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Strange Love

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There were three different kinds of soul marks a person could get. A sentence of script, the first words your romantic soulmate would ever say to you, written in their handwriting, burning in bright gold. The second was a mark of a platonic soulmate, a matching design that turns a light blue once you've met. The last was a family mark, the initials of the person appearing in their handwriting on your body when they're born, fading away to nothing when they die. It was safe to say that of all three types of soul marks, Alexander Lightwood only liked two of his.

His first he had been born with, his marks of family. The letters M.L and R.L written across his collarbone, both in sweeping cursive, had been a permanent part of his skin since he was an hour old. His parents, Maryse and Robert Lightwood, used the mark more than once to make a point. Two years later, it was joined by the letters I.L, written in messy, slanted writing. Isabelle, that was her name. His little sister. Alec had sworn the day his parents brought her home that he'd protect her with everything he had, no matter what happened. He loved her more than anything else in the world, she was everything to him, and she returned the feelings wholeheartedly. Izzy’s big brother was the most important person she'd ever know, even more than he soulmate or her parents. She'd never love anybody like she loved her brother.

When he was ten, Alec found another set of letters adding themselves to his line. J.H, written in blocky cursive, appeared in his skin the day he met his adoptive brother, Jace Herondale. His parents had adopted him after his father had been killed. He was Alec's best friend but, surprising both boys once the marks had set in, he was not Alec's platonic soulmate. Still, Alec loved him with every fiber of his being, and swore to protect him just as he did with Izzy. Four years after that, the letters M.L appeared a second time, this time written in the slanted, curved handwriting of his little brother Max, who had received the same vow of protection from Alec as both of his other siblings. No more marks set in after Max, leaving him with a grand total of five marks running in a neat line across his collarbone. He always made sure he worse shirts that showed them off.

Izzy and Max’s marks matched Alec's, but Jace was a different story. He had a line running down most of his forearm, all written in a range of different handwriting. C.H, written in cursive. S.H, written in quick, harsh strokes. W.H, written in slanted cursive. J.C, written to match the previous. T.G, in neat, perfect letters, M.W, written in deliberately dark lines. M.L, the same as on Alec's skin. A.L, written in Alec's messy but perfect lettering. I.L, in Izzy’s messy print. M.L, in Max’s curving writing. It had crossed his mind a couple of times why he had so many. Jace had never met most of his family. Most of the letters didn't match, he had noticed. He knew his parents, Celine and Stephen Herondale, and Will Herondale, but the rest were unknown to him. The lack of Roberts initials was troubling at first, but Jace had never really considered him his father, never even a possible one. It troubled him less as the man's initials slowly but surely faded from the skin of the other Lightwoods, a sure sign that he had gone too far, and may as well be dead to his family.

---

“Alec!” Izzy shouted, throwing open the door to her brothers room one early Saturday morning, letting it click closed behind her as she bounced excitedly on her feet.

Alec, who was sat back comfortably on his bed reading, looked up at her over the edge of his book. “Can I help you?”

“Look!” she shouted excitedly, rolling up her sleeve and throwing herself down on his bed next to him. “I got my mark!”

“You did?” he asked, excitement slowly creeping its way into his voice as he closed his book and sitting up.

She nodded enthusiastically, holding out her arm for him to look. There, tight under the bend of her elbow, were the words “are you an angel?” in swirling gold letters. Alec looked up at his sister, bright grin shining on her face, and pulled her down into a hug. She buried her face in his chest, smiling happily into the fabric of his shirt as he played with her hair. Eventually they moved to lying down, her head resting comfortably on his chest as they talked about the mark.

“What do you think?” She asked.

Alec smiled into her hair. “I think it's incredibly appropriate for you, especially considering we're Nephilim.”

“I got it pretty early,” Izzy commented, bunching up the fabric of his shirt a little as she played with it. “Most people don't get it til they're sixteen.”

Izzy was only fourteen at the time, but Alec, who was sixteen, had yet to get his. “Not everybody does.”

She looked up at him, giving him her nicest smile. “You'll get it soon, but brother, don't worry.”

He smiled back at her, hoping her words were true.

---

Alec's platonic soulmate mark set in the same day as Jace's romantic one. Alec had rushed to his room, excited to tell him, only to find him rushing in his direction as well.

“Alec!” he called, practically sprinting over to his brother. “I got it!”

Alec grinned at him, catching him in a hug as he threw himself at him. “Me too!”

They were closest to Alec's room, so they power walked there and locked the door behind them, not wanting anybody to interrupt this important moment.

“Where did you get yours?” Jace's asked, plopping himself down on the edge of Alec's.

Alec lifted his shirt, showing him the small pattern of a triangle and a circle that had shown up beside their parabatai rune that morning. It wasn't a match for Jace's, Alec knew that. Jace had gotten a strange square circle hybrid on his bicep that matched up to the one Izzy had gotten in the same spot. It stung a little, Alec would admit, but now that he'd gotten his own all feelings of jealousy faded from his mind. “What about you?”

Jace pulled down the collar of his shirt, showing off the glowing gold letters writing “Did I get kidnapped?” on his shoulder.

Alec laughed. “Something tells me you're gonna be saving your soulmates life a few times.”

Jace simply grinned at him, the joy of having his soulmate mark clearly getting to him. Despite his lack of a mark, even at seventeen, Alec still smiled back, happiness for his brother completely taking over his body.

---

Alec stepped out of the shower, quickly slipping on some boxers and a pair of jeans before grabbing a towel, drying his hair as he walked to him room to grab a shirt, something he had forgotten to do earlier. He stopped, however, when moving his arms above his head brought his attention to the golden cursive sprawling across his forearm. His chest bubbled with excitement as he speed dried his hair, not wanting to check what it said when he couldn't run out of his room to tell Izzy and Jace the moment he read it. Alec was eighteen, well past the age most people got their marks, and had accepted the possibility of being markless for the rest of his life. This was completely unexpected. He smiled, pulling a shirt on over his head and finally, finally daring to look at his mark.

The sight before him made his heart sink. There, on his arm, in beautiful writing, were the words “I don't care who you are, you're still worthless.” His breath caught in his throat, tears threatening to spill from his eyes as he looked at it. It was no secret to anyone that Alec hated himself. Most of his self loathing could be blamed on his father and his impossibly high standards, only outweighed in pride by his hatred from all things different. Alec still remembered the day his Robert had noticed his initials had disappeared from his sons skin. He still had the scars to make sure that memory never faded. His anxieties had reached an all time high recently, and this was just the cherry on top or the mess that was Alec's mental health. Even his soulmate thought he was worthless.

The door to his room opened and he looked up, eyes tear filled as he watched Izzy and Jace pause in his doorway.

“Alec?” Jace asked lightly. “We've been knocking for like, two minutes. What's wrong?”

Alec just shook his head, looking down at the mark on his arm again. Izzy sat down next to him, gasping when she saw the golden tint to his skin. “You finally got it?”

“Nice bro! What does it say?” Jace smiled, clapping him on the shoulder and sitting down on his other side.

When Alec didn't say anything, his siblings smiles faded.

“Alec?” Izzy said, concern lacing her voice.

He sighed, knowing he wasn't getting out of this. He held out his arm for her and Jace to read, shoulder shaking when he felt Jace grip his arm.

“That bastard,” Jace said, pushing Alec's arm away and turning it so he couldn't see the words on his skin. It's not like it mattered much, the words were permanently burned into Alec's brain, but he still appreciated the thought. “I'm gonna kill him when you meet him.”

Alec's soulmate was a boy, they all knew. As much as Alec tried to deny that part of himself, to shove it to the back of his mind and ignore it, he couldn't get out of this. He wa gay. A gay Shadowhunter, a Lightwood, a disappointment. Even his soulmate thought so, so what could possibly make it untrue?

“Alec,” Izzy’s hand on his pulled him from his thoughts. “You know you don't have to love your soulmate, right? Especially when your soulmate is a dick.”

Jace nodded. “Izzy’s right, you know. You don't have to fall in love with him.”

“Can you stop saying him, please?” Alec pleaded, his voice cracking.

Izzy sighed, leaning her head on his shoulder. “Oh, Alec. What have you gotten yourself into big brother?”

The mark of Izzy’s initials burned for a moment, something it often did when she comforted him, followed by Jace's mark when he took a hold of Alec's hand. “We still love you, Alec. Even with an asshole for a soulmate.”

Of all the soul marks on Alec's body, he hated his soulmate mark the most.

Chapter Text

For as long as Clary Fairchild could remember, her soul marks were an anchor for her. She hadn't grown up with the easiest life, but the strange triangle shape on her hip kept her going most days. Alongside the string of letters on her bicep, J.F, V.M, L.G, J.M, S.L, it was her favourite part of her skin. It was the fact that it was so unique, so perfect for just her and her fated best friend. She loved it. Clary knew she'd love her platonic soulmate, it was as primal to her as breathing. Sometimes she wondered who they were. We're they a Shadowhunter like her and her family, maybe a werewolf like Luke, or a vampire like Simon. She loved to image what her life would be like once she found that amazing person. However, she didn't have a soulmate mark.

Her mother had two soulmate marks. After a person's soulmate died, it was possible for them to have gain another one, though you could only have one at a time. Her first soulmate had been Clary's father, Valentine Morgenstern. He had died in the mortal war, leaving her mother Jocelyn to raise her two children on her own. She adopted the last name Fray and moved her family from Idris to New York. The clave wanted her to live in the New York institute but she insisted on living a mundane life, so they moved to an apartment in Brooklyn, where she met the leader of the New York werewolf pack, Luke. The day they met, new words found their way onto her skin in the swirling gold handwriting of the man. They'd been in love ever since.

Clary dreamed of the day she'd finally get hers. She knew it wouldn't be long. She was almost eighteen, she had to get it soon. Clary would not be without a soulmate. She wouldn't accept that.

---

An insistent knocking at Clary's bedroom door woke her up early one morning. She groaned, rolling over and trying to ignore it, but the knocking only got louder. Groaning, she got out of bed, pulling a hoodie on quickly over her tank top. She flung the door open, preparing the yell at whoever had woken her up, only to come face to face with her brother, tears in his eyes.

“Jonathan?” She asked, opening the door wider for him to come in.

He stepped inside, closing the door behind him, and turned to Clary with a massive grin. “I have a soulmate!”

“What?” Clary gasped, her eyes wide as she smiled at him. “Holy shit, show me!”

“Language.” He scolded lightly as he rolled up his sleeve.

She grabbed his arm, pulling to closer to her so she could read the small gold writing in the dim light of her bedroom. There on her brothers arm were the words “go fuck yourself" in slanted writing. She frowned, looking up at Jonathan and releasing his arm. “They don't sound very nice.”

He shrugged, throwing himself down on her bed. “Who knows, maybe he's super nice.”

“What makes you so sure it's gonna be a guy?” She asked, sitting down next to him.

“I don't know,” He shrugged again. “I can just feel it.”

Clary grinned at him. “I'm really happy for you, Jonathan.”

“I'm happy too.” He said, and she could see in his eyes that he meant it.

---

“Holy shit, Fray guess what!”

“We're in a library, Lewis, stop shouting.” Clary scolded her friend, scooting over on the couch to make room for her best friend.

“Now's not the time to be quiet, I've got really good news!” he told her, grabbing her arm and shaking it in his excitement.

She laughed at his antics, slipping her textbook back into her bag, positive they weren't going to be doing any algebra work during today's study session. Simon was tutoring her in her worst subjects while she helped him with his. These sessions were the only reason they were both passing all their classes, but today's seemed like it wasn't going to be very helpful. “What's your good news?”

Instead of a verbal answer he pulled down the collar of his shirt, showing off the golden writing on his skin.

“By the angel, Simon! You've got a soulmate!” Simon didn't have a platonic soulmate. They didn't know what the cause was, but the strange shape that would link him to another person never showed itself on his skin. They thought that maybe it had something to do with him being mundane, but every other mundane they'd ever met had one. The mark read “probably, considering I'm saving you.”

“Do you think it has something to do with me being a vampire?” Simon asked. About a week prior Simon had managed to get himself kidnapped by vampires, leaving Clary and Jonathan to save him. He'd known about the shadow world since he first saw Clary kill a demon, purely by accident, and she'd been forced to tell him about the shadow world, which lead to them discovering he had the sight.

“I don't know,” Clary said, moving her hand from where she had placed it on his shoulder and smoothing out his shirt. “I don't know why it would.”

He shrugged, shifting into a more comfortable sitting position. “I don't know either, but isn't it great? I thought I'd die without ever having a soulmate!”

They spent the next two hours talking about their soulmates, theorizing as to why Simon suddenly got a mark, talking about when Clary would get hers. No algebra work got done, but that was okay. Clary was perfectly content talking about soulmates with someone she sometimes wished had been hers.

---

Simon was staying with the Fairchild family while his mother was out of town on a trip. Normally she would have left him alone in the house, but she was going to be gone for a week and didn't like the thought of leaving him by himself for so long, even if he was perfectly capable of taking care of himself. He didn't object. Not having to hide his blood bags from her and come up with some excuse as to why he wasn't eating breakfast made his life a whole lot easier. Jonathan usually picked him up for school, driving him and Clary and giving Simon a chance to eat to avoid him attacking any classmates.

They were sitting at the table having breakfast, blood for Simon and pancakes for everyone else, when Simon noticed it. “Holy shit, Fray, when did you get a soulmate mark?”

“Language.” Jonathan and Luke both scolded him, but Clary was more caught on the rest of what he said than his bad language.

“What?”

“By the angel,” Jonathan mumbled, now looking st the mark as well. “He's right, you've got one!”

