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In Times of Fire

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Alec was just about ready to start tearing out his hair in frustration. He knew how stubborn shadowhunters could be, himself especially, but this was just ridiculous.

Magnus was being open, honest and flexible in his attitude towards the shadowhunters, but the Clave representatives just weren’t budging even an inch.

And Alec wasn’t even involved in the negotiations, only allowed to sit at the side and observe. He felt like it might be going a little differently if he had been allowed to input anything, but that would probably be a bad thing because he would have lost his temper a long while ago.

Magnus looked his usual calm self as if nothing bothered him, but Alec had noted a couple of small ticks which suggested Magnus wasn’t far from losing his patience.

These people were supposed to be the Clave – the leaders of his people. If they couldn’t be polite or make any decisions at all, how did they get to be where they were? Why did they even agree to meet with the warlocks in the first place?

All they had done was go around in circles for hours, everything Magnus said was countered, usually with something as inane as ‘Why should we trust you?’

They just wouldn’t believe that the warlocks didn’t want to wait until they let their guard down and steal the power of the shadow world for themselves.

It was getting really boring, and a little hypocritical in Alec’s opinion, since it was the shadowhunters who had previously broken their word and attacked during a truce, leading to a massacre of warlocks. Surely if anyone had a right not to trust the other side, it was the warlocks.

Alec sighed and leant back against the wall and Izzy rested her head on his shoulder. His sister was bored too and so was Jace, that much was obvious. At least Clary was doing a slightly better job of feigning interest in all of the proceedings.

The only positive side to these talks was that, so far, there hadn’t been any violence. All the bodyguards had been able to stay back and alert, but hadn’t needed to be called into action.

There’d been some verbal attacks sure, but nothing over the top. Thankfully, there was also no sign of the anti-magic device that the Clave had somehow created to block warlock magic either, which meant they were trusting the warlocks at least a little.

At least Max wasn’t having to sit through this, they’d left him behind in the warlock camp, under the watchful eyes of Catarina. The two got a long really well so Alec knew there wouldn’t be any problems to deal with when they got back – unless the two of them had gotten up to some mischief of their own together, but Alec thought perhaps Catarina was a little too level-headed for that.

He was dreading the moment that he and his siblings were going to be brought up for discussion.

Maryse had managed to corner Alec when everyone was arriving and dragged him away out of sight and hearing range of others to be able to talk to him.

Alec felt like he didn’t have a choice when Maryse glared at him and gestured with her head for him to follow her. She was still his mother and commanding officer after all, he just hoped she wasn’t about to do something crazy.

“You have betrayed your family, Alexander,” Alec flinched, both at the use of his full first name – only Magnus could call him that - and how bluntly his mother had started speaking the second she knew no one could overhear them. She definitely wasn’t going to be pulling any punches.

“You have destroyed our family name, our influence with the Clave,”

Alec didn’t respond, what could he say to that? She wouldn’t believe he did what he thought was right.

“Your…dalliance with this warlock has seriously impaired your judgement. He’s completely brainwashed you with his magic and you can’t even see it!”

He wanted to defend himself, defend Magnus, but his mother continued on without giving a pause for him to do so,

“You’re going to have to face the consequences of your actions. So will Isabelle and Jace. It’s not going to be pretty and I will not be there to defend you,”

“I don’t need you to,” Alec finally found his voice and was proud of how strong he still managed to sound, “I don’t need your protection anymore,”

Maryse looked a little taken aback for a moment before replacing her stern mask.

“Be that as it may, you will face what you have done and you are not going to like it,”

Alec would face whatever he had to, he just wished his siblings weren’t going to be dragged down with him. It’s not like they helped him to free Magnus when he was being held prisoner in the New York Institute. All they did was find and free their brother when he had been kidnapped and held hostage in the warlock camp.

Did they really have to be punished for that? For wanting to protect their family?

He rubbed his hands over his face, trying to keep his blood flow going and wake himself up a little. He needed to stay awake and alert so he would know everything that was going on.

Refocusing on the discussions he heard, “We will take into account everything you have said to us today, it is not to be believed that tensions between our two races can be resolved today. We shall reconvene at another time,”

Clearly the Clave representatives were getting a little bored too.

“Very well,” Magnus said, trying not to let annoyance seep into his tone, “I will agree that we will get no further today, perhaps we can try again in two days’ time,”

The representatives glanced between each other, sharing some kind of mental communication before Inquisitor Herondale nodded her head,

“Yes we agree. Two days,”

Magnus made to stand and make his farewell, when the Inquisitor raised her hand to stop him.

“Just before you go, perhaps there is one other topic of conversation,”

Magnus raised his eyebrow, “Oh? And what would that be?”

Alec felt his heart sink, this was it.

“Jace Wayland, Clarissa Fray and Isabelle and Alexander Lightwood have yet to face punishment for their actions. As this is a shadowhunter affair and does not affect our negotiations, we ask that you allow them to return to New York. We will leave other shadowhunters with you in their place,”

“They need to be punished even now? After the positive effect that their actions have had?”

“The outcome is not important in this situation. Will you allow them to return?” The Inquisitor clearly would not be moved and Magnus shared a quick awkward glace at Alec as he tried to figure out his next move. He didn’t want to lose Alec back to the shadowhunters, especially when he knew Alec’s punishment was bound to be very bad.

This was difficult, if Magnus refused then it could ruin everything he’d tried so hard to get.

“I’ll allow them to return on one condition,”

“Yes?”

“That they choose to go with you. If it is their desire to return to New York, then they may. If they wish to remain in our camp, then they will.”

Everyone’s attention was drawn to the three siblings sat at the back of the room and they automatically sat up straighter.

“What about Max? Will he be left alone there?” Izzy asked.

“If all four of you decide to leave then we will send Max back to you,”

“Alright,” Izzy and Jace stood, Jace taking Clary’s hand and tugging her up too, “It’s time for us to go back. We didn’t intentionally avoid punishment for our actions after we found Alec, it’s time for us to deal with it,” Izzy nodded in agreement and they moved to stand on the left side of the room with their people.

Alec couldn’t help but feel proud of Jace’s words, his younger brother was finally growing up and learning some responsibility.

Clary looked a little worried but she would always stay with Jace and it would be nice for her to see her mom again.

“And you, Alexander?” The Inquisitor prompted.

Alec didn’t want to give away the depth of his relationship with Magnus, but he couldn’t help meeting the warlock’s gaze to try and figure out the other man’s thoughts on the matter.

Magnus looked blank, but Alec knew him well enough to see beyond that. Magnus’ knuckles were almost white as they gripped his suit trousers and his eyes looked distinctly sad. Magnus thought Alec was going to choose to leave him.

Dammit, he really didn’t want to do this. He was scared what his family would think of him. If he chose to avoid punishment for his actions and stay with Magnus, he’d officially be outcast. He’d really be a traitor and defector of his people.

Could he do it?

Looking into Magnus’ eyes he had his answer.

“Alec!” Maryse hissed, snapping his attention back to all the people in the room who were staring at him.

He slowly stood up and clenched his fists loosely, trying to stop his hands from shaking.

“I won’t go back to New York,”

A response began instantly, shadowhunters frowning and whispering together, his mother glaring daggers at him, the Inquisitor appraising him so much he felt like she could see straight into his soul.

But what he noticed most was the look of surprise on Magnus’ face.

“What do you mean you won’t go back to New York?!” Maryse yelled, “Alexander you will return with us now,”

“No, I won’t. New York isn’t home anymore, I’m going to stay,”

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Magnus deflate slightly in relief, as if he thought he’d heard wrong the first time Alec said he wouldn’t return.

“We can force you to come with us,”

“No, we can’t,” Inquisitor Herondale shocked everyone as she spoke, contradicting Maryse, “Magnus Bane was clear in his terms, the siblings would return dependant on their choice. Your boy has chosen to remain.” Alec couldn’t tell if she was disapproving or not.

Maryse let out a sound of annoyance and stormed out of the meeting room.

The Inquisitor ignored this and returned her attention to Magnus.

“So we have their answers, we have two shadowhunters outside. Bring them in,” She called out, to who, Alec didn’t know, but within seconds two young looking shadowhunters were escorted into the room.

Alec recognized the girl, she had lived in Idris, the shadowhunter home city, when Alec and his family had stayed there for a while when they were younger, “Aline Penhallow and Jeremy Pontmercy.”

He didn’t know the boy, but he knew his family. They were very high up and influential within the Clave. Jeremy looked to be about fifteen or sixteen with very buzzed short hair and deep scar crossing his face from his left eye all the way down to just underneath his chin.

Aline was looking like a 100% badass shadowhunter in skin tight black leathers and her long black hair scraped back into a ponytail. All she was missing was weapons.

“Alright then. Same place, same time, two days. It was nice talking with you,” Magnus swiftly swept across the room to Alec and placed a hand around his elbow, guiding him away. He wanted to get Alec out of there before the shadowhunters could change their minds and try to take him away.

Creating a portal, he pulled Alec through without waiting for anyone else.

*

Leading Alec away from the portal to get out of the way of the others coming through, Magnus looked up at his boyfriend.

“Why did you choose to stay here?” Alec looked away self-consciously, his eyes downcast and Magnus waited patiently for Alec to speak.

“I know I can’t stay protected here forever. One day I’m going to have to go back and deal with the repercussions of what I did. I broke the law, I betrayed my people. I did it again by choosing you today,”

“You didn’t betray anyone, Alexander. You did what you thought was best,”

“That doesn’t matter, I chose you and not them. That’s enough for me to be labelled as a traitor,”

He took a deep breath and forced himself to look at Magnus’ face.

“I’d do it again. I’m not ready to let you go yet,”

Magnus reached out to hold Alec’s hands in his. Those words made him feel so inexplicably happy, but he couldn’t help feeling a little guilty over them.

“But they’re your family,”

“Are they? My mother has practically disowned me and my father does whatever she says. I mean, of course Izzy and Jace are my family but they understand now. I want to be here with you,”

Feeling a deep swell of affection, Magnus leant up and had almost pressed his lips to Alec’s when they heard,

“Alec! You’re back!” They were pushed apart by Max putting himself between them and wrapping his arms around Alec.

“Where are Izzy, Jace and Clary?” He stared with wide eyes up at Alec.

“They went home, it’s just you and me now,”

“I still get to stay here, right?”

“Sure, as long as you want to,”

“I do! Catarina and me made cookies, we’re gonna decorate them now!” Max ran off as quickly as he’d appeared and Magnus and Alec watched him go fondly. They were interrupted by Aline and Jeremy wandering over uncertainly.

“Welcome to our camp,” Magnus greeted, sounding every bit like the leader he currently was, “I’m sure you know that I am Magnus Bane,” The two newcomers nodded at him.

“We’ll set up a couple of tents for you and perhaps Alec can show you around if you’d like. I’m sure he’ll also tell you that there aren’t really any rules here and you aren’t going to be restricted in any way. All we ask is that you don’t start trouble,”

“Sounds fair enough,” Aline said, “How’ve you been, Alec? It’s been a long time,”

He shrugged, “Alright I suppose. Considering everything. How’s Beijing?” Aline’s parents were the leaders of the Beijing Institute.

“Boring for the most part, this is the most exciting thing to happen in a long time,”

“Glad to be of service,” Alec gave a small smile.

“Where are you from, Jeremy?” Magnus asked politely. The younger shadowhunter couldn’t quite disguise a look of disgust that Magnus had spoken to him directly and Alec frowned.

“I live in Idris,” Was all Jeremy offered before wandering away from them.

“Well isn’t he a charmer,” Aline moved to stand next to Magnus as they all watched him,

“Don’t you know it. I’m not sure why he agreed to come here, not that I know him all that well,”

“We’ll keep an eye on him. Now, let’s get you set up here,”

Magnus sent Alec a look of longing and made a kissy face at him when Aline wasn’t looking and Alec couldn’t help the grin that spread across his face as he went to find Max.

*

Later that night found Alec and Magnus alone in Magnus’ tent, cuddled up together on the sofa.

“How do you think the first talks went today?” Alec asked quietly, holding Magnus close and running a hand up and down his arm softly.

“Hmm,” Magnus started with a sigh, “Not as well as I would have liked, but I’m not really all that surprised,”

“I don’t know how you kept your cool. I was getting stressed just listening to it,”

“A long-honed talent. It was a near thing close to the end though,”

“Hopefully next time they start to come to their senses a little,”

“Doubtful, but maybe they will surprise us,” Magnus relaxed his head back against Alec’s shoulder and let out a deep breath of contentment.

They were quietly enjoying each other’s presence when a fire lit up on the coffee table and disappeared, leaving a letter in its place. Magnus reached forward to pick it up.

“It’s for you,” He handed it to Alec.

“It’s from Izzy,” Alec skimmed over the letter quickly, then again slower, taking in all the details. When he was done he pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to keep calm.

Hi Brother,
I’m proud of you for following your heart today. It may not be what I
expected for you but I’m glad you’re happy.
Our mom is really pissed at you, I overheard her talking with dad and
I think she’s considering disowning you for real to try and ‘restore
the family name’. I wouldn’t worry about it though, seems to be
all talk.
Jace, Clary and I are being recalled to Idris the moment after I send
you this letter to face our punishment for disobeying orders to
look for you. We’ll be kept under house arrest there and we won’t
be allowed any outside contact, but I promise to keep in touch
with you whenever I get the chance.
Please be careful around the Clave, something here doesn’t feel
right and I don’t want you getting hurt.
I love you, be safe
Izzy xxx

Magnus had read over Alec’s shoulder and offered him a comforting hug, “I’m sorry about your mother,”

“It doesn’t matter. I’m a little more concerned about what she thinks about the Clave, Izzy’s instincts are usually right on point.”

“We’ll both be careful,”

“Do you promise? I can’t deal with anything happening to you now,”

“I promise. I’ll keep safe, I won’t take big risks in our negotiations,” Alec pressed a kiss to Magnus’ forehead in thanks, “That being said, we do need to talk about Isaac,” Isaac had been the leader of the Warlocks before disappearing a few years prior.

“What about him?” Alec leaned away.

“He’s been stuck in Edom for long enough, ever since Nathaniel took over. I want to go and find him, bring him back,”

“No, Magnus you can’t,”

“I have to, he’s suffered down there for long enough,”

“Why does it have to be you? And what about ending the war? You’re leader right now you can’t leave your people. What do you even know about Edom anyway? What can you even expect down there?”

“I don’t know much, admittedly. Isaac is a good man; how can I leave him? He was a much better leader than I will ever be, we need him back,”

“Isaac never achieved an almost-peace with shadowhunters,”

“But he never had you to help him,”

“Regardless, please don’t go now. I need you, I can’t lose you so soon after finding you and we don’t know what to expect down there. Please wait – for now at least, when we know more we can think about it,”

“Alright,” Magnus said at last, “I can wait,” Alec let out a sigh of relief and slumped forward, back into Magnus’ arms.

“You’re not going to lose me, Alexander,” Magnus whispered, “I love you too much to let that happen,”

Alec froze, “What?” Magnus smiled and ran his fingers through Alec’s hair.

“I love you,” Alec’s heart was beating so quickly he wouldn’t have been surprised if Magnus felt it too.

“I love you, too,” He said and suddenly his whole body felt light and fluffy. He did love Magnus, it felt right to have finally said it.

Their lips were drawn together then, almost as if they were magnetically attracted. It started sweet but quickly escalated into something deeper, more passionate as they held onto one another.

Hands began to roam each other’s bodies and Alec let out a moan as Magnus deftly crept his hands beneath Alec’s black t-shirt and pressed them against the bare skin of Alec’s lower back.

Alec returned the favour and began kissing down Magnus’ neck, lavishing attention there with lips and teeth and tongue, Magnus letting out small noises of encouragement as he did so. His hands lifted the hem of Magnus’ shirt and began to push it upwards, reconnecting their mouths together as he did so.

Magnus lifted his arms to help remove it and their lips parted for merely seconds as it was thrown to the ground before they connected once more. Lifting himself up slightly, Alec flung his leg over Magnus’ waist to straddle him and press their bodies together, another sound of pleasure escaping him as Magnus’ skin connected with the small sliver peeking through where Alec’s shirt had ridden up slightly.

Soon Alec’s shirt was removed completely, thrown somewhere across the room. Alec was feeling overwhelmed, this was far from the first time they’d done something like this – making out like teenagers that is, but this felt bigger. More intense. He wanted more.

“Mags…Magnus,”

“Mmm? Yes, darling?”

“I want you,” Magnus pulled back so he could stare deep into Alec’s eyes, trying to decipher what he saw there. He seemed to realize that Alec wasn’t just talking about more fooling around.

“Are you sure? You know we don’t have to,”

Alec groaned in neediness, grinding his hips down against Magnus’, “I want to. I want you, all of you. Please,”

Magnus keened low in his throat and pushed at Alec’s shoulders until the other man moved away and they were both standing.

“Just tell me if you want to stop, okay?” Alec nodded, not trusting in voice in that moment. Magnus settled his hands on Alec’s hips lightly and kissed him again, slower but somehow filled with more feeling than before.

Sliding his arms around Magnus’ waist, Alec dipped his hands just underneath the waistband of Magnus’ pants. Magnus began walking Alec backwards, carefully leading him towards the large bed and Alec let himself fall backwards when his legs bumped into it.

Magnus fell easily on top of him and they shuffled their way up the bed until Alec could rest his head amongst the pillows. Magnus took his time kissing his way down Alec’s chest, lavishing attention on each nipple as he passed by. He traced across the outlines of Alec’s abs with his tongue and held him down when hips started to stutter upwards, although he carefully avoided the patch of skin where his parabatai rune used to be.

As he reached Alec’s pants he pressed a teasing hand to the bulge hidden just underneath and removed it just as quick to undo the button, enjoying Alec’s whining as he practically begged for more.

Not wanting to tease too much, Magnus made quick work of removing Alec’s pants and boxers, kicking them off the end of the bed and his mouth engulfed Alec’s erection. The shadowhunter gasped and his hands sought out Magnus’ hair and held on tightly, but not enough to hurt Magnus or try to control his movement.

Magnus sucked up and down, increasing his pace and thoroughly appreciating the feel of Alec hard beneath his tongue.

“Ah…Mags…so good,” Magnus hummed in response sending more sparks of pleasure through Alec.

Just when Alec felt ready to explode, Magnus pulled off and Alec dropped his arms back to the bed, letting out a pained sigh.

“Don’t worry darling, I have much more planned for you,”

“Oh really?”

Magnus smirked, “Of course. If you want this I’m going to make it good for you,”

Alec made an unintelligible sound as Magnus climbed his way back up Alec’s body and kissed him soundly while taking off his own pants.

Here Alec was comfortable, he wasn’t a stranger to being naked in bed with Magnus but he could feel some nerves seeping in. He wanted this, he really did but no matter how much he loved and trusted Magnus, he couldn’t stop a part of him being worried. He felt himself tense up slightly as he kept thinking.

It was his first time after all. Would it hurt? Would he like it? He didn’t want to hurt Magnus’ feelings if he didn’t, although he didn’t really think that would be a problem.

Sure, if he asked Magnus would probably let Alec do him instead, but for his first-time Alec didn’t want that. He wanted to feel Magnus inside him.

As Magnus pressed their naked bodies together, Alec tried to push his thoughts aside, he just wanted to enjoy this and be good for Magnus.

“Are you okay, Alexander? I can practically hear you thinking,”

Alec took a deep breath, trying to relax again.

“I’m fine, just…nervous,” Smiling understandingly down at him, Magnus kept his touches fairly platonic, above the waist.

“Are you sure you want…”

“Don’t ask again,” Alec interrupted, “Please…just do it,”

“Alright,” Magnus reached underneath a pillow and subtly summoned a bottle of lube. He still didn’t like to use any magic around Alec. The shadowhunter seemed okay when other warlocks would use it and it wasn’t aimed at him, but Magnus didn’t want to take any chances.

After Alec had been tortured with magic, he wasn’t about to use it on him or around him. He wanted to make sure that Alec was comfortable at all times and if that meant not using his magic openly then that was fine by him.

Kissing Alec once more, Magnus coaxed him over so his was lying on his stomach and kissed down his back.

One day he’d really like to worship Alec and have him writhing on his tongue, but today wasn’t that day. He didn’t want to overwhelm Alec too much during his first time.

Flicking open the bottle of lube Magnus spread some across his fingers, rubbing it together to try and heat it up but Alec still jumped when it came into contact with him. Magnus chuckled, “Sorry darling,” Alec just grunted in response.

Magnus rubbed his index finger against Alec’s entrance, letting his boyfriend get used to the feeling before slipping it inside.

“Ah!” Magnus kept his movements slow, cautiously nudging in further every time he pulled out and pressed back in again.

“Is this okay?” He asked as a second finger joined the first. Alec wasn’t really sure how to describe what he was feeling; it was nothing like he’d actually expected.

“It’s…weird,”

“Good weird or bad weird?”

“I’m not sure yet. Keep going,” Magnus kissed the back of Alec’s shoulder as he began to scissor his fingers, stretching Alec out.

When he was happy that Alec was relaxed enough he crooked his fingers and smirked when Alec cried out in pleasure.

“Like that, darling?”

“Ah…yes…yes! Mags…don’t stop,” Magnus did as he was told and kept a light pressure on that spot, watching with rapt attention as Alec squirmed underneath his ministrations.

Two fingers became three and Alec winced a little at the stretch, but it still felt really good.

“Magnus, please. Fuck me already,” He was tired of waiting, he needed Magnus inside him.

The warlock removed his fingers and pumped some more lube into his hand and slicked his cock.

Magnus took it slow, guiding himself inside and moving in inch by inch.

It burned more than Alec imagined and he’d never felt so full before. He thought Magnus’ fingers had been a lot, but his dick was so much bigger.

“Okay?”

“Uh…” Magnus bottomed out and held himself still. It was difficult, Alec was so tight and hot and his magic was desperate to escape but he kept it on the tightest lockdown he could.

“You feel so good, Alec,”

“Ngghh…” Alec felt completely overcome with emotion. Magnus was inside him…it was really happening and it was starting to feel good now that he was getting used to it.

“Move!” He demanded huskily and Magnus was only too happy to comply, thrusting in and out shallowly. Magnus rolled them so they were lying on their sides and pressed in deeper. Alec reached back to cling onto Magnus’ arm and Magnus buried his face into Alec’s neck, biting and kissing the skin there.

