The night was falling on New York, but it felt like the day had never showed up at all. The rain had poured all day long and the thick dark grey clouds had left no chance for the sun to shine, even for a few seconds.
Magnus was leaning against the glass door that lead to his balcony, a glass of whiskey in his hand. The day had been a rather calm, the rain probably dissuaded most people to go out. He met a few clients and prepared some potions in between his appointments, but for the rest, it had been a rather peaceful
He had texted Alec a couple of times but was still waiting for an answer. Magnus knew Alec was busy. Who wasn’t? Valentine was still on the run and everywhere he went, another victim was discovered. Shadowhunters had it hard, but a very small part of Magnus couldn’t help but think that some Nephilim deserved it. But he kept that to himself.
He took a sip of his drink and sighed before putting his glass down onto the coffee table. Things were going pretty well between Alec and him. They hadn’t officially decided what they were yet, but they didn’t care. They were taking baby steps for now and that was fine by them. They had definitely grown closer since their trip to Italy. Alec was less shy around him and Magnus more daring. They enjoyed what they were, no matter what it was.
However, Magnus wasn’t used to Alec not responding to his texts. Of course, when Alec was on duty, it sometimes took an hour until he could reply, but never more than that. Magnus had been waiting for almost 6 hours now and he couldn’t help but feel worried.
The warlock made his phone twirl between his fingers while he was debating if he should call Alec or not. He didn’t want to be the clingy type of partner who called his boyfriend ten times a day and texted all the time. But he just really wanted to talk to Alec right now.
Magnus was about to press the call button when he heard a knock on his door. At this hour it could only be Alec dropping by after his shift.
The warlock got up with a bright smile and headed towards the door to open it.
“I hope you came with some Chinese take away.” He said loud enough for his visitor to hear through the door. “I haven’t had dinner yet and I’m starving!”
But the smile on his face quickly disappeared when he opened the door and saw the state Alec was in. Jace was carrying him, and Isabelle who was standing behind her brothers, had clearly been crying judging by how red and puffy her eyes were. Then, Magnus saw the blood on Alec’s shirt and a slight scream escaped him. Alec was injured and looked unconscious.
Jace didn’t wait for an invitation to come in and pushed passed Magnus. He hurried to the living room and placed his Parabatai carefully on the coach, not caring if there would be blood on it.
“Alexander… Your back…” Magnus said, his voice weak to his own ears. “What happened…?” He then asked as he snapped out of the initial shock and kneeled next to the coach, blue flames already coming out of his hands as he was scanning Alec’s body with his magic.
“We don’t know!” Jace half shouted, obviously worried and at his wits’ end.
“Valentine had him.” Isabelle said as she stroked Alec’s hair. “We received information this morning. A warlock said he knew where Valentine was, and Alec hurried there alone. He texted us the location when he was already there. It took us about twenty minutes to get there but there was no one in sight. And then…” She paused and bit her bottom lip, trying to hold her tears back. “Alec was screaming so loudly when we found him. He was scratching his back so hard he was bleeding.”
“We drew sleeping runes on him to bring him back to the Institute.” Jace said after taking a deep breath. “We took him to the infirmary and drew Iratzes on him too. It seemed to work at first. The wounds were closing up and the bleeding had stopped… But when the sleeping runes disappeared Alec just started screaming again and scratching the same spots on his back over and over again.”
Magnus listened attentively while moving his hands over Alec’s back. The warlock had taken Alec’s shirt off to look at the scratches more carefully. They were deep and wide, as if Alec had been trying to dig into his back to take something out. Alec was boiling hot and sweating profusely, making his skin damp and sticky. But the fever and the scratches weren’t what worried Magnus the most. The shade of his blood was a deep red and the smell was slightly sulfuric. It was very subtle, and Magnus wasn’t sure if he was smelling or seeing things right.
“Have you found any syringes where you found Alec?” Magnus asked, his voice calm but tense.
“A syringe?” Isabelle repeated and blinked a bit in confusion. “I don’t know… We didn’t really pay attention to the place… Alec was in so much pain… We just wanted to bring Alec home and heal him.”
“Why do you ask?” Jace asked, his arms crossed over his chest.
“His blood… the color and the smell of it is different. I think something was injected into his blood.”
“By something… you mean poison?” Jace frowned and looked at his brother.
