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There’s no mistaking the sound of footsteps about ten feet behind him and Alec does his best not to turn around. He’s not an idiot. He’s seen plenty of horror movies where the main character hears footsteps and turns their head only to find nothing there, so instead he waits, biding his time. He wishes it was his bow, not a knife in his hands, but Izzy had reminded him, rather forcefully, that a long range weapon would be no good down here so she had carefully taken it from him.

He puffs out his cheeks and blows out a breath then begins to walk at a leisure pace, hoping the intruder would think that Alec didn’t know they were there. When he gets to a corner, he peers around it, keeping an eye out for booby traps. There’s been a few already that he’s had to encounter, scrapes on his arms and scratches on his face a reminder of that. He stays still for a moment and though the footsteps behind him are faint, he can hear the person breathing, indicating that they are closer than he thought.

Alec really hopes he doesn’t die today ‘cause Izzy and Jace would kill him. His mission was supposed to be simple: retrieve the Mortal Mirror and get the fuck out of there, but he really hadn’t planned on someone else knowing the location. He waits a few more seconds before gripping the knife a little tighter, then he trudges down the tunnel, rounding one more corner before finally reaching his destination. The cavern is huge, blanketed on all sides by torches and Alec thinks they must be magical because they burn a bright, shimmering purple. At the very end is a mirror propped up on the wall which causes Alec to inwardly cheer. Cautiously looking around the room, he makes his way towards it, the torches making eerie shadows on the walls of the cave.

When he gets to it, he reaches out with a hand, then pulls it back, instantly turning around and making contact with the intruder’s neck instead. They almost look surprised as Alec brings the knife up to their face, but then they mask it with a smirk, their hands held up high in surrender. When Alec finally gets a good look at them, his eyes go a little wide. Wow . Their hair is a little sweaty from their trek and it flops down in front of their eyes, a cut above one which is crusted with blood. When Alec flicks his eyes down to their lips, their smirk grows wider so he quickly looks back up; he can’t wait to wipe that smirk off their face.

“Who are you?” He makes his voice deeper, hoping he sounds intimidating, but judging by their amused expression, Alec supposes he doesn’t sound that tough.

Their eyes look him up and down appraisingly and Alec tries really hard to keep a scowl from his face. “Hmm, you don’t scare easy.” The smirk turns into more of a smile and this time Alec doesn’t bother to hide his scowl or the blush creeping up his neck.

“No, I don’t,” he keeps his hand on the knife, but lifts a finger to point it at them, “but you don’t either.” Alec takes one more look at them before dropping his hand from the person’s neck, his knife still raised. “Do I need to ask the question again?”

They give a little bow. “Magnus Bane. Don’t worry; you need not make introductions. I know who you are.”

Alec just blinks; this must be a dream. Magnus fucking Bane is in front of him? One of the greatest thieves to have ever lived--if not the greatest? He’s never seen a picture, but he’s heard wonders about the man, including pulling off some of the most mind-blowing heists in the world. If this truly is Magnus Bane, then he’s in more trouble than he thought. Alec really might die today.

He shakes his head to clear his thoughts and then sees the man’s eyes make his way to the mirror; he stands in front of it protectively, holding the knife a little higher. The man--Magnus, if he was telling the truth--grins. “I hope you know that ,” he points to the knife, “doesn’t scare me, Lightwood.”

Alec does not want to know why Magnus Bane knows his name; it could be nothing good. He gulps, but stands his ground. God, he is so fucked. He forces himself to say, “The Mortal Mirror belongs to the Clave.”

“Hmm, the Clave.” Magnus takes a step to the left and Alec turns to keep him in his sights. He knows he’s made some kind of mistake when Magnus smiles. “To tell you honestly, the Clave can kiss my ass.” Then he reaches down and before Alec can make a move, Magnus is blowing dust in his face.

Alec drops the knife with a shout, blinking his eyes rapidly. When he can finally see properly, all that’s left is dust motes flying in the air and a note where the mirror was.

Hope to see you again, gorgeous . Yeah, Alec’s fucked.



“Alec!” A voice sing-songs and Alec instantly sits up, a paper stuck to his forehead. He rubs his eyes to find it’s Izzy standing in front of him, an amused smile on her face, but also a hint of concern hidden deep in her eyes. It hadn’t been easy for any of them to work overtime, but it had to be done. It had been two years since the Mortal Mirror was stolen by Magnus Bane and so far, they hadn’t come any closer as to knowing the whereabouts, but Alec takes one look at the stack of papers piled high in Izzy’s hands and thinks maybe their luck has changed.

 

He straightens up in his seat and beckons her to come closer. She does, dropping the stack of papers with a thump on top of his desk. She takes the seat before him, then pulls her hair back in a ponytail so it wouldn’t get in the way. Cracking her knuckles, she pulls the stack towards her then hands him the top file.

 

Magnus Bane , is scrawled across it in messy cursive and even though it’s a total cliche, Alec swears he feels his heart skip a beat. Two years since he’d seen the man. He wonders what he’d think of Alec now. There’s no trace left of that youthful innocence that Alec had had on that first mission; now he’s just hardened, as stony as one of the gargoyles guarding the Clave’s entrance. The price of losing the Mortal Mirror had been high and Alec flexes his left hand, the ugly scar on top sending a warning sign to his brain. Do not fail; do not disobey orders . He chances a glance at his top left drawer, the opened letters addressed to him from Magnus Bane seeming to taunt him.

 

“Alec?”

 

He feels his vision go fuzzy and he knows that a panic attack is coming on. He starts to count in his head: 1. The color of the daisies in the garden outside his parent’s house . He draws in a breath and focuses on the next one. 2. The feel of his bow in his hand. Alec gasps in another breath, acutely aware of Izzy’s widened eyes, her arm held out towards him, but not touching. He forces himself to finish. 3. Jace and Izzy’s bright smiles as Alec builds them a swingset. His vision starts to come back and he meets Izzy’s gaze head-on, gripping the file tight in his hands.

 

“I’ve already read this.”

 

She catches on that he doesn’t want to talk about the panic attack, so she says, “I know; we all have. But I think I have something we didn’t catch before. Check under his known associates.”

 

He sighs and opens the file, flipping to the correct page. He reads over them again: Ragnor Fell, Catarina Loss, Raphael Santiago, Lucian Graymark-- He goes to read on, then pauses, tracing the shape of the bold letter L.

 

“Graymark.” He locks eyes with her and feels proud at the smile forming on her face. “Why do I know this name?”

 

She leans over and takes the file out of his hands, standing up to pace around his office. “That’s because Mr. Graymark here used to be a Circle member before they started getting violent. Now, he’s a werewolf, leader of the New York pack.”

 

Alec leans forward in his seat, his hand coming up to stroke his scruff. “So, why are you so sure that he’s the one we should be looking for?”

 

Izzy raises a finger. “Because he has a house here.”

 

Alec’s arm slides off the table and he just manages to save his chin getting slammed into the desk. “ What ? Shouldn’t the house have been searched already?”

 

Alec sees the glint in Izzy’s eyes and knows she already has a plan forming in her brain. “It would have been if it was still in his name, but now it belong to his sister, Amatis, and she is now married to a Herondale.”

 

His eyes went wide. That would explain why it wasn’t searched since the Herondales were upstanding members of the Clave. He absentmindedly scratches his scar then stands up, making his way over to Izzy. “I just want you to know that you’re a genius. Now what’s your plan and how does it involve me?”

 

Alec really hates how Izzy has the evil grin down to a tee.

 


 

The sun is relentless, not a cloud in the sky, and it’s hard not to just give up and lay down in the soft grass. They’ve been walking for nearly an hour now, no closer to their destination and the stifling silence that settled over them helped none. Alec can literally feel Jace’s stare boring holes in his back and it’s starting to get on his goddamn nerves. Jace is usually the one to speak his mind, no matter the situation, so the fact that he’s been silent this whole time worries Alec. Alec sighs and then stops abruptly, nearly causing Jace to bump into him. He turns around to face the other man, mindlessly scratching his scar. “Out with it.”

 

Jace chews on his lip and Alec can feel his resolve start to break. This wasn’t like Jace at all. “Izzy told me,” he says softly and Alec scoffs.

 

“You wouldn’t understand,” but it sounds false even to his own ears. In fact, he thought Jace would probably be the only one to understand. He sees hurt flash in his brother’s eyes and instantly regrets his words.

 

“You think I haven’t gotten them, too? In the dark? Alone?” He reaches out to put a hand on Alec’s shoulder and Alec lets him, his rigid stance starting to break just a little. “You don’t have to go through it alone. Let us help.”

 

“It’s so hard ,” Alec chokes on the last word and then suddenly, he’s sobbing. Great, gulping sobs that have him collapse into his brother’s arms. For the first time in years, he doesn’t think twice about his scar. It’s a few minutes before they begin their journey again and about another hour until they finally reach the dilapidated house. Peering into the windows, he sees a blanket of dust over everything. Books, tables, chairs, all look like they haven’t been used in ages. He feels a tap on his shoulder and turns his head to see Jace gesture that he’s going to search around the back of house so Alec answers him with a nod.

 

He goes to the door and wraps his hand around the doorknob, opening it as quietly as he can. Creeeeak . He curses under his breath and steps quickly through the door, closing it shut behind him. Taking a look around the room, he holds his breath, his eyes tracing the shape of the spiraling staircase leading to the second floor. He sees a piano in the corner and his feet are drawn to it of their own accord; when he reaches it, his hands glide along the keys.

