Actions

Work Header

His Beloved

Work Text:

There was a gentle press of lips to his forehead, a discord amount of attention to the blood raining from his temple. Then, as quickly as the kiss came, it left.

Alec’s head lulled, cushioned by dove feather pillows. Rose petals clung to his cheeks, moistened from oils and blood, yet his mind was too dulled from relaxants to focus on anything but the silk sheets fluttering against his belly. They had used an over the counter muscle relaxant, Alec deduced, having read some such on a blue twist cap vial he saw them wrestling with not long ago. Demons liked their human sacrifices, yet couldn’t sacrifice the ease of modern medicine when potions took ages. He tried to recall the vial’s exact wording, but as his mind grew heavy, so did his ability to remember.

“Oh blessed be the Wise. We gift you with the unsullied Lightwood, his personhood pure and untouched. Our offering we give you with gratitude for your benevolence.”

Unsullied? thought Alec. His lips parted, failing to slur the words out. I’m only unsullied because we’re always coming right on Magnus’s cashmere rugs. Except for that one time ages ago, when he had left Magnus close to the precipice and desperate for so long that he wound up coming all over Alec’s black leather jacket, the come so pervasive and elusive that only magic could clean away everything. It’d been no loss, since Magnus had growled through gritted teeth that he always thought Alec’s Shadowhunter get up had adorned his figure so well that it belonged strewn across his bedroom floor.

A fever started to consume Alec, and he twisted on the silk sheets, groaning.

A cup was pressed against his mouth. Muscles too weak to push it away, Alec could only purse his lips, yet the demons gripped his jaw and pried open his mouth. Some sort of toxin flooded in. A florid juice masked the repugnant potion, much like those colorful drinks Isabelle insisted on ordering him at nightclubs. He had time only to remember the last occasion he went to a nightclub—at Pandemonium, the day he met Magnus—then the toxins worked their magic.

Memories slipped away from him. One second he mocked the sacrificial ceremony with memory of fucking Magnus against his office desk at the Institute, and in the next he forgot all about Magnus. About Simon. Clary. The Cup. As the memories slipped, panic flooded the corners rendered vacant in their wake. He forgot the mission, the events leading to this moment, and at the first sight of a grey, scaled head, he threw all his strength in a fist, moving to punch the demon but merely pawing at them. Yet it was enough to trigger a demon behind him into socking him on the side of his head. Tinnitus rang in his ears, his eyes screwing shut as the pain rained down on him, pinpricks racing to his toes.

He smelled only rose and iron, felt soft, feather light sheets. In the dark and deafened, Alec found himself drifting, now unable to open his eyes even if he wanted to for his lids were weighed down. Aching and tired, Alec’s mind wandered, casting him into sleep.


Alec stirred, fingers flinching as he awoke in a bed of rose petals, the air tainted with the scent of flame burning the last of candle wicks. Groaning, he turned to his side, head pounding, and went to pat for his stele to burn a rune and kill the headache—but his hands were tied, literally, over his head. Eyes shooting open, Alec frantically took in his surroundings.

It looked like the setup for a B movie horror flick, the kind Isabelle dragged him to see at movie theaters. Candles were everywhere, the wax melted down the columns of bronze candlesticks. The wax was maroon, cream, teal. Some melted together, swirling. On a varnished table, pages fluttered from an ancient book with anatomic diagrams and drawings of locks and keys, spinning wheels, fruits and masks. An open window casted drafts throughout the room, the thin curtains translucent and fluttering. Alec shivered, from the wind, not the room, and glared up at the towers reaching for the ceiling on every corner of the four poster bed upon which he lied. His legs were spread, boots tied the posts. He closed his eyes, counting silently in his head, then his wrists fidgeted, working the binds lose. Surprisingly, they fell apart after only a minute of manipulation. Alec sprung up, working the binds on his ankles lose.

His face pinched whenever he moved. At first, he believed it to be dry skin, yet a touch to his forehead had a red, crusty substance crumble against his fingertips. Blood. He smelled like a spa, too.

Once free of the binds, Alec went to the book, grabbing one of the few candles still burning and holding it over the pages. It was written in an old demonic language, the kind used by demons fond of ceremonies. As the wind rustled pages, Alec let them flip until the book opened to a worn, dog-eared section. He narrowed his eyes, focusing on parsing the old text, and raised an eyebrow once he discerned the gist of it: Human sacrifice. Virgin human sacrifice.

