"The Arrowhead around my neck: A key and a Keyhole..."
“Alec, Alec, you’ve got to stay with me, you hear me?” The call was low, the words molded together in a pile, for they had been uttered without a break for an inhale. The pained demand, which in reality was a mere, masked plea, reached the Shadowhunter’s ears, but try as he might, Alec couldn’t oblige his vocal cords to produce anything else except low, hoarse groans and grunts. The asphalt was scratchy and cold under the taut muscles of his back, but the archer couldn’t care less. It was a strange feeling, that which had taken over him.
One part of Alec’s brain had already shut down, surrendering to the much desired oblivion, shying away from the excruciating pain, from the agony and the fear. Yet, there was another part of the archer’s mind which was on fire, for the primal instinct of survival was burning each and every fiber it could reach, causing adrenaline to flow through popping veins. “Alec, Alec…” That voice, Alec knew that voice… “Magnus… You… Okay?” It was a torture to utter the words, as the movement of the muscles of the archer’s neck caused blood to clog in his throat. All words drowned in a puddle of red, sour blood and Alec’s body writhed. “Of course I’m alright, my darling, I’m fine…” Magnus replied, voice thick and low, hands hovering over the wound on Alec’s sternum, yet no blue sparks escaped the Warlock’s elegant fingers.
A sharp inhale, which sounded much like a low shriek was all the answer Magnus got and his eyes shone, rivers of tears lingering so close to the surface, shimmering as the moonlight fell upon them. “Alec, stay with me, okay? Stay awake for me, darling, stay awake, Catarina is going to be here soon.” Magnus muttered frantically, daring to gaze at his phone, which he had tossed on the cold ground the moment Catarina had ended the call. “Mags… I… Your magic—” “Shh, no, no talking. We’ll catch up later, okay?” Magnus advised, blowing a sigh of relief when he heard the whooshing sound of a portal coming to life. Mere moments later, his oldest friend, his beloved Catarina was kneeling by his side, hands over Alec’s wound.
“Cat, thank God--” “You can save it for later Magnus. We need to get him to your loft, now.” The woman instructed, wasting no time in formalities. “Can you conjure a couple of—” “Cat my… My magic, it’s gone. Asmodeus took it as his share of the deal.” The woman was left stunned, blinking at her friend, but then Alec grunted, blood dripping down his jaw. “Cat, please, you’ve got to help him, please…” Magnus nearly begged and his pained face looked ghostly as the moonlight bathed it. Catarina nodded then, and with a wave of her hands a blue sheet of magic covered Alec, slowly lifting him from the ground. They walked over to the portal the woman had just used, careful not to disturb Alec, who was floating midair, thanks to Catarina’s magic.
The archer gasped in fear, but Magnus hurried to calm him down. “Shh, it’s okay, it’s going to be alright, Alec.” He uttered, his voice bearing none of the reassurance he so wished to offer his lover. Magnus gripped Alec’s broken hand as they stepped into the portal and released it only when they were out of it, safe in the enormous loft which Alec secretly called home. The two friends lay the archer on the king-sized bed and Catarina waved her hand, summoning bowls filled with hot water, cotton towels and clean bandages. “I need to get this thing out, okay?” The woman instructed, gazing down at the arrow which had penetrated Alec’s flesh. Alec only growled, trying, but failing to take in a deeper breath. Magnus sat next to his lover, brushing his hair out of his forehead, feeling as useless as he had never before.
“You came b-back…” The words were barely above a whisper, laced with pain, fear and something else which was hiding beneath them, yet Magnus could not understand what it was, not really. “Of course I did. I’m here, right here my darling…” Magnus uttered, cursing Asmodeus for taking away the second most valuable thing Magnus had. Without his magic he was useless, he was—Alec coughed, gasping for air, writhing like a fish out of the water. The Warlock hissed, realizing he was about to lose the most important person in his life. Alec was slipping away from Magnus’ hands… He was fading away with every passing second, as a thick trail of blood was running down along the length of his side, dripping on to the satin sheets. Alec was fading away… Withering…
‘I don’t care if you have to watch the man you love wither and die…’
Lorenzo’s words echoed in Magnus’ head, cold and cruel, yet so very fitting, clothing the sight which the Warlock’s eyes were witnessing in a twisted, yet accurate manner. No. No. This wasn’t going to happen. He wasn’t going to lose him. No. The intensity of this thought woke Magnus up, pulling him out of his trance. He could still save Alec, and he would do so with, or without magic. Magnus brushed black strands of hair out of Alec’s forehead once more, before turning his gaze to Catarina, who was still examining the wound. “I need you to lift him up. Now, Magnus. I need to see how deep the wound is.” It wasn’t a suggestion, yet Alec’s good hand stirred as he tried to stop his lover.
