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Respect, Trust and Love

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Magnus was waiting patiently on the negotiated place, his heart pounding like never before. He was early, which was alarming enough sign of his anxiety. He was normally never early. It just wasn't his style in normal circumstances. He had found out a long time ago that being just a tad late added a certain amount of expectations on the other part, and the attention pointed to you when you arrive is usually more intensive. He used to love attention. In whatever way he can get it. It didn't used to matter if that attention was positive or not. If the person in front of him wanted to kiss him till the end of time or kill him on the spot. He just loved the idea that he could always bring strong feelings in people, always making them unstable in some way or another, not letting them keep their cool, not letting them be composed. It used to bring him joy knowing that he had such power.

But that was before. These kind of days were long gone. Well, not that long maybe, but enough for Magnus to miss them. Now that they seemed so far from his reach, he couldn't help but feels the loss. He knew that there will be some years and years before things can go back to the way they were. Now he had to adapt to the way they are at the moment. And recently Magnus would give anything to just be invisible. That was the safest option for him, just to be, without anyone noticing him, without drawing attention to himself. It was that or die. And Magnus didn't want to die just yet. Some would say he already had lived long enough, more than he had the right to. Actually a lot of people were saying that. But Magnus always found these kind of statements ignorant in more ways that one, and always thought people who truly believed that were just uneducated, unintelligent and unwise. Whoever decided that life was just roughly 80-90 years, based only to the fact that a regular mundane could live that long, was nothing more than a simple person in Magnus's opinion. Because you can't simply look at yourself and judge and settle rules for people and creatures, different than you. And everyone was different, that was just universal truth. One mundane was different than a shadowhunter, or a warlock. One mundane was different than any other mundane as well. In this world you can only be you, and not have the audacity to fool yourself into thinking what was normal to you should be normal to everyone else anywhere, or should be some sort of a norm. Things didn't work that way. What was a long life according to the popular belief, was not a long life according to Magnus. Actually, life itself had a different meaning to Magnus. Hundreds of years had a different meaning.

So he didn't want to die. And he didn't want the people he loved to die as well. Which meant he was ready to do what he has to, to change, to adapt.

At precisely 6pm, he saw a female figure closing in. Maryse was a punctual woman, Magnus was not surprised by that. This meeting had been in a process of arranging for two weeks now, because both sides needed to feel a certain amount of safety, which was hard considering how messed up the world was right now. Warlocks were considered an enemy number one, and every shadowhunter out there had strict orders from the Clave to kill them on sight. And now a shadowhunter and a warlock were about to stay close enough to fight, but for the purpose of solely interacting peacefully with each other, and negotiating some kind of truce. Well, a warlock and two shadowhunters, it would seem. Maryse wasn't alone, Magnus realised. Not that he expected her to be. And they never said, when they discussed the conditions of their meeting, that she had to be. The same applied to Magnus, but he didn't want to put anyone else at risk if something went wrong today. Also, he had enough belief in himself that he was capable of having his own back. He had put a special protection spell on himself that didn't allow for anything to touch him. Not a mundane, not a shadowhunter, not a downworlder or any kind of object. If anything or anyone tried, they would burn themselves in an instant. Magnus himself though, could touch anything he chooses to. Which was a double edged sword, really. He had to be really careful what he touches. For example, Maryse could easily offer him some sort of document to sign, only to realise that the paper was drenched with lethal poison. These and many other similar scenarios were dancing in his head, reminding him not to let his guard down. When Maryse was coming closer, he suddenly had the itch to check the perimeter all over again, but he managed to stop himself. The trust had to start from somewhere, right? And Magnus was completely okay for it to start from him, if he knew an alliance will come out of all of this. So he tried to calm his nerves and to have more faith in a positive outcome. The place was secure enough, far from any mundanes. It was deep in the forest, nature surrounding them everywhere. There was a lovely lake a couple kilometers east, the sound of it could be caught if you listen sharply enough. The singing of the birds around them was in a strange kind of harmony with it. The place was a symbol in a way. Magnus hoped its peacefulness will bring peace for him as well. He wanted this meeting to be the first step for achieving that peace. He sent his thoughts to the universe, in hope they will reflect back to him in events.

Maryse stopped when she was close enough to talk, but far enough to be able to escape or defend herself, if there was any need. She was dressed as a warrior, something Magnus hadn't seen back in the day, when his kind wasn't persecuted and killed. She had a blade in her hand and a couple smaller weapons, attached to her left leg. Her long hair was up in a tight knot. The look in her eyes was ernest, but somehow unreadable. The person with her was walking a couple meters behind, and stopped when she did. It was a boy, maybe in his twenties, Magnus thought. He had blond well organised hair, leather jacket and as much weapons as Maryse was wearing. But unlike her, the boy's eyes were easy to read. He was further away from Magnus, but the hatred in his eyes was unmistakable. Pure hatred. It made Magnus sad, but he tried not to think about it too much. It won't always be like this. Things will get better. He will make sure they do.

Maryse was the first to speak.

“Magnus Bane, thank you for coming,” she said calmly, her voice stable.

“Thank you for accepting to be a part of this meeting and helping me organise it. I'm pleased my idea became a reality, thanks to our joint efforts,” Magnus replied and then glanced at the blond boy, “Thank you as well. Although I don't think we've met. Are you a member of the Lightwood family?”

The boy just looked at Maryse, who answered instead on him.

“No. He is the son of a cousin of mine. His name is Jason. I hope you're not bothered by him being here. I'm really close with his family and they insisted I didn't come here alone.”

There was something in the way she said this, that it made Magnus a tiny bit anxious. Her voice was stable as ever, but there was a strange note to it that he couldn't place. And Magnus had a very good understanding of people, thanks to his “long life”. But the possibility that Maryse was maybe probably kind of nervous didn't mean anything was out of the ordinary, of course. Magnus was nervous himself, after all. That was why he was so cautious. Maybe even too cautious? No. There was something, he was sure of it. The question was, was this, whatever it is, something Magnus should be worried about. He didn't know yet.

“Nice to meet you Jason. And don't worry dear. I'm not at all bothered by your presence.”

Jason just nodded, not saying anything again. The hatred was still evident it his eyes, although it looked like he was trying to mask it now and calm his expression. That was a good thing. Right? Baby steps.

“Let's get down to business, shall we?” Maryse started, “If I understood correctly you are chosen to represent all male and female warlocks in the United States, no matter their age, religion or race.”

Honestly, Magnus would rather try and break the ice first, but he knew that in some situations that ice was harder than a diamond.

“Yes, that is correct. Although that's more like the official way of seeing things. I may represent them, but it's not technically possible to be responsible for every single one of them, or for the actions of those, whom I haven't had the chance to have a good communication with.”

Magnus knew very well some warlocks were abusing their power more times that not. And he wasn't about to act blind about it, but he could only have so much control. There were so many warlocks, also a part of this power pyramid, who were now killed or in hiding, trying to get revenge from the shadowhunters. What he was trying to do now, was not going to be an easy process, and he had no intention to pretend it's going to be. Or that he knew all. Honesty was his approach coming here, and if they had a chance for peace, honesty and realistic expectations were their way to achieve it.

Maryse made a thoughtful face before answering.

“If we come to some sort of understanding during the negotiations, but the warlocks you represent don't follow it, there will be no pardon for them.”

“I understand this, don't doubt that I do. And I promise to do everything in my power to make sure more people of my kind see how important the effort we make for all of them is,” Magnus said, sincerity in his voice, “But let's cross that bridge when we come to it. I would like to discuss the conditions by which you will be willing to consider to pardon the warlocks.”

“The ones, who have committed serious crimes such as murder or rape, or an attempt to do either of those, will not be pardoned under any circumstances. And everyone who is caught in some way helping them, will share their fate,” explained Maryse, her eyes getting colder while she was talking. Magnus understood. It was well known her younger son, Max, was killed by a warlock two years ago. He didn't know any details, but he was told it was very heartbreaking for the kid's family. He sensed Jason's eyes on him (if that was even his name) and when he turned to look at his direction, what he saw made him 100% sure Jason would have no problem killing him right on this spot if he was ordered to. Maybe that was why he was accompanying Maryse. Maybe he was hoping things go that way so he has his chance. Maybe he was imagining all the different ways he could kill Magnus at this moment. Magnus quickly checked himself and yes, the protection spell around him was intact. But that didn't make him calmer. The atmosphere around them was already intensely changed, and not in a good way. He tried to quiet his bad feeling and broke the silence who was left after Maryse's words.

“I understand...”

“No, you don't,” she interrupted him, “But I believe you think you do.”

Magnus wanted to tell her it wasn't fair. He had lost people too, when the shadowhunters started murdering every living warlock they saw their way. But he stopped himself. Tonight wasn't about this. It wasn't about arguing who lost more. It was about trying to stop this madness once and for all. So there weren't any more people like them who will have to lose someone they cared about.

Analyzing her words from before, he wanted to tell her it would be hard to tell who committed a serious crime and who didn't. It would be hard to differentiate murder from self-defense and self-preservation. With warlocks there was so much that shadowhunters didn't understand, because they never tried to. And this will leave its print when the time comes. It's so hard to avoid injustice sometimes. But he stopped himself again. He wanted to hear everything. Because the feeling that something was not quite right was now constant, and his intuition was rarely wrong.

“What are your plans for the others? The warlocks like myself. Who haven't committed any serious crime, or are entirely innocent in all of this.”

“entirely innocent...,” Magnus heard the blond boy repeat. It was said with such mockery. Like Magnus was telling them some joke which turned out awful. Like it was impossible for innocent warlocks to exist.

Magnus ignored him this time, his attention entirely focussed on Maryse. She made a deep breath and the look on her eyes was determined and unfaltering.

“If they truly want peace, if they want to be our friends once again. If they are ready to stand in our side, turning their backs on the violence, the death and destruction others like them cause, they will have to prove their good intentions. And the only way to do that is for them to purify themselves by abandoning their demon side.”

“What?” Magnus asked, hoping he understood that wrong.

“They will have to make the choice to cure themselves from their evil nature. When they give up their magic and immortality, there will be peace. And no shadowhunter will ever be their enemy.”

And just like that, Magnus felt the hope he kept alive in his heart being crushed.

Chapter Text

There was such a long period of time when Magnus kept a great despise towards his powers. Towards himself in general. It had begun when he was a little kid. He watched the other kids, red children's books. So he knew what normal was. Normal was when your parents take you to school every day. When they make you breakfast, buy you clothes, take care of you, teach you right and wrong, are always there for you. From the moment you are born, you were supposed to have a place in this world. You automatically become part of a group of people, a family. Your family. That family is supposed to love you unconditionally. Love you when you are disobedient, when you get in trouble and make stupid decisions, when you lose your way, when you hurt them or yourself, when you need someone to love you. But no. Magnus was a 9 year old boy who had no family. His mother was dead, because she hated him. His step father was dead, because he hated him. And in Magnus's mind he didn't have a family, because he didn't deserve anybody's love. Because love in this world turned out was never unconditional. There were always terms. One of the first things Magnus learned when he was a kid, was that he had to not be himself to have love. But this was an impossible condition. So, for the longest time he thought he was never going to have it. Demon kids weren't loved by good people. They didn't have normal lives. Instead of a family and friends, they had allies. Different things made them happy. Things like causing fear to others, gaining control and power over someone weaker. Magnus tried to live by these requirements. Tried to just be who he was and stop daydreaming about the life of people, who had nothing to do with him. Growing up he did a lot of things he wasn't proud of. Because he believed that a demon child was the only thing he could ever be. Because nobody told him he had a choice.

Then, he met Ragnor, his oldest friend. One of the most valuable lessons he learned from him was, there is always a choice. You always have a choice to be what you want. And others always have a choice to love you for who you are in your heart.

Magnus's powers, his magic and immortality, were a huge part of him. They didn't make him evil or good. They were just there, inseparable section of his being. Back when Magnus hadn't accepted them, when he hated them, when he blamed them for his unhappiness, he would consider Maryse's words. He would think she has some point, that it's reasonable and understandable for her to think like that. Now though, it was impossible for him to do that. Coming to this meeting, Magnus knew not to expect things to go smooth on the first try. He knew if there was going to be any kind of peace between the shadowhunters and the warlocks, there was going to be a price. He was prepared for restrictions, limitations, any kind of ill thought out defence strategy against his kind, that the shadowhunters could be convinced was necessary. He was prepared to change and adapt to survive. But this was different. Maryse wasn't asking him to change. She was asking him to completely erase himself. Without his powers Magnus was not Magnus. He was a warlock, he was born like one and had those powers since forever. They shaped and formed the person he was. It was an unimaginable idea to get rid of them. Impossible not just for him, but for every warlock out there. How could Maryse not know this?

This was not a peace negotiation, Magnus realised.

“You want to erase every warlock from existence.” Magnus said, summarizing her offering. His tone no doubt was very revealing of the way he thought about this dreadful idea. Was it possible? Are they really going to kill everyone who doesn't agree to wash out their magical abilities and become a regular mundane? No. This can't be. Magnus looked at the woman expectantly. Come on, he thought. Tell me that's not what you just said.

“Warlocks have proved time and time again how dangerous they are. From all the downworlders, they possess the biggest threat to humanity. Their powers and their demon urges can't be controlled. Not by themselves, not by anyone. It brings me no joy to say this. It took time to realize it, but in order to protect the Shadow world and the all the mundanes who are counting on us on a daily basis, is our responsibility to act against every creature with magical skills. Before they destroy everything we value , we must do whatever it takes to keep this world safe. As the oath we took as shadowhunters requires.” she explained. Her face was so serious and so collected, so set in this belief. If a stone had a face, well, it could be hers right now.

“I could assure you, there are plenty of warlocks who control their power and have been for centuries. Myself included. I can prove it by.....”

“It's not my desire to start a dispute here. Magnus Bane, you asked under what circumstances will the warlocks who wish peace be pardoned. And I answered you. And I told you why we had to make this decision. I believe I made myself clear. The Clave already has every prove they need and this solution is final. Now it's your turn to accept or deny our offer.” There was so much tension in the air right now. Magnus couldn't help it. He couldn't mask his feelings about this. Because he didn't want to.

“What will happen to those of my kind who don't accept this proposition? Who are not willing to leave behind their magic and immortality. What chances of peace do they have?” None, Magnus already knew. They will be killed. Not because of what they did, but because of who they are. Apparently the Clave believed warlocks didn't deserve to live. Why are they born then, Magnus wants to shout. If they weren't supposed to exist, why are they a part of the Shadow world. This was so much worse than when people were telling him he didn't deserve love. Now they were telling him he didn't deserve to breathe. He tried to calm his feelings, but it was of no use. He was devastated. Is this what he was going to tell his friends, everyone who counted on him and on this meeting? Because of who you are, you don't deserve to breathe. So you either become something completely different, or the Clave will make sure that you don't.

It was Jason who spoke this time. Magnus was just so disappointed of what came out of all his efforts for the last few weeks, he didn't even dwell much on the fact that Jason was actually talking to him.

“Every warlock is an enemy. Warlocks are like cancer, poisoning this world. We won't make peace with monstrous creatures, who are every breathing minute causing chaos and death. We will never stop fighting against that. So you make your choice! Are you a demonic warlock spawn or our friend? Will you help us and others like you to find their way, and to stand against evil, or not? Can we count on you to convince those of your kind, that there is a way to heal from this cancer?”

This was not fair. The furthest thing from justice you can achieve.

“If this is the only compromise, then I'm sorry dear Jason. I'm sorry Maryse. We don't have an agreement. I will continue organizing negotiations though. Maybe in a couple of months, we could meet again at this place? I think it's reasonable amount of time for the Clave to consider the situation. What do you think?” he asked. It was hard looking at her at this point. There was such a disappointment on her face. Magnus thought if he had a mirror, he would discover his looked the same way. It was just sad. But he wasn't going to give up. He will never give up. So many warlocks had put their trust in him. So he will make another meeting possible. Maryse was about to refuse this idea, that was clear as day. But he was going to do everything in his power to convince her. He will beg, if he has to.

“Magnus Bane,” she signed in defeat, “I really thought we had a chance to understand each other.”

“We have. There doesn't need to be a final decision right now. We could take time....”

“Do you think over time you will change your mind?” she interrupted him again.

He could lie. He cold say, "maybe". He could say, "let's see". But he actually really couldn't. Honesty was his approach coming here. And he was no liar. She could see his answer, could read it plainly reflected оn his expression. He didn't even have to say it out loud. Jason saw it too. Magnus turned his head at him, led by some old masochistic instinct to see the loathing, hate and disgust he expected to find.

Later, Magnus would realize that instinct had saved his life.

“I'm sorry it came to this. But you leave me no other choice,” is what Maryse said at the same time as Jason threw an enchanted ball, made of purple energy, at his heart.

At the last second, he backed away. Panic was raising and raising in his chest. His thoughts started running with such speed, he was worried it was too fast for his brain. This was an assassination attempt! It was their plan all along. If he refuses their conditions, they were going to try and kill him. I have a protection spell, Magnus screams at himself silently. This ball is not supposed to be able to touch me. But he knows better. He knows what this ball is. It was made with magic, and it's purpose is to block his powers for a short amount of time. For enough time Jason and Maryse would need to murder him. The spell on him will break, as well as his ability to use his magic, if that thing hits his heart. How in the world had the shadowhunters found a warlock who agreed to make such an item? Where? Who?

Magnus didn't have time to question this, because two seconds after the first ball, there was a second one. It was attached to an arrow and thrown at him from somewhere above the trees. It hit his knee. The pain was excruciating, but Magnus didn't have time to scream. Even the realization that there was a third shadowhunter in the forest barely had time to register in his mind. He had to get away from there. He had to make a portal immediately! He couldn't make a portal! No!!! The arrow, with that damn enchanted ball, had pierced through his leg and it was blocking his magic. But it was his leg, not his heart. Which meant he could still fight this. He felt his magic slipping away. Noooo! Fight! Come on, fight!

Jason and Maryse were running at his direction, their weapons ready to tear him apart. Make a portal! Fight! Maybe he could run, he decided. There was such a loud and deafening scream that followed, Magnus was positive was his. A body fell on top of him, knocking him down on the ground. That was the third shadowhunter, the one with the arrows, who was probably at the top of one of the trees this whole time from the beginning of the meeting. More pain followed. Like he was drowning in a pool full of it. Fight! Everything was so unfocused around him. His thoughts became blurry. Arrows were Robin Hood's thing. Was Robin Hood a shadowhunter and why was he on top of him? Focus! Fight! Now, you beautiful bastard!

“No! Alec.....,” was the last thing Magnus heard Jason screamed, before a portal opened and took him and Robin Hood away from that forest.

In an instant they were in Magnus's place, in his living room. Because Magnus was in so much pain, he neither had the imagination necessary to think of any other place the world, nor the force to throw Robin off of him, so they traveled through the portal together. The sudden change of locations though, distracted his opponent long enough for Magnus to react by smashing his head on the edge of the table on their left, using every ounce of physical strength he had. Because there was no magic in him at that moment any more. Luckily, that was enough for the shadowhunter to fall unconscious. Magnus took out the arrow in his leg, before he felt himself passing out. He tried to fight it, but creating the portal had drained all his energy. And he was so tired of the pain. One of his last coherent thoughts was a hope that he would wake up before the Robin guy, and regain his magic quickly. He also hoped he didn't kill Robin. Jason sounded pretty panicked at the end back there........Well, it would have been self-defence really and........................................

 

It was a good three hours before Magnus regained consciousness. And he didn't expect to wake up the way he did.

Chapter Text

Magnus certainly didn't expect to wake up the way he did. Not in his room, on his bed, not feeling any pain, his whole being at peace. So naturally, his first thought was- It was all a dream. The negotiations were ahead and everything was not over yet. Surely, Magnus's imagination was suffering from a lack of originality, judging by that dream though. Who dreams of a killer Robin Hood? But apart from that, everything was cool.

Rriiiight. If only. He wished it were so easy to delude himself, but he lost that ability after the first hundred years of his life. There was dried blood on his hands, his magic felt odd and he could bet that if he were to look himself in the mirror, he would see a complete mess. His make-up probably looked absolutely dreadful at the moment. Not that this was his main concern, of course. He was vain, but not that vain. So, what happened when he was out? By the looks of it- a lot. He probably should be more concerned about this, or even truly worried because of the unknowing. I mean, there was a good chance that he led all the shadowhunters by the hand right to his doorstep by allowing that one to pass through the portal with him. For all he knew, his home might be compromised and full of shadowhunters as a result. There was also this slight chance Robin was dead. Head injuries were a tricky thing, whichever way you look at them. If that was the case, the Clave would never stop looking for him. They would want his head on a silver platter. So, things didn't look so good for him in the future. But oddly enough, he didn't feel the worry, his feelings were like muted. Why was he so numb? Maybe because of everything that had happened earlier, his anxiety was so worn off, it took a vacation from tormenting him. Maybe it was just normal coping mechanism and his body and mind were shutting off the more overwhelming feelings at the moment. Or maybe someone had given him something. Which was more likely.

Catarina, Magnus realised, maybe a little late if he was honest. She must had been treating him. By now he knew all too well the effects of her herbs and healing spells. He stood up slowly and headed for the living room. And just as expected, there she was. Sitting on his sofa, reading a spell book with great concentration.

"I think I told you to go far away last time," he started, because really, Magnus had no idea if his place was safe right now. She raised her head from the book with what looked like a daring expression.

"And leave you all by yourself? To do what? Bring unknown shadowhunters to your door and let yourself almost be killed?" She raised her eyebrows, waiting for him to deny her words. But Magnus couldn't.

"Thank you, Catarina," he told her instead, "Thank you for saving me yet again." She was surprised at first, but after a moment smiled, and he sat on the sofa next to her. "That shadowhunter.....is he.....?" Magnus started, trying not to expect any answer in particular, but just being ready to face things, whatever they were.

"Oh, he is alive," Catarina replied quickly and reassuringly, raising her hand to put it on Magnus's cheek, "Here, let me show you." With that, she sent him a vision of the boy, laying on the bed of one of his extra rooms, sleeping. Then, she withdrew her hand and continued, "He had a bad wound on his head, but I healed him, don't worry. He is sleeping in the guest room right now. I made a sleeping spell that would keep him sedated like that for 5 to 6 more hours. I also made a spell to prevent the other shadowhunters from tracking him here, using their runes. I didn't have any other ideas. But now that you are awake and roughly okay, I suggest you would tell me what happened."

Well first, Magnus hugged her. This woman, not only saving him, but the shadowhunter as well. And all this after Magnus had told her to leave many months ago, because he was worried he wasn't going to be able to protect her. Well, she was, without a doubt, able to protect him. She was truly incredible. Which shouldn't be a revelation for Magnus at this point.

"You know about the negotiations today?" he started. She nodded.

"It's exactly the reason I came here today. I decided I should check up on you."

He smiled at her and continued, telling her everything from the start. How he had been so hopeful, how everything had turned to just be an elaborate plan for the shadowhunters to get rid of his kind, and how it had transformed into a trap to kill him. Because shadowhunters were as trustworthy as the queen from the Snow White story, when she pretended to sell apples in order to poison Snow White. Truth was, that wasn't such a shock to Magnus. He always knew the meeting could turn out bloody. He hoped it won't, but he knew there was that possibility. And he believed he was prepared for that scenario. But here came to play the one thing Magnus never expected. And neither did Catarina.

"How could the Clave find a warlock to work for them? And not just any warlock, but very powerful one at that. Such kind of magic as the one needed for creating that ball, is something only a few of us can do." Catarina noted, her tray of thought at the same direction as Magnus's.

"That's not even my only concern," Magnus began, voicing his worries, "I know how the Clave thinks. They hate warlocks with all the power of their unknowledgeable little minds. They would never work alongside with one while at war, even if it's for their own interest. That's how close-minded they are. And I don't buy that they will be willing to make an exception, even at times like these. After today, I don't see them making that compromise."
Magnus sighed, before proceeding, "Catarina, you are not going to like where I'm going with this."

"You think they keep someone like us in captivity, forcing him or her to do magic for them," she said, reading his mind. Her voice was filled with terror.

"And use torture when he or she refuses to." Magnus added.

It was a horrible guess. But it was possible, which made it even more horrible. Like it wasn't enough that warlocks were killed in cold blood every day. Now it turned out, they could be tortured as well.

"We have no way of knowing for sure," Catarina said, "And you need to rest right now. It wasn't just one arrow in your leg. You had a piece of arrow in your back as well when I found you." That was news to Magnus. And explained the extra pain. He had been so focused at his tries to create a portal, he must have more or less blocked a part of what was happening.

"I guess Robin Hood was pretty insistent on killing me then." he stated, maybe more to himself, than to Catarina. He could feel the anger now, his feelings coming alive bit by bit. What did he ever do to that boy? He knew the answer. The same thing he did to the other shadowhunters. Nothing. And it was so easy to actually do something. So easy to hurt them. Even now. He was sleeping and defenseless. What other than the kindness of his heart was stopping Magnus to cause him pain? To return the favour, as they say. To poison his arrows and torture him with his own weapon. It wouldn't exactly be unfair now, would it? And when he starts to scream, begging Magnus to stop......well, Magnus was a warlock right? So he couldn't control himself, right? It wouldn't be that shocking if he didn't stop. Ever. If he just let that boy suffer and ultimately die. So simple, easy, nothing more or less than what the Clave would expect. Ahh. He needed to calm down and think. The realization that there was a really good chance some warlock was in the Clave's hands right now, being tortured, was something that took its weigh on Magnus. He felt sick in his stomach.

"You're right Cat. I'm going to take a shower and try to rest. Please watch after our guest, just in case. I'm sorry, how much favour asking is too much?" Magnus wondered out loud. He didn't want to misuse her help. She was here for like what, a couple of hours give or take, and Magnus already felt like a burden.

"When you almost died, there is no limit of favours you can ask. Now stop overthinking, thank me again and quit worrying about unnecessary things," she scolded him like he was a child or something.

"Thank you," he said, squeezing her hand, before heading for the bathroom.

Ten minutes later, he was in the shower. His magic felt pretty normal at this point. He could snap his fingers and clean all the remainings from that awful meeting off of himself. But he needed the spare time to try and set his mind at peace. And it was calming to actually see the dirt coming off of his body and disappearing down the drain. He tried to not think of anything. Or to think of the simplest things. Like the noise of the water in his ears, the shade of blue the bathroom tiles were in, the feeling of his magic, coursing through his veins, making him feel safe again. He had to figure out what he was going to do and he was running out of options. But for now, he just wanted to breathe and shower.

Later, when he felt like his normal self in more ways than not, he entered the room the shadowhunter was in. Catarina was there, sitting on a chair next to the bed, keeping an eye, like she had promised. She was still reading the book from before. Magnus realized that in everything that has been going on, he hadn't really managed to have a good look on this boy. He sat on the bed the shadowhunter was on, right across from Catarina's chair on the other side of it.

The guy had dark hair, standing in a lot of different directions. His eyes were, of course closed, so Magnus couldn't see their color. He was dressed in a simple black shirt, black jacket and black jeans. What's with shadowhunters and black, Magnus wondered for a second. He was also apparently very tall, judging by the way his feet were coming out of the bed. His face had an interesting elongated form. There was blood on his forehead, from the wound that wasn't there anymore, thanks to Catarina. That aside, he didn't look like someone who just tried to commit murder. He looked like a normal sleeping good-looking boy.

How deceiving can be to make up your mind about people just by the way they looked. Magnus wondered sometimes, if shadowhunters didn't know he was a warlock, what will they see? Like, from the get to, what will be their first thought of him? Because now, the fact that he was a magical creature, was the only thing they could notice. And yes, it was a huge part of him, but certainly not the only. He had had his hopes for Maryse. She always struck him as an intelligent woman. Now, he had to accept the fact that she was too close-minded to understand what was she asking from him and his kind. Even if Magnus could make another meeting possible, which was doubtful, what were the chances he ends up running for his life again? Too high. So what was he going to do?

Catarina cleared her throat, gesturing to the shadowhunter, "We need to take him back to his people before the Clave decides we kidnapped him." She had a point. But what if he could be useful to them?

"I think we need to find out who he is first. The other guy, the blond one, he shouted "Alec" before we disappeared into the portal."

"As in Alexander?" Catarina had made a research on all respected members of the Clave back when the war between shadowhunters and warlocks had first started. But mostly on Maryse's family, because she had very strong ties with the Inquisitor. Know your enemy at all that.

''Who is Alexander?" Magnus asked, already having an idea. New plan was forming in his head.

"Maryse's older son. She has one adopted child- Jace Wayland, and three other kids. Well two, after what happened to Max. They are Alexander and Isabelle Lightwood. I don't know them by appearance though. So I can't be sure about this boy."

"She wouldn't have chosen to come to the forest with just anyone. She would want someone she could trust 100 percent with her life. And who could be a better choice than her own sons? Think about how much they will all gain if they were to successfully kill me, the illusive Magnus Bane, son of Asmodeus. Sure, she may have hoped it didn't came to that, but if it did, I bet she wanted to be the one to put me down. The glory of that, the appreciation for her and her family. The possibility to prove that her and her children, the Lightwood name, are one of the best of the shadowhunters." And shadowhunters were generally obsessed with proving themselves to the Clave, if Magnus's experience and knowledge about them was anything to go by.
"She was willing to put them in danger, because just like me, she must have been pretty confident with her plan. And because the possibility for things to turn out the way she wanted, for her was worth of any risk she takes with their lives along the way. I'm willing to bet my new red shirt with white stripes, this is Alexander."

"And if that is the case?" Catarina followed, asking him to elaborate on his plan.

"I thought over time, if I make enough effort, I could convince the Clave that not everyone of our kind is a threat. I don't believe that anymore. But there is something else I can do. If we think about this.... why do we want peace? Because we're cornered. Because we're struggling to survive. The Clave has the upper hand right now, the better position. They don't need this truce the way we do. So if they lose their advantage, if the scales become more equal between us and them, they will be much more willing to negotiate. If we have Alexander Lightwood, Maryse's son, in our hands, we could use him as a hostage and gain from this."

"So, you are suggesting we actually do kidnap this boy."

"Desperate times call for desperate measures. You don't have to get involved in this. I know your good heart and conscience will object.And I don't want to be the one to put you in a position, where you will be in conflict with yourself. And let's not forget that if things go down the wrong way, we will be considered even bigger enemy in the Clave's eyes. I don't want to put a target on you back, I care about you too much to risk losing you and....."

"Hey," she interrupted him, putting her hand in his reassuringly. Her sincere eyes, filled with so much care, reflected the love he had for her back to him, "If we learned anything today, is that you are not better off on your own. And you don't have to be. If you are going to have all warlocks backs, then you need at least one person to have yours. I can be that person. You can count on me."

Magnus was so touched, he was at a loss for words. He winked at her. Then he laughed at himself for doing that. Because really, she was willing to put her life on the line for him, and his response was a wink? She laughed with him. Then he put his other hand in hers as well. Somewhere in his mind, Magnus thought they must have been an odd picture at that moment. Holding hands over a bed with a sleeping shadowhunter, they just agreed to abduct, lying on it. But Magnus didn't care. He felt hope, clawing its way back to his heart, and that was the only thing that mattered.

Chapter Text

Magnus and Catarina had a lot of work to do after their conversation, preparing a room for the shadowhunter. They used both their powers and knowledge to create a barrier of blue magic, surrounding the room and the bathroom attached to it. They tested the barrier a lot of times, before they becаme satisfied with the result. The idea behind it, was that no shadowhunter could ever cross it. Not with some kind of special rune, and not with an enchanted ball. The spell was made in such a way, that only the warlocks who had made it, could break it. That way the shadowhunter couldn't leave the room once the barrier was there, and if by some awful luck the Clave found his home, his friends couldn't enter it. The idea itself sounded simple enough, but in practice, that was far from the truth. In fact, Magnus and Catarina exhausted themselves, working on this. And though it looked satisfying for the purpose at hand, It had his downsides, which Catarina explained thoroughly.

"When we made the barrier be unbreakable by any kind of magic tricks the shadowhunters nowadays apparently use, we also made it impossible for any kind of magic to get through it.You aren't going to be able to make anything in this room happen with your powers, unless you physically walk past the barrier and enter the room yourself. Which I don't recommend you doing, considering Alec tried to kill you not so long ago."

"How will we give him food If I can't just make it appear in front of him?" Magnus was wondering.

"By physically moving the food to cross the barrier, I guess. It's not the safest option, but I can't think of any other. His arrows and his stele won't be in the room with him. He won't be such a threat in this circumstances." Catarina replied.

That was reasonable. So they put the shadowhunter in the room, got out of it and raised the barrier. It looked like a veil in a palest shade of blue. You could definitely notice it, but it was transparent enough so you could see the room behind it clearly, as well. Around the time Catarina said her sleeping spell was about to wear off, the boy slowly started waking. Magnus was watching him, in a not creepy kind of way of course, standing a few feet away from the door. Because to have it any other way, and let your guest stay in your house without having as much as a simple hello and introduction with him, was simply bad hospitality. The shadowhunter opened his eyes, and at first, nothing happened. Magnus was just about to think that it was a normal everyday occurrence for him to wake up in someone else's home on a foreign bed (and there was nothing wrong if that was the case), when the panic finally came. The boy started looking around himself with terror written on his face. Then, his eyes landed on Magnus. Hazel eyes, Magnus added to his incomplete mental notes about him. There was a long moment when there was not much, but mostly fear in his expression, his posture, and all around the energy coming off of him. Magnus was debating with himself whether to say something, or just call for Catarina to do the talking, because her presence surely will be more reassuring and non-threatening to the shadowhunter. But then, just like that, his guest calmed down. What the hell? It was such a sudden change, made in a blink of an eye. In one moment he was terrified, in another- he just wasn't. It was so odd to Magnus, but then again, he wasn't sure what he was expecting, if it was anything at all.

