Once upon a time, in a faraway land called Brooklyn, an older-than-he-seemed Warlock lived in a fashionable loft apartment. Although he had everything his heart desired, the Warlock was spoiled, selfish and vain.
But then, one winter's night, an old homeless Mundane came to his house party and offered him a single rose in return for shelter from the bitter cold.
Repulsed by her haggard appearance (and not entirely pleasant aroma), the Warlock declined the gift and turned the Mundane away. But she warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for true beauty is found within. At this point, the Warlock did consider that he might be being punked, but really, he wasn't going to let some Mundane with holes in her clothes into his party.
And when he dismissed her again, the Mundane's ugliness melted away, to reveal a beautiful enchantress. Or rather a very pissed of Warlock who was going to curse him to Sunday and back.
The Warlock tried to apologise, realising that he really was in trouble now, but it was too late for she had seen that there was no longer any love in his heart. As punishment, she cursed him to have to live through an entire book's worth of fairytales. The really nasty ones too.
Aware that there were many ways to die in fairy tales, the Warlock concealed himself inside his apartment with a cellphone as his contact to the outside world. The rose she had offered was truly an enchanted rose, which would bloom for one year. If he could learn to love another, and earn their love in return by the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken. Not like there was any pressure there.
If not, he would die because this Enchantress wasn't messing around and she'd been pissed goddamnit.
The more he thought of it, he fell into despair and lost all hope. He had not felt love for another creature in over a century, and he had not been loved for much more. For who, really, could ever learn to love Magnus Bane?
"Magnus, you haven't answered your phone in three days," Clarissa's voice came through the intercom. Magnus sighed from the nest of blankets he'd wrapped himself in on the couch. So the Shadowhunters wanted him, did they? Well, he was indisposed. He was not going to answer their stupid calls for help when he had his own problems to deal with.
"What's the problem?"
Ah, the blond one was here. Even better. He would have no qualms telling them to go bother someone else if that was the case... Wait. If the blond one was there, that usually meant-
"Maybe he's just not in? I'm sure Magnus has a life besides just waiting for us to turn up," And there it was, the sweet voice of the hottest of the Shadowhunters. That beautiful Lightwood boy, Alec, whose eyes were like the brightest blue skies and...
Magnus gestured vaguely from within his protective blankets and heard the door buzz obnoxiously. There was the sound of scrambling as the others quickly tried to gain entry to his apartment and then the slam of boots on stairs and a rapid knocking on his actual door.
"I don't use a key," he called. Sure enough, the door opened and in walked the usual suspects. Magnus ignored the blond one, handsome though he might be, he held little interest for the Warlock. Clarissa looked worried, which was sweet of her, truly, but Magnus didn't need her concern. Isabelle glided in looking smugly self-satisfied and her brother was stammering something out, his face somewhat flustered looking.
Alec truly was a delight to look at, and he was the primary reason why Magnus helped them so much. Of course, he liked Clarissa well enough, but Alec's smile outshone hers by a mile. In fact, Alec was smiling right now, his white teeth shining as he took in Magnus' position on the couch. Magnus supposed he probably did look a little ridiculous.
"Welcome to my castle. I'm afraid you've caught me at a bad time," Magnus said, aware that only the top of his head was poking out of the top of the blankets and his words were muffled. The Shadowhunters fanned out around the room though their attention was all on him.
Only Alec seemed truly relaxed in the apartment, leaning against a wall and folding his arms.
"Are you sick?" Clarissa asked. Magnus smiled though he knew she could only see his eyes.
"No. I've been cursed," he said. The reaction was immediate. Alec's arms dropped and he took a few steps forward. Isabelle's smile disappeared. Clarissa crouched down next to the couch so she was eye level. Even the Golden Boy looked a little concerned.
"Cursed? What are the conditions?" Alec asked. Magnus sighed. Of course, Shadowhunters would want to get involved. Curses broke the law, didn't they?
"I can handle it," he said. The Wayland boy quirked an eyebrow.
"Yes, I can see how you're handling it so well. That blanket fort must be great at keeping magic out," he snarked. Magnus glared at him. It wasn't fair to pick on the afflicted.
"Allow me the pleasure of feeling sorry for myself, then I'll get right back to being your pet Warlock, how about that?" he snapped. Jace rolled his eyes. Clarissa, however, reached forward and put her hand on the blankets. It was suspiciously high on his thigh, but she probably had no idea how close her touch was to being scandalous under those blankets.
"Magnus, can you tell us about it?" she asked. Alec was staring at him rather intently now. It did feel kind of nice to be able to swallow up all their attention. Usually, they only came to him when they had something they needed. They rarely cared about him. Magnus sighed, as though he were being put upon, and emerged from the blankets.
The room hadn't always been like this. It seemed the Warlock who had played the role of his Enchantress had a flair for the dramatic as well as the deadly. What had been a tastefully decorated dressing room had become dark, damp, and strangely humid. Thorned vines grew on the walls, blocking out the light from the windows.
The plants had grown so fast that they'd overturned his furniture, even breaking it in places. He ran a hand frustratedly through his hair as he looked around the room.
In the centre, there was an ornate table because of course there was. Fairytales were nothing if not melodramatic, something that Magnus could have appreciated were he not living in one. On the table was a glass case and suspended inside it a rose slowly twirled as it levitated. It had not lost a petal yet.
Next to it was a thick, leather bound book. The title on the front merely read "Tales of Faerie". Around it, the area was scorched from where Magnus had tried to end the curse early by merely burning the thing. It seemed it was rather resistant to his kind of magic.
"Oh wow," Isabelle said, stepping into the room and tapping her finger against a leaf. The vine she had touched shuddered and wrapped itself more firmly against what had once probably been his dresser. Magnus glared at it.
"As you can see, it's a little complex," he said. Alec had strode into the room and was bending down, staring at the rose in the glass cabinet with something akin to fascination.
"It's Beauty and the Beast," Clarissa said suddenly. The other three Shadowhunters looked confused. Of course, they probably wouldn't know Mundane Fairytales, or if they did, it would be some other version where the Beast was probably a werewolf or some such nonsense. Magnus walked forward, stopping beside Alec and putting his hand to the glass that protected the rose.
"It seems that way," he replied. "So I'm afraid I won't be free to play with you for the foreseeable future. I will be too busy living out every fairytale in this book before the last petal falls."
He didn't see the point in telling them about the "one true love" nonsense. Better to ignore that part of the curse for now.
Alec tore his gaze away from the rose then to look at the book. Magnus watched his strong hands lift the book from its place and begin to flick through it.
"The pages are blank," Alec said. Magnus nodded.
"Apparently as I live them, they'll get filled in. At the moment all I can see is the title of the next one, hence I'm not leaving the house," he said. Alec flicked to the front, reading the contents page.
"Which tale is it?" Clarissa asked. Alec tilted his head to one side.
"Little Red Riding Hood," he read aloud. Isabelle walked around behind her brother, looking over his shoulder.
"Isn't that the one where a wolf eats someone's grandma?" she asked. Alec looked up, meeting Magnus' eyes over the cover.
Magnus took the book from his hands and put it back down on the table, pages open to show the title and the accompanying illustration.
A wolf devouring an old woman and her child, red splashed all over the pages in a brutal depiction of the grandmother's demise.
"Weren't the grandmother and Little Red Riding Hood supposed to survive?" Clarissa asked, her face pale with horror. Magnus smiled, though there was no humour in it.
"Not the way my mother told it."