Forever Parabatai

Letting Go

Over twenty-four hours had passed. Twenty-four gruesome hours of Alec phasing in and out of possession. His violent aggression was occurring more frequently and for longer periods of time. Jace and I took turns watching over Alec and reading through endless piles of books we borrowed from the Institute. We endured the threats and words of hatred he spat at us, blocking him out to the best of our abilities. Still, it only took so long for Alec to find a grip on our skin before clawing his way inside, ripping at our minds and our hearts. Alec was deteriorating fast, and so were we.

I paced the room quietly, my eyes flicking over to Alec's limp form every couple of seconds. He was dangling from his restraints, his legs unable to hold him up, and I wanted nothing more than to release him and scoop him up in my arms. Instead, I turned on my heel and retraced my steps back to the other side of the room.

The parasitic demon blood had left Alec's true form weak and fragile. His body twisted at odd angles and convulsed every time he experienced an episode. Neither Jace nor I could get near him during his fits of aggression, and, because they were happening more often, we could not get to Alec while he was in a state of calm fast enough to give him food and water. The possessed side of Alec was strong, well fed by the surfacing of suppressed hatred and anger. That side of him never slept, leaving our Alec exhausted and haggard-looking.

"Mag...nus?"

Alec's choked voice was so quiet I had barely heard it. I whipped around, gaping at him like he was a stick of dynamite that could explode at any second. He was still slumped forward, hanging by his wrists, but ever so slowly he began to lift his head. Though his eyes were rimmed with red and half-lidded, I could clearly see his blue irises.

"Alec," I breathed, taking a step forward.

"No," Alec groaned, stopping me in my tracks. "I...don't want...to hurt...you."

I opened my mouth to argue but closed it again, knowing he was right. Getting close to Alec would be like reaching a hand through the bars of a caged -- and seriously pissed off -- lion.

"What are you feeling right now, Alec?" I asked.

Alec blinked, black splotches tugging at his bottom eyelids. "Tired."

"What else?"

"Sore...Thirsty."

I hurried forward, hastily uncapping the bottle of water in my hand. Alec's eyes widened in alarm as I approached him. He opened his mouth to speak but I cut him off.

"Drink this," I said, holding the bottle to his lips.

Alec hesitated before accepting my help. Water spilled out of his mouth as he coughed and sputtered after the first swallow. I gently told him to drink slower before pouring more. He drank greedily, panting heavily as I pulled the bottle away after each heavy chug. When the last droplet slipped past his parted lips, Alec let out a contented sigh. With a grunt, he attempted to pull himself into a standing position. His knees trembled as he struggled to hold up his weight. Without a second thought I reached forward and wrapped my arm around Alec's waist, helping him up. When he steadied himself, he let his head fall against my shoulder. The gesture left me in shock. It had felt like an eternity since Alec had showed me any affection.

"Thank you," he whispered.

"You're welcome."

"Magnus?"

I tightened my arm around him. "Hmm?"

"Did you figure it out yet?" Alec asked. "Can you help me?"

I paused, debating blinding him with a lie. "We're working it on."

Alec nuzzled his cheek against my shoulder before pulling away, the chains clinking overhead. My glance was drawn upward and I caught glimpses of the raw skin on Alec's wrists under the metal shackles. Fresh blood, slow as molasses, oozed down his arms, criss-crossing the paths of dried blood.

"He's going to find me."

Alec's low voice snapped my out of my reverie. "What did you say?"

"He's going to find me."

"Who is?" I reached out and turned Alec's face towards me.

"He wants to pick my brain." Alec's body jerked. "He'll torture me until he gets the information he wants. The warlock...he can access my memories."

I gaped at him, unable to decipher his words. Had the demon blood been crafting hallucinations again, or had it gnawed farther into his mind, rendering him incapable of discerning reality from nightmare?

"What are you talking about, Alec?"

"The book--"

A shudder passed over Alec's body and his hands clenched into fists, yanking against the chains.

No, no, no!

Alec yelled in agony. Desperate, I put my fingers to his forehead and let the blue sparks sink into his skin. Alec went limp for a moment, but just as quickly as he had passed out, he jerked back into consciousness. Dumbfounded, I tried again. He regained consciousness in a matter of seconds, writhing and whimpering.

I recoiled from the Shadowhunter as the possession overtook him, blinking furiously to dam the tears pricking at the back of my eyes. The spasms made Alec curl in on himself. He cried out and panted as his body contorted.

