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Strani Amori

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Magnus was sitting at the dining table in his kitchen, trying to forget everything that was going on around him at the moment. Actually, he was trying to forget the entire night. He couldn’t quite wrap his head around it for now and he sincerely hoped he’d never have to face another situation like that, ever again. He brought the tea cup to his lips and blew on it, before taking a small gulp. The hot beverage made him relax a bit and he could feel his muscles get loose. He looked up from his cup when he heard his name come out of Raphael’s mouth and frowned. He hadn’t been paying attention to what Raphael and the blond man were saying but he did not like what he thought he just heard.

“I’m sorry, what did you just say?” he intervened. Both heads turned to him, apparently surprised by Magnus’ intervention.

“You know it’s for the best, Magnus” Raphael insisted.

Por Dios, Raphael, is this really necessary?” Magnus groaned. His friend clenched his jaw, clearly trying to keep together not to yell at Magnus, but the man couldn’t give a damn at the moment.

“You were attacked in your home, Magnus. Of course, it is necessary” Raphael simply stated.

Magnus scoffed at that. Yes, someone had broken into his loft but he was fine. He’d heard the suspicious noise and managed to call the police before hiding somewhere safe. Then the officers came in, arrested the guy and made sure Magnus was safe. True, most of his loft had turned into a crime scene but it was still his home, so he saw reason for him to move out, let alone hire a freaking bodyguard.

“Detective, please, could you tell him he’s overreacting?” he pleaded.

The blond detective, Herondale if Magnus recalled correctly, pursed his lips and shook his head, as he shrugged.

“Sorry, sir, but I’m on his side” he said.

“Of course you are” he sighed, rolling his eyes, but Herondale clearly didn’t like his reaction.

“You were attacked in your home, Mr. Bane” he started again, using a much harsher tone. “Someone invaded your privacy, your safe place. You can’t tell me you’ll go to sleep reassured, because I know that’s not possible” he then assured.

Magnus tried to keep a straight face, and it worked because he had spent years perfecting it, but he hated that his words had hit him right in his feelings. Of course he hated the fact that someone had invaded his privacy. His safe place. The first place he truly felt at home, safe and secure. He hated that someone had been given the power to make him feel this low, this powerless and helpless. He’d spent so much time in his life trying to be confident and strong, he couldn’t believe someone had managed to come in and shattered all of this in just a few minutes. He couldn’t let this person define the way he was going to pursue his life, he couldn’t give them this kind of power. He eventually sighed, ready to try and make some kind of compromise with Raphael but his friend beat him to it.

Por favor, Magnus” he pleaded. “Let’s chose a new place for you, then we’ll hire someone trustworthy.”

Magnus scoffed again.

“And how could you be sure they are trustworthy, Raphael?” he asked in a deeply annoyed tone. Raphael sighed, he didn’t have any proper, nor concrete answer except that he was going to work his ass off to make sure Magnus was fully safe. However, the detective seemed to have an idea since he put up his hand to catch their attention.

“I can recommend you someone” he said. “My elder brother is a bodyguard, I can assure you, he’s very dedicated to the job” he added.

Magnus couldn’t help the fake smile that took place on his face. This detective might seem good at his job but he wasn’t helping Magnus’ case right now, at all, so he needed him to lay low.

“Is he as charming as you are?”

The blond man snickered, as if he had been expecting something like that from Magnus and sent him a fake smile as well.

“I’m adopted, so we both have a charm of our own” he replied.

Magnus lost his smile almost immediately and looked at his hands. Family was always a sensitive topic for him. As much as he wanted to be happy for all of those who had these apparent perfect families, he couldn’t help but feel jealous and wonder why he didn’t have the chance to have a somewhat stereotypical family. With his two parents, maybe siblings and be happy and feel like he belonged somewhere with this constant support from his family. Instead, he had spent his life in an orphanage, since he was eight years old, after his mother killed herself and his step-father just abandoned him. He had no relatives, no one who could take him, that was when he started to feel all alone. Shortly after, he met Raphael and found a brother in him. Earning his trust had not been easy, as Raphael was really guarded and never hang with the rest of the children. Eventually, Magnus managed to crawl into the young boy’s heart and now, they were family. He had the chance to find people who he belonged with, but he still vividly remembered what it felt like to feel lonely and like, you were never going to find a loving family. Because he remembered of that feeling, he understood that he had overstepped and that the detective hadn’t deserve what he said.

