Isabelle burst into Magnus' apartment with a rune to open the door with a determination that was to be admired.
She found the warlock lying on his couch, staring at the ceiling, looking deep in thought with an almost sad expression on his face.
She had to stop for a moment, not able to hide the shocked look that flickered across her face at the sight of Magnus' apartment. For a place that usually looked festive and exciting, it now seemed dark and closed off, dull and forlorn. Isabelle's eyes roved over what she could see and she thought- with a slight feeling of satisfaction- that it was obvious Magnus was coping with the breakup about as well as her brother.
Then again, Alec was more like a zombie at the moment than a Shadowhunter. Dazed and with his mind a million miles away, Alec wasn't handling Magnus' absence well. Her brother had never been the most open, but Izzy feared he was becoming more closed off than ever; and she knew for a fact that even if he didn't show it, he missed Magnus like crazy.
Magnus still had his hair spiked, but gone was the makeup, fancy clothes and glitter. He looked a lot more tame than usual and Isabelle couldn't help but think how wrong this all was. Chairman Meow lay at his feet on the couch and two sets of cat eyes shot to Izzy at her sudden entrance.
"Isabelle," Magnus sat up and turned so his feet were resting on the floor of his loft, surprise evident on his face followed by slight alarm. Chairman Meow made a sound of protest at his owner's movement, but both the Shadowhunter and warlock ignored it. "What is it? Is Alec-?"
"Alec is my brother," Isabelle stated.
Magnus looked taken aback for a second before he searched her face. Obviously he didn't find anything too alarming because he leaned back on his couch, watching her carefully with a suddenly unreadable expression of his own.
"I'm glad to see you're finally catching on Isabelle, but most of us figured that out a long time ago." Magnus' joke fell flat and his tone was anything but teasing. After a few seconds of nothing but them watching each other Magnus cleared his throat and looked down, shifting a bit. "Why did you say you were here?"
She narrowed her eyes at him. "Alec is my brother," she hissed at him once more, although her voice was shaking slightly from suppressed emotion. "And you broke up with him."
"Oh please don't tell me-"
"He's not eating you know," Isabelle cut Magnus off. "He's not sleeping either, in case you cared. He's absolutely miserable," Isabelle stressed. "And it's all because a warlock broke up with him and told him he never wanted to see him again."
Magnus didn't even have the decency to look guilty. Instead an affronted look crossed his face. "I also mentioned not seeing any of his friends again either. I suppose I should have made it clearer that you were included in that as well." A frown crossed his face and he either didn't notice or didn't react to the look of hurt that she wore. "And I would like to think I'm more than just some warlock-"
"Don't." Isabelle said regaining her composure. "Look, I know what Alec did was wrong-"
Now it was Magnus who was interrupting Isabelle. "He told you?" He seemed generally surprised.
"Of course he told me." Isabelle snapped. "Magnus, he told me he was gay years before he told anybody else. I'm his sister. And- now that Max is gone," she looked away from his piercing cat stare, swallowing before continuing. "We're all each other have." She took a deep breath. "I only have one brother left." She almost whispered the words. "I can't stand to see him like that."
It was minutes of silence later when Isabelle finally raised her eyes to look at Magnus, to check and see if her words had impacted him at all. Only after she felt she could look at him without showing just how emotional she was about everything. Max was gone, Alec was completely wrecked, her father had only days ago been considering taking the Inquisitor job and Simon-Simon was stressing her out like no boy ever had before.
Magnus's eyes were softer than before as he looked at her but his voice was hard when he replied. "Isabelle, I can't-"
"That's bullshit." Izzy's voice was like a whip. "Why are you being so stubborn?"
Magnus laughed without humor. "That's ironic coming from a Lightwood."
She ignored him. "Alec loves you and he's sorry-"
"You don't betray somebody if you love them."
"Even if it means being able to spend the rest of your lives together?" Isabelle asked him. "Magnus you were his first everything. His first kiss, first boyfriend, first love… he will never forget you, even if you try and forget him."
Magnus swallowed visibly. Whatever emotion had been in his cat eyes disappeared as they turned flinty. "You need to leave."
"Fine." Isabelle turned around before stopping at the door. "You know it doesn't hurt to pick up the phone once in a while. You don't want to get back together with Alec? Fine, don't. But you could call and at least talk to him."
