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Finding William Marcus Herondale

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Shadowhunters || Malace || Finding William Marcus Herondale || Malace || Shadowhunters

Title: Finding William Marcus Herondale – And Trying Not To Lose Themselves Along the Way

Fandom: Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments

Disclaimer: All rights to the Shadowhunters show reserved to Ed Decter, the books the show 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: polyamory (m/m/m threesome), soulmate AU (name tattoos), f/f, m/f

Main Pairing: Magnus/Alec/Jace

Side Pairings: Lydia/Isabelle, Simon/Clary, Bat/Maia, Luke/Catarina, Alaric/Dot, Robert/Maryse, Valentine/Jocelyn (mentioned), Will/Jem/Tessa

Shadowhunters Characters: Jonathan Christopher 'Jace' Wayland, Magnus Bane, Alexander Gideon 'Alec' Lightwood, Isabelle Sophia 'Izzy' Lightwood, Lydia Branwell, Maia Roberts, Bartholomew 'Bat' Velasquez, Gretel Monroe, Simon Lewis, Clarissa Adele 'Clary' Fray, Luke Garroway, Catarina Loss, Alaric Rodriguez, Dorothea 'Dot' Rollins, Maryse Lightwood, Robert Lightwood, Maxwell Joseph 'Max' Lightwood, William Owen Herondale, James 'Jem' Carstairs, Theresa 'Tessa' Gray

Summary: Alec hates himself for being greedy. He has two soulmarks, bears one name on each of his wrists, has two soulmates waiting for him. And yet he managed to fall in love with Jace. Why was he so greedy, so wrong? Jonathan Christopher Wayland was not one of the names on his wrists. No, he was still waiting to meet Magnus Bane and William Marcus Herondale.

Finding William Marcus Herondale

And Trying Not To Lose Themselves Along the Way

~*~ Alexander Gideon Lightwood & William Marcus Herondale ~*~

Those were the two names Magnus had carried on his wrists since the day he was born. Even when he lost everything, even when he was a scared, lonely orphan, he had those two names to cling onto. Alexander and William. Magnus' fated soulmates were waiting for him, somewhere.

Portals came in handy when searching for soulmates. Magnus roamed the Earth, he even enrolled his friends' help. Catarina and Ragnor and all those he met and trusted. Because the more time passed, the more desperate he grew. Where were his soulmates? Why couldn't he find them?

~*~ Not: William Herondale ~*~

It happened in the 1820s that a letter from Catarina arrived, alerting Magnus that she had run into a William Herondale. For the first time in over a hundred years, Magnus' heart was racing – and so was he. William Herondale. His soulmate. He would finally meet one of his soulmates.

His name was not on William Herondale's wrist and William, with a sad expression on his face on Magnus' behalf, told Magnus that he had no middle name. Catarina looked at him with a heartbroken expression as, when it was just the two friends again, she pulled him into a tight hug and held him until he had no more tears to cry. Crushed hope was the worst kind of feeling.

"I will keep looking, Magnus. We will find your soulmates", whispered Catarina soothingly.

He had gravitated to lay on her lap with his head, her fingers carding through his hair. His eyes caught sight of her wrist and the elegant handwriting proclaiming her own mate's name – Lucian Graymark. They had yet to find him too. Magnus reached out silently and traced the letters.

"One day, we will find them", whispered Magnus, his voice hoarse from crying.

James Carstairs ~*~ William Owen Herondale ~*~ Theresa Gray

The second time true hope blossomed in him was half a century later when Magnus met yet another William Herondale. And he wondered, briefly, if the William he had encountered decades ago had kept telling tales of Magnus to his descendants. The hope for a William Herondale for Magnus. And this time, hope had him soaring because the rumors he had heard were that Will had two soulmarks.

"Are you... Are you Will? William?", asked Magnus softly when they met.

The young Shadowhunter looked at him a little confused. "Yes, that's me."

"William Marcus Herondale?", asked Magnus, voice wavering with hope.

But by then he already caught sight of Will's wrists and neither Theresa Gray nor James Carstairs were the right names, so even before the young Shadowhunter could shake his head with a small smirk, Magnus had his answer. "William Owen Herondale. Is there something I can do for you?"

Magnus smiled strained and shook his head. Only that this time around, he had a harder time stepping away. Instead, he watched Will find his mates, watched the love between Will, Tessa and Jem, watched it grow and burn brightly before crashing. He would forever hold Will dear in his memory, the teasing jibes from him that he would offer in the late evenings.

"I feel so honored that our kids are gonna name their kid after me though", joked Will.

"I'm not sure how that is a sane idea", drawled Jem teasingly as he ran his fingers gently through Will's hair. "Must be farther down the line, I'm afraid Magnus. Because anyone who met Will would certainly not name their kids after him. They'd have to be insane."

"Tessa! Why does he hurt me like that?", called Will out with a wounded look.

"Well, he's not wrong, love", grinned Tessa teasingly, kissing first Will and then Jem.

Will huffed indignantly and turned to poke Magnus in the chest with a very serious frown on his face. "But you! You better treat my descendant right, you hear me?"

Jem and Tessa laughed at that, sharing a secretive smile over Will's head as they found their soulmate rather endearing when he was playing protective dad for someone yet to be born.

That was how Magnus would forever want to remember them. Not the tragedy, only the love. That was what Magnus promised himself as he stood with a crying Tessa in his arms at the grave of William Owen Herondale years later, the name a faded scar on her wrist.

~*~ Not: Alexander Lightwood ~*~

In the late twenties of the twentieth century, Magnus met Alexander Lightwood. Not Alexander Gideon Lightwood. The man seemed doubtful and confused by Magnus. And after Will, Magnus couldn't find it in himself to get invested in the life of yet another not-soulmate of his.

He retreated.

He gave up, was what Catarina accused him of, voice angry and bitter as she threw a vase at him. A coward, was what she called him. Too afraid to be burned another time. Yet they were warlocks, they had the time and the resources to truly search the Earth for their soulmates and it was pathetic that he would already give up. She didn't. She would never give up on Lucian, not until she would finally be able to lay eyes on him and meet her mate, so how dare Magnus gave up.

"Maybe you're right", whispered Magnus softly, voice tired. "Maybe I am pathetic. Maybe I am a coward. But I can not... I can not feel this warmth of hope again just to have it crushed, Catarina."

"I will not allow you to give up, Magnus Bane", hissed Catarina. "We will find them."

Magnus offered his friend a tired smile in return before he turned to look out of the window and watch Alexander Lightwood – not his Alexander Lightwood – play with his little nephew.

Valentine Morgenstern ~*~ Jocelyn Fairchild

Valentine and Jocelyn burned bright and intensely, as soulmates tended to do. Luke watched them with a strong sense of happiness for them and longing for his own soulmate. He watched the bright days, watched the way Jocelyn glowed as she was pregnant with their first child, watched the fatherly pride on his parabatai's face as Valentine held little Jonathan Christopher. But Luke also watched how it all came apart by the seams, how his parabatai pushed further and further into territory that was not protection but genocide. He watched how Jocelyn turned her back on her soulmate, revolted by what he had become – and how his soulmate's rejection made the last bit of sanity crumble in Valentine's mind. It twisted into something else, something that had nothing to do with the Valentine Luke had once met, the man who had become his best friend and parabatai.

"You should leave. We all should", had Luke advised his friends.

Maryse Lightwood was clutching her son Alexander, a cute little boy with a turf of black hair and with large, curious hazel eyes. Her own eyes were wild and fearful in a way that was untypical for the composed, strong woman. But they all knew it, deep down they knew Valentine was slipping more and more into insanity and that what they were doing was no longer what they had signed up for. Maryse had a hand clutching Céline Herondale's shoulder. The beautiful blonde had a hand resting on her highly pregnant belly, staring at it fearfully. Maryse was fiercely protective of Céline Herondale, for the sake of the little boy in her own arms. Because one of the names on little Alexander's wrists was William Marcus Herondale.

Céline's soulmate Stephen had always meant to give his son the name William, his own middle name, and the name of Stephen's father Marcus as the boy's middle name. When the Herondales had seen the name on the Lightwood baby's wrist, they had been excited, even though back then the little one in Céline's belly had barely been a dream in his parents' minds. But this physical proof that their dream of a little boy would come true, it only made Stephen and Céline even more determined to do everything in their power to get pregnant, to hold their son.

It was a perfect dream world. One where the Circle did what they had planned in the beginning, one where Valentine did not grow insane, one where Céline would get to hold her baby boy, where Maryse and Céline and Jocelyn would have their children grow up together. Luke knew how Maryse and Jocelyn used to jokingly plan the future of their boys, little ruffians who would become the strongest Shadowhunters the Institute had ever seen. A future where little Alexander would grow up with his soulmate right next to him, Alexander and William and Jonathan growing up as best friends. A bright future where they would all get to be happy.

That future wasn't theirs.

Valentine's insanity was too great to measure, pushed further by Jocelyn's 'betrayal'. Valentine grew paranoid, he tried to kill Luke – leaving Luke turned into a werewolf. And along the way, Céline and Stephen died. With them, part of that bright future they were hoping for. Jonathan too died, in a fire, together with Valentine. The bright future they imagined crumbling to ashes before their eyes.

"He's gone", whispered Luke as he stared into the fire, cradling a crying Clary against his chest.

"H—He's... not", replied Jocelyn as she stared at her wrist, the soulmate mark still bright and there, before she turned wild-eyed to Luke. "I need to find him. I need to stop him. You have to keep her safe. Keep Clary safe, whatever the cost. You have to promise."

"Jocelyn, no-", started Luke, but her stubbornness had always been unmatched.

It was the last time he saw her alive. Clary was still crying in his arms as Jocelyn disappeared in the night and the next time he saw her, it was at the police station, to identify the body. All he could do was hope that she had put up a fight and that she had taken Valentine down with her.

At Jocelyn's funeral, with a crying Clary in his arms once again, Luke swore that he would never let Clary suffer like that. He was going to keep his promise, he was going to keep her safe. Raise her as his own and give her a safe and warm home, the way she deserved.

"Luke and Clary Garroway, how's that sound, little princess?", whispered Luke hoarsely.

She stared up at him with her bright eyes, reaching a curious, grabby hand out for him. He swore to himself that he was going to do right by Jocelyn's daughter. Jonathan and William and Céline and Stephen and Jocelyn and so many more might forever be lost, but he would be damned if he didn't fight for Clarissa's future, fight for her to have a bright and happy future.

Alaric Rodriguez ~*~ Dorothea Rollins

"Make her stop. Please, Luke, I'll pay you if you make her stop", groaned Alaric.

He was half-sprawled out on Luke's couch, covering his ears. Clary was nearly a year old and she was teething and it was killing Luke and his best friend. Luke grunted exhausted and threw a pillow at Alaric. The pack has been a huge help with Clary, Luke doubted he would be able to raise his little girl all on his own, after all he had no idea about babies. And Alaric, despite the bitchy attitude, adored his god-daughter a lot. But the crying was a problem.

"We need women in our lives, Ric", grunted Luke, tracing his soulmark.

Alaric grunted in agreement, his eyes finding his own soulmark. "With our luck, Catarina and Dorothea are just as helpless around babies as we are?"

"You saying they're gonna wait showing their faces until Clary's a proper lady?", joked Luke.

"Probably", laughed Alaric, just as the screaming stopped. "Oh. Blissful silence."

Well, Clary was not yet a proper lady by the time Dorothea Rollins entered their lives two years later. But she was a very well-behaved, sweet little toddler. She looked endearing in her yellow summer-dress, her red curls put up in two pigtails as she dragged her dad and her uncle Ric into the curious little shop. Chuckling, Luke looked around. Clary had her mother's eye for art and old stuff. She found it really pretty and fancy, old things could make her smile like nothing else. The mysterious little antique shop had instantly piqued her interest as the three walked past.

"Aw, such a cute family", commented the owner with a smile.

She was a pretty, young Asian lady with short dark hair, her eyes twinkling as she looked at Clary. Clary smiled brightly back at her before turning her attention back to the things in the shop.

"Honey, I think our princess found something", called Luke out mockingly.

"You're such a d... dingo", grunted Alaric and rolled his eyes. "Why am I even your partner?"

"Because I'm the love of your life, babe", stated Luke dead-seriously.

"You're no Dorothea Rollins", laughed Alaric and shoved his partner.

"What did you say?", asked the shop-owner with wide eyes, blinking slowly.

"Nothing, ma'am", chuckled Alaric a little sheepishly. "Just my soulmate, you see."

He lifted his hand up to show his wrist while Luke snorted amused and returned his attention to Clary, who gasped as she saw a pretty mirror. The shop-owner had gone eerily quiet.

"Are you... Alaric? Alaric Rodriguez?", asked the woman softly, disbelief in her voice.

She held up her own wrist, his name on it in his messy, awful handwriting. Luke blinked as he watched them. Well, he'll be damned. There was some hope after all. Luke and Alaric had not been very hopeful about finding their soulmates for a while now. A small, sad smile found its way onto his face as he watched them. Sometimes, the aching was too great. Part of him was happy for them, but another part of him vividly remembered Valentine and Jocelyn. Self-consciously, he tugged the long sleeves of his shirt even more down, to cover his own soulmark.

"Just to clarify, that guy over there is not my boyfriend and she's not my daughter. I'm a cop. He's my partner. She's his daughter", blurted Alaric out, making Dorothea laugh softly.

He instantly looked enamored as he looked at her laughing face. "Dot. You can call me Dot."

"I'm uh, well, Alaric. Ric", introduced Alaric with a smile. "Those are Luke and Clary."

