Seventy years and Magnus still couldn’t believe he was dead, that he was reading that name on the already-crumbling tombstone with faded lettering. It was covered in dead flowers, ones that had decayed over the decades; and the crushed flowers in the tight clamp of Magnus’s fist would soon join them. They were the same every year: roses, enchanted to be the exact same hue of Alec’s eyes. Weathering of the fair stone had left his birth and death date unclear, but Magnus knew it by heart. He had been there, he had caused it. Allowing his eyes to close, Magnus slid down onto his knees and brushed the stone with his long fingertips. By memory, he mapped out the cracked letters and numbers, tears already welling up and burning his eyes. The flowers fell from his grasp onto the frost and flecks of snow, the faint sound of contact ringing through his sensitive ears.
“Oh, Alec,” he murmured like a sweet caress. Each time he made the trip back to New York to visit the largely symbolic tombstone, he said his old lover’s name. It was the only day he allowed himself to say it, then he buried the sharp, piercing agony deep enough to keep hidden until the following year.
“Alexander Bane, my dear Lightwood, why did you have to be the one?” He spoke in the soft, sing-song voice of someone lost in reverie.
Out of his past, his centuries and his losses, this one had been the greatest. Magnus had once told Tessa that the first time was always the hardest, that first, bitter loss; but he was wrong. Many times he had lost people, many times had he fallen-- or so he thought. Nothing could possibly hurt as much as this. Maybe this is what Tessa felt, Magnus thought, maybe I had underestimated her torture.
Snow collected in his dark hair and on the fringes of his long lashes while he remembered. One day a year to remember to keep him sane, to keep him from breaking down; and the next day to wish he hadn’t done it at all. There was so much, but never enough to grasp onto. Each shared kiss and night alone, holding Alec to him and murmuring words only they would know. Each new step, each accomplishment and endearing moment as Alec aged further along. So much to reflect on and so much to dread thinking about.
Magnus was shaking, the thoughts of their love and their hopes crippling him. Shudders rippled down his spine and he cried out, sobbed mercilessly as he shouted angrily at Alec into the night air. He might as well have been drunk, but he wasn’t. Not on any substance perhaps broken hopes and lost love-- the worst substance of all.
“Remember our wedding?” He cried, not bothering to try to wipe away the hot onrush of tears accompanied by butchered laughter, “And your cheeks got so red when I kissed you and claimed you as mine. Everyone clapped, everyone was happy. You fumbled when you danced but I kept anyone from noticing.”
Magnus was answered with silence.
His volume grew, leaning over the stone and placing his palms flat on it as if using it for support. Ironic, he realized, considering he never knew how much he had come to lean on Alec until he had lost him. “Remember when we adopted-- because we saw Clary and Jace with their little Adelaine and wanted that? Remember watching her grow up and get married and have her own kids? I still watch over them, you know, for you. All for you.”
Again, there was nothing. Only the cold wind nipping at his skin, seeping through the fabric of his clothing.
“Goddammit, Alexander!” He shouted in frustration, “You remember that night you died? When you realized the only reason you were dying was because of a mistake I had made? That look of sadness on your face- not hatred, though you should have hated me- as you said you forgave me and still loved me? Do you still love me, Alec? Or do you hate me now? You should.”
His arms grew feeble and shaky as he fell apart in the drifting snow. There was so much pent up emotion built in a reservoir in his heart and it was spilling over in a sudden rush. There would be no turning back. Tears stained the eroded stone, pooled in the engravings. “Remember...remember when I said all the time you could give me I’d be grateful for? That I’d be okay with only as much as you could humanly hand over? Well, I lied-- I’m not okay. I want a forever with you, a real forever with just you and me. This pain...it isn’t going away with time, Alec. Not the way it should, you’re always there somehow. You’re still so fresh in my mind and I can’t stop thinking about the way you’d smile after being mad or the way you’d laugh or forgive me. I still have your old sweaters with holes in the sleeve. Drab and colorless, but they brought out the color in your eyes. I wear them sometimes, when I need to fall asleep. They’ve lost your scent and I hate that they have. I need you back Alexander. I just need you.”
Broken down, Magnus cried himself out. His eyes dried out and his throat constricted until he could barely gasp for air. Every fiber of his being was spent, burned out. It took everything he had to collect himself, to rebuild that reservoir and pick himself up off the ground. His face turned to stone, his jaw tightening and his eyes going blank. He was void of emotion as he headed for the cemetery gate.
December 15th, the night of their wedding over a century ago. December 15th, the day he had taken claim of the best man a Warlock could ask for.
Seventy years. Seventy years and he could still not believe that he was gone. That he had lost all that gave him meaning and splashed color onto his once vibrant world.
Magnus walked away from that grave and spent another 364 days pretending an Alexander Bane never existed, never once crossed his path. 364 days until he would weep again.