But Isabelle was a Lightwood and she always had to have the last word. This was no different and she did not look back as she spoke. "It was nice being your friend, Magnus."
She slammed the door behind her.
He didn't call.
Clary pressed on the buzzer to the High Warlock of Brooklyn's apartment, waiting for him to let her up so that she could see him for the first time in weeks.
"Who is it?" Magnus sounded grumpy even through the speaker, but Clary thought his tone lacked the usual annoyance he always had when someone asked to be let in.
"It's me," she replied. "Let me in."
His only reply was to open the door. Clary took it as a silent invitation.
She sensed Magnus's wariness as she opened the door to his flat. "Is this about Alec?" He asked her right away.
Clary barely had time to take in his appearance. No colours in his spiky hair, almost non-existent glitter, a bathrobe serving as his only clothing. Isabelle had warned her about the change in the apartment's appearance- it was so dark- but she hadn't expect Magnus to look like anything other than… Magnus.
"Of course it is." Clary answered him.
He sighed. "Clary listen to me. I'm not getting back together with Alec."
His cat eyes narrowed. "You know why."
She shook her head. "I know what you told him- and I only know that because Alec told Isabelle, who told Simon, who told me. But Jace and I agree, we don't think that's the real reason."
He raised an eyebrow at her but Clary saw the look on his face before he could hide it and knew her suspicions were correct. "Where is your dear Jace?"
"Magnus." Her tone was scolding and something that was almost but not quiet amusement flickered in his eyes.
"Really. Why isn't he here? I thought you two were inseparable."
"I asked him not to come with me."
"Why was that?"
"Because he doesn't know when to stop telling the truth." Clary replied honestly, moving to sit in a lone armchair. "He annoys you because you and him are so alike and doesn't let you avoid things you don't want to talk about." Clary watched him closely. "I won't press you on things like he will, but I won't leave until you help me understand."
"Shadowhunters," Clary felt a certain satisfaction at the undeniable fondness in his voice. "You're all so stubborn."
"We're friends, aren't we Magnus?"
Magnus looked up at her in surprise at the change of topic. "Friends?"
She nodded. "Aren't we? Even though you broke up with Alec?"
"What does friends entail exactly?"
Clary sighed. "Never mind. Look, as your friend I'm here to help. To listen. Whatever you want."
"I want you to go away." He replied casually, getting up to fix himself a drink.
"Anything except that," she replied watching him closely. "You shouldn't be alone right now, and neither should Alec."
"Then go see Alec," Magnus replied, still turned away from her. It occurred to Clary that he was taking a deliberately long time in making up his drink. "Leave me alone."
"Magnus," his name came out in a sigh. "Just… help me understand. Simon wasn't really all that clear on what happened."
"That's too bad," the warlock finally turned around once more and made his way back to where he was sitting before. "I would offer you a drink but that would give you the impression that I wanted you to stay."
She ignored the comment, knowing that he, like Jace, said hurtful things to people when he didn't want to talk about serious issues. And she could understand, because she wasn't particularly close to Magnus. At least maybe not close enough to warrant this invasion of his privacy. But she wanted to help, and she wanted to see him and Alec back together because it was obvious that neither was coping well without the other.
"I thought you loved Alec," she said.
He stopped for a half a millisecond before continuing- Clary almost didn't catch it. "Are you asking me or telling me?"
"I know he loves you," Clary continued. "He hasn't stopped staring at his phone since he started calling you. By the way," Clary added, "do you even listen to the messages? Or just ignore them completely?"
Magnus heaved a great sigh. "As much as I'm enjoying our conversation- which I'm not, let me assure you, I was saying that merely to be polite- I'm growing rather bored. Prattle on about whatever you want; I think I'll head out."
He snapped his fingers and suddenly he was dressed in yet another of his fancy outfits. This one consisting of a bedazzled purple t-shirt and black and white jailor's pants. Clary watched as he downed his drink in one gulp and the cup disappeared- probably to some poor unfortunate soul's sink to be washed.
"Why are you doing this?" Clary asked him as he stood back up. "Because Alec will die? Because you're scared to love him? You don't want to tell him about your past, who your father? Is it something to do with that guy Jace is related to?"
"Clarissa Fray," Magnus said with a voice that brooked no argument. "Please get out of my home."