“No, if it had been poison I would have felt it or noticed it with my magic.” Magnus shook his head and ran a finger along one of Alec’s scratches. “I don’t know what it is… I’ll call Catarina. She’s better at healing than me. She might know what it is an-“
Magnus didn’t get to finish his sentence. Alec’s eyes opened suddenly, pupils blown wide while drops of sweat were dripping down his forehead. He looked around in confusion, furrowing his eyebrows as he recognized where he was but didn’t remember how he got there. Then the pain struck again as if a bolt of lightning had hit him right in the back. It burned and itched, and Alec just wanted it to be over, he wanted those things to come out.
“Alexander…” Magnus whispered and crawled slowly closer to Alec. “It’s going to be fine. Let me take a look at your wounds again.”
But Alec quickly moved off the couch, as far as possible from the others and started scratching. He scratched as hard as he could, whining in pain but sighing in relief at the same time. Whatever was inside him, he needed it out.
He felt the blood under his nails and his skin rip apart scratch after scratch. The pressure under his skin becoming almost unbearable. He needed to make them wider, needed to make room to let them out.
“Alec, stop!” Jace shouted and jumped on his Parabatai. “Stop it!” he shouted again and held Alec’s hands tightly to keep his brother from hurting himself.
“Let go of me!” Alec groaned and glared.
“Izzy! Your whip!” Jace said as he wrestled with Alec. He pushed the other down with his knee and put all his weight onto Alec’s chest. “Tie his wrists, quickly.”
Isabelle did as told and used her whip to tie Alec’s hands together tightly. She looked away all the while, refusing to see his brother in such state. He didn’t look like himself. Alec seemed to be in a sort of trance, his face paler than usual and eyes mad.
“LET GO OF ME!” Alec shouted again and kept struggling, kicking his legs in vein as Jace turned him around to be on his stomach and sat down on him.
“Alexander you need to let us heal you!” Magnus said and kneeled down next to him, placing his hands above Alec wounds to magically close them up.
“Don’t do that!” Alec whimpered and sobbed. “It needs to come out!”
“What does?” Magnus asked and moved his hands away, now sending waves of magic into Alec’s body to ease the pain instead of healing the wounds. “What needs to come out?”
“I don’t know!” he answered weakly, his breathing becoming shallow. “I just feel it.”
Magnus frowned and pushed the hair away from Alec’s forehead. The fever was higher than before. The warlock didn’t know what to do. Things were deteriorating way too fast for him to do anything. All he could do was ease the pain and hope for a miracle.
What happened next looked exactly like a miracle, but not the one Magnus had expected. Alec’s screams suddenly became louder. Tears of pain were rolling down his cheeks and Magnus felt his heart breaking into millions of pieces. This was all too much.
Alec kept writhing as his shoulder blades were burning and his skin ripping apart. It was just a matter of seconds now. He felt it, he hoped it. Magnus was about to send another wave of magic into Alec’s body when they burst out. Jace and Isabelle jumped away from Alec, releasing their grip on him while they couldn’t help but stare at their brother. Alec had finally stopped screaming and panted heavily, but nothing seemed to be solved either.
“Are those…” Jace whispered, his eyes wide as he couldn’t stop staring at his Parabatai.
Isabelle remained silent. She wasn’t sure of what she had in front of her. It was obviously Alec, but this was just too surreal to fathom.
“They’re wings…” Magnus finally said and crawled closer to Alec. “The most beautiful wings I’ve ever seen…” He added while placing his hand on the blood covered feathers to stroke them.
“Wings...?” Alec said weakly, his eyes closed in exhaustion. “I can’t have wings. I’m just a Shadowhunter.”
“Not anymore…” Jace mumbled and crossed his arms over his chest. “He did that to you. I don’t know how but he did. He turned you into an angel.”
“We don’t know that yet.” Magnus quickly said and glanced at Jace. “We need to find out what Valentine gave Alexander. You two should go back where you found him and see if there are any traces of a syringe, or some kind clue that would help us understand what happened.”
“I’m not leaving Alec’s side!” Isabelle protested, finally breaking her silence. “I‘m staying.”
“No, Izzy.” Alec opened his eyes slowly and looked at his sister. “Go with Jace. Magnus can take care of me. You’ll be more useful on the field.” He said as he tried to sit up. Magnus held his arms carefully and helped Alec to sit on the couch.
“I will take care of him, I promise.” Magnus reassured her. “If anything happens I’ll call you right away.”
