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Alec took a slow, deep breath, facing his parents head on. He was prepared for whatever the consequences would be. He was ready to give up his family and to be stripped of his runes and exiled, if that was what Maryse chose to do. He didn’t care anymore. He was done hiding who he was. “Maryse, Robert, I’m gay,” he said, falling silent and letting the words hang in the air.

“We know, Alec.” Maryse was the first to respond, her tone as dismissive as ever. “We have already made arrangements for the day when you finally told us the truth. We’d hoped it wouldn’t take this long, but good things come to those who wait.”

“Wait, what?” Alec stared at her for several moments, trying to process his mother’s words. He had worked to find the courage to come out to his parents for years , and this was all the reaction he got? Had he spent years fretting over nothing? And that was only the beginning of what she’d said. “Arrangements?” he asked Maryse.

“Yes, Alec. You have a status to uphold for the Lightwoods. We cannot allow you to marry just anyone. You are the key to preserving the honor of the Lightwood name.” She crossed her arms. “We have already chosen a man for you, a young Warlock from Indonesia. He is extremely powerful and the product of Indonesian royalty and a High ranking demon,” she explained. “You’re welcome. We would only allow the best of men for our son.”

Alec narrowed his right eye, his entire face scrunching up in confusion. “Mother, I don’t understand. Are you saying you had a pre-planned arranged marriage set up for when I finally came out to you?”

“That is exactly what she is saying,” Robert confirmed. “I thought it was an excellent idea.”

“You’ve got to be kidding.” Alec ran his fingers through his hair, taking a few moments to let the situation sink in. “Of all the things I wouldn’t put past you, this never even crossed my mind.” He let out a frustrated yell, causing everyone in the institute to look at him, murmuring quietly amongst themselves.

“We’re doing what’s best for you, Alec,” Maryse told him, typing out a message on her phone. “You’ll thank me, in the end. Magnus is a suitable match for you, and his royal bloodline was enough for me to. . .overlook his status as a Downworlder.”

“Oh, and you know so much about my taste in men?” Alec asked her.

“Your internet viewing history says it all. Do I need to pull up proof for the entire Institute to see?” Maryse narrowed her eyes at Alec. “You need some time to cool off and remember how to speak to your mother. Go to your room, Alec. You are dismissed.”

“Mother—”

“Silence. I said you are dismissed , Alec.” She waved him away and Alec stalked down the hall, slamming the door to his room behind him.

As Alec stomped off, Robert turned to Maryse. “Are you sure this is a good idea?”

She nodded. “Yes. I have met the Warlock myself, and he is what’s best for our son. Alec will accomplish things that no Lightwood has managed to do before him.”

“But a Downworlder, Maryse? Where is the honor in marrying one of them? I just believe that—“

Maryse silenced him with a look. “It’s good I didn’t ask what you believed, Robert. The Lightwoods have been given a golden opportunity. Magnus is a Warlock who is not even a century old, yet. We could form him in our image. Imagine a being that powerful who has sworn loyalty to the Lightwoods because of our son.” She grinned. “It’s a solid partnership that has already been approved by the Clave. We are following through with this.”

Robert let a loud sigh leave his lips and nodded. “If it has the Clave’s approval,” he conceded. “When will Magnus be arriving?”

“He’s portalling into the Institute tomorrow. Talk to Isabelle to ensure that Alec is ready to meet him.” Maryse turned away and walked to her office, her heels clicking loudly as she made her way through the Institute.

Robert exhaled loudly and walked down the hallway where all the rooms were, knocking on Isabelle’s door. “Mija, open up!” He knew that Maryse's idea was just as insane as it was brilliant, but he’d come to expect nothing less from his scheming wife. When her mind was made, the only thing he could possibly do was try to minimize the damage done while Maryse maximized the rewards on her own.

Which was why he needed Isabelle to speak to her brother as soon as possible. The boy was just as stubborn and more brilliant than his mother. At twenty-two years old, Alec was shaping up to be an excellent Head of the Institute when Maryse eventually stepped down completely. She already allowed Alec to Act as Head while she was in Idris, working up to a position in the Clave, and he had already proven himself more than capable.

“What is it, Papá?” Isabelle opened up the door, her smiling as bright and welcoming as ever. Robert would always see his little girl whenever she smiled like that, no matter how old Isabelle got.

“Damage control,” he offered in explanation. “You already know about your mother’s arrangement. Try to talk to your brother so that when Magnus arrives, their meeting will be as painless as possible.”

Isabelle smirked. “Let me finish painting my nails, and I’ll see what I can do.”


 

“A warlock in the Institute?”

“Has Maryse lost her mind?”

“Did the Clave really allow one of his kind to be here?”

Magnus kept his head high as he walked through the Institute, making sure to remain completely unfazed by the quiet murmurings of the Nephilim that surrounded him. He was already dealing with enough, considering that his own half-brother, an old mundane man well into his seventies, had accepted the proposition without asking what Magnus wanted. He didn’t know what he got out of the deal, but Magnus had eventually agreed to the deal after a bit of coercion from his real family, the silent brothers of Indonesia.

“Magnus, it’s a pleasure.” Magnus didn’t fail to notice how Maryse did not shake his hand. He knew how Shadowhunters really felt about Warlocks like him. He had suffered in silence for almost a century. All he had to do was wait for his fiancé to eventually kick the bucket and he could move on with his life. Seventy or so odd years at most was nothing to an immortal.

“Thank you for having me.” Magnus looked past the woman to where her son was, standing still behind him. He didn’t have much interest in anything she had to say, and her son was pretty. His face was set in a deep frown, but it did little to mar his gorgeous features, especially his wide, hazel eyes. After a moment of staring, Magnus strode past Maryse and stood face-to-chest with Alec, looking up at him in awe. “You are beautiful,” he spoke without thinking.

Alec’s eyebrows went to his hairline at the easy admission. He had definitely not been expecting to be told that, by Magnus least of all. He hadn’t been sure what to expect from him, but his mother had been right when she’d said she knew what Alec liked. Magnus was an absolute vision . His eyes sparkled with a shade of silver that sat right over his dark eyeshadow. He wasn’t wearing lipstick, but the clear lip gloss made his naturally pink lips shine, and Alec couldn’t stop his eyes from lingering there for a few more moments than necessary.

After he managed to tear his eyes away from Magnus’ glossed lips, he took a moment to admire the outfit he was wearing. His shiny, silver V-neck was positively sinful, the neckline plunging just low enough to tease Alec with hints of Magnus’ chest without exposing enough for him to truly ogle without staring directly down the man’s shirt. The black pants he wore were tight fitting, attaching themselves to form with the slender curves of Magnus’ hips. On his hands were a pair of thick, black gloves, and when Alec looked at those Magnus placed his hands behind his back.

“It’s nice to finally have a face to put to the name, Alexander,” Magnus spoke again as Alec ogled him silently.

Alec’s breath caught in his throat at the smile and he swallowed hard, unable to find words. Instead of fumbling over himself and looking like an idiot, Alec turned away from Magnus and walked back into his bedroom, closing the door behind him.

Magnus stared after Alec as he walked, confused, before a pair of hands held his. “I love your makeup!” Isabelle squealed, bringing all the attention to herself instead of her socially inept brother. “I’m Izzy.” She gave Magnus a quick greeting as he snatched his hands away quickly, as if he was afraid to touch her. Isabelle frowned, but the expression was gone before anyone had a chance to really notice. “You have to tell me your secrets for such great skin. Come on, Magnus.” She held Magnus by his elbow this time, feeling relieved when he didn’t jerk away, and mouthed a ‘You’re welcome’ to her parents as she dragged him into her bedroom. She sat Magnus on her bed. “Sorry about my brother,” she began, sitting down next to him.

Magnus nodded. “He went from checking me out to running away.” He pursed his lips. “He’s a strange one, isn’t he?” He turned to Isabelle.

“You have no idea, Amigo.” She clapped a hand on his back in a friendly gesture. “I know this probably isn’t what you’d been hoping for, considering that you were probably just as roped into this as Alec was, but I want the best for my brother. I think you could make him happy.”

“But you don’t know anything about me.”

“Don’t I?” She gave Magnus a secretive smile. “Tus manos. Alguien te lastimó?”

[Your hands. Someone hurt you?]

Magnus brought his gloved hands to his chest. “No. No es nada de eso.” He shook his head, smiling just a little at the fact that Isabelle immediately assumed that he was the victim.

[No. Nothing like that.]

“You speak spanish?”

“When I was growing up, I fled my home often. One of those times, I ended up hiding out in Costa Rica,” Magnus offered in explanation, shrugging his shoulders. “I know sixteen languages. I spent the better half of the fifty years it took to control my powers in a dungeon with the silent brothers. Had to pass the time somehow.”

           Isabelle nodded. “More likely than not, you’re going to be stuck with me until I die, so I want the both of us to get along, and I will do everything in my power to make sure you and my brother are happy together.” She looked at Magnus’ hands once again. “Me vas a decir qué pasó?”

[Are you going to tell me what happened?]

           “No. No te conozco y no quiero hablar de eso.” Magnus kept his hands pressed against his chest, one of them clenched into a fist and then other gripping his wrist.

[No. I don’t know you and I don’t want to talk about it.]

           Isabelle frowned. “It could help,” she said, deciding not to push Magnus any further. “Vamos a ser la familia. Si me necesitas, estoy aquí.” With that said, she dropped the subject, hoping to ease Magnus’ tense demeanor. “What room are you staying in?” she asked, assuming he’d be sleeping at the Institute with everyone else.

[Soon we will be family. If you need me, I'm here.]

           “I have a loft nearby. I thought it’d be best if I slept in neutral territory.” Magnus placed his hands on his lap. “Maybe you don’t hate me, but Nephilim and Downworlders aren’t exactly on the best of terms.”

           “I’m aware.” Isabelle licked her lips. “You probably don’t really have much to do right now since my brother’s temporarily a block of ice. But until then, how about you go get settled in at your place, explore Brooklyn. I’ll work on him for you,” she promised, standing up and patting Magnus’ shoulder. “I’ll even have our brother show you around.”

           “Max?” Magnus arched an eyebrow up at Isabelle skeptically. The youngest Lightwood was, what, 12? He didn’t want a child showing him around New York.

           “No, not Maxwell.” She pointed her head toward the door. “Come on. You’ll love Jace.”

           “Somehow…I doubt that.” Magnus made an offhand gesture with his right hand, following after Isabelle. He was still a little lost, not only in the Institute but in New York overall. Somehow, in his various attempts to escape and hide away in order to free himself from his brother's clutches, he’d managed to forget to stop in Brooklyn.

           Isabelle led Magnus into the training room, opening the door for him. “This is our brother, Jace.” She pointed to the man beating his fists into a punching bag, his blond hair hanging in his face. “Jace, come say hi!”

           Jace turned his head at the sound of Isabelle’s voice. “Hey, Izzy. New…boyfriend?” He looked Magnus up and down suspiciously, taking in his flamboyant choice of clothing and made up face. “Nice to meet you.” He held out his hand.

           Magnus stared at his hand for several moments. “I’m here for Alexander.” He wasn’t sure if he should be calling the eldest Lightwood his fiancé just yet.

           “Alec? I don’t. . .” Jace gave Isabelle a confused look, before his eyes widened in realization when everything clicked into place. “You’re the Warlock.”

           “I prefer my name, Nephilim.” Magnus turned his nose up at Jace. “If it’s already escaped your feeble mind, I get it. You don’t appear to be the sharpest tool in the shed.”

           “Did this painted Warlock just call me stupid?” Jace looked at Isabelle for confirmation.

           “Yikes.” Isabelle pressed her lips together firmly. “Jace, it’s your responsibility to show Magnus around.”

           “Actually, that offer has been rescinded,” Magnus cut in. “I have no desire to go anywhere with him. I’ll get around New York just fine on my own.” He turned around, his six-inch heels clicking loudly against the floor as he walked out of the training room and then left the Institute, stepping out into the cold night air. He walked down the street, humming quietly to himself in Bahasa. Outside of the Institute, Brooklyn appeared to have a scene that he could get used to. He had been beginning to feel suffocated by the presence of so many Nephilim, but outside there were Downworlders in all shapes and sizes. More than he’d seen in Jakarta by a wide margin, and that was just roaming the street corners.

           A flash of elongated teeth. Green werewolf eyes. Horns or blue skin.

           All covered by a glamor that Magnus was able to easily see through. These were his people.

           Lost in thought, Magnus didn’t seem to notice where he was going and stepped on someone’s foot. He stepped back when the man whose foot he’d stepped on let out a string of loud curses and bared his teeth at Magnus.

           “I’m sorry!” Magnus held up his hand defensively. “I wasn’t looking at where I was going!”

           “Now, now, Raphael. Put the fangs away.” A vampire in a tight red dress stepped forward, placing herself in between Raphael and Magnus. “Heading to the party, Warlock?” she asked, running a finger down the exposed skin of Magnus’ chest. “You’re a tasty little morsel, aren’t you?” Her hand moved from Magnus’ chest to under his chin, tilting his head up to look at her. “Do you want to party with me?” She leaned in toward Magnus. Her breath brushed over his lips and Magnus stepped away from her.

           “I have a fiancé.” He licked his lips. “I was just going for a walk.”

           “Oh, fiancé?” Her grin widened into a smirk. “Well, tell her that Camille’s her new competition, and I always get what I want.”

           “Him,” Magnus murmured, hoping if he convinced her that he was gay, she’d leave him alone. His actual bisexuality didn’t matter in the moment. Camille scared the hell out of him.

           Magnus’ hands shook, and sparks flew from his fingers, making him put them behind his back to hide his loss of control.

           “We’ve been looking for you.” A hand landed on Magnus’ shoulder. He looked to his left, at a woman with deep blue skin hidden by a glamor. She ran her fingers through her short, platinum blonde hair. “What’s been keeping you?”

           “Hm?” Magnus looked at his other side as a man with green skin and horns protruding from each side of his head stepped up beside him. “Hello, there, Raphael, old friend.” Ragnor smiled at Raphael, before turning to Magnus.

           “We should really get you back to your fiancé,” Ragnor said cheerfully, turning Magnus around and walking swiftly away from Camille. After they were out of hearing distance, several blocks away, Catarina spoke.

           “Hello there, little one. What are you doing here?” she asked Magnus, brushing his hair out of his eyes. “You look lost.”

           “That may because I am,” Magnus admitted. “This is my first time in Brooklyn.”

           “Oh, how sweet.” Ragnor placed a hand on Magnus’ shoulder. “A young Warlock, just stepping into New York’s Downworld.”

           “You have to let us show you around sometime. During the day, where Camille can’t dig her fangs into you,” Catarina said excitedly. “Ragnor, I think we may have a new friend.”

           “Not if you scare him off,” Ragnor deadpanned. “Sorry, friend. My wife is a little overbearing. A healer warlock trait, I believe.” He rolled his eyes, a smile coming onto his face all the while.

           Magnus perked up at the word ‘healer,’ his eyes wide with admiration. He had always wished that his magic had been meant for healing instead of having so much potential to destroy. “That is amazing. I have always held healers in high regard.” He smiled at Catarina. “I have spent many years learning how to heal others with my magic.”

Ragnor frowned. “What a waste,” he told Magnus, shaking his head. “Why would you waste years of time and untapped potential in healing?” he asked. “You realize that you are not a healer, correct? You have power that far surpasses anything of the sort.”

          Magnus frowned. “How do you know?” He stopped walking when he saw a familiar blond head of hair on the man stalking toward him.

          “We’ve seen many things over the centuries.” Catarina’s gaze followed Magnus’. “Nephilim are after you?” She looked at Ragnor as they both readied their magic to defend him.

          “My future brother-in-law.” Magnus placed his gloved hands on each of their shoulders to put them at ease. “I may have stormed out after an argument,” he explained, scratching the side of his neck sheepishly. He looked at Jace as he got in his face.

“Your fiance is a Nephilim?” Ragnor asked, his eyes widening.

          “Do you have any idea how worried everyone was?” he asked Magnus, narrowing his eyes at him. His lips were set in a thin line, and he held Magnus’ chin to force him to look at him. “You just stormed out, leaving your phone at the Institute.” He heaved out a loud sigh. “No one could get ahold of you, Maryse was having an aneurysm because she thought I just let you leave.”

          “I can take care of myself.” Magnus peeled Jace’s fingers away from his jaw. “I’m perfectly fine without your help.”

          “But you don’t have to be!” Jace shouted at him. “What the hell is wrong with you, that you can’t realize that you are family now, Magnus!” He grabbed onto Magnus’ shirt, and Magnus shoved him away, blue sparks flying from his fingertips.

          Jace held his arm, wincing at the sting.

          Magnus’ eyes went wide. “I’m sorry!” He shrunk away from Jace, moving toward Catarina and Ragnor

          “Wait, Magnus, I’m fine.” Jace showed Magnus his arm. The only sign that he’d been stung was a red mark that was already beginning to heal over. “It’s okay, calm down. I can heal it.”

          Magnus barely heard him. He was already shaking, staring at his hands in horror.

          “He’s one of us. We can take care of him.” Catarina held Magnus, rubbing his back to try to calm his shaking. “We’ll return him to you once he’s calmed, Nephilim. Leave us.” As she spoke, Ragnor created a portal and the three of them stepped through, the portal closing in front of Jace when he tried to follow.

          Jace clenched his hand into a fist and cursed under his breath. “Dammit.” He stomped his foot and turned around, walking back to the Institute.


 

          “Any luck?” Isabelle asked hopefully when Jace returned, both her hands clasped together in front of her. She looked behind him and frowned. “Jace, please tell me the reason Magnus isn’t with you is because you took him home and put him to bed.”

          Jace groaned. “Magnus went into a portal with a Warlock couple. He was upset because I may have scared him and he stung me with his magic. It was nothing.” Jace shrugged, showing Isabelle the spot where the mark was now completely gone. “They said they’d return him once he’s feeling better.”

          “Really, Jace?” Isabelle pinched the bridge of her nose. “You let Magnus go through a portal with two Downworlders that you’d never met and just figured ‘oh, since they’re Warlocks, too, everything should be fine.’” She glowered at him. “What if something happens to Magnus? We have to get a team together to find him. He’s family now, Jace. We protect our family.” She ran a hand down the length of her face. Who could she get help assembling a team from? Alec was already a mess of nerves; she couldn’t ask him. Maryse would kill them both and ensure that no one found their bodies.

          “Hold that thought.” Jace raised a hand, answering his phone. “Talk to me.”

           “This is Magnus.”

Jace let out a sigh of relief. “You got your phone back. Hey, Magnus, Izzy’s worried about you. We need you to stay at the Institute tonight.”

          “I’m not sure if that’s safe.” Magnus’ voice shook. “I don’t want to hurt anyone. I know that here you have rules, The Accords. Sometimes it’s hard for me to control my powers. When I’m upset, mostly. If I hurt someone on accident, they will kill me.”

          “You won’t hurt anyone.” Jace tried to be as comforting as he could, but he knew it wasn’t something that he was skilled at. Comfort was Alec’s specialty. He was the oldest, it was something that he’d always taken the responsibility of doing. “Please come home, Magnus.”

          “My home is in Jakarta.” Magnus’ tone was biting, and Jace lowered his phone away from his ear and stared at it dumbly.

          “Is that Magnus?” Isabelle asked. “Jace, let me talk to him.” Jace didn’t try to argue, he just placed his phone in Isabelle’s hand.

          “You deal with him. I have better things to do than babysit an ungrateful Warlock.” He turned around, as if that was going to block Magnus’ voice out.

          Isabelle rolled her eyes at her brother. Jace was seriously childish sometimes. For two men who were both in their early twenties, both Alec and Jace proved to completely lose their composure over the Warlock Maryse had brought to the Institute to marry Alec. They were out of sorts for very different reasons, yes, but that didn’t mean that she was any less entertained. Isabelle believed that Magnus was already the best thing to happen to their boring, drab Institute.

          “Where are you, Magnus?” Isabelle asked, worrying her lip between her teeth. “I want to make sure that you are okay.”

          “I’m fine. I just want to leave. This isn’t my home and I’m stuck here for a man who hasn’t even spoken to me.”

          Isabelle hummed in understanding. “That’s what it is, then.”

          “Hm?”

          Isabelle perked up. “It’s Alec,” she stated. “You came all the way here for him and he’s neglected you. You’re left navigate the Shadow World of New York and he hasn’t helped.” She cursed under her breath. “That’s it. Please tell your friends to let me in when I arrive. Where are you, Magnus? I’m bringing you home.”

          “The Institute—”

          “I’m not hearing that,” Isabelle cut Magnus off. “We will be fixing this entire situation post-haste. Now, tell me where you are.”

          “I can portal back to the Institute,” Magnus offered instead. “I was upset, but I’m doing better now.”

           “Liar,” Isabelle cut in.

           “I’ll be there in a second. My friends don’t want the Institute knowing where their Penthouse is.” Just as Magnus ended the call, a portal opened up just as few feet away from where Isabelle and Jace were standing. Magnus stepped through, looking at the ground, fiddling with his fingers. His gloves were missing, Isabelle noticed with pleasant surprise, but his body still held a clear mix of insecurities. He held his hands close to his body, afraid to touch either of them.

          “Magnus. . .” Isabelle took a step forward, and Magnus stepped back. She frowned. “No voy a lastimarte.”

[I will not hurt you.]

          “Eso no es lo que me da miedo. Tengo más poder natural que cualquiera de los brujos de Brooklyn. Soy peligroso.” He sighed. “Which is why Ragnor offered to start helping me control my powers. I could be an asset to you, with his help. I think I’m going to accept his offer.”

[That's not what I'm afraid of. I have more natural power than any of the Brooklyn warlocks. I'm dangerous.]

          Jace turned to look at Magnus. “Make sure to consult Maryse before you give Ragnor his answer.”

          Magnus nodded. “No soy el monstruo que se suponía que debía ser. Podría ser útil para todos ustedes. Quiero ser más de lo que la gente siempre ha creído ser era.”

[I'm not the monster I was supposed to be. I could be useful for all of you. I want to be more than what people have always believed I was.]

          “I’ll help you do that in any way I can.” Isabelle placed a hand on Magnus’ cheek. This time, he didn’t move away. “I don’t know what you’ve been taught about Shadowhunters, but we’re stronger than regular humans. We can handle more than you think we can. Touching us will not break us.”

          Magnus placed his hand on top of hers. “¿Alguna vez has amado a un mundano, Izzy?” he asked, waiting for her answer.

[Have you ever loved a worldly man (mundane), Izzy?]

          Isabelle shook her head. “I’ve never been in love.”

          Magnus, realizing she understood his words incorrectly, shook his head. “Neither have I. This man was my father.” He started to walk as he spoke to Izzy, the two of them walking to her room where they did not have to worry about anyone listening too closely. “My stepfather,” he corrected himself.

          Isabelle nodded, waiting for Magnus to continue.

          “My stepfather loved me, once. He never saw me as the child that never should’ve been. Even though I tarnished my mother’s good name just by existing, he didn't resent me. But everything changed after my mother hung herself. That night, he tried to drown me. It was when I was very young, before my powers had fully manifested.”

          “Oh my god, Magnus.” Isabelle placed a comforting hand on Magnus shoulder. He leaned into the touch, glad to not feel so alone. He liked Isabelle. He already saw her as a sister that took care of him the way his real family had always failed to.

          “Esa noche fue la misma noche en que mis poderes realmente se manifestaron. Mientras intentaba ahogarme, mi magia actuó por su cuenta y maté a mi padrastro,” Magnus finished his story. “I’ve spent my life trying to control it. I’m afraid to hurt someone else I love.”

[That night was the very night that my powers really manifested. While trying to drown me, my magic acted on its own and killed my stepfather.]

          “Only after he tried to kill you. You’re not a monster, Magnus. You are a victim.” She frowned. “En el momento en que te vi, lo supe. Alguien te lastimó, y ni siquiera puedes admitir que no fue culpa tuya.”

[The moment I saw you, I knew. Someone hurt you, and you cannot even admit it was not your fault.]

          Magnus stared at Isabelle in awe. “Thank you,” he said to her.

          “I’m your sister, now.” Isabelle smiled. “It’s what family does. Now, it’s time for some sisterly meddling, Magnus.” She reached out and squeezed his left cheek, making Magnus frown. “My brother isn’t quite ready to take that final step and approach you yet, but he will be by tomorrow,” she assured him. “I’ll be damned if you two don’t live happily ever after.”

 

Chapter Text

After his talk with Isabelle, Magnus portalled himself to his loft to retire. He snapped his fingers to remove his makeup and change into a pair of silk baby pink boxers before going to sleep. As per usual, Magnus didn’t dream at all as he slept.

           The next morning, however, he was woken up by a series of soft knocks on his door. He rolled out of bed, pulling on a short robe that went to about mid-thigh and matched his boxers. He tied it loosely around his waist before opening the door. He wasn’t alarmed at the idea that it might an intruder. The only people who could enter the loft without Magnus letting them in were the Lightwoods. “Hello?” Magnus yawned, rubbing his bare eyes.

           “Magnus. Hi, I know it’s early and you probably think I’m asshole because I just walked out without saying anything the other day—who wouldn’t—but I thought maybe I could come by and we—” Alec was talking a mile a minute the moment Magnus opened up the door for him. He was tapping his left foot nervously, his eyes struggling not to stray from Magnus’ glamored eyes.

           “Alexander.” Magnus cut Alec off mid-sentence. “Breathe.” He opened up the door to his bedroom fully, stepping aside so Alec could come in. “Now, you’re here for a reason, obviously, and I have not yet concluded that you are an asshole, so we can skip all that.” He waited for Alec’s slow nod at his words, unable to keep himself from smirking when he saw Alec’s eyes wander down to his chest when his robe opened up slightly.

           “I just—I wanted to talk. To you,” Alec explained, dragging his eyes back up to Magnus’ face. Now that he wasn’t focusing on not appearing to be a horrendous combination of idiotic and perverted, he noticed that Magnus wasn’t wearing any makeup. The lack of makeup made him look even more beautiful, somehow, giving off an impression of vulnerability instead of the immovable pillar of strength Alec had seen before. He still had the ear cuff that Alec assumed he always wore and a serpent ring on his finger, but the light pink hues of his barely-there clothing and lack of makeup gave him insight to a Magnus he’d assumed didn’t exist at first glance. Alec wanted to know so much more about him.

           “I’m listening.” Magnus crossed his arms, waiting for Alec.

           “I don’t—I don’t want to get married,” Alec said first, wanting to get that part of the talk Isabelle had insisted that he and Magnus needed to have out of the way. “I knew that it would probably happen someday, knowing Maryse, but I had no idea that they’d had this arrangement planned out for years before I’d even admitted that I was gay to myself, let alone taking that next step and coming out to my parents.”

           “That’s one thing we have in common, Alexander.” Magnus looked over at Alec, and Alec swore his heart stopped for several moments. “I don’t want to get married, either. If I had things my way, I wouldn’t be here. This is not the path I would have chosen for myself,” he said honestly, his hands folded carefully in front of him. “But I think I could learn to cherish this change in my path. Do you understand?”

           Alec nodded. “I think so,” he told Magnus. “I’m not sure how I feel about this, or even about you, not completely. But every time I look at you, it gets hard to think clearly and it feels like I’m going to make myself look like an idiot.”

           “So there’s something there, at least.” Magnus waited for Alec’s nod before continuing. “We come from very different places, surrounded by very different people. I don’t know how it feels to step into a closet, and you’ve had to go through the process of getting out of one. So, correct me if you think this isn’t the best way, but I think we could try it out, see how it goes. Your sister has already proven to be a delight, and the care I’ve seen for you through her tells me that I could learn to feel something for you. If not, it’s at least worth a try.”

           Alec smiled, a pink hue settling over his cheeks. “Yeah. I’d like that,” he agreed, placing his hands over Magnus’.

           Magnus’ first instinct was to pull his hands away, before he looked into Alec’s eyes. There was no weakness there. Despite the softness of his current expression, Magnus could sense an unmistakable amount of strength within him. He would not hurt Alec. Instead of pulling his hand away, Magnus squeezed Alec’s hand and smiled at him. “Are you busy right now? Since you’ve already taken the liberty of waking me up at”—Magnus checked the clock perched on his wall—“4 a.m.”

           Alec shook his head. “Aside from possibly getting a coffee from Chelsea and maybe taking a walk near the Hudson with you? Not really.” Alec scratched the back of his neck sheepishly when Magnus pointed out the time. “I’ve been thinking about how to approach you since I walked away. When I finally worked up the courage to, I couldn’t really think about anything else.”

           “Give me a second to get dressed, then.” Magnus snapped his fingers to change his clothes. Alec took a moment to admire the outfit he was wearing.

           The gold cardigan draped nicely over his slender frame, bringing out the cat-eyed jewel necklace that he wore over a sleeveless black shirt. He wore a simple pair of black jeans this time, the tips of his hair blond and his eyelids decorated with glittery gold eyeshadow towards the center and smooth black at the ends.

           “How do I look?” Magnus asked, doing a spin for Alec, although by his smirk, he knew exactly how Alec felt about the outfit.

           “Lo suficientemente bueno para comer,” Alec answered without hesitation, holding out an arm for him. He smiled, glad he at least had a language he could use to say things he wasn’t confident enough to say to Magnus.

[Good enough to eat.]

           Magnus covered up his soft chuckle with a cough, linking arms with Alec and leaving the room. “Igualmente,” he said offhandedly as they walked out, locking the door to the loft with a simple flick of his wrist.

[Same to you.]

           Alec’s eyes widened at Magnus’ response and his face went bright red. “Y-You know Spanish?” he sputtered.

           “I know Spanish, Italian, German, English, Russian, Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Punjabi, French, Xhosa, Dutch, Portuguese, Latin and Romanian, actually,” Magnus said easily. “And ASL. Can’t forget about that.”

           “. . .Impressive,” Alec said dumbly, receiving a shrug in response.

           “I had a lot of time on my hands. Now, where’s this Chelsea coffee you talked about? I want to get some and have enough time to watch the sunset.”

           Alec had to laugh at how precious Magnus’ excitement was, and led the way to the coffee shop he went to every morning. He walked inside, chiming the bell at the front desk. “Chels?” he called into the seemingly empty shop.

           “Here I am!” A woman that stood at least six inches taller than Alec pushed her way through the door, blowing flour off of her deep brown fingers. “Your usual?” she asked Alec, smiling.

           “You know me too well,” Alec said in response, watching her brew up a black coffee for Alec to drink. She looked down at Magnus, who, admittedly, had never felt so short in his entire life.

           “And for you, Cutie?” she asked him. Magnus blushed up to his ears, looking at the menu hanging on the wall behind her.

           “I’ll take a tall layered caramel macchiato, extra sugar.” Magnus dug into the pocket of his black jeans for his wallet, before Alec gave him a look that made him pause. “What?”

           “This is on me.” Alec shook his head, paying for both their drinks. “Trust me when I say that this isn’t hurting my wallet one bit.” He leaned against the counter, facing Magnus while Chelsea made their drinks. “Isabelle really seems to have taken a shine to you,” he pointed out.

           Magnus nodded. “I still can’t quite understand why,” he said truthfully. “I was really guarded with her and hard to handle at first. Jace’s reaction to me is the only one that’s made sense.”

           “And me?” Alec asked.

           Magnus smiled at the counter. “You’re still the most beautiful man I’ve had the pleasure of laying my eyes on, Alexander. You should smile more.” He reached out to touch Alec’s cheek, stopping himself halfway and pulling his hand back. “Sorry. I should’ve. . .” He trailed off, looking down at his feet.

           “It’s okay.” Alec took both their drinks, handing Magnus his. “We should probably go. You know, to make sure we get to the Hudson in time.” He placed his hand on the small of Magnus’ back, leading him out. Chelsea whistled as she watched the movement of Alec’s hand as they both left. “Smooth,” she commented with an approving nod.

           “She seems. . .”

           “Nice?” Alec asked.

           Magnus grinned. “More like tall,” he told Alec. “She isn’t a mundane, is she?”

           Alec shook his head, taking a sip of his black coffee. “Half Giant, half Seelie,” he told Magnus. “How’d you know?”

           “I can’t be fooled by glamors,” Magnus explained. “I thought it was something all Warlocks could do, but I have a strong affinity for seeing past any and all things that are being hidden from me.”

           “Hm.” Alec mumbled, “That’s interesting. Who’s your demon parent?”

           “One of the seven,” Magnus explained to Alec. “Asmodeus.” Magnus knew, just from the look on Alec’s face, that he immediately recognized the name.

           “Lust.” Alec looked at Magnus, unsurprised by the fact. Truthfully, the fact that Magnus’ demon parent was Lust was expected, almost. The man looked like sex personified. Alec had no reason to be shocked.

           “And your Angel classification, what is it?” Magnus asked. “I’m usually able to tell on my own, but I can’t get a proper read on you, Nephilim.” They settled down onto a park bench near the Hudson river, watching as the sun began to set.

           “Throne,” Alec answered him. “Jace is a Seraphim, and Izzy is an Archangel.”

           Magnus shook his head. “No.” He frowned at Alec’s answer. “You’re not a Throne. At least, not completely?” Confusion passed over his features as he placed his hand over Alec’s, holding it on the bench between them.

           Instead of paying too much attention to Magnus’ answer, Alec shifted closer to Magnus, wrapping his free hand around his shoulder and pointing towards the sun as it peeked over the horizon, framed by the quiet river. “Beautiful, isn’t it?” he asked Magnus, holding their interwoven hands in his lap.

           Magnus lifted his head and caught Alec looking directly at him. He felt his face grow hot, but couldn’t bring himself to look away. “Yes.”

           Alec brushed his fingers over the back of Magnus’ hand, rubbing slow circles into his skin. He leaned in first, his eyes closing.

           Magnus felt his heart thudding in his chest as he closed his eyes as well, leaning in. Just a few more inches, and they would breach the space between their lips.

           “Baby this is innocent. . .

           A melodious voice rang out from in between them from Alec’s phone, making them both pull away before their lips met. Alec reached into his pocket, answering his phone. “Hello?” he asked, his voice tinged with irritation. “Maryse. Yes, Magnus is with me and that’s why his loft is empty.” He pinched the bridge of his nose, and Magnus giggled at his expense. “We’ll be there shortly. Of course, Maryse.” He hung up the phone. “That wasn’t very nice of you, to laugh like that.”

           “Perhaps not.” Magnus chuckled again. “Nice ringtone, by the w—” He was cut off mid-sentence by Alec pulling him in by his collar, pressing their lips together.

           Magnus’ eyes widened at first, before his eyes closed and he placed his free hand on the back of Alec’s neck, pulling him in closer. Alec’s lips moved against his, out of practice, but more than making up for that in passion.

           He placed his hand on Magnus’ jaw, parting his soft lips with his tongue, tasting sweet caramel that contrasted the sharp taste of his own bitter, unsweetened coffee. He released a groan from somewhere low in his throat, letting go of Magnus’ hand to grip insistently at his waist. He had never wanted anything or anyone this much. He needed more.

           Magnus was the first to pull away, and Alec chased his lips, only to be met with a perfectly manicured finger. Alec smiled despite himself.

           “That was. . .” Magnus trailed off, his breath coming out in soft pants. “I thought we were supposed to take it slow.”

           “I’ve being going at a snail’s pace my whole life.” Alec smiled at Magnus. “I’m tired of having to bide my time and wait for something I want.”

           “You want me?” Magnus’ lips quirked up into a lopsided grin.

           “Desperately.” His phone vibrated in his pocket. He didn’t have to check to know who it was. “Maryse, again. We should go.” He stood, pulling Magnus up with him. “Portal us?”

           “With pleasure.” Magnus put up a glamor before he opened up a portal in front of them and they both stepped through, appearing in front of Maryse.

           Maryse narrowed her eyes at Magnus the moment she saw him. “I hope you have a very good explanation for last night’s escapade,” she said in a way that made Magnus feel like a small child again and not a Warlock that was nearing his first century of life.

           “Um.” Magnus swallowed, looking down at his feet.

           “I was worried,” she told Magnus, holding his chin and making him look up at her. “You are going to be a Lightwood, Magnus. There are things you must learn. First, though, you are moving into the Institute. Your precious loft is now on lockdown until you have proven that you can be left to your own devices in the streets of New York.”

           “Maryse—”

           “That is Mother to you, Magnus,” she scolded. “And what is this I hear of a Warlock couple offering to train you?”

           “Ragnor and Catarina,” Magnus told her. “They want to help me become more useful to you.”

           “And when were you going to tell me about this?”

           “. . .Later?” Magnus looked over at Alec, who was struggling to keep a straight face as he watched him being chastised. He wasn’t used to having a parent who treated him like this. His mother had been dead for over sixty years. “Ragnor knows about the kind of magic I’m supposed to have. I can heal, conjure, and summon, but my magic isn’t meant for that.”

