Actions

Work Header

Glitter and Horns

Chapter Text

After visiting the Silent brothers and getting the warlock’s name Clary hoped that they would be able to leave this party with her memories and be done. Isabel had thrown her in a dress that reveled more skin than it covered and while the other girl could probably back-flip in her heels, Clary was barely able to climb a flight of stairs. At least Jace had looked interested….

Knock. Knock.

“Hello I don’t believe I invited any Nephilim to my party.” The man who opened the door screamed color and power, he was the kind of person Clary expected to see strutting a runway. Apart from his clearly expensive clothing he seemed to be covered in a layer of glitter.

“We have an invitation” Isabel offered a purple sheet of paper to the man, where she had it Clary couldn’t begin to guess.

“So you do,” The man plucked the sheet from her hand. “Fine just try not to murder any of my guest.” He then stalked away into the mass of people on the dance floor.

“Where is this warlock we need?” She asked.

“You just saw him. Now we just need to catch him long enough to talk.” Jace stated taking her arm and leading her into the room along the left wall, while Isabel took the right. She eventually spotted the warlock, Bane, sprawled on a couch surrounded by a number of downworlders as if they were his court or council.

“We’ll have to wait for him to move, we don’t want to cause a fight here.” Jace started to lay out his plan, but Clary wasn’t about to wait for him. She quickly slipped her arm free and darted out of Jace’s reach.

“Clary!” Jace hissed as she jumped up the platform to the couch.

“Nephilim" the warlock drawled raising one eye brow “can I help you?”

“Yes, you know my mother Jocelyn Fray. She’s missing and I need the memories she had you steal back!”

“Jocelyn’s daughter?” Bane said with a surprised expression. “Oh you must be Clarissa.” He stood up from the couch and waved off the seelie that moved to offer him a drink. “Come along Biscuit you can bring your guard dog too.”

He led Clary and Jace, who had heard Magnus, into a side room that appeared to be an office. Shutting the door behind them. The noise from the party immediately dropped in a way that could only be magic.

“Now what exactly is the situation do you think I can fix for you?” Bane asked.

“My mother is missing and we need you to undo this block and give me my memories back so we can find her.”

“Slow down biscuit.” Magnus raised his hands and leaned back against the desk behind him. “I took your memories and sight under you mothers instruction so you can’t blame me for doing as I was hired to do.”

“But!”

“Relax, the block is not permanent and I’ve been expecting you to stop by soon since you missed the appointment to restore it.” Flicking one hand to create a shower of sparks that changed from blue to pink after touching her. “Based on how it looks now it should fully fade in about a week. To remove it now would only cause further damage.”

“Fine but want about the memories you took? They may the only way to fine my mom”

“I’m afraid I don’t have them. Your mother took them with her to hide herself and she never told me where. If you could locate them I would be able to restore them for a minor fee.”

“Fee!” Clary cried

“What type of fee?” Jace asked.

“Your mother was rumored to have a spell book I want. I planned to ask for it when I next saw her” Magnus explained.

“I don’t know where that is, our apartment was trashed so it could be destroyed.” Clary explained.

“Fine I can accompany you there and look now and see if she left the memories hidden there.” Magnus offered.

“Fine” Clary reluctantly agreed, then asked “Jace can you get Isabel so we can go?”

“Let me. I need to end my party anyway.”

Magnus stepped out letting the noise spike and drop. He returned about ten minute late with Isabel. During his absence Jace had tried to touch a book on the shelf only for it to growl at him.

“Very well let go” Magnus then started to move his arm creating a swirling portal of magic on the wall. “Clarissa would you mind going first, just think of the entry way of you home.”

Picturing the antique shop where she would spend her afternoons doing homework with Dot. She stepped through feeling a disorienting floating before her first foot landed in the shop. A few seconds later the others followed. Magnus was last turning to close the portal behind him.

Jace made to move up stairs when Magnus stopped him with an arm across the chest.

“I’d rather not rush in head first only to find were not alone.” He complained.

“We don’t have all night.” Jace argued.

“Well, let’s check” he sent a wave of magic out through the shop and up the building into the apartment. He waited a minute before stating “Were alone. The memories are not here and neither is the book but there is something here I could use to find it upstairs.”

They fanned out picking their way thought the store and apartment. While Clary found several pictures and sketch books she threw in a backpack to take back with her, they had yet to find any sign of her memories. Magnus eventually noticed a hidden space under one loose floor board.

Jace pride the board off with his blade. Under the floor was a wood inlay box.

“Oh, my Mom said it was stuff that belonged to my Dad. She would pull it out and cry every year.” Clary said removing the box from the hole.

Lifting the lid she found a rattle, a lock of white-blond hair, a cut off book mark, a stele, a pair of rings on a chain, and a business card.

“There it is” Magnus said plucking the book mark out. “This is what I need to find the book so our payment is settled.” he stated tucking it into his pocket.

“I guess she wanted to keep something of who she was but not risk you seeing it.” Isabel said picking up the chain, “This one is her family ring, and that must be her wedding ring” she pointed to each ring. "I don't recognize the seal so the family line could be labeled dead."

Jace pulled out the business card “anyone know what’s so secretive of Alec’s appraisals?”

“Alec…Alec? Where have I heard that name” Magnus said. “Let me see that” taking the card from Jace.

“If nothing else we could head over to the address and ask?” Isabel suggested. “We’ve been here so long that an early morning visit wouldn’t be misplaced.”

“That may be the way to go since they don’t have any contact information listed” Magnus agreed. He then move to the living room to open a portal.

“Shall we, this is as close as I can get without having been there.” He stepped through, leading them to an alleyway. Then down the street into an apartment building’s elevator and hit the nine.

Stepping out they moved down to apartment #96. Jace moved forward to knock on the dark wood door.

Chapter Text

Solitude was something he had long ago found his peace in. Both his kind and his own personality preferred privacy and control over the presence of others. He genuinely couldn’t think of much he’d rather be doing in his free time than reading in the sunlight.

Over the centuries most downworlders had formed communities in some fashion. The obvious were the packs or covens of the turned, even seelie primarily resided in their own realm or nearby it. Warlock were the closest to his kind in preferring solitude, but that usually was a result of situation not choice. Even they were knows to hide their true knowledge and culture in the spiral Labyrinth. A safe haven from shadowhunters for the victims that were so often blamed.

Shadowhunters were the most dangerous group. They had always cut themselves- and any who stray too far- off from the world. Their home land being their center and any city institute merely being an extension of it.

He supposed that this longing for unity in a community was part of their humanity, for as much as the hunter wished to deny it about themselves and the downworders they looked down on, they all shared their humanity, however little with the mundanes.

He supposed that what made his kind seem vulnerable to them, they were an ‘other’. The rare groups found living together usually being couples and off springs in need of care rather than any extended family. A group made of individuals that could rely on themselves and thrive, and had no need for a larger community to gain happiness or success. Few as they may be, almost any one of them held more power and knowledge than most others who still walked the earth. Yes, the self-appointed seelie queen knew things she shouldn’t, but only thing already know and hidden from others.

Perhaps he should visit her for a non-tea just to watch her fume at his blunt raw lies sliding off his tongue while hers refused to do the same. Then again she still had a riddle from his last visit to solve so perhaps he could wait another decade or so.

Pring. Pring

Glancing at the clock he noted the time as he rose from the lounge, 8:43 AM. He had an early meeting today to returning a set of tomes a local rabbi with a report on their probable age and origin. Then again it was hardly a question for him since he could tell the well cared for books age at a glance.
With no one planed for the rest of his day he had changed into a more comfortable attire of sweatpants and tank top. One of his glamor bracelet rested on the entrance table. He slipped it on as he crossed the room.

Knowing the ward stones he had set when he first moved in would prevent any weapon from crossing his thresh hold and any violent magic from being cast, he opened the door to peer out.

Hmm. Two runed females, he supposed that the dark haired one would be considered extremely beautiful if one preferred that gender. The red haired one looked like she wanted to both storm in blade flashing and hide awkwardly behind the others in a dress that didn’t fit and shoes she couldn’t manage.
The other runed male gave him a split second pause. Golden. He seemed to be drenched in enough natural gold to somehow glow, while wearing black leather armor. For a second he considered if this glowing essence of angelic energy would be worth the trouble to steal him away into his hoard. Then just as fast dismissed the idea as he took in the stance and expression. Arrogance, self-confidence, self-centered, broken. This hunter may shine like gold but would never be convinced to give himself to another’s love by anything but his own end. He had seen the kind, warriors who would rather die in glorious battle to save their names in history than live a joyful life loved by one person unconditionally. No the golden boy would never belong in his hoard.

The last member surprised him and he couldn’t help but stop to take him all in. From the expensive clothing to the precise jewelry and make-up the warlock radiated power in a way few did. He could tell the man did it because the power was who he was, not a front present to trick the world. This one was beautiful both in appearance and attitude. He was one who could out shine and enhance most things in his hoard with nothing but his presence.

Then the red head cut his assessment short. “Mr. Alec we’re here for the memories you stole from me”

“Really,” as dry as possible, her self-centered attitude rivaled the blonde’s “I can’t say I’ve ever met you before, nor have I stolen anything from you, but if you insist on disturbing my day then come in so I can sit.” Thrown out after a second to wipe the smug look of the golden boys face he added “and leave your toys in the foyer or the wards will keep them.”

“But-“

“They’ll be there when you leave Blondie” he stated as he moved back inside.

Reluctantly they removed their ridiculous number of blades and weapons setting them on the side table.

Alec settled himself on the wide arm chair after picking up his cup of coffee. After the others come in he watched them pick their seats noticing the clear bias as the Hunter children sat together on the couch farthest from him. While the hansom warlock settled on the love seat between them.

“So child,” He chose to start “who are you all, and what makes you think I stole something from you.”
“Clary Fray. those memories are mine and I need them back”
“Cupcake” he drawled as mockingly as possible. “you’re going to have to specify a bit more on what memories you lost and how you think I have them” leaving the girl to fume he turned “And you are?” he asked far more politely to the pretty warlock.

“Magnus Bane.” he stated with a flourish and a smile, “High Warlock of Brooklyn. This is Jace and Isabel Lightwood." Then talking a more flirty tone "Alec? Is that short for something, Alexander perhaps.” Alec knew his smile was an answer enough.

“Those memories are mine. You took them from my mother Jocelyn Fray” Clary interrupted.

“Fray? Fray. Red hair. Oh, you mean Fairchild, I suppose I can see some resemblance.” he pondered, “and I didn’t steal anything from her she sold me you memories in exchange for a portal shard and some other trinkets over the years.”

“It’s Fray! Then you must have forced her to make the trade” the red head defended while her hair moved with enough violence to match her temper.

Feeling done with the narrow minded direction of the discussion. Alec choose to explain “Your mother came asking for me to buy you memories and when I offered to store them instead for a reasonable price she refused and insisted I buy them instead.”

“Then we’ll pay the storing price” claimed Blondie.

“No,” he refused “that’s not the deal I made, and anyway she came back every few years with more memories to sell and each time she insisted that she didn’t want them back”

“But they were mine, you can’t keep them!” The child ranted.

“Were. They were yours, not anymore and further more you were a child and you guardian chose to take actions on your behalf, as they are well with in their right to do so. Much like a mundane parent choosing whether or not to give their child a vaccine. They preformed an action for your well being as they see fit. If you have a problem with that then you should be talking about it with your mother.”

“But-” her face falling.

He was done with her tantrum “NO! Now be quiet and listen. I didn’t say you couldn’t have them back,” her face lifted “however you will have to negotiate a new price with me to pay for them.”

“A-“ she started again.

“That’s fine” The other girl placed her hand on the red heads arm and calmed her down. “What did you have in mind?”

“Well,” he started “Your mother has given me about 25 memories over the past ten years. Usually in sets of 2 or 3. So I suppose we can start negotiating with if you want them all back or not.”

“All” The runes boy stated. As the red head turned to him in confusion he lowered his voice to a whisper that was still easily heard. “We don’t know what we are looking for so it’s better to get them all than risk missing the one we need.”

“Okay” She finally agreed.

“Well then, originally the price for storing the first two memories I offered was a silver rattle she had, but she refused and demanded to sell them for a portal shard I had left out. And over the years I sold her several other items. So I suppose we could split your cost in to a monetary, magical, and a physical item component.” he suggested.

“The institute can pay, how much?” Isabelle stated with more confidence than she should have.

“Gold, musgravites, jadeite, black opals?” he suggested. “do you want me to price it by raw cost or storage price”

“Oh Come on” Jace exclaimed in irritation. After having a silent discussion with Isabel “Uggh, the storage.”

“An amount of time then. 5 pounds for ten years. At least one pound of each.”

“We’ll have to check with the institute for funds and get back to you” The black haired girl warned.

“Fine” he agreed. “So for the magical,” glancing at the warlock who had been mostly silent till then “how about one memory from each of you?”

“What!”

“NO!”

“You can’t be serious!”

“Which memories” the first thing the warlock said since their introductions. Cutting the complaints off.

“Nothing much, just one memory of wonder, surprise, or a first experience.” he reassured “Would you be able to do that?” he asked softly.

“Yes but not today. That spell requires considerable prep”

“That’s fine we can schedule that later.” he reassured.

“For the item, what did you have in mind?” Isabelle questioned, clearly wanting the discussion to end.

“I already know what I would like, there are a set of two journals and a poem book in your institute library that belonged to friend of mine that I would like to have.”

