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Look At What My Love Has Done

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Alec had just gone and done it. The thing. The thing where he just got so caught up in his emotions that he left his fiancée Lydia at the altar and left her for a man- a warlock to precise. But Alec didn’t care about Magnus Bane being a Downworlder, because he knew that the warlock cared about him, really truly cared about him. It was obvious from the way that Magnus had repeatedly told Alec that he understood how he felt, and even more surprisingly, Alec had believed him and cared just as deeply about the other man. It went against all his basic training to trust a Downworlder so openly, but he didn’t regret it for a second.

Alec knew that he and Magnus, together, would be unstoppable.

He knew this because they already were unstoppable.

That was how Alec had arrived at the point of grabbing the high warlock of Brooklyn by the lapels, in front of his friends, his family, Lydia, Aldertree, and the rest of the Clave, and kissing him like he never wanted to stop. Because he didn’t want to stop; and then, when they finally broke apart, Magnus took a deep breath and leaned forwards again, asking Alec’s lips tentatively for more, leaving the decision up to Alec. Who accepted. He leant in again and gave it all he could.

The second time they came up for air, he knew he had to face everyone. He attempted to register what had just happened, before his thinking process was shattered by his younger sister Izzy coming up to tell Alec how proud she was of him. Alec flashed her a thankful smile, before Simon walked over to them too, rambling on about some Graduate film that Alec and - guessing from facial expressions that Alec detected some fake enthusiasm from- Magnus had never heard of before. Things were going more smoothly than expected, although Alec did have to throw in a sarcastic comment about who had invited Simon because seriously, he needed his grumpy exterior with the vamp just so that something could remain constant today. Alec felt like the ground was shifting beneath him, and the young Lightwood wasn’t sure whether it would be best to try and fight it or just see where it took him.

Aldertree was the next person to approach Alec, looking livid as he stalked closer. Alec felt Magnus take a protective step closer, and didn’t miss Aldertree catch the movement and smirk to himself as he turned on Magnus.

“I hope you’re satisfied Mr Bane. Not only have you now destroyed Alec’s reputation amongst the Shadowhunters, but you have also made a fool out of me in front of the most respected members of the Clave. That will not go unpunished. By the angel I will ensure that I get revenge for this. You may have worked your magic on Alec to get him to behave this way but-“

“Magnus did no such thing, Aldertree,” Alec interjected, hotly. “Lydia knew how I felt about him before the ceremony began, and she accepts that this was the decision I made so that I didn’t have to live a lie,” Alec stepped forward, crowding into Aldertree’s personal space. Magnus was edging his way in front of Alec, presumably preparing to smash a fireball into the man’s chest if the situation required it, when Alec continued, “And secondly, I would think very hard about how wise it is to threaten the man I love so boldly. Don’t forget that I know you were supplying Izzy with yin fen, which I’ve heard doesn’t sit well with your supervisors over in Idris, but I’m happy to find out in person if you wish.”

“Fine, but don’t forget what I said Mr Bane, sleep with one eye open.” Aldertree grumbled as he turned and left.

When Alec faced Magnus once again, he saw that the warlock had a smile stretched wide across his face. It must have been contagious because Alec ended up grinning back.

“What’s put you in such a good mood?” Alec teased.

“You, Alexander,” Magnus began, smile widening even further, “said that you love me.”

Alec felt his eyes widen and his hand flew to his mouth, “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to rush into it, I just . . . I-“

“Alec!” Magnus held up a hand, cutting off the rest of Alec’s rambling, “Don’t apologise unless you truly didn’t mean to say it. Which would be awkward because, well, I love you too Alexander, and I haven’t felt this way since. . .” A pained look crossed the Downworlder’s face, and Alec took one of Magnus’ hands in both of his, reassuringly. “Well, let’s just say that I was adamant not to let anyone get close to me in this way, but you seem to have reopened something in my heart.”

Alec felt his mouth drop open in surprise.

“Well, that’s, er, yeah, that’s. . . that’s good. I, er . . . oh screw it.” And then Alec was reaching forward to kiss Magnus again, for the third blissful time today, in front of the remaining guests of his now-abandoned wedding. And Alexander Lightwood found that he didn’t feel self-conscious one bit.

When they broke apart this time, they made their way back to the alter to talk to Lydia, currently in deep conversation with Jace, who excused himself to give them time to sort things out when he saw them returning. Alec was talking to Lydia, Magnus at his side supportively, explaining how sorry he was about the union not working out. Lydia, thank the angel, accepted his apology in her stride, saying that Alec deserved to be happy, and if Magnus made him happy, then that was all that mattered. She left shortly after, something about wanting to throw herself back into work, Magnus stopping to thank her for being so understanding, before Alec turned to talk to Jace but found himself face-to-face with his parents instead.

Maryse Lightwood had certainly never been the most maternal and empathetic of mothers. Her constant dismissal of Izzy’s accomplishments grated Alec’s nerves, and although other Shadowhunters were always going on about how intimidating Maryse could be, Alec had never understood that sentiment. Until now. His mother was mere inches from Alec, her face reddening with rage.

“What have you done, Alec? You have made a fool out of the Lightwood name in front of the entire Clave!” She hissed. Magnus picked that moment to return to Alec’s side, placing a calming hand on Alec’s shoulder when he made a move to step forward.

“I have done nothing that I am ashamed of, mother. It was you who first tainted the Lightwood name, or did you forget that you were in league with Valentine at one point?” Alec spat.

Maryse looked at Alec with wide eyes, before muttering “I don’t even recognise you anymore. You’re no son of mine.”

“I’m the same person I’ve always been! Everything’s just out in the open now, and I don’t regret it for a second, I’m sorry if you don’t like that this is who I am but I’m still your son. You don’t have to like it, but I expect you to get over it!”

Magnus squeezed Alec’s shoulder in support, but Maryse wasn’t finished quite yet.

“But you’re not the same person anymore, Alec. My son would have never jeopardised his future for a man. . . especially a warlock!” Alec’s mother spat the word “warlock” as though it was the worst word she could think of. Magnus must have tried not to flinch at the venom in her voice when she mentioned his kind, but Alec felt the movement from where Magnus’ hand rested against his shoulder. He turned the Lightwood Glare up full blast, his eyes blazing as they bore into Maryse’s.

“Is my happiness really not important to you?” Alec shouted, angrily, “this kind, loyal, intelligent and caring man makes me happier than anything else in the world, and yet you insult him to his face, right in front of me? What kind of mother are you?”

Maryse didn’t falter under Alec’s glare, “I no longer consider myself to be your mother. I want nothing to do with you, or this Downworld filth you’re choosing to associate with.” And with that she turned and strode off. Robert, who had been behind Maryse throughout this exchange hesitated for a brief second before leaving with his wife, but to Alec, he was now no different to Maryse. He had still chosen to leave his son. Alec moved to go after his mother, wanting nothing more than to yell at her until she apologised to Magnus . . . Magnus who held his arm to stop Alec from pursuing her. Alec looked at Magnus, who simply murmured “It’s not worth it Alexander, let Maryse think whatever she likes about my kind. Her opinion is irrelevant to me.”

Alec’s eyes softened at Magnus’ words, recognising that this was most likely not the first time that Magnus had encountered something similar.

“But her words hurt you, Magnus. I can handle whatever she says to me, but you deserve more than that. She needs to apologise!”

“Really, my love, your mother’s words could not mean less to me if they tried. Besides, the things she said to you were far worse than what she said to me. You deserve more than that, Alexander, and I’m sorry that she and your father can’t see that.”

Alec thought about what his mother had said, and how his father and gone with her, and didn’t register his tears until Magnus reached up to gently wipe one away from his cheek. Magnus turned to the remaining wedding guests and announced: “we’re leaving. Alexander is sorry that the union will not be taking place, but he hopes that you can all understand and accept his decision. Enjoy the rest of your night.”

Alec didn’t realise that Magnus had created a portal until they came out the other side and he realised he was in Magnus’ apartment. Magnus sat the Shadowhunter on his couch, and disappeared into the kitchen. The words of his mother finally seemed to sink in and Alec was helpless to stopping the sobs as they worked their way up from within. He curled up on the warlock’s couch, hoping to stifle his sobs into the pillow covered entirely in glittering sequins, but Magnus had returned. The young Lightwood looked up to see the other man placing two steaming mugs of hot chocolate on the clear glass coffee table, before gently perching next to Alec, pulling him up and enveloping him in a tight hug.

The Shadowhunter rested his head against Magnus’ shoulder, as the warlock brushed a lock of Alec’s hair away from his eyes and then rubbed soothing circles into his back. Alec wondered, fleetingly, if the warlock was using magic to calm him, but instead let his emotion run free, the sobs he’d tried to stop now wracking his large frame and his tears dampened the expensive and exotic looking silk shirt the Downworlder had been wearing when he had rescued Alec from his own wedding. Magnus took this in his stride, and Alec cried until he couldn’t cry any more.

Because his parents had left him.

They had left him simply due to him wanting to be with a man who he loved. Couldn’t they see how vile they were being? Was Alec really worth so little to them that they’d abandon him just because he wanted a live a life where he could be honest and true to himself? Why couldn’t they just get that Magnus was the person who made him happy?

A little while later, when dark had settled outside, Alec sat back up, reaching for his hot chocolate before seeing that they’d gone stone cold. The Shadowhunter turned to apologise to Magnus, who just clicked his fingers and then steam was rising from the drinks once again. He flashed a small smile at Magnus, who simply patted Alec on the thigh comfortingly and offered Alec his drink, who accepted and began taking small sips.

Magnus twirled his hand and the lights dimmed as the balcony doors opened, revealing the dazzling New York lights standing out against the black of the night sky.

“It’s beautiful,” Alec murmered.

“It really is,” Magnus agreed.

They sat in comfortable silence for a few minutes, sipping hot chocolate and watching the twinkling lights of the New York skyline. Alec eventually managed to pull his eyes away from the view to face Magnus. He shuffled along the couch, closing the distance between them and ran his hand down the warlock’s jawline, before tilting his chin up so their lips met.

The couple kissed for the fourth blissful time that day.

Chapter Text

MAGNUS' POV:

Magnus opened his eyes and sighed contently as the memories of the day before filtered through his mind. Alec had left Lydia for him. Alec had finally realised that his happiness was important. Magnus smiled to himself as he looked up and saw the Shadowhunter still sleeping soundly, his arms wrapped around Magnus’ shoulders, keeping them connected. The warlock leant back, closing his eyes once again, so that his body rose and fell in time with the other man’s muscular chest. They felt like they had become one. The memories were still filtering through when Magnus frowned; Alec had lost his parents for choosing Magnus. Although the warlock didn’t feel that his parents were worthy of such a loving and compassionate son, he knew that it pained the young Lightwood to have lost them, and for that reason and that reason alone, Magnus knew that he would do everything he could to support Alec through the turmoil that he was sure would follow.

He felt Alec stirring behind him, and turned his head to see the Shadowhunters eyelashes fluttering open, revealing warm chocolatey eyes that seemed to light up in the morning sun reaching them from the balcony doorway.

“Morning,” Alec whispered.

“Good morning, Alexander.” Magnus murmured in response. “Are you hungry? I conjure up a mean Belgian waffle.”

“I had something else in mind,” the Shadowhunter responded mysteriously.

Magnus got up, letting Alec get off the couch, before the warlock followed him into the kitchen, curiosity getting the better of him. Alec made a beeline for the cupboards, opening all the doors in his hunt for whatever it was that he was looking for. Magnus laughed as the Shadowhunter opened one door in particular and flour came pouring out of un upended bag, rising in a huge cloud as it hit the crown of the Lightwood’s head. Alec turned to face Magnus, looking mock-angry, even though he could see that Alec was trying his best not laugh too.

Alec raised an eyebrow, questioningly, before advancing on Magnus, who clicked instantly onto what was about to happen and ran back into the living room, giggling. He heard footsteps behind his as Alec ran after him. The warlock stumbled as he remembered the last time he had been heard footsteps chasing his in his own apartment, but shook his head to clear the thought. Camille couldn’t hurt him anymore. And she wasn’t going to take this happy moment from him. She wasn’t.

Magnus kept running, away from both flashbacks to Camille, and from a flour-coated Shadowhunter.

Magnus reached the balcony and turned, seeing Alec stalking forwards, flour floating behind him as it fell to dust the -very expensive- carpet. The warlock couldn’t help but double over laughing at the sight of his dark and ‘intimidating’ Shadowhunter wearing the loose-fitting pyjamas Magnus had spelled for him last night, flour coating his hair, trying not to laugh. Alec’s lips curved into that rare smile he seemed so cautious to show people, before grinning wickedly and wrapping his arms around the warlock, shaking his hair like a wet dog as flour began to fall from his hair, covering them both.

“Ale-Alexander!” Magnus cried, in-between fits of giggles. “This shirt- it cost,” he broke off into laughter again. “Stop! Alexander!” But Alec kept up with the head-shaking, stray bits of flour completely blanketing his -also very expensive- shirt. Alec bit his lip to contain his smile, and suddenly, Magnus realised, ruining his favourite shirt with flour was worth it, to see the Shadowhunter so at ease and happy. The warlock ran back into the living room, grinning mischievously as he got an idea, making an elaborate gesture with his arm.

The room suddenly filled with cream pies.

Magnus picked one up and chucked it at an unsuspecting Alec, who was just walking back into the apartment. It landed on his upper chest with an almighty splat. Alec’s eyes met with Magnus’, before he darted for cover behind one of the narrow structural pillars, scooping a cream pie into each hand on his way. Magnus hid behind the couch, throwing a cream pie in the general direction of the pillar, pressing his magic into the desert so that it curved at just the right angle to hit the Shadowhunter right in the face. Although the warlock couldn’t see the other man from his position behind the couch, he let out a snort as he imagined the look of indignation that Alec would have on his face.

A cream pie hit Magnus on the side of the head, and he heard Alec’s victory cheer from behind the pillar.

“I didn’t even need magic!” Alec teased.

“Oh, bring it on, Shadowhunter,” Magnus muttered beneath his breath. “First to ten hits wins!”

“Challenge accepted, Bane!”

And then deserts were being thrown haphazardly from both sides of the room.

*LATER*

From his position curled up against his favourite Shadowhunter on the chaise longue, Magnus could see that his apartment looked like the aftermath of a cream-filled atomic bomb explosion, but the warlock simply murmured a spell under his breath and the cream began to fade away, the ornaments repaired themselves, and the carpet cleared itself. Alec let out a content sigh as he saw the damage from their impromptu pie war right itself without any fuss.

During their battle, a photo frame of he and Ragnor had smashed, the glass glancing off Alec’s cheek, slicing the skin and leaving a small cut. Magnus had immediately raised the hypothetical white flag, and rushed over to heal the cut, despite the Shadowhunters protestations that the cut wasn’t serious and he could simply activate his Iratze rune. But the warlock had insisted.

Alec wasn’t immortal. Not like all of Magnus’ other friends- and it scared him. So whilst Alec had sat down until the other man had decided it was safe for him to resume the cream pie war, he had worked his magic into three charms that could easily be worn as bracelets.

The first charm was a myrtle green emerald that enhanced healing even faster than the Nephilim’s Iratze runes.

The second charm was a gorgeous cobalt blue lapis lazuli stone that enhanced accuracy- Magnus knew this would be especially helpful for Alec, as he relied more strongly on his archery skills than on his Seraph blade.

The third charm was, in the warlock’s opinion, the most important. The spell worked equally as effectively on both raw black onyx and amethyst, but Magnus had a feeling that the dark of the onyx would work wonders to bring out Alec’s tanned skin and warm brown eyes, so that was the material that had inevitably been selected. The final charm was the most important because he had spelled the onyx with enough magic that it would act as a one-way parabatai connection, allowing Magnus to feel Alec’s strongest emotions to alert him to Alec being in trouble, without there being a risk of Alec having to suffer through the warlock’s more-often-than-not turbulent emotions.

The only flaw was that the Shadowhunter had to be wearing the charms for them to be of any good to him, and Magnus was not entirely sure that the Clave looked favourably upon anything that was gifted by a Downworlder, even if it would increase the safety of one of their own.

