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All Things Shadowhunters

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They were running from the battlefield, overwhelmed by Valentine’s superior numbers, but just as he and Alec were about to step through the portal that Magnus opened for them to Idris, something hit its shimmering purple surface, some magical discharge, and they didn’t manage to react fast enough, they couldn’t stop anymore, and they tumbled through… 

And now they are stuck here, in this grim, dark desert of ashy dunes and howling winds, in a place that’s definitely not Idris, stuck and unable to return back home. All they can do is hope, hope and pray that their friends and loved ones find a way to retrieve them…

Jace’s standing at the cave entrance, looking out at the desolate wasteland. They discovered the underground complex soon after their arrival, fortunately, for it offered them shelter from the freezing winds driving ash across the gray dunes. Shelter and water clean enough to drink, a small lake in one of the deeper chambers. Though food, that will become a problem very soon. 

Food - and Alec’s cough. It’s hard not to notice that it’s getting worse, much more frequent and harsher with every fit, so harsh in fact, that it hurts Jace to listen to it. From the moment they fell through the gate, Alec has had a hard time breathing, he seems unable to draw air into his lungs, as if it were too thin or maybe noxious. Jace too has noticed that there’s something wrong with it, but all he feels is a slight tickle in the back of his throat. He doesn’t know why, why he’s resistant to it and Alec’s not…

Jace leaves his post by the cave entrance and goes back to his parabatai. They’ll have to head back down to the lake again soon. Alec will need to drink and they have nothing with them that they could fill with water, nothing at all, their hunting gear is all they have. Besides, Alec’s breathing marginally easier down there. But Jace knows that once they head down, they won’t come back up again, Alec just won’t have the strength for it. And Jace will not leave him! Who knows what might still be crawling through these caves. But if someone does come for them, and they’re not up here to spot them, their footprints awash with sifting ash a long time ago…

He’s torn by the dilemma of their situation: if they go, they might miss their one chance for a rescue, but if they stay, Alec will suffocate all that faster! But as he drops to his knees by Alec, who’s curled up on his side on the cold stone floor, his breath coming in hard, wheezing gasps, his decision is made: there’s blood on Alec’s lips and his face is turning bluish gray from the lack of oxygen. Alec’s dying on him!

“Hey, hey, Alec,” Jace whispers urgently, taking Alec’s face gently in his hands. “Alec, come on. This is not a good time to fall asleep. You must help me keep watch. You know me, born slacker…” He’s trying to keep the despair out of his voice, cover it with terrible jokes.

His parabatai’s eyes flutter open and they’re red, the vessels in them burst from how hard he’s trying to drawn breath into his starving lungs.

“Yes, that’s it,” Jace praises him, his smile wide and more than a little manic. “That’s it, buddy.  We need to get back down, to the lake. It’ll be easier for you to breathe down there, you’ll see.” 

Alec tries to moisten his cracked lips with his tongue. “Look… out,” he rasps out, wheezing. “Rescue… must see…” And there must be something in Jace’s face, his despair simply too great to hide, because Alec insists more strongly, “Magnus will… come!” Then he’s seized with a coughing fit again, the most agonizing yet. 

And Jace lifts him up gently and allows Alec to rest against his chest. He holds his parabatai upright, arms wound around him, and waits for the coughing fit to pass; there’s nothing else either of them can do. 

And he feels like crying, because he knows that Alec’s faith in Magnus is not misplaced, he does not doubt that Magnus will try to find them, that he’ll move heaven and earth to discover what happened to his Alexander, anything for Alec. He will try - but Jace is not so sure that he will succeed. Whatever world this is, whatever dimension - because it’s definitely not home! - he’s certain that it was a fluke that they landed here, an accident, not anyone’s intent. So how can they be found if what brought them here was simply some random discharge of magic, if there are no clues to be followed? He is trying to stay optimistic, he really is, but every cough that rattles in Alec’s chest, every shudder that runs through his body, makes it harder and harder not to succumb to despair…

Alec’s cough finally subsides and they just sit there for a moment, drawing strength from each other. Jace’s hugging Alec from behind, cheek propped on Alec’s tousled head, Alec’s gripping his arms tight, and Jace’s contemplating their options, to stay or to go, to stay or to go, there are only two and both seem damning and both end in Alec’s suffering, maybe even in his death… And Jace can’t take it, he can’t take this helplessness, what to do, what to do…?

And outside, the winds howl, driving flakes of ash into the cave.