"Magnus!" Alec's head shot up and his darkening eyes fixed on me. "Run!"

It became apparent very quickly that this episode was not like the others. Alec gasped for air and screamed, pulling against the restraints viciously. Suddenly, like a switchblade, Alec jackknifed from being doubled over to standing on the balls on his feet, his back arched and his chest raised towards the ceiling. He convulsed as he slowly straightened and lowered his heels back to the floor. Alec's dark eyes fell on me, and a small smile touched his lips. With a yell, he gave a mighty heave and broke free of his restraints. The two lengths of chains swung aside and clattered against the walls on either side of the room. Alec inspected the shackles still locked around his wrists before turning his glare to me.

"If I don't kill you right away," he growled, "I'm going to put you in chains. I'd like for you to know how it feels to lose the circulation in your arms and hands, to skin your wrists bloody, to be betrayed by someone you thought you could trust."

Blue sparks glittered against my palms and adrenaline coursed through my veins. "I can help you, Alec."

Alec cocked his head to the side and approached me, his face softening. "You want to help me?"

"Of course I do," I said, holding my ground.

He leaned forward and whispered, "Then let me hear you scream."

Swifter than the strike of a snake, Alec reached out and grabbed the lapels of my leather jacket and swung me around. He released me halfway through the turn and my body hurled towards the wall on the far side of the room. A loud crack thundered in my ears, but before I could determine if it was the wall or my skull I was pulled under by darkness.

~*~

I was jerked awake by the ear-splitting slam that shook the walls. I blinked rapidly to expel the drowsiness from my eyes, furious for having dozed off. Fully alert, I tossed the book that was cradled in my lap aside and raced down the hall to Alec's room, tearing the door open.

Magnus was laying unmoving in a crumpled heap on the floor at the far side of the room. Alec was stalking towards him, but he turned his attention to me as I threw the door open. Panic welled inside me as my eyes darted to the cracks in the wall at Magnus's back. Alec, now free of his restraints, was ready to fight me one-on-one. I had a seraph blade and a dagger in the weapons belt around my waist, yet I felt at a terrible disadvantage.

"What have you done, Alec?"

His dark eyes narrowed as he smirked. "The same thing I'm about to do to you."

I reached for my seraph blade. "I don't want to hurt you."

Alec's eyes blazed. "You already have."

Magnus moaned suddenly and shifted on the floor, momentarily diverting Alec's attention. I took advantage of his distraction and bolted towards him. He turned just in time for me to tackle him around his waist, sending us both crashing to the floor. I quickly repositioned myself while he was stunned and attempted to grab his wrists to pin him down, but Alec recovered quickly and began shoving at me, hard. His strength caught me off guard, and soon we were rolling across the floor. I gained the advantage again and dropped all my weight on Alec to hold him down, but he reared upwards and bashed his skull against mine. Black spots swam in front of my eyes and Alec rolled us over again, this time crushing me beneath him. His knees painfully pinned my arms to the floor, and I thrashed wildly trying to buck him off.

Alec's hands suddenly wrapped around my throat and squeezed. I gasped for air and furiously fought to free myself. My vision blurred and my heart raced as his grip tightened. I locked gazes with him, desperately searching for any traces of blue left in the pits of darkness. When I tried to choke out his name, Alec's fingers dug into my skin, completely closing off my air. My lungs burned and room began to darken.

Two arms snaked around Alec's chest and hauled him off of me. I immediately sucked in a breath of air and was wracked with a fit of coughing. As I wheezed on the floor, I caught sight of Magnus struggling to control my parabatai. The muscles in the warlock's arms bulged under the strenuous effort. Alec tore at his arms to try and free himself, but Magnus's hands were locked together around him. Very faintly I could see blue sparks glowing against Magnus's skin; he was using magic to help keep his grip unbreakable.

With a yell, Alec launched himself backwards and Magnus had to back up in a frenzy to keep himself upright. Alec used the momentum and pushed them back against the wall, hard. I could hear the breath tear out of Magnus's lungs, and his grip temporarily loosened. Alec skillfully slipped out of his grasp and whipped around, throwing his knee up into Magnus's stomach where the knife had once been embedded in his flesh. The warlock immediately dropped the floor on his hands and knees. Alec kicked him in the ribs, forcing the warlock to sprawl out on his back.

