would have been giggling, clapping excitedly to be back on his favorite seat. But he shifted away, turning away from Magnus to Alec, reaching out for him.
Magnus glanced over from Alec to Simon and back again, completely stumped. Alec shrugged and took back their son, who was giggling once more.
"I'm gone for one night and you turned my own son against me?"
Alec shrugged, unable to fight off the smile turning his lips. "I say it's payback for all the teasing you've done on me causing his crying."
"So you stole him from me?"
Well, not all of us are blessed with the magical touch."
Magnus whacked him over the head with a throw pillow.