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and if you are gone, i will not belong here

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Michael is more adept at spellcasting than creating charms, but sometimes the occasion is so dire that it calls for something stronger than a spell.

Michael isn't psychic like Isobel, but he gets these feelings sometimes, and he knows better than to ignore them.

And this feeling is telling him that something big was going to happen, something bad, and there was one person in his life who was in a precarious position. So he was going to do everything that he could to make sure that they were safe.

And if that meant that he had to do a little grave robbing, then so be it. The Witch Hunters did it all of the time.

Michael plans it all out very carefully once he figures out what grave he has to disturb. He chooses a night when the moon is full and the Witch Hunters will be busy with the Hellhounds who get more restless during the full moon, and practices the spell he’ll be using to pull the coffin through the dirt.

In order to make sure that the grave didn’t look disturbed, Michael had experimented with different spells until he found one that would do what he needed. 

It would turn the packed dirt on top of the coffin almost like air, so that he could lift the coffin straight up, and then once he got what he needed he would do the spell again, and it would ensure that the grave looked completely undisturbed.

Everything goes according to plan, and he gets the medallion he’ll have to melt in order to create a blank one he could scribe on, but that wouldn’t mess with the blessing bestowed upon it.

He stuffs the medallion in his pocket and makes sure the coffin sinks back into the ground.

He breathes out relieved that everything went well, and lifts a hand to his hat to make sure that Andro was still resting on the brim. He touches the wispy, smoke-like, soft fur, and smiles.

He’s about to will himself back home, when he hears someone clearing their throat.

Michael whirls around, and almost curses, when he spots the two Witch Hunters.

Alex Manes sits on top of one of the headstones and Michael wonders how long he’s been sitting there, while one of his brothers, Greg, stands several feet further away, looking distinctly uncomfortable.

Probably because out of the four Manes brothers, Greg was the one with the least amount of time in the field. He spent most of the year away at one of the Facilities in London, where he taught Witch Hunters to Be revisionist history propaganda.

Alex however, was a formidable opponent. And Michael felt his heart skipping several beats when Alex just tilted his head and raised an eyebrow at him.

If Alex had been alone, Michael might’ve moved a little bit closer, but with an audience, Michael just stays where he is and raises a hand to wave.

“Hi?” he says, more of a question than a statement.

“Hi,” Alex says back, pushing off from the headstone, and moving closer to Michael. “So are you going to give me what you’ve just stolen or am I going to have to go over there and take it from you?”

“I’d like to see you try,” he drawls, and then darts his eyes over to where Greg is moving closer to Alex. “But two against one isn’t entirely fair is it?”

“Oh, I’m sure you’ll manage,” Alex says, and then he’s darting forward.

Michael has learned over the last couple of months that Alex is the type who likes to get his hands dirty, especially while dealing with witches. He gets in close and personal and attacks before anyone can even muster up a defensive spell. But Michael has also learned that there are certain loopholes in Alex’s attacks.

He pulls the hat off his head and throws it at Alex, who catches it automatically, stopping in his tracks, probably because of Andro, who just stretches and yawns in Alex’s face.

Michael doesn’t wait to see what Alex will do with the hat. He moves forward, passing him, and reaching one hand towards Greg, who goes to defend himself, but Michael twists his fingers together and then flicks them out. The motion sends Greg flying backwards, hitting the side of one of the mausoleums.

He slumps to the floor unconscious, so Michael turns around to face Alex.

Alex is giving him a look like he can’t believe that Michael threw his familiar in his face, but Michael sees that he’d settled the hat down on the flat edge of the nearest tombstone, and he can just make out Andro, not surprisingly, still sleeping on the brim.

“You could've killed him,” Alex admonishes, pointing with his chin towards where Michael had thrown Greg, as he takes several steps closer to Michael

Michael shrugs unconcerned, moving forward as well, “Not my fault he’s standing behind enemy lines.”

“That mean you're gonna throw me around too?” Alex asks, slowing his movements to a stop.

Michael keeps walking until they’re standing probably too close, but he knows that Alex doesn’t mind, “I happen to know that you like being thrown around a little.”

Alex smiles, eyes glazing over a little like he’s imagining it, and then he bites his bottom lip and gives Michael a serious look, “You’ve gotta be more careful. Not everyone will like it as much as I do.”

Michael can tell that he’s not talking about what he just did to Greg, but more likely about the grave robbing incident.

“Sometimes needs must,” Michael drawls. “But I promise, I’m always careful.”

Michael infuses the words with innuendo, and he sees the way that Alex’s breathing speeds up marginally, and the way his eyes drop to Michael’s mouth. 

“Yeah?” Alex breathes.

Michael drapes one of his arms on Alex’s shoulder, leaving his hand hanging down, and he leans in, close enough that he can feel Alex’s breaths across his mouth.

“Yeah,” Michael answers, low and throaty.

Alex shivers, eyes falling shut, and Michael twists his fingers, making a come here gesture, and smiles when his hat flies to his hand.

He brushes his nose lightly against Alex’s and wills himself away the moment that Alex’s eyes flutter open.

He doesn’t go too far, so he hears Alex’s bright laughter filling up the air. Michael smiles to himself, and puts his hat back on, a warm and happy feeling bubbling inside of him at the sound.

He pushes his hand into his pocket and wraps his fingers around the medallion. And looks over the side of the mausoleum to see Alex walking over to where his brother is.

Michael pulls his bottom lip into his mouth, and strengthens his resolve. He’s got a protection charm to make.

---

Isobel wakes up with a strangled scream caught in her throat. Her heart is beating way too fast and her head aches, like it always does whenever she wakes up from a vision, from the base of her neck radiating upwards in waves.

It takes a few seconds for her to remember what she’d seen. It comes to her in flashes of images that are both crystal clear and fuzzy. 

Max lying dead on the floor, blood spread and stretched out from underneath him in the shape of a pair of wings. Isobel pressing a hand to her stomach, she can feel the blood, sticky and warm, and she can taste it right at the back of her throat, metallic and thick. Michael standing in front of her, eyes wide and wet with tears, blood streaming from his nose and the corners of his mouth, drops of blood splattered across his face and clothes, blood coating his hands and the dagger in his grip dripped red blood on to the dirt, and each drop reverberated in her head like thunder.

Isobel's visions were more symbolic than what would actually happen, but still, the message was very clear.

She inhales deeply, and gets out of bed, walking out of her room hurriedly, and down the hallway to Michael’s room.

She knocks on his door and waits for five seconds for an answer, before she twists the doorknob, pulling the door open.

The smell of peppermint and bay and basil sweeps past her and she frowns, stepping into the room.

Michael’s room isn’t that much smaller than hers, but it feels claustrophobic. Probably because Michael has a whole workshop/lab/altar taking up most of the space. There are tables that are built into the wall, and could theoretically be swung upwards and out of the way, but the shelves are stocked and overstocked with bottles and vials and beakers and two cauldrons and molds and several mortars and pestles and books, so many books, too many books, and chalk, and plants and vines hanging from the ceiling and crawling up the walls, and herbs growing in pots and hanging from a line from the window, drying out in the sun, and crystals, and talismans hanging from thumbtacks pushed into the wall.

There is a small twin sized bed, pushed with one side of the bed pushed up against the only available wall space, which is right by the window, and that’s where she finds Michael, passed out, hands clasped on top of his stomach, blood from his lightly bleeding hand staining the white shirt.

She walks over to him, and picks his hand up first, noting the sigils on his palm and the cuts on his fingertips. She sees that he’s not actually in danger of bleeding out and that the cuts are clotting over already, so she sets his hand back down, and then leans over his face. She pries one of his eyes open with two fingers, and sees that his eyes are bloodshot and his pupils are blown wide, almost covering his entire iris.

She sighs and straightens back up, looking over to Michael’s altar, where she can still see the smoke from the candles that had been blown out.

She spots Andro, the familiar that had popped up a couple of weeks ago, and who had obviously bonded to Michael, even if Michael would only say that he had no idea where they came from, lying down across the altar, in the shape of a large fluffy house cat.

She could sense that there was something that they were lying on, something incredibly powerful that felt strongly of Michael's defensive energy, but when she went to try to move them so she could see what it was, they stayed rooted to the spot and just seemed to get heavier, the more she pulled at them.

Isobel exhales roughly and shakes her head. Michael did something, some sort of spell or ritual that was going to end up getting them all killed.

She turns back to Michael and frowns. She's known for weeks now that Michael has been hiding something. He's secretive and disappears at odd hours and has been doing more and more spells that are skirting the edges of high level black magic and has been passing out into a coma like sleep, the kind that only comes from magic depletion.

Everytime she tries to confront him about what he's hiding he makes up some excuse, and Isobel is really starting to get tired of it.

Whatever Michael's secret is, it spells danger for them all, and she's not going to rest until she finds out what it is.

---

Michael doesn’t have to wait too long before he gets an answer back, the rolled up piece of parchment appearing in a puff of smoke right in front of him.

