The years are not as kind to the heart as they are to their looks.
And for all his centuries of experience, Magnus doesn’t have the best coping skills.
Time passes differently for them. For the immortals. For the vampires amd fae and warlocks and all other sorts of creatures.
It is different for them then the mortals, the mundanes and the werewolves and the shadowhunters. The ones who age and grow and die.
A year for Magnus will never mean much, he would spend a year looking out the window, nothing much would change. A year for the humans is much longer, a whole significant part of life, and it makes dating them hard and nervewrecking. How can you take that much time from someone, how do you make yourself worth it, when they will die, and you will not and you will mourn them until time has not softened the wound or memories, but has brought new heartaches.
Time passes differently for Magnus and Tessa and the others. And they all deal with it in different ways.
Ragnor tries to forget, forget that he’s known some of his friends for centuries and forget that the humans around him will die, and he forces himself not to care. His cardinal rule was not getting attached. His death was a bit of a shock to them, Catarina and Magnus. Because mortal friends and lovers and strangers alike died but Ragnor was like them, a warlock, an immortal, and more than anything a friend of many centuries and that was difficult.
Catarina rarely finds the time to get attached, she buries herself into work, healing and helping, trying to do some good with her immortal life and talents. To Magnus it looks more like trying to absolve for the sins of their birth for the demon blood that runs through all their veins that damns them all. Like maybe if she saves enough mundane blood it will make her own run clean. Magnus has long since tired of such an act but it keeps her sane and she surfaces once a year or decade or so because she is his friend and they have that kind of time.
Tessa moves. She moves around and travels the world, making trips to London or Idris or New York as needed by homesickness or a need to see old friends the mortal and immortal alike. And Tessa for all that she still looks 25, and not a day older than the day she married Will 2 centuries ago is exactly that, old and world worn and she travels and looks at everything because by the time she’s made her way back around somewhere it’s inevitably changed. She sees Jem sometimes, Jem who is and isn’t the boy he was when Magnus met him, who scarcely looks a day older than 17 despite his scars and mutilations that came with becoming a shadowbrother, much like the ones who had taken Magnus in as a boy. For all purposes immortal and yet not quite. He has and will live a long time. And these two once been shadowhunters were his friends in the oddest sense of the world. All at once as he remembers and yet entirely different. Thus is the effect of 200 years and the death of their third heart, the one that bought them together. Because Will Herondale had not been immortal and he has been dead a long time. And Tessa has perhaps read A tale of Two Cities more times on her own than the rest of humanity in all of its history put together. Tessa in general reads like breathing. She has spent entire decades in the reading room of a library. And such is life for them, you cling to what you know and hope you don’t go mad with the years.
Time is not so kind to immortals. It does not touch us, our faces frozen and we do not age or grow and it does not kill us. But time is not as kind to our hearts as it is to our bodies. There is a price for immortality. We may cheat certain types of death but the universe is not kind to those who change the rules. Our price is broken hearts. We all cope differently.
But of all his immortal friends Magnus has perhaps been around the longest. With a mother and stepfather who tried to kill the devil in him and a father who is the king of the demons. He has seen the world and empires rise and fall. Has seen old friends turn to madness. Seen the rise and fall of vampires in New York, from Dumont to Dumort. Has seen the power of such a place change hands from an older lover Camille in all her terrible, cold hearted beauty. To Raphael Santiago, a boy who became a monster and believes himself damned. To now, the young one Mareen, horribly infatuated with a boy who will not love her. He has seen people do worse things than destroy lives and cities in the name of love. He doesn’t want it to come to that.
And he has had many a friend and lover die. Woolsey and Etta. And he has seen the history of the shadowhunters, how they bring their own destruction. He has seen the Herondales and Lightwoods and despite his best efforts, he also seems to get attached to exactly the wrong ones.
Magnus keeps a box of memories in his closet. And he has seen the cruelty of the clave and the mundanes a like. And he has seen the injustice that is the downworlders being seen as the monsters.
He has seen Edmund Herondale scream in pain as his marks were stripped for falling in love with a mortal women. His life and his love unable to coexist. He has seen the law upheld before the thought of mercy has crossed a clave members mind. Seen people go mad with grief, with or for power. Has seen Will Herondale stand dripping wet in the rain outside his loft because his weakness was his heart and despite his best efforts he still has a girl in love with him and a best friend and he is cursed to hurt them. Has seen one Herondale saved by love and his son so very alike in every way damned by it. Seen the way time changes people and families and history. The last Herondale is friends with the Lightwoods. The Herondale is blonde and the Lightwoods have dark hair and blue eyes and despite the awful family this new generation is not awful in the least.
He’s seen the Circle. The cumulation of the effects of the shadowhunters thinking they are better and it leads to madness and murder. He has seen a women beg him for help, to save her innocent daughter from the evil world she helped create.
And he swore he would not get involved again but Magnus’s weakness has always been his heart. He has always been fond of strays. Stray cats and downworlders and immortals. He’s a walking bleeding heart.
And in all his many years he’s never quite found somwthing to keep him grounded like all the others. Never found something to stop him from falling hard and fast and breaking himself into so many pieces there may soon be nothing left.
Alec Lightwood may not be the first to break his heart. But he has done so thoroghly, and he is the latest one.
Magnus can fix a lot of things, but he doesn’t know how to fix that.