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SNAFU: Circa City of Ashes

Chapter Text

Alec was at college when Clary burst into rehearsals without a 'by your leave', in hysterics over Jace vanishing from the institute. The director was furious, Alec's co-lead and best friend, Adri, was confused and slightly put out, the rest of the cast was relieved for the short break when Alec called for a recess. He gave Adri a pleading look, she nodded, and let him and Clary use one of the green rooms to talk.

Alec remembered the first time he'd met Adri, while he walked off with Clary.


She'd been sitting in the corner of the classroom, a petite, brown-skinned girl with long dark hair in a neat french-braid, in a Doctor Who t-shirt and plain blue jeans, quietly turning a page of a book by Stephanie Meyer. Please don't let her be a Twilight fan, please don't let her be a Twilight fan, he'd begged the universe.

"Are you a Twilight fan?" He asked out loud.

The girl looked appalled. "Oh, hell to the no, not in a million years, sweetheart," she snapped in slightly accented English.

Alec inclined his head and looked pointedly at her book.

"It's not a bad book, you know," she waved it at him rather aggressively. "Much better than that sorry excuse for a vampire story of hers," she said, "that eight letter word for literary failure."

Alec instantly relaxed into the chair next to her. "Is this the one with the body-snatching aliens?" he asked, tapping the cover of the book.

"Yup," she affirmed. "I like it. I like her style of writing in this one. Maybe it's just my love of sci-fi speaking, but I think she writes aliens way better than she does vampires and werewolves. You might want to give it a try," she continued, looking at him with serious dark eyes, "before going all judgmental on people."

She handed him the book so he could read the back. He caught sight of initials 'A.R.W.' scribbled on the corner of the last page.

"Sorry. My bad," Alec said contritely. "Can I make it up to you over a cup of coffee after class?"

What? Jocelyn had raised him to be a gentleman, straight or not.

She raised an inky black eyebrow. "As much as I appreciate the offer, you're not my type, sweetheart. And I think you're too young for me."

"Can you not call me that, please?" Alec asked uncomfortably. "I wasn't hitting on you. I don't exactly play for your team."

A faint splotch of pink covered the girl's light brown cheeks. "You haven't told me your name, yet," she said finally.

"It's Alec. Alec Fray," he said.

At this, the girl actually huffed. "Alec, huh? No wonder you play for the other team," she said.

"You think I'm gay because of my name?" He asked her incredulously.

"Names are important. They tell you who you are. They tell you where you come from. I'm the kind of philosophical loon who looks at life as if it's a novel in which I'm a character," she said philosophically. "And every guy named Alec in all the books I've ever read is gay. Alec Campion, Swordspoint by Ellen Kuschner, gay. Alec Anderson, Falling by M. L. Rhodes, also gay. Alec of Kerry, Nightrunner Series by Lynn Flewelling, G to the A to the Y-"

"Okay, I get it!" Alec laughed.

"The point is, they're all very tall, all very gorgeous, all very gay. I even have a cousin from my dad's side of the family, he's half-British, also Alec, also gay."

"Fascinating." Alec was half-amused. "I guess it's just a gay name, then."

"Probably," she grinned, taking the olive branch he offered.

"So what's yours?" Alec asked, handing her book back to her.

She was a pretty good actor and a pretty good friend. She was a little over two years older than him. She could fake a really good American accent. She couldn't cook to save her life and despised 'chai-tea' from Starbucks. ("It's the same fucking thing - the redundancy is irksome, 'chai-tea'. They're the same word. And it's nowhere near good as actual tea. Coffee shops here can be so stupid.")

She played the Laura to his Tom in the NYU production of The Glass Menagerie and was cast as the Maggie to his Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

And she was an archer.

If the both of them were straight, they might have gotten together, but since they weren't ("Thank god for that!" she'd said), they settled for the wackiest of friendships across the world. Alec sometimes wondered if he had a knack for drawing older girls as his best friends, first Rebecca, now her.

Then one day, not long after he and Clary blundered through the fiasco that was the Shadow World, but before the day Clary had come running into rehearsal, Adri had caught sight of the Voyance rune on his right hand when he wasn't wearing his fingerless glove and froze for a split second.

Then she'd said three words, "Cool tattoo, Alec," and he'd known something was wrong. What exactly that something was, he hadn't figured out until he saw the line of runes carved in the small of her back several months later, after Valentine, after the Mortal War.

Chapter Text

There would always be a time when Alec Fray looked back on his first date with Magnus Bane, the High Warlock of Brooklyn and laughed until his sides ached, because it was the most fortunate, hilarious, disaster that ever happened to him.

The trip on the F-train that Friday was probably the most entertaining subway ride Alec had ever taken. The fact that it was his first date with Magnus had just made journey more ridiculous because they were faced with posters about impotence with despairing elderly couples looking at each other.

He was saved from asking Magnus, who was sitting next to him and staring at the same posters in a sort of horrified mortification, exactly how impotent one gets at the age of eight hundred, when they were presented with a pair of subway performers who began rapping, 'The Butt Song,' while one of them was beating a drum right under his nose.

Alec roared with laughter and tossed them a five dollar bill when they were done. "Wish I could afford more, boys, but being a broke college student has its' limits," he said regretfully.

"Nah, bro, just hope you liked the song." The dude with the drum said.

"It was fucking hilarious," Alec complimented, offering the guy a fist for a classic straight-guy fist bump.

Magnus was intrigued by the entire debacle but contented himself with giving the performers a lot of money and laughing his arse off.

Then there was the incident on the subway platform with the redhead, and this time the redhead in question wasn't Clary.

As Alec gracefully threw the pickpocket onto the ground and planted his boot firmly on the guy's chest, he began screaming about ninjas at the top of his lungs.