Catarina opened her mouth, ready to speak, but Magnus’ voice echoed in the room. “Alec, shh, I’m here, okay? I came back, for you.” The Warlock’s voice cracked as he spoke. “M-Me…” “Yes, yes, you stupid Nephilim, for you. So now, you’ve got to uphold your end of the deal. You have waited for me, haven’t you?” Magnus chanted, cupping both sides of Alec’s face ever so gently. The archer cracked his eyes open half the way, nodding a little too sharply, unable to control his movements. “Okay, okay, that’s very good. Because now I’m here, I’m right here, but you’ve got to stay here as well, alright? You’ll do that? For me?” Alec gulped, flinching at the metallic taste of blood on his tongue. Magnus was asking him to fight…
And, oh, by the Angel, how could he refuse him? “O-Okay…” “Good, that’s very good, Alec…” Magnus encouraged, extending his hands towards the back of Alec’s head and middle. He then rearranged his own posture, spreading his legs wider so as to be able to support Alec’s weight, not caring about the fact that his knees were shaking. In one, swift movement Magnus lifted Alec’s limp, upper body of the soft pillows, careful not to dislocate the arrow as he went. Alec’s vocal cords pulsed and were torn to shreds as he screamed, his good hand clenching on his stele so hard that the pen was on the verge of breaking. Magnus allowed his eyes to scan his lover’s back. They found no exit wound ripped through the man’s flesh.
“Cat, there’s no exit wound.” The Warlock stated, voice shaking. Catarina sighed bitterly, because this wasn’t good, not in this case. Magnus swore silently, pulling Alec a few inches away, so as to look at his face, which the archer had hid in the crook of Magnus’ neck. “Darling, hey, hey, Alec, are you with me?” The other man choked a sob, his good hand, gripping his stele and the lapels of Magnus’ coat. “Mags—” “Shh, hush…” The Warlock offered frantically, as he now scanned the front part of Alec’s body. “Magnus, we can’t pull the arrow back out. It’s lunged too close to his left lung, though, miraculously, it hasn’t scratched it. But if we pull it back out, the head of the arrow will tear the muscles and nerve-endings apart.” Catarina stated, her eyes filled with sadness.
Magnus gulped, frame shaking to its core. “So, what now?” He uttered, and Cat swallowed soundly. “We’ll have to push the arrow all the way to the other side, create an exit wound and break the arrowhead, before pulling the rest of this thing out.” The woman stated, not missing the way her friend’s face paled. “There has to be another way—” Magnus cut himself off, as fear clogged his throat. He knew there was no other way, not when there was only one Warlock doing all the hard work. “Mags…” Alec stuttered, his hold on his lover’s coat weak and shaky. “It’s… Okay… M-Magnus, I…” The archer coughed, but managed to pull his lover closer to him, albeit his movements were rushed and graceless.
“I’m afraid there’s no other way, Magnus.” Catarina stated, rising to her feet. “I need to grab a couple of potions from your stash, but I’ll be right back.” She explained, eyeing her friend for a mere second before disappearing out the door. Magnus, however, knew better than to believe Catarina’s words. She had excused herself, giving the two lovers a few minutes of privacy. “Magnus—” Alec tried to move, but the other man hurried to stop him. “No, don’t move, stay still, okay?” “Mags… I… I’m scared.” To say the words shattered Magnus’ heart wouldn’t be a false claim. “I shouldn’t be… I’m not supposed to—” “Alexander, shh, no, don’t say that, my darling…” The man pleaded, cradling the archer’s head in his hands.