That was why Magnus had ended up deconstructing the three bracelets he had woven the gems into, and had instead crafted a leather necklace that was the same dark colour as the shirts that Alec seemed to always be wearing when at the Institute, and had the spelled stones woven securely into the end, to make them as unnoticeable as possible.

Alec had promised Magnus vehemently that he wouldn’t take the necklace off, even when showering, and in return, Magnus promised that he wouldn’t use his magic to spell the necklace to Alec, so that he couldn’t take it off even if he wanted to.

So now Alec was massaging Magnus’ shoulders, even though the warlock said he was more than happy to portal them to China to have it done professionally. But he was glad he hadn’t; Alec’s hands were surprisingly gentle for someone who was trained in multiple weapons and various forms of martial art, yet he was applying just the right amount of pressure to the right spots. He had already unworked the knot just underneath the warlock’s shoulder blade, and was proceeding to rub the base of his neck, where it began to meet the top of his spine. Magnus shivered, goose bumps forming wherever the Shadowhunter’s skin touched his, before he felt the other man’s breath tickling the back of his neck.

“Magnus,” the Shadowhunter murmured into his neck, making the warlock shiver again, “what are we?”

“What do you mean?” Magnus teased, knowing full well want the young Lightwood meant.

“Are we . . . you know, together?”

“Alexander, of course we’re together. You’re sitting right behind me, we’re not exactly apart.”

Alec groaned, and Magnus could sense the heat rising to colour the other man’s cheeks a blushed red. “Not like that, I just mean are we . . . official? Are we . . . boyfriends?”

Magnus turned to face him, thoughtful.

“Do you want to be boyfriends, Alexander?”

Alec didn’t hesitate before nodding. Magnus released a breath he didn’t know he was holding.

“Do you want to be?” Alec asked in return. “It’s just, I think I might- I might um. I think I might love you, Magnus.”

A jolt went through the warlock as he heard the words in his head, but not spoken by Alec. He heard Camille whispering the words to him shortly after they’d had their first date, after she’d spiked his drink and taken him back to her loft apartment, the first time. The first of many times. Because she-

It didn’t matter. It was in his past now. Alec was his present, his future. He forced a smile when he noticed the concerned look on the Shadowhunter’s face.

“I would very much like that, Alexander.”

“Are you sure? I can wait, I can wait until you’re ready. Or- or if you don’t want to, then- then I can just- I . . . I’m sure I can just- just stop feeling like this. . .” Alec trailed off, biting his lip in certainty. Magnus felt his heart soften at the sight- and the sentiment. Alec said he would wait for him, if he needed to. Alec said he would try to stop himself from loving Magnus if he was asked to.

And Magnus believed him. But Magnus was ready, he was. Camille . . . Camille was the past. Alec was his present, his future. The warlock repeated the mantra in his head. Alec is my present, my future. Alec is my present, my future. Alec is my present, my future.

“I’m sure. I think I may love you too, Alexander.”

Alec’s concern seemed to give away to an innocent happiness, and Magnus knew that he truly may love the other man.

The young Lightwood tightened his arms around the warlock and trailed kisses up his neck. He spoke in between kisses;

“Magnus Bane, thank you for getting me to be honest about who I am. Thank you for being patient with me. Thank you for being so understanding,” Alec kept talking, but Magnus couldn’t hear anything anymore. He could only hear Camille after their third date, when she’d showed Magnus the video. . . the video that was the only reason he went on any more ‘dates’ with her. She kept whispering these words into his ear as he regained consciousness, and whilst he doesn’t remember much, he remembers that if he hadn’t felt completely numb, he would have left her. But he couldn’t. Because of the video. The video she probably still had, that she might show Alec. Could he explain himself to Alec? Explain what happened in that video?

That damn video.

He realised that Alec had stopped talking, and the concerned look was back on his face. Magnus shot him a small smile he hoped didn’t look too weary.

Would Alec believe him?

“-nus. Magnus? Are you sure you’re ok?” Alec was holding him gently by the shoulders, peering anxiously into his eyes.

“I’m fine Alexander, truly. But thank you for your concern.” And then Magnus stood up to make himself a glass of cold water, walking quickly into the kitchen. He leant against the cupboards muttering “get it together, Bane,” when Alec walked in too.

“You’re not ok, Magnus. I understand if you don’t want to be together, you don’t have to make yourself go through with us. I get it if you just want me to leave,” Alec said, softly, his eyes wide and sad. But Magnus didn’t want him to leave.

He loved Alec. He really, really did. But Camille would show him the video and Alec wouldn’t love him anymore- he wouldn’t want them to be together.

And that would destroy Magnus more than if he just called it off before they even started.

But….

But Magnus wanted them to be together.

He wanted them to at least try.

He loved Alexander Gideon Lightwood.

And Camille couldn’t stop that.

But if Alec didn’t believe him, and Camille showed him the video- which Magnus knew she would- would he lose his favourite Shadowhunter?

He felt his heartrate speed up, and he went to take a deep breath, but he couldn’t, because all the air in the room seemed to disappear and Magnus felt his chest tightening as his heartbeat thundered too quickly beneath his ribs, the sound roaring in his ears as he tried so hard to take in air that just wouldn’t come and Alec was looking at him in fear but Magnus didn’t notice because there was no damn oxygen in the room and then he was on the floor and the lights were too bright and the next thing he knew, Alec was crouched in front of him telling him to count with him and Magnus was trying he was really trying his hardest but all he could hear was his heart beating and the blood rushing through his veins and then Alec was raising his hand and slapping him across the cheek.

His head hit the back of the cupboards and Magnus gasped. But he also felt the air enter his body at the shock of Alec hitting him- Alec who was looking at his hands in confusion, like they’d acted of their own accord.

“Magnus, I’m so sor-“

“Alexander.” Magnus said, simply. “You don’t need to apologise. You did what needed to be done, and it worked. Thank you.”

“What happened? Was it something I did- that caused it?” He sounded genuinely panicked that he might have triggered the panic attack.

“It wasn’t you, Alexander, it’s just that someone from the darkest part of my past said something similar and I overreacted, I’m sorry I scared you.”

“I hit you Magnus! I’m the one who should be apologising! By the angel, I swear I won’t ever hurt you again. And I’m here for you, if you want to talk about your past.” Magnus looked up at him, wondering whether he should explain now. But what if Camille never showed Alec, and he never needed to know? Wasn’t that just easier for everyone- not knowing what had happened?

But then again, maybe Magnus just didn’t want to tell the other man and risk losing him once and for all.

“I don’t want to talk about it, but thank you. If I decide to discuss it at some point, I promise that I will confide in you, Alexander. It’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s just that Ragnor is the only other person who knows, and when I told him. . . well, I’ll just say it was difficult for him to accept. I fear you will have a similar reaction.” The warlock gave Alec a tight smile that probably looked as forced as it was.

Alec didn’t falter, “I promise that no matter what it is, I’ll believe you and I’ll support you.”

Magnus felt his heart skip a beat. Alec said he’d believe Magnus, no matter what. After all, if Ragnor could believe him, then surely Alexander could too, right?

“Ok, I’ll tell you, but it’s not easy for me to . . . relive the memories. I have spent centuries trying to erase them,” Magnus said, as he beckoned Alec into the lounge. The warlock took the couch, and the Shadowhunter sat an appropriate distance away, within arm’s reach, but not making Magnus feel suffocated.

“Alec?” Magnus murmured, quietly.

Alec looked up at Magnus using his nickname, “Yeah Magnus?”

Magnus took Alec’s hand in his, looking the other man in the eye, “Promise me you’ll believe me? Promise me you won’t treat me any differently after you know?” The unspoken ‘promise me you won’t leave me’ hung in the air heavily.

“I promise. Whatever it is, we can deal with it together, ok?”

“Ok. I just wanted to make certain.”

Magnus took a shaky breath as Alec squeezed his hand reassuringly.

“Just over a century ago, Camille decided that she wanted to take our relationship to the next level, but I was less certain. We had been friends for a while- just over 90 years- but there was a . . . darkness, yes, I suppose darkness is about right- a darkness in her that I was always cautious of. She was unpredictable. Sado-masochistic. Anyway, I agreed to a first date after she talked me into it. We went to a large club near her New Orleans apartment, and I suppose that after a while we worked our way onto drinking,” Magnus broke off, not looking Alec in the eye. “Alexander, I just- I want you to know that there is nothing I regret more than agreeing to that first date. I knew that Camille would never be a suitable partner- “

“Magnus,” Alec soothed. “Whatever it is, it’s ok. I know you, and I trust you. Whatever it is, I’ll still be here for you. Always.”

“Thank you, Alec. So, we were drinking, or more accurately, I was drinking, and Camille was handing me my drinks. At some point, she must have slipped something into my martinis, because the next thing I know, I’m waking up in her bed, and she’s next to me. Telling me what we did whilst I was- what she did to me whilst I was- I was- “Magnus choked, and Alec pulled him, gently, into his arms.

“Hey, it’s ok Magnus. Everything’s going to be fine.”

“Alec, she- she. . .” the warlock couldn’t bring himself to say the word.

“I know, but you’re safe now. I’m so sorry that she did that to you. I want to tear her limb from limb for hurting you, but you’re my priority, ok? She can’t hurt you anymore.”

Magnus shook his head, tears spilling and smudging the kohl liner he had used the day before.

“She can still hurt me, Alexander. She can make you hate me,” Magnus stammered.

“I promise you, nothing that bitch does or says can make me hate you, ok? Nothing can make me hate you, Magnus. I love you. By the angel, I won’t let her hurt you anymore. I won’t even let her near you.”

“There’s- there’s more,” Magnus hiccupped.

“Only if you want to tell me ok? If you want to stop, or you want to tell me when you’re ready, that’s fine, too.”

“I just want to get it all out, I just- I don’t know how.”

“Start at the beginning, alright. Just go from the beginning and finish wherever you feel comfortable. I’ll believe you, and I’ll still be here no matter what.”

“After our second date, she did the same thing. The only reason I agreed to go was because my friends Ragnor and Caterina were going to join us, but they cancelled last minute, after Camille and I had arrived. The next morning, I woke up to her saying all these things that were meant to be sweet and kind, but they were just . . . just wrong coming from her, which is why I freaked out earlier. I didn’t love her, I couldn’t possibly, after what she’d done to me. This time, she said that I’d wanted it, that I’d been begging for it, even though I must have been barely conscious after whatever she’d spiked my drink with. I hadn’t wanted to do anything with her. Nothing we did together was consensual. Every time we slept together, I was only saying yes because she’d drugged me, not because of my true feelings- “

“It wasn’t ‘sleeping together’ Magnus, it was assault. She- she forced herself on you.”

The warlock nodded in thoughtful agreement, before continuing, “The second date had been different. Camille had- had set up a camera in her bedroom. She recorded the whole thing. Except there was no audio. All you can see is us together, and Camille is- is beneath me, in the bed. And I’m above her and my arms are either side of her, and she’s holding them there, I just know she is, to keep me from stopping but- but from the camera’s angle, it looks like she’s trying to push them away . . . trying to get me to stop- “

“By the angel. . .” Alec breathed. “I’m going to kill that bitch in the slowest and most painful way possible, how could she d- “

“Alexander, I just want to put it all behind me, I appreciate your protectiveness, but I don’t want either of us to get caught up with her.” Magnus said, his voice unusually small and tired. He sounded defeated.

Alec still looked livid, his cheeks an angry red, biting his lip as he frowned. Shadowhunters were people of justice, they always doled out punishments for wrongdoings. Alec seemed uncertain about this method of coping. Of trying to put an ordeal behind you rather than getting justice- or revenge.

Magnus sighed, “There’s more, if you want to me to continue.”

“I want to hear everything that you’re comfortable telling me. But I won’t lie, the more I hear, the more I want to volunteer her for Aldertree’s ‘motivation’ techniques’- the ones he used on Raphael.”

“Ah yes, I remember. Raphael confided in me a few days ago that he fears Simon will be Aldertree’s next interrogation, but so far we haven’t been able to locate Camille, she must be under another warlock’s protection, as my tracking spells aren’t working.”

“What warlock would protect that piece of- “

“Alexander, I don’t know how to explain it, but Camille has this . . . this presence about her, that most men seem to find irresistible. Except me, and it still didn’t make a difference. I was still too weak to stop her. I- I should have done more.”

“That was not your fault Magnus, none of it. She’d drugged you! She had no right to- to do that to you,” Alec responded, angrily. He continued, voice risen; “So help the angel if she dares to come near you- “

“There’s more,” Magnus whispered, so quiet Alec could barely pick the words up, but they still cut through his rant like a knife. Alec cupped the warlock’s cheek in his hand, and wiped away a tear as it fell from his eye, dragging his eye makeup behind it. Alec nodded encouragement although his lips were set in a grim line, like he was bracing himself.

“The video she had, the one of the two of us from that second date,” Magnus said, his voice barely audible, as tears streamed down his face, “she said she’d use it- use it to make everyone turn against me. Because it looks like I- like- well, you know. Alec, I was so scared. Scared of losing everyone- “

The Downworlder choked back another sob, before Alec gently took Magnus’ hands in his, resting them in the warlock’s lap. Magnus squeezed the Shadowhunter’s hands in silent thanks, before continuing, his voice wavering.

“Camille told me that if I didn’t do what she said, she’d release the video to those that I loved. Ragnor and Cat, my other friends, the Downworlder’s I had cared for. Even Raphael. The thought of him hating me- of believing Camille’s story- it tore me apart. I tried to magically demolish it, but she’d had it protected by another warlock- so all I could do was follow her orders. I didn’t know what else to do. I couldn’t have lost them, Alexander, I wouldn’t have survived it. So, I took the easy option, didn’t fight back, didn’t try to stop her- “

“Magnus, there was nothing easy about what you had to go through. You did what you thought was right- that’s what’s important. You survived it, and you’re still here- still wonderful and kind and good.” Alec looked so earnest, Magnus couldn’t help but let a little part of himself believe him. He had gotten through it- surely that counted for something?

“She got me to go on a few more dates with her, and the same thing happened,” Magnus saw Alec clench his jaw in anger, his hands tightening round Magnus’, “but the worst part was that I had to go to few Downworld meetings, I would have gone anyway as the High Warlock, but beforehand she’d tell me how I had to vote, if I didn’t want the video released. One meeting, I voted against her, knowing warlocks would have died if I had voted with her. She was so angry with me, Alexander. She murdered my good friend Elias as punishment, and left a copy of the video with Ragnor.”

“She killed someone? Just because you voted against her?” Alec blurted, and Magnus flinched as felt the guilt wash over him for Elias’ death. Alec’s eyes widened, and he rushed to comfort him.

“I didn’t mean it like that, Magnus, I just meant she must be really unstable to think that was equal to just voting against her for the good of your people. None of this is your fault, you understand?”

Magnus felt himself nodding, although he still didn’t really agree.

“Ragnor watched the video, and he really thought that I’d- that I’d forced myself on Camille. I tried to explain, but he thought that I was just making excuses. He said some awful things to me Alexander, but eventually I got through to him, and he swore that he’d kill Camille if he ever saw her again.”

“That makes two of us,” Alec growled.

“So that’s everything, Alexander. That’s my past with Camille,” the warlock smiled wryly.

“Thank you for trusting me with it.”

They fell asleep on the couch, Magnus enveloped safely in the strong arms of his Shadowhunter, Alec’s enhancement charms nestled securely beneath his shirt.

Chapter Text

ALEC'S POV:

Alec woke to pins and needles spiking through both legs. He winced and shifted himself out from underneath Magnus’s body, which had been draped against his chest all night. He bit back a yelp as the pins and needles intensified when he stood up, hopping from foot to foot as he waited for the feeling to return to his legs. When the blood was flowing again, he grabbed his phone from the table, seeing nine missed calls from Izzy, and six from Jace. He rang his voicemail. His first voicemail from Izzy basically comprised of her telling him that if he didn’t ask Magnus out, she’d cook each of his meals for the next three weeks (he shuddered at the thought), his second and final voicemail from Izzy was her threatening to kill him if he didn’t back to the Institute. He checked the time now and the time the voicemail message. It had been left three hours ago, at 6am.

Shit.

He didn’t want to wake Magnus, so he grabbed a clean sheet of paper and a pen from Magnus’ spell results notebook and left him a quick message, leaving it on the table in front of the couch so the warlock wouldn’t miss it.