Leaping to my feet and unsheathing my seraph blade, I charged at Alec. This time he was ready for me; he charged back at me. Before we could collide, Alec veered suddenly to the side and swung outwards with his arm. His forearm struck me across the chest with enough force to instantly throw me to the floor. I lay on my back, winded, and the seraph blade fell from my grasp.

Alec scooped up my weapon and crouched over me. He was no longer smiling but the malice in his eyes had not faded. My pulse was racing, but it felt as though my heart had stopped. Fear made me sink farther into the floor. My parabatai was no longer staring down at me; I was staring up into the eyes of my own death.

Alec slammed the blade into the floor mere inches from my head, and I flinched.

"Beg me for your life, Jace," he whispered, leaning forward.

I clamped my mouth shut and turned my head away, but Alec grabbed my chin roughly and forced me to look at him. He pulled the blade free from the floor and angled it in front of my face so I could see the glint of light sparkling against the sharp edge.

"Beg me."

"No."

Alec pressed the seraph blade against my cheek, dangerously close to my eye. "Defiant as ever. You arrogant little son of a bitch. You always thought you were better than everyone, better than me. You forced me to live in your shadow, and now you're going to have to beg me for your life."

My lips curved into a smirk. "No one's begging."

With one hand I knocked the seraph blade out of Alec's hand and with the other I threw my fist into his jaw. The blow knocked him off balance, but before I could get to my feet Alec was grappling me, trying to force me back to the floor. When he lunged for my throat again I let my hand drop to my weapons belt and I closed my fingers around the hilt of a dagger. I swung the blade at him. He shifted his arm just in time and the dagger clanged against the metal shackle around his wrist. Alec's face twisted into a snarl and he caught my wrist in his grip, twisting and crushing until I cried out and the dagger slipped from my fingers. He hastily retrieved it from the floor and lifted it over his head, his eyes blazing as he readied himself to plunge the weapon into me.

The strike never came. A yell tore from Alec's mouth as he was suddenly thrown across the room and against the same wall that Magnus had crashed into. He fell to the floor facedown and he remained immobile for a moment, but then groaned and slowly pushed himself to his hands and knees.

Magnus was at my side in an instant, hauling me my feet. He hurried me to the opposite end of the room and turned back to Alec, who was now back on his feet. His teeth gritted, he took a step forward. Magnus raised his hand and a sheer wall, shimmering now and then with blue ripples, appeared in front of Alec. He bumped into it and ricocheted back. A baffled look crossed his face as he tried to approach us again. When he could not penetrate the wall, Alec yelled in fury and began pounding his fists and feet against it. Magnus groaned and raised his other hand, a thin sheen of sweat covering his skin and his face tight with concentration and exertion.

"Are you all right?" I asked.

Magnus grimaced. "My magic has little-to-no effect on him. I won't be able to hold this wall for very long; he's too powerful."

My thoughts raced. "So what do we do?"

The warlock's teeth gritted as Alec rammed his shoulder against the wall. "Jace, I thought of something that might help Alec."

My pulse jumped in my throat. "We can save him?"

"I don't know, but it's all we have." Magnus glanced at me briefly, his yellow cat eyes shining. "It's you, Jace. You can help him."

"What?"

Magnus cursed as Alec threw himself into the wall again. I couldn't help but notice the way the warlock's hands were shaking. There wasn't much time left.

Magnus's words came out in a rush, "You were pierced with an archangel's sword. The evil was burned from you. The heavenly fire made your blood possibly as pure as Michael's himself."

"How did you--"

Magnus ignored me and continued, "I think your blood can reverse the demon blood."

"You think my blood can kill the evil inside of him?"

"Yes!" Magnus said impatiently.

"What do you want me to do?"

"Do you have anything sharp on you?"

"No. My seraph blade is across the room and Alec has my dagger."

"Damn it. All right, listen carefully. You're not going to like this."

"I can handle it," I assured him, refusing to let my voice shake.

"I'm going to slice open your wrist, and we'll need to move quickly because the wound is going to be deep. We'll both grab Alec and then I'll hold him as long as I can while you put your wrist to his lips and bleed into his mouth."

I blanched. "You can't be serious."

"If you can, open up the skin on his throat and wipe your blood across the wound. It'll speed up the process. Do whatever you have to do. Bite him, scratch him. Just make him bleed. Don't remove your wrist from his mouth until you know he's swallowed the blood."

"Okay." My voice was unsteady.

"Jace, don't let go until he's swallowed it. No matter what. Are you ready?"

"Yes."

