One Hundred and One Mortal Stories

Things Waiting to be Found

‘Magnus! Magnus!’ Jace and Raphael ran towards Magnus, tripping one over the other. They stopped in front of the young king. Raphael put his hands on his knees and tried to catch his breath. Jace, who was naturally better at running, grabbed Magnus’ by the shoulders.

‘Your sister is coming home’ he said bluntly. Magnus blinked.

‘What?’

‘Princess Catarina Loss IV, who left over four years ago, your sister, is coming home’ Jace said, pronouncing each word very carefully. Magnus’s mind whirled. Catarina was coming home? His sister was finally returning? He didn’t know what to think – was he supposed to be happy? He was, but he was also a bit scared of what Catarina would say, and more than a little angry that she had left him behind and fled the kingdom.

‘Okay’ Magnus said, turning on his heel and leaving.

‘Okay? That’s it?’ Jace asked in disbelief.

‘What did I run for then?’ Magnus heard Raphael say as he turned the corner.

‘Your Majesty!’ Magnus bumped into Alec in the garden. ‘What’s wrong? You don’t look too happy.’

Magnus ran his hand through his hair. ‘My sister is coming home’

Alec’s face brightened up. ‘That’s great! She’s been gone so long!’

‘Exactly’ Magnus sighted. ‘She’s a stranger to me now. Why is she coming back? This is just confusing me.’ Alec hugged him around the waist.

‘You’ll be fine’ he promised. Magnus smiled despite himself.

‘Yeah’ He tugged Alec down and they sat down on a bench. ‘Why don’t you continue the story from yesterday? It relaxes me.’

|||*|||

‘I’m such an idiot’ Magnus said, scratching his head and glaring at the map he held in his hand. At some point the sun had come up and the forest he had been walking through had changed – now it was full of brightly coloured trees, huge mushrooms and peculiar flowers. After getting over his shock and surprise Magnus realised that the map he had taken from the castle didn’t show this part of the forest. Magnus tried to get back but he just found a large stone wall behind him, and he ended up wandering around until night fell again. By this point he had eaten everything in his bag and was starving as well as exhausted. He sunk against a nearby tree, which was bright red with a blue bark, and closed his eyes, drifting off.

‘What the hell is that?’ Sebastian asked.

Who the hell is that?’ Clarissa corrected him.

‘Those are strange clothes. He’s probably a royal from the palace’ Jordan shuddered.

‘Um, let’s not take him home’ Jonathan said.

‘Oh, let’s take him home’ Isabelle said, hand on hip.

‘Decision now. We can’t hang around here, there’s dinner to be made’ Maia said.

‘Yeah! I’m starving!’ Sebastian said excitedly.

‘Everybody in favour of taking this weird-ass, glittery piece of royal ass home because we’re kind human beings with hearts, say ‘AYE’.’ Maia ordered.

‘AYE!’ Clary, Isabelle and Maia yelled.

‘Ugh, aye’ Jonathan grumbled, knowing he better side with his girlfriend on this one.’

‘If I say aye, can we eat?’ Sebastian asked.

‘Yes’ Isabelle promised eagerly. ‘I’ll cook you yummy food, just say aye.’

Sebastian look horrified. ‘I’ll say aye if you don’t cook me food.’

Isabelle rolled her eyes. ‘Fine.’

‘Aye’ Sebastian said. All eyes turned to the final member of the group of people crowding around Magnus.

‘What do you say, Alexander?’ Clary asked.

‘I say no’ Alexander said bluntly, putting his bag over his shoulder and stalking off. There was a moment of tense silence.

‘…do we listen to him?’ Maia said uncertainly.

‘Hell no!’ Isabelle and Sebastian said, each grabbing one of Magnus’ arms. They dragged him home, while Jonathan muttered things about ‘Teenagers with raging hormones.’

Later that evening, Magnus woke up.

He sat up slowly in one of the beds, looking around with a dazed expression.

‘Where am I?’ he asked no one in particular. His vision was blurry but the bright colour of the forest was not around him anymore. He rubbed his eyes, the covers slipping off his chest and he looked around again. He was in a cottage of sorts – in a room. The walls and floor were wooden, as was most of the furniture. A bouquet of strange pink-purple flowers stood in a jar on a chest next to the bed. The doors creaked open and Magnus turned around to look at whoever had come in. It was two girls, one of them dark haired and tall, carrying a tray with a steaming bowl, the other one shorter with bright red hair and curious green eyes.

‘Hi!’ The dark haired one set the tray down in front of Magnus. ‘I’m Isabelle; we found you half dead in the forest and took care of you. You’re welcome’

Magnus blinked, trying to process the information. ‘Huh’

‘I’m Clarissa’ the red head sat on the edge of the bed. ‘Eat up, you need to gain strength.’