She stood up, sensing that he was growing seriously annoyed at her company, and walked out. She turned around just outside his door, finding him watching her with something infinitely sad in his eyes. "Did you ever love him?" She asked hurtfully. "Or was he just a way to get back at Shadowhunters?"
It was a cheap shot and something flared in Magnus's eyes that froze her in fear for a moment before he waved his hand and the door slammed shut in her face.
Clary didn't hesitate for a moment before spinning around and stalking down the stairs, making sure to loudly slam the door behind her.
Isabelle totally owed him for this, Simon thought as he pressed the button to buzz into Magnus's apartment.
"What?" The warlock's voice was a snap from the other end.
"Erm it's me, Simon." The vampire said. "Will you let me up?"
"No." Magnus replied.
"Please? I won't leave until you do."
He heard a sigh and watched as the door in front of him opened to admit his presence.
He found the warlock leaning against his doorframe, arms crossed and wearing dark jeans, a bright yellow shirt, and his glittery M belt.
"Please don't tell me you're here about Alec too." Magnus said right away, skipping pleasantries.
Simon shrugged. "Sorry to disappoint."
"What is it with you people," Magnus's eyes narrowed. "You're the third person in less than two weeks. I feel stalked."
"I can assure you, I'm not stalking you."
"Ah ha!" Magnus pointed a finger at him. "That's exactly what a stalker would say!"
"Were you like this with Alec?" Simon asked. "How did he-"
He cut himself off before he could say something unintentionally hurtful- like how in Raziel's name did Alec put up with Magnus? Clary told him he did that sometimes.
Magnus seemed to lose all emotion at the mention of his ex. "I suppose you better come in." He said, moving out of the door stiffly.
"Thanks," Simon said in return.
"So what are you going to do?" Magnus asked. "Isabelle tried to guilt trip me, Clary tried to make me angry…. what's your tactic?"
Simon frowned. "Was I supposed to have some sort of plan? I kind of just came on over when Isabelle asked me to."
"I knew it!" Magnus exclaimed. "Isabelle put you up to this."
Simon blew out a breath of air. "Yeah."
"So why are you here?" Magnus asked him. "You didn't seem to care about Alec and I when we were together. Why didn't you just go hang out with some other Downworlders for an appropriate amount of time before going back to Izzy and saying it didn't work."
"You're a Downworlder," Simon pointed out.
Magnus shrugged. "I suppose."
Simon thought that put that conversation to rest. "So," Simon looked around at the unusually dark apartment, searching for something to talk about that wasn't super personal. "Umm… love what you've done with the place."
Magnus looked around himself in surprise, as if just noticing the state his home was in. "Oh. Yes, I keep it like this until I decide what to do with it next. Usually I don't let people in to see it," he settled his golden green eyes on Simon.
Simon let it go, knowing that was bullshit if he ever heard it. Magnus was obviously as affected by his breakup as Alec- for some reason he just didn't want people to know it.
"So what have you been doing the past two weeks?" Simon asked him. He took in the takeout food containers and the unkempt state of the loft. It looked like Magnus hadn't really been doing much of anything.
Magnus shrugged a shoulder. "I've been busy. People do pay a lot for my spells you know, not that you lot ever did. Parties to go to, people to see… I've been busy."
Simon glanced around him once more. "Right." He said, not believing a word. "So that's it then? Just forget all about Alec, move on?"
Magnus didn't reply.
"He's torturing himself you know."
Magnus still didn't say anything, watching Simon warily.
"I don't get it." Simon said eventually. "You're older than the rest of us combined right? Like at least 800 years, but who knows if that was the truth." Magnus flinched but Simon went on, unseeing. "Shouldn't you be smarter than us then? I mean, you should know that this isn't helping anyone. Both you and Alec seem miserable."
"Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age," Magnus said in reply.
"Neither of you seem to be coping with this breakup very well," Simon continued. "You broke Alec's heart-"
"People heal from broken hearts."
"Do they?" Simon asked back, disbelieving.
"You did after your little fling with Clary," Magnus retorted.
Simon rolled his eyes. "That was different."
"How so? Apart from the fact that it wasn't two men."
"Clary and I didn't feel about each other the way you and Alec feel." Simon paused. "Well, I did." He admitted. "Clary not so much."
"You recovered. Why can't Alexander do the same?" Magnus asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Don't you miss him?" Simon asked, changing tactics. "The things that made you fall in love with him in the first place… don't you miss them?"
"You get used to missing things after a while," Magnus answered.