"I'm sorry."

Magnus moved one of his hands to aim it at me. I gasped as a harsh stinging sensation tore down the inside of my wrist. Blood instantly flooded from the parted flesh, dark, hot and thick. I bit my tongue against the pain and prepared myself for the hardest part of our plan.

With a shaky breath, Magnus lowered his hand and the wall disappeared. Alec instantly charged forward, my dagger now clenched tightly in his left hand. Magnus took the lead and I followed closely behind, fighting the waves of dizziness that washed over me as the steady stream of blood gushed from the vertical slash in my wrist. Just as we were about to collide in the center of the room, my feet suddenly left the floor and I found myself leaping through the air. Magnus was still at my side, glints of blue light flashing from his fingertips. He lifted us over Alec's head and dropped us behind him.

Before Alec could whip around Magnus grabbed him from behind. He locked his wrists around Alec again, this time pinning Alec's forearms against Alec's chest. The other Shadowhunter trashed wildly in Magnus's grip, snarling in rage.

I hurried to the right side of Magnus and snaked my left around in front of the warlock and around Alec's abdomen, clenching tightly to secure him in place. Before I could give it a second thought, I leaned forward and clamped my teeth down on the skin at Alec's neck, biting down until the metallic tang of blood flooded my mouth. Alec howled and twisted savagely, but Magnus and I held strong. I quickly smeared my blood on the curved rows of puncture wounds at Alec's throat before pressing myself tightly against his back. I reached my arm around his front and, before he could figure out what I was doing and turn away, shoved my wrist against his lips. My actions caught him by surprised and he didn't have time to grit his teeth against me. I felt his tongue briefly flick against the wound, which sent currents of pain up my arm, and he began to violently wrench his head from side to side. I pressed my wrist firmly against his mouth. Alec switched tactics and clamped his teeth down on my wrist. The pain was agonizing. I cried out but refused to let go. My breath came in shallow pants as he bit down harder.

"Jace!" Magnus's voice was strained as he struggled to keep his grapple on Alec. "Cover his mouth and nose!"

I waited for a moment, allowing my blood to fill his mouth completely. Swiftly, so as to not give him a chance to spit any out, I slid my arm back and clamped my hand tightly over Alec's mouth. I squeezed his nostrils shut between my thumb and the first knuckle of my index finger.

Alec's wrenching intensified and he fought even harder against us. It was all I could do to keep my hand clamped over his mouth. I mentally counted down the seconds in my head. Alec may have been demonic, but the possession was occurring inside a mortal shell. Sooner or later he'd have to breathe, and to breathe he'd have to swallow my blood.

All of a sudden Alec's body jerked and he bent forward before quickly straightening again. I managed to hold on, but Magnus's grip loosened slightly and Alec's left hand slipped free. Without a moment's hesitation, Alec swung his arm backwards.

A ragged breath tore from Magnus's lips. I kept my grip tight around Alec but turned my gaze to the warlock. His eyes met mine and he began to say something but all that escaped his mouth was a choking, gurgling noise. My left arm automatically tightened around Alec's torso as Magnus's arms fell away from him. The warlock took two shaky steps backward, his eyes wide with shock. His knees gave out beneath him and he crumpled to the floor on his back, but not before I saw the handle of the knife sticking out from his ribs.

"Magnus!"

The only response was a noise Alec made deep in his throat. His entire body went rigid and I felt his lips part under my palm. I pulled my arms away and stepped back, pushing my left hand against my still-bleeding wrist.

Alec curled in on himself, jerking violently and dry heaving. He collapsed onto his hands and knees and groaned as his body was wracked with spasms. A scream tore from Alec's lips as his back arched upwards. He continued to dry heave but did not vomit. He twitched and slowly turned his head towards me. Pain-filled tears rolled down Alec's cheeks from his blue eyes.

"Jace," he whimpered before collapsing against the floor.

"Alec!"

I fell to my knees beside my parabatai and rolled him over, cradling the upper half of his body in my lap. Alec's eyelids fluttered as he shook in my arms, but finally his trembling began to subside and he lay still, breathing heavily.

"Alec," I softly called.

Alec gasped and his eyes tore open, his hand darting out to clench the front of my shirt.

"It's okay!" I pried Alec's fingers from my shirt and clenched them in my hand. "It's okay, Alec. I'm here."

My parabatai's wide blue eyes focused on me and a look of clarity crossed his face. "Jace. You're all right."