           “And what is it meant for?” Maryse asked him.

           “Combat. . .and seduction.” Magnus said the second one with a blush on his cheeks, and Alec took a deliberate step away from him, red blossoming over his own.

           “Seduction. . .” Maryse frowned in disapproval. “Not if I have anything to say about it. You will not be seducing anyone if you are to marry my son. Combat, however, has my attention. I will set up a meeting with Ragnor at your loft. You’ll be allowed here for training, only under my supervision.” Her tone left zero room for argument. “Create a portal for us to return to the institute,” she told Magnus.

           With a wave of his hand, Magnus created a portal for the three of them. He stepped through first, Alec following after him while Maryse went last. “I’ve arranged to have a room set up for you already. You’ll be staying in the same wing as your family. Regardless of your species, you are a Lightwood, and you’re going to live like one. That means training under our schedule and working with Alec to maintain the institute. You can start by putting up wards.”

           “I could look it over.” Magnus frowned. “But I should go over something like that with Alexander. I’ll consult with him, since he is running the institute more often than not, and we’ll determine whether or not the wards need to be strengthened together,” he decided. He didn’t like the way Maryse tried to order him around, and he was not going to allow anyone to parade him around like a pet warlock. He’d had enough of that from his brother, and while Maryse hadn’t taken any of the ‘necessary precautions’ his brother had insisted on whenever they managed to capture him and bring him back to the castle to ‘keep him safe,’ he knew enough stories about the older Nephilim to be wary of her.

           Maryse raised an eyebrow at that. “You seem to know a lot more about the Nephilim here at the institute than I was led to believe.” She turned her dark eyes on Magnus, willing him to crumble at her feet. Magnus hadn’t felt so chilled by anyone’s gaze in what felt like forever.

           Dad?

           Don’t do this.

           “I did my research.” Magnus shrugged, forcing himself to remain nonchalant. “Marrying a Nephilim is bold, even for me. When my brother accepted your offer, I thought it’d be a good idea to learn about the Nephilim here, since we do not have them in Jakarta.” He kept his eyes locked with Maryse’s. He couldn’t let her see him waver, even if staring back at her made his blood run cold.

           After nearly a minute of looking at Magnus, Maryse nodded her approval, the corner of her mouth quirking up in an almost-smile. “Excellent. I’ll leave the both of you to it, then.” She turned her back to Magnus and Alec, walking to her office.

           “Magnus?” Alec placed a hand on his shoulder, and only then did Magnus realize that he was shaking. “You should sit. Here.” Alec held Magnus’ hand with his free one, leading him to a chair. He helped him sit, watching as Magnus struggled to collect himself. Maryse had a way of making someone feel like they were nothing with just a look, and Magnus had held his own against her. A lesser man would’ve buckled under the weight of her stare. Even Alec had trouble meeting her gaze dead-on the way Magnus had.

           “Are you sure the blood running through her veins is from an Angel?” Magnus had to ask, just to make sure. He smiled bitterly at his bare fingers.

           Alec chuckled. “So you’re okay?” he asked, crossing his arms carefully. There was something there, still. Magnus held himself as if he was trying to appear small, like he wanted to disappear, but the position was obviously one Magnus was familiar with. “You’re not,” he answered himself before Magnus had a chance to. He heard the sounds of approaching footsteps as the other Shadowhunters began to finally wake up. It wasn’t safe for them to see Magnus when he looked so broken and defeated. “We should probably go to my room.” He offered Magnus an escape before the main room of the institute was too crowded.

           “Actually, I’ll retire to my room. On my own.” Magnus stood, his tone catching Alec off guard. What had he missed? Just a second ago, Magnus had appeared to be ready to collapse under a great weight, and now Alec couldn’t get a read on him at all. He was completely closed off, his eyes cold.

           “Magnus?” Alec asked. Magnus turned his back on Alec and left the room as if he wasn’t talking to him at all.

           Alec stared after him as he walked away. Had he done something wrong? He thought that things were going well, between the two of them. “Magnus!” he called again, following after him. His legs were longer, so he was able to cover more ground in each of his strides. He caught Magnus in the hallway where both of their bedrooms now were. Alec placed his hand on Magnus’ shoulder, forcing him to look at him. “Talk to me. What’s going on with you?”

           “Nothing.” Magnus shrugged him off. “I’m fine. I’ve just remembered who I am, is all. You and your siblings almost let me forget.”

           “Magnus, I don’t understand. . .” Alec’s eyebrows drew inward. He searched Magnus’ face, trying to break through the layer of indifference he’d put up all of a sudden. “It’s obvious that there’s something wrong. You’re acting different.” He tried to hold Magnus’ gaze, despite the fact that he was fighting not to look in Alec’s eyes.

           “Different? And you know so much about me from the few hours or so that you’ve actually acknowledged my presence?”

           “Yes. I’ve only talked with you for a few hours, but I...” Alec shut his eyes, taking a leap of faith in hope that he’d get through to Magnus. “I feel like I’ve known you for so much longer. For years. Decades, even.”

           “What are decades to an immortal?” Magnus asked Alec, finally looking up at him. Alec took the small victory for everything that it was worth.

           “I have no idea. Do you?” He knew that all Magnus had were decades. “I don’t know what it feels like to be immortal. All I know is that Nephilim don’t live forever, and because of that I cherish every hour, every minute, every single second of time I can spend doing what I feel is important.”

           “Does that include me?” The words slipped from Magnus’ lips before he had a chance to remember that he was upset. His lips quirked up in a small smile.

           “That’s more like it.” Alec grinned, gently patting Magnus’ cheek. “Now, what happened out there?”

           “She shook me up. Made me remember things I’d rather forget,” Magnus explained, his cheek warm where Alec’s hand had been. “I reacted badly. I’m sorry.”

           “Do you want to talk about it?”

           Magnus shook his head. “Some things are better if left in the past, at least for now.” He licked his lips. “I’m obviously not ready to face it right now.”

           “When you’re ready, you come to me,” Alec told him. “And if not me, then Isabelle or even Jace. We’re in this together now.”

           “Okay,” Magnus agreed. “I will. Just. . .give me some time. All of this is a lot to take in.” Alec was a lot to take in. The man was a force all on his own, one Magnus was struggling not to get swept up in. He was just so intense, so fiercely protective. He made Magnus feel like he was the fragile one, for once. It was something he hadn’t allowed himself to ever be. He had accepted that he was always going to be the powerful one. His demonic parent left no room for weakness, not even on Magnus’ darkest days. He was never fragile, never cared for. Just threatening unless he was restrained.

           “I can do that.” Alec took a step back, no longer crowding into Magnus’ space. “So, um, about those wards. . .” He scratched his deflect rune sheepishly. “There are a few specific spots that seem to have started to weaken over time. If you want to have a look, I’ll show you.”

           “Of course. Lead the way, Alexander.” Magnus followed after him, cracking his knuckles before conjuring a wave of magic and sending it in a shockwave through the institute, using it to locate any weak points while Alec walked him through. “Right here.” Magnus stopped Alec when they walked inside the training room. “The wards are significantly weaker in this room.” He reached out to make Alec stop walking, but paused halfway, staring at the magic swirling around his hand, crackling like small bolts of lightning. He bit his lip, deciding to keep his hands to himself.

           “You’re sure?” Alec raised an eyebrow, surprised at Magnus outburst.

           “Positive.” Magnus kneeled down, casting a protection spell. “Clypeus meus opibus foveri malo. Ex hoc facit nocere clypeus. Clypeus daemones negative entia percurrere non sinit. Clypeus decernendi potestas mea sola et libere liceat. Nullum entia scutum transierit. Sicut ego volo, sic fiat.” He thrust both hands at the training room floor, covering the entire room in his protective magic. He watched as the entire room shimmered with a blue light before it faded away. “There. All clear.” Magnus stood, dusting off his clothes. “So, what do Nephilim do all day for fun?” he asked Alec once he was finished, snapping his fingers to reacquire his gloves before latching himself onto Alec’s arm.

           “I normally train and go for runs. I like to read and watch movies, occasionally.” Alec shrugged his shoulders, realizing that there really wasn’t much that he did for his own enjoyment. Normally, he spent all his time cleaning up Izzy and Jace’s messes or running the institute, but that was only when Maryse was in Idris. His cheeks warmed when he realized how boring he really was.

           “I read, but it’s mostly books on language and history. Recently, though, Ragnor gave me this.” Magnus snapped his fingers and a book appeared in the hand that was not occupied with holding Alec’s.

           “The Book of Shadows,” Alec read the title. “Spells?”

           “Mmhm.” Magnus nodded in confirmation. “He wants me to finish this book. After I manage to read it through, he can help me learn the spells and I can begin to cast spells like these without a spell book.”

           “Like you did with the protection spell?” Alec asked, trying his best to stay on board with what Magnus was saying. There was so much he didn’t know about Warlocks and their magic, but he would try his best if it allowed him to know more about Magnus. Alec could feel that, despite their current physical closeness, there was a huge gap between them that he wanted to bridge.

           “Exactly, Alexander.” Magnus snapped his fingers again and the book disappeared. “But spell books can be so boring. Tell me about you. You think you’re a throne, right?”

           “I don’t think I’m a Throne. I know.”

           That again.” Magnus smirked. “Mind if I have a look? Just a quick check to make sure?” Magnus offered. He felt confident that he wouldn’t hurt anyone when he had his gloves on. A quick check would be fine.

           “Magnus Bane, are you being sly?” Alec joked, arching one of his eyebrows.

           “Give me some credit, Alexander.” Magnus scoffed. “If I was going to make an excuse to touch you, it’d involve you being a lot less clothed than this, and I wouldn’t just be touching your arm.” He led Alec back to his bedroom, forcing him to sit down. He placed his hand on Alec’s forearm, right above his angelic rune. “Lunam et aestus, salvum me fac et hic nondum inveni veritatem quaerendam, quia latet sub caligine, novas facultates ego nocte hac igitur sicut et alii nobiles ostendere et signis et mansueti et ignavos currere luna enim sol petit, id est tria et potestas, sic volo, sic fiat.” He chanted, before tracing the rune with his finger.

           Alec watched him closely, amazed. He had always been fascinated when he saw Warlocks working around the institute, and he’d never been allowed to see magic at work at this proximity. “Amazing,” he breathed.

           Magnus felt his cheeks warm, a small smile making its way onto his lips. “It’s not all that amazing. The spell is simple. What’s not simple, is this rune. I knew something was off about you being a Throne.”

           “What do you mean?” Alec asked him.

           “I mean you may have had the blood of a Throne mixed with yours. But you, Alexander, are not a Throne.”

           “Magnus. . .” Alec just stared at Magnus’ face, trying to understand what he was trying to say.

           “It’s all there, Alexander. Throne. Dominion. Power. Principality. Seraphim. I can’t even figure out which one originally belonged to you.” Magnus ran the fingers of his free hand through his hair, in awe of Alec. “I read about this. Nephilim experimentation,” Magnus murmured to himself, even more intrigued than before. “This had to happen before birth. Injecting fetal Nephilim with the blood of several different classifications of Angel to create a stronger breed of Shadowhunter. The effects of the runes are that much stronger on them. They are enhanced, more obedient, the perfect soldier. The only issue with these experimentations, though, is they have shortened life spans. None have naturally lived past thirty. But to solve the issue

           “Magnus.”

           “They started forcefully mating with half demons. Warlocks, mostly. The bond granted immortality through magic, even though the process was intentionally made painful for the half demon that was forced to forge it. The Nephilim didn’t see any issue with this—”

           “Magnus?” Alec repeated, trying to get Magnus’ attention.

           “Until the demon parents found out about the subsequent abuse their sires were subjected to after the bond was forged. The war that followed was—”

           “Magnus!” Alec finally yelled.

           “Catastrophic,” Magnus finished, giving Alec his attention. “Sorry. I got carried away,” he apologized. “I’m back.”

           “Is that why you’re here?” Alec looked down at Magnus’ hand, where it was still touching his angelic rune. “For me? To save my life?”

           Magnus furrowed his brows. “Maybe. I don’t know, Alexander.” He frowned. “You may need to have a talk with your Mother, Alec.”

           “But you know about this. You read about it, right?” Alec pressed, looking for answers. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to talk to his mother about this. He already knew about them working with Valentine during the uprising. Having to confront them about this wasn’t something he was looking forward to. He had already been disappointed by his parents enough for an entire lifetime. “Tell me what they did to them during that time.”

           Let me know all the atrocities that my parents were trying to recreate using me.

           “Warlocks have their own marriage process, where you would engrave special stones that would be inserted magically into either wrist,” Magnus began to explain. “They were willing to bond themselves to Nephilim, if they were given something in return. But Nephilim didn’t think they deserved the price they were asking for.”

           “And what was the price?” Alec interrupted Magnus’ explanation.

           “They wanted representatives in the Clave,” Magnus responded. “But the Nephilim refused. They still needed the Warlocks to live, however, so they kidnapped them against their will and tortured them into submission.”

           “Tortured?”

           Magnus sighed. “Yes, Alexander, tortured. I know you are a Nephilim yourself, but is it really so hard to believe?”

           Alec pursed his lips, not saying anything and just allowing Magnus to continue.

           “As I was saying.” He shot Alec a look for interrupting him yet again. “After torturing the Warlocks, they refused to use their methods of marital bonding. Instead of that, they used their Seraph Blades to carve the marriage rune into their skin, along with a rune of the Nephilim’s name. To show who the Warlocks belonged to. The process was excruciating, and not all Warlocks managed to survive. Those that did, well. . .” Magnus looked down at his hands. “They all wished they hadn’t.”

           Alec looked at Magnus and wrapped an arm around his shoulders, pulling him in closer. His hand drifted downward to rub Magnus’ back, trying to offer him comfort. “If it’s hard to talk about. . .”

           “No.” Magnus shook his head. “I can keep going. You should know the truth.” Magnus wanted Alec to be disgusted with the actions of his ancestors. He wanted him to be so appalled that, if it came to it, he fought to make sure they didn’t allow Magnus to be tortured. “Life. . .bonded with the Nephilim”—he refused to say married—“was even worse than the torture that preceded it. At best, the Warlocks were treated like pets. Taken advantage of and used for their magical power. But there were countless cases of rape, sexual assault, spousal abuse, and the use of Warlocks as breeding stock.” His mind had no issue supplying him with the images that were drawn into the book in startlingly intricate detail. Magnus dry heaved, his entire body lurching forward.

           “Magnus!” Alec reached out with both hands, pulling him close when he saw how much he was suffering just by telling the story. “You don’t have to say any more.” Alec couldn’t even begin to understand how much it hurt Magnus to talk about the story. “Just know, nothing like this will ever happen to you. As your fiancé, I would never allow it.”

           Magnus nodded, clutching onto Alec’s shirt to force himself to keep it together. It always upset him when he thought about it, because even with all the abuse he endured from both his stepfather and half-brother, Omar, he never had to go through even half of what the Warlocks in the book had suffered through. “You have to talk to her, Alexander.”

           Alec nodded his head. “I promise I will. Later.”

           “Alec. . .” Magnus trailed off.

           “I promise. But if I were to talk to her right now, I’d have to walk away from you. I’m not willing to do that right now,” he admitted.

           “Alexander. . .” Magnus lifted his head to look at Alec.

           “I know.” Alec moved his hand off of Magnus’ back. “I’m sorry. It probably isn’t the time for me to say something like that, especially after finding what happened to the Warlocks, and knowing who the both of us are. But it’s like I can’t help myself when it comes to you.”

           “It’s okay.” Magnus placed a hand on Alec’s cheek. “I’m not angry. I get it,” he assured him, leaning into him once again. “I don’t want to be alone right now, anyway.”

           “Then you won’t be.” Alec pressed his lips to the top of Magnus’ hair, then pulled away, his gaze traveling down to Magnus’ lips. There was no gloss there, but his lips were still smooth and inviting.

           “Hey Alec, we have—” Isabelle opened up the door to Alec’s room.

           Alec and Magnus pulled away from each other quickly. Isabelle looked between the two of them, noting Alec’s red face and Magnus’ eyes, which were wet and shining with tears.

“Magnus?” Isabelle walked over to him, kneeling down and placing her hands on his cheeks. “¿Estás bien? ¿Le ha hecho daño uno de los Cazadores de Sombras? Te juro que haré que lamenten haber nacido...”

[Are you okay? Did one of the Shadowhunters hurt you? I swear, I'll make them regret ever being born...]

           Magnus shook his head. “You’re mothering me, Izzy.” He smiled despite himself, unable to hide his amusement. The difference in power between the two of them was insurmountable. It was he who should be doing the protecting, not Isabelle. Even so, it was a gesture Magnus appreciated.

           “I’m the older sister here, Magnus. Since you technically stopped aging at nineteen, I get another younger brother.” She beamed at him, before glancing at her older brother. “So. . .was I interrupting something?” she asked him, grinning knowingly. “I heard about your little date this morning.”

           “More like orchestrated it.” Alec rolled his eyes. “You and Magnus can talk later. I’d like to spend some more time with my fiancé, please. Alone.”

           “About that. . .” Isabelle smiled sheepishly. “The two of us are needed for a meeting with the Seelies. And Magnus has a meeting with the Warlock training him and Maryse.”

           Alec frowned. “I’m not leaving Magnus. Send Jace.” He narrowed his eyes at the ground.

           “Alec,” Magnus spoke, getting Alec’s attention. “Go.”

           Alec looked back at Magnus for several moments, working out an internal conflict, before he pushed himself up into a standing position. “Fine. Let’s go meet with the Seelies.”

Chapter Text

               Magnus stood between Maryse and Ragnor, shuffling his feet awkwardly. “I’m sorry about this,” he told Ragnor, biting his lip. “This is my mother-in-law, Maryse. She wanted to meet you.”

               “It seems that the arrogance Nephilim are known for only increases with age.” Ragnor eyed her up and down. “I want to help this young Warlock come into himself and learn how to control his power.” He gestured over to Magnus, who was still toying with his fingers and shaking nervously. He was having trouble dealing with the tense atmosphere between the two of them.

               “We are here for the same reasons. I only want to help my son-in-law.”

               “You expect me to trust one of my own in the hands of a former Circle member? The descendants of the people who preyed on Warlocks centuries ago?” As he spoke, his demeanor became more guarded. “The more I learn about the situation, the more I worry about him. I refuse to allow him to live a repeat of the past. I will not sit idly by this time, Maryse.”

               Magnus bit his lip. “I am not weak. Do not talk about me like I’m not here!” he shouted from in between them. “I want to learn more about my magic, and I may not know everything about Alexander, but I want to learn more about him as well,” he said firmly. “I read about the Nephilim before they came. They look down on us. They think our demonic blood makes us lesser, but Alexander is not like that. He’s kind, protective, and I know he would never hurt me the way those Warlocks were hurt in the past.” He took a deep breath. “Please wait here, Maryse. Ragnor and I will train in my library.”

               Ragnor’s eyebrows raised at Magnus’ outburst, impressed. “Well, then. Please don’t wait up too long for us. I’ll ensure that your pet Warlock has a new trick to show you by the time I’m finished with him.”

               “I assure you, he is no one’s pet,” Maryse said before Magnus could argue. “And I will not be waiting here. Magnus is my responsibility.”

               “You mean your tool,” Ragnor corrected. “Not everyone knows your secret, Maryse, but as the High Warlock at this point in time, I do. I know the Warlock that was there when it happened, remember?” When she didn’t respond, Ragnor pressed even more. “Magnus is a well-read young man. Do you think he knows that, without him, your precious son’s days are numbered? He is invaluable to you now. But after he saves his pathetic, mortal life, what of him then? Once he is no longer useful, how can you guarantee Magnus’ safety? Would you even want to?”

               Maryse held her tongue, her fist clenched at her side.

               “Now, wait here.” Ragnor turned his back on Maryse and Magnus followed behind, waiting until they were both inside the library before he spoke.

               “I don’t believe that Maryse is like that,” he told Ragnor. “I know the stories. What happened to the Warlocks was absolutely disgusting.”

               “Yet, you still are living among them. Marrying the very breed of Shadowhunters that committed those atrocities against our people,” Ragnor said accusingly, looking through the shelves for a spell book. “Take those gloves off. I know that they suppress your magic.”

               Magnus looked down at his hands before he nodded. “Alright.” He slipped the gloves off of his hands and snapped his fingers to get rid of them with his magic. “Gloves are off.”

               “Good. Now, as I was saying.” He took out a book before he shook his head, a grimace making its way onto his face when he put it back. “You have to be out of your mind, Dear One. If you truly are aware of what they did to our people, how could you bring yourself to take that risk?”

               Magnus frowned to himself, debating on whether he should tell Ragnor the truth.

               He didn’t have to.

               “By Lilith,” Ragnor breathed, reading Magnus’ torn expression with ease. “You didn’t choose this, did you?”

               Magnus shook his head. “The Lightwoods made offerings for my hand in marriage. It wasn’t my decision,” he told Ragnor, unable to bring himself to look at him. “Things were different in Indonesia. I ran away all the time, but they kept finding me. Each time, the punishment was worse. This punishment was the latest one.”

               “Oh, Dear One.” Ragnor looked down at Magnus sadly. “Let us protect you. You do not have to marry him. It’s okay to choose yourself.”

               “I can’t,” Magnus managed to say, finally looking Ragnor in the eye. It was too late already. In such a short amount of time, Alec managed to make him fall under his own unique spell. “I love him. I won’t let him die if I can save him just by being with him.”

               “This is so much more than being with him .” Ragnor’s voice was grave. “You will be bonding your soul to his for all of eternity, Dear One. There is no divorce. You belong to him indefinitely. Breaking this bond would shatter your souls completely and kill you both.”

               “I’ve already made my decision,” Magnus told him. “I’m his, for as long as he wants me.”

               Ragnor just looked incredibly saddened by Magnus’ admission. “So much power. So much potential, in the hands of Nephilim .” He took a deep breath, nostrils flaring. “I can’t agree with what you’re doing. But I won’t argue with you.” He took out a book and opened it up. “Read this. Once you believe the words within it, then we can begin training. For now, you are not in any position to learn how to utilize destructive magic.”

               Magnus nodded. “Is that all?” he asked Ragnor.

               “Not all.” Ragnor shook his head. “If you’re interested, Catarina would like for you to come to Pandemonium with us sometime. She is terribly fond of you.”

               “And you’re not anymore?” Magnus tried to sound playful, but his voice came out sad, instead.

               “Oh, I am fond of you, Dear One.” Ragnor shook his head sadly. “That’s the problem. I care what happens to you. And I can see self-destruction waiting to happen.”

               Magnus bit his lip and then sent the book into his new bedroom. “Tell Catarina I’ll text her,” he told Ragnor, leaving the library and returning to where Maryse was still waiting for him.

               “Let’s head back. Create a portal for us to return.” All Magnus had to do was think about it and the portal appeared in front of Maryse. She looked at Magnus, surprised, before her eyes traveled down to his hands. “I see.”

               Magnus flicked his wrist and his gloves returned to his hands, keeping him from using the full power of his magic. He walked through the portal with Maryse, emerging in his bedroom, alone. He looked at the bare, boring colors of the walls and emptiness of the closet and lifted his hands, waving them in a flourish to add his own personal touches to the room and put his clothes in the closet. The sheets transformed into red and gold velvet and the walls glittered in shades of sparkling gold and silver. For the finishing touches, he added a makeup vanity with lights around it and a desk for him to read the small portion of spell books he’d brought a bookcase of in the room.

               “Anyone home?” Magnus turned around when he heard knocking on his door, just in time to see Jace walking inside.

               “Jonathan, it’s you,” Magnus greeted him, faking a bright, confident smile. “Do you like what I’ve done with the place?”

               “Cut the ‘Jonathan.’ It’s Jace,” he corrected. “The only person that gets a semi when you call them by their full name is Alec, and I’m not interested in having any part of that.” He shivered. “That guy and his kinks, I swear.”

               “Okay?” Magnus sat down on his bed. “Is there a reason you’re in my room, Jace?”

               “Maybe I just wanted to give you the pleasure of seeing my pretty face?” Jace shrugged his shoulders.

               “While I would fall for that in most cases, considering that you are completely vain and self-obsessed, it’s me we’re talking about.” Magnus crossed his arms. “Now tell me what you want.”

               “Fine.” Jace threw himself on Magnus’ bed. “I may have come in here to avoid being witness to a particularly explosive argument between Alec and Mom. Jesus, these sheets are comfortable.”

               “Velvet,” Magnus told Jace. “Are they arguing about. . .?”

               “Something Mom did when she and Dad were in The Circle.” Jace shrugged again. “I thought that they’d already told us about what they did and how it was one of their biggest regrets. But apparently there’s more to the story that involves Alec directly. You too, I guess. He was pissed.” He turned his head to look at Magnus.

               “Wait, why are you telling me this?” Magnus took off his high heels and put them on the ground next to his bed, then pulled his knees up to his chest.

               “I thought you could tell me what’s going on.” Jace pursed his lips, moving his hand to support his head. “I mean, Alec hasn’t been this angry in a long time, so it has to be bad. He’s been a lot happier since you arrived. Even before he had the balls to talk to you.”

               “I think it’s better if someone else told you.” Magnus shook his head. He couldn’t bear to tell the story twice in one day.

               “Look, if it’s bad, I can handle it,” Jace reassured him. “Just tell me, okay? We’re family.”

               They both looked at the door as it practically slammed open, a fuming Alec standing on the other side.

               “Alec, the three of us should probably have a talk about all this,” Jace tried.

               “Jace, get out,” Alec said, his eyes focused solely on Magnus, like a predator closing in on its prey. Magnus tried—and failed—to pretend that it wasn’t the hottest thing he’d ever seen. Alec climbed into Magnus’ bed, occupying the empty space Jace had left in his hurry to leave the room, before descending onto Magnus, crowding his body with his. Alec placed his hands on Magnus’ knees, pushing them apart and moving in between them.

               “What did she say to you?” Magnus asked, swallowing hard to calm his rapidly beating heart.

               He shouldn’t be this turned on by an angry Alec.

               “I don’t want to talk about that right now.” Alec leaned forward, kissing a trail over Magnus’ neck, biting down right over his pulse.

               “Okay.” Magnus let out a sound that was more of a moan than a hiss of pain, feeling his blood rush south.

               “I want you.” Alec removed his lips from Magnus’ neck long enough to gasp out, before connecting their lips in a bruising kiss. He grabbed Magnus’ wrists, pinning him against his headboard.

               “Oh Lilith.” Magnus closed his eyes as he felt himself melt under the touch of Alec’s fingertips. He kissed back just as roughly, biting down on Alec’s lips hard enough to bruise. He pushed his tongue against Alec’s, tasting blood when Alec bit his lip hard enough to break the skin. He wiped his mouth when Alec pulled away, kissing down the opening of his shirt.

               Magnus arched his back at the harsh kisses and bites that had the slightest edge of pain, just enough to make Magnus’ eyes roll back into his head and a gasp of Alec’s name to leave his lips. This was a side of Alec he didn’t know existed. And despite the fact that he was enjoying it immensely, he knew he had to stop him before things went too far.

               “Alexander, you’re angry.” Magnus looked at Alec. “You’re not thinking clearly. You just want to blow off some steam.”

               “And?” Alec asked, unable to see the problem in his actions. “I may be angry, but I’m not drunk. I haven’t had anything that would impair my judgement. I’m just fucking angry and so much of my life has been a lie. Nothing can be mine. Nothing has ever been mine.”

               “That’s not true,” Magnus argued in between labored breaths.

               Alec let go of one of Magnus’ hands, pinning both of his wrists above his head with one hand. “You’re right,” he agreed, sneaking one hand under Magnus’ shirt. He twisted his nipple roughly and Magnus cried out in pleasure, his magic creating sparks at the tips of his fingers. “I can have you . You’re mine,” he breathed into Magnus’ ear.

               Magnus nodded. “You can. I’m yours,” he agreed. “And I would be on board with this because it feels go-oood!” Magnus whined loudly. “I’m trying to be responsible right now, Alexander. I can’t think straight when you do that.”

               “I don’t want you to think straight. Raziel knows it’s not something I’m capable of.”

               “Bad wording,” Magnus conceded. “I don’t want our first time together to be like this. It’s too soon. We’re moving too fast,” he told Alec, shaking his head. The moment Alec pulled away, Magnus felt a small, displeased whine leave him. It took everything he had to tell Alec to stop. He wanted him so much.

               Alec pulled away, taking a few deep breaths to calm himself.

               “I’m still yours,” Magnus reassured Alec, placing a hand on his cheek and giving him a quick kiss. “We just—I know we’re going to be permanently bonded to each other and married, but you’re overwhelming me,” he admitted. “I’m having trouble taking all of this in and my magic—it’s reacting to you.” He tried not to sound as scared as he felt at the idea of his magic becoming overactive and hurting Alec.

               “Your magic doesn’t scare me,” Alec told Magnus, running his fingers through his hair and taking a moment to admire his handiwork now that he wasn’t so focused on pouring every single ounce of his anger into Magnus. His neck and chest were littered with dark hickies, and he hoped that, even with Magnus’ ability to heal himself, he’d leave them there for as long as possible. He wanted to replace them with more the moment they were gone. “It’s beautiful and fascinating. It’s part of you. How could I be afraid of you?”

               “You barely know me,” Magnus tried to reiterate. He should probably be telling himself the same thing, considering how deeply he’d already fallen for Alec.                

               “I know more than you think I do.” Alec held both of Magnus’ hands. “I know that you’re extremely powerful. You wear these because you’re afraid of hurting us, because you care .” He kissed each of Magnus’ fingertips, which were left exposed by the gloves he wore. “Someone hurt you in the past. You don’t want to talk about it, because it hurts too much. The reason it hurts is probably because you hurt them back, trying to protect yourself, and you love them despite what they did to you.”

               Magnus stared at Alec, awestruck. He didn’t understand how he knew so much.

               “I will never hurt you the way they did, and that’s the only way you’d hurt me,” Alec told Magnus. “And if I ever become that monster, then I deserve it.” Magnus shook his head silently, wiping away tears, but that didn’t stop Alec. “I know enough to know how lucky I am to call you mine. And that’s a small piece of who you are. I can’t wait to get to know you even more.”

               “I can’t promise that I won’t hurt you if we. . .become intimate, Alexander. It’s intense. It’s hard for me to control my magic when it happens.” He stared down at his hands. “I want us to wait until I’ve finished Ragnor’s training.”

               Alec nodded. “As long as you need me to wait. But until then, I want us to skip through that stage where we don’t know what’s okay or what we are to each other. I’ve had enough of that for a lifetime.” He frowned for just a moment, before pressing their foreheads together. “Let’s just—we can just be together, right?” he asked, unsure.

               Magnus nodded his head. “For now, though, we need to talk about your not-so-friendly chat with Maryse.” He pulled away from Alec, shuffling to the side to let Alec sit next to him. Instead, Alec laid down, resting his head on Magnus’ thighs.

               “What do you want to know?”

               Magnus ran his fingers through Alec’s hair. “How about we start with everything?”

               “Well, you were right. About what I am.” He reached up and held Magnus’ hand, keeping it close to his chest, right over his heart. “She volunteered for it when she was pregnant with me. She wanted a strong child to fight for Valentine’s cause. Along with that, she told me that I won’t survive until my 25 th birthday without the bond. She wants us to form the bond as soon as possible, and the Clave keep trying to shorten the engagement.” He let out a groan of frustration. “Just another way they’re trying to control my life. I can’t even fall for you on my own terms.” He squeezed Magnus’ hand, closing his eyes.

               “They can’t control everything you do. The bond is inevitable. You need it to live, and I lo—care about you.” Magnus quickly corrected himself before he revealed too much. “Is that all?”

               “I’d rather not regurgitate facts that I’m sure you already know.” Alec turned his head to the side. “I just want today to be over. I’m tired, Magnus.”

               “That makes two of us. Do you think we could sleep today away?” Magnus smiled, snapping three times to remove his makeup and change into his pajamas instantly, then turn off the lights in his bedroom. “You should probably go to your bedroom and get some sleep.”

               “Or I could stay here.” Alec licked his lips. Magnus was dressed in a too-big t-shirt and sweatpants. Alec had never seen him dressed so simply before. Without the usual flash, Magnus looked so much smaller. He didn’t understand how anyone could look at such a vulnerable, beautiful man and see danger. “If that’s okay with you.”

               “I wouldn’t object to the idea.” Magnus shrugged, going for nonchalant. “I think it would be nice. The two of us need to spend a lot more time together before we go through with the bond. I need you to be sure that I’m the right Warlock.”

               “I already know.” Alec shook his head. “You’re not the first man I’ve dated. I spent years figuring out who I am and what it means. I’m done with that. There’s only one thing I’m sure of right now, in this moment, and it’s that I want you.”

               “Whether you want me right now isn’t the question.” Magnus continued to run his fingers through Alec’s hair, watching his eyes slowly drift closed. “It’s whether you’ll want me forever. And the truth is, you don’t know that you will.”

Chapter Text

Alec blinked his eyes open sleepily, burying his face in the sheets under his head and grumbling quietly to himself. He hadn’t felt anything so comfortable in his life. It felt like sleeping on a cloud, and he never wanted to get up. “Mm. . .” he murmured, smiling sleepily.

               “Should I be jealous?”

               Alec turned his head to look at Magnus. “Maybe.” His lips stretched into a lazy grin. His eyes drifted to the open book in Magnus’ hands. “Should I? Since you’d rather read a book than sleep with me.”

               Magnus rolled his eyes, snapping his fingers to put on his gloves before running his hand through Alec’s hair. “I’ve got studying I need to do. Have a look for yourself.” He turned the book over and showed Alec the cover.

               ‘I Am Not a Monster’: A Downworlder’s Guide to Self-Acceptance by Luke Garroway, ” Alec read off the title, then pushed himself up into a sitting position. “Do you really believe that about yourself? That you’re a monster?”

               “I’ve said this before, Alexander. I know what I am.” Magnus leaned back against his headboard, continuing to read. His hair didn’t have any gel, and the floppy strands fell into his eyes as he read.

               Alec pushed the hair back, getting it out of Magnus’ face. “Do you know who you are?” he asked. It seemed insane for Magnus to see himself as anything but the amazing man Alec, Isabelle, and even Jace saw when they looked at him.

               Magnus didn’t answer, keeping his eyes on the book. “There’s a lot of things you don’t understand, Alexander.”

               “I think I do, just a little. You were born this way, Magnus. You didn’t get a choice. That’s one thing we have in common. If you’re a monster, then so am I.”

               “Our situations are different. You were experimented on. You’ve never actually hurt anyone you cared about,” he murmured.

               “Magnus.” As Alec spoke, he crossed his legs, turning his entire body to face Magnus. “Look at me.” He placed his hand under Magnus’ chin, holding his jaw and turning his head to look at him. “Do you really believe if I was victimized the way you were, I wouldn’t fight back? If it was anyone—even Jace, my parabatai , my own brother—I would fight, because I know that I don’t deserve it. You are such an amazing man, and you didn’t deserve it.”

               “That doesn’t excuse the fact that I killed him.”

               “You were a child.” Alec moved his hands from under Magnus’ chin to his cheeks, wiping away the tears that had begun to fall. “I want to make every single person that ever hurt you to suffer by my hand. I want to hurt them, but that doesn’t make me a monster. It makes me human. It reminds me that even though I was experimented on and made into whatever this”—he gestured at himself—“is, I can still feel. I can still care about you and I can care about my family.”

               “You’re pretty knowledgeable for someone so young,” Magnus pointed out. “But don’t forget that I’m still older and wiser. All these things, I’ve gone over in my head a thousand times. I feel guilt, because I loved my stepfather dearly. I looked up to him and, until my Warlock mark showed itself, he loved me, too. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t his,” He told Alec, saving the page in his book and closing it. “But that’s not what I’m afraid of. Not anymore. What I’m afraid of is this,” he began, placing a hand on Alec’s cheek. “Seeing the light go out of those beautiful eyes permanently, because I lost control.”

               Alec swallowed. “I’m stronger than you know. I kill demons for a living.”

               “Yes you do,” Magnus agreed. “I’m working on overcoming this fear. Just let me work on this, however I can. Support me, because it’s something I want to do.”

               Alec looked into Magnus’ eyes, seeing his resolve. “I will. In any way I can.” He pressed a soft kiss to Magnus’ lips.

               Magnus grinned, climbing into Alec’s lap and giving him a kiss in return once he pulled away. He ended it after just a second, draping his arms around Alec’s neck. “Thank you.”

               “Can I get a thank you kiss?” Alec asked playfully.

               “I thought that was a thank you kiss.” Magnus rolled his eyes as Alec placed both hands on his lower back.

