Actions

Work Header

Still Waters Run Deep

Work Text:

Malace || Shadowhunters || Malace || Still Waters Run Deep || Malace || Shadowhunters || Malace

Title: Still Waters Run Deep – And Truths Lay Hidden in the Depth

Fandom: Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments

Disclaimer: All rights to the Shadowhunters reserved to Ed Decter, the books the Shadowhunters is based off and its characters belong to Cassandra Clare. This fanfiction on the other hand is entirely mine. No money is made with this, though reviews are more than welcomed.

Warnings: shounen-ai, polyamory (threesome), hurt/comfort, physical and emotional pain, PTSD, fluff, cuddles, family of choice, shoujo-ai, hetero

Main Pairing: Magnus/Alec/Jace

Side Pairings: Simon/Clary, Lydia/Isabelle, Bat/Maia, Luke/Catarina (hinted)

Shadowhunters Characters: Jonathan Christopher 'Jace' Wayland, Magnus Bane, Alexander Gideon 'Alec' Lightwood, Isabelle Sophia 'Izzy' Lightwood, Lydia Branwell, Clarissa Adele 'Clary' Fray, Simon Lewis, Bartholomew 'Bat' Velasquez, Maia Roberts, Luke Garroway, Madzie, Catarina Loss

Summary: Set after episode 2x20 "Beside Still Water" in my on-going season 2B with Malace series! Alec and Jace are still suffering from the events of the episode. Magnus keeps them together.

Still Waters Run Deep

And Truths Lay Hidden in the Depth

"I am coming back for you though. I will come back for you, son!"

Luke laughed, a broad smile as he walked backward away from Jace and Clary. Those words shouldn't do to Jace what they did, but there was an odd warmth filling his chest at being called 'son' with a gentle, warm voice, by a man with a proud and genuine smile on his face. Particularly after his father had literally just murdered him. Swallowing hard, Jace took another long drink from his beer while Clary smiled at him and sat down next to him. Luke all the whole was wrapping one arm around Bat and one arm around Maia, laughing happily.

"I totally approve of drunk Luke", stated Simon with a carefree smile as he sat down on Clary's other side, leaning in to kiss his girlfriend's cheek. "He's a lot of fun. He's flustering Bat and Maia."

"Why is he flustering Bat and Maia?", asked Clary confused, heavily leaning against his shoulder.

"Well, I mean, since we picked Bat up and Maia and I have been trying to help him train – stop laughing at me, Herondale, I can see you snorting into your drink, I am totally capable of helping because I know first-hand what it's like to be suddenly turned and thrown into this world!", started Simon, glaring over Clary's head at Jace. "Anyway, so I'm like totally third-wheeling the entire time because Bat keeps looking at Maia with the large, hopeful puppy eyes – hey, those are the ones!"

Simon smiled gleefully as he pointed over at Bat and Maia coming over to sit with them. Maia scowled as soon as she saw the gleeful smile, having been teased enough about Bat following her around like a love-sick puppy for days now. Jace snorted again and took another long drink.

"Oh, look, another happy couple", drawled Jace as his sister and Lydia neared them.

A light blush lit up Isabelle's face as she took the seat on his other side, elbowing him slightly. But she had her fingers linked with Lydia's under the table. Lydia buried a happy smile in Isabelle's curls as she kissed Isabelle's jaw gently. Jace made gagging-noises for good measure.

"You're so childish", huffed Clary amused.

"Lemme be", grinned Jace. "New life, new me and all that."

And that was one way to bring down the mood. Everyone fell silent, smiles fading as they all looked at Jace. Jace had died today and they all knew it. Clary, who had been with Jace at Lake Lyn. Lydia and Isabelle, who had been with Magnus and Alec as his parabatai rune just vanished. Maia, Bat and Simon, who had been out there helping in the battle against the demons and had only been informed in the aftermath as the Shadowhunters returned back home from Idris. Jace was startled as he was suddenly being engulfed in a hug from broth sides, his sisters embracing him tightly and Simon and Lydia being fast to join in. A small smile, sad and curious, played on Jace's lips.

"Shesh, guys, enough. I died. I got better. Stop fussing. Simon did it first", huffed Jace playfully.

"You're right. You're totally a copycat", gasped Simon scandalized. "You copied me! I feel flattered, Jace. I always knew you admired me, you know."

"First of all: Magnus coined the term copy-puppy for me", stated Jace very seriously before cracking a half-grin. "And secondly: There is literally nothing about you I admire, nerdy sidekick."

"Ouch. You wound me, Herondale, why do you always hurt me", sobbed Simon dramatically.

"We always hurt those we love the most", added Lydia, one eyebrow cocked.

Jace heaved a dramatic sigh and nodded. "Yes. I admit it, I am secretly deeply in love with Simon Lewis and I will never forgive you for taking my true love from me, Clary."

"We can duel for him?", suggested Clary casually, tilting her drink toward him. "A duel at dawn. To the death. Winner takes the Daylighter home as prize."

"You know, your chances are bad. I already came back from the dead once today", argued Jace.

"You really should stop making jokes about dying before Alec gets here", warned Isabelle seriously. "Speaking of... where is my brother? ...And Magnus, for that matter?"

"They went outside, to talk", replied Jace, something sober to his voice at that.

"I heard they broke up?", inquired Simon not to subtly, being elbowed by his girlfriend.

Clary aimed a serious glare at him at that, trying to signal not to talk about that. Sadly, her vampire never quite listened to those kind of things. He was bad at not talking. But she kind of loved him for it, so there was also that. Maia smirked knowingly at her from behind Simon's back.

