Alec didn't know that Magnus was missing until he received the fire message. The warlock had left him only a few hours previous, after one of their weekly scheduled lunches, and they had made plans for him to be home at a reasonable hour for dinner. Except, now he was holding a message from Izzy demanding he come to Ops immediately, and that it was about Magnus. He was there before he had consciously ordered himself to move. People in the Institute parted for him and none met his gaze. Absently, he wondered what his face must look like for them to all be turning tail to run.
When he found Izzy waiting for him with a grim look, even her eyes widened at the sight of him. He frowned at her. "What?"
Izzy shook her head and handed him the folder. "I'm going to just cover your six and leave it at that. Jace will be with us. I've already called Simon and Catarina. We need to track him."
"Do we know who?"
Izzy gave a frown and gestured to the folder. "Not only do we know who, we have a ransom note."
The words ransom note made the world go a little fuzzy around the edges as Alec flipped open the report, scanning it for all pertinent details. Magnus had been attacked, there was evidence of demons, a warlock, and Shadowhunters, but he had managed to leave evidence of his presence, enough for them to know what had happened. Alec traced over the words etched into the ground, that not even the strongest glamour could hide.
"FIND ME ALEXANDER"
Alec let out a slow breath and flipped the page of the report, picking up the ransom note. He scowled at the sight of it. A quick read of the contents once, twice, and he had it memorized. He crumpled the note in his fist and dropped the report on the table, turning on his heel.
Alec looked over his shoulder at his sister and shook his head, only once, before striding quickly for the weapons room. It was a matter of minutes to strap two Seraph blades to him, to collect his bow and arrows. Magnus had given him an order, and he would follow it. After all, they had demanded his head. He tightened his hand on his bow and strapped another blade to his calf. They would regret taking him. If anything had happened to Magnus, they would regret it for the rest of their lives.
Jace found him as he was activating his runes. Alec carefully drew the stele over rune after rune, adding new ones as he went, slow and methodical. His skin was burning with the pain, but it was one he was long accustomed to, it brought him focus. His skin itched with the urge to move, to go to Magnus now, to get him back.
"You're going to play right into their hands."
Alec said nothing to his parabatai, even though he knew he owed Jace a response. It was a trap. But they underestimated him. They underestimated the lengths he would go to for Magnus. He grinned darkly up at his brother and shook his head.
"Angel above, Alec, at least wait until we know where we are going-"
"I already do," Catarina announced, portaling into the room. She took one look at Alec Lightwood and the way his eyes focused on her, intense in a way that had them almost glowing with purpose and power. She smiled. He and Magnus did suit each other in more ways than they would readily admit.
"Magnus burned a trail for us to follow and they didn't have enough time to cover their tracks like they wanted to. Imagine that."
Alec nodded at her. "You know how to get us there?"
Catarina nodded. "Yes."
"Do you know who took him? The Warlocks and other Downworlders?"
Catarina hesitated before nodding again. "I do."
Alec’s voice was quiet and firm as he stared at her, leaving no room for argument. "You know what I will do to them all. Make sure their leaders are aware of the breach of the accords, and that by kidnapping Magnus Bane, they have declared war on the New York Institute, and I will burn the ground they stand on to get him back.”
Catarina’s eyes went wide and Alec focused on finishing his preparations. “I will expect their full cooperation in any actions that I take in bringing him back."
Catarina's eyes glittered dangerously. "You know he's never needed your protection."
Alec looked at her, his eyes narrowed and he frowned, tilting his head. "I am well-aware."
"That doesn't mean he isn't going to love seeing you charge in there to rescue him. Make sure to give him a chance to enjoy the moment."
For the first time since he had learned that Magnus was missing, Alec cracked a smile. He gave her a nod and turned to Jace, looking at him, sharing a long glance, until it was broken by the arrival of Izzy and of Clary. He stood and wiped his hands on his jeans, pulling his shirt back on. His skin was burning with all of the activated runes, but he would make use of them soon enough.
"I still say that we need to have a plan-" Izzy started.
Alec snorted and looked at her. "We do have a plan. I am going in there, and I am going to bring Magnus back."