Alec frowned. “They know how to pick ‘em.”

His mouth evened out once he spotted the tip of his stele poking out from beneath from book’s front cover. Pocketing it, Alec ran a finger over the tip, leaning his hip against the table and examining the ancient text closer.

Since Alec was still alive, the sacrifice clearly didn’t work. He definitely hadn’t had sex in his meager existence, so Alec parsed through the rest of the text, curious over how the demon’s incompetence had manifested, and only stopped when an earthquake rolled through the house. The quake had him jumping, kicking out his feet shoulder width apart and gripping the table to keep upright. Just then he caught the cautionary clauses at the end of the ceremonial instructions, some words evading him in his lack of fluency in the language: “Failure in any part of the ritual leads to the physical destruction of the ceremonial location.”

Alec didn’t need to read it twice. He set down the candle, grabbed the book to bring back to The Institute, and hightailed it out of room.

A frieze of cobwebs lined the corridor, moonlight casting garish shadows along the wallpaper desaturated by the lack of light. The corridors stretched on for a seemingly infinite distance, and at the thought of all that walking, Alec involuntarily stumbled, brain woozy from rushing out of the room, and pressed a hand against his abdomen, not certain if he’d retch or not. But he wasn’t going to have Jace barge in and save him only as material for poor jokes. “Hey, Alec,” he could hear Jace say even now. “Remember when demons sacrificed you for not getting any?” He didn’t need Jace of all people picking at him in good humor over that. Once the nausea subsided, Alec dragged himself along the wall, dust catching on his leather jacket, and he crept along in the hopes of finding a stairwell—or just an end to the corridor’s infinite expanse.

Every now and then the house shook, waves rolling through the floorboards down to the foundation. Alec’s brain felt like egg whites whisked into meringue at every quake. Yet as he walked on, he felt nothing in his parabatai, heard no signs of Isabelle, and felt a spike of fear that he truly might collapse from the nausea, alone as the virgin sacrificial ceremony finally got him in the end.

Exhausted by his own thoughts, Alec wiped out that line of thinking and quickened his pace, grimacing past the nausea. He ought to burn a rune to get rid of it. As he turned a corner, sliding along the pointed edge, he expelled the air from his lungs, relieved at the sight of a grand staircase, a crimson rug with cream lining and tassels adorning the steps, a varnished wooden railing curling out from the walls and descending beyond this level. Alec picked up his pace, stepping away from the wall and venturing into the middle of the corridor. Before he settled into a steady rhythm, were that possible with how much energy he had spent ignoring his headache, a thunderous clatter of footsteps sounded from the stairs. Alec froze, quick to reach behind and retrieve an arrow—yet his quiver wasn’t there. Alec curled his lip, infuriated at his insolence, not remembering when he forgot that he didn’t have his bow and arrows. He then glowered at the stairwell, realizing that once he stretched his memory, he couldn’t remember how he got here or much of the past year. His mind felt blanketed beneath thick mizzle.

Then a man emerged from the stairs, dressed in a burgundy shirt with long, loose sleeves, a matted black vest, and pants that accentuated his—Alec halted that thought, uncomfortably aware of why he was the prized candidate for a sacrificial offering. He looked up to take in the man’s face, ready to see past any mirages concealing a demonic figure, and, instead, simply scoffed.

“Magnus Bane?” he blurted. Magnus Bane was the High Warlock of Brooklyn, the mightiest force to be reckoned with in all of New York and possibly beyond, but he had turned into a flamboyant recluse for the better part of a century and a half, secluding himself for good reason and other unsavory logic.

Magnus stared, wide eyed, and paused at the mouth of the stairwell, hand slipping off the railing. “You’re alive,” he said, breathless, then smile a snaked across his face. “Not that I was under the impression you wouldn’t survive…”

Alec stared, unresponsive as he could not discern any meaning behind the far too familiar behavior from a renowned eccentric who was infamous for his, albeit justifiable, distain for Shadowhunters. Bizarrely, Magnus’s smile transformed into a full on smirk.

“No need to be shy, my dear.” Magnus sauntered toward Alec, extending an arm. The loose sleeve fluttered against defined muscles.

Alec glanced up at the ceiling, counting to five. “Shouldn’t you be at Pandemonium?”

“It’s Wednesday. I never go there on Wednesdays.”

“That so?”

“It’s a slow day. I’d rather spend it doing something else.”