               Alec shook his head. “That was an ‘End of Conversation Kiss.’”

               “That’s a thing?”

               “It is now.”

               Magnus smiled and pushed Alec onto his back, kissing his nose, cheeks, and then finally their lips met, clumsily at first, their noses pushing against each other. They both giggled at the same time, before resuming their kiss. When their tongues met, Magnus let out a soft sigh, losing himself in the feeling of Alec’s lips against his. He felt heat on the tips of his fingers and tried to pull away, but Alec placed a hand on the back of his head and pulled him back in, running one hand up Magnus’ back and then down his arm, trying to calm him.

               I’m okay.

               His actions conveyed the words he didn’t want to pull away to say, and Magnus held the hand that was on his arm with his own.

               You won’t hurt him, he told himself, ignoring the tingling in his fingers as he squeezed Alec’s hand, the sensation feeling like shocks of lightning at his fingertips. He let himself get completely wrapped up in the firm press of Alec’s lips and the gentle glide of his tongue, taking in the slightly bitter taste of his morning breath and breathing in the scent of his sweat.

               He loved him so much.

               “Magnus! Have you seen Alec?” Jace yelled, knocking on Magnus’ door. Alec pulled away from Magnus with an eye roll.

               “Alec is busy!” Alec yelled, looking up at Magnus, his hands on his hips. His hair was sticking up in every direction, messed up from sleeping and Magnus’ fingers running through it.

               “Are you naked?” Jace asked, turning the knob on the door.

               “If only.” Alec chuckled to himself. “Come in.”

               Jace opened the door, taking in the sight of both Alec and Magnus fully clothed, Magnus straddling Alec’s waist.

               “That outfit is very. . .normal,” he pointed out, gesturing at Magnus. “Like, the shirt is pretty much plain and those are plaid boxers.”

               “The shirt is actually sheer,” Magnus said proudly, turning so the shirt could catch the light, making it practically see-through. Alec licked his lips, running a hand up Magnus’ chest, brushing a thumb over his nipple.

               “Hey, hey!” Jace held up his hands. “I’m still in the room. None of that!”

               “Speaking of you being in here...” Magnus bit his lip, his eyes drifting closed as Alec teased his nipple. “What did you want?”

               “I was gonna go grab breakfast with Max. We wanted to know what you wanted.”

               “I’ll take three eggs, fried hard, and cheesy hash browns.”

               “Actually, we’ll both take a hard pass.” Alec turned his head to look at Jace. “Thanks for thinking of us, though.”

               “Anytime.” Jace waved at the two of them, closing the door on his way out of the room.

               “So. . .” Alec said once Jace was gone. “How had I not noticed that this was sheer before?” He chewed on his lip, looking at Magnus’ chest through the shirt. His pink nipples were on display, hard from Alec’s touches, and when Alec’s gaze drifted down, he saw that Magnus had no belly button. “Is that your Warlock mark?” he asked curiously.

               “This? No.” Magnus shook his head, chuckling a little at the idea. “That would be a pretty lame Warlock mark.”

               “What is your Warlock mark, then? As far as I can tell, your skin isn’t green or navy blue. You don’t have any horns, a tail or multiple arms.” He ran his fingers up Magnus’ side to check and he giggled. “I want to see it.”

               Magnus shook his head. “I don’t like it,” he told Alec. “I’m not ready to show you them, not yet.”

               Alec nodded in understanding. “One day?” he asked Magnus.

               Magnus nodded his head, his heart pounding in his chest. He was terrified that Alec would see his mark and suddenly decide that he wasn’t beautiful anymore. He wouldn’t be the first to reject Magnus after seeing his Warlock mark. “One day,” he confirmed. Magnus reached for his book once again, but Alec caught his hands, shaking his head.

               “The book can wait. Pay attention to me.” His lips set themselves into a frown.

               “But I have to read it,” Magnus disagreed. “And I still have to work on the spells from the Book of Shadows.”

               “No. You can do that later,” Alec decided. “Now, it’s time for you to pay attention to me.” He ran his hands under Magnus’ shirt, slowly tracing up and down his sides.

               Magnus shivered at the touch. “Fine. You win,” he whined, tilting his head back. “No books.”

               Alec grinned. “I can take you out for breakfast, then?” he asked Magnus, sitting up. He lifted Magnus off of him, placing a kiss on his forehead. “We should shower.”

               “Separately.” Magnus climbed out of bed, grabbing a glittery purple towel from his closet and leaving his bedroom.

               Alec just smiled at him. “Have it your way.” He shrugged his shoulders.

               Magnus rolled his eyes. He had not expected this side of Alec to exist, and he had to admit that it was a pleasant surprise that there was more to the uptight, well-trained Shadowhunter he’d heard about. He knew that it was still there, but it had to be. He made a living killing demons, after all. As Magnus walked down the hall, he heard the low murmuring of voices and stopped for a moment to listen in, casting a glamor to make himself invisible. He knew he shouldn’t be listening in, but he had always been a sucker for good gossip. He couldn’t help himself.

               “It’s not too late to change your mind. I know what the Clave said, but—” Magnus took a step forward, looking at the two people who were talking. It was Robert and Maryse, and they both looked visibly stone-faced, like they were having an argument in their own uptight, Nephilim way.

               “But what, Robert?” Magnus had to wince at her tone. She was clearly livid because of whatever Robert was trying to tell her. “I’m just supposed to say, ‘ Oh, I’ve changed my mind. ’ And even if it did go over well with the Clave, you have to think about our son. He’s falling for him, haven’t you noticed? During our argument yesterday, Alec was more passionate than he’d ever been in his entire life, and he was defending Magnus.”

               Falling . Not fallen. We could still have them bond. We both know marriage isn’t necessary, Warlocks have other forms of bonding that can save Alec’s life and he can still marry a fellow Shadowhunter. Our original plan for him was not this, Maryse. We agreed that he would keep a Warlock as a familiar to keep himself alive and make him immortal. A concubine of sorts, not a husband. He’s the child of the greatest lust demon to ever exist. As long as Alec keeps him interested sexually, he would be able to move forward with the bond. Warlocks love easily and deeply. They are simple creatures. When you have a Warlock’s heart, you own them.”

               Magnus stared into the room, speechless. Is that really how Robert felt about him? About Warlocks as a whole? And Alec had been so eager for them to have sex, especially right after his talk with Maryse. Is that really what they had planned for him? Did Alec agree with them?

               “When we agreed to that, our situation was different. We were in the Circle , Robert, in case you’ve forgotten that little detail,” she snapped. “We’re not doing that. Do you not remember what happened then? Every single one of those Enhanced Shadowhunters were exterminated by the demons that rampaged Idris. The Warlocks all died as well, but they welcomed death. Do you not remember the horrors we were taught growing up?”

               Magnus bit his lip. He knew the story of how all the Warlocks died. The bond ensured that the two bonded parties could not survive without the other. The Nephilim had believed it was for their benefit, to make sure that the Warlocks were dependent and fiercely protective of them despite their cruelty, but the Warlocks used it as assurance that the Nephilim they were bonded to would not kill them. When the demons attacked, the Warlocks had been spread far too thin. They had been fed up with the abuse, with the life they’d had to live, so they had sat idly by as the Nephilim were all killed, allowing themselves to die as well.

               But Alec wasn’t like that. He would never be like that.

               “This conversation is over, Robert.”

               Magnus hurriedly snuck down the hallway, slamming the door to the bathroom behind him and canceling the glamor before Robert exited the room. He walked over to the shower and turned on the water, letting everything sink in as he stripped down to nothing.

               It was official: Robert Lightwood was one of them . The Nephilim who looked down upon and, more likely than not, abused Downworlders.

               He conjured up a bottle of his favorite shampoo and his makeup kit, placing the latter on the counter before getting into the shower. He washed his hair, Robert’s words echoing inside his head.

               As long as Alec keeps him interested sexually.

               They are simple creatures. When you have a Warlock’s heart, you own them.

               A concubine, not a husband.

               Magnus let out a scream as his emotions let his magic get the best of him, shattering the glass of the shower. He stayed still, feeling the glass piercing his skin. He snapped his fingers to fix the shower and stepped out, sitting down on top of the toilet and placing a hand, glowing blue, over the spots that had been cut to heal them. It stung as it healed, and he winced when he heard knocking on the door.

               “Is everything alright in there?”

               Alec.

               Magnus smiled, just a little. “I’m fine. I tripped and hurt myself, but I’m healing it,” he told Alec. He waited for the sound of retreating footsteps, but it never came.

               “Can I come in?” Alec asked. Magnus looked around him and snapped his fingers to clean up the worrying amount of blood on the bathroom floor and dress himself. It was a simple, shimmery black collared shirt and pants, but he added a few gold necklaces, an ear cuff, and changed the color of his usual gloves from black to glittering gold to enhance the outfit.

               He stood up and opened the door for Alec as he dried his hair. He never dried it with magic, it just didn’t turn out as well.

               “See? I’m fine.” Magnus removed the towel from his head, giving Alec a smile.

               “And somehow I don’t believe you.” Alec placed a hand on Magnus’ face to examine it, searching for any signs of harm. When he saw that was fine, he relaxed, but only slightly. “Something happened. Magnus, you look shaken up.”

               “It’s fine. I’m fine,” Magnus repeated, pushing Alec’s hand away. “I have to do my makeup,” he said, licking his lips. He stood in front of the mirror and opened the makeup bag, aware of Alec’s eyes on him. He leaned over to start applying his eyeliner, before he noticed that his hands were shaking. “Shit,” he cursed, placing his hand on the counter.

               “You’re not fine,” Alec stated, holding Magnus by the waist and turning him around, trapping him between himself and the counter. “Talk to me. We can stay in, okay? You don’t look up for going out.”

               “I’m fine,” Magnus insisted.

               Alec shook his head, pressing his lips to his forehead. “You’re shaking.” He rubbed slow circles into Magnus’ hips. “Come on. Let’s go back to bed.” He tried to lead Magnus out of the bathroom, but he shook his head, pulling away.

               Magnus had to ask. He had to. “Did you know?”

               “Know?” Alec squinted one of his eyes in confusion. “Magnus, you’re not making any sense.”

               “Robert. When I was walking to the bathroom I heard. . .he wants to just use me and marry you off to someone else. You told me that you would never do that to me. Did you say that because you knew? You wanted me to believe that—”

               “Magnus, look at me.” Alec placed his hand on Magnus’ cheeks. “Believe me when I say that I had no idea,” he told him. “I said that to you because I meant it. You’re my fiancé.” He pressed his forehead to Magnus’ and closed his eyes. “Breathe.”

               Magnus breathed in deeply to calm himself down. “You wouldn’t do that?”

               “Never,” Alec promised. “Is it okay if I kiss you?” He could see that Magnus was still trying to wind down his anxieties and he didn’t want to push, but Magnus looked absolutely irresistible.

               Magnus shook his head. He could feel his magic just beneath the surface, trying to find its way out of his fingers. He could feel it fighting against the protections the glove offered, trying to push through. “Please let go of me.”

               Alec moved his hands away, taking a step back. Magnus sunk down to the ground, curling into himself and he watched, helpless. He wanted to make everything okay, but he just couldn’t. “Magnus?”

               Magnus concentrated on breathing deeply, pushing his magic back, fighting against his own nature the way he’d always had. Once he felt like the danger had subsided, he looked up at Alec. “Okay. I’m alright.”

“Can I touch you?”

               Magnus nodded. Alec leaned down and lifted Magnus into his arms. Magnus instinctively wrapped his arms around his neck, raising his eyebrows. “What are you doing?”

               “Carrying you,” Alec told him, bringing Magnus back into his bedroom. Isabelle spotted the two of them and then winked, disappearing around the corner.

               Alec laid Magnus down on his velvet bedsheets, sitting down in front of him. He placed his hands on top of Magnus’ for just a second, then reached up to Magnus’ collar. “We’re going back to bed. Can I undress you?”

               Magnus nodded. He watched as Alec slowly released him from the confines of his shirt, going button by button. The process was oddly therapeutic for Magnus, who felt the crippling anxiety within him beginning to fade with every piece of clothing that was removed. Once he was down to a pair of silk lilac boxers, Alec kissed his shoulder and placed his hand over Magnus’, silently asking to remove his gloves.

               Magnus glanced at him apprehensively. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

               “You won’t.”

               “You don’t know that,” Magnus tried to argue.

               “I know what I’m capable of. You won’t,” Alec said again.

               “I’m dangerous.”

               “And we’re going to be talking in circles all day. Tell me no, Magnus,” Alec challenged, waiting for him to speak up. “Do it.”

               Magnus stayed silent. He wanted to say yes, but he was terrified.

               After several minutes of waiting, Alec grabbed Magnus’ phone off of his desk, looking through his contacts.

               “What are you doing?”

               Alec didn’t answer, instead placing a call, waiting for an answer. “Hello? This is Magnus’ fiancé, Alec.” Alec stared at the phone in confusion when whoever he called hung up on him, before immediately calling back. He put the phone on speaker, letting Magnus hear when he gave him a suspicious look.

               “Hello, Alec?” Magnus heard Catarina ask. “ I’m sorry about my husband.”

               “Don’t worry about it.” Alec looked at Magnus, smiling at his bewildered expression. “I was wondering if you could offer me some advice.”

               “Of course,” Catarina said cheerfully. “What do you need?”

               “I want to help Magnus in any way I can. I care about him very much; I can tell that the issues he’s having with his magic are troubling him. You’ve gone through this before, haven’t you? What can I do to help?”

               I have, but my situation is very different from Magnus’. I want you to tell him something for me. Maybe if it comes from you, he’ll listen.”

               “I’ll do my best, but I can’t make any promises. My fiancé is very stubborn.” Alec chuckled and Magnus glared half-heartedly at him.

               “Tell him to stop fighting it,” Catarina told Alec. “He wants to control his magic, like someone subjugating a beast. If he continues to go about using his magic this way, he will always be afraid of it and it will never bend to his will. The only way for him to master all the raw power he possesses is for him to accept it. As a Warlock, his magic is an integral part of he is. He should treat the magic as an extension of his own body. Move with it. Cooperate and coexist ,” she finished. “Is that all, Alec?”

               “Yes, that’s all. Thank you so much, Catarina.”

               Save the thank you, Alec.” Catarina laughed, the sound light and melodious. “I just expect that, in return for this favor, you and Magnus will be attending a couple’s yoga class with Ragnor and I tonight.”

               “What?”

               “Yes!” Catarina said cheerfully. “It’ll be so much fun. And a friend of ours will be attending with his chatty fledging boyfriend.”

               Magnus covered his mouth to keep from laughing at the bewildered look on Alec’s face. Catarina was clever, that was for sure. He doubted Alec would be too keen on attending a couple’s yoga class otherwise.

               “We’ll be there?” Alec said, still not quite sure what had just happened.

               “Meet at our loft at sunset!” Catarina told Alec before ending the call.

               Once the call was over, Magnus looked at Alec. He had just reached out to his friends in order to do whatever he could to support him. He hadn’t asked how he could make everything stop, or how to control it and force Magnus to take a leap he wasn’t ready for. He just wanted advice to support him. “You’re so thoughtful,” he told Alec, his smile heartfelt. He was touched.

               Alec blushed, placing a hand over his deflect rune and looking down at his lap. “I was just doing what any good fiancé would,” he said, trying to humble himself. “But you should follow that advice she gave. I’ve never had magic, but I know what it means to spend years fighting a part of yourself. Accepting it is much less painful.” He placed his hand over Magnus’ once again, raising an eyebrow.

               Magnus nodded, letting Alec slowly remove the gold gloves from his fingers. His magic immediately reached out, trying to push through, and his first instinct was to fight it with everything he had, his eyebrows knitting together.

               “Magnus,” Alec’s voice broke through the internal battle he was having with his magic. “Don’t fight it.” He massaged each of his fingers, as if he was trying to coax the magic out of them.

               Magnus nodded. He let his magic free itself, expecting it to leave his body like a strike of lightning. Instead, it flowed slowly, like a current. It left his fingers in waves, traveling from his body to Alec’s. He bit his lip, watching carefully as, instead of letting out a hiss of pain, Alec moaned, his eyes fluttering closed.

               “By the Angel,” Alec said in a breathy moan, opening his eyes just a little once the current of magic stopped flowing into him. “What was that?”

               “I. . .I don’t know,” Magnus admitted.

Chapter Text

“Alec.”

              “No, Magnus.” Alec directed his deadpan stare at his fiancé, then at his sister. “I said no.”

              “But you guys are having a couples’ evening out!” Izzy held up the shirt to Alec’s chest, sizing him up. “You look good in blue. It’s just a V-neck, come on. Live a little.”

              “I’m living just fine in black and grey clothes. Magnus, come on. We’re going to be late.” Alec threw a long-suffering look in Magnus’ direction. He liked the way their color schemes clashed when they were together. Magnus had thrown on a pair of joggers and a black, floral tank top that made Alec drool just a little when he saw him. He’d forgone his usual pair of heels for ballet flats and changed the color of his gloves from gold back to black to finish off the outfit. His eyes were rimmed in black eyeliner and the clear gloss he was wearing tasted like oranges, or at least that’s what Alec had tasted when he pressed Magnus against the wall after he’d gotten dressed and kissed him until he was out of breath.

              “Earth to Alec? Hello?” Izzy waved her hands in front of Alec’s face to get his attention.

              “I’m not wearing it, Izzy,” Alec said for what felt like the hundredth time. “Put the shirt away. We’re doing yoga , for Raziel’s sake, just let it go. I think I’m in for enough suffering as is.”

           “Fine.” Izzy pouted, before looking at Magnus. “Sigue trabajando en ello. Lo traeremos la próxima vez.”

[Keep working on him. We’ll get him next time.]

              “You realize I can understand you, right?” Alec threw up his hands. “This is ridiculous. Can we please go now?”

              “Okay. We’re going, we’re going.” Magnus placed his hands on Alec’s shoulders, leading him out of his bedroom. He shot Isabelle a quick wink as he and Alec left. To avoid the crowd of Nephilim that still had little to no regard for common courtesy when it came to Downworlders, Magnus portalled them both to Catarina and Ragnor’s penthouse.

              “You’re here. Wonderful.” Catarina smiled, clasping her hands together once Magnus walked into the room, Alec in tow. She and Ragnor were both dressed similarly, in sweatpants and a loose shirt. Magnus wondered whether Alec would ever let them coordinate their outfits if he toned down his wardrobe some. But knowing Alec, ‘ toning down’ would have to mean draining his entire wardrobe of all the flourish, glitter, and color that he loved, and it may not be worth the trouble because he would most likely still say no.

              “This is my fiancé, Alexander.” Magnus looked over at Alec, who look understandably uncomfortable in a room where he was the only Nephilim. Magnus took his hand and squeezed it, using Alec’s own tactic to get him to calm down.

              “I just go by Alec.” Alec looked over at Magnus and smiled, reminding himself that everything was fine. These were Magnus’ friends. No one was in danger. His hand twitched, and he wished that he’d brought his bow and quiver, just in case he needed to protect himself and Magnus.

              Old habits die hard.

              “A pleasure. If you’re even half as charming as Magnus has fooled himself into believing you are, I’m sure we’ll get along fine,” Ragnor drawled, pushing himself off of their loveseat. He had his horns and green skin on display, not feeling as if he needed to cover them up in his own home. “I’m sure Raphael will love you even more.”

              “As he should. Alexander is a delight,” Magnus said, frowning at Ragnor. He let go of Alec’s hand to walk over to Ragnor. “Be nice, Sweet Pea. I know how you feel about Nephilim, but Alexander is different.”

              “Don’t call me Sweet Pea.” Ragnor rolled his eyes at the nickname. “I’ll decide whether or not he is different for myself.”

              Catarina stepped around them both, walking over to Alec and holding out her hand. “It’s nice to put a face to the name, Alec,” she greeted, trying to make up for how cold Ragnor was guaranteed to be toward Alec, given his past with Alec’s specific breed of Nephilim. “We should probably get going or Raphael will have a fit. He’s always so painfully punctual.” She gestured vaguely with her hand, waving it in a circle in a way that reminded Alec of something he saw Magnus do all the time. He wondered if it was a habit he’d picked up from her. “Well, we’re off. Would you mind, Dear One?”

              Magnus created the portal with a wave of his hand, giving Ragnor one last pleading look before returning to Alec’s side and stepping through the portal with him.

              They were all met by an unusually down-dressed Raphael who had his arms crossed, sitting on a bench and staring into space. He didn’t look quite as angry or intimidating as Magnus remembered him being during their first meeting, but he wasn’t going to push his luck. “Hi there. I’m Magnus, the guy who stepped on your shoes. This is—”

              “Alec?” The man to Raphael’s left interrupted Magnus. “I didn’t know you were going to be here.”

              “Oh. It’s the mundane again,” Alec said dryly, turning his body very deliberately away from him. Magnus wasn’t sure if it was some sort of joke between the two of them, but—given the very sharp, vampire-like set of teeth and suspiciously red drink in his hand—he was most definitely not a mundane.

              His face fell at Alec’s lackluster greeting. “You know, I thought we’d be able to get along better with the whole Clary and Jace business behind us.” He stood and walked over to Alec in a smooth movement. He set his hand on his shoulder. “You know, we both have men in our life now. We’ve moved on. Congratulations on the engagement, by the way.” He turned to Magnus, holding out a hand. “Nice to meet you. Simon Lewis.”

              Magnus looked at Alec as he shook his hand. His mood seemed like it had gotten sour all of a sudden, and Magnus guessed that whatever Simon said about Jace wasn’t something he liked to talk about. “Nice to meet you Seymour, I’m Magnus.” Maybe he and Raphael’s boyfriend wouldn’t be good friends, but he figured it was worth it from the chuckles he got from both Raphael and Alec as well.

              “I like you.” Raphael smirked at Magnus, coming to stand at Simon’s side. “Let’s hurry up and go inside. We’re already late.”

“No, we’re just early because you insisted on leaving exactly at sunset,” Simon corrected.

Raphael turned around and walked towards the door of the yoga studio as if Simon hadn't said anything, opening it up and walking inside.

              Magnus and Alec hung back while the others walked inside. Magnus let go of Alec’s hand when the others were inside, crossing his arms. “So, is there something I should know about you and Jace?”

              “Magnus. . .” Alec sounded vaguely irritated by the question, but Magnus had no intention of letting it go without something to ease the immediate fear that welled up his chest. “Later, okay? All I can tell you now is that whatever that was is ancient history. He’s my brother.”

              Magnus believed him. When he saw Alec and Jace interact, it looked like two brothers communicating with one another. But that didn’t stop him from feeling jealous. He didn’t completely understand the bond between parabatai , but he knew it was the strongest bond two Nephilim could have with one another. And they weren’t really related, so he had to wonder. “Okay. Later,” he agreed, letting Alec place a gentle kiss to his forehead before leading him inside. They found the others setting down their yoga mats. Magnus grabbed one big enough for both himself and Alec before settling in on the floor and sitting down cross-legged. He leaned on one hand as Alec sat down with him, just in time for the instructors to enter the room. He didn’t bother to listen to their introductions, until he caught Catarina giving him a disapproving look.

              ‘ Sorry ,’ Magnus mouthed, an easy grin coming onto his face. He gave the instructors his full attention, resting his head on Alec’s shoulder.

              “If you’re a sloucher like me, this is a great opportunity for you,” the instructor—Maria? Mariah? Mary?—joked, getting into position. “Sit cross-legged, backs against each other’s in a half lotus pose. If you’re having trouble, just copy Adam and I.”

              “This is great. Really relaxing,” Simon commented, letting his eyes shut as he leaned against Raphael.

           “It was, until you opened your mouth. Por favor, carajo —just stop talking for a minute, Simon.”

           “You love my big mouth,” Simon pointed out, a self-assured smirk on his face.

           “You are both disgusting.” Ragnor rolled his eyes. “This is like foreplay for them, Cat.”

           Magnus let out an undignified snort, making his eyes widen at the embarrassing noise. He froze up against Alec’s back, but only for a second. The moment Alec noticed Magnus’ unease, he reached behind him and squeezed his hands. “You’re adorable,” he whispered, quiet enough for only Magnus to hear.

           “Next pose!” Mary’s partner, Adam, announced, cutting all their conversations short. “From here, you’re going to lift up, with both feet on the floor,” he instructed, locking arms with Mary as they both raised so they were sat as if they were in a chair, backs flat against each other. Both Ragnor and Catarina managed to change poses with ease, while both Simon and Raphael fell on their way up, Raphael mumbling curses under his breath.

           “ That pairing still confuses me,” Alec told Magnus, watching the two of them try again and succeed. “You’d think Catarina’s friend hates him, which would make perfect sense if you’re asking me, but they’re dating?”

           “Alexander, Darling, love is strange. You find it in the most unlikely places.” Magnus’ tone was dreamy. He found the two of them adorable. Their silly bickering and the way Raphael just couldn’t manage to stay angry when he looked at Simon made him feel oddly sentimental. He couldn’t help himself, he was a romantic at heart. “The love they feel for each other is no less deep than Ragnor and Catarina’s love. You just have to squint to see it.”

           Alec leaned against Magnus. “And what about us? I’m not trying to say we’re in love or anything like that, but it’s bound to happen, and what will we be like?”

           “This.” Magnus reached back at the same time as Alec and they clasped each other’s hands gently. “Love doesn’t change much. It’s not like one day you just wake up and you love someone. It’s a process, and it doesn’t change how you felt when you looked at someone the day before. By the time you figure out you’re in love, you’ve already been in deep for a long time.” He knew it was true, even though he didn’t quite fit that path. Magnus fell easier and deeper than most. He wasn’t sure if he loved or hated that fact about himself. He looked down at his lap and let go of Alec’s hand as they moved onto the next pose. They both stood, following the instructor’s example and taking two steps forward before turning to face each other.

           Alec got into position first, laying down on his back. He reached up with his arms and legs, waiting for Magnus.

           Magnus held Alec’s hands with his own, Alec’s feet holding him up. “You look good on top of me.” Alec winked at him and Magnus grinned. “Although I would prefer there to be less clothes and more riding involved, I’ll take what I can get for now.”

           “Keep dreaming, Alexander.” Magnus chuckled. “But I appreciate your ambition.” He cast a look toward the instructors before changing position. He stood over Alec, wrapping his legs around his with his back facing Alec. He bent backward, his back forming a perfect arch. He crossed his arms on his chest and pressed a quick kiss to Alec’s lips.

           Alec lifted his head to deepen the kiss, a pleasant shiver traveling down his spine as he got a good look at exactly how flexible Magnus was. It would something he’d planned to take full advantage of at a later date.

           “You’ve got to be kidding me. None of us can do that!” Ragnor gestured at Magnus, not even bothering to try the new position and instead walking over to Magnus and Alec, who either didn’t notice him walk over or just didn’t care. They continued to kiss, Alec running his hands up Magnus’ chest. “This is more of my student and the Nephilim than I ever wanted to see. Catarina, can we leave, Dearest?”

           “Let them be.” Catarina grabbed Ragnor’s hand and dragged them back to their mat. Simon and Raphael didn’t even bother with the new position. They both knew what they were capable of, and neither of them had Magnus’ flexibility. “Magnus, Dear One, I believe it’s time for us to be leaving!” she called, trying to get his attention.

           The instructors coughed loudly, feeling understandably scandalized by Alec’s wandering hands. Magnus pushed his hands away and broke the kiss, leaving both of them panting heavily. “By Lilith, Alexander.”

           Alec didn’t have the decency not to smirk. He waited for Magnus to return to a standing position and then pushed himself up, both of their lips kiss-bitten and wet. Mary cleared her throat again to get everyone’s attention.

           “If you come back for any sessions, please keep the PDA at the PG level.”

           Alec didn’t seem to be listening to anything the instructors had to say. He ran his fingertips down Magnus’ arm. “We should get going,” he whispered to him.

           “I couldn’t agree more. You still owe me an explanation for the whole Jace thing.” Magnus didn’t want to own up to how much he enjoyed the way Alec’s face fell, so he kept his expression innocent and unknowing.

           Alec came back with a comeback of his own. “Great. And while we’re at it, how about we address that little incident this morning, hm?”

           Magnus stiffened at the mention of the incident. He still wasn’t quite sure what had happened then, and when Alec had pressed him for answers he’d clammed up completely and kicked Alec out of his room. Somehow, he doubted that tactic would be working twice.

           “Hey, you!” Magnus perked up when his name was called. He turned toward Raphael, who was holding out his phone. “Your number. We should double date sometime.” Magnus chuckled at the whispered ‘ Hell no’ from Alec and put his phone number in Raphael’s phone.

           “I just realized there’s something back at the institute we have to handle,” Alec mumbled, stuffing his hands in his pockets and taking a step back when Simon walked over to him, trying to start a conversation.

           “Really? Because when I talked to Jace and Clary, they were talking about how quiet things have been lately.” Simon gave him a puzzled look. “Something they don’t know about?”

           Alec rolled his eyes. “I cannot be near him anymore,” he said. “Magnus, please.”

           “Alexander.” Magnus gave him a look for what he said to Simon. “Be nice to Simeon.” He created a portal for them even as he said this, and walked over to Ragnor and Catarina, kissing both of their cheeks. “Next time, something a little less. . .this?” he asked.

           “Just the three of us,” Ragnor told Magnus. “Leave the Nephilim where he belongs.”

           “I couldn’t agree more. Me, you, and Raphael deserve a spa day. Next time, it’s just us. Leave the boyfriends at home.” Catarina fixed Ragnor’s statement with an effortless smile, discreetly stomping on his foot. “I’ll make a group chat for us all when we return to our penthouse. Have a nice evening, Dear One.”

           “And you as well, Cat.” Magnus waved before stepping through the portal with Alec in tow. They stepped out into the hallway where the bedrooms all were. He walked a little bit behind Alec, deciding to address the least difficult topic first. “I’m sorry about Ragnor.” He frowned at his feet.

           Alec shook his head. “While I may not have liked to hear what he had to say, I understand,” he told Magnus, pausing at his bedroom door. “Part of me kind of wonders the same thing as him, though. Why save me?” He licked his lips. “What could I possibly offer you that you couldn’t achieve on your own? You are a wonderful, amazing, magical man, Magnus. I know I’m not the only one to see it. If you wanted to, they’d help you escape from all of this. They’d protect you.” He refused to look at him as he said this.

           “At what cost? Do you really believe that I’d just let you die?” Magnus threw his hands up in frustration. “That every moment with you doesn’t feel like the best of my entire life?”

           “Magnus. . .”

           Magnus raised two of his fingers, stopping him. “No, Alexander. Since you don’t seem to understand, I’ll spell it out for you,” he told him. “I’ve fled from my brother, Omar, more times than you could count. Every time, he found me. Somehow, no matter where I went, I could never free myself from his clutches. Each time I escaped, the punishment was worse when I returned. I would’ve spent my entire life running from his and his descendants. This is my freedom. Conditional as it may be, I am finally free to laugh, live, and even love. I have never been happier than I am now. Also, Alexander...” Magnus made Alec turn away from the door to look at him. “Don’t ever question how much you mean to me.” He held his hand gently, rubbing circles into his palm.

           Alec made a noise in agreement before clearing his throat loudly. “We should still talk about what happened before,” he insisted, trying to hide how much what Magnus said had tugged at his heartstrings. He had always known how much his family cared about him, but this was different. If Magnus really wanted to, he would find a way to go somewhere Alec would never find him, but he chose to stay. He chose Alec over a life with endless possibilities and people who would appreciate Magnus as the pillar of perfection Alec knew he was. No one had ever done that for him before, and it made his chest fill with warmth. “I think that was a different type of magic than what you usually use. Did it feel different?” He reached behind himself, opening the door to Magnus’ bedroom and walking inside.

           Magnus threw himself onto his bed, laying on his back. “Different is one way to describe it.” He allowed the subject change, if only because if Alec’s face had gotten any redder than it always was he’d probably lose consciousness. Magnus raised one of his hands, the gesture smooth and flowing. “Almost like this.” He swept his hand out above front of him. His movements were almost liquid, and Alec followed them carefully. Magnus ran his fingers down his opposite arm, stopping in the middle of his gloved palm. “Like blood flowing through veins, or a current of water instead of electricity. There was no spark. Usually my magic feels like electricity flowing through my veins. To be perfectly honest, it’s kind of painful when it’s like that. That’s why I fight it so much.”

           Alec sat down on Magnus’ bed. “May I?” His hand hovered over Magnus’ wrist, right over semi-visible veins. He waited for Magnus’ nod and removed his glove, his fingers tracing the lines his veins made and then holding his hand. “Use your magic again. Don’t fight it, just let it flow.”

           “I don’t know if I can do that on my own. When I force it like this, it’s different. It doesn’t spark when I use magic to cast spells or make wards, but it doesn’t flow like it did yesterday. I can’t just make it happen.” He stared at the hand that was holding Alec’s. “I don’t know how to.”

           “Okay. Maybe I can try what I did yesterday again, then?” he mumbled to himself. He wanted to help Magnus understand and utilize his magic, and if he had to throw in a make out session or two in the mix, he was definitely not going to complain. He moved so each of his legs were bracketing Magnus’ waist, his hands on either side of his head. He leaned down so their lips were just barely touching. “Besame,” he breathed, an easy smile spreading onto his face.

[Kiss me.]

           Magnus closed the gap between their lips and they immediately opened their mouths to one another, their tongues touching tentatively while Alec busied himself with running his hands up Magnus’ chest and under his shirt. He wanted to overwhelm him completely and make it so difficult for him to think that he couldn’t fight against the flow of his magic coursing through him.

           Magnus arched into his touch, feeling heat everywhere that Alec touched and an undercurrent of something else he couldn’t quite place. It didn’t flow like water, but instead it coursed fire-hot through his veins. Magnus’ eyes widened and he tried to fight it, but couldn’t manage to push it back once it started. In a panic, he pushed Alec off of him before his magic left him in what looked like blue fire. It left his hands and then flew out toward his closet, the setting fire to all the clothes that were inside in blowing a hole through the wall. Magnus and Alec both stared at what had been Magnus’ closet for several moments before Magnus looked down at his hands in horror.

           “Magnus—” Alec licked his lips, guessing what was going on inside of Magnus’ head already. He reached toward him, but Magnus scooted away from him.

           “Don’t touch me!” he told Alec, shaking his head. “I almost—that was almost you, Alexander!”

           “But it wasn’t,” Alec stated, keeping his hands to himself.

           “It could’ve been.” He looked at his hands once again, snapping his fingers and repairing the damage that had been done to the wall and his clothes. “Oh my god. I almost killed you.” He tried to get up to run away, but Alec held onto him, keeping him from moving.

           “Please. Don’t run away from me,” Alec told him. “We learned something just now. No one is hurt, we’re both perfectly fine. Let’s focus on that,” he said calmly.

           Magnus looked up at Alec, his hands clenched into fists. He snapped his fingers, his magic-suppressing gloves reappearing on his hands.

           “Those aren’t helping,” Alec pointed out. “If I had to take a guess, they’re a part of the reason your magic is so volatile.”

           “They’re to protect everyone from me.” Magnus opened up his hands, staring at them and wondering why he’d been cursed with demonic blood. He remembered doing the same thing more than half a century ago, right after he’d killed his father. His hands were much larger than they’d been at the time, but one thing hadn’t changed.

           “Don’t do this to yourself, Magnus.” Alec squeezed his shoulder. “In order to overcome this, you have to accept yourself. Take off the gloves. Talk to me. We’ve learned something new. We’re making progress.”

           Magnus closed his eyes and snapped his fingers, removing the gloves.

           “Thank you.” Alec took a deep breath. “So, now we know that there is more than one type of magic. Can you tell me if it felt different, and how it felt?” he asked Magnus.

           “Like fire,” Magnus explained. “I felt nothing but heat inside me. Like my blood was boiling as it coursed through my veins. It was faster than the current, and it doesn’t hurt like the electricity. It’s just hot.”

           Alec smiled a little, unable to help himself. He was still fascinated by Magnus and his magic. “Okay. So they’re all different. The electricity can hurt people, the fire has the power to destroy someone, and the water current is. . .” He waited for Magnus to finish his statement.

           “I don’t know yet. I used my magic on you, how did it feel?”

           Alec bit his lip at the memory of Magnus working his magic on him. It had felt amazing, like thousands of tiny waves of pleasure running through every inch of him. He was surprised he hadn’t come, just from the amazing sensations. Regardless of what it was, Alec knew he wanted more of it. “All the pleasure of an orgasm without the relief of actually getting to orgasm,” he described to him.

           “So that’s definitely the seduction magic, then,” Magnus decided. “Now I know what I can do. What do I do with it?”