Izzy sighed and stared at the ceiling. Angels save her from idiot brothers chasing after the people they loved. They would be the death of her. "You don't even know how many of them there will be."
"It doesn't matter," Alec said, his voice quiet, certain, echoing with power. "I'll kill them all."
“Alec, you’re the Head of the Institute, you have to be rational about this-”
“I am being rational,” Alec interrupted. “I will bring him back, and I will kill any who stand in the way.”
Both Izzy and Jace felt the certainty of that statement in their very bones, and in the unnatural stillness and quiet of their brother. Alec would tear down everyone that stood between him and Magnus and have no regrets.
"Then," Jace huffed out, taking out his own stele. "We'd better get moving."
Magnus hummed and looked around his cell, fiddling with the cuffs on his wrist. How rare to find power dampers this side of the Atlantic. Especially ones that would work on a warlock like him. "You do know that he's never going to agree to that ridiculous little ransom note you sent?"
A fist came his way, but Magnus easily ducked under it, grunting when it earned him a punch to the ribs. Ah well, he had to have some fun with them. "I mean, really, what do you think the Institute is going to do? Behead Alexander and then bring it here for my return?"
"You're a fool if you think that's what we want."
Magnus rolled his eyes. "What you want is transparent as day. I haven't quite figured out why you are acting stupider than a B-movie villain though, as that takes some talent. I have to admit I am impressed with your lack of planning ahead."
Dark eyes glittered at him and the ropes around his arms and legs tightened, biting into his skin. Magnus bit down a cry of pain and forced himself to breathe through it. He glared right back at the woman holding him captive. "You are going to regret this."
"Oh no. You are going to regret this," she purred, stepping forward to look at him. "And after I've killed Alec Lightwood and made you watch-”
“Lightwood-Bane,” Magnus corrected, just to watch her scowl and step forward.
“I will make sure that you are locked down here for an eternity, to die slowly, torturously in the shadows."
Magnus couldn't help but grin, flashing his eyes at her just to see her step back for an instant. "If you think I am not at home in the shadows, then you do not know who you captured."
"I think," she whispered, leaning closer, trailing a finger down his cheek. "I know precisely who I did. And I will prove that to you. Your little Shadowhunter friends are going to be no match for us. They never are."
Magnus leaned away from her and raised his eyebrows, unable to keep from grinning just a bit wider at that assumption. "You really don't know them at all, do you?" His ring glinted in the darkness and he clenched his hand around it just a little bit tighter. Alexander would come for him, and, in his own glorious fashion, would send a message as he did.
“Oh? Do tell.”
Magnus chuckled and flashed his eyes again, letting the glamour drop and remain down. “Isabelle Lightwood, as ruthless as she is beautiful. Alexander Lightwood-Bane, youngest Head of an Institute in centuries, who walked into Edom to bring me back, without hesitation. Jace Wayland, the most vicious fighter the Institute has ever seen, and Alexander’s parabatai. They came for me in Edom. Do you think you stand any chance when Lilith did not?”
Unease crept into the room and Magnus settled back in his chair, laughing. “You picked a fight with the wrong group of shadowhunters. Alexander will destroy every one of you himself to find me, and I will love watching every moment of it.”
Another hand gripped his arm and Magnus fought the wave of sluggish magic that seeped through him, but with the cuffs on he was powerless to stop himself from falling unconscious again. How irritating, he wanted to see the show. Alexander would not enjoy finding him like this.
The abandoned warehouse looked to be exactly that. Alec stalked around the perimeter once, twice, before turning to Caterina, forcing his impatience down. There was nothing here, yet this is where Magnus had lead them with his magic, according to her. "Where is he?"
Catarina frowned, closing her eyes, her magic sparking around her fingers. She could see the trail, as plain as day, right in front of her. And it stopped in the center of the room. Yet there was no one here. "It leads here. He led us here. We need to find him from here."
Alec looked around the warehouse again, stopping to take a deep breath. His chest was thrumming with the urgent need to find Magnus, to make those that had taken him pay, and to make sure they would never hurt them again. He stopped in the center of the room and looked to Catarina. "Here? His magic ends here?"