M.

Had to go back to the Institute and didn’t want to wake you, but I’ll call you later. I’m wearing your charms, as promised, and thank you again for getting me to be true to myself yesterday, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Remember that I’ll always be on your side.

I love you,

A.

He silently put his boots on, before leaving the apartment and shutting the door with an inaudible click behind him. He used his stele to activate the rune making him invisible to mundanes, and headed towards the Institute, anxious as to why Izzy was so insistent he return. He’d just rounded the corner when he sensed something closing in behind him, catching the figure out of the corner of his eye. He went to reach for his bow and an arrow from his quiver, before cursing as he remembered he’d gone to Magnus’ straight from his abandoned wedding.

He had no weapons.

He turned, expecting a demon or other Downworlder, but was surprised to see Raj walking behind him, looking sheepish.

“Why are you following me?” Alec demanded.

Raj held his hands up in surrender, “I was just following orders. The Institute told me to accompany you back, they knew you had no weapons.”

“Who gave the orders?”

“I don’t have to tell you that,” Raj shot back in response.

“Raj, I outrank you. I’m Aldertree and Lydia’s right hand. Who gave you the order?”

Raj slowly began moving closer to Alec, one hand in his trouser pocket. Alec stood his ground.

“Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong. You’ve been demoted. You destroyed any hope of being respected by the Clave the moment that Downworld filth- “

Alec darted forward, grabbing Raj and flipping him over onto his back on the pavement in one fluid motion. He dug his forearm across Raj’s neck, stopping any air entering his lungs, Raj turned a bright shade of red, fumbling one hand in Alec’s general direction, trying to push him off. His other hand was still in his trouser pocket.

“Do not say a word about Magnus Bane. By the angel you will regret the moment his name leaves your dirty mouth,” Alec snarled.

He was just about to release his hold on the other man when he saw Raj’s hand whip out of his pocket and towards Alec’s chest. A knife pierced just below his ribcage, missing any major organs but protruding from his back nonetheless. A scream tore from Alec’s throat, deep and guttural as he curled inwards on himself. The black onyx charm flashed on his chest as Alec rushed to pull the knife out. He wrapped his hands around the handle of the knife, but before he could pull it out, he felt the prick of a needle in the side of his neck, and a split second later, everything went numb.

He was still conscious, but Alec had crumpled to the floor, his central nervous system completely sedated, meaning he could no longer move except to breath and move his eyes.

He was trapped. Within his own body.

Alec’s heart began to beat faster, his chest rising and falling rapidly as he lay paralysed on the floor.

Raj scooped him up with little effort, grinning to himself. As he three Alec over his shoulder, the knife wedged itself further into Alec’s abdomen, blood pooling there before dripping to the ground in a steady stream. He couldn’t even fight Raj.

“If only your precious warlock could see you now, Lightwood. Look at you! Once destined to be head of the Institute, and now you’ve disgraced yourself in front of the entire Clave. To top it all off, Aldertree is going to kill you slowly in front that Downworlder you seem to love so much. Don’t worry though, the paralytic only works for a few minutes, just long enough for me to get you back to the City of Bones before the fun really begins.” And then Raj was striding down the street, Alec over one shoulder, blood still pouring from his knife wound, unable to defend himself.

He felt the sudden urge to cry.

But he didn’t.

He wouldn’t.

By the time they had entered the City of Bones, Alec had some feeling back in his limbs, and he slowly clenched and unclenched his hands to make sure he wasn’t just imagining it. He waited a few moments before kicking his leg down- hard- striking Raj in the crotch, who quickly dropped him, grabbing the injured appendage.

Alec landed on the ground hard but eventually managed to pull himself up and onto his feet, the knife giving a familiar tug on his insides, as more blood gathered. He winced, but knew that without medical supplies, pulling out the knife could cause him to bleed out with nothing to stitch it closed or even just to staunch the flow of blood. He turned, surveying his surrounding out of habit, catching movement from his right before Aldertree had grabbed him by one arm, and Raj had grabbed his other. Alec struggled, but to no avail, helpless to do anything but follow as they dragged him down row after row of cells, before eventually stopping outside a large room with three moss-covered walls and rusted metal bars making up the fourth. Aldertree produced an antique looking key and opened the barred door, shoving Alec inside roughly, who stumbled as he tried to maintain his balance.

“You can’t do this Aldertree, you know you can’t- I haven’t done anything to deserve being punished by the Silent Brothers!”

“But that’s where you’re wrong, Mr Lightwood. Some Shadowhunters are wondering where your true loyalties lie- with the angel-blooded, or with the demon-blooded. We just want to see if we can convince you that Shadowhunters are the only kind you should want to be associated with- and you’ll find we can be very influential. Deciding to continue fraternising with the Downworlders after this . . . intervention could turn out to be a big mistake- especially if a certain warlock meets an unfortunate end. And who said anything about needing the Silent Brothers here to punish you?” Aldertree, said, voice low and threatening.

They were going to torture him, just to make sure he knew that Shadowhunters were the powerful ones- that they were the only ones Alec should want to interact with. They were willing to have Magnus killed if Alec continued seeing him.

Alec didn’t know if he could stop himself from seeing Magnus, but he knew that he would if it meant saving the warlock’s life.

Aldertree locked the door behind he and Raj, so the three of them were alone in the room- although it most closely resembled a cell. Alec looked behind him, seeing a metal vet’s table in one corner. Raj darted round him and wheeled it into the centre of the room, the flat surface of the table looking cold and dirty. In his other hand, Raj held an old leather briefcase. He placed the briefcase on the ground next to the table, and rattling chains sounded from within. Alec stepped backwards, closer to the locked door that provided the only route of escape. Aldertree grabbed both of his shoulders and pushed him sharply towards the table. Alec crashed into it, and realised Raj must have put the wheel’s brakes on, as it didn’t budge, slamming his cheek into the flat top of it, his teeth snapping into his cheek. Raj grabbed his legs, and pulled them up- over the table- so that Alec was now lying on his back, struggling against the hands of both men as they pinned him down. The head of the Institute threw the briefcase open, procuring two lengths of chain, use the first to secure Alec’s hands together on the underside of the table, and the latter being used to constrain his legs together, securing them against separate table posts so his legs were apart, keeping him from kicking out.

He was unable to move against the chains, his arms being unable to do anything but shake as the Shadowhunter tried desperately to free his arms, his legs simply jogging the table.

Aldertree stood to Alec’s left, placing his hands around the handle of the knife that was still through the side of his abdomen. His eyes glinted menacingly.

“This is for choosing a warlock over the Clave.”

And then he ripped the knife out of Alec, the serrated blade tearing through muscles and tendons and flesh as it was forced out of him. Alec screamed before he could stop himself, tears springing involuntarily to his eyes as he squeezed them shut.

“I’m still loyal to the Clave, being with Magnus doesn’t change that.” Alec spoke between pants.

“You can’t be with a Downworlder, Lightwood,” Raj said, holding up a metal rod so that it glinted dangerously in the dim light of the cell. “They’re all monsters. Magnus is not at innocent.”

“He is an innocent! Tell me one thing he’s purposefully done out of evil,” Alec argued.

“He convinced you to abandon the Clave. He’s brainwashing you, Mr Lightwood, and the sooner you see that the better. Tell me he hasn’t asked you for secrets from the Institute, tell me he hasn’t asked you for anything that would benefit the Downworld,” Aldertree said, sounding almost apologetic.

“He didn’t convince me- I made my own decision. And everything he’s done has been to protect his people from evil like Valentine, he’d never use Shadowhunter intel against us. Never.”

Raj held the rod directly over Alec’s shoulder, and form his angle on the flat surface, the young Lightwood could see that there was a sharp point at the end pointing towards his skin.

“We aren’t even hurting you out of hatred, Mr Lightwood. Raj here knows better than to go against another Shadowhunter. We’re simply motivating you to realise where choosing demon-blooded creatures will get you. Remember that if Magnus Bane hadn’t somehow made you think that you love him, none of this would have happened. Remember that this is all because of your beloved warlock. This is all Magnus’ fault.”

With a curt nod to Raj, the rod was plunged deep into Alec shoulder, puncturing through his bone as the pointed end drove through his body. Alec let out a noise that was so filled with pain and hurting, it couldn’t truly be called a scream. His voice broke out and he simply let the tears in his eyes fall, the emotion suddenly feeling too much to contain.

“Just tell us that you choose the Clave over Magnus, and that you won’t interact with him again, and we can stop all of this. Magnus doesn’t need to cause you anymore pain, Alec,” Aldertree said, evenly.

Alec couldn’t do that. He couldn’t just cut all ties with Magnus, it would destroy him.

But this was destroying him too.

When a minute had passed with no word from Alec, Aldertree nodded at Raj, a silent command passing through their body language.

Alec simply whimpered as the rod was torn out of his shoulder, his voice too hoarse to scream or yell. He tried to keep his shoulder flat against the table as his heart beat faster, causing his chest to rise and fall more quickly. Every jostle caused a fresh wave of agony to pass over his body, coursing through his veins.

A small voice in his head told him to just not see Magnus again, if it meant it would just stop this pain. Alec forced it out of his head. He couldn’t. He couldn’t let them win- couldn’t let them take Magnus from him so soon after he had begun to believe they might have a future together. He grit his teeth.

Raj pulled a disposable phone from his pocket, tossing it to Aldertree, who caught it easily.

“Alec, surely you’ve thought about what your parabatai is going through at the moment,” Aldertree said, and Alec felt a surge of guilt as he realised as he hadn’t thought about Jace at all. His brother must be in so much pain. Alec’s eyes widened as he realised Magnus would be feeling it too, through the charms he had been gifted with last night. He recalled the onyx stone burning when Raj had stabbed him, and suddenly began to wonder just how much pain would be conveyed to the warlock. “You have the power to stop it. We’ll even give you a moment to consider it.”

And with that, Raj and Aldertree left Alec shackled on the cold, flat metal surface of the vet’s table, where he began to shake uncontrollably, from the pain and the cold and blood loss and the realisation that the only way to stop the pain was to push Magnus out of his life. For good. Alec was strong, he knew that, he had handled the knife in his stomach, the rod through his shoulder, he had handled being head of the Institute for a short while, he had handled declaring his love for a guy- a guy who was a Downworlder- in front of the entire Clave. But he didn’t know if he could handle any more of this torture. He shut his eyes and focused on his breathing for a few seconds.

Jace and Magnus would be trying to find him, he just had to hold on for a little bit longer.

A clang from the door alerted Alec to Raj and Aldertree’s return. The hurting Shadowhunter opened his eyes again, wearily.

“Anything to tell us, Mr Lightwood?” Aldertree said, in his usual clipped manner of speaking.

“I have equal respect and loyalty to both the Clave and to Magnus. I don’t need to choose between them,” Alec responded, sharply.

“Then I’m afraid we’ll just have to keep trying to persuade you to change your mind. I didn’t want to have to do this, but Magnus Bane leaves me no choice, his hold on you seems to be blinding your decision-making. Raj will continue until you can come to the right decision- the decision to dedicate yourself solely to the Clave, ending all relationships with the High Warlock.”

Alec heard a button on the burner phone Aldertree was holding click, and then Raj was holding the sharpened rod once again, poising it over Alec’s outstretched hand.

“Just tell me that you made a mistake choosing Magnus Bane, that you’re sorry and you swear complete allegiance to the Clave, and this can stop,” Raj ordered.

When Alec spoke, his voice was rough and grating, “I’m already loyal to the Clave. Magnus has nothing to do with this. Leave him out of it.”

“So protective of this man who you barely know, do you really not suspect that he spelled you?”

“He wouldn’t do that,” Alec said, his voice cracking. “I love him.”

“Then it is your love for him that means I have to do this. He stands between you and your future with the Shadowhunters.”

As Raj was speaking, he simultaneously lifted the rod. When he had finished speaking, he drove it into Alec’s hand, straight through the top of it so that the pointed end protruded through the centre of his palm, Raj pushed it all the way through, so it clattered to the floor beneath them.

Alec screamed for a split second before his voice cut out, diminishing to a mess of whimpers and whines as he shivered on the table. He ached everywhere, by the angel he ached.

He heard the phone click again, Aldertree looking triumphant; he typed something into the phone, and as he did so, the young Lightwood realised what he was doing.

“Please, no. Don’t- please, please don’t. I- I’m loyal to the Clave, I am. I can prove it just please don’t send it. I’ll do anything,” Alec begged, tears filling his eyes at the thought of Magnus or Izzy or Jace receiving the recording of Raj staking the rod through his palm, blaming Magnus as he did it.

The warlock would never forgive himself.

Aldertree grinned at him, “If you’d told me this earlier I wouldn’t have to, but until you swear by the angel that you won’t interact with demon-blooded creatures, I have no choice.”

Alec felt something within him crumple as he saw the names of his sister, his parabatai and the man he loved listed as the contacts to receive the video.

“No, no. Please, Aldertree, please- please don’t.”

Raj simply laughed to himself as Alec’s voice caught on a sob, although it quickly turned into a groan as the movement pulled at his shoulder.

“I promise you, Alec, the video can stay between us so long as you vow not to be involved with Magnus Bane, and that you put the Clave before all else,” Aldertree said, casually.

“Ok,” Alec said, his voice small and defeated. “You win.”

“Say it, Lightwood,” Alec tried to convince himself that breaking up with Magnus wouldn’t be unbearable. That it would stop him from having to blame himself for the torture inflicted on Alec because of him.

“Say it, Alexander.” Alec flinched hearing Magnus’ nickname for him and Aldertree grinned wickedly as he watched.

Magnus was worth fighting for, Alec realised.

“Nothing you do to me will make me more loyal to the Clave than I already am, but Magnus is like family to me, and I know that Clave advocate dedication to family and your own above all else. That is exactly what I am doing- being dedicated to those that I love.”

The swooshing sound coming from the phone in Aldertree’s hand indicated the video having been sent.

Alec felt pain coursing through him more powerful than any physical injury could. He let out a sound half animal half anguish, the noise raw and emotive as he imagined the three people he cared most about seeing that video. The video capturing his lack of mental strength. The video capturing a message for Magnus that would destroy the warlock’s kind soul.

Minutes passed where the only sound in the cell was Alec’s tortured crying, Raj and Aldertree looking almost concerned as they realised that they may have gone to far. The young Lightwood put those that he loved before anything else, and the pain the video would cause them seemed to have broken Alec.

Eventually, Alec’s sobs stopped, and he loosened his muscles until he was lying flat on the table, staring at the dim ceiling above him with lifeless eyes.

Raj and Aldertree watched on nervously, taking in Alec’s still body and empty expression.

They wondered if Alec’s catatonic state meant he had died on the inside.

The young Lightwood lay unmoving on the cold metal surface as blood dripped steadily from the wounds he had sustained during his torture, as Raj used his stele to activate Alec’s healing rune. There was no response to the action, and Aldertree noticed that the rune didn’t seem to be healing the catatonic Shadowhunter.

The head of the New York Institute and his right-hand man turned slowly as the door to the cell flung open, crashing into the wall behind it, revealing a warlock whose face was so full of anger that both guilty Shadowhunters stumbled back a step.

Alec still lay there, unresponsive, as the High Warlock of Brooklyn killed Raj with one sharp hand movement. He threw a fireball at Aldertree, but Alec closed his eyes before it made contact. The back of his eyelids were blissfully dark; and the young Lightwood found solace in his body having shut down for him; no feeling, no emotion, and no response to whoever was yelling his name desperately in his ear. Everything stayed black, and Alec stayed unmoving.

Chapter Text

Magnus woke slowly, eyelashes fluttering open as his pupils adjusted to the light streaming in from the balcony doors. He sighed when he reached out blearily to find there was no Shadowhunter on the couch with him. Alec must have returned to the Institute.

The warlock sat up and read the note that had been placed on the coffee table for him; Alec would call him later, he was wearing his charms, and he would always be on Magnus’ side. And he loved him. Magnus smiled to himself, before pondering over breakfast choices. He checked the glittering Swarovski watch on his wrist and saw that it was 9:10am. He twirled his wrist in a figure-of-eight and a plate of bacon and toast appeared next to a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. The warlock took his breakfast out onto the balcony and sighed contentedly; he really loved magic sometimes.