 

“Alexander.”

 

He jumps, startled, and his hand slams down on the piano, the keys making a disjointed sound displeasing to his ears. He winces and then turns towards the voice. Even though it’s dark in the house, he’d know that face anywhere. His bow instantly appears on his back and he aims it toward the dark figure sitting leisurely in the armchair. They stare at each other for a minute, assessing--analyzing. He notices the new goatee that Magnus is sporting; he can see Magnus’s gaze on his scruff. It’s only when Magnus’s eyes widen at his scar that Alec finally speaks.

 

“Where’s Jace?”

 

Magnus’s eyes snap to his. “He’s fine; I just hit him with one dose of a sleeping pill. He should wake up in a couple of hours.”

 

Knowing that Jace is safe, he heaves out a sigh and his grip loosens on the bow. Every single word that Magnus had written to him flashes in his mind. Two years. Twenty letters. Alec takes a step back when Magnus stands up and he doesn’t even realize that his hands are shaking so badly, making the bow shake as well. He drops it without a second thought, his eyes staring into Magnus’s. The same haunted look mirrored in his own.

 

Magnus clears his throat and waves around the room. “Why are we always meeting in dusty places?”

 

Alec just blinks at him. “We’ve only met one time. And that was in a cave.”

 

“Ah, that’s right.” Magnus turns to him with a smile and at that moment, sunlight pours in through the window, showering him in a golden light. He looks beautiful; he looks radiant; he looks--Alec’s scar starts to itch and he looks down, the moment gone.

 

Magnus’s eyes follow the movement. “I know how you got your scar; a friend of mine has one, too. Courtesy of the Clave, of course. How would they feel knowing that you haven’t tortured me already?”

 

“Probably strip me of my runes. Exile me.”

 

Magnus steps closer and Alec finds that for the first time, he welcomes it. “Yet you risk it. Why?”

 

“You know why.” His voice is too soft--too full of feeling. He deliberately looks anywhere but at Magnus, unsure of the man’s reaction. Instead of a look of disgust, he feels a hand touch his arm.

 

“No, I don’t.” Magnus’s voice is just as soft and Alec hates it. He backs up, letting the hand drop and he pretends not to see the hurt in the man’s eyes. He’s always been very good at pretending.

 

“I should be getting information out of you. Trying to find the Mortal Mirror. But I’m not. Because when I see you, I feel in my soul that everything the Clave ever told me was a lie. I felt it since the day we’d met.”

 

“You read the letters,” Magnus clarifies and Alec answers him with a nod.

 

“Yeah. Yeah, I did.” He knows every single word in the letter--every phrase. Memorized them all. He faces Magnus again and they look at each other, so alike, but so different as well. He knows that he should just leave, lest the Clave wonder why they’ve been gone so long, but looking at Magnus now, he can’t ever imagine moving from that spot.

 

“So you know why the Downworlders hate the Clave. Kidnapping children,” he grabs Alec’s hand and turns it so the ugly scar is in full view, “even torturing their own members. Help me stop them. You can’t be the only one doubting them. I know you’re not.”

 

“I’ve always had that doubt, but you were the one to bring it out. I want to hate you for it.” Alec suddenly grips Magnus’s hand tight and he whispers, “You should’ve killed me in that cave. Then maybe I could stop this feeling .”

 

“You should’ve killed me first.”

 

Alec’s throat goes tight, his hand still in Magnus’s. He can’t deny Magnus is right. That had been his job and he had been so distracted that he had let his guard down. He’d never admit it, but he doesn’t regret it one bit. “Magnus, I--”

 

The door slams open and Alec hears an, “I’m sorry,” before a fist flies at his face. When he wakes up, Jace is kneeling over him, concern in every line of his face. Alec sits up quickly and regrets it, raising a hand up to his head. “Ow.”

 

Jace laughs and hugs him, a little too tight, but Alec hugs back just the same. “I was worried, man.”

 

They make the trek back in record time, partly to get away from the house and partly because they didn’t want to anger the Clave any more than they already had. His thoughts never wander from Magnus and the magnitude of the talk they had. His hands in his pockets, he fingers the slip of paper that had been tied around one of his arrows when he had bent down to retrieve his bow. He had read it quickly while Jace had been distracted and he memorizes the words even now.

 

Sorry for hitting you … again, but I didn’t want to make your brother suspicious. I know how hard it is to go against an organization that you’ve known all your life, Alexander, but sometimes to do the right thing you have to do the hard thing. When you want to talk again, you know how to find me. Maybe next time, we can meet in a place that’s not dusty.

 

And for the first time in a long time, Alec smiles a genuine smile.

Chapter Text

“Hello, Alexander.”

 

Alec folds the menu in front of him and moves it away from his face, revealing his dark sunglasses which would be inconspicuous any other day if it were not for the pouring rain outside. Magnus just lets out a chuckle as Alec removes the sunglasses, taking the empty seat before the other man and sinking gracefully down into it. Two weeks since their last encounter and Alec never tires of seeing Magnus’s face. He’s been working as a double agent for some time now; actually, his whole family has. Izzy and Jace hadn’t needed much convincing to turn their backs on the Clave and while their mother hadn’t liked the idea at first, she, too, joined them as well. They had kept it from Max for the most part, knowing that it was way too dangerous for a fifteen year old. He knew something was up--Max had always been a smart kid--but Max was also smart enough to know when to let the adults handle it. The secrecy hadn’t been easy, but they’d been careful so far about hiding it from the Clave. Well, until today, that is.

 

He waits until Magnus gets his menu open before sliding the file over to him. A piece of tape has the name Morgenstern printed boldly across it. “Here it is.”

 

Magnus takes the proffered file and slips it into his coat then calls the waiter over there to take their order. When the waiter leaves, Magnus smirks at Alec and his throat goes tight. He remembers when all he had wanted was to wipe the smirk off Magnus’s face and now all he wants to do is kiss it; the Clave be damned. He shakes his head a little, a smile playing around the corners of his mouth. “You’re insufferable, you know. Do you know how much trouble it took to get that?”

 

“A ton, I bet. Which reminds me, some Clave members have already arrived.”

 

“I know.” Alec picks up the drink in front of him and sips it, his eyes flicking to the left where a man sits. The menu is held up in front of his face, but it’s obvious he’s glancing their way. Magnus follows his line of sight, that beautiful smirk coming back on his face. Alec doesn’t miss the blue sparks dancing along his fingers and he blurts out, “I missed you.”

 

Magnus’s eyes go soft. “I missed you, too.”

 

“These two weeks have been hard and all I’ve wanted was to just see you. I think I--” At that moment, the waiter comes back with their order, setting it down in front of them. As he does, his sleeve rides up, displaying part of a rune. The waiter doesn’t notice, but both Magnus and Alec do, giving each other a look. When he leaves, they eat in silence for a while, but it’s a loaded silence, the man’s eyes still watching.

 

“How’s your scar, by the way?” Magnus asks around a bite of steak, stabbing his fork into another piece.

 

“It itches like crazy. I can’t wait to get this damn tracking device out.”

 

Magnus nods at him sympathetically, putting his hand over Alec’s. “I know; I promise we’ll get it out soon. Catarina is exceptionally good at that.”

 

A small smile forms on Alec’s face and he squeezes Magnus’s hand. It reminds him of so long ago--their second meeting--when all they had wanted was to be touched. Alec doesn’t remember a time when he doesn’t feel butterflies at Magnus’s hand in his. “Izzy offered, but I told her not yet. It would’ve been too suspicious. Sometimes I worry if it was the right choice in involving them.”

 

“Of course it was the right choice. You know as well as I the dangers of ignorance.”

 

Alec opens his mouth to respond, but the arrival of their waiter interrupts him. “Is there anything else I can get for you?”

 

“Yes, actually, there is.” Magnus leaps up and slams the man’s head into the table, food and cutlery flying. “Some peace and quiet.”

 

Alec just quirks an eyebrow, still sitting in his chair though the table is now turned over. He stands up to stretch, his sword appearing behind his back. “You could’ve warned me. I would’ve at least finished my food.” He spins around, punching the guy that was sidling up behind him. The guy groans, clutching his nose, but keeps on coming, a sword appearing in his hand.

 

“You know I like the element of surprise. How quickly you forget our first meeting.” Magnus is fighting a woman now; a fireball appears in his hand and he slams it into her chest, quickly looking around for another attacker.

 

Alec laughs, wiping blood off his face, slashing at his attacker with his sword. “I don’t think I could ever forget that.” Alec grunts as the guy leaps at him, knocking them both to the ground. The Clave member pins Alec’s sword arm to the ground then punches him in the face and then punches him again. Alec just spits out blood, raising his free hand to grip the man’s throat. The man does the same, wrapping his hand around Alec’s neck, and Alec chokes, forcing his hand to grip tighter. The man’s hand suddenly goes slack and Alec gulps in air. He doesn’t have time to even close his eyes or mouth before the man vanishes into a cloud of dust, showering Alec in it. He blinks his eyes to rid the dust and he sees Magnus standing in front of him, hair mussed, blood on one cheek. Like an avenging angel , Alec thinks and lets Magnus help him up in a daze.

