Max stepped through his portal into the Institute’s command hub. He knew his dad told him not to use portals until he could talk him through it, but they weren’t that hard to figure out. Plus, it saved him from being late to training. He looked down at his watch. A few minutes to spare.
Your magic is still young. It can be unpredictable , Magnus said.
Max begged him, and made some compelling arguments, but he wouldn’t budge.
Did Papa put you up to this? Max asked. Alec was always the strict parent. Magnus usually let his son get away with things behind his back as long as it was “harmless.” Magnus rolled his eyes at his son before walking into his workroom.
When Max lifted his head from his watch, he wished he’d listened to his father. Across the room, there were four shadowhunters approaching him with weapons drawn. Everyone who was working at monitors stepped away in defensive positions. Every eye in the room was on him.
“Oh, fuck me,” he whispered under his breath. He put his hands up in front of himself.
“Who are you and how did you get a portal through the wards?” Alec demanded. He had an arrow nocked and was pulling the bowstring back against his jaw.
Max’s eyes went wide. He looked at the three shadowhunters around his father: Isabelle, Clary, and Jace--his aunts and uncle. They were younger than he had ever seen them. It was like they had stepped out of one of his dad’s photo albums.
“He asked you a question,” Isabelle said when they stopped a few feet from him. “I suggest you answer. He isn’t very patient.”
“No shit,” Max said reflexively. He winced at his words once they left his mouth. He could feel his hands start shaking. What they hell is going on? Jace quirked an eyebrow at him. “Can we all just chill out for a sec?” Max tried to think quickly. What would make them calm down? What can I say? What shouldn’t I say? Is this actually happening?
“I have angel blood,” he blurted out.
“That doesn’t answer who you are,” Alec said in a monotone.
“If anything that raises more questions. You look like a warlock," Clary said motioning to him. This wasn’t the first time Max cursed his blue-tinted skin.
“Could we settle this in your office or something? With less weapons pointed at me? This is getting kinda personal and I’m sure these people,” Max said with a hand wave to the shadowhunters observing the exchange, “would like to get back to work.”
Alec looked to his sister before lowering his bow and motioning to the conference room down the hall. Max stepped forward towards him and was immediately flanked by his aunts. He rolled his eyes and walked cautiously past Alec.
Once in the conference room, Max sat in a chair near one of the monitors. He looked at it searching. There it was in the bottom of the screen: 2016. He didn’t get a long enough look to see the exact date.
“So?” Alec said with his arms crossed. Jace was still holding his blade. Max shook his head and let out a laugh.
“Well, Dad invented the portal. Guess it only makes sense that I stumbled into fucking time travel!” Max motioned wildly at them with his hands.
“Wait, your father is Magnus Bane?” Alec asked, words heavy. Max hung his head in his hands and took a deep breath.
“Yeah, Magnus is one of my fathers. Can we focused on the important things right now? I am stuck in 2016!” Everyone looked to Alec when he mentioned having multiple fathers. “Fuck, I am such shit at this,” Max muttered to himself. He jumped when his watched buzzed
“Mensaje del Papa,” it said in a smooth voice to the room. Max looked at it and held his wrist out to tap on the screen a few times before he froze. Clary opened her mouth to speak, but stopped when he shot up out of his seat, unfastening his watch, and stepping up to the monitor. Alec stepped in front of him, hand on his blade. His stance would have towered him over anyone else, but Max was nearly the same height as him.
“You’re avoiding questions. We still don’t know who you are or what any of this is. Let alone if you’re being truthful. Why would I let you access our database?” Alec said with his brow furrowed.
“You heard it, right?” Max held up his watch. “I got a message from...someone from my time meaning it’s somehow still connected. If I hook it up to that monitor, I can call my dad and get all this sorted,” Max explained, fidgeting. Alec sighed before turning and tapping on the screen until it was disconnected from the Institute’s network. He stepped aside and motioned for Max to get to work. He smiled wide and snapped his fingers, summoning green flames between his fingers.