Alec was making the loveliest sounds, only serving to spur Magnus on further and thrust harder.

But suddenly, “Oh!” Alec shouted and Magnus froze and his eyes widened, his hand seemingly stuck on Alec’s back where he could still see the traces of blue sparks where his magic had escaped. This was the worst thing that could have happened! Alec was going to hate him…

“Oh god…Alec…I’m so sorry,” Why couldn’t he just control himself better? He was a High Warlock for god’s sake!

“Magnus,”

“I’m so sor-” He tried to repeat, when Alec stopped him.

“Again,”

“What?” Had Magnus heard that right?

“Do it again, Magnus please,” Magnus hesitated but when Alec pleaded desperately with him again, he didn’t have a choice.

Releasing his magic in small bursts sent a heat through Alec’s body which left him tingling all over, enhancing the pleasure he was already feeling.

Alec shifted back, fucking himself against Magnus.

“Gods Alexander, yes!” Magnus met him thrust for thrust, pistoning his hips forwards and nailing Alec’s prostate every other time.

“Mags I’m so…I’m so close, fuck,”

“Come for me, darling,” Magnus wrapped a hand around Alec’s cock, keeping the flow of magic light and steady, and stroked twice, three times and Alec was spurting across the sheets, the clenching of Alec’s passage setting off Magnus’ own orgasm just seconds later.

Magnus slowly slipped out and rolled onto his back, breathing heavily. Alec rolled onto his front, strangely enjoying the feel of Magnus’ cum sliding down his thighs.

“How do you feel?”

“Awesome,” Alec mumbled into the pillow, sounding totally blissed out.

“Do you want me to clean you up?”

“Mhmm,” With a snap of his fingers, both of them as well as the bed were immaculately clean. Magnus was a little bemused, how was Alec suddenly so okay with his magic? He wasn’t complaining, magic certainly could make sex better, but Alec was always so skittish.

What had changed? He made a mental note to ask Alec about that later, for now it could wait.

Alec snuggled into Magnus’ arms and drifted off to sleep, mumbling a tired “I love you,”. Magnus smiled and kissed Alec’s forehead, “I love you too, sweetheart,” and he wasn’t too far behind Alec before sleeping too.

*

Something had woken him up. What was it? Alec was warm and still in his arms, what was different?

He gasped and bolted upright as the pain which must have woken him surged back through him.

“Mags? What’s wrong?”

No…something had happened. He couldn’t feel him anymore.

“Fuck,”

“Magnus what happened?” Alec sounded panicked, worried by his lovers’ behaviour. Magnus took a shaky breath and dropped his head into his hands.

“Elias is dead,”

Chapter Text

“Dead? What do you mean? How do you know?”

Magnus had bolted out of bed and was already dressing himself before he replied, “Powerful warlocks have the ability to feel others’ magic. I felt a strong pain and now can no longer feel Elias, meaning…he’s dead,”

“Fuck,”

“Indeed. I have to call an emergency meeting and speak with Tessa, make sure she isn’t in any danger. We have to find out what happened,” Alec could see the tears that Magnus was trying to hold back and he desperately wanted to reach out, but knew the warlock wouldn’t accept his touch in that moment.

“Do you want me to come with you?”

“No,” Alec looked a little hurt by Magnus’ blunt answer and the older man softened a little, pausing in his actions to stand by the bed and place his hand on Alec’s face, rubbing soothingly,

“I’m sorry darling, I don’t mean it like that. Elias must have been killed by shadowhunters, I don’t want anyone to start taking anything out on you. It would be better if you stay with Aline and Jeremy. Get Max, too and keep him safe,”

Up close the tears were even more obvious and it made Alec angry. Magnus needed to grieve for his friend but he had to deal with so much else instead. Alec gripped Magnus’ hand in his own and made an internal promise to help Magnus however he could.

“Okay, whatever you want. But promise you’ll let me know what you find out? I can try to contact Lydia,”

“I promise,” Magnus threw on his coat and quickly pressed a chaste kiss to Alec’s lips before fleeing from his tent.

Alec collapsed back down into the bed letting out a deep sigh.

How had Elias died? Was it really shadowhunters who had killed him and if it was why did they want to risk ruining the peace that seemed to finally be coming closer?

Trying to control his brain instead of dwelling on the activities of the previous night, Alec forced himself out of bed wincing a little as he did.

Apparently it was going to hurt the morning after, but it was a good pain. A pain that made him smile.

Moving to Magnus’ desk, Alec grabbed his phone and dialled Lydia.

*

Magnus didn’t want to be in the meeting, even though he’d called everyone there himself at 4am. He was pretty resentful that his blissful morning with Alec had been taken from them, especially considering the circumstances as they were.

Elias.

Magnus had been fond of the younger warlock; he knew there had been a risk sending him to the shadowhunters but he never really believed this to be the outcome. He wouldn’t have wished this on him, or any of his warlocks, at all.

So far Magnus had just been idly listening to the High Warlocks arguing with each other about the best course of action for them to take now. He was a little put out by the fact that at least half of them wanted to respond in kind.

He thought that had been knocked out of them already.

Well he wasn’t about to let that happen to Alec or his brother. And he’d protect the other two as best he could regardless of what else was going on.

He was just about to demand silence, when a fire message did it for him.

The shouting stopped instantly and they all leaned forward expectantly as Magnus read the letter.

“It’s from Tessa,” He told them at last.

“What does she say?” Malcolm asked, diplomatically and trying to keep a calm voice to stop his peers from descending into madness once more.

“She says that she’s being held by the shadowhunters in an unknown location and they ask that we do not retaliate to this attack, or else they will kill her as well,”

The silence became tense as the words really set in.

He couldn’t deny the burst of anger that shot through him, how dare they? He was going to do everything in his power to get Tessa back, but first he needed to reign in the few warlocks who were thirsting for blood.

No matter how angry he was, he couldn’t let that overrule him. He needed to find out what had really occurred before anything rash happened.

“We need to cut off the shadowhunters we have here,” Was what Magnus heard as he tuned into the debate that had started, said by the warlock John Shade who had green lizard skin as his warlock mark, “They can’t be allowed to contact the others, we should lock them up just like-”

“We’re not locking them up,” Magnus interrupted.

“What? Why not? They could be dangerous, we don’t know anything about them,”

“We know enough. There are more than enough of us here capable of thwarting any attempt they could make. Besides, aren’t we better than shadowhunters? Let’s not fight fire with fire just yet,”

“Then what the hell do you expect us to do?! Just sit back and let them keep murdering us?” John yelled and stood, slamming his fist against the table.

“Of course not. I expect us to prepare,”

John twitched a slightly interested eyebrow and stayed quiet, giving Magnus that chance to explain.

“We’re going to find out what really happened and who was responsible. We are also going to do our research into Edom so we might be able to get Isaac back, he’s the strongest of us all and his help could be invaluable. We’re going to do this the right way to try and conserve peace. If we have any chance of stopping this war we have to take it,”

“If we took them all down, then the war would end,”

“Could you really be responsible for the extinction of an entire race?”

“If it was shadowhunters, yes,”

“Then who would rid the world of demons? Do you want to do it? I know I don’t want that kind of responsibility,” That garnered no response from John and the other warlocks all seemed to be in a deep state of consideration.

Happy that he’d gotten his point across, Magnus began delegating. He was leader now and he’d made a point of learning all there was to know about his High Warlocks and knowing where their strengths lay. He knew exactly who should track Tessa, who should do some investigating over what had happened and who should go to the Spiral Labyrinth to research Edom.

Within 10 minutes every High warlock had something that they needed to do. Magnus was nothing if not efficient.

Everyone was dismissed and Magnus summoned himself a strong cup of coffee from a little café he knew of in Paris as he went in search of Alec.

*

He found Alec sat with an arm draped around Max at a picnic bench out of the way of the main camp area. Jeremy and Aline were sat opposite them.

Aline appeared to be playing some kind of board game with Max over the table and Alec had his back to Magnus, so Jeremy was the first to spot his approach.

Jeremy elbowed Alec’s arm to get his attention and then gestured for him to turn around.

Alec almost fell off of the bench in his hurry to get up, dragging Max with him across to Magnus.

“How did it go? I tried calling Lydia but I couldn’t get through,”

Magnus carefully eyed how far away they were from Jeremy and Aline. No matter how much he might try to keep them safe whilst under his charge, he didn’t trust them. Not one bit. He wasn’t about to divulge any information whilst they were close by to listen.

“We’ve set some things in motion,”

“Which means…?”

“I’ll explain more later, darling,” Magnus turned his gaze down to Max and smiled at him.

“Hey there little shadowhunter, how are you doing?”

“I’m okay, but Alec won’t let me go play with Jasmine,” Alec rolled his eyes as his youngest brother pouted.

“Oh no! What a mean big brother. Would you like to spend some time with Catarina instead?”

“Yeah!”

“Great! Come on then,” Magnus held out his hand and Max took it, happily skipping along next to the warlock.

“What’s going on?” Alec questioned, but Magnus just shook his head, not wanting to explain.

They dropped Max off with a happy Catarina, it seemed that boy had charmed just about everyone, and then led Alec back to their tent.

“I want you to tell me what you know about Aline and Jeremy,” Magnus said, once they were safely inside.

Alec shrugged, “I don’t know that much. I haven’t seen Aline in about eight years, but I do remember her. She was strong even when I knew her, tough but cheerful. Always friendly to everyone. All I know about Jeremy is that he’s from a powerful family with influence in the Clave.”

“Do you think either of them would try to stage their own attack here?”

“Here? They’d be stupid if they did,”

“That they would, but they wouldn’t be the first people in history to make that mistake,”

“I’m sorry I don’t know. Jeremy could be a loose cannon; he doesn’t seem to like warlocks but then he did seem to be making an effort today. Aline’s been fitting in pretty comfortably,”

“Which could be the most dangerous ploy of all, gaining trust before striking,”

Alec smiled at Magnus affectionately and brought a hand to cup around the warlock’s neck softly.

“You were never this distrustful of me,”

“You were always different,”

“Or did you just let your feelings for me blind you to what I could have been?”

Magnus looked to the ground, in a rare moment of bashfulness. He knew he had always acted irrationally around Alec when he should have been more careful – as his friend Ragnor had always liked to remind him before he was murdered, “Perhaps,”

“Lucky for you then, that I didn’t turn out like that,” Magnus shifted closer to Alec, wrapping his arms around him and resting his head in the crook of Alec’s neck.

“Lucky me indeed,” Magnus inhaled deeply, “I just don’t want anything else to happen to my people and the timing of all this worries me,”

Alec held Magnus tightly, “I promise I’ll keep an eye on them, okay?”

“Just be careful, around them and warlocks. I know most warlocks here like you, but if they’re after revenge you could be a pretty easy target,”

“Not that easy,” Magnus leant up and pressed a small kiss to Alec’s mouth, “Not that easy,” Magnus repeated in agreement.

Alec held Magnus tighter and rubbed his hands up and down his back, “I didn’t really get the chance to say this earlier, but I’m really sorry about Elias.”

Magnus tensed and let out a long, shaky breath. He didn’t say anything, but he knew that Alec didn’t need him to.

They stayed there holding each other for a long while, before Magnus broke the silence,

“Was I right to do this, Alexander? Was I right to get involved and try to end the war? So much has gone wrong, would it have been better if I’d never tried?”

“What? Why would it be better if you’d never tried? The fighting would only get worse and I’m sure it would eventually only end with the destruction of warlocks or shadowhunters. No one bothered to try before you, of course it’s not gonna be smooth sailing but don’t think it’s not worth it,”

“Gods, I love you so much,” Magnus couldn’t help but kiss Alec again. His shadowhunter always knew what to say to make him feel better. How had he ever gotten through life without him?

They parted reluctantly, “I really have to go,”

“It’s alright, go be a leader,” Magnus squeezed Alec’s hands tightly and smiled, before leaving.

Figuring that Max was probably happy enough hanging out with Catarina, Alec made his way back to Aline and Jeremy. If Magnus was worried about them, he was going to do his best to find out if there was anything suspicious about them. It didn’t matter that he’d known Aline years before, he knew first-hand just how much people could change.

Aline smiled as Alec sat down with them at the picnic table and Aline dealt him in to the card game that they’d started playing in his absence.

“Are you really dating that Magnus guy?” Jeremy asked seemingly out of nowhere.

“Umm…yes?” Wasn’t it obvious?

“You’re not sure?”

“What do you mean? Of course I’m sure,” Aline was glancing between the two of them warily.

“Well you didn’t sound very sure. Are you in love with him?” Alec frowned,

“I’m sorry but why are you asking me this?” Jeremy shrugged.

“Just curious, personally I don’t see what’s so special about him. Are you just pretending to get information or something?”

“Excuse me?”

“I said-”

“He heard what you said, Jeremy,” Aline cut in, “Just shut up,”

“Well so-rry for being interested,”

“There’s a difference between being interested and being insensitive,”

“I just don’t get it. Warlocks are our natural enemies, they’re beneath us. Why would someone turn their back on the Angels for a demon?”

Aline sighed and dropped her cards down on the table. Alec had clenched his fists so tightly that he’d completely destroyed his cards. He had to take a deep and steadying breath to stop himself from launching over the table and beating Jeremy senseless.

He had to remember this was how Jeremy had been raised and that he himself had thought like that once, too.

“Why did you agree to come here?” Alec asked, impressed with how he managed to keep his voice level, keeping most of his anger out of it.

“Didn’t really have a choice. I was told I had to be offered in exchange for the others, if I fought it they still would have sent me anyway,”

“Jeremy, how about you go somewhere else for a while?” Aline suggested and Jeremy seemed to understand her reasoning behind it as he didn’t argue, just stood up with a “Sure, whatever,” and wandered off.

“Alec I’m so sorry, are you okay?”

“I’m fine. He just doesn’t know any different,”

“True. He’s still a kid, doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut. Could be dangerous for him here though,”

“Hopefully he doesn’t find that out the hard way,” Secretly, Alec hoped that Jeremy might just find that out the hard way. It would teach him a damn good lesson.

“I’ll talk to him later and try to get him to see some sense,” Alec smiled gratefully at her.

“How are you so okay with this, by the way?” It was Aline’s turn to shrug.

“War is pointless anyway, sure I love to fight but protecting the world from demons is more important than fighting amongst ourselves. So what if you like someone on the other side, it was bound to happen to someone at some point. It may have even happened in the past and we just don’t know about it,”

Alec couldn’t help but wonder how much Aline actually believed her words. Angels, he was really starting to get a little too paranoid.

*

Simon and Raphael were enjoying their first time alone in a while up on the roof of the Du Mort hotel, lying down together and staring up at the stars. Simon was loathe to break their comfortable silence, but if he didn’t now he didn’t think he’d get another time to ask.

“Raph, what have you heard about the war? I’m hearing all these rumours but I have no idea what’s true and what isn’t,”

Simon rolled onto his front and pressed himself up on his elbows so he could study Raphael’s expression.

“What have you heard?”

“That one of the warlocks that was with the shadowhunters is dead. That Clary and the others have been sent to Idris for punishment or something. Is it true?”

Raphael sighed, “I don’t know much mi sol, Magnus only texts me about Alec,” Simon couldn’t help the affectionate smile growing on his face at Raphael’s clearly disapproving expression, “And with Ragnor gone I do not have reliable information from their camp,”

“But the peace talks are definitely failing, right?”

“I would say so – yes,”

“I don’t feel right doing nothing, not getting involved. I want to help,”

“Help who? The warlocks or your little shadowhunter girlfriend? You know we can’t get involved,” Raphael moved away from Simon and stood, walking over the edge of the roof and leant against the railings. Simon rolled up into a sitting position, staring at Raphael’s back.

“You know I want to save Clary, but not because I have feelings for her,” Raphael scoffed, apparently still a little jealous of Clary even after all the time he and Simon had been together, “She’s been one of my best friends since forever, and now that I’m a vampire she won’t always be there when I will. I need to do what I can now,”

“And what do you think you can do, fledgling?”

“I don’t know, but surely something is better than nothing?”

“Would you have me join forces with the shadowhunters? Attack the warlocks to save your friend?”

Simon jumped to his feet and cautiously moved to stand behind Raphael. Praying that the older man wouldn’t push him away, Simon slipped his arms around Raphael’s middle and pressed a few light kisses to the back of his neck.

“No, I’d never ask you to attack the warlocks,” Simon cheered internally when he felt Raphael relax back into his embrace.

“So you’d want me to attack shadowhunters then? How does that save your friend?”

“I don’t know…I don’t want you to attack anyone, but surely there’s something we can do,”

“Unless you can come up with an idea, mi amor, there is nothing we can do to help without risking our ranks. Perhaps there will be a time when our assistance will be required, but until then, nothing,”

“So…you promise to at least help me think about what we can do, right?” Raphael sighed in mock aggravation and twisted around in Simon’s arms, swatting him playfully around the head.

“You never stop do you?” Simon just laughed and kissed Raphael firmly on the mouth, muttering a thank you, knowing that from Raphael, that was as good as a promise as he was going to get.

They only stopped kissing when they heard the tell-tale sounds of someone approaching, although they didn’t bother to step away from one other, much to Simon’s joy.

Lily, Raphael’s second in command, appeared at the top of the stairs to the roof.

“I’m sorry to interrupt, but there’s been an altercation with some werewolves again,”

Raphael rolled his eyes, but nodded and they all made their way back inside.

*

Alec was just beginning to doze when he heard his phone start ringing. He scrambled out of bed and rummaged through his haphazardly thrown clothes until he found it, his heart racing when he saw that it was Lydia.

“Hello?”

“Alec, hi! I’m sorry I couldn’t answer you earlier but I’ve been in meetings all day, we had a little bit of situation,”

“Yeah you don’t say,” Alec responded sarcastically. Lydia was silent for a moment.

“What do you mean by that?”

“Did you think the warlocks wouldn’t know?”

“Wouldn’t know what? Isn’t this their doing?”

“Wait, what? I think we may be talking about something different here,”

“I’m referring to the disappearance of the two warlocks Magnus sent to us,”

“Disappearance? Don’t play dumb, Lydia,”

“Okay, can you explain to me exactly what’s going on here?”

“Elias is dead, you can’t try and tell me that shadowhunters aren’t behind that,”

“Dead? That does kind of explain a few things…”

“What does that mean?”

“This morning we discovered that both of the warlocks had disappeared. We assumed it was something they were pulling to betray us,”

“Elias is definitely dead; Magnus can’t feel his magic anymore.”

“Honestly, Alec…I’m not sure what to do with this. I need to talk to the Inquisitor, but I promise you I had no idea. Let me ask around a little and I’ll get back to you, okay?”

“Sure,” It wasn’t ideal, but what more could Alec ask? Did he believe her? Did the Clave really not know anything about Elias’ death? If it wasn’t shadowhunters then who was it? Who would want to kill him? And then there was Tessa, who was being held by shadowhunters somewhere.

Something just wasn’t adding up.

Chapter Text

Alec felt calm for the first time in a few days as he watched Max playing with Jasmine. Autumn was fully set in within the camp and the two children were running and laughing, jumping into leaf piles and throwing said leaves at each other.

It felt good to watch over two people who didn’t seem to be affected by everything going on around them and it helped Alec to forget about it, at least for a few minutes at a time.

He hadn’t seen Magnus in three days. He didn’t even know where the warlock was or if he was okay. All he could do was hope that Magnus hadn’t been foolish enough to travel to Edom without telling him, and was just busy being a leader to his people. He figured Catarina probably would have told him if something serious had happened, but he couldn’t help but worry anyway. He really hated being out of the loop.

A loud ringing noise made Alec jump, but Max and Jasmine didn’t seem to notice. At last, Lydia was calling him back.

“What do you know?” He asked without preamble.

“Hello to you too, Alec,” Alec didn’t bother to say anything, he didn’t want to get angry at Lydia when she really didn’t deserve it – he was just feeling too on edge.

“I’m going to be honest with you, Alec. We still don’t know for sure what happened over here. We’re running investigations but nothing has come up yet,”

Alec let out a disappointed sigh.

“But…Imogen wants to meet with Magnus,” The Inquisitor wanted to meet with Magnus now?

“Why? When?”

“I can’t say for sure. My guess would be to solidify our tentative peace. She wants to meet him alone, one-on-one, as soon as possible. Can you get the message to Magnus?”

“One-on-one? Is she crazy? There’s no way Magnus would agree to that now. It could be a trap,”

“It could be a trap for Imogen, too, but she’s willing to take that risk. Will you pass on the message?”

Alec let out a long deep breath, trying to stay calm, “I mean…I can try. I haven’t uh…I don’t know where Magnus is right now. When I find him he’ll…get back to you. Okay?”

“Alec are you okay?” Dammit, why did Lydia have to be so perceptive? He would like someone to talk to, but there was no way he was going to unload his problems on Lydia.

“I…I’m fine. Nothing to worry about.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah…look…I’ll call you back when I hear from Magnus,” He hung up the phone before Lydia could say anything else.

With a deep sigh, Alec stood up and gestured towards the two kids.

“Max, Jasmine come on, we gotta go,” Alec was eternally grateful that even though they both looked disappointed, neither made any complaint and much to his surprise they ran over to him and each held on to one of Alec’s hands. He smiled down at them both, leading them back into camp.

He made sure Jasmine got back to her mother and left Max once again with Catarina. He hated to do it, didn’t want to have to leave him with her anymore, preferring to keep an eye on his little brother himself but he didn’t have a choice. He needed to find Magnus quickly somehow and he couldn’t drag Max around whilst he did so.

And as it turned out, trying to find Magnus was proving annoyingly difficult. First he was unable to locate Tessa, and asking the few warlocks he was familiar with led to either shrugs of ignorance or apologies of ignorance.

How did no one know where Magnus was? Why didn’t he know where Magnus was? Although one thing was very apparent…the warlock was definitely not in the camp.

What happened to Magnus keeping Alec in the loop and not leaving him in the dark anymore? Alec couldn’t help but feel a twang of hurt in his chest, he’d given up so much for Magnus and he was still keeping secrets from him.

Even Magnus’ phone was going straight to voicemail, so eventually Alec concluded that he was just going to have to send Magnus a fire message and hope that it found him and didn’t distract him too much if he was anywhere dangerous. If he was, Alec was going to kill him for not telling him about it.

After the paper had burned away in his fingers, Alec fell back onto Magnus’ bed, releasing a long breath. Angels, he was so worried about Magnus. He was just desperate to know that he was okay and nothing bad had happened.

