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Taking Pages from Other Histories

Chapter Text

It started when Tessa Gray found a copy of the 27th Edition of the Shadowhunter’s Codex on her table, bookmark in the middle, but towards the end.

Out of curiosity, she opened it.

“At heart, though, the Nephilim’s and the Downworlders’ aims have aligned. We have all wanted peace. Everyone has, at root, wanted peace. Until the Circle.

“Hodge Starkweather, the only son of a long-standing Nephilim family, and his followers disrupted the Accords.”

Tessa read, eyes barely registering what was before her: A Codex from a world where Hodge Starkweather had led the Circle, and Valentine Morgenstern had defeated him.

As it turned out, 57 copies of The Shadowhunter’s Codex from Timeline 2, as it was dubbed, had mysteriously appeared around the world at various Institutes and in the possession of several Downworlders.

In the days and weeks following, more Codexes and other history books from other timelines found their way into the timeline Tessa knew.

In researching what was causing the arrival of these histories, Tessa and Jem found themselves in New York.

Tessa had wanted to go to New York with Jem, show him what left of what she remembered, and discover all that was new, but after Jocelyn’s wedding, they’d, unfortunately, had gotten caught up in so much else that they hadn’t had the time to just relax.

Of course, Tessa mused, was there ever a time where she truly got to do what she wanted?


Tessa pulls her jacket close to her as she walks briskly towards the New York Institute, trying in vain to keep out the November chill.

The Council knew they’d be needing a lot of help to solve what was going on, considering no one had any ideas or leads, so Alec and Magnus had packed up and moved to the Institute to make room for the investigation, for the time being.

Though, with the amount of information they’d found so far, Tessa is pretty sure “for the time being” could turn out to be a very long time indeed.

Tessa walks into the Institute, sighing to herself as she takes off her jacket. She’d gone on a walk to clear her mind. It seems like despite collecting the books and studying the circumstances of their appearances for nearly a month now, they were no closer to discovering what was happening.

Of course, that didn’t mean they didn’t have theories, but it didn’t help there wasn’t much to go on, just categorizing timelines and occurrences.

Well, that, and fighting demons.

A trill by her feet shakes Tessa from her thoughts.

Church looks up at her, eyes wide.

“Well, you seem in a good mood,” she murmurs to the cat. “Are you in a good enough mood to take me to Jem?”

“No need. I’m right here.”

Tessa doesn’t even bother trying to stop the smile forming on her face as she looks up at him. “One might argue that Church did help me find you, but you just happened to be in the room already.”

Jem smiles. “I do think that is the argument that the cat would make.”

Tessa reaches out to take Jem’s hand, and they begin the upwards trek to the office. “Anything new while I was out?”

Jem shakes his head. “Clary and Simon left to answer a call about some Ravener demons, but other than that, there’s been not much.”

Tessa sighs. “So then I’m assuming Jace and Isabelle are in sour moods?”

Jem shrugs. “Maybe. But they ordered food, so once it arrives, I’m sure it will lift their spirits.”

“I think it will lift everyone’s spirits,” Tessa agrees.

They enter the office and are greeted by stacks and stacks of papers. At the center, Magnus and Alec sit in front of each other, studying paperwork intensely. Off to the side, Jace and Isabelle are throwing pencils into a jar and bickering. Only Magnus looks up at Tessa and Jem, briefly, before returning to whatever he is reading.

Tessa sits next to him. “Anything?”

He shakes his head. “I have no clue what we’re looking at here. It could be anything.”

“Like a demon curse,” Alec murmurs.

Magnus gives him a pointed stare.

“It is,” Alec continues, sighing, “the prevailing theory, despite how much we might not like it.”

Jem frowns. “A curse? On the whole planet? There are very few demons who would have that kind of power.”

Magnus scowls into his reading. “Thank you for reminding us, James.”

The room falls silent as Jem crosses his arms, pencils hitting glass being the only sound.

Tessa looks between everyone, trying to figure out what to say to break the tension. Luckily, the doorbell rings downstairs.

“Takeout,” Isabelle says. “I’ll get it.”

Tessa sighs, thankful for a chance to leave. “I’ll go get the children.”

“I think most of them are in Dru’s room, watching a movie, though Julian and Emma are still out, Mina is already in bed, and Kit and Ty might be training,” Jem says, smiling at her.

Tessa kisses the top of his head as she leaves.

Dru’s room is, unsurprisingly, a mess. Candy and chip wrappers are piled on the floor, and five glassy pairs of eyes stare at a projection on the wall playing Frozen.

“Well, I hope you all still have an appetite after all that snacking,” Tessa says.

No one acknowledges her.

Sighing, she grabs the remote and pauses the movie.

“Why would we need to have an appetite?” Ty asks as the others blink their way back to the present.

“Dinner is here.”

“Ugh, fucking finally,” Kit replies.

“Kit! Watch your language in front of the children,” Tessa scolds.

“But Papa says fuck all the time,” Rafe murmurs.

“See!” Kit exclaims.

Tessa makes a face. “Well, that doesn’t mean you should be using it,” she replies.

Kit grumbles, standing up. “Are Julian and Emma back yet?”

Tessa shakes her head.

“They texted,” Dru replies, checking her phone as she stands. 

“When?” Ty asks.

Dru shrugs. “‘Bout half an hour ago, looks like. Said they’d be back soon.”

“Well, that’s good news,” Tessa says as she begins herding them out of the room. “By the way, Kit, Ty, you’re helping Dru clean the room after dinner.”

The three of them all stare at Tessa, looking ready to complain.

“No, don’t start,” she says. “You helped make the mess, you have to help clean.”

Dru smirks a little. “At least I don’t have to do it on my own.”

“Shut the fuck up,” Ty grumbles.

“Language,” she replies mockingly.

Tessa chuckles a little under her breath, as they walk into the dining room.

True to their text to Drusilla, Emma and Julian are back, as are Simon and Clary. The younger pair laugh amongst themselves, while Simon helps Isabelle set up everything on the table.

“God, I didn’t realize I was so hungry,” Dru murmurs.

“Well, it is like almost 9 pm,” Kit replies.

Tessa lifts her eyebrows. She hadn’t realized it was so late.

Everyone seats themselves around the table, dispersing the food and talking amongst themselves.

Tessa was right - the food did lift everyone’s moods.

“I think,” she says, “this might be the sign that we should take a break for the night.”

“Hm, maybe,” Magnus says. “That does sound like a good idea, I’ll give you that.”

Alec chuckles next to him. “Sounds like a lot more than a good idea. Sounds like a great idea.”

Tessa smiles as she leans against Jem next to her.

“I think,” Jem says, smiling, “it sounds like an excellent idea.”

Chapter Text

They had not followed through on their excellent idea.

The younger adults had gone to bed, or at least to their rooms, and the children were asleep, leaving the adults to resume their research.

Jem is perfectly content to let Tessa lean on him as she takes notes on the circumstances of the appearances of a few history books from uncategorized timelines. To his right sits Simon and Isabelle, quietly debating whether or not Timeline 360 and 63 were the same or not. To his and Tessa’s left are Magnus and Alec; Magnus lazily leafing through a random Codex, and Alec writing reports for the Clave. Across the table, Jace and Clary are whispering to themselves, making a map of recent demon attacks in the area.

Jem sighs as he looks at the Codex in his hand. A twenty-third edition, the first one he helped write. It feels like such a long time ago now. He checks the sticky note for the timeline: 986.

A chill runs down his spine. Not all the timeline numbers were significant, but this one was.

He had been there when a copy appeared in Tessa’s hand.

Curiosity had overcome them both, but it hadn’t taken long to both be filled with horror instead.

For how else do you react to learning there is a timeline where you lost so badly, so much, and to know that you were so close to being that timeline?

Tessa had chosen the number for its resemblance to the Dark Sisters’ Ouroboros symbol.

He sets the Codex down gently, tight-lipped.

Tessa looks at the book, then at him, concern in her eyes.

Unfortunately, she isn’t the only one who notices.

“What’s that one?” Magnus asks, picking it up.

“A good reminder that we are only one mistake away from the kind of darkness that we only see in our worst nightmares,” Jem replies quietly.

Magnus flips it open to a random page, and his eyes widen in shock as he reads. He frowns as he looks back at Jem and Tessa. “We are, but I’d like to think that we are also only one miracle away from the kind of brightness we only imagine when hoping our greatest hopes.”

Jem smiles. “I’d like to think that as well.”

Magnus closes the book, pushing it away from him into the middle of the table.

Jace studies them from across the table. “And in lives as long as yours, you’ve still yet to see everything,” he muses.

“No,” Tessa replies. “But if the length of life determines what you have and haven’t seen, I imagine all at this table have seen much more than they should have lived.”

“You can say that again,” Simon murmurs.

A paper rustles on the table, drawing everyone’s attention. Jem instinctively reaches out to silence it, but the breeze has already moved onto other pages.