           Alec gave Magnus a quick once over, glad he’d managed to distract him from descending into an all-out panic. “I think I can figure it out. Give me just a second. I’ll be back.” He got out of bed and left the room, walking down the hall and knocking on the door to his parents’ bedroom. Maryse opened the door after a moment, her hair pulled back into a ponytail and wearing blue pajamas. He smiled a little at the sight. It reminded him of a side of his mother he hadn’t seen in far too long.

           “What is it, Alec?”

           “Magnus. I think we figured out some things about his magic. It’s important.” He watched her eyes widen comically before she was rushing down the hallway. He wasn’t sure if she knew about Magnus’ trouble with magic and wanted to help him, or just cared for her own personal gain, but he hoped it was the former. Alec loved his mother, and he wanted to think the best of her despite her past transgressions.

           “Magnus.” Maryse walked inside Alec’s bedroom, immediately checking him for any damage. “You’re alright.” She let out a sigh of relief. “What did you find out?”

           “I have more types of magic than I was aware of before. It has the possibility of becoming volatile,” he explained, looking directly at Maryse. When he looked at her, he was reminded of not only Robert’s words, but also of how she stopped him.

           Maryse cursed under her breath. “We need to get this figured out,” she told Magnus. “Alec, a phone please.” She held out her hand. Alec didn’t have his phone and unlocked Magnus’ instead before handing it over.

           “Evening, Dear Friend,” Ragnor answered on the second ring.

           “Ragnor,” Maryse spoke, her tone worried as she looked at Magnus’ hands, searching for something she could work with. She didn’t know enough about the inner workings of Warlocks and their magic to do anything. She needed Ragnor’s help.

           “Oh. The Nephilim’s mother.” His tone was not friendly. “It seems I have another call. If you’d please excuse m—”

           “Ragnor!” Magnus cut him off. “Sweet Pea, I need your help. It’s about my magic.” Ragnor was silent for several moments and Magnus was afraid that’d he hung up, before Ragnor finally spoke.

           “Do not use your magic at all right now,” Ragnor told Magnus. “I’ll send a portal to my penthouse for all of you in a just a moment.” With that, he hung up the phone. Alec, Maryse, and Magnus all waited silently for a portal to appear. It took several minutes before a portal opened up in front of them. Magnus took the lead, stepping through first, with Maryse right behind him and Alec last.

           “All of you, take a seat.” Ragnor waved his hand in their direction. He dumped something into a small vial before he waved his hands over the vial and it glowed with his magic. “I was afraid we’d have this problem. Dear Friend, the gloves. Where are they?”

           “In the Institute. My bedroom is in the left wing, fifth door on the left side. They’re on the leftmost corner of the head of my bed,” Magnus answered. He wasn’t sure what Ragnor wanted with the gloves, but Magnus was here asking for his help. He wasn’t going to question him.

           “Thank you.” The gloves appeared in Ragnor’s hand, and the three of them watched silently while Ragnor burned them until not even ashes were left. “I positively detested those things,” he remarked, setting down the vial and taking seat on top of the table in the middle of the room. “I doubt you knew this, Maryse, since there isn’t much you seem to actually be aware of when it comes to helping Downworlders instead of torturing and killing them on behalf of your precious Clave—”

           “Sweet Pea, please, ” Magnus pleaded.

           “Kindness isn’t included in the package deal for Nephilim, Dear Friend. Sorry.” Ragnor breathed in deeply. “On to the point. I was trying to figure out whether this was true myself, but this irregularity in his magic confirms it. Those magic suppressors are the cause of whatever happened today. Drink this.” He picked up the vial and gave it to Magnus, who downed it in one gulp. “This should put his magic in working order. It’ll take twenty four hours for the potion to run its course through his system, and I expect you both to ensure that he does not use any magic until then.”

           “No magic? Sweet Pea, you know that I cannot do that.”

           Maryse spoke up. “You can and you will,” she told Magnus.

           Magnus looked at Alec, wondering what he thought of the entire scenario.

Alec had his hands clasped in front of him, listening intently. When he realized that Magnus was looking at him, he raised an eyebrow. “No magic, then. I’ll take care of him.” Magnus made a noise of displeasure, leaning against Alec’s side. Alec wrapped an arm around Magnus, rubbing his back. “It’ll be a new experience.” He gave Magnus a smile that he didn’t return. Magnus had been using magic, even in small doses, for what felt like his entire life. He didn’t know how to function without it.

Chapter Text

“Ragnor, we may not have known each other for long, but I am a Warlock.” Magnus pushed himself to stand. “You can’t expect me to just not use it.”

“As your friend, of course not.” Ragnor leaned onto one hand. “But as your teacher, I know that all great Warlocks have a great command over their magic, and that includes knowing when not to use it. And I will settle for nothing less than greatness from you. I believe that is one thing Maryse and I can agree on. Isn’t that right?”

“Hey.” Alec gave Magnus a reassuring smile, leaning in to press a kiss to the back of his neck. Magnus shivered, pleasant chills traveling down his spine. “Let’s leave them to their bickering. We can walk home.”

Magnus let out a deep breath. “At this point, I just want to go to bed to pass the time.” He stood, his gaze traveling over to Ragnor when he cleared his throat loudly to get their attention.

“Speaking of the happy couple and beds, is it safe to assume that your magic gets triggered when you two are...intimate?”

“. . .Possibly.” Magnus licked his lips. “Why?” Magnus already knew what Ragnor was going to say, and he raised two fingers to stop Ragnor before he said anything. “Actually, never mind. You get a sense of humor at the worst possible times.”

Ragnor grinned, unable to help himself. “Oh, Dear Friend, all I was going to say is that your precious Nephilim, as enhanced as he may be, still needs to give his stamina rune a break now and then. Don’t you think so?” he asked playfully. Magnus rolled his eyes and readied himself to speak before Alec beat him to the punch.

“Actually, it doesn’t get enough work, if you ask me.” He ran his fingers up Magnus’ side and Magnus’ legs almost gave out from under him. “And, well, I wouldn’t say too much. An archer always recognizes someone who shoots all his arrows a little too quickly.” Magnus’ jaw nearly hit the floor at Alec’s words.

“Alec!” Maryse shouted.

“Yes, Mother?” Alec didn’t even turn around. He looked down at Magnus and winked. “I’m confident in my ability to make sure my quiver is never empty when you need it.”

At that, Magnus lost it. He burst into a fit of giggles, holding his stomach. It took him a few minutes to calm down before his hysterics started up again when he saw the look on Maryse’s face.

“Well, I’ll be damned.” Ragnor raised his eyebrows at the exchange, pleasantly surprised. “I didn’t even know Nephilim knew what humor was. The last time I tried to crack a joke in front of the Clave, Imogen nearly dislodged the stick wedged up her ass.” He gave one last nod of approval before snapping his fingers and opening up a portal with a flick of his wrist. “I’m serious, though.” He looked at Alec, this time, figuring out that he would be the initiator of any sexual activity. “None of that. Have a good night, Dear Friend.”

“And you as well, Sweet Pea.” Magnus turned around, dragging Alec through the portal with him before he had a chance to say anything else. They both emerged in the middle of the Institute, still hand in hand. All around them, Shadowhunters talked loudly with one another, working on the computers with furrowed brows.

Alec’s mouth set into a thin line as he surveyed their surroundings, his back straightening. He let go of Magnus’ hand. “Something’s wrong. Magnus, you might have to head to bed without me.” He walked over to one of the Shadowhunters, placing his hand on their shoulders. “A report,” he stated, his voice firm and leaving no room for argument. “What’s happened?”

“A message from the Clave. There have been several cases of Warlocks disappearing in the last 48 hours,” they explained. “We haven’t managed to figure out why or where these abductions have taken place, but apparently there has been talking among Downworlders that Shadowhunters are suspected, given the Circle’s uprising and our past involving the...incident.”

“Suspected areas?” Alec asked, pulling up a map on the computer.

“We have suspected activity in the highly populated areas of New York. Bed-Stuy, Queens, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and here in Brooklyn.” He reached out and highlighted all the areas where the kidnappings had been reported.

Alec nodded. “Everyone listen up!” he yelled out. Everyone stopped what they were doing, standing at attention as Alec spoke. Magnus’ mouth quirked up slightly at the sight. “I want around the clock surveillance of all of these areas.” He pulled up a map of New York, pointing out all the highlighted area for everyone to see. “I want five teams all out searching in groups of four. Raj, Kieran, Liam, and Rhys, gather your teams and report back to me for your area assignments. We’ll begin searching tonight.”

“Alec.” A man Magnus hadn’t seen before walked over to him, his arms crossed. “I think there’s something you should see.”

“Yeah, Raj?” Magnus watched as Alec’s expression softened, just a little.

Raj’s eyes darted to Magnus. “Not him. I can’t show this in good conscience with him here.” He gave Magnus an apologetic look.

“I’m not leaving. Maybe you haven’t realized this, but I’m not a child.” Magnus’ jaw tightened at the way Raj spoke to him. “I can help you.”

Raj shook his head. “Magnus, it’s a body. A Warlock body,” he said bluntly. “I can’t show you this in good conscience because I wouldn’t want to see it if it was a Shadowhunter,” he said firmly. “But if you insist—”

“Raj.” Alec reached out, grabbing Raj’s wrist. He shook his head at him. “Magnus, head to bed.”

“Alexander, I’m not going anywhere. I can help.” Magnus insisted. “Show me the picture.”

“With no magic? Magnus, no. I’m not risking it.” He said it like the word ‘you,’ but Magnus barely noticed the subtle change in his tone, too angry at what Alec’s words seemed to imply.

“So, I’m useless without my magic, then?” he asked Alec, throwing up his hands.

“Magnus.” Alec took a deep breath, turning away from Raj and letting go of his wrist. He cupped both of Magnus’ cheeks, pressing their foreheads together. “I have never doubted your strength. But I can’t take the chance of you being involved and ending up missing, or even d. . .” He couldn’t bring himself to finish the word. “Just, trust me, Magnus. In the Institute, you are safe. Please.” Alec’s voice was pleading.

Magnus closed his eyes and forced down his pride, nodding. “Okay. But only this once.” He looked down to hide his smile as warmth flooded his chest.

This was what it felt like to be protected by someone you loved. It wasn’t something Magnus had ever felt before, and he liked it.

“Thank you.” Alec pressed a kiss to Magnus' lips, his fingers tracing the smooth line of his jaw before quickly pulling away. “I’ll be back as soon as I can. Stay safe.”

Magnus smiled, just a little, and stepped back. He knew he’d definitely be asleep before Alec returned, but he wasn’t upset. He was not only protecting him, specifically but also going out of his way to protect all of the Warlocks that could possibly be at risk. “I’ll see what I can do.” He turned around and walked to his room.

Alec waited until Magnus was out of sight to speak. “Show me,” he told Raj, crossing his arms.

Raj pulled up the photo of the Warlock on the computer. There were lacerations in his skin as if he’d been beaten by whoever had kidnapped him, and something carved into his skin. Alec squinted, unable to make out exactly what it was.

“Zoom in.” Alec bent forward to have a closer look. When he realized what the shape carved into Elias’ chest was, his eyes widened in horror. “Is that what I think it is?”

Raj nodded. “You’re welcome, by the way. I don’t think your fiancé would be too keen on seeing this,” he said, staring at the bonding rune that had been carved into Elias’ skin. “Especially considering who this Warlock’s known close associates are.” He brought up a list of names and read them off. “Anne Shade, John Shade, Malcolm Fade, Tessa Gray, and—well, look at that—Magnus Bane.” Raj raised an eyebrow at him. “Elias met Magnus nearly forty years ago. They were friends at some point, or maybe even lovers.”

“How am I supposed to tell him this happened under our watch?”

“Our watch?” Raj raised an eyebrow. “Shadowhunters protect mundanes.”

“Shadowhunters protect the Accords,” Alec corrected, running a hand down his face. “I’ll retrieve Jace, Clary, and Izzy. Your team can cover Brooklyn. Be ready in twenty.”


 

Magnus opened his eyes sleepily when he felt Alec climbing into bed with him. He turned over, raising an eyebrow. “Everything goes well?” he asked quietly, smiling until he saw the look on Alec’s face and the tension rolling off of him in waves. He pushed himself up into a sitting position. “What happened?”

Alec placed his hand on Magnus’ chest. “I’ll tell you in the morning,” he promised, pushing him to lay back down. He kissed Magnus’ forehead. “Sleep.”

“Alec,” Magnus whispered, laying his head on his pillow. “It is morning.”

“2 am isn’t morning.” Alec yawned, his eyes drifting closed. “Good night.”


 

When Alec opened his eyes, Magnus wasn’t next to him. He rolled over in bed, throwing an arm over his eyes.

He had to tell Magnus. He had to tell him what they discovered and what that meant for the two of them, but he didn’t want to. He didn’t know if the new knowledge would change everything for himself and Magnus.

But he had to. Alec knew from experience what happened when people withheld information like this. They found out on their own, and they became angry and unwilling to forgive because the information was withheld. In every situation, it was always better to just tell them the truth. Alec let out a groan of frustration and forced himself to get out of bed, adjusting his jeans and cursing the fact that he hadn’t taken them off before heading to bed. He walked toward the door and opened it, wondering where Magnus had gone. Most mornings, Magnus stayed in bed with him and waited for him to wake up. He knocked on Izzy’s door first, figuring that she and Magnus were the closest and if anyone knew where he was, it’d be her. It took him knocking several times before Izzy opened up the door, rubbing her eyes.

“What’s up?” Izzy asked Alec, letting out a loud yawn.

“Have you seen Magnus?” Alec asked her. “He wasn’t in bed when I woke up.”

Izzy’s mouth quirked up into a teasing grin. “That’s cute, Hermano. You’re already so used to waking up next to your cute fiancé.” She chuckled. “He knocked on my door about an hour ago and asked where the library was. Check there.”

Alec nodded. “Thanks, Izzy.”

Izzy shook her head. “Just make me your maid of honor and we’re even.” She smiled at Alec and closed her door.

Alec rolled his eyes and walked down the hall. His clothes were visibly rumpled, but a majority of the Shadowhunters at the Institute were still in bed, anyway, so he didn’t bother with feeling self-conscious about his state of dress and continued through the main area and into the library. “Magnus?” Alec called his name as he stepped inside, looking around for any sight of him. He stepped into the room fully, calling Magnus’ name once again.

“Were you missing me, Alexander?” Magnus' voice came from the opposite wing of the library, somewhere behind Alec.

Alec turned around and raced to where Magnus’ voice was coming from. He stopped when he reached him, standing in front of Magnus. Now was the time to tell him, but it felt like his voice had gotten stuck somewhere he couldn’t find it. He stared at Magnus for several moments, not sure where to begin. There was so much to say.

“If I remember correctly, you promised to tell me what happened, Darling.” Magnus turned a page in his book, not looking up at Alec. “I’m waiting.”

Alec nodded. He’d have to choose his words wisely, or he’d have an argument on his hands. He didn’t need that on top of everything else. “I don’t know how to say this,” he began, running his fingers through his hair and letting out a breath. His eyes found a comfortable-looking chair and he settled down into it. “It feels like everything just went to hell in one night.”

At that, Magnus closed his book, looking concerned. “Went to hell? Alexander, what happened?” he asked. He walked over to Alec and sat down on the arm of the sofa, leaving the book behind. “You have my complete attention. Tell me. I promise I won’t be angry if that’s what you’re afraid of.”

Alec pulled Magnus into his lap. “Maryse and Robert are back in Idris,” he began, starting with the least horrific piece of information he’d learned. “Because of the situation and their previous involvement in the Circle’s uprising, they’ve decided it would be better for the Institute to be left under my supervision, with the help of their own hand-picked representatives. The truth is, they’re looking for a rat in the Institute and trying to keep an eye on us.” Alec gestured at himself first, then at Magnus. “They’ve been trying to push for the ceremony since you stepped foot inside the Institute. It’s only going to get worse when they actually get here.”

“Hey.” Alec looked up at the sound of Magnus' voice. “We’ll get through this. I have lived to see Kings live and die at my doorstep, Alexander. Whatever is coming, you can handle it. And if you ever feel like it’s too much, you have people here to support you. Jace, Isabelle, and all the other Shadowhunters.”

Alec's lips twitched, but it didn’t go to a full smile quite yet. “You too?”

Magnus nodded. “I thought that went without saying. Don’t you remember, Darling? I’m yours.” Magnus smiled. His eyes shined with the glitter and dark eyeliner that framed them, and Alec took a moment to let how beautiful he was sink in before he continued.

“Remember the Warlock that was discovered? The one who was killed?” Alec asked Magnus.

Magnus nodded. “Yes, I do.” He bit his lip as he waited for Alec to continue.

“His name was Elias. I think you two knew each other.” Alec watched as Magnus’ face drained of all its color. He stared at Alec, his lips slightly parted. It was like Magnus had been frozen like he was having trouble allowing the words to sink in.

“No.” Magnus shook his head. “No. Elias is not dead, Alexander. He can’t be dead.” Magnus gripped Alec’s shirt tightly, his eyes begging him to take his words back. He had tears brimming in his eyes, and in that moment Alec realized that it wasn’t Magnus’ anger that he was trying to avoid.

It was this. The heartbroken, lost expression took Alec by the heartstrings and pulled at them painfully. He wiped away the tears in his eyes. “I’m sorry,” he breathed. “I’m so sorry. We—no, I should’ve paid closer attention to what was going on. This is my fault, Magnus,” he whispered, pulling Magnus to his chest and stroking his hair.

Magnus tightened his fingers in Alec’s shirt before pulling one hand back and punching Alec in the chest. “You really think I would blame you?” he asked Alec, half sad and half angry. “You stupid Nephilim, this is not your fault. You didn’t kill my friend.”

“Magnus—” Alec said, at a loss. Thankfully, Magnus cut him off.

“Don’t say anything.”

Alec sighed. “I just wish there was something I could do for you.”

“There is. Just hold me, okay? I need you to hold me.” Magnus breathed in deeply, trying to keep himself together, but ended up letting out a loud sob on the exhale. He buried his face in Alec’s shirt, smearing his black clothing with the glitter on his eyes. Alec ran his hand down Magnus’ back, placing a soft kiss on his forehead and letting him cry. “I will. For as long as you need me to,” he whispered. “No one’s up right now. Should I carry you to bed?”

Magnus nodded.

Alec picked him up and carried him out of the library, leaving the book on the chair and carrying him to thei—Magnus’ bedroom. He laid down with Magnus still in his arms, listening to the soft sounds of his cries until Magnus fell asleep. Alec looked at Magnus. His makeup left dark streaks down both cheeks, but he was no less beautiful than he always was. Alec ran his fingers through Magnus’ hair, pushing it out of his eyes. His hair was wonderful when it was gelled to perfection, but he had always preferred it like this. The strands were incredibly soft, just like Magnus. He was slender yet strong, but his thighs were soft to the touch whenever Alec was lucky enough to get his hands on them. Alec gazed down at Magnus, his eyes going wide when he came to a realization.

“It’s not like one day you just wake up and you love someone. It’s a process, and it doesn’t change how you felt when you looked at someone the day before. By the time you figure out you’re in love, you’ve already been in deep for a long time.”

Alec was in love. He was in love with Magnus.

Alec heard Magnus groan quietly as he began to wake up. He smiled, pressing a soft to his kiss to his lips, his latest revelation making him feel warm all over. “How are you feeling?”

Magnus smiled. “Better,” he told Alec, placing a hand on his face. He frowned when the makeup came off and he saw it on his fingers. “I made myself all pretty for nothing this morning, huh?”

“Magnus, hey.” Alec leaned down and kissed Magnus’ clothed shoulder. “You don’t have to do that.”

“Do what?” Magnus raised an eyebrow.

“Hide your emotions,” Alec answered, easily seeing through Magnus’ smile. “It’s okay to be hurt. You don’t have to be strong in front of me,” he reminded him. “If you need to cry some more, you can cry. If you need to scream, I can put up a soundless rune. Whatever you need to do, I’m here for you. Just tell me. I don’t want you to feel like you have to be this ideal Warlock for me. I know you’re strong and capable, but all I want to do is take care of you, Magnus. In any way I can.”

Magnus stared back at Alec, speechless. He didn’t know what to say. Alec always made him feel so cared for and protected already, but this was another step further. Alec didn’t act the way he did because he believed Magnus was weak or unable to take care of himself. He did it because he cared. “Thank you,” he told Alec, placing one hand on his cheek. “If want to help me, then make me forget. For just a little while.” Magnus climbed into Alec’s lap, facing him. He placed both hands on Alec’s cheeks, waiting.

Alec leaned in first, just brushing their lips against each other. “Are you sure?” he asked Magnus. “We can talk instead.”

Magnus shook his head. “Take everything else away and replace it with you.”

With that, Alec pressed his lips, rough and insistent, against Magnus’. He didn’t want to admit it, but he needed this just as badly as Magnus did. Being able to touch him calmed him, and he was frustrated. He was frustrated, and he wanted to let it all out on the body of the man he was in love with. He ran his hands down Magnus’ back, slipping his hands inside of the loose pajama pants Magnus was wearing. He felt Magnus grab at his biceps and groaned against his lips. Alec wanted him so much. He kissed down to Magnus’ neck, grazing his teeth against his pulse. Magnus shivered against him, tilting his head back.

“Alexander,” Magnus said breathily.

“I love it when you say my name,” Alec said against Magnus' neck, sucking a mark onto it.

“Alexander, my magic. I forgot. We can’t—”

Fuck.

Alec took his hands out of Magnus’ pants and placed them on top of Magnus’ thighs. “Raziel, Magnus, I want you so damn much,” he said without thinking.

Magnus smirked. “I’m worth the wait.” He winked, already managing to feel a little bit better. Now wasn’t the time to grieve. Any tears he’d already shed would have to be enough for now.

“You are,” Alec agreed. “But that doesn’t mean I want you any less.”

Chapter Text

“Alec? It’s time!” Alec looked towards Magnus’ door when he heard knocking on the other side, then back at Magnus.

“I’m needed.” He placed a kiss on Magnus’ forehead, his arm wrapped around him. He let out a loud, heavy sigh and Magnus pushed his head away.

“Go be a good Head of the Institute,” he told Alec, placing a hand on his chest and pushing him off of the bed. “I have training with Ragnor today. We’re both busy, and I’d like to get some sleep before I have to wake up and do today things.” He pulled the blankets over his head and Alec rolled his eyes.

“I’ll miss you.” He grabbed his jeans off of the ground and pulled them up, then pulled his—slightly glittery—shirt over his head.

Magnus mumbled a muffled “Get out” at him and Alec opened the door to Magnus room, fixing his hair as he made his way to the main area of the Institute. Magnus enjoyed running his fingers in it and pulling a little too much, and he didn’t think it’d be appropriate to meet the Clave representative with what looked like sex hair. He walked into the main room, immediately spotting the only unfamiliar face in the room. The representative was leaning on the counter, making friendly conversation with Raj. Whoever the man was, he looked absolutely charmed already, which didn’t surprise Alec in the least. When Raj wasn’t focusing on his duties, he had a knack for charming everyone he met.

“You were looking for me?” Alec walked over to the two of them, cutting their conversation short. The representative immediately fixed his expression, straightening his posture and holding his hand out to Alec.

“Victor Aldertree.” Aldertree held out his hand. Alec took it, shaking his hand firmly, but did not return his smile. He was all business now.

“Alec Lightwood.” He let go of Aldertree’s hand and held both of his hands behind his back, waiting. “I’m sure you have a specific motive for being here. Come to my office and you can fill me in.” Alec gestured with his head. “After you.”

Aldertree nodded, taking the first step, walking beside Alec to his office. “I was actually wondering if I can speak to both you and your Warlock,” he told Alec, looking at him. His overall expression was friendly, but Alec narrowed one of his eyes suspiciously. He had enough experience dealing with the Clave to know not to trust them, especially when it came to Downworlders.

“And what do you need Magnus for?” He emphasized the name, making it clear that even though Magnus had agreed to be Alec’s in private, he wouldn’t let anyone refer to Magnus as his possession.

“We were hoping to discuss the date of the bonding ceremony. The Clave has proposed a specific date for the two of you to make everything official,” Aldertree began. “Obviously, things are not looking very good for the Institute, considering the disappearance of several Warlocks in the area and your. . .status as the same breed of Shadowhunter that committed those atrocious acts in the past. So, if you would go get your fiancé for the three of us to discuss the new arrangement, that would be appreciated.”

Alec raised an eyebrow at Aldertree, amused. “Alright,” he agreed, taking out his phone and calling Magnus. There was no way in hell he was going to leave Aldertree alone in his office.

“Hm?” Magnus tired voice answered on the first ring. “Why are you calling me, Darling? Is something wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong.” Alec quickly eased the worry he heard in Magnus’ voice. “The Clave representative wants to speak to the both of us. It’s about the date of the ceremony. He and I both believe you should be here while we came to a decision.” He glanced at Aldertree as he walked around to his desk, taking a seat. He gestured at the chairs in front of the desk for Aldertree to sit as a portal opened up in his office.

“That felt good.” Magnus sauntered over to the chair next to Aldertree, taking a seat. He stared at his hands with a bright smile, before letting them rest in his lap.

Alec’s eyes flickered down to Magnus’ collar, licking his lips as he admired the way the high-collared black shirt drew attention to his Adam’s Apple. It should be illegal to look so sinful while completely covered.

When Magnus caught Alec staring, he cleared his throat and turned his body so he was facing Aldertree. “Magnus Bane.” He nodded his head, not bothering to ask for Aldertree’s name as he continued on. “You wanted to discuss the date, so I’m assuming you have one in mind. What is it?”

“The sooner, the better,” Aldertree explained to them. “Their preferred date was tomorrow.”

“No,” both Alec and Magnus said at the same time.

“Aldertree, you can’t come to the Institute with such an outrageous idea. The ceremony takes preparation—”

“Which has already been handled. We have a location for the both of you to perform the ceremony and somewhere for you to. . .stabilize the bond, so to speak. All the small details have already been handled, all we need is for Magnus to find the necessary jewel and perform the spell on the both of you,” he said, as if finding an extremely rare jewel with the ability to be enchanted was nothing.

“Which he needs time to do,” Alec said through his teeth. “Unless you just happen to have a jewel like that sitting around.”

“I do not, but that is not up to me,” Aldertree stated. “I have a job to do, Alec Lightwood, and my job is to help you.” He placed both his hands flat on Alec’s desk. “Maybe you don’t understand, but all I want to do is help the two of you and this Institute stay afloat while disaster unfolds right before our eyes. The Institute is under investigation strictly because the two of you are not moving things along as quickly as The Clave would like. Make it happen, and the suspicions will disappear.”

Magnus’ eyebrows raised at that, but Alec stayed calm. He knew the Clave well already. They were selfish, stubborn and underhanded, but not immovable. “I understand that, but we have to be realistic, here. Regardless of what the Clave wants, there are things that we must do. Magnus needs to acquire the jewel and learn the ceremony.”

“It takes time,” Magnus told Aldertree. “Alexander is right. No spell, no ceremony.” He crossed his legs, left over the right. “So, since this ceremony does rely on my magic.” He waved his fingers and Alec saw the blue magic flow out of him, crackling like lightning until he closed his hand and it stopped. “Then it waits until my magic is ready. I’ll speak with Ragnor and see if he can teach me the spell. I know the basics already, so it shouldn’t take too long. Are we in agreement?” Magnus looked at Alec, who nodded.

Aldertree agreed grudgingly, his jaw clenched. “I will not be going anywhere quite yet, Magnus, so look forward to me checking in.”

Magnus grinned. “Feel free to stop by. We can have cocktails.” He stood up from his chair and walked around to the other side of Alec’s desk. “I’m portalling to Ragnor’s. I’ll be back by sundown. I’ll leave my phone on,” he reassured Alec, running his fingers through his hair before pecking his lips quickly in farewell. He snapped his fingers, opening up a portal and stepping through it. Once the portal closed, Aldertree crossed his arms, letting out a chuckle.

“A Warlock and a Shadowhunter. Even after seeing it with my eyes, I can hardly believe it,” h mumbled to himself.

“Is there anything else we need to talk about?” Alec questioned Aldertree.

He shook his head. “Unless there’s something I can do for you?”

Alec frowned. “I have work to do. You’re free to go.”


 

                “Hello, Dear Friend.” Ragnor looked up when Magnus stepped out of a portal and into his living room.

“Hello, Sweet Cabbage.”

Ragnor mouth quirked up at the nickname. “Is it safe to assume everything is flowing well?”

            Magnus nodded his head, a bright smile coming onto his face. “It feels amazing,” he told Ragnor, feeling the tingling sensation in his fingers as he created a sphere of magic. He circulated the energy, moving it around with both hands. “It’s like—”

            “An extension of your own body,” Ragnor finished him. “Yes, Magnus, I know. Do you feel the difference in the magic you’re using now?”

            Magnus nodded. “There’s not a split between them anymore, but it has different frequencies, so to speak,” he tried to explain. He moved the sphere of magic around thoughtfully, making himself comfortable on a nearby sofa. “I used to be able to access the amount of danger from how the magic felt before it left me. But it flows faster than even my strongest magic now, and I can’t really feel the difference anymore. I just know, somehow?”

            Ragnor smiled at him. “That’s good to hear.” He walked over to one of the other sofas in the room and sat down as well. “Your magic is finally as it should be. We can move on to the next step. So, you can conjure, heal, cast spells, and now you can use magic in its purest form. So would you like to try summoning or potion-making first?”

            “Actually, I have a small favor to ask of you.” Magnus crossed his legs. “Can you teach me how to enchant? I know it’s a complicated process, but there are a few circumstances that require me to learn how to fairly quickly.”

            Ragnor raised an eyebrow at that. “Circumstances?” he asked curiously. “Like what? I’d like to know before I give you my answer.”

            “The bonding ceremony for Alexander and I. In order to go through the process painlessly, I need to learn how to enchant the jewel that solidifies the bond.”

            Ragnor chewed on his bottom lip thoughtfully. “I see.” Magnus watched him carefully, waiting for his answer with bated breath. “You are sure about the Nephilim?”

            “Absolutely. I love him, Ragnor,” he said surely. Although he had yet to tell Alec, he didn’t have a problem admitting it to Ragnor. It was still too early to tell Alec, so he would wait until the time was right.

            Ragnor pushed himself to stand, walking over to Magnus and placing his hand on top of his head. “Alright, then,” he agreed. “I’ll teach you that and the potions at once. Stand up, Dear Friend. We have a jewel to find and enchant.”

            “One second.” Magnus snapped his fingers, summoning a red, velvet jacket to go over his button up. “There. Perfect.” He stood up and following Ragnor out of the room and into his library. “You have the spell in here?”

            “What kind of Warlock do you think I am?” Ragnor scoffed at Magnus question, taking a book off of the shelf and holding it out to Magnus. “Do I, The High Warlock, have the spell book? Of course I do, you fool.”

            Magnus opened up the book, using his magic to immediately find the correct page. He walked over to a desk sitting in the corner of the library and set it down, reading the spell.

            “The Soul Door .” Magnus smirked a little at the name. It seemed silly to him. “We’ll need the candle of the third eye, a dagger holding significance to the caster of the spell, a jewel, and the caster’s blood.” Magnus’ eyebrows drew together. “What about the jewel? I know we need it, but which one?”

Ragnor turned around with a shrug. “Just any old jewel will do,” ee told Magnus, his tone casual. “Let’s get to it, shall we? I believe I have a candle of the third eye lying around here somewhere. . .” Ragnor strode past Magnus, walking further into the library. A few moments later, the candle Magnus needed appeared on the desk next to him.

He carefully appraised the intricate designs and inscriptions on the candle, brushing his fingers over the gold designs that were on top of the deep purple wax. “Ragnor, we may have to go on a little field trip for the dagger,” Magnus called over his shoulder. He wasn’t sure where Ragnor was in the enormous library, but he almost sure that he could hear him. “I have one that fits the requirements, but it’s in the Republic of Užupis.”

“Lithuania? You seem more like a man meant for Paris and, Milan, and Athens.” Magnus turned his head when Ragnor spoke, following the sound of his voice into a storage closet full of potion ingredients.

Magnus leaned against the door, watching him. He had not seen a Warlock in action since Elias, and Ragnor was far more powerful than Elias had been. “When you have escaped your family with your lover and are in hiding, there’s only so many places you could go in order to not be found.”

“That didn’t go too well, though, did it?” Ragnor asked. “Since Elias was here and you weren’t.”

Magnus nodded. “Elias and I had begun to drift apart long before my brother found me,” he explained, taking a deep breath. “We had loved each other dearly, but not enough. We fought and argued almost constantly. When the time came and he got the message that they were coming, he fled in the middle of the night. I had no warning before I was captured.” Magnus bit his lip. “I still have the letters they threw into my cell from him. I spent a decade hating him after what he’d done. He told me he loved me, and yet he never came for me after that. I no longer loved him.” Magnus’ gaze traveled down to his feet. “Even so, I would have never wanted this. I forgave him long ago. I just wish I could tell him that.”

Ragnor placed his hand on Magnus’ shoulder. “I am sorry,” he whispered. He moved his hand from Magnus’ shoulder to his cheek, patting it gently. “We should get going. Don’t you think so?”

Magnus nodded once. “You’re right. Let’s go,” he agreed, waving his hand to create a portal to his and Elias’ old townhouse. He stepped through first, clenching his hand into a fist to prevent the assault of memories he’d no doubt encounter. When he emerged through the portal, he took in his surroundings. Not a single thing had changed in the 26 years that had passed since he’d been there. There was broken glass from the when Magnus had struggled to avoid capture. He waved his hand, getting rid of the shattered remains. When he stepped further in, walking through the kitchen, he smiled when he looked at indentations and claw marks on the cabinets. They had been from a particularly heated argument between himself and Elias, or the aftermath of it, at least.

Magnus shook his head, turning to Ragnor. “This way,” he said, getting back to business. He walked quickly, keeping his head down to avoid looking at anything for too long. He stopped when he reached the hallway near their bedroom, looking at a dagger kept in a glass casing. It was protected by wards that only allowed Magnus to touch it, so he was met with no resistance when he took the dagger out of the case, examining it carefully.

Ragnor came to stand next to Magnus. “Do you mind me asking what makes this dagger so special?” he asked him. “It is old and dull.”

Magnus just smiled bitterly. “This is a Kris. It belonged to Asmodeus. It was given to me the day I killed my father.”

“Asmodeus?” Ragnor’s eyebrows rose at that. “Magnus, your father—”

Magnus cut him off. “Asmodeus.”

Asmodeus ,” Ragnor corrected himself, “is a fallen angel. The Soul Door spell will not work for you. It requires demon blood.”

Magnus directed a blank stare at Ragnor, not comprehending. “And. . .?” he asked.

And , Asmodeus is a fallen angel, not a demon. You are a Warlock with Angel blood, Magnus. By Lilith, I didn’t believe it was possible, but that’s what you are,” Ragnor breathed out, both astonished and pleasantly surprised. “You, Magnus, are an anomaly.”

Magnus pursed his lips. “Angel blood?” he said to himself. So the same blood he had spent years learning to accept wasn’t even a part of him? How could he be a warlock if his blood was from a fallen angel? Why was he like this? “I have so many questions.”

“Ones I cannot answer,” Ragnor said regretfully. “Return home, Magnus. Talk to your fiancé.”

Magnus nodded, sending his father’s dagger to a protective case in his bedroom. He created a portal with a flick of his wrist, taking a deep breath before stepping through. He stepped out into the hallway where Alec’s office was. He walked down the hallway, knocking on the door twice. “Alexander?”

“Come in.” Magnus turned the knob, opening up the door. He looked at Alec, who was hunched over his desk, looking frustrated, and felt guilty about the news he was bringing him. He walked over and placed himself in Alec’s lap, giving him a much-needed distraction from his work.

“Pay attention to me,” Magnus pouted, gently tracing Alec’s deflect rune with his finger. Alec rolled his eyes, but Magnus took the victory for what it was worth when Alec smiled.

“Your phone. It went out of service for over an hour.” Alec frowned deeply. “I contacted Catarina. She is the only reason I don’t have an entire search party out looking for you right now. By the Angel, Magnus, Warlocks are going missing.”

“I stopped in Lithuania for some potion ingredients. I didn’t realize my phone lost service.” Magnus puffed out his cheeks at the expected turn in the conversation. “I’m sorry for worrying you,” he mumbled, turning away from Alec.  He took a deep breath. “I can’t do the spell because I don’t have demon blood.” Before Alec could voice his confusion, Magnus held up a hand to silence him. “Not finished. I do not have demon blood because Asmodeus isn’t a demon. Asmodeus is a fallen angel.”

“Okay.” Alec nodded, taking the news surprisingly well. “We can’t use the spell, but it is intended for those who have demon blood. Since neither of us have that, then what do we do?”

