Actions

Work Header

The Hunter's Teacher

Work Text:

 

 


He remembers dying.

His Alexander standing only a few meters away, voice trembling as he spoke of the dreams they'd shared, the plans they'd made. His breath catches in his lungs, fighting to escape him, throat tight and in that moment, though he should be…

He isn't afraid.

In fact, peace had started to take hold of him, darkness encroaching upon him as his beloved's voice soothed his passing into the unknown. A tiny smile twitched its way across his lips,and he allowed his eyes to fall closed.

As Alexander's voice began to fade away, he could only hope that his lover would live on without him.

The more realistic part of him, however, knew that the notion was unlikely.

Very, very unlikely.


Agony .

Agony and the taste of copper draw him from Hades' cold embrace, every nerve in his body alight with a pain he'd never imagined possible. His blood boils beneath his skin, burning lungs that refuse to expand and wants to scream.

His lips refuse the notion, not responding to his commands, as do his eyes, which refuse to open.

However, he can hear.

A low, sinuous voice curses him, familiar and hateful.

Roxanna, his beloved's savage wife.

"This had better work," She snarled. "I refuse to allow my husband to wallow any longer."

Another voice responds, not a single lilt kinder than the first, and no less familiar.

"Why must we revive, him? I will not be able to kill him again. Not after this."

Bagoas, his king's whore.

And apparently, his murderer.

And many had questioned his decision not to trust the boy, dismissing his concern as jealousy.

"Without him, we will lose Alexander. Hephaestion is the only person that can help with what Alexander has become." She paused. "When will he wake?"

Bagoas growled in frustration. "I have never done this ritual, it is forbidden to disturb the dead. Says here he should be awake now."

"Well he isn't!"

Another wave of agony washed over him like the fires of Tartarus and he found himself glad it drowned out the conversation above him. Above him, Bagoas and Roxanna continued to argue, their voice growing in rage and fury before the ringing of steel reached his ears.

Then a choked gasp, and the warm scent of blood.

"Your services are no longer needed, Bagoas." Came Roxanna's cold voice and he felt something clench in his heart.

Although he wasn't fond of the boy, nor did he trust him, he was young. He didn't deserve to die in a tomb, no matter the fact the boy had poisoned him.

Killed him.

Dropping the body with little to no care, the woman turned to his unresponsive body and slapped him.

He barely felt the pain over the fires burning his veins.

"How dare you take him away from me." She snarled. "You selfish, foolish man."

He wants to yell back at her, snarl back that she had tried to take his Alexander from him first. That he had held his Achilles heart since boyhood and would never give it to her.

That he would be a selfish man as long as Alexander's love belonged to only him, as his own belonged to his King.

"He is dying, Hephaestion,"She whispered, anger giving way to pain and his unbeating heart went cold. "He is killing himself, driving himself further and faster than his body can take because he...he wants so bad to rejoin you in Hades. And there is nothing I can do to stop him."

The room, all stone walls and writhing shadows, went dark as she turned to leave, her parting words more painful than the agony burning him.

"I hope you're happy."

He wasn't.

He truly wasn't.


He lay in that tomb for days...burning.

With each passing moment, the burning slowly beginning to cool, and feeling began to return to his body.

First came his toes, curling as a way to express the pain that had been locked within him since he'd been dragged from his death.

Then his fingers, digging into the cold stone beneath him as his agony crested and waned.

His muscles followed clenching violently as they responded to his flaring nerves.

The just as the pain eased, he regained control of his lips, tongue, and vocal cords. A broken whimper of relief left his lips, even as his throat continue to ache.

Forcing his aching body up, he only had a single thing on his mind.

Alexander.

Stepping over Bagoas long dead, and rancid corpse, he stumbles from the tomb and toward the palace. Keeping to the shadows, he makes his way to his beloved's chambers, feeling his heart shatter when he finds him in a position so similar to the one he'd been in that day, what felt like a lifetime ago.

Short sunfire curls were matted to his flushed face, eyes glazed with fever as a single tear escaped him.

Yet he was still the most beautiful this he'd ever seen.

