Magnus Bane sat quietly in his loft
drinking a sweet herbal tea from his favourite china cup. The one with cherry
blossoms painted delicately on the side. It brought back fond memories which
had become hard to come by lately. He sat among dozens of throw pillows on his black
leather couch, worn and well used from many people who had come and gone. It
was eerily silent in his loft, had been for weeks. Normally, it was a lively
place, with music constantly playing. Softly during the day, and pounding
through your chest at night during his regular parties. He hadn’t had a party
Well, not for a while. Before he could stop it, his mind slipped back to one of his more recent parties. It had been quite magnificent, even for him. The atmosphere had been electric. He remembered the floor shaking, he remembered the lights flashing, and most of all he remembered the blue eyes. The first time he had seen eyes that blue in a long time. So pretty, and bright. Like a burning star. They made everything else fade into background. Into white noise.
No. Magnus shook his head, his throat was tight, like he couldn’t swallow. He had put in so much effort into forgetting Alec. It was better for both of them. Magnus hastily set down his cup beside him. It rested like it was placed on an end table but was suspended in thin air.
He stood up and strode to his room. It was a large room, dim with the curtains closed. Candles were lit on various surfaces, burning strange fragrances and ancient artwork littered the walls. He slammed the door and turned to his vanity cluttered with makeup, perfume, and glitter. Bent over, hands gripping the edges, he hung his head, hair flopping into his face. He looked up, and gave himself a long, hard look in the mirror. His face was clean of makeup, and his usual playful, amused expression was serious.
Magnus ran his fingers through his tangled hair. How had a stupid, foolish nephilim boy managed to have this effect on him? Magnus Bane. The high warlock of Brooklyn. Yet when he closed his eyes he only saw smudges of blue and black.
His phone vibrated beside his purple glitter stick on the vanity. He glanced down and opened the message from Clary.
Isabelle got hurt. Isn’t healing. Please help. Magnus please.
Magnus could picture Clary’s forehead creasing with worry, wringing her tiny hands. Her bright red hair flaming out behind her. Christ. He didn’t want to be able to know her that well, he just did. He didn’t want to go to the Institute to save Isabelle Lightwood, the sister of the boy who broke his heart. He just did.
Magnus stood outside the New York Institute not long after. He wore a dark cloak that looked black, but shined with indigos and emeralds in the sunlight. The hood was pulled up, and he stood hunched against the wind. He listened as the many locks slid open on the other side, and the incredibly large, heavy door of the Institute swung open.
A pale face framed by messy black hair met him on the other side. Magnus’ heart stopped momentarily, and he felt his carefully guarded face slip into uncertainty.
It took him only a second to regain composure. Magnus straightened up, took a breath, and strode inside.
“Alexander,” he said as he passed by, greeting the boy. His tone was cold. Good, he thought. Cold is good, keep the ice between them.
“Magnus, stop.” Alec’s voice sounded desperate and raw. But Magnus didn’t stop. He continued down toward the infirmary. He didn’t need to be shown the way. Magnus had been here plenty in the past couple of weeks. He remembered the time when Alec was attacked by a greater demon. When he had stayed by the other boy’s bedside even when it was clear he would be alright.
“I have to be sure. I don’t want to fail the Clave and be at the mercy of their hand,” he had told Isabelle when she dismissed him after he finished healing Alec. In reality, he had just wanted to watch Alec sleep. Even if for a while. To watch him breathe slowly, the rise and fall of his chest. To him in complete serenity. Without the ever present scowl he wore.
“Can we- I know that we aren’t-“ Alec let out a puff of air. “There is just so much to say.” Magnus glanced down at Alec. Who was up looking him, his eyelashes casting a shadow on his cheeks. His mouth was turned down in a scowl even now. Magnus wanted to touch his lips, turn them to a smile. He loved it when Alec smiled because of him.
Alec stopped suddenly, and Magnus looked up. They had reached the door to the infirmary. It had taken less time then he remembered. There was a thick wooden door, as all doors are at the Institute. But this one had a rune of healing painted on the outside.
Magnus turned to face Alec. They were close enough that he could feel his breathe on his face. It was cool and shallow, and smelled like cinnamon with sandalwood. He almost reached forward to smooth Alec’s hair that looked like he had just woken up. When did it not look like that though? He’s not yours anymore Magnus told himself, and frowned. When the warlock agreed to come, he had hoped that he wouldn’t see Alec, let alone have a conversation with him.
“On the contrary, Alexander. I believe there is nothing to talk about.”
Magnus pushed his way into the infirmary. The first thing he noticed, like anyone would, was Jace. The young shadow hunter had a presence that instantly drew you towards him.