"No one broke up with anyone", grunted Jace gruffly, gritting his teeth at the mere suggestion. "They had a... disagreement. Big one. Because they're both idiots who are both incapable of using their words. And when that is coming from me, it should be... telling."

"No kidding", grunted Maia, one eyebrow arched in disbelief.

"So, everything's alright on board of ship Malace?", asked Simon, straightening up some.

"Mal... ace?", echoed Jace surprised before a blush colored his cheeks in realization.

Simon's chest swelled in pride, a broad grin on his lips. "Ye—ep. Izzy and I came up with it. It was a total team-effort. But she called being captain of the ship. I'm first mate though."

Jace facepalmed and groaned in exhaustion. "Sure. Everything's alright on board of our ship."

"You people are ridiculous", stated Bat, both eyebrows disappearing in his hairline as he looked from Simon to Jace and then at the others. "How can you... after everything today, just... sit here and joke around and talk about... boats? Is this really just that... normal to you?"

"Mh...", grunted Jace thoughtfully before turning to Isabelle. "Yes, isn't it?"

"Lemme see. Chasing sociopathic mass-murderers, hunting demons, stopping a genocide...", drawled Isabelle, putting a thoughtful finger against her lips. "Did I forget something?"

"Summoning an Angel", added Clary cheerfully.

"Dying and coming back, also a pretty common thing for some of us", added Simon thoughtfully.

"Sounds like a regular Tuesday for us, doesn't it?", hummed Lydia with a smile, slipping one arm around Isabelle to pull her closer against her side. "Yes, pretty much our normal."

"You people are insane", muttered Bat and shook his head.

"Pretty much", agreed the others solemnly.

"Realization is the first step to improvement."

Jace perked up a little as Magnus approached him from behind, resting a casual but gentle hand on Jace's shoulder. The other hand was linked with Alec and Jace took that as his two idiots having talked things through. Alec looked awful. Tired and exhausted and kind of like he had died. Jace's heart stuttered. Well. Half of him had died, didn't he? They hadn't yet gotten to talk about it at all.

A simple reunion and Jace and Clary briefly mentioning that Valentine had killed him and that the angel had brought him back, that had been all before they left and then there were suddenly so many people and a celebration at the Hunter's Moon, Magnus and Alec going outside to talk.

"Parabatai?", asked Jace very softly, searching Alec's eyes.

Alec had one hand pressed against his parabatai-rune and Jace was pretty sure he had been doing that ever since they had met at Lake Lyn earlier. Alec looked drained. Drained of life.

"Perhaps we'll head home", drawled Magnus, eyes also wandering over Alec's form before turning toward Jace. "Portal with us, or do you want to walk all the way?"

"Well, I guess that's it for me tonight", chimed Jace as he got up and waved at the others.

"You guys are no fun at all", complained Simon.

"Let them go. Honestly, I'm not feeling like staying too long either", admitted Clary. "I'm tired."

"We all are. But we deserve to feel good about every single victory we get", stated Luke, sounding a lot more sober as returned back inside and approached their gathered group.

"Wise words, Lucian", agreed Magnus, a twinkle in his eyes. "Good night, everyone."

"Oh no! I told you I would come back for you!", warned Luke as the threesome wanted to leave.

Jace barely had the time to open his mouth before he was pulled into a bone-crushing hug by Luke. It took him a long moment to adjust to being hugged, but he eventually hugged back, relaxing.

"Don't do that again, boy", whispered Luke softly so only Jace could hear it. "You may not be Jocelyn's and you may not have been raised by her and me, but you mean the world to Clary. You and I are the only family Clary has left now. So don't you dare and die on us again."

"...I... yeah", nodded Jace reluctantly. "No more dying. Promise."

"Good", grunted Luke and paused for a moment. "Because Clary is not the only one who would suffer if you died. You have a big family that cares for you, right here."

Jace paused once he pulled away from Luke and looked around. At Maia and Simon, laughing as they tried to explain something to Bat. At Clary, Isabelle and Lydia, giggling as they whispered in hushed voices. At Luke himself, something soft and caring in his eyes as he held Jace's gaze – something fatherly, if Jace had to name it. And lastly at Magnus and Alec, standing aside and waiting for Jace so they could return home. Yes. Yes, he did have a family, a big one and caring one. A colorful one, with lots of crazy, insane, wonderful people. How strange.

/break\

Magnus heaved a deep sigh as he sacked back against the kitchen-counter, closing his eyes firmly. He had slipped out of the bed after Alec had finally fallen asleep. Ever since Alec had collapsed in the Institute, Magnus had done nothing but be strong for Alec. To see his beloved archer crumbling and breaking down like that, screaming in not just pain but pure agony. Watching how the parabatai-rune disappeared from Alec's body. Hearing Alec's voice, broken and small and filled with disbelief, whispering that Jace was dead.

Magnus hadn't been able to grasp those words, to grasp what was happening. All he could grasp was Alec. He held his archer close and tried to sooth him as tears took over and Alec melted into a crying desperate mess, howling in a heart-shattering way. The pain of losing half his soul being so intensely overwhelming that the strong, composed archer completely fell apart.

Lydia, bless her heart, instantly took charge, dismissing Isabelle, Alec and Magnus to go and check on Lake Lyn, on Clary and Jace. Though first Magnus and Isabelle needed to help Alec compose himself enough so they could even make their way to Idris, which was hard enough.

Alec himself had looked half-dead. Eyes hallow and glazed over as though the life had drained from them, face pale and body shaking. All the way to the lake, Alec clung onto Magnus as though the warlock was his life-line – and Magnus was aware he had been all that had been holding Alec up.

To find Jace, alive. To have his rune return. To hold their blonde.