Within the space of five minutes, Alec discovered that he would, in fact, be a coveted gem in the world of acting because of his cheekbones, eyes, and the ability to do his own stunts. He accepted a business card from a pretty girl with dreadlocks and butterfly clips from a talent agency, managed to get her and a horde of subway commuters determined to buy tickets to his next play (Cat On a Hot Tin Roof) and found out about Magnus' multiple highly dangerous wallets (especially the Varvatos one that apparently bursts into flames).

Also, Alec may have permanently reformed the ginger pickpocket with lessons in honesty and tolerance, or so Magnus said.

Magnus himself was stunned, because of all the things he imagined Alec being, a stage actor was not one of them. If Robert and Maryse Lightwood were dead, they'd be rolling in their ash-filled graves in the City of Bones.

Luigi, the owner of Ethiopian-Italian fusion restaurant that Magnus had taken him to, said that Alec had better not make any moves towards his other customers which (predictably) pissed Alec off to no end.

"Not a shadowhunter, thanks," Alec denied testily. "Just a mundane actor with the Sight."

"The rune on your hand says otherwise, angel boy," Luigi said.

The only marks that Alec had was the Voyance rune on his right hand and a couple of faded iratzes on his chest, hidden by his light blue shirt.

"Harmless tattoo," Alec said, rolling up his sleeves to show Luigi muscular arms bare of any runes or rune scars. "And the mutinous looks your waiter's giving me says that I'm probably going to get poisoned. Look, dude, I don't care if you draw a pentagram on your kitchen floor and raise a demon while I'm eating dessert as long as there's no slime in my plate. I mean, would one of those stick-up-their-asses shadowhunters really be on a date with this hot hunk of a warlock?"

"Hot hunk?" Magnus repeated, extremely flattered.

Alec winked at him and gave him the kind of smile that could light up New York City during an electricity blackout. "What? I had to let you know somehow. I don't ask out every guy that gives me his number."

"I really want to kiss you right now," Magnus blurted out, before he could stop himself and think about what he was saying.

Alec tutted. "At least buy me dinner first. Although yes, I suppose I do want to kiss you too. Well, I want to do much more than that, but we've got company and I don't think I'm an exhibitionist. At least not yet," and Alec then winked at Luigi, too.

Luigi spluttered and then attempted to clear his throat in a dignified manner.

Alec grinned and said, "Look, buddy, I think the Clave is a bunch of fascist, moronic, dictators with shitty attitudes. Now are you going to give us a table or do we have to go to a mundane restaurant? I mean, Magnus did say this place was the best, but you can never go wrong with pizza."

Luigi laughed. "Oh, I like this one, Magnus. He's a firecracker."

Alec turned ever so slightly red. Magnus looked at him and opened his mouth, but Alec snapped, "No. You are not calling me that. Ever."


"I might not be a shadowhunter, but I've studied capoeira since I was eleven. I will kick your ass if you call me that. Especially around my sister."

"Firecracker." Magnus chuckled, finding Alec's glare quite endearing.

Luigi looked very amused. "So, where would you guys like your table?"

"I heard what you said about shadowhunters," the waiter said, "it was a beautiful speech," he sniffed. "Hello, I'm your server for this evening. Can I take your order?"

"Woah there, buddy, you look like you're about to fall apart." Alec stood up, concerned, and steered the waiter into his chair. "Sit down, what happened?"

The waiter (his nametag read Erik) wiped his eyes dramatically on the tablecloth. "A shadowhunter killed my uncle, and it's been really hard to make ends meet since then."

Alec spent the next five minutes commiserating with Erik, whom he soon found out was a werewolf, had four baby sisters to feed and had to work the double shift in order to do so (Erik also insisted that his uncle was innocent, but Alec reserved judgement on that for a later date).

When Magnus sent Erik away with their orders, Alec said, "Poor guy," shaking his head sympathetically. "To have a loved one be snatched away by such conniving-" and he went on a rather creative rant until the food came.

Magnus himself was torn between roaring in laughter (for the second time that evening) and marveling at Alec's ability to mock his own race in some of the most inventive ways he'd heard, yet.

At some point, Richard, one of Magnus' exes walked into Luigi's with an entourage of faeries, approached their table and snarled something about warlocks enchanting years from one's life at Magnus.

"Years?" Magnus protested, "it was barely twenty minutes!"

Richard replied with some nonsense about time and the fair folk, picked up Magnus' wine glass and dashed it at him.

That was the moment Magnus fell hard for the crazy not-shadowhunter he was on a date with, because Alec jumped in front of Magnus and let the drink splash against his face and shirt. "A gentleman never lets someone else throw a drink at his date," he said simply.

Richard growled in frustration, at which Alec merely scoffed, called him a pretentious dickhead, kicked him in the balls and told him to get the fuck out. Then Alec turned to Magnus and said, "If that was what you call an amicable ex, I'd hate to seen what the non-amicable ones are like."

All of this was said and done with scarlet wine running down his pale neck, soaking into the light material of his fairly tight shirt and making it stick to Alec's skin, a sight which made Magnus want to lick it off. Slowly.

The faeries did not look happy with the state of their latest toy, but backed off when Magnus' cat eyes narrowed at them.

There was something different but unbelievably sexy, maybe even magical, about Alec Fray and Magnus Bane wasn't going to let anything get in his way of finding out just what it was that drew him to the Child of the Nephilim whom was nothing like the rest of his kind.

Chapter Text

 Magnus had once believed that he was cursed. There were many reasons for this, being born a warlock, his mother's suicide, accidentally killing his stepfather, his unending misfortune when it came to love because of his immortality, etc. Things had improved over the centuries, but he'd been slowly losing hope until Alec had walked into his party.