“My apologies” he said sincerely.

The blond man sent him a reassuring smile, showing he wasn’t really affected by it and shook his head.

“No need” he simply stated. He then turned to Raphael. “Mister Santiago, I’ll talk to him and send you his info. I’m sure he’ll agree and contact you soon.”

“I will wait to hear from him then. Thank you for your time, detective Herondale” Raphael said, shaking his hand.

The detective gave them both a nod, then left them alone in the kitchen. Magnus waited until the man was far enough to stand up and look at Raphael.

“I am not hiring a bodyguard.”

Raphael sighed, having been expecting this type of reaction form Magnus. Of course Magnus wouldn’t think his safety was important. He would never admit he was in danger, or needed protection, even if he had a gun put to his head. Magnus passed him to go through the living room, where the police officers were wrapping up, before walking to the hallway, to go into his room but Raphael caught him by the arm before he could enter.

“Magnus. Please. You have to listen to me, this is for your own safety” Raphael pleaded.

“I can take care of myself” he replied. “I did well today, didn’t I? I managed not to die or get hurt, so I think I’m good.”

“Magnus...”

“I’m going to sleep at a hotel tonight” he cut him off. “I need a night alone. I’m also meeting Madzie for lunch tomorrow so you won’t see me until tomorrow night.”

“Please, just...”

“Enough!” he exclaimed. “Please.”

Raphael could see Magnus was on the verge of crying, of letting all his emotion come back rushing through him and seeing Magnus lash out was not something he could deal with right now. Right now, he needed to make sure his best friend was safe and was going to remain safe. So he simply nodded, muttering that he was going to take care of everything for him. Magnus nodded and thank him before entering his room. He leaned against the closed door and deeply exhaled, trying to get all of the flooding emotions out of his body. He wouldn’t admit it to Raphael, but this entire situation had much more impact on him than he led on. Detective Herondale had been right. Someone had broken into his safe place, he didn’t think he could safe anymore, not until something changed.

***

The next day, Magnus walked into the coffee shop, on the NYU campus, feeling refreshed and better. Not perfect, but better. His night at the hotel had been quieter and much more relaxing than he had first thought. Sure, the long and warm bath had helped but a night out of his daily life felt nice. Especially after what had happened. He now felt like a new man, ready to get back on track. True, he needed a new and safer place, but there was no way in hell he was getting a bodyguard. Maybe he could try and convince Madzie to help him convince Raphael. He spotted the 18-year-old girl, her hair in a bun, glasses on her nose and it deep in books. She was scribbling on a paper, next to her book and Magnus couldn’t help but chuckle slightly, happy to see her so enthusiastic about her work.

“Hey there, love” he greeted her when he was next to her. Madzie startled and turned her head, relieved to see it was Magnus. She stood up and hugged him tightly. Magnus’s eyes widen, surprised to receive such a greeting. He and Madzie shared a strong bond, they loved each other very much, but this type of hugs were reserved for important situations, not a simple lunch. Magnus hugged her back as tightly though, and smiled at her when she took a step back.

“Are you alright?” he worried.

“Now that I’ve seen you, yes. Raphael called me this morning” she simply said. Magnus rolled his eyes at that, sitting down, facing Madzie’s chair.

“He had no reason to make you worry. I’m fine.”

Annoyed, Madzie rolled her eyes, something she had taken from Magnus, and sat down too.

“You were attacked in your home, Mags, don’t tell me you’re fine” she countered.

Magnus played with his fingers, trying to find a way to reassure her, but he couldn’t lie to her.