*

Alec must have dozed off, because the next time he opened his eyes, it was to Magnus hovering over him, a hand threading gently through his hair.

“Mags?” Magnus smiled down at Alec,

“Hello darling,” As Alec’s brain began refunctioning, he sat up quickly and pushed a shocked Magnus away from him.

“Where the hell have you been?! Do you have any idea how worried I was? Why didn’t you tell me you were leaving?”

Magnus had the decency to look sheepish as he listened to Alec’s angry stream of questions and had trouble forming an answer as he saw the pain in Alec’s face.

Finally, Magnus slumped down a little and sat on the edge of his bed.

“I’m sorry,”

“You’re sorry? That’s it? Where were you?” Magnus reached out to take Alec’s hand.

“I am sorry darling. I didn’t realize how long I was gone,” Alec ripped his hand out of Magnus’ grip and stepped away from him.

“How on earth do you…you know what never mind. You really need to start explaining,”

“I was in the Spiral Labyrinth. Time moves a little differently there,” At Alec’s unimpressed stare, Magnus continued, “I was doing research and got caught up, my phone died, which I know isn’t an excuse, but that’s why I never got your calls,” Magnus took a chance and stood up in front of Alec, feeling relief when the shadowhunter didn’t push him away again. “I really am sorry,”

Magnus slipped his arms around Alec’s middle and rested his head on Alec’s shoulder. For a moment, Alec closed his eyes and selfishly enjoyed the feeling of being back in Magnus’ arms. But after a few heartbeats he shook his head and backed away, trying not to notice the hurt in Magnus’ eyes.

“I know…I know I’m probably being childish or whatever, but why couldn’t you even tell me you were leaving? We were supposed to be in this together, remember?”

“I’m-”

“No, don’t tell me that you’re sorry again. Magnus, I need to know if you can do this with me or not,”

“I know I should have told you I was leaving. I didn’t think I would be gone that long, which I know isn’t an excuse either. I’m trying, I want to do this with you, I’ve just been doing things alone for so long…I’m getting things wrong and I’m truly sorry for that,”

Alec felt all his anger dissolving from his body at the sincerity in Magnus’ voice. Unable to voice a response, he reached out to pull Magnus back to him and hugged him tightly. Magnus returned the embrace with just as much fervour, his arms perhaps squeezing a little too tightly, but Alec wasn’t about to complain.

“We really need to talk about why I had to find you to come back,” Alec said at last, a little reluctantly since he didn’t want to ruin the moment.

“Alright,” Magnus agreed but didn’t try to change his position, in fact he bunched Alec’s t-shirt in his hands so the shadowhunter would have a harder time moving away if he tried. Magnus was also curious; Alec hadn’t been that specific in his fire message so he really wanted to know what he’d missed that was so important.

Alec quickly filled him in on his calls from Lydia and how Inquisitor Herondale wanted to meet with him one-to-one.

“Okay, you can set it up,” Magnus told him, once Alec had finished explaining. Alec gaped for a moment, not sure what to say.

“Set…set it up? That’s it? You aren’t concerned about this?”

“Why should I be?”

“Elias has just been murdered and now you want to walk into what could be a trap without even thinking about it?”

“I’m aware of the risks my darling, but sometimes they need to be taken. I will not go unarmed and I will make sure I have a communication link back to camp in case of emergencies,”

“I don’t want you to go,” Alec admitted softly. Sure, he’d had to make sure Magnus knew about the offer of the meeting, but that didn’t mean he actually wanted Magnus to go through with it.

Magnus finally drew away from holding Alec so he was able to smile affectionately up at him.

“Be that as it may, I don’t have a choice,”

“But you do! You don’t have to risk yourself like this,” It filled Magnus’ heart, to know that Alec worried about him so, and if he didn’t already know that he loved his Alexander, he would have realized it in that moment.

“Darling, I need to try. We need to know what happened and she may have answers,” Alec sighed, he knew that. It didn’t mean he had to be happy about it.

“I’ll call Lydia now,” He said quietly, holding Magnus’ hand as he reached for his phone.

*

True to his word, Magnus had plenty of weapons hidden on his person as he portalled out of the camp to meet with the Inquisitor. He couldn’t take the risk that there wouldn’t be an anti-magic device there, so the weapons were a much needed precaution.

To his relief, the Inquisitor was the only shadowhunter standing by a pond in Central Park back in New York, although plenty of mundanes were also around, albeit oblivious to the two not-quite-humans meeting together.

“Hello Magnus,” The Inquisitor greeted cordially as he stood in place beside her.

“Imogen,”

“I apologize for what has happened to your warlock,” Magnus didn’t reply, forcing her to continue, “I don’t want to make the same mistakes as my ancestors now that we are ending all this nonsense, we shouldn’t abide by what has happened just because it has happened.”

Magnus rose an eyebrow, wondering at just how much Imogen really knew about the start of the war. It sounded like she knew the truth – that it had been started because Valentine had managed to rally people under the nose of the Clave and it got too far before they noticed.

“The Clave knows nothing about his murder, nor were we involved in any way in its planning. We intended to keep both of your warlocks safe, if nothing else than as a gesture of goodwill,”

“So what do you expect me to believe? That Elias killed himself and Tessa has just gone off on holiday?”

“You have my word that we are investigating to discover the truth. At this time, we do not know if this was orchestrated by one individual or many, but we will find out,”

Magnus huffed out a cold laugh, “There’s no way a single shadowhunter could take down Elias and capture Tessa. They were both much too powerful for that,” It was the Inquisitors turn to be silent. “I think we have to consider the possibility that the Circle is rising again,”

“No, the Circle died with Valentine,”

“Did they? Are you sure? If that were completely true then the war may have actually ended with his death, but it didn’t. Shadowhunters still believe that they are above all downworlders, it would not come as a surprise that now we’re so close to peace, a few would act out in anger,”

“It will be investigated,”

“Assuming that I choose to believe the Clave had no involvement in this, there’s something that I would require of you,”

“Yes?”

“The anti-magic devices. I want them destroyed, along with all the research on how to create them. Think of that as your new gesture of goodwill, if you really want to start bringing an end to this war,”

“I don’t have the authority-”

“Don’t bullshit me Inquisitor. We both know you have the power to see it done. You will do it or face your own consequences,”

“Very well,” She agreed, reluctantly, “I’ll see what I can do and keep you informed,”

“Thank you,” He knew that was all she’d promise, but it was better than nothing.

“Lydia Branwell has also agreed to remain our go-between. If we discover anything about the death of your warlock we will contact you through her.”

“A good choice. Well then, I’d better return before my people start worrying too much,”

“You mean Alexander,” The Inquisitor didn’t miss a beat as she saw straight through him.

“I’d prefer we not discuss Alec,”

“It’s not a subject that can be avoided for long.”

“Yes it can – he’s risked everything to bring an end to this war and he doesn’t deserve to be punished for it,”

“That’s not for you to decide. He’s a shadowhunter, not a warlock,”

“A fact that I am very much aware of thank you very much,”

The Inquisitor observed Magnus coldly, “You are very attached, aren’t you?” Magnus didn’t answer, didn’t know how to. But his silence gave the Inquisitor all the information she needed, “We’ll be in touch,”

With no further explanation, she turned and began walking away. Magnus wanted to call out, force her to tell him what she meant by that and what it meant for Alec, but he couldn’t. He’d only be playing further into her hands.

With a helpless sigh, he waved his hand and created a portal.

*

Alec was sat in Catarina’s tent with Aline and Jeremy trying not to outwardly worry too much whilst waiting for Magnus to return from his meeting with the Inquisitor.

He watched with mild interest as Jasmine and Max played some mundane board game that Catarina had summoned for them on the floor, but he couldn’t concentrate on what they were doing. He wouldn’t have even been able to tell someone what the game was. As long as he was near Max and knew that his little brother was safe then he was just about doing okay.

“Alec!” He was yanked out of his thoughts as Aline jabbed him in the ribs.

“Ouch, what?”

“Can’t you hear that?”

“Hear wha-” Alec cut himself off as he listened and became aware of voices growing louder outside in the camp.

“Sounds like Magnus is back,” He nodded in agreement, “Do you wanna go check it out?” Aline asked him, but Alec shook his head.

“No, I’d rather Max stayed here and I should stick close to him,” Glancing back down he saw the two children still playing, completely unaware of what was going on around them. He wanted to chastise Max for that, it wasn’t a good trait for a shadowhunter, but he just didn’t have the heart to do it.

And not to mention he’d been guilty of the same thing not five minutes earlier.

“I’ll go,” Jeremy offered, “I was starting to get bored sat in here anyway,” He was gone before either of the two other shadowhunters could object. Aline shrugged and picked up her book again, carrying on reading from where she’d left off.

Unfortunately, it only took a few minutes before the loud voices had escalated into shouts of anger and Alec just knew that it had to involve Jeremy.

“Go,” Aline said, “Don’t worry, I promise I’ll look after Max,” After a moment’s hesitation, Alec nodded, told Max not to leave the tent, and hurried out to follow after Jeremy.

What he saw next was not something he was used to seeing in the usually peaceful camp. There was a circle of warlocks gathered around a group in the centre, that Alec had to try and push his way through to get to the front.

He was just in time to see a warlock knock Jeremy off his feet with magic and the shadowhunter was flung to the ground with a loud thump. Alec winced as Jeremey’s head made contact with the ground.

“How can you just let them wander around, Magnus?!” A warlock was yelling. Alec had a sudden sense that he should keep far away from this, but of course that was when the warlock spotted him.

“How can you trust them to be here after everything that’s happened? After Elias? Or are you just so blinded by the fact that you’re fucking one of them to realize we should kill them all,”

Magnus remained calm as he faced the angry warlock, although Alec knew him well enough to know that anger was barely contained beneath the surface, “Don’t talk about things you don’t understand, John,”

“I’m right though, aren’t I? You turn a blind eye to that one-” John jerked his head in Alec’s direction, “-because you think you’re in love with him and suddenly you’re some kind of shadowhunter-lover who only thinks about peace and keeping them safe here even after all they’ve done to us!”

“I had these plans in place long before I met Alexander. But you’re right, I trust him. Perhaps not the others,” Magnus spared a glance at Jeremy, who was still lying on the ground, “But Alexander, yes I do,”

“That’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made, Magnus. Get rid of him before this gets worse,”

Magnus’ features darkened, and his cat’s eyes glowed in warning, “Is that a threat?”

John withered beneath Magnus’ gaze and even took a step back from him. Then, almost without anyone expecting it, John threw out his hand and sent a stream of magic towards Alec. Alec raised his arms to guard himself, but nothing happened.

Hesitantly, he dropped his guard and found Magnus with both arms outstretched, one hand blocking the stray magic from hitting Alec and the other raised high, having lifted John into the air. The warlock was clearly trying to fight against Magnus’ magic, but he was nowhere near powerful enough. No other warlocks felt like going to his aid either, Alec couldn’t help feeling a little happy about that.

“You will not threaten Alexander and you will not threaten me. Killing the shadowhunters won’t bring Elias back or fix every mistake that’s been made in the last two hundred years, now get in line or maybe you’ll see exactly how unforgiving I can be when I need to,”

With a snap of his fingers, all the magic disappeared and John landed in a heap on the floor next to Jeremy.

“I believe I gave you all things to do? Get to it!” Magnus shouted and the warlocks surrounding them hurried off in a whirl of movement. Magnus himself didn’t move. Even Jeremy got up and stormed off. Alec didn’t know what had happened with him, but at that point it wasn’t important to him and he didn’t bother to check where he went.

“Magnus?” He asked, carefully, not wanting to prompt any negative reactions from the warlock who still appeared to be angry. Magnus didn’t respond, but when Alec gently tapped his elbow he blinked and stared up at Alec, not seeming to recognize him.

“Mags are you okay?” Magnus’ expression finally softened as everything caught up to him.

“Alexander,”

“Are you okay?” Alec repeated.

“I’m not sure,” Alec took a firmer grip of his elbow and tugged and Magnus, leading him into the surrounding forest.

“Where are we going?”

“Come on, you just need to get away for a little while,”

When Alec was convinced that they were far enough away from anyone else, he pulled Magnus into a hug which the warlock gratefully fell into.

“Oh god, I attacked one of my warlocks,”

“Hey, shh,” Alec comforted, before Magnus could start panicking, “It doesn’t matter right now,” Magnus held on tightly to Alec’s arms.

“But it does matter. I’m a leader, I’m supposed to protect my people not attack them,”

“We’re all entitled to a breakdown now and then, Mags. You’ve been dealing with a lot it was bound to happen eventually. But I know you’ll fix it, so now don’t worry and just relax, okay?”

“You’re too good to me, darling. I thought you were still angry at me?” Alec rested his cheek on Magnus’ head, holding him a little closer.

“As if I could stay mad at you for long. I’m just happy that you came back safe,”

Magnus waited for Alec to ask about the meeting with the Inquisitor, but he didn’t. It felt good that Alec was giving him time to process everything and just – not worry. He raised his head and connected his lips to Alec’s chastely.

Just small presses of lips together passed between them until Alec let slip a quiet sound of pleasure which instantly made Magnus feel hot and their kisses became more intense, passion passing between them and he backed Alec up against a tree.

Both had a momentary flashback of the last time they had been in this position – hopefully there were no shadowhunters around looking to shoot arrows at them this time.

Magnus’ hands moved to Alec’s jeans and hurried to unbutton them and pull the zipper down, shoving the jeans until they were around Alec’s knees.

“Mags…what are you…”

“Shh, darling.” Magnus dropped to his knees and pressed his face against Alec’s rapidly hardening cock, sucking the at the tip through Alec’s boxers, forcing Alec’s hips to thrust forward against his will.

Magnus ripped Alec’s underwear down quickly and wasted no time enveloping his mouth around Alec, sucking all the way down to the base.

Alec was grateful for the tree behind him holding him up, without it his knees would have given out already. He groaned out loud, a hand gripping into Magnus’ hair tightly, but not forcing any motion. In the back of his mind he hoped that no one had followed them to keep an eye on him, but he couldn’t worry about that for long.

Not with Magnus working wonders with his tongue.

Under Magnus’ skilled care, it didn’t take long before Alec was almost screaming in pleasure as he came down Magnus’ throat. Magnus swallowed it all down and carefully licked Alec’s sensitive cock clean before pulling his boxers back up and redressing him.

The moment Magnus loosened his grip, Alec slid down the tree until he was sat on the forest floor in a little bit of a daze.

“Fuck,” He panted out.

“Perhaps later darling,” Magnus winked and Alec pushed at his shoulder playfully.

Having caught his breath, Alec pounced on Magnus, fully intent on returning the favour.

Chapter Text

Izzy was sat on the bed in her room in the Lightwood family home in Idris. Her knees were pulled up to her chest and her arms wrapped tightly around them. Clary and Jace were sat on the floor, leaning into each other as Clary sketched something and Jace watched.

Really, they were just terribly bored and Izzy was about ready to start climbing the walls in frustration.

There were armed guards at the front and back of the house, all the doors and windows were locked and their weapons, phones and steles had been taken away.

The Clave had learnt their lesson about not properly guarding them after they had so easily escaped the last time they had been kept under house arrest in the New York Institute.

Izzy also just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was going to go wrong – and soon.

A chill wind blew its way into the room and Izzy shivered, standing up, she went to go and close her bedroom window. Just before she could, she overheard the guards talking below.

“-just a disgusting whore. That warlock must be something good in bed for him to turn his back on us,” They had to be talking about Alec, right? Peeking further out of the window, Izzy saw one of the guards seemingly shuddering.

“That’s not something I want to think about.” Izzy almost shouted out at them to shut their mouths about her brother when she heard -

“We really should have just taken him at that meeting and been done with it,” What? Izzy frantically gestured at Clary and Jace, who quietly moved to join her at the window without hesitation so they could listen too.

“Right? I don’t get why the Inquisitor just let him stay with those warlocks, now there’s all this effort we’re having to go through to get him back,”

“At least the Clave have finally officially acknowledged that he’s a traitor. Took them long enough,”

“He’ll deserve everything he gets when he’s brought back,”

“To be honest I don’t think just stripping his runes is tough enough…” Izzy couldn’t listen to any more. As silently as she could she pulled the window shut and the three of them stared at each other with wide eyes.

Izzy was the first to recover from the shock of hearing the fate the Clave had in store for Alec, “I’m not letting that happen to my brother,”

“Of course,” Clary supported, “But what can we do from here?”

“Nothing,” Jace shocked both girls as he spoke, “Have you considered that…that he deserves it?”

What?!” Izzy hissed. Even Clary took a step away from her boyfriend to stare incredulously at him.

“Jace, Alec’s your parabatai…” Clary tried.

“No! Not anymore he’s not, he chose to break that bond. Just like he’s chosen Magnus every time over us. That warlock is more important to him than we are now, he is a traitor! Who knows what secrets he’s given them that we don’t know about,” Jace turned away from them in annoyance.

“I tried to understand what he’s doing, why he would give up everything for a warlock but I just can’t,”

“Jace stop being an idiot! Okay so maybe he’s not your parabatai anymore, but he’s still your brother,” Izzy was having to restrain herself from punching him.

“Yes but…” Jace’s anger suddenly deflated, “Doesn’t it hurt you? That he chose a warlock over us?”

Izzy’s eyes turned a little more sympathetic. “Yes, a little, but…when have you ever seen Alec interested in anyone? He was happy with Magnus. You know I wasn’t happy about it either when we first found out, but I want him to be happy. As long as that’s Magnus then I’m going to do all I can to help him,”

“And what if Magnus uses him? Or hurts him?”

“We just found out that Clave wants to strip his runes, don’t you think that will hurt him?” Izzy moved to embrace him, “I know you miss him, I do too. But you know, he’s not just choosing Magnus. He’s trying to help stop the war. It’s important to him now,”

“But it’s only important to him because of Magnus,”

“Yeah, maybe. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help him,” As Jace sighed, Izzy knew she’d won and at least gotten Jace to see a little sense.

She knew he’d feel even worse if he did nothing to stop Alec getting his runes stripped – which was often a death sentence for shadowhunters anyway.

“So let’s see what we can do to help him,”

*

Alec and Magnus made their way back into camp, their arms wrapped around each other and both feeling a lot lighter than they had just an hour or so before.

Ideally, they would have liked to stay away in their own little bubble for longer, but with all Magnus’ responsibilities and Alec needing check on Max, it just wasn’t possible. Neither begrudged the other though, knew how important everything happening was.

Alec kissed Magnus gently and turned to head back towards Catarina’s tent, pausing when Magnus’ hand shot out, circling his wrist. Alec raised his eyebrow curiously at his warlock.

“Before you go, I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to be leaving camp for a while,”

“Alright, anywhere dangerous?” Alec was happy that Magnus was opening up to him about his plans to keep him involved, but he still couldn’t help worrying.

“Shouldn’t be. I need to pay a visit to Luke and Raphael, let them know about a certain development I may have had,”

“Something to be worried about?”

“Potentially,” Magnus took a deep breath before he explained further, he knew Alec probably wasn’t going to take it very well, “I think Circle is reforming, if they ever stopped in the first place,”

As predicted, Alec’s face drained of what little colour it had and Magnus felt his body tense beneath his hand.

“Why do you think that?” Alec asked, trying to keep his voice neutral.

“Years of war and then the moment peace becomes an option there’s violence against us even under truce. Don’t get me wrong, I know shadowhunters are more than capable of breaking a truce,” Alec flinched at the reminder of what his mother had authorized, “But this feels different. And I’m inclined to believe Inquisitor Herondale when she says the Clave were ignorant to these two attacks. I have to consider that the Circle is coming back out of the woodwork now that things are changing,”

Alec nodded, slowly letting the information sink in, “That…that makes an awful kind of sense,”

“That’s what I thought my darling, so you can see why I should notify the werewolves and vampires as soon as possible,”

“Yeah, that’s probably a good idea,”

“Do you want to come with me?”

Magnus couldn’t help but feel a little guilty when he saw the surprise flit across Alec’s face, “You want me to?”

“Yes, if you want to,”

“I…” Alec paused, thinking carefully before he spoke, “I want to, I do. But I can’t, I need to look after Max, I can’t just leave him alone all the time,”

Magnus tried to tell himself he wasn’t disappointed, but that wouldn’t have been true. He wanted Alec to be there, but he understood how important Alec’s little brother was to him and he wouldn’t ask Alec to leave him if he didn’t want to.

“Of course, I understand darling,”

“Just promise me you’ll be careful,”

“I promise,” Magnus tugged Alec back towards him and leant up to kiss Alec once more. They smiled fondly at each other as they parted and Magnus ran his fingers down Alec’s wrist and over his hand as he stepped away, “Till later, Alexander,”

Alec’s smile didn’t drop as he watched Magnus’ retreating back and for the moment, he wasn’t concerned about what was going to happen, he knew Magnus could take care of himself when he needed to.

Still feeling the high from their activities together, Alec had a little extra spring in his step as he went to go and find Catarina and Max.

*

Slipping quietly back into the tent, Alec saw that not much had changed since he left. Jeremy noticeably hadn’t returned and Jasmine had gone as well, but Max was still on the floor playing the board game, but now with Aline instead. Catarina was stood off to the side stirring a blue coloured liquid in a cauldron.

Both ladies looked up and smiled at him as he came in.

“Hey,” He greeted, “What are you making there?” He gestured towards the cauldron.

“Some healing potions. They’re useful when we start to run low on magic,”

“I bet,” Alec wandered over to take a closer look. The blue was shimmering as Catarina stirred and it was almost hypnotic. “Is it difficult to make?” Alec was curious, and since he spent so much time with warlocks now he thought it would probably be good to understand them. And judging by how Catarina’s face lit up, he’d made a good choice in asking.

“It’s not that hard to mix but some of the ingredients…” Alec listened attentively as Catarina explained all she could about the potion, her passion for healing clearly shining through as she spoke.

They traded a little more conversation and as it came to a natural conclusion he dropped down on the floor behind Max and laughed quietly when Max immediately leant backwards to use him as a pillow.

“Is everything okay?” Aline questioned quietly, as she moved a little plastic piece across the game board.

Alec nodded, “For now,” He didn’t want to elaborate too much on what had happened, especially with Max around and he was still in a good mood so he didn’t want to drag everything back down. He grabbed a pillow from the chair closest to him and propped it underneath his head.