So when he got the call from Catarina about the werewolf tearing up a bar not far from Luigi's he felt like it was his cursed luck making him fuck up the best date he'd had in decades.

Alec, to his credit didn't accuse Magnus of trying to ditch him, but at the same time, Magnus could see the disappointment in his blue eyes.

"Alec, believe me, if there was a way for me to stay, I would. I really would," he said, "and I'm not ditching you. There really is an emergency,"

"I get it, Magnus, emergencies happe-"

As if on cue, Alec's phone began ringing.

"Clary?" Alec said.

Magnus heard hysterical shrieking on the other end. Alec winced and held the phone slightly away from his ear and yelled, "Calm down! How do you – You what, now? Luke's phone? But you're not even telling me – what about the other – Fine, I'm on my way."

Alec snapped his phone shut and said, "Emergency. Gotta go. Call me?" He shot Magnus an apologetic smile as he raced out of the restaurant.

Magnus dashed after him. "This emergency of yours," he asked, running up next to Alec, "it doesn't happen to be at Beauty Bar, does it?"

Alec glanced at him sideways, "Let me guess, that's where your emergency happens to be, too?"

Magnus nodded and grabbed his hand, pulling him to a stop. "Mr. Fray, would you honour me with the opportunity of escorting you to our mutual emergency via portal?"

Said portal was already open. Alec gripped Magnus' hand tighter and said, "Of course, Mr. Bane, would you be so kind as to tell me what your emergency is?"

"Downworlder business. There's a rogue werewolf in the bar we're going to."

"Son of a bitch, she didn't mention that in her phone call," Alec muttered.

"What was that?"

Alec shook his head. "Let's go, I'll explain when we get there. I guess you really weren't ditching me after all."

"I would never," Magnus proclaimed as he circled Alec's waist with a strong arm and leaped through the portal.

Outside the Beauty Bar was a petite girl with light brown skin and a head full of long black curls herding people out the door. A long, bloody scratch marred her left arm.

The last of the customers were out and fleeing the scene when she slammed the door shut and caught sight of them.

Magnus felt his companion stop in his tracks.

"Alec?" exclaimed the girl.


"What the hell are you doing here?" they asked at the same time.

"I feel like I'm missing something important here, but we've got a raging werewolf on the loo - " Magnus began.

"Shut the fuck up, dumbass!" the girl snapped, glaring angrily.

"Adri, what's wrong?" Alec said, shooting Magnus an apologetic look as he started forward.

She caught hold of his sleeve and yanked him back. "Please don't hurt her, Alec, please, if we were ever friends, ever, just -" the girl began crying, making Magnus feel a little less pissed compared to when she'd told him to shut up.

"Adrienne," Alec said firmly, grabbing hold of her shoulders and shaking her vigorously, "I don't know what you're talking about and I can't help you if you don't tell me what's wrong."

Adrienne took several deep breaths and pointed at the door. "Marcy's in there."

"Your girlfriend is stuck in a bar with an out-of-control werewolf? And you left her there?" Alec half-yelled, throwing the door open, flying in and completely forgetting that -

"She's a mundane, Alec!" Magnus protested, following Alec with the girl at his heels.

"NO, YOU NINCOMPOOP, SHE IS THE WEREWOLF! DON'T GO IN THERE!" Adrienne yelled at the same time.

Everyone paused for a second at the entrance. Marcy-the-werewolf (who was in the middle of ripping out a sparkly pink seat with her claws) regarded them with wild, curious eyes.

"You're telling me that that is Marcy." Alec said, never having imagined that he'd be introduced to Adrienne's girlfriend this way.

"Yes, that's her," Adrienne said, her voice shaking. "It's my fault, I encouraged her to – to try and live a normal life - "

"Your girlfriend is a werewolf?" Magnus asked, not judging because Woolsey had been a fantastic lover back in the 1880s, excessive biting aside. He was just a little stunned that Alec had a mundane friend who was dating a werewolf. What were the odds?

"Yes, dumbass, I just said that!" the mundane friend in question's angry voice broke him out of his thoughts.

Any sympathy Magnus had for the girl would have been disappearing fast if he hadn't noticed how her fingers were shaking and her trickle of tears just turned into a waterfall. But she was clearly terrified for Marcy, not herself. She knew what shadowhunters did to rogue werewolves.

"Come on, guys," Alec said, enthusiastically grabbing hold of Magnus' hand with his own and Adrienne's with the other. "We've got a werewolf to catch."

Adrienne looked like she wanted to drag him away from Marcy, who was slowly advancing on them. "I know it's your job, Alec, but please don't hurt her," she begged.

"I knew the rune freaked you out," Alec said knowingly, "but don't worry, Adri. I'm not a shadowhunter."

Half an hour later, Magnus and Alec dropped Adrienne and an unconscious Marcy (a fetching blonde in human form) (Alec wrapped her in his jacket because her dress was practically shredded) at Adrienne's apartment.

"I'll launder the jacket and give it back as soon as I can," Adrienne said, tucking Marcy in after putting her in pajamas.

"Don't worry about it, Adri," Alec said, picking it up and folding it over his arm.

"But - " she began.

Magnus snapped his fingers and the scratch on Adrienne's arm closed up. "Should have done that earlier," he said.

"Thank you, Mr. Bane," Adrienne said.

Magnus looked appalled. "Magnus, please," he insisted.

"I called you a dumbass. Twice. God, I can turn into such a raving bitch sometimes. I'm so sorry."

She really did look sorry.

"It's alright, darling," Magnus said agreeably.

She gave him a grateful smile.

"So do I," came a hoarse voice from the bed.

"Marcy!" Adrienne exclaimed and scampered into the bedroom, throwing herself into the blonde girl's arms.