Clary looked down at her arm, gasping at the gold print on her skin, and wondered how she hadn't noticed it earlier when she had been getting ready. “The only angel here is you.” It said. She laughed, looking up at her family with tears in her eyes, and let her mother pull her into a hug. She couldn't believe it, she finally had a soulmate mark. The group hug her family surrounded her with all but confirmed it, she was the luckiest girl alive.

---

“Tell me again why we're in a mundane bar?” Simon asked, sipping on his watered down blood. With the bar they were in being mundane, Simon had to order a water and pour blood into it to even be able to drink it. He was still getting used to the whole vampire thing and couldn't even drink water at this point.

“Because,” Jonathan said, taking another swig of his beer. “There was a demon sighting here an hour ago. Luke was close by and sent us to investigate.”

“And why did I have to come?” Simon asked.

Jonathan shrugged. “We like you.”

Movement nearby caught Clary's attention. She looked around, eyes catching on three people at the other end of the bar. “By the angel,” she murmured. “Jonathan. Shadowhunters.”

Jonathan looked up, watching the group as they made themselves comfortable at the bar. “They must be from the institute. I knew we wouldn't be the only ones here.”

“Maybe we should leave.” Simon suggested.

Clary nodded. “Simon's right. If they're from the institute they're definitely more prepared for a demon attack than us.” She motioned towards the seraph blade tucked into her belt. It was the only weapon she had. Jonathan had one as well, and Simon was practically defenseless.

“Alright,” Jonathan agreed. “We'll leave. You two head out, I'll join you in a minute.”

Somebody bumped into Clary's back as she nodded. “Alright.” She downed the rest of her drink, some fruity thing that contained as little alcohol as possible without being water, and set the cup down, heading out the alley doors after Simon.

She took in a deep breath, leaning against the wall of the bar as they waited. She looked to Simon, who was walking in slow circles around the alley, and something moved behind him. “Simon.” She called out, her speech slurred.

“Fray?” he said, quickly walking over to and a reading her as she started to sway on her feet. “Are you okay?”

“I think somebody slipped something into my drink.” She gasped, grabbing onto Simon's shoulder. The thing, whatever it was, moved behind him again, this time closer.

“Just take deep breaths, okay? Jonathan will be here in a minute. You'll be okay.” Simon assured her, holding her tightly so she wouldn't fall over. To anyone passing by, it would merely look like someone helping out a friend who had had too much to drink. Nobody would know she had been drugged.

Something grabbed Simon's shoulder, pulling him violently away from her. She tried to call out to him but the words died in her throat, unable to come out. Everything was spinning as she watched him struggle against the strong looking man that had grabbed him. Even with his vampire strength it was no use as the man quickly tipped a vile of something into his mouth and his body went slack against him. Vampire tranquilizer, Clary assumed. She watched the man shove him into a car and grabbed her seraph blade, her movements clumsy and slow. She took a step forwards, only to feel her back hit the brick of the wall.

She gasped, blade falling from her hand, and struggled against whoever had grabbed her. A large, calloused hand pressed against her throat, holding her in place, as another grabbed at her thigh. She struggled more, trying to scream out for her brother, for Simon, for anyone, but no sound louder than a whimper would leave her throat.

Than man that was holding her chuckled, and she could feel the sound vibrate through his chest where it was pressed against her body. “I was gonna kill you, you know,” he smirked, pulling her thigh up higher around his hip. “But you looked so damn pretty sitting there, I knew I had to have you.” his finger found it's way to her mouth, tracing the shape of her lips. She wanted to cry, but she refused. She could not give this man the satisfaction.

She heard the sound of his belt being undone, felt him slide his hand under her skirt, and she punched him as hard as she could. In her drugged state, however, that wasn't very hard, and he only laughed. “Stop struggling baby, you're just making it harder for yourself. Harder for me, too, but in a different way.” He breathed against her ear, sucking at her neck, and Clary squeezed her eyes shut, hoping this would be over fast.

The sound of an arrow whizzing by her head and embedding itself in the wall, however, brought her out of it. Her eyes snapped open, looking over the man's shoulder, and watched as a boy not much older than her brother ripped the man away from her. She felt the mark on her hip burn and her eyes widened as she looked back at the boy, watching as he kicked the man in the head, knocking him out. He was tall, with hair as dark as the runes adorning his skin, and held a bow tightly in his hand. He was the one who had shot at the man. Him. Her platonic soulmate.

Her voice was coming back to her now, and she breathed deeply, gasping out at the girl still standing in the alley. “Help.”

She turned around instantly, and Clary felt her heart stop for a moment. This girl was by far the most beautiful person she had ever seen. She had to be related to the boy, they looked as if they could be twins. Her heels clicked against the pavement as she rushed to help her, pulling a stele out of her boot. She looked over Clary's exposed skin, clearly searching for her healing rune, and she moved her hair out of the way weakly to show her the time on her neck. The girl traced the shape of it carefully before returning her stele to its rightful place, smoothing down the edges of Clary's skirt.

The next thing that came out of her mouth Clary would blame entirely on the drug slowly working its way out of her system, but as she looked at the beautiful girl smiling down at her, she found herself quietly asking “are you an angel?”

The girls smile widened and she laughed lightly, the sound beautiful and melodic. “The only angel here is you.”

Clary felt the words on her arm burn and she looked at the girl, green eyes wide, and smiled. “I'm Clary.”

“Isabelle.”

Chapter Text

When Alec pictured how he would be spending his Friday night, varying his drugged up unconscious platonic soulmate to a house in Brooklyn wasn't quite what he had in mind. Clary had managed to give Izzy her address before she passed out, leaving them to try and get her home without arousing too much suspicion. It had been easy enough to avoid with a glamour rune, but they had been walking for at least half an hour and Alec's arms were starting to get tired.

“This is her neighborhood,” Izzy said, turning onto a residential street. It was lined with small houses and dirty cars. It was the type of street Alec could never picture himself living on. “How is she?”

“The same as when you asked two minutes ago.” Alec replied, adjusting the girl in his arms as his grip started to loosen.

Izzy sighed, running a hand through her hair as she looked around at the houses. “I know, I'm sorry. I just, I can't lose her Alec. I just found her.”

“I know, Iz,” Alec said. “She'll be okay.”

“There, that one.” she pointed to a house, rushing towards it. Alec struggled to keep up while still holding onto Clary, but with his long stride he managed.

She knocked on the door and they waited a moment before it swung open, revealing a worried looking woman who seemed to be no older than forty. “Clary? By the angel, what happened to her?”

“It's a long story,” Izzy said. “Can we bring her in?”

“Of course.” the woman said, holding open the door for them. Alec shot her a grateful smile as he moved past. She lead them down a small hallway and into an open door. The room must have belonged to Clary, Alec reasoned. He didn't know why, but it's light blue walls and stacks of art supplies suited her. He set her down gently, berating a sigh of relief as he stood up again, twisting to crack his back and fishing out his stele, tracing an iratze to half with the stiffness setting into his limbs.

“What's going on in here?” a man's voice asked from behind him. Alec turned around, coming face to face with Luke Garroway, the leader of the New York werewolf pack. “Alec? Why are you here? What happened to Clary?”

Alec lowered himself carefully onto the bed, smiling a little as Clary seemed to instinctively roll towards him. Izzy shot him a look from where she was standing on the other side of the bed and he turned back to Luke and Clary's mother. “Before anything else, I feel like I should introduce myself. I'm Alexander Lightwood, head of the New York institute.”

“Jocelyn Fray.” the woman responded.

“Right,” Alec took a breath, not quite sure of how to explain what had happened. “I didn't see much, so I can't give you the full story, but Clary was attacked in an alley outside a bar. It looked like she couldn't fight back, I'm assuming she was drugged, and the man seemed to be,” he trailed off, but the horrified expression on Jocelyn's face and the tightening of Luke's jaw showed him they understood. “I shot at him to get his attention away from her, then I pulled him away and dealt with him. Izzy applied an iratze and she could barely tell us where she loved before she passed out.”

“By the angel.” Jocelyn cried.

Luke wrapped an arm around her, looking at Alec with calm eyes despite the hardened posture of the rest of his body. “We're there two boys with her. One about your age, tall, blonde, another a bit younger, a vampire.”

Izzy shook her head. “No. From the looks of it she was alone.”

“There's something else you should know,” Alec said. The three and turned to look at him and he took another deep breath, feeling his anxiety spark under their stares. “I'm Clary's platonic soulmate.”

“And I'm her romantic soulmate.” Izzy said, moving to stand beside Alec. She placed a hand gently on his shoulder, calming his worries a little.

“You two seem nice,” Luke said, a small smile growing on his face. “I'm glad it's you two. But if you two ever do anything to hurt her, I swear I will kill you.”

Izzy grinned. “I wouldn't have it any other way.”

Clary groaned, turning the attention of all four of them onto her. She sat up slowly, rubbing at her eyes as she looked around her. “Mom? Luke? What's going on?”

“Hey, Clary,” Izzy smiled gently at her, sitting carefully down beside her. “Do you know who I am?”

Clary's eyes widened and she sat up further, now fully awake. “You're my soulmate. Both of you. You're, Isabelle, right?” Izzy nodded and she smiled before turning to Alec. “I'm sorry, I never caught your name.”

“That's okay,” he assured her. “I'm Alec, Alec Lightwood. You already know my sister, Izzy. I'm the head of the New York institute.”

“You were the Shadowhunters in the bar.” she said, voice light with understanding.

“Clary, about the bar,” Jocelyn said, her voice layered with concern. “What happened to your brother? And Simon?”

“I don't know about Jonathan,” Clary said, shaking her head. “He said he'd be another minute and to wait for him outside. I was drugged, I couldn't fight back, they grabbed Simon. By the angel, they have Simon.”

“Clary, it's okay,” Izzy soothed her, running a hand lightly down her arm. “You did everything you could.”

“We need to get him back.” Clary declared, determination clear in her eyes.

The front door banged open and two sets of heavy footsteps rushed down the hall. The door to the bedroom was thrown open and there, in the threshold, stood two very bloody blonde boys.

“Clary,” one of them gasped, at the same time Alec breathed out “Jace.” The unknown blonde boy rushed over to Clary's side, practically shoving Alec out of the way as he pulled her into a hug. “By the angel, I was so worried. When I didn't see you outside I automatically assumed the worst. Are you okay, where's Simon?”

Clary quickly retold the events of the evening to him and Alec moved to over to where Jace was, bringing him into a tight hug. He breathed in the familiar scent of his parabatai, whiskey and leather, letting it soothe him, and soon pulled away when he felt the other boys eyes burning holes into his back.

“And who are you two?” he asked, speaking to no one in particular.

“Isabelle and Alec Lightwood of the New York institute.” Izzy explained.

“Well, thank you for taking care of my sister, but I'd ask to please leave so we can figure out how to help our friend. You're worthless to this discussion, so the three of you can leave.” He told her, eyes skimming over Jace and Alec briefly before turning back to his sister. This must have been the Jonathan they were so worried about earlier. Alec failed to see how anyone could be worried about him, he seemed like nightmare.

“Jonathan, please,” Clary sighed. “They're my soulmates.”

Jonathan gaze found Alec's, glaring him down. Alec went to say something, but was barely able to get one word out before Jonathan shoved him towards the door. “I don't care who you are, you're still worthless.”

Alec's arm burned, anger coursing through him, and he shoved Jonathan back just as hard. “Go fuck yourself.” He spat.

Jonathan eyes widened as he stumbled back, mouth opening in shock.

“That bastard.” He heard Jace mumble behind him, and Alec held out his arm to stop him when he went to move forwards.

“You,” Jonathan gasped. “You're my soulmate!”

“Unfortunately.” Alec grumbled. With the way he had spoken to Izzy, Alec could already tell he did not like Jonathan, soulmate or not.

“There's got to some kind of mistake.” Jonathan argued, and Clary shut him up.

“Can we worry about this later, please? We need to save Simon.” she snapped, eyes desperate as she looked between her brother and her soulmate.

Jonathan shut up, listening as they formed a plan to save their friend, occasionally looking back at his soulmate. Not for the first time, Alec found himself cursing the mark on his arm and the person it lead him to, because Jonathan was right, there had to be some kind of mistake. There was no way he was his soulmate.

“Do you have something of Simon's? A shirt or something?” Izzy asked.

Clary nodded. “Yeah, I think so.” she scooted off the side of her bed and moved to the closer, rifling through it for a moment before she pulled a shirt of a hanger with a victorious noise.

“I'll track him,” Jonathan said, taking the shirt from Clary and tracing a tracking rune into his hand. He stood for a moment, eyes closed in concentration. His brows furrowed in frustration and he opened his eyes, letting out an annoyed huff. “I'm not getting anything.
“Let us try,” Jace said, holding out his hand. Jonathan stated at him for a moment and he rolled his eyes. “Parabatai tracking is stronger. Let us try. Unless he's being held over water we should be able to find him.”

Jonathan handed the shirt over with an annoyed sigh. Jace traced a tracking rune into his palm, grabbing Alec's hand and doing the same. He placed the shirt between them and clasped Alec's hand tightly, looking him dead in the eye.

“This whole parabatai thing seems oddly intimate.” Alec heard Clary say.

Izzy let out a light laugh. “You don't know the half of it. Have you never met parabatai before?”

“No,” Jonathan said. “Though it is oddly fascinating.”

“Got him.” Jace said, snapping out of the tracking, though he kept holding onto Alec's hand.

“Well let's go.” Clary declared.

And that was how they found themselves walking through an old warehouse at one in the morning. The building had stood abandoned for a while, leaving it as a place for homeless people to stay during particularly cold nights and apparently for rogue shadowhunters to house captives. Fortunately for them, it contained none of the former that night, meaning they didn't have to glamour themselves or risk having to explain what they were doing in the old building with weapons to a mundane with the sight.