He had just raised the glass of juice to his lips when a blinding pain flashed just below his ribcage, the glass shattered against the concrete as his hands shot to the area.

Alexander.

“No, no, no,” Magnus mumbled as he hurried to find his phone. Just as he was about to dial Jace, an incoming call from Isabelle lit up the screen. He answered immediately.

“Magnus, Jace can feel that Alec is really hurt through their bond, what’s happened? Is he with you?” Izzy voice was high and panicked.

“He left when I was asleep to return to the Institute, if he isn’t there I don’t know where he is. I’ll portal to you.” The warlock hung up when he stepped into the ground surrounding the Institute. Izzy rushed over to him, helping Jace who clutched the same place Magnus had felt the pain. Clary jogged over when she saw them, looking confused. They started walking into the building.

“What’s going on?” The red-head asked, voice deep with concern.

“Alec’s hurt- Jace felt it through the parabatai bond, but we don’t know where he is,” Izzy informed her quickly.

“I felt it too,” Magnus said, quietly. When Izzy whirled round to face him, one dark eyebrow raised questioningly; he continued. “I gave Alexander charms that enhanced some of his qualities, but one of them acts as a one-way parabatai bond, so that I can sense when something was wrong. I felt the same as Jace.”

“We need to find him- can you track him?” Jace asked the warlock, desperation tinging his voice.

Shadowhunter tracking was mediocre at best, but the slightest interference from emotion skewed the tracking the results. None of the Nephilim who felt worried about Alexander would be able to track him. It was down to Magnus.

He nodded tightly, “I need something of Alec’s. Where’s his bedroom?”

Clary took over, grabbing the High Warlock by the wrist and leading him down a few corridors, twisting and turning around corners until they arrived at a large dark oak door. In no mood for excessive hand movements, Magnus simply snapped his fingers and stepped into the room after the door flung open. His eyes settled on Alec’s spare stele in the bedside table, next to the book he was in the middle of reading. He grabbed the angelic tool and held it with both hands.

Izzy and Jace entered the room, both watching Magnus with hopeful eyes as they sat at the end of the bed silently, not wanting to disturb him.

The warlock closed his eyes and was about to begin tracking when a strangled shout from Jace distracted him, Magnus’ eyes shot to the blonde who had fallen to the floor clutching his shoulder, his back arched at an unnatural angle as he battled the pain, a second before the warlock stifled a yell too, biting his lip as agony ran rife through his shoulder. The stele fell to the floor. With the hand from his good shoulder holding the wall to steady himself, Magnus took deep breaths. The pain was jarring, and Magnus felt his head go light. He kept breathing, focusing on the one he loved.

Alexander.

“Magnus, are you ok?” Isabelle asked, eyes round with concern. Clary was murmuring assurances to Jace, whose eyes shined with unshed tears, rubbing his back slowly and pulling him into a gentle hug.

Magnus looked back to Izzy and nodded, “Yes, I think so. My connection to Alec is weaker than a parabatai bond, Jace is feeling more than I am. I need to start the tracking spell, but I fear that my emotions may interfere with my magic. I’ll try again anyway, we have to find him.”

Izzy handed Magnus the stele she had picked up after the warlock had dropped it, and he grasped it between his hands. He held back a groan as pain materialised in the same place as before, but to a much lesser extent, he had to focus. Jace curled into Clary’s arms, a quiet whimper escaping him as he fought not to yell, his body rigid with tension. Another whimper surfaced from the blonde, as he placed his hand over the parabatai rune, seemingly trying to convey some reassurance to his brother.

“Alec, no,” Jace whispered, obviously alerted by something through the parabatai bond. “No, no, no, come on buddy.”

“Jace what is it?” Magnus asked, voice laced with worry as he looked at the blonde. Izzy sat beside her brother, taking one of his hands and rubbing small soothing circles into the palm, Magnus saw some tightness in Jace unfurl, his shoulders hunching over, making him look defeated.

“His emotions, Mags. Alec feels- he- he feels-“ Jace choked on the words, his eyes glazed with tears. “I can feel guilt from him. And I just know it’s because he doesn’t want either of us to be hurting, but it’s not his fault! And there’s so much pain but- but not all of it’s physical. I don’t know if that makes sense- he just feels hurt but . . . on the inside.”

“Alec is strong. He’ll get through this. And when we get him back, we can make him understand that absolutely none of this is his fault. I’ll tell him everyday for as long as he needs to hear it if I must. He’s the victim here.”

Izzy stood up after Magnus had finished speaking, pulling Jace to his feet as she did so. They both silently wrapped the warlock in their arms, so the three of them were hugging.

“Thank you for being so good to him,” Izzy said, her voice honest and sincere. “Remember that you’ll always be family too.”

Jace squeezed the warlock’s arm and smiled at him, “I pray to the angel you never have to eat her cooking at the next family dinner.”

Izzy laughed and slapped Jace round the back of the head as they all broke away. Magnus found he missed the warmth of them being close, a coolness settling over him at their absence.

“Now, let’s go save my parabatai,” the blonde said, sounding more positive.

“I’m going to disactivate Alexander’s onyx charm, so I can focus on the tracking spell,” the warlock said. He threw his arm up straight in the air, so it was perpendicular with the ceiling, then he pointed one finger forwards and rotated it to the left. Magnus gasped as he felt his connection with Alec break, a sense of emptiness filling him up before he adjusted to it once again.

He shut his eyes, holding the stele tightly, and envisioned the stele taking him to Alec. He imagined himself following it until he saw his Alexander, a bright blue light leading the way. He felt something click into place, and when he opened his eyes he knew he had been successful; the angelic tool had aquamarine sparks flying out of it like sporadic fireworks.

Jace and Izzy grinned at him, and Clary shot him a grateful smile.

“I know where he is, but there’s good news and bad news.”

“Bad news,” Izzy and Jace blurted simultaneously. Jace winced and held his hand out, rubbing it with his other hand before suddenly doubling over, clutching his hand tentatively as he groaned. A few seconds later he stood up again, a tear tracking down his face as he locked eyes with the warlock, stoically. Magnus saw the blonde’s sheer need to save his parabatai, the sheer need to stop Alec’s pain, so he continued.

“The bad news is that I can’t portal us directly in there, but the good news is that he isn’t too far away. He’s in the City of Bones.”

“Let’s go!” Jace said, sounding optimistic for the first time since Magnus had arrived under the unfortunate circumstances. The warlock couldn’t help a small smile. Magnus was going to go and get his angel back. The four of them turned and started towards the door; he could portal them from outside the Institute to outside the City of Bones, but portals didn’t work inside either locations. As he turned into the corridor he felt his phone vibrate in the pocket of his black glittering blazer. He heard two phones chime behind him. He ignored it, thinking only about portalling them closer to Alec, but a gasp from Izzy stopped him in his tracks. He whirled round and found her staring at her phone screen in muted horror, mouth open and eyes blown wide. Her hands were shaking as Magnus and Jace came to stand either side of her. Clary had gone ahead to check outside the Institute was clear for them to portal. When Magnus finally focused purely on the screen he felt his hand fly to his mouth involuntarily. A tear dripped silently down Izzy’s tanned skin as they took in the video playing before them.

His strong, courageous angel was strapped to a metal surface, wrists and ankles tethered to the four table legs. Raj stood over him, holding some sort of spear half the length of a standard javelin.

“Just tell me that you made a mistake choosing Magnus Bane, that you’re sorry and you swear complete allegiance to the Clave, and this can stop,” they heard Raj say. Magnus looked away; was this only happening to Alec because of their relationship?

When Alec spoke, his voice was rough and grating- Magnus winced when he realised it was probably because Alec had been screaming. “I’m already loyal to the Clave. Magnus has nothing to do with this. Leave him out of it.”

His angel, loyal beyond belief. Jace gripped the warlock’s wrist, squeezing it in reassurance. The three of them couldn’t seem to stop watching, drawn into viewing Alec’s torture despite all of them hating every second of it. Like watching a car crash, but a thousand times worse.

“So protective of this man who you barely know, do you really not suspect that he spelled you?”

“He wouldn’t do that,” Alec said, his voice cracking. “I love him.”

“Then it is your love for him that means I have to do this. He stands between you and your future with the Shadowhunters.”

Guilt washed through Magnus like he had never before experienced, and Izzy turned to place a hand gently on his shoulder.

As Raj was speaking, he had been lifting the rod. Without warning, he drove it into Alec’s hand, all the way through, so it clattered to the floor beneath them. Jace made a noise so raw and painful at the sight of his parabatai that Magnus flinched.

Alec screamed for a split second before his voice cut out, diminishing to a mess of whimpers and whines as he shivered on the table. It was worse hearing his boyfriend sound so defeated. Izzy wailed, her phone smashing against the wooden floor as her whole body began shaking even more violently. Tears streamed down both Jace and Isabelle’s faces freely. They clung to each other desperately, their faces buried into the other’s shoulder.

He had never heard so much agony.

Alexander.

Alexander was hurting. He had to save him. He had to go. Now.

Magnus felt his heart rate pick up as he ran through the Institute, blind to the questioning stares of the other Nephilim. He struggled to take in air as he burst out the front door of the old building. He saw Clary waiting for them, and she rushed over at the state of the warlock. He gasped for oxygen, but couldn’t feel any. His Alexander. His angel must be in so much pain.

“Biscuit, I can’t- can’t-“ He broke off, strangled. Clary must have sensed his urgency because she guided him down until he was sitting on the cold floor, back against the stone exterior of the Institute. His vision blurred as he choked on nothing, chest rising too rapidly to be healthy. Clary took his flailing arms and held them to his sides.

“Magnus, breath with me. Ready?” The warlock nodded frantically in response.

“In, one, two three. Out, one, two, three. In, one, two, three. Out, one, two, three.” Clary breathed with his until he was nearly back to normal. Tears slid down his cheeks as he took in fresh air.

“I can’t lose him, Clary. I can’t,” Magnus blurted.

“I know, Mags, but we’ll get him back. We just need to portal to the City of Bones and then you’ll get him back. You won’t lose him.”

The door to the Institute burst open, Jace and Izzy stumbling out, eyes tinged red but otherwise back to their ordinary selves. He took another deep breath, savouring the sensation of full lungs, before getting to his feet and creating a portal.

“Let’s go and save our Alec,” he said, voice hard with determination as he set his eyes on the portal. And then he stepped through- Jace, Clary and Izzy not even a full step behind him.

Cold air hit him full force as he landed just outside the entrance of the City of Bones, and twigs snapping behind him alerted him to the presence of the other three.

“I’m going to go first-“

“Absolutely not-“

“Jace, they have Alexander and I have magic. I will blast them with a fireball so hot their ashes will have ashes. Nobody touches what’s mine,” Magnus growled, leaving no room for arguments.

“Ok, but I’m going second. Alec is my parabatai- I may not be able to blast them apart with a fireball, but I’ll stab them with my Seraph blade so many times they’ll look more like a pincushion than a person.” Jace’s voice was cold, and steely. The blonde meant business.

“Alright then. Izzy, Clary, you bring up the-“

Magnus was cut off by a strangled cry from Jace, the Shadowhunter frantically lifting his shirt to place his hand over the parabatai rune. He closed his eyes and murmured something, words rushed and jumbled. After a few seconds passed, Jace looked up to look at Magnus. The blonde’s eyes were wide and fearful, his bottom lip quivering as he held back tears.

“I can’t feel him, Mags,” Jace whispered, the words hanging ominously in the air. Izzy grabbed her brother by the shoulders, shaking him slightly.

“What do you mean you can’t feel him?! He’s ok, he has to be ok!” Her exclamations were threaded with desperation, so much need for Alec to be ok that the warlock could almost see it.

“There’s nothing. There’s this part of me that’s- that’s always just . . . full with Alec, but it’s gone. I can’t feel anything there. No pain; no anything. He’s missing from me.”

“But the rune’s still there- he’s still alive, right?” Izzy’s voice made it clear that there was only one answer she would accept for her question.

“Yeah, the rune’s there but I can’t feel my parabatai. The part of him that’s always with me is just . . . empty. There’s nothing there. I don’t know what that means, Iz,” Jace’s voice sounded hollow, like the emptiness from his parabatai had emptied his emotions too.

“Alec’s tough, guys. If anyone can make it, he can. Maybe he passed out or something?” Clary interjected, trying to reassure everyone.

“Either way, we need to save Alexander. He will be alive Jace.” As Magnus spoke, he wondered if his words were truly for the purpose of reassuring Jace, or if he was trying to convince himself that his angel would be ok. “We need to go.”

They took off, the four of them striding so quickly they were almost running. Jace, Isabelle and Clary behind the warlock, their angelic weapons drawn, ready to be used in a split second. Magnus’ hands were poised in front of him, the words for his blasting spell on the tip of his tongue. The turned right, guided by the warlock’s previous tracking spell, until they reached a heavy steel-bar door. Magnus snapped his finger and it flew open. The warlock strode in, seeing Raj standing over his angel, and rage from the memory of him hurting Alec in the video made him twirl his hand, Raj’s neck snapping clean in two. Magnus had released a fireball at the other man before Raj’s body had even hit the floor.

“Stop!” Izzy yelled, and Magnus disintegrated the fireball without hesitation, a second before it would have collided with the remaining guilty Shadowhunter. The warlock turned to face her, an unspoken question on his lips. Izzy’s eyes burned with a fire brighter than the fireball Magnus had conjured as she raced to the other man, hissing “I get to deal with him” as she strode past the warlock. Her brown eyes blazed as she slapped him across the face so hard his head jerked back, his jaw cracking as the skin across his cheekbone broke, blood dripping out.

“How dare you!” She yelled, voice tight with anger, like a coiled snake waiting to attack. As she yelled, Jace and Clary darted towards Alec, who wasn’t moving. Magnus’ heart pounded at the sight of his angel laying there, unresponsive.

“You had no right to do this to him! Alec didn’t do anything wrong!” She backhanded the man again, sending him sprawling. When he stood back up, fists clenched, his rage was tangible.

“Have a long think about how wise it was for you to strike a superior, Miss Lightwood,” the man said, voice low and threatening. Clary and Jace had untied the restraints, the blonde immediately checking for a pulse, frantically pressing his index and middle fingers against Alec’s neck; the warlock’s heart stopped beating in the few seconds it took for Jace to find his pulse, tension flowing out of his body as he cradled his brother against him, relieved tears flowing freely down his cheeks. Magnus felt his heart restart.

Superior? A superior had hurt his Alexander? Magnus thought to himself.

“By the angel I will kill you for this,” Izzy growled.

“What did you to my parabatai? Why isn’t he moving?” Jace demanded, Alec’s torso pulled tight against the blonde’s chest, still on the table. Magnus made his way over to his angel.

“Nothing he didn’t deserve,” the man sneered.

“Aldertree, tell us what you did to Alec or we’ll see how it feels to be de-runed using demon blood,” Clary threatened, in an uncharacteristic show of temper.

The name Aldertree had sounded familiar to Magnus, and then he remembered that the man was the Head of the Institute.

“Do your worst,” Aldertree goaded, wiping blood away from his cheek on the back of his jacket sleeve.

“Don’t try me,” Magnus retorted, stepping towards the Shadowhunter, one hand ready to use a spell the warlock had never had the opportunity to use.

“And you,” Aldertree spat. “You’re the reason we had to do all of this in the first place. Using magic to gain the loyalty of a Shadowhunter is a breach of the Accords. Mr Lightwood refused to agree to our terms regarding you and your kind, so we had to try and motivate him into declaring devotion to the Clave. Shame he’s so stubborn; today could have ended a lot differently for him. Such wasted potential.”

The genuine disappointment in Aldertree’s voice irked Magnus even more than his words.

“You did this to him! He didn’t even do anything wrong! You- you and your pathetic, childish, homophobic views- Alexander is one of your best fighters, and he has never let his personal relationships affect that! He wouldn’t allow it, because he can be loyal to me and the Clave at the same time. And you know just as well as I do that I haven’t used any magic on Alec. I would never do that to him. Now out of the way, I need to heal my boyfriend from the torture you had inflicted on him.”