Marcy said guiltily, "I turn into a raving bitch too, you know. It's what got us into this mess," and she kissed Adrienne's temple softly.

"Oh, god, you're alright," Adrienne cried into her neck.

"Oh my g – Your arm, Adrienne! Did I… ?" Marcy trailed off, looking at the dried blood on Adrienne's arm in horror.

"I'm fine, I'm fine," Adrienne said, kissing Marcy chastely. "Nobody's hurt. I promise."

Alec caught hold of Magnus' arm and led him to the door. There would be time to talk to Adrienne and Marcy later, when everyone wasn't about to collapse from exhaustion. They walked to Magnus' apartment, hands clasped as they tried to stay upright.

"Nightcap?" Magnus asked as they climbed up the stairs.

"Sure," Alec agreed as Magnus magicked the door open.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on one's point of view), after two portals and subduing a werewolf, that one trick made his knees give out. Alec caught him before he hit the floor, but in doing so ended up sprawled under Magnus.

"Sorry," Magnus said, blinking quickly. "My magic levels must be lower than I thought."

Alec smiled up at him softly. "Emergencies will do that to you," he said, feeling Magnus' breath on his lips as he leaned down tentatively, as if dazzled by sunlight even though there was no sun and the New York sky was devoid of stars.

When they kissed, anything Alec was thinking flew right out the window. Alec had never kissed anyone the way he kissed Magnus. Or maybe it was just that nobody had ever kissed him the way Magnus did. Then again, Magnus had (Alec assumed) been kissing people for centuries. He probably had making out down to an art form. If Alec hadn't been burning and floating and melting and flying at the same time, he might have been tempted to ask Magnus how people kissed in different centuries, in different places, in different social classes.

But Alec was burningfloatingmeltingflying

He felt Magnus' fingers on his skin, felt his own hands exploring the dip and ripple of the muscles of Magnus' broad back almost of their own accord, felt the lines of their bodies fit together perfectly, and thought of nothing else, preferring to lose himself in this wonderful man who had made their kisses catch fire and his blood sing in his veins.

Chapter Text

 "Alec, meet Catarina Loss." Luke waved his hand toward the blue-skinned warlock when Alec arrived at Beth Israel Hospital.

Alec held out his hand and said earnestly, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Dr. Loss. Thank you so much for agreeing to take care of our mother, it means more than you can ever know. I know there's not much a mundane like me can do for a powerful individual like yourself, but if there is anything, anything at all, now or in the future, I owe you a favour."

Catarina blinked somewhat owlishly as if a child of the Nephilim being that polite to a warlock broke one or two laws of the universe. "Think nothing of it, Mr. Fray. Or is it Lightwood?"

Alec's grin turned into a grimace at the shadowhunter name as if he'd tasted something bad, but than he perked up again. "Fray, but just call me Alec. This is my little sister Clarissa and her brother, Jace."

"That sounds complicated," Catarina said as she shook Alec's hand and then Clary's.

"Charmed," said Jace (whom Alec and Clary had almost dragged to the hospital against his will) with a charming smile and kissed Catarina's hand. She rolled her eyes and said, "Shadowhunters," in a vaguely annoyed voice and left them to it.

 Ten minutes later, the hospital room had been turned upside down.

 At their mother's bedside, Alec was frowning. "So you're telling me, you have had access to a warlock with a degree in medicine who currently is and has been treating our comatose mother for over a week while I was recovering from demon poisoning and you didn't bother getting a DNA test?" he asked Jace and Clary. 

Clary looked sheepish.

Jace looked at him in surprise. "What's DNA?"

"Deoxyribonucleic acid. Shadowhunters are IDIOTS. What, Valentine tells you you're related and you just believe him? Clary, Mom did not raise us to take people's word for it when they try to sell us a pile of bullshit."

"But you heard what happened at Renwick's. Luke did say that Mom had another son, and Jace is him, he's Jonathan Christopher, for Chrissake!" Clary exclaimed.

"I kow who my father is, Alec." Jace said. "Do you think I like admitting it? That my father's one of the worst monsters in the world? But he's my father. You just don't get, we lived at the Wayland Manor for ten years before he faked his death and sent me here. He raised me to think I was a Wayland, but I'm not a Wayland, I'm his son, just like he isn't Michael Wayland, he's Valentine Morgenstern."

"Jace. Jocelyn raised me all my life as a Fray. We believe the people who raise us when they tell us who we are. Luke literally just informed me that I'm a freaking Lightwood. Use that goddamn head of yours. What if, just what if, Valentine took you from Michael Wayland and raised you as his own? The guy did also have a kid named Jonathan Christopher. For all you know, this might just be one big elaborate web of lies that Valentine's spinning to entrap all of us. I'm calling Dr. Loss and Isabelle. We're doing a fucking DNA test. Or three. Now sit down and be quiet. Not a word out of either of you until I sort this mess out."


Chapter Text

The Inquisitor raised her eyebrows. "Despite the fact that Valentine claims to be your father and raised you for the first ten years of your life, you claim that he isn't actually your sire?"

Jace nodded.

"That's exactly what he's saying." Alec unfolded the sheaf papers he'd been carrying with him and handed it to the Inquisitor. "We conducted a DNA test on Jace and Clary. It's a method of determining if two individuals share blood or not. If they were siblings, there would have been at least a 60% match. Conversely, we also tested his DNA with Clary's and my mother. There was no blood relation to either of them."

"And who are you supposed to be, young man?" The Inquisitor demanded, unhappy at being interrupted.

Alec politely held out his hand for her to shake. "My name is Alec Fray. I'm Jocelyn Fairchild's adopted son."

"A mundane?" The Inquisitor half-snarled, ignoring the hand and sending an accusing gaze at Maryse, who shrank back. "You allowed a mundane into the New York Institute? Are you completely daft, woman?"