Michael grabs the roll before it falls to the floor, breaking the seal and unrolling the message:

Yes. Meet you at our usual place.

Michael smiles, and just sets the piece of parchment aflame, dropping it into the ashtray so that it can burn to ashes.

He stands up from his desk chair, and pats his pockets, making sure he has everything that he needs, wallet, blessed dagger, a small velvet pouch where the talisman sat protected, and Andro curled up into a small kitten that was little more than a wisp of smoke as his fingers brushed over them in his left jacket pocket.

He turns around and stops short when he sees Isobel standing right by his door.

“Hey,” he says slowly. “How long have you been standing there?”

Instead of answering, Isobel crosses her arms over her chest, “Where are you going?”

Michael lifts both eyebrows and gives her a smirk, “Are you sure you want me to answer that question?”

She makes a face at him, but stands her ground. “You’re trying to make me uncomfortable so that you can get out of this conversation but it’s not going to work this time. Whatever it is that you’re doing is going to end up getting us all killed.”

Michael feels his heart beat too hard in his chest and for a second he freezes thinking that Isobel knows the truth, but there is no way that she does. She would’ve blown a gasket and then involved Max before they both would sit him down for an intervention.

“I’m not doing anything,” Michael denies immediately. “And I’m more than careful.”

Isobel’s frown grows even more pronounced, but she doesn’t say anything else, just watches Michael like she’s trying to figure him out through sheer force of will.

“Now if you’ll excuse me,” he says, grabbing the black cowboy hat that was hanging from his bedpost. “I’m running late.”

He sets the hat on top of his head, and then wills himself away, appearing in the parking lot behind the diner briefly before he wills himself away again towards the Old Roswell Cemetery.

Isobel is smart enough to track him, but if she doesn’t actually see him disappear, it’s much harder to get an accurate read of where he went.

Michael stuffs his hands into his pockets and walks a path through the cemetery, until he reaches the exit.

From there he wills himself to his destination and appears right outside of the defensive circle at the edges of the property.

Jim Valenti’s cabin was the one place owned by a Witch Hunter that Michael would willingly go into. Mostly because it was a place for refuge, where Jim smuggled witches he saved from the Facility. 

And it was also the place where Michael fell in love.

He crosses the circle easily and walks towards the cabin. There is a dim light shining through one of the windows which tells him that there might be few candles lit, but that once again, the lights weren’t working properly at the cabin.

He jogged up the steps and opened the door with barely a thought.

He stops short right on the threshold and looks around until he spots what he’s looking for.

The cabin is small and sparsely furnished, and as you enter you see the entire space, a bed built into the wall in the far right corner separated from the couch by a small bedside table with a candlestick holding three lit candles. The kitchen is on the opposite side of the bed and there are more candles lit on top of the counter, and there is a curtained off space that is the bathroom, and then a round dining table that takes up most of the space, with five chairs around it.

Alex is sitting down on top of the table, his legs crossed beneath himself, because he’s definitely allergic to chairs or anything that was made specifically for you to sit down on, and he’s wrapping a cut on his forearm in gauze, which means that he came straight here, instead of going to the Facility to get it looked at.

He looks up when Michael walks in, and smiles, bright and brief, before he finishes up, tucking the edge of the gauze under where it’s wrapped around his arm to keep it in place.

He stands up and the amulets and talismans and gemstones wrapped around his neck knock into each other with small metallic sounds, the Manes Family Talisman, which was round and heavy and silver, inscribed with the family seal, an amber gemstone hanging from a leather cord, a delicate looking golden double circle, that looks like a figure eight, with a gold line floating in the middle of the second circle, hanging from an equally delicate golden chain, a leather choker with a metallic pentagram right at the center, sigils inscribed on each point, and a thin silver chain, looped around his neck three or four times, one of the loose ends hangs down the front of his chest.

His leather duster that hid several daggers in different places, was thrown over one side of the couch, and his crossbow, the two short swords that were usually strapped to his back, and the rope that looked normal until activated that was usually strapped to his hip were all stacked on top of it.

“Hi,” Alex breathes out, staring at Michael like he can’t quite believe that Michael is standing in front of him.

“Hi,” Michael says back, biting down on his lip so that he doesn’t smile as wide as he wants to.

This thing between him and Alex was relatively new. 

They have been doing spells for a while now together, after Michael had been caught and hurt, Jim had brought him here and told him that it was safe, but had neglected to mention that it was someone else's safe place too. 

Alex had held him at crossbow point that first night, but it hadn't taken Michael long to fall in love, not after seeing Alex stripped of his armor and weapons and hurting. And that had been months ago.

But the first time that they kissed and then had sex, was right after they did the spell that ended up creating Andro, which happened just a couple of weeks ago.

Michael walks further into the room, waving the door closed lazily as Andro spills out of his pocket like smoke, and falls to the floor a slightly bigger cat, that bounds over to Alex, begging to be picked up.

While Alex busies himself cooing at Andro, and walking over to one of the kitchen cabinets to take out the treats that he keeps in there for them, Michael walks further into the room, towards the couch.

He throws his hat on top of the couch as well, and then pulls off his jacket.

He takes the velvet pouch out of the pocket, and grips it tightly in his fist.

He turns around to find Alex standing right in front of him, Andro somewhere behind them eating their treats.

Alex places the tips of his fingers to Michael’s cheek, and he leans in close. Michael’s eyes fall shut as Alex kisses him, soft and sweet, moving back before Michael can really reciprocate.

“Hi,” he says again.

“Hi,” Michael says one more time, this time completely out of breath.

Alex grins and moves in to kiss him again, and Michael moves to put his hands on Alex, and remembers the velvet pouch still clasped in his fist.

“Wait,” he says before Alex makes contact. “I have something for you.”

Alex’s smile goes even wider and he gets a mischievous look in his eyes as he moves back a little, “I bet you do.”

Michael scoffs, shaking his head as his cheeks flush with color, “Not that.”

Alex raises his eyebrow at him, so Michael revises his answer.

“Well, yeah that, but that’s not what I’m talking about.”

He steps backwards a little, and Alex stays right where he is, tilting his head, but looking at Michael expectantly.

Michael holds out his hand, the velvet pouch resting in the palm of his hand.

Alex looks searchingly into Michael’s eyes for a second, before he reaches forward, and opens the pouch, not taking it out of Michael’s hand.

He very carefully pulls the bracelet out. It was a braided bracelet, weaved together with strands of blessed string, steeped in peppermint oil and smoked with a mixture of dry herbs that included bay leaves and basil. He’d woven the strands together himself, fingers bleeding while he chanted the protection spell over and over, using all of the times he wished he could protect Alex from harm to fuel the spell. At the center was a silver round medallion that was inscribed with Michael’s own sigil.

Alex breathes shakily and looks from the bracelet to Michael and back again, like he can feel exactly how much energy Michael poured into it.

Michael throws the velvet pouch to the side and then takes the bracelet out of Alex’s hands, motioning for him to keep still as he steps closer grabbing ahold of Alex’s right arm.

As he ties the bracelet around Alex’s wrist, he speaks.

“It’s just a protection charm,” he says, even though it’s much, much more than that. “To keep you safe from spells and from anything supernatural causing you harm. The strongest hex I put on it was to make it impossible for anyone or anything to take it off, unless you’re taking it off willingly.”

He finishes the last knot, brushing his fingertips across them, and the knots vanish, leaving behind a seamless weaved bracelet.

Alex inhales sharply, rocking backwards a little as the spell sinks into his skin.

Michael looks at his face, and Alex’s eyes are closed, his head tilted backwards a little, and he’s breathing heavily, and Michael can feel his pulse racing.

Alex’s eyes open slowly and he looks at Michael from beneath heavy lids. He licks his lips like his mouth is parched, and says, “Just a protection charm, huh?”

Michael nods his head slowly, and Alex looks at him once again like he can’t believe that Michael is actually real. 

Michael wants to stay in the moment, but as Alex looks down at the bracelet and touches it with careful fingers, he can’t help but think about Isobel and her belief that Michael is doing something that’s going to end up getting them all killed.

Alex doesn’t have the same problems as he pushes forward, wrapping his arms around Michael’s shoulders and pushing his fingers into Michael’s hair, and kisses him.

Michael wraps his arms around Alex’s waist, and kisses him back.

And as they go stumbling backwards towards the bed, Michael thinks he doesn’t care what happens next, not as long as he gets to keep this.

---

Alex is walking down the halls in the Facility, heading towards his room. He’s not really paying attention to his surroundings. 

He feels the bracelet like a warm hand wrapped around his wrist, and he knows exactly what kind of protection charm would do everything that Michael said.

He’s torn between feeling too giddy to be alive and beyond terrified.

He knows that he loves Michael, knows it like he knows that Michael loves him, but there was that, and then there was this .

Someone crashes into him in the hall, interrupting his train of thought, and Alex barely manages to keep himself and the person upright.

