From behind the glass Magnus saw his former self slump to the ground, only to be caught by Alec, who eased him to the ground. That was Magnus's cue to go outside.
"By the Angel, why did you do that for?" Alec shrieked.
"I didn't have a choice," Cat said, hands raised in defense. "As long as my Magnus was outside, yours had to remain indoors. And the longer your Magnus had to stay inside, the higher the risk he would get caught. Ragnor already gave me a couple of funny looks. And I can't very well draw a time-portal in a room full of people, can I?"
"Well, you should've –" Alec started.
"Yes, and I would have if we had more time." Cat seemed to be losing her patience with Alec. "But we don't. So I'm sorry, but he isn't hurt."
"Then what's that yellow little ball in your hand?" Alec asked.
Magnus hadn't noticed the soft glowing yellow ball in Cat's hand until Alec mentioned it, but one look was enough for him to instantly recognize what it was.
"Those are my memories," Magnus answered, stepping forward and placing a hand on Alec's arm. He didn't dare look at the figure sleeping on the ground, and it wasn't because he feared the world might end if he did. But seeing what he had been like back then filled him with a mixture of sadness and pride. Sadness because the late eighties were definitely among the lowest points in his immortal life, and pride because he had come such a long way since then.
"You... He can't recognize Alec in the future," Cat said. "You understand that, right?"
Magnus swallowed against the lump in his throat. "Yeah, I do."
Cat looked at the swiveling ball dancing on her fingertips, its light growing weaker with every passing second. "But I do believe that I can give this to you now." She stepped forward and when Magnus nodded, she placed her hand on his head.
Memories flooded them, and even though it only were memories of the last hour - barely a drop in the ocean of his immortal life - he immediately recognized how significant those moments here with Alec on the balcony had been. Tears welled upon in his eyes, but he quickly blinked them away, keeping his gaze steadfast on the slumped figure on the ground. There was no time to think about all this now. They had a time portal to conjure and a demon to vanquish, and they had to do it fast, otherwise, he might not even get the time to contemplate about what transpired between Alec and his past-self on the balcony here tonight.
He felt an arm around his shoulder, and when he looked up, Alec's gaze, a mix of concern and tenderness, met his. "You okay?" Alec asked.
Magnus nodded. Gratefulness flooded him. No longer was he that disillusioned man that saw his future stretched out in front of him as an eternity of loneliness. He had Alec looking out for him, and friends that had his back when he needed them.
Cat looked at her watch. "It's 8.43 AM, you two really should get going, because we don't know how long it will take you to get back to your time. I will wake up my Magnus" – she gestured to Magnus's sleeping form on the floor – "as soon as you've made your way through the portal. So –"
"Hang on," Alec interjected. "How do we know we will go back to the right time?"
Cat sighed. "That's the glitch in our plan, I'm afraid. From what I gathered, the timestamp and place of arrival remains pretty much the same: you left your time at around 7 PM and you roughly ended up in 1989 sometime after 7 in the exact same place. But as for the date... Magnus told me he'd been listening to a certain song that reminded him of this evening, but then it would have made more sense for him to arrive today rather than yesterday. Or the demon might have pre-programmed the portal for him to arrive here, but that begs the question why –" She shook her head. "No time to think about that now. I'll conjure the portal with 19 January 2017 as its destination and if you think of the same date as well, hopefully it will work out."
Magnus looked at Cat's watch and then fiddled with his own. "Okay, my watch is synced to yours now, Cat." He grabbed Alec's hand, interlacing his fingers tightly with Alec's. "Anytime you're ready, Catarina."
Cat nodded, spoke some words in a forbidden ancient language that Magnus himself barely recognized anymore and then she conjured a portal. She had her eyes squeezed shut and sweat was beading on her forehead, indicating that saying the spell took an enormous amount of effort. Magnus did a silent prayer she wouldn't pass out.
"Thanks for everything, Cat," Magnus whispered.
"Thank me in 2017," she whispered. "Go!"
Magnus gave Alec a brief nod and together they stepped forward into the swirling portal. Immediately it felt as if they were sucked into a nauseating nothingness and they started to turn and turn... images flashed in front of him, but they were traveling so fast he couldn't make out what they were. And then it stopped... It felt as if they had been traveling at the speed of light when somebody suddenly decided to pull the emergency breaks. They tumbled on Magnus's balcony, unable to remain on their feet because of the enormous forward momentum they had.
"Whoa!" Magnus shouted.
Alec turned and cushioned Magnus's fall, protecting him with his body. "You okay?"
Magnus nodded. His stomach felt as if it had been turned inside out and tied into a dozen complicated knots. "Yeah. You?" He stumbled to his feet and reached out a hand to Alec.
"They made it!" Izzy came running outside. "Thank the Angel, they made it!" She pulled Alec and Magnus in a tight hug. "I was so, so scared..."
Guess they made it back to the right time then...
"There you are." Jace sauntered outside, looking as if he hadn't worried one bit about their safe return, but the bags under his eyes spoke volumes. "Alec, the eighties called, they want their hairdo back."
"Hil-fucking-larious," Alec said. "And just so you know, this style is not representative of the eighties, it's taken out of the musical Lea... eh, Grease which takes place in the late fifties."