"He's not a mundane, Imogen." Maryse pleaded. "He's my son, my Alexander. The son whom we believed had died at the Fairchild Manor when it burned down after the Uprising. Apparently, Jocelyn was hiding him and Clarissa all these years."

The Inquisitor - Imogen looked skeptical.

"Surely you see it, Inquisitor Herondale. He looks just like our parents." Isabelle interjected.

"Enough." The Inquisitor snapped, slamming the test results down onto the desk. "You're assuming that this mundane thing actually works on those of us with the blood of angels."

"You're not angels, Inquisitor." Alec said quietly, gathering them up.

"What did you say? What did you say to me, boy?" She asked in the kind of bitchy, no-nonsense tone that his high-school math teacher had used when a frustrated twelve-year-old Alec hadn't been able to solve a problem on the blackboard.

He jerked his chin up defiantly. "You heard me. You are part human. You bleed red, just like humans do. And DNA is present in all beings of flesh and blood; humans, animals, all of them. If we had a sample of Valentine's blood, it would match Clary's but not Jace's. I'd stake my life on it. Would you do the same on the alternative?" He leaned forward and challenged, "I dare you."


Alec looked back at her calmly. "Unmarked whelp or not, I've presented our case to you, Ma'am. If you want to blame a child for the crimes of the man who raised him, that's your prerogative." He stood up and collected the reports. "Jace may be a narcissistic idiot who can't help poking a sleeping dragon in the eye, but he's not Valentine's son. Trial by the Soul-Sword will prove that he's no more loyal to Valentine than you are. Now, are we done here?" Alec asked the last question with just enough insolence to make the Inquisitor's blood boil.

"We are not DONE, boy. You are a shadowhunter and you will show me the respect I am due," she growled.

"Respect," Alec said sharply, refusing to back down, "is earned. Sadly, you can't throw me into a jail cell for my lack of regard for someone who is only here to feed her vendetta against a psychopath - if, I'm not mistaken, her own son supported - by being unnecessarily cruel to a boy young enough to be her grandson. He is a child." Alec stressed. "He's sixteen years old. Do keep that in mind when you decide to torture him in the City of Bones."

Jace, wisely, said nothing to that.

Imogen was speechless.

He took a deep breath. "Also," he added acidly "I'm no shadowhunter. I may have angel blood, but I would never be a part of an organisation that claims superiority due to the blood running through their veins and condones the abuse of minors." With that, Alec marched out of the room, DNA tests under one arm and his head held high.

When the door slammed behind him, Isabelle stood up and said, "If you want to take him to the City of Bones, fine. You're taking me, too."

"Isabelle!" Maryse exclaimed.

"By the Angel, Izzy, no, you are not coming there with me, I need you to stay here and make sure Alec and Clary don't do anything stupid-" Jace said, but Isabelle cut him off. "Jace? Shut up and listen to me for once in your life," she said. Isabelle pulled down the neckline of her shirt and bared her collarbone to him. The blackness of the parabatai rune seemed to glint in the lamplight and contrasted almost brightly against her pale skin. She took Jace's left hand and pressed it against the Mark. "Entreat me not to leave thee, or return from following after thee—" she said, eyes determined and hinting at tears she would never even allow to form. She reached up and placed her hand over his collarbone, where the parabatai rune she had drawn on him sat, covered by his shirt.

The Inquisitor opened her mouth to say something, but she was floored at the intensity of the bond between them. 

"For whither thou goest, I will go," Jace continued the oath they'd sworn years ago, "And where thou lodgest, I will lodge... Isabelle, this family has given me everything. It would kill me and be a poor way to repay them if anything happened to you in the City of Bones," he swallowed the lump in his throat. "No, it would destroy me. It would destroy my soul in the worst way possible. I don't have ties to anyone except you anymore, so don't do this. Don't destroy your family for my sake. I owe them - I owe you more than that."

Isabelle took his hands in her own and looked straight at Imogen Herondale. "I refuse," she said forcefully. "to let you take him away from me. The bond of parabatai is sacred to even you, Inquisitor," she spat the title at her as if it was a filthy thing, "If my parabatai - no, if my brother - is to be incarcerated despite having done nothing to warrant it," she gripped Jace's hands tighter, "So will I."

Maryse cried out in despair as Imogen nodded and said, "Your loyalty to the Morgenstern boy, however admirable, will be your undoing, Isabelle Sophia Lightwood."


Chapter Text

"I'm very, very gay." Alec said after the introductions in Magnus' loft took place.

Maryse gasped.

Robert Lightwood turned faintly purple. It was not a good colour on him. "No son of mine would -"

"I'm not your son, Robert,"Alec corrected sharply.

Robert's gaze went cold. "Alexander. What - what could possibly have turned you gay?"

"Turned me gay?" Alec asked with a thoughtful expression, as if the ridiculous question actually needed any consideration. "I was bitten by a gay radioactive spider," he said with a straight face.

Clary stifled a giggle. Isabelle was half-amused, half-pitying. She'd known practically from the moment she met Alec that there was no way he'd get along with her father. Their father. Whatever. While it was satisfying to be right, she did feel slightly sad about the way things were going.

"The first time I saw you, you must have been what, four years old?" Magnus said, pouring Alec a glass of wine.

"I don't remember it."

"Didn't think you would. You were born blind to the Shadow World, but Jocelyn still asked me to wipe the encounter from your mind." He handed Alec the full glass.

"Go figure." Alec said, taking a sip.

"When you came to my party with the shadowhunters the other night, I didn't recognise you at all. I thought you were a Herondale."

