The last thing Magnus ever expected after returning from hell itself was his own personal nightmare to play out in front of him.
There were so many thoughts chipping away at him, threatening his resolve. Was Jace, the arrogant Shadowhunter that was somehow Alexander’s Parabatai, worth the loss of his magic? Was Jace worth his immortality – worth every moment he thought, no, knew, he would have with Alec? But he wasn’t asking the right questions. No, what he really needed to ask was what drove him to see his father, a menace of a monster:
Was Alexander worth it?
And, to Magnus’s never-ending surprise, the selfish answer was yes. Magnus needed Alexander in his life more than he needed the constant throb of magic in his veins – needed him more than the centuries he thought he had.
Seeing Alexander, his own arrow in his chest, ripped a piece of Magnus apart.
Calling upon his father’s tainted magic and his own, he gathered every inch, every centimeter, of magic he had, pulling himself in such different directions that it physically hurt. With a shout, he pushed the magic out and aimed at the Owl, hoping that it was enough to release Jace.
Screaming. Jace was screaming. But Magnus could only focus on so much at a time. He kneeled next to Alec, taking in the damage. He stared at the wound in shock, unable to believe how much blood was coming from his boyfriend. Alec was opening and closing his eyes, breathes uneven, taking a piece of Magnus’s heart every time his love whimpered in pain.
“Stay with me.” He found himself begging, putting a hand underneath Alexander’s head and trying his best to support it. Without thinking, Magnus brought his other hand up to Alec’s chest, calling on his magic, but it was gone. A chill went down his spine: What if Alexander died here because he saved Jace instead?
“Mom said…” His love grunted, smiling – smiling – at Magnus, as if he wasn’t the one dying, “You’d make a dramatic entrance.”
Magnus shouldn’t let Alec do this – he shouldn’t let him comfort him, not when Magnus wasn’t sure he could get help in time. Not when there was a chance to that Alec could…
Magnus grimaced, but then attempted a smile as well, tears coming to his eyes, “Smart woman.”
Here he was, a Warlock that was present at the Uprising, praising a woman that had wanted him dead not thirty years ago. That was how much Alec had changed his life – had changed the world around him. It wasn’t empty words when he told Alexander that he would blow up the very ground he walked on to make something right, it was probably the best way he could ever describe Alec’s true character.
He couldn’t lose him – not like this.
Suddenly, Jace appeared, just as panicked as Magnus was. He grabbed at Alec but then stopped himself, as if he were afraid that his own touch would hurt me. Maybe that’s exactly what he thought.
“Please, Magnus, you gotta fix him.”
Magnus closed his eyes, ashamed. “I can’t.”
“You can’t? What do you mean you can’t?”
All of this was too fast. From one frying pan and into another. From Edom, to his father, to his magic, to Alec. Alec was suffering and in pain, and Magnus couldn’t do a thing about it. He had never been so useless in his life.
“It’s gone.” Magnus told Jace, his hand still supporting Alec’s head, heavy with the weight of it, “I traded it to break Lilith’s hold on you.”
He didn’t dare look Jace in the eye, too scared of what he would find there – of where his thoughts would travel if he saw Alec’s counterpart safe and whole. Or, maybe the shame of being unable to save anyone would consume him.
Without another word, Jace brought out his stele, quickly drawing a rune on Alec’s forearm, causing Alec’s breath to hitch in pain.
“Jace,” Alec said hoarsely, “it wasn’t you.”
Magnus turned to look at Jace, making sure that the blonde could survive Alexander’s kind words, only to find the eyes of someone in complete agony. Never had Magnus seen someone so filled with guilt and anguish all at once – the blame was killing him.
“I’ll take care of him.” Magnus promised, the only thing he could promise. It seemed to be enough.
Jace placed the stele in Alec’s hand, the two brother’s nodding at each other in understanding. Jace then placed Magnus’s hand on top of Alec’s. I trust you, Jace was saying, keep him safe.
“I’m going to get Clary.”
And then he was gone, running faster than Magnus had ever seen any supernatural being run. Magnus didn’t dare bring himself to think about what the others were currently facing – he had to save Alexander.
“Magic? You…Okay?” Alec asked, voice still rough. The concern in Alec’s eyes was enough to send Magnus reeling. He didn’t deserve it.
Magnus’s tears finally fell, but he didn’t let Alexander continue, “It doesn’t matter. Right now, let’s focus on you, alright darling?”
Catarina. Cat would be able to help. Where was his cell phone? With a shaky hand, he reached into his pants pocket, more tears leaving his eyes when he found that it was still there, powered on and working. He dialed Catarina’s number by heart, putting the cell phone on speaker phone and next to him.
“Love you.” Alec said, squeezing Magnus’s hand, the one that still hand the stele tightly in his fist. It was mocking him – he knew that none of the runes in the universe could help with this. Alec needed magic to survive. “It’s…Okay.”