Aldertree didn’t move, but with an elaborate twirl of his hand, the High Warlock sent the head of the Institute flying into the opposite wall, letting out an almighty groan as his head collided with it. Isabelle used her electrum whip to bind Aldertree’s hands behind his back, more tightly than was strictly necessary, not that Magnus was going to complain.

“We need to get him to the loft, could you portal us?” Clary asked him, all of them looking at Alec cautiously. He still hadn’t moved, apart from the steady rise and fall of his chest from his position in Jace’s arms. Magnus nodded stiffly, unable to tear his eyes away from the sight of his angel unresponsive in his parabatai’s arms. He threw an arm out to his side and conjured a portal, Clary and Jace gently lifting Alec up and carrying him through; Izzy followed, shoving Aldertree through the portal, sending him sprawling into Magnus’ apartment, his arms still tied behind him so he faceplanted the wooden floor.

“I am your superior, Miss Lightwood, and I resent this treatment of your head of Institute-“

“And I resent you and your treatment of my brother. It is thanks to me that Magnus didn’t kill you. If you don’t shut up and let us heal him, by the Angel I will let him kill you more slowly and painfully than he had originally planned, and you would deserve every single bit of it. Don’t. Test. Me.” Izzy said, voice so calm it was unnerving. She pushed Aldertree into a nearby chair before whirling round to help Jace and Clary lower Alec onto the couch. Magnus had gone to collect potion ingredients from his office, re-entering the lounge with a tray of bottle, boxes and bowls that were filled to the brim with different magical items.

Alec was now laying on the sofa, Jace on the floor next to him, rubbing idly at his parabatai’s hand as the comatose Shadowhunter remained still. Clary had gone to get them all some water, and Izzy was on a chair opposite Aldertree, her eyes just daring him to act up.

Magnus worked with an ease that had been mastered over many centuries, his hands reaching for a werewolf fang or strand of vampire hair almost of their own accord, measuring them and adding them to the vial of liquid that was stirring itself with the help of the warlock’s magic. The liquid bubbled and churned as more and more ingredients were added to it, turning it a vibrant shade of silver.

“What is that?” Jace asked, eyeing the vial cautiously.

Magnus added a bundle of leaves to the potion, which dissolved into the liquid upon contact.

“It is an old spell, one I had forgotten about until Clary gave me the Book of the White a few weeks ago. It is used to identify areas of imbalance or injury. We will give it to Alec, and it will spread through his body, the Rowan leaves I just added have medicinal properties, and will alert me to where Alexander is hurt. Once I know where the cause of catatonia is, I can work to erase the pain and bring him back to us,” Magnus paused when he took in the plain fear on Jace’s face. The blonde so rarely let anything affect him, and to see such clear emotion there startled the warlock enough for him to stop stirring the potion and give him a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder. “It will work, Jace, I promise you. I will do everything in my power to bring our Alexander back. You have my word.”

Jace looked up at him with glistening eyes, “I need him, Mags. I can’t- I can’t lose him, it would destroy me.”

“We won’t lose him, ok? I won’t allow it,” Magnus said. The stubbornness in his voice teased a wary smile from the blonde.

“Well, isn’t this touching,” Aldertree said, his tone disgusted. “A Shadowhunter brought to tears in front of a Downworlder. Nephilim don’t show weakness, Mr Wayland, especially before demon scum.”

Izzy stood up, eyes blazing, and backhanded Aldertree so hard he fell out of his chair. “Jace has every right to be upset, he and Alec are parabatai, they’re brothers. More than that, they’re a part of each other. And considering that what you’ve done to my brother is nearly killing him, I would be very careful about insulting Magnus. I don’t care what you think of Downworlders but this man has become family to Alec, and that makes him my family too. You know how protective we Shadowhunters are of our own.” Izzy smiled wickedly, advancing towards Aldertree. She grabbed him by the lapels, pulling him to his feet, before holding his shoulders and kneeing him so roughly in the crotch that even Magnus and Jace winced from across the room. Aldertree doubled over, gasping as his face reddened and tried to grab the injured area, failing spectacularly as his hands were still bound behind him. He fell back to his knees as he panted, every muscle in his body tensed with pain. Clary let out an amused laugh, chuckling to herself at the sight of Aldertree trying to protect himself from Izzy. He stayed silent as Magnus continued with the Rowan potion.

When it was completed, the warlock placed the bubbling vial gently against Alec’s lips, tipping the liquid into his mouth slowly, so he didn’t choke. Magnus held Alec’s hand between his as he waited for the potion to work.

“Come back to us, my Angel. Please just come back to us. We can work through everything that they did to you, work through it as a family: you and me and Jace and Izzy. Even Clary and Simon will be there for you. I love you, darling,” Magnus murmured into Alec’s ear.

Alec didn’t react.

Magnus felt panic welling up inside of him, but he tried to push it back down. He thought of the potion and focused on finding the damage Raj and Aldertree had caused. He closed his eyes and imagined it, the Rowan creating a detailed map of the Shadowhunter’s body, energy pulsating around the areas where Alec was most hurt. There was a collection of energy around his side, where the knife had been twisted, a collection around his hand, where the rod had been pushed through, and a collection where the same rod had been stabbed through the young Lightwood’s shoulder. If that wasn’t enough of a reason to be concerned, the brightness of the energy gathered around his wounds was nothing compared to the blinding light undulating through his heart. Magnus felt a searing pain between his eyes as he struggled to see what was wrong with his Angel’s heart, but there nothing visibly wrong with it.

Alec should have been fine.

But he wasn’t.

Why? What had happened to Alec that had made his heart so hurt?

Magnus opened his eyes, clearing his mind of the image of the energy in Alec’s body and looked at Jace, who stared back with an innocent type of hope etched over his features. Izzy had a similar look on her face, and even Clary looked anxious for the potion’s findings. The warlock took a deep breath before beginning to explain what he had seen.

Chapter Text

“The results that I saw are . . . unusual. What I expected to find was an injury that could be cured that would sooth Alec’s catatonic state and make him conscious again. But instead I saw that his heart is what is causing him the most pain, and I don’t know how we can cure that sort of injury. Physically, aside from his visible wounds of course, Alexander should be fine.”

Izzy’s face fell, her lower lip wobbling as she fought the urge to cry, something that she tried her hardest not to do in front of people.

“How? How can his heart cause him to be like this?” She asked, voice tinged with desperation.

“I- I don’t know, Isabelle. I have never seen this before. I can try a few spells to see what I can do, but my friend Catarina will most likely be the most useful for him. I’ll get her to portal here if I am unsuccessful.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Magnus caught sudden movement, and he quickly turned to see what was happening.

Jace had sprung from his position next to Alec, landing heavily on Aldertree, who was still on his knees, he punched Aldertree square in the jaw, lifting his clenched fist and punching him again and again and again. Blood flew from his mouth, splattering onto the expensive cashmere rug. A tooth flew out his mouth too, landing within a collecting puddle of blood.

“What did you do to my parabatai?” Jace yelled, fist drawn back and ready to connect with the older, man’s head again.

“I taught him what real pain is,” Aldertree grinned, front two teeth missing and blood dribbling down both corners of his lips. He looked like a mad man. “I demonstrated how to truly break a man.”

“And I’m going to demonstrate how to truly break a nose,” Jace growled, before slamming his fist sideways, into Aldertree’s nose, a cracking sound filling the room as the bone snapped. A whine escaped the man before he could stop it.

“Jace, stop it!” Magnus shouted. “He’s not going to tell us what he did to Alec if you keep breaking his bones. Not that I don’t want you to continue.”

Jace drooped like all the air had gone out of him, his head hanging low, and as he stood up to return to his parabatai’s side, the warlock saw a tear drip down his cheek, but he didn’t mention it. Magnus crouched over Aldertree, the older man refused to make eye contact with the Downworlder.

“If I heal your nose and fix your teeth, give me your word that you’ll tell us what you did to Alec. What you think . . . broke him.”

Aldertree nodded, reluctantly, still looking elsewhere.

Magnus whispered an incantation under his breath, and the man’s nose straightened as teeth identical to the old ones sprung from his healing gums.

“I sent you the video,” Aldertree stated.

“Yes, we know that,” Izzy spat. “Answer Magnus’ question. Now.”

“Oh, but I already did, Miss Lightwood. Sending the video to his loved ones is what pushed Alec over the edge. Mr Wayland, I’m sure you’ll remember that your parabatai went numb shortly before you received the footage. It destroyed him. He’s in this state because he’s too sensitive. You should have heard him begging us not to send it. He’s beautiful when he’s begging, isn’t he, warlock?” Aldertree smirked when Magnus flinched at the mention of Alec’s bedroom habits. The man had no right to make crude comments about his Angel. Magnus whispered another spell, one that caused Aldertree to freeze, a victorious grin frozen on his face. Magnus felt his fists clench involuntarily.

The warlock turned to face Izzy, Jace and Clary, who were all by Alec’s side.

“I will try the healing spells I know to see if they make any difference, we will need to summon a demon known for making deals in exchange for bringing health. If that doesn’t work, I will call my good friend Catarina to come and assist us. Either way, I promise you, we will bring him back,” the determination in Magnus’ voice was tangible, his love for Alec palpable in his words. Izzy blinked back tears as she held her brother’s hand.

“Thank you, Magnus. Thank you,” she whispered, quietly enough that it wouldn’t have been heard if Magnus hadn’t been listening.

Jace flashed the High Warlock a smile, one so resembling of his usual cocky smirk that Magnus couldn’t help but smile back. “I can see why our brother loves you. You’re a good guy, Mags.”

“I can’t believe it took you this long to notice, Shadowhunter.”

“Oh har har, just do your- your thing,” the blonde made a peculiar hand gesture that Magnus assumed was supposed to be symbolic of the gestures he used to aid his spells, “and bring Alec back to us. It’s been too long since I’ve wanted to throw up from just how couple-y you two are.”

“I’m flattered, Jace. Truly,” Magnus replied, smiling, but he got up to fetch his spell book so he could, as Jace so aptly put it, do his thing.

When he returned, he set the book on the coffee table opposite the sofa that his boyfriend was on, skimming through pages as he searched for the healing section. He found a page that claimed that the greater demon Azazael could provide a cure for all injuries, but to do so, the conditions for a deal would need to be negotiated. Magnus decided to run it past the others, although he was confident in what their answer would be.

“I have found a spell that claims Alec will be cured of all injury, provided we agree to the terms of whatever the greater demon Azazael gives us-“

“I’ll do it, whatever it is, I don’t care,” Jace interjected, at the same time Izzy said that she’d do whatever Azazael wanted.

“I guess we have our answer then,” Magnus concluded. “And I was going to summon him with or without your help, I just thought it would be easier if I had it.”

The blonde Shadowhunter grinned at him. “You,” he said, pointing a finger at Magnus. “I like you, when Alec comes back to us, I’ll let him know that I’ll allow him to keep you.”

“How generous of you. Now, Nephilim, we have business to attend to. Jace, get me three bundles of the candles in the top shelf of my closet,” the blonde ventured off to Magnus- and Alec’s, he supposed- bedroom. “Clary- biscuit- you’re going to have to retrace the pentagram you drew the first time we summoned Azazael, do you remember it?”

The red-head nodded in confirmation, and reached into her rucksack to procure her chalks, the exact same ones she had used the initial time they had called to the greater demon. He waved him hand to unlock the door to the spare room they had summoned Azazael to the first time, and Clary left to start the pentagram.

“Izzy, I’m going to need holy water from the bottles in the fridge. As a relation to Lilith, and part Child of the Night, holy water will be effective at keeping Azazael from escaping the pentagram if I am unable to maintain it.”

“Hang on- you keep holy water in bottles in the fridge?” She sounded incredulous, but Magnus just rolled his eyes.

“Where else do you propose I keep it? I hardly have a plentiful enough source to have a tap that pours it on demand.”

“Fair point,” she conceded, before racing to the kitchen to fetch a few bottles, long black hair streaming behind her as she moved.

Magnus cracked his knuckles, green sparks fizzing out of his fingertips in anticipation. They were going to wake Alec.

A short while later, the pentagram had been drawn, each of them held an uncapped bottle of holy water, and the room was filled with candles that would generate enough heat energy for Magnus to be able to convert it into summoning energy. The four of them stood at separate points, the final point was directed through the centre of the open door and towards Alec, who was still unconscious on the couch. Jace closed the door so that Alec couldn’t be seen, as the warlock took a deep breath and started the spell.

The first step of the spell was an incantation written in an ancient Demonic language. As he worked his way through the sentences, he found that the foreign sounding words began to roll off his tongue like it was his mother language. He translated the words in his head as he spoke.

I summon thee, Azazael, Lord of the Demonic Regions. I summon thee, Azazael, to strike not bargain but fairness with thy proposed transaction. I summon thee, Azazael, and solemnly promise that I will truthfully consider thy trade. I summon thee, Azazael, to uphold thy word. I summon thee, Azazael …

And so it continued, until the page had been turned twice and Magnus threw his palms down and raised them upwards, muscles taut, as if lifting something from the ground. The room was struck by pure darkness, and when light returned, Azazael himself stood in the middle of Clary’s pentagram, which was now glowing a fierce and fiery orange. The greater demon was standing tall, wearing a tight-fitting black suit, hands clasped casually behind his back and eyes trained carefully on Magnus, who held his arms out and fists clenched as he maintained the pentagram’s magic.

“High Warlock of Brooklyn? I am impressed. Would you like me to take a bow?” The demon’s voice had a low timbre, the pitch even and assured.

“There is no need for that, great Azazael,” the warlock’s voice was steady and calm, his words clearly meant to flatter the demon, but not show any signs of weakness. “I have summoned you here to listen to what you want in exchange for healing a Nephilim.”

“And what is the importance of this Nephilim to you, warlock?” Azazael sounded genuinely curious, his tone rising at the end of the question.

“He’s my brother,” Isabelle answered for him, “And he is Jace’s parabatai, we need your help in healing him.”

The greater demon turned, as if noticing that Izzy, Jace and Clary were in the room for the first time. He grinned at her, lip curling up as he did so.

“And what are you willing to offer in return, angel-blooded?” His eyes glinted in the light.

Izzy opened her mouth to reply, but Magnus interrupted, shooting her a look that clearly conveyed be quiet and let me handle this.

“You will make your offers to me, and me only, great Azazael. I will be the one considering the terms to your deal.”

“Oh, but the Nephilim are so fun to toy with, warlock. Where is this sick Nephilim of yours then? I must first witness the damage before I can negotiate with you for a cure.” Azazael craned his neck, but the closed door prevented him from seeing Alexander, which Magnus was insanely grateful for.

“I will allow you to see him, but you must give me your word that no harm will come to those present here, and that there will be no further harm caused to the injured Nephilim. You must also give me your word that after you have examined him, you will return to the pentagram, no games.” Magnus’ voice was cold and solid, like steel. A demon’s word was binding, causing excruciating pain if the promise was not upheld.

“You have my word, you know how much I love to strike deals, warlock; I do not wish to prolong the waiting,” the greater demon obliged, politely nodding his head in acknowledgement of their agreement. Magnus dropped the pentagram and Azazael stepped out of it. Out of the corner of his eye, the High Warlock saw Jace resting a hand passive aggressively on his Seraph blade, but shook his head at the blonde until Jace dropped his hand from the blade. Izzy opened the door and rushed through it to be at her brother’s side before Azazael entered. The greater demon strode over to the unmoving form of Alec, and Magnus stood protectively over his boyfriend, eyes intently on Azazael’s movements.

“Interesting,” Azazael mused. “His catatonia is not due to a physical injury. What happened to him?”

“He was tortured,” Isabelle said curtly. “And he,” she carelessly threw a finger to Aldertree’s still-frozen form, “filmed it and sent it to us. He said that when my brother saw that Aldertree was planning on sending it to Magnus, Jace and I, it destroyed him. He became catatonic after it was sent, and he hasn’t moved since.”

The greater demon turned to face Magnus, a wicked grin on his face. “And why was this Nephilim so concerned about you receiving the video showcasing his torture hmm?”

“He is a friend. Like Ragnor and Catarina. But this is besides the point. Can you heal him, and if the answer is yes, then what is the cost to me?”

