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All Things Shadowhunters

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His hands were ice cold and shaking, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at him.

Alec… No, Alexander, that was a better fit for the stoic, pale man standing before her, holding her hands in front of the Angel, their families, friends and the Clave representative. His face was unmoving, frozen rather than calm, and his eyes, glued to her collarbone and avoiding looking directly at her, were hooded. It didn’t take a genius to recognize how unhappy he was about the whole affair.

Lydia, because that’s who she was, Lydia Branwell, his… fiancée, soon to be wife actually, felt like a heel for participating in this farce, even though it was not her idea, even though she had as much choice in this matter as he had. Still… the despair that radiated from him made her unhappy… well, unhappier that she already was.

She sneaked a look at the pews, a church-full of people, his family to the right, her to the left, the Clave members come to witness this ridiculous spectacle farther back. She didn’t pay attention to her parents, she had already had words with them; strong, harsh words that fell on deaf ears. She looked at Alec’s family…

His parabatai, Jace, right in the front, he looked grim, his eyes blazing and fists clenched tight on his thighs; it seemed as if he wanted to punch something. Alec’s sister, Isabelle, sat next to him, pale as her brother; she bit her lip and blinked rapidly, as if fighting tears. Even Alec’s little brother, Max, looked subdued, sensing that something was wrong. And then there were Maryse and Robert, jaws tight, backs rigid, not looking at their son or each other, but instead at the large painting of Raziel, hanging above the altar.

The priest kept droning on and on in the background, preaching about love and devotion, and Lydia almost laughed. If only he knew. Or did he know and he simply didn’t care?

There was a movement in the back of the church, in the shadows of the stone pilars. Lydia was sure she was the only one who caught it, the only one paying attention to what was going on in the back, rather than in the front of the church. She stiffled a gasp, her eyes widening slightly.

Magnus Bane. It was Magnus Bane who was sneaking around the church, for once looking solemn in somber, black clothes, all the glitter and gleam gone, his hair, usually spiked like a hedgehog’s spines, framing his pale face. He looked utterly, completely destroyed.

Lydia swallowed, lowering her eyes to her hands that held Alec’s tightly. This was wrong. This wasn’t what a wedding should look… no, feel like. When she got married before, it was just her, her lover and a mundane official and they giggled and laughed and smooched even before the words, “You may now kiss the bride,” left the clerk’s mouth. This… this was wrong and it made her feel ugly and slimy.

“I can’t do it,” Lydia whispered, her voice barely heard.

“I… I beg your pardon?” the priest stuttered.

She could feel Alec freezing, she could see his eyes going wide, when she looked at him. “I’m sorry, but I can’t do it,” she repeated, louder this time. Then she looked at the people gathered in the church, her voice booming off the stone walls, as she stated loud and clear, “This is wrong. We don’t live in some Victorian novel, this is not the 19th century.”

Her mother stood up. “Lydia!” Her voice was harsh, scolding.

But Lydia frowned at her. She could feel Alec starting to tremble even harder, she could see the look of wild hope on Magnus’ face in the back, and that gave her the strength to continue. “No, mother,” she said, her voice perfectly calm, but firm and determined. “Enough is enough. I allowed you to guilt trip me into this farce because of what I had done, because I chose my lover over my family. You convinced me that what I did was wrong - but it wasn’t. This - this is wrong.

"All you care about is prestige and power.” Lydia looked at Maryse and Robert. “Just like them. If the Lightwoods set their issues aside for a moment, if they stopped caring about politics for just one moment and actually looked at what their scheming is doing to their son, they would see that they’re killing him! But they don’t even care,” she said softly, when Maryse pressed her lips together and Robert looked down, silently.

“Well. Someone needs to stop this and it looks like I’m set to be the bad guy,” Lydia finished, then looked at Alec who was breathing harshly now, squeezing her hands so tight that her fingers were all pins and needles. “Or maybe the good guy, that depends,” she added softly, then she stepped closer to her soon to be ex-fiancé, pulled herself up on her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek. “Go to him, he’s in the back,” she whispered very quietly in his ear and smiled, when Alec jerked and looked around, cheeks flushing, eyes shining with hope.

Letting go of his hands, Lydia turned to the assembly and with a lofty, “That’s that. Enjoy the feast, folks, it’s been paid for,” she pulled up her skirts, stepped down from the rostrum, and strode down the aisle, the clicking of her heels on the marble floor accompanied by her mother’s angry sputtering and Izzy and Jace’s sharp whistling and clapping. Everybody else was pretty much stunned into silence.

Lydia stopped only once, by the heavy wooden door leading outside, and looked to the side, where Magnus Bane was hiding in the shadows, looking… well, shocked, hopeful, delighted, his whole body almost vibrating, hands clutched and pressed to his lips.

“He will need you, now more than ever,” Lydia whispered softly, looking into his cat-like eyes.

And when Magnus nodded, she smiled brightly and stepped outside, into the sunlit morning, the church door closing behind her with a loud bang.

Chapter Text

It was a wedding gift from Clary, a brand new rune created just for them.

“Hm, Clary, dear, you do remember that I’m a Downworlder, so I can’t actually draw runes, right?” Magnus asked awkwardly, peering at the squiggly thing on the snow white luxury paper she gave them in a cutesy handmade envelope, covered with cooing doves.

Clary waved her hand dismissively. “Don’t worry about it. I based the rune on the alliance rune and combined it with the wedding rune.”

“But why?” Alec said uncertainly, looking over Magnus’ shoulder with his eyebrows raised.

Clary set her hands firmly on her hips. “Well, I think it shouldn’t just be Shadowhunter couples that benefit from a wedding bond. Just imagine the potential!”

Magnus’ eyes sparkled with mischief. “So, we’re to be your guinea pigs, let’s see what happens and all that jazz?”

Clearing her throat, Clary shuffled her feet and looked away. “Well…”

Magnus bounced on his tiptoes. “I love it! Let’s do it!”

Alec just rolled his eyes.

~♥~

When they drew the runes over each other’s heart during the wedding ceremony, there was some lightning, yes, and a bit of a boom, but everyone survived with only a little bit of sneezing and some frazzled hair.

Clary would never admit she was worried.

~♥~

It was only 20 years later that they actually noticed some strange side effects.

They were celebrating Blueberry’s (yes, the nickname stuck, thanks to Jace, of course) 21st birthday by getting him thoroughly drunk and pretending it was a Shadowhunter tradition. So, they were in Pandemonium, Max, Alec and Jace, their little party of three, courtesy of Jace, naturally.

And it was then that a very sloshed Max squinted at Jace and his dad and slurred, “Uncle Jace, you look really old!”

Jace straightened up indignantly, almost falling off the barstool. “I do not, brat!”

Squinting some more, Max nodded and kept nodding. “You kinda do. You kinda look like my dad’s dad. Or a much, much, much older brother,” he stated solemnly.

Which, of course, ended in fisticuffs between Alec’s son and his parabatai, while Alec himself, letting his loved ones get it out of their system, studied his reflection in the mirror above the bar.

“Huh,” Alec said in the end, and went to separate the two brawlers before they demolished the club.

~♥~

Having tucked Max into his bed and having listened to a thorough dressing down from Magnus about how it was not wise to get a child drunk - “Magnus, he’s not a child! He’s older now than I was when we had sex for the first time!” to which Magnus reacted with a gasp of horror and a hand pressed to his chest in a very Victorian lady fashion - Alec closed the door to his son’ s room and went searching for his huffy husband. He found him in their bedroom, sulking.

Maybe it could wait, but since Alec was rather freaked out, and now that his son and his parabatai were both sleeping off their bender in the safety of their respective homes, he was actually allowed to freak out freely, he blurted out, “Magnus, you remember that rune? That alliance wedding rune that Clary created for us?”

Lifting his eyes from the oversized cup of hot cocoa, his “I’m sulking, don’t touch” beverage of choice, Magnus asked, narrowing his eyes suspiciously, “Yeeees?”

Alec wrung his hands anxiously. “Well, the thing is…”

The End

Chapter Text

Alec stood in front of the window in his room at the Institute, watching the sun slowly disappear behind the skyline. He still had his tuxedo on, the suit Magnus bought for him just this morning in some fancy shop in Vienna. It seemed like years had passed since then.

He could almost see his own reflection in the glass. Tall, dark-haired, blue-eyed… an average man. An average Shadowhunter. An average child, always passing under the radar, never making waves, never of any interest, to anybody…

And apparently just one lover of many, with hundreds gone before him and hundreds soon to follow, a passing novelty for the High Warlock of Brooklyn.

The depth of his hurt surprised Alec. After all, he had always wondered what Magnus saw in him. He had known, always, that he was nothing special, growing up with Jace and Izzy made that quite clear to him early on. He was not the fighter Jace was, he was not as flashy and confident as Izzy… He remembered how shocked he had been when Jace actually agreed to be his parabatai; plain, average Alec’s parabatai

Nonetheless he had hoped that with Magnus it would be different, that he would finally matter to someone as a person, not because of what he was or what advantage he could give them, but because of who he was. Simply as Alexander Gideon Lightwood.

Alec shook his head. By the Angel, what a fool he had been.

I live forever, Magnus had said. Would you rather I spent all of eternity alone?

No, he would not. Alec would never want that, for anyone, and especially not for someone as bright and alive as Magnus. But the way Magnus said it, the way he looked at Alec as if Alec should have known better… Nobody, not his parents, not the Clave… not even Jace as he had chased after Clary to the exclusion of everybody else, his parabatai included, made him feel more insignificant than Magnus did in that moment.

What did you expect, you fool?

Pulling at his bow tie sharply, Alec let it drop to the floor, his expensive tuxedo and crisp white shirt following, soon replaced with his customary black jeans and a ratty old sweater so stretched out it covered the tips of his fingers. He looked at his reflection again: pale and disheveled as always. No pretense.

Time to go home, Cinderella. The ball is over. The prince has gone to bed.

Chapter Text

“Don’t you dare!” Alec barks, stomping into the room.

Magnus freezes for a second like the proverbial deer in the headlights, but then he turns around slowly and lifts the… thing he was about to quietly and definitely rid them of. “This isn’t a sweater, it’s a rag that something big, ugly and toothy chewed on and then spit out in disgust!” 

“Gimme that!” Alec snatches it back and cradles it protectively. 

Magnus throws up his hands. “I give up. Just give me one good reason for why you insist on insulting my closet with this… this…” He finds no fitting words.

Alec narrows his eyes and says, “Fine. Come here.” Then he grabs Magnus and starts manhandling the faintly protesting warlock around like rag doll, until he manages to pull the tattered, greenish-grey thing over his head and stuff his slender arms through the loose sleeves. 

When Alec turns his lover towards the full length mirror in the corner of their bedroom, Magnus almost recoils in horror. “Dear God, what ever did I do to you?”

Alec snorts, then he winds his arms around Magnus from behind and props his chin on Magnus’ shoulder. “Shh. Now, close your eyes for a second and just feel. Come on,” Alec prompts gently when Magnus glares at him.

With a put upon sigh, Magnus complies. And okay, the cotton is soft, worn smooth and comfortable, he admits as he runs his hands up and down the holey sleeves. The sensation makes him want to… snuggle

“Oh,” Magnus whispers and when he opens his eyes, he finds Alec looking at him in the mirror. 

Alec smiles, eyes crinkling at the corners, and kisses Magnus’ ear. “Yeah, oh…” he agrees and pulls Magnus tighter to him, his warmth loosening something in the warlock’s chest.

And years later, when the ugly, tattered sweaters are the only thing Magnus has left of Alec, they still feel like his husband’s embrace.

Chapter Text

“You look… startled,” Catarina notes as she follows Magnus into the kitchen.

Magnus, who’s standing by the counter that separates the kitchen corner from the open space living room, waves his hand dazedly. “When did thishappen?”

There’s a gathering of people in the living room and they’re laughing and talking animatedly and there are vampires and fairies and warlocks among them, Max and his sisters… and these are not just party guests, they are his friends! He has never had so many friends!

“Ah,” Catarina says with a secretive smile. “You finally noticed. You’ve always been a bit slow when you were in love, and now, with Alec, it’s worse than ever.”

Magnus frowns at her. “What are you talking about?”

“Alec… it’s all his doing.” She waves her blue hand at the laughing group of people in the living room. “Your friends.”

Magnus looks as confused as before. “No clue what you’re talking about.”

Catarina sighs. “He’s making sure you have friends, good, loyal, trusted friends… immortal friends.” She raises an eyebrow, then rolls her eyes when he still doesn’t get it, but her voice is kind and soft when she says, “He doesn’t want you to be alone after he dies, Magnus. He wants to make sure you’ll be alright without him.” 

Magnus draws in a sharp breath and leans against the counter for support. His eyes burn when he seeks out his husband in the crowd with his look. There, by the window, silver hair gleaming in the fading sunlight. In Magnus’ eyes, Alec’s as beautiful as ever, despite the six decades of age that bent his shoulders and wrinkled his brow. 

“Does he still not understand?” Magnus rasps, his throat tight. “Without him, I will never be alright again…”

Chapter Text

It’s the voices coming from the kitchen that wake Magnus up. Sleepily, he drags himself out of bed and follows them…

“… but the knife’s very sharp, so you have to be very careful,” Alec’s saying as Magnus stops in the doorway and leans against the frame, crossing his arms on his chest and smiling. Alec’s cooking breakfast, something delicious from the smell of it, and Max is sitting on the counter next to him, hands in his lap, feet dangling.

“I can heal now, daddy, papa showed me how,” Max proclaims proudly, pushing the bangs off his forehead to show Alec his unblemished skin. “That’s where Uncle Jace’s ball hit me.”

Alec leans closer and kisses the spot. “Yes, you’re a clever boy, but chopped off tentacles don’t grow back, you little monster, so watch your fingers around knives.”

Max giggles, then opens his mouth to accept a carrot stick. Munching happily, he watches Alec dice vegetables for a moment, then comments, “Papa just snaps his fingers and the food’s there.”

Alec stirs something in a pan. “Yes, that he does. And that’s also how he gave himself food poisoning last month, while we were in Idris. So no finger snapping for food. Unless we’re too tired to cook,” he allows.

“Or too lazy,” Max adds.

Alec laughs, Max giggles, and Magnus’ smile widens at the happy tableau.My family, he thinks, something warm, almost fluffy fluttering in his chest. And then he goes and joins them.

Chapter Text

Magnus knew he shouldn’t eavesdrop; eavesdroppers rarely got to hear things they liked, but when he heard Isabelle ask Alec about their “immortality issue” as she called it, he couldn’t help himself. Not that he didn’t trust Alec, that wasn’t it, but… if there was an issue, it would be better to know about it and deal with it before it festered and blew in their faces. Like the thing with Camille.

But what he got to hear…

“… he loves me, I know that, his love is… it’s like a physical thing,” Alec was saying while calmly chopping onions in the kitchen, “and when I die, I know he will grieve for me. But then he will move on, Izzy, as he should. He doesn’t think so, he insists that he won’t - and I love him for it, by the Angel, I do - and I believe he believes that he won’t, but he will.” He took a green pepper from a bowl and continued chopping. “One day, he’ll wake up and it won’t hurt as much, thinking of me, and he’ll put on glitter and go clubbing and he’ll meet someone who will take his breath away… And then he’ll put me in his box of treasures, together with memories of Will Herondale and other people who were dear to him - and that’s where Iwill belong.” Alec set his knife aside, leaned against the counter and looked at his sister. “He once asked me if I would prefer him to spend eternity alone. Back then, my knee-jerk reaction would’ve been ‘Yes!’ But now? Now I would prefer to be just one memory of many rather than know he’s suffering. He deserves to be happy, even if it’s not with me…”

… and that was why Magnus was hiding in the bathroom at the moment.

He sat on the edge of the bathtub, actually holding back tears. He hadn’t felt like crying since… Hell, he couldn’t remember the last time. But knowing Alec felt like this… It was sad and frustrating and Magnus wanted to grab Alec and shake him!

For Magnus, Alec was irreplaceable, but it seemed like Alec still saw himself as trivial, loved, yes, but only as one of many and Magnus… Magnus didn’t know how to convince him, how to make him understand, that Alec wasit for him. For all of his 400 years, he didn’t know how to make Alec see…

But he would find a way. He had to. Because to let Alec believe he was anything but exceptional was not an option.

Chapter Text

“Alexander,” Magnus calls as he heads down the beach, his pace fast, his expression thunderous. 

Alec stands with his hands in his pockets, the waves only just licking his bare toes. “The moon’s amazing tonight, isn’t it?”

Magnus barely glances up at the cloudless night sky as he stops in front of his husband, ankle deep in the gentle surf. “Why does the resort manager think you’re my father?” he demands.

Alec sighs, his serenity leeching out of him. “He assumed. And I didn’t correct him.”

Narrowing his eyes, Magnus throws up his hands. “I got that. But why?”

There’s so much sadness in Alec’s smile as he gently settles his hands on Magnus’ shoulders that all the anger leaves Magnus. “Either he sees us as a happy family or me as some lecherous pervert praying on young men. I would rather not be the latter, if you don’t mind.”

“But…”

Alec runs his hands up and down Magnus’ upper arms soothingly. “I know that you don’t care about what others think of you, it’s one of the things I love and admire about you, but I’m not like that. I do care. And even though I know the truth, that you could be my grandfather several times over, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re ageless - and I’m growing old.”

“You’re not old!” Magnus protests and grips Alec’s hips tightly. “You are not!”

Still smiling with infinite gentleness, Alec tucks a strand of hair behind Magnus’ ear. “I have made my peace with our reality a long time ago. And I don’t regret anything, but… Allow me to do it my way? Help me keep my dignity?”

And seeing the heartbreak in his husband’s eyes, how could Magnus refuse?

Chapter Text

“Your friends are down by the wall, watching the fireworks. Don’t you want to join them?” Magnus asks when he finally finds Alec sitting in the grass at the edge of the dark woods.

Alec shakes his head, as he watches bright colors light up the night sky. “No. I needed a little peace and quiet.”

“Should I go, then?” Magnus offers, though he would rather not. 

With a smile, Alec shakes his head again and pats the grass next to him. Magnus takes it as the invitation it’s meant to be. He sits down and their shoulders brush. 

After a moment of companionable silence, Magnus dares to remark quietly without looking at Alec, “I saw you talking to your parents…” 

Alec sighs and pulls his knees to his chest, hugging them. “You want to know how they’re taking my illicit - and by now infamous - affair with a malewarlock? Not well. They don’t shun me, not exactly, but I don’t think it’s because of me precisely. They’re still in shock because of what happened to Max and I’m now the only son they have left, related by blood, I mean. It wouldn’t be proper to disown me without trying to ‘save’ me first.”

Magnus winces. “Did they say so?”

“Outright? No. But I could see it in their eyes. They’re all about appearances, all they care about is what the Clave will think” Alec shakes his head sadly. “My mom… I think she could come to terms with it, eventually. But dad…” He sighs again, deeply, heavily.

For a moment, they fall silent. Then Magnus says, “Maybe you just need to spend some time apart.” When Alec looks at him quizzically, Magnus perks up, grins and claps his hands. “Oh, I know. How about a holiday?” He leans in and grabs Alec’s hands in his. “Just you and me and all the wonders of the wide, wide world out there! Please, Alexander, let me show them to you!”

And in the face of his lover’s enthusiasm, Alec can only agree.

Chapter Text

“Up and at them,” Magnus says fondly, as he tugs at Alec’s arm which is hanging limply from their overstuffed couch.

Alec raises his head slightly and looks around blearily. “… re we goin’?”

Smiling, Magnus tugs and pushes and heaves until he finally has his lover vertical. “To bed. If you sleep on the couch again, you’ll feel like a herd of llamas ran you over in the morning.”

Alec frowns but allows himself to be led towards their bedroom, stumbling clumsily over his bow lying discarded on the floor. “Llamas? Here?”

Carefully steering Alec around the doorjamb, Magnus grins. “Yes, honey, llamas. Dangerous beasts, those llamas.”

“Oh.” Then Alec perks up slightly when their bed comes in sight. “Bed now?”

“Yes, bed now,” agrees Magnus and lets go of his lover’s arm. “But first, we need to get you out of your gear.” 

Alec blinks at him owlishly for a moment, then he tries - very unsuccessfully so - to get out of his ichor stained jacket. Magnus watches him struggle for a few seconds, then he rolls his eyes, snaps his fingers and lets Alec’s clothes - all except for his underwear - disappear.

“Woah!” Alec yelps, flailing when he meets a sudden lack of resistance. In an attempt not to fall he grabs at Magnus who yelps just as indignantly, when he ends up buried under the near nakedness of his lover as they both fall into their bed. 

Sighing, Alec curls around Magnus like a giant octopus and goes limp. “Nice…” he breathes out.

Magnus blinks, then tries to wriggle and squirm out of his lover’s arms. To no avail. Alec’s deeply asleep, hanging on like a limpet.

“Erm… Alec? Dear? This is not what I meant. Could you just… Alec?”

Chapter Text

“Did you know my parents were in the Circle?” 

It’s the first thing Alec says when Magnus finds him sitting on the stairs leading up to his apartment, dark and foreboding in his black Shadowhunter gear. But he looks somehow… smaller, broken, defeated.

Magnus watches him carefully for a moment from the landing below, the bare bulb on the dark green wall behind his back flickering slightly. “Yes. Yes, I was aware.”

Alec’s eyes are haunted when he asks, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Magnus sighs. “Honestly? I thought you knew.”

“I did not know,” Alec whispers, hunching his shoulders even more. 

Magnus’ heart aches because he knows how much Alec has idolized his parents, he knows that Alec has always measured his illusive deficiency against their equally illusive perfection and always found himself lacking.

That’s why he says, “Well, Valentine Morgenstern was a very charismatic man…” And he must be really smitten if he’s defending the Lightwoods, of all people.

Alec shakes his head. “Don’t.” His voice is quiet, but firm. “Just… don’t. There’s right and then there’s wrong - and what Valentine did… what my…” His voice breaks and he looks away. “What my parents did was wrong, pure and simple. No amount of charisma can justify that.”

For all of his 400 years, Magnus has no idea what to say to that. Maybe there’s nothing he can say. And so he simply sits down next to Alec, his silk pants be damned, and when the young Shadowhunter leans into him, Magnus lays an arm around his shoulders and kisses the top of his head. And holds him.

Chapter Text

Walking up to Magnus, Jace says, “Alec mentioned you wanted to talk to me?” 

“Yes, James,” Magnus responds tartly but doesn’t turn to look at him. 

He leans against the door frame of his and Alec’s bedroom, watching his lover dress in his hunting gear. With a disapproving frown he notices that Alec has his hand pressed surreptitiously to his stomach, to the barely healed wound he sustained just three days ago. And yes, Magnus is a powerful warlock who has made it his life’s mission to learn as many healing spells as possible since he has fallen in love with a stupid, risk loving Shadowhunter, but he’s still not an omnipotent miracle worker. It’ll be a few days till Alec’s shredded insides fully heal.

“Well?” Jace asks peevishly.

Magnus finally turns to him and regards him with narrowed eyes. “Well, Jack, I thought it wise to inform you that I’m holding you personally responsible for any harm that should come to Alexander on this idiotic mission of yours, because he should be in bed, resting, not gallivanting through Central Park, hunting pixies!”

“He wanted to come!” Jace protests.

“Yes, and you could have said no. So, my dear Angel Boy, if he comes back with so much as a scratch, I swear I’ll turn you into a frog and keep you in a pond until he heals.” Magnus lifts his hand, blue sparks dancing around his fingers, while his cat’s eyes flash with power. “Do we understand each other?”

Jace swallows. “Perfectly.”

Chapter Text

“Hey, did you see Alec?” Jace asks as he leans into Isabelle’s room. 

Izzy rolls her eyes, quite a feat while applying mascara. “Not that I’m his keeper, but did you try the shooting range? You know how he is when hebroods. Won’t stop till the bullseye looks like a porcupine!”

“Great, thanks.” Jace nods and turns to leave, then hesitates. After a moment, he comes to a decision and steps inside Izzy’s room, closing the door.

“What now?” Isabelle huffs, annoyed.

Jace puts his hands on his hips. “Do you know what crawled up Alec’s butt and died there? He’s been unbearable since Clary came to us, and I have no idea what’s going on.”

Isabelle sets her make-up down, turns away from her vanity table and looks at Jace with her eyebrows raised. “You really have no idea?” she asks as if he were completely dense.

He grimaces. “If I had, I wouldn’t be asking now, would I? I tried asking him but he keeps shutting me out. So please, please, if you know, tell me, so that I can fix it! This… this thing between us is throwing me off!”

Izzy sighs. “Yes, yes, I know what’s bothering Alec, but I can’t tell you.” When he starts to protest, she raises a hand to silence him. “I can’t tell you because it’s not my secret to tell.”

Jace snorts in disbelief. “You want to tell me that Alec, our Alec, I-do-everything-by-the-book Alec, has some deep, dark secret?”

“You really don’t know him at all, do you?” Izzy shakes her head sadly. “What a pity. But I still can’t help you. I might love poking fun at Alec, but I would never,ever betray his trust.” She looks at him hard. “Not even for you.”

Jace throws up his hands in frustration. “So what should I do?”

Izzy rolls her eyes again. “I don’t know. Talk to him? He’s your parabatai. He won’t deny you anything. Unfortunately,” she adds under her breath and turns away.

Thus dismissed, Jace takes his leave, the realization that Alec has a secret Jace knows nothing about ringing in his mind with an alarmingly hollow sound.

Chapter Text

“Does he never laugh? Or at least smile like he means it, not like he just murdered someone and buried them in the garden?” Clary huffs as she stomps into the weapons room and throws her training blade on the table.

Jace looks up from the rune he just finished re-applying on his forearm and frowns. “Who? Alec?” he guesses haphazardly.

“Yes, Alec! Who else? Do I just rub him wrong or was he born that way?” she asks angrily, grabs her things and starts stuffing them into her bag without care.

Still frowning, Jace thinks. “Well, I have known him for… 11 years now? And I can’t really remember the last time he laughed,” he admits a bit startled.

Zipping up her bag, Clary straightens. “Then there’s something seriously wrong with that guy!”

“There’s nothing wrong with Alec!” Jace protests automatically, bristling.

“No, Jace, I mean it. I know that he’s your… your parabatai, but there’s something not right with him. Maybe you  don’t know him as well as you think or maybe you’re just willfully blind, I don’t know. And I don’t care. But I will not let him talk to me like that!” With that she grabs her bag and stomps out again, heels clicking loudly on the tiles.

Jace looks after her, stunned. He knows that Alec’s rather… difficult to get used to, but Jace has always thought that it’s just Alec being… Alec, cantankerous but loyal to a fault, but…

Is he really being blind? Has there been something bothering Alec and Jace just never noticed? Has he somehow failed his parabatai

That thought doesn’t sit well with him at all…

Chapter Text

There’s a blue tortoise crawling across the bed towards him. 

Alec follows it with his eyes, then raises his eyebrows, when said tortoise turns into a puppy, all floppy ears and big paws, that bounds towards him eagerly and licks his nose once - before turning into a shower of blue hearts.

Alec laughs softly, then whispers without turning around, “I’m okay, Magnus, don’t worry.” He lays on his side, his back to the bright sunshine streaming in through the giant bedroom windows.

Magnus pads across the hardwood floor and climbs into the bed, under the silk sheets, and hugs Alec from behind, the big spoon to his little one. “Really?” he asks with deep concern and kisses the nape of Alec’s neck. “You seem… sad.”

Alec sighs and presses one of Magnus’ hands to his chest, against his beating heart. “A year ago today, Max died,” Alec says softly, voice heavy with grief.

Magnus pulls Alec even closer and wraps himself around him as if to shield Alec from all that’s bad in the world. “I’m so very, very sorry, love. What can I do? Tell me…”

Alec turns in his arms and smiles sadly. He runs his fingers over Magnus’ cheek, then buries them in his hair and scratches gently, the way he knows can make Magnus almost purr like a big cat. “Can you stay and hold me? Just for a little while?” 

“For you, anything, love,” Magnus whispers and presses a chaste kiss to his lover’s lips. “Anything you wish…”

Chapter Text

He had been hammering at the bag for an hour now, trying to beat it into submission and simultaneously rid himself of his deep rooted frustration. Alas. The hollowness that opened up inside him every time Alec was angry with him refused to dissipate. 

Jace hated it when Alec was angry with him. He hated it with all of his heart. He felt awful every time Alec was sad or hurt, it made him want to punch people - and it was a thousand time worse when it was he who was the cause of hisparabatai’s distress. Especially when he did not know, what he had done wrong in the first place. 

Jace would be the first to admit that he was emotionally unreachable, aloof even, but Alec had always been an exception to his rule to keep everyone at arm’s length, ever since he had asked Alec to be his parabatai and Alec accepted. He had always tried to do right by Alec, be more… open with him, despite his own past. 

But in the last few years… It was as if the tables had turned while he wasn’t looking and now it was he, Jace, on the outside, looking in. While he wasn’t looking, Alec had built walls around himself, thick and impenetrable, so that he didn’t even remotely resemble the bright, happy boy he used to be anymore. And Jace often wondered, if it was somehow his fault, if his own darkness somehow… damaged his parabatai through their bond. 

And now, now there was Clary and she was making Jace feel so… well, she was making him feel. But at the same time, the closer he became with her, the wider the cleft between him and Alec opened, until it resembled nothing less than an abyss…

Jace punched the bag one last time, then hugged it breathlessly, pressing his sweaty forehead to the warm leather and closing his eyes tiredly. He felt as if by keeping one, he would lose the other, as if he had to choose, Alec or Clary, and it was tearing him apart. Because it was an impossible choice to make.

Chapter Text

“… not that it matters,” Alec says as he steps out of the elevator, “after the wedding, I’m leaving anyway.” 

“What?” Isabelle quickens her steps to catch up and grabs his arm to stop him. “What do you mean?”

Alec sighs. “Lydia isn’t here to stay, Izzy. And once her work’s done, she’ll leave - and I’ll be going with her,” he added gently. 

“But… but…” she stutters. “What about… what about Jace? You’re hisparabatai!”

Alec snorts and starts walking again. “I doubt very much he’ll even notice I’m gone the way he has been acting lately.”

Isabelle catches his arm again. “Fine, then what about Magnus Bane?”

Alec opens his mouth to deny his involvement with the warlock as always, then he realizes it doesn’t matter anymore. He shakes his head. “When I told him about the wedding…” He swallows hard, the pain still raw. “He wished me good luck.”

Izzy stares. “That’s it?” she asks, shocked and angry.

“Yeah,” he whispers. “So, you see, I really don’t have any reason to stay.”

She looks at him. “What about me?” 

Alec smiles fondly and touches her cheek. “You don’t need me, Iz. You’re the strongest person I’ve ever known. Besides, I’m not dying, I’ll be just a phone call away, where ever we go, I promise.”

Isabelle throws her arms around her big brother and hugs him tight, resting her head on his chest. “Don’t go, please, just don’t…”

Alec hugs her back and kisses the top of her head. “I have to, sis. I can’t stay. I just can’t…”

Chapter Text

“Why are you wearing a t-shirt to bed?” Magnus asks suspiciously. 

Alec shrugs, trying to act casual and failing miserably. “It’s cold.”

Magnus narrows his eyes and crawls across the bed like a large cat to kneel in front of Alec. “No, it’s not cold. And if it were cold, I would make it warm. I made it warm many times in the past, when it was cold. Now it’s not cold, or I would have made it warm. So.” He looks up at Alec. “I’ll ask again, why are you wearing a t-shirt to bed?”

After a moment of hesitation, Alec sighs, pulls his t-shirt off and lets it drop to the floor. He doesn’t meet Magnus’ eyes. And Magnus just stares. 

There’s an ugly scar on Alec’s chest, running down from his collarbone to his stomach. Right over his heart. And despite several iratzes still fading on his skin, the scar is angry, blazing red. 

Breathing hard, Magnus raises his hand and runs his trembling fingers over the hideous reminder of Alec’s mortality. “Alexander…”

Alec catches his hand and squeezes it tight. “I didn’t want to worry you. Iwas being careful, I swear. I promised you I would be and I was. But the demon snuck up on me and…”

Magnus doesn’t say a word, he doesn’t look at Alec, he just leans forward and slumps against his lover. He pulls his hand out of Alec’s and winds his arms around him, his ear pressed to Alec’s chest, listening to his heartbeat. 

One day, Magnus knows, one day they won’t be so lucky. One day, Alec won’t come home…

Chapter Text

"Will dad be alright?” Max asks softly, standing in the doorway of his fathers’ bedroom. 

Magnus doesn’t turn around. “Yes, a spider demon stung him. The injury itself’s not serious, but it’ll be a few days before the poison works itself out of his system.” 

He runs a cold, wet washcloth gently over Alec’s sweaty brow and dabs at his flushed cheeks, while Max shuffles his feet anxiously. They haven’t really seen eye to eye lately, not without Alec’s calming presence acting as a buffer; father and son warlocks too much alike despite not sharing a single drop of blood.

“Do you want me to show you how to treat such a wound?” Magnus asks with studied casualness, not making a big deal out of it. “Just so you know how to help your dad if I’m not there…” 

After a second of hesitation, Max walks closer and drops to his knees by the right side of the bed while Magnus sits on the edge on the left. He takes Alec’s hand carefully in his blue ones and after a quick, uncertain glance at Magnus, he fixes his eyes on Alec’s unconscious face and clears his throat quietly. “I… I would like that. For dad. To help him,” he adds unnecessarily. 

Magnus hides a smile. “Yes, for Alexander…”

Chapter Text

“I need you to draw a rune for me,” Izzy announced as she barged into Alec’s room, waving her stele like a sword.

Looking up from the book he was reading, Alec frowned. “O-kay… Which one and where?” 

“The Angelic one,” Izzy said, then she grinned and pulled her blouse open, showing her big brother her black lacy bra and tapping her chest with her stele. “And right here.” 

“By the Angel!” Alec yelped, jumping out of his bed and slapping a hand over his eyes. “That’s something I really, really, really don’t want to see! Please! And besides,” he added peevishly, “you already have the Angelic Rune, what do you need another for?”

Izzy rolled her eyes. “As a decoration! It’s pretty! And it will look fantastic between my breasts, don’t you think?”

Alec groaned. “Seriously, I don’t want to think of your breasts or goanywhere near them! Now shoo!” He waved his free hand emphatically.

Izzy huffed. “Fine! Then I will have to ask Jace.”

That made Alec drop his hand and look at her in disbelief. “Jace?”

“Yes, Jace! You don’t expect me to draw the rune myself, do you? It would end up all… squiggly…” 

His disbelief grew. “And so you want to ask Jace? His runes are appalling! I should know.”

Izzy glared at him. “Well, I can’t very well ask mom or dad now, can I?”

Alec’s eyes widened with horror. “By the Angel, please, no.” He then sighed in resignation. “Fine, gimme that!” He snatched her stele, frowning darkly when she grinned.

“I knew I could count on you, big brother!”

Alec grumbled. “I hope you will properly appreciate what an awesome brother I am.”

Izzy almost bounced on her toes. “Anything for you, bro.” 

Alec huffed. “Not having to have to ever talk or even think of your breasts will be enough, thank you very much. Now stop squirming…”

Chapter Text

“What do you need?” Magnus asks as he climbs on their bed and straddles his lover’s pajama clad buttocks.

“My back hurts,” Alec groans, face mashed into his pillow.

Leaning forward with a smile, Magnus runs his hands up Alec’s scarred back, along his spine, kneading his knotted muscles with dexterous fingers. 

“You shouldn’t slouch so much,” Magnus admonishes, “or you’ll end up looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame!”

Alec moans and arches his back contently. “Well, if you all weren’t so tiny, I wouldn’t have to slouch to actually look you in the eyes!” 

Magnus snorts. 

“Besides,” Alec peers at him over his shoulder, “you would love me anyway.”

Smiling fondly, Magnus kisses his shoulder blade. “Yeah. Yeah, I would.”

Chapter Text

“You can’t be seriously considering marrying her!” Jace yelled as he barged into Alec’s room.

Alec, who had been standing by the window until then, watching the ugly gray sleet sliding down the glass, turned to him and crossed his arms. “Yes, I am,” he answered, his tone flat and calm.

Jace was so furious he could barely speak. “You’ll ruin your life! And for what? For Maryse and Robert? Because of their damned pride? For the…”

Alec interrupted him softly, “For you.” When Jace gaped at him in disbelief, he continued, “For you and for Izzy, for Max. If I marry Lydia, our family will gain back its good standing with the Clave. Our situation has been much direr than you know. And it’s been only made worse by…” He fell silent and looked away.

But Jace guessed correctly. “Clary.”

Taking a deep breath, Alec turned back to him. “To be perfectly blunt, yes. Her appearance put us in a tight spot. The Clave already watched us with distrust. And now they found out that we’ve been harboring Valentine’s daughter, that I knew who she was and didn’t report it.”

Jace swallowed hard. “Maryse and Robert - they’re blaming you for this mess, aren’t they?” When Alec didn’t respond, Jace exploded, “But that’s bull! If someone’s to blame, it’s me!”

“No,” Alec  said and shook his head. “I was left in charge. You were all my responsibility. I told them so, and I will tell the Clave, too, when the Inquisitor arrives.”

“Alec…” Jace whispered helplessly. “Alec, don’t do this. Just… don’t. You don’t love her, you don’t even know her. If you’re doing it for me and Izzy, then don’t. We wouldn’t want you to do it. We don’t want you to do it!”

Alec looked at him steadily, not allowing any of his emotions to show. “My marriage with Lydia will gain us back the Clave’s favor, it’ll return us to a position of power. And that means, less strict rules for you and Isabelle, less scrutiny. And for Max, too.”

Jace stepped closer and gripped his parabatai’s shoulders hard. “But at what price? Do you think any of us will be able to live with it? Enjoy what you managed to secure for us at the expense of your own happiness?”

A shudder went through Alec, the only outward sign of his despair. “It’s either all of us or just me carrying the consequences,” he said, keeping his voice calm and measured. “I can’t refuse mother’s request. I won’t refuse it.”

“Alec…” Jace whispered and squeezed Alec’s shoulders even tighter. “Don’t.” He moved his hand to the back of Alec’s head and brought him closer until their foreheads touched, then he closed his eyes. “Please, don’t.”

Alec let his hands drop and finally leaned into his parabatai, closing his eyes, too, and resting for a moment, his shoulders drooping with fatigue. “I have to. By the Angel, I have to, I have to, I have to…”

Chapter Text

Jace stares at his scarred, sneering self from this world in disbelief. “You… you never asked Alec to become your parabatai?”

The Other scoffs, his voice full of derision when he answers, “No. And lucky me. He killed himself when he was 18. Couldn’t handle being a warrior, the spineless coward! ”

Jace can’t breathe. For a moment, all he can hear is a loud buzzing sound in his ears, all he can see is red, a sea of red. Alec’s dead. This world’s Alec died because… because…

He punches the Other so hard the man hits the ground, but only for a second, then he’s back on his feet again, snarling like a wild animal. But Jace doesn’t let it stop him. Quick as lightning, he avoids a left hook, then he punches the Other again, dropping him.

“You bastard!” Jace roars in the Other’s face as he grabs him by the front of his leather jacket and shakes him. “You know why he killed himself? You know why? He was gay, you piece of shit! He was gay and he thought he was in love with you! He was so scared, so fucking scared that you would hate him! And what did you do?” Jace hits the Other again. “What did you do?”

“Nothing!” the Other spits through bleeding lips, eyes blazing. “And if I knew he was a pervert, I would’ve helped him along! There’s no place for people like him among the Nephilim!”

Jace stares at the Other in horror, sick to his stomach. “By the Angel…” he whispers. He wants to kill the man. He will kill him. He can’t save this world’s Alec anymore, but he can stop this… monster.

Jace reaches for his knife. 

But then the air around him shimmers and he’s plunged into darkness, magic ripping him out of that strange world and sweeping him back home.

Chapter Text

Jace gasps, feeling like a diver coming up for air. He sits up straight, black spots dancing in front of his wide open eyes. There are small hands on his back, propping him up… Clary.

“It’s okay, Jace, you’re okay now, you’re fine…” she keeps repeating. 

Someone clears his throat to his right. “There. See? No harm. Just a little bit of magic gone haywire.” Magnus

A snort, directly in front of him. “A little bit of… You sent my parabatai to another world, Magnus!” Alec. Alive. His Alec, living, breathing. 

Jace’s vision finally clears, his breath still going hard and fast, though, and there - Alec, crouching down and touching Jace’s knee for balance. He’s glaring at his lover, but Jace’s heart still seizes at the sight of him. 

Magnus waves a hand and says breezily, “You make it sound like such a thing never happened to me before.”

Alec’s frown deepens. “Somehow, I don’t find this comment as reassuring as you probably thought I would, you know… Hey!”

Jace grabs Alec by his t-shirt and pulls him into a hug. Alec flails, trying to keep his balance and Clary, kneeling behind Jace, yelps in surprise. 

Only Alec’s lightning fast reflexes save them all from crashing to the ground in one undignified heap. He straddles Jace’s thighs, arms going quickly around his pabatai’s back, and straightens up, pulling Jace with him. 

“Hey,” Alec whispers when Jace refuses to let go, hanging on desperately. “Hey, it’s okay, it’s okay, Jace…”

“Well, that’s quite hot, considering…” Magnus comments dryly above them, and Alec shushes him. 

But Jace doesn’t listen. He feels Alec shrug, probably in response to Clary’s look, but he doesn’t pay that any mind either. All he knows is that he’s back where he belongs. And his parabatai is safe. Alec is safe. Alec is alive. Alive.

Chapter Text

He will murder Alec Lightwood, Jace decides as he gingerly picks up the sticky, gooey… thing that’s all that’s left of his favorite leather jacket. He knew that the jacket might be a goner considering all the blood he got on it, but this… this is just wrong. You don’t stick leather into a washing machine!

A quick tracking spell tells Jace that he will find his wayward parabatai in the conservatory - seriously? - and when he barges in, he locates Alec way in the back, planting something… well, green. Unless they're poisonous, Jace doesn’t care about plants. 

“Hey!” he barks, making Alec jump a foot high. “Care to explain this?” He shakes the ruined piece of leather in Alec’s face. 

Jace is angry. He just spent a week in the infirmary - some injuries need their time to heal, no matter how many iratzes one applies or how much the Silent Brothers apply themselves - and finding his favorite piece of clothing ruined first thing, was the last straw. He feels like throwing punches. 

But Alec’s reaction isn’t at all what he expected. His parabatai doesn’t try to talk himself out of this mishap, he doesn’t try to make excuses - he just stares at the unwearable rag, eyes wide. And then he turns white as a sheet, so much so that all the anger drains from Jace, replaced with a suddenly influx of worry.

Jace reaches out. “Alec? Are you okay?” he asks softly and when Alec doesn’t respond, he adds quickly, “I’m not that mad. I mean, sure I am… miffed but…”

“There was so much blood,” Alec interrupts him faintly, his bloodless lips barely moving. “I couldn’t get it out. I couldn’t. I tried to be careful, but the blood was still there and I couldn’t get it out.” 

He swallows and looks Jace in the eye. “So much, you lost so much blood. I could… I could feel my parabatai rune burn. It burned, Jace! You were dying and I couldn’t stop it, I tried, I tried so hard, but you were bleeding out… And then I couldn’t get the blood out of the jacket. I had to wash it. I had to…”

Jace looks at Alec in shock for a moment, then he drops the jacket carelessly to the floor and draws his parabatai into a hug, heart seizing when he feels him tremble. “I’m fine, Alec, I’m here. It’s alright…”

And when Alec slumps against him, finally returning the hug, Jace sighs and holds him up, the ruined jacket already forgotten.

Chapter Text

“Hey, wait up!” Jace calls after his parabatai; Alec’s headed down the hallway, his cane tap-tap-tapping softly on the tiled floor.

Jace catches up with him at the top of the stairs and drops his hand on Alec’s shoulder to stop him. Almost immediately he curses himself for his stupidity, though. After so many years he really should know better.

Because Alec startles and jerks away, turning towards Jace with frightening speed. His wide brown eyes, expressive despite their blindness, roam around anxiously. He also brings up his cane, so heavily runed it can break concrete with a strong rap. Jace knows that both ends hide stiletto-like daggers, too, easily extended and wickedly sharp. Startling his parabatai is not a good idea. 

“Sorry, sorry,” Jace apologizes quickly, lifting his hands, even though Alec can’t see them. “Bad move. Sorry. I just wanted you to stop, been running after you since we left mom’s office. What’s gotten into you?”

Alec straightens up, shoulders relaxing, and lowers his cane. “Nothing. Nothing at all. I’m on my way to your girlfriend’s room to… watch over her, as mom ordered,” he says bitterly, then snorts. “As if I can watch anything.”

Jace frowns. “You know she didn’t mean it like that,” he soothes. “And you are good at this, at defense, especially in a familiar environment. Remember the time Abaddon attacked the Institute? You kicked her back to Hell, Greater Demon or not. You! Not me or mom.”

Alec ducks his head, the tips of his ears growing pink. But there’s a little smile on his lips that pleases Jace immensely. He knows he didn’t exaggerate Alec’s assets. Jace’s proud of the fact that Alec can take anyone in a fight, his other Shadowhunter senses easily compensating for his lack of sight.

“There isn’t anyone I would rather have guarding Clary,” Jace adds softly. “It would take a huge weight off my shoulders if I knew you were there, keeping her safe…”

A strange expression flickers across Alec’s face, too fast for Jace to catch it, but then Alec nods slowly. “Okay,” he says quietly. “Anything for you.”

Chapter Text

“And remember our first meeting?” Magnus asks, carding his fingers through his lover’s hair.

Alec makes a frowny face. “You mean at the club? When I saved your life?”

“No, later on, in my lair,” Magnus corrects him.

Alec rolls his eyes. “I can’t believe you call it that. By the way, I still don’t understand the joke.”

Magnus lifts his head from his pillow to look down at his lover who’s lying sideways on their bed, feet dangling over the edge, head propped on Magnus’ stomach. “Which one? I told many that night. You were a hard nut to crack.” He tugs at Alec’s hair gently. 

Hey!” Alec exclaims softly and pokes Magnus in the ribs. “Who are you calling a nut?”

Magnus laughs, making Alec’s head bounce. “You’re a very, very lovely nut. The joke?” he adds.

“Oh, right. The one with the dirty lair? You said yours was downright sloppy.”

Magnus guffaws so hard that Alec sits up to save himself from head injury. “You innocent lamb, you!” he wheezes out breathlessly.

Alec frowns down at him. “What?” he asks. And when Magnus laughs even harder, curling up on himself, Alec pokes him in the ribs again. “What? Explain it to me. Magnus! Why are you laughing like a loon? Magnus?”

Chapter Text

“Jace…” Alec calls after the other boy, running to catch up.

“No!” Jace yells without stopping. “Maybe your family can force me to stay here, but I don’t have to like it! My father…” His breath hitches. “My father’s dead and everybody’s all, ‘Hey, no big deal, here. Have a new family!’”

“That’s not true. Jace, stop!” 

Jace is angry. And sad - no, desperate! Grieving. His dad died and nobody seems to care; all that matters to them is to stash Jace somewhere, out of sight, out of mind! But mainly he’s angry, furious even, because it’s just not fair! After everything he endured, his father just up and dies on him!

And so, when Alec grips his arm to make him stop, Jace reacts on instinct, the way his father taught him, the way he was forced to learn - or suffer the consequences. He turns around in a flash and punches the other boy hard.

Alec doesn’t duck - he didn’t expect this reaction from Jace at all. He stumbles back and twists, tripping over his own feet. He hits the wooden paneling with a sickening smack and slides down to sit on the ground, leaving a bloody smear on dark wood.

Jace is horrified. He stares at the dazed boy, at the rivulets of blood running down his pale face from the deep cut in his left eyebrow. Immediately, he’s overwhelmed with memories of his own father hitting him, punishing him. He swore he would never be like Michael Wayland, he swore. And yet…

He drops to his knees next to Alec and lifts his hands to… to prop Alec up, to hold him, to help him. But in the end, he just leaves them hovering over his shoulders, too afraid to touch Alec, too afraid of hurting him again. 

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry,” he keeps babbling frantically.

Alec blinks at him slowly for a moment, blood dripping into his left eye, then lifts his right hand. “Help me?” he asks simply.

And Jace does, he helps Alec up, he brings him to the infirmary, he lowers his eyes and hides his bruised knuckles when Alec lies about how he was injured, and he holds Alec’s hand tight while an iratze is applied to the other boy’s skin, the minor injury leaving only a small white scar bisecting his eyebrow. 

A scar that changes everything, because every time Jace looks at it, he’s reminded of a hawk with a twisted neck and of a little boy bleeding - of the price those who want to be his friends pay.

Chapter Text

“You know I’ll wait for you, right?” Alec says softly, chin balanced on the fist that he has propped up on his lover’s naked sternum. 

Magnus looks down at him, running his fingers through Alec’s hair. “Wait for me where?” he asks, smiling.

“In the afterlife. No matter where it is or how long it takes you to get there,” Alec answers simply.

Magnus’ smile turns sad. “Oh, darling. You realize I’m half-demon, right? When I eventually die - and all things do die, just ask Ragnor or Raphael - I won’t end up in the same place as you. I’ll visit a much warmer climate…”

Alec leans on his elbow and shakes his head. “I don’t believe that.”

Magnus sighs. “I’m afraid your faith has very little to do with my reality, love.”

But Alec just smiles. “You have a soul, Magnus, every living being has one. And every soul can be redeemed. You just have to want it. What you have here,” Alec taps with his finger on Magnus’ chest, over his heart, “triumphs over an accident of birth.”

Magnus snorts, but it doesn’t sound as cynical as he would like. “Don’t tell me you truly believe that, after everything you’ve seen…”

Alec turns serious. “I do. Some people would say I’m doomed to hell just for being born gay. Do you believe that, then?”

“Never!” Magnus responds immediately, voice stern, almost harsh.

Alec smiles again. “See? And the same goes for you. You’re the best man I’ve ever met, Magnus. You’re kind, generous, loving - and that means more than you realize because it’s the manifestation of your free will, the path you chose.”

Magnus’ throat tightens. “You seem pretty sure about it…”

Alec runs his knuckles up and down his lover’s cheek. “I am.”

Magnus captures Alec’s hand and kisses his palm. “I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”

♦♦♦

Turns out, Alec was right.

Chapter Text

He’s been lying awake in the darkness for hours when the door opens and a small figure slips in, padding on bare feet. Isabelle.

“Izzy?” Alec asks, confused as she climbs into his bed.

“We need a cuddle,” she states, rests her tousled head on his shoulder and throws an arm over him. She’s dressed in her pajama pants and a tank top, but obviously, she didn’t get much sleep yet either. 

Alec huffs. “We are both adults,” he reminds her dryly.

“Yes, and we need a cuddle,” Izzy responds, snuggling closer, like she did when they were children.

After a moment of hesitation, Alec lays an arm around her shoulders. “Mom?” he makes a haphazard guess. 

Isabelle sighs. “She made a snide comment about my clothes, dressed me down in front of the whole posse - as you saw for yourself - then proceeded to generally ignore me. The usual.”

Alec kisses the top of her head. “I’m sorry.“

She doesn’t shrug or say, it’s okay, because it isn’t. 

After a pause, she dares to ask, “What about you and Jace?”

He doesn’t give her his usual sarcastic response and he doesn’t shrug either. The darkness, the fact that he doesn’t have to look at her, makes him bolder when he finally answers, “I don’t know, Izzy. I don’t know what’s going on with us or where we are headed… One thing I do know, though: we can’t continue like this, something has to give. And I’m afraid it’ll be our partnership.” 

Isabelle hugs him tighter, but doesn’t reply. There’s nothing to say because they both know Alec’s right.

“But you know what the worst thing is?” he whispers, and when she shakes her head, he continues, “I think… I think that Jace won’t even care anymore.”

They lay quietly in Alec’s bed, drawing solace from each other, until the dawn breaks on the horizon. 

Chapter Text

Jace’s walking down the hall, headed towards his bedroom to change out of his blood soaked clothes - he and Clary just returned from Magnus’ in whose care they left Luke - when Isabelle steps in his way, smiling sweetly - which is never a good thing. 

“Yes?” he says cautiously.

“Can I talk to you for a moment?” she asks, directing him quite firmly into the first available room off the hall. 

The moment they enter the unused bedroom, Isabelle whirls around, her smile gone. She grabs Jace by the front of his jacket and slams him against the wall by the door.

“What…?” he wheezes in surprise.

She steps closer, her face now barely inches away from his, and hisses, her dark eyes blazing, “Don’t you ever, ever talk to my brother like that again!”

Your brother?” Jace retorts, becoming angry himself. “What happened to our brother?”

“You lose your right to call him that when you stop treating him that way!” Izzy whispers furiously. “I like Clary, I really do, she’s a sweet girl, but the way you act around her? Like a dog with a bone, snapping even at people who are good to you!”

Jace glares at her. “He lost Clary…”

“She got herself lost when she didn’t listen, because that’s what she does, she simply does not listen. She has guts, I’ll give her that, but she has no discipline, she does not understand what she’s up against, not really. If you want to yell at someone, go directly to the source and stop venting your frustrations on Alec! Is that clear?” she demands. When Jace opens his mouth to protest, she pulls him away from the wall and slams him against it once more, almost rattling his teeth. “Is. That. Clear?”

“Yes!” Jace growls, eyes narrowed. 

Isabelle lets go of him and smiles again, sugary sweet. “Good. I wish you goodnight, brother.” 

And with that, she leaves.

Chapter Text

Alec steps into Isabelle’s bedroom. “We have a mission.”

“Coming,” she responds and grabs her leather jacket. Pulling it on, she notices Alec staring. “What?” she asks aggressively, zipping up. The jacket fits her black leather pants and laced combat boots perfectly. No more miniskirts or tiny dresses for her!

He raises his hands. “Nothing, nothing, it’s just that…” He chooses his words carefully. “You look… different.” 

Checking her reflection in the mirror, Isabelle touches her hair, pulled back severely. “Well, it was time for a change,” she states with almost harsh determination. 

Their eyes meet in the mirror and hold for a moment. Then Alec nods slowly. “Alright,” he says softly. “As long as it’s what you want…”

Izzy squares her shoulders. “It is!”

Alec watches her a moment longer, then turns to go, but he stops at the door, one hand on the frame, and without turning back, he whispers so quietly she barely hears him. “But, Izzy… don’t be like me. It’s not worth it. She won’t notice anyway.” 

Isabelle’s throat tightens and her eyes burn when she sees her brother’s shoulders hunch, but before she can say anything, Alec leaves. 

She looks at herself in the mirror again. This is what she wants. It is. A more mature, sensible Isabelle Lightwood. Someone… worthy.

Then why does she feel like she’s disappearing?

Chapter Text

He’s walking down the hall after Magnus, away from the wedding that will now never take place. He’s just in his shirtsleeves, having already discarded his jacket, and for the first time in a long while he feels like he can breathe freely.

“Alec!” his mother calls after him. “Where do you think you’re going?”

Alec freezes out of habit, his mother’s cold, harsh voice reaching inside him, to the place where he’s still just a little boy, wanting to please his family. Magnus stops by the front door of the Institute and gives Alec an encouraging smile and a nod. You can do it.

Alec turns to his mother. Maryse’s standing at the end of the hall with Robert by her side, Isabelle and Jace peering over their shoulders. 

“I won’t do it, mother,” Alec says, his voice quiet yet surprisingly strong. “I won’t let you force me into a loveless marriage. I can see what it’s done to you and father - and I don’t want to end up like you. I don’t want to ever be like you.”

Maryse flinches a little, but then soldiers on. “Have you even considered what your selfishness will do to this family? Such a scandal on top ofeverything! The Clave… We will lose the Institute!”

“Then maybe we should!” Alec shouts, the anger he has been hiding since he found out about his parents’ involvement with the Circle breaking through. “Maybe we didn’t deserve it in the first place…”

Maryse narrows her eyes, but Alec continues before she can say anything, “I know you’ve never cared about my happiness, but I do. I finally do.”

“At what cost?” his mother snaps.

“I could ask you the same thing. How far are you willing to go to keep your status? What will you sacrifice next?” When she doesn’t respond, he turns away and starts walking again.

“Alexander!” Maryse yells. “If you leave now, don’t bother to come back!”

He stops and looks back: at Maryse and his father, hanging back awkwardly, at Isabelle who’s grinning hugely and giving him thumbs up, and at Jace, who seems… torn. But Alec’s done trying to please him, too. 

“As you wish, mother,” Alec responds with finality.

Then he turns back to his lover who’s watching him with so much pride, takes his hand and together they pass through a Portal, leaving everything behind.

Chapter Text

Magnus Bane can’t believe he’s actually doing this. He must have lost all his marbles! But, on the other hand, how could he not do it?

Alec’s sitting naked on Magnus’ bed, loosely hugging his knees, face turned away. “… and if I don’t marry her…” His voice breaks. “If I don’t, my family will lose everything, not just the Institute. We might be exiled, even stand trial for consorting with the enemy, now that the Seelies sided with Valentine. Jace, Izzy… Max!” He buries his face in his hands. “I don’t know what to do…”

Magnus kisses Alec’s shoulder and winds his arms around him from behind. “Then let me help,” he whispers. “You’re not alone anymore. You have me.”

Alec sighs and leans back slightly. “Not that I doubt your powers, but what could you do?”

Magnus smiles and brushes his lips against his lover’s skin. “You would be surprised…”

And now he’s here, at the Institute, sitting across from Maryse, with Jace, Izzy and Alec standing behind their mother. And just to save the mortal who took his breath away. Smitten fool, he admonishes himself.

“If I understand it correctly, warlock,” Maryse says, “you offer us a deal: all the warlocks under your leadership will side with us against Valentine in exchange for a fitting monetary compensation for services rendered?” She narrows her eyes suspiciously. “That sounds too good to be true. The warlocks have always remained neutral. Why the change of heart?”

“Ah, yes.” Magnus smiles and holds up a finger. “You haven’t heard my last condition yet.” The smile falls off his face and his cat’s eyes glow dangerously. “And this is non-negotiable.”

“Here it comes,” mutters Jace.

“Your son, Alec,” Magnus says, perfectly calm and serious.

“What?” Maryse’s eyes widen, then she and everybody else in the room turn to Alec, who’s gaping at Magnus in disbelief.

“You heard me, Maryse.” Magnus leans forward, his voice hard. “You were willing to sell him out for a little protection against the Clave. Now I’m offering you the chance to bring a powerful posse of warlocks to your side and actually gain the Clave’s favor, and all that for a little bit of money - and your son.” He settles back and crosses his legs. “So, Maryse, how much do you value your son? Are the Branwells enough or do you want an actual army of warlocks in exchange for him? Do we have a deal or not?”

They did.

Chapter Text

“Tell me a secret,” Clary asks one Sunday afternoon while they lazy around in bed. “I want some exclusive Jace Herondale knowledge.”

She expects him to turn it into a joke, so she’s surprised when he actually thinks about it and his voice becomes serious when he answers, “Well, there’s something I’ve have never told anyone…”

She props herself on her elbow. “I won’t tell. Scout’s honor.”

Jace mock glares at her. “You’ve never been a Scout, you liar!”

Clary snorts. “It’s the thought that counts. Now secret. Gimme!”

He turns serious again and softly he confesses, “If it wasn’t for the wholeparabatai thing, I think I would’ve fallen in love with Alec.”

Her eyebrows shoot up. “I didn’t know you were bisexual.”

Jace stares at the ceiling for a moment. “You know, I’m not sure I am. I have never felt attracted to any other man. Not Simon, not Magnus… And Simon actually nibbled on me, so I should know.” He shudders dramatically, grimacing, and she snorts again. 

Then he sighs. “There’s just something about Alec… Even before we becameparabatai, I felt really good when I was with him. He made me feel all… warm here.” He touches his chest. “He made my heart beat faster and my fingertips tingle whenever I touched him… It scared the shit out of me.”

He looks at her. “It was one of the reasons why I asked him to be my parabatai. After the ceremony, it was… safe to be with him, to feel so deeply for him. I could touch him, tell him I loved him and nobody thought anything about it.”

“And at the same time, he was hiding his feelings for you…” Clary says softly. “What would you have done if you knew?”

Jace blows out a breath and frowns at the ceiling again. “Honestly? I don’t know. But everything might have been different now…”

She nods and snuggles closer, thinking of how one decision made years ago changed the life of so many people…

Chapter Text

“You okay?” Jace asks. When he followed Alec out of the room, he didn’t expect to find him with his jacket off and his shirt tucked up, applying a stamina rune to his stomach. 

Alec calmly finishes burning the temporary mark into his skin, then he pulls his shirt down. “Yeah, just tired.” He stashes his stele away.

Jace frowns. “What was that actually about?”

“What? With Magnus? He used up all his energy healing Luke and since he asked, I offered him mine,” Alec answers like it’s nothing. 

Jace blinks, remembering Magnus saying something about Alec’s virgin energy, but that can’t be it. Or? Jace grimaces. Some things are better left untouched… But then curiosity gets the better of him. 

“What is it like?” he asks.

Alec raises his eyebrows. “The strength sharing?” When Jace nods, Alec thinks it over. “Like… when you are bleeding out. It’s exhausting. And it hurts, it feels like someone’s pulling at the very core of your being. There’s this stabbing pain in your chest and it only gets worse with time.”

Jace frowns again, this time with worry. “That sounds like the way mundanes describe a heart attack.” 

Alec shrugs. “It’s mostly just tiring, nothing I couldn’t handle.”

Jace studies him closely for a moment. “Yeah… well, just promise me you won’t make it a habit.”

Alec snorts. “Don’t worry. I doubt very much me and Magnus will be spending enough time together to form any kind of a habit.”

Jace grins. “I’ll hold you to that.”

Chapter Text

Find Jace, find Magnus Bane, that’s what’s running through Clary’s head as she turns right off the main hall - and stops. 

She really doesn’t want to push the stereotype of a woman who can’t keep her directions straight, but… Which room did Jace say was his? Left or right at end of the corridor?

After a moment of hesitation and feet shuffling, she simply chooses one. What’s the worst thing that can happen, right?

Well, apparently Alec Lightwood. In nothing but a towel around his waist, still damp from the shower. The universe definitely hates her!

“What the Hell?!” Alec yelps. He snatches a blanket off his bed and wraps himself up in it till nothing but his head and the tips of his toes are visible…

But not before Clary takes in his long, lean runner’s body, muscles, runes, scars and dark chest hair… 

Belatedly, once they are both properly mortified and blushing so hard it’s a wonder the room doesn’t catch fire, she slaps her hand over her eyes. “Sorry, sorry! Wrong room,” she apologizes profusely and starts backing out through the open door. “Sorry!”

“By the Angel, learn to knock!” Alec yells after her, feathers ruffled.

It’s not till she hears him slam the door shut - and lock it for good measure - that she drops her hand. Good grief… That was so… Yeah.

Clary clears her throat, takes a deep breath and squares her shoulders. Well, at least now she knows which room’s Jace’s. No more embarrassing encounters for her. Silver lining and all that.

She turns around and strides in. 

Incorrigible…

Chapter Text

Magnus leans closer, eyes half-lidded, voice seductive as he whispers, “Fancy another drink, Alexander?”

Alec clears his throat. “Yeah… Yes, that would be… yes.”

Magnus beams and whirls away. “Fantastic!”

“Just…” Alec stops him awkwardly.

Magnus turns back, lifting his eyebrows curiously. “Yes?”

Alec shifts and grimaces slightly. “Just… could it not be on fire this time?”

“Certainly,” Magnus assures him with a smile. Then he raises his index finger, eyes sparkling with a sudden bright idea. “I’ll just add glitter, then!”

Alec sighs in resignation.

Chapter Text

“What are you doing up?” Jace mumbles as he shuffles into the control room, rubbing his eyes. It’s three in the morning, and if it wasn’t for that stupid nightmare, he would be fast asleep.

Alec looks up. “Just reading up on something. Couldn’t sleep.”

“Hm,” Jace responds, walking around the computer table to lean against it. He frowns when he sees that Alec has his left leg propped up on a chair and he’s rubbing his thigh absently. He has been doing that a lot lately, Jace noticed. “You okay?” 

“Huh?” Alec raises his eyebrows quizzically. When he sees what Jace’s looking at, he says, “Oh, that’s nothing. Habit, I guess.”

Habit… Jace remembers it quite vividly, it’s one of his worst memories, burned into his mind forever. Alec with his knee torn to shreds by a demon, convulsing on a blood soaked bed in the infirmary, pale and feverish, poison turning his veins black… and the Silent Brothers telling them impassively that they will have to cut Alec’s leg off to stop the damage from spreading…  

Jace swallows hard, still tasting the pungent smell of poison in the air. If it hadn’t been for that warlock, that blue woman - Corine? Carina? something like that - his parabatai would have died or been crippled for life.

“Hey,” Alec says softly, “it’s fine, really. It almost doesn't even hurt anymore. Only when I put too much strain on it. Or it’s about to rain. Weird that.”

Jace smiles. “Our very own weather man…” When Alec smiles back, Jace nudges his foot. “Come on, someone left a pie in the kitchen. If we’re smart about it, nobody will know it was us who ate it.”

Alec snorts but levels himself up. “Hopefully, it wasn’t Izzy…”

Chapter Text

Magnus turns to offer Alec another drink - and finds him fast asleep, tucked in the corner of the couch that Magnus had to clean with his magic after all. 

“Alexander?” Magnus whispers very softly. He does not want to wake Alec if he’s truly asleep. Dawn is just around the corner and he knows that Alec will have to leave soon if he wants to make it home before anyone notices him gone, but if Magnus can keep him here just for a moment longer, he will.

He leans over carefully, slips the empty glass out of Alec’s hand and sets it aside. Then he snaps his fingers quietly and summons the softest blanket he has around; it settles over Alec like gossamer, gently and without waking him. For such a tall man, Alec takes surprisingly little space, curled up on himself.

Magnus could be - and should be - doing many things, but instead he settles down in the opposite corner of the couch. He hugs his legs to his chest, props his chin on his knees and watches Alec sleep. Happiness bubbles in his chest, he feels almost giddy with it. My Alexander, he thinks. 

Well, not yet, but he will be if Magnus has anything to say in that matter. Alec came. He offered Magnus his strength and shoulder to lean on. He stayed… 

Magnus hasn’t felt this blissful since, well, since Camille, but he doesn’t want to think about her. Alec is nothing like her, he won’t ever be. Magnus touched the very core of his being and it was so beautiful he nearly wept. 

His feet are almost bouncing on the cushions, Magnus is so overflowing with happy energy. He has waited hundreds of years for someone like Alec. And now he has found him. Life’s perfect…

Alexander, my Alec…

Chapter Text

“You… you have to do it,” Alec wheezes, his breath coming in short gasps. 

Clary recoils. “What? Why? I mean… why?” 

Alec glares at her, then raises his hands: they are torn and burned, just like his torso from where he covered her and saved her from the blast. “Can’t… hold a stele… can’t draw a… rune,” he grits through clenched teeth. 

Eyes wide, thoughts panicky, she nods. “Right. Yes.” She pulls her mother’s stele out of her jacket pocket. “But I’ve never drawn an iratze before. Ever!” 

“You saw Jace doing it, right?” 

“Yes, but seeing something done and doing it yourself? Two very different things!” she protests. “What if I get it wrong?”

Alec rolls his eyes. “Then it won’t work…”

Clary sighs. “Right.”

“… and I’ll probably die in the mean… time.”

She almost drops the stele. “What?” 

Clary!” Alec snaps, his whole body straining against the pain. 

“Right, I’m on it, I’m on it,” she assures him, and finding a patch of unburned, unblemished skin on his stomach, she starts to draw. “I’m an artist, after all. A Shadowhunter newbie, but an artist pro. Clary Fray, the Rune Master. God, I sound like Simon…” she mutters.

Alec bangs his head against the ground. “And I’m dead.”

Chapter Text

“Huh,” Jem says, looking pensive. He and Jace are sitting in one of the outdoor cafés in Idris where they usually meet for their semi-regular “Let’s talk about my parabatai and your ancestor, Will Herondale, and how much you two are alike” rendezvous. 

“What?” Jace asks, sipping his coffee. 

Jem frowns and leans forward intently. “You’re telling me that you died - yet your parabatai bond with Alec didn’t break?”

Jace shrugs. “I was dead for only a few minutes.”

Jem continues, “Then Sebastian suppressed your bond with magic and it wasn’t damaged in any way?” 

“It was just for a few of weeks, few months tops,” Jace responds, his voice very matter-of-fact.

The other man looks at him for a moment. “And on top of that, you were almost consumed by the heavenly fire - which was so strong that it cured me! - and your bond with Alec survived even that?”

“Yeah?” Jace answers uncertainly.

Jem leans back in his chair. “You do realize that that’s not normal right?”

Now it’s Jace’s turn to frown. “I don’t follow.”

“Jace, parabatai bonds break after death, no matter how short said death is! They break while suppressed. And your heavenly fire should have burned it to ashes!” There’s disbelief in his voice. 

“What does it mean?” 

Jem thinks about it for a moment. “I don’t know. I’ll have to do some research on that matter, but I fear that your angel blood might have caused some… unexpected changes in your bond.”

Jace straightens. “But it won’t hurt Alec, will it?”

Jem shakes his head. “No. Well, I don’t know. I don’t think so… But two souls bound together so tightly they don’t separate even after death? I have never heard of anything like that before. The consequences…” 

“Yes?” Jace’s frown deepens.

Jem looks at him. “I suspect that for you and your parabatai, Jace Herondale, there might be no ‘till death do as part…’”

Chapter Text

Some years back…

Isabelle hops up on her brother’s bed, knocking the book Alec’s been reading - Shakespeare again! - out of his hands. “Hey!” he objects grumpily.

“Guess what?” she stage whispers gleefully as she plops down next to him, their shoulders touching. “I slept with Meliorn!”

Alec scrunches his face. “I really don’t want to hear this!”

Izzy slaps his leg. “Tough. I don’t have any friends besides you and Jace, and I’m not discussing my sex life with Jace!”

Alec glares at her. “I’m not discussing your sex life with you either.”

She snorts. “Well, if you had any, we would be discussing yours–”

“No, we would not be!” he protests emphatically.

“–but alas.” Isabelle raises her hands palms up in a “What can you do?” gesture. “So, me and Meliorn…”

Alec groans and hides behind a pillow. It doesn’t help. 

Chapter Text

“Wait… what-what are you doing?” Alec protests as Isabelle starts unbuttoning his shirt. Again. What is it with her and buttons? 

“Alec, honey, you’re about to go on a date, not crawl through demon muck. You are allowed to show some skin,” Izzy chides, slapping his hands away when he tries to re-do the buttons again. 

He grimaces. “I don’t like to show skin!”

She sighs and rolls her eyes. “You train half naked–”

He widens his eyes, scandalized. “I do not!”

“–so you can show some of those muscles to your boyfriend!” She pokes him in the stomach.

Alec squirms. “Stop that!” 

Isabelle looks at him earnestly. “Alec, you’re my dearly beloved brother, true, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have eyes. You’re quite the hunk, believe you me, and you already have Magnus drooling. There’s no need to be nervous.”

“I’m not,” Alec mutters. 

Izzy slaps his shoulders. “Well, that’s the spirit then.” She turns and heads out of the door. “And leave the buttons alone!” she yells back when his hands creep up to re-do them. 

He glares at the door. 

“And stop glaring, you’ll get wrinkles!”

Chapter Text

“I was worried about you too, you know?” Jace says softly, crossing his arms on his chest. 

It’s almost dawn and the Institute is finally quiet. He expected Alec to be in his room, asleep, instead he finds his parabatai in the weaponry, burning runes into a new batch of arrows.

Alec sets one finished arrow aside and picking up another, he looks at Jace quizzically. 

“When I said that Clary was our top priority… I didn’t mean that you weren’t important or…” Jace falls silent, realizing how lame he sounds. When Izzy found him earlier and told him to go and apologize to Alec, he didn’t understand why. But now…

Alec stares at him for a moment longer, his silence and unreadable expression making Jace uncomfortable. “Alright,” he replies finally and without another word, he returns to work. 

Jace frowns, shifting uncertainly. He can feel that there’s something wrong, it’s like sand grinding in the gears that used to run so smoothly. It’s setting his nerves on edge. 

“Is something wrong?” Jace asks in the end. 

Alec doesn’t answer straight away, the sizzling of metal the only sound in the otherwise quiet room. Then he sighs, pauses, and without looking at Jace, he says softly, “Everything’s as it’s always been. I guess it just took me a while to realize it.”

Jace frowns. “What do you mean?”

Alec finally looks up, the smell of scorched metal still heavy in the air, and smiles sadly. “Go to bed, Jace. I’ll see you in the morning.” And without waiting for an answer he goes back to his arrows. 

Jace hesitates for a moment, unsure and upset, still not knowing what actually went wrong between them. And when he finally leaves, he can’t help but feel that everything’s falling apart between him and Alec, and he has no idea how to fix it.

Chapter Text

It’s the morning after Alec’s wedding. The sun isn’t even up yet, but Isabelle’s been lying awake in her bed for hours, her thoughts a tangled mess of rage and guilt and helplessness. In the end, she decides that anything’s more productive than this and heads for the training room. 

Whom she does not expect to find there, is Alec. From his sweat-soaked shirt, he must be there a long time already, the rapid thump-thump-thump-thump of his fists hitting the dummy almost mechanical now. 

Izzy frowns. “Alec?” she calls out, coming closer. “Hey, Alec!” 

He doesn’t seem to hear her, completely focused on pummeling the dummy bloody. Literally, she notices when she comes to a stop a couple of feet from him. The leathery surface of the dummy is slick with blood from Alec’s split knuckles. His fingers are swollen, blood’s running down his forearms and dripping from his elbows. 

“Alec!” Izzy breathes out in shock and grabs his right arm to make him stop. 

He mustn’t have even realized she was there because he jerks and stumbles back, his eyes widening, and if she weren’t holding his arm, he would’ve fallen down the stairs behind him.

“It’s me. It’s me, Izzy,” she rushes to calm him. “It’s just me…”

Alec stops fighting her and just stares at her, his breath heavy, face slick with sweat - and eyes frighteningly blank. Isabelle has no idea what could’ve happened between last night and this morning, she only knows that it rattled her usually unshakable brother to the core. 

“Come here,” she urges gently and leads him towards the sofa in the corner of the room, and her worry deepens when he just lets her. She sits him down, then kneels down in front of him and takes his hands gently in hers. The damage he did to them is frightening - just like the fact that he doesn’t even seem to notice. 

Isabelle looks up at her brother, but it’s like he isn’t even seeing her, though his eyes are fixed on her. “What’s going on?” she whispers imploringly. “Please, Alec, you know you can talk to me. You know that.” When he just blinks at her, she lifts his hands slightly. “Please, tell me what made you do this to yourself. Please…”

When he still doesn’t respond, something inside her seizes with the realization that this isn’t simply about the wedding or a fight with Jace or his break-up with Magnus. This is something that destroyed the foundations of his world and he doesn’t know how to cope. And it’s scaring her. 

Deciding to give him time, she pulls her stele out of her pocket and starts applying iratzes to the back of his hands, wanting to at least heal the outer damage. And maybe he just needed her to stop looking at him, because he finally speaks.

“I told her no but she wouldn’t listen,” Alec croaks.

Isabelle freezes, breath hitching in her throat, when she grasps his meaning.No. Just… no.

Alec continues, his voice quiet and raspy, “She came to my room, after the wedding. And I told her no. I told her to go away. But she wouldn’t listen. Why didn’t she listen?”

It takes all of Izzy’s will not to look up, to keep her head down, to keep drawing the rune on Alec’s hand. 

“She said…” His voice breaks. “She said that my ‘duty’ didn’t end with ‘I do.’ She said… she said that we Lightwoods needed the Branwells’ protection, and if we wanted to get it I… I should ‘keep her happy.’” 

Isabelle finishes the second iratze and watches Alec’s damaged hands starting to heal slowly. She grips her stele so hard she almost breaks it. No. This is not happening. This didn’t happen while I laid awake just a few doors down. No. 

“I didn’t want it. I did not… But she wouldn’t listen,” Alec repeats, sounding lost.

Izzy finally looks up, slowly. She expected to see tears in her brother’s eyes but there are none. His eyes are wide and glazed but dry. He seems to be in shock, not entirely aware of what’s happening around him. And he looks so… small. Nothing should make her 6′3″ brother look small

“Alec…” she whispers, blinking back her own tears.

He finally focuses on her, fear in his eyes, when he breathes out urgently, “You can’t tell anyone, Izzy.” He grips her hands so hard it almost hurts. “You can’t. Promise me. Swear, Izzy. Please. You can’t tell.”

“But, Alec, this is wrong,” she objects angrily, her voice hushed. “What she did to you, it’s wrong!”

Alec shakes his head. “It doesn’t matter–”

“It doesn’t… of course it does!” she interrupts him.

“It does not,” he reiterates flatly. “The Branwells… Lydia, she can destroy us, Izzy. All of us. Mom and dad, you, me, Jace… Max! She has the favor of the Inquisitor. She can…” His voice breaks again and Izzy’s heart aches when she sees the despair in his eyes. 

She turns his hands in hers and clasps them together. “And what do you plan to do, Alec?” she asks softly, unhappily, still looking up at him from her kneeling position. “You want to ‘keep her happy’ every night from now on?” He flinches and she feels bad about her own words, but continues anyway, trying to make him see, “You can’t do this. You can’t keep this up. It’ll destroy you - and I’m not trading a cushy position for my brother’s life.” His sanity, she adds quietly.

“We don’t have a choice,” Alec says with resignation. “There is no choice. There’s no way out.”

She grips his hands and shakes them. “We will find a way out. I promise, I swear to you, brother, we will find a way out!” Even if I have to personally feed that bitch to a demon, she swears to herself. “And now,” she says, “I will hug you, okay?” 

Giving him plenty of time to refuse or move away, Izzy leans forward and winds her arms around him slowly. She feels him shudder, then slump against her, allowing her to take his weight. And she has to blink back tears again, tears of rage and frustration and despair, because this is her brother… and all she’s ever wanted was to protect him, to see him happy. And now… 

Isabelle hugs Alec, her hands gentle on his back. But her eyes narrow with fury. Lydia Branwell will pay for this. Izzy will make sure of that.

Chapter Text

“Hey,” Jace says, catching Alec by the arm. “Uhm, with all that happened last night, I forgot to thank you for, you know, bringing Clary back to the Institute.” 

Yes, so much happened last night, not the least being Alec’s decision to stay back and cover their escape. Jace’s heart still skips a beat when he thinks of it. Only the fact that his parabatai rune stayed completely quiet and unresponsive allowed him to focus entirely on Clary. 

Alec looks at him and the flatness of his stare makes Jace frown. “Contrary to your belief, I actually know what I’m doing,” Alec says and turns to go again. 

But Jace doesn’t let go. “Wow, wait a minute. Where did that come from?” he asks, startled. “It wasn’t… I didn’t mean anything by that, I honestly wanted to thank you for keeping her safe. What’s gotten into you?”

Alec sighs and rubs his forehead. “Look, I don’t agree with what you two have been doing. I’ve never condoned your complete disregard of the Clave’s rules, but lately you’ve been taking it too far, you and Izzy both.” 

Jace opens his mouth to protest, but Alec continues before he manages to get a word edgewise. “That said, I would never allow for something to happen to Clary, if it were in my power to prevent it, regardless of my personal feelings.”

“I know that!” Jace jumps in.

“Do you?” Alec says bitterly. “Because sometimes, I think she’s the only thing you even take into account anymore. And honestly, Jace? I’m not sure I like the person you’re becoming.”

And with that, Alec turns and leaves, slipping his arm out of Jace’s suddenly numb fingers and leaving him standing there, gaping with confusion. 

“What…?”

Chapter Text

Magnus frowns down at the spell. “Well, that will require more power than I currently have.” He looks up and glares at Jace. “When I woke up this morning, I didn’t expect to have you knocking on my door - again!”

Jace rolls his eyes. “Believe me, if there was any other way, I would not be here, warlock.” Their dislike’s apparently mutual.

“So,” Magnus says, slamming the spell book close, “I do have all the necessary ingredients, but I will need more power. And that means,” he grins and almost bounces in place, “I’ll need Alexander!”

“Why? For his ‘virgin Shadowhunter energy’ again?” Jace comments dryly.

“No, Nephilim,” Magnus responds seriously, disregarding Jace’s tone of voice, “for the very simple reason that him I trust, you I do not. Now, shoo, scram. And bring me Alexander. Or no spell!”

