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Cat's Cradle

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Magnus hurriedly patted Ragnor’s face,  laying hands that filled with blue light on his friend, hoping to heal him.

“No, no, no, my little cabbage,” he crooned softly. “Don’t leave me.”

He heard a crack, and felt, more than saw, Jace and Clary tense up with their weapons as another warm, familiar voice called, “Dad? What happened?”

“Harry,” Magnus breathed. “Help me. Shax demon venom.”

The tall figure of his handsome son knelt next to Magnus and laid hands on Ragnor. “Come on, Uncle Rags,” Harry crooned. “You don’t want to leave us just yet.”

Jace glanced at Clary and mouthed, “Uncle? Dad?”

Clary shrugged, just as clueless, but relaxed a little.

The two magic wielders at Ragnor’s side paid them no attention as they combined their strength to stop the spread of the venom.

“Drawing it out now, Dad,” Harry said softly. “You stabilize his core. Ready?”

“As ever,” Magnus said intently. 

“Go!” Harry called, and used his magic to pull

A hastily conjured jar began to fill with pink-tinged liquid. 

“Is that?” Jace asked.

“Shax demon venom,” Harry confirmed, concentrating on pulling out the source of Ragnor’s illness out of him while Magnus worked behind him, healing the damage caused by it.

“Could use Alexander about now,” Magnus murmured.

“Alexander?” Harry asked. “Who’s that?”

“My parabatai,” Jace said gruffly. “Who is getting married to a woman, Magnus.”

“And thank you for rubbing that in,” Magnus huffed, letting his blue magic fade and patting Ragnor’s face. “Come back to us, cabbage. I believe you’re healed.”

Ragnor opened his eyes and blinked twice. “Harry? My goodness. Where did Harry come from, Magnus?”

“Same place all babies come from, I reckon,” Harry said dryly. “But just in case you meant, ‘when did Harry get here?’ I arrived just as you went down, Uncle Rags. Your ward were pinging and I thought you might need help.”

“Just so,” Ragnor said. He sat up, cautiously.  

“Ah, hi,” Clary said. “Harry, is it? I’m Clary, this is Jace, and who are you?”

Harry raised an eyebrow and glanced at his adoptive father. “Shouldn’t I be asking them that question?”

Magnus stood and offered a hand to Ragnor, who allowed himself to be pulled to his feet. “Clary, Jace, this is Harry Potter. He’s a mundane wizard and my adopted son. He lives here in England. Harry, these are Shadowhunters who are looking for help finding Clary’s mother, whom we believe was kidnapped by Valentine Morgenstern.”

“Valentine?” Harry shook his head. “I thought he was dead.”

“Rumors of his death were unsubstantiated,” Magnus said, “as you know. And quite likely exaggerated. The Circle has become more active of late.”

“Cripes,” Harry said. “And I thought the Death Eaters were bad.”

“Death Eaters?” Jace echoed.

Harry gave him a Look. “You don’t really think the Circle have a monopoly on cruelty, do you? Or on blood politics? They’re just the latest in a series of deluded bigots.”

Clary bit her lip. “Are you all right, Mr. Fell?”

“Quite,” Ragnor said, “if a bit tired.” He rubbed his eyes. “We need to find the Book of the White. That bookmark will help you track it. I need a lie-down.”

“Let me help you up the stairs, Uncle Rags,” Harry said, and offered an arm. The pair trudged up the stairs to Ragnor’s room, Magnus watching as he ran the strip of material from the Book through his fingers.

“Son?” Jace asked. 

“Yes,” Magnus confirmed. “I found him wandering Surrey when he was about fifteen months old. He clearly had magic, just as clearly had no one to protect him, and was in desperate need of a change and a cuddle. I later discovered his parents had been killed by a terrorist. It’s a long story, but yes, I consider Harry my son in all but blood.”

“Alec doesn’t know?” Jace asked.

“Why would he?” Magnus asked archly. “It’s not as if he and I have had that many opportunities to talk. I’ve lived several hundred years, Jace. I couldn’t possibly have told him everything about myself in the few hours we’ve managed to snatch here or there. And, at any rate, he’s marrying Lydia, isn’t he? I don’t know that he has a right to know anything else about me.”

“Whoa, whoa,” Jace said, holding his hands up in front of him. “I’m not saying he does. Personally, I think he’s being an idiot. He clearly has strong feelings for you, and while I think Lydia is as good a match as any female could be for my parabatai, I know for a fact that he has no romantic feelings for her at all.” He waved to indicate is parabatai rune. “I’d know.”

Magnus stilled, and then sighed. “Feelings mean nothing if not backed by actions.”

“Feelings?” Harry asked as he came back down the stairs. “Did you meet someone, Dad?”

“I did,” Magnus said, as he had a long-standing policy of not lying to his son. “But he’s marrying someone else.”