It had been good. Soothing. But by far not enough. Alec continuously touched his parabatai-rune, his eyes glazing over as he stared off into the distance repeatedly while they were at the bar, which was why Magnus had requested for Alec to go out and talk to him.

Both of them had valid reasons to be mad at the other, prior to today. Alec lying about the Soul Sword, lying to his face to 'protect him'. Magnus going to the Seelie Queen without saying a word.

And prior to today, those had seemed like such huge issues. Both Magnus and Alec had been so angry at each other. They had been respectively at the edge of breaking up. They had both expected to blow up in each other's faces once things would calm down. Perhaps they were even bracing themselves to break things off after all. But after today... those issues seemed to trivial.

They had lost Jace.

Had literally lost Jace. Jace had died, he had died and was gone from their lives, from Alec's soul. Thanks to Clary, they got Jace back, yes, but they had still lost him. So quick and easy, with absolutely nothing Alec or Magnus could have done. Simply gone.

No.

When it was this easy to lose each other, to truly lose each other forever, how could Alec and Magnus possibly lose each other over such trivial and meaningless quarrels?!

Which was exactly what Alec and Magnus had talked about outside of the bar. That they couldn't lose each other, not after nearly losing Jace for good. There was no way they could lose each other.

And after that much needed confirmation that despite the issues, they still loved each other and that they were both willing to work through said issues for the sake of being with each other, they went back inside, collected their blonde and returned back home where they headed to bed right away.

Alec and Magnus had held Jace in their middle for two hours, just holding their blonde, until Alec finally fell asleep. Magnus genuinely wasn't sure if Jace had truly fallen asleep, but the blonde had at the very least pretended convincingly enough that Magnus was sure Jace just wanted to be left alone for now. Which Magnus could understand. All three of them seemed to need a moment to themselves, as they had laid in bed in total silence, no words being exchanged.

And now that his boys were asleep, Magnus truly needed a full moment of solitude. He had spent all night being strong for Alec, trying to carry the archer as he broke, carrying the pieces. A shaky sob escaped Magnus as he folded in on himself on the kitchen-floor, tears taking over.

He had lost Jace today, for however brief it might have been, it had been real. Seeing Alec like that had been real. And what would have Magnus done if it had been true? If Jace had been truly lost? What would have been there to do? He would have lost Jace. And he would have been incapable of keeping Alec going. There would have been nothing Magnus, regardless of how powerful he might be, could have done to fix Alec if half his soul would have died. Magnus would have been lost too.

Magnus hadn't felt that helpless in a very, very long time. In a way, holding Alec as the archer crumbled in his arms, had made Magnus feel even more helpless than being stuck in Valentine's body. Because at the very least, Magnus had an idea of how to get out of that situation. To see his strong, proud Alexander so weak, vulnerable and broken...? There was nothing to do. No way out.

For a while, Magnus just sat on the kitchen-floor, crying for Jace, for Alec, for how helpless he himself had felt. Only when his tears dried up and his sobbing subsided did he gather himself up. Taking a deep breath, Magnus used a bit of magic to fix all traces of his breakdown while straightening his posture and returning back to the bedroom. No need to worry his boys.

But what he found was not what he had expected. He had expected to find his two parabatai curled together on the bed. Instead, all he found was Alec, curled together tightly, gasping and sobbing.

"Alexander!", exclaimed Magnus concerned as he rushed over to his lover.

"H—He's gone. He's gone, he's gone, he's gone", mumbled Alec repeatedly, eyes wide and haunted.

"No, no he's not. No, sh, Alexander, please breath, my love", requested Magnus gently.

He carefully sat down in front of Alec, trying to make the archer look at him. As he did, his eyes seemed unfocused and terrifyingly empty. It was clear that Alec had woken up alone in bed and that his mind had gotten stuck in that moment this afternoon, overwhelmed by the pain of losing Jace.

"Jace is alright, darling. He's not gone, he's not dead. I need you to breath with me, Alexander. Nice and slow. In and out, please love", whispered Magnus, keeping his voice soft and soothing.

"H—He was gone", choked Alec out as he clung onto Magnus. "I felt our souls tether apart. He was gone from me. He left me. He broke off, broke away from me, left me broken. I lost my... heart."

Alec kept mumbling variations of the sorts into Magnus shoulder as he sobbed and cried. It was utterly terrifying for Magnus to see his collected and calm Alexander like this. Part of Magnus was desperate to go and search for Jace, bring him back here to calm Alec – not just Alec, also Magnus, because two minutes ago Magnus had melted down about Jace's death himself and watching Alec break all over again made that pain return to Magnus' chest too and he needed to see Jace alive. But Magnus also knew that there was no way he could leave Alexander alone right now.

"He died. He died without me, because I stayed back, because I'm head of the Institute. If I had gone with my parabatai, if I would have had his back the way I should have, he wouldn't have died. I killed my parabatai by abandoning him, Magnus", gasped Alec out fiercely.

"That is nonsense, love", chided Magnus firmly. "You didn't abandon him. You sent him on a mission with Clary. You couldn't have known, Alexander. It was not your fault."

Alec choked on a sob as he buried his face in Magnus' chest. Where was Jace?!

/break\

Breathing was impossible. His chest felt heavy and tight and Jace felt as though he was suffocating on air. Shaking badly, he collapsed on the shower-floor, gasping for breath. The pain was overwhelming. He didn't understand it. Didn't know what it was. But it wasn't the first time it had happened since he had returned from the dead. It had overwhelmed him earlier, but right now, he barely had enough time to slip out of the bed and make his way to the bathroom. Ice-cold water was hitting his back hard as he crouched down on the floor, trying to keep it together.