Chapter Text

When Jace first heard about the wedding, he thought it was a joke. Alec? His spinster of a parabatai and marry? No way. He actually laughed!

Now, he’s standing in Alec’s room, watching his friend, his brother stare fixedly out of the window - and he isn’t laughing anymore. The Institute is abuzz with the wedding preparations and everybody’s so excited to attend the ceremony, because they honestly think Alec’s marrying out of love; they all love him and they want to see him happy. But he’s not.

Jace isn’t sure he even heard Alec speak to anyone today, all the excited congratulations accepted with a wan smile that hurts Jace to see. Because this is wrong. He doesn’t know if it’s his eyes telling him that or hisparabatai bond, but his skin crawls with the wrongness of it. 

He knows he has to stop it. He must. But he can’t. He tried, but Alec wouldn’t even hear him out.

“Why do you think he’s doing it?!” Maryse snapped at him, when he turned to her, when he told her she must put a stop to this madness. “Why do you think he would sacrifice so much? For whom? Think about it!”

For whom? Jace swallows. He knows the answer to that. For him. And for Izzy. For little Max… For all the people he tried to warn of the consequences of their actions and they didn’t listen. But he didn’t know. Jace did not know. If he knew how bad the situation was… 

Bile rises in his throat and his guilt tastes bitter because he isn’t sure he wouldn’t have done the same things, made the same decisions… Clary or Alec. Alec or Clary. Save one, sacrifice the other… 

The door opens. It’s Isabelle and she’s looking furtive. Paying Jace no mind, she says in a hushed voice, “Alec, Magnus is here.”

Alec jerks around, an expression of shock on his face. “Magnus…?”

Jace doesn’t understand. What could Magnus Bane possibly want from Alec? And on his wedding day, too? But before he can ask those questions, before he can say anything, Isabelle grabs him by the arm and drags him out of the room, allowing Magnus Bane in all his glittery glory to sneak inside and close the door behind him. 

“What…?” Jace starts asking, but Isabelle shushes him.

“Let’s pray to Raziel that it works,” she whispers, and clasping her hands together, she presses them to her lips, eyes shining with fervent hope trained on the closed door of Alec’s bedroom. 

Jace still doesn’t understand. 

But the wedding does not take place that day, after all…

Chapter Text

 

Alec doesn’t even realize he’s been cut till he tries to pull his shirt off in his room - and finds it stuck to his skin. He hisses as the pain with which his whole shoulder has been throbbing triples. Cursing softly under his breath, he peels the black material off the wound - it’s on his upper arm, a gaping scratch now oozing blood again, jagged and angry red. 

He wipes the wound off carefully with his shirt - it’s destined for the bin as it is - and inspects his injury. It doesn’t look pretty but it doesn’t exactly warrant a trip to the infirmary. He pulls his stele out and activates the iratze rune on his side… and nothing happens.

Alec frowns down at the wound, the blood oozing out of it now growing darker. What the hell did that thing have on its weapon? He knows a lot about first aid - being the only one in the group who actually bothered to pay attention in class - but he knows very little about germs, that’s been always Izzy’s area of expertise. 

He activates the rune again. And again. Still, the wound gapes open, its ragged edges refusing to close. After the sixth time, even the iratze starts hurting, as if telling him to stop with that nonsense, it’s obviously not working. 

Alec sighs, shaking his injured arm to get rid of the pins and needles that seem to be spreading down to his fingertips. Looks like he will have to go to the infirmary after all, maybe ask Izzy about the Forsaken, or Magn…

No. With more force than is advisable, Alec slams his stele down on the table and reaches for his first aid kit. Pulling out a sterile pad and a bandage, he cleans the wound, then quickly wraps it up and ties it off tightly. The tingling in his arm hasn’t stopped yet but Alec guesses that torn flesh and bruised muscles will do that to you. 

His shoulder is still throbbing to the rhythm of his beating heart. But when he doesn’t move his arm much, it’s just sort of… numb. He promises himself that if the thing doesn’t get better by the morning, he will go to… someone for help. Definitely not Magnus, though.

Yes, he will do that. Tomorrow.

Chapter Text

When Jace barges in through the main entrance, he finds the Institute in complete disarray, people running around like frightened ants. He looks around, searching for… 

There. Isabelle catches his eye across the room and before he can even ask, she calls out, “He’s in his room,” knowing exactly who he is looking for. Jace nods at her and goes. 

All the corridors and passages he usually finds so charming make him feel like a rat running through a labyrinth right now, and when he finally throws the door to Alec’s room open, he’s not just afraid but also frustrated, anxious, impatient. 

“Alec!” he yells, crashing into the dimly lit bedroom.

Alec must’ve been asleep, because he jerks upright in his bed, immediately groaning in pain. “Damn it,” he grits through clenched teeth. He grips his shoulder tight, and slumping back against his pillow, he curls up on his uninjured side.

Jace stops abruptly a couple of feet away, eyes going to the blood stained bandage on Alec’s arm and the skin on his shoulder gone black and blue. He thought… he thought that if they let Alec stay in his bedroom and not in the infirmary, his injury couldn’t be all that bad. But this…

“Why didn’t you use an iratze?”

Alec keeps his eyes shut and his lips are white with pain when he breathes out, “I did. I am… using it. That thing… didn’t just cut me, it… wrenched my shoulder and broke my ribs, too…” He wheezes through clenched teeth. “If Hodge hadn’t been there…”

Jace swallows several times, then he turns away and sinks down on the edge of Alec’s bed. He can’t even look at Alec in so much pain. He can’t even… He should’ve been here, he should’ve been fighting by Alec and Hodge’s side, protecting his home. But Clary needed him, she still needs him.

So does Alec. So does your family. You owe it to them! the voice in his mind whispers. 

He buries his face in his hands. Alec’s right, if Hodge hadn’t been there… just the idea of being somewhere else and feeling his parabatai rune burn, feeling it bleed, knowing what it meant and not being with Alec just the idea makes his heart seize. You should’ve been here. He feels so torn, pushed and pulled in opposite directions. Alec or Clary. Clary or Alec. You should have been here!

“I’m sorry,” Jace whispers. “I’m so sorry. I should’ve been here with you. You’re my parabatai, this is my… our home! I should’ve protected it. You told me this would happen, and I didn’t listen. I’m sorry.” 

There’s no reply. Jace doesn’t know what he expected. Reproach? Reassurance? Definitely not silence.

He turns around, only to realize that Alec’s fallen asleep again, still curled up, still clutching his hurt shoulder loosely. Jace frowns because this is so unlike Alec, Alec doesn’t simply nod off during a conversation, even a boring one. 

“Alec?” Jace whispers and reaches out to touch his arm, only to snatch his hand away quickly - Alec’s skin’s burning hot. “Alec?” Jace asks again with more force and anxiety. Nothing.

He’s about to shake Alec awake, take the blame for hurting him again, anything, just to get him to open his eyes, when he sees the iratze on Alec’s side pulse and burn brightly through the thin fabric of the threadbare tank top that Alec’s using as his sleepwear - and Jace sighs in relief. 

Of course, Alec’s healing, and having been on the receiving end of a rune healing many times in the past Jace knows what a toll it takes on the body, how exhausting it is. 

Jace watches his parabatai a moment longer, a small smile on his lips, relief making him feel tired to the bones. Then he gets up, careful not to jostle the bed, and covers Alec with a blanket, knowing how quickly Alec gets chilled in the night. 

“Goodnight,” Jace says softly, and turning off the light, he leaves the room, shutting the door behind him. 

Chapter Text

“I hear you killed the Forsaken today,” Robert says as he comes up to Hodge who’s putting away his weapons in the training room. “I wanted to thank you.”

Hodge looks at him. “I didn’t do it for you. Or for Maryse. Or even for the Institute. I did it for Alec, to save his life,” he clarifies. 

Robert clears his throat. “Yeah, well, I still want to thank you.”

Hodge turns to him and regards him intensely. “You want to thank me, Robert? Then pull yourself together and start treating that boy as he deserves.” 

Robert’s eyes narrow. “It’s none of your business how I treat my own children, Starkweather.” His voice is dangerously low.

Hodge shakes his head. “That’s where you’re wrong. You love Jace like your own child. You’ve put Isabelle on a pedestal. Max is the apple of your eye. But you are so blinded by prejudice that you can’t see what an exceptional man your eldest has become.”

Robert stiffens. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Hodge steps closer and once he makes sure nobody’s close enough to hear them, he says, “Your son is gay, Robert. Alec’s gay and you treat him like nothing more than a tool to be used as you see fit because of it.” 

Robert grabs him by the front of his shirt. “You shut your mouth, Starkweather, or else!”

The threat leaves Hodge unaffected. “No, I’m done keeping quiet about the way you keep hurting people around you. I kept quiet when I saw how you treated your own parabatai, because I believed you were both old enough and smart enough to handle your own issues. And look where it got Michael. I’ll not allow Alec to end the same way. I refuse to allow it!”

“And what is it to you?” Robert sneers.

Hodge looks Robert in the eyes, unflinching. “I love the boy like my own son, Robert. More than you probably ever will. And once he finds out what a man you are - a spineless coward who shunned his own parabatai for who he was - you’ll lose him, once and for all.”

Robert pulls his fist back, preparing to throw a punch, but Hodge just raises his chin. “Go ahead, let’s settle this once and for all. Let’s see who will win this round.”

Robert stares at him for a moment, then he lets his arms drop and with a snarl he turns away and leaves the room.

Hodge watches him till he’s gone, then he shakes his head. “You don’t deserve a son like Alec, Robert Lightwood, you don’t deserve him.”

Chapter Text

Alec Lightwood had always known that there was something very wrong with him. Pig-tailed girls in polka dot dresses never awoke any feelings in him but protective ones - it was the freckled boys with dimples in their cheeks that set his heart aflutter. 

And it got even worse when Jace Wayland came to live with them. He finally had a boy his age for a friend, but instead of loving him like a brother, like he did little Max, Jace made his skin tingle and his cheeks flush, he made him want… something. But Alec didn’t understand what it meant…

Until one day, when they accompanied one of the visiting Shadowhunters on a hunt and he saw them, two mundane boys, waiting for a bus… holding hands, giggling and kissing. On the lips. And his heart sang, this is it, this is right, this is what you want, too. A boy to hold your hand and kiss you on the lips.

When he came back home that day, he headed for the library because research was in order. If mundanes felt the same way he did, there had to be some Nephilim feeling that way, too, they were all half-human, after all…

It took him a week to find the one mention there seemed to be in all the books aligned on the shelves. It was in the moral codex, written years and years ago but still valid and used to this day. Homosexuality, the book called it and listed it among abominations and depravities, things like fornication with demons, and called for its extermination, for the removal of these perverts from the society…

Alec’s heart shattered and he cried, because how could something as sweet and innocent as the two boys kissing at a bus stop be called an abomination? How could anyone see it that way?

The answer came from the most unexpected source, for his father caught him reading the book, crying over it - and he never looked at him the same way again. And if even his father, who used to be so proud of him, could not love him because of this… thing, maybe he really was ugly, ugly, ugly.

And Alec was about to do a very stupid, unforgivable thing, when Jace Wayland asked him to be his parabatai. Just like that. He came to him and asked, as if he thought that Alec was worth it. But then, Jace didn’t know how ugly Alec was. 

So Alec refused, not wanting to drag his best friend down with him. But Jace, the Clave’s Golden Boy, kept asking and asking, not taking no for an answer, until one day, when Alec tried to explain that there was something wrong with him, Jace yelled, “There’s nothing wrong with you. And if someone tries to say otherwise, I’ll punch him. I’ll punch you if you don’t stop spouting nonsense! You will become my parabatai, because I don’t want anyone else!”

And that was how Jace Wayland saved Alec Lightwood’s life, without even knowing it, with a kind word, even if yelled, and the threat of a punch. 

Chapter Text

Alec hisses as he carefully pulls his left arm out of the sleeve of his black linen shirt. “Ow,” he mutters, examining the swollen welts on his forearm; the skin’s already turning black and blue. 

“What is it, my dear?” Magnus asks, and standing on his tiptoes, he peeks over Alec’s shoulder. His eyes widen. “Ow, indeed! What did that?” He steps around his lover, gently takes his arm in his hands and takes a closer look at the injury.

“I did. With my bow,” Alec grumbles, feeling like a fool. He hasn’t been so careless in years. “This happens when you forget to apply a skin protection rune in the morning and then go bow shooting!”

Magnus tsks. “And why didn’t you apply it?”

Alec glares at him. “Why do you think? Someone refused to let me out of bed till I was running so late I barely had the time to put on my pants!”

“Ah!” Magnus grins like the Cheshire Cat and his eyes sparkle with the fond memory. “True. I am very hard to resist. But! That still doesn’t explain why you don’t simply use a bracer. I know that you Nephilim hate low-magic solutions, but trust me, that one has worked for centuries. I know, I was there.”

Alec huffs. “Because I usually shoot in my jacket which is reinforced and fitted for bow shooting! But in this cursed swelter, I would melt in it. So, I left my jacket at home.” 

“You poor thing, the world has conspired against you!” Magnus says, a smile tugging at his lips. Before Alec can retort something very rude, Magnus lets his fingers dance feather-light across his lover’s skin, blue magic seeping into the damaged flesh and healing it. “There,” he declares and kisses the once again smooth, sun-tanned skin. “All better.” 

Alec smiles at him. It’s hard to stay angry with Magnus, especially when he doesn’t deserve it. He pulls him closer. “Thank you.” 

Magnus kisses the tip of his nose. “You’re welcome, love. And now,” he grins mischievously, “let’s talk about my reward. I do take payments in sexual favo… Hey!

Chapter Text

Magnus will never admit that he has a mental list of all the bad things that could happen to his lover on a hunt, and that whenever Alec’s late, he’s going through said list, one item at a time, with his heart in his throat. 

The thing is, something as mundane as a drive-by shooting has never made it on the list. Funny that. Not.

“What happened?” Magnus asks as he drops to his knees beside his lover, his heart beating so fast he can barely breathe. They are crouching among the bins behind Taki’s, dirt, thrash and Alec’s blood everywhere, police sirens wailing in the distance.

Jace wipes his face with his hand, leaving a bloody smear on his cheek. His eyes are wide and fearful. “Some mundane thing, two gangs started shooting at each other with us in the middle because they couldn’t actually see us. I dragged Alec over here because invisible we might be, but someone would eventually notice a puddle of blood spreading on the sidewalk.”

Magnus nods, running his hands across Alec’s torso. Alec’s barely conscious, pale as a ghost, lips spattered with blood, his gray t-shirt soaked with it. Gray, he wore gray today, not black, Magnus’ mind notices absently, as he finds three holes in his lover’s chest.

“One went through,” Jace says, “two are still stuck inside him, that’s why I couldn’t use an iratze, all I could do was slow down the bleeding…”

There, Magnus locates both bullets - one is nestled against Alec’s rib, the other stuck dangerously close to his heart. He will have to be careful, very careful.

“Hold him,” Magnus orders, and when Jace obeys and grips Alec’s shoulders tight, Magnus leans closer and touches his lover’s face gently. “Hold on, love, I’ll have you back on your feet in a jiffy, I promise!”

He isn’t sure if Alec heard him, but it doesn’t matter. In a moment, it‘ll be all fine. Just fine. Surely. It must be. Anything else is not an option. 

Magnus takes a deep breath and reigns in his thoughts. He closes his eyes and rests one hand on Alec’s breastbone - then he snaps the fingers of the other one. A second later, two bullets drop to the asphalt a foot away with a soft ping-ping, and Magnus immediately starts pouring all his power into his lover, closing his wounds, healing the damage, giving everything of himself.

It might take seconds, minutes or even hours, he doesn’t know, but when he finally feels Alec take a deep, unrestrained breath, when he feels Alec touch his hand and hears his soft, raspy “Hey…” Magnus opens his eyes - and slumps, barely registering Alec’s wan, pale smile, as he grips his lover tight, heedless of how Alec’s blood-soaked shirt squelches wetly under his cheek.

“Don’t do that ever again,” Magnus whispers, “never, never, never. Never again, never…”

Chapter Text

Magnus fluffs up Alec’s pillows and shakes his head fondly. “Love, you have the stamina of an ox, you can wrestle a bear, but one sneeze in your vicinity, and you keel over.”

Alec sniffles. “Sowwy.” 

Magnus smiles down at him affectionately, taking in Alec’s puffy eyes, his red nose and chapped lips. “No need to apologize, you’re just a mystery to me, is all. Actually, you’re a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” He tilts his head to the side thoughtfully. “I think you would have liked Churchill. A peculiar guy.”

Alec furrows his brows, eyes glazed. “Wha…?”

Magnus chuckles. “Brain not firing on all cylinders, I see. Don’t worry about it and just rest. I’ll make you tea.”

“Magical tea?” Alec asks hopefully, desperate to be rid of the pestilent bug soon-ish.

“Ha!” Magnus barks out a laugh. “You wish. Chamomile.” He leans over and kisses his lover’s feverish brow. “Now shush. Go count sheep and let me take care of you…”

Chapter Text

Magnus remembers them all, every person he has ever loved, though he likes to pretend otherwise, he likes to make people think that some of them were so unimportant that he didn’t even bother with their names - mostly those who hurt him the worst. But he does, he does remember.

He remembers how they lived, how they loved and how he loved them, how they left him or how he left them. And he remembers how they died, for what they died, what took them from him. Every one of them gave him something good and precious - but took much more away. Until he felt so hollowed out that he didn’t think he could ever love again. 

Until Alexander Gideon Lightwood came along. His Archer Boy. His Nephilim. His Lover with the Stamina Rune. His First of So Many Things. Alec filled places inside him that Magnus didn’t know were empty or needed to be filled in the first place. Alec gave him all of himself with unashamed openness, he gave Magnus love and warmth and tenderness. Magnus has waited four hundred years for a person who would hold his heart in his hands and not break it, four hundred years, and now he found him.

And he would lose him again, one day, for that was the fate of an ageless being loving a mortal. He thought he could bear it, at the beginning, when his love for Alec was so new to him, this unconditional, breathtaking love. But with every day, he’s falling more and more in love with Alexander, and the thought of losing him now, of being unmade, of being unwhole, of all the places filled with Alec’s love becoming empty again, now that he’s aware of how hollow they rang before Alexander came along... the thought of all that makes him want to weep. For he was given a glimpse of perfection - and how could he go to back to an imperfect existence after that? 

When he found out that Alec even considered taking away his immortality, he became so very angry because he saw his agelessness as an integral part of himself, a vital part, a defining part. How... laughable that now seems to him. Because now he knows the truth, now he knows that his most vital part isn’t even a part of him, no, it’s Alexander. Eternity without him? That wouldn’t be life, just a simple survival. And knowing what living means, how could he be content with surviving?

Magnus doesn’t know what all those feelings storming inside him mean, what he should or would do about them. What he does know is, that he can’t stand being hollowed out again. He remembers all his past lovers and how they died. But the idea of Alexander Gideon Lightwood dying makes him want to let the world burn...

Chapter Text

Jace didn’t understand how he hadn’t seen that Alec was in love with him. Not that he loved Jace, but that he was in love with him. His parabatai. He didn’t know what the last puzzle piece was that fell into place and allowed him to see the whole picture. He didn’t even know when exactly it dawned on him… 

“It’s about me. It’s about your feelings. Because you’re…”

 in love with me. That was what he wanted to say. He hoped that if he told Alec that he knew, that it was okay, that he didn’t mind, that nothing had changed, that he still loved him more than his own life, that if he told Alec all that, Alec would drop this nonsense, his engagement to Lydia, his blind, rigid adherence to the Law, that he would see.

But he shouldn’t have done it. He knew Alec, he knew how Alec reacted to things he didn’t like and didn’t want to know about - he lashed out. Jace knew his parabatai was precariously balanced on a precipice, and instead of pulling him back to safety, Jace did the one thing that ensured Alec would fall. 

And now he was walking away, his heart aching, his throat closed off, so much so that he could barely breathe, he was walking away, leaving his parabatai sitting in a dust among the ruins. 

Jace stopped. He couldn’t do it. He needed to go back and throw Alec a lifeline or Alec would drown, Jace was certain of it. He needed to make sure that Alec knew Jace still had his back, that a difference of opinions meant nothing to people whose souls were linked for eternity. 

He needed to make sure that it was still true for himself - because he wasn’t so certain of it anymore; the one unshakable constant in his life was knocked dangerously askew, and it was tearing him apart. 

Jace turned and raced back, his heart beating wild, suddenly anxious to see Alec again, to mend all fences, to make everything alright - but when he returned to the warehouse, Alec was already gone…

Chapter Text

Alec can hear water still dripping in the shower. He’s leaning with both hands against the sink, just a towel around his hips, head bowed… the gaping wound on his upper arm oozing blood sluggishly. His breath is trembling with pain, but not the physical kind.

The shard is gone. The Cup is gone. Jace is gone. Izzy…

He grips the cold porcelain so tight his knuckles turn white. Red haze descends over his sight. He’s furious and he’s in agony and he can feel his heart pounding so hard that his chest feels tight. 

Jace and Izzy freed Meliorn. They went behind my back, my own sister, my parabatai. They took the shard and they took the Cup. And they used my stele, my stele, my stele… 

He tries to take a deep breath, but he can’t, it’s like his lungs are frozen. The muscles on his arms are starting to hurt from being locked tight for so long - but if he lets go, if he lets loose… The wound on his arm is now trickling blood, red droplets hitting the floor with a soft plop-plop-plop.

They used my stele, took my stele, stole my stele… But nobody got that close, not Jace, not Izzy. Neither of them, it wasn’t them, wasn’t them, wasn’t them… Only one person got close enough to steal it - with his powers, it must have been him, nobody else…

Alec looks up and stares at his reflection, his face pale, eyes wide and almost black in the mirror, misted over and blurry. 

Magnus Bane.

He lets go, lets loose and smashes his fist against the mirror, again and again, making a bloody mess of it, shards raining down, tinkling to the ground. Soon, there’s nothing left of the offending piece but he can’t seem to stop. 

All of them, it was all of them, they betrayed me, all of them, they promised and then… hypocrites, just like my parents, every one of them…

He’s alone.

Chapter Text

They’re sitting on a couch, slumped against each other comfortably, watching a movie, a bit dated now maybe, but still enjoyable in its mindless fun. Twister, it’s called. The main couple just drove their car into a ditch and there's a tornado nipping at their heels, when Magnus suddenly sits up straight, mutes the TV and turns to Alec with a disconcerting glint in his eyes. 

“Did I ever tell you that I once worked as a private eye?” Magnus asks. 

Alec, who started sliding down slowly once he lost his main support in the form of his lover, straightens up, too. “It was in that book you gave me. You wrote you decided to become a private dick because of some book or other.” Then he narrows his eyes suspiciously. “Why?”

Magnus turns back to the TV where a giant twister is tearing buildings apart now. He looks like he just had a revelation. 

Alec looks at Magnus, then at the screen. And then it dawns on him. “Hell, no!” he exclaims, grabs the remote out of Magnus’ hands and switches the TV set off. “Have you completely lost your marbles? That’s tornadoes you’re talking about here. Big, unpredictable, people-killing phenomenons. It’s not fun, it’s actually dangerous!”

Magnus pouts. “You’re a buzzkill, you know that? Buzz. Kill.” He pokes Alec in the chest. And keeps poking him.

Alec catches Magnus’ finger in his hand to make him stop and glares at him. Then his face clears and he smiles slyly, as if something just occurred to him. “Magnus, the fact that you know nothing about tornadoes, storms and the weather in general aside, can you imagine what all that wind and rain would do to your hair? And clothes? Dust and dirt everywhere, wading through mud…”

Magnus sighs and allows himself to be drawn into Alec’s arms. “I guess…” 

Alec kisses his forehead. “Besides, what’s the point of chasing after something you can bring to you with a simple snap of your fingers?”

Magnus shoots upright again, almost knocking Alec’s teeth out in the process. “There’s a thought!” he exclaims.

Alec glares at him fiercely. “If I see one tornado anywhere near New York, I swear I will smother you with a pillow!”

Chapter Text

They’re sparing in the training room, when suddenly, Alec stops and puts his hands on his hips. “Okay, I really need to know. What did Magnus tell you?”

Jace also stops and straightens, dropping his hands to his sides. “When?”

“You know, when he was healing Luke. What reason did he give you for why he wanted me there?”

Jace shuffles his feet uncomfortably. “He didn’t tell you?”

Alec huffs. “He said that it was a lie anyway.” 

Jace smiles in relief. “There you have it!”

“But I still want to know what it was!” Alec insists impatiently.

The smile drops off Jace’s face. “Uh… I don’t-”

Alec glares. “If you tell me that you don’t remember, I swear I will punch you in the face.” 

Jace takes it as a challenge and lifts his chin. “Ha! I would like to see you try!”

Alec narrows his eyes - and tackles Jace to the ground. Jace automatically raises his hands to guard his face, but Alec goes for the gut. Tickling!

Jace squeals out loud. “H-hey, not f-fair!” he protests, squirming like a worm on a hook, but Alec’s straddling him fast and his dexterous fingers expertly find all the right spots to make Jace giggle. “S-stop!”

Alec grins down at him. “Do you give up?”

Jace lifts his hands. “I give up, I swear!”

Alec rolls off and drops to the ground next to him, lying on his back, eyes trained on the ceiling. 

Jace turns onto his side, head pillowed on his bent arm. He smiles at his parabatai. “I missed this,” he admits quietly. 

Alec looks at him, lips curved up. “Yeah, me too…” he agrees, a soft look in his eyes. After a moment of shared contentment, he asks, “So, what did Magnus tell you?”

Jace grins. “I don’t remember.”

Alec punches him in the face.

Chapter Text

There’s a creak as the door opens. “Alec?” 

Alec turns in his bed and switches on the little lamp on his nightstand. “Max?” He squints at the figure of his little brother standing in the doorway. “What are you doing here?”

Max shuffles his feet uncertainly. “Can I sleep with you tonight?” 

Alec smiles and lifts the covers. “Hop on in.” 

Max grins. He closes the door, crosses the room quickly and jumps in, tucking himself snuggly against Alec’s side. When he rests his head comfortably on Alec’s shoulder, Alec kisses the top of his head.

“What brought this on?” he asks softly. 

Max sighs. “Mom and dad are fighting. Again. And I can hear them through the wall,” he confesses miserably. 

Alec hugs his little brother more tightly. “I’m sorry, Max. It’ll get better, it’ll all calm down again, I promise.” 

Max is quiet for a while, then he says, “They said we are being send back to Idris.” His voice becomes even quieter. “I don’t want to go back there. I don’t want to leave.”

Alec sighs. “I know, but it’s not safe here at the moment.”

“Because of the monster that got in?” Max asks, then adds in a small voice, “I was really scared…”

Alec lifts his head and looks down at his brother. “Hey, you don’t have to be afraid. I’ll always be there to protect you, I promise!”

Max shakes his head. “I know that, that’s not it. I heard you were hurt… and dad wouldn’t allow me to see you. I was scared that…” His breath hitches. “I was scared that you would die.”

“It’s just a scratch.” He shows Max the bandage on his left arm. “See? No big deal, dad and Izzy are just worrywarts, is all.”

Max reaches out to gently touch the bandage. “You sure?” 

“Would I lie to you?” Alec says, offended. 

Max smiles. “Well, you promised to get my stele back,” he reminds him.

Alec reaches out and pulls something out of the nightstand’s top drawer. “And I did.” He hands the thing to Max.

“My stele!” Max exclaims, hugging it to his chest. “Thank you!” He looks at Alec with big, shining eyes. “You’re the best big brother ever!”

Alec laughs softly. “Well, I hope so. Just, please, don’t burn down half of Idris with it? I would never hear the end of it.”

“I won’t, I swear!” Max promises fervently. Then he snuggles back into Alec’s embrace, sighs contently and closes his eyes. “Best big brother - ever!”

Chapter Text

"Maybe your mother was right and your best just isn’t good enough!” 

Alec doesn’t think that Jace realizes just how deep these words cut him. And the worst thing is, that this wasn’t the first hurtful thing Jace has hurled in his direction over the past few days, it was just the sharpest, its edges actually drawing blood. And Jace didn’t even notice - not that he has been noticing much lately…

“What’s got you brooding?” Jace asks when he finds Alec sitting on the padded bench in the training room, nursing his swollen, bleeding knuckles. 

Alec looks up at Jace and finds him… truly oblivious, not just pretending. That’s what prompts him to ask, “Do you regret becoming my parabatai?” 

Jace stares at him, frozen. “What?” he asks in a shocked voice. “Where did that come from?” And after a pause, “Do you regret it?”

Alec drops his eyes to his injured hand and shakes his head. “No, I’ve never regretted it. Not once. But lately…” He flexes his fingers, making the knuckles hurt, grounding himself. “I feel like you would prefer it if you could just… cut it out, our bond, our connection, our friendship, just everything.”

Jace keeps staring at him, unsure and maybe even a little freaked out. “That’s crap, Alec! What are you even talking about? Are you drunk or what?” Then he pauses again. “Is this… Is this about Clary? That’s what this is about? Because I’m spending so much time with her?” he asks, exasperated, and even rolls his eyes a little. “Alec, she needs me!”

And I don’t? Alec asks silently and flexes his fingers some more. The skin on his knuckles cracks and starts oozing blood again. It feels good. 

Jace steps closer. “Alec, talk to me. What’s going on with you?” His brow furrows when he sees Alec’s bloody hand. “Hey, what happened?” He reaches out but Alec flinches away, startling him. Jace lets his hand drop slowly. “Alec…”

“It’s fine,” Alec says, not looking at Jace. “I’m fine, don’t worry about it.” He gets up slowly, suddenly feeling old and drained. Hollowed out. “Don’t worry about anything. I’m just tired.” Of all the things you just don’t see. Sighing deeply, he picks up all the scattered pieces of himself and carefully hides them from sight again. “Goodnight.” 

And with that he departs, leaving Jace standing there, and feeling his forlorn gaze on his back. 

Chapter Text

Alec can feel the burning cold of the Forsaken poison coursing through his veins, the pain making it hard to breathe, to think, the sensation so horrible that Alec feels like he’s losing his mind…

“Jace!”


One moment Jace’s fighting a demon, chopping off its head with an easy grin on his face - the next he’s on the ground, writhing in agony so terrible that he would gladly die just to make it stop. 

He doesn’t understand what’s going on. Was there another demon? Did it stab Jace? He screams so loud his throat hurts and arches his back in pain. It feels like he’s being ripped apart, torn to pieces, dying by degrees… He touches his side, the place where the pain’s radiating from - but there’s nothing there, just… 

Jace opens his eyes wide in shock and horror, and screams, “ALEC!”

… And then it’s gone. All gone. The agony, the burning sensation. All of it. And he feels… empty, hollowed out, as if something was carved out of him or cut off, the corner of his mind that’s always thrummed with warmth, his parabatai bond with Alec, gone numb, like a limb fallen asleep, a useless hunk of flesh. 

“No…” Jace breathes out. “No. Nononono!” He sits up fast, heart beating so hard it hurts, and lifts up his shirt, expecting to find his parabatai rune gone or burned out or bleeding or… 

The rune’s still there, but there’s another one running through it, circle-shaped and angry red and hot to the touch. “What…?”

He grabs his phone and calls Alec, cursing bitterly when his parabatai doesn’t pick up. His hands are shaking now, so hard he barely manages to dial Izzy’s number - and again, no answer. “Damn it! Damn, come on!” he yells. Their parents will be in Idris by now, so who to call…? Hodge.

“He’s alive,” is the first thing that Hodge says when he picks up. “Barely, but he’s holding in there.” 

Jace closes his eyes and breathes out shakily. “What happened?” he croaks out.

“It’s the Forsaken wound.” Hodge pauses. “The poison’s spreading fast now, Jace. It’s eating away at him. He could feel you hurting through the bond, so I blocked it, an old trick Val…” He chokes, then grits out, “you know who came up with back in the day. Alec… he didn’t want to risk he would take you with him, when he…” He doesn’t finish his sentence.

Jace’s throat tightens. “There must be something you can do!”

“Rune magic isn’t working. We sent for Magnus Bane, but…” Hodge pauses again and his voice is grave and quiet when he continues, “… but you should come, Jace. This might be your last chance.” 

To say good-bye. Jace blinks fast, tears burning in his eyes. He staggers to his feet. “I’ll be there,” he says in a thick voice. “Tell him, I’m coming, Hodge. Tell him that! I swear, I’m coming…”

Chapter Text

Alec’s been sitting on the edge of his bed for what seems like hours now, face hidden in his hands, not knowing what to do, to whom to turn… what else to try to save Isabelle. He failed, utterly so, and Izzy will now pay the price. If he were just… better, this would have never happened.

There’s a soft knock, then the door opens and a voice whispers. “May I come in?”

Lydia. Alec lifts his head. “Yeah, come in,” he responds. 

She steps inside, closes the door and clasps her hands together in front of her. “Are you alright?” she asks, genuine concern in her voice.

Alec lets his hands hang between his knees tiredly. “No,” he admits. “I’m not. Everything’s falling apart, and the harder I try to keep it all together, the faster it’s disintegrating…”

Lydia crosses the room and sits down next to him. “You did your best, Alec. Nobody could want more from you…”

He smiles bitterly. “Both my mother and Jace told me that my best was not good enough, so I don’t know about that.” 

“Well, then they were both wrong,” she states firmly. “Nobody could want a better son or a better parabatai - or a better brother - than you.”

He looks at her. “I don’t know what I will do if they sentence her to exile, Lydia,” he admits and his voice breaks a little. “I know that you two don’t really see eye to eye, but she has always stood by me. If I lose her…”

“I don’t know your sister well, but I admire her strength and conviction,” Lydia says and reaches out to clasp his hand in hers. “And if someone like you has so much faith in her, then she must deserve it.”

Alec doesn’t respond but he squeezes her hand tighter. 

“I’m really sorry that I have to go through with the trial. I tried to find a loophole, some way out of it…”

Alec looks at her, still holding her hand. “I know. And thank you. None of this is your fault.” He sighs and shakes his head. “I’ll find a way out. I have to. I won’t let her down. Or you,” he adds.

“And Jace…?” she dares to ask.

He lowers his eyes. “He made his choice, and I’ve made mine. What’s done is done. I can’t save both him and Izzy - and I won’t sacrifice my sister for something that I don’t believe in anymore. I’ll just have to learn to live with the consequences, then…”

Lydia stays quiet because no platitudes can fix this. So she just holds his hand and offers silent support.

Chapter Text

Meeting the alternate version of your lover is quite… disconcerting, Magnus decides, as he’s leafing through his book of spells, trying to figure out what the hell went wrong with the last one, that his Alexander was switched with this - he shoots a sideways glance at the man (he refuses to call him by name because this is not Alec!) who’s sitting on a bar stool in the kitchen with his chin in his hand, dangling his feet and munching on peanuts as if he didn’t have a care in the world, and, dear God, is that a pink shirt? - this mannequin

“You know,” the man says, “you could do something with this place. Add a little color? Some new light fixtures?” He waves a hand, holding a single peanut in his slender fingers. “It’s a bit… ho-hum, you know?” 

Magnus frowns defensively, once again contemplating what his alternate self sees in this extravagant… bimbo. His Alexander likes Magnus’ flat the way it is: cozy. Magnus likes his flat the way it was before this… thing happened: with his Alexander in it!

“And don’t you have cats?” The man looks around curiously. “My Magnus owns cats, two of them. Chairman Meow and Church. The Chairman loves everybody who feeds him, but Church loves only me.” He smiles rather smugly. “He’s a smart cat.”

Magnus looks at him in horror. Cats? In his flat? Cat hair on his silk suits? In his potions? Perish the thought!

After a pause, the man asks, “Do you think you could speed it up a little? I don’t want to rush you but I have an anniversary party planned for 6 o’clock and I’m not sure how much your Alec knows about canapés and…”

“Got it!” Magnus exclaims, interrupting the impostor. He picks up the book and reads through the spell eagerly, nodding to himself. “Easy to do.” 

The man jumps off the barstool and slinks over in his pink shirt, mint green pants and Italian shoes - leather, of course. He grins - and for a moment Magnus might understand why his alternate self is smitten with him. 

“Cool!” the man says. “Not that you aren’t a very attractive person, all in all, but I prefer my Magnuses in cuddly sweaters and with less hedgehog hair.” Before Magnus can say anything to that, he continues, “And, please, could you not do this again? This switching thing, I mean. It really messes with my chi.”

Magnus narrows his eyes in annoyance, barks out the spell and snaps his fingers. “Chi, my ass!” he grumbles.

There’s a flash of blue light and suddenly, his Alec’s standing there, in all his gloriously dark colors, with all his beautiful runes in their proper places and his hair spiked up in a breathtakingly attractive fashion, blinking at him dazedly. 

And Magnus kisses him and keeps kissing him and hugs him tight and breathes in his familiar, soothing scent. “Welcome back…”

Because his Alexander is perfect the way he is.

Chapter Text

Magnus watches Alec while the guards lead Isabelle out of the court room, and his heart seizes. There’s so much pain in Alec’s face.

“I’m sorry, Alexander,” Magnus whispers, stricken. “I’m so very, very sorry.”

“It’s not your fault,” Alec says bleakly, eyes still trained on the closed door through which Izzy and her guards disappeared. “You did your best.”

Magnus shakes his head. “But it wasn’t enough,” he protests angrily.

“Yes, sometimes it isn’t,” Alec agrees softly and looks at him. “Thank you.” 

Magnus waves his hand dismissively. “What will you do now?” he asks.

Alec smiles and it’s painful to see. “What I always do. Stand by my family.”


When Izzy hears the commotion outside her locked room, she wipes the tears off her cheeks and composes herself quickly, determined not to give anyone the satisfaction of seeing her break down. 

The door opens. “… don’t care what Inquisitor Herondale said! Get out of my way!” orders a female voice sharply. 

Lydia. Izzy twists her lips, planning to snap something bitter and cutting, but the words die in her throat when Lydia slams the door shut and looks at Izzy. Her eyes are wide with fear, face deathly pale.

Izzy steps forward. “What happened?” she asks immediately.

“It’s Alec,” Lydia says quietly, making sure they’re not overheard. “He decided to follow you - into exile.”

A new kind of dread washes over Isabelle. “No, nononono! He can’t! He mustn’t! You have to stop him!” she urges desperately. 

“I tried!” Lydia answers unhappily. “But have you met your brother? He would give his life for you, he would give up anything for you. He thinks he failed you. And if he can’t save you…” She lets her voice trail off.

Izzy sinks down in a chair. “He will join me…” she breathes out. No, this isn’t happening. From the start, she was willing to carry the consequences of her own actions, but to drag Alec down with her? That’s her worst nightmare… 

“You have to stop him, Lydia, please,” Izzy whispers through bloodless lips. 

Lydia looks miserable and a little broken. “I’m trying, but…” She spreads her hands; they’re trembling slightly. “Unless we save you, I don’t see a way to stop him.”

Isabelle hides her face in her hands. Unless they save her - and there’s no saving her, she knows that, the court has spoken. God, Alec… 

I’m sorry, he told her. And she should’ve known. She knows her brother, better than anyone, she should have known what he would do!

How did it come this far? 

Chapter Text

“… and once this mission is over, I think it would be wise, if you removed yourself from the Institute,” Maryse says, busily reviewing data on the pad in her hands.

Alec’s quiet for a moment. “Are you asking me to leave?” he clarifies finally.

She looks at him, her eyes flinty. “It was neither a request nor a suggestion.”

Robert steps forward, between his wife and his son. “Maryse! This is taking it too far,” protests.

She slams the pad down. “Is it? What he did today? He humiliated us in front of everybody, and at a time when we needed to present ourselves as strong and firm, but thanks to our son,” she points angrily at Alec, “all of Idris will see us as fickle liars who can’t keep their word. And if the Branwells take offense? We will be ruined, Robert! We aren’t just back to square one, we are even worse off! And that you can’t see that proves, how blind you really are!”

Before Robert can respond, Alec says in a dispassionate voice, “As you wish mother. I’ll pack my things and be gone by morning. Now, if you excuse me, I have a mission to plan.” And with that, he turns and leaves, shoulders straight, head held high.

He feels… frozen. His mother’s words didn’t come as a shock to him, he has been expecting to hear them his whole life long. And after you’ve been dreading something for so long, when it finally happens, it’s almost a relief. Almost

As he dresses in his battle gear, his mind is blank. He tries to think of his future - if he even survives the upcoming battle with Valentine, that is - but it’s looming like a black hole in front of him, his thoughts shying away from it, fearing its depth and crushing power… 

Jace’s waiting for him in the weaponry. He grins. “It mustn’t have been that bad,” he comments on Alec’s meeting with Maryse, “we didn’t hear any yelling and the Institute’s still standing. What did your mom want?”

Alec looks at him, still feeling numb and disconnected. “Nothing,” he answers, his voice dull, “nothing important.”

Chapter Text

Valentine and his minions on one side of the chapel, by the door, the guests and family on the other, by the altar, weapons drawn - that’s how Alec and Lydia’s wedding ends. 

Maryse steps forward, poised and dignified even now, faced with seemingly unbeatable odds. “How did you get inside?” she asks sharply.

Valentine smiles slyly. “Oh, it’s quite easy when someone lets you in, my dear.”

Everyone by the altar automatically turns to Lydia, the least trusted among them, but she looks just as shocked as the rest of them. “It wasn’t me!” she protests indignantly.

Valentine rolls his eyes. “Of course not, she’s too straight and narrow for that, isn’t it so…” He pauses for effect, his grin widening. “Alexander.” 

Everyone gasps and twists around to look at Alec, but he’s already striding down the aisle, towards Valentine and his army. When he reaches them, he turns slowly and stands by Valentine’s side, hands clasped behind his back in a book perfect at ease stance. His face is completely blank, devoid of emotions.

Jace takes a quick step forward, but Isabelle grips his arm. “Don’t!” she whispers urgently, eyes on her brother. 

Jace tries to shake her off, but in vain. “Alec! What the hell are you doing?” he yells in the end helplessly. “Have you completely lost your mind now?” Jace’s voice shakes with anger and horror.

“Ah, it’s so easy to plant a seed and let it grow when everybody’s too busy with their own issues to notice,” Valentine comments, self-satisfied, searching out the Lightwoods with his eyes among the crowd. 

“What did you do?” Maryse hisses sharply.

“Show them!” Valentine orders and Alec obeys. 

Still entirely expressionless, Alec drops his jacket and his bow tie to the ground, then he tears his white shirt open and pushes it off his left shoulder - and they all recoil in horror. His wound! It’s not healed, not even close. Black rope-like veins spread from it in every direction, but mostly reaching for his heart. 

Valentine leans close and inspects his handiwork. “Excellent!” he congratulates himself. “My masterpiece. A new kind of Forsaken, cultivated right under everyone’s nose, nestled in their midst, unaware till it’s too late.” He looks Alec up and down. “The perfect specimen, my first soldier of many.” He turns to Maryse again. “The fact that it’s your son? Just a bonus, dear Maryse.”

In a flash, Jace pulls out a dagger and throws it. Just as fast, Alec snatches it out of the air, stopping it barely an inch from Valentine’s face. 

“Now, that wasn’t very nice, was it, Jace Wayland?” Valentine says in a chiding tone, while Jace breathes heavily, eyes burning with hatred. “Oh yes, the boy is your parabatai, isn’t he? I guess you forgot to follow the lessons of your childhood.”

“Go to hell,” Jace grits out.

“How… unoriginal,” Valentine comments, then orders, “Kill them all! Spare the redhead and the blond one, if you can, but bring me the Cup!”

Before anyone can react, a wave of magic descends from above, flattening Valentine and his minions to the ground, and knocking the fight out of them for a moment. They all look up - there, on the balcony, is Magnus Bane.

“Well, don’t just stand there!” he calls down at the Nephilim. “Do something!”

Pandemonium ensues, it’s the Nephilim against demons, traitors and the Forsaken alike. And Jace, with his heart breaking, against Alec, an unfeeling, uncaring thing. They fight like they’ve never fought before - Jace fights like he has never fought before, for if he fails, his parabatai will die or be lost to him forever.

In the end, it’s Magnus who breaks the stalemate - Jace fights only to disarm, Alec heedless of his wounds - and knocks Alec out with a burst of blue magic. Jace catches his parabatai before he can hit the ground and gently lowers him down. Izzy, Maryse and Robert, even Lydia are immediately there, and though a war still rages around them, their personal horror is much too great to care about that right now.

Magnus drops to his knees by Alec’s side and touches his face with tender care, eyes wide with fear. He presses his fingers to Alec’s throat, checking for pulse, then he runs them over the ugly black veins to the blood-soaked bandage. He pulls it off and reveals the ugly, blackened, putrid wound. 

“Can you save him?” Jace asks desperately, holding Alec in his arms. “Can you heal him, Magnus?”

Magnus inspects the wound that now oozes black, foul smelling pus. “I can,” he assures them, though secretly he’s not so sure about it, but telling them that won’t help anyone. “But we have to go, now. To my apartment. This is beyond my magic, I need my potions, my herbs…”

A loud rattle reaches them from somewhere inside the Institute, a loud boom, and they all look up, everyone but Magnus who’s too focused on keeping Alec alive. 

“But Valentine…” Maryse protests.

Magnus looks up, cat-like eyes ablaze. “I don’t give a damn about Valentine or your God forsaken Cup!” he yells. “Go after him then, but I need someone to help me save Alexander!” If it’s not too late already, he despairs quietly

"Go,” Jace tells them, Maryse, Robert and Lydia. “I’ll help the warlock. I promise I’ll keep Alec safe.” And with Magnus’ help, he picks his parabatai off the floor…

Chapter Text

“I saved you from yourself!” Jace snaps angrily. “You should be thanking me!”

Alec just stares at him for a long moment, so furious he can’t even speak. But then, a cold calm settles over him, as if the last strands of something fraying finally snapped, as if something ended, burned out, dissipated…

“I guess you’re right,” Alec agrees flatly, standing up straighter and uncrossing his arms. “I should thank you for making it clear that you’ll always choose your girlfriend’s side, even if it means betraying my trust.” Jace opens him mouth to protest, but Alec plows on, overriding him. “I should thank you for showing me that I can do this without you, that I don’t need you. And I should thank you for making me realize that I do have people I can count on, even if you’re not one of them. 

“Now,” he continues, his eyes hard and unforgiving, “I’ll go and thank Magnus who actually stood by me and helped me save my sister from exile. And you… you do whatever the hell you want, I’m sure Clary’s already waiting for you somewhere.”

And with that, Alec turns and walks away.

Chapter Text

Well, this is awkward, Magnus thinks, smiling painfully at Not!Alec. The younger man smiles back, just as pathetically. Goodness…

They’ve been sitting here for what seems like hours, at the table opposite each other, sipping tea and looking everywhere but at each other. The switch was embarrassing enough, but the position in which Not!Alec found Magnus…

He and Alec were just kissing hello, Magnus moaning slightly, pressed against the wall and pulling Alec closer by his belt loops, one of Alec’s knees between his legs, thigh pressed to… When there was a flash of blinding blue light and suddenly, instead of his meticulously groomed and designer clothed lover, there was this messy-haired, rune-covered stranger, who sprang away from him like a scalded cat - and who hasn’t stopped blushing or stuttering ever since. Not that Magnus feels any less… uh

“I-I’m sure my Magnus… will have it fixed in no time,” Not!Alec reassures him. They both agreed that, since the mishap definitely didn’t occur on this side of the equation, they would better not poke at it. “He’s actually great with magic, really.” When Magnus raises an eyebrow, he continues quickly, “It must have been the nixies I caught in his workshop during his last party. I forgot to tell him because then the vampires ran a bloodbath in the bathroom, literally, and one of the drunk werewolves peed in the fireplace… Uh.” Not!Alec falls silent seeing Magnus’ look of utter disbelief. 

Vampire? Nixies? Peeing werewolves? What kind of life do these people lead? Am I completely insane in that other universe? Magnus thinks with horror.

Church lands on the table and Not!Alec startles so hard he almost falls out of his chair. His eyes widen seeing the cat. “You-you have a cat?” he stammers.

“Actually, I have two,” Magnus answers. Then he frowns. “Why is everybody so surprised by that?” When Not!Alec doesn’t reply, just continues to eye the cat warily, Magnus adds, “His name is Church. He really likes my Alec.”

“Uh… hi?” Alec tells the cat uncertainly, but Church just hisses at him and pads away, flicking his tail pompously. “I think he senses that I’m not…”

There’s another blue flash, and then his Alec’s suddenly sitting in Not!Alec’s chair, pink shirt, mint green pants, styled hair and all - and Magnus’ relief is so profound that he doesn’t even hesitate, he just leans over the table, grabs his Alec by the shirt and kisses him, hard and demanding. His Alec…

When they come up for air, Alec’s lips curl up and he says, his tone easy and self-assured in a way that makes Magnus’ knees go weak, “Unexpected, but not at all unappreciated.” His eyes twinkle. “Another one?”

Chapter Text

The cell is cold and damp, just some small storage room on the ship, dirty and dark, a metallic scent hanging in the air - rust and… blood

Alec coughs and his lips become stained with red again. Jace tightens his arms around him and wipes the blood off with his sleeve. He’s holding his parabatai close, letting Alec lean against his chest, sharing as much of his body heat with him as possible, because Alec’s cold, so very, very cold, having lost so much blood already and losing it still, the makeshift bandage on his stomach soaked with it. 

It was a trap, of course it was, Valentine’s minions were waiting for them, and they walked right into it, he and Alec. Surrounded, they had no choice but to drop their weapons, and then… Then Valentine stabbed Alec, just like that, with no warning at all. 

“You’re my son and you will join me,” Valentine said to Jace when Jace cried out in horror and caught his parabatai before he could hit the floor. “I would prefer you did it willingly, but I’ll settle for an unwilling cooperation, if need be.” 

“Never,” Jace growled, holding Alec and trying to stem the bleeding. “I will never join you, and I don’t care if you’re my father or not!”

Valentine just smiled at him condescendingly. “You will. Because if you don’t, he,” he pointed at Alec who was gasping for breath, growing paler by the second, “will die. Join me and I will save him, you have my word.” 

And now they are here, in this cell, without their weapons and their steles, just waiting for… Jace doesn’t know for what. His muscles are cramped, his back is screaming, but he refuses to move because every little shift makes Alec gasp in pain and he would rather suffer himself than hurt his parabatai

And that means…

Don’t…” Alec gasps, his voice barely audible. “Don’t… do it.”

Jace rests his cheek against the top of Alec’s head, eyes burning, a lump in his throat. “Shhh,” he whispers. “Don’t speak. Save your strength.” 

But Alec refuses to listen. He grips Jace’s hand weakly. “Don’t… go with… him. Don’t… don’t give him… what he wants. It’s not… worth it.” He groans, coughs again and his whole body seizes. More blood pours out of his mouth. 

Jace holds him firmly but gently, eyes squeezed shut to push back tears, till the coughing fit is over and Alec slumps in his arms, unconscious. Jace looks at down him and runs his fingers tenderly over his paper white face. 

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” he whispers. Then he steels himself and calls out, “Valentine!”

Chapter Text

Jace is still reeling from the demon poison, from finding out the truth about his father, when he and Clary return to the Institute. It’s eerily quiet, everyone working diligently, throwing furtive, fearful glances their way. Alec and Izzy are nowhere to be seen, it’s Lydia who’s striding their way, her usually straight and purposeful walk heavy, shoulders round. 

“Jace Wayland,” she greets him, unsmiling, then turns to Clary, “and you must be Clarissa Fairchild. I would say welcome but I’m not in the habit of lying.” 

“We have the Cup,” Clary says, pulling the damnable thing out of her bag and offering it to Lydia. 

Lydia stares at it blankly for a moment, then takes it. “So, Alec was right, you took it,” she says, voice hollow.

Jace isn’t sure what he expected but this wasn’t it. “He told you?” Anger simmers inside him. How could he? Clary squeezes his hand.

Lydia mustn’t have noticed his irritation, for she answers quietly, “Yes. He told me everything. The Cup was the only thing that could’ve saved them…”

Clary’s grip tightens and Jace tenses all over. “What are you talking about?”

Lydia sighs. “While you were gone, Isabelle was charged with high treason. Alec thought that, if we just gave the Cup to the Clave, they would let Izzy go, but… you took it, and we had nothing to trade for her, then. That’s why Alec tried to find you through your bond. He was desperate…”

Jace goes cold. “What happened?”

“Isabelle stood trial and was convicted. Inquisitor Herondale sentenced her to be stripped of her runes and exiled.” She pauses. “And since he couldn’t save her, Alec decided to follow her,” she adds softly.

Izzy… exiled? And Alec, too? Stripped of their runes? His and Alec’sparabatai bond is barely there after the tracking that Alec underwent - and Jace now gets it, he understands how desperate Alec must’ve been, and his previous fury dissipates - but if they strip Alec of his runes, their bond will be destroyed! Jace will lose him! And he doesn’t think he can take it on top of everything else.

“Where are they?” Jace demands, stepping forward. “I need to see them!”

But Lydia just shakes her head sadly. “They already took them to the City of Bones. It’s too late…”

Jace turns and runs, leaving both Clary and Lydia standing there. He isn’t sure what he will do, but he has to stop it. Somehow. He must. He won’t allow them to steal another family from him. Not again.

Chapter Text

Jace’s running through the corridors; the Institute’s been in complete disarray ever since Valentine attacked, ever since Hodge betrayed them all and let him in, using Alec and Lydia’s wedding ceremony as a distraction.

“Clary!” Jace calls out, seeing her standing in the chapel’s doorway. “Have you seen Alec and Izzy? We need to go after…”

He falls silent when he realizes that she isn’t listening. She just stands there, one hand pressed to her mouth, eyes full of tears. He stops beside her, turns to look in the chapel - and his breath catches in his throat.

The room’s full of debris and dust still fills the air - and in the middle of it all, heedless of the shards from the stained glass windows, Alec’s sitting on the floor, holding Lydia in his arms, and rocking gently, back and forth, back and forth. Lydia’s golden white dress is drenched with blood, one hand hanging limply to the ground. She’s dead. 

Isabelle is kneeling beside her brother, her own dress torn. She has one arm around his shoulders and she’s speaking to him quietly, her soft words echoing through the empty chapel, “… go, Alec. Please, big brother, you have to let her go. You can’t do anything for her anymore… Please, Alec, please…”

Jace walks past Clary and into the chapel proper, his steps heavy and glass crunching under his shoes. He didn’t like Lydia, but he admired her strength, her courage. She was a formidable Shadowhunter - and his parabatai’s fiancée, no matter what he personally thought of their engagement. 

Isabelle looks up helplessly at him. Her cheeks are stained with tears. Alec continues to hold Lydia, to rock her gently, his eyes empty and unseeing, broken…

Jace crouches down in front of him. “Alec…” he says softly, but his parabatai doesn’t seem to hear him. So he reaches out and rests his hand on the back of Alec’s neck, the gesture one that has always seemed to ground Alec, to calm him. “Alec, stop.” 

Alec stops rocking and after a moment, turns his eyes to Jace. “She’s gone,” he says in a dead voice, and Jace feels something break inside him. Then Alec’s eyes harden, their warm brown color turning icy. “I want them dead, Jace. I want them both dead, Valentine and Hodge. No trial, no mercy.”

Jace squeezes the back of Alec’s neck, and nods. Whatever his parabatai needs. “No mercy, I promise.”

Chapter Text

“… I’ll pretend I didn’t hear it.” 

“That’s the problem, you are not listening!”

They argued, he and Alec - it seems like that’s all they’ve been doing lately - so when Clary called, Jace gladly escaped. Three hours later, just as they were leaving the theater, still laughing giddily, Izzy called with the horrible news. 

Alec tried to kill himself.

“… you are not listening…” 

And now he’s sitting here, in Alec’s hospital room, by Alec’s bed, one hand on Alec’s leg, feeling its warmth through the blanket, needing the reassurance that Alec’s still here, Alec’s hands too swollen to hold, his slashed forearms bandaged. 

“… you are not listening…”

He’s the only one here, all alone; Max away on a school trip, certainly not a coincidence, Alec would never allow for their little brother to find him; Izzy taken home by Clary, heavily sedated for it was she who discovered Alec, the person she loved and idolized most in the world, half dead in their bathroom, completely by accident, a broken heel having forced her to cut her date short; and their parents thrown out by the hospital staff when they could not stop arguing even for the sake of their son, laying blame at each other’s feet.

But Jace knows who’s at fault here…

“… you are not listening…”

Alec’s been shouting and shouting for help for weeks, and Jace just didn’t hear him. He didn’t listen, didn’t want to listen, having better things to do than pay attention to his brother, his best friend since the Lightwoods adopted Jace.

“… you are not listening!”

Jace looks at Alec whose face looks deathly pale, almost gray in the dim light of the hospital room. He seems… tired, worn out, and Jace wonders how he could have missed it, how he could’ve been so blind. If Izzy stayed out later… Jace shudders just thinking of it. He squeezes his brother’s leg gently. 

“I’m here, Alec,” Jace whispers. “I’m listening…”

Chapter Text

“Magnus!” Alec calls out urgently, as he bursts into Magnus’ apartment. “I need your help.” 

Magnus slinks out of his - their - well, still mostly his bedroom, and seeing Alec drenched, he frowns. “What happened?”

Alec pulls out his hand from underneath his jacket and presents it to Magnus. Said IT being something furry. And gray. And also wet. And dirty. “Can you help him?”

Magnus blinks at the furry thing. “That’s a cat,” he observes.

“Yes, I found him by the church.” Alec looks down at the tiny thing anxiously. “Someone must have kicked him. Can you help him?”

“I’m not a veterinarian, Alexander,” Magnus protests, though when the tuft of wet fluff makes a pitiful, wailing noise, his heart seizes a bit. 

Alec looks at him, droplets of water clinging to his eye-lashes. He just looks.

Magnus throws up his hands. “Fine! But you’ll bath it first. Who knows where it was! I bet it has fleas!” he declares with disgust and shoos Alec and the beast off into the bathroom, grumbling. Alec might not fight fair, but Magnus will hold fast: he will heal the fluffy bit but that will be it.

It’s the next day morning that Magnus wakes up to find Alec lying in the bed next to him, the little kitten asleep on his t-shirt clad chest. Alec’s smiling down at the kitten, running his forefinger over its soft head. 

“I thought we could call him Church, since I found him by the church,” Alec says when he notices that Magnus is awake. 

Magnus glares at him. “We are not keeping the beast,” he protests and points at the tufty thing. 

The kitten chooses that very moment to wake up. It blinks its large blue eyes at Magnus, then it stretches its neck and rubs its head against Magnus’ extended finger. So. Not. Fair. 

Magnus glares some more. Alec smiles innocently. The kitten purrs. 

“Well… if we keep it - and I’m saying if, so stop grinning - Church is just too plain a name for the pet of the High Warlock of Brooklyn. I think something like… Chairman Meow would be a much more befitting title!”

Chapter Text

When Magnus realizes that he has a soulmate somewhere out there, in the wide wide world, after four hundred plus years, it’s a… peculiar feeling, for having a soulmate is a special thing, not everyone is so lucky. And being a warlock, he wasn’t actually sure he had a soul to find a mate, so there’s that. 

But when the first tentative squiggle that appears on his skin turns into a rune - which gives him an itchy, itchy rash! - he bangs his head against the table. Of course, of course the world would play a joke on him. Of course his soulmate would be a Shadowhunter!

As time goes by, various runes appear on his skin, sometimes in unexpected places, two at once or none at all for weeks. And it’s always the same: a tickle, then the rune - and bam! A rash, red and itchy! He’s a Downworlder, after all! Downworlders and runes don’t mix! But he grits his teeth and heals the rash and gets on with his life. 

That is, until the day a huge rune pops up on his neck and suddenly, he looks like a boiled lobster, as if he was rolling in poison ivy. And the itching is driving him nuts!

STOP IT! he finally scribbles onto his forearm, rather ticked off. 

There’s a pause that he would describe as startled but maybe he’s projecting.

WHY? appears in the same place.

I’M A DOWNWORLDER! NO RUNES!

Another pause. I’M A SHADOWHUNTER. NEED THEM TO SURVIVE.

And yeah, Magnus knows that. And he doesn’t exactly want his soulmate tokick it before they even meet, but… it itches!

He sighs and swallows his irritation. COMPROMISE? he offers.

And so they agree on one, a compromise: his soulmate will give him a warning in advance, allowing Magnus to gather enough magic to block the rash, and Magnus won’t complain anymore. Much.

Magnus gets used to his soulmate, to mapping the progress of his training, his missions; he worries every time an iratze appears on his skin… But though his thoughts turn to the boy - yes, it’s a boy, that much he gathered - more and more often, he doesn’t really want to know more about him, like his name or where he lives. Because the boy is still a boy, based on the appearance of the first rune, and Magnus might have many vices but children are not one of them; even the thought makes him want to scrub his brain with bleach.

And so he waits, he waits till he’s sure his soulmate is of age, and he has their first meeting all planned out years in advance, to the minutest detail, a candle-light dinner, a proper date… Which, of course, never happens, because that’s just how the world rolls.

It all comes to a head in a night club, during a meeting with Jocelyn Fray’s red-headed spawn and her blond suitor, when an arrow whistles by and a certain young man takes Magnus’ breath away. And when Magnus then asks the all-important question, “Who are you?” The answer is simple: Your soulmate.

Chapter Text

“You sure you want to do it?” Jace asks anxiously. “It’ll be very painful.”

Alec takes a deep, shuddering breath and looks down at the wedding rune on his wrist, stark on his pale skin. “Yes. I can’t stay tied to her if she works for Valentine. Just imagine what she could do through this…”

They’re in Alec’s bedroom instead of the infirmary where these things are usually done because Alec wants to keep it quiet. Jace doesn’t like it but he understands and if this is what Alec wants, then he will help him.

They sit down on Alec’s bed and Jace takes Alec’s right hand in his - when the door opens and Magnus Bane slips in. Jace frowns, because… Magnus Bane? Here? What…?

Magnus’ eyes are drawn to Alec’s wrist, and they widen when he realizes what they’re about to do. He steps closer. “Alexander,” he whispers. “Why didn’t you tell me about this?”

Alec ducks his head. “It’s my mistake to correct, Magnus,” he answers softly, not looking at the warlock. 

Jace watches Magnus as he stares down at Alec with a soft, almost tender look in his eyes - and something clicks in Jace’s mind and his breath catches in his throat. Alec and… Magnus Bane?

Then let me help,” Magnus says and slides behind Alec on the bed. He winds his left arm around Alec’s midriff, lacing their fingers together, and Alec stiffens for a moment, throwing a furtive glance at Jace, but then he relaxes and leans back against the warlock. Magnus looks at Jace challengingly, daring him to say anything damning. 

Jace lowers his eyes to his parabatai’s vulnerable wrist, offered so trustingly to him. He squeezes Alec’s hand gently. They will have to talk about this but now is not the right time or place. 

“Ready?” Jace asks, and when Alec nods, he lowers his stele to the wedding rune to draw a harsh line through it and severe the bond. 

The moment the stele touches the rune, Alec stiffens, and once Jace starts cutting through the bond, Alec throws his head back, resting it on Magnus’ shoulder, and his spine arches painfully. He clenches his teeth, making strained, choked off noises. And then he screams.

Magnus snaps his fingers, insulating the room, and squeezes Alec’s hand. Jace is working as fast as he can, but the bond’s fighting him, refusing to part. And then the skin starts peeling off Alec’s wrist, flesh burning, blackening, and Alec’s screaming in agony, his whole body taut.

When the marriage bond finally snaps, and Alec slumps in Magnus’ arms, unconscious, Jace is drenched in sweat, shaking all over and his heart’s hammering so hard his chest hurts. 

He watches as Magnus immediately starts pouring his blue magic into Alec’s arm, fixing the damage, while holding Alec gently to his chest, making calming noises while repeating softly, “It’s over, it’s done now, I’ve got you, it’s done…”

And Jace thinks, that yes, he and Alec will have to talk about… this, about Alec and Magnus, how it happened and when, but right now, Jace’s just grateful that Magnus is here, helping Alec. And loving him.

Chapter Text

“Well, at least one good news today,” Alec says as he walks into Izzy’s room. “Magnus agreed to defend you.” 

Isabelle stands up. “He did?” It was her idea - she needed an attorney and they were severely lacking in people they could trust - but she’s still surprised that Magnus agreed to do it.

“Yes. He mentioned a loophole that would allow him to represent you, even though he’s a Downworlder.”

“What about payment?” she asks nervously when she remembers all the rubies and diamonds she already owes the warlock. 

Alec falters for a second. “It’s been taken care of,” he assures her. 

Isabelle narrows her eyes. “What did he want?” When her brother fails to respond, he presses the issue. “Alec?”

He sighs, squares his shoulders and turns to her. “My bow and quiver,” he admits, his face unreadable. 

“Alec!” Izzy gasps.

He waves his hand. “It wasn’t anything I wasn’t willing to pay for a chance at saving you,” he insists. 

She steps closer and touches his arm. “But it’s your weapon…”

Alec shrugs. “It’s also an expensive magical artifact. I’ll just go back to using a normal bow. I’ll adapt, don’t worry.” 

She shakes her head. “You should’ve told him to ask for something else.” 

Isabelle feels him freeze. “The alternative wasn’t an option,” he answers stiffly. And when she opens her mouth to ask, he interrupts her, “I don’t want to talk about it!”

She thinks of what Magnus could’ve wanted, considering, that it disconcerted Alec so. And then… Oh. Oh, she realizes. “He wanted…”

Alec just glares at her. “Let it go, Izzy,” he orders firmly. 

Isabelle looks at him unhappily. She’s convinced that he and Magnus would be perfect together, as a couple, but if his advances make Alec uncomfortable… 

Seeing her expression, he squeezes her shoulders and smiles at her. “Don’t worry about it, truly. I can take care of myself, despite what you think. We’ve come to an agreement, me and Magnus.” 

She frowns at him for a moment, then she steps into his arms and rests her head on his chest. “Alright,” she whispers. But she decides to have a word with Magnus Bane anyway. Nobody’s allowed to make her big brother feel bad…

Chapter Text

“You forgot the most essential lesson I’ve ever taught you, my son,” Valentine says. “Love makes you weak!” 

“That’s not true!” Jace snaps at his father, expression furious.

Valentine sneers. “Isn’t it? Then show me your strength!” He sweeps his hand at the hostages. “Choose who lives and who dies! Choose - or they bothdie!”

Jace stares at his father, aghast, then he turns to them, to Alec and Clary, hisparabatai and his… sister, bound and held by Valentine’s minions, a knife at their throats. How can he choose between them?


Alec watches Jace, the way his parabatai’s eyes shift from him to Clary, back and forth, back and forth, despairingly, forlornly. How can he choose between them? But Alec knows Jace will have to or Valentine will kill them both, there’s no doubt about it in his mind. 

And Alec knows already what Jace’s decision will be - for it doesn’t escape him that Jace’s eyes linger on Clary, just a second or two longer than on Alec. Jace will choose Clary… And Alec can’t really blame him. If he were in Jace’s place and Valentine were threatening Jace and Isabelle, who would hechoose? 

No, Alec can’t blame Jace, he understands, accepts it even, the idea that he will die today, here and now, that death’s just minutes maybe seconds away because that’s how he was trained, to be willing to die for a cause without regret at any given moment… He just can’t take hearing Jace saying it out loud, pronouncing his death sentence. He just can’t. 

And so, there’s only one thing to do…

When the guard feels Alec relax, he puts more pressure on the knife at Alec’s throat, drawing a droplet of blood. “Try anything,” the man whispers harshly in Alec’s ear, “and I’ll cut your throat.” 

And Alec smiles crookedly. “That’s the point,” he says, and before the man can react, Alec throws himself forward, against the knife, sweeping from the right side to the left along the blade so sharp he doesn’t feel any pain, only the burn of skin and tissue parting, the warmth of blood gushing down his chest. 

There’s a scream - Jace? - and a loud commotion, but Alec isn’t really aware of much anymore. His knees buckle and hit the ground when the guard drops him in shock. Alec can sense people fighting, yelling,  moving all around him, but he’s falling, and then…

Jace is there. He catches Alec and holds him tight, he puts pressure on his throat in a vain attempt to stem the bleeding. He’s screaming something, but Alec can’t hear the words over the buzzing of blood in his ears, he can only see Jace’s eyes, wide and full of horror and pain, pleading with Alec. 

Alec offers him a pale smile, bloodless lips stained with red. And then darkness claims him.

Chapter Text

“Valentine is my father.” 

Jace waits till he’s alone with Alec, only then does he tell him. His shoulders are square, chin raised and expression challenging, as if he’s daring Alec to condemn him. 

Alec just stares at him for the longest of moments, not saying a word, the slight widening of his eyes and the parting of lips his only reaction. And Jace tries to put up an air of indifference, he tries to pretend that Alec’s opinion does not matter to him, that he’s just informing his parabatai of a slight complication that occurred, a wrinkle…

But Jace’s heart’s hammering and the longer Alec’s silence lasts, the harder it is for him to keep up the facade of studied disinterest. Because if Alec damns him, if he turns away, if he writes Jace off… Jace will shatter to a million pieces.

Finally, Alec nods once thoughtfully, and says without any reproach, “Alright. How can I help?”

And Jace’s shoulders relax, his relief so strong he feels almost lightheaded. There’s still something he didn’t lose, something his fath… Valentine did not - and will not - take away from him: his parabatai, his brother, the other half of his soul.

Chapter Text

They marry. The wedding is beautiful, the ceremony peaceful. 

Alec still wishes he were somewhere else, with someone else. 

Everything else goes according to their plan, too. They keep the Institute, and they clear the Lightwood name, Robert even becomes the Inquisitor after Imogen Herondale dies in battle. They defeat Valentine and his son, Jonathan Christopher, the real one, and Jace and Clary marry in a beautiful ceremony in the very same chapel; Alec is Jace’s best man. After Raphael Santiago is killed by a demon, Simon Lewis takes over as the leader of the New York vampire clan, and once he and Isabelle marry, she becomes the Clave’s envoy with the vampires, forging her own path in the politics of the Shadow World. 

And the emptiness inside Alec’s growing stronger with each passing day.

Then Lydia kisses him, and though he doesn’t feel anything, not even a spark of arousal, he kisses her back, the way he thinks it should be done. And when they start sleeping together, he always makes sure that she’s satisfied in bed, so that she doesn’t notice he takes no pleasure in their coupling. He just wants her to be happy. 

One day, when he can’t take the loneliness anymore, he goes to Magnus’ loft, only to find out that the warlock is gone; Alec spends hours there, sitting alone on the dusty floor of the empty apartment. 

They decide to try for a child, he and Lydia. But they find out they can’t have any children of their own. It’s his fault, he’s sterile. He expects Lydia to be at least disappointed. Instead, she takes his hands in hers and tells him that it doesn’t matter, that they will just adopt a child, or a bunch, she laughs; so many Nephilim children were orphaned in the war. 

He wishes so hard that he could love her the way she deserves; Lydia’s the most amazing woman he has ever met. He wishes it so much… but he just can’t. He loves her, but not like that.

They never get around to fostering a child, because 8 years after they marry, Lydia dies.

They’re in Central Park, fighting off a horde of demons that came through a split in reality. Alec’s picking them off with arrows, sending them back to where they came from, and Lydia’s guarding his back - and then she steps in front of a knife thrown his way. She’s dead before she hits the ground, and he doesn’t even get to say good-bye. When Jace and the cavalry arrive, they find Alec sitting on the ground, with Lydia’s body in his arms.

The funeral pyre is blazing, the ceremony befitting a Shadowhunter of Lydia Lightwood’s renown. Isabelle and Jace are standing by Alec’s side, when he asks forlornly, “Was she happy? Did I make her happy?” Alec doesn’t know what they see in his face or hear in his words, but following the funeral, they refuse to leave him out of their sight.

The Clave and his parents want Alec to marry again; the head of an institute should be married, bringing children into this world or fostering them. He can’t do it again. And so he resigns and leaves the position to Jace and Clary; they don’t want it, not like this, but he doesn’t care. He’s done. 

Alec’s 31, and he is left with nothing once more. He’s sitting on the floor of Magnus’ apartment again, leaning against one of the concrete pillars; the place’s dustier than ever but he still finds it comforting, even after so many years. 

And that’s when somebody sits down next to him, their bodies touching. It’s Magnus, dressed in plain black clothes, with no glitter or make-up or grand, sweeping gestures. 

They just sit there and stare at each other for a long moment, then Alec rests his head against Magnus’ and Magnus entwines their fingers and something loosens up inside both of them. 

“I missed you,” Alec whispers.

“I missed you, too.”

Chapter Text

The last thing Izzy expects when she knocks on the door of Lydia’s bedroom and walks in, is to find her brother’s fiancée in tears. Izzy has come to talk to Lydia, fair and square, to tell her that she and Alec simply cannot marry, that they’re about to make the biggest mistake of their lives, but this… this she didn’t expect.

Isabelle stops uncertainly. “Are you… are you okay?” 

Lydia hastily wipes off her wet cheeks and even puts on a shaky smile. “Yes. Yes, I’m fine. Just fine,” she assures her.

Izzy steps closer. Lydia’s hair is down. It makes her look softer, younger. Izzy can’t help but ask in a concerned tone, “What happened?”

Lydia lets out a shuddering breath and drops her smile. She turns to the full-length mirror in the corner of the room and touches her hair self-consciously. “Do you know why I always wear my hair braided?” she asks softly, and when Isabelle shakes her head, she continues, “It’s a family tradition, a Monteverde tradition. My husband’s, John’s, grandmother taught it to me. The Monteverde women have always braided their hair when someone they loved died. John was the last descendant of the family, and his grandmother died shortly after him… Now there’s nobody left.” 

Isabelle just stands there, unsure of what to say. She knew that Lydia was married once, of course, but she has never really thought about it.

Lydia’s running her fingers through her blond mane now. “I’ve worn the braid since the day they burned John’s body on the pyre…” She looks at Izzy, and holds her eyes in the mirror. “Now I’m marrying your brother, and I should stop, I shouldn’t bring John’s ghost into our marriage, but…” She blinks rapidly. “Not braiding my hair anymore feels like letting him die again.” 

Izzy opens her mouth. She wants to tell Lydia what she came here to tell, that if she still loves her dead husband, she shouldn’t marry Alec, that it’s not fair to him - or to Lydia herself, but before she can do that, Lydia continues.

“I know that nobody really understands why we’re getting married, Alec and I,” Lydia says softly. “But it’s my last chance at fulfilling the only dream I have left: to lead an Institute. And Alec…” She shakes her head. “Nobody here, not you or Jace or Clary, nobody knows how much pressure he’s under, how close the Lightwoods came to losing the Institute and everything else, too. If we don’t do this, if the Lightwoods lose the Branwells’ support…” Lydia takes a deep, shaky breath. 

Isabelle knows that this is it, this is her last chance to speak up. And it would be so easy if she hated Lydia or at the very least disliked her - but Izzy’s actually starting to like and admire her brother’s fiancée, and if things were different, she would be proud to call her a sister-in-law, a friend… 

Sighing deeply, Izzy realizes she just can’t do it, she can’t hurt Lydia like that, she can’t. Instead, she squares her shoulders, and gives Lydia an encouraging smile in the mirror. “Come on,” she says, touching her back gently, “let’s braid your hair. John should never be forgotten. And Alec will understand.” 

Chapter Text

It’s shortly after the bachelor party, a very private affair considering it was just him and Alec, that Jace returns to his room - and finds a suit of black and gold laid out on his bed. He pauses for a moment, then walks closer and touches it. Who…?

“I took the liberty and had one made for you,” a voice says behind him. 

Jace turns. It’s Isabelle. She’s leaning against the door frame, hugging herself. There’s a small, knowing smile on her lips. 

One corner of Jace’s mouth quirks up. “How did you know?” 

“That you and Alec would make up?” she asks. “It was inevitable. You love each other, you would take on the world for each other. What’s a little squabble between parabatai?” Then she grins mischievously. “Also, if my little ruse with the bachelor party hadn’t worked out, I planned on just locking you in a room together till you talked.” 

Jace laughs quietly, and runs his hand over the shimmering waistcoat. “Thank you, Izzy,” he says softly, and looks at her again. “We really needed it.I needed it.” His voice turns hoarse, so he clears his throat and looks away before continuing. “I needed at least something in my life to go right.” 

She smiles at him. “You’re welcome. That’s what family is for - and you areour family, Jace, mine and Alec’s. We will always have your back.” 

Jace’s eyes burn and his throat tightens, so he just nods. Yes, he thinks, that’s what family means - and what Valentine will never understand: unconditional love, support and selfless devotion; him and Alec and Izzy. No matter what.

Chapter Text

They are headed down the hall towards the weapons room where Magnus wants to show them something, when Jace grips Alec’s arm and holds him back. The others throw curious glances their way, but walk past, leaving them alone for the moment. 

Jace turns Alec around and looks him in the eye. “Are you okay?” he asks earnestly. 

Alec looks a little wild-eyed, his cheeks are flushed and he can’t seem to stand still, fidgeting constantly. “What? Yes, I think so, probably. I just feel so…” He waves his hand. 

Jace grins. “High on emotions?” 

“Yes, that. Exactly that.” His eyes are wide and his lips are twitching as if he can’t decide between a grin and a frown. “By the Angel, Jace! What did I just do? And in front of everyone! I… I…”

Before he can work himself into a full-blown panic attack, Jace grips the back of his neck and pulls him into a hug. “It’s okay. Everything will be okay. We will deal with this together, alright?”

Alec takes a deep shuddering breath and lets it out, relaxing one muscle at a time, till he’s leaning heavily against Jace. “Alright. Alright.” 

Jace smiles and whispers into his ear, “I’m so proud of you. So proud of being your parabatai. Never forget that, okay?” 

And Alec smiles too, softly and happily, and tightens his embrace for a second. “Okay,” he whispers back. “Okay.” 

Chapter Text

When a portal opens in the door of the Institute, it causes an uproar among the staff. Maryse and Robert, the only Shadowhunters left on the premises, don’t hesitate and grab their Seraph blades to protect their home and their people from whatever might come through the shimmering purple gate.

What they don’t expect to see, is Magnus Bane who stumbles in, supporting and dragging… their son with him. The moment they step through the portal, Alec’s knees buckle and he drags the warlock down the ground with him. Alec’s gear is torn and soaked through with his blood that’s dripping to the floor and gathering in a small pool around his knees. His face is ashen and if Magnus weren’t supporting him, he would slump to the ground.

“What happened?” Maryse asks when Magnus waves his hand and closes the portal, and she rushes forward with her husband at her heels.

Magnus adjusts his grip on Alec and presses slender fingers to Alec’s neck to check his pulse. “Valentine sent Abaddon, a greater demon, for the Cup. I think he suspected that Starkweather’s involvement was a ruse, a trap. Jace went after them - but Alec was hurt in the fight, Abaddon stabbed him.” 

Maryse hears Robert drawn in a sharp breath when Magnus peels Alec’s shirt off and reveals the ugly wound, already turning black around the edges with poison. “I need to get him to the infirmary. And I need my potions,” Magnus says, already focusing on the task. 

“We don’t need your help, warlock,” Maryse states firmly. Even now she simply cannot jump over her shadow, not after what happened earlier that night. “We have Silent Brothers for that.” 

Magnus’ head snaps up angrily and he narrows his eyes at her. “As far as I know, Brother Jeremiah returned to the City of Bones, and Alec can’t afford to wait for you to summon him back. Iratzes won’t help with demon poison. Would you rather let your son die, than accept help from his Downworlder boyfriend? Maybe I should’ve taken him somewhere else, where he would’ve been truly safe.

They glare at each other for a moment. The tension is broken by Alec’s cough. “Boy-boyfriend?” he rasps. His head lolls on Magnus’ shoulder and his eyes flutter open to meet Magnus’ startled gaze. “Nev-never had one bef-before…”

Magnus kisses his forehead on impulse and squeezes him gently. “Now you do. And he’ll take care of you, I promise.” The last part is said with his eyes trained on Maryse, the threat loud and clear.

“You heard the warlock, get a stretcher!” Robert calls out, and when Maryse turns to him, a look of betrayal in her eyes, he says, softly but firmly, “Enough, Maryse.” 

And when people rush in and carry Alec away with Magnus running by his side, holding one of Alec’s hand in his own, Robert lingers for a moment, watching his wife. When Maryse doesn’t move, her lips still pressed into a thin, angry line, Robert just shakes his head sadly, and follows his son.