Catarina nodded. "Yes."
Alec closed his eyes and focused on the center of the room. He knew what Magnus' magic felt like, knew what the familiar warmth was. He knew it almost as well as the man himself. If his magic had led them here, it was for a reason, and they simply needed to figure out what it was. He had to find them. Alec took another breath and tried to focus on the feel of Magnus again, his pounding heart making it difficult to think and to focus.
"Alec," Catarina called, motioning to Isabelle and Jace. "Don't move."
Alec's eyes snapped to her. "What?"
"Don't move," Catarina ordered again. She could see Magnus' magic swelling around Alec, almost like the Shadowhunter was commanding it himself. It was pulling at Alec, trying to tell him where to go, how to follow. But she needed to wait for it to point-
"Down," she whispered, looking at the floor under Alec. "Move, now. Ten feet back."
Now that she was looking for the glamoured door, it was easy to see. Magnus' magic wrapped around it in a ring. She could feel the demons behind it, and the rogue Shadowhunters. Her magic crackled around her fingers and she looked to the three. "I'll get to Magnus. He'll likely need me to free him. You take care of the rest."
Alec nodded firmly and nocked an arrow. His runes were singing with power and the certainty that he would rescue Magnus. He would not miss. He would save him, and he would kill any who tried to get in his way. When the door was pulled back, Ravener demons poured into the warehouse, howling and screaming.
The first two were down in an instant, disappearing in a shower of Ichor and shadow, arrows in their eyes. The next never made it past the doorway. Next to him, Jace and Izzy spun, shouting directions to each other, and to him. His blood was singing as a demon screamed in his face and Alec shot an arrow through its neck, ending its life mid-scream.
Beside him, flashes of gold magic, Catarina, helping to clear the path for him to get to Magnus. Alec focused on the trap door and nocked three arrows, shooting them into the blackness where he could just barely make out the shape of demons moving. He dropped easily into the submerged path, his night vision rune active and showing him just how many demons stood between him and the door at the back of the hallway.
Alec let his bow disappear in a shower of blue sparks, before pulling out the two Seraph blades he had brought with him. In their white glow, the demons looked terrified and it only made him grin. Good . His blade sank into the chest of the first one before they’d even had a chance to react, and then he was blocking the next blow, blades spinning in his hand. He was covered in ichor, and vaguely he registered the feel of claw marks along an arm, but it wasn’t enough to stop him, nothing would stop him.
With a snarl, Alec kicked off the wall in a move he’d seen Jace use and sank both blades into the chest of another demon, twisting viciously until it was gone. He rose to his feet and saw the demons in front of him take another step back. He shook his head and rolled the blades in his hand before stalking forward. No one would stand in his way. No one.
The sound of fighting woke Magnus and he perked up immediately, grinning bright and wide. "Oh, look, there's my rescue mission."
"It will be their death," the woman holding him promised.
Magnus rolled his eyes. "You really don't know my husband, do you?"
"I know he's a traitor to his own kind," she snapped, glaring at the warlock who only continued to smile at her in the same infuriatingly relaxed manner.
"Is he? Or is it the one working with demons?" Magnus asked, raising an eyebrow. The ropes tightened again and he managed a tiny grunt of pain around them. At least two of his ribs were broken, and hell below, if he had his magic, he would have ripped this woman apart a hundred times over.
"Silence!" she demanded, gesturing for the other man to approach the door where the sound of fighting was drawing closer.
“If you were looking for the strong, silent type, it’s my husband you should have kidnapped,” Magnus quipped, wheezing out a breathless chuckle. “I do have to admit, I am sad to be missing the show, he is gorgeous when he is ruthless.”
Magnus settled back into the chair as best he could and waited. It was only a matter of time, after all.
He cursed when he felt another prick to the back of his neck and the quiet tickle of magic. He really was going to rip this woman apart in every way possible, and maybe invent a few more, just for good measure. If, of course, Alexander didn’t beat him to it.