“We'll stay back,” Jonathan said, gesturing between himself and his sister. “Take care of any guards that may be here.”

Izzy stepped up beside Clary. “I'll stay with you. My brothers can handle the vampire.”

“His name is Simon.” Clary hissed.

Izzy gave her an apologetic smile. “Sorry. Simon.”

“Fine, we've got Simon.” Alec grumbled, already pulling Jace down the hall. Tracking Simon was easier now that they were in the building with him, and only Jace was needed to do it.

“I felt it, you know.” Jace told him.

Alec raised his seraph blade higher, letting it illuminate the hallway surrounding them. “Felt what?”

“When Jonathan said that to you,” he explained, turning a corner slowly. “I felt your bond. It was totally different from how it felt when you met Clary.”

Alec shrugged. “Maybe it's the type of bond.”

Jace didn't say anything else, stopping in his tracks. He held out a hand to stop Alec, who listened for whatever had caught Jace's attention. He could hear the faint rattling of chains behind a closed door just ahead of him. Jace shot him a look and he nodded. They took careful steps forwards before they reached the door. Alec sheathed his blade, pulling his bow off his back and knocking an arrow. He turned back and nodded to Jace, who kicked in the door harshly, seraph blade already raised when he stepped inside. Alec scanned the hall, watching for anyone who might try and attack them.

He heard the rattling of chains again followed by a voice he didn't know. “Did I get kidnapped?”

“Probably, considering I'm saving you.” Jace said, and Alec smiled despite their current situation. Jace had found his soulmate. He could feel it coursing through their bond, could feel how happy Jace was. He thought back to earlier, when he had discovered Jonathan was his soulmate, and felt a little guilty at how disappointed he had been. Still, he couldn't force himself to like Jonathan, soulmate or not.

There was some more rattling from inside, followed by a soft thud and a muffled “oof” sound from Simon. Jace quickly came out of the room, followed closely by a short, black haired boy. “This is him.”

“Then let's get out of here.” Alec said, already moving down the hall, leaving the other two to catch up. This was not how he pictured his night going, that was for damn sure.

Chapter Text

Clary was woken up by the insistent buzzing of her phone. She rolled over, stuffing her face into her pillow. She intended to ignore it for as long as possible, but after the fourth or fifth ring she finally gave up. Rolling onto her back, she blindly reached for her phone on her nightstand, turning it to look at who was calling. She smiled when the grinning face of her soulmate showed up on the screen.

She swiped the answer the call, holding her phone to her ear. “Hello?”

“Clary!” Izzy said. Clary could practically hear the grin in her voice. “I was starting to get worried.”

“You woke me up.” Clary said, stifling a yawn with her hand.

Izzy laughed. “Woke you up? Clary, it's one o'clock.”

“Oh,” Clary said, turning to look at the alarm clock on her dresser. “I guess I should probably get up.”

“I can give you some motivation.” Izzy suggested, a teasing tone to her voice.

Clary smiled, sitting up and stretching out her arms. “Yeah?”

“I'm not on demon duty tonight, so, go to dinner with me. I know a really good restaurant that I know you'll love.” She suggested.

She nodded despite the fact that she knew Izzy couldn't see it. “I'd love that. Is there a dress code for this restaurant?”

“Wear something cute but casual,” Izzy said and Clary nodded, eyes already trailing to her wardrobe where she knew she'd be spending the better part of the next few hours. “I'll pick you up at five?”

“It's a date.” The girls said their goodbyes and Clary collapsed back into her pillows, grinning brightly. Eventually she pulled herself out of bed, the thought of her soulmate never once leaving her head as she got ready.

---

Clary looked herself over in the mirror one more time, pulling her hair out of her face. She had opted to wear something different than she normally did. She wanted to impress Izzy, after all. From what Clary had seen of her she could safely say she was more into fashion than Clary had ever been. Although, with Isabelle around, that might change. Her top was cut lower than usual, strings tying the two sides of the fabric together. Honestly, she wasn't even sure where she picked it up. Maybe it had been Maureen’s, she mused, smoothing down the fabric of her skirt. She nodded at herself in the mirror, approving of her choice of outfit for the occasion, and slipped on her shoes before moving out of the room, phone and walker safely secured in her bag.

“Where are you off to?” Jonathan said from behind her.

She turned around, looking to where he stood, leaning against the frame of his bedroom door. “I've got a date."

“With Isabelle?” She nodded and Jonathan smiled. “Good for you. She seems like a wonderful girl.”

Clary smiled at him. “She is.”

She turned to walk away when he smiled again but Jonathan spoke, grabbing her attention. “While your out would you mind, if it's not too much trouble, asking after Alec? He seemed awfully tired last I saw him and I wanted to make sure he was alright.”

She nodded, and the sound of the doorbell downstairs saved her from having to answer him. “Have fun.” he told her, placing a light kiss on her forehead before slipping back into his room.

Clary swiped her jacket off it's hook, tying it around her waist and checking her hair one last time before swinging the front door open, instantly greeted by a smiling Isabelle.

“Wow,” she said, looking Clary over. She couldn't stop the blush that was rising on her cheeks, though it only seemed to make Izzy smile more. “Look at you.”

“Says you.” Clary laughed, gesturing to Izzy’s own perfect outfit.

Izzy brushed her off, holding out her arm in offering. “Ready to go?”

Clary grinned, linking her arm through Izzy’s, and the two girls walked down Clary's driveway and out into the crowds of New York.

“This place isn't that far away, so I thought we could walk,” Izzy said, brushing some hair out of her face. “Is that okay?”

“It's more than okay.” Clary smiled.

The two chatted idly about what they had been doing in the day since they last saw each other, both using whatever opportunity they could to throw a compliment at the other. Izzy took them with much more Grace than Clary, who often found herself with a blush rising on her cheeks, only encouraging Isabelle to compliment her more. Izzy had been right, the restaurant she had chosen was only a few blocks, and sooner than Clary would have liked she had to let go of her arm as they were being lead to a table.

“Can I get you something to drink?” The waitress, a friendly looking Seelie, asked.

“Can I get a coke?” Izzy asked and the waitress nodded, turning to look at Clary.

“Oh, um,” she quickly racked her brain for a drink she liked, suddenly unable to remember any. “Coffee would be great, thanks.”

“Coming right up.” She smiled.

Isabelle returned the smile with a light one of her own. “Thanks, Kaelie.”

She nodded and walked away, leaving the girls to quickly fall back into conversation.

“You know her?” Clary asked, leaning her arms on the table.

Izzy smiled. “One of Jace's exes.”

“Ah,” Clary nodded in understanding. She'd become friendly with quite a few of Simon and Jonathan's exes as well. “How is Jace? And Alec?”

Izzy stared at her for a moment, a teasing smile working its way onto her lips and making Clary's heart flutter in her chest. “Did Jonathan tell you to ask me that?”

“Yes, yes he did.” Clary laughed.

Izzy sighed, leaning her head on her hand. “He's trying to make it up to my brother, isn't he?”

“Yeah,” Clary nodded. “I think he feels bad.”

“I can see why, he was a complete dick to him when we met. No offence.” Izzy said.

“I completely agree,” Clary nodded, smiling to tell her she wasn't mad. “I know he seems harsh sometimes, but Jonathan really isn't that bad of a guy,” she looked at Izzy for a second before leaning a little closer, reveling in the way Izzy scooted closer as well. “Can I tell you a secret?”

“Absolutely.” Izzy grinned, a mischievous glint in her dark eyes.

“I don't think our brothers are really soulmates,” Clary said. Izzy raised an eyebrow at her and she leaned back slightly, sighing as she tried to think if how to explain her thoughts. “I know the soulmate system is flawed, I mean, a guy in my chemistry class last year's soulmate was a his cousin. There are flaws in the system, and you don't have to fall in love with your soulmate. I think Alec and Jonathan are just, one of those pairs.” She finished, leaning back in her seat and crossing her arms.

Izzy looked to be contemplating her words, and Clary worried her bottom lip between her teeth. Did she say something wrong? Did Isabelle believe in the old way where you always had to love your soulmate? She smiled politely at Kaelie when she brought them their drinks, quickly ordering something she knew she liked, watching as Izzy did so too and the waitress left again.

Izzy looked at her for a moment, fiddling with her straw, before she finally said something. “You don't think we're a flaw in the system, do you?”

“No!” Clary protested loudly, earning her glares from some of the other patrons. She lowered her voice as she spoke again. “No, absolutely not. Izzy,” she reached out, placing her hand over Izzy’s on the table. “I've been waiting my entire life to meet you.”

Izzy smiled at her, her eyes full of affection, and turned her hand to lace her fingers with Clary's. “Me too.” She said quietly.

“So, now's the part when we make awkward small talk and get to know each other, right?” Clary asked, changing the subject to something more suitable for first dates.

“Yeah,” Izzy laughed, striking her thumb over Clary's knuckles. “So, tell me about yourself.”

“What do you wanna know?”

“Everything,” Izzy smiled and Clary's cheeks flushed as red as her hair. “But why don't you start with you family. Who do you have marks for?”

Clary straightened her arm out, pointing to letters as she found them. “My mom, Luke, Jonathan, Simon, and Luke's sister, Cleophas. Although, I guess if things go well I'll be adding a few Lightwoods to my list too.”

“Four,” Izzy smiled, and Clary cocked her head slightly in confusion. Izzy pointed at her shoulder, shown off clearly by her sleeveless shirt, and labeled the marks. “My mom, Alec, Jace, and Max, my baby brother.”

“I didn't know you had a little brother.” Clary smiled.

Izzy’s eyes lit up at the mention of the youngest Lightwood. “He's in Idris with my dad. We don't see him as often as I'd like, but I still love him.”

“Why don't you have a mark for your dad?” Izzy frowned and Clary was quick to take back her words. “I'm sorry, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to.”

Izzy shook her head and smiled softly. “No, it's okay. My dad may as well be dead, he's been dead to my family since he cheated on my mom and tried to kill Alec.”

“Oh my god.” Clary breathed, and Izzy nodded her head.

“Yeah. Typical Lightwood family drama, I guess,” she shook her head again, as if to shake the thoughts from her head, and smiled at Clary. “What about you? Your mom and Luke are soulmates, yeah?” Clary nodded. “But Luke isn't your dad.”

Clary nodded again. “Yeah. He's her second soulmate.”

“Wow. Those are rare,” Izzy mused. “But that must mean your dad is-"

“Dead,” Clary finished for her. “Yeah. He died in the mortal war.”

“I'm so sorry.” Izzy said, running her thumb over Clary's hand in comfort.

Clary shook her head. “Don't be. I'm glad my mom has Luke. As much as she claims she did, I know my mom never really loved my dad, not really.”

Izzy nodded her head again, still for a moment, before she leaned forwards, the curious smile that Clary was growing to love making a reappearance on her face. “So how does it work? The whole second soulmates thing.”

“I'm not really sure,” Clary said. “I mean, I know the first soulmate has to die, and that you already had to have an emotional connection to your second soulmate for the mark to ever surface. I don't know if it works if you ever loved your first soulmate.”

Sooner than would have been appreciated, their food was delivered to their table and they had to let go go each others hands to eat. Clary had ordered a blt while Izzy went with some sort of pasta dish Clary couldn't pronounce the name of when she pointed it out on the specials menu, Izzy laughing at her failed attempts. Clary inquired some more about Alec, wanting to know at least a little bit about her platonic soulmate, though they mostly kept the conversation on themselves. They talked about Clary having a mostly mundane childhood, with the necessary Shadowhunter lessons thrown in every now and then. It was decided easily that she should talk to her mom about doing some training at the institute to better prepare her for demon fighting. Izzy suggested that maybe Alec would even start putting her on missions, or demon duty as Izzy preceded to call it. Clary showed off a few pictures of her friends she had taken on her phone, played a few videos of Simon’s gigs that she had recorded. It was agreed that she'd plan their next date, and once Izzy mentioned that she'd never seen a Disney movie Clary immediately decided that that was what they'd do. Izzy ended up paying, despite Clary's protests, and they walked out of the restaurant nearly three hours after they arrived.

“Hey Izzy?” Clary said, filling the momentary silence that had appeared between them. Izzy hummed her acknowledgement and Clary blushed slightly, stuttering over her words. “I really wanna hold your hand.”

Izzy turned, grinning brightly at her, before she quietly responded. “So hold it."

Clary reached out, changing her fingers with Izzy’s and smiling at how good it felt. They walked, joined hands swinging between them and a light chatter filling the air, until they eventually reached Clary's house. Izzy walked her to her door, standing beside her as Clary unlocked the door.

She slipped the key out of the lock, turning back around to face Izzy. “I had a really good time.”

“Me too.” Izzy said quietly, reaching out and tucking a stray piece of hair behind Clary's ear, smiling at the pink tint that rose on her cheeks. Her eyes darted to her lips for a split second, but it was all the motivation Clary needed to close the gap between them. She pressed their lips together gently, smiling into the kiss when Izzy leaned forwards to press her lips more firmly against hers. She pulled back what felt like an eternity later but still nothing enough.

She smiled up at Izzy, who kissed her cheek and took a step back. “Text me?”

“Yeah,” Clary nodded, pulling open the door. “Night, Izzy.”

“Goodnight, angel.” Izzy said, watching as Clary closed the door.

And if Clary squealed into her pillow for a few minutes after she got back to her room, well, nobody needed to know.

Chapter Text

“Alec!” the frantic voice was the first thing said boy heard when he answered his phone.

“Simon? Look, if you're looking for Jace, call him instead.” He went to hang up the phone, but Simon stopped him.

“No wait, please! It's an emergency!”