They all watched as his magic sparked and sputtered against the screen and Max talked to himself.
“How far in the future do you think he’s from?” Isabelle asked under her breath. “If he’s actually telling the truth.”
“Well, his clothes don’t look too far off from ours. So, under fifty years?” Clary replied.
They took in Max’s appearance: tan sandals with straps going in every direction; capri-length black linen pants; a long-sleeve white sweater with a dip hem showing off his toned, blue stomach; the sleeves were pulled halfway down his hands; he had one silver snake ring twisted around his pinky; a few silver chains around his neck disappeared into the wide neck of the sweater; from his right ear dangled a light purple gem on a simple copper chain; and his dark hair was gathered at the top of his head in a haphazard bun.
“So, in less than fifty years, Magnus gets a kid somehow with another guy?” Jace asks with his eyebrows lifted and a smirk.
“Think I got it!” Max yelled as he hit a button with the enthusiasm of a child. The team stepped up behind him, still wary, The screen went black with “Dad” in small font in the corner.
“Come on, pick up,” Max chanted to himself quietly. Suddenly the imaged snapped and Magnus was there.
“Oh,” Isabelle let out.
He still looked like Magnus with his jewelry and sultry makeup, but she wasn’t expecting his hair to be so long. It was down just past his shoulders. The tips were swirls of cotton candy: a mix of light pinks, blues, and purples. He didn’t look any older.
“Blueberry, your father was just looking for you. Aren’t you supposed to be training?” Magnus spoke as he examined a blue concation in his hand before add a sprig of something.
“Well, I’m at the Institute, but…” Max trailed off. Magnus looked up and his eyes unglamored eyes
went wide. He took in the sight before him before his snapped his glamor back into place.
“What did you do?” Magnus asked breathless. He set the container down hard.
“Why do you automatically assume it was something I did?” Magnus flicked an eyebrow skyward. Alec couldn’t help but smile at his expression. He looked like such a dad . “Okay, so, I was running late, so I decided to just portal here instead of walking and I somehow managed to travel to 2016,” Max finished lamely. He hung his head to the side.
“Well, there’s no point in scolding you yet. I’ll let your father handle that,”” Magnus started.
“No! You can’t tell Papa!” Max practically pleaded. Magnus ignored him and looked at Alec.
“So, what’s happened so far?”
“Your son, who still has yet to tell us his name, stepped out of a portal in the middle of the Institute, realized he somehow travelled back in time, and called you,” Jace replied.
“Oh, I’m Max, sorry,” he interjected.
“Alright. Now, what’s been going on with you lot? I need to figure out where you are event wise,” Magnus said.
“Izzy’s freedom was just bought for the Mortal Cup,” Alec said, his face falling when he remembered how hurt Magnus had looked. Magnus noticed his strained posture.
“Out of all the times you could have dropped yourself in,” Magnus whined. He moved to sit on a couch. The video followed him. He sat and ran a hand through his hair. “You managed to not only arrive just in time from Alexander and Lydia’s wedding, but also at the start of the Mortal War when Valentine is still hunting warlocks and searching for interesting blood!”
Max slowly lowered himself back into a chair. He held his elbows and curled into himself.
“Am I g-going to affect my future? Your future? Or will all of this branch off into a separate reality or will everything be--” Max rambled until Clary put her hands on his shoulder. He reached up to intertwine their fingers. He knew Clary didn’t know him yet, but he needed someone to hold onto right now.
What if I cause Dad and Papa to never get together? What if Papa marries? What if Valentine…
“Since none of the present individuals have burst in her freaking out about new memories about you and changes in history, I’m guessing this is creating a separate timeline, but that doesn’t mean you should over share or intervene. At least until we’re sure,” Magnus said in a soothing voice. They could all hear the care he had for his son.