Jace turned around as Magnus entered, as silent as he was. Jace was still in his gear from an apparent previous battle. Blood covered his hands and splattered his face. It was dry, but bright against his fair skin. His eyes were wide and he looked frantic despite the dark circles under his eyes. Evidence that he had not rested since his return from being bound to Sebastien.
“Hey,” he nodded to Magnus then glanced back at the Lightwood girl. “Isabelle. I don’t even know what it was. Nobody does.” Jace sucked in a breath. His arms were outstretched as if he were to grab on to Magnus. He’s only a child after all, no matter how grown up he made everyone believe him to be. “It was my fault.” He hung his head. “They weren’t supposed to come with me. And when they did we got split up and I heard her…“ he trailed off.
“Jace,” Magnus said. It was always like this with shadowhunters, especially Jace. Taking the blame for the fallen. It was always a pity party with nephlim. “Don’t. You know you couldn’t have done anything to stop her.”
“I could have stopped whatever attacked her, if I had stayed-“
“Jace.” Magnus interrupted. “Go. Wash your face and your hands. I don’t need you in here disrupting my work. What’s done is done now leave me to fix it… Again.” Jace looked slightly taken aback. Magnus was not in the mood for Jace’s self-pity. “Shadowhunters,” he muttered.
Jace crossed his arms defiantly. “I’ll have you know that if it weren’t for Shadow hunters-“
“Out!” Magnus cut him off, losing his patience. Blue light sparked at his fingertips. Jace rolled his eyes, glanced at Izzy, and stalked out of the room.
“Warlocks” Magnus heard him mutter before he closed the door. If that boy does not die from demons surely his silver tongue will get the job done. Magnus grinned as he slid off his cloak. He turned to face Izzy, lying in one of the beds.
His smile faded when he saw her. Isabelle was stunning. Always had been. But now, Magnus had to resist averting his eyes. She lay with her eyes closed, hair splayed out beneath her. She had been stripped of her thick shadow hunter jacket and rested in a grey shirt. A thick gash ripped open her right cheek. Blood was crusted in her jet black hair on one side. Her lip was split and a dark bruise had blossomed on her jaw. When Magnus glanced down he noticed several tears in her shirt. Tentatively he lifted the hem of her shirt to her ribs. He bit his lip. There were four long tears in abdomen, like claw marks, but thick and deep. He knew they couldn’t have been made any more than maybe an hour ago, yet they had already crusted over and sealed. But instead of being the dark red colour of dry blood, her wounds were black. He could see the black colour spidering out in her veins, dark against her pale skin.
It was spreading, which meant it could only be poison. Demon poison by the looks of it. Running through Isabelle’s veins. Vile stuff it was, he hated working with it. It was different when it was on the inside, in your blood. It didn’t kill you instantly. Instead it flows to your heart, your source of life, and ends it in the slowest, most painful way known. He had to work quickly before the poison reached it.
To take out the poison, he would have to reopen her wounds. “I’m sorry Isabelle,” Magnus whispered. He touched his hand to her first wound with a quick flash of blue light it began to tear open. Isabelle clenched her fists at her sides, her eyes were moving feverishly behind her eyelids. Magnus concentrated on carefully reopening the cut, painfully slow. It wasn’t like a knife that he could cleanly slice open. Magic was hard to control, he had to concentrate to not let it slip and injure the girl furthermore.
He heard the skin tear away with the dried blood. Isabelle screamed but did not wake. Magnus cringed but kept his hands steady. A sweat broke out on is brow. So deep in concentration, he barely heard the Infirmary door open. He knew it was Alec even before he spoke.
“What happened? I thought I heard Isabelle scream.”
“That’s because she did. Its fine, everything is under control. I don’t need you to stay,” Magnus said, his voice strained. He had begun removing the poison. A difficult procedure, especially when it had spread so far into her the intricate pattern of her veins, but do-able of course, he was Magnus Bane after all, but difficult.
Alec didn’t say anything, but he didn’t leave either. Instead he took a step closer and rested his hand on Magnus’ back, in a comforting gesture. Magnus didn’t need to be comforted, he stiffened at Alec’s touch. But didn’t move away, not that he could without disrupting his stream of magic. He continued on concentrating on opening Isabelle’s second stab wound. She screamed, Magus grimaced, and Alec wrapped his other arm around Magnus’ waist.
As the warlock worked, the shadowhunter stood beside him. They stood together like that, until the sun was setting. With it low in sky, the sun cast long shadows around the room. Magnus and Alec’s figures became silhouettes, two as one. Neither said a word as Magnus healed and Alec encouraged. His touch was tender, but incredibly brave at the same time.
Finally, Magnus was done. He felt sick, but was glad it was over. Both he and Isabelle were covered in a fine sheen of sweat. He could still hear her screams echoing through his mind. He hated the idea that it was him who had caused them.