Lydia Branwell ~*~ Isabelle Sophia Lightwood

Alec was six years old when he met his sister's soulmate. Isabelle was an excited four-year-old with bright, large hazel-eyes. She sat in front of her vanity, letting Alec tie dark-green ribbons into her hair. She was very excited, even though she didn't quite know the extend of this. Alec, he was older – practically an adult already, really – he fully understood what was going to happen today.

Lydia Branwell was going to visit the New York Institute.

As was customary in their society, their parents had documented their names and the names of their soulmates after their birth. The Silent Brothers kept those records and through said records, Shadowhunters found their soulmates – at least if their soulmates were also Shadowhunters. And Izzy, she was lucky. The name on her wrist indeed belonged to a Shadowhunter. Their parents, they had made contact with Lydia's parents about a year ago and now finally they had arranged for the two girls to meet. Shadowhunters preferred to raise soulmates together, so they had a chance to sync up. No one fought as perfect together as soulmates did. Some non-soulmates achieved a similar bond, by becoming parabatai. It was said – well, Alec had eavesdropped on his dad and Hodge and heard them say it – that no bond was stronger than soulmates becoming parabatai though.

Another reason why parents preferred to raise soulmates together, so they could grow up training for the parabatai-ceremony. Because just being soulmates wasn't enough to make two Shadowhunters compatible to also become parabatai. And clearly, the Lightwoods wanted strength for their daughter. They expected her to strengthen the natural bond of soulmates, to become a pair of parabatai as the Institute had never seen before. And Alec was eager to meet his sister's soulmate.

He tied the last ribbon and smiled at the pleased reflection of his sister's face. To her, this was more like a fairy tale. All her life, she had been told fairy tales of soulmates. The true love of the prince finding his sleeping soulmate and the magic and power of their bond breaking any curse. Those kind of things. Ever since she could grasp that concept, she had been giddy to meet Lydia Branwell.

Alec averted his eyes to stare at his own wrists. He was two years older than Isabelle. He should meet his soulmates before his sister met hers. It kind of wasn't fair. Not that he didn't want for Izzy to meet her soulmate, it was just... Why didn't Alec get to meet his?

"Are you ready to meet your soulmate, princess?", asked Robert, a gentle smile on his face.

He entered the room and Isabelle instantly jumped off her chair and ran straight into their dad's arms. She had always been a daddy's girl. Alec watched how their dad caught her and lifted her up to carry her to where they were about to meet one Lydia Branwell. Alec lingered behind, mournfully staring down at the marks on his wrists. He knew he was special, because he had two soulmarks. Most people only had one. Shadowhunters called it a special blessing by the Angel. So, mathematically speaking, it really would only be fair if he'd finally meet at least one of them.

"Alec, don't you want to meet your sister's soulmate? She'll be part of the family."

Blinking, he turned to look at his mother. Maryse stood in the doorway, watching him curiously. He bit his lips. Should he tell his mom what was going through his head? He absentmindedly rubbed his wrists, the motion catching Maryse's attention. She frowned as she approached him.

"Why haven't the Silent Brothers found my soulmates yet?", asked Alec, stomach knotting.

The look on his mother's face was one he would only understand many years later – a mixture of pain, grief and guilt. She rested her hands on his shoulders and ran them down his arms to catch his hands by the wrists. Her thumbs were gentle as they traced his marks.

"Shadowhunters don't necessarily have other Shadowhunters as their soulmates", started Maryse, tracing the name on Alec's right wrist. "He must be a mundane, sweetie. And mundanes have very different ways of finding their soulmates. In our society, it is far easier to keep track because every parent reports their children's soulmate. We are organized. Mundanes... not so much."

Alec was displeased by that, but he nodded in understanding, his eyes finding his left wrist. "But Herondale is a Shadowhunter-name! I know. I heard dad and Hodge talk about Inquisitor Herondale. So... So... When can I meet him, mom? I really wanna meet him, please."

The look returned to his mother's face as she averted her eyes. "I knew a woman once, Céline Herondale. She... She was pregnant, they wanted to name their son... William Marcus. And we were excited, we thought the two of you would... make your first steps together, learn your runes and training together. What a powerful union, the Lightwoods and the Herondales."

"...Why didn't I?", asked Alec confused.

Maryse grasped him by the upper-arms, slowly pulling him closer. "She... was attacked, by werewolves. And she died, before her son ever got to see the light of day. I'm so sorry, Alec."

"No. No. No, that's not true, no, mom!", argued Alec upset, shaking his head wildly. "No!"

"I'm sorry", whispered Maryse as she pulled him into a comforting hug.

He sobbed into his mother's shoulder until they were interrupted by Isabelle. "Alec? ...Are you okay? What's wrong, big brother?"

Alec gulped hard and rubbed his eyes. "I—I'm fine, Iz."

"I want you to meet her, Alec!", exclaimed Isabelle excitedly, looking at him pleadingly.

He was miserable and upset and confused, but when he saw the sparkling eyes of his baby-sister, he had to push his own feelings down and put on a smile to follow Isabelle. She grabbed him by the hand and dragged him down the hall toward a girl about Alec's age. She had dirty-blonde hair that sat perfectly in a high pony-tail, her clothes too serious for a six-years-old, making her look like a tiny version of a business woman. Her eyes were sharp as she looked at Alec, but softened a little as she looked at Isabelle, making Isabelle giggled excitedly.

"Hello. I'm Alec, Izzy's big brother", stated Alec with a polite smile, thrusting his hand out.

Lydia returned the smile and took the offered hand. "Lydia Branwell. It's nice to meet you."

"We're gonna be the bestest of friends and the strongest parabatai ever!", exclaimed Isabelle.

Both Alec and Lydia grinned as they saw the youngest hop around. It was clear that Lydia had similar plans. They'd become friends, train hard, go through the parabatai-ceremony and rule this Institute one day. They'd find true love, have that grand fairy tale wedding that Isabelle had been drawing ever since she had heard her first fairy tale.

"How about Izzy and I show you around the Institute?", offered Alec.

"That'd be great", agreed Lydia, turning to Isabelle.

"Ye—es", agreed Isabelle, eagerly taking both their hands and pulling them along.

Simon Lewis ~*~ Clarissa Adele Morgenstern

Life for the Garroway-Rodriguez household had vastly improved with the addition of Dorothea Rollins. Alaric moved in with her, but he never abandoned Luke and Clary. If anything, Luke got even more help. Dot fast fell for Clary, adoring the tiny redhead just as much as Alaric did.

It had been a curious reveal to learn that Dot was a warlock. Not that it was any less surprising for Dot to learn that Alaric and Luke were werewolves, most likely. The one thing they had still kept from her was that Clary was a Shadowhunter. It had been the last request of her mother, after all. And while Alaric didn't like lying to his soulmate, it was Luke's secret to keep and the farther they kept her from the Shadow World, the safer she would be.

Clary was five when they were unable to keep the secret any longer.

Luke, Alaric and Dot came to pick Clary up from school, planning on taking her out to get pizza. But when they picked her up from her first day, she already stood there, waiting excitedly with a little boy with glasses and messy dark hair. Clary was tugging on his wrist and waving.

"Look! Look! Look!", exclaimed Clary, tugging even more on the boy's hand. "This is my Simon!"

Luke paused instantly, while Dot and Alaric exchanged the kind of look only soulmates who had already found each other could. Simon. Simon Lewis, the name that had been etched into Clary's wrist from the day she was born. Considering how long it had taken Alaric to find his soulmate and seeing as Luke still hadn't found his, he thought he would at the very least have time until she was a teen before he'd have to deal with a boy. Though the boy looked adorable as he grinned up at them toothily, happy to have Clary tugging him around like a ragdoll.

"Hello, Mister Morgenstern! It's nice to meet you!", exclaimed Simon equally excitedly.

All three adults froze at that and Dot stared at Luke with wide, surprised eyes. Luke caught himself fast and cleared his throat before kneeling down in front of the little boy. He was proudly showing off his wrist – Clarissa Adele Morgenstern. Clary tilted her head and looked at it too.

"I'm Mister Garroway", chuckled Luke. "I adopted Clary when she was just a baby."

"Oh. Okay", nodded Simon with a frown. "Can Clary come home with me so we can play together? Please, please, please? I want mommy to meet her!"

Luke frowned and turned to look at Alaric and Dot. Judging from the look on Dot's face, he did have some explaining to do there anyway. Perhaps it would be best to have Clary out of the house for an hour or two. He returned to looking at the two children with a smile.

"I think that's a wonderful idea", smiled Luke with a friendly smile.

They waited for Simon's mother to pick the boy up and waved Clary goodbye before the three adults left again. Dot had her arms crossed and a very serious look on her face as she regarded Luke. He knew that it would not bode well for him. It'd have been a disaster if Alaric wouldn't be there to appease his soulmate. Luke knew Dot was a powerful warlock.

"What is the meaning of this?", hissed Dot as soon as they entered Luke's apartment. "Morgenstern? Clary is a Morgenstern? H—How is that... What does it mean, boys?"

"Clary is the daughter of Valentine Morgenstern", stated Luke. "But... She never even met him. Her mother, Jocelyn, she... left him. Clary was barely born when Valentine died. And with him, her mother. Jocelyn died and made me promise to protect Clary, to give her a good life. We assumed new identities, went to live in the mundane world. She doesn't even know who or... what she is. And I plan on keeping it that way as long as possible."

"She's a... Shadowhunter", whispered Dot surprised. "You can't keep that from her long. She'll attract the Shadow World. She will see things she won't understand."

"I'm aware", sighed Luke and made a face. "I just... want her to have a normal childhood, Dot. In the world of the Shadowhunters, she would have to live with the stigma of her father's name and legacy. Would she have been raised in Idris... she would have been shunned, an outcast. Simply for the name she's bearing. Here? Here, she's just Clary. A bright, happy little girl."

"A bright, happy, unprepared little girl, Luke", pointed Dot out with a frown.

"Oh, I keep telling him that", grunted Alaric, earning himself a glare from Luke. "What? I do."

"She's attending school now. She will learn things. Maybe... it's time for her to learn how to defend herself too", suggested Dot with a concerned frown. "The Shadow World is her legacy and sooner or later, she will have to face it."

"I know that. Keeping her oblivious to it all will only endanger her on the long run", grunted Luke. "I just keep clinging onto it... Just a little longer. But you're right. Maybe it's time to sign her up at the local dojo so she'll at least start to learn how to defend herself..."

Dot nodded and looked at him for a very long moment with a very calculating glance. He couldn't hold it against her. He had lied to her for years. Both of them had. And the truth was a big deal. Even though Clary was not and never would be Valentine, she still carried his blood – and blood was a very big deal in the Shadow World. Some crazy lunatic might one day go after her just for that and it would be better if Clary knew and understood what was going on then. Luke was under no allusions that they'd stay forever safe. At one point, someone would find them.

"We have to tell her the truth too", added Alaric. "The other day, when we were at the park... she saw a fairy. And I had no idea how to explain it to her without telling her the truth, Luke."

"She'll start telling children at school about those things and at best, they'll think she's gone crazy. At worst, they'll have former Circle members as parents and we'll... be in trouble", nodded Luke with a solemn expression. "We should... tell her. The truth. Will you... help me with that?"

"Always", grunted Alaric, glaring at his best friend like that should have never been a question.

"Me too", smiled Dot. "Imagine, a Shadowhunter raised among Downworlders. Werewolves and warlocks as her family. It would be... amazing. Oh. But... I can't keep this all to myself."

"What do you mean, love?", asked Alaric with a frown.

"I have to tell the High Warlock. Magnus needs to know this", stated Dot firmly. "And he could help. He has... a lot of books. If we plan on teaching Clary about the Shadow World, then Magnus would be a great help at it. We can trust him. He's a very close friend of mine."

Alaric and Luke had met Magnus occasionally; he was a close friend of Dot's. But it was all always very... mundane, for a lack of better words. They didn't like to bring pack or warlock business to those meetings, just coffee and updates on their lives. It was due-time to entangle their lives more. Luke made a mental list. Signing Clary up for karate-lessons, teaching her about the Shadow World, telling the High Warlock of Brooklyn. His life was going to be busy.

~*~ Alexander Gideon Lightwood ~*~

Jace Wayland had been through a lot in the first ten years of his young life. Not that he perceived it that way. He thought how he had lived was... normal. That the way Michael behaved was how fathers were to their sons. That everything was right the way it was.

That was until his father was murdered in front of him and his entire world shattered.

His father was gone. Forever. He had seen the gruesome thing happening and since then, he didn't even dare close his eyes, because all he saw was red. Red like his father's blood.

But then two strangers showed up to pick him up. He had been with strangers all day, since his father's murder. Clave members interrogating him if he saw something and if he recognized anyone and all those hard questions, even though all he wanted to do was curl together somewhere.

"Hello. I'm Robert Lightwood. I... was your father's parabatai", introduced the man himself. "This is my wife, Maryse. We're here to take you home with us. We'll keep you safe."

Jace frowned at them, suspiciously. He curled in on himself just a little more. Why would those strangers take him in? Why would he go with them? He just wanted to go back to bed.

"Don't worry", smiled Maryse as she knelt down in front of him. "We have two children your age. Alexander and Isabelle. I'm sure you'll get along really well with them."

Suddenly, even amidst the heartbreak, there was hope blooming in Jace's chest. Alexander Lightwood. He gripped his right wrist tightly. The wrist where, beneath his shirt's sleeve, the name Alexander Gideon Lightwood was written in peculiarly neat handwriting. And in that moment, even with all the pain, he knew that things would be alright, because he'd be living with his soulmate and Alexander would totally fix everything just by existing. Jace finally had a soulmate. His soulmate.