“Alec, dear, do you mind closing the window?” Magnus asks.

“No need,” Jace interrupts. “It’s already closed.”

A chill runs down Jem’s spine, and everyone at the table stiffens.

The breeze picks up.

Everyone stands, scrambling to prepare for a fight. But no one has any weapons, Jem notices quickly. He curses himself as the breeze grows stronger.

In the middle of the table, the Codex from Timeline 986 flips open to a random page, one with a portrait of a face Jem knows well: Will. Not for the first time, Jem wishes Will was with them now.

A strange light appears above them, swirling patterns calling Jem’s eyes.  The light is gold and unforgiving.

Jem finds himself holding onto Tessa’s hand tightly. He looks at her briefly and finds himself trying to memorize her features. For who knows what lies on the other side of the Portal forming above them, for surely that’s what it must be, with its draw and its breeze.

But, to his surprise, they are not drawn in, but someone is released.

He falls like an angel from the ceiling.

Jem’s heart stutters, and he knows Tessa’s does the same from the gasp she gives.

He hits the table hard, and although the newcomer’s face is covered in grime and blood, it still matches the image now next to his face, though Jem didn’t in the first place to identify his fallen angel.

“Will!” The cry is out of his mouth before he can stop it, leaping onto the table, fumbling for a stele.

Magnus and Alec are at his side in an instant as Jem’s hands shake.

“He needs an iratze,” Alec murmurs, reaching for his own stele.

“Let his par-” Magnus cuts off, jaw slamming shut audibly as he realizes what he’s about to say.

Jem feels the rest of Magnus’s sentence, unsaid, slice through him like a blade, and he shuts his eyes, against the pain and tears it brings.

Alec studies Magnus, confused, but his hands are already moving, drawing the iratze on Will’s arm.

Jem grips Will’s other arm, memories swirling in his head, emotions making them so hard to reach.

Will, Will, Will.

Will, who lies unconscious before him, covered in blood and soot.

Will.

The rest of the world blurs around Jem, and all he can think about is Will, Will, right in front of him. Jem holds onto Will like a lifeline.

Someone tries to get him to let go, but he shakes his head. How could they think he would? He won’t, not while they’re both alive, he had promised, if aught but death part thee and me .

But that had been so long ago, and this isn’t even his Will, Jem’s sure of it.

But it’s close enough to choke him.

Unsurprisingly, Tessa is the only one whose voice gets through to him. “They need to take him to the infirmary.”

Jem nods, mouth dry, and he reaches out for her, eyes wide, and he can see his own fear and shock reflected back at him, along with his love.

“Will-” he tries to say.

“I know,” she replies, holding him, just as tightly as he holds her, and he can see that she’s about to cry.

The rest of the world fades away as he buries his face in her shoulder and bursts into tears, with emotions from the present and the past, and the terrible gaping hole he’s been reminded is in his chest.

Chapter Text

Magnus does not get to bed until late.

This does not surprise Alec, considering the circumstances, but he still worries about his husband, considering the last few years have been particularly unkind for the most part, and it wasn’t over, it seems.

As Magnus crawls into bed, Alec wraps his arms around his husband, burying his face into Magnus’s chest, holding him tight.

“You’re still awake?” Magnus asks.

Alec nods against Magnus, fabric wrinkling against his face.

Magnus sighs, stroking Alec’s back, and Alec can feel the tension drain.

Alec thinks now he might be able to sleep, but Magnus speaks, and Alec listens.

"You'd think after all these years, we'd have gotten used to seeing ghosts, and yet we're still surprised."

"He means a lot to Jem and Tessa, doesn't he?" Alec asks, adjusting so he can see Magnus's face, golden-green eyes meeting his.

"He did. Does." Magnus sighs, obviously in another time. "William Herondale," he muses.

"Related to Jace?" Alec asks with curiosity.

Magnus chuckles. "Of course that's what you'd think of first." He smiles, still distant. "Tessa's first husband. Though that's not saying much, considering the only other one was Jem, and they did have a rather long engagement."

Alec smiles faintly. "And Jem?"

Magnus smiles, lost in memory. "Oh, Jem and Will are a dangerous pair of parabatai." He blinks, and the smile is gone. "Were."

Alec remembers the wild-eyed look Jem had, holding onto Will like a lifeline. A pang stabs Alec in the chest, and he feels so sorry for Jem. "Oh," he whispers. If it had been Jace who died, and suddenly, years later, an alternate universe version of him had shown up out of nowhere, injured and looking like hell...

Alec would be doing a lot worse than Jem was right now.

Magnus smoothes Alec's hair back, a gentle reassurance. "I can't imagine there's a universe where they weren't parabatai, and the books we've found certainly suggest as much. And Jem and Tessa will take good care of him regardless."

Alec sighs and the nagging thoughts of responsibility weigh on him. "We'll have to ask him questions when he's well enough to answer."

Magnus smiles, ruefully. "Ever so much the Consul, as always."

Alec smiles, shrugging, but he feels fatigued.

Magnus notices.

He always does, even when he doesn't say anything. Alec loves that about Magnus, and as he stares into his husband's eyes, Alec feels an overwhelming surge of love.

But underneath is the worry and the weariness from fighting to protect what he has for far too long.

For it has been a long six years.

"What's wrong?" Magnus asks, kissing Alec's cheek.

Alec sighs, letting his eyes fall shut. "It'd be nice," he says, "To go a little while where I don't have to worry excessively about the future, about you, your safety, the boys, my family..."

"Well," Magnus smiles teasingly, cupping one hand on the back of Alec's neck, "I think that you're going to worry, just a little bit, regardless of how much danger we're in because you care."

Alec sighs, but he can't suppress a slight smile, and he leans his face towards Magnus's hand.

"On the other hand, I promise I will plan a fantastic vacation for when this is all over. Somewhere secluded."

"Will it?" Alec asks, opening his eyes to look at Magnus. "Be over?"

Magnus, for all his hope and light, can only sigh in response. Alec feels the bone-chilling run of fear down his spine, a fear that maybe for them, it won't ever be over, that there is no rest for them.

"Alec," Magnus whispers softly, "it will, I promise."

Alec smiles, but he can feel tears of worry and fear threaten to spill, so he buries his face in his husband's shoulder.

Magnus holds him tightly, and Alec lets out a long breath.

Once he's feeling more settled, Alec tries for lighthearted. "How secluded are we talking here? Antarctica? Siberia? The Sahara Desert? The Andes Mountains?"

"Alas, I am still banned from Peru," Magnus replies, "But the other options sound alright to me."

Alec chuckles.

"Say the word, and we could do it right now," Magnus says, and though he phrases it like a joke, Alec knows he's serious; if he wanted to go, Magnus would take him.

But Alec couldn't go, and he knows Magnus knows that.

"Once we're done with this. After that no more messes. If there are any, I'll go with you anywhere that isn't here, Alec promises.

"Your wish is my command," Magnus replies, smiling.

"It's a deal. We're getting through this, then no more surprises," Alec says, feeling more relaxed.

Magnus kisses Alec, and it drains any and all remaining tension from Alec's body as he leans into it, eyes falling shut.

"God, I love you," Alec murmurs.

"I love you too," Magnus replies, wrapping his arms around Alec.

Alec leans into him and lets sleep claim him after a long, stressful day.

Chapter Text

A pair of blue-violet eyes open to light for the first time in a long time.

He doesn't move, staring into the light, but curiosity overwhelms him, and he goes to stand at the window.

It's not a familiar skyline, he realizes, panic and confusion growing. He's not in London anymore.

Brick and glass and steel rise up around him, buildings taller than he could have imagined.

The door opens, and he turns abruptly.

"Tessa," he whispers, and his panic turns to dust in face of the hope he suddenly feels.

"Will," she replies, smiling, beautiful as always, and he rushes towards her, arms wrapped tightly around her, clutching at her, and he feels her grip him tightly in return.

Footsteps echo down the hall, and he breaks away only to see Jem, not Jem as he remembered, but Jem nonetheless, and like a flood, hope and love and hurt crash together in Will's mind, and he's hugging Jem and he's hugging Tessa and they're on the floor, arms around each other, crying tears of joy, and WIll thinks he wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

They've been like that for a while when they are interrupted.

"Well, I see Mr. Herondale is awake," Magnus remarks drily.

Will gapes up at him, his arm entwined with another man's, dark-haired, blue-eyed, and arms covered in runes, with the kind of confidence that seems natural and easy.

Tessa stands first, brushing herself off. Will can't help but stare, her shirt cut with short sleeves and a v-neck, and pants of all things. She offers a hand to Will, who takes it, then to Jem, who takes it as well, giving Will the chance to look at his parabatai, face and poise still the same, though with different coloring, colors untouched by yin fen, Will realizes, and his heart aches.

The man with Magnus reaches a hand out. "Alec Lightwood."