"My Sun," He breathed, taking a seat at his love's bedside, and Alexander jerks as if someone had stabbed him. Then his lips curl into a sweet smile, one Hephaestion hadn't seen since the early days of their conquest.

"My Phai, you came for me as I knew you would," He coughed and Phai felt his heart scream as he saw the speckled blood left behind by the motion.

"Always, my Xander. Always." Something wet left his eye, too hot to be a tear, but he cared not. All he knew was his lover was dying and he was powerless to stop it.

His king flinched at the sight of his pain, a trembling hand mirroring the action his own had taken in the reverse as it cupped his cheek and thumbed away the tear.

A tear of blood .

What had Bagoas and Roxanna done to him?

He wanted to jerk away, hide the monster they had undoubtedly created of him, but Alexander would have none of it.

"Don't cry for me, my love. I do not deserve your tears." He coughed once more. "I- before you died, I treated you horribly. Many a time, I took the love you gave so freely and offered so little of myself in return. I- I have oft wondered if your death were a punishment, a reminder from the gods."

Hephaestion whimpered, pain lancing through his heart in a way eerily similar to that he'd only just escaped. "Do not say such things. You, you are my world. I-"

"Shh," Alexander cooed, voice sweet like honey and he could do nothing but obey, watching those fever bright two-toned eyes soften.

"I do not say this for you to argue them in my favor. I have had many a day to ponder my actions. My Moonlight, I am so sorry, for everything. My heart has always been yours even when my body has strayed." His beloved's breathing grew weaker, heartbeat beginning to slow and a fog of numbness began to creep over the chiliarch.

"Please, Alexander, you must rest. You are stronger than this." He pled, trying to hold back the inevitable.

The blonde huffed at his words, two-toned eyes slowly falling shut. "Even now, you do as you can to comfort me, but you do not lie to me." His breathing stuttered. "I love you, My Hephaestion. Thank you, for ensuring I do not fall alone."

"I would never." He replied, biting back a sob. "I love you just as much, My Alexander." He kissed him, feeling his very being falling to pieces as the body beyond his own fell still and silent.

Strong arms curl around his king's limp form, a scream building behind his teeth and he had to get away.

A knock sounded at the door. "Alexander?"

Ptolemy.

Placing another kiss on his love's lips, he slipped the ring he'd gifted him on his wedding night and the twin to the necklace around his neck, placing them on his own form.

"Sleep well, beloved. I will find my way to you soon."

He's gone before Ptolemy can open the door.


When the empire his beloved built fall in the months after his death, he is ultimately unsurprised.

Angry.

Furious, really, but unsurprised.

Too many of his love's companions were ambitious and he'd heard many a whisper in the dark of Alexander's palace of the envies of being a king. He'd killed men, silently in his king's shadow, men his Sun had never known were plotting his death and felt not a thing for it.

But these men.

They had masked themselves as his Alexander's friends, his most faithful, then after his death killed his family and destroyed his legacy.

He wants to kill them.

He doesn't.

Instead, he watches them destroy themselves, leaving just after the library his love had built at their shared loved of literature was burned to the ground.


Afterwards, he turns his focus to the monster Roxanna and Bagoas had turned him into.

He is strong, stronger than men have any right to be, able to crush stone beneath his finger as it were me sticks.

Fast, moving as if he were light or water, sometime invisible to the naked eye.

And…

His heart doesn't beat.

His lungs don't expand, no breath fueling their motion.

The shadows move with him, twisting to his command and comforting in much the same way they had been during his human life.

Then there is his healing.

Despite having to live on human blood, it is the fast healing of his new body that irks him the most.

The healing thwarts his every plan to join Alexander in Hades, viens healing seconds after being sliced open, drowning endlessly as he had no need to breath,

Healing repeatedly in a constant loop of agony as his body burns on a pyre.

It takes him sixty years, and over one thousand suicide attempts to accept that he wouldn't die.

He pleads with Hades for his forgiveness, and wishes his Alexander a happy afterlife, then…

He mourns.

He mourns his life, his death, and the peace that was stolen from him.

