"Go away," Magnus says. He is bored. So bored that having an orgasm can't cut through the ennui. It's been a long time since it could, and it had more to do with the person than the action.
"What?" Ga-something snaps. "Don't I get a minute?"
Magnus cocks his head. "No." He waves his hand, and the curtain opens, wards disappearing from his booth at Pandemonium.
It isn't as if Magnus can't have more-somes, or vary things some other way, but they tend to take even more time and he's too bored to contemplate it.
"Fine," Gar-something, whatever, the Fae curses, and finally leaves.
That's the first time Magnus sees him.
"I know it's none of my business," Alexander begins wryly. He's standing next to the booth, and all Magnus can think is how beautiful Alexander looks in the soft blue light as he continues, "But that was rude."
Alexander smirks. He doesn't appear to have been dead for more than fifty years. But he has been. So Magnus takes a deep breath. And then another one.
"You still say my name the same way." Alexander smiles. "I'm glad that hasn't changed."
Magnus is reeling. He hasn't heard of a ghost to appear so long after death. Has Alexander been here for years, weak and invisible? Or is he something else? A hallucination, an effect of a curse, a Demon somehow taking his face, or... a Demon himself.
"What are you?" Magnus asks, but he's talking to thin air.
Magnus is still disturbed the day after. He wakes up around noon, and makes himself tea. Sipping from a mug, he shuffles onto the balcony.
"Beautiful day." And Magnus doesn't need to turn to recognize the person who spoke. He'd know Alexander's voice anywhere.
Magnus stiffens. "It is. Not sure if I'm sane, but the day doesn't care about that."
"I don't suppose you'd take my word for it?" Alexander chuckles, even as he asks his question.
Magnus can't resist not looking anymore, so he does. Alexander is leaning on the wall. He's young, healthy, and beautiful. In the light of day, looking in his hazel eyes, Magnus can barely remember the shock of seeing Alexander's dead body. But Magnus has to because that was real, and this... he doesn't know what this is.
"What are you?" Magnus asks—desperately, maybe; pleadingly, for certain.
But Alexander shakes his head. "I can't tell you."
Magnus wants to scream.
"Do you want me to go?" Alexander asks, regarding him carefully.
"I never do," Magnus replies quietly.
Alexander steps forward and they stay like that—shoulder to shoulder—all afternoon.
"A true battle of wills," Alexander says, laughter coloring his voice.
Magnus looks up from his stare off with Chairman Meow.
"If it was, I won it," Magnus says cheerily.
"That's not fair, the cat was distracted." Alexander sounds upset on Chairman's behalf, and that's so like him that it makes Magnus' heart beat harder.
"His name is Chairman Meow, he's new, and yes." Magnus smirks. "It was distracted by you. That means I'm not hallucinating."
Alexander looks baffled. "Huh." He smiles brilliantly, steps forward, and scratches under Chairman's chin. "Good job," he croons.
Chairman Meow loves Alexander immediately, and Magnus, against his better judgement, is starting to as well. He never did stop. But is his Alexander, this Alexander? Magnus is starting to think it's irrelevant. Maybe he'll always love Alexander-shaped beings, with Alexander-like behavior and personality.
"That's not funny," Alexander says. His eyes are narrowed. He automatically starts petting the Chairman that has strategically left Magnus and found his way into Alexander's lap.
Magnus bursts into laughter. "Yes, it's a weird comedy."
"Weird?" Alexander asks disdainfully. "Not the word I'd use."
Magnus snorts, and reaches to cover the Chairman's ears. "I think the Chairman's too young to hear it."
Alexander rolls his eyes with a smile, and makes himself comfortable on the couch. He looks at home, and Magnus ends up using his shoulder as a pillow. It's... just like old times.
"Why don't you show up when other people can see you?" Magnus demands quietly, but fiercely. "Or is that another thing you can't tell me?"
Honestly, Magnus doesn't know if he cares anymore what Alexander is.