 

The restaurant is a disaster and Alec is glad that he and Magnus had been the only customers. Almost all of the tables had been tipped over and bodies were strewn around the place. Alec heaves out a deep breath, his eyes drawn to Magnus of their own accord. His patterned blue shirt has a streak of red on it and his black trousers are dusty. Alec wants to kiss him.

 

“Magnus--” His voice is so hoarse. They stare at each other for a few heartbeats and then they’re closing the space, Alec’s sword falling to the ground with a clatter. His hands cup Magnus’s face and there can be nothing better than this. He thinks Magnus’s lips could rival the pleasures of Heaven and he wants more of it. He deepens the kiss and Magnus lets him, his hand wrapping around Alec’s waist, pulling him closer. They pull back, breathing deeply and Alec hates it. He wishes he could spend forever chasing Magnus’s lips, but they had to get out of there. More Clave members would be coming and Alec still has the tracking device inside him.

 

After Alec bends down to pick up his sword, Magnus grabs his hand and pulls him out of there. Then they’re running--out of the restaurant into the pouring rain. Alec lets the man guide him, trusting Magnus becoming instinctual to him now. He would follow Magnus to the ends of the earth.

 


 

 

They stop in front of a bar, breathing heavily, hair and clothes wet. The Hunter’s Moon , is emblazoned on a wooden sign hanging from the bar, a wolf painted under it. Magnus holds the door open for him, bell tinkling, and the person who is tending the bar snaps their head up. They have tawny skin and curly, black hair, and three scars along their neck. They have a towel in one hand wiping down the bar, but they stop when Alec and Magnus move further into the room. They drop the towel and smile at the sight of Magnus and then their eyes narrow at Alec and the trail of mud that they both tracked in. They sigh, coming out from behind the bar to stand in front of both of them, hands on hips.

 

“Magnus, for the love of God, please tell me you are not bringing trouble to my bar.”

 

Magnus shrugs. “Okay, I’m not. But he is.” He jabs a finger at Alec to which Alec lets out a, “Hey!”

 

The bartender just rolls their eyes, coming forward to Alec and extending their hand. “Maia. She/her.”

 

Alec shakes the offered hand. “Alec. He/him.”

 

Maia’s eyes widen in recognition and she gives a short nod. “Luke has told me a lot about you. Apparently, your mother never stops talking about you.” She gestures for them to take a seat at the bar to which they do, not really knowing how exhausted they both were. She makes them both a drink which Magnus downs eagerly while Alec takes a sip, pulling a face.

 

When Magnus finishes his drink, he goes to the window, peeking through the blinds. The rain has stopped some, but it’s still pretty dark outside, the clouds covering the sun. Alec stays sitting at the bar, drink up to his lips, eyes roaming around the room. The bar is sort of nice, dim lights, a pool table in one corner. It looks like the perfect place for a first date--if Alec even had the luxury of first dates. His eyes find their way back to Magnus, still at the window. Alec watches him for a few heartbeats, content at how the low light casts him in a golden shade--content to just be near him. Then his back tenses and immediately Alec stands up, bow in hands. Magnus is near him in an instant, Maia coming up behind them. They face the door, Magnus with his hands held up, Alec with his bow, and Maia with her fists clenched. It’s not even a minute before the door bursts open, letting in five Clave members. One of them is his good friend Raj and he forces himself to keep his face in check; that means Izzy’s part of the plan worked.

 

The man in front grunts and takes a step closer towards the middle of the room. “Alexander Lightwood. Magnus Bane. Come with us quietly or you will face consequ--”

 

Ring . Ring . Ring . Everyone looks around to figure out where the noise is coming from until Alec realizes it’s coming from his own pocket. He fishes his phone out, bringing it up to his ear. “Hello?”

 

“Hey, Alec!”

 

He sighs in annoyance and relief, holding up a finger to the Clave members. “Izzy. It’s good to hear your voice. I’m kind of busy right now, though.”

 

“Oh okay, I’ll hold.” Elevator music starts playing over the phone and Alec moves it away from his face, placing it back in his pocket. He focuses his attention back on the Clave members. “Terribly sorry. What were you saying? Oh, that’s right. I don’t care.” He lets an arrow fly at the leader, the arrow hitting him in the middle of the chest. He drops and then all hell breaks loose. Raj turns to the Clave member next to him and hits them over the head with the butt of his sword; Maia grabs one Clave member and throws them across the room, sending them crashing into a table; Magnus deals with the last, dodging a punch and hitting them in the chest with a sharp burst of magic.

 

Raj is the only Clave member left so Maia steps towards him and Alec hurries to get between them. “Wait! It’s okay; he’s with me.” He turns to Raj and hugs him, patting him on the back. “Thanks, man. Everyone get out okay?”

 

Raj smiles. “Yeah, Jace got a nasty cut on his arm, but they’re at Cat’s now so he should be good.” He nods in acknowledgement at Magnus who nods back. “So, I’m guessing you’re gonna knock me out?” He says this part to Alec who sheepishly shrugs.

 

“We have to make sure you’re under no suspicion.” He waits until Raj nods at him before hitting him in the head with his bow, trying to be as gentle as possible. Magnus has the next part of the plan: a forgetfulness potion to make sure the Clave members don’t remember Raj’s involvement. He puts a drop into everyone’s mouth except for Raj then turns to Maia.

 

“I really do feel terrible about the bar; I’ll pay you back, I promise.”

 

Maia waves away his apology. “Hey, it’s fine. Anything for my best tipper. I’ll tell the boss an angry customer came in.” She goes to hug Magnus and then she turns to Alec. “It was nice meeting you. Also, don’t forget your sister’s still on hold.” At Alec’s confused expression, she laughs and points to one of her ears. “Wolf hearing. I’ve met her once before when she came with your mom. Tell her I think she’s cute.”

 

Alec smiles at her and then he and Magnus leave the bar, most of the clouds out of the sun’s way now. He takes his phone out of his pocket, bringing it up to his ear. “Ready for phase two?”

 

Izzy’s voice has a hint of danger to it. “Hell yeah.”

Chapter Text

Alec can’t help but run to Izzy and hug her when he and Magnus get to the hospital. At their arrival, Cat jumps up, taking them to a hospital room down the end of the hall where Izzy and Jace are and then Alec tries desperately not to cry, wrapping his arms around his sister. She just laughs, patting his back, but Alec can see from the red under her eyes that she had been crying as well. “Come on, Alec. You’d know if anything terrible happened to me. Parabatai bond, remember?”

 

Alec shakes his head, pulling back from her, but keeping a hand on her arm. “Shut up,” he says fondly then he remembers what Maia told him and adds, “By the way, Maia thinks you’re cute.” Izzy blushes at his words and opens her mouth to say something, but a voice interrupts her.

 

“Uh, I almost died !” A shout comes from the hospital bed where Jace lays, feet kicked up and a bandage wrapped around his arm.

 

Alec and Magnus roll their eyes simultaneously while Cat glares at him. Jace just holds his hands up in surrender, leaning his head back on the pillows. Going to sit on the bed, Izzy wraps an arm around Jace, pulling the tray attached to the hospital bed near her. She looks expectantly up at Magnus who takes the file out of his coat and sets it on the tray, the name Morgenstern black as night. As Izzy opens the file and starts to go over it, Alec feels a hand on his shoulder and turns to see Cat. She leads him into another room, this one filled with medical equipment. She pushes him down into a seat, then gets a few more supplies; when she gets all she needs, she sits next to him, making him wince as she starts to get the tracking device out.

 

“You’re good for him, you know,” she says suddenly, making Alec snap his head up to look at her.

 

He blushes lightly, flexing his other hand. “He’s good for me, too. He makes me question things. Things I’d never thought to question. And when he smiles,” he waves his free hand through the air, “it’s like a feeling I can’t explain.”

 

Though Cat’s head is down, focused on the task at hand, Alec sees her smile and she finally gets the tracking device out, setting it into a tray with a plink . Next, she starts to work on stitching him back up. “When are you going to tell him?”

 

Alec jumps, completely caught off guard. “Tell him what?”

 

Cat rolls her eyes, setting the needle and thread down and taking her medical gloves off. “That you love him. I see it in your eyes even now.”

 

Alec pushes his seat back, the wheels squeaking on the linoleum floor. He holds his left hand gingerly, the stitches looking eery on his skin. He’s quiet for a moment, but Cat doesn’t push it or interrupt the silence and Alec thanks her silently for that. It’s hard for him to find the words, but eventually he does. “He’s told me. About Camille,” he adds on for clarification, then continues, “how it’s hard for him to trust again. And I’ve never once blamed him for that. But what if I mess up? I don’t ever want to hurt him the way she did. I would never let myself. But there’s always this voice in the back of my mind that says I’m going to fail. I don’t want him to know that pain any more than he already has.”

 

Cat stands up, moving over to him and placing a hand on his shoulder. “Magnus can handle himself, Alec. I shouldn’t have to tell you that. Sounds to me like you’re more scared of your feelings than protecting Magnus from something you would never do.” Alec looks down in shame and she squeezes his shoulder tighter. “Being scared isn’t a bad thing, Alec. Love is one of the most scariest, yet wonderful feelings in the world.” She moves away from him, going to the rolling cart that holds the tray. She smashes the tracking device with a piece of medical equipment then rolls the cart to the door, turning one last time to look at him. “If it makes you feel any better, I know he loves you, too.” Then she disappears out the door, leaving Alec to stare after her.