At Alec's questioning look, Magnus continued, "One of the old Shadowhunter families. The last one was Stephen Herondale, he died before the uprising. His pregnant wife slit her wrists in grief. I wondered if you were his son. It wouldn't have been the first time a Herondale baby survived the death of his mother."

"Huh?" he asked, confused.

"Tobias Herondale's child, although I suppose that's a story for another day." Magnus murmured.

"But I was born a Lightwood." Alec said bitterly.

"And Stephen's child would have been sixteen, not just days shy of eighteen."

"So there's no chance..." Alec trailed off.

"I'm afraid not. What do you have against the Lightwoods, anyway?" Magnus asked curiously. "Are you not happy about finding your real family?"

"Jocelyn and Clary are my real family. I don't really know Maryse. She didn't seem particularly receptive when she found out that I had no interest in being a soldier in some crazy war against the forces of pure evil and die before I hit thirty. And my fathe- Robert Lightwood is a complete asshole."

Magnus chuckled. "I could have told you that."

Alec looked up in surprise. "You knew him?"

Magnus' face darkened, but at the same time, he looked faintly nostalgic. "I've known several generations of Lightwoods. And Herondales, and Fairchilds and any number of Shadowhunter families."

"You aren't answering any of my questions." Alec noted.

Magnus sighed. "The Lightwoods I knew, all of them, were mostly green-eyed monsters... It's the blue eyes and the black hair that made me think you were a Herondale. "

"Your favourite combination, you said." he reminded.

"Back in the eighteen hundreds, I knew the Herondales. One in particular - William - he was a friend. You look a bit like him. But that night, when I saw Isabelle, I knew who she was because she was wearing the ruby pendant I gave Will."

"You sure you were just friends?" Alec asked him with a raised eyebrow.

"Believe me, Alec, he was very straight." There was an indecipherable look in the warlock's eyes. "And I owed him. He gave the pendant to his younger sister, Cecily Herondale, who married Gabriel Lightwood."

"Wait, Cecily? They're my ancestors, they have to be." Alec said with conviction.

Magnus shot him a questioning look and then shrugged. "Almost certainly."

"And my father?"

"I had the... opportunity," Magnus chose the word carefully, "to meet your parents when they were on one of their... missions."

"Missions?" Alec took another sip of the wine.

"Not from the Clave. It was during their Circle days. They conducted one of their raids here, in New York City on a family of werewolves, the de la Fayettes, I think, whom had emigrated from Paris a couple of years before. What I saw that day... It was..." Magnus swallowed, lost in memories.

Alec went still. "What happened?" He asked, setting the wine glass down with shaky hands.

"I really don't think I'm the right person to tell you this, Alexander." Magnus said in a strange voice. "I'm not the most unbiased person you can find to... elaborate."

Alec knit his eyebrows. "My name is Alec. And I want to know, I want you to tell me, because from what you're saying, it sounds like you're the only one who witnessed this."

Magnus looked like he wished he hadn't said anything. "It was one of the most horrific things I'd seen, what they did to that family and to the Whitelaws. In some way I'm sure the Lightwoods regretted-"

"Tell me." Alec demanded.

And Magnus sighed and began narrating the tale of the last stand of the New York Institute.

Chapter Text

"You're not my father." Alec said coldly, his blue eyes like chips of ice. "And she's not my mother. My mother is Jocelyn Fray. My sister is a short, bad-tempered, redhead named Clary."

The redhead in question punched him lightly in the shoulder. He gave her a fond smile, but then turned the full force of his glare on Robert Lightwood.

"I was brought up a mundane and I'll stay a mundane with great pleasure. I don't need the approval of a man who slaughtered his own kind on the word of a psychopath. I know what you did to the Whitelaws of this Institute before the Uprising. Your own people. And it disgusts me to have been born to you. You think that I'm beneath you because I'm gay? What a riot. You're the monsters," he told them harshly.

Maryse gasped.

Alec shot her an accusing look and continued, "I was born this way and I'll live this way because I want to and because this is who I am," and he gave his sister a tender smile, "Clary and I, we have a life outside the Shadow World. And once this fiasco with Valentine is over, we're going back to it. You'll never have to see me again. I won't be what you want just because I have your precious angel blood. So you can take your beloved 'Sed Lex, Dura Lex' and shove it. Be glad Isabelle isn't here right now or she'd have many, many questions about what I've said so far."

Clary put a hand on his arm. "Alec, this is where we be-"

"Do not finish that sentence, Clarissa." Alec said firmly, and she took a small step back at the steel in his eyes. "We do not belong here, angel blood be damned. We do not belong anywhere unless we want to and the people who are already there want us to belong there. We've always had each other. We've never needed anyone else except Mom. Well, maybe Simon, too. But Mom's in a coma and Luke's got enough on his plate with handling the wolf pack. So if you want to stay here, fine. Go ahead. I may be older but that doesn't give me the authority to tell you what to do. I, however, I'm sure Simon will let me crash on his couch for a couple of days. I can always join his band." He winked at Clary and kissed her on the top of her head. "After all, he does keep saying that they need someone as pretty as me," he smirked at Robert who looked very affronted.

"Alec-" she tried again, tears glittering in her eyes.

"Don't worry, Clare-bear. I'll see you all the time. I'm just not going to be a shadowhunter like you, if that's what you choose."

Then he turned and walked out of the Institute. Clary ran after him yelling his name. He stopped on the steps of the institute, duffel bag slung over a shoulder and turned to look at her. "What, Clary? You've spent years complaining about Mom and I being overprotective and never letting you do what you want or giving you room to breathe. I'm letting you make your choice, now."

"You can't just leave, Alec. I thought the fact that we weren't related didn't change anything. Or was that just one of your scripts you fed me to make me feel better?" Clary cried.