It felt like dying. Literally like dying.

Not even the stabbing itself, but the literal moment his life had ended. Being unable to breath, to move, to keep going. Like a flashback, only far more intense, more physical. As though his body was replaying the experience again and again, drawing it out. And instead of the mercy of actual death, it was just the drawn-out agony of being at the brink of death.

He collapsed sideways as the attack passed, trying to gather his breath and strength. Rubbing his face slowly, he tried to collect himself. Shakily, he got up and finished his shower. It felt good to rid himself of the last crusted blood on his body from the various stabbings he had gotten. He had hidden it well earlier from his lovers and when Alec and Magnus had needed to go to bed, needed to hold him as a reminder that he was still alive, then he had been more than willing to oblige. But he needed to get rid of the blood and the last reminders of his death.

Breathing deeply and freely, Jace grabbed a pair of sweatpants from the shelf and put it on before leaving the bathroom to return to his boyfriends. He had noticed that Magnus had slipped out of the bed earlier, but he assumed for tea or something. It wouldn't be the first time.

"Holy shit, what is happening?", asked Jace stunned when he entered the bedroom.

Magnus turned to glare at him briefly. "Alexander woke up alone and slipped into a panic-attack. I think he had a nightmare about this afternoon and waking up without you, he..."

Jace nodded sharply. Right. Alec had just lost him, waking up without Jace – probably being woken by the pain he must have been feeling through their parabatai-bond as Jace broke down in the shower, the pain being additionally confusing in his half-asleep, panicked state. Hastily Jace climbed onto the bed, Magnus reluctantly making room for him.

"Hey", whispered Jace gently. "Hey, parabatai, look at me. Come on, Alec."

Alec did and his eyes regained some focus as they locked with mismatched eyes. Smiling softly at Alec, Jace carefully climbed onto Alec's lap and took his parabatai's hands. Slowly, Jace rested one of Alec's hands against the parabatai-rune on Jace's body and then he took the other hand and rested it right over his heart, so Alec could feel both the bond and Jace's heartbeat.

"Just feel. Listen. I'm right here. I'm alive. I'm part of you, parabatai", whispered Jace reassuringly.

Finally, Alec's breathing calmed down and he let his hands slip around Jace's body to pull him closer, until it was hard to tell where Alec stopped and Jace ended. Jace gladly wrapped his arms around Alec's broad shoulders, clinging onto him and holding him safely.

"It's okay, Alec. It's okay, I'm okay, I'm right here, I'm not going anywhere", promised Jace.

Jace continued whispering reassuring words until his parabatai fell asleep in his arms. Jace had done this. Jace had broke his parabatai by dying. And here Jace was, thinking nothing would ever be able to break Alexander Lightwood. Never before had Jace met someone as strong as Alec.

"You should have seen him at the Institute", muttered Magnus lowly, running gentle fingers through Alec's hair. "He... completely came apart by the seams, angel. I was terrified. Isabelle and I barely kept him together enough so we could go to Idris to check on you and Clary."

"H—How do... How do we fix him, Mag?", asked Jace helplessly, searching Magnus' eyes.

Sighing, Magnus leaned in to kiss the top of Jace's head. "I don't know, sweetheart. For now, I would suggest you not leaving his line of sight. Not... until your bond is properly reestablished. He had a panic-attack not knowing where you were, thinking you were dead after all."

"...Yeah", sighed Jace, resting his forehead against Alec's shoulder.

"What happened?", wanted Magnus to know.

The warlock adjusted to lay against Alec's back, wrapping his arms around the archer's midsection, Alec having all his limbs wrapped possessively around Jace, clinging onto the blonde for dear life in his sleep. Jace allowed himself to be used as a teddy-bear, gently caressing Alec.

"Mh?", grunted Jace impassively.

"No, no, no", chided Magnus with a glare. "You know exactly what I'm talking about. You died today. And that little throw-away sentence of you dying and Clary using her wish from the angel to resurrect you is not enough. How did you die, Jace?"

"...My father stabbed me in the heart. And stomach. Repeatedly", whispered Jace, voice breaking.

Magnus reached out to caress Jace's cheek briefly. "I'm not sure if the question is appropriate, but... are you alright? I've been dealing with Alexander breaking down all day now. But you died."

Jace offered a pained half-smile, more a grimace really, as he shrugged. "I... I don't know."

"Mh?", prompted Magnus, keeping it gentle and soft, trying not to wake Alec.

Alec had exhausted himself enough today and a conversation about how exactly Jace had died was probably not what the archer needed right now. No, their precious archer should rest while he could. Magnus expected at least one more time of Alec waking up in cold-sweat and a panic tonight.

"I've been... having... I don't know... flashbacks", admitted Jace lowly. "Of... the moment. The moment I died. T—This... sensation, of being unable to breath or move. The intense pain. I... It... It's why I sneaked out of the bed. I didn't want to wake Alec with it. I don't even know what it is."

"We'll figure it out, love", promised Magnus, concern and pain in his eyes. "Together."

"Together", echoed Jace with a slow smile.

/break\

Lydia Branwell was a goddess disguised as an angel and once things were more calmed down, Magnus was going to portal her and Isabelle to a tropical island of their choice and pay for a nice hotel and a romantic get-away so the two girls would get a chance to relax too.

Alec was still too broken up to work properly. He grew nervous, fidgety when Jace was as much as out of his sight, but if he didn't know where Jace was, Alec found himself on the brink of a panic-attack. The day after their victory, they had tried going back to business as usual but when Jace got dragged off to work with Simon and the wolves, Alec flat-out had a panic-attack ten minutes in and Magnus had been forced to portal Jace right back into his parabatai's arms.