“And how are we supposed to figure all this out? In case you forgot, we have other, more pressing issues than some misplaced teenager,” Jace chided. Max let out a shaky laugh.
“ Some misplaced teen ,” Max echoed to himself. “I’m not just some issue to be prioritized; I’m your ne--”
“Careful,” Magnus said in a sing-song voice. He stood from his couch and went back to working on his concoction.
“Do you have any suggestions for this...situation?” Alec asked Magnus.
“I’ll go research and ask around. I suggest you call me. Use Clary’s phone. And you best come up with a plausible excuse to tell your father. Goodbye, darlings.”
The screen went black. Isabelle handed Max his watch. Clary pulled out her phone and stepped out of the room as her put it to her ear.
“So, what year are you from?” Jace asked after he sat down at the table and kicked his feet up onto it.
“I don’t know if I’m supposed to say. Depending on what happens, that could confuse some people,” Max said with a glance to Alec.
“Is there anything you can tell us?” Isabelle implored as she took a seat as well. Alec crossed his arms across his chest and leaned against the wall.
“Well, I know all of you,” Max offered.
“So, we live through the all this. Good to know,” Jace said. Max smiled.
“Why is your name Max?” Alec asked. The other three looked at him. “You say you know us and you’re Magnus’ son. I’m assuming you know our little brother, so why would Magnus chose the same name?”
“Uh,” Max swallowed hard. “I guess all I can is that he didn’t name me. Sure, he okayed it, but Papa’s side of the family named me. Magnus named my brother. Speaking of which…”
Max trailed off as he tapped at his watch. A light came out of the side and a transparent, blue keyboard appeared on the table. He focused his attention on it.
The trio watched him curiously. He could feel their stares, but tried to ignore them.
Clary came back in the room, sliding her phone into her pocket.
“Magnus is waiting for us at his lair,” she said to the group.
“What did you tell him?” Alec asked.
“Just that we had a non-Valentine related emergency. I figured this would be easier to explain in person,” she explained, motioning to Max.
“Great. Now I just have to figure out how to tell a perpetual bachelor terrified of his own feelings that he has a family in the future. He’s going to think I’m insane,” Max muttered to himself as he stood.
“I don’t see why we’re all dropping everything to help him. We’re at war,” Alec said to the room.
“Our top priority should be waking up your mother,” he motioned to Clary, “not helping a warlock find his way home.”
“I think you’re forgetting I’m from the future,” Max said flatly. Alec just stared at him.He rolled his eyes and continued. “I know everything that is going to happen. You think you all haven’t been telling me the stories from these days since I was little? I know how to wake up Jocelyn. I know where Valentine is. I know what his plans are. Hell, I even know the truth behind this “oh no! I’m in love with my sister!” nonsense,” Max smirked as he made his way around the table to Alec. “So, I should really be your numero uno priority, no?”
Everyone had varied looks of surprise on their faces. He was definitely Magnus’ child, they all thought.
They stayed mostly silent on their way to Brooklyn. The group could feel the tension rolling off of Max. All of the confidence he’d shown at the Institute was gone. He fidgeted with his hands. When they reached Magnus’ building, they paused.
“You ready for this?” Clary asked him. He let out a long sigh and shook out his hands like he was trying to rid himself of nervous energy.
“I don’t think that really matters, but thanks.” Isabelle rung the buzzer.
“WHO DARES DISTURB THE HIGH WARLOCK OF BROOKLYN?” Max breathed out a small laugh.
“Come on, Magnus, you’re expecting us, remember?” Clary said into the box with a smirk.
Alec grabbed the door when it unlocked and usher everyone inside and up the stairs. Max followed the group up the five floors. When they reached the door, they didn’t bother knocking. Everyone just followed Alec in the apartment. Max recognized some of the items around the main room: books, a few sculptures, and the phonograph tucked away in the corner. Magnus stood fluidly from one of the couches.