The lover, King that had taken his heart with him into Hades' depths.

The fall of the empire his Alexander had worked so hard to build and that he had worked so hard to keep thriving.

He mourns the loneliness he knows will follow his mourning and the sadness his Alexander would feel at the ice that would take its place where his heart had been.


He, for lack of better word, drifts for a century or two...time having no meaning to him as it passes by. Empires rise and fall, some coming close to his lover's masterpiece, others falling so very short.

His Alexander's name is immortalized, remembered for his greatness and his battle prowess and he feels something tighten within him whenever he hears of the greatness of his Alexander.

Centuries pass.

Those he once knew pass on and he wanders the lands, a relic of a time long passed. He travels and he learns, picking up languages and fighting styles, histories and cultures. He learns and creates, anything to ignore the all encompassing emptiness he feels.

But he keeps to himself and he...grows stronger. His control of the shadows becomes such, that they are an extension of himself, joining with another than he found slightly ironic.

The ability to control water and ice.

His lover had always told him that his rage burned cold, his temperament, though unknown to others, as ever changing as the seas tides.

It fits.


Just at the turn of the millenia, he hesitantly opens his heart once more.

He turns a child he finds dying near the grassy forests of his cottage.

The boy lives and for a short while, the emptiness is abated.

He teaches his charge the history of the world, of what they are, how to fight and survive.

He comes to love him, his little Julian. The child grows and for nearly a century they live in peace.

He isn't happy, he wouldn't be until once more rejoined with his Alexander...but he is content.

Then, shortly after the 102nd anniversary of Julian's turning, his childe leaves for a hunt with a hunting party from the nearby village, having grown fond of the humans living there.

The party never returned.

Hephaestion finds them days later, slaughtered mercilessly the stench of sulfur and the aura of a Greater Demon in the air.

He flees, closing off his heart once, more after screaming his grief into the night air.

He resolves not to open it again.

He is successful...for over two thousand years he is successful…

Until he isn't.


Shadowhunters.

The police of the downworld, children of the Judeo-christian god's angels and humans.

In the four-hundred years since he'd settled in the New World, he had managed to stay beneath their radar, as well as the notice of his fellow "downworlders".

His cottage was settled in a forest on the outskirts of brooklyn, a tiny stream running through it, and he's managed to ward it tight enough to keep it hidden from all but himself. Therefore, he'd been stunned when, during one of his nightly walks, he happened upon a a young shadowhunter lying in the stream only a short walk from his home.

The child, a male, was young, only ten summers or so, and covered in deep bruises and lacerations, his breathing laborious and strained. His hair, though matted with blood, was the dark color of raven's wings, pale skin only barring a single rune.

'Deflect.'

Ah, a recruit then.

Waving his hand slightly, he gestured for the stream water to come forward and clean the boy's injuries, then stood carrying the boy inside.

Once there, he began to wrap the child's wounds, settling him on a pile of blankets before his fireplace. Then, he began cooking dinner, wonder just who the child was, and how he'd gotten so injured.

When the child wakes, nearly an hour later, he freezes.

He knows those eyes.

Two toned, one hazel, the other tinged blue, he...he can't breathe.

Long has passed since he'd needed air, yet his lungs burned fiercely in response, heart clenching with a pain he hadn't let himself feel in years. Still, he steels his nerves and moves forward.

"Hello Child, how do you feel?"

The boy glared him, all the mulish attitude of youth. "Who are you? Where am I?"

"I am Phai. I found you unconscious in the stream last night while I was on my walk. How, pray tell, did you come to be here?"

His guest pursed his lips, looking down at his hands. "I...I was arguing with my dad. He got mad and hit me so I ran away, but something attacked me. I killed it, but lost my bow and my stele in the process."

Something clenched in his long dead heart and he sighed, passing the boy some food. "Eat, then rest. I shall deliver you to the institute come morning."

Sending him a slightly suspicious glance, the child did as bid, then held out a hand. "M'names Alexander, but everyone calls me Alec. Thank you for saving me, Phai."