Chapter Text

Jace has been with Valentine for ten days when he feels his parabatai bond with Alec break. There’s no warning, he’s simply seized with agony so terrible he thinks he’s dying. Never before has he felt anything like this, it feels as if a part of him was torn away, like there’s gaping hole in his soul. 

But the moment he tries to leave, his need to reach Alec almost overwhelming, Valentine locks him up, and it takes him weeks, long, painful, agonizing weeks till he finds a way to escape. And all the time, a litany of can’t be, can’t be, Alec can’t be dead is running through his head.

The first thing he does after his escape, is to call Alec. Number disconnected, that’s all he gets and his dread is growing stronger by the second. He cannot call the Institute directly, he’s a rogue, after all, so he calls Izzy on her private number. 

“They stripped him of his runes,” Isabelle tells Jace, her voice numb.

Jace is relieved, relieved that Alec isn’t dead, but at the same time, his dread turns to horror. They wouldn’t… “Why?” he asks hoarsely. There’s never been a more loyal Shadowhunter than Alec Lightwood.

Izzy’s words sound bitter and harsh when she responds, “They found himunworthy of being a Shadowhunter, and they punished him for bringingshame to the Clave.”

Jace doesn’t understand. “But… why?” 

“Why do you think?” she snaps. “He came out on his wedding day, Jace! He humiliated the Branwells in front of all the Clave dignitaries. Who do you think leaned on the Consul and forced this through?”

Jace clenches his eyes shut. They wouldn’t. Not for something like that. They wouldn’t do this to Alec… They did. “Where is he?” he asks softly. 

“At Magnus’. He did everything short of breaking into the City of Bones and kidnapping Alec to save him. He wouldn’t abandon him.” She pauses. “No matter what.”

Jace wants to ask what she means, but he guesses he’ll find out soon enough. 

Magnus isn’t surprised when Jace barges into his apartment without knocking or invitation. Isabelle must’ve called him. He looks… old. He shouldn’t, Magnus is ageless, after all, but he does, as if his years finally caught up with him. There’s no glitter, no make-up, no fancy clothes this time…

“He’s in his room,” Magnus says quietly and points at a closed door at the end of a short hall. But when Jace takes a step in that direction, Magnus stops him. “Be warned: he has changed.” 

Jace stops and turns to him. “How?” 

Magnus runs his hands through his messy hair. “They broke him. I think… I think he could’ve dealt with the rune stripping, with not being a Shadowhunter anymore - but when they destroyed your bond…” Magnus looks at him and his eyes are haunted. “… something shattered in him. And I’m not sure he’ll ever recover from that, Jace.”

Something hitches in Jace’s throat. Magnus has never called him by name before, at least that he remembers. This is bad. He nods and goes.

Alec’s sitting on the windowsill, arms loosely looped around bent knees, head resting against the glass. He’s looking out but it doesn’t seem like he’s seeing anything, and Jace’s heart seizes: Alec looks… small, unsubstantial,as if he’s not really there anymore.

Jace walks closer, and drops to his knees beside the man he still considers a part of himself. It’s not until he actually touches Alec’s arm, that Alec notices him. He turns to Jace, looks down at him, and Jace has to blink back tears, because Alec’s eyes are dead.

Jace tries to smile and fails. “Hey…” he whispers, his voice breaking.

Alec just stares at him for a long, long moment, the he rasps, “I can’t feel you anymore.” 

And all Jace can do is raise himself up on his knees, take Alec in his arms and hug him hard, face pressed into Alec’s neck where only an ugly scar remains of his most visible rune. He holds him, feeling the bird-like bones under Alec’s paper thin skin. He holds on and he cries, when Alec finally moves and puts his arms around Jace, returning the hug lightly, seeking comfort… crumbling, and letting himself be held. 

“I can’t feel you anymore, Jace. I can’t feel you…”

Chapter Text

“What you did to our family, what you did to us… I’ve never been so ashamed, so humiliated before, Alec. Never!”

His mother is furious, her eyes are blazing with rage so all-encompassing that it makes Alec’s heart beat faster. He’s actually a little afraid, genuinelyafraid of her in that moment. He knew that his parents would be mad, butthis… And his knee jerk reaction is to apologize, to take it all back, to beg for leniency, for forgiveness… 

But then he remembers his sister and his parabatai looking at him with pride, he remembers the overwhelming relief at being able to be true to himself and not hide anymore… He remembers the softness of Magnus’ lips, the warmth of his smile…

And once again, he realizes that it’s now or never, if he backs down now, he will never again stand up to his parents, he will always cower before them. And so he speaks up, though he feels almost faint with dread. 

“Well, I guess we’re even, then,” he tells his mother, “because I’m ashamed of you, too.”

Maryse opens her mouth to speak, but before she can say anything, Alec continues; words are spilling out of him, all the things he has wanted to say ever since the ugly, hidden truths about his parents came to light.

“I’m ashamed that you sided with Valentine, that you fought for him, supported him, killed for him. How many Downworlders did you murder at his bidding? Do you even remember or were they not important enough? After all, you didn’t back out till he started killing our own people! You might have recanted to gain back the Clave’s favor, mother, but you’re still no better than Valentine!”

The slap takes them both by surprise, its sharp crack echoing through the suddenly too quiet room. Alec stiffens, his head turned slightly to the side by the force of his mother’s hit, and he blinks hard to push back tears. And Maryse… she freezes too, shocked by what she just did.

It’s Robert who breaks the mounting tension, the silence heavy with reproach and accusations - Robert, who until then stood back, torn by his loyalty to his wife and his love for his son. He steps between them, and asks Alec softly if he’s alright.

Alec simply nods because his throat’s too tight for speaking. He still hasn’t looked at his mother, and Maryse still hasn’t said anything. 

Robert reaches out and squeezes Alec’s arm gently. “Go change, Alec,” he tells him not unkindly. “I think your mother and I need to talk. Go on.”

And Alec goes, not looking at either of them. The burning pain in his cheek is fading quickly, but the feeling that something just irrevocably broke remains.

Chapter Text

“So, this is him, huh?” the ghost of Ragnor Fell asks as he bends down over the bed to study his old friend’s young lover with piqued interest. Alec’s lying asleep next to Magnus, his naked body covered with nothing but a thin sheet. “A pretty little thing, isn’t he?” he murmurs appreciatively.

Magnus, who has been sitting up in bed, reading, looks up from his book. With a fond smile and mischief in his eyes he replies, “I assure you, there’s nothing about Alexander that I would call little.” 

Ragnor straightens up and clucks his tongue at him. “Don’t be lewd, Magnus Bane!” 

Magnus widens his eyes innocently and replies with indignation, “Dear fellow, I was talking about his height! Where did your mind wander off to?” He raises a finger. “Ah, but then, you and Freud did get along fabulously, if I remember correctly.”

“Yes, quite the peculiar fellow, wasn’t he?” Ragnor comments thoughtfully.

Magnus chuckles and raises his eyebrows. “That’s one way of putting it.”

His laugh must’ve found its way into Alec’s dreams because the Shadowhunter turns onto his side with a deep sigh, throws one arm over Magnus’ midriff and curls up around him, before settling down again. Magnus smiles down at him fondly and runs his fingers through Alec’s sleep tousled hair.

“Are you happy, then, my dear?” Ragnor asks, his eyes soft with affection as he watches Magnus and his lover. 

Magnus looks up from Alec’s sleep-relaxed face. “Yes, I am. I truly am. And all because of you and your wisdom.” He inclines his head. “I’m forever in your debt, old friend.”

Ragnor smiles, his expression wistful and melancholy. “And I‘ll come to collect one day. But hopefully, not for a very, very long time yet…”

And then he fades again, leaving the lovers alone; one oblivious, the other a little misty-eyed with heartache for friends lost forever.

Chapter Text

Jace takes his eyes off Alec for just a moment, and suddenly, there’s blood everywhere. Alec’s guard drops his blade - drops Alec who slowly sinks to his knees, throat slashed open, blood pouring out of the wound, out of hismouth

Jace’s eyes widen - and he freezes for a second. And then rage seizes him and he lets instincts take over, forgets about everything else. His Seraph blade leaps into his hand and he starts slashing and hacking, he and Clary both, and then he’s there, with Alec, catching him before he can topple to the ground. 

“Hey, hey,” Jace whispers frantically while he tries to hold Alec up. He presses his hand firmly to the wound on Alec’s neck in a vain attempt to stem the bleeding. “What did you do? Alec… Alec, what did you do?”

His voice is hoarse, as if he’s been screaming, and he’s repeating his words, over and over again, holding Alec tight, pleading with him to stay alive. And Alec’s just staring up at him, blood bubbling out of his wound and through Jace’s fingers with every breath he takes. And he… smiles!

And then Clary is there with her stele, quickly drawing iratzes on Alec’s skin, and Alec’s still smiling, as if he found peace, and Jace wants to shake him, shake him so hard! And when Alec finally slumps unconscious in his arms, Jace wants to scream and scream and scream


In the end, Brother Jeremiah manages to save Alec’s life, the ugly, gaping wound soon nothing more than an ugly, thick scar on Alec’s neck. But he also tells them that Alec will never talk again; his vocal cords were too damaged to heal properly. Alec doesn’t look at them when they tell him, at any one of them, he just stares fixedly down at his sheet covered lap.

It’s been days, and Jace has barely left the infirmary. It’s like he’s physically unable to leave, like he fears that if he turns away for just a moment, Alec will be gone forever this time. 

Jace is sitting on the floor in the hall outside the infirmary, leaning against the wall out of sight, hiding, arms propped on his bent knees. Isabelle’s in there with Alec, having brought him a pad with a voice app, a miracle of modern technology, already figuring out the best ways how to help her brother. But the mechanical, almost robotic voice of the app is scraping Jace’s nerves raw.

“Why did you do it, big brother?” Izzy asks, her voice anxious. “Why?”

There’s a tap-tap-tapping sound, and then, “HE. WOULD. HAVE. CHOSEN. CLARY. ANYWAY.”

And Jace freezes, chest tightening so hard he can barely breathe. No.

“You can’t know that!” Izzy protests in a hushed voice. “He’s your parabatai!”

More tapping. “I. DO. KNOW. I. KNOW. HIM. AND. I. DO. NOT. BLAME. HIM. BUT.”

“But?” Isabelle prompts gently when he stops typing.

Tap-tap-tapping, and Jace can’t listen to it anymore, it’s like water torture, the taps pricking his brain like sharp icicles. He wants to press his hands over his ears. 

“I. COULD. NOT. LET. HIM. SAY. IT. OUT. LOUD. COULD. NOT. ALLOW. MYSELF. TO. HEAR. IT.” A pause. “IT. WOULD. HAVE. BEEN. LIKE. DYING. TWICE.”

Jace runs.

Chapter Text

Abaddon’s gone with the Cup, Hodge Starkweather’s dead body’s lying on the ground just yards away - and Alec’s holding Magnus, wounded and bleeding, in his arms. Magnus who just had to get involved, because “If something happened to you, Alexander…”

“I have to go after the demon,” Jace states flatly as he steps over Hodge’s body casually and switches off his blade.

Alec looks up at him, torn. His hands are sticky with Magnus’ blood, both of their clothes  are soaked with it, and he just can’t leave Magnus, he can’t. But he can’t let his parabatai go after Abaddon alone either! “I…” 

For a moment, the coldness in Jace’s eyes retreats, and he even smiles a little when he crouches down beside Alec and Magnus and grips the back of hisparabatai’s neck. “It’s okay, stay. Take care of him. He needs you now.”

Alec stares at him for a long moment, then he nods. “Okay,” he whispers. “But promise me you’ll be careful! I don’t want to lose you, either!”

Jace just smiles again, then he lowers his eyes to where Alec has his hands pressed against Magnus’ torn stomach; Magnus is barely breathing. Cold fury returns to Jace’s eyes - and then he’s gone, running after Abaddon, after the Cup… and towards Valentine.

Magnus’ groan returns Alec’s attention back to him. “Can you heal yourself?” he asks anxiously, unsure of how it works. “Can you… can you use my strength and heal yourself like you did with Luke?”

Magnus’ eyes open to slits, their cat-like nature showing clearly. “Ye-es. I c-can. But…”

Alec interrupts him, “Then do it. Take whatever you need to save yourself!”

Magnus’ slow, deep breath wheezes in his throat. “But I’ll need a l-lot. I’m drained from fight-fighting Abaddon and the wound’s b-bad.”

“Then get on with it!” Alec urges on holding out one hand in offering. “Take what you need, anything.”

And Magnus does. He grips Alec’s hand so hard his bones grind together - and then he pulls, pulls at the very core of Alec’s being, at the roots of his strength. And Alec stiffens and closes his eyes, bites his lower lip to hold back a moan of pain. And it goes on and on and on

Alec doesn’t know how long they sit like this, in this vulnerable position, locked in an intimate embrace, but when he opens his eyes again, he feels hollow, as if Magnus used up every ounce of his strength… And there are his parents standing there, just a few feet away, looking… disappointed? Stricken? Disgusted?

“You… You shared your Angel given strength with a demon spawn?” Maryse breathes out, aghast. “Don’t you realize just how… how perverse a ritual that is? To open yourself up to a Downworlder?”

“It saved his life!” Alec objects, stricken, his arms still around Magnus, who has turned his head away, shamed by Maryse’s words. Alec looks down at him, and seeing that Magnus is fully healed again, he allows himself to relax, despite his parents’ uncomfortable scrutiny. When he speaks again, his words are aimed directly at Magnus. “And I would do it again.”

Magnus looks at him searchingly, and whatever he finds in Alec’s face makes his eyes soften, his lips curl up in a small smile. Alec smiles back and squeezes Magnus’ hand, the rightness of his decision filling him with warmth.

They don’t even notice when Maryse, who’s brimming with rage, turns and stomps away, towards Hodge’s body, with her husband reluctantly at her heels. 

Chapter Text

“I’ll kill them. I’ll kill them both!” Jace snarls furiously and storms out of the infirmary, hitting the wall with his fist as he stomps by.

“Jace!” Alec calls after him and takes a step to follow, only to stop and turn back to where Lydia’s lying unconscious on the bed; he’s torn by conflicting impulses: to stay or to go?

Seeing this, Magnus walks up to him. “Go,” he encourages Alec, “go after him, and make sure he doesn’t get himself killed. I’ll take care of her as best as I can, you have my word.” 

Alec looks at him, and there’s relief, gratitude and… something else in his eyes. “Thank you,” he says softly and entangles their fingers on impulse, squeezing gently for a second before letting go. 

Magnus is startled - and pleased by this unconscious display of affection, and he sends Alec off with a nod and a smile.

Chapter Text

They’re still at the club, enjoying Alec’s very private bachelor party, just talking like they haven’t talked in ages, when Jace says, “And what about sex?”

Alec has a bad feeling he knows where this is headed, so he deflects, “What about it?”

Jace laughs. “You’re getting married tomorrow, Alec!”

“And what does that have to do with anything?” Alec replies defensively.

Jace just stares at him pointedly with his eyebrows raised. Alec looks away. 

“Look,” Jace says not unkindly, “you have to realize that sex will come up, sooner or later.”

“Our marriage, mine and Lydia’s, it’s… a political arrangement. Sex doesn’t really play a part in it. We’re just… friends, allies,” Alec responds.

“And what about children?” Jace insists. “Did you at least talk about that? You have to know that you’ll be expected to have kids, by the Clave, Lydia’s family, Maryse and Robert…”

Alec shifts uncomfortably. “We can… we can adopt some, there will always be Shadowhunter kids who need family. It worked out in your case, didn’t it?” Alec smirks, trying to change the topic.

But Jace refuses to let him. “Fine, children aside. What about Lydia? Don’t you think she might, at some point in the future, actually want to have sex again? She’s a widow, I’m pretty sure she had sex in the past, she probablyenjoyed having sex - what will you do when she brings it up?” Jace presses on. “Will you tell her to go and satisfy her urges somewhere else, or will you just lie back, close your  eyes and think of Idris?”

Alec presses his lips together and stares at his clasped hands. 

“Alec,” Jace says softly, “I know that you’re a virgin.” Alec blushes. “And I know you’re gay.” Now Alec blanches so fast he feels almost light-headed. “Hey. Hey, look at me,” Jace urges and waits till Alec complies. “I don’t care. I admit I’m a little hurt that you didn’t tell me yourself, but I get it, I do. And I don’t care.” He pauses. “But eventually, this will become an issue in your marriage.” 

Alec looks away again, uncomfortable.

“And the last thing I want, is to see you hurt or pressured into something you don’t want. Especially when it comes to sex,” Jace adds.

“It won’t happen,” Alec insists, but his voice is a little hoarse.

Jace nods. “Maybe not,” he agrees. “But I also know you, and I know how you think, unfortunately - if you ever put yourself first, we wouldn’t be here now. So, just… Promise me. Hey,” he grips the back of Alec’s neck and forces Alec look at him, “promise me, that you won’t forget that you can say no, even to your wife. Promise me.”

They stare at each other for a long moment, then Alec nods slowly. “Alright,” he says reluctantly, “I promise.”

But, even though he’s a man of honor, Alec isn’t sure if he’ll be able to keep his word this time. Family means everything to him, after all…

Chapter Text

Magnus hoped for a lifetime with Alexander - in the end, all they got were two days and one kiss…

“I don’t regret it,” Alec whispers, breathing raggedly. His skin is turning gray, criss-crossed with black veins, as the demon poison works its way through his system so rapidly that not even Magnus’ magic can stop it. 

“Shh…” Magnus shushes him. There are tears in his eyes and his hands are trembling as he holds Alec in his lap. He’s pouring every ounce of his magic into his wounded boyfriend - and it’s not working. It’s just not working!

“I don’t… I don’t regret the kiss,” Alec continues weakly, looking up at Magnus with all the might-have-beens in his eyes. “And I’m glad it was you.” 

And when Alec dies moments later, there’s a little smile on his lips, while Magnus just sits there, holding him, frozen and barely breathing, because this just didn’t happen, his Alexander didn’t just die, he didn’t leave Magnus all alone again, he did not, he did not… 

Chapter Text

Alec Lightwood hates change. He loves rules and his everyday routine and he hates everything that disturbs either. So, when his parents inform him and his sister, Isabelle, that they’ll be fostering an orphaned Shadowhunter child, Alec hates the boy even before he arrives in the New York Institute. Yes, maybe it’s slightly irrational, but he can’t help it.

And when the boy, Jace Wayland - and what kind of a name is Jace! - arrives, it’s like all Alec’s fears are proven right. Jace is rude and rough and violent and he has no respect for rules or other people’s property, and all of Alec’s very civil - in his opinion - attempts at communicating with the intruder are thrown back into his face. Ungrateful little weasel!

And the worst thing of all? Alec’s parents force him to share a room with Jace, stating that it’ll help the blond boy adapt, that they can become friends, bond. As if! They will never, ever, ever become friends. Not ever. That… that oaf isn’t even human!

But then the nightmares come. Jace hasn’t been with them a week yet, when he starts having bad dreams, calling for his dead father in his sleep, begging him to stop one moment, begging him to come back and not leave him alone the next. And he’s crying softly, so very softly, and only when he believes that Alec’s asleep, that nobody can hear him. And Alec can’t take it anymore. He… he hates Jace - well, not really - but his grief’s breaking Alec’s heart.

So, when yet another nightmare causes Jace to cry out in his sleep, Alec slips out of his bed, pads over to Jace’s - and slips in. Jace startles awake and almost hits Alec with a fist, but Alec ducks and catches Jace’s hand in his.

“What are you doing?” Jace hisses. 

The tone of Jace’s voice is angry, but Alec can hear the fear and despair and loneliness in it, too. And instead of letting go of the other boy’s hand, Alec clasps it in his, gently, giving Jace every chance to pull out. 

But Jace doesn’t. They’re lying on their sides, facing each other and holding hands, and they stare each other in the eyes in the dimness of the room. All the anger seems to drain out of Jace, replaced with exhaustion, as if he’s simply too tired to fight anymore, but also with curiosity. 

“I’m sorry about your dad,” Alec whispers, squeezing Jace’s hand gently. “I can’t give him back to you - but maybe we can share mine? And my mom and Izzy, too? And Max, that is my littlest brother. He sleeps most of the time, but I can share him with you too, if you want?”

Jace just stares at him. 

“I promise we will take good care of you,” Alec whispers, and squeezes the other boy’s had again. “Okay?”

And this time, the gesture is returned. Tentatively at first, then so hard that Alec feels his bones grind together. “Okay,” Jace breathes out, as if afraid of being overheard.

And yes, Alec Lightwood still hates change, but maybe, in this one case - and in this one case only! - he could make an exception.

Chapter Text

“You should really put a spell on them,” Alec says while checking the bow over for damage. He just came back from a hunt, a violent one, and he’s sitting on the floor in front of Magnus’ burning fireplace, leaning back against the couch. 

“On what?” Magnus asks, pouring them both a drink. 

“The bow and the quiver, just in case,” Alec explains. “They’re your weapons, after all.” 

Magnus picks up the glasses. “That they are,” he agrees mischievously, and turns. “But in case of what?”

“In case I’m killed in battle,” Alec answers calmly, still inspecting the bowstring. 

Magnus, who started walking towards his lover, stops so abruptly the drinks slosh out of their glasses. “In case… you’re killed,” he repeats slowly, quietly.

Alec looks up, his expression puzzled. “Yes. We hunt almost every night these days, so it’s most likely just a matter of time before my luck runs out and some thing gets through to me. It would be a shame to lose these weapons, to let them fall in enemy’s hands. They are magical, after all.” 

Magnus just stares at him, speechless. The casual way in which Alec speaks of his own death, as if it were a certainty, steals his breath away every time. For many of Magnus’ previous lovers, mortality was an issue - but none of them has ever treated the prospect of his or her own demise with such dismissal.

“What?” Alec asks uncertainly when the silence grows heavy.

Magnus blinks. He sets the glasses he’s been holding aside, walks over to Alec and drops to a crouch next to him. He grips Alec’s chin firmly in his bejeweled fingers and looks him deeply in the eyes.

“I don’t give a damn about these weapons beyond the fact that they keep you safe, Alexander,” he says, loud and clear, to make sure Alec really hears what he’s saying. “Don’t you get it? If there was anything I could protect from harm with my magic, it would be you!” 

And with that, Magnus leans in and kisses Alec, hard and deep, parting his lips with his tongue, claiming his mouth and stealing his breath away. 

Neither of them notices when the rare magical items that are the bow and the quiver, clatter forgotten to the ground.

Chapter Text

“I’m glad you feel better,” Alec says as he steps into the infirmary. “We were all worried.” 

Lydia, who’s sitting up in her bed, propped up on pillows, grins at him. “I’m fine now, really. They just refuse to let me out of here!” She pointedly raises her voice.

Alec huffs out a laugh and walks closer. “Well, you’re an important envoy to the Clave. Enjoy the attention.” 

She rolls her eyes. “I think I have had enough attention to last me a lifetime.”

Alec’s shoulders hunch. “Yeah…”

Lydia reaches out. “Come here.” 

Alec takes her hand in his and allows himself to be drawn down onto the bed. He sits down facing her. 

“I heard about Jace,” she says softly. “I’m sorry.”

He sighs and looks down at their joined hands. “It seems like everything that could go wrong, did so in the last twenty-four hours. Hodge turned traitor, you got hurt,” he squeezes her hand, “now Jace’s gone… My parents are furious and the Clave representatives left angrily because on top of everything else, we lost the Cup - again.” 

She ducks her head to try to catch his eye. “Hey, at least you and Magnus are okay.” When he doesn’t respond, she prods, “Aren’t you?”

He looks up. “Honestly? I don’t know,” he admits. “I haven’t even had the time to process what happened at the wedding yet, and suddenly I’m meeting one of his immortal exes, and…” He sighs and shakes his head. “I don’t trust Camille Belcourt or her motives, but… she brought up some very good points that got me thinking.” 

“Thinking?” she prompts when he falls silent again.

“What am I actually doing, Lydia?” he asks a little lost. “Magnus isimmortal! He was with people like Michelangelo. Michelangelo! Camille, despite all her faults, is a force of nature herself, an immortal like him. How do I even measure up to that? I’m a mortal Shadowhunter, plain and simple, and on the wrong side of the Clave’s favor now, too!”

Lydia squeezes his hand. “I’ve seen the way he looks at you, Alec,” she says kindly. “If I wasn’t absolutely sure that he thinks you hung the moon and stars, I wouldn’t have given you up so easily, I would’ve fought for you, tooth and nail. Camille might be a force of nature, like you said, but Magnus choseyou, she’s right here, and he still chooses you - in his eyes, she doesn’t measure up to you.”

Alec ducks his head, embarrassed. 

“And there’s nothing plain or simple about you, Alec Lightwood. Don’t insult my taste, I did almost marry you, after all,” she adds with a mischievous crinkle of her nose.

He laughs quietly again. 

Then Lydia turns serious again. “The way Magnus looks at you, Alec? John used to look at me that way and it made me feel like I was the only important thing in the world. I would give everything to have him back. Don’t give up on your relationship without a fight. You would regret it for the rest of your life.”

Alec looks at her, squeezes her hand and nods. “Alright…”

Chapter Text

“I saw you leave,” Magnus comments quietly as he walks up to Alec slowly. 

Alec’s sitting on the steps outside the church ruin, elbows propped up on his bent knees, watching the stars - or what can be seen of them in the middle of New York. He looks at Magnus over his shoulder. “After everything they’ve been through, I thought that they deserved some privacy.” 

Magnus nods, heads down the stone steps, then turns back, towards Alec. “We haven’t finished our conversation yet…” he reminds Alec.

Alec watches him for a moment, then says, “I heard you, Magnus. And I think I understood what you were trying to say: that you’re immortal, not un-killable.” 

When Magnus inclines his head in confirmation, Alec continues almost gently, “I heard what happened to your friend, Ragnor Fell. That he died. I’m very sorry. I wish I had the chance to meet him.”

Magnus smiles painfully. “He was an… interesting man, you would’ve liked him.” He reconsiders. “Or maybe not. His sense of humor took some time to get used to. An acquired taste, that was he.” 

Alec chuckles quietly. “I think that’s one thing you warlocks have in common: you’re very odd. Unique. I really like that about you. I feel like, even if I lived to a ripe old age, I would never meet anyone like you ever again.”

Magnus grins, pleased. But his smile drops when Alec continues in a serious tone. 

“But that’s the thing, Magnus. I might not, live to a ripe old age, that is. And I know that you said you can’t see the future, but us Shadowhunters, we don’t generally live long. We live fast and die young.” He looks off into the distance. “The last time I was in Idris… Alicante was half-empty; abandoned houses, vacant streets… We don’t want the Shadow World to know, but we’re dying out, us Nephilim.” 

Magnus draws a sharp breath. Despite all his intell as the High Warlock of Brooklyn, he didn’t know.

“And now that Valentine has the Cup…” Alec looks at Magnus. “Shadowhunters won’t survive another war, we will be obliterated. But I’ll still be on the front line, for Jace, for my family. Because it’ll be the right thing to do…”

Magnus stares at him, the urge to beg Alec to run away with him, to leave all the fighting and killing behind, is almost overwhelming. But Alec would never agree - and Magnus would never ask that of him in the first place.

“So, yes, your immortality is something I’ll have to get used to, and I’m not saying I’ll be always rational about it,” Alec continues honestly, “I’m a bit too… mundane for that.” He smirks. “But you will have to accept my reality, too: I’m a soldier, and I’ve made my peace with the fact that I might die at any given moment, a long time ago. Can you do that? Is it even fair to ask this of you? To ask you to live in this uncertainty day after day?”

Magnus swallows and looks away, the reality of who Alexander is really sinking in, for the first time, his and Alec’s roles suddenly switched. Alec might die. Not in fifty years or even in ten, but tomorrow… Is it worth it? Is the certain pain worth it? The answer is very simple.

He turns back to Alec, leans in and catches Alec’s mouth with his, the kiss sweet and gentle. When he pulls back, he runs his knuckles down Alec’s lightly stubbled jaw. “How about we work on that? Together. Whether just a day or a whole lifetime, I would rather spend it with you than without.”

Alec leans into his touch. “Alright, we can do that,” he agrees, then smiles. “And how about we start with that date?”

Chapter Text

“You’re telling me that you can’t find Jace Morgenstern?” Inquisitor Herondale turns away from the bank of computers and towards the Lightwoods. “With all this technology you have at your disposal, with all the magic - you can’t trace one Shadowhunter?!”

Maryse and Robert exchange a look. “It seems Valentine has him shielded, or they’re on the ship that Hodge Starkweather mentioned,” Maryse replies. “We tried to use the things he has left behind to trace him, things he has owned for years, but nothing came up.”

The Inquisitor narrows her eyes. “Things? You used… things? You have the perfect way of tracking Valentine’s son right here,” she points at Alec who’s standing to the side together with his sister and Clary, “his parabatai. Why haven’t you used your son, Maryse?”

Everybody looks at Alec, their eyes widening. 

“Imogen,” Maryse breathes out, “you can’t be serious…”

Isabelle steps forward. “You can’t do that!” she snaps angrily. “Their parabatai bond’s weakened. Alec already used it once to try and find your precious Cup! If he does it again so soon, it will break!”

The Inquisitor walks up to Isabelle and looks down at her. “I don’t give a damn about your brother’s parabatai bond with the traitor’s son, girl! Nothing is more important than finding Valentine and recovering the Cup!”

“I won’t do it,” Alec states firmly when the Inquisitor looks at him over Izzy’s shoulder. “Valentine’s a traitor, but Jace is not. I won’t let you break our bond just so you can get your revenge.”

Imogen Herondale narrows her eyes again. “That wasn’t a request, boy!” And then, to everyone’s shock she orders, “Seize him!”

The Lightwoods cry out in protest and move to defend Alec, even Clary draws her Seraph blade and Alec reaches for his, but suddenly, the Inquisitor’s guard moves in, their lances alight with angelic power, and they’re surrounded. 

“Enough!” the Inquisitor roars. “Stand down or I’ll have you all put on trial for treason, for harboring not one but two traitors in your midst and for losing the Cup! I have had enough of your incompetence, Maryse!” 

They all freeze, Seraph lances at their throats. The Lightwoods hesitate for a moment, then they let their blades drop. Clary’s the last one to subside. 

Without calling her guard off, the Inquisitor points at Alec and orders, “Bring him to me!”

Two of the guards grip Alec’s arms tightly and drag him in front of Inquisitor. Alec’s trying to resist, but they’re unrelenting. Clary and Isabelle, Maryse and Robert, they all follow him with anxious eyes. 

Maryse tries to take a step forward, but the lance at her throat stops her. “Imogen, you don’t have to do this. We will find them some other way…”

But the Inquisitor ignores her. When the guards haul Alec in front of her, she stares him in the eyes for a moment. He’s pale and breathing heavily, but his expression is defiant, when she grabs his t-shirt and pulls it up to expose theparabatai rune on his hip and the knot of the tracking rune still healing over it. 

“Now,” Imogen Herondale says, “we will finally get some answers.” And with that she pulls out her stele and runs it over the tracking rune on Alec’s skin, activating it.

When Alec throws his head back and screams, the Inquisitor waves a hand at her guards and they release Alec, who drops to his knees immediately, in too much pain to remain standing. He presses one hand to his parabatai rune and props himself up with the other, his body racked in agony, head bowed.

“Alec!” Izzy yells and tries to run to her brother, but the guards hold her back.

The Inquisitor drops to a crouch in front of Alec. “Where is he?” she yells at him, and gripping his chin in her claw-like fingers, she draws his head up. “Where?”

Alec’s eyes are wide open but unseeing, his face ashen with pain. “Jace…” he mouths; he doesn’t even have enough breath to scream anymore. “Jace…”

The Inquisitor shakes him. “Where is he? Tell me!” she screeches.

“Sh-ship… the Morn-ing Star,” Alec stutters, blood dripping from his nose. “Head-heading ba-ck to… to New Y-York.” 

Imogen Herondale smiles triumphantly. “When will they arrive?” 

Alec groans silently, the droplets of blood running from his nose turning into a steady stream. “To-tonight. They’ll arri-arrive tonight…” And with that Alec’s eyes roll up, his chin slips out of the Inquisitor’s fingers and he slumps to the ground, unconscious. 

“Alec!” Isabelle screams and tears herself out of her guards’ grip to rush to her brother’s aid with Clary at her heels. “Alec!” She drops to her knees next to him and touches his gray face. “Alec, wake up!”

Imogen Herondale stands up and turns towards Maryse and Robert who stare at her with unconcealed hatred. “There,” she says, coldly. “That’s how you do your job right, Maryse. Now prepare your people, Valentine arrives tonight!”

Chapter Text

When the Shadowhunters swarm the ship, The Morning Star, a furious battle ensues, them against Valentine’s minions, the new breed of Shadowhunters. Valentine himself is nowhere to be found, though, and neither is the Cup. 

Jace… Jace they discover after a desperate search locked up in a cell deep in the belly of the ship. When Isabelle and Clary storm inside, they find him curled up on his side, clutching at his parabatai rune. He’s barely conscious, pale and soaked in sweat. There’s blood all dried up and crusted around his nose. 

“Jace!” Clary exclaims as she drops to her knees beside the mattress on which he’s lying. She reaches out, wanting to touch him, but afraid of hurting him even more. “Jace…”

He opens his eyes slowly and blinks at her. “Clar-y…?” he croaks. Then he turns his eyes to Isabelle who’s standing in the doorway, guarding their backs.  “Iz-zy?”

“Yes! Yes, we’re here to save you,” Clary assures him, then helps him sit up, gently, carefully, propping him up when he starts sliding down again. “We’ll get you out, I promise.” 

Jace’s eyes roam around, all over the dark, damp cell for a moment, as if searching for something. Then, “Alec… where…” His voice breaks. “How cou-could he? How…?”

Clary shakes her head furiously. “No, Jace, no. It wasn’t him, he did not want to do it. I swear, I was there. It was Inquisitor Herondale.” 

Jace blinks at her, slightly more alert now. “Imogen Herondale?” 

“Yes. She did it to him. She ordered her guards to hold him down and activated the tracking rune.” Clary touches his face. “I swear, he didn’t want it, he tried to fight her.” 

Jace looks at her for a moment, then turns to Izzy for confirmation. His foster sister looks grim. “It’s true, Jace. When we left, Alec was still lying unconscious in the infirmary. That Herondale bitch didn’t care if she killed you both.”

Jace’s expression hardens. “Take me to him,” he says, and looks at Clary, “take me to Alec…”


When they arrive back at the Institute, Clary’s still supporting Jace, carrying most of his weight as he stumbles along, his pale skin almost translucent. Izzy’s flanking them, glaring at everybody who dares to even look their way, her whip uncoiled and sizzling in her grip. 

They are barely three step into the Ops Center when Imogen Herondale tries to bar their way. “Jace Morgenstern,” she greets him haughtily. “I see that…”

But Jace doesn’t stop - both Clary and Isabelle looking as defiant as him - and his voice is deathly cold when he interrupts her. “Get out of my way, Inquisitor, or I swear I’ll murder you where you stand!”

There must be something in his voice, something that tells Imogen Herondale that he’s absolutely serious about his threat, because she steps quickly aside and lets them pass, looking after them as they drag themselves up the short flight of steps at the end of the room.

The infirmary is all abuzz, wounded Shadowhunters returning from the mission arriving for treatment, one corner is perfectly, eerily quiet, though: one bed and in it, Alec Lightwood, still and unmoving, his skin ashen gray. 

Robert, who’s sitting by his son’s side, jumps up when he sees the three young people stumble in. “Jace!” he exclaims in surprise.

But Jace, who’s now barely standing, has eyes only for his parabatai. “Alec…” he breathes out in shock and relief. He staggers towards Alec’s bed and with Clary’s help he sinks down into the chair that Robert just vacated. 

Then, when his family steps back, he reaches for Alec’s hand like a drowning man grasping at a lifeline, and when he touches it, linking their hands together tightly, something loosens in his chest, it’s as if he can finally breathe again… 

And when Alec’s eyes flutter open and he turns his head towards Jace on instinct, his parabatai smiles at him and leans closer, eyes bright and burning. “Hey…” Jace whispers softly.

And Alec smiles back. “Hey…”

Chapter Text

And they both laugh as they stumble and fall down on Magnus’ bed, Magnus straddling Alec, linking their hands, entwining their fingers, pulling Alec’s arms up and up, above his head, and then they’re kissing, kissing, kissing

And when they finally come up for air, they grin at each other, and Magnus rubs his nose against Alec’s, and his eyes sparkle with mischief when he asks, “Just to be sure, Alexander. You have never done this before…?”

And Alec shakes his head and stares up at Magnus, pupils blown wide with passion, lips red and swollen, and he’s flexing his fingers, kneading Magnus’ hands unconsciously. “No,” he breathes out, eyes trained on Magnus’ mouth, unable to look away. “But I thought that, hey, as long as at least one of us knows what he’s doing, we’ll be fine.”

And Magnus laughs, heartily and warmly. “You never cease to amaze me, Alexander.” Then he leans in again and runs his tongue over Alec’s lower lip teasingly, yet moves away when he Alec tries to recapture his mouth with his own. “Tell me what you want?” he asks, his hot breath ghosting over Alec’s lips, making him shiver. 

And Alec moans softly and clenches his fingers around Magnus’ hands. “I want… I-I want…,” he stutters, licking his lips, all coherent thoughts blown away. “I want.”

And the mischief in Magnus’ eyes is replaced with tenderness and affection so profound that it makes Alec’s heart skip a beat. “As much or as little as you want to give, Alexander. For you, anything. Anything at all,” he whispers.

And Alec surges up, sitting upright with Magnus in his lap now, and his hands are on Magnus’ back and Magnus’ fingers are in his hair, and their lips meet once more, and Alec’s drowning in this wonderful man, and they’re kissing, kissing, kissing

Chapter Text

“Couldn’t sleep either, huh?” Clary says as she pads softly into the Ops Center. It’s almost four in the morning and the staff finally went to bed.

Alec, who’s sitting at the computer with his feet propped up on the table and a keyboard in his lap, looks at her. “Yeah…”

“Too much on your mind?” she asks. 

He nods reluctantly. “These last couple of days,” he shakes his head, “so much has happened; Lydia, Hodge, Jace…”

“Magnus,” Clary adds mischievously.

Alec drops his gaze and one corner of his mouth quirks up.

Clary pulls up a chair and sits down next to him. “What are you searching for?” she asks, looking at the row of screens.

“Valentine’s ship. According to Hodge, it’s called The Morning Star,” Alec says.

Really?” Clary rolls her eyes.  

Alec huffs out a laugh. “Yeah, subtle he isn’t,” he agrees. “But even his ship doesn’t run on magic, he will have to dock somewhere, sooner or later.” 

She hmms, and after a pause, she asks softly, “Do you think Jace’s okay?”

Alec stops typing, but doesn’t look at her. He drops his hand to his parabatai rune. “I know that he’s alive,” he tells her. “Our parabatai bond’s still too weak for me to sense anything else. But he’s alive. And that’s what’s important.” 

He startles when Clary pushes her chair closer to his and rests her head on his shoulder, threading her arm through his. “We’ll get him back, Alec. You’ll see.” 

He wants to believe it, but… “What, you know the future now?”

She smiles up at him. “No, but I know us. And we won’t give up on him. Ever.” 

He meets her eyes for a moment, then nods. “Never.”

Chapter Text

It’s the pounding on the front door that wakes Magnus. Annoyed and still half asleep, he goes to answer the incessant ruckus, but when he opens the door, Isabelle Lightwood storms in before he can even say a word. 

“You need to help us, Magnus,” she blurts out breathlessly. “You need to find Jace, now. You have to find him right now!”

Magnus shuts the door and rubs his eyes. Luckily, he didn’t forget to remove his make-up before falling into bed at 4 am. He peers at the clock. It’s now just after six, so maybe it’s the two hours of sleep he has gotten, but he doesn’t understand the urgency. Jace’s been gone for over two weeks now, after all. 

“Why? I mean, I get why,” he amends, “what I don’t get is the sudden rush.”

Isabelle turns to him and her dark eyes are wide and anxious. “They arrested Alec.”

Suddenly, Magnus is fully awake. “What? Why? Who?”

“The Inquisitor! She still doesn’t want to believe that Jace had no choice but to go with Valentine, that he did it to save us. She’s convinced that Jace has been working with Valentine the whole time, that they used Hodge only as a decoy.” She buries her fingers in her hair and tugs desperately. “She lost it when she found out that the Cup was gone again.”

Magnus frowns. “But why did she arrest Alec? What has he to do with that?”

Isabelle wrings her hands. “She intends to put Jace on trial in absentia - for war crimes, Magnus. What war crimes? Jace’s not responsible for his father’s actions! I think the Inquisitor’s still not over the fact that she was forced to let me go. And if Jace isn’t here …”

Magnus stares at her in disbelief. “They want to punish Alec as his parabatai? On what grounds?”

Shaking her head, Isabelle starts pacing. “The Inquisitor quoted some ancient Clave law. When we tried to object, she said that a member of her own family, some distant relative of hers, was once sentenced to death in accordance with that writ. To death, Magnus!”

Herondale… Breath catches in Magnus’ throat, because he remembers, he remembers Tobias Herondale - and more importantly his wife, Eva, and what happened to her when Tobias, who was said to have abandoned his fellow Shadowhunters, wasn’t found…

Isabelle stops pacing, walks up to Magnus and looks at him imploringly.  “We have to find Jace. He went with Valentine to save us - but he has no idea that his decision might cost his parabatai his life! We have to find him and bring him back!”

Magnus nods, but he’s been trying to help Alec find Jace and Valentine and the damned Cup for weeks now and to no avail. What chance will they have now, when their time’s limited? 

And so he comes to a decision, one that he’s absolutely certain of but fears to acknowledge out loud yet: if he fails, if Alec’s convicted in Jace’s stead, if he’s faced with the same decision that Catarina faced two hundred years ago - he won’t let Alec go to his death, he’ll save him… even if costs him everything. 

Chapter Text

Jace reaches out reluctantly to touch the darkly pulsating prism. Its warmth should feel pleasant, instead it makes his skin crawl. For it’s not just a pretty crystalline thing, it’s a prison, and inside… his parabatai, trapped like a fly in amber.

Alec’s lying on his side, one arm slightly outstretched, knees lightly bent, still in the same position in which he landed after he was hit with a violent burst of dark magic, after he tumbled and rolled across the stone floor, and before the malevolent energy imprisoned him inside the shimmering crystal.

“I can still feel him,” Jace says softly, hand still pressed against the surface of the prism, eyes fixed on his parabatai’s pale face. “He’s alive in there. I don’t know how, but he is.” 

Magnus joins him, arms wrapped around himself protectively. He’s exhausted; he hasn’t slept since it happened, desperately trying to find a way - any way - to break the spell. “Yes, Alexander is alive just… trapped in time.”

Jace finally looks away from Alec. “Why did he do it? Why did Asmodeus dothis to Alec? He’s a demon, I get that, but we’ve never fought him before, he had no reason to hold a grudge against us.”

Magnus closes his eyes. He seems to crumple, shoulders rounding even more, as the slithery voice of one of the Princes of Hell echoes through his head…

“Now he’ll never leave you, Magnus, he’ll never age and never die… Isn’t it a wonderful gift that I’ve given you? Am I not generous…?”

Magnus swallows, his heart aching, and without opening his eyes, he whispers, “He did it because he’s my father. Asmodeus is my father and he hates me and he wants to destroy everything that I love…”

Chapter Text

“I was really surprised when you called and suggested we had our drinks today, Alexander,” Magnus says with a smile as he pours something frothy into two tall glasses. “With everything that’s going on, I didn’t think you would be in the mood for a date.” 

Alec smiles softly, and runs his fingers across the back of Magnus’ couch as he walks slowly towards the large windows overlooking the bridge. He’s been very quiet since he arrived. “I guess I really needed to get out,” he replies.

Magnus pauses. “What happened?”

Alec snorts, crossing his arms over his chest. “What didn’t?” he counters.

Leaving the drinks on the table, Magnus goes to him. “What happened today?” he specifies with a worried expression. 

Alec sighs and slumps against the window frame. “I was relieved of my position as the second-in-command. I won’t be leading the Shadowhunters in the field anymore, it’s now Izzy’s job.” 

“Alexander…” Magnus whispers, his eyes sad. 

“According to mother, Izzy at least tried to be discreet about her ‘dalliances with the Downworlders’ and didn’t ‘flaunt them’ in front of the Clave envoys.” Alec turns to Magnus. “And yes, those were her exact words.” 

Magnus grimaces painfully. “I’m so sorry.” 

Alec shakes his head, looking drained. “I thought something like this might happen but…” He uncrosses his arms and rubs his eyes with the heels of his hands. “I thought that the order would come from outside, from the Clave, it has never even occurred to me that it would be mother’s own decision.” He drops his hands and his face is strangely young and vulnerable when he looks at Magnus. “By the Angel, she must hate me so much…”

Magnus steps closer, his heart aching. “No, Alexander, no,” he says, shaking his head imploringly. “She doesn’t hate you. She’s just… angry, that’s all. More so at me than you, I’m sure,” he adds dryly. “But everything will be fine, you’ll see.”

Alec stares at him for a moment, then smiles sadly and shakes his head again. “No, it won’t. Even if we do manage to patch our relationship back together at some point, my career is over, she saw to that. Nobody will ever trust me with a command again, not when my own mother didn’t. The damage’s done.” 

Magnus doesn’t say anything to that because there is nothing to say, empty platitudes won’t help. He knows how the Clave thinks, and he knows Alec’s right. And there’s nothing Magnus can do to help, being a Downworlder

And yet - despite everything, Alec is still here, with him

As if reading his mind, Alec smiles a little brokenly and reaches out a hand that Magnus takes without thinking. “I suddenly felt like I couldn’t breathe anymore. I needed to get out, somewhere I could be free - that’s why I called you.” 

Magnus smiles back warmly and squeezes his hand. “Call any time you need, Alexander. I’ll always answer.”

Chapter Text

“That looks nasty.” Alec hisses sympathetically as he gently turns Magnus’ hands palms up: they’re raw with burns and blisters. “You shouldn’t have done that,” he chides softly.

Magnus almost whimpers in pain, but still manages to glare. “If I hadn’t, you would be dead.” 

Alec looks at him sheepishly and Magnus’ face softens. It really wasn’t Alec’s fault that he got caught in a blast of demon fire. Still, if Magnus hadn’t reacted quickly and pulled him out…

“Can’t you use your magic to heal yourself?” Alec asks, bemused. “I thought all warlocks could do that…” 

And the glare is back. “I could, certainly, if I had any magic left. If I hadn’t spent all of it on holding the demon fire off you long enough to get you out! That thing is like Greek fire, it clings to everything - and especially bare skin!”

“Then use my strength, you’re welcome to it,” Alec offers with endearing straightforwardness. 

Magnus is charmed, but. “For that, I would actually need my hands. I can’t just lean against you and tap you like a Bluetooth.”

Alec stares down at Magnus’ burns for a moment, a crease between his brows revealing his deep thoughts. “How about your mouth, then?” he asks. 

Magnus’ eyebrows shoot up. “You want me to snog you for power?”

Alec rolls his eyes. “Well, it does work for CPR, doesn’t it? Mouth to mouth?”

Magnus ponders it for a bit. “That could actually work. But I would rather not.” 

Alec frowns again. “Why not?”

“Because I know that strength sharing is not exactly a pleasant experience - I saw your face the last time we did it, so don’t try to deny it - and I would rather not have you suffer while kissing me, thank you very much.”

“Well, and I would rather not have you in so much pain you pee your pants every time you try to unzip them in the foreseeable future. So, tough,” Alec counters.

Magnus ponders that problem. “I could wear a toga. Or a kilt.”

Alec snorts. “You would. But seriously, Magnus. I hate to see you suffering. I can manage a little pain, even while kissing, if it means healing you.”

Magnus looks him deeply in the eyes to make sure he’s really okay with it, he knows very well what a self-sacrificing idiot Alec can be. “Alright,” he agrees reluctantly. “But the moment it becomes too much, you break it off. Deal?”

Alec smiles. “Deal. Now, watch your hands,” he says, and stepping closer, he gently rests Magnus’ hands backs first against his own chest. Then he leans down and cradles Magnus’ jaw with one hand - and kisses him. 

And they kiss. And kiss. And Magnus is melting because it’s so good his toes are curling, and he forgets all about the pain… 

But then Alec pulls back. “Hey,” he says softly, and grins a little when Magnus chases after his lips. “Not that it’s not nice and very, very hot, but -your hands?”

Magnus blinks at him dazedly. “Huh? Oh. Oh, yes, my hands. Brace yourself,” he warns, trying to look fierce and failing because mischief dances in his eyes. “Here I come.”

And Alec’s still laughing when their mouths find each other again. 

Chapter Text

Magnus is running, running, running, and something’s chasing him, something hidden in the dark, the skittering of clawed feet making his skin crawl… 

“Magnus…”

…  and the thing’s reaching out, trying to grab him, he’s sure of it, absolutely sure that he can’t escape…

“Magnus!”

… and so he gathers all his power and turns and screams and lets it all go, releasing a powerful blast…

And when his magic illuminates the room with a blue glow, he’s suddenly wide awake, and he sees Alec’s startled face, in the split second before the blast hits him in the chest and throws him off the bed and across the room, against the wall that he hits with a crushing force.

“No!” Magnus yells and he’s moving, scrambling off the bed, even before Alec drops to the floor, and then he’s there, on his knees by his lover’s side, and Alec’s not moving, he’s not moving

“Alec? Alexander? Alexander, answer me!” Magnus begs as he gently turns Alec onto his back - and freezes, because Alec’s eyes are open, but he’s not breathing and his heart under Magnus’ shaking fingers is so still! 

“No, nonononono. Don’t do this to me! I’m sorry, so sorry!” 

And Magnus keeps apologizing while frantically applying CPR, releasing a burst of magic into Alec’s chest with each compress, desperately trying to kick-start Alec’s heart, hoping, begging, praying that it was just the blast that led to his cardiac arrest, that he did not snap Alec’s neck, that he did notdo that, he couldn’t have… he couldn’t have broken Alexander, he couldn’t have.

And then the phone starts ringing somewhere in the loft, but Magnus doesn’t pay it any mind, and he’s crying now, pumping Alec’s chest, just… begging.

And then Alec gasps, his back arching in pain as he tries to draw breath into his starved lungs, eyes wide - and Magnus is pouring everything he has into him, everything, keeping not an ounce of magic to himself, healing scrapes and bruises and the ribs he broke during the CPR, healing every tiny thing that’s hurt and hurting on his Alexander, while still apologizing brokenly, pleading for forgiveness.

And he doesn’t stop until Alec makes him, until he pushes Magnus’ hands off his chest and cuts off his magic that slowed down to a trickle now, until Alec sits up and takes Magnus in his arms and hugs him tight, whispering, “I’m alright, it’s alright, I’m fine, I’m fine, it’s all fine, I’m back, not your fault, it wasn’t your fault, shh, shh, stop…”

And the phone is still ringing frantically, and Magnus knows that it’s probably Jace who must have felt what happened, who must be scared out of his mind, and he knows he should get up, pick it up, reassure his lover’sparabatai, but he can’t, he can’t move, and he’s clinging to Alec, breathing harshly, because he just almost killed him, he almost killed Alec… his Alexander’s heart wasn’t beating

And Magnus just shakes and shakes and shakes

Chapter Text

“Warlock!”

Magnus cringes. Almost escaped, he thinks bitterly. Almost! He sighs deeply, plasters a smile on his face and whirls around with as flamboyant a gesture as he can manage. Because, why not?

“Robert Lightwood,” Magnus exclaims cheerily, “what I can do for you?”

Robert walks up to him slowly in the short hall leading down to the Institute’s main entrance. “I need to talk to you about my son.” 

Magnus wants to cringe again, instead his grin turns a little manic. “Oh, yes, Maryse already made her opinion on the matter of Alexander and me quite clear, so why don’t you take a stab, too?” he allows grandly.

He expects mockery or maybe disdain, humiliating accusations, something like that. Instead, Robert says reluctantly, “Magnus, I know that there’s been… bad blood between us, and that you surely hold a grudge against us, Maryse and me, and with a good reason, too” he adds quickly, then pauses and takes a deep breath. “But I’m asking you… don’t take it out on Alec. Don’t use him to get back at us. He’s innocent in all this.” 

At once, Magnus drops his flamboyant act and narrows his eyes dangerously. “That’s what you think this is about? My relationship with your son? Some kind of a… of a petty revenge?” 

“I don’t know,” Robert admits, sounding tired, resigned… worried

Worried for his son, Magnus realizes and his expression softens slightly. 

“I really don’t know,” Robert continues, “that’s why I wanted to talk to you. I love my son, I do. He might not see it that way and that’s my own fault, but I would hate to see him hurt, that’s the last thing I would want, for any of my children, especially as a result of my own… wrongful actions in the past.” 

Magnus blinks. Did Robert Lightwood really just admit to him that he had been wrong in the past? Magnus doesn’t know what to do with that.

Robert sighs and rubs his forehead. “I won’t pretend I understand what’s between you and Alec, because I don’t, and maybe I never will, but… that’s not really important. The important thing here is Alec and his happiness. And if he thinks you are the person to make him happy…” He shrugs. “Just… don’t hurt him, alright? He deserves only the best.” 

Magnus’ smile is genuine, when he replies, “Well, that’s the one thing we both agree on, then. And I hope I’ll be given the chance to make sure that it’s what he gets…”

Chapter Text

“So, now that all your friends - except yours truly, of course - are enjoying the marital bliss, when will you finally propose to Magnus?” Lily asks, sipping O-negative from a tall champagne glass. 

Maia and Bat’s wedding party is in full swing at Luke’s and Lily and Alec are standing off to the side, by the lake, enjoying a moment of peace away from the ruckus.

Alec stiffens. He’s quiet for so long that Lily looks at him. “I already did,” he admits softly in the end, looking down into his own champagne glass, still almost full.

Lily’s eyebrows shoot up. “You did? When? What did he say?” she asks eagerly. The head of a vampire clan she might be, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t enjoy gossip as much as the next person… vampire. Whatever.

Alec sighs and empties his glass in one big gulp. “Ten years ago, after we took Max in…”

“And?” she prompts when he falls silent again. 

“And he said ‘one day’,” Alec answers, and there’s something in his voice that makes Lily frown. 

“One day?” she repeats slowly as if unsure she heard right. “What kind of idiotic nonsense is that?” 

Alec can’t help but  laugh at her bluntness. “He doesn’t want to marry, unless the Clave changes its ways and allows Nephilim to marry Downworlders in a proper Shadowhunter ceremony, the one in gold.” His smile fades. “Ten years, Lily… I’m starting to think it will never happen.” 

She stares up at him for a long moment, and her voice is much softer when she says, “Alec…”

He shakes his head as if chasing away his sudden melancholy. “On good days, I get  it, I get him, I understand where he’s coming from. I get that he wants to be seen as a real person by the Clave, as an equal, and I want to give it to him, to all Downworlders, so badly.” He falls silent and drops his gaze to his empty glass again. “But on bad days… on bad days, I wonder if it’s justme, if he doesn’t want to marry me, if maybe that’s the real issue here, and the rest is just a convenient excuse.”

“Oh, pish!” Lily tells him with an eye-roll. “That guy is so smitten with you he worships the ground you walk on! Don’t be an idiot.”

Alec laughs quietly and hugs her around the shoulders with one arm. “I know, I know, as I said, it’s just on my bad days, when I can’t help but think about these things…”

“Have you ever told him how you feel about the whole thing?” she asks seriously after a moment. 

He shakes his head. “No, and please, don’t tell him either. I know it’s stupid.”

Now it’s her turn to shake her head. “No, it’s not.” She leans against him. “It’s not stupid to want to marry someone, to show the world that this is the person that matters to you most. It’s not stupid at all,” she adds softly, remembering Raphael, her feelings for him still a warm glow in her chest, even so many years after his death.

“Hey, you two!” calls out Magnus, striding towards them in all his glittery glory. “What’s with you two, lurking so gloomily over there? It’s a wedding, let’s celebrate!”

And Alec and Lily smile at each other with understanding, and join the party again.

Chapter Text

Magnus Bane hasn’t been in Alicante, the capital of Idris, in years, having traveled the world with his two warlock companions, Ragnor Fell and Catarina Loss, until a slight mishap in the country of Peruvia - something about a drunk tango and a shoe that hit one of the dignitaries in the unmentionables - forced them to flee, pursued by villagers with pitchforks. 

Well, things like that tend to happen, from time to time, occasionally, more often than not to him, apparently, which is why his friends finally abandoned him at the border of Idris with the intention to “live a quieter life for a few years, thank you very much.” 

So now, back in Alicante, with his mansion a little dustier, but with his vault still overflowing with gold and treasures, enough to last him several human lifetimes, Magnus decides to pursue his original profession, that of a magic user, demon summoner and… 

… apparently the repairer of broken wards. Which is how he once more, after almost twenty years, finds himself in the Lightwood House, one of the famous Clave Institutes that pride themselves to offer the best Companions in the world. And if Magnus is honest with himself, rightly so. Their staff is always exquisite. 

Finishing the last glyph on the wall, Magnus smiles as he feels the magical protection snick back into place and start humming contently once again. “Done,” he says, turning to Maryse Lightwood, the Mistress of the Institute. “No Forsaken will now be able to get in.”

Maryse nods, as regal as ever in her black dress and with her hair pulled back severely. “Good. The Possessed One attacked two of our people - my son was one of them! - and I don’t want to see that happen ever again!”

“You don’t have to worry, as long as no one tempers with the glyphs, I can promise you that no Forsaken will get through,” he assures her. He doesn’t like Maryse Lightwood, never has because she has always considered Raziel’s followers everyone’s betters, but he can appreciate her care for her people.

“For the payment you demand, warlock Bane, you should be right,” she replies. “Now, do you want your reward paid in gold or precious stones?”

Her tone makes him want to rattle her cage a bit. “How about a night spent with one of your Companions?” Magnus knows he won’t lose money that way, a full night spent with one of the Clave’s people is worth a small fortune!

Only the slight twist of Maryse’s mouth indicates her displeasure; magic users are not exactly welcome in the Lightwood House, definitely not as patrons. But good money is good money and Maryse Lightwood is a businesswoman, first and foremost. “Of course, warlock Bane. You can choose anyone you want, they will be made available to you.” 

Magnus grins with satisfaction. “Thank you, Mistress Lightwood.” He bows rather mockingly. Then looks around…

The room with heavy dark furniture, expensive carpets and elegant drapes is full of Companions, of any age, gender or proclivity one can desire. But none of them really captures Magnus’ attention. That is until…

A young man, tall and long-limbed, is walking down the stairs slowly, bare feet, silk black pants, midnight blue shirt unbuttoned and revealing a sculpted chest covered with dark hair… And when Magnus’ upward sliding gaze reaches the man’s face, his breath hitches in his chest. He’s absolutely mesmerized by the man’s red lips and big hazel eyes and…

“Who are you?” Magnus breathes out, enchanted.

Maryse narrows her eyes. “That’s my son!” 

But Magnus just waves a hand at her, for once not paying attention to her disdain. “I won’t hold it against him, I promise,” he answers, unable to look away from the man. “What’s his name?”

“Alexander,” Maryse grits out through clenched teeth. 

“Alexander… Alexander,” Magnus whispers, his heart already beating faster in anticipation. Oh yes, Alexander Lightwood is definitely worth a small fortune. “Him. I want him!”

And that’s how it begins…

Chapter Text

“You seem really grumpy these days,” Isabelle comments as she watches Jace pummel the bag.

“I. Am. Not!” Jace retorts, punctuating each word with a hit. 

Izzy rolls her eyes. “Right. So, your current mood has nothing to do with Alec and the fact that these days, he spends all of his free time at Magnus’ place, doing the ‘horizontal tango’?”

The next punch that comes is so crushing that the bag tears itself off its base and hits the floor, bouncing and rolling, spilling its filling all over the training room. They both just stare at it for a moment. 

“Alright then,” Isabelle says with an ironic twist of her mouth, “I’m glad we’re clear on that issue.”

Jace shoots her a murderous look, then starts pulling off his gloves. “It’s just…” he starts, then stops again. “It’s… why does he have to go over thereall the time? When we’re not hunting, he’s at Magnus’, climbing him like a tree! Before, he lived like a monk, now he seem to have the libido of a starving incubus!”

Isabelle swallows a smile. “And how is it different from you and Clary, when you first got together?” she points out.

“It just is!” he states peevishly and throws his gloves down on the table before propping his hands on his hips. “At least we were both here!”

“Snogging!” Izzy reminds him.

He looks at her tetchily again. 

Isabelle sighs. “I get it, you miss him–”

“I do not!” Jace snaps.

“–so why don’t you just tell him?” she finishes calmly as if he didn’t interrupt her. “He probably doesn’t even realize that this is how you feel, that you’re miserable. He might think that you’re content to have more time for Clary.”

When he just stares at her irritably, she steps closer and puts a hand on his shoulder. “Look, remember how he was when you and Clary started yourthing? How you yelled at him for finding faults in everything that Clary did?” She waits till he nods. “It’s the same situation, just your roles switched.”

He continues to glare mutely, so she sighs and spells it out for him, “You’re jealous of your parabatai’s lover. Congratulations and welcome to the club.”

“I’m not…” Jace pauses, then groans and hangs his head. “By the Angel, Iam jealous of Magnus, aren’t I?” 

Izzy pats him on the arm. “There, there.” She grins, but when she continues, her voice is kind, “Just tell him you want to spend more time with him. He will understand because this is exactly how he felt before. And Magnus might be the best thing ever in bed - and from what we know, he actually might - but I bet Alec misses you, too. You are his parabatai. Just talk to him!”

Jace huffs. “I guess…” he grumbles and sighs. “This sucks.” 

Isabelle laughs. “You think you have it hard? Try watching all the drama from the sidelines - twice!”

Chapter Text

Alec’s lying in the big four-poster bed in Magnus’ loft, his hair is almost white, his skin paper thin, his breath is wheezing in and out of his lungs so painfully it hurts to listen to it. He fell asleep shortly after they brought him in and hasn’t woken ever since. 

“You’re telling me that this… this thing that the Seelie Queen did to him, that it’s just a glamour, an illusion?” Jace asks, looking at Magnus with anxious eyes.

Magnus, who’s standing next to Jace at the foot of the bed, nods slowly, his face grim. “Yes. Not even the Seelie Queen can speed up time or slow it down for one person and one person only, time does not work like that - magic does not work like that.”

“But?” Jace prompts when Magnus falls silent. Because there’s always a “but”. 

Magnus lets out a deep breath. “But! Alexander’s body doesn’t know that, it’s not aware that what it’s feeling, what it’s telling his mind, isn’t true, that it’s not real.” Magnus blinks and finally turns away from his boyfriend to look at Jace. “He’s dying of old age, even though he’s only 21.”

Jace clenches his hands into fists. “So, this will kill him if we don’t find a way to break the Seelie Queen’s spell?”

Magnus nods again. “I’ll try to find a way to break it myself, but warlock magic can do very little against a Seelie spell, our powers simply work differently, I could actually do more harm than good.” 

Jace lets out a harsh laugh. “More harm? More harm than this?” He waves a hand at Alec.

“I could kill him trying to reverse the spell,” Magnus whispers. 

“So, what can we do?” Jace demands.

It’s Clary who answers his question, coming in with a determined expression. “We’ll go back to the Seelie Queen’s court and force her to reverse the spell.” She stops between Magnus and Jace, eyes trained on Alec. “She only did it out of spite, because it was he who was leading the Shadowhunters who escorted Meliorn to the Silent Brothers.”

Jace shakes his head angrily. “We never should’ve taken him with us to the Seelies, not after what happened between him and Meliorn. Meliorn’s the Seelie Queen’s favorite, we should’ve known she would take revenge on Alec…” 

Magnus says, “Whatever you do, do it fast,” he turns back to his boyfriend again, who still hasn’t moved, hasn’t woken up yet, “or he will die…”

Jace looks at Alec, too, his eyes revealing his despair for a moment, then he clenches his jaw and nods. “I’ll make her undo it, I swear. I don’t care how, but I will force her to take the spell off Alec. I will not let him die!”

And with that, followed by Clary who squeezes Magnus’ arm in reassurance, he stalks away, leaving his parabatai in Magnus’ care.

Chapter Text

Magnus is standing in the doorway of his bedroom, admiring the view of Alec who fell asleep on the couch, all curled up on himself to fit in, a book open in his lap. Magnus can’t remember the last time he felt so… content by simply being in the same room as another person. 

“Hm, a thing of beauty, these mortals, like pretty flowers: one moment there, the next… faded and gone,” whispers a voice behind him. 

Magnus jerks, dread seizing him, and twists around, magic already gathered in his hands, because he knows this voice and fears it like no other. “Asmodeus!” he hisses.

The Prince of Hell looks as regal as ever in his terrifying beauty. “Don’t worry, my child, I’m not really here, your wards are as impenetrable as ever. Right now, my physical body is in a little forgotten hamlet in Bavaria, where some idiot thought himself powerful enough to summon me. I had to teach him a lesson, of course, but I couldn’t miss this opportunity to visit. Especially,” he adds as he floats past Magnus and into the living room, “since word has reached me of a new toy that my son has found himself…” 

Magnus moves lightning fast and steps between his father and Alec, who’s still fast asleep, exhausted after a long hunt. “Don’t you dare go anywhere near him!” Magnus spats softly, not wanting to wake his lover. 

Asmodeus huffs out a laugh. “Or what? You will kill me? My astral projection? Come on, Magnus, don’t disappoint me, and start using your brain. It’s rather embarrassing to see you this smitten with a mere mortal…” He shakes his head as if disappointed by his progeny.  

“Leave Alec be!” Magnus orders firmly, though his heart’s beating so hard his chest hurts. His father… his father is here, he’s here, astral projection or not, in Alec’s vicinity, he knows about Alec, he knows what Alec means to Magnus!

“Ah, yes, Alec… Alexander Gideon Lightwood. One of his ancestors, Benedict, if my memory serves me right, is burning nicely in my corner of Hell, screaming and begging for mercy…” Asmodeus grins, all sharp teeth and malevolent glint in his eyes. “I wonder, where your lover’s soul will go once he dies? Souls are so fragile, so easily lost, misplaced…” Asmodeus lunges forward, his face just inches away from his son’s, voice slithery, “…damned.” 

With a silent cry, Magnus throws his magic against him, shattering his astral projection, as useless as it might be, denying his words and banishing him, sending him far, far away from Alec… 

Because Asmodeus will not get Alexander, he won’t. If Magnus has any say in it at all, his father will never get anywhere near his lover, whether his body or his soul, ever again!

Chapter Text

When Shadowhunters storm the ship, Jace turns on Valentine; yes, he might be Jace’s father, but Jace would never, ever allow him to harm one of their own people, especially when there are so many familiar faces among them, Raj, Izzy… Alec and Clary!

But Valentine’s stronger than Jace suspected, than he thought possible, stronger than any Shadowhunter should be, and when they clash together on the ship’s otherwise empty bridge, Jace’s disadvantage becomes rapidly clear, a source of mockery for Valentine. 

Thrown to the ground yet again, Jace starts to despair, to contemplate something suicidal, just to get Valentine, to stop him, to kill him… But in that moment, his and Alec’s eyes meet across the length of the ship. 

Alec’s battling Valentine’s minions on the prow, Izzy and Clary by his side, but when he notices Jace looking, he stops, the girls covering his back. He stops and stares at Jace, their need to be there for one another, to help one another, an almost physical thing between them. 

Alec’s eyes slide over to Jace’s right, to Valentine, who’s rambling something about Shadowhunter honor, Jace’s not really listening, and then back to Jace again - and very deliberately, Alec touches his hip, the place where his parabatai rune adorns his skin, and nods firmly, his face grim and determined. And Jace understands, and something warm, something he thought long lost, is set aglow in his chest once more. Yes. Yes…

Jace holds Alec’s eyes for a moment before giving him a smile and a nod of his own, and then he turns quickly back to his father who’s coming at him again, his Seraph Blade raised in his hands. Jace rolls aside, and once he’s safely away from Valentine, he takes his stele out of his pocket, pulls up his shirt and runs the stele over his parabatai rune, activating it. 

And when Jace stands up again, he can feel Alec there with him, his back pressed against Alec’s front, he can feel Alec’s heart beating as one with his own, and when he raises his Seraph Blade, it glows almost blindingly white, Alec’s arm pressed against his own from shoulder to wrist, Alec’s hand covering his on the hilt of the blade.

And Jace stands there a moment longer, reveling in their joint power humming through his veins, in the feeling of having Alec there, right there with him, in all the glory of what a parabatai bond should be, and when Alec’s ghostly voice whispers in his ear, “Now…”

… Jace attacks.

Chapter Text

Magnus chuckles when Robert Lightwood states that extra protection is “priceless”. “No, say that after you get my bill.”

Robert just shrugs it off. “My son Alec will take care of that,” he says and waves a hand at… 

A young man who apparently joined them while Magnus wasn’t looking. Oh, a pretty one. Tall, dark and handsome does not even begin to describe this perfect specimen, Magnus thinks. The man, Alec, dressed in black training clothes, has a white bandage on his left upper arm, a stick in one hand and… wraparound sunglasses on his face? How… peculiar.

Magnus grins when Robert just walks away, leaving him alone with his son, thus giving Magnus just the opportunity he hoped for. “Magnus Bane, High Warlock of Brooklyn,” he introduces himself, reaching out for a handshake.

“Alec Lightwood,” the young man answers… and completely ignores Magnus’ outstretched hand.

Magnus lets his hand drop and sighs inwardly, already feeling his interest waning. Of course, yet another Shadowhunter dick. What did he expect?

“Father wanted me to settle your bill. Would you follow me to the office?” Alec asks, and turning slightly, he reaches out for the glass railing, bumping into it with his knuckles clumsily. 

Magnus raises his eyebrows. He expected more grace from one of the Angel blessed. But then he notices the way Alec runs his fingers over the glass until he finds a little mark scratched into it - one of many, placed in regular intervals along the rail. With a lot more confidence, Alec turns fully to the right, towards the stairs that lead down from the gallery, unobtrusively tapping the floor with his… cane, it’s a cane, not a fighting stick, Magnus realizes. 

Oh. Oh! 

Magnus skips a little to catch up with Alec, his grin back in place now that he understands what’s going on here.  “So, Alec… Alexander?” he takes a stab, and when the other man inclines his head, Magnus continues, “You fought the Forsaken last night?”

Alec nods again. “Yes, I know my way around the Institute very well, and Hodge was there, too, so to defeat him wasn’t that hard.”

Magnus leans forward to take a peek at Alec’s bandage. No wonder Robert wanted the Institute better protected than Fort Knox if his son - his blind son! - was hurt in the one place he should’ve been absolutely safe. “I see you got hurt, though.”

They arrive at the stairs, and Alec heads down slowly. “It’s nothing. A scratch.”

On the main floor, Magnus notices how the staff makes sure that there’s nothing in Alec’s way, as he tap-tap-taps his way through the Ops Center. He finds it quite touching to be honest. “A Forsaken wound often needs a little warlock TLC…”

Alec huffs out a laugh. “Are you offering?”

That startles Magnus a little, since he didn’t expect a Shadowhunter to… flirt back? “Yes, I am,” he confirms. 

“I’m not sure I could afford your services. What would you want in return?” Alec asks as he stops at the corridor leading deeper into the Institute.

Magnus thinks it over. Should he? Why the hell not! “Dinner. You and me,” he specifies, just so that there are no misunderstandings.

Alec smiles. “That sounds fun. When?”

And Magnus grins and bounces on his toes. This is gonna be great! “How about right now?”

Chapter Text

Their dinner was a private affair at Magnus’ loft, just the two of them and some Ethiopian delicacies actually ordered in, not summoned. And now that Magnus is preparing them drinks, he comments with a smile, “You surprised me. Quite a lot, really. I didn’t expect you to flirt back, let alone go out with me.” 

Alec, who’s sitting on the couch, laughs softly. “Yeah, well. If we had met two weeks ago, I can assure you I wouldn’t have.” 

Magnus looks at him curiously. “What happened two weeks ago?”

Alec sighs. “Clary Fray happened.” He shakes his head, his wraparound sunglasses reflecting the soft lights in the loft. “I don’t know, since she came into our lives…” He falls silent. “No, that’s not fair. Even before, everything was just a little bit wrong, she just made it all float to the surface.” 

Magnus finishes Alec’s drink and carries it over. “Drink,” he says, “in a cocktail glass, long stem.” And when Alec raises his hand, he carefully settles the glass in his fingers.

“Thanks,” Alec says, and after a cautious sniff, he takes a sip. “Hm, it’s good,” he adds, a little surprised.

“I only make good stuff,” Magnus answers cheekily, then prompts, “You were saying about Clary?”

Alec plays with the glass for a moment. “For the longest time, it was just Jace, Izzy and me. And Jace…” He pauses, and then, as if coming to some decision, he continues, “Jace has never really dated anyone. He had a fling here and there, but… because of that, I hoped that there was a chance…” He falls silent again. “And then Clary came along.”

“Ah,” Magnus remarks quietly.

“Since that moment, everything has changed. And not for the better. Jace and I..” He shakes his head again. “I guess we’ve always had our issues, he’s the Clave’s poster boy, I’m… who I am. But we’ve held together. Now, all we do is fight. It’s like he’s never there when I need him anymore. It made me realize… it made me realize that I grew too dependent on him, and that he’ll never need me as much as I need him.”

Magnus goes back for his own drink that he left on the table. “He’s yourparabatai, he’ll always need you,” he disagrees gently.

“But not like I came to need him, it just took me a while to get it.” Alec sips his drink again. “And then, because of all the unsanctioned actions Jace and Izzy took on Clary’s behalf, the Clave started breathing down our family’s neck. I did not understand why mother was so frantic about restoring our name, until the Clave’s envoy, Lydia Branwell, told me that mom and dad were in the Circle…”

Magnus cringes. He knew that the Lightwoods used to be Circle members, of course. But for their son to find out from a stranger…

Alec raises the glass and empties it in one big gulp, as if needing the courage to continue. Then, “I heard them talking, my parents. I think they tend to forget how good my hearing really is. They were discussing how to restore our honor quickly, thought the best way would be to marry off one of us to a respectable Shadowhunter family, but…” He grips the glass so hard his knuckles turn white. “But Max, my little brother, is too young, Izzy’s ‘dalliances’ with Downworlders are apparently too infamous in Idris, and me…” He swallows, and his voice becomes a whisper.  “Who would want me? Those were my mother’s own words, ‘And who would want Alec?’”

Magnus’ heart seizes. She didn’t… “Alexander…” he breathes out.

Alec laughs harshly. “I knew, I always knew that I was not good enough for the Clave, not good enough to be a warrior, not good enough to be a leader, but I tried to make up for how… how defective I am,” he waves at his blind eyes, “I trained harder and I studied harder than anyone else. And it’s simply not enough!”

They both startle when the glass shatters in Alec’s hand, and Alec hisses as some of the shards dig into his skin, the rest tinkling to the floor. 

“Alexander!” Magnus exclaims, and setting his drink aside, he rushes over.

Alec breathes in sharply through his nose and holds his bleeding hand up gingerly. “Sorry, sorry…”

“Don’t worry about it,” Magnus assures him and with a snap of his fingers he makes all the shards disappear, blood now welling up quickly in Alec’s open cuts. 

Magnus sits down on the low table in front of the couch, and reaches out for Alec’s hand, then hesitates. “I’ll look at your hand and heal it, alright?” he says, wanting to make sure Alec knows what’s going on. 

When Alec nods, Magnus takes his injured hand in both of his, inspects the cuts and then pours a little of his blue magic into them, sealing them up and healing the damage. 

Alec laughs a little and when Magnus makes an inquiring noise, he explains, “It tickles. Your magic, it feels like a cat’s fur on my skin.”

Magnus grins at that, and when Alec’s injury is healed, he summons a cloth to wash away the sticky blood. Alec startles a bit at the touch of the wet material, but then he relaxes, and allows Magnus to take care of him. 

“I’m sorry I’m a lousy date,” Alec whispers dejectedly, shoulders slumped. 

Magnus raises his eyebrows and looks at him. “What are you talking about?”

Alec shakes his head. “All I’ve done since we came here is to complain.”

Now it’s Magnus’ turn to shake his head. “Nonsense. You’re not complaining, you’re telling me about yourself, that’s what people do on dates. They get to know each other.”

Alec smiles. “If you say so. I have never been on a date, so…” Then he turns serious. “I just… I wanted you to know that when I agreed to go out with you, that it wasn’t just some… I don’t know, some kind of a rebellion against my parents or the Clave,” he clarifies. “After all that happened in the last couple of weeks, I finally realized that I would never be good enough, not for my parents, not for the Clave, probably not even for Jace, no matter how much I tried. So, I decided to stop trying. If I’m to be a disappointment for them anyway, I can just as well be at least true to myself.”

Magnus sets the washcloth aside and squeezes Alec’s hand, healed and whole once more, gently in both of his. “You’re not a disappointment. And you’re not defective, no matter what the Clave with its backwards way of thinking claims. You’re smart and funny and a great fighter, and also very, very hot, if I may say so,” he adds a little mischievously.

Alec blushes a little, but he seems also rather pleased by that. “You think so?”

“Yes, I do. And I would very much like to kiss you now, if that’s okay,” Magnus adds.. 

“Yeah?” Alec breathes out, licking his lips which makes Magnus’ heart skip a beat. 

“Yeah,” Magnus replies just as softly. 

“Okay,” Alec agrees and leans in a little. 

And Magnus kisses Alec, gently at first, then with much more desire, fervor and need, and something in Magnus rejoices, because yes, this one, this one fits.

Chapter Text

It all ends with a fight to death between Valentine Morgenstern and Maryse Lightwood. Funny that. 

She’s hacking at him with all her might, absolutely furious, almost blinded by her rage. She’s willing to do anything, sacrifice anything just to stop him, kill him, bury him, wipe him off the face of earth once and for all. And because of that, she’s winning, pushing him back, forcing him to retreat…

“You come to my town,” she growls, slashing with abandon, her Seraph Blade glowing brightly, “you try to murder my children and destroy my home, wreck everything I’ve built for my family!”

Valentine tries to parry, but she defeats his maneuver, throws all her weight behind her attack, and runs him through with her blade. He gasps and drops his weapon, and she steps in, grabs him by the back of his neck and pushes the blade in mercilessly until its hilt touches his breastbone, then she twists it for good measure. 

They stand only inches apart, almost in a lover’s embrace, staring each other in the eyes, when she tells him in a cold, terrible voice, “I won’t allow it. I won’t let you ruin everything again. Never again.”

And when the light starts dimming in his eyes, and she’s certain his death is only seconds away, she leans even closer and with vicious glee, she whispers in his ear, “Forgot to tell you, lover: Alexander is your son.”

Chapter Text

Jace’s standing in the half-empty hospital corridor, trying to find the courage to actually open the door and walk in. His heart’s beating fast with anticipation and fear. After so many years, this is it…

He takes a deep breath, gathers his courage and finally steps into the hospital room - that looks like a flower shop exploded in there. Flowers are everywhere, and stuffed animals and balloons, bright colors entirely dominating what before was just white space.

It startles Jace a little, it’s not exactly what he expected, but then his attention is drawn to the man lying in the hospital bed - and he breathes out harshly. It’s him, it’s really him, after eight years of searching. Alec… 

Alec’s taller than he used to be, his shoulders are broader and he looks more solid, not as lanky as he was at 18. He’s tanned, his hair’s a little longer… and he’s asleep or maybe unconscious, Jace can’t tell. Alec’s head is turned slightly away from the door and towards the windows on the other side of the room through which bright sunshine pours in… and in its light, Jace notices all the bruises and scrapes and cuts all over Alec’s upper body… 

“Hello?” someone inquires softly somewhere inside the room. 

Jace startles and looks around quickly. And there, behind the huge teddy bear adorned with a big bow and holding a white card in its furry paws, saying, “Get well soon, captain’s orders! Lydia ♥,” there’s a man sitting there in a plush chair that’s definitely not hospital issued, peeking around the toy curiously. 

The man’s… odd. Asian, slightly older than he or Alec, with fuchsia highlights in his styled hair, layered make-up on his face and… in a suit that Jace would bet cost more than a used car. He’s blinking at Jace inquisitively, eyebrows raised. 