Listening to the comforting sounds of the game and the gentle clinking of metal on metal as Catarina continued brewing her potion, Alec felt more relaxed than he had in a long while and his eyes slowly began drifting closed.

*

Just as the sun set, Magnus appeared on the roof of the Hotel Dumort. He was met by a smiling Simon, who was clearly there waiting for him.

“Hey Magnus!” Simon greeted cheerfully, even though the two had never been all that close.

“Sherman, I see you’re still around,” Simon ignored Magnus’ incorrect use of his name, it was too common of an occurrence whenever they met for it to bother him.

“I am indeed. I have to apologize though, Raphael isn’t available for your meeting yet,”

“That’s never stopped him before, what’s the problem?”

“Luke is here, he came here earlier demanding to speak with Raphael. They’ve been arguing in his office for hours,”

Luke was already at the hotel? Well that was useful to Magnus at least, it would save him a journey. But the fact that he was here made him concerned about what could have happened, “Arguing? I can believe that of Raphael, but Luke? He’s far too laid back for that,”

“I know, right?”

“Do you know what they’re arguing about?”

“Something about dead werewolves,”

With the information Magnus had, it didn’t take him long to realize what must have happened, “Take me to them now, this is important,”

“I can’t just let you-”

“You can and will,” Magnus used the element of surprise to push his way past Simon, but once inside the hotel he realized the vampire didn’t actually want to stop him as he stayed a few paces behind.

Magnus could hear raised voices the moment he reached the corridor leading to Raphael’s office and he quickened his pace. He couldn’t let this get too out of hand before he gave them all the information.

The doors burst open before him with a simple flick of his wrist, successfully distracting the two arguing men and drawing attention to him.

“Hello, and how are my two favourite downworlders?” Raphael glared at Simon who appeared in the doorway behind Magnus.

“I told you to keep him out,” Raphael scolded. Simon just shrugged, unperturbed by the fury radiating from the older vampire and retreated from the room with a smile on his face as he shut the doors again.

“Don’t take it out on him, Raphael,” Magnus looked between the two men and used his magic to push them both back until they were sat down it opposite chairs, “We all need to talk,”

“Magnus this has nothing to do with you,” Luke started.

“Actually, it does,” Magnus calmly took the other available seat opposite Raphael, “But just to confirm, can you tell me what you’re talking about?”

“This morning we found two of my pack completely drained of blood, it had to have been a vampire,”

“And as I keep telling you, we wouldn’t sully ourselves with the blood of you dogs,”

“Okay that’s enough,” Magnus cut in as Luke growled in Raphael’s direction, “Luke, I’m willing to believe that this wasn’t a vampire attack,”

He held up a hand to stop any arguments from forming, “Elias is dead and Tessa is being held by shadowhunters, the Clave however, say they don’t know anything about it. This attack on your wolves has just furthered my suspicions,”

“And what suspicions would those be?” Luke asked in a tone that clearly showed he was only humouring Magnus.

“The Circle,” Magnus could feel the air in the room becoming thick as the downworlder leaders began to understand what Magnus was getting at. Luke was the first to shake his head.

“No…no. The Circle died with Valentine,”

“Did they? Do you have proof?”

“Well no, but-”

“And even if they did, you don’t think it’s possible for them to reform?”

“But why would they be interested in framing vampires?”

Magnus shrugged, “Why do crazy people do anything? But my guess would be they want to keep you distracted from something bigger. And if you both ended up destroying each other in the process then well, bigger win for them,”

“It makes sense,” Raphael agreed.

“But why now? Why come out of hiding now? And why not just be upfront about it?” Luke was still a little sceptical.

“Because the Clave is finally considering peace. They’re breaking off, trying to force the continuation of the war no matter the costs. You really don’t think my idea has any merit, Luke?”

Luke sighed, “Actually I think it does, I just wish that it didn’t. I know I wasn’t there like you were, but I’ve heard enough stories that I wouldn’t want it happening again,”

“Which is why we need to act fast, find out where and who they are. Stop them before they have a chance at succeeding at whatever they have planned,”

“What did you have in mind?”

“Well, you’re going to have to work together,” Magnus smirked at the aggrieved look that passed between both Luke and Raphael.

The vampires and werewolves may hate each other, but this was bigger than them and Magnus knew, or at least hoped, that they would suck it up enough to figure this whole mess out.

*

Magnus felt physically drained as he returned to camp, trying to make plans with two species who really didn’t get a long wasn’t the easiest thing to do.

He just had to be happy that they’d all come to an agreement at the end on how best to proceed. With thoughts of Alec in mind, Magnus took one step in the direction of their tent, when he heard someone calling out to him.

“Magnus!” Malcom was hurrying over to him, “Thank goodness you’re back. You need to come, quick!”

“Why, what’s happened?” Magnus tried to contain his alarm, multiple scenarios running through his mind, each worse than the last. His feelings only intensified when he realized that Malcolm was dragging him towards the infirmary.

He planted his feet and refused to be pulled forward anymore, “No Malcolm, tell me what happened,” He needed to know, what if it was Alec? Or Max? He needed to know before he went in so that he could be prepared. He wasn’t sure how he’d react if he didn’t know what he was going to find.

Malcolm looked like he was about to argue, but eventually gave in, “Anna came back from Edom,”

“So soon? But what-”

“She’s dead,” Magnus’ whole body went cold. Another warlock dead, and this was definitely all his fault. He’d sent her there to scout, to see what she could learn about the hell dimension.

“Why couldn’t I sense it?” Malcolm shrugged.

“I don’t know, must be something that happened to her down there. Come on, you really need to see,”

Magnus consented to follow Malcolm once more and as soon as he saw Anna he dropped to his knees by the bed and held onto her cold hand.

She was lying on her front, her body drained of everything, skin stretched tightly over bone and all colour gone. On her back were two bloody stumps where her wings, her beautiful white wings, had once been and had clearly been torn off. In between them was a knife, sunk deep into her back.

Magnus was having trouble holding back his tears, “How did she get back?”

“We don’t know. A black portal opened up and she fell through, right in the middle of camp,”

“Why wasn’t I contacted immediately?!” Malcolm flinched as blue sparks shot out from Magnus’ body in anger.

“You said you weren’t to be interrupted,”

“Unless it was important! You don’t think this qualifies?!”

“Apologies,”

“Never mind now, what’s done is done. What is that on her back?” Looking closer, Magnus saw what appeared to be a sheet of paper being held in place with the knife.

“We didn’t look, it’s addressed to you,” Magnus stood and saw that indeed, his name was written in cursive script. He carefully removed the blade and dropped it aside before picking up the paper. He was almost too afraid to turn it over, there was only one person it could be from after all.

He skimmed the words quickly and felt his fists clench in irritation.

“I have to go,” He was storming out before Malcolm could stop him.

“Wait! What about-”

Magnus paused long enough to say, “Please see that her body is dealt with correctly and respectfully,” And then he was out the door of the infirmary.

*

He needed to see Alec, where was he? It was late, or early, technically. Alec wasn’t in their tent, where could he be?

He jogged over to Catarina’s tent, the only other place he thought Alec could possibly be. As silently as he could he pulled back the flap, not wanting to disturb Catarina if she was alone. The scene before him made his heart constrict and he almost forget every bad thing that was falling down around him.

Alec was curled up on the floor, just a pillow beneath his head and a protective arm was draped across Max, who was cuddled into him. Magnus wanted nothing more than to join them.

The tent door rustled as Magnus dropped it closed and Alec began to stir. He looked around, suddenly fully alert, but calmed down once he saw Magnus, although he instantly noticed Magnus’ distress.

“What’s wrong?” He whispered.

“Doesn’t matter for now,” He answered, just as quietly, “Come to bed?” Alec just nodded and began to stand, gathering a still sleeping Max into his arms. Magnus folded the letter from Asmodeus and pocketed it, following Alec back out into the chilly night air.

They didn’t speak, feeling comfortable with the silence. Alec tucked Max beneath the covers of the bed and settled in behind him, shifting over enough to leave space for Magnus.

Together, they fell to sleep and the for the first time in almost his whole long life, Magnus felt like he had a family.

Chapter Text

Alec woke up first in the morning, feeling warm and comfortable sandwiched between his little brother and his boyfriend. Magnus had snuggled closer to him during the night, his face tucked into Alec’s neck and a leg thrown over his waist. Alec smiled and carefully disentangled himself from Max, causing Magnus to stir and hold on more tightly.

“I don’t wanna get up yet,” Magnus complained, quietly. Alec rolled over, trying not to jostle Max, and pressed a kiss to Magnus’ forehead.

“Me either, but…”

“Yeah, yeah,” Magnus pushed himself up on his arms and climbed out of the bed, Alec following after him and they moved into the main section of the tent, leaving Max to sleep a bit longer.

Alec took Magnus’ hand as they sat down on the sofa.

“Are you doing okay? What happened yesterday after you left?” Magnus didn’t answer right away. He should – he’d put this off for too long since he’d ignored it last night, but he just couldn’t find the words. And it seemed like Alec didn’t even know about Anna. How could Magnus admit that he’d sent someone to their death?

Sure, it was a risk when being in power, but it wasn’t a risk that he enjoyed.

“Mags?”

“It’s all my fault,”

“What’s all your fault?”

“Yesterday, a warlock was returned here to us. Dead,” Alec wrapped an arm around Magnus to pull him closer, sensing that Magnus needed it.

“I’m so sorry,”

“It’s all my fault,” Magnus repeated, sounding close to tears.

“How could it be your fault?”

“When I first found out about Isaac and where he was, I…I sent Anna into Edom as a scout. Asmodeus found and killed her. Sent her back as a message to me,” Magnus reached into his pocket of the clothes he still hadn’t changed out of and took out the letter.

“Why would some hell demon focus on you?”

Magnus buried his face in Alec’s shoulder, hoping Alec wouldn’t push him away once he knew.

“There’s still something I haven’t told you,” He felt Alec tense beneath him, “But in my defence, I don’t really tell this to anyone if I don’t have to,” Alec ran his fingers up and down Magnus’ back soothingly. Sure, this was something else Magnus hadn’t shared with him but it was obviously a sore subject. And it wasn’t like they shouldn’t be allowed any secrets from each other.

“Asmodeus is my father,” Magnus admitted quickly, figuring it would hurt less that way, just like ripping off a band-aid. He could feel Alec’s hesitation, but he could relate – he wouldn’t exactly know what to say if someone told him they were a son of a prince of hell either.

“He sent this letter addressed to me along with Anna’s body,” He didn’t need to go into details about how the letter had been found.

“What-what did it say?” Alec managed to ask, glossing over Magnus’ parentage, which Magnus greatly appreciated.

“Mostly lording himself, as usual. How could I have been so naïve to believe that I could get away with sending someone into his domain and he wouldn’t know about it,” Magnus took in a shuddering breath and cuddled Alec some more as it became clear that Alec wasn’t about to push him away, “And…”

“And?” Alec prompted gently.

“And, he says if I want to get Isaac back, then I must go myself,” An uneasy silence hung between them and Alec’s hands unconsciously gripped Magnus a little more tightly.

“Magnus, I…” Alec paused and Magnus braced himself to hear Alec tell him not to go and prepared for the inevitable argument that was clearly going to follow when Magnus said he was going anyway.

“Magnus, just make sure that you factor me into your plans, okay? I’m going with you,”

“You’re what?” Alec pushed Magnus away so he could look him in the eyes, his natural cat’s eyes, sometime during their conversation the glamour had dropped.

“I know you have to go, that you want to find Isaac. But you don’t think I’d let you go alone, do you? If you need to do this, then we’re doing it together,” Magnus felt tears pricking at his eyes and he blinked quickly to try and get rid of them.

He wasn’t expecting this, and he certainly didn’t expect the waves of emotions to hit him and fall in love with Alec all over again.

He’d never felt so wanted before, so loved before. Alec was everything to him. Without warning, he crashed their lips together, fisting his hands into Alec’s hair almost painfully. The shadowhunter didn’t complain, fought back with just as much enthusiasm.

“Alec?” Both men froze at the small and tired voice coming from the back of the tent. Magnus scrambled away and Alec jumped up, straightening out his clothes as Max got out of bed. Alec cleared his throat awkwardly, a dark pink blush staining his cheeks.

“Are you okay, Max?”

Max blinked owlishly at him, then looked between the two of them, looking a bit too wise for his years than Alec liked, only adding to his embarrassment.

“Yeah. I want to go find Jasmine, is that okay?”

“Uh…” He wants to say no. It could be dangerous, he didn’t want anything to happen to Max and after glancing at Magnus he knew the warlock wouldn’t be angry if he told Max to stay with them, “Yeah it’s okay,” He surprised even himself with his answer, “But if she’s not at home, don’t go looking for her and go straight to Catarina, alright?”

“Alright!” Max agreed cheerfully, hugging Alec before darting out of the tent. He crossed his arms, feeling like an awful big brother for letting Max wake up to that, even if it was just kissing. It was one thing to do it, but a whole other thing for Max to know what they were doing and then actively leave to give them alone time.

Magnus moved to slip his arms around Alec’s waist from behind as he stared at the door, worrying that he might have made a mistake in letting his brother go.

“Sure you don’t want to follow after him?” Magnus asked, pressing little kisses to the back of Alec’s neck.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” Alec sighed into the feeling, “Are you supposed to be doing something right now? Do you need to leave?” He was still a little worked up from the kiss and all embarrassment aside, he needed to know if they could carry things on or if Magnus was just going to leave too.

“Mm, probably,” Magnus’ teeth nipped at his earlobe and Alec gasped, “But I’m not going anywhere, darling,” He then left what was probably going to be a very noticeable hickey on Alec’s neck. Alec could feel his knees going weak and was glad to have Magnus’ strong arms wrapped around him.

All bets were off, however, when one of Magnus’ hands reached down and palmed Alec’s rapidly hardening dick through his jeans. Alec cried out and ground his hips back against Magnus, any lingering thoughts he had about Max flying out of his mind.

“I love you so much, Alexander,” Magnus panted, “Let me show you,”

“Oh Angels, Magnus please,” The warlock propelled Alec across the room suddenly so he was by the bed, off balance so all it took was another little nudge until the shadowhunter was sprawled across the sheets, looking debauched even before anything had really begun.

Magnus didn’t hesitate to scramble after him onto the bed and straddle Alec’s hips. Sealing their bodies together and pressing his lips closely to Alec’s ear he whispered, “I want to ride you, Alexander,” He punctuated this by grinding himself down against Alec’s groin, “Can I ride you, darling? Please, I want to,”

Alec whined deep in his throat and clutched onto Magnus’ hips, unable to voice a reply.

“Can I?” Magnus begged once more in a low voice.

“Yes!” Alec almost screamed, “Oh God, yes!”

Magnus propped himself up and grinned down at Alec, looking positively feral in his lust and Alec felt his heart beating even faster in anticipation.

Then, without any sort of signal, they both clashed together once more, tongues fighting for dominance, hands grasping at each other’s bodies searching for any sliver of bare skin. Magnus growled in frustration when they couldn’t detach themselves for long enough to pull off any clothes.

“Darling, can I – Ah! - can I use my magic on you?” All it took was for Alec to vaguely remember the heated feeling from their first time to give Magnus the consent he wanted. He heard a click, then saw a light blue glow and suddenly both men were groaning in unison at the sensation of their naked bodies writhing together.

Magnus sat up, putting space between them and ignoring Alec’s pout. He shuffled back until he was resting on Alec’s thighs then began slowly trailing his fingers up and down Alec’s chest and abs, sporadically sending little bursts of magic through his fingertips, flooding Alec with warm and sharp bursts of pleasure that were almost becoming too much, but he wasn’t about to ask Magnus to stop. It was too good.

“Please, please…Magnus!” Alec didn’t even know what he was asking for, wasn’t even sure what was coming out of his mouth beyond satisfied groans and sighs. When one of Magnus’ hands slid down and squeezed appreciatively around Alec’s cock, his hips bucked up, “Fuck,”

“Do you want me, Alexander?” Magnus practically purred above him, gliding forwards until his ass was hovering above Alec’s hips. Alec tried to grind up for contact, but Magnus used his magic to hold him down, causing Alec to reach out and grab onto his wrists almost painfully. There would probably be bruises, but Magnus didn’t care. He’d cherish them.

Leaning his chest down again, Magnus repeated his question. Alec was so turned on he wasn’t sure he could even begin to formulate a response; his brain just wasn’t connecting to his mouth or the rest of his body properly. Angels, what was Magnus doing to him?

“Well?” Dimly realizing that nothing more was going to happen unless he spoke, Alec tried to make sense of his thoughts. Staring into Magnus’ colourful cat’s eyes, everything stopped and it even felt like all time had frozen around them, that there was nothing else in the universe apart from the two of them in that very moment.

Finally, awareness began slowly seeping back into Alec and he was just coherent enough to say, “Anything you want. Yes. Anything,”

Magnus smiled, really genuinely smiled at him, full of love and adoration. It seemed a little out of place considering their activities but it made Alec’s heart soar.

“Wonderful, first…touch me,” It didn’t even cross the shadowhunters mind to disobey. He held Magnus’ dick reverently in his hand and he found that he was exceedingly hard, even considering he hadn’t been touched there yet during their actions. But, Alec was enjoying the noises his warlock made for him as he slowly moved his hand up and down, occasionally teasing his thumb across the slit and spreading the precome around.

“Yes, Alexander, just like that,” Magnus’ eyes closed and his head rolled back as he allowed himself to get lost in the sensations. The urgency was all gone, but none of the intensity. It built further and further until Magnus had to bat Alec’s hand away to avoid finishing too early.

“Would you like to prepare me? Or would you rather watch as I do it myself?” How could Magnus still talk in these full, grammatically correct sentences? It was driving Alec crazy when he had such little control over himself.

“I want,” He managed to say, and luckily Magnus understood him. With another click of his fingers a bottle of lube appeared in his hand and he passed it across to Alec. They didn’t lose eye contact as Alec coated a few of his fingers and drifted them across Magnus’ balls and then further back until they rubbed gently against his tight hole.

Magnus moaned wantonly and rolled his hips as Alec teased him. Ever so slowly, Alec pushed one finger inside, watching as intently as he could to gauge Magnus’ reaction. They’d not done it this way before and he wanted to make sure it was good for Magnus, he didn’t want to disappoint or hurt him in any way.

As it became increasingly clear that Magnus wanted more, he pushed his finger further in and out, taking his time until the muscles were relaxed and he was able to add a second with barely any resistance, carefully scissoring his fingers as he remembered Magnus had done to him.

Angels it was so tight and hot, and that was just around his fingers. Alec wasn’t sure how he was going to survive once it was his dick moving inside of Magnus instead.

The warlock, it seemed, was getting impatient with the slow moving of events.

“More!” He cried out, encouraging Alec to slide a third finger in next to the other two, “Yes!” Feeling a little more confident given Magnus’ more than enthusiastic responses, Alec began crooking his fingers searching for that –

“Ah!” The moment Alec’s fingers grazed Magnus’ prostate, the warlock slapped the fingers away and out of his body, “Now, now, now! Need you, Alec!” Alec hurried to slick his cock then rested his hands on Magnus’ hips as he positioned himself and began to slide down.

Alec was sure his brain short-circuited as the head pushed inside. His mouth opened wide in a silent gasp, although he made sure to keep his eyes wide open, not wanting to miss a single second of this.

They moaned together as Magnus sat the whole way down.

Magnus tugged at Alec until he sat up and they both clung to each other as Magnus began to move, rolling his hips slowly. Their mouths met in a series of leisurely kisses until Magnus picked up his pace and they were panting into each other’s mouths more than anything else.

Raising his knees and planting his feet, Alec placed one arm behind him for balance and began to thrust upwards, meeting Magnus in the middle every time, eagerly drinking in the loud noise of Magnus shouting his name, and making incomprehensible sounds as they moved together.

“God, Alec! Yes! So perfect, feels so good darling,” Magnus punctuated his words by scratching his nails down Alec’s back, leaving deep red marks in their wake. Alec responded with a groan of his own and wrapped an arm around Magnus’ waist, spinning him around until the warlock’s back hit the bed with a thump, pushing one of his legs up over his shoulder.

They completely lost themselves to sensation, unaware of anything except for the feel of each other, hands gripping tightly in an attempt to ground themselves through their pleasure, blue sparks burning into Alec’s skin heightening every movement.

“Mags…I’m close,”

“Me too, darling. Harder, come for me,” Picking up his pace, Alec wrapped a hand around Magnus’ previously neglected cock and striped it in time to his thrusts.

“Ah, ah, uhn! Oh fuck!” Magnus cried as he came all over his stomach and Alec’s hand. The feeling of Magnus’ clenching around him was too much for Alec and he released himself inside, collapsing down as his limbs gave out beneath him.

Magnus grunted a little but didn’t voice any complaints as they both attempted to catch their breath. Finally, Alec carefully slid himself out and rolled over to lie next to Magnus, resting his head against his shoulder.

Planting a kiss against Alec’s forehead, Magnus repeated those three words which lead them to that moment, “I love you, darling,”

*

Aline frowned as Jeremy started mumbling to himself again from across the tent. She couldn’t quite make out everything he was saying, but from the way he was scowling and prodding at his still partially injured head gave her a clue as to what it might have been about.

“Will you chill out?” She snapped, exasperated from dealing with him for so long finally catching up to her. Since he’d been hurt, Aline had thought it best that she stuck close to him to stop him from doing anything crazy.

“So what, you’re on their side?” His challenge was unmistakable.

“No I’m not on their side,” She argued back, “I’m just aware of the fact that there’s a lot going on right now and everyone is tense about it. Bad things are bound to happen,”

“So you’re willing to ignore that a warlock attacked me because it was ’bound to happen’?” Jeremy hissed, sounding furious.

Aline rolled her eyes, “No, it was wrong of that warlock to do it but what do you expect is going to happen about it? We’re in enemy territory here, gotta tread carefully,”

“Carefully is what got us into this hell hole in the first place, here for diplomacy rather than killing them off like they deserve,”

Aline’s eyes widened in panic, glancing around the tent as if she was expecting a warlock to suddenly materialize before them, “You can’t say things like that here!”

“Why not? It’s true,”

“We’re not here for that. You need to be more careful,” Jeremy snorted as if he was amused by her words and flung himself down onto his bed.

“I’m not the one who needs to be careful,”

“What does-” Aline stopped herself from finishing the question. She didn’t want to know.