Hephaestion smiled, ruffling the puppy soft hair on the boy's head.

"It was no problem. Sleep well, little hunter."

Turning he exited the room before the ice guarding his heart could truly begin to soften.

Something in him whispered that it was too late to do so.


A storm strikes the city in the late hours of the night, torrential rains pouring down well into the afternoon of the next day, so he is unable to return the child to his home.

Instead, he feeds the boy, and regals him in the tales of the Old Gods, the mighty Olympians. He tells him of the ways they were worshipped in the days of his youth, of fighting many a battle in their favor, and watches as awe-filled honeyed eyes hang on his every word.

Alexander, he learns is a quiet, but studious boy and as the storm rages beyond the walls of his cottage, he feels his long dead heart warm as the Olympians story moves on to his beloved's precious Iliad.

The wonder in his charge's gaze grows, and his lips curl into a vivid but sad smile. "One day, I will find my own Patroclus." He whispers, and Phai feels his heart ache.

Still, he smiles, noting as the story winds down that the rain had eased. "You shall," His voice softens, "but remember, Patroclus dies first."

Alexander's grin turns fierce, determined. "Then I'll avenge him and follow him into death."

The answer is so much like the one his love had given so long ago that he laughs. "So long as he is willing to do the same for you."

He stood, gathering the dishes they'd been using for tea and cookies.

"Come, it is time to return you to your home, young hunter."

His charge's lips turn down into a saddened expression. "But- but I...Can I come back?"

He should deny him.

He should turn the boy away, knowing the result of when he'd last opened his heart.

He doesn't.

Some part of him, masochistic in its loneliness, had enjoyed telling the child stories, had enjoyed teaching him the lessons of his youth.

Had enjoyed the company.

So, he nods in acquiescence to the child's request and before he can think on it any longer, he bundles the child into a warm cloak and leads him out into the cool dark of the evening.

Their journey to the institute is nearly silent, and once they arrive, the boy hugs him as if he'd never see him again.

It kindles a paternal warmth in his chest.

"Thank you, Phai. For everything."

He smiled, running a gentle hand through his dark hair. "It is no problem, Alexander. Rest well child."

He nodded pulling away.

"Goodnight Phai. See you tomorrow." He responds before slipping into the gates of the institute and disappearing from view. Once he was gone, Phai vanished into the darkness, a tiny smile curling across his lips even as doubt spurns in his heart.

Tomorrow.

It had been so long since he'd looked forward to the arrival of the next day, that he'd forgotten how wonderful it felt.

The next morning, Alexander arrives at his door in the early hour of the morning armed with a bow and a quiver of arrows. "What do you know about archery?"

The elder man smiled, and from there, their relationship flourished.


He taught the child to master his bow as if he were one with it, then his daggers just the same. He told him of the legends that his own teacher had told him and his Achilles. He taught him the ways of the Old Gods, the hymns and prayers he hadn't heard since before the age of the romans.

Alexander, an ever faithful student, absorbed it all and adapted it, learning Macedonian Katas and Persian stances as if he were any recruit. He sang the hymns of Old with him as he worked, sometimes helping Phai in the gardens around the cottage.

He learned and he grew, so similar to his namesake, yet so different . Where his beloved had been bold, outgoing, the young shadowhunter was more to Phai's own likeness, one who would rather be in the shadows than the spotlight. He was a leader, but not proud and bordering arrogance as his lover, but was just as fierce.

Just as intelligent and stubborn.

It made him ache to think it.

The child was a perfect mixture of them both, almost as if he'd been born of their loins and the flames of paternal warmth within his chest seemed eager to acknowledge the claim even as he fought it.

He found himself, begrudgingly opening the heart he closed to the world after the death of his fledgling, the young raven nestling in firmly beside the scar left behind by his death.

He watched as the boy grew from an innocent child, to a heartbroken, lovestirken teen. Then to a proud but humble man.

He was there when the boy, twelve summers then, returned from killing his first demon, and getting his first rune, tears in his eyes as he sobbed for the loss of life.