“Out of duty,” Jace hurried to add. “He’s my parabatai. I will support him no matter what. But I think he’s making a mistake.”

Harry paused a minute. “Wow, we’re entering Mills & Boon territory.”

“Whatever, poppet,” Magnus said. “How are you? You don’t write, you don’t call. I never see you unless someone is in mortal danger!”

Harry crossed the few feet left to his father and embraced him. “I’ve been busy, Dad,” he said. “Draco’s been hip-deep in potions research and I’ve been drowning in cases. Just wrapped up the last one, though, and I was thinking about taking a vacation.”

“Oh, darling, I’d love that,” Magnus said. “Come and visit?”

“Well, that was the thought,” Harry confirmed, stepping back. “Draco wants to check out the Seelie markets. Something about rare ingredients? And I sort of want to just hang out with my dad.”

Magnus smiled and cupped his son’s cheek. “You know you’re always welcome. It might be a sort of busman’s holiday, though. We’ve got Circle members coming out of our ears and nefarious plots to thwart.”

“My favorite kind,” Harry said, covering his dad’s hand with his own. “Just let me get Draco and we’ll meet you at the loft.”

“Need a portal?” Magnus asked.

“Nah. I’ll make one of my own from the Manor,” Harry said. “See you in about an hour?”

“Sounds good, precious,” Magnus said, and removed his hand as his son stepped back and turned on his heel.

Jace looked at Magnus, who shrugged and opened a portal before pausing. “Oh, I almost forgot,” he said, and sent a pulse of blue light through the room. “Strengthening the wards. I’ll let Ragnor have his downtime and fire message him later.”

“Right,” Jace said, and exchanged a look with an uncharacteristically quiet Clary. “Shall we?”

“After you,” Magnus said, and waved them through the portal.

“I didn’t know,” Clary said softly as they exited the portal in Magnus’ loft..

“Know what, Biscuit?” Magnus asked.

“That you had a son?”

Magnus chuckled. “Why would you? You don’t have memories of the times you’ve seen him before, and, at any rate, he’s old enough that you wouldn’t have been in the same circles at all. And, to be perfectly frank, he’s not the only person whom I consider a child of mine. Over the last several hundred years, I have raised more than one abandoned Downworlder to adulthood. Some I’ve lost, some stay in touch. Harry’s a bit special, though.” He waved a hand, and another portal opened. “I believe you two have somewhere else to be.”

Jace hesitated. “You’re not coming with? I’m sure Alec would love to see you.”

Magnus forced a smile. “Alexander made it clear that his future does not overlap with mine. And, at any rate, my son and his husband will be here soon, so I’ve got to get their room ready. Lots to do!” Gently, he magicked the pair back to the portal. “Later!”

Clary and Jace swooped through the portal and landed on their butts in the Institute, right in front of an amused Alec. 

“Hello,” Alec said, extending a hand to his parabatai. “Everything go OK?”

“Well, we know what we’re looking for now, anyway,” Jace said.

“And we met Magnus’ son, Harry,” Clary added, watching Alec’s face sharply.

As expected, Alec’s face went blank--to what Jace privately thought of as his brother’s resting bitch face.

“Son?” Alec asked, woodenly.

“Nice guy,” Jace confirmed, twisting the knife just a little with the hope that Alec would catch a clue . “Clearly loves Magnus. Helped us out of a tight spot and offered to come visit. I guess he could see that Magnus is clearly not all right with …”

“Right,” Alec said, swallowing hastily. “Right. Well. I’ll, just …” He left, presumably heading for the training room. Jace resigned himself to feeling the particular angst from their bond that signified self-loathing and resolve.

“He really doesn’t want to marry Lydia, does he?” Clary asked softly.

“Not even a little bit,” Jace said bitterly. “But he thinks he has to.”

“Why?”

Jace looked at her incredulously. “Why do you care? You’ve done everything you can to undermine his and our family’s standing with the Clave since you arrived on scene, and I’ve sort of overlooked it because you don’t know any better. But seriously, Clary, Alec’s under a lot of pressure. And he thinks this wedding is the way to sort of,” he gestured vaguely, “get back into the Clave’s good graces.”

“At the expense of his personal happiness?” Clary asked, thinking.

Jace snorted. “Shadowhunters don’t get personal happiness. If you want to be one of us, you’d best get that through your head early and often.”

Clary’s chin quivered. “I only wanted to find my mom.”

“You did, didn’t you?” Jace said. “You did, and Alec’s paying the price for it.”

“I didn’t know there’d be a price,” Clary said in a small voice, and in that moment, Jace realized how very young and sheltered Clary had to be. Even Jace, for all he blundered right through Alec’s protests and overruled orders, knew there would be a price.