"My husband," Magnus says, smiling.

Alec smiles in return, and Will can see that he loves Magnus with his whole heart, and vice versa. 

However, Will has other things on his mind.

"A Lightworm? Really?" Will says incredulously.

Jem laughs, surprised. Tessa looks down, failing to suppress a smile. Magnus closes his eyes, sighing. Alec looks confused.

"After Benedict?" Will continues.

"Well, Benedict was almost 125 years ago now," Jem says.

Will stares, smile fading. "A hundred and twenty-five?" He whispers.

Tessa sighs. "I think we need to get Will up to speed. Magnus, Alec," she gestures at the door.

"Of course," Magnus says, taking Alec's hand. "I'll let Jace and Clary know he's awake."

Will stares blankly after them.

Tessa gestures, summoning a couple of chairs. "Shall we?"

Will lets Jem guide him, and he sits.

"I think it's best," Tessa says, "if you tell us what happens in your history, and we'll tell you what differs after."

Will's mouth feels dry, but he takes a deep breath. "My history? Well, it goes a little like this:

"We rescued Tessa from the Dark Sisters in September 1878. It was a cold fall and a colder winter. We were trying to protect you from the Magister, Tessa, but Mortmain tricked us into thinking it was DeQuincy, with help from your brother, Nate. Of course, he had already made Jessamine fall in love with him, so she was spying on us as we tried to hunt Mortmain down. We tried to get help from Starkweather, but that went absolutely poorly. Nate and Jessamine betray us, as well as Benedict, and Mortmain began to buy up all the yin fen. We were scared. Jem, you proposed to Tessa, who said yes. Then, Cecily showed up, and I was even more scared. Benedict finally succumbed to demon pox, and we had to kill him, and Tatiana was so very angry with us, but at least Gabriel and Gideon weren't. But things went downhill, fast after that. Mortmain kidnapped Tessa, and I went to look for her. While I was gone, Jem, you used the last of the yin fen and almost died. But you didn't. Somehow, you became a Silent Brother instead. Against the Clave's orders, we all went to Cadair Idris.

"But we were late, far too late. There were so many of them, we couldn't do anything about it. And Tessa, you used your ability to turn into an angel, the one around your neck in the necklace. But no matter how much he tried to protect you, it just- it just-, you burned up, it was too much for you, but it didn't take out nearly enough demons, and it didn't take out Mortmain.

"We kept fighting, of course. Four long years. And we just kept falling until there was nothing left."

Will tries to ignore that his hands are shaking, that he's almost in tears as they fall silent.

Will watches Jem and Tessa exchange a look. They nod and return their stares to Will.

He sighs, eyes falling shut. "It was the very end, and somehow, I ended up one of the last few standing. I was desperate, and I wanted an escape. I figured an angel could help, or I would die trying.

"Our records had been all but destroyed, of course, but I had found something, and I was hoping it would work. I just wasn't expecting to see Ithuriel again."

"Ithuriel?" Tessa asks, eyes widening as she puts a hand to the angel necklace she still wore.

Will nods. "The very same. I asked him to send me somewhere I'd be happy." He laughs, but it's empty, and he knows both Jem and Tessa know it. "I figured he'd kill me. But next thing I know, I'm here."

Tessa sighs, covering her face, and Jem reaches out for Will's hand. Will can't help but reach back.

He lets the story sit in the silence for a moment before pressing on. "I assume things went better here, considering it's been 125 years."

Tessa nods. "Our Mortmain was less prepared than yours, and Ithuriel didn't kill me," she replies.

"And Jem?" Will asks, confused.

"I still became a Silent Brother," Jem replies.

Will sighs, leaning back in his chair. "Then how?"

"A story of Herondales, Fairchilds, Lightwoods, Carstairs, and Blackthorns," Jem replies, smiling at Tessa. She smiles back.

"We survive, then we live," Tessa says. She looks at Will, love in her eyes, and Will can't help but feel surprised. "We get married, have kids, and we live a... mostly peaceful life."

Will stares in shock. A future? With Tessa? He would've never thought it was possible he'd be that lucky.

"James and Lucie," Tessa continues, smiling. "The trouble they get into..." She shakes her head. "Though we brave it all, Princes of Hell, my father, Lucie commanding the dead, James disappearing into demon realms and turning into shadows. Their parabatai stay with them until the end, and their friends. Kit, Thomas, Matthew, Alastair, Cordelia, Grace." She smiles faintly. She sighs after that. "We grow older, then they grow older. They have children, grandchildren, and the Herondales continue."

"I die," Will says, frowning.

"Yes," Tessa says. "Unlike me, you are not immortal. But you die surrounded by friends and family."

"And after?" Will asks.

She shrugs. "I spend a lot of time with Magnus, then the Spiral Labyrinth. And there I stay. Our story grows quiet until the 1980s."

Jem frowns, angry. "The Circle."

"The Circle?" Will asks.

Tessa nods, looking just as furious. "A group of Shadowhunters against the Accords, lead by Valentine Morgenstern. A charismatic young man, but also a dangerous one. He leads his group to attack the Clave during the signing of the Accords."

Will turns pale. "Does he succeed?"

"No, because of the actions of his wife and his former parabatai, Jocelyn Fairchild and Luke Graymark."

"What happened to Luke?" Will asks, suspicious of the word 'former'.

"He's still alive," Tessa says, smiling. "He was turned into a werewolf."

"Oh," Will says.

"Yes, well, after their attack failed, Valentine faked his own death, along with that of his wife and child by burning down Fairchild manor."

"Child?" Will asks in surprise.

Jem nods. "There are two, one that the Clave thought died, and one the Clave never thought existed. One who carried the blood of a demon, and one who has a little more of angel blood than the rest of us."

"Which takes us to 2007," Tessa says. "Clary Fairchild meets Jace Wayland, Isabelle Lightwood. and Alec Lightwood. She has her memories of Downworld blocked, so they go to find who put the block there, which turns out to be Magnus Bane. They take Clary's mundane friend, Simon. And thus, the six of them have their lives entangled forevermore."

Will scoffs. "This isn't a romance novel, Tessa." 

"No, it's not," she replies smiling. "Though a series of complicated events follow, including Clary and Jace thinking they're siblings; Simon becoming a vampire, then a Daylighter; Alec and Magnus dating; Simon and Isabelle dating; Simon gaining the Mark of Cain; Jace and Clary learning they aren't siblings; Jace realizing he also has extra angel blood and that he's a Herondale; Clary killing her father; Sebastian revealing himself to be alive, then dying; Lilith bringing Sebastian back to life; Sebastian controlling Jace for about two months; Simon summoning Raziel and losing the Mark of Cain in order to get a sword that would not kill Jace while he was connected to Sebastian; Jace getting heavenly fire in his veins; Sebastian corrupting Shadowhunters using Lilith's blood and then becoming super powerful; the Seelie Queen supporting Sebastian; Sebastian kidnapping Magnus, Jocelyn, and Luke, among others; Sebastian attacking Alicante; Clary, Jace, Simon, Alec, and Isabelle going to a demon realm to attack Sebastian and save the hostages; Simon becoming mortal and losing his memories; Clary killing Sebastian; the fair folk becoming enemy number one; Malcolm Fade attempting to bring back his long lost love by killing a Blackthorn; and Emma and Julian taking down a bunch of fascists by turning into flaming giants because there is no actual curse for loving your parabatai, the Clave just didn't want more people turning into flaming giants when it wasn't necessary."

"I... what?" Will asks.

"You'll meet people and get a better understanding soon," Jem promises.

"When was all of that?" Will asks.

"Mm," Tessa shrugs. "Most of it was 2007, but some of the later events were up until last year, including Emma and Julian turning into the mythological Nephilim."

Will stares blankly at them.

"It's okay if you're lost, I would have been, too if I hadn't lived through it."

"Wait, but how did you become not a Silent Brother?"

"Jace, and heavenly fire. It burnt out the last remains of the yin fen, but also undid many of the Silent Brother rituals."

Will stares in shock.

"A Herondale saved my life once more," Jem says.

Will shakes his head.

"Things that are probably particularly relevant to you," Tessa says, teasingly. "Alec Lightwood, Magnus's husband? He's the consul, and also your sister's great-great-great-great-grandson because she married Gabriel. Alec is also Jace's parabatai, who is related to you."

"Yes, I do believe those things are true," Alec says, walking in. "I just wanted to say Clary and Jace wanted to meet you, Will."

"Where's Magnus?" Tessa asks. 

"Taking care of the children," Alec says.

Will stares in horror. "So not only does my sister marry a Lightworm, but so does Magnus, my great-great-great-great-grandson is parabatai with one, and one is the Consul?"

Alec smirks. "Actually, I'm an outlier, and I did three of those things, so I'm not sure I should be counted." He lets the smirk fall. "Plus I'm technically the Consul-in-Exile."

Will stares in confusion.