He pushes them backwards by their shoulders, and sees that it’s Maria, who is wearing her pajamas and looks like she’d been dragged out of sleep.

“Hey, everything okay?” he asks, brow furrowed, but Maria barely pays attention to him, she wraps her hands around Alex’s right arm, almost in the same exact place Michael had grabbed him to put the bracelet on him, and she lifts Alex’s arm to her face.

Before he can stop her, she’s sliding her fingers beneath the bracelet, and tugging like she’s trying to pull it off. 

Alex feels a too warm pulse and then Maria is dropping his arm, and wringing her hand out, hissing like she’d gotten electrocuted.

Alex gathers his hand to his chest, wrapping his fingers around his wrist, feeling the bracelet between his fingers.

Alex wants to ask her what the hell is going on, but he stops when he notices the way that she's looking at him.

He's about to ask her if she's okay, when Maria speaks.

"You're going to kill him," she says, and Alex freezes looking at her with wide eyes.

"What are-?" Alex starts, but Maria steps closer to him, eyes wide and a little desperate.

"You have to stop this," she says, eyes fastened to him. "It's only going to get worse. History will repeat itself. There is nothing that you can do to stop it."

Alex shakes his head at her, not understanding what she's trying to say, "Did you have a vision? Do you need me to get someone for you?"

He moves to go and find someone that can help, since he rarely has to deal with Maria in the aftermath of her visions.

"No," she says, and reaches forward, tangling her hands into the collar of his shirt, stopping his movements in her surprisingly strong grip. "It's cursed! Can't you see? If you do this, it will be inevitable. You will kill him."

Alex feels cold all over as he finally understands what or who Maria is talking about.

He swallows hard and shakes his head, trying to look at her as seriously as he can.

"I won't," he says. "I would never hurt him. I've never been able to. Not really."

Maria gives him a look like he has no idea what he's talking about, and then before he can do anything to stop her, she's pressing her hands to his face.

Alex feels a curious sensation, like he's falling while he's still standing up, and then he blinks, and he's not standing in the hallway with Maria anymore.

He's standing in the middle of the cabin, which he recognizes because of how many times he's been there, because otherwise the room is fuzzy and out of focus.

The only thing that is in focus is him and Michael.

Alex vaguely recognizes the scene, but it's strange seeing it from this point of view.

Michael is tying gauze around his bicep, after he'd spread the ointment to counteract the poison from the Hellhound's claws. 

But if Alex thought about it hard enough, this was the exact moment when he'd started to fall in love.

Michael had been careful, after Alex had basically invaded his sanctuary. He'd forced Alex to take off all of his weapons, since he was weakened to the point that he couldn't even muster up a basic defensive spell.

But he'd spent the entire time patching up Alex, berating him for being an idiot, and Alex was defenseless against the warm, fond feeling that had spread across his chest, like a balm on his soul.

After a moment, they both stand up, and Alex sees himself placing a hand on Michael's shoulder in thanks. He sees his fingers tighten on the fabric of Michael's jacket, and then the scene shifts.

Alex feels vertigo, like the very ground beneath his feet is spinning around too fast for him to comprehend, and then he's standing in a completely different place, blurry trees stretching out around him as far as the eye can see, and right in front of him standing in the middle of a clearing, are him and Michael still. His hand is still clasping Michael's shoulder, and they're both speaking so low that Alex can't quite understand. After a moment he sees Michael stiffen up, and hears his voice saying crystal clear, "I don't have a choice."

And then there is the sound of a blade sinking into flesh, and Alex feels the air get punched out of his lungs as he sees himself pushing Michael backwards, where he stumbles and falls to the floor, unmoving, revealing the bloodstained sword in his own grasp.

Alex scrambles backwards, away from the scene and finds himself falling down on the floor in the hall of the Facility. Maria on the floor in front of him from where they'd both landed on the floor after he'd pulled away from her.

Alex is breathing hard and he’s looking at Maria with wide eyes, already shaking his head, and she’s looking back at him, eyes wet with tears.

“It has been foretold,” she says, and almost sounds apologetic.

“No,” Alex says, shaking his head, and he moves to get to his feet, and almost falls to the floor if it wasn’t for Kyle, who says his name and then Maria’s in an alarmed tone before he’s there keeping Alex on his feet.

He sees Greg helping Maria up, and then sweeping her up into his arms when she sways like she’s gonna fall again.

“Not a damsel distressed,” Maria says, slurring her words a little which means that whatever spell she used to make Alex see what she saw was very strong.

“We can argue about it later,” Greg tells her, and then looks over to Kyle and Alex. “What happened?”

Alex just shakes his head and pushes away from Kyle, who looks like he wants to say something, but just keeps his mouth shut.

Alex walks away from them as steady as he can, while Greg tells Kyle to just leave him alone and help him with Maria.

Alex waits until he’s turned into the next hall, and until he hears their footsteps disappear, before he lets himself collapse against the wall, breathing so hard he feels like he’s going to hyperventilate. 

He shakes his head, trying to dispel the images, and shuts his eyes tightly.

He’s not going to kill Michael. He won’t. He won’t . Never mind that Maria’s visions are never wrong.

Alex is not going to be the death of Michael, and he’ll defy the very stars themselves before he ever hurts him.

Alex encircles his hand around his right wrist, and brushes his thumb across the smooth surface of the medallion. He feels a pulse of warmth, and slowly starts to calm down.

He pushes himself away from the wall, and walks to his room, fingers still wrapped around his wrist.

---

Alex had been avoiding him for a few days, so Michael literally drops everything when he gets the message from Alex.

Meet me at the cemetery. The Long mausoleum.

Michael was supposed to be having dinner with his pseudo-father, but Sanders is more than understanding when Michael calls to let him know that he won't be able to make it.

He leaves, telling Isobel that he's heading to Sanders early, ignoring her when she asks him about Andro sleeping on top of his hat, and wills himself away the moment that the door closes behind him.

He gets to the cemetery, and only gives a cursory look around before he's rushing towards the mausoleum.

He finds Alex sitting on top of one of the five stone pillars that surrounds the place, feet hanging down about half way, looking up at the stars.

When he hears Michael approaching, he tenses up minutely before he notices him.

Alex drops down in front of him, and he gives Michael a look that is slightly nervous.

"Hi," he says, eyes darting away from Michael's face.

"Hi," Michael answers back, feeling a little bit confused.

Alex clears his throat, and he has his hands tangled together in front of himself, or well, he’s got his left hand wrapped around his right wrist, touching the bracelet, almost like it’s giving him some sort of comfort, and Michael feels a flush spreading up from the back of his neck and across his cheeks.

“Sorry I’ve been kind of AWOL the last couple of days,” Alex says, still not really looking at Michael. “Something happened, and everyone’s been keeping a closer eye on me the last couple of days.”

Michael feels elated that Alex hadn’t been actively avoiding him because of the bracelet, and he can’t help the smile that crosses his face. “It’s alright. I figured you might need some space after I gave you the bracelet. I know it’s a bit much-”

“No,” Alex says immediately, taking a step towards Michael. “It’s not too much at all. I really like it.”

He holds his hand out to Michael, and Michael crosses the space immediately, grabbing a hold of his hand.

Alex uses his hold to tug him even closer, and Michael stumbles a few steps across, bracing himself with one hand on Alex’s shoulder so that they don’t go crashing into each other and onto the floor.

Alex just sighs, and presses his forehead to Michael’s, eyes falling shut, “I’ve missed you. So much more than I was expecting to.”

Michael shudders and moves his hand to wrap his arm across Alex’s shoulders, twisting his hand in Alex’s hold so that he can thread their fingers together. 

“I missed you too,” he says, and is rewarded by a bright smile from Alex before Alex is fitting his hand to Michael’s jaw and guiding him into a soft kiss.

It’s timid and tentative in a way that Alex has never been, and it makes Michael wonder exactly what happened that had everyone keeping a closer eye on him.

Michael slides his hand to the back of Alex’s neck, and pushes harder into the kiss. Alex makes a low noise at the back of his throat, and Michael digs his fingers into the back of Alex’s neck, and parts his lips, pressing his tongue to Alex’s lips.

Alex opens his mouth to Michael’s and the kiss turns wet and hot and just a little bit desperate.

Alex tugs and Michael pushes until they’re pressed close together against the stone pillar Alex had just jumped down from.

Alex pulls back a little, letting his head drop back against the stone, and he breathes in raggedly, making a sound like he’s going to speak, but Michael kisses him again before he can.

That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t still try to say something, turning his face away from Michael, only to be dragged back and kissed every other word.

“Wait, Michael, wait, there is a reason I asked you to meet me here,” he finally manages to get out, and Michael finally lets him go, and Alex leans forward chasing after his mouth.

Michael smiles, huffing out an amused breath, and Alex lets himself fall backwards, pouting a little.

“You were saying?” Michael prompts, taking a full step backwards so that he’s not tempted to kiss Alex again.

Alex breathes in deeply, before he’s pushing away from the stone pillar, and walking around Michael to head towards the entrance of the mausoleum.