“I might not be completely fine, but I will be” he replied. “So there’s no need for a bodyguard, like he suggested.”

“Aren’t you scared, though?” she asked. Magnus sighed. He should have known there would be no way for him to escape this conversation with Madzie. She always knew how to make him admit things he wished he could keep secret. That was the beauty of their bond actually. They couldn’t lie to each other, they both knew when the other felt bad and they also knew exactly what the other needed to get better. At this moment, Madzie knew Magnus needed to hear the right words to be open to an idea he wouldn’t had agree to even hear to begin with.

“Of course I’m scared, sweet pea” Magnus finally admitted. “But I cannot let fear dictate my life.”

“But, there’s nothing wrong with being cautions, though” she added. She had a small smile on her face, knowing she was working her way in and that he would cave in really soon. Magnus chuckled, amused by the look on her face and shook his head.

“You’re too smart for you own good” he sighed but nodded.

Madzie simply shrugged.

“You taught me well” she answered. Magnus nodded and muttered a small ‘That I did’, as Madzie reached over the table to take his hand. He knew she was right. No matter how much he dreaded the idea of having someone following his every move, he knew there was nothing wrong with being cautious and making sure he was safe. Plus, it would only be temparory, right? Just enough time for Magnus to feel better, reassure his close ones and be able to fully move on from the incident. He could already imagine Raphael’s face when he was going to agree with him.

“Now, moving on to more fun subjects: am I finally going to meet that boyfriend of yours?” he smiled, making Madzie blush a little.

“Yes, you are” she said. “Be nice! I really like him” she warned him.

“Well, he must be for you to threaten me this way” he chuckled. Madzie shook her head, amused by Magnus’ fake offended face.

“Just don’t scare him yet, okay?” she genuinely asked.

“If I see that he makes you happy, I’ll be nice to him” he truthfully answered. Madzie nodded, agreeing to this compromise and turned her head when she heard someone call out her name. A huge smile took place on her face and Magnus couldn’t help but smile at that. A young man, with light brown hair was walking towards them. He had blue eyes and a genuine smile on his face as well.

“Madzie, hey, I...” he stopped talking when he saw Magnus sitting in front of his girlfriend and all the color drained from his face. He stood straight and straighten his clothes. “Sir, hello.”

Magnus bit his lips, clearly amused by the young man’s attitude.

“You must be young Maxwell” he guessed.

Max blushed a little and nodded.

“Just Max is fine, sir” he told him. Magnus shrugged one shoulder.

“But Maxwell suits you better. What’s your major?”

“Law, sir” he answered with a small voice.

“What for?”

“In the long run, to become the district attorney, sir” he said with confidence. Magnus’ eyes widen a little, the only sign of how impressed he was by this answer.

“Ambitious. I like that” Magnus states. “Keep him, sweet pea” he then added, looking at Madzie, who smiled, widely. “Have a seat, Maxwell. I want to know all about you.”

***

When Magnus stepped onto Raphael’s floor, he was feeling the most confident than from the past two days. His lunch with Madzie and her boyfriend had been the energy booster he didn’t know he needed. He knew that every time he saw Madzie, he always felt better afterwards, but seeing her this happy with someone had much more effect on him than he expected. Max was a very polite, funny, thoughtful, driven and quick-witted young man. He always looked at Madzie like she was the eighth wonder, always making sure she was comfortable, he made her laugh like no one had managed before and Magnus could see how at peace she was in his company. The young girl had not had the easiest life. Both her parents had died in a terrible car crash, leaving her all alone, with no family and forced to live in an orphanage. The same one as Magnus. As he often gave donation to the institution, he also often visited the place to see the kids and bring them some gifts. When he met Madzie, he saw himself in her, not fully understanding why, but he needed to take care of her. He slowly built a relation with her, an almost father-daughter like and now, he was paying for her college tuition, believing she would accomplish great things in the future. On the other side, they tried to spend as much time as possible together. Now that Magnus wasn’t flying around the world all the time, they managed to see each other at least once a week. He had been quite surprised when she first mentioned a boyfriend, as she had never spoken of any one before. Not even a crush. But Magnus understood why she talked about Max because he could see how intense and serious their relationship was, no matter how short it had been.