I nodded and wiped at a smear of blood in the corner of Alec's mouth. "You didn't hurt me."

Alec clamped his eyes shut, but a tear managed to escape. "I'm sorry."

I hugged him closer to me. "Shut up, Alec. Just be still and rest for a minute."

He gently pushed me away. "Where's Magnus?"

I froze and my eyes automatically drifted to the warlock's unmoving form laying nearby. Alec followed my gaze. He whimpered and jackknifed into a sitting position.

"Magnus!" he screamed.

When Alec tried to crawl towards Magnus, I reached out and grabbed him. I already knew. The paleness of the warlock's skin and the lack of movement in his chest spoke for itself.

"Alec--"

"Let go of me!"

I wrapped my arms around Alec's chest, hugging him against me. He continued to wrench against me, fighting to get free.

"Damn it, Jace!" he cried. "Please! Let me go!"

"There's nothing you can do," I whispered against his ear. "He's gone, Alec."

~*~

"There's nothing you can do. He's gone."

I shook my head furiously, refusing to let it be true. I struggled against Jace's hold. Frustrated when he wouldn't let go, I inwardly muttered an apology and leaned to the side, shoving my elbow upwards and into his nose. The force was not enough to break it, but Jace immediately released me as blood dripped from his nostrils.

I frantically crawled over to Magnus, every muscle and joint screaming in protest. My hands trembled as I knelt beside him. His eyes were closed and his head lolled to one side, blood glistening at the corner of his mouth. Tears, burning with anger, flooded the bottoms of my eyes as I stared at the knife protruding from his ribcage. I gingerly reached out and lightly shook his shoulder.

"Magnus?" When he remained motionless I tried again. "Magnus, wake up."

My heart pounded against my chest. A cry of panic escaped from my lips. I leaned over and grasped both of Magnus's shoulders, shaking him harder.

"Magnus, wake up!" I shouted.

Though I hadn't heard him approach, Jace knelt on the other side of Magnus. His nose had stopped bleeding but there was still blood smeared under his nostrils. There was no anger in his golden eyes, only pity and grief.

"Magnus Bane!" I yelled. "Wake up, damn it!"

Jace reached for my shoulder but I slapped his hand away.

"Magnus, I'm sorry! Please don't leave me!"

Before I could stop myself, I slapped the warlock across the cheek. His head lolled to the other side, but he remained motionless.

"Alec!" Jace cried, appalled.

I ran my shaky fingers through my hair. For a moment I sat there staring at Magnus, my arms wrapped around myself as I shivered uncontrollably. My eyes suddenly caught a glimpse of blood welling between Jace's fingers from a wound in his wrist. My thoughts tripped over each other in my head.

Furiously swiping the tears from my cheeks I reached out and yanked the knife from Magnus's ribs. I ignored Jace's protesting and snatched up his arm, tugging him forward until his wrist was positioned over the hole in Magnus's flesh. Jace hissed as I squeezed his wrist, draining a thin stream of blood into the stab wound. Before he could pull away, I laced my fingers through Jace's. With my free hand I picked up Magnus's and placed his palm over the wound and set my hand on top of his.

"Take Magnus's other hand, Jace."

"Alec--"

"Please," I begged. "I have to try. Please, Jace."

Sadness glittered in my parabatai's eyes. Without another word he reached down and held Magnus's other hand tightly in his own.

"Take our strength, Magnus," I whispered. "Heal yourself."

I prayed Jace's blood was powerful enough to help him. Every second that passed brought fresh tears to my eyes. I kept my eyes fixed on Magnus's face, scrutinizing for the faintest flicker of his eyelashes, the faintest twitch of his lips.

"Alec..."

I let Jace's hand slip from mine, but I kept the other pressed against Magnus's. Fatigue left me teetering on my knees. Fresh tears slid down my cheeks. So this was what ultimate defeat felt like. I reached forward with my free hand and stroked my thumb across Magnus's cheek.

"I'm sorry," I whispered. "I'm so sorry."

When Jace's hand touched my shoulder I did not shrug it off. I curled my fingers in between Magnus's and leaned forward. I wished his eyes were open so I could lose myself in their dazzling beauty one last time.

"I love you."

I carefully pressed my lips against his and held them there, never wanting to let go. I imagined his fingers cupping the back of my neck, sliding into my hair. I imagined his thumbs brushing over my cheeks. I imagined him smiling against my mouth as he began to pull away.

"Mmphf..."