“There’s this spell in the Book,” he turns and gives Michael a look so that Michael knows that he’s talking about the book of forbidden spells they’d found a couple of months ago beneath the floorboards of the cabin. 

It had been that book which had given them the spell for Andro. 

"And Franklin Long was buried with something that I need."

“What kind of spell?” Michael asks, following after him.

Alex hesitates just enough to worry Michael.

"A binding ritual," he says, a little too casually as he turns around right at the entrance to the mausoleum. "It would make it impossible for us to hurt each other. Not without suffering the same fate."

Michael stares at Alex for a long moment, and Alex just stares right back, not hiding anything.

He looks scared and tired like he hasn’t been sleeping well.

“What happened at the Facility that has everyone keeping a closer eye on you?”

Alex exhales roughly, almost like he hadn’t been expecting that question, and runs a hand through his hair.

“Maria had a vision-” Alex starts, but then almost as soon as he begins to speak, a loud howl rips through the air, making them both jump and turn towards the noise, on the defensive.

Michael lifts his hands in the air, feeling the warmth of his magic caressing his fingers. He can see Alex out of the corner of his eye, crossbow lifted into position, one finger on the trigger, with the rest of the weapon balanced on his left arm.

Another howl sounds out this one much closer, and sounding a bit different, like an answering howl, not the same one.

A theory which is proven when there is another howl, this one more like the first one.

“Hellhounds,” Michael says, moving so that his back is to Alex’s. 

Alex presses up against him, “At least two of them.”

Michael nods his head, and he looks around, trying to see if he can hear where they are coming from, but the only sound in the air is the wind whipping through the trees.

“You hunt, I gather,” Alex says, meaning that he’ll go drive the Hellhounds towards Michael, so that they can trap them.

Michael nods his head, and moves so that his back is towards the mausoleum entrance as Alex dashes past him and towards the treeline.

Michael watches him disappear, and pulls his dagger out of his pocket.

“Andro, buddy,” he says as he slices his hand open, and cups his hand, letting the blood well into his palm. “I think it’s time to wake up.”

He feels Andro stretching on his hat, before they jump down from the brim and land right beside Michael, a large black maned wolf instead of a cat.

The night is still relatively quiet around them, and Michael takes a moment to wonder what exactly Alex was about to say before they’d been interrupted. If Maria had a vision, Michael doesn’t know why Alex is being so jumpy about it.

Unless, the vision had something to do with Michael.

His train of thought is cut off when he hears an angered howl, and then the sound of several large animals chasing something through the trees.

Alex appears to his left, and he’s running straight towards Michael, his crossbow still in his hand.

He looks behind himself, and Michael does as well, and he’s not surprised to find the two Hellhounds right on his heels, but he does become alarmed when two Hellhounds actually turn out to be four.

Hellhounds are giant wolf-like creatures that might look like what someone would imagine a werewolf to look like. It walks on its hind legs, and its long snout is full of razor sharp teeth, eyes dark and just intelligent enough that you know they know exactly what they’re doing.

They’re pack animals, and usually travel in groups of two or more.

Alex rushes towards him as Michael dips his fingers into the blood pooled in his hand. He draws two sigils on his forearm, and feels the warmth of the flames as the fire spell begins to take a hold.

Alex runs past him and at the exact second that Michael moves his hands through the motions quickly, pushing balls of flames towards the Hellhounds. 

The beasts howl enraged, and bat away the flames, which Michael isn’t really worried about since they won’t hurt him, and they won’t hurt Alex as long as he keeps wearing the bracelet.

Michael keeps up the attack, while Alex runs around him, putting his crossbow back into the holster on his side, and unsheathing one of his swords, without even stopping his momentum.

He ducks around Michael’s flames as gracefully as a dancer, and swings his blade through the air, catching one of the Hellhounds right in the gut.

As it drops down to its knees, clawed hands trying to keep its gut inside, Alex chops off its head in one fluid movement.

The beast turns into ashes, and Alex doesn’t stop as he turns and ducks, somersaulting out of the way from another one of the Hellhounds.

Michael waits until Alex has moved far away enough before he yells and drops down on his knees, pressing his hands to the floor. A circle of flame rises up, surrounding the remaining three Hellhounds, keeping them in place for the moment.

The spell won’t last long, but it’s effective in letting them at least catch a small break before having to fight again.

Michael feels the magic sweeping out of him and leaving him feeling cold and empty.

He shouldn’t be feeling this weak already, but he has been using more and more magic lately.

Michael keels to the side, and he only just manages to stop himself from falling on to the floor.

“Guerin, you okay?” Alex yells at him as he pulls his other sword from his back and swings them both in the air, catching his breath and getting ready to attack.

“I’m fine,” Michael says, pushing himself to his feet.

Andro moves from Michael’s side towards Alex with a low warning growl.

“What’s wrong buddy?” Michael asks, looking over to Alex as well.

Alex turns to face them looking a bit confused, but before any of them could move or say anything, someone appears behind Alex, just tall enough that Michael can see the top of their head.

Alex inhales sharply, eyes wide as the person wraps their arms around him. He lets the swords drop, and before they hit the ground. Alex is gone.

Michael feels his heart thump wildly in his chest as he hears the Hellhounds snarl, completely enraged.

The flames aren’t going to last much longer, and Michael doesn’t think he’s going to have enough energy to fight the three of them at once, not even with Andro by his side.

Michael focuses the remaining amount of his power towards the psychic connection he shares with Max and Isobel and calls out for help as loud as he can.

Michael falls to his knees, and he’s caught just in time by Max and Isobel, who appear on either side, and prop him up, swinging both of his arms on either of their shoulders.

“Michael,” Isobel says, sounding shocked. “Are you okay?”

“Hellhounds,” Max says, sounding scared.

He can feel Max and Isobel gather on either side of him, and probably to begin to teleport with him, when there is a high pitched whistle that splits the air like a whip, making the three of them yell out in pain as they fall to the floor.

The Hellhounds whine, loud and high pitched, and Michael realizes that the flames must’ve extinguished since he hears the sound of them running away right after.

The sound is gone as soon as it appears, and Michael lifts his head carefully, his ears still ringing.

The three of them get to their feet, Max helping Isobel.

“What was that all about?” Isobel asks, and they both turn to face Michael.

Michael opens his mouth, trying to figure what to say, when he hears Andro growling again.

“Well, well, well, look what we have here,” Clay Manes says, and before Michael can react. He feels someone grabbing him, wrapping one arm around his chest to lock his arms to his side, and then there is the pricking sensation of a needle in his neck.

Michael looks around, desperately trying to fight out of the hold that has him trapped, but he feels his energy seeping alarmingly as a heavy lethargic feeling follows in its wake.

Michael looks towards Isobel and Max and sees Flint and Gregory Manes letting the two of them fall to the floor, needles in both of their hands.

As Michael falls, he spots Andro, who stares at Michael intently before they disappear into a cloud of black smoke that dissipates quickly.

Michael has only a moment to think that he hopes that Andro goes somewhere safe, before the darkness pulls him under and he knows no more.

---

Alex wakes up with a shout trapped in his throat, and sits up immediately looking around himself and trying to get his bearings.

The last thing he remembers is facing off a pack of Hellhounds with Michael.

As he looks around the room, and slowly starts to calm down he realizes that he’s at the Facility. Ever since Michael had given him the bracelet, Alex has been able to feel the power of the defensive wards surrounding the Facility like a base level humming, vibrating through his very bones.

He’s not entirely sure where exactly he is in the Facility, but the room looks more like a cell than a bedroom, but more cosier than the actual cells on the basement level.

Alex looks around trying to find a way out, gets out of the bed, ignoring the way his head starts to pound immediately. He’ll deal with that later. Right now, he has to find a way out of here.

Because Alex knows a trap when he sees one, and whatever happened at the cemetery was most definitely a trap, and he’s equally sure that the trap was not for him.

The door is heavy and locked with three deadbolts and a shimmering field that Alex recognizes as an entrapment shield.

He tries not to growl low in his throat, feeling like a caged animal.

He wraps his hand around his right wrist, feeling the bracelet between his fingers, and squeezes it between them, closing his eyes and trying to calm down.

He doesn’t have to search himself to know that he’s weaponless and charmless, with the exception of the bracelet since Alex placed a chameleon charm on it to make it seem dull and uninteresting to anyone who doesn’t already know what it is. Even his family talisman is missing, which would be a bad thing, if the Facility didn't have defensive wards.

But Alex is nothing if not resourceful.

The only way to break an entrapment charm was to destroy the object that it was placed on, and while Alex knew exactly the right spell to blow this door off its hinges, he didn’t really want to attract attention to the fact that he was free. 

Alex moves towards one of the walls, pressing his ear against it and listening. He can’t hear any noises from the other side, and if he’s right about where he is, then the wall right next to the door would be the one facing the hall.

