It’s with the surety of someone who’s spent more than a human lifetime in the ER that Catarina knows, the moment she steps through the portal and into Magnus’s loft, that time is something they have in painfully short supply.
She vaguely registers the presence of the New York Institute’s finest in the room; the Clave’s golden boy Jace Herondale is lying screaming on the floor, the fiery head of Clary Fairchild bent over him while Isabelle Lightwood is having a hurried conversation with someone on the phone, stilettos echoing sharply as she paces the room.
But her focus is on their leader, lying on the floor, limp and unmoving in Magnus’s arms. It’s the first time she thinks of Alec Lightwood as small.
Catarina has known Magnus for most of her considerable lifetime, and she counts herself lucky to be one of a very select few to know him well. She knows the difference between when he’s merely enamored and head over heels in love: when he laughs to deflect and when he laughs because he’s genuinely amused: she has seen him frustrated, angry, sad, exhausted from magic depletion or from having once again taken on more than he can possibly handle on his own, has seen him embarrassed, heartbroken, lost, drunk out of his mind, bloodied from head to toe after grizzly fights, and everything in-between.
If there was ever to be a book on the complexities of Magnus Bane, Catarina would say she’s uniquely qualified to write it, but it still takes her a moment to recognize the look in the dull golden eyes staring at her.
Unbridled panic is something she has rarely witnessed on her friend’s countenance, but it’s there in spades now.
“Cat,” Magnus says, and she winces at the sound of his voice, weak and cracking like it’s coming from the bottom of a dried-out well. “Cat, you have to- my magic, I can’t- I’m all out, I—” He coughs, a shuddering burst of air that rattles his entire body. “Help him, please.”
She remembers every time Magnus has ever begged her for anything. None of them is a good memory.
“Help me move him to the couch,” she barks. Isabelle Lightwood immediately steps forward, phone nowhere in sight, her expression tense in determination despite her pale complexion and the tears clinging to her lashes.
Magnus keeps trying to gain his feet, movements shaky and uncoordinated like that time in Tunisia in the 1940s. But this isn’t the result of too much drink—Cat recognizes severe magic depletion when she sees it, and she snaps at him to stay put. Remarkably, worryingly, he slumps against the couch without objection, his breathing ragged.
Cat pushes her concern for her friend aside and returns her focus to the Head of the New York Institute. Despite the fact that he’s clearly unconscious, Alec’s body is as pale and rigid as a Roman sculpture, his clammy face chiseled in pain.
“What happened?” she asks, summoning her magic. It seeps across Alec’s body, covering him in a luminous cocoon.
“Psychophagus,” Magnus croaks, the word strangled.
“Then he should be dead,” she says. Magnus shudders by her feet and she cants her head toward him, hands still weaving magic. “Magnus, what did you do?”
“Just help him, Cat,” her friend begs breathlessly, desperate and terrified like she can’t remember ever hearing him before. “Please, just, not him. Not him.”
Cat swallows her questions and refocuses her efforts. But there are no physical wounds—aside from an already healed scratch to Alec’s side, likely from a claw of some sort—there is nothing for her to actually heal—but the deeper she reaches, the clearer she can feel something, soft and at the same time electric, a low-level humming that slides against her magic in a familiar dance—something she recognizes, something she knows, but can’t place because it shouldn’t be here…
Realization burns like ice. Cat snatches her hands away, gasping.
“Magnus,” she whispers, horrified. “What did you do?”
~ ~ ~
Magnus sits perched on the edge of the couch, exhaustion shuddering up his spine in random intervals, heart punching into his lungs like a fist beating against a bruise. Alec’s hand, lying limp and dry in his own, is the only thing tethering him to consciousness.
You don’t have the right to touch him.
The words are on repeat in his muddled mind, a mantra. A truth he would sell his soul to undo.
This is all your fault.
“What do you mean?” Izzy asks. She’s sitting at the end of the couch, fingers white as they encircle Alec’s ankles. “What’s happening to him?”
Magnus can feel Catarina looking at him. She hasn’t stopped looking at him since she yanked her hands from Alec’s body, coming to the same conclusion he has, even though it can’t be, because it’s not possible, it can’t, because that would mean- that would mean that he-
“Have you ever heard of anything like this before?” Cat asks him, ignoring Izzy’s question.
Magnus shakes his head. His brain is running with the speed of a computer from the 1950s, but he would know if he’d ever come across anything like this before.