Jace steps farther into the room and lets the door click shut behind him. “Yeah, hi.” He clears his throat and tries again. “Hi, I’m here for,” he waves his hand at the bed, “for Alec…”

Now that Jace came closer, the man takes him in with an observant but not unfriendly gaze. “Are you a colleague of his? I thought I knew all the people at his fire station.”

Jace shuffles his feet because this is awkward. “No, I’m… I’m his brother.”

The man’s eyebrows shoot up again, then, “Oh. Oh! Jace Wayland?” he takes a guess and his face brightens as he jumps to his feet and reaches across the bed. “It’s so nice to finally meet you! I’ve heard everything about you!”

Jace shakes the man’s hand, caught completely off guard. “You did?” 

“Yes! Alexander talks about you often, about that little… incident between you all those years ago.” The man pats Alec’s leg gently through the thin blanket and aims a look full of deep affection at him, before turning back to Jace. “Quite the unfortunate thing, wasn’t it?”

Unfortunate… Jace swallows. That’s one way to put it. 

Eight years ago, just after high school, when Alec came out to their family, their parents, Jace’s adoptive parents, didn’t take it well. At all. Jace stood firmly by Alec’s side, together with their sister Izzy and their little brother Max, but when Alec then admitted to Jace privately that he was in love with him… 

Well, Jace doesn’t remember what exactly was said between them - he was so shocked because he has never considered Alec anything more than his best friend and, most of all, brother! - but it must’ve been something really horrible because the next morning, Alec was gone, his things, everything, just… gone. And he hasn’t seen ever him since. 

Until this morning, on TV, in a news report about some big fire downtown, where it was said that one of the firemen was taken to the hospital after being caught in a collapsing building. And it was Alec, his picture in his fireman gear, but the name listed didn’t say Alexander Lightwood, but Alexander Bane!

The man sighs and continues talking. “I wish I could’ve convinced him to talk to you, to call you. But the longer he waited, the harder it was for him…” He pats Alec’s leg again, with the same affectionate smile. 

Jace frowns. “I’m sorry, but who are you?” he asks.

“Ah! Where are my manners?” the man exclaims. He reaches into his pocket, and pulling out a business card, he hands it over to Jace, who didn’t notice until now that the man’s fingernails are painted the same fuchsia color that adorns his hair. “Magnus Bane, defense attorney, should you ever need one - but most importantly, Alexander’s husband.”

Jace looks down at the card, blue and… glittery, as odd as the man himself. Magnus Bane, Bane, Loss, Fell & Gray, Law Firm, it states“Bane? So that’s why…” He waves a hand at Alec again.

“Yes,” Bane confirms. “Alexander took my name after our wedding three years ago. He wanted a completely fresh start, and I found it terribly endearing.” He sighs and gives his husband a sappy look. “Though I wish he chose a little less dangerous career. But as long as he’s happy…” Bane shrugs as if saying, “What can you do?”

Jace just blinks at him, feeling completely overwhelmed. Then he looks at Alec, still asleep in the bed. His brother, married… Somehow, this he never fit into all the possible scenarios he imagined of what could’ve happened to Alec.

Noticing his stare, Bane says gently, “Don’t worry, he’ll be alright. Gave me a big scare, that’s true, but he’s just a little banged up, nothing a little TLC from yours truly won’t cure.” 

Jace looks at him uncertainly. “Do you think he will… that he will want to see me? Talk to me?” He swallows. “I would like to apologize to him for how badly I handled the whole thing eight years ago. I’ve waited for so long…” 

Bane’s eyes soften even more. He reaches out to squeeze Alec’s hand gently and runs a thumb over his knuckles. “I’m sure he’ll be delighted. You two have so much to talk about. Would you like to sit with me and wait for him to wake up?” he offers. “The doctors prescribed him a mild sedative to help him sleep, but he should be waking up soon.”

Jace smiles at him and nods. “Yes,” he says, eyes on his brother again, the painful tightness in his chest that’s haunted him ever since Alec disappeared, easing. “Yes, I would love that…”

Chapter Text

Valentine wins and the Clave’s destroyed… but that’s just the beginning, and before long, the world’s flooded with demons because Valentine’s new breed of Shadowhunters can’t kill them tall, they lack the training and the will to sacrifice their lives for the greater good…

They run, Jace and Clary, Alec and Isabelle, hunted by both sides, demons and Valentine alike, viewed as the last remnants of resistance, the rest of the Shadowhunters locked behind the impenetrable wards of Alicante: safe but unable to get out, too…

The four young Shadowhunters - and Magnus Bane, of course, pursued by his father, Asmodeus, one of the Princes of Hell who now reign over the earth… 

Tucked in a rocky valley far, far away from any large city, they settle for the night, the perimeter of their little camp guarded by wards raised and locked in place by Magnus’ magic, powered by Alec’s strength, since they can’t afford for the warlock to exhaust himself when he’s their best weapon in the fight against the powerful demonic creatures that have overrun the world. 

Both of them, Alec and Magnus, are thus spared from keeping watch through the night. And while Izzy stands guard, and Jace and Clary whisper softly, curled up together on the other side of their camp, Alec and Magnus lie down on the soft mossy ground underneath a large spruce, Alec on his back, and Magnus tucked against his side, head resting on Alec’s shoulder.

“I really like your scruff,” Magnus comments softly, looking up at Alec. He lifts his hand and runs his knuckles over the thick dark hair on his lover’s face. “It makes you look very… manly and handsome.” 

Alec laughs quietly and pulls Magnus tighter against him with an arm around his shoulders. “I don’t know if I should take it as a compliment to my current look or as an insult to how I looked before.” 

“Definitely as a compliment,” Magnus replies with a decisive nod, drops his hand to Alec’s chest and rests it over his steadily beating heart. 

“Alright, then,” Alec says, smile still evident in his voice. 

They lie in silence for a moment, just enjoying a moment of peace, and then Magnus whispers, “Tell me that everything will be alright. That we’ll win and save the world and live happily ever after.” 

Alec hugs him tight and grips his hand. “Do you want the truth or a pretty lie?”

“Lie to me,” Magnus decides.

“Alright,” Alec says just as softly. “We will win. We will defeat Valentine and his minions, and we will destroy Asmodeus and his league of demons, and not one of us will die, not one of us will lose their soul. We will all survive and rebuild the world and we will get our happily ever after, all of us.” 

Magnus is silent for a long moment. “That was a really beautiful story,” he whispers in the end, his voice full of sadness. 

“Yes, it was,” Alec agrees just as sadly and kisses the top of Magnus’ head. “Goodnight, Magnus.”

“Goodnight, Alexander.”

They sleep and outside the barrier, erected by the most powerful warlock left in the world and his half-angelic lover, the demons howl in the distance.

Chapter Text

Thanks to the intel that Jace brings them, they have enough time to evacuate the New York Institute and warn all their Shadow World allies before Valentine attacks. To stay and fight would be madness in the face of such overwhelming odds.

They ask Magnus Bane for help - he is the High Warlock of Brooklyn, after all, as Robert reminds Maryse - and he opens a portal for them, one that leads directly to Alicante…

Alec stands by Magnus’ side and together they watch the personnel leaving the Institute, swiftly but in an orderly fashion, carrying things that they can’t allow to fall into enemy hands. 

“You’re going with us, right?” Alec asks as the last stragglers step through the portal and it’s now just them, and Jace and Clary, who are making sure that nobody and nothing is being left behind.

His question makes Magnus look at him. “You mean… to Alicante?” 

“Yes. Valentine’s going after our allies. The vampires went underground, Luke took his pack to Idris… and you’re coming with us, right? You can’t stay where Valentine can get to you, he will know it was you who helped us,” Alec points out, “and he will go after you, he has the means to do it now.” 

Magnus smiles at him, touched, and his eyes soften. “Alexander, I have survived the Circle once already, I will do so again.”

Alec shakes his head firmly. “No, you won’t. Valentine has the Mortal Cup now, he commands demons!” He lowers his voice. “Remember what happened to Ragnor Fell. I don’t want you to end up the same way.”

Magnus’ face falls at the reminder of his dear friend. Then he says, “I can take care of myself. Besides,” he fixes his eyes on the shimmering purple gate, “I was explicitly told I wasn’t welcome in Alicante.”

Alec’s eyes widen. “By whom?” he asks incredulously. 

Magnus just looks at him. 

It dawns on Alec, and he whispers, “My mother…”

In that moment, Jace and Clary arrive. “All clear,” she says, while Jace looks around the place that’s been his home for the last ten years, a forlorn, guilty expression on his face. When Clary sees the look on Alec’s face, she frowns and asks, “Everything okay?” 

“Yeah, yeah, everything’s just fine,” Alec assures her, finally tearing his eyes away from Magnus who turns back to the portal, and prompts, “Go.” 

Now it’s Jace’s turn to frown at him. “What about you?”

“I’m right behind you, don’t worry, I just have one more thing to do,” Alec explains and his expression hardens a little, “courtesy of mother.”

Jace’s frown deepens and he exchanges a puzzled look with Clary. “Alright…” he accepts reluctantly. “I’ll wait for you on the other side,” he promises, claps Alec on the shoulder, and together with Clary, they walk through the portal.

The Institute is eerily quiet now that it’s just Alec and Magnus in here. For a long moment, Alec just stares off into the distance, deep in thought. When Magnus can’t seem to take it any longer, he puts on a blinding but completely false smile and waves his hands. “Go on, shoo, now. I can’t keep the portal open indefinitely. Such a strain will give me wrinkles!” 

But instead of complying, Alec says quietly, “Close the portal.” 

Magnus’ eyes widen in shock. “What?”

“Close the portal,” Alec repeats. 

Magnus steps closer urgently. “Alexander, once I close the portal, I won’t be able to open another one, not to Alicante. They will have put up wards! If I close it, you won’t be able to get to your family!”

Alec looks at the portal, then back at Magnus again. His gaze is steady. “I know. Close it.”

“But…!”

Alec lifts his hand and touches Magnus’ face, runs his knuckles down Magnus’ cheek. “I won’t leave you. It’s my decision, Magnus. I’m staying with you. Now close the portal and let us go before Valentine comes.”

Magnus stands there for a long moment, just staring at Alec in open-mouthed shock. He can’t seem to comprehend that Alec would choose him over his own people. 

Then, “If it’s really what you want…?” he inquires reluctantly, needing to be absolutely sure. 

Alec nods. “It is,” he confirms, his voice unwavering, decision made. 

Magnus grins at him brilliantly. “Alright, then let’s go,” he agrees, and snaps his fingers.

And the portal closes with a silent pop.

Chapter Text

Magnus rushes up the stairs, fearing the worst: the explosion he saw from the street must have completely destroyed their apartment. And his husband and their son were inside in that very moment! If they are dead…

“Alexander!” Magnus yells as he barges in through the entrance door hanging askew on its hinges. “Max! Alec!”

The apartment is full of smoke and debris, crackling wires hanging from the ceiling and water rushing through burst pipes. Magnus doesn’t know who’s behind this, but he will make them pay, that he swears. 

And then he sees it, something blue shining in the thick gloom. With a snap of his fingers he douses all the fires and sends the smoke away to reveal…

A bubble, or better said a dome of sparkling blue energy. And curled up underneath the dome, Alec and Max, not burned or torn to pieces but blessedly whole. 

Magnus runs towards the dome, only to stop a foot away from it. He can see that Alec’s hurt, lying unconscious on his side, his shirt torn, his face pale; but he’s breathing, Magnus notes with relief. And their son, five-year-old Max, is kneeling next to his dad, head pressed to Alec’s chest, hiding under Alec’s limp arm and sobbing his little heart out. 

“Max?” Magnus calls again, very gently to not startle the boy. “Max, it’s me…”

Max turns around, sniffles - and the dome fizzles out, allowing Magnus to enter the only part of their apartment that’s left untouched. He kneels down in front of his son and Max throws himself at him. 

“Papa,” Max sobs, words rushing out of him. “It was the fairies! Daddy fought them… and then a big demon appeared and everything got loud… and then it went boom… and I had to protect daddy, I had to, ‘cause he got bumped, so I made the bubble you showed me… and… and…” Max looks up. “Will daddy be okay?”

Magnus reaches out and touches Alec’s face, brushing his raven hair from a sticky, tender spot on his temple. He doesn’t sense anything seriously wrong with him. It really must’ve been the bump on the head. Another wave of relief washes over him: Alec will be okay; Max is okay… Everything will be alright. 

He looks down at his son, at his tear-stained blue face. “Yes, my little blueberry, your daddy will be just fine.”

Max blinks his big, hopeful eyes at him and sniffles some more. “Promise?”

“I promise. And all thanks to you and your magic.” He kisses Max’s sweaty brow. “Daddy has always told you that you were special, magical!

Max wipes his nose on his sleeves and lights up, like he always does when he hears the words of praise from Alec, even through someone else. “Will you help daddy now?” Max asks, then he leans closer and whispers, “I think his head will hurt when he wakes up.”

Magnus hugs his son again. “Yes, I will.”

What he doesn’t say out loud while his eyes turn flinty and his lips pinched, is, “And then I’ill kill the bastards who did this! Every single one of them…”

Chapter Text

A Forsaken attacked the Institute, attacked Alec and Hodge. Alec’s hurt!That’s all Jace can think of while he races home, having left Clary to look for Simon alone. He feels guilty about that, but he feels even more guilty that he wasn’t at home, wasn’t with Alec when it happened.

But Alec should’ve been safe, the Institute should’ve been the safest place for him outside Idris. And Jace knows that Alec’s not fragile despite his blindness, his mind knows that - but his heart’s telling him something else. Since they’ve become parabatai five years ago, Alec’s never gotten seriously hurt, Jace has always been there to make absolutely sure of that, he has made it his life’s mission to watch over his best friend, his brother!

“Where is he?” is the first thing Jace asks Izzy when he barges in through the main entrance. The Ops Center is in uproar, people running around like ants.

Isabelle strides towards him, a little pale but composed. “In his room. After dad took care of his injuries, he ordered Alec to rest until Magnus Bane arrives and reinforces the wards.” She lowers her voice. “Dad was really shaken by what happened. And Alec must’ve been too, because he didn’t protest at all, he just went.” She looks worried. “He wouldn’t even talk to me.”

Jace reaches out and squeezes her arm. “I’ll check on him,” he promises, and she nods gratefully.

When Jace arrives at Alec’s bedroom, he finds the door open, an indication of how distraught Alec must’ve been because he always closes his door just to be sure that no one can watch him unobserved. He raises a hand to knock on the door frame, then pauses when he looks inside. 

Alec’s lying on his bed in his training clothes, the heels of his hands pressed into his eyes. There’s a white bandage on his upper left arm and his tank top reveals ugly bruises on his chest, already fading. He’s a picture of misery and Jace’s heart seizes at the sight. And at the fact that Alec obviously didn’t even hear him coming, which almost never happens. What must be going through his head?

He knocks quietly, not wanting to startle his parabatai. “Alec?” he asks in a low voice.

“Yeah?” Alec responds just as softly, and after a deep sigh he lets his arms drop to the bed, keeping his eyes closed. He hates to show his unseeing eyes to anyone, even to Jace. 

Jace steps inside the room. “You okay?” he inquires gently. He can’t tear his eyes away from the damage done to Alec’s body. If this is how his injuries look after the application of iratzes… He has to swallow instinctive anger.

Alec sits up slowly, then hisses and presses a hand to his ribs. “Yeah, I’m fine. This…” He waves his good hand at his injuries. “Dad says that it should be all gone in a day or two. Iratzes will take care of that.”

Jace walks up to the bed. “But you don’t seem okay, really,” he comments, still watching Alec carefully. 

Rather than responding, Alec reaches out for his wraparound sunglasses that lie on the bedside table. Instead, he knocks them to the floor. He curses softly.

“Wait, let me,” Jace jumps in, picks up the glasses and carefully puts them into Alec’s hand. He notices that Alec’s trembling slightly. “Alec, if it’s about the attack…”

But Alec interrupts him sharply. “Our parents were in the Circle, Jace!” 

Jace is so shocked that he almost forgets to breathe. “What?”

Alec grits his teeth. “Our parents, those paragons of virtue, them with the holier than thou attitude, were among Valentine’s minions! For what we know, they might still be in league with him!”

Jace shakes his head with certainty. “No way. I know what kind of people they are!” he protests. “And you should lie down,” he adds, frowning, when he sees that blood’s starting to seep through Alec’s bandage, “your injuries…”

“I don’t give a damn about my injuries,” Alec snaps. “I’ll be fine. Me and Hodge, we did our job and took care of the threat to our people. Just because we’re both confined to the Institute for different reasons, that doesn’t make us dumb or incompetent!” He puts his sunglasses on with an abrupt motion. 

“Nobody here is saying…” Jace starts but Alec cuts him off again.

“You know what does bother me about the attack?” Alec asks angrily. “That it shouldn’t have happened in the first place! I’m starting to think that maybe, just maybe we should lose the Institute, that maybe Lydia is better suited to lead it!”

Jace’s mind is whirling. Maryse and Robert were in the Circle? Their family might lose the Institute? And who’s Lydia? He hasn’t been gone for more than a day while helping Clary but it seems like his whole world turned upside down in the meantime. 

And the worst is Alec. Jace worried about him before, when he heard that Alec was injured, but now… instead of easing, Jace’s worry is deepening, because he doesn’t even recognize this Alec. What happened to him while Jace wasn’t paying attention?

But before Jace can ask, there’s a soft knock on the door. It’s Izzy. “Magnus Bane is here,” she says quietly, looking from Alec to Jace and back. “Dad wants you in the Ops Center,” she tells Alec.

Alec grimaces but gets up, grabbing his cane. “Right,” he comments, voice dripping with sarcasm. “Let’s see what father thinks I’m actually good for.”

And when he leaves, Izzy hurrying after him, confused, Jace’s left standing there, feeling like the ground is shifting beneath his feet, like he’s losing his anchor - and he has no idea why.

Chapter Text

Magnus Bane dies in Edom. He dies to save his beloved Alexander and his family and friends.

Alec holds Magnus in his arms, as the warlock grows old and dies and turns to ash in a matter of moments. And when they return to Alicante, in the midst of the aftermath of the battle with the fairies, Alec disappears, just walks away and loses himself among the weeping and distraught. 

He avoids them all, his parabatai and his sister, everyone. He returns to New York and goes to Catarina Loss to tell her of her old friend’s passing, because he thinks she deserves to find out from him, from someone who has loved Magnus as much as she did. 

“And now I’m alone,” Catarina whispers, tears in her eyes. 

There’s nothing Alec can say to make her feel better. His face is stoic, his eyes burning but dry. He has locked his feelings deep in his heart, he had to or he would never recover. And there’s still something he has to do… 

“I need your help,” he tells Catarina, and explains his plan to her. 

She stares at him as if he’s grown mad. “You can’t do that,” she whispers. “It’s madness. Magnus would never allow you to do that!”

“Well, Magnus is not here, is he?” Alec demurs softly. 

“I can make you stop, I can make you forget that you have ever wanted this!” she warns. 

But Alec just looks at her. “Yes, you can. But you won’t, because that would be wrong. And Magnus told me that you were a good person, with a kind heart. This is my choice, Catarina. My decision.”

And in the end, seeing that he has no intention to let it go, she agrees to help him, though it goes against everything she believes in. Yet she feels she owes it to Magnus, she owes it to him to make sure his lover achieves his goal, no matter the cost. 

It takes Alec almost two years to find a way to do it, two years of poring over old scrolls and dusty tomes. And in the meantime, he keeps to himself, pleased for Jace and Clary, Isabelle and Simon, glad that they found happiness and peace - but he can still feel his lover’s ashes on his hands. 

And when it’s all ready, the pentagram’s drawn and the portal’s open, he hugs Catarina one last time. “Will you tell them what happened, please? What I did? My sister, my parabatai, they deserve to know the truth. They need to know that this was my choice, one I made with a clear mind,” he asks her as he steps back, hands still on her shoulders.

Catarina nods. She’s crying, and when she touches his face tenderly, she whispers, “I understand now why he loved you so much.”

Alec smiles at her, kisses her forehead gently… and steps into the pentagram, into the portal leading to another world, and disappears in a blinding flash of light. 


There’s a gallery in the Gard in Alicante, a long hall decorated with tapestries depicting the greatest events and most heroic deeds in Shadowhunter history, among them one showing Jace and Clary meeting Raziel…

And directly next to it, and newly completed, one that the Lightwoods can’t look at without a pang in their hearts, one that Jace Herondale can’t ever approach without phantom pain seizing the scar that’s all that’s left of his parabatai bond. One that depicts a great battle with a Pyrrhic victory…

A battle in which Alexander Lightwood destroyed Asmodeus, one of the seven Princes of Hell.

Chapter Text

Gary is a very handsome man. Gorgeous even, if he may say so himself. He loves attention, craves it, and working at the exclusive Ethiopian restaurant on the 44th provides him with all the high society people in town to be seduced by. Twosomes, threesomes, men or women, whatever floats the clients’ boat, as long as they pamper him properly and shower him with affection. Monetary gifts preferred, but he accepts jewelry, too.

So, when a beautiful queer couple walks in - they have had a table reserved for months now, he checked, so it must be some kind of an anniversary thing or other, that’s always good to know - Gary decides that, yes, these two will be it tonight. 

The older man is Asian, with golden streaks in his longish hair, tasteful make-up and perfect nail polish, and in a deep cobalt blue silk shirt that Gary bets costs more than his monthly rent. The younger, taller man has a more solid build of someone with a physically demanding job, and he’s dressed more plainly, still, his clothes are definitely not off the rack. 

Yes, them he will get! And with that, he goes on the offensive.

And hour later, he’s starting to despair, though, since nothing he does seems to work. He’s been by the table six times in the last twenty minutes already and still nothing. The men seem to be completely engrossed in each other. That will not do. Grabbing a tray with… something, he marches off again!

But before he can even open his mouth, arriving at their table, the Asian man turns to him and with a deep sigh, he says, “Listen…” he pauses. 

“Gary,” Gary introduces himself helpfully. 

The Asian man smiles stiffly. “Yes, Gary. Listen. You’re a very attractive young man. You’re very handsome and very eager, and I’m sure there are plenty of people in here right now who would very much appreciate your attention.” His smile drops off his face abruptly and he skewers Gary with his almost cat like eyes. “But we do not. I do not. As you can see, I have Alexander here and no matter what you think you can bring to the game, I promise you, you will not measure up. Nobody is more beautiful or interesting or better in bed than my husband. So, if you could leave us alone to enjoy our anniversary, I would appreciate it very much!”

Gary opens his mouth and closes it again, blinking in surprise, stunned by such a blunt rejection, while the other man at the table, apparently Alexander, sputters for a moment, then hisses quietly, “Magnus, you can’t say things like that aloud! And in the middle of a restaurant, too! There are people here!”

The Asian man, Magnus, turns away from Gary, dismissing him completely. He leans forward, props his elbows on the table, rests his chin in his hands and aims a look at his husband like he hung the moon and stars. “There are other people here? I haven’t noticed,” he comments sappily. 

Alexander blushes. “You… that’s… you can’t just…” He waves his hand and almost knocks over a glass, catching it just in time. “You’re impossible!”

Magnus laughs. “One year married and I can still make you stutter.” Then he leans back in his chair and turns to Gary who’s still standing there, gaping like a fish, and says flatly, “You can go now, Gary. Shoo, off with you, go count the napkins or polish the silver or something. Just don’t be here!” 

Thoroughly embarrassed, Gary turns on his heel, and strides off, his cheeks aflame, the couple’s hushed words floating after him.

“That was so harsh, Magnus…”

“He was ruining our evening, darling.” Pause. “Alright, alright, I’ll leave a nice big tip. You’re too soft-hearted for your own good - saved any kittens from trees today?”

“Oh, hush…”

Chapter Text

Magnus is shifting from foot to foot, wringing his hands, as he watches the smoke that’s still billowing sluggishly from his kitchen window. Yes, his cooking has always been a disaster but never of these proportions. Luckily, it seems that the firemen have it all under control now. But…

“What about Ernest?” Magnus asks anxiously and grabs the fireman who just exited the house by the arm. 

The man stiffens. “Ernest? Is that a family member? Was there someone else in the house?” he fires his questions with professional concern, already reaching for his radio.

Magnus frowns. “What? No. Ernest is my goldfish!”

The man, quite a tall one as Magnus’ notices, blinks at him. “A… goldfish?”

Magnus nods earnestly, hanging on the man’s arm. “Yes, I completely forgot about her! I left her bowl on the kitchen counter! Please, please, tell me that the heat didn’t actually cook her?” He shakes the man’s arm.

More blinking. “I… I don’t… Let me check,” he sighs in the end, seeing Magnus’ imploring look. And then he turns, puts his breathing mask back on and goes back inside. 

Five minutes later, the fireman is walking down the steps leading from the front door, down to the street level, a smudged bowl in his gloved hands, and in it, in the sloshing, dirty water, a goldfish is swimming frantically. 

“Ernest!” Magnus exclaims, grabs the bowl and starts polishing it with his pure silk - though slightly singed - Prussian blue shirt. “You’re alive!”

The fireman pulls his mask off and stares at him with a quirked eyebrow. He obviously wants to ask, then thinks better of it… but no, he really has to ask. “You named your goldfish, a female goldfish, Ernest?”

Magnus nods without taking his eyes off the harassed looking thing. “Yes, Ernest Hemingway. The Third!” he adds. 

“Do I want to know what happened to Ernest the First and the Second?” the man asks, voice laced with sarcasm. 

“Ah, they swam off to the great fish heaven…” Magnus responds a little sadly. 

The fireman stifles a cough, and Magnus eyes him suspiciously. 

“Sir, your kitchen,” the fireman says, back to business, “we managed to save most of it, but the area around the stove…” He shakes his head.

“Ah,” Magnus says airily, waving a hand, as he turns back to his house. The smoke is almost gone now. “I wanted to renovate anyway. Besides, I have a very good insurance.”

The fireman snorts, and mumbles under his breath. “Well, I sure hope so with the way you cook.” 

Magnus pulls himself up indignantly. “Well, excuse me,” he starts and turns back to the rude man - only to freeze and gape like his little Ernest. 

Because the fireman pulled off his helmet. And he’s not just tall, he’s tall, dark and handsome. Very handsome. Gorgeous even. And he has the most beautiful hazel eyes. How did Magnus not notice that? 

His indignation forgotten, Magnus puts on his best and brightest and most dazzling smile and his right hand shoots up. “Magnus Bane,” he introduces himself. 

The fireman is dazzled. He blinks at Magnus, then down at his outstretched hand… and then, with a small confused sound, he pulls off his gloves and shakes Magnus’ hand. “Alec…ugh… Alec Lightwood?” he replies. 

And he keeps shaking Magnus’ hand. Then just holding it. And it’s really nice, Magnus decides. “Well, Alec Lighwood. You, sir, you’re the savior of fishes and the vanquisher of kitchen fires, and you deserve a reward.” He leans in, water sloshing in the bowl under his arm. “Would you go out with me?”

Alec just stares at him for a long moment, dazed and still holding his hand, mouth agape. And in the end, what he blurts out is, “I don’t think that’s the correct plural of fish.”

And the rest is history.

Chapter Text

Lydia wakes with a dull headache. Which is not bad, considering the agony she was in the first time she woke, shortly after Hodge’s attack, with Alec crouching by her side, applying an iratze to her skin. 

What startles her, though - and makes her headache flare up - is Magnus Bane, who’s bending over her bed and peering down at her curiously.

“Awake?” the warlock asks with a cheeky half-smile on his lips. 

She closes her eyes tightly, and groans. Almost immediately, the pain’s gone, though, and when she opens her eyes once more, she sees Magnus’ fingers dancing above her head, showering her with blue sparks. “Thanks,” she mumbles. 

Magnus tilts his head sideways and his smile widens. “You’re welcome. And also very lucky that yours truly was at hand. That bastard actually cracked your skull!” He straightens. 

That reminds her. “Did they get him?” she asks, sitting up.

“Alexander and Jace went after him,” he assures her. “They aren’t back yet.” 

Lydia hits the mattress with her fist angrily. “I should’ve been more careful!”

Magnus shakes his head. “Don’t. It wasn’t your fault. Nobody could’ve expected this. Starkweather was like family to the people here. Actually,” he ponders, “I knew another Starkweather once… Hm, that also wasn’t a very pleasant man, now that I think of it.”

An awkward silence settles over them. An ex-fiancée and an almost boyfriend… 

Magnus clears his throat. “I actually wanted to thank you. We both wanted to, Alec and me. We were just on our way to you, when…” He waves a hand at her. 

She raises her eyebrows carefully. “Thank me?”

He nods and looks at her, and his expression is so earnest, there’s so much honest emotion in his face, that she almost looks away. “Yes. What you did at the ceremony… Very few people would have handled it with as much grace as you did. It means a lot, to both of us.”

“Well…” Lydia shrugs and drops her eyes, a little embarrassed by the praise, because all she did was preserve as much of her dignity as possible. And if she were honest with herself, her heart still aches a little, so she would rather not talk about it, if at all possible. 

But there is something she she feels she has to say, and she hopes Magnus won’t take it the wrong way…

She looks up at him and takes a deep breath. “I appreciate your thanks, but it’s not necessary, really. I don’t want your gratitude. But there is something I want. From you, Magnus,” she specifies.

His expression becomes guarded. “Oh?”

She pauses for a moment, trying to find the right words. “I know that whatever is between you and Alec, it’s still new. He’s an honest man and he would never have asked me to marry him if he was in a relationship already.” Magnus nods. “Still, I want you to promise me, that you’ll never do anything that would make him regret what he did today. I want you to swear it on everything you hold dear.” 

Magnus blinks in surprise, then comes closer and sits down on the edge of her bed. “I would never hurt Alexander, not intentionally, not in any way if I could help it. That I can swear to you,” he promises in an earnest voice. “He means… He means a lot to me.”

Lydia stares him in the eyes and there it is again, the well of affection so deep it’s almost breathtaking. It makes her eyes burn a little because that’s how John used to look at her…

“Good, that’s good,” she whispers and lowers her eyes again. “Because he will need you, more than he thinks right now. What he did today, it will have painful, far-reaching consequences that I don’t think he can even fathom yet.” 

“What do you mean?” Magnus asks, obviously anxious for Alec.

She looks up. “Magnus, all I did was choose a man that my family considered not worthy, but because we were actually achieving something together, the Clave had to acknowledge us. But after John died…” She shakes her head. “I lost everything. The traditionalist faction of the Clave, took everything from me for daring to challenge the old customs. And my partner was of the proper gender and race!”

Magnus looks away. 

Lydia continues, “What Alec did… it’s unheard of, in all of our history. There are no queer Shadowhunters - yes, there are,” she corrects herself when Magnus turns back to her and opens his mouth to object, “but there are not. Because the Clave does not want them to exist, and so they don’t exist. Alec challenged all of that and in the most public way possible. He chose a male Downworlder over a Shadowhunter woman - and he will pay for it dearly.”

Magnus looks stricken now, but she feels he needs to hear this to understand. “He will never become the head of an Institute now, the Clave will see to that. He will never get to do what he has worked so hard his whole life for. He will never achieve any leadership position. He will be lucky if he gets to keep his field leader rank.” She lowers her voice. “I don’t think he realizes yet, just how bad it will be.” 

“But if he continued living a lie, he would’ve been unhappy his whole life long,” Magnus objects, a little desperately. “He deserves better!”

She nods gently. “I agree with you. What he did was necessary, and not just for him. If we keep quiet and don’t challenge the injustices around us, nothing will ever change. Unfortunately, those who do so first, usually suffer the most…” 

She leans closer and takes his hand. “That’s why you need to be there for him. Just be there. Because at times, he’ll feel like nobody’s on his side, that he’s all alone. I know,” she says with a soft, painful smile. “And so you need to be there and not leave him when he becomes frustrated or angry. Can you promise me that? That you will stand by his side against the Clave?”

Magnus looks down at their joined hands and pauses, and Lydia appreciates that he actually thinks about it, because this is something he has to approach with open eyes. He’s a Downworlder who has been persecuted unfairly by the Clave many times in the past - but if he chooses a Shadowhunter for a partner, he won’t be on the outside looking in anymore, he’ll become a part of their world with all its archaic rules that they’re subjects to, rules that won’t change overnight, maybe not even in Alec’s lifetime.

Then Magnus nods and meets her gaze. “Yes, yes, I can promise you that. I won’t let him face the consequences alone.”

And Lydia’s smile widens, though her heart gives another pang, seizes a little at what she herself lost. “Then you will be alright…”

Chapter Text

Everything in this universe is upside down and slightly off-kilter, that’s obvious from the moment Jace wakes up on the floor in the Ops Center and finds it furnished with heavy oak instead of sleek metal and glass. It’s just plain weird. 

He doesn’t know what exactly he did, what exactly he touched in Magnus’ loft while waiting for Alec to get ready, bored out of his mind, but he hopesthis universe’s Magnus Bane can fix it. 

And since Magnus is right here - having been summoned immediately after Jace’s arrival, and arriving himself just minutes after, in black silk pajamas and a deep purple robe, a strange thing in itself since it seems to point towards him actually living here, in the Institute - Jace hopes this kerfuffle will be solved in no time. 

But he doesn’t realize just how odd this world is, until Alec walks in through the main door dressed in his black hunting gear - and with Lydia Branwell, also in hunting gear, thrown over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. 

“You can set me down now!” Lydia protests indignantly, squirming like a worm on a hook.. 

Alec’s grinning. “Nope, I really can’t,” he refuses, and holds her more tightly. “What would your husband say if I allowed your to hobble around with such a grave injury?”

She sighs and goes limp. “Can’t you at least carry me in your arms? This is so embarrassing…”

“Nope,” he replies again. “What if we were attacked? I need at least one hand to defend us.”

“We are inside the Institute!” she yells, irritated. 

Magnus Bane rushes towards them. “What happened?” he asks with concern.

Alec pulls him close with his free hand. “Hello, husband,” he says softly, his voice full of affection. 

Magnus beams. “Hello, husband,” he answers and allows himself to be thoroughly kissed.

Lydia harrumphs. “Can you please stop smooching in the vicinity of my ass? It’s very awkward!”

They both laugh, foreheads touching. 

“What's going on?” a loud voice calls and they all turn to see a tall man with dusky skin and large black eyes hurrying down the steps towards them. 

Alec grins at him. “John, your wife suffered an injury on the battlefield!” he informs him. 

Lydia starts hitting him in the back. “For Angel’s sake! I stepped into a gopher hole and twisted my ankle, you loon!”

The man called John laughs heartily. “I see some TLC is in order, then.” And opens his arm. 

“Incoming!” Alec warns and throws Lydia in the air. 

She squeals but John catches her expertly. “Hello, wife,” he murmurs, rubbing his nose against hers, while she hugs him around the neck. 

“Hello, husband,” Lydia replies just as softly. 

“Off with you!” Alec orders, making a shooing notion with his hand. “I think she still might have bits of that poor gopher on her shoe - the smell would suggest that.”

She makes a rude gesture. “Love you, too!” And then she lets her husband carry her away. 

“We have a guest,” Magnus tells Alec, pulling him towards the antique table that’s covered with ancient scrolls.

Alec looks at Jace, a polite smile on his face. “Are you from Idris?” he asks. 

And Jace feels a little pang at not being recognized by the man who, in his universe, is his parabatai

“No,” Magnus says and he’s almost bouncing on his toes. “His name’s Jace Wayland and he’s from another dimension, Alexander!” He says it like it’s the best thing that has happened to him in a long while.

“Really? That’s interesting,” Alec comments and reaches out. “Alec Lightwood. And that,” he waves his other hand in the direction where Lydia and her husband disappeared, “was my parabatai, Lydia Monteverde, and her husband, John.” 

Jace probably grips his hand more tightly than he should while shaking it, but… Lydia is Alec’s parabatai? It feels like a punch in the gut. “Nice to meet you,” he mumbles numbly. 

“I checked,” Magnus says, “in our dimension, there’s no Jace Wayland. He has ever existed. He probably wasn’t even born.” 

Jace swallows and hates this universe more and more with every second. It feels like he’s losing everything he is. And the way they look at him, like he’s an extinct creature, not one of them…

“That sucks,” Alec comments, his voice sympathetic but detached. 

Impersonal, as if this doesn’t really matter to him, as if he isn’t personally invested in this thing, at all - and Jace realizes that he isn’t, to this Alec, he’s of no real importance, just a curiosity from another dimension. 

“Well,” Alec continues. “I need to go and change.” He smiles at Jace. “It was nice meeting you. If anyone can help you with your problem, it’s Magnus. He’s just the best,” he adds and pecks the warlock on the forehead. 

Magnus grins at him. “It’s good to be appreciated.” 

Alec kisses him softly on the lips. “Always.” And then, with a little wave, he departs. 

He just goes and leaves Jace standing there, looking after him forlornly. Jace has never felt so alone, he has never realized how much he depends on his parabatai bond, on things between him and Alec being as they are, deep and profound and intimate. Without their bond, he feels… diminished.

“Now to you, my sweet interdimensional traveler,” Magnus says, rubbing his hands. “I think I know what the problem is…”

And Jace hopes so because he cannot wait to return home.

Chapter Text

Frowning, Lydia watches as Alec leaves the restaurant, his posture rigid and closed-off. If she had known that he wasn’t aware of his parents’ involvement with the Circle, she wouldn’t have sprung it on him like that. She likes Alec, what she has seen of him so far, and she didn’t mean to hurt him. 

With a sigh, she returns to the problem at hand, to the dead Forsaken. “Mr Garroway…” she starts but he interrupts her. 

“Luke,” he say warmly. “Just call me Luke, everybody does.”

Lydia reaches out to shake his hand. “Lydia,” she answers with a smile. “Luke, this incident - may I ask why you contacted Alec Lightwood and not his parents who are the heads of the New York Institute?”

Luke replies, “For one, I didn’t know they were back. But also, considering that we were in the Circle together at one point, you might say that our interactions tend to be rather… stilted. We avoid being in the same room together if at all possible.” 

Lydia raises her eyebrows. “That must be rather difficult, what with you being the local alpha and them leading the New York based Shadowhunters…”

He smiles. “And that’s why I contacted Alec.” 

“Why him specifically?” she inquires. “You could’ve called the Ops Center as there’s always somebody at hand there.”

Luke frowns slightly. “What’s with all the questions?”

Lydia sighs again. “Look, I’m here to investigate the running of the New York Institute. I’m not trying to dig up dirt on the Lightwoods or to oust them. And I’m not after them - or after anyone else,” she adds meaningfully, “because of their past, either. But it’s my job to make sure that the Institute is run properly, that the rights of Downworlders are not being violated, that the mundanes are protected - and that the local Shadowhunters are actually doing their job!”

Luke looks at her a moment longer, then inclines his head. “Alright. I didn’t call the Institute because I don’t know those people, and since I don’t know them, I refuse to entrust the safety of my people to them,” he explains. “And I didn’t call Maryse or Robert because they’re bullheaded. They follow the Law, that’s true, but they do so almost fanatically, as if they’re trying to make up for their past failures.” 

Lydia nods. “But there are still other Shadowhunters here…”

Laughing softly, Luke allows, “Yes, I know Jace and Isabelle, and they’re sweet kids. I know they mean well, but rules don’t mean much to them. And that’s all good and well when you’re a Shadowhunter and a slap on the wrist is the worst punishment you can expect for your transgressions. But we, me and my people, we face a different reality.”

“And that’s the reason why you called Alec,” Lydia guesses.

“Alec…” He pauses and thinks about it for a moment. “With Alec, I know that he will follow the Law - but I also know that he will listen to reason and assess all the evidence fairly. That is all.”

Lydia nods because Luke’s words support her own initial findings. She’s slowly starting to put her report together in her head, and unfortunately, she suspects she already knows what the Clave’s call will be regarding the Lightwood family based on the things she’s uncovered here, ranging from sheer incompetence to a blatant disregard of the rules. 

Yes, Lydia doesn’t want to hurt Alec - she likes him a lot - but she won’t lie for him either. The only thing she can do, is make her report as fair-minded as possible. She sighs. Sometimes, her job sucks

Chapter Text

“I’ll be fine,” Lydia tells him with a smile and lets him go. 

I’ll be fine, she thinks as she walks through the Institute, eyes straight ahead, head held high, shoulders square, seemingly blind to the sympathetic looks and not so covert whispering of the staff. 

I’ll be fine, because that’s who I am, Lydia “I’m fine” Branwell, she thinks as she steps into her bedroom and closes the door…

… as she leans against it and slides down heavily, her wedding dress pooling around her on the floor, as she starts sobbing, quietly, oh so quietly with one hand pressed against her trembling lips, because shh, nobody must know, she’s an envoy to the Clave, she’s always strong, always proud, always collected, she does not mind

… while deep in her heart she knows, she admits it to herself, only to herself, that she allowed herself to hope again, hope for a future, a family of her own with a husband worthy of her affection and deep admiration, hope for a real career that doesn’t lie in being the Clave’s pawn…

… and now it’s gone, all gone, and everything’s in shambles again, and she’s crying like she hasn’t cried since they burned John’s body on the funeral pyre, muffling her sobs desperately, because nobody must know, shh…

Nobody must know just how… mundane Lydia Branwell is.

Chapter Text

“So, you’re immortal, huh?” Alec says, smiling, and kisses Magnus’ stomach. “How do you escape detection, then? You’ve made some waves with your TV commercials…” 

Magnus looks down at him and hesitates, as if he can’t believe that there’s now a mortal who knows, with whom he can talk about these things. “Well, I move around a lot. Every ten years or so, I just reinvent myself somewhere else,” he admits, carding his fingers through Alec’s hair.

And Alec stiffens a little, then he forces himself to relax. “But you won’t just disappear on me, will you?” he asks with studied casualness, head resting on his lover’s stomach. “You will warn me that you’re about to go, right? I won’t just wake up one morning with you gone… right?”

Magnus is quiet for so long that Alec looks up, his heart starting to beat faster with alarm. But then Magnus smiles and runs his fingers down Alec’s cheek. “Of course not. I wouldn’t do that to you…” 

… And it’s almost eight years later when Alec returns home from work, a heart-shaped box of chocolates hidden behind his back because, yes, it’s a little silly, but it’s their anniversary!

But his smile fades slowly from his face when he sees that their loft is empty, all of Magnus’ things gone, everything, like he has never even existed.

“Magnus?” Alec calls out softly, then louder, “Magnus? This is not funny! It’s not… it’s not funny. Magnus…?”

The big red box drops to the floor, little chocolates scattering around, and Alec starts to tremble all over, because this can’t be happening, Magnus did not do this to him, he said he wouldn’t, he said he wouldn’t do this to him! He said so!

And then Alec’s knees buckle and he drops to the ground, gasping for breath and whispering hopelessly, “I would’ve gone with you. If you had just asked, I would’ve gone with you…”

Chapter Text

Lydia doesn’t want Alec to do it. She tries to dissuade him from using hisparabatai bond to track Jace because he’s angry with him, furious even, and he wants to hurt Jace back as much as Jace hurt him with his betrayal - but if he actually breaks their bond by accident, she doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to forgive himself. 

But Alec’s determined, he’s absolutely refusing to listen to reason, from both her and Hodge Starkweather, his mentor, so in the end, they both decide to help him rather than just to stand aside and maybe watch him make some fatal mistake.

When she burns the tracking rune into his skin, over the parabatai rune, her heart’s beating frantically because she know what will follow. She might have never personally witnessed such a tracking, but she has read about it, and if it’s even remotely as unpleasant as the old tomes described it to be…

And then Alec starts almost seizing with pain on the infirmary bed while Hodge holds his hand and tries to talk him through the agony so that their suffering, his and Jace’s, is not in vain, helping him track his parabatai

And when he screams, she has to hold back from… from doing something! Yes, she has know Alec for only a short period of time, but he’s her fiancé, and she would have never agreed to marry him if she didn’t consider him a good, honest man, no matter what a marriage with him could bring her. 

When Alec loses consciousness and slumps on the bed, head lolling limply to the side, her heart skips a beat because… no, this is not like what happened with John. This isn’t anything like that. 

Hodge is leaning over the bed, patting Alec’s cheek, calling his name, trying to wake him, because, though hey would both rather let him rest, they cannot if they want to find Jace. Alec’s ordeal should not be pointless. 

And when Alec regains consciousness, he’s a little frantic, worried about how much time he lost, and he’s already scrambling to his feet with Hodge’s help, even though he’s still weak and disoriented, and when he stumbles…

Lydia’s there, slipping under his arm, holding him up, because small she might be compared to him but she’s not frail or weak, she can carry his weight. “I’ve got you,” she tells him and looks up at him.

His eyes are still glazed with pain and she can feel him trembling slightly when he looks down at her and asks, “Help me?”

And with a small, encouraging smile, she replies, “Always.” It’s a promise.

Chapter Text

“I love you so much…”

That’s what Alec told him last night, smiling his beautiful, genuine, wide smile, while he held Magnus in his arms, Magnus the little spoon to Alec’s big one. And it was wonderful, so wonderful that Magnus just wanted to sink into that feeling and never come up for air.

So, why is he running? Why did he just run away without telling Alec, without warning him, even though he promised, promised him so long ago never to hurt him like that?

“But you won’t just disappear on me, will you?”

“I wouldn’t do that to you…”

But Magnus did. He did it to Alec. He is doing it to him. Why? Why?

He’s standing in the line at his Gate, the line that’s getting shorter and shorter, last warnings being issued for his flight. His flight! So many years have passed since his magic has returned to him, and he’s still using mundane means of… pretty much everything, from transport to cooking.

Because he’s still afraid. He’s so afraid, terrified of being discovered, of being found out, of ending up on the dissecting table in some secret government lab - or worse yet, of re-awaking the dormant Nephilim unwittingly, through some stupid mistake on his part! Where did his confidence go? When did he lose it?

He’s doing the right thing, Magnus tells himself, he’s only doing what he has always done: he’s looking out for himself, hiding, hiding, hiding, never to be found again, and this time he’ll dig in even deeper, because this time he told, he told someone, someone knows his secret!

Alec knows. Alec has known for years now and he never told. He protected Magnus’ privacy, his secrets, covered for him, never allowing anyone to find out. Alec knows and he loves Magnus still. He loves Magnus! Who has ever loved Magnus? Nobody, not even those who have never learned the truth about him. And Alec knows and he still loves Magnus… 

But Alec will be alright. Of course, he will be! Magnus has never met anyone as confident as Alexander Gideon Lightwood. Alec will get over him, find someone else and that will be that. And Magnus will safe, safe, safe!

He stops, letting the last few stragglers pass by, their carry-ons hitting him in the shin. This has been his plan from the very beginning. Ten years to the day will he stay in New York, and then he’ll go again. All is ready for him to go, the anxiety buzzing, always buzzing in his chest insisting that this is the right thing to do!

“So, you’re immortal, huh?”

“I love you so much…” 

“Sir?” 

Magnus’ head jerks up. The flight attendant. He’s the last one left standing at the Gate. Safe, he’ll be safe if he goes. He’ll get to keep Alec if he stays.

“I’m sorry, I can’t do this, I can't leave,” he tells the woman who’s watching him with a frown, not understanding. “I’m very sorry.”

Magnus turns around and runs.

Chapter Text

When Alec storms into the loft, it’s all chaos inside. Magnus just sent a demon spawn flying across the room, and he’s now trying to fight off two more, and Alec’s looking around, trying to understand what’s going on, how to step in, how to help…

Suddenly, though, the creature that hit the wall to the left of him waves a hand and with a puff of black smoke, a javelin appears in its grasp. With its red-glowing eyes fixed on Magnus, the thing takes aim, and…

And Alec knows he’s not fast enough anymore to reach the demon spawn and stop it. And neither is he fast enough to reach Magnus and save him. Magnus himself is too engaged fighting his enemies to notice. So there’s only one thing that Alec can do…

Just as the ugly coal black creature throws its malevolent weapon, Alec steps between it and its target, between the demon spawn and Magnus. 

The javelin hits Alec squarely in the chest with so much force that it pierces him through, tearing through his lung and breaking his ribs. Alec makes the tiniest of sounds as his breath is driven out of him, then the power of the throw tosses him back, and he hits the ground, sliding over the polished hardwood floor, until he stops, crumpled, at Magnus’ feet. 

“Alexander!” 

Magnus’ frantic scream is the last thing he hears…


Everything’s soft and warm when he returns to consciousness. He opens his eyes to slits and realizes that he’s lying in their bed, Magnus’ and his. It’s all quiet in the loft, the lights are dimmed and fire is crackling in the fireplace that Magnus magicked in some time ago. It’s peaceful. 

Alec tries to take a deep breath, but his chest seizes with pain, reminding him of his injury. He can only imagine how bad it must’ve been if it still hurts so much after Magnus’ healing.

His head is turned slightly to the right, towards… He smiles. Magnus is lying next to him, curled up in a ball almost like a cat. Even in his sleep he’s holding Alec’s hand as if refusing to lose contact with him. Magnus is pale and there are dark circles under his eyes; he looks exhausted. 

Alec squeezes his hand gently and whispers, “Hey.” 

Magnus immediately wakes, and his eyes open wide when he realizes that Alec’s conscious. “You are awake!” he answers just as quietly, voice full of wonder. 

“Yeah,” Alec says, eyes roaming over his lover’s face. “What happened?”

Magnus’ mouth twists. “Asmodeus. He sent his spawns to harass me…” Then he swallows and his lips tremble. “When I saw what that thing did to you…” He grips Alec’s hand so hard the bones grind together. “I thought you were dead.” 

Alec reaches out with his other hand, slowly, carefully because his chest still pains him, and pushes a lock off Magnus’ forehead. “I’m sorry I scared you.”

“I tried to heal you as best I could, but your body…” Magnus falls silent, his eyes full of misery. 

Alec smirks a little. “It’s not knitting back together as well as thirty years ago, huh? Yeah,” huffs, “getting old sucks.” 

Magnus’ eyes become a little glassy and he blinks hard. “You’re not old,” he protests but there isn’t much strength behind his words, because they both know the truth. “Just… don’t do that ever again, okay? I want to keep you for another thirty years!”

“I can’t promise you that.” Alec shakes his head. “I would consider my life for yours a fair trade.”

Magnus’ expression darkens. “I would not. I would never consider that a fair trade. Your life’s not less important than mine. Your loss…” His voice fails him and he has to compose himself before he can continue. “Your loss would be unbearable to me.”

And Alec smiles a little sadly, running his thumb over Magnus’ cheek, forever smooth and young. Unbearable loss, he thinks, his heart breaking a little for his lover because he knows it will come one day, his death, maybe not today or in a month, but it will come, and Magnus will have to bear it, he will do so because he’s not a quitter, his Magnus. 

“I love you so much,” Magnus confesses softly, kissing the palm of Alec’s hand, eyes squeezed shut, wetness on his lashes.

“I love you, too, more than you will ever know,” Alec whispers, his voice hoarse with emotions.

Promise me you won’t leave me, my love.

I can’t…

Chapter Text

“Let him go!” Jace demands, watching in horror as two of Valentine’s minions force Alec to his knees. “You promised not to hurt my friends.”

Valentine walks around Alec, his two men holding Alec’s arms twisted behind his back. “Yes, I did. And you promised to come with me. And then I find you sending fire messages to your parabatai!” Valentine clucks his tongue and shakes his finger at Jace.

Jace tears his eyes away from Alec’s pale face with difficulty, and looks at his father. “I’ve never promised not to do everything in my power to stop you,” he replies, his voice flat.

Valentine smirks. “And I let your friends live - that one time. I didn’t promise to never hurt them again.” He gives his men a sign and they twist Alec’s arms a little harder, forcing a pained sound out of him. 

Jace takes a step forward and yells, “Stop it!” 

Impassively, Valentine pulls a gun and points it at Jace. “I might prefer a blade, but sometimes, a quick solution is needed,” he explains, seeing Jace narrow his eyes at the weapon. 

Then Valentine hands the gun over to one of the men standing aside and tells him, “If my son moves again, shoot him in the leg. Don’t worry, It will heal,” he adds as in reassurance, eyes trained at Jace. 

Jace’s breathing hard now, his need to do something warring with the knowledge that he’s outmaneuvered and out-gunned. He looks down at Alec, barely ten feet away, yet completely out of reach. His eyes fill with despair. Alec, his parabatai…

“And now,” Valentine says and rubs his hands in anticipation. Then he reaches out towards one of his minions who hands him the Mortal Cup. “The Mortal Cup has the power to turn a mundane into a Shadowhunter. But I’ve always wondered: what would happen if someone who already was a Shadowhunter drank from it? Why is it forbidden?”

Jace turns to him in horror. No… He can’t be serious. He can’t do that!

But Valentine’s already dipping the cup into the vat, he’s turning to Alec…

“No!” Jace roars and moves - and there’s a shot that echoes, echoes, echoes through the ship. And Jace screams, tumbling to the floor, hand pressed to his wounded thigh.

“Jace!” Alec yells, trying to stand up, but the men holding him push him down again, almost breaking his arms. Alec cries out in pain but then he grits his teeth and he’s looking Jace in the eyes, shaking his head imploringly, asking, demanding that Jace doesn’t risk his life.

Valentine snorts. “Isn’t that touching?” Then he looks at the shooter and orders, “If he moves again, shoot him in the other leg.”

And with that he walks towards Alec and grabs him by the hair, pulls his head back and presses the Cup to his lips. Alec’s trying to fight him, to pull away but Valentine refuses to let him. And in the end, he forces Alec to open his mouth and drink. 

“No, no, no, no…” Jace whispers, terrified out of his mind. This can’t be happening, he despairs as he watches Alec choke on the fluid from the Cup.

But suddenly, there’s a commotion, a bang so loud it shakes the ship. And when everybody turns to the prow, there’s a portal opening there, a purple, shimmering gate, and Magnus Bane is the first one to stride through, dressed in an unusually somber attire, with all the Shadowhunters from the New York Institute pouring out after him: Clary and Izzy, Raj and Lydia, Maryse and Robert, and then the rest, every single one of them…

“Sir?” one of Valentine’s minions asks. 

Valentine grits his teeth furiously. “Retreat. It’s not the time for a reckoning yet. Let the canon fodder down there deal with the enemy.” 

“And what about them?” the man inquires, pointing at Jace and Alec, one’s bleeding profusely, the other’s hanging limply in his captors’  hands. 

Valentine decides quickly, callously. “Leave them. They will make for a nice distraction.” And with that, and with the Mortal Cup in hand, he turns and marches off, his elite circle at his heels.

But Jace doesn’t care. He doesn’t care what Valentine will do or where he will go, all he cares about is Alec. The moment Valentine’s men drop Alec to the ground, Jace starts crawling towards him, calling his name, but Alec lies still, unmoving. 

“Alec, Alec!” Jace screams when he gets to his parabatai, and gently he turns him onto his back. “Alec, say something! Can you hear me?” He pats his face, presses his ear to Alec’s chest to listen to his heart beating. 

But all of a sudden, Alec seizes, his back arching and he makes a terrible wheezing sound. Jace sits up, not caring that he himself is bleeding all over the floor, but he freezes, his eyes growing wide with horror. 

Alec’s pale, so pale he’s almost glowing, his eyes golden, but slowly turning more and more red. And his veins are swelling, first gray, then black, then ugly red, as if molten lava is flowing through them. 

Jace reaches out to touch him but Alec’s body is burning up, it burns so hot that smoke is starting to rise from his clothes. “Alec!” Jace screeches. 

And then someone drops to his knees beside them. “What happened?” Magnus! And when he sees Alec, he gasps in shock. “Alexander…”

Jace can’t seem to look away from Alec. He’s burning alive and Jace can feel his parabatai rune starting to burn, too. And he knows what it means. 

“Valentine forced him to drink from the Mortal Cup,” he informs Magnus in despair. 

Magnus’ hands are fluttering over Alec’s body, not touching because the very air around Alec is shimmering with heat. “The Cup’s burning away Alec’s mundane half, it’s pouring the power of angels into his mortal body - but it’s not made to hold it!”

Finally, Jace tears his eyes away from Alec and looks at Magnus. “Can you help him? Can you stop this?”

Magnus looks at Jace and opens his mouth, then closes it again. He looks down at Alec who’s now seizing, making terrible noises full of unbearable agony. And Magnus touches his hair gently, a soft look in his eyes, and he admits quietly. “Yes, there is something I can try.” 

Jace doesn’t have to ask if it’ll be dangerous for the warlock, the answer is obvious and yet, Magnus is still willing to do it. For Alec. “Please, help him. Try!” Jace asks empathetically.

And Magnus reaches out and grabs Alec’s hand, his own immediately turning pink, then red, blisters covering it, then bursting, showing angry flesh, but he just groans and closes his eyes tight against the agony. And then he lifts his other hand in the air, up towards the sky - and releases the power burning inside Alec. 

Jace looks up, everybody on the ship looks up, then turns away quickly, as the column of golden fire from Magnus’ hand shoots upwards, almost blinding in its glare. The warlock has tapped the overflowing well of power inside Alec and turned himself into a conduit, the skin on his hands charring and burning away as more and more of the angelic power is sucked out of Alec and released, the source seemingly endless. 

Seconds pass, then minutes, but it seems like hours have gone by before the powerful stream turns into a trickle, then stops altogether, and Magnus slumps over his boyfriend’s unmoving body, drained and burned by the power of heavens. 

And Jace, his leg still bleeding, leans over them, touches first Magnus who’s closer, then Alec to make sure they’re both still alive, though Magnus’ skin is burned away in many places, and Alec looks half starved, just skin and bones, as if all his strength was sucked out of him together with the angelic fire. And they’re both unconscious, completely insensate. 

But they’re alive, they’re both alive… Alec is alive! He is, because the bond between them is still there, weak and tenuous, but there. Jace’s parabatai rune’s still whole! 

And Jace clasps Alec’s free hand in his, the other still held tightly by Magnus despite the rawness of the warlock’s flesh, and he cries. Because Valentine might be gone again, the war is still brewing and nothing is solved… but the way Jace sees it, he’s got his happy ending right here.

Chapter Text

When Alec opens his eyes, there’s a kid standing by his bed, a boy maybe as old as Max or a little younger. And he’s holding a knife in his hands, one of the big ones from the kitchen. They stare at each other, both a little startled. 

Then Alec notices the cat-like eyes, and the cobalt blue shirt that’s hanging past the boy’s bare knees. “Magnus?” he asks uncertainly.

The boy, who’s apparently Magnus, weird that, jumps back like a scalded cat. Eyes wide, knife still held in his shaking hands, he starts yelling something at Alec. The flood of words is in a language or a dialect that Alec doesn’t understand. 

With raised eyebrows, Alec waits till the boy has to take a breath, then he interjects, “I didn’t understand a word you just said.”

Magnus tilts his head sideways and if he were an animal, his ears would be twitching. “I can understand you,” he says haltingly.

“Of course. You’ve been speaking perfect English for centuries now,” Alec replies, sitting up slowly, mindful of the pointy thing in the spooked child’s hands.

“Cen… centuries?” Magnus stutters. “What year is it?”

Alec runs a hand through his hair and yawns. “2016. You’re Magnus Bane, I’m Alec Lightwood. And we’re in New York.”

Magnus’ eyes grow even wider. “New York? Is that in England?”

“Try farther west. United States of America. A big chunk of land west of Europe. Across the ocean.” Apparently, some things stuck, like language skills, other stuff fell through the sieve. 

The boy’s starting to look a little desperate. “I’m Magnus Bane?”

Alec nods. “Yes.” He knows that it’s not the name under which Magnus was born. He has yet to learn that name. It’s too private a thing to ask about over a slice of pizza. It needs to be shared, not pried into.

“And you are… Alec Lightworm?”

Alec cringes a little. “Wood. Lightwood. I’m your - well, your much older self’s… life partner.” He was about to say lover but there’s no need to scandalize the children. 

“Life… partner?” Alec can see the gears ticking away in Magnus’ head. 

“Yes.”

“But I’m a boy and… and a warlock,” Magnus objects.

“Yes.”

“And you’re a boy and…” He eyes Alec’s rune covered arms suspiciously. “A…Shadowhunter?”

“Yes.” Alec nods.

“That’s so weird,” Magnus sighs unhappily, but finally lowers his knife.

“No less weird from this side at the moment, believe me,” Alec assures him.

Silence settles over them and little Magnus starts looking around covertly, still not really taking his eyes off Alec, though. Alec studies him, this boy who is Magnus but not really his Magnus, his bare legs, the silky shirt that Magnus favors so much hanging loose on his thin frame, his hair tousled… and Alec feels a pang of sadness for this child. 

“Alright,” Alec says after a moment and starts scrambling off the bed. Magnus is immediately on high alert again. “Let’s find out what exactly happened.”

“I woke up in a weird room,” the boy says and his eyes open wide again while he watches Alec’s tall frame unfold itself. 

Alec stretches the kinks out of his shoulders. “Lotsa bottles and strange, dried-out things?” he asks, and when the boy nods, he nods, too. “Magnus’… your workshop. Let’s see if we can find the cause of this… mishap.”

Little Magnus follows Alec out of the bedroom like a lost puppy. “You’re very calm,” he observes.

Alec yawns. “Yeah. I had two hours of sleep. I’m way too tired to work myself into a tizzy over this. Besides, I have a little brother, Max, who tends to do the most peculiar things ‘by accident,’ I guess I’m just used to the weird.” 

In the workshop, everything’s like always - everything except for the pile of clothes by the chair and the little glowing ball that’s sitting in the middle of the desk. It’s the size of a golf ball and it’s shimmering with pretty colors.

Alec stops in the doorway, hands on his hips. “I’m no Sherlock Holmes but I think we have our culprit.”

Magnus peers around him. “Who? And what?”

Alec waves a hand around the shop. “There are no books or scrolls open, no potions bubbling away. But that,” he points at the ball, “wasn’t here yesterday.”

Magnus looks up at him. “So, what can we do?” he asks, hopeful that Alec will know. 

Alec’s heart seizes a little again and gently, he ruffles the boys hair. “We’ll ask for help.”

Back in the kitchen, Alec picks up the phone and under the heavy scrutiny of little Magnus, who finally set the knife aside, he calls Catarina Loss. When she picks up, he explains the problem, and luckily, she knows the solution.

You got him the ball?” Alec asks in disbelief. “You know how he’s with shiny things and new toys!”

Catarina huffs. “I told him not to touch it until he did proper research!”

“And you thought he would listen.” Alec’s voice is laced with irony. 

“I thought he was not stupid!” she retorts pertly. 

Alec sighs. “Alright, alright. So how do I reverse it?”

“Just shut the thing off. That usually works with these things. The ball is made of two halves, just twist the right one clockwise, that should power the thing down.”

“Should?” Alec asks pointedly.

“It will,” Catarina assures him. Then she adds, “You’re taking it remarkably calmly. I’m starting to understand why Magnus is so hung up on you. Anyways, call me - if it doesn’t work.” And she hangs up on him. Like usual. 

Alec sets the phone aside and looks down at little Magnus. The boy’s watching him with anxious eyes. Alec feels sad, no child should worry this much about anything. He puts on a smile. “Well, should be easy to solve, our little problem.” Magnus just blinks.

Back in the workshop, Alec eyes the glowing ball warily. The last thing they need is for Alec to be turned into a tidbit, too. He’s about to reach for the artifact, then pauses. He turns towards little Magnus who’s shifting from foot to foot nervously by his side. Alec doesn’t know if this is his Magnus just de-aged or if his Magnus switched places with his younger self. But just in case it’s the latter…

Alec crouches down in front of the child and takes him by his slim shoulders gently. Magnus watches him cautiously, so Alec gives him a warm smile, and says, “Just so you know, little one: no matter how hard life gets for you, no matter how many obstacles it throws in your way, it will get better, I promise. One day, you’ll be very happy, so please, take care of yourself until then, alright?”

Little Magnus stares at him, his cat-like eyes filling with tears for a moment when Alec lays a hand on his cheek affectionately. “Alright,” Magnus whispers.

And then Alec gets up, patting the boy on the head one last time, and picks up the artifact gingerly. It’s warm to the touch. “Ready?” he asks, and when Magnus nods, Alec twists one half of the ball, the one in his right hand, clockwise until there’s a click and the light goes off. 

And suddenly, a very confused adult Magnus is standing next to him, feet and legs bare, the cobalt blue shirt barely covering his unmentionables. The warlock is blinking dazedly, looking around as if he just woke from a dream. “Alexander?” he asks in bewilderment. 

Alec sighs in relief. “Thank the Angel.”

Magnus frowns at him. “What happened?”

“You played with something you shouldn’t have - by the way, don’t touch that little ball again, I don’t care how shiny it is! - and it turned you into a kid,” Alec admonishes, setting the artifact gingerly on the table. “Now you’re back to being… well, you. And I’m off to bed. Please, try not to turn into anything else, at least until tomorrow?” Alec says, kisses his still confused lover on the forehead and with a deep yawn, he pads out of the room. 

After a second, a question floats out after him, “And why do I have no pants on?”

Chapter Text

 

It’ll be the fifth time that they will call upon Azazel for help, and Magnus grits his teeth as he finishes drawing the last sigil on the floor of his workshop. He hates it, hates it so much. If there were any other way… 

But war is brewing in the world outside. Mundanes might be still unaware of the dangers lurking in the shadows but it won’t last, that Magnus knows. Because Valentine’s growing stronger, turning more and more of his people into a new breed of Shadowhunters… and setting his failed experiments, the Forsaken, loose on the world. 

And the real Shadowhunters, Raziel’s true children, are trying, they really are, setting aside their prejudices, maybe for the first time ever, signing treaties with every faction of the Shadow World willing to work with them… Shadowhunters and Downworlders working side by side to stop a threat to all of them.

But the situation has grown desperate, so desperate in fact that the Clave, the Consul and the Inquisitor themselves, called upon Magnus Bane and his lover, Alexander Lightwood, both shunned until then, for help, and entrusted them with a task, unheard of before, of gathering information from demons, even Greater Demons and Princes of Hell if need be, with the Clave’s stamp of approval, because reliable intel is what they lack the most.

And so, whenever the need has been the greatest, upon Azazel they called, Magnus and Alec, in the privacy of their home, Azazel being the only demon powerful enough to fulfill their demands and also willing to trade with them, not really caring which side wins, as long as his own needs are met. 

Four times in the past two months already did they summon him, and every time the payment was the same, levied against Alec who took it upon himself willingly, every time: in exchange for information that might save innocent lives, a cherished memory of a loved one. And alway a memory of Magnus, because Azazel’s hate is deep and he delights in hitting Magnus where it hurts the most. 

So far, Alec has forgotten their first meeting, their first kiss, their first “I love you” and their first lovemaking, now known to him from Magnus’ stories only, but no matter how detailed they are or with how much feeling they’re told, these moments cannot be truly experienced again. They are now gone forever… 

Arms wind around Magnus from behind, Alexander’s arms, and hug him firmly, lovingly. “It’ll be alright,” Alec whispers in his ear. “Whatever moment I have to give up this time, you’ll remember it for me and you’ll help me relive it again. As long as at least one of us gets to keep it, it’s not truly lost…”

Magnus grips Alec’s arms and leans back against him. “What if one day you forget about me? What if one day, there’s nothing left of me in your memory anymore?” he whispers.

Alec’s lips brush against Magnus’ ear when he smiles. “Impossible. Because you’re tied to every moment of happiness I’ve experienced since we’ve met, one way or another. I can’t lose you without losing myself.”

And Magnus’ throat closes, because this, exactly this is what he fears the most, that Azazel will take his Alexander away from him, one memory at a time…

Chapter Text

There’s a soft thump at the door. And then another. And another. 

Magnus frowns. He looks up from his spell book and turns towards his front door. Another thump

Slowly, he gets up and creeps towards the main entrance. He opens the spy-hole, but there’s no one out there.

Another thump. “Magnus…” A whisper.

Magnus breathes in sharply. “Alexander?” he asks and pulls the door open, and though he immediately drops to his knees, he barely catches Alec who’s been leaning against the door heavily, sitting on the threshold of Magnus’ apartment. 

“Alec? Alexander?” Magnus cries out urgently, when Alec remains limp in his arms, his hunting gear torn and soaked with blood. “What happened?”

Finally, Alec’s head lolls a little on Magnus’ shoulder. He looks up at Magnus, and his face is pale and spattered with blood. “Demons. Was out on patrol.” 

Magnus looks at him aghast. “Alone? Why didn’t you call for backup?”

Alec snorts and pink bubbles appear on his lips. Punctured lung, at the very least, Magnus guesses. “Tried…  Nobody came.” Alec sighs, breath rattling in his throat. “Nobody… ever comes anymore… when I call. Just Izzy and Clary. Nobody comes.”

Magnus’ eyes widen. He didn’t know. Alec never said anything… 

Alec’s body is growing heavier as he starts losing consciousness. “Came to you… safe, it’s safe here. Not home…”

And Magnus’ eyes are burning a little when he summons his magic to heal the worst of Alec’s injuries before he dares to move him. “Yes, you’re safe here,” he whispers. “I’ll take care of you. Just rest. You’re safe. Shh…” 

Magnus didn’t know…

… you want me to give up my life for you?

… but he should have!

Chapter Text

Magnus Bane is not really into art, paintings and such. If he were, he would own a gallery, not a dance club. He loves the thrumming beat and rhythm of moving bodies… not the unchangeable stillness of pictures.

But his friends, Ragnor Fell and Catarina Loss, are often overcome with the unquenchable need to educate him on these matters which usually ends with him being dragged to a gallery opening or some other artsy… thing. Much to his annoyance. 

This time, it’s some new painter, showcasing his best works - and already making a name for himself, if the crowds milling through gallery are anything to go by, though Magnus himself didn’t even bother to check the artist’s name. What he does check, is his watch. Twenty more minutes and he’s out of here.

Suddenly, Ragnor appears by his side and winds his arm through Magnus’. “Magnus, my dear, I think you need to see this,” he informs Magnus in a low voice and starts pulling him deeper into the gallery - and away from the exit, which is the only thing that Magnus is interested in. 

“I think I really don’t,” Magnus mutters, dragging his feet like a schoolboy ordered to the principal’s office. 

Ragnor just smiles and there’s something about the smile that Magnus does not like. This expression never bodes well for him. He notices he’s being dragged towards a small alcove in front of which Catarina’s standing with her pretty head tilted to the side curiously. When she hears them coming, she looks at them - well, at Magnus, to be precise - then back at something inside the alcove, then she steps aside so that Ragnor can literally shove Magnus in. 

Magnus stumbles, but catches himself just in time. Immediately he turns to glare at his friends because, what the hell? They just point behind him, their expressions… odd.

With a sigh, Magnus turns and… breath catches in his throat. Because it’s him, there on the wall. It’s a portrait of Magnus Bane in all his glittery glory, leaning against a window spattered with rain and looking into the distance with a soft, dreamy expression on his face. It’s beautiful. 

Magnus steps closer and squints at the tag: The Magician, oil on canvas, Gideon Wood. 

“Gideon Wood?” he asks with furrowed brows as he turns back to his friends.

Catarina rolls her eyes. “It’s his exhibition, you uncouth buffoon. You didn’t hear one word I was telling you, did you?”

Magnus waves a hand as if that’s of no importance right now. He points at the painting over his shoulder and states, “That’s me. How?”

Ragnor smirks. “I hoped you could tell us that, love. Did you sit for the man?”

“What? No! Can you imagine me sitting still for as long as it must’ve taken to paint this?” Magnus retorts in disbelief.

Ragnor snorts. “True.” 

Catarina taps her finger against her lips. “Could the artist have used a photo of yours?” 

“Definitely not,” Magnus rejects the idea. Then he turns back to the painting and studies the background. “Although… that view in the background, through the window…” He squints. “It is similar to that from my loft,” he admits reluctantly. 

Ragnor narrows his eyes mischievously. “Could Gideon Wood be one of your exes, then? You don’t lack in numbers in that department, my dear, one of them could’ve discovered their artistic streak after you’ve parted ways.” 

Magnus tilts his head sideways like a cat, thinking, going through the list of his partners one name at a time. Then he shakes his head. “I very much doubt it.” 

“So,” Catarina says slowly, “if you didn’t sit for the portrait and neither is it based on a photograph… then the artist must’ve painted it from memory alone.” She grins. “You, Magnus, have a secret admirer!”

“What? Nonsense!” Magnus refuses to even entertain such a ridiculous idea. But then he looks at the painting again and this time, he studies it a little longer, a little more thoroughly. “You think?” he asks in the end.

Ragnos nods and waves a hand. “Oh, definitely. That’s not just a painting, my dear, it’s a love confession. Someone’s very smitten with your pretty face.” 

“Hm,” Magnus replies, carefully studying all the little details of his face that he himself has never noticed before. “Well, then there’s only one thing to do,” he states, turns towards his friends and rubs his hands together. “Let’s find out who this mysterious Gideon Wood actually is!”

Chapter Text

“We need to talk,” is the first thing that Isabelle Lightwood says to Magnus Bane when he opens the door and finds her standing on the threshold. 

“We do?” Magnus asks cautiously. 

Isabelle strides past him, into his living room, where she stops and turns around. “Yes, about Camille Belcourt,” she replies, propping her hands on her hips. 

Magnus sighs, closes the door and follows her. “Look, if it’s about the kiss -she kissed me, I had nothing to do with that!” 

Her answer surprises him. “I know.”

Magnus blinks. “If you know, then what…?”

“It’s not about the kiss itself, it’s more about what followed - when she started insulting Alec.” Isabelle looks at Magnus as if he deeply disappointed her. “You just stood there and did nothing, you haven’t said a word and just let her do as she pleased.”

“Isabelle, you don’t know Camille as well as I do,” Magnus demurs gently. “She’s like a troll: once you feed it, it never goes away. If I started defending your brother…”

She interrupts him sharply, “My brother doesn’t need defending, he can fight his own battles very well, when he’s not playing the self-sacrificing martyr.”

Now he looks at her with confusion. “So why…?”

“138 years, Magnus,” Isabelle says steadily. “That’s how long it’s been since you two broke up, you said it yourself. 138 years, and she still feels she has the right to treat you like that, you and the people who took her place in your life. You had 138 years to put her in her place, before my brother became a part of your life.” 

Isabelle takes a step closer. “So, why am I here? To ask you, very politely and as someone who likes you a lot, not to drag my brother into this. Alec has had enough relationship drama in his life to last him a lifetime. He deserves better than to have to deal with your ex, just because you’ve refused to face your issues for 138 years.”

Magnus grits his teeth and narrows his eyes. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Isabelle watches him calmly. “No, I don’t, you’re right. I have no idea what happened between the two of you. What I do know is that Camille Belcourt is dangerous. She’s petty and she’s vindictive and she’s a murderer, who still has or thinks she has a hold on you, for some unfathomable reason. And you let her.”

Magnus looks away with a pained expression. “It’s not that simple,” he murmurs.

Isabelle nods. “I believe you. But you really need to deal with her or she will poison your relationship with Alec. She will push you apart if you don’t stand up against her.” She pauses. “Unless you don’t want to burn all bridges with her, unless you do hope that one day…”

Magnus turns towards her sharply and snaps, “I don’t! Camille is a piece of my past and she will stay there!”

Isabelle looks at him searchingly, then she nods again. “Good. But you should make sure she knows that, too. Really knows it, that she doesn’t think you’re just being coy. Don’t let my brother think that he’s nothing but a stopgap for you till you can get back together with your immortal ex.”

“He’s not,” Magnus protests. “We talked about it, and I explained to him that Camille doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. He understood…”

Isabelle shakes her head, as if he simply isn’t getting it. “Camille’s cunning and she knows her way with words - don’t tell me that nothing she said hit close to home with Alec.” 

He looks aways under her scrutiny.

She nods. “Thought so. Words are like water, Magnus, and even the hardest rock will be eroded by steady drips.” She walks up to him and lays one hand on his shoulder. “I’m really rooting for you two and I believe that you can make my brother very happy. So, take this as a well-meant advice: deal with Camille and make sure she stays away… or she will destroy any chance at a relationship you two have.”

Magnus looks at Isabelle, his expression a little pained. She smiles at him gently, squeezes his shoulder and leaves.

Chapter Text

"I’m off, then,” Alec says, patting his pockets to make sure he has his cellphone on him. “If there’s an emergency, call me.” And with that he turns to go.

Jace, who’s been putting away their weapons after the hunt, it being his turn tonight, makes a hmm-ing sound, his lips twisted sourly. He sets the Seraph blade he’s been holding down so hard it rattles in its rack. 

Isabelle widens her eyes pointedly and tilts her head in Alec’s direction. Her silence is very loud

In response to her prompt, Jace mutters bitterly, “Can’t you stay home even for one night?” A small part of him hopes Alec does not hear him. The bigger part hopes he does, because damn it!

Alec stops by the stairs leading down from the weapons room, and turns back, his expression puzzled. “Did you say something?”

Jace opens his eyes and sees Izzy glaring at him reproachfully. He sighs. Fine, that was uncalled for. “I asked if you maybe could stay home tonight?” 

Alec, immediately concerned, heads back. “Is there a problem?”

Jace opens his mouth, then closes it again, and Isabelle rolls her eyes. She walks around the rack through which she was watching Jace make a fool of himself before, and heads out of the room. But on her way out, passing her brother, she whispers very loudly, “Jace has a thing to tell you.” 

Jace twists around and glares after the smirking she-devil.

Alec raises his eyebrows and turns to Jace. “Am I missing something?”

Jace crosses his arms over his chest. By the Angel, this is awkward, he thinks. But then he takes a deep breath and decides to soldier through. “You’ve been spending a lot of time with Magnus lately. A lot of it. Almost every night when we’re not hunting.”

Alec’s eyebrows stay up and he blinks. “Well… yes,” he replies slowly. “I’m not doing anything wrong, am I? I’m not neglecting my duties or…”

Jace interrupts him, “I’m not saying you are!”

Alec’s expression turns even more puzzled. “Then what’s the problem?”

Jace huffs. To Hell with it. “I don’t like it, okay? I don’t like that you’re gone all the time. I don’t like that as soon as we’re back from a hunt, you run off again!”

Alec’s still confused. “But… why? I thought you would be glad. I thought that’s what you wanted! You have now much more time to spend with Clary…”

“But a lot less of it to spend with you!” Jace snaps, looking away.

“With… me?” Alec asks, surprised. “You want to spend more time with me?”

Jace looks at him, sure that Alec’s just playing dense, but no, Alec’s serious. Completely serious. He really thinks…?

Dropping his arms, Jace steps closer to him. “Of course I want to spend time with you, Alec! You’re my parabatai, my best friend, my brother! I miss spending time with you - I miss you.”

Alec studies his face, then shrugs awkwardly. “I miss you, too. It’s just that… since you’ve met Clary, since you two got together again, I can’t help but feel that you don’t really need me–”

“What?” Jace asks in disbelief.

“–as much anymore. Besides, you’ve never said anything,” Alec adds a little more aggressively. “How should I have known? I thought I was doing you a favor, getting out of the way as much as possible.”

Jace closes his eyes briefly and squeezes the bridge of his nose. “OK, there’s been some serious miscommunication happening here. I think we really need to talk about this before someone does something stupid, mistakingly thinking the other someone actually wanted that something done.”

Alec squints, trying to decipher what Jace just said, then he nods. “I agree, but not tonight.” When Jace furrows his brows and opens his mouth to protest, Alec adds quickly, “Magnus made reservations for us at some restaurant on the 44th. He’s been talking about the place non-stop for weeks. I really can’t back out. But!” Alec smiles a little. “What about tomorrow? Sparring session? It’s been way too long since I kicked your ass in a hand-to-hand…”

Jace snorts, a little bubble of warmth that he recognizes as happiness settling under his breastbone. “Ha! In your dreams! But don’t forget to tell Magnus that tomorrow’s night is mine! If he bothers you for anything less that the world’s ending, I will have my revenge.”

Now it’s Alec who snorts, and when he turns to leave again, he calls over his shoulder, “Sure, I’ll tell him. I bet he’ll be quaking in his boots!”

Chapter Text

They’re in bed together, Magnus propped up on a small mountain of pillows, Alec resting with his back against Magnus’ chest, head on Magnus’ shoulder. Magnus is hugging Alec gently around the midriff with his right arm, running the knuckles of his hand up and down Alec’s bare stomach, and planting affectionate kisses on Alec’s tousled head from time to time, just because…

“The bow’s been in our family, the Lightwood family, for generations now,” Alec’s telling him, because Magnus asked for a story and those of magical items are always the best. “It was specially made for Gabriel Lightwood, an anniversary gift from his wife.” He pauses. “Or was it a birthday present? I don’t know anymore.” 