“. . .You’re taking this suspiciously in stride.” Magnus placed his finger under Alec’s chin, making him look up at him. His eyes looked heavy, as if he’d been working for days instead of just a few hours. “Are you okay, Darling?” He ran his hand over Alec’s jaw, feeling the rough scratch of his stubble as he examined his face.

“After all I’ve heard today, there is absolutely nothing that can surprise me,” he told Magnus. “While you were gone, we sent out a few more teams to patrol the area. Clary’s group stopped the kidnapping of a Warlock named Dorothea Rollins. They’ve discovered that The Circle is back. A man claiming to be Valentine’s son is on a quest for self-preservation. He’s just a year younger than me, and he’s terrified of dying. So we’ve got some madman trying to kidnap Warlocks and force them into giving him immortality, and the Clave wants to wait it out and focus on us, instead.” He let out a breath of air. “It’s just. . .stressful,” he admitted.

Magnus frowned, placing a kiss to Alec’s forehead. “Come to bed. You need a relaxing break.” He stood, pulling Alec up with him. He dragged him into his bedroom, closing the door behind them and pointing to the bed. “Lay down.” He pushed Alec towards the bed.

Alec did as he was told, smirking at the gorgeous view he got of Magnus. “I would prefer doing things the other way around, but if this if you’re planning on doing what I think you are, I have no complaints,” He teased, his mood already slightly better. Just being in Magnus’ room made him more comfortable. The atmosphere was so much warmer than the rest of the Institute. It made him feel light, even with all the stress he was under as Head of the Institute.

“Is that what you want?” Magnus grinned down at Alec, climbing into bed with him and sitting on his hips. “I don’t know. Maybe we should wait until our wedding? We’ve both been so good so far,” he joked, running his fingers down Alec’s clothed chest.

Alec let out a loud groan of displeasure. “The danger has passed, Magnus. Having sex would be very low-risk now that Ragnor’s potion has evened out your magic.” He rolled his hips up, making his interest clear as his half hard cock pressed up against Magnus’ ass, separated only by a few layers of clothing. “You gonna let me take care of you?”

Magnus leaned down, pressing their foreheads together. “I thought it was my turn to take care of you.”

“You’ve already done more than enough.” Alec ran his hands up Magnus’ side and leaned up to press a quick kiss to his lips. “I feel so much better now that I’m out of that office. Thank you.” He reached up, toying with the gelled strands of Magnus' hair. “No color today,” he pointed out.

Magnus shrugged his shoulders. “Wanted to look professional for my first time meeting someone affiliated with the Clave.”

“You succeeded.” Alec brought his other hand to Magnus’ side, so now he had both hands on Magnus’ hips, toying with the hem of his shirt. “You looked so good in this. If Victor wasn’t there, I would’ve had my way with you.” Alec bit his lip.

“Yeah?”

Alec nodded. “It should be illegal for someone to look so downright sinful wearing a high collared button-up. I wanted to bend you over my desk and fuck you until you couldn’t think about anything other than my name and how you belong to me.” He licked his lips, pulling Magnus down for another kiss. He held Magnus in place when he pulled away. “Would you like to know what I want to do now?”

Magnus shrugged. “I’m pretty sure I can guess, but I wouldn’t mind you telling me.” He grinned, his attempt at being coy failing miserably when Alec palmed him through his pants, drawing attention to the effect Alec’s words had already had on him.

“You like when I tell you what I want, don’t you?”

Magnus swallowed. “Maybe a little.”

Alec ran his fingers up Magnus’ chest, taking his time with undoing every button on his shirt. “I can tell that it’s been too long since someone gave you what you needed, but I can do it. I can press you down against this bed and claim every inch of your body. Do you want me to be gentle?” he asked, running his hands down Magnus’ exposed chest and taking the waistband of his pants between two fingers. “Or do you want it rough, like that first night when I wanted to let all of my anger out on you? Whatever you want, Magnus, I’ll give it to you.” He opened up the button on Magnus’ pants and Magnus let out a loud sigh as he felt some of the pressure that his pants put on his hardening cock be released.

“Fuck, Alec.” Magnus closed his eyes tightly. “Don’t be gentle. I want you to be rough, just like were then.”

Alec smirked at the response, glad to finally be getting somewhere with Magnus. Magnus was always so focused on being careful to avoid hurting Alec with his magic, and he was trying to push past that worry now that it was no longer a possibility. “Do you ever think about what I would do to you? When I’m out late on a mission, do you touch yourself and pretend your hands are mine?”

Magnus nodded jerkily, his hand joining Alec’s and palming at his cock through the white lace of his boxer briefs. Alec moved his hand to push down Magnus’ pants, tossing them aside before lifting Magnus up slightly with one hand and doing the same with his jeans. “You look amazing like this.”

Magnus let out a shaky breath. “I always look amazing. Haven’t noticed?” He gasped when Alec flipped their positions, putting him on his back.

“Oh, I have,” Alec agreed, leaning in and mouthing at the area between Magnus’ neck and shoulder. He slipped his hands inside of Magnus’ lace underwear, giving his cock a few tentative strokes. “What do you want, Magnus?”

Magnus shut his eyes, pushing his hips up and into Alec’s hand. “What can you give me?” he moaned out, grabbing Alec by his hair and pulling him down for a kiss. He cupped Alec’s cheek, his nails scraping against the rough stubble that was growing in.

Alec pulled back from the kiss to catch his breath. He ran the tip of his nose down Magnus’, giving him a gentle peck on the lips. “Everything. Magnus, I just want you to know how thankful I am to have you. With everything that’s happening, you’ve been the one person that’s just mine. I get to be selfish for the first time in my entire goddamn life. Isabelle has always had her own troubles to worry about and Jace is too busy being perfect all the damn time and I just—you see me, and you’ve given up everything to save my life.”

“Alec, you’re wrong.” Magnus shook his head, reaching up and running his fingers through Alec’s hair. “I’m not giving anything up. I’m choosing something I didn’t think I’d ever have again.” He kept his response vague. He and Alec still hadn’t said ‘I love you’ yet, and he didn’t think the time was right just yet. Alec needed more time before he threw his feelings at him.

“Magnus,” Alec began, a bashful smirk on his face. He pushed Magnus’ hair out of his eyes. “I love—how you always know what to say.” He quickly caught himself, taking his hand out of Magnus’ underwear and pinching the fabric between two fingers, instead. “Can I?”

Magnus nodded his head. “We’ve already waited too long for this,” he decided. “It was torture for me, too, but I had to make sure. I couldn’t bear to hurt you.”

Alec nodded. “I love—how caring you are.” He slowly inched off Magnus’ boxers with one hand, taking the time to admire his naked form once they were off. He sat up to get a full view of him. “Beautiful.” Magnus’ gelled hair was messed up from Alec running his fingers through it, the soft, gelled strands sticking up haphazardly. There weren’t nearly enough hickeys on him, just a single, albeit large, one on his neck. His cock was hard against his stomach, flushed red at the tip. Alec had never seen anything so gorgeous. He kissed a trail down Magnus’ chest, peppering kisses and harsh bites that made him gasp and arch under him.

“Alexander!” Magnus yelled out Alec’s name when he licked up the head of his cock, running his tongue through his slit and tasting the precum that had gathered there.

Alec looked up at him, raising an eyebrow in question.

“Please,” Magnus begged, his abdominal muscles contracting with the effort it took not to cum right then and there. “If you keep this up, I’m not going to last.”

“That’s fine,” Alec told Magnus, sitting up. “You know I’m not going to be upset if you cum, right? I like the fact that you’re feeling good because of me.” He brushed his thumb over his cheek and Magnus batted his hand away, shaking his head.

“I don’t want that,” he said firmly, weaving their fingers together. “I want all of you, Alec.”

Alec grinned. “Don’t call me Alec.” He squeezed Magnus hand. “Do you have lube? There’s some in my room, but I’d really rather not have to leave you for even a second.”

Magnus snapped his fingers, a bottle of lube and a condom appearing on top of his chest. “That’s what magic is for. You’re welcome.”

Alec moved back, grabbing a pillow from beside Magnus’ head. “Lift your hips for me.” He placed the pillow under Magnus before pushing his legs so they were shoulder-width apart. “Are you sure about this?”

Magnus nodded his head. He had never actually confirmed how long it’d been since he’d had sex verbally with Alec, but he was glad that he took his time with him and made sure everything was okay. Magnus hadn’t been with anyone since Elias had allowed him to be captured, so he would definitely need the preparation.

Alec picked up the small bottle. “4SKN,” he read off the label, shaking his head as he opened the bottle. “Really, Magnus? Foreskin is the brand you have?”

“You try finding enough time to carefully choose lube when Maryse is breathing down your neck.” Magnus rolled his eyes at Alec, but couldn’t help but laugh a little himself.

“Good point.” Alec squeezed a generous amount of lube onto his fingers, rubbing it between them to warm up the lube. He leaned over Magnus, giving his sensitive, stiff nipples attention as he circled his hole with one finger, slowly pressing it in after receiving the go-ahead from Magnus. He held Magnus’ nipple between his teeth, pulling on it hard enough to make Magnus cry out his name. He moved his finger slowly, holding Magnus’ gaze as he watched his reactions.

“By Lilith, you’re killing me.” Magnus turned his head to the side, rocking his hips against Alec’s finger. “Another, come on . . .” he groaned, arching his back. He let out a high, keening whine and shut his eyes when Alec pressed a second finger into him, curling them both against his prostate.

“Right there?” Alec smiled down at Magnus, rubbing his fingers against his prostate with small, self-assured smile. He leaned down and pressed his lips to Magnus’ chin, peppering light kisses along his jawline.

Magnus placed his hands on Alec’s bicep and squeezed it briefly, nodding his head. “Fuck, Alexander. Another,” he gasped out, rocking his hips forward. Alec did as he asked, pushing a third finger inside of Magnus, pausing when his jaw clenched and his nose scrunched up adorably.

“Too much?” Alec asked him.

Magnus shook his head. “Not enough.” He opened his eyes, a smile on his face.

Alec’s breath caught in his throat at the sight of bright gold-green irises, paired with a thin, slitted pupils. He looked down at Magnus, awestruck. He didn’t know it was possible for Magnus to be more beautiful than he already was.

Magnus quickly looked off to the side when he realized he accidentally dropped the glamor, quickly putting it back up. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled, his entire face becoming guarded. He tensed up around Alec’s fingers, wincing at the sensation. “Take them out.”

Alec frowned, carefully removing his fingers from inside of Magnus. “Hey, Magnus.” Alec reached out to him, but Magnus jerked away.

“I know. You’re disgusted. I look like a monster,” he mumbled, pulling his knees up to his chest, his back pressed against his headboard.

“Magnus, just listen to me for a second.” Alec didn’t reach out for him again. “You are beautiful.” He locked eyes with Magnus, refusing to look away. “Your Warlock Mark is beautiful.”

“My Warlock Mark is the reason my own father stopped loving me,” Magnus stated, his voice cold. It was clear that Magnus was somewhere else, and that Alec wasn’t getting through to him.

“And it only makes me love you more.” Alec realized his slip the moment Magnus’ eyes went wide with shock. He searched his mind for something, anything to fix what he’d just admitted, before giving up and repairing any of the damage done. He let the words hang in the air between them, waiting for Magnus’ response. If nothing else, his words had managed to breach whatever walls Magnus had been putting up.

“What?” Magnus’ voice was small.

Alec took a deep breath. He tried to tell himself that this wasn’t worse than the buildup to coming out to his parents, but he knew he was lying. He couldn’t handle whatever Magnus’ next words were going to be. He wasn’t prepared to be rejected by him. “I’m—I. . .” He looked down at himself. Despite the fact that Magnus was completely naked, he was still fully clothed. “I’m sorry,” he said, climbing out of bed and fleeing the room.

Chapter Text

Magnus stared after Alec as he ran out of the room, shocked. He closed the door and locked it behind him with a flick of his wrist.

What had just happened? Was it just a spur-of-the-moment confession? Did he even mean what he’d just said?

Magnus stared at the door, laying down and pulling his blankets up to his chest. He and Alexander were just about to have sex for the first time, and he’d let his glamour drop for a second and then he ruined everything. Alec had been great throughout, too, but now Magnus wasn’t in the mood for anything except curling up into a ball and sleeping for a while.

Magnus heard knocking at his door and pulled his blankets over his head, allowing himself to be swallowed up inside of them. He didn’t respond until he heard pounding on the other side of the door.

“Open up!” Jace yelled. Magnus frowned. He didn’t really feel like speaking to anyone right now, but Jace was definitely the last person he wanted to see at all, ever . The two of them weren’t exactly best friends, or friends at all. He didn’t know what Alec’s parabatai wanted with him, but Magnus wasn’t in the mood.

“Go away, I’m naked!” Magnus yelled out, trying to get him to leave. When the incessant banging only continued, Magnus groaned and snapped his fingers, dressing himself in a comfortable knit crop top and sweatpants. He didn’t bother fixing the mess on top of his head he called hair or his smudged makeup before waving his hand to unlock the door and open it.

“You realize the reason all of the doors don’t lock in the Institute is for safety reasons, right?” Jace asked as he walked in, gesturing at the door behind him. “Why was it locked?”

“I told you. I was naked.” Magnus hid under his blankets. “What do you want, Joseph?”

“Jace.”

“Jackson.” Magnus cocked an eyebrow up at him.

Jace just shook his head. “Whatever. Isabelle sent me your way. Alec’s freaking out and I couldn’t understand a word he was saying, but apparently he fucked up pretty badly and it involves you.”

Magnus pursed his lips. “Alexander is an idiot,” he decided, pulling his blankets over his head. What made Alec believe that he had somehow fucked up? Why couldn’t he at least wait for Magnus to respond before jumping to conclusions?

“. . .Okay?” Jace smiled good-naturedly, amused with Magnus’ outburst. “While I can’t disagree, what the hell’s going on between you two?” he asked Magnus, sitting down on his bed as if it was his own. “You guys are usually great for each other and Alec has been significantly less of a hard ass lately, but now he’s being comforted by Izzy and you’re, well”—he gestured at Magnus—“your makeup is a fucking mess, you look like shit, and you haven’t punched me yet.”

“Get out of my room, Jamie.” Magnus turned over, not interested in being on the receiving end of Jace’s teasing. “I’m not sure what made Isabelle think to send you here, but it wasn’t her best idea and I’m just not dealing with this or you right now!” Magnus shouted at him.

Jace raised his hands. “Okay. Leaving. Sorry.” He backed out of the room and Magnus shut the door in his face.

The irritation Jace caused him to feel gave Magnus a newfound energy and he stood, holding his fists at his side. He was not going to let Alec just run away from him like that without an explanation. Magnus took a deep breath and marched down the hall and to Isabelle’s room, opening the door. He saw Alec pacing around Izzy’s bed, his words about as coherent as Jace had described them being as he talked to—well, more like shouted at—Izzy.

Magnus cleared his throat to get both of their attention. “Excuse me, Isabelle. Can I borrow your brother?” Magnus looked at Alec, who froze.

“I actually should go. Aldertree needed to see me.” Alec walked briskly to the door, but Magnus barred him from exiting.

“No. I’m not letting you run from me again.” He shot a look over to Izzy. “Let me borrow your room, and I promise that we can have that spa day you’ve been insisting on.”

Isabelle locked eyes with Alec, searching his expression to make sure that he was ready to talk to Magnus. After a brief nod, she stood and walked over to her door. “I’m holding you to that,” she told Magnus, patting him on the shoulder as she passed him.

Magnus licked his lips, looking up at Alec. He closed his eyes and clenched his fists at his sides as he let down his glamor. Alec had said that he thought his eyes were beautiful, and if he wanted Alec to be honest with him, he’d have to be honest with Alec as well. No more hiding who he truly was.

Magnus opened his eyes. “You told me you love me,” he began. He couldn’t look Alec in the eyes. His hazel eyes were so open, so expressive where Alec could sometimes be guarded. He was afraid that he’d look at them and see that Alec saw a monster when he looked at Magnus’ Warlock mark.

“I did,” Alec agreed. He swallowed hard. “And then I ran away.”

“Yeah,” Magnus sighed heavily, “you ran away from me and apologized. As if loving me would ever be something to be sorry about. Is that what it is, Alec? Are you ashamed?”

“No!” Magnus was taken aback by the volume and sheer desperation of his answer. “No,” Alec repeated, his voice softer this time. “I would never be ashamed of loving you. I ran away because I’m a coward. I was scared you wouldn’t feel the same way. Hell, I still am.”

Magnus ran one manicured fingernail down to the bridge of his nose and squeezed it. “Alexander Gideon Lightwood, how can you be so blind?” he asked him, not waiting for him to respond before he continued. “When I said ‘ I’m not giving anything up. I’m choosing something I didn’t think I’d ever have again,’ did you think I was talking about the newest brand of nail polish? I was talking about love. Of course I love you, too.” He threw his hands in the air. “This is what I get for being engaged to a Nephilim.”

Alec placed a hand on his own chest, feigning offense. “Oh, and you’re so perceptive?” he asked accusingly. “Was ‘ I love—how you always know what to say’ and ‘ I love—how caring you are ’ not obvious enough?” Alec grinned, his positive mood returning. He took the initiative, pulling Magnus to his chest. “I’ll spell it out for you, then. I love you, Magnus.”

Magnus smiled, resting his head on Alec’s chest. “I love you, too.” He reached for Alec’s hands, holding them in his own. He kissed each of Alec’s fingers, then pushed himself up to the tips of his toes to peck him on the lips. “Back to bed?” he asked.

Alec nodded his head, letting Magnus pull him along. He squeezed his hand. “I understand that your eyes are a part of you that you have a hard time accepting because of what they mean to you. But I love everything about you. Don’t hide them from me.”

Magnus looked down at his feet as they reached his room. “I’ll try.”

“That’s good enough for me.”


 

As per usual, Alec was the first to wake up this morning. He looked down at Magnus, who was laying his head on his chest, his hair tickling Alec’s already hairy chest. He had a bad case of panda eyes from his makeup being smudged during the night, but his face was otherwise peaceful. “I love you,” Alec whispered, pressing a kiss to Magnus’ forehead. He ran his fingers through his hair, smiling when his fiancé blinked sleepily, beginning to wake up. His bright gold-green eyes only stood out more with the dark makeup surrounding them, and Alec felt himself melt at the sight.

Buenos dias .” Magnus ran his fingers along Alec’s scruffy jaw, yawning. “I really like this. You look all rugged and sexy.”

Alec licked his lips. “Oh yeah?” He turned his body, moving so he was bracketing Magnus’ body with his own. “I might grow it out just for you.” He held Magnus’ wrist, giving him a wink before releasing it. He held himself up with one hand, using the other to push Magnus shirt up to his chin. He started at his chest, circling his tongue around Magnus’ nipple.

Magnus fisted his hand in Alec’s hair, his breathing shallow. “Mm, Alexander. . .” He breathed out as Alec kissed down his chest, occasionally biting down to leave his mark on Magnus.

Alec bypassed Magnus’ hardening cock, biting the inside of his thigh before soothing it with his tongue. He pulled away for just a second. “Can I?” he asked, his finger dipping inside the soft, lace fabric of the panties Magnus was wearing. These covered far less than the boxer briefs he wore yesterday, and the black lace did little to hide the parts that were covered by the flimsy lace.

“Go ahead.” Magnus helped Alec slide the fabric down his legs, watching as he tossed them in a random corner of the room. “Stop throwing my clothes. Those were expensive.”

“I can’t see why. It’s not like they actually covered anything,” Alec said back, taking Magnus’ cock into his hand. He stroked him slowly, brushing his thumb over the head of Magnus’ cock while he sucked his balls into his mouth.

Magnus fisted his hands in the sheets, unable to look away from the gorgeous sight that was only enhanced by Alec’s stubble. “Oh fuck!” he moaned, thrusting his hips into Alec’s hand. He dragged his nails down Alec’s scalp, eliciting a muffled moan from him. Alec pulled back, reaching beside them from the lube that they’d left there last night. “Can I rim you?”

Magnus felt his stomach tighten and his mouth went dry. He had never had that done to him before, but he’d be lying if he said he hadn’t fantasized about Alec doing that to him before. He swallowed hard, nodding as the words ‘ beard burn’ echoed in his head, making the idea even more attractive to him. “Do you want me to turn over?”

Alec nodded. Magnus moved to lay onto his stomach, bringing his knees up to elevate his hips. He gasped when Alec placed a hand on his ass and squeezed. “You have such a nice ass,” he complimented, making Magnus’ cheeks flush red.

“Are you going to compliment my ass all day or actually do something?” Magnus asked, trying to cover up his embarrassment.

Alec chuckled and poured lube onto his fingers, circling Magnus’ hole with them before pushing the first one in. Just a few seconds later, Magnus felt warm breath against his hole before Alec circled his finger with his tongue. Magnus let out a high pitched whine, his back bowing forward as he pushed his ass out. He groaned when Alec reached around him to give his cock a teasing squeeze, at the same time pushing in a second finger and stiffening his tongue to lick in between his digits.

Magnus bit down on his lip to muffle the embarrassingly loud moan that left him, his cock twitching in Alec’s hand. It only took a few more swift strokes for him to cum onto the sheets. His hand fell away from his mouth and he let out a scream of pleasure as he rode his orgasm in waves, closing his eyes as they rolled back into his head.

Alec placed a hand on Magnus’ stomach to hold him up, preventing him from collapsing onto his own cum, and sat up, pulling out his fingers and sitting Magnus on his lap. “How was that?”

Magnus blinked at him, still a little dazed. “Good.” He mumbled, kissing Alec’s shoulder. He could still feel the distinct warmth the scratch of Alec’s stubble against his ass. “Very good.”

“Wonderful.” Alec ran his fingers through Magnus’ hair and fixed his shirt. “I love you.” He wiped his fingers on his pants before cupping Magnus' chin and pulling him into a kiss. He grabbed Magnus’ ass, rolling their hips together. Magnus dug his nails into his palms and groaned from oversensitivity, pushing into the touch. He moaned into Alec’s mouth, running a hand up his chest and grabbing a handful of his shirt.

“I love you too,” Magnus gasped once they parted to breathe, before immediately going back for another kiss, this one a passionate clash of lips, teeth, and tongue. They both groaned at the same time when they heard a knock at the door.

“It’s Aldertree.” Alec frowned, pressing his forehead against Magnus’. When Magnus gave him a confused look, wondering how he was able to know that without seeing who was on the other side, Alec tapped his ears. “Enhanced experimented-on Nephilim senses,” he explained. “Everyone has a different walking pattern. I can tell a lot of things that most Shadowhunters can’t. I thought it was just because I trained hard, but—” Alec shrugged his shoulders and gave Magnus one more kiss, just a quick press of lips. “I really don’t want to answer that door. It’s not even 6am yet. Why is he awake and at our door?” When Aldertree knocked again, Alec rolled his eyes and Magnus got out of bed, finding his discarded pair of panties and pulling them on before reaching for his sweatpants and slipping them on as well. He walked over to the door and opened it just enough so he could be seen. He smiled at Aldertree. “Morning,” he greeted.

Aldertree greeted them both with a pen and paper. “Morning.” Even at this time, he was already dressed and fully awake, wearing a three-piece suit. “So, how is that spell coming along?”

Magnus looked back at Alec, then returned his gaze to Aldertree. “There’s been an issue. The spell requires the caster to have demon blood.”

Aldertree winced. “That is a problem, isn’t it?” he asked Magnus. “Considering that, in the Clave’s official record, you are part fallen angel.” He closed the notebook and tucked it into a pocket on the inside of his suit. “Am I interrupting something, or can I come in?”

Magnus narrowed his eyes at Aldertree. “Actually, Alec and I will meet you in his office. Our bedroom isn’t really a place for negotiation.”

“Actually, I insist.” Aldertree held the door open with his foot, and Magnus gave him a suspicious look. He felt Alec place a hand on his shoulder. He looked back at him curiously and then let Aldertree in after seeing Alec’s slow nod. Magnus closed the door behind him, accepting the kiss on the forehead Alec gave him.

“Your room is the only one that is protected from any surveillance from within the Institute,” Alec offered in explanation. Magnus nodded and waved his hand to clean up any mess they’d made and get a chair for Aldertree. “Thirsty?” he asked them both.

“I don’t drink on the job.” Aldertree shook his head and Alec declined as well.

Magnus shrugged. “Suit yourself.” He snapped his fingers, a strawberry and mango flavored cocktail appearing in his hand. He took a seat on his bed next to Alec, leaning on his shoulder and crossing his legs.

“I’ve discovered who the mole is,” Aldertree told Alec. “Hodge Starkweather.”

Alec took Magnus’ drink and downed it in one gulp. Both Magnus and Aldertree gave him equally puzzled looks.

“Sorry,” Alec mumbled, “just. . .was not expecting that. You realize what you’re saying here, Victor, right? Hodge helped raise a lot of the Shadowhunters here. Despite his involvement with the Circle, we trust him.”

Magnus rolled his eyes and snapped his finger to refill his empty glass.

Aldertree smirked. “Which is exactly why he makes the perfect mole. That maniac that had been kidnapping and murdering Warlocks somehow has him on a payroll. Maybe he wants freedom.”

“After what the Clave did to him?”

“After he received punishment for his involvement in the Circle Uprising,” Aldertree corrected. “I’m just telling you the information I have. You’re the Head of this Institute, you can choose what to do with it. As I’ve said before, I’m here to assist you and push the ceremony along.”

“I’m sure.” Alec smiled thinly. “I’m not going to persecute Hodge. Not yet, at least,” he decided, placing both hands in hips lap. “For now, we will have to keep a close eye on Hodge and wait for him to try and contact Valentine’s son. Once it is no longer an ungodly hour, I’ll call a briefing with Jace, who is leading the investigation. He will establish a small team of the most trusted members of the Institute to carry this out.”

“And once we’ve found what we’re looking for?” Magnus cut in.

“We’re not waiting to find anything. We’re waiting to be found,” Alec told Magnus. “We’ll allow Valentine’s son to trap himself, and then we’ll imprison him and Hodge. . .he’ll have to be deruned and banished.” Alec looked down, his tone regretful. “This his second major betrayal of the Clave. It’s either this or execution. And Valentine’s son can stand trial in front of the Clave. I don’t care what happens to that murderer.”

Aldertree nodded in agreement. “I won’t make you carry it out yourself. I’ll bring him to Idris for punishment.” He and Alec shared a meaningful look before they both glanced upward. “It’s only right.”

Alec nodded. “When the time comes, you take Hodge,” he told Aldertree before he cleared his throat. “Onto the topic of the ceremony, then?”

“Yes.” Aldertree nodded. “I have a rather unconventional suggestion, but one that may be effective, nonetheless.”

“Proceed.” Alec nodded his head.

“Well,” Aldertree began, “since Magnus has angel blood, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to assume that his skin takes to runes. We can create your bond that way.”

“It might work,” Magnus agreed, surprised that he hadn’t thought of it himself.

“And if it doesn’t?” Alec asked. “I’m not putting Magnus at risk. There has to be another way.” His words hung in the air between the three of them. The only other known way was the same method that was killing Warlocks now, and they all knew it. “Not that.” He tried to amend his statement. “I just don’t want to hurt my fiancé.”

“I know, Alec.” Magnus held out his hand toward Aldertree. “There is a way to test whether my skin will take to runes without actually applying them. Victor, your Seraph blade. Give it to me.”

“If it responds, then you will be able to have runes applied to you.” Aldertree caught on quickly.

“Exactly,” Magnus agreed. He looked over at Alec, who was holding his breath as Aldertree took out his Seraph blade from a leg holster before placing it in Magnus’ hand.

The Seraph lit up in bright red instead of blue and Magnus’ eyebrows raised in interest. “Well, it works,” he mumbled, not sure what else to say. It lit up red, after all. There were so many questions that dealt with that detail in his head, but he’d have to wait before they could be answered. Now, he had to focus on the issue at hand.

“That settles it, then.” Aldertree beamed as Magnus returned his Seraph blade. “We’ll conduct the ceremony tod-tomorrow.” He fixed the date when he saw the look both Magnus and Alec were giving him. “Today we handle all the preparations while you two make arrangements for your absences. We have on record that Downworlders’ urges are amplified by the bond in both the Shadowhunter and Downworlder for several days afterward. The two of you need to make arrangements. The Clave will cover all the expenses.”

“Understood. You’re dismissed, Aldertree.”

Aldertree nodded, seeing himself out of the room.

Alec laid down, his legs hanging off the bed. “This is happening tomorrow. I’ll have Izzy and Raj take care of the Institute in my absence since Jace would probably send the entire thing into turmoil. Raj is responsible and Izzy is a genius.”

Magnus made a noise of agreement. “You trust Raj quite a lot,” he mumbled, trying not to sound as jealous as he felt. He was a flawed man, he couldn’t help but feel a little bit of jealousy when Alec had spoken so tenderly to Raj and held him in such high regard.

“I know him well. We dated for a couple years.” Alec shrugged his shoulders like it wasn’t a big deal to him, while sirens went off in Magnus’ head at his response.

“You dated. I didn’t know that,” he mumbled. “You two seem to be quite friendly. I’m assuming it was a civil breakup?”

Alec shook his head. “We’ve been broken up for more than three years now. We started dating because he was really the only guy to give me attention. It was doomed from the start. I was always distant and he got tired of being neglected. He slept with someone who gave him the care and attention I didn’t and I dumped him. After that, they got together. They’ve been dating ever since then.”

“I’m sorry.” Magnus frowned.

Alec shook his head. “Don’t be. I’m not angry at him, and he’s happier with Victor than he ever could’ve been with me.” He turned to look at Magnus. “And I don’t think I would be as happy as I am with you if we would’ve stayed together. I learned from our breakup, which is why I’m able to give you all the love you deserve.”

Magnus leaned down and pressed his lips to Alec’s. “I love you.” He emphasized each word with a soft peck.

“Mm, I love you, too.” He pulled Magnus into his arms. “Where do want to go after the ceremony? I was thinking somewhere quiet.”

“I was thinking somewhere warm and with a view. Possibly St. Kitts and Nevis?” Magnus asked casually. “The Four Seasons Resort is wonderful and they have private properties. So. . .quiet.”

Alec mouthed quirked up in a half-smile. “Four Seasons Resort it is, then.”

Magnus clapped his hands together. “Excellent. I’ve had my eye on the One Bedroom Stewart’s Cottage with a Plunge Pool. Here, have a look.” He opened up his phone, showing Alec a few pictures of the residence.

Alec was especially interested in the outside shower and wondered if Magnus would be up for using it together. He also had a few ideas for the plunge pool and their private deck, but he’d work his way up to those. “It’s nice,” he complimented.

“It’s more than nice.” Magnus gave him an offended glare. “And they have so many activities as well. There are spas. . .I was thinking of getting a facial and then the brown sugar delight. Cat told me it’s heavenly.”

Alec smirked, brushing his thumb over Magnus’ lips and then giving him a quick kiss. “I can give you a facial,” he offered, winking at him.

Magnus hit Alec’s chest playfully. “You are shameless.”

“That wasn’t a no,” Alec pointed out.

Color spread over Magnus’ cheeks before he bit his lip. “It wasn’t a no,” he agreed.

Alec grinned and fell down on the bed with Magnus on top of him. “By the Angel, Magnus. I love you so fucking much.” He cupped Magnus’ cheeks, once again thinking about how lucky he was to have him.

Magnus leaned down on pressed his lips to Alec’s deflect rune, tracing it with his tongue and dragging a gasp out of him. He pulled away, patting Alec’s chest. “You should hurry and get that briefing done. I’m gonna take a shower.” He got out of bed and Alec pushed himself up on one hand, blatantly watching his ass as he left the room.

“Tease!” he called after Magnus, before he got out of bed as well, texting Jace, Izzy, and Raj to meet him in his office.

Chapter Text

“So. . .” Izzy asked casually, crossing her arms as she opened the door walked into Alec and Magnus’ bedroom, not even bothering to knock. “Today’s the day, huh?”

Alec rolled his eyes, then glanced down at Magnus’ sleeping form briefly before putting a finger over his lips. “It is,” he whispered. “Did you come to get him for his morning spa treatment?”

Izzy grinned. “He did promise,” she reminded Alec. She walked around to Magnus’ side of the bed, sitting down on the unoccupied space on the bed. She looked down at Magnus’ sleeping face, running her fingers through his hair. “I know you’re worried about Magnus, but I would never let anything happen to him. I love him, too, you know.” When Alec pulled Magnus closer possessively, Izzy rolled her eyes. “Not like that. He’s my brother, too.” She smiled. “Or he will be, at least.”

“I can’t help being terrified that, if I let him out of my sight for even a second, I’ll never see him again.” Alec pursed his lips. “I love him, Izzy. We haven’t even bonded yet and I know that I wouldn’t be able to live without him. Warlocks are disappearing, and I’m doing everything I can to stop that. You know I am. The teams I’ve sent out have rescued dozens. But we haven’t been able to save every single one, and every Warlock we haven’t saved has died.”

“Alec.” Izzy locked eyes with her brother, leaning over Magnus to pat his cheek. “Don’t think like that, okay? I won’t let him out of my sight,” she promised. “Not even for a second.”

“Thank you, Izzy.” Alec smiled at her. “He’s everything to me and, tonight, our lives are going to be intertwined for the rest of eternity. If he dies, so do I.” He licked his lips. “Is it wrong of me to say that I wouldn’t have it any other way? That I’m not sure if I would ever want to live in a world without Magnus?”

“I don’t know, Hermano,” Izzy admitted, glancing down at Magnus’ face. “I love Clary, but I’m not sure if what we have goes that deep.”

Alec nodded. “Magnus keeps telling me he’s strong and capable on his own, and I really do know that, so he can never know I’m asking you to look after him. If he finds out, I’ll get an earful.”

“Your secret’s safe with me.” Izzy placed her hand on Magnus’ shoulder and shook him. “Wake up! Time for your morning spa treatment!” she yelled.

Magnus groaned, pushing her hand away. He buried his face in Alec’s chest and pulled their blankets over his head. “Wanna sleep. . .” he murmured in displeasure.

Alec looked at Isabelle. “He wants to stay with me.”

Isabelle raised an eyebrow at him. “Well, I didn’t ask. You promised me, Magnus!” She took out her stele and activated her strength rune before hauling Magnus out of bed and throwing him over her shoulder. She stood up, waving her fingers at Alec. “Now that I have what I want, I’ll be going.”

“Isabelle put me down!”

Izzy laughed at Magnus’ outburst, carrying him out of the room. Alec shook his head in amusement as he watched them leave.


 

Today was their big day. While Izzy stole Magnus away for the morning, he had to make sure everything was in order for the big surprise he had for Magnus. He hadn’t told anyone aside from a few people yet, but he’d come up with the idea of proposing to Magnus today, during the ceremony. He couldn’t think of any better place. The entire Institute would bear witness to Alec’s declaration of his love for Magnus, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He wanted the world to know that he was in love with him. So, today, he, Jace, and Catarina would be going shopping for Magnus’ wedding ring. He had considered inviting Ragnor to join them, but he remembered how much Ragnor hated him and thought better of it.

Alec climbed out of bed and walked down the hall, opening up the door to Jace’s bedroom. He took off one of the sandals he’d worn to bed and threw it at Jace’s head. It landed directly in the middle of his face, hitting him on the forehead, nose, and mouth.

“That’s fucking gross, man!” Jace sputtered, throwing the sandal aside. Alec smirked, slipping it back on his foot and then yanking Jace’s blankets off of him.

“Come on. You know we have a big day ahead of us.”

“You,” Jace disagreed vehemently. “I’m gonna be practically useless.”

We,” Alec repeated. “I’m gonna trim this”—he gestured at his face—“shower, and get dressed. You better be ready by the time I get back.” He gave Jace a stern look and received a middle finger, paired with a disgruntled noise, in response. He left Jace’s room laughing and grabbed one of his—now glittery—towels and went into the bathroom. As he showered, he went over what he’d planned to tell Magnus in his head. It wasn’t the smoothest or most concise speech, but he knew it would be one that Magnus would appreciate, nonetheless.

Or he hoped it would, at least. A lot of time had passed since he and Magnus had been first introduced, and he felt as if he knew him well by now.

Alec shook his head as he started to doubt himself. Everything would be fine. Magnus would love it. He finished washing himself, taking special care to use the shampoo Isabelle had put in the bathroom specifically for him to use before hopping out of the shower. He wrapped the towel around his waist, using a razor to fix the shape of his beard before heading to his bedroom and getting dressed in dark grey sweats. He knocked on the door to Jace’s room to be polite, waiting a good three minutes before Jace opened the door.