"Which is total nonsense," Jem adds, "And only because the Cohort threatened mass suicide."

"What?" Will asks, staring in horror.

Tessa pats his shoulder. "I'll explain that better another time."

Will closes his eyes. "God, I am so tired."

Jem looks alarmed. "We should be letting you rest."

"I'm not glass, Jem," Will replies, then yawns. "Though I do guess sleep sounds nice."

"Then we'll leave you," Tessa says. "Sleep well, cariad," she says, and Will's present company leaves.

Chapter Text

Tessa sits in the open window, staring at the world around her. A few nights ago, the world had seemed strange, unknown, unexplainable. But tonight, it feels brighter than it has in a long time.

The door opens, but she doesn't look up.

Jem sits across from her in the window, and she looks at him, smiling.

He looks at her, a small smile gracing his face.

They sit in comfortable silence, letting the cold night air in, staring at a world that shines just for them.

"It's good to have him back, even if he isn't ours," Jem says.

Tessa smiles faintly, almost sadly.

"Tessa, I... I understand if..."

"If what?"

Jem looks down, almost as if he were embarrassed. "I know how much you love Will," he says at last.

"And you think that I don't love you just as much?"

Jem looks up, eyes wide, and Tessa can see all the hope and love and fear and pain.

"You do?" he asks softly.

"I do," she reaffirms.

"But... Will...," he says.

"Magnus once asked me what it was like, knowing I'd always share Will's heart with you," Tessa says, and Jem looks at her, surprised. "Though I didn't understand what he was asking at the time, I know now that it's because I love you just as much as he loves you, and just as much as we loved each other."

Jem smiles, tears sparkling faintly in his eyes.

"We're not quite complete without each other."

"No, we aren't," Jem replies, smiling ruefully.

"We've been given a second chance, I think. He might not be our Will, and we aren't his Jem and Tessa either. But that doesn't mean that this isn't still another chance."

Jem smiles, uncertain. "So, what do we do?"

"We fight for it, just as we've always fought for each other."

Jem takes Tessa's hand. "And as for us?"

"We live as we always have," Tessa replies, squeezing Jem's hand. "Fighting for the smallest chances, for our one hour a year."

Jem looks at her sadly. "And let us hope it never comes to that again."

"Let us hope," Tessa says. leaning in to kiss Jem's cheek. "And in the meantime, we live each day as if it's our last."

Chapter Text

It was supposed to be a simple patrol, Isabelle thinks to herself.

Of course, many things in her life that should have been simple had not been.

"How many Iblis demons do you think that even is?" Simon asks, squinting.

"Eight?" Isabelle guesses.

Simon sighs, rubbing his eyes. "Why does there have to be more demons than usual lately?" he complains.

Isabelle shrugs. "Let's just get this over with."

Simon groans as he stands, and Isabelle rolls her eyes but smiles regardless.

"Do you think we can just pick them off from here?" He asks, grabbing his bow.

"We can try," she replies. "If they get closer though, I don't think archery is going to cut it."

Simon shrugs. "Well, we won't know until we try, right?" He grins at Isabelle, and she can't help but smile back.

Carefully, silently, Simon grabs an arrow and nocks it, pulling it back as he stares down the demons. Isabelle allows herself one moment to stare, briefly, before returning her attention to the Iblis demons. They move fast, and Simon's probably going to need backup.

Simon lets out his breath and lets the arrow fly.

One goes down with a squeal, and the rest all turn towards Isabelle and Simon.

Even at the distance they're at, Isabelle realizes they could possibly be in trouble very quickly.

She grabs her whip, preparing to get the ones that close, and Simon grabs another arrow.

The demons run, their smoke-like forms making it hard to tell where they are, but Simon's arrows hit their marks with ease, his eyes narrowing as he concentrates. One breaks out from the group, speeding ahead, but with a crack of her whip, Isabelle slices it in half, and out of the corner of her eye, she can see Simon smile at her.

The rest of the demons go down soon after, none getting too close.

"Well," Simon remarks drily. "That was easy."

Isabelle looks around warily. "Good thing we saw them while they were still so far away," she replies.

"Still, it's unusual," Simon says. "I mean for the last few weeks, it's been like this. I wonder why."

Isabelle shrugs. 

"Well, in either case," Simon offers his hand to Isabelle, smiling at her, "We should probably head back."

Isabelle shrugs, smiling as she takes Simon's hand. "I suppose we should."

Behind them, a rustling noise sounds.

"Oh, you can't be serious," Simon says as he turns around. "Not now, right as I was about to head home to spend some nice quality time with my fiancée."

Isabelle turns as well, and she sees two bright eyes staring at them from the darkness.

With ease, she cracks her whip in the direction of the eyes.

It snarls, and the eyes move, and the rest of the demon comes into view.

"Oh, that's a big demon," Simon whispers.

Big is an understatement, Isabelle thinks in dismay. It's easily ten or more feet tall, towering above them. It appears to be the same smoky form as the Iblis demons, but Isabelle has never seen anything like this before.

Simon draws his bow and fires.

The arrow flies straight through it.

Simon turns pale as he looks at Isabelle. "That can't be good."

Isabelle reaches for a seraph blade. "Raguel," she murmurs.

The demon hisses as the seraph blade lights up, then lunges for the two of them.

They dive out of the way in different directions, and Isabelle can see Simon reaching for a seraph blade of his own.

Isabelle runs and jumps at the demon, dragging the seraph blade down its side. It screeches, but the blade doesn't seem to fully hit, and the demon doesn't seem particularly injured, as if Isabelle were cutting off someone's hair.

The demon turns on Isabelle, snarling as it towers over her as she falls back to the ground.

On the other side, she can hear Simon shout, and the demon hisses as the bright light of the seraph blade tries to cut through the demon.

As it turns to focus on Simon, Isabelle's mind whirls as she thinks about how to kill this thing. As she stares, she realizes that the demon is most opaque near its eyes, that she can't see their glow when it's not looking at her.

She grabs her seraph blade and leaps at it as it lunges for Simon.

The blade makes its mark, and the demon turns to dust on top of Simon.

"Ick," he murmurs, then looks up at Isabelle. "Nice hit."

Isabelle offers a hand to Simon, and he takes it, planting a kiss on her cheek as he rises. "Thanks for the save, honey."

Isabelle sighs. "I don't even know what that was," she says.

"We'll ask the others once we get back," Simon replies.

"Is that before or after your nice quality time with me?" She asks, teasing.

"Well, I think that's up to you, but I know I'd prefer if it was after." He winks at her, and she laughs.

Chapter Text

"You know," Clary murmurs half-asleep, "sometimes I wish our lives weren't so interesting."

Jace looks at her. "If they weren't so interesting, would we have met?" He asks, smiling at her softly, sadly.

She looks up at him through her eyelashes. She's leaning against the table, head pillowed in her arms, and Jace wants to suggest that she go to bed, go get some sleep, that she takes care of herself because she looks oh, so very tired.

But she smiles at him with love, and it almost takes his breath away. "I wouldn't trade you for anything."

"Mm, I do know that," Jace says, his smile growing wider.

And know that he does. He knows that Clary would throw the world away for him, and she almost has on more than one occasion. In fact, it almost scares him to know it.

Clary's eyes fall shut, and Jace reaches out to stroke her hair, and she smiles.

"You should go to bed."

"Mmmmmgh, maybe," she grumbles. "But we're supposed to be working."

"Like you're doing much of that right now," he teases.

She opens one eye to glare at him, but her smile ruins any appearance of annoyance.

"Go on, I'll join you later," Jace insists.

"'M not going without you," she replies.

"Clary," he says, smiling at her with love.

"If you get me coffee, I'll help you," she replies.

Jace closes his eyes and chuckles. "But then you won't get to sleep."

"I'll crash eventually," she replies, smiling at him, giving Jace that small smirk that he loves so much, one that is equal parts mischievous and kind.

"No," Jace says, "you need sleep. It's almost midnight anyways. Plus, Simon'll kill me if I let you have coffee now."

"That might be true," Clary says, yawning. "But I'm not going anywhere without you. You need sleep too, y'know."

"Is that supposed to be a subtle way to ask me to go to bed with you?" Jace asks, teasing.

Clary smiles, but her eyes fall shut again, and Jace feels an overwhelming surge of love, one that feels almost dangerous with how powerful it is.

When he gets no response, he takes a closer look at Clary.

"Of course," Jace murmurs, "you fall asleep right as I ask that."

He takes a moment to study his fiancée as she sleeps, the gentle curve of her lips as she smiles in her sleep, her hair like fire against her pale skin and the dark wood of the table, the fluorescent lighting forming a halo in her hair.

If someone had asked him what it was like to love someone, Jace realizes, all he would be able to think of is Clary. Despite how much he loved his family, his parabatai, his friends, nothing could compare to Clary, and nothing ever would.

He didn't want to give that up for anything.