“We’ll need some way to find them.” She tried to argue.

“I can either give you a description or come pick them out myself.” he stated “Now I think we would all prefer to have this whole thing in writing.”

As the hunters all opened their mouths to complain he countered “Now, now. I can’t give you the memories without payment, this just insure that we all understand what is required and that I will give them to you when we are done.”

“Very well” Jace agreed.

“How long will you need to collect payment?” he asked Isabel.

“Three or four days to get approval for the money.” The girl stated.

“Very well” he agreed “Mr. Bane? When would be best for the memory spell?”

“Five days from now. 3pm.” he shortly replied after a moment’s thought.

Taking a sheet of paper from his coffee table he wrote out the terms and payment along with the times. He included the name of the journals and a burner phone number. After everyone read and signed the warlock made three copies so they could each take one.

“Alright, I’ll have to go collect your memories, but if we are done I’d like to enjoy the rest of my day.”

The shadowhuntes were out the door in minutes with their weapons in hand. Leaving him and Magnus.

“Mr. Bane if you have a moment.” he called before the warlock could leave.

Turning back to face Alec he answered “Yes?”

“I noticed you didn’t seem very close to you friends and were somewhat bothered to the idea of a memory trade.” he lightly probed.

“I have to admit that it is something I’d rather not do. But as the one who took her memories Clary was quite insistent I help retrieve them.” The warlock spoke as someone who was reluctant but resigned to their fate.

“You did as you were hired by her mother, it not like you assisted some strangers in a thief, and you don’t owe me anything as her mother is the one who sold it to me.” He explained.

“Yes but a deals a deal.”

“Yay, but… according to this” He raised the paper contract, “you are only listed as memory spell caster not giver.” Crossing his leg and gesturing to the warlock's vacated seat. “So would you care to negotiate something more enjoyable?”

Magnus gave him a clear look of surprise and amusement at the offer. He retook his abandoned seat. “Well from this contract you hardly need money. What interests you? Pretty boy.”

He could feel the flush forming. “Well how about a drink?”

“Alexander, are you asking me out” The warlock asked in amusement.

Flushing even more at possibly reading this wrong, he glancing down. “Something else is fine, if-”

“Drinks sound fine. As a first date and payment. Then?” the warlock stated making clear that he was interested in the possibility.

“Well that be up to you” he offered.

“Then how about drinks tomorrow night and then we see how it goes?”

“I’d like that.” Alec smiled.

“I’ll pick you up at 6. Till tomorrow.” Magnus then saunters out.

Chapter Text

After the door closed and activated the ward stone to keep any other surprise guest out. Alec tossed his bracelet on the coffee table, threw himself down along the lounge chair, and buried his face in a pillow to scream in excitement and fear.

What was he doing? He hadn’t been on a date in decades and for all he knew it was a pity date to get out of paying.

No. He had given an out and Magnus could have just made it drinks between acquaintances. But he chosen to call it a date. Which means he had to actually dress up for a date.

Sitting up he ran a hand through his hair and between his horns. Taking a deep breath he reached across the table to grab his phone.

Swiping open his phone he selected the number of the only person who wouldn’t be useless at fixing his problem.

Ring. Ring.

“Hello?” yes, they answered.

“Helen, I have a date tomorrow and I don’t know what to wear! Help!”

“Mr. Grumpy cat has a date? With who?” she asked clearly enjoying his misfortune and her new source of gossip.

“Oh please you’ve been pining after that shadowhunter girl you ran into at the park for months. You have no room to judge my love life” he accused.

“Fine we both have poor love lives, now who?” she insisted

“His name is Magnus, he’s beautiful, and sparkly, and a warlock, and totally out of my league.” he bemoaned.

“Alec, no one is out of your league because you’re amazingly bad ass. Any anyone who says otherwise is an idiot.” She reassured him. “Now, what’s the date?”

“Out to drinks tomorrow.”

“Okay so nice but not fancy . . . do you still have that denim button up. The one I got you two years ago”

“Yes, what else?” he got up and headed to his closet to make sure the item was there and not a part of his cat's nest.

“Some dark wash jeans, boots, and a leather jacket.”

“What if it goes wrong, what if I mess it up,” he starts to panic.

“Hey he said yes, that means he’s interested and if he’s a jerk, we can burn down his house and roast marshmallows.”

“Thanks” he was glad that he had Helena to calm him down or he may just work himself up enough to cancel.

“Why did you need my help dressing yourself you have to wear those fancy suit whenever you do business meetings?” Helen asked sounding genuinely bemused by his actions.

“Just because I know what to wear to intimidate or instill confidence in a client, doesn’t mean I know what’s appropriate for a date in this century.” He explained.

And honestly the last century was insane when it came to fashion trends. Every decade there was a distinct change in style and materials. And many items didn’t carry over into a new decade. He could recall periods of time where the cut and fabric of clothing would remain unchanged for close to centuries due to isolation or environmental limitations.

Though being aware of these constant changes in the world of fashion helped him blend in better than some other immortals he’d meet over the years. One vampire he meet was so stubborn about it that he only wore togas until the early 2000's when he finally was forced to branch out. The reason for that was technically Alec’s fault but he would never admit it. The man had been a self-absorbed snob who delighted in tormenting mundanes for his own entertainment. So, Alec hardly felt guilty for letting the man get arrested for public intoxication outside a frat house during a holiday weekend and forcing him to hide under a cell bed all weekend until his friend could come to pay his bail the next night.

Slipping out of his memories Alec realized that Helen had spent the last twenty minutes ranting and raving about the girl she was obsessing over.

“Helena if you’re this interested in her why not try talking to her in person?”

“Are you kidding? She’d never give me the time of day since I’m not a shadowhunter.”

“You’ll never know unless you talk. Why not run into her at that park she likes and get a feel before jumping in?”

“Ugh. When did you become reasonable?”

“Rome. And for all you know she could turn out like that woman … Camille, remember you saw her in a restaurant and were convinced she was the one. Then spent five minutes with her and couldn’t get away fast enough.” Laughing at the memory of how quick Helena’s opinion changed. He had never meet the woman himself but had heard plenty afterwards.

“Yay, Yay. I got distracted by a pretty face and almost jumped too deep with a piranha. Just be glad I realized fast that she was a crazy selfish bitch or you’d of had to deal with her during the annual Christmas Party.”

“Thank Hell, for that.” He shuttered at the thought of that woman having an influence over his friend. “But really talk to this Aline girl and get a feel for her. It will either help you get over her or figure out if you have a chance.”

“Alright, If you go thought with it and don’t chicken out on this date of yours, I’ll talk to Aline and then we can meet up and swap stories.” Helen stated.

“Deal” he agreed. “I’ll text you after the date to let you know that you have to make your move.”

“Great see you around.” She hung up and left him to his thoughts.

Chapter Text

Magnus had just portaled himself home. The place was a mess of glitter, cups and other party remembrances. A wave of his hand removed the mess and restored his loft to its normal state. Flopping down on the couch he was quickly joined by a tiny white ball of fluff.

Starting to pet his cat he began to reflect on his night. “Well Chairman, while you were hiding I’ve had one hell of a night. And a date tomorrow.”

Receiving nothing but silence from his furry companions he started to contemplate out loud.

“Where have I heard of him? I’d definitely remember that face. Alec, Alec, Alexander? Oh!” Popping up he dislodged the Chairman with a yowl.

Moving into his library he removed a large red leather book Rangor had lent him and then forgotten to return.

It was a historical account of the last true war between the downworlders and shadowhunter, not the unofficial attacks from Circle members twenty years ago. Since the Clave never officially acknowledged those attacks, they had always been written off as a failed internal Shadowhunter rebellions despite the body count.

This was had been before his time, almost 800 years ago. The war had been significant enough to end up in writing because several sub groups of the downworld had been wiped out or so seriously diminished to the point they went into hiding or dropped contact with the resst of the downworld. He doubted many shadowhunters in the last few generations or so even remembered those groups existed.

He flipped through seeing the different groups. The aquatic downworlders; mermaids, sirens, and sea monsters had been so hurt that they had withdrawn from all mainland contact, making communication and governing by the Clave near impossible.

The more deity like beings like the Norse or Greco-Roman Gods had elected to move to other realms. There was even speculation that the current seelie queen had claimed power during the war and only kept them connected to this realm for the effect it had on her own power control.

There DRAGONS.

A solitary group that rarely got involved in conflict as a group though individuals were known to take sides. They had stayed out of the fighting in the beginning, but during the end of the war had opened safe havens to downworlders in there lairs. There was only one battle where a dragon had fought and it had ended the war and forced both sides to stand down and form the first version of the accords, later to be amended and adjusted by the Clave.

The fight had been caused by a group of Shadowhunter warriors attacking a safe haven and slaughtering all downworlders inside. The downworlder reinforcements had arrived and lead to a battle in the destroyed lair. The fight was ended by a pair of dragons arriving, the dragon who owned the lair and their friend.Upon returning to the lair they had decimated the battle field. Leaving one person from each group to return to their leaders with a warning of death if they attacked another haven.

There had only been one name attributed any type of representative for the community of the dragon population, in any written records that he could find. They had been at the battle and been the representative to declare the dragons’ refusal to interfere with the accords after peace talks had begun. Alexander. Any doubt he had was removed when he found the sketch of the dragon’s human form, in profile showing him the spiting image of a dark hair and strong jaw man he meet that morning.

He had a date tomorrow night with a dragon, a dragon he had made blush with one comment. What are you supposed to wear on a date with a dragon? He had not had enough sleep to deal with this. Later, he would deal with this later.

<><><><><><><>

12 hours later he had showered, slept, and eaten something besides party snakes and alcohol. He had also fed a disgruntled Chairman Meow after losing the bottom seven inches of a curtain.

Yet, he still had not figure out what to do with his date the next night. Alec seemed shy, sweet, and nervous, yet also confident, no nonsense, and sassy. He couldn’t figure him out and it was driving him crazy. How did he approach it, should he just try to make it pass fast and run to avoid another Camille or would this time be different. Ugh. He couldn’t figure this out.

Which means he needs to ask someone for a second opinion. Pulling out his phone he dialed one of the three numbers he had on speed dial.

Ring. Ring.

Click.

Before the other could speak he started to talk.

“Cat, I need help.”

“Magnus, something tells me this isn’t a work call.”

“You’re not entirely wrong, remember Valentine’s wife who had me remove her daughters memories? Well, her daughter came by demanding them back and made me agree to restore them. And in the course of looking for them we ended up at the home of a beautiful man, that may most likely be a dragon, who her mother had sold the memories to. And in the process of negotiations I now have a date with said dragon and I don’t know what to wear.” Over the course of his explanation he continues to speed up and freak himself out.

“How did you end up with a date from that?” she asked sounding lost.

“I don’t know he was cute and flustered and apologetic of me getting stuck in the shadowhunter’s problem, and I didn’t realize he was possibly hundreds year old dragon until after I made it a date.” He began pacing a round his living room while the Chairman judged him from the couch.

“Well, do you want to go on this date or get out of it, because it kind of sounds like this is your fault?” She asked confused as to how Magnus got himself into this mess.

“I know it’s my fault this is happening but what do I wear? Do I go casual or formal, where do I take him? Is the Hunter’s Moon fine? Would Tokyo be to much?”

“Magnus stop, breath, and quit pacing” Of course she was right about needing to calm down and stop pacing, but she didn’t need to know that.

Catarina continued, “Mags it sounds like the problem you have is that you actually are excited to go on this date and are worried he isn’t, but from the sound of your description he seems interested. So, do you want me to come over and watch you model half your closet for this date and tell you it all looks great? Or tell Ralph to come over and tell you everything you pair up is wrong and cause you to go on another shopping spree.”

“You. As much as I love that boy he has one color scheme and its ‘dark and dreary’.” Magnus was glad Cat knew him so well, to understand the unspoken reason he had dialed her number and not his nearly adoptive son’s.

“Great I’ll portal over in a minute, make sure you have the whiskey out.”

“Fine see you soon Cat.”

After hanging up he processed to collect her favorite whiskey from his alcohol cabinet along with two glasses. Opening the bottle he filled each about a finger’s height.

A moment later he could feel Catarina enter his wards as the door opened.

“Hello Catarina, your drink.” he offered the glass. She was in purple sweats with her hair tied up and her skin was her natural blue.

“Thank you” she took it knowing the drill. “Shall we get to it.”

As they entered his bed room he use his magic to rearrange the room. The bed was now in the corner and a privacy screen covered the entrant to his walk in closet. A wide couch was placed in the middle of the room for Catarina to use, next to the couch was a side table and to the side a full length mirror. His vanity and jewelry dresser were on the wall near the closet. Setting the bottle and his glass down on the side table he left Cat to the couch while he went to figure out what one wears on a date with a dragon.

While he was finding a shirt that went with the leather pants and still showed off his ass. Catarina started the conversation.

“What kind of date is it anyway?”

“Out to drinks, I’m picking him up.” Picking a dark green patterned shirt with a deep v neck line that went to his waist covered in tiny rhinestones.

“Have you decided where? Or will the outfit determine it?”

“No, I think it will be a bit in the air until I see what he’s wearing.”

“Aren’t you worries about being overdressed?”

He pulled on a pair of short swayed heeled boots. “Darling I’m never over dressed, I’m always precisely fabulous.”

Stepping out from the screen he walked out and gave a spin. “What do you think?”

“I don’t know, you said he blushed at one word, you think that shirt will help conversation?” she asked with amusement.