“I’m here, I’m ready,” Jace greeted him, looking completely refreshed. “Where are we headed?”

“First? We’re meeting Catarina at Greenwich St. Jewelers.” Alec ran his hand along his jaw.

Jace nodded. “Okay. Debit cards?” he asked Alec.

Alec reached into his pocket. “Check.”

“Common sense?”

“Out the window,” Alec smirked.

“Balls?”

Alec scoffed. “I’m afraid Magnus has them on a chain,” he told Jace. They both shared a laugh.

“That’s my parabatai.” Jace clapped him on the back and they both left through the back door of the Institute, walking to Greenwich’s to meet Catarina.

When they found her, she was wearing a glamor that Alec didn’t remember seeing before. Her usual blue skin was a deep brown that shone in the sunlight, but that was all that changed. Jace whistled when he saw her and Alec hit him on the back of the head.

“She’s married,” Alec hissed. “To the High Warlock. And she could probably kill you without his help. Show some respect.”

Jace nodded. He walked up to Catarina and shook her hand, trying to charm her with one of his winning smiles. “A pleasure.” He shook her hand.

Catarina just chuckled. “Whistle at me again, and Alec’s dear parabatai will wake up as a toad,” she told him. Her smile never wavered, but the threat was still clear. “Shall we?” She led them to a back alley behind the jeweler and created a portal. She held both of their hands and they all stepped through.

“Where are we?” Alec asked curiously, looking around. It definitely didn’t look like New York anymore.

“Welcome to Milan, boys.” She did a spin to face the two of them, her dress billowing around her. “Follow me. I hope your wallets are prepared.” Alec swallowed and looked over at Jace.

“This is going to hurt, isn’t it?” Alec asked.

“Like you wouldn’t believe,” Jace informed him. “Your man has expensive tastes. Remember, get rid of all common sense, Magnus has your balls on a chain,” he reminded Alec, putting a hand on his back and pushing him forward to follow after Catarina.

“Right. Balls on a chain,” Alec agreed, striding forward, only a few steps behind the surprisingly quick woman. She stopped in front of a shop called Laboratorio Valentina and the three of them walked inside. Alec looked around the shop, a little overwhelmed by all the rings and jewelry. He wasn’t really the kind of guy who shopped for jewelry on a regular basis. He had always been too busy to bother with luxuries like this, but now he was with someone who knew plenty about it. Magnus was a beautiful array of colors and jewelry that immediately commanded attention whenever he entered a room. He loved the vibrant air his style gave off, but he also loved when Magnus lounged around in sweatpants and one of Alec’s too-big t-shirts, his face free of any makeup and the only jewelry he adorned being his treasured ear cuff.

           “Alec, Dear, come. These aren’t the rings I want you to see.” Catarina waved Alec over to where she was talking to the jeweler.

           Alec perked up when his name was called. He grabbed Jace, pulling him along with him as the jeweler led the three of them through the shop’s back door. Alec squeezed Jace’s shoulder, shooting him a look as alarms rang off in his head. They both had their Seraph blades, tucked away under their clothes, in case the situation turned sour.

           “Here we are.” Catarina made a sweeping gesture around the room. “These are engagement rings fit for a Warlock. Livino, help this poor Nephilim find what he’s looking for.” She gestured to Alec.

           Alec waved at the jewelry, sticking close to Jace’s side. He had even less of an idea of what to get for Magnus than before. When he had been brainstorming possible engagement rings, he hadn’t even thought of any of the options that were being presented to him. There were Ancient rings, enchanted rings, rings whose stones were composed of the blood of races of fae that had been exterminated by demons, and even portal rings. He was completely out of sorts.

           Livino strode over to Alec, the barest hint of elongated vampire teeth showing as he appraised him. “What can I help you find, Shadowhunter?”

           “Um. . .” Alec looked toward Jace for help, only to find that, while Alec’s attention had been elsewhere, he’d ran off to join Catarina. “Traitor,” he mumbled under his breath. “Worst parabatai ever.” He cast a glance back at Livino before he shrugged his shoulders. “I’m looking for a ring for my fiancé. He’s a Warlock.”

           Livino rolled his eyes. “Okay. I’ll see what I can do. How old is he?”

           Alec racked his brain for the answer. Magnus had never actually given him an exact number, but he did give him clues. From what Alec knew, Magnus’ older brother was in his late seventies to mid-eighties and his mother had killed herself sixty years ago. Had Magnus been ten, then? He thought so. “He’s 70,” Alec answered.

           Livino nodded. “So, first century Warlock. I recommend an Antique ring. Something from long before his birth. Younger Warlocks tend to have an interest in the past. Would you like to see a selection?”

           Alec nodded his head. “That’d be great.”

           Livino walked behind the counter on the opposite side of the room, unlocking a small cabinet at his feet and showing Alec a display of five rings. “Do any of these catch your eye?”

           Alec’s gaze immediately centered in on the second ring from the right. The right side of it appeared to be narrower than the left, and it had interesting inscriptions on it, but it was otherwise a very simple—albeit eccentric—ring. Alec thought Magnus was a little eccentric as well, in the best possible way. “That one.”

           Livino grinned, showing off his fangs. “An excellent choice,” he praised Alec. “This is a rare optical illusion ring that appears narrower on one side. It is said to symbolize eternity. A mint condition ring from the year 1793.”

           It symbolized eternity. Alec could not think of a more perfect ring to give to Magnus. “This is the one. How much?”

           “For a friend of Catarina’s? I’ll give you a discount. 2,750.00. Just don’t forget who your friends are, Shadowhunter.” His expression became serious for just a moment, before his smile returned. “Now, let’s get this in a box for you.” The case for the ring he brought out was made of wood, but the inside was velvet. Livino placed the ring inside of the dip in the velvet and closed the case, setting it down on the counter. “The ring plus the case will amount to a total of 2,763.37.”

           Alec reached into his pocket for his debit card and handed it over. He hoped Magnus would love the ring. He was extremely well off and the price was not much to pay, even though his entire attitude towards spending money was lackluster, at best. Being annoyingly frugal was just another character trait of his, one that was lost when it came to Magnus.


 

           Magnus and Izzy had a wonderful time at the Haven Spa, getting the full 6-hour ‘Spoil Me Rotten’ treatment, and they both looked wonderful. Magnus’ skin felt rejuvenated and he smelled of brown sugar and cinnamon, but that did nothing to ease his nerves now that it was almost time for the ceremony.


           He didn’t even know why he was so jittery. He wasn’t afraid or having second thoughts of permanently bonding himself to Alec. To be perfectly honest, he had never felt so sure of anything in his life. And yet, here he was, sitting in the middle of his dressing in a pair of lacy, red boxers while he waited for Isabelle to return with his ceremonial outfit, shaking like a leaf in the wind.


           “Delivery!” Izzy grinned, opening up the door. She was carrying Magnus’ ceremonial clothing in a bag. The entire ensemble was loose-fitting, the sleeves and legs of the pants wide at the ends. It was all black, and once Magnus had put on the outfit and appraised himself in the mirror, he felt compelled to put a splash of gold in his hair and glitter under his eyes, just to give some life to his wardrobe. He turned around to face Isabelle. “Is it time?” he asked her.


           Izzy nodded, holding out her hand. “It’s time, Magnus.” Magnus took her hand, squeezing it briefly as she led him to the doorway that led to a large-wide open garden. At the opposite side of the garden, Alec was sitting down, his eyes closed as he waited for Magnus. She stopped at the door, letting go of Magnus’ hand. “This is where I leave you.” She dug something out of her pocket and held it out. “Your stele.”


           “Isabelle, thank you so much,” Magnus breathed out, feeling his heartbeat quicken. He wiped his eyes, looking out through the doorway. Alec was dressed similarly to him, except in all white, and even from a great distance, Magnus could see that he looked absolutely breathtaking.


           “Go, Magnus.” Izzy urged him forward. Magnus took the first step, feeling his bare feet press against the soft grass. While he could not see them, he knew everyone was watching. Vampires, Werewolves, Seelies, and Warlocks alike had all come to witness their bonding. Even though he knew there were eyes everywhere, he allowed himself to pretend that he and Alec were the only two people there. When he reached Alec, he took a seat next to him and Alec opened his eyes.

As Alec’s eyes opened, Magnus let the glamor over his own fall away.


           “You look beautiful,” Alec whispered to Magnus, pressing his lips to his forehead. He placed a crown of globe amaranths onto his head. “They mean immortal love,” Alec offered in explanation.


           Magnus smiled. “I love you,” he told Alec, leaning up for a kiss. Alec cupped his chin gently, parting Magnus’ lips with his own. His free arm circled around Magnus’ waist, pulling him closer as he explored Magnus’ mouth. After a few moments, he pulled away, leaving them both panting.


           “I love you, too. Are you ready?”


           Magnus nodded, moving away from Alec to lay himself down on the grass. He held Alec’s gaze as he pushed up his shirt, exposing his chest.


           Alec readied his stele. “This is going to hurt,” he warned Magnus, pressing the stele against his skin. Magnus winced as Alec drew the first rune, the Angelic Power rune, right over his heart. “Angelic Power!” Alec called out for everyone to hear. Magnus didn’t open his eyes, clenching his jaw to bear the pain. He had endured much worse; he could handle having runes placed on him. “Bind To!” Alec began drawing the next rune, this time on his right rib. This rune was more elaborate, more painful and took much longer to draw. “Love!” Magnus felt Alec’s stele being pressed against his throat. He held his breath and tipped his head back, allowing him to draw the rune. The last mark to be drawn was the Lightwood Crest, and Alec had tugged down Magnus’ pants and his boxers as much as was socially acceptable to apply it onto his hip. Magnus let out an involuntary moan, then quickly covered his face in abject horror.


It was only when Alec pulled away completely that Magnus opened his eyes, appraising his new marks. Instead of the black that most Nephilim’s marks were, his were all a sparkling silver, contrasting against his skin. He traced each one with his finger, using his magic to strengthen them in order to form the bond. “Your turn,” Alec told Magnus, exposing the pale canvas of his back to him.


Magnus took his stele out of his pocket, his hands surprisingly steady as he drew the marks onto Alec. After drawing each mark, he traced it with a glowing blue fingertip, effectively finishing the ceremony. As Magnus stood, he looked toward Alec in confusion. He was on just one knee, a strange look in his eyes.
“Alexander?”


Alec fished a rounded, wooden box out of his pocket and cleared his throat loudly. “For most of my life, I’ve always struggled with finding the right words,” he began, and Magnus’ heart skipped several beats as what was happening slowly began to sink in. “But you’ve somehow made it so easy to express myself and reveal all the truths I have always kept hidden.” He took a deep breath. “There are so many things I could call you, Magnus. I could call you a thief, because you took my breath away the first time I laid eyes on you, and then you stole my heart. I could call you my hero, because you have saved my life in more ways than one. But those don’t really sound right to me. So, instead, I’d like to call you Magnus Lightwood.” He opened up the small wooden case, showing Magnus a gold ring with multiple engravings. “Will you marry me, Magnus?”


Magnus nodded, feeling tears begin to stream down his cheeks. He held out his hand for Alec, who gently slid the ring onto his finger.


He hadn’t been expecting to ever get a proper proposal because their marriage had been arranged, and he was happier than he had ever been in his life now that he had received one. When Alec stood, he threw himself into his arms, sobbing into his chest.


Alec rubbed Magnus’ back, before lifting him into his arms and carrying him out of the garden. They were met at the door by a large crowd, who shouted congratulations at them all. He was so happy, he didn’t even feel disgruntled when he was stopped by Simon, Raphael, and Jace.

“Congratulations.” Raphael nodded at Alec. “When’s the wedding? You two really know how to host a ceremony.”

“It was beautiful,” Simon agreed, wiping tears out of his eyes.


“We haven’t worked out the details, but we’ll send an invite through the mail,” Alec responded, a wide grin on his face. He heard Magnus let out another sob and stepped past the three of them. “We’re gonna go.” He stepped through a door and into an empty room, setting Magnus down on the bed there and cupping his cheeks. “I didn’t think you were going to cry,” he admitted. “Did I do something wrong?”


Magnus shook his head. “I’m not crying because I’m sad,” he choked out, wiping his eyes. There was gold glitter on his cheeks, making his skin shine. Alec was suddenly hit with a strong urge to kiss him. Alec bent down and wiped the tears away.


“I’m glad I made you that happy.” He smiled. “We can portal to the resort anytime. Our room is ready.” His hand trailed down from Magnus’ cheek to the Love rune on his throat. The silver still held a blue undertone as Magnus’ magic took effect, and Alec leaned in, brushing his lips over it. The moment his lips brushed the rune, he immediately craved more. It was no longer a want; it felt as if his entire body was reaching for Magnus’, aching to be connected to him. It was a physical need, one he had never experienced before.


Alec opened his mouth to suck on the rune, a growl from somewhere deep in his chest coming to the surface and leaving his lips. “Need you. Now.”


Magnus looked surprised at the sudden urgency in Alec’s voice, before his eyes went wide in realization. “You’re not used to it, are you?” He smirked. Magnus could feel the same urges Alec was feeling now, but he’d always been strong and resilient, and this situation was no different. Magnus was stronger than his urges, and he knew how to fight them off. Alec, however, had never felt anything like a Downworlder’s urges before. This was all new to him.


Magnus waved his hand and created a portal for the both of them. He held Alec’s hand, feeling the slight tremors as he forced himself to fight the urge to take Magnus right then and there. They stepped out, appearing into the room Aldertree had arranged for them. It was a completely isolated open-plan cottage with large windows. Next to the doorway, there was a bottle of champagne and a note left for them. Magnus started to walk over to the note, only for Alec to grab him and pin him against the wall. Magnus grinned. “Impatient?”


Magnus saw the strength rune appear in Alec’s eyes briefly in place of his pupils before Alec was tearing his black shirt in two and mouthing at his neck. He grabbed at Magnus’ hips and rolled theirs together, biting down on the rune hard enough to break the skin in any normal circumstance, but didn’t because of the magic strengthening the area. The combined sensations drew a moan out of Magnus’ throat, and when Alec’s hand went for the pants that were riding low on Magnus’ lips, he just snapped his fingers, removing them before Alec could tear those off as well. He jumped up and Alec caught him easily, bringing Magnus’ legs up and wrapping them around his waist.


Magnus threw his arms around Alec’s neck. “Bed,” he instructed. He caught sight of the heightened speed rune in Alec’s eyes before they were both crashing down on their bed, Alec’s body hovering over his. He paused for just a second to run his fingers through Magnus’ hair, his hazel eyes bright. One side of his mouth lifted up in a smirk. “You’re all mine,” he breathed. “Raziel, I’m so lucky.”


“Alexander. . .” Magnus had to look away from Alec, caught off guard by the sheer intensity in his eyes.


“Magnus, look at me.”


Magnus turned his head and locked eyes with Alec.


“I love you so much.” Alec kissed down Magnus’ torso, starting at his Angelic rune and working his way down to the Lightwood family crest on his hips. He had to inch down Magnus’ boxers to correctly lavish the rune with attention, and just ended up continuing to peel off the last garment on Magnus’ body using his teeth, peppering soft kisses on the inside of Magnus’ thighs that made his cock twitch and a low groan escape through his parted lips as he watched Alec intently.


“I love you, too,” Magnus responded, going pliant at Alec’s touches, his legs opening wide when Alec nudged them apart. “I’m tired of waiting, Alec.”


Alec lifted his head, crawling back up Magnus’ body to give him an Eskimo kiss, their noses just barely brushing against each other. He wrapped an arm around Magnus and pulled him into an openmouthed kiss.


Magnus carded his fingers through Alec’s hair, getting a strong grip on the soft strands and pulling him closer. They didn’t part until they both needed air, and even then their lips weren’t even an inch apart as they breathed into each other’s mouths. “I’m serious. I’m ready,” Magnus panted. He conjured Alec’s lube from his bedroom and placed it in his hand. “Here. Please.”


Alec nodded, pressing his lips to Magnus’ forehead. He readjusted the flower crown on his head before popping open the cap to his lube and squeezing some of it onto his fingers. He rubbed it around them to warm up the lube before pressing one of his digits against Magnus’ hole, looking down at him. “Ready?”


Magnus nodded his head. “Yeah. I’m ready,” he confirmed, adjusting the pillows to support him. Alec pushed in the first finger with relative ease. He moved his finger slowly at first, building up a rhythm that had Magnus biting back a moan. He moved his hips in time with Alec’s fingers. “More.”


Alec pressed in the second finger, licking his lips. Magnus caught the sight of an accuracy rune in his eyes before he saw stars and a long, low moan was dragged out of him as his prostate was hit. He reached for Alec’s bicep and squeezed, rocking his hips forward in a silent plea for more. Magnus winced as the third finger was pushed in, his nose scrunching up.


Alec’s fingers stilled inside him.


“Just a second.” Magnus took a deep breath, forcing himself to relax around Alec’s fingers. He gave Alec the go ahead, allowing him to move once again, coaxing a string of moans and whimpers out of him. “By Lilith, Alexander. . .” he groaned, tilting his head back, his crown of globe amaranths falling off to the side. “Want you in me.”


Alec smiled. “Yeah? How do you want me?” he asked Magnus.


“On your back.” Magnus gasped out as Alec’s long fingers rubbed his prostate. “Want to ride you. Seeing you in control is so hot. . .but I want to see you fall apart. . .because of. . .” Magnus let out a high, keening moan, his back arching upward. “Because of me, oh fuck, Alexander!” he yelled out. “Stop, gonna cum!”


Alec slowly pulled out his fingers. “So, that’s what you want, then?” He grinned. His fantasies all revolved around Magnus wrapping his legs around him, scrambling for purchase while Alec fucked him relentlessly. It was so difficult to get Magnus to really be loud, and Alec wanted to make him scream. But if Magnus wanted to ride him, he most definitely was not going to refuse. He waited for Magnus to move aside before laying down on his back. He tugged at his shirt, frowning. “Mind getting rid of these for me?”


Magnus rolled his eyes but snapped his fingers anyway, getting rid of the white ceremonial clothing Alec was wearing. He waved his hand, conjuring up a condom from his bedside drawer before opening it up and rolling it onto Alec’s cock. He coated it with more lube before hovering over his cock, breathing in deeply as he took him inch-by-inch.

Alec rubbed up and down Magnus’ sides. “Take it slow,” he reminded him. “Don’t force yourself.”


Magnus nodded his head, closing his eyes as he took in the sensation of every inch of Alec inside him. He rolled his hips, biting his lip to hold in a loud cry of pleasure. “Fuck,” he breathed out instead, his voice rough.


“Good?” Alec raised an eyebrow at Magnus, wanting to make sure. He knew that Magnus had been—unwillingly—celibate for quite a while, and he was by no means small.


“Good,” Magnus confirmed. “Fuck, so good.” He placed one hand on Alec’s thigh, bringing himself back up before dropping down onto his cock, letting out a loud cry. “Oh my—Alexander, you’re—oh fuck!” He threw his head back and moaned loudly, rolling his hips in a steady rhythm. “Alexander, move!”


“Your wish is my command,” Alec said teasingly, placing his hand on Magnus’ hips and directing the movements of his hips so that they moved in unison. He thrust upward, watching Magnus’ face carefully. He changed angles with each thrust until he saw Magnus’ eyes roll back into his head as a scream ripped its way out of his throat. Alec continued thrusting against Magnus’ prostate, pleased with himself for finding it without the assistance of his accuracy rune.


“Cl-ose!” Magnus yelled out, wrapping a hand around his cock. “Alec—Alexander—I’m gonna—” He yelled out as he spilled his release onto Alec’s chest. Alec rode out Magnus’ high with him, thrusting a few more times before he was cumming as well. As they both reached their peak, Alec caught sight of the distinct blue of Magnus’ magic permeating the air around them, seemingly because of their bond.


Magnus pulled off of Alec before snapping his fingers, a towel appearing in his hand. He cleaned up his chest and then tossed the towel aside, lying down on top of Alec’s chest.


Alec smiled, rubbing Magnus’ back gently and kissing his forehead. “How long before you think you’re ready to go again?” he asked, sneakily squeezing Magnus’ ass.


Magnus rolled his eyes. “You’re insatiable, Alexander.”


Alec grabbed the crown on globe amaranths and placed it on top of Magnus’ head. “Only when it comes to you.” He rubbed his nose against Magnus’ before pecking him on his lips. “I’m so glad you’re mine. I love you.”


“And I you.” Magnus ran his fingers through Alec’s hair. “My Darling Nephilim.”

Chapter Text

Alec decided to let Magnus sleep most of the day away. Despite the relatively relaxing day he’d had, he needed the extra rest to replenish the magic that their bond had drained from him. So, when Magnus fell asleep in his arms, he climbed out of bed and pulled on a pair of boxers before he went over to the phone. He ordered himself a sirloin steak with a side of parmesan fries and carib beer-battered fish and chips for Magnus. Deciding that he deserved to splurge a little, he added a slice warm bourbon chocolate cake to finish off the order before returning to bed, taking a look at Magnus’ sleeping face.

            His eyebrows were drawn together, bringing little wrinkles to his forehead, and his nose was scrunched up, his mouth set into a frown. Alec cupped Magnus’ cheek and kissed away the frown lines marring his forehead and the sides of his mouth. He smiled when Magnus’ face relaxed, only for the frown to return mere moments later. Alec debated whether he should wake Magnus from the nightmare. He wasn’t exactly sure what the protocol for nightmares was, but he remembered being told by Jace that a person having a mild nightmare shouldn’t be woken up. When Izzy used to have nightmares after she killed her first demon, Alec remembered pulling her head into his lap and singing quietly to her to soothe her dreams. It was a song their mother had sung to him when they were small before she became cold to them both.

            Alec moved Magnus so his head was in his lap, being careful to not jostle him enough to wake up. He began to sing his mother’s song, gently brushing Magnus’ hair out of his eyes. “ A la nanita nana nanita ea, nanita ea. Mi amor tiene sueno; bendito sea, bendito sea.

When Magnus’ face began to relax, Alec felt a strong sense of pride blossom in his chest from knowing that he’d been the one to soothe him. He brushed his fingers along each of Magnus’ brows, a heartfelt smile on his face. “ Fuentecita que corre, clara y Sonora. Ruisenor que en la selva, Cantando y llora. Calla mientras la cuna, se balancea. A la nanita nana nanita ea. A la nanita nana nanita ea nanita ea. Mi amor tiene sueño. Bendito sea, bendito sea.”

When Alec heard a soft snore, he smirked and stopped singing. “It isn’t fair that you make snoring sound beautiful.” He traced Magnus’ cupid’s bow with one of his fingers, unable to keep himself from smiling. He was so in love.

“Room service!”

Alec’s stomach growled, reminding him of how hungry he was. He nudged Magnus’ head out of his lap, covering him with a blanket and then going over to the door and answering it.

“Hello.” He looked down at the woman on the other side of the door.

“Your order.” She pulled a large platter on a movable cart over to Alec, then looked inside the room.

Alec stepped aside, quickly getting the hint. She carried the cart inside and set all the food on the table in the kitchen before leaving the room, taking the cart with her.

Alec closed and locked the door behind her and then went into the kitchen, his mouth watering at the sight of the food. At the Institute, they never had any food that was especially extravagant. Alec thought he was a pretty good cook, but he could only do so much when no one ever bought any ingredients, and nothing he could make would ever look as good as the food in front of him. He set Magnus’ food aside to get rid of the temptation to eat that as well and grabbed a knife and fork.

Alec was just beginning to eat when he heard the rustle of blankets in the other room, accompanied by a soft groan. He grinned and moved his plate aside, grabbing Magnus’ food and bringing it to him.

“Hungry?” He sat down on their bed. Magnus pulled the blankets down just enough so Alec could see his messy hair and glorious cat eyes.

“Starving.” Magnus’ eyes started at Alec’s lips and slowly trailed downward, not sparing the food a single glance.

Alec raised an eyebrow. “I can tell.” He held out the plate and Magnus rolled his eyes.

“Get that away from me. It may look delicious, but we both know that’s not what I’m hungry for.” His eyes swept over Alec’s form again, this time accompanying the once-over with a hand on Alec’s thigh. Alec sensed Magnus’ magic coming before he felt it, but it still didn’t prepare him for the sensations. It started as just warmth spreading out from his thigh, easing its way up his spine and to his neck before spreading across every inch of his skin.

Alec quickly set aside the plate before the second wave of Magnus' magic hit. This time, it was more concentrated. Instead of a warmth settling over him, Alec felt the magic tingling underneath his skin, making a very clear descent to his cock. He threw his head back and groaned, before the sound dissolved into a whine when both the warmth and the pleasant tingles retreated, leaving Alec wanting more. “When did you learn how to do that?”

Magnus shrugged his shoulders innocently. “You’re busy during most of the day. I’ve been practicing more than just destruction magic.” He licked his lips and Alec wasn’t sure if the motion was meant to be as tantalizing as it was. “Can I show you something?”

“Please.” Alec forced himself to keep his voice level.

            Magnus pushed himself into a sitting position and scooted over, making more room for Alec. “Lay down.”

            “If you’re going to ride me again, I object and conclude that that is unjust because I have yet to have my way with you, Magnus.” Alec tried to argue.

Magnus just rolled his eyes and pushed his chest, making him lay down. “Fair enough. But I wasn’t planning on having your dick inside me yet.”

Alec smirked. “Yet?” He brought the hand on his chest up to his lips, kissing the engagement ring on Magnus’ finger. “I like the sound of that and I love you.”

“I know.” Magnus leaned in, capturing Alec’s lips in a kiss. “I love you, too.” He raised his free hand, creating a rotating sphere of magic that couldn’t have been larger than Alec’s fingernail. He twirled his hand at the wrist, bringing it to the tip of his pointer finger. “No touching. Are you ready?”

Alec nodded, bringing his hands behind his head and watching Magnus lower the tiny sphere to the waistband of his boxers. Once it touched him and Alec realized that the small sphere vibrated, his eyebrows shot up to his hairline. “Magnus. . .”

            “Hm?” Magnus trailed his hand downward, running the sphere along the outline of Alec’s cock. Although his voice was nothing but innocent, there was a knowing smirk dancing on his lips. He knew exactly what he was doing.

Alec choked out a moan. “By the Angel, Magnus. . .” He clenched his hand into a fist, arching up into the soft touch as he cock responded eagerly, twitching helplessly as a tight ache settled in his balls.

Magnus pulled his hand back, taking the sphere with him, and Alec whined. “You’re so cute.” He patted Alec’s cheek, amused.

“Magnus.” Alec’s voice was a plea for more.

Magnus used one hand to tug down Alec’s boxers, exposing his cock to the warm air of the room. “Do you want to know how this works?” He asked, moving the sphere over to the tip of Alec’s already leaking cock.

“Can we please discuss the mechanics behind your magic when I’m not literally seconds away from coming?” Alec let out a loud groan. When Magnus moved his hand away this time, his hips followed the movement, unwilling to lose the pleasure.

“Hm. . .nope.” Magnus grinned, devious and more catlike than Alec had ever seen him. He circled Alec’s tip with the vibrating sphere and Alec let out a sob, his hand reaching for the bedside table, feeling around for his stele. Magnus grabbed his wrist, stopping him only seconds before he saw the stamina rune flash in Alec’s eyes. That was enough to confirm that Alec had no idea he was activating his runes free handedly, and he filed that information away for safekeeping.

He’d bring it up later. Now wasn’t the time.

“I have to have very strict control over my magic to even give form to something this small.” He began, increasing the size of the ball of magic by a single millimeter, doubling the frequency of the vibrations.

A scream ripped itself from Alec’s throat and his eyes squeezed shut as he came, thick streams of cum leaving his cock for what felt like forever. It took Alec a minute to come back from his post-orgasm haze and once he did, he immediately grabbed a fistful of Magnus’ hair and pulled him down for a kiss.

Magnus chuckled against Alec’s lips, throwing a leg over him and sitting on his hips. He ran his blunt nails down Alec’s sides and then up his flushed chest. When his nails caught on one of Alec’s nipples, he relished in the soft gasp that left him.

“You’re going to be the death of me,” Alec mumbled, running his hands down Magnus’ back, feeling every inch of lean muscle. He dug his fingers into the dimples at the small of Magnus’ back, right above his ass. “Love those.”

“No dying, Alexander. You’re stuck with me for the rest of eternity. No take backs.” When they kissed again, Alec could practically taste Magnus’ arousal. It might’ve just been the bond taking effect, but Alec’s enhanced senses picked up on Magnus’ want even more than before. He smelled the scent of Magnus’ arousal, felt the blood in his veins rushing south and Magnus’ rapidly beating heart against his chest. He didn’t have to ask if Magnus wanted him, he knew .

“Magnus, it’s my turn.” Alec licked his lips.

“You have magic you’re going to use on me, then?”

Alec shrugged. “I’ve been told my dick is magic and I’m going to give it to you. Is that close enough?”

Magnus groaned at the awful line. “That’s it.” He stated, laying his head on Alec’s chest. “I want a divorce.”

“We’re not even married yet, Magnus.” Alec reminded him.

“Unimportant.” Magnus let out a surprised shout as Alec abruptly switched their positions so that Magnus was under him. He scrunched up his nose adorably, the crown on his head now crooked from the movement. “I didn’t say you could do that.”

“Didn’t ask.” Alec stared down at Magnus as he stuck his tongue out at him. He caught his tongue between his thumb and forefinger and squeezed, before letting go.

Magnus flicked Alec’s forehead. “Don’t do that.”

“Don’t tell me what to do.”

“Oh yeah?” Magnus asked him.

Alec nodded. “Yeah. I’ll never listen.”

“Fuck me.”

“. . .I’ll listen this time.” Alec amended.

Magnus rolled his eyes at him and snapped his fingers. “On my knees or like this?”

“Knees,” Alec answered. He held Magnus hands after he’d turned over and placed them on the headboard. “Just like that. Perfect.” He kissed down Magnus' spine and Magnus felt a trail of fire everywhere Alec’s lips touched.

“Are you gonna make me wait all day, Alexander?”

Alec rolled his eyes and reached into the bedside drawer for a condom. He took off his boxers completely, rolling on the condom. “Lube?”

Magnus rolled his eyes. He spread his legs and Alec caught a glimpse of his hole, glistening wet with lube. “Isn’t magic useful?”

Alec grinned and pushed into Magnus slowly. They groaned in unison and Magnus lost his grip on the headboard almost immediately. Alec’s hand went under Magnus, holding him up as he pulled out almost completely before thrusting back into him.

Magnus' hand went up to his mouth, covering it as a loud moan was dragged out of him, his other hand circling around him to grab a fistful of Alec’s hair.

Alec moved Magnus’ hand away from his mouth. “I want to hear you.” He whispered in his ear, placing a kiss on his Love rune. He placed his hand on Magnus’ hips, right over his family crest, and rocked his hips forward, eliciting a long string of soft whines as he kept up a smooth rhythm, the slide of his cock inside Magnus slow and deliberate, his tip hitting against Magnus’ prostate each time he thrust forward.

“Alexander, faster, oh fuck . . .” He gasped out, his voice changing octaves several times throughout the sentence. Each time his prostate was hit, his voice raised to a high pitch, disjointed whine that he couldn’t quite control.

“But this,” Alec drew his hips back and Magnus whimpered, reaching back to pull him forward, “is so much fun.”

Please!” Magnus cried out, his voice practically a sob. “Need more, just—“ Alec didn’t let him finish. He thrust forward, hard and fast, and Magnus screamed his name.

Alec grinned as he felt it. It was strange, feeling Magnus’ orgasm building up inside him through their bond, but he was glad to be so connected to him. He brought his hand back before smacking Magnus’ ass hard enough for it to hurt, but just barely.

The combined sensations sent Magnus over the edge. He shut his eyes and bit down on his lip hard enough to break the skin, one hand tightening in Alec’s hair while the other clenched and unclenched, unsure what to do with itself.

Alec groaned, the feeling of Magnus tightening around him combined with the shared experience of his orgasm making him reach his peak as well. He groaned in Magnus’ ear, feeling twice as much as he had before through their bond. It wasn’t just his orgasm he was experiencing, but also Magnus’ as well. After he was finished riding out his high, he pulled out and they both untangled their limbs, collapsing on the bed. Alec tossed the condom in the trash, still panting. “Fuck.” He breathed, staring up at the ceiling.

“By Lilith.” Magnus grinned. “Bonded sex is amazing.”

Alec let out a laugh. “Couldn’t agree more.” He turned to face Magnus, running his fingers through his hair and kissing his forehead. “I bet married sex will be even better.”

Magnus licked his lips, his gold eyes shining. “I’m hungry now. Where’s my food?”

“So demanding.” Alec pointed out, rubbing his nose against Magnus' in an Eskimo kiss. He looked toward his left side, where Magnus' plate still was. “It’s right here. Come to the table and eat with me.” He tugged on Magnus’ arm as he climbed out of bed, bringing Magnus’ with him.

Magnus went along without complaint. “Fine, fine.” He grabbed his plate, bringing it into the kitchen.



 

“Where are Izzy and Raj?” Jace shouted as he came through the doors of the Institute. There was drying blood on his clothes, but he looked fine otherwise.

Izzy rolled her eyes and Jace’s dramatics. “Rock paper scissors for who meets him?” She asked hopefully. She had already had a long day of dealing with all of the paperwork the Clave sent them. She didn’t understand how Alec did all of this and remained sane.

“He said and .” Raj pointed out, bumping shoulders with Izzy. “Come on.” They both walked to the Ops Center, meeting Jace there. “You rang?”

“For you. From Silent City.” Jace held out a large stack of papers. “I’m sure you two can make sure this gets to the Clave so that all of the official business is cleared.”

Raj picked up the stack, holding it so that both Izzy and himself could read it at the same time. “Permission for imprisonment? Did you capture Valentine’s son?” He asked Jace hopefully. He could really use the weight of Alec breathing down his neck over the Warlocks coming to a pause once he returned. Alec was a great leader and ran the Institute wonderfully, but he was still a hard ass.

Jace nodded. “It’s all there. My team and I captured Valentine’s son when he made an attempt to connect with the traitor. They’re both in Silent City now, awaiting punishment.”

“Why Silent City? They would do just as well in Alicante.”

“Raj.” Izzy’s voice held a warning. “He murdered dozens of Warlocks in cold blood.”

“Warlocks are Downworlders. Have you two forgotten? For every Warlock he’s killed, they’ve killed twice as many mundanes, at the least. They’re half demon, Izzy. And demons are slaves to their urges.”

“I think I’ve heard enough.” Jace set his hand on Raj’s shoulder.

“And what of Magnus?” Izzy pressed, not seeming to want to drop the subject.

“Magnus is different. He helps us. He can take runes. He has angel blood.” Raj gave them both a confused look. “He’s on our side.”

“Magnus is still a Warlock.” Izzy reminded him. “A Downworlder. And a lot of the Downworlders are on our side, Raj. They follow the Accords. The ones that Valentine’s son broke.” She lowered her voice. “We all know how rocky the situation with the Accords would be if it weren’t for Magnus and Alec. We are not in any position to make the Warlocks our enemies. We both know that’s not a war the Shadowhunters would win.”

Raj swallowed hard as he was reminded of the meeting his mother and father had called and told him about when he and Alec were still together. The call had happened shortly before his parents introduced Raj to Aldertree and he had made his choice. He had liked Alec, but he had sworn allegiance to the Clave and to his family before anything or anyone else. Making Alec break up with him had been what was best for the entire Shadow World. “I understand.” He nodded his head.

Izzy searched his eyes for several moments. “Our relationship with the Downworlders is rocky, at best. Those two are the only thing holding it together. So keep your mouth shut about Warlocks.” She whispered to him.

Raj looked over at Jace.

“She’s right. We need them.” He confirmed, before clearing his throat. “I actually need to borrow Izzy, if that’s alright. Can you get a head start without her?”

Raj frowned. “Are you alright, man?” When Jace didn’t answer and just gave him a weak smile, he nodded and turned away. “I’ll be in the office.” He took the stack of papers Jace gave him and nodded. “Take all the time you need.”

“Hey, Raj?” Jace called as Raj started to walk away.

Raj paused. “Hm?”

“Thank you.”

Raj cracked a smile. “Anytime.” He waved at them both and went to Alec’s office. Once Raj was gone, Jace grabbed Izzy’s hand and led her to his bedroom.

“Jace’s what’s going on?” Izzy asked worriedly. Jace didn’t answer, just tugged up his shirt, exposing his back to Izzy.

“You tell me. What are these, Izzy? I didn’t draw them.” The runes on Jace’s back were identical to the ones placed on Alec during the ceremony, except lighter, like they had somehow begun to fade.

“I’m calling Magnus and Alec.”