Now, he was preparing himself to get attacked from every angle by Raphael, knowing perfectly well how stubborn his best friend could be. Raphael would not stop until Magnus agreed to hiring a bodyguard, which Magnus planned on accepting, but Raphael was not going down without a fight. Magnus could already picture him preparing his arguments, to make sure Magnus would have no choice but to agree. That made Magnus smile. This was going to be a fun talk. He knocked twice and entered the apartment, as usual. He stopped in his tracks as he walked into the living room and his eyebrows shot up.

Catarina and Ragnor were sitting on Raphael’s couch. Ragnor looked annoyed, Catarina looked worried and Raphael looked rather pleased with himself. Magnus had decided to wait before informing Catarina and Ragnor about the whole situation, thinking it was unnecessary to worry them. He had planned to contact them once he had found a new home, but he should have expected Raphael to go behind his back like that and tell them. He dropped his bag on the floor, next to the couch and crossed his arms. He already knew what they were all going to say, so he simply braced himself and sighed.

“Please, go ahead” he instructed them.

“Why didn’t you call us?” Catarina asked quietly.

“Because I’m not dead, Cat. I was just spooked a little, but I’m fine.”

“This man decided to attack you because he’s a fan of yours, correct?” Ragnor intervened.

“That’s what he said, yes” Magnus affirmed.

“So, you do realize this could happen again?” he added.

“I do.”

“Then how the bloody hell can you be so reckless?” he exclaimed standing up. “Raphael told us you refused to have a bodyguard. Do you have no sense self preservation?”

“Ragnor” Catarina tried.

“He invaded your home, Magnus” Ragnor continued nonetheless. “You could have been killed, tortured… Don’t you have any consideration for the people who care about you?” Magnus rolled his eyes, hating to be put on the spot this way and shrugged.

“I’ll do it” he muttered.

“Don’t you think we’ll suffer if something happens to you? We care about you, you stupid selfish idiot!” Ragnor added, not having heard what Magnus had said. However, Raphael’s eyes soften and he got closer to Magnus.

“Wait, what did you say? You’ll do it?” he finally intervened. Magnus shook his heard, slightly annoyed but glad to see Raphael feel better after his words. He might hate the idea, but he needed to make sure he was safe, and if it made the people he cared about feel better, he could endure it.

“Yes” he confirmed. “But I hope this detective’s brother is not as uptight as you are” he warned him, earning a chuckle from his friends. “Now, how about we start looking for a new place for me?” he suggested.

***

Detective Jace Herondale walked up the stairs, leading to the front door of the Lightwood brownstone. He opened the door, with his key, and entered the place. He walked through the foyer and saw his brother, sitting on the couch in the living room. He was glad to see that Alec was alone. The older one always tried to spend as little time as possible alone with either him or Isabelle, so being alone with Alec meant Jace could take the time to actually talk to his brother and not only share a polite talk. Jace knew Alec loved him deeply, just as much as he loved him, but Alec had trouble dealing with his deepest emotions, so he always tried to change the subject or move to something less serious. Maybe this time Jace could actually bond with his brother like he hadn’t had the opportunity since Alec had come back from the army. He passed the bar in the dining room and smiled at Alec, who seemed invested in the animal documentary he was watching.

“Am I interrupting something?” Jace asked, before he sat down next to the man.

“Nothing important” Alec assured, with a tight smile. He took the remote and muted the tv before looking up at his brother. He immediately noticed the file in his hands and frowned at that. “What are you doing here?”

“Can’t I just come visit my brother after a long day at work?” Jace teased. Alec sent him a small smile and shook his head.

“What’s up with the file?”

“A job offer for you” he answered as he handed him the file. Alec took it and flipped through the different pages, reading the information. Magnus Bane.

“He’s a model?”

“Used to be” Jace answered. “He’s mainly a designer now, but he still does runaways every now and then.”