He doesn’t have to actively use magic to still feel the familiarity of his own energy humming under Alec’s skin from where their hands are entwined. It’s his magic, but it’s completely separated from him, working without him guiding it, without him telling it what to do, and although Magnus has sometimes had the impression of being a puppet to his magic’s whims, this…
“What the hell is going on?” There is familiar steel in Izzy’s voice, but underneath it is the frightened voice of a little sister doing her best not to fall apart, and Magnus doesn’t have it in him to tell her, to explain to her that he is the reason for her brother’s suffering.
“Magnus,” Clary prompts softly from where she’s sitting on the other couch, Jace sprawled out in her lap, unconscious from whatever is transferred through the bond, and Magnus squeezes his eyes shut. But there is no escaping the memories.
He’s back at the docks, incinerating a pack of Shax demons when he hears Jace scream, a scream that Magnus has heard once before, in another place, from another voice. The scream of a soul tearing in two.
He’d snapped around to see Alec crumble to the ground, the Psychophagus standing over him, and there were no thoughts involved as he let his magic – burning hellfire – reach into the purely demonic that dwells at the core of his being, that part of himself that Magnus keeps buried under selfless deeds and good intentions, and gave himself over fully and wholly to the great destruction.
Magnus doesn’t remember anything after that, all of it a haze of blinding light and demonic shrieks and blood pooling in his mouth, dripping down his chin. Then the world had tilted, shadows that seemed disturbingly corporeal crowding his vision, Izzy’s bruising grip on his arm the only thing preventing him from toppling over.
He doesn’t remember what he did. But the result is right here, lying broken and bleeding and in brutal agony in front of him, a direct consequence of his actions.
Bile burns up his throat.
Somewhere above him, Cat sighs.
“There are sparingly few accounts of Psychophagi wandering the earth,” she says. “But what is known about them is basically three things: they’re notoriously difficult to tame, very hard to kill once summoned, and driven by a near insatiable hunger. They inject themselves into their victims, often the very individual who was stupid enough to summon them in the first place, through an open wound in order to feed off of their life force. Basically, the Psychophagus is to your soul what a horde of moths is to a piece of clothing.”
“By the Angel,” Izzy whispers, but it’s almost drowned out by a renewed wave of guilt. Magnus had known that Alec had been hurt, had heard his grunt of pain even through the frenzy of battle. If he had gotten to him sooner, if he had closed the wound, if he-
“When the Psychophagus is done feeding, what is left behind is nothing short of an empty vessel,” Catarina continues quietly. “No soul, no life force, only flesh and bone. It didn’t reach that point with Alec, his soul wasn’t absorbed, but it was damaged, beginning to unravel, so Magnus…” Magnus closes his eyes as she hesitates. “Magnus filled the void. With magic.”
The seconds that follow give a whole new meaning to the phrase 'quiet as the grave.'
“No.” Izzy shakes her head. “No. You can’t just- just change someone’s genetic structure like that. That’s not possible.”
“It shouldn’t be, no,” Catarina says. She sounds as weary as Magnus feels. “Right now, Alec’s Nephilim energy is reacting to Magnus’s warlock energy. That’s why he’s in such distress. I think the only reason he’s still hanging on is because Magnus’s magic is, technically, tainted angelic magic.”
“Asmodeus,” Clary breathes, and Magnus chokes on hysterical laughter. Oh, his father would love this, especially if Alec-
“Cat.” The syllable drags from his throat like shrapnel from an open wound. “There has to be something. At the Spiral Labyrinth, or with the Silent Brothers. Anything.”
“Magnus,” Catarina says, and the sadness in her voice makes him want to scream. “You know as well as I do that you can’t restore life that has ceased existing. And even if you were able to, his soul is too damaged for you to remove your magic. It would kill him.”
“Was born half-demon, half-Nephilim, and her mother bore no runes. It’s not the same.”
“What can we do?” Clary asks.
“I fear any use of magic only risks interfering and overtaxing his system even further,” Cat says. “I can give him a sleeping potion, something to ease his pain. But beyond that, all we can do is wait.”
“How long?” Izzy asks, voice stricken.
“Honestly, I wish I knew,” Cat sighs. “I will ask around, discreetly, but as far as we know, this has never happened before.”
But if the demonic and the angelic can’t find a way to coexist, if his body can’t adapt to the presence of the demonic…
Alec will die, and it will be Magnus’s fault.
His stomach lurches.
Ignoring Cat calling for him, he stumble-rushes from the couch, toward the bedroom and further into the bathroom. He staggers before falling to his knees beside the toilet, but not even the painful retching can silence the truth reverberating in his head.