By the time Alec reached the end of the hallway, there was nothing waiting for him but an empty chair. He could see the faint shimmers of glitter that Magnus tended to leave wherever he was that said he had been here. But he was no longer here. He wiped the Ichor off of his blades and surveyed the room, his face darkening at the sight of the torture instruments in front of him. They did not look used, but that was certainly no guarantee of the fact. They easily could have been.
Izzy and Jace stumbled into the room after the path of destruction carved by Alec and looked around frantically. "Where is he?"
"Oh Shadowhunters!" A voice, projected loudly into the room. "So easy to trick and fool, and so gullible. We could trap you right there and you'd die down there. But then, we'd not get to have any fun. Do join us back in the warehouse."
Alec's eyes were dark and he strode from the room, tightening his hold on the blades he carried. It was an easy thing to collect arrows he passed as he went, returning them to his quiver as he backtracked to the warehouse. Catarina was waiting for him, her eyes bright and worried. He turned to her, abruptly remembering Madzie. "Go," he ordered, gesturing. "Portal out of here."
Catarina scowled and her eyes flashed with anger. "If you think I am leaving my friend-"
"Fine," Alec interrupted, an edge to his voice that wasn’t there before. "Stay behind me," he ordered, not bothering to wait for her to listen. He turned to Jace and Izzy, his shoulders heaving with exertion, but he couldn't feel any of it, only the slow pulse of power from the runes.
"Alec, you're going to-"
Alec shook his head and looked at his sister, the worry in her eyes and lifted his chin. "I'm fine. I'm going to get him back. I will not let them hurt him."
When he climbed back into the main part of the warehouse, it was now lit. Alec's eyes swung to the sight of Magnus, tied to a chair in the middle of a summoning circle, unconscious. He was bleeding, and his body was limp. In the space of a second, any tiredness he had felt was replaced by blind, encompassing rage. It washed over him in a wave of calm as he surveyed the room. They would pay. Everyone who had done this to Magnus would pay.
"Well, well, if it isn't little Alec Lightwood. I mean, we did ask for your head, but you've been generous enough to bring it directly here for us, I suppose that I can't complain about having to take it off myself."
"You wanted me," Alec said, his voice low and calm. "I am here. Let him go."
She laughed, her hair falling down her back. "You think I'm going to let one of the most powerful warlocks in the world go? When I could use him in a myriad of ways? Do you know how many in Hell would pay handsomely for a Prince?" She trailed her fingers through Magnus' hair. "Especially Magnus Bane."
Alec's nostrils flared and he took a step forward. "I will not ask again. Let. Him. Go ."
"No~" she sing-songed, her voice teasing. She cut open her finger, letting a few drops fall to the summoning circle before demons surged around her and she grinned as Magnus began to stir. "Oh look, you're awake just in time to see him die, wonderful!"
“Have you ever imagined losing your runes?” Alec asked, his eyes returning to the Shadowhunter in front of him, standing at the edge of the summoning circle. “The process is excruciatingly painful, or so I’ve been told.” He looked back down at the blades in his hands and then up to her. “I’ll carve yours from your skin for hurting him.”
Magnus forced his eyes open and blinked, struggling to focus in front of him. Alexander was standing only twenty feet away and he looked... He lacked the words. He was covered in a mix of blood and ichor, but he had never looked more angelic, standing there, his eyes blazing with rage, every muscle in his body tense and ready to spring forward. All for him.
He spared a moment to wish he could fan himself, because it was always incredible to be the focus of that level of intensity from his husband, and he got to experience it regularly. But like this? Where everyone in the room knew just how dangerous Alexander was? There was nothing quite like it. "Alexander, so nice of you to join me this afternoon. Do finish up quickly, we have a date to be getting to."
Alec's lips curled and he nodded, readjusting his hold on his Seraph blades as the demons escaping from the portal approached him. He didn't bother to wait for Jace and Izzy. These were the ones responsible for kidnapping Magnus and he would make them pay. He would kill them all, and send them screaming back to their realm of hell.
When his blades slashed across one of the demons, soaking him in ichor, Alec did nothing more than add an extra, harsh twist as he advanced on the shadowhunter and warlock controlling the summoning circle, moving slowly, deliberately, leaving no mercy for those in his path.