Simon frowned. "That doesn't sound like a nice way to live." Seeing Magnus open his mouth he rushed on. "What was it anyway, that made you fall in love with him?"
"Really? I'm sure you don't want to spend your time listening to me ramble about my love affair with Alec."
Simon wrinkled his nose but persevered none the less. "I really want to know. I can sort of see why Clary fell in love with Jace. I know why Jace would fall in love with Clary. Kyle and Maia are apparently an old couple. Isabelle…" Simon smiled to himself. "Well she's Isabelle. How could anybody not love her?"
"Quite easily," Magnus muttered, but his voice was lacking enough to make Simon sure he didn't mean the words.
"So?" Simon asked. "What was it?"
"You're asking me what made me fall in love with Alec?"
"So you do love him?"
"Of course I did," Magnus's tone was bordering on angry. "I never lied about that. I was honest in that relationship. How could I not love him?"
"I asked if you still loved him. I never doubted that you did. It was obvious to everyone except him. But do you still love him?" Simon pressed.
"Love isn't something you can just switch on and off, vampire." Magnus's tone was heavy. "Believe me, if it was I would know."
"Exactly," Simon said. "So since you did love him it can't just have disappeared. You still care, don't you?"
"Listen Daylighter, I'm not really in the mood for questioning . If you want another way to waste your time go and find someone else to bother." Magnus met his eyes steadily.
"You're avoiding all of my questions," Simon noted. "Don't think I haven't noticed. I just want to know one thing. Why did you fall in love with Alec? Why him? There was Jace, there were other Downworlders… what was so special about him?"
Magnus sat back and watching carefully. "You are the most persistent out of them all, I will say that."
Magnus shrugged and looked away after a bit. "Alec was different. The rest of you called me when you needed something; my magic, my knowledge, Jace when I played at being his babysitter. You call me your friend but when have any of you ever come here because you wanted to, just to see me? None of you did. And I didn't mind really. You were friends of Alec and I'm used to being used. "
The warlock trailed off and Simon frowned, not being able to deny anything he had said. "But Alexander… he came to thank me for saving his life." A soft smile grazed the warlock's lips and Simon thought it changed his face for the better, it was more real; he was disappointed when it was wiped off almost immediately. "He was unlike any Shadowhunter I've ever met before. He seemed interested in me, not my magic or anything that I could do for him. He was cute and shy and different…"
Magnus suddenly looked at him again, causing Simon to pull his head back a bit in surprise. "At least I thought he was. You know what happened."
Simon nodded, thinking. He had always been good at reading people- something he prided himself on- and despite everything, after what he had just heard he was sure Magnus still loved Alec. "I do."
"But you think I should forgive him."
"No." The answer seemed to surprise Magnus and Simon met his eyes steadily. "It was a bad thing to do. But if you still love him… I mean really love him, you know, nothing less, then there isn't anything that can come between that. Look at Jace and Clary," Simon rolled his eyes. "She was dating me, thought he was her brother and everything was going on with Valentine still couldn't stop those two."
Magnus pressed his lips together. "Alec tried to shorten my life."
Simon shook his head. "No. He didn't. He thought about it. And I'm sure you did too. I know it's not a big thing, but there is a difference between the two."
Magnus watched him carefully. "In hundreds of years Alec will be long dead. I can't change that. You and I will be the exact same as we are now. Immortality," Magnus said it like a curse, "takes more things away than it gives. If I didn't shorten my life then Alec would still die and it would still be over between us eventually."
"So what?" Simon asked. "You're trying to spare yourself pain?"
Magnus's jaw clenched. "I have been through more pain than you could imagine, rat boy. Don't talk to me as if I know nothing of pain."
Simon shrugged. "It just seems like you're taking the easy way out."
"And if I am?"
"Well the easy way is the easiest," Simon admitted, "but the harder way of things usually gets you the best results. If you love Alec then wouldn't you want to spend all the time you possibly can with him? That's what I want to do with Isabelle."
Magnus raised an eyebrow. "You love Isabelle?"
Simon blushed lightly, stammering at his slip up. "I- no, I- erm…"
Magnus shrugged, looking away. "I can't say I didn't see it coming. In fact all of us did."
"Us," Simon noted.
Magnus ignored him. "Alec will want to kill you," he murmured as if to himself. "He's so protective of his sister, especially after you broke her heart the last time…."