Magnus smiles, remembering Gabriel and Cecily. Yes, Gabriel would’ve never won the prize for Magnus’ favorite person, but Cecily was a sweet rascal of a girl. 

Alec continues, “As you’ve figured out, the bow is magical. It’s tied to the rune I have drawn here.” He holds his bare wrist for Magnus to see. “Usually, it’s invisible because it doesn’t really do anything, it’s just tied to the bow. When I hold the bow in my hand and run my stele over this place,” he taps his finger on his wrist, “the bow dissolves, so I don’t have to actually carry it around with me. When I need it, I just lift my hand as if I’m already holding it and it materializes again.”

Magnus runs his thumb over Alec’s wrist. The skin there is almost silky to the touch. “And the quiver?”

“The bow and the quiver didn’t make up a set at first,” Alec explains. “When I draw the bow’s string, an arrow automatically appears. But it’s made of my own strength, my own energy, so shooting this way gets really tiring, really fast. So, another ancestor of mine added the quiver. It has its own magic. I can make it appear and disappear just by running my hand over the strap. The quiver I can always feel, though, I have to actually carry it with me, it doesn’t dissolve like the bow. On the other hand, it never runs out of arrows, so there’s that…” 

Magnus hmms. “I wonder if I could make some changes to it that would allow it to dissolve, too,” he thinks aloud. “Must be rather tiring to schlep such a bulky thing around.”

Alec shrugs. “You get used to it.” 

Then he falls silent and Magnus feels the change in his mood. “What is it?” he asks quietly, hugging him more tightly.

Alec sighs. “The bow was given to me by my father on my eighteenth birthday. I was so proud, so very happy that he gave it to me, such a valuable family heirloom. I wonder…” He pauses, and when he speaks again, his voice is soft. “I wonder if he now regrets giving it to me.”

“He does not,” Magnus replies immediately. “Your father loves you. He’s afraid for you, but he isn’t ashamed of you.”

“Yeah?” Alec asks, sounding very young, and entwines the fingers of his right hand with Magnus’.

“Yeah. Trust me,” Magnus assures him, squeezing his hand.

When Alec responds, there’s a smile in his voice. “I do.” 

Magnus kisses the tip of Alec’s left ear. “Good. Now, it’s my turn to tell a story. Did you know that I was as a private dick once?”

Chapter Text

Alec groans in relief as he flattens himself on their bed, arms spread wide, feet dangling over the edge. When his spine goes pop-pop-pop, his moan is almost obscene in its pleasure. 

Magnus, standing in the doorway of their bedroom, laughs a little. “Slouching will do that to you, darling!”

Alec sighs, closes his eyes and wiggles a little - much to Magnus’ amusement - to make himself as comfortable as possible on the luxurious mattress. “Well, I can’t help it.” And as if sensing Magnus’ rather unfavorable opinion on that, he continues, “No, I really can’t, Magnus. As a kid, I broke my back, several vertebrae. I’m lucky I can still walk.” 

Magnus’ amusement is suddenly gone. “What happened?” he asks with concern. 

“It was a stupid accident, I fell down the stairs. It was before Jace came to live with us, before Max was born,” Alec says, eyes still closed. “But since I haven’t gone through my initiation ritual yet, my parents couldn’t use aniratze on me. By the Angel, I felt so sick and lightheaded, I could barely breathe, it hurt so much.” Alec shudders just thinking of it.

Magnus walks up to the bed. “What did they do?”

“They contacted the Silent Brothers. I think it was Brother Jeremiah who came, I don’t really remember. He didn’t want to move me, he was afraid of causing permanent damage. He advised my parents to call upon the nearest warlock who could use magic to move me without hurting me further.” Alec sighs. “Unfortunately, there was no warlock in reach at that time, and they couldn’t just leave me lying there until they found one, could they?”

Magnus’ mouth goes dry. “So they moved you.”

Alec nods, still not opening his eyes. “Yeah, but some of the broken pieces shifted and healed wrong. So now, I can’t straighten up, not fully. And my back aches when I overdo it.”

“I’m sorry,” Magnus says softly, glad that Alec’s not looking at him because he suspects he must be very white in the face, considering the coldness that settled over him.

Alec shrugs and yawns tiredly. “Can’t be helped. Mom and dad did their best. I don’t blame them…”

But I do! Magnus wants to shout. He wants to scream and rage and smite Maryse and Robert Lightwood where they stand. Because he was here, right here in New York at that time, and they knew it! He’s barely left the city for decades now, studiously minding his duties as the High Warlock of Brooklyn and trying to help his people get back on their feet after the Circle’s reign of terror. 

He was right here, but rather than ask for his help, the Lightwoods almost crippled their own son, they actually caused permanent, irreparable damage to their own child because they hated the one person who could’ve helped…

Magnus is shaking, shaking with fury and shock and helplessness, staring at Alec who has fallen asleep on the bed, fully dressed. They… hurt him, Alec’s own parents. They hurt his Alexander just because they hated Magnus. They hurt him!

Carefully so as not to wake Alec, Magnus crawls on the bed and curls up around his lover protectively. Head pillowed on Alec’s shoulder and one arm thrown over Alec’s stomach, Magnus sends a tiny pulse of magic into Alec’s body to soothe all his aches and pains and help him sleep restfully.

And at the same time, Magnus’ heart hardens with resolve. He’s done playing nice. Nobody’s going to hurt his Alexander again, not if he can help it.

Chapter Text

In the end, Magnus buys the painting. And no, it’s not because he’s a narcissistic snob who loves to admire his own face, no matter what Catarina says, or, well, it’s not just that, he simply hates the idea of his face hanging on some stranger’s wall. 

Also, he hopes that the painting will help him find the author because as of now, he knows absolutely nothing about the guy. Gideon Wood’s agent who attended the gallery opening instead of him, Jace Whatshisname, told Magnus in no uncertain terms that his client hated any kind of publicity. But Magnus is determined to persevere! He will find the guy or die trying. Or something.

He’s just contemplating where to hang the painting in his loft, carrying the thing back and forth and holding it up against this wall and that, when there’s a firm knock on the door. Setting the painting down on the floor and leaning it against his leather couch, he goes to answer the knock.

When he opens the door, there’s his neighbor standing in the hall outside, bare feet, stained jeans, unbuttoned flannel shirt… lotsa dark chest hair and scruff, and beautiful, sleepy eyes. Nice! 

“Alexander!” Magnus exclaims excitedly.

His neighbor, Alexander Lightwood, lifts one hand and Magnus blinks. In his long fingers, Alec’s holding a fluffy tabby by the scruff, the kitten kicking its tiny legs as if it were so much fun, just dangling so.

“Your cat,” Alec informs his neighbor in a sleep roughened voice, “was in my apartment. Again.” 

“Oh, Chairman,” Magnus chides gently and takes the kitten in his hands. “I don’t understand how he manages to get out. Or why he always ends up at your place.” 

Alec harrumphs, rubbing his hand through his tousled hair. 

“But I promise to keep him out… of your hair,” Magnus adds, his eyes sliding down. Down. Down. Nice!

When Alec sees where Magnus is looking, he glares and crosses his arms on his chest defensively. And when Magnus just shrugs in a “What I can do, you’re hot!” gesture, Alec opens his mouth to say something - but then he freezes and his eyes go wide. 

Noticing the expression of shock on Alec’s face, caused by something inside the loft, Magnus turns. What…? Ah, the painting. Magnus beams. “Pretty, isn’t it?” 

“You… you have… you bought…?” Alec stutters, completely flabbergasted. 

Magnus turns back to him. “Yes, my friends dragged me to a gallery opening. When I saw the painting, I just had to buy it! Wouldn’t do to let some stranger get their grubby hands on it. Now I just need to find out who Gideon Wood is. His agent, Jace… something, refused to tell me anything at all, but I won’t be deterred.” 

Alec just stares at him as if Magnus has grown another head. “Right…” he replies weakly, then starts slowly backing away. “I… I have to… You know.” He points with his thumb over his shoulder.

“Go?” Magnus guesses.

“Yes.” And with that, Alexander Lightwood runs. Literally.

“Huh,” Magnus comments and jumps a little when his neighbor’s door slams shut. Slowly, he closes his own door, then he frowns down at his kitten, still comfortably cuddled in his arms. “Chairman, honey, you keep strange company. He’s pretty, but really weird.”

When the kitten meows in agreement, Magnus sets it on the floor and pats it on the head, then he claps his hands a few times. “Now, back to my painting. Where to put it, Chairman, dear? Any ideas?”

Chapter Text

When they storm the ship, they find it abandoned, with only Jace left on the bridge - stabbed, barely conscious, bleeding to death. 

They all gather around him, Alec and Izzy, Clary and Magnus, they activate the iratze rune on his skin, Alec even draws a new one because runes drawn by parabatai should have a stronger effect than anything else, but it all seems in vain. Clary draws Jace’s head into her lap and she’s hugging him, begging him not to leave her, not to leave them

Alec turns to Magnus. “Can you help? Please, I’m begging you, Magnus, can you help him?”

Magnus looks at him sadly. “I don’t have enough power left after opening a portal to the high seas… magic and vast bodies of water don’t mix well.” 

Alec holds out a hand. “Then use my strength. Use all of it, if you have to–”

“Alec!” Izzy exclaims in dismay. 

“–but save him, please!” Alec finishes, not listening to his sister. And when Magnus hesitates, he adds desperately, “He’s my parabatai, Magnus. The other half of my soul!”

And there’s something in Magnus’ gaze, as if this isn’t the first time that he has heard similar words, because he nods reluctantly and grips Alec’s hand in his. “Alright, but I’m not taking it all. I mean it, Alexander,” Magnus cuts him off when Alec opens his mouth to protest. “Promise me you’ll tell me when it becomes too much. Promise me, or I won’t do it!”

Alec looks down at Jace who’s growing paler, the puddle of blood around him spreading, and nods, “Fine, fine, I promise. I’ll tell you when it becomes too much.” He turns to Magnus imploringly. “Now, please, help him!”

And Magnus pulls at Alec’s strength, squeezing Alec’s hand hard with his right one, his left glowing bright blue with magic that he pushes into Jace’s dying body, trying to knit it back together. 

Then suddenly, Alec’s breath catches in his throat because it’s not like before, like when he helped Magnus keep Luke alive. Yes, the uncomfortable pressure in his chest is still there, but… there’s pain slowly growing in his side, spreading from the place where his parabatai rune is set. And it’s starting to hurt a lot!

When the pain turns into agony, Alec whimpers and presses his hand against the rune. He squeezes his eyes shut and hunches over… and then Jace’s back arches and a strangled cry escapes his lips!

“Alexander!” Magnus cries out, turning his head towards him, at the same time that Izzy calls out for his brother and Clary for Jace. “Alec? Alec, what’s going on? Talk to me or I will stop!”

Alec draws in a heavy breath, almost wheezing with the effort, and shakes his head. “No, keep going. It’s… it’s our bond… it’s been weak, broken for… weeks now. It’s… it’s healing!” 

Because yes, that’s what this is, he realizes, the same agony that he felt when he damaged their bond trying to track Jace. It feels like life returning to a limb fallen asleep, all pins and needles and sharp pain. Alec’s strength channeled through Magnus into Jace, using Magnus as a bridge to bypass the broken connection, isn’t healing only Jace’s body, it’s healing their parabatai bond, too! “Don’t… don’t stop. This is… good!”

Magnus is shooting him little unsure glances, while Isabelle stares at him with open disbelief. “Good? You call this good?”

Alec grits his teeth because he feels like screaming. “Yes!” he forces out.

Then all of a sudden, the pain’s gone, just like that. Only the steady pressure in his chest remains, the tug that, in his experience, accompanies the sharing of strength. But the bond… their parabatai bond is back, back to the way it used to be before, humming in the back of his mind, filling him with warmth, making him once again one half of a whole.

And when he looks up, Jace’s staring at him, his head in Clary’s lap. And then he smiles at Alec, and it’s his warm and untroubled smile, the genuine one that’s carefully guarded and rarely given. And it says “Hello” and “Welcome back” and “I love you, my parabatai.” 

And Alec feels like he has finally come home again.

Chapter Text

They all stare at the letter in Meliorn’s hands in disbelief, Maryse and Robert, Clary and Jace, Alec and Izzy, they just stare at the thing, made of creamy white paper and adorned with golden leaves, so pretty, and yet…

When Meliorn first appeared on the doorstep of the Institute, accompanied by two other Seelies, they couldn’t believe it, he was a fugitive, after all. But he came under the flag of truce, as an emissary of the Seelie Queen herself and with an olive branch in hand, offering not just peace between their races, but an alliance again, all debts and transgressions forgotten, a clean slate for all. 

And as a token of goodwill? Information. Intel on Valentine’s troops, gathered by Seelie scouts, because Valentine himself might be gone, killed by Maryse Lightwood herself, but his minions didn’t disperse, just the opposite. They’re ready to strike, to fulfill their visionary leader’s final wish. 

But there’s a catch, of course there is, as always with the Seelies…

“I beg your pardon?” Robert asks incredulously. 

Meliorn bows again, the letter with the vital information held in both hands, a picture of courteous politeness. “My queen thought it only just that Valentine Morgenstern’s son and heir should be the one to open the letter, to take the first step towards the destruction of his father’s plans. A poetic justice, one might say.”

“But… Valentine doesn’t have a son!” Clary objects weakly, looking from Meliorn to her friends and back. “It was proven that Jace is a Herondale. And Jonathan Christopher, the real one, died. There is no Morgenstern heir other than me…” 

Meliorn only bows again. “I’m only relaying my queen’s message…” he replies apologetically

But Clary… Clary saw it, she saw the way Meliorn’s lips twisted when he said it. And she has always liked Meliorn, but right now, he’s creeping her out. He knows something, and she can feel just how much pleasure he takes from this task that he was entrusted with. Her heart starts hammering.

“Can’t Clary open it?” Jace asks the obvious question. “She’s Valentine’s heir, too.”

Meliorn shakes his head, as if it really pains him that he has to refuse. “I’m sorry. If someone other than the recipient tries to open it, the letter will be destroyed. And since the scouts who gathered the intel and wrote the message are dead, if the letter’s destroyed, the information will be gone with it. Many innocent people will die…”

After a long, heavy pause, it’s Maryse who speaks, her voice hoarse, “Robert? Alec? Can I talk to you both in private?”

Everyone turns to her. She’s as pale as a ghost and she’s looking straight at Meliorn with so much hatred in her eyes that it steals Clary’s breath away. She shoots a quick glance at the emissary, and there, the almost gleeful smirk is back, just of a second. 

“Now, Maryse?” Robert asks in utter disbelief.

“Yes!” she replies sharply, then turns around and marches out of the Ops Center. 

Robert follows her reluctantly, and Alec, too, after exchanging an uncertain look and a shrug with Jace. 

The silence that settles over the room after their departure is awkward at best. Something ugly is brewing in the air, Clary can sense it, and she doesn’t like it at all. She reaches out for Jace’s hand, and he smiles at her encouragingly and returns the grip. 

Isabelle steps forward, towards Meliorn. “Meliorn, what’s going on here? You know that Valentine didn’t have any other children but Clary and Jonathan Christopher. You know that there’s no other Morgenstern child here!”

And Clary sees how Meliorn’s expression changes, there’s something akin to regret in his eyes when he looks at Isabelle who used to be his lover and who’s still his friend, a dear friend, no matter the discord between him and her family. 

“I’m sorry,” Meliorn says softly, “I’m only doing my job.”

There are footsteps coming closer, from the direction in which the Lightwoods disappeared. And when they all turn, they see Alec striding in. He’s as pale as Maryse was before she left. His eyes are dark, his lips pressed tightly together, his hands clenched into fists.

“Alec, what…?” Jace asks, but Alec walks past him without even looking at him.

And Clary’s heart’s now beating so hard she feels almost faint, because Alec’s moving towards Meliorn and Meliorn’s staring it him with… satisfaction, is it? A thirst for revenge finally sated. 

Can’t be. This can’t be… Clary thinks.

And then Alec stops in front of Meliorn and reaches out. “Give me the letter,” he orders quietly, his voice full of controlled rage. 

Can’t be. No…

There’s a small smile playing on Meliorn’s lips, when he responds almost sweetly, “I can only give it to Valentine Morgenstern’s son, Alec Lightwood.”

Can’t be…

“I am his son, and you damn well know it, you bastard,” Alec hisses and he’s almost shaking he’s so tense. 

They all stare at Alec in shock. Izzy’s eyes are slowly filling with tears as she presses her hands to her mouth, and Jace is squeezing Clary’s hand so hard her bones grind together. And Clary…

My brother. I have a brother and it’s Alec. He’s my brother… my brother… 

“Then here it is,” Meliorn says, and with a mocking bow, he hands over the letter, which unfolds on its own the moment it settles in Alec’s hands, proving that…

Alexander Lightwood is Valentine Morgenstern’s son.

Can’t be…

Chapter Text

“Now, tell me about that Shadowhunter of yours!” Tessa says, curling up in one corner of Magnus’ couch, a glass of wine in one hand and a giddy smile on her lips.

“Oh,” Magnus sighs, rolling his eyes. “Catarina and her big, big mouth!” He tsks, settling down in the other corner of the couch, a colorful drink held in his bejeweled fingers. 

Tessa’s eyebrows shoot up in disbelief. “So it’s true?”

“Well, yes,” Magnus admits a little bashfully. “His name is Alexander, Alexander Lightwood, and…”

Tessa snorts into her glass. “One of Will’s Lightworms?” she wheezes. 

Magnus grimaces. “Lightwood!” he corrects her primly, then he looks away and mumbles, “And yes, it’s the same family.” 

Tessa’s laugh fills the air. “You and a Lightwood? By the Angel! Not just a Shadowhunter, but a Lightwood?”

Magnus scowls at her. “You don’t have to keep repeating it. I’m not all that thrilled that he’s a Lightwood either, believe you me!”

“Don’t tell me demon pox still runs in the family!” she jokes.

Sighing, Magnus turns serious. “Worse. Alec’s parents were in the Circle.”

All amusement flees from Tessa. “Oh, Magnus…” she whispers, tilting her head sadly.

He shakes his head. “It’s even worse yet: They hate me personally. Because I was there when they were murdering our people twenty years ago. I witnessed it all, and they hate me for having seen them at their worst. I’m a living reminder of their failures. And now I’m dating their son.” He groans and lets his head fall back against the backrest. “I think they might have swallowed if Alec dated a man or a Downworlder. But both and me in particular? I’m their worst nightmare!”

Tessa looks down into her glass. “But if Alec’s parents were in the Circle…” She pauses. “I’m not doubting your judgment but…”

Magnus turns his head towards her. “Alexander’s nothing like his parents. He’s quite amazing and his sister, Isabelle, is a delight, too. It’s like…” He waves a hand. “It’s like they embody everything that their parents lack.”

Tessa smiles at him softly. “So, you love him, huh?” 

Magnus pauses and twirls his drink in his hands for a moment. “I have loved many people in my life,” he says in the end, “but for many years now, I’ve felt… dried out. I started to believe that I lost something essential when Camille betrayed me, something I could never get back.” 

“And you found it with Alec again?” Tessa reasons quietly. 

Magnus looks at her and his eyes shine. “I can’t remember ever feeling like this before. When he’s sad, I want to make him smile again because I ache for him. And when he’s happy, I feel like bursting because my heart’s so full…”

Tessa’s smile widens and it’s full of affection. “Yeah, you’re in love, Magnus Bane. At last. This is what true love feels like. Trust me on this…”

A pall of nostalgia settles over them when they remember Will Herondale, gone for many, many years now… 

“I’m very happy for you, my friend,” Tessa says and reaches out to squeeze his hand. “I hope I’ll get to meet this man who enthralled you so. He must be truly exceptional.” 

Magnus blinks hard, returning her grip. And then a mischievous grin lights up his face. “Oh, and did I mention how sexy my Alexander is? My dear, he’ll take your breath away!”

Tessa just laughs.

Chapter Text

It’s been two months since they broke up. There was no one big reason, just life and family and friends and enemies who got in the way and kept pushing them apart until their fledgling relationship couldn’t stand the pressure anymore and it all fell apart. 

So, when Magnus opens the door and finds Alec on his doorstep, he’s rather surprised. And also displeased. It’s hard to get over your ex when you keep bumping into each other randomly, let alone when one party seeks the other out. 

“Alec, what an unwelcome surprise,” Magnus says with a bitter smile. “What can I do for you?”

Alec just blinks at him for a moment as if he didn’t understand a word Magnus just said, then he mumbles, “Sorry. Key. For-forgot.” And then he presses a fleeting kiss to Magnus’ forehead and stumbles past him into the loft.

Magnus frowns and turns after him. “What? What key?” And when he sees Alec stagger into the living room where he stops, swaying uncertainly, he asks, “Alec? Are you… are you drunk?” But that can’t be, Magnus didn’t smell any alcohol on him when Alec kissed him.

Alec doesn’t respond, he just stands there with his back to Magnus, reeling a little. He lifts his right hand to his face and whimpers softly. It’s not a sound Magnus has ever heard from Alec and all his ire is suddenly forgotten. Something’s wrong.

Magnus closes the door and steps closer, walks around Alec to stand in front of him. “Alec?” he asks uncertainly, and when the Shadowhunter doesn’t respond, Magnus tries again, “Alexander?” He touches Alec’s hand, the one Alec’s pressing tightly to his eye. 

Alec lets his hand drop and looks at Magnus. He stares at him, squinting, as if he can’t focus, and Magnus notices how blown his pupils are. “Head. Hurts,” Alec whispers, his words slurring a bit, but Magnus knows that Alec’s not drunk. Which means…

“Alec, did you hit your head? Are you injured?” Magnus asks urgently because he sees that Alec’s hands are starting to shake and he’s now almost ghostly pale. 

Alec blinks at him. “Not inju-innj… Not… jst… hrrs.”

Magnus’ heart’s hammering so hard his chest hurts now because whatever’s wrong with Alec, it’s getting worse, he can barely understand the other man now. Gently, he takes Alec by the upper arms and carefully turns him towards the bedroom. 

“Why don’t you lie down,” Magnus suggests and forces himself to keep his voice as calm and steady as possible, to not show any panic. “Come,” he urges and slowly, he starts guiding Alec out of the living room and towards the four poster bed that they shared only a handful of times before they broke up.

Alec allows himself to be drawn into the bedroom, but suddenly, he stiffens and cries out sharply. Both of his hands fly up to his head and his knees buckle. Luckily, Magnus manages to catch him in the last second and hold him up long enough to lie him down on the bed as gently as possible. 

And then Alec’s starts seizing - and it’s the most frightening thing Magnus has ever seen. And though Magnus doesn’t know the cause, he uses his magic to force Alec to relax to avoid further damage. It’s the only thing he can do for now and the next few minutes are the scariest in his life, because he can’t help in any way, he just has to wait it out and watch Alec suffer. 

If Alec had an open wound, something… something obvious to heal, Magnus would do it, he would give Alec everything, because they might be broken up but Magnus still loves this stupid Shadowhunter and he would give his life for Alec’s! But the subtle workings of the body, that’s something that Magnus has never learned to deal with. As warlocks go, he’s a fighter, not a healer. But…

That gives him an idea. And when Alec’s seizure finally starts to abate, Magnus throws himself to his phone and calls Catarina Loss. 

Later on, he won’t remember exactly what he tells her because he’s afraid, he’s so afraid that his Alexander might actually die, but whatever he says, however he says it, it must make a real impression on Catarina, his fear, his urgency, because she doesn’t argue or banter like she usually does, she just says, “I’ll be right there,” and hangs up.

And really, it takes her just a couple of minutes to open a portal to a safe place nearby, Magnus’ place being too warded to open a portal directly in here, and to rush over.

Still, Alec’s seizure is over by the time she arrives, and Magnus has to keep checking Alec’s pulse and breathing just to make sure, they’re still there, that Alec’s not dead, that his Alexander is still here, with him. 

Catarina’s examination is short, her rapid fire questions sharp and to the point. She focuses her magic on Alec’s head, as if she already knows what’s wrong with him. 

And Magnus, feeling absolutely useless, just sits there, on Alec’s other side, holding Alec’s hand in his, and he’s praying, he’s actually praying, to God, to Raziel, to anyone who’s listening to not let Alec die. 

The examination might have been short, but the treatment takes Catarina a very long time. She’s sitting on the bed, bent over Alec, her hands, pulsating with magic, gently laid on his head, eyes closed in concentration that Magnus dares not to break. And when she’s finished, sweat is pouring off her, her clothes are soaked with it, and she’s so exhausted that she’s shaking. But Alec’s breathing is lighter, his color is not as ghostly pale as before.

“What’s wrong with him?” Magnus asks softly, when Catarina straightens up, her spine popping loudly. 

“Brain aneurysm,” Catarina replies just as quietly. “Did he ever tell you he had it? Did he even know?”

Stunned, Magnus can only shake his head. He can’t force a word through his suddenly numb lips.

“It ruptured which caused bleeding into his brain, basically. I managed to stop it and relieve some of the pressure. If he hadn’t come here, to you, Magnus, if he had been alone or on a hunt when it happened…” She doesn’t finish. She doesn’t have to.

Magnus squeezes Alec’s hand tight and brings it to his lips. Alexander, his Alexander could’ve died. If he in his confused state hadn’t come here, thinking that this was still his home…

Blinking back tears, Magnus turns to Catarina. “So he will live? He will be alright?” he asks. No, he begs for confirmation. 

Catarina sighs. “If there’s no rebleeding in the next few days, then he will live. But if he’ll fully recover, that I can’t tell you right now. I did my best, there’s nothing more doctors could’ve done with their tools than what I did with my magic, but… in two thirds of the cases, there’s some permanent damage, Magnus, you need to be prepared for that.” 

Her voice is gentle when she tells him that, but it still feels like a terrible, crushing blow for Magnus. He looks down at Alec, lying on what used to be their bed for a few weeks, with his head turned slightly to the side on the soft pillow, and tries to imagine Alec, strong and fast and sharp-witted Alec, his Alexander… brain-damaged. And his own brain stutters to a halt and can’t move any further, it just keeps running in circles, insisting, impossible, impossible, impossible…

Magnus swallows, his throat dry. “What… what can I do?”

“Will you take care of him, then?” Catarina asks, as if not doing it is an actual option for Magnus. He looks at her as if she can’t be serious. “Don’t look at me like that. I know that you two broke up. There’s no obligation on your part. You could just call his family and let them deal with it.”

“No!” Magnus’ response is sharp. His mind is made. “Tell me what I can do!”

Catarina sighs. “Right now? Keep him as comfortable as possible. Don’t let him move much, his head is in a bad shape and he needs to recover. Peace and quiet, that’s what he needs. And monitoring. If anything changes, Magnus, anything at all, if his head starts hurting, if he starts vomiting, you need to call me immediately. Any little thing could be a sign of rebleeding which can take days to appear. If it doesn’t, then he’s going to be halfway there to recovery…”

“And the permanent damage?” Magnus asks, eyes trained on Alec’s face. 

“We’ll see when he wakes up.” Catarina reaches out and squeezes Magnus’ shoulder. “There might not be anything at all, or at least nothing major, it’s not set in stone yet, my friend. Don’t despair.” 

Magnus just nods, numbly, because he can’t not despair, he just can’t. How easy it is to say “be strong” when it’s not your loved one lying in the bed, sick. 

“I have to… I… I have to call Izzy and tell her, tell her what happened, where Alec is…” he whispers, still squeezing Alec’s hand tight. Alec’s skin is so cold. He needs to warm him up, let him sleep…

Magnus turns to Catarina. “Is he sleeping? Or is he unconscious?” It didn’t occur to him to ask before, he was just overwhelmingly glad that Alec was still alive.

“I put him to sleep,” Catarina answers and her voice is still so gentle that it makes Magnus want to cry. “Let him. He needs the rest. Wait till he wakes on his own.” 

Magnus nods, his eyes once more trained on Alec’s face, Alec’s hand pressed to his lips. Catarina gets up slowly, then she touches Alec’s face and uses a tiny pulse of magic to check one last time that everything’s healing nicely. 

“You still love him, don’t you?” she asks a little sadly.

And Magnus doesn’t look at her, doesn’t tear his eyes away from Alec, when he responds, “I don’t think I will ever stop…”

Catarina nods and leans over to squeeze his shoulder. “I’m just one phone call away, my friend,” she promises.

And then she leaves, and Magnus knows, he knows that he should call Izzy or Jace and let them know, that he should… he should… there are so many things he should be doing, but instead, he crawls in the bed and curls up around his Alexander protectively, and just listens to him breathe… Just for a moment.

Chapter Text

“It will be alright,” Robert says softly to his wife after Alec departs. 

Maryse spins towards him angrily. “Are you being purposefully dense, Robert? It won’t be alright. It will never be alright again. He could’ve have saved us all, instead, he has ruined us, shamed us, and he can’t even see it!” 

Robert sighs and rubs his forehead. “Don’t you think it’s rather hypocritical of you to blame him when it was us who brought shame to this family in the first place? If it weren’t for us, our family wouldn’t even need saving!”

Maryse presses her lips together for a moment before she speaks, as if she needs to calm down first. “We made mistakes, terrible mistakes, but that’s in the past. For the last twenty years we’ve been trying to make up for it. We made sacrifices our children can’t even imagine, and now, because of Alec’s selfishness, it’s all ruined. And for what? For a roll in the sheets with a Downworlder?” she spits, furious again.

“Maryse,” Robert says in a conciliatory tone. “Alec’s just doing what he thinks is right.”

She makes a sharp motion with her hand. “So did we when we joined Valentine. And look what it brought us. We’ve been paying for it ever since!”

“And so will he!” Robert snaps quietly, his own anger finally surfacing. “He will be paying for this for the rest of his life because for the Clave he will be nothing more than the Lightwood fag from now on!” 

Maryse draws in a sharp breath as if he slapped her and her face whitens.

But Robert won’t be deterred, he has kept quiet long enough. “Those people out there who you’re so desperately trying to please will not care that our son is brave and honest and loyal. All they will care about is whom he fucks! And the last thing our son needs is to face the same prejudice at home!” 

“Then he should have kept his inclinations to himself!” Maryse retorts bitterly.

“No! What he should have done was not to wait till he stood at the altar, that’s the only thing he should have done,” Robert counters sharply, then he lowers his voice again. “Yes, he could’ve - should’ve - found a better way to do it, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it was the right thing for him to do.” 

When Maryse turns away from him, arms crossed over her chest, Robert steps closer and implores, “You can’t tell me you don’t see just how happy he is now. I haven’t seen him so… content in his own skin since he was a little boy. Isn’t this what all parents should want for their children, simple happiness, even if they themselves don’t understand its source?”

Maryse’s eyes are cold and hard when she looks back at him. “Not at this cost.” 

Robert just stares at her for a long moment, not really recognizing her, not seeing the woman he married in her anymore. And he wonders where that Maryse disappeared to and when.  

“You fight so hard to defend your family, Maryse,” he whispers with regret. “Be careful that you actually have a family left to defend in the end.” 

When she doesn’t respond, just turns away, back rigid and head held high, Robert just shakes his head and leaves.

Chapter Text

“My father’s Valentine, not Michael Wayland!” Jace announces as he walks into Robert’s study and closes the door. 

Robert, who’s sitting in his chair, sighs heavily and drops his eyes to his hands, clasped together on his desk. “Yes, I heard,” he replies softly. He and Maryse returned from Idris only a few hours ago but word travels fast.

“You heard,” Jace says, eyes narrowed angrily, and slowly, he walks up to the desk. “You heard?” he repeats in disbelief. “Robert, Michael Wayland was your parabatai. How could you have not known that he was dead all this time? That he didn’t die ten years ago but a long time before that? If Alec…” 

Jace cuts himself off, and looks away, breathing hard. It takes him a while to get himself back under control again, and when he continues, turning to Robert once more, his voice is quieter, but no less angry. “If Alec died, it would destroy me,” he says with absolute certainty. “Even when we couldn’t see eye to eye, I would’ve ripped the world apart if something happened to him. That’s what parabatai do!” He leans closer, hands flat on the top of the desk. “And you want to tell me that you didn’t feel your parabatai die?”

Robert sighs again, hunching his shoulders, and suddenly, he looks very old. “Michael and I, we were nothing like you and Alec. I mean, we were, at the beginning. But then…” Robert swallows hard, closes his eyes and presses his clasped hands to his mouth for a moment. “I did something unforgivable, and it… broke us. I broke us. Our bond, it just… it stopped.” 

Robert doesn’t know how else to explain that sudden emptiness that settled over him after that last fateful confrontation. The chasm that opened between him and Michael was so deep, so unmendable that not even the echoes of Michael’s death managed to cross it.

“What did you do?” Jace asks harshly, ruthlessly.

Robert looks up at him, at his adopted son who’s looking at him with blazing eyes. “He told me he was in love with me - and I condemned him for it. I told him I was ashamed of him, disgusted even…” Robert admits truthfully, unable to lie in the face of such righteous fury. His voice breaks at the end.

Jace breathes in sharply. He pales, eyes widening with shock, and slowly, he straightens up. “You didn’t…” he whispers in dismay.

Robert’s shoulders round even more under the weight of that accusatory look. “It was a different time back then, and I was a different man. I trusted Valentine implicitly, I would’ve done anything to please him… And since Valentine insisted that this… what Michael was… that it was wrong,perverted, I believed him.”

Jace’s staring at him with utter horror. “You… you condemned your parabatai for something that he couldn’t help just because some lunatic said so? Is that why you’ve always treated Alec so–”

“No!” Robert interrupts him sharply and sits up straight. “No, I would never do that to my child. I learned my lesson, I did, believe me. I just…” He falters. “I wanted Alec, I wanted all of you, to be better than us, stronger, smarter…” He falls silent because even to his ears, it all sounds like nothing more than empty excuses. 

Jace stares at him a moment longer, then he says firmly, “I would never do to Alec what you did to Michael, Robert, never! Valentine might be my father, but Alec is everything to me.” He shakes his head. “People like you and Valentine should never become anyone’s parabatai, because you don’t even know what it means. You will never understand what the bond is about. I feel sorry for you - but I feel even worse for Michael because he deserved better.” 

And when Jace turns and walks away, leaving an air of disappointment behind, Robert drops his face into his hands and whispers hoarsely, voice full of regret, “Yes, yes, he did…” 

Chapter Text

“One kiss, one forbidden kiss, that’s my price. That’s what I want in exchange for what you need,” the Seelie Queen demands when they come to her, Jace and Clary, Alec and Isabelle, desperate for information and not knowing where to turn for help anymore. 

The queen says it with so much relish, with a grin so wide and eyes sparkling with so much malicious intent, that Jace’s heart sinks. She can’t mean… she can’t!

But in the end, they can’t but comply…

So now Jace’s standing there, leaning in, trying to suppress a moan that’s gathering in his chest, desperate for release, the kiss so deep that he loses himself in it, so hot, so incredibly hot that his toes curl in delight and so sweet that his heart aches with it. He doesn’t want it to stop, ever, he wants to go on kissing, kissing, kissing for the rest of his life and beyond, fingers buried in soft, soft hair, the scent filling his nostrils heady and intoxicating. He would give up breathing just for this to never end. His heart’s hammering, he’s feeling light-headed and a tingling heat has settled in his belly, fluttering and spreading through his veins. So much pleasure, unimaginable pleasure… 

How did he not know?

And in the end, when they have to separate, starved of oxygen, he leans back so very reluctantly, almost groaning in disappointment, because he knows that this will never happen again, this can never happen, and though he feels the others looking at them, though he hears the queen’s delighted cackle, he does not care because he needs to savor this, carve it into his memory, every second of it, every sensation, every little thing. 

Jace looks up at Alec, into his big hazel eyes with pupils blown wide, and sees that Alec’s cheeks are flushed and his lips are wet and red and swollen from kissing, and he’s looking down at Jace as if enthralled, his breath coming in shuddering puffs. Jace’s hands are still buried in Alec’s hair that he now smooths down gently with a soft smile on his lips, and Alec’s hands are still on Jace’s waist, warm and firm and holding him tight. And they are locked in their private little world, everyone else outside looking in, their sisters and the Seelie Queen, too. 

The queen is saying something, probably giving them the intel they came for, and Jace can only hope that someone, anyone’s listening, because it’s all just indecipherable noise to him. All he can focus on is the thumping of his own heart and the rush of blood in his ears. 

And staring into Alec’s wide, unfocused eyes, all Jace can think of is, Is this why it’s forbidden? Why one must never desire their parabatai? This depth of feeling so overwhelming that I would give anything to keep it?

It was one kiss, one forbidden kiss but it shook Jace’s world to its core.

Chapter Text

“Magnus? He’s gone. We broke up,” Alec says to his friends, and when he sees their shocked faces, he snorts derisively, “What? Did you think it would last between us? Give me a break!”

And then he throws back another shot, and disappears into the hot and sweaty crowd gyrating on the dance floor of the Pandemonium club. He carefully does not look back, because he knows that that’s exactly what Izzy and the gang thought, that it would last between him and Magnus. It has lasted eight whole years. And only yesterday, he was telling them about the amazing surprise he had planned for his and Magnus’ anniversary today.

Instead, he’s here, in a night club. And Magnus is gone. 

Alec pushes that thought out of his head and lets the music take him, lets the strangers around him take him and pass him among themselves like a rag doll. He just lets it happen, hoping that all these strangers’ touches will allow him to forget, lose himself in them. 

But somehow, it’s not working. Because he would still rather be at home, with Magnus, watching reruns of Project Runway and eating pints of chocolate ice cream, he would rather be held by Magnus’ warm, trusted hands, than this. 

And he doesn’t realize he’s crying and hugging himself, until someone tries to kiss him and someone else runs his hands down his back and to his ass, and suddenly he’s feeling sick, nauseated by all these people around him groping him and he doesn’t want it, after all, he wants Magnus…

So he runs, he slips out of these strangers’ hands and pushes through the crowd, deaf to his friends’ calling his name, because he can’t let them see what a mess he has become. And outside, he catches a taxi and rides home. 

No, not home anymore, just the loft. One tiny part of him hopes that Magnus will be back. But he’s not. Of course, he’s not. He will never be back again. And Alec forgot to close the door before running out, it stands open, tiny chocolates still scattered all over the floor, some of them crushed, but Alec doesn’t care. 

He leaves the door open again - maybe someone will steal the rest of the things in the apartment, and then it will be all gone, gone, gone - and he stumbles blindly through the loft towards the bathroom, because he needs to take a shower, wash off those unwelcome touches, the smell of strangers, because it’s all turning Alec stomach. 

Alec steps inside the stall with the shower at full blast, his clothes and shoes still on, phone in the pocket - maybe it will finally shut up, it hasn’t stop ringing ever since he left Pandemonium, and he just wants it to be silent! - and he sobs and screams and hits the tiles with his fist until there’s blood running down the drain…

It takes a very long time for him to calm down, but in the end, his pent up pain and rage and despair are spent, and he slides down the wall to sit under the spray that turned from hot to tepid to cold, and he just sits there, shivering, staring blindly into the distance. It’s all gone…

Someone steps into the bathroom, and there’s a gasp and rushing footsteps, and the shower is shut off, but Alec still doesn’t move. He’s shivering so hard now that his teeth are chattering and his bones ache. 

A whisper of sound, and then the intruder is kneeling down next to him, right there, in the puddle of ice cold water, and he’s touching Alec, the man’s hands burning like hot coals on Alec’s skin. “Alexander…”

Impossible. Still, Alec turns his head slowly, the muscles in his neck stiff and aching. And it really is Magnus, one of his grandfatherly sweaters soaked with water, face pale, eyes wide with dismay, hair in disarray. 

“Y-you… you lef-ft!” Alec stutters brokenly.

Magnus’ eyes grow even wider and his hands flutter, as if he doesn’t know where to touch Alec first. “I’m sorry,” he whispers hoarsely. “I’m so very sorry, Alexander. I didn’t know. I didn’t know that you…” He looks at Alec pleadingly. “I didn’t know!”

And Alec just stares at him, and then he starts laughing hysterically, because, Magnus didn’t know? He didn’t know? Alec has been giving all of himself to him these last eight years and Magnus didn’t know? Alec has given him everything and it wasn’t enough? Even his all wasn’t enough to make Magnus stay? He laughs and laughs and laughs

Until Magnus, still with the same look of absolute dismay on his face, touches his forehead and puts him to sleep.

Chapter Text

Magnus wakes with a jerk, his whole body aching from sleeping in the chair, and turns towards the bed. He expects Alec to be still asleep, but no, Alec’s awake. He’s lying on his side and watching Magnus with an indescribable expression on his face. 

“Hi,” Magnus whispers uncertainly.

Alec blinks at him, hands under his cheek. “You put me to sleep,” he croaks. 

Magnus clears his throat and looks away, embarrassed. “Yeah, I… you were getting a bit… uh.” He falters. 

Alec doesn’t respond to that and silence settles over the room. Uncomfortable silence, for the first time in eight years. Eight years… 

Magnus tries not to cringe as he remembers the chocolates scattered all over the floor by the open door, some of them crushed, the dark polished hardwood sticky with their filling. It was their anniversary yesterday. And he forgot. He… he wouldn’t have left if he remembered. Not on their anniversary. 

He shifts awkwardly. “I saw the chocolates… I’m sor–”

Alec interrupts him, “Are you back or did you just forget something and decided you couldn’t have it on your conscience to let me drown in the shower?”

Magnus swallows, looking down at his hands, clasped in his lap. This is harder than he thought. And it’s all his fault, and he knows it. “I’m back. If you… if you would want me, that is.”

Alec’s silent for so long that Magnus finally looks up. The other man’s watching him, face shuttered. “I don’t know, Magnus,” Alec admits finally. 

Breath catches in Magnus’ throat. “I-I see…”

“No, I don’t think you do,” Alec demurs softly. “For eight years, I’ve been giving you everything of myself, because I thought we were building something together–”

“We were!” Magnus jumps in.

But Alec continues as if he didn’t speak, “–and it wasn’t enough for you, you left anyway. Even though you promised that you wouldn’t do that to me.”

Magnus leans closer. “It had nothing to do with you! I swear, Alexander!” he says in an urgent tone. “I was just afraid. I have lived in fear for so long…”

Alec blinks slowly and he seems to curl up even tighter on himself. Magnus’ heart aches seeing it because Alec, his Alexander, has always been larger than life. 

“And the eight years with me didn’t change anything, did they?” Alec whispers thickly. “While I thought we were happy, you were just waiting it out, waiting for the moment you could disappear, isn’t it so?”

“No! It wasn’t like that,” Magnus insists, scooting closer with his chair. 

But Alec isn’t listening. “Did you or did you not agree to go out with me just because I saw you do magic in the cellar of the Institute?”

Magnus straightens up a little. “I… Well, yeah, but that was eight years ago!”

Alec nods to himself as if that confirmed something to him. “That’s what these last eight years were about, then, huh? You were just afraid that I would tell if you left me. That’s why you stayed. And when finally the chance came for you to disappear, you went. Just like that…” His voice is dead at the end.

Magnus’ eyes widen. “No. No, Alexander. It wasn’t like that. Yes, I went out with you because you saw me, but then I realized how amazing you were, and that I could trust you, and…” His voice, his expression soften. “I fell in love…”

“And yet, you left me, without a word,” Alec finishes in a dull voice. 

Magnus slides out of the chair and drops to his knees by the bed. “But I came back. I realized that I couldn’t leave - I couldn’t leave you. For four hundred years I was running, always running, alone, because someone was always after me, someone always betrayed me! But this time, when it came to it, I realized that you would never–”

“I would’ve gone with you, into hiding, if you had just asked,” Alec interrupts him again, his voice breaking at the end, and he blinks hard to push back tears.

“Alexander…” Magnus whispers, shocked and touched and angry with himself, because he has lived inside his head all this time, not really seeing, not really understanding. How could he have been so blind?

Alec rubs his nose. “So, what now? What is this, Magnus? Another extended stay? Three more years? Five? Will you disappear on me again? Will you give me a load of empty promises that you’ll break anyway?”

Magnus reaches out and grips Alec’s hand. “No, no, I’m not running anymore. I’ll stay as long as you will want me. I won’t leave you again.” He kisses Alec’s hand. “I know that you don’t trust me anymore, but I swear, Alexander, I swear to you on everything that’s been ever dear to me, that I will do whatever you want, that I will stay as long as you want. Just give me a chance to prove it to you!”

Alec’s studying Magnus’ face, searching for… something in it. Then he licks his lips and closes his fingers around Magnus’ hand. “My lifetime, Magnus. I want you to stay with me till I die, whether it happens in two years or fifty. Can you do that? No running, just… just stay here, with me. Can you?”

Magnus stares at Alec. Can he? Could he do that? Stay and not run? Use his magic to disguise himself? Hide? Grow old with Alec, at least outwardly? Experience this kind of love that he has always just heard about? 

Yes. Yes, he can. With Alexander he can. Because his trust in Alec is absolute. The thought of Alec being his first in so many ways makes something glow warmly in his chest. 

Magnus smiles and he hopes that all his emotions are mirrored in face when he leans closer and kisses Alec on the mouth, when he smooths down Alec’s ruffled hair affectionately. “Yes, I’ll stay with you. I will. As long as you will have me. I won’t ever leave you again. I’ll spend the rest of your life rebuilding your trust in me, if need be.”

And Alec’s breath is hitching and the tip of nose is turning red as he tugs on Magnus’ hand and pulls Magnus into the bed with him, as he curls up around him and hugs him tight around the waist, head pressed against Magnus’ chest. “Don’t ever leave me again, don’t do that…” he begs softly.

And Magnus returns his hug just as tightly and whispers promises that this time, he intends to keep. For Alexander, he will stop running.

Chapter Text

Their sex life is very innovative - Magnus does own the Kama Sutra, after all (and he likes to tell people that he was there when it was written!), and Alec’s a quick-learner, much to Magnus’ delight. But whenever Alec’s hurt, they use one position only: it’s easy on Alec’s healing injuries but it still allows them to enjoy themselves thoroughly. And just the fact that they have a sex position reserved for when Alec’s hurt, makes Magnus’ heart ache; it suggests namely that Alec’s getting hurt often enough that they had to meticulously research a thing like that! 

But anyways…

They’re lying on their sides on the softest of sheets, and Magnus is spooning Alec, and Alec’s knee is slightly bent to allow Magnus access to anywhere he wants. Magnus is moving gently, slowly, deeply, and he’s kissing Alec’s neck, holding Alec carefully, very carefully around the waist, below the broken ribs and slashed chest, their fingers entwined. And Alec’s head is bent forward, and he’s biting his lower lip so as to not make any sound, still too embarrassed to give in and be heard, which is exactly why Magnus loves to make Alec go wild and lose restraint, why he bites Alec’s neck in exactly the right spot, the one that makes Alec moan aloud and push back, give himself over to Magnus fully…

It’s wonderful and hot and sweet - and yet, Magnus would gladly never make love in this position again if it meant that Alexander would never get hurt again, that he would be safe and not hurting…

Chapter Text

Magnus Bane is done. He knew it was time to move when the city first came with the bright idea to build a hover road right next to his living room windows, but now that the traffic doubled after the underground railroad was flooded yet again, and new neon signs were installed, blinking pink and green all day long, he’s done. Gremlins on the builders and the city councilors, too!

But this time, he will not be taking the whole apartment with him. Oh no! The junk that has accumulated in the corners over the last few decades is not worth schlepping around. And no, he’s not saying that just because Tessa accused him of living like a crazy old hoarder with nine cats. He has two, cats that is. The hoarding… yes, that might have become a bit of a problem.

Grumbling to himself, he’s sitting on the floor, pulling yet another box close to see what’s actually in it. CDs and DVDs and… oh dear, is that an honest to God cassette tape? Some flash drives, a memory card or ten… What’s actually on this stuff?

With the snap of his fingers he summons a player, one of those old vintage ones, able - and willing - to play anything from the late 20th and early 21st century. He turns it upside down and sideways to figure out how the thing actually works, then with a little “A-ha!” he discovers the proper slot and sticks the first memory card in. He sets the player down, and while the thing whirls and clicks and gets going, he sticks his nose back inside the box. 

And then he freezes. 

“Hey, what… what are you doing?” a startled, uncertain and very familiar voice drifts from the speakers while a grainy holographic image flickers to life above the player. “Magnus? Why are you filming me? What…? Could you not…?” A sigh. “Seriously?”

Magnus lifts his head slowly, his eyes only reluctantly seeking out the projected image. A dark-haired young man with big hazel eyes and lips made for kissing, hair tousled and cheeks slightly flushed at having been caught unaware…

Alexander…

There’s a laugh from behind the camera, Magnus’ laugh. “Yes, my dear, I am serious. I just got this camera and who knows, maybe I’ll display a tremendous talent and become a famous filmmaker!” Then he lowers his voice to a seductive purr, “With you as my favorite subject.” 

Alec’s cheeks flush even darker and he looks away. “You would,” he mumbles. “Why did you even get that thing?” he then asks louder and looks directly into the camera, pointing a finger at it.

There’s a pause, and the image of Alec raises an eyebrow. “Memories, my love. I want to capture them and never let them go,” the Magnus in the recording admits honestly, his voice soft and a little sad. “I don’t want to ever forget the sound of your voice or the color of your eyes. Never…”

Alec’s face grows tender. “Alright,” he says gently and steps closer, his face filling the picture. “Alright, then capture this: I love you, Magnus Bane. I love you and I want only the best for you. Where ever you are now, when ever you are watching this,” Alec pauses and smiles lovingly, “I hope you’re happy…”

The camera starts to shake then and suddenly drops sideways, capturing the way Magnus throws himself at Alec and kisses him, hands buried in his lover’s dark hair, the way he lets himself be hugged and lifted off the ground. 

“I love you, too, Alexander… my Alexander,” the other Magnus whispers against his beloved’s lips. “I love you so much, I–” 

There’s a beep and the recording ends, the holopic disappears. 

And Magnus sits there, on the floor, among the remnants of hundreds of years of his life, and he cries, sobs harshly, curled up on himself, and with his heart aching so badly he can barely breathe… because he forgot! More than a century ago, he swore, to himself and to his lover, that he would never forget - and he did! He forgot! He forgot!

Alexander…

“You watch the people you love age and die…”

And you lose them twice: first to death - and then when your memories of them fade…

Chapter Text

Alec’s sitting on the cold stone floor of his cell in the City of Bones, arms crossed and resting on his bent knees. He wonders why the Silent Brothers bothered to lock him in, he’s here of his own volition, after all.

He can hear Isabelle pacing back and forth, back and forth in the cell next to his, cursing quietly. All the way here, she tried to dissuade him from doing this, she pleaded and yelled and then pleaded again, but he didn’t listen. He can’t let her go through this alone. 

He gave his bow and quiver to Magnus before the Silent Brothers took him and Isabelle away. They were the agreed price, after all. He wasn’t happy when Magnus asked for them, but now… now he’s glad his weapons will be safe.

“You don’t have to do that,” Magnus says softly, an imploring look in his eyes. 

“I thought you would be happy,” Alec admits. “If I go with Izzy, if I let them strip me of my runes, I won’t be able to marry Lydia, after all.”

Magnus steps closer. “Oh, Alexander, I don’t want you to marry her, but I want to see you suffering even less…”

Alec’s heart clenches and he looks away. 

Magnus grips the bow and quiver tightly and brings them to his chest, as if he would rather hug Alec but he doesn’t dare. “When it’s over, when it’s done,” he says gently, “come to me, you and Izzy both. I’ll take care of you, I promise.”

Alec looks at him. “Why?” he asks softly.

And Magnus smiles painfully. “I told you, if something happened to you…” He shakes his head. 

There’s a loud bang that reverberates through the halls of the City of Bones, followed by rushing footsteps and a voice, yelling something, arguing, demanding… Jace?

Alec raises his head and listens. Yes, it is Jace, coming closer, towards their cells, and Isabelle’s now calling their brother’s name, asking what’s going on. There are loud noises, keys rattling, locks screeching. 

But Alec’s just too empty to care. He has seen so many things he holds in high regard trampled over the last few days - Jace betrayed him, their parents were in the Circle, orders were given to torture suspects based on simple hearsay - and he feels like everything’s crumbling around him, like nothing’s real anymore, like he’s floating untethered. And maybe, just maybe if he leaves all this behind, he can start anew, live a life that actually makes sense to him again…

The lock on his cell rattles and the door flies open, and there’s Jace standing there, in the torches’ glow, in all his golden glory. And Alec remembers a time not so long ago when just looking at his parabatai would’ve made his heart lurch. Now? Now all he feels is wariness. 

“Alec,” Jace breathes out in relief and rushes in, Isabelle appearing in the doorway behind him. “You’re both free to go. Clary gave the Cup to Lydia. She called, the Inquisitor ordered the Silent Brothers to let Izzy go,” he blurts out, dropping to his knees in front of Alec. 

But Alec just stares at him, because there’s… nothing. His mind is blank. He was so certain that they would be exiled that now that it’s apparently not happening, his mind’s simply refusing to grasp it. What world do they live in if justice can be bought to easily?

“Did you hear me?” Jace asks when Alec doesn’t react. “You can both go back home. Everything’s okay now.” Jace’s voice grows a little urgent when Alec still fails to respond, and he raises his hands, lets them hover over Alec’s arms, wanting to touch his parabatai but not daring to. “Alec?”

They’re going home… But instead of relief, Alec feels a heavy weight settle on his shoulders when he realizes what it means: going back to being the Clave’s puppet, back to hiding, back to a marriage he doesn’t want but considers necessary… It feels more like a punishment than salvation.

“When it’s over, come to me…”

“When it’s over…”

It will never be over, it seems. Unless he does something about it himself.

Chapter Text

“I can’t do this anymore.” Jace closes his eyes as a wave of exhaustion and despair settles over him. “I just can’t.” 

Jace Wayland and Jace Morgenstern… 

The Traitor’s Son and the Clave’s Spy… 

Who is he anymore? 

Fire messages and clandestine meetings under the cloak of Magnus Bane’s magic. Spying, spying, always spying, always listening, pretending and hiding while conflicting loyalties tear him apart. What to do? What to do?

Jace turns to Alec, his parabatai. The single unquestionable thing in a life fallen to ruin. Jace’s North Star in a world gone dangerously dark. 

“I know that you… that we,” Jace corrects himself, “need the intel, I know that! But I’m losing myself to him. I feel like I’m balancing on a knife-edge: I’m afraid that I’ll either join him - or slice his throat and damn the consequences!” In a voice hoarse with hopelessness, he adds, “I can’t go back to him.”

“Then don’t,” Alec replies softly but firmly. Then he steps closer, and continues urgently, “Screw the Clave. Screw what they want! We can win this war in some other way, but not like this. Not like this!

And Jace shudders and slumps against his parabatai, winds his arms around Alec and grips the back of his jacket tight, finally letting go, the familiarity of it all setting something gone cold in his chest aglow yet again. 

If Alec had told him to go back, if he had asked Jace to return to Valentine, Jace would’ve done it. If Alec had thought it necessary, Jace would’ve gone. And shattered. But Alec did not - he did not! And Jace feels like a cracked, used thing saved from falling to pieces by tender hands.

“Come home with me, Jace,” Alec whispers, hugging him tight, his love an unquestionable thing, steady as a rock among the shifting sands of Jace’s life. “We’ll find another way. Together. Just come home...”

And Jace goes. Because Alec’s right. Screw them, screw them all, Valentine and the Clave alike. He’s done being everybody’s pawn.

Chapter Text

“Enough,” Alec says quietly yet firmly and steps between his mother and Magnus. “You have no right to talk to him like that.”

Maryse’s eyes narrow. “You have no idea who this Downworlder is, you barely know him, yet you would take his side? You would defend him?” she rebukes him sharply. 

But Alec doesn’t flinch, and his voice is steady when he replies. “Someone obviously has to.”

Magnus moves closer to Alec and touches his shoulder gently from behind. “Alexander, it’s okay,” he whispers.

Alec doesn’t turn, he doesn’t take his eyes off his mother, but his words are directed at Magnus. “No it’s not okay. If my mother has a problem with me dating you, she will take it up with me, and leave you out of it!”

Maryse and Alec stare each other in the eyes, both determined and unyielding, mother and son cut from the same cloth. 

In the end, it’s Maryse who looks away first and shakes her head. “You will regret this one day, Alec. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, then.” And with that, she turns away and leaves. 

Alec waits till she’s gone, then his head drops and his shoulders hunch as all defiance flows out of him together with the deep breath that he releases. 

“Alexander,” Magnus says softly and turns Alec towards him. “Not that I’m not grateful to you for standing up for me, but you shouldn’t have done that. I know how much it hurts you to fight with your family. I could’ve said something myself, I didn’t need defending…”

Alec sighs. “This isn’t about what you need, Magnus, it’s about what you deserve, and this,” he points in the direction Maryse left, “this is not it. I don’t doubt that you survived worse things than my mother’s wrath, but that doesn’t make it alright. You deserve to be treated with respect. And maybe I can’t take on the whole Clave for you - but I can at least make my mother back off.”

Magnus stares up at him and his eyes soften. “You don’t even know what happened between me and your parents, maybe they’re in the right…”

Alec scoffs. “My parents were in the Circle, so them being the wronged party? I think that ship sailed. I love them, I really do, but I also finally opened my eyes and stopped being blind to their mistakes.”

Smiling slightly, Magnus looks away for a moment, a little embarrassed but also touched. Then he looks back mischievously. “You would take on the whole Clave for me?” he teases.

Alec’s expression is absolutely serious. “Yes, I would.”

Magnus grips the lapels of Alec’s leather jacket, raises himself on tippy toes and whispers against Alec’s lips, “In that case, I guess I should give my knight in black armor a proper reward.” 

And their lips meet in a kiss.

Chapter Text

They’re yelling at each other, hurling accusations left and right, and it’s ugly, so very, very ugly, all the things left festering for so long finally boiling over. And then…

“Not all of us can be the perfect soldiers, Jonathan!”

… they stop. Everything just… stops. Jace and Alec, they both freeze, staring at each other in shock, because this has gone too far, they have crossed a line that should’ve been unbreachable. 

Jace blinks hard and nods, lips twisted sourly. “Right. I think I heard enough,” he says and turns to go. 

But Alec reaches out and grabs him by the arm, and he doesn’t let go even when Jace tries to pull away. “Stop, Jace, just stop. I’m sorry, that was low, I’m sorry,” he implores, and when Jace still resists, Alec pulls him into a hug. “I’m sorry, please, believe me.”

And Jace remains rigid and unyielding for a while longer, then slowly, he melts into the embrace, and sighs. “I know, me too. I’m sorry, too. I didn’t mean what I said either, I just lost it… I’m sorry.”

They stand like that for some time, just… recharging, composing themselves, picking up smashed pieces. Because this, this is what’s important, just… this. Everything else they can deal with. Together.

Chapter Text

Everything in the large, hyper modern apartment is tailored to Alec’s needs, every single thing the best his parents could get for him when he decided to live on his own - and he’s grateful and he loves them for it…

But his favorite thing is the view that the floor to ceiling windows afford him. It feels like he holds the whole city in the palm of his hand. And he can sit there for hours and just watch people go about their lives…

And then there’s the little dance studio in one of the top floors of the building right across, a little below Alec’s level, so he can watch all the graceful people twirl around the room and fling themselves through the air, as if it were the easiest thing in the world…

He especially loves to watch one of them, a young Asian man of a slim yet strong build, with an extravagant hair cut and a deep love for glitter, who seems to own the dance floor - every time he walks in, everybody else just fades into the background… and Alec’s mesmerized…

That’s why he does it, something he has never done before, the need to show appreciation for all the man’s hard training and incredible talent almost overwhelming… 

Yes, there! While Alec watches, someone knocks on the studio’s door with a delivery for the dancer - Magnus Bane, Alec found out. He sees the dancer tilt his head in a confused gesture, and then, then accept what’s being given to him. And he handles it with such care, as if the gift were made of glass…

A single long-stem red rose, and a simple white card, saying, “You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” Nothing more. Not a name, not an explanation. Alec doesn’t want this delivery to be traced back to him, he doesn’t want to be seen, he doesn’t want anything in return, just…

His heart skips a beat when the dancer reads the card and smiles. He’s there all alone in the studio at this hour, between classes, so he smiles his honest, sweet smile, the one that makes Alec’s chest seize with an almost painful pleasure. To be the cause of this smile - it’s enough for Alec…

The corners of Alec’s mouth curl up tenderly as he watches Magnus twirl around the room with the rose for a partner, one dizzying pirouette after another. Alec follows him with his eyes for a moment or two longer, savoring the feeling, and then…

And then he rolls his wheelchair back, away from the window, and returns to his own world where everything’s heavy and earthbound, from his body to his soul… 

… and he hopes that this time, Jace will come as promised, he hopes but he knows that Jace won’t, his adopted brother too torn by guilt, even months after the accident, to look Alec in the eyes…

… and he hopes that his sister, Isabelle, will not come, that she will start living her own life and not spend every free minute with her crippled brother…

… and he hopes that this time, when Max calls before bedtime, his little brother won’t cry in fear of losing him…

And in the studio across the street, Magnus Bane dances…

Chapter Text

Jace’s sitting on a hard wooden chair in the infirmary, feet dangling, shoulders round, eyes fixed on the tiled floor. He’s sitting by Alec’s bed, unable to look at the other boy who’s lying there unconscious with his head bandaged, gauze packed over his left eye. He might lose it, they say…

Jace allows himself a sniffle since he’s alone in the room, has been for some time. Alone with the boy who has become his best friend; more than that. It’s been a few months since he came to live at the New York Institute, with the Lightwoods, and Alec… 

The boy in the bed shifts slightly, a pained gasp escaping his bloodless lips, and Jace’s head shoots up, eyes immediately going to his friend in the hope that he’s finally waking up, that Jace will finally get a chance to apologize for… for being stupid and reckless and… for everything. 

But no, Alec sleeps on and Jace rubs his burning eyes with the heels of his hands. 

It’s all his fault. He was so stupid, thinking he could take on a demon, thinking he didn’t need anyone, determined to prove to himself that his father’s lessons still took precedence over everything else, even over the warmth that has settled around his heart ever since Alec smiled at him, eyes wide and hopeful, and whispered, “Do you want to be friends?” 

And then the demon attacked and Jace found himself overwhelmed, driven into a corner, and he was sure he was going to die - but then Alec came and saved his life and drove the demon away… but not before it slashed his face with a claw, forehead to cheek and…

“He’ll be okay,” someone whispers and when Jace looks up again, he sees that it’s Hodge Starkweather who dropped to a crouch beside to his chair. 

The older man’s watching Alec fondly, as if Alec were his own child. And Jace knows that Hodge was in the Circle and that the Circle were bad people, but to him, Hodge has been always kind. Which makes him feel even worse, as if he disappointed the man somehow.

“But his eye…” Jace demurs despairingly.

Hodge turns to Jace and squeezes his knee gently. “Alec’s a tough little fellow, he’ll heal, you’ll see.” Then he adds, “And even if not, he’ll have you to watch his back, won’t he?”

Jace nods firmly, because he would never abandon Alec, and if Alec loses his eye, Jace will stand by his side and guard him and make sure nobody and nothing hurts Alec anymore - including himself.

Hodge smiles at him warmly. “Such deep friendship, such loyalty. Who knows, maybe you’ll become parabatai one day.” And with that, and a pat on the shoulder, Hodge gets up and leaves. 

And Jace sits there with his eyes wide and heart hammering, because that word, that idea, resonates deeply within him, within his soul, within that empty place inside him that has yearned to be filled ever since he can remember. He and Alec… parabatai. Bound together for life, more than best friends, more than brothers

Jace looks at Alec, at his pale face that is, even in sleep, turned instinctively towards Jace, and he reaches out and touches Alec’s hand. Yes, this feels right, this fits, this is the thing he has been waiting for.

He’ll ask, and he’ll hope with all his heart and soul that Alec agrees.

Alec Lightwood, Jace Wayland’s parabatai. He likes the sound of it.

Jace smiles. Yes.

Chapter Text

He hesitated. 

When Valentine grabbed Alec and threw him off the ship, using so much force that Alec’s body broke through the metal railing on impact, he did it to distract Jace from going after him - and Jace hesitated. 

His indecision lasted only a few heartbeats, a moment, but he did hesitate, torn between saving his parabatai and going after Valentine, even though he tasted salt water in his mouth, which meant that Alec was drowning, dying - Jace still hesitated! 

It was Magnus who brought him back to his senses, Magnus, who wasn’t even a Shadowhunter, who was there simply because Alec asked for his help with saving Jace… 

Magnus… Magnus namely did not hesitate, not even for a second when he realized what happened to his lover. With a desperate cry - “Alexander!” - he flung himself off the ship after Alec; for Magnus, nothing was more important than saving Alec…

Which made Jace realize what he was actually doing! That he put his need to get Valentine above his own parabatai’s life! And Valentine knew! His knowing smirk before he stepped through the portal and escaped, felt like a stab to Jace…

And now Jace’s standing by the broken railing, looking down into the lifeboat that Magnus magicked in with the snap of his fingers, he’s watching Magnus desperately trying to save Alec’s life, pumping Alec’s chest hard to get his heart going again, and he can feel their parabatai bond starting to unravel, thread by thread, which means that Alec’s heart stopped, it’s not beating… 

And Jace feels sick, he feels sick and disgusted with himself and horrified, absolutely horrified, because he’s always known that there was something wrong with him, but Alec, Alec’s been the best part of Jace ever since he agreed to become Jace’s parabatai. And Jace hesitated when it came to saving his life.

And then Alec sizes and coughs out water, and he keeps coughing and wheezing, and he’s alive, blessedly alive - and their parabatai bond snaps back into place so suddenly and savagely that Jace’s knees buckle and he drops to the deck, hanging onto the railing desperately, almost crying in relief, because his mistake, his… wrongness didn’t cost his parabatai his life, after all.

And Magnus is holding Alec up, helping him breathe, supporting him, soothing him with words that Jace can’t hear, and Jace is so grateful, sovery grateful. 

But then Magnus looks up, directly at Jace, and his cat’s eyes are glowing fiercely and accusingly - and Jace realizes that what he did, his hesitation, the way he froze when it came down to saving Alec’s life, didn’t go unnoticed. That Magnus knows, that Magnus sees him now the way he is, wrong, crooked, rotten on the inside… undeserving

He’s just like his father. Valentine’s son through and through. 

Chapter Text

He didn’t hesitate.

When Valentine grabbed Alec and threw him off the ship, using so much force that Alec’s body broke through the metal railing on impact, he did it to distract Jace from going after him - and Jace didn’t hesitate.

There was no indecision, he didn’t feel at all torn between saving hisparabatai and going after Valentine, he tasted salt water in his mouth, which meant that Alec was drowning, dying - and Jace did not hesitate! 

He flung himself off the ship and dove in, searching for Alec in the ocean’s dark depths, in water so cold that it stole the warmth from his body and the air from his lungs.

In a distant corner of his mind, he knew that Valentine was running again, but right now, it didn’t matter, because Alec was somewhere close but sinking fast, and dying, dying on him, the threads of their bond unraveling slowly, the parabatai rune on his side already burning, hurting. 

He had to go back up for air - and to activate the rune that allowed him to see in the dark. It was necessary and it lasted only a few seconds, but every one of them was a torture, because he could feel Alec sinking deeper and deeper, getting farther and farther away…

But then - there! To his left, thanks to the rune he finally saw Alec, his deathly pale skin almost glowing in the dark now. And Jace swam, he swam for his life, yes, his life, because there was no life without Alec in it, and he grabbed Alec by the jacket and started dragging him up, his own lungs burning again.

And when he broke through the surface and pulled Alec up, Alec wasn’t moving, wasn’t breathing, his heart… his heart stopped, and Jace had to choke back a cry because his parabatai rune was now pulsating with agony to the rhythm of his own heart. He had to bring Alec back, he had to, nothing else was an option…

And then there was a flash and a lifeboat appeared just an arm’s length away, and when Jace looked up, he saw Magnus standing by the broken railing, blue sparks of magic still dancing around his fingers, and he nodded at Jace urgently, encouragingly, begging him to save Alec.

So Jace pulled Alec into the boat, all his muscles, stiff and cold, straining with Alec’s dead weight, and…

And now he’s here, pumping, pumping Alec’s chest hard to get his heart going again, his parabatai rune burning and bleeding, the wetness on his left side warm when every other part of him is cold, so very cold, and he’s begging Alec to come back, to not leave him alone, that he can’t do this alone, that he needs him, please, come back, please, please, please…

And then Alec chokes and wheezes, seizing hard, and Jace quickly turns him on his side and helps him vomit all the water he swallowed and breathed in. And their parabatai bond snaps back into place so suddenly and savagely that Jace hunches over, curls up on himself, and presses his forehead to Alec’s shaking shoulder… 

Because he did it, he saved Alec, he was forced to make a split second decision - to take revenge or to save his parabatai - and he didn’t hesitate! And the darkness that has lurked in the corners of his mind ever since he found out that he’s Valentine’s son, retreats and fades. 

Because he isn’t like Valentine. He is nothing like him at all…

Chapter Text

“Is he dead? Did you kill him?” 

It’s the first thing that Jace asks when Clary and Isabelle, with Magnus in tow, throw open the cell door. They freeze on the threshold, too shocked to move. 

Jace’s sitting on the floor on the other side of the dark, damp room, bloody and bruised, his hunting gear gone or torn to shreds. Despite his sickly pallor and obvious trembling he’s on guard because he’s holding an unconscious Alec in his arms, hugging his parabatai to his chest.

“Is he dead?” Jace repeats, his voice completely hoarse. “Is Azazel dead?”

“No,” Clary breathes out. “No, he escaped.”

Jace closes his eyes tight and hits the wall behind him several times with his head hard. “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck!” he curses. 

They all move then, but his sharp, “No!” stops them in their tracks. In reaction to Jace’s shout, Alec groans softly and shifts slightly, but he doesn’t wake up, and Jace shushes him gently. 

“No,” Jace repeats more quietly, looking at their rescuers. “Just… just Magnus.” And when Clary and Isabelle’s expressions turn confused and maybe even a little hurt, he adds, “Please, please… just Magnus. Just for a moment.”

Clary and Izzy exchange a look, then reluctantly step outside, making space for Magnus and allowing them some privacy.

Magnus rushes in and drops to his knees by Jace’s side. Alec’s lying between his parabatai’s spread legs, resting against his chest, and his face is almost gray and mottled with bruises. 

“What’s wrong?” Magnus asks quietly. 

Jace throws one cautious look at the girls standing in the corridor outside, then he lowers his voice and demands urgently, “Take his memories away. Erase everything since Azazel captured us.”

Magnus’ eyes widen. “I can’t do that,” he protests. “After what happened with Clary… I can’t, I would never do that to Alexander!”

Jace stares at him imploringly, his eyes too large in his gaunt face. “Magnus, please. I’m begging you. You need to do it or…” Jace swallows hard. “Azazel, he-he saw our memories, Alec’s memories. When he realized that we are parabatai and that Alec used to have… feelings for me, he…” Jace shudders. “He forced us… he forced Alec to… he-he and I…” He can’t continue. He just hugs Alec tighter and rests his cheek on the top of Alec’s head for a moment, rocking them both from side to side.

An expression of dawning horror settles on Magnus’ face. 

“It wasn’t Alec’s fault, it wasn’t,” Jace insists, seeing Magnus’ expression. “I-I tried to tell him, but he wasn’t listening, Magnus, he refused to listen, he tried to… he tried to…” Jace has to blink back tears. “I had to knock him out, Magnus, or he would have…” 

His breathing shudders. “Nobody knows but us and Azazel, nobody else. If you take his memories now, we can blame it on Azazel, that he forgot.” Jace looks at Magnus, eyes full of despair. “He can’t remember, Magnus, he can’t. You haven’t seen him, it broke him. Nothing Azazel had done to us until then managed that but this… it broke him. Please, Magnus.”

Magnus stares down at his lover, battered and bruised, breath rattling quietly in his throat, and his eyes fill with pain and sorrow. “If he ever finds out, he will never forgive us,” Magnus warns. 

Jace looks at him, straightforward and determined. “You haven’t seen what it did to him, Magnus, I did. And I’m willing to risk it if it means sparing him that pain. I’m willing to risk anything…”

Magnus nods reluctantly. Then he asks, “And what about you? Do you also want me to…”

“No,” Jace interrupts sharply. “No. I need to remember. I need to!” He tightens his grip on Alec. “I must know what to protect him from.”

Magnus studies him for a long moment, then finally, he nods again. “Alright,” he agrees quietly. “But Alexander can never know.”

Jace nods, too. “Alec will never know.”

Chapter Text

“Will you show them to me? Your eyes, I mean,” Alec asks.

They’re slow dancing to something sweet and lovely in Magnus’ loft, the lights are dimmed and there’s a fire crackling merrily in the fireplace. The moment is so intimate in its quietness that Alec’s chest is overflowing with warmth. 

Magnus stiffens and stops. He lifts his head from Alec’s shoulder and drops his arms from around Alec’s neck. He looks up, his eyes wary, and asks cautiously, “Why?”

Alec shrugs and rubs Magnus’ upper arms in a comforting gesture. “I haven’t seen what they really look like yet… and I would very much like to, if you would let me.”

Magnus stares at him a moment longer. “Alright,” he agrees finally. He takes a deep breath, as if bracing himself, and closes his eyes. And when he opens them again…

Alec gasps softly because Magnus’ eyes are glowing! They’re yellow or maybe gold, with hints of green, and with pupils slit like cat’s. Slowly, oh so slowly and non-threateningly, Alec raises his right hand to Magnus’ left eyebrow. 

Though his touch is gentle, Magnus still flinches slightly, revealing just how tense and anxious he is. But Alec doesn’t pull back, he just leaves his hand there for a moment and waits for Magnus to relax. Then he runs his fingers over his lover’s eyebrow, down around the outer corner of his cat’s eye and even more lightly over his cheekbone towards his nose. 

And when he rests his hand lovingly on Magnus’ cheek, Alec whispers in admiration, “They’re beautiful.” 

Magnus blinks in surprise and flushes a little with pleasure. He tilts his head and leans into Alec’s hand. “Really?” he asks, unsure, as if nobody has ever told him this before.

Alec smiles affectionately. “Yes. You’ve always reminded me of a cat. Now I know why.”

Magnus grins. “A cat? Do tell!”

Alec’s smile widens, too. “I don’t know, there’s something about the way you move. You… slink. And when something makes you angry, I can almost hear you growl. But when you’re happy, it’s like… it’s like you could start purring any moment.” Then he adds a little mischievously, “Well, and you like shiny things.”

Magnus laughs. He fists his hands in Alec’s shirt and pulls him closer. “Yeah? Like you, my star?” he asks in a low voice that very much resembles the purr that Alec just mentioned, and flutters his eyelashes, his eyes still glowing.

Alec chuckles and wraps his arms around Magnus’ shoulders. “That was so very, very cheesy,” he murmurs against Magnus’ lips. 

“But you liked it, didn’t you?” Magnus whispers back. 

“I like you, a lot,” Alec replies breathlessly and kisses him.

Chapter Text

Magnus’ first meeting with Max Lightwood, Alec’s - very - little brother, is kind of memorable. It happens like this…

“I heard you kissed my brother,” the little imp says when he corners Magnus in one of the Institute’s dimly lit corridors. 

“And I heard you almost burned down the Mumbai Institute,” Magnus retorts, not budging an inch. 

They eye each other warily, the warlock and the child, like two gunslingers ready to draw at any given moment. 

Then Max Lightwood, head held high, replies with much bruised dignity, “It was an accident. I keep telling people that but nobody believes me.”

Magnus snorts. “Well, the kiss was not an accident, yet some people still have a hard time believing it happened, so I feel your pain.” Then he adds, not sure why, “And Alexander kissed me, just so we are clear.”

Max narrows his eyes and Magnus feels like a bug under a microscope. He’s starting to feel rather defensive

Suddenly, though, Max’s whole face lights up, and he turns from a protective - very - little brother into a gleeful child in two seconds flat. “I wish I was there when it happened!” 

Magnus twists his lips sourly. “You really, really don’t. The whole affair was rather… awkward and it made a lot of people angry.”

Max nods. “Yeah, mom’s been furious ever since, she keeps slamming doors and yelling at people. Dad’s mostly confused, he just walks around, shaking his head,” he comments, proving his astute observation skills. “It’s rather funny.”

Magnus raises his eyebrows. Funny isn’t a word he would use to describe his and Alec’s situation. 

“Alright,” Max says, drawing himself up to his nonexistent height. “You can date my brother, Mr Bane,” he allows magnanimously. “Alec’s been much happier since he met you. I like that.”

Magnus smiles a little, feeling touched. He opens his mouth to thank the child for his very generous permission, but Max obviously isn’t finished yet.

“Besides,” the boy continues and his eyes sparkle with unholy glee, “mother is so furious with you that she totally forgot to be angry with me because of what happened in Mumbai. Maybe now I will finally get my stele back!”

Magnus snaps his mouth shut. That… that little… weasel! 

Magnus is charmed!

Chapter Text

“Don’t call me that!” he yells and runs.

That’s how he reacts to the simple fact that the Lightwoods, Maryse and Robert, call him Jonathan. He yells and he runs. Because he can’t stand hearing that name from their lips. He can’t. He just…  He can’t. 

He thinks that nobody will find him here, in the old church tower, because it’s full of cobwebs and dust and broken things. Broken like him. But only minutes after he slams the trapdoor shut, it opens again, and that Lightwood boy, Alec, peaks in. 

“Here you are,” Alec says, climbing up. 

“Go away!” he orders roughly.

Alec closes the trapdoor much more gently, and says simply, “No.”

“I don’t want to see anyone! I don’t want to talk to anyone. So, go away!” he yells, his voice raspy from tears he hasn’t shed. 

But Alec just sits down on the floor opposite him. “No,” he repeats calmly, and heedless of the glare directed at him, he asks, “Why did you run?”

His breath hitches. “Because I don’t want you Lightwoods to call me that!”

Alec blinks. “What? Jonathan?”

“Stop saying it!” he screams, covering his ears with his hands.

“Well, that’s kinda hard. It is your name,” Alec reminds him, still unbothered. “Can you at least tell me why you don’t like it?”

For long, long moments, he just sits there, hands pressed to his ears, rocking slightly. In the end, he does respond, though. “My f-father called me that,” he replies almost inaudibly. “When he was really, really angry.”

“Oh,” Alec says. “So… what did he call you when he was not angry?”

He’s still looking down, not raising his head. “Son. I was always either ‘son’ or ‘Jonathan’. And when I was ‘Jonathan’, it was…” He swallows. “It was bad.”

They just sit there for some time. It’s dark and warm and the church tower is creaking softly in the wind. It feels… safe.

“Okay,” Alec says in the end. “What do you want to be called, then? We can’t just yell ‘Hey, you!’ at you for the rest of your life.”

He looks up, surprised. Nobody has ever asked him that before. It has never even occurred to him that he could choose. “I don’t know,” he whispers.

Alec nods and scoots closer. “So, we will find something you like. What about Jon? Jonny?”

He shakes his head. “No.”

“Nathan?”

He scrunches his nose. “Eww, no!”

Alec laughs. “Okay, okay. Something with J…” 

He doesn’t know how long they sit there, going through names, from the most traditional to the most ridiculous ones. It’s comfortable and intimate and sweet and for the first time he can remember he relaxes. Something inside him that has always been all tangled up and… tight, just loosens. It’s… strange.

“Jason?”

“No.”

“Jace?”

“No… Yes!” He straightens up suddenly. Because this one, this one somehow fits. 

Alec looks dubious. “Jace? Really? I mean… really?”

He, Jace, nods vigorously. He doesn’t know why - and he won’t understand till years later, till he will hold a small wooden box in his hands, the lid adorned with the initials “J. C.” - but it really fits. 

Alec tilts his head. “Huh. Jace Wayland.” Then he grins. “I like it!”

Jace returns the grin. He likes it, too. 

Then Alec leans closer and holds out his hand. “Hello, Jace, I’m Alec,” he says. “Nice to meet you.”

Chapter Text

“Then teach me!” Clary snaps, slamming her weapon down on the table. 

Alec, who’s been about to put his fighting stick away, turns to her. “What?”

Clary throws up her hands. “You keep telling me that being a Shadowhunter means more than just killing demons, that one must follow the rules, that ‘the Law is hard but it is the Law.’ Fine, great. Then teach me the rules,teach me the Law. I’m prepared to learn!” She sets her hands on her hips angrily and stares up at him with a clear challenge in her eyes.

“Wouldn’t it be better if you asked your mother?” he suggests.