Magnus obediently scooped up some of the strange blue soupy thing that was in the bowl into his mouth. ‘How long have I been out?’

‘About two days’ Clarissa shrugged. ‘We’re totally cool with having you around, though. Say, are you a royal?’

‘Mmmh, prince, future kind, whatever you want. My name is Magnus.’ Magnus quickly finished the soup. ‘Damn, this was delicious’

Isabelle’s eyes sparkled. ‘Really? You think so! Oh, Clarissa, let him stay! Magnus – was it – MARRY ME!’

Magnus laughed. ‘You truly are beautiful, Izzy, however I ended up in the forest because I was running away from marriage.’

Isabelle nodded, like she understood, and pulled Magnus to his feet. ‘Come, I’ll introduce you to the rest’

Clarissa gathered the dishes up after they left ‘Izzy?’ She smirked to herself.

Izzy pulled Magnus out into another room, much the same as the one he had just left, but this one had a large round table that was crowded with people playing poker.

‘Hey guys! Magnus is awake!’ Izzy declared.

‘Finally’ Maia slammed her cards on the table and pushed the money in the middle towards her. ‘I’m Maia, the ‘mom’.’

‘Hi, I’m Jordan, the ‘dad’!’ Jordan waved happily at Magnus.

‘I’m Jonathan…’

‘And he’s the stupid fiancé of my sister that no one likes. I’m Sebastian, by the way, the brother’ Sebastian cut in. ‘Hi’

‘Hi! I’m Magnus’ Magnus said cheerfully. ‘There sure are a lot of you. Are you related?’

‘Nope’ Maia started shuffling the cards. ‘Only Sebastian and Clarissa – they’re siblings. And Isabelle and Alexander, they’re siblings too.’

Magnus frowned and pointed a finger at everyone. ‘Maia, Jordan, Jace, Sebastian, Izzy…’ he jabbed a finger behind him, where Clarissa was coming out of the bedroom. ‘…Clary… no Alec, though.’

‘Jace?’ Jace snickered.

‘Izzy? Clary?’ Sebastian grinned.

‘Alec?’ Maia frowned.

‘Alexander is the grumpy granddad, as we like to call him. He’s out doing ‘shopping’ right now, but he’ll be back soon. You’ve been sleeping in his room for the past few days, and he’s pissed he had to sleep on the floor’ Jordan explained, pulling Magnus a chair. ‘Come, play with us. Izzy and Clary already went bankrupt.’

Magnus sat down, wondering what type of person this Alec was. He imagined a grumpy, wrinkly old man who complained about everything. Oh, how wrong he was.

Two hours later Maia and Jordan were the only ones with enough money to continue playing and everyone else was lounging around the room, nibbling on snacks and eating coffee. They were already treating Magnus like a member of the family and assuring he could stay as long as he wanted. That is, until the doors to the cottage slammed open and through rain and lightning a person walked in.

‘Who’s tha-’ Magnus glanced up at the person from the floor. The person looked terrifying – big and bulky, covered in a cape with a hood covering his face.

‘That’s Alec’ Izzy said. The person made an annoyed noise and flipped off the cape, which was dripping wet, and let a huge back pack slide off his shoulders – he had looked huge because of it. In fact he was slim, with slightly muscular arms and pitch black hair like Izzy, but unlike her he had sparkling blue eyes that were glaring at Magnus. To Magnus, he was breathtakingly beautiful.

‘What are you ogling at?’ He snapped at Magnus and turned to Izzy. ‘Alec? Really? The last time I checked I had been christened Alexander.’

‘Oh, hush, you! Magnus gave us all cute nicknames’ Clary told him.

‘He’s staying!’ Izzy added excitedly. Alec whipped around.

‘Maia!’

‘What?’ Maia shrugged. ‘He’s a real pleasure to have around-OH FUCK!’

Jordan swept all the money off the table into his sack with a grin.

Alec pursued his lips and stomped off to the edge of the room, grabbing some food, a book and sulking. While the rest of the family chatted away excitedly, Alec sat in his corner and Magnus couldn’t help glancing at him and hoping he would join them – he didn’t. Eventually they all took turns washing in the small bath house Jordan and Jace had built behind the house, and it was time to say goodnight.

Clary and Izzy gave all the boys goodnight kisses. Clary didn’t kiss Alec, just waved at him and said ‘night’ and Izzy hesitated before quickly pecking his cheek. Maia bumped fists with the guys and awkwardly patted Alec’s shoulder as he continued reading his book. Eventually everyone disappeared into their rooms and Maia escorted Magnus’ back to his and Alec’s.

‘He’s not a very huggy person, is he?’ Magnus asked, referring to Alec.