Alec sat up straight, hearing his back crack as he moved from his uncomfortable position lying on the couch that was much too small for his long body. “What happened?”

“Those Shadowhunters from before,” Simon said. His voice was panicked yet hushed, as if he was trying not to be heard. “They're back. They're here. Please, Alec you have to help me.”

“Where are you?” Alec had already stood up and pulled his jacket off the back of his chair. His phone was on speaker as he tried frantically to get his boots on and listen to Simon at the same time.

Something smashed in the distance and he heard Simon take in a sharp breath. “Hunters Moon. Hurry.”

The line went dead.

“Shit.” Alec cursed, quickly pulling on his quiver and rushing from the room. It took at least fifteen minutes to walk from the institute to the hunters moon and judging by the nature of the phone call that had just ended, that was time Simon and anyone else there did not have.

He made it to the doors of the hunters moon in a record breaking four minutes, sprinting the entire way. He activated his stamina rune quickly, trying to asses the state of the building as he did. When no immediate threats could be detected he pulled out his bow and kicked the door open. Nobody was inside.

“Simon?” he called quietly. He didn't want to attract any unwanted attention. Not after seeing what those Shadowhunters were willing to do to Clary. The one she'd encountered in the alley was dead, Jace had made sure of it, but he kept his guard up nonetheless.

The floor was covered in shattered glasses and pieces of broken chairs, a mix of alcohol and blood running from the counters. Alec suddenly found himself regretting not calling Jace for backup. Glass crunched under his shoes as he moved and he had half a mind to activate a soundlessness rune before somebody heard him. The bar was eerily empty. Alec had only been there a couple of times himself, but all of them included music and people coming and going. This wasn't right.

A scream from one of the back rooms drew his attention. Pulling out his bow as fast as he could, Alec spun to face the source of the noise just as a door was kicked open and a Shadowhunter moved out. He had a girl no older than six in his arms. Her status as a warlock was clearly marked by the gills on her neck. Silver cuffs were gleaming on her wrists. Alec felt his stomach twist itself into knots, but he held his ground.

“Who are you?” The Shadowhunter spat. The girl in his arms wiggled around trying to get away and the man tightened his grip, his hand moving to reach for the blade in his belt. She looked at him, her brown eyes wide, and he looked back at her, trying his best to tell her that he was going to get her out of there.

“Alexander Lightwood, Head of the New York Institute,” he said, raising his bow higher, aiming for the man's heart. It was hard to do so and be guaranteed he wouldn't hit the girls head. “State your name and position.”

“I'm not telling you that.” he snarled.

The door opened again and another Shadowhunter came out, this time dragging a woman with him, her arms chained together and her wrists sporting metal cuffs that matched that of the young girl. The man from before dropped the young girl and she immediately ran over to the woman. The other man let her go too and she crumpled to the ground, pulling the little girl tight to his chest. Whatever these men had done to them, it clearly wasn't good. Neither had enough energy to stand, relying heavily on the wall for support.

“I'm looking for a vampire. If you give him to me I'll leave you to whatever it is you're doing.” Alec was lying. He'd never leave these men alone, not now, not ever. They were going to pay for what they did to Clary, what they were doing to Simon. He wouldn't rest until they did.

The front door if the bar swung open, the afternoon sun spilling in causing the two men to wince at the sudden light. “What is going on in here?”

The voice was familiar. Alec wanted to turn around, to put a face to the familiar sound, but he wouldn't risk letting his guard down in the presence of men as dangerous as these two.

“Warlock.” The second man growled, pulling his own seraph blade from its holster. The light from the blade cast a shadow on his face that made him appear older, and Alec suddenly knew exactly who he was looking at.
“Michael.” He breathed.

The man grinned at him. “How sweet, he finally figured it out!”

“What the hell is all this. Michael, I thought you were dead!” Alec growled, aiming his bow directly for the man's heart.

“We don't have to explain yourself to you, Lightwood!” the other man spat, taking a step closer.

“Then explain yourselves to me,” the warlock said, stepping up beside Alec. “Leave Alexander out of it.”

“Victory or death.” The men said, their voiced eerily in sync.

“What?”

“Victory or death!” they said it louder this time, both turning their weapons on themselves.

Alec went to take a step closer, and they slit their throats. Blood ran from the now fallen bodies, pooling around the toe of his boot. Alec felt as though he was going to be sick.

Both men scanned the area again before the warlock let his magic fade, rushing forwards to the two girls Alec had momentarily forgotten. “Catarina, my dear, what happened?”

“I-I don't know,” the woman stuttered. “We came inside to quickly grab some ingredients and next thing I know I've got these cuffs on and I can't walk I, Magnus I can't remember. I can't remember.”

The warlock, Magnus, pulled her into a hug, letting her press her face into his chest. “It's alright, my dear, you're safe now.”

“Alec?” A voice called out from the back of the bar. He spun around, bow raised and ready to shoot. Instead of an enemy, however, he saw Simon, face bloodied and hair matted.
He let his bow drop. “Simon.”

“Alec.” Simon said again, more confidence in his words. He rushed forwards, seemingly without noticing, and threw his arms around Alec's neck.

Alec wasn't much of a hugger. He didn't hug people, not those he didn't know, and he especially didn't hug Simon Lewis. If asked about it later he'd blame it on the sudden lack of adrenalin. He wrapped his arms lightly around his waist. He didn't much feel like comforting Simon. He was frantic, but that wasn't new. Simon seemed to be in such a state over most things. Still, Jace would kill him if he thought he didn't at least try and comfort his distressed soulmate, so he patted him lightly on the back and pulled away.

“What happened?” he asked, rubbing some of the blood off Simon's cheek.

“I was in having a drink, you know, chatting with Maia, the bartender. And then these guys came in. I instantly recognized them from the bar. They looked the exact same. And they came in, and they had swords or whatever you guys call those things.”

“Seraph blades.” Alec supplied.

Simon nodded. “Yeah. They had those and they pulled them out. They told everyone to get on their knees or they'd kill us. I slipped out into the back when they grabbed a warlock, and then I immediately called you.”

“Okay,” Alec breathed, running his hand up and down Simon's arm for a moment. “Okay. That makes sense. Sort of,” he turned back to the three warlocks gathered on the floor. Now that he could take his time to look at them, he noticed that both had blood splattered along their dresses and arms. “Are you alright?”

The older one, Catarina, smiled lightly at him. “Thanks to the two of you. Although, I can't get these off.” she held up her wrists, which still had the cuffs clasped around them.

“Here, let me.” Alex said. He moved over and keeled down in front of her, carefully grabbing her arm. He traced an unlocking rune onto them and the metal popped open.

She stared at them curiously. “Magic didn't do anything, but a rune unlocked them. That is strange.”

Magnus turned suddenly, looking at Alec with a soft smile on his face. “I'm Magnus Bane. High Warlock of Brooklyn.”

Everything clicked for Alec. He knew who Magnus was. He'd never spoken to him, and he was positive the man didn't know him. He'd seen him in passing when he'd been in meeting with his parents, advanced a polite nod with him when passing in the halls, even overheard him talking to Luke, but he'd never met him. He never attended the cabinet meetings held at the institute. They were usually attended by a different warlock by the name of Ragnor Fell. Alec wondered why, if he was high warlock, he never bothered to attend. The thoughts left his head when he noticed Magnus was still looking at him, waiting for a reply.

“Alec Lightwood. Head of the New York Institute.” He said quickly.

“Alec, short for Alexander, I assume?” he hummed. Alec nodded and he smiled. “Aren't you a bit too young to be head of the institute?”

Alec shrugged, turning his attention back to Catarina to unlock her second cuff and remove them from the little girls wrists as well. He stood up, his back popping as he did so, and turned to Simon. “You should probably call Jace. Handling cleanup after something like this is usually his job.”

“Well, Alexander,” Magnus said, raising himself from the ground and offering a hand to Catarina, who gladly accepted. “As thanks for saving the life of my friend and god daughter, how about you let me buy you a drink?”

Alec looked at him, a small smile finding its way onto his lips. He didn't know this man, had never spoken to him up until fifteen minutes ago, but something in him felt drawn to accept. “That sounds fun. When?”

“How about right now?” Magnus suggested.

“I'd love that.” He smiled.

“Alec,” Simon said, grabbing his elbow. “Jonathan, remember?”

Oh, he remembered. His asshole of a soulmate didn't affect his decision at all. They weren't going on a date, and even if they were it wouldn't matter, because Jonathan was not his boyfriend. He never would be.

He turned to Magnus, a bright smile on his face. “Shall we?”

Magnus smiled back. “We shall.”

Chapter Text

Clary tapped on the arm of her chair impatiently. Izzy shot her a worried look and she smiled softly to ease her concerns. “Pick up, pick up.” she muttered, holding her phone to her ear.

“Hey Fray.”

“Alec!” Izzy jumped at the sudden noise and Clary gave her an apologetic smile. “I've been calling you for an hour, where are you?”

“I'm not sure,” he hummed. Clary could practically see him looking around wherever he was. “Some club, I think.”

He'd clearly stepped into the alley to answer her as she couldn't hear any music. “Why are you in a club?” Izzy raised an eyebrow at her comment and she shrugged, not understanding it either.

“I'm with a friend.”

“Well,” Clary sighed, rubbing at her arm. “You can tell your friend that you've got somewhere to be. There's an emergency, we need you here.”

Alec groaned and she fought the urge to smile even though he couldn't see her. “I just dealt with Simon's emergency like, two hours ago.”

“This is Simon emergency.” she told him.

“What?” he had gone into business mode, his head of the institute voice coming through the phone, replacing the voice of her friend. The change wasn't appreciated, Clary liked talking to friend Alec more than head of the institute Alec, but it was necessary. “What's going on?”

Clary took a breath. “We think we know who the guys are. Can you get here soon?”

“Where?” he was moving, and Clary could hear the music in the club now.

“My place.” she said.

“I'll be there as fast as I can.” He hung up immediately after he spoke.

Clary slipped her phone back into her pocket. Izzy moved and sat herself on the desk in front of where Clary was sitting. They'd taken over Jonathan's office for some privacy. Whatever this was, they knew the clave wasn't going to do anything about it. They were becoming increasingly worse at their jobs and the things Izzy had said about them made Clary glad that she had no association with them. “Alec said he'd get here as fast as he can.”

Izzy nodded, and leaned forwards, her elbows on her knees.

“I don't like the look of this, Izzy.” Clary said, looking up at her girlfriend.

“Me neither,” Izzy sighed, brushing some hair off of Clary's face. “I hate the fact that you're in so much danger with these guys around.”

“Hey, you're in danger too.” Clary protested, grabbing Izzy’s hand and holding it tightly in hers.

Izzy smiled faintly at her. “I know. But I've had proper training, I know what to expect in these types of fights. I don't wanna see you get hurt. Or Simon, or even Jonathan.”

“You saw what these guys are willing to do. You saw me outside that club. Who knows what they'll do if they get their hands on any of you,” Clary said. “I don't wanna see you get hurt either.”

Izzy sighed, motioning Clary to move to the side and squeezing into the chair next to her. “How is it I've only known you for four days?” She asked, leaning her head on Clary's shoulder.

“Seems like longer.” She replied, letting her head rest on Isabelle's.

A swirling orange light engulfed the room, wind shipping papers around slightly. Alec hopped through a portal, followed closely by a man Clary didn't recognize. The portal closed behind them.

“Hey.” Alec said, slightly out of breath.

“Hey,” Clary said in return. “Who's this?”

Alec opened his mouth to answer, but the man spoke before he could. “Magnus Bane, High Warlock of Brooklyn. I was there today when everything went down. I thought I might be of some assistance.”

The door to the office opened before either girl could respond and Jonathan entered the room. He stopped for a second, clearly surprised by the sight of the two men in his office. “Alec. What a pleasant surprise,” Alec only nodded politely in greeting, prompting Jonathan to continue before the silence got too awkward. “I heard the sound of the portal and assumed whoever you'd sent for had arrived.”

Clary nodded and stood from the chair, much to the disappointment of Isabelle who pouted a little before moving to join her. “Yeah. We're just waiting on Simon and Jace.”

As if prompted by their names, the two boys walked into the room. Jace had one arm on Simon's back as he stumbled a little. Clary wondered what had happened. From what Alec had told her briefly over text earlier, Simon had been fine when he left the bar.

“Hey!” Simon said, pointing at Magnus. “You're the cool warlock guy from the bar earlier!”

Magnus smiled at him. “I am indeed. It's good to see you're doing better.”

“Warlock?” Jonathan asked, leaning back on his desk and crossing his arms, one eyebrow raised.

“High Warlock.” Alec corrected, and Magnus shot him a smile.

“How curious.” Jonathan mumbled, the corner of his lips twitching up slightly.

Clary looked at him, but nobody else seemed to have noticed his comment, so she chose instead to get on with the reason they were here. “Alright, so here's what we know.”

“Simon and Alec were both able to provide enough detail about the men's appearances for Clary to sketch them,” Izzy said, sliding four pieces of paper across the table for everyone to look at. “As you'll see, there's one distinct detail in every one of these drawings that stands out.”

“The circle rune.” Jace said, letting his finger run over the shape on each of the drawings.

“Catarina described the men with one of them as well, yes,” Magnus said. At the confused glances of the others in the room he clarified. “The Warlock girl that was there with Simon earlier.”

Clary nodded. “Exactly. All four of these men, and presumably many others, are part of a rogue group of Shadowhunters called the circle.”

“Circle members?” Jonathan said, his eyes wide in alarm. “But I thought they were all killed?”

“So did I.” Clary frowned.

“Wait,” Simon said, putting up his hands to gain attention. “What exactly is the circle?”