“So, what is it you need this time?” he asked. “And who is this?”
The group parted to let Magnus see Max. Suddenly. Max felt like he couldn’t breath. He swallowed hard and wrung his hands together. He opened his mouth to talk, but couldn’t think of any words. He felt himself start shaking.
Alec stepped back in front of him slightly in a protective stance.
“This is Max,” he said simply. “He’s why we’re here.”
“Apparently he managed to travel back in time,” Clary said, stepping next to Max and putting a gentle hand on his arm. Magnus leaned back against the couch.
“You poor child,” Magnus said softly. “You have no need to fear anything here--unless you intend to harm anyone present. I am the High Warlock of the area.”
“I-I know,” Max stuttered.He kept his eyes on the throw rug Magnus was standing on.
“Care to explain exactly how you managed to get to this time?” Magnus prodded gently. Max’s clear anxiety pulled at his heart. Magnus thought back to when he was so young.
“I t-tried,” Max started. He paused to take a shaky breath. “I tried to portal and when I stepped through, it was suddenly 2016.”
“And what year are you from?” Magnus asked. He motioned towards his couch, offering them seats. This didn’t seem like a quick conversation.
Jace and Alec stayed standing while Clary guided Max to the couch, Isabelle sitting down on the other side of him. Magnus settled in an armchair and watched Max expectedly.
“Since this area is new for me, the more I know, the better I can approach it,” Magnus offered, trying to get Max to elaborate.
“Uh, I was in 2034,” he breathed out. He stared at his knee.
Magnus took in Max’s hunched shoulders and downward stare. Someone so tall, even though young shouldn’t be able to make himself seem so small. He thought of Alexander.
Max jerked his head up when he heard the familiar sound of Magnus snapping his fingers. There were now steaming cups of tea and a kettle on the coffee table. Max leaned forward and grabbed one. Raising it to his lips, he breathed it in. Camomile. Max sighed into the scent as he took a sip, Everyone watched him curiously. Isabelle, Magnus, and Clary all took cups for themselves.
“You’re awfully trusting of me for looking so uncomfortable in my home and not knowing who I am,” Magnus commented.
“I know you really well,” Max whispered into his cup. “That’s kinda the problem.”
“Do you now? Is that why you all brought him here instead of speaking with Isabelle’s Seelie Knight? They would be much more likely to know about time travel.”
The shadowhunters all looked at Max expectantly. He appreciated that they weren’t just going to blurt Magnus’ future out at him, but he also didn’t want to have to be the one to explain things. He knew his dad loved him so much and he would never reject him, but the warlock in front of him wasn’t his father yet. What if he rejects me?
“Well, you actually told us to come here. I can still contact my you,” Max said, raising his hand to show his watch.
“So you all saw 2034 me?” Magnus asked the group. “Well, that explains why you believe this farfetched story.”
“You don’t believe me,” Max stated. It didn’t surprise him, but his chest still hurt a little at his words.
“You must understand how ridiculous this all seems. I’ve never encountered anything even mentioning the possibility of time travel and I’ve been around since the Dead Sea--”
“Was just a lake feeling a little poorly,” Max finished his sentence with a smirk. Magnus raised an eyebrow at him. “We both know that’s not true.”
“And how would you know? A warlock never reveals his age. It’s bad for business.”
“I know pretty much everything there is to know about you,” Max said as he set his cup down on the table.
“Pardon my reservations, but I find it hard that I’d become that close with someone in such a short amount of time. No one knows everything about me,” Magnus said defensively, curling his cup against his chest.
“What would convince you?” Max asked leaning forward. Might as well just get it over with . Clary rubbed lightly at his shoulder. Alec decided to take the chair next to Magnus since this conversation didn’t seem like it was going to end anytime soon. Jace recrossed his arms and leaned against the pillar behind the couch.
“According to you, you know me well enough to figure that out all by yourself,” Magnus chided.