 

            “You’re gross.” Magnus frowned in disgust as Alec dipped his parmesan fries in mustard. “Mustard is disgusting in every situation and with every food. The fact that you can actually eat that is offensive to me and everything I stand for.”

Alec rolled his eyes. “You’re so dramatic, Mr. ‘I Mix Ketchup With Mayo’. Now that’s gross.” He dipped another one of his fries in mustard, holding it out towards Magnus. “Just try it. You’ll like it.”

“Heresy!” Magnus pushed Alec’s hand away. “Ketchup mixed with Mayonnaise is a delicacy, I’ll have you know. One that barbarians like you can never appreciate.”

“Is that so?” Alec bit into his fry, leaning in to brush his nose against Magnus’. The fry poked against Magnus’ lips and he opened his mouth, finishing it off. He made a displeased face, his nose scrunching up and mouth turning down into a frown.

“Yeah, I was right. Completely gross and barbaric.” He decided, poking Alec’s forehead with two of his fingers. “I’ll have some cake, instead.” He reached for the slice of bourbon chocolate cake.

Alec caught him mid-reach, stopping him. “Mine.” He shook his head warningly. “I don’t like sharing.”

“Not even with me?” Magnus’ lips jutted out in a pout. “Please?”

“Not even with you. I never get to have cake, so I’m not sharing.”

“Fine.” Magnus snapped his fingers before turning his wrist and holding Alec’s hand in his. “No cake for me.”

Alec narrowed one of his eyes suspiciously. Magnus gave up way too easily, there had to be something up. He looked back at his slice of cake, only to find that it wasn’t there. “Magnus!”

“Oops. My hand must’ve slipped.” Magnus shrugged innocently. “I wonder where it went?” He deliberately looked away from Alec, toward their bed in the other room.

Alec followed Magnus’ gaze. There, right on top of the bedside table, was his cake. Alec face spread into a wide grin. “Race you.” He let go of Magnus’ hand and they both made a mad dash for the bed. Magnus got there first and reached out to grab the cake before Alec tackled him onto the bed. “I don’t think so.”

“You’re heavy, get off.” Magnus wiggled, trying to free himself.

“You weren’t saying that earlier.”

Magnus shook his head. “You’re disgusting.” He told Alec, his expression fond.

“You like it.”

“I really do.”

Alec smiled down at Magnus, brushing their lips together gently.

Magnus freed one of his arms, wrapping it around Alec’s neck and pulling him down for another kiss, this one containing much more tongue than the last. Alec felt heat pooling low in his stomach, and he knew Magnus felt it too. He ran his hands down Magnus’ sides, biting down on his bottom lip and sucking it into his mouth.

Alec heard soft Jazz beginning to play and assumed Magnus had used his magic to play mood music. He rolled their hips together, tightening his grip on Magnus’ wrist as he kissed his way along the hard line of his jaw.

Magnus cursed under his breath. “Alec, my phone.” Magnus placed his hand on the back of Alec’s neck, patting it to get him to stop.

Alec pulled away with a groan of displeasure. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” He eyes rolled back into his head almost completely in irritation and he moved off of Magnus, letting him leave the bed and grab his phone.

Magnus saw that Isabelle was calling and answered the phone. “Hello?”

“Magnus? Thank goodness. Alec’s with you, right?”

“Yeah, of course he is,” Magnus responded. He gave Alec a look, shrugging his shoulders in confusion. He put the phone on speaker. “What’s going on?”

“It’s Jace. I think something happened with their parabatai bond when you and Alec bonded. The runes you drew on Alec. . .they’re on him, too. They’re really light, almost like they’re faded, but they’re there.”

“Izzy?” Alec spoke up. “We’ll be there in five minutes.”

Magnus looked over at Alec and nodded. Alec stood up, grabbing their clothes. He tossed Magnus his and started to get dressed.

“What room are you in?” Magnus asked Isabelle as he put on his clothes.

“Jace’s bedroom.” She answered.

“See you soon.” Magnus hung up the phone. “What are we going to do about this?” He asked Alec, hoping that he had some sort of idea.

Alec bit his lip. “I don’t know. Hopefully, we’ll find that out soon. First, we have to find out what this even means and why it happened.”

“You’re right.” Magnus stood, fixing his hair and then flicking his wrist to make a portal for them both. “Come on.” He stepped through first, Alec right behind him.

Alec rushed to Jace side immediately, checking to make sure he was alright. “It hasn’t had any adverse effects on the parabatai rune, has it?” He asked worriedly.

Jace shook his head. “None of that. But our rune connects us both physically and emotionally, Alec. So I may have. . .felt some things.” He cleared his throat awkwardly, trying to avoid giving a more thorough explanation. Yes, he was worried about what the appearance of the marks on his back meant, but that didn’t change the fact that Alec was still his brother and there were certain things you just didn’t talk about with your family. This had to be one of them.

“Felt some things? Were you in pain?”

“No,” Jace shook his head quickly. “No pain. I just felt exactly what you felt. Physically .”

Magnus was the first to understand the implications of Jace’s words. He covered his face in embarrassment, shaking his head. “Oh my. . .Jace, did you. . .?” He groaned. “You have got to be kidding me. I’m going to die.”

Alec turned to Magnus, squinting one of his eyes. “I don’t understand. What do you mean you felt exactly what I. . .oh.” His eyes widened when he finally caught on. “Oh. So. . .when we. . .you felt. . .”

Jace nodded his head. “Yeah, Alec, I did.”

“Just. . .let me see the runes. On your back.” Magnus stepped forward, cutting the conversation short. He had no desire to hear anything about that ever again.

Jace pulled his shirt over his head and turned around.

Magnus kept a reasonable amount of space between himself and Jace, his cheeks still bright red—half from mortification and half from embarrassment. He waved his hands over the faded runes, blue shimmering out from his fingers to examine the role his magic played in creating them. His brows furrowed in concentration as he poured more magic into Jace, trying to get a read on the runes.

Alec watched Magnus work on Jace, clenching his fist to keep himself calm and push away the worry he felt for him. Once Magnus let out a harsh breath and lowered his hands, both Alec and Jace gave him their full attention.

“So?” Jace asked.

“This is a result of the parabatai bond,” Magnus confirmed, flexing his fingers. “But it will fade with time. Most of the runes are temporary and will fade completely with time. What won’t fade is the bond that makes the two of you parabatai . The connection that binds me and Alec is, to a lesser extent, connecting all of our lifespans. Essentially, I may have accidentally made Jace immortal. But if either of us dies, he won’t.” Magnus hung his head, shifting his weight from his left foot to his right. “Everything was rushed and I knew I was ready to be bonded to Alec. I didn’t even consider the effect it would have on you, and I’m sorry.”

“This isn’t fair.” Jace placed his hands on his knees and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. “All of this.”

“I’m sorry,” Magnus repeated, at a loss. What else could he say? That he didn’t intend for it to happen? It wouldn’t change the situation. Jace would still be immortal.

“You should be.” Jace shook his head, his tone full of mirth.

“Jace, Magnus didn’t—” Alec quickly spoke up to defend Magnus.

“I’m not finished, Alec.” Jace cut him off. “What I mean is, you should be sorry for ever thinking I would want to live in a world without Alec. It isn’t fair that my life isn’t connected the same way yours is. Alec is my brother. Because of our parabatai bond, if he dies, he takes a part of my soul with him. And the same goes for you, Magnus. I can feel, through these temporary runes, how much you mean to him. You are an extension of Alec, so you are my parabatai as well.”

Parabatri ,” Alec mumbled under his breath, trying to hide his smile.

Magnus nodded at Jace, shocked by his words. “That’s, um, good to know. Thank you, Jace.” He cleared his throat awkwardly.

Jace grinned. “God, you’re even worse than Alec. Come here.” He stood and reached out to Magnus, pulling him into a hug. “It could be so much worse. All I have to do is protect you and my brother. I’m not letting either of you die, ever.” He tightened his arms around him, and after a few moments, Magnus returned his embrace, rubbing Jace’s back.

After a few seconds of hugging, Magnus dropped his arms, but Jace didn’t release his hold on Magnus.

Alec narrowed his eyes. “Okay, Jace, that’s enough of hugging my fiancé.” He pulled Magnus’ out of Jace’s clutches, holding him possessively. “We’re going to head back to our hotel.”

“Actually, since you’re already here,” Raj knocked on the open door to Jace’s room. “This is for you.” He walked over to Alec and placed a large stack of papers in his hands once he was no longer holding onto Magnus. “Welcome back and congratulations on your bonding. Get to work, Boss.” He patted Alec’s back with a smirk.

Alec tossed his head back with a groan. “You have got to be kidding me.”

Magnus shook his head, amused. “I’ll check us out. You and that stack of papers have fun together.”

“Fine.” Alec huffed out. He leaned in for a goodbye kiss and Magnus raised a finger, stopping his lips. “Nuh uh. You are not getting your hands on any of this until those temporary runes are gone and your dear parabatai can no longer feel everything you do.” He created a portal and used it to leave Jace’s room.

“Sorry, man.” Jace patted Alec’s back.

Alec sighed and glanced down at the papers in his hand. “I’ll be in my office.” He grunted, dragging his feet grudgingly as he left Jace’s room.

Chapter Text

“Victor, can you handle checking out of the hotel for me? I was going to myself, but I was called in to see the High Warlock,” Magnus said into his phone as he made his way towards the entrance to Silent City. He kept his tone light and friendly, making sure not to give Victor any reason to feel suspicious. He couldn’t allow any of the Shadowhunters to know where he was, Alec especially. They would try to stop him if they knew, and Magnus had to get answers now. He could deal with the consequences later.

Magnus stopped as he approached the Silent brothers. “I need to see the new prisoner. The son of Valentine,” he stated, his head held high. He had been close with the Silent Brothers in Indonesia, and they had all treated him like family, but he wasn’t sure if that translated to the Silent Brothers of his new home.

“Magnus.” The voice of one of the Silent Brothers echoed inside Magnus’ head.

“Brother Enoch.” Magnus nodded in his direction.

“Brother Suharto will be happy to know you’re well. This way.” Magnus’ nervousness subsided at the mention of one of the Silent Brothers that had played such a large part in protecting him from his brother and making sure he was well educated during his childhood. He followed Brother Enoch down a dimly lit corridor, keeping his gaze forward as he strode past the prison cells. When Brother Enoch stopped, Magnus took a deep breath.

“Can I have a moment with him? I won’t be long, I promise.” For the talk he was going to have, he couldn’t have anyone else there to witness it.

“A moment. Our brothers trust you, Magnus. Do not betray that trust,” Brother Enoch warned him.

“I would never,” Magnus assured him. He watched Brother Enoch walk away and then lit up the cell with a wave of his hand. “What are you doing here?” he asked, his voice filled with distaste. “Was I not clear enough about never wanting to see you again?”

“We’ve never met.” The young man inside the cell lifted his head, his expression deceivingly innocent. “All I see is another Warlock,” he spat.

“I know you’re not Valentine’s son. Cut the bullshit, you’re not fooling me. You sent your message in my dream. You wanted to see me, I’m here. What do you want from me?”

“You always were my favorite.” His face split into a wide grin. “So much smarter than all your siblings. I guess that’s why you’re alive, while they’re not.”

“Answer me,” Magnus said through his teeth. One of his fists clenched at his side. “Consequences be damned, I will kill that body you’re using right here, right now.”

“Now, now, let’s not ahead of ourselves,” he spoke up when red magic started to gather around Magnus’ clenched fist. “I actually like this body. I’m not quite ready to leave it yet. Besides, is that any way to greet your dear ol’ dad, Magnus?”

Magnus’ jaw clenched and he swallowed hard, forcing down his anger. “You are not my father.”

“Aren’t I?” Asmodeus smirked. “Why do you continue to resist? Join me, my darling Prince of Hell. I promise you won’t regret it.” Asmodeus reached his hands out of his cell and Magnus took a step back, staying out of arm's reach of him. “I’ll even accept that Nephilim you chose to bind yourself to.”

“Go to hell.” Magnus turned his nose up at Asmodeus.

“I’ll gladly return to hell once you join me, Sweet Prince. I’ll even give you the perfect wedding present. I’ve been planning it for some time now.”

“Keep your gifts.” Magnus waved his hand, making the area dim once again. “I hope you rot away in that body.”

Asmodeus chuckled. “I’ll see you around, my son,” he told Magnus, watching him walk away.

Magnus returned to Brother Enoch’s side. “That’s all the time I needed. Take me back.” He closed his eyes, breathing deeply. “And please tell Brother Suharto that I miss him.”

“Of course.”


 

Magnus portalled himself straight to his bedroom in the Institute. He lowered the wide hood of his ceremonial clothes, letting it drape loosely onto his back, and sighed when he felt Jace’s presence in the room. “Show yourself.” He waved his hand, throwing himself onto his bed. He didn’t feel like having another argument with Jace. After talking to Asmodeus, he felt tired and sick with worry.

“Victor said you went to Ragnor Fell’s,” Jace pointed out. “Me and Alec knew—we felt that it was a lie.”

Magnus turned onto his side so that he was facing away from Jace. “It’s for the best.”

Jace nodded. “I know.” He sat down on Magnus’ bed. “I can feel that, too.” He pursed his lips, gripping Magnus’ sheets in his hand. “You can talk to me, you know. I get we’re not exactly best buds or anything, but I meant what I said earlier. You’re my family, too, Magnus. You can talk to me.”

Magnus sighed heavily. “Just—now isn’t the time, Jace. You’ll find out once Alexander does. But right now, just let me do what I believe is best and safest for everyone.”

“No.” Jace shook his head. “You don’t get to make that decision, Magnus. If you think I’m just going to sit back and let you carry whatever is on your shoulders like some fucking martyr just so you can get yourself killed and then allow Alec to die with you, you’re wrong. Talk to me.”

“You just don’t get it, do you?” Magnus rolled his eyes. “I’m done talking. Leave me alone.”

“Well, I’m not. Magnus, just—” Jace reached out for Magnus’ hand. “ Please.” He squeezed Magnus’ hand, his eyes pleading with him to tell the truth about what was going on.

Magnus pulled his hand away. “No. Goodnight, Jace. I believe your room is a few doors down.” He stared at the door pointedly until Jace stood up with a defeated sigh, leaving. Magnus waved his hand, using his magic to shut the door behind Jace.

Jace slumped down against the door, crossing his arms stubbornly. If Magnus was going to be stubborn, so was he. He could wait him out without much trouble. He had to open the door eventually. Jace sat down, his back against the door. He tapped on it. “I’ll be out here when you’re ready to talk to me.”

“Don’t hold your breath!” Magnus called.

Jace sat down and waited. He wanted to be angry at Magnus for kicking him out and for withholding information, but for some reason, he just couldn’t. Every time he thought about being angry at Magnus, he was suddenly bombarded with the sound of Magnus’ laugh resounding in his ears, or the soft touch of his calloused fingers. Jace had always assumed that Magnus’ fingers would be delicate because Warlocks tended to not be physically active, but they were strong without being too rough. Every single inch of his hands reflected the grace in which Magnus used them to direct the flow of his magic.

Jace shook his head to clear his thoughts. Once again, he was making a mistake and letting his heart chase after someone he could never possibly have. Magnus was Alec’s and he always would be, Jace needed to accept that and push his desires far down enough for them to just die out.

But, even though he knew what he felt was wrong, it didn’t stop him from feeling that way. He still wanted Magnus. He still felt exactly what Alec felt so strongly that whenever he tried to force away how he felt, he remembered exactly how soft Magnus’ lips felt, how he tasted of peppermint and smelled of sandalwood when he kissed Alec and Jace had no choice but to experience it all as if he was in Alec’s place. He wanted to be in Alec’s place.

“Is there a reason you’re outside my bedroom door?” The sound of Alec’s voice brought Jace out of his reverie. He looked up, meeting Alec’s suspicious gaze.

“I thought your bedroom was next door. This is Magnus’,” he challenged, unable to help himself.

“I said what I said.” Alec crossed his arms, waiting for Jace’s explanation.

“You can’t tell me you didn’t feel it. He wasn’t at Ragnor’s place, Alec. We both know that. I was just trying to figure out where he went.”

“I did, but I trust Magnus. If something was going on, he’d tell me before he told anyone else.” Alec held out his hand for Jace, pulling him up and then patting his back. “Thanks for trying to reach out to him. I’ve got it from here.” He opened the door and walked inside, shutting it behind him.

Jace stared at the door longingly for a few moments, then nodded. “Goodnight,” he mumbled, walking to his bedroom.

“Goodnight, Jace,” Alec called back, keeping his voice low. Magnus was fast asleep, and Alec didn’t want to wake him. He set an alarm on his phone in order to wake up to travel to Silent City early the next morning and then took off his shirt and jeans, climbing into bed next to Magnus. He brushed his hair out of his eyes and kissed his forehead. “Goodnight,” he whispered, making himself comfortable and going to sleep as well.


 

Alec silenced his alarm after the first stream of noise reached his ears, careful not to wake Magnus. He was always grumpy when he didn’t get enough sleep, and he didn’t want to subject the Institute to that if he wasn’t going to be around during the morning. He grabbed a towel and an outfit from his room and showered before joining Aldertree in the Ops Center.

“Just the two of us?” Alec asked, placing a hand on his thigh to make sure his Seraph blade was in its holster.

Aldertree nodded. “The two of us is all we’ll need. Unless you believe I’ve overestimated your ability?”

Alec smirked at Aldertree’s response. “Not a chance,” he told him, shaking his head. “I was just making sure, just in case you couldn’t keep up. Wouldn’t want you getting yourself killed,” he teased. “Raj would never forgive me if you got killed on my watch.”

“Fair enough.” Aldertree gestured forward with his hand, taking a step back. “After you.”

Alec slung his bow and arrow over his shoulder, and used a glamor to hide himself from mundanes before taking the lead, walking to Silent City with Aldertree only a few steps behind.

“Hey, wake up.” Jace flopped down onto Magnus’ bed, jostling him awake.

“Get out,” Magnus mumbled, peeking up at Jace from under the blankets. “Seriously. I’m tired, James.”

“Jace.”

“Are we seriously doing this again, Josh?” Magnus pushed himself up with one hand, climbing out of bed.

Jace tried to be subtle when he glanced at Magnus’ ass as he stood. When Magnus turned around, he quickly directed his eyes at his face, forcing himself not to linger on Magnus’ soft, full lips. He cleared his throat, ducking his head down to hide his flushed cheeks. “I was thinking we could spar. Do you fight, or are you too afraid to lose?”

Magnus shrugged, taking Jace’s attempt to egg him on in stride. “I don’t want to damage your fragile ego. You seem like the type to get hurt over losing.” He went to his closet and snapped his fingers to change into a pair of black pants and a long sleeve with a deep V-neck. He ran his fingers through the blond tips of his hair, magic shimmering out from his fingers as he restyled it. “I’m trying to do you a favor.”

“I think not.” Jace rolled his eyes, pushing himself up and walking over to Magnus. “Look, no hard feelings from last night. Alec’s on a mission and Izzy and Clary are on a date. I need a sparring partner.” He placed his hand on Magnus’ shoulder. “Just sticks. No magic. I promise I won’t aim for your pretty face; Alec wouldn’t forgive me if I did.”

“Fine. Come on.” Magnus snapped his fingers, switching his jeans to a more comfortable pair of sweatpants. He left the room first, giving Jace the opportunity to ogle him from behind once again while they walked to the training room. Magnus grabbed a pair of kali sticks and let them rest on his shoulders as he went to the far end of the training room, facing Jace. “Ready?”

“As I’ll ever be.” Jace cocked an eyebrow up at Magnus, mirroring the way he held his kali sticks. They circled each other slowly for several moments, both of them waiting for the other to make the first move.

Jace attacked first, swinging his kali sticks at Magnus’ hip.

Magnus stepped into the blow instead of out of the way, maneuvering his body in a way that would be impossible for most and avoiding the kali sticks. He did a graceful spin to get behind Jace, catching him off-guard as he stared at Magnus, in awe. Magnus took the opportunity to land a hit on Jace’s back, knocking him forward slightly.

Jace quickly turned when Magnus went for another blow, their kali sticks connecting with a loud thud. “Nice try.” They both took a few steps back, circling each other once again.

“You call that a try?” Magnus scoffed. “I get it, now. You’re one of those guys that talks like they’ve won the battle, even when they just got their ass kicked.”

“All Shadowhunters are like that. Including your fiancé. I know you’ve seen him do it.” Jace rolled his eyes, an exhilarated smile on his face as he waited to see who was going to charge first. Alec always deliberately held back and lost when they sparred, too afraid to hurt him. Unlike him, Magnus wasn’t going to pull any punches.

“It’s cute when Alexander does it.”

“Oh, and not me?” Jace went in first again, going for Magnus’ shoulder. Magnus blocked the first hit and the second, but ended up being hit in the stomach by Jace’s third hit.

“Not a chance.” Magnus grinned and knocked Jace’s feet from under him. “You’re not cute, Jace.” He moved his kali sticks to one hand and reached down, holding out a hand for Jace.

Jace took it, letting Magnus pull him up. “Again?” he asked him. “So I can even out the score?”

Magnus nodded. “I don’t have any plans today and Alec is busy, so why not?”


 

As Alec followed Brother Jeremiah deeper into the area where the prisoners were held, he cast a glance and Aldertree. “How long until you take Valentine’s son to Idris with you?”

“The council had yet to decide his punishment. He is to be kept here until then,” Aldertree responded as they approached Sebastian’s cell. “Sebastian Morgenstern?”

Sebastian lifted his head, his pale blond hair glinting in the light as he approached the bars of the cell, his wrists and ankles cuffed. “You came all the way here to see me? How sweet of you.” He looked down at his dirtied, raggedy clothing. “It’s really too bad I couldn’t dress for the occasion. I hope you can forgive me.”

Aldertree gave Jeremiah a look. “The Soul Sword,” he called out. They unlocked the cell and dragged him to the altar, making him hold the sword in his hands.

Alec cleared his throat. “What was your motive?”

“Whose?” Sebastian grinned.

“Sebastian Morgenstern’s motive for killing all those Warlocks. What was it?” Alec clarified. He didn’t know who else he could be talking about, but he figured that Sebastian was insane, so he let it pass.

“To save my life. They weren’t strong enough to handle the bond,” Sebastian responded, the Soul Sword glowing in his hands. “If they were stronger, they would’ve survived, like your warlock.”

Alec stiffened at the mention of Magnus.

Sebastian’s sick smile widened. “If only I could’ve had him. He would’ve been mine for all eternity. I could’ve done whatever I pleased to him while you wasted away, dead before your 27 th birthday. You, my father’s precious successful experiment.”

“Sebastian Morgenstern. . .” Aldertree’s voice held a warning.

Sebastian ignored him, deciding to continue speaking. “Me and you are one and the same, you know,” he told Alec. “I know everything about what your mother volunteered for. Why you even have Magnus at all. Did your mother ever tell you what she gave up just to ensure that you were guaranteed to have your precious warlock? She would’ve done anything for you, even the unthinkable. She would lie, cheat, and steal if it meant keeping the monster she created alive.”

Alec took a slow, deep breath, clenching his hand into a tight fist. His blunt nails broke the skin of his palm, drawing blood as he fought to keep his composure. “How many did you kill?”

“Honestly?” Sebastian grinned. “Not nearly enough. You have who I want. I am going to take your warlock away from you personally, and only then will I stop.”

“You’re not going to kill again. You’re in Silent City, awaiting trial.”

Sebastian shook his head, almost seeming amused. “I’m exactly where I want to be. Tell your warlock that we’ll be seeing a lot more of each other.”

Alec reached for his Seraph blade, ready to slice Sebastian’s throat to make sure he never hurt Magnus.

“Alec!” Aldertree yelled his name, stopping him. “He is the Clave’s responsibility. We will take care of it,” he assured him. “Don’t. Please let me handle this.”

“If you ever talk about Magnus like that again”—the rune for Agony appeared in both of Alec’s hazel eyes—“I will make you beg me to have enough mercy to end your pathetic life. We’re done here. We have all we need. Put him back into his cell,” he commanded with a wave of his hand. “We’re leaving. I need to see my fiancé.”

Chapter Text

Magnus swung his kali sticks downward, meeting Jace blow for blow. “Is that,” Jace grunted, using both kali sticks to push back a particularly strong blow from Magnus, “All you’ve got?”

Magnus shook his head. “Not even close.” He told Jace, jumping backward. He twisted at his waist, flexing the muscles at his core. “Again.”

Alec cleared his throat, interrupting the two of them. His eyes raked over Magnus’ form, taking in his sweat-slick arms and chest. He licked his lips deliberately, “Hey there.”

Magnus beamed when Alec entered the room. When Jace attacked him again, he ducked under the blow and swung with both kali sticks, knocking him flat on his ass. He tucked the kali sticks under his arm, sauntering over to Alec. “Hello Alexander.” He reached a hand up and brushed his fingers over Alec’s scruffy jawline. When Alec leaned down to press a kiss to his lips, Magnus held up a finger to stop him. “Ah, ah, no Parabatri kisses.” He said with a smirk. “We both know that neither of us will be able to stop at just a kiss. I’m not blind, Alexander, I see the way you’re looking at me.”

“And yet you still insist on torturing me.” Alec sighed heavily, leaning in to whisper in Magnus’ ear. “I don’t get to see you all hot and sweaty from training very often, you know. It makes me want to take you back to bed for some special training.”

Magnus ducked his head to hide his blush. “I’ll take you up on that offer as soon as everything we do isn’t permanently scarring Jillian.”

Jace hopped into a standing position. “You know my name, Magnus.”

“Wasn’t talking to you.” Magnus hummed, looking up at Alec. He placed his hand on Alec’s chest, slowly running it down his torso. “You can handle being patient. Aren’t I worth the wait?” When he reached Alec’s waistline, he pulled his hand back.

Alec let out a soft groan. “Without a doubt.” He responded, running his fingers through Magnus’ hair. “You’ve kept these highlights for a while.” He pointed out, pushing his fringe aside and kissing his forehead.

“I like it. The color suits me.”

“Every color suits you.” Alec pointed out. “I can’t think of a single color palette or choice of outfit that I wouldn’t love to take off of you, piece by piece.”

“Still here, guys!” Jace walked over to them. “I can hear you. Alec, bro, that is too much information. I’m gonna,” He gestured towards the door. “See you guys later.”

Alec nodded, his gaze still trained on Magnus. He let his hands rest on his hips. “Is it just me, or is watching you hand Jace’s ass to him extremely hot?” He asked Magnus, sliding his hands under his shirt and squeezing his sides.

“I could do the same for you later, if you’d like.” Magnus grinned. “But right now, there’s something I need to tell you.” His tone became deathly serious. “I meant to tell you last night, when you came to bed, but I fell asleep.”

Alec nodded, a concerned frown making its way onto his full lips. “Tell me.”

“That prisoner you have. . .it isn’t Sebastian.” He tried to explain, before frowning and shaking his head in frustration. “Well it is, but not him him. Sebastian is being possessed by my father, Asmodeus.” Magnus finally managed to get out. “Yesterday, I lied about going to see Ragnor Fell. I went to Silent City and saw him. He revealed who he was to me.”

Alec nodded, taking a few moments to allow everything to sink in. Once it had, he cursed under his breath. “Magnus, when he was there, he told me something. Asmodeus said ‘I’m exactly where I want to be. Tell your warlock that we’ll be seeing a lot more of each other’. Do you know what he’s planning?” He spoke slowly and calmly, rubbing Magnus back to try and stop him from panicking. Magnus’ eyes were repeatedly flickering between their normal cat-eyed state and the brown eyed glamor he put up to hide them and his hands were shaking. “Deep breaths, okay? Tell me what you’re thinking.”

“He has to somehow be planning to find a way into the institute. He might have someone on the inside. Someone weak-willed who lets their emotions get the best of them and can be easily manipulated.” Magnus guessed. “Or maybe even someone on the outside with the tools to get in. Valentine was known for his experiments on Shadowhunters. Maybe Sebastian has learned to do experiments on other creatures. The dead Warlocks could have very well been failed experiments.”

Alec nodded. “I’m gonna go to my office and take note of everything you’re saying. Do you want to come with?”

“Yeah.” Magnus gripped onto Alec’s arm, letting himself be led into Alec’s office. He brought a comfortable chair next to where Alec was sitting and sat down in it, watching as Alec wrote down everything Magnus told him. He saw Alec write down little side notes with names. He was already designating people to different search divisions based on what their specific skill set was.

“I’ll have to get Izzy to take a second look at the bodies. Magnus, do you happen to know how to analyze bodies using your magic?”

Magnus perked up at the question. “Yes.” He said, trying to hide his excitement at being allowed to assist in any way he could.

“Perfect. I’ll have you in the examination room with her, if you think you can handle it?” Alec pursed his lips. “Remember, Magnus, these are all Warlock bodies we’re dealing with here. Including Elias’. If it’s too much, say no more. I won’t force you to do this.”

Magnus shook his head. “If I can help stop whatever Asmodeus is planning, I will. I can handle it.” He said surely. “Trust me. I can do this.”

“Okay.” Alec leaned in and ran the tip of his nose along the length of Magnus’, giving him a soft eskimo kiss. “If you say you can do this, then you can. I’ll let Izzy know that she’ll be getting a partner this time around.”

Magnus’ face broke out into a grin. He ran his fingers through Alec’s hair. “Speaking of partner,” He spoke nonchalantly, trying to ease into the subject. “Catarina and Ragnor invited me to go dancing with them at Ragnor’s club. And I really need a dance partner, so I was hoping you would be able to take a break to accompany me to the club?” He ran his blunt nails down the side of Alec’s neck, tracing his deflect rune with the feather-light press of his fingers.

Alec shivered at the sensation, biting his lip to suppress a groan. “Magnus, you’re killing me.” He breathed out. “You know things are busy right now. And we have the wedding to start planning before we have the entire Clave up our asses.”

“Hey!” Magnus shouted, placing a hand over his heart in mock-offense. “The only one allowed up my ass is you.”

Alec rolled his eyes. “That was awful. You’re lucky you’re cute.”

“Let’s not sit here and pretend you’re not worse.” Magnus’ mouth quirked up in a smirk. “We both know you’re so much worse. You’re the lucky one.”

“True.” Alec cupped Magnus cheek, brushing a thumb over his lips. “I’ve got to be really fucking lucky if you’re mine.” The strength rune flashed in his eyes and he lifted Magnus up with one hand, placing him in his lap. “That’s better.” He leaned in for a kiss, but Magnus turned his head so Alec’s lips landed on his cheek.

“Behave.” Magnus lectured Alec. He frowned, looking in Alec’s eyes. “Do you know you’re doing that?”

Alec frowned. “What?”

“Activating your runes without your stele. They flash in your eyes for just a second, instead. Do you realize you’re doing that?” He asked.

Alec licked his lips. “Yeah. There are ancient texts.” He told Magnus, looking towards the bookshelf in the leftmost corner of his office. “They tell me what I can do as one of the Enhanced Shadowhunters. This is all I’ve been able to master, and that was only after we bonded. There are special abilities associated with runes that only Enhanced Shadowhunters have been able to do. They’re in the red book, second from the right on the top shelf.”

Magnus nodded, holding out his hand and making the book appear inside of it. He opened up the book, resting it on Alec’s chest as he read. “Freehand use of runes, ability to project runic power onto others.” He read off, his eyebrows raising in interest.

“There’s hundreds of pages explaining how to project runic power outward. It’s a complicated thing to master.” He explained to Magnus. “I haven’t been able to do it so far, but I’ve been practicing. Me and Clary have been working on runes together. She’s been creating new runes she thinks would come in handy with that ability, once I’ve harnessed it.”

Magnus nodded, continuing to read. “This is fascinating.” He mumbled. “All of it. But it sounds so damn difficult.” He turned the page, his nose scrunching up in frustration. “And all of it is in a runic language. Stupid Nephilim.” He shot a glare up at Alec.

Alec raised his hands. “Not my fault.” He defended himself. “I’m not nearly old enough to have anything to do with writing these.”

“I believe you.” Magnus relented. “But you’re still coming to Pandemonium with me.”

“I don’t like clubs.”

“Then I don’t like giving blowjobs, I guess.” Magnus shrugged. “How unfortunate for you. I know how much you love having me on my knees, but I guess that’s never happening again for the rest of eternity. Poor Alexander.”

“Magnus,” Alec whined, a deep frown marring his features.

“Hm?”

“. . .When do they want us to go to Pandemonium?” He asked, giving in and accepting his defeat.

Magnus beamed. “I’ll call Catarina and ask. I’ll let you get some work done while I talk to her. Have fun!” He gave Alec a quick kiss, not nearly what Alec was really craving, but he took it for what it was worth. A quick kiss was better than no kisses at all.

After Magnus left, taking Alec’s book with him, Alec returned to his work, thinking about how to proceed. Jace’s team was reserved for demon activity, so he decided that Raj’s team would be better suited for what he needed to do, unless demons were involved. He’d have to wait until after Magnus and Isabelle finished their examination to know which team to send.


 

“Welcome to my domain, little brother.” Isabelle winked at Magnus, pulling on her rubber gloves and reaching to her left for her tools. “We have our work cut out for us today. I’ll take blood samples, but I’ll need your help in conducting the examinations and differentiating between the blood of their demon parent and what possible serum the prisoner has been injecting them with. How does that sound?”

Magnus nodded, hovering his hand over the covered body. He didn’t have to lift the sheet to know that the body was Elias’. “Sounds great.” He sent pulses of magic to Elias’ body, searching for any anomalies. The first thing he noticed as he did his outward sweep made him freeze. “His warlock mark.” He breathed out, turning to look at Isabelle. “It’s gone.” Not only were his webbed hands missing, but also the black wings that had initially drawn Magnus to him.

Isabelle turned to face Magnus, her hands pausing as they went through the various potions the institute had purchased from Warlocks. “They were missing when we retrieved his body.” She explained to Magnus. “We did our best to preserve what was had. We have to get to the bottom of this.”

“We do.” Magnus agreed, using his magic to delve deeper, searching specifically for any points of injection or swelling of the veins. When he found what he was looking for, he wasn’t surprised, but he was disheartened as he thought about how much Elias had suffered by the hands of Sebastian and Asmodeus. “I can confirm that they were injected with something. How long will it take to separate the different aspects of his blood and test them?”

“At least an hour, but it could be longer depending on the amount of substances that need to be isolated.”

Magnus swallowed hard. “Okay.” He responded, finishing his examination. “Also, this is probably something worth noting. The runes that were carved had begun to take effect before he died had begun to work, but the process never finished.” He didn’t know what that meant for Sebastian, but he felt as if that tidbit was important enough to consider.

Isabelle made a noise of acknowledgement. “Thanks for all your help.” She told Magnus, giving him the out that he had been waiting for. “I’ll let you know when the isolation process is finished so that we can run tests.”

Magnus nodded, quickly fleeing the examination room. He leaned against the door, allowing a few tears to fall. He wished that there was more that he could’ve done to help Elias. When he arrived in New York and the problems with the Warlocks arose, he didn’t even consider whether Elias was okay until he was already gone. He remembered the insurmountable guilt and regret that Elias has expressed in his fire messages and letters, and he just wished that he’d had the opportunity to respond to even one of them while he was still in captivity. It had taken time, but Magnus had forgiven Elias for abandoning him.

Magnus buried his face in his hands, hastily wiping away his tears and putting on a brave face as he strode forward, walking through the Ops Center and to his bedroom. He crawled into his bed, deciding to take a short nap to help himself feel at least a little better. When the time came, he would give Elias a proper funeral in the tradition of his family, but until he could do that, he would sleep off his grief.


 

        “I have a job for you.” Omar nodded to Elias in greeting as the man lowered himself to the ground, folding his wings against his back. He never hid his wings unless he was trying to conceal his identity when in the presence of mundanes. His wings were a deep obsidian, and reflected an array of colors when the light caught them in just the right way. He was proud of them.

        “I guessed as much. What do you need?” He looked down at transparent floor, locking eyes with a boy on the cusp of manhood. He was in chains, ones that appeared to have been enchanted to hold him. Most of his face was hidden by a curtain of dark hair, but behind that Elias could see a pair of gold cat eyes that were wide with astonishment.

        A Warlock.

        “. . .You understand what needs to be done. I can pay you handsomely in exchange for your services.” Omar finished. Elias returned his attention to him, tearing his eyes away from the Warlock being held in captivity.

        “I have more than enough money. I want something else from you.” Elias told him.

        Omar narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “What is that you want?” He saw the way Elias was staring down at Magnus and shook his head. “He is not for sale.”

        “All I want is thirty minutes.” Elias licked his lips. “Thirty minutes of his time in exchange for getting rid of your little problem. What do you say?”

        “Do you job correctly, and you can use him however you see fit for thirty minutes. I’ll even have him prepared for you, if that’s what you wish.”