Magnus then walked right up to him, looked at him thoroughly from head to toe, gazing far too long at his chest—at which point Alec realized his shirt had a massive tear from the collar to his ribcage—and quirked an eyebrow. His eyebrow was eternally black, were such a color possible, which only accentuated the glimmering dark purple eyeshadow over his eyelids. “That looks from beyond even my time,” said Magnus. Bewildered, Alec at first did not catch his meaning, then his stomach churned. He hadn’t understood because he’d been too busy admiring Magnus Bane’s face.

Alec took a large step back, whisking the book up and away from Magnus’s hands, which had begun to reach for it. “No one’s looking at this until it arrives at The Institute. Shadowhunters aren’t exactly your crowd, I hear, so maybe it’s best you kill that curiosity before it kills the cat.”

Magnus jolted, a full body movement, which never quite ended. His hips swirled gently as that quirked eyebrow rose higher. “Mind repeating that?”

Alec exhaled slowly, his nerves not settled by the time he didn’t have air to expel. “Listen, I’m aware that demonic sacrifices fall under the purview of the High Warlock of Brooklyn; however, it is explicitly stated in The Accords that artifacts, regardless of who found it, are to be sent first to The Institute without anyone examining it before them.”

Magnus’s lips parted, gaze unblinking and boring right into Alec. A silence stretched for a decent amount of time. Then Magnus winked, reaching for the book. “I believe it’s probably—no, actually, it is—for the best I read that now.”

Alec stepped away, Magnus trailing after him, and didn’t stop until a wall hit his back. Magnus, however, kept going, even once he collided with Alec, his matted vest warm against Alec’s exposed chest. He smelled like spices and potions and lavender—intoxicating and tantalizing. Alec turned his head toward the empty corridor, Magnus’s scent now mixed with the stale, dusty odor of the mansion. It was distracting, and his throat suddenly had to work out a knot, his skin prickling with heat, so he was defenseless and caught unaware when Magnus snatched the book, which was for the best. Magnus stepped away with the book, taking his scent and warmth with him.

Magnus tilted his head. “This is a very old book,” he said, flipping through pages and halting at the dog-eared sacrificial ceremony. Magnus chuckled. “Oh, that’s rich. Did you read this?”

Alec grimaced, glancing down the corridor. The mansion ought to quake again soon. “A little.”

“How much did you understand?”

“Enough.”

Magnus smiled, and Alec wished he could back up again. It was a lazy smirk, and elicited a bizarre, uncomfortable reaction out of Alec. He had a loss of breath, his skin prickled, he had a bewildering inability to parse meaning into how a mere smile from Magnus Bane could cause all these things. Then Magnus frowned, his eyes losing a spark Alec hadn’t known he’d been watching until it went away.

“There’s good news and bad news, my dear,” said Magnus, glancing at him briefly. “Bad news, you have amnesia and this mansion is about to become a higher demon’s dinner. That’s his stomach shaking the mansion. Apparently, he lives underground. Good news, there’s a way to stop it and get your memories back.”

Alec started, anxious to battle whichever demon if it ended this madness and got him far, far away from Magnus Bane. “What is it?” Alec asked, when Magnus never specified.

Magnus’s winning grin was back, a thousand watts of sparks in his eyes directed right at Alec. “Before I tell you, let me just say, you would have been enthusiastic to this, say, oh… three hours ago. Wholeheartedly. With passion.”

As Magnus’s deflection grew more and more tedious, Alec found himself disagreeing with vehemence. “You didn’t answer my question.”

“All right. Since you asked,” said Magnus. Then elaborated, voice altered to sound like Idris’s councilors, shoulders hunched forward: “At the advent of The Great Hunger, twice a sacrifice must be done. On the false virgin’s lips shall there be a kiss by the one they believe to be their most dearest.”

Alec stared, not sure what to say, but deciding on, “I don’t have a ‘most dearest.’ ”

Magnus then looked away, face stiffening. “Like I said. Three hours ago, you would have been enthusiastic. Because your most dearest is…” Magnus quieted, swallowing, and spun, walking only a step away. Yet it was a confident stride. “Your most dearest,” Magnus declared, “is me.”

“You?” Alec’s heart pounded, all too abruptly.

“Me.”