Turning to look at mirror he agreed “Maybe a second date outfit.” Turning back he returned to his closet to find something else.

“Already thinking of a second date? What had you so worried about going out?”

“Well my last try at this dating thing is hardly encouraging.” Starting with high collar button up shirt with a blue purple pattern.

“Shit,” Catarina muttered “She was a bitch”

“Yes, Camille has a truly unique way with people” Dark thin leg pants with a blue tie belt.

“That’s one way of putting it, I heard your psycho ex is back in the city. Ralph is giving her a run for her money though.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything less from our little vampire.” Black dress shoes. “How about this?”

Strutting out, he looked at the mirror.

“Nice” she commented.

He examined himself in the mirror, “No, too simple for this.” Turing back to the closet to change he thought of maybe adding a vest.

“How’s the hospital?” Wanting to stop talking about the she-devil.

“Good. Finally got my new shift settled” While Catarina went on to complain about her snobby coworkers and the doctor who kept spending his break making-out with an intern in the supply closet.

Magnus picked out a new outfit. A dark grey poke-a-dot button up shirt, Dark vest, fitted pants, he also grabbed a knee length black wool tench coat encase it was cold. Sliding on slightly heeled low boots.

“How about this” he walked out.

“Oh, that’s nice.” She said sitting up from where she was lounging. “Works for casual or fancy.”

“Now for accessories," Turning he headed for the jewelry dresser, tossing the coat on the back of the vanity chair. He opened the second drawer and started pulling things out. Every couple of years he reorganized all his clothing; color, fabric, style, era. It usually took a week or so, and helped him see what he had and what he may want to move to storage boxes.

“So glitter or gems?”

“Only one?” Catarina questioned.

“As you said before I don’t want to overwhelm my dragon.” Deciding on several brooches to go on the vest and coat. A short necklace laying on top. Then he selected a number of ornate silver rings. Finally he plucked out earrings and a swirly cuff. Putting it all on, he walked over to Cat.

“What do you think?” Giving a spin.

“That I may have to stage a rescues mission if your date decides to steal you.”

“Please Catarina” he rolled his eyes at her. “I’m the dramatic one as Ragnor loves to complain.”

“Your make-up?”

“Tomorrow.” He went on to explain. “I’ll have a better idea of the weather and my mood.”

“Then I should probably be on my way.” She rose from her seat.

“I’ll portal you home. It’s the least I can do,” he cut of her complains not wanting his friend to portal tipsy.

After Catarina left he changed out of his outfit and laid it out for the following night. He waved his hand to restore his bedroom and their drinks to their proper place. He would just have to wait and see how this date went.

Chapter Text

Shit, five fucking pounds of gold and gems, plus the books from the library.

If the Clave didn’t kill them for making this deal their mother might.

Isabel didn’t have time to worry though. She need to work on getting the gold and gems withdrawn from the institute’s internal vaults and then sorted so they would get at least a pound of each. The last pound would be whatever other metals or gems the pieces they had were affixed to.

Jace had gone to file the reports of their night, while Clary wanted out of the party clothing and to go call the mundane boy. She and her paribatai had been sneaking out of the institute for years and after getting caught by Hodge for the twentieth time when they were fourteen, and him knowing that they often got out without him knowing. He had made them agree that they would file their nightly excursions as extra patrols or recon missions to appease the Clave. And to call for back up if things went wrong. She supposed that he wanted them to understand that it was better to be caught out and ask forgiveness than get stuck in over their heads.

This night would just be another report in the files, them making a quick deal with a local warlock and then another with a sighted mundane that used his separation from the shadow world to make a profit. Isabel would bet his wards came at the price of storing a different warlock’s possessions. After all if his clients wanted privacy the best way would to make the one watching your stuff unnoticed. And if the mundane didn’t know what the stuff was beyond his clients’ desire for it and failed to use it, then the Clave had no business investigating.

She quickly inputted the request and received the standard automated reply to wait 24 hours while processing. That would inevitably lead her having to go and flirting the new recruit who would be stuck as vault supervisor into signing off the funds. Then finding enough of each thing the man wanted.

While the price was steep she knew it could be worse. Yet, the money didn’t worry her half as much as the rest. Books and memories.

You couldn’t just take books out of the Institute library, she would have to get Hodge to release them permanently and remove the retrieval spells or the contract would void on her. That’s one thing that worried her. To agree to forfeit books she didn’t even know they had to a stranger could turn messy. But, it would get even worse if she would have to bring the man into get them.

She figured asking Hodge now would be better and give him a few days to find them.

Stepping into the library she spotted Jace with the report forms and Clary bent over the Book of Grey. Deciding that a more subtle attitude was required she left them be and moved in to the far edge of the library.

Entering Hodge’s office she knocked to let her old tutor know she was there.

“Isabel, what a pleasant surprise. Tea?” Hodge offered setting down his novel.

“No I’m good. I’m actually here because we were able to fine Clary’s memories, but the person who had them wants a set of journals in return.” Isabel figured less details was better in order to prevent word from getting back to their mom.

“Oh, which books was this?” Hodge’s apprehension was clear.

“These,” she offered a sheet where she had rewritten the titles, so they wouldn’t have to carry the contract around. “Do you think we have them?”

“Hmm, yes. Yes. I think they’re around here somewhere.” He look at the sheet. “When do you think you’ll need these by?”

“About four days.”

“Alright I’ll have to check the records to find them and then it will take a day or so to remove the recall.”

“Okay Hodge, I’ll stop by tomorrow when I have time and see if you need help.”

“Thank you dear” he absently called as he shuffled in to the filing rooms to look for the titles.

Leaving she headed back to where she saw Jace and Clary to catch them up to speed.

<><><><><><>

Later that day when she finally got to rest, Isabel thought of the last thing the contract required. Memories, a first or extraordinary memory. The contract never said if they would have control or not, over which one. She couldn’t help but worry what it would take.

Would it take her first time holding Max, meeting Jace? Would she lose her parabatai ceremony with Jace, her first time kissing a boy. Her first date with Meliorn.

Would she lose any recollection of it, or would it be like hearing stories of herself as a child that others would sometimes share. Would losing that memory change her personality? Or would she not even notice it’s gone. Would it be just one of many repeated actions that she considered an everyday occurrence that blend together?

Knock. Knock. Knock.

“Come in”

“Hey, you okay?” Jace asked. Closing the door as he entered.

“Shouldn’t you be checking on Clary.” While she was fine with them helping Clary she couldn’t help but feel that Jace was barely present any more.

“Hey, we’re parabatai. Your problems are mine.” He came in from the door and sat next to her. “Is Clary being here bothering you that much?” Concern bleeding into his voice.

“No, it’s not her, it’s the whole deal. The…the memories.” she reassured him, Clary was making him happy and she wanted that for her brother. “Clary she lost her whole identity as a shadowhunter from losing what, two dozen memories. What… what could we lose about ourselves if we give one away?”

“Clary lost that because her mother kept it from her. It was deliberately done and that’s why it worked.” Jace explained. “Even if her mom was trying to protect her she made a choice to keep it away from her. It was her mother’s actions that changed her identity not a few children’s memories.”

“What if its changes us?” She whispered.

“Izzy, you are not going to ever lose me." Jace reassured her wrapping his arm around her shoulder. "Not because of Clary or the Clave or anything. You are a part of me, and I’m of you. And no matter what memory is taken we are going to be fine.”

“Thanks, are you okay?”

“I’m okay, I just, I feel a connection with Clary and I want to help her find her mom because…” he drifted off.

“Because you’ve been her, waiting for a parent to come back to you that never will. And when you were alone you had me, so now you want to be there for her. I get it. We’re gonna help her fine her mom.” Izzy reassured him.

Sharing a hug, Jace finally left and Izzy fell asleep feeling more settled than she had in days.

Chapter Text

Alec was a mess of excitement, anxiety, and nerves.

Excited because Magnus was due to arrive for their date and he could barely keep the smile off his face.

Anxious for how badly this date could end, how good.

Nervous because no matter how good he felt about today, he was having trouble getting a hold of the Fairchild girl’s memories.

Of course he couldn’t have done things the easy way and put them in a box in some closet. No. He had to go and hide them in various places with old allies and customers. By selling them to him, Alec had assumed that Jocelyn was acting for the long term and her claims of never wanting her daughter to know about the shadow world confirmed it. He had assumed that she was planning, like him, for decades of deception rather than years and hid the memories accordingly.

When there was no intention of returning them in the near future, scattering them worked well at preventing others from finding them or taking up extra space made the most sense.

While he had retrieved the more recent one easily. Returning someone’s book in return for a box, retrieving a lamp he had lent a friend.

The older ones were causing him problems. He knew where they all were, he just couldn’t get to them. The baby ones had been inlay in a necklace. Smaller and more abstract in childhood the memories tended to bleed together. The necklace had been gifted to a friend over a decade ago. That friend had since died and their child had decided to ignore their mother's will saying it was to be returned and instead kept the necklace for them self.

Alec had actually sent a polite request for its return months ago only to be ignored. He had since been contacting their solicitor to get it back.

The other group of memories he still needed to get were in a deposit box. In Switzerland. At the time it was a good idea. Now it was a major inconvenience of either traveling there himself or getting the bank to personally deliver it.

Neither was an ideal situation and with the set date so close he would be on a time crunch to get them all anyway.

Therefore, he had finally called the bank that morning to have the box express delivered from Switzerland to New York where he would pick it up the day after his date.

But that was a problem for later. For now he would focus on his date with Magnus.

Knock. Knock.

Getting up from the couch he moved to answer the door. And was struck dumb at the sight Magnus presented. He looked amazing. The gray color of his shirt brought out the silver highlights in his hair and the eye shadow artfully painted around his eyes accenting the shape and color of his brown eyes.

“Hello Alexander,” purred Magnus in greeting.

Realizing that he’d been standing in the door way he stepped over letting Magnus enter.

“Hey, come on in. You – you look amazing”

“Thank you. You cleanup well, too.” He could feel Magnus eyes raking over his form, smiling.

“So, You have any place in mind?” he asked.

“Ever hear of the Hunter’s Moon?”

“I think so, but I’ve never been”

“Perfect. Shall we.” Magnus offered his arm and lead him outside where the caught a cab to the bar.

After getting their choice drinks, Magnus with a martini and Alec taking Magnus’ recommendation of cocktail, they move over to the pool tables. Claiming the far table they starting a game. The game was a mix of twenty questions and pool. The one shooting asked and the one waiting would answer as much as they wanted. Alec avoided questions on family, and Magnus about his past relationships. After the first evasive not answer, the other got that the topic was sensitive and would then avoid it.

Over an hour long game Alec had learned that Magnus’ favorite work for clients was brewing potions, he adored cooking, loved fashion but hated acid wash denim, and had a cat named Chairman Meow. Magnus had learned that Alec loved reading, music, archery, and drawing. He could barely cook or tell one brand of clothing from another, yet he could sew. And that Alec also had a cat named Church that disliked everyone else it meet.

“So what made you go in to the appraisal business?” Magnus asked.

“Despite what most assume it’s not a front.” Alec defended causing Magnus to start laughing. “It’s not. Just when you’ve been around long enough to know when people are wrong about something you eventually run out of patience for them to figure it out themselves.”

“Getting it wrong?” Magnus asked for clarification.

“I’m actually a certified historian and antiques dealer. And I chose to do so because of a joke. And you will not believe how many times things are found and labeled as ‘religious objects’. When it’s actually a carving of a penis and no one is willing to just stand up and say it. It feels disrespectful to both religion and the people of the time.”

That managed to make Magnus break down howling.

“You don’t believe me?” Alec joined in the laughter. “All right next time we can go to a museum and I can point out every mislabeled artifact and give you an honest description.”

“It’s a date” Magnus agreed.

“So how do you become High Warlock? Is it an elected position or inherited?”

“That would make it easier.” Magnus stated. “It’s more along the lines of the most powerful and trusted individuals in an area are asked to take up vacant positions and every ten years or so there is a meeting where it’s discussed on if the High warlock should move to a new location or step down. If you fail to uphold the requirements then a council can have you removed and replaced. There is so much bureaucracy and politics involved you won’t believe it.”

“I believe it,” Alec agreed “People like to make stupid rules and over complicate simple solutions.”

“So how do you store memory orbs? I’ve seen people put them in objects and hide them with demons.” Magnus asked in genuine curiosity.

“I’ve done lots of different stuff depending on when I get them. Some just go in boxes, others I make a part of something else. The problem with that Shadowhunter girl’s is I wasn’t expecting them to be reclaimed, ever. So while I know where they are I can’t easily get a hold of them.” Alec explained. “What about you, the memory potion going alright?”

“Oh that’s done” Magnus absently stated. “It’s the book that she paid me with that I’m having trouble locating. I know who has it and I think I know where it is.”

“So what’s the problem?” Alec asked curious.

“It’s in my ex’s house.” Taking a long gulp of his second martini, “and she is someone I could do without seeing for another century or two.”

“Ah, but you want that book and can’t be sure she won’t show up while getting it.” Alec nodded in understanding. “I’m stuck trying to get a necklace with the memories in it back from a snobby child who’s choosing to ignore their mother's will. Ugh. At this point I’m ready to rip the carpet out from under her to get it back.”

“How so?” Magnus asked.