You ruined him.
~ ~ ~
Disheveled. Out of his element. Lost. Young. Scared out of his mind.
None of them are words Maryse would ever have associated with Magnus Bane, but that’s exactly what he looks like now, sitting against one of the brick pillars in the loft’s living-room with his legs drawn up to his chest and staring at her oldest son as if he wants to come closer and yet can’t bring himself to move.
Initially, she had been surprised that Magnus wasn’t poring through books or portalling across the world or doing something, but one look at him was enough for her to realize that he would probably pass out if he so much as stood up. And she imagined that the only thing worse than doing nothing, especially when there wasn’t really anything to be done anyway, would be to be unconscious, in case anything happened.
Alec’s breath hitches on a weak moan, and Maryse turns back to him. Shushing him, she cards gentle fingers through the damp, unruly curls. When Isabelle had called her, voice thick with tears and cracking over a breathless Mom, she had known it was going to be bad. That still hadn’t prepared her for what met her when she rushed into the loft, all those hours ago.
In all her years, she has never heard of Psychophagi. Izzy had described the creature as humanoid more than demon, as tall as Alec, its skin a shimmering, liquid mercury. Apparently, it had been lurking around New York for the better part of two weeks, attacking Mundanes, Shadowhunters, and Downworlders alike, draining them of their life force.
There’s shifting behind her and, glancing back over her shoulder, she sees Magnus’s pained frown, the tense press of his lips. Even through the sparse candlelight illuminating the room, his skin looks decidedly more gray than caramel, but despite his clear exhaustion, he refuses to give into sleep.
Maryse reaches out a hand.
Magnus stares at the proffered appendage and doesn’t move a muscle. Fear, shock, guilt, shame, grief. All powerful paralytics.
She waves, beckoning.
Another drawn-out moment of stillness, and then Magnus slowly untangles from his slouch—another word she never thought she’d use in relation to the man—and makes his way over, movements like he’s wading through a mire of rapidly stiffening mud. Maryse has seen it before, felt it herself, too, after coming off of brutal, days-long hunts where runic power had since long lost its effect and all that was keeping you upright were nerves and sheer stubbornness.
Magnus all but collapses on the floor next to her, a tangle of ungraceful limbs, and her heart aches for him. But she keeps her gaze on Alec, and her voice is soft in deference to the others lying asleep mere feet away, when she says, “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, or if he’s even aware of it himself, but he likes it when you stroke his hair. It was something I realized when he was really young, eight, perhaps, and caught the flu. I don’t know what he saw in those fevered dreams, but he was terrified.” She swallows, the memory bittersweet on her tongue. “This always made him settle.”
“He never told me that,” Magnus whispers. His voice is hoarse, but Maryse doesn’t know him well enough to determine whether it’s from disuse or from repressing tears.
“I doubt he remembers it. It was a long time ago.”
She removes her hand, not without reluctance, and scoots to make room.
“Why don’t you take over? My hand is starting to cramp.” Magnus doesn’t seem to notice the lie, staring at her son like Alec is his entire world and like the prospect both terrifies and soothes him.
Love, Maryse thinks, heart giving a not entirely happy pang. She might have loved Robert, once, and maybe what she feels for Luke might someday turn into love. But this—what lives in Magnus’s eyes when he looks at her son, what warms Alec’s voice every time he talks about the warlock—this is something else altogether.
When Magnus doesn’t move, she reaches over and grabs his hand, making him flinch.
“It’ll help calm him down,” she interrupts, reading the protest on his face before he even opens his mouth. Help ground you, too.
Magnus swallows, but doesn’t resist as she guides his hand into her son’s hair. She doesn’t think she’s imagining it when some of the tension immediately eases from his shoulders.
Maryse doesn’t know how long they sit there, both lulled by the rhythm of Magnus’s fingers brushing through Alec’s raven curls, before she breaks the silence.
“I wanted to thank you.”
Magnus’s fingers still.
“No matter what happens, you’ve given him a fighting chance.” She gives Magnus’s other hand, lying cold and limp in his lap, a squeeze. “It’s more than he would’ve had if you’d done nothing. So, thank you.”
Magnus shakes his head, retracting his hand from her grasp.
“This isn’t a blessing, Maryse. What he is going through because of me…” The air wobbles over his chapped lips. “It’s brutal, barbaric. Unnatural.”
“You saved his life,” Maryse tries, but Magnus only scoffs.