Panic, fear, and, even more terrifyingly, joy swelled in Alec’s chest, blood rushing in his ears and drowning out all other noise for a brief instant. It all began to make sense: Magnus’s familiarity in his entrance was flirting, his inability to respect personal boundaries was because they had a unique situation. Alec felt elated. He could admit to himself now that he found Magnus Bane to be an attractive man. From what Alec could discern from The Institute’s reports, Magnus Bane stuck to his convictions, damning the consequences, The Institute, and polite society, and had a handsome face to match his broad shoulders. Secretly, Alec delighted in knowing his attraction had been toward a man who appreciated the male figure as he did. A gateway within him opened slightly that he hadn’t felt even for Jace with their parabatai bond. Alec looked over Magnus once again, but at the tentative smile Magnus directed his way, a proverbial door slammed between them, the panic and fear dominating once again.

“But—” said Alec. “If you’re my—why would they sacrifice me?”

Magnus shrugged. “They might not have gotten the memo.”

Alec lurched back, unaware of what to say next. Then, realizing he’d rather not address the situation at all, he fled.


Once the burst of adrenaline petered into quiet, Alec collapsed in a dusty, wallpapered corridor, back sliding against a wall and settling against the oak wainscoting until he sat on the cold, hardwood floor, legs stretched out before him. A grand portrait of a nobleman in thick robes hung over his head, enclosed in a frame painted gold, curling embossments of vines on every edge. Whenever the demon’s stomach growled, the rumbling had the portrait shaking on its nails. He knew running had been irresponsible, and had it been another person either than himself, he would have had the clarity of mind to rightfully reprimand them. Part of him believed Magnus lied about him being Alec’s ‘most dearest,’ because certainly Alec had the sense to fall in love with someone who followed the rules. Yet, Alec had to admit, running away with only the adrenaline of his thoughts to fuel him had been exhilarating—freeing. It felt unnerving around Magnus, yet he also felt marginally better all the same, iron rings around his heart bursting in release.

Winds from an window open at the end of the corridor whisked over the book, flipping pages, and if the book miraculously opened to the spell detailing his sacrificial ceremony, Alec figured he could read it. After all, he was the Acting Head for The Institute while his parents were in Idris. For all intents and purposes, the Accords dictated that he must be the one to give the decisive opinion about reading it. Never did the rules state he had to do so at the Institute, simply that it must be delivered to The Institute, which, in a sense, was Alec himself.

But Alec never got to read it.

Plumes of smoke drifted beneath a door frame adjacent from Alec, the scent of sulfur thick and repugnant. Alec snatched his stele, tucking the book under his arm and whisking his sleeve, burning a rune over his wrist, which would ideally give his punches the strength of a seraph blade if he punched the demon at the same spot for a certain amount of time. The final curl of the rune was being burnt when the smoke materialized into a demonic figure—a manifestation, moonlight gleaming through its translucent body. As the demon glided over, air where feet ought to be, Alec pocketed his stele, hitching the book firmly beneath his arm, and guarded his face with a fist. Wind rippled through the demon’s corporeal semblance, but Alec kept his stance, not giving the demon the advantage of witnessing Alec falter over the odds.

Outside, lightning flashed, and in its dying sparks, the demon struck. It pounced over Alec. His fist socked right through its head, the smoke of its body sifting away even as its translucent fingers curled around Alec’s throat, picking him up until he dangled, toes scrapping against the floorboards. The grey eyes focused on him, head quirked, and Alec glared right back, his gaze hard despite his focus shifting from the translucent figure and the wall behind the demon’s back.

As the demon grew cozy with its hold, Alec chopped his hand down across its forearm, the clear figure parting as it had when Alec punched the manifestation’s face. The smoke cleared, the demon’s hold severed, and Alec fell, boots back on the floorboards, darting away and brandishing his fist again. That move was just a one trick pony. If only he had his arrows. The demon shook, the smoke curling at the edges as if its entire body were enflamed with the heat of fury. Then the demon raced forward, and Alec knew—if he didn’t devise a quick witted maneuver, he was going down with this mansion, along with Magnus Bane and the book.

As if summoned by merely being thought of, there was a shout at the end of the corridor—Magnus Bane’s shout. “Catch!”

Alec looked backed. A seraph blade soared over to him—the blade dull and grey like the moonlit halls, lifeless as the demon’s smoky figure, yet once the hilt slid into his palm, his fingers curling around it, the blade ignited. Without a second thought, Alec plunged the blade within the demon’s chest, burrowing it further and further, his fist disappearing into the demon. In glimmering shards of light, the demon’s existence shattered. Alec fell back before the shards rained down over him.

