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Of Bad Dreams and Big Brothers

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Isabelle woke up in a cold sweat and just managed to grab the blanket before it fell off the bed. She took a moment to calm her breathing before swinging her feet to the floor and rushing out of her bedroom. She padded down the hallway and knocked softly on Jace’s door. After a few seconds of quiet, the door opened to reveal an exhausted looking Jace. It was then that Isabelle was reminded that he had pulled a double patrol that evening due to a lack of available Shadowhunters.

“Iz? Whats wrong?”, he slurred out as he ran a hand through his bed head. He was leaning against the door frame like it was the only thing holding him up currently and she immediately felt a bit guilty for walking him up.

“Nothing, sorry. I just had a bad dream and wanted to make sure that everyone was okay.”

“Yeah, I’m good, Clary is on patrol but last I heard it was really quiet tonight and she should be back within the next hour, and Alec is with Magnus. Are you gonna be alright?”

Izzy took in the information she had been given and catalogued where the rest of her family was in her mind.

“Yeah, I’ll be alright. Go back to sleep and I’ll see you in the morning.”

He nodded, almost fell forward as his eyes fluttered dangerously, and closed the door.

Isabelle sent a quick text to Clary to check in on her and then padded softly over to the next door. She knew that Alec was with Magnus, but she thought maybe at least being in his room might help chase away a bit of her continued unease. As she opened the door she couldn’t help but think of all the times she, Jace, or both, would end up seeking shelter in Alec’s bed after a particularly rough nightmare. He always gave them over half the bed and let them snuggle up under one of his many blankets while he told them stories to get them back to sleep. Truth be told, they had all done that until much older than any of them would admit.

The empty bed was not as comforting as she hoped it would be and all of a sudden her mind began to spiral. What if her dream was real? What if Alec wasn’t at Magnus’ but instead in the jaws of some demon on the streets of New York? She knew it was ridiculous, but then she looked back to the empty bed and had the sudden fear that she may have seen her brother for the last time.

Before her still sleep deprived mind could catch up with what was going on her hands had already pulled out her phone and dialed Alec’s number. She held her breath as it rang and rang and rang.

“Hello?”, Magnus’ voice was low and gravelly as he picked up the phone.

“Magnus! Is Alec with you?”

“Yes he is. He is currently asleep and oh…,” she heard Magnus lower his voice,”… Isabelle… well after midnight… on the phone..okay.”

“Iz? Are you alright?”

Isabelle let out a breath at the sound of her brother’s sleepy voice.

“Yeah, I’m okay, just wanted to make sure that you were too. I had a nightmare and came to check your room and the empty bed just triggered something in my mind and I kinda panicked.”

She heard rustling on the other line and then Alec’s voice again, “Do you need me to come back to the Institute?”

“No.”, she breathed quickly with a small chuckle, “I’m a big girl, Alec. I can handle a little bad dream.”

“Izzy.” His voice was firm and left no suggestions that she should tell him the truth. Ugh, he was such a big brother.

“Really, Alec. I’m fine… or I will be by the morning. I’m just a little shaken up. The dream hit a little too close to home and I just needed to hear your voice.” She would be fine…soon. Sure it would be nice to get a hug from her big brother, but she wasn’t selfish enough to ask him to come back in the middle of the night, especially because he had just began to spend multiple nights away from home in the same week. He thought the Institute would blow up if he were away for more than two seconds at a time and Isabelle did not want to prove him right.

The line was silent for several moment except for the subtle sounds of quiet mumbling.

“I’ll be there in two minutes. Magnus is going to make me a portal.”

“Absolutely not.”

“It wasn’t a question, Izzy. Grab the grey blanket and get comfy, I’ll be there in a sec.”

Just as Isabelle opened her mouth to protest, a swirling portal appeared in the corner of the room. Out stepped a tall figure with his eyes half open and his arms hanging limp by his sides. He went straight to the bed, got under the covers, and held up the other side for her to slip into. She made a beeline for the bed and immediately snuggled up into the arms of her big brother.

“You didn’t have to leave Magnus to come and take care of me,” she murmured into the pillow.

“Shhhhhh go to sleep”, came his low reply.

“I’m serious Alec, you should be in bed with your boyfriend right now, not at the Institute.”

“Isabelle, you are one of the most important people in my life. You are my little sister. I’m going to be here whenever you need me, no matter where I am, no matter what time. Now, we both have very early alarms, so go to sleep, please.”, he held her tighter and buried his face in the pillow. A moment later she could hear soft snores fill the room. Her phone went off and she saw that it was a text from Clary saying she had made it back alright and that she would see her bright and early for training. She smiled a little to herself, finally knowing that all of her loved ones were safe and sound, at least for the time being.

She decided that she could argue with Alec tomorrow about how she would’ve been just fine going back to bed by herself, but for now she just enjoyed being wrapped up in warm blankets with her brother protecting her from any other nightmares that might come her way.