"Okay", nodded Jace slowly and got up to follow the Lightwoods.

He let Maryse and Robert take him to the New York Institute. He let them show him his new room and then he instantly sought out the training room, after he was told where the Lightwood-siblings were. Isabelle was at the library with her soulmate Lydia, but more importantly – Alexander was at the training room. Jace's Alexander was so close. He entered the training room and paused. Alexander was highly concentrated as he trained. He looked serious. Not like one of those kids who thought that training was just fun. He looked like a worthy soulmate of Jace. Now Jace just had to show Alexander that he too was worthy. Biting his lips, he looked around. He was good, he was strong. He would have to show Alexander that he was a strong, worthy ally in battle. Straightening his back, he decided to show off his skills. That must impress his soulmate, right?

Well. If anything, Alexander looked bothered to be bested. But that would be fine, as soon as Alexander realized that Jace hadn't just shown off, that Jace wasn't just a random kid.

"Hey. I'm Jonathan Christopher Wayland. But most call me Jace", stated Jace excitedly, thrusting his hand out for the other boy to shake. "You're Alexander Lightwood, right?"

"Alec. Yeah", nodded Alexander – Alec – with a smile as he shook the hand.

Jace waited for a beat, waiting for the excitement to be mirrored on Alec's face. Jonathan Christopher Wayland. That name must mean something to Alec. Alec must recognize the name that had been written on his wrist since birth. But there was nothing. No spark of recognition.

"...Alexander Gideon Lightwood, right?", asked Jace slowly, voice wavering a little.

"Uhm, yeah. But I really don't like that", laughed Alec confused. "Everyone calls me Alec."

It was him. Alec was his Alexander. His soulmate. But... Jace sneaked a peek at the other boy's wrist. Who the hell was William Marcus Herondale? And why was his name on the wrist of Jace's soulmate? A sickening feeling set into Jace's stomach.

He wasn't his soulmate's soulmate.

Jace never heard or read of such a thing before. But his father's words, they were true after all. Soulmates weren't worth the trouble, he had always said. Soulmates would only break his heart. To love is to destroy and to be loved is to be the one destroyed. And oh, Jace felt very wrecked in that moment. The moment it settled into him that he was not worthy of a soulmate.

"I... I..", started Jace and swallowed. "I better go and get settled. See you later."

Alec looked at him in confusion as he left the training room. As soon as he was out of sight, he started to sprint toward his new room. He threw himself onto his new bed and hugged a pillow closely. He started sobbing uncontrollably, even though he knew he'd receive a harsh punishment for such a show of weakness – but his father was dead, so there would be no more punishments from him. His father was dead. He had to leave his home. And now he had just met a soulmate who didn't need him? Everyone had a soulmate, some even two. And they were always requited. Always. So why... why didn't Jace deserve his soulmate's love? Was he not good enough? Was this Herondale guy better than Jace? Did he deserve Alec more than Jace would? Would he make Alec happier than Jace could? Was Jace so broken that he couldn't even make his soulmate happy?

Anger set in as the sadness left him as sudden as the air when he was punched in the stomach.

So he wasn't Alec's soulmate. So Alec had a better soulmate waiting for him. Sure, that guy was going to make Alec and their other soulmate way happier than Jace ever could, because Jace wasn't good enough. Had never been good enough, regardless of how hard he tried.

He glared viciously at his wrists. Why would fate mock him like that?! Wouldn't it be better if he didn't have marks at all, instead of them taunting him? Here, those are the people that will make you the happiest, but you will never be the one to make them the happiest. It wasn't fair.

Another thought passed through his mind at that and panic gripped him.

What if the Lightwoods saw? If they saw that Jace had Alec's name on his wrist, but wasn't Alec's soulmate? That Jace was some kind of freak of nature? They would kick him out. The Clave would be angry with him. Maybe he would be kicked out of their society? Because those with two soulmarks were called blessed by the Angel, so someone who didn't have a soulmate return their soulmark, surely they were a disgrace to the Angel. What if... What if he'd be shunned?

He couldn't risk that. Becoming a good soldier was literally the only thing he knew in life. And now that he had the chance to be close to Alexander, even just the faintest bit... He couldn't risk losing that. Even if he wasn't Alec's soulmate, he still needed to be close to Alec.

His eyes flitted around nervously. The anger, sadness, disappointment and self-loathing of not being worthy of his own soulmate, combined with the fear of being abandoned again, it made him zoom in on the fire-place. It was not thought through but impulsive and it was this combination of all of those feelings that were currently making his heart explode.

The act itself was a blur in his mind later on, all he remembered was the burning pain as the embers pressed into his skin, burning away the names on his wrists, the names he didn't deserve.

His breath hitched as he stared at the scarred skin on his underarms as he applied an iratze on each arm. The burning hadn't been the worst pain he had ever experienced. It was fine. And it fixed his problem, right? No one would ever know of this embarrassing humiliation. No one needed to know the truth. That Jace Wayland would never be worthy, not even of his own soulmate.

"Hello?", asked a female voice as someone knocked on his door.

Jace cleared his throat and straightened his shirt-sleeves again. "Y—Yeah?"

A cute girl, maybe a little younger than him, with the same large, hazel eyes as Alec, entered the room, closely followed by a blonde girl with a strict pony-tail, both looking at him curiously. "Hi! I'm Izzy. Alec said he already met you and I've been looking for you!"

"I'm sorry. We told her it'd be better to give you time to settle. I'm Lydia."

"It's... okay. You could show me around", shrugged Jace casually.

He kept fidgeting with his sleeves, gaining Lydia's attention as the two girls led the way. When Lydia caught sight of the scarred wrists, she gave a startled sound. Isabelle blinked confused at her soulmate's startled face and turned to look at Jace too. Jace shrugged and pushed the sleeves up a bit to show the scars. He knew how to own a lie.

"I was a clumsy kid", shrugged Jace. "Played too close to the fire-place."

"But how will you find your soulmate?", asked Isabelle worried.

Again, Jace shrugged, an indifferent look on his face. "I don't believe in soulmates. That stuff just messes with your head anyway. So it doesn't matter."

Both girls stared at him startled, but they accepted his words as they led the way.

Lucian Graymark ~*~ Catarina Loss

Nine-year-old Clary had a face-splitting grin on her lips as she tip-toed deeper into the loft. Auntie Dot had opened a portal right into uncle Magnus' loft so she could train her stealth. Because a good Shadowhunter was stealthy. Shadowhunters hunted bad demons and kept all the good werewolves and warlocks safe. Kind of like dad, who was a policeman and kept mundanes safe. So Clary could be just like her dad and protect others. She had been training for this for the past three years now, ever since dad, aunt Dot and uncle Ric had told her what she was. They had signed her up for karate and she was very diligent. She was really good by now and dad and uncle Ric had started teaching her hand-to-hand combat in general too. Dad had even started teaching her swords-play, though with wooden swords. Just so she would know the proper forms and steps and all. Simon joined those lessons, because he thought swords-play was cool – dad thought it might be a good idea if a Shadowhunter's soulmate knew some basic stuff to defend himself too. Clary really liked fighting against Simon and playing princess and knights with him and Gretel and their other friends. She was always the princess who came to save her knights, of course.

Oh, and then there were the whole true fairy tales that aunt Dot and uncle Magnus told her about. She had met uncle Magnus three years ago, when everyone had told her the truth. Uncle Magnus was a lot of fun and she really adored him. He taught her about runes, because he had this funny Gray Book and he told her all about old stuff. History. He also had a lot of cats, which was super-awesome. She grinned as she passed Chairman Meow, patting his head.

Even before Clary could see uncle Magnus, she could hear his voice on the balcony. "It's so good to see you again, Cat. It has been far too long. But your timing is a bit... off. I'm expecting someone."

"Oh. Does someone have a date?", teased a female voice Clary didn't know.

"No", laughed Magnus. "It's Dorothea, actually. And our little Biscuit."

"Dot? I haven't seen her in decades!", exclaimed the female amused. "And she's bringing biscuits?"

"No", replied Magnus amused. "The little Biscuit is a young Shadowhunter who thinks she can sneak up on an old warlock. Keeps trying and failing at it, don't you?"

Clary deflated, making Dot behind her chuckle amused. It was impossible to sneak up on uncle Magnus. Smiling, she went outside to run straight into his arms and hug him tightly. He laughed softly and hugged her just as tightly. Dot all the while walked over to the other woman and hugged her, both of them looking pleased to see each other again.

"Hello, uncle Magnus", chimed Clary. "I managed to track Maia and Gretel today! I'm getting really-really good at the tracking. And I nearly knocked uncle Ric on the mat."

"Nearly, mh?", chuckled Magnus fondly. "Now that's my Biscuit."

"Who's your friend?", asked Clary curiously, looking at the gorgeous woman.

"Ah. May I introduce?", offered Magnus playfully, motioning at Clary. "Miss Clarissa Garroway. And this is Catarina Loss, she's a warlock like me and Dorothea and-"

"Oh my gosh!", squeaked Clary suddenly, interrupting Magnus. "You're my mom!"

Catarina, Dot and Magnus all stared at her with varying degrees of confusion, but she didn't care. She's been dying to meet Catarina Loss for as long as she could remember now! Running over to Catarina, she tugged on her hands to get a look at Catarina's soulmarks. She squeaked again.

"...What are you talking about, Clary?", asked Dot gently but confused.

"She's daddy's soulmate! I know the name!", exclaimed Clary, nearly stumbling over herself in her excitement. "When I asked daddy about the name on my wrist the first time and about you and uncle Ric, I asked him about his and he said he's been looking for Catarina for forever now, but ever since he took me in, I was his top-priority and he says that, just like you stumbled into our lives, she would too! And dad's soulmate is gonna be my mom. I always wanted a mom."

Dot blinked slowly as she approached from behind and crouched down next to Clary to look at Catarina's soulmark. "But... this says Lucian Graymark, Clary. Not Luke Garroway."

"Well, Simon's says Clarissa Morgenstern, not Clary Garroway too", huffed Clary and rolled her eyes. "You kno—ow that daddy gave us new names."

The three adults around her froze. Honestly, why were adults always so slow with everything? Urgh. They needed to open up a portal to the police-station and get to daddy ASAP so he could finally meet his soulmate and they could finally live happily ever after.

"Why is no one opening a portal?", complained Clary with a frown. "You need to get to the police-station! And then you can meet my dad. Come, come, come."

Dazed, Dot shook herself and opened a portal to the police-station. Catarina looked like she still couldn't believe what Clary had just said. Rolling her eyes, Clary held tightly onto Catarina's wrist and pulled her along through the portal. Dot and Magnus stumbled after them as they got out in the broom-closet where Dot usually portaled them into to sneak in and surprise Luke and Alaric. Together, the four of them sneaked out of the broom-closet and toward the desks of the two partners. Alaric smiled when he saw Dot approaching, gladly getting up from his chair to pull his soulmate into a gentle kiss. Luke frowned suspiciously as he regarded Magnus and the woman.

"What's going on, Magnus?", asked Luke softly. "Is something wrong?"

"Quite the contrary, Lucian", said Magnus. "You never did mention your birth-name, my friend."

Luke's frown deepened, at least until Clary pulled on Catarina's wrist and thrust it upward to let Luke read the name on her wrist – Lucian Graymark. Luke's eyes widened, mouth open a little as he slowly looked up at the beautiful woman attached to the wrist. Catarina smiled slowly.

"You're... Lucian?", asked Catarina softly, voice wavering.

"Yeah. Yes. I've gone by Luke for years now though", replied Luke. "...Catarina?"

"I've been searching for you for centuries", whispered Catarina in disbelief.

Clary squeaked excitedly, just to be grabbed around the waist by Magnus and picked up. "Hey!"

"Let's give them a bit privacy, Biscuit", suggested Magnus gently. "How about we go and pick Simon up and the three of us get ice-cream, that sound good?"

Clary pouted, because she wanted to get to know her new mom, but ice-cream and Simon sounded great too. Why did uncle Magnus have to make her pick one? That was just mean.

"...Okay. Ice-cream and Simon", nodded Clary. "But I want three scopes!"

"You drive a hard bargain, Miss Garroway", chuckled Magnus.

~*~ Not: Jonathan Christopher Wayland ~*~

Alec was sparring with Lydia. After Jace, she was his favorite training partner. Well, after Jace, she was also his best friend. Isabelle couldn't have found a better soulmate than her and now that they were teenagers, now that Lydia and Isabelle were officially parabatai, they were unstoppable. And they were dating. They had started dating when Isabelle was thirteen and asked Lydia out, all flustered and with flowers. It had been adorable, really. The two girls had been inseparable from the day Lydia had arrived at the New York Institute. Lydia had fast become an integral part of the Lightwood-family and it was only a matter of time until she would officially become a Lightwood by marriage, Alec knew that. Alec had seen that for years now. Isabelle and Lydia were the kind of soulmates who were meant to become each other's happily ever after.

"You're distracted, Alec", chided Lydia as she pinned him against the wall.

"Sorry. Yeah", grunted Alec, gritting his teeth.

Lydia raised an elegant eyebrow at that. "That's all you gotta say? What's wrong, Alec?"

"Jace...", started Alec and faltered, averting his eyes.

Lydia paused, regarding him thoughtfully. She knew. She was the only one who knew. Knew that Alec was wired all wrong, because he already had two designated soulmates and yet he had fallen in love with someone. Truly fallen in love. Lydia had, at first, tried to tell him that it was just a crush. Crushes weren't rare. Many had crushes and casual relationships before finding their soulmates. But love, true love, could only ever be found with someone's soulmate. But when Alec tried to describe his feelings to Lydia, she kept staring at him in surprise. Alec knew what he was feeling.