“All I’ve done is prolong his suffering. I let my heart dictate my actions, because I was too selfish to…” He presses his lips together, brown eyes glistening.
Because I was too selfish to let him go.
“If there is one person who will never hold that against you, it’s Alec.” All her past misdeeds aside, Maryse is still a mother and she knows her son. Although she might not have been on the receiving end of it very often, she knows the way he loves: unconditionally, selflessly, with his whole being. The thought that he could ever fault Magnus for loving him the same way is simply not possible.
“And you?” Magnus glances at her. “I’m the reason your son is having a literal existential crisis. How come you don’t hate me?”
“Whatever would I hate you for? Loving him too much? Loving him the way he deserves to be loved?” Maryse shakes her head, smiling despite the tears prickling her eyes. “Magnus, I meant it when I said that this, what you two have, is what every mother wants for her child. We might not know what will happen, but we do know that he would be dead if it wasn’t for you. How could I ever hate you for that?”
The way Magnus looks at her, he doesn’t look hundreds of years old, doesn’t look like someone capable of great destruction. He looks like a boy, lost and fearful and in desperate need of reassurance, and Maryse reaches out and retakes his free hand in her own.
“You acted on instinct,” she says, firm. “I know you would never intentionally cause Alec any unnecessary harm. I don’t blame you for this, and neither will he.”
When he wakes up.
Magnus exhales shakily, closing his eyes. He gives the smallest of nods. Maryse can’t tell if he believes her or not, and just squeezes his hand wordlessly.
In the ensuing silence, it doesn’t take long before Magnus starts swaying ever so slightly. From the looks of it, he’d worked himself well past exhaustion to keep Alec alive, and her heart swells with affection as much as it does sadness, for your happiness to be so dependent on someone else.
She reaches out and presses her palm against his neck, guiding his head down onto her shoulder.
“Maryse,” he mumbles, tensing, but it’s weak, slurring on the “y,” and she shushes him.
“Rest, Magnus. I’ll wake you if he needs you.”
A sigh drifts across her collarbone, but no objection comes. Mere moments later, the High Warlock of Brooklyn, a man who is centuries old and one of the most powerful beings in the Shadow World, slumps against her side as sleep claims him, one hand still tangled in her son’s hair.
Careful not to jostle him, Maryse reaches out and takes Alec’s limp hand in her own, thumb caressing his knuckles.
“You need to get better, sweetheart,” she mumbles. “Because I don’t think he’d survive losing you.”
~ ~ ~
After five days of incessant worrying, Alec’s fever breaks. Two agonizingly long days later, he opens his eyes.
~ ~ ~
Alec tastes the word for what feels like the zillionth time. He tries to comprehend it, and can’t.
Cat and Izzy had explained everything that had happened: the Psychophagus, his soul literally being erased, and Magnus basically stitching it back together, filling the cracks with magic. By the time they finished, Alec’s head had been spinning, the headache he’d been having since he woke up beating viciously against his temples. He’d tried to catch Magnus’s gaze, but his boyfriend had been staring resolutely at his hands, expression unreadable.
He heard himself say it, felt his lips form the word, but it still sounded like a joke.
“I did some blood tests that confirmed it,” Izzy said softly. Her hair a mess, dark circles under her eyes, evidence of how bad it had been, this time. “I compared the results with both Shadowhunters and Mundanes, and your blood cells regenerate at a much quicker pace than either of them. The closest match is with that of a warlock.”
Alec had glanced at Magnus again.
“And I… have magic?”
“In a sense, yes,” Catarina said. “But it’s a part of you the same way your blood type is. I doubt you’ll be able to actively use it, or regenerate it. Strictly speaking, it isn’t even ‘yours.’ It’s Magnus’s.”
The next breath caught in Alec’s throat.
“Is this hurting him?” His eyes snapped to Magnus. “Are you- is this hurting you?”
Magnus had assured him that it didn’t, with a smile that didn’t even come close to reaching his eyes.
The bedsheets pool around Alec’s waist as he works himself up into a sitting position, muscles trembling from disuse and abuse both as he drags himself into standing with a hand on the bedroom wall. Apparently, a week of internal warfare and then three more days of being completely bedridden will do that to a person. But although his body screams for more sleep, the bedroom is empty of a certain warlock, and not knowing where Magnus is makes Alec uneasy.