He was there when, at thirteen summers, the boy admitted with shame in his voice and pain in his eyes that he fancied the flesh of men rather than that of women and that he was in love with his parabatai, a shadowhunter by the name of Jace. He'd listened as the boy sobbed brokenly at the revelation, certain the blond would never love him back.

At fifteen summers when he came to him, broken and beaten at the hands of the shadowhunters that dared to call themselves his parents, after they'd discovered his interest in males. As he screamed his pain to the world, and raged against its hatred.

At sixteen summers, when he'd found that the boy bore a crush on him, and explained that his heart belonged to only one Alexander, and that he saw him as a son. Holding him through the rejection and soothing his aching heart.

At eighteen, when he'd become the head of the institute, and pled with him to be his spymaster as he had for his own Alexander all those years ago. When he'd told him that of all other persons in his life he trusted him the most.

He'd slipped into the shadows after that, keeping his contact to his child, but rekindling connections and building a web the likes of which he hadn't since the fall of his beloved's empire.

He watched as his child did as he had once advised, keeping one skill blatant and obvious while keeping others hidden as a trump against the enemy. Being the best but not flaunting it.

He watched, feeding him information, executing traitors and would-be assassins and for the first time since the days of old, felt as if he had purpose again.

He could only pray that it last, for nothing would keep him from Hades' embrace should it crumble beneath him.


Alexander Gideon Lightwood was well aware of what the world thought of him.

What those closest to him thought of him.

He was the golden child of the Lightwood family, strict in his dealings with downworlders until recently, and the obedient son. He was innocent in the ways of the world, able to kill demons but unwilling to dirty his hands otherwise. He was an archer first and foremost, subpar with blades but not lacking with the staff.

He knew, his siblings saw him as the goody-goody two shoes, always willing to follow his parents orders even at cost of his own personal feelings, They thought he hated downworlders, other than Magnus and that Jace was his first (and only male crush).

He knew every whisper that surfaced behind his back, the way that the clave praised his diligence but lamented his sexuality and choice in companion.

Oh, if only they knew.

If only they knew that he'd known of Valentine's return before Clary's appearance. That he knew the name of every single member of the circle, every face, and faction. That he had contingencies in place for every plan, for every attempt on his lip. He had ties to underworlds, both in the shadow world and the mundane realm and knew the name of every leader in the shadow realm, from Fae to warlocks, even if they'd never seen his face.

Better, he wondered what they would say if they knew his most trusted wasn't Jace or Izzy, but a downworlder, a vampire older than even Magnus' Ragnor Fell.

He chuckled at the thought, knowing without it being said what the man would say to that. "So much like my Achilles, you are, my sky."

It was his teacher's favorite expression whenever he did something that likened him to his namesake, the greatest mundane commander the world had ever known.

As a child, he'd loved listening to his teacher's tales of the Great Alexander, of his battles and victories, his dreams and ambitions. He loved hearing of the man so safely ensconced in Phai's heart he'd become immortal despite being long dead, gripping the vampire's heart even now, long after his death.

As he grew older, however, he grew slightly embittered toward him, able to hear the pain the man had caused his teacher during their life together even if his Phai never said as such. During some of the stories, his eyes would darken with a dull but remembered pain, lips twisting down briefly before being forced into a careful smile.

Sometimes, he wondered if Phai knew that he learned to mask his own emotions by watching his face during those stories.

"Careful, that looks like it hurts," came a voice, pulling him from his thoughts and he glanced up from his desk to find Izzy watching him with a worried expression, lips curled into a small teasing smile.

He rolled his eyes. "What do you need, Iz?"

Her dark eyes grew serious in an instant. "Magnus is here. Lilith was spotted near Hotel Dumort, along with a Greater demon."

He straightened. "Do we know why?"

She shook her head. "No, Simon and Raphael are here as well. Raphael says that there has been whispers of a spider in the shadows, although he refused to elaborate. Said there wasn't enough information."

Alec bit back a smile, knowing exactly who she spoke of, but daring not speak a word of it. He would leave his teacher to his work, unless he absolutely needed him out of the shadows. "Has there been any progress on how to defeat her?"