“The entire company her mother built was on a loan that I gave as a private investor and partner. One call from me to recall the loan and the entire company is sold, bankrupt, destroyed. I don’t want to hurt the people who rely on that company for their livelihoods just because her daughter is being selfish. But with the contract I’m running out of options.” sighing into his drink.

“Sometimes it’s not the action that is most effective at motivating but the threat of action.” Magnus said mischievously.

“Hm. What do you mean?”

“Do you think that girl really understands how much you could destroy her world or is she so used to her problems being brushed under the rug that she doesn’t get it.” a dangerous smirk appeared. “Are you up for a field trip?”

“If you’re thinking what I think you are, then yes.” Alec said placing the glass and cue stick down and taking Magnus’ hand they left the bar to continue their date.

Chapter Text

After stopping by Alec’s apartment for some paperwork and a change of clothes, they stepped through a portal landing in an alley way in the business district of LA. It was only five PM and the will solicitor’s office was still open.

Alec had quickly changed into a dark button down and blazer. Walking in to the office the secretary’s head snapped up and a look of fear and worry appeared as he spoke.

“Tell Mr. White That he better have a good explanation on why Ms. Benchi has not returned my property. And he better have it now.” Alec strolled in projecting his voice in a way he knew would carry past the receptionist and into the main office.

“Right away Sir.” The secretary took off to make her boss deal with the client he had pissed off and had her deflecting for months.

Alec remained standing with Magnus a step behind him. Admiring the view of Alexander dominating the space in an effortless way.

Within a minute a panicked looking man rushed out of the office. He was sweating profusely and stuttering out an apology. “S-sssir I am s-so so-sorry.”

“I don’t care why you’re sorry. I want to know why you have failed to execute your clients will and return my property.” Alec declared adopting the business persona he used for assholes, Clave members, and telemarketers.

“I-I’m sssorry but we are having trouble getting Ms. Benchi to cooperate and turn over the property in question.”

“Then I suggest you get her over here and hand it over, or the lawsuit I will file against her and your firm will be the least of her worries” He stated with almost oppressive feeling of disinterest.

“O-o-Of course…” turning from Alec to his secretary he hissed “Find her and get her here now. Call her driver! Whoever!” Returning to face Alec he plastered on a strained smile “Please come sit down while we get a hold of her. Coffee?” The man led them into his office where they refused drinks and waited in a tense silence for the woman.

----------------

The attorney was working himself into a panic. His clients rarely gave him problems like this. Usually when there was a dispute about who was given something in the will, an agreement or bribe would be made under the table. People always wanted money and those who didn’t never got left anything of value to be argued over. But this man wouldn’t stop asking about the necklace. That stupid necklace. She girl couldn’t just hand it over. He had a fair idea of who this man was and what he meant by making Ms. Benchi’s life hard. He hoped that the stupid girl had some common sense to just give the man what he wanted before he ruined his business.

-------------

Alec and Magnus were having a blast. Sharing a smirk they knew the man was panicking to cover his misdeeds and bargaining. They would enjoy seeing him panic to cover his ass and then after getting what Alec needed, they would be giving the police a nice anonymous tip.

Finally the woman appeared. She was wearing a gaudy pink print Maxi dress, platform wedges, an enormous sun hat, sunglasses, and the necklace. It was an older looking piece of jewelry comprised twisting gold that cradled the tiny memory orb that looked like gems like eggs in a nest.

“What’s all this about?!? I was busy!” She screeched.

“Ms. Benchi, I suggest you sit down and listen. Or you can kiss your mother’s company goodbye.” Alec stated.

“What?! What does he mean by that?” she cried in disbelief turning from Alec to Mr. White in disbelief.

“Ms. Benchi. Please listen to the man!” the attorney both pleaded and demanded.

“Fine.” She pouted, plopping down in the open chair crossing her arms.

“Simply put Miss. I own the majority of your mother's company. Both in investments and shares. I could easily demand payment of that original loan in full, with interest. Thus bankrupting the company and leave you penny less.”

“Bu-buuttt” she stuttered, eyes widening in fear.

“He’s correct Ms. Benchi, he is completely and legally able to do as he says.” Mr. White confirmed in hope that the girl would understand her situation.

She stared at him in panic.

“Now calm down,” Alec placated the girl before she could make a scene. “I have no desire to destroy your mother’s legacy because of you. The work it does and the jobs it creates are far more important to me. However, your mother left me that necklace you’re wearing in her will because it is mine. I own it and your mother only had it because I lent it to her. I simply want it back and then I will be leaving you alone for your foreseeable future.”

“This” she said grabbing the necklace. He mind latching on to the information relevant to her own monetary situation. “I give you this and you’ll go away and leave my money alone.”

Sighing at her self-centered fears. “Yes Miss, I only want that necklace.”

“Have it!” She shrieked, her hands flying to undo the clasp and all but thrust it into his hand.

The moment it touched him he could feel the magic protecting the memory orbs. He carefully made show of examining it from damage as the woman stormed from the room. Satisfied that it was undamaged he carefully slipped it into a warded inner pocket of his jacket. He rose to his feet and offered Magnus his arm. Leading him out he dismissively called back as they left.

“Thank you, for your eventual cooperation.” he stated sarcastically.

The two exited and slipped down the nearby alley laughing. Portaling off to retrieve Magnus’ book.

Chapter Text

Magnus was having a blast on this date. First, Alexander looked lovely. Second, they had had a fun time at the bar, learning about the other while respecting each other’s boundaries. Third, they had both agreed to a second date. Although he supposed that it would actually be the third since they had returned to Alec’s home for him to change in to an even lovelier outfit. And fourthly, they got to continue on to a second date with retrieving his book after watching Alec put some selfish fools in their place.

He had two places the book could be one was Camille’s Indian Palace which they would check first.

Getting them past the wards was simple. They then had to look for the book inside the massive building. Before Magnus could check with the spell for the book he noticed a vase.

“This looks familiar” he said with curiosity picking it up. Then shifting to exasperation he continued. “Of course it’s familiar. Its mine.”

“Leave some stuff in the divorce?” Alec asked with a chuckle.

“More like she hide everything in the basement and then claimed to burn the house down.” He couldn’t think of a better description for his ex. After checking for the book with his spell and finding nothing he turned to Alexander “The book is not here, but would you mind if we stuck around for a short while, I have a feeling some more of my decor is lying about.”

Alec proceeded to strike an over exaggerated thinking pose pretending to consider the option, as if he had another ride beside Magnus. “I think I could suffer a bit longer, so long as you tell me some stories for the things you find.”

“Deal”

They proceeded through the house Magnus finding so many odds and ends of his that he ended up summoning a bottomless bag for it all. From jewelry to painting to a fully potted plant, Magnus proved that anything he could fit inside the opening of the bag would disappear inside the laptop sized bag. He also saw several things Magnus chose or refused to bring back or acknowledged including a giant tapestry of him and Camille. Which made Alec laugh to Magnus’ embarrassment.

Alec also got side tracked petting the beautiful cobra.

“Why don’t you take pretty one here home?” Alec asked while admiring the snake’s pattern.

“Baby? Oh I made it as a gift and the magic that it’s made of won’t let me take it back without destroying it.” Magnus explained “Plus the Chairman didn’t like Baby much.”

"Really there's no way we an bring this sweetie back?"

"Not at the moment. Unfortunately for now we cant bring Baby with us." Magnus explained giving Baby one last caress before continuing to look over the room.

There was one thing Alec saw Magnus place in the bag while he finished petting Baby but from the expression on his face Alec could tell Magnus was not willing or able to explain it.

He decided to bring up a lighter topic.“So do have any painting of yourself that captured your good side, unlike that tapestry?” Alec inquired.

“Oh I could definitely find some from my younger years. Some may even be on our museum date?” Magnus teased.

“Oh?” Alec prompted.

Magnus then launched into an extravagant tale about meeting and becoming the muse of both Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo.

They left the palace unnoticed. With a quick stop for Magnus to drop off his bag they went to the second place Magnus wanted to check. It was one of Camille’s New York apartments with a massive library.

Once they arrive Magnus quickly cast two spell. The first for the books location. The second to insure they were alone.

“The book is here but since I’d rather not wait around for Her. So let’s narrow it down.” With another flourish of magic Magnus narrowed down the location to one bookcase on a the ground floor.

“Let’s check” Magnus stated. The two quickly scoured the shelves and found nothing resembling a spell book.

Until on a second pass Alec notice a cook book among the titles. It would mean nothing, except this a section on medieval torture and no other book so far had been misplaced.

“Why’s this one over here?” Pointing to the book.

“Why don’t we find out.” Magnus plucked it from the shelf using a spell to remove the glamour revealing the white book Magnus wanted. “and there it is.”

Another spell to remove any traps. And Magnus plucked it off the shelf.

“Now that our treasures are found shall we make a hasty escape?” Magnus offered his arm while opening a portal.

Stepping through they arrived Magnus loft. strolling in Magnus moved to his drink cart to hand Alec a drink. Once Alec was seated on the couch with his cocktail Magnus left him to pet the Chairman while he put the book in his spell vault.

When he finished locking up the vault Magnus joined Alec with his own drink and announced a toast. “To getting the better end of a deal with Shadowhunters and a wonderful date.”

“To a great night.” Alec agreed taping their glasses as they both took a sip.

“For that museum date would next Friday morning work?” Magnus asked.

“That sounds great.” Alec agreed, taking Magnus' free hand in his running his thumb over the knuckles. “Thank you for tonight, and helping with the necklace.”

“Well I’d say we both got something of that adventure, and I had a better time than going alone.”

Looking at the clock Alec noticed that their treasure hunt had lasted well past midnight.

“I think I’d better get going” Setting down his empty glass he almost got up but paused. “Do you have a pen?”

Magnus easily produced a glittery blue felt pen, with a bemused expression.

Taking the pen he kept a hold of Magnus’ hand and scrawled out his cell number along his wrist.

“Call me” he said placing a quick peck on Magnus’ cheek. Then turned towards the door.

“Wait” Right before he got to the door Magnus caught his wrist stopping him. “Let me at least portal you home.”

“Thank you,” as the portal formed he leaned in and planted second kiss on Magnus’ other cheek “Good night”.

Alec’s portal opened right outside his door. After locking up he removed the necklace from his jacket and placed it in one of the vaults where it would remain for the next three days with the other memories.

He then undressed and slipped into some sleep pants and tossed his glamour bracelet on the nightstand. Running his hand along the middle part of his hair between his horns. He rolled out his shoulders to feel the bones shift and loose. Before finally crawling into bed to get some rest before getting up to retrieve the last set of memories from the bank.

Yet, he still couldn’t wipe the smile off his face at the memory of his date, and how soft Magnus’ cheek was under his lips.

Chapter Text

It had been two days and Isabel had finally gotten the monetary portion of the payment underway. The approval had been signed and she just had to wait for it to be sorted and taken out from the vault.

Now she was going to see Hodge to find out if he had found the books.

“Hey Hodge, any luck?” She called out as she entered the library, approaching the large wooden table where her old teacher was waiting with two piles of old books.

“I think so, but one of the books was a fairly common poetry books and we seem to have accumulated a number of copies.” He gestured to the much larger pile of books which she now realized were all different editions on the same book. “I luckily found the two journals but they are both bound shut.”

Taking the two books that made up the small pile in hand, Isabel checked them out. Both were old but high quality leather with what appeared to be the owners name imprinted on the covers.

One was a dark brown with a subtle Celtic knot pattern along the edge of the cover and the name “Chris” embossed across the front. The font of the letters seem to curl and swirl around the cover like calligraphy. Looking at the edges of the pages Isabel could guess that this journal had been filled to the end as the edges were all bent, curled, and marked with ink.

The other was much brighter, the cover was a soft lilac with an extensive leaf and flower design on the back and edge of the front. The front had a much tighter font spelling out the name “Nicoli”. When she looked at the edge of each book she noticed that like the other book the bottom corners seemed to be marked from the writing on the pages. However, this one's marks ended about 2/3 of the way through. When she tried to lift the cover it was like trying to separate a solid block of wood.

Setting them back down on the side she turned to the pile. “Any idea which one it could be?”

“Well, based on the age of those journals I’d guess were looking for something around the 1800s, possibly first edition?” He suggested. “Considering how expensive those journals must have been I’d say it would probably be one of the more ornate versions.”

“So, we start by sorting theses poetry books into edition and probable price. Then begin eliminating.” Izzy suggested.

-----------------------------

It took them about an hour to sort the sixty poetry books into publishing date, size, edition, and probably price. They quickly cut out the forty or so recent editions or reprints. Of the remaining twenty books, they removed another five that were printed in French. Finally they laid out the last fifteen.

“Now let’s leaf through each, for any personalizations or signatures.” Hodge recommended.

After about four books Izzy finally found one that stood out. The opening cover had a hand written inscription. “This one. It must be this one see." The names from the journals, Nicoli and Chris, were both clearly written as sender and receiver of the book.

“Perfect. I’ll put these others away and then come back for these to start removing the security measures.” Hodge then loaded up a basket with the discarded books and disappeared behind a shelf.

Looking at the books Izzy couldn’t help but wonder what was so special about them. And since she couldn’t open the journals she decided to see what was so important about a common poetry book. Taking a look around to make sure Hodge wasn’t come back. She settled down on a nearby chair and opened back up to the inscription. She had been so excited at finding the right book that she hadn’t actually read it.