Sighing, he stands and reaches to pick Clary up. Her hair spills over his arm and her face, but she remains sleeping, and as he takes her to their room, he thinks that she'll stay that way until morning.

Chapter Text

Will hits his forehead gently with the book he just closed. “So are things normally this complicated in the future?” he complains.

Kit gestures with a ‘kinda’ signal. Emma shakes her head. Clary nods her head, looking grim.

“Which is it, yes, no, maybe?” Will asks.

“I think it depends who you ask,” Tessa replies.

Will looks at her, and she smiles in return, and once again, Will finds his breath taken away by the fact that he’s here, he’s somewhere where he could be happy, that he got his wish.

Maybe Heaven had been merciful for once.

Though, with the way things are looking, Will is starting to doubt it.

“So, just for clarification,” Will starts, and the others at the table look at him. He stares at them all briefly: Clary, Tessa, Emma, Kit. “Mostly cause I’m lost,” he adds.

Emma interrupts with a short laugh. “Don’t worry, I am too.”

“So there are multiple timelines?”

Tessa makes a face. “Yes, and no. We call them multiple timelines, but we don’t actually know what they are. They could be other timelines, they could be other realms. We really just don’t know, and we probably won’t until we know what’s causing it.”

“Which we don’t know.” Will sighs. 

Tessa and Clary nod.

Will puts his hands up to his face. “Do we have any leads?”

“...No.” Tessa looks at him sympathetically.

“Well, what we do know is that when the books from other timelines appear, it normally corresponds with spikes of demonic activity and that there has been more demonic activity just in general lately anyways,” Emma says.

Will sighs, shutting his eyes. “Fantastic.”

“If we knew what was causing it, we’d be able to stop it,” Clary says.

“We think,” Kit murmurs.

Clary shoots him a deadly look before continuing. “At the very least, we would be able to use it to our advantage.”

“So, did my appearance cause a spike in demonic activity?”

“Surprisingly, no. But that might be because an angel sent you, which means whatever is happening, it’s not because of the angels,” Clary says.

Will shrugs. “Fair point.”

“We’ve been trying to figure out if the timelines we’ve been receiving stuff from have any clues on what’s going on, or if the spikes have any correlation with the timelines other than appearing at the same time,” Tessa says.

“Either that, or we fight demons,” Emma says. “Which is what I’d rather be doing.”

“We know,” Kit says.

“This is just a confusing mess!” She argues.

“We know,” Kit replies.

Emma shoots Kit a dirty look, and Will can’t help but smile a little.

Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Tessa watching him, smiling in return. He stares at her, a smile still on his face.

“Ugh,” Emma groans. “This is so boring. I’m going to see if Julian is done making lunch yet.” She stands and walks out.

“She’s just tired of doing research,” Kit says.

Tessa smiles. “We know,” she says, repeating his earlier words.

Kit makes a face. “Okay, mom,” he replies with a touch of sass. “Anyways, I’m going to see what Ty is up to.”

“No, not you too,” Clary complains.

“I think Simon is back from grocery shopping,” Kit suggests. “You could help him bring stuff inside.”

Clary pauses, faking thinking. “Hm, I think I will.”

Kit smiles, and the two of them leave, and Will is left with Tessa.

“You know,” Tessa says, not looking up from the book she’s reading. “I think you should talk to Jem.”

“What?”

She glances at him. “He missed you. We both did. But being a Silent Brother, he didn’t have to deal with it until recently. In many ways, I think now more than ever he needs his parabatai.”

Will smiles sadly. “You think?”

“Well, no, I know, but I’d like to phrase it as a suggestion,” she says.

“Do you want me to go now, or do you want help going through this?” Will asks.

Tessa laughs. “This,” she gestures at all the papers and books, “isn’t something any of us want to deal with. Go find Jem. This will be here later.”

Chapter Text

One of the best things about no longer being a Silent Brother, outside of Tessa, is being able to play the violin again.

Jem and Tessa had refound his violin at the London Institute with help from Jessamine, and luckily, with a few minor repairs, it was fit to be played once again. When they came to New York to help out, Jem had brought the violin with him.

He had taken to playing out his emotions and confusions on the violin, and today is no different.

Closing his eyes, he guides the bow across the strings as he plays his joy for Will’s return and his family’s safety, his worry over the future Kit and Mina would inherit, his heartache over Will, and his love for both Will and Tessa.

The door opens, and Jem plays his finishing thoughts.

“Tessa?” He asks. “Is that you?”

“You know, once upon a time, this scenario would have been the other way around.”

Jem’s eyes open wide with surprise, and he spins around to face Will.

Will smiles at him, and Jem smiles back.

“I thought you were helping Tessa,” Jem says.

Will shrugs. “I needed a break.”

“Much help you’re being,” Jem teases.

“I was more helpful than Emma. All she did was complain.”

Jem nods, setting his violin down.

“It sounded as beautiful as ever,” Will remarks. “Were you playing about Tessa?”

“And you.”

“Me?"

Jem nods, studying his parabatai thoughtfully.

Will looks surprised. He opens his mouth as if to say something, but he can’t seem to find the words.

“You know, not a single day has passed where I didn’t think about you. Being a Silent Brother might have made it more tolerable, but I missed you,” Jem says softly.

Will stares at him, and Jem can see his heart on his sleeve and all the love inside him, as he’s always been able to, even when no one else could.

“I missed you too,” Will whispers.

Jem sits down in a chair, sighing. “I know things aren’t quite like they used to be,” he says.

Will chuckles. “There’s a lot of different faces and different places, but I’m getting used to it.”

Jem looks at Will. “I know that you’re not my Will, and I’m not your Jem. But…” he trails off, trying to think of how to phrase what he’s trying to say.

“Just because things have changed doesn’t mean we walk away,” Will says. “You’re James Carstairs. In this universe or another, in this life or another, you’re my parabatai.”

Jem chuckles, smiling at Will gratefully. “You always were the one with a way with words.”

Will grins.

“But yes. You put it perfectly.”

Will reaches his hand out to Jem. “I think for us, death cannot part me and you.”

Jem smiles. “Or, at least, it hasn’t yet succeeded.”

Will makes a face. “I’d prefer to think it can’t.”

“I know,” Jem grins. 

A shout sounds from another part of the Institute.

“I think that’s the call to lunch,” Jem says, standing.

“About time,” Will remarks, grinning.

Chapter Text

Kit takes a bite from his sandwich and frowns at the paper he’s reading. 

Beside him, Ty picks at his sandwich.

“What do you think?” Kit asks him, but Ty ignores him. 

Kit sighs, turning to Julian on the other side of him. “What about you?”

Julian shrugs. “I don’t really get a lot of this stuff. Seems kinda Doctor Who-like.”

“Doctor… Who?” Will asks from across the table.

“Maybe we shouldn’t get into pop culture references.”

“It’s a TV show,” Simon asks.

Will looks mildly less puzzled. “Tessa showed me TV,” he says. “It’s fascinating. I think Henry would’ve liked it.”

“Maybe,” Jem says. “He thought radio was one of the most clever things mundanes came up with.”

Will nods, then turns to Simon. “Explain Doctor Who.”

Simon smiles, and Clary groans.

“It’s about an alien who travels through time and space.”

“Much like the books,” Will remarks.

“Well, yes and no. Doctor Who used technology, while these books are affected by magic. We at least know that much,” Tessa interrupts.

“What is magic but technology we don’t understand yet,” Kit says, smiling slyly.

Everyone at the table but Will glares at Kit. Will stares with wide eyes.

“Henry would love your train of thought,” he says.

“It’s also a very mundane train of thought,” Julian says, “since they don’t see magic.”

“Fair point,” Kit says.

Will pauses, blinking, before returning to the conversations. “Do we know anything about the other timelines other than what’s in here?” He taps a book.

“No,” Kit says.

Emma shrugs. “Thule.”

“And the demon realm Sebastian was given,” Julain adds softly.

“The realm James used to travel to,” Tessa suggests.

“Faerie?” Simon asks.

Will looks puzzled. “What?”

Simon shrugs. “It doesn’t follow our rules of time and space. Seems like it should count.”

“No, I was asking about the other three,” Will replies.

Emma and Julian share a look that Kit can’t read. Clary, Simon, Magnus, Jace, Isabelle, and Alec look uncomfortable. Tessa and Jem look far away. 

“Well, to start off,” Ty says, speaking suddenly. “Thule is an alternate timeline and realm. It broke off from ours at the Battle of the Barrow, because there, Clary was killed trying to save Jace. Sebastian took over, things went bad.

“Sebastian was given a demon realm by the demon he shared blood with, Lilith. It also happened to be shared with Magnus’s father, whoever that is. Clary killed Sebastian there, but they had to make a deal with Magnus’s father to get out because Sebastian had sealed them there. He took Simon’s immortality, unTurning him from a vampire and removing his memories. Simon later got his memories back when he Ascended.