Alec had to admit—all of this was impractical. Preventable. If Magnus was who he claimed to be—if they were who he claimed them to be—a kiss was the right fix.

Alec peered across the hall at Magnus, the white of his eyes turned yellow, pupils blown and pointed north and south in sharp edges. Cat eye’s. Magnus’s infamous warlock visage. A thrill raced though Alec, pooling in his belly. The sensation could have been because of a great many things—the blooming swells of adrenaline, vanquishing the demon, Magnus’s simple feat of looking good in a matted vest, his sleeves, his silver rings—but Alec found he did not mind the thought of kissing him for the sake of killing demons. Alec charged down the hallway, stopping quite close to Magnus, close enough for the scent of spice and potions and lavender to send his mind spinning again. They were so close, Alec hadn’t noticed until then that he only had about an inch on Magnus. It thrilled him to be around someone who matched his height.

The seraph blade, still ignited, hung by their waists. Remembering the demon blood in Magnus’s veins, Alec switched off the energy keeping the blade lit up. Had Magnus noticed, Alec didn’t know. Magnus’s cat’s eyes were still taking up his whites, and they were locked on Alec.

Alec took in a deep breath, waiting for the tide within him to recede. “You were right,” he said, lowly. Magnus acknowledged him with only a furrowed brow. “About the kiss. You’re right. I shouldn’t have left. It’s the only way to end this.” Magnus stepped away, countenance softening, but Alec closed the distance, edging closer. At every step backward Magnus took, Alec was there, following. Neither stopped until Magnus’s back hit the wall, a portrait’s frame digging against his spine. It had to hurt, but Magnus didn’t seem to notice or mind. “What do you think about trying the kiss?”

Magnus was silent for a long while, then his cat eye’s receded, the whites back, his irises dark brown, pupils shrinking from pointed ovals to a wide dilation fit for the dark. The abrupt switch to his mundane look had Alec aching for Magnus’s magic to return. “It’s reasonable,” murmured Magnus, breath warm and tickling Alec’s lips. “Everything you said. It’s reasonable.”

“But you don’t agree.”

“You may not remember me, but I do remember you. You don’t really want to kiss me. You want to stop the demon. But kissing me, at the point in time that you are— If it were anyone else, I’d gladly…” Magnus cut himself off, gaze wavering.

It should have infuriated Alec, the insinuation of knowing him and what he wants, but there was neither an invasive pat on his arm nor a faux softening of Magnus’s cadence. Magnus had simply stated the facts, and he was letting them speak for themselves.

“If you’re my ‘most dearest,’ ” said Alec, “then after I get my memories back, I bet I’ll be touched that you cared and glad I’m alive.” Magnus didn’t seem any less distressed. He was too controlled, too guarded in his movements, yet Alec lived life traveling down the same road and saw an elusive candor of fear beneath the slight clues. “Magnus?”

Magnus’s lip curled. “All right, so I lied. The book never said ‘most dearest,’ I purposefully mistranslated. It may have used a stronger phrasing, but you’re not in love with anyone else—at least I don’t think you are—so it should mean you have to kiss me.”

The ancient writing, so akin to a fairy tale, the spindling drawings of pricked fingers, poisoned fruit, locked doors. The only words stronger than ‘most dearest’ that Alec could discern were—given the facts, however improbable to be gathered in one place in time, even in the Shadow World, in which Alec was sure the stronger words were not only improbable but impossible—“True love’s kiss?” said Alec, gaze setting when Magnus backed away, a nerve hit. Alec counted to five, fighting to keep his gaze from going skyward. “All right, before I tried not to get annoyed at the insinuations about what you believe I’m thinking and feeling, and now I think we’ve reached a breaking point. Let’s be clear: Right now, I really don’t care either way. But if this is our only shot, and if it works, and we’re… boyfriends, or whatever, as you say, I guarantee I’ll care a lot more then than I do now. Do you want your boyfriend back or not?”

“When you talk like that, dear, I don’t think he ever left.”

Alec’s stomach fluttered, his outward appearance otherwise controlled, yet his heart started beating louder in his chest. A simple line such as that, apparently, had his body disoriented, working out of sync and disambiguated from its primary functions. He waited for his stomach to settle down, his heartbeat to even out, yet with the way Magnus’s dark brown eyes watched him, he started to genuinely wish their kiss could break the spell. For all his many tricks and tall tales, Magnus Bane never struck him as a gambler. He was extravagant but played it safe.