He took a step back, into Alec who he had forgotten was standing behind him. He stumbled a little but Alec held on firmly, righting him. Magnus could feel Alec’s muscles in his arms move. It was easy to forget how incredibly strong Alec was when he hid underneath his sweaters.
“Thank you. For saving her,” Alec whispered. He slipped his arms from around Magnus and took a step back. His face was cast in shadow, his hands shoved in his pockets. “I know that-“
Magnus sighed. “It doesn’t matter. I would have come no matter what.”
“Oh,” Alec breathed.
“I should go,” Magnus said. Alec looked slightly deflated, as if he really believed Magnus to stay. “Before it’s dark.” Magnus quickly glanced at Alec, head tilted to an angle, biting his tongue between his teeth. It was a lame excuse and he could tell Alec didn’t believe him. He held Magnus’ stare head on. Magnus broke his gaze, grabbed his cloak and walked out without turning to look back.
Magnus lay on his floor in his loft, shirtless, playing airy, moody, indie music. It had been four days since he left the Institute after healing Isabelle. And he hadn’t left his apartment since.
Well, that was a lie. He did go out a downworlder bar the first night, but he left shortly after he arrived. Those places were dirty, mangy, and uncivilized. Magnus hated everything about them. The only reason he went was because of the clichéd fantasy that he could drown his sorrows in a strong ale or a strange potion. It didn’t work. He left feeling worse- probably the purple drink he downed.
After that, Magnus had moped around, turning things over and over again in his head. He thought about the night when he followed Alec into the tunnels hoping what Camille told him wasn’t true. The numb feeling he got when it was true, the words rushing out of his mouth before he knew what had happened. He thought about Camille. When they shared a love during a time of shape shifters and horse drawn carriages. He wondered if what they had then was really love. When he found out she was unfaithful it didn’t hurt the same as it did now. Sure, he was angry, and more embarrassed than anything else. But it didn’t feel like he had lost everything.
He thought about Woolsey, although that was never really even close to love. He thought about Axel, and Imasu and Kitty and Alfie and Will and Edmund. All of his past friends and lovers. He wondered if what he had with them was really love. Or two lonely people finding comfort in each other’s company.
Magnus was lost in thought when there was a harsh rap on his door. Magnus didn’t get up, he stayed where he was, and with a wave of his hand turned up the volume of the music until it drowned out the consistent knocking. When people had come to his door in the past few, he would send them away, or not answer at all. He didn’t plan on changing that now.
When the door burst open, Magnus was admittedly startled, but didn’t get up. He glanced over the door to see a boy with gold hair, cursing like a sailor, shoving his Stele back into his boot. “Magnus!” Jace shouted. He span around. “Magnus, Jesus, why are you lying there half naked? And why is your music so damn loud?”
Magnus waved his hand lazily and the music instantly shut off. Only Jace would break into his apartment without any sort of reservation. Magnus stood up slowly, cat eyes narrowed into slits. He was not pleased to see Jace. “What are you doing here?” It was less of a question and more of a demand.
“What was that you were listening to? Angsty Teens on Tour? I need to get their album for myself.” Jace was grinning.
“Jace. Why did you break into my apartment?”
“Oh yes, sorry about that. It was necessary though. I have something that you can help me with.” Jace’s eyes were shining. He clicked his tongue as he wandered absently around the messy room. Well, messy was an understatement.
“And what would that be?” Magnus asked and crossed his arms.
“When Isabelle woke up she told us what she had found in the country house we were searching. A secret door! So we- Alec and I- went back to the house to see what the door led to, except there were wards blocking it. And we think the demon that attacked Izzy was making sure nobody found it. Did a poor job though don’t you think.”
Jace’s excitement bubbled out of him like butterflies. The potential danger of this situation was unknowingly enormous and yet he talked about it as if it were as exciting as his birthday.
“And why did you come to me?”
“Because of the wards, obviously”
“I don’t think that that’s really-“
Jace cut him a look. “Come on. It will be fun. Just think of the adventure and excitement.”
“Not to mention the probability of intimate death.”
“That too.” Jace didn’t look worried. “Magnus, I think it would be good for you to get out of the house as well,” he said eyeing in the many boxes of empty boxes of Takeout, littering the loft. He walked around inspecting everything as he went. Jace noticed the hovering teacup Magnus had set there days ago. He touched the handle which caused it to fall from its place and shatter on the floor. Jace stared at it with interest but no sign of remorse. Magnus huffed and snapped his fingers, to fix the broken china cup. The pieces flew back together and disappeared altogether.
“I suppose you won’t leave until I agree to help you.”