“I’m not really sure who James is, though.” Ty finishes, looking at Tessa.

“My son,” Tessa says. “Because I am a warlock, my children did have demon blood, giving them some powers. Lucie could command the dead, James would occasionally turn into shadows and disappear into demon realms, mostly at the will of my father. The most common demon realm belonged to my father after he stole it.”

“Your father can steal realms?” Will asks, alarmed.

“Oh god, I hope Mina can’t do that,” Kit says, making a face at his sister.

Mina gurgles happily, obliviously.

“In any case, none of us want to go back to any of those realms, Faerie included,” Magnus summarizes.

“Mostly because the Seelie Queen is a bi-” Jace eyes the younger children at the end of the table. “Bad person,” he finishes.

Alec snorts.

Will shrugs. “Sounds reasonable. But do we know how to get there?”

Clary makes a face. “We got to Sebastian’s realm and Thule through the Seelie Court, but Sebastian’s realm is sealed off now, and the Seelie Queen doesn’t like most of us. Though she can stand Jace, and Kit is related to her, even though she might not know about him.”

“But we’d rather not,” Simon says, making a face.

“I second that,” Julian says, looking at Emma.

“I’d rather not meet my grandmother, or whatever she is to me,” Kit agrees.

Will shrugs. “Hopefully we won’t have to.”

But Kit sees the look Will gives Tessa and Jem, a look that says that the future may be unpleasant.

Chapter Text

“I talked to Jem.”

“Did you now?”

“I think we’re figuring things out.”

She smiles wryly. “I sure hope you are. You two staring at each other the way you were was starting to get painful.”

“What do you mean by that?”
“Just… you could see how much Jem means to you.” She smiles, heart hurting.

“I suppose… It wasn’t really painful, was it?”

“Well, not to me, but I think Magnus was starting to wish you weren’t still bad with your emotions.”

“Does he expect me to be Jem?”

She smiles. “I sure hope not. I know I don’t.”

A pause.

“You don’t?”

“Will, I love you for you. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“I don’t think that will grow old.”

“What, me saying I love you?”

“It makes me feel like I’m in a fairy tale.”

“The good kind or the bad kind?” She asks teasingly.

“The good kind. The kind that ends in happily ever after.”

“Well, I sure hope that’s how it turns out, but I think we both know happily ever after doesn’t always work the way we want it to.”

“No, but we’re all here, aren’t we?”

“We are, and we have hope, and friendship, and family, and love.”

“And may we always have that.”

He leaves the room, and Tessa stares lovingly after her dark-haired, blue-eyed boy.

 


 

“I talked to Will.”

“Did you now?”

“I think we’re figuring things out.”

She smiles wryly. “I sure hope you are. You two staring at each other the way you were was starting to get painful.”

“What do you mean by that?”
“Just… you could see how much Will means to you.” She smiles, heart hurting.

“I suppose… It wasn’t really painful, was it?”

“Well, not to me, but I think Magnus was starting to wish you weren’t still bad with your emotions.”

“Does he expect me to be Will?”

She smiles. “I sure hope not. I know I don’t.”

A pause.

“You don’t?”

“Will, I love you for you. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“I don’t think that will grow old.”

“What, me saying I love you?”

“It makes me feel like I’m in a fairy tale.”

“The good kind or the bad kind?” She asks teasingly.

“The good kind. The kind that ends in happily ever after.”

“Well, I sure hope that’s how it turns out, but I think we both know happily ever after doesn’t always work the way we want it to.”

“No, but we’re all here, aren’t we?”

“We are, and we have hope, and friendship, and family, and love.”

“And may we always have that.”

He leaves the room, and Tessa stares lovingly after her silver-haired, dark-eyed boy.

Chapter Text

Emma groans as they continue debating timelines.

This is the worst thing that could have ever happened to her.

It’s not that she doesn’t understand it. She’s been to Thule, to Faerie. She knows how it all works. It’s just so boring to hear them argue over what’s causing this, where this all leads, when there are other problems to be fixing, like the Cohort, or making sure Tavvy gets to bed on time.

Julian rests his head on her shoulder and draws on her arm. H-O-W B-O-R-E-D A-R-E Y-O-U-?

S-O B-O-R-E-D , she replies, drawing it on his arm.

He smiles, looking up at her. She smiles back, staring into his sea-green eyes.

He’s been doing better with all of this than she has, but he also has a lot more experience with sitting down and dealing with paperwork and such than she does.

A snap sounds through the room as a large tome materializes a foot above the table and lands harshly.

“Well,” Will says, staring at it.

Ty doesn’t bother looking up. “Whoever goes after the demons, remember to tell us what kind they are other than “big”, “scary”, or “dead”.” He looks up at Simon, then Kit, then Jace as he says this.

Alec shoots Jace a disbelieving look.

“In my defense, it was dead after I killed it,” Jace says.

Isabelle chuckles, Clary tries to suppress a smile, and Alec puts his face into his hands.

“Yes, but we were hoping to know what kind of demon it was before it was dead.”

“Was it big?” Simon asks.

“Or how about scary?” Kit adds, grinning.

Ty narrows his eyes at them.

“Anyways, I’ll go find some demons,” Emma interrupts.

“I’ll go with you,” Julian offers.

She ignores the rest of the table as she gives her hand to Julian, and they make their way outside of the New York Institute.

“I wish it wasn’t so cold,” Emma complains as they wander around outside, keeping an eye out for demons.

“You say that every time we’re somewhere other than Los Angeles in the winter,” Julian counters.

“You like the cold! I don’t!” Emma complains.

They round a corner, and Julian is about to retort when they see the hellmist.

Emma stares at it, dismayed.

“Great. This can’t be good,” Julian says, grabbing a seraph blade.

Emma reaches for Cortana.

Out of the mist, a pair of yellow eyes become evident.

Big, yellow eyes.

“I think this one counts as big and scary,” Emma says. “Do you think that’s descriptive enough for the others?”

Julian smiles. “I think we need to add dead to that description.”

The eyes move suddenly, and the demon rears out of the mist.

“Oh, that’s really big,” Emma whispers.

The Dragon stares balefully at the two intruding Shadowhunters.

“Didn’t you tell me Dragon demons were extinct?” Julian asks in horror, turning on Emma.

“I said mostly extinct,” Emma replies, adjusting her grip on Cortana.

The Dragon roars, blowing hot air into their faces, air that smells like rotten flesh and disease.

Emma, for her part, does not flinch.

Julian covers his face with his sleeve, looking mildly sick.

“Is that the game you want to play?” Emma asks, grinning.

The Dragon meets her eyes.

Emma charges.

“Wait, Emma, no!” Julian shouts, murmuring an angel’s name under his breath as he recovers and follows her.

Emma does not wait. She jumps up, swinging Cortana over her head as she aims for the demon’s skull.

It hits, but it doesn’t do nearly enough.

What her hit does do is get Cortana stuck in the demon’s scales, and Emma is suddenly holding on for dear life as the Dragon snarls and howls, trying to shake her off.

“Emma!” Julian shouts.

Emma uses the Dragon’s momentum to swing herself up on top of its head as it turns to face Julian. She draws Cortana out of the scales and slams it back down into its skull.

This time, Cortana doesn’t stick, and Emma and her sword go flying.

The world blinks for a moment, but she’s back on her feet quickly, Cortana in hand.

Julian slashes at the Dragon’s legs with the seraph blade, but he seems to be irritating the demon more than causing it any harm.

Emma suddenly thinks of one of the movies the younger kids saw recently, and she has an idea.

“Hey, Dragon!” She shouts.

It turns to face her, as does Julian, though the Dragon looks furious while Julian looks bewildered.

“What are you doing?” Julian asks, but Emma ignores him as she runs at the Dragon.

It opens its mouth as if to eat her.

Emma jumps right in, stabbing her sword upwards.

The blow hits before the Dragon’s mouth closes, and the world turns to ash around Emma.

It’s a very disconcerting sensation, and Emma is willing to blame it for why she didn’t make her landing.

She’s fine, of course, but Julian runs over to her just the same.

“What was that?” He asks in alarm.

“I saw it in a movie.”

“One of Drusilla’s? That was terrifying!”

She grins. “It was fun.”

Julian looks concerned.

“I’m okay,” Emma amends.

He sighs, running a hand through his hair, and Emma leans up to kiss him. He relaxes at her touch and reaches up to run his hands through her hair instead, and she smiles into the kiss.

“I think we can go back and tell them the demon was big, scary, and dead now,” she murmurs.

Julian laughs, and Emma stares at him lovingly.

Chapter Text

It’s a calm sort of day at the Institute, so Will decides it’s probably a safe day to get lost, exploring the Institute.

He wanders through kitchens and training rooms, hallways lined with empty bedrooms, rooms that don’t look as if they’ve been touched in decades, ballrooms and offices.