 

Izzy is sleeping soundly when he gets back to the room, Jace curled up on the chair in the corner. He sees Magnus leaning on the wall near the door and goes to him, touching his arm. Magnus turns to him with a smile and Alec feels his breath hitch. It would be so easy to say it right then and the words are just on the tip of his tongue when he hears Magnus whisper, “Cat said she has a room ready for us if you want to head there.”

 

Alec just nods, forcing the declaration of love down his throat and he grabs Magnus’s hand, letting the man lead him there. Magnus says along the way, “She told us ‘not to be naughty’ and that if we have sex, she’ll kill us.”

 

He can’t help the laugh that escapes his throat and he earns a mean look from a nurse pushing a sleeping patient in a wheelchair. Magnus quietly laughs next to him at Alec’s affronted look and Alec sticks his tongue out at him, squeezing Magnus’s hand. They get to their room and collaspe onto the hospital bed, exhausted from all the events that conspired that day. Alec lays on his back, staring up the ceiling, Magnus curled up next to him. His hand lays on Alec’s chest and Alec brings up a hand to intertwine it with Magnus’s. It’s a few minutes before he speaks, the darkness of the room swallowing his words.

 

“There’s something I’ve wanted to say all day and I think now is the time.” He feels Magnus shift next to him and takes it as a sign to continue. “You’re the most wonderful man I’ve ever met. And I mean it. I’ve never known a person like you—so full of life and joy.” He takes a deep breath, tears pricking at the corners of his eyes. “That day we met changed my life forever. When I was part of the Clave, I knew I could never have I wanted. And then you blew dust in my fucking face,” Magnus interrupts him with a laugh to which Alec smiles, “and it gave me some kind of a hope. I’ve always dreamed of meeting someone like you, Magnus Bane. I lov—”

 

He hears a snore from beside him and turns his head to see Magnus sleeping deeply. He sighs, leaning forward to press his lips gently against his boyfriend’s forehead so as to not wake him. He isn’t angry—it had been a long day for the both of them—instead, he stares back up at the ceiling. He’s never really liked hospitals, but there’s a certain peace in this room that he can only connect to Magnus—a peace that he had spent his entire life chasing. Now it’s beside him and all Alec can do is close his eyes, a calm and a feeling of belonging settling over him. “It’s okay; it can wait,” he whispers and he falls into just as deep a sleep, a word running through his brain. Home .


 

 

After stopping by Magnus’s for a change of clothes, he and Magnus stop by the Jade Wolf to talk to Luke. He listens to their plan intently, hand under chin, the scar running raggedly across it mirroring Alec’s own. When they get done speaking, he nods his head slowly, standing up and pacing around the restaurant. Alec takes the chance to look around; not a good place for a first date, but he can almost picture himself at one of the booths, laughing at something Magnus said. He glances at him now out of the corner of his eye, blushing when Magnus catches him and winks. Alec clears his throat as Luke turns to look at them suddenly.

 

There’s a gleam in Luke’s eyes—something that hadn’t been there in a long time. He looks ready for a fight and Alec doesn’t blame him. He’s ready for one as well. “You’re sure it could work?”

 

“Positive,” Alec says at the same time Magnus says, “75%.”

 

Alec hides his snort with a cough and doesn’t miss the smile Magnus sends his way. Luke doesn’t seem to notice or if he does, he pretends not to.

 

“Hmm, you think Raphael is going to agree as well? You know him.” Luke says this pointedly to Magnus who shrugs.

 

“Let me deal with Raphael.”

 

“And Izzy has Meliorn,” Alec adds.

 

Luke sits at one of the booth tables, feet propped up. “Well, if you’re sure you can get Raphael to come, then I’m game. I don’t know how my wolves are gonna take it, though.”

 

“I’m sure your wolves won’t mind much when we take down Valentine and the Clave.” Alec crosses his arms and tilts his head.

 

Luke taps a finger on his chin. “Right you are, Alec. So, need anything else or did you come all the way here just to ask me to come to a Downworld meeting?” He looks at Magnus who fidgets, looking almost as if he was nervous.

 

“Well, we sort of need an audience with Clarissa Fairchild as well.”

 

Luke sighs. “Of course you do.”

Chapter Text

Alec sits stiffly across from the other members in the meeting, arms awkwardly crossed. Raphael keeps throwing mean glares his way and while Meliorn doesn’t look impressed, at least he looks somewhat curious. Alec had offered to go with Izzy to speak to the Fairchild girl, but Magnus had suggested he stay with him and help with the Downworld meeting, so he had agreed. They sit haphazardly around in a circle, staring at each other. Magnus looks at him and Alec lays out the plan, the other members silent until he finishes speaking.

 

“That is the most ludicrous plan I have ever heard.” Raphael has a fire in his eyes, mouth set in a hard line. “You want me to risk my peoples’ lives over your foolish crusade? No, I won’t have it.”

 

Alec stands up suddenly, slamming his hand down on the table. “It’s not just my crusade; it’s all of ours! How many times has the Clave done whatever the hell they wanted for the sake of their foolish crusade? Kidnapping warlock children, killing Downworlders, torturing their own members—all for their goddamn mission to rid the world of demons. Well, I, for one, am done being a pawn in their games. Now we’re the kings. We’re the ones who make things go bump in the night. You can join me or not—that’s fine—but I’m gonna do something about it. I’m gonna make sure they pay for everything they’ve done.”

 

Silence follows his words until a voice speaks up, “Alec’s right. I had someone who was like a son to me once.” Luke’s hands are clenched on the table and Magnus puts a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “The Clave tore him away from me like it was nothing. Clary’s never been the same since.” He takes a trembling breath, then continues, “I don’t even know if he’s alive or dead. But I’m going to find out. And then I’m going to raise hell.”

 

Meliorn has been sitting quietly for some time, but now he stands, nodding to Alec. “The Seelies are with you. Valentine and the Clave have been killing our people for too long. It ends now.”

 

“Fine!” Raphael throws his hands up, standing as well. “I won’t deny that the end of the Clave is something we’ve all wanted for a long time, but are you sure this can work? If it doesn’t, most of us will either be dead, tortured, or worse.”

 

There’s a determination in Alec’s eyes. “It has to.”




It doesn’t.

 

The first thing Alec sees when he runs out of the Institute is blood, slipping on it as he stumbles down the stairs. And then he sees the bodies and then he hears the screams. They hadn’t expected Valentine and his followers to make an appearance—certainly hadn’t expected him to have the Soul Sword. So many Downworlders dead—Shadowhunters captured. He had left Raj with Cat, a nasty slash on his chest; Cat had reassured him that it wasn’t too deep. As far as he knows, Jace and Izzy are okay, but Magnus—his foot slides down the last step and he catches himself by putting a hand out on the railing. When he pulls it back, it’s covered in blood and he wipes his hand hastily on his jeans, eyes searching wildly around. It’s so dark outside and his night vision rune helps some, but it’s still hard to see. There’s a fuzzy figure in the distance and as he gets closer, he makes out Raphael, huddled over someone lying on the ground. Alec feels bile rise in his throat and he clenches his hands. Your fault , a voice inside him whispers.

 

He shakes his head and keeps moving, only stopping when a voice calls out to him, “Alec!”

 

He turns to see Izzy jogging to him, her hair coming out of her ponytail and a cut on one cheek. When she gets to him, she puts a hand on his arm, face falling when he pulls back. “Izzy, I—where’s Magnus?”

 

She shakes her head sadly at him. “I don’t know, but I’m sure he’s fine.”

 

Alec sucks in a breath and he turns away from her, already on his way to find Magnus again when he finally sees him. He runs to the man, sliding to a stop when he sees Magnus crouched over someone on the ground. Alec freezes when he recognizes the figure. Ragnor Fell . He remembers a time when he had read Ragnor’s name in Magnus’s file—back when things were simpler. He hears Magnus sobbing and his throat goes tight. Stepping closer, he slowly puts his hand on Magnus’s shoulder, the tightness in his chest fading away when Magnus lets him.

 

There’s a heartbeat of silence and then Magnus says lowly, “I always forget the inevitableness of death—the pain.” Magnus smiles wryly. “I don’t know why since it always seems to surround me. Sometimes I think I’ll drown in it.” He looks up at Alec and wipes his eyes. “Madzie?”

 

“Is safe.” Alec kneels down next to him, wiping a stray tear that Magnus had missed. “She’s with Luke; they got Simon out as well.”

 

Magnus breathes a sigh of relief and takes Alec’s offered hand, letting the man pull him up. Purple sparks dance along his fingertips and Ragnor’s body disappears; Alec watches him with an unreadable expression and then wraps an arm around the man’s shoulders, stepping through the portal that Magnus creates.

 


 

Alec leans against Magnus’s kitchen island, a drink in hand. Magnus, himself, is sitting on the couch with a drink as well, staring at the wall, a storm brewing in his eyes. He takes a sip and Alec does, too, his hand gripping the glass tight. Not for the first time, he wishes they could just be happy . A minute passes and then he moves to sit beside Magnus, gently putting a hand on the man’s knee. It seems to be just the thing that Magnus needs, because he scoots closer to Alec, setting his head on Alec’s shoulder.

 

“I have a plan,” he says quietly and Alec taps his knee as a sign for him to continue, which Magnus does with a sigh. “You’re not going to like it.”