He hopes that he’s right, and crouches down on one knee, pulling down the sock around his left leg, as low as his boots will allow, and sticking his fingers down until he touches the top of the wax seal.

He pulls the thin vial out and settles it in his palm, breaking the seal open with his thumb as he stands up.

He lifts his other hand to his mouth, biting down against the meat of his palm, hard, barely wincing as his teeth break through his skin.

He spits out the blood that fills his mouth on the floor, and then hovers his bleeding hand over the opening of the vial, letting a couple of drops of blood drip into the vial, where there is just enough space for a couple of drops.

He moves his hand, and covers the opening of the vial with one finger before he starts to shake it vigorously, until the vial grows hot in his hand.

Alex throws the vial against the wall, and the glass breaks with a small tinkling sound.

The wall in front of him dissolves like sand, falling to the floor with a soft hushing sound, starting with where the liquid had hit the stone, and opening a hole big enough for him to duck through.

He ducks his head through the opening, looking down both sides of the hall, just to make sure the coast is clear, and then he moves through the hole, stepping on to the carpet that runs the length of the hallway just as the wall begins to reconstruct itself.

Once he starts walking he realizes exactly where he is, and doesn't think twice about it before he makes his way to his father's office.

Alex avoids any and all interactions with his father. He has to live here because he likes being a Witch Hunter, and more than that, Alex has always felt that this was what he was born to do. He didn't even hesitate to don his family's talisman, which was how a Witch Hunter's powers were activated.

But this was a step too far. They had laws for a reason, and Alex knew the Council was corrupt but setting a trap for three witches who haven't done anything was frowned upon no matter who did the trapping.

Alex opens the door without knocking and his father stops speaking in the middle of his sentence, looking away from Jim.

Neither of them actually look surprised to see him there, which means they were expecting him to break out of his prison.

Alex ignores the warning look that Jim is giving him and steps up to his father’s desk. His father just leans back in his chair and looks at Alex like he has no idea what Alex could possibly be upset about.

“You can’t do this,” Alex says, and his father raises both eyebrows both in question and surprise.

“I’m sure that I am the Leader of this Facility, and that whatever I do or not do is not up for debate,” he says, settling his tangled hands down on top of the desk.

Alex notes the bandages on the tips of his fingers and saves the information to think about later.

“You can do whatever you want to me,” Alex says. “But the Evans Coven has done nothing that warrants arrest. The only one with a Black Mark on his record is Max, and even so it takes three of them for you to actually be able to arrest him.”

His father looks amused, which immediately puts Alex on edge.

“It’s wrong,” he continues. “And the Council wouldn’t approve.”

“The Council wouldn’t care,” his father says, getting to his feet and rounding the desk. “Do you really think that they’ll do anything but congratulate me for getting rid of three more witches?”

Alex breathes in sharply, but he doesn’t say anything to answer the clearly rhetorical question.

Jim’s eyes are darting between the two of them, but Alex knows that if worse comes to worse, Jim will try to intervene, but that only meant that Alex’s punishment would be worse later on.

“They are witches,” his father continues, talking like Alex is a child who doesn’t know anything. “We are Witch Hunters . It is our job to hunt them. Not to hide out and do spells with them.”

Alex’s heart starts beating too fast, and he has the overwhelming urge to run, but he stands his ground, hands closed to fists so tightly that he can feel the ache in his knuckles, and the blood dripping down from his still cut hand.

His father steps even closer, close enough that Alex can read the warning in his eyes loud and clear. 

“Even if they were all innocent,” he says, sounding like he highly doubts it. “The fact remains that one of them has been doing something he shouldn’t have. And he should’ve been brought in and interrogated the moment that you noticed the familiar.”

Alex doesn’t look away from his father’s face, feeling completely frozen in that moment.

“I have no-” Alex tries to say.

“Don’t lie to me,” his father snaps, one hand moving sharply. Alex flinches, immediately regretting it.

Jim clears his throat pointedly, and his father takes one step away from him, looking annoyed, “I am going to be busy tonight, so we’ll deal with your actual punishment later, but for the moment-Flint!”

His father moves to sit back down, but Alex doesn’t relax, feeling dread creeping up in the pit of his stomach at the thought that whatever his father is planning on doing tonight has something to do with why he needs three witches.

Flint appears in the room, right in front of the desk, and he looks at their father first, before spotting Alex, and giving him an annoyed look, like he actually thought that Alex was just going to sit quietly in a random room.

“Take Alex back to the Isolation Room, and this time make sure that he doesn’t have anything he can use to escape.”

“Yes, Dad,” Flint says, bowing his head a little, and then he’s reaching out and grabbing on to Alex’s arm.

They disappear from the room before Alex can say or do anything else, and then they’re back inside of the Isolation Room.

Alex stumbles a little once Flint lets him go, and Flint just exhales roughly, like he’s tired.

“Do you have anything else, or do I really need to search you?” he asks, giving Alex a serious look.

“You don’t have to do this,” Alex says, finally loosening his hands, and making a face at the way the cut on his hand stings. “You can just take me somewhere else. You know this is wrong.”

Flint just shakes his head, looking at Alex with nothing but pity, “Dad is just doing his job, which should’ve been your job.”

“Our job is not to target innocent witches,” Alex says through gritted teeth.

Flint gives him a disbelieving look, “You know, until this moment, I didn’t actually believe you were under a spell.”

“Is that what he told you?” Alex asks, feeling incredulous. “Because it’s not true. I’m not under a spell.”

Flint shakes his head, the look of pity back on his face.

“I’m not,” Alex insists. “I-”

Alex shakes his head, blinking rapidly, not willing to pour his heart out to his brother just to get out of here.

“What is Dad planning to do tonight? Do you know?” he asks instead, hoping that thinking that Alex isn’t going anywhere will get Flint talking.

“I don’t know,” he says, and he looks honest. “All I know is that after tonight, you won’t care, because the spell will be broken.”

And then he disappears, while Alex feels like the ground just opened up beneath his feet.

There were two ways to break a spell, especially one like the mind control that he assumes everyone thinks he’s under, one would be to destroy the object the spell was casted on and the other was to kill the witch.

Alex drops heavily down on the edge of the bed, leaning his elbows on his knees and dropping his head into his hands.

He needs to come up with a plan quickly, but his brain is too busy panicking to actually think straight.

Alex exhales roughly, feeling a stinging pressure behind his eyelids, and his throat closing up.

Before he can actually give into the urge and cry, he feels something wet and warm and rough dragging across the back of his hand.

Alex jumps, looking down, and Andro takes the moment to jump into Alex’s lap in the shape of a housecat. They sit on Alex’s lap in a regal position and tilt their head up, looking at Alex seriously.

Alex sighs, and moves one hand to scratch them between the ears.

“Hey, buddy,” he says, voice cracking.

Andro pushes their face into Alex’s hand, before Alex can make contact, and as soon as he touches them, he feels something click deep inside his chest.

He inhales sharply as he feels Andro along the edges of his consciousness, pushing their thoughts into his head.

Alex feels fear and alarm and worry, but also determination and hope.

Andro pours the knowledge that they have and what their limits are exactly into Alex’s head, and Alex breathes out, feeling for the first time since he’d woken up in this room, that everything is going to be okay.

Andro doesn’t speak in words, but pictures and feelings, and Alex feels the question hanging between them, important and tangible.

“I swear on everything that I am, and everything that I’m not. I’d rather die than watch him come to harm.”

At words Andro dissolves into a black and purple smoke, which rushes at Alex, pouring into his mouth. Alex gasps, inhaling deeply.

He tastes electricity and oddly enough, honey at the back of his throat, and then everything goes black.

---

“This is all your fault,” are the first words that Michael hears when he blinks back into awareness.

He recognizes the grey stone walls and cold, wet air of the Facility basement jail cells, and groans, sitting up.

He spots Isobel and Max on the other side of the room. Max is sitting with his back against the wall, and Isobel is standing and pacing.

They’re both wearing the dampeners around their necks, and when Michael lifts his hand to his, he feels the cool plastic of the collar.

Fuck, Michael thinks. Not again. He hates the dampener more than anything.

Michael looks back to Isobel, who is glaring at him, like this was all his fault, which it might be, but he also has the feeling that it wouldn’t have mattered if he wasn’t in a secret relationship with a Witch Hunter, that they would’ve still ended up here tonight.

“What?” he says, going for plausible deniability.

“You’re the one who’s keeping secrets and I told you that you were going to get us killed if you didn’t stop what you were doing,” and she makes a gesture to indicate their surroundings and gives him a look like she’s saying, and would you look at that .

“I don’t know why we’re here, but I do know that it has nothing to do with what I may or may not be doing,” Michael says, because if there is one thing that he’s sure about, it’s that Alex had nothing to do with what happened.

The three of them are the most active witches in Roswell, they’re the only registered coven in Roswell.

And Michael’s bad feeling from a couple of nights ago has intensified to the point that his stomach aches with it.