He comes across photos in some of the rooms. Pictures of Jace and Alec, Clary and Simon, Julian and Emma. Family portraits, Jace smiling surrounded by the Lightwoods, the Carstairs family, a woman that looks like Clary hugging a brown-haired, blue-eyed man, both wearing wedding attire.

He sees one that looks older of the Lightwood family, Alec and Isabelle, clearly much younger, a man and a woman that must be their parents.

He smiles until he notices the baby in the mother’s arms.

He knows that since there is no teenage sibling running around the Institute, and the fact that he knows their mother doesn’t live with anyone except for Clary’s parents, and the fact that their father is dead, that the boy must be dead as well.

He thinks of Cecily unwillingly, and he chokes back tears, thinking of blue eyes, much like Alec’s, and his father’s, and the boy’s, staring up at him full of fear and tears.

She had told him to live, and he had thought he wouldn’t be able to.

She’d be proud of him now, being with Jem and Tessa. If only she could see it.

He sets down the picture and keeps walking, pushing the thoughts back.

He finally reaches the library to find Jace and Mina.

“I’m babysitting,” Jace explains. 

“And how’s that going?” Will asks.

“Tessa and Jem took all my knives,” Jace says sadly, and Will laughs.

This catches Mina’s attention

“Dad!” Mina says, pointing at Will.

Will flushes, embarrassed, and horrified. “No.”

On the sofa next to Mina, Jace smiles.

Sighing, Will points at himself. “Uncle Will.”

“Dad.”

“Uncle Will.”

“Dad.”

“Uncle Will.”

Mina stares at Will solemnly, as if contemplating what he’s saying, and for a split second, Will thinks he succeeded.

“Bob,” Mina says decisively.

Jace bursts into laughter, and Will glares at him, mortified.

“Better than Dad,” he mumbles.

“No, this is gold ,” Jace says. “Bob is the best title for you.”

“If you call me Bob, I will punch you,” Will says, though his heart isn’t behind it.

Mina waddles towards Will, and opens her arms upwards in a universal sign for “pick me up”. 

“Bob,” she repeats, looking up at him with big silver eyes.

Will can’t help it. He picks Mina up, and she grins widely. “Bob!”

Will sighs, dejected.

“Bob is a great nickname.”

“Don’t start, Jace.”

“Would you rather I call you Bob or Grandpa?” Jace asks, grinning.

“You know what my name is,” Will says, face burning.

“Oh, there you are!”

Will spins to look at Tessa.

She goes to take Mina from his arms, and she smiles at him.

Mina, however, won’t take it.

“Bob!” she shrieks, reaching for Will.

Will sighs, dejected, opening his arms to take Mina back.

Jace cackles from the sofa, and Tessa smiles.

“Bob?” she asks.

“She wanted to call me Dad. I tried for Uncle Will. We agreed on Bob,” he says.

Tessa looks amused. “Well, that’s new. She calls Jem Baba. She must be copying Max and Rafe, since they call Magnus and Alec Papa and Dad, respectively.”

“Interesting,” Will says, and he knows he’s blushing, but Tessa just smiles at him with that gentle, gentle smile of hers that makes him feel so weak.

“It’s dinnertime, and she’s probably hungry. If you want to join me on that adventure…”

Mina holds Will tightly.

“I’ll pass,” Jace calls out.

“Good thing I wasn’t talking to you,” Tessa replies, not breaking eye contact with Will.

“I’d love to,” Will says softly.

She smiles brightly and takes his arm. “Let’s go, then.”

Chapter Text

“I’ve been thinking,” Will announces.

“That’s a troubling sign,” Jem replies, smiling.

Will looks at him with narrowed eyes, but soon enough, he’s smiling, and Jem knows he is as well.

“Yesterday, Sherwin-”

“Simon,” Magnus interrupts. “It’d do you good to remember his name.”

Will sighs. “Simon. Anyways, he said something about Faerie being an alternate realm, and how you accessed two other realms. Couldn’t we just go and ask if they know what’s going on?”

Magnus shrugs. “They don’t tend to be very much help these days, and they don’t trust us in particular.”

“Well, the Unseelie Court,” Julian says.

“Yes, yes, Kieran could be of some help, but chances are the Seelie Queen would know more-”

“Kieran?” Will asks.

“My brother’s boyfriend,” Julian says.

“More importantly, the Unseelie King,” Jace says.

“Your brother is dating the Unseelie King?” Will asks.

“Yeah, they met a few years ago in the Wild Hunt, bad times, don’t want to remember them-”

“But here we are talking about them anyway,” Magnus interrupts.

Julian glares at Magnus, but Magnus ignores him.

Will decides he needs to take back control of this conversation. “But we could still try, couldn’t we?”

Jace shrugs. “Sure. Why not. I’ll go with you.”

Kit looks up. “Can I go?”

Jem frowns. “No.”

“Why not?” Will asks, looking at Jem.

“It’s not like the Riders of Mannan are still hunting me,” Kit says.

Will frowns, confused and alarmed. Maybe Jem has a point. “I’m sorry, the Riders of Mannon? Why were they hunting you and why did they stop?”

Kit looks sheepish. “I may or may not be the First Heir, and the old Unseelie King wanted me dead, but Julian and Emma killed them.”

Will turns to look at Julian with wide eyes and for the first time, he’s actually afraid of the kid.

Julian shrugs. “I only did it as a true Nephilim. Emma killed one with Cortana as herself.”

Will looks at him in horror and confusion. “I have so many questions.”

“Save them for later,” Magnus says. “I think Kit has a point. Consider it family bonding. Kit, Will and Jace go to the Seelie Queen, and the rest of us get to enjoy a night without any Herondales.”

Jace snorts. “I hardly think it’ll be enjoyable without us, but you can fool yourself if you’d like.”

Jem looks uncertain, and Will reaches out to place a hand on his shoulder. “I’ll take good care of your son.”

Jem looks him in the eyes. “You better.”

“Do I look like the type of person to leave my family for dead?”

Jem smiles. “Alright, fine. Kit-”

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll let Jace and Will do all the interesting things and stay out of trouble. When do we leave?”

“Sunset,” Jace says decisively. “So we only have an hour. Let’s get ready.”

Chapter Text

“You know, I’ve never been to Faerie before,” Will remarks.

Jace shrugs. “I don’t think much of it.”

Kit looks at him, feeling faint annoyance. “You just don’t like the Seelie Queen.”

“You have a fair point there. She’s done nothing but stab Clary and I in the back the entire time we’ve known her.”

“So you’ve met her before,” Will says.

“Unfortunately.”

Kit strikes a dramatic pose, trying to regain his good humor. He was going on a real Shadowhunter mission! He should be excited! “Do I look like her?”

“Yeah, about as much as Kieran does,” Jace replies, smirking.

Kit pouts. He doesn’t know what his grandmother looks like, but he’s guessing Kieran doesn’t look like her at all, and neither does he.

“Why would you look like her?” Will asks.

“We’re distantly related,” Kit explains.

“Huh,” Will says.

“I mean, I don’t think Ash looks like her either, and he’s her son,” Jace says shrugging.

“Ash?” Will asks.

“Clary’s nephew. Long story, don’t ask.”

“I won’t then,” Will replies, mystified.

“They haven’t seen him since they were in Faerie last year,” Kit explains, remembering the stories Julian and Emma told.

“Hm, and a good time that was,” Jace says, smiling.

Kit frowns. “Didn’t you, Clary, Emma, and Julian get imprisoned by the Unseelie King?”

“Kieran?” Will asks, alarmed. “I thought you said he was nice?”

“No, his father,” Jace says. “In any case, we’re not bothering Kieran yet, as he would have told us if something like this were happening, or at the very least he would have told Mark and Cristina, who would have told Emma or Julian, who would have told Clary, who would have told the rest of us.”

“Sounds complicated,” Kit mumbles, but his heart isn’t in his retort.

“You stole the words straight from my mouth,” Will says.

Jace shrugs. “I must not have inherited my intelligence from the Herondale side of the family,” he replies teasingly.

Kit rolls his eyes. 

Will looks out the window. “Isn’t it time for us to go?”

Jace nods. “Especially since we’re walking.”

“We’re walking?” Kit complains.

“Yep, so we better get a move on. We got a long night ahead of us,” Jace says.

Chapter Text

The throne room is just as unpleasant as Jace remembers it.

On one hand, that might just be the terrible memories he has of it. On the other, fey interior decorating was never his favorite.

“Ah, I see the Herondales have come to visit me,” the Seelie Queen says, gesturing widely.

She smiles, eyes glinting like metal, and Jace frowns.

“We have questions for you.”

“All in due time. I want you to do something for me.” She gestures at a mirror. “Tell me what you see.”

“What kind of trick is it? It doesn’t show us our reflection?” Will asks, looking at the Seelie Queen.

“The mirror will show you what you could have been, or perhaps, what you could be still. But it will be yourself in the reflection.”