Clary snorts. “I have as much desire to talk to my mom right now as you have to talk to yours. I love her dearly but there are things that we simply don’t see eye to eye about. And one of them is this.” She waves her hand around, indicating the Institute and the Shadow World in general.

That makes Alec’s lips twitch, but he replies, “Then how about Izzy–”

Clary interrupts him, “From what I know, Izzy dedicated herself to science, germs and bugs and other stuff, that I don’t need to know about right now or, hopefully, ever.” She shudders. “But you, you apparently studied diplomacy. So, teach me, oh wise one!”

Alec sighs and turning around, he sets his fighting stick in the rack. “I just don’t think it would work, with the two of us, considering we still seem to disagree on everything…”

“Actually, I think that right now, you’re the one with whom I have the most in common,” Clary says, thoughtfully.

Alec raises his eyebrows dubiously. “Really?”

She nods. “Really. I mean, I don’t think that anyone out there,” she waves a hand at the rest of the Institute, “wants Jace back as much as we do, you and I.”

Alec stares at her for a moment, emotions waring on his face, then he looks away. 

“And we’re both social pariahs, too!” Clary adds with somewhat forced cheer. 

He turns to her quizzically.

“Well, I’m Valentine Morgenstern’s daughter, a black sheep, if ever there was one. And from what Izzy told me, you’re the first Shadowhunter ever to come out as anything but perfectly straight,” she explains. And when his expression turns pained, she asks, “How does it feel to be a trailblazer?”

Alec widens his eyes a little when he honestly admits, “Terrifying.”

Clary reaches out and with a small smile she squeezes his forearm comfortingly. Then she clears her throat and continues, “Anyways, all those things sound like a good foundation for a friendship, so…” She trails off hopefully, leaving her words hanging in the air between them.

After a moment, Alec smiles at her hesitantly. “I could do with a friend,” he allows. 

Clary grins in relief, and in an attempt to lighten up the mood, she blurts out, “And about that Law thing, it’s not like I need to know every paragraph in the Codex, just enough not to cause trouble!” 

Alec snorts. “You? Never,” he responds, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

“Hey!” she slaps him on the arm, then she amends, “Well, it’s a talent, really.”

Chuckling, Alec clears away her stick and his Seraph Blade, too. But when he turns back for Clary’s, she has the blade out and glowing, and she’s staring at it with a grim expression. “Clary?” he asks uncertainly.

She looks up. “I’ll kill him, you know?” she replies, deadly serious.  “Valentine. I’ll kill him if it’s the last thing I do in my life. And not just because of what he did to Jace - but for Jace. I can live with Valentine’s blood on my hands, but I don’t think that Jace could…”

Alec stares at her searchingly for a few seconds, then he nods slowly. “And I’ll help you,” he promises.

Clary smiles at him, her expression a little dangerous. “See? We’re already bonding. Nothing brings people closer than a premeditated murder.”

Chapter Text

They get Jace back. They defeat Valentine. They find out the truth about who’s whose child and everybody gets their happy ending. And to celebrate all things going right for once, Magnus lends them his club for a huge party, courtesy of the New York Institute. 

When the music changes from some thump-thump-thumpy thing to a slow and mushy tune, Magnus reaches out towards Alec. “Would you do me the honor?” he asks with a seductive smile. 

But instead of accepting his lover’s invitation, Alec becomes a little wild-eyed, his eyes twitching from side to side in a near panic. “I-I… I don’t think…”

Magnus frowns a little, his hand still hanging in the air. “Are you ashamed of being seen dancing with me, Alexander?” he asks, a little disappointed. He honestly believed that they were over this.

Alec looks straight at him and his eyebrows shoot up in surprise. “What? No! No, that’s not it. I just…” He looks around furtively, then he leans closer and admits in a whisper, “I don’t know how to dance!”

Dropping his hand, Magnus blinks at him. And then blinks some more. “Alec, dear, I’m not asking you to tango with me. This is slow dancing. All you have to do is shuffle your feet in one spot. Everybody knows how to slow dance.” 

Alec hunches his shoulders and crosses his arms over his chest defensively. “Well, I don’t,” he mutters darkly. “When Izzy tried to teach me once, I almost flattened her toes. In the end, she gave up on me. Apparently, I'm hopeless when it comes to dancing.” 

Magnus laughs. He spins around Alec and threads his arm through is lover’s. “Well, I think you just lacked the proper motivation.” He leans closer and his warm breath wafts over Alec’s cheek as he whispers, “I’m a very good and patient teacher, as you know…”

Alec blushes so hard the tips of ears turn pink. 

“Come along, love,” Magnus pulls at Alec’s arm, dragging him towards the crowded dance floor. “Let me show you how it’s done.”

“They’re your toes,” Alec’s grumbles, dragging his feet, “but don’t complain that I didn’t warn you.” Still, he goes. 

Turns out, Magnus really is an excellent teacher. But a few toes were sacrificed for the greater good, after all.

Chapter Text

They say it wasn’t his fault. 

Nobody blames him. Not his parents, not his siblings. Not even Alec himself. Not the cops or the experts. He wasn’t speeding, he wasn’t drunk or high, his car was in a good condition…

His tire simply blew and the car went into a tailspin on the highway. That’s all. An accident. A dumb, stupid, ridiculous accident, a thing that happens every day, to dozens of people. But this time… his accident, their accident ended with his brother crippled for life. 

And he blames himself, Jace blames himself even though no one else does. Exactly because no one else does. Things like that can’t just happen. Therehas to be a reason, someone to blame. It’s not just… random. It can’t be! 

He is at fault, he is, somehow, he knows that. Maybe… maybe if he paid more attention - they were arguing after all, just before it happened, he and Alec - about something… something… he can’t remember what anymore. Maybe he looked away from the road for second or… or… he doesn’t know what. But he must have done something wrong or such a stupid thing would not have ended in a tragedy like that.

Jace wishes he could switch places with Alec - he would do it in a heartbeat - or that he were left with some lasting damage, scars… anything, anything at all that he would have to deal with every day, a proof that they went through the crash together, he and Alec. But there’s nothing. Nothing at all. He got away with bruises - and his brother ended up in a wheelchair for life.

He was there with him, in the hospital. He sat by Alec’s bed and held his hand and prayed, prayed to anyone who was listening, all those days when Alec lay there unconscious, that the doctors were wrong, that the injury wasn’t as bad, that Alec would wake up and be perfectly fine. But no.

After that, Jace couldn’t go back. No matter how much his parents or his sister or his little brother pleaded with him, because Alec wanted, needed to see him, Jace couldn’t go back. No, he spent his days working, turning their home and later on Alec’s new apartment into a safe, accessible place for his brother, doing everything for Alec, everything… but going to see him. 

And the days became weeks became months. He saw Alec a few times, when his brother cornered him, when there was no way for Jace to avoid him, he saw him and he exchanged a few mumbled, polite words with him, and then he fled and stayed away, away, away… 

Because Jace ruined his brother’s, his best friend’s life - and he doesn’t understand why nobody else sees that!

Chapter Text

“I don’t like showing people my eyes,” Alec admits softly when Magnus asks about the wraparound sunglasses. “I know that they’re all squinty and cross-eyed and… ugly.”

Magnus frowns at him. “Who told you that?”

Alec sighs. “Children can be very cruel and because of this,” he touches his sunglasses self-consciously, “I’ve had to deal with my share of bullies from a very young age.” 

“I’m sorry, nobody deserves to be bullied, for any reason,” Magnus says. 

“Yeah,” Alec whispers. He stands there for a moment, one hand still touching his sunglasses, as if he’s contemplating something. Then he offers hesitantly, “Would you like to see them? They might be gross, but–”

“I would be honored by your trust, Alexander,” Magnus interrupts him gently. He feels touched yet also rather surprised because he truly didn’t expect this gesture. It’s obvious that this is a big step for Alec, something very intimate.

Alec nods. “Okay…” Then he takes a deep breath, pulls his sunglasses off and opens his eyes.

Suddenly, Alec feels much more… vulnerable to Magnus. And yes, Alec squints for a moment, as if trying to hide his blindness, or trying to see, then he opens his eyes wide. He is a little cross-eyed, yes, but his eyes, now roaming around restlessly, are so… They take Magnus’ breath away.

“Oh,” he whispers.

Alec flinches and tries to put his sunglasses back on. “Sorry…”

“No, no,” Magnus stops him. “Don’t. Please…”

Alec pauses uncertainly. “What?” he breathes out.

Magnus raises his hand. “I’ll touch your face now, alright?” he announces and when Alec nods, he lets his fingers settle featherlight on Alec’s cheek. “Your eyes are amazing, Alexander. Whoever told you they were ugly must have wanted to hurt you really badly. Because your eyes…” 

Magnus tries to find the proper words. “They’re the most amazing hazel color, all brown and green mixed together. Just beautiful. And your eyelashes are so long that they make your eyes look even bigger.” 

Alec blushes a little while his eyes slowly drift from side to side aimlessly. “Really? They are not… they’re not ugly?” he asks, a little unsure. 

“No,” Magnus whispers and runs his knuckles up and down Alec’s smooth-shaven cheek. “No, they’re like… they’re like a deep forest after a spring rain. They’re breathtaking.” 

Alec clears his throat a little and the flush in his cheeks reaches the tips of his ears. “That’s… that’s good. I mean, that’s good to know.”

Magnus grins. “I will kiss you now, okay?” he asks, and when Alec nods once more, Magnus raises himself on tippy toes and whispers against Alec’s lips, “Thank you for showing them to me.” And then he kisses him.

And Alec closes his sightless eyes in pleasure, his sunglasses slipping from his grasping fingers and dropping to the softly carpeted floor, forgotten. At least for a while.

Chapter Text

Jace doesn’t like Magnus Bane. He doesn’t hate him, but he doesn’t really like him either, not really. But that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that Alec loves Magnus and that’s reason enough for Jace to defend the warlock and Alec’s relationship with him. That’s what parabatai do.

And so Jace stands by Alec’s side, always, and makes sure that both Alec and his lover receive the respect they deserve. All he wants is for Alec to be happy. But never, not once, does it cross his mind that…

“I wonder if Magnus will offer Alec immortality. You know, so that they can be together forever?” Isabelle remarks offhandedly while they’re walking back to the Institute, just Jace and her; Alec already took off to Magnus’.

And Jace almost stumbles because… because this has never occurred to him, this possibility, that Alec might… that Alec would even consider… 

Jace’s chest clenches in something achingly similar to panic. Because if Alec does that, if Alec allows himself to be turned immortal, somehow, in some way - he will become a Downworlder. And that means their parabatai bond will be broken. And Jace will lose him!

Though he tries to guard his thoughts, his feelings, to push them back, some of his fears must seep through, mirrored in his face, because Isabelle rushes to add, “I’m not saying that Alec will do it, he hasn’t mentioned anything to me, anything at all–”

Jace interrupts her, his voice harsher than he intended, because he doesn’t want to hear any more, he doesn’t want to discuss it or even think about it! “Whatever Alec decides, I’ll support him, one hundred percent,” he states and stomps away from Isabelle who stares after him with a concerned look.

His words sounded so firm and steadfast, filled with conviction, but Jace knows better. He knows the truth. He wants Alec to be happy, yes, he really does - but not like this. Not at the cost of their bond.

Jace will not lose Alec. He will not give up a part of his soul. If it comes to it, he will fight to keep his parabatai, and fight dirty if need be. And if it makes him a selfish, self-centered bastard, so be it!

Chapter Text

Clary dies in childbirth. She’s 25 and they’re expecting a girl, a tiny kick-ass GI Jane. They plan to call her Amatis after Clary’s godmother, the older sister of her step-dad Luke. And then Clary dies. And their daughter dies with her.

Jace… Jace falls to pieces. He just breaks. And if it weren’t for Alec, who has been his best friend since kindergarten, whose family took Jace in after his parents died in a car crash, who was Jace’s best man at his wedding with Clary, who helped Jace paint Amatis’ room and assemble all the impossible furniture from IKEA… If it weren’t for Alec, Jace would break irrevocably. 

But no, Alec’s there, always, whenever Jace needs him. He moves Jace into his and Magnus’ loft, he helps Jace pack Clary’s things, helps him get rid of all the stuff that Jace and Clary and their extended family bought for Amatis… and when Jace’s knees buckle at his wife’s and child’s funeral, he’s there to prop him up physically, steady as a rock. 

It’s Alec who helps Jace regain some semblance of normalcy. 

And two years later, Jace’s there to return the favor. He wishes it weren’t ever needed. Oh, just how much he wishes it!

When Magnus dies of cancer, two short weeks after having been diagnosed, he’s only 32 and he just made partner in his law firm. And Alec just… stops. His whole life simply comes to a halt. He doesn’t become emotional, he doesn’t rage against the world like Jace did after Clary’s death, he just…checks out

But Jace is there, right there. He takes care of everything, from bills to funeral arrangements. It’s he who fights with Magnus’ father when the bastard has the audacity to try to get his filthy hands on his son’s estate. Jace sics Magnus’ lawyer buddies, Ragnor Fell and Catarina Loss, on him, and he doesn’t allow the guy to get within a hundred feet of Alec. 

And he’s patient. Jace wasn’t aware he knew how to be this patient. He moves Alec into his new flat, far away from all the things that remind Alec of his dead husband, but he doesn’t push, he gives no ultimatums. He’s just…there. And slowly, so very, very slowly he manages to pull Alec out of his shell. 

Because he knows, he remembers what it’s like.

And Alec never moves out. And Jace never asks him to. 

They watch TV together, curled up on the couch, under one afghan and with their feet inextricably tangled. They split the bills and buy groceries and cook dinner together. They go on vacation together, the first vacation for both of them since they lost their partners. They even get a dog together…

And soon, they become one entity in the eyes of their friends, Jace-and-Alec, not really two people but one unit. For their neighbors, they’re “the widowers from 12B.” For the giggling staff of the little café down the block, they’re “the cute couple that tips well…”

4 years, 3 months and 2 days after Clary dies and 2 years 1 month and 11 days after Magnus’ death, they kiss for the first time. They’re making steaks for dinner - and it just happens. It’s the barest brush of lips, noses bumping, and there’s no urgency behind it, it simply… is. And then they eat their dinner and walk their dog and watch TV, still curled up under the same afghan.

And when they make love for the first time, it’s as if something hurting and raw is finally soothed. It feels like a deep, content exhale after a back-breaking weight has been dropped off one’s shoulders. 

“What do you think that they would say if they could see us now?” Alec asks, lying on his back in their luxuriously wide bed.

Jace, feeling pleasantly drowsy, rubs his cheek against Alec’s chest and smiles at the sensation of his lover’s knuckles running up and down his naked back. “Clary and Magnus?” Jace’s smile widens. “They would say, ‘Finally!’”

Chapter Text

Their first very public kiss aside, Magnus is aware that Alec’s not given to public displays of affection. He’s reserved, stoic, some people would even call him repressed - which Magnus knows is not true, oh, it’s so not true! But yes, Alec’s upbringing has done a number on him, curse the whole Shadowhunter society and its backward rules.

So, when Alec takes Magnus’ hand in his and entwines their fingers while they’re walking back home from their favorite restaurant, Magnus startles a bit and looks over at his lover, expression quizzical. But Alec’s not looking at him, his hazel eyes are roaming around, taking in all the sights of New York after dark, and he seems… happy, genuinely happy. There’s even a little smile on his lips. 

And Magnus realizes that Alec’s not even aware of what he has done, that he’s holding Magnus’ hand in public, rubbing Magnus’ soft skin with his callused thumb, back and forth, back and forth… 

Magnus doesn’t say anything, reluctant to break this magical moment. He’s letting Alec lead the way, walking blind himself, because he’s so enthralled by the serene expression on his lover’s face and he’s trying to etch this moment into his memory forever. 

It’s a summer night in New York and Alexander is walking hand in hand with him through the streets that never sleep. And Magnus is filled with light. 

Chapter Text

“Have you ever considered becoming immortal? You know, for Magnus,” Jace asks. This thing has been bothering him ever since Isabelle brought it up and he really needs to know the answer.

They’re in the smaller of the two kitchens at the Institute, the private family one, and Alec’s cooking, which is always a treat. The smells wafting through the room are already making Jace’s mouth water. But after Jace’s question, Alec takes the pan off the stove, apparently to give Jace his undivided attention. 

Alec turns around, and crossing his arms over his chest, he leans against the kitchen counter. His expression is not surprised or offended, simply serious. “No, I have never considered it,” he replies with absolute certainty.

Jace’s so relieved he feels almost lightheaded and he’s glad that he’s sitting down at the table by one of the stained glass windows. He’s relieved - but also curious. “Why not?”

Alec stares at him for a moment. “Because of you,” he replies and Jace blinks at him, shocked. “And Izzy and Max and the rest of my family and friends. But mostly because of you. Gaining immortality would mean becoming a Downworlder - which wouldn’t be so terrible per se, but!” 

He pauses and turns his eyes to the beautifully colored glass, lit up with late afternoon sun. “It would also mean breaking my bond with you. And not just that, it would mean watching you grow old and die. And I couldn’t stand that. You’re a part of my soul, Jace. When I took that vow ten years ago, I meant it - I still mean every word. And our bond doesn’t mean any less to me now just because I’ve fallen in love.”

Jace is staring down at his hands, clasped tightly on the table, and his eyes burn a little, his throat is a little tight. Nobody has ever given him this. Nobody has ever regarded him as so important. Nobody

He clears his throat and looks up. “You have put a lot of thought into it.”

Alec shrugs. “It’s inevitable, I guess, when your lover is immortal.”

“But doesn’t it bother you that he will survive you and eventually move on?” Realizing how it sounds, Jace rushes to add, “I mean, I’m not saying that he doesn’t love you or that you’re easily forgotten or something…”

Alec laughs a little at Jace’s flustered words. “I get you, don’t worry.” Then he sighs. “Magnus is… Magnus. It took me a while to make peace with the reality of us, but…” He falls silent, thinking. “I understand now that his immortality is simply an inseparable part of him. And if I’m not willing to give up my mortality and my bond with you, to change who I am to this extent, how could I demand it of him? How could I ever ask him to become mortal or swear off any lovers after I’m gone? Wouldn’t that be terribly hypocritical?”

Jace shrugs. “Emotions are not always logical,” he demurs. “You can’t help how you feel.”

“No, but you can choose if you will act on those feelings,” Alec replies. 

“True,” Jace admits.

Alec smiles softly. “So, did I allay your fears?”

Jace’s eyebrows shoot up. “My fears?”

Laughing, Alec turns back towards the stove and puts the pan back on. “Yes. Izzy told me that you might need to talk about this, that she rattled you quite a bit, apparently.” 

Jace twists his lips sourly. That she-devil, ratting on him! “She did not!”

Still chuckling, Alec says, “Whatever helps you sleep at night.” 

Jace grumbles some more, but secretly he thinks, You do, Alec. You help me sleep at night and wake up in the morning. You’re the one thing in my life that always makes sense, my parabatai.

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

“Mr Warlock, sir? Mr Warlock, could you wake up now, please? I really need to go home. Mr Warlock?”

Magnus groans. His head’s pounding and that voice - a child’s voice - is terribly persistent. He opens one eye only to realize that he’s lying on the ground in a dirty alley - and a boy of maybe eleven years is kneeling over him and shaking his shoulder gently. He’s dressed all in black - and there’s a rune on his small hand. A Shadowhunter child!

Magnus sits up fast which does not help his headache and the boy scoots away a little, but he’s still looking at him with wide hazel eyes. His cheeks are pale and his hair is tousled, dark locks sticking up every which way. 

“Ah, yes, I’m awake. I’m okay. I’m perfectly fine, don’t worry,” Magnus rushes to calm the child because the boy looks like he might actually start crying. After Magnus’ reassurance, his shoulders drop in relief. “What happened?”

The boy looks shifty for a moment. “I was out on a hunt!” he blurts out finally, then he reaches out and grabs the small bow lying on the ground nearby. 

Magnus is about to snort - there’s no way this child was out hunting, not even in the company of elders! - but he swallows his reaction, because the boy looks so earnest about the whole thing. “Yes?” he prompts. 

The little Shadowhunter rushes to add, “And there was a demon and I saw him stalking you and then he jumped you and I shot him. Dead. I shot him dead.” His voice wobbles a bit. “I killed him.” 

Magnus’ heart aches a little for the child. “It was a dangerous beast, boy,” he states, his voice firm but kind. “It might have looked like a man, but it was a monster. You saved my life.” He reaches out slowly and squeezes the boy’s shoulder. “You saved me and I thank you.”

The child hugs his bow tightly to his chest and nods, his pale cheeks flushing a little with pride after hearing Magnus’ words. But then something in his pocket makes a shrill sound, a cellphone probably, and his eyes open wide again, and he scrambles to his feet. “But now I really need to go home! Mom and dad will be so mad! I shouldn’t even be here,” he admits in a whisper, as if his parents could hear him.

Magnus smiles up at him. He’s sitting in a cold puddle but the child’s already freaking out enough without him making any sudden movements. “Well, if you hadn’t been here, I would be probably dead now, so… I’m glad you were here. And that you stayed with me till I woke up.”

The boy nods again. “I couldn’t just leave you. What if something happened to you after I left?”

Magnus finds the child terribly endearing. 

There’s the shrill sound again and the boy jumps a good foot high. “I… uh, I have to go now?” he says, making the statement sound like a question. Then he starts backing away. “Take care of yourself, Mr Warlock? Next time I might not be there!” He waves a little, then he turns and runs.

Magnus laughs. But then he remembers. “Wait, kid! What’s your name?” he calls out, but the boy has already disappeared. 

Shaking his head, Magnus slowly gets up and makes a disgusting face at his ruined pants and squishy shoes. But when he remembers the child again, his concerned little face and the little bow he hugged to his chest like a talisman, a smile returns to his face. 

Yeah, maybe the next generation of Shadowhunters won’t be so bad.

Chapter Text

Alec is the archer in the family for one very simple reason - well, two actually. Izzy has no interest in archery. Period. And Jace, the Golden Boy, the best and brightest of his generation… can’t hit the broad side of a barn with an arrow.

It’s the third time in a row that Jace, a boy of twelve at this time, misses the practice target, his arrow clattering to the tiled floor instead. He growls and makes as if to break the bow over his knee but Hodge jumps in to stop him. 

“There’s something wrong with that thing!” Jace curses and points angrily at the bow in Hodge’s hands. “It just doesn't shoot right!”

Hodge smirks, obviously taking immense pleasure from Goldilock’s frustration. “Alec?” he calls out to the Lightwoods’ eldest child. “Could you come here for a second?”

Alec, who’s been runing arrows at back of the shooting range, startles a little, but he sets his stele and the arrow he’s been working on down, and trots over. “Yes, Hodge?”

Hodge hands him the bow and an arrow from the quiver he has hanging at his hip. “Can you hit the target, please?” 

Alec frowns at him, a little confused, but he takes the bow and the arrow and under Jace’s suspicious glare takes up the proper position, aims and shoots, hitting the bullseye, right in the middle. 

“He cheated!” Jace snaps angrily.

Alec turns to him, completely baffled. “How can you cheat at bow shooting?”

Hodge, who’s grinning widely now, hands Alec three more arrows. “Would you do Mr Wayland the honor of showing him how it’s done?” he asks, his mocking tone aimed at the blond child.

Alec takes the arrows and with one last bewildered glance at Jace, he shoots all three arrows in quick succession, hitting the bullseye with every single one of them.

Seeing this, Jace growls again and stomps out of the room, slamming the door shut so hard the stained glass windows rattle in their frames. Hodge guffaws so hard his eyes fill with tears. 

Alec blinks at the door, then turns to Hodge. “What’s with him?” Alec asks, uncomprehending.

Still grinning, Hodge reaches out and squeezes Alec’s shoulder affectionately. “Ah, don’t worry about it. Our Golden Boy just learned a valuable lesson or two, is all.” 

“He did?” Alec says uncertainly. 

Hodge nods. “Yes. First, that he can’t be the best at everything. And second, that everybody is best at something.” He smiles at Alec. “And you, you’ll always be the better archer because he simply lacks the temperament for it. So don’t let anyone ever tell you that you’re not as good as him - you’re just as good, simply at different things.” 

Alec looks up at him for a moment, then he whispers gratefully, “Thanks, Hodge.”

Hodge nods again and pulls the boy close for a quick hug around the shoulders. “Now,” he says, letting go, “show me the arrows you runed.”

Chapter Text

“And now to Lydia’s wedding necklace,” Izzy says, sprawled lazily on Alec’s bed while Alec’s trying on the shirt he plans on wearing for the wedding. “I’ve asked Denise to bring back a selection of necklaces from Idris tomorrow…”

Alec turns around. “There’s no need,” he interrupts her. “I… uh… I actually got one already.” 

Isabelle sits up, her eyebrows shooting up in surprise. “You do?”

“I do,” he responds reluctantly. Then he step towards his dresser and with a furtive glance thrown at his sister, he pulls out a black velvet pouch.

Izzy scrambles off the bed, making grabby hands. “Let me see! Let me see!” 

Alec hands over the pouch. “I bought it in Alicante, a long time ago,” he admits, a little embarrassed, while she pulls the strings open. “I’ve never spent money on anything, not on clothes or weapons, so I had some saved, and…”

Izzy shakes the necklace out of the pouch and into her open hand. And then she gasps in wonder as the pendant shimmers on her palm. “Alec,” she breathes out and raises her eyes to him. “It’s beautiful!”

Alec’s cheeks color slightly and he shrugs. “When I saw it, I just had to buy it,” he says quietly and touches the jewelry gently with his fingers. “I thought that… if I ever did get married, despite…” He pauses, dropping his hand, then he continues, “I wanted my future wife to wear this. I want Lydia to wear this.”

Izzy looks down at the necklace for a moment, then back up at her brother. Her eyes are softer than before. “You like her a lot, don’t you?” she asks.

“Yes, I do, Izzy,” he confirms. “I might not be able to give her the kind of love she deserves, but I do like her very much. She’s amazing. And I couldn’t wish for a better friend.” Seeing her expression, he adds quickly, “And I know what you want to say, that marriage should be about more than a simple friendship, but…” He swallows. “I could do a lot worse, considering. To have a trusted friend for a partner, it really is the best thing I can hope for…”

Isabelle runs her thumb over the sparkling pendant. “I still think you’re making a huge mistake, Alec,” she whispers, then she looks up and gives him a shaky smile. “But if you insist on doing it anyway, I’ll stand by your side and support you in any way you need.”

He smiles back at her and squeezes her shoulder gratefully.

She lifts the necklace. “And this will look lovely on Lydia. You have chosen well, big brother.” 

And they both watch as the pendant dances in the soft ambient light, shaped and shimmering like a tear.

Chapter Text

Jace stares dumbly at the space where just seconds ago, the purple surface of the portal shimmered gently. Now, there’s… nothing. No portal - and what’s more important, no Alec.

“What…?” Clary starts asking, confused, but she’s interrupted by Isabelle, who is walking towards them across the courtyard. 

“Where are Alec and Magnus?” Izzy calls.

Clary turns to her. “Alec said that they would be right behind us.”

Isabelle’s eye widen when she stops beside Jace and Clary. “They are still in New York? With Valentine coming?” Her voice is rising, drawing the attention of the people gathered at the Gard. 

And then, a fire message burns into life in front of Jace, the paper uncurling from the flames. He raises his hand and catches the note deftly before it can flutter to the ground. 

“‘I’m staying with Magnus,’” Jace reads aloud. “’I’ll be your eyes and ears on this end…’” His voice trails off. He can feel Clary staring at him, but he doesn’t raise his eyes from the paper.

“He’s staying with Magnus?” Izzy says in disbelief. “But surely Magnus was invited to…” She cuts herself off and draws in a sharp breath. “She wouldn’t.”

Clary looks at her. “Who? Your mom?” She pauses. “Well, Alec did mention Maryse before he sent us through…”  

There are loud footsteps coming closer, and then Maryse’s sharp voice echoes through the courtyard, “What’s going on here? Why aren’t you moving, people? Evacuees from other Institutes will be arriving here shortly, we need to clear out!”

Isabelle swings around. “Alec didn’t come through the portal before it shut down. He stayed in New York.” 

Maryse stops short, her eyes widening slightly, and Robert, who was following her, now asks, in dismay, “Why would he do something like that? Doesn’t he understand how insanely dangerous that is?”

Isabelle is staring hard at her mother. “You did extend an invitation to Idris to Magnus Bane, too, didn’t you, mother? Because he isn’t just your son’s lover, he’s a trusted, powerful ally.”

Maryse squares her shoulders. “He’s a warlock! There’s no place for Downworlders in Alicante!” she snaps.

Robert and Clary turn to her with disbelief, but Izzy holds her head even higher, radiating fury. “Do you have a problem with him being a warlock - or simply Magnus Bane? The guy who witnessed you murdering Downworlders on Valentine’s behalf?” 

Narrowing her eyes, Maryse warns, “I won’t have you talking to me like that, Isabelle.”

But Izzy takes a step closer. “Yes, you will. Because thanks to your damn prejudice, my brother is now stuck in New York which will soon be overrun by Valentine and his hordes.”

“It was his decision,” Maryse protests.

“That you forced on him!” Izzy yells, and all the people around, mostly the staff of their Institute, look away. “Do you really not know your son at all? What did you think he would do, if you closed off Alicante to his lover? Do you think so little of him, that you believed he would abandon him?”

They’re arguing, yelling at each other, Jace’s family, Izzy and Maryse, and Robert now too, trying to get his wife and his daughter to calm down, vainly, of course - but Jace, Jace is not listening. None of that matters to him. All he can think of is Alec, stuck in New York, within Valentine’s grasp. All he can see is the fire message - and the last lines, added at the very end, words aimed at Jace alone, a private message.

I’m sorry I lied to you. If I had told you, you would’ve wanted to stay with me, I know you. And I couldn’t have that. I needed you safe, somewhere Valentine wouldn’t get to you. He can’t get to you again! He must not! Please, be safe, my parabatai.

Jace’s staring at those words, re-reading them again and again. And his heart is seizing, driving all the air from his lungs. He would’ve stayed. He should’ve stayed. That’s what parabatai do, they fight side by side, they protect each other.

I needed you safe.

That idiot! Doesn’t he get that it works both ways?

Chapter Text

Magnus sees Alec smile his bright, unrestrained smile only once - shortly after their first kiss, after the called-off wedding, at the Institute. For the first time since Magnus has met him, Alec stands tall and unburdened, head held high and shoulders squared. And his eyes are devoid of shadows.

And then he meets Camille…

It’s not the kiss that brings it all crashing down, it’s Camille’s words, hard truths that cannot be unheard, unlearned, forgotten. Truths about the reality of them, Alec’s mortality, Magnus immortality, and the way things will inevitably end one day, the tragedy of their love woven into their relationship from day one.

And after that, Alec never smiles that broad, perfectly happy smile again, the one through which a heart as light as a feather and a spirit finally free of all fetters shine, a mind finally at peace with the body. Never again. 

Yes, he smiles much more often these days than before, while he still allowed himself to be ruled by other people’s wishes and demands, and his smiles are genuine and honest and sweet and full of affection so deep that Magnus’ heart skips a beat every time he sees one them… 

But there’s always the ever-present shadow of crushing truth that bows his head and rounds his shoulders. And the worst thing is, that Alec never says anything, as has always been his wont…

And Magnus… Magnus feels genuinely like crying, because this is not what he wanted, it’s not, definitely not. But he can’t do anything about it, nothing at all, because that’s the reality of them.

You watch the people you care about age and die.

And Alec will age and die. And Magnus will have to watch. And neither of them can forget that. And the first victim of that inevitable end is Alec’s unburdened smile, gone forever.

Chapter Text

Shortly before dawn there’s a soft knock on the door of Magnus’ bedroom and Luke, still cozily tucked into Magnus’ large four-poster bed, looks up. It’s Alec, standing in the doorway. 

“Hey,” Alec says quietly, “Magnus said you were doing much better.”

Luke smiles broadly and raises himself up on the pillows. “Yeah. And from what I hear, I have you to thank for it.”

Alec shrugs a little awkwardly. “It was Jace and Simon who procured all the ingredients needed for the potion and it was Magnus who prepared it. All I did was lend Magnus my strength, it wasn’t a big deal, really.”

Luke shakes his head. “That’s where you’re wrong, Alec. There aren’t many Shadowhunters who would willingly share their strength with a warlock to save a werewolf.”

Alec looks down and hunches his shoulders a little. “Yeah, well…” Then he clears his throat. “But that’s not why I’m here. I really need to get back, but I wanted to give you this.” He walks up to the bed and hands Luke a slip of paper. 

Luke takes it. “What is it?”

“It’s my phone number,” Alec says. “You’re now the alpha of the New York pack, and with all that’s going on, with Valentine and the Cup and Jocelyn Fairchild’s kidnapping…” He shrugs. “If you need help, call me, alright?”

Luke stares at him, his face revealing nothing. “Are you just trying to cultivate proper interspecies relationships as the acting head of the New York Institute?” he asks. 

The corners of Alec’s mouth quirk up a little. “How about extending a hand in friendship?”

Looking down at the slip of paper, then back up at Alec, Luke smiles, his expression open and warm now. “Yeah, I like that better,” he agrees. 

Chapter Text

“Magnus? Don’t take it the wrong way, please, but - what’s that smell?” Alec asks when their kiss comes to its inevitable end, enforced by their need to breathe.

Magnus raises his eyebrows. “Are you saying that I stink, Alexander?” he replies with mock offense.

“What? No!” Alec blushes deeply, which Magnus finds entirely too endearing. “I just…” He reaches out carefully and finds Magnus’ head with his hands. Then he leans in, close to his face, and - sniffs. “That smell. It’s all over your face.”

Magnus frowns. “My face…?” And then he gets it. Of course! Alec can’t see! He grins. "Oh! That’s my makeup!”

Alec’s eyebrows shoot up from behind his wraparound sunglasses. “Makeup? You are wearing makeup? Men wear makeup, too?” he asks, bewildered. “Really? I mean… Really? Usually, I only smell something similar around my mother or Izzy, I didn’t know.”

Magnus laughs. “Well, the Clave would have a collective apoplexy if one of your manly men came in wearing makeup, I bet.”

“Can I touch it?” Alec asks curiously, head tilted to the side like a cat.

Smiling, Magnus nods. “Of course. I use good quality products so don’t worry about smudging,” he tells Alec. “Today, I just used some foundation and blush on my cheeks, my favorite gold eyeliner and mascara. Oh, and eyeshadow, just a little.” 

Despite Magnus’ assurance, Alec’s touch is feather-light as he runs his fingers over Magnus’ cheeks, a soft, wondrous smile on his lips. He reaches Magnus’ eyes and brushes against his eyelashes, over his eyelids and eyebrows… 

Magnus sits there, perfectly still, and stares at his own reflection mirrored in Alec’s sunglasses. He watches as Alec’s fingers map the powdery softness of his face, their calloused pads a little rough on Magnus’ skin. He wants to close his eyes and lean into Alec’s touch because he can’t remember the last time anyone touched him so gently, as if he were made of spun glass.

“I wish I could see you, just once.” Alec whispers longingly after he’s done with his exploration. He takes Magnus’ face in both of his hands and runs his thumbs over Magnus’ cheekbones. “You must be so beautiful…” 

And Magnus’ heart clenches painfully with regret because against some hurdles, even his magic is powerless. He wishes so hard that it were in his power to bestow the gift of sight to Alec. But it isn’t. 

“Will you kiss me now again, please?” Magnus asks, his voice husky with emotions. 

Alec smiles, leaning close, but before his lips touch Magnus’, he whispers, “Just for the record, you smell heavenly.” 

And then his lips claim Magnus’ once more.

Chapter Text

“YOU. HAVE. BEEN. AVOIDING. ME.” 

Jace is in the middle of swinging his Seraph Blade when he hears that robotic voice. He freezes and trips, his routine ruined. He didn’t notice Alec sneaking up on him. Quickly, he regains his composure but he doesn’t turn to his parabatai.

“I have not,” Jace replies flatly, raising his blade again.

“YES. YOU. HAVE,” comes the robotic reply. “WHY.”

Jace’s heart is starting to hammer, his breath coming out faster. He’s not ready to have this conversation, he’s just not ready. That’s why he has been avoiding Alec, he can admit that at least to himself.

“JACE.”

He doesn’t listen. Maybe if he pretends that Alec’s not here, his parabatai will give up and go away. Go away, go away, go away… But he forgets how stubborn Alec can be. 

Jace swings around, stabbing with his blade, when Alec’s suddenly there. He grabs Jace by the wrist, raises his arm, twists and turns - and Jace’s lying flat on his back, his sword arm still up in the air and in Alec’s tight grip, Alec’s boot pressed hard to his shoulder. Jace gasps at the unexpected move and Alec glares down at him mutely. 

“Fine!” Jace snaps. 

Alec lets go of him and pulls his smartphone out of his back pocket. “TALK. TO. ME,” he demands through his app. 

Jace drops his Seraph Blade to the floor, sits up and rests his arms on his bent knees. He drops his head and whispers, “You shouldn’t have done it.” 

There’s a pause, then some quiet tapping. “VALENTINE. WOULD. HAVE. KILLED. BOTH. ME. AND. CLARY. IT. WAS. JUST. SMART. MATH. RATHER. ONE. THAN. BOTH.”

“You can’t know that he would’ve actually done it…” Jace mumbles, still not looking up.

Tap-tap-tapping. “YES. I. CAN.”

Jace’s head snaps up. “You can’t!” he yells, and jumps to his feet. “And what made you think your death would have been any more acceptable to me than Clary’s?” 

Alec sighs, lowers his eyes to his phone and taps out his response. “YOU. LOVE. HER.”

Jace takes a step closer. “I love you, too, you fool! Damn it, don’t you get it? I could have never made such a choice, never, and it doesn’t matter what stupid nonsense you convinced yourself of. I could never, ever choose between you and Clary! She might be my girlfriend but you’t my parabatai!”

More tapping. “THEN. WE. WOULD. HAVE. BOTH. DIED.” 

With a resolute head shake Jace denies that. “No. No. I would’ve found a way out. I would’ve saved you both!” He isn’t sure who he’s trying to convince here.

Alec stares at him for a moment, his face impassive. Then, “WE. ARE. BOTH. ALIVE,” he objects.

“But at what cost?” Jace yells and throws up his hands in frustration. Then he takes a deep breath to calm himself, steps even closer to Alec and raises his hand to touch the thick purple scaring on Alec’s throat where the blade sliced in. “At what cost, Alec?” he adds brokenly. 

Alec draws in a quiet breath at Jace’s touch. He searches Jace’s expression, then he responds, “I. CAN. LIVE. WITH. THAT.”

Jace shakes his head again and looks up at Alec, his fingers still running gently over the scar. “You shouldn’t have to. If I were smarter, if I had come up with some solution faster…”

Alec shakes his head firmly. “NOT. YOUR. FAULT.”

Jace laughs bitterly and drops his hand. “How can you say that? If you hadn’t believed that I would’ve chosen Clary over you, you would’ve never done it!”

Alec tilts his head slightly and ponders that. Then he taps out a response. “NO. I. WOULD. HAVE. IT. WAS. STILL. THE. SMARTEST. WAY. OUT. TAKE. THE. HOSTAGE. OUT. OF. THE. EQUATION. NO. OTHER. WAY.”

"Killing yourself is not the smartest way out!” Jace protests loudly.

Alec frowns at him. “YOU. WOULD. HAVE. DONE. THE. SAME. THING,” he argues.

Jace waves a hand. “That’s different.” And when Alec just raises his eyebrows at him, he argues, “Well, it is!

Huffing out a silent laugh, Alec taps out, “CAN. WE. AT. LEAST. AGREE. THAT. THIS. WHOLE. MESS. IS. ACTUALLY. VALENTINE’S. FAULT.”

“That we can do,” Jace allows with a small smile, feeling marginally better, like he always does after talking to Alec. And still, he usually avoids these heart-to-hearts. He has never claimed to be logical.

Alec smiles, too, then he looks down at the clock on his phone. “GOTTA. GO.”

“Where to?” Jace asks. 

Tap-tap-tapping. “MAGNUS. FOUND. ME. A. SIGN. LANGUAGE. TUTOR.”

Jace’s eyebrows shoot up in surprise. “He did?” he says, and then he adds without thinking it through, simply going with his gut feeling because it seems right, “Can I come with?” And when Alec’s expression turns startled, he explains grudgingly, “I want to know how to talk to you. We have enough issues between us as it is without adding a language barrier to them.” 

Alec’s smile is soft and genuine. “I. WOULD. LIKE. THAT.”

Jace nods and picks up his Seraph Blade. “Great! Then let’s go!”

Chapter Text

Jace knew he shouldn’t have gone on this mission. The intel was all wrong, he knew it, he felt it. His gut was telling him not to go. His parabatai was telling him not to go! But no, he had to be stubborn about it. 

And now he’s stuck in the maze-like net of the Brooklyn sewer system, running for his life with demons at his heels. By the Angel!

He has tried everything to spot and avoid them - fighting is not an option, not with these odds, even Jace is not that stupid! - he has tried to activate all of his runes, every one of them that could in any way sharpen his senses, but the darkness down here is absolute - and using a witchlight? He could just as well advertise his position, so…

The idea hits him like a train. His parabatai is blind. This is his everyday reality, this pure, unadulterated blackness, and Alec has often told him about how his other senses seem to be working overtime… So! If he borrowed them…

No! What is he even thinking?! By the Angel, no! He knows how the bond works for them! Yes, they can borrow each other’s senses, but it also means that the one who’s being borrowed from, temporarily loses the use of them! When Alec once borrowed Jace’s sight, just to experience what seeing actually felt like, Jace was left half blind for the duration. 

Which means that if Jace activated his parabatai rune and borrowed from Alec… he would leave Alec virtually helpless. Alec wouldn’t be left just sightless, he would lose his hearing, his sense of smell and touch, everything. He would literally lock Alec inside his body till he broke off the connection again! Jace swore to himself that he would never do that to his parabatai. Never! That he would never be so cruel, no matter the circumstances. 

But when he hears the scuttling of claws on slimy bricks again, this time almost too late to avoid the creature, he knows he has no choice - he already tried everytrick up his sleeve, every trick - but one. And if he does not do it, he will die down here!

Jace closes his eyes tight for a second, praying that Alec would forgive him, already begging for forgiveness - and then he takes out his stele, pulls up his shirt and activates his parabatai rune. And his senses expand…


… and at the Institute, Alec crumples to the ground, because it’s gone, it’s all gone! He can’t hear anything! His knees hit the floor, but he can barely feel it! All his senses, every one of them, muted or gone entirely. Just gone… 

He starts hyperventilating almost immediately, his heart slamming so hard against his ribs that it hurts. Because he’s locked inside his head, locked inside, locked in! And though his mind, the warmth spreading from his parabatai rune, are trying to tell him what’s going on, that it’s just Jace, that he needed his help, needed Alec’s strength - his sharpened senses - and he knows it’s temporary, his rational brainknows that… but he’s still panicking, feeling like he’s going mad from sensory deprivation, because he can’t sense anything, anything at all, anything…

Please, stop, by the Angel, please…


Isabelle’s sitting by her brother’s bedside, holding his hand and running her thumb over his knuckles, hoping that he somehow senses that she’s there with him, that he’s not alone!

She had to put him to sleep in the end because he was panicking so hard and there was no way to get through to him, not when he couldn’t hear or see or evenfeel anything. She had no choice… 

And when Jace comes home, she will kill him! Because she will never be able to get the image of her big brother out of her mind, Alec huddled on the floor, hugging himself tight, and whispering over and over again, “Please, stop, please, stop…” 

She will kill Jace for reducing her strong, independent, self-sufficient brother tothis. And though she knows, objectively speaking, that Jace wouldn’t have done it, wouldn’t have taken Alec’s senses from him if he had any other choice, any at all, she knows that Jace loves Alec as much as she does, her protective instincts are still telling her to rip his balls off for this!

There’s a buzz, Alec’s cellphone ringing. Izzy takes it from the nightstand and looks at the screen: Jace. She picks up, still entirely too angry. 

“Alec?” Jace’s says anxiously.

“Izzy,” she snaps. “If you want to talk to our brother, you’ll have to wait for him to wake up!”

“Wake up? What…” His voice sounds stricken. “By the Angel, I tried everything else, Izzy, I swear. I tried everything!”

And Isabelle feels her anger dissipating because she knows it to be truth, she knows Jace. Headstrong he might be, but he would never intentionally hurt his parabatai

She looks at her brother, still fast asleep in his bed. “I know,” she sighs. “It’s just… it was bad, Jace. He had a panic attack so bad that…” She cuts herself off. “Come home. He’ll want to know you’re okay.” 

“Will he?” Jace asks uncertainly, his words laced with bitterness. 

“Yes, he will. Because he loves you,” Izzy answers with certainty, squeezing Alec’s hand. “Come home. Be here when he wakes up. You’ll need to talk. Because this can’t happen again, Jace. Not like this.”

There’s a pause. “Alright,” Jace whispers, hanging up.

Chapter Text

It happens during a battle with a horde of ravener demons. 

The monsters are everywhere, crawling all over the floor and the walls and the ceiling, there are so many that it feels like the Shadowhunters must’ve stumbled across a nest of them or something. 

Jace and Clary are fighting on one side of the large room, Alec and Izzy on the other, they’re separated by a mass of writhing, screaming bodies and they just can’t seem to get across, slashing and stabbing and stomping on anything that comes close - and who would’ve thought that sign language would be so useful for coordinating attacks under these circumstances? Go figure!

And that’s when it happens. 

To Jace it feels like someone rammed a red hot poker through his right eye socket directly into his brain. The pain is so terrible that it borders on agony, and then…

~JACE! BEHIND YOU!~

And he moves, completely on instinct, still blinded by the pain, and he twists around and stabs and slashes, cutting the beast, almost twice as big as the rest of the raveners, in half with his Seraph Blade. 

Its screech is almost deafening - and the rest of the horde roars with it. And then, with an abruptness so unexpected it’s almost terrifying, it’s over, all the remaining demons scatter and disappear through holes in the floor underground. 

“So, it must have been a nest!” Izzy comments a little breathlessly and frowns down at her torn pants and scuffed boots. 

Clary pears curiously at the huge carcass that’s still slowly falling apart and dissipating. “And this is the mother… thing?” she asks, wrinkling her nose. “Yuck!” 

But Jace is barely listening to them because his head’s still hurting and his right eye is still streaming tears since the stabbing pain is ebbing away only very slowly. And he has no idea what just happened. 

Jace presses the heel of his right hand into his right eye and rubs hard, trying to make it finally stop hurting, and when he looks across the room at Alec, he notices that his parabatai is staring at him, wide-eyed.

“What?” Jace mouths, frowning.

<<Did you actually hear me?>> Alec replies, using sign language. 

“Yeah, so?” Jace replies loudly, irritated, because he doesn’t get what the big deal is. Of course he heard Alec.

~Can you hear me now?~ Alec asks. 

He asks. Without moving his mouth. His lips are completely still. His mute parabatai just asked him a question!

And - ow, ow, ow! - the stabbing pain flares back up again and Jace blinks hard to push back tears, but! He heard Alec! He actually heard him! And not with his ears, but with his mind

Jace’s eyes, one rubbed raw, widen and his jaw drops. And he tries…

~Yes?~

And now it’s Alec’s turn to wince and he slaps his left hand over his left eye.<<Ow!>> he signs, squinting. 

“Tell me about it, buddy,” Jace mutters, still in shock over this latest and very unexpected development. 

Clary turns towards him. “Tell you what?” she asks curiously. And only now take both girls notice of the way Jace and Alec are staring at each other - in open-mouthed shock - across the large room. 

Izzy steps closer to her brother. “What’s wrong, Alec? What happened?” she asks, concerned, and touches the hand he still has pressed to his left eye. 

“Unexpected side-effects, I guess,” Jace replies dryly, since nothing else comes to his mind, his thoughts are just too jumbled.

Because how the heck can they even begin to explain this… this sudden telepathy - telepathy! - especially if they don’t understand it themselves? 

Chapter Text

“If you want to write about the life of normal people, you should actually try living it for a while, Magnus!”

That’s what his agent, Catarina Loss, told him - and that’s why he’s now stuck in a one room, no kitchen tiny hellhole of an apartment - if one can call it that! - in a part of town where he would never usually set foot! Dear God!

Turning his music louder in a vain hope that the reassuring thump-thump-thumpwould chase away any rats and/or cockroaches crawling in places he is too afraid to look, Magnus opens up his state of the art laptop and settles down to work.

Only to be interrupted by a quiet knocking that soon turns into a loud, obviously annoyed banging. With a sigh, Magnus gets up from the tiny table by the grimy window, mutes the music, and goes to answer the door, slightly nervous about what or whom he might find in the hallway. 

He opens the rickety door and - looks down. And down. And down. There’s a slip of a boy standing there, with dark hair, blue eyes, glasses that keep sliding down his button of a nose - and with an indignant expression unfit for a child of his - undetermined - age. 

“Yes?” Magnus asks uncertainly.

The squirt clears his throat. “Mr…?” he starts.

“Bane,” Magnus fills in automatically.

“Mr Bane, sir,” the child continues politely, drawing himself up. “If you would be so kind and turn down your music, sir? My dad really needs to sleep and he can’t in this racket.”

Magnus stares at the boy with his absolutely serious expression and large blue eyes that blink at Magnus from behind glasses fixed with duct tape, as Magnus notices. 

“And you are…?” Magnus asks.

The boy draws himself up even more. “Christopher Lightwood, your neighbor, sir.” He holds onto his attitude a moment longer, but when Magnus just keeps staring at him - he has always considered children exotic creatures better left in their natural habitat, so he has no idea how to respond to this one - the boy crumples and looks up at Magnus imploringly. “Sir, please, my dad really needs to sleep, he has three jobs…”

In that moment, the door of the adjacent apartment opens and someone calls softly, “Christopher?” 

The boy frowns at Magnus. “And now he’s awake. And it’s all your fault,” he blames Magnus and turns to the left. “Here, dad!”

There’s the sound of footsteps, then a tall, tall someone shuffles into view, working boots, jeans, and a flannel shirt. Dark hair and… gorgeous hazel eyes. Magnus is smitten. And then the man smiles apologetically and Magnus’ knees turn into jelly. Dear God!

“I apologize for my son,” the man says, laying one hand on the boy’s shoulder and extending the other for a handshake. “Alec Lightwood.”

Magnus automatically takes the hand and shakes it. And then holds it. It’s warm and calloused and big, with long fingers and… “Magnus Bane,” he blurts out quickly, realizing that he should say something, and finally lets go of his handsome neighbor’s hand. 

The boy frowns up at his father. “Dad, you have nothing to apologize for,” he insists. “He is the one who should be sorry. He played his awful music so loud he woke you!” Christopher throws a stern look at Magnus. 

Magnus feels chastised. He smiles bashfully at both father and son. “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize…” He waves a hand. “I just moved in and I was trying to work…”

Alec smiles back and draws his son close. “It’s okay, really. My son tends to get a little… overprotective.” 

Alec looks down at the child with so much love in his eyes that Magnus’ heart clenches. He can’t remember his own father ever looking at him that way. Yes, he had all the money he could ever need or want, but love? Whereas these two, Alec and Christopher, don’t seem to have much - their clothes are clean but obviously old and mended - but their love for each other is undeniable. 

“I promise to keep it down,” Magnus says, feeling the need to do at least this for them, something simple that’s very well in his power - and that can make their life a little easier.

Alec nods. “Thank you, Mr Bane–”

“Magnus,” Magnus corrects him.

Alec’s smile is almost blinding. “Magnus,” he allows. “I really appreciate that.”

“Now you need to go back to bed, dad,” little Christopher pipes up, aiming a worried look at his father. Then he reminds him, “You have a shift tonight.”

Smiling down at his son affectionately, Alec ruffles his hair. “You’re right.” Then he sweeps the child up, throwing him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. “Off we go. We’ll leave Mr Magnus to his work.” And with a nod at Magnus, he turns and heads for their apartment. 

Christopher, hanging over his father’s shoulder, waves seriously. “Good-bye, Mr Magnus! Thank you for not being loud!” 

Unwittingly, Magnus raises a hand and waves back. “Good-bye, Christopher,” he calls after them, and he stands there with a goofy smile on his face and one hand in the air, till the door of the neighboring apartment closes.

Huh, he thinks. Maybe Catarina’s idea isn’t half-bad after all. 

Chapter Text

Jace is used to pain. A harsh thing to say when he’s just twelve years old, but that’s his reality, has been ever since he can remember. His father’s brutal lessons shaped him well…

He’s used to pain, but - his own. His own pain is alright, accepted, expected even. No pain, no gain, that used to be his father’s favorite motto. But Jace’s own pain! Not the pain of people Jace has come to love, despite his father’s teachings.

“I need you to draw a rune on my back,” Alec says one day, pulling his t-shirt off. “Here,” he touches a spot on the left side of his upper back. “Calm anger. It’s a huge one and I can’t fit it anywhere else.”

Jace swallows nervously. Because Alec’s right, the rune’s huge. And it will hurt. Jace knows, having had his own rune drawn years ago. For apparent reasons, being of a rather… explosive nature. 

“Why do you of all people need a ‘calm anger’ rune?” Jace tries to stall. Why did Alec have to ask him to draw it?

Alec lets out a long breath. “We’re getting a visit from Idris tomorrow. A Clave representative. And she’s bringing her son with her, Preston. A few years back, I broke his nose,” he admits reluctantly.

Jace can’t help but laugh. Alec? Alec broke someone’s nose?

But Alec’s not laughing. He looks over his shoulder at Jace and he’s completely serious, even bleak. “I was punished for insubordination. I spent three days in a cell in the City of Bones, under the Silent Brother’s supervision. I never want to end up there again.”

Jace stops laughing. He didn’t know. He can’t even imagine being locked in one of the dark, windowless cells. “That was rather harsh, wasn’t it?” 

Alec shakes his head a little, his dark hair falling into his eyes. “I don’t know why I was punished so severely. One iratze later and Preston was just fine. But I heard whispers that it had something to do with my parents, that I was turning out to be just like them. I don’t know what that was about…”

“So, why the rune?” Jace asks softly.

“Preston never forgave me, he became the laughing stock of all the kids at the academy after that. And ever since, he’s been trying to rile me up, get me into more trouble. Last time, he almost succeeded,” Alec whispers. “He knows what buttons to push with me. I’m not sure I can keep myself under control around him…” He pauses, then adds more firmly, “Besides, I would need to add that rune to my collection at some point anyway. So, why not now?”

Why not when I’m not around to do it? Jace asks quietly.

Alec looks at him again, over his shoulder. “Will you help me? I trust you to do it right and quickly.”

Jace is staring at his friend - yes, his friend, his father’s teachings be damned! - and Alec’s hazel eyes are so warm and honest and full of trust that Jace feels a pang of something in his chest. Alec needs him. Alec trusts him. 

“Alright,” Jace mumbles, and though Alec beams at him gratefully, Jace’s hands shake a little when he takes his stele out of his pocket. 

And though he’s quick about it - as quick as he dares without risking a fumble - Alec’s every twitch, his every hiss of pain makes Jace’s throat tighten a little more. And the smell of burned flesh, the sight of layers of skin parting and curling… it makes him sick to his stomach. 

When it’s all done, and Alec smiles at him in gratitude, grimacing a little at the pull of damaged skin, Jace just nods - and flees. He barely makes it to the bathroom before he throws up. 

By the Angel, he knows that this is an everyday part of every Shadowhunter’s life, and he doesn’t mind doing it to himself, nobody has ever had more runes covering their body at his age than him, but… to hurt others? Especially people like Alec

Jace remembers a falcon with a broken neck - and throws up again.

And even years later, when burning runes into other Shadowhunters’ bodies becomes a routine for Jace - in no small part thanks to Alec who must have sensed Jace’s unease, because from that moment on, he made Jace draw all his runes, made him get used to the process with someone who Jace could trust explicitly - his heart still clenches a little whenever his stele lights up over someone’s unblemished skin. 

Because Jace might be used to pain, but he hates hurting others.

Chapter Text

The battle lasted for hours, laying waste to a good half of the Institute. Doors were blown, windows shattered, walls torn down… and no side won, all they managed to do was force Valentine and his hordes to retreat. 

And now it’s over, Shadowhunters and their allies finally able to rest, slumped and sleeping where ever there’s still clean space, some not even caring about that. Clean-up can wait, food can wait. Rest is essential.

They find them fast asleep, Jace and Alec, curled up together in a narrow bed in one of the rooms still left standing untouched. Magnus and Clary stop in the doorway and actually laugh quietly, for the first time in what feels like eternity, amused by the tableau in front of them.

Jace and Alec must’ve sat down to rest for a little while and fallen asleep, still in their gear and with boots on, sharp weapons at hand, slowly sliding down the wall until they just curled up into each other, Alec with his back against the wall, Jace playing the little spoon, yet between his parabatai and any danger that could come in through the door, both protecting and protected at once.

And Magnus and Clary lean against the door frame, one left, the other right, arms crossed over their chests, and just watch their exhausted boyfriends sleep with tired smiles on their faces and no jealousy in their hearts.

They’re alive, they survived another day, another battle. But the war rages on.

Chapter Text

When Magnus opens his mail box and finds the post of Alexander Gideon Lightwood inside, again - this time a simple white envelope from Fairchild & Wayland, whoever that might me, though the second name tickles Magnus’ memory - he bangs his head against the wall. 

Not again! First his cat, now the postman! Alec will think Magnus is stalking him, because how could anyone mistake the name Bane for Lightwood, is beyond any comprehension. Even their mail boxes are completely different: Alec’s is simply black, very butch, whereas Magnus’ is covered with glitter, because why not?

With a deep sigh, Magnus slams his mail box shut and starts dragging himself up the stairs, already dreading the stop he will have to make. And then he reaches the top floor - and groans, slapping a hand to his face.

There’s a cat carrier parked in front of his door with a giant cardboard sign propped up on top of it, reading one very distinctly annoyed word: SERIOUSLY? Not this again…

With another deep sigh, Magnus almost crawls towards his loft, then drops to his haunches in front of the box to peek inside. Yes, it’s Chairman Meow, alright, snoring away, contently curled up in one of Alec’s very soft looking shirts. If Magnus were a cat, he would also curl up and go to sleep on Alec’s shirt, so, there’s that. 

And so Magnus gets up, unlocks his door and pushes it open, then he leans down, grips the handle of the carrier - and almost face-plants it into his loft, Alec’s letter flying out of his hand. Because the box is stuck! As in, stuck to the floor! The Chairman wakes up with an annoyed yowl.

“What the…?” Magnus mutters and bends down to take a look. Was Alec afraid that the kitten would escape with the carrier in tow so he glued it to the floor, or what? 

He pulls. And pushes. He even tries shaking the thing, much to the Chairman’s irritation. In the end, Magnus lets the kitten out and when the box still refuses to move, his temper gets the better of him and he kicks the god-awful hellish terrible thing! And gets it unstuck. Finally.

Still huffing with annoyance, Magnus picks up the carrier and turns it upside down. Huh. Paint? Alec must’ve put it down in a puddle of spilled paint, cobalt blue. Magnus frowns, but yeah, he remembers seeing Alec with a bucket of paint and a brush shortly after Alec moved in. Is he still not finished decorating? 

Shaking his head, Magnus takes the carrier in, sits it down behind the door to return it to Alec together with his post - and he’ll have to ask Alec if he got the box just for the Chairman, because if so, Magnus will pay him back! - but first, he needs a drink or two to calm down.

He shuts the door and goes to collect the spilled post - only to realize that the Chairman planted his butt on Alec’s letter. “Chairman!” Magnus moans in exasperation. 

And then he freezes. And stares. Because the way the kitten is sitting… 

Thanks to the Chairman’s paw and tail, curled up neatly, the name on the envelope now reads: ……… Gideon …..wood. Alexander Gideon Lightwood. Alexander Gideon Lightwood. Gideon Wood.

Gideon Wood!

No. Way. 

Magnus shoots up, straightening so fast he feels almost lightheaded, and the kitten rabbits it with a frightened yowl. Revealing the sender on the envelope.Fairchild & Wayland. As in… Jace Wayland, the agent whose name Magnus couldn’t remember if his life depended on it?

Slowly, Magnus turns towards the painting, hanging on the opposite wall, right between the two large windows in his living room. And compares the background in the painting to what he can see outside. And he shuffles slightly to the left. A little bit more to the left. A step or two more, and he would be in Alec’s apartment - and the view would fit perfectly!

No. No. Way. Magnus is not that stupid. Or blind. Or slow.

“Kitten, dear,” he tells his cat that’s hiding behind the couch and watching his weird behavior suspiciously, “either I’m going to crack this mystery or make a complete fool of myself.”

And with that, he grabs the painting off the wall, and with the Chairman in tow, he marches over to Alec’s apartment. And starts knocking. Loudly. Rapidly.Incessantly.

“What?!” Alec barks, throwing open the door. And stops, face to face with the painting. 

Magnus drops the thing onto his right foot - wouldn’t do to damage such a masterpiece! - and stares at Alec. Who stares back, hair tousled, cheeks unshaven, eyes that were full of sleep a moment ago now wide with shock.

Magnus decides that his best option is to be frank, straightforward. “Did you paint this, Alexander?” he asks.

Blinking rapidly, Alec opens his mouth and then closes it again, repeatedly. In the end he settles on an uncertain, “Yes?”

Magnus frowns. “Is that a question? Are you not sure? What?” 

Alec glares. “Yes. Yes, I painted the damn thing. Satisfied?” he snaps.

Exasperated, Magnus asks, “Why didn’t you say anything? That you were a painter? That you liked me?”

Throwing his arms up, Alec huffs. “I did. When we first met, I told you I was a painter!”

“You had a bucket full of paint in your hand!” Magnus yells. “Your family owns a construction company. Excuse me for thinking you painted rooms for a living!”

“I do! I usually paint murals! I was working on the one in my bedroom when you came knocking that first time!” Alec responds, irritated. “It was Jace who convinced me to try my hand at actual paintings!”

Magnus still hasn’t stopped frowning yet, his frown might be now permanently stuck on his face. “Jace Wayland?” he guesses.

“My adopted brother. He and his fiancée, Clary Fairchild, own a gallery downtown,” Alec explains patiently. “Usually, I paint murals in the houses my family builds, each an original, anything the client wants. But it’s my sister, Izzy, who’s being groomed to take over the company. I am just the painter.”

Huffing, Magnus can’t help but glare at Alec. This whole mix-up is so not his fault, so it must be Alec’s. Somehow. Magnus is not taking any responsibility. “And you like me?” he asks, his tone a bit too aggressive for the question.

Alec blushes a little and rubs the back of his neck. He opens his mouth, but before he can respond, Magnus snaps, “And if you answer that with a question again, I swear I will sick my cat on you!”

They both look down at the kitten that’s sitting at Alec’s feet, gazing up at him adoringly. 

Alec smiles and responds softly, “Yeah. Yeah, I do like you. A lot.”

“But-but-but…” Magnus sputters. “But I’ve been flirting with you the whole time and you… you… Nothing! No reaction!”

Blinking in surprise, Alec says uncertainly, “You have? Been flirting? Really? I thought you were being just, uhm, you know, cryptic.”

Magnus groans and drops his head, forehead slamming against the frame of the painting. “I was trying to be coy!” he mumbles. 

Then he peers up at Alec, one eye hidden behind his bangs. Alec’s standing there, smiling uncertainly, looking adorably confused. Magnus is smitten anew.

“Alright,” Magnus says briskly and straightens up. “Just to avoid any confusion: You’re a painter. You painted this thing. And you like me. A lot.”

Shuffling his feet, Alec blushes again. “Yeah, I do.”

Magnus beams at him. “Great! Since we already seem to share a custody of my cat, I think a date is the next logical step. Wouldn’t you think?”

Alec smiles back. “Yeah. Yeah, that would be great, a date,” he agrees warmly.

“And maybe you could show me the mural in your bedroom afterwards?” Magnus asks, his tone suggestive and eyes sparkling in mischief.

Alec laughs. “Only if that cat of yours stays out of my apartment - I’m not waking up with a face full of fur again!”

Chapter Text

Alec’s blindness, that’s the reason why Jace decides to spend time with him at first. No, he’s not a good Samaritan, he’s not doing it out of the goodness of his heart. Jace chooses Alec for his companion because he feels safe with him - Jace’s sight gives him power over Alec, he can strike him down easily or run away, if need be, and Alec won’t be able to catch him. Jace is safe. Safe with Alec and safe from Alec. Just… safe. Finally.

But out of these selfish reasons, out of Jace’s fear, springs something else, and soon, he can’t help but think of Alec as his… friend, the first real friend he has ever had. Jace’s father would be disgusted to see that all his lessons have gone to waste in such a spectacular way. It’s been only a few months since Michael Wayland’s death, and his son has already broken every rule he hammered into him.

For once, though, Jace doesn’t care. He’s safe, safe at the Institute, with the Lightwoods, with Alec, but… there’s more. Alec’s mere presence chases Jace’s nightmares away. Jace doesn’t go to bed with dread in his heart anymore, but with a tiny ball of warmth and… happiness glowing in his chest. And when he does wake up with all his insides clenched in fear and tears in his eyes, all he has to do is listen to the other boy’s deep, slow breaths in the bed next to his, and it all goes away.

Alec’s good to him - and for him. Being blind, Alec doesn’t like loud noises and shouting makes him jump or flinch, which helps Jace keep his own explosive temper down, because he doesn’t want to be like his father, never, ever, ever. He loved his father, he really did, but not this, not this cruel side of his, and he doesn’t want Alec to ever have to learn to walk on tiptoes around Jace in fear of what Jace might do. Never. He would rather die.

Alec makes Jace simply better, makes him want to be better. And not just as a person, but as a fighter, as a Shadowhunter, too. Until he met Alec and watched him train with Hodge, Jace has never realized just how much he relied on sight in his own fighting style. But seeing Alec twirl his staff around, the long stick he uses as a cane, with so much dexterity, seeing him do what he does despite being blind… it makes Jace want to learn.

And Jace is soaking it all up like a sponge, his friend’s attention and affection and kindness, and yet his firm refusal to put up with Jace’s bad temper. It’s so different from what he experienced with his father, because, yes, there might be rules in their relationship, his and Alec’s, but they don’t need to be enforced, Jace wants to adhere to them because he doesn’t want to hurt Alec, because he likes to see Alec happy. It’s the strangest thing. 

And that’s why he does it, why he asks Alec to be his parabatai. Because he can’t imagine giving anyone else so much power over him, and yet it feels right, like the next logical step for them, a connection deeper than the bond between brothers. 

That’s why he does it, and his throat’s tight and his heart’s beating so hard, because… what if Alec turns Jace down? What if he will not want someone like Jace for his parabatai? Jace’s broken after all, all crooked on the inside, and Alec is… amazing, simply… amazing. So, what if Alec says no? 

Please, Raziel, don’t let him say no. Please. 

Chapter Text

“Oh, this looks serious,” Magnus comments as he steps into Alec’s room. “Isabelle was right, you are brooding. It will give you wrinkles!”

Alec, who’s sitting in the window seat, lifts his head from his crossed arms, propped up his bent knees. “Magnus?” he asks, startled.

Magnus smiles and closes the door, cutting them off from the rest of the Institute. “Yes, Alexander,” he responds, then he saunters over and sits down in the other corner of the window seat, opposite Alec. “I thought that after everything we’ve been through, you would visit me, or at least call.”

Alec pushes the heels of his palms into his eyes. “I’m really sorry, Magnus,” he sighs, “but I promise you, it has nothing to do with us.”

Raising his eyebrows, Magnus asks, “So, there’s still an ‘us’?”

Freezing, Alec lets his hands drop and stares at him. He looks awfully tired, Magnus can’t help but noticing. “Yes, yes, of course. That is, if you still want there to be…” He lets his words hang in the air.

Magnus gives him a warm smile. “Yes, I would like that very much.”

Alec’s shoulders round a little in relief. “I just thought…” Another sigh. “I thought that, until I sort it all out up here,” he taps his right temple, “it wouldn’t be fair to drag you into the mess that my life has become.”

Crossing his legs, Magnus clasps his hands on his knee and settles down. “Alright, Alexander, tell me what the problem is. Obviously, you need to talk to someone and since I’m already here…”

Alec sighs again. He crosses his arms on his knees and props his chin on them. For a long moment he just stares at Magnus, for so long actually, that Magnus thinks that he might not respond at all. But then…

“I’ve always tried to do good,” Alec starts reluctantly, softly. “Help people, be they mundanes or Downworlders. I thought that that was our mission as Shadowhunters, not just to kill demons but to protect those who needed protecting. And I thought that the Clave were the good guys, that the rules and the Law were worth following…” 

“And what changed?” Magnus asks seriously.

Alec snorts and looks out of the stained glass window. “Everything. Everything changed, that’s the problem. It turned out that my parents, the people I trusted implicitly, who taught me everything I know, were in the Circle. We were given orders to send a suspect to be tortured, maybe even killed. The Inquisitor who should’ve been above any reproach, was more interested in the damn Cup than in seeking justice. And Hodge…” His voice breaks.

Magnus reaches out and squeezes Alec’s ankle. The other man is just in his socks, toes curled slightly. It makes him look strangely vulnerable in Magnus’ eyes. 

Looking back at Magnus, Alec shakes his head. “Everything I’ve built my life on, is falling apart, Magnus. If I can’t trust my parents, if I can’t trust the Clave, how can I trust their teachings? And if I can’t trust their teachings, how can I trust my own decisions? I’m making them based on what I’ve been taught my whole life long. And if I’ve been taught the wrong things, how can I make the right decisions?” 

Alec’s voice is so bleak that Magnus’ heart breaks. He’s starting to understand that this isn’t an issue easily hand-waved. Alec’s obviously having something of ‘a crisis of faith,’ he’s doubting his whole existence. And suddenly, Magnus is a little afraid that he will say the wrong thing and break Alec, it feels like he’s been handed a precious thing made of spun glass: one wrong move and it will shatter.

“Alexander,” Magnus says tenderly. “All you need to make the right decision, is listen to your heart. Because you’re a good person, that I know.”

Alec stares at him for a while. “Are you sure about that? Because I stood by when they arrested Meliorn. I almost handed him over to the Silent Brother to torture. Would a good person do that?”

Magnus winces inwardly. “Everyone makes mistakes, out of grief, out of anger, out of ignorance… What’s important is that we learn from them and don’t repeat them. Would you do it again today? Arrest Meliorn and hand him over?”

Alec lets out a long breath. “I don’t know,” Alec responds honestly, and Magnus must admit that he’s a little surprised. “Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never agreed with the Clave’s method, how we went about it. And the threat of torture was completely out of line, but… Do I think that Meliorn was actually innocent? I don’t know.”

Magnus blinks at him. “You think that a Seelie would side with Valentine who swore to wipe out all Downworlders? Wouldn’t that be completely illogical?”

Alec uncrosses his arms and runs his hands roughly through his hair. “And this is what I’m talking about, Magnus,” he says dismally. “One part of me is telling me that it’s nonsense, that he’s innocent. The other part of me, the one that’s been taught that you can never trust Seelies because they always pick the winning side, even if they have to betray their current allies, is telling me that he’s guilty. And I’m trying to reconcile these two parts, somehow.” 

Magnus frowns, trying to find a way out for Alec, out of this dilemma of his. Unconsciously, he’s still gripping Alec’s ankle, running his thumb over the naked skin above his sock. 

“When your gut is at war with your head,” Magnus says eventually, “then just look at what hard evidence is telling you.”

“Hard evidence is telling me that Valentine used Seelie blood,” Alec replies. “But he could’ve gotten it from the scouts he killed, so that’s not telling me anything. But Meliorn knew that Clary had the Cup. Only us and Luke knew that.” He pauses and looks at Magnus. “And Valentine and the demons, nobody else. And if none of us told…”

Oh, Magnus catches on. 

Alec nods. “And can I as a Shadowhunter afford to dismiss this? What if I trust him and it turns out that he’s been working for the enemy all along? What if I show mercy and innocent people die because of it?” He pauses again. “But what if this is just my prejudices talking and he’s not guilty of anything? What if it’s just the Clave’s and my parents’ teachings talking here?”

Magnus doesn’t know what to say. He has never been in Alec’s position, his own loyalties have been - mostly - straightforward. His own knee-jerk reaction is to say that Meliorn is innocent - just like the Clave’s automatic reaction was to say Meliorn was guilty. 

Alec shakes his head. “I’ve been taught that us, Shadowhunters, stand above everybody else,” he continues softly. “We protect mundanes, because they’re weak, not because they’re worthy of our protection. And we police Downworlders because they’re dangerous, ‘slaves to their urges.’” His lips twist. “That’s what I kept hearing for years, from my parents, from my teachers… Over and over and over again. As a warning to stay away from them - from you.”

Now it’s Magnus’ turn to sigh. “Alexander, we Downworlders aren’t any different from you Shadowhunters or mundanes. There will always be bad people in every group of people, regardless of their race, that doesn’t mean that the whole group is bad.”

“I get that,” Alec agrees. “But what if all you encounter are bad people? Isn’t it normal then that you start thinking that they must be all bad?”

“That stems from the nature of your job, love, you see only the worst because you look for the worst, not because there are that many bad people out there,” Magnus objects gently. “Many you encounter do not deserve to be treated like lesser beings because they didn’t do anything wrong. You can’t generalize like that. That’s one step closer to blind bigotry.” 

Alec nods again slowly. “But what about you?”

Magnus frowns. “Me?”

“No, I mean Downworlders. Don’t Downworlders see us as their oppressors? Not all of us are like Valentine. Most of us are simply doing their jobs, dealing with demons or trying to stop monsters like Camille from murdering innocents.”

Magnus winces a little at the reminder of Camille, but he explains kindly, “It’s not the same. Because we are not equal. You said it yourself, you’re taught that you’re better than us. And even the Accords, even your Law, they side with you, give you power over us. Until there’s equality, and not just in the eyes of the Law, but in yours too, until you don’t see yourself as better than us, until you assign a Downworlder’s life the same worth as that of a Shadowhunter, we won’t be able to help but see you that way. Because if you’re not our friends…”

“We are the enemy,” Alec finishes for him, looking sad. “Do we even stand a chance, then? The two of us?” he asks softly. 

Magnus turns to him fully and tugs at Alec’s arms until he uncrosses them. Magnus then takes Alec’s hands in his and looks him earnestly, urgently in the eyes. “Of course we do, Alexander.”

Alec grips his hands, eyes disconsolate. “How can you say that? Since we’ve met, I’ve done and said so many wrong things. I try not, I really do, but I don’t know anything else. This is what I’ve been taught since I was a child. Why do you even want to be with someone who can be casually hurtful without even realizing it?”

“Why? Because you ask this very question,” Magnus answers with a warm smile. “Because it occurred to you to ask it. Because you think about these things and you’re willing to learn. Because despite your ingrained lessons, you lent a warlock your strength to heal a werewolf. Because you stood up for yourself and for me in front of your family and the Clave. Because no matter what you think of yourself, you are a good person, you’re simply still trying to find the right path to follow.”

Alec blinks hard, his eyes suspiciously shiny. “I’ll need a guide on my quest,” he whispers, “someone who will not judge me for my mistakes but who’ll help me not to repeat them.” He looks at Magnus hopefully. “Will you be him? Will you help me?”

Magnus’ smile broadens and he squeezes Alec’s hands, running his thumbs over his knuckles. “Of course, Alexander. For you anything.”

Chapter Text

Even though Valentine’s knocking on the gates of Alicante and they have no better plan to fight him - well, actually, they have no other plan at all - the Clave balks at the idea of using the rune Clary created, the Alliance Rune. To bind a Shadowhunter to a Downworlder, to share powers with lesser beings, however temporarily? Sacrilege! 

Magnus stares at Clary with pity in his eyes. Oh, biscuit, he thinks sadly as she steps off the podium, I could’ve told you that the Clave would react this way. He watches Clary walk up the aisle between the rows of seated Shadowhunters, her face as red as her hair, eyes blazing with frustration, anger and dismay at the Clave’s bigotry; they would rather all die than lower themselves to the Downworlders’ level.

When Clary joins their small group and Jace hugs her around the shoulders and kisses the top of her head comfortingly, Magnus catches Alec’s eye. His lover is looking at him, his eyes speaking volumes - but for once, Magnus does not understand. 

“What?” he mouths.

Alec leans closer. “I’m willing to give it a try, to Clary’s idea, if you are,” he whispers.

Magnus’ eyes widen. “The Alliance Rune?” he responds in surprise. “But the Clave just dismissed her plan.”

Alec shrugs. “Maybe they just need to see that it actually works. As we know by now, the Clave won’t accept change unless we force it upon them.” He smirks. 

Magnus stares at him for a second with his eyebrows raised, then he grins slowly. Alexander is turning the ruffling of the Clave’s feathers into his favorite pastime, it seems. Magnus is so in. 

“Consul Penhallow, Inquisitor Herondale!” Alec’s voice rings through the hall and cuts the Inquisitor off in the middle of a word. Every head in the hall turns in Alec’s direction. Even his parents’. 

“Alec, what are you doing?” Maryse hisses, her voice loud in the sudden silence. 

But Alec ignores her. He steps forward, away from the wall so that everybody can see him. He looks around the seated Shadowhunters, then directly at the two women on the podium. “You dismissed Clary Fairchild’s plan without any consideration at all. Without even seeing if her idea worked.”

The Inquisitor draws herself up. “I don’t need to see if the rune works. To establish a bond between a Shadowhunter and a Downworlder? Abomination!” she snaps. “We will defeat Valentine Morgenstern some other way.”

Alec narrows his eyes at her. “Please, do tell. What other genius plan did the Clave came up with and failed to inform us of it?” 

Alec’s voice is dripping with sarcasm and Magnus can’t keep the smile off his face. His Alexander has come a long way in the past months, gone is the boy who bowed his head in front of people who thought themselves his betters. Magnus is falling in love more and more every day.

Hushed silence settles over the hall because they all know that there’s no other plan, that all that awaits them is a glorious death, nothing more.

Alec and the Inquisitor stare at each other across the room, neither budging an inch. Then Alec turns towards Consul Penhallow whom he apparently considers the more reasonable of the two. “I suggest a demonstration, Consul,” he tells Jia Penhallow. 

The Consul steps forward, shutting Imogen Herondale up with a wave of her hand. “What demonstration?” she asks.

Alec turns towards Magnus and extends his hand that Magnus accepts and joins him. “I and Magnus Bane, the High Warlock of Brooklyn, will give a try to Clary’s idea, the Alliance Rune. It seems to me that the Clave members need to witness the benefits of such a union with their own eyes.”

The Consul ponders his suggestion, watching Alec and Magnus thoughtfully, and once again waves the Inquisitor silent. “Alright, Alec. You can have your demonstration,” she agrees in the end. A buzz runs through the hall. 

Magnus feels Alec’s grip tighten for a second, the only hint of how nervous Alec actually is. Then his lover turns to Clary and Jace. Jace nods at him encouragingly while Clary smiles gratefully and hands him a piece of paper. The rune. 

With his expression as confident as ever, a front, as Magnus understands, Alec mumbles under his breath, “I hope you know what you’re doing, Clary.”

When she nods decisively, he takes the paper, and with one last look at Jace, he starts leading Magnus down to the podium. 

When they arrive there and the two female Shadowhunter leaders step down to make room for them, Magnus actually starts feeling a little bit nervous. He’s used to attention, but to have scores of Shadowhunters staring at him intently? Not exactly a pleasant feeling. 

Alec pulls out his stele and asks Magnus quietly, “Pull up your sleeve, please.” 

Magnus blinks in surprise but complies. His wrist? The hush in the hall tells him he isn’t the only one who caught the significance. ‘A rune on the wrist…’ That’s where the wedded union rune is placed on men. Alec could’ve chosen any place he wanted and he chose the wrist? Magnus grins again. Oh yes, Alec does love to pull the tiger by the tail.

Alec hands Magnus the paper so that he can follow it while copying his half of the rune, then he takes Magnus’ hand gently in his. “Ready?” he asks, looking Magnus in the eyes.

When Magnus nods firmly, Alec activates his stele and starts drawing. 

And it hurts! Magnus knew before, objectively speaking, that it hurt to draw a rune, but he didn’t know how much. Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow… he complains in the privacy of his mind, while outwardly he keeps an impassive face. He’s gaining a new appreciation for his lover’s pain levels. Ow!

Alec’s fast and when’s done, the last line drawn, Magnus feels his heart stutter and skip a beat. His wrists is raw and hurting badly but the first part of the link is established. Now it’s his turn. 

