“MAGNUS BARTHOLOMEW BANE! WHY DOES CATARINA BELIEVE I’M DEAD?!”
Magnus sat bolt upright in bed, his wards pinging with the familiar touch of someone long gone, which meant they were in danger, because that wasn’t possible. Alec was already out of bed, grabbing the Seraph blade he kept under the bed and Magnus was striding towards the door of their bedroom, his magic clothing him in an instant.
“Magnus, wait,” Alec growled, stalking after him.
Magnus didn’t listen, couldn’t listen, because the familiar voice and shout had his skin crawling in horror and magic was already curling his fingertips, leaping to his bidding, ready to do whatever he demanded of it. He threw it at the other warlock, knocking away the shield that was hastily assembled in his anger, tightening red chords of power around the other warlock, forcing him to his knees.
“Magnus, what the hell do you think you are doing, let me go!”
Hearing Ragnor’s voice made his skin crawl and Magnus sucked in a hard breath. “Drop the glamour. I don’t know what you were hoping to accomplish barging in here, nor do I know how the hell you got through my wards-”
“Magnus, you’ve let me have wards entrance since we’ve been friends, what on earth are you-”
“Silence!” Magnus roared, fighting down the choking feeling threatening to swamp him. “Stop it, remove the glamour, or I’ll do it for you!”
Alec stepped closer, placing his seraph blade at the throat of the warlock kneeling in the middle of the loft, his eyes hard. “I suggest you do as he says, now. Then you’ll be coming with me.”
“What on earth, Magnus, it’s me, Ragnor!”
“How dare you,” Magnus hissed. “How dare you come here, wearing the face of my dead friend and pretend-”
“Dead? Magnus, I was never dead, what on earth are you going on about?” Ragnor snapped.
Magnus choked down a sob and tightened the magic around the other warlock. “Don’t mock me!” he shouted, blinking hard through the tears, his magic fluctuating wildly in color. “Don’t you dare mock me!”
Ragnor stared at Magnus, at one of his closest friends. “I helped you pick your last name,” he snapped, narrowing his eyes. “You were going by something, something trendy, and asinine and I told you to pick something timeless.”
Magnus’ magic flickered and his glamour dropped. “Stop, stop it,” he ordered.
“Do as he asks,” Alec said, pressing the blade tighter to the warlock’s throat. He leaned in and whispered. “You picked the wrong face to imitate. He held Ragnor as he died.”
Ragnor’s eyes widened and he focused on his friend. “Lilith’s hand, Magnus. You watched my decoy die? Why the hell didn’t you tell me that when I saw you days later?”
Alec’s attention snapped to Magnus. “You saw him?”
Magnus stared in shock, his magic loosening, his glamour still down. “I…he, he was dead. But, but there are ways to commune with the dead and I thought, when I was drunk, I had…”
“I was never dead, Magnus,” Ragnor said, keeping his voice soft. “In hiding? Yes. Especially when they came after me. I’d planned to lay low for a year, and then come find you and Catarina. I left the decoy there - bit of substitutional necromancy without an actual corpse, you’d find it fascinating and-”
“Magnus,” Alec said, tightening his hand on the blade, his eyes locked on his husband who was staring with wide eyes, starting to tremble. “Call Catarina. Is there a way for you to confirm it’s him?”
Magnus shook himself and turned to look at Alexander and then back to the warlock in front of him, stepping closer. “I…”
“Oh my dear friend,” Ragnor said, his voice quieting. “I conjured the ring you’re wearing on your middle finger - the one to match the other with your initial, because the jeweler you wanted to buy it from in Venice had passed away.”
Magnus hated that he trembled, that he wanted, more than anything else, to accept that Ragnor was here, that he was alive and in front of him. “How old was I when I met you?” he asked, his voice just as soft.
Ragnor smiled faintly. “The first time? You were nineteen, pretending to be well over two hundred. The second time, when we became friends? You were forty-seven.”
Magnus’ hands shook and he dropped the cords of magic around Ragnor, nodding to Alexander, watching him pull the blade away. His eyes were blurry and he cleared his throat, trying to think of something, of anything that he could say.