Michael moves to a sitting position, sliding himself backwards until he’s propped against the opposite wall. The cells in the Facility have no accommodations, just a small bench on the far wall, surrounded by stone walls, with one lamp hanging from the ceiling which is more than usual not lit. Michael leans his head back and bends his legs, resting his elbows on his knees.

“Stop lying,” Isobel demands, taking a couple of steps closer to Michael.

Michael just gives her a look, and she scoffs, shaking her head.

“When they caught us, I got a full blast of the jumble of thoughts inside of Greg’s head, and they think that you put one of their own under a spell. So either they’re deluding themselves, or you’ve been doing something you shouldn’t be doing.”

Michael scoffs in disbelief, shaking his head, but before he can say anything to defend himself, there is someone, several someones walking down the hall, and stopping in front of them.

Michael sees that it’s the three other Manes’ brothers, the same ones that had caught them, and he can’t help but wonder where Alex is.

They open the cell without a word and Isobel tenses immediately, before anyone can say or do anything else, she’s going on the attack, leading with a punch. She catches Greg right on the nose, and Greg’s face basically explodes, blood spurting everywhere.

Greg groans, his head snapping backwards, and Flint catches him before he can hit the floor.

Clay doesn’t even hesitate to press the button on the control he’s got in his hand, and Michael feels the electric shock go through him as well, making him shout and reach his hands to the collar around his neck, trying to tug it off to no avail.

This is the main reason that he hates the dampener. It also serves as a shock collar.

The pain stops almost as soon as it began, but Michael can still feel his nerves twitching.

He looks over to Isobel, and finds Max kneeling beside her, panting heavily as he looks at her to make sure that she’s okay.

Isobel just grits her teeth, nodding at the wordless question, as she glares up at the Witch Hunters.

“Now, are you going to come quietly, or do I have to shock you again?” Clay asks as he steps around his brothers and looks into the cell with an unreadable look on his face. “And keep in mind that it doesn’t matter who steps out of line, the three of you will be punished.”

Isobel looks like she would love nothing more than to punch Clay in the face as well, but she lets Max help her to her feet, while Michael uses the wall behind himself to pull himself up.

Isobel grabs Max’s hand, and they both wait for Michael to get to them before she grabs his hand as well, and the three of them move forward.

The last time that Michael was here wasn’t at all pleasant. He’d suffered through Jesse Manes’ version of an interrogation in one of the cell rooms, and then when he’d thought that this was it, that he was going to die, he’d woken up at the cabin with Jim Valenti telling him that he was safe.

So he hadn’t really walked through the halls, but he looks around now as they’re led from the cells in the basement up to the roof of the building. 

He doesn’t know if it’s just him or what, but the place seems so cold and lifeless, all stone walls with barely any lights. It’s no wonder that Alex barely likes to spend time here.

There is no moon in the sky and the night seems to be too still around them, like the very air was holding its breath, anticipating what was to come.

Right in the middle of the roof there was a large pentagram, carved into the stone, the groves looking unnaturally dark, at each point of the star there was a stone pillar, worn with age, but still standing straight, right in the middle of the pentagram was a small stone bench, curved enough to support someone’s neck, stained disconcertedly, and right beside it stood Jesse Manes, dressed in old ceremonial robes that reek of old tradition.

They’re herded over the line of the pentagram, between two of the stone pillars, and Michael can’t help but feel like they’re lambs being led to a slaughter.

Once they cross into the pentagram, Michael feels something like a low psychic boom reverberating from his feet up, making him feel like he’s stuck in place.

“What is this place?” Isobel asks, fingers tightening around Michael and Max’s hands.

Jesse looks at them like he’s just noticed that they’re there, and smiles, almost reassuringly, if it wasn’t for who he was and the giant dagger that he was holding in his hands.

“You know for generations my family has kept this town safe, keeping this gate of hell closed, but once every fourteen years, a little pressure needs to be let out in order to keep everything stable,” he says, and Michael’s feeling of dread gets even worse.

"And in order to do that, a price needs to be paid, a boon given, a sacrifice made, the blood of three witches, all from a different sect."

“No,” Isobel said, trying to take a step back and drag Michael and Max with her, but Michael felt it when she hit the invisible barrier. They were trapped within that pentagram with a Witch Hunter who was definitely going to kill them, with no way to defend themselves, and no way to get out.

“You can’t do this,” Max says next, untangling his hand from Isobel, who wraps her free hand around Michael’s arm to keep him by her side. “There’s no way your Council would allow-”

Jesse just laughs a little, “The Council doesn’t care, and if they did, it wouldn’t take long to convince them it’s for the greater good. It wouldn’t be the first time we would have to.”

He shakes his head at the look on their faces, and Michael doesn’t know what’s worse, knowing he’s going to die, or knowing that Jesse Manes pities them.

“How do you think your parents died?” he asks, and for the first time since they were brought into the circle, Michael feels a spike of anger. 

“Why do you think Alex was interested in you in the first place?” he asks, and Michael freezes momentarily. “It was all a ploy, to bring you here.”

And Michael, Michael thinks about Alex who stops in the middle of an attack to catch Michael’s hat, because more often than not, he knows that Andro is settled on top of it, who laid all of his weapons in a pile where Michael could see them, who apologized the first time that he’d kissed Michael, who  looks at him like he thinks Michael is too good to be true, who sometimes shows up with cuts and bruises that would be easily fixed with a spell and refuses to tell Michael how he got them.

Michael scoffs and gives Jesse a pitying look in return, “You must be really dumb if you think that I’m going to believe anything that you say.”

Jesse doesn’t even give him the courtesy to seem taken aback, he just continues, “It’s what my uncle did to your mother, fourteen years ago.”

Michael reacts before he’s fully conscious of it.

Isobel can barely hold him back as he wrenches himself away from her side and rushes forward.

Jesse catches him easily, wrenching one of his hands behind his back and pinning him down on the low bench. Michael barely has time to keep his nose from smashing into the stone bench. He turns his face and finds himself staring at Isobel who Max is holding back from trying to attack Jesse as well, Clay stands also in his sight, his finger hovering over the button that controls the dampeners, looking at his father with a frown on his face.

“Now,” Jesse says, leaning over Michael, and twisting his hand hard enough that Michael can feel the bones grinding together, before he places the tip of his dagger to Michael’s throat. “Any last words.”

“Yeah,” Michael manages to spat out. “Fuck you.”

Jesse laughs and digs the dagger harder to his neck, leaning heavier against him.

He can feel Jesse inhaling to speak again, but before he can there is a low boom sound, and then the ground beneath them shakes, which is concerning, considering that they’re on top of the roof.

Jesse pulls away from him, but keeps Michael’s hand trapped against his back.

“Go check-” he starts, but then the door that leads to the roof is blown open.

Michael can’t see who shows up, but Jesse hisses in discontent, and he hears one of the Manes standing outside of the circle say, “Alex! What are you doing?”

Michael can hear the sounds of fighting, and he struggles to see what’s going on.

Jesse lets him go, making a sound of disgust, and Michael turns around, cradling his hand to his chest as he manages to push himself backwards until he hits the barrier of the pentagram.

He tries to move his hand, and gasps as the pain pulses from his clearly broken wrist and up and down his forearm.

Isobel yelps, and Michael looks up, distracted from the pain momentarily, to see her and Max ducking to the floor as a ball of energy crashes through the barrier that surrounds the pentagram and hits Jesse in the chest, momentarily freezing him in place.

Michael looks back to where Alex is putting his hand down, and then turns towards his remaining brother, Clay, who is holding a sword in front of himself with one hand, and in his other hand he’s still holding the remote.

Flint is on the floor behind him, wrapped up in the silver rope that is usually used to wrangle familiars.

Michael is still trying to understand that Alex is obviously using magic without actually using any spells, when Alex tilts his head at his brother, and then disappears, shimmering out of existence like a witch.

Clay is obviously surprised, but he doesn’t get the chance to stay surprised, since Alex appears behind him, and presses the palm of his hand right next to Clay’s face, purple sparks lighting his hand and sinking into Clay’s head before he drops his sword on the floor and collapses, passing out.

Alex turns to face the pentagram then, and there might be no moonlight, but the candles magically lit so that the wind doesn’t turn them off, shine enough light that Michael can see the inky blackness of his eyes.

Michael would think that he’s possessed, if it wasn’t entirely impossible since he was still wearing Michael’s bracelet around his wrist.

Alex leans down and picks up the remote that Clay had also let fall to the floor. 

He presses the button, and Michael sees Isobel and Max flinch, but he’s not surprised to hear the click of the collar around his neck unlocking.

Michael pulls it off his neck and tosses it to the side, and Isobel and Max do the same.

Magic floods through him, welcoming and warm, slipping through every part of him, and healing his broken wrist and the cut on his cheek.

He concentrates on the magic around them and he can feel the warm pulse of the wards surrounding them, a spell in place that he can’t quite read, he can see the amber-gold color of the aura that surrounds the bracelet still wrapped around Alex’s wrist, and the familiar taste of the magic that is flowing through Alex right now. 