Alec knew he was in love with Jace. From the day the orphaned blonde had moved in with them, Jace had wormed his way into his heart. With every muffled scream at night that prompted Alec to sneak into Jace's room and comfort the blonde though a nightmare – mostly about his father's death. With every time Jace would freeze up when he made a mistake, obviously expecting a punishment. With every time Alec caught a glimpse of the scars that were not coming from training – oh, Alec knew, he had overheard his parents talk to Hodge, back when Jace had still been all new to the Institute, about the x-rays and medical they had done on Jace, about all the broken bones and scars, healed with runes but still the injuries had happened. With every cocky, arrogant comment that was meant to cover up the frightened boy inside. With every gentle, understanding look that Jace had for Alec. With every time they spared with each other. Laughed with each other. With every heartbeat.

"One of your soulmates is dead, Alec", whispered Lydia very gently and lowly.

Alec averted his eyes so fast as though he had been slapped. His eyes found the name. William Marcus Herondale. For a long time, Alec had protested, had claimed his mother must be wrong. The name wasn't scarred over, so he had to be alive. His mother had argued, very gently, that his soulmate had never even been born. Maybe that was why. Alec had come to accept it.

"Your heart is meant to love two people. Perhaps... it chose Jace, as a replacement for the soulmate you lost", suggested Lydia, not for the first time either.

Alec gritted his teeth and slid down against the wall. Lydia joined him, sitting down too. She had suggested that pretty early on after Alec told her what he felt for Jace. Alec wasn't so sure.

"I can't... What's... What if he doesn't... What if we meet his soulmate one day and he does realize that he wants that, instead of me?", asked Alec lowly, staring at his hands, his wrists. "And what if my other soulmate, what if he doesn't want Jace? Or hates me for loving someone else...?"

"Stop it", chided Lydia firmly. "He'll never hate you. And Jace is... Jace at the very least adores you. You must know that. He follows you around like a lost puppy, he seeks you out with every problem, thought or emotion that he has. The two of you are a perfect match. I know he asked you to be his parabatai. If that's not as good as asking you out, I don't know what is. For two people who are not soulmates to become parabatai, you know how incredibly rare that is?"

"I know how incredibly rarely it works out", muttered Alec lowly.

He knew his father and Michael Wayland had been parabatai despite that. He knew Valentine Morgenstern used to have a parabatai who wasn't his soulmate and as far as records went, Valentine had left his parabatai for dead. Those kind of things could end badly.

"Well. You'll be the exception then", stated Lydia firmly. "Now move your ass, Lightwood."

Alec smirked and got up. The two of them went at it full-force for another half hour before they noticed that they had gained a small audience in the form of Jace, Isabelle and Max.

"Are you done soon?", asked Max with a frown. "I'm hungry."

"Ye—eah. It's your turn to cook dinner", pointed Isabelle out with a grin.

Lydia smiled and walked over to her girlfriend and soulmate, wrapping her towel around Isabelle's neck to pull her into a brief kiss. Isabelle giggled and made an ew sound as she pushed Lydia off.

"You're sweaty, Lyd", complained Isabelle with a glare. "Go and get showered."

"I thought I had to cook", chuckled Lydia fondly.

"Not when you reek, Branwell", grunted Jace. "It'll ruin everyone's appetite."

"Charming as ever, Wayland", drawled Lydia playfully. "Whatever. I'll go and get showered."

Jace grinned cheerfully at her and waved before turning toward Alec. "Ye—eah. You should hit the showers too. Max and I could get started on dinner until you're ready."

"Why don't you and Izzy go ahead and start cutting up onions and peppers? I... gotta talk to Jace for a moment", requested Alec. "And watch out Izzy doesn't do anything more, you hear, Max?"

"Since I don't wanna die from food-poisoning today, yeah I will", huffed Max.

"He—ey! Why is everyone so mean to me!", complained Isabelle with a glare.

Jace frowned confused as the others left and only him and Alec remained. Alec straightened his back. Lydia was right. She had been telling him so for a solid year now. And now that Jace had asked to be Alec's parabatai, Alec had to make a choice. Maybe she was right. Tying your soul to someone was most definitely more grave than dating.

"About... what you asked me...", started Alec slowly. "About... being parabatai."

Jace deflated and shrugged. "I mean, it's okay if you don't want to. I know it's untypical for Shadowhunters who aren't soulmates to become parabatai."

"I want to", blurted Alec out, searching Jace's face. "I want to give this a chance. I trust you, more than I trust anyone. If anyone can make this work, it's us, Jace."

The way Jace's whole face lit up like never before since they had met was all the reason Alec needed. Alec lived for those moments, when Jace would smile brightly at him, as though Alec was the only person who could make him happy. Those were also the moments that tricked him into believing he might have a chance. Taking a shaky breath, Alec braced himself.

"Would you... Do you... want to go on a date? With me? Maybe?", asked Alec nervously.

"...What?", grunted Jace stunned, staring at Alec as though he couldn't even understand the words.

"I... I...", started Alec, his nervousness only intensifying as those mismatched eyes stared at him so intensely. "I mean, you don't believe in soulmates and one of my soulmates is dead and Lydia has this theory that maybe because I lost one soulmate, I'd have this... additional... love to give and I kind of... gave it all to you. And that you want to become my parabatai, even though we're not soulmates, makes me hopeful that maybe, you would... consider... being my... my boyfriend."

It wasn't unusual. Alec kept repeating that in his head, trying to reassure himself that way. Many people dated others who weren't their soulmates before they found them. And since Jace wasn't even looking – didn't even know who to look for and Alec was pretty sure that was Michael Wayland's fault, because Alec knew most of Jace's healed injuries came from his father – maybe, just maybe, Alec would get to keep Jace. If Jace would even be open to the possibility of dating Alec. Or dating at all. Jace had never really seemed the type. He had started having random hook-ups with random Shadowhunters their age, but he had never really dated anyone before. Maybe Jace didn't believe in the concept of love in general? Alec's heart sank.

"You... Are you sure, Alec?", asked Jace skeptically.

Alec blinked slowly and looked at Jace, really looked at Jace. There was hope in those golden-blue eyes. Alec gulped around the lump in his throat. Jace was looking up at him from beneath those long lashes, with that slight pout on his pink lips. Alec's heart hammered in his chest.

"Yes. Do you... Do you want...", asked Alec once more. "To be my boyfriend?"

Jace looked at him like he had just hung the sun, moon and the stars. The next moment, Alec had both arms full of blonde, Jace pressing against him. Warm and solid and his. Alec's heart fluttered as he pulled Jace as close as possible, burying his nose in the golden-blonde hair, smelling the honey-scent of Jace's shampoo. Jace hugged him as though he was afraid Alec would disappear on him.

"Yes", whispered Jace firmly. "But... we're still becoming parabatai?"

"Yeah", nodded Alec, having never felt that happy before. "We'll... try. The dating thing. During our preparations for the parabatai-ceremony. It'll help our case too, I know mom and dad weren't very thrilled at the idea of us becoming parabatai despite not being soulmates."

"Yeah. Yeah. That... yeah, sounds great", nodded Jace, sounding adorably excited.

Alec grinned, lips pressed against the top of Jace's head. He had never been this happy in his life. Now all he had to do was find his still living soulmate and convince him that Jace was perfect. Piece of cake, really. With Jace in his arms like this, clinging onto him as though he meant the world, Alec felt as though he could do absolutely everything.

Bartholomew Velasquez ~*~ Maia Roberts

Clary smiled against Simon's lips as they kissed. They were curled together on Clary's bed. They were planning out their futures. Sure, Clary was just sixteen and college might be a lifetime away, but her dad kept saying it would come sooner than later. So Simon and Clary's two best friends had come over to help her plan out her portfolio for her college application.

"If the two of you could separate for long enough to focus on why we're even here, that'd be great", pointed Maia out, throwing a rubber at them and hitting Simon on the forehead.

"Ouch! Why do wolves have such good aim?", complained Simon frustrated, rubbing his forehead.

Gretel snickered amused where she and Maia were bent over sketches from Clary. They were rough; just drafts for bigger projects she planned on working on in the next two years to put into her portfolio. The three of them were supposed to look through them and tell her what they thought.

"Kids?", called Catarina out as she entered the bedroom.

"Yeah, mom?", asked Clary, hastily separating from Simon and blushing a bit.

She smiled softly at them. "I just wanted to tell you that I'm heading out to the hospital now. Nightshift. You guys just... order in, or something. But don't burn down my kitchen, you hear?"

"That happened one time", argued Maia with a blush.

Gretel, Clary and Simon snickered at her. Clary hopped off the bed and went to hug Catarina and kiss her cheek. Catarina smiled as she hugged her stepdaughter tightly.

"We wanted to go to the Jade Wolf anyway, so we'll just eat there", assured Clary.

"Ah. Good. Make uncle Ric pay, yes?", asked Catarina mischievously. "He's been emptying our fridge ever since Dot left to visit Ragnor. He can pay for it."

"Will put it on his tab", nodded Clary. "Now go and save lives, mom. Love you!"

"Love you too, firecracker", replied Catarina with a gentle smile. "Bye, kids!"

"Bye, Cat!", chorused Simon, Maia and Gretel.

Clary hopped over to sit down with her girls. Simon also joined them and the four of them actually got to sorting through Clary's plans. She smiled happily as her friends praised her work and assured her that she would definitely get into that school. After another hour of talking, they all slowly grew hungry so they decided to head out to the Jade Wolf for dinner. Simon and Clary had their fingers linked as they walked, Gretel on Clary's side and Maia on Simon's.

"So, how's the band going, Si?", asked Maia curiously.

"Eric and Maureen keep fighting", sighed Simon frustrated. "And we changed the name. Again."

"I swear, if they ever manage to produce an album, they'll have had more names than tracks", snorted Gretel and rolled her eyes, getting elbowed by Clary. "What? I'm right. You know it."

"Of course you are, but there's no need to point it out", chided Clary fondly.

The four teens paused as they reached the Jade Wolf. Luke and Alaric were discussing something with the alpha. Clary didn't like the guy too much, so she preferred to stand back. Instead, the four of them picked a booth and got comfortable, reading the menu for what must be the millionth time, just to waste time until Clary's dad would come over to them and explain it.

"Hey", whispered Simon lowly, leaning over toward Maia and Gretel. "Who's the new kid?"

"New ki...", started Gretel confused, turning around a little.

All three girls turned to look at the awkward, lanky Latino in the corner. He was about their age, but they had never seen him before. And Clary knew all the wolves in the pack; she had grown up with them, trained with them, befriended those who were her age. Frowning curiously, she got up. Simon made a sound of protest, reaching out for his girlfriend's wrist. Not that he could stop Clary; he was inquisitive by nature. Smiling, she approached the guy.

"Hey", greeted Clary softly. "You're new around here."

"Yeah. Just... to visit", shrugged the guy awkwardly.

"I'm Clary", introduced Clary herself with a smile. "And you are...?"

"Bat", replied the boy, eyeing Clary and her friends wearily.

"And what are you doing here, Bat?", asked Clary with a friendly smile.

"I'm... I'm actually here looking for my... my soulmate", admitted Bat, shifting a little.

"Really?", asked Clary curiously. "How come? Who?"

"Uh, soulbook? I mean... I was kinda... too chicken to text her, but it says she works at the Jade Wolf in New York City. And I don't know, this morning, I just... got on a bus and drove here", shrugged Bat, ruffling his curls. "H—Her name is Maia Roberts."

Clary squeaked. She couldn't not squeak. Grabbing his wrist, she pulled him along. She knew about soulbook; it was a website for finding your soulmate. You signed up with your own name, the name of your soulmate that you were looking for and some also put additional information up. Many also used it to find friends, create communities of people looking for their soulmates, helping each other.

"Maia!", exclaimed Clary. "You never mentioned you signed up on soulbook!"

Maia frowned confused and blinked a couple of times. "I... I did, before I was... you know what happened. I haven't been... looking since then, Clary."

"Well. I guess you don't need to keep looking", stated Clary, eyeing Bat.

Maia's eyes widened. Bat ducked his head a little and offered her a small but sweet smile. Grinning pleased, Clary stepped away, allowing Bat to take her now vacant seat. Luke and Alaric were done with their conversation with the alpha, both of them looking grumpy where they sat down together.

"Hey dad, uncle Ric", greeted Clary with a smile, bending down to kiss Luke's cheek.

"Clary", said Luke with a small smile. "What are you kids doing here?"

"Mom left for work. We were sent to eat on Ric's tab", replied Clary.

"Oh, I love Catarina", huffed Alaric with a glare.

"Mom says you've been raiding our kitchen enough since Dot left that you owe us", grinned Clary.

Alaric huffed again, but he didn't object any further, making Luke chuckle a bit. Clary sat down next to him, her eyes trained on her friends and the blushing Bat talking to Maia. How cute.

"What's going on?", asked Clary curiously. "You guys looked serious."

"There have been... a few disappearances lately", whispered Luke lowly. "We just voiced our concerns. He thinks it's just coincidences. I don't... know."

"Mh. I'm sure it's nothing", tried Clary lightly, hoping her words to be true.

But she knew her dad's instincts were good. If Luke thought something was wrong, there was something wrong. Clary just hoped it wasn't anything too serious. Sure, she had spent the past ten years training for the inevitable, but part of her still hoped she'd never have to tangle with the Shadowhunters and their society. She was perfectly happy with her wolves and warlocks.

~*~ Not: Magnus Bane ~*~

Alec smiled, the expression hidden in the golden-blonde hair of his boyfriend. Jace was laying curled together against him, fingers lazily tracing Alec's parabatai-rune on his side. The motion tickled Alec a little, but he had gotten used to this. Jace had always been very fixated on the rune. The rune that marked Alec as his and Jace as Alec's.