He just, sort of, forgot that he’d probably not be the one paying for it.

“Man, I owe Alec another apology,” Jace muttered, and straightened up. “You, go do whatever it is you do when you’re on downtime. Just, not near your mother and not near the training room. And don’t leave the Institute.”

“Where are you going?” Clary asked.

“I’m going to go let Alec kick my ass. It’ll make both of us feel better.”

“So, let me get this straight,” Harry said, holding up a finger. “You are mostly in love with a Shadowhunter who’s getting married.”

“Tonight, as a matter of fact,” Magnus confirmed, sipping on another dirty martini. 

“And you’re just sitting here?” Harry sat down next to his dad and took his drink away, making Draco snort as mixed his own drink. “Why aren’t you out there getting your man?”

“He … made it clear that he needed to marry for his family’s sake,” Magnus mumbled. “I’m not taking his choice away from him.”

“Does he know that he has a choice?” Harry asked, sensibly. “Did you make it clear you’d fight for him? That you were interested in pursuing a life with him? Or did you flirt a lot, offer platitudes, and back off when he said he needed to put his family first.”

Silence.

“Classic Bane, then,” Harry said, sighing.

“Well, it’s not as if you would know, precious,” Magnus snapped back, stung. “I haven’t dated seriously in a century.”

“I know,” Harry said, “and that’s how I know this is serious , Dad. You at least need to make the effort. Show him he has an option; a viable, glittery option.”

Draco wandered over and sat next to his own husband, wrapping an arm around Harry’s shoulders. “If Harry hadn’t made it clear that he wanted me for life, I’d probably have turned him down when he showed up in my bed,” he admitted. “I had too many family obligations to consider a relationship with the male leader of the Light a viable option if it wasn’t going to be worth fighting for.”

“Which it was,” Harry said softly, bussing Draco’s nose with a kiss. He then turned to his father again. “If you’re willing to fight for this man, Dad, go fight for him.”

Magnus looked into the air at something only he could see for a moment, then he snapped his fingers. Dressed suddenly in a black tux with magenta and gold accents, his hair streaked in magenta and gold, make-up glittery and spectacular, Magnus looked ready to party. But the look on his face told Harry the real story.

Magnus-the-BAMF was on his way to a Shadowhunter wedding.

Magnus drew a deep breath as he stepped out of his own portal at the Institute. The wedding, he thought, was likely to be at the main hall, so he set off in that direction. As he rounded the corner, he heard the words of the officiator and sped up--it was almost too late. Once the wedding rune was drawn, that would be it. 

He nearly skidded into the hall, slowing at the last minute so as to appear dignified as he appeared at the back, drawing all eyes, including the beautiful hazel eyes that belonged to Alexander Gideon Lightwood.

Slowly, Magnus walked down the aisle toward the man he hoped would be his, holding Alec’s gaze with his own, silently trying his best to tell him that would be an option. He was the one worth fighting for. They were worth fighting for. He paused, halfway up the aisle, as Alec looked down, and back at Lydia. 

He watched as Alec whispered something to her, and put down the stele. Hope rose in his chest as Alec marched toward him, waving off his mother with an “Enough!’ He didn’t know what to expect.

And then, Alec was kissing him. 

It was like no other kiss he’d ever had. Firm, impassioned, and electric .

Alec drew back to look at him, and Magnus smiled, happy, as Alec leaned back in, ignoring the murmurs and shouts coming from the guests behind him.

As the chips fell and the guests left, Magnus and Alec were left with his parents, who were not exactly kind about Alec’s motivations. Magnus could hardly blame them; it was a very public spectacle, after all, and Shadowhunters didn’t do spectacle.

Too bad for them, really.

Still, he accepted Alec’s offer of a date for drinks, and just looked at him, smiling, when Alec smiled back. 

Magnus floated back into his loft, still smiling softly, to find his son and son-in-law cuddled together on his couch, waiting for him.

“So?” Harry asked. “I take it all went well?”

“He kissed me. In front of everyone.”

Draco’s eyebrows rose. “In the middle of the wedding.”

Magnus nodded rapidly. “I came in late. I came down the aisle. And he just stopped. He was about to draw a wedding union rune on Lydia, and he just stopped. Set everything down, came down the aisle to me, and kissed me without so much as a by-your-leave.” Magnus sighed. “It was amazing.”

Harry laughed. “Glad it worked out. So what’s next?”

“Drinks somewhere, I think. No reason to go faster than he can handle,” Magnus said briskly. “He was still in the closet this afternoon. Also, we need to track down the Book of the White, free Jocelyn Fairchild, prevent the Mortal Cup from getting to Valentine and the Circle … Well. It’s quite a list.”

“Need a little help?” Harry asked lightly.

“Always, precious,” Magnus confirmed. “But now, sleep. We might not get much over the next few days.”



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