He trailed off as if lost in thought and Simon cleared his throat. "Magnus."
"What? Oh yes… congratulations. I'm sure Izzy's pleased."
Simon shrugged. "Yeah well. You know you could always come and hang out with us. See for yourself."
Magnus' eyes shot to his, surprise evident in them. "I don't think that's a good idea."
Simon hesitated before nodding. "Yeah well. It was just a suggestion."
"I'm sure that would be a tad too awkward, even for me."
Simon nodded and stood up, having run out of things to say. "Okay then, I guess I'll go."
"Already?" Magnus asked. "You just got here."
"I've been here half an hour," Simon noted. "And yeah, I came as a favour to Isabelle. I don't think I'm changing your mind so…"
"Oh." Magnus sat back. "Yes. Well I guess I'll see you in a few hundred years."
Simon felt something drop in his stomach at the words. "Umm.. sure. Sounds good." He walked towards the door and opened it before hesitating at the doorway. "You know it's not just Alec who misses you." He said. "The rest of us do too. And despite what you think, you are our friend. So, you know… stop by sometime. Before the rest of them are dead."
Not exactly the happiest parting words, but at the look on Magnus's face Simon thinks he made his point quite clear.
Magnus heard the buzz of the doorbell and heaved a sigh, wondering if he should bother getting up and answering his visitor. He was quite comfy on his bed and wasn't sure whether he wanted to move.
Whoever it was buzzed again and Magnus finally dragged himself up and shrugged on a black silk dressing gown, figuring whoever it was needed some sort of help or was just a very persistent door to door salesman- either of which would be a good distraction for him. The salesman at least he could take his anger out on and perform some sort of spell. Perhaps it was time New York gained another pigeon.
Another two more annoyingly long buzzes sounded before he finally reached the door and pulled it open, annoyed and grumpy.
He should have just stayed in bed because, at seeing who it was, Magnus was sure he would have preferred a salesman. "What are you doing here?" He demanded of Jace.
"My, my," the blonde Shadowhunter replied with his annoying condescension and ease. "So unwelcoming."
"That's because you're not welcome."
Jace raised an eyebrow at him and Magnus clenched his teeth. "I thought we were friends."
"No." Magnus said back, not moving an inch. "You're Alec's friend. Alec was my boyfriend, so I had to put up with you. But now he's not my boyfriend, so I don't have to put up with you. Not that any of you seem to realize it. You must be the—what, fourth?—of you lot to bother me." Magnus raised a hand to count on his fingers. "Clary. Isabelle. Simon—"
"Simon came by?" Jace asked, and Magnus felt a bit of pleasure at having thrown him.
"You seem surprised." Magnus noted.
"I didn't think he was that invested in your relationship with Alec."
Magnus resisted the urge to flinch at his words, instead choosing to reply in a flat, emotionless voice. "I don't have a relationship with Alec."
"It smells like heartbreak in here," said Jace.
"That's the Chinese food." Magnus turned and threw himself onto the sofa, composing himself while he did before stretching out his long legs while watching Jace closely. "Go on, get it over with. Say whatever you came here to say."
"I think you should get back together with Alec," said Jace.
Magnus rolled his eyes up to the ceiling, resisting the urge to sigh. Here we go again. "And why is that?"
"Because he's miserable," said Jace. "And he's sorry. He's sorry about what he did. He won't do it again."
"Oh, he won't sneak around behind my back with one of my exes planning to shorten my life again? Very noble of him." Magnus replied bitterly, still not looking at Jace.
"Besides, Camille's dead. He can't do it again." He continued, still not turning to the golden boy before him.
"You know what I mean," said Jace. "He won't lie to you or mislead you or hide things from you or whatever it is you're actually upset about." Magnus saw him throw himself into the wingback leather chair and raise an eyebrow. "So?"
Magnus rolled onto his side, finally looking at him. "What do you care if Alec's miserable?" He asked, hoping to change the subject.
He didn't want to hear about Alec. The dark haired boy had already taken over his thoughts. Magnus couldn't go one damn day without thinking of him constantly, he didn't need all of his friends coming over to remind him of his pain even more. If nothing else, he was sure the question would get a rise out of the Shadowhunter- he was quite touchy.