“And you just want us to tell you what we see?” Jace asks, unamused.

She shrugs, smiling.

Jace sighs as he turns towards the mirror. He freezes, taken aback by his reflection. The Seelie Queen had told the truth: it was himself he saw in the mirror. But this version of him looked hungry, golden eyes seeking something, Jace didn’t know what, but seeing himself as he did in the reflection sent bolts of fear down his spine. His reflection’s eyes meet his own, and Jace feels nothing but dread.

“What do you see?” The Seelie Queen prompts.

“Myself,” Jace replies, stubbornly.

The Seelie Queen lifts an eyebrow. “Are you sure?”

“I am,” Jace says.

“Interesting.” The queen shrugs. “And you, Will?”

Will stares into the mirror, looking shaken. “I… I’m not a Shadowhunter,” he whispers.

Jace sneaks a peek at Will’s reflection. In it, Will looks mostly the same, but quite different as well. His dark hair is longer, and his arms bear no marks. His blue eyes shine with something recognizable, but it takes Jace a moment to recognize it. When he does, it’s like lightning: Clary has a similar look in her eyes when she creates.

“No, though I imagine if you hadn’t thought yourself cursed, you never would’ve been one,” the Seelie Queen says smiling.

“Well,” Will says, standing up straight. “I am. And I have no regrets.”

Jace looks on in confusion. “Curse?”

Will shrugs. “Doesn’t matter now, since the curse was fake anyways.”

The Seelie Queen smiles serenely, and for a moment, Jace wants nothing more than to throttle her.

“And as for you?” She turns to Kit.

Kit stares at his reflection in silence, blue eyes steely. Jace looks at the mirror, and sees Kit, older than he is now, dressed in clothes reminiscent of Court members, a mix of both Seelie and Unseelie fashions. On his head lies a simple crown made of electrum.

“I see what you want me to be,” Kit says, no longer looking at his reflection but glaring at the Seelie Queen.

“Well, being the High King of Faerie is in your blood,” she replies smoothly. 

“But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to be that.”

She frowns, staring at Kit. “We’ll see about that.”

“And what do you see?” Jace snaps.

The queen smiles. “A soldier, a poet, and a king.”

Something deep in Jace’s chest bubbles unhappily as he remembers Valentine, and the soldier he had raised Jace to be.

A shout sounds from further into Faerie. 

“Mother!” A young adult runs into the throne room, and Jace gasps as he sees him.

Ash Morgenstern looks at him with wide eyes, and another figure follows him into the room.

Jace’s blood freezes like ice as he looks at the newcomer. He glances between his reflection and the man, only to make sure that they were one and the same.

Not-Jace smiles cruelly.

“Ah, Ash, Janus,” the Seelie Queen greets them. “I did not expect you to be back here so soon.”

“Didn’t Julian and Emma say Ash was still in Thule?” Kit whispers.

Jace doesn’t answer, but his mind is spinning. Though, Kit’s comment does add some clarity on why he’s staring at his reflection realized. 

It’s himself, from Thule.

The Seelie Queen turns to the Herondales. “I think it’s time for you to leave. I clearly have more pressing matters.”

“Just one question first,” Kit says, stepping forward.

She looks at him. “Fine.”

“Alternate realms. What do you know about them?”

She shrugs. “All the passages through Faerie have been closed. As I’m sure Ash and Janus can testify to.”

Ash nods tensely. 

Janus shrugs. “At least that’s what we were told.”

Jace watches his Thule self closely, and Janus watches Jace in turn.

The Seelie Queen smiles as she looks between them. “Well, as much as I’m enjoying seeing the character development here, that was one question.” She gestures to the door.

Jace looks back at his reflection in the mirror once more, and sees Janus’s reflection as well.

He sees himself, eyes wide and smiling where Janus should have been, and Janus where he is.

Jace swallows hard as he looks at his reflection. “Fair enough.”

The Seelie Queen smiles coldly.

Jace’s eyes don’t leave Janus as they step out from the throne room, and Janus’s eyes don’t leave Jace either.

“That was weird,” Will remarks.

“Tell me about it,” Kit replies.

“This can’t be good,” Jace says, and he can’t help but look over his shoulder to the throne room one last time, his reflection’s hungry eyes following him as he leaves.

Chapter Text

“Well, she was unhelpful, it sounds like,” Jem remarks.

“I don’t think she’s ever been helpful,” Clary counters, looking annoyed.

“Yeah, well, there was something else there,” Jace says.

Jem looks at his parabatai’s descendant closely. He looks troubled. Of course, Jem muses, most Herondales are troubled, but most don’t show it.

He’s glad that Jace is trying to unlearn the terrible Herondale habit of not addressing their problems properly, but he’s still concerned for Jace’s well-being.

“What happened?” Jem asks.

Will shrugs. “There was a not-Jace-that-looked-suspiciously-like-Jace, and a kid with white hair who called the Seelie Queen ‘mother’?”

Clary’s eyes widen, and Julian and Emma share alarmed looks.

“Ash?” Clary asks.

“Who’s Ash?” Alec asks.

Clary pauses. “My… nephew?”

“He had a son?” Alec asks in horror. 

“With the Seelie Queen?” Isabelle asks, looking vaguely sick.

Jem frowns. “That’s… not a pleasant mental image.”

“Also he looks like he’s like sixteen,” Julian adds.

Magnus shrugs. “Sounds like Faerie.”

“Well, also, we kind of left him in Thule. Which explains not Jace, cause it’s probably Jace of Thule,” Emma says.

“You left my nephew… in Thule.” Clary looks at them disapprovingly.

“Wait, Thule, where everything went to shit because Clary died, and Jace was bound to Sebastian for seven years? Thule, where Tessa is the only warlock left? Thule, where Alec killed Magnus, then himself?” Jem asks, lifting his hands up with a pausing gesture.

“I’m sorry, what?” Will asks.

“Supposedly, I was about to become a demon,” Magnus says. “And also supposedly I asked Alec to kill me. And I told him he’s not allowed to kill himself because of the kids.”

“We had no kids in Thule,” Alec says.

Will looks disturbed. “Wait, so everything went to shit because Clary died and couldn’t save the day?”

Clary smiles, shrugging.

“Okay,” Jace interrupts. “That doesn’t change the fact that they’re back. And Emma and Julian said the only reason why they could come back was because of Annabel, who you said died.”

Julian nods. “I killed her.”

Will looks confused. “Why?”

“She killed his sister and Alec’s father,” Jem replies, softly.

Will’s eyes widen. “How was she still alive?”

“Necromancy, and Malcolm Fade,” Emma replies.

Will blinks. “Wait, Annabel Blackthorn ?”

Jem nods.

Will covers his face.

Jace looks annoyed. “We still don’t know why or how they’re back, or what they want from the Seelie Queen.”

“I guess we’ll find out. But it’s possible they got here the way everything else is getting here these days,” Jem says, trying to placate Jace.

Jace looks away, pensive. “And we still don’t know how that is.”

“No, we don’t. But that doesn’t mean we can’t figure it out,” Jem says.

“We better,” Jace says, then stands and leaves.

Chapter Text

Do they know?

Morning light streams in through the window, still gray and pale.

Something in the back of Will’s mind tells him he should leave, that he shouldn’t be here, but the comfort and peace tell him to stay, so he does.

The three of them lie fully clothed on top of the bed, not even under the covers, Will in the middle. He lies flat on his back, Tessa using his shoulder as a pillow, Jem draped across his chest.

They must know.

Last night, they’d stayed up, laughing and talking, quietly as to not wake Mina next door, and Will doesn’t even remember falling asleep. He doesn’t remember the others falling asleep either, so he must have been the first one.

The grey-silver light shines across Jem’s hair, turning it pale silver, and Will is reminded of when they were younger, after a patrol gone wrong when they both ended up in the infirmary, never far from each other, just content to be near each other.

The light illuminates Tessa from behind, and she looks more at peace asleep then she ever had awake, a thought that sends spears through WIll’s heart.

But do they know?

Jem stirs, and Will freezes. His parabatai blinks sleepily at Will, then in Tessa’s direction, sitting up a little as he takes in the scene around him.

He lays back down, dropping his head onto Will’s shoulder opposite Tessa, smiling.

It’s enough jostling to wake Tessa, who smiles sleepily.

“This is a nice surprise,” she mumbles.

“Oh? Is it?” Jem asks, teasingly, voice soft.

“Mm,” she replies, closing her eyes.

“I think I might have to agree,” Jem says, letting his eyes fall shut as well. “Will, you’re invited to sleep with us anytime.”

Will shoots Jem a weird look.

“Phrasing,” Tessa replies, smiling but not opening her eyes.

Jem waves a hand at Tessa. “Hush. I just woke up, and English is not my first language.”

“You’ve been speaking English longer than I have,” Will replies, rolling his eyes. But he smiles, and Tessa giggles.

But do they know that my destiny lies with them?