        Elias nodded. “Make sure he’s all cleaned up. Now, in order for me to do the summoning, I’ll need you to direct me to a quiet room in the castle.”

        Omar nodded. He was doing this in order to be able to speak to his father just one more time. He missed him dearly, and being without him became harder and harder each day. He just needed an hour with him. That would be enough. Omar reached the room and sat down. “Once you’re finished, leave. I’d like to be alone with him. I’ll make sure Magnus is sent to the bedchamber I’ve set aside for you.”

        “Perfect.” Elias said, conjuring up the materials he needed to cast the spell. He held out his hand for Omar, waiting for him to reach out to him before using the tip of the pen he was using to write to prick his finger. Once he had his blood, he wrote down the spell.

Qui haberi, quale vides luctum sicut dolor meus: tu enim nosti et in hoc ipso documento affirmant. Cor meum tibi scribo hic, ut coram te coniunctae tanta silere melius quando dicta verba. Acceperis epistulam hanc operam, ne obliviscaris legis meae signum tibi anima mea ad te, nec cessare finiri luctum.’

Elias folded the paper three times and lit a black before burning the paper. He blew out the candle, leaving the room just as Omar began to speak.

“Father. . .I’ve missed you.”

Elias was careful to pick a room with an easily opened, large window. He left the window open, sitting down and waiting for Magnus to arrive.

        It took around ten minutes before Magnus opened the door, his hands shaking.

        “Lock the door behind you.” Elias told Magnus, leaning on one hand. He watched Magnus lock the door, his terrified tremors increasing. “Don’t be afraid. I’m not going to do anything to you.” He informed him, trying to ease his fear. “It was a cover up.”

        Magnus looked up at him, not comprehending. His long hair was freshly washed and brushed, one side hanging in his face delicately while the other was pushed behind one ear. He had a robe made of gold draped onto his shoulders and tied securely at the waist. Now that Elias was able to take a closer look at him, he saw how beautiful he was.

        “I’m giving you an escape.” Elias explained, letting his wings spread out on either side of him. “You don’t have to stay here. You can leave.” He held out his hand. “I’ll keep you safe. Have you ever been to Lithuania?”

        Magnus shook his head hesitantly, taking a few steps toward Elias and allowing him to lift him into his arms. Elias held Magnus securely, creating a portal right outside the window and stepping through.


 

        Magnus shot up abruptly, his eyes wide. He hadn’t dreamed about Elias since he’d met Alec, and the reappearance of those dreams weren’t at all welcome. Because with the good dreams, also came the bad ones. And while things were wonderful when they were good, the bad times between himself and Elias were just plain awful.

        Magnus blinked, his cat eyes landing on Isabelle, who was staring at him worriedly. His quickly put up his glamor, tossing his blankets aside and getting out of bed. “I’m assuming it’s finished?” He asked Isabelle.

        “Yeah. And I have some suspicions, so I’m going to need a sample of your blood to make sure.” Isabelle nodded in the direction of her lab. “Before that, though. Are you okay?”

        “Fine, fine.” Magnus assured her, walking out of his room. “Let’s go to the lab, yeah?”

        “Okay.” Isabelle agreed, walking behind Magnus. When they reached the lab, she sterilized one of her needles and took a small sample of blood from Magnus before using a machine to compare it to one of the three different samples she had. “It’s what I thought. Fallen angel blood.” She said once the test came back positive. “Specifically, Asmodeus’ blood. What do know about fallen angel blood, Magnus? What would he be doing with it?”

        “Besides creating me?” Magnus frowned. “Fallen angel blood can act as a catalyst to a very specific kind of poison that only works on Warlocks. However, if the Warlock survives the poison, then they become a breed of Warlock that’s almost unheard of. A Warlock with Angel blood, that can take runes.” His eyes went wide as everything began to click inside his head. “By Lilith, that’s what Asmodeus is doing. He is trying to create more of me.”

        Isabelle cursed under her breath. “I’ll contact Alec. We need to make sure there isn’t anyone else working for Sebastian and Asmodeus.” She reached into the pocket of her lab coat and called Alec, speaking in a hurried tone with him as she paced around the examination room. After a few minutes, she hung up the phone. “Thanks, Magnus. You were a huge help.” She patted his cheek gently. “If I find anything else, you’ll be the first person I go to.”

        Magnus nodded, wondering if his plans with Alec and his Downworlder friends were going to be canceled with the new information at hand. He went to Alec’s office, knocking on the door briefly before walking inside.

Alec was pinching the bridge of his nose as he listened to whoever was on the other end of his phone call, his nostrils flared. “Yes. I understand what this means. Of course, but I don’t think you understand. I’m the Acting Head of the Institute, I can’t just portal off to Tahiti and expec t this place to just run itself. You want me to what ? The New York Institute is one of the most important Institutes in the country, shutting down is not an option!” He snapped.

Alec went quiet for a few moments, taking in a few slow, deep breaths. “I’m trying to be reasonable, here. I expect you to do the same.” He voice was calmer, this time. “I want Maryse and Aline here, and then maybe I’ll consider coming to a compromise. Until then, I have nothing to say to you. Good day.”

Alec hung up the phone, lifting his head when he saw Magnus. “Hey. Sorry you had to hear that.” He made a vague motion with his hand. “The Clave and I don’t seem to be getting along very well as of late. They believe with recent events; we’re reaching a turbulent time. They want me to hand over the Institute to Aldertree on a temporary basis.” He scoffed at the idea.

        Magnus walked over to Alec, gently combing his fingers through his hair. Alec rested his forehead against Magnus’ stomach, taking deep breaths to try and calm down.

        “Thank you.” He murmured, bringing Magnus hand to his lips and kissing his engagement ring. “I needed that. Today has been hell since you left.”

        “I’m here now.” Magnus smiled, running his thumb over Alec’s lips. He allowed Alec to pull him into his lap. “Since this is a special circumstance where you really look like you need it, I’m lifting the no kiss rule.” He brushed his fingers along Alec’s stubble, pressing a series of soft kiss against his lips. He brushed their noses together. “A little better?”

        “A little.” Alec nodded his head. He buried his face in Magnus’ neck, inhaling the scent of his cologne. The scent of sandalwood calmed his nerves and he managed a small smile. “I love you.”

        “I love you, too.” Magnus stood up, pulling Alec with him. “You need a break. Come to bed, I’ll give you a massage.”

        “Magnus, I need to finish this up. The institute needs me.” Alec resisted.

        “Your fiancé needs you.” Magnus argued, leading Alec out of the office. “Just a short break for me. Please?” His lips formed a disarming pout and Alec’s mouth quirked up a smile.

        “Okay. Just a short break.” He agreed, walking inside Magnus’ bedroom with him. “But I’m leaving my phone on.”

        Magnus smiled, accepting Alec’s conditions. He laid him down on their bed, rolling him onto his stomach. He sat on Alec’s hips, pressing his fingers into his tense shoulder blades.

        Alec let out a loud groan, practically melting into the bed as Magnus worked wonders on his back and shoulders, kneading and pressing down on all the right places. He buried his face in his arms and moaned as Magnus used his magic for added effect, turning his limbs into jelly. His fingers crawled up Alec’s spine, pressing down firmly to release the tension there.

        “Oh my, mm, Magnus. . .” Alec moaned, clenching one of his hands into a fist as his cock responded to the touches as well. “That feels so good, by the Angel.”

        Magnus chuckled. “I have magic fingers.” He wiggled his digits at Alec for the added effect. He climbed off of Alec, sitting next to him on the bed. He placed his hand on Alec’s cheek, “Do you need help with that? You seemed to enjoy my massage a little too much.”

        Alec pushed himself up using both hands, crawling over to Magnus and crowding his body with his own. “I thought you’d never ask.” He smirked, placing a kiss onto the love rune on Magnus’ neck. He ran his hands down Magnus’ hips, inching down his pants, his boxers following suit. He traced his family crest with his fingers before sliding his hands toward each other and cupping his ass fully. He grabbed a handful of Magnus’ ass and squeezed, kissing down his chest. “Can I fuck you?” He asked, his voice muffled captured one of Magnus’ nipples into his mouth, using his tongue to shower it with attention.

        Magnus arched into the touch, one of his hands coming up to thread its way through Alec’s hair. “So smooth.” He rolled his eyes, placing a hand on Alec’s chin and pulling him up for an openmouthed kiss, Alec’s beard brushing up against his skin.

        Alec ran his hand up Magnus’ chest, pulling away. “Consent is sexy.”

        “Yeah, I guess it is.” Magnus lifted his eyebrows briefly. “You can fuck me.” He laid back, parting his legs so that Alec could move in between them. He snapped his fingers, getting rid of all of Alec’s clothes. He wrapped an arm around the back of his neck, pulling him in and wrapping his legs around Alec’s waist. “Now,” He smirked, tracing Alec’s deflect rune with his finger. “Get to it. I’m ready for you.”

        “Using magic to prepare yourself is depriving me.” Alec said, lining himself up with Magnus’ hole and slowly pushing in, relishing in the way Magnus’ mouth fell open in a silent moan and his cat eyes rolled back into his head. “Maybe I want to have my fingers in you.”

        “Maybe, but I have a soft spot for your dick.” Magnus moaned out, rocking his hips forward. He kept a tight hold on Alec to steady himself as Alec began to build up the pace of his thrusts, keeping one of his hands on the family crest that was on Magnus’ hip.

        “Well, I sure hope not.” Alec grinned widely, his joke obvious enough for Magnus to roll his eyes playfully, opening his mouth to make a quip that was cut off by a moan as Alec hit his prostate.

        “What was that? I didn’t hear you.” Alec thrust his hips forward again and Magnus buried his fingers in his hair, throwing his head back and knocking it against their headboard.

        Alec’s eyebrows furrowed with worry, stilling so he could check and make sure Magnus was alright.

Magnus let out a whine, tightening his grip on Alec’s hair and rocking his hips when he stopped moving. “I’m okay, I’m—fuck, I’m fine, I’m so—just keep moving, please .” He begged, shutting his eyes.

Alec placed his hand on the back of Magnus’ head, keeping it there to prevent Magnus from hitting his head to hard and accidentally knocking himself out, and resumed his thrusts, rocking his hips in time with Magnus’ and watching the way his cat eyes rolled into his head on every particularly hard thrust.

“Alexander, By Lilith, I’m almost there !” Magnus shouted, pulling Alec into a sloppy kiss that was all teeth and tongue, and when he couldn’t even manage that devolved into the two of them breathing into each other’s mouths. He hooked his ankles together behind Alec as he came, letting out a moan that was almost a sob and tightening around him.

Alec’s own released followed soon after and he rode it out before pulling out of Magnus and pushing his hair out of his eyes. “Love you.” He panted.

“I love you more.” Magnus waved his hand, using his magic to clean them both up.

Alec just shook his head. “Impossible.” He kissed a trail up Magnus’ glistening chest and peck his lips repeatedly, wrapping his arms around Magnus. “No one has ever loved anyone as much as I love you right now, in this moment, and every moment afterwards.” He kissed each of Magnus’ pink cheeks. “I love making you blush.”

Magnus turned away from him. “. . .Shut up.” He mumbled, feeling overwhelmed by how sweet Alec could be.

“Only one way to make me stop talking.” Alec ran his thumb over Magnus’ lips. “Kiss me.”

Magnus grinned, pushing himself with one hand. “Okay.” He breathed, pressing his lips to Alec’s.

Chapter Text

“I took a break, Magnus. I have to go back and finish my work.” Alec breathed out, shutting his eyes as Magnus worked his mouth over his neck. “This is important.”

“More important than me?” Magnus whispered in Alec’s ear, his voice low.

Nothing is more important than you.” Alec placed his hand on the back of Magnus’ neck, pulling him in closer, before he raked his nails down it and Magnus back as Magnus bit down on the deflect rune on his neck. He let out a barely audible sigh, his entire face scrunching up as he searched for the willpower to stop Magnus before the idea of getting his work done escaped Alec’s mind completely. “I still have to assign t-teams and—oh fuck, right there, that’s good—put out a formal request for Aline to come to the institute.”

“But I want you,” Alec’s eyes nearly rolled back into his head as Magnus wrapped his hand around his length, sending out pulses of magic in waves. “And I know you want me.”

“Yes, I want you so much. By the Angel, Magnus, let me—“ He words broke off into a moan as Magnus trailed his fingers lower, going past Alec’s balls and sending several sparks of pleasure to his hole. Alec nearly sobbed at the sensation, bringing his legs up.

“That good?” Magnus breathed in Alec’s ear. “I can give you more if you stay in bed, with me.” He smirked and then pulled away.

Alec let out a loud whine, pulling Magnus back in. “You better not.”

“But shouldn’t you be worried about Aline and Maryse?” Magnus asked, using his magic to coat his fingers in warm lube, slowly pressing them inside Alec. “Catarina, Raphael, and I have plans. I should really get going.”

“Magnus Lightwood, you wouldn’t dare.” They both paused at the last name Alec used, equally shocked.

“Lightwood?” Magnus asked, stilling his fingers. He looked at Alec, his slitted, gold cat eyes searching for something. What, Alec wasn’t sure.

“Isn’t that your name? Or it will be soon, so you might as well get used to it.” He rolled his hips, letting out a low moan when Magnus’ fingers grazed his prostate. “That feels amazing. Magnus Lightwood, hurry up and fuck me.”

“Patience.” Magnus hummed, rubbing his middle finger against Alec’s prostate in slow circles, watching his eyes roll back and his entire body shudder with pleasure.

“If you are not in me in the next minute, Magnus Lightwood, I’m grabbing your makeup kit and I’m going to—!” He practically yelled the last part, arching off the bed.

“Going to. . .what?” Magnus asked teasingly. Alec just whined in response and Magnus decided to have mercy on him. He pulled out his fingers and crawled in between Alec’s spread legs, hitching one of his legs onto his shoulders. “Wash it with all my white clothes? Nothing magic can’t fix.” He winked. “Anyway, you’re terrible at doing laundry, Darling. Do you seriously think I’m letting you wash my clothes?” He lined himself up with Alec, easing into him. He pressed a kiss to Alec’s lips, pushing his wet hair off his sweaty forehead.

Alec wrapped his arms around Magnus’ neck, pulling him in for a kiss. He rocked his hips forward, dragging out a loud moan from Magnus. He smirked at the sound, only for his mouth to fall open seconds later in a loud cry as Magnus hit his prostate. “Wiped that smirk right off your face.” He breathed, wetting his lips and lavishing the rune on Alec’s neck with attention. Part of him wished he’d gotten a deflect rune on his neck like Alec’s, just so they could match.

“Alec!”

Both of them froze. Magnus pulled out, just a little, and Alec let out a whine, his voice small. “No. Please, Magnus.” He begged, shaking his head. “It can’t wait, just—“ He let out a soft moan as Magnus pressed forward once again, his cock nudging against his prostate. “Yes!” He dragged his blunt nails down Magnus’ back, leaving faint pink tracks down it. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the damage Magnus’ nails usually did to his arms and back, but it still had that faint edge of pain Alec knew Magnus liked.

The shouting didn’t cease, and they both cursed when whoever was on the other side of the door started pounding their fists against the door.

“Alec,” Magnus licked his lips, beginning to pull out of him. Alec’s hair was disheveled and every inch of him was a covered in a thin shin of sweat. His eyes were unfocused and glazed over with lust, and Magnus almost convinced himself not to stop, but whatever was going on had to be important. “It’s serious. You gotta go.”

“Whoever is on the other side of the door is on ichor duty for the next week.” After a few moments, Alec sat up with an eye roll. He thought of demon hunting, women, anything to will away his erection. Once it was gone, he got dressed, running his fingers through his hair and trying not to look like he was just having sex.

Magnus rolled his eyes at Alec’s sad attempt. “Here.” He snapped his fingers and Alec’s hair was perfectly styled, his clothes neat and pressed. Magnus dressed in a white V-neck and black lounge pants. He snapped his fingers to fix up his hair and makeup and then walked over to the door and opened it. “Sorry. We were asleep.” He answered without missing a beat, looking at Clary first, then at the little girl standing in her feet. Her face was dirtied, black dust clinging to her healthy, brown skin.

The dark blue scarf wrapped around her neck immediately caught Magnus’ attention, and he kneeled down, settling at her level. Neither of them said anything, an unspoken understanding between them.

“Explain.” Alec was the first to speak up. “Clary, who is this little girl?”

“Madzie.” Magnus answered for her, reaching out to touch Madzie’s hair. He frowned, wondering what had happened to the little girl’s caretaker. “Pumpkin, where’s Iris?”

Madzie looked at Magnus, then reached into her pocket and placed a pair of small, deep orange horns into Magnus’ hand. “Gone.” She said quietly, her voice breaking on the single word. A few tears streamed down her cheeks, and Magnus wiped them away, getting black dust onto his finger.

“Oh, Pumpkin.” Magnus lifted her into his arms and stood. He looked at Alec, then at Clary, taking in the bewildered expressions on their faces. “Omar had clients all over the world. Madzie and I have met.” He explained, stroking her hair gently. “We’ll talk about all of this later. She’s a ward, I have to take her to the High Warlock.” At his words, Madzie tightened her grip on his shirt and shook her head, wiping more dust onto it. “I’ll call you and we’ll talk later. I don’t know why she’s here, but this isn’t a matter for Shadowhunters. We’re both Warlocks, let us handle it.” 

Alec looked taken back and a little hurt by Magnus’ choice of words, but he could feel why he chose those exact words through the bond connecting both their lives and their souls. He was just trying to put Madzie at ease. It wasn’t hard to guess what had happened to Iris and why. Madzie looked as if she had been on her own for days, if not longer. He didn’t have to work hard to guess that she was another one of the Warlocks Alec and the other Shadowhunters had been unable to save. He watched Magnus create a portal for them both, not bothering with a jacket or even shoes before he was disappearing off to Ragnor and Catarina’s penthouse.

“It’s my fault.” Alec spoke once she was gone. “I didn’t do enough. If I’d sent out better search parties or went out myself instead of doing paperwork, then maybe I could’ve—“

“Alec, don’t do this to yourself.” Clary shook her head. “Iris’ death isn’t on you. You can’t save everyone.” She crossed her arms and looked at where Magnus and Madzie had left. “I don’t think she’s going to agree to stay with the High Warlock.” She admitted. “Madzie knew what she was doing when she came here first. She was looking for Magnus.”

Alec nodded. “I guessed as much. He’s familiar to her. But she can’t stay here, in the Institute. Not everyone here is Warlock-friendly, Clary, you know that. I know that. I’ve had to threaten enough people for the looks they give Magnus, but even that isn’t as affective as the threat Magnus poses. He’s a force to be reckoned with. But Madzie’s defenseless here. She’s young.”

“Alec, we all know what the outcome of this is going to be. What are you going to do about that?” She raised her eyebrow at him, waiting for a response. Alec just stared back at her, not wanting to even entertain the idea she was trying to present to him. It was unthinkable.

“I’m going to my office.” Alec turned around, deliberately not giving Clary a chance to delve deeper into what she was talking about.

 


 

“Ragnor.”

“Magnus?” Ragnor stared at him, puzzled, then at Madzie. It only took him a few seconds to put the pieces together in his head. “Iris.” He lowered his head solemnly. “I had been trying to get in contact with her, and I wasn’t getting anything. I should’ve known, I. . .” He trailed off, at a loss. He had no words of comfort to offer the child. He was an old Warlock, used to the pain of loss by now. Not only had he seen numerous mortals die, but Warlocks as well. The Circle and its predecessors had left Ragnor with lasting memories of countless dead warlocks. “I’m sorry. I’ll take her.” He held out his arms and Madzie shook her head, her grip on Magnus’ shirt tightening.

“No.” She whispered, shaking her head.

“Pumpkin. . .” Magnus frowned deeply. “You’re supposed to go with the High Warlock.” He tried he explain. “Now that Iris is gone, he has to find someone to take care of you.”

Ragnor looked between the two of them. “Maybe I already have.” He spoke. “Magnus, the child knows where she belongs.”

“You can’t be serious.” Magnus looked down at Madzie. Everything was already so new for him. He and Alec hadn’t been bonded for long, and he was living in the Institute. He couldn’t raise her there.

“Maggie.” Madzie spoke up. She was never the type to speak very much, not around strangers. She placed her dirtied palm on Magnus’ cheek, saying nothing at all and everything at the same time. Her dark eyes were expressive, revealing everything she didn’t say.

Don’t leave me. You’re all I have.

Magnus couldn’t bring himself to say no to those eyes. “Madzie has always lived life behind closed doors. She was rarely every allowed to see the outside world.” He poked her nose and Madzie managed the smallest of smiles. “In that way, we are alike, Pumpkin.” He looked up at Ragnor, receiving a subtle nod.

“What are you doing here, Dear One? Take her home.” He urged.

Magnus stood, frowning when he heard her stomach growl loudly. “I’ll feed you first, then we need to set you up with a bath and brand new clothes. We’ll go back to my loft, okay?”

Madzie nodded her head. “Thank you.” She said quietly.

Magnus pressed his lips against her forehead, waving his hand to open up a portal to his loft. It had gone unused for some time, so when he stepped out of the portal, all the lights were out and the room was completely dark. He lit up the room with a snap of his fingers and set Madzie down. She settled for holding onto Magnus’ pant leg, following him into the kitchen.

            “I can make spaghetti, but it’ll take a minute for the meat to thaw. How about we get a bath for you while we wait?”

            Madzie looked around, making sure she and Magnus were the only two people in the loft. “Your hair. It’s gone.” She pointed out.

            Magnus’ mouth quirked up into a smile. “I cut it.” He told her, carefully taking the rubber bands off the ends of her braids and taking them down. “Iris doesn’t straighten your hair now that’s she’s gone. Do you want me to do it for you?”

            Madzie shook her head. “It’s hot. I don’t like it.” She admitted. “Nana doesn’t really know what to do with my hair, so she just straightens it instead.” She swallowed. “I miss Nana.”

            “I know, Pumpkin.” He took a deep breath. “I’m so sorry.” He took out the ground beef and left it in a bowl on the counter to thaw. They walked to Magnus’ bathroom together. The light was already on, and Magnus kneeled down to turn on the water, giving it time to warm up.

            “Maggie?”

            “Yes, Pumpkin?” Magnus said carefully.

            “Where do Warlocks go, when they die? Does Nana get to be happy?” Madzie asked him. “Nana used to cry a lot, when she thought I couldn’t hear her.”

            Magnus was silent for several moments, dipping his fingers into the water to check its temperature. “I. . .don’t know, Pumpkin.” He told her, settling for the truth. “None of us do. Most of the time, Warlocks don’t die. We’re supposed to live forever.”

            “But Nana didn’t.”

            “No, she didn’t.” Magnus said as the tub began to fill. “Your Nana loved you very much. Wherever she is, she’s happy that you are alive and well.” He waved his hand, making an array of different shampoos, soaps, and conditioners appear on the ground around him. “Now, we’ll need to wash out all the dirt and grime from your hair. I know a lot about different types of hair, you know.”

            Madzie smiled. “You told me stories.” She recalled, carefully removing her scarf and the rest of her clothing, getting into the tub. On her way in, she grabbed the pineapple scented bubble bath and began pouring it into the water. She emptied the entire bottle into the tub, and they both managed to laugh at the array of bubbles that grew around her. “With Elias, you used to do hair like mine for work.”

            “I did.” Magnus agreed. “You were so little then; I’m surprised you remember.”

            “I never forget my family.” She frowned. “Where is Elias?”

            At the question, Magnus’ entire back straightened and he went as stiff as a board. “E-Elias?” He choked out, before clearing his throat. “He’s, um, Elias is gone.”

            Madzie nodded. “I’m sorry.” She placed her hand on Magnus’ cheek, tendrils of pink-tinted magic reaching out to him and calming him down, not allowing him to get upset. “I don’t know if I want Elias to be happy. He made you cry a lot.”

            “It’s okay, Pumpkin. We still have each other, right?” He squeezed her cheek gently, enjoying the light, airy sound of her giggle as he smoothly changed the subject, not comfortable with talking about Elias. “And I’m getting married soon, too.”

            “To the man from the room.” It wasn’t a question, but Magnus responded anyway.

            “Yes.” He confirmed, lathering shampoo into her hair with his long, nimble fingers. “His name is Alec.”

            “Maggie, why are you living with Nephilim?”

            “Because I love Alec.” Magnus said simply, watching the soap bring the curls back into Madzie’s hair. “I want to be with him, and he’s a Nephilim. You’ll understand one day.” He removed his fingers from Madzie’s hair and grabbed a washcloth, dipping it into the water to wet it and cleaning off her face. “Look at that. There’s a beautiful little girl under all that dust.”

            “What if he doesn’t like me?” Madzie asked quietly. “I don’t want to go with anyone else, Maggie.”

            “He will.” Magnus answered without hesitation. “Because you’re my Pumpkin.” He ran his fingers through her loose, soapy hair and then placed a hand on the back of her head, pushing her backward gently so all of her hair was submerged in the water. He rinsed her hair that way, listening to Madzie hum quietly to herself as Magnus rinsed her hair. Once her finished and she came up, her conditioned her hair and flicked a wrist for an open-toothed comb to appear in his hand. He combed out the tangles in her long hair gently, taking extra care not to get the comb caught in any spots or be too rough with her hair.

            “Maggie?”

            “Hm?” Magnus lowered her down into the water once again, washing out the conditioner. Once he was finished, he gave Madzie a sponge to finished washing herself. She was old enough to, so he wouldn’t baby her too much.

            “I’m staying with you, right? Even if Alec doesn’t like me?”

            “Of course you are.” When she was finished, Magnus wrapped a large, pink towel around her body and used another to dry her hair. The curls had a healthy glow to them, and when Madzie got close enough he could smell pineapples mixed with shea butter. “You’re family, Pumpkin.” He snapped his fingers, dressing Madzie in a floral sundress and adding in a scarf around her neck to match. “There. Perfect.”

            Madzie cracked a small smile and did a spin for Magnus, showing off the dress. “Can you braid my hair now?”

            “Of course I can, Pumpkin.”


 

            “How long until we can get Aline here?” Alec asked, his tone clipped. “Robert can stay. I want my mother and Max here before I think of taking a ‘vacation’, so to speak.” As he spoke, his cell began to ring. He picked it up, seeing Magnus’ smiling face lighting up his screen. He was half asleep in the photo, his face free of any makeup and his gold eyes half-mast as he directed a smile at Alec that was only meant for him. “Hold on.” He put the Clave member on hold to answer Magnus’ call.

            “Alexander, Darling, I won’t be coming back to the institute tonight.” Magnus tone was light, but the lightness was clearly forced.

            “Did something happen? Are you okay?” Alec lowered his voice as he spoke. “Magnus, where is Madzie?”

            “We’re both fine. She’s fine.” Magnus cleared up quickly. “She’s eating. We’re at my loft.” He explained to Alec. “Ragnor decided that it would be best if she was left in my care. She doesn’t have anyone else, Alec. I couldn’t say no.”

            “I didn’t expect you to.” Alec looked down at his hands, then at the photo of Magnus. “You’re keeping her, right? Is it okay if I could meet her?” He imagined the photo was of him and Magnus, but with Madzie and a few other kids in between them. Maybe Alec could have another Warlock child on his hip. He pictured little feet running across the threshold of a house that belonged to him and Magnus and the soft, high-pitched voices of a little girl with Magnus’ eyes and a boy with his, calling him Daddy and Magnus Papa.

            Madzie, waiting excitedly for him to come home after a long day of working so she could show him the new spell Magnus had taught her. He wanted it. He wanted himself and Magnus, living together with children of their own in a home they had made for themselves, away from the Institute.

            “Alec, is that coming from you?” Magnus’ voice was overcome with emotion as he spoke.

            “I, uh. . .” Alec trailed off. He didn’t have an explanation for what Magnus had just saw. “Yeah. Is it okay if I come over later?”

            “Yeah. I think we need to have a talk, too. About. . .the future. What we want.”

            Alec felt warmth blossom in his chest. “Hopefully not much later. See you then?” He felt Magnus’ amusement before he even got to hear his chuckle.

            “I’ll see you then. I love you, Alexander.”

            “I love you, too.” Alec heard a click as Magnus hung up the phone, then set down his cell phone and returned to his call with the Clave. “Yes, I’m here.” He rolled his eyes. When the representative on the other line tried to return to the other subject, Alec shushed them easily. He had been raised to know how to deal with the Clave, and the only way to prevent them from manipulating him was to not offer any leeway and to make every possible weakness strong enough to protect themselves. Right now, his biggest weakness that the Clave had to exploit was Magnus, and Alec had a feeling that they couldn’t afford the possible backlash. “I actually wanted to talk about your lack of action regarding Sebastian Morgenstern, instead.” He smirked, feeling completely in control of the situation. “Or rather, Sebastian Morgenstern’s body.”

            “The Clave will handle that issue in due time. The punishment has yet to be decided. We will send for him when the time comes.”

            “Funny, you’re speaking about time, considering that you have your lapdog in my Institute, trying to force the hand of both myself and my fiancé when it comes to the date of our wedding. There are more pressing matters to attend to. Sebastian Morgenstern was not working alone. His followers are hiding in the shadows and it our responsibility to weed them out. Too many Warlocks have already died. We do not build alliances by remaining idle.”

            “And the reason you’re running the Institute is because you know this, Alec. You want Aline? You’ll have her and your mother. What we need you to do is keep handling this situation while the Clave attends to much more. . .pressing matters.”

            Alec took in a slow, deep breath to keep from losing his temper. “This is negligence. Our ties with the Downworlder’s will not get any better if you continue on the path of inaction.”

            “On the contrary. Our ties have never been better. And we have you to thank for making that sacrifice, Alec. How noble of you.”

            “I’ve sacrificed nothing.” Alec disagreed. “Have a good day, Lydia.” He hung up the phone. When he looked up, Jace was standing at the door. Alec raised an eyebrow at that. “I thought you were supposed to be out on a mission.” He narrowed his eyes suspiciously as he spoke. “Jace, if you’re skipping out on your duties again. . .”

            “I’m not, I’m not.” Jace raised his hands defensively, offended that Alec had even asked. “So. . .where’s Magnus?” He asked, looking around Alec’s office. “I thought he’d be with you, since he’s not in his room.”

            “He’s at his loft.” Alec shrugged his shoulders. “Why are you looking for him and not on a mission right now, Jace?” He reached aside for the official documents he’d received that had caused him to send Jace and his team out on yet another mission. He gave it his official signature before he leaned onto his left hand. “Whatever, I don’t care.” He finally decided. “I could use a break and Magnus isn’t here, have a seat.”

            Jace pulled up a chair to the other side of Alec’s desk and sat down. “You alright?” He asked, glad for the change in subject. He wasn’t too keen on the idea of Alec looking into him wanting to spend more time with Magnus. The feelings that had developed were constantly threatening to come to the surface, even after the issue of him being able to feel everything Alec felt was long gone.

            “Oh, I’m fine. Just work.” Alec shrugged, his tone forcefully nonchalant. “Planning the wedding. And Magnus is thinking of taking in a little girl, so the two of us are planning on having a conversation about children. So there’s that.” He crossed his arms, staring Jace down. “I think the two of us need to talk, too. About Magnus.”

            Jace gave Alec an incredulous look, but on the inside he was panicking. “Um. . .what about?” He asked, placing his hands in his lap to hide the way they were shaking. His act would’ve fooled anyone else, but Alec was his parabatai. There was nothing Jace could hide from him.

            “I think you know, Jace. The other day, in the training room. I can feel what you feel. Did you think you’d be able to hide the way you felt about Magnus from me?” His voice got louder as he spoke, and his hand clenched into a tight fist. “You’re in love with my husband, Jace. The only person in the world that has ever truly been mine, and you fell in love with him.” He suddenly stood up, slamming his hands down on the desk. “Was stomping my heart into the ground when we were teenagers not enough? Now you want to take Magnus away from me, too?”

            Jace raised both his hands, as if to shield himself from Alec’s anger. “Calm down, Alec. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. It wasn’t what I wanted.” He tried to explain. “Please don’t hate me. I won’t make any moves on Magnus.” He promised. “I would never try to take him away from you.”

            “Is that what you call flirting with my fiancé during your sparring sessions? Not making a move?” Alec was yelling now.

            Jace rose to his feet. “I said I’m sorry, Alec!”

            “You’re sorry?” Alec walked around his desk, making sure Jace heard his next words loud and clear. “I moved on, Jace! You told me, and I quote: ‘Don’t bother. I won’t ever feel the way about you that you feel about me’. So I pushed those feelings down. I stomped them out until they went away and I moved on with my life. I was lucky enough to have this arrangement and end up with Magnus. But no, you want him now. Because Jace can’t sit back and let me have anything. You can’t handle the fact that I have this man, who loves me unconditionally. Who saved my life!”

            “Alec, I—you weren’t supposed to find out. I didn’t mean to fall for him. I want you to be happy with Magnus. I’m your parabatai, Alec. I would never try to take him away from you.”

            “But you did and you already have.”

            Jace reached out for Alec’s hand, trying to make him see that Jace didn’t mean for any of this to happen. Alec snatched both his hands away.

            “Don’t.” He shook his head, taking a step backward. “Don’t touch me. Magnus is mine, Jace. I need him. I’m not losing him to you. I’ve given up so much for you already, Jace, and I’d give up more. But not this. Not him.” Alec shook his head slowly, walking around Jace and leaving his office. He took deep breaths, trying to reign in his anger. He needed to calm down.

            Jace stared down at the mahogany wood of Alec’s desk, his hands clenched into fists. “I’m sorry.” He choked out, not bothering to force back the tears that began to fall. It was no secret that, when Alec confessed, he had been cruel. But he had to be. He didn’t want to give Alec hope for something that wasn’t there, and never would be.

Chapter Text

“Alec, maybe we should talk about this.” Clary muttered, fixing the collar of Alec’s shirt.

        “There’s nothing to talk about.” Alec shook his head, his brows knitting together. “Do I look okay? Madzie’s important to Magnus, so I want to make a good impression.”

        “Alec, you look fine.” Clary sighed, running his fingers through her hair. “What’s not fine is this.” She gestured at the both of them vaguely. “You coming to me. Your sister’s girlfriend. What’s going on with you and Jace?”

        “We’re not talking.” Alec’s eyes hardened as he looked down at Clary. “It’s not something I want to talk about.”

        “Maybe you should. Izzy’s going to be back from her mission tonight, maybe you should give her a call. Or maybe even talk to Jace, himself. He’s your parabatai, Alec. You can’t shut him out.”

        “Yeah?” Alec pushed back the sleeves of his leather jacket. “Watch me.”

        “Alec—“

        “I should get going.” Alec cut her off. “I want to go meet Madzie while I’m still in a good mood. Let’s not ruin that.”

        “Fine. No more pushing, I get it.” Clary raised her hands defensively. “Go. You could use a break.” She took a step back, letting her hands fall to her sides. “You know I’m going to tell Izzy you and Jace aren’t talking, right?”

        Alec nodded. “You tell Izzy everything. I don’t tell you anything I don’t want her to know.” He turned on his heel, heading out to Magnus’ loft.


 

        “Pumpkin, you can’t touch those.” Magnus ran over to Madzie before she could get her hands on one of his potions. “Note to self: figure out what childproofing looks like and then childproof the loft.” He mumbled under his breath, leading Madzie over to the living room. “We’re going to the store to get you some toys once Alec gets here, Pumpkin. Please don’t touch my potions until then, okay?”

        “After?” Madzie grinned deviously and Magnus shook his head.

        “You’re just a little devil, aren’t you?” He asked, standing up and crossing his arms.

        “I want to learn magic, too, Maggie. Nana never let me.” Madzie crossed her arms as well, her expression mirroring Magnus’. “If you let me do magic, I could make my own potions. I can do some things on my own, but it’s barely anything.” She whined.

        “We’ll talk about that later. Once everything is settled in, and we’ve got you everything you need, then we can talk about.” Magnus got down on one knee so he was at Madzie’s eye-level, gold cat eyes looking into brown ones. “Since a certain pumpkin said I couldn’t, under any circumstances, use my magic to do everything.”

        “I wanted to pick it out.” Madzie mumbled. She and Magnus both looked up when there was a knock on the door, before it was being opened.

        When Alec saw both their eyes on him, he smiled sheepishly. “Hi there.” He waved quickly, before stuffing both his hands in his pockets.

        Madzie glanced at Magnus, tugging on his shirt sleeve. “He’s taller than you.” She whispered. “I didn’t think that was possible.”

        Magnus chuckled, rolling his eyes good-naturedly. “I heard he’s half-giant.” He joked with Madzie, whose eyes widened comically at the idea.

        “No way. . .that’s so cool.” She hopped off the