"What do I care?" Jace asked loudly, obviously somewhat angry. Magnus prepared himself for the onslaught that was sure to follow. "Of course I care about Alec; he's my best friend, my parabatai. And he's unhappy. And so are you, by the look of things. Take-out containers everywhere, you haven't done anything to fix up the place, your cat looks dead—"
"He's not dead." Magnus said, looking over to his cat whom had just jumped up.
"I care about Alec," Jace said, fixing Magnus with an unswerving gaze. "I care about him more than I care about myself."
"Don't you ever think," Magnus said, pulling at a bit of peeling fingernail polish idly, "that the whole parabatai business is rather cruel? You can choose your parabatai, but then you can never un-choose them. Even if they turn on you. Look at Luke and Valentine. And though your parabatai is the closest person in the world to you in some ways, you can't fall in love with them. And if they die, some part of you dies too."
Jem and Will were a prime example of that, Magnus knew. And it scared him how alike a pair they were to Jace and Alec.
"How do you know so much about parabatai?" Jace questioned and Magnus resisted rolling his eyes. Even now Jace was somewhat suspicious of him.
"I know Shadowhunters," said Magnus, patting the sofa beside him so that the Chairman leaped up onto the cushions and gently bumped Magnus with his head. He sank his long fingers into the cat's fur, feeling how smooth and soft it was. Chairman Meow was always a good distraction. "I have for a long time. You are odd creatures. All fragile nobility and humanity on one side, and all the thoughtless fire of angels on the other." His eyes flicked toward Jace, seeing him watching with open curiosity. "You especially, Herondale, for you have the fire of angels in your blood."
"You've been friends with Shadowhunters before?"
"Friends," mused Magnus, not wishing to really go further down that road of conversation. "What does that mean, really?"
"You'd know," said Jace, "if you had any. Do you? Do you have friends? I mean, besides the people who come to your parties. Most people are afraid of you, or they seem to owe you something or you slept with them once, but friends—I don't see you having a lot of those."
"Well, this is novel," said Magnus, voice hardening ever so slightly, something inside him almost hurt at Jace's words. "None of the rest of your group has tried insulting me."
"Is it working?"
"If you mean do I suddenly feel compelled to get back together with Alec, no," said Magnus, still stroking the Chairiman. "I have developed an odd craving for pizza, but that might be unrelated." He added, hoping to derail Jace a bit more.
"Alec said you do that," the Shadowhunter replied, not taking the bait. "Deflect questions about yourself with jokes."
Magnus narrowed his eyes, thinking about the irony of that statement coming from Jace. A Herondale of all people. "And I'm the only one who does that?"
"Exactly," Jace replied, unaffected by his cat stare. "Take it from someone who knows. You hate talking about yourself, and you'd rather make people angry than be pitied. How old are you, Magnus? The real answer."
Magnus stared back at him without saying a word.
"What were your parents' names? Your father's name?"
Magnus glared at him out of gold-green eyes, growing suddenly annoyed at the line of questioning. Maybe he had considered telling Alexander some of this, but never, in the entire length of his life, would he tell Jace Herondale. "If I wanted to lie on a couch and complain to someone about my parents I'd hire a psychiatrist." He bit out.
"Ah," said Jace. "But my services are free."
Damn him, Magnus thought as he stopped the corners of his mouth from twitching into a smile. "I heard that about you."
Jace grinned and slid down in his chair, grabbing a Union Jack pillow from the ottoman and putting it behind his head. Magnus watched, making a mental note to clean it later once Jace had left. "I don't have anywhere to be. I can sit here all day."
"Great," Magnus said, not meaning it at all. "I'm going to take a nap." He reached out for a crumpled blanket lying on the floor, just as Jace's phone rang. Magnus glanced up, frozen where he was, as Jace dug around in his pocket and flipped the phone open, curiosity filling him.
It was quiet for a moment as Jace listened to whoever was on the other line before Magnus heard him answer. "Yeah. I'm at Magnus' place. I think I might be making some headway. What's up?"
Headway, Magnus snorted but still watched him closely for any change in appearance. Yeah right.
Magnus felt panic rise in him and start crawling up his throat as he saw Jace sit up straight. His eyes flickered to where the pillow tumbled to the floor.
"What is it?" Jace asked whoever he was talking to with anxiety and worry clear in his voice. "What's happened?" Magnus sat up too, the blanket dropping from his hand, panic filling him.
