His hands were ice cold and shaking, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at him.
Alec… No, Alexander, that was a better fit for the stoic, pale man standing before her, holding her hands in front of the Angel, their families, friends and the Clave representative. His face was unmoving, frozen rather than calm, and his eyes, glued to her collarbone and avoiding looking directly at her, were hooded. It didn’t take a genius to recognize how unhappy he was about the whole affair.
Lydia, because that’s who she was, Lydia Branwell, his… fiancée, soon to be wife actually, felt like a heel for participating in this farce, even though it was not her idea, even though she had as much choice in this matter as he had. Still… the despair that radiated from him made her unhappy… well, unhappier that she already was.
She sneaked a look at the pews, a church-full of people, his family to the right, her to the left, the Clave members come to witness this ridiculous spectacle farther back. She didn’t pay attention to her parents, she had already had words with them; strong, harsh words that fell on deaf ears. She looked at Alec’s family…
His parabatai, Jace, right in the front, he looked grim, his eyes blazing and fists clenched tight on his thighs; it seemed as if he wanted to punch something. Alec’s sister, Isabelle, sat next to him, pale as her brother; she bit her lip and blinked rapidly, as if fighting tears. Even Alec’s little brother, Max, looked subdued, sensing that something was wrong. And then there were Maryse and Robert, jaws tight, backs rigid, not looking at their son or each other, but instead at the large painting of Raziel, hanging above the altar.
The priest kept droning on and on in the background, preaching about love and devotion, and Lydia almost laughed. If only he knew. Or did he know and he simply didn’t care?
There was a movement in the back of the church, in the shadows of the stone pilars. Lydia was sure she was the only one who caught it, the only one paying attention to what was going on in the back, rather than in the front of the church. She stiffled a gasp, her eyes widening slightly.
Magnus Bane. It was Magnus Bane who was sneaking around the church, for once looking solemn in somber, black clothes, all the glitter and gleam gone, his hair, usually spiked like a hedgehog’s spines, framing his pale face. He looked utterly, completely destroyed.
Lydia swallowed, lowering her eyes to her hands that held Alec’s tightly. This was wrong. This wasn’t what a wedding should look… no, feel like. When she got married before, it was just her, her lover and a mundane official and they giggled and laughed and smooched even before the words, “You may now kiss the bride,” left the clerk’s mouth. This… this was wrong and it made her feel ugly and slimy.
“I can’t do it,” Lydia whispered, her voice barely heard.
“I… I beg your pardon?” the priest stuttered.
She could feel Alec freezing, she could see his eyes going wide, when she looked at him. “I’m sorry, but I can’t do it,” she repeated, louder this time. Then she looked at the people gathered in the church, her voice booming off the stone walls, as she stated loud and clear, “This is wrong. We don’t live in some Victorian novel, this is not the 19th century.”
Her mother stood up. “Lydia!” Her voice was harsh, scolding.
But Lydia frowned at her. She could feel Alec starting to tremble even harder, she could see the look of wild hope on Magnus’ face in the back, and that gave her the strength to continue. “No, mother,” she said, her voice perfectly calm, but firm and determined. “Enough is enough. I allowed you to guilt trip me into this farce because of what I had done, because I chose my lover over my family. You convinced me that what I did was wrong - but it wasn’t. This - this is wrong.
"All you care about is prestige and power.” Lydia looked at Maryse and Robert. “Just like them. If the Lightwoods set their issues aside for a moment, if they stopped caring about politics for just one moment and actually looked at what their scheming is doing to their son, they would see that they’re killing him! But they don’t even care,” she said softly, when Maryse pressed her lips together and Robert looked down, silently.
“Well. Someone needs to stop this and it looks like I’m set to be the bad guy,” Lydia finished, then looked at Alec who was breathing harshly now, squeezing her hands so tight that her fingers were all pins and needles. “Or maybe the good guy, that depends,” she added softly, then she stepped closer to her soon to be ex-fiancé, pulled herself up on her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek. “Go to him, he’s in the back,” she whispered very quietly in his ear and smiled, when Alec jerked and looked around, cheeks flushing, eyes shining with hope.
Letting go of his hands, Lydia turned to the assembly and with a lofty, “That’s that. Enjoy the feast, folks, it’s been paid for,” she pulled up her skirts, stepped down from the rostrum, and strode down the aisle, the clicking of her heels on the marble floor accompanied by her mother’s angry sputtering and Izzy and Jace’s sharp whistling and clapping. Everybody else was pretty much stunned into silence.
Lydia stopped only once, by the heavy wooden door leading outside, and looked to the side, where Magnus Bane was hiding in the shadows, looking… well, shocked, hopeful, delighted, his whole body almost vibrating, hands clutched and pressed to his lips.
“He will need you, now more than ever,” Lydia whispered softly, looking into his cat-like eyes.
And when Magnus nodded, she smiled brightly and stepped outside, into the sunlit morning, the church door closing behind her with a loud bang.