Magnus chuckled. At least their little trip to 1989 had given Alec some knowledge on musicals.
"Well, Jace's jokes still suck, so it looks like we've made it back to the right time." Alec grinned. To Magnus's utter relief the Deflect-rune in Alec's neck was back as if it had never been away. Hopefully, his magic would be back as well... It had to be, otherwise they would have a hard time banishing the demon.
"What's the date, Jace?" Magnus asked.
"19 January 2017," Magnus heard Cat's voice behind him. "At exactly 8.57 PM." She handed him the White Book. "You know what to do?"
Magnus nodded, flicking through the pages until he had found the right one. He had hoped for more time with the demon, but apparently, their journey through time had taken them a good fifteen minutes. "Did you manage to get anything out of her?"
Cat shook her head. "I tried, but she wouldn't budge."
"Okay. I figured as much. But thanks anyway." He walked inside and came face-to-face with the demon, now safely locked behind bars, who had put him and Alec in terrible danger, and yet... She inadvertently had given his past-self hope of a better future. Which was why he was here today, with Alec and with Shadowhunters and Downworlders he had come to regard as his family. If Alec hadn't shown up that night in 1989...
"I'm not going to ask you who send you," Magnus said in a quiet voice. She still wore that long black overcoat, but her blonde hair looked ragged and disheveled as if she had been plucking and tearing at it for hours on end. Her eyes were still pools of infinite darkness, so it was hard to gauge if she had even heard him. "Because there isn't time and I don't think you're going to tell me anyway." He swallowed. "And I presume that whoever summoned you didn't have good intentions, but I want to to thank you and them anyway... because it turned out well."
"Well, that's all that matters then, isn't it?" The demon's voice sounded raspy, as if she hadn't used her voice in a very long time.
Magnus sighed. "I'm afraid it won't be that simple." Again, he glanced at his watch. 8.59 PM. He felt Alec's reassuring hand on his shoulder and then the numbers on the display changed to 9 PM. Showtime. "Cre vs'zyck cre wčež... azu'crrighz azu'qwerž..."
Magnus looked up. There was no bang, no fire... One moment the demon was there, the next she was gone, as if nothing had happened. She hadn't even left a trace of demonic residue behind.
"Did it work?" Alec asked.
Magnus shrugged. "I honestly don't know. She's gone, but..." He would've thought the demon would put up more of a fight, that she would've tried to bargain with him... It was almost as if she had wanted to leave this realm.
"I think we did it," Cat said.
Magnus smiled and pulled Cat into a hug. "That hug was long overdue, I think."
"Neary thirty years overdue," she said, patting him on the back.
"What happened after we left?" Magnus asked.
"I woke you up and had you... Your past-you say the spell. You thought it was some sort of inner-healing spell or something," Cat said. "After that, you claimed to be tired and ended the party at exactly 9.05 PM. Then you went to bed."
"Yeah, that's how I remember it as well."
"So where do we go from here?" Cat asked.
Magnus paused. He had given the matter a lot of thought but it hadn't been easy to come up with an answer. His first priority was keeping Cat and Alec safe from any potential backlash but regardless, it would still be like swimming in a shark-infested pool with a bleeding wound. Someone was bound to suffer from this, and he just had to make certain that that person was going to be him.
"I think we should inform the Clave." Alec's voice interrupted his gloomy thoughts.
"What? No!" Informing the Clave would put Alec firmly in the eye of the storm.
"Yes, I think we should." Alec walked towards him and put his hands on Magnus's shoulders and looked him deep in the eyes. "Look, I'm not going to do anything you don't want me to do, but what happened... That demon didn't show up on his own and conveniently threw us back in time, Magnus. All I'm saying is, this is bound to come out. If we inform the Clave, we'll gain the upper hand." He gently started to rub Magnus's shoulders. "We can dictate the story, prove that we have nothing to hide. And I'll make sure that nothing will happen to you or Cat, okay?"
"It's not me I'm worried about," Magnus whispered.
"I know that," Alec said. "And that's actually what worries me. Look, you and Cat have the final call in this, but this is what I think we should do."
At times like these Magnus could see what a great leader Alec was. Yes, he might not be adept at sugarcoating things, but he wasn't afraid to take charge and make decisions in difficult situations. But if the Clave found out Alec had helped Magnus in covering up their tumble through time, his career would be over... He could even lose his runes, and Magnus had seen how devastated Alec had been when they were erased from his skin in 1989. "Very well," Magnus sighed. "We'll inform the Clave. If Cat agrees to this as well, that is?"
Cat nodded. "I think it's the right course of action to take. It will all work out, Magnus."
Hopefully, it did, but he wasn't too sure about it. Since his ill-advised siding with the Seelie Queen, his position on the Inquisitor's list of favorite persons had taken a nosedive. But then again, she never really cared much for him to begin with anyway.
"I'm going to head home," said Cat. "You set up a meeting with the Clave, Alec?"
Alec nodded. "Yeah, I'll get on that right away." He held up his cell phone. "Glad I can use this baby again. Seriously, how did you guys get by without modern technology?" he asked as he walked outside.
Magnus took a deep breath. There was no turning back now.
"It will be alright, Magnus," Cat tried to reassure him.
He just hoped that she was right.
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