"How dare you accuse me of that?" he demanded, absolutely furious. "What do you want from me, Clary?" he continued tiredly.

"I want my big brother back," she said half-hysterical. "I want us not to run in opposite directions just because we're disagreeing on... what are we even disagreeing on? I don't understand what you're trying to tell me. You just sweep through wherever you go grandstanding and making speeches like this social justice warrior but you never just flat out explain what the hell is going on!" she yelled. "What am I supposed to be, your loyal puppy? You know, I get that you're happy living like a mundane and going to college and eventually following your dreams, but I've always felt like there's a part of me that's been missing. I could see things nobody else could and I knew there was more out there then school and jobs and mortgages. And I just want you to understand, for once, that maybe, I've found something I want to do." 

"I'm not taking your choices away!" Alec cried.

"Yes, you are! Because I don't want to do this without you!" she yelled back. "I'm sick of you just leaving me behind as if who I am and what I want is never good enough for you! I'm not a mundane. I'm not even a normal shadowhunter! I can do things others can't, I can do things you can't and just because what we are makes you uncomfy, you're bailing?"

Alec sighed. "Clary, this is not a competition. Luke is injured and with the pack. Mom is still at Beth Israel's in a coma. Simon is a freaking vampire, the people heading this Institute, be they my birth parents or not, literally cannot accept me and you just magically blew up a ship. Did it occur to you that maybe, if this is what you want - if you want to be a shadowhunter so badly - that it's something you should be able do with or without me? Because if you can't, then do you really want to do it at all?"

Clary grit her teeth. "I'm not saying I can't or don't want to do it. I'm saying that I need your support. I need to know that you're okay with this."

"And I need time," he replied, "And a hell of a lot of space. You might see me as this great, heroic older brother, but I, Alec, haven't been dealing with everything that's happened at all. Granted, maybe that's my fault because I've been hiding how hard it's been for me from you, but my life - and for one second, Clary, let's make this about me - my life fell to pieces in moments. So maybe I don't want to be Perfect Alec for a couple of days or weeks or months or whatever until I actually know who I am and what I need to do. And you know what? Maybe you should consider asking yourself why I want to stay as far away from Robert Lightwood as you do from Valentine Morgenstern," Alec pointed out to her.

Clary's mouth fell open.

He took a deep breath and continued, "But that's my choice to make and for once, just once, I'm going to be selfish and choose my own physical and psychological well-being over making you feel happy and supported. And I know it's not your fault and it's not fair to you, but the way this entire nightmare has been going so far hasn't been fair to me. I feel like ever since we got dragged into this world, I've been fighting a war. I've been fighting friends and Downworlders and Valentine and even the bloody Clave and it's getting me nowhere and it's giving me more shit than I have the mental capacity to deal with right now.

"I can't force you to see the Clave like I do. Sure, I'd prefer it if you did, because it wold be great to have you be one siding with me instead of me siding with you, but this is the way the world works. I'm not abandoning you. I don't want to have any part in a war, but I might have to anyway. I've accepted that. But that doesn't mean in any way that I am okay with where my life is going or that I'm in any way ready to tackle it head-on like you've been doing and seen me do for the past couple of weeks. Christ's sake, Clary, I'm not even eighteen yet."

For the first time in a long time, Alec looked like he was going to cry. "I'm breaking apart from the strain of this all, Clare-bear. I'm hurting and I want out even though I know it isn't possible. I want to go back to being normal and boring and nerdy and I want to be Alec Fray, not Alexander 'Born-to-be-a-warrior' Lightwood. So yeah. I'm taking some time off from all of this. I'm getting out of this place and I'm not coming back until I've picked up the pieces and put some semblance of sanity into my life. Because if I don't, I'm going to lose my mind."

Clary was speechless. "But... what if I..." she tried after several long moments of them staring at each other. "What if need you? What if we find a way to wake up Mom? Hell, what if I miss you? I can't lose you like this, Alec."

"You will never lose me. Not in a million years, not even if the sun dies, the moon shatters and the stars go out. If you need me, if you really need me, I'll be back." Alec reassured her.

"What if I need to contact you?" Clary asked.

"Well, considering that my phone is at the bottom of the East River, I guess you should call Simon," Alec said shortly, and walked away. 

Simon stayed very quiet on his end, scratching behind Yossarian's ears while Clary word-vomited on the phone. When she was finished, he took a very deep breath and exploded at her. "Alec isn't here yet. Maybe he's at Adri's apartment for the night. Either way, you know Alec would never force you to go with him because that's not the kind of person he is. He doesn't tell people what to do, unlike the Clave. Alec lets them make their own choices. And the choice you made? Clary, you chose staying with a bunch of racist, hypocritical, fascist, homophobic jackasses over your own brother who also happens to be one of the best people I've ever known. Maybe it took becoming a vampire and a Downworlder for me to see the Clave the way I do, but I agree with Alec. They're terrible people. Like, genuinely terrible, corrupt, bigoted people.

"Granted, maybe Jace and Izzy aren't like that, but they're the younger generation, and considering the fact that they grew up here in New York City, they're probably among the most liberal. From what I've heard, the Clave as a whole sucks. You chose staying with a race of people who will never accept your brother for who he is. You chose to stay with people who would rather Alec be dead than gay.

"Izzy told me that if Alec had been raised a shadowhunter and come out as gay, he would have been stripped of his Marks, maybe even executed. Are those really the kind of people you want to be a part of? I know I wouldn't. And neither would the person I thought was my best friend. You and Alec have always had a place here at Casa Lewis, but clearly, you've found your 'people'. Well, congratulations to you, I guess."

And then Simon hung up before Clary could say anything else.