I pulled back hastily, frightened.

"I can't...breathe...when you...do that."

A strangled cry of relief ripped from me. I threw myself down on Magnus and wrapped my arms around his neck, holding on for dear life. Magnus groaned in pain but I refused to let him go. I apologized profusely, tightening my hold on him. When his arms finally wrapped around me, I buried my face in his shoulder and unleashed the dam of tears.

When I pulled back, I tried my best to look stern. "If you ever do that again I will kill you."

"Noted," Magnus said, smiling weakly.

Jace and I shared a grin. Silenced enveloped the three of us. I reached out my hand and Jace wordlessly placed his in mine. I took Magnus's in my other and sat there, not speaking a single word. I held on tightly, refusing to let either of them slip from my grasp again.

~*~

Jace and I were standing on a bridge in Central Park watching the sparkling sunlight dance across the water's surface. Despite the sun's presence, it was a chilly day. I was dressed in a jacket and my blue sweater. Jace had only a hoodie, but he seemed unbothered by the cold.

"So," he said, amusement laced in his voice. "When do I get to punch you in the face?"

I quirked an eyebrow. "Pardon me?"

"You shoved your elbow into my nose. Almost broke it, too. It's been a week, Alec. I've been lenient. The time has come. It's only fair if I get to punch you in the face, too."

"You bit me," I countered.

Jace waved his hand. "Oh, please. That was a love bite. You can't almost break somebody's nose out of love."

I opened my mouth to respond but I caught a familiar form moving towards us over Jace's shoulder. Jace noticed my staring and followed my gaze. When he turned back to me, he was grinning widely. He gave me a wink and pushed himself away from the railing of the bridge.

"That's my cue to head home."

"You can stay if you want," I offered.

"Nah. It's getting dark anyway. It's dangerous to be here when it's late."

I gave my parabatai a baffled look.

He lowered his voice. "The ducks come out at night."

With a grin, Jace tucked his hands into his pocket and strode off in the opposite direction. I watched him go until I felt a hand curl around my waist. My lips curved into a smile as a light breeze washed the scent of sandalwood over me. I leaned into Magnus's side and we both turned to the water.

"Goldilocks too cool to hang out with us?" Magnus asked.

"Apparently the ducks come out at night."

"Herondales."

I could almost hear the warlock roll his eyes. My smile faded and I nervously began fiddling with my fingers. Magnus's arm slid away from my waist and he mirrored me, placing his elbows on the railing of the bridge and interlacing his fingers together.

"What's wrong?" There was genuine concern in his voice.

"I want to ask you something."

He reached over and turned my face towards him, smiling encouragingly. "Ask away, love."

"I want you to take down the block in my memories."

Magnus's hand fell away from my cheek. "Alexander--"

"I know you think I'm weak--"

"Hey." Magnus's eyes blazed. "You are anything but weak."

I nodded. "Well, maybe you think I can't handle it, but I need those memories, Magnus. I can't explain why, but I need to overcome this on my own terms."

"Alec, you don't have to prove anything. No one thinks you're weak, and no one would think any different if you chose to keep the memories blocked."

My voice was small. "I think I'm weak."

Magnus's face softened in understanding. "You want to prove your strength to yourself."

"I know it sounds stupid, but I just have to do it."

"It doesn't sound stupid."

I gazed deeply into Magnus's yellow eyes. "With these memories, it'll be much easier to kill Sebastian once we find him. He took my brother from me and scarred me in every way imaginable. I'm going to make him suffer."

"That sounds healthy."

"Please, Magnus." I took the warlock's hand in mine. "Do this for me."

The reluctance was clearly evident on his face, but Magnus sighed and said, "Your memories were never mine to take, and I'm sorry that I did that to you. If you're absolutely sure, I will give them back."

I squeezed his fingers. "Thank you."

"It's not going to be easy, Alec. The torture Sebastian put you through...The resurfacing of the pain and fear is going to be overwhelming."

"I know." I smiled crookedly. "But I won't have to go through it alone. Jace will help me, and so will you."

Magnus slid closer to me and wrapped his arm around my shoulders. He pulled me into him, pressing his lips gently against mine. I closed my eyes and my heart fluttered in my chest. When Magnus pulled back he leaned his forehead against mine and smiled, gazing deep into my eyes.

"Of course I'll be there for you," he whispered. "I'll be there every step of the way. We're in this together, Alexander. It's you and me. Always. Forever."


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