Alec had been so lost in those dark eyes, he’d missed the plumes of smoke which began to circle them, disappearing into the wall beside Magnus’s back and reentering across the other side of him, settling them dead center in the heart of a demonic hurricane’s eye. Without a second thought, Alec tilted his head, angling it just so to avoid knocking noses, and it was so easy with their heights so evenly matched. All Alec had to do was lean forward—yet his lips never seized Magnus’s, for plumes of smoke curled around his waist, pulling him into the spiraling demonic hurricane.

He felt the angel blood ripped from his veins, feeding the demon’s evil. “Magnus!” he yelled, arms pulled into the spinning vortex. “Magnus, do it now!”

Magnus could have hesitated, but he didn’t, and it was so stunningly mesmerizing how seamlessly he set aside his emotions to get the job done, Alec hoped with every fiber of his being that their kiss had the magic touch. Magnus crowded up against Alec, taking his jawline into his palm, demon smoke curling around his elbow, and kissed him.

Lightning crashed outside the windows, the demon’s spiral growing even more violent and chaotic as Magnus nipped Alec’s lips, coaxing him to open and deliver Magnus purchase to deepen the kiss. As the vortex of demonic manifestations coiled tighter around them, a shudder sped down Alec’s spine, every hair on his body standing on edge as an energy raced through him. Magnus’s fingers curled around his jaw, then scrapped past his ear, digging into the hairs at the back of his head, rooting Alec against his lips.

It felt so good, kissing Magnus, and Alec lost himself in the carnal sensation of it, not noticing the smoky spiral had slowed until the demon crowed in his ear. Alec broke away, sucking in a quick breath. “It—it’s working,” he said, and as he spoke, memories assaulted him. Memories of sending an arrow into the chest of Valentine’s Shadowhunter, the one who threatened to kill Magnus and take his cat’s eyes. He remembered Clary, Simon, the Cup. He remembered why Jace would have never saved him in this mansion, and that Isabelle had gone to another mansion, one that was tipped off as a potential hideout for Valentine. Then he remembered that Magnus was supposed to go to his own mansion—yet here he was, working against the mission plan.

Magnus kissed him again with a ferocity. Alec wrestled a hand free from the smoke, digging his fingers against Magnus’s back. Magnus groaned, hips knocking against his, and the burn of Magnus’s hardened cock against the tender flesh on his thigh had Alec moaning into his mouth. It hurt so good, slight yet unending. Alec grinded his thigh against Magnus’s cock, Magnus growing harder against him, and Alec himself grew so hard he fought against the desire to grind himself against Magnus’s thigh.

When they broke for air, Alec muttered against his lips, “You’re not supposed to be here. You have your own mansion.”

Magnus was humble enough to look ashamed for a bit. “But aren’t you glad I followed you?”

Alec kissed him before speaking. “So I guess this means you’re stuck with me. True love’s kiss and all that.”

Magnus flinched, backing away, and Alec recalled the ties that had once bound him to Camille: Amor verus numquam moritur—true love never dies. Alec bunched his vest in his grasp, tugging Magnus forcibly back into his embrace, Magnus’s cock pulverizing his thigh. The sharp pain rendered Alec quiet for a moment.

“We don’t have to discuss this now,” he said, looking into Magnus’s dark eyes, “but I want to tell you that you didn’t need a spell book to know I’m not going to leave you.”

Magnus’s gaze shuttered, and soon enough they were kissing again. As Alec’s memories returned to him, his fervor grew tenfold, and his kiss left Magnus’s lips to bite memories against his neck. For every time he remembered when Magnus doubted them tonight in this mansion, he bit him harder. Soon the smoke around them cleared, but they didn’t realize until Alec backed Magnus up against the wall again, freed from the smoke. The portrait shook on its nails as Magnus collided hard against it. This time when the frame hit his spine, Magnus groaned loud.

They’d discuss the mission and all that occurred later, but in the meanwhile, they kissed until sunlight gleamed through the windows, the curtains stilling as the winds quit drifting through the loose threadwork, a blush against the wainscoting revealing it with a cherry wood undertone. Even as the spell broke, Alec kept kissing Magnus, and Magnus didn’t seem to have the will or strength to stop him.