The warlock knew that revealing his relationship with Alec would only serve to increase the price that Azazael would propose. He would be aware of how important it was to Magnus to heal his boyfriend, and the greater demon would know that he would be willing to pay any price- which was dangerous ground.

“Of course I can heal him, warlock. The question is, what are you willing to pay for me to bring him back?”

Anything, Magnus thought. I will pay anything for you to bring him back.

But all the warlock said was: “Anything within reason. He is only Nephilim, after all.”

Izzy turned to look at Magnus with wide and wounded eyes. She must have truly believed that Magnus would not have brought down the very world if it meant saving his Angel. The warlock tried to ignore her hurt look. Jace seemed to understand the game that Magnus was playing, however, watching him steadily with his bi-coloured irises, arms crossed over his chest.

“I would expect nothing less, but you can’t really expect me to believe that there is nothing else going on between you and Alexander Lightwood?”

His use of Alec’s full name caused the warlock to flinch and stumble back a step, involuntarily.

“How do you know of Alec?” Jace demanded, trying to hide his panic at a greater demon knowing the full name of his parabatai.

“I may not be from this world angel-blooded, but rumours of the disgraced Lightwood dating the High Warlock have travelled even to the Demonic realms. Lilith’s children whisper, even in the darkest recesses of the Demonic realms, and how dare you believe that you could fool me.”

Magnus felt his stomach drop as his heart picked up pace, beating wildly beneath his chest. If Azazael knew how much Alec meant to him, the price paid to heal him would be astronomical. The warlock already knew that he would have to shoulder the weight of whatever Azazael asked for, he would never forgive himself if anything happened to Jace, Clary or Izzy. It was what Alec would want, too, for his sister and parabatai to be kept safe.

“You are right, great Azazael, and I apologise for any offence caused. But I thought that if you knew of the relationship between Alec and I, you may disapprove and refuse to heal him.”

“The cost must be proportionate to the cure, warlock, and I refuse help to nobody. The chaos caused by striking deals with me gives me great pleasure. Today will be no different. As usual, I will set a high price that needs to be met in full, and, in exchange, I will heal your Angel-boy. Sound fair?”

“And what is the price? Jace and I will help Magnus with whatever it is that you ask-“

“No!” Magnus cried, and then continued in a more measured tone. “No, you will not deal with the Nephilim, great Azazael. Your price will be pitched to me. Only me. I will consider your terms.”

“As you wish, warlock. To heal your Angel-boy I require something from Alexander. To heal him, I will require his recollection of someone he holds dear. After paying the price, Alexander will no longer recognise or remember the person whose recollection he surrendered. I place responsibility for the selection of the person to you, warlock, as you told me I am not to deal with the Nephilim. Oh, and in case I forgot to mention, that person needs to be either you, his parabatai or his sister,” Azazael grinned wickedly as he saw Jace’s eyes widen in horror and Izzy’s hand flew to her mouth. Magnus felt his heart shatter, pieces splintering and cracking at the thought of his Angel not recognising one of them. Selfishly, he didn’t want to sacrifice Alec’s memories of them, but he also knew he couldn’t bear to see Alec not remember his sister or parabatai.

But then a thought hit him.

“Great Azazael, I challenge your price- on the grounds that it contradicts the key maxim of striking ‘not bargain but fairness with thy proposed transaction’, something that must be upheld throughout your summoning. Punishing Alec when he is unable to contribute or even consent to the price is not striking fairness in your transaction.”

The greater demon’s eyes flashed dangerously, “It is not wise to challenge me, warlock. I will allow it, this once, but that is it. The new price is all of your most precious memories with Alexander.”

Azazael grinned menacingly as Magnus visibly paled.

“I will give you some time to consider my offer, warlock, but be wary of taking too long. I will see you shortly.”

There was a dimming of light and when visibility returned, Azazael was gone.

Magnus whipped round to kneel before Alec, his thumb brushing the Shadowhunter’s hair off his forehead, before he leaned forward and kissed him gently on the lips, eyes closed as he savoured the moment.

“I love you, Angel, and don’t you forget it. When you come back you have to promise me that you won’t give up on us, no matter how difficult I am with you. I have never trusted a Nephilim before, and without circumstance throwing us together as it did when we first met, I will likely not trust you for a while. But persevere, darling, please. I love you, and even without my memories of you, I know that I will love you again.”

Magnus clicked his fingers, holding his hand out flat in the air, palm up. An envelope appeared atop his hand, and he passed it to Clary, who looked at him in confusion.

“Biscuit, I need you to promise me that you will give me this envelope after Azazael finishes curing Alec.”

“I- I promise. Magnus, what’s in here?” She asked, waving the envelope imploringly.

“A reminder- something I will need in order to rebuild my relationship with Alexander. It contains memories that I hold dear of the two of us, written down so that Azazael’s magic won’t destroy it. I know the spell he will cast on me, and it demolishes all mental and visual memories- any pictures will vanish alongside my memories. Hopefully it will be enough to persuade me that I love this Nephilim more than I ever thought it possible to love someone.”

“I don’t know that this is the best solution, Mags. Alec will wake up, but he’ll be destroyed if you can’t remember him. I think contacting Catarina would be a better answer,” Izzy said.

“I can’t turn down a greater demon’s deal, especially not after I challenged him about erasing Alec’s memories. He will bring his wrath down on us if I refuse, and I will not permit any further harm to come to your brother. Catarina is out of the question now, Izzy. But I have always said that I would sacrifice anything to save him; I suppose now is my chance to prove it.”

“Oh Mags,” Izzy whispered, voice sounding miserable. “Thank you for doing this for him, I know it’s unbearable.”

Yes, unbearable it is, Magnus thought to himself. Agonising. Excruciating.

“He’s lucky to have you,” Clary said, attempting positivity.

“I would like a moment with Alec, if you don’t mind giving us some privacy,” the warlock said, his voice laced with a vulnerability that was so unlike Magnus that Izzy and Jace hugged him tightly.

“Of course, just don’t do anything uncouth,” Jace said with a wink. Clary hit him on the shoulder, and then the three of them left the living room, going to sit in the spare room.

Magnus took a deep breath, not surprised that it sounded shaky, and went to sit at the head of the sofa, taking Alec’s limp hand in his.

“Oh Alexander,” the warlock murmured. “I will love you always.”

The Shadowhunter remained still and unresponsive.

“I know you won’t give up on me, I know we always find our way back to each other, even without my memories,” as Magnus spoke, he knew that he was speaking to reassure himself even more than as comfort to his Angel. “I may be . . . cold, at the beginning, but promise me you won’t give up. I’m not trustful of Nephilim, I admit, but I will trust you again. You inspire trust and honesty in everyone you meet, your actions speak even louder than your words, my Angel. When you gave me your strength to save Luke, when you were willing to sacrifice your bond to find your parabatai, when you risk yourself over and over to protect those that you love- you are the kindest and bravest soul I have ever met, and I know that I will fall in love with you all over again. Wait for me, Angel.”

A tear dripped from the warlock’s cheek, landing on Alec’s hand, which was still clasped gently between Magnus’.

The light dimmed to black, and Magnus clenched his eyes closed in frustration. There was more that he wanted to say, but Azazael was coming back. He pressed a kiss urgently to Alec’s lips, his hands cupping the younger man’s face as he urged his mouth desperately to memorise the feeling of being connected to the man he loved more than life itself. When the light returned he pulled away reluctantly; the door to the spare room opened and Jace, Clary and Isabelle walked over to him, their eyes wide with concern. Magnus took another deep breath and entered the room where Clary had drawn the pentagram. Sure enough, a suit-cladded Azazael was stood confidently in the centre, hands once again clasped behind his back as he watched the four enter with a look of expectancy on his face. He knew Magnus would agree to his deal. A smile stretched wide across the greater demon’s face, morphing his features into a grotesque version of joy. Magnus felt himself shudder at the sight of Azazael standing there so casually when he knew full well that he was about to destroy the immortal’s soul with one memory spell.

“So, warlock, do you agree to my terms?” The greater demon asked, his twisted smile even seeming to be present in his voice.

“Give me your word that you will cure Alexander before you take my memories of him.” Magnus needed to know that Alec was safe before he sacrificed his memories of him.

“No, I will take your memories as payment now- consider it a down payment before I heal your Angel-boy,” Azazael’s posture showed that he did not expect to be challenged on this matter, but Magnus had always had a habit of doing the unexpected.

The warlock knew that the greater demon thrived on pain and anguish, so he let as much of his raw emotion and desperation bleed into his words as possible: “Please, Azazael, please just let me see that he’s ok. Just one moment of reassurance before you take him from me. I just need to know that he will be ok- that he’s come back to us. Please.”

Izzy took his hand in hers and squeezed it tightly in support. Magnus squeezed her hand back as thanks.

Azazael rolled his eyes, “Fine, fine. But the moment that you see that your Angel-boy is healed, I will take your memories.”

“Thank you, great Azazael,” Magnus breathed, the gratitude in his voice and words all genuine.

“Let us begin. Nephilim boy, take me to Alexander,” the greater demon demanded of Jace. The blonde clenched his fists- the warlock knew that he had always been hateful to orders- but obliged, and opened the door to the living room, leading Azazael over to the couch and the comatose form of his parabatai.

The greater demon saw Aldertree, still frozen, and clicked his fingers. Aldertree vanished.

“No distractions,” Azazael said absently.

“Where did you send him?” the warlock asked.

“Edom, where he will burn away slowly. All demonic realms are particularly painful for Nephilim, and traitors are unwelcome. I believe you will find it a satisfactory punishment for harming the one you love.”

“Thank you, great Azazael. But why are you helping us to get revenge on the people that hurt him- what is the payment?”

The greater demon shrugged, a movement which seemed bizarrely Mundane on a demonic prince, “I enjoy punishing people, and I have sent him to my settlement in Edom. The payment is that I get to watch him burn away slowly and painfully. I thrive on pain.”

Magnus grinned wickedly, and found the expression mirrored on Azazael’s face. “You are right of course, I am extremely happy with that deal. I don’t know if I could have thought of a punishment as suitable as that scum being subjected to the conditions of Edom, especially considering how delicate Nephilim are when they are in demonic realms.”

Magnus felt the air leave his lungs as he looked at Alec; the Shadowhunter looked deathly pale, a pallor erasing any colour from his skin and leaving him ghostly white. Izzy faltered in her stride as she took in the complexion of her brother but took Magnus’ hand and led him over to Alec, face set in determination. They both took one of his hands and felt the icy cold that had invaded his skin. The warlock murmured a spell to warm him up, but the change he felt was minimal- that was when Magnus knew.

Alexander was dying.

Azazael reached his hands out towards Alec, but Jace shoved them away.

“Don’t touch him,” the blonde growled. The greater demon’s grin stretched ever-wider.

“Ah, but I have to, Shadowhunter. My spell does not work without contact.” Jace’s lip curled up in a snarl, but he grudgingly stepped back, allowing Azazael to step forwards and place his hands on either side of his parabatai’s face, a mocking version of someone cupping their lover’s face, as Magnus had done with Alexander countless times. The warlock felt himself start to shake as he realised he would not remember this in a few short seconds. His vision started to blur as tears welled in his eyes and he glanced up at the ceiling, swiping a ringed finger under his eyes to wipe them away before they spilled.

“I will cure him as promised, and then I will take your memories. If you attempt to refuse the claiming of memories, I will kill your Angel-boy faster than you would believe possible. I would take equal delight in both outcomes, so do not test me.”

“I will not refuse the claiming, you do not need to harm Alexander.”

“Excellent,” Azazael said, voice laced with excitement. “We shall begin the transaction.”

He whispered beneath his breath in a demonic language that even Magnus didn’t recognise, and the warlock felt a part of his heart shattering. He would forget every moment he had ever spent with Alec. Working together, loving together, travelling together. He remembered the first time he truly realised the sparkling humour that Alec possessed: Alec was arguing that fatty tuna was offensive to tuna, and Magnus had laughed until his stomach hurt and tears streamed down his face. He couldn’t recall a time before meeting Alec where he had laughed so much- the Shadowhunter was truly his main source of happiness.

Silence settled over the loft as Azazael finished the spell, digging his fingers into Alec’s skin so hard that Jace reached a hand up to his own face in a mirror image of his parabatai’s. A look of pain flashed through the blonde’s face as he struggled to restrain himself from batting the greater demon’s hands away from his brother. Magnus took a deep breath and clenched his fists as he watched Azazael smear Alec’s blood over his palms, before raising his hands up. The demon’s hands began to glow a red that matched the blood coating his hands, the texture of the light thick and viscous. He placed his glowing hands over Alec’s chest, and the red glow suddenly vanished. When Azazael removed his hands, a glimmer of the red light hovered over the Shadowhunter’s heart before evaporating. Magnus leaned forward in hope.

Alec’s body shuddered violently, limbs splaying over the couch, and Jace rushed forward to catch his parabatai before he hit the floor. The blonde scooped his brother into his arms, and Alec suddenly opened his eyes, meeting Magnus’. Magnus felt relief wash over his more powerful that the tides of the ocean. Alec’s eyes widened, and he reached a hand out to Magnus. The warlock stood and began walking over, his own hand stretched out to meet Alec’s.

“Mags,” Alec murmured, one corner of his mouth quirked up in a shy smile.

The warlock flinched as he felt the invasion of the greater demon prying through his memories. It felt like icy water being thrown over him.

But then the feeling was gone, and Magnus looked curiously at his outstretched hand, following the direction it was pointed in and seeing an unfamiliar Shadowhunter held tightly to Jace Wayland. The dark-haired man couldn’t have been older than about nineteen, and even more interestingly, it was he whose hand was held out to reach Magnus’.

The warlock dropped his hand back to his side like he’d been burned.

“Jace, I understand that I’ve helped you out in the past, but you really need to stop bringing stray Shadowhunters to my loft. Especially as you always expect my help for free. Take him to Ragnor or Catarina,” Magnus said, voice cold. He saw that with every word, the dark-haired man looked like he’d been slapped. His eyes were wide and wounded, and surprisingly, the warlock noticed that Jace, Clary and the other girl – was her name Imogen? Iris? Isabelle? – all looked heartbroken. It must be because this man meant a lot to them. The girl – Magnus had met with her for Shadowhunting business a few times and settled on Isabelle as her name- in particular looked shattered, as she glanced at the man in Jace’s arms. By the striking resemblance between the two, he assumed that they were brother and sister.

“Mags, I don’t- I don’t understand. What’s going on?” The unfamiliar Shadowhunter asked, his voice cracking over the warlock’s nickname.

“Don’t call me that, Nephilim. I don’t have time to be your on-call warlock, find someone else.”

“What . . . Magnus, I don’t understand. I don’t know what’s going on. I- I was with Raj and Aldertree. That’s all I remember. Magnus, please.” The warlock didn’t know if he had ever heard such confusion and desperation in a voice.

“I don’t know who Raj and Aldertree are, nor do I care about whatever they did to you. Leave, Shadowhunter.”

The man flinched at Magnus’ words.

“What. . . what do you mean . . . you don’t-“ the man’s voice broke off, a sob hitching in his throat. “Mags, you- you don’t care?”

Isabelle and Clary shared a glance, and then the red-head stepped forwards, an envelope in her hand. He rolled his eyes but accepted the envelope.

“What’s this, the Nephilim’s sob story?” He said flippantly. The dark-haired Shadowhunter looked at Jace, his eyes shining with unshed tears.

“Jace . . . parabatai, what’s going on? What happened to Magnus?” The warlock heard him ask. This man was Jace’s parabatai? It certainly explained why the blonde had brought him here.

“It’s a long story, Alec. We need to get you back to the Institute so you can finish healing,” Jace said, before turning his gaze Magnus. The blonde’s eyes were hard and unwelcoming, his voice no different. “Would it be too much trouble for you to Portal us back to the Institute? How much will it cost us?” Jace’s words were said with such hatred that Magnus nearly took a step back. And what was the ‘long story’?

Clary put an arm around Jace, “Be nice, Jace. It’s not Magnus’s fault. What he did saved Alec, he’s not being mean to him on purpose, he can’t remember him.”

“I can feel his emotions, Clary. This is destroying him, and we only just got him back!”

Alec’s gaze flickered between his parabatai’s and Magnus’.

“I’ll Portal you back when you explain exactly what’s going on here,” Magnus said.