Thankfully, their friends were understanding. They knew – and they were the only ones – that Jace had died, that the parabatai-bond had been broken, completely severed. That it was still very thin and tentative. Lydia had sent Alec and Jace back home with a stern face, telling them that she was going to take over as head of the Institute for now and that with Isabelle's and Clary's help, she was going to keep things going and take care of the aftermath of the war.

And Alec was getting better now, very slowly. For the first five days, Jace couldn't leave Alec's side at all without Alec getting nervous, and Jace found himself being hugged or touched constantly. By Magnus too, to some extend. Even though Magnus hadn't experienced the same soul-crushing pain as Alec, he had still suffered in those too long moments of believing Jace to be dead and to hold and touch, to feel that Jace was alive, it was very reassuring.

But by now, Alec was at least fine with them being in separate rooms without being completely tense. He could go up to five hours without touching Jace, which was huge improvement.

He still woke up in cold sweat, with a broken whimper of Jace's name, at least once a night. And Magnus and Jace were right there, surrounding Alec with warmth and love and reassurance.

He still tugged his shirt up and touched his parabatai-rune at least once an hour, more often when Jace wasn't within sight, just to make sure it was still there – Jace was still there.

"Will you be alright?", asked Jace concerned, holding Alec's face gently cupped.

"...I don't know", admitted Alec with frustration all over his face. "But I can't keep you sitting on my lap for the rest of our lives, as perfect as that sounds. And they need the backup."

The Shadowhunters were still busy rounding up Circle members, dealing with Clave-Downworlder relations after that little stint Raphael, Luke and Magnus had pulled, they had a lot of cleaning up to do. Lydia was doing her best trying to negotiate between Raphael, Luke, the Clave and Catarina – for the sake of Magnus not leaving his boys right now – because after the Downworlders teaming up with the Seelie Queen, the Accords needed to be re-negotiated. And after all the losses they had suffered during the war, they were a bit short on Shadowhunters. They had gotten backup – Aline had returned, among others. But Aline was currently on a mission with Isabelle, Simon was on a mission with Bat and Maia, as one of the signs of the Downworlders wanting to work with Shadowhunters, so Clary had called Jace and asked if he was okay to come in for one mission.

"I'll call you if things get too much and I'll open a portal for you, sweetheart", promised Magnus.

"Take good care of our darling", nodded Jace seriously as he leaned in to kiss Magnus gently.

Alec huffed in mild protest. It was rare for Jace to use fluffy nicknames on his lovers; they left that up to Magnus usually. Magnus smiled mildly and caressed Jace's hair gently before leaning in to place one last loving kiss on Jace's forehead. Even as Jace got up, he looked at them doubtfully.

"Go", ordered Alec frustrated. "Go and be useful. It's enough I'm useless right now."

"You're not useless. Magnus, tell him he's not useless", scowled Jace seriously.

"Will do, sweetheart. Now hush, go and play Hänsel and Gretel", ushered Magnus amused.

Jace huffed and headed out to go with Clary. Alec heaved a shaky breath and sank back against Magnus, head hanging low and exhaustion radiating off of him. Magnus instantly wrapped his arms around the archer to pull him even closer until Alec was basically sitting in his lap.

"I am useless right now", mumbled Alec frustrated. "I can't even think straight if I can't touch Jace and make sure he's alive. A—And even now, all I can think is... what if he doesn't come back?"

"Clary is with him. He will be fine", assured Magnus, kissing Alec. "And you're not useless for being in pain, Alexander. You've spent the past months being so strong. The last time your bond was nearly severed, you nearly died and yet you still just bounced back from it because you knew they needed you. Now that we've won, you have the right to fall back and gather yourself up again. You lost him, you lost half of your soul, even if you got it back, you still have a right to deal with the trauma of losing your parabatai. You need time to heal, your pain is real and you have a right to deal with it, my love. And you are getting better. Slowly. Don't rush yourself because you feel like you ought to. You've been through so much this past year – you nearly lost your parabatai-bond twice, you truly lost it once, Maxwell nearly died, Isabelle's addiction got to you. Yet you continued standing tall and proud, leading the Institute, pushing back your own pain for the sake of others. But you don't have to be strong all the time, Alexander. You're allowed to be in pain and when you're with me and Jace, you're free to just lean back and trust us to catch you, my love."

Alec took a shaky breath, nodding slowly as he leaned against Magnus, fingers pressing hard into his parabatai-rune. "...Can we maybe text Jace? Just to make sure he's alright?"

Magnus offered a wry smile. "Of course we can, darling."

/break\

It was ironic. Magnus staying home to take care of his Shadowhunters – plural, because while Alec was suffering a serious case of PTSD thanks to Jace's death, Jace too still had his pain-attacks and flashbacks of dying and they still hadn't found a way to properly deal with that – Catarina had stepped up to represent the warlocks of New York for now. With that, she was too busy to take care of Madzie though, so a scowling Catarina had shown up at Magnus' doorstep and told him that he would be on babysitting duty. The irony was that the plan had been to take Madzie in as soon as they would have achieved peace. At first, Magnus had been a bit weary considering that his boys were still having a lot of problems, but within two days, Magnus came to realize it had been the best course of action, because taking care of Madzie was so beautifully domestic and distracting that it helped Jace and Alec not to drown in their own pain.

Madzie also brought a light and warmth into their loft that was truly needed.

"Look at how cute they are", mumbled Alec sleepily into Magnus' neck.