Andro.

Alex looks at him like he can tell what he’s thinking, and then he’s moving, crossing into the pentagram easily.

He grabs Isobel first, and Isobel fights back immediately, pushing at Alex.

Alex wraps his fingers around her wrists, and uses her movements to drag her out of the circle, which is when Michael realizes that the only way in and out of the pentagram is if a Manes helps you across.

Max stops right at the edge of the pentagram, hissing something at Alex that Michael doesn’t hear, but Alex ignores him as he pushes Isobel away from him and turns towards him.

Isobel stops trying to attack him, probably realizing that Alex is trying to help them, but as Michael gets to his feet and walks over to Max, he can see that she’s definitely on edge and more than ready to attack if Alex makes the wrong move.

Alex holds his hand out towards Michael, since Max’s hands are bright red with rage.

Michael doesn’t hesitate as he puts his hand in Alex’s and lets Alex tug him across the line.

Michael wants to ask Alex so many questions, but instead he turns back towards Max and lifts an eyebrow.

Max just gives him a look, like he thinks Michael might be an idiot, but he lets Alex tug him over the line as well.

Once he crosses the line, Isobel goes to him, and wraps one hand around Michael’s wrist trying to tug him along, so that they’re a united front against Alex, but Michael resists her attempts, looking at Alex, who is looking back at him, but almost like he doesn’t quite recognize who Michael is.

Michael takes a step towards him, swallowing hard. 

“Alex,” he says gently, wanting to reach for him, but gets his hand tugged down by Isobel.

Alex blinks twice, and then shakes his head, and then he sways, stumbling forward a little.

Michael pulls out of Isobel’s hold then, and reaches for him, bracing him with his body, fingers wrapping right above Alex’s elbows.

Alex clutches at him as well, and when he looks at Michael with wide wet eyes, they’re the warm brown that Michael is used to.

“Hi,” Michael says, dragging one hand from Alex’s arm to cup the side of his face. Alex’s cheek feels cold to the touch, but he leans into Michael’s touch and exhales like he’s exhausted.

“Hi,” he says back, managing a small smile.

Michael is about to stay something else when Isobel’s voice rings out interrupting them.

“You have got to be kidding me,” she says.

Michael turns towards her, and he can see the knowing look on her face.

He opens his mouth to tell her that they’ll talk about this later, when Alex pushes him backwards, towards Isobel and Max as a spell rushes past them and hits the ledge surrounding the roof with a hissing sound.

Michael turns to see that Jesse is unfrozen and stalking towards them, eyes on Alex.

“You have to go,” Alex says as he moves so that he’s standing between them and his father.

“Alex-” Michael starts wanting to convince him to come with them, but before he can say anything else, Flint is untangling himself from the last of the rope and getting to his feet.

“Go now!” Alex yells, turning towards them, and giving Michael a reassuring look.

The distraction costs him, and Michael opens his mouth to warn him as Isobel and Max wrap themselves around him.

The last thing Michael sees is the fire spell breaking apart as it hits a barrier surrounding Alex which lights up the night in amber hues, singing with Michael’s defensive energy, before Isobel and Max drag him away.

He pushes away from them as they land in their apartment, but Max barely notices as he goes to check the perimeter to make sure that their defensive wards are still in place.

Isobel however whirls around to face him, an incredulous look on her face, “Please tell me you did not fall in love with a Witch Hunter.”

“Fine, I won’t tell you,” Michael says, and closes his eyes, ready to will himself back to Alex’s side, but Isobel grabs on to him.

“This is not the time for jokes,” she snaps. "It's time for the truth. What is going on between you and that Witch Hunter?" 

Michael wants to say that nothing is going on, but he knows that the more he denies it, the more pissed Isobel will be later. And it's not like Alex ever told him to keep their relationship a secret from his siblings, only from his own family.

"Fine," he says again. "You want to know the truth?"

"Yes," Isobel says, and she's echoed by Max, who comes to stand beside Isobel as she lets him go and takes a step back, satisfied that he wasn't going anywhere.

Michael breathes in deeply, and then breathes out. 

"I do," he says, and he waits for Isobel's eyes to widen in realization before he continues. "I'm in love with him. And he loves me too."

"How can you be so sure he's not tricking you?" Max asks, brow furrowed like he's worried about Michael.

"Because I am," Michael says, adamant. "There is no way it's a trick or a ploy."

"You trust him that much?" Max asks, furrowed brow getting deeper.

"I trust him with everything," Michael breathes.

Both Isobel and Max are looking at him like they think he’s lost it.

Michael opens his mouth to explain, to make them understand, when he feels an alarming tug, almost like something hooked into the very core of his magic and is trying to funnel it out. He feels pain sear down across his back, and he knows, he knows , knows it in his very soul, that it’s Alex’s pain he’s feeling, almost like it’s too immense and the protection spell has no other way to protect him than to make Michael share the same pain.

Michael had shut his eyes, hunching in on himself in an attempt to ward off the pain, but he straightens up, almost knocking into Isobel and Max who were hovering over him.

"Alex is in trouble," he gasps, blinking his eyes a few times. "We have to help."

Isobel grabs on to Michael before he can think of anything to do.

"Listen," she says, holding on to him. "Even if he is in trouble. There is  nothing that we would be able to do about it. You already know how weak the dampeners make us. It took everything for us to even get here ."

Michael blinks at her, feeling like he should agree with what she's saying, but it's difficult to think straight when Alex is the one in trouble.

"If there is one thing that I know," Isobel continues, eyes darting over Michael's head and then back at him. "Alex Manes is one strong Witch Hunter. He can handle whatever he's going through."

Michael shakes his head, "You don't understand, Izzy-"

Isobel lets him go suddenly and takes a step backwards nodding her head sharply.

Michael barely has time to feel relieved before Max's arms are surrounding him, and he's muttering a spell, pressing his hand to the side of Michael's face.

Michael feels the drowsiness pull him under, and he barely has time to feel anger or betrayal as the darkness comes and pulls him under.

---

Maria doesn’t mean to fall asleep.

She’s supposed to be watching Alex to make sure that he doesn’t get a fever or anything while he rests since they can’t heal the slashes across his back with a spell. 

But she must fall asleep, because when she opens her eyes and sits up, she’s not in the infirmary anymore. 

The way that Maria’s visions work is that she sees the pivotal moment in the past that was the starting point, the thing that happened that’s going to make the future happen.

The further in the past the pivotal moment was, the harder it would be to change what was to happen. Not that Maria is able to actually change much of her visions, some things were set in stone, but there was always that one in a million chance that she’d be able to change the outcome.

It’s what she’s hoping to do with Alex, but even as she was telling him that he needed to stop, she knew that it was already far too late to stop that one from happening.

Or maybe something even worse was going to happen because he refused to listen to her, she thinks as she looks around herself and notices that she’s on the roof, watching the scene that ended up with Alex in the infirmary, back covered in slashes.

She tries not to think too hard about how Jesse treats his sons, and especially Alex. Jesse took her in and gave her a home when she needed it, and it wasn’t Maria’s place to do or say anything.

She hadn’t known what he was planning on doing, but there was something in the air that was steeped in ancient magics and she knew that at least one person was going to die that night.

When she’d seen the three witches being brought in unconscious, she had known that her vision was going to come true, albeit not in the way that she had seen, which wouldn’t be the first time that her vision was more symbolic in nature than what actually ends up happening.

Still, it was because of Alex that Jesse even took notice of the Evans Coven.

He might think that he was being sneaky, but nothing escapes Jesse’s attention, especially where his children are involved.

She watches with bated breath, as Alex fights with magic , using no spells, no stones, no talisman, nothing but the bracelet wrapped around his wrist, that shines like a beacon, but with an amber gold energy signature, not the purplish silver that was swirling around him.

He drags the witches out of the circle, and Maria feels both dread and relief at the fact. She stares at Jesse as Michael grabs on to Alex, and she sees the way the anger flares around him, red like blood.

But that’s not what makes this the pivotal moment, because the vision doesn’t change until Alex yells at the others to leave, and Jesse’s spell hits the protection spell surrounding him in amber golden light, Michael’s sigil shining bright and damning in front of him.

Maria is used to the abrupt rush and sway as the world spins around her and drops her unceremoniously into the future, but she still stumbles a little on the uneven terrain she lands in next.

She looks around herself immediately, and inhales sharply, mouth dropping open in horror. The world itself seems to be on fire, tainting the horizon orange and red. 

Everything around her is destroyed, and as she looks down at the rubble underneath her feet, she can recognize it as the Facility. 

She looks back up swallowing hard, trying to find another clue, something else that will help her figure out how to stop this, and that’s when she sees them.

Michael is on the floor, breathing heavily, like he’d just woken up from a nightmare, enough blood on his shirt that tells her that he should be dead, and Alex is cradling Michael’s head in his lap, one hand on his chest, over his heart, like he’s making sure that his heart is beating.