Alec, he couldn't help but think as Jace listened to whoever it was talk. Something's happened to Alec. And if not Alec then Izzy or- or Simon. If it was Clary Magnus was sure Jace would already be gone.
Magnus saw Jace close his eyes and gripped the couch cushions beneath him so tightly that his knuckles turned white.
He stood up when Jace, did, feeling the familiar energy of his magic rush through him to stop at his fingertips. If they needed help- if someone was hurt-
"What is it?" He asked as he followed Jace to the door, pushing down the worry inside of him. The boy turned and Magnus saw dread and worry reflected back at him. He swallowed, mentally preparing himself for whatever he was about to hear. Magnus schooled his expression, hardly letting Jace open his mouth before the questions he was dying to ask finally spilled from his lips. "Is it Alec? Is he all right?"
"What do you care?" Jace asked coldly and this time Magnus couldn't help but flinch. Of course he cared… he hadn't been trying to make them think he didn't care- insanely, he wanted to laugh at the absurdity of the idea. He couldn't imagine not caring about Alec. His panic only rose and his legs seemed to turn to lead when something flickered in Jace's eyes before he turned and walked out of his home, leaving Magnus standing there staring after him.
Clary heard the raised voices first.
She was sitting at the kitchen table in between Jace and Simon, with Alec beside Jace, when Isabelle's angry voice reached her ears.
Jace stood up at the sound- always ready for anything- but the words that floated to them through the door made Clary forget about Jace, at least for a second.
"Where is he?!"
"-Magnus?" Clary finished Simon's question. "I think-"
The door burst open and behind it stood Magnus, blue sparks around his hands, and Isabelle, hands on her hips standing in front of him.
She turned around in surprise and met their shocked looks with an exasperated one. "I tried not to let him in but-"
"Where is-?" Magnus shouldered past her, making her stop midsentence, striding into the room with a determined expression on his face that faltered alongside his words and steps when he caught sight of Alec.
Clary could count the number of times she had seen Magnus speechless on one hand. This was one of those times.
Once his eyes locked on Alec's they couldn't seem to move, surprise and a relief that was obvious to the entire room's occupants appearing in the cat like orbs.
"Magnus what are you doing here?" She asked finally, the first one to recover from the surprise of his arrival.
Magnus ignored her. "Why didn't you answer your phone?" He demanded of Alec as if he couldn't sense the rising tension in the room.
Alec, who had appeared to be frozen in a state of shock staring at Magnus, blinked and seemed to regain his ability to speak. "My phone?" He asked confused.
"Yes," said the warlock, obviously exasperated. "Your phone. First you can't stop calling and texting me for weeks and suddenly you drop off the face of the earth?"
"I- Jace broke it this morning." Alec seemed to suddenly remember the others were in the room and turned to face his friend. "You're paying for my new one," he told the blonde.
Jace looked at Alec with a frown, his eyes seeming to say 'how dare you focus on something so trivial as a broken phone right now with your ex-boyfriend standing right in front of you.' \
"Sure," is what he said out loud in agreement easily.
"But Magnus," Alec seemed to be in control once again, a frown appearing on his face. "I don't understand, why do I need to answer my phone?"
A look almost like embarrassment appeared on the warlock's face before he covered it with a blank one. "Jace stormed out of my flat without telling me what was wrong." Magnus shrugged. "What can I say, my curiosity betrayed me."
Alec stared at him in surprise. "Guys," he spoke to the rest of them but never looked away from Magnus. "Could you give us a minute?"
Simon stood up. "Uh, yeah sure. We can do that. Right?" He looked at Jace and Clary and they nodded, both shooting a glance at the former couple before walking past Isabelle. Clary heard Simon stop where Magnus stood.
"Uh, Magnus when you're done I… kind of have a present for you."
Clary turned to see Magnus looking at her best friend in surprise. "A present?"
"Yeah." Simon frowned. "It is your birthday, right? Cause if it's not I could always save it for Hanukah or-"
"My birthday." Magnus spoke softly, looking at Simon with dawning realization. "Yes, I suppose it is. But why would you get me a present?"
Simon blushed. "Well I was shopping today with Clary and we saw it and- well that's what friends do, right?"
"His ability to obliviously touch on people's weak spots is astounding," Jace murmured behind her.
She turned to look at him. "What do you mean?"
"Simon," Jace explained. "Talking about being friends with Magnus to Magnus."