“That would be correct,” Jace said turning to Magnus with an absolutely charming smile. His gold hair flopped onto his forehead and he pushed it back absently staring intently at Magnus, who sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, in a gesture of frustration.
“Fine. But if it were anyone else-“
“Ah, but it’s not anyone else. It’s Yours Truly, I know you always loved me best,” Jace said. “I’ll wait outside for you to dress and the sort.”
“The sort.” Magnus scoffed at Jace who had his back turned, sauntering out the front door he had just broken in through.
Magnus stepped outside the door into the crisp air for the first time in four days only seven minutes after Jace left, which was record time. He dressed quickly, in black leather pants and a mauve chiffon button down. He had only worn very little of “the sort”. Sticking to green eyeliner that he thought complimented his yellow cat eyes, and a touch a glitter in his hair and his cheeks.
The air was fresh for New York today. The sky was clear and pale. Magnus glanced down at the two shadowhunter boys waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs leading to his apartment. Jace leaned again the stone ledge, twirling a dagger in his fingers. Alec sat on the ledge, drawing a rune onto his arm. He looked up when he had finished, looking proud of his fine work, a crooked almost half smile faded when he saw Magnus.
“Oh. Hey,” he said hopping off the stone ledge.
Magnus looked to Alec, then to Jace, and back to Alec. Jace looked amused, Alec looked uncomfortable. “Hello,” he finally managed to say.
“Oh God,” Jace laughed. He plucked the stele out of Alec’s hand, shoved it into his boot, and started down the street. Alec shrugged and jogged to catch up. Seeing no other option, Magnus followed behind, listening to Jace recap on the events of the past few days. Every once in a while, Alec would pipe up to remind Jace of something or offer a detail he had forgotten.
Magnus didn’t pay too close attention. There was something about Jace finding a piece of a letter in his jacket he wore when he returned from being bound to Jonathan. It had an address to a farm house they raided, that of course Clary knew nothing about, and was furious when she found out. Then Isabelle was injured, it took her a few days to heal before she woke up and then she told Jace about secret door. Yesterday he went to the farm house only discover the wards. Then came to Magnus’ today.
“And so,” Jace concluded, “our only way to find Sebastian is to see what the door leads to.”
“Mm hm.” Magnus agreed. He looked around, Jace had led them into a dark alley, and they had reached the dead end. There were two large brick building on either side and garbage littered the ground. He raised his eyebrows as he nearly dodged a brown puddle. “Well now what?” Magnus asked, wrinkling his nose. It smelled sour in the alley, like rotting meat.
“Well,” Jace cleared his throat. “I was hoping you could portal us there.”
“But how did you get there the first time then?” Magnus asked, almost whining. He really didn’t want to make a portal.
“We took the one from Dorothea’s”
“Why can’t you do that again?’
“Because,” Jace drew out the vowels as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “We can’t go through that one this time. Clary didn’t go last time and said we couldn’t go again without her.”
“And yet here we are. Jace Lightwood don’t you know how to listen yet?”
“No,” Alec said smiling at the ground.
Magnus grinned. “Of course not.” He turned to the brick wall beside him and pushed up his sleeves. Motioning with his hands and muttering ancient words of transportation and movement. The brick wall shimmered blue and began to ripple like water.
Jace reached out and touched the surface. Instantly, an image of a grey house surrounded by green fields appeared. Jace looked over his shoulder then stepped through. Alec went next taking a seraph blade out of his weapons belt. Magnus went last, stepping into the watery surface, but staying perfectly dry. As he went, he imagined the portal closing, and collapsing on itself behind him. When he broke to the other side, it disappeared completely.
Magnus looked around. He was standing at the end of a gravel road off of the highway. The grey farm house was at the end of the path. It was a small house, surrounded by green fields. There was a barn on the other side of a wooden fence not far away.
“C’mon,” Alec said brushing past Magnus. Jace was already half way up the gravel road so Magnus fell in step beside Alec. “Thanks for doing this. It’s all that Jace will talk about. Finding Sebastien I mean. I’m worried about him, we’re still not sure what all happened when Clary and him were missing and neither of them are willing to say much.”
“I sure they aren’t. Some things are best kept secret.”
Jace had reached the front door, and called something back to them, then proceeded to enter the house. Magnus and Alec walked the rest of the way in silence, sneaking glances at each other when the other wasn’t looking.
The front door was ajar and smelled strongly of demonic presence. It was stale though, the demon was long gone by now. Magnus slipped through and stepped into the front foyer. It was small, and dark like the outside of the house. A fake fern sat in the corner. There was a coat tree and welcome mat underneath. Somewhere in his brain, Magnus wondered who lived here.