He asked standing and following her from the room. She sighed.

"No. Clary and Jace know something more than they are telling, but neither are saying anything."

He nodded, his gaze automatically finding Magnus as he entered the mission's room. The warlock smiled at him, but there was a tension in his shoulders that spoke of unpleasant news.

"Magnus, what's wrong?"

The man sighed. "I know who the greater demon working with Lilith is."

"How?" Clary asked blinking and his lover looked away, shoulders curling in on themselves.

"He is my father."

Alec's eyes widened. Asmodeus was one of the higher princes of Hell and when teamed with Lilith, he was more powerful than ever. If they didn't find a way to defeat them, he would have to go against the promise he'd made to himself, and to Phai's Alexander to keep his teacher from the sight of the Clave.

Straightening his shoulders he nodded decisively, squeezing his lover's shoulder gently. "We need to get to Hotel Dumort. Check if there is anything there that could give us a hint as to what we are looking for. Clary, Magnus, when we return we need to figure this out."

Dread pooled low in his stomach, ice trickling down his spine and something told him that the night would end in a way he would never forget.


There was nothing there.

For whatever reason, there was nothing that could lead to Lilith's motives in Hotel Dumort, nor Asmodeus', although Magnus whispered otherwise. He speculated that his father had been looking to use Raphael against him, aware of the strong paternal bond Magnus shared with the vampire.

As the walked back, Alec looked up at the moon, wondering where his own father figure had vanished to. He hadn't heard from the man in nearly a week, the longest they'd gone without contact since they'd met all those years ago.

He was worried.

More so than he'd been when the man had slipped into deep cover within Valentine's ranks, his age making it easier for him to play to being a shadowhunter.

Than he'd been when he'd found the man, late one evening, staring at the fires in the hearth with a dark longing in his eyes, voice low and mournful as he sang for the love he'd lost so long ago.

How can I say this without breaking?

How can I say this without taking over?

How can I put it down into words,

when it's almost too much for my soul alone?

I loved, and I loved and I lost you

I loved, and I loved and I lost you

I loved, and I loved and I lost you

And it hurts like hell

Yeah, it hurts like hell

I don't want them to know the secrets.

I don't want them to know the way I loved you.

I don't think they'd understand it, no.

I don't think they would accept me, no

His teacher's voice had broken before he could finish, bloody tears streaming down his cheeks and it had been all he could do, to pull the sobbing man into his arms and let his heart breath with him.

His eyes watered in remembrance of that day, but he blinked the tears away, humming the tune softly under his breath as he remembered the pure grief in the words as his Master had sang them.

A gentle hand curled around his arm, and he leaned into it, knowing without glancing that it was his own lover. Before he could speak, a blur of motion raced towards them, knocking him to the ground and pinning him. He nearly flinched before he realized that he knew the body above his, those long brunette waves and lithe frame, though it was covered in blood.

The frame that was entirely too limp to be conscious.

"Phai?"

He sat up, gently shifting until the older man lay cradled in his arms, as his siblings crowded around curiously. There was something dark in Magnus' eyes, something dark and jealous, and for all that he wanted to reassure his love, the man in his arms was more important.

His heart stopped.

Blood coated his teacher, lacerations staining his skin and stained black with the ichor of demons. The blue eyes he'd known so well were closed, even as black blood escaped their owner's lips.

"Phai!" He screamed, knowing the terror in his voice alone, would wake the man. Sure enough the man jolted away, crying out as he jostled his wounded body.

"My star," He rasped, fighting to sit up. "Where-"

"Just beyond the gates of the institute. What happened?"

Phai grunted, sitting up. "I found the demon that killed Julian. I killed it."

Alec glared at him, helping him to his feet. "And nearly yourself, asshole!" He snapped. "What am I supposed to do if you died, Phai?"

His teacher's blue eyes turned themselves onto him, deadly serious. "Live. Do not follow me as my Sun did, child. I am not your Patroclus."

"No, but you are my teacher. And I still have much to learn...so be careful. Please, Phai."