{For my dearest Chris you are the moon and stars of my life. Let these sweet words comfort you on lonely night when I am far. Forever your love Nicoli.}

She couldn’t help but pause, both journals seem to belong to men and this was clearly a gift from a lover. How had such a personal thing ended up in an institute library? Especially when they were a gay couple. There was no way they would just be left lying around if they were Shadowhunters.

A quick flip through revealed that every poem had comments, stories, and love notes in the same hand writing as the dedication. But they weren’t alone, for every comment there was a response in a new handwriting, teasing and replying to every sappy comment with one just as bad.

The thing that shocked her however wasn’t the obvious deep love they shared, but the runes sketched along the columns, the references to hunting demons, and the critiques of the Clave policies. One poem that described a white mundane wedding had a margin that was filled with a declaration of love that was four words short a proposal and a response that removed any doubt that they two were Shadowhunters.

Isabel wished she could say she wasn’t was shocked at the revelation. The Clave had never accepted those who were different, same sex romance or any romance with downworlders was stamped out and erased from existence. Her friend Aline had come out to her as lesbian, then made her swear to secrecy. Aline's mother was on the council and she was terrified of her finding out. And Izzy couldn’t blame her. Much like Marcy, Aline’s mom also held strict standards for her children and no deviation from the law was allowed.

What had shocked her was that these two men would risk exposure by having these such personal writings left someplace so public. But, she had to wonder looking at the sealed journals, how had these love notes ended up in the NY instituted library? What had happened to these two men that would make them leave these books here?

She had read through several more pages of love notes before Hodge returned.

“Anything interesting?” He asked

She quickly put the book back and replied in a dismissive tone, “Looks like a personalized present between friends.” While she saw Hodge as a mentor she wasn’t willing to risk his disapproval of the love notes by drawing attention and risk him delaying their release.

“I’d better get these processed out. I should have them done by tomorrow.”

“Thanks” She set the poetry book on top of the journals and made her way out of the library.

She could not get thoughts of the man who would gifted his secret boyfriend with a poetry book out of her head. Finally, her mind settled on the question of, What the strange appraiser could want with those books?

No, this was too much, those books were ancient, they had probably passes away years ago. She couldn't ask them nor could she change their story. It was in the past. She would deliver these books with the money and stop thinking about people she would never meet .

Collecting her whip from the weapons vault she texted Jace and grabbed a mission request for a simple demon hunt in the park. She would deal with her uncertainty the same she always had, with a simple mission to focused her attention and clear her head of everything else.

Getting a response from Jace she made her way out sending him the address to begin the hunt.

Chapter Text

The morning light filtering in through his bedroom window had woken Alec up, but he had yet to rise from bed. He was still warm and cozy under the covers and was reluctant to move. At some point in the night he had been joined by Church, who had claimed the other pillow.

“Good morning” he said reaching out to run a hand over Church’s long grey fur getting a deep purr in response. Slowly getting up he threw on a fuzzy robe and made his way to the kitchen for a cup of coffee.

After his first cup he pulled his cell off the charger to check his email.

He replied to the bank confirming his appointment and scheduling with a museum to examine some pottery shards via email the next day. Finishing with his work messages, he decided to check his texts to find a funny and pleasant surprise.

First was a mess of texts from Helen.
H-Hey how did your date with the magical boy go?
H-Do I need to come over?
H–Do you need a rescue?
H–Did the date go that well?

He sent her a quick text back.

A-It went great and you can get the details tomorrow when you tell me about that Shadowhunter girl

There was also a text from an unknown number and he couldn’t help but smile when he opened it.

Unknown –Hello Beautiful! I had a wonderful time and can’t wait to see you again. <3 Magnus

After saving his number in contacts he sent a reply.

Magnus <3-Morning Mags. I had a great time too.

Leaving his phone on the counter he set about his morning routine, making himself and Church breakfast.

After he finished getting ready for the day, dressed in slacks, a purple button down, and blazer. He grabbed his phone and shoulder bag of paperwork, keys, and an extra sweater. Slipping on his bracelets, he headed out the door to catch a cab.

While in the cab his phone went off.

H-Yay for you!
H-I’m gonna talk to her today.
H-how do I avoid panicking?!?
A-just breath, and be yourself.
A-It will go fine.
H-thanks I’m waiting in the park with a coffee for her to show up.
H-what if she doesn’t come?
A-You say she’s there every day when you walk your dog. So there’s no reason to doubt that.
H-give me advice?
H-how did you get magnus?
A-Just because I think I’m now dating Magnus doesn’t mean I know how I did it.
H-shit she’s here
H-what do I do
A-Stop texting me and go talk to her.

Deciding to leave Helena to figure out her personal crisis without interference as he exited the cab and entered the bank.

After checking in with the front desk. He was escorted to a private room to check in and meet with the bank clerk, who required him to fill out almost an hour of paperwork and identification. The bank was requiring extra verification due to the transatlantic movement of the box.

Finally the bank was satisfied that he was himself and that he could pay for the release of the item. The bank manager came in with a metal lock box.

“Sir, here is your box. Do you have the key?” The manager inquired.

“Yes, I’d like to check the contexts before I leave.” Alec explained. Removing a key ring from his bag, he removed a standard numbered metal key from the ring and opened the standard bank box. Reaching inside he removed an wood inlaid box which he opened with an older metal key on the ring.

The inside of the box held the several memory orbs, along with photos, drawing, letters, and trinkets. After counting the orbs and making sure the more sentimental items were there, Alec locked the wood box and returned the key to his bag.

“Thank you for your assistance.” He addressed the bank workers “Everything is in order and I look forward to continue using your services in the future.” Giving them the reassurance, Alec wrapped the box in his sweater before putting it in his bag. Concluding their business Alec made his way home to put the box somewhere safe.

He spent the cab ride home thinking of the box’s content. Beyond the memories the box was one of many he had over the years. They contained mementos of different parts of his life. They ranged from single decades of time to a full century of his life. This box contained his life mementos from the same time he had meet Nicoli and Chris. He hoped to reunite the box’s contents with the two’s journals and poetry book. Maybe it was his own recent luck in his love life but he felt the need to give some peace to a love story that had such a tragic end.

-------------------------------------
Returning home he places the box with the other memories in the vault.

After a cursory check of his phone he figured Helen’s lack of texts meant the meeting went either quite poorly or rather well. He decided to leave it be until he saw her tomorrow or she initiated contact.

After changing into sweats and a sweater he settled down on the couch with Church and put on the TV as background noise and picked up his latest book. He decided to take the afternoon for himself before he got caught up in the action of the next few days. He felt that once the shadowhunters came back for the memories things in the downworld would start picking up speed towards conflict.

He had no more proof of a growing conflict than anyone else, but he has seen the patterns of war before. Clary’s entrance to the shadowworld would force up memories of Valentine’s attacks and uprising. Even if Jocelyn was wrong and Valentine wasn’t still alive, there was still the same problems of continual discrimination from the Clave. And unless those problems were addressed, the Clave would risk their entire system collapsing at the first sign of weakness or betrayal.

Despite knowing that a conflict was inevitable Alec wasn’t worried the same way others would be. He was removed from both the Clave and downworld. He knew his people as a whole would be staying out of it. That meant nothing on personal choices. He didn’t know where his relationship with Magnus would go but he couldn’t help but be drawn to the man and he didn’t doubt that he would intervene to protect the warlock should he need assistance.

But he wasn’t a fortune teller and he couldn’t prevent others from acting.

So he would just take the future as it came and enjoy his day off reading his book and cuddling with his cat. Soon he would be called upon and he would end up doing everything he could to advise those who asked, without misleading them into thinking he would fight their wars again. All while trying to protect the man who was slowly stealing his heart.

<><><><><><><><><>

Knock. Knock. Knock.

The constant knocking roused Alec from his laptop. Yesterday afternoon he had finished his book and done several chores around the apartment. He had spent this morning translating the scans and photos of some pottery for a museum and had just finished emailing his report.

Checking the clock as he headed for the door he realized that his work had distracted him from the time. Therefore he wasn’t too surprised to find Helen behind the door.

“Did you forget I was coming?” she teased swinging the bags of take out from her fingers.

Helen was his best friend and he had known her for almost three-fourths of a millennium. And she was one of the few friends of his that he enjoyed spending time with.

Helen's parents were considered an odd couple, though Alec actually loved to visit them. Her father was a dragon and her mother was a high ranking fey. Their main family conflicts came from her mother’s divided loyalties to the Seelie queen and her family. Their solution tended to be dividing their time between both worlds and leaving politics outside their home.

In her more human form Helen’s split heritage manifested as pointed ears and scatterings of green and cream colored scales along any major bone protrusions: her spine, collar bones, knuckles, knees and elbows. Her claw like nails had to be filled down to rounded edged, however, they had noticed that hers tended to be thinner and slower to grow than Alec's, yet they were no less strong. When fully shifted she was about the size of a small one story house, her arms became her wings and her legs merged into a tail, the majority of her body covered in shades of green scales while her face and under belly were cream.

“Sorry I was just finishing up work.” Letting her in he headed to his bedroom. “You can lay out the food and set up the movie, I’ll be right back.”

Changing into a tank top and pajama pants he made his way to the linen closet, pulling out a tall stack of blankets, quilts, and pillows. This collection of linens was specifically for movie nights. Entering the living room he set down the pile on the coffee table next to Helen's pile.

“Let’s set up and get comfortable, then we can spill the tea.” Alec stated as he grabbed the top quilt.

He started to spread out the blankets. As Helen joined him they made an impressive nest of pillows on the couch and several blanket were tied to the ceiling lights to hang down around the couch. The result was a cave of comfortable fabric. With the coffee table full of food and slumber party things, like nail polish and magazines they were ready for an all-nighter. The TV had a “Lord of the Rings” marathon loaded up. The twelve hour trilogy had become a standard background for these nights.

“Let’s turn our phones off and begin the romance gossip trade.” Helen said as she powered off her phone, removed her own glamour anklet, and tossing both on the side board. She then climbed into the fort and settled down on the couch.

Alec joined her on the opposite side of the couch after ditching his own phone and bracelet next to hers. He stretched out his back before carefully ducking under the fort to avoid catching his horns or wings on the low hanging fabric.

“So you know how mine went but I’ve heard nothing of yours. So spill. Everything!” Alec teased as he picked up a plate of take out.

“Okay. Okay” Helen agreed and launched into her story.

----------------------------------------

Helen was so nervous, she was about half way through the park waiting on a bench with an iced coffee in her hand. She had left her dog at the groomers to give her less to stress about. She knew that if she had to manage a dog, her phone, a drink, and introducing herself to her crush she would make a fool of herself.

She had just spotted the girl and after texting with Alec she slipped the phone in her back pocket. Standing up she moved forward to meet her half way.

“Hey” Helen said while approaching, the girl stopped walking and seemed to be taking her in. “I’ve seen you walking here every week and wanted to introduce myself.” Helen offered her hand “I’m Helena” and on sheer impulse added, “and I think you’re beautiful.”

Her cheeks flushed an adorable pink “Aline” taking the offered hand. “and I think you’re pretty cute yourself.”

“Would you mind walking with me?” Helen invited.

“Why not” Aline agreed.

The two proceeded to wander around the park for an hour Helen telling stories about her dog and work. Aline sharing about her favorite books and funny things her friends did. By the end of their walk Helen couldn’t stop smiling.

“I’ve had a lot of fun.” Aline said

“Me too.” Helen said. “Would you mind meeting up again, maybe for coffee?”

“I’d like that.” Smiling Aline then asked. “Can I have your number?”

“Definitely” Helen agreed.

After trading numbers Aline noticed the time.

“I have to get going,” Aline stated with reluctance, then with a hopeful note “Are you free next Wednesday? You could bring your dog and we could go to a bistro I know its just down the road.”

“I’d love to, would 10 be alright?”

“Yes we can meet here and walk over together. I’ll see you then.”

After finishing their goodbyes. Helen watch Aline leave the park with a giant smile and endless excitement for next week.

----------------------------------

Concluding her story Helen was bouncing on the couch in glee. “So I now have a date!”

“Congratulations!” Alec exclaimed offering a one arm hug. Carefully moving around Church who had claimed his lap as his new thrown.

“So we now know about my love life. So spill about yours.” Helen demanded.

“Fine.” Alec consented with fake reluctance, before shifting to genuine excitement “It went great!”

He proceeded to fill her in on the major parts of the night. How much fun drinks and pool had been. Then about their little treasure hunt. He left out the more personal details out, while still giving her enough to get a feel of the night’s tone and vibe.

“Oh my. That sounds so cute! Do you have another date planed?”

“Yes were going to a museum.”

“This is great, we have now fulfilled our best friend obligation of sounding out the others love life.” Helen teased. “We can conclude our night with ice cream, drinks, and movies.”

“Then let’s party.”

-------------------------------------------

Their slumber party concluded the next day with Helen leaving at noon. Finger and toe claws were painted; Alec’s in an iridescent blue and Helen a matte purple. Helen had convinced him to braid her hair, and in turn she had woven him a crown out of ribbon and some random jewelry he had lying around from previous deals. The snack foods and take out were demolished, but their tent was still standing strong. He would take it down tomorrow.

At some point they had gotten up and cross examined Alec’s closet for another date outfit. Agreeing on a burgundy diamond pattern shirt, skinny jeans, combat boots, and a fitted jacket.

The night had ended on the couch with plates full of cookies and the movie illuminating their cave of blankets while they fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Finally after a five days of waiting the three Shadowhunters had returned to Alec’s loft, this time with an half turned vampire fledgling. Magnus had contacted the hunters after their date to inform them they would need another person for the memory exchange. He excused it away with that after checking the spell he realized that he couldn't cast the spell and give a memory.