Jonathan took a deep breath. “The circle is a group of Shadowhunters who aim to kill off all Downworlders and, in most cases, nephilim who have demon blooded soulmates.”

“Why do you know so much about the circle?” Jace asked.

“Before his death, the circle was lead by our father,” Jonathan said. “Valentine Morgenstern.”

Izzy turned to look at Clary. “You never told me that.”

Clary rubbed at her neck sheepishly. “It's not exactly first date information.”

“I can assure you, neither of us are fond of our fathers barbaric ideals, although I understand if you want us removed from this investigation.” Jonathan said. He looked at the ground, shame clear in his eyes.

Alec laid a hand gently on Jonathan's shoulder, prompting him to look up. “Its okay. I believe you.”

Jonathan gave him a faint smile in return, loosening his shoulders and the cross in his arms. Magnus looked at him with poorly concealed jealousy in his eyes. It was quite curious, Clary would admit, but she wouldn't bring it up.

“That explains the cuffs.” Magnus muttered.

“What cuffs?” Jace questioned, moving over to Simon and grabbing his arm to inspect his wrists.

“Relax,” Magnus said. “Simon didn't wear them. They're magic suppressing cuffs, given to warlocks so they can't use their powers.”

Izzy looked at him with wide eyes. “I didn't know something like that existed.”

“They're quite rare. A very powerful warlock would have had to make them. I know I have a pair, own I can use if I encounter a particularly problematic warlock. It took almost all of my magic to make one pair, o hate to think what happened to the warlock who made more than one.” Magnus explained.

“Why could I open them with a rune,” Alec piped up. “But you couldn't open them with magic?”

“That is a very good question, and I'm afraid I don't have the answer.” Magnus said apologetically.

“Alec,” Clary said. “Can we have access to the institute's library? I feel like you have more resources than we do here.”

He smiled. “Of course.”

“Is that all we've got?” Jace asked.

She nodded. “That's it so far. I'm sorry.”

“You have no reason to be?” Izzy assured her, wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her closer. “This is more than we would have found in twice as much time.”

“You really were helpful Clary.” Jace assured her.

“You were too.” Alec told Jonathan.

He raised an eyebrow at him. “I'm sorry?”

“You were helpful,” Alec clarified. “I'm sure Clary didn't do all of this on her own.”

Jonathan smiled at him. “No, I suppose I may take some of the credit.”

Alec smiled back and went to say something else but Magnus interrupted him. “Alexander, may I speak with you outside?”

“Oh,” Alec looked surprised that Magnus wanted to talk to him but he nodded anyways. “Yeah. Sure.”

“Great.” Magnus gave him a tight smile and slipped out of the room, leaving Alec to follow him. He looked over at Clary and Izzy, eyes wide in confusion, and when both girls shrugged he sighed and moved to follow Magnus.

“If that's everything you guys know I think I'll head back to the institute. Take a nap, maybe dive into some books later on.” Jace said.

“I'll come,” Simon said, but quickly corrected himself. “If you want me to, I mean.”

Jace smiled at him and grabbed his hand. “Of course I do.”

“Go,” Izzy waved them out of the room. “Your lovey dovey faces are making me sick.”

They laughed and Jace pulled Simon out of the room, knocking their shoulder together as they went.

Jonathan straightened and shook out his limbs. “I suppose I'll be on my way too. Call me if you need me, okay?”

“Get some sleep, Jonathan. We can handle this.” Clary told him.

He smiled and walked over, planting a kiss on her forehead. He walked over to Izzy after, patting her on the arm. “Make sure she gets some sleep, yeah?” he said quietly so Clary wouldn't hear him as she fiddled with the papers on the table.

“Of course.” she told him, squeezing his arm.

He nodded at the girls and slipped out of the room as well, leaving the two of them alone in the empty office once again. Clary moved around the room, slipping books off shelves and ultimately returning them to their places when they weren't useful at first glance. Izzy sighed, moving up behind her and wrapping her arms around her waist, resting her chin on her shoulder. Clary smiled a little, relaxing in her arms as she continued to leaf through the most recent pull from the shelf.

“Why don't you get some sleep?” Izzy suggested. Clary sighed and slipped the book back into the shelf, moving to grab another one. Izzy grabbed her hand and pulled it back to plant a kiss on her knuckles. “I'm serious, Clary. We can pick this up again at the institute in the morning. For now,” she rotated Clary in her arms to face her, running her thumb along her cheekbone. “You need to rest. We all do.”

Clary sighed, dropping her forehead to rest on Izzy’s. Izzy stroked comforting circles into her back where her arms were still around her. “I hate feeling like I can't do anything.”

“Hey,” Izzy said softly, lifting her face to look her in the eye. “You're doing so much more than you think you are. I promise.”

“Thank you.” Clary said quietly and Izzy smiled at how adorable she was.

She leaned forwards and placed a gentle kiss on the end of Clary's nose, causing the girl to giggle and Izzy’s heart to melt. It wasn't love, she would never say love after four days of dating, but it definitely felt like it would be. She pulled away, grinning at Clary's protesting whine, and guided her out of the room with one hand on the small of her back, flicking out the lights and closing the door behind her. “Come on, let's get you to bed.”

“Will you stay?” Clary asked, grabbing Izzy’s hand as they walked to her room.

Izzy knocked their shoulders together and intertwined their fingers, her grin growing. “Always.”

Chapter Text

When Magnus asked to speak with him outside, Alec had thought they would be stepping out of the room, not walking the streets of New York. Magnus didn't say anything, just stuffed his hands in his pockets and walked, leaving Alec to trail a little bit behind him a wonder what he wanted to talk about. It wasn't cold out, it was actually quite warm, but the New York air and the lack of anything to do with his hands made him wish he had brought a jacket. This was the second time that night he found himself walking rows of shops and houses with Magnus, but this time was considerably less pleasant than the last.

Eventually he decided he'd bad enough, reaching forwards and grabbing Magnus’s arm. He turned to look at him, eyes sad, and Alec regretted everything he'd ever done wrong before that moment. “Magnus, why are we here?”

“That's a very good question,” Magnus hummed. “I often find myself asking that as well.”

“You said you wanted to talk,” Alec said, starting to find himself annoyed with the warlock. That's something he never wanted to happen. “So talk.”

Magnus sighed, grabbing Alec's arm and dragging him into a nearby alley. It was the type Alec had often forced demons into to kill them, and it was rather ironic that now he was being forced into it with no idea what was to happen. He didn't voice his thoughts out loud. Magnus could kill him if he wanted to, Alec didn't want to give him more of a reason to by being annoying. He stood with back close to the wall, face to face with Magnus, who looked up at him with wide eyes. He took a step closer, lifting his hand to sit on Alec's collarbone, the only part of his abdomen not marked with runes. Instead, it was marked with scars.

“What happened?” he asked, his thumb trailing over his skin.

Alec didn't have to look to know he was asking about a particularly nasty scar, one that delved deeper down into the collar of his shirt. It was a scar with a story that didn't match up with all the rest, but he would pretend it did anyways. “Demon attack.”

“You're lying.” Magnus said simply. He didn't look up, he didn't have to. Alec was a horrible liar.

“Magnus-" Alec tried.

Magnus cut him off. “Jonathan is your soulmate.” there was emotion in his voice. No jealousy, no hatred, no excitement. There was nothing.

Alec took a deep breath. “Yes.”

“You hate him,” Magnus said. He opened his mouth to speak but Magnus stopped him. “You told me you hated him. So why were you being so nice to him?”

“He's my soulmate.” Alec said simply.

Magnus sighed, finally looking up at him. His eyes were sad. “I know he's your soulmate, and I know how you were raised. You told me you hated him, I've seen your soulmate mark. You promised me you'd never love him. That's why I'm angry, Alec. I've seen what you've done to yourself over that goddamn soulmate mark, and now that you've met the man you're sweeping years of hating him under the rug.”

“I-" Alec went to move his arm out of sight, knowing he was talking about the hundreds of scars littered around the golden words on his arm.

Magnus grabbed it before he could move it, lacing their fingers together and moving his arm so it was between them. “How did you get that scar, Alexander?”

“I tried to kill myself,” he said. Magnus’s eyes widened. Whatever he was expecting Alec to say, it certainly hadn't been that. He opened his mouth to speak again, probably to apologise for asking, but now that Alec had said it he didn't want to stop. “It was about a month after the mark set in. A massive demon hunt had gone wrong, people had died, good people, and it was my fault. And the mark it, it didn't help. I thought so poorly of myself, hated myself so much for what I let happen. I shoved a seraph blade into my chest.”

Magnus sucked in a deep breath, hand clutching Alec's tighter. “Alec-"

“I almost did it, I almost died,” Alec continued, cutting Magnus off. “But Jace felt something through the parabatai bond and practically broke down my bedroom door. They took me to the infirmary, said it was an accident so they wouldn't send me to the silent city. They wouldn't leave me alone for months after that, not even at night.”

“Oh, Alexander.” Magnus mumbled. He dropped Alec's hand, instead choosing to run his fingers through the back of his hair.

“I thought I was getting better,” he was crying, he knew he was, but he couldn't find it in himself to stop talking now that he'd started. “I really did. I hadn't had any episodes in almost a year. I got the head of the institute job, my parents finally split, everything was great. But then I met Jonathan and everything came back to me and,” he took another deep breath, furiously rubbing away the tears falling from his eyes. “And I bought a bottle of pills.”

Magnus couldn't listen anymore. He grabbed the back of Alec's neck, pulling him down into the tightest hug he could muster. He let the boy sob into his shoulder, running soothing hands up and down his back. He regretted ever bringing up the topic. Seeing Alec hurt the way he was, it was killing him. “I'm so sorry, darling.”

Alec shook his head, wrapping his arms around Magnus’s waist and drawing him closer. Magnus pulled himself up on it his toes slightly, making the position easier on the tall man. They must make quite a sight, Alec thought, another sob racking his body. Anyone passing by could just see this happening, no glamours hiding them from the outside world.

“Come with me,” Magnus suggested, running his fingers up and down Alec's neck to soothe him. “I'll portal us back to my loft. You can calm down, I'll make you some tea.”

Alec nodded against his shoulder and Magnus moved one hand away from him, waving a portal into the wall directly behind them and taking a few steps to guide Alec through. He was still clutching to the back of his shirt, tear tracks looking out of place on his skin. The portal dumped them into Magnus’s front room before swishing closed behind them. Magnus turned Alec in his arms, making him face him. He brushed away the tears still lingering underneath his eyes. Alec had forced himself to stop crying. This wasn't what he did. He was head of the institute for God's sake. He didn't have time to cry over shitty soulmate marks and suicidal thoughts with a man he'd hardly known for eighteen hours.

“I'll be right back.” Magnus promised, standing up on his toes to press a light kiss on Alec's forehead before swiftly walking from the room.

Alec stayed exactly where he was. He didn't dare move a muscle incase he disturbed anything in the room. Magnus had a nice home, and Alec's scruffy appearance looked horrifically out of place amidst all the shiny object and fancy furniture. He found himself shrinking away from it all, curling in on himself despite his large size and standing position. His mother had always told him he looked extra small in large rooms. He'd never really understood what she meant. He was a large person, taking up more of the space in a room than should be strictly necessary. As he got older, though, he figured out what her words meant.

Alec was not, as it were, as large of a person as he thought. Sure, he was tall, but that was the only way in which the words applied to him. Jace was a large person, both in physique and in his personality. He filled the room when he entered it, demanding and receiving attention. Izzy, although she was rather small, had a large personality and commanded respect everywhere she went. Alec was quite the opposite of his little sister. He stayed behind, hanging more in the shadows than the spotlight, the only thing about him reigning in respect was his title, what he could do to a person, not his personality. In most cases, he was feared, not respected.

He looked down and the golden writing against his skin once again caught his eye. Disgust swirled in his stomach and without thinking Alec slipped his stele out of his pocket, burning line after line into his skin as if he were trying to carve away the mark the universe had decided to give him. Magnus was back at his side quickly, pulling his stele from his hands. Alec didn't have the energy to fight him off. He hadn't even heard him come in. He let his hand hover above Alec's arm, his magic smoothing away the cuts and burns, wiping away the scars they would have left if Alec healed them on his own, slowly easing him down onto the couch. “Oh, Alexander. What are you doing to yourself?”

His shoulders were shaking. Alec distantly recognized that he was crying again, and immediately tried to stop himself from doing so. Magnus had already noticed, however, and quickly pulled Alec into his side. He let him, dropping his head onto his shoulder and letting himself cry, letting his body workout whatever he was going through. Truth be told, he didn't even know. He didn't know how to explain any of it.

“You don't have to love him.” Magnus said quietly. The comment only caused Alec to sob harder.

“I can't, I can't-" he couldn't finish his words.

“Shhh,” Magnus scooted him, running his fingers through the back of his hair. “You're okay."

“I'm supposed to love him, he's my soulmate, but-" he cut himself off, not wanting to say it out loud.

“But?” Magnus prompted, still running his hands along his body soothingly.

Alec took a deep breath, pressing his face further into Magnus’s neck. “I don't love him.”

“Good,” Magnus told him, pressing a kiss to his hair. “He doesn't deserve you.”

Alec laughed, sitting up and running the tears away from his eyes. Magnus immediately reached out to do it more gently, his hands gentle on his face. “You haven't even known me for a day, how do you know if he deserves me?”

“Because,” Magnus said, drawing Alec back into another hug. “I'm an excellent judge of character.”

Alec left it at that, not wanting to disrupt the moment they found themselves in. He could believe Magnus, for now at least. Maybe the universe was wrong, and Jonathan wasn't Alec's soulmate. Maybe Alec was judging him wrong, maybe he was actually amazing and was so caught up in making sure his sister was okay that he called Alec and his siblings those awful things without thinking. Maybe, just maybe, everything would work out for Alec in the end. He desperately hoped Magnus was right. He wanted him to be right. For once in his life, Alec wanted to be hopeful.