“I think we have a lot of catching up to do, Magnus,” Ragnor said, his eyes trailing over to the shadowhunter still watching him, though his posture was far less dangerous now. “Such as when in Lilith’s name did you shack up with a shadowhunter?”
Magnus started to laugh before he lifted his hand, showing Ragnor the Lightwood family ring on his finger. “Shacked up with, and am happily married to said shadowhunter. Who just happens to be Maryse Lightwood’s son, by the way.”
Ragnor’s eyes widened and he glanced between Magnus and the Lightwood boy. “You what?”
“I’m going to tell my mother you said that, Magnus,” Alec said, snorting. “Would you both like tea?”
“Yes please, darling. My usual, and Ragnor will have…?” Magnus raised an eyebrow.
Ragnor watched the Lightwood boy walk away from both of them and then turned back to Magnus. “I think I need something a little stronger than tea.”
Magnus smiled and waved towards his drink cart. “Help yourself, of course.”
Ragnor poured himself a drink quickly and took a long sip before turning to look at Magnus, downing it and pouring a second. “Tell me everything.”
“That…” Magnus exhaled, sinking into a chair. “Is going to take a while.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” Ragnor said, reaching out to squeeze Magnus’ knee. “Start with your shadowhunter.”
Magnus didn’t know how long they talked for, but he did appreciate that Alec didn’t hover. Even though he’s clearly tired, sipping his tea on the couch, far enough away to give them the illusion of privacy as he worked on his tablet, it made his heart ache in the best possible way.
Ragnor exhaled and leaned back in the chair, sipping his wine slowly. “You are the happiest I have ever seen you, Magnus.”
Magnus laughed and looked up at Ragnor, nodding. “I am happy, Ragnor. Truly happy. I took your advice and I’ve never regretted it, not for a moment.”
“I’m proud of you, Magnus.”
Magnus flushed and looked down at his hands. “I wish you could have been at the wedding.”
Ragnor gave a faint smile. “As do I. But we cannot change the past my friend, only move forward. Now,” he glanced to the side, raising his eyebrows. “Let me meet this shadowhunter of yours.”
“Alexander?” Magnus called.
Alec looked up and swiped his tablet shut, striding over to Magnus. “Yes? Do you need anything?”
Magnus reached out to take Alec’s hand, giving it a slow squeeze, breathing out hard, his heart too full. “I’d like you to meet one of my best friends, Alexander. Ragnor Fell. Ragnor, this is Alec Lightwood, Head of the New York Institute.”
Ragnor studied the boy in front of him, the way that he met his stare unflinchingly and he thought of the man who hadn’t hesitated to hold a blade to his throat to protect Magnus. He smiled faintly and offered his hand, nodding when the boy shook it firmly. “A pleasure to meet you.”
“Likewise,” Alec said with a smile. “Magnus has told me a lot about you.”
Ragnor’s eyes slid over to where Magnus was staring at them, practically radiating happiness. He snorted and rolled his eyes. “I’m sure almost all of it is wrong, so we’ll need to fix that immediately. But first, I think we all need sleep.”
Magnus blew out a hard breath. “I need to send a fire message to Catarina first.”
Ragnor chuckled. “So you do.”
Alec looked to Magnus. “Do you want me to leave the three of you to catch up?”
Magnus weighed that offer and took in Alec, seeing the sincerity in his eyes. “Would that be all right?”
Alec smiled and leaned in to kiss Magnus’ forehead. “Of course. I’ll sleep for a few more hours and then leave you to your catching up. I can bring home dinner for us all, maybe?”
Not for the first time, Magnus marveled at just how much Alexander loved him. “That sounds perfect, Alexander.”
Alec nodded again and kissed Magnus, soft and gentle. “Love you.”
“I love you too,” Magnus whispered, unable to say anything else in the face of Alec’s gentleness and love.
Ragnor watched Magnus as the shadowhunter left the both of them and headed back to the bedroom. He smiled faintly. “I might approve of him.”
Magnus’ eyes turned back to him in surprise and Ragnor lifted a finger. “Might.”
Magnus laughed, nodding with a grin. “I’ll take it.”