Magnus had arrived earlier that morning to begin laying out the spell. The process of returning Clary's memories would be fairly simple compared to some other methods of storing memories. This process would involve the displaying off the memories in the air before they were placed back into Clary’s mind. That of course cause a problem with the girl.

“You mean that everyone will be allowed to just watch my memories?!?” she shrieked at the news.

“Miss Fairchild the memories have to be projected to be restored in your mind. Mr. Bane has to be present to perform the spell, I have to confirm that they are un-tampered, anyone else being present is your decision.” Alec explained. “However, first we need to confirm your payment.”

The Lightwood girl moved forward with a simple metal chest and a small cardboard shoe box. “The money” she explained, setting the chest on Alec’s dining room table, with the shoe box placed off to the side on the living room table.

He opened the chest to reveal lose coins, jewelry, and gems. On top was a sheet of paper with a list of the items and components. He began to sort through the items making sure everything was as listed and moving them into various bowls from his kitchen. Of course those bowls also removed any retrieval spell or runes that could let the institute steal them back at a later time. Gold was in the large pink ceramic covered in arrows he had made on at an anti-Valentine’s Day party for singles with Helen making a matching cake plate. The Silver was in the antique ceramic bowl covered in a floral design. The gems went into individual mason jars labels with colored ribbons. The jewelry was set in a woven basket. After checking everything again he moved the containers from the dinning room table to the kitchen counter.

While sorting the money, the shadowhunters had gathered in a corner to whisper argue over who should or should not, stay for the memory return spell.

“The books?” he asked calling their attention away from their discussion.

“Here” Isabel moved forward to handed him the cardboard box.

As he gently set it down on the table he noticed that Isabel hadn’t drifted back to the others. Turing his attention to the box, he carefully removed the lid. Picking up the top item the examined the outside, the poetry book. He opened the inside cover and saw the inscription, he couldn’t help but smile. Setting it down, he moved on to the journals. Running his finger along the spines he felt the wards hidden inside the covers that he helped make.

“Who were they?” Isabel’s comment surprised him. Her tone suggested that it wasn’t asked out of spit or disgust but he couldn't quite tell what she felt.

“Who?” he decided to play along.

“The men who wrote the comments in the book.”

“They were shadowhunters. Nicolie was a hopeless romantic, and Chris adored him despite him being an idiot. And they were my friends”

“What happened to them?” She asked, the others had all stopped talking to listen.

“Chris’s parents found a love letter, there was no name but it was clearly from their son and directed to a male.” Running his hand along the journal “His parents had him brought before the Clave, tried, and executed.”

“What because of a letter?” Clary asked, disbelief clear. However the half fledgling had a concerned and understanding expression.

“What more reason could the Clave need than the implication of breaking the law.” Alec said bitterly, “Nicolie showed up at my house the day of the trial. There was nothing he could do, any action would just get himself arrested and put int eh same predicament. He spent the next two days at my home crying and blaming himself, he knew that if he went back he would have to attend the execution, and I knew there was no way he would be able to watch without revealing himself.” Remembering that week, it had been one of the worst of his life, simply because he was so powerless to change anything.

“What happened?” Isabel asked.

“I asked around afterward, they had him drawn and quartet then dumped the remains to some dogs. I never told Nicolie. I saw him three more times after the execution. Once was to tell me he activated the wards to seal the journals but couldn’t find Chris’. The next to thank me for helping them for so long. And the last time was to say goodbye. He was fading after Chris died. And we both knew it, I don’t know what he did that night after he left my place, but his body was found in a river. They said he jumped off the bridge, but I think he went home first and confronted his family, I think he told them he was the man in the letter that killed Chris. His family never reported him missing and his funeral was quiet and quick.”

“Why ask for them? The journals” Isabel questioned.

“Because I promised too. And I’ve seen enough pointless death and destruction to know when to protect love, however long its been forgotten.” Getting up he took the books and bowls of treasure and proceeded to open an empty wall vault where he placed them and locked it.

Pushing the dark thoughts from his mind Alec turned to the group.

“Now let’s finish the payment. Mr. Bane is the spell for their memories ready?” he asked deciding that it was better to keep things formal to keep his emotions in check.

“Yes I can perform it now.” Magnus answered. His face held a look of understanding, one that came from having out lived those around you and seeing sweet love turn bittersweet with loss.

“Will all four of you be giving one memory?” he clarified.

“Yes one memory of a new experience” Isabel agreed.

“Who first?” Magnus asked gesturing to the dining room chair as he pulled out it.

“I’ll go first” Clary said.

She stiffly took a seat, while Jace and the fledgling moved closer.

“Just relax and think of the memory” Magnus instructed.

Alec watched mesmerized as Magnus’ magic made blue paths through the air, his hands motions drawing closest to the temple. Drawing his hand away from her head he held a light blue orb the size of a plum. The orb was placed delicately in a prepared box lined with a towel.

“Next” Magnus asked.

The rest of the group followed each resulting in an orb of a different color, Jace’s was a bright gold, Isabel’s was a light green, and the fledgling, Simon, was red.

After a few minutes rest, during which Alec placed the four new memories in a different vault for later examination and removing the old memories. They were ready to continue.

“Now Miss Fray please sit in the chair and relax,” Magnus began to explain while Alec placed the box down beside Magnus and began to set the memories out on the coffee table. “You need to drink this and then I’m going to break each orb, one at a time, starting with the smallest and youngest ones. These few will mostly be just impression of a single sense, a voice, image, or emotion. As we go up in age and size they will be more intact memories, these may cause you distress and we can pause between each orb but not during the memory. Do you understand?” Magnus asked handing her the vial.

“Yes. Just do it.” Clary stated downing the vial in one go.

Magnus began by taking the smallest memories that Alec had to removed from the necklace earlier, and one by one breaking them. The contents of the orb floated up and displayed itself before being directed by Magnus into her head.

The first five memories were light harmless ones, a feeling of awe at a bird sized fey dancing in the neighbor’s garden, confusion at hearing a werewolf pack howling at night, Runes on her mother’s arms, the sight of a person with brightly colored skin visiting with dot, and fear of shadows moving without cause. They were able to get through them fast with a short break before starting again.

From there they got more complicated. About ten were of Clary at Magnus’ home and they were all pretty monotonous with the same layout. Clary arrives with her mother or Luke, confused or upset with them, sometimes she remained calm and Magnus would quickly cast a spell and knock her out. Other times she would scream and cry at them until Magnus made her sleep.

The combination of these memories made Clary cry, when Jace and the Fledgling asked she just said she missed her mom, but Alec suspected that the shadow of the memories emotions were hitting her.

The rest were a sundry mix. Some were of her walking in on Luke or Dot arguing with Jocelyn about telling her the truth. Others were interacting with downworlders or magic that probably triggered some of the trips to Magnus.

Last, were two that scared them all on Clary’s behalf and just lowered Alec judgment of Jocelyn beyond his already bedrock opinion. The first was of Clary being attacked by demons in a park, luckily her mother was able to kill it before she could be hurt. The second was the girl being attacked by a vampire who caught her angel blood and had pined the young teen down only to be saved by Dot's interference.

Both memories were situations that Clary was clearly unprepared for in any way and would have caused her death if she hadn’t been saved. Yes, Jocelyn wanted Clary away from the Clave and seemingly safe, but she also denied her child any way to defend herself from the dangers of this world beyond ignorance and as the memories showed that it was no guarantee of safety.

When they finished returning them all Magnus had Clary lay down on the couch to recover from the headache reintroducing the memories had made. The other three fussing around her.

Magnus and Alec moved to stand by the windows, where Alec finally voiced his opinion. “That women had so many chances to tell her the truth and raise her better that her husband would have, but instead she chose to maintain a lie and avoid anything that would give her self-defense.”

“She was a women who isolated herself and pushed that isolation on her daughter.” Magnus stated “She wanted her daughter to have some innocence.”

“She was trying to declaw her child, to take away any means of defending herself and leaving her vulnerable to every danger.” Alec coldly stated, “That’s not born of love but fear and guilt.” Letting out a sigh he quietly voiced his personal suspicion “Why did she only take the one, rumors were that she first had a son with Valentine, he would have only been 2 or 3. Why would she leave her first born with a man she feared and claimed to hate unless she also feared or hated the child? It would explain her not wanting to risk the same thing she feared developing with her daughter.”

“You think she chose to leave the child with Valentine because of something he did to them?” Magnus asked not in disbelief of his proposal, but interest in the theory.

“We can’t know. Even if Jocelyn was here, she would never admit it.” Alec stated acknowledging that it was only his speculations. “Let’s finish up with the children, then get hammered.”

“A fine plan after a day like today.”

Returning to the hunters, they found the group had begun to question Clary on anything she now remembered. If there was any secrets her mother kept or things that didn’t line up.

“Dot’s taro deck, It was on the counter when ever they fought about telling me. It wasn’t at the shop when we checked.” Clary explained. “My mom made it for her after she moved in, maybe she hide a clue in the deck.”

“What was the deck’s theme? Any cups” Magnus asked.

“Angels and monsters, there was one cup card.” she stated. “Could Dot have it?”

“No, Dorethne has been missing for almost a week, I offered her sanctuary with the other warlocks but she refused without you and last I saw she was calling Luke Greymark to try to find you.”

“We can meet with him and see if he saw her before she disappeared or not.” Jace offered. “Where dose he work?”

“NYPD” Simon offered. “I can go with you, he knows me and I’ll be able to get us in to see him easier than you.”

“I’ll go with Simon,” Isabel offered “we can see if he knows anything and meet you two back at the institute.”

“Alright,” Jace agreed, gesturing to Clary he continued, “We’ll head back and take another look at the box we got from the apartment.”

Simon and Isabel, after grabbing her weapons, left for Luke’s work place. Followed out shortly by Jace supporting a still weak Clary.

“That went well.” Alec moved over the liquor cabinet. “Which do you prefer?”

“Anything to numb the past hour.” Magnus said sprawling out on the couch. “So, do you want to know what has been added to your collection?”

“I wouldn’t mind a paraphrasing” Alec offering out a glass of red wine.

So Magnus launched into an explanation of the four memories

“Miss Isabel’s as you saw, was the light green, it was the first time she held her little brother as a baby, she was excited and nervous at the change it meant for her family and herself.”

He continued at Alec nod, “Jace’s was the golden, fitting to his looks, it was of the feeling of his first mission with his paribatai, not a hard or challenging event, one but one of deep emotional significance, unity and peace, from the connection and acceptance of finding ones place.

Taking a deep glup of the wine Magnus continued “The fledgling was interesting, tainted red from his transformation and blood lust. His first time having sex, with a mundane girl was actually few nights ago.” Swirling his glass, “I don’t think he fully knows what he is yet, but hopefully the hunters are somewhat competent and should be able to realize and deal with it, if not then Luke should hopefully notice.”

“That could mean trouble for whoever turned him right?” Alec asked. “It’s against the accords to turn someone against their will and then just let them loose.”

“It depends on who turned him, if it was a rouge then no, they could just claim he ran off on his own and they couldn't find him. If it was a coven leader then it will be a big mess.” Magnus went on, “They could have drugged him to get consent for the change. But I’m not sure why they would ever let him leave.”

“He’s Clary’s friend right, and she doesn’t seem to be like the type to just let things be.” Alec guessed, “I wouldn’t put it pass her to get those shadowhunters to storm a coven’s den to get him back.”

“That does sound like something biscuit would do.” He agreed transitioning back to their original topic. “Her memory was another simple and mundane one, the blue one, the first time her mother let her paint with her in their studio. She was good even then but clumsy, getting half the paint on herself and mother.”

“There good memories for my, collection, as you put it. Varied and reflecting on their individual they came from.” Deciding to offer up a bit of himself up Alec began “Do you know what memory I would give?”

“What?” Magnus asked looking confused at the offer. “An experience?”

“My first time flying with my wings” Alec said and laughed at Magnus’ shocked face. “I know you were smart enough to guess what I was,” Alec smiled as he took a drink. “Back then there were few major cities, it was easier to hide and be free in the wilderness, than it is now. The freedom to go anywhere under your own power with no restriction or concern for those flying Mundane machines. It's one of the best feeling I know” Alec explained.

“I’d have given you my first dance.” Magnus offered, “I was in my teens and had just learned how to properly glamour my warlock mark for extended periods of time. I went out one night during a celebration, I think it was a wedding. I just stumbled in and a girl took my hand and dragged me into a dance. I never got her name or saw her again, but she saw me watching and invited me in. It was acceptance of me as a person for no reason besides that I was there. And I really needed that.”

“I’d have been honored, but I think that’s a memory I’d rather hear stories of than take.” Looking out at the city sky line he decided to offer, “Sometime if you want, I’d like to take you on a real flight.” Turning to face the warlock he was stunned by the open smile that covered his face.

“That be nice” Magnus agreed his smile turning to a more playful one. “Until then could I share with you this dance?”

“There is no music,” Alec put out a false protest as Magnus snapped, starting a slow acoustic song and taking there glasses to set them down on the coffee table.

Taking Alec’s hand Magnus pulled him up from the couch and placing a hand on the small of his back and leading him in a gentle sway that lasted well into the night.