The two of them were curled together on the couch, watching Jace and Madzie at the piano. She had caught him play last night and asked if he could teach her and he had been more than eager to. Seeing Jace and Madzie sitting together like that, soft music and hushed laughter and voices as Jace explained the basics to the eager little girl, yes Magnus had to agree with Alec. They were cute.

"You're far more at ease, love", noted Magnus gently, nose buried in Alec's hair.

"...It kind of helps, having Madzie here", admitted Alec reluctantly. "I haven't heard Jace laugh so carefree in a... while. It's a good reminder that he's alive. And safe."

Magnus hummed in agreement, running his fingers over Alec's ribs as they laid together.

"Ma—ag", called Jace out loudly before leaning down to whisper to Madzie. "Do as I taught you."

Magnus raised both eyebrows as Jace and Madzie turned toward them and both were spotting matching kicked-puppy looks. "...That was nothing you needed to teach her, Jace."

"But I know it's super-effective?", argued Jace, doubling down on the puppy-pout.

"...What do you two want?", sighed Magnus amused.

"When I told Clary and Simon about Madz living with us, Simon started rambling about some wizards from Waverly Place or something and that we need to watch both with Madzie to educate her? I dunno. But it sounds like fun. I thought we could have a team-bonding night."

Magnus turned to search for Alec's eyes, but the archer looked intrigued. Just a lazy night of celebrating with those who were theirs sounded very nice. It had been ten days now and things were slowly calming down around them, even though there was still a lot to do.

/break\

The loft was a bit crowded as everyone poured in and Magnus was briefly amused that their little team had grown so much. What had initially started out with Magnus, Alec, Jace, Isabelle and Clary had gained Simon, Luke, Lydia, Maia, now most recently Bat. Apparently, the young werewolf had helped a lot during the clean-up. Catarina too came, stating that she damn well wanted free pizza and she was apparently also missing Madzie a lot. But thanks to magic, they had enough couches to fit everyone and get nicely comfortable, with enough pizza to feed the entire Downworld laid out on the living room table. Simon was the most excited as he babbled on about as he set everything up, having brought the TV show that only him, Clary, Bat and Maia had heard of before.

Alec sat between Jace and Magnus, with Madzie perched up in his lap. Lydia and Isabelle sat on the couch to their right with Simon and Clary, while Bat, Maia, Luke and Catarina sat on the left couch. The female warlock smiled pleased as Luke offered her a seat next to him. Magnus snorted at the interested glint in Catarina's eyes. Oh, Magnus knew that Luke was a looker. Handsome, strong cop. And between her shifts at the hospital and taking care of Madzie, Catarina hadn't had time to appreciate the 'nicer things in life' for a while. Luke smiled at her in a friendly way and handed her a beer.

For hours, they sat together, laughing and talking softly about the show while Madzie giggled and seemed pretty enthralled by it. Everyone filled their bellies with pizza and beer – lemonade, in the cases of Clary, Bat and Madzie, blood in the case of Simon, a nice cocktail in Magnus' case. It was beautifully domestic and homey and Magnus found himself relishing in the little family they had made for themselves. Jace and Alec kept whispering to each other softly, snickering every now and again, until Madzie would tug on their shirts and glare at them to be silent.

Only when it was getting late and time for Madzie to go to bed did they call it a night. Jace carried Madzie on his shoulders over to the former guestroom now turned into Madzie's room so he could get her ready for bed and tuck her in. Alec was talking to Lydia in the kitchen, about how the Institute was doing and about Alec coming to help out tomorrow. He was doing better, he wanted to return before people started questioning him as a leader. Magnus would prefer for Alec to stay home and recover for longer than two weeks, but he understood the pressure.

"How is Madzie doing?", inquired Catarina as she and Magnus found themselves on the balcony.

"Good", hummed Magnus with a gentle smile. "Jace started teaching her the piano. Jace and I had to unite our forces to stop Alec from teaching her how to use a bow and arrow. It was endearing to see Alexander so confused about this not being very... appropriate for non-Shadowhunter children. She has a wonderful grip on her magic already, she's very powerful. You've been teaching her well, but I have to admit... I enjoy taking over for you. She's an amazing girl."

"She adores you", chuckled Catarina fondly. "While she was staying with me, she talked about you so much. She was amazed by you. You and your boys. All three of you, coming in to rescue her repeatedly. And she does seem very happy here."

"I hope so", whispered Magnus, nodding slowly. "She deserves to be happy."

"So do you, Magnus. Are you happy?", inquired Catarina curiously.

"With my Shadowhunters... for the first time in too many years", confirmed Magnus softly.

Catarina hummed in acknowledgment, bumping shoulders with Magnus. Their serene moment was broken as Luke cleared his throat behind them. He offered a charming smile at Catarina.

"Bat, Maia and I are leaving. Can we drop you off somewhere?", inquired Luke.

Magnus just opened his mouth to point out that Catarina was a warlock capable of creating portals, just as Catarina stepped on his foot pretty hard. "That is such a nice offer, Luke. Thank you."

"No trouble at all", smiled Luke before he nodded at Magnus. "Magnus. It was good to see you."

"This was nice. We should totally do it more often. But maybe like... a grown-up version next time", called Bat out from behind Luke. "I vote for Teen Wolf!"

"I second that motion!", agreed Simon. "Oh. Better yet! Vampire Diaries."

"We are not watching Vampire Diaries, Simon", sighed Maia and shook her head.

"You're on my side, right, Maia?", asked Bat, trying the hopeful puppy-eyes on the female wolf.

Maia blushed a little, still feeling a bit awkward around Bat even though things were blossoming fast between them, she was sometimes a little lost as to what to do with any of it. "...Sure."

Bat grinned broadly, wrapping an arm around her neck and positively flustering her even more. "See. I win. You lose, Lewis. Hah. Just like every single round of Mario Karts."