When they had gotten together, all Alec had was hope. Hope that maybe this could work, that maybe they could become parabatai and make that work too. By now, the word 'maybe' didn't even exist in Alec's vocabulary anymore; not when it came to Jace. Nothing about Jace was 'maybe'.

Jace was a force to be reckoned with and he loved the way he fought. Fiercely and determined, in an all-consuming way. He sucked Alec in and there was no more escape for Alec. He had been in love with Jace before, but by now? By now Alec knew he would never stop loving Jace.

"You know, if you wanna pretend to read, you could at least turn the page sometimes", pointed Jace out, a cocky grin on his lips as he looked up at Alec. "Or you could put the book away and openly indulge in your favorite pastime; watching me be glorious and gorgeous."

"Sometimes", drawled Alec dryly. "Sometimes, I think that us dating is just not good for your ego. I don't know if New York City is big enough for your ego by now."

"It'll do", hummed Jace as he leaned in to kiss Alec gently. "And you know I'm right."

Alec grinned as he stole a deeper kiss from his blonde. Jace was right, but there was no need to tell him. Rolling over, Jace came to straddle Alec's waist and pin him to the bed. Alec grunted at that.

"You know we don't have time for that, Jace", pointed Alec out. "The girls are waiting for us for a mission. Iz is probably already all dressed up and pacing."

"Don't care", hummed Jace while kissing down Alec's chest. "My parabatai."

Alec shuddered at the possessiveness in Jace's voice as the blonde kissed around the parabatai-rune. Becoming parabatai with Alec had grounded Jace on a level that had stunned every Lightwood. None of them had ever seen Jace that happy before. For the first time, Jace seemed like he was comfortable where he was, truly comfortable and at home. Alec smiled gently and ran his fingers through golden strands, gaining Jace's attention once more, Jace looking up at him endearingly.

"Come on. We really gotta get dressed", sighed Alec amused.

With one of his irresistible pouts did Jace sit up. Alec instantly could not deny the urge to pull Jace into a kiss to kiss the pout away. Jace sighed contently and leaned into Alec, grinning to himself.

"Okay, okay, okay. Fi—ine", sighed Jace, pressing a gentle kiss against Alec's lips.

Alec smiled as he watched his boyfriend get dressed. His eyes caught on the burned wrists and his smile slowly faded. The happier he was with Jace, the more anxious he grew that one day, Jace's soulmate would show up here, show his wrist claiming Jonathan Christopher Wayland, swooping Jace off his feet and leaving Alec in the dust. Alec shook his head harshly, eyes finding the marks on his own wrists. He could just hope that his own soulmate would find it in himself to fall just as hard for Jace as Alec had done. Once dressed, Alec pulled Jace into a possessive kiss.

"Whatever brought that on, I approve", hummed Jace pleased, licking his lips. "Let's go, babe."

The couple linked their hands and picked Lydia and Isabelle up. The two girls were engaged by now, Isabelle planning the wedding for an entire year at this point. She wanted it to be the event of all of Idris. Alec had wondered why the two hadn't gotten hitched as soon as Isabelle was off age. Both girls insisted that they wanted Alec's soulmate at their wedding too, because he would be family too. He was touched that they were so optimistic about him finding his soulmate.

"Where are we even going?", asked Jace curiously, eyeing Isabelle. "White wig suits you, sis."

"Thanks", chimed Isabelle with a smile, straightening her white leather-dress. "And Pandemonium. It's a Downworlder club. Lyd and I went a couple of times. Just a routine raid, guys. Maybe we'll even get some dancing done after we finish off the demons."

"Alec? Dancing?", laughed Lydia, her eyes sparkling. "I don't think we can expose poor, innocent bystanders to such a sight. It might leave them permanently traumatized."

Alec glared at his traitor of a best friend, earning him a grin from Lydia. He really hoped that today would be a regular mission and nothing would go wrong. His eyes wandered to look at Jace's ass in the skin-tight black leather-pants. He really hoped today would go without a hitch, because he wouldn't mind seeing Jace dance in those pants, even if he himself didn't like dancing.

He did not get to see Jace dance in those pants (or take those pants off later on), because that day marked the day Alexander Lightwood's life – and parabatai – were hijacked by one Clary Garroway.

It started when she ran into Jace and could see the glamoured blonde. And of course, both Jace and Isabelle had to grow interested and invested. Being the whipped, love-sick idiots they were, Lydia and Alec let themselves be dragged along as Isabelle and Jace wanted to investigate.

When demons attacked her – and she fought like a Shadowhunter – even Alec found himself a little interested. Still, she got hit, because she clearly lacked the experience of actually fighting a real demon, that much was clear. Injured and unconscious, the team made the decision to take her to the Institute with them. The way she fought had been too suspicious.

"Stop glaring at the unconscious girl, Alec", snorted Jace.

Alec huffed as Jace straddled his lap and wrapped his arms around Alec's neck. Sighing, Alec allowed himself to be pulled into a kiss and distracted by his blonde. He was well-aware that he was being played here, because Jace knew exactly that Alec had only agreed to go onto this wild goose-chase for Jace's sake. Jace grinned against Alec's lips as they deepened their kiss.

"You two don't need to put up a show for the new girl", snorted Lydia in the background.

"Well, I don't mind, but I'd... prefer an... explanation as to where I am."

Alec glared at Jace as he pushed his boyfriend off a little. Jace grinned as he got off his lover's lap. The three of them came to stand around the bed and stare at the redhead. The girl rubbed her face.

"You were attacked, by a demon. We brought you to the Institute and took care of your injuries", replied Isabelle with a bright smile. "I'm Isabelle, those are Alec and Jace. And you are...?"

"Clary", replied the redhead wearily and looked around. "This... is the Institute?"

"So you do know about the Institute", grunted Alec suspiciously, arms crossed over his chest.

"There had to be a reason she took the runes", shrugged Jace next to him casually.

"Who are you?", asked Alec pointedly, ignoring his boyfriend.

"I'm a...", started Clary carefully before she stopped. "I need to talk to my uncle."

"...What?", asked Jace, blinking confused.

"My mom told me that if something ever happens and they're not there, I need to go to my uncle", replied Clary firmly, holding Jace's gaze in a way that didn't sit right with Alec.

"Who's your uncle, then?", grunted Alec impatiently, wrapping one arm around Jace's waist.

Jace raised one eyebrow at that, but gladly leaned into Alec, as always. Isabelle snorted at that, knowing that Alec always grew possessive when exposed to strangers – always with that nagging fear in the back of his mind that the stranger might bear Jace's name on their wrist. True to his words, Jace however was never even a little interested in the possibility of anyone being his soulmate. All Jace had ever had eyes for was Alec, which had really boosted Alec's confidence over the past years. Tilting his head some, Alec pressed a brief kiss against Jace's temple.

"Magnus Bane", replied Clary after a long moment. "The High Warlock of Brooklyn."

So many alarm-bells went off in Alec's mind that he felt a little dizzy from it. The girl fought like a Shadowhunter, but clearly didn't trust the Shadowhunters, she bore no runes at all and had never faced a real demon before, as was obvious, and her 'uncle' was the High Warlock of Brooklyn?

"Cool. Never met the high warlock before", hummed Jace with a grin. "Could be fun."

"Your definition of fun...", sighed Alec and shook his head.

"I'll go and get Lydia and we can be on our way", grinned Isabelle, sharing Jace's opinion.

"When we're at your uncle's, you better explain what is going on", warned Alec with a glower.

"When we get back, I'll make it up to you", whispered Jace lowly. "But for now, behave."

Alec breathed deeply and closed his eyes. "Fine. Whatever. Let's drop her off at her uncle's, he can take care of her and we just go our separate ways. Sure."

Obviously, that was not how things went. Because when did anything ever go according to plan? According to Alec's plans, at that. Not that he was complaining too much about it; as good as sex with Jace was, finding your soulmate kind of beat it. Not that Alec was aware of that when one very extravagant Magnus Bane opened the door to a Brooklyn loft – make-up and hair on point, clothes fancy and expensive, eyes intense and old and also rather cold as he regarded the four Shadowhunters. They only softened when they zoomed in on Clary.

"Biscuit!", exclaimed the High Warlock. "Now, you're keeping... strange company these days."

"Yeah, I was... kind of attacked by demons?", offered Clary with a sigh. "And I don't know, but those guys have been stalking me since my birthday party at your club. They helped me, but I also remember what you and mom have been telling me about the Clave... so... I did what mom told me. If something ever happens and she and dad aren't close-by, I gotta get to your loft."

"Good girl", smiled Magnus and patted her shoulder. "You look exhausted."

"Well, I kind of only just woke up", sighed Clary, rubbing her forehead.

"Why don't you go to your room and rest some? I'll talk to those fine Shadowhunters you brought with you and then I'll call your parents", suggested Magnus gently.

The girl just went ahead into the loft, not minding Alec and the others. Part of Alec was really annoyed by that, considering they had saved her life, but the other part was just glad she was gone. Maybe they could just receive a quick thank-you from the gorgeous warlock and leave too? Alec blinked slowly and blushed at the thought. Well, there was absolutely no denying that Magnus was gorgeous, aesthetically speaking, but Alec had kind of never acknowledged that sort of thing with anyone aside from Jace. But in an unsettling way, Alec felt drawn to the warlock.

"Well. I'm Magnus Bane, High Warlock of Brooklyn", introduced the warlock himself after a long stretch. "Considering that none of you seem to have any manners."

"Alec. Alec Lightwood", countered Alec a bit embarrassed, straightening his posture and offering his hand to the warlock. "These are my sister Isabelle and her soulmate Lydia Branwell and-"

"His boyfriend. Jace Wayland", interrupted Jace, eyeing Alec and Magnus critically.

Alec felt like a little boy caught with his hand in a cookie-jar. Why? He had done nothing but look at the warlock. Yet it felt wrong. In an unsettling and odd way, it felt like so much more. He jerked a bit when Magnus twisted his hand, wrist pointing up. There was a sharp intake of breath on Magnus' account, prompting Lydia to look at Alec in confused concern. All Alec could do was shrug. Shrug and shudder as Magnus ran a gentle thumb over the name on Alec's wrist. The smallest smile, filled with hope in a way Alec had never seen before, tugged on Magnus' lips.

"Well, it's a pleasure to meet you, Alexander Lightwood", replied Magnus charmingly.

Alec blinked confused, unsure what he had missed but sure that he had missed something. He pulled his hand back and instead wrapped his arm around Jace in a reassuring manner, thumb gently pressing down on the parabatai-rune on Jace's flank. His blonde seemed to relax a little, though he still regarded Magnus wearily, while Magnus was eyeing them with a calculating gaze.

"So, are we going to talk out here in the hall, or will you invite us in?", asked Isabelle curiously.

"Ah, of course. Drinks for everyone, to express my gratitude!", exclaimed Magnus delighted. "And then you can explain to me exactly what happened to my little Biscuit."

He led the four of them into the extravagant loft. It was nice, though a bit pompous. And with a lot of cats. One of them instantly walked up to them and brushed against Jace's leg, purring loudly. Isabelle passed Alec, a frown on her face as she silently asked what had just happened. He just shrugged in reply. For a long moment, the four Shadowhunters got to asset the room as they were left alone, though not unsupervised. Magnus was in the other room, formulating a fire-message by the looks of it but with clear sight on the four of them. Lydia stepped up next to Alec.

"Have you ever met the High Warlock before?", asked Lydia very lowly. "This was... odd."

"No. Never", grunted Alec with a frown. "I honestly have no idea what that was about."

"I think he thinks you're cute", grinned Isabelle teasingly.

"C—Cute?", sputtered Alec, cheeks red.

"You are cute", huffed Jace and rolled his eyes. "And taken."

Alec turned to give Jace a pointed look. "I'm literally the last person on the planet that you need to remind of that, Jace. You know I love you, angel."

He grasped Jace's neck and pulled him into a gentle kiss, just to prove his point. Jace sighed pleased into the kiss, hands on Alec's chest as he leaned into the archer. Alec grinned, one arm leisurely around Jace's waist. Not that he didn't appreciate the jealousy – it showed him that Jace was just as afraid of losing him as Alec was afraid of losing Jace. That was the danger of dating someone who wasn't your soulmate. The risk of losing them. The curse of soulmates. It was why many people lived in denial of their soulmates, deliberately cutting out their marks and refusing to look for their soulmates, thinking that their hearts should be the ones to chose, not fate to dictate who they loved.

"Alexander!", chimed Magnus as he entered the room again, a pleasant but fake smile plastered onto his face. "Would you care to help me prepare the cocktails? Just follow me to the kitchen."

Jace made an aborted motion, as though he tried to stop Alec. In the end, he thought better of it. Magnus was their host. Magnus was the High Warlock of Brooklyn. And Magnus held the answers to the slowly piling questions regarding one Clary. Alec gently squeezed Jace's hip before following Magnus into the kitchen. For a long moment, he just watched the warlock get out the glasses.

"Who is Clary? How can she be a warlock's niece?", asked Alec suspiciously. "Why does she fight like a Shadowhunter but not bear a single rune?"

"She's the daughter of a former Shadowhunter", replied Magnus casually while preparing cocktails. "And said former Shadowhunter happens to be my best friend's soulmate. I'm her honorary uncle."

Alec nodded briefly. So in the same way as Hodge was to them. Shifting a little, Alec watched the precise way Magnus moved around. It was fluent and magical in its own right, but as he continued mixing cocktails, the sleeve of his shirt slipped up. Alec froze and reached out, grabbing Magnus' arm and stopping his movement. Magnus paused, regarding Alec carefully.