‘I actually think he is. But he’s just scared of rejection – that’s my guess. He never initiates a hug or kiss and just lets people do that for him, which makes him come off as hostile. I’m waiting for him to hug or kiss me first before I do it. He really has to come out of his shell’ Maia laughed. ‘Well, goodnight, Magnus’ she bumped his fist and disappeared down the corridor. The bed looked incredibly inviting but Magnus felt a strange longing to hug Alec goodnight, so he waited for him, taking off his shirt because he still didn’t have a PJ.

Half an hour later, Alec walked into the room. He looked at Magnus with distaste.

‘You’re still up?’ he put his book on the window sill and took off his shirt, mussing up his hair. ‘Because of you everyone is calling me Alec.’

‘Do you prefer Alexander?’ Magnus asked casually, eyeing Alec’s pale stomach with what he hoped wasn’t hunger.

‘Yes’ Alec snapped. He started making sure the windows were properly locked and Magnus took his chance, walking up behind him and wrapping his tan arms around his stomach. Alec yelped, trying to jump away, but Magnus held him firmly in place.

‘What a-are you d-d-doing?’ Alec stammered as Magnus nuzzled his nose into his shoulder.

‘You’re longing for someone to hold you – I can see it. Might as well be me’ Magnus murmured, hugging him tighter.

‘Don’t be stupid! Get off! I barely know you, what the hell is wrong with you!?’ Alec started raising his voice, trying to get out of Magnus’s grip.

‘Alexander’ Alec froze. Magnus pulled him firmly against his chest. ‘It’s okay, just calm down.’

Embarrassed, Alec brought up one hand to hide his flaming cheeks but obediently leaned backwards into Magnus’ warm chest.

‘This is nice’ Alec surprised Magnus. Magnus felt a warm spread in his stomach and his heart started beating faster. Alec turned around slowly and gave Magnus a quick hug around the neck before slipping out of his grip.

‘You can have the floor’ he said in a normal voice, blowing out his candle and slipping under the covers in his bed.

3 months later

‘You love him, don’t you?’ Izzy and Alec were doing washing in the small stream that ran in front of the cottage. Summer had hit the forest full force and the birds were chirping excitedly as the sun beat down on everything. Magnus was sitting out of ear shot, eyes closed, his face turned towards the sun.

‘No’ Alec turned away from Izzy and furiously scrubbed at a shirt he was holding.

‘Liar’ Izzy said. She threw the rest of the washing into the basket and tugged the shirt from Alec’s hand. ‘Stop murdering the shirt and go spend some time with him. I’ll finish’ Izzy winked at Alec and swerved off, leaving the two alone. Alec slowly approached Magnus. During the past months they had gotten close – to the point that Alec wanted to be near him all the time. Now he sat down next to him slowly.

‘Hey’

‘Hey’ Magnus opened his eyes lazily. They didn’t feel like they had to say anything for a while, until Magnus pointed to a tree not too far away. It was silver and thin with sparkling blue fruit hanging off them.

‘I was wondering – what are those?’

‘Huh? Oh. Well, they’re kinda poisonous, so don’t eat them. They make you fall into a coma and apparently only a ‘true loves kiss’ can save you.’ Alec explained. Magnus gave him a longing look that Alec pretended not to see.

‘So if I accidentally ate it, would you kiss me?’ He asked softly. Alec nearly choked.

‘Just don’t eat those’ he said, turning away.

Later on everyone had to go to do different jobs, and Magnus was left at home to clean and do dinner. He was in the middle of picking out dirty socks from under Sebastian’s bed with Maia’s chopsticks when a horse whined outside the window. Thing was, no one around had a horse. Magnus dropped the chopsticks and socks and ran outside. He was hit by the full force of light reflected off the armour of a knight on a horse. Magnus stared at the knight in awe, until he jumped off and threw away his helm. It wasn’t a knight – it was Catarina.

‘Magnus!’ she ran to him, enveloping him in a hug. ‘God, I was so worried! I can’t believe you got lost in this wretched place! Come, the king is in a full-outrage! The princess you’re supposed to marry is waiting.’ She tugged on Magnus’ hand but Magnus stayed where he was. ‘Magnus?’

‘I’m staying’ Magnus gently yanked his hand out of Catarina’s grip. Catarina laughed uneasily.

‘You’re kidding, right? Come on Magnus, the kingdom is waiting!’

‘Catarina. I’m not coming. I’m staying here.’

‘Don’t be ridiculous!’ Catarina burst out.

‘Catarina!’ Magnus cut her off. ‘I’m staying here – I have a family and I…I’m in love with someone. He’s a guy, and I haven’t told him yet but…’

‘You’ve really hit your head. Look, that guy doesn’t matter because if I don’t drag you home the army will.’

‘Over my dead body’ Magnus breathed and sprinted towards the silver tree, grabbing a fruit and biting into it without thinking. Imiediatly he was overcome with a wave of dizziness and he swayed on his feet, hitting the floor hard. Catarina’s terrified shriek was the last thing he heard.