Luke snorted and rolled his eyes as he turned toward them. Catarina smiled pleased at Magnus, winking as she left with them. Well, that woman knew what she wanted, at least. After Catarina and the wolves, Simon and the Shadowhunters were next to go, leaving only Magnus and Alec.

"So, what did Lydia say?", whispered Magnus gently as he approached his archer.

Alec hummed and turned around a little to kiss Magnus. "She said it'd be fine if I needed more time, but also that she'd appreciate the help. They're still dealing with... what to do with the Mortal Cup and the Soul Sword to stop such a thing from ever happening again. I need to help. I've been cooped up at home for two weeks now, I'm getting restless. And Jace started going on missions again days ago. I'm... I'm fine. I need regular updates on how he's doing, but I can handle it. Right?"

"Right. Because you're amazingly strong, my love", agreed Magnus, kissing Alec softly. "Now, how about we check on Jace. You know how weak he is when it comes to Madzie."

"Yeah, he's probably on bedtime story number three by now", snorted Alec.

When they entered Madzie's room – which, thanks to magic, looked like a proper child's bedroom and not a generic guestroom, all decked out in purples and blues and sparkles and unicorns – Madzie and Jace were curled together under the My Little Pony bedsheets and reading Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. That much for three bedtime stories. It was hard putting that book away because at every attempt, Madzie would ask for 'just one more chapter, please'. Madzie was hugging a stuffed black panther tightly. She had stolen it out of the threesome's bedroom the other day after playing with it a lot. And even though it was one of Magnus' most treasured belongings – the first thing he had gotten from Jace, a stuffed toy the Shadowhunter had won for Magnus on a fair, looking smug and cocky as he handed it over though still blushing adorably – Magnus didn't mind Madzie cuddling with it. When Jace noticed them, he smiled and scooted over so they could join and within minutes, they had Madzie willing to go to sleep so they could head to bed too.

"Sweet dreams, sweet pea", whispered Magnus as he kissed her forehead and turned off the light.

Alec and Jace each kissed one of her cheeks, making her giggle. "Night, buttercup."

Together, the threesome headed back to their own bedroom, exhausted after the long day.

"I love her. Is... she going to stay with us, or will she move back to Cat's now that Alec and I are back off to work and you get to be all High Warlock-y again instead of playing nurse to two broken Shadowhunters?", asked Jace, voice low and nearly vulnerable as they got changed for bed.

"...The plan, my plan, was for her to stay here", admitted Magnus slowly. "And if the two of you are okay with it, then yes. She will stay here. We finally have peace, I feel like after what we achieved this year... I feel as though I can have what I want, what I always wanted. And that's a family."

"That sounds like a good plan", hummed Alec in agreement as he kissed Magnus gently.

Jace too looked utterly pleased as the three of them snuggled up to each other under the covers. Magnus smiled contently as he had one Shadowhunter tucked under each of his arms. Both had their heads resting on Magnus' chest, Alec's hand resting on Jace's parabatai rune as they fell asleep. It took about ten minutes for Madzie to pat into the room and sneak under the covers too, thinking herself to be sneaky, though Magnus was still very much awake, smiling at her in amusement.

~*~ The End ~*~

 


 


Author's note: Uhm, holy shit where do I start...? Right, maybe at the point where I thought I'd include smut in this but then realized that this episode had the potential to be emotional but DIDN'T CATCH IN ON IT AT ALL and instead decided to be totally dismissive of hugely impactful emotional moments so this story turned into a total feels-fest and writing smut into it would have just felt... off to me.

So, moving on to good things first, drunk!Luke going all Squad Dad on everyone hug-able was literally the best thing about this episode. It was exactly what I needed in my life. Yes. More of that, please. But then his annoying sub-plot of a partner had to interrupt and honestly, that woman was like the most useless and unimportant thing about this entire season? I really hope that the lame build-up so far is gonna pay off next season. Really hoping for that.

(And don't ask me where the Luke/Cat came from, but I just got the idea of what a cute power-couple the warlock and the alpha-wolf would be and the cop and the doctor and damn)

I've been... warned omniously by various people about this episode and that it'd like... be intense or get to me or something? Like? No. Not really. I was generally very meh and disappointed in this episode, to be honest.

Holy fuck, killing the male lead off ain't gonna stick, obviously, it was clear that Jace would come back to life. But why this episode? He was literally dead for three minutes at max. It was disappointing. With all the warnings, I had kiiind of expected something like this, but I thought it'd be used as a cliffhanger and hook for the next season. Kill Jace off, end the season, have us in suspense as to how he'll be brought back. Not kill him off and revive him literally within the same damn scene. There was absolutely no emotional pay-off from that. There was zero suspense about it. You didn't even have TIME to be in suspense because he was already back to life before the death had registered in your brain.

And what pisses me off, what really truly pisses me off, was the lack of reaction from Alec. Like, yeah, he fell down in pain and whispered how Jace was dead. But that was it. I had GENUINELY expected him to break down into a desperate, rageful crying mess, clinging onto Magnus - and that maybe being the trigger for them to get back together again. But there was basically not a lot of emotion going on there. Matt could have played that out more to the extreme. It REALLY makes me question this whole parabatai-bond-thing. One time, they talk like "When you die, part of me dies" and nearly severing the bond when trying to find Jace when Val had abducted him had totally nearly killed Alec. But Jace dying does... basically nothing to Alec. Clary had a stronger more enraged and emotional reaction. I really wish that, aside from dragging Jace's death out for more than three fucking minutes, they would have given Alec proper reaction-time. I understand that we barely saw him for like 10 seconds before we jumped ahead to Jace being alive. But even Jace being alive got... not a lot of reaction from Alec. He looked stunned. Thaaat was it. Serious let-down.