Chapter Text

“Clary.”

She didn't respond, just hummed and rolled over, burying her face in Izzy’s shoulder.

“Clary,” Izzy tried again. “We've gotta get up.”

“Don't wanna.” she mumbled, the sound muffled where her mouth was pressed on Izzy’s skin.

She smiled and ran her fingers through her hair. “Me neither. But my mom is here.”

Clary startled at that, sitting up and looking down at her girlfriend. “What?”

“My mom is in New York.” Izzy explained, a small smile growing on her face.

“Izzy!” Clary exclaimed, hitting her on the shoulder. “Why didn't you tell me she was coming!

She laughed, wrapping her arms around Clary's waist and pulling the pouting girl back down next to her. “It's a surprise visit.”

“Why don't I believe you?” Clary looked up at her, a small smile playing at the corners of her lips.

Izzy kissed the top of her head. “Because I'm lying.”

Clary shoved her out of the bed. She fell to the floor, ribs aching as she laughed, unable to stop the giggles that overtook her body. Clary looked over the edge of the bed, her own shoulders shaking as she laughed. Their laughter continued for a minute, a happy break in what was to be a rather stressful day. Eventually Izzy pulled herself up off the floor, using the headboard for support as she did so. Clary, who was still sat on the bed, looking up at her, and Izzy couldn't but mean over and kiss the wide eyed girl. She practically melted into it and Izzy smiled, holding out her hand in a sign that she should probably get up.

Clary groaned loudly, causing a smile to break out on Izzy face, and took the offered hand, hauling herself to her feet. She closed the gap between them again, pressing her lips to the other girls ever so lightly. “Good morning.”

“Good morning.” Izzy smiled, kissing her lightly on the nose before she turned away, already mentally planning outfits for the two of them.

“I'm assuming you already know what we're wearing?” Clary asked her as if she'd been reading her mind.

Izzy looked back, grinning at Clary as she moved to the bathroom to take a shower. “Of course.”

Clary laughed, and Izzy just got a glimpse of her back as she started pulling her shirt over her head, kicking the door closed behind her. She heard the shower turn on and got to work pulling things out of Clary's closet. She had none of her own clothes with her so she had to improvise and find something of hers that she would wear. Clary had a lot of cute clothes, but none of it was exactly Izzy’s style. She found something for Clary almost instantly, but finding something for herself seemed impossible. She wanted to look good, to impress her mother. She was over thinking this more than she needed go but she couldn't help it. She would always strive for her mother's approval.

Arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her out of her thoughts. “Find something?” Clary asked. She had thrown on one of Simon's shirts quickly, her hair still slightly wet and dripping onto Izzy’s shoulder.

She turned around and smiled, pecking Clary lightly on the lips. “Here's yours.” She handed over a pair of jeans, a white tank top, and some black boots.

Clary smiled, putting them down on the bed before turning back to her girlfriend. “And for you?”

“Nothing,” Izzy looked at the ground, her cheeks tinting slightly. “I think I'm just overthinking it.”

“How about I pick?” She suggested.

Izzy looked up, her eyes wide and curious. “Yeah, okay.”

“Go take your shower,” Clary smiled, ushering her into the bathroom. “I've got this.”

She did, in fact, have it, and when Izzy came back out she was presented with an outfit she'd never have thought of but absolutely loved. She wasn't even aware that Clary owned the dress she handed her. She'd changed already, and Izzy had to take a moment to collect herself with just how good she looked.

“So?” Clary prompted.

Izzy smiled at her. “It's perfect.”

She pulled her shirt over her head without a second thought, her bright red bra clearly catching Clary's attention. She reached for the dress and smiled, catching Clary staring. “My eyes are up here.” She teased, and Clary practically squeaked, busying herself with drying her hair fully while Izzy pulled the dress over her head, stepping into the heels Clary had let her borrow. They were brand new, that was clear to her, and she suspected they were a gift from someone she'd never worn. She sat down to do her makeup, smiling at Clary when she leaned on the table, her hair pulled up into a ponytail.

“I hope your mom likes me.” She mumbled, fiddling with the edge of her shirt.

“She'll love you.” Izzy promised, flicking on a coat of mascara.

She saw Clary smile in the mirror. “What makes you so sure?”

“Because,” Izzy said, lowering her brush for a second in favour of looking over at her girlfriend. “You're my soulmate, and I love you, so she will too.”

She'd said she loved her. The words “I Love You” had actually just come out of Izzy’s mouth, and she said them like they were the most obvious thing in the world. They'd been dating for a week, seven entire days, but yet Clary found herself wanting more than anything to return the sentiment and tell her she loved her too. She didn't though, just smiled and leaned over to kiss the top of Izzy’s head, watching in silence as she finished her makeup.

The walk to the institute was quiet. Clary held tightly to Izzy’s hand as they went, nerves filling her body. Neither said anything, both clearly concerned about different things. Alec was just wandering up to the institute as they arrived, rolling up the sleeves of his shirt.

“Alec!” Clary called over. She hadn't seen him much, hardly knew anything about him, but his presence calmed her.

He grinned, slowing down to let the girls catch up. “That's not your dress.” he commented, throwing a knowing glance at Izzy.

“That's not your shirt.” She responded. Alec looked down at himself, his eyes widening a little as if he'd just realized he wasn't wearing his own clothing.

“Did you spent the night with Magnus?” Clary teased, elbowing him in the rib lightly.

Alec scoffed. “Shut up.” he mumbled, throwing an arm around Clary's shoulder. He'd never done that before, but it somehow felt right, like that's what was supposed to happen.

Izzy pushed open the doors of the institute, her heels clicking on the polished floors, the sound ringing out around them. Clary knew it must look pretty unprofessional for Alec to be showing up this late, somebody else's clothes on his body and his arm tossed around someone most of these people had never seen, but she couldn't find it in herself to move and preserve his reputation. From the way he only pulled her closer as they walked through, she could tell he clearly had no intention of doing so either. He waved a hand at a man she didn't know, smiling brightly at another, and rounded the corner into his office.

“Mother.” he greeted, finally slipping his arm from Clary's shoulder. She had no idea why he'd done it in the first place, or why he'd kept his arm there for so long. Protection, maybe, but from what she didn't know.

“My boy!” a woman, who looked exactly like Clary imagined Izzy would look in thirty years, smiled excitedly, standing up from where she'd been sitting on a couch. Her heels clicked as she walked over to him, and pulled him down into a tight hug. He returned it wholeheartedly. Clary could definitely see where he and Izzy got their nature from. A minute of knowing the woman and she could already pinpoint fifty similarities, from the way she walked to the way her eyes lit up at the sight of her children. “And my beautiful daughter.” She smiled again, this time bringing Izzy into a hug.

Izzy wrapped her arms around her mom, closing her eyes as she squeezed her. “Hi, mom.”

She pulled away from Izzy, looking between her kids with a proud glint in her eyes. Her gaze then traveled to Clary, who ring her hands behind her back nervously. “And who might this be?”

“This is Clary Fairchild,” Izzy said, walking over and grabbing her hand. Clary sent a quick thanks to the angel, feeling her throat close up, unsure of whether or not she would have been able to speak had she been made to. “She's my soulmate, and Alec's platonic soulmate.”

Her face broke out into a massive grin and she reached over, grabbing hold of one of Clary's hands, patting it lovingly. “It's so amazing to meet you, Clary.”

“You too, Mrs. Lightwood.” Clary replied.

She laughed, shaking her head lightly. “Please, call me Maryse.”

The door to the offices swung open and a small head of black hair poked in. A young boy, no older than nine, grinned excitedly up at the others on the room and rushed over, throwing his arms around Alec's legs. “You're here!”

“Max!” Alec said excitedly. He bent over, enveloping the boy in a massive hug.

Max rushed over to Izzy next, who had already squatted down to pull her baby brother into a tight embrace. “I missed you so much.” She mumbled into his hair, pressing a series of quick kisses there, careful not to get lipstick in his hair.

“Is it true,” Max asked, looking up at Clary excitedly. “You guys are soulmates?

“That's right, Max.” Alec smiled affectionately, ruffling the small boys hair.

“I see you've met your soulmate as well.” Maryse commented, gesturing to the bright gold adorning Alec's arm.

He gave her a tight lipped smile and nodded. “I have.”

“Congratulations,” she said, pulling him into another hug which he returned instantly. Alec was much more of a hugger than Clary had thought he'd be, but she'd never complain about hugs, especially from her platonic soulmate. She just barley caught Maryse whispering into his ear. “We'll talk later.”

“I'm Clary.” She told Max, desperate to break the awkward tension that had wrapped around the room.

“Are you perhaps Jocelyn Fairchild’s daughter?” Maryse asked, quick to change the topic. Alec looked grateful.

“Yeah.” Clary said, nodding quickly.

Maryse smiled. “I remember your older brother, Jonathan. He and Alec knew each other when they were tiny little things. I lost contact with your mother when she left Idris. It's a shame, really.”

Alec's face fell when she mentioned Jonathan, but Clary was quick to dismiss her brother. “I'm sure my mom would love to see you."

“I'd love to see her too,” Maryse smiled, tucking her hair behind her ear. The action made her seem younger, even a little bit shy. “Maybe we should get together, all of us.”

Clary smiled. “I'd like that.”

“Mom, if you don't mind,” Izzy jumped in, grabbing hold of Clary's hand. “I was gonna give Clary a tour of the institute.”

“Of course!” Maryse said, offering the girls another hug.

Alec leaned over, pressing a quick kiss to each of their foreheads. Max merely grumbled as Izzy ruffled his hair. Maryse grabbed her son's arm, preventing him from leaving despite the obvious parting action he'd just had with the girls. He looked back at her, eyes wide, and she instantly withdrew her hand. Clary could feel a momentary panic so strong it burst through their bond, and she could hardly stop herself from staying back with him instead of going with Izzy.

Izzy lead her out into the hallway and around a corner, pulling her into a small alcove along the side wall. They seemed rather well hidden, and Clary didn't count on anyone catching them, which is why she so readily accepted it as Izzy cupped her face and kissed her. She pulled back, a massive grin on her face, stroking soft lines across her cheek. “I told you she'd love you.”

Clary couldn't help the small smile that spread on her face, all concern for Alec momentarily forgotten. She pulled Izzy towards her, wrapping her arms around her neck in a hug. She had to stand on her toes a bit to compete with her height in the heels, but the peaceful feeling that swept over them made it well worth it. They held onto each other, neither wanting to let go just yet, and Clary could almost forget about the horrible situation that had Maryse Lightwood in New York in the first place.

Chapter Text

Maryse closed the door to Alec's office after sending Max off to find Jace. She knew Jace wasn't in the institute, he had told her an hour before that he was going on a date with his soulmate, so Alec assumed it was time for the conversation he'd been putting off having with her. The thing Magnus had said had been a little bit comforting, he wouldn't lie. It was nice to know that Magnus was in his corner, that he was okay with Alec not loving Jonathan, but it didn't ease the feeling that he was letting his family down.

“So,” Maryse said, leaning back on his desk. “Tell me about your soulmate.”

Alec stood up straighter, rolling his shoulders back and clapping his hands together behind him. “His name is Jonathan. He's Clary's older brother.”

Her eyebrows pulled together slightly in confusion. “That's odd.”

“What?” he asked.

She shook her head. “It's nothing, ignore me. I just figured it wouldn't be him as you've known him since infancy, but neither of you could talk, so I suppose your mark would have set in wrong.”

Alec nodded, pretending he understood what she meant. There was a lot he didn't know about soulmate bonds. It was seen as taboo amount Shadowhunters. You let your soulmate, you married them, you had two or three kids, you lived happily ever after. Or as close as Shadowhunters could get. They didn't reach about it because it was assumed that you didn't need to know these things, you'd just marry your soulmate and be done with it. Clearly, he was very out of the loop.

“I've never seen actually seen your mark,” his mother said, walking closer to him. He pulled his sleeve down instinctively. “You never told me what it says.”

“I, uh, it-" Alec stammered, unsure of what he should do. She cocked her head to the side slightly, her eyes wide with curiosity about why he was acting the way he was, nd he thrust his arm out, not daring to tell her what it actually said.

She read over the line, her smile dropping into a frown as she finished it, and she gently unrolled his sleeve to cover it. “Oh, Alec,” she mumbled, placing a hand gently on his cheek. “I never knew.”

He shook his head. “I never told you.”

“You know, as Shadowhunters it's expected that we'll obey tradition and marry our soulmates, but you don't have to.” She told him.

“I don't wanna let you down.” He mumbled, looking towards the floor.

She placed a finger under his chin, lifting his head to look her in the eyes. “Nothing you do would ever let me down, I promise. I am so proud of you, Alec. Not loving your soulmate will never, ever, make me love you less.”

Alec didn't respond, he just pulled her forwards and hugged her. He'd been hugging a lot more lately than he had before in most other times in his life. The only other few days he could think of when he initiated physical contact as much as he had in the past few days was when he was younger and his father had been banished for attempting to kill him. Maryse squeezed him tight to her, her presence calming him in a way only a mother could, and he slowly felt his shoulders drop from the hard line they'd formed. He didn't cry like he did when he'd spoken to Magnus. That night had been fdsr more emotional and far more draining. He just hugged her, letting his actions speak louder than his words.

A sudden knock at the door broke Alec from his thoughts, and he reluctantly yet quickly pulled away from his mother, smoothing out his shirt and rolling his shoulders back to regain his professional appearance. Maryse patted him on the shoulder as she moved away from him, going to his bookshelf to pretend that they were doing something productive instead of discussing his most recent dramas. “Come in!”