Alec flipped another page and frowned.

“And someone managed to break into his home?”

“Yeah. We already caught the guy, he was a hardcore fan who wanted to see how his idol lived or whatever, so no worries on that side. However, his agent and best friend is still worried. The guy himself seems pretty fine and not that affected though…”

Alec shook his head.

“He’s in denial” he added as he threw the file onto the coffee table. “Anyone would be affected by something like this.”

Jace nodded.

“I agree. That’s why I insisted on him getting a bodyguard.”

“You can send them my credentials. If they still need me, they’ll call me” Alec agreed.

Jace smiles at him, happy that he agreed so fast. He wasn’t actually surprised, Alec lived to protect people. That’s why he knew he’d do a fantastic job with protecting Magnus. Besides, being close to someone drastically different than him could do him some good.

“Thank you for doing this, Alec” he answered and clapped his brother’s shoulder. Alec froze under his hand and slid to the side, to move away from the touch.

“No worries” he said in a small voice.

Jace understood he has overstepped and bit his lower lip. He wanted to spend some time with his brother, and try to get to the bottom of this situation so they could get out of there. Alec had almost been home for a year now, so it was time for them to actually talk and share this deep friendship they used to have.

“Do you know when mom’s coming home? I thought I could stay for diner” he said. Alec frowned, showing how shocked he was by this news.

“She has a big case going on right now, so I just planned on getting pizza for Max and I” Alec answered, hoping Jace would change his mind. He never overstayed. Especially when their mother wasn’t there, so there was still a chance for Alec to not have to endure this.

“Sweet! Brother’s night” Jace exclaimed happily. He would have loved to see their mother, but an evening with just his two brothers was just as great. Max always helped Alec relax, so if it was only the three of them, he had a chance to really spend quality time with them, without being worried to scare Alec off. Unfortunately, Alec didn’t seem share his excitement.

“Shouldn’t you go home and eat with Clary?” he asked, knowing bringing Clary up would work for sure.

Jace simply shrugged.

“Her and Jonathan are working late. She told me not to wait for her, so I thought I’d eat with you guys” he explained. “A brothers’ night is even better, but don’t tell mom” he smiled cheekily.

At that point, Alec knew he had no other choice. If even Clary wasn’t helping him, there was no other way for him to get rid of his brother. He just sighed and sent him a small smile.

“I’m sure Max will be thrilled.”

“Don’t sound too excited” Jace teased, knowing it would affect Alec one way or another.

“Sorry. I’m really happy you’re spending the evening with us” he said, hoping Jace would believe him, but it didn’t seem to work. Jace’s eyes showed his sadness. Jace knew Alec way too well for his liking, most of the time, he could read him better than anyone else, even better than their sister. That was why Alec always tried to distance himself from him the most, because he knew Jace would see right through his lies, and try to get him to talk. And at this moment, he was doing that face that Alec did not want to see.

“Alec…” he tried, but Alec stood up, cutting him off.

“I’m gonna call Max, see when he plans on getting back” he quickly said, before going to the kitchen to make the phone call.

Alec was being a coward, he knew it all too well, but he didn’t have any other choice. He couldn’t face his brother, without breaking down and tell all the things he was dying to say. He knew it worried his siblings. Well, Max didn’t pay much attention to it, knowing Alec would eventually talk things out, but Jace and Isabelle… Every time they had a chance, they would try to get him to talk and share his feelings. Alec didn’t want to talk about his feelings. He didn’t even want to face them. He had, actually. His time in the army had helped him understand all the things he was feeling and did not understand, but he did not want to talk it out with his way-too-invasive siblings. Especially when they wouldn’t talk about their own feelings. It might appear like Alec was living in this denial bubble, but he was not. He knew who he was, he knew what he wanted in life (even though he could never have it) but it was his right to keep things to himself. He was entitled to have secrets and to not be obliged to share his feelings with his siblings. He was a grown-up man and had the right to live his life the way he wanted to, and it didn’t matter if Jace and Isabelle agreed to it or not.

