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Alec took a deep breath of fresh air in, trying not to twitch or move as he concentrated only on the sounds around him – the muted noise of Brooklyn itself and the soft wind rustling the wind chimes the neighbor had. Eventually, the mismatched but familiar sounds had him physically relaxing, body weightless as his mind cleared. He continued this for minutes, maybe even hours, existing in his own body without a thought.

He released another breath, heart steady and beating strong. He unclenched his fists, letting his palms rest on his knees. He released the ever-present tension in his shoulders with a soft sigh. He didn’t dare open his eyes – instead, he imagined himself exactly where he was, mentally listing off what was around him.

He was home, on the balcony, sitting in criss-cross position with his back straight on one of Magnus’s yoga mats. His favorite comfy (ratty, according to a certain warlock) black sweater was keeping him warm against the harsh chill of an early fall, while a lose pair of grey sweatpants had him completely comfortable.

A now luke-warm cup of hot chocolate that he had carelessly placed on the small table next to him kept wafting the amazing flavor of cinnamon towards him, causing his lips to twitch into a smile. Magnus had gotten him addicted to the sugary drink ever since the weather went below sixty degrees – his boyfriend had physically dragged him into a very small coffee shop in the city and – though Alec would never admit it, it was one of his favorite spots with Magnus now.

He clenched his fingers lightly around his knees, reminding himself that he really wasn’t supposed to be daydreaming about his love for Magnus and a very good hot chocolate. He refocused, willing his mind to go blank again as he concentrated on what he was out here for in the first place.

He went still, barely breathing, and lost himself into each sound and smell around him once again. He pictured what he wanted, a clear imagine forming in his mind. He imagined himself holding it, the familiar weight a soothing comfort when he could finally wrap his hand around it.

His snapped his eyes open, not even dazed by the sun in his eyes. He rolled into a kneeling position, one knee on the ground, and placed his arms in what he knew was the perfect span to hold his weapon. He pulled back on his imaginary bow string, eyes just getting a glimpse of the target he had set up a block away from the balcony on a random roof.

With a small blue hue, his bow and one arrow, notched, manifested in his hands. Before the angelic power even settled, he released the arrow with an exhale, unable to contain his smirk as the arrow landed bullseye with a thunk that echoed across the skyline. Without pause, he manifested another arrow, shooting it into the sky, then another, eventually standing to get better aim.

His hands shook – the power he was calling upon was wearing off. He tried for one more arrow, string notched, but nothing happened. He huffed, proud yet physically and mentally exhausted. His bow ended up at his side in a lose grip, still humming in his hands. He leaned against the balcony, taking even breathes.

He’s accomplished a lot. Now, he had to perfect it.

XxXxXxXxXxXxXxXx

Alec never had a chance to perfect it.

It was the death of Valentine that delayed his training. While it was no doubt a cause for celebration, Alec was too busy dealing with the Clave’s paperwork to enjoy the parties. Not to mention, the other half of his life was figuring out where Magnus and himself stood in their relationship. So, every day was spent being the Head of the Institute and every night was Magnus - learning more and more about each other as they opened up one day at a time.

Alec sighed. Today, his entire day was mixing – rather than just Head of the Institute, he was the Head and a boyfriend as he sat next to Magnus at the Downworlder Council table, discussing viable options and opinions on the sudden increase in demon rifts.

“It’s not a warlock,” Magnus stated, first and foremost, “Even the up and coming Lorenzo Ray is not stupid enough, or powerful enough, to open this many rifts at once.”

Lorenzo Ray. Alec had only heard his name last night and met the…Arrogant man not hours ago now. It was going to be fun to see that man here instead of Magnus. Not to mention, Alec was very aware of how sensitive Magnus was about that subject and how much it would pain him not being at these meetings with Alec.

“But it is magic related.” Meliorn stated, unaware of Magnus’s and Alec’s turmoil.

“There’s been a spike in Mundane murders,” Luke answered, bringing the attention to him, “I thought it was just a random spree from a new psycho, but maybe it’s more Downworld related than I thought.”

Alec nodded, writing it down, “I’d like those police reports,” He told Luke, something that was always awkward. Alec was younger than all of them, the most inexperienced, but he was still the ‘leader’ of this group, and that meant taking action, “I’ll compare it to everything we have to the rifts location.”

“My vampires will also keep an eye out,” Raphael told the table, “But don’t think we will go out of our way to do a Shadowhunter’s work.”

Alec resisted the urge to roll his eyes. It was a damn near close. “If you could call me with any information, I’ll send a team out as fast as I can. I don’t want you risking your people, no matter how desperate we are for information.”

Raphael nodded at him, something almost with respect, but not quite there yet. It was enough for Alec.

“Does anyone have anything to add?” Alec asked them, getting a glance at the clock. Eight thirty, maybe Alec would have a decent chance at sleeping at a normal hour.

“Great,” Alec said, standing. “I’ll get-”

A noise, a sudden change in air, came from behind Luke. It was years of training that allowed him to even hear it. Before he even knew what was happening, Alec stepped in front of Raphael, hands automatically moving to grasp at his bow.

A Shadowhunter blade gleamed in the candlelit room, silver edges mocking him as it came right at Alec. In another millisecond, Alec had his eyes on the assassin. His bow appeared in a shower of blue sparks, arrow notched.

Focus. Release.

His aim, always perfect, just missed the blade, but sunk its target, landing with a heavy thud into his attacker. Then…

Pain.

Alec’s bow clattered to ground as he grasped at his arm, grunting when he realized that the knife was now lodged in his shoulder. Magnus was there in another second, guiding him slowly into the chair, hand grasping at Alec’s good arm, keeping him – mostly – upright.

“I get him?” He asked Magnus, breathing slowly to focus on that instead of the pain.

Dios Lightwood,” Raphael interrupted, looking at him with wide eyes, “Focus on your own injury. You’ve just been stabbed.”

Alec opened his eyes, surprised to see Magnus’s cat eyes on display. He looked, well, furious, the magic in his hands pulsing as he guided it to Alec’s injury, no doubt trying to find a way to remove the knife without any further damage.

“He’s dead.” Luke announced, understanding Alec’s need to know. Damn. If he had time to think, Alec would have incapacitated him and questioned him instead.

“Hey,” Alec said quietly, looking at Magnus closely, noticing how quiet he was, “I’m alright. It’s okay.”

Magnus made a noise of discontent, anger only growing. His magic stopped at once, instead he focused his attention solely on Alec, still furious. He took a deep breath, aware of the audience. “I love you.” He said, just as soft, no louder than a whisper.

I can’t lose you Magnus was saying.

Alec had experienced himself – that very same day that Valentine had invaded the Institute. The mind-numbing fear of thinking that Magnus was gone. The idea that he would never speak to him again – never feel his lips, never see his eyes, never hold him in his arms – was so painful that it had Alec’s blood on fire.

And now Magnus was experiencing the same thing.

Alec forced his hand in Magnus’s own, squeezing lightly. “I love you, too.”

And then, in the cosmic ways of the universe, Jace stormed in, interrupting their moment.

A quick explanation, followed by being dragged to the infirmary, followed by having a bunch of runes and magic shoved on his body, and Alec was back home in the loft, pulling Magnus as close as humanely possible.

“Your bow,” Magnus asked, after couple of moments of silence, “I didn’t know you could summon it like that.”

Alec smiled, feeling ridiculous. He was too tired to do so now, but when Clary ever complained about training for too long, this would certainly be a story to use.

“I’ve been practicing.”