"You just have to ask," Alexander replies just as quietly.
Swallowing, Magnus asks, "What will it cost?"
Magnus snorts. Nothing is ever free, but he's beyond caring. "Will you show up when others are around?"
"Of course, Mags."
That remains to be seen.
When Raphael doesn't follow Magnus inside, Magnus frowns.
"Do you need to be invited?" Magnus teases.
Raphael is ignoring him, too busy staring at Alexander who's seated in an armchair. "What did you do?" Nobody answers, so Raphael repeats the question. "What did you do, Magnus?"
"I wonder why I haven't shown up when you were with other people," Alexander says dryly. "Hello, Raphael."
Magnus rolls his eyes. "So you see him too? Wait. What do you see?"
"Your Shadowhunter," Raphael answers absently. "He's reenacting a Bond villain scene. What's going on here?"
Magnus turns to look at Alexander thoughtfully. "It's the Chairman, right?"
"And the slouch." Raphael shakes his head. “Explain, por favor.”
Magnus shrugs. "He just appeared."
Nobody says anything to that, so the room falls silent except for the rhythmic sound of petting.
"Can I have a taste?" Raphael asks suddenly.
Magnus blinks—it's not a bad thought.
"I wouldn't recommend it." Alexander doesn't sound angry, he sounds sure.
Extending his arm, Magnus stops Raphael from trying anyway. "That's his 'certain' voice," Magnus warns.
"So what now?" Raphael asks.
Magnus shakes his head. He can't answer. The truth is, he doesn't know.
"Is he your husband again?" Raphael wonders. His expression is complicated. "Dios, Magnus."
Directing a questioning look to Alexander, Magnus waits for him to respond.
"You have to ask, Magnus," Alexander replies.
"Magnus!" Raphael protests.
"Apparently, it doesn't cost anything," Magnus says airily.
Raphael expression is disbelieving, and Magnus agrees, but at same time...
"Do you still want to be my spouse, Alexander?" Magnus asks.
Alexander smiles gently. "For as long as you'd have me," he answers.
Raphael narrows his eyes at that response.
"Can I have a kiss, Angel?" Magnus asks as he puts his arms around Alexander's neck.
Alexander laughs loudly at the nickname. That's when Magnus knows for sure. He closes his eyes tightly, and breathes.
"Are you okay?"
Alexander sounds worried, so Magnus opens his eyes, and tries to smile.
"You didn't answer my question," Magnus says, ducking the one addressed to him.
Concerned still as evidenced by the little line between his brows, Alexander nevertheless replies, "Yes."
And Magnus kisses him. There's no doubt in his mind he's locking lips with his Alexander. The hitch in his breath, the way his hands tighten minutely in Magnus' jacket, the way he relaxes, always a shade too late. There is no double that can copy that. Magnus is sure: that's Alexander, and he's a Demon.
"Are you that important of a Demon?" Magnus asks off-handedly as he watches a Demon on the other side of the street. They do a perfect spit take at the sight of Alexander walking calmly next to Magnus, and then they turn around and run.
Alexander looks taken aback, and stops on the sidewalk. "Mags?"
Rolling his eyes, Magnus says, "It's not unheard of, you know? Souls snap under the weight of hell, and then find their way out. Maybe by someone else's design, maybe by sheer determination because they have unfinished business." Magnus hums. "Which are you?"
"I—" Alexander takes a deep breath. "It was my decision."
"Yes, I would expect that," Magnus allows, hand making a big gesture to show Magnus' belief in Alexander's will. "Have I sold my soul through my requests? Because a boy needs to know these things."
Alexander wavers. "If that's what you thi—" He chokes, and tries again. "If that's what you think why do it?"
It's Magnus' turn to be uncertain. "You were always my weakness, Alexander." He put his hand on Alexander's chest. "You know I love you."
