Forever Parabatai

It Is Written...

No new messages. I cursed out loud. My leg was bouncing up and down anxiously. An open book was sprawled in my lap, but I had abandoned my attempt to read long ago. My eyes had lazily skimmed over the words stained in black ink, but by the time I reached the bottom of the page, I had no recollection of what I had just read. My thoughts were elsewhere, and that in itself was too distracting to focus on anything else. I checked my phone again.

"Expecting a phone call?"

Magnus Bane was suddenly leaning against the door frame of the library, his ankles casually crossed in front of him and his hands shoved into his pockets.

I scowled at him. "You could have messaged me back. I've been sitting here wondering if you were even going to show."

Magnus grinned. "What can I say? I enjoy ruffling your feathers."

"Well you've done an outstanding job."

Magnus strolled into the library, gazing in fascination at the shelves drowning in books. He wandered off to the side and leaned forward to read the ancient, faded spines. He trailed his finger down the length of a particularly battered book and then inspected his finger for dust.

"Where's your girlfriend?" he asked curiously.

"Out with Isabelle having a girl's day. They were headed out for breakfast then they were going shopping."

"You should have gone with them," Magnus said, looking pointedly at my ripped jeans and plain black t-shirt.

"I wanted to talk to you about Alec. How was he this morning?"

Magnus shrugged. "I wouldn't know."

My eyes narrowed. "What do you mean you don't know? Last I heard, he was staying with you."

"That's correct."

"So...?" I trailed off, prompting the warlock to continue.

Magnus seated himself in a chair across from me. He lifted his leg to rest his right ankle on his left knee. He would have looked regal if it hadn't been for his ludicrous outfit. Only he could pull off a purple sequined tank top, black leather pants and an oversized star-shaped belt buckle with glittering red rhinestones. A wide black leather bracelet with silver studs encircled each of his wrists.

"I had a client early this morning. I thought I would be back home before Alec woke up, but the task at hand got a little complicated."

"Complicated?"

"Oh, yes. Heads were spinning and vomit was being spewed everywhere, that sort of thing. It was rather repulsive."

"I can only imagine." I snapped the book in my lap shut. "Well, how did Alec look to you when you first saw him?"

"When I first saw him?" Magnus's eyes drifted upwards in thought. "When I first saw him, I had been expecting to see you. That little revelation had me seeing red."

I snorted. "Alec certainly has a way of pissing people off lately, doesn't he? After you calmed down, though, what did you think?"

"I thought he'd looked better when he was covered in Greater Demon wounds."

I nodded, my fingers strumming on the cover of the book. Magnus plucked a hair from his pants and waggled his finger to let the strand float to the floor. He did not seem overly concerned about my parabatai's condition.

"I assume he got better in your presence?"

"I saw him at two am," Magnus confirmed, his eyes brightening at the memory. "Aside from some sleeping difficulties he looked...exceptional."

I blinked. "What do you mean by that?"

Magnus sighed in adoration. "Do you have any idea how adorable your parabatai looks when he's sleeping? And the way his hair his hair is so untidy when he first wakes up...so sexy."

I held up my hand. "Okay. I don't need to hear any more of that. My question now is did he look stable enough to be left alone by himself?"

"He seemed calm, not in any real distress. He woke up before I left and offered to come back to the Institute. I declined. Don't get me wrong, he didn't try to persuade me to let him stay, but he didn't seem too keen on coming here and seeing you."

I did not know how much Alec had revealed to Magnus. Was I supposed to keep my mouth shut about what happened in the training room? This was an opportunity for Alec to heal, and the last thing I needed to do was get him in trouble and screw it all up.

"He kissed you, didn't he?"

I blanched, ruining all hope of denying the question. "How did you know?"

Magnus sighed. "I figured it would happen eventually. The only person he could turn to after our separation was you, and his history of infatuation with you isn't exactly a secret."