“Read the letter, Magnus. You wrote it for yourself,” Isabelle replied, still watching her brother carefully. “You might want to read it privately, work through it and then ask us any questions.”

“Fine,” the warlock said, aiming for a neutral tone despite the burning curiosity in his chest. “I will read it in my room. Stay here for me.” And then he turned to enter his room.

He thought he heard a whispered “I’ll always be here for you” coming from the boy they called Alec, but he ignored it, instead heading to read the letter he hoped would shed some light on this dark and confusing situation.

Chapter Text

ALEC'S POV:

The way Magnus had looked at him had hurt more than anything Raj and Aldertree could have done to him. The pure dislike and distrust on the warlock’s face when he’d spoken to him had made his heart shatter, was it because Alec hadn’t been able to protect himself- had he let Magnus down? He’d tried so hard to defend himself, but maybe Magnus didn’t respect him anymore, maybe he was disappointed. But Alec was already disappointed in himself. He didn’t think he could take it if Magnus was disappointed in him too.

He turned to his parabatai, the one person that Alec knew he could count on for the truth.

“What happened, Jace? I don’t understand what’s going on.” Even to his own ears he sounded weak and vulnerable. His brother must have picked up on it because Jace’s eyes softened even more before he answered.

“Magnus tracked you to the City of Bones, and we found you there with Raj and Aldertree,” Alec flinched at their names, and Isabelle hugged him tightly. He eased into her touch until he was hugging back. Jace continued, “Magnus killed Raj, and Izzy restrained Aldertree, but you were . . . you were comatose, Alec. You weren’t moving, weren’t responding to anything, and we didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t feel anything through our parabatai bond. Magnus Portalled us here, and made a potion that would show us where you were hurt, but all it showed was that your heart was hurt. We didn’t know what that meant, and none of the healing spells Magnus tried worked on you. Izzy asked Aldertree what they did but. . . “ Jace trailed off, looking uncomfortable. The blonde glanced at his sister for help.

Izzy, who never normally struggled with saying things as they were, wouldn’t meet Alec’s eyes as she spoke. “He said that you were like that because of the, er, the video he sent. He said that the video made you so emotionally destroyed that you shut down.”

Alec pulled away and clasped his hands, looking down at them as he thought of some way to respond. It was true though, he thought, the video had destroyed him. Family meant everything to him, and he had known that seeing the video would hurt them beyond all words. Those he loved were both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness.

“Did you- did you see. . .” Alec began, before trailing off uncertainly. Izzy took his hand and nodded silently, a lone tear dripping down her face. That alone gave Alec his answer. A pained sound escaped his lips- a cross between a sob and a whimper- as he pulled his sister towards him, wrapping his arms around her tightly, resting his cheek against the top of her head.

“I- I’m sorry, I never- never wanted you to see-“

“Don’t apologise,” Jace interrupted. “None of that was your fault, and as long as you’re ok, we are too.”

“I’m fine. I don’t want to talk about it.”

A beat passed before Alec asked the question he’d been trying to supress.

“Mags?” Alec choked, just that one word conveying everything Alec wanted to know, Jace took a deep breath.

“The only way we could think to save you was to summon Azazael and accept a deal for him to heal you.” Alec’s eyes widened; he knew how dangerous a deal with a greater demon could be. “Magnus wouldn’t let Clary, Izzy or I enter into the price, he said that Azazael was only to deal with him. The offer we got was for Magnus to select someone for you to forget completely, and it had to be me, Izzy or Magnus. He refused and said that it went against the summoning maxims. One of them is that the deal must be fair, and since you were unconscious, it wouldn’t be fair to remove your memories. Azazael got angry and said that his next offer was final. Magnus would have to give up his memories of you. . .”

Alec’s heart broke, splintering into little bits that travelled through his veins, spiking him all over, like a million paper cuts all at once. He crumpled, Izzy scooting away to let Jace hold his parabatai, who rubbed his back in comfort, whispering reassurances into Alec’s ear as his brother broke down completely.

“No, no. Please, Jace. I- He can’t have, he- no!” Alec’s thoughts were jumbled, his mind unable to form a complete sentence. Surely Magnus didn’t sacrifice all of his memories of them? But Alec knew how fierce Magnus’ love was; they were similar that way, both willing to give anything to save their loved ones, and he knew that Magnus would have. He was the sort of brave and wonderful man that would save Alec no matter what the cost, and despite his exasperation at how self-sacrificing the warlock was, he knew that he would done the same to save him. “Jace. . . Jace please. I- tell me he didn’t, please, please. He didn’t- he wouldn’t, I-I love him, he wouldn’t give his memories of us up. . . ” Alec’s voice trailed off, wanting so desperately for his brother to tell him it was some cosmic joke, that of course Magnus hadn’t sacrificed their most treasured moments. But he knew deep down that it was true.

“I am so sorry, but you know how stubborn he can be,” Jace answered, his tone the most gentle and caring Alec had ever heard it; he sounded like an angel trying to comfort a crying boy. “He wrote himself a letter, the one Clary just gave him, he wrote it to remind himself of his love for you. He knew he isn’t trustful of new Shadowhunters, but the letter is to remind him of your relationship and help him to not give up. He won’t give up on you, Alec. He loves you, and memories won’t change that.”

Alec sighed, and stood up, wanting to change the topic.

“I’m going to get something to eat, anybody want anything?” He asked, voice rough and grating like he’d just woken up from a deep and fitful slumber.

There was a clatter from Alec and Magnus’ bedroom, like something shattering. Alec found himself running forwards before he could stop himself, he knocked on the door to their- or was it just Magnus’ now?- room.

“Magnus, you okay?” He asked, voice higher than usual with panic.

“I’m fine,” Magnus replied sharply- and then, in a gentler tone, “but thank you for checking, Alexander.”

Alec felt all the air leave his lungs in a rush, and he leant against the wall for support.

Alexander.

Did Magnus remember him, or was it something he’d written down? Was he overthinking it like Izzy said he usually did? The old Magnus had called him Alexander, so it made sense for the new Magnus to call him that too, maybe they both just liked his full name? No, Alec mentally berated himself, there was no old Magnus, there was simply Magnus, who seemed like a new person because of the lost memories but was still fundamentally the same. Magnus would learn to love him again.

Alec shook his head to clear his thoughts, and he and Izzy went into the kitchen to get some food. He was getting some sandwich ingredients out of the fridge and Izzy was buttering bread when he heard a small cough from behind him and turned to see Magnus standing uncomfortably in the doorway. Alec put the knife down and faced Magnus fully.

“Hey,” Alec said, not knowing what else to say.

“Hi,” Magnus replied, sounding equally as awkward.

“Would you like a sandwich?”

“I can magic us sandwiches?” The sentence was declarative, but Magnus’ tone made it sound more akin to a question. It was peculiar for the warlock to sound so uncertain when he was usually so sure of himself.

“No, it’s er, it’s no problem. I’m happy to make one for you . . . if you like.”

“Yes, please.”

After a few seconds of verging-on-awkward silence, Alec said “I’ll bring it over to you when it’s ready, if that’s ok?”

“That would be lovely, Alexander. Thank you.” Alec felt himself shiver again at that use of his full name, he didn’t know exactly what it was, but something about the way the vowels and consonants fell so gracefully from the warlock’s mouth made him feel better. More optimistic that they could work things out. Magnus saw the reaction his use of the full name had on the Shadowhunter, but declined to comment on it, instead turning to enter the lounge.

Alec exhaled and leant heavily against the countertop, his knuckles turning white as he gripped the glittering marble surface, before feeling Izzy squeeze his shoulder, “You’ll get there, big brother, I know you will. You two always find your way back to each other.”

He shot her a weary smile, “I hope so, Iz. I really, really hope so.”

After having made the sandwiches, the two Lightwoods took the plates into the lounge, distributing the food to their designated recipients. Four ham and mustard sandwiches for Jace, three plain cheese sandwiches for Alec, and finally, three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Magnus. Izzy had made hers and Clarys. When Alec handed Magnus his plate their fingers met, and the Shadowhunter felt an electric shock surge through his body. His hand shook as he waited for Magnus to take it from him, and the warlock settled the plate on his lap, looking at the food curiously.

“What’s wrong?” Alec asked him, concerned at the subtle shock tainting Magnus’ face as he gazed at the bread.

“These are my favourite. Peanut butter and jelly,” there was a questioning tone to his voice. He continued, and Alec tried not to be dismayed at the suspicion his words, “and you cut the crusts off. How did you know that was how I had them?”

“I used to make you lunch sometimes, and I guess I just got used to you having your sandwiches like that. I mostly made you breakfast though, you like your toast to be just-about done, basically warm bread. And you like butter on it, but it must be melted in. And you have a glass of fresh orange juice every day, you say it’s the secret to an immortal having such good skin. I got you an Omamori charm from Tokyo, and you always carry it with you. Your favourite mug is chipped, but you refuse to get rid of it because it’s from the gallery you met Michael Angelo in, and your favourite eyeshadow is the Bronzite shade- you said it reminds you of my eyes and- I’m going to stop now. I’m sorry- I- I just . . . “ Alec felt his face flame in embarrassment and kept his eyes trained on the floor. Magnus didn’t have his memories, of course he wouldn’t remember any of that. When the silence stretched uncomfortably thin, he glanced up at Magnus. The warlock met his eyes steadily, and then his mouth quirked up into a smile.

“My letter- it said that you would say all of this stuff. That you’d end up talking about things that only people I truly cared about would notice.”

“I’m . . . sorry. I didn’t mean to make you uncomf-“

Magnus waved a hand dismissively, “Don’t apologise. I realise now that everything I wrote before was true, we were close.”

The past tense hit Alec like a bucket of ice cold water, and he flinched. He saw Magnus’ eyes widen as he realised exactly what he said.

“I apologise, I didn’t mean it rudely, it’s just . . . I don’t know you, but you obviously know me. Very well. It’s a little disconcerting for me, I feel vulnerable without the same knowledge about you,” the warlock said, not unkindly.

Alec sat next to Magnus, leaving a space between them that he hoped would make the warlock a little more at ease- despite the Shadowhunter wanting nothing more than to pull him close and reassure him.

“What do you want to know? Ask me anything.”

“Aaaaaaand that’s our cue to go. Guys, move it. I’m not hanging around to watch my parabatai and his boyfriend do their kinky ‘ask me anything, your wish is my command’ business,” Jace said, shoving at Izzy and Clary who hastily discarded their plates and retreated to the front door.

“I hope you work everything out!” Clary called as she hastily shoved her feet into her boots and shut the door behind them as the three of them exited the loft.

Alec rolled his eyes, and saw that Magnus looked increasingly uncomfortable. He reached a hand out automatically to take the warlock’s, but Magnus shuffled away from him, further up the sofa. Alec tried not to take it personally.

“I didn’t mean it like that, Mags. Truly, I just want you to trust me again. Even if it takes a month, a year, more, I’ll still be here. I just want you to know that I won’t hurt you, and that I’m here for you. Always.”

Stop it,” Magnus hissed. “Just- just stop. I- you- it’s too much. Just stop. Please. I don’t know what to do with this . . .”

“With . . . us?” Alec asked tentatively, not wanting Magnus to feel any pressure in his response. The warlock’s outburst had startled him, but of course Magnus was feeling confused and even scared, to a certain extent. The warlock had no recollection of Alec, a Shadowhunter, had never before trusted a Nephilim, and this stranger knew nearly everything about him whilst he knew nothing in return. The older man probably felt so out of his depth he was drowning.

There is no us!” Magnus cried, throwing his arms out in exasperation. “I don’t know you, Alexander, and you know everything about me and all I have that says I should trust you is a letter that says a few things about you and that’s it. How do I know you haven’t just been observing me, and you learnt all of these things and then you forced me to write this letter and then stole some memories to make me feel like I was missing something when there might not have been anything there to start with?” He took a shaky breath and then asked in a small, quiet voice, “How do I trust you?”

“You don’t,” Alec answered, simply. “Because you’re right; you don’t know me, and I know everything about you, and that must feel frightening. And it isn’t true, but I can see that you would find it entirely possible that the scenario you described really happened. If our roles were switched, I probably wouldn’t trust you either.” Magnus looked up, likely shocked at the raw honesty and truth in Alec’s words, and found himself meeting the Shadowhunter’s gaze unwaveringly.

“So, what do we do now?”

“Now, we work towards building trust. You can control this process, if you like. If you have questions, you can ask them, and I’ll answer as honestly as I can. If you don’t want to see me, I’ll leave you alone until you do. I’ll keep saying it until you believe me- but I’m here for you, Magnus. Always.”

“And what if,” the warlock cleared his throat, which Alec knew was his nervous habit. “What if I don’t want to see you at all?”

The Shadowhunter flinched violently, plate of forgotten sandwiches clattering to the floor. He tried to collect his thoughts, which felt as messy as the food he’d dropped, bits and pieces littering the space. He felt his heart start pounding in his chest like it did during an attack and attempted to calm himself so as not to scare Magnus away with his reaction. Alec looked at his hands pointedly, although his vision began shaking with unshed tears, refusing to look at Magnus. He was scared that the tears would inevitably fall if he looked up and saw hatred or pity in the eyes of the man he loved.

“I’ll leave you alone. I said you can control the process, and if you don’t want to see me then I can try to keep myself away. I’ll respect your wishes.” Alec’s tone was even and forcibly neutral. Sterile, even.

Alec knew that Magnus had picked up on the ‘try’ to keep himself away, but Alec couldn’t guarantee that he could. There had always been something magnetic about the High Warlock, and the Shadowhunter knew he wouldn’t be able to stay away forever. He’d have to leave Brooklyn, transfer himself to another Institute, to completely cut himself off from Magnus. But he’d do it if it was what Magnus wanted.

“The letter said you’d do that too; it said that you’d be willing to force yourself to stay away from me if it was what I wanted.” The warlock sounded proud, like Alec had passed a test of his.

“And . . . do you? Want me to stay away, I mean,” Alec asked, repeating please say no, please say no, please say no, with every rapid beat of his heart.

“No. No I don’t think I do.”

Alec felt hope swelling up inside of him. Maybe there was a chance for them after all, he thought to himself.

“I’m glad, Magnus. Thank you for giving me the chance to prove that you can trust me,” Alec responded, relief tangible in his voice.

“Were you serious when you said that I could ask you anything?” Magnus asked, looking at the Shadowhunter seriously.

“Of course. Anything.”

“What was it like, the first time that we met?”

Alec winced as he thought of that night.

“You agreed to meet Izzy, Clary, Jace and I at Pandemonium. You were going to answer some questions about Clary’s memories in exchange for the necklace you had brought Camille- the red one that lights up when demons are around. You told Jace and Clary about feeding her memories to a memory demon, but whilst you’d been talking, a man had been sneaking up on you and he was going to kill you, but I shot him with an arrow before he could hurt you. That was how we met, but we didn’t really speak until we all ended up here, summoning a demon into the pentagram to return Clary’s memories. You were attacking an ex-Circle member, and I shot him in the leg before you killed him. You introduced yourself and I just turned into a rambling mess. I don’t even think I got coherent words out, apart from telling you that my first name is Alec. I think you knew though, about what my secret was, but you never mentioned it. You wanted me to come to terms with who I was by myself.”

Magnus had closed his eyes, face drawn tight with concentration as he tried to envision what Alec was saying. He let out a noise of pure frustration.

“I- I just can’t remember it. I remember meeting with Jace and Clary and then there’s nothing there, and I remember summoning the greater demon, and the pentagram, but I just can’t remember who was on that fifth point. There’s just nothing.”

“It’s ok, you don’t need to remember it,” Alec said, and then he realised something. “Have I thanked you yet, for what you did? Thank you for sacrificing your memories for me, Magnus.”

The warlock shrugged, “It’s not like I remember doing it.”

“But still, when you had them, you were willing to have them taken just to save me. Thank you.”

“Would you have done it for me?” Magnus asked, not accusingly but with genuine interest.

“Of course,” Alec replied without hesitation. “I’d do anything for you.”

“Then you’re welcome,” Magnus said, a small smile playing on his lips. “I have another question, but you don’t have to answer it if you don’t want to.”

Alec nodded, a tight knot of anxiety in his stomach.