And Alexander looks crushed. "I know that you loved me. Fifty years ago. I didn't expect you to wait, or to feel the same way about me. I certainly don't..." He falls silent.
Magnus averts his eyes. He shrugs lightly. "You leave a bigger impression than you realize."
"Magnus." Alexander takes a step forward, and embraces Magnus tightly. "I love you, too. And your soul is still your own. It will remain so if I have anything to say about it, okay? Okay, Magnus? You are not"—he laughs unsteadily—"selling your soul with your requests."
Magnus puts his head on Alexander's chest. "Then why are the Demons afraid of you?"
Alexander sighs, and Magnus winces. He knows he shouldn't have asked that. There will be no response forthcoming.
"You know I’d tell you if I could?"
Feeling helpless and vulnerable, Magnus nods his head, burrowing deeper into Alexander.
"I do have a question, though," Alexander warns, after a while. He waits for Magnus' nod, before he says, "Has the Clave collapsed or something? What's with all the Demons?"
"I'm not going to like this am I?" Alexander asks dryly.
"Do you ever?" Magnus shoots back, and he enjoys Alexander's warm laugh as he tries to figure out where to start. "Do you remember Lydia Branwell?"
"I think we both do."
Magnus wiggles his eyebrows in agreement. "She had an older brother, who, in turn, had a son and daughter. This story is about her nephew's daughter, Darla Branwell." He sighs. "Dear Darla is of the opinion that if Shadowhunters and Downworlders managed to work together, then so could the Showhunters reach accords with Demons."
"But to do that, Darla stole the Mortal Cup," Magnus explains with a flourish, grinning at Alexander's groan. "I don't know how she imagined she'd get the Demons corralled by speaking to them while they were controlled, and she presumably was met with the same problem because she disappeared with the Cup for about three years. Now, she's back."
"I don't get it," Alexander confesses. "What has this got to do with you?"
"Long version or short version?"
"Rumor has it that she cut a deal with Asmodeus who said he won't send any of his subjects upstairs if she manages to capture me."
Alexander regards him with dismay. "What is wrong with these people?!"
Breaking out into laughter, Magnus needs to lean on Alexander to keep his footing. "Oh my Alexander, how I've missed you."
"Missed you, too." Alexander drops a kiss on Magnus forehead while he's recovering, and says, "Wait. Does that mean everybody is after you?"
"No, no." Magnus wipes away his tears. "Nobody's crazy enough to believe him. With the exception of Darla and her followers, everybody's shaking their head. I mean really, he's Prince of Hell, and I'm his son, a High Warlock. It's not hard to reach the conclusion to steer clear."
"Asmodeus is probably having a lot of fun," Alexander sighs.
"You know it."
"Magnus," Alexander says, but he stays quiet even after Magnus turns.
"Promise me that you'll call for me if you're in danger," Alexander pleads, holding Magnus' hands.
Magnus can't answer. What can he say? He won't lose Alexander again.
"Please," Alexander adds, studying him carefully.
So Magnus nods even though he knows he's lying.
It happens at a territory meeting between Raphael's clan, and the local werewolf pack. The Alpha, Chris, says he smells ichor, and not two seconds later they are surrounded. There were about two hundred Demons from what Magnus sees, but they are not attacking. Magnus smells a trap.
Alexander is, blessedly, not here.
Suddenly, in the right corner of the cavernous room, as if summoned from Magnus' nightmares, stands Asmodeus.
"It seems the child was right," Asmodeus says amusedly, a malevolent smirk playing on his lips. "There you are, my son. Very well. It's time for you to come home."
"Alec!" Raphael shouts from behind Magnus.
And Magnus thinks, 'No, Alexander. Don't listen. Don't!"
But Alexander wouldn't be Alexander without doing something completely self-sacrificing for the simple reason of it being the right thing. So, even though Magnus hopes, and begs, he's not surprised when Alexander appears before him. Magnus closes his eyes for a moment—just a moment—in dismay.