Catarina fell to her knees in front of Magnus’ body and checked his pulse. None. His heart wasn’t beating. His golden skin was turning ashen. The blue fruit rolled out of his hand. Catarina cried by his body before wiping away her tears. This was better – this way he wouldn’t have to marry. She shook her head. He had gone crazy these past months – there was no boy, no family. He was alone. Catarina wanted to do something, anything, dig a grave for him, but she had to report to the king so she kissed Magnus’ forehead and left the realm forever.

Jace, Izzy, Clary, Sebastian, Maia, Jordan and Alec arrived at the cottage just as it was starting to get dark, bickering and laughing as always. Clary was the first to notice Magnus.

‘Hey, did he fall asleep?’ She raised an eyebrow.

‘And I told him to clean’ Maia sighed. But then all eyed turned to the blue fruit lying at Magnus’s fingertips, a big chunk gone. Alec’s eyes slid to the silver tree and to the horse hooves embedded in the earth and in seconds he had dropped everything he was carrying and ran to Magnus’ side.

‘No, no, no, no!’ Alec felt tears gather at the edges of his eyes. Behind him he heard terrified cries and yells, but he tuned them out, checking for heart beat and breathing, but there was none.

‘You idiot’ the tears spilled over his eyes. ‘I told you the kiss didn’t work! It’s just a fairytale…just…a fairytale…’ Alec kept back the sobs and despite of what he was saying he leaned forward and pressed his lips to Magnus’s, gently and softly, cursing himself for never telling him that he cared for him, that he was important in his life. He hated himself for never telling Magnus…

‘I love you’

Alec’s eyes shot open and were met with Magnus’s golden gaze. He was smiling softly. Alec half laughed half sobbed and he threw his arms around Magnus, taking in shaky breaths and crying. The guys behind him breathed sights of relief and filed into the house, giving the two some privacy. Alec pulled away and kissed Magnus again, and Magnus kissed him back and the two kissed a million times as night fell around them.

‘I love you too’ Alec finally breathed. Magnus gathered him in his arms.

‘I know’

‘Well, at least we don’t have to change room arrangements’ Sebastian said casually as he observed the scene from the window. Maia yanked him back by his collar.

‘Do you understand the term ‘privacy’ or would you like me to throw a dictionary at your face?’

And so that strange family lived together in peace, with love and jokes and dictionary throwing becoming a daily basis thing. On Alec’s next birthday he finally hugged Maia first.

And no one – no knight, lost wander or selfish king – disturbed them ever again.

|||*|||

Magnus surprised Alec by pulling him towards him, so he ended up between his legs with his back pressed against Magnus’ chest. Magnus smiled.

‘Your story made me want to hug you’

Alec giggled, lacing his fingers with Magnus’s.

Magnus kissed the shell of Alec’s ear softly.

‘Tell…’

‘Another. Yes, I know’ Alec smiled. ‘Here goes.’

|||*|||

Once upon a time in a kingdom far, far away, in a land of quests and dragons there lived a prince. The prince’s name was Jace and he was handsome and charming and he had heard of a beautiful princess, in the neighbouring kingdom. He had taken an interest in her and after seeing a painting of her, he had fallen head over heels for her.

But there was a catch – Princess Clarissa Adele Jocelyn IV had a horrible father and that father gave each suitor a near-impossible task to do before he agreed to marry off his daughter. Those who didn’t succeed were killed.

Naturally Jace’s father refused to let him go, terrified that his only son would meet a horrible fate like the rest of the men who had tried their luck. But Jace was determined and he snuck out of the castle, set on travelling to the neighbouring kingdom and marrying Princess Clarissa.

He was walking down a dirt path in the country side, spirits as bright as his hair, when he heard snoring – and what snoring it was!

Curious on what exactly was making sounds like that Jace crept behind a tree and peered behind it, to where the sound was coming from. In front was a woman so huge he could have sworn she was a giant. She was his height but she was so large around the waist that she could have easily been three women joined together. She was sleeping in the middle of the day and snoring so loudly that nearby trees shook with the force. Next to her lay a man, with hair as white as snow. He was at least twice Jace’s height, and Jace was tall. He was sleeping peacefully and Jace decided to carry on walking when the giant woman awoke, and cleared her throat, stopping him dead in his tracks.

|||*|||

Someone cleared their throat again and Magnus looked up, irritated. It was the stuck up advisor he never listened to anyway. He was peering down at Magnus and Alec with distaste.

‘Can I help you?’ Magnus asked sweetly.

‘Yes, you are requested in the hall, your majesty’ The advisor said sourly.

Magnus whined. ‘But we were just getting to the best part.’

Alec sat up. ‘Don’t worry, the best part is yet to come.’

Magnus got up slowly. ‘This better be important or else…’

‘It’s your sister’ the advisor said shortly. ‘She has arrived.’


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