*

Isabelle, Jace and Clary had been individually handcuffed and were dragged from their home and into a courtroom to face a few members of the Clave, including Inquisitor Herondale.

Each stared up at their accusers defiantly.

“Isabelle Lightwood, Jace Wayland and Clarissa Fairchild,” Izzy rolled her eyes, what was the Clave’s obsession with always announcing their names like that? “We have brought you here to offer you a deal,”

The Inquisitor paused, waiting to see their reactions. They glanced at each other, each curious as to what it could be about.

“All charges against you will be dropped and you will be permitted to return to active duty in New York as you were before,” She announced grandly.

“Oh yeah? And what do you want in return for that?” There was going to be a big catch, Izzy just knew it. She wasn’t agreeing to this without knowing everything.

“You will return to the warlock camp and leave with Alexander Lightwood by any means necessary. You will bring him to us,”

“What? No!” Clary was the first to vehemently deny the offer.

“As if I would do that to my brother. I know what you want to do to him, I’ll never let you have him,”

“We shall have him with or without your help Miss Lightwood, I’m merely offering you a chance at redemption,”

“Screw your redemption, I’ll never betray my brother,”

“And you, Mr Wayland?” The Inquisitor turned her piercing gaze onto Jace, “You’re very quiet over there, come, tell us your thoughts,”

Jace turned to Izzy and Clary, indecision warring in his features. Izzy felt panic buzz through her. No – Jace wouldn’t…would he? Yeah, he’d been upset about Alec choosing the warlocks, but he wasn’t about to betray him, surely?

“Jace…” She began, but stopped when he turned away from her.

“I’ll do it,” He said.

“What the hell, Jace!?”

“Jace how could you?!” Izzy and Clary screamed at him together. Jace didn’t look at them, keeping his eyes firmly locked on the Inquisitor, who had raised an eyebrow.

“Well, it’s good to see one of you has the right priorities,”

Izzy ignored her, “What are you doing? Alec is our family,”

“I have to do this, Izzy,” He still didn’t look at her, “It’s what he deserves,”

The Inquisitor made a motion with her hand and two shadowhunters stepped forward and began to drag Izzy and Clary away even as they continued screaming at Jace to stop being crazy and to change his mind.

Jace closed his eyes and did his best to block them out. He had to do it.

*

The second Izzy’s cuffs were released and the guards back outside the door she grabbed the nearest thing to her – which happened to be an ornamental vase filled with flowers – and threw it against the opposite wall, not even flinching when water and porcelain shards flew back at her. The table it had been stood on followed, splintering easily under Izzy’s rage.

“How could he?” Izzy stopped throwing things and faced Clary, who looked just as lost as she felt.

“I don’t know, I don’t understand,”

“This wasn’t our plan. How can he betray our family?”

“Maybe…well, maybe he came up with his own plan. Maybe he just didn’t tell us anything about it and he’s going to help Alec instead,”

“Do you really believe that?” Clary shrugged.

“Do I have any other choice? I have to believe Jace wouldn’t do that to his parabatai,”

“But what if he would? He was so upset about Alec,”

Clary didn’t reply, not being able to think of anything to make it better. All they could do was hope for the best.

*

“Luke, I’m glad you could make it,”

“Of course,” Luke knelt beside Alaric, his second in command of the wolf pack, “What did you find?”

They were out on the docks by the harbour, surrounded by boats and ships.

“I think we’ve found where they’re holding the warlock Tessa,”

“Where?” Alaric indicated towards a ship further out in the deep water.

“Shadowhunters have been coming and going, but none that we’ve recognised so far,”

“They haven’t seen you?”

“No. They’ve been moving boxes to and from but we haven’t been able to find out what’s in them. We’ve found some warding, which is why we’re sure that’s where the warlock is,”

“Great work, Alaric. I’ll call Magnus and let him know, you keep and sharp eye out here and let me know immediately if anything else happens. Bring a few more pack members over if you need to but don’t get caught,”

“Yes, sir,”

*

Magnus took a deep breath, steadying himself before opening the door and coming face to face with Nathaniel Hawk, the previous warlock leader.

“Well, well, well,” Nathaniel mused as Magnus summoned a chair to sit opposite him, “I didn’t expect to be seeing you again so soon,”

“Nor I you. A few things have changed, however,” Nathaniel crooked an eyebrow, waiting for Magnus to continue.

“I need to know what it was that possessed you to choose Asmodeus and how it was you came to contact him in the first place,”

“And what’s in it for me if I share this information?”

Magnus shrugged, “What do you want?”

“Out of here,”

“Not gonna happen,”

“Well then I guess we’re stuck, aren’t we?”

“No, you’re going to tell me. Since you couldn’t come up with something logical to deal with, if you don’t tell me…well…it’s going to hurt,”

Nathaniel smirked, “Oh I’m sure it will, want to give me a taster?”

Magnus clicked his fingers and watched on with a bored expression as Nathaniel whimpered uncomfortably.

“That all you got?” He challenged once it was over.

“Most definitely not. Now, why Asmodeus?”

“He’s a prince of hell. Strong, useful. Willing to do anything for a price,”

“What price?”

“Now that is for me to know and you to definitely find out later,”

“How did you contact him? Did you visit him in Edom?”

“Old magic for a powerful summoning,”

“You aren’t powerful enough to attempt something like that alone,”

“Perhaps not,” So Nathaniel had supporters, others in the camp who had helped him. Who?

“Tell me everything you know about Asmodeus’ location in Edom,” Nathaniel smiled and was worryingly open about going into great detail.

He was either lying, or planning to send Magnus straight into a trap.

*

Jace had been moved into a comfortable room, restraints removed and replaced with a warm cup of tea. The Inquisitor sat opposite him.

“I’m very glad you’ve finally come to your senses and agreed to help us but, should you attempt to betray us in any way then we will gladly destroy you,”

“What is it you want me to do exactly?” Jace asked, choosing to ignore the threat for the time being.

“We’re sending you back to the warlock camp. You’re going to retrieve Alexander Lightwood and bring him to submit before the Clave.”

“And what are you gonna do to him once he’s back here?” Jace had a pretty good idea already, but having it confirmed would be good.

“You don’t know? He’ll be put to trail and probably stripped of his runes. Cast out from the society of shadowhunters for good,”

“Okay. So how do you get me back in the camp without anyone getting suspicious?”

“Oh we have a plan for that, now come with me,”

Chapter Text

Power – check, vision – check, stamina – check, speed – check…

Alec had spent the morning activating his runes and drawing new ones, then methodically checked them to make sure he hadn’t forgotten any important ones. He wasn’t going to be taking any chances when Max was involved.

The previous evening, when he’d been reading alone in the tent whilst Magnus was out with Luke, he’d received a phone call from Lydia requesting a meeting with himself and Magnus, and could they please bring Max with them?

Lydia refused to elaborate as to why they needed Max to go too – Alec had a suspicion that she didn’t actually know herself – and Alec wanted to make sure he was prepared for anything the Clave was about to throw his way.

The meeting could be dangerous for any number of reasons.

“Calm down, darling,” Alec felt Magnus move up behind him and his hands landed on his shoulders, massaging gently, trying to relieve some of the built-up tension and interrupting Alec’s borderline obsessive checklist-ing.

“I can’t,” He really did try to relax back into Magnus’ touch but couldn’t quite manage it, “What do they want with Max? Why are they doing this now? What if they want to try and take Max away from us or me away from you?”

Alec let out a groan as Magnus dug his fingers in harder.

“Do you think I would let them do anything like that without a fight?”

“Of course not, but…”

“No buts, darling. We both know that Shadowhunters can be…less than honourable when they want something and that’s why we’re going in prepared. They won’t get anything unless we’re all happy with it,”

Alec’s eyes slipped closed as Magnus successfully almost distracted him as he worked out a knot of stress between Alec’s shoulder blades.

“I can’t help but worry,” He sighed.

“I know, that’s what makes you such a wonderful big brother, but you know we’re all going to do whatever it takes to keep you and Max safe?” He nodded – of course he knew that. It was just difficult for him to let go sometimes.

Magnus pressed a kiss to Alec’s cheek, “Are you ready to leave? It’s time,” Alec did one more quick mental check of his runes and nodded.

“Let’s go,”

*

Max ran up to them the moment they stepped outside the tent and Alec bent down slightly to be able to catch him and pick him up, resting Max against his hip.

Jasmine had been following and reached up to take Alec’s free hand.

“You won’t be gone for long, right?” She asked.

“I hope not, but we’re not sure how long this is going to take,”

“Do you promise to try not to be too long?” Looking down into her wide hopeful eyes, it was difficult to tell her no.

“We’ll try, but no promises, okay?” Jasmine looked a little disappointed, but nodded her agreement anyway. Alec lowered Max back to the ground so he could hug and say goodbye to his friend.

Looking around, he saw Magnus staring at him with a small smile etched pleasantly on his face.

“What?” Magnus eyed the children, then Alec again before brushing it off as nothing and beginning to create a portal.

Alec’s eyes followed Jasmine as she ran back to her mother and the two of them shared an uneasy smile. Jasmine’s mother still didn’t particularly like Alec, but had come to accept that her daughter was safe with him and really liked him a lot, so they’d at least come to some kind of almost friendly truce.

Alec held Max’s hand and led him through the portal once Magnus signalled that it was ready. They were followed closely by a few other well trusted warlocks, including Malcolm Fade and Catarina, with Magnus bringing up the rear.

*

Alec’s grip tightened around Max’s hand considerably when they exited the portal in an out of the way area of Central Park. There were more shadowhunters there than he was expecting, including his parents.

He could barely contain his shock when he saw Jace standing with them. Wasn’t he supposed to be under house arrest in Idris? What was going on?

Lydia had pride of place stood next to the Inquisitor, waiting to greet them.

“Alec, it’s great to see you again,”

“You too,” Alec told her, and it wasn’t even really a lie. He and Lydia had been close in the past and he didn’t forget that she’d helped his siblings get away to find him.

The warlocks made their way out of the portal and Magnus closed it up behind him.

Magnus stood next to Alec, portraying his confidence clearly as the other warlocks fanned out behind them.

“I’m glad you could make it here today,” The Inquisitor addressed to Magnus, “And thank you for bringing Max along,”

“Let’s cut straight to the chase, shall we? What do you want?” Magnus knew how worried Alec was about this meeting, he didn’t want anything dragging it out longer than it needed to be.

The Inquisitor didn’t look impressed, but continued on, “Very well. We have not called you here for a strictly official reason,” Magnus raised an eyebrow as Alec felt himself tense further.

“We would like to request that Max Lightwood is allowed to return,”

“Why?” Alec jumped in to ask, before Magnus could.

“A mother misses her son,”

Alec looked over her shoulder to see Maryse. Something was wrong with this whole situation.

“I mean no disrespect to you, Madam Inquisitor, but that’s bull. Max has been with me for months, if Maryse wanted him back, it would have happened before now. What’s really going on?”

“You can’t keep my son from me, Alec!” Maryse screamed out, pushing herself forward. Max curled closer into Alec.

“Unless you tell me why you want him, yes I can!”

“Keep calm, sweetheart,” Magnus whispered, as nonchalantly as possible so as not to attract attention to his words.

“I want to see my son, Alec. He needs his mother and he needs to return to his studies,”

“You can stop pretending to be mom of the year, we all know that’s not true,”

“Don’t speak to me like that,” The fire in Maryse’s eyes was clear. The Inquisitor chose that moment to step in before a fight could break out.

“Enough, both of you. Don’t you miss your parabatai? If you let Max return to his mother, then Jace is free to go back with you,”

“I trust that you will allow us a moment to discuss this offer?” Magnus asked. The Inquisitor nodded obligingly, watching eagle-eyed as Magnus and Alec backed away.

They stood with their heads close together, speaking quietly to decrease the risk of any of the shadowhunters hearing what they had to say.

“This is too suspect, it’s not as simple as it seems,” Alec said.

“I agree. And they’re being very sketchy on their reasons why. There’s something bigger going on, but it’s such a sloppy attempt I’m having trouble understanding why they’re even trying,” Magnus looked down, avoiding Alec’s gaze for a moment.

“I hate to suggest this Alexander, but do you think it’s possible that Jace is being sent to…” He trailed off, not wanting to finish his sentence.

“To arrest me or kill me?” Alec finished for him, “It’s very possible,” He sighed, then bent down to be level with Max.

“Max, it’s all well and good us debating here but what do you want? Do you want to go back to New York and be with mom?”

Max hesitated, “I don’t know. I miss mom sometimes, but I like being with you and seeing Jasmine, too. Will it make it easier if I go back to New York?”

“It won’t be easy either way. And I can’t protect you if you go back,”

“But mom will keep me safe, right?”

Alec and Magnus exchanged a look and Alec carefully replied with, “I would hope so,”

Despite whatever Alec wanted, he could see that even though Max didn’t want to outright admit it, he wanted to go back with Maryse.

“It’s okay, Max. If you want to go back home it’s okay,”

“Are you sure?”

“If it’s what you want then of course it’s okay,”

“Will you say sorry and goodbye to Jasmine for me?” Alec pulled his brother into a hug.

“Of course, but Max you need to promise me something. Promise me you won’t talk about anything in the camp, don’t tell them about Magnus or Jasmine or Catarina, and don’t let them know how much fun you had, okay?”

“Okay,” Max seemed a little confused as to why, but promised anyway. He would do anything his big brother asked him to.

Alec stood back up to face Magnus, “Well whatever it is they’re trying to do let’s play their game,” The three of them moved to face the shadowhunters once more.

“You’ve come to your decision then?”

“We have,”

“And?”

Alec stared at his mother, forcing eye contact, “You’d better keep him safe,”

Maryse looked unimpressed, “I’m his mother,”

“That doesn’t mean anything. If anything happens to him, I’ll kill you myself,” His mother nodded once, accepting that Alec would have no trouble following through with his threat.

Before leaving them, Max surprised everyone by turning around and hugging Magnus.

“Bye Magnus, don’t let anything happen to my brother, okay?” Magnus smiled through his shock and ruffled the boy’s hair.

“Of course, little shadowhunter,” Max squeezed Magnus once more before hugging Alec and crossing the distance between everyone to stand with Maryse, who took his hand in hers.

Jace moved next and walked across until he faced Alec. It was an awkward stand-off, neither really knew what to do or what to say.

There was so much hidden beneath the surface to worry about.

But this was Jace, his brother, his parabatai…

They cracked at the same time, wrapping each other in a tight hug.

“Are we done here, then?” Alec heard Magnus ask as he pulled back from Jace.

“We are,” The Inquisitor confirmed. They made their amicable goodbyes and once more Alec stepped through a portal to return to the warlock camp.

*

Inside the camp, things quickly returned to the original awkwardness between Alec and Jace.

“Why are you really here?” Alec didn’t want to beat around the bush, he had to know.

“You can’t just accept that I missed you?”

“No.” Jace sighed and ran a hand through his hair, something glinting that caught Magnus’ eye.

“Let’s talk somewhere private, shall we?” Magnus suggested, leading them to his tent without waiting for an answer. Jace rolled his eyes but Alec ignored it as his followed his boyfriend.

Once inside, Magnus clapped his hands together and sent his magic to encase the tent.

“What are you doing?” Alec asked.

“Making sure that no one can listen in,” Turning around, Magnus tried not to glare at Jace, “Now would you care to explain to us why you’re wearing a fairy ring?”

Alec’s eyes widened as he stared at Jace accusingly.

“It’s not a-” Jace tried to deny it but Magnus was having none of it, cutting him off immediately.

“Yes, it is. Don’t presume that I’m stupid enough to not recognize that ring for what it is. Where did you get it and why do you have it now?” Jace sighed and dropped down into one of the arm chairs.

“The Clave gave it to me. They wanted to make sure we would have a direct link at all times,”

“That’s reckless of them. The Fae could be listening in,”

“It was a risk they were willing to take,” Jace answered with a shrug.

“And no one thought that I would know what it was?”

“Another risk,” Magnus shook his head incredulously, the lengths shadowhunters were really willing to go to was ridiculous.

“Take it off now and give it to me,” The blonde shadowhunter hesitated.

“Jace,” Alec said sternly, “Do what he says,” Slowly, Jace slipped the ring off his finger and threw it at Magnus, removing his easy communication to the Clave.

“They’re going to think something is wrong if I don’t check in,”

“That’s not much of a concern for me right now. Tell us why you’re really here,”

Jace crossed his arms across his chest defensively, “The Clave figured that I was the only one you’d accept in return for Max,”

Alec and Magnus shared a look, seeing straight through the lie, “And why did they want Max back?”

“Like they said, Maryse missed him.”

“Jace don’t pull that shit with me,” Alec sat opposite Jace, staring him down, “We’ve known each other too long. We grew up together. We both know what Maryse is like and we both know she doesn’t actually care about us that much. What’s going on?”

Jace shrugged again, “Don’t know what to tell you, bro.” Alec ran a hand through his hair in exasperation and looked away. This was just confirming everything he and Magnus had been concerned about – Jace was there to betray him.

*

Magnus portalled himself just away from the view of the docks and inconspicuously made his way to the location Luke had asked him to meet at. He ducked down behind the crates beside Luke and Alaric.

“Glad you could make it,” Luke greeted.

“Thanks for updating me. Has anything changed?” Alaric shook his head.

“Not much, but we could do with your help. Maybe your magic could confirm that Tessa is aboard and then we know if we’re wasting our time here or not,”

“None of it’s wasted. Even if Tessa isn’t here, we’re still getting intel on possible members of the Circle,” Alaric bowed his head in deference to his pack leader.

“I’ll see what I can do,”

Focusing deeply on the boat, Magnus sent out a few tendrils of his magic beneath the water. After a few minutes, he gave up.

“Every time I reach the boat something blocks my magic. If that’s the anti-magic devices at work then I’m going to say that’s exactly where Tessa is,”

“Are we going to be looking into a rescue mission?”

“Yes. I want to know everything about the movement on that boat and when there are the least people aboard. We can plan a co-ordinated attack to get her, and anyone else who might be held there, out.”

“Okay, I’ll keep my people on it. I’ll inform Raphael as well and he can send a couple more vampires down,”

“Perfect. Thank you so much for doing all this Luke,”

“Not a problem, I know how much you’ve got on your plate right now. How are things with Jace being back?”

Magnus bit his lip and hesitated before speaking, “Is there any chance Jocelyn has let slip what they really want Jace to do?”

“Unfortunately not. I don’t think she knows, it’s very hush hush. But, I should probably tell you Max is okay. Maryse isn’t sticking to him all the time as a mother who was worried about her son probably would, but according to Jocelyn he’s in the Institute studying a lot,”

“I’d better go back, I don’t want to risk something happening to Alec while I’ve been gone,”

“I’ll be in touch,”

Magnus thanked Luke sincerely and portalled himself away.

*

Almost the moment that Magnus had excused himself to leave, Jace rounded on Alec.

“Look, I know you don’t believe any of that stuff I just told you and you’d be right not to. I just didn’t want to talk about why I’m really here in front of Magnus,”

“Alright, hit me. Why are you really here?”

“The Silent Brothers have a way to restore our parabatai bond,”

“What? Jace that’s not possible,”

“It is!” He insisted, “They can do it. If you come back to New York with me they can reconnect our bond,” Alec laughed humourlessly and stood up from the sofa, turning his back on Jace.

“Do you really think I would fall for that? I’m a traitor. My return to New York would lead to my imprisonment and nothing else. Why would they care about our parabatai bond now?”

“Because they want you back, you’re one of our best.” Alec turned around again, anguish in his features.

“Jace, I can’t go back.”

“So, you don’t want to fix our bond?” Jace yelled angrily.

“Of course I do!” Alec shouted back, just as heatedly, “And as much as I want to believe you about this, I can’t. There’s no way the Clave would take me back now,”

“Yes, they will, Alec. If you come back and pledge your loyalty, tell them that this has all been a big mistake – that you aren’t on the side of the warlocks…you can come back,”

“Don’t do this to me, Jace,” He was begging, he knew it, but how could his brother turn on his like this? And think he wouldn’t know about it?

“Do what? I just want you to come home,”

“Get out,”

“What?”

“Get out, now. I need you to leave,”

With something akin to genuine surprise, Jace rose and exited the tent. Alec felt a sob rise in his chest and tried to hold it down but failed. Before he knew it, tears were rolling down his cheeks and he crossed the tent and fell onto Magnus’ bed.

He hadn’t cried since he was a young child – probably only seven or eight years old – but this was all too much for him to take. His brother had turned against him, how was he supposed to deal with that?

*

Magnus heard the sniffling as soon as he stepped foot inside his tent.

“Alexander?” He called out, his worry increasing as followed the sounds to his bed. It was dark but he could just make out Alec shuffling around and pulling the blankets over his head.

He took a seat on the edge of the bed gingerly, not wanting to disturb Alec if he wasn’t welcome.

“Alec? Darling?” Reaching up to tug on the blankets, he recoiled when Alec pulled them tighter and shifted away from him. He could still hear Alec trying to muffle the noise of his crying.

“What’s wrong my love? What can I do?”

“I…I don’t want you to…to see me like this,” The words were quiet and muffled, but Magnus heard them anyway. Magnus stroked his hand across the blankets, where he assumed Alec’s back was.

“I won’t make you come out if you don’t want to. Do you want to talk about it?” The shifting of the blankets led Magnus to assume that was a very solid ‘no’.

“Do you want me to leave?” Another ‘no’.

“Make some room for me then,” Magnus snapped his fingers, changing himself into more comfortable attire and pulled up the covers, sliding in behind Alec and curling himself around the shadowhunter. Alec held his hand tightly but still refused to turn around to meet Magnus’ gaze.

Remember darling, whatever it is, we’re in this together. I’m here for you,” He pressed a kiss to the back of Alec’s neck and settled in to wait for whenever Alec was ready to talk.

Chapter Text

Alec hadn’t opened up to Magnus whilst they were in bed together, but Magnus didn’t hold that against him. He knew that Alec would talk to him when he was ready to do so.

Magnus had been called out of bed in the early hours of the morning to attend to business and begin making more plans towards the rescue of Tessa. He left Alec with a tight hug, a kiss, and a promise that he would get out of bed before too long instead of wallowing.

True to his word, Alec had dragged himself up and dressed in the most comfortable clothes that he could find in Magnus’ tent before heading out for some fresh air, hoping that he wasn’t going to run into the cause of his troubles.