“Don’t do that,” Magnus sob, listening to the horrible noise of the phone continue to ring. Please answer. Please. “Alex-”
“Magnus?” Catarina asked, obviously confused by the late-night call.
Magnus sobbed louder, “C-Cat. Alec! I can’t heal him!”
“Where are you?” Cat asked, and somehow Magnus was able to look up at the street sign. Startled, Magnus realized that both of hands were covered in Alexander’s blood.
Fearing blood loss, Magnus forced himself to push against Alec’s wound, causing his love to cry out in pain – it was the worst noise he had ever heard. And then, the sound of a portal. Catarina froze at the sight of them, blood everywhere, but quicker than he had ever seen, her mask was back up.
“We need to get him to the Institute,” Catarina told him, a command, “Can you help me carry him?”
Alexander’s blood was coated over his fingers. So much blood.
A sharp, stinging pain suddenly hit him. His eyes went upwards, dazed when he realized that it was Catarina that had slapped him.
He was in shock. He didn’t have time to be in shock.
“Magnus.” Alec groaned out, concerned. How was he still awake? It must be torture. Alec must be in torture.
“We have to go!” Cat repeated, “If we don’t move now, he’s not going to make it!”
And then…Then the world titled.
An explosion, right above them. Magnus caught a glimpse of fire – of danger – and then he was on his side, forcibly pushed to the side and knocked against a wall, his back throbbing. When he got his bearings, he realized that it was Alec that had pushed him, not only him, but both Cat and himself to safety.
Alec was standing, fully alert, shielding the two of them with his body from any other debris. Large pieces of concrete were everywhere, no doubt smashed to pieces when it connected with the ground, yet there wasn’t a scratch on Magnus.
And then, Alec was falling, like a puppet’s strings being cut, eyes rolling into the back of his head. Magnus just barely stopped his head from hitting the ground.
“Let’s go!” Catarina yelled, opening a portal. Magnus, still dazed but somewhat functioning, brought his arms underneath Alec’s legs and picked him up bridal style.
The arrived at the Institute doors. Catarina threw them open, alerting the Shadowhunters there immediately. All of them froze at the sight of an unknown person taking control of the entire room, only to jump into action when they saw Magnus and Alec.
“Stretcher!” Someone called, “Received!” Another answered.
Shadowhunters swarmed him, taking Alec from his arms before he realized it had happened. Magnus watched as they placed Alexander on the stretcher and then lifted him away, shouting more orders. Catarina followed, healing magic at her fingertips.
“-Need a bag of his blood!” One of the infirmary doctor’s yelled. How Magnus ended up at the infirmary, he didn’t know. “Call the Silent Brothers! Where the hell is his Parabatai?”
Jace. The explosion. Biscuit and Simon and Isabelle and Luke.
Magnus’s back hit the door behind him, stars in his vision. Knowing that he couldn’t do anything to help Alec, he pushed himself into the hallway, falling onto one of the benches. He brought his hands to his face, revolted by the red that assaulted his vision. It was dried now – under his nails and stuck to his fingers. Magnus should wash it away.
He couldn’t move.
There were footsteps coming from down the hallway. He turned his head, not surprised to find Jace, Isabelle, and Simon storming towards him, pale and scared.
“Alec?” Jace asked, voice rough, tear tracks stained his face.
“I don’t know,” Magnus answered, going back to staring at his hands, “Catarina is in there with him.”
Jace nodded shakily, caving in on himself. He took a deep breath of air, but he too was shaking.
Then, a sudden realization, “Where’s Clarissa?” He asked.
The group winced but said nothing. Simon turned away from him, eyes downcast. Another piece of his heart cracked in Magnus’s chest. Not Biscuit. Not her too.
Magnus was centuries old. He had seen death and war and had lived through lifetimes that were more painful than the next. Nothing, nothing, could be compared to the feeling of despair he felt in his chest in that moment. He looked down once again, at the red staining his skin, wondering if the last thing he would have of Alexander was his blood on his hands.
Isabelle was in front of him, kneeling on the ground, grabbing one of hands in the softest of touches, “Come on,” She said, somehow the strongest one, “Let’s get you cleaned up.”
The rest of the night was a blur.
At one point, when the arrow finally had to be removed from Alec, Jace had screamed so loud that all of them had rushed into the infirmary, fearing an attack. Instead, Magnus had to witness Alec convulsing in pain in the hospital bed, screaming as Catarina tried her best to put him back to sleep.
Magnus was forced into an infirmary bed as well, next to Alexander’s. It was with a heavy heart that the group realized that Alec’s hand was also crushed and, even with the help of magic, would require weeks of physical therapy to gain back all of his motion.
Jace had throw up at the news. Magnus wasn’t far off.
Lilith was gone, but had they actually won?