It wasn’t the first time he had watched Alexander fight. Far from it, in fact. But it was the first time that he had watched Alexander move this savagely, this intensely, his eyes burning with anger, desperation and even a tinge of pride as Magnus watched him slay the demons in front of him and come back for more. There were not enough demons in this world to keep them apart from each other.
He felt, rather than saw, the soft touch of magic at his wrists, working at the locks. Magnus sighed happily. Catarina . She could always be counted on in a pinch and Alexander was making quite the distraction. The cuffs fell off his wrists and he was flooded with his power again, inhaling hard, his eyes flashing as he stood up and met Alexander’s eyes, where he was standing, his chest heaving as he moved.
“Why thank you Catarina,” Magnus said, healing himself with a wave, before trapping both his captor and her pet warlock in a spell that held them immobile. He picked up the cuffs and brought them over to the other Warlock, placing them on his wrists. “A taste of your own lovely medicine, I think, before I get started on you.”
Magnus was tempted to enact his own brand of vengeance on them, but he knew that they would need to be interrogated. He opened a portal that led to a cell in the Institute, leaving Jace and Isabelle to handle transporting the both of them before he turned back to Alec, who was standing just outside the summoning circle, his eyes shining. “You know, you’d think you being covered in blood and ichor wouldn’t do it for me, and yet… somehow , you continue to surprise Alexander.”
Alec huffed out a laugh and some of the tension drained from him, his hands loosening their hold on the blades. Magnus was here, he was all right. He wiped both the blades before sheathing them, reaching out to take Magnus’ hand, pulling him close.
“Disgusting,” the Shadowhunter sneered. “You’re a disgrace to all of us Lightwood-”
“Lightwood-Bane, actually,” Alec interrupted, turning to look at her, his eyes dark. “And I’m not the disgrace. You are.”
“At least I am not, not consorting -”
Alec moved and had his Seraph blade pressing into her throat enough to draw blood by the time the word was out of her mouth. He stared her down and tightened his hand around the blade. “I, quite happily, consort with whomever I damn well please.”
Magnus couldn’t help the laugh that escaped. Alexander had picked up some of his habits, and this was one he particularly enjoyed, seeing him fight back with words, just as much as actions. “I believe we were having a moment, darling.”
Alec lowered the blade and turned back to Magnus, a smile on his face. “So we were. Are you all right?”
“Perfectly fine now that you are here,” Magnus promised, leaning in for a kiss from Alexander. “In fact, I might have enjoyed your display more than is appropriate for someone who was kidnapped.”
Alec snorted and rolled his eyes. “Of course you did,” he muttered, kissing Magnus until he could hear the clearing of Jace’s throat and looked over at his parabatai with a smile.
“You two are gross,” Jace said, rolling his eyes as he stared at them. “Seriously, you’re covered in blood and you’re flirting now ?”
“No time like the present! Not every day I get to play a damsel in distress!” Magnus winked at Jace and stepped in closer to Alexander. “Speaking of which, we have a very important part of that role to get to. Alexander, home?”
Alec kissed Magnus again, letting some of the tension fade from him, his skin still burning with all of the runes he had drawn and activated. He might need to ask Magnus to heal him a little before they slept. “Home sounds wonderful.” He looked up at Jace and Izzy who were both grinning and exasperated at the same time. “I’ll file the reports tomorrow.”
Izzy rolled her eyes. “Yeah, yeah, go play Prince Charming while we clean up your dead pile of demons, and contact the Institute,” she called, pulling out her phone to text it in.
“Love you!” Alec called, following Magnus through the portal he had summoned back to the loft.
Once they were both gone, and the Institute notified of their new prisoners, Izzy frowned and looked at the bodies and destruction destruction around her, letting out a low whistle. Jace gave her a look that she tried to ignore and huffed.
Catarina approached both Jace and Isabelle, studying them. “Are you both all right?”
Izzy looked to Catarina and then back to the piles of demons lying around them. “It doesn’t bother Magnus? Seeing this kind of...of…”
She raised an eyebrow at the Shadowhunters. “Do you think Magnus does not know what Alec is capable of?”