The shadowhunter moved his eyes from him to the barrier, and then around the room again, taking everything in. Magnus decided it was a good enough time to break the silence.

"You needn't worry for your life," he started, and continued by explaining there was no way outside of the barrier, so it was useless to try anything. He told him he was free to spent his time reading the books in there, watching TV, or find something else to do to pass the time, since Magnus wasn't sure how long will his stay be. He also explained he would come back few times a day to give him food, because he couldn't make magic in the room from outside, and if he needs anything, because of a good enough reason, he has to call loud enough for Magnus or Catarina to hear and come to him.

When he was done, the shadowhunter still hadn't said anything or asked any questions. He eyes were still wandering through the place, stopping at different things for different periods of time, but never for too long. Next, he stood up and started walking towards the door. He was getting closer and closer to the barrier, looking at it now with more curiosity than before. Or was it curiosity? Magnus actually couldn't read him that well, which was annoying to him. In a way, his look reminded him a lot of the look on Maryse's face at the begging of that unfortunate meeting. He could pick up on some emotions behind it, but as a whole, he couldn't see much. So yes, definitely annoying and irritating. I mean, Jason's expression during the negotiations was filled with hate, but at least Magnus could see it, so he knew what he was dealing with. He had a feeling though, Maryse and Alec had a lot of experience hiding their emotions, and that's why it was hard for Magnus to perceive much.

When the shadowhunter was in only a couple centimeters away from the barrier, he was also kind of close to the place Magnus was standing as well. Which Magnus didn't like at all. After all, this guy tried to kill him. But Magnus wasn't going to be the person to back away first, that was indisputable. And the boy was, at this point, ignoring Magnus's presence anyway. He reached his hand and touched the blue wall separating them. It was supposed to feel like glass to him. A glass that could never break. He ran his hand through it a couple of times, examining it. Then he moved suddenly, walking and following the barrier to the other side of the room, then outside it through the bathroom door, and back, until he stood at the same spot as before, in front of Magnus. Yep, that's your space, Magnus wanted to say sarcastically. But his guest was extremely rude, not paying much attention to him, and Magnus didn't want to feel like he was talking to a wall. Wasn't it bad manners not to communicate to your host? That reminded Magnus of Jason's silence on the meeting. Was it bellow shadowhunters level to speak to a warlock? Magnus wouldn't be surprised if the answer was yes. Well, once again he decided to be the bigger person in the situation.

"Alexander?" he tried, just as the boy was retreating from the door again, and going to the bed. He didn't react at all to the calling of his name. Magnus was getting more and more annoyed at him by the minute. "What? Was your nap so bad? I'm so sorry. Next time you try to kill me, I will do the best of my abilities to make the aftermath more pleasant for you. What can I do now to make you more comfortable?"

"Just stop talking," was what his guest decided to eventually say, before turning his head to look at him. There was something in just his voice, that Magnus liked. His tone though, was a whole other story. It was calm, deadly calm, too even in some way. There was boredom in the look he gave Magnus. How do you go from vulnerable and terrified to bored in that short amount of time? That was the million dollar question.

Okay, Magnus decided he has had enough mind games. He had important matters to attend to, and time was not on his side lately. Nothing was keeping him there anymore, so he was happy to leave and do some serious work.

He sent a fire message to the shadowhunters, informing them he had Alexander Lightwood as his hostage, and if his family wanted to see him again, a new meeting must be arranged. He also met with his warlock friends for a brief hour to discuss the recent events, and decide how will they proceed, given the situation they were dealing with. They needed to be very careful with their demands. Maryse had big influence in the Shadow world, but even her reach wasn't endless. Also, they needed to be very careful with her as well. Magnus didn't doubt Maryse cared for her son, but he knew that if he were to push too much in the wrong way, she could decide her shadowhunters duty is above all else and comes first, even over her family. It wasn't something Magnus would exactly condemn her for, but he could never comprehend this kind of thinking himself.

They needed to be wise about this and start small. That's why they decided another meeting was the only thing they were going to ask from the Clave for now. And then, they will go from there. They gave the Clave two days to decide whether to accept the offer.

After that was done, it was like 4am, so Magnus retreated to his room to sleep for a while. The day that followed, he spent traveling from portal to portal, to the warlocks who couldn't attend the earlier gathering, informing them about the recent events. Sharing their disappointment, meeting their doubts or support about his new plan. Given the fact that he was rather busy, Catarina had proposed to be the one to give the shadowhunter food. But he had declined her offer as fast as it was mentioned. As long as he was concerned, she had taken enough risks as it was.

It turned out though, they were probably worrying too much about this. The three times that day he brought food to the boy, Magnus was safely ignored by him, and simply slid it on the floor surface, until it crossed the barrier. Then he left his guest to eat in peace. The whole endeavor took seconds. The odd thing was, Magnus kept finding the shadowhunter on roughly the same spot of the room every time he came. He had no idea what his guest was doing all day, but was hoping he wasn't just staring into the void all the time. Cause that would be weird.

It was getting dark outside and Magnus was ready to have a much needed rest, when he and Catarina suddenly heard the shadowhunter screaming. They rushed to his room to see what was happening. Magnus couldn't think of anything that could be the cause of such a scream, his mind usually overcrowded with thoughts and ideas, was blank now. When they reached the room, stopping near the barrier, they saw the boy on the floor by the bed, lying on his back, his body was shaking. He screamed again.

"What's happening?" Magnus asked just as loud, "What is it? What's wrong?"

Please don't die on me, please don't die on me, was chanting in Magnus's head. I need you alive, please don't die now.

"Jace.....don't....you....okay.....Jace.....," was what Magnus could hear, and the words he could distinguish from the shadowhunter's mumbling between his struggles to take a breath. They weren't helpful for Magnus to understand the problem though. What were they going to do? Even if they were seriously considering crossing the barrier to go heal him (and let's hope that's not needed), they still had to know the cause of his suffering. They couldn't be of much assistance if they didn't. But then, Catarina intervened.

"Alec, is Jace in trouble? Is he hurt? Is that what you're feeling?" her voice was steady and collected, like when she was in her doctor mode and was helping mundanes. Her face looked concerned as hell, but as opposed to Magnus who was just standing there, she sounded like she knew what she was doing. "Alec, answer me, please. Is Jace injured?"

"No......no........he......s'trying.......track me......our rune......," the shadowhunters's voice sounded weak to Magnus's ears. But then he screamed so loudly, the hair on the back of Magnus's neck bristled. "Please.....please......help.......please.....," he pleaded. They needed to do something immediately. Right now. Things must be pretty serious if the shadowhunter was willing to beg them, of all people, for help. His condition must be horrible.

"Okay, I think I understand," Catarina turned at Magnus, her words were spoken in a rush, "His brother is trying to locate him, using their parabatai rune. It won't work, but I imagine Jace doesn't know that. This method of tracking is very dangerous and usually harms both shadowhunters. I can't do anything for Jace, but I can help Alec."

Parabatai, Magnus realized. The shadowhunter had a parabatai.

"No," Magnus said so suddenly, he would have startled her if her body wasn't on high alert already, due to what was happening. He grabbed her hand to prevent her from passing through the barrier. His fear for her was overwhelming him out of nowhere, powered by some instinct he couldn't quite understand, "I will heal him. I don't want you to take any risks. Please, stay here." Maybe he was exaggerating the risk, the shadowhunter didn't look capable of hurting a fly right now, let alone Catarina, but it was better to be overly careful, than be sorry later. Catarina's safety was the most important for Magnus, more important than the shadowhunter's life. And some feeling in his gut was telling him to watch out, to expect everything, to be cautious. Also, after she had told him what was the matter, he could actually be of help, instead of just stand there stupidly. Magnus knew what a parabatai bond was. It connected two shadowhunters physically and emotionally through a special rune they both carried, for as long as they were both alive. It appeared that Jason was not only Alec's brother, but his parabatai as well, which was something Magnus should have known. And if he didn't, it was due to his own stupidity and carelessness. Wasn't it a written law that you must know as much as you can for the person you decide to kidnap? While Magnus was engaging in unnecessary silly useless things, like what color the shadowhunter's eyes were, he was missing out on the information that was actually important.

Without giving Catarina time to say anything, Magnus was already on the other side of the barrier, in the shadowhunter's room. He stopped for a second to take precautions, and then hurried to the boy. He couldn't waste any time. He was moving as fast as he could, when he kneeled next to him, concentrating on the task, and started the healing.

What followed, happened really fast. The shadowhunter moved suddenly, and in a quick motion changed his position, the back of his hand hitting Magnus's neck in a movement that could have knocked the breath out of him. And though it couldn't quite achieve that, it left him lying on his back with the shadowhunter over him, holding a big sharp wooden object he took from under the bed (piece he chopped off of some furniture???) and was most certainly intending to kill him with.

"Sorry, I'm not a damsel in distress," were the boy's words before he tried his luck with taking Magnus's life again.

And failed again.

"Sorry, I'm not that easy to fool." Magnus told him as a silver dagger he controlled with his magic cut the shadowhunter's hand in exactly the right way for him to drop his improvised weapon. His attention was no longer on Magnus, which allowed Magnus to quickly stand up. Before the boy knew what was happening, the dagger was pointed at his throat.

Yes, Magnus had taken precaution when he entered the room. He had that dagger in him when he went inside the room, and then had moved it with his magic in as unnoticeable way as he could manage, making sure the dagger was close enough to protect him if needed. It had been levitating in the air, not too far from the back of the shadowhunter's head, before Magnus had kneeled in front of him to heal him. But the boy was too busy with his acting performance to see it. Catarina had seen it trough. That was the reason she didn't immediately rushed in to help him.

"I'm okay Cat. Please, don't come here." He said, just in case. He had his back to her, but could still feel the concerned eyes behind him.

"If you don't want me coming to you, then come to me," she pleaded, indicating that Magnus was still in the room, his dagger not moving from the shadowhunter's throat. Was she worried about him or the boy at that moment, Magnus wasn't sure. Probably for the both of them. Which was one of the things making Magnus angry right now. Because if it was Catarina who came to help the boy, if he hadn't stopped her, she could be dead now.

She could be dead! Dead! Magnus could have lost her. Not that he didn't believe she could protect herself, but when Catarina was healing someone, when there was a person in need, she forgot about herself. She focused all her energy at that person. That's who she was. Even today, when they created the barrier, Catarina was the one to tell him not to cross it, because it was dangerous. And yet, she was the one ready to do just that a minute ago. Without a second thought. Because the shadowhunter had asked for help, and when someone did that, Cat was already on it. Every time.

But it was a trick this time. Looking at him now, the only pain the boy seemed to be in, was from the bleeding wound on his hand, which Magnus caused. When he took the means to protect himself, Magnus actually didn't think the shadowhunter was faking everything. It was more the matter of what will happen when Magnus heals him, after he becomes better. There was a gap between that and the time Magnus will need to exit his room. That time span was bothering Magnus. That's why he stopped Catarina, that's why he took precaution. He didn't actually believe it was a ploy. But it turned out it was. The shadowhunter was never in pain because of his parabatai. Jason never used their rune to find him. And Magnus felt cheated and furious. Catarina could have been hurt.

"You can't kill me. You need me to blackmail my family, " the boy said, looking at Magnus intently.

Oh, so now he was talking. Now he was acknowledging him. Magnus wanted to see the fear on his face, as he had seen it when he had woken up. He wanted it so badly. He searched for it. But couldn't see much of any emotion. Was the boy so sure of himself, so sure Magnus will just leave him to have a good night sleep after this, because he needed him? Or was he acting again, pretending he wasn't afraid? Was he plotting this second murder attempt the whole day? How did he think he could take down two warlocks by himself? Was passing an acting course now a requirement for all shadowhunters?

It doesn't matter. Magnus took a deep long breath. Then he snapped out of his anger. What was he doing? Trying to scare that shadowhunter, trying to understand him. It just wasn't worth it. Cat was alive, he was alive. They were both okay. That was the only thing important. He could be hugging Catarina right now, instead of playing the ridiculous and childish game of: You can't kill me -- Oh, are you sure of that?

"I'm won't heal that," he stated, pointing to the shadowhunter's wound on his hand, "But you are a badass shadowhunter so I'm sure you don't need me. Bandage it. There is first-aid kit in one of the drawers next to the bed. I really hope it leaves a scar."

Magnus walked to the barrier, pulled the dagger in his hand with his powers quickly, and crossed it without a second look at the boy. Catarina was watching him with sad eyes when he went to her. He didn't want to interact with her where the shadowhunter was able to see them. He didn't want to be seen from him now really at all. At this moment he wanted only to be seen from people who cared for him, loved him. She understood somehow, always reading him extremely well. Without saying anything, she made a portal taking them to Magnus's living room.

"I'm sorry." Magnus whispered once they were there. Like he was afraid if he says it at normal volume, the shadowhunter will hear. Which was silly and not possible, this room was so far away from his.

Catarina nodded and hugged him tightly.

"Drinks?" she whispered in return after.

"Yes."

Chapter Text

Magnus couldn't sleep well. He had this dream when he knew he was going to die, and he knew how. The dream version of him kept having visions of some unknown man capturing him, tying him up, and driving a blade through his chest multiple times. Magnus was crying in the visions. At the beginning of the nightmare, he was untroubled actually. Thanks to the visions he knew when, where and how. He knew what to avoid to prevent it from happening. So he was positive he wasn't going to die. But soon, he found out that things were just happening without his control. Like, he would choose not to go to the night club he visited in the vision, and after some time, he would find himself exactly there, having no idea how. Then, he would avoid drinking the alcohol he had in the vision, but that same cocktail will, out of the blue appear in his hand, the glass almost empty. After that it came the most terrifying part of the dream- when he realized it didn't matter he knew what was going to happen, it was still happening; it didn't matter what he wanted to do, or was trying to do, he didn't have control over what was happening to him. He felt like an object, a doll, a thing put in situations by some greater force, used for someone else's entertainment. The visions were becoming more frequent. He started seeing the face of the man who was going to murder him. He was smilling at Magnus in expectation and eagerness, getting ready to get his hands on him. At one point, it really felt like the man could see him through the vision as well, and was sending creepy stares and laughs his way. The image of Magnus tied up and crying always followed. Magnus knew his death was near, and there was nothing he could do to stop anything. And then.....he woke himself up abruptly. Luckily, he managed that before things would start to look ugly. He was so relieved when he found himself on his bed, reassured the dream wasn't real. He thought it was over, but sadly, that was not the end if it. When he went to sleep for the second time, he found himself in the exact same dream. And it simply continued from the place it had stopped before. How long until it happens? How long did Magnus have? Minutes? Or more? What will he do when the horror starts? When the man he saw only in his mind, turnes into someone in the flesh, a full real presence in front of him. Who can touch him, harm him without much difficulty. After so many visions, Magnus knew how things will look like, how ugly they will be. But he didn't know how it would feel, never wanted to find out. But no one was giving him any choice. He was a puppet, didn't belong to himself, he was nothing. What else was left to do, but try not to feel it when it starts? Shut off what was happening? He didn't want to experience the fear and the pain, didn't want to cry. Could he avoid that? Could he become just a body, his soul somewhere far away, somewhere safe. Magnus suddenly remembered the shadowhunter in his home. How the boy was afraid when he woke up, but it went away. It wasn't exactly what Magnus was contemplating, but it would do. He was going to try the same. How though? Is there some button in your brain about these sort of thing? And if yes, how do you reach it? How do you work with it? Magnus continued thinking about the shadowhunter in his attempt to figure this out. And between that, something occurred to him. Wait a second.... The shadowhunter, Robin Hood, his guest. That was real. Magnus had his life endangered, he really did, so many times. But not like this. In an actual real-life way. The previous day, the day before, and more and more days back. It had been scary, but not scary like this. Because this wasn't real. It was a nightmare, he was dreaming again.

So Magnus woke himself up once again, his eyes opening sharply. When he calmed his breathing, he wasn't sure he wanted to try the whole going to sleep thing any more. If anything, dreams like that were draining him even more. He was sleepy and he didn't want to drift off, so he took a cold shower and drunk some coffee.

Аfterwards he took up with reading every information Catarina had gathered on Maryse's family, and had left for him the night before. Magnus should have done that a long time ago, but better late than never. Or at least that was what the mudanes were usually saying. He actually knew quite a bit about Maryse by now, their paths had been crossed once or twice in the past. She had divorced her previous husband, Robert Lightwood, a long time ago. And she had a romantic relationship with the Inquisitor - one of the shadowhunters holding the most authority, power and control in the Shadow world- by current date. It was one of this weird situations where everyone knew about the relationship, but it was never spoken of it. Because neither the Inquisitor, nor Maryse had officially confirmed that there was such a relationship. They were kind of pretending there wasn't. And Magnus really didn't understand this. Why not just make it a public thing and get married already? Nothing was stopping them, they were both single adults with enough power to marry whoever they choose. And it looked like a better option than acting like everyone hadn't already figured out a long time ago that they were a couple. Shadowhunters- always taking the opportunity to complicate their lives further, using more and more creative ways to achieve this goal.

Apart from Maryse, Magnus had next to no knowledge about the rest of the Lighwoods. There was a lot written about the daughter- Isabelle. Most of it was negative in fact. She had many violations against the law and the Clave under her sleeve, had been benched many times because of being insubordinate. She was even sent on trial four different individual times by now, one of which she had been way too close to being stripped off of her runes and sent to exile. She was continuously described as too wild, allowing emotions to cloud her judgement, disrespectful to authority, uncontrollable, acting on her own, even immoral. She sounded just lovely to Magnus. But given the fact that she was probably out there hating him, he wanted to refer himself from developing a sympathy. Then, there was the adopted brother - Jason. There wasn't anything written about his real family. Both him and his brother, the shadowhunter Magnus kidnapped, were the acting head of the New York Institute, which was home to many more shadowhunters. Jason was described in a completely different and opposite way from Isabelle. He was apparently the golden boy, the perfect son, the amazing shadowhunter. There were pages and pages about his many successful missions. Once he killed three shax demons single handedly, other time he discovered one of the shadowhunters- a man named Hodge- was a traitor, going behind the Clave's back, and he managed to catch him, expose his plan, and bring him to justice. He wasn't the most obedient shadowhunter out there, but every time he had done something against orders, it had turned out to be in the Clave's best interest. Hmm. That was odd, because the Clave rarely admitted not being in the right. All in all, Jason was portrayed as fair and just person, with good sense of humor. Ha! Everything Magnus hadn't seen in him during their meeting. About Magnus's guest- there wasn't much information to point at what kind of a person he was. He red like a regular shadowhunter, nothing too eye-catching about him, as opposed to his siblings. He was mostly pointed out to be serious and composed, with good head on his shoulders. He had become parabatai with Jason at the age of 15, but the two brothers had fought together many times even before that, since they were around 11 years old.

Magnus knew that documentation was before shadowhunters and warlocks became enemies, which happened three years ago. He wanted to see information about them after that tragedy. About what kind of people they were now, because they couldn't be the same.

He must had fallen asleep on the couch while reading, because the next thing he knew, it was bright outside and the sun was high on the sky. Was it midday? Why hadn't Cat woken him up? He had so many things to do. Magnus looked at the time- 11am. Without continuing his idleness, he showered and got dressed. He couldn't find Catarina in the living room, or the room she was staying in. Also- who brought the shadowhunter food while Magnus was sleeping? Magnus knew who and didn't like that one bit. He hurried to the boy's room, preparing a reprimanding speech to Catarina in his head. It was something along the lines of: We share a house with a hostile, unfriendly, rude as hell shadowhunter, who has only ill intentions towards us, and is constantly plotting evil plans for our demise in his spare time (which is basically all his time now). If you are so determend to go to him, and test your abilitty to defend yourself, at least wake me up to let me know.

Yes, it would be something like that, but put more politely.

Magnus really didn't want to find Cat in front of the shadowhunter's room, but what do you know, there she was. Walking towards her, it looked like she had already given the boy his lunch, and had stayed to........talk to him.......for some reason. She was casually sitting against the wall in front of the room's entrance, one of her legs bent with her arms wrapped around it. She looked like she was telling some kind of a tale, lost in what she was describing. Her voice, not exactly quiet, but impossible to hear much further than a few feet, reached Magnus's ears.

".......and for someone like me, you think you will know when event like that is about to happen; you'll sense it; you'll smell it in the air. But no such thing happened. I didn't have that luck. It came from nowhere for me as well. The theory that all warlocks more or less knew about the attack, and were in on the plan, and just.......chose not to warn the Clave, is inaccurate and full of logic holes."

Magnus stopped close enough to be able to hear her, but at a place where the shadowhunter couldn't see him from his room. He was sure Catarina could notice him with her peripheral vision from where she was, but she didn't indicate it. She continued speaking. He knew what she was talking about. The event that marked the beginning of the persecution of all warlocks around the world, after which they were declared as the shadowhunters lethal enemy. That horrible day, when a group of around 200 warlocks decided to rebel against the Clave, and the Accords, doing something despicable to make their point. They had split into smaller groups, and had planned and carried out a massive attack on as many Institutes as they could at the same time. So the shadowhunters were striked from many different sides at once. There were so many casualties. Not just that day, but the week that followed. So much violence had begun. Many shadowhunters and mundanes had died in the aftermath. It was a horrible memory in the minds of everyone who had seen and witnessed it. The big Uprising against the Clave. Magnus didn't move any more, he just sat on the floor like Cat , listening to her. He was somewhat wondering if the shadowhunter outside of his sight was doing the same, or was just ignoring her, following his rude nature.

"I remember some of the things so well, I can close my eyes and see them if I want to. Others are kind of blind spots for some unknown reason. I was actually in the Los Angeles Institute when it happened. I was leading a lecture to the young shadowhunters there. About the dangers of summoning a memory demon without taking the needed preparation beforehand. I was near the end, when all of a sudden an earthquake started, shaking the walls of the Institute. The Shadowhunters couldn't comprehend what was happening the first minute. It took time to register magic was behind this. The warlocks were able to get past the Institutes wards, because most of them were usually made with magic as well, by other warlocks through the years. Also, apparently the Uprising had been planned for a long time. Everywhere around me shadowhunters were running in different directions, trying to help others and safe themselves, before everything crashed over their heads. The panic settled in their minds really fast. I started transporting the kids through portals to safety. I remember something hitting my head and my left shoulder with the force of a hundred bricks. Next thing I know, I was on the ground on my stomach, disoriented, losing focus about what was going on, my head throbbing. A part of the roof had hit me and I was lying under it, not moving. It was like my brain had separated itself from my body. I knew I needed to try and stand. But my body was disobeying me, and didn't do any effort for that." Magnus knew this story and hated it with everything he had. If he could, if it was in his power, he would do everything to go back in time and change this events. He was wondering again, if the shadowhunter was really listening to this. If his head was turned to Catarina, or not. If he was acknowledging her, or not. If he paid attention to her, if he cared to hear it, if he wanted to. Magnus knew a way to find the answers of his questions. He could use his magic to see what was behind the wall he was facing. He could see inside the shadowhunter's room, without being seen himself. He had the ability to do that, if he wanted. But.....he decided against it. His curiosity wasn't enough of a reason. And this wasn't his business anyway. He had decided last night, that he was going to stop with his attempts to understand his guest, or talk to him. And it was better to stick with that decision. So he closed his eyes and just allowed Catarina's words to have his attention.

She made a pause to compose herself before she continued, "I think I had a period of lost time. Then, there was someone with me. Shouting words, telling me something. I forced myself to raise my head, to register, to see and hear. It was a kid, around 10 years old. With hazel eyes and brown hair. He looked frightened, but not in panic. He removed the roof piece from above me and started trying to get me to stand up. It wasn't working at first, but then my survival instincts kicked in. And I felt my magic healing me from inside. He didn't tell me his name was Max. But I heard it when someone called for him a moment later, and he run to that person, giving me a final glance to make sure I will be okay. I didn't have a chance to thank him, but he saved my life that day."

At that, Magnus heard a movement in the room, which caused him to open his eyes and Catarina to turn quiet. He was able to make out the sound of a couple steps, and then a door being opened and shut carefully. He assumed it was the door for the bathroom, and there was where the shadowhunter had gone. Because he wasn't able to access the main door for the room, due to the barrier being in front of it. It turned out that was right. When Magnus went to where Cat was sitting, he saw the room was empty. Which meant the shadowhunter was in the bathroom. He had just walked out of the conversation Catarina was having mostly by herself anyway.

He held out his hand for her to stand, and they walked away.

"I shouldn't have mentioned his brother," Cat said when it were just the two of them, "It's too personal of a matter. He hates us, we kidnapped him, and we are his enemies. That leaves us in a situation, when it's not exactly right to try to have a talk about certain things. And that wasn't my intention. I just got carried away."

"Mhm," was Magnus's answer, because he didn't want to engage himself in a dialogue about that shadowhunter. There were, however, conversations in which he did want to engage in, "You should have woken me up this morning. It's my responsibility to bring him food. You could have at least taken me with you."

Catarina looked at him like he was just behaving ridiculously about this. And maybe he was. But so what? Who could blame him after everything?

"You know," she started gently, "I'm not as fragile as you make me to be. It was me who saved you. And then, I said I will help you, so that's what I'm doing. I might act a little irrational and thoughtless at times, but I know how to get myself out of the bad situation. And you know me well enough to know this. Okay?"

"I'm just saying. You talk with him like he is just some ordinary guy, visiting me and taking my spare room for a while. And I tried this approach too. But last night proved what we already knew- he is not."

"I know. It doesn't eliminate my previous words. I've got this. I learned my lesson from yesterday. I'll be very careful. Okay?"

No, Magnus wanted to reply. Why tempt fate to bring out their bad luck? New plan- why not they just throw him the food, from like a very very big distance? Some of it will fall on the floor, sure, but after enough tries at least something will make it's way to the bed, or some other surface, and be edible. It could even turn into a game. It'll be fun- 10 points if you hit the bed, 20 if it's the shadowhunter's head.

But, of course, Magnus knew it wasn't about that at all. Cat wanted to talk to the boy, so she did. And when she desires to talk to him again, she will. Those decisions were concerning her, and were hers to make. Magnus could only advise her, and have her back.

"Okay." He said.

"Thank you. Now, why didn't I wake you up- I need to go check on a human I treat, a woman in a bad condition. She needs me and I'll have to go out in an hour. I'll come back as soon as I can. I wanted you to rest properly, before I would have to leave you in the middle of this. I'm sorry, there is no one else to send to replece me. Most of the warlocks I know to specialise in healing magic live in hiding, changing their location constantly, trying not to be noticed by shadowhunters."

"It's fine. Go. I've got this." He told her with a smile, around 40 percent real.

 

A couple hours after, Magnus was becoming more and more anxious that the two days he gave the Clave were coming to an end, and he still didn't have any answer to his fire message. Were they going to wait till the last moment? Why? To torment him, or because they simply couldn't come to a resolve themselves, or reach an agreement, suitable enough for their taste?

He left dinner for the shadowhunter in silence, ignoring him and being lost in his own head anyway, and had just turned to leave, when his guest's voice stopped him abruptly.

"Do you know where Madzie is?"

It was technically a question, but it wasn't uttered like a question at all. There was a lot of evident satisfaction in the tone. But if we exclude that, it was said so simply and normally. Like he had asked- What time is it? - or something.

"What?" Magnus slowly turned back to look at the shadowhunter, trying to pretend like he didn't have any idea who he meant.

"Madzie- 9 year old warlock, long curly hair, has gills on her neck that suffocate and kill people. Don't you know her? Because she really seemed to know you when we found her a month ago. So, my question is- do you know where she is. Because if you think you do, you should seriously check that."

At that, Magnus was sure his "I don't understand" mask had slipped from his face. No! They couldn't have found Madzie. He made sure to keep her safe. She was okay!

The next moment, he was running to his room. His heart was beating so fast like he could hear it, and it was screaming. Madzie was okay. They couldn't have found her. Of course Magnus knew where she was. He had sent her to Dorothea- a friend of his- himself half a year ago, and she was safe there. He knew this, he was positive. He even had gotten a letter from the little girl two weeks ago, telling him she was fine and well. And she was. Because that shadowhunter was lying. That was his thing, he was a liar. He lied yesterday that he was in pain and needed help, and he was lying now. It was so obvious a blind man could see. Madzie was okay. He started searching all around his room, to find the number Dorothea had given him to connect her. He couldn't use a portal, because part of the safety measures they took was that even Magnus didn't know where Dorothea lived. See? There were careful and this was just a false alarm, he knew it was. He told his heart to stop beating so alarmingly, no need to be dramatic over this. He will call Dorothea, and she will tell him there was nothing to worry about.

She picked up the second time he rang her. She was probably busy, playing with Madzie and all. He couldn't expect her to stand by the phone all day, that was just unreasonable. After she picked up, Magnus calmly asked her to get Madzie on the phone.

"I........I thought Madzie was with you. A month ago she wanted to visit you so I took her. And after that she wrote me a letter, telling me she decided to spent more time with you, and everything was okay."

No. Magnus hung up, not even realising he did, and started shaking his head like there was someone sitting and communicating with him right then. No, Madzie was not with him. No, she was not with Dorothea. He shaked his head repeatedly, and could feel something grabbing his heart, squeezing it, trying to stop it from beating altogether.

He walked very slоwly to the shadowhunter's room. Then he stopped as close to the barrier as you can get, and directed his look at the boy, watching him straight in the eyes. But he wasn't able to try and likely fail to analyze his expression, because he wasn't even seeing him. All he was seeing was Madzie. Madzie when he first met her, and saved her from the horrible family she was living with. Madzie when she asked what an ice cream was, because no one had ever bought her one before. Madzie when she said she was going to do her make up even better than Magnus when she grows up.

"She was just a child." Magnus's voice was so even. So not matching with how he felt inside.

"Come on, ask me where she is." Said the boy, just as evenly. Like they were talking about nothing. Like this was nothing. Could it be possible Magnus was dreaming? Was this another nightmare? Was it not real? Should he try to wake up now?

"Where?" He asked, not really wanting to. Like the word just came out, without his permission.

"Nowhere. Because I killed her."

Chapter Text

Magnus had to wake up. Like he did before. Now that he knew it wasn't real, what followed was the easy part. Except he couldn't seem to figure out how that part- opening your eyes and stopping the dream- has to be executed precisely. What did he do the last time? Was it some specific thing? And if it was, how could he not remember it? Was it closing your eyes, squeezing them, and then opening them abruptly? He stepped away from the shadowhunter's room, making enough steps to find himself at the same place he was earlier that day, when Catarina was talking about the Uprising. Once he was outside of the shadowhunter's view, he started with his attempts to stop this dream. The eyes thing didn't work. Was pinching yourself what did the trick? Magnus sincerely doubted that, it sounded like a rather foolish thing, childish in some way. But he did it anyway, and nothing happened. Magnus started getting angry with himself, because the things he was trying were too trivial, too stereotypical to actually be the key to waking up. It was probably something much more simple and natural, something you do instinctively. Maybe you just had to open your mind to the fact that you are not really experiencing what you believed you were experiencing. So he focused on that, waiting for the result. And he kept focusing. And he was still focussing when he heard the voice from the room.

"I know you didn't leave, I know you're still nearby. I didn't think Magnus Bane was a simple coward, running away from the things he didn't like, and not facing his failures."

Shut up, Magnus thought. I'm trying to focus.

"Are you so weak you can't admit to yourself that girl should have never trusted you with her life? That you proved useless to take care of her? And you are supposed to be some powerful old warlock, representing millions of other warlocks? Who had the brilliant idea to give you that much power? You couldn't even protect one girl."

Focus Magnus, focus. Any moment now. This was not happening. And what's wrong with this dream? He never had to put that much effort to wake himself up before. It usually just happens.

"Do you even care about her? You failed her and you don't even care."

You failed her, it stuck in Magnus's head. You failed her. You failed her. You failed her.

Something inside him broke. He was supposed to protect Madzie. He was supposed to be her friend. He was supposed to make sure she didn't grow up the way Magnus did. And now she couldn't grow up at all. He was supposed to be by her side, never letting her believe she deserves less than others, never allowing her to think there was anything wrong with her, teach her to live in peace with her powers and herself. He wasn't supposed to leave her. And she wasn't supposed to leave him. But then this war had to happen, and Magnus couldn't do the things he promised to do for her. Couldn't be by her side without drawing attention to her, making her a target. So he had to let her go, until he could fix this. But he still had one main basic job- to make sure she was okay, no matter where she was. And he had failed her. Maybe that was true- she shouldn't have counted on him. She deserved better. But who would care about this? Because in this world all kinds of monsters got to live long and happy lives, while Madzie had to die for nothing. There was one long moment, when Magnus just couldn't see the point in himself. He forgot why he was waking up in the morning, and it was a struggle to remember.

He wanted Catarina to be there, to tell him something reassuring. Or maybe Ragnor, to give him wise advise. Or maybe his mother, to tell him she regretted killing herself and leaving him, and she wanted another chance to raise him. Or maybe Madzie, to tell him he didn't fail her. He couldn't deal with this by himself. Because he was weak. He had all kinds of powers, had lived for centuries, but he was weak inside. It was so pathetic. The way he always needed other people, never able to just live with himself. Never able to get things done without anyone's help. How was it possible for a mighty creature like him to be like this? How did he manage to be so useless all the time? Where was the version of him that deserved respect? Where was the version of him, whose inner strength made other people feel intimidated? That provoked awe in those, who looked at him? All he was doing these days was whine for the situation he was in, feeling sorry for himself, fearing stupid and absurd nightmares like some mundane, walking after Catarina's heels, like she ever needed him at all. No one ever needed him, and he always needed someone. He was always letting shadowhunters walk all over him, doing absolutely nothing when they mock him, repeatedly try to kill him, play with him, insult him. Maybe the Clave was laughing at him right now. Making jokes about his naive hopes to organise another meeting. All the while they were killing his people, killing kids just because, planning to end all warlocks, probably holding them against their will to use them to do magic. And Magnus was doing moronic things, like pinching himself in his hallway, like he was brainless. When did he fell so low?

He was Magnus Bane, damn it! No one had the right to treat him like that. His stepfather had tried centuries ago, and Magnus had burned him alive. Was he any less now than he was before? Why? Why be anything less than what you're born to be? He didn't need that shadowhunter, that was bullshit. Even if kidnapping was the way to go, he could find someone else. Maybe Maryse. Yes. She was the perfect choice. Why not take her after he finishes with her son? It wasn't going to be easy, he couldn't just snatch her from the Institute, but he was Magnus Bane. He would figure out a way to get to her. Maybe even put her in the same room. Minus the meals.

He walked to the barrier again, his head and vision a hundread times more clear. He could see the shadowhunter, sitting on his bed, the smirk on his face, the look of superiority, just everything about him. In that moment, he felt like he hated him. He wanted to smash his face somewhere.

"What? Changed your plans about running away? Do you want me to tell you how I killed her?" The shadowhunter asked, coming closer to the barrier and Magnus, using the same disgusting voice, full of satisfaction.

"I think it is time for your visit to end." Magnus uttered, knowing his true eyes must be visible right about now. His voice haven't been so clear in a while.

The shadowhunter flinched ever so slightly seeing them. And Magnus couldn't wait to see him flinch the way he should, the way Magnus wanted to see.

The second he walked foot inside the room, he stepped on something, some mechanism triggered. A rope made of clothes wrapped around his feet and lifted him up, causing him to hang on it upside down, facing the barrier, his back at the shadowhunter. Then he felt the same wooden object, which had been pointed at him yesterday, on his back.

"Break the barrier right now, or I'll kill you," the shadowhunter demanded.

Well, would you look at that. Wasn't this adorable? He had set a trap in his room. But of course he would. He knew Magnus would come after all, that's what he wanted. So he could be able to try to kill him again. Honestly, it wasn't the worst plan. The way Magnus was hanging, he couldn't see the shadowhunter, so he couldn't attack him with his magic. Look who thought of the details? And he wasn't going straight for the kill, he wanted the barrier destroyed first. Because killing Magnus now won't get him out of there, and after he would have to deal with Catarina. It was smart, Magnus had to admit. But even if it had any chance of working when Magnus was his usual self, being a harmless fool, now was a different story. Points for the effort, though. To think that was probably the last assassination attempt this shadowhunter was going to organise, it was kind of bittersweet.

Magnus snapped his fingers and all the light in the room disappeared, turning everything the barrier stood around into a dark cave, where it was impossible to see anything. And then he swung himself forward, using physical strength and magic to give himself enough push, so the wood could pierce his back on his way backward. It caused the shadowhunter to fall back on the floor, the weapon not in his hands anymore, but sticking from Magnus's body. Thanks for giving me that, Magnus wanted to say. He felt so much adrenaline, he wasn't bothered that much from the pain, and didn't let it distract him. It was time for magic. He used it to cut the rope he was hanging on, and to land on his feet. But that took a second too long, giving the shadowhunter time to stumble him in the dark, making him fall on the ground as well. Magnus moved away from the place he had fallen immediately, so the shadowhunter wouldn't know where he is, counting on the darkness to hide him. He took a portal to the other side of the room, close to the bathroom. Once he was there, he pulled the wooden weapon out of his back, trying not to scream at the motion, not to give away his location. He destroyed it and heeled his wound for a second, not having enough time to continue the procedure. After that, the darkness wasn't in his favour anymore, so he allowed the normal light of the day to return.

Then, he saw no shadowhunter around. He had hid himself somewhere in the room. What is this now, a game of hide and seek? Who was the coward now? Everything was very quiet. Magnus started walking slowly, ready for the shadowhunter to jump from anywhere. Well, not from anywhere exactly. They weren't a lot of places he could be, he was too tall. He couldn't be in the wardrobe, that place was too small. He couldn't be under the bed for the same reason. And he couldn't have had enough time to go too far from the last place Magnus knew he was. Suddenly, a blanket was thrown at his face. Under the bed sheets. Yeah, he had been there. That bed was such a not artistic mess, even someone like that shadowhunter could crawl in a ball, and hide under the sheets, without it looking too obvious. The shadowhunter tried to make a run for the bathroom, either to lock himself there, which would be pretty useless, or maybe he had created other traps there as well, and counted on Magnus following him, which was much more likely. But the blanket wasn't enough to distract Magnus, and his reflexes this time ware on point. He jumped at the boy, knocking both of them down on the floor. There was something so poetic about this. At the beginning of their unpleasant acquaintanceship the shadowhunter had jumped on Magnus to kill him. Аnd in the end of it, Magnus jumped on him to kill him. Life worked in mysterious ways. The shadowhunter tried to get away, but Magnus wrapped his hands around him tightly, picked him up, and threw him against the barrier. He hit it, creating some metallic sound. Then he fell to the floor once again.

Magnus remembered how he screamed at his stepdad as a boy, and killed him. So he started screaming.
He tried to turn his feelings into noise, and release himself from them, before they could eat him alive. Everything in the room started breaking- the table, the drawers, the TV. Everything started getting destroyed. If only it was always that easy. To destroy what's hurting you, the bad things that happen. To undo what wasn't fair. Madzie should have never had to live in hiding. And Max shouldn't have died.

When he got tired of screaming, he looked around himself. It was kind of calming to see the state the room was in. Like it had been a tornado there. Good thing Magnus didn't have any neighbours. Because this would have been hard to explain. Hey guys, did you hear me screaming today? No big deal, I was just practicing for my upcoming opera performance. Wish me luck. The most ridiculous thing- Magnus liked this room better now. There was something so beautiful about it. Or maybe he was going insane. Also, not everything had been destroyed. There was one living, breathing shadowhunter, sitting on the floor, very slowly removing his hands he had used to cover his ears with. Magnus looked at him, and for a moment, he could swear his eyes were watery.

But of course Magnus hadn't killed him. Not because he was weak, or couldn't. He just didn't want to. He never wanted to. Even when he told himself he was going to, he was never really about to do something like this. He just needed to take his mind away from Madzie for a bit, he needed the adrenaline, the fight. If it wasn't self defence, if it wasn't extreme circumstances, Magnus would never kill anyone. It was a choice he made a long time ago. And looking at the shadowhunter now, his face in a sad grimace, Magnus thought maybe, just maybe, Madzie was still alive. Plus that boy, though really good looking, had proved himself to be a big fat liar in the short time Magnus knew him.

Magnus had to know what happened. How had they found Madzie? What did he do wrong? Where had he slipped? He looked at the shadowhunter for one intense moment, making his decision. He pulled him to himself with his powers, the boy's eyes becoming huge, but Magnus couldn't tell if it was from fear. There was this method of looking into other people's memories. It was a different kind of magic, a lot of practice was required before one could understand it, and use it safely. It was just 50 years ago, when Magnus finally learned how to do it correctly. You needed to know what you are looking for, you couldn't just go wandering through someone else's memories without a specific goal. Because that way you would only overwhelm and exhaust yourself, causing harm to the other person. You couldn't do it for too long as well, because in the best case scenario-you would black out, and in the worst-you might even completely lose your idea of yourself in the mind of another.

Magnus put his hands on the both sides of the shadowhunter's head as soon as he was in a touching distance, positioning him so they were sitting on the floor. As soon as Magnus placed his hands on his head, he started the memory searching spell, not giving the shadowhunter time to attack, or do something along those lines. That spell always left the other person in a weird state of not being exactly conscious, but not being unconscious at the same time. It was impossible for the other person to make new memories once the spell had started, so the mind stopped registering things, and went in some sort of а pause state. The shadowhunter's eyes closed, his body went limp, and Magnus used magic to keep him sitting. Then he said the necessary words in the proper language clearly and distinctly, closing his own eyes, beginning his journey through the shadowhunter's mind.

Chapter Text

When the spell began to work it's job, everything in front of Magnus turned into a mess of images and voices, through which he had to find his way. His key word was "Madzie", and he looked for any memory that had it, any memory where that word was uttered. Un unexpected problem occured though. There was one memory, not about Madzie at all, which kept popping up, getting in the way of Magnus's concentration again and again. Magnus would push it away, but then it would reappear. Apparently it was something which had been occupying the shadowhunter's mind a lot a few seconds ago, before Magnus started this. So now, naturally, it was bothering Magnus. Could it be something useful? Magnus wondered about that, and decided if it was where the shadowhunter's thoughts were last at, maybe it had some relation to Madzie, even if it wasn't about her. And also, Magnus was tired of trying to get around it. So he focused on it instead, letting himself be consumed in.

The spell allowed him to see the memories through the shadowhunter's eyes, as though he was him when they happened. Here, the shadowhunter was somewhere outside, sitting on the grass. There was some sort of magical rope around him, covering mostly his neck and his hands, which were behind his back. The rope put enough pressure on the neck for it to be unpleasant, and make the talking difficult, but not enough to strangle him to death. There was a man standing over him, a couple centimeters away. Not just a man, Magnus realized, a warlock. He appeared to be the shadowhunter's age, with short blond hair and black eyes. He was dressed as a shadowhunter though, wearing black clothes and carrying weapons the way shadowhunters usually did.

"What's wrong Alec? Feeling uncomfortable, aren't we?" He asked with amused voice, smiling. There wasn't really venom in his voice, but somehow that made it even more unpleasant for the ear.

The shadowhunter was trying to free himself, but it looked more like mission impossible. He forced himself to say something, struggling with the rope around his neck.

"Whe........where is Max?" He managed to ask.

"Who cares? Let's talk about something interesting, yeah?" The warlock got closer to him, reaching his hand to go through his hair, making the shadowhunter pull away, and causing Magnus to frown. "What's wrong? Don't you like me any more? Come on, don't be like that. You know I'm different. Not like the others. Special. I'm your friend, have you forgotten?" He asked with satisfaction and a smirk. There was something in the way he was talking, that reminded Magnus of something.

He tried to touch the shadowhunter's hair again, resulting in the shadowhunter moving away the second time. Then he suddenly grabbed the hair in the back of his head in his fist, his hold kind of painful, not letting the boy move his head, pointing him closer to himself.

"I thought you enjoyed my company. Don't you any more?" he started talking in the shadowhunter's ear, "Don't you think I'm magical?" He whispered, and chuckled, "I swear that line was so cheesy, I was embarrassed on your behalf when you told me that. Alec, you're lucky you're hot. Because you are not very smart."

The warlock, still not letting go of the shadowhunter's hair, put his other hand on his back, moving it up and down. Magnus didn't like this memory at all. When was it going to end? He just wanted to know what happened to Madzie, damn it.

Then shadowhunter succeeded to turn a bit, and bit the warlock's ear, which was close to him in the position they were in. The man made a painful sound, and when he weakened the hold he had on his hair, the shadowhunter hit his head with his own, making his nose bloody. The warlock was distracted from that, which caused his control of the rope around the shadowhunter to slip. The shadowhunter used the moment to reach for his sword with his hands, and injured his opponent's legs with it to prevent him from standing up. The warlock made a loud cry of pain, while the boy got free from the rope. After that, he pointed the weapon to the warlock's heart.

Good, Magnus thought. Kick his ass!

"I asked," the shadowhunter shouted, making his throat, which was still weak from the rope, complain, and sounding hoarse, "Where is Max?"

Something about all of this was becoming too familiar to Magnus. The man looked at the shadowhunter without much emotion. He was wincing from the pain in his legs, but when he met his eyes, he looked composed and a bit insolent.

"Where now? He is right about nowhere at the moment." The warlock answered, evenly and coldly.

"What do you mean?" The shadowhunter's voice trembled, and Magnus knew it wasn't because of the rope.

"Are you deaf? I mean nowhere. You know why, " the man made a pause, lifting himself a little so he was on his elbows, looking at the shadowhunter's blade pointed at him in a way Magnus knew he was onto something. He couldn't see the shadowhunter's face, because he was watching through his eyes, but it didn't seem like he was catching on the fact that this warlock was playing with his emotions. And also, Magnus already knew how that sentence was going to finish, "....because I killed him," the warlock said simply.

The shadowhunter froze completely. Then the warlock made a quick move, grabbing the sword in a way that probably seriously injured his hand, pulling it from the shadowhunter's grip, and hitting him in the head with the handle.

And the memory ended. Oh my god, Magnus thought. The chances Madzie was alive were getting bigger and bigger. This memory- it resembled with what happened between him and the shadowhunter minutes ago. The even, not caring way the warlock in the memory said the words, was the same way the shadowhunter had said them. The exact same words! It had been an act, another act the shadowhunter had pulled. And he had been playing that warlock, imitating him, acting like him. Magnus already knew the shadowhunter wanted to get him to enter his room, and the theory that maybe he was lying about the whole thing, about Madzie, was of course the next logical assumption. Even thinking back now- Madzie was missing from a month, but both he and Dorothea had received letters from her. And Magnus's letter was from two weeks ago. Magnus tried to remember and analyze it. There was nothing suspicious, nothing to indicate Madzie wasn't the one who had written it. Magnus would have noticed if there was, and he knew Madzie well enough to be sure, right? Okay, he needed to find a memory with her now.

Madzie, Madzie, Madzie, where are you? Magnus searched and searched, and started to feel a little low on energy, but then........bingo, he found something. He concentrated, and allowed himself to be pulled into the memory.

He saw her, and the angles of his mouth lifted in a smile right away. She and the shadowhunter were in some kitchen somewhere. The shadowhunter was sitting on a chair, and Madzie was standing in front of him. She didn't look terrified. That gave Magnus so much hope.

"Please Madzie, you need to stay here." The shadowhunter said in a voice Magnus had never heard from him. It was gentle. Hearing it was so odd.

"But I want to go to Magnus," Madzie pouted, and the smile on Magnus's face grew twice the size. He missed that girl.

"I know, but we've already talked about this. It's a bad idea. Look, this is my friend Simon's house. I promise you, you'll like Simon. He is a very nice guy."

"But Magnus says I shouldn't trust shadowhunters. He says they might want to......harm me. So I should hide from them." Madzie said uncertainly.

"What? Even from me?" The shadowhunter said teasingly, and made Madzie smile the adorable way she sometimes did. This was so weird. Not at all what Magnus expected. "Okay, listen. First and most important- Magnus is stupid." I am so not, Magnus wanted to protest, "Second- Simon is not a shadowhunter, so no worries about that. And third- it's complicated." The shadowhunter said, his tone more serious now. "But once we cure you, no one will ever want to harm you. You will be a mundane, and it will be our job to keep you safe." Magnus and Madzie frowned at that almost at the same time.

"But.....I like my powers," Madzie began, incertain again, "They help me do cool things. For example, I can show you -"

"No no no! No!" The shadowhunter screamed, and grabbed Madzie's hand quickly, making her jump, and putting Magnus on high alert. Then maybe he saw he had startled her, so he slowly let her go, "Please," he said more calmly, "Please, don't show me anything."

Madzie nodded, looking at the floor, "I won't, if you don't want me to."

The shadowhunter took a deep breath, "Thank you." He said in a barely audible voice.

Uncomfortable silence settled, until the shadowhunter decided to break it.

"We will.....we'll talk about this further. When we have more time. For now- do you agree to stay here?"

"What if I don't like it here? Could I call you?"

"Well, no, but.......hey, you can always call Izzy. You like Izzy, right?"

Madzie looked thoughtful for a second, "I guess. She is very pretty." Then she appeared to be thinking some more, "Could I call Magnus? He is very pretty as well."

"Is he really? That's debatable. And we don't have his number anyway. Plus, there is no one prettier than Izzy, that's just proven fact." The shadowhunter said in a lighter tone.

"You just say that, because she is your sister."

"You so got me there. Also, I never know when she would be listening beside the door."

Madzie laughed at that, glancing the kitchen door for a second. The tension seemed to have left her.

"I need to go now. I'll leave you with Izzy until Simon comes. You agree to stay, right?"

"For now." Madzie reached her hand for the shadowhunter to shake it. And after a moment of hesitation, he did.

After the memory ended, Magnus was concerned about the whole "cure you; become mundane" thing. He searched for something to do with Madzie and this, and after some time, when he didn't find anything, he decided it was really time for him to stop. There was still a lot he didn't know, but he knew the most important thing- Madzie was alive. She looked okay and unharmed in the memory. Magnus had never been so glad someone had lied to him. He was so glad, he could portal to Hawaii and dance hula.

He said the words to break the spell, and retreated his hands from the shadowhunter's head, after carefully letting him lie down on his side. His eyes were still closed, and he needed time for his body and mind to start working again. Magnus checked for if there were any serious wounds on him after their fight earlier, and he saw his hand was bleeding. The cut made by Magnus's dagger the day before, which the shadowhunter had bandaged, had opened itself. Magnus made new bandages appear by magic, but cleaned and took care of the wound the mundane way, not using his healing powers, rolling the shadowhunter's sleeves to get them out of the way. After he was finished and satisfied with the result, it was probably time for him to cross the barrier, and go to the safety of his own room. But he just couldn't make himself do that. After seeing what he had seen, the memory with Madzie, after knowing she wasn't killed or tortured somewhere, there was no trace of his anger from before. And he wanted to see the shadowhunter waking up and being okay after the spell. So he squeezed his hand for a moment, before retreating and sitting close to the barrier around the room entrance, waiting.

While doing that, he inspected his own wounds. His back was hurting in a not fun kind of way, but it was getting better and better by the second, now that his energy wasn't all consumed by the memory spell. A couple minutes after that, the shadowhunter moved, his head going left and right for a few seconds, before he opened his eyes and sat down abruptly immediately after. His breathing increased, he started shaking, and he spared one look at Magnus before jumping on his feet. At first, Magnus thought he was going to attack him, but actually he just rushed as far away from Magnus as possible, to the other side of the room. He stopped by the bathroom, and sat with his back leaning on the wall. His hugged himself with his hands. Then he looked at Magnus with so much accusation. He knew Magnus had searched through his memories, it was evident. Generally after than spell, the other person could slightly feel an after effect on the memories which had been revealed. Kind of like he wasn't alone during them. That effect usually went away after some minutes, and if the boy was a mundane, maybe he wouldn't give the feeling that much importance, not understanding what it meant. But he was a shadowhunter, and since that war had started, shadowhunters knew a lot more about warlocks than they normally did in the past. Apparently, that shadowhunter was familiar with this kind of magic, and had recognized it.

"I had to." Magnus simply said, "I had to know what happened to her."

The shadowhunter just continued looking his way like he was the worst kind of monster. Which was really unfair. Because Magnus hadn't been the one bragging and lying about killing kids.

"You put me in that situation." Magnus continued with stability in his voice, "If you've been through the same, If you know the feeling, why would you want to do it to somebody else? Like......who does that?"

The shadowhunter moved his eyes then, and started looking at the wall on Magnus's left. He looked at it, until his face became neutral, his breathing calmed. Then he looked at Magnus again with a blank expression. But it didn't last that long this time. His eyes started becoming watery, and it was visible, so he wiped them quickly. He rolled his eyes when he moved his hands, like wiping them had been such a tedious thing to do. He appeared to have the intention to look at Magnus again, but changed his mind suddenly, and looked at the same spot on the wall once again. He stared at it for longer this time, until looking at Magnus with his ''I don't care about anything'' kind of bored face. It looked convincing enough, but his eyes were becoming a little red by this point, ruining the whole effect he wanted to create. And also, tears started coming down from them shortly after. He squeezed them shut so forcefully for a moment, started wiping them with his fists now. His breathing became anything but calm, sounding torn. He tried to control it, took a couple long breaths slowly, concentrating. It took a long time, but eventually he looked at Magnus appearing collected. It lasted even shorter. He made another effort, starting to watch the same place at the wall. It didn't seem to be working. His face started to shape into a cry grimace. And Magnus didn't know what to do, or say, when the shadowhun.....Alec.....when Alec broke down crying.

Chapter Text

Magnus didn't know what to do. Alec was crying, and it didn't look like he was going to stop soon. Leaving the room didn't feel right. Going to him felt even more wrong. So what was left? Just staying in his place? No, Alec probably just wanted him to go away. But it was like Magnus was glued to the place he was sitting in. Not moving just appeared to be so easy. Not natural, not right, but easy. So he didn't move. Alec didn't move as well. He could probably go to the bathroom and be alone. Maybe he didn't realize he could. When things like that happen, we forget what we can, and cannot do, where we are, and where we want to be. Maybe he had forgotten Magnus was there altogether.

Or maybe it was another trick. Magnus was usually fairly good at seeing through people, but with Alec he really couldn't tell when he was faking, and when he wasn't. And he wondered if that said more about him, or the shadowhunter. Regardless, Magnus just wasn't going to leave. It was a stubborn decision, lacking any solid logic or reasoning, but he made it anyway. He was going to just sit there, and let Alec cry in silence. And if that was weird, so be it.

At the beginning Alec had his hand over his heart, but eventually he just used both of his hands to cover his eyes, his palms on top of them, and his fingers on his forehead, touching the beginning of his hair. And Magnus felt like just a statue in that room. He tried not to stare at him, because that was impolite, so he found some spot on the floor next to his shoes, and kept his look there. He could clearly hear the sobbing, but he tried not to let his ears focus too much on that noise.

After a while, when he heard it less and less, and then stop hearing it completely, he gave up on not looking at Alec, and turned to him again. His hands were now loosely around his bend legs, his head leaning against the wall, turned at some angle to the left, staring at something unknown. Magnus decided it was actually safer not to take his eyes away from his enemy, so ignoring all the politeness pouring from him before, he continued to watch Alec, while Alec was watching whatever he was watching. He didn't look that much better, but he also didn't look like he was going to start crying again. It was easy to watch him, when he wasn't watching Magnus back. Unusually and worryingly easy, like just sitting there like a statue and not saying anything had been. It didn't require much effort.

At one point something collided with the barrier, and successfully startled both of them. It was a fire message addressed to Magnus, but it couldn't get into the room, so it just kept hitting the barrier, creating an unpleasant sound. Magnus, who was really close to it anyway, reached his hand outside to take the message in his hand, but otherwise didn't move from his place. It was from the Clave. Magnus reаd it through the pale blue curtain the barrier created. He did that out loud, so Alec could also know what it was about.

Magnus Bane,
The Clave received and thoroughly discussed
your last request. It was accepted. Another meeting
will be arranged at the same place, during a time
of your choosing. We hope to achieve better results
for the sake of our two kinds.

Expecting your next message,
Inquisitor Garroway.

 

"Oh no..." Alec said quietly, but enough audible for Magnus to hear.

"They certainly took their time responding," Magnus commented, looking back at the shadowhunter. Magnus had given them a two days deadline, and they had sent this almost at the last possible moment, "They were trying to give you time, right? Giving you a chance to escape, or maybe even succeed in killing me. And you couldn't."

Alec looked at him in a kind of tired way, but also his famous blank expression was trying to creep its way back in. Was he disappointed in himself for not getting out of there in time? Or for getting caught in the first place?

"Do you think it's your fault the Clave had to sent this?" Magnus asked, "Does the Clave think it's your fault? Would they blame you for putting them in the situation of trying to reason with the enemy?" No answer followed. Magnus exhaled loudly, trying not to laugh sarcastically, "Seriously, who do they think I am? They thought it would be manageable for you to just find your way out, going to them with my head on a silver platter? That is so absurd and unrealistic," and was also making Magnus angry for some reason, "No, it's not your fault you couldn't pull this off. It's not your fault you're here right now. Those are my accomplishments, and I deserve to take the credit for them. I'm not just anyone. I'm Magnus Bane, and I'm awesome, and it's not so easy for anyone to put me down." Magnus stopped himself there, because what was meant to be a sarcastic speech, exposing the Clave's foolishness, turned out more silly than it was intended.

Alec just sighed, and silence followed for a minute, before Magnus spoke again.

"Have you noticed that every time you try to execute some strategy against me, you end up being hurt just as much as I am?"

Alec blinked a couple times before turning 180 degrees, positioning himself with his back to Magnus, and facing the wall by the bathroom door. Again, he could have just walked out and went to the bathroom, like he had done when Catarina had been talking to him, but he didn't. And Magnus could just exit the room, but didn't. But maintaining the silence was not the easy thing to do anymore. Magnus wanted to speak. He didn't know about what, but just wanted to do it. And if that meant he was going to speak to Alec's back, talking to himself, then fine.

"I still don't know how you got to Madzie," he began, picking that subject automatically, not expecting any answer at all. So he was surprised when he got one.

"I wasn't part of that mission, and the Clave doesn't know anything about it," Alec said, not turning from where he was, his back still at Magnus, "That was executed mostly by my sister, and I know what she told me about it." That explained why it had been hard for Magnus to find a memory about it. Alec continued, "We have a rune which could make us appear as anyone we choose, no matter if we've seen the person face to face, or just seen his or her picture. So my sister pretended she was you, when your friend Dorothea gave her Madzie."

"That couldn't have worked," Magnus objected, "If they are old enough, warlocks can sense each other, can sense the magic radiating from the other person. The feeling is so authentic, it can never be mistaken. Dorothea would have never fell for that, she would immediately feel it isn't me."

"Maybe she would," Alec conceded, sounding a little proud, "If she was still a warlock."

Magnus buried his head in his hands in a moment of surrender. Of course, if the Clave knew about Dorothea, she must be either dead, or a mundane. How could he even suspect anything different? The Clave didn't care that what they were doing was so morally wrong on so many levels. They just wanted to crush his kind, indulging in their revenge fantasy, because of what happened three years ago.

"You just said the Clave didn't know about Madzie." And Magnus had thought maybe they really didn't, because if they did, then why was she at someone's house, and not at the Institute, being forced to give up her immortality and magic.

"They DON'T know about Madzie," Alec said, emphasizing it with his voice. Yeah, like Magnus had any reason in a world to believe that, "They just know about Dorothea. And that's because she came to us. She gave herself in, and made the choice to cure herself."

"Well, I'm sure, with her life hanging on the line for three years, she really must have had a hell of a choice. I'm sure she decided this without any pressure. And most of all, I'm certain she would have made the same choice in a different circumstances on her own." Magnus was so close to really raising his voice, but fought it. He had had enough screaming earlier, and it wasn't going to change anything now. He just felt so bad for Dorothea. If she had been able to do this, she must have really lost all hope. And he felt like that was on him somehow. Like she had lost hope in his ability to change things.

Alec kept talking, like he hadn't heard anything from what Magnus last said, "After she left the Institute, she must have thought the Clave won't deal with her any more. But we decided to keep an eye on her, just in case she comes in contact with other warlocks. That's how my sister found out where she lived, and about Madzie. She was reluctant to notify the Clave, but instead choose to take the girl away from there on her own. Before anyone else could find her."

"Like who? Other shadowhunters?" Magnus asked, not understanding this.

"Other warlocks," Alec responded like it was the most obvious thing that was what he meant, "Madzie's gills on her neck are very dangerous. She could be manipulated and used against us."

"Right. And what would the Clave think, when they found out you and your sister had been hiding a warlock girl, without telling them? Won't this get in the way of your family's perfectly crafted image?" Magnus questioned him in a daring way.

"No, because Madzie won't be a warlock long enough for this to become a problem." Alec sounded so sure of himself, Magnus wanted to get to him and shake him hard.

"You have no right to make this decision for her. Who are you?" Magnus had to remind himself again not to raise his voice.

"She is going to decide it herself. She is a smart girl. She will make a smart choice for her life." Alec replied, and Magnus hated that he sounded calmer than Magnus himself. Listening to him now, you would have never guessed he had been crying not so long ago, "And for the record, Madzie said she didn't like living with your friend anyway."

"Yeah? Does she like living with Simon?" Magnus asked, using the name he had heard from Alec's memory. He made his voice mocking, reminding the shadowhunter he had looked through his memories. He regretted it instantly, seeing the way Alec froze for a second.

"You just make me sick." Alec uttered, and it hit Magnus harder than anything he had heard from him by this point. It was just so......difficult sometimes to live knowing there were people who would see you that way. As someone who would made them sick. As someone they would be disgusted from. It was a burden he had to carry his whole life, even before the Uprising. He could never seem to escape that. A hundred people telling him he was beautiful couldn't heal him from the feeling caused by that single one, who would say he was disgusting. And there was always that one person. No matter if it was his mother, or Alec. Someone would always tell him that, and it would always stay with Magnus for years, causing him pain.

He didn't want to fight with Alec, and didn't want to feel like this. He desperately tried to think of something to change the course that conversation took. He didn't want them to stop talking, didn't want to have time to think of Alec's words, or for Alec to think of them further.

"Is he a mundane?" Magnus blurted. And it was probably the worst thing to blurt, because by pointing the conversation back at that Simon person, he was again pointing it to the reason he knew about him at all.

"A vampire." Alec said, making Magnus feel relieved he gave an answer, not an insult. Then he thought more about that answer.

"A downworlder. Part demon. And he is your friend?"

"The Clave hadn't had any really serious problems with downworlders, other than your kind, for over 70 years now. Plus I've known Simon for a long time, even before he was a vampire. He would never hurt Madzie."

"Why are you telling me so much about her?" Magnus couldn't help himself asking. How did they go from "I killed her", to telling him so much information about how they found her, and what was she doing?

"Just be grateful I do, and leave it at that. And it's not like I'm telling you the really important things, like where she is." Yeah, that was important. And Magnus needed to find it out.

"I'm curious, what catastrophe do you think will happen, if I know where the girl I've been taking care of for a long time is?" It was probably because if Magnus knew, then he would take Madzie with him, and Alec couldn't fulfil his terrible intentions to convince her to get rid of her powers.

"I would never endanger Simon by telling you where he is. And I can't let you use Madzie's powers as a weapon, and threaten the Shadow World."

"I would never do anything like that." Magnus was in astonishment, and had no idea what did he ever do to make the shadowhunters believe he was capable of using a kid.

"Sure you wouldn't," Alec said derisively.

"I would never." Magnus repeated, saying every word clearly, although he knew it was probably in vain.

Unexpectedly, Alec turned back fast, changing his position so he was finally facing Magnus again.

"Tell me you've never harmed another person. Tell me you've never, in your long life, hurt or killed anyone who didn't deserve it, using your powers." Alec now looked straight into Magnus's eyes. But it was that kind of look that got Magnus questioning if Alec was seeing him at all.

"I have," he confessed sadly, then reflected the question back at Alec,"Tell me you've never harmed another innocent being." Because Magnus didn't know if warlocks counted in the "person" section. "Stop lying, and tell me you're 100 percent sure everyone the Clave sent you to kill deserved to die."

Alec didn't say anything, but Magnus didn't really need him to. His look turned into showing no emotion again, like a shield, guarding his actual thoughts. It was of no importance whether Magnus was looking at him or not at this point. He couldn't see through the shield.

"Don't fool yourself Alexander." Magnus continued, "You have blood on your hands as well. The difference between us- I'm trying to end this, while you are trying to continue it."

Alec looked at his hands for a moment, then his eyes got to the wound Magnus had bandaged earlier, and they stayed there for a long while. He didn't ask anything about it, or made any comment. His face stayed emotionless and he spoke again.

"If you really wanted to end it, you would have accepted the proposition my mother gave you at the meeting."

Magnus was disappointed they got back to that again. How could the Clave think all warlocks were just going to agree to this. No, this could only lead to even more vicious war, resulting in more attacks like the Uprising. And in the end everything will turn into chaos and death. Magnus couldn't let that happen. "If you knew a thing about peace, you would know you don't usually destroy a huge part of the other side to achieve it."

"Oh no. Of course not. Your way to achieve it, is by imprisoning people, using them as pawns for your own agenda. Congratulations Magnus Bane, that's so honorable." Alec said, pronouncing his name with spite.

"It's not how I wanted things to go," He really wasn't proud of that. He just couldn't see any other way then, or now.

"I can't care less about what you wanted. How do you justify this for yourself? Enlighten me how come what we asked of you in order to protect everyone, is this unheard of terrible act, but what you're doing, putting people in cages so you can use them as you please, it's completely okay." Alec asked, but not really sounding like any answer would be good for him.

"You can't compare the two things," Magnus started to explain anyway, "No, it's not okay. It would never be, and I would never say it is. But in the end of the day, if we really do achieve peace by some miracle, you will walk out of here the same as before. You will have everything you had from the beginning, and just carry on leading the life you know. But If I agree to become a mundane, I will never be the same. I would lose a part of myself I could never get back, and it would change everything about my life forever. And it won't achieve peace. Even if I agree, there will be many many others against this. And it would be impossible for me to control them, if I'm not a warlock. This is a ticking bomb, waiting to blow up in the Clave's face. How long do you think it will be, before the warlocks who live in hiding decide to unite against the shadowhunters, and against this proposition you're trying to force them into. Even if the Clave manages to kill them all, how many more casualties would there be?" Magnus took a deep breath before continuing, "My powers don't make me dangerous. If they did, you would be dead right now."

"If you weren't dangerous, I wouldn't be in this cage right now." Alec countered, "Your kind will always be dangerous. You are the only ones who could cause a massive destruction with a snap of your fingers. No other downworlder can do that. No one should be able to do that. You aren't supposed to exist in the first place."

"Who gave you the right to decide that?" Magnus asked, now really raising his voice. Then he closed his eyes for a second, and sighed, "If we are here, then there is a reason."

"Right. Some demon decided to rape an innocent woman. Great reason to be here." Alec simply said, indicating the way warlocks were often born.

"Your hate just lets you see what's convenient for you, and you turn a blind eye to everything else." Like how much good has his kind done. How much good have warlocks like Catarina done, and were still doing as they spoke.

"Hate," Alec laughed at that, "That sounds way too personal. I don't feel anything towards you, don't flatter yourself. I just think if you are going to go on like this, using your magic to do whatever the hell you want, the world would be a better place with you dead."

Magnus looked at him intensely, "My death won't bring you anything Alexander. Your days won't become brighter. The birds won't start singing louder. It won't make you happier."

"Don't talk with me like you know me. And don't think I will just give up now. I'll keep trying. And eventually, I'll think of something that will work." Something that would finally kill him, Magnus added to himself.

"Well, thank you for the warning, I appreciate it. I'll make sure I'm really careful around you."

Alec frowned, "That......that wasn't a warning. It was a threat."

"Whatever you say." Magnus said standing up. Alec traced his movement with his eyes, but didn't make any of his own.

Magnus felt really tired, this day had been one of the really long ones in his life. He looked around the room which looked like it had survived some sort of apocalypse. He wasn't about to start guessing what was usable, and what wasn't. So he walked out, only to come back a few moments later, Alec still sitting оn his previous spot. He brought him а broom, mattress, new blankets and clothes. He had to make a few walks to the room and back to bring him all that. Naturally, he would have just made them appear by magic, but he remembered Alec's words from the memory with Madzie- Please don't show me anything- and that had stopped him. It was so unreasonable in a way, because Magnus had already done so much magic in front of Alec already, and he was probably about to do much more in the future, if only because he needed to protect himself around him. But still, at that moment magic wasn't really necessary, so Magnus didn't use any.

"Are you okay to sleep on a mattress on the floor?" He asked him when he was done.

Alec rolled his eyes, "Why are you even still talking to me?"

Magnus shrugged, "Because you keep talking back."

Alec just nodded, moving his eyes away from Magnus, and Magnus knew that was over. He was going to ignore him now. Well, okay then.

"Goodnight." He said before leaving. And it felt strange to be on the other side of the barrier again, after being in that room for so long.

Half an hour later, Magnus had already sent a message to Dorothea, informing her Madzie wasn't dead, and he was going to get her back. So he was busy walking aimlessly in his own room, unable to just go to bed and sleep, when another fire message came flying to his arms. It was from unknown sender.

Today, at 3pm the Clave finished their work on what
they call "a cure for magic", using all of their resources
to create it. It's a substance, which once injected in any
warlock's system burns away all their abilities forever.
At least 40 syringes with that substance have been given
to the Clave's most trusted members, shadowhunters
and allies among the downworlders. Watch your back
Magnus! And don't trust the Clave.

The Shadow World Guardian
(your ally amongst shadowhunters)

 

Magnus looked at the message with a horrible feeling setting in his chest. That was not possible. It wasn't supposed to be possible to take away a warlock's powers like that. Their powers were not supposed to be something which could be taken away from a shadowhunter, only by another warlock. Shadowhunters could manipulate them, threaten their lives, pressure them into deciding to give up their magic, but they weren't supposed to be able to take it away themselves in such a forceful way. That substance was not supposed to exist. Magnus read the message again, holding it with shaking hands. It said the Clave used their resources to make it. And what resources were that? The same ones that had allowed them to create the enchanted ball? Magnus had to get to the bottom of this. In the morning. When he could think properly.

Now, he tried to use his magic to find out who had sent him the message, but it was of no use. The only certain thing about it, was that it had been a shadowhunter. Only shadowhunters and warlocks were able to make fire messages. Warlocks- by creating them with magic, and shadowhunters- by using one of their runes. And you could usually tell one from the other. Once created, the fire message always found it's way to the indicated receiver, no matter if the person sending it knew where the receiver was, or not. But it was incredibly hard to use the message to track it back to the sender, if you didn't know who that person was. Could Magnus really trust this message? Was that unknown shadowhunter telling him the truth? It was hard to believe the Clave could create something like this, but it was also something Magnus couldn't condemn as untrue with any conviction. What if the Clave had waited so long to sent an answer to his request, not only because they were giving Alec time to escape, but also because they needed the time themselves to make this? Magnus had to talk to Catarina about it first thing, when she comes back.

He sat on his bed, lost in thought. His room just looked so empty. And it appeared to be getting emptier and emptier by the second. He didn't feel like he could sleep there. He gave it more thought, but then just gave up. He took a mattress and blankets, and went to his hallaway by Alec's room. It was the same spot he had been, during Cat's talk today. A place really close to Alec's room, but far enough so they couldn't see each other. Magnus remembered this morning (or midday, because he had slept more than he should have), when he had decided to stay away from that shadowhunter. But could you really stay away from your enemies? You were supposed to keep them close, right? Especially at times like these. So Magnus tried not to make too much noise when he settled to sleep on the floor in his hallway.

Chapter Text

Magnus actually managed to have a good enough sleep, much to his skepticism about how that was possible. In the morning, he made copies of the fire message about the so called cure, and sent them to as many warlocks as he could, warning them of that danger. He still didn't know whether to believe it, especially coming from an unidentified source, but it was too serious to be overlooked. If there was a substance, capable of erasing his powers, Magnus needed to get his hands on it, and see how it was made. So he didn't want to rush the second meeting about the negotiations just yet. Which was the reason why he notified the Clave that in a week from now, on the same hour and place as before, would be the time he prefers to have that meeting. He didn't know if that was enough time to research what the Clave had and didn't have, what could be used against him, and what exactly were their resources, but it was something. Magnus didn't want to make the mistake of going to the meeting unprepared again, because last time almost had cost him his life.

On top of everything, he needed to find where Madzie was. He couldn't just leave that, even if Alec was telling the truth and the Clave didn't know about her. Magnus had to see her with his own eyes, to ask her how she was, and decide what to do next. To bring her back to Dorothea after everything wasn't a good option any more, because she was already under the shadowhunters radar. So Magnus didn't know where was the best place for Madzie right now, but he was going to resolve it, taking one step at a time. First, he needed to get to her. And he needed Alec for that.

"You need to tell me where your friend Simon lives." Magnus started in front of the shadowhunter's room. It looked different than it had the previous night. Alec seemed to have tried to clean the mess, gathering everything that was completely destroyed and couldn't be of use at the left corner, and the rest, about which there was still some hope- on the right, where the mattress he was sitting on was. The room seemed so unbalanced that way, not only in and out itself, but compared to the rest of Magnus's house as well, which was nothing less than clean, tidy and perfect. But Magnus enjoyed that contrast, and wasn't about to try fixing it with magic. If the room had been captured in a painting, standing in some gallery, it was going to be one of those paintings which no one knew the meaning of, but everyone had a theory.

Alec was holding some notebook that had apparently survived the previous night, and was writing something in it, not sparing a look at Magnus, or giving his request any of his attention. He was wearing a blue shirt, and it was the first time Magnus had seen him in anything other than black.

"Hellooooo," Magnus tried again, before proceeding with more serious measures. There was no answer, "Okay, you either tell me what I asked you, or I will get in there, and search your memories to find it out."

Alec stopped with his writing, but didn't raise his head from the notebook, "You won't dare."

"Won't I?"

Alec finally looked at him, considering what he had said, "You think I'll just let you?"

"You didn't seem to have much of a choice yesterday. What makes you think today will be any different?" Magnus asked with steady voice. He was going to get to Madzie, one way or another. He didn't want to have to look through Alec's mind again, seeing as how awful Alec seemed to find this, but he was going to, if that was the only way.

Alec watched him for a long moment. He was with that fake unbothered expression of his, that shield Magnus had learned to recognise as pretend. True, he didn't know if Alec was afraid per se by the possibility of Magnus searching his mind again, but he knew the shadowhunter was in no way that calm about it either.

He left the notebook beside the mattress carefully, like he was about to prepare for a fisting match and needed his hands free, before he spoke, "I can't have Madzie under your influence. No, I'm not telling you anything."

"I'll find out anyway. Wouldn't it be better if it's not by this method you dislike so much?"

Alec shook his head, his face showing nothing but seriousness, "I'll take my chances. Come on, get in. I promise you, I will do everything in my power not to let you get back out this time. So I guess in the end, either you'll kill me, or I'll kill you."

Magnus sincerely doubted their interaction, although promisingly unpleasant, would ever reach these extremes. Once he could start the memory spell, Alec would lose consciousness, and wouldn't be able to do anything. But if he was honest with himself, he didn't want it to come to that. So, he had another card he could play.

"What if you could come with me? What if we could go to Madzie together?" Magnus asked.

Alec raised his eyebrows in surprise. Then he walked to the barrier, putting his hand over it, demonstrating his point, "Hmm, I don't see how that would be possible."

"There is nothing impossible in my line of work. After I made certain well needed spells to make sure you won't be able to kill me, or go to the Institute, I can let you out of here. I mean, you want to get out of the cage, right? So what do you say you do?"

Alec looked through the room like there was some hidden answer in there only he knew about, then right in Magnus's eyes, "No." He said with conviction and seriousness.

Damn it, Magnus thought. He decided to make one last try, before doing things the hard way.

"Okay, but what about Simon?"

"What about him?" Alec asked carefully.

"Yesterday you said you don't want to endanger him. Think about that. If I get what I want, and succeed in finding his address from your mind, how could you ensure he would be okay? Wouldn't it be better if you just tell me what I need to know, and we go there together, so you could keep an eye on me, and prevent me from hurting him? Isn't this a better option, than risking I find him out using you anyway, and going there on my own?"

Alec moved swiftly, grabbing some part of the now non existing drawer, the piece - the size of his hand, and threw it at Magnus's face with force. Magnus managed to move slightly away on time, so it didn't gouged his eye out, but only scratched his forehead. He put his hand there, and there was blood. Wow, that really could have taken his eye out. Alec was smiling at his direction in a way that made him look creepy.

"I have a good aim." He said, "And don't ever threaten my friend again."

It was a good thing there were no knives, or anything like that in that room, Magnus thought. He and Catarina had taken care of that from the beginning, and thank god they had. Because he didn't want to think about what his head was going to look like now, if it was a knife Alec had thrown.

"Was this another 'no' ?" Magnus asked calmly, because he didn't want to give Alec the satisfaction of getting on his nerves.

"That was ' just go to hell already', " Alec interpreted, before retreating and sitting on the mattress. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes and opened them again, "Fine. I'll tell you where Madzie is, if that means I get to go with you," he looked at Magnus, "But first, you do whatever magical stupid thing you need to do to protect yourself, and then break the barrier. Once I could walk out, I'll tell you where we need to go."

"We have a deal."

Magnus went to his living room, healed his wound, and started preparing all he needed. It was half an hour later when he was in front of the shadowhunter's room again. He brought him a cup of tea, and slid it down the floor to pass the barrier.

"You need to drink this." He explained him.

"What will it do?" Alec asked, looking at the tea, like it was a grenade.

"Two things. First, it will connect your life to mine. Don't worry, it's not ''I feel it- you feel it'' sort of connection like the one you share with your parabatai. It's much more basic than that. If my heart stops, your heart will also stop. Needless to say, I don't recommend you trying any attempts of murder. The second thing is, it won't let you go in more than a few meters away from me."

"A leash. Great. Are you planning on fetching me a bone on our way there?"

"Ha ha. Our way there will be through a portal we will take from here." Because despite being his unwilling guest, Alec didn't know Magnus's address, and Magnus wanted to keep it that way. So going outside was out of the question. After all, Alec will someday, hopefully not too long from now, go back to the Institute. And Magnus was going to make sure he goes there knowing as little information about him as possible.

"So, no fresh air and sun light for me. This deal just gets better and better." Alec added sarcastically.

"You can still choose not to drink it. But that will put us back to where we were at the beginning."

Alec took the cup in his hand, examining the liquid in it for a while, "Cheers," he said, before he started drinking. He stopped shortly after, his face twisted in a grimace, "That tastes horrible," he complained, "Are you seriously able to make a magic tea, capable of doing all that you mentioned, but you can't make it taste better. Your magic sucks." Alec declared, before starting to drink again.

He drank all of it, making grimaces all the way. And Magnus really didn't want to laugh at him, but that took an effort on his part.

"That was just blah." Alec said, putting the cup away, "Just like...........blah. And not the fun kind."

"Thank you for this amazing description Alexander."

"Amazingly accurate, you mean. If I die from your tea, that's on you."

Magnus was about to smile, but he stopped himself on time. What was wrong with him? He had to find Madzie, and it was a serious matter.

"The effects of the tea start immediately, and wear off after about four hours. So....Madzie's location?"

Alec grabbed the notebook he had before, wrote something in it, and teared the page, "It's written here. I will happily give it to you, once I'm able to."

That was Magnus's cue about the barrier. He closed his eyes, saying the words he needed to, and when special energy started coming out of his hands, he pointed it at the barrier, concentrating. It didn't took too long for the blue vail around the room to start becoming less and less noticeable, until it completely disappeared. The barrier was down.

"You can come out now." Magnus told Alec, who had been intensely looking at him during the whole process.

Magnus stepped back to make place for Alec to walk past him, without that causing them to be too close, but keeping an eye on him nonetheless. Alec took a step after step slowly, until he found himself in the hallway with Magnus. Magnus already had erased any and all evidences he had slept there the previous night, so he wasn't worried the shadowhunter might figure that out.

Alec gave Magnus the piece of paper in his hand, not really paying attention to him any more, but looking around. Magnus read the address there, and made the portal.

"Let's go." He told Alec. The shadowhunter didn't react for a few seconds, and if Magnus didn't know any better he would say he was nervous. But then he nodded, and him and Magnus went through the portal.

They found themselves in a room surrounded by many drawings, hanging from the walls, signed by someone named Clary. There was a man whose back was in front of them, sitting on the couch, watching TV with popcorn in his hands, apparently still not knowing they were there. He was watching The Lion King from the looks of it.

Alec coughed to make his presence known, "Simon- " he said gently, but causing the man to jump anyway, and to spill some of the popcorn on the floor. Why was a vampire watching movies with popcorn, Magnus wondered. It wasn't like he could eat them. The man who was apparently Simon turned his head at their direction. He had dark hair and brown eyes, which were now staring at Alec in awe.

"Holly.......Oh my.......Alec......."

"Miss me?" The shadowhunter asked, coming closer to Simon. Then, a second later Simon used his vampire speed to run to Alec, hugging him in a way that almost caused both of them to fall on the ground. Alec was a little caught off guard, but quickly recovered, and wrapped his arms around Simon without a second thought, smiling. There was no comparison between his smile now, and the one he had after throwing that drawer piece at Magnus. That one was so different and so warm, Magnus though he could never mistake it with any other now, sarcastic or fake one, because it was just not possible. It was peculiar that Simon could be so close to Alec's neck during that hug, without Alec giving any indication of getting concerned about that even for a moment. The thought that Simon could lose his control under the influence of his surprise, and bite him without meaning to, never seemed to cross Alec's mind. No, he was just so carefree, hugging a vampire, not pulling away.

Magnus knew a lot of vampires. And some of them really had friends amongst the shadowhunters. But it was rare to see a shadowhunter and a vampire behaving so casually, so not caring about what they were, and what that meant. True, vampires were far from being treated like the warlocks were now, but there were prejudices about them as well. Apparently, not in this case.

It was strange for Magnus to see Alec and Simon, knowing this was what he had wanted his whole life. To be treated without prejudices. People to see him as who he was, and not just what he was. He never seemed to have that, and this filled him with a sense of deep loneliness.

"Are you okay?" Simon asked, letting Alec go to get a good look at him.

"I was tortured with magical tea, but I'll be fine. I'm like Superman, remember?" Alec joked, then turned serious and looked at Magnus, pointing Simon's attention at him, "I'm so sorry." Alec told Simon guiltily, looking sideways for a second, probably apologising that he had brought Magnus there.

Simon looked at Magnus, and that was all it took for his happiness from before to turn into tension, coming off of him in waves, ''It's okay.'' He told Alec to reassure him he wasn't mad at him, but it didn't look like it was okay at all.

"I don't think we've been properly introduced," Magnus stepped up, raising his hand for a handshake, "I'm Magnus."

"I know." Simon said, not raising his hand back, so Magnus retreated his own in an awkward move.

"Okay, since we cleared that, where is Madzie?" He asked, happy to get to the point already.

Simon sent un uncertain look at Alec, until the shadowhunter nodded, showing him it was okay to answer. Magnus was getting annoyed at this.

"She is in the room down the hall on the left. She didn't want to watch the movie with me, so she went to play a video game."

Magnus debated with himself whether it was a good idea to leave Alec and Simon alone to go find Madzie. But he couldn't think of anything crucial Alec could tell Simon in the meantime, anything serious enough to be used against him, or cause his demise somehow, or anything like that. And it wasn't like Alec could go very far, thanks to the spell in the tea. So he just went the direction Simon showed him, being careful not to let his guard down.

Chapter Text

On his way to Madzie, Magnus passed through the kitchen he had already seen in Alec's memories. It felt different seeing something through somebody else's eyes, and with your own. Magnus couldn't explain it, but that kitchen felt like it was lacking light now in some way. Not too long after, he reached the room Simon was talking about. The door was opened, and there was Madzie, sitting on a chair, looking very absorbed in what was on the screen in front of her. In the game she was playing, her character was beating up two other people, using swords which were on fire somehow, trying to kill them, and Magnus truly wondered if Simon knew which games were suitable for children, and which ones were not.

Magnus hadn't seen Madzie for so long. And looking at her now, it was one of those moments when you forget all your problems, and all the things you could never fix, things that couldn't go the way you wish them to, things that were haunting you at night. All those things just went in the background now, because Magnus couldn't help but feel so grateful, that it overpowered everything else he was feeling before that moment. He was so grateful he found her, that he had the opportunity to see Madzie was okay with his own eyes, and not from someone else's memories, not having to trust or rely on someone else's word for it. It felt like nothing was stopping him to breath anymore. Feeling relief, being hopeful was easy now. To keep fighting for his people didn't appear so meaningless or daunting. And he also felt gratitude to the people in the other room. No matter if they were his enemies or not, Madzie was going to be in a much worse position now if it wasn't for them. If other shadowhunters had found her, things would have been very different.

Magnus knocked on the open door, and Madzie turned her head at him. Then she smiled so widely.

"You came to see me!" She said loudly, forgetting all about the game, and jumping to give him a hug. Magnus kneeled to hug her in return, and it was like all the loneliness he felt minutes before was chased away by Madzie, and had hid itself somewhere to become undetectable. At least for that moment.

"Don't tell me you doubted I would."

"Well, I didn't exactly, but they told me you were probably very busy, and I'll put myself in danger if I went to you. So I said okay, but one day I waited for Simon to fall asleep, and I wrote you a letter. Did you get it?" Madzie asked.

"I did. Thank you." Magnus said simply, smiling at her.

Madzie kept smiling back proudly. Then she started to fire up questions, "How did you know I was here? Are you planning to stay? Are we both going to go somewhere? How are you doing? What happened since the last time you saw me? Did you have interesting adventures? Did you make new friends? Did you encounter other kids like me? Did you learn new spells? Did you meet someone and fall in love? I want to know everything."

Magnus laughed, "I'm sure your adventures were much more interesting than mine. And I promise to tell you all about mine, if you tell me about yours. About how I found you- well, I guess you could say a certain shadowhunter named Alec showed me the way."

"You met him," Madzie exclaimed with astonishment, "That is so awesome. Did you become friends?" she asked, sounding hopeful.

But Magnus had to disappoint her, "Well.......not really, no," he confessed, "But let's say we made a deal for him to take me here."

"Oh," Madzie sighed, appearing a little down and subdued, "If you're not friends, is it okay that I'm friends with him? You're not angry at me for that, are you? Because I want to keep being friends with you as well."

Oh, of course he wasn't. How could she think that? His enemies didn't have to be hers as well. It was never something Magnus wanted.

"Madzie," Magnus started, putting his hand on her shoulder, "You can be friends with whoever you wish to be. That's never going to affect the friendship between you and me. Because that one is so solid, it will keep going forever." He winked at her and the optimism returned in her eyes.

She looked like she had an idea, "You know, this could even turn out great. Now that I'm friends with shadowhunters, I could be your secret spy in their lair. We could meet in secret late at night. Or rather- during the day, because that's when Simon sleeps, and I could tell you information about them."

She sounded so enthusiastic about this plan, Magnus couldn't stop smiling, "That's genius. Okay partner. What information have you gathered so far?"

Madzie started thinking, "So, it's not much, but listen," she checked if Magnus was paying attention, before continuing, "Izzy is Alec's sister. She is very beautifull. Simon is affraid of snakes. He has a cat. Alec loves cats. Izzy and Simon are engaged. Alec doesn't have a favourite movie. Simon has hundreds of favourite movies. Alec can imitate characters from Disney movies. Simon can talk really fast. And...........I think that's all I can think of right now. But I'll know more in time."

Magnus nodded, amused. What really caught his attention and stayed with him from the things she mentioned, was the engagement between Simon and Isabelle. That was really really rare. A shadowhunter to have a romantic relationship with a downworlder on this level- this was not something you could usually see at all. What other surprising things were going on at that Institute?

It explained why Alec trusted Simon so much. Once again, Magnus found himself sort of envying what Simon had. But it was a healthy kind of envy, he hoped. With no bad feelings, or actual jealousy behind it. Magnus just wished someday he could have the same, although sincerely doubted there was a possibility of that, if he was honest with himself.

"Wait," Madzie said remembering, "You didn't answer whether I'm going to keep being here, or not."

Magnus thought about that. Could he let her stay?

"Do you feel safe here Madzie?" He asked, "Do you wish to stay? I mean, apart from the secret spy idea, what would you want?"

"Well, the truth is, I would really want to live with you." She answered with certainty, which warmed Magnus's heart. He wished that was possible, he really did. But he knew it wasn't an option. Magnus's life was in danger every minute of every day. Being around him wasn't going to do Madzie any good.

He hugged her again before saying what he had to, ''I'm sorry we can't just do that. With me you won't be safe.''

Madzie signed, ''I know. I knew you'd say that.'' She didn't sound disappointed, but resigned maybe, ''If I can't live with you, being here longer is not such a bad thing," she stated.

Magnus played and played with that possibility in his mind. He tried to think of another place he could take her, where he could be sure she will be safe, but he came out short of ideas. The problem about leaving her with a warlock was always the same- what if the Clave finds that warlock? What if something similar to what happened with Dorothea repeats again? Thinking about it from this angle, Simon was not a shadowhunter and not a warlock. At the same time he was engaged to Isabelle, which meant he must have the Clave's trust. Would someone suspect him of hiding a warlock child in his own house?

Madzie apparently saw how thoughtful Magnus was, so she continued, "Really, it's okay if I stay. Simon is a little strange, but he and Izzy treat me really well. I like it better here than when I was with Dot."

"Yes, Alec said something along those lines," Magnus remembered.

"Not that she didn't treat me well and all," Madzie was quick to reassure, "But she was just so melancholic and sad. She wasn't in a good mood very often."

Oh Madzie, Magnus thought. You should see how I get some days. Or actually, I wish you never see me like that, "Sometimes it's hard for people like us in times like these." He said, and Madzie nodded. Magnus knew she didn't really understand it, she was too young for that. But she could be incredibly perceptive at times as well.

There was a silence after, but it didn't last for long, "Hey, did you bring me anything? You haven't seen me in a long time, so when you come to say 'hello', it's polite to bring a present."

"Oh, is it?" Magnus asked, chuckling, "But of course I knew this. I just left the present with Simon. Would you excuse me for a moment so I can go there and get it?"

Madzie nodded, a knowing smile on her face. She knew he was bullshiting her, and was about to go and create a present with his magic. Just like Magnus knew she deliberately changed the subject, because she didn't want to see him sad as well.

 

Magnus was just walking past the kitchen, thinking about what would Madzie want, when he had a feeling there was someone behind him. And he didn't know why exactly he was sure it was Alec, but probably as a result of everything that had happened until that point, he could sense his presence now. Maybe if it was somebody else, anybody else, Magnus wouldn't notice until it was too late. But with Alec, he was just positive. He turned around immediately, not waiting a second longer, seeing and catching the hand which was going to the direction of his neck. Magnus's fingers closed around the wrist tightly. And it was indeed Alec's hand, and he was holding a syringe. Alec gasped in surprise, not ready for Magnus to turn around so quickly.

"What is this?" Magnus asked quietly, but steadily, his eyes darting from Alec to the syringe he almost got injected with.

Watching the shadowhunter's expression, Magnus had a flashback of the first time Alec had opened his eyes in the room he and Cat had prepared for him. That time when Alec had looked at him with fear, one of the only times that had happened. It wasn't the same look now, but for a few moments- it was so close to it. There was something else in Alec's eyes as well, but Magnus couldn't name it.

Then, in a flash, Alec was just gone. In one moment Magnus was holding his hand, in another- there was just air. Vampire speed, Magnus realized. Simon must had done that. He had most likely pulled Alec away fast enough for Magnus to lose his hold on him. And if Magnus had to guess what would follow now, he would say they were going to attack him together.

Since the negotiations, Magnus had been working on the protection spell he had around himself back then, trying to improve it. He had made that same spell today, while making the tea for Alec. The difference now was that he could turn it on and off when he desired. So he turned it on, waiting for Alec or Simon to make their move.

He didn't need to wait too long. Someone tried to grab him from the side, and it happened so fast that Magnus felt it at the same time as the scream of pain happened. It was Simon. He wasn't moving fast anymore, so Magnus could see him falling on the ground, injured. His hand was badly burned after touching Magnus, and he dropped the same syringe that had now been on him. Magnus took it from the floor and gave it a closer look. You couldn't see the liquid in it, and he needed time, Catarina and his spell book to analyze it. But even now, it wasn't that hard to figure out what it must be. Magnus didn't want to believe it yesterday, didn't want to think how horrible it would be if that message about the cure for magic turned out to be the truth. But now he didn't have a choice. Alec knew their lives were connected so he couldn't have tried to inject him with something meant to kill. And Simon was apparently an ally of the Clave, so it was logical that he had been one of those who were given the substance. He must have told Alec about it when Magnus was talking with Madzie. And they had decided to try this. Because why not. Apparently Magnus's right to choose to keep his magic was now non existent. Apparently he didn't count as a person who deserved to have a choice in the matter.

But it wasn't even just that. Magnus had no idea how this so called cure was made, how exactly it worked, what effects did it have. So he knew absolutely nothing about how it would work alongside with the tea Alec had drunk. How the effects of the one will combine with effects of the other. If they had succeeded to inject him and take away his magic, what happens to Alec? Will he turn into a mundane as well, will he remain unaffected, will he die? That was all very valid questions Magnus didn't know the answers of. And Alec himself couldn't have known the answers. Because even if he was well-informed about that substance, which Magnus really doubted, he knew next to nothing about the tea Magnus had given him. To know what something does, isn't equal to knowing how it does it. This was a tremendous risk on Alec's part, no matter how you try to twist it. How desperate was this shadowhunter to get rid of Magnus, if he was risking his life in every attempt? How reckless and how stupid was that? Was he trying to get a medal for idiocy? Magnus regretted so much he hadn't just kidnapped Maryse at the end of that meeting. Stupid inconvenient circumstances, not letting that happen. He so wished he could bring back time and take her, instead of this son of hers. The prospect of dealing with Maryse now sounded like a dream, compared to Alec.

Why was everything so hard? He couldn't have one hour of peace visiting Madzie. Where were the days when shadowhunters actually protected the ones who needed it, as opposed to attacking them? Nowadays they acted more like common killers. Was that what it meant to be a shadowhunter now? How in hell was Magnus supposed to achieve anything, anything close to a better future for Madzie, if everyone was so convinced he was pure evil that needs to be restrained?

Alec showed himself from the direction of the room they had portaled in at the beginning, and ran towards Simon who was lying in pain on the ground.

"You're going to be okay." He started telling him, examining his burned arm, his voice shaking, "Just breath, you will be okay. Does it hurt a lot? Of course it does. It'll heal. Don't worry, I'm going to help you okay? I'm going to get you some blood and I'm coming right back." Simon made a slight nod, his face looking pale. Alec ran to the kitchen, and Magnus heard a sound that was probably him opening the fridge. He turned back with some cup with a straw, and carefully gave it to Simon.

Magnus was watching them, feeling something he couldn't quite define. But it was dangerously close to disappointment. He was just so disappointed of everything, "There is a possibility you could have died at the end of this." Magnus said, his voice flat, the words felt hollow somehow. Alec was preoccupied with Simon. Or wanted to look like he was preoccupied with Simon.

"Wait, what? What is he talking about?" Simon asked weakly between sips, looking confused. So he hadn't told him about the tea. Or at least, not everything.

Alec shook his head in a weird gesture as the only answer to Simon's question. Of course he wouldn't tell him everything. If he had, Simon might not have been on board with this plan. And Alec just couldn't let anything stop him from taking away Magnus's choice from his hands. After everything Magnus had said during their conversation, about how wrong it was to force this decision on warlocks. About how no one had the right to do that. The more Magnus thought about it, the more revolted it made him feel.

''I feel sorry for you.'' Magnus said.

Alec turned his head at him. Another look Magnus couldn't interpret. And he wasn't trying to. He just looked back at Alec.

How long that lasted, he didn't know. His focus entirely changed when he heard Madzie's scream. He turned off the protection spell without second guessing that decision, because he could never risk hurting her by mistake, "What's going on?" she came running from her room, going right to Simon and kneeling beside him, sitting next to Alec, "What happened? Is he okay?"

She looked at Magnus, but no words were coming to Magnus's mind all of a sudden. How do you explain this to a child? What do you say? For a long moment, everyone was silent.

"I'll be fine. Don't -" Simon started, but he was interrupted by Alec right away.

"No! No, he is not okay." Alec said.

When he looked at Magnus again there was clear determination in his eyes, "Magnus Bane just tried to kill Simon." He declared, pointing him.

What? No, that was not what happened. Alec couldn't think that was what had happened. He couldn't, right? He knew it was a result of self defense, and Magnus never intended to kill anyone. Simon had tried to grab him, Magnus was just protecting himself. Alec had to know that, how could he not?

Magnus was fighting with his confusion over this, when it came to him. Oh, Alec knew very well what had happened. He was acting now.

Madzie looked at Magnus with shocked eyes, "No, Madzie! It didn't happen like that." Magnus rushed to tell her the truth. Because the truth might be hard for her to understand, but it was a whole lot better than the lies Alec wanted her to believe.

"You're lying!" Alec interrupted again, "Madzie, look at Simon's arm. You can recognise right away this is caused by magic, can't you? And what does that tell you? He did this to Simon, it's obvious. Madzie, he tried to kill him, and he will try again. He hates shadowhunters, and he hates that we took you in. We need your help. Madzie, you need to do something to help us now. Please!" Alec pleaded, faking being scared at the right parts of his speech, enough to be convincing.

Madzie moved her eyes from Simon's arm to Magnus's face. Yes, she could recognise it was done by magic. Magnus opened his mouth to tell her what he needed to, but she stopped him, raising her hand, ''You can't do that. I told you, they are also my friends.'' She said, watching him with accusation and disapproval.

"Look at me,'' Magnus tried again, ''Look at me partner. You know me. You know I would never do this. Alec is pretending, trying to fool right now. I wasn't trying to kill anyone. That's not-" Magnus couldn't finish, because Madzie raised her hand again, but this time it was more than just a simple movement. Her sleeping spell hit him right on the spot he was standing at.

Magnus collapsed on the floor, dropping the syringe he had been holding, and fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Magnus woke up on а couch. But it wasn't his couch. He was in some room, but it wasn't his room. Hmm, where was he? Not in his house, that was certain. He blinked a couple of times, feeling kind of disorientated. What was this place? How did he get here? He had never been here before.

Oh! It was coming to him now. Oh, he had been here. Simon's house, Magnus realized. That was Simon's house, he and Alec had portaled here. And the room he was in, was the same room where Simon had been watching TV when Magnus came. What happened after? Where was Madzie?

Oh no! Madzie had used a sleeping spell against him. Magnus quickly got up from the couch. All kinds of horrible and more horrible possible scenarios were playing in his head. Madzie hated him now. She didn't want to listen to him. She hadn't even let him finish. She thought he was a killer, she didn't want to have anything to do with him anymore. He had lost her, this time for real. Not in the way he thought he had before, she was still alive, but he had lost her in another way. In just as painful way. She wouldn't want to see him again. She wouldn't want to listen to him anymore. Another person he had lost. How many more until it's over? But it would never be over. It was going to continue forever, because Magnus could live forever.

Or could he still? He didn't even know what had happened while he was out? He remembered the syringe dropping from his hand. Was Magnus even still a warlock anymore? Had they injected him with that syringe right after he had fаllen asleep? Because why would Alec miss a chance like this? Why lose any time? This was his golden chance.

The relief Magnus felt when he sensed the magic pulsing in his veins was immense! And then it was gone just like that. What if this substance needed time to take effect? What if it couldn't erase your powers right away, but it was doing it slowly over time? It could be, because Magnus didn't know anything about it. He could be on the process of losing his powers already. There was a chance that his powers might leave him any moment now. How would it feel? Is it going to hurt? Magnus didn't want to find out. But maybe it was too late. Could you make an antidote to this thing- again, Magnus had no idea.

Was Madzie still a warlock? Was she okay? How much time had passed since he fell asleep? Because if it was less than four hours that meant the tea Alec had drunk still hadn't wear off, and therefore he couldn't go far. He had to be still in the house. And Simon probably wouldn't leave him, which meant that Simon and Madzie could still be here as well. Right now. But if he had been sleeping for more than four hours, everyone could be everywhere. Alec could be in the Institute now, telling everyone where to find Magnus and kill him. Madzie could be anywhere in the world, and this time Magnus had no lead to find her. This time, even if he does find her, she wouldn't want to see him. Madzie would never want to see him.

No, you can't think like that, he said to himself. You can't just give up, thinking this way every time something bad happens. You are Magnus Bane. You are still alive! You are still a warlock! So move your ass, and see what you have missed.

He needed a watch. What time was it when he had portaled here? In the past Magnus didn't give much attention to things like time, because he was immortal, and the concept of time was different to him. But since the war with the shadowhunters had started, time had been as important as breathing. Time could save your life. If you know how to let it. Simon had left his phone on the table next to the couch. Magnus looked at the hour on the screen, and frowned. That couldn't be right. He wasn't sure exactly when he had portaled here, but if Simon's phone was working properly, and if the hour on it was right, Magnus couldn't have been sleeping for much more than 20-30 minutes, roughly speaking. Except sleeping spells usually last at least 2 hours. So, where was the logic here? Then it occurred to him- he never actually learned Madzie how to do a sleeping spell. And normal sleeping spells usually don't strike you that suddenly. If the other person is fully conscious like Magnus had been, he usually needed a minute before falling asleep. Magnus tried to remember what exactly he had felt after Madzie raised her hand. His mind had been completely invested in trying to explain her the truth, so he wasn't quite sure about that. But from the looks of things, Madzie had made a spell which was meant to be a sleeping spell, but in reality was more like part sleeping spell- part a spell to knock out somebody. So the effects were kind of in between as well. Also, Madzie had been really distraught, which probably also had played its role.

Well, on one hand, around 20 minutes sounded so much better than anything Magnus had imagined. Not much can happen in that short amount of time. For once his luck didn't betray him. And thank god for that! On the other hand, when this was all over, he had to teach Mardzie to use a sleeping spell. Because he was going to get her back. He had to believe he could. They had known each other for enough time not to let a bunch of lies destroy everything. And Magnus was certain she was still in the house.

Magnus started walking very slowly. He needed to be smart about this, if he really wanted Madzie to believe him. Simon and Alec wouldn't expect for him to be awake so soon, and he needed to use that in his advantage. Maybe invisibility spell? Until he has a better overview of the current situation, it seemed like not that bad of an idea.

Once he was done, he checked the lack of reflection in the window to be sure it was working. Because Magnus couldn't shake the maybe irrational fear that his magic was going to leave him any time now. He was trying to make his steps as quiet as possible. Now long after leaving the room he woke up in, he heard voices. Alec's voice, coming from the kitchen. What was about that kitchen that this shadowhunter always seemed to find his way back there? That could be turned into a joke, if Magnus had time to think of any, and if the situation wasn't so damn serious.

He made his way there, being careful and silent. The door wasn't closed, so Magnus didn't have to make a spell for intangibility as well. Madzie was there, as well as Simon. Great. Everyone at one place. Saved him the trouble of having to look for them one by one. Simon had changed his clothes. He looked fine, like nothing had happened. But it had, and Magnus's uneasy feeling in his stomach now was a constant reminder of that. Simon and Madzie were sitting on chairs not too far from each other, but not close as well, and Alec was sitting on the floor beside Simon's chair. The table was pushed at the corner of the kitchen for some reason, and Simon and Madzie's chairs weren't around it, but just positioned randomly in the free space. There were other chairs where the table was, but Alec seemed to had decided not to get any. Madzie looked kind of upset. Which was no surprise, given the fact that now she thought Magnus had attacked Simon to kill him. And how could you do this to a child? It was one thing for Alec to play with Magnus's emotions, but it was another to play with hers as well. Honesty, at this point, Alec had crossed so many lines, that it was really time for Magnus to stop being surprised. He was toying with people left and right, treating warlocks like garbage. He was the perfect example of everything wrong with the Clave's politics. If there was ever a doubt about the way the Clave proceeds about things, about their laws and believes, if anyone was ever unsure if they were right or not, you just show Alec to whoever is hesitant. Exhibit A about everything wrong with the Clave's way of thinking. You didn't even have to search for an Exhibit B after. Just two days with Alec were enough for everyone in their right mind to be convinced. Magnus wished he didn't know this from experience. But he did. Liar, manipulator, heartless killer when you point him a warlock. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you the shadowhunters of the new era. It was so disappointing. Because why try to be a decent person when you could just pretend all day, playing lies? Magnus wished he could say it was what he had expected from Alec. He wished he could say it didn't hurt him. But one of Magnus's greatest flaws was his inability to stop judging people by himself. He always thought if he would never do something, than another person would also never do it. But the world didn't work this way. Sadly.

He focused on Madzie more. She was holding something, moving it between her hands. When Magnus saw what it was, his blood turned cold. It was the syringe. His instincts screamed at him to just go to her now, take that syringe away from her hands, and take her away as well.

He couldn't. How was he going to do it? By forcing Madzie to go with him against her will? That was out of the question. But Madzie didn't trust him now. She wouldn't want to see him, or go with him. Maybe she would use another spell against him. And that was the last thing Magnus wanted. To put her in a position where she would ever think she needs to do something like that. He needed to gain her trust back first. And that was the reason why he had to wait, to see what the situation was, not to rush. He stood right at the entrance, where the door was going to be if it had been closed. He had a good look on all three of them from that position.

Madzie was the first one to speak since Magnus saw them, "Maybe that's not necessary," she said.

"You saw what Magnus just did. Do you really want to become like him? This is your chance to be better." Alec told her, pointing the syringe.

They were trying to convince her to inject herself with it, it seemed. Okay, Magnus started to feel even worse about this, but he continued to fight with himself to wait. Acting out now was no way to gain Madzie's trust back. It was just going to prove what Alec wanted her to believe.

"I'm a warlock now. And I would still never attack Simon." She said.

"That will change. Your powers will change your perspective of right and wrong eventually. I've seen it." Alec told her, sounding all knowing, and Magnus really just wanted to shut him up already.

Madzie continued to look at the syringe. And Magnus knew her well enough to see that she wasn't going to do this. She had no intention to use that syringe, but she wasn't saying it out loud, probably because she didn't want to upset Simon and Alec. Oh god! Give me the patience to keep standing where I am.

Madzie stood up, went to the table, and left the syringe on it, returning to her chair, "For right now I don't have this problem. Maybe you could just keep an eye on me? And if I really start to change, you will be around to help me, and I'll think about removing my powers then." Madzie proposed. Magnus could see the hope in her eyes that this will be the end of that conversation.

Well no, judging from Alec's expression this conversation had just begun. He got up, and started walking around and around that kitchen. Which made Magnus really anxious. What was he up to? When he was passing by the table, he made some odd move with one of his hands which Magnus couldn't understand at the beginning. But then he saw the syringe was no longer there when Alec retreated and went to sit on his previous place on the floor. Simon was watching Alec with a frown, he had seen that. But Madzie hadn't, because she was nervously looking at the floor currently, expecting a response to her words. And Magnus realised what was about to happen. No matter what Madzie says, no matter what decision she makes, Alec's intention had never been to let her leave the kitchen with her powers. Because this was his chance. He thought Magnus was going to sleep for a long time, and this might be his only opportunity left. He was going to try one more time to convince Madzie to listen to him, and if she doesn't, he was going to inject her with the syringe himself. Against her will. It didn't matter if she didn't want this. Maybe it had never mattered at all.

This whole situation was just getting more and more revolting. If there was no Shadow World, if there were no such things as cure for magic and shadowhunters, if Alec was just some person and Madzie was just a little kid, what Alec was planning to do was no different than a violent act against a child, for which he deserved a place in jail. Magnus knew now what he was going to do. He created a plan of his own. He was going to let Madzie see that side of Alec. She needed to see it with her own eyes. To know how dangerous he really was for her. And hopefully after that, her trust in Magnus was going to be restored. Magnus knew Madzie. He couldn't see how Alec might convince her to change her mind. He was going to fail, and when he fails, he was going to try to inject her. And that was going to be when Magnus interferes. He was going to use his magic to make the syringe disappear from his hands, and appear in Magnus. And Madzie was going to see what kind of a person Alec was.

"Alec, could you come with me for a second?" Simon asked suddenly.

Magnus had to move back as quietly as he could manage, when Simon and Alec moved away from Madzie, and went closer to the kitchen door.

"What?" Alec asked emotionlessly. He was so close to Magnus right then, that Magnus had the sudden desire to just reach out a little and strangle him.

"You know what." Simon said.

Alec kept looking at Simon, and Simon kept looking at Alec. And they proceeded to have some type of a conversation without words. Alec's expression turned from emotionless to really sad. And it was reflected right back on Simon's face. Simon was not on board with this. That much was clear. Alec sighed like there was some weight on his shoulders he was trying to get rid of. He covered his face with his hands for a second, before sighing again.

Simon and Alec's wordless conversation, which Magnus couldn't understand for the most part, lasted for a couple more moments, until Alec walked away, taking his previous place in the kitchen. Simon followed him.

Alec cleared his throat, "Madzie, do you want me to tell you a story about when I was around your age?"

Madzie nodded, not appearing so down now, probably glad for the change of topic. But was the topic really changed?

Alec started his story, "One day, me and a bunch of other kids snuck out of the Institute without a permission to. We were curious about the mudanes, wanted to see more of their lives. And back then, if you still didn't have your first rune, you weren't allowed to go out much. We were so enthusiastic to break the rules for once."

"Did you have fun?"

"Oh, yes," Alec made an attempt to smile, but his acting abilities weren't the same after that wordless conversation, "We went to a diner, ordered so many pizzas, like three times more than how many we were. At the Institute they usually teach you to eat healthy all the time. So we were like 'If we're breaking the rules, let's break them the way they deserve to be broken'. But after we ate all that, we realized we didn't have any money to pay."

"So what did you do?" Madzie asked, looking invested in this.

"The only thing we could. We ran away. You know, most mundanes aren't really used to running on a daily basis the way we were. So we got away really easy. And we were so proud of ourselves, it was ridiculous. We found a playground with swings and everything after that. We spent a lot of time there. At one point, we were sitting in a circle on a sand I think, talking about our biggest dreams and what we wanted to achieve when we get older. One of the kids said he wanted to become Inquisitor, other- that he wanted to play piano better than any mundane ever has. And then there was this friend of mine who said 'When I grow old, I want to become a warlock'." Alec laughed, but it didn't sound like he was laughing from joy. There was something right then, that made Alec more readable for Magnus than he had ever been.

"What did the other kids say?" Madzie asked.

"They laughed at him mostly. Told him this dream was impossible, because he was of course a shadowhunter. Told him it was also disgusting to have a dream like that. Because warlocks were downworlders, they were part demon, some of them were just as evil as the actual demons they were fighting against. My friend said he didn't believe that. He said he had seen warlocks, and they didn't seem evil. They seemed so intriguing, mysterious in a magical way. He said he found some kinds of magic to be pure and good. He told them he knew the dream was impossible, but...............but you could dream of anything, can't you?"

"Are you okay?" Madzie's voice was quiet, and she looking attentively at Alec's sad face.

Alec nodded, "My friend was just so deluded. The same way you are now. I understand you. When we are little, it's easy to only see the outside of things, and to think we saw everything. We don't see all that's ugly, because our minds can't recognise real ugliness yet. It just took him so much time to understand this. Please, don't be like him Madzie. It will cost you too much. Please, just see nothing good comes out of magic. Nothing good comes out of having powers. It will only hurt you."

"What happened to him?" Madzie asked.

Alec shook his head, "Nothing good. He was just so stubborn, holding onto his believes. He should have known better."

Simon put his hand on Alec's shoulder, and Alec put his on top of Simon's.

"Is there more to the story? About you and the other kids? How did the other shadowhunters found you?"

"Does that matter?"

"I'm curious." She wasn't that curious, Magnus knew. She was trying to change the subject, because she didn't want to use the cure, and she didn't want Alec to be sad either. She was trying to point his thoughts somewhere else.

"Well, the others told my friend he had to change his dream with something else, because he couldn't possibly dream of that. He refused at first, but they said if he doesn't change it, they were going to tell his parents that he was the one who organised the sneaking out, and made them all come with him. It wasn't true, but my friend knew he was going to be in a serious trouble if they fulfil this threat. So, he thought of another dream. He said he wanted to be the best archer in the world. Because he loved archery so much."

"Oh, so you took that idea from him? Because you use arrows. Did he inspire you about this?" Madzie asked.

"Something like that."

No. It hadn't been like that. Magnus didn't know why, but Alec's face was so readable at that moment, he could see the truth. There was no "friend". Alec was talking about himself. He was the kid he had been describing. He was the kid who wanted to be a warlock.

Something stuck in Magnus's throat. How many others like Alec were out there? How many who just didn't believe there was anything good about magic? How did Alec go from that kid to the person he was now? But he knew how. He had seen too much death. Too much ugliness.

"Anyway," Alec continued, "Our parents found us not too long after, tracking us by our belongings. And given the fact that we were all together at the same place, it wasn't so hard for them. It was this big scandal, and all of us received punishments. My mother watched me with disapproval for a whole week."

"Did you regret running away?"

"Yes and no. It was fun for the most part, but knowing what I know now, me and all the other kids put ourselves in a great danger just leaving the Institute like that. We were risking mundanes asking questions about the diner incident, and we were risking to run into a demon. The Institute has Wards against them, but the outside world is different. They are demons who can just smell shadowhunters, and none of us even had their first rune yet, so how were we going to protect ourselves?"

Madzie nodded. She was about to say something, but Alec beat her to it, "Madzie, we need to talk about the cure."

Madzie sighed, giving up on her quest to change the subject. Well, she never had any chances of succeeding from the start, and that was making Magnus angry. And by the way, what was Simon even doing there? He had said no words to Madzie so far, Magnus could even forget he was in the kitchen in the first place. What was his role? Being Alec's emotional support? Oh, come on! Magnus could sense Simon was against this, but he was doing absolutely nothing to stop it. So there was really no point of him being there. Surely he could stand around and look pretty somewhere else.

"Okay." Madzie said resigned, "Okay. Just hear me. I know about the Uprising. Not much, but a few things. I know there are evil warlocks out there who started this, and that's why I have to hide. But I'm telling you, I can control my powers. I have a lot to learn, but for now, I don't feel like I need to take them away. It doesn't feel right." Madzie said, pleading with him to understand. But he wasn't going to, and Magnus could see that.

"You think you know about the Uprising?" Alec challenged, "From who? Magnus Bane?" Madzie made a small nod, Alec shook his head, his voice was harsh, and Magnus had to once again fight his desire to intervene, "And what does he know about it? Was he а part of those who attacked? Because he is claiming he wasn't, and if he's not lying, then how could he know? I imagine he was probably fixing his make up when it happened." Pain spread in Magnus's chest. He had been crying that whole day. Because he couldn't find Catarina anywhere, and because the wounded shadowhunters who were sent to get his help were so many he couldn't possibly heal and save them all. And he had felt useless, "I'll tell you about the Uprising. In one day my home was invaded and destroyed untill nothing exept wreckage was left of it. At the end there were three types of shadowhunters - the ones who managed to evacuate from the Institute and run away, the ones who died, and the ones who wished they were dead."

Because they had lost a loved one, or because they had been violated somehow. Magnus knew. Maybe he didn't know the way Alec did, the way Catarina did. Maybe he hadn't been there, but it had affected him nonetheless. It was still affecting him now. It was affecting him every time someone behaved like Magnus was less than a person.

"Hey," Madzie started, her face devastated, but comforting at the same time, "I understand you've been hurt by magic-"

"Hurt?" Alec's voice was more calm now, but more sad as well, "No. Magic just......ripped my heart out. And it's gone now. And I've had to live without it ever since."

Max. Magnus remembered how when Alec had cried yesterday, there was a moment when he had put his hand over his heart. At the time Magnus had thought it was just a simple gesture, but maybe it had more meaning behind it. Maybe his heart was a metaphor for Max.

But Magnus knew Max hadn't died during the Uprising. It had been an year after that. It had been two years ago. There was more to this, and it was about that warlocks from Alec's memories.

"I don't understand." Madzie said, sounding disappointed in herself about that, and Magnus wanted so much to hug her. But she probably wouldn't let him. She thought he was a bad person now. Just like so many other people in this world.

"I'm sorry. That's not your fault." Alec said, burying his head in his hands. Simon's hand had never left his shoulder. Alec stayed like that for a while, before dropping his hands the way they were, "What I want to tell you, is that some day, somehow this magic you think you love now is going to make you a different person. Warlocks think they can do anything, and that's such a scary way of thinking. What's even more scary is that they actually can do anything. That messes with your head. I don't want that for you Madzie. Because I don't want you to be the person who will do some of the things I've seen being done. I don't want you to be the person who will hurt someone someday. And I'm afraid it will happen. And when it does, it will be on me. Because I've had a chance to prevent it and I didn't. And what am I going to do then? You have gills which can kill Madzie. And I don't want to see you this way. I don't want to see you as a warlock. Because I know you're so much more than that. And I know you could be an amazing person when you grow up. I don't want to have to think about everything that could go wrong, and every way you could become dangerous. The millions and millions of ways that could happen. I'm afraid that if it happens, I'm going to have to be the person who has to........" Alec stopped abruptly, and exhaled. He took a deep breath after, moving his eyes from Madzie for a moment.

The person who has to kill you, Magnus finished the sentence in his head. And it was then, when Magnus understood him. Finally he did. He couldn't understand him when Alec had been trying to kill him. He couldn't understand him when he had looked through his memories to find out Madzie. He couldn't understand him when Alec had cried. He couldn't understand him during their conversation after that. But now, after everything he had said from the story about when he was a kid to this, he could look at him, and understand him. For the first time, after witnessing Alec's many faces, he could see him. It didn't fix anything. It didn't make anything better. But it was true.

"Please, please Madzie just use the cure! Because of yourself. Because I care about you. Please! Please!" He was begging her now, looking desperate. And Magnus realised that both he and Alec were broken. In different ways, but broken all the same.

"What if......" Madzie started, but she had to stop to wipe her eyes which were becoming watery, "What if I promise to be really careful with my powers? What if I promise to tell you if I ever feel that I'm about to lose control? What if I promise to learn really hard about how to use my magic safely? What if I promise to do everything I can not to hurt anyone? What if I promise to never hurt you?"

"You can't carry that promise. Please, use the cure!" Alec begged again. His face and his voice were flooded with sadness.

"Why can't I?" Madzie asked, starting to get angry, "Because I'm not an adult yet? I can make promises and keep them just as anyone else can. And I promise not to hurt you."

"Please Madzie, use the cure!"

"You're not hearing me! You need to hear me. I said I promise."

"Please, use the cure!"

"Alec, please hear me!"

"Please, use the cure!"

"Please, hear me!"

"Please, use-"

"No!" Madzie screamed so loudly, frightening Alec and making him stop.

Alec didn't look sad anymore. He looked scared.

Magnus needed to do something. This couldn't go on. But he was so freaking afraid that if he reveals himself now, he could stress out Madzie even more. Was it possible to do more harm than good if he does something now? Was Madzie going to hate him if he shows up?

Madzie took a few moments to compose herself. Then she stood up, going straight to Alec, who looked like he was about to run from the kitchen. All of this was making Magnus even more nervous, if that was possible at this point. Madzie sat on the floor close to Alec, facing him. She raised her hand, and Alec flinched immediately, ready to move away.

"Don't." Madzie told him, so he didn't. Instead he just froze in his place.

Madzie put her hand on his left cheek. Alec's eyes became huge. He looked so afraid, and it contrasted so sharply with how Madzie looked. Because oddly enough, she looked really calm now. Then she put her other hand on his other cheek. Like he was a child, and she was the adult.

"Alec Lightwood, fix your ears and hear me." Madzie said, "I won't use the cure. Because I know I can control my powers right now. And because my magic is a part of me. You can't take a part of me. I need all parts of me to exist as myself. I'm not trying to take away your shadowhunter runes, am I? This is my last word. Simon and I watched a movie a couple days ago. There was a trial. Everyone waited for the judge to make a decision. And when he did, he knocked with his wooden hammer and that was it. And everyone had to accept that decision. For some of the people that was the right decision, for others- it was against their interest. But you know what no one did? No one jumped at the judge to tell him to change everything he had decided. Imagine this- I am the judge. And I am telling you the verdict. I'm saying I won't take away my powers, I knock with my hammer, and the case is closed. It's final. If sometime in the future things go the wrong way, it won't be on you. I'll be responsible, because I made the decision. As I should, because it's my decision to make. I care about you too. You are my friend. And I promise you, I will never hurt you."

Magnus knew that was it. Alec had to no other choice, but to try to inject Madzie with the syringe he had taken. And when he tries to, Magnus was going to stop him, and show himself.

But Alec seemed to have forgotten how to move. The only movement he was making, was blinking. A living statue.

Madzie moved her hands from his face, and used one of them to knock on his head two times, "Imagine this is me knocking with my hammer. Did you hear me this time?"

It was a couple more seconds of tension for Magnus before Alec finally moved. First, it was opening and closing his mouth. Then- moving his gaze around the kitchen. Until ultimately he put his hand in his pocket, and took the syringe out of there. Magnus started to move almost at the same time as Simon also made a move (???). But they both stopped immediately when Alec actually got up, going away from Madzie. Alec went to............ the sink. Then he just poured all the content from the syringe there. Getting rid of the cure. Then he threw away the empty syringe in the garbage.

After he was done, he looked at Madzie with clear eyes, "I heard you. Okay. The promise is accepted. Thank you for making it. And also.........I apologise for before. You're right." He said.

Magnus stared at him in complete surprise. He wasn't sure if his mouth wasn't hanging open at that moment. It probably was.

Madzie, you wonderful beautiful creature! How did you do that?

Chapter Text

Magnus watched Madzie's smiling face with such adoration. His whole plan to show Alec's true face to her had just gone to the trash along with that empty syringe. But he didn't care. He couldn't care when all he felt was genuine delight. Moments like this were rare. When innocence and light can defeat hatred and fear. What Madzie just did, just made Magnus feel so proud of her.

Simon jumped happily, and went to hug Alec. And that's when Magnus saw the same pride he felt in Simon's eyes. But Simon's pride wasn't directed at Madzie, it was directed at Alec. And it was all Magnus needed to finally figure out why was Simon there in the first place. It was the same reason Magnus was there. He wanted to fix what Alec had done, manipulating Madzie and trying to convince her to use the cure. And the reason he was just standing there, not doing much, was the same reason Magnus was doing exactly that. The difference was that Magnus was doing it for Madzie's benefit, he didn't want to confront her and stress her out when she didn't believe him. While Simon was doing it for Alec's benefit. Sure, he could have just stopped him, telling Madzie everything, using his vampire speed to snatch away the syringe. But Alec was just going to try another time, and it wasn't what Simon wanted. He didn't want just to tell Alec "Stop!" and hope he didn't have to say it again. He didn't want to impede Alec's plans today with no thought about tomorrow. He wanted Alec himself to realise his mistake. He wanted him to see it, and decide it on his own. Because Alec was his friend, and Simon cared about him, and he wanted to give him a chance to see that what he was doing wasn't right.

What Alec did had never really been a possibility in Magnus's mind, so it was surprising that in Simon's it was not just that, but a desired searched outcome. Magnus saw this more as Madzie's achievement, but Simon probably saw it as Alec's as well. Still, Simon must have known the chances of Alec not realising his mistake were huge. Magnus remembered Simon had moved when Alec took the syringe out of his pocket. Yeah, he knew Alec might try to use the cure on Madzie anyway. And if it came to that, he was going to stop it, that's why he had moved. It was refreshing for Magnus to know that even if he hadn't woken up so early, Madzie still wasn't going to be forced to use the cure, because Simon was going to prevent it if there was a need to.

Despite everything, Magnus wasn't going to delude himself into thinking Simon cared about Madzie as much as he himself did. No, he cared about Alec way more, and that was clear. But after his realisation, he couldn't help but feel a shred of respect towards Simon he didn't feel before. Because he had managed to be Alec's friend, but look out for Madzie at the same time.

Before letting go of him, Simon told Alec something Magnus couldn't hear. Alec nodded and patted the other man's shoulder. Madzie started moving towards Alec, maybe wanting to hug him as well Magnus suspected, but Alec moved slightly away.

"What's wrong?" Madzie asked, her previous smile replaced by a serious expression too.

"Madzie, I'm going to ask you something and I want you to answer me truthfully, okay?" Alec's tone was light, gentle, but also careful at the same time.

"Of course. I would never lie to you."

Something passed through Alec's face for a second, and Magnus hoped it was guilt, but he couldn't be sure, "What you just did a minute before, going from angry to calm so fast, I've seen much older warlocks who are unable to do it. Were you always like this? Did you always have that much control?"

Madzie looked unsure of how to answer. Alec saw it, and encouraged her, "It's okay, you can tell me anything. I won't judge. And the discussion about the cure is over, I promise."

"I know you don't want to hear about him," Madzie started, "But Magnus taught me how to deal with my magic mostly. It was a struggle before. Some things, about my life before I met him- I don't remember. But nothing regarding my powers didn't come easy. It still isn't easy. I don't know so many things and I have a lot to learn. But Magnus taught me a lot. How to not let my emotions take over me fully at the wrong time. He used to say........," Madzie stopped herself and looked at Alec cautiously, "It doesn't matter. I'm sorry, I won't talk about him any more. I know he did a terrible thing today with Simon."

She looked guilty for mentioning him, and Magnus closed his eyes in despair. How was he going to fix this?

"No Madzie, I promise you it's fine," Alec said, "You can talk about him, it won't bother me. I want to know. What did he say?"

Magnus wasn't sure where was Alec going with this. He didn't know if he should be nervous or not. He just hoped that Alec didn't plan to mess with Madzie's emotions any more.

"He used to say that my magic was a gift, and I shouldn't be afraid of it. That some people might be, but it's because they don't know me. That it's not magic that's evil, but people. He inspired me, pushed me to overcome my struggles. One of the things he used to say the most was, The magic others perceive with suspicion and prejudice, is the same magic which will help you safe someone in need, the same magic which can let you protect the people around you."

"Like Superman." Simon commented. This first thing directed to Madzie he had said since Magnus had woken up.

Listening to Madzie now, hearing that according to her he was the reason she was able to do what she did today, Magnus wasn't sure how to feel. This was what he had wanted- for Madzie to know that her powers were a gift, and could be used for good. Even her gills could be used for good. Their ability to suffocate was far from being the only thing they could be used for.

Madzie removed her eyes from Alec to Simon's direction. "Yes, kind of like Superman. But I won't wear glasses all the time, they won't suit me." Simon and Madzie smiled at each other, before Madzie continued, "Listen Simon, I'm so sorry for what Magnus did to you. I had no idea he would do something like this. I still don't understand it." Madzie said that carefully, and Magnus thought she suspected the reason Simon wasn't talking with her much was because he was in some way angry at her for what happened to him. But that wasn't it. Magnus knew he wasn't talking with her, because he didn't want to lie.

Simon looked at Alec. It wasn't a look meant to criticize, it wasn't "how could you lie to her". It was simply a look of care. And Alec responded to it.

"He uhmmm.....he didn't." Alec said quietly, and Magnus's heart missed a beat.

Madzie turned at Alec, not understanding.

"He didn't." Alec repeated more loudly.

"Didn't what?" Madzie asked, appearing confused.

Alec cleared his throat. "He didn't do......he didn't.......not really....I mean, not like......not like that, that wasn't......it wasn't exactly what he did, it wasn't that.....," Alec was fighting with his words now, looking like he was about to choke on them any moment. And Madzie looked more and more confused.

Alec was quiet for a moment, and Magnus thought he gave up on explaining things, but then started talking again, trying again, "He didn't do what I told you he did. That wasn't.......what I said it was. He umm, he.......didn't try to kill Simon."

Madzie frowned, and Alec hurried up to continue, his words coming somehow easier once the main thing was out. "It was some.....some spell he used. I'm not sure what it was, and it doesn't matter anyway. The point is......he had to use it. He had to, because Simon and I were trying to inject him with the cure. Without his consent."

Madzie watched Alec intently, her eyes filling with sadness, "Why did you lie to me?"

"I just.....I could hear you telling stories about him to Izzy day after day. Magnus this, Magnus that, it was like he was on a pedestal for you. It scared me that you were so close to him. And I thought maybe he was the reason why you refused to become a mundane so much. I thought if you see him doing something like attacking Simon out of spite, you will change your mind about the whole thing. And I believed changing your mind was the best thing for you. I'm sorry."

There were tears in Madzie's eyes. And Magnus couldn't even be happy the truth was out now, he couldn't be glad about it when Madzie looked like that. "You used me against him." She said with sorrow. "Friends don't do that to each other. Goodbye Alec. I don't want to see you."

"Madzie, I-"

"I don't want to listen to you either." She was crying.

And Magnus forgot he was invisible when he said, "Madzie, please don't cry!"

All three of them froze, and turned at the kitchen door.

"Magnus?" Madzie asked hesitantly. Her tears were falling on her face.

Magnus undid the invisibility spell. After being a passive observer, it was strange to finally be seen again. Alec and Simon were watching him with utter surprise, speechless. And Madzie was watching him with guilt through her tears.

"I didn't know. I'm sorry I used my magic against you. I thought I was protecting Simon. I didn't know." Madzie told him sobbing, going to hug him. Magnus took her in his arms, picking her up and leaving the kitchen hallway with her. He would talk and deal with Simon and Alec later. He had to be beside Madzie now.

 

About half an hour later, Magnus and Madzie were sitting on the bed in her room. Or at least, the room Simon had given her while she was living with him. Madzie had apologised dozens of times, and Magnus had done everything he could to reassure her he was still her friend, he wasn't mad at her, he could understand why she had reacted that way back then, and it was alright now. It was alright because in the end of the day, she believed in him once again, and that was all Magnus wanted.

"From now on, only Izzy will be my friend." Madzie said, moving the handkerchief she was holding in her fingers. The same disappointment Magnus had been dealing with before, was creeping in her words now.

"Madzie, I really don't think Isabelle hates me any less than they do." Magnus was going to be honest with her. The truth could be hard, but it was safer than anything else.

"I don't think she hates you at all. Well, I could be wrong. Like I was today. I shouldn't have been so quick to believe you would want to kill Simon. I was just...what was I thinking? It's you. It won't happen again, I promise."

"It's in the past Madzie," Magnus tried to assure, "The important thing is that it's over now."

But there were still a few things he felt like he had to say. "About Alec- you still don't know the whole story. One of the things you don't know is that because of me, he can't return home to his family."

Magnus wasn't telling her this because he was under the impression he owed Alec something after he had confessed the truth. No, he didn't owe him anything, that shadowhunter was still a liar. But Magnus wanted to be honest with Madzie, and there were two sides to honesty- the one you like, because it's convenient for you, and the one you don't. Magnus wasn't going to pretend he was perfect in all of this, because he wasn't.

He checked Madzie's expression for accusation, but he only found her attention, making him go on, "It's only temporarily, and I've never intended to hurt him. It's just that I need him so my people could have a chance at peace. I'm not proud of this. It's not the right thing to do, and it's not something I would ever teach you to repeat. I just feel really trapped and out of any options."

"You want shadowhunters and warlocks to stop being enemies. So things like what happened today don't have to happen. I can understand that." Madzie said. "Just bring him back to his family as soon as you can. I'm mad at him, but....I don't want something bad to happen to him."

Magnus nodded, understanding her concern. "And about Simon- he didn't tell you the truth, because he was waiting for Alec to do it."

"But he still tried to inject you with the cure." Madzie reminded.

"He did." There was no way around that one.

"Do you think that cure is now being used against warlocks who don't want it?" Madzie asked with worry.

"I'm afraid so. I've warned everyone I keep in contact with about it, but there is only so much we can do. We don't know which downworlder has it and which doesn't, we don't know what it's made of." And though Magnus was infinitely glad Alec had gotten rid of the cure, now he couldn't bring it home with him to analyse it. So he was back at the start, with zero knowledge.

"I'm going to stay here," Madzie said unexpectedly. Magnus was about to say something, but she continued before he had the chance to, "Listen to me, I'm going to stay here to help you. Like we've talked before. I was only half serious, but what if it could work? You need all the help you can get, and it would be useful if I'm around shadowhunters."

"Madzie, I won't use you. And wouldn't you feel better if you are around people you can trust? Somewhere safe?"

"I am safe here." Madzie insisted, "And 'use' suggests I don't know about it. And in this case I'm the one giving you the idea. You've done so much for me. Why can't I try to do something for you if I can?" Magnus was thoughtful about it, considering it in his head, "Come on, partner." Madzie said. "It would be like in the movies. I'm the ally no one suspects could be important, but in the end blows away the entire operation of the enemy.''

"I'll leave you a number you could call at any time. Any time you don't feel safe, or there is something you need to tell me, a problem or anything else. I'll pick up, no matter what time it is. Okay?" If Madzie was staying here, precautions needed to be taken.

"Of course." Madzie agreed immediately.

"And I'll be coming back to see you. Whenever I can, I'll come here to check on you." Magnus added. He didn't care that Simon could try attacking him again. Or that he wouldn't be comfortable with Magnus visiting. If Madzie was here, he was going to have to get used to it. By the looks of it, Isabelle didn't live with Simon, but she was probably coming by very often. So she was going to have to get used to it too. Madzie smiled and started nodding with enthusiasm.

"This would be great. And we will come in this room to discuss our most secret plans, using magic to make the walls soundproof so no one could hear us."

"Oh, look who have been thinking a lot about it?" Magnus winked, and Madzie laughed. Finally the dark mood she had been in started to wear off. "You know, I never gave you that present I was about to."

Madzie's attention was full on Magnus when he used his powers to make a spell book appear. That was the very first spell book Magnus had ever possessed back when hadn't known much about anything. It had illustrations and descriptions about basic potions and spells. Madzie had seen it one afternoon in Magnus's house before, and she had looked interested. So maybe now was the time for the book to become hers. Magnus hoped it would be useful to her the way it had been useful to him.

"Don't show this to Simon. Or Isabelle." He advised her.

"I won't. Thank you so much!" Madzie said happily, and started going through the pages.

After a couple more minutes, when Magnus gave her the number she could call him on, and instructed her do so anytime she feels something is wrong, they had to say goodbye to each other.

 

Magnus went to search for Alec and Simon, and found them still in the kitchen, talking. They turned quiet as soon as Magnus stepped there.

"I need to exchange a few words alone with Simon." Magnus said. More quietness followed, so he turned to Simon directly. "If I was going to hurt you, I would have done so when you couldn't see me."

"Why didn't you?" Simon asked with suspicion. He was looking at him while Alec was doing the opposite, looking everywhere but at Magnus.

"That's not who I am." Magnus said simply.

"How long were you there?" Simon wanted to know.

"A while."

Alec made the slightest quiver at that answer.

"If you want to take Madzie away, we won't stop you." Simon informed.

"I thought I was a horrible influence." Magnus was looking more at Alec while saying that, but it was like Simon and Alec had switched their roles from before. Now Simon was talking, and Alec was keeping quiet, looking sideways.

"Madzie doesn't seem to think so. And we think her judgement is good enough." Simon kept using 'we', but Magnus was wondering if Alec thought the same way. Also, Simon's tone was very guarded and there was tension in the air.

"Madzie actually decided to stay here." It was so odd for Magnus to just calmly talk with them as if they hadn't attacked him not that long ago. It was unfitting somehow. "I'm going to give you some time to say goodbye. Then, I need to talk to Simon, and we're leaving." He needed to talk to Alec as well, but it was probably better to do that after they portal back to his home.

Magnus left the kitchen, going to the room with the TV to wait there, but then he did a double take, hiding behind the nearest corner. He wanted to hear what they were about to say, because he wanted to make sure they weren't preparing another strategy against him. He felt stupid for going that, but that was what apparently happened when you know Alec long enough. You develop a full blown paranoia about your safety. Next thing, Magnus was probably going to walk around with that protection spell plus being covered in arrowproof armor every day for the rest of his life.

"I don't want you to go back to him." Simon stated.

"What are you going to do Si? Lock me up in your closet to hide me?"

"Nah. Too double-meaning." Alec laughed, but it didn't sound natural. It was robotic somehow. Simon made a pause before continuing, "We were just so close to getting you back today. I hoped we would."

They would have, if Magnus hadn't woken up so early.

"I hoped so too. Fat chance. Come on, tell Izzy and Jace I love them."

"You worry me Alec. Take care of yourself."

"Always."

Ha! Always was so not the case, Magnus almost laughed at it. Alec was doing everything, but taking care of himself. All the attempts to take down Magnus had been life threatening for him so far.

Magnus walked away. Soon after that, Simon came. "Alec went to wait outside. What do you want?" He asked. He was watching Magnus very warily, and Magnus thought that maybe Simon didn't outright hate him, but he was also very far from liking him, and his body language was proof enough. Simon didn't want him in his house. Well, too bad for Simon then.

"I saw you when you were about to stop Alec from using the cure on Madzie. This is the only reason I agreed with her to stay." Magnus begun, going closer and closer to Simon, remembering Madzie's words that he was afraid of snakes. "But let's get one thing straight. I won't forget you attacked me. And I intend to keep a close look on Madzie from now on. So, during the upcoming days, you might see more of me. If you or Isabelle ever do anything to hurt Madzie in any way shape or form, tell the Clave about her, or try to cure her, or if you attempt to move away so I won't know where she is, I'm going to know, and then I won't just burn you hand. I'm going to turn myself into the biggest snake ever existed, I'll hunt you down, and I'll eat you. Slowly, taking brakes, so you can feel everything for longer. Do we understand each other?"

Magnus was only a couple feet away from Simon when he finished, looking him straight in the eyes with his real ones, not even blinking.

"Understood." Simon said with semi-stable voice. His face didn't express that much fear really, but again, his body language was telling a lot.

''Do you have more of the cure right now?'' Magnus asked, not stepping away from the short proximity they shared.

''No.'' Maybe Isabelle had. But that was a problem for another day. And Simon could be lying, of course.

"Good." Magnus walked past him, relaxing his expression when he was out of his view, and covering up his real eyes. See? Alec wasn't the only one who could play a role convincingly when he needed to. Let's hope Magnus didn't have to anymore.

 

Alec and Magnus portaled back to Magnus's hallway. Alec went straight to his room, searching and finding his notebook. Treating Magnus like he was still invisible.

"We need to talk too." Magnus told him.

"I have nothing to say to you."

"Perfect. You'll be free to listen."

Alec sat on his mattress, and began writing in the notebook. So, Magnus took this as 'whatever' and the only sign he was going to get to just say what he had the intention to.

"If one of the warlocks who were part of the Uprising were to come to you one day, and tell you he or she only did what they did because some shadowhunters attacked them prior to that, and killed some of them, what would you say? Would you say that doesn't excuse their actions? Because if yes, you'd be right. Now turn that around and ask yourself if what happened during the Uprising gives you the right to do what you're doing. You know, in my life I've met people who had been through similar experiences that you've been through. But that wasn't a reason for some of them to feel justified turning around and doing the same thing to somebody else. What logic is that? Because this way you're only going to fall and fall, lower and lower? Until when? At what point will you stop? When you become like the warlock who killed your brother? Because sometimes I can see the resemblance which-"

"DON'T TALK ABOUT MY BROTHER." Alec screamed so suddenly, throwing the pen he was holding at Magnus. This time it didn't appear to be a calculated move, because it was nowhere near taking his eye out. It just hit him in the shoulder. Magnus remembered the barrier was still down, so Alec could do much more than that. But seriously, after everything that had happened today, Magnus wasn't just going to raise the barrier and go away. No, he was going to face this head on.

"I wouldn't have to, if you didn't try to manipulate Madzie today." Magnus responded as calmly as he could. "You think I'm not sorry about the Uprising? You think I'm not sorry for what some of the people from my kind did? I am, and not because I have a fault in it, but because of common decency. Because I would never enjoy someone else's suffering. I'm so sorry for everything Alexander! And I'm sorry you have to be here. I'm sorry that I just couldn't find any other way to stop the Clave from killing my people. I mean, if you have a suggestion, I'm all ears."

"SHUT UP!" Alec screamed again. "YOU'RE NOT SORRY! YOU CAN'T BE! YOU DON'T KNOW!"

Alec got up and started just throwing things in his reach at Magnus. But his aim wasn't good now, and Magnus easily dodged them.

"I wasn't fixing my make up as you said. Some of your people survived that day because of me."

"SHUT UP!" Alec gave up on Magnus being his target, and continued just throwing things around with no particular goal. Magnus started to get worried.

"You need to calm down." He told him.

"SHUT UP! WHY CAN'T YOU JUST DIE? WHY? JUST DIE!"

Magnus begun to be more and more concerned. Was he having a psychological crisis? Was Magnus the cause of it? He walked into the room by an impulse, not sure what he was doing.

"GET AWAY FROM ME!" Alec ran from the room, passing by Magnus. Magnus easily could have stopped him, but he didn't, and let him run. He didn't know what to do. He knew how far approximately the spell in the tea would allow him to go. And maybe he should just let that happen, and wait for Alec to come back when he wanted. Maybe it was better to just not do anything.

But then Magnus heard a troubling sound from the living room, and he just couldn't stay in his place. He went there and saw Alec punching the wall with his fist. He had to stop doing that, he was going to hurt himself. Magnus made a sound to announce his presence, and not startle him. Alec didn't turn his way, he was just hitting the wall.

''I HATE THIS PLACE!''

"You're going to open the would on your hand if you keep doing that." Magnus tried to warn him.

"I DON'T CARE! I DON'T CARE! I DON'T CARE!"

Magnus could use magic to stop him in theory. But he didn't want to do that. So he started going closer to him, making his every step as loud as possible so it wouldn't look like he was sneaking in behind Alec. But what if this ended horribly? What was Magnus even doing? It was like an 80 percent possible scenario that Alec will turn around and try to kill him. What happened to taking precautions and being careful? Well, these wonderful advises flew out the window it seemed.

Alec stopped punching the wall. And just when Magnus thought it was over, he started it again. What could Magnus do? What calms down people in such condition and keeps them grounded? Magnus didn't know where that idea even came from, and it was probably in the list of top 10 of the most ridiculous things he had done, but he started singing. Not loudly, but enough so it could be heard. It wasn't just any song, but a one which Magnus knew was often sung to young shadowhunters to bring them strength in times of hardship. He sang and continued going closer. When he was beside him on his right, Alec stopped hitting the wall again. And Magnus used the moment to slowly reach his right hand across Alec's left shoulder, while never stopping with the song. Then he put his other arm on his other shoulder. He waited a couple more seconds before he started to gently turn him around. Alec didn't put much resistance which Magnus thought was a good sign.

When Alec was with his back at the wall, Magnus moved away from him and stopped singing. There was a very quiet moment after that. Alec needed time to get his breathing under control after all that shouting and hitting. He was the first one to speak.

''I hate this place.''

He sounded tired. He was looking at Magnus, but not intently looking at him.

''I'm sorry,'' Magnus said as a reply.

Alec started walking towards his room again, and Magnus automatically followed him. Once they were there, Alec started tidying up. Magnus felt uncomfortable not doing anything, so he started tidying up as well. But there was blood on Alec's hand, and it didn't took him long to realise he needed to take care of that first.

"Will you bring me more bandages and disinfectant?" He asked.

Magnus walked out to return with them. Alec took care of his hand, then he helped Magnus cleaning.

Magnus walked out and raised the barrier.

"Thank you." Alec said when Magnus was about to leave.

"You're welcome."

Chapter Text

Magnus passed through Alec's room one more time during the rest of the day to bring him food as usual. He also wanted to check on him. Alec looked better, but he seemed to have returned to his not talking habits, because he barely said anything to Magnus. However that 'thank you' he had said earlier kept rolling and rolling in Magnus's mind. Was it a pretend, was it genuine? Thank you for what? For cleaning the room with him; for singing; for leaving without trying any more to have that conversation that had maybe made him react the way he had? Maybe thank you for all of the above?

Magnus decided he was putting way too much thought on this than he should. He should just be glad Alec didn't try to kill him, and stop trying to analyze.

He was holding the fire message warning about the cure, trying to figure out a way to contact the person who had sent it, when Catarina returned. She looked at Magnus with unease, seeing the message in his hand.

"Is it true that something like this exists?" She asked.

"Not only is it true, but it was almost used on me."

Catarina was completely taken aback by that.

"Oh Cat, I have so much to tell you."

 

So Magnus told her about pretty much everything that had happened since she left. They were sitting in his living room, the message lying on the table between them.

"The person who sent it has signed with The Shadow World Guardian. I've heard that code name before once." Catarina informed.

"You have? When? Do you have a suggestion about who this is?"

"I don't know this person's identity," Catarina started, "But about a year and a half ago, I was hiding in some cottage near the mountain with other warlocks. One day we received a fire message by someone called The Shadow World Guardian, warning us that shadowhunters had found the place, and we needed to run away in the next couple minutes or we're going to get caught. We didn't know if that was true, but we were scared enough by the fact that a shadowhunter had sent us a message, that we didn't lose any time and got out of there. A couple days after, I took the risk to come back, intending to look for clues about whether that warning was a lie or not. I found the cottage destroyed and my magic could sense shadowhunters had been there. That warning saved my life and the lives of my friends. But I've never heard of this shadowhunter after that. Until today."

"You're sure it's the same person?" Magnus asked.

"I'm 100 percent positive it is. I've spent enough nights staring at the message I had received to be able to recognise that writing anywhere. The way every letter is inclined at a specific angle, I could never mistake it." Catarina explained.

"Why would a shadowhunter want to help us? Everyone I've met so far despises me. Could it be some trap the Clave wants us to fall in?"

"Why would the Clave want you to know about the cure? And why would they save me and the others so many months ago just to disappear, not wanting anything from us in return? And in this message it's clearly written- don't trust the Clave."

"It might be a long game. Maybe they're taking their time, counting that we would think exactly this way." At this point Magnus expected anything from the Clave. We were talking about the same people able to create enchanted balls all of a sudden, and to make a cure for magic when that thing should not supposed to exist.

"Maybe," Catarina agreed, "But maybe not."

"Wait," Magnus said, when an idea came in his mind, "You said you would never mistake this way of writing. Maybe that's what we need to get in contact with that person. I thought we couldn't send a message on our own, because we don't know who to send it to. But what if we can, using the writing? Do you think we can use magic to send a note to the person this writing belongs to?" That wasn't how fire messages worked. You needed to know the name of the person. But maybe it's not going to be a fire message they could send, but some form of alternative to that.

Catarina thought about it, "It's worth a try."

Magnus suddenly remembered Alec's words to Madzie about how warlocks can do anything. Well, let's hope that was true, because what they were about to try was very complicated.

 

Catarina and Magnus worked for hours, using and experimenting with different spells on the fire message, looking for a way to extract enough about the shadowhunter's personality through the way of writing, so they could send something back on their own. At the end, the message was completely dissolved into a potion with many other ingredients in it. Magnus and Catarina took a piece of paper and dipped it in the potion for just a second, before leaving it to dry.

"If this works, you can write anything you want on that, and it will appear in that shadowhunter's pocket." Catarina explained.

"Doesn't sound so bad. But what if that person doesn't have a pocket in that particular moment?" Magnus asked, pointing the hole in their plan.

"Hmm," Catarina thought about that possibility, "The magic will find a way to work it's job I hope. The note might appear in а shoe as well."

"Let's hope that shadowhunter is at least wearing shoes then." Magnus started to doubt this idea. What if they make a mistake, and send the note to somebody else? But they had to try.

"Have faith." Catarina said, "I have a good feeling about this."

After the piece of paper was dry enough, Catarina asked what Magnus wanted to write on it.

"If this works, I want to take the full advantage of it. I don't want to have to go this rounded way every time I need to say something. Plus we and that....Guardian or whatever need to have a real conversation. Not one with notes and fire messages, those won't get us anywhere. I'm going to put a phone number on the note. The one I gave to Madzie. If this person really wants to help us, then they'll have to call. If no one calls, I will take it as a sign not to search for this person's help anymore." Magnus stated and turned to Catarina, "What do you think about this? I don't want it to look like I'm deciding on my own. And you put a lot of work to help me."

"Honestly," she replied, "Your idea sounds way better than what I had in mind."

So that's what they did. Magnus gave the note a final look, before completing the spell to send it to the Guardian's pocket, or shoe, or whatever. It said this:

 

Thank you for warning me about the
cure. But I need to actually talk to you.
So please, if you want to help, call the
number on the back of the note.

Magnus Bane

 

After they had done what depended on them, Catarina and Magnus started waiting. They waited and waited, and nobody called. It was late at night when they decided to go to sleep, and see what happens tomorrow.

Magnus didn't want to go to his room. So he slept in the same place in the hallway again.

 

The next day Magnus received many fire messages from warlocks panicking about the cure, asking to speak with him as soon as possible. Keeping the people from his kind under control, preventing them from trying some sort of attack against the Clave, was getting harder and harder to manage. Especially now, with the cure existing. Magnus was afraid that if the second meeting about the negotiations ends like the first, with Magnus running for his life, the warlocks will lose faith in him. And once that happens, he wasn't going to be able to keep them in check. And there would be a bloodbath to follow. That was one of Magnus's greatest fears. That warlocks will stop hiding and start killing shadowhunters. Which will result in shadowhunters, who never really stopped killing during these three long years, responding the same way and becoming even more convinced they needed to erase every warlock from existence. And everything will crash until it's beyond repair.

Because Magnus was so busy responding to the messages he got, and going to visit the warlocks, he left Catarina with Alec. He hoped that wasn't a mistake on his part, and Alec won't try to hurt her or something along those lines. He went with her when she gave him breakfast. Alec was his quiet self, but the emotionless expression wasn't on his face. He looked kind of normal. Magnus expected Catarina to leave after bringing him the food, but she didn't. Instead, she sat down on the floor, and started talking about the patient she had returned from healing, and how that went. Like Alec had asked or something, though he hadn't. At first, Magnus thought she should really go. After yesterday, he didn't know what could set Alec off. And that made him worry about both Alec and Catarina. He didn't want what happened yesterday to repeat, but this time with him absent and Catarina being the only one there. But though Alec did clear his throat as a sign for her to leave, he didn't look that annoyed when she pretended she didn't hear it. After Magnus checked his expression again until becoming semi sure Alec didn't mind Cat's stories all that much, he left them.

Magnus was questioning how much did Alec know about everything. About how the cure was made, about the Clave's resources. He wished they were in some alternate reality where he could just ask him, and Alec will answer. But he couldn't. 'Thank you', Magnus remembered again. He should stop thinking about those words. Just because they were one of the few non hostile things Alec had told him, didn't mean they were all that important.

 

Magnus's meetings with the warlocks were exhausting. He had his phone with him the whole time, waiting for the call that didn't seem to come. He didn't tell the other warlocks that he had figured out how to send a note to that shadowhunter. He preferred to keep that information for only himself and Catarina for now.

It had been a long tiring day, when he was having drinks with Catarina at home, and the phone finally rang. Magnus didn't want to get his hopes up too fast. That could be Madzie. Catarina gestured with anticipation for him to pick up. He did, and made sure Cat can hear everything as well. He didn't want to mention her to the shadowhunter though. They had talked about it yesterday, and she had agreed with Magnus to keep quiet about her involvement in everything. That is, if The Shadow World whatever was the one calling now, of course.

"Hello," Magnus said.

"You shouldn't have done that." A rough male voice answered.

Yeah, definitely not Madzie. Chills ran through Magnus's spine.

"Who is this?" He asked.

"Don't you know? Please, tell me this is not the number everyone calls you at."

"Are you The Shadow World Protector?" Magnus mistook the name on purpose to test if the person he was talking with was going to correct him.

"You know who I am."

"Just answer the question." Magnus demanded. He had no desire to talk in riddles.

"The Shadow World Guardian, on your services. Although you don't deserve it, after you tried to have me killed."

"I did no such thing." Magnus said with astonishment.

"Oh, really? What did you think would happen if a shadowhunter catches me with that note of yours? Or if I'm in the middle of a mission, and it falls from me in front of someone during a fight? Do you not think at all? You just put my life in danger!"

Is the Clave really going to kill one of their own if they find out he is helping Magnus? Honestly, Magnus never though they would get that far. He thought getting deruned was the worst it gets for shadowhunters who betray the Clave's orders.

"I'm sorry, I didn't think your life would be on the line. And I needed to contact you. This was the only way." Magnus explained.

"Yeah? How about you don't contact ME? I contact YOU." The man sounded a little frustrated.

"Were you going to?" Magnus wanted to know. Was he going to send another fire message?

"Now you'll never know.'' Great. So maybe the frustration was more than a little. ''I really hope you risked my life for a good reason. And how did you do that anyway?"

"I'm a warlock. I have my ways. I apologise again, if I caused any trouble."

"I'm alive, aren't I? Enough about me. Why did you want me to call?"

"You did me a big favour with your message about the cure. Yesterday someone almost injected me with it, and the fact that I knew what it was, was helpful. But there are still a lot of things I don't know the answers to."

"And you want me to give you these answers." It wasn't a question. And Magnus decided to go straight to the point.

"In your message you say the Clave used their resources to make the cure. What resources are that?"

"I'm sorry, I can't tell you that." Was the answer. Magnus waited for something else to follow it, but there wasn't more to the reply.

"Do you not know?" He asked.

"Of course I know," the man said, " but I can't tell you."

Right. If this was the answer to all of Magnus's questions, he really shouldn't have sent that note.

"I'm confused," Magnus stated, "Regarding which matters do you support the Clave, and about which ones you don't?"

"This is not about the Clave. I can't tell you, because I don't trust that you'll make the right choice once you know."

"I don't understand. Can you be more specific?"

"I won't say anything else about this. Just know that I'm trying to deal with it."

"No, not good enough, " Magnus said sharply, "How is it that I have to trust you regarding the safety of my own people, when I have no idea who you are, and when you don't trust me about the same thing?"

"I never said I don't trust you about your people, or in general. I called you, didn't I? I just don't trust your judgement about this."

"What is this?"

"Do you have any other questions, or is that all you called for?" The man asked, ignoring Magnus's words. Damn, since when did all shadowhunters become so rude? Even this one was no exception.

"Are they going to try to kill me during the upcoming negotiations meeting?" Magnus voiced another one of his important issues, hoping to get more of an answer on that one. If not, this conversation was pointless.

"I don't think that's their intention right now. They don't want to give you motivation to cause harm to Al..... to the shadowhunter you're holding captive."

"I wouldn't do that." Magnus assured, not really sure why he did that. It was like he could sense some sort of concern from the other end of the line, and that possessed him to say it.

"I know." The man said in response, and Magnus asked himself how did he know. "But the Clave doesn't know. And right now that's a good thing. So, about your question- I'm going to say I'm almost certain the answer is 'no', but don't drop your guard down no matter what. The Clave is planning something for that meeting. I'm not sure what, but I think they're going to ask something of you."

"I really hope it's not the same thing they wanted last time. I won't get rid of my magic, and I won't try to convince the other warlocks to do the same. Not that it would work, even if I did."

"It's something else." The man said, sounding sure. "But be careful anyway."

"I will." Magnus promised. "Okay. What other things can you tell me about which-how did you put it- you trust my judgement with?"

"You know what? I can still help you about the cure, even if I can't tell you everything."

"And how could you help me with that?" Magnus asked, not wanting to make any assumptions.

"You need one of the syringes with it right? To see what it's made of. And see if you could reverse the effect. You don't have it, but I can help with that."

"So, what's the plan? Are you going to bring me one?"

"Obviously, I can't."

"Obviously." Magnus repeated with irritation mixed with little bit of amusement. Why should anything be easy? "You know, if you're worried about me knowing your identity, you don't have to be. I would never give you up to the Clave, if I knew."

"Said the person who almost did exactly that by sending me a note." The man reminded.

"I thought we were past that." Magnus didn't regret it that much actually. It was absurd for this man to think Magnus could just stay in his home, drinking tea, calmly waiting for a fire message to come landing in his hands, when the future of his people was at stake. Of course he would do something. He would do everything.

"We will be past that, when I'm sure you won't do anything like it again." Yeah, Magnus wasn't about to give any promises. I mean, he still didn't have proof that this shadowhunter wasn't instructed from the Clave to deceive him. That was still a possibility. "Anyway, back to the matters at hand," the man continued, "I can help you get a syringe with the cure yourself. Without needing me to give you one."

"Again. Be more specific." Magnus insisted.

"Well, I'm coming up with this strategy right now, so I need time to rethink the options. Maybe we should go directly to the source. I think the best option is to go to the Institute and get one from there."

"Aha." Now Magnus was really starting to think this was a trap. Sure, he would just go to the Institute like it was no big deal, hoping a fully grown (very beautiful, dare he says so himself) warlock, passing through their Wards, won't get the attention of anyone there. Easy. "Now who is trying to get who killed? That suggestion of yours right there shows me that you're nothing more than a spy from the Clave. Exactly how I feared. I'm hanging up now."

Catarina put her hand on top of Magnus's, probably to prevent him from hanging up. But she didn't have to do that. Magnus winked at her, and looked her in the eyes. She nodded, understanding him. He wasn't about to hang up. He was just acting like he was, to see what the reaction from the other end of the line would be.

"Wait." The man said in a hurry, "You're making a mistake. I'm no spy from the Clave."

"Prove it." Magnus challenged.

"I can't prove it without giving away too much information about myself. You know that. But I'm telling you, we have a shot at this. Are you really going to just end the call, and give up on the opportunity to help your people?"

"This could easily be a manipulation to get me to do what you want. What the Clave wants. Prove that's not the case, or just tell me goodbye." Come on, Magnus through. Give me something, come on. He wasn't about to end their conversation, but he needed more reassurance that he wasn't trusting the wrong person.

"I already told you, I can't-" The man started, but Magnus interrupted him.

"It was lovely talking to you. Send the Clave my best wishes." Magnus said, trying to make his decision sound final. I guess you could say Alec was rubbing off on him when it commes to faking.

"Madzie," The man said fastly, "I know that before the Uprising, a little warlock girl was living with you. And her name is Madzie. Now you're hiding her somewhere, don't you? And the Clave doesn't know about it. If I was working for them, why haven't I told them about her existence? Why haven't I made them search for her? Why would I keep this to myself?"

"How do you know about her?" Magnus asked, feeling nauseous. Damn it, how many people knew about Madzie? Because they were surely getting more and more each day. First Alec and his siblings, now-another shadowhunter. Magnus must really do a poor job of hiding her.

"I saw you once with her. Back when our kinds weren't enemies. And I haven't said anything to the Clave for three years now. Isn't this proof enough that I'm not their spy?"

"Maybe," Magnus said, but not feeling sure still. "Do you know where she is now?''

''How could I? You won't tell me, and I won't ask you.''

''Tell me something. Why are you helping me? What do you gain?" Magnus hoped that wasn't one of the questions this man can't answer.

"Because I know you want peace." The shadowhunter said simply, "I want the same thing. You don't want more people to die. I don't want that as well. I've lost enough. We have the same goal. That's good enough for me to want to help you."

"Don't you think all warlocks are evil?"

"I think the Clave wants us to believe that, because they want revenge on all of you. I prefer to think for myself. And I never think in extremes."

Magnus thought about that answer and finally smiled, satisfied with it and more relaxed. "Thank you. For everything you've done." For the message he had sent to Catarina and her friends before, and for all of the things Magnus probably didn't know about. He was still cautious. He would always be, until he could actually look at this person's face and stand next to him, looking in his eyes. But for now, he didn't want any more proof. "So how am I going to get inside the Institute, and snatch a syringe from there without being noticed?" Magnus asked, returning to the plan, "And about which Institute are we even talking about? There are many around the world."

"I know the syringes get delivered to each and every Institute in a particular order, since the moment they were created. So, maybe you need to choose an Institute you know the most about, and I'm going to tell you when the delivery there is going to happen. But about how to get inside- I don't know yet. I must think about it, and you must as well."

"So I'm assuming we will continue this conversation another time? After we come up with some options?" Magnus was already trying to think of something.

"That's right. I'll call again. But you can't call me. Ever. Unless you want to endanger me again."

"I need to know exactly when you'll call," Magnus told him, "And by exactly, I mean you give me specific time. I'm not just going to wait on the phone all day, not knowing when I'll be hearing from you." Like he already had done today.

"Very well. Tomorrow, at 7pm. Is this a good time for you?"

"It'll do. If you don't call precisely then, I'll think something happened to you, or your gave up on our plan."

"I'll call. Don't worry." The shadowhunter assured. "In the meantime, you think which Institute would be a better option for you to try to infiltrate, and how. I'll do some research about it as well."

"Okay. I guess this is goodbye Shadow World...... can't I just call you Guardian? Your code name is so long, it's not convenient to pronounce." And why was that? Why hadn't he picked an easier one? Which is one or two words at most, and gets straight to the point. Like Spiderman or Batman.

"I don't care how you call me. Goodbye for now."

"Bye." Magnus said, and the conversation ended.

 

It was many minutes later, when Magnus was sitting in his room, writing down every information he had gathered through the years about every Institute he had ever been in prior to the Uprising. It was then, when he realised something. Funny, but it was something not connected to his task at all. During the conversation with The Guardian he had missed this, but now, thinking back, he found something really odd about it. Near the beginning of the call Magnus had clearly said he almost got injected with the cure. And he hadn't mentioned anything more about that incident, not sharing how things had turned out. Then, later on, The Guardian had proposed to help him finding a syringe. Okay, but if he knew Magnus had been attacked with one, and he did, wasn't it only logical to assume Magnus already possessed a syringe? Or rather- ask if he did? Say something along the lines of "By the way Magnus, when you almost got injected, did you manage to take the syringe with you?''. But no, he hadn't asked. He had straight away proposed this plan to go get one. How could he be sure Magnus didn't already have one? He couldn't be. But he was. He had been. He knew Magnus didn't have one without Magnus having to tell him that. How could he know by himself? It was impossible to know. The only people who knew, were the ones who had been there. The ones who had seen Alec pouring the cure in the sink. The only people who knew, were Magnus himself, Madzie, Simon and Alec.

And that didn't make any sense!

Chapter Text

Magnus was suffering a bad case of headache the next day, after all the assumptions, theories, and cogitations which had popped into his head last night. He had to use magic to make the pain go away. But once that was done, he was good to go.

Magnus had thought a lot about the way the Guardian had answered about whether he knew where Madzie currently was. He hadn't said a straight up 'no'. He had said something like 'how would I know'. And that wasn't a 'no'. That only implied he had no idea, but it wasn't an outright denial. And the whole incident with Magnus and the cure was deeply connected to where Madzie was. How could he know more about the first, but not know more about the second? Maybe he hadn't just said 'no' to Magnus's question, because he had wanted to get out of the it without actually lying, but without telling the truth as well. Maybe the answer was 'yes'. This was just speculation, but he had already confessed he knew about Madzie. Was it possible that he knew everything- where Madzie was; why was she there; how long has she been there; who were Simon, Isabelle and Alec? Maybe this person was their friend. Maybe Simon had told him about Magnus's visit in his house. But he should really be a pretty close friend if that was true. And Magnus had been under the impression that Isabelle and Alec never had any intention for a lot of people to know about Madzie. So Simon probably wasn't just going around, telling things to someone who wasn't really close to all of them. Someone who wasn't family.

The only person who fitted that speculation, for whom it was possible to have been told about the Magnus and Alec's visit, was Alec's brother- Jason. And there was where one of the impossible theories Magnus had come up with previous night had started from. He had wondered if the Guardian was Jason. But looking at this possibility now, without his brain being that much sleep deprived, it didn't seem to be the answer. Jason clearly hated him when they met during the negotiations. And the Guardian was someone who had helped warlocks long before that event, who had said yesterday he knew Magnus wouldn't harm Alec. And even if we say Jason had been only pretending when Magnus first saw him in order to fool Maryse and everyone, even if we assume he was as good of an actor as Alec was, he had went as far as trying to kill Magnus. There is pretend, and then there is intention. He had been the one to throw the first enchanted ball at Magnus, and it had been perfectly aimed to hit his heart, making him an easy target without his magic. The only reason that didn't happen, was because Magnus had managed to move away. It wasn't because Jason had somehow secretly warned him, or something. So he couldn't be the Guardian right?

Thinking back, Madzie hadn't said anything about Jason when Magnus went to see her. She had talked about Alec, Isabelle, Simon, but not a word about Jason. Why? Did she not know him? And during Magnus and Alec's conversation about how they had found Madzie, Alec also hadn't mentioned anything about his parabatai. Did that mean he was never a part of the whole "let't hide Madzie, and don't tell the Clave" idea? Was he told about it, or did he knew nothing if it? Either one was possible, and Magnus hadn't really put much thought on that until now.

He decided he was going to ask Madzie when he had the chance if she had ever met Jason. But for now, he just had to accept that this Guardian apparently somehow knew more about him than he wanted Magnus to think. More than Magnus was comfortable with. Especially if we count the fact that Magnus knew nearly nothing about him. It was too uneven, and that was what had him bothered.

 

Later that day he was discussing with Catarina how could he go to the Institute, get in and out, without being captured.

"Their Wards can detect downworlders." Catarina told him, "But they can't make a difference between the different kinds of downworlders. Back before the Uprising, it was a common practice for shadowhunters to pay some warlock to reinforce their Wards, and make them able to differentiate werewolf from a vampire from a warlock and so on. But now, since that was one of the reasons for warlocks to be able to get behind their Wards on that dreadful day, that's a thing of the past, and the Wards they use nowadays are being created by shadowhunters and shadowhunters only. The only problem with that, is that the runes they use to create them have limited options. And being able to tell a downworlder from another type of downworlder is one of the things they can't do. That may work on your favour. I don't think there is a way for you to not get detected by the Wards, I think they would withstand any kind of magic you try to use to avoid that. But I do think you can use the fact that they wouldn't know if you are a warlock specifically."

"Still. They will find out soon enough, after they go to check. The Wards always trigger an alarm. And there are always shadowhunters with the particular job to act as soon as the alarm is triggered." Magnus said. He just wouldn't have enough time to try to hide, or anything like that. You trigger the alarm, you're in trouble.

"So find a way not to go as yourself." Cat suggested cripticly.

Hmm. How could that work? "The only downworlder I know of, who probably wouldn't create panic amongst the shadowhunters if he sets off the alarm, is Simon. He and Isabelle are engaged, and as much as I could find out about it, it's a very public thing. He probably has been at the Institute Isabelle lives in multiple times. But I can't try to go as him. Even if I could use magic for that, it's not something I can get away with in the long run. Once Isabelle and Simon actually talk to each other, the truth will come out, and it would be known he wasn't the one at the Institute. And how would the Clave take that? The last thing I need right now, when the next negotiations are so close, is for shadowhunters to decide warlocks are trying to sneak out in their home again." And that was a big concern for Magnus. He had to do everything he could not to let his actions compromise other warlocks. That should be a priority number one for him while trying to execute this plan.

"What if the real Simon actually goes to the Institute?" Catarina said after a moment of silence.

"And get the syringe?" Magnus asked, "No, he wouldn't help me."

"Are you sure? What if you tell him this would help Madzie as well? You said he didn't want her to be cured against her will." She reminded.

"But he tried to cure me against mine. No, Madzie is one thing. All of us- that's another. To ask of him to help all the other warlocks? To betray Isabelle and Alexander by doing so? I don't see him agreeing. I see him telling our plans to Isabelle, and her warning everyone else. This will surely blow every strategy we're trying to come up with."

Catarina sighed. She knew Magnus was right. She may want to believe Simon wasn't that much against them, but she wasn't naive. "You have a point. We would be risking way too much if we tell him about this."

This was a dead end. Magnus felt like his brain was about to block soon. Cat looked at him for a long moment.

"I think you should stop thinking," she told him, "Just stop thinking and try to do nothing."

What? And how would that help his people?

"The Guardian will call after about 5 hours. We need to think about our options until then." Magnus said.

"We did that. We thought, and we discussed. So now, we'll take a break. Listen to me. Just forget about time, about what you have to, and don't have to do. Just stop. Rest and don't do anything. Your mind needs to be at peace. So use these 5 hours just for that. If you come up with something along the way- great. If you don't, then you don't." She advised.

Oh, so they would hope Magnus will get enlightenment this way. But he knew he couldn't afford to do that. He had to keep using the time he had to figure it out. He had to keep looking for a way. There was always a way, so therefore-there had to be one right now. And he was going to find it. He just wasn't trying hard enough.

Catarina went to him, and put her arm on his shoulder, "You're under a lot of pressure. You need peace and quiet once in a while. Or else- you're just going to stress yourself too much. And that way you wouldn't be able to help anyone."

Magnus thought about her words. Was he stressing? He didn't feel like he was though. And how does stress feel like? Since he was young, Magnus had used to do many things at the same time, and multi task whenever he could. Why now should be any different?

Also, if he stops trying to figure this out, what would he do? Cat was suggesting nothing, and just resting, but......

"This apartment doesn't bring me peace and quiet." He admitted.

He wasn't sure when that had happened. He couldn't exactly pinpoint the moment when he stopped feeling his home like a safe place anymore. Although technically that's what it was- it was safe, because his enemies didn't know where he lived. But he couldn't feel it as a shelter anymore. Sometimes, it felt like prison. Where he was all alone in. Other times- like a delusion and a lie. You see the expensive and comfortable furniture, you see how spacious the place was, and it's like you are trying and failing to delude yourself into thinking there was happiness here. That's why Magnus liked Alec's room better than anything else. Because it didn't look all that good now.

"I see. Go somewhere else," Catarina proposed, "Doesn't matter where. Wherever you feel good. And before you say something like, 'But I can't, because shadowhunters might spot me if I'm not careful', we can make a spell to help with that." Catarina took his hand in hers, and took off one of the rings he was wearing. "I can enchant that and give it back to you. If there is a shadowhunter in close proximity to where you are, it would start glowing to warn you, and that would be your cue to portal back here."

This wasn't such a bad idea when Magnus thought about it. But it meant he would be leaving her alone again. He voiced that worry, but told him she didn't mind at all.

"Stop thinking about me, and start thinking about you." She said. "Just for today. I'll take care of Alec, I'll take care of everything. It's not a problem for me."

Magnus felt selfish for going along with this when he nodded. But he didn't want to argue with her about this sort of thing. He didn't want to be one of those people who couldn't let anyone do them a favour, who didn't appreciate when someone wanted to.

When Catarina put a spell on his ring, he thought about where he wanted to go. If he could be almost anywhere now, what place would he choose?

 

He took a portal to Greece. In that country there was a small town called Keramoti, where Magnus had been in once or twice in his life. He went to a beach there, and found a place without any people around. He took off his shoes, started walking on the sand close to the sea, allowing the coming waves to touch his feet at every step. At the beginning he didn't know how to relax, but after walking for many minutes, he stopped asking himself how, and just observed what was in front of him. After a while he sat down on the sand, grabbed a handful of it, and started moving it between his hands.

At one point he decided to go for a swim. He checked if the spell on the ring won't wear off in the water, or if there was a chance for it to fall from his hand, and after being satisfied, he took all his clothes off. He wasn't one of the people who liked to get in the water for like two seconds, and start swimming right away. He preferred to take his time, walk slowly towards the depths of the sea, until the water covers more and more of him. It wasn't warm, but it wasn't too cold to really bother him at the same time. Going deeper, his body started adjusting to the temperature. When the water reached his neck, he closed his eyes and dunked his head into it, opening them right after and seeing a group of small little fish the size of his finger passing his way.

He began swimming parallel to the shore. Fun fact, but Magnus actually had no idea how to swim the first 70 years of his life. He remembered his mother bringing him to the beach when he was around 6 or 7. He had watched the waves from a distance, how they they rise and fall, how the whole sea moves in an inscrutable way. At the beginning it had been enjoyable, but Magnus had started feeling more and more weak and dizzy the more he stared at the waves. He wanted to stop, to look away, but it was like he was getting pulled in, and he couldn't. He had felt like the sea was hypnotising him somehow, making his sight blurry and his knees weak. Until he had fainted.

Nobody could understand why he would have such a reaction later. His stepfather had tried to grab him and force him to go into the water two days after that as some misguided attempt to show him there was nothing scary, but Magnus had started to scream until his mother came to prevent that. Then his stepfather had hit him when she wasn't looking and called him a spoiled brat.

Magnus's unexplainable fear from the sea had continued for years after. He didn't want to get near it, didn't want to look at it for too long. It was like there was another world he knew nothing about, and it would swallow him whole if it had the chance.

After he had outgrown this fear, he still hadn't made any attempt to teach himself how to swim. It just hadn't been something he thought he would need, or something he thought he would enjoy. Until one day one person changed that. Her name was Laura, and Magnus had a relationship with her for two years. She had long blond curly hair and blue eyes that shined every time she smiled. Magnus used to call her his sunshine. She was actually a mundane, one of the very few humans Magnus had trusted enough through the years to reveal them he was a warlock and could do magic. She used to go swimming every time she had a free day from work, she loved it so much. And though she never tried to change the way Magnus thought about it, never pushed him to change his mind and try it, Magnus had decided he wanted to be a part of this side of her life. So at the start, she was his inspiration to try going into the water, first only dip his feet, but getting braver and braver every day. It was meant to be a surprise for her. Magnus intended to just show up while she was swimming one day and ask if he could join, watching the surprise on her face. Well, it didn't work exactly like that, because for some reason he couldn't quite get the hang of swimming by himself. There was magic for that sort of thing, but Magnus had been stubborn not to use it. He had started to read a book about how to teach yourself to swim, but one day Laura had found it lying on his bed, and the surprise was ruined. That had actually worked out for the better in the long run, because she proposed to help him with that, and that had proved to be a lot of fun for both of them. Eventually Magnus found out he really liked swimming, and what had started as something he was doing for her evolved into something he was doing for himself. They used to swim together and race each other, waiting for the other one to get tired and give up.

After two years they ended their relationship, because they realised they weren't exactly in love with each other, but shared a form of deep emotional attachment to one another. They had stayed very close friends from then on. Magnus loved going to see her when he could, and they used to stay talking on her porch, sharing how their life was going. Laura met the love of her life a couple years later- a man she used to say made her truly happy, and with whom she spent her life with. They married and she had two beautiful children with him. Magnus and her kept contact til the end of her life.

She was 85 years old when her health started getting worse and worse, and she got admitted to a hospital. Magnus visited, but at one point she began forgetting who he was. When that happened, he used magic in front her, and watched the recognition return in her eyes. It worked every time, until one day it didn't. Magnus made a rose appear in her hand, expecting her smile, but instead she had looked at him horrified. She started screaming for help, saying an evil spirit was in her room and was trying to take her away. The nurses came immediately, giving her a sedative and advising Magnus to leave. That was one of his last memories with her.

Laura's death took its toll on him. He couldn't go swimming years after that, because it made him feel empty. He kept the book about how to learn to swim as a reminder of her, because he had been terrified he might forget her the way she had forgotten him. That was a tradition for Magnus - to keep some item as a reminder of the people he loved and lost during his life.

 

Magnus got out of the water when he got tired, got dressed, and sat on the sand. He had a sudden desire to call Madzie. The truth was that the phone and the number he had given her were more so that she could call him when she needed, not for him to call her. And it was probably irresponsible, she might be with Simon, it might be a bad time. Yeah, he wasn't going to call. But.....he wanted to hear her voice. Maybe he could send a message asking her if it was okay to call. Magnus made his phone emerge in his hand, and sent the message: ''Is now a good time to call you? If not, don't worry about it. It's not anything urgent.'' Five minutes later his phone rang and it was her.

"Hey," she said, sounding in a good mood.

"Hey," Magnus said back, "How are you?"

"I'm fine. I'm playing with Simon's cat- Alfonso right now. But he doesn't listen to me. It's kind of funny. Is everything okay?"

"Everything is good. You could say I'm having a break from my usual duties and I just wanted to hear your voice."

"Oh, okay. I'm really glad to hear you."

So they started a conversation. Magnus told her about where he was, and she made him promise to take her there some day. Madzie told him about what she had read from the spell book Magnus had given her, and what she was the most interested in, while Magnus gave her advices about what wasn't written in the book, but according to him was useful and should have been included.

Magnus also used the moment to ask her about Jason, and what did she know about him. First, she corrected him about his name, but Magnus explained that he knew very well what his name was, but he had been lied about that from the beginning, and now he was stubbornly using the name wrongly on purpose as a protest to that. Madzie found this explanation reasonable, and said she will also start calling him Jason from now on, because she also wanted to protest about Magnus being lied to. Apart from that, she said she had heard about him multiple times, mostly from Alec, but she had never actually seen him face to face, and she was almost sure he didn't know about her existence. Well, there goes the theory that Jason was the Guardian. It just wasn't likely. Of course, you could still twist it, say that maybe he knew a lot of things anyway, because of his parabatai bond with Alec or something. And even if he could know that way, it still didn't feel like Magnus was on the right track with him.

Magnus and Madzie kept talking about different things. At one point during their conversation, Magnus could feel Madzie was getting distracted after she asked him to repeat what he had said for the second time. Magnus started to feel guilty for keeping her on the phone for too long.

"I'm sorry." She said, "I'm listening to you, I promise. It's just......Alfonso keeps trying to steal my sandwich and.......Don't do that! It's my sandwich, I made it myself! I'm going to tell Simon if you keep going."

Magnus started laughing, but then he stopped suddenly. Her words kept repeating in his head, and he froze for a second. That's it! He figured it out! He knew how he was going to get inside the Institute.

"Madzie, have I ever told you you could inspire people when they're completely blocked?"

"Well......no, I think you haven't. What do you mean?" She asked, sounding curious.

"Tell you what- I have to go to Catarina now, but I'm going to tell you all about it when I have a chance. Is that okay?"

"Okay. But you must keep your word. And also.....be safe, whatever you're doing."

"Deal. Bye partner. Thank you for talking to me."

"Anytime. Bye Magnus. Don't forget to tell me everything."

Magnus couldn't wait to share with Cat what he came up with. He still didn't have a full thought out plan, but he had figured out the main thing. Before, when they had been talking, Catarina had suggested two very good ideas- that Magnus shouldn't go as himself, and that Simon has to actually go to the Institute. And though, looking at them apart as two separated individual strategies they didn't seem to work so well, they could actually work together. Magnus had to find a way to make Simon decide to go to the New York Institute, and he had to bring his cat with him. Well, not his cat exactly, but Simon wouldn't know that.

Chapter Text

Magnus returned to Catarina, and told her about what he was planning.

"You're going to go as Simon's cat?"

Magnus nodded, "I need to get in and out alongside with Simon. That way the alarm will trigger, but the shadowhunters would think it's only because of him."

"This may work." Catarina smiled.

They discussed back and forth the details about this. Magnus needed to go visit Simon again to get better acquainted with that cat of his. Once he could take a strand of his fur, he could create a potion which can turn him into the same replica of the said cat.

The Guardian called exactly on time. After exchanging a brief hello, they went straight to the matters at hand.

"According to my calculations," the Guardian said, "The Institute in Toronto will be the best option. There are tunnels the building is connected to, and which you may use to find a way inside. Also, the best team of shadowhunters living there are currently sent on important mission regarding some Greater demon, so there will be less shadowhunters in the Institute. Not that much less, and the security is still solid, but it's something."

"I appreciate the effort you put into gathering this information." Magnus responded, because he really did. But he had a plan of his own now, and he felt safer with going along with something he came up with himself. And he had decided it was better not to share too much about it with the Guardian. It wasn't that Magnus still thought this shadowhunter was working for the Clave. But there was a lot Magnus didn't know about him, and a lot he knew about Magnus. So Magnus felt the need to keep some things to himself as well. To balance the scale a little. It was hard to completely trust someone with your life in a situation like this. And trust usually needed more time to be earned and develop.
"But I've set my mind on going to the New York Institute actually." Magnus explained.

"There? Why?" The Guardian asked, sounding like he wasn't expecting that at all.

"I have my reasons." Magnus simply said.

"Are you sure it's the best option?"

"No. But I don't think we can be sure of much at this point. There is always going to be something which could go wrong, and something which could go right unexpectedly."

"Well," The Guardian replied, pausing, "If you've already decided, what can I say."

"Exactly. So do you know when the syringes are going to be delivered there? And where could I find them?"

"Wait a second," There was a noise of something Magnus couldn't quite define, before the Guardian continued, "At noon, at 1pm probably till around 1.20pm. But not tomorrow. The day after. You need to go to the 5th floor, and find the facility with ''storage'' written on it. The next delivery will be sometime after the second negotiations are scheduled for. And I'm assuming you prefer to get to the cure before then."

"You assume correctly. Thank you for telling me this." Magnus said in gratitude.

"So what now? I take it you have an idea. Will you share more about it so I could be of more use?"

"Don't take it personally," he answered, "Because believe me, it's not. But the same way you hide your identity for your own safety, I'll keep some things for myself for mine."

"Really? You're using my own rules against me now? I suppose it could be said it's fair. I don't like it, I don't think it's that smart really. I think it would be better for both of us if I know more, but okay. I'll roll with it, I guess."

Well, you don't have another choice, Magnus wanted to say. It wasn't like this was a debate. He was simply stating his intentions, and the reasons behind them.

"There is something else I'll ask of you." He said, very unsure if it was right to ask for such a thing, "If you can, if you're able to, could you go to the New York Institute," if you don't already live there as I suspect you do, Magnus added in his mind, " and stage some sort of а fake attack right after the cure is delivered. Something that would get most of the shadowhunters worried. But, by the love of God, not an attack by warlocks, please! Maybe some demon. Something that would look real for a while, and it would take them time to realise it's a setup."

Magnus was asking a lot, he knew that. And he was going to understand if it couldn't be done. Or if the Guardian wasn't willing to do it. True, it won't be real, so it won't put any shadowhunters in danger, but still. Magnus didn't want to push this man for more than he was willing to do to help him.

"Is this fake attack going to work for you as a diversion? So the shadowhunters will be busy with that, and with their attention elsewhere it would be easier for you to sneak in?"

"Something like that." Magnus answered vaguely. In truth, he needed this fake attack as a reason for Simon to want to go to the Institute. To help Isabelle, and protect her. There's been some years since Magnus had been truly in love with someone. But he knew that when you are, you are ready to walk into fire for the one you love if you have to.

"Right. I think I can manage to do what you're asking. Or try, at least. I promise, I'll try."

"That's all I ask. I know it won't be easy, and it may be a fail. And if it would put your identity at risk and cause shadowhunters to suspect you, I'll understand if you don't want to do it. I can try to find another way to achieve what I need."

"Aww. Are you worried about me? Already? That's only the second time we're talking, and you don't even know me. I didn't know I was that charming." The Guardian said with a little too much mocking for Magnus's liking, making him roll his eyes. "That's cute and all, but don't be. I know how to take care of myself when I'm not being surprised with exposing notes, emerging from thin air. I said I'll try. My main concern is that I may not succeed. But as you said, nothing is certain."

"Okay. I won't want anything more of you."

"Good luck Magnus." The Guardian wished.

"Thank you. Is this the last time I'll hear from you?" He wanted to know. Was that it? The final goodbye?

"No. I need to know if you managed to get a syringe. So I'll call at the end of that day, at the same hour as I called now."

"Very well." Magnus agreed, "How about after that? Do you want to continue helping me about other things?"

"Let's see how this will turn out first."

They said their goodbyes, and ended the call.

 

The next day Magnus went to visit Madzie. He was about to just portal to Simon's house, like he had done before, but he realised that showing unannounced for the second time in a row probably wasn't very polite. It was probably better to give Simon some heads up about his arrival this time. Whatever agreement they had about Madzie, it was fragile to say the least, and Magnus didn't want to break it by crossing more boundaries than he already had crossed by taking Alec away from his family and friends. So he called Madzie to ask her to warn Simon he was coming by. He was going to say he was coming simply to see Madzie again, but of course, that wasn't the only reason. Apart from seeing the cat, Magnus also needed Madzie's help with his plan.

Magnus portaled to the same room he had before, which was probably the living room. It was empty this time, but a couple seconds later he was welcomed by Madzie and a woman who must have been Isabelle, entering the room together. Madzie jumped to hug him, and Isabelle simply watched the exchange. Magnus wasn't sure if he was supposed to tell her hello, or she wanted from him just to ignore her. It was the first time Magnus was seeing her after just hearing about her from different people. He still didn't know what to expect. She looked a lot like Alec in a way, but also had many distinguishing individual features of her own. She had long dark hair, and dark brown eyes. And surprise- she wasn't wearing all black. She was dressed in a red long sleeve shirt with buttons, which looked a little big for her, and Magnus made a guess it was Simon's, and jeans. There was something really confident in the way she was carrying herself, but not too confident to be arrogant. She really was beautiful, like Madzie had said. Magnus wasn't getting exactly hostile vibes from her. It was maybe more like an interest, like she was looking at him searching for something.

"I'm going to wait for you in my room." Madzie stated, ''Be civil with each other.'' She added, pointing a finger at bоth of them, waiting for them to nod before leaving.

So Magnus was supposed to introduce himself apparently. That hadn't gone that well with Simon the other day. But being uncomfortable was the least of Magnus's worries now. He had another ones.

"You're not hiding the cure somewhere behind you, and planning on ambushing me with it, are you?" He asked. There was nothing more likely to break the ice with a stranger than asking them if they're intending to perform an attack on you.

Isabelle laughed, much to Magnus's surprise. If that was funny to her, she must have a bad sense of humor.

"Not today. If you expect it, then I won't have a chance." She said, and then she raised her hand in a gesture to shake his, which surprised Magnus even more. He had done the same thing the other day with Simon, but it hadn't been welcomed.

"I'm Magnus." He said just for the formality of it, taking her hand and shaking it.

"Izzy," she introduced herself.

"Oh, so I can call you by your little name without that making me disrespectful?" He asked half-seriously half-jokingly. With shadowhunters you never know what the protocol is, what was considered insulting, and what wasn't. In the case with Alec, Magnus had used his full name-Alexander, a few times by now when he was talking to him, but it hadn't been for that reason. It hadn't been because of manners. It was just that Alexander had more depth to it, and Magnus liked to use it when he wanted to make a point.

"I don't care how you call me. Either one is fine. Just don't go with Iz, that one is reserved for my brothers only." She replied, "Speaking of which, how is my brother?"

The question was asked carefully, so Magnus was careful with the answer. "Alec is with a friend of mine who wouldn't do him any harm. He is safe."

"He better be." She said, lowering her voice. It sounded a lot like a threat, but the thoughtful way she looked at Magnus for a moment got him wondering if that was what she had meant when she asked how Alec was.

Then she walked passed him, "I was on my way to the Institute when you came, so I can't stay. You can go see Madzie now. Simon is in his room, rehearsing a song. If you hear a guitar playing, that's him. I'll tell him you're here, and I'll go. It was nice to meet you."

"Am I what you expected?" Magnus asked, making her stop and turn around to look at him.

Am I a monster, he wanted to say. Am I an evil creature, which demonic side can't be controlled? And was that what Isabelle had expected or not?

She watched him with a great concentration for a while, almost going into a staring territory. And if Magnus was a shy person, he would have gotten uncomfortable by that. What could she see? Was it something Magnus couldn't see himself?

Then she just walked out of the room, without granting his question with an answer.

Yep. Shadowhunters.....Who could understand these people?

Later Magnus was with Madzie, telling her about what he was intending to do tomorrow. Who could have guessed they would have to use that soundproof spell Madzie had been talking about before so soon? But yeah, they did. Magnus made sure to explain to her that lying was wrong, and after that awful event with Alec lying to her, she completely agreed. So they were trying to figure out a way for Madzie to make Simon check on Isabelle tomorrow, and convince him to go help her without actually lying. There were other ways for Simon to go to the Institute surely, but Magnus wanted it to be a last moment decision on his part, something he would do under the influence of the moment, so the other shadowhunters won't be prepared for his arrival. Because it was crucial for Magnus's plan that Simon has to trigger the alarm. In reality, it will be both Simon and Magnus triggering it, but who would suspect a cat? Also, the shadowhunters would be distracted enough, dealing with that "demon attack" they would think they're under.

"I can tell Simon to call Izzy, because I can't find my yellow hairband, and he needs to ask her if she put it somewhere." Madzie proposed, "And that's not a lie. I really can't find it anywhere. I've been searching for it since yesterday. Don't tell me if you've seen it, because it would ruin this idea. When he calls her, he would know something is wrong. Then, I'll tell him in movies usually the guy shows up and saves the girl in need, and it's this really romantic thing, proving they're meant for each other, and will always be together. That's also not a lie, and will make him want to act."

Magnus smiled widely, "You're a genius."

"Oh, stop! Keep going, keep going!" She joked.

After that, Magnus officially met the last one of Madzie's new friends he still hadn't seen- Alfonso. He was a cute cat, a standard size, with orange-brown fur with a little white in it around the eyes and ears.

"I need a tuft of fur to make the necessary potion I have to drink." Magnus explained.

"That's easy. He throws up hairballs when you least expect it. We can wait for that."

"Umm," Magnus started uncertainty.

"I'm just messing with you." Madzie said with a smile, lightly patting him on the shoulder, "I'll just comb his hair and give you the brush."

"That works." He agreed quickly, also smiling.

One of the other tricky things about their strategy was also the fact that Simon was a vampire, so therefore he couldn't walk outside during the day. Luckily they came up with a solution- Magnus will make another potion for Simon, eliminating this problem for a few hours, which Madzie will graciously offer him tomorrow, not lying she made it, but making it so it would look that way.

 

When he returned to his home, Magnus started preparing the two potions right away. The rest of the day went by rather fast. Magnus still needed to meet a couple more warlocks, and discuss a few things about the negotiations coming.

With everything that has been going on, and everything Magnus was doing lately, Catarina had become the only person to bring Alec food. In fact, Magnus hadn't seen him since that day he left them alone for the first time. Hadn't talked to him since that 'thank you'. It didn't escape his notice that Catarina always came back from Alec's room after a long while. Which meant she always spent time talking to him about something. About what, Magnus didn't know and hadn't asked her. But whatever she was doing, it was apparently working since there were no incidents caused by Alec lately. Her approach was, by the looks of it, better than Magnus's, so he decided to leave them be. The only time when Magnus was coming near Alec's room at all now, was to sleep in the hallway next to it, which had turned into a recurring thing.

The next day was the big day. When Magnus was either going to succeed and help his people, or fail, get caught or even killed. He and Catarina talked about the final aspects of his plan while Magnus was throwing nervous glances at the clock the whole time. Time passed so slowly in moments like these, it was nerve-racking. It was like not a few hours, but a few years took for the clock arrows to travel to 1pm. Then he wanted to wait till 1.40pm before drinking the potion. It was going to take effect after around five to ten minutes, and wear off after 4 hours. He quickly said goodbye to Catarina, her concern evident, but she was also supporting him in every way, wishing everything to go smooth, and Magnus was grateful for having her there.

 

He took a portal to Madzie's room. She was expecting him of course, Alfonso was in her lap. No one except her had to know he was in the house.

She put her hand on top of his, and they waited together for Magnus to stop being Magnus.

"Have you done something like this before?" She asked and he nodded, "What is it like?"

"Overwhelming, unnatural, restrictive, because you're not in your own skin, but also liberating for the same exact reason. Could be scary, different, extraordinary. The first few minutes until you get used to it are the hardest. You can still do magic, still think the same way you usually would. But you can't see the same way. Can't move the way your impulses want you to or......"

Magnus didn't know why he almost screamed when he felt it happening, and he suddenly became ten times smaller while everything else turned huge. He knew what was happening, knew why, but it still managed be a huge shock for his system.

He felt a lot of pressure on his back, and wanted nothing more, but to stand up straight, but he couldn't, because he was supposed to walk on four feet now. He also felt really fragile. Like everything could hurt him and cause him damage. Like he needed to be more mindful of his surroundings than he ever was before. There was a sore feeling in his mouth, and if he concentrated on it, it was maddening. He wanted to cough or drink water until it was gone. One of the most important things he had to adjust to, was the new way of taking a breath and releasing it. Once he could do that, he was more confident about his chances of not suffocating during this experience. The walking was also tricky when you need to navigate two extra limbs every step of the way.

But it wasn't just a downside. He had been really worried about not being able to see and hear everything the way he was used to. And he really couldn't, but that was actually the most intriguing part for him now. Everything in front of him was 10 times more interesting, especially if it was moving. There was a fly in the room, and the way it was moving and turning was simply fascinating. Magnus could watch it all day.

His visual field was slightly wider than usual, but the more distant something was, the more blurry Magnus was seeing it. The colors were a little more different as well. The shades of blue and green were easy to determine, but red was very problematic. For instance, he knew the vase beside the window was red, but he couldn't see it that way now. His hearing was slightly different also. There were sounds he could catch now that he was almost positive he couldn't before, maybe because they had been too high-pitched for his human ears.

He was walking around, watching everything in awe when he heard Madzie's voice.

"Magnus! Hey Magnus! Are you hearing me? Can you continue with the plan?"

What plan? The fly made a back flip in the air, and Magnus catched part of the movement, staring amazed. How could it do that? He had to turn himself into a fly sometime. They had such sweet moves, it really wasn't fair Magnus can't repeat them in his usual form. But then the beautiful creature turned around, and flew out the window. Wait, Magnus was going to say if he could, but instead what came out of his mouth was "meow". Don't go! Stay! I can do interesting things too. Give me a chance. You won't get bored with me. I'm a good company.

Magnus ran to the window and looked intently through it, waiting for the creature to return, but that didn't happen. Instead someone picked him up, which was about to cause him a heart attack until he realised it was Madzie. She placed him on her bed, watching him with a lot of worry.

"Magnus, you're freaking me out!"

He did? But why? He hadn't done anything wrong.

"Are you okay?"

Of course I am. What's the matter?

"Give me a sign you understand me." She asked.

Well, meowing was the only thing Magnus could do. So he did that. She didn't seem convinced. Then Magnus remembered that no, he could do so much more than meowing. He was Magnus Bane. He could do magic. He focused, saying the spell in his mind, and soon a sheet of paper appeared in Madzie's lap with the words: "I'm okay and I understand you." Madzie sighed with relief.

"You got me scared for a bit. Are we following the rest of the plan?"

Oh, right. Right, he needed to get the cure. That was the whole point of everything. Right.

He magically wrote a "yes" to answer her, and satisfied with that, Madzie moved away from him, taking the other cat with her.

"I'll take care of the real Alfonso, and I'll talk to Simon as we agreed. You stay here and don't do anything stupid."

Madzie left to play her part while Magnus was waiting in her room, trying not to think of the fly any more, but to stay focused on what he was supposed to do next. He couldn't hear what was Madzie saying, or what was Simon saying, but at one point he started to feel really guilty for doing this. Simon was going to be worried sick for Isabelle. Maybe......maybe the same way Magnus had been worried for Madzie back when he didn't know where she was. He knew why he had to use such measures, but that didn't help the unsettling feeling in his gut which started to grow. First kidnapping, now- this. Always with the excuse he had to. For one long minute Magnus was wondering if he truly wasn't dangerous as the shadowhunters were saying. Was he? Was he cold blooded for doing this? Was his vision of right and wrong becoming messed up? Was he slowly, but surely turning into what Alec saw in him? Excusing your actions with the lack of choice never leads to anything good for people like him. For people like him the path to hell is easy. And climbing out of there is painful. There were only so many times you could do it. You couldn't do it forever, but you lived forever.

Then Madzie opened the door, and his previous thoughts were scattered in the air. He started this. He was going to finish it. And when it was done, he was going to take a good look in the mirror, and hope his fears were unnecessary.

"I'm coming to report. My part of the plan is completed with success. And your shadowhunter friend also did what he said he would. Everyone thinks the Institute is attacked by shax demons. I said what I needed to Simon. No lying, bit twisting the truth a lot. Which is also bad, but it's for a good cause. He is going there. Now is your turn."

She picked him up, and Magnus thought he was never going to get used to that feeling, "Are you ready?"

He meowed and this time it looked like that was enough. Madzie carried him to the living room and to the couch where a rucksack was lying, "I'm going to put you in there now. I made sure you won't suffocate while you're in," she said while gently placing him inside. Yesterday they both had come to the conclusion that it made no sense for Simon to bring his cat, if he thought there was a battle at the Institute. But Madzie also had pointed out he never goes anywhere without his rucksack, so Magnus could go in there, and travel with Simon without him even knowing.

"Be safe partner. My fingers are crossed for you," was the last thing she whispered before pulling the zipper almost completely, but not quite.

It was very uncomfortable being in there. Magnus didn't know in what position to put his legs in order to feel better. At one point he could feel someone, probably Simon, lifting the rucksack. There was a lot of shaking of the bag after, which Magnus didn't appreciate. And just when it stopped, well, the worst part came. It turned out that Simon's vampire speed plus Magnus being in a rucksack on his back while he was running, was such an awful combination. Don't throw up! Don't throw up, Magnus was telling himself. When was this going to end? How far were they? Weren't they there already? Take a break Simon, please. Just stop for a second. Isabelle can wait, she's not in danger. This was such a nightmare.

When it appeared they had finally reached their destination, and the running from hell stopped, Magnus felt incredibly lucky he survived all of it. He thanked the stars when he was sure it was over, and what felt like normal walking followed. Magnus waited a little more in anticipation and after a while- bingo, he heard the alarm. Thank you Simon! I can almost forgive your running like a madman. There were different voices after that. Simon was arguing with someone. Magnus worked with his claws to pull the zipper a little. He briefly looked where they were, and after he was certain they were at the Institute indeed, he braced himself and jumped out of the rucksack, getting the attention of Simon. This part was also important. Because if it had been better for Simon not to know there was a cat with him when he came here, now-it was essential for him to find out. Because he needed to search for Alfonso later, when he was leaving. Simon and Magnus needed to exit the Institute the same way they had entered it- together. So Magnus made sure to make quite a show of running around demonstratively, Simon screaming something and trying to chase after him. And while he was doing that, Magnus discovered once you get used to running on four feet, it was so fun. Remarkable! He felt free and full of energy.

It wasn't that hard to run away from Simon, but after that he had to be careful not to draw too much attention to himself anymore. Shadowhunters might be occupied with the fake attack, but he needed to keep a low profile anyways. A cat running around might not be the most odd sight in a moment like this, but still.

Magnus walked mostly in the shadows, trying not to get lost. The place was huge. A long time had passed since Magnus had seen so many shadowhunters at once. It made him feel vulnerable. He felt like someone could grab him any moment and lock him up. Because his senses had gotten used to associating shadowhunters with the feeling of danger. He was so out of his element here. He passed some room filled with weapons, then another room filled with weapons, a few training rooms, a big hall with a lot of diagrams. Shadowhunters were everywhere. Some were running towards somewhere, others-gathering to do something. Some of them saw Magnus, but didn't think much of him.

When Magnus finally found where the elevator was, he used magic to take it, and go to the floor he had to reach. There was hardly anyone on that floor, which was a pleasant change. He searched for the storage the Guardian had told him about. When he thought he could finally see it, just a few feet away, Isabelle was there, holding some small laptop and doing something on it. She wasn't that close to the facility Magnus needed to get in, but he still had to get passed her to reach his destination. She was with her back at him, and Magnus realised she shouldn't see him. While other shadowhunters might not be that interested by his presence, she knew he was Simon's cat. Well, he wasn't, but he looked like he was. Maybe she already knew Simon was here and he had lost his cat. Maybe she would try to catch him, and bring him to Simon. But that couldn't happen yet. He couldn't allow that before he manages to find these syringes. If he was to start running away from her now, he might get lost, and then he would have to begin searching for the storage again. And he couldn't waste that much time. Not when he thought he had already found it, and he was so close to his goal. He tried to get around her unnoticed.

It didn't work. She sensed something was moving behind her, turned around, and made a loud startled sound, after which there was a very long second when her eyes were right at Magnus. Her actions got the attention of another shadowhunter who appeared from the opposite direction, running towards her. Magnus didn't want to run for the reasons the had thought about before, so he decided to try to hide. He moved quickly, using the moment Isabelle looked away at the other shadowhunter when he called for her, asking her what happened. Magnus picked a dark corner, not too far from Isabelle and closer to the room the cure was supposed to be in. He lowered his body as much as he could, hoping the darkness would hide him enough, and Isabelle would decide he ran away, so she would leave to go find him or something.

"Is everything okay?" The other shadowhunter asked her when he reached her, "Did you see the demon? Is it in here?"

"No." Isabelle answered quickly, "I mean, I don't think so." She turned to the place she had seen Magnus standing at moments before, checking it. "I thought I saw something, but it looks like I was mistaking. My mind is playing tricks on me, because I'm on edge. I'm sorry if I worried you."

Huh. Magnus could swear she had seen him clearly. Was it supposed to be a secret Simon's cat was running around in the Institute? Or maybe she hadn't seen him that clearly after all. Or she had, but she thought she was imaginating it. Doesn't matter really as long as she leaves.

"Are you sure?" The shadowhunter asked, "We can look around if you want."

Please don't do that!

"Thank you, but that won't be necessary." Isabelle said with asuring tone, "As I said, I think it was nothing. Come on, we need to help the others." She gestured for him to follow and they left.

Magnus took a breath of relief when they did. And without losing any more time, he went straight to the facility, using his magic to unlock and get in.

It was a little dark, but that wasn't such a problem for Magnus, being in a body of a cat right now. There were a lot of things there. Mostly more weapons, but also a few magical objects no shadowhunter was supposed to possess. After looking for a while, he found the syringes, lying in an open box on a table. They were around 20 and looking exactly the same as the one Alec and Simon had tried to use against Magnus. It must be the cure. Magnus decided not to take just one, but three just in case. He hoped no one will notice they're missing, but even if someone did, it wasn't that odd right? Besides there were hundreds of different explanations why some syringe might not be there anymore, all of which sounding more believable than saying a centuries old warlock, disguised as a cat, had taken them.

Magnus took the three syringes in his mouth, and made a portal to Catarina's room where he threw them. He also checked if he himself could go through the portal, just in case, but no, it was impossible. He could transport things, but he couldn't take it himself just as he thought it would be. He had to leave with Simon.

It took Magnus a moment to realise the mission had been successful. Wow, he had actually made it! He had! The syringes were with Catarina now, where she could analyze them. He managed to do it. Yessss! He knew there was nothing impossible, he knew there was always a way. He felt so happy. And thankful to everyone who had helped. He was thankful to Catarina, to the Guardian, to Madzie. This had all been a group effort really, and Magnus felt so lucky to have the people he had.

Now that his job was done, he could actually allow himself to be found. By Isabelle or whoever. He just had to make sure he gets out of here safely with Simon, and everything would be fine.

He was about to exit the facility when a rune drawn on the wall got his attention. It was a rare kind of rune, not used very often. It was the shadowhunters equivalent of taking a portal. If a shadowhunter draws that rune somewhere, and then draws it somewhere else, it could take him or her from that place to the other. The rune wasn't used often, because it was considered dangerous. So it must be a reason for it to be used now.

Magnus knew the saying: "curiosity killed the cat". But when else would he have the chance to be in the Institute? It took so much preparation and people helping him to get him to reach this point. Shouldn't he try to make the most of it? He wanted to know where that rune leaded. And though he wasn't a shadowhunter, he could use his magic to find out.

He gave himself a couple more seconds, as a time for the more reasonable part of him to prevail, and make him leave. But it didn't happen, and instead he felt more and more intent to find out what he could about this. So he finally gave up, going closer to the rune, hoping he didn't make the wrong call.

He touched the rune with his paw, using his powers to chanel it, and it worked faster than he had imagined it would take. Before he knew it, he was somewhere else, facing that same rune on some other wall. He was in another facility that looked like a part of some other Institute. Which Institute exactly, Magnus had no idea.

The place was well lit and twice as big as the one Magnus had been in just a moment ago, but as opposed to it, it looked completely empty. No weapons, no syringes, no anything. Or so Magnus thought at first. A few meters away in the left corner, there was some sort of a glass wall, and behind it- there was a person. Magnus went closer. This person, a man, was chained, but in a way that didn't really restrict his movements. His clothes were maybe gray, but Magnus wasn't certain because through a cat's eyes you're never completely sure of the color. They do appeared to be covered in some dirt though, and also teared up in a few places. Magnus couldn't see his face clearly, but he though he saw some scars on one of his cheeks, which showed he had been experimented on. He was playing with a coin, throwing it in the air and catching it right back, like he was playing heads or tails.

Magnus didn't realise when he had moved really close to the glass, but the man stopped what he was doing abruptly, and took a deep breath through his nose, turning his head at Magnus right after, like he could just smell him being there. And when Magnus was able to look at his whole face, at his dark eyes, Magnus recognised him. And he just couldn't look away after that. It was so different to see him now. Like the kitchen in Simon's house- it's not the same seeing something in someone else's memories, and then seeing it yourself. Magnus felt like he was nailed in place, staring at the warlock who was staring at him. He was the warlock from Alec's memories. The one who told him he killed Max.

"Well, well, well. Look what we have here." The warlock whispered, crawling closer to the glass wall to have a better look at Magnus, moving slowly like a spider while doing so.

Magnus's heart started racing without him knowing why. Then, the warlock smiled. And Magnus had a sudden flashback of Alec throwing a piece of drawer at his eye a few days ago, and smiling the exact same way. All thoughts but one vanished from Magnus's mind - How much time Alec must have spent with this man, if he could copy his smile so well that Magnus was able to make the connection that instantly?

Chapter Text

Magnus couldn't take his eyes away from the warlock. And he couldn't stop thinking of Alec. Alec's memory of him was going around his mind. It turned out he didn't remember it that clearly, probably because he had been mostly thinking of Madzie when he had seen it. But he tried to put more thought on it now. The warlock had said a bunch of things to Alec: "I'm your friend, have you forgotten?", "Don't you like me anymore?", "You know I'm different. Not like the others. Special."

This clearly wasn't a case about some random unknown warlock, killing Max, and fighting with Alec after that. No, Alec and that warlock must have known each other long before that event. Magnus remembered how awful it had been when Alec had used this man's words to lie to him that Madzie was dead. Maybe he couldn't imitate him just because he was good at pretending. Maybe the fact that he could was another proof that the two of them knew one another very well. Did they, Magnus second guessed that right after he thought about it. And if they did, how well exactly? That was also something Magnus couldn't tell. It was disturbing that Alec could copy his gestures, and he did so in his every day life. Was it something he did on purpose when he wanted to, or did he not realise when he was doing it? Was the emotionless expression also something Alec had learned from this warlock, or was it not? What had happened after the end of that memory, after Alec was knocked out? What had happened long before then, when Max was still alive? What had happened to Alec in general? And to Max as well, the circumstances around his death were unknown and had never been common knowledge.

"Are you here to set me free?" The warlock asked, pointing Magnus's thoughts from Alec and his family to the Clave.

For how long had the Clave had this man? How long was he locked up in here? Different scenarios started playing in Magnus's head.

"You seem to do lots of thinking. Interesting. You're not the 'act first, questions later' kind of man, are you? Oh, excuse my mistake, I meant to say cat." The warlock stopped smiling at Magnus, and for some reason that bothered him even more. His voice was becoming rougher. "Did you come by accident? In that case, I'll give you 13 seconds to get me out, or that accident might be your last. I'm counting: 13-12-11..."

Magnus started backing away from the glass, unsure of what was this man doing. But he was sure of one thing- he wouldn't set him free, even if he knew how. Not now, when he knew so little, but probably not ever. He shouldn't be a prisoner to the Clave, because they were using him, but he sure as hell shouldn't be out in the world as well. He was apparently a killer and a monster, and just because he happened to be a warlock, didn't mean he deserved Magnus's protection.

Magnus was about halfway to the rune he needed to touch to travel back to the storage, when the counting ended.

"I'm sorry my friend," the warlock said, "You disappointed me."

Then he jumped from his previous place as quick as the chains were allowing him, and before Magnus could understand and see how that happened, he was holding a huge black phone he had grabbed in his hands, talking fast.

"Alert to everyone! There is another warlock in the building! I repeat- another warlock in the building. Send someone here right now. He's getting away, you need to........"

Magnus didn't hear the rest of it, because he was running like the ground was on fire. He had to get out of there as soon as possible. He shouldn't have stayed that much in the first place. Where exactly was that rune drawn again? Magnus started fighting with his anxiety not seeing it. No, no, no! Where was it?

He was turning his head at so many directions at once, running from one spot to the next while looking for it, and it was crazy. How can something be under your nose, but when your life depended on finding it, you couldn't notice where it was? It has to be here. It was here when Magnus had used it to come. Runes don't vanish like that. He tried to calm down, because he knew his panic was keeping him from seeing it. He tried to breathe evenly. He stopped moving altogether, still shifting his eyes around the place, but he forced himself to do it slowly.

He saw it! It was a few feet away. He hurried to it and touched it, disappearing from that place at the same time as a door started to open. Luckily Magnus didn't see who opened it, or what happened after that, because he found himself in the storage once again.

Okay. That had been too close, but he managed to get away. Now all he wanted was to go away from here. He exited the storage and started looking for Simon. A part of him was anxious the man will tell everyone the ''another warlock'' was currently in a body of a cat, and the shadowhunters from the Institute there will alert the ones from here. Were they going to believe him though? And was he so keen on ruining Magnus's plans anyway? In any case, the sooner Magnus goes home, the better.

He found the elevator, going back to the first floor, passing by shadowhunter after shadowhunter during his search for Simon. Thankfully, that didn't took too long. In one of the smaller rooms with a lot of diagrams Simon and Isabelle were together, talking to each other. Magnus walked towards them, their voices reaching his ears in a way that helped him hear the specific words.

"I can't believe it turned out to be a false alarm." Simon said, looking embarrassed.

"I know," Isabelle placed her hands on both his shoulders, "It looks like someone from above wanted to see how we would react in a case of such emergency. You know, to check our response time and the way we handle such threats."

"That's so mean." Simon added, pouting.

"I know," she repeated, "But what can we do? It's part of who we are. We need to train and learn all our lives in order to be better at what we do." She circled her arms around the back of his neck, bringing him closer, "Baby, you can't panic and swoop in to save me every time something like this happens. Because these things happen for real, and when they do, it's my job to deal with them."

"Yeah, well, I'll have you know that I hate your job sometimes." Simon stated, putting his arms around her waist.

"Sometimes.....I hate it too. More than you know." Isabelle told him more quietly, and they put their foreheads together.

"I'm sorry. I looked like an idiot today."

"In my eyes you can never look like an idiot." Isabelle said, before turning her head to gently kiss him.

Magnus smiled. Or he tried to, but when you're a cat it doesn't look the same. He was glad everything between them was alright, and he hadn't caused too much trouble with his plan. He had started to really regret playing with Simon like that. But if he could go back, he would probably do it again if he had to. Did that make him a bad person? A callous one? Maybe there wasn't a straight up answer to that question. Maybe Magnus lived more in the gray area than he had realised. In any case, he was happy to see them being okay.

How the Guardian had managed to make what happened look like a standard check-up, Magnus had no idea. But if he was honest, he was impressed.

He came into the room and meowed, making himself noticed.

"Look, someone came back." Isabelle said seeing him, and gestured towards his direction to Simon. There was no uncertain look from her sent to Magnus's way, nothing to indicate she thought she had seen him earlier. Maybe she didn't really gave that much importance to it, believing she had been mistaking. Or she might have already told Simon about that before Magnus came.

Simon made an interesting face, which reminded Magnus of Michelangelo's expressions when the inspiration for another painting used to strike him. "I've looked everywhere for you." He said, and then proceeded to scold Magnus like a parent, "Where were you? I can't believe you did that. What were you thinking? It's dangerous here! It's no place for you."

Simon took Magnus in his arms, a feeling Magnus still found hard to be accustomed to. Simon scolded him some more, until Isabelle interrupted to tell Simon she needed to go find Jason. Then Simon said it was probably time for him to leave, and they separated.

Once Simon and Magnus passed the Wards and got out of the Institute, Magnus felt more at ease. And the way back to Simon's place was much much better than travelling to the Institute had been. Magnus wasn't in the rucksack, but in Simon's arms, and Simon wasn't running- thank god!

Simon was petting him from time to time, running his hand through his fur absentmindedly. It was a very nice feeling actually, once you stop thinking too much about the fact that Magnus was no cat, but a grown up warlock. Magnus associated this with getting a massage- something he used to do back in the day when life wasn't so crazy. Only this time he didn't need to pay Simon even a penny for his services.

He was so glad when they arrived at Simon's home, being welcomed by Madzie. Simon and Madzie had a long conversation after, about Simon's adventures at the Institute, while Magnus was walking around, taking a closer look at the place now that he had the chance to do it. There was still some time before the potion he drank wears off. And now nothing was stopping Magnus to just be a cat, and actually enjoy it while it lasted. He would probably be so weirded out by his fascination with the least expected things when he turns back to being himself once again. But so what?

In truth, Magnus suspected that his meeting with the warlock had affected him negatively, and his brain wanted to focus on all non serious things for a while. He just wanted to be a cat, not have any burden to carry on his shoulders, not have so many people depending on him. Being Alfonso in a world where people loved cats, took care of them, made them part of their families, sounded like a pretty good deal. Cats had rights. They weren't killed, weren't persecuted, weren't hated. For example, Magnus even broke a plate by accident while he was running, and Simon just cleaned up without thinking much of it. No judgement, no accusation.

Magnus ran inside and outside of the house, enjoying the feeling, played a race with a bug he met hiding in a crack of the floor, even ate the cat food Simon brought him and found it really delicious. He also spent a little more time with Madzie as well, used his powers when they were alone to write her a few words, and inform her the plan was successful. But he didn't write too much. First, because he didn't want to ever have to tell her about that warlock. Seeing him had unleashed a whole lot of worry Magnus didn't want to deal with right now. Worry for Alec most of all, but for Magnus's people as well. Nothing about that warlock was something Madzie needed to know. She was just a kid. And Magnus wanted nothing more than for her to be just that for as long as possible. She didn't need to have his nightmares, didn't have to wonder what had happened to Alec and his family, feeling bad and worse about the prospects. All Magnus wanted her to know was that they made it, and they were okay. Another reason he didn't write that much was because he wanted to take a break from using his powers. Not because he was tired, but because he felt that was needed. And what better time than now?

Magnus was in Madzie's room when he turned back to himself. Again- it took him time to adjust. But he had to admit, after all there was something reassuring in the normality of looking in the mirror and seeing yourself. Once he was in his body, staying in Simon's home wasn't a possibility anymore. So he took a portal to his own apartment without waiting.

 

He and Catarina talked a lot about the cure when he went back to her. It was going to take them time to examine it, but she hoped they could do it before the negotiations come.

The Guardian called later, as he had said he would. He asked how the plan went, and Magnus was short with his answers. He expressed his gratitude for the provided assistance again, and explained it was a success. He wanted them to finish talking about that, so he could get to the part where he could ask his own questions.

"I know the Clave has a warlock for a hostage." He said.

The line went quiet. Magnus waited, but his words weren't followed by anything from the other end of the call. The Guardian didn't hang up either. So Magnus simply continued.

"I saw the travel rune on the wall, I followed it, and I saw him. He is the Clave's resources you were talking about, isn't he? They experiment on him and make him create magical objects."

Magnus interpreted the lack of response as a 'yes'. So he had been right all along. When he had said to Catarina that must be the way the enchanted ball was made, he had been right. That must be the way the cure was made as well.

Magnus carried on further, "You should have told me when I asked you about this. But instead you said you didn't trust my judgement. What did you think would happen if I knew? You thought I'll be horrified, and I'll go there with the intention of saving that warlock. You thought I'll forget everything, but the need to help him. And I won't listen to you if you try to convince me he's dangerous. Because he's a warlock, and I'm one too. Is that right?"

"And what if it is?" The Guardian finally spoke, his voice sounding uncertain for the first time.

"Then I'll tell you a few things," Magnus replied, "I admit, that partly sounds like something I would do. But you still have a long way to go before you actually know me, let alone predict my actions. The warlocks which I call my people- the ones I'm helping, seeing, protecting, and standing behind, are warlocks who I know or I'm almost positive weren't part of the Uprising. They are warlocks who want peace, and wouldn't kill an innocent person. Or an innocent child, as the case here is. I'm calling the man I saw today 'the warlock' simply because I don't know his name. Not because that's all I see him as. Not because I'm associating him with the others like myself. His magic isn't everything that is to him, it's just a part, how big or little I can't know. I think both me and you are aware that the warlocks who are responsible for the death and destruction that happened, didn't commit their crimes just because they can do magic. But because they were evil people from inside. Magic can be the means to achieving horrible things, but it can't be the reason. You know that, or you wouldn't be helping me. I use the same logic in this case. Just because he's a warlock, doesn't mean I would want to protect him. Even if I didn't know what he did, even if I didn't know he killed Maryse's younger son, I would still be more open to listening to your worries about it, instead of blindly jumping to his rescue, because we happen to share one in a million other traits, some of which I hope we'll never have in common."

Magnus felt better saying all that. Like he needed to say it to himself, and hear it also. Sometimes he wasn't proud of his actions, but it was always up to him to choose what kind of person he wanted to be. He could never be perfect, but he could try to be better when he could. He loved his magic. Even when he struggled with it, and others hated him because of it. Even today when he was happy without it for a while. He loved it and hoped it would always be a part of him. But it couldn't define him as a person.

"How do you know what he did?" The Guardian asked and there was tension in his voice. Magnus didn't need to guess to be sure he meant how does he know about Max.

"Alexander," he explained, "he didn't tell me exactly, but you could say I know it from him." And the fact that the Guardian also knew, was another evidence that he was really close to the Lightwood family. Because as Magnus had pointed out in his head earlier today, what had happened to Max wasn't common knowledge. Even if you are a shadowhunter, it still wasn't. To know about it, the Guardian couldn't be just anyone. And Magnus suspected he actually knew the whole story. "Look, I'm around 98% sure you know Alexander and his family very well, so please don't act like you don't." Magnus added.

"Listen to me very carefully," the Guardian started a little threatening, which Magnus didn't expect, "Don't force Alec to talk about this. About his brother, but especially about this warlock. Unless he expresses the desire to do so, don't ask questions, don't make him tell you anything he doesn't want to. I'm serious. Do you understand me?"

Magnus closed his eyes, rubbing his forehead, hoping that would take away his concern, but it wasn't possible. Why couldn't he foresee the conversation would take such a turn? "I understand. I won't do that." He promised.

"I hope so. Don't make me regret helping you."

"I understand." Magnus repeated, feeling like he didn't understand fully, but it wasn't his business to. Who was he? He wasn't Alec's friend, he wasn't anyone. This whole thing wasn't his business. And he should just stop trying to make it so, and focus on what only concerns him, "We have to talk about that warlock though," he said. Because the results of the Clave using him were really something concerning Magnus, and not just him, but all the warlocks he was helping.

There was a pause, but Magnus wasn't about to keep talking to fill it this time, so he waited for the Guardian to speak. Which happened eventually.

"You're right. I did expect you to want to rescue him."

"I don't want to rescue him," Magnus said, "But he can't stay where he is. That way he's always going to be a weapon the Clave would have against me, and I can't allow that. If they were able to make a cure, I don't want to think about what they would do next. We need to get this man out of the Institute, away from wherever they're holding him in."

"And if we could, then what?" The Guardian asked, sounding defensive now, like Magnus was about to insult him or something. Magnus just kept explaining what his idea was.

"I can send him in limbo," he proposed. "There, he won't be able to hurt anyone."

It was known that a person could get stuck in limbo for eternity when they enter a portal unconscious and alone, or without knowing where they're going. Magnus thought it was a reasonable idea.

"No." The Guardian said. Well, apparently it wasn't to him.

"Why not?"

"He'll escape."

"No one has ever escaped from limbo." Magnus explained.

"You can't know that for sure. And even if it's true, then he'll be the first."

The Guardian seemed to have set his mind about rejecting this. Did he have a better idea?

"What do you suggest we do?" Magnus asked, "When we talked about this the first time, you said you were dealing with it. How exactly?"

"I'm trying to find a way to get rid of him. Permanently." The Guardian replied.

"You mean....kill him?"

"Exactly."

Magnus was about to object to this, but he suddenly thought of something he had wanted to ask before, and still hadn't.

"Hold your thought. For how long has the Clave had him?"

"A long time," the Guardian responded, ''Why?''

"Because the way they are using him is something they came up with recently. Right?" Magnus said with conviction. The first time he had seen shadowhunters use magical objects this way had been during the previous negotiations. And that was pretty recent. He kept in contact with a lot of warlocks all the time, he was going to know if shadowhunters had been using something like that before. This tactic to benefit from the warlock being their hostage was something new, Magnus was sure of it. But then what about before? What was the excuse for him to be alive before?
"I don't understand," he said, "If they've had him for a long time, why haven't they killed him a long time ago? Before they realised he could be useful." Magnus knew that since the Uprising the Clave didn't believe in taking prisoners. They would much rather just kill you and be done with it. Especially if we're talking about that particular warlock. If he had killed Max, why wasn't he executed as soon as they had captured him?

"They can't kill him." The Guardian explained, "The official version about why is that he made same spell to protect his life before he was caught, and they can't go around it. That's not the full truth though. What I found out not long ago is that he knows things about the Clave, dirty secrets they don't want to get out, because they fear it would cause chaos amongst the shadowhunters. If he is to die, he's made sure everything will get out. So they can pretty much do anything, but kill him."

"Have they tortured him?" Magnus couldn't stop himself from asking. Because ''do anything, but kill him'' leaves way too many possibilities. And this was like falling on his level.

"Maybe at the beginning they had, but not now."

"But they experiment on him."

"When they have to- yes. Or when he refuses to use his magic for what they tell him. So? What is this? Why do you want to know? I thought you said you didn't want to save him."

I don't, Magnus thought. I want to save the people who think this kind of act should be done.

"This is not about him. Experimenting on a living person is a messed-up thing to do, and I'll always be against it. How long do you think it would be before they start experimenting on innocent people?"

"As much as I know he is the only warlock they're holding captive." The Guardian said, maybe to reassure Magnus, but Magnus knew this could change. He needed to do everything he could to bring peace, and put a stop to all of this.

"The secrets you mentioned he knows. Do you know them?" Magnus asked.

"No." The Guardian replied, "Honestly, it could be anything. The fact that the Clave has a lot of dirty laundry is not news to me. But I don't even have guesses about this. I just know it must be something important to get them so worried."

"So you don't know what it is, but it's something that would create chaos if it's known. And still, you're ready to kill that warlock? Before trying to learn more?" Magnus questioned, going back to where they had left off about the Guardian's intentions.

"Whatever it is, it's not worth that man living because of it. He needs to die. And don't you think it would be better if the Clave's secrets and lies come to light for once? Isn't this something you would want?"

"Depends." Magnus specified, "Generally speaking- yes, I would want that. But I wish I knew more to be sure. Anyway, I don't think you should kill him."

"Seriously?" The Guardian asked, raising his voice a bit.

"There are other ways to deal with him. You don't have to do this."

"You're saying he doesn't deserve it?"

"I'm saying don't taint yourself with his blood. It's not worth it." Magnus clarified, trying to get through the person he was talking to. But it was a hard thing to do over the phone. Magnus wished the Guardian was in front of him so he would be able to look in his eyes when they're talking, to have something more than just his voice as a guide to his thoughts. "We can figure out something. If not sending him in limbo, then something else. Killing is not the only way. It's not going to fix anything he did. I know you are a good person. That's why I'm telling you this. It's not about him, it's about you."

"I'm a shadowhunter Magnus. You think I've never killed anyone who isn't a demon? I've killed plenty, you know that. And if I find out how, getting rid of that man will be the easiest kill in my life."

"I don't want you to become like him." Magnus uttered more quietly than usual, and he felt so strange saying it. He didn't know the Guardian, he should be a stranger to him. But there he was, saying things like that, because he just couldn't not say it. It was what he wanted to say to Alec also.

"You don't get it." The Guardian told him, and the words affected Magnus more than they were probably meant to. They reminded him of Alec screaming Magnus couldn't be sorry about what had happened, because he didn't know.

The Guardian kept talking, "He needs to die not because I want revenge. Not because I think it would fix anything. But if I know he's dead and truly gone, I'll sleep so much better at night. I'll breathe so much easier every day. I just want it to be over."

Magnus sighed, feeling like he was at a loss for words. What could he say now? That it wasn't the right thing? That there were other options? What he actually said, was something entirely different.

"Fine. I'll help you kill him."

The Guardian would keep trying to do this, and Magnus didn't think he had the right to try to convince him otherwise. So if this couldn't be avoided, then Magnus didn't want to leave him risking everything to do it alone. The Guardian had helped him, and Magnus wanted to help in return. And maybe, just maybe there was a part of him that didn't think it was wrong.

He needed that warlock out of the picture any way this could happen. He couldn't stay in the Clave's hands, that was a huge obstacle in Magnus's task to protect his people. Even if he manages to find a way to reverse the effects of the cure, who knows what would the Clave create next. And he couldn't find the warlock again without the Guardian's assistance.

"So, how do we do this?" Magnus asked, starting to prepare himself, "First, I need to know where exactly are they holding him, because although I was there, I couldn't get to that very important detail. It was another Institute, I'm sure, but I don't know which one. I'm guessing you do. We can proceed with this the way we did about getting the cure. You can call tomorrow, we'll think of a strategy and-"

"Magnus?" The Guardian interrupted him.

"Yes?"

"I think we've stretched out the whole working together thing enough already, and it's time for it to end. I usually work alone."

"But....this affects me just as much as it affects you." Magnus said. This was important for both of them. And they had better chances as a team. Finding the cure proved that. The Guardian couldn't just put a stop to everything. Why?

"I know. I'm sorry, but I feel it's time to part ways."

"No! That's stupid. Why? I can help you, and you can help me."

"If I can help you with anything else, I'll send a fire message. But I won't call anymore."

"Is this because you don't trust me? Do you think I'll release that warlock, and set him free? That's not what I'll do."

"I don't think that. I believed you when you said you'll help. I just don't want your help about this. And like I said- I think it's time our agreements to end."

Magnus shook his head, feeling awfully like he had lost that battle, and nothing he could say would change the Guardian's mind. "Why are all the shadowhunters this stubborn? If you were in front of me right now, I would just shake you until I could bring some sense into your head." He said, but not making it sound bitterly. He was disappointed that this was it. He felt it was a mistake on the Guardian's part. What was he afraid of? And Magnus deserved better than his help to be rejected so blatantly.

The Guardian laughed lightly at his statement, and Magnus should've been angry with him, but he couldn't bring himself to really be.

"Take care of yourself Magnus." He told him, "And take care of Alec."

"Take care as well." Magnus said, feeling defeated, "Goodbye."

"Goodbye."

 

The next day Magnus and Catarina started working on the cure. It was a long day, and they realised this process is going to take them more time than they originally had thought. At the evening Magnus couldn't stop himself from looking at the phone, but of course no one called.

The next morning he was passing through the hallway near Alec's room, because he needed to pick up a blanket the forgot there the other night. He saw Catarina sitting a few meters away, having one of her talks with Alec, being a little too close to the barrier for Magnus's liking. But what made him come closer to hear them, was actually Alec's voice. Before Magnus had kind of thought Catarina's talks were mostly one-sided, with her speaking and Alec just listening, or not even that. So the proof of the opposite made him interested about what were they talking about. He got closer, but not enough to see Alec, or for Alec to see him.

"Could you slow down a little? I'm trying to write it correctly," Alec said.

"Of course," Catarina agreed. She was holding a plant, explaining something about how it helps with treating wounds. "You need to leave it in warm water for about half an hour, and then mix it with the other ingredients I mentioned to make a paste, and only then apply on the injury."

"When you say warm water, what temperature do you mean?" He asked.

"The exact degrees are not that crucial. Warm enough to extract the juice from the leaves, but not too hot to burn your skin if it comes in contact with it."

"Got it. Can you pass it to me through the barrier? I want to try to sketch it to be able to find it easier in the future."

"Of course," she said, giving him the plant.

"I'm no Clary, but let's hope I can make a decent enough drawing. I can't believe I never knew any of these things before."

"Don't they teach anything about nature's healing abilities at the Institute?"

"No, they just tell you 'this is your healing rune, use if necessary',''Alec replied and Magnus smiled at his tone.

"What if you don't have a stele?"

"I know right, " he said in agreement, "It's what I'm saying. Magnus Bane stole mine along with my bow, and I haven't seen them in ages."

''Well, I might have helped him with that back then.''

''Shame on you. But fortunately I know a great way to earn my forgiveness- bring me that book I told you about.''

Magnus left them to proceed with what appeared to be a lecture Catarina was giving. She had always been good at this. It was what she loved to do before the Uprising. And if Alec was interested, then Magnus was happy.

 

After a lot of testing of every component the cure was made of, Magnus and Catarina just couldn't find a way to make an antidote to it. Maybe someone else could, maybe it just wasn't in their ability right now. They were going to keep trying, but their chances to succeed didn't look that big at the moment. On the bright side though- they could make a substance that prevents the cure from working if it's injected before it- something like a vaccine against it. It couldn't help the warlocks who had already been cured, but it could protect others. And that was sort of a win for now.

Tomorrow were the second negotiations. Magnus had thought a lot about them during the past week. He had decided not to go himself, and he had came up with something he shared with Catarina in the evening.

She listened to him carefully, before saying, "You need to go and ask him."

Magnus nodded, touching her shoulder briefly before walking out and heading to Alec's room. He could have asked Catarina to talk to Alec instead, because they had better communication, but he stopped himself from doing that.

Hе stopped next to the room entry. It looked a lot better than the last time Magnus had helped to clean it. There were two extra chairs and a table, which weren't there before, and had been probably brought by Catarina. Alec was sitting at the table on one of the chairs, holding what looked like the biggest book about herbs and plants Magnus had ever seen in his life. And Magnus had lived for many years, keep that in mind. Dear god, was Alec supposed to read all that?

He was so caught up in it, he didn't even see Magnus was there. His notebook was also with him, and he was taking notes. Magnus almost didn't want to interrupt him. The light from the lamp was hitting his face at an interesting angle. Magnus just looked at him for a moment. How old was he? The information Magnus had read about the Lightwoods before claimed he was 21. But it was from three years ago, so Alec must be 24 now. It was still way too young to experience the things he had experienced. Magnus tried to remember what kind of a person he had been at 24. Well, he definitely had been young and stupid. But he was young and stupid now as well if you ask him, maybe just a bit more wise regarding some things. But the truth was, Magnus also felt like he had a lot more to learn. About the world, about life, about everything.

He didn't want him and Alec to be enemies, he realised. Because he really didn't want to be any shadowhunter's enemy, but also because there was something about Alec that made Magnus think they were more alike in some ways than they know. That if they weren't busy hurting each other, they had a real chance to understand one another. Magnus had tried to see Alec as just a shadowhunter, but it was getting harder and harder for him to do that. The problem was that he couldn't see him as Alec too, because he didn't know much about who Alec was. Sometimes he wanted to know more about him, but sometimes he felt that's not what Alec would want. Maybe Alec wanted for Magnus to see him only as a shadowhunter.

Alec turned the page, putting his pen behind his ear while doing that. And Magnus had a sudden realisation that he really liked his hair. It was out of order most of the time, but it wasn't truly that messy. It wasn't a style Magnus would use on himself, but it suited Alec. Magnus liked his eyes too. They were so easy to just look at. His whole face could be very expressive when Alec allowed it to be. Magnus remembered the way Alec had smiled when he saw Simon back when they first portaled to his home. It wasn't a define thought then, but he had looked beautiful. Magnus wanted him to smile with his own smile more often. Maybe he will, once Magnus just lets him leave this place. "I hate this place", Alec had screamed before. Yeah, Magnus also hated it some days.

"Hey," Magnus said to get his attention.

Alec slightly jumped at that, then looked at Magnus and frowned.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you." Magnus said.

Alec kept frowning, "Where is Catarina?" He asked.

"She is in the living room, just working on something."

"Why are you here?" Alec asked, clearly not pleased with Magnus's presence.

"Tomorrow are the negotiations." Magnus explained, "I have an idea about them, but it includes you. So I wanted to come and see what you would think. If you're not okay with it, I'll forget about it."

Alec looked thoughtful, then he pointed his chair at Magnus, facing him more directly. "I'm listening." He said.