"He didn't do it on purpose," I said, trying to appease some of the tension. "He pushed me away and ran. I mean, he didn't use tongue or anything."

Magnus shook his head. "Pity. He has gotten much better at that."

"You're not angry?" I asked, dumbfounded. "I thought you'd be skinning me alive right now."

"And do what? Turn your skin into jerky? That's disgusting, Jace Herondale. Besides, I'd like to avoid getting blood on my new shoes."

"Magnus, your lack of being bothered by Alec kissing me is vexing. Why aren't you extremely jealous? I think I'm breaking out in a rash."

Magnus ignored my quip. "If kissing you had helped him cope, I would have had him do it one hundred times over. He tried to get over me, but he couldn't. I take it as a compliment, really."

"And you should. Not many people reject this tasty dish." I swept my hand over my body.

"You're right. Alec walked right past the Happy Meal and went for fine dining."

"Are you calling me greasy?"

Magnus waved his hand dismissively. "Why don't you call Alec and check up on him yourself? I'd like to keep him another night and make sure he's fed a good meal. He's looking a bit thin."

With a nod of agreement I dialed Alec's number and pushed the call button. It went straight to his voicemail. Brow furrowed, I redialed with the same result. Not bothering to leave a message, I hung up.

"I keep getting his voicemail."

"He must still be asleep," Magnus guessed. The warlock got to his feet and stretched, working the kinks out in his back and shoulders. "Would you like to come over? You can speak with him once he wakes up."

"Sure." I stood up and plopped the book down in the vacant chair. "And for the record, Magnus, I shower frequently. I am not greasy."

The warlock rolled his eyes.

We covered the distance to Magnus's place in a short amount of time. His eagerness to get home was apparent in his long and swift strides. I had to hurry to keep up. We climbed the stairs in his building in silence. When we reached his door, Magnus put the key in the lock but refrained from turning it.

He looked at me sternly. "Keep your voice down. I don't want you waking my boyfriend up."

Warmth surged through me and I beamed at the warlock, pleased. "Your boyfriend?"

Magnus blinked, as if the word had slipped out unintentionally. "Well...he's on probation," he amended with a small smile and a wink.

I followed Magnus through the entryway. I bumped into him, though, when he suddenly halted. I ricocheted off his rigid body.

"By the Angel, Magnus. A little warning next time, please."

The warlock remained ramrod stiff. I stepped around him to study his face. His eyes were wide and horrified. His mouth was gaping and his pallor was alarming. I followed his gaze to the wall across the room. There, written in dark dried blood, was the message: "Give me the Book of White or he dies. -J. C. M."

My eyes wildly darted around the room. Besides the message, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. None of the furniture had been overturned and there didn't appear to be anything missing...except Alec. I moved forward to get a better look at the wall when my boot slipped on a slick substance. I knew what it was before I reluctantly glanced downward. My hand shot out to grab a nearby chair for support as my knees threatened to give out. The pool of blood on the floor was extensive. There was no doubt in my mind that the blood had seeped from Alec's flesh. A wave of nausea racked my body and I doubled over, vomiting on the floor.

When the dry heaves subsided, I turned to Magnus, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. He hadn't moved an inch, hadn't even blinked. I felt so lost, not knowing what to say or if I should reached out and touch him.

"Magnus..."

"He's still alive," he whispered, fighting to convince himself. "Alec is still alive."

"If he was dead I would have felt it," I reassured him.

"That blood is going to leave a stain." Magnus's voice was dazed, succumbing to shock.

"Maybe you should sit down." I started to grab a chair.

"Jace." Magnus was suddenly clinging to my arm. His eyes were terrified and pleading. "We can't let him die."

"We'll get him back."

Magnus searched my face. "How?"

I opened my mouth to reply but no words came out. In the silence I realized that I had no answers. I had no plan, no words of comfort or encouragement. I truly had nothing, and that petrified me to my very core.


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