Right, Dad was still in his bitch-phase, especially since Papa is getting married to Lydia. Max laughed to himself. Now I see where I get it.
“I’ll try not to let all of them know more than you want them to, but you brought this upon yourself,” Max said with a smile and stood to place around the room. His movements were both languid and sharp at the same time. He placed a pensive hand on his chin as he walked. A quick smirk was on his lips.
“You were banned from Peru for ‘crimes unspeakable’ and you still aren’t sure which ones they’re referring to,” Max said quickly as he continued to pace. One of his hands pulled on one of the necklaces hiding under his sweater.
“It’s not like that’s private knowledge,” Magnus said before taking a sip of his tea. Alec grabbed a cup for himself. Isabelle and Clary turned to watch Max walk the length of the room.
“Crimes unspeakable?” Isabelle asked with a smile. Magnus waved her off, keeping his attention on Max.
“When you decided to give up music, the city you were in held a festival to celebrate,” Max laughed out, hand fixed on the silver chain.
Alec gave Magnus a bewildered look.
“Unfortunately, true. But that was a large festival. There are probably records of it somewhere.”
Max’s fingers slid down the chain, lifting the necklace out from his sweater. He grabbed what was hanging on the end and slid it along the chain, from side to side. It screamed nervous habit. When Max walked back to their side of the room, everyone’s brows furrowed at what was actually attached to the chain.
“Why do you have a stele ?” Jace demanded. Max blinked before looking down. He dropped the stele which tapped off of his sternum.
“Okay, don’t be pissed for me bringing him up. It’s not like I want to,” Max started ignoring Jace. Magnus’ eyes narrowed. “You have your father’s eyes.”
They heard Magnus fumble to set his cup back down on the table. Alec watched as Magnus clenched and unclenched his jaw. Max stopped behind the couch and looked down before continuing. He swallowed hard.
“My grandfather’s eyes.”
Magnus’ head shot up to look at the boy, who in turn, lifted his head slowly and blinked. Striking cat eyes looked at Magnus’ glamoured ones which were wide and fearful. Max lowered his eyes almost immediately before turning around to pace the room again.
Isabelle pulled her mouth into a line and shared a look with Clary which spoke what all the shadowhunters were thinking: awkward . Magnus shot up out of his chair and also started pacing, in small struts.
“H-how do I know this isn’t just one of his games?” Magnus asked.
Alec pulled his brows together. He’d never heard any mention of Magnus’ father. Most warlocks didn’t know their exact demonic parent, let alone have any sort of contact with them. He’d also never heard Magnus sound so broken. Alec had never heard him stutter, falter. Magnus was always the embodiment of confidence, but here he was pacing and hands shaking.
Max bit his lip hard and looked up to the ceiling. His eyes were still un-glamored. He squeezed them shut as his tear ducts started burning. Not only had his dad disregarded the meaning behind his words--their connection--he had actually accused him of being in league with Asmodeus. Max put his hands on his hips and took in a shaky breath.
“Magnus, Max is going through a lot. I can’t even imagine dealing with--” Clary started.
“He has a point,” Alec says. “In case you forgot, we’re at war. Demon numbers are rising. Valentine could have had something to do with this.”
“He’s just a kid,” Clary whispers to him.
“We can’t be too careful.” Isabelle said, crossing her arms and looking over at Max.
He had turned his back to them. She could see his back muscles pulled tight from his arms being crossed to hold onto his hips, like he was trying to hold himself together.
Their conversation fell away. It was like his whole self was falling into a dark mist. He couldn’t see the room around him. He didn’t hear their stabbing remarks, speaking as if he weren’t present--as if he wasn’t family . In the back of his mind he knew he should be listening to their words; he should be ready in case they decided he was a threat, but he couldn’t find his way out of the mist. Max bent his head forward and tried to steady his breathing. In, two three, Hold. Out, two, three. Just like Papa had taught him.