 

“I trust you. Have since the day we met. I used to hate myself for it back then; I was supposed to be the practical one. Izzy and Jace were always the dreamers. But I—I was supposed to be responsible. Protect them from the Clave’s cruelty. You helped me see I could do something about it. Whatever your plan is, I’ll listen.” Alec takes a deep breath and knows it’s finally time to say the next words. “Because I love you.”

 

Magnus moves his head up to look at him, a vulnerable look in his eyes. There’s a heartbeat of silence and then, “I love you, too.”  

 

Alec smiles a small smile and turns his head to kiss Magnus’s forehead. “So, what’s the plan?”

 

Magnus moves back and Alec’s chest deflates, missing Magnus’s warmth. But if space was what he wanted, then Alec would give him it. Magnus chews his lip and then speaks slowly, “My father has a lot of demons at his disposal. Demons that he controls. He could give us the advantage we’d need against Valentine and afterward order the demons away, but—”

 

“For a price,” Alec finishes. He leans forward to rest his elbows on his knees, burying his face in his hands. He can’t deny that having more people—well, demons—to fight would definitely help in their mission, but Alec knows that the price Magnus would have to pay would be high. But he also knows that Magnus can make his own decisions so he leans back into the couch, nodding. “You’re right; I don’t like it. But it’s your choice and whatever choice you make, I’ll respect it.” He reaches a hand up and touches Magnus’s cheek gently, the other man’s eyes closing at the touch. “I need to go to the Jade Wolf and check on Izzy. Will you be okay?”

 

Magnus nods, opening his eyes and smiling. “I’ll be fine.”

 

Alec leans over and kisses his forehead, standing up and getting ready to leave.

 

“Just make it back home.”

 

He stops with one foot out the door, frozen. Home . He had never had a real home. Home to him had been the safety of his bare room or Jace and Izzy’s smiles after a successful mission. But it had never been a place —never been somewhere he could walk into and feel at peace. He turns back to Magnus who is now standing behind him and then he pulls him close, the kiss setting a fire alight in his belly and curling his toes. “Home,” he murmurs against Magnus’s lips, then he pulls back with a smile. He kisses him one more time, then turns and walks out the door, making his way to the Jade Wolf.

 


 

“How is he,” he asks Izzy, nodding to Simon who is sleeping soundly in one of the booths.

 

She smiles softly and nods, leaning on his shoulder. “He’s not fine , but he’s safe. Clary was very worried. She’s in the back now if you want to talk to her.”

 

He follows Izzy to the back and nods to Luke who smiles at him. Clary lays beside him, head in Luke’s lap, and she greets Alec with a yawn. Alec kind of feels bad that he’s asking this of her, but having the drop on Valentine is important. “We need to track Valentine and I know you have angelic powers that no other Shadowhunter possesses.”

 

“She needs rest,” Luke protests, but stops reluctantly when Clary holds up a hand.

 

“It’s alright, Luke. I understand how important it is.” She sits up, grabs her stele, and draws a rune on her arm then closes her eyes, eyelids fluttering. They wait with bated breath until she finally opens her eyes. “I saw an apartment in Brooklyn; Valentine wants the Mortal Mirror. I saw a man, fighting—”

 

“Magnus,” he whispers, eyes widening and he doesn’t wait for her to finish before pushing past Luke and Izzy, running out of there. When he gets to the loft, it’s in ruins. There are a few dead Shadowhunters littering the ground and the Mortal Mirror is gone from its place above the couch—Magnus nowhere to be seen.

 

“Magnus,” he shouts, turning around and around until his eyes catch a piece of paper on the kitchen island. He goes towards it, his feet drawn there of their own accord and holds up the piece of paper, his hand trembling.

 

The Cup in exchange for the warlock. 48 hours or he dies.

 

Alec collapses to the ground, clutching the paper to his chest. Then he starts to sob until he feels a hand on his shoulder and looks up to see Izzy. He thrusts the piece of paper at her and buries his face in his hands. “They took him, Izzy, and he—they could be torturing him right now. And I can’t do a damn thing about it.”

 

Izzy reads the note quickly, then drops it, arms wrapping around Alec and he leans into her. “He’s their leverage, Alec; they won’t risk hurting him. We’ll bring him back.”

 

“I’m so tired ,” he whispers and his breathing comes fast. He reaches a hand up to press it hard against his temple. 1. The color of the daisies in the garden outside his parent’s house . He pushes away from Izzy and hates how her face falls, but her touch is too much for him. Heaving out another breath, he counts again: 2. The feel of his bow in his hand . He takes another deep breath. 3. Jace and Izzy’s bright smile as Alec builds them a swingset . Izzy’s face is clearer now and he pushes himself to stand up, stumbling to the door. “I need to find him.”

 

Izzy follows him. “Alec, you need to sleep. Magnus wouldn’t want you risking your health—”

 

“I can’t—” he waves a hand around, gesturing to the loft, “I can’t be here.”

 

She puts a hand tentatively on his arm; he lets her. “Let’s go back to the Jade Wolf. Please ,” she begs, voice trembling, and Alec nods, pulling her into a hug. He hates worrying her; it’s torture for him. All he wants is for them all to be happy—Jace and Izzy pursuing their degrees, Max having friends his own age, and Alec—Alec beside Magnus, forever.

 

When they get to the Jade Wolf, he waits until Izzy is out of earshot before pulling out his phone and calling the last person who would ever want to talk to him. The phone rings for a few seconds before it’s answered and Alec hears a, “Hello?”

 

“Raphael.”

 

A pause. “I’m going to hang up now.”

 

“Wait,” he exclaims. “It’s about Magnus; he’s been taken by Valentine—no, he’s alright. For now, at least. But he had a plan and I’m hoping you’ll help me with it.”

 

“And why would I do that?” Raphael’s voice is icy and Alec winces.

 

“Because this time I’m positive it’ll stop Valentine—maybe even the Clave as well.”

 

Another pause. “I hate you.”

 

Alec sighs and goes to hang up until Raphael speaks again. “But I’ll help you—for Magnus.”

 

He sighs in relief this time and then begins to lay out the details of the plan.

Chapter Text

“You two want me to do what ,” Cat exclaims as soon as she pulls him and Raphael into an unused hospital room. Her hands are on her hips and she looks angry, but Alec can see the fear in her eyes as well. Magnus hadn’t had the chance to tell him exactly who his father was, but judging from Cat’s reaction, he’s a very powerful demon.

 

“Summon Magnus’s father,” Raphael says nonchalantly with a shrug; Alec glares at him.

 

“Look, I wouldn’t ask you to do this if I thought there was any other way.” He makes sure to look her in the eyes, hands held out in a reassuring manner. Cat was probably the only one who knew exactly how he felt right now—she was Magnus’s oldest friend. “Besides, it was Magnus’s plan.”

 

“Yes, and he has terrible plans.” She sighs and throws her hands up, sinking into a nearby chair. “Alec, I’m not even sure I could do it. And even if I could, I won’t be able to hold him for long. He’s—I was hoping Magnus would be the one to tell you.”

 

Alec kneels down before her and takes her hands into his. He can see Raphael out of the corner of his eye shift nervously and tries to remember that even though Raphael can be prickly, they were all there for Magnus. He had always related to Cat’s brutal honesty and Raphael’s fierce loyalty and he wishes they were all together under better terms. Maybe there will be a time when he can get to know them better, but right now, they have to save Magnus.

 

“I was hoping he would be the one to tell me, too. But Cat, if there had to be anyone else, I know he would want it to be you. There’s never been a time when he spoke about you with anything but love.”

 

She sighs, but there’s a determined look in her eyes. “His name is Asmodeus. A Greater Demon.”

 

Alec’s eyes widen and he nods, squeezing Cat’s hands gently. “You don’t have to do this.”

 

“I know, but I will. For Magnus.” She pulls her hands from his and stands up, back straight, that determination still surrounding her.

 

 


 

 

The first thing Alec thinks when he sees Magnus’s father is how utterly different he and Magnus are. When they summon him, he’s sitting cross-legged in the middle of the pentagram, eyes closed. Alec can sort of see Magnus’s strong jaw echoed in Asmodeus’s, but when he opens his eyes, any similarities fly out the window. Magnus’s eyes are full of joy and warmth—Alec sees none of that in Asmodeus. No, his eyes are cold and lifeless and full of an energy that shakes Alec to his core.

 

The second thing he thinks is, Wow, what a dick . Luckily, he has Raphael there to echo his sentiment. “You’re a dick.”

 

Asmodeus turns his head sharply to look at the vampire. “And you’re testing my patience.”

 

Alec just sighs, looking at the two of them. “Look, you know that Magnus is in trouble. We’ve already offered you precious jewels; what more do you want?”

 

Asmodeus snaps his gaze to him, an unreadable expression on his face. “Something of value, Shadowhunter. And so far, you have offered me nothing like that. Now, I’m getting bored. You better hurry up before your warlock friend over there can’t hold me any longer.”

 

His eyes flicker to Cat who is standing behind Asmodeus, teeth gritted as she uses every ounce of her magic to keep the summoning circle intact. “I—” But anything that Alec was going to say is cut off by Asmodeus standing up and smirking. Then he steps over the pentagram; there’s a flash of light and then Alec, Raphael, and Cat are blown backward.