Magnus, who keeps piling blankets over him because for some reason he can’t seem to get warm. Magnus, who plies him with honeyed tea although the scratch in his throat went away two days ago. Magnus, who evades his every touch and somehow manages to make it seem like that is the exact opposite of what he’s doing, who tenses every time Alec says his name and who still hasn’t quite met Alec’s eye.
Alec sees the relief underneath the heavy layer of fatigue. The love, too. But he isn’t oblivious to the apprehension lurking in those flighty browns either, doesn’t miss the almost defeated slump of Magnus’s shoulders whenever his boyfriend thinks Alec isn’t looking.
That’s how he finds him now, out on the balcony as the sun casts its warm morning glow over the streets and rooftops of Brooklyn, hunched in on himself as if the entire world is using him as its pillar. He looks beaten down, beyond exhausted. Still the most beautiful man Alec has ever seen.
It’s almost imperceptible, the way he tenses. Would be, to anyone who isn’t Alec.
“You shouldn’t be out of bed,” Magnus says without turning. His voice in that airy, falsely cheerful register that never fails to set Alec on edge. “Did you need anything? More tea?” He pushes himself from the balcony edge. “I think I have some licorice root left…”
“Magnus.” Alec grabs Magnus’s arm as he makes to move past him, tries to catch his gaze. “Hey. We’re going to have to talk about this at some point.”
Magnus closes his eyes with a sigh. His head dips in a tired nod.
They sit down on the balcony couch. Alec takes a moment to simply enjoy the fresh air, using it to breathe awareness into his sluggish mind, before he clears his throat.
“So…” he begins carefully, watching Magnus from the corner of his eye. “I’m immortal.”
Magnus’s fingers clench where they grip his crossed arms. The way he holds himself brings Alec back to their conversation behind the Hunter’s Moon, after they had defeated Valentine, and his chest constricts.
“So it would seem.” Magnus swallows. “Alec, I am so sorry.”
“I know. So you’ve said. Repeatedly.” Alec turns to face his boyfriend, lips twitching. “Don’t think you heard me when I said I don’t blame you, though.”
Many things may be fraught in uncertainty, but this is one thing he knows for sure. Alec understands why Magnus did what he did, even if it wasn’t a conscious decision, and he’s grateful, of course he is. And it isn’t as if Alec’s never thought about it, becoming immortal. Maybe, if he’d had the opportunity to think it through, maybe found some way that didn’t involve his soul nearly being obliterated, he would’ve chosen it for himself, for them.
But there’s no denying that this is different.
Magnus’s face twists.
“How could you not? This wasn’t a choice you made, I forced this upon you. I took away your autonomy and I did this horrible thing to you…”
“For me,” Alec corrects. “Magnus, you did it for me.”
“I did it for myself,” Magnus whispers. “I did it because I’m selfish. Because I didn’t want to be alone again, because I couldn’t stand the thought of you—”
His lips press together, eyes glazing over.
Alec shakes his head, helpless.
“I wanted you to stay,” Magnus breathes. He turns his head. Liquid brown eyes finally meet Alec’s own. “I wanted you to stay so badly, Alexander, and I didn’t think, not about what I was doing, not about the consequences. I just didn’t think.”
“Well, I’m glad you didn’t.” Alec shrugs at the objection building in Magnus’s eyes. “It worked out, didn’t it? I mean, I’m definitely staying now.”
Magnus barks a laugh, a bit too hysterical for Alec’s liking.
There is something in his tone that Alec can’t quite read, and his stomach clenches. He averts his gaze to Magnus’s hands, fingers elegant even when bare of their usual assembly of rings.
“You know… I know this isn’t what you signed up for, and I want you to- no.” He shakes his head. “No, I need you to know that just because my… situation, has changed, you don’t have to… It doesn’t mean that you- that we…” He huffs, frustrated that the words won’t come. Alec knows that Magnus loves him, but he also realizes that it’s different, thinking you’ll have fifty years with someone and then suddenly being confronted with eternity. And for all that Magnus is his The One, Alec would never want Magnus to stay because he feels guilty or indebted to him somehow. He loves him too much.
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t kill him, saying it.
Alec glances up. Magnus is staring at him with wide eyes.
“Did you not hear a single word of what I just said?” Magnus shakes his head, and the relief that courses through Alec’s body as Magnus reaches out and takes his hand in his would knock him on his ass if they weren’t already sitting down. “Darling. There is nothing I want more than to spend my life with you, be it years or decades or literal forever. But this isn’t about what I want, this is about you.”
Alec frowns down at their entwined hands.