When he walked into the kitchen, he thought that whoever lived here before, was definitely no longer residing here anymore. The kitchen was a wreckage. Even, if it didn’t look like a war zone, it would still have been empty for a while. There were cobwebs in every corner and a fine layer of dust coating everything that hadn’t been touched. However, most of the furniture had been wrecked or torn apart. The table was flipped over, the cupboards were all open, the plates smashed on the floor. What once had been a chair was now a pile of splintered wood.
It would have been a nice little country home when it was still intact, Magnus thought. He touched one of the marks made in the wall, like claws scraping down, black, poison eating away the drywall. The same as the front door, the same as Izzy’s chest.
“Magnus,” he heard Jace call his name from another room down the hall. Magnus followed where he heard Jace shout, which led him to the master bedroom. Although it was small, it was a pleasant, homey room. Everything was made from a dark oak from the cabinet to the bedframe. The wood was marked though too, like the kitchen. The demon that had been here was more beast than human. Magnus assumed it was a Lerithund demon, the ones with long, strong claws extending from its knuckles.
There was a large blank space on a wall where Jace had removed floor length mirror and underneath was what looked like a small door, with intricate patterns and swirls above. Jace was right about the wards. This were powerful magic that they were dealing with. Whoever had created these meant them to stay there.
Magnus rolled up his sleeves. He had learned about wards and blocks in Paraguay from a strange man many, many years ago. He must admit, he was fairly good at them. Just take Clary for instance, the wards and blocks that were in her mind for sixteen years were flawless.
“Do you think you can undo them?” Alec asked. He was kneeling at the foot of the bed going through a wooden trunk. He looked up momentarily to glance at Magnus.
“Of course. It might take some time though,” Magnus replied. “These wards were put up by no amateur.”
“Like father, like son. The bastard probably got some poor unknowing warlock to do his dirty work only to kill them after.” Jace spoke with bitterness.
Magnus felt sympathy for the boy, he knew about broken families too. “Oh, he would probably want to keep whoever made these. Anyone with this kind magic is a keeper,” Magnus muttered concentrating on his task. Removing the wards was like slowing peeling off old stickers without wanting to rip the paper underneath. Except they were layered on top of each other in an intricate puzzle.
Suddenly there was a crash behind him but Magnus didn’t look back. He couldn’t lose concentration now, or he would have to start again.
“By the Angel, Jace.” Alec said.
The other shadowhunter boy laughed. “It was an ugly lamp anyways.”
Magnus grinned, but he could feel himself growing weaker. Undoing the wards was draining him incredibly fast. Already he was tired. He would probably have to go back and leave the other boys to the exploring. They can handle themselves.
“Hey, Jace.” Alec sounded worried.
Magnus felt like he had just run ten miles, his breathing was uneven. Who the hell put these up? They were almost stronger than Alicante.
“What?” Jace crossed the room to Alec’s side.
Magnus felt like he had run a full marathon. His vision was fuzzy. At least he was almost done. The threads of the ward were unraveling easily now.
“Why are there pictures of Clary here? Lots of them. Her as a baby and a kid, with Jocelyn and Luke.”
“Let me see.” Magnus heard Jace breathe in sharply. “What the-.” Jace swore loudly and kicked something nearby.
“Jace, stop.” Alec’s voice was calm. Always so calm.
“Why would there be pictures? I don’t get it.” It was quiet for a moment.
“Didn’t Clary say Luke had a farmhouse just outside the city? This must be it.”
“No, no, no, no. This can’t be theirs” Jace sounded pained.
“Done!” Magnus exclaimed. Nobody was listening though. Magnus watched as the door in front of him heaved. A thick cloud of dust floated off the hinges as it moved ever so slowly. It opened into a pitch black tunnel. It was colder, and he could feel the damp air rolling into the room. Magnus took a step forward and leaned against the door frame, peering in. He was weak. His magic was weak. All Magnus wanted was to go home and sleep. His eyes were heavy.
They were slightly closed, with his head resting against the door when there was a roar from within the dark shadows in front of Magnus. Alec and Jace who had been bickering, fell silent. For a moment there was only the sound of the three of them breathing before a horrible something hurdled itself out of the abyss. It knocked straight into Magnus and together they flew back, the creature pinning Magnus down. The warlock threw his hands up, practically defenceless, too weak to use his magic in any way.
Magnus looked up to stare into the face of the biggest, most terrifying spider he had ever seen. It was much worse than the spider incident in Botswana. He would have gasped if he was able to breathe, but the thing was sitting on Magnus’s chest, pinning him down, crushing his lungs. It’s pinchers reached towards his face. This was not how he wanted to die, after five hundred years, he would not die pinned to the ground by a bug! He closed his eyes, gathering every bit of energy and power he had left. It wasn’t enough. Magnus though of Alec. Of never seeing him again. Never hearing his laugh. Never holding his hands in his own. Magnus let out a cry that sounded wild and terrified in his ears. It was followed by an explosion on blue light and a shower of what felt like acid rain. The beast was lifted in the air and thrown into a wall. It howled to match Magnus’ own.