He’s staring down at Michael, but Maria doesn’t know how, since technically she’s not actually there, just witnessing the event, he seems to sense that she’s there, because he looks up, right at her.

Maria feels the terror rushing through her like a wave as she takes in his completely black eyes, and the way his teeth are too sharp in his mouth as he bares them at her in warning.

Maria wakes up suddenly, jolting and almost falling out of the chair she’d settled herself in, and Kyle is there, pushing her back towards the backrest, but Maria just pushes forward, wrapping her arms around him, and pushing her face into his neck, trying to stop herself from hyperventilating.

Kyle settles back on the floor, leaning against Alex’s bed and wrapping her in his arms, trying to calm her down and tell her that everything is going to be okay, but she doesn’t think that things will be okay. She thinks that things are going to be getting much, much worse.

Maria might hate it, but it wasn’t like Jesse was wrong. They did need a sacrifice in order to keep the gate to hell closed, and without it, she was terrified to think about what might actually find its way into their realm.

But now there was this to worry about.

She turns her face, to hook her chin over Kyle’s shoulder, and she looks over to Alex to see the familiar that she’s seen settled on Michael’s hat, drape themself over the back of Alex’s neck, before they dissolve into a purplish-grey smoke that looks familiar, seemingly sinking into Alex’s very skin.

Alex's breathing which had been laboured, like the pain wouldn’t leave him alone even in sleep, evens out, and he seemed to fall even deeper into sleep, his face smoothing out.

Maria exhales heavily and thinks that it is entirely too late to stop anything from happening, but that doesn’t mean that she’s not going to try.

---

Michael wakes up suddenly, a feeling that he’s not alone prickling across the back of his neck. He opens his eyes and turns his face, and somehow isn’t entirely surprised to find Alex asleep in his bed.

He’s tucked in the small space between Michael and the wall, and Andro is lying down right beneath his bent arm, curled up in the crook of Alex’s waist, dark eyes looking at Michael like they’d been waiting for Michael to wake up.

Michael hasn’t seen Alex in a couple of weeks, but Alex looks like he’s been to hell and back and barely slept the entire time. 

It makes his chest feel tight and his heart aches.

His hair is a mess and looks like he might’ve singed it in some places. The bags under his eyes are so dark Michael is tempted to believe it’s make up, there’s a fading bruise across his cheekbone, and his bottom lip is split. He looks thinner and ragged, and his right arm is wrapped up in gauze all the way up to his fingers, the protection charm still wrapped snugly around his wrist.

Michael flexes his own right hand, and he feels the ache run down the length of his forearm. He’d felt when Alex had gotten hurt, a slice of fire running straight down his forearm that had left him paralyzed for a couple of minutes. 

Michael wants to lean over and wake Alex up and demand to know what’s been going on, but he feels like Alex needs the sleep more than he needs answers.

He gets more comfortable, leaning his head on his arm, and he just looks at Alex.

He doesn’t know how long he stays there, just staring at him, but by the time Alex moves, stretching out a little and hitting Michael with his leg, Michael can hear Isobel walking down the hall and into the bathroom.

He’s not sure how Alex got in here undetected, and he doesn’t really care, if he’s being completely honest, but he is sure that Isobel and Max won’t be as nonchalant about it.

Alex’s eyes flutter open, and he looks straight at Michael.

His eyes widen a little, like he hadn’t been expecting Michael to be there, but then he smiles, small and sweet, rubbing his cheek against the pillow and blinking his eyes sleepily.

“Hi,” he breathes, reaching his hand out to press the tips of his fingers to Michael’s face.

“Hi,” Michael says back, eyes falling shut at the touch.

He feels Alex move closer, and hears Andro’s indignant yelp as they fall behind Alex, but neither of them pay attention to them.

Alex presses his forehead to Michael’s, and Michael opens his eyes, looking into Alex’s eyes and seeing just how much Alex missed him in their depths.

Michael exhales roughly, and Alex just nods his head slightly.

“Sorry I’ve been kind of AWOL,” he says after a long moment. “Things have gotten worse back at the Facility, and I really didn’t want you to get caught up in the middle of it.”

“Tell me,” Michael says as he wraps his hand around Alex’s wrist, rubbing his fingers against the gauze. Alex goes tense in his hold, and then relaxes, leaning back a little so that their foreheads aren’t touching and he can see Michael clearly.

“It doesn’t matter anymore,” Alex says, blinking his eyes and looking away from Michael. “The Council has decided to intervene in the affairs of our Facility for the first time in decades. The ritual I stopped-”

“Causes the gates of hell to open,” Michael says, interrupting him. “Yeah, your father let us know exactly what he was doing.”

Alex frowns a little, but then nods his head, “Yeah, but it’s not only that. It causes a chain reaction, and any hellgate connected to the one here will also start being more active. So they can’t afford to have my father kill me, and are also seeing this-” he lifts his right a little, indicating the bracelet “-as a tactical advantage in what they are sure is going to be an all out war to keep back the demons determined to cross over.”

“What does it mean, exactly that the Council is intervening, what does that actually mean for you?” Michael asks, wanting clarification, because it feels like Alex isn’t telling him something.

“It means that my father can no longer hurt me,” Alex says. “But mostly because the Council has asked me to take up the mission of dealing with whatever consequences come from my interference with the ritual. No matter where it happens to take place.”

Michael takes the words in, and realizes exactly what Alex is trying to say.

He sits up, and Alex follows after him immediately, moving to the edge of the bed when Michael levers himself up to his feet.

He turns to face Alex, and Alex stops trying to stand up when he sees the look on Michael’s face, dropping back down on the bed.

“You’re leaving,” Michael states, since it’s not really a question.

“Yes-” Alex starts, looking like he wants to say more, but Michael interrupts him, talking over him. 

“When?”

Alex breathes in deeply, and his gaze falls away from Michael’s face somewhere to the left of him, “Tonight.”

Michael’s ears start ringing and he feels a little bit like he’s about to fall over.

“And you didn’t think to tell me sooner,” Michael hears himself saying faintly.

“I couldn’t,” Alex says, eyes finally darting back to look at Michael.

“Or you didn’t want to,” Michael says, wanting to believe that Alex would tell him but there was a small voice in his head that sounded like a combination Isobel and Max that was asking him if he was really sure.

"Of course I wanted to," Alex says as he pushes himself to his feet and tries to catch Michael's eyes, but Michael refuses to look at him.

"This is the first time in weeks that I've been able to leave the Facility," Alex starts and Michael's eyes turn to him, helpless. "I couldn't risk it before, not when my father was watching my every move, having my brothers follow me around when he didn't have me in that damn interrogation room."

Michael shakes his head, feeling the dread sweep through him icy and swift, "Alex-"

Alex shakes his head at him, and takes a step towards him, reaching out and grabbing a hold of Michael's left hand.

"I'm okay now," he says, like that makes it any better. "And I just couldn't leave without seeing you one last time."

"No," Michael says, and he takes a step closer to Alex which makes him bump right into Alex, from knees to chest.

"You're not going anywhere-" he continues, stopping because he can't make the rest of the words come out just as easily. Not when it means being away from Max and Isobel.

Alex exhales roughly, and closes his eyes dropping his forehead to Michael's, "Michael, I have to do this."

"I know," Michael says exhaling. "You didn't let me finish."

Alex opens his eyes, and pulls back a little, furrowing his brow and looking at Michael with confused eyes.

"I meant, you're not going anywhere, without me."

Alex shakes his head immediately, "No Michael, you can't. It's too dangerous. And the Council would-"

"Either you let me come with you or you get used to having a stalker."

Alex gives him a disbelieving look, "I'm not going to be alone. The Council granted me a team of five to help deal with everything."

"Then you better pick people you can trust with our secret," Michael says easily, grabbing onto Alex's right hand and threading their fingers together.

Ale just shakes his head, still looking at Michael in disbelief, "Michael, I-"

"Tell me you don't love me," Michael says, and Alex flinches like just hearing the phrase was painful.

"What?" He snaps, sounding wounded.

Michael tightens his hands and keeps Alex right where he is when it seems like he's going to push Michael away.

"That is what you're going to have to say to convince me to leave you alone," Michael says, and Alex stops trying to get away, looking at Michael with wide surprised eyes.

"I love you," he says, and Alex twitches like that was something he didn't know. "And I want to keep you safe just as much as you want to keep me safe. And I think that we would do a better job of that if we worked together."

"Michael," Alex says again, and he doesn't say anything else, but the way that he says it, loaded and warm, tells Michael all that he needs to know.

And just continues to stare at him, and Michael can hear the pipes rattling along the walls as Isobel takes her shower, and while he knows that he's going to miss Isobel and Max more than he'll know what to do with, he also knows that he's making the right choice.

Alex seems to read what is bothering him, and that it won't make him change his mind, because he steps closer, leaning in a little and says in a low voice, "We won't be leaving Roswell forever."

Michael inhales deeply and nods his head once before he drops his head to Alex's and closes his eyes.