As a matter of fact, trouble did run in to him, but in the form of a much smaller being. Alec had barely taken ten steps out of Magnus’ tent when Jasmine came barrelling into his legs.

“Mister Alec! What happened to Max?” Alec felt his heart sinking even further, if that was even possible. He knelt down to be at her level.

“I’m sorry, Jasmine. He had to go back and stay in New York.”

“But why? He said he’d be back.”

“I know, I’m sorry,” He repeated, “He didn’t have much choice.” He could see tears gathering in Jasmine’s eyes that she was bravely trying to hold back and he pulled her in for a hug. Her and Max had gotten along so well together, it was only natural to expect them to miss each other.

“Come on,” He stood back up, taking her hand in his, “Let’s go find something to do,”

Keeping Jasmine entertained would also be a good distraction for him, too. She clung to him as they walked through the camp towards the forests. Alec could just see Aline in the distance, training with a long branch in place of a staff.

The pink warlock liked Aline well enough so he figured they would be able to entertain each other.

They watched Aline go through the motions of her training until she came to decisive finish and dropped the stick down, wiping a few drops of sweat from her brow.

“What’s up, Lightwood?”

He shrugged, “We’ve found ourselves in need of some entertainment,”

Aline smirked, “Well you’ve come to the right woman. I was planning on running through some more drills, care to join me?”

“Can I?” Jasmine looked up at Alec hopefully. Alec hesitated, there was a chance that this could go horribly wrong, but he knew Aline would never hurt Jasmine, at least not intentionally anyway.

“Alright, why don’t you put Aline through her paces and I’ll watch from over there?” The girls happily agreed and Alec placed himself on the ground, leaning against a tree nearby to them. He couldn’t quite scrounge up the energy to play-fight with them too.

He watched absently as Jasmine threw low powered bolts of magic towards Aline for her to dodge. Nothing difficult, but the warlock was clearly enjoying herself if her ringing laughter was anything to go by.

Concentrating on them was proving difficult though. Alec just couldn’t stop his thoughts from drifting back to Jace and why his brother, his best friend, would choose to betray him like he had.

Admittedly, Alec knew he hadn’t been the best friend to Jace lately, but surely it wasn’t bad enough for Jace to want him locked up in Idris or even stripped of his runes? If Jace was working some kind of bigger plan, surely he would have just told him?

What must the Clave have promised him in order to get Jace to help them? He felt alarm rising inside him as he considered the possibility that they had threatened Izzy and Clary, but Jace would have mentioned that, surely?

Magnus had taken away the fairy ring, so Jace didn’t have his easy communication with the Clave, meaning it should have been safe to tell him anything.

Just why was Jace so intent on going through those different ridiculous stories that Alec was clearly never going to believe, when he could just be honest? Even if he straight up admitted that he wanted to take Alec back so he could be arrested, he would just rather know for sure.

Alec spent far too much time pondering over his worries.

*

Finally receiving a break from meetings with his warlocks, Magnus decided to seek out Jace.

He saw Jeremy sulking around outside of the meeting tent and tried politely asking him if he’d seen the blonde shadowhunter, but couldn’t get more than a glare out of him, so he chose not to bother fighting that battle and continue on.

He wouldn’t ask about what Jace had done to make Alec so upset – that would be for Alec to tell him when he was ready, but he needed to make it clear that if Jace’s line of behaviour continued then he would no longer be welcome in the camp at all.

Not spotting the blonde shadowhunter in the main areas of the camp, Magnus ventured out within the woods where he found Jace keeping up with his training by fighting with a tree. The shadowhunter had clearly been at it a while, if the amount of fallen branches and leaves around the tree were anything to go by. A few leaves had even found themselves stuck in Jace’s hair.

“Now, now. What did that poor tree ever do to you?” Jace ignored Magnus’ presence and continued his assault. When Magnus didn’t turn to leave, Jace sighed and halted in his activities, wiping his sleeve across his brow.

“What do you want, Magnus?”

“You must be denser than I thought if you don’t know the answer to that question.”

“Alec.”

“Of course,” The two stared at each other, trying to work out what might be going on in the other’s mind. Magnus was the first to break the silence. “I’m not sure if you know what sort of effect you’re having on Alexander right now, but you being here isn’t doing anything good.”

“Well either way, I’m stuck here.”

“Don’t be so sure. I could send you back to New York quicker than a heartbeat if I thought that would be best.”

“So why don’t you then?”

Magnus’ body heaved with a put-upon sigh, looking at Jace as if he were speaking to a child, “Because you are his parabatai. His brother. Someone who should always be counted upon to be there for him,”

“Not anymore!” Jace yelled, lashing out his arm to hit the tree again in anger, “Alec broke that bond!”

“You can’t forgive him for that? I thought Alec told you why he did it and that was behind you both.”

“All he told me was that he didn’t want me feeling his pain anymore. I needed to feel that, I needed to feel that he was okay. Without our bond I feel numb, something is missing all the time. Alec did that.”

“Our dear Alexander was certain that he was going to die. How much worse do you think it would have felt for you to feel that? Alec was thinking of you in every decision he made.”

Jace sagged, all the fight dropping out of him at the bluntness of Magnus’ statement. But he still shook his head.

“No…I needed it.”

Magnus shook his head sadly, it seemed no one was going to be able to get Alec’s decision through Jace’s head. Well, it was Jace’s mistake. Magnus felt he’d tried, for now there was nothing else that he could do.

Just as Magnus began to turn away, Jace spoke again.

“This is all your fault, you know.” Magnus waited for Jace to elaborate, “You were the one who kidnapped Alec, seduced him and took him away from me,” Jace faltered slightly and added, “From his family.”

“I can’t fault you for your first point, but really there wasn’t all that much seducing.” Jace rolled his eyes as if he didn’t believe Magnus at all, “And even if it wasn’t me, you must have known that Alexander would have met someone else eventually, just like you have Clarissa. Or did you think he’d stay alone forever just so he could cater to your every whim?”

Jace let out a sigh and lent back against the tree he had been attacking before, “Don’t be ridiculous, Alec’s great, he’d never stay alone forever. He would have found a good guy. A shadowhunter.”

Magnus looked down a little uncomfortably. He wasn’t blind to the fact that Alec would be much better off if he was dating a shadowhunter instead. His whole life wouldn’t have been torn apart and he wouldn’t be a traitor to his people.

But Magnus was just selfish enough to not care about that. He wanted Alec, loved Alec, and he planned to keep him for as long as he could. Until Alec decided to leave him.

“Look, I know that due to the circumstances between our two races, I’m most certainly not the best option for Alec, but he has made his choice. If Alec chose to leave here, leave me, I wouldn’t stop him if that was what he wanted. I only want what’s best for him.”

“And you think what’s best for him is being away from his family? Being stuck here with our enemies?”

Magnus smiled sadly, “No. Why do you think I had to get rid of Nathaniel and become the leader of the warlocks? My plans were going to take too long. I want to stop this war so that Alec can go home, see his family without trouble. And perhaps get to stay with me as well.”

Jace clenched his teeth, as if there was something he was desperately trying to stop himself from yelling out. Magnus waited patiently for Jace to calm himself down, even though he was a little confused as to what had actually set off the shadowhunters’ anger.

As Jace began to visibly relax, what he said instead was, “I just can’t understand why you had to pick Alec.”

“It wasn’t a matter of ‘picking’, surely you know that. A shadowhunter certainly would not have been my first choice, if I had had one. But I don’t regret it and I don’t want to change anything. I love Alec and I would do anything for him.”

Jace didn’t seem to have a rebuttal to that, the two men engaged in an odd kind of standoff.

“I’m sorry, Magnus, but I can’t be okay with Alec dating a warlock. I just can’t,”

*

After enquiring around a little, and after leaving Jace to stew in his own thoughts and unwilling to fight with him on the matter further, Magnus located Alec within Aline’s tent. He stepped inside once he heard the female Shadowhunter call out, permitting his entrance.

He had to pause and a pleased shock of breath came out of him once he took in the scene in front of him.

Alec was sat on the floor leaning back against a chair as Jasmine weaved flowers through his hair and Aline knelt beside him, painting his nails.

“Well isn’t this a lovely scene,” Magnus observed, once he had gotten over his initial surprise, “I’m offended that none of you thought to invite me earlier! Alec, you could use some make up to add to your new look,”

Alec made to look over at Magnus and probably argue with him in some way, but was immediately chastised by both girls ordering him to stay still, so he had to settle for a glare.

Magnus suppressed a small chuckle and moved to sit down opposite them, watching with no small amount of glee.

“What do you say, Alec? Some eyeliner, perhaps?” Aline considered, after a few moments.

The scowl that appeared on his face didn’t match the beautiful exterior that was being applied to him.

“I’d rather you didn’t,”

“My dear ladies, do tell how you managed to get him to agree to this in the first place?”

“It was quite simple really,” Aline began.

“Mister Alec can’t say no when I ask nicely!” Jasmine finished with a giggle and Magnus couldn’t stop the burst of laughter escaping him if he tried.

Sure, Alec looked a little defeated by the whole situation, but not nearly as upset as he had been that morning and something about how he was so willing to let the girls do what they wanted made Magnus smile fondly.

“Alright, I think we’re about done!” Aline announced proudly, “Jaz, can you help me out here?”

With a wave of the young warlock’s hand, the nail varnish was perfectly dry. The girls pushed Alec up so that Magnus could appraise him properly.

“We did good, right?”

“Indeed, you did ladies. You look wonderful my dear Alexander,” Magnus quickly slipped his phone out of his pocket and took a picture, perfectly capturing the unimpressed look Alec was sending his way.

Jasmine threw her arms around Alec’s middle, staring up at him happily, “Thanks for letting us play Mr. Alec!”

Alec couldn’t stop himself from smiling back if he’d tried at that moment. No matter how much he hated it, he would do just about anything to keep Jasmine happy.

“No problem, but uh…let’s not make this too regular a thing okay?” Jasmine giggled and began cheerfully skipping around the room.

*

“Are you sure you’re okay with this?” Izzy asked, as she brushed out her hair.

“Of course, as if I wouldn’t be right there with you throughout all of this,”

“I’m just so sorry you’ve been dragged into all of my family drama. None of this is your problem,”

“It is though, you, Jace-” Clary’s voice cracked slightly as she said his name, “and Alec, you’re all my family just as much as my mom and Luke are.”

Izzy dropped her hairbrush onto her bed and moved to place a hand on Clary’s arm, smiling at her.

“I appreciate everything you’re doing to help. I just hope you don’t get completely dragged down, too.”

“Iz, everything is going to be fine, okay? We’re gonna do this.” Clary took Izzy’s hand in hers as further reassurance and squeezed gently.

The moment broke as a knock sounded at the front door to the Lightwood house and the two of them jerked their heads towards the sound.

“It’s time,” Clary just nodded. Together, they moved through the house and towards the kitchen, where two shadowhunter guards filed in, bringing in food for them.

“Hi,” Izzy greeted them with her widest smile and an extra sway in her steps. She didn’t miss how both men appraised her – she’d worn her lowest cut top for that very reason. She didn’t really know who they were, but that didn’t matter to her. They would serve their purpose regardless.

Leaning herself up against a counter, she flipped her hair casually, keeping their attention.

“How are you boys doing today?”

“Just fine, Miss Lightwood,” One of the two answered amicably.

“Can I interest you two fine gentlemen in a drink?” Izzy didn’t bother to wait for a response, turning to open the refrigerator, and bending over to reach in and pull out a bottle.

As expected, when she turned around both shadowhunters had their gazes fixed firmly lower down, hastily looking back up at her face. She bit her lip in a coy expression and poured the drink between two cups, then sliding them across the counter surface.

The men glanced at each other briefly, but didn’t seem to find a problem with the situation. They drank deeply and left the cups back on the surface.

“We should be going now,”

“Of course, let me see you out,” Izzy worked herself between them and linked their arms together, subtly leading them back towards the door.

“Bye now!” She waved and shut the door as soon as they were a few paces away, her smile dropping as she turned to look back at Clary.

Clary smirked and held up her hand. She was holding two steles.

“We don’t have much time before they notice they’re gone,” Clary nodded and with purpose the two girls ran up the flights of stairs until they reached the attic, where Izzy used the stolen stele to open a secret panel.

Lines of blades and other weapons were revealed, which they began to search through finding what they wanted.

“So where are we headed once we manage to get out of here?” Clary asked as she attached a blade to her belt.

“We’ll head for Brocelind Forest, once there’s enough space between us and anyone who could be following us I’ll send a fire message to Alec and he can get one of the warlocks to make a portal for us.”

“We’re sure Alec is gonna help us get out of here?”

“Definitely, if I tell him I’m in trouble he’ll do whatever he can. We’re family.”

“Okay. Just before we go, you know I’m one hundred percent behind you with this plan, but are you completely sure that we wouldn’t be more useful to him here? We could try to keep an eye on what the Clave is planning.”

“No, we’ll never be able to learn enough anyway. At least we’ll be there to look out for Alec and see what we can do to keep Jace in line. I’m worried about what he might be doing.”

“You’re right.”

Helping themselves to as much as they could carry without it being too much of a burden, they were finally ready to go.

Just before Izzy began to open the window, she turned back to Clary, “Look, doing this…I’m going to be with Alec. The Clave are probably going to name me a traitor as well. You don’t have to do this with me.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it as many times as I need to. You’re my family and I’m with you the whole way.”

The two girls hugged tightly before separating and Izzy broke open the window, ready for them to climb out onto the roof.

All they needed to do was sneak out of Idris without being noticed. Izzy felt her heartbeat increasing in excitement, it was going to be so much fun.

*

“Alexander, darling, may I speak with you for a moment? Privately?” Alec looked over to Magnus quizzically.

“Is everything all right?”

“Of course,” Alec frowned at Magnus’ lack of elaboration, but figured that perhaps it was too important to talk about in front of Aline and Jasmine.

“Come on Jasmine, let’s take you back to your mother,”

“Okay mister Alec!” He took her outstretched hand.

“Magnus, meet me back in the tent?” Magnus inclined his head in agreement and Alec gently tugged Jasmine from the tent and towards her own.

He was surprised to find Morgan outside, making some changes to the outside of the tent’s appearance. She straightened when she noticed Alec and Jasmine’s approach.

“Mom!” Jasmine called out and let go of Alec’s hand to run and hug her mother.

Alec could just make out Morgan asking if her daughter had had a nice time and talking about how Alec let her braid his hair with flowers, which he belatedly realized were still there.

Well. That explained why he’d gotten a few more stares than usual from other warlocks. He wasn’t that embarrassed about it though, he stood out enough anyway. A few flowers weren’t going to change anything or make it worse.

Just as Alec made to change his direction and head for the tent he shared with Magnus,

“Alec,” Morgan called out, making Alec freeze in his movements. It was the first time that she had ever truly spoken to him.

“Yes?” Morgan shooed her daughter inside of the tent and came closer to face Alec with an unreadable expression on her face.

Alec was left feeling uncomfortable and like he was being severely scrutinised in the moments before she spoke.

“I wanted to apologise. I’ve never been fair to you and although I’ve trusted you not to hurt Jasmine, I never truly trusted you. I can see now that I wrong to behave as I did to you. Your behaviour with Jasmine has been proof of your character, if nothing else.”

Stunned, all Alec could do was stare.

“You don’t need to apologise for anything.”

“Regardless, I’m sorry. I know you would never hurt my daughter and I can see how you care for Magnus. You have a good soul, Alec Lightwood.”

He was sure his face was beginning to burn red with embarrassment.

“Uh…thank you?”

“You’re welcome,” Morgan told him, before retreating inside the tent.

Alec stayed stood where he was for what was probably several minutes, trying to work through what had just happened in his head. He was confused about where it had come from, although he was anything but upset.

It felt strangely good to be openly accepted by another warlock in the camp. Especially considering how close he was with Jasmine.

Eventually he managed to shake himself out of his mini stupor and returned to his tent to find Magnus, kissing him chastely in greeting.

Magnus looked at him affectionately, especially as Alec began trying to remove the flowers from his hair, but failing slightly as he couldn’t see them.

“Sit down, my love.” Magnus told him gently and guided him down into one of the comfortable arm chairs. He knocked Alec’s hands out of the way and began slowly removing the flowers, making sure not to pull too hard at Alec’s hair.

Alec closed his eyes and relaxed into the feeling of his boyfriend’s fingers carding through his hair.

Once Magnus was done, he kissed Alec’s forehead and snapped his fingers to remove all remains of the flowers and took a seat opposite to Alec.

“So, what’s the problem?” Alec started with a small sigh, knowing that his relaxed state probably wasn’t going to last long.

“We’re getting a group together ready to rescue Tessa. We move tomorrow evening.”

“That’s…that’s great. I’m glad you’ve found her.”

“Yes, and we need to get her back sooner rather than later. I would not have her in the hands of people who consider her the enemy for any longer than required.” Magnus considered Alec carefully and made sure he had his full attention.

“I would like to ask you to join us,” Noticing Alec’s immediate hesitation, Magnus raised his hands slightly in defence, “Darling you can say no. I understand what the implications of you joining us would mean for you. I won’t think any less of you if you choose not to accompany us.”

“How would I be able to help?”

“You might be able to identify the shadowhunters that we are less familiar with. It might help us figure out who has really been holding Tessa, if the Circle really is rising again or if the Clave has been lying to us.”

“I would be working directly against my people. I don’t know if I can, Magnus.”

“It’s all right, think on it. You have time to decide.”

Alec was already branded as a traitor. He knew that, no matter what Jace said. He was never going to be allowed home without being stripped of his runes, or worse.

So, did it matter if he joined the warlocks? Helping them would help end the war sooner, he was sure. But…could he do it?

What if he saw someone that he knew? Would he be able to fight them if he had to?

Sure, he’d fought Jace before, but that was to protect himself and Magnus.

Alec felt conflicted, different thoughts and reasonings tearing his insides apart.

He understood why Magnus had asked, he could be a help and they’d agreed that they were both in this together.

His body felt coiled tight as he thought everything over.

Just what should he do?

Would Magnus feel differently about him if he didn’t go? He said he wouldn’t, but…was it true? What if Magnus started to think Alec wasn’t good enough?

And he’d just been accepted by Morgan, finally being included by more warlocks. Would he lose that if he didn’t help?

He really wished he could go to Jace. He needed someone he could talk to who would just listen to his concerns and not try to push him either way, but give advice.

Sure, Magnus could do that, but Alec didn’t want to put him in that position.

The next day flew by too quickly for Alec’s liking and really, he couldn’t have even told anyone what he had done. He had vague memories of going to bed with Magnus, waking up and speaking with Aline and Jeremy, sparring with them too.

But it all had a foggy haze around it as he tried to decide what it was he should do.

If the Clave didn’t orchestrate it, then he needed to be there to see who was heading up the probable rise of the Circle.

“Alexander, we’re leaving now. Are you joining us?”

Chapter Text

“Are you joining us?”

The words echoed around in Alec’s head. This was it. He’d waited until the last possible moment, but now he had to tell Magnus what he’d decided.

If he was really honest with himself, he knew that he’d made his decision hours ago. But he was so conflicted about all of this, he was sure taking more time to think about it was better.

“Magnus,” He started, trying to stay strong in his choice, “I…I can’t. I’m so sorry, but I can’t.”

There were people busy all around them, making the last-minute preparations, checking their weapons, and talking to friends, but Alec wasn’t aware of any of that. He was in his own little bubble, only seeing Magnus and watching his lover’s face for his reaction.

His biggest fear in that moment was that Magnus would turn from him. Or think differently of him because he was refusing to help. Did it make him seem like a coward?

He watched as Magnus’ carefully constructed blank expression slowly turned fond, and into a small smile. The warlock, sensing Alec’s vulnerability, came closer to him and reached out to hold his hands within his own.

“It’s all right, Alexander. I would never force you into this. I understand.”

Alec felt a huge pressure lifting from his chest and he squeezed Magnus’ hands tightly, showing his gratitude.

“You really don’t mind?” Alec asked quietly, Magnus was only just able to hear him over the sounds of their surroundings.

Magnus tugged a hand from Alec’s grip and lifted it to Alec’s face, gently guiding and making sure Alec could see into his eyes.

“I need you to understand that I will never think differently of you. I love you, Alexander. Nothing about this situation is going to change that, I promise.”

Alec let out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding.

“I love you, too.”

They kissed then, chastely but still managing to pour their emotions into it. Alec rested his forehead against Magnus’.

“Please promise you won’t get hurt. Be careful, I need you to come back. I don’t know what-” Alec forced himself not to finish that sentence. It wasn’t something that he wanted to think about.

“Hey – don’t think that way. I’ll always come back to you.”

Alec leant back in for another kiss, clearly sensing the depth of Magnus’ feelings for him. The kiss was less brief this time, their tongues twisting together, their bodies pulled close until there was scarcely space between them.

Magnus’ arms wrapped themselves around Alec’s neck, one hand gripping into his hair and Alec’s arms slipped around Magnus’ waist, holding him impossibly closer.

It wasn’t a goodbye kiss, Alec told himself. It was a ‘be careful’, ‘I love you’, and ‘please be safe’ all rolled into one.

Magnus probably should have cared that he was surrounded by the people that he was supposed to lead, care that he was being incredibly unprofessional, but he didn’t.

He didn’t care at all. Alec was just as important to him as they were, if not more, and if they couldn’t handle seeing that he loved Alec, then that was their problem not his.

They only broke apart, both panting a little heavily, when they heard someone clearing their throat close by.

The couple stared at each other for a few seconds longer before reality came rushing back and they took a step away, although they remained holding hands.

Malcom Fade was there beside them, looking very amused. Thankfully he refrained from commenting and focused his attention on Magnus.

“It’s time. We need to go now to meet with the others,”

Magnus nodded, “Of course. I’ll see you later, darling.” He directed the last at Alec. They smiled at each other and then Magnus began walking away, falling into step with Malcom who immediately drew him into a conversation.

Alec startled slightly as he felt a hand come up to his shoulder and he berated himself internally for being so wrapped up in Magnus that he wasn’t paying attention to anything else. Glancing over, he saw Catarina.

“He’s going to be fine. Magnus is tough.”

Alec snorted a laugh. ‘Tough’ almost seemed an understatement for Magnus. He was so much more.

“He’ll come back and he’ll have Tessa. You’ll see.” Catarina continued to comfort him.

“Yeah…I know.” He smiled at her gratefully, but wished he didn’t have such a bad feeling building in his gut.