Magnus felt sick, maybe he vomited. He couldn’t tell anymore. He heard the two shadowhunter boys yell their seraph blade’s angel names and spring onto the creature. Took them long enough, Magnus thought. He didn’t close his eyes, but couldn’t really move either, so he lay there, staring at the ceiling. He heard the sounds of a fight only a few feet away.
After a while of lying there, he was hoisted up by someone. He tried to protest, but no sound left his lips. His arm was draped over Alec’s shoulder as the shadowhunter boy helped him out of the room, half leading, half dragging Magnus. Alec was saying something- no he was yelling. Where was Jace?
He thought that it was much hotter and darker now as they moved from room to room. Alec was coughing, and to his surprise, Magnus noticed that he was coughing violently too. Why had it become so hard to breathe?
They made it to the front door and Alec kicked it open. There was a gust of cool air and together they stumbled out and sank to the ground a couple yards away. Alec sat and held Magnus close against his chest, rocking back and forth. Magnus forced his eyes to focus and make sense of the bright orange ball in front of him. It was fire. Everything was on fire. The house was ablaze, with smoke billowing out of the windows and open door.
Just then, a figure materialized from the black of the smoke, half running, half stumbling. Jace. His face was dirty with ash, and his clothes were torn. He fell to his hands and knees beside them, wheezing and coughing. Magnus felt Alec’s chest fall with a sigh of relief. Together, the three of them stayed there for a moment watching the house burn and the smoke rise. It cast a pretty glow on their faces as the flames danced before them. Distantly, Magnus wondered what had happened to set it on fire. But really, he didn’t care.
They didn’t portal back. Instead they called Simon- still the only one who could drive a car- and asked him to pick them up. They walked to the edge of the highway and waited for him as the sun set over the horizon. When Simon arrived in his dirty old van Magnus was more relieved than he thought he ever could be to see the vampire boy.
Magnus was able to stand by himself now, after sitting for a while, although unfortunately, now he was more aware of the pain. His skin burned slightly from the fire. His face and arm stung. He looked down to see his forearm had a deep gash slicing down the length of it. It was quite disgusting really. He wondered if his face looked like that too. When he stood his chest felt like it was caving in on itself. He drew in a breath sharply. That hurt. Actually, breathing and moving in general hurt. He pressed his hand gently beneath his ribs as he crawled in the back of the Band Van after Alec.
It was a small space in the van, and sitting all curled up hurt like hell. Everything ached. So instead, Magnus stretched out, lying on his back, his head next to Alec’s knee. Beside him, Alec looked down. Magnus thought he saw him smile but before he could tell for sure, his eyes lost focus, and he fell into unconsciousness.
Magnus didn’t dream. He hadn’t dreamt since he was a boy. When he slept, that was all it was- sleep. So he hadn’t waken up disorientated for a long, long time. But when Magnus Bane finally awoke, he was quite confused. He remembered getting into Simon’s van and then nothing else. He sat up, wondering where he was now. In a bed. There was a row of more beds on either side of him, but they were all empty. He glanced at the door on the other side of the room. It was heavy and wooden. Etched into the wood was a symbol- or a rune rather- of healing.
He was in the infirmary in the Institute. Well this was a first. Magnus hadn’t heard of a Warlock being treated in any Institute for anything. He leaned back and stretched his arms behind him, resting his head on his hands. Well if there was to be a first, he might as well be it.
Suddenly, for the infirmary door swung open and in walked Alec. His movement was slow and hesitant, like he was trying to be quiet. Magnus watched him through slit eyes as he crept in. Alec’s footsteps were light and when he sat on the bed next to Magnus, it didn’t as much as creak. They sat there for a moment, Alec watching what he thought to be a sleeping Magnus. It was broken after a moment when Magnus spoke, startling Alec enough to make his jump a little.
“Amazing.” Magnus said opening his eyes. “A warlock being treated as a shadowhunter, and,” He added with sarcasm, “in your very own Institute.” The other boy stood up, towering over Magnus, which made him uncomfortable. He sat up in his bed so his eyes were level with Alec’s chest instead of his waist.
“I- we had to. You passed out. You had your arm and face all torn up.” Alec started. His forehead wrinkled in frustration. “Plus your broken ribs would have healed wrong if we left you.”
So that is why it was so painful, Magnus thought.