“Honestly? I don’t think I know what I want,” he confesses. “I mean, I want you, always, it’s just… it’s a lot.”
For all the romanticized views about eternal life with the person of your dreams forever by your side, that doesn’t mean immortality doesn’t come with its fair share of downsides: outliving not only the family you know now, but any future family you might have, seeing the world change while you stay the exact same, having to suffer through loss after colossal loss. Those aren’t things to simply brush aside, even for your one true love.
Alec knows he’ll have to deal with all of that at some point, just. Not right now.
A plethora of emotions flash across Magnus’s face, too many for Alec’s addled mind to make sense of, before he averts his gaze to stare out across the city.
“I want you too,” he says, soft like a sigh. “Of course I do.”
And while the reassurance chases away some of the uncertainty surrounding this entire situation, the rigid set of Magnus’s shoulders indicates that there’s more to it.
“There is something else bothering you, isn’t there?”
Magnus shakes his head.
“What I did to you—”
“—It shouldn’t be possible.” Magnus swallows. When he looks back at Alec, there is something urgent, almost wild, in his eyes. “I have searched every book I own, I have combed through most of Ragnor’s considerable collection, I have sent out inquiries to other warlocks, to other contacts I have all around the world—there is nothing, Alec. Nothing. I can’t find anything mentioning this ever having happened before, and if something happens to you because of this, because of something that I did—”
“Hey,” Alec shushes him, recognizing a downward spiel when he sees one. “It’s only been a few days, right? We have plenty of time to figure things out. Literally.” He squeezes Magnus’s hand. “I love you, Magnus. Nothing will ever change that.”
No matter how crazy everything else is, this is something that Alec knows with the same certainty that he knows his own name. It’s an undisputable fact, right up there with the sun rising in the east and the Earth being round. It’s one of the most fundamental truths upon which he builds his world.
Magnus stares at him like he’s seeing him for the first time—as if this, the depth of Alec’s love for him, is somehow still a novelty, even after everything they’ve been through.
Good thing, then, that Alec seems to have eternity to make him get used to it.
“I have one question, though,” he says, sobering.
“Anything,” Magnus says immediately.
“Are you absolutely sure that this isn’t hurting you? In any way?”
Magnus huffs through his smile, rolling his eyes.
“Yes, Alexander, I’m quite sure.” He reaches out and cups Alec’s cheek, exhaling shakily when Alec grips his trembling wrist and nuzzles into the touch. “And I love you, too. So much it scares me sometimes.”
“Yeah,” Alec mumbles. “Me, too.” He presses a kiss to Magnus’s palm. “It’s worth it, though.”
Alec nods. Keeps looking at him.
He yawns suddenly, the fatigue that’s been clinging to him for days apparently deciding to make a reappearance. He knows that what he went through was far from a normal battle injury, but it’s still annoying that he can’t seem to stay awake for more than a measly two hours at a time.
“We should get you back to bed,” Magnus says, thumb stroking across Alec’s cheek. “You still need to rest.”
Alec makes a sound of protest and presses further into Magnus’s palm, even as his eyes fall closed.
“Can we stay here? I never thought I’d actually say this, but I’m kind of sick of our bed.”
He doesn’t know how, but he just knows that Magnus is smiling.
“As you wish, my love.”
Slumping in relief, the mere thought of moving suddenly really unappealing, Alec allows his boyfriend to maneuver them both until Alec’s back is against Magnus’s chest, his head resting on Magnus’s shoulder. A snap of fingers, and a warm blanket curls itself around his body. Alec sighs, relaxing—positively melting when Magnus starts carding fingers through his hair.
“That feels really nice,” he mumbles, barely able to suppress a shiver.
Magnus snorts above him, soft and fond.
“Thought you might like it.”
Alec recognizes that his life just turned infinitely more complicated. Although he doesn’t feel any different, there is no denying that things will undoubtedly change. He has no idea how this will go over with the Clave—though he can’t imagine it will go well—or if he will keep his position as Head, or if he’ll even be considered a “real” Shadowhunter anymore.
He rubs his cheek against Magnus’s collarbone, sighing.
“You know, there are bound to be some major changes when this gets out.”
“The Clave will likely have a fit,” he agrees, following Alec’s train of thought. “And I imagine it will cause some unease in the Downworld as well. But I’ll be right there with you. Every step of the way.”
Alec’s lips twitch.
The sun brushes his face with warm, barely-there caresses, Magnus’s fingers gently combing through his hair.
Eternity with Magnus by his side.
There is no denying that he likes the sound of that.