Chapter Text

Alec practically fell into the surprised warlock’s arms the moment the door opened. It had been drizzling on his journey from the Institute to Brooklyn, but his hair was still messy and slightly damp, not enough to cling to his forehead but enough to make it stick out in all directions, tiny droplets barely visible.

"Alec, what-" Magnus began, but he couldn't get out more than that as Alec murmured his name, buried one hand in Magnus’ hair pulled his lips to Alec’s own, kissing with everything he had. His duffel bag swung forward and pulled him into the apartment with the weight of it. Alec let it slip off his shoulder and it hit the floor with a fairly loud thud that neither of them even noticed as Magnus growled and kissed him back, lightly nipping his lower lip.

He magicked the door shut and pushed Alec up against it, his long, elegant fingers pinning one of Alec’s wrists against the door above his head. Alec gasped into Magnus' mouth, the fingers of his free hand digging into Magnus’ back.

The warlock’s lips went to his neck and Alec bit his lip in an attempt to stop, but in actuality barely muffled a moan just as he felt teeth scrape against his skin, making it tingle.

Magnus lifted him up and Alec locked his legs around his waist and groaned, tipping his head back, chanting the warlock's name as if in prayer. Said warlock pressed him hard against his own body and carried him across the apartment to the bedroom. Once Magnus had laid him down gently. Alec sat up, threw off his T-shirt, unbuttoned Magnus' tight jeans and reached for the zipper.

"Wait," Magnus said, his strong hands firmly on Alec's slender ones, stilling them for a few brief moments. "Are you sure this is what you want, Alexander?"

Alec looked up at him with his flame-blue eyes. "I want you. I want this. I don't care if I was born a Nephilim. If being a mundane, if not embracing the rigid society that I was meant to means that I can be with you, then so be it." He reached up and pulled Magnus back in for a fiery kiss. "Do you understand now? It doesn't matter, who I am. I wouldn't be me without you. I'm Alec Fray. And I'm in love with you. I, Alec Fray, am in love with you, Magnus Bane. And no messed up supernatural fight club is going to stop me from being with you. I don’t have words. I’m not good with making up stuff, I’m just an actor, I can quote whomever I feel like, but I’m at a loss for words. All I can say is that I love you. I love you more than words can say."

Alec finished his short speech and bit his lip again as he looked up at Magnus with his vibrant azure eyes from under long, dark eyelashes, his cheeks flushed a light pink. "Unless...” he began, suddenly much shyer than before, “Unless you don't..." he trailed off.

For a second Magnus stared at him uncomprehendingly. And then he came to his senses, hands finding Alec’s hipbones and pressing there gently through the damp jeans and then sliding his fingers upward and under Alec’s cotton shirt, making the young man shiver with anticipation and excitement. Magnus pressed their bodies together. "Oh, Alec, of course I want this.” He said. “Of course, I want to be with you. I just didn't think you -"

"I do," Alec said fiercely, “Now kiss me like you want to devour me and throw me down and ravish me until I can’t leave this bed without my body crying in protest.” The words were whispered hotly against Magnus’ ear as Alec peeled off his jeans and pulled Magnus further into his arms. “Make me feel nothing but you.”

And that was all the answer either of them needed.

As Magnus was dragged from Morpheus' sweet embrace the next morning, the warmth radiating from his left made sure that he was singularly aware that he wasn't alone in his bed. As he slipped out from under the comforter, the sight of a tangled mess of short dark hair on his pillows sent memories of the extremely eventful previous night rushing into the forefront of his mind.

His companion stirred from the movement and sleepy blue eyes blinked awake at him. "Morning," Alec said, stretching in a way that did magical things to his shoulders. He sat up, the blanket that had been covering them during the night pooling at his waist.

A vivid memory of Alec gasping as Magnus' tongue traced his abs made the warlock sit back down on the bed and think hard about what was going to happen next. Round two (or three or four or five)? Awkward conversation? Alec backtracking on everything he'd said as it being in the heat of the moment and running back to the Institute?

"Stop thinking so loud," Alec chided when Magnus didn't answer him, and pulled the warlock into a kiss.

"Alec - " Magnus murmured against his lips.

"I don't regret it." he interrupted firmly. "At all. Do you?"

"No, I don't. I just don't think you realise what it means, to be in a relationship with someone like me," Magnus answered.

Alec looked at him questioningly.

"Someone who's immortal."

"Ah. I'll age and I'll die. You won't. I think I've got it covered. I have read the codex, you know."

"But doesn't it bother you? Why are you so cavalier about it?" Magnus asked cautiously.

"Honestly? It does bother me. The idea of growing older. One day I'll be old and withered and I don't know if... if you'll still want me." The uncertainty in Alec's voice was both heart-breaking and endearing at the same time.

"Of course I'll-" he protested.

Alec kissed him again, hard, and then said, "You don't know that. I don't know that. I don't know where this is going and neither do you. That doesn't matter to me. We get the time we get. No more, no less. I want to spend what time I have on this earth being with you. Me being mortal doesn't make what we have mean any less, it makes what we have mean more. And maybe we won't work out. Maybe we will. If we do, I won't ask you to be a hermit after I die. All I'll ever ask for is the truth."

"αλήθεια," Magnus read, tracing the black ink on Alec's shoulder. "Truth." Alec shivered at the warm touch.

"I didn't realise you knew Ancient Greek," Alec murmured, catching hold of the fingers trailing over his tattoo, "Though I guess I should have known."

"I'm almost four hundred." Magnus boasted. "I've picked up a couple of languages over the years."

Alec looked adorably confused for a moment. "I thought you were eight hundred."

"I lied before." Magnus smirked, the kind of smirk that made angels weep and demons jealous, then it morphed into a tender smile. "But you asked for truth. So I'm giving it to you. One day at a time, if that's what you want."

"One day at a time," Alec agreed.