“You’ve been asleep for a full day. I think you passed out just from pure exhaustion,” Alec continued, “but if we hadn’t taken you in-“
“I don’t need your help,” Magnus spat. He was angry suddenly. Frustrated and angry. He hated the idea of Alec pitying him. It was the last thing he wanted right now. Magnus pulled off his sheets and got out of the bed. “I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself.” He said as he pulled on his boots that lay and the foot of his bed. “Besides, I am not you responsibility anymore Alec.” He said it to hurt Alec, but he felt a pang in his own chest at his words. He only wanted to go, but when reached the door of the infirmary, it was only to find the other boy in his way.
“Why do you do this?” Alec’s voice was low and husky.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I should be on my way.” Magnus reached for the handle but got his hand swatted by Alec. Magnus looked at him sternly.
“Alec let me go.”
“No. You need to hear me. Stop ignoring me… pretending you don’t even know me. It’s hurting both of us and-“
“I’m fine.” Magnus said cutting him off, his tone icy cold.
“Well maybe you are,” Alec continued, “but I’m sure as hell not. Look at me Magnus. Have you even, truly done that in the past week?”
Magnus looked at him. His cheeks were flushed but his face was pale. There were dark bags under his eyes and his hair was astray, sticking out in all directions. He looked thin, pale, tired, and sad. Angry red marks blotched his skin down his arms, neck and one side of his jaw. Burn marks from the fire. Magnus’ hands twitched, longing to touch the burns, to heal them.
“I don’t understand how you could do that to me. I spent so many nights wondering what terrible thing I did to make you leave me after everything. Meeting Camille in the subway tunnels? Was that it?” His voice was rising, and his eyes were shining. “Or because I’m only mortal and will die soon? Or because I’m not Will.”
“Alec!” Magnus struggled to keep his voice level, “Shut up!”
“Because you snuck around behind my back, digging up my past. I couldn’t trust you, and kills me that you don’t trust me to begin with.”
“I trust you Magnus.”
“Jesus, Alec, then why did you go see Camille? Didn’t you think that would have hurt me?”
“No,” Alec whispered, bowing his head.
“It did. It really goddamn did.” They stood there in a quiet moment. Magnus’ hands were clenched in fists so tightly his knuckles turned white. Slowly he released them and sighed.
“Because I’m nothing much.”
“What?” Magnus looked up at Alec, but the other boy’s head was still down, gaze aimed at the tile floor.
“That’s why I went to Camille. Because I am nothing much. Always have been, always will be. I know and accepted that. But you- you’re Magnus Bane. And imagine the high warlock of Brooklyn taking interest in me. I didn’t believe it at first, but then after a while I thought maybe it could be true. But when I met Camille, she was, she was something you know. She told me about all the others and I seem so dull compared to the bright stars of your past.”
“Alec,” Magnus half cried, half laughed. “Stars burn out. Yes, I had a past, but you are my future.” The shadowhunter looked up into Magnus’ eyes. Magnus held onto his gaze. “You’ve never been just ‘nothing much’ to me.”
At that, Alec took a step forward. They were standing close enough that their noses were almost touching. Magnus reached up and cupped Alec’s cheek. He released a breath, he hadn’t known he had been holding. It had been so long he had wanted to do this.
Alec wrapped his arms around Magnus’ waist, and they stood there, forehead to forehead, noses touching, just breathing.
“I love you.” Alec whispered.
Magnus closed his eyes. His lips found Alec’s and they brushed ever so slightly. It was gentle and timid, as if they had forgotten each other. Magnus hadn’t forgotten. He leaned forward and met Alec’s lips again. He didn’t know how much he had missed the taste of Alec’s lips. His breath mixing with his own. Their hearts beating fast like a race horses.
Magnus wove his hand up Alec’s neck, tangling into his hair. It had been so long since he had Alec to himself like this.
Never again. I’m never leaving ever again.
Magnus felt Alec smile against his lips, and realized he had said those words aloud. Alec pulled Magnus closer awkwardly, ending up with Alec leaning against the infirmary door. He slid his hands up and down Magnus’ back sending shivers down the warlock’s spine. When Alec’s hands met a bare patch of skin between Magnus’ shirt and his pants, he gave a little gasp. That made Alec laugh, which was nice to hear. Normally it would be reversed, but right now, Alec was bold and confident, taking care of Magnus in his arms.
With his smiling lips, he moved to kiss Magnus’ jaw, and his cheeks, moving down to his neck. Magnus tilted his head back so he could see the arching ceiling high above them.
“I love you, I love you. Did you know that? I love you so much.”
Alec stopped and looked at Magnus. “I know.” Alec whispered.
His eyes glittered so very pretty Magnus thought. Although they were often compared to Will Herondale’s eyes, they were nothing alike. Whereas Will’s were almost an indigo, Alec’s were a true blue like the sky right before dusk. But the main difference was that Alec saw, wholly and completely Magnus for who he was and loved him no matter what. No one else had looked at him that way before.