It was ALSO a big let-down for me that Jace fucking lied. What. The. Actual. Fuck. I mean, their team, their friends, they had seen the Angel being risen. Telling them "Yeah, I dies AS YOU KNOW BECAUSE OF VANISHED RUNE, but Clary asked the Angel to bring me back". There was virtually no reason to lie to them, not even the tiniest hint of a reason. And I can't believe the others just accept that. They must have enough understanding of runes to know parabatai-runes don't just vanish for a couple minutes to pop back into place. HOW DOES NO ONE EVER QUESTION ANYTHING IN THIS SHOW. Seriously.

Another thing, still on the topic of Jace's death... Why did the rune vanish completely? That... I... didn't expect that. Considering they're tied by the soul. I thought it might scar, or something. Fade out some and turn into scar-tissue. But to just completely vanish as though the bond had never existed. That just doesn't sound right to me, if I'm being honest here.

Geneally speaking, I totally LOVE the idea of killing off Jace. I mean. Temporarily, obviously, because it's my precious puppy, but the idea of the pain Alec went through, the fear of never seeing him again that everyone would have suffered. Yeees, that's my jam. But you gotta give a girl enough time to mourn and get into it.

Lastly, on the matter of Jace's death, how did NO ONE notice the HUGE GIANT CIRCLE RUNE on the dude in charge's NECK? It's not that those things can be hidden easily. And why the FUCK are Shadowhunters so ridiculously forgiving? "Oh, you a former terrorist. There you go, lead one of our armies. Oh, you a former terrorist. There you go, move into our holy place and create our weapons for us. Oh, you a former terrorist, there you go lead our New York Institute. Oh, you a former terrorist. There you go, move around freely in our Institute so you'll have a good chance at stealing the Mortal Cup.". I mean. Seriously. Were ANY former Circle members locked away? At all? Into that terrifying prison where they put Jace without Jace even having done anything wrong in the first place aside from getting abducted and tortured? And that they not just let their former terrorists roam completely free, no, that they keep giving them high-ranking positions in their society is just... mortifyingly dumb. What the fuck.

I mean, one more thing there, the angel looked awful. It looked like one of those cards you buy at church, just as a 3D animation. After we met hot!Ithuriel in the woods, I was expecting... a cool angel. Not some weird cardboard-cut-out that didn't even move. Or did they just blow their entire budget on the demons that episode...?

So, I think I just spent more time talking about Jace's death than... Jace spent actually being dead. Hah.

But on that note, other people who told dumb lies: What the fuuuck, Simon? Him being not just dismissive but also arrogant toward the queen was obviously going to blow up in his face. But that he'd just bargain away his hand in marriage just to save Maia without even properly trying to save her some other way first was... such a Simon move to do. Dumbass. *rolls eyes annoyed* Well, all hail Seelie King Simon, first of his name, Daylighter, all that jazz... -_-

Other people with questionable decisions: Malec. What the fuck. I mean, yeah, sure they'd not stay separated. But... they should have stayed separated until next season as, again, a hook for season 3. Suspense. I know this show doesn't really like the word "suspense" because they keep throwing ALL THEIR CARDS on the table ALL THE FUCKING TIME and rushing literally everything that happens, but no. No, not after what Magnus did by joining the Seelie Queen. BEFORE that, I would have bought Alec taking Magnus back ASAP, but after that kind of betrayal, how do you not have enough sense of self-worth to last at least a fucking week of being sour and forcing him to make up for it. Same, in a way, goes to Magnus. Alec lied about the Soul Sword, how are you just willing to walk back right now, without ANYTHING actually... triggering it (again: I would have bought Jace's death as the trigger for Malec to get back together. If they would have spent more TIME on it). It's just... this two episode breakup was, again, somethingt hat didn't really move one too much emotionally because it barely last. Pacing. I know I keep repeating myself, but dear lord please make that season 3 learns how to pace itself and breath between plot.

Lastly, Sebastian and his creepy-ass-demon-mom. Since we didn't see her face and since he calls her "mom", I would really love for her to be played by Jocelyn's actress. Obviously not AS Jocelyn, I know she's some demon chick from the books and all that jazz, but... demons can take on forms, right? So wouldn't it be deliciously torturous for Clary too, to have Lilith appear in the form of Jocelyn Fray? I'd dig that. A lot.

Lemme round this up with a wishlist for next season:

- Better pacing

- More questioning of things that happen without just swallowing them, like Circle members or vanished runes or Sebastian being dead when he falls off a bridge

- More Bat. Also leading to Bat/Maia because yes please

- More Luke. Especially more drunk!Luke. Especially Luke calling Jace "son" - and I don't care that it wasn't meant literal or anything, it means a lot to me - and trying to hug everyone

- The return of Lydia (I know the actress is gone because she got a main role in a Canadian show. But have you read the premise of that show? That's the kind of show that'll be canceled after a season. So I am optimistic that at the latest, she'll be available again by season 3B and considering they didn't kill her character off, they kept the option of bringing her back in if she's available), Madzie, Catarina and Aline, please

Uhm, yeah, so this is it. And if you really read through this entire section of rambling here, then you must really love hearing me talk. So... if you wanna hear me ramble about other stuff, other shows, new story ideas, or generally things, I recently got myself a tumblr account, so... drop by if you'd like: takaraphoenix

(This is also the first time my A/N was too long for the character limit on the Notes Box. To be more accurate... it was twice as long as the Notes Box allowed. So. Huh.)