The first thing he sees is the bird. Alec had been trying to locate the rogue vampire in the mass of writhing and grinding bodies when it happened. He hated missions like this, preferred the open fights, liked knowing exactly where the enemy and his allies were, that way he could watch Jace and Izzy’s backs. They had launched themselves into the crowd earlier, meaning to find the murderous downworlder, but he had hung back, staying close to the bar and trying to take in everything. It was futile though. He had lost them almost immediately and their prey was nowhere to be seen either.
It was when he shifted, trying to see around a particularly thick knot of dancers to the door, that he caught site of the strangest daemon he had ever seen. It was perched in a nest of spiked and glittering hair, yellow head sticking out and brown body blending in. Its plume though, was what really caught his attention, long, silky, white feathers hanging down at least two feet, looking for all the world like the birds owner was wearing some sort of strange veil.
He wanted to laugh. It was such a ridiculous sight, so gaudy and outlandish. He couldn’t imagine what kind of person would have a daemon that had settled into that particular shape.
“It’s called a cendrawasih,” a voice muttered into his ear, warm breath ghosting across his neck.
Alec jumped, startled, hand reaching for the seraph blade in his belt.
“Easy Nephilim, I’m just being friendly. Next time, don’t be so obvious with the staring.”
He had no idea how the man had managed to get so close without him noticing, but at least now he knew who the bird’s human was, and what to call it. Platform boots led up to tight leather pants that clung to long, slender legs beneath a gold mesh top that left nothing about the finely muscled upper body beneath it to the imagination. All of this topped by a smirk and cat-slit eyes in the most gorgeous face Alec had ever seen left him unable to respond, or do much more than stare.
Finally, with a nudge from his own daemon, a black eagle, he managed to pull himself together. Taking a step back, he brought his eyes up to meet the taller man’s intense gaze.
“I-I wasn’t staring. I just haven’t seen a daemon like yours before.”
“I’m sure you haven’t.”
Something about the slightly mocking way he said it and the fact that his eyes were still locked on Alec’s own made a shiver run down the shadowhunter’s spine.
“My name is Magnus, by the way, High Warlock of Brooklyn and Accessorizer-extraordinaire. And you are?”
Alec was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. Somehow the man, Magnus, was always taking up more space than seemed possible, crowding in on him, way too close for comfort. And he was distracting him from the task at hand. He needed to focus.
All of his plans were ruined though when warm fingers caught his jaw, moving his head so that instead of gazing out across the dance floor he was forced to look back into the warlock’s eyes.
“Has anyone ever told you that you have beautiful eyes?” The man said. There was no trace of sarcasm in his voice anymore, no drawl or mockery. Alec panicked, wanting to shy away from the touch and lean into it at the same time. What was happening to him? He didn’t come undone like this, never got distracted from his mission. For all he knew Jace and Izzy could have been attacked by the vampire they were tracking.
That thought brought him back to reality, shattering whatever spell the warlock had placed on him and allowing him to knock the hand away. Barely taking the time to register the hurt expression in those sharp features he took off into the crowd.