"That's... Why...", started Alec as he traced the letters – William Marcus Herondale. "How can you have my soulmate's name on your wrist? I—It's impossible."

Gently easing his hand out of Alec's grasp, Magnus rolled the other sleeve up, showing the other name – Alexander Gideon Lightwood. "The other name on your wrist. It's mine."

"No. It's not. It's not Magnus Bane", argued Alec with a frown and a glare. "Believe me, I stared enough at those letters to know what it says. W—What... is going on here?"

"Magnus Bane isn't my birth name, Alexander", whispered Magnus gently. "And... I haven't heard or seen this name... in many centuries. You're my soulmate, Alexander. And... And you have no idea how long I have been looking for you. How often I... I was ready to give up hope..."

He reached a gentle hand up to trace Alec's cheek. Alec felt himself blush. Was this why he had reacted that way to Magnus? Feeling pulled to him? Because Magnus was part of his soul? Blinking slowly, he realized that silent tears were running down his cheeks. He had felt so hopeless about never finding the one soulmate he still had left. He couldn't believe that he had found him, finally.

"I... I...", started Alec, having no idea what to even say. "I love Jace."

Okay, so that was maybe not the gentlest way to ease into that particular conversation and judging by the look on Magnus' face it might not have been the right way either. Alec winced and took a step back, Magnus letting his hand fall back down. Magnus averted his face, pain clear on it.

"I—I'm not saying that I'll never love you or that I don't want you as my soulmate", added Alec on hastily, reaching out to grasp Magnus' hand. "I've been looking for you for all my life. I want you in my life, I want to... to see where you and I... could go. But I will not abandon Jace."

"What are you saying, Alexander?", asked Magnus softly, regarding him thoughtfully.

Alec sighed and rubbed his face. He needed to use his words. He wasn't so good with that.

"Our second soulmate", started Alec instead, looking up at Magnus, who straightened at that. "Died. Before he was born. My mother knew his mother and... she died, while still pregnant. I... We lost our third. And... And Lydia has this... theory, that because I lost one of my soulmates, I have... this 'left-over love' to give. And I chose to give it to Jace. I love him. I truly love him. I can't... I can't abandon him. You need to know that. I... Soulmates don't have to be lovers and if that is..." Alec shook his head and took a deep breath. "Look. Neither of us has to make a decision right now. I just want all the cards on the table. It's a lot to take in. But... Jace and I? We're a package-deal. If you want to give you and me a chance, you... you need to accept him. I don't... I don't know how yet, or how that works, but... I can't break his heart. I'd never be able to live with myself if I did."

Magnus looked at him with guarded eyes, but it seemed the warlock was taking his words seriously. "Very well. Let's... postpone this conversation. Let's focus on Clarissa for now and... give me a chance to take all of that in. But – just for the record – you're not..."

"I'm not saying no", assured Alec firmly, looking at Magnus with all the longing he has had for so many years now. "I want... I want to know my soulmate. I want to get to know you and see what you and I, together, are capable of. But... maybe letting it all sink in first... is a good plan."

"Very well. Then help me carry the cocktails, Alexander", prompted Magnus with fake cheer.

~*~ Putra Eikenboom ~*~

Clary Garroway was not the distraction Alec had chalked her up to be and it filled Jace with a certain sense of pride – he did not get the chance to say 'I told you so' too often to his boyfriend.

Clary Garroway was not just the 'niece' of the High Warlock of Brooklyn, she was also the daughter of the new New York pack-leader Luke Garroway and his wife; the warlock Catarina Loss.

Clary Garroway was not a Garroway. She was, in fact, the biological daughter of Valentine Morgenstern and Jocelyn Fairchild. And above all other, she was Jace's sister. At which point 'I told you so' had grown stale and led had settled into Jace's stomach as his entire life unraveled around him in the midst of this chaos they had managed to get dragged into.

And like so many other things, it needed to be put on hold. Jace's feelings needed to be put on hold – and he was good at that, he was currently doing that with the revelation that Alec had found their second soulmate, which was not to be contemplated just yet either. For now, all that mattered was the Mortal Cup, which the Circle was after, why they had tracked down Valentine's former parabatai and Valentine's daughter, seeing them as the only leads on the matter.

They got back-up.

Luke and Catarina, of course, fought hard to protect their daughter, which seemed to infuriate Valentine even more and it made Jace feel oddly gleeful to see his father fume over the fact that a werewolf and a warlock were raising his only, precious daughter.

But they were not the only ones. Magnus Bane, of course. Clary's... uncle. Alec's soulmate. But Jace was not thinking about that. Nope. Jace was decidedly not thinking about how the gorgeous, confident, strong, impressive, beautiful warlock was going to draw Alec in, show Alec what he could have with a real soulmate and will inevitably make Alec chose Magnus over him. Not thinking about that at all. Not the soul-crushing pain the thought caused. Not even a little bit.

Clary's friends – the four werewolves; Simon, Gretel, Maia and Bat – were also strong allies.

To celebrate that they found the Mortal Cup, that they found Alec's soulmate, that they found Jace's sister, that they would now be able to beat Valentine – the wedding of Lydia and Isabelle could finally take place. It was meant to boost moral against Valentine, and to strengthen the now weakened Lightwood-name. After all, the Lightwoods had taken in Valentine's son.

"Bridesmaid", grinned Clary as she tugged on her dress, whirling around. "What do you think?"

Jace smiled faintly as he regarded his newly found sister. Isabelle had embraced Clary from day one, but after it was revealed that she was Jace's sister, Isabelle instantly adopted her into the family. Gretel huffed and tugged on Clary's hair to make her sit still, since the white-haired wolf was currently trying to do Clary's hair. Though Gretel and Maia were also rocking the bridesmaid dresses. Honestly, sometimes Jace admired Isabelle for her ability to make friends so quickly. She was getting along with the wolves right from the moment Clary had introduced them.

"Looking good, sis", chuckled Jace. "If you excuse me, I will have to check on the best man."

"Don't distract Alec for too long. We'll need him on time!", called Maia out.

Okay, so maybe Jace and Maia kind of got along too. In a bickering way that was mostly composed of jibes. Flipping her the bird, Jace made his way to where Alec was getting ready. Lydia didn't want bridesmaids; she had never been very good at making female friends, or friends at all. She had always only relied on the Lightwoods so there had never quite been a question about it. She wanted Alec as her best man and Alec was more than honored to be just that. Jace paused with his hand on the door-handle, the door open ajar. He could hear laughter, soft voices. Alec and Magnus.

Something inside of Jace broke as he realized that the inevitable was going to happen. The two stood close. Not in any kind of way in a compromising situation, just chastely touching too. But it was in their gaze. The way they looked at each other, the gentle softness of their voices. The way they were already tuned into each other. Over the past weeks of working together, the two had found a connection. A connection that only came natural, considering they were mutual soulmates. Something Jace would never be able to compete with. His fingers traced over the raw, scarred-over skin of his wrist where once Alec's name had been. He had known it back then, but knowing and seeing it were two different things. Magnus could make Alec happy, really happy. Happier than Jace would ever be able to. Averting his eyes, Jace turned his back on the door and instead went to join the others out in the hall. Max, Robert and Maryse sat together with their new allies. Maryse and Catarina were engaged in conversation, Luke sitting on Catarina's other side. Simon and Bat were there too, next to Luke. For a brief moment, Jace regarded them and wondered where exactly his place was. Or if he even still had a place anywhere. Was he a Lightwood still? Was he a Garroway now? No. No, he wasn't. Of course not. Luke and Catarina had adopted and raised Clary from a young age. Why would they be interested in the son of Valentine?

"Hey, Max", grinned Jace as he sat down next to the youngest Lightwood.

"I'm so glad this will finally be over", groaned Max playfully. "I swear, if Izzy came with any more flower-arrangements and color-swatches, I would have run away and assumed a new identity. She's been driving me crazy with this whole wedding-thing for years!"

"You and me both", laughed Jace and shook his head. "But now we'll have to endure Mrs. and Mrs. Lightwood, making jokes about exactly that. All day long."

"...Urgh", huffed Max with the smallest smile.

The ceremony was beautiful and despite the brothers' teasing, they were both incredibly happy to see the way Isabelle glowed as she and Lydia placed the runes on each other's bodies. And the party afterward, well, it sure was the party of the decade. Thanks for that also went to Magnus, who had helped Isabelle a lot in putting her long-planned wedding together on such short notice.

"What's with the mopey face, brother-in-law?", asked the obnoxious werewolf.

Jace made a face as Simon sat down next to him. It wasn't that Jace disliked Simon. If anything, he actually held a certain respect for the bumbling werewolf, who had started out as just an unassuming mundane who got dragged into all of that by being Clary's soulmate. He had trained, since he was just a little boy, just so he would one day be prepared to stand strong at Clary's side. And standing strong with her was exactly what he had done. Well, he had managed to get himself turned into a werewolf along the way – an accident, one night as Maia lost control on a full-moon after being trapped in the basement, which triggered a panic-attack and a wolf and a panic-attack was not a good combination. That had been the night Simon and Bat were turned into wolves. Jace could respect that. The things Simon had done for Clary, had sacrificed for Clary.

"Don't call me that. You and Clary aren't even engaged", huffed Jace, elbowing Simon.

"Yeah, no, that's still inevitable", snorted Bat as he took a seat on Jace's other side.

Actually, Jace kind of really liked both of them. He smiled faintly as he stole some of the finger-food from Bat's plate, making the werewolf whine softly. Jace returned his attention to watching his soulmates dance with each other. Sure, Jace had been dancing with Alec for an hour straight now. So it was only fair that now was Magnus' turn. After all, Magnus and Alec wanted to get to know each other – and Alec had promised that the two wouldn't start dating or having sex or anything like that until after they took care of this mess and got to actually talk things through, but for now, Alec and Magnus really wanted to get to know each other. And Jace couldn't hold that against them, not even a little bit. It was just that with every interaction between them, Jace could see their natural bond grow. It was a nearly visible glow. Jace could see the bond forming, the connection growing.

Jace knew it was only a matter of time until the bond was growing so strong that they'd realize their only true happiness laid with each other. That Magnus didn't know or need Jace and that Alec had just put up with him until his real soulmate would come along. Jace didn't doubt that Alec loved him, oh he knew Alec loved him. But the bond Magnus and Alec shared was something special and sacred and mutual, it outweighed any kind of love Alec could muster for Jace.

"Wow. Considering this is your sister's wedding, you are seriously mopey", commented Bat.

"Shut up, or I'll put you in the dog-house", huffed Jace and got up.

"Dog-jokes. He resorts to dog-jokes, Bat", huffed Simon offended. "Why must he hurt us like that?"

"He's a cruel one, that Shadowhunter", agreed Bat solemnly.

It wasn't that he disliked either of them, it was just that he really wasn't in the mood right now. So he left, headed out to the rooftop of the Institute where he always went to have a bit peace. For a while, he just stood there alone, overlooking New York at night and allowing his thoughts to wander. They had the Mortal Cup secured. Lydia and Isabelle would take it with them when they went to Alicante for their honeymoon. Which meant that they had officially taken care of the brute force of things. Which meant that Jace would have to sit down with Alec and Magnus to figure out what exactly was going to happen with the three of them.

"Jace. I've been looking for you."

Blinking slowly, Jace turned around to find Luke Garroway standing behind him. "...Why?"

"You and I should talk, Jace", stated Luke as he walked over to Jace.

He leaned against the wall just next to Jace, both of them staring out at New York. Jace frowned.

"What about?", asked Jace slowly, fidgeting with his hands.

"Your mother", offered Luke softly. "Clary only knows the things I told her about Jocelyn. And... you deserve to know about her too. About her and your father."

"I already know everything about my father", growled Jace, gritting his teeth.

"You don't. You know the man he became, but... he wasn't always like that", whispered Luke gently. "We used to be friends. We were parabatai, after all. But he... changed. He wanted to take all the Downworlders out. And... we saw that he was wrong. But he took our disagreement as betrayal and... he broke the bonds. The soulmate-bond with Jocelyn, the parabatai-bond with me. That... above all else... is what made him this cruel, heartless man he has become."

"To love is to destroy. To be loved is to be the one destroyed", whispered Jace beneath his breath, eyes widening as, for the first time, he realized where those words came from.

That was why Valentine had always told Jace that soulmates were worthless, that they would just turn their back on him. Jace gritted his teeth and stared down at his hands. At his burned wrists.

"I'm sorry, Jace", whispered Luke and rested a large hand on Jace's shoulder. "I'm sorry you were... raised by him. It must have been hard. I can't imagine. Well..." Luke did look down at Jace's wrists at that and Jace knew he thought the same everyone else did; that Valentine had burned Jace's soulmarks off. "I know I can't make up for the years before, even though you deserved the same safe childhood Clary had, but I want you to know that... I might not be your father, but... I would like to get to know you and I want you to know that you can come to me and Cat with anything."

"I...", started Jace slowly, frowning. "Uhm. Okay. Yeah."

Luke smiled at him and squeezed his shoulder. Jace stared after him slowly. Why would Luke offer that? He had no obligations to be there for Jace. It wasn't like he was Jace's biological father. He was the adopted father of Jace's sister, that made them... nothing. Sighing, Jace slid down the wall to sit on the ground. He tilted his head back to stare at the starry night-sky.

"There you are, blondie."

Frowning, Jace looked at Magnus. His heart sped up just a little, because... well, as much as Jace feared how much it was going to hurt once Alec broke up with him to be with Magnus, Jace couldn't deny that he felt drawn to Magnus too. The gorgeous warlock had this air of confidence and knowing exactly what he was doing that made Jace feel... safe. Like, whatever problem they would face, Magnus would be able to find a solution. That was something Jace couldn't give Alec.