The door opened just a crack and a familiar head of blonde hair peeked in. “Alec,” he breathed, his accent somehow thicker than he remembered it being the day before. “I was told I might find Clary here.”

“Izzy took her for a tour.” Alec told him, smiling lightly as he pushed the door open more fully and walked into the room, his presence filling it yet shrinking away at the same time.

“And who might you be?” Maryse asked, her heels clicking as she walked over to Jonathan.

He flushed a little, holding out his hand for her to shake. “Jonathan Morgenstern, Alec's soulmate.”

“Maryse Lightwood,” she told him firmly, shaking his hand with more force than was necessary. “Alec's mother.”

“What did you need, Jonathan?” Alec asked, saving him from the right lipped smile and hard eyes of his mother.

Jonathan gave him a thankful smile and walked over, leaning on the edge of his desk. “I've had some thoughts about the case that I was hoping to share with the group.”

“I'll go grab the girls.” Maryse declared instantly, standing up and moving from the room, shutting the door behind her. It was a clear show of her giving the boys privacy, and Alec was eternally grateful that they'd already had the conversation they'd had a few minutes prior. He shot off a quick text to Jace and another to Magnus before turning his attention to his soulmate.

“Alec,” Jonathan started, his dark eyes landing on Alec's bright ones. They made quite a pair, Jace had commented, stark black against soft blonde, blue eyes against brown so dark it could almost be black. “We need to talk.”

Alec nodded. “We do.”

“You don't love me.” Jonathan said, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Jonathan-" Alec started to protest, but he continued speaking as if Alec hadn't at all.

“It's okay. You don't have to love me. I was quite rude when you first met me.” he said.

Alec smiled a little at that. “You were a dick.”

Jonathan chuckled. “A massive dick, yes. I don't blame you for not loving me.”

“I wish I did.” Alec said.

“No you don't.” Jonathan laughed.

Alec swapped past the lump in his throat. “I don't love you, Jonathan, but I do like you. I care about you.”

“I care about you too,” Jonathan smiled, moving from the desk to stand across from Alec, placing a hand gently on his arm. “Which is why I hope we can still be friends, despite our situation.”

Alec nodded, a grin breaking out across his face. “Of course.” he sat down in an armchair, bragging a book he'd been skimming earlier, sending that the conversation was done. Apparently Jonathan didn't think so.

“That warlock, I've seen the way you look at him,” he said, sitting down on the arm of the chair Alec was in. “You love him.”

“I don't.” he quickly denied it.

“Maybe not yet, but you will,” Jonathan said, his voice soft and painfully honest. “And I want you to be careful.”

“He won't do anything.” Alec reasoned, looking up at the boy.

He smiled fondly at Alec. “I should hope not. If he did, I fear Isabelle would rip his arm off,” Alec laughed at that, shaking his head fondly, knowing that was something his sister would absolutely do. “I'm talking about the circle.”

“They're targeting Nephilim with demon blooded soulmates,” Alec said. “Magnus isn't my soulmate, and unless you have demon blood, I should be fine.”

“He may not be your soulmate, but you still care a great deal about him. They may use that to get to him.” Jonathan explained.

Alec stopped reading, his mind processing this information. “I didn't think of that.”

“Promise me you'll be careful.” he practically begged, placing a hand on Alec's shoulder.

Alec pulled him down, wrapping his arms around his waist awkwardly due to their odd position. “I promise.” he mumbled into his shoulder.

Jonathan pulled away, sweeping away some hair that had fallen in Alec's eyes, a fond smile on his face. The door opened, no knocking beforehand announcing anyone's presence, and in strolled Jace, Simon, and Magnus. The latter stopped, his eyes widening a little. “Are we interrupting something?”

“Not at all.” Jonathan smiled, crossing his arms and leaning further into Alec's shoulder. He didn't pay him much attention, just flashed him a smile before returning his attention to the book in his lap.

Maryse appeared again in the open doorway, trailing two blushing girls behind her. “I caught them making out in the training room.” she said, causing Clary to flush even more and Izzy to laugh lightly, grabbing her hand and pressing a kiss to the back of it.

“Jonathan?” Clary asked. “Why are you here?”

“We have something we need to discuss.” Jonathan told them, sitting up straighter. Alec frowned at the loss of contact but made no love to initiate it again.

“What's up?” Simon asked, reclining on the couch he and Jace had taken over, his boyfriends arm tossed around his shoulders.

“It's about you, actually.” Jonathan said.

“Simon?” Jace asked, panic clear in his voice. “What's wrong with him?”

Jonathan gave him a tight smile. “I'd say that nothing was wrong to ease your mind, but I would be lying.”

Simon looked at him with wide, fear clouded eyes. “What's wrong with me?”

“Nothing that can kill you,” Jonathan assured him. “I think they'd much prefer you alive.”

“What are you talking about?” Alec asked, his voice athourative despite who he was talking to.

Jonathan leaned forwards, his elbows reading on his knees. “I was thinking, you're a vampire.”

“I kinda know that already.” Simon hissed, and Jace quickly shushed him, clearly curious as to where this was going.

“So why is it that you defy one of the biggest parts of being a vampire?” Jonathan mused. The others looked at him in confusion and he delved back into the explanation. “You can walk in the sun, Simon. Vampires shouldn't be able to do that.”

Clary eyes widened as she looked between her brother and best friend. “Oh my god.”

“I think I can explain that.” Magnus said.

Maryse nodded at him. “As do I.”

Alec looked between them, his eyes drifting over the fear on the faces of Simon, Clary, and Jace. Izzy looked merely uncomfortable, clearly not sure what to make of the situation. Jonathan looked calm, more curious than anything else, but Alec knew beneath that he was scared for Simon. “What is it?”

“Downworlders, mundanes, and Nephilim are built very differently in terms of powers and abilities,” Magnus started, waving his hands about has he talked, placing the room slightly. “Soulmates are supposed to be a blessed union, the entire purpose to be madly in love and grow old together. But, when Nephilim and Downworlders or mundanes and Downworlders are marked as soulmates, the ability to have that future of firing old together doesn't always work.”

“Immortals, like warlocks and seelies and vampires.” Izzy deduced.

Magnus nodded. “Exactly. So, sometimes, if the bond between the two is strong enough, or if they were fated instead of just happening, abilities of one can be passed to the other. For our vampire friend here, it was the ability to walk in the sun, and more than likely the ability to age.”

“A mortal daylighter,” Jonathan mused. “Congratulations on being a rarity, Simon.”

“It's not something I would congratulate him on.” Maryse said.

Simon, who had been smiling at the prospect of being this special, looked up at her, his face falling. “Why?”

“It's commonly believed that the circle killed the Downworlders and Shadowhunters they kidnapped, but that isn't strictly true. They kill them when they're no longer of use to them. Originally, the capture and hold soulmates pairs of demon and angel blood to try and harness their ability to share their powers. They do it in hopes of becoming stronger, of being the ultimate power.” Maryse explained.

“That's why they keep going after Simon,” Jace said, his arm tightening around his soulmate. “Because he inherited some of my abilities.”

Maryse nodded. “It would seem so.”

Clary frowned, crossing her arms. “What are we gonna do?”

Alec looked up at her, his eyes glinting with something the others couldn't quite place. “I have an idea,” he said, a small smile working its way onto his face. “And you're all going to hate me for it.”

Chapter Text

“I just want you to know that this plan is beyond stupid.” Simon told Alec, taking another sip of his drink.

“I don't like this either,” Alec said, gently patting Simon on the arm. “But it'll give us more information than we would have had otherwise.”

Simon sighed, dropping his head onto his hand. “Why can't we just let the clave deal with it?”

Jonathan snorted. “Are you joking? It would take a ninth before the clave even opened our message, let alone actually do something. Who knows how many downworlders would die before then?”

“Why don't we go dance?” Izzy suggested, grabbing Clary's arm. “Take our minds off of it.”

Magnus nodded. “That could be a good idea. It'll make people know Simon is here.”

“Come with us." Clary insisted, grabbing Alec's arm when he didn't move from the bar.

He shook his head. “I don't dance.”

“Please?” She pleaded, pulling on his hand.

“Nope.” he declared, sitting back and taking a sip of his drink.

Clary pouted. “You're no fun. We don't even know if there's circle members in this club!”

“But there are a bunch of mundanes,” Alec told her, scooting over so he could take quieter even though he knew nobody would be listening to their conversation. “And with the way you, Izzy, and Magnus are all dressed, somebody has to look out for you.”

“We can take care of ourselves.” Clary pointed out.

He wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her into his side. She rested her head on his shoulder. “I know. But I just wanna be sure.”

She nodded. “Okay. But you have to come dance for at least one song.” She teased, pulling on his hand slightly as she moved away.

“I'll think about it!” he called after her, and she smiled, making her way over to her girlfriend.

Clary found them easily enough in the crowd, Jonathan's tall body and light hair easily giving away his position. He looked happy, she decided as he turned and waved her over. She was glad, he didn't spend enough time smiling. She gave him a high five as she passed and moved in behind Izzy, wrapping her arms around her waist. She tensed, her dancing suddenly stopping.

“Hey.” She said, pressing a light kiss to her jaw.

Izzy visibly relaxed, her hips returning to their swaying movement from before. “Couldn't convince my brother to join us?”

Clary laughed lightly, moving to a better position for dancing. “He said he'd think about one song.”

“That's better than I've ever gotten from him.” Izzy smiled, turning in her arms to face her.

“He probably won't.” Clary said.

Izzy laughed, bringing her arms up around her neck. “Probably not.” She leaned forwards, pressing a series of quick kisses to her lips.

Clary rolled her eyes, pulling her to her and kissing her properly. She felt Izzy grin against her lips and tugged her closer. Their peace was broken quickly by Magnus, who shoved Clary's shoulder. “No pda please, we're on a mission.”

“Well you'll just have to dance with us to distract us.” Izzy teased, grabbing his shoulder and pulling him closer.

“You too Johnny boy.” Simon grinned, clapping Jonathan on the back and pulling him into their odd dancing circle.

Clary looked over to where she had last seen Alec, but he wasn't there. She skimmed her eyes around the room, hoping to see him hiding in a different corner than he had been in before. He was nowhere to be found. She stilled, taking a few steps away from her girlfriend to scan the floor more. Her eyes fluttered over the different planes of the room, hoping to catch onto his dark hair and tall frame, yet she couldn't find him anywhere she looked.

“Izzy,” Clary said, her voice urgent. She grabbed her arm, pulling her around to look at her. The smile on Izzy’s face dropped instantly when she saw the panic in her eyes. “Have you seen Alec?”

“Wasn't he at the bar?” she asked, looking around for her brother as well.

“He's not there anymore.” Clary told her, grabbing Jonathan's arm to gain his attention too.

Magnus and Simon stilled too, sharing a look at the alarm on the girls faces. “What happened?” Simon asked.

“Alec is missing.” Izzy said, and Jonathan's back went rigid.

“What do you mean missing?” he hissed, using his height to look around for him as well.

“What the fuck do you think she meant?!” Clary snapped, turning and rushing over to the bar he had been at, not caring if the others were with her or not. His jacket was still on the seat, his drink half full.

“Maybe he went to the bathroom?” Simon asked hopefully.

Izzy picked up the drink, sniffing at it and screwing up her nose in disgust. “It's drugged.”

“What if it's the same drug they gave me,” Clary gasped, grabbing her brother for support. “What if they're planning to- by the angel, we have to find him.”

Magnus looked around, his eyes locking on something across the room. “The alley.”

Izzy ran, hardly trying to dodge the people in the room that she was nearly running into. Clary rushed after her, followed closely by the boys, and the two burst out of the door. Clary stopped in the middle of the alley, spinning around, hoping to catch something, but there was nothing. She couldn't see him.

“Where is he?” Izzy hissed, looking around her as well.

Magnus ran to the other side of the alley, turning a corner to check on the other side. Instantly, Clary heard the sound of something shattering, and the repeated sound of cursing. She rushed over to asses the damage, Jonathan following close behind her. The sight at the end of the alley made her stomach lurch.

Alec was practically unrecognizable, his face cut up and bloody in multiple places. His hair was extra matter, blood drying and clinging to the strands. He sat, his back against the wall, his knees drawn up to his chest. From what Clary could see, his shirt was ripped up in multiple places, and he was sporting a rather impressive broken wrist, the bone sticking out of the skin. He looked pitiful, unlike the Alec Clary was so used to seeing, his shoulder shaking, but he wasn't crying. Broken glass lay next to Magnus’s feet, and from the look of it, Alec had thrown a bottle at him when he rounded the corner.

“Alec?” Magnus tried, taking a step closer, his hands raised. Alec curled in on himself more, pulling his knees closer to his chest, wrapping his arms tighter around himself. The knees if his jeans were ripped. Why were they ripped, they'd been fine when they left.

“Hey,” Clary soothed, approaching him slowly, her hands also raised in front of her. “It's just me. It's just Clary.”

“Clary?” he looked up, the crack in his voice splitting Clary's heart in half.

She kneeled down gently next to him, sliding her stele out of her pocket. “It's just me, just me.”

Alec took a deep, shaky breath. His shoulders were still shaking, his knees still pulled up nearly to his chin, but he loosened his posture a little.

“Can I draw an iratze on you?” Clary asked, holding up her stele, and Alec flinched, pushing himself further into the wall. The turn of his head gave her a better view of his neck and she gasped, the stele falling from her hand. He flinched again at the noise, but at that moment she cared a hell of a lot less than she should have. There was a circle rune burned into the side of his neck, the same place as that of the genocidal, power hungry maniacs that did this.