"Leave," Asmodeus orders.
Alexander sounds so sure that Magnus has to open his eyes. There Alexander is, as always between danger and a person he cares about. Magnus feels a tear on his cheek, and he desperately searches for a way out. There is none.
"Then I'll remove you myself," Asmodeus says with the same smarmy smile, but he's angry, and Magnus cannot imagine why.
Two things happen faster than a blink of an eye: Asmodeus attacks and Alexander parries.
"¿Me éstas tomando el pelo?" Raphael asks irately.
Because Alexander is in front of Magnus and, the same time, Alexander the human, the Shadowhunter, is not. Wings, made of water and ice, sprout enormous from his back, and spread protectively to form a wall. Magnus can't see anything beyond them.
Not Demon then, angel.
Magnus is too shocked to breathe.
"Be gone," Asmodeus growls.
"I will not," Alexander repeats. "Magnus prayed for me. You won't win."
A gnashing of teeth, a deep breath, and then laugher. Savage, malevolent laughter. "Very well," Asmodeus accepts. "He is my son after all."
There's a flash, and then silence.
"Is he gone?" Magnus asks quietly.
"Of course you don't see," Raphael frustrated voice rings out. "Yes, Magnus, your ángel husband defended you." Then quieter, "Because you weren't rare enough, a Downworlder and a Shadowhunter. Por supuesto que no. An Angel and a Warlock. Dios." He stops. "Literally," he adds a twinge hysterical.
Magnus ignores Raphael, and reaches out to touch the wings. He hesitates just before he reaches them. "Can I touch?" he asks.
"Yes," Alexander replies immediately. "Wait. Hold on."
Alexander shifts, to get one of his wings around Magnus, shyly smiling. There's a blade of water in his hand that he puts quickly in his sheath. It becomes invisible. And his eyes... His eyes are blue. Swirling like water, and shining. They're beautiful, in themselves and because they show to the world Alexander's pure soul.
Magnus berates himself. How could he have ever thought his beautiful Alexander was a Demon? Yes, it hasn't ever happened, but if someone could accomplish it, then that person is Alexander.
"Careful," Alexander says. Warns, Magnus realizes, because Alexander adds, "They're sharp."
"Wouldn't want you to prick your finger on his wings," Raphael grumbles.
The rest are shocked silent.
But Magnus has bigger things to worry about. "How?"
"We're... soulmates," Alexander says daring a peak under his eyelashes. "We share a heaven. But you're you, and that meant that I could wait for hundreds of years, and so I asked if I could accompany you until the time comes. The training took some time."
There is a knot of emotions too big for Magnus to begin to untangle, so he focuses on details. "Then why did you think that I could be with others?"
"'Soulmates' doesn't mean you can't love another," Alexander says and smiles. "It would have been fine."
Magnus can't handle it anymore, he steps toward Alexander, and lets himself breathe in the ensuing embrace. An angel. He laughs lightly, "My Angel." His joy is met with Alexander's warm chuckles.
But then a door opens, and in saunters Darla. Her eyes are gleaming with greed as she opens her mouth, self-satisfied smirk curling his lips already. Before she can speak, before she can do anything, Magnus says, "No."
A snap of Magnus' fingers and she's gone in a rush of flame, leaving the Cup behind.
The saying should be changed to the 'man with the cat-like eyes got everybody's tongue,' because the silence is such that Magnus could very well have.
Except Raphael, who just groans.
Magnus stalks to the Cup, picks it up, and hands it to Alexander. "The Clave keeps misplacing it. Perhaps it should have a new owner."
Nobody contradicts him. The Demons have disappeared in a hurry, and the Downworlders know better. Darla's followers are satisfyingly cowed.
"I'll look after it." Alexander takes it with a nod, then murmurs, "Darla?"
Magnus leans closer, and his whisper brushes Alexander's lips, "Mundane, in a hospital without her memories."
Alexander smiles against Magnus' mouth.