“What happened when you were with those two Shadowhunters today?” He asked, voice gentle. Alec looked away, fiddling absently with the hem of his shirt. “You don’t have to answer.”

“No, I said that I’d answer your questions, and I will. You deserve the truth, always. I kept the truth from you before about something important, and it hurt you, so we promised each other that we’d always be honest with, no matter how much we don’t want to,” the Shadowhunter took a shaky breath. “Raj and the head of the Institute took me because of our relationship- not that it’s our fault, of course. Shadowhunters are just . . . traditional. They don’t get why anyone would want change, their confusion makes them scared, and people do awful things when they’re scared-“

“Don’t make excuses for them, Alexander, they tortured you. They are fully to blame, you do not deserve to be punished for being who you are,” Magnus’ voice was ferocious, and full of certainty. Alec was taken aback by the protectiveness in the warlock’s voice, especially given that -technically- Magnus had only met him a few hours prior. The Shadowhunter tried not to read anything into it.

“You’re right. So, they took me to the City of Bones, and tied me to this table,” Alec shuddered, remembering the icy cold of the metal surface, and the pure helplessness he had felt when they restrained him. “I couldn’t move, couldn’t fight back, couldn’t do anything. Raj had stabbed a knife into me when he’d caught me earlier, and he twisted it. I’ve fought in so many battles, but I’d never felt pain like it Mags,” the nickname slipped out automatically, but the warlock showed no signs of it offending him this time. “Then Aldertree took a metal rod out, it was sharp at one end, and he gave it to Raj, who just pushed it through my shoulder, straight through the bone. I . . . I heard it splintering and I just screamed. But- but I should be stronger than that. I mean, Shadowhunters don’t scream, don’t cry, but that was exactly what I did. I’m weak- I-

“You’re not weak, Alexander. You survived it, and you’re still here- surely that counts for something? You went through all of that, and here you are being kind and patient with me. You were willing to keep yourself apart from me if that was what I wanted, and that takes more strength than I could possibly imagine if you love me as much as my letter implied.”

Alec blinked back tears and forced himself not to kiss the warlock. He didn’t want to rush this- he wanted Magnus to feel more comfortable with him. The Shadowhunter feared that if he messed up, he would never truly gain the trust of the older man.

“I do,” Alec said, voice thick with emotion. “I do love you Magnus- probably even more than your letter says. And I know that you don’t love me, I know that you barely feel like you know me right now, but I promise you that I can wait until you figure out where you want to go from here.”

“Thank you,” Magnus whispered in response. “I think I can see why the me that had memories loved you. I think that I might be able to love you too, eventually, but I guess we’ll find out.”

“I guess we will,” Alec replied, feeling a weight dissolving from inside of him, like ice that had turned to warm water, trickling deliciously through his bloodstream until every fibre of his being was fizzing with the gentle heat of possibility. Magnus thought he might love him one day- and Alec would wait for however long it took until that day.

“What exactly have I told you?” The words seemed to fall from the warlock’s mouth without him meaning to, if the startled expression on Magnus’ face was any indication.

“About you? Like . . . your past and stuff?”

Magnus nodded, eyes watching Alec’s face closely.

“I know about your mother, and your father. I know about the first time you really used your magic, and that you feel guilt even though he deserved it. You’ve told me about some of your past lovers, and you told me about Camille-“

Magnus jerked back, eyes wide and startled. Fear invaded his face, lips drawn back tightly and his usually tanned skin paling a fraction.

“What- what have I told you about Camille?” He rasped, voice sounding sore and dry.

“All of it, Mags. You told me everything,” Alec responded quietly, as though a smaller tone might make Magnus feel less exposed and vulnerable. He reached a hand along the soft material of the couch, towards Magnus in silent invitation to hold it if he needed support. Magnus accepted, holding the Shadowhunter’s hand between his own two tanned ones, the rings and nail polish providing a stark contrast against the rough and calloused appearance of the Lightwood’s. Opposites attract, Alec thought to himself as he looked at his hand sandwiched in Magnus’.

“I wouldn’t have,” the warlock murmured under his breath. “Nobody except Ragnor-“

“You trust me, Magnus. Or at least the you-with-memories trusted me, and you know that I would never betray you or your secrets. It’s how we work. Please, please just tell me that you understand that you can trust me.” It was of paramount importance to Alec that Magnus knows he can trust the him- Alec could most likely force himself to live without Magnus loving him, but he knew he wouldn’t survive if he didn’t at least have the older man’s trust.

The warlock released Alec’s hand and leant back, searching Alec’s eyes and face imploringly, as if trying to find something physical. Alec didn’t falter beneath his gaze, looking back at him with confidence. He knew that Magnus would find no trace of untrustworthiness or ulterior motive in him; he had nothing to hide from the man he loved. After a few seconds, the warlock’s eyes softened, and he nodded slowly. “Yes, I understand that I can trust you, and that my past is safe in your hands. Do you trust me in return? And I recall a promise you say that we made to one another about never lying.”

He considered his words carefully, not wanting to hurt Magnus, but not wanting to go back on their nothing-less-than-the-truth promise. “I did at one point trust you with everything, and I know that you still wouldn’t give my secrets and thoughts away willingly. I just wonder if you couldn’t be convinced or persuaded to give them away now. You have no reason to feel loyal to me.”

The warlock tilted his head as he considered the response before nodding thoughtfully., “Yes, I suppose that is true. You’re correct of course, I wouldn’t voluntarily give up your secrets.”

“Why?” Alec asked, voice full of bewilderment. Magnus had said many times now that he didn’t feel as if he truly knew the Shadowhunter, so why would choose to keep his secrets?

“Trust makes you do strange things,” the warlock said simply, a small smile pulling at his lips. Alec responded with a shy smile of his own. Magnus took Alec’s hand once again and squeezed it tightly.

 

**                                     **

*** ONE WEEK LATER ***

**                                     **

Over the next week, Magnus and Alec lived in a bubble of just themselves and the loft; Alec stayed in the guest room next to their previously shared bedroom as he didn’t want Magnus to feel overwhelmed.

The Lightwood had contacted Lydia to let her know what had happened, and that he would need another few weeks to support Magnus before he returned to the Institute full time. Lydia had been extremely understanding and granted him the time off, telling him to use it to both help Magnus and to help himself come to terms with his treatment at the hands of Raj and Aldertree. One thing Alec had noticed during the phone call was that Lydia had not sounded at all upset about the current location of Aldertree being in Edom with Azazael.

During those seven days, Magnus had become much more comfortable around Alec, and the Shadowhunter considered their relationship to be blossoming faster than he ever could have hoped. The process had seemed tentative, but in retrospect they had progressed in leaps and bounds. It was an unspoken agreement that whoever woke up first would put the kettle on and make two cups of coffee. Initially, Alec had found himself unable to sleep, so it was inevitably him who had been making the warlock coffee, in the chipped mug with plenty of milk and two teaspoons of sugar. By the fourth day, Alec entered the kitchen to find Magnus sitting at the counter, sipping his coffee with a steaming cup next to him for Alec- the Shadowhunter took his coffee black with no sugar, and he always drank it out of the mug Magnus had bought him for his birthday. The mug was bright pink with a blown-up image of ‘grumpy cat’ on the front, the font on the mug said “I had fun once, it was awful,” and he remembered the warlock doubled over with laughter when he saw Alec’s expression after opening it.

The first two nights, Alec had awoken suddenly from nightmares of his time with Raj and Aldertree. He knew that the first time he had had one he’d been screaming, but Magnus hadn’t mentioned it. The second night he’d been sweating and thrashing in his sleep, the warlock entering the guest room Alec was sleeping in after the Nephilim had screamed himself hoarse, offering him a potion to ease the severity of the nightmares. No magic could completely halt the night terrors, but Alec found that the potion helped him massively. He had bad dreams, sure, but he no longer found himself waking up violently after a flashback to a knife being twisted through his stomach.

Their time together was also punctuated by intermittent appearances from their various friends. Izzy had arrived first, two days after Magnus lost his memories, and they had a movie marathon of Harry Potter. Alec was pleased to see that the warlock felt enough like his usual self to complain about how inconvenient it would be to have to carry a wand all the time, pointing out that most of his outlandish outfits didn’t have suitable places to keep one. Jace and Clary came together on the third day, and they Portalled to London for afternoon tea at the Ritz. Conversation flowed, and Magnus participated just as much as the three Shadowhunters, offering his opinion on the best solution to the recent spike in Shax demons in Brooklyn. Alec got a text from his parabatai the next day that they had followed Magnus’ plan of action and been successful. To celebrate, Alec and Magnus went to the Hunter’s Moon, and played several rounds of pool- Magnus beat Alec by far, even executing a move wherein the cue ball bounced over another, but the warlock insisted that he hadn’t used any magic. Magnus simply said that ‘if you can’t see someone being hustled in a pool hall then it’s probably you’, and Alec found he had no choice but to agree with him.

Alec felt he shouldn’t have been surprised, but having Raphael turn up yesterday had caught him off guard. However, after seeing the grin stretched wide across Magnus’ face when he saw his downworld-son, the Shadowhunter stepped aside so the vamp could enter. The two hugged tightly, and Alec watched them contently.

When they pulled apart, the vampire turned to face Alec, his face serious as he stepped towards the Lightwood.

“If you do anything to hurt him or pressure him into anything that he doesn’t want to do when he doesn’t fully trust you, I will tear you apart with my fangs until all that’s left is enough DNA for them identify you. I’m sure your parabatai would be less than grateful for you causing him all that pain. Are we clear?”

Alec bristled at the mention of Jace but found himself nodding. “If I do anything like that than I’d want you to.”

The vampire smiled, fangs visible at both sides of his mouth. The sight was less terrifying than Alec would have expected, and he held a hand out to the vamp. Raphael shook it, his skin ice-cold but his handshake surprisingly strong and rigid.

Magnus walked over, eyes narrowed as he looked at the vampire.

“Raph my dear, was that really necessary? I thought we’d established that Alexander is one of the good guys.”

The Lightwood felt his heart beat faster, and by the expression on Raphael’s face when they made eye contact, the vampire had heard it.

“Yes, but alas I wished to check his integrity myself. My apologies, Magnus, if you felt I went too far,” the solemnness in Raphael’s voice rang clear as a bell.

“Your apology is of course accepted, my dear, but I do just wish to point out that if Alec wished to harm me then he has had ample opportunity to do so.”

“He knows he would not be able to beat you,” the vamp said with a wicked grin that Magnus returned.

“Indeed, although I was thinking more along the lines that he didn’t wish me harm full stop.”

“I don’t,” Alec interjected. “Harm is the last thing I would wish to do to you, Mags.”

“Do you often dream of doing things to me then, Alexander?” Magnus teased.

Alec felt his face flame, and he looked down at the ground, wanting to avoid eye contact with both other men. Unbidden images of what he dreamed of invaded his head, and he shook his head to clear them. He heard a bark of laughter coming from Raphael.

Dios, amigo. Take pity on the Shadowhunter. He clearly wishes to keep his desires to himself. You know that Nephilim are private creatures.”

“Alec, I’m only teasing. I didn’t mean to upset you, darling.”

Alec’s head snapped up at that last word.

Darling.

Granted, the High Warlock had pet names for everyone he interacted with, but the term darling was reserved for the one that Magnus loved. It was a special term of address. My dear was for close friends, biscuit was for Clary, blondie was for Jace, Alexander for Alec, and anything beginning with ‘S’ was for Simon. This was how the warlock operated.

Darling was special.

Magnus’ hand flew to his mouth, caught in a rare display of verbal mistake, and Alec felt his hopes plummet. It had been just that- a mistake. Clearly Magnus wished he could take it back.

Raphael politely cleared his throat behind the warlock, reminding both men of his presence. As the Shadowhunter looked up, and Magnus turned so the vamp was in his sight, Alec noticed a faint flush blooming across the warlock’s tanned cheeks.

With a polite incline of his head to Magnus, Raphael said “I best be going, evidently the two of you have much to discuss and resolve. Hasta la proxima vez, amigo.”

Both stayed frozen until they heard the click of the door swinging closed behind the vampire. As soon as they were certain he wasn’t going to walk back in, they closed the space between one another.

Alec already held his arms out in a gesture of apology, “Mags, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make such a big deal out of-“

“Quiet, Nephilim,” Magnus interrupted. Suddenly they were face to face, and Magnus was reaching his hands up to cup Alec’s face, and Alec felt his own hands subconsciously reaching to pull the warlock closer to him. Magnus gazed into Alec’s eyes like he was savouring the moment, and then he took a deep breath and pressed his lips gently to the Shadowhunter’s.

Alec didn’t whine, ok, he just didn’t. He made a manly noise that sounded absolutely nothing like a whine, and then he deepened the kiss. The warlock groaned against Alec’s mouth, and the Nephilim felt a shock running throughout his entire body, like every cell was suddenly alight with the realisation that Magnus had just kissed him, Magnus had just kissed him, Magnus had just kissed him!

Reluctantly, he pulled back and looked anxiously at Magnus to see his reaction to their kiss. Mentally, Alec recognised that the warlock had been the one to instigate it, but he still felt the burning need to confirm that he was handling everything ok.

“Are you sure this is what you want? I can wait for as long as you need me to.”

“I’m sure, darling,” Magnus replied, his eyes suddenly taking on a depth that seemed to make them infinitely soulful. Alec felt himself fall for this wonderful man all over again, the sensation like stumbling across a bountiful lake after spending days parched in the desert. He couldn’t seem to drink the sight in fast enough.

And then they were kissing again, and Alec realised that it didn’t matter if he didn’t take it all in now, because the hunger that Magnus was kissing him with certainly seemed to imply that there would be many similar situations in the future.

Their future?

Several minutes later they both pulled away and took in great heaving breaths, attempting to calm their rapidly beating hearts. Alec knew he wouldn’t have been able to wipe the goofy grin off his face even if he’d wanted to, but then he looked at Magnus and saw an identical grin on the warlock. He realised that there was no longer any need to hide his emotions; Magnus clearly shared them.

“I love you,” Alec blurted, eyes widening considerably as he registered the words that had left his mouth. “I said that out loud, didn’t I? Oh, by the Angel, Mags I’m sorry, I don’t want to pressure you. Forget I said that.”

The warlock arched a dark brow at the Lightwood, “I’ll only forget about it if you truly didn’t mean to say it. Did you mean it, Alexander?”

“Yes. I love you more than I ever thought it possible to. Even without your memories of us, you’ve been trusting and loving to me, not to mention patient with all of my flashbacks this week. You’ve let me stay here and you haven’t pushed me into answering anything I don’t want to; I know how hard its been for you to be so open with Nephilim but you’ve been so wonderful to me. So yes, of course I love you, but I understand if you don’t feel the same way-“

“I love you too.”

“I didn’t mean to make you feel- wait, what?” Alec spluttered, eloquent as ever as Magnus’ statement started to sink in.

“I love you too,” Magnus repeated, simply. “And I’m sorry if this seems to soon after losing my memories, but I never thought anyone could be so perfect for me. We’re complete opposites, but we just fit. I don’t know how to explain it. You’re so patient, and conscious of not pressuring me into anything, you respected that I don’t trust Nephilim, and gave me the time and space that I needed to work past it. That means more to me than I could possibly explain.”

“Well, uh, that’s . . .that’s really good,” Alec rambled, a smile brightening his face like the sun had graced the Earth after months of cloudy skies.

Magnus took Alec’s hand in his, and pressed the Lightwood’s knuckles to his lips, kissing each knuckle tenderly. Alec sighed contently.

“I’ve missed this,” Alec breathed.

“I’ve missed this too. Subconsciously, I think I knew that something was missing, something that I held close to my heart. When I’m with you, I just feel . . . complete- whole. Does that make sense?”

“Yeah, I know what you mean, those few days after you lost your memories, I felt like someone had stolen a limb or something. I had to figure out a new way to function without it, but I couldn’t do it. Now it just feels like the final jigsaw puzzle piece has been found, and I can see my bigger picture. It’s you; it’s always been you, Magnus. I love you.”

“And I you, Alexander. You are my forever.”

Magnus stood up, taking Alec by the hand, and together they made their way to their bedroom, laughing and stumbling in their hurry, but together. Always together.