Magnus kissed Alec deeper now. Parting his lips with his own, he wound his hands through Alec’s dark hair. He drew him over to the closest bed, and when the back of Magnus’ knees his the edge of the bed he let himself fall onto the soft mattress, pulling down Alec as he went, so the shadowhunter boy was propped up on his elbows above him.
Alec pulled his shirt up over his head and let it drop down beside the bed, then helped Magnus to do the same. Slowly, Alec leaned down so every inch of him was pressed against Magnus. Bare skin against bare skin. If Alec’s hand on his back had sent shiver down Magnus’s spine, this sent him into a deep freeze. His touch was like a jump start and paralysis at the same time. Magnus had never felt anything like it and knew for a fact he never would with anyone else.
But they were broken up. Or at least they were supposed to be. Magnus’s head was swimming, but the one clear thought that he could focus on was Alec. Wanting Alec.
Magnus traced a finger, light as a feather across Alec’s cheek bone, down his jaw and neck. He cupped hand around his shoulders, fingers digging in then flipped him over so Magnus was now straddling Alec. Wanting Alec, needing Alec. Magnus had shucked off his own leather pants and was struggling with Alec’s when he heard something at the door and whipped around.
There was Jace leaning in the doorframe. He smirked but couldn’t hide the small blush that coloured his cheeks when he glanced at Alec. Goddamnit. There was no privacy with these Herondales. If it wasn’t them it was him, Magnus hoped this wouldn’t become a pattern.
“You might want to get up,” Jace said. “Someone will be here quite soon to speak with you, and you may prefer to have clothes on when he arrives.” He shrugged. “I would, at any rate, but then, I am well known to be remarkably shy.”
There was no way that Jace had stolen every word Magnus had spoken over a hundred years ago. But Herondales were a spectacular family and Magnus had learned to just go with it.
“Give us a minute,” Magnus said, rolling off the bed and pulling on his pants. He tried to shield Alec with his body, who had already gotten dressed and was currently staring and the floor, cheeks flaming.
“You have closer to ten seconds actually,” Jace said as there was a knock on the door. Magnus didn’t even have time to finish buttoning up his shirt when Jace opened the door, and introduced the stranger.
“This is Ajax Mates” Out of the dim light stepped a small man. He was quite thin and had olive colour skin. There was a timelessness to his face that looked like he had seen the earth be born, die and be born again. He wore a pale suit and shiny leather shoes. Other than the horns protruding from his head, he looked pretty much human. Except he wasn’t, obviously. He was a warlock, but he didn’t look familiar to Magnus.
“Hello.” Ajax said with a faint accent, Magnus thought it sounded Greek. Despite his size, he had a very regal sounding voice.
“Pleasure to make your acquaintance,” Magnus replied. Ajax cleared his throat, and shifted to the other foot, looking slightly sheepish.
“Actually,” Jace said, his voice leaning towards sarcasm, “you already have had the pleasure to meet the lovely Ajax Mates.”
“When was that?” Alec asked quietly.
“Yesterday. He was the horrifying spider that tried to kill the three of us. Luckily I managed to start an electrical fire before he succeeded.” Jace explained. Magnus tilted his head to an angle slightly and bit his tongue between his teeth. There were red burn splotches all over the little man’s neck and hands. From the fire, Magnus supposed. He wondered how he had managed to turn himself into a ten foot big arachnid.
“Yes. Quite sorry about that. You see, I thought you were the evil nephil boy again…”
“How were you the spider?” Alec asked, eyes wide.
“Shape-shifter.” Magnus answered for Ajax, not taking his eyes off of him. Who nodded and opened his mouth to say something, but Magnus continued. “You broke my ribs!”
Ajax looked apologetic. “Again, I’m terribly sorry. I thought you were the nephil who held me prisoner there after I made the wards…“
“Wait!” Jace interrupted. “Which shadowhunter?’
“A dark, evil one… and only a boy. I can’t imagine what happened to make him like that.” Ajax was looking at the ceiling. He shuddered inwardly, clearly lost in memories. “The things he did- I would gladly do more than break a few of his ribs,“ he glanced at Magnus. Him and Jace both, Magnus thought.
“Do you know where he is? Can you take us to him?” Jace pleaded.
“Yes.” Ajax fiercely. “I can take you to Jonathan Christopher Morgenstern, the boy who raised hell himself.”
Magnus glanced and Alec, who was already looking at Magnus. He gave a small nod, a silent agreement, and grabbed Magnus’ hand. They held on tightly, knowing that this would be it. This would be the end that ends all. All that Magnus hoped for was that he would have Alec, his true love beside him.