When all Alec did, was to wave his head in refusal, Magnus steeled his voice and spoke, eyes filled with tears. “I know you’re scared, Alec, but Cat will fix you and you’ll be as good as new.” “You shouldn’t have—” A violent coughing fit caused the archer’s body to writhe and Magnus hurried to calm him down again. “Alexander, stop talking—” “Your magic… You shouldn’t have—” “Alec, that’s enough—” The archer, however, wouldn’t have it. He drew in a sharp breath and felt blood running down his nose and tears wetting his cheeks. But he didn’t pause, despite Magnus’ tries. “I wasn’t worth it…” The words were barely audible, yet Magnus somehow heard them.
“Jace had to be saved—” “You did it… For me…” It was no question, it was a realization to which the archer had come for quite some time, yet he never dared to admit it aloud, not bearing the weight the statement held. But now, as he spoke the words, they poured out of his mouth swiftly, becoming one with the stream of blood which was dying his jaw crimson. “You shouldn’t have done it—” “What I should or shouldn’t do, is not your decision to make, Alexander.” The other man bit, needing his lover to stop talking. “I’m not… Worth it… You gave away… A part of yourself, for me… You lost the most important thing--” Tears were streaming down those pale cheeks faster than Magnus could brush them away with his thumbs. Alec’s face twitched, as a different kind of pain clenched around his fragile heart like a vice. Magnus opened his mouth to reply, but the creaking sound of the door opening, cut him off.
Catarina entered the room, holding a couple of small vials in each hand. She set them aside and cleared her throat. “Magnus, you’ll need to—” “You’ll push the arrow all the way to the other side and I’ll break the arrowhead, Cat.” Magnus stated, his voice low. “You can’t be serious.” “You need to use your magic to keep the arrow still, so I have to break the arrowhead, so that you can pull the rest of the arrow out instantly.” “How will you break an angelic weapon without magic?”Catarina demanded, scoffing at her friend. “With my bare hands.” Was all the Warlock replied, as he shook Alec’s head, needing his lover’s attention.
“Listen to me. Alexander. Alexander, listen to me.” Alec’s breathing was nothing but a constant wheezing, a thin layer of cold sweat coating his features, and rivers made of tears were scarring his cheeks. Yet, the Warlock knew the sadness the Nephilim was feeling was stronger than his pain. Sadness because Magnus had given away his magic. How could that feeling overpower the pain, Magnus would never understand. But he was certain that it was the reason why, those beautiful hazel orbs were drowning in oceans of salty tears. “I did lose my magic, yes, but I haven’t lost the most important thing in my life.” Alec waved his head in refusal, trying, but failing to escape from Magnus’ hold. “But I am about to lose the most important person in my life if you keep talking! So stop it!” The Warlock commanded sharply, causing both Catarina, as well as Alec to shiver.
“Stop talking and stop making decisions which are not yours to make. You only have one thing you need to decide.” The man continued, lowering his voice, knowing that Catarina knew better than to hold grudges during a time like the one they were facing. Alec flinched, but he did hold Magnus’ gaze, understanding that the next words were meant for him and him alone. “Will you win this fight?” Magnus whispered, brushing his lips against Alec’s ear. The archer coughed, shivering, yet he clung onto Magnus’ coat, he clung onto that shimmer of clarity which was still within him and managed to read between the lines. ‘Will you fight? Will you fight for me?’ “Yes…” Alec uttered brokenly, and felt Magnus pulling away, only to place a kiss on his sweaty forehead a moment later.
Magnus moved then, waving his head, indicating that Catarina should pull the young archer towards her own body. Alec gritted his teeth as the woman moved him to the center of the king-sized bed, only to gasp as he felt the bed dipping from Magnus’ weight, as the Warlock sat behind Alec. Catarina gave Alec one last, pained look and spoke, clearing her voice. “Alec, it’s going to hurt like hell, so it’s better if you let it out. Scream, yell, call us names. It’ll be okay, everything will be okay.” She reassured, casting a glimpse over Alec’s shoulder to Magnus’, who looked paler than his lover did. The archer nodded his head, and Cat took in a deep breath.