Isabelle didn’t seem convinced, but she nodded reluctantly. “We will find out what happened. I promise you.” She told Alec, kissing his forehead gently. “He will pay for it.”
“He wasn’t alone.” Alec looked up at his siblings. “There was someone else. I don’t remember much… I saw Valentine… and I got hit on the head, but there was someone behind him, I’m sure of that.”
“Do you remember anything about him? Just one detail could be helpful.” Magnus said and placed his hand on Alec’s shoulder. “The color of his skin, his hair, anything.” Magnus then moved behind Alec to start healing the wounds around the wings. It was still bleeding and even though Alec wasn’t screaming anymore the area was still skinless and could get infected.
“I’m not sure…” Alec let out a light groan as Magnus placed his hands on the wounds. “He looked sick… his skin looked greyish and I think… I think he had a tail… but I can’t be certain.”
“A warlock?” Jace asked. “That could be the one who tipped us off. He lured you there”
“That’s already something. I’ll pass on the message to the warlocks I know to see if they’ve heard of a grey warlock.” Magnus nodded. “But I need to take care of you first.”
“If we find out anything we’ll let you know.” Jace said as he put his jacket back on. “Izzy and I will go back to the Institute to gear up.”
“Be careful, okay?” Alec said and looked up at his Parabatai. “You never know what Valentine’s next move might be.”
“Don’t worry about us, brother.” Izzy said and gave him a light smile. “Valentine should be scared of us right now because we will have no mercy.”
“I should have killed him when I first met him…” Magnus mumbled to himself but Alec heard him.
“You met Valentine?” Alec asked and turned to look at the warlock.
“That’s a story for some other time.” Magnus said and got up from the couch. “I’ll get all I need to clean up your wings and wounds. Don’t move.”
“We’re going.” Jace stated and walked towards to front door. “Rest and let Magnus take care of you.”
Before he could see Isabelle close the door, Alec had collapsed.
When Alec woke up a few hours later it was still dark outside. Magnus had moved him to his bed and his back wasn’t hurting as much as before. His shoulders were numb and he suspected that Magnus’ magic was the cause of it. He turned his head and saw the warlock sitting next to him on the bed, a soft brush in one hand while the other was holding a wet and bloody cloth.
Magnus was cleaning his wings very carefully, as if he was afraid to break them. Alec glanced at the feathers and couldn’t quite believe they had grown out of him.
“They’re beautiful.” Magnus said softly as he noticed Alec had woken up.
“They’re not mine… I don’t feel like they’re mine.” Alec admitted and placed both his arms under his head.
“You need time to get used to all this. If you indeed became an angel, wings are not the only thing that have changed in you.”
“What do you mean?” Alec frowned lightly.
“If you’re an angel now, you are more powerful than any other human being or creature.” The warlock explained. “Jace has angel blood and he can activate his runes without a stele. Who knows what you are capable of.” Magnus placed the brush and cloth down and smiled gently. “You’re all clean.”
“What if I don’t want that? What if I just want to go back to be a Shadowhunter?” Alec said and sat up slowly, stretching his back as he looked at Magnus. “Those wings are heavy…”
“It’s in your blood now. I don’t think you can take that away.” Magnus replied and looked at Alec.
“There has to be a spell! Or some kind of potion you can make to fix this!” Alec said almost angrily and gripped Magnus’ arms. He was not ready to accept what he had become yet.
“If it was the case,” Magnus started. “There would be a lot less Downworlders.” Magnus frowned lightly. “And I wouldn’t be a warlock anymore.”
Jace and Izzy arrived in front of the abandoned warehouse, where they had found Alec, in the early hours of morning. The clouds were still thick and heavy with rain, as if even the sky knew that the Lightwood siblings were in the darkest of moods.
They had geared up at the Institute and were ready to investigate. They had taken a couple of spare steles each, just in case, along with short seraph blades and other weapons.
Izzy looked up at the building and held her whip firmly in her hand. “If we find him,” She said darkly. “We kill him on sight.”
“Not before we find out what he did to Alec.” Jace reminded her. He understood her and wanted nothing else than to make Valentine pay for what he’d done. “We need to find that warlock first.”
“Clary is working on it back at the Institute, if she finds anything out, she’ll call us.” Izzy said and glanced at her brother. Jace looked back at her. He had never seen Isabelle so determined before in his life, and he knew that they both felt exactly the same way.
They looked back at the warehouse and walked inside it as the thunderstorm broke out.