He took his phone out of his pocket and was about to call Max when he heard the front door open, but more precisely, his younger brother shout from the door.

“I’m hooooome” he sung. Alec got out of the kitchen and joined Max in the dining room. “My brother!” he exclaimed, showing his fist to Alec.

That was a little something he had started to do ever since Alec had quit the army and came back to live with them. Even if he didn’t talk about it, having his eldest brother endangering his life on a daily basis affected him. He never knew what to expect when they would receive a phone call from his base, or when they couldn’t talk to him for months. So now, having him everyday, knowing he was safe and home, reminded Max how much he loved him, how happy he was to have him home and he needed to show it him. So he had started this little thing, between them, which never failed to make Alec smile.

“My brother!” he answered, bumping his own fist against Max’s.

They both reached the living room, where Jace still seated and looking at them with a big smile.

“My other brother!” Max exclaimed.

”My annoying brother“ Jace decided to tease him. Max chuckled lightly and put his hand on his shoulder.

“You love me and you know it, Jace, just admit it” he said. Jace and Alec both rolled their eyes.

“Yeah, yeah, everybody loves you, now go get changed so we can order pizza and eat.” Alec told him. “Jace is eating with us, by the way.”

Max sent him a fake annoyed look and shook his head.

“Dear Alexander, you and your old people’s habits” he sighed. “You realize I can eat wearing these clothes, right?” he asked.

Alec rolled his eyes and ruffled Max’s hair. The youngest often liked to tease his brother by calling him with his full name. Alec usually hated when someone called him that, but, like everything else, Max was an exception.

“But wouldn’t you be more comfortable with sweatpants and a sweatshirt, Maxwell?” he replied, a huge grin on his face.

Max squinted his eyes and nodded.

“Check mate, brother. I’ll be right back” he gave up. He turned around to walk to his room. Alec and Jace both shook their heads, amused by their brother. Max had grown up to be an amazing person. Alec had been worried about him, after everything that had happened to their family, but Max didn’t let it get to him and made his family proud. Especially their mother who had the most doubts. Raising him on her own -minus the help of her other children- had been a challenge for her. A challenge she didn’t think she was up for, but she had made it. Her four children were amazing people, they were happy with their lives and she was so proud of them, it always made her heart clench whenever she thought about it.

“His sass never ceases to amaze me” Jace said.

Alec tilted his head to side, clear judgement in his eyes.

“Like you’re any better” he scoffed.

“Hey! I’ve gotten better” Jace defended himself.

“Yeah, thanks to Clary” Alec added.

“Yeah, well, we complete each other” the blond one shrugged.

Alec wanted to tease his brother a little bit more, but he could see how genuine and sincere Jace was in his words. He hadn’t had the chance to see Jace when he first started to date Clary, but whenever he talked to his mother on the phone, she’d tell him how more stable Jace had become. Alec eventually saw it too each time he came back to his family for a bit. Clary tempered him and understood him in a way nobody had ever before. That was why Alec had always been nice to Clary. Plus, the girl was so sweet, nobody could be mean to her. And because Alec knew how happy Jace was with Clary, he decided to be honest with him.

“That’s good, Jace, I’m happy for you” he simply said. He immediately saw Jace’s face soften at his words. Alec knew perfectly well that he had limited his role as the eldest sibling in the house, that he should have done more for them, that he should have been there for the most important moments in his siblings’ lives, so he was trying to make amends for it. He might not be doing it in the best way, but he was trying to be there as much as he could now, while protecting his heart in the process.

“Thank you, Alec” Jace answered, his voice deep with emotions. “It means the world coming from you.”

And Alec knew it was true. They were finally having that moment Jace had wanted to share with him. This moment of honesty, where all their barriers were put down and they could be honest with each other. Jace had so many things he wished he could say to his brother, but Max came back to the living-room, wearing a tiger onesie that left his brothers speechless.

“So, ready to order pizza? I’m choosing the movie by the way” he told them.