Jace cut in before the man could respond. "Who the hell are you?" He turned to Alec. "Are you cheating on Magnus, dude?"

Magnus flinched at the words and Alec glared at them all. "Phai is my teacher. No, I'm not sleeping with him. I would never cheat on Magnus."

His lover smiled, gaze softening before they turned on the injured man, partially leaning on the head of the New York Institute. "How do you know Alexander?"

"I saved him after he almost drowned in the creek near my home, many years ago."

Alec blushed. "Didn't almost drown, stop exaggerating, Phai."

His teacher chuckled, ruffling his hair despite his best attempts to stop him. "So much like my Achilles, you are my star."

He huffed, before frowning as his teacher let out a pained grunt, noting the darkened veins around the man's eyes.

"Have you eaten?"

His teacher looked away. "Perhaps we shall enter your institute, dearest one. I have much to tell you."

The shadowhunter's jaw clenched stubbornly but he obeyed, not seeing the looks his family and friends shared between then as he led Phai inside.


It was the song that had spiked his concern.

A low, desolate melody, full of remembered grief spilling from his lover's lips.

I loved and I loved and I lost you

The words had haunted him, pulling him to his Alexander's side, only for the man to be wrenched from his arms when a lean but muscular body crashed into them.

He'd readied his magic to attack, hearing weapons being drawn but Alexander had frozen, then sat up a frantic gleam in his features as he rearranged the man in his arms.

A man, who, even covered in blood, was beautiful. Long chestnut waves fell down his back, skin bronzed under the blood, body lithe and well built under the black cotton pants that clung to them and the tight tanned shirt. His neck was long, but slender, twin pendants hanging there, with one of the worn leather cords holding an old ring as well.

His lips were pursed in pain, fresh shaven jaw clenched and by the darkened veins near his eyes, he knew what the man was even before those haunting ice colored eyes flew open in response to a terrified cry from Alexander.

His heart sank in his chest as they spoke, even more so when Jace questioned their relationship, but it warmed when Alexander refuted the claim that they were lovers.

Instead, he watched as they bickered, the man's eyes softening in a way similar to the way his own did around Raphael, his own adopted child.

Following the pair into the Institute, he couldn't help but wonder how long they'd know each other and how-if the looks shared by Isabelle and the others was correct- he'd managed to hide it from them.

When they entered the missions room, Alexander was settling the vampire into a chair, his familiar scowl of frustration present as the man continued to refuse medical help.

Amusement danced in his companion's eyes, one scarred cheek uplifted slightly as the younger badgered him to let them removed the ichor from his wounds.

"I have bled them and treated them, Alexander. The remainder is draining as we speak, there is no need for such dire-"

"Phai, you were unconscious and you haven't eaten in Zeus knows how long. Please, Πατέρα."

'Phai's' eyes softened and he finally nodded in acquiescence. "As you wish, my sky."

Sending him a grateful smile, Alexander turned to Magnus, who'd been watching the exchange curiously. "Can you heal him, Mags? Please?"

He nodded and did as his lover asked of him, watching as the newcomer's eyes darkened with each brush of his magic. Once healed, the man nodded curtly to him.

"Thank you, High Warlock Bane. And you have my condolences."

He blinked. "I'm sorry?"

"You are the son of the demon Asmodeus, correct, child?"

His breath caught in his throat. "I-yes."

"Then, I apologize. For the demon I killed tonight was your father."

He stared at the man stunned, while Alec whirled around to face his guest. "You took on a Prince of Hell, alone?!"

Phai turned to the angry shadowhunter and nodded. "He was targeting you, to get to his son. His sighting at the Hotel Dumort was to lure you there, however, I arrived while you were meeting here and neutralized him." He reached forward, cupping the man's cheek as if he were a small child.

"You are my number one priority, child. If anything were to happen to you, I would join my Alexander in Hades' embrace and nothing would stop me."

Alec deflated. "I know, Πατέρα. I know. He would be so angry with you."

Phai shrugged and Magnus got the feeling that they weren't talking of his lover. "He would be, but hypocrisy is not a trait he is fond of so he would get over it. He rushed to join me when Bagoas killed me, as I did he when he fell the night of my awakening."