Clary turned around to see Magnus grin at her best friend- although it looked forced. "Well if this is an invitation for me to shop for you as well-"
"Oh no," Simon said hurriedly. "This was just a… one-time thing."
"Are you sure?" Magnus smiled deviously at him. "You're wardrobe really is atrocious, I could add some sparkles- maybe you'd look good in a leotard I saw at-"
"Really, I'm fine." Simon assured him before catching Izzy's glare. "Um… well I'll just let you guys talk I guess."
He hurried out, a relieved expression crossing his face once he reached Clary and Jace, Isabelle close behind him. "Can you imagine Magnus buying me a whole new wardrobe?"
"I don't think that's the most important thing right now Simon." Clary distractedly replied, staring at the closed door of the kitchen.
"Why are you here?" Alec's soft voice carried through the room and Magnus couldn't avoid meeting his eyes any longer.
Beautiful blue eyes that Magnus had grown to love centuries ago, a shock from the past, but now they couldn't remind him of anyone but Alec, Will Herondale a name long forgotten.
Magnus hid his thoughts, his feelings, adopting a nonchalant expression. "I told you, Jace-"
"No. I mean really." Alec's blue eyes seemed to see right through him and Magnus swallowed. Alexander had always had an uncanny ability to be able to read him, to see when he was lying or avoiding answering something. "Is it- is it because you thought something had happened to me?"
Alec's voice cracked but Magnus still caught the flicker of hope in his eyes, the downtrodden note of it in his voice. He closed his eyes, breathing out slowly before opening them once more. This Shadowhunter would be the death of him. "Alexander."
He didn't say anything more, not wanting to admit that Alec was right. He had assumed his entrance had given away his motives but Alec- silly, self-doubting Alexander- still didn't realize how important he was.
Alec stepped forward before stopping in place. "Why didn't you call me back?"
"Why would I?" Magnus asked instead, hating the clench in his stomach at Alec's flinch. "We broke up, remember?"
"I know. I know that. I just thought you- I mean I wanted…." He trailed off, meeting Magnus's eyes that were watching him closely. Something broke in the blue eyed boy. "I'm sorry."
He didn't say anything else and Alec seemed to deflate at the answer, nodding sadly. "I guess you can go now, right?" He asked in a defeated voice, looking down.
"What?" The warlock asked, caught off guard.
Alec looked up and his eyes were so very, very sad as they met Magnus's. "There's no reason for you to stay, is there? You told me you never wanted to see any of us again." Alec looked down again, seeming unable to meet Magnus's eyes for too long of a time. "I'm not keeping you here."
"I-" Magnus started but stopped, not knowing what he would say as he watched the hunched over boy in front of him that he loved so much. Someone who was only 18 but had already had his heart broken.
Magnus swallowed. Broken by him. He had accepted a long time ago that he would rather hurt himself than hurt Alec or have to see him hurt. And now here he was, causing the Shadowhunter possibly more pain than he had ever experienced.
As he looked at Alec memories filled his mind. Magnus sharing his childhood story, Alec saying it wasn't his fault because he couldn't help how he had been born. A first kiss, a werewolf soothed not by himself, but by Alec, a Nephilim. Alec's innocence as he looked at the world, their make out session at the end of their not so disastrous first date. Taking the Shadowhunter's strength, pairing up with him in the battle against Valentine, being inked with a Shadowhunter rune drawn by the black haired boy. Kissing in front of a room filled with Downworlders and Nephilim both, touches, kisses, endless kisses, a trip around the world, his hurt look when Magnus wouldn't tell him about his past, the broken look on his face when Magnus told him it was over, how weak he looked scrambling to pick up his witchlight stone. Magnus coming home to find his apartment bare of any traces of his ex boyfriend. The pounding of his own heart during each of those moments.
Now he swallowed the lump in his throat. He didn't want to watch him any longer.
Alec nodded, his arms wrapping around himself as if to stop from falling apart and Magnus's heart broke at the sight. It was burned into his mind before he was able to turn around.
"Bye Magnus." A pause. Then- "Happy birthday," murmured so softly that Magnus wondered if Alec had really ever said it at all.
He left the door open behind him and pushed past the four eavesdroppers standing at the door without a look or comment, striding out of the Institute and ignoring the strangely broken feeling in his chest.
Later he realized that he had never found out what was really wrong, but it wasn't until days later that he could bring himself to care.