 

Alec groans as he hits his head on the ground. He moves a hand up to the back of his head, wincing when his fingers are stained red. He starts to sit up, turning his head, and sees that there’s a pair of shiny black shoes standing beside him. He moves his eyes up and up, Asmodeus standing above him. Before Asmodeus can move, Alec reaches into his boot and pulls out a dagger, stabbing it into the Greater Demon’s shoe. Asmodeus doesn’t even flinch, just tilts his head.

 

“I see what Magnus sees in you.” He kneels down next to Alec, smirking when Alec flinches back. “You’re a brave one, aren’t you? Too bad it won’t last.”

 

“Fuck you,” he spits out and Asmodeus looks almost surprised, yet masks it quickly with an amused smirk.

 

“Hmm, I’ll tell you what. You grant me one wish and I’ll get you your demons.”

 

Alec narrows his eyes suspiciously; the vagueness of Asmodeus’s request means that there could be nothing good about this ‘wish’ he wanted. “And what sort of wish is it?”

 

Asmodeus shrugs. “I’ll let you know. Don’t worry; I won’t ask you anything that will harm your family or Magnus. Promise.” He smiles and the smile is all teeth—Alec thinks of a shark, predatory and hungry. “All I require is a blood oath.”

 

Alec laughs, sitting up fully and staring Asmodeus down. “How stupid do you think I am?”

 

“Oh, I don’t think you’re stupid at all. In fact, I think you are very intelligent. Which is why I know you’ll agree to the blood oath, because if you don’t,” he points to Cat and Raphael, still knocked out from the explosion, “I will kill them. And then I’ll kill your family. And just for the hell of it, I’ll keep you around so you can spend every second blaming yourself for just this one little choice.”

 

Alec leans in closer to him, still not breaking eye contact. “I see why Magnus hates you. Because now that I’ve met you, I hate you, too. And when all this is over—when Magnus is safe—I’m going to come for you. And then I’m going to kill you myself. And I hate that I have to ask for your help—I hate that I’m going to agree to this goddamn blood oath, but I will, because of Magnus. Because that is what love is.”

 

There’s something in Asmodeus’s eyes that Alec can’t read, but before he can try to decipher it, it’s gone just as quickly as it came. Snapping his fingers, Asmodeus produces a quill and a piece of paper, then he grabs Alec’s hand and pokes his finger with the tip of the quill. Alec grabs the quill from him and signs at the bottom of the page, trying not to let his hand tremble. When he’s done, Asmodeus snaps his fingers again and he disappears, leaving Alec to try to catch his breath. As soon as he’s gone, Raphael and Cat wake up and Alec runs to them, eyes roaming over their bodies to see if they’ve been harmed. They look fine and he breathes a sigh of relief.

 

Raphael groans, bringing a hand up to his head, then he looks at Alec. “So, did your plan work?”

 

Alec nods, no mention of the blood oath. “Yeah, we’ll have the demons.” He helps Cat sit up and then tries to help Raphael, who lets him reluctantly. “You ready for phase two? I already have the vial of Clary’s blood.”

 

“This better work, Shadowhunter,” Raphael threatens, pointing a finger at his face.

 

Alec almost cracks a smile. “It will; I’ll make sure of that.”

 


 

When Alec sees Magnus, a wave of relief washes over him. There’s a cut on his forehead and his hands are in shackles, but otherwise he’s unharmed and all Alec wants to do is hug him tightly and never let him go. Without thinking he takes a step forward and Valentine steps in front of Magnus, his hand on the hilt of the Soul Sword. Alec turns his gaze on him, his stare murderous. The sun is high in the sky and he can hear soft waves rippling, the Lake Lyn shimmering in the sunlight. They’re hopelessly outnumbered, but Alec doesn’t feel afraid. He already knows the outcome. Jace had suggested they just use the Cup to control the demons, but Alec decided against it. If the Cup was anywhere near Valentine, Alec was sure Valentine would be able to get it. No, this way was easier—all Alec would have to do was grant Asmodeus one wish and that’d be the end of it. And then Magnus would be safe and they’d be happy.

 

“Where’s the Cup?” Valentine’s mouth is set in a hard line.

 

Alec pats the pockets on his jeans and shrugs. “I must’ve left it in my other pants.” Magnus lets out a laugh and Valentine turns around swiftly, striking him hard in the face. Alec steps forward, hands clenched into fists. “Raphael,” he barks out and then from the shadows of the trees, Raphael, including fifty other vampires, walk straight out into the heat of the sun, but they do not burn. He hears Magnus’s sharp intake of breath, but he keeps his eyes on Raphael, the man striding forward to stand beside Alec.

 

Valentine’s stoic face morphs into one of surprise and then he’s back to being impassive. “Are these filthy Downworlders supposed to scare me? They don’t.”

 

“They will.” There’s a smirk on Alec’s face—a danger in his eyes. It’s a far cry from the boy he used to be.

 

“Give me the cup or he dies!”

 

“Oh, I don’t think he will.” Now his hand is on the hilt of his sword, gripping it tightly until his knuckles are white. It was now or never.

 

“And why is that?” Valentine is furious and Alec knows he needs to make a move before the man does something drastic.

 

“Because we’re going to kill you, you fucking dick.” He unsheathes his sword and stabs it into the ground, the earth cracking and letting forth a horde of demons. Asmodeus comes last, adorned in a dark suit, black sparks crackling on his fingers. With a snap, Magnus’s shackles are off and Alec sees him rub his wrists, staring at his father with disgust.

 

“Asmodeus.”

 

Asmodeus turns to Magnus, that predatory smile back on his face. “Don’t you mean daddy ?”

 

“Please never refer to yourself as daddy ever again.”

 

Asmodeus pretends to pout then he snaps his fingers, killing a few of Valentine’s soldiers instantly. “You’re no fun.”

 

There’s a change in atmosphere then and before they can do anything, the fighting commences. It’s big and bloody, but Alec can already feel the adrenaline in his veins, his bow appearing on his back. He stands side by side with Magnus as the Circle members stalk towards them.

Chapter Text

Alec’s hair sticks to his forehead as he shoots another arrow, the scratch on his arm throbbing. It had been over an hour and they were winning, but not without losses. He heaves in a breath and shoots an arrow at a Circle member that had been coming up behind Magnus, then he chances a glance at his surroundings. He sees Jace and Izzy fighting, his mom and Luke, Cat and Raphael. So far, they’re all okay and he breathes a sigh of relief. It’s then that he feels a sharp pain in his shoulder and shouts, turning around and hitting the Circle member that had stabbed him with his bow.

 

“Alexander!” Magnus is kneeling next to him—Alec didn’t even realize he was on the ground. He holds his hand out to Alec’s shoulder, but Alec grabs his wrist and shakes his head.

 

“You need to save your strength. Please .”

 

“I—” Magnus is cut off by Cat who runs up to them.

 

“It’s okay, Magnus. I have him.” She shoos Magnus away, then starts working on healing Alec. When she gets done, his shoulder still throbs, but it’s not as painful as it was. She goes to rejoin the fight, but Alec grabs her hand, making her turn back to look at him.

 

“If I don’t make it—”

 

Cat shakes her head. “Alec, that’s not going to happen.”

 

“But if it does , promise me you’ll look out for him. Please, I can’t—” He takes a trembling breath and Cat squeezes his hand, nodding her head.

 

“You have my word.”

 

Alec gives her a weak smile and lets her go, breathing heavy as he stands up, picking up his bow where he had dropped it. It’s heavy in his hands and it almost slips out of his grip. He lets it drop and takes out his sword instead, still heavy, but at least he can use it. He stands beside Magnus again and tries not to see the pain in his eyes. He could’ve died; it would’ve been so easy to just die. It’s there that he cements his choice.

 


 

 

Finally, after another hour, the fighting is done and Alec gasps in a breath, leaning on Magnus for support. The beautiful green grass is now stained with blood and bodies are scattered everywhere. He sees Clary standing over Valentine, dagger bloody, his body crumpled on the ground. All of them are safe and it’s such a relief that Alec can feel tears pricking at the corners of his eyes. He sees his mom with Luke, staring up at him as if she had found what she had been looking for all her life. Jace and Izzy are leaning on each other and Alec hugs them tightly as they come closer. Even Raphael seems relieved and as Alec makes eye contact with him, he nods.

 

“So,” Magnus says next to him and Alec turns his head to make eye contact. “I see you’ve met my father.”

 

Alec huffs out a chuckle, “Yeah, I did.”

 

“Any similarities?” Magnus’s tone is teasing, but Alec can see the vulnerable look in his eye and he shakes his head.

 

“No, none.”

 

There seems to be a weight that lifts off Magnus’s shoulders and Alec leans in to kiss him, slow as if they have all the time in the world. Alec is hoping they do. He lays his head in the crook of Magnus’s shoulder and he feels at peace. There’s a longing in him—an ache to tell Magnus the choice he had made and an ache to tell him about the ring placed carefully in his pocket. But there was no rush.

 

The peace is only broken by the sound of Asmodeus’s voice. “Well, that was fun.”

 

Alec snaps his gaze to him, eyes cold. “ Fun ?”

 

“Yes, I haven’t had a good fight in ages. Hmm, well, anyway, we best be off.”

 

“Excuse me?” It’s Magnus who speaks this time, head tilted in confusion.