Izzy cut in, frowning at the man before them.

"You're a vampire? When did you meet my brother?"

Alec sighed. "Remember the night I went missing, when I was ten? I was gone all day until I came home on the night of the second day."

"Yeah, you started sneaking out after that. Mom and Dad were pissed, especially because you wouldn't tell them where you were going. You started missing training sessions, but never fell behind so they stopped badgering about it, at least until Jace became your parabatai."

"The night I went missing, dad was angry because I was defeated in a spar. We argued and he hit me so I ran away. I told myself I would never come back, but then as I neared the stream a lesser demon attacked me. I killed it but my stele and my bow were lost in the process. Phai found me and healed me before bringing me home. I liked it there, and there was something lonely about him so I kept going back." His lips curled into a warm smile. "Plus he has the best stories."

Phai chuckled. "I aim to please, young hunter. And yes, Isabelle, I am a vampire."

"How old are you?" Clary asked. "I mean, Magnus is over 400 years old and you called him a kid. So how-"

Something dark and lonely entered the man's gaze, something Magnus was intimately acquainted with.

The burden of immortality.

Grief and loneliness.

"I am many centuries Warlock Bane's senior, older than even the Clave and your Silent Brothers."

Raphael's eyes widened as if something had clicked in his mind. "You are the Phai of old. Hephaestion Amyntor, Alexander's Chiliarch."

Magnus froze, heart aching for the man before him, when those eyes darkened with a grim humor.

"I am."

Clary glanced between them, lost, as did Izzy, while Jace's eyes went wide."Who?"

Simon swallowed deeply. "He is the second in command of Alexander the Great. The ruler of the Macedonian empire."

"Legend says you died before he did, though." Jace murmured.

Alec, shot his teacher a worried look, but it was waved off. "I did. His eunuch poisoned me. However, when he and my Xander's wife realized he would rather join me in Hades' embrace than continue on, they dragged me from my death and cursed me with Immortality. My Alexander died the day I awakened from the turn. Had it not been for Alexander and this accursed immortality I would've joined him millenia ago."

He shrugged, tucking a lock of chestnut hair behind his ear. "I am a shadowmaster, so I have given my life to my star and keeping those he cares for safe."

"You will outlive him, Raphael pointed out, softly, and Magnus flinched at the reminder.

Hephaestion did not. "I won't."

He assured before clapping. "Ah yes, the woman Lilith. She was working with Asmodeus as well as another. I have managed to find the ritual that was used to banish her, as well as one thought to kill her."

Alec grinned at him. "What do we need to do?"

The chiliarch smirked.


In the end, the defeat of Lilith was almost anti-climatic.

Clary draws a rune and draws on everything within her, killing the demoness for good and injuring herself. Magnus healed her and things finally began to settle.

He'd managed to keep everyone from saying a word about Hephaestion, who'd slipped back into the shadows following Lilith's defeat, and now, after almost two years of constant fighting, things were calming down.

"You're thinking pretty hard." Came his warlock's voice and he sighed.

"I was thinking about Phai. He's beginning to fade away."

His teacher was slipping back into the lonely depression he'd been in when he'd found him, denying himself the blood his body needed, his eyes dark and listless. He still worked to keep them safe, but it seemed to be his only purpose.

And he knew why.

Alexander was calling his Patroclus to him from the great beyond.

Calling him back into Hades' embrace. It hurt.

Magnus hummed. "Eternity, is forever lonely when all that you love goes before you do. I pray that I do not live you, my love. I am not strong like your teacher, I will follow you."

Alec shuddered, leaning in close, knowing even without speaking that he would do the same. Still he sent up a prayer to the gods of old that his teacher and his lover be reunited even if it hurt him.

As he and Magnus turned to go inside, they missed the twinkle star that shot across the sky, or the soft echo of laughter that followed them.

Thousands of miles away, a heart restarts, lungs inhale, and dual toned eyes fly open, a single word on their owner's lips.

A name.

Hephaestion.

~FIN