*

Izzy took a quick second to feel relieved as they passed through the wards surrounding the shadowhunter city and they hadn’t attracted any attention. It seemed that their guards were still unaware of their escape.

Good.

That gave them time to cover more ground without being too concerned.

It wasn’t like Izzy felt they could slack, but at least it was a small relief. She wasn’t quite sure how they might have made it to the forest if they were being trailed so soon.

They had such a long way to go and neither of them bothered to suggest taking a break. They needed to soldier through or else they’d probably end up being thrown into a cell in the Silent City.

Both panting slightly from exertion, they reached the top of a hill and paused, finally able to see the forest in the distance. It looked menacing and dark even from where they stood.

“Do you know much about the forest?” Clary asked.

“No. Only the bad things. My mom used to tell me that feral werewolf packs make their homes there.”

Clary raised a brow in slight incredulity, “And that’s where we’re going? Wouldn’t it be better to just – I don’t know, send Alec a message now?”

Izzy looked behind them, staring pensively back at the city. She was kind of impressed by how far they’d managed to travel.

“No. We can’t risk it. We don’t know how long it will take Alec to get a portal for us, if we stay somewhere out in the open like this it will be too easy for other shadowhunters to find us.”

Clary nodded, reluctantly agreeing with Izzy’s logic.

“Well then we’d better keep going. Looks like we’re going to have to trek through the night if we’re ever going to make it there.”

With no more words, they began a brisk hike down the other side of the hill.

*

Alec sat in his tent curled up on the sofa, clutching a book that he could barely pretend to pay attention to. He was almost relieved when a knock sounded from outside.

“Come in,” He called out. As was Alec’s luck lately, his relief turned into tension as Jace appeared in the doorway.

“Hey Alec.”

“Jace.” For a while they just stared at each other, too aware of the chasm that had appeared between them. It made Alec sad that the boy he had once held such high esteem for now seemed a stranger.

“So, uh, what’s going on with all the warlocks? I saw a bunch of them leaving.”

Jace awkwardly wandered around the room, trying his best to avoid looking at Alec before sitting down without waiting for an invitation to do so.

Alec shrugged, trying his best to look unconcerned, “Nothing important.”

“You expect me to believe that? At least thirty of them left and they were armed.”

“Nothing important that you need to know about,” Alec rephrased. Jace’s jaw contracted and Alec could see how his ex-parabatai was trying to control himself.

“Okay, fine. I guess I really don’t need to know.” There was an overly awkward silence which Alec wasn’t inclined to break before Jace spoke again. “Look – I’m really sorry, okay? I’m sorry about everything, I’m sorry things have been weird between us since I came back here. I just want my parabatai back. I’m worried about you and I don’t want anything bad to happen to you…or for that warlock of yours to go breaking your heart.”

“Jace-” The blonde interrupted rapidly before Alec could argue.

“You may think that’s a stupid thing for me to say now but Bane is what, your first relationship ever? How can you be so sure about him?”

“I don’t now Jace, I just am. I trust him.”

“What if he’s just using you? Or what if he gets bored and leaves you?”

“Isn’t that the risk that everyone takes? Haven’t you taken that risk with Clary? What if she leaves you?”

“Clary isn’t a warlock.”

The two regarded each other carefully and Alec’s voice was like stone in his response, “I don’t see what difference that makes. People have relationships, they get their hearts broken. Everyone. It doesn’t matter what race they are. If Magnus chooses to leave me then that’s his choice and I will deal with the consequences, I made my decision when I chose him.”

Alec stood and moved to hold open the doorway, “Please leave.”

Jace looked conflicted, and a little hurt but eventually decided not to push Alec any further.

Outside of the tent, Jace took a deep breath trying to steady himself, not sure how long he could keep himself together. As he tried to clear his head, he noticed Jeremy wandering around attempting not to attract any attention to himself. Well, if that wasn’t suspicious then Jace didn’t know the meaning of the word.

*

As Magnus appeared on the other side of the portal he was instantly to business as he found Luke and Raphael waiting for him.

“Magnus, right on time.” Luke greeted, Magnus nodded in acknowledgement.

“How’s everything looking?”

“The vampires and werewolves are in position, just waiting on your warlocks.” Raphael told him.

“Wonderful, my people know what they need to do. I can’t thank you enough for coming to our aid in retrieving Tessa.”

“Well, it’s about time we banded together to start sorting this mess of a war out.”

“Still, I know neither of you wanted to involve your people. So, thank you.”

A fire message flashed into existence in front of Magnus, signalling that his people were ready. He quickly folded it away and into a pocket on the inside of his jacket.

“Well then, are we ready to begin?”

Luke and Raphael moved out together, leaving Magnus behind. The vampires and the wolves had agreed to move onto the boat against the circle members first, in the hopes that they could destroy the anti-magic devices, when the warlocks would join them.

Considering that this was the first time in hundreds of years that the whole of the downworld were working together, Magnus was a little surprised that it was this ambitious. But then, if their alliance really was going to work out they needed some way to help each other and this situation was as good as any to test it out.

And it went exactly to that plan.

The shadowhunters hadn’t been expecting the ambush and Magnus felt the locks on his magic snap and it was able to seep past the invisible barriers within minutes of the vampires and werewolves boarding the ship.

He sent a spark up into the sky – a signal for the warlocks to begin their own assault.

They needed to be quick – they’d done their research well and knew exactly how many shadowhunters were on the ship at any given time, and it wouldn’t be to their advantage if one of them managed to get the word out and call more shadowhunters for back up.

As is was, the downworld had sheer overwhelming numbers which was working in their favour.

Their ultimate goal also was not to kill the shadowhunters unless absolutely necessary.

They should, but Magnus, Luke and Raphael had come to the decision that it wasn’t the right time or place for that when they were still trying to gain as much information as they could.

Magnus only had one job and that was to locate Tessa. He trusted the others to keep the shadowhunters busy whilst he did so. He was also hoping that he – or anyone else, really – might find some proof as to whether it really was the circle who were working outside of the boundaries of the clave.

Slipping stealthily into the bowels of the ship, which was definitely bigger than Magnus had expected, he began using his magic to track down any of Tessa’s magical signature. There were few shadowhunters beneath the decks still and it took Magnus barely any effort to blast them out of his way.

*

Jeremy had been careful. He’d bided his time and skulked around enough that no one paid him that much attention.

It was finally time for him to start moving plans forward. He glanced around once more, satisfied that no one was looking at him and he snuck inside of the tent that doubled as Magnus Bane’s office.

There must be something in there for him to find. Something that would give the warlocks and their real agenda away.

He had just flicked through some papers left haphazardly on the desk and was attempting to open the drawers when he noticed someone in the doorway.

Jeremy stood tall, trying not to show how his heart was racing or how he had been caught in a place he really had no place being.

“What are you doing?” Jace asked.

Jeremy shrugged, relaxing when he recognized the other shadowhunter. This one was fighting with Alec and if nothing else they were close to the same side since Jace was clearly not a fan of the warlocks either.

“I want to find out what the warlocks are really up to.” Jeremy didn’t see the need to lie to Jace. Even if it backfired later he could deny everything. It would be their words against each other. “I thought I’d take advantage of so many of them being gone.”

“Do you know why they left?”

“No, that’s part of what I want to find out.”

“Do you really think it’s wise to be snooping around in here? If I caught you here this easily then someone else could.”

Jeremy shrugged again, still unconcerned, “If you were going to rat me out to the warlocks you would have done it already instead of coming in here quietly.”

“Or I could be planning on keeping you here until they get back.” Jeremy was barely able to contain the urge to roll his eyes.

“I don’t buy your bullshit, Wayland. I’ve seen you with your so-called ‘brother’ and I know exactly why you’re really here in this camp.”

“Oh? Why’s that?”

“You want Alec out of here. To be free from the influence of these warlocks or to pay for his treason I’m not sure, but either way you want to get out. We should be working together.”

“I’m still a little unclear about what it is that you want.” Jace answered, pointedly not answering whether or not Jeremy’s assumption about his intentions were correct.

“First – to get Alec back in the hands of the Clave. Second – figure out how to bring the warlocks down from the inside.”

“I see. Nothing difficult then.”

“That’s why we should be working together. What do you say?”

Jace smirked at him.

*

It wasn’t difficult to pick up Tessa’s location, the few shadowhunters trying to slow him down were no more than flies to swat away.

Outside the room she was being held there were three guards with their seraph blades out ready and all pointed towards Magnus.

He threw a small magical charge ahead, catching one of them between his ribs and causing enough momentum for the shadowhunter to fall. He was powering up a second charge when a hit to the side of his head caused him to stumble.

A fourth shadowhunter had appeared from somewhere behind him unseen. Magnus could feel a small trickle of blood but didn’t focus on it. He’d been through worse.

Spinning around he blocked the Shadowhunter’s second swing and punched him square in the jaw, using his magic to amplify the blow, feeling a sense of satisfaction when the man was thrown back down the long corridor.

Without missing a beat, Magnus whirled back around, a magical charge ready to throw out but found that he didn’t need it.

At that precise moment, the door closest to them exploded from its hinges and even Magnus flinched at the showing of power. The two remaining shadowhunters had been knocked out from the blast.

As the magic dissipated, Magnus found himself smiling at the smaller woman stood in the doorway.

“Well, it’s about time!” Tessa exclaimed. She was shaking out her arms, clearly over the moon to be able to access her magic again.

She reached out for Magnus and the two of them held on to each other as they raced back out of the ship, words not needing to be spoken between them until they were back in the safety of the camp.

Back on deck, it seemed that most of the shadowhunters had been incapacitated and Magnus sent up more sparks, letting everyone know that it was time for them to get out of there.

Magnus and two other warlocks each opened up a separate portal, one for each race of the downworld, just on the edge of the ship. He, Luke, and Raphael watched over their people as they disappeared through the gateways, trying to keep everyone moving as fast but as orderly as they could.

“Go!” Magnus shouted as the last of their people jumped through. Luke and Raphael inclined their heads and followed their people, the portals shutting almost immediately behind them.

As soon as Magnus was sure that there was no one left, he moved to follow through the last portal but grunted and floundered slightly as a blade pierced through his back, embedding itself deeply into his body.

Doing his best to keep from falling, Magnus looked around and through a blurry haze of pain, made eye contact with a shadowhunter on the deck above.

It was a shadowhunter that Magnus clearly recognized. Robert Lightwood. Magnus could see the hatred burning in the man’s features.

Magnus’ eyes began to slip closed from the pain and he toppled backwards towards the portal, his last thought as he fell through was ‘Alexander’.

Chapter Text

Alec paced restlessly around his tent as he waited impatiently for the warlocks, and more importantly, Magnus, to return.

Aline sat watching him, her eyes travelling back and forth.

“You have to calm down.” She said at last, but Alec just shook his head.

“I can’t.”

“Why? What are they doing that’s so important? Why didn’t you just go with him?”

“You know I can’t tell you that.” Aline sighed and leant forward resting her elbows on her knees, her hands clasped together.

“Fine, I get that. But you’re still a shadowhunter, keep your head and trust that Bane can look after himself.”

Alec let out a deep breath and ceased his pacing to sink down into a chair opposite Aline, rubbing his hands over his face.

“I’ve never felt this way before,” Alec admitted, “I don’t know where these feelings are coming from or what to do with them.”

Aline smiled at him in understanding, “First time for everything, huh? I assume that he’s doing something dangerous, so you just need to trust that he’s doing everything he can to get back to you. It’s clear as day to everyone how he feels about you.”

As Alec opened his mouth to reply, a fire message burned into existence before him. He grabbed it out of the air.

“It’s from Izzy.” He told Aline, although he didn’t have time to read more than the first few words before an unnatural wind began pounding throughout the tent. The two shadowhunters were instantly on alert, weaponless but still prepared to defend themselves if necessary.

Loose papers scattered around the room and vases smashed on the ground.

A portal opened and Alec and Aline glanced at each other nervously as they waited for whatever was going to come through. Whatever it was, they could handle it.

Neither of them expected it to be Magnus.

Alec felt his heart stop in his chest as he dashed forwards to catch Magnus as he fell.

“Magnus? What-”

“Alexander.” Magnus coughed and lifted his hand to grip on to the collar of Alec’s shirt as tightly as he could, blood smearing across the fabric, his head drooping as he passed out.

Alec was at a loss. His brain wouldn’t seem to kick into gear, staring down at Magnus in his arms not being able to comprehend what was going on. How Magnus had been hurt that badly and ended up there with him.

Not even the portal closing and ceasing the wind around the tent snapped him out of it. What would he do if he lost Magnus now? He couldn’t. He finally noticed the knife among all the blood and his hand wrapped around it. In the back of his mind, he knew that he shouldn’t pull it out, but he just couldn’t stop looking at it, his brain refusing to process how it could have gotten there.

“Lightwood!” Aline shouted, finally snapping him to attention. “Get your head on straight! What are you waiting for – get him to help!”

*

Alec crashed out of the tent, cradling Magnus in his arms and holding his head firmly against his shoulder. He barely even registered the shock and murmurs coming from the people around him outside, he could only focus on needing to find Cat.

Where would she be?

Making his choice, he darted off in the direction of her tent, praying with all he had to the Angels that she was there.

She wasn’t.

But before he could do more than groan in frustration, he heard someone calling out to him. His heart soared when he turned and saw Caterina jogging in his direction. Someone else must have told her what happened.

“To the infirmary,” She stated plainly and together began to hurry in that direction.

Even inside, with Magnus lowered into a bed Alec couldn’t calm his heavy beating heart. He didn’t want to let Magnus out of his sight. He could barely hear Catarina’s demands for him to leave. He wasn’t even aware that Aline had followed them until her hands were circling his upper arms and pulling him from the room.

The door closed behind him and Aline’s hands gripped tighter as he made to go back through.

“Alec, come on. Let Catarina do what she does best. Magnus is in good hands.”

Knowing that she was right, Alec detached himself from her grip and thudded back against the wall, sliding down until he had the support of the ground beneath him. He dropped his head into his hands, unable to assuage the guilt eating at him. If he’d just been there! He could have protected Magnus better.

What on earth had he been thinking staying behind? He was a machine built to fight. Protecting people was his whole life, how had he failed with someone he loved so much?

He heard a door creaking somewhere down the hall but he didn’t bother to look up until a figure came to a stop before him.

Jace.

They shared a small moment of uncertainty after everything that had passed between them recently, but all that fell apart beneath the bond they had always shared deep down. Without needing to say anything, Jace dropped down beside Alec, wrapping his arms around him in a quiet gesture of support which Alec fell into gratefully.

With Aline leaning against the wall on the other side him, he was happy to not feel alone.

After what felt like hours had passed, but what must have really been less than an hour, Catarina came out of the room, giving Alec a weak smile.

“How is he?” Alec was proud his voice didn’t shake as much as it was threatening to.

“He’ll be fine, he just needs some rest.”

“Can I see him?” Catarina nodded and pushed the door further open, gesturing that he could go through. Jace squeezed Alec’s arm in a last show of support as he got up and slipped past her.

*

Magnus was sitting up in the bed and Alec perched on the edge of the bed next to him. Magnus had clearly been healed, but he was still covered in blood, and he smiled sheepishly at Alec.

“I’m sorry, Alexander. I didn’t mean to drop in on you quite like that,”

“You’re sorry? What for?”

“I’m sure I scared you, Cat told me-” Alec cut him off by leaning in for a brief and gentle kiss, cupping Magnus’ face in his hand.

“It’s my fault. I should have gone with you.”

“Then it could have been you getting hurt, I wouldn’t have wanted that.”

“Or I could have kept you safe,”

Magnus pressed another kiss to Alec’s mouth, “Let’s not worry about what ifs. We got Tessa back, and that’s what’s important.”

“I’m glad she’s back.” Alec felt another brief flicker of guilt for not wondering about Tessa, but it didn’t last long as he was still so concerned about Magnus.

Magnus scooted over a little closer to the edge and patted the empty space in the bed, offering it to Alec, who took it without hesitation. They snuggled down together, Alec being mindful to avoid Magnus’ shoulder.

*

Verging on exhaustion, Clary tripped over an unnoticed tree root, only avoiding hitting the floor as Izzy’s quick reactions managed to steady her. Clary huffed in frustration.

“We need to rest.” Izzy eyed their surroundings warily; she knew Clary was right but wasn’t sure staying in one place for too long was a very good idea when wolves could jump out at any moment. Just because they hadn’t seen any so far didn’t mean there weren’t any just around the figurative corner.

“Alright,” She agreed, “But not for long. I hear water somewhere close, let’s try to find it, we might be able to drink before moving on.”

“Good plan,”

It didn’t take them long to find a small stream running through the forest, the water crystal clear. Feeling as dehydrated as they were, the two of them drank their fill before sitting down on a couple of fallen logs, their weapons kept within easy reach.

Now that they’d stopped, they found a few doubts beginning to creep up on them.

“So, Alec would definitely have got your fire message, right?” Clary asked carefully.

They had been hiding out in the Brocelind Forest for a few hours already and Izzy had sent the message to Alec almost as soon as they’d arrived. Why hadn’t they heard from him yet? Couldn’t he find them? Was he choosing to ignore them? What would they do if he never showed up?

“He must have, the message would have gone directly to him,” Izzy needed to stay confident. Alec wouldn’t abandon her like this.

“So, where is he? Do you think they’re having trouble finding us? This place is pretty big, after all.”

Izzy hesitated. She hadn’t really considered the possibility that Magnus wouldn’t be able to use his magic to find them somehow if Alec couldn’t use his shadowhunter tracking.

“Maybe? Magnus should have some way to be able to find us though.” Clary was less confident.

“I really hope so, but if not, I’m not sure what we’re going to be able to do, Iz. This place is really starting to creep me out, I feel like we’re being watched all the time.”

“I feel it, too.”

“I think we need to consider what we should do if we don’t hear anything from Alec soon.”

Izzy sighed and bit her lip, her gaze moving away to the trees. That wasn’t something she wanted to consider. With the exception of him getting kidnapped by warlocks, her brother had never let her down and was always there for her when she needed him.

“Do you think…do you think Jace could be stopping Alec from coming?”

“Jace?” Clary questioned, “I know he’s been an asshole recently, but why would he want to stop Alec?”

“Because he knows we know why he’s really in the camp. He could be worried that we’ll out him to Alec.”

“That’s assuming Alec doesn’t already know, he would be clever enough to figure it out.”

“But he’s always had a blind spot when it comes to Jace. Alec got in so much trouble following after Jace when we were young, because in his eyes Jace could do nothing wrong,” She smiled as she recalled the memories of the trouble they used to cause.

“I still don’t understand why Jace did it. It’s his parabatai, there’s got to be more to why he chose to betray him.”

“I don’t get it either. We’ll get to have some fun asking him when Alec finally finds us.”

“But if he doesn’t?” Clary asked, pulling the conversation back around to what they should do if Alec wasn’t actually able to help them.

As both were low on ideas, they trailed off into silence working through their own thoughts.

Without warning, a branch snapping in their immediate vicinity caught their attention and set them immediately on edge.

“Did you hear that?” More branches began to snap and the sound of heavy breathing reached them. Standing up, Izzy turned to see a snarling wolf creeping towards them. It didn’t seem like it was the only one.

Taking Clary’s arm, Izzy began to back away, “Run!”

*
Alec and Magnus were dozing as comfortably as they could in the hospital bed, Alec fingers tracing lazily over Magnus’ stomach.

“Magnus?” Alec whispered.

“Mm?”

“I…I really love you; you know?”

“Of course, Alexander. And I, you.”

“So, I really know what I would do now if I lost you. I can’t let that happen.”

“It won’t happen.” Alec shifted so he could sit up and look Magnus in the eyes, his hand pressing down a little firmer against Magnus’ stomach.

“We don’t know that. But I’m not going to stay behind anymore, Magnus. Whatever you choose to do, I’m going to be there with you. Even if you move against the shadowhunters, I need to be able to keep you safe.”

“Alex-”

“No. I’m a shadowhunter, I’ve been trained to fight and to protect since I was born. Since I’ve been here, I’ve been forgetting that. When was the last time I used my abilities? When was the last time I even activated a rune? I’ve been lazy, and I won’t anymore.”

Understanding that saying anything wouldn’t really make a difference, Magnus smiled and cupped a hand around Alec’s cheek.

“I love you,” Magnus repeated and leant in to peck Alec once on the mouth.

Alec groaned, too many pent-up emotions boiling up at once, and pressed in harder feeling for himself that Magnus really was okay and, at least right now, he wasn’t going to lose him.

Their bodies aligned together, Alec’s on top of Magnus resting his elbows on the bed to stop his whole weight from baring down. Magnus’ arms wrapped around him, having no complaints about the turn of events. He would never get enough of feeling his shadowhunter above him.

A sharp knock and the door banging open put a quick stop to their activities.

“Aline!” Alec exclaimed, pushing himself up.

“Ah! I’m sorry!” She closed her eyes and looked away for a moment until she heard Alec stand up.

“What is it?”

“I’m sorry, this is important. Remember that fire message that came in about the same time as Magnus? You need to see it.”

Aline handed Alec the small piece of charred paper.

“Shit,” Alec said as he finished reading, “We need to leave. Now.” He hurried out of the room without waiting, leaving Magnus to scramble to keep up with him.

He jogged to the tent Izzy, Clary, and Jace had shared and hastily threw some things around until he found a sweater that Izzy had left behind.

“Alexander, what is going on?”

“Magnus! Have you ever been to the Brocelind Forest?”

“Outside Alicante? I can’t say that I have, why?” Alec gestured for Magnus to keep following him as he rushed back outside towards their tent.

“I need to get there, now. Isabel and Clary are in there waiting for me to bring them here.” Back in their tent, Alec began activating his runes and Magnus appreciated the irony of how just a few minutes earlier, Alec had been lamenting not having used them in a while.

“What happened?”

“I don’t know, Izzy didn’t say. I need to get the forest and track her, it’s full of werewolves and it must have been a few hours by now.”

“Of course. I’ll find a warlock who’s been nearby.”

“Thank you, Magnus.”

*

There was no path to follow, but somehow being lost wasn’t really the top of their list of concerns. With the wolves snapping at their heels, they didn’t have time to worry about where exactly they were running to. There were too many for them to stop and fight.

“They’re gaining on us!” Izzy didn’t need Clary’s panicked shout to know that, she could practically feel the breath of one of the wolves around her waist as it could up and tried to bite. They weren’t going to be able to run for much longer.

