I Dream of Alec
I stood on the stairwell and glared at the buzzer. Part of me regretted leaving all my weapons behind at the Institute, but the temptation of actually being able to feel bones break beneath the blows of my fists was too good to pass up. I'd been biding my time for weeks; I had to wait for Alec to make some improvement -- namely making sure he could be alone without putting a blade to his wrists or throat -- before I could finally give Magnus Bane a piece of my mind.
Rolling my shoulders, I reached out and pushed the buzzer, holding it long enough to piss off the resident. No response. I wondered if the asshole was out on a date. Infuriated, I jabbed at the buzzer a dozen times.
The answer caught me off guard. No "WHO CALLS UPON THE HIGH WARLOCK?" How odd. This voice didn't sound egotistical and slightly seductive. This voice was flat and tired, belonging to someone too exhausted to feel anything but hollow. I wonder how many hookups he had last night.
"Let me up," I demanded.
"And you are...?"
"A very pissed off friend of a friend." No point in tip-toeing around the obvious.
At first I thought he was going to refuse or just ignore me but then the door swung open. Before he could change his mind I stepped inside and stomped up the stairs to the second floor. The next door was closed but unlocked; I threw it open and stormed inside, slamming the door behind me.
Magnus was leaning against one of the tables, rubbing his temples. "Must you make such a racket?"
I pointed an accusing finger at him. "I've got a bone to pick with you, Bane."
He looked less than amused. "Is that joke supposed to be funny?"
Unfazed, I continued to glower at him. "Do you have any idea how much damage you've done?"
"I really have no idea." Magnus cast his arm in a sweeping motion around the room.
I hadn't even taken notice of the condition of the room, or of Magnus, when I first walked in. The destruction wasn't as substantial as it had been in Alec's room, but it was still noticeable, particularly the black burn marks on the walls.
Magnus, himself, was quite a sight to behold. He rarely, if ever, left his place without having his hair perfectly spiked, makeup expertly applied and dressed in some absurdly glittery or sequined -- and no doubt expensive -- outfit. Yet here he was in front of me: hair down, messy, shaggy and unstyled; face free of any trace of eyeliner and clad in a baggy pair of gray sweatpants, slung low on his waist, and a plain navy blue t-shirt with STUNNER written in white letters.
"Do you know what you did to him?" I hissed, unsympathetic.
Magnus made an annoyed noise in the back of his throat and meandered over to the sofa, collapsing onto his back and draping his arm over his eyes. I followed him with my hands clenched at my sides. All he had to do was remove his arm from his face and I'd take a swing at him, though I'd prefer it if he was standing. I wanted to see what his face looked like covered in black and blue, and I didn't mean eye shadow.
"How could you be so selfish?"
"Shadowhunters," Magnus growled in contempt. "You never think you're the cause of the problem."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Don't judge the novel until you've read every page, Jace Wayland."
"Can the cryptic crap, Magnus," I spat. "Now before I beat you into oblivion the least you could do is give me an explanation and an apology."
Magnus's lips tugged into a grin, adding fire to my fury. "You came over here to threaten me? That's very cute. Tell me, why haven't you asked your parabatai for an explanation?"
"Alec hasn't been in a talkative mood lately...or an eating mood, or a get-out-of-bed mood or even an I-want-to-be-alive mood."
That caught his attention. Magnus shot upright, his yellow cat eyes fierce. "He didn't try anything, did he?"
"Not yet, but it crossed his mind."
Magnus sighed and raked a hand through his hair, making it stand up on end. "That boy always had a certain fragility he didn't allow others to see. I'm glad he's not hurt."
"I didn't say that."
The icy sharpness in my tone drew Magnus's eyes up to meet mine. "You really want to hit me, don't you?"
I remained silent and instead clenched my hands tighter, enhancing the bulge of muscles in my arms. Magnus took no notice, which made me shake with rage. He got to his feet and clasped his hands behind his back.
"You're not going to hit me," he said simply, as if stating a fact.
"Why not? Are you pregnant?"
Magnus was wise enough to smirk. "You're not going to hit me, Jace, because you will not do so without taking a pounding yourself. And what happens when your parabatai sees you all bruised and battered? He's a smart boy, surely he'll suspect what happened. Then he'll do one of two things: he'll feel guilty for you getting hurt and those tendrils of darkness will grab his ankles and yank him back into the darkness you've been fighting to pull him out of, or he'll try to communicate with me. He might try to call me. Hell, he might even waltz on over here in person. Either way, the aftermath doesn't lead to a benefit on his part, does it?"
"He wouldn't try to contact you," I lied.
Magnus raised a brow. "You know he hasn't moved on, Jace."
Magnus's body slouched slightly. He wiped a hand over his face as if he could rub away the obvious exhaustion that lurked there. "There won't be anyone after him," he sighed.
"So you haven't moved on either."
"I didn't say that," he objected. "I said there won't be anyone after him, yes, but I'm getting over him. I'm just...done."
Something suddenly occurred to me. "You haven't said his name." When Magnus stared at me blankly I clarified, "The entire time I've been here you have not once mentioned Alec by name."
His reply came without hesitation, "They say you shouldn't name the pets you're eventually going to eat."
"You're going to eat Alec?"
"That boy was nothing more than my pet. He's forgettable. He's nothing."
My fist was headed for his jaw barely after the words passed through his lips. Before it could make contact, my fist was entrapped in Magnus's hand. I swung my other fist at his stomach, but he blocked the blow and locked his fingers tightly around my wrist. I struggled to release myself from his grip, to no avail. I tried to kick his shins but my feet remained firmly on the ground. Blue sparks glittered under my boots.
"Damn you, Magnus Bane!" I snarled.
"Boy, I'm already in the deepest pit of hell!" He released me with a shove. "I can't say his name without thinking about him; the way he smiles, the way he smells, how brilliantly blue his eyes are when he first wakes up in the morning, the way he fits perfectly in my arms, the taste of his lips..." Magnus trailed off, gathering his thoughts. "The way he can do something to make me hate him so much I break up with him, but deep down I'm still undyingly in love with him."
Hostility ebbing, I asked, "What did Alec do to you?"
"He was selfish. He tried to change something that wasn't his to change."
I nodded even though I still didn't entirely understand. "He still loved you."
The majority of my rage seemed to dissipate. Obviously I was not going to throttle the warlock today. All magic aside, it would give me an unfair advantage to fight him in his current condition, like kicking a kitten instead of a panther.
"Well this has been a rather disappointing smash-and-dash. I'd better go. Alec's probably had all he can handle of training for today."
Magnus escorted me to the door. Before I could step out I turned to him. "A word to the wise: I'd clean up all those empty containers. They attract rats."
"Jace Wayland!" Magnus gasped in mock admonishment. "That's no way to talk about Simon."
I started down the stairwell, but Magnus calling my name stopped me. I turned to look up at him. His eyes were blazing with a sort of feral protectiveness.
"Take extra care of Alec," he said, not hiding the concern laced in his voice. "Please."
gave him a single nod and started back down the stairs. "I always