Chapter Text

The next few months were a blast. Alec and Magnus had gone on many more dates including the promised museum date, which was full of laughing and teasing. Other dates had included dinner in Tokyo, lunch in Venice, Brunch in Rio. They had even gone to some day long festivals in several small towns. Alec had a great time going out with Magnus, the warlock was witty, intelligent, and full of compassion.

His phone was full of texts and calls the two had shared late at night and between work and dates. They had learned tons of tiny things about each other. Alec hated pickles, could play the cello, and had never been to France. A fact that Magnus had used to claim full rights to organize them romance a vacation to in the near future. Alec in turn had learned that Magnus was banned from Peru, hated acid wash jeans, and loved tea.

Their next date was actually dinner at Alec’s apartment. Alec knew he was by no means a master chief, but thanks to the stubborn determination of a kindhearted old lady he lived next to in the sixties, he could follow a basic recipe and not burn water.

For dinner he was making a simple vegetable and pork roast in a crock pot. After the first month of trying to teach him cooking, Ms. Felicity had realized that simplifying the dishes down to one or two cooking containers yielded the best results.

Alec set the crock pot up for dinner and then set an alarm on his phone for nine hours. And continued to go about cleaning his home and typing up some emails. With about an hour left till Magnus arrived, he went to change. A forest green sweater and dark jeans.

He also fiddled with his glamour bracelets. Tonight was the night he planned to show Magnus what he looked like without his glamour. He knew that he shouldn’t be so worried considering Magnus was part of the warlock community and had seen hundreds of warlock’s marks over his years. Yet, his own personal fears and anxieties stiffened him. He remembered what happened when he was a hatchling, how dragons were hunted down by the rest of the shadowworld for spells and potions. He was scared to be vulnerable, but he also knew that he was starting to love Magnus and that he couldn’t move forward in their relationship without doing this.

The alarm broke him from his thoughts. He returned to the kitchen and checked the roast, setting it to keep warm. He pull out a wine bottle and placed it on the dining room table.

He couldn’t stop fiddling with his bracelets as he waited for Magnus.

Finally, he heard knocking at the door and he headed over to let his boyfriend in.

“Hey.” He greeted with a warm smile taking Magnus in.

“Hello, Darling.” He was wearing a burgundy and gold shirt with a deep V exposing his chest, which was adorned with golden necklaces, paired with tight dark pants. Magnus offered out a bright bouquet of wildflowers, “For you.”

“Thank you,” taking the flowers he gave Magnus a brief kiss and invited him in, “come in dinners ready.”

Letting Magnus in, he walked over to the bookshelf to pull a vase off the shelf, placing the flowers inside. Setting the vase on the dinning room table for their dinner. He then proceeded to the kitchen to begin to serve up the roast and vegetables.

“Would you mind pouring the wine?” he asked.

“Of course.” Popping the cork they settled down to eat. While the two dug in while sharing stories of their culinary adventures.

“Mrs. Felicity is the only reason I can cook anything besides eggs and toast. It took her over three years but she did it.” Alec explained.

“Oh, do I have some competition?” Magnus teased.

“Considering she made it to 96 and was still cooking three full meals, a different pastry each day, and managing her own garden, I think she had everyone beat.” Alec explained with a laugh.

“I can manage a kitchen alright, but my friend Ragnor can make tea and biscuits, and that is it.”

“Well from what you’ve said, he seems to prioritize his books over his cooking skills.”

“That’s not wrong.” Magnus attested. “The best cook among my friends is actually Raphael, and it’s rather ironic considering he’s a vampire.”

“That is rather ironic.” Alec asked gaining a confused look, “If he doesn’t eat then how’d you find out he could cook?”

“Well that’s a story that involves a baseball, my cat, and a horrible care of the flu.”

"Well I think we have time." Alec prompted.

---------------------------

With dinner finished and the dishes left in the sink, they had moved to his living room.

“So, Magnus.” Alec started rolling his bracelets around his wrists “There’s something I need to show you.”

“All right” Magnus acknowledged shifting his body to give Alec his full focus, interlocking their hand to calm his fiddling.

“You know that I’m a dragon. And you know that I wear a glamour. And, I want to show you what I look like with out it.” Seeing Magnus start to open his mouth. “Please, just let me get this all out. I really like you and I trust you. This is something I want to share with you. I don’t need anything in return, It’s just something I need to show you, for me.”

“Okay” Magnus accepted. “If you need to, then show me.”

“Thank you.” Alec then released Magnus’ hand and removed both of his bracelets and shyly avoided his eyes. He could feel his wings stretch out behind him and knew his horns sat curling up on his head adding almost a foot to his height.

“Oh Darling,” Magnus said taking his face in hand, cradling his check to tilt his face up to meet his eyes. When he spoke his voice was soft with awe, “You are enchanting.”

--------------------------

He knew Alec could shift between a full dragon form and a slightly more humanoid form, his books had indicated as much. He knew that some dragon traits remain in their human form and that Alec would hide them under a glamour, much like he did his eyes. He also knew that reveling things hidden by glamour could be a stressful and terrifying ordeal from his own experiences.

He was honored that Alec trusted him this much. And was blown away by how stunning his boyfriend looked. His wings were enormous ebony structures and almost velvet textured. They were shaped like a bats with hook like claws on the upper tips that were an off white. He wondered if he could fly like this or if he would need to fully shift to take off. His horns were a stunning work of art. Arching along from his hairline back and up above him. The horns weren’t solid black like his wings, but almost like a gemstone, with rainbows refracting along the opaque surface. As he continued to examine his beautiful boyfriend’s face he could see tiny scattering of dark scales along the hair line, neck, and collar bone, he wondered where else they spread to.

Leaning forward he places a soft lingering kiss on Alec’s lips, then rested his forehead against Alec's. “You are stunning Love.”

Seeing Alec’s sweet smile and relief filled eyes he knew that he could take the step he’d been putting off himself. “And I have something to show you too.”

“Mags, you don’t need to prove or repay anything to me” Alec tried to assure him.

And Magnus knew Alec didn’t want him to feel pressured into anything and that’s part of how he knew it would be okay. “I know.” And he blinked removing his glamour and reopened his eyes to lock eyes with Alexander.

“Magnus,” Alec’s hands came up to cup his face and thumb his cheeks. “You’re beautiful.”

They spent night cuddling on the couch taking in the other mark.

Chapter Text

Magnus’ club was different than most places Alec would normally hang out. He usually avoided clubs due to the tight proximity with strangers and inability to watch his back well.

Yet, Magnus hadn’t judged him for those concerns but offered a possible solution to make it more comfortable. Magnus’ private booth in Pandemonium was isolated by height and atmosphere. The thrown like couch rested against the wall and gave a solid view of the bar, dance floor, and exits. The fact that Magnus’ wards also wrapped along the booth's platform to prevent any magic but Magnus’ and the privacy wards for when Magnus did business.

And that was the main reason Alec was currently sprawled on the couch watching Magnus discuss the Downworld’s current situation. They had both been booked with work for the past week and unable to meet. They had planned a date for tonight but a sudden problem had forced Magnus to change plans last minute.

Alec had been the one to suggest that he tag along so they could at least spend some time together before he had to attend a dragon conference for a week days.

So now Alec was getting to spend his Friday night watching his boyfriend debate, negotiate, and sweet talk his way through problems and complaints. It was so interesting to watch how he maneuvered their political minefield of assured and de-escalating.

-------------------------

Magnus was enjoying his night. He had thought tonight would be a drag after realizing he would have to cancel on his boyfriend. Yet, Alexander had surprised him by agreeing to tag along to his club and keep him company. And had it been fun to get to walk into the club arm in arm with Alexander. While he knew his open front shirt, glittery, and jewelry, drew eyes it was far more exciting to watch the way people’s eyes caught and lingered on Alec.

Due to how last minute the decision to go clubing had been Alec had taken up the offer of borrowing clothes from Magnus. He had been tempted to go all out but decided to start in the more conservative corner of the wardrobe in the hopes that Alec would let his do so again in the future.

Alec was wearing skin tight black pants and his combat boots. His shirt had been replaces with a dark floral button up with the sleeves rolled up and his dark leather jacket. He had been thrilled at Alec’s interest in his jewelry but he should have expected his dragon to take notice of shiny things. Therefore Alec was also adorned in a long chain pendant with a fair sized sapphire on the end. He had also picked up some lose bracelets that went well with his glamor bracelets.

 

After arriving he guided Alec through the crowd until the pair settled on the couch that served as Magnus' throne. Magnus was pleased when Alec took full advantage of the couch, stripping off his jacket to toss it across the backrest, in order to spread out, leaning back against Magnus. A simple motion of his hand had a two drinks brought over. Settling in he surveyed the club and prepare for the meetings he would have to get through.

The night started with a pair of warlocks fighting over who had claim over some lost potions ingredients. After dealing with them he had to moderate a territory dispute between the main NY werewolf pack and a smaller pack that wanted to move in to a different part of the city. Then a fey stopped in to offer an invitation to tea with the Seelie queen.

"Warlock Bane, Her Majesty has requested that you visit her realm to discuss the current Shadowhunter situation."

"I have no problem stopping by for tea but I will remind you that I will not be getting involved in any more Shadowhunter conflicts." Magnus stated attempting to make himself understood.

He had made that stance clear when Clary had arrived a week after retrieving her memories. She had attempted to make him 'fix' her friend Samson who had been turned into a vampire. He had subsequently turned her around and told her to either take him to the Hotel Dunmore or the Shadowhunters she was staying with. When she had tried to guilt trip him into helping her he shut her down, explaining that he had only helped them in order to get the book and finish the last bit he owed her mother. If she wanted his services she would have to pay like everyone else.

He had sent the fuming girl away and later received the typical formal apology from the institute, one that meant nothing but made sure he wouldn't be able to formally retaliate for the perceived insult. Later Raphael, who had taken over the main clan, had informed him that the fledgling had moved into the Dunmore. Since then he had held firm that he wouldn't lend himself as the institute's personal warlock, unless he had reason to believe it would be to his peoples benefit.

Things got interesting when Alec butted in. "Meliorn, it's been a while?"

"Alec." Meliorn breathed out jerking back, his face had gone pale but he wasn't reaching for a weapon. "I was unaware you and Bane were antiquated." The fey's eyes jumping between them.

"Magnus and I are quite close." Alec stated wrapping an arm around Magnus' neck. Planting a wet kiss there before returning his attention to the clearly uncomfortable fey before them. "How has Rosie been?"

"Her Majesty has been fine."

"She figure out my little puzzle yet?"

"I-I'm not sure?" The warrior messenger was clearly unsure of how to respond to the dragon's teasing.

"Well then" Alec stated running the back of his hand along Magnus' check with an affectionate smile. "I'm sure she wouldn't mind me stopping by some time."

Meliorn was clearly stuck, he couldn't give a definite answer without risking insulting someone involved. Finally, he seem to cut his losses. "I see, I'll inform the queen of your upcoming visits." Swiftly turning he made his retreat.

Tossing up a quick privacy spell around them he turned to the preening dragon on his lap. "Were you going to share that you and the Seelie queen know each other?" He wasn't upset by Alec's verbal sparring in fact it had been quite entertaining to see Meliorn get flustered.

"She knows that I'm not someone she should mess with and I like to remind her to keep her hands to herself every now and then."

"Rosy?" He knew it wasn't the queens real name, she kept that secret hidden better than most, but he didn't think she would accept being given such a teasing one.

"She won't share so I gave her a better nickname than that title."

"And how did she take that?"

"She threw a wonderful tantrum, it was hilarious"

"And the riddle?"

"I give her stupidly obvious riddles that she doesn't understand, and let her stew over them for a couple decades before visiting to give her a new one." Alec smirked with obvious pride.

"This is going to be an interesting tea party isn't it."

"Your mine, and the sooner she gets her selfish little brain around the fact that she can't have you, the better off she will be." A clear possessive note entering his boyfriend’s voice.

Magnus knew he should be upset at how territorial Alec was being of his person yet he couldn't find it in him to get mad right now. Maybe it was the fact that Alec clearly already had his own complex relationship with the queen of the Seelie that he was now going to get to see. Maybe it was because he knew Alec wasn't acting like that to show off or demean Magnus, he was simple making a point to a possible threat that messing with Magnus also meant messing with Alec. Or maybe the root of this was that Magnus was just so pleased that someone else cared enough about him to help him fight these battle. Both political and physical. It had been over two centuries since someone had taken his side so publicly simply because they cared about him and not for what he could do for them as a powerful warlock.

They would need to talk more about this later, establish some ground rule for interfering with such politically charged issues, but he couldn't complain when Alec's sweet smile and feathery kissing brushed along his ring laden hand.

So he leaned down to give Alec a kiss, removed the privacy spell, and continued his meetings within the Downworld, now peppered with harmless observation or suggestions from his contently lounging boyfriend.

Chapter Text

Alec leaned back against the couch watching as Helen’s mother rushed around making sure she had everything packed. Helen was perched on the coffee table next to her backpack for the week. His own bag rested by his feet.

“Your mom dose this every time?”

“Yep”

“Even though she knows that she left your cave fully furnished and with a full wardrobe the last time she went?”

“Yep”

“Why?”

“She’s convinced she will not have everything she needs because my dad never brings anything. So we are forced to have an excess of clothing and back up presents cluttering the cave. What about you?”

“I only leave some basic clothing there along with stuff that I don’t mind being borrowed. The stronghold is practically a community center.”

“So nothing personal?”