 

Asmodeus just smirks, as if it’s a game and he holds all the cards. “To Edom, of course. One of you is going! Any guesses who?” They just blink at him and he smiles gleefully. “That’s fine; I love a good game of eeny meenie minie mo,” his finger points at Magnus and Alec steps in front of him, gritting his teeth as a sharp pain shoots through his shoulder.

 

“No, I won’t let you.”

 

“Ah, but you haven’t heard my wish. My wish is that you, Alexander Lightwood, will not stop me as I take Magnus to Edom—let’s say, for twenty years?” He pretends to whisper this next part conspiratorially to Magnus, “I’m sure he’ll still have most of his hair by then.”

 

Alec takes a step forward, hands clenched. “ No .” As soon as the word is out of his mouth, he doubles over in pain, clutching his side.

 

“That’s the pesky thing about blood oaths. If you don’t honor them, you die.”

 

“You—” Alec takes in a breath, the pain in his side fading some. “You promised no harm would come to him.”

 

“And no harm will.”

 

“You’re not taking Magnus, you dick.” Cat’s hands are up, looking ready for a fight.

 

Asmodeus tilts his head at her. “Such language. Maybe I should cut out your tongue.”

 

“No!” Magnus jumps in front of her, shielding her from his father. “It’s okay, Cat.” His eyes flicker to Alec, but Alec is staring Asmodeus down, a fire in his eyes.

 

Asmodeus just stares back, then he strides forward, grabbing Magnus’s arm and creating a portal. “Wait,” Alec exclaims. Asmodeus turns and glares at him, but Alec doesn’t back down. “Just—please let me say goodbye.” Asmodeus gives him a curt nod, letting Magnus go and standing a few paces back. Alec rushes forward, grabbing Magnus’s hands, pulling him close until there’s not an inch between them. “Magnus, I—”

 

“It’s okay, Alexander. You don’t have to wait for me.”

 

Alec’s eyes widen. “Is that what you think? That I wouldn’t wait for you? Magnus, twenty years is nothing. A hundred years would be nothing.”

 

“I can’t ask you to do that.”

 

Alec’s lips twitch up into a sad smile. “You’re not asking. Look, I know we haven’t talked about the immortality issue, but I want you to know that a forever with you is the only future I see for myself.”

 

“Alexander, are you sure?”

 

He nods his head, bringing up one of his hands to cup Magnus’s cheek. “You once told me that even though you love immortality, all it brought you was pain. I want to help you shoulder some of that pain. You don’t have to be alone anymore.”

 

“I love you,” Magnus whispers and he kisses Alec deeply; when he pulls back, he murmurs against Alec’s lips, “So much.”

 

Alec rests his forehead against Magnus’s, rubbing his thumb soothingly against Magnus’s cheek. “I wish we had more time.”

 

“Time’s up.” Asmodeus grabs Magnus’s arm and drags him away from Alec.

 

“No!” Alec tries to grab Magnus’s hand to keep him there—near Alec, always with Alec—but Magnus’s hand drops from his and then he’s gone, the portal blowing Alec’s hair back and disappearing. All that’s left is dust and an empty place where Magnus should be. Alec gasps out a sob, bringing a hand up to his mouth and he stumbles back over his feet, Jace and Izzy catching him before he can fall.

Chapter Text

When he comes out of the portal, he’s seated at a dining table made of bones, Asmodeus on the other end. For some reason, it seems to be hotter than it usually is, but maybe that was due to the boiling rage inside Magnus’s chest. Fire rains down around them, lighting up behind Magnus like a halo—a real Prince of Hell. Asmodeus snaps and demons are seated around them, along with plates serving human heads. Magnus flickers his eyes down to the head on his plate, forcing the bile down his throat.

 

“Well, this is lovely.” Asmodeus picks up his knife and fork and starts cutting into the head—Magnus just stares daggers at him. “It’s been eons since we’ve had a nice family dinner.” He takes a bite, then uses his fork to point at Magnus. “You didn’t come to our last one.”

 

“That’s because the last time I came one of my brothers tried to eat me.”

 

A demon laughs next to him and Magnus quirks an eyebrow at it, effectively shutting it up. Asmodeus just rolls his eyes. “Yes, and he’s very sorry about that. Now, eat your food.”

 

“No, thanks; I had human brains for lunch.”

 

“Don’t be a smartass with me—” But whatever Asmodeus was going to say next is cut off by Magnus throwing his steak knife and hitting him in the chest with it. Asmodeus stands up and tips the table over, stalking toward him and grabbing his throat, bringing him eye-level. “You insufferable little brat. You better thank your precious Alexander, because if it was not for that blood oath, I’d be dipping you in a vat of acid right now.”

 

Magnus’s hands shake in anger. “Why am I even here?”

 

“You’re a thief, are you not? The greatest in the world, in fact. I have things I want you to steal.”

 

Magnus waves his hand to gesture to the horde of demons watching the spectacle. “And they weren’t enough for you?”

 

Asmodeus smirks at him. “They do just fine, but you were always my favorite, my dear Prince of Hell.” He drops his hand from Magnus’s throat, then takes the knife from his chest, casting it aside. He turns and the table is now back in its rightful place along with the plates. “That’s enough family drama for one night. Let’s eat.”

 


 

Magnus’s room looks just like his apartment in Brooklyn and he feels an ache in his chest—an overwhelming longing. His hands glide along his kitchen island and it isn’t long before he’s making himself a drink, spread out on the couch. It’s a sad echo of when Alec had first told him he loved him; he brings the drink up to his lips, taking a sip, leaning his head back to rest against the armrest. He’s just about to go to sleep when he feels something land in his lap. He opens one eye and sees a piece of paper, the edges of it scorched. A fire message, then. He brings it up to his face, scanning it quickly:

 

Dear Magnus,

This week has been hell without you and now that I wrote that out, I feel kinda bad since you’re literally in hell. I’ve been stuck in meetings all day and when I came home, all I wanted to do was tell you all about it and then I remembered—anyway, it got so bad I even made myself a drink. Doesn’t taste like yours, though. Cat’s been helping me research immortality options and we’ve actually made some headway; even Raphael’s been helpful. Cat told me to tell you she misses you—we’ve been keeping up with your favorite shows. Don’t worry, I won’t give you any spoilers. Oops, I gotta go—I can literally feel Izzy’s anxiety. She has her first date with Maia tonight. I don’t know if you’ll be able to get this or if you’ll be able to respond, but just know I love you and I miss you so much.

Love,

Your darling Alexander

 

Magnus brings a hand up to his mouth, trying to stifle the sob that’s building in his throat. A week already? He brings the letter up to his lips, kissing it gently, then wonders if his father will even allow him to respond. Probably not. He uses his magic to make the letter disappear to a safer place, then closes his eyes, a melancholy air surrounding him like a blanket in this stifling heat.

 


 

After his first mission, Magnus portals back to his Edom-esque loft, desperately in need of a hot bath. His hair is covered in grime and he has dirt all over his face and clothes. He goes to the bathroom to draw up the hot water for the bath then makes his way back to the kitchen, stretching his arms. He finally spies a piece of paper on his kitchen island and he snatches it up:

 

Dear Magnus,

It’s been a year already and I miss you so fucking much. We still haven’t found a way for me to be immortal—yet—but I’m not giving up. So far, it’s been pretty boring without you. We’ve gathered up all the old Clave members and the Downworlders and we’ve made some new Accords. No one is in charge of the other and we don’t interfere unless the Downworlders explicitly ask us to. They actually asked me to be Inquisitor, but I turned it down—instead, I recommended Raj. Maia and Izzy are officially dating now and Simon told me he thinks he likes Meliorn. We’ve actually become pretty good friends—same with Raphael. Even Luke and my mom seem to be happy; they went on a date last week. I love you. So much.

Love,

Your darling Alexander

 

A year. So much had happened in a year and to him, it only feels like he’s been gone for a week. He traces the words that Alec wrote, then sends the letter to where he’s kept the other twenty-five that has been sent so far. With a wave of his hand, he stops the water; a few minutes later, he sinks into the boiling hot water, closing his eyes and wishing he wasn’t alone—that Alec was there with him. Only nineteen years left.

 


 

His fifth mission takes him near his loft in Brooklyn and he wants so badly to go up there; he can almost picture Alec in his arms, kissing him—touching him. He takes a step closer and then a hand grabs his arm and he’s being portaled back to Edom, his father’s grip tight on his arm. Magnus pushes him off, staring him down.

 

“What the hell do you think you were doing?” Asmodeus’s voice is icy, piercing Magnus with his glare.

 

“I wanted to see him! It’s been years and I—” he cuts himself off, biting his tongue. He turns around so his father can’t see the pain in his eyes, his hands clenched so tight that he’s afraid he’s going to bleed. Maybe it would be better to just bleed.

 

“You foolish boy; you still think you have some kind of a future with him,” he hears Asmodeus say with that goddamn condescending tone of voice. “ This is his future.” Magnus turns to say some kind of a retort when hands clutch his face and then he’s faced with a vision—an older Alec with gray hair, getting older until he eventually fades away to dust. He pushes Asmodeus off of him, breathing deeply.

 

“No.” He shakes his head. “ No .”

 

“That is what is in store for him. If you think anything else, you’re kidding yourself.”

 

“Fuck you,” he spits out, his eyes hard.