"Why?", asked Jace exhausted. "Aren't you busy dancing with your soulmate?"

"You mean with your boyfriend?", offered Magnus curiously as he came to stand in front of Jace.

Jace stayed silent and turned to look at the floor. "You two look good together. I mean, you can literally see the bond forming between the two of you. It's just..."

"A matter of time before he becomes my boyfriend instead of yours?", concluded Magnus, voice gentle. "That's what I wanted to talk to you about, Jace. It's really easy to read you. At least for me. I don't think Alexander is fully aware of it though. He's been so busy lately and he's still rather overwhelmed by having found me. We talked a lot about... our third soulmate. He told me and later on, we talked some more. He explained it to me, explained the pain he has been through, knowing even as a little boy that he would never find one of his soulmates. He told me that you filled a hole in his life and his heart. Right from the start, when we first met, Alexander made it perfectly clear that he would never break up with you. He loves you, he will never abandon you and he made it clear that if I would make him chose, he would chose you over the soulmate-bond."

Jace's face fell and he stared at Magnus in confused horror. "What? No. He can't do that. You're his soulmate. You're the only one who can make him as happy as he deserves. I'm... not."

Magnus raised one eyebrow and offered the faintest smile. "The way I observed it in the past weeks, you do make him happy. And... the way you pulled back shows me that all you want is for him to be happy, even if it would mean me and not you."

"Alec's happiness is all that matters", frowned Jace with a glare.

"Now that things have the chance to calm down, I want to get to know my soulmate. Romantically. I want to take Alexander out for dates, I want to give him the world", started Magnus, looking at Jace thoughtfully. "And since you are a 'package-deal', as Alexander put it, I'd like to... take you out too. Whether I get to know just Alec, or both of you... I would like to see where this can go, between all three of us, because you clearly managed to fill the hole in Alexander's heart, so perhaps... just maybe... you can... fill the one left in my heart too."

Magnus was tracing the name on his own wrist; William Marcus Herondale. The look on his face was the same one Alec had when he looked at that name. Loss, longing and pain. The question 'What if'. Jace blinked slowly and on impulse, grabbed Magnus by the neck and pulled him into a brief kiss. He didn't even really know why, but that look on his face was wrong. So wrong. And Jace just wanted to kiss it away, wanted to make Magnus feel as complete as possible.

"I take it, you're open to that idea, Jonathan?", chuckled Magnus amused.

"Sure thing... Putra", offered Jace with a large teasing grin.

Magnus froze and stared at him in surprise. Jace blinked a couple of times as Magnus pulled away.

"What?", asked Jace confused. "I've had Alec's hands all over my body often enough to know what's written on his wrists. It's your name. I mean. Your birth-name. I kinda get why you changed it though. Magnus Bane has much more flare than Putra Eikenboom, huh?"

"That... is not why I changed it. And I'd appreciate if you never called me that again", stated Magnus evenly and coldly as he straightened his posture.

Blinking again, Jace nodded. "Okay. Sure. But... can I ask why?"

Magnus huffed at that, regarding Jace for a long moment as though he was assessing him. In the end, Jace guessed, Magnus came to the conclusion that if he wanted to make this soulmate and replace-boyfriend thing work with Alec and Jace, he'd need to trust them both. Jace included.

"My name... It means 'son'. I'm no longer anyone's son and...", started Magnus, turning to look over the city, a look of guilt and anguish passing over his face. "That is my fault."

"What does that even mean?", asked Jace frowning.

"My mother, she... took her own life, because she couldn't live with the knowledge of what I am", replied Magnus, voice low and pained as he decidedly didn't look at Jace.

Jace's frown deepened as he saw the pain in Magnus' eyes. And even though the two of them had barely interacted without Alec in the past weeks, the same feeling as before overcame Jace. The one that made him want to take all the pain away from Magnus. If it'd be possible, Jace would be glad to shoulder all that pain and allow his soulmates to live without it. If he wasn't meant to be their happiness, the very least he wanted was to be the one to take their pain away. Reaching for his soulmate, he pulled Magnus into a tight hug, burying his face in Magnus' chest. Magnus stiffened in surprise for a moment before he gently returned the hug, clinging onto Jace.

"...So, I take it the conversation went well, Magnus. And here I came out to check if you're both still alive, but it looks like I worried for nothing."

The two of them parted and turned to look at the highly pleased looking archer. Stepping apart, Jace and Magnus gladly invited Alec into their hug and the both of them could see the relief in those soft hazel-eyes. Of course had Alec worried about this; about Jace and Magnus not getting along. Even if it were just for Alec, Jace would be willing to try it. But... he kind of really did want to get to know Magnus and see where things with the warlock could go.

~*~ William Marcus Herondale ~*~

When Magnus had first laid eyes on Alec, he felt like, for the first time, his life actually made sense. Just gently talking with the other had made him feel more at ease than anything else. So when Alec had, right from the start, made it apparent that he would be willing to break the matebond if Magnus couldn't deal with the fact that Jace Wayland was there, it had broken something in Magnus.

Over the following weeks of getting acquainted with the Lightwoods and their add-ons, Magnus started to realize just how important Jace was to Alec. They weren't just lovers, it truly wasn't just a casual waste of time until they'd find their soulmates. They were parabatai despite not being soulmates – and history showed that parabatai who didn't share this bond very often crashed and burned. Magnus saw the way those two fought together, side by side, how they bickered and how they kissed. And with every interaction he witnessed, he found himself yearning for this.

Not the brightly burning jealousy he had expected to feel, but rather longing to be part of it.

But he was grateful that they had agreed to delay any relationship negotiations until after things had calmed down, because in the middle of hunting for the Mortal Cup, trying to fight off aggressive Circle members and trying to make sense of the fact that Clary's father was still alive – and that Clary's brother was also still alive – there really wasn't much time to try and make a relationship work. Much less a complicated relationship such as theirs. Two soulmates who lost their third soulmate and would now try to fill that void with a pretty blonde. It was unusual and it would require their attention. They couldn't half-ass it. And the weeks of getting to know them on a neutral level had also helped him get a feel for the two Shadowhunters and their already existing dynamic.

Granted, in the end they did not wait until 'things calmed down', because the wedding of Lydia and Isabelle showed them that things would not calm down for a while. It was supposed to announce the beginning of peace. They would snuff out the Circle in the aftermath of the successful retrieval of the Mortal Cup and they would live happily ever after. That had been rather naive of them.

Even during the party, Hodge Starkweather betrayed them and stole the Mortal Cup. Only two hours after kissing Jace for the first time, Magnus had to watch his new-found lover walk through a portal with a mad man to protect Magnus, Alec and the others.

Needless to say, that move alone made Magnus quite protective over the blonde. That feeling was only intensified when days later, a beaten and bloodied Jace stood on his doorstep, staring at him like a kicked puppy, Alec a looming and tense present behind him, asking for a place to stay.

When the parabatai moved in with Magnus, their dynamics changed. It was tentative at first – Jace was clearly still suffering from the trauma and they still had to take care of Valentine and the Circle, who now had not just the Mortal Cup but also the Soul Sword. Still, the shift in their relationship happened nearly naturally. Where at first, Magnus had a couple living with him, he slowly became a part of them. When he entered the kitchen in the morning, Alec had already made coffee for them all, Magnus' just the way he wanted it, and when Jace stumbled into the kitchen, he'd kiss Alec's cheek, take his coffee, kiss Magnus' cheek and sit down at the table. They slowly started cuddling together on the couch, trading kisses and gentle touches, words of endearment.

They started dating. Actually going on dates, all three of them together at first and then also separately – Magnus with Alec, Jace with Alec, Magnus with Jace. And it somehow worked. No, it didn't just work. It felt nearly natural, the way they fell together. The way they fell for each other.

"Why are you thinking so loudly that early in the morning, Mag?", yawned Jace, voice rough.

Magnus chuckled and turned to look down at the blonde curled up against his side. Jace tilted his head to look up at Magnus with sleepy but gorgeous mismatched eyes. Smiling, Magnus reached out to brush the golden-blonde mess out of Jace's face.

"I was just reminiscing on the past few weeks, sweetheart", whispered Magnus gently.

"Yeah well, it's too early for reminiscing, Mag", complained Jace and mushed his face back against Magnus' chest. "It's enough Alec's not here. I just wanna enjoy the one boyfriend who's here."

"Yes. How dare Alexander goes and works", drawled Magnus dryly.

"He—ey. I got home at like four in the morning from patrol", countered Jace. "Urgh. I hate when our schedules don't match up. I swear, Aldertree is doing that on purpose because he hates me."

"...I wouldn't put it past him", agreed Magnus thoughtfully.

He was gently running his fingers down Jace's spine. Tracing scars that were bitter reminders of what Valentine had done to Jace on the Morning Star. Magnus had offered Jace to remove them, but Jace refused, saying they were part of him now. His past was what defined him. Magnus couldn't help his eyes being drawn to the burn-marks on Jace's wrists. Those Magnus had also offered to heal, they were the first ones he had offered. But Jace had declined, said he had everything he needed in Magnus and Alec. It was touching, but part of Magnus couldn't help think of Jace's soulmate, out there somewhere, unable to find him and longing for Jace the same way Magnus had longed and waited for Alec. Pulling Jace up into a kiss, Magnus held his blonde close.

"Okay. If reminiscing puts you into that kind of mood, I am totally fine with it", grunted Jace.

He had a half-grin on his lips as he leaned down to steal another kiss. "Would you like to stay in bed until Alec gets back home and just blissfully do nothing? My schedule was packed yesterday and I exhausted myself a lot. After your all-nighter, you have today off too, right?"

"With Sebastian around, we do get to loosen our schedule a little", hummed Jace pleased. "Not to mention the pack. Honestly, Clary bringing the pack and the Institute together was probably the best thing to happen to the New York Institute. And then there are those... really helpful... warlocks."

He hummed as he kissed down Magnus' neck. Magnus chuckled fondly at that. His pretty, subtle Shadowhunter. The two of them did end up spending the next two hours naked in bed, kissing and making out and drifting off into naps every now and again. It was good. Jace was the kind of person who needed to be forced to recharge – and Alec and Magnus had perfected the art of that.

"Ma—agnus! We bring brunch! Don't tell me you're still in bed."

Jace, half-bent over Magnus to kiss his neck, froze and stared surprised at his warlock. "Cat...?"

"Oh my", grunted Magnus, sounding a little sheepish. "I might have forgotten that your family wanted to come over for brunch. Oopsie me. Maybe we should get dressed."

He had, in fact, not forgotten that he had invited Catarina, Luke, Clary and Simon over for brunch. Ever since the Soul Sword incident, Jace had – aside from having even more nightmares than before – avoided the Garroways at all costs. And neither Magnus nor Alec could figure out why, which was why Alec had asked him to intervene. The glare on Jace's face told Magnus that Jace knew that.

"Magnus? Are you decent in there?", asked Clary as she knocked on the door.

"Not even a little bit and there are things about your brother that you shouldn't see", said Magnus.

Jace glared at Magnus while Clary made fake gagging-noises. "We'll set the table then. Oh, and we brought Bat and Maia. Bat heard 'free food' and well, you know him."

"Hey! That's not fair!", called Bat out offended.

"Magnus", hissed Jace with a glare. "You and Alec are... urgh."

"Utterly in love with you and want you to feel safe", supplied Magnus gently, kissing him. "And we both know something is wrong with you. So we just... want to help."

Jace continued glaring as the two of them got dressed and then got out to join the three couples on the balcony. It was quite the feast that Cat and Clary had organized there and Bat was already drooling over it. Only Simon and Luke could keep him from eating it all right away.

"Jace. Such a rare sight these days", noted Maia, both eyebrows raised.

Jace glared and took a seat between Clary and Magnus. For a while, he just silently sat there and let the others fill the meal with chatter. He kept glancing between the three couples in a way Magnus had witnessed a lot. Jace had a tendency to do this, without the people noticing. May it be Lydia and Isabelle, Simon and Clary, Bat and Maia, Luke and Cat. There was something broken and vulnerable in Jace's eyes. And regardless of how often Jace claimed that he didn't believe in soulmates and didn't want them, Magnus could clearly see that Jace did in fact want that bond. It confused Magnus, because he had offered Jace to restore his mark so he could find his soulmate.

"Jace, would you be so lovely and get more orange juice? And coffee? Oh, Luke could help you."

Jace's glare sharpened as Magnus smiled innocently at him. Together with Luke, he made his way to the kitchen in silence. While Luke started squeezing more oranges, Jace got another pot of coffee going. Magnus lingered in the doorway, watching silently, his curiosity getting the best of him.

"What's going on with you, Jace? You skipped family dinner last week", asked Luke softly.

Family dinners at the Garroways had become a thing, after the wedding. A thing that Jace attended to get to know Luke, Cat and Clary. Magnus smiled fondly as he remembered their excited puppy of a boyfriend retelling embarrassing childhood stories about Clary. Those dinners had helped Jace blossom and soften up, Alec and Magnus could see how much Jace enjoyed having found this family of his. And now that he was pulling back from them, it worried his lovers.

"Jace", whispered Luke gently, grasping the blonde by the shoulder. "Talk to me. I told you, I'm here for you if you need someone. And you clearly need someone. If this is about the Soul Sword incident, we know you didn't mean to activate it. We know how much you struggled with having demon blood running through your veins. You didn't know that wasn't true."

"It's not about that", muttered Jace reluctantly.

"Then tell me what it is", prompted Luke, arms crossed as he leaned against the counter.