“What's wrong?” Jonathan asked, stepping closer. Alec made no protest at him coming closer, and Clary assumed it had something to do with their soulmate bond. He kneeled down beside him as well, placing his hand ever so gently on his knee, easing the tension from his body bit by bit.

Magnus stood at the other end of the alley still, his hands still raised in a show of innocence, and Clary motioned for him to come closer. He did, walking slower than was strictly necessary, but Alec's lack of flinching clearly showed that they were making progress.

“Who did this to you?” Clary asked, ready to rip out the throats of eberver had dared do this.

Alec shook his head, a sign that he didn't know, and leaned further into the gentle hand Jonathan had laying on his shoulder. He slowly dropped his knees from his chest, straightening out his legs, and Clary had to press a hand over her mouth to avoid sobbing. The zipper of his pants was broken, the button snapped clean off. They had been too late.

“Oh my god.” Jonathan said quietly, his hand tightening on Alec's shoulder. He winced, a small whine escaping his throat, and he immediately loosened his grip, but he didn't let go.

“You need to let us heal you,” Clary said, and Alec shook his head violently. Clary shook hers, albeit a lot less forcefully. “We don't have to use a rune. Magnus can do it with magic, right Magnus?”

“Of course.” Magnus assured them, and Clary scooted to the side, allowing him to move closer. Magnus motioned towards his body, and Alec sucked in a deep breath, closing his eyes and nodding. The first of Magnus a magic lightly swept over him and Alec's hand scrambled to Jonathan's leg, gripping his thigh. Jonathan eased his fingers off his leg and slipped his hand into his instead. Alec gripped it hard enough to turn his fingers white.

“Can you stand?” Clary asked as Magnus finished his healing, Alec's body still bloody but no longer so broken.

Alec nodded and pushed himself up, his legs shaky but still holding his weight. He continued to grip Jonathan's hand, who moved to stand up with him, and slowly let go. He look a deep breath, opening his eyes fully now that one wasn't swollen. “I guess that kind of ruined the plan, didn't it?”

Before any of them could answer Izzy came running around a corner, her whip out and her face splattered with blood. “They took Simon.”

“What?” Alec asked, wiping away some blood that was dripping into his eye.

“Circle members,” Izzy gasped, and Clary couldn't tell if it was from the running or the tears running down her cheeks. “I tried to fight them off but it didn't work. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.”

Clary walked over to her, pulling her into a hug, letting her cry into her shoulder. Five minutes ago she had been trying to calm down a different sobbing Lightwood, yet at the sight of his distressed sister Alec immediately lost all emotion he had before. Clary hated it. After what those circle members did to him, he needed time to work through things.

“We'll head back to my loft, we can talk this over there.” Magnus said.

The group agreed, and he quickly formed a portal to his loft back in Brooklyn. They stepped in, each of the Fairchild’s supporting their own distressed Lightwood, and collapsed down onto different pieces of furniture.

“What are we gonna do?” Jonathan asked.

Magnus shook his head, and nobody spoke.

Chapter Text

It didn't take long before everyone filed out of Magnus’s loft. Not much could be done at that time, and the group needed to be well rested before they attempted to break Simon out of captivity a second time. It was obvious that they would increase the security of the area after their previous successful break in. So, the group left the loft, leaving Alec, who Magnus had insisted stay with him incase his injuries became worse. He sat, his back straight, eyes staring at nothing as Magnus moved around him, tidying up the loft.

“Alexander?” he asked, worry tinting his voice as he knelt in front of him.

Alec looked up slightly, eyes blinking slowly as Magnus’s words pulled him back into the present. He tried to smile, but he was sure it came off as more of a wince. “Hey.”

“You're shaking,” Magnus said, gently laying his hand overtop of Alec's where it rested on his leg. He was right, Alec realized, as the information that his body was violently vibrating sunk in and he suddenly felt it. “What's wrong?” Magnus asked quietly.

Alec looked back down, shaking his head. “It's nothing.”

“It's not nothing,” Magnus sighed, grabbing Alec's other hand as well. “Tell me.”

“At the bar,” Alec said shakily, taking in a deep breath. He could see Magnus visibly stiffen, and continued to talk. “That man, I thought he was going to kill me, Magnus.”

“But he didn't. You're okay, you're safe.” Magnus assured him, moving to sit on the couch beside him, still holding onto his hands.
“I wish he had killed me,” Alec said, his voice so quiet Magnus almost missed it, but he didn't, and Alec felt him tighten his grip on his hand. “I wish he had just killed me. What he did, I, he-"

Magnus hushed him, pulling him quickly to his chest. Alec let out a harsh sob, his body still shaking, as the events of the past two hours caught up with him. He couldn't remember how long he'd been sitting in that alley before his friends had gotten there. It felt like years, but realistically it couldn't have been more than half an hour. He felt awful, and he desperately needed a shower, his own dried blood still clinging to his skin in places he hated feeling it. He'd bled a lot more than he thought he would, but circle members didn't seem to care much for the comfort of the people they raped. He sobbed again, just the thought of the word making his stomach turn. He brought his arms up slowly, grabbing at Magnus’s back.

“Do you wanna tell me what he did to you?” Magnus asked. Alec sucked in a harsh breath and he quickly took it back. “You don't have to if you don't want to. Only do it if it'll help you.” Flashes of strong hands, bloody knives, and being forced to his knees flashed behind Alec's eyes and he quickly shook his head, squeezing his eyes shut harshly. Talking about it would remind him, and he didn't want to remember. He'd give anything not to remember. Magnus nodded, his cheek pressing lightly on Alec's hair. “Okay.”

Alec didn't open his eyes, he kept the squeezed shut, trying to will the memories away. Magnus soothed him again, lightly rubbing his finger over his eyelid, coaxing them open. Alec blinked a couple of times, looking up at the other with wide hazel eyes. Magnus gave him a soft smile, and despite his previous state, Alec couldn't stop himself from returning it.

“I miss Jace.” Alec said suddenly. He didn't register the words coming out of his mouth until they had, but he was thankful for the change of topic.

“Do you want me to call him?” Magnus asked, sensing that Alec was feeling better and moving to sit on the arm of the couch instead. Alec would be lying if he said he didn't miss the contact.

He shook his head, huffing as some of his hair fell into his eyes and he had to push it back. “I don't wanna deal with his moping right now.”

Magnus let out a started laugh, and Alec smiled at his ability to make the other laugh with his dumb comments about his parabatai. “He has a valid reason to be moping, Alexander.” Magnus reasoned.

Alec sighed, looking down at his hands as they fiddled in his lap. Magnus had used magic to stitch the knees if his jeans back together, but there was still a faint grey tint to them where the tear had been. He wanted to comment about it, ask Magnus if he could remove that too, but he didn't. “I can feel that something wrong with Simon.” he said instead, looking back up at the other, who cocked his head at Alec's statement.

“You can?” he asked, clearly not understanding where this was going.

Alec nodded. “Through the parabatai bond. Jace can feel it, so I can feel some sort of echo of what he's feeling.”

“That is quite odd,” Magnus hummed, playing with his rings absentmindedly as he thought about what Alec had said. “I suppose having Jace for a parabatai is good for something.”

Alec laughed lightly, shaking his head. “He's actually a pretty good parabatai, I'll have you know.”

Magnus smiled and patted his shoulder. “Of course he is. I simply meant that he's your parabatai instead of your actual platonic soulmate, Shadowhunters usually wait until they get their marks to go through with it, don't they.”

“We were almost positive that we were going to be platonic soulmates,” Alec said, a fond smile taking over his face like it usually did when he spoke about his family. “I was a little mad when I discovered it was Izzy and not me, but I ended up being relieved eventually.”

“Why?” Magnus asked.

Alec smiled, shaking his head. “I was in love with him for a little bit. We got our platonic soulmate marks before our romantic ones, nd a part of me always hoped he was mine. It was happy for him when he got it and it wasn't me, of course, but I was still a little sad.”

“That would have been quite the situation.” Magnus hummed.

“It was stupid, really,” Alec laughed, but at what Magnus didn't know. “Seems I've got a habit of falling for the wrong people.”

“You say that like you've fallen for someone else.” Magnus intended it to be a joke, but Alec hadn't been lying.

He looked up at Magnus, with his brown eyes and glittering hair, and he smiled. “I have.”

Magnus looked at him for a moment, his eyes flicking across his face as he tried to find any sign that Alec didn't mean what he was saying. He couldn't find any, and looked back up at Alec's eyes. “Who?”

Alec smirked, leaning forwards slightly, his eyes mischievous. “Take a guess.”

Magnus's eyes flicked across his face again, from his eyes to his lips and back again, before they finally settled on his, a small smile finding it's way onto his face. He leaned forwards, his breath ghosting across Alec's face, but he didn't close the gap. He was leaving the choice up to him, Alec realized, incase he'd gotten everything wrong and be wasn't talking about him. Alec laughed, grabbing Magnus by the waist and pulling him down onto him, kissing the grin off his face. Magnus’s hands quickly found their way up to his neck, pulling him closer, though neither could keep the kiss going for very long as they laughed.

Magnus leaned back, his eyes glinting, the glamour over them flickering, though Alec didn't know what was under them. “Are you insinuating that I'm a bad person, Alexander?” he teased.

Alec flicked the back of his head, kissing him again to swallow his laughter. “I'm saying that you're a not my soulmate person.”

Magnus laughed again, shifting off of Alec's lap and moving to sit beside him instead, there's legs pressed closely together, and something caught Alec's eye. There was writing on his arm. Gold writing, meaning Magnus knew his soulmate. Magnus was him looking and went to pull his arm away, but Alec was quick and grabbed his wrist before he could. Magnus meant to twist his arm out of his grasp but he wouldn't let him go. ‘Alec Lightwood, Head of the New York Institute’ was written in sprawling golden writing on his arm, and Alec flinched, looking up to meet Magnus’s eyes.

“What the fuck is this?” Alec hissed, dropping Magnus’s arm.

“A soulmate mark,” Magnus breathed, not wanting to upset Alec further. “You're my soulmate.”

Alec shook his head violently, his hands shaking again. “No. No, no, Jonathan is my soulmate you're not, you can't be.”

Magnus gently placed his hand over Alec's and his eyes snapped up, meeting Magnus’s again for what felt like the tenth time in an hour. He kept looking down. Why did he keep looking down? Nothing was clear to him anymore. He had pouring his heart and soul out to this man for a week, maybe even longer, and the entire time he'd been Alec's soulmate. But he couldn't be. Their marks didn't match up. Nothing made sense to him anymore. “I know it's a lot to take in, but we'll figure this out.” Magnus promised, rubbing circles into the back of Alec's hand. He'd momentarily forgotten that he'd but his there.

Alec took a deep breath, the action jagged and uneven, and clenched his hands into fist, before unclenching them instantly. He stood up suddenly, pacing back and forth vaguely, shaking his hands like someone would to dry them so that they'd be doing something. His breathing wasn't coming, the collar of his shirt felt too tight, and his legs gave out underneath him. He crumpled to the ground, hands pulling violently on the sleeves of his shirt, digging his nails into his arms. Magnus kneeled down next to him quickly, grabbing one of Alec's hands in two of his and easing it away from his gently, dislodging his nails from where they'd dug through his skin and stuck. The tips of his fingers were covered in his own blood, and their were eight new holes in his arms, four identical ones in each.

The blood dripping down his arms was probably going to again Magnus’s carpet, Alec realized, and he instantly moved to frantically trying to wipe the blood away. The press of his hands against his arms stung, and he couldn't control where they ended up completely due to all the shaking. His entire body felt too hot, the air of the room suffocating him, and even the sound of his own breathing was too loud. The blood wasn't wiping off his arms, it just kept flowing, do he pressed his bloody palms over his ears instead, trying to block out some of the noise.

“Alexander,” Magnus said softly, his eyes never leaving Alec's tear filled ones. “You need to breathe for me. Okay, just breathe.”

Alec shook his head, gasping as he tried to take a breath in. “I can't, I can't-"

Magnus gripped his arms, careful to avoid the cuts until he could heal them. “You can. You just need to focus. Can you do that?” Alec didn't answer him, and for a second Magnus feared he may have passed out, but he listened closer and found that Alec was trying to steady his breathing. “That's good, just breathe.” Magnus encouraged him, taking his own deep breaths for Alec to sync up with.

Eventually his breathing became relatively normal, but it took far longer than Magnus would have anticipated it would. Alec was very clearly shaken up, all the events of the past forty eight hours clearly finally sinking in. He fell forwards, his head hitting Magnus’s collarbone in a way that should have hurt, but he made no indication that it did. His arms found their way around his waist, pulling him closer until Alec was nearly sitting in his lap.

“I'm sorry.” He whispered, his voice muffled and distorted from where his mouth was pressing against Magnus’s shirt.

He shook his head, pressing a kiss to his hair, hoping it was the right decision. Alec made no love to back away, so he continued trying to soothe him. “You have nothing to be sorry for. I should have told you earlier.”

“You should have,” Alec agreed, and the blatant honesty in his voice made Magnus laugh. “I'm not mad that it's you.”

Magnus nodded. He understood, he really did. “I know.”

Alec leaned up, pressing his lips firmly against Magnus’s, and of all the reactions he had been expecting, this certainly wasn't it. “I think I'm falling in love with you.”

Magnus smiled, opening his mouth to speak again, but Alec screamed, doubling over in pain, and the previous moment was ripped harshly out of their grasps.

“Alexander?” Magnus asked, panic filling his voice for the third time that night in relation to Alec. “What's wrong?”

“Jace.” Alec managed to gasp out, hand gripping his parabatai rune.

Magnus lifted the corner of his shirt, and he sucked in a harsh breath and the slowly fading black colour of the rune.