“On three, Magnus. One, two, three.” The howl which escaped Alec’s lips covered the sickening sound of metal ripping through the flesh, but the sight was not for the faint hearted. As soon as the arrow pierced through Alec’s skin, blood began to flow freely dying the bed-sheets red. “Magnus, break the arrowhead!” Catarina instructed sharply, applying her magic on the wound and on the arrow, so that Magnus could grab it and break it without moving it a single inch. Magnus, however, remained still, frozen on the spot, eyes fixed on that arrowhead, which was dyed red, dyed with Alec’s angelic blood, which was moisturizing the sheets and the mattress.
‘I can’t help but think…’
Alec’s words echoed inside Magnus’ head as the Warlock placed his hands on the arrow, tightening his hold around the thin shaft.
‘If I’m lucky…’
The archer screamed anew, and Magnus gritted his teeth against the sickening feeling of despair which washed over him.
‘Maybe one of my arrowheads will end up in that box…’
Magnus growled, because that very arrow head was threatening to still Alec away from him and that was not going to happen. Magnus’ knuckles turned white, the skin of his palms breaking, for there was no magic to protect him, but little did that matter.
‘Maybe one of my arrowheads will end up in that box…’
No. He could lose everything else. Hell, he had already lost everything else. But not Alec.
‘Maybe one of my arrowheads will end up in that box…’
Not Alec. Not him. Never him.
The sharp sound of metal cracking, echoed in the room and Magnus’ eyes were now golden, glancing at the broken part of the arrow, which was lingering in his grasp, in a puddle of his own blood. Alec screamed again, as Catarina pulled the rest of the arrow out of the wound. His hazel eyes rolled back in his head and Alec fell backwards. A light thud was heard as the woman threw the metallic arrow across the room. A sheet of blue magic engulfed Alec then, healing the wound which had almost claimed the Nephilim’s life.
After a few minutes, Catarina paused her ministrations, noticing that the wound was completely healed. A wave of her hand and the sheets were changed and the mattress dry of all traces of blood. Magnus lay Alec back on the clean, orange sheets, casting a glimpse on his broken wrist. “I healed the broken bone as well, but you’ll have to wrap it with a bandage just to be sure it’ll remain still. His wrist was broken in two different places.” The woman stated, letting her eyes scan her friend’s shaking figure. “Thank you, Catarina…” Magnus chanted as the woman allowed blue sparks to knit the skin of Magnus’ palm together, until there was no proof that he had ever torn it apart.
“You must still have some magic lingering deep inside you. There’s no way you broke the arrow in half using sheer willpower.” Magnus chuckled slightly, eyeing the arrowhead which was still in his grasp. “Maybe…” He chanted, more to himself, rather than his friend. “Alec will be fine, Magnus. He’ll wake up soon.” The comforting touch on his shoulder grounded the Warlock, who swallowed and nodded in agreement. “He will, thanks to you, my dear Catarina.” He offered and the hidden gratitude which was laced in his words caused the woman to smile. “I have to get back to the hospital, but if anything comes up, call me at once.” She demanded, casting a look filled with fondness to where Alec was now lying, spent on the king-sized bed.
“Cat… There is one more thing I need…” “What is it?” The woman questioned, arching an eyebrow. “Come with me.” He replied, as he got up from the bed. He kissed Alec’s forehead, pushing away black locks and then walked out of the room. With steps sure but light, he led the way to his study, where he kept the box with his momentous. He ever so slowly grasped it, caressing the fine wood, feeling the weight of all those memories which were lingering within the box falling heavy on his shoulders. Inside this box lay relics of past lovers, memories concealed, protected from the cruel passing of time. They were shying away from oblivion’s alluring call, yet the box never had a key.
Magnus inhaled deeply. The box didn’t have neither a key, nor yet a keyhole, and yet it had been shielded for too many years. Just like his heart had been. A low chuckle escaped the Warlock’s lips. His heart had been hiding in that very box for almost one hundred years, for it was afraid of surrendering to anyone. It was too shattered and broken, wreaked by Camille’s cruel words. Words which had shielded the box… But now, after all those years that box had been unlocked, as had Magnus’ heart… An arrow had pierced it, causing it to spring to life again. And so, the memories in that box regained their meaning, and old photographs were colored with warm hues, which were emerging from Magnus’ very soul.