They exchange the paper for the stele, Magnus takes Alec’s hand in his, the vulnerable underside of the wrist up. When he looks up nervously, Alec gives him an encouraging smile. “I trust you,” Alec whispers and Magnus swallows.

He isn’t as fast as Alec, having no real experience in rune drawing as such, and his squiggle also isn’t as precise as Alec’s - he’s burning his lover’s skin, for cryin’ out loud, he’s allowed to be nervous - but Alec doesn’t flinch, he doesn’t move at all.

And then the last line is done and Alec draws a sharp breath. There’s a silent whomp! between them and then the connection is established, the bond blazing so bright it almost hurts.

Magnus is so surprised that the stele tumbles out of his hand - but before it can fall to the ground, Magnus moves, his reaction a blur, and catches it firmly in his hand. He blinks and the gathering murmurs in shock. 

“Whoa,” Magnus breathes out, then he looks up at Alec who’s grinning at him - and he runs around Alec twice so fast he almost gets a headrush. He laughs out loud, claps his hands in delight and bounces on his toes. “Now you! Try to do some magic!”

Alec’s brows furrow and he raises his hand. For a moment, nothing happens, then a shower of blue sparks bursts out of his palm, shooting up towards the ceiling and singing it a little. Alec laughs. 

And Magnus falls even harder when he sees the expression of absolute wonder on Alec’s face. Alexander is doing magic, using his magic, and he’s delighted by it, laughing and showering them both and everything in their vicinity with blue sparks. 

Clenching his hand into a fist, Alec cuts off the geyser of magic and looks at Magnus with such adoration in his eyes that everybody in the hall must see it. Magnus’ heart stutters. 

The Consul clears her throat as she walks back up the steps onto the podium again. “I see that Clary Fairchild’s rune does work,” she comments dryly, but she can’t hide her own wonder at the display of magic.

Alec becomes serious once more and turns towards her and the rest of the Clave. He looks up at Clary, who’s still standing by the wall with Jace, hands clasped to her mouth, eyes bright, and nods at her. “Yes, the Alliance Rune works, Consul.” His eyes row over the gathering. “And you can either insists on your small-minded bigotry, die a noble death and lose, or you can swallow your pride, accept the Downworlders’ help and destroy Valentine - as is your duty!”

And with that, with Magnus in tow and with his head held high, Alec leaves the podium, barely giving the seething Inquisitor a look. They head back up the aisle towards their family and friends - and Magnus couldn’t be prouder if he tried. 

This is his boyfriend, Alexander Gideon Lightwood, and he’s standing up for what’s right!

Chapter Text

He really does look lonely, Lydia observes as she stops several feet away from their interdimensional traveler, Jace Wayland. The blond man is sitting on the steps leading up from the Ops Center, brooding. 

“You okay?” Lydia asks reluctantly. 

Jace looks up from his stele that he keeps playing with, a nervous tick she guesses. “Nope,” he answers honestly. “Just found out that my girlfriend isn’t alive in this dimension either.” He laughs bitterly. “Who would’ve thought that I would be actually glad that Valentine Morgenstern lived long enough to reach adulthood in my world, huh?”

Lydia raises her eyebrows. “Who?”

He waves a hand. “A bad guy. A really, really bad guy. But thanks to him, both Clary and I were actually born, so there’s that.” He looks down again, twirling his stele between his fingers.

“I see.” She doesn’t. 

Jace smirks. “It’s just one of those things, take one piece of the puzzle out and the whole picture suddenly looks different. One little change and it snowballs.” 

Lydia nods, and after a moment of hesitation, she sits down next to him. She straightens her legs, the heels of her boots apart, the toes tap-tapping together. He smiles seeing it. 

“What?” Lydia asks. 

Jace looks at her and there’s melancholy in his smile. “You’re so different from her, from the Lydia in my world.”

She raises her eyebrows. “I am?”

He looks her up and down slowly, his gaze lingering on her two thick braids, thrown over her shoulders, on her flowery blouse and pale blue jeans. “Yes, you are. My Lydia is… harsher, sadder, more… severe, I guess.”

Lydia can’t imagine herself being ‘severe’. “Why is it so?” she asks curiously. 

Jace stares her in the eyes for a moment. “Do you really want to know?”

She thinks it over, then nods. “From what Magnus said, he has to wait till the next full moon to send you back. That’s 14 days away. We can hardly just keep staring at each other mutely.” 

He laughs softly. “True.” 

“So?” she prods.

“In my world, your husband is dead,” he admits softly, not looking at her.

Breath catches in Lydia’s throat. John dead? John gone? Impossible! “How?” she asks, her voice a little raspy. 

Now Jace looks at her. “He was killed by demons, down in Rio.” 

She swallows. “We decided not to go to Rio,” she whispers. “Alec couldn’t leave because of Magnus. And I didn’t want to leave my parabatai. So we didn’t go…” 

He winces at the mention of Alec and looks away. Lydia’s mind is still in turmoil over this news - John might have died if they had gone! - but she can’t help but notice Jace’s reaction to her mentioning Alec. She remembers Alec telling her that Jace was avoiding him. 

“Why do you react so?” she asks. If anyone has a problem with her parabatai, she will deal with them accordingly!

Jace frowns at her. “React how?”

Lydia frowns back. “To any mention of Alec.” And he flinches again. “There.” She points at him. “Why? Did something happen between the two of you in your world?”

Jace lets out a long breath, looking down at his stele, thinking over how to respond. In the end he opts for honesty. “In my world, Alec is my parabatai.”

That shocks Lydia just as much as the news of her husband’s death in that other dimension. “What?” she breathes out. 

Jace looks at her. “I was sent to live with the Lightwoods when I was ten years old. Alec and I, we became parabatai soon after. You and Alec haven’t met till last year in my dimension. You actually almost married him,” he admits with a small smirk. 

She gapes at him. She and… Alec and she, they… “Why? He’s gay!”

The smirk is gone from Jace’s face. “It was a bad time for our family. Our parents, Maryse and Robert, they… did  some bad things in the past and because of that, the whole family was under strict surveillance. Alec hoped that if he married you, a Branwell, it would help us all keep the Institute, keep our good name.” He looks at her again. “He did it to protect us. Even though Izzy and I didn’t see it that way at the time.” 

Lydia’s staring at him with her mouth open, still unable to comprehend it. “Didn’t I know that he’s gay?” 

Jace sighs. “He wasn’t out back then, he was still keeping it a secret, but we, the people closest to him, knew.” He points with his stele at her. “You knew.”

Alec used to hide his orientation in Jace’s world? Lydia doesn’t understand why he would do something like that, in their world, it has never been an issue, after all, but what’s more pressing is another thing. “If I knew, then why–”

“Why did you decide to marry him?” Jace finishes for her, then smiles a little. “Because you liked him. You became very good friends. You wanted to help him and he wanted you to have a chance at heading an Institute. It was a strictly pragmatic decision on both of your parts.”

“So, what happened?” She’s almost afraid to ask, but Jace laughs. 

“The wedding of the century! You were already at the altar when Magnus Bane waltzed in - and Alec couldn’t go through with the wedding. Smooched the guy right there, in the church, in front of a whole bunch of Clave representatives!” Jace leans in and he’s grinning. “It was all very scandalous!” But then his smile softens. “But you were amazing. You told him he deserved to be happy and you let him go.” 

That makes her smile, too, though she feels her heart aching for the Lydia in Jace’s world. “I bet you were his suggenes, huh?” she asks. 

“Yeah,” he responds quietly. “But I almost wasn’t. We two were going through a rough patch, too.” His smile is completely gone now. “But we made up, and since we’ve kicked Valentine’s ass, we’ve been inseparable, as parabatai should be. Our bond has never been stronger than it is now. That’s why…” He sighs deeply. “That’s why it’s so hard for me to be around your Alec. I don’t exist here, I’m nothing to him.” He presses his hand to his chest as if his heart ached. “It feels like a part of me is missing - the best part,” he adds so quietly she almost doesn’t hear him. 

“He noticed that you’ve been avoiding him,” Lydia admits. “He’s afraid that he did something wrong, that hurt you, either here or his other self in your world.”

Jace looks at her with his eyebrows raised. “No, nothing like that, I swear. It’s just… disconcerting to be around him and not feel our bond. My brain’s telling me that he’s not my Alec, but my heart’s insisting on something else.” 

“Maybe you could tell him that?” Lydia suggests. “It’ll be hard to avoid him for the next 14 days. But if you explained to him why, I’m sure he would agree to visit his sister in Los Angeles or stay at Magnus’ old place for the duration if it hurts you so much.” 

“I can’t chase him out of his own home!” Jace protests. 

Lydia shakes her head. “You wouldn’t. Alec… I’m sure he would do anything for his other self’s parabatai.”

Jace smiles. “Selfless to a fault even here, huh?”

Lydia grins. “I guess your Alec isn’t all that different from mine.” 

Jace’s smile becomes softer. “No, mine is just a little more… closed off, a little more reserved. Our world hasn’t been as happy as this one, I guess.”

Lydia snorts. “Believe me, we have had our share of problems.”

“A genocidal maniac hell-bent on destroying the world?” Jace asks dryly.

“Well, no, that one you can keep, thank you very much,” Lydia replies and they both grin. “Just talk to him, okay?” she asks. “I hate seeing him sad.” 

Jace smiles at her, and as one parabatai to another, he admits quietly, “Me too.” And they understand each other.

Chapter Text

He draws and lets fly, draws and lets fly, the arrows simply appearing in the bow, materializing from his life force, draining his strength, wearing him out, exhaustion settling deep into his bones, while the arrows keep hitting the bullseye of the target set on the other end of the shooting range with a dull thunk-thunk-thunk…

Alec knows he has never had a chance with Jace. He suspected it for a long time, knew it from the moment Jace told him with a bright, warm smile that he loved Alec like a brother, like a parabatai. But knowing something and actually seeing the door slam shut on any chance at all, these are two different things.

When Alec saw Jace kissing Clary, all his remaining hope for… something, something more than a brotherly bond between them, fled. Because this feels different, Jace’s relationship with Clary feels different from all of Jace’s previous dalliances. It feels like the end of all of Alec’s vain hopes. 

He draws and lets fly, draws and lets fly, trying to lose himself in the repetitive motion, trying to tire himself out, wear himself down so that he can actually sleep tonight. The muscles in his arms ache, his fingers hurt from pulling the bowstring and his shoulders burn but he can’t stop. If he stops, he’ll start thinking again. And he can’t think. 

“Alec, what the actual fuck!” 

Jace’s voice pulls Alec out of his zone with a suddenness that’s almost jarring. Jace is never vulgar, Alec has the time to think before his bow is torn out of his hands and flung aside. What…?

Jace grabs Alec’s hands and turns them palms up, eyes wide with dismay. Alec looks down uncomprehendingly. The fingers on his right hand are so raw they drip blood. His left forearm is bruised black, skin scraped.  

“Huh,” Alec mumbles in surprise.

Jace stares up at him angrily, eyes ablaze. “That’s all you have to say? I find you covered in blood, hurting yourself, and all you say is ‘huh’?” He’s furious.

“I…” Alec starts, but then decides that telling Jace that he didn’t even notice, that he doesn’t even feel the pain, wouldn’t be very wise. 

Jace glares at him for a moment longer, his grip surprisingly gentle considering his anger, then he lets go of Alec’s hands, pulls up Alec’s t-shirt and activates the iratze on Alec’s flank with his stele. The rune blazes up and Alec’s wounds start to heal. 

“Please, tell me this isn’t something you do often and I’ve just never noticed,” Jace whispers imploringly while he watches Alec’s injuries heal. “Please, tell me that I’m not so blind.”

Seeing Jace’s distress, Alec decides to be honest. Or at least as honest as he can be, considering. “I do go shooting to calm down, but I’ve never gone as far as to hurt myself before, I promise. I was just thinking of something else…”

“No,” Jace snaps. “You weren’t thinking at all!” He hides his stele and takes Alec’s hands in his again. The bleeding has stopped and the bruising is going down, too. He looks up again. “What made you do this? Go this far?” There’s pain in his voice.

Alec shakes his head. This is where his honesty ends. He can’t tell Jace the truth. If he hasn’t realized yet that Alec has had feelings for him, feelings that are more than brotherly, if he doesn’t know after so many years, Alec won’t tell him. Because it doesn’t matter. Jace is happy with Clary, and though Alec’s still wary of Valentine’s daughter, he doesn’t begrudge Jace his happiness, just the opposite. He wants Jace to be happy, Jace deserves to be happy - Alec’s feelings are his own damn problem.

Jace holds Alec’s hands in his, running his thumbs over Alec’s open palms. “What’s going on with you?” he pleads softly. “This isn’t like you, Alec.”

Alec chooses a partial truth because he can’t deny his parabatai anything. “It’s becoming too much,” he admits, watching Jace’s thumbs drawing circles on his palms. “Clary and the Cup and Valentine… and the Clave.” You. He shakes his head. “It feels like I’m juggling too many responsibilities, too many loyalties. And it feels like all I can do is watch it all fall apart.”

Jace shakes his head firmly. “We won’t let that happen, you and I. And Izzy and Clary.” He smiles up at his parabatai. “We have the Cup and we have powerful allies. We will win and get Clary’s mother back. You just need to have a little more faith in us! Just…” He draws Alec’s healed hands up and clasps them between his. “No more of this, alright?” he asks beseechingly. “I can’t stand to see you hurt.”

And Alec nods because there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for Jace. Alec trusts Jace implicitly. Maybe Jace can’t give Alec what he wants, but Alec knows that Jace would also never lie to him, never betray him. They’re parabatai, after all, and there’s no bond closer or more sacred between two Shadowhunters than that. 

Alec has been content with his lot for so long - nothing had to change.

Chapter Text

They’re all covered in scars, Jace, Isabelle and he, terrible burns all over their arms and legs and torsos, a painful, everyday reminder of the fire that cost their parents and their youngest brother, Max, their lives.

Alec’s sibling carry their marks as a statement - this is us, look at us, see us - they show them off and rub small-minded idiots’ wrinkled noses in them. They walk tall and proud with their heads held high, they always did. 

Alec… not so much. He’s the tallest, yet the least noticed of them, and though he does dress in dark colors, too - the looks their tight-knit group drew in high school while they stomped through the halls in combat boots and black leather, scars standing out vividly, challengingly even! - he tends to cover his skin, bow his head and round his strong shoulders, because he hates, hates, hates the way he looks, though he pretends otherwise. 

The one place where Alec feels free to be himself is at home, in the dojo of Hodge Starkweather, Alec’s godfather, the man who ran into the blazing fire and carried the three of them out, his own scars the mark of his bravery, and then fought to keep them, three burned and grieving kids between 8 and 10, determined not to just let them vanish into the system, because they were his now, his to love and his to take care of and his to protect. Just… his.

So, only there, at their place, does Alec feel truly comfortable - or at least comfortable enough to show more skin - while cooking dinner for his family or heading self-defense classes for women and children. There, he can cope, be himself. And his life is safe, quiet… unremarkable

That is, until a new owner takes over the place next door, the tiny, dusty hole in the wall that has stood empty ever since Alec can remember. A candy store it will be now, it seems. Magnus’ Magnificent Munchies, the huge blue sparkling sign hanging above the door declares, winking at passersby in the morning sunlight. 

Alec stares at the glittering sign blankly and then shakes his head and sighs. He hates change, he hates disruption and upheavals, always has, and the candy store already feels loud and too visible, but he guesses that it could have been worse. A new business venture in their street doesn’t mean any socialization on his part will be required. 

Alec and this… Magnus person never have to meet, after all.

Chapter Text

Everybody expects Alec’s wings to be dark like his parents’ or his siblings’, and Jace’s to be pale, maybe even white. But it’s the other way around, strangely. Alec’s wings are dove gray, snow white even at the tips, whereas Jace’s wings are raven black, so black actually that they shimmer blue. 

Alec’s wingspan is also abnormally big. He can’t spread his wings to their full length anywhere indoors, he has to go outside where he can stretch them and stretch and stretch… and it’s such a glorious feeling that he almost moans in pleasure every time he does it - which happens very, very rarely. Ever since someone made a dumb joke about how the size of the wings related to the size of… other parts of the male anatomy, Alec’s been embarrassed by his wings’ look, keeping them hidden or folded all the time, never letting anyone see them unless absolutely necessary. 

The only person who has ever seen his wings in all their glory, whom Alec allows to touch them, who knows every single one of his feathers, is Jace, his parabatai, who helps Alec groom them regularly, keep them clean and healthy. It has become a bonding experience between them, something they do alone, without Izzy. It allows them to keep their wings in a good shape - and their bond working. 

That is, until Clary Fairchild storms into their lives and turns everything upside down. And when Alec waits and waits for Jace to come to his room at the usual time and Jace doesn’t come, Alec goes to him, a little nervous, thinking that maybe something happened - only to find Clary in his bedroom. 

They’re both sitting on Jace’s bed and she’s running her hands through Jace’s raven black feathers and they’re laughing… And Alec’s heart sinks and he feels a little bit like dying on the inside, because Clarissa Fray or Fairchild or Morgenstern or whatever her surname is, she seems to be taking everything from Alec, even this. 

Alec doesn’t let them see him and he doesn’t groom his wings that night even though he knows he should. No, he goes outside and lets his wings out and stretches them as far as they go. Their pale color shimmers in the darkness like fairy dust. And he stands there, in the overgrown garden behind the ruin of the church that hides their Institute, and he stares up at the sky, at the moon and at the stars…

And then he takes off, his mighty wings beating the air, and he’s rising up and up and up in the air, his strong but hollow Shadowhunter bones singing with the exertion, with the exhilaration of freedom, because he has never allowed himself to do this, to just let go and try out what he can actually do, he has always taken into account the limitations of his siblings’ smaller wings… 

But now that he’s all by himself up here, for the first time ever, he gives it his all, rising higher and higher, twirling and diving, gliding and rising again. Up here where cold can’t touch him because his metabolism is working overtime, so high even his crazy siblings wouldn’t dare to try and reach this altitude, he doesn’t have to think, not about Jace and his own feelings for him, not about Clary or Valentine, not about the pressure the Clave’s been putting on him…

Alec just flies, alone among the clouds, and it’s glorious.

Chapter Text

The first time Magnus sees Alec’s wings is during a battle with Camille and her cohorts, when he’s thrown from the roof of Hotel Dumort - and Alec jumps right after him. 

Magnus has always known that Shadowhunters have wings, of course, wings and hollow yet incredibly strong bones that make them strangely light, despite their body mass, and add to their speed and agility. They’re the byproduct of Raziel’s blood coursing through their veins. Over the course of centuries, he has seen many of the Nephilim flying around but he has never actually related this knowledge to Alec, it has never truly sunk in that, since Shadowhunters have wings and Alec is a Shadowhunter, he must have wings, too

And then…

Magnus just turned one of Camille’s minions into a splatter on the wall, but the battle is still raging on, Shadowhunters and Raphael’s people against Camille’s murderous posse, when one of the bloodsuckers jumps him and simply throws him from the roof. Magnus doesn’t even have the time to scream, and he’s sure, absolutely positive that this is it, that he’s dead.

But before he can drop more than ten or fifteen feet, Alec’s there, much to Magnus’ shock, and he grabs Magnus’ hand and looks into Magnus’ wide eyes and with a confident smile - the idiot, they’re falling! - tells him, “Hold on tight!”

And then he unfurls his wings and it’s a sight that takes Magnus’ breath away - if he had any breath left to be taken away, that is, they’re falling! - and he juststares. Alec’s wings shoot out of his back and stretch out to the sides, far and far, dove gray and snow white and large and magnificent. Simply magnificent, there’s no better word to describe them.

They jerk and almost stop in mid-air, Magnus and Alec, and then they start gliding instead of simply falling, though the speed with which they move is still too much for Magnus to take and he wants to close his eyes but can’t, because Alexander is simply stunning! Magnus has never seen anyone more beautiful, and he can’t tear his eyes away from Alec’s face and from his wings because Magnus’ lover seems to be… glowing with angelic power. 

And then Alec turns sideways, the tip of his right wing almost grazing the asphalt as he maneuvers through the trees and the rush hour traffic in the street below, and Magnus hangs on even tighter, hugging Alec and fisting his hands into the back of his leather jacket. And Alec’s holding him just as tightly, one hand on Magnus’ back, the other pressing Magnus’ head to his shoulder protectively. 

And then - then Alec flaps his wings, once, twice, three times and they shoot back up, straight up and up and up, above the traffic and the trees and the roofs of the surrounding buildings, and Alec sweeps back in, back towards Hotel Dumort, and he spreads his wings to their full length and curls them forward slightly to slow down, and gently, oh so gently, he drops Magnus down onto the gravel covered roof.

Magnus lets go reluctantly, landing on his feet, and he turns around quickly to watch Alec fly past. He stares as Alec folds his wings and tucks them back in, as he drops to the roof and rolls over his shoulder, and when Alec jumps to his feet again, his Seraph Blade is already in his hand, all ablaze. And back in he goes, slashing at the screeching vamps as if nothing happened. 

But all Magnus can do is stand there with his mouth hanging open and his heart beating wild, feeling a little dizzy, because in all his centuries, he has never met anyone like Alexander. Because Alexander is just… Alexander is… fabulous, incredible, amazing… 

And Magnus is in love!

Chapter Text

The moment Magnus opens the main entrance door of his apartment building, he knows that something’s wrong. There’s a smell of blood hanging in the air, and loud growling noises and the sounds of furniture being smashed to pieces are echoing down the stairwell. 

Alexander!

Magnus almost flies up the stairs, but when he arrives on his floor, he freezes, breath catching in his throat. The door of his loft stands slightly ajar and there are deep claw marks marring the forest green paint. The lock is smashed and the door itself is hanging slightly crooked. He pushes it open slowly and it swings in with a soft squeak. 

There’s a body lying in a pool of blood on the hardwood floor, a werewolf’s body, dead and still turning back from wolf into human. A little further down the hall, there’s another werewolf, this one alive and furry, growling and gnashing his teeth, trying to drag himself towards the living room from where more loud noises are still coming. 

Magnus might have spared the werewolf’s life - he tries to avoid indiscriminate killing whenever possible - but in that moment, there’s a pain-filled gasp and a loud thud, like a body hitting the floor, followed by a victorious snarl… and then a Seraph Blades rolls into the hall, past the injured werewolf. It clatters loudly, hitting the wall just a few feet away from Magnus, and powers down. 

Magnus stares at the weapon in horror for a second…

Alexander!

… and then he snaps his fingers and the werewolf in the hall drops dead, just like that, his heart arrested mid-beat by warlock magic, not the pretty, glowing creative kind, but the dark and harsh killing kind. The kind Magnus usually does not use. 

But these… these monsters, they broke into his home and attacked his lover - he did notice the arrows jutting out of the first werewolf’s body and the deep slashes in the fur of the other one, and that means that Alec fought them, fought them todeath - and Magnus trusts his lover’s judgment: if Alexander killed them, theydeserved killing!

The need to get to Alec - who’s hurt, hurting and in danger! - is driving Magnus forward, but he forces himself to creep slowly towards the living room entrance because he doesn’t know what might await him in there. But when he peeks around the corner, all caution flies out of the window and he barges in, hands ablaze with magic.

Because there’s an alpha in his living room, a giant, gray-brown wolf with his fur spattered with red, teeth bared in a snarl and eyes glowing green - and he’s standing above Alec who’s lying on his back on the floor, barely moving. Alec’s clothes are soaked with blood and torn to pieces, and he’s gasping for breath, eyes wide and mouth hanging open - but no air seems to be passing through his lips because his throat is slashed open! The wound is ugly and gaping and bubbling with blood, and Alec’s face is turning alarmingly gray, paler and paler with each second. And then the alpha lunges forward, his teeth bare inches away from Alec’s face…

And Magnus reacts, with fury and determination, the only thing on his mind to get the beast away from Alexander, to protect Alexander at all costs! And so he throws his magic out, grips the werewolf with his power and tears him away from Alec, throws him across the room, and before the beast can hit the floor, Magnus claps his hands together and there’s a loud boom - and the werewolf explodes, simply disintegrates into a shower of blood and gore that turns into dust and then into nothing before it even reaches the floor. 

And then Magnus is by Alec’s side because Alec can’t breathe! Blood’s still streaming from the terrible wound on his throat, air bubbles are forming in it, escaping from Alec’s oxygen-starved lungs, and he seems not even aware of Magnus, that Magnus is there and pleading with him to hold on, assuring him that everything will be alright now.

With the gentlest of touches Magnus use his magic again, but this time not to kill but to heal. to close the wound on his lover’s throat, to replenish the blood Alec has lost, and Magnus is holding one hand over the torn flesh, pouring his power into it, and with the other he’s gripping Alec’s hand, clasping it tightly to his chest, and all the time, he’s whispering to Alexander, my Alexander, trying to get Alec to hold on just a moment longer, because everything will be alright now that Magnus is here, Magnus will make everything better..

And when Alec finally takes a wheezing, unrestrained breath, when his lungs finally fill with air again, Magnus drops his head to Alec’s chest, not caring that Alec’s blood is soaking into his pants or that he’ll have it smudged on his face since Alec’s t-shirt is drenched in it, he doesn’t care, because Alec’s alive and that’s all that matters and Magnus needs to hear his lover’s heart beating and the rush of breath in his lungs. 

And after a small eternity Alec lifts his free hand and strokes Magnus’ back slowly, completely exhausted, his other hand still clasped tightly to Magnus’ chest, and Magnus thinks it’s a miracle, not that his magic can kill, to kill is so very easy, but that it can do this, save a life and heal… give back something that was almost lost, something Magnus doesn’t think he could live without anymore. 

His Alexander…

Chapter Text

“I don’t want a fag to be my team leader!”

When Jace hears that, he sees red. He becomes so angry, furious even, that he actually feels his heart beating in his temples. He rounds on the group of Shadowhunter newbies they were sent to train from the Academy in Idris, and his eyes must be truly ablaze because the kids, all twenty of them about sixteen or so, take a quick step back. 

He opens his mouth to dress the idiots down, but before he can say anything at all, Alec grips his shoulder, silencing him. Jace looks at him sharply but Alec just shakes his head. Jace stares at him in disbelief. He can’t just let something like that slide! But apparently, letting anything slide isn’t Alec’s plan. 

Alec steps forward. “Mr Landchild, do you have a problem with me?” His voice is perfectly calm. 

Everybody looks at a blond kid, really buff for his age and approximately Jace’s height - which makes him almost half a head shorter than Alec. The guy is smirking, arms crossed over his chest, and Jace just wants to punch him. 

“Yeah,” Landchild - Oliver, if Jace’s memory serves him right - sneers. “I said I didn’t want someone who does it with a filthy Downworlder pansy to be my team leader. Sir!”

Alec looks at him sternly. “So, you think you could do better, then? Be a better leader? A better fighter?”

Oliver looks around his cohorts with the confidence of a prized fighter and says, “Sure. I think any one of us could do better!”

Nodding sagely, Alec waves a hand around the training room where they are gathered. “Care to prove it to me, Mr Landchild? We have the time and the necessary space, and I’m sure your friends would love to see you wipe the floor with a… what did you call me? A ‘fag’?”

The groups shifts uncomfortably, but Oliver’s grin doesn’t slip. And Jace is now grinning openly too because he already knows where this is headed - and how it will end. By the Angel, he will thoroughly enjoy the spectacle. 

“Bring it,” Oliver responds confidently, and the kids make space for them and stand in a rough circle, a makeshift arena for two unexpected gladiators. 

Alec steps into the circle and loosens his shoulders quickly, while Oliver starts punching the air in exaggerate movements, shadowboxing for the amusement of the masses. 

After a moment, Alec sighs. “Any day now, Mr Landchild.”

And Oliver attacks, the crowd of students murmuring in admiration of his speed. But Alec just dodges and dodges and deflects his punches, then he drops to one knee, and when Oliver stumbles past, Alec’s right arm snaps up and he hits the guy with the edge of his hand right in the solar plexus, driving all the air out of Oliver’s lungs. Oliver bends at the waist, wheezing. 

“You’re dead,” Alec states calmly, getting up. He turns to Oliver, takes a few steps back and spreads his arms. “Again, Mr Landchild.” 

Oliver straightens up angrily, red in the face, and attacks again. And this time, Alec doesn’t dodge, he grabs Oliver’s outstretched arm, slips beneath it to get behind Oliver, jerks Oliver’s arm painfully up, kicks at his knees from behind and drives him to the floor. To finish his maneuver, Alec draws a line across Oliver’s throat with his free hand, from one ear to another. 

“You’re dead,” Alec repeats just as calmly as before, then he lets go and steps back. 

Oliver growls and slaps the floor with his open palm. The kids are starting to snicker now, even Oliver’s cohorts who previously rooted for him. He’s being turned into the laughing stock of their class. 

“Come on, Mr Landchild,” Alec says, and though his voice could be mocking, it’s not. It’s still as calm as ever. “I’m sure that’s not all you’ve got. From what I heard, you’re among the best in your class. Do show me what you can do!”

And with a roar, Oliver jumps to his feet and attacks again, furiously, madly, fiercely. But Alec fluidly evades every one of Oliver’s punches, and when Oliver overreaches, Alec takes his chance. He grips Oliver’s arm by the wrist and jerks forward, bringing the guy fully out of balance, and when he stumbles, Alec just pulls him around and twists, flipping Oliver over and slamming him to the floor. Then he turns Oliver over onto his stomach, right arm once again twisted behind his back, and raps him sharply with the knuckles of his free hand on the back of his head. 

“You’re dead,” Alec says, his voice calm, breathing steady. Then he bends down lower and adds, “I don’t give a damn about what you think of me, Mr Landchild. I don’t care enough about you to be worried about your opinion of me. You will follow my orders regardless or I will make you, be sure of that. 

“But,” he continues more threateningly, “if you ever insult Magnus Bane again, I swear I’ll knock the teeth out of that stupid, cocky grin of yours. Did I make myself clear, Mr Landchild?” When Oliver just growls again, Alec jerks his arm up higher, eliciting a painful gasp out of the guy. “Did I make myself clear?

“Yes, yes!” Oliver grunts through clenched teeth.

“Good, I’m glad we understand each other,” Alec replies, releasing Oliver. When he gets up, he looks at the students gathered around. “Anyone else has a problem with me?” he asks challengingly. And when they all drop their eyes, he nods, turns around and starts walking back towards Jace without giving Oliver Landchild one more look. 

Jace grins at him proudly, but then his smile disappears in the blink of an eye, because that cowardly bastard Landchild jumps to his feet and throws himself at Alec, attacking him from behind. But before Alec can react - and he would have because the moment he saw Jace drop his smile, he started turning around - Jace is there, so fast his movements blur. He pushes Alec aside and punches Oliver right in the face, so hard that the guy drops back to the floor, blood spurting from of his nose. The gathered students gasp. 

“Jace,” Alec chides gently, but Jace notices that he doesn’t rush to help the bastard. 

Jace stands over Oliver who’s writhing on the floor, holding his nose, and says, “I’m not Alec, I see no problem in knocking your teeth out on his behalf, too, not just on Magnus’.” 

Jace scans the students with angry eyes, watches as they all cringe under the weight of his scrutiny, and says loudly and sharply, “Let’s make one thing clear here: my parabatai is off limits! You hurt him, I’ll drop you from the belfry. You do something stupid that results in him getting hurt, I’ll drop you from the belfry. You try to sabotage his mission to make him look bad, I’ll drop you from the fucking belfry. Is that understood?” he snaps, his voice like the crack of a whip. 

When the students all nod mutely, looking anywhere but at him, he continues, “Don’t make the mistake of thinking that I’m like Alec. Because I’m not. You were sent to us to gather at least some experience before the Clave sends you off to fight Valentine and his minions, because we are at war. But unlike Alec, I don’t give a damn about you. If you get eaten by a demon because you were too stupid or too bigoted to follow simple orders, then you deserve to be eaten. You are useless to us. I’m not here to hold your hand. You either do what we tell you, or you die. But I will not allow you to take any one of us down with you.” 

He pauses and looks around the students. All their smirks and jeers are now gone. They stand there pale and frozen, too shaken by the reminder of what they will be facing soon to find it in themselves to make fun of it. Jace nods. “You’re not kids anymore - so stop acting like it!”

And with that Jace turns around and grabs Alec by the arm. “Come on, we need to see where Maryse wants these brats.”

Alec allows himself to be dragged away, though he throws a glance or two over his shoulder at Oliver, who’s still lying on the floor, groaning. The others gather around him and someone pulls out a stele to heal him.

Jace hopes that bastard’s nose heals crooked!

Chapter Text

“Why did you let us believe that you were less powerful than you truly are?” 

After Magnus woke up Jocelyn Fairchild using the Book of White, Alec offered to see him out which turned into a leisurely walk through the nighttime streets of New York. He waited till they were safe distance away from the Institute, out of the range of every surveillance device in the vicinity of the headquarters, to ask his question, just in case Magnus’ answer was not meant for everyone’s ears. 

Magnus laughs, but there’s a note of slight apprehension in his voice when he responds, “I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about, Alexander.” 

Alec looks at him sideways. “You told us that the Book of White was full of the most powerful spells out there, and yet, you used one as if it was nothing, your everyday bread and butter. You didn’t even have to make any preparations at all, you just told us to move Jocelyn because you needed space. That was it. And then you woke her up. Just like that.” 

Magnus shoots him a furtive, nervous look and speeds up his steps a little. “It was actually a pretty easy spell, beginner lever, a warlock child would’ve been able to perform it.” He waves his hand again. “I’m nothing special, really. Just one of the herd, an average practitioner at best.” 

“Magnus…” Alec says softly, and reaching out, he touches Magnus’ upper arm gently to make him stop. That’s all he does, he just says Magnus’ name and touches him gently - and Magnus crumples. 

Sighing in resignation, Magnus turns around. “Alright. I just didn’t think it wise to point out just how powerful I am while I was at your place, surrounded by…” He waves a hand again.

“Shadowhunters?” Alec finishes for him. “We are not your enemies, Magnus.” 

Magnus just stares at him. “Alexander, one of the people who were there at that time, in that room, joined - or rejoined, you might say - Valentine not two days later. So, I’m sorry if I don’t really trust your lot all that much.” 

Alec cringes at the painful reminder of Hodge’s betrayal. “Alright, I see your point,” he admits. “I just really hate secrets and lying. It always ends badly, no matter how good your intentions were at the beginning.”

One corner of Magnus’ mouth turns up. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and all that?”

Huffing out a laugh, Alec crosses his arms over his chest in an unconscious defensive gesture. “Yeah, something like that.” He looks away. “I guess you must think me naive, huh?”

Magnus takes a step closer. “No, Alexander. Not naive - innocent. And I find it admirable, charming even, that after everything, your first instinct is still to trust people, to believe in their honesty and goodwill. I hope you never become jaded, that you won’t allow life to destroy your faith in the world.” 

He lifts one hand and after a moment of hesitation, as if he’s still unsure of his permission to do this, to express his… affection for Alec openly, he touches Alec’s face gently, comfortingly. And Alec smiles and presses his cheek into his hand. 

They stand there like that for a moment longer until a group of drag queens stumbles past, giggling, and one of them, a dark-skinned beauty dressed in a short neon yellow dress, yells at Magnus, “Hot damn, sugar, you’re one lucky bastard!”

Magnus chortles and bends over laughing, and Alec blushes so hard the tips of ears turn pink - he has completely forgotten that they were visible

To save at least some of his bruised dignity, Alec clears his throat, and tries to get back on topic. “So,” he says, “just how powerful are you, then? I promise not to tell.” 

Still chuckling, Magnus straightens. “You’re like a dog with a bone when you want to know something, aren’t you?” He lets out a deep breath and shakes his head in exasperation. “Fine. Let’s just say that I’m powerful enough and,” he hesitates, then looks around quickly and continues, giving Alec as honest an answer as he can, “there are not twenty warlocks out there more powerful than I am, alright? But honestly, it’s not like we hold the Warlock Olympics to determine who’s best at magicking. Mostly, we just assume that the older the warlock, the more powerful he or she is. And some of us are very old.”

Alec narrows his eyes. “And how old are you, exactly?”

Magnus holds up a finger. “Nah-ah, my dear. I don’t kiss and tell.”

“Are you being coy again?” Alec asks, looking suspicious.

Laughing, Magnus entwines his arm with Alec’s and pats him. “See? You’re slowly getting the hang of it. One day, I might even teach you how to flirt!”

“Please, don’t?” Alec mutters, expression pained.

Still laughing, Magnus drags Alec along - and Alec can’t help but smile, too.

Chapter Text

After Alec releases Meliorn with a harsh “Get out!” he storms out of the room, his face paper white, back rigid, heedless of Izzy’s soft, imploring call. 

Clary moves to follow him, but Jace catches her by the arm, and when she turns to him, he shakes his head slightly, eyes trained on the door through which his parabatai left. “Don’t,” he whispers. 

“But,” Clary protests, her voice anxious, “he’s… he’s my brother, Jace! Alec is my brother!” The tone of her voice indicates that she still can’t believe it. 

Now he looks at her. “I know,” he replies gently, “and I’ve been exactly where he’s now, Clary, I also had a father I considered a hero replaced with the worst villain in our history. He’s not going to be happy about it. Give him a moment, alright? Let me talk to him first.” 

She looks at him a moment longer, her need to go after Alec an almost physical thing, but in the end she nods reluctantly. Jace smiles at her in reassurance and kisses the top of her head. 

Now Isabelle steps closer and her voice is full of distress, when she says, “Jace…”

He nods. “I’m going to talk to him,” he promises, and leaving Clary with Izzy, he goes. 

The door to Alec’s room stands slightly ajar when Jace arrives there, and he pushes it open slowly. Alec’s standing at his desk, all things swept off it to the floor, some smashed to pieces. He’s bent over, hands pressed flat against the top of the desk, his head is down and his breathing heavy. The letter that Meliorn gave him is lying on the floor, among the shards, valuable intel be damned for the moment. 

Jace walks in and closes the door quietly. “Are you okay?” he asks softly.

Alec just laughs harshly and doesn’t look at him.

“This might sound cliché but I know exactly how you feel,” Jace says and steps closer.

Alec turns his head to him and his eyes are ablaze with fury. “Don’t worry, Jace, I won’t suddenly develop a crisis of identity and start thinking that I might turn into Valentine 2.0,” he snaps.

Jace blinks and raises his eyebrows. “Ouch,” he replies calmly, “that was harsh.”

All the anger suddenly flows out of Alec. His shoulders slump, and turning around slowly, he leans against the edge of the table. He rubs his forehead with the fingers of his right hand and sighs. “Sorry. Sorry, sorry, I didn’t mean that.”

Jace accepts his apology with a nod and settles against the desk next to him, bumping their shoulders amiably. “As I were saying, I know exactly how you feel. And I’ll tell you what you told me: Maryse and Robert are your parents, Robert is your dad because he raised you. That won’t ever change.” 

Alec drops his hand and looks down. “You didn’t see his face. He couldn’t even look at me,” he whispers.

Waving a hand dismissively, Jace assures him, “He was simply in shock, it’s understandable. It didn’t mean anything. He knows this is not on you.”

“No,” Alec agrees. “It’s on mom.” He looks at his parabatai. “She cheated on him, Jace. How could she do that?” He sounds so lost, so betrayed. 

And Jace understands that this is what’s bothering Alec the most. Yes, the fact that Valentine’s his father will hurt Alec terribly when it really settles in, but that his mother, who Alec still loves dearly despite everything, did something like that… 

“First I find out that my…” Alec pauses and takes a deep breath to steady himself. “That my parents were in the Circle. Then I realize just how bigoted my mother actually is - did you know that the conversation we just had, that it was the first time that she didn’t yell at me or blame me for anything since the wedding fiasco? And now this. What’s going to be next, Jace? I don’t know just how much more disappointment I can take.”

Jace knows he should say something comforting, something to make it right, to soften the pain, but he honestly doesn’t know what. He remembers how angry he was with Jocelyn when he thought she was his mother. He understands Alec perfectly. And so he at least leans with his shoulder against Alec’s to let hisparabatai know that he’s not alone - and Alec slumps against him, soaking up the comfort. 

“What will you do now?” Jace asks softly. “Izzy and Clary are really worried about you.”

Alec huffs out a broken laugh. “I guess they’re both my sisters now, huh?” he says, then he shakes his head. “I know that we need to talk, Clary and I, but… not right now. I don’t think I can be here right now. I need to get away.”

“To Magnus’?” Jace hazards a guess.

Alec lets his head hang. “By the Angel, Magnus! How should I tell him? How should my Downworlder boyfriend that my father was the biggest racist in the Shadowhunter history? What will he think?”

“He won’t give a rat’s ass!” Jace states bluntly and with absolute certainty, and when Alec looks at him, he continues, “He didn’t give a damn about you being a Shadowhunter. He didn’t give a damn about Robert and Maryse who were in the Circle. He won’t give a damn about this either. Hey, he loves Clary as if she were his family!” Then he adds more gently, “He will be worried about you.” 

Alec gives him a half smile, so hopeful that Jace’s heart aches. “Come on, off with you,” he prompts and pushes against Alec’s shoulder, and when Alec gets up, Jace leans down to pick up the letter from the Seelie Queen. “I’ll clean up this mess and give the letter to Maryse. And I’ll talk Clary and Izzy into giving you a little more space, alright? You go to Magnus. You need a little TLC.”

Alec laughs tiredly, then he leans in on impulse and hugs Jace tight - and Jace wraps his arms around him, too, and holds him as long as his parabatai needs.

Chapter Text

The battle has been raging on for what seems like hours, Shadowhunters and Valentine’s minions swarming in the sky above the Brooklyn Bridge, clashing together so loudly that Magnus is having a hard time keeping up his illusion, the impenetrable, sound dampening fog that hides them from the mundanes’ eyes. One slip and all will be revealed, their existence, their war, everything. Magnus is growing tired fast.

And then it happens. Two of Valentine’s men attack Alec cowardly from behind, and though Alec manages to repel and kill one, the other stabs at his wing and scores a brutal hit, staining Alec’s dove gray feathers with blood - and with a gasp of pain, Alec plummets from the sky, his injured wing useless.

“Alexander!” Magnus, standing on the top of one of the bridge towers, screams in horror, heart in his throat. Because nonononono, this is not happening!

Sparing a trickle of magical energy, as much as he can afford to divert and still keep up the illusion, he tries to catch Alec, to slow down his fall at least, to pull Alec towards him, towards the granite tower, because should Alec hit the water from this height…

But Alec’s still falling too fast, and Magnus wants to drop the illusion and just help his lover, but he can’t, his powers are woven too tightly into the illusion, he spent too much energy on it already, and if he lets it collapse suddenly, the backlash will surely stun him. And so Alec hits the tower at too great a speed, he hits it with a sickening thud and rolls across the top, bones in his wings snapping like twigs, and though Magnus throws himself after him and grabs his hand, Alec still slips over the edge.

And now Alec’s hanging from the tower, anchored only by Magnus’ hand, and he’s barely conscious, his face scraped and bloody, wings broken and twisted. And Magnus is lying on his stomach, slowly sliding towards the edge, and he’s desperately trying to hold on, to not let Alec go, and to keep up the illusion, too, but everything’s slipping from his grasp. 

“Alexander,” Magnus whispers, his voice raw, because he will not let go, he will not let go, he will not!

Feeling another lurch, another slip, Alec slowly raises his head, and his hazel eyes are glazed with pain when he twists his lips into a pale approximation of a smile and rasps, “Let go, Magnus.” 

Magnus shakes his head violently. “Never!” he refuses firmly. 

“Magnus,” Alec pleads, “let go or you’ll fall, too!”

And Magnus shakes his head again. “I will not let go!”

Alec’s eyes shine with wetness. “Magnus–”

And they both slip from the top of the tower and they’re falling, the bridge’s hard surface already so close, and Magnus roars a defiant “No!” and…

… wings! Wings sprout out of his back! Not the fluffy feathery ones but dark and bat-like things, leathery and large, and they catch the wind and jerk them both to a bone-jarring halt. Alec cries out in pain and Magnus flails because he has wings and he has no idea what to do with them! And they drop further, the tips of Alec’s pale wings almost grazing the roofs of the cars swooshing below them now. But Magnus will not let Alec fall!

Screaming with new, never before experienced pain, he strains the muscles in his back and flaps his wings the way he has seen Alec do it, or at least he tries to, again and again, and they’re not flying so much as bobbing up and down and sideways, and Alec’s dangling below Magnus, but finally they start rising, slowly, oh so slowly.

And Magnus feels his attention slipping, he feels the illusion starting to fall apart, and he clamps down hard on the strands of magic that he has woven into intricate patterns, keeping it up, while flapping his wings hard, and up and up they rise, towards the top of the tower, and when they finally drop down onto it, Magnus curls up into a tiny ball, whimpering in pain. But they are alive. Alexander is alive!

It’s Alec’s voice, hoarse but full of wonder, what brings him out of the haze. “You have wings,” Alec rasps and when Magnus turns his head towards him, he sees Alec reaching out to gently run his scraped fingers over the dark membrane of Magnus’ wing. And when Magnus twitches uncertainly, Alec smiles, eyes still glazed with the agony of his own injuries. “They’re beautiful.”

“They must be my father’s legacy, the mark of a fallen angel - demon wings,” Magnus whispers, pained.

But Alec shakes his head minutely. “They’re yours. And you’ll never be not beautiful to me.” 

Magnus’ throat closes off and he blinks back tears, because nobody has ever loved him so much. And then he starts crawling towards Alec, wings dragging after him, because he needs to take care of his lover, to heal him. To keep him safe.

And above them, the battle rages on.

Chapter Text

When Alec is told that Izzy was asked to become Jace’s parabatai, his world shatters. He has been contemplating asking Jace to become his parabatai for months now, trying to convince himself that Jace will say yes, that he’ll agree, that he must surely feel the same way. But obviously, Alec was wrong. So, he puts on a smile and congratulates them - and he never tells anyone just how much he wishes to be in Izzy’s place.

When it comes to their weapon of choice, Alec chooses the bow - the perfect weapon for a solitary boy like him. Izzy chooses the whip and Jace the blade, of course. To watch them fight side by side, as parabatai do, feels like watching a perfectly rehearsed dance, it’s a thing of a heart-stopping beauty. And Alec covers their backs from afar but never gets to join in.

When Clary Fairchild enters their lives, Alec’s last hope dies. He thought that maybe… he hoped that he and Jace could… since they’re not parabatai and Jace never had a steady girlfriend before, Alec hoped that there maybe was something between them after all, that this was the reason why Jace asked Izzy and not him to become his parabatai, because parabatai can’t be lovers. But now he knows that it wasn’t that, after all, that he simply lacks something that Izzy apparently has. He wonders if there’s something wrong with him.

When Magnus Bane shows interest in him, Alec doesn’t understand it. Why? Why would anyone look at him when there are Jace and Izzy around? Nobody ever did before. Alec doesn’t get it, and he’s too afraid to believe it to be true. He has been wrong so many times over the years. And if this is just some… some game to Magnus Bane, it would kill Alec.

When Alec asks Lydia Branwell to marry him to save the Lightwoods’ family name, besmeared by their parents’ ugly past and by his siblings’ irresponsible stunts, nobody thanks him for it, just the opposite. But Alec’s used to it by now. The only thing that really hurts is the pain in Magnus Bane’s eyes when Alec tells him. Maybe, just maybe, Magnus’ intentions were honest after all? Well, it’s too late now anyway. 

When Jace and Izzy free Meliorn, when they steal the Cup from the vault and run, it’s the last straw for Alec. He stands there, before the open vault, staring at the empty shelf in disbelief. Because they didn’t just steal the Cup, they stole from him, from their own brother! They betrayed him, stole from him, attacked him and then left him to pick up the pieces… and he’s done, he can’t take it anymore, he can’t be here anymore. So…

When Inquisitor Herondale arrives to investigate the high treason committed by the Lightwoods - Alec takes the fall. He confesses to everything: to contacting the Downworlders, to planning the attack, to freeing Meliorn. Only the theft of the Mortal Cup, that he keeps to himself. Everything else? He shoulders it all. One last time. The one thing he regrets is hurting Lydia. But then, she has always deserved better.

When he’s sentenced to exile, only Lydia comes to say good-bye - she and the whole Institute, every one of the staff! - but nobody from his family’s there: Max and his parents are still in Idris, and Jace and Izzy are who knows where. Lydia hugs him and whispers in his ear that he’s amazing and so very brave. After that, he never sees her again.

When the Silent Brothers strip him of his runes and then drag him outside the City of Bones, now forever closed to him, when they simply dump him in front of their door like the traitor they think him to be, he’s still hurt and aching and disoriented…

… but then Magnus Bane is there, touching Alec gently, mindful of his injuries, and whispering words of love and comfort. And when he helps Alec up, Alec clings to him tightly, because he just lost everything!

But not the loyalty of a friend, because it was Lydia who called Magnus, who told him what was happening, who sent him after Alec - who must’ve known the whole time about Alec’s feelings for Magnus and still stood by him. 

And when Alec whispers, “Please, Magnus, take me away from here,” Magnus responds gently, “For you, anything, Alexander.”

And Alec dares to believe.

Chapter Text

Alec doesn’t know how it happened. They used to snap at each other, wound each other in places where it hurt the most, and now? Now they work side by side, rubbing shoulders amicably…

He and Clary. 

Huh.

Maybe it’s their shared desire to get Jace back, to save him from Valentine, no matter what. Nobody else truly gets it, this visceral level of need they feel to have Jace back with them, not Maryse and Robert, not Jocelyn, not even Izzy. It’s like a part of them is gone. 

And now they sit there, at the desk in her room, heads bent over new intel that Magnus managed to gather from his contacts - and that’s when she says…

“I’m sorry, you know?” 

Alec looks up from his pad and raises his eyebrows. “About what?” he asks. 

She props her head against her fist and watches him fondly. “About how pushy I was before, when I kept insisting that you should admit you were in love with Jace. I’m sorry. I didn’t know that it’s forbidden between parabatai. I had no idea.”

Alec pauses and drops his gaze. His knee-jerk reaction is to tell her that he doesn’t know what she’s talking about. But considering his fear, his panic cost Clary her memories, he feels he owes her an explanation. 

“Yes, it’s forbidden,” he says. “If someone had found out… I could’ve landed us both in a lot of trouble, me and Jace. We would’ve been punished, or at least would’ve been, they would’ve probably exiled me or worse. But it wasn’t just that…”

He falls silent but Clary doesn’t prod, she waits for him to gather his thoughts. And so he answers honestly, looking at her shyly because he has never talked about this to anyone, not even to Isabelle. 

“When Jace asked me to become his parabatai, I was already in love with him,” he admits softly as if afraid someone might hear. “But even then I knew that I could never act on those feelings. And so I thought that if I became his parabatai, I could at least share my life with him this way, be as close to him as I could. But it also meant that I entered our bond under false pretenses, and I was so…” He swallows hard and looks away. “… ashamed. I was so ashamed because I was convinced that I was perverting something that should’ve been pure. And I was afraid that if Jace found out…” He falls silent again.

And this time, Clary reaches out and squeezes his hand. “There was nothing you should’ve felt ashamed of, Alec,” she tells him gently. “Love should never cause shame because love is pure. And Jace would’ve never held it against you. He didn’t. He’s pig-headed and cocky and sometimes I want to strangle him,” she say, wrinkling her nose cutely, “but he is worthy of both of our love, no matter what shape it takes in the end.”

Alec turns his head towards her and smiles slightly. “And we will get him back.” 

She nods. “And we will get him back.” 

So, he and Clary. Who would’ve thought?

Chapter Text

Alec dies trying to find Jace and the Mortal Cup.

He’s angry, so very, very angry and despite Hodge’s warning, he pushes and pushes against his bond with Jace, because he will not let Isabelle stand trial, he will not let his sister take the fall, if the Clave wants the damn Cup, then he will get it for them, he should’ve given it to them immediately, he shouldn’t have let Jace sway his judgment, and now they have this mess, this terrible mess…

And he pushes and leans against the bond - until it snaps and all the pent up power of it lashes back at him with such intensity that it stops his heart in mid-beat. 

And Alec’s last thought is, I can see him…


Jace collapses when the bond breaks, knocked unconscious by the snap of the connection between him and his parabatai. But when he wakes up, he doesn’t immediately realize what happened. There’s the escaped demon he needs to deal with in the other dimension and then he gets wounded and then his dad returns and he turns out to be Valentine! It’s one shock after another. And he thinks that the yawning emptiness in his chest is only the bond gone weak because of Alec’s actions.

It’s not until they return to the Institute, he and Clary and their sleeping mother, it’s not until Clary gives the Cup to Lydia, and he snaps angrily, “Where is Alec? I need to speak with him!”, it’s not until then that he finds out the truth. 

Lydia stares at him for a long moment, uncomprehending and a little shocked, the Cup still in her hand. “He’s dead,” she replies simply.

And it’s as if someone sucked all the oxygen out of the room; Jace can’t breathe and he’s starting to get dizzy. “You’re lying,” he croaks hoarsely, while Clary gently squeezes his arm, whispering his name.

But Lydia’s gaze remains steady. “He died trying to find you and… this,” she says, her voice disgusted, and raises the Cup. “Inquisitor Herondale ordered Izzy to be put on trial for high treason and the Cup was the only thing that could have persuaded her to stop it. Alec was so desperate to find it…” Her voice breaks and she looks away, blinking rapidly.

It can’t be. It just can’t be, there must be some mistake. “Where is he?”

“In the morgue. Izzy is there with him,” Lydia responds, not looking at Jace.

And Jace tears his arm out of Clary’s grip and runs, racing down the corridors towards the morgue, because this can’t be true. If Alec were dead, Jace would know, Jace would… Jace would have died together with him, on the spot, he wouldn’t be here, living and breathing as if a half of his soul weren’t dead.

When he barges into the morgue, he freezes at the tableau before him: Alec’s lying on one of the stainless steel tables, naked to the waist and unmoving, his skin gray. And there’s Izzy, sitting by the table, holding Alec’s hand and rubbing it as if trying to warm her brother’s flesh.

No. Just no.

Without turning towards the door, eyes still trained on Alec’s lifeless face, Izzy speaks, “He was so furious. I’ve never seen him so angry. Or so hurt.” She pauses and strokes her brother’s hair off his forehead. “I think he would’ve forgiven us that we saved Meliorn. He did forgive us because he understood why we did it. But we took the Cup - and he knew that we must’ve stolen his stele to get inside the vault…” 

Jace takes a step closer, then another and another. He feels unreal. All of it feels unreal. Because he now understands that the terrible abyss inside him will never be filled again. His parabatai is gone. Alec is gone. Alec died. 

Alec… died

“By the Angel, he felt so betrayed by what we did. He didn’t think he could trust you ever again.” Izzy turns towards him and she’s almost as pale as Alec, eyes bloodshot and swollen from long crying. “Did you know that he loved you? Not just as a friend or a brother or even a parabatai. He was in love with you. He has been for years, maybe even before you two became parabatai. And he knew you would never see him that way but he has never stopped hoping.” 

Yes, Jace knew. He realized it after what happened with the demon that held Clary’s memories hostage. And he didn’t understand how he could’ve been so blind. Did he ever really know his parabatai?

“That’s why I was so happy when Magnus Bane took a liking to Alec,” Isabelle continues and looks back at her brother, her voice choked up. “I hoped that he would finally make Alec happy.” She hunches her shoulders and suddenly she looks so small and fragile, nothing like the headstrong Shadowhunter she is. “Oh God, Magnus. I’ll have to tell Magnus.”

And Jace stands there, barely listening, because all he can do is stare at Alec’s face, his yearning for his parabatai to open his eyes, to… to yell at him, if need be, but to be alive, growing deeper and more profound with each second. Alec’s right there, and yet forever out of reach now. 

As if this realization opened the floodgates, it all crashes down on Jace, everything, and his knees buckle and he sinks down to the floor, breathing harsh, and his stomach rebels at the smell of the chemicals in the air, at the harsh reality, and he presses his forehead to the edge of the metal table, just inches away from Alec’s lifeless hand, and he makes a wounded, keening sound that quickly turns into a roar, and he’s screaming himself hoarse, not even registering that Clary’s there now, too, holding him, that she’s crying together with him, pleading with him…

Because Alec is dead and Jace’s soul died with him. 

And he didn’t even notice…

Chapter Text

Magnus follows Alec out of the room, the need to explain what happened with Camille, the kiss and all, tying up his insides into unhappy knots. 

“Alexander,” Magnus starts saying when they step into the hall to “check the perimeter,” as Alec wanted, “what you saw–”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Alec interrupts him, opening the first door in the hall, one of many, to make sure the room’s clear.

Magnus replies a little dryly, “Considering that the last time we did not discuss something properly you went and almost got married, I don’t think this tactic is all that wise, darling.” 

Alec glares at him and moves on to the next door in the long hall. 

Magnus sighs dejectedly. His need to fix this is almost overwhelming. He wants Alec to smile at him again. He wants to kiss Alec again. And he’s afraid that if he allows this thing to fester, it will destroy the fragile sapling of a relationship they started to grow. And as he has proven already, he will fight tooth and nail to protect it!

He tries it again. “Alexander–”

Alec snaps around, one hand on the doorknob of the second door. “I really do not want to discuss your relationship with Camille Belcourt of all people. By the Angel, Magnus, Camille Belcourt?” 

“She was different back then,” Magnus objects softly.

Raising his eyebrows, Alec responds, voice dripping with sarcasm, “Really? So, a century ago, she was not a murdering psychopath? Or was it that you simply didn’t care?”

Okay, that hurt. “I did care. I do care. More than you’ll probably ever know,” Magnus retorts, his expression wounded. “But when it comes to Camille, it’s… complicated.”

Alec shakes his head angrily. “It should not be! That woman should be facing murder charges. Who knows how many she killed or turned against their will. I should be taking her in, that’s my job, protecting people, instead I’m making deals with her and letting her go. Everyone who she kills from now on, will be on us!” He twists the doorknob sharply and pushes the door open, still facing Magnus. “So, excuse me if I’m more disturbed by the fact that we’re letting a mass murderer go, than by the unresolved issues you two apparently have!”

Magnus opens his mouth to respond when Alec’s suddenly shoved forward roughly, and a man dressed all in black steps out of the room that Alec was about to enter - Valentine’s man! Lighting fast, the man winds his arm around Alec’s throat and presses a glowing Seraph Blade against Alec’s vulnerable skin. Magnus reflexively lifts his hands to–

“One move, warlock, and your boy toy is dead!” the man growls and puts more pressure on the blade. 

Alec tries to turn his head away, the edge of the blade scraping his throat, the glow of it reflected in his eyes. And Magnus understands that the man means it, that he would slice Alec’s throat without a second thought - and Magnus has seen enough people die by the Seraph Blade over the centuries to know that the weapon would cut through bones and tissue with little resistance. He could still snap his fingers and kill the man on the spot - but one wrong move, one spasm, and Alexander would be dead. 

Alec’s looking at him, urging him to do it anyway, to kill the man, to take the risk - but Magnus cannot. He will not risk Alec’s life. He will not. As long as they are both alive, they can always fight later. He lets his hands drop. And then there’s a blade at his own throat, too. And Alec’s eyes widen with fear - fear for Magnus’ life. 

And they’re caught, used against one another. And all Magnus wanted this morning was kiss Alexander again. 

Hell. 

Chapter Text

Once Alec tracks down Jace and the Mortal Cup through his parabatai bond - and Hodge still can’t believe that the Cup was so close, so close and he didn’t know it! - Lydia rushes off to change, promising to be back in a minute. 

Hodge stays, though, he stays and watches over Alec as the younger man sits up slowly and drops his legs to the floor, and he can’t help but notice the way Alec grips the edge of the mattress so hard his knuckles turn white.

“Are you okay?” Hodge asks in concern.

“I’m fine,” Alec responds tightly, but in the very next moment he hisses and hunches over as his muscles spasm painfully.

“You’re not fine,” Hodge comments pointedly and drops into a crouch in front of his charge. “Alec. Hey, Alec,” he repeats more forcefully and grips Alec’s knee to make the young man look up. 

When Alec does, Hodge furrows his brows in sympathy. Alec’s face is pale and drenched in sweat and his lips are pressed into a thin line. There’s a painful tension around his eyes and he’s breathing slowly, deliberately through his nose. 

“You’re not fine,” Hodge says much more gently. “How bad is it? You didn’t break the bond, did you?” That was his greatest fear when Alec set his mind on this stupid stunt.

Alec shakes his head jerkily. “No,” he croaks out, “but it hurts like hell.” 

Hodge sighs in exasperation. “You stupid boy! What did you expect? The bond’s not a rope, you can’t just pull at it and twist it as you please and expect no backlash!”

In response, Alec hisses again, pressing one hand hard against his parabatai rune, and Hodge can see the muscles in Alec’s side spasming again. 

“I can handle a little pain, Hodge. But I had to do it,” Alec grits out. He looks Hodge straight in the eyes, and Hodge is reminded of the stubborn little runt Alec used to be. “I can’t allow them to go through with this trial. If Izzy’s case goes to the court, she will be convicted because she is guilty,” he admits in a whisper. 

“Ready?” Lydia asks, standing in the doorway, dressed in her casual clothes.

Hodge straightens and helps Alec stand up. He catches him when Alec sways unsteadily, then hands him his shirt which Alec takes with a trembling hand and a quiet “Thank you.” And then, Alec’s gone, following Lydia out.

And Hodge stares after him in frustration, cursing his imprisonment for the umpteenth time, but this time not on his own behalf, no, but because of these kids who throw themselves into danger that he can’t protect them from. 

Chapter Text

When they hear a car screech to a halt in front of the fire station, they peer out curiously - and chuckle at the bright purple Jaguar, the latest model, of course, that’s now parked half on, half off the sidewalk in front of the building.

“Oh, Alec. Your boyfriend’s here!” Raj calls out in a sing-song voice.

Alec, whose turn it is to cook their lunch today, pokes his head out of their tiny station kitchen. “Huh? What?”

Raj’s grinning now, hands on his hips. “Your sugar daddy’s here. And he looks mighty miffed.”

Frowning, Alec turns off the heat on the stove and walks outside, the others sneaking not so stealthily after him because they know better than to miss this. Whenever Magnus Bane graces their station with his presence, hilarity ensues.

And yes, there it is: Magnus in all his designer suit glory, this one in dove gray, clambers out of his car, stomps around, opens the passenger door and drags a…cat carrier out. A bag of this and that follows, a feathered toy in all the colors of the rainbow sticking out of the bag like a flag.

“Magnus?” Alec calls out, surprised. 

Magnus turns to him with a glare, dumps the bag on the sidewalk, and huffing in annoyance, he starts dragging the cat carrier - quite a big thing that makes him stumble this way and that like a drunk - towards the station.

“Hi, yes, Alexander,” Magnus doesn’t respond till he’s almost an arm’s length away. When he slams the carrier down - so abruptly that Alec actually has to jump back to avoid having his toes flattened - the animal inside yowls. “Here you have your beast. I hope your station is infested with mice because that… that thing will not cross the threshold of our apartment ever again!”

Alec blinks at him, then he crouches down to shush the large, fluffy cat inside the carrier. “What did Church do?” he asks, confused.

Magnus points a finger. “That carnivorous monster ate Ernest! When I came home, it still had poor little Ernest’s tail sticking out of its maw! You told me that your pet tiger and my goldfish could coexist. Well, two Ernests have now paid with their lives for your erroneous assumption. Two, my dear! I will not suffer that dangerous killer on our premises a day longer! I hope that… that duster of yours will be very happy in its exile. I did warn it to keep its furry paws away from my fishes!”

Alec straightens and opens his mouth to protest, but Magnus grabs him by the front of his shirt, drags him down and kisses him hard on the mouth before Alec can say anything. Their attentive audience applauds and whistles in the background, of course. 

When they separate, Magnus licks his lips, and with his nose still barely an inch away from Alec’s, he orders softly but firmly, “I expect Ernest Hemingway the Fifth to be swimming happily in his tragically departed predecessor’s bowl tonight. The pet store’s open till six.”

And with that, Magnus turns on his heel and marches away. Alec still stands there, gaping like the dearly departed Ernest the Fourth, long after the sparkling purple car roars off into the distance. What the…?

When did my life turn into a circus? Alec sighs inwardly, and the unfairly exiled Church yowls in agreement.

Chapter Text

“We don’t have the Mortal Cup and we don’t know where it is, I swear,” Alec says. “But I’m willing to do anything, anything at all, to save my sister.” 

Slowly, Inquisitor Herondale gets up from behind her desk; she’s never looked more ominous than in this moment. “Anything, Mr Lightwood?” she asks. 

Alec takes a deep breath, and squaring his shoulders, he nods. “Anything.”


“You’re free to go,” Lydia says as she walks into the room where Isabelle and Magnus are kept waiting. “The Inquisitor let the charges drop.”

Both Izzy and Magnus whoop and hug excitedly. “Really?” Isabelle asks. “Did Jace and Clary come back with the Cup, then?”

“No,” Lydia answers quietly. “Your brother made a deal with the Inquisitor.”

Only then do they notice her somber expression, and Magnus’ breath catches in his throat when he sees that Lydia’s holding Alec’s bow and quiver in her hands. 

Isabelle steps forward anxiously. “Alec? Where is he? What did he do?” she demands.

Lydia shakes her head. “I don’t know. He left with the Inquisitor and her guard. But he asked me to give you this, Magnus,” she adds and hands him the bow and the quiver. “And to tell you that you were right, about everything.”

Izzy and Magnus stare at the weapons in dismay.


Several hours later, Clary and Jace bring the Mortal Cup back, after all. 

It’s several hours too late.

They ask and ask and ask - they never find out what happened to Alec.

Chapter Text

When Maryse learns of her son’s disappearance, she goes directly to the source, uncompromising, demanding and determined to find out the truth.

“Where’s my son, Imogen?” she asks the Inquisitor. “What did you do to him?”

Imogen Herondale regards her with deep contempt. “Your son made a choice. He saved your recalcitrant daughter from exile and he restored your family’s honor. Be content with that and let it go.” 

When she turns to leave, Maryse grabs her arm - a thing unheard of to which the Inquisitor’s guard immediately reacts by pointing their spears at her - and Imogen looks at her in shocked disbelief. But Maryse doesn’t care. “Let it go? This is my son we’re talking about here! I will not–”

Imogen twists her arm out of Maryse’s grip and snaps at her, outraged, “You will, Maryse Lightwood! You and your husband will return to New York and you willcontinue fulfilling your duties with diligence as you should’ve done before! To allow you to do just that, your son made a great sacrifice - and you should better make damn sure you don’t trample all over it!”

And with that, Inquisitor Herondale turns and leaves, her guard falling into step behind her.

Two weeks later, Imogen Herondale falls in battle with Valentine Morgenstern’s forces. And the only link leading to Alec’s whereabouts seems lost.

But they don’t give up, they try and try to find any sliver of information, though it’s not until Robert becomes Inquisitor himself, months later, after they win the war with Valentine and peace returns to Idris, that they discover the truth. The truth about Alec’s disappearance - and about the greatest mystery of Alicante. 

And as Robert stands there, deep underneath the streets of Idris’ capital, and stares at the brightly glowing sphere that has become Alec’s prison, stares at his son, asleep or maybe unconscious, floating inside unaware of his surroundings, he’s overcome with horror so profound that it steals his breath away. 

“You poor, naive fool,” cackles the Warden of this place, an old woman brown as a nut and wrinkled as a prune, dressed in a long gray robe, “how did you think your precious demon towers worked? What did you think powered this creation of Raziel’s?”

The Warden shuffles closer, still chuckling, amused by Robert’s dismay, the clicking of her cane on the stone floor echoing through the otherwise deathly quiet room. But Robert can’t tear his eyes away from his son, because if it’s true, then every time the towers glow, every time the wards go up…

“The strength of Raziel’s children is almost infinite, Inquisitor,” the Warden says as she joins him, eyes trained on the sphere, too. “The one before lasted more than a century, powering the wards. This one’s young and strong, he’ll keep us safe for decades to come. And when he’s drained, we will get another one, just like always.” 

She turns to Robert and her voice loses all its pointed merriment when she states with harsh coldness, “For the good of all, some must suffer.”

Chapter Text

Their bedroom? Is just one big room - and a bed. That’s it. Magnus learned the hard way. 

You see, the first thing Alec does in the morning? Is to stretch, from the tips of his fingers to the tips of his toes. With an almost obscene moan of pleasure, he lets all the pent-up tension flow out of his muscles - which naturally means that his wings pop out of his back too, stretching to their full length, which is a sight to behold, considering their size. Many pieces of furniture - lamps in particular - have not survived his morning routine. 

Magnus doesn’t understand how he did it before, while he still lived in the Institute where everything’s so narrow and filled with ancient artifacts. When he asks, Alec looks at him sheepishly and admits, “I didn’t. I almost never let my wings out till the ache became too much and I couldn’t stand it any longer. I hated showing them to people…”

After such a confession, Magnus can’t but be overcome with fuzzy feelings of happiness for the very simple reason that Alec trusts him so much. Damn the furniture and the lamps. If he can’t tailor their living space to his boyfriend’s needs, what’s his magic actually for, then?

So he turns their bedroom into their very own little version of the Tardis: bigger on the inside, just so Alec can stretch his ridiculously large - and gorgeous and so very, very soft! - appendages to his heart’s content. A walk-in closet and a faerie light or ten take care of the rest of their needs. 

And afterwards, when Alec looks at him with those beautiful hazel eyes full of wonder and asks in a hushed voice, “You did this for me?” Magnus thinks that yes, this, this is what magic’s for.

Chapter Text

“Now, let them out, just like I showed you,” Alec says, holding Magnus’ hands.

They’re standing in their bedroom, facing each other, naked from the waist up. Alec has his wings out, beautiful, big and dove gray, and he’s patiently trying to teach Magnus how to let his wings unfurl on purpose. But so far to no avail.

“Nothing,” Magnus huffs, frustrated.

“Just concentrate,” Alec advises gently.

“I am concentrating,” Magnus grumbles. 

“No, you look like you’re about to poop.”

Magnus glares.

Amused, Alec laughs. “Alright, let me try something.” 

With that, Alec drops Magnus’ hands, and leaning closer, he winds his right arm around Magnus as if in a hug. But instead, he finds Magnus’ spine, right between the shoulder blades, and runs his fingers down along the vertebrae. 

Magnus reacts with a giggle - and a yip of surprise because half a second later, his wings pop out of his back and he almost topples over backwards under their weight, flapping them wildly for a moment just to stay upright.

Laughing, Alec catches him around the waist and helps him stand. “There.”

“What did you do?” Magnus exclaims, looking over one shoulder and then the other in wonder. 

Smiling, Alec explains, “That’s how we teach our children to let their wings out. Apparently, it works on ancient warlocks, too.”

“Huh,” Magnus replies and flutters his dark leathery wings experimentally.

“And now try to hide them again,” Alec asks.

Squinting, Magnus pursues his lips and tries to concentrate.

“You’re making that pooping face again,” Alec comments, still amused.

Magnus mutters something very uncomplimentary. Alec just laughs.

Chapter Text

Five years. Five years they were together. And now Camille’s leaving him for some Russian guy. Typical. Magnus wants to punch something. Or someone. Damn it!

He leans against the window frame with a tired sigh and looks outside, eyes roaming restlessly. It’s twilight now, windows in the surrounding buildings are starting to come alight, and Magnus is in love with New York. At least the city will stay true to him. 

And then - in the tall building across the street, someone’s sitting in the window over there, a floor or two above him, watching him. Their apartment is dark but it seems, yes, it’s a man, a young one, Magnus guesses. 

Reflexively, Magnus smiles and waves. The studio behind him is brightly lit, so he knows the man must see him. The stranger pauses - and then waves back, uncertainly. 

Magnus grins, and overcome with a crazy idea, he pushes away from the window and does a pirouette, leaps and twirls again, before turning back to the window and bowing. When he straightens again, he can see the man clapping. He laughs. 

“What are you so happy about?” a sharp, vicious voice snaps behind him.

And Magnus’ merriment is gone. Camille

She joins him at the window, and taking a look, she snorts. “Ah, that crippled creep again. He’s been ogling you ever since he moved in. Pervert.” 

When she moves away again, leaving a whiff of cigarette smoke and expensive perfume behind, Magnus turns after her. “What?” he asks.

Camille starts gathering the last of her things as she replies, “Yeah, he can’t seem to keep his eyes off you. Like I said, a creep. I’m surprised you didn’t notice him. He just sits there, in his wheelchair by the window, and stares at you while you dance. If it were me, I would’ve called the cops on him. But it’s no skin off my nose.” She shrugs. 

Magnus just stands there, gaping at her. “Who is he?”

Camille shrugs again. She grabs her bag and one of the trophies they won together off the shelf. “Some rich fuck’s kid, from what I heard. Lightworm? Light… something. It just shows that no money can buy you working legs.” 

Then she heads for the door and yells over her shoulder, "Have a nice life, Magnus. I’ll send you a can of caviar from Boris’ yacht!” And she’s gone.

Magnus stares after her and wonders what he ever saw in this woman.

When he finally gathers his wits and turns back to the window, it’s dark outside - and the curious stranger in the apartment across is gone.

Chapter Text

When Jace comes back, it’s a very strange experience indeed. 

It’s not that his friends and siblings didn’t try to find him, that they didn’t fight for him - they did, by the Angel, they did, they fought for him and they bled for him! - but in his absence, they also inevitably moved on. 

And so he comes home to find Izzy and Simon, of all people, a couple. Alec’s not the acting head of the Institute anymore, demoted for his indiscretion, the scandal he caused. And he doesn’t even live at the Institute anymore, but at Magnus’! And Alec and Clary, his parabatai and his sister, seem to be best friends now. It feels like the whole world has gone mad. 

But it’s not just that. Jace changed, too. And though they expect him to be the same person as before, he’s not. What he saw while at Valentine’s side, all the murder and cruelty, it changed him on a profound level. It tilted his world view, knocked him off balance. And he’s not sure if he can find his way back to who he was before. 

But when they welcome him back, when Jace’s parabatai and his sisters hug him tight and hang on as if they never want to let go again, Jace thinks that maybe, maybe that’s okay. 

Maybe they don’t have to go back to what used to be. Maybe moving forward is exactly what they need.

Chapter Text

Alec doesn’t speak to Hodge, he doesn’t even look his mentor directly in the eye while he redresses his wound in the holding cell. And Hodge doesn’t talk either. It seems that there’s nothing left to talk about.

It’s not until Alec gathers his things to leave that Hodge finally asks, “When will they come for me?”

Alec pauses at the door while the guards in the corridor outside watch them impassively. Slowly, he turns and finally, he looks at Hodge. “In the morning,” he replies. “They’ll take you to Alicante where you’ll stand trial for high treason. And because you committed your crimes while already in exile…”

Hodge grimaces. “Right. The Inquisitor will demand the death penalty.” 

Alec just stares at him. He doesn’t have to confirm Hodge’s guess. They both know it’s the truth. 

Hodge, still sitting in the bunk, looks at his former charge challengingly. “What? Will you not rant? Curse me? Blame me?”

Alec pauses for a moment longer, then he shakes his head. “No. It wouldn’t do either of us any good. But I want to know something.”

Hodge gives him a silent look, his face unreadable.

“Why?” Alec whispers. “Just… why?”

Laughing harshly, Hodge leans forward. “Why? Why? For twenty years have I lived in exile, branded and hurting, unable to go home, unable to leave, while Maryse and Robert enjoyed their pampered privileged lives - just because they turned on their friends when they got scared. They were pardoned, even got to run their own precious Institute, but not because they actually changed their way of thinking and repented, oh no, but simply because they were cowardly opportunists.” He shakes his head in disgust. “And I had to live under their roof and be reminded of that for twenty whole years. I had enough.”

Alec stares at him with a closed off expression. “So we - me, Jace, Izzy… Max - we meant nothing to you? We were just means to an end for you? A long con or what?” he asks in a flat voice.

Hodge looks away.

Shaking his head, Alec continues bitterly, “The funny thing is, Hodge, that yesterday, I would’ve agreed with you. It was unfair that you were punished and my parents were not even though their crimes were no less terrible, the only difference was that theirs were perpetrated against Downworlders, so in the eyes of the Clave, theirs were forgivable.”

Alec pauses for a moment to compose himself. “These last few weeks taught me that the Clave is not infallible and that it’s okay to think for yourself and not follow the Law blindly, that we need to change our ways. I finally opened my eyes and yesterday, yesterday I would have agreed with you.”

He waits for Hodge to look at him, then he says coldly, “But today, Lydia’s in the infirmary, recovering from your attack - you fractured her skull, did you know that? Today, Valentine has both the Mortal Cup and Jace, my parabatai, in his hands. And we’re going to war that we will most likely lose. All thanks to you.” 

And this time, Hodge flinches. He looks away once more and brings the stump of his hand protectively to his chest. 

Alec takes a step back, across the threshold and into the narrow hall. “So yes, yesterday, I would’ve felt sorry for you. But today? Today, I hope you get what you deserve. Goodbye, Hodge.” 

And with that he nods to the guards who slam the cell door shut. It’s a terribly final sound.

Chapter Text

When they finally come back - Jace, Isabelle and Clary, with the Cup and the sleeping Jocelyn, too - a hush settles over the Institute. They pause, feeling everyone’s gaze on them, hard and not at all friendly. 

“What’s happening?” Clary asks quietly, but Jace only shakes his head. He has no idea.

And then Lydia’s walking towards them, across the Ops Center, and suddenly all the people manning the computers turn away as if they know what will come and don’t want to witness it.

“What’s going on here?” Isabelle asks, stepping in front of her parabatai, his sister and their mother.

Lydia comes to a halt a few feet away and when she speaks, she’s not looking at them directly, but somewhere into the distance, over their shoulders. “It’s my duty as the temporary head of this Institute to inform you that in your absence, Alexander Lightwood was found guilty of high treason and sentenced to exile.”

“What?” Jace and Izzy exclaim, distraught. 

But Lydia continues as if they haven’t spoken. “According to the Law, all his possessions were confiscated and his name struck from the records. As of this moment, Alec’s not considered one of the Nephilim anymore and every contact with him is henceforth forbidden.”

“Why?” Jace demands angrily. “How could you let it happen?”

“But he didn’t do anything!” Isabelle protests loudly.

Now Lydia finally looks at them and her blue eyes are ablaze with anger. “I did not let anything happen,” she hisses quietly. “And I know very well that Alec didnot do anything. But the Inquisitor ordered a full investigation of Meliorn’s escape - under her own supervision! And Alec knew he couldn’t let that happen because everything you’ve done so far without the Clave’s permission would’ve come out -everything.”

“So he took the fall?” Izzy says in dismay.

“Where is he?” Jace asks sharply. 

Lydia answers, he anger unrelenting, “He was taken to the City of Bones and stripped of his runes. Nobody knows where he’s now.” 

Clary touches her brother’s shoulder. “Jace, what does it mean?” she asks anxiously.

He clenches his jaw to compose himself before he replies, “The Silent Brothers burned all of Alec’s runes off his body. They erased the Nephilim part of him. He’s now a common mundane.” 

Clary draws in a sharp breath. 

Isabelle shakes her head. “We have to find him. We have to protect him! Every Downworlder will be after him: he’s a Lightwood, the son of ex-Circle members. We have to go after him!” she says urgently.

“No!” Lydia snaps. “What you have to do is leave him alone. Let him live out his life in peace. I think you’ve done enough already. Let it be.” 

Jace looks at her furiously, then he narrows his eyes. “You know where he is,” he reasons.

Lydia presses her lips together and does no respond.

Izzy takes a quick step forward. “Where is he? He’s our brother, Lydia! If you know where he is–”

“I know nothing!” Lydia interrupts her sharply. “Alec might be your brother, but he was my fiancé and I would’ve never hurt him! What’s done is done. All I can do now is hope that he’ll be happy - where ever he is.”

Both Jace and Izzy look like they might go on arguing, but Lydia takes a step back. “Now, I see that you found Jocelyn Fairchild, so I trust you brought back the Mortal Cup, too.” She reaches out. “Give it to me.” 

For a moment, they hesitate and exchange a look. Isabelle looks uncertain and Jace shakes his head sharply, but Clary takes the Mortal Cup out of her bag and hands it over to Lydia. This has always been their plan, after all.

Lydia stares at the Cup for a moment. “All for this…” She shakes her head sadly. “I will return it to Alicante, to the Clave for safe keeping. If Valentine got his hands on it…”

“We would’ve never let that happen!” Jace denies angrily. 

“The Cup was never at risk,” Isabelle protests at the same time.