 

Asmodeus just laughs, cold and humorless. He circles Magnus like a vulture and Magnus keeps his back straight, clenching his hands even tighter to stop them from shaking. “Do you even think he still remembers you? It’s been what—three years?  It won’t be long now before he forgets you. He won’t even remember your name.”

 

“Shut up,” Magnus’s voice is deathly quiet, lips barely making a sound.

 

“When will you get it through your head that a part of you will always be something he hates ? He couldn’t stand me; how long will it be before he looks at you with that same level of disgust?”

 

Magnus raises his eyes to stare straight into his father’s, not breaking eye contact. “You’re wrong.”

 

“Am I? Your own mother couldn’t stand the sight of you—” With a shout, Magnus collapses to the ground and slams his hands down, palms face down, using every ounce of magic he has. The ground starts to crack open around them, lava pooling out of it. A few demons carelessly fall down through the cracks, but Asmodeus just smirks, as if Magnus had done exactly what he wanted him to. “And that is why dear Alec will always be afraid of you. Why, you don’t even know your own strength.”

 

Magnus glares up at him, his stare murderous. “You—”

 

I allow your precious Shadowhunter to live. You receive those silly letters that he writes you because I allow it.” The stack of letters appears in his hand. “Face it, Magnus. You will always be that scared little boy in Indonesia. Desperate for love—desperate for approval.” He throws the letters into the fire, a strangled sound coming from Magnus’s throat. “Approval I can give you, but do not expect love.”


It’s only when his father is gone that Magnus rushes to the fire, but the letters are so burnt that there’s no saving them. He’s memorized them all, but it’s not enough. He wants to feel them—trace the ink stains of Alec’s clumsy hand. But they’re gone and he slumps against the fireplace, punching the brick and relishing in the crack that follows. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees a part of one of the letters that hasn’t been burnt and he grabs it quickly. Your darling Alexander . He clutches the paper to his chest, closing his eyes tightly. He does not cry—there were no tears in Edom—just an echoing loneliness and a pain that never seemed to go away.

Chapter Text

“Magnus,” a voice whispers and Magnus shoots up in bed, headbutting someone—or something.

 

“What the fuck .” He brings a hand up to his head, then snaps his fingers, turning the lights on.

 

Cat is standing over him, massaging her head as well, sending him a mock glare. “I’m trying to rescue you, asshole.”

 

“I—” He sees Raphael and Luke standing by the door and his eyes widen, looking from them to Cat. She just smiles at him. “Alexander—”

 

“Is fine,” she finishes for him, still with that huge smile. “He’s immortal, Magnus.”

 

A happy laugh bubbles up from Magnus’s throat and he pulls her down to hug her tightly. He’s missed this—seeing their faces. Luke looks a little older, but nothing that seems drastic and as Magnus pulls back from Cat, he asks, “How long has it been?”

 

“Only six years.”

 

His happiness is short-lived when he remembers where he’s at. “You need to get out of here. My father—”

 

“I can handle your father just fine.”

 

He quirks an eyebrow at her, but decides not to push it. Getting out of here is the first priority. He gets up out of bed and they all head into the living room. Just as Cat is about to portal them back, there’s a crack and a figure appears before them. Asmodeus.

 

“Where do you four think you’re going?”

 

Cat stands in front of all of them, facing Asmodeus without any fear in her eyes. “We’re taking Magnus back.”

 

Asmodeus smirks. “You must have a death wish, sweetheart.”

 

Cat smirks back. “That’s what you would think. You know, it took me a few years, but I finally figured it out.” She snaps her fingers and the Mortal Cup appears in her hand in all its bejeweled glory. “The Cup doesn’t just control lesser demons, but Greater Demons as well. And so, my wish is that you will not do a damn thing to stop us from taking Magnus back home.”

 

“You—” Asmodeus takes a step toward them, then winces in pain, glaring daggers at the Cup.

 

Cat just tilts her head. “What’s wrong, Asmodeus? Cat got your tongue?”

 

“I should’ve cut out yours when I had the chance.”

 

Cat opens up a portal and Raphael and Luke walk through it, Magnus staying behind to wait for Cat. She steps towards the portal, then leans in close to Asmodeus. “Oh, and if you try to come back to take him, I just want you to know that I know your weak spot.” She smiles and then waves. “Ta ta!” Then she and Magnus step through the portal.

 


 

When Magnus sees Alec, he’s asleep on the couch, gently snoring. He looks so peaceful that Magnus almost doesn’t want to wake him up. After a few seconds, he finally says loudly, “Alexander.”

 

Alec shoots up, eyes searching wildly around, and when his gaze lands on Magnus, Magnus can hear him gasp. “Magnus,” he breathes out, “How—you’re home.”

 

“Cat, Raphael, and Luke got me out.”

 

That’s all it takes for Alec to surge forward, stopping just short of reaching him. He holds his hand out, and he seems afraid that if he touches Magnus, that Magnus will disappear. Magnus grabs his hand, bringing it up to cup his cheek.

 

“I’m here. It’s me.”

 

Tears start pricking at the corner of Alec’s eyes and he hugs Magnus tightly, his head in the crook of Magnus’s shoulder. “God, I missed you so much. I—I can’t believe you’re here.”

 

Magnus smiles, then pulls back, kissing Alec’s cheek. “So, Luke and Maryse, huh?”

 

Alec smiles. “You got the letters.”

 

“Every single one. I memorized them all.”

 

A few minutes later, they’re laying in bed, talking about everything and nothing. How Jace had finished college and opened up a music shop. How Izzy was still in college to become a forensic pathologist. How Luke and Maryse had gotten married a few years ago. They even talk about the things that Magnus had went through in Edom, Alec listening intently and even hugging Magnus gently when Magnus starts to cry. It’s not long before they’re just laying together in silence, hand in hand—a peace surrounding them.

 

“I dreamt about you every night, you know.” Alec’s thumb is rubbing Magnus’s hand.

 

Magnus turns to him, quirking an eyebrow. “What’d I do in these dreams?”

 

There’s a light blush on Alec’s cheeks and Magnus laughs, using his elbow to support his weight as he lays his head on his hand. “Sex dreams, huh?”

 

Alec shrugs. “Six years is a long time to abstain from sex.”

 

Magnus smiles, leaning down to kiss him, his hand trailing down Alec’s chest. “How about we change that?”

 

Alec kisses back just as eagerly, pulling Magnus closer, pushing up his shirt so he can run his hands up and down Magnus’s back. It’s not long before their breathing gets heavy, Alec’s hands dropping lower until Magnus sits up quickly, hiding his face from Alec. He can feel Alec’s gaze of concern and shudders a little when Alec puts a comforting hand on his back. “Hey, what’s wrong?”

 

Magnus waves a hand, shaking his head. “Nothing. I just—”

 

He takes a deep breath, still hiding his face, but he can see Alec scooting closer to Magnus, but still at a distance to where he’s giving Magnus some space. “You can talk to me. I’m here.”

 

“Sometimes I lose control.” Magnus moves his hand away from his face, facing Alec with his cat eyes out. Imagining Alec’s reaction almost makes him want to hide his face again—his father’s words ringing in his head—but instead of a look of disgust, Alec’s eyes are full of wonder, keeping eye contact with Magnus.

 

He reaches a hand up slowly, giving Magnus time to move away, but Magnus doesn’t, holding his breath, wondering what Alec is going to do. When Alec’s hand makes contact with his cheek, Magnus lets loose the breath he was holding, sliding a hand up Alec’s arm to grip the hand on his cheek.

 

“They’re beautiful, Magnus. You’re beautiful.”

 

Magnus smiles and then he leans in to kiss Alec again, groaning when Alec ducks his head down and nips at Magnus’s neck instead. Alec gently pushes Magnus down into the covers, settling over him and then suddenly sitting up quickly, leaving the bed.

 

“I almost forgot! I need to do something first.”

 

“Something more important than sex?”

 

There’s a small smile on Alec’s face as he digs through the bedside drawer. When he finally finds what he’s looking for, he sits cross-legged on the bed, his hand closed, hiding whatever he’s holding.

 

“I hope that’s lube.”

 

Alec swats his hands away playfully. “It’s not lube; just wait a second.” He takes a breath, then opens his hand, revealing a beautiful golden wedding band. Magnus sits up in an instant, holding his breath at the sight of it. “Magnus Bane, ever since our first meeting, there has always been a connection between us. And even though we hadn’t seen each other for two years, you had written me letters and it was like you had never left. You were always in my thoughts and—and my mind—and I used to hate it until I realized I didn’t want you to leave. I’ve kept this ring for six years because the thought of a future with you was the only thing that kept me going. So,” he holds the ring out to Magnus, “will you marry me?”

 

Magnus’s hand shakes as he takes the ring from Alec, then he starts crying, hand coming up to cover his mouth. Alec comes closer, touching his cheek. “Hey, what’s wrong?”

 

Magnus shakes his head. “Nothing’s wrong, Alexander. I’m just happy .”

 

“I take it that’s a yes?”

 

Magnus smiles and surges forward, cupping the back of Alec’s head and kissing him deeply. “Yes.”

 

Alec smiles against his lips. “I could get used to kissing you forever.”

 

“Forever,” Magnus echoes, then he smiles. “Now can we have sex?”

 

Alec laughs, then yelps when Magnus flips them over, settling on top of Alec. Then he kisses him—kisses his neck—kisses his chest until every last star blinks out in the sky.