‘You’ve unlocked something in me…’ The words echoed in Magnus’ mind and the man smiled as he gazed down at his palm and the bloodied arrowhead. Alec had indeed unlocked something in him. ‘Maybe one of my arrowheads will end up in that box.’ No, the Warlock thought to himself. Alec’s arrowhead wasn’t going to be another relic in that box. Surely, Alec wasn’t Magnus’ first love, but he was his first true love in a very long while. And he would be his last, of that Magnus was certain. Thus, it was only fitting that he would hold the key to his heart, whose keyhole would be unique.
“What’s in there?” Catarina questioned, causing Magnus to sigh. “Things… Memories from my past.” Was all he replied and the woman didn’t push him further. “I need you to make a keyhole, shaped like this.” Magnus requested, bringing the bloodied arrowhead forth. Catarina scoffed, knitting her eyebrows together. “Please?” Magnus offered and watched as the woman slumped her shoulders, complying to the peculiar request. Sparks of magic emerged from her fingers and gently penetrated the wood, creating a keyhole at the shape of Alec’s arrowhead.
“Thank you…” Magnus uttered, his low tone causing Catarina to scan his face. Silence leaped between them and Magnus occupied himself with returning the box to its usual place. After a few seconds the woman exhaled, smiling ever so slightly. She moved closer to her friend, taking Magnus’ hand in her own.
“We’re going to get your magic back.” She stated as-a-matter-of-fact. “Even if we have to get all the way to Edom, we’ll get it back.” She continued and Magnus’ eyes shone. “But until then… Keep yourself safe. Keep Alec safe as well. Safe, and close to your heart.” A warm wave of magic engulfed Magnus’ hand then and the Warlock let his eyes flutter closed. When Catarina removed her hand, Magnus gazed down at his grasp. The arrowhead was cleaned up of all the blood, shining under the dim light. It looked smooth around the edges. A small hole was formed in the middle of the remaining part of the shaft, and a thin, simple chain was lingering in between Magnus’ fingers. The woman huffed happily and waved her friend goodbye, leaving Magnus to gaze at this handmade necklace.
The small click of the clasp as it settled in its place, brought peace to Magnus’ heart and the added weight acted like an anchor which could keep Magnus pinned to Earth, now that his magic was gone. The Warlock breathed in and out, caressing the arrowhead which now lingered above his sternum. “Cat is right, Magnus.” At the sound of those words, the Warlock turned around abruptly, eyes widening when they spotted Alec leaning heavily against the doorframe.
“Oh, thank the Angel!” Magnus exclaimed, rushing to his lover’s side, necklaces bouncing as he moved. “Alexander, are you hurting? Do you need—” The words all died in the Warlock’s throat, however, as the archer crushed him against his chest, not caring for the dull ache the pressure caused him. “I’m sorry… Magnus, I’m so sorry…” Alec muttered in Magnus’ ear. “You better be, you had me worried…” The statement was spoken in a low tone, yet the Warlock shivered at the words. Alec tightened his hold around Magnus’ shoulders, feeling a strange item, pressing against his skin. “I’m sorry… What you gave up…” “Alec… It was my choice. No one made me do it.” Magnus assured, pulling away from his lover ever so slightly, cupping both sides of his face.
“Then, here is my choice. I’ll give you back your magic, Magnus, even if that means I’ll go get it from your father’s layer all by myself.” The words were sharp, yet Magnus didn’t have the time to answer, for Alec lowered his head in shame. Only then did his eyes notice the necklace which lingered on Magnus’ sternum. “Is… Is that—” Alec stuttered, blinking the tears back. “I… I broke the arrow in half so… I thought I could keep this part. Close to my heart.” Magnus uttered, shaking as he felt his lover’s body so close to his own. Oh, how he yearned for the feeling, a feeling which he thought that arrow would deprive him of.
Alec gasped in awe and bewilderment, unable to believe his ears. “It represents you.” Magnus continued, leaning forwards, pausing mere inches from Alec’s lips. “It’s a lock and a key…” As Magnus’ voice faded, thick with emotion, Alec allowed his good hand to linger over Magnus’ heart, pressing the arrowhead against Magnus’ chest. Their lips met then, and the wind blew, bringing with it the faint sound of an old key turning in a keyhole…