“I needed it to save my mom,” Clary adds.

Lydia looks at them, one by one. “If you’ve never intended to actually give it to Valentine, you could’ve easily used a decoy. Instead, you stole it from the vault, where it was perfectly safe and unreachable for our enemies. From a vault that was under Alec’s supervision, I might add, and that made it his responsibility. But none of you thought about that, huh?”

They all exchange another uncomfortable look. 

Lydia shakes her head. “Did you even consider how it would make him feel to find it gone? Did you think of him even once while you planned this stunt?”

“He never should’ve gotten involved,” Jace mutters.

Laughing, Lydia looks at him in disbelief. “He was your leader, your brother! The acting head of this Institute! How could you have thought that he wouldn’t get involved?” 

They have no answer for her.

“It doesn’t matter now anyway,” Lydia says softly. Then she holds up the Cup. “I’ll contact the Clave and tell them that we have the Cup, then I’ll lock it away for the time being. In the meantime, you can bring Jocelyn to the infirmary. We can keep an eye on her there.” 

And with that, she turns and goes, leaving them standing there, in the middle of the silent room. When they look around, nobody meets their eyes, not even their closest friends. And though nobody says anything, blame hangs thickly in the air, settling heavily on their shoulders.

Chapter Text

Magnus takes him to Paris and London and Venice, he shows him Louvre at night, under the cloak of invisibility, and the actual Big Ben part of the Big Ben, and he steals a gondola to take him on a ride and then returns it full of duck feathers just to confuse the owner…

And Alec appreciates what Magnus is doing, he really does, he’s just so tired all the time now, because that’s what losing your innate powers will do to you. He lost his strength and his speed, his stamina. Everything that made him in any way special. He feels incomplete, damaged, broken. And he wonders when Magnus will realize that he’s simply… mundane now.

So, he tries to keep up with Magnus, but in Vienna, while he listens to Magnus planning their next trip - maybe to Switzerland, or would Iceland be better? - he finally admits defeat and asks Magnus to stop. Just stop.

“What is it, darling?” Magnus asks, dropping into a crouch in front of him. 

Alec’s sitting in the armchair, feeling heavy and out of breath. Still, he smiles and runs his knuckles up and down Magnus’ cheek. “Can we slow down, please? Just for a while?”

And Magnus finally sees, the slump of his shoulders, the dark circles under his eyes, and he grips Alec’s hand and leans his cheek into it - how strange, this intimacy,  when they haven’t even kissed yet. 

“Anything, love.”

They stay in Vienna and spend their days walking through the city, hand in hand, lounging in small cafés or simply driving around, sightseeing - Magnus is driving, that is, Alec has never learned how - and Alec usually falls asleep in the car, the hum of the engine a lullaby. 

But then…

They’re headed for the Opera - Alec does not think he’s a fan but Magnus insists he must see this one - when Magnus’ phone rings. He picks it up, and since they’re in a taxi, he responds with a simple cheerful, “Magnus Bane,” followed by a more subdued, “Oh. Biscuit,” and an uncertain glance in Alec’s direction. 

And Alec’s world grows a little darker, but just for a moment. Then he takes a deep breath, squares his shoulders and leans forward to ask the taxi driver to take them back to their hotel. He knows what will follow.

They don’t speak again until they’re safely back in their room. Only then, with Magnus leaning heavily against the closed door, do they talk about it.

“I need to go back,” Magnus says quietly.

“Alright,” Alec responds and takes his jacket off, folding it carefully - Magnus bought it for him and he can’t even imagine how expensive it must have been. Never before did he have to think about things like money, the Clave provided, but now it’s always there, in the back of his mind.

Magnus rushes to explain, “Clary and the others found the Book of White - Camille Belcourt had it, she gave it to them in exchange for her freedom - and they think there might be a spell in it to wake Jocelyn–”

“Magnus,” Alec interrupts him gently, “you don’t have to explain. I always knew that your vacation would end one day and you would have to return to New York.”

Magnus blinks at him. “My…?”

“You are the High Warlock of Brooklyn,” Alec says. “You have your duties and responsibilities. I knew that you would never abandon your people, especially not now, with Valentine out there and the Circle on the rise again. You’re a good person, it’s something I’ve always admired about you.” 

“Alexander…” Magnus whispers. 

Alec sets his jacket aside. “I can’t go back. It wouldn’t be safe or wise. But I have some money set aside - I never knew what to spend my allowance on, I just kept it, hid it in a place where I could easily get to it, just in case. So, if you drop me off there, I’ll be fine.” He shrugs with false confidence because in reality, he’s scared, so scared of being alone, of not being fine, of the big mundane world out there.

Magnus pushes off the door and walks over quickly. “Alexander, I won't just leave you!” he exclaims, affronted that Alec even suggested it. “We’re in this together, you and I, and we’ll find a way how to handle this - together! You’re right, I can’t abandon my people, but I can’t - I won’t! - abandon you either because you’re… you’re,” he swallows hard and his eyes are so full of emotions that Alec’s heart skips a beat, “you’re everything.”

And Alec leans down and kisses him. It’s their first kiss and his first kiss, too, and Alec feels like his heart will burst. Magnus makes a very happy, content noise, grabs Alec by the front of his shirt and drags him down while rising on his tiptoes himself at the same time. And it’s glorious.

When the kiss finally ends, they press their foreheads together and just stand there for a long, long while, till Alec whispers, “Okay.” 

Magnus slumps in relief and it’s not until this moment that Alec realizes that Magnus expected him to say no, he expected Alec to leave him. How odd.

“Alright, alright,” Magnus whispers back. “We will find a safe place for you to stay while I deal with Jocelyn, somewhere no Downworlder hellbent on revenge will ever find you, or - dare to thread!” 

As if that gave him some idea, Magnus leans back and grins mischievously. “Have I ever told you about my friend, Ragnor Fell?”

Chapter Text

He hands the Mortal Cup over to Valentine and Valentine takes him back. After twenty years of pain and misery, Hodge can finally have his revenge. And the bloodier it will be, the better!


It’s an easy task: draw the Shadowhunters into an ambush and let Valentine’s minions slaughter them like they deserve. This is what he has been waiting for, these hypocrites at his mercy! The ultimate satisfaction at his fingertips.

But then, then he sees Alec among those ambushed on the battlefield. Alec… the boy he watched grow up into a fine young man. The son of his most hated enemies, traitors to their cause, yes - and yet…

Suddenly the sweet taste of vengeance sours in his mouth. 

No. Not this.

Hacking his way through the thinning ranks of Shadowhunters, he sneaks up on Alec, and when the young man turns and sees him, his eyes widening in shock, Hodge punches him hard. 

Alec staggers, and before he can recover, Hodge has him in a choke hold, one arm wound tightly around Alec’s neck from behind. He drives Alec to his knees, tightening his hold even further, but mindful of causing no lasting harm. Alec struggles and gasps for breath - it’s all in vain, though, and his movements grow sluggish and weak.

“You will not die today,” Hodge hisses through clenched teeth into Alec’s ear, his promise almost drowned by the din of the battle around them.

When Alec finally loses consciousness and slumps in Hodge’s hold, Hodge carefully lowers him to the ground, and after a quick glance around to make sure that nobody’s watching, he drags the dead body of a Shadowhunter he has never seen before over and covers Alec with it. Then he dips his fingers into the stranger’s wounds and smears his blood all over Alec’s pale face and throat, making him look like just another corpse on a battlefield full of them. 

And then, with one last look at the young man he would’ve been proud to call a son, Hodge turns and leaves. He still has enemies to kill.

Chapter Text

They’re in London when it happens. 

There’s a fire crackling merrily in the fireplace and Alec’s curled up on the sofa, asleep. For a while, Magnus pretended to read, now he just sits there, in his leather armchair, and watches Alec, a little concerned about Alec’s lingering tiredness, caused by the removal of his runes, but mostly overwhelmingly happy that Alec’s here, with him, in Magnus’ old London house. 

And that’s when Magnus feels it, the prodding nudge of scrying, of a magical tracking. He frowns and straightens quickly because the touch is not directed at him but at Alec, the protective net that Magnus has spun around Alec after he picked him up at the City of Bones catching the attempted contact and not letting it pass. 

Magnus narrows his eyes dangerously. Whoever is trying to find Alec, they’re terribly insistent, their prodding hard and unrelenting. That angers Magnus because he swore to protect Alec from any harm. And though he’s sure that the scrying will never reach Alec, this will not do. 

Leaning forward, he touches Alec’s hand gently, using him as a focus for his own spell - and then he punches back at the prying touch, hard, and with a satisfied smirk on his lips. 


Jace and Izzy scream when they feel their parabatai tracking turn back on them, the power of their bond blowing up in their faces. They stumble back, letting go of each other, and Alec’s old t-shirt, found forgotten in a hamper, drops to the floor between them, catching flames with a loud whoomp! 

Clary, who has been watching from afar until now, rushes forward and stomps the fire out. She looks at Jace, then at Isabelle. “I gather it didn’t work, huh?” she hazards a guess.

“No,” Izzy replies, and burying her hands in her hair, she clenches them into fists in frustration. “It’s as if something’s blocking us, something very powerful.”

Jace props his hands on his hips and drops his head for a moment, breathing hard. Then he twists around, lightning fast, and punches the wall behind him with his fist, leaving a hole in the wood facing. 

“Jace!” Clary exclaims and grabs his hand. 

Jace hisses and pulls away sharply. “I’m fine!” he snaps angrily, his eyes ablaze, cheeks flushed.

An uncomfortable silence settles over the room as they stand there, looking at each other. They know. They all know but nobody wants to say it aloud. Saying it aloud would mean accepting that it is their fault. 

And it can’t be their fault. It just can’t. They did not mean any harm, just the opposite. They wanted to save lives, Meliorn’s and Jocelyn’s, they wanted to stop grave injustice from happening, a possible war with the Shadow World. This, this wasn’t what they wanted. It never should’ve gone this far. Nobody should’ve gotten hurt.

But Alec was hurt. Their brother was hurt. Irreversibly. In a way they’ll never be able to make up for. To save them. Because that’s what Alec has always done, covered for them, though they never admitted it even to themselves. And the worst thing? They weren’t even there. He needed them and they were not there. 

“You’re not listening!”

“We fucked up,” Isabelle whispers into the silence in the end, throat tight with emotions, eyes trained on Jace. 

Her parabatai looks away, saying nothing. What’s there to say? 

Guilt hangs heavy in the air, choking them all.

Chapter Text

They are sitting around the table in the Ops Center, Jace, Isabelle and Clary, joking and laughing, when Maryse approaches - and they all notice how pale and shaken she seems.

“Mom?” Izzy asks, uncertain.

Maryse takes a deep breath. “The Clave received intel that Valentine and his forces were approaching the borders of Idris. A patrol was sent to check it out. They were ambushed and slaughtered.” 

Clary presses her hand to her mouth. “Oh my God…”

Maryse takes a deep breath to compose herself. “Alec was with them.”

Now they all straighten up and Izzy exclaims, “What? Why?”

“He was in Alicante, delivering our monthly report,” Maryse responds quietly, and they all notice how her hands shake when she presses them hard against the table. “They asked for volunteers, and he…” She swallows and closes her eyes. 

“No,” Jace states firmly and shakes his head. “No, Alec’s not dead. I would know.” And when they all turn to him, he touches his chest. “I would feel it. He’s myparabatai. He is not dead. I would know!”

Isabelle jumps to her feet. “Then we must go look for him!”

Maryse looks at her. “The Clave sent out scouts, then pulled our people back to Alicante. They forbade us to go anywhere near the place where the ambush took place. They fear a second attack might come–”

Izzy slams her hand on the table. “I don’t care! I don’t give a rat’s ass about what the Clave wants. If Jace says that my brother’s alive, then Alec is alive. He might be injured, even dying right now.”

Maryse shakes her head. “The scouts checked–”

“Maryse,” Jace interrupts her and leans forward urgently. “He is alive. I can feel it.”

Maryse takes a deep, shaky breath again. “Even if you are right, how do you propose we get to the border? It would take us hours, and it’s already been half a day…”

“Magnus Bane,” Clary speaks up. They turn to her. “Magnus would move heaven and earth to help Alec, I know it. He can portal us there or at least somewhere close.”

Frowning, Maryse opens her mouth to protest, but Izzy jumps in before she can, “Is your hatred of him stronger than your desire to help your own son?”

Maryse glares at her, but then she nods. “Fine. Call him. Go find Alec.” She pauses and whispers, “And bring him home.”


When they step through the portal - Magnus luckily knows this area, having visited it several times with his friend, Ragnor Fell, while Ragnor was teaching at the Shadowhunter Academy in Idris - the first thing they notice is the awful stench. The stench of dead bodies lying for hours in the scorchingly hot sun. They almost gag. 

“Dear God…” Clary whispers, looking around. 

“Alec!” Izzy yells frantically. Nothing moves.

Jace turns to Magnus who stands there, frozen. Jace’s own heart is beating wild, with fear and with hope, and he’s so anxious to find his parabatai that he can barely breathe, so tight is his chest. He knows very well how Magnus must be feeling right now.

“Can you locate him?” Jace asks desperately. “We don’t have the time to search for him. And,” he looks around the field, trampled and churned and layered thick with corpses, and finishes softly, “there are so many dead here.”

As if waking from a dream, Magnus nods sharply and pulls one of Alec’s fingerless gloves out of his pocket. For a heartbeat or two, he clenches it in his fist, as if afraid what he will find. Then he takes a deep breath, despite the foul stench in the air, and closes his eyes. 

“There!” Magnus says sharply after a moment and points down the field.

They start running. 


In the end, they find Alec buried under two corpses, under the dead bodies of two unknown Shadowhunters in full gear. He’s lying on his back, pale and spattered with blood. There’s a big bruise on his cheek and a thick ring of bruising on his throat - and he’s not moving.

“Alec!” Jace yells and together with Izzy, they start dragging the bodies off him.

“Alexander,” Magnus whispers, dropping to his knees next to Alec, his fingers reaching for his throat. His shoulders slump in relief when he finds a pulse. Not that he didn’t trust Jace’s word, their parabatai bond, but… he was afraid to. “He’s alive.”

“I told you so!” Jace retorts as if annoyed, but his relief is very obvious, too. He kneels down on Alec’s other side and starts running his hands over Alec’s body, searching for injuries - and finds none. He even turns Alec onto his side to look at his back. Nothing. 

“What’s wrong with him?” Izzy asks anxiously.

Magnus touches the bruising on Alec’s neck. “He was choked.” Then he lays one hand on Alec’s forehead. “And he’s burning up.” Magnus looks up, at the hot sun, standing overhead. “I think it’s the heat - sunstroke, dehydration…”

“Can you help him?” Clary asks.

Magnus nods, already focusing on his boyfriend, one hand on Alec’s chest, the other on Alec’s forehead, and he pushes his healing magic into Alec’s body, blue flames dancing around his fingers. He wants, he needs Alec back, conscious and healthy and there

Because, even though Magnus knows that Alec’s injuries aren’t grave, Alec’s stillness scares him deeply. Ever since Clary called and told him about what happened, he was sure, absolutely sure, that this was it, that they wouldn’t find Alec alive, that fate was cruel once more - and that horror still lingers, squeezing his heart. Wake up, Alexander. Please, wake up!

A moment later, Alec’s eyes fly open. His back arches and he takes a deep, wheezing breath. Immediately, he starts coughing and gagging, and they turn him onto his side quickly so that he can vomit what little remains in his stomach. 

Izzy laughs and Clary hugs her with a grin, and Jace is smiling, too - and it’s a terrible thing to feel so happy among so many corpses, but their brother, their lover, their friend is alive. Alec’s alive. And Magnus slumps forward, pressing his forehead to Alec’s shoulder, almost crying with relief. 

“Wh… what happn’d?” Alec croaks out, and when they help him sit up, he leans against Magnus who hugs him gratefully.

“You were ambushed,” Jace says and his voice is so gentle, his hands so tender when he offers Alec a sip of water from his canteen - just a small one, so he wouldn’t throw up again.

Alec’s eyes roam around sluggishly. “Hodge,” he remembers. “Hodge was here…” 

They all draw in a sharp breath and exchange a look before quickly scanning their surroundings, as if they finally remembered that they are in enemy territory. 

“I think… he saved my life,” Alec whispers, still leaning heavily against Magnus. 

“How?” Izzy asks angrily. “We found you covered with corpses!”

Alec swallows. “He knocked me out.” He touches the bruises on his throat. “If he hadn’t done that…” He turns his eyes to Jace. “Any other survivors?”

Jace looks at Magnus. “Magnus?” he asks softly.

Magnus throws out a net of magic across the field. Nothing. He grimly shakes his head. They all drop their eyes. 

“We should go,” Clary whispers. “We can’t help anyone else here and we can’t take all the bodies with us. Besides, Valentine’s men could come back any moment.”

They nod and Jace helps Alec stand. Alec staggers, then bends over and throws up the little water he drank. “Sorry,” he whispers.

“Don’t apologize. Just… don’t,” Jace implores and drapes one of Alec’s arms across his shoulders. “You’re alive! That’s all that matters.”

Magnus props Alec up on the other side. “I will make it all better once we’re safely back home, alright?” he promises. “Just hold on a moment longer.” He squeezes Alec’s waist.

Together, they stumble up the field, towards the portal Magnus left open just in case they needed to retreat fast. It’s only a short distance, but it seems much longer because Alec can barely stand. 

Just before they step through the gate, Alec looks over his shoulder one last time, scanning the field full of dead Shadowhunters with his eyes. “He saved my life,” he whispers, a little forlorn.

And then they’re gone.


On the hill above the field, Hodge Starkweather watches the portal wink out. Then he turns and disappears into the thick shadows of the forest.

Chapter Text

“Magnus? What is this?” Alec asks, coming out of their bedroom. He holds a…thing between his thumb and his forefinger, a look of dismay on his face.

Magnus grins. “Those are leather pants, Alexander. I’m sure you’ve heard of this age-old invention, you wear plenty of leather every day, after all.”

“Jackets, Magnus, jackets. And gloves. And boots. Not… this!” he breathes out in horror. 

“Then it’s time to breach this virgin territory, my love. Up and at them. Or into them. Shoo!” Magnus waves his hands, still grinning.

Alec shakes his head firmly. “No, no way. My cargo pants are just fine. Or… or my jeans. I’m not putting this on!”

Magnus walks up to him, grips his shoulders tightly and looks Alec earnestly in the eyes. “Alexander, dear. We’re going clubbing. You promised. And because I know that this is a novelty of a situation for you, you’ll have to trust me: no pants you own are suited for what I have in mind for tonight.” He raises himself on tippy toes and pecks Alec on the mouth. “Now go and put them on.”

Alec furrows his brows. He opens his mouth to protest then closes it again, and in the end, his shoulders slump in defeat and he goes. He did promise.

After a while, though, his voice floats out of their bedroom, tinged with panic, “Magnus, I can see my underwear in those pants! What do I do?”

Magnus grins devilishly and yells back, “You go commando, darling!”

The following stream of curses would make a nun go up in flames; Magnus is quite impressed, he didn’t know that his lover’s swearing was so… innovative. And though he tells himself that he’s a bad, bad man, he’s absolutely positive that Alec’s buns in those leather pants? Will make a saint want to sin!

Chapter Text

In the morning, there are always feathers in their bed. Sometimes one, sometimes a handful, sometimes enough to stuff a pillow, it seems. Magnus doesn’t understand how Alec isn’t as bald as a boiled chicken by now. 

But the thing is, the feathers are always there. Even when Alec doesn’t stay the whole night, even when he gets up in the wee hours of the morning and leaves on some Shadowhunter business. Sometimes, even when Alec doesn’t stay over at all. Magic? Is weird like that.

Magnus always gathers the feathers and puts them in a wooden box that he fireproofed, waterproofed, mouldproofed, whatever-came-to-his-mind-proofed, just to make sure that Alec’s feathers stay the way they are. Because. He does not like to think of why exactly he’ll be grateful for this keepsake one day, so… he tells himself it’s just because

But one feather, a long and elegant one, pure white at the tip and dark gray at the bottom, Magnus fashions into a pendant. It feels good and right to carry a piece of his lover with him, always. 

And then Alec sees it…

“Is that one of mine?” Alec asks in a hushed voice, gently touching the feather where it rests on Magnus’ chest, over his heart.

“Yes?” Magnus answers, a little uncertain. “Please, don’t tell me that I violated some Shadowhunter custom that I did not know about? Please?”

Alec smiles softly, eyes still trained on the feather. “No, it’s just that… couples give each other feathers to wear on a necklace during a wedding ceremony. When the feather turns to ash, you know that your husband or wife is dead.”

“Oh,” Magnus mumbles and looks down. He didn’t know that. “I’ll take it off, then.” 

He reaches up to take the necklace off but Alec stops him. He whispers, “No, keep it. I like seeing it on you.”

And Magnus usually knows how to read between the lines, but this is too important to risk a misunderstanding. “Alexander, what exactly are you saying?”

Alec finally looks up, and his eyes are so full of emotions that Magnus’ heart skips a beat. And then, when Alec slowly sinks down to one knee, Magnus forgets how to breathe.

“Magnus Bane,” Alec says formally, “will you marry me, Alexander Lightwood?”

And Magnus’ knees are trembling and his hands are so cold that his fingers tingle and he has lived for four hundred years but never, not once did anyone ask him this most important question. And there’s only one response he can give.

“Yes.”

Chapter Text

Isabelle leaves Alec with Magnus. 

When the warlock first opens his door, he’s anything but pleased to see them. But one look at Alec and his reluctance to let them in is gone, because Alec is still pale, his eyes wide and unfocused and darting around anxiously. It’s very obvious that something’s wrong.

And when Izzy tells Magnus what happened - no, it’s not her secret to tell, but if she wants to ask Magnus for help, she has to be honest with him - Magnus swears to take care of Alec, to keep him safe. And Isabelle’s heart aches when she watches them together because Magnus treats her brother with care and affection and respect - the way Alec deserves to be treated.

She leaves Alec there, safe, and returns home, her anger building and building with every step she takes. And when she crosses the threshold of the Institute, she’s brimming with fury, determined to make Lydia pay, the Lightwood family honor be damned - this price is too high to pay!

And so Izzy heads directly to Lydia’s room - but what she finds there, changes everything…


Jace still can’t believe that this is Alec’s wife - his parabatai’s wife! - standing by his side in front of the bank of computer monitors in the Ops Center. Lydia, his sister-in-law. By the Angel, when did everything turn upside down?

He doesn’t really know Lydia -  he was too consumed by his anger at Alec to bother getting to know her before - but this morning, something about Alec’s wife feels a little bit… off to him. Maybe it’s the novelty of the situation, maybe it’s because he finally gets to spend more than five minutes in her presence, maybe it’s nothing at all - and yet, his gut is telling him to watch out, to beware. He should really talk to Alec about it, even if it makes him angry again…

That’s his last thought before Isabelle storms in. Her face is paper white but her eyes are blazing with fury. Jace has never seen her so angry. He opens his mouth to ask what’s going on, but before he can do that, she strides over and punches Lydia in the face - so hard that Lydia stumbles. 

“Izzy!” Jace exclaims while a shocked silence falls over the room. 

But Isabelle’s not finished yet. She unwinds her whip and attacks Lydia again, and only then does Jace notice that Lydia pulled out a knife, a simple steel, not a Seraph Blade. The whip wraps itself around her wrist, and when Izzy pulls with all her might, Lydia goes flying across the room, smashing through a table and some chairs, rolling on the ground. And when she comes up in a crouch again, she hisses loudly!

Everyone freezes, and Jace whispers into the silence, “What the hell?” 

Breathing hard with anger, Isabelle claims, “That’s not Lydia. I found the real Lydia dead in her room. Dead and hidden in the closet. Whatever that thing is, it must have killed her right after the wedding and it has pretended to be her ever since.”

The creature’s features ripple, showing scales beneath Lydia’s pretty face for a second, and they all gasp in horror. A shapechanger on the premises! Which means that either the wards are down, or…

The thing snarls and turns to run, but Raj, standing behind it, whips around and kicks it in the face. The creature stumbles back, in the direction of Hodge - who pulls out a Seraph Blade.

“No!” Isabelle yells, but too late.

The shapechanger turns and pulls up short, a surprised look on its face, then Hodge slashes across with his blade and cuts its head off. The decapitated body drops to the ground, the head rolling across the floor, turning from a pretty blond into bald, scaly and terribly ugly.

“We needed it alive!” Izzy roars at Hodge. “Now we’ll never find out who let it inside the Institute!”

“What exactly are you saying, Izzy?” Jace asks from behind her. He suspects, he knows, but it’s such an absurd thought that he needs to hear it aloud.

She twists around. “I’m saying that we have a mole among us!” she snaps. “That thing couldn’t have crossed our wards, someone must have invited it in! And I swear, I swear to you, that I’ll find that person and I’ll make him or her pay, if it’s the last thing I do!” 

“Because of Lydia?” Jace is surprised by Izzy’s fury. Not that Lydia’s death doesn’t warrant it, he just didn’t think that Isabelle and she were that close.

“That person betrayed all of us. Lydia is dead! And Alec…” Isabelle swallows her words, physically restraining herself from saying more.

Jace freezes. Alec? “What about Alec? Where is he? What happened?” he fires his questions, instantly on high alert.

But Isabelle just shakes her head. “Not now, not here,” she replies quietly. 

Jace is about to protest, to demand to know where his parabatai is, but then Maryse and Robert are there, demanding to know what’s going on, and the whole Institute is in chaos because a demon got through the wards and one of their people died, their daughter-in-law and sister-in-law and friend is dead

“But why?” Robert asks, crouching next to the head with its slit-pupiled eyes wide open and mouth agape. “What was the point of this charade? Why impersonate Lydia?”

“To get to the Cup?” Jace reasons. “To get intel? To wreak havoc? The Inquisitor herself will be arriving to take the Cup into custody. If that thing assassinated her, especially wearing Lydia’s face…” 

He lets his words hang in the air.

“Now we will never know,” Isabelle spits, glaring at Hodge.

Hodge doesn’t apologize, he doesn’t make any excuses, he just offers, “I’ll go through the surveillance footage. I’m sure we will figure out who let the shapechanger in.”

“And where the hell is Alec?” Maryse demands, her voice sounding all the sharper for the concern and anxiety she’s trying to hide.

And that’s when Isabelle motions to Jace to follow her out, away from the crowd. She obviously knows something and she doesn’t want to have to answer questions. 

“I took Alec to Magnus,” Izzy admits in a hushed voice when she pulls Jace into the hall leading towards the main entrance. 

Jace’s eyebrows shoot up in surprise. “To Magnus? Why?”

Suddenly, all the anger flows out of her, and she hunches her shoulders and hugs herself tight, looking pained. “She… it hurt Alec, Jace,” she whispers.

Jace’s starting to have a horrible suspicion. “Izzy?” he prompts.

She takes a deep breath. “That thing forced itself on him, Jace. He thought it was Lydia, that Lydia did that to him, and he didn’t think he could refuse, fight back. He said no but Lydia… that creature, it did not stop. It raped him, Jace!”

Jace feels sick and a little light-headed, so he sinks down on one of the benches in the hall, trembling. Alec… Alec who has never had sex before, who has never even been kissed before, as far as Jace knows, Alec who would do anything for his family… 

Izzy continues, “I didn’t know what to do, so I took him to Magnus. Alec was… he was completely out of it and I was afraid that…” She takes a deep breath. “The last time I heard mom talking Alec’s marriage, she said that Alec would ‘adapt.’ I was afraid, by the Angel, I was actually afraid of telling my own mother that my brother was raped because I wasn’t sure how she would react!” She hugs herself tighter. “How did everything get to screwed?”

And all Jace can do is sit there with his head in his hands, because his parabatai was hurt, hurt in a way that he can’t just fix. It’s not a wound to be healed with an iratze. Alec was raped, violated in the worst possible way. And on top of that, his wife was killed. Lydia, abrasive, but strong and proud Lydia… 

“What I don’t get is why?” Isabelle whispers. “Why did the monster do that to Alec?”

“Why did the scorpion sting the frog?” Jace retorts grimly. 

But then, a much worse thing occurs to him. Alec is his parabatai. And the shapechanger was sent by Valentine, Jace’s father, to impersonate Alec’s wife. No… no, not even Valentine is so twisted, not even Valentine would hurt Jace’s parabatai in such a terrible way just to prove a point to Jace. Not even Valentine!

Jace growls and stands up. “Are you sure Alec’s safe with Magnus Bane?” he asks.

Izzy nods firmly. “Magnus would never hurt him and he would die first before he let anyone touch Alec.”

“Good. Then let’s catch ourselves a mole - and make our enemies pay!”

Chapter Text

They are on a triple date - Jace and Clary, Magnus and Alec, Izzy and Simon, all of them squished together in the corner booth at Taki’s - when Alec’s phone rings: a werewolf attack in an abandoned factory nearby. Magnus refuses to be left behind, of course, so he tags along.

It’s an ambush, of course. Valentine’s new clique, determined to avenge their leader’s death, swarms them from all sides, until all they can do is to retreat through the portal that Magnus opened with a simple hand-wave. Simon, Izzy and Clary go through the gate first, while Magnus holds the gate open and Alec and Jace cover their retreat. 

“Go, go, go!” Alec yells, shooting arrows whose supply never runs out. He’s backing towards the portal, only two or three steps away now, and that’s the only reason why Magnus allows Jace to drag him through - he’s certain that Alec will follow. 

But when they step into the Institute’s dark backyard, the gate flickers, winking in and out of existence for a moment, then suddenly and with a loud whoomp, it implodes and the shock wave tosses them all to the ground, flattening them like grass. 

Magnus hits his head pretty badly. His ears are ringing and his chest hurts as if someone kicked him, hard. He groans, muttering curses under his breath - and that’s when the screaming starts.

Magnus rolls onto his back and sits up quickly, which does not do his headache any favors, but it doesn’t matter, because it’s Jace screaming. He’s kneeling on the pavement, bent at the waist, his forehead almost touching the ground, one hand pressed tightly to his side… 

And he’s yelling Alec’s name, over and over again, till he’s hoarse, till his voice gives out. And Magnus’ heart stutters and skips a beat, because he knows, he knows, and he won’t look down, at Alec’s feather strung on his necklace, he won’t look down, because if he does not look down, it won’t be real.

He looks. The feather, pure white at the tip and dark gray at the bottom only minutes ago, is now black, black and disintegrating, its ashes carried away on an unseen breeze.


They portal back, to the roof of the opposite building - it’s an old warehouse in a sea of warehouses - to the place from where they first scouted their decrepit target. And it’s as if they walked into hell. 

There are flames everywhere and the air is thick with smoke and ash and burning things. And the factory is… gone, just gone. There’s nothing left of it but a big hole in the ground and piles of debris, and in the distance, sirens are screaming, firemen and cops and ambulances en route. 

And they stand there, at the edge of the roof, Izzy and Simon, Jace and Clary, and Magnus to the side, alone, and they stare and they can’t believe it. They just can’t believe it. Alec was right behind them, he was, he was. He should have made it! 

But he did not.

And then Jace, already propped up by Clary, crumples in on himself. Clary is calling his name and Simon is there to help her lower Jace to the ground when his knees buckle…

But it’s all just distant noise to Magnus, because his husband just died. They were on a date together - yes, they still called them “dates”, it felt much more romantic that way - they were on a date together, and they planned on sleeping in tomorrow, and now Alexander is dead. 

Then Izzy’s there, gripping his arm and crying softly, whispering his name, but Magnus is frozen. He’s simply frozen. His husband is gone and nothing can fix that.


They offer Magnus Alec’s old room at the Institute, just so that he isn’t alone. They offer to go home with him, just so that he isn’t alone. They offer him so many things, but nothing can make him feel not alone. He is alone. 

Alexander is dead. 

That knowledge is like a stone sitting on his chest, but it seems that he simply can’t cry. His emotions, his terrible, broken feelings, are weighing down on him, but he feels frozen, detached. Until he finds the box empty.

The box. The box with Alexander’s feathers that he wrapped in so many protective spells that it should’ve glowed with their magic - spells that should’ve preserved Alec’s feathers even after his death. And though Alec warned him that they wouldn’t keep, Magnus was so sure that he got it right, that he used the correct spells. And yet. 

The box is empty. There are no feathers, not even ashes left behind. It’s simply empty. As if Alexander has never even existed. 

And that’s when the dam finally breaks and he starts sobbing so harshly that his throat hurts. He’s making pained, keening sounds, curled up on their bed and hugging the box tightly, and he’s afraid he will never stop. 

Please, Alexander, please, come back. I’m not ready to let you go. 

And then… then a feather appears on Alec’s pillow.


Magnus calls them, Jace and Izzy and everyone else, first thing in the morning. He calls them and demands that they come over. He doesn’t ask, he doesn’t suggest - he demands! They’re in mourning, their hearts too broken for his “bullshit” as Jace calls it, but Magnus is relentless. 

It’s about Alexander. Come.

Because it didn’t end with that one feather the night before. It appeared - and then turned into ash mere seconds later. And then another handful was there, just there, he never actually saw them materialize, they were simply there - and then they too turned into ash. 

And Magnus reacted with puzzlement and grief and then with fury because it felt like torture, pure torture, a memory of Alexander, given and then snatched away again. And he raged and he screamed and he tried to hold onto one of the feathers, just one - but no, they all turned into ash.

It wasn’t till the morning painted the sky purple and pink, that it finally dawned on him what it meant, the feathers’ return and their following disappearance. You fool, Magnus, you idiot!

“You are saying that… Alec’s alive?” Isabelle asks in shock and disbelief.

Magnus nods, once, twice, thrice, because he feels jittery, overflowing with manic, uncontrollable energy. “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. He’s not here, but he’s somewhere and he’s trying to reach us.”

Izzy exchanges an unreadable look with Clary. Simon’s standing in the back, looking like he would rather be anywhere else but here. And Jace is leaning against the table with his head bowed; he hasn’t said anything yet.

“Magnus…” Clary says reluctantly.

He waves his hands sharply. “I know how it sounds, believe me, I know. But you see, Alec’s feathers always find their way into our bed, even when he’s not here. I don’t know how or why, magic is fickle like that, but those feathers are linked to Alexander, without his angelic magic to sustain them, they turn into ash, disintegrate. They should not be here - at all - if he’s dead. And yet - it’s like his magic keeps punching holes through some barrier, and then is cut off again.”

Clary and Isabelle still stare at him uncertainly, their eyes puffy and red from crying and lack of sleep. Simon is still pretending he isn’t actually here, feeling rather awkward about the whole thing. And Jace…

“He’s right,” Jace croaks out and lifts his head. He looks haggard and his face is almost ashen gray. “I feel it too. From time to time, it’s as if Alec’s back, our bond is back, as strong as ever - and then it’s gone again.” He takes a deep, shuddering breath and hugs himself. “And I can’t take it much longer because whenever our bond cuts out, it’s like losing him all over again, the same agony, the same emptiness. I can’t take it!”

Clary walks over to him and strokes the bangs off his forehead gently. “Why didn’t you say something?” she asks softly.

He laughs painfully. “I thought I was going mad,” he admits just as quietly.

Izzy takes a shaky breath, pauses, then props her hands on her hips. “Fine. Alright. If you two are right - and that’s a big if! - then where is he? If he didn’t die in the explosion and he didn’t come through the portal…” Her voice trails off and her breath hitches. “No,” she whispers.

“What?” Simon asks, finally joining the conversation.

“He’s stuck in limbo,” Magnus replies, and now he’s hugging himself, too, shoulders hunched, because if Alexander is truly stuck in limbo, then Magnus has no idea how to get him out.

“That’s why the feathers appear and disappear again? That’s why Jace can feel the bond return and cut out again?” Clary reasons. “Because whenever someone somewhere opens a portal…”

“Alec’s alive again, in a way that we can actually perceive, if only for a few seconds, until the portal shuts down again,” Magnus confirms.

“Great. Then how do we get him out?” Clary inquires, looking from Jace to Izzy and to Magnus. “There must be a way.”

Jace swallows. “There’s not. Portals are basically dimensional gates that allow you to travel from one place to another instantaneously. When you lose yourself in-between the gates, there’s no way back.”

Isabelle whispers, “The explosion in the factory must’ve destroyed the portal the moment Alec stepped through. The discharge then destroyed the gate on our end and he never got through.”

“But there must be a way,” Simon argues. “Alec’s not dead. He’s just… stuck between dimensions. I’m sure he isn’t the first one. There must be a way to reach him!”

Magnus sighs. “No, he isn’t the first one. Many people were lost in limbo.”

“Great,” Simon exclaims. “Well, not great. You know what I mean. Someone must have found a way to get those people out by now, no?”

“It’s not that simple,” Magnus objects.

Simon throws up his hands. “Why not? It must be like… like fishing, right? Alec’s a fish and the limbo is a pond. Just throw him a line!”

Magnus runs his hands through his hair. “It’s not that simp…” he starts saying, but then he straightens quickly. “Or maybe it is!” he says, eyes gleaming. “We just need the proper line!” 

He turns to Jace who stands up slowly, arms falling to his sides. “Our parabatai bond,” he breathes out, eyes growing wide. 

Now Isabelle’s on it, too. “If you can use the bond to track down your parabatai in another realm…” She sounds thrilled. But then she sobers. “But that’s pretty dangerous, if you remember,” she tells Jace.

But Jace just shakes his head. “I don’t care. Can you do it, Magnus? Can you use our bond to get Alec out?”

And Magnus is grinning like a fool. “I can’t - but we can!”


The portal’s open, its purple shimmering surface filling the bedroom door. Magnus and Jace stand in front of it while Clary, Izzy and Simon move aside, nervous and jittery with both hope and fear. It must work, it just must!

The moment the gate opened, Jace took a deep breath and squared his shoulders as the bond fell back in place, humming with power again. “I’m ready,” he says now.

Magnus touches his shoulder. “Alright. Here it goes…” he warns and then he pushes his magic into Jace, fueling his bond with his parabatai, until a ribbon of glowing blue energy, the bond made visible, snakes out of Jace’s chest, almost blinding in its intensity, and flows out and out and still farther out - and into the portal.

And then Jace reaches out through the bond, looking, looking, looking - but not with his eyes or his mind, but with his soul. And a moment later… soul touching soul wrapping itself around soul clinging to soul…

Jace?

Yes!

“Got him,” Jace breathes out. “Now pull!”

And Magnus pulls, he pulls all his magic back, his power wrapped around the bond, entwined with it, and so the bond moves back, too - and Alec follows, dragged out like a fish on a line.

And when he slips out of the portal, he crumples to the ground, black clothes spattered with enemy blood, skin pale as snow, eyes closed and his wings, his beautiful, big and dove gray wings, spread limply around him. 

For several heartbeats, nothing moves. And then: Magnus closes the portal, the glowing ribbon of Alec and Jace’s parabatai bond dissipates, both Jace and Magnus drop to their knees besides Alec and the others rush in. And they’re all calling Alec’s name. AlecAlecAlexander!

Alec groans softly and tries to raise himself on his hands, but his wings are getting in the way, so he tucks them back in, the process is slow and painful, though. When it’s finally done, he flops onto his back, exhausted, opens his red-rimmed eyes and croaks out, “Hey…”

“Alexander…” Magnus whispers, his voice thick, and touches his husband’s face with infinite tenderness. “You’re back. You’re alive…”

And then Magnus is crying and kissing Alec, on the lips and on the nose and all over the face, and Jace is crying and gripping Alec’s hand so hard his knuckles turn white, and Izzy and Clary are crying and hugging, and even Simon looks a little misty eyed. They did it!


Later on, much, much later on, they find out from Alec that, when the rune magic failed to help them achieve their goal, Valentine’s minions tried to use a very mundane way to stop them: a hand grenade. Why the explosion turned out to be so big, Alec doesn’t know. 

And Magnus doesn’t care. All he cares about is Alexander, alive and lying next to him in their bed, his steady heartbeat under Magnus’ ear - and his feathers, hidden between the sheets and tickling Magnus’ fingertips.

Chapter Text

“What are you doing?” Magnus asks, and standing on tippy toes behind Alec, he hooks his chin over his lover’s shoulder to see.

Alec laughs. “Cooking.”

Magnus smiles. “If you’re hungry, I have magic for that,” he says and raises one hand around Alec to snap his fingers and summon food.

“Uh-uh-uh,” Alec protests and raps Magnus lightly with a wooden spoon. “I like to cook. It’s calming. And it helps me recharge.”

Magnus rubs his nose behind Alec’s ear and whispers. “We could do other things to help you recharge.”

Alec laughs again. “We’ll have plenty of time for that later. But now, I want to cook for you.”

That sets Magnus back on his heels. He blinks. “For me?” he asks uncertainly.

Alec continues stirring something in a pot. “Yes, for you. I thought I would do something nice for you.“

Magnus stares at Alec’s broad back, puzzled. “Why?”

Shrugging, Alec responds, “Why not? I think you deserve to be treated kindly.” Then he pauses and looks over his shoulder a little shyly. “It’s not weird or… anything, right?” 

And Magnus can’t speak, his throat is too tight, and his heart is brimming with emotions. He can’t remember the last time anyone did anything for him “just because,” simply to make him happy. He just shakes his head.

In response, Alec smiles brightly and his shoulders, that went a little rigid when he asked his question, loosen in relief. “Good,” he says and turns back to the stove. “I hope you like Italian.”

Blinking hard, Magnus whispers. “I love it.” And I love you.

Chapter Text

It becomes their thing: whenever Alec can stay over for the night, he cooks for them. Alec cooks, Magnus steals the most delicious bits before they can find their way into the pot and gets rapped over the knuckles for his thievery, and they talk. It’s… cozy.

“Who did actually teach you how to cook?” Magnus asks curiously. He sits on the counter next to the stove that he magicked in for Alec, peering into one of the pans rather dubiously, because the gooey mass in it does not look edible. Yet.

Alec chuckles, cutting tiny chili peppers into even tinier pieces. “Would you believe that it was my father?”

Magnus goggles at him. “Robert? Robert Lightwood cooks?”

“Mom’s not exactly the domestic type, she can burn water! It’s one of the few things that she and Izzy have in common.” Alec turns to Magnus and points at him with a knife. “If my sister ever offers to cook for you - run! I’m not even kidding.”

Magnus grins and dangles his legs. “That bad, huh?”

Alec rolls his eyes. “Worse. I did try to teach both her and Jace, but let’s just say that I prefer it when they use knives to kill my enemies, not my taste buds!” 

“So, your father taught you?” Magnus prompts gently.

Alec pauses for a second, then replies very softly, “Yeah. I think it was the only time when I felt close to him, like we actually shared something. But… outside the kitchen, we had nothing to talk about,” he adds a little sadly. 

And Magnus’ heart aches for him, because Robert Lightwood could move to Timbuktu and never come back for what he, Magnus, cares, but this is about Alec, not about Magnus’ deep-set resentment for the Lightwood elders - and Alec loves his father.

To lighten up the mood, Magnus suggests airily, “Then maybe I should send your father a gift for teaching you how to cook, what do you think?” 

Alec looks at him and his suspicion deepens even more when he sees the mischievous little flames dancing in Magnus’ eyes. “What?” he asks slowly.

Magnus waves a hand, legs swinging from side to side. “Oh, I don’t know. Something edible… like bull testicles.” And when Alec sputters, Magnus adds very earnestly, “It’s a real delicacy, darling! But your father might take it as a threat, that’s true…” 

Laughing, Alec sets his knife aside and steps between Magnus’ legs to kiss him, his melancholy forgotten. 

Mission accomplished!

Chapter Text

The hallway is dark, the wood paneling swollen and moldy, peeling around the edges, and dust and debris crunch beneath the soles of his expensive shoes…

“You watch the people you love age and die.”

“Alexander…”

Everything’s shattered, all the stained glass windows, all the elegant railings, shards lying everywhere, strewn among overturned tables…

“If anything were to happen to you–”

“Magnus, I’m good.”

Cobwebs hang from the high, high ceiling like mourning veils, birds built their nests in the rafters and all the plants died a long time ago…

“Enough.”

A kiss…

It’s the year 2063 and the old church that used to house the Institute is being torn down - and Magnus Bane has come to say goodbye.

Because Alexander can’t anymore.

Chapter Text

It’s 3:23am when the phone rings. Magnus jerks upright from where he fell asleep at the table, his glasses are sitting askew on his nose and the file in front of him looks a little drooled on. Disoriented, he grabs for the phone…

And freezes. The whole world just stops. Because it’s Lydia on the other end. Alec’s captain. And that can mean only one thing.

“Is he alive?” Magnus asks breathlessly, because that’s the only thing he cares about right now. If Alexander is dead, then what happened will not matter at all.

Yes. Yes, he is Magnus,” Lydia assures him quickly. And the world starts moving again. “He’s a little banged up, he and Raj, both, so an ambulance took them to the ER. He asked me to call you. He was actually very adamant about it.” 

Magnus can hear the smile in her voice, layered over her worry. “Yes, it’s because we have a deal,” he explains to her. “Every injury, no matter how insignificant, will be immediately reported in, not left to tell about later, not hidden. That’s the only way how I can deal with him risking his buns every day.”

Lydia laughs a little. She has a very pretty laugh. Some other day, Magnus might have told her, but today, his heart is still beating too fast and his hands are still shaking too much. 

She tells him where the ambulance took Alec, then adds very pointedly, “Alec also told me to tell you that you should not drive. He insisted that I should tell you to take a cab. You drive like a maniac at best times and he did not want to end up sharing a hospital room with you. I quote: ‘The bed wouldn’t be as cozy.’ Unquote.”

Something warm and fuzzy flutters in Magnus’ chest. Only his husband would be worried about him while being taken to a hospital himself. His Alexander.

“Okay,” he agrees softly, his voice thick. “I will take a cab, I promise.”


Two hours, that’s how long he spends sitting around the waiting room, getting more and more jittery, his anxiety closing off his throat and making his hair go limp. It takes him two hours to notice that he put on only one sock. 

Raj ends up holding his hand for most of those two hours. 

Dirty and scraped and reeking of smoke, the bandage on his left arm starkly white, Raj holds Magnus’ hand and actually calls him by his name. Magnus did not know that Raj even knew his name since he has always called Magnus simply “Bane”. 

Raj holds his hand and tells him about what happened in a voice roughened by smoke. They were in a burning building, he and Alec, just checking to make sure it was empty because the whole building was a bust by then, and the floor just fell away from under them. They were very, very lucky. Magnus thinks he would rather not know. At least not until he’s sure that Alec will be really, really, really okay. 

And then Dot comes in - Dot, the girl who gave Magnus his first kiss in middle school, and who taught him all the secrets of make-upping and who went and became the best doctor in New York. But then, maybe Magnus is biased.

“Hello, Magnus,” she greets him with a warm smile when he jumps to his feet. “When I saw the name of the patient, Alexander Bane, I thought it would be your Alexander.”

“How is he?” Magnus asks, voice a little shaky. 

“He will be alright, dear,” Dot assures him kindly. “He really will. Yes, he has broken ribs and a wrenched shoulder, a lot of scrapes and bruises, and he inhaled some smoke, but he will be alright.”

And Magnus’ knees buckle and he suddenly feels like crying. Which is when he realizes that he didn’t remove his make-up before zonking out at the table. By all that’s holy, he must look awful. Just what will Alexander think?


“You look like a raccoon.” 

That’s what Alec thinks, apparently. It’s the first thing he croaks out when Dot lets Magnus in - “Just for a minute, Magnus, he needs rest.” - and Alec sees his husband in all his one-socked glory. 

And Magnus really is crying now, because Alec looks all black and blue in the white, white bed, his scrapes red and raw, and there are just way too many bandages for Magnus to not still feel the last remnants of dread squeezing his heart. And since Raj stayed behind to wait for the rest of the team that finally managed to douse that “bitch of a fire” as he called it, and Magnus’ make-up is ruined anyway, he allows himself a sniffle.

“Come here,” Alec says gently and reaches out towards him. 

And Magnus realizes he stopped by the door and is standing there like a tool instead of going to his husband and making the most of the minute he was given by Dot.

So he rushes forward and squeezes Alexander’s hand gently - even Alec’s knuckles are grazed, how can his knuckles be grazed when he was wearing his gloves? - and kisses one corner of Alec’s mouth tenderly, Alec’s overly active facial hair prickling his skin. 

“I’m okay,” Alec whispers against his lips, his hazel eyes warm and all-knowing and all-seeing. “I’ll be back on my feet in no time. I promise.” 

And Magnus can only nod, Magnus, who makes his living being as eloquent as possible, can’t find the proper words because his brain is buzzing with white noise, and he’s breathing funny because his throat is still too tight. 

And then Dot’s in the door, shooing him out and promising that he can return in the morning - “You’ll be back the second you’re allowed in, I bet,” she mutters but there’s a twinkle in her eye - and Alec’s shooing him out, too, telling him to go to bed and sleep

And Magnus almost leaves without actually saying a word, almost, but then he rushes back in - “Just a second, Dot, I swear!” - because he needs, he needs Alec to know something, to know this

“I love you, Alexander. And I’ll be here when you wake up.”

Chapter Text

Alec spreads his wings wide - and steps off the roof. Which still makes Magnus cringe a little. Because, holy cracker, they’re ten stories up! You don’t just step off a roof ten stories up! You don’t step off a roof, period!

For a moment, Alec disappears over the edge, then he starts flapping his majestic wings and rises back up again, now facing Magnus, and just hangs there in the air with a grin, bobbing up and down like a cork in the ocean. It’s making Magnus a little dizzy.

“Come,” Alec says, reaching out towards Magnus. 

“I don’t think so,” Magnus states, crossing his arms over his chest defensively. His black demon wings keep twitching behind him, betraying his trepidation. Who would’ve thought that those extra appendages would be such a tell?

Alec laughs. “Magnus, you need to learn how to fly.”

“But I can do that somewhere that’s not ten stories up!” Magnus points out.

Alec’s eyes spark mischievously. Magnus would like it better if said mischief weren’t aimed at him. “Are you telling me you’re afraid of heights?”

“I have a healthy respect for them,” Magnus responds with dignity.

“Magnus,” Alec coaxes, “you’re the High Warlock of Brooklyn, a powerful magic user. I’ve seen you fight demons. There’s nothing you can’t do. I’m sure of it.”

Magnus grumbles. Using flattery? So not fair.

“Come,” Alec says softly, hand still outstretched. “I promise, I won’t let you fall.”

Magnus hesitates a moment longer, but… yes, he does trust Alec. He would trust Alexander with his life - which is what he’s apparently about to do, literally

Uncrossing his arms, Magnus steps forward, to the edge of the roof, and his wings flutter a little in nervous anticipation. Then he grips Alec’s hand - and takes a leap of faith. 

Alexander does not let him fall. But that learning how to fly thing? Turns out, Magnus is not a fast learner.

Chapter Text

Magnus starts dropping pieces of clothing the moment they step through the door, and by the time he reaches their bed, he’s clad only in his black boxers - black boxers with tiny little bats with tiny little grinning faces on them. He got them because, as he told Alec, he felt a strange affinity for them. They make Alec smile. 

Groaning pathetically, Magnus keels over and hits the bed face down, bouncing a little on the sinfully thick mattress. “My shoulders hurt!” 

Alec closes the door and picks up Magnus’ discarded clothes dutifully. Then he takes off his own jacket, and folding it all neatly, he says comfortingly, “It’s just strained muscles, Magnus. You’re not used to flying, that’s all. Why don’t you heal?” 

Can’t,” Magnus moans, his voice muffled by the soft bed cover. “I have no energy left. I’m drained. I’m dead on my feet.”

Rolling his eyes, Alec points out. “You’re lying on your face, not standing on your feet!” Then he steps towards the bed and sets his hands on his hips, smiling. “If it hurts so much, how about you take some of my energy and heal yourself? I don’t mind.” Because Magnus does look terribly pathetic. Even his hair is limp.

Magnus groans again. “My pride could not take another hit!”

Now Alec has to laugh. “Your flying wasn’t that bad.” 

“I looked like a bat-winged chicken doing an interpretative dance!” Magnus wails. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed you snickering while you were holding me upside down by my foot!”

Well, it’s true. Still. “I helped you already once today–”

“Seven times!” Magnus corrects him, face still buried in the bed cover.

“–or seven times,” Alec amends, the corners of his mouth twitching again. “So, what’s once more in the grand scheme of things?” he coaxes.

“I really can’t,” Magnus sighs a little more seriously. “That’s for emergencies only. I don’t want to get too used to it. Such power, it’s… addictive.” 

Oh. Alec didn’t know that.

But then Magnus turns his head to the side and stares at Alec over his shoulder contemplatively. “But a massage, now that would be something,” he suggests hopefully.

Alec narrows his eyes suspiciously. “Magnus Bane, are you trying to get me in bed?”

A mischievous little flame dances in Magnus’ one visible eye. “I would never!”

“Uh-huh,” Alec responds, unconvinced. 

“All I want is a massage. My shoulders hurt so bad. Those wings are so huge and… heavy and… unwieldy,” Magnus complains, looking like a kicked puppy. 

Alright! Alright, enough with the whining!” Alec cuts him off. Damn that sneaky swindler, he knows exactly how to push Alec’s buttons. “Move up and I’ll bring the oil.” 

Grinning, Magnus shimmies up the bed happily and crosses his arms under his cheek. “I’m all yours, darling.” 

Heading for the bathroom, Alec hides a grin. Yes, you are.

Chapter Text

They’re in Pandemonium, he and Luke. It was actually his idea to come here, to Magnus’ club, instead of going to Luke’s usual haunts; Alec knows he’s not exactly popular with the Downworlders right now, and he didn’t want to make it awkward for Luke. 

“I just want to know why. Why would my parents, why would you and Jocelyn, join the Circle in the first place?” Alec asks. He ordered a beer but since he has never learned to appreciate the taste, he’s just rolling the bottle between his hands.

Luke takes a slow sip from his own bottle - not a generic brand, but something special; who would’ve thought that Luke would be a beer connoisseur? - and thinks about the answer for a while. Alec appreciates it. He wants to hear the truth, not empty platitudes.

“It’s actually very simple,” Luke says in the end, setting the bottle down. “We thought we were doing the right thing.” 

“The right thing,” Alec repeats, looking down at the damp, peeling label on his brown beer bottle. “The right thing? The Circle murdered innocent people, Downworlders and Shadowhunters both!”

Luke shakes his head. “It wasn’t like that at first. Nobody really sets out to become a murderer. Nobody except for some wackjobs.”

“Like Valentine,” Alec says.

Elbows on their little table, Luke leans forward. “He wasn’t like that at first, either. He was very much like your Jace. Passionate, charismatic, loyal. We all sensed that he was destined for greatness, that’s why we followed him. His ideas were mind-blowing, revolutionary. And when he talked about them, they all made sense to us.” 

Alec looks up at him. “And then it all went to hell?”

Luke shakes his head. “It was more like a gradual descent. So gradual that we didn’t really notice till we were there, and suddenly we were holding blades to people’s throats, and we were contemplating, when it all went so terribly wrong. And it’s so much easier to get in, then to get out.” 

Dropping his gaze back to the bottle, Alec whispers, “Mom and dad did.” 

“Yes, they did,” Luke agrees.

“But only shortly before the Uprising itself, only when Valentine threatened to start killing Shadowhunters,” Alec adds a little bitterly. “Hurting Downworlders didn’t seem to phase them.” 

Luke pauses for a while, drinking his beer. “You know, I’m not sure it was the possibility of killing fellow Shadowhunters either what made them back out.” He waits till Alec looks up, then he points with his bottle at Alec, “It was you.”

Alec blinks. “Me?”

“Yes. Shortly before they dropped out of the Circle, Maryse found out that she was pregnant with you,” Luke explains. “And it’s all good and well to play at being a trailblazer who doesn’t give a damn about the rules, when it’s just you and your partner, two consenting adults. But when there’s someone else, someone who’s fully dependent on you, and who might have to carry the consequences of your bad choices? It’s not as easy.”

Peeling off the label, Alec starts tearing it into tiny pieces. It’s a strange idea that it was his mere existence that made his parents renounce Valentine. If he hadn’t been conceived at that time, would his parents now be living in exile, with a circle rune on their throat? A strange notion.

Alec shakes his head a little sadly. “They might have left the Circle, but when it comes to Downworlders, they’re still Valentine’s loyal disciples, especially my mom.”

Luke says kindly, “Alec, you have to understand that we’re all products of the society we are born into. It took me being bitten and turning into a werewolf to really get what it means to be a Downworlder. Both me and Jocelyn, we tried to stop Valentine, but we did it…” He pauses, trying to find the right words. “We did it out of a certain abstract sense of nobility, you might say. I don’t think we truly, down to our bones understood that what the Circle was doing was wrong because it hurt innocent people who couldn’t defend themselves. Because you can talk about it all you want and you can try to explain it, but unless you actually live it, it’ll always be other people’s problem, not yours.”

Alec mulls it over for a moment - his parents’ bad decisions and his own, his parents’ attitude and his own, the concept of right and wrong in the light of all that - and Luke lets him. 

Then Alec says, “I guess… I guess, it’s a little like with me and Meliorn, then. I was following my orders and those orders said to bring Meliorn to the Silent Brothers. And I didn’t like it but as the Clave’s soldier, I trusted that the Clave knew better, saw the bigger picture, so I did what the Clave asked.“

Luke lets him talk, and it’s exactly what Alec needs to make sense of his feelings and thought. “I also thought I was doing the right thing. And when I realized that it was not the right thing to do, I couldn’t back out anymore. I’m not like Jace and Izzy. I’m hardwired to follow rules, to follow orders, to respect my elders, to observe hierarchy. To do anything else invites chaos. But now…” He runs one hand through his hair. “I don’t know what to believe anymore.”

Luke nods. "We were soldiers, too, the best of the best, trained to do what we were told, without thinking. And then we reached the same conclusion as you did: that the Clave was wrong. But our reasoning went in the opposite direction - you think that the Clave is too hard, we thought that the Clave was too lenient. We radicalized and we had to hit rock bottom before we - or at least some of us - realized our mistake. You,” he points with his bottle at Alec again, “have a head start here. You’re already headed in the right direction.”

Alec furrows his brows. It’s all so very confusing. The Clave is wrong, and his parents are wrong, too. But… but Jace and Izzy, they aren’t entirely right either. Rules have their place in every society, without rules, there’s anarchy.

“So,” Luke says, looking at him kindly. “What will you do?”

Yes, that’s the question. What will he do? The answer is both very simple and very complicated, he realizes. He’s being pulled in opposite directions and neither side is completely right or completely wrong, so there’s only one thing he can do. He can’t even begin to guess what consequences his decision will have, but if he doesn’t change something, he will lose himself completely.  

“I’ll forge my own path,” Alec replies, looking up, and both his eyes and his voice are surprisingly steady, considering his inner turmoil. “I’ll start thinking for myself. I think it’s time I stopped letting others control my life. ”

Luke smiles and raises his bottle. “I’ll drink to that.”

Chapter Text

Magnus once told a friend that it did not matter that you weren’t there when your loved one died, as long as you had been there for them while they were still alive - and he believes it to be true, he really does, until Jace comes to tell him that Alec was killed, then the only thing Magnus can think of is, why wasn’t I there why wasn’t I whywhy why…?


Magnus is standing in front of the kitchen counter, staring at the two mugs sitting on top of it, two mugs, two mugs, one bright and twinkling in the morning sunlight, the other stark white in comparison, his and Alec’s mugs, and he just poured them both coffee, like he has always done these last few months - but Alec died last night and he’ll never pick up his mug again.


Magnus is there when they burn Alec’s body, standing hidden among the trees, far away from all the Shadowhunters gathered around the pyre, because he does not want to cause a scene, not now, but he needed to be there, at his lover’s funeral, and as he watches the flames swallow Alec’s shroud covered body, it feels like his whole world is burning down with it, turning into ashes.


Magnus pulls Alec’s shirt out of the hamper where he hid it from his lover only a few days ago, because a) he wanted to poke fun at Alec and b) he loved to watch the play of muscles under Alec’s runed skin, so to keep him half naked was basically the goal, but now the shirt, Alec’s toothbrush and his simple white mug are the only things he has left of Alexander - and the shirt still smells of him.


Magnus knows that Alec loved kissing best, not that he had anything against sex, gods forbid, but Alec always said that sex made the body feel good, but kissing, kissing was for the heart and soul, so they kissed as much as possible, hello and goodbye and I missed you and be safe, and Magnus would give anything, anything at all, just so he could kiss his Alexander one last time.

Chapter Text

Magnus is sitting in the bed, reading a book, propped up on a small mountain of pillows, and the soft glow of lamps is making the room feel warm and cozy, when he hears the front door open and close softly. He peers at the clock on the bedside table: 4:31 AM, the sky is just turning pink in the east. 

“Alexander?” Magnus calls out quietly, even though he knows it must be Alec since his wards didn’t fry the intruder on the spot. 

Alec shuffles in, muttering something that sounds like a greeting. He’s dragging his feet and peeling off his clothes on his way to the bed, dropping everything carelessly to the floor. His shoulders seem heavy, his feet seem heavy, even his eyelids droop. Magnus feels exhaustion seeping into his own bones just from looking at him. 

Only in his boxer shorts and a t-shirt, Alec climbs into the bed and crawls across the covers to Magnus. He slumps down with a sigh, then, and buries his face in his lover’s stomach, looping one arm around Magnus’ hips. 

Smiling gently, Magnus sets his book aside and runs his fingers through Alec’s unruly hair. “Bad day?”

Alec hmms. “Worse,” he admits, his voice muffled. “Why can’t the war be finally over? Why can’t the Clave stop being dicks over everything? Why can’t my parents just accept who I am? Why can’t Jace and Izzy learn to follow simple orders?” 

Sounding like an exhausted, petulant child, Alec then adds, “Magnus, you’re a mighty warlock. Make it happen, please! Just wave a hand or snap your fingers and make them all get along - or at least turn them all into toads for a day.” 

Laughing, Magnus rubs his lover’s scalp, and watches as Alec nestles himself even closer. Magnus’ heart aches with adoration. “If I could, I would, my dear. For you, I would,” he assures Alec. “But I don’t think there’s enough magic in the world to make pig-headed Shadowhunters see reason. The toads, though? That I could do.”

“Eh,” Alec mumbles sleepily, scrunching his nose. “Not a good idea, to make their brains even smaller.”

Magnus laughs again and continues running his fingers through Alec’s hair. 

Alec snuffles, rubbing his face against Magnus’ stomach. “You smell really nice,” he whispers. A moment later, he’s asleep. 

Magnus watches him, stroking his hair gently, and his heart is filled to bursting with love for this man, for Alexander, for whom he would change the world.

Chapter Text

When they first come across the ancient prophecy of The Great Destroyer, they think it’s Valentine. It must be him. All the signs fit. They’re actually living the prophecy and they dread its outcome, the world in flames…

And then Valentine dies. And his son dies. And there are no more enemies to fight and kill. And they think, they hope, they believe that it’s all over now, that they won.

Three months later, the world is burning, overrun by demons. Shadowhunters are scattered, Downworlders enslaved, mundanes murdered in their beds by creatures they never even knew existed.

And leading the armies of hell? Alec Lightwood, with a blood red sword in his hand and with his eyes aglow with power. Alec Lightwood, the chosen vessel of Asmodeus, one of the Seven Princes of Hell; a Greater Demon in the body of Raziel’s child.

In the body of Alexander Gideon Lightwood.

Gideon, the Great Destroyer.

Chapter Text

“Magnus? Where’s my underwear?” Alec asks, exasperated, as he walks out of the bathroom in nothing but a towel, followed by a billowing cloud of steam.

Magnus, who until now pretended to be reading, lifts his eyes from his book. “Hm?” he asks innocently. 

Alec narrows his eyes. “Magnus?” 

“Oh, your underwear,” Magnus says as if it took him a while to understand what Alec asked him about. “Here.” And he snaps his fingers.

Something black pops into existence just an inch or so away from Alec’s nose. Using his lightning fast reflexes, Alec catches it before it can drop to the floor - and stares at the thing.

“Magnus!” Alec protests, utterly scandalized. “Those are…” He can’t even finish the sentence.

“Silk boxers, I know!” Magnus nods sagely, a twinkle in his eyes. “Think about it, they could have been red. But we will work up to that.”

Alec sputters. “I don’t care about the color–”

Magnus lights up. “Really? Because I can turn them red!”

“–it’s the fact that those are silk boxers that I find disturbing,” Alec continues as if Magnus hasn’t said anything. “Give me back my briefs. Cotton, white. Now!”

Magnus sets his book aside, climbs to his knees and crawls across the bed towards Alec. He’s dressed in nothing but burgundy red pajama bottoms himself, and his movements are slow and seductive, just like his voice. 

“Come on, darling,” he coaxes. “Just try them on.”

“Magnus…” Alec huffs in exasperation. “I need to go back to the Institute. I have a meeting in a half an hour!”

“For me?” Magnus tries, but when Alec won’t stop glaring, he says, “How about this: you try them on and if you decide you don’t like them, I’ll give you back your boring tighty whities and portal you back, so that you’re on time?”

Alec glares at him a moment longer, but seeing that Magnus won’t budge, he sighs. “Fine!” And he drops his towel. 

Magnus makes a happy, appreciative sound that causes Alec to blush. Weeks and weeks, that’s how long it took Magnus to help Alec overcome his body shyness and to convince him that there’s nothing inherently shameful about nakedness. But even now, Alec won’t stop blushing when he catches Magnus staring. Magnus finds it utterly endearing.

Bending down, Alec steps into the boxers and pulls them up quickly just to be done with this foolishness - and shudders at the sensation of the cool, almost slippery fabric sliding over his skin. A little gasp escapes him when the boxers finally settle on his hips, gently hugging his intimate places. 

And Magnus grins, knowing how sensitive Alec must be after his early morning ministrations. And now that the material that feels almost alive, is touching him in all the places that Magnus paid such close attention to just a short while ago - it must feel like having Magnus’ hands all over him again, touching, stroking, petting…

Yes, Magnus is a very evil bad no-good man.

Raising himself up on his knees, he’s almost face to face with Alec thanks to the height of the bed, and he breathes into Alec’s ear, “You like it, Alexander?” 

Alec shudders again and his eyes flutter close, breath turning heavy. And when Magnus lifts his hands and gently runs his fingers over the strip of skin above the waistband of the boxers - Alec breaks and pounces. He tackles Magnus back onto the bed, kissing his neck hungrily, and Magnus laughs out loud, digging his fingers into Alec’s back.


Even using Magnus’ portal, Alec barely makes it to his meeting on time. 

The boxers stay on.

Chapter Text

After Robert and Maryse die in a house fire, Alec and Isabelle are adopted by Michael Wayland, Robert’s parabatai, who takes over the New York Institute, too. But there are times when Alec wishes he died with his parents. 

Alec spends his whole childhood, his whole teenage years in constant fear of his adopted father. Michael’s mood swings, from sweet affection to borderline cruelty, have Alec constantly on edge, constantly expecting punishment. 

And it gets even worse once Alec realizes that he’s gay. Because Michael must not know, he must not find out, he must not, he must not, please, don’t let him find out! Alec can’t even imagine what Michael would do. 

Alec becomes Jace‘s parabatai - but not by choice, he has no say in this matter. Michael considers it given, he doesn’t present it to them, to Alec and Jace, as an option, but as an order. And Jace says, “Father is right.” 

Over the years, it becomes Jace’s mantra, his response to everything:  “Father is right.” Parabatai should be close, closer than friends, closer than brothers, but Alec keeps so many secrets from Jace that he wouldn’t know where to begin if ordered to reveal them.

Not even his sister, Isabelle, really knows him anymore. Alec’s too afraid to tell her anything, too afraid to have his secrets used against him. They used to be so close, he and Izzy, before Michael tore them apart, before he made Izzy too hard-edged and Alec too afraid to be more than strangers living under one roof.

Alec’s twenty-one when Michael orders him to marry, and marry well. He insists that the Wayland and Lightwood families need to ally themselves with a strong, respected Shadowhunter house to regain power. And Alec with his immaculate reputation is the best choice to get them what they need.

In the end, before Michael can force a woman of his choosing on Alec, Alec proposes to Lydia Branwell, the Inquisitor’s favorite, a widow slightly older than him, an envoy from the Clave, sent to inspect their work and pass judgment on the Institute, a regular thing necessitated by Michael’s involvement with the Circle years before. 

Michael sees it as a wise political move, as an opportunity for them to enter the Inquisitor’s inner circle, to get a foot in the door and once again gain access to Idris’ high politics. Jace considers her a hot piece of ass. And Izzy hates her on sight. 

What Alec sees in Lydia is someone as broken as he is, someone who looks at him and sees him and thinks, I know. Someone who makes him feel safe. And that’s all there is, that’s all he has wanted ever since his parents died: to feel safe

Sometimes, he wonders what his life would’ve been like if his parents never died. Would he have been happy? Would he have found someone to love? But as he stands at the altar with Lydia by his side, feeling Michael’s hard, calculating eyes on his back, it feels like such a naive, foolish notion. A thing unreal. There’s nothing but duty - and fear.

Chapter Text

Magnus does not expect Alec to agree when he asks for his bow and quiver as a payment for services rendered, as a proof of how much Alec loves his sister, Isabelle. He doesn’t… he doesn’t actually want Alec’s weapons. 

Yes, they’re magical items, artifacts of a kind that Magnus hasn’t encountered in many, many years. And if anybody else owned them, Magnus would have no qualms accepting them. But they’re Alec’s, and the last thing Magnus wants, is to leave Alec weaponless. If anything happened to Alec because he was forced to use mediocre, non-magical facsimiles in a battle - Magnus would never forgive himself. 

And that’s why, when Alec hands Magnus his weapons with just a little sigh of regret after Izzy’s trial, Magnus gives them back to him, the bow and the quiver both, telling Alec that it’s for safekeeping, that he wouldn’t know what to do with them anyway. Which is blatantly untrue, of course, but - what else could he say? He knows that the truth wouldn’t be appreciated. Maybe he could add a joke? Something along the lines of asking Alec to think of him while he shoots his arrows? But no. There’s a time and a place for quips and this is not it. They’re both too hurt and hurting.

Magnus doesn’t know why exactly this moment is burned so vividly into his mind. But it is. And sometimes, while lying in bed, unable to sleep, he finds himself thinking of it, thinking of Alec standing there, bewildered, holding his bow and quiver in his hands, unsure of what to do or say. And Magnus can only hope that those magical weapons of his are keeping Alexander safe.

Chapter Text

“Your magic is really pretty.”

Magnus startles at the whispered words and spins around in his chair, almost knocking the beaker containing the newly made healing potion off his desk. He didn’t even notice that he wasn’t alone anymore.

“Hey!” he says with a pleased smile. “When did you get in?”

Alec’s sitting on the couch with his arms looped loosely around his knees, and he’s watching Magnus with a soft, affectionate expression on his face. “A while ago,” he replies. “You were so focused on your work that I didn’t want to disturb you. Besides, I like watching you do magic.”

Magnus’ eyebrows shoot up in surprise. “You do?”

Alec nods. “Yes. I was taught that magic was something to be used - or eradicated. It has never even occurred to me that it could be, you know, pretty. Until I met you.”

A little ball of warmth glows in Magnus’ chest, and he feels his cheeks heat up. He can’t believe he’s actually blushing. Only Alexander seems to have this strange effect on him. “Nobody has ever told me that,” he admits quietly. 

Alec shakes his head in mock sadness. “People are idiots.”

Magnus laughs.

Uncurling, Alec gets up and reaches out towards Magnus. “Come to bed?” he asks with a soft smile.

And Magnus still has work to do, potions to brew and spells to prepare, but… That can wait till morning. With a little smile of his own, he takes Alec’s hand and allows himself to be pulled up from his chair. 

Chapter Text

After Magnus is kidnapped by his father, Asmodeus, it takes Alec months to track down a demon reckless - or stupid - enough to help Magnus escape, to go against the Prince of Hell himself. But the price the monster asks…

“I… I have to think about it,” Alec stammers out, his mind reeling, his heart beating hard with dismay. 

The demon grins. “I’ll be back tomorrow night, Shadowhunter, and I’ll expect your answer then…” And with that he disappears in a puff of pungent smoke. 

Alec goes home. He goes home and he watches his sister and his parabatai squabble in the Ops Center, looking for clues leading to Valentine and his army - and to Magnus, too, because they promised Alec that they would help him get his lover back. But it’s been months now, months with no usable leads in sight, and Alec has to do something or it will be too late for Magnus, he fears.

And as he watches them, Alec realizes that, if he takes the bargain, if he gives the demon what he wants in exchange for Magnus’ freedom - he’ll never be able to come back here again. He couldn’t stand it.

Still, when the demon returns the following night, Alec says yes.


It’s a cold autumn evening in New York and Alec’s sitting on a bench in the park a stone throw away from Magnus’ loft, watching as the windows in it light up with the approaching darkness. Magnus is home. And there are Jace and Izzy with Clary and Simon in tow, rushing down the street, towards Magnus’… 

Life seems to go on for the people Alec left behind. And it hurts. But it also fills him with… peace. This was his choice, and seeing Magnus returned safely, it was the right one. It was worth it.

His friends disappear inside Magnus’ building without paying Alec any mind, and he decides that it’s time to go. 

Slowly, he gets up, leaning heavily on his cane, and stifles a groan as the pain in his joints flares up, aggravated by the cold that seeped into his bones. With his shoulders hunched inside his thick parka and his hat pulled low into his eyes, he shuffles away, invisible among the crowds. Just another plain old person among many. 

Because that was the demon’s price, the price of Magnus’ salvation: fifty years of Alec’s life, freely given away in one night - a lifetime for a life saved.

Chapter Text

“Magnus? Magnus, you need to get up now.”

Magnus grumbles something, still half asleep. He worked till the wee hours of the morning last night and it’s way too early to be up. He turns onto his stomach, sticks his head under his pillow and pretends to be an ostrich.

There’s a soft laugh. “That won’t help, I can still see you, you know?” The bed dips slightly. “Need I remind you that it was you who told me - no, ordered me! - to not let you get away with ‘one more minute’ this morning? Because you have an important appointment at nine? Magnus?” Something pokes him in the ribs.

“G’way,” Magnus mumbles, squirming. Not fair when the intruder knows all the places where you’re ticklish. 

More laughing. Then coaxingly, “I have coffee for you.”

Magnus peeks out from under the pillow. “Italian Roast?” he asks, voice raspy from sleep, and when the heavenly smell of coffee wafts in his direction he sits up reluctantly, still glaring reproachfully, though. 

Alec, who’s sitting on the edge of the bed in his customary black, holding a mug in his hand, grins. “For you, only the best,” Alec assures him and holds out the mug.

Magnus reaches out as if to take it, eyes squinting, nose scrunched and hair flattened in a very unattractive way, but then he snaps his fingers, sends the mug back to the kitchen and grabs Alec by the wrist. And before Alec can do more than yelp, “Hey!”, he’s pulled down, turned and flattened on the bed by Magnus who attaches himself to his lover like a tick. 

Rubbing his cheek against Alec’s chest and with one arm thrown across Alec’s stomach, Magnus grumbles, “I don’t want coffee. I want my boyfriend and sleep. Whoever invented mornings, I should turn them into a slug.”

Alec huffs out a surprised laugh and runs his hand up and down Magnus’ back affectionately. Magnus almost purrs like a kitten. That makes Alec smile even wider. Still, he says, though much gentler this time, “Unfortunately, that will have to wait. You really need to get up now if you want to be on time.”

Magnus moans pathetically and tightens his hold on his lover.

“Tell you what,” Alec says and lifts a hand to push Magnus’ bangs off his forehead. “I don’t have any missions planned for tonight and there should be no meetings either. So, unless there’s an emergency, I’m free. How about we spend the night like this, just the two of us? No work, just us. Doing nothing at all.”

Magnus raises his head and props his chin on Alec’s chest to look at him. “Is that a bribe?” Magnus asks, eyes narrowed suspiciously.

Alec smiles at him. “Maybe? Is it working?” 

Magnus sighs. “Alright, fine,” he agrees reluctantly. Then he raises a hand and runs his fingers featherlight over Alec’s cheekbone. “Be careful today?”

“Always,” Alec swears.

“I was promised a whole night in bed with my boyfriend. And I plan to do very naughty things to him. Which means he needs to be in top form. Even a stamina rune might be needed,” Magnus says, his tone mock serious as he nods, running his surprisingly pointy chin over Alec’s ribs.

Alec laughs and squirms. “You horndog!”

Magnus grins, finally awake. “Always.”

Chapter Text

“So, you did it, huh?” Lydia comments softly as she sits down next to Alec on the bench in a small park not far away from the New York Institute. 

Alec turns his gray head towards her. “Yes. Yes, I did,” he replies.

“And was it worth it?” she asks, searching his face with her eyes. 

Alec smiles. “He’s back, safe and sound.” And when she keeps looking at him expectantly, he nods and adds, “Yes, it was worth it.”

Lydia nods, though her expression is sad, and reaches out to squeeze his hand. 

When Alec realized that, should he go through with his plan, he would need someone’s help, the choice of who that person would be was easy. He needed someone who would understand, who would accept his decision and not try to dissuade him from it. And that someone was Lydia, who, if she had been given the chance, would’ve switched places with her dead husband in a heartbeat.

Lydia reaches inside her jacket pocket and pulls out an envelope. “These are your new papers. You’re now Gideon Branwell, my great-uncle twice removed or something.” She smirks. “Welcome to the family.”

Alec takes the envelope with a grateful smile. Yes, he decided not to go back home, not to face his family’s pity or Magnus’ guilt, but that doesn’t mean he wants to leave the whole Shadowhunter community behind. He still needs a purpose in life - no matter how short it will be.

“I found you a place in Paris,” Lydia continues. “They’re looking for an archivist there, a new custodian for their cache of magical artifacts. Nobody over there, at the French Institute, knows your family or you, and the head owed me a favor.”

Paris. Alec smiles. Magnus wanted to take him to Paris one day, show him all the hidden places casual tourists don’t know about. It looks like he will get to see them after all, though on his own. It’s a bittersweet feeling.

He nods. “Thank you.” 

Lydia is quiet for a while, watching people walking their dogs and little kids playing in the falling leaves of early autumn. “They will look for you, you know that, right? Jace and Izzy, your family, Magnus…”

Alec nods again, and touches the cloaking charm hanging on a leather cord on his neck. “I made sure they wouldn’t find me. They think I’m on a mission for the Clave. It’ll take a while before they realize that I’m not coming back.”

She looks at him. “But they won’t stop looking,” she warns.

He shrugs. “I’m old now, Lydia. Statistically speaking, for a Shadowhunter, I have little time left. I just don’t want to spend the rest of my days fielding off their vain attempts at saving me or their pity. A clean break is the best.”

Lydia blinks back tears and nods. She gets it, as he knew she would. 

She gets up, then bends down and kisses him on the cheek affectionately. “I will miss you, Alec Lightwood,” she whispers, her voice thick with emotions. And then she leaves.


The vault full of scrolls and magical artifacts is masked as a little antique store in one of the oldest parts of Paris. A tiny shop in a quiet paved cul-de-sac with windows and balconies overflowing with flowers. Alec loves the place’s peace and serenity, its dusty shelves and the old grandfather clock ticking away in the back. It’s a good place to hide from the world. 

His work consists mostly of researching artifacts and translating old scrolls. He lives in a small apartment above the store and he owns a cat now, too, an irritable ball of gray fur named Church that came with the building. He goes on long walks along the river and visits all the places that he thinks Magnus might have wanted to show him.

Autumn becomes winter becomes spring and he leads a quiet, content life.

Until one day, shortly before closing time, the bell above the door chimes, announcing a new arrival. Alec sets the old, brittle tome he has been reading aside and gets up to greet the person…

And it’s Magnus Bane standing in the doorway, larger than life and as glamorous as ever. Alec’s heart stutters and skips a beat. 

Magnus smiles at him through tears and whispers, “Hello, Alexander. I missed you.” 

Chapter Text

There’s not enough time, not enough time for anything, it’s all just fighting-fighting-fighting, with Valentine and with the Clave and with his parents, trying to find Jace and working out an alliance with the Downworlders, balancing his life inside and outside the Institute, and there’s not enough time, not enough time for sleeping or eating or healing, not enough, just not enough…

And so he uses the runes, to stay awake and to heal and to not feel pain and to not feel hunger and to move faster-faster-faster, until…

“Magnus,” Alec whispers, reaching out unsteadily, his head spinning-spinning-spinning. “I don’t feel so good.” 

… until his body finally runs out of strength and there’s no more to give, none left, just non