“No, nothing personal or sentimental in at the public caves, that all stays within my personal cave, I bring requested items to lend out every time but I don’t leave much at the stronghold.”

“Honey," Helen's mom called out, "have you seen my…”

“Right here dear” Helen’s dad said offering up a note book.

“and my….”

“Yes.” Placing a necklace on top of the book with a smile.

Taking on a teasing pose at her husband’s ability to find things. “My yellow hat?”

“You left it on my aunt's couch the last time we visited, my flower.”

“Oh yes.” Turning to the pair waiting in the living room. “Come along dears it’s time to go!”

Rising, the two began to follow the couple out to meet up with the warlock who would portal them to the stronghold. The only reason this warlock knew that the place even existed was because they were married to the Stronghold’s Head of Records.

Entering the private lobby Alec caught sight of a figure checking a pocket watch and glancing about for them.

“Oh good you’re here.” The warlock was much more subdued than his Magnus, muted colors and heavy fabrics. But, they also lived full time in the Stronghold with their partner and the climate there was much more frigid.

A smooth movement had a portal forming for their group. “Hurry through, I have two more groups to pick up today.”

Stepping through the group was deposited in the center of enormous space. They were in the middle of a hollowed mountain, the roof stretching high above them, lanterns and magic runes creating the illusion of stars far overhead. The walls were lined with spiraling paths carved out along to make ledges, dotted with caves. Some were marked as passages to other areas like the library or meeting halls. Other caves had family or clan symbols marking out a meeting place or home. Others were blocked off as storage for those passing through.

Despite the high ceilings no one flew in the stronghold, except for during emergencies. There was high a risk of someone trying to fly in a space to small for them and hurting themselves or others. The paths were inconsistent in size and style some being only wide enough for one person, others wide enough for a large car to drive down. Some had elaborately carved patterns and others barely looked intentionally placed. These variations prevented any kind of transportation system from being implemented. Therefore walking was the only way to get around.

Alec began to split off from the group to head to his own cave to settle in.

“Oh Alec,” Helen’s mother slipped away from her husband to catch him before he could get far, “come find us tomorrow and we’ll break fast. We’ll be at our usual cave. If you're not there by sun up we’ll send Helen to find you.” She mothered him despite knowing he was older than her and her husband.

“Sure I’ll be round after dawn.” Alec assured her before making his way to his own cave.

His cave wasn’t like Helen’s family’s, their's was only one or two tiers up the cavern and was mostly a large family space, with little private room once Helen’s whole family arrived. Her dad's parents, siblings, and their children would also be in attendance. But then, Helen’s family was rather young. Helen was only 300. Her father’s sibling clutch was just over 700.

Compared to them Alec knew he was ancient, only 4 other dragons attending this meeting were in the same age range as him. Due to their seniority they had had first selection of the cave when they helped founded the Stronghold almost a millennium ago.

Alec’s cavern was strategically high, placed with access to a vent shaft that allowed for a quick escape, while still providing a vantage point of the two main tunnel entrances and the center, which was the only place one could portal to. His cave was marked not with a name but with a brilliant blue paint surrounding the entire entryway to frame dark heavy curtains that covered the opening. The fabric was woven with protective markings and large swirling symbols.

The main cave was spacious enough inside that he could fully shift and sleep comfortably should he choose. Yet, he chose to use the front of his cave to make a small library of sorts. He had no shelves or tables but the floor and walls were covered in carpets and tapestries, with pillows and beanbag chairs littering the floor.

Books of varying subjects were piled high around the room. There was no single method of sorting the books and most assumed it was completely random. Books for children or on general subjects were nearer the front or left side of the cave. The back and right side held more sensitive topics like politics, social issues, and morality. All the books were tied to the protections he had laid on the space so no one could remove or damage the books. A spell from a friend in the 15th century on the bottom layer of carpet that covered the whole floor allowed for some insurance that no one was given a book outside their maturity. If a someone, like a child, got a hold of a dangerous book beyond their understanding the pages would appear blank.

The rare books he brought were in the back room, which was separated by a counter and an another curtain. This was his sleeping area and where he kept specially requested books or items for during his stay. He had dragged a memory foam mattress up here as soon as he could get one. His small cupboard of dried and canned foods and camp stove made up the cooking space. That along with an enchanted set of bathroom appliances that allowed for the pleasure of indoor plumbing without piping. All considering his small cave was more habitable than some mundane places he had lived. Yet, like most other dragons he had his own secret cave where he kept his hoard and personal things that he wanted to keep safe.

Once he set down his bags Alec removed his glamor bracelets and put them away. He wouldn't need them until he returned home. Rolling out his shoulder he began to unwind knowing that for the rest of the week his dragon marks would be visible and he wouldn't have to worry about any visitors learning his secret.

After unpacking his bag he checked his phone, it was just past 3 in the afternoon here meaning it was around 9 AM back in New York. Sending a short text to Magnus to let him know he had safely arrived and already missed him.

He took stock of his food and made note of what he had brought. The bag he used was expanded on the inside so he was able to fully restock his cupboard and set out some fresh fruit and vegetables for the week. Making a simple salad and heating some soup he decided to eat perched on the edge of the path overlooking the cavern. His cave was on the end of a path up so he wouldn’t have to worry about too many visitors till tomorrow when word got around that he had brought more books.

Part of the appeal of his reading space was that he would often bring a range of mundane fictions that the library rarely stocked. The families that live here full time rarely left and he always ended up with requests for sequels and series. He finished his meal watching the flow of people move through the cavern as more people arrived, mingled, and made their way to their lodgings before finally retiring.

------------------------------------------------------

The next morning he made his way down to Helen’s family cave and had breakfast with them as promised.

After that they joined the flow of dragon families headed down below the main space to the meeting hall. This hall was another larger circular cave. The cave sloped down to a center platform like an amphitheater, where a large table and book had been set out for today. The slope was lined with seats some carved in, others were wood benches set out. Everyone slowly filed in, taking seats as family groups, vaguely divided by regions. Alec split from Helen and made his way up to the top of the slope where he had carved wide chair into the back wall one year. The acoustics were good enough that anyone standing in the center could be heard into the tunnels. Settling down he waited for the longest and only second most dull aspect of these gatherings to begin.

Family claims. Every clan and family had to go down in person and state any new births, deaths, marriages, bonds, adoptions, or migrations. The book it was recorded in was sealed and only taken out for this event or legal reasons. He had only ever had to change his address at this event, yet they all had to attend and confirm their status at the meeting. If someone could not attend one could send an official form in with a friend or family member to turn in, but it was often more of a hassle than it was worth. It also gave them a way to track if anyone was missing. After the gathering someone would either volunteer, or be volunteered, to go check on those who failed to attended at their last know whereabouts. Usually someone had just miss timed a hibernation or missed their portal, but every now and again someone would be found dead or listed as missing long term.

In theory it should only take half as long as it did, with the order randomized with in location it should only take maybe 1-2 minutes per family, but inevitably someone would drag their family drama into the recording process. A child moved out too soon or not soon enough. A parent disapproved of their child’s marriage or divorce. Fights over custody of a child. Disputes over land claims or clan locations. The fights were matters that should be brought up tomorrow, during the conflict debates but the organizers had decided it was better to let these matters get aired now even if they wouldn’t be officially settled till later. Claiming it gave both parties a change to cool down.

Alec however, thought that was stupid decision, it just gave both sides a chance to gather sympathy and social backing to their claims with our explaining anything.

These matters dragged this out into an all-day event with an hour break for lunch. Most people just brought picnics now to eat while listening to the fighting. He had brought a lunch and novel.

Maybe in a few years he could bring Magnus along to listen and complain with, but despite his rather hasty public claiming of his boyfriend in the club he didn’t want to rush into a more formal courting until Magnus was more comfortable. He had definitely pushed the boundary of what was socially acceptable to the warlock by butting into the conversation with Meliorn, but he as seen what the Seelie Queen could do to manipulate a person and he wanted to make it clear to her understanding that even if he and Magnus didn’t last romantically he wouldn’t let anyone harm the warlock who was becoming his whole world.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

They had talked about it after leaving the club. Stumbling back to Magnus place to crash on the couch, they had woken up around noon to coffee and a soft chat.

Magnus appreciated Alec’s concern but wanted to be clear that he wasn’t some damsel to be rescued and hidden away behind his partner. He was capable of protecting himself and was experienced in dealing with the Seelie Queen and her manipulation with out Alec's interference.

Alec expressed his understanding of Magnus’ need to be respected for his independence, personal power, and abilities. He never wanted to overstep and try to control Magnus, his spontaneous and determined nature is part of what he loved about the warlock and Alec was well aware that Magnus could take care of himself, but at the same time didn’t want Magnus to have to face those fights alone. Alec would back his corner and offer him support in whatever way Magnus felt comfortable with. But he also couldn’t stand back and let anyone take advantage of his kindness.

Magnus was touched and accepted Alec’s backing but only when Alec promised that it went both ways. That Alec would also accept Magnus' help and support.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Drawing out of his memory Alec realized that it was nearly his turn. The family before him was one of the larger ones, they lived on the US Canadian border. The family had the constant problem of people moving in and out of their eldest member’s home, they also often forgot who way staying where. Finally, they finished and he was called.

“ALEXANDER SILVA,”

He calmly made his way down the opposite pathway so he wouldn’t get caught by the family moving back up to their seats.

“Any new family or change in location to list?”

“I’m still situated in New York, And I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for the next meeting to possibly add anyone besides my cat.”

“How is that furball? Didn’t bring him did you?”

“No I have a friend watching him.”

“Lovely to see you again Alec.”

“You too Martha”

Signing the form off he made his way back to his seat and decided to watch the commotion as the next family appeared to have a fight to pick.

“SOLEABEL CLAN. Anything to add to your register?”

“Yes I’d like to state my marriage.” A young girl holding hands with a man stated.

“NO YOU ARE NOT!” A furious women screamed interrupting her.

“We are married mother and that is final.”

“I refuse to let you throw your life away on this Vampire!”

“Do you have a marriage certificate and forms?” the registrar asked.

“Yes,” the daughter handed over the forms while clutching her husband’s hand in the other. Based on his expression he was older that his 19 year old appeared or this marriage had happened far earlier in the year and he had had several months to become immune to his new mother-in-law’s rants.

As Martha read over the form he could see the girl’s mother start to boil over.

“I see no problem with this form or your wedding union claim. Congratulations!” Martha said handing the papers back after transcribing it over to the official records.

“Ugh. I cannot believe you’ve done this Annabella!”

“We’ve been married for over a year mum and dating for seven, get over it or leave us be.” Turning away she lead her husband back to their seats. The rest of the family slowly filed the rest of their information and moved on.

By the end of the first half Alec had been visited by some acquaintances and had settled down with his book for the second half. Finally, they finished all registrations around dusk. Some of the problems raised were solved, others he knew would carry over throughout the week and possibly for several more years. Some people could hold grudges for decades, until everyone else forgot why they were fighting in the first place.

-----------------------------------------------------

That night he pulled back the curtain and enjoyed a light dinner as people drifted in and out of the reading space, picking up or returning books. He saw two teens huddle into a corner with a book on LBGTQA+. Making a mental note of them, he would see if they came back when it was less busy and offer to lend them some other more specific material with some book covers in case their secretiveness was due to family tensions, or he would silently offer up more books and a safe space to read them if they weren’t ready to talk.

A young girl had thrown herself down on a bean bag with an up-side down book clearly not able to read yet but enjoying it none the less. The women she had come in with was seated with a thick tomb on plants related mythology resting open on her lap.

The peaceful atmosphere was broken by a grumpy older looking man storming in. Alec already knew who this man was. The man had been demanding he hand over a book from his private vault for months despite Alec refusing him multiple times.

The first time he was contacted, Alec wasn’t sure how the man had even found out he had the book. He made the mistake of confirming he had an original edition, but despite his continual refusal to share a book from his personal library the man had been harassing him for it. His cave of books was not an official library like the lager one in the lower tunnels, this was a personal service he provided and had the right to refuse to supply a book if he felt so. He never made a promise to anyone about the books and he had never given a book from his own hoard out.

“Now, I’ve requested this book several times. Where is it!”

“This isn’t the main library and these books are not pubic property. They are mine and I am not obligated to give you anything, Rottman.” Alec cut the man's rant off.

“Well I’ve never! I’m paying you good money for this book you see!”

“You haven’t paid me anything! Anything you’ve sent me has been returned and I’m not negotiating this." Squaring his shoulders to stare the man head on Alec knew even in his sweat pants and sweater he cut an imposing figure. "The book is not for sale, rent, or loan. Now get out!” He growled.

The man left is a huff, knocking over a book stack on his way out.

Rolling his eyes and the man’s immaturity he returned to his own book. It was a journal about a Japanese Buddhist monk who had hosted a Catholic priest for a brief time before the Catholic religion was outlawed in Japan. The two had debated faith and morality for the duration of the visit and the journal was a transcription of their conversations through a translator.

After a while the main lights began to fade into what equaled late night time. The woman left with her child and the teens left after poorly hiding the book under a bean bag.

Smiling at their actions he dropped the outer curtain muffling the noise from outside and moved over to look at the book the teens had hidden. He could tell where they had read from the dust covers flaps. Referencing the book he moved over and pulled out two related books from a pile next to the counter that separated his living quarters from the reading space and slipped a pre-made pamphlet for supportive sources in both the mundane and the Downworld if they needed to talk to someone. He place them all back under the bean bag and headed off to bed.