"You don't need to bother with that, Luke", sighed Jace, looking at the floor.

"Jace, I told you before, just because Cat and I didn't get to raise you as we did with Clary-"

"I'm not her brother!", barked Jace out between gritted teeth, anguish in his eyes.

Magnus froze where he stood, staring surprised and with an expression matching Luke's. "What?"

"When... When Valentine and I were fighting over the Soul Sword, he couldn't lie and he... he said I'm not his son. I'm not Clary's brother", growled Jace, voice hitching.

Realization dawned on Luke and without missing a beat, he pulled Jace into a firm hug. "And what? You think the past weeks of you becoming part of our family, that we'd just shrug you off and abandon you when learning this? Jace. Clary isn't my blood either and I took her in and love her like a daughter. We decided to offer you a place in our family and to learn you're not related to Clary won't severe the bond we've formed over the past weeks. Family doesn't abandon each other."

Jace clung onto Luke at that and Magnus stepped away to give them some privacy. A different thought occupied Magnus' mind. If he wasn't the son of Valentine and Jocelyn, then who was Jace? That poor thing had gone through enough identity crises to last three life-times.

The rest of brunch proceeded a little more mellowed out, but Magnus gladly got Jace out of the house by sending him off with Simon and Bat to do 'something normal, not demon-killing'. Meaning by the time Alec returned home, it was just Magnus with a drink in his hand.

"...Okay. This doesn't look good", grunted Alec as he approached his warlock.

He leaned in and kissed Magnus gently, allowing for himself to be pulled down next to the other. Magnus left his hand in the nape of Alec's neck, playing with the soft fluff of hair at the base.

"Brunch went well", hummed Magnus. "Aside from the part where Simon broke one of my favorite vases. But I found out why our puppy has been so subdued lately."

"Mh...", grunted Alec, clearly exhausted, as he leaned against Magnus, seeking his warmth.

"Turns out he is not the biological son of Valentine", replied Magnus, voice low. "And now he doesn't know who he is anymore. I just wish he would have talked to us about this."

"Fuck", growled Alec upset, trying to get up. "Where is he, Mag?"

"With Bat and Simon", replied Magnus. "But he should be home any moment now too."

Alec sighed, brushing his nose against Magnus' neck as he kissed his shoulder. Magnus mirrored the sentiment, also sighing, as he pulled Alec a little closer. With his soulmate by his side like this, Magnus felt far more at ease. Hopefully they could figure out what to do together.

"You two look cozy. Is there some more room for me in there?", asked Jace as the door opened.

Alec slowly rolled over a little to lay between Magnus and the backrest of the couch, patting Magnus' chest in invitation. Jace gladly crawled into Magnus' lap and curled against Magnus' chest. Alec sighed contently and wrapped his arms around the blonde, pulling him close to kiss him.

"I love you", whispered Alec softly, holding tightly onto his parabatai.

"I love you guys too", offered Jace, a little confused.

"Then why didn't you tell us about what happened with Valentine?", inquired Magnus bluntly.

Jace averted his eyes, tugging his head under Magnus' chin to hide in the warlock's chest. "I... Saying it out loud makes it feel real and I... I don't want it to be real. As much as I hate Valentine, that... that was something... solid. He had raised me, he was my father. I might have never met Jocelyn, but I had Clary and... and Luke and Cat. Now I don't have... anything. I don't even know who I am or where I belong... I just... I feel so lost."

"But you're not", whispered Alec firmly, still tightly holding onto Jace. "You know exactly where you belong, Jace. Where you've belonged for years. Right here, by my side. You belong with me and Magnus and nothing will change that, you hear?"

"Alexander is right, sweetheart", agreed Magnus gently, kissing the top of Jace's head. "We love you and we'll love you whatever your name is and whoever your family might be."

There was a certain irony to that statement, Magnus mused weeks later when he found Alec brooding over thick, leather-wrapped books that Jace, Clary and Isabelle had brought with them from a cabin in Idris. Valentine had managed to escape them, somehow. In an attempt to get the locations of the Soul Sword and the Mortal Cup, the Clave had decided to transfer Valentine to Idris to apply some more 'drastic' interrogation techniques. Alas, Valentine used that opportunity to escape. And while not finding him, Jace and Clary had found his old diaries in an old cabin.

"Jonathan Christopher Morgenstern. Jonathan Christopher Herondale", read Alec lowly.

His fingers were tracing both names, a frown etched into his features. Magnus had his hands resting on Alec's shoulders, nose buried in the dark, soft hair. It was hard to grasp, but undeniable. Valentine's son must still be alive. But the heavier implication was that their Jace was a Herondale. A Herondale born around that time. There was only one conclusion, but neither of them had dared to voice it just yet. Alec was clinging onto Magnus' right hand.

"Can you open me a portal to the Institute? I need to talk to Izzy", requested Alec.

"What do you plan on doing, Alexander?", asked Magnus curiously as he opened a portal.

Alec went to the bathroom and returned with Jace's brush – yes, their vain little blonde had his own, special brush that Magnus had bought him for his delicate golden locks (and Magnus enjoyed teasing Jace about it. It was payback for Jace continuously teasing him about taking so long in the bathroom because of his make-up). Magnus raised his eyebrows.

"I have enough of guessing and suspecting and trusting Valentine's words, of all people", grunted Alec. "All high ranking Clave members have samples of their DNA on our database. So we're going to ask Izzy to run a DNA test, to determine whether or not Jace and the Inquisitor are related. Whether or not she is his grandmother. Whether or not he's... he..."

Magnus nodded sharply. Alec couldn't say it yet and Magnus understood that. Too many years of mourning made the hope too painful. Once the portal was open, Magnus kissed his soulmate gently and then they stepped through it together. Finding Isabelle was unsurprisingly easy. She was lounging in the training room, like a lazy cat in the sun, drinking in the sight of Lydia sparring with Clary. Magnus was tempted to tease her, but he knew how hot and bothered it got him to see Alec and Jace in the middle of training (more so even when it was both of them training with each other).

"Izzy, if you're not too busy drooling over your wife...", drawled Alec, both eyebrows raised. "I'd have a request. Something that needs to stay under wraps. Can you help us?"

She saw the serious look on her brother's face and nodded. Together, the three of them headed to the labs, where Alec – using his newly found authority as the head of the Institute – sent everyone else on a break so they'd have some privacy. Alec and Magnus explained their theory to Isabelle, who got to work with a look of surprised enthusiasm. She wanted this to be true just as much as Alec and Magnus. The wait for the test to complete was agonizing.

"What are you going to do if it's... true?", asked Isabelle curiously while they waited.

Both remained silent as they stared at her. They had no idea. They just knew that they needed to know the truth. Whatever that might be. And Jace? He also deserved the truth. Alec and Magnus were holding hands, squeezing tightly in nervousness, as they waited for the results. Alec was leaning heavily against Magnus, seeking the warlock's support, not that Magnus really could offer a lot of that. All Magnus could do was cling onto Alec in anxious anticipation.

Would this change anything? They loved Jace with their whole hearts. Whether he was their soulmate or not. But knowing that their soulmate wasn't just still alive, but was also theirs...

"Well. The results are in", stated Isabelle solemnly, handing them a piece of paper. "Congratulations, I guess? You... have a soulmate. I mean, that's the only... logical conclusion."

And it was. If Jace was a Herondale, considering his age, he had to be the child of Stephen and Céline that had supposedly died all those years ago. So their own soulmarks hadn't scarred over, not because he had died before even being born and thus never having lived to begin with, but because he had never died – and was still alive. Alec sacked back against him in stunned relief.

"We need to get home. I—I...", started Alec, voice shaky. "I need to see him."

Nodding sharply, Magnus opened a portal back home to their loft. Their steps were swift as they found their way back home. Thankfully, their blonde was already in their apartment. He was sitting cross-legged on their bed – Jace and Alec had officially given up pretense of sleeping in 'their' room about two weeks ago – and with a heavy, leather-bound book on his lap. There was a look of stunned horror on Jace's face, his knuckles white from the force with which he was gripping the book. Magnus and Alec exchanged a concerned look, a silent conversation, before they approached. Looking over Jace's shoulder – the blonde was too distracted to even notice them – Magnus saw what exactly Jace was reading. The oldest journal, one of the last entries. Valentine was going on about how he had cut 'the baby' out of Céline Herondale's stomach and how the way the baby survived was proof of the success of Valentine's experiments to create a superior Shadowhunter.

"Jace...", started Alec with a shaky voice, gripping his own wrist tightly. "You're..."

Jace startled a little and turned to look up at his boyfriends with such a heartbroken and confused expression that it made Magnus want to wrap him up in safety and warmth. Alas, Alec was faster. He already had his parabatai engulfed in a tight, anchoring hug.

"I—It's... Céline Herondale. That was Maryse's friend, right?", asked Jace, voice low and broken. "The... The... The mother of your... You told me this story before."

"The mother of my soulmate", whispered Alec hoarsely, nose buried in golden locks. "Your mother. You're not... Jonathan Christopher Wayland, or Herondale. You're... William Marcus Herondale. Y—You're our soulmate, Jace. You're ours. You were always ours."

All Magnus could do was just sit there and watch them. Watch the parabatai cling onto each other, both of them sobbing silently as the realization truly sank in. That their love was so much more than just love, that it was fate. That they truly belonged together, for now and all eternity. Only that then, just sitting there numbly, another thought crossed his mind. Eyes widening, Magnus grabbed Jace's burned wrist, holding it palm-up and tracing the burn-marks with firm fingers.

"The names on your wrist", stated Magnus solemnly. "You've known all along. You've always known that you are our soulmate, haven't you? Because of the names on your wrists."

"No. It happened when he was too small to remember the name, that's what...", started Alec defensively, just to deflate at the look on Jace's face. "Wait. You... You did know...?"

Jace averted his eyes, not looking at either of his boyfriends – his soulmates. "I... did."

"Why did you never say something?!", asked Alec surprised, backing off some.

"I... I knew it from the day we met. When I introduced myself to you, I even introduced myself with my full name because I was so eager to see the look on your face when you realized we were soulmates. It was... all I had ever looked forward to. But... there was just this blank, slightly confused look on your face and... and then I saw your wrists and I... my name wasn't on them", replied Jace, voice rough with emotion. "So I burned them off."

"...You burned them off? You... were ten and you burned your own soulmarks off?", asked Alec mortified, grasping Magnus' hand tightly to ground himself. "W—Why would you..."

"I thought I didn't deserve you, Alec!", screamed Jace out, anger and pain that he had held in for too many years all bubbling to the surface. "I thought I didn't deserve to be loved, I didn't deserve a soulmate, I didn't deserve you. And all I wanted was... was a safe place. I was afraid your parents would send me away again when they noticed that I'm some freak of nature – someone with unrequited soulmarks. I was too afraid to lose you for good, I at least wanted to be your friend, if I wasn't good enough to be your soulmate. Y—You have no idea how happy you made me when you asked me out! I never thought I'd stand a chance with you at all, because I wasn't yours."

"You were always mine, Jace!", screamed Alec back, his emotions just as high as Jace's as he lunged for the blonde and pulled him into a bruising kiss. "Always, Jace. I was always yours."

With soft, pained eyes did Magnus cup the back of Jace's head and pulled him into a far gentler and sweeter kiss. Jace melted against him and Magnus could feel the wetness of tears. He held tightly onto his blonde – onto his second soulmate. Alec was pressed up against Jace from behind, locking eyes with Magnus as soon as the kiss parted. The relief and joy, but also the pain, were intense.

"Oh, sweetheart...", sighed Magnus and shook his head. "And here I thought my centuries of searching and waiting had been painful. But that... you were with us for so long and thought that you weren't worthy to be our soulmate... Alexander, I have the desire to wrap our sweet puppy here up in soft blankets and not leave this bed for the unforeseeable future, what do you think?"

"Ahead of you", grunted Alec, bent over his phone. "Texted Lydia to inform her that she and Isabelle have to step up for me. They'll manage to cover for us. I'm sure Catarina and Dot are well-equipped to step in for you for a while and Simon and Bat have been getting lazy anyway, so Gretel and Maia can drill them into doing our patrols for a couple nights."

"Ah, that's why I love you, my thoughtful, brilliant Shadowhunter", hummed Magnus pleased.

He pulled Alec into a kiss, the archer grinning as they deepened it, while the blonde squished between them made slightly protesting sounds. Once Alec and Magnus parted, the three of them laid down on the bed together, Magnus discarding the disdainful journal. Jace slowly relaxed against them as he was curled together between Magnus and Alec, both his soulmates holding onto him tightly. The silence between them was a comfortable and warm one and once Jace seemed a little more at ease, Magnus grasped his own phone from the nightstand to inform Catarina and Dorothea of this most recent development and that he was not to be disturbed for anything, unless Valentine is literally knocking at their door with the Soul Sword and the Mortal Cup.

"Will you let me heal them now?", asked Magnus gently as he put his phone down.

"W—What?", asked Jace confused, at least until Magnus grasped his wrists.

"There's no need to hide them anymore, or to be ashamed of them", whispered Alec lowly, kissing Jace's temple. "You're our soulmate and we're your soulmates, Jace."

"...Y—Yeah", nodded Jace reluctantly, offering the most hopeful puppy-eyes.

It didn't take a lot of effort or magic for Magnus to restore the scarred skin, revealing two names, one on each of Jace's wrists – Alexander Gideon Lightwood and Putra Eikenboom. Magnus smiled to himself as he stared at his own wrists, finally being able to hold not just one but both his soulmates. Alec leaned up to kiss Magnus, just as content as Magnus. They had finally found him.

~*~ The End ~*~