“Are you ready, Clary?”

“Whatever you’re planning, do it!”

Izzy activated the silver weapon which was wrapped around her wrist as a bangle and let her hand grip the handle. She whipped it forward to wrap around a tree branch and after it caught let the momentum swing her up into the air.

She curled her legs up tightly to avoid any of the wolves getting a lucky bite and dropped down behind the pack as they ran past.

As the pack faced confusion, Izzy pulled out her blade and used it in conjunction with her whip to start the fight, hearing the tell-tale sounds of Clary fighting on the other side.

They wouldn’t be able to hold them off for long, but Izzy was going to do the damn best that she could.

She kicked one wolf down and moved straight onto the next, slashing wide to keep them at a distance, their claws and bite were too dangerous to get too close to.

Without realizing it in the mess of wolves, one of them got behind her and its huge paws sent Izzy flying across the clearing.

“Izzy!” She could hear Clary’s shout, but couldn’t see anything as her head bashed against the ground on her landing.

Just when she thought that was it, she was going to die or be turned, the sound of explosions mixed with pained howling reached her.

What?

Pushing herself up, Izzy just managed to catch sight of a silver arrow whistling past her and exploding on contact with a wolf. She couldn’t help but smile, Alec had finally arrived.

“Izzy, Clary get over here!” As Izzy looked for a clear path, Magnus appeared by her side, using his magic to shoot fireballs.

“Biscuit, hurry!” Magnus cleared a path for Clary and he waited until both girls had reached Alec before he joined them and Alec in turn waited until Magnus had passed him before they all started running together, Alec shooting arrows behind him to cause a few distractions as they went.

“Magnus, a portal!”

“Just a moment!”

The portal opened up in front of them, them all stumbling out on the other side, blinking at the harsh light of sun after being inside the dense forest for so long. They were at the edge of the forest, another warlock standing nearby, but Izzy didn’t pay him much mind, throwing herself at Alec and gripping him tightly.

“Thank the Angel you got here,”

“Of course I did, I’m sorry we weren’t sooner.”

“What happened?”

“Let’s talk about it after we get back to the camp. Isabel, Clary, this is Lorenzo Rey. He was the one who portalled us here.” Alec introduced the other warlock as he sauntered closer to them.

“A pleasure to meet you ladies, you look like you’ve had fun.” He added, looking at the wound on Izzy’s head from her fall.

“Oh, it’s nothing,” Izzy said, finally noticing and activating her Iratze, “It’s nice to meet you, too. Thank you for helping us.”

“You’re welcome, now, shall we?”

Lorenzo opened a second portal and the group all passed through, arriving safely back in the warlock camp.

*

“Catarina, for the last time just tell me…” Jace trailed off as they all returned, clearly mid-argument with Catarina.

“Aw hell,” Jace rolled his eyes and sighed, looking heavenward after he saw Izzy and Clary.

“Jace, what’s wrong?” Alec asked, but before Jace made any reply he pulled out a small dagger that he kept on his person and stabbed it sharply into the skin close to the back of his neck.

“Jace!” His siblings and Clary all yelled together and began to run towards him. Jace was squirming and his face scrunched up in pain, but none of them could see why, until he dropped him arm, a small and bloody microchip in the palm of his hand.

Chapter Text

“Magnus, could you set this thing on fire or something, right now?”

“Jace, what the hell is that?” Alec demanded.

“I’ll tell you everything, just destroy the damned thing first!”

“Alright, alright, do calm down.” Magnus snapped his fingers and the chip lifted from Jace’s hand, becoming engulfed in flame, until black dust was all that remained and blew away with the breeze. Jace activated his Iratze as soon as the chip was destroyed to stop the bleeding.

“Might I suggest we head somewhere a little quieter for this discussion?” Magnus was quite aware of the spectacle they were creating and after thanking Lorenzo once more for his help in portaling them to the forest, he led the group towards his office space.

He took the seat behind his desk and conjured enough chairs for everyone in a semi-circle on the other side, with the exception of Alec, who took a seat beside him, and sealed the walls of the tent so that no one else would be able to hear inside.

“You have a lot of explaining to do, Mr. Wayland. Care to start at the beginning?”

Jace sighed and sank down into a chair, Izzy and Clary following suit on the other side of him.

Alec was surprised that Izzy hadn’t burst out in anger yet. He could see it in her features, but for once was managing to hold it back. It seemed they were all too interested in what Jace might have been up to, to interrupt him.

“First, Alec. I’m so sorry for everything I’ve put you through. I know I hurt you a lot and I really didn’t want to, but I was hoping to help.” He shifted a little to face Izzy and Clary.

“When I said all those things about Alec and when I chose to side with Imogen, I thought I could dig up more information from their side.”

“What was that chip?” Alec asked, drawing Jace’s focus back.

“The Clave haven’t just been working on those anti-magic devices. That chip was a two-way communicator. Imogen could communicate with me at any time, and on the other side, they had a permanent audio link to me.”

“So, they could hear everything we spoke about when in your vicinity?” Jace flinched at Magnus’ sharp tone, “What on earth made you think that might eventually help us?”

“I’ll admit it wasn’t the best, but by that point I was already in too deep with Imogen. I tried my best to stay away when you guys were discussing anything important and even when I tried to push for more, that was only for her benefit. I knew you wouldn’t tell me anything anyway.”

“So, the fairy ring was a decoy. I was supposed to see it and know what it was, removing suspicion of you having anything else to spy on us with.” Jace had the good sense to look a little ashamed with himself after hearing Magnus spell it out like that.

“I didn’t want to do it, but I figured if I could get even the smallest edge over the Clave then it might be worth it.”

“You were playing a very dangerous line; how could you know they wouldn’t see you supporting Alec? But then, you have been very good at playing your role.” Magnus’ eyes narrowed; suspicion still evident in his gaze.

“Please, I really just thought I could help,” Jace looked over at Alec, his expression begging Alec to understand, “Alec, please. I’m so sorry for everything. I never meant anything I said. You’re still my parabatai and I want to see you happy. I’m so happy for you and Magnus, despite everything else.”

Alec looked pained, but it was clear that he wanted to believe his brother. To know that their relationship really wasn’t lost.

“Why did you take the chip out now, then?”

Jace sighed again in an exasperated way and glanced towards Izzy and Clary. “These two idiots had to go and come here. I knew that chip was dangerous and might get you in more trouble if I wasn’t careful. I don’t want to incriminate Izzy and Clary and more than they have done themselves,”

Izzy and Clary made mutual noises of disgust.

“And incriminated yourself in the process,” Magnus reminded him. The Clave will know now for sure whose side it is that you’re really standing on.”

“They would have found out eventually, it’s just a little sooner than I planned.”

“Jace, you were an absolute idiot!” Clary had evidently had enough of hearing his explanations, “Izzy and I have been in pieces over this, you couldn’t even tell us what you were planning? You said such awful things about Alec when no one else could have even heard you!”

“I needed you both to believe I was on their side. If you really believed it, then the Clave would be more likely to as well.”

Clary was crying as she propelled herself the small space to push at Jace, dangerously tilting the chair backwards and leaving Jace’s stomach twisting in a moment of weightlessness before Magnus used his magic to push them back upright. Whilst Jace might have deserved the fall, Clary certainly didn’t. After a moment’s indecision, Clary fell into Jace’s embrace, exhausted by the weight of the guilt she now felt for not trusting him more. She should have been stronger, knowing that he had some other kind of goal to help Alec.

“Whilst I do not condone your actions against Alec,” Magnus began, drawing Jace’s attention once more and forcing him to lift his head to meet Magnus’ gaze over Clary, “Did you achieve any of your goal? Do you have more information?”

Clary made a muffled sound and sheepishly backed away from Jace and returned to her seat, realizing that she was in the way of what was an important conversation that they all needed to have.

“Yes. Not as much as I’d have hoped, but I learned enough.”

Magnus nodded his understanding and shifted his gaze to Alec, who had barely spoken a word or even moved since this discussion had begun. His lover was staring blankly in Jace’s direction, but Magnus wasn’t sure if he was really seeing him or not. It must have been a lot for Alec to take in, of course he would be feeling a little out of sorts.

“Alright. Look, let me propose that we take a pause.” When it looked like they were about to disagree, Magnus held up a hand to stop them, “We’re all tired, we’re hungry. We’ve just taken in a lot of information, if we try to take much more we’re going to overload ourselves.” He unconsciously began running a hand up and down Alec’s back gently in a form of comfort and received a small and private smile for his efforts.

When no one voiced any complaints or contradictions, Magnus continued, “Go, all of you get some rest and we can reconvene this evening. I need to go and see to Tessa; I’ve left her long enough already.”

With everything that had happened, it was difficult for Alec and Magnus to even remember that it had been barely a few hours since Magnus had returned with Tessa and a knife in his back. Alec stood with him and pulled Magnus into a quick embrace, “Are you doing okay?” He whispered, needing to know that he hadn’t forced Magnus to overdo himself.

“I’m alright, darling.” Magnus assured, “Let’s go.”

“Wait. Jace, can we talk? Alone?” Jace nodded and the others filed outside, leaving the two brothers together.

Alec slipped around until he was stood in front of Magnus’ desk and he leaned his weight back to lean against it, crossing his arms over his chest in a defensive position.

“I want to believe you, I really do.”

“But you don’t?”

“I don’t know what to believe anymore, Jace, too much has happened. I can’t believe that you couldn’t find a way to let me know what was going on, or to let Izzy and Clary in on what you were doing.”

“Alec, you’re my parabatai.” Jace stood tall, bringing himself in front of Alec. Alec looked ahead to meet Jace’s eyes, his slightly reclined position bringing them to about the same height.

“Not anymore. I saw to that, didn’t I?”

“Alec,” Jace’s voice was full of pained emotion and he took Alec’s hands in his, “I know I said some things. Things I never should have said, but I can’t take that back now. I know you broke the bond because you were being stupidly selfless, like you always are. You’ve always done everything for Izzy and me and I know we’ve never been the most thankful for it.” Jace took a deep breath before continuing.

“I don’t blame you for what you did. I know I got angry, but I understand you were trying to protect me. And how could I be angry at you for choosing Magnus when this is the first non-selfless thing you’ve ever done in your whole life? I can see how he makes you feel, we all can. And it’s so obvious how much in love that man is with you, he lights up so much whenever he’s around you it’s all I could ever ask for. Sure, it’s not exactly ideal that he’s a warlock, but Alec I’m here for you. All I want is for you to be happy and I’m so, so sorry that I was acting how I did. But it was my turn to try and protect you.”

Alec’s breath shuddered and he had to look down to try and stop the sudden wetness in his eyes from escaping. Jace sounded so sincere, and Alec couldn’t stop himself from falling into it. Sure, it could be a mistake, but he wanted to have his parabatai back so much.

He tightened his grip around Jace’s hands and dropped his head forward until his forehead was resting on Jace’s chest.

“I’m here, Alec. Always.” Those words were it. A steady stream of tears began flooding out of his eyes. Jace felt Alec’s body begin to shake and he carefully moved Alec’s head up slightly so he could wrap his arms tightly around his parabatai in a hug, reassuring Alec that he really was there and he wasn’t about to go anywhere.

*

A while later found Alec and Jace joining Clary and Izzy in the food area, with plates of food piled high. Alec hadn’t realized quite how hungry he was until he had seen all of that food spread out in front of him and his stomach suddenly remembered that he hadn’t eaten in around twenty-four hours.

If Izzy and Clary could see Alec’s puffy eyes and even a tell-tale redness around Jace’s, they wisely chose not to comment on it. It was good enough to see the two parabatai back together again.

Izzy was dying to tell her brother what she had overheard, and she really wanted to know what Jace had found out, but managed to restrain herself from asking. She trusted that Magnus was right about needing a break for them to process everything.

Keeping topics as light as they could, Izzy tried to catch up with Alec and see if she’d missed anything important while they’d been away back in Idris.

They were derailed by the arrival of a small pink-skinned warlock making herself known by jumping up and latching onto Alec’s back, her arms gripping over his shoulders and her legs clinging to his sides. Alec thanked the Angels that his shadowhunter training just barely stopped him from flying face first into his dinner.

“Mr Alec!” They others at the table laughed good-naturedly at the young warlock’s affection to Alec, and the shadowhunters surprise at being jumped on.

“Hello Jasmine,” Alec felt a smile naturally growing on his face as he shifted to make sure that Jasmine wasn’t about to fall off, “What brings you here?”

“I wanted to find you. I heard you were sad.” The bluntness of a child hit Alec hard, especially with what was already a very emotional day.

“Well you can see I’m okay.”

“But your eyes look sad.” Jasmine clambered around him to sit beside him on the bench, “Why are you sad? Is it because of Max?”

“As far as I’m aware Max is doing okay. He’s probably studying a lot.”

“Do you think he misses us?”

“I’m sure he does, but you never know. You guys might get to see each other again.”

“I hope so, it’s not so much fun here now.”

“Well, we’ll have to see what we can do about that, won’t we?” Alec began to tickle Jasmine’s sides, unable not to laugh along with the others at the shrieks the young girl made.

“Stop, stop!” Jasmine tried to fight Alec off, and almost toppled off the edge of the seat, but Alec caught her swiftly and steadied her once more, still unable to stop smiling as she glared at him. She laughed again though once Alec ruffled a hand through her hair.

“You look happier.” She stated, before stealing a biscuit from the table and running off again as quickly as she had appeared.

Alec watched her retreating form a little bemusedly, then returned his attention to his food and satisfying his stomach.

“She’s so sweet.” Clary enthused, still smiling happily after the young warlock, “You’re lucky that she likes you so much, Alec.”

“Are you saying I’m not likeable?” He joked back with her, pretending to look wounded.

“Of course not!”

“Who is saying my dear Alexander is not likeable?” Alec felt Magnus squeeze his shoulders gently in greeting and couldn’t help but melt when Magnus dropped a sweet kiss against his cheek, standing so close that Alec could lean back against him.

“How is Tessa?” Alec asked, still feeling bad that he’d kept Magnus from her for so long after he’d been healed.

“She’s resting but seems to be doing quite well, thank you for asking.”

“Would you like to join us?”

“I’d love to, but I fear I’m a little more exhausted than I previously realized. Why don’t you come and find me when you’re all ready to discuss the rest of Jace’s information?”

“Wait,” Alec turned as much as he could and grabbed onto Magnus’ slipping hand before he could move away, “Do you mind if I come with you?”

“I’d love that. Are you sure you’d like to?”

“Yes,” Alec glanced back at his siblings and Clary, “How about we go through everything else tomorrow morning?”

Jace frowned, “You don’t want to know what I do as soon as possible?”

“Well, yes. But I think Magnus was right about all of us needing to take some time. We’ll deal better with whatever you know after a good night’s sleep.”

“Alright, if you that’s what you want.”

Alec took two more mouthfuls of food and stood, saying goodbye and being led away by Magnus’ gentle grip on his hand.

*

“Are you feeling okay, Alexander?” Magnus asked, once they were in the privacy of their tent, guiding Alec to sit on the sofa and keeping both of Alec’s hands in his as he stood in front on him, between Alec’s legs.

“Yes, why?”

“I’m just surprised you don’t want to get Jace’s story, or spend more time with your sister now that she’s back.”

Alec sighed, looking up to meet Magnus’ gaze.

“Maybe I’m being selfish, but I really just want to spend time with you. You dropped in on me covered in blood and…” his voice caught, “without Aline shouting at me, I don’t think I could have got myself together enough to do anything helpful. I was scared to see you like that.”

“Oh, Alexander.” Magnus dropped to his knees on the floor, leaning himself up so their eye level was almost equal, “I’m so sorry. I never meant to do that to you,”

“I know. But I’m glad that you did come to me. Now though, I just want to be with you and know that you’re okay.” Alec disentangled one of his hands and reached out to run his fingers through Magnus’ hair.

Magnus took a moment to shift, sitting beside Alec and draping his legs over Alec’s lap so Alec was able to wrap his arms around him securely.

Dropping his head into the juncture of Alec’s neck, Magnus took in a deep breath, tensing and relaxing his muscles so he could melt into Alec’s hold.

“I do love you, my Alexander.” Alec pressed a kiss to Magnus’ temple and squeezed his arms a little tighter for just a moment.

“I love you, too.”

Neither were aware of falling asleep, but when Alec awoke perhaps a few hours later, he couldn’t help but feel wonderfully content as he carefully carried Magnus over to the bed and snuggled in beside him.

*

It was closer to midday by the time they all gathered together again in Magnus’ office. If it was because Magnus and Alec got a little distracted in the comfort of their own bed, well, that was no one’s business but their own.

Sat in very much the same positions as they had been in the day before, they all mentally prepared for what they needed to discuss.

“Jace, why don’t you start off by telling us what started this whole idea of yours off?”

Izzy, Jace and Clary all shared an uncomfortable glance with each other that Alec and Magnus didn’t miss. Alec frowned, wondering what it was.

“There’s not an easy way for me to say this. We all found out at the same time,” Jace began.

“Found out what?” Magnus prompted. Jace took in a deep breath, focusing his attention on Alec.

“The Clave, they…they want you back so that they can strip your runes.” Jace said it fast, like ripping off a band aid in the hopes that it didn’t hurt so much. Magnus bristled at that information, but to his surprise, Alec didn’t really react to this information.

“That’s not so surprising, I suppose. All things considered.” Alec reasoned.

“Alec, you can’t be okay with that. You fell in love with a warlock, that’s no reason to cast you out.”

“Iz, you’re overlooking all the other choices I’ve made since then. I refused to go back to New York, I helped break Magnus out of his trial and let dozens of warlocks into the Institute. I’ve broken so many rules I’m lucky they don’t just outright want to kill me.”

“But stripping your runes might kill you. You wouldn’t have protections anymore.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, my dear Isabelle. Even if the Clave somehow did get their hands on Alec, he will always have my protections instead.” During the conversation, Magnus had reached across and taken Alec’s hand, squeezing it tightly. Magnus was clearly a little more affected by this news than he was letting on and Alec was sure he would hear more about it later, when they were next alone.

“So, you heard this. Then you decided betraying Alec was your best bet at helping him?”

“Yes. I was never going to learn anything if the Clave knew I wanted to help Alec. So…I said bad things. I got Imogen to trust me just enough. She told me the plans to have you stripped and banished in order to make a statement about Shadowhunter loyalty.”

When no one said or questioned anything, Jace continued, “She wanted me to convince you to go back to New York with me. If I could get you to do that, then that’s all they needed to get you into a fixed trial.”

“And what about the chip?”

“For one, Imogen wanted to keep an eye on me, to make sure I was doing as she’d asked. For another, she wanted to see what the camp was like and what the warlocks are doing here. I’m sure you’re not surprised that the Clave don’t really trust this peace that you’re trying to create.”

“Naturally,”

“They are interested in it, if there was no war then they could focus on demons again, but they’re going to want more control over warlocks.”

It was Alec who snorted at that, prompting Magnus to squeeze his hand again.

“Yes, well. We’ll face that bridge when it comes.”

“There’s, uh, there’s one more thing that I learned. That I think you really need to know.”

Magnus made a gesture to encourage Jace to go ahead.

“It’s about Jeremy. I caught him snooping in here one day, looking for something to prove warlocks aren’t trustworthy. I talked with him, making him think he could trust me and he told me…well. The main point? He’s a circle member.”

Alec and Magnus tensed, “How did a circle member end up here?” Magnus tried to stay calm.

“The Clave didn’t know, at least until they heard him tell me about it. They were still playing as ignorant as they could about the existence of the circle.”

“So, the circle are playing their own game to find a way to keep the war going.”

“That’s how it seems. And Jeremy was sent here to, well…figure out your weak points, I suppose.”

That was all Alec needed to hear. Feeling the anger build up throughout his body he stood, storming out of tent, ignoring the shouts of his siblings and his vision tinted red.

He wasn’t about to let anyone who lived under the hospitality of Magnus and the warlocks do something so blatant to threaten them.

Aline glanced up as Alec threw open the entrance to the tent she shared with Jeremy as she was facing that way, but Jeremy had zero time to react before Alec grabbed him by the back of the shirt and launched him from the tent in a display of pure rage.

“Alec, what...?” Aline tried to ask, but Alec ignored her in favour of following the direction he had thrown Jeremy, internally feeling pleased as the other Shadowhunter groaned on the floor, having been unable to land properly due to the surprise of the attack.

Alec ignored the attention they had gained from the warlocks around them, rolled Jeremy over with the sole of his boot and crouched down, just to wrench the boy back up again, holding him up so his feet were a good few inches off the ground.

“How dare you?” Alec seethed, “Did you think that we wouldn’t find out?”

“What the hell, Lightwood? Put me down.” Jeremy finally overcame his shock and began struggling in Alec’s iron grip.

Alec dropped him, but only allowed a second before punching Jeremy solidly in face, sending him flying backwards once more and sprawling across the floor.

“You do not get to come here, under the guise of peace and try to undermine everything that we are doing. Did you really think you could get away with it?”

Jeremy pushed himself up and came at Alec, not holding back as he threw punch after punch for Alec to block.

“How could we pass up when you presented such a golden opportunity?” Jeremy’s voice was dripping with hatred.

Alec let one of the punches through, allowing it to graze his ribs and letting Jeremy think that he might have the upper hand.

“You’re disgusting, choosing a warlock over your own people.”

Alec easily caught Jeremy’s wrist on his next attempt to hit him and pulled him in close, “I’d be careful with your words, if I were you. Consider how outnumbered you are right now.”

Alec then let his fury lose, Jeremy never had the chance to keep up with Alec’s anger, curling in on himself to protect his body as much as he could from Alec’s onslaught.

Through the fog of his anger, he felt hands trying to pull him back and a soft voice calling out to him.

Coming back to himself, he glanced back and saw Jace was the one holding him back and Magnus hovering nearby, watching him intensely.

“Alexander?”

“Magnus.” Alec stumbled back, shaking his head. It had been years since he’d really lost himself like that. Jace let go and backed away, seeing that his parabatai was coming back to himself.

“Can someone…can someone just take him away so I don’t have to look at him?” Alec gestured vaguely in Jeremy’s direction.

“Of course, darling.” Alec stumbled towards Magnus, who easily took hold of his forearms to help keep him steady.

Magnus looked over Alec’s shoulder to his siblings, “I’ll take Alec to calm down, will you all be alright for a while?”

They nodded their consent and Magnus led Alec back to their tent and out of view.