“No, no, I know he does. But this is...this is more than just being a Shadowhunter. This is…” Izzy let out a low whistle. “He would have killed anyone in his path to get to Magnus.”
“Yes,” Catarina agreed. “It’s the ultimate compliment, really.”
Izzy blinked and shared a look with Jace. “What?”
Catarina laughed at their incredulous looks. “You forget what warlock are, Isabelle Lightwood. We are children of demons. Magnus is the son of Asmodeus. You do not think a Prince of Hell, who would, and has, torn down a realm for his lover, appreciate a similar action being done for him?”
“Well when you put it like that, I sound like an idiot,” Izzy pouted, huffing. “Scares me to see my brother like that.”
“Did you doubt his resolve for a moment?”
Izzy shook her head. “No, of course not. But this is…”
“ This ,” Catarina gestured to the dead demons around them and the aborted summoning circle. “Is a love letter, a confirmation of the words he has spoken and shared.”
Jace snorted and rolled his eyes. “If you say so.”
Catarina hummed. “All has ended well. I’ll be sending you my bill.” She winked at Isabelle and created a portal for them to the Institute before creating another herself. She would have to tease Magnus mercilessly for this, of course. He had earned that, at least, being jumped on the way home from the Institute.
Once they were in the lfot, Alec felt the last of the adrenaline rushing through him start to fade, and it was all starting to come crashing down on him, the exhaustion, the horror at what he had done, in front of Magnus no less. He started to shake, taking a step away from Magnus to suck in a desperate, hard breath.
“Alexander? Are you all right?” Magnus could see that he was the furthest thing from all right, at the way his skin had gone ashen, and the relief on his face had been washed away by fear and worry.
Alec forced himself to take a deep breath, then another, then one more. He felt Magnus’ hands on his forearms and opened his eyes, swaying close to press his forehead against Magnus’, exhaustion weighing on him until he felt like he couldn’t move any more. “Don’t be scared of me?” he whispered, his voice small.
“Scared?” Magnus parroted back, blinking in confusion. “Why would I be scared of you? I am a hard man to impress, Alexander Lightwood-Bane, and let me tell you, that display for me was nothing short of impressive.”
The laugh that escaped him this time almost sounded like a sob and Alec stepped closer to Magnus, burying his face into Magnus’ neck, inhaling hard, his body shaking. “Izzy and Jace were scared of me,” he admitted. “So was everyone at the Institute.”
Magnus hummed, reaching up to comb his fingers through Alexander’s hair. A quick wave of his fingers cleaned them both and had them in nothing more than boxers. It was a testament to Alexander’s exhaustion that he didn’t even offer a protest. “People fear what they don’t understand.”
Alec frowned, even as Magnus pushed him onto the decadent mattress, climbing on after him. “What’dya mean?”
Magnus settled easily next to Alec, tangling their legs together, plunging his fingers into Alec’s hair again to rub at his scalp. “If anything were to happen to you, I would destroy anyone and everyone in my path. Nothing would stand in my way. Not angels, not demons, not heaven or hell. No matter who, I would come for you.”
Alec hummed happily, pressing a sleepy kiss to Magnus’ lips. “I’d do the same.”
“I know,” Magnus whispered, rubbing his nose against Alec’s. “You have done as much for me already, and more. And that is what they do not understand. I don’t fear you, Alec. I never will. Because I know I would do the same for you, and you would not think less of me.”
“I’d like to play damsel sometime,” Alec mumbled, opening his eyes to stare sleepily at Magnus. “You’re hot when you’re angry and being all rawr .”
Magnus laughed, kissing his precious Shadowhunter again, pressing closer to him. “The feeling is very, very mutual, Alexander.”
Alexander made a quiet noise and lifted one arm around Magnus, pulling him in closer, hiding his face in Magnus’ neck, breathing out hard. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” Magnus whispered. “Now sleep, so I can have my wicked way with you in the morning.”
Alexander grinned against Magnus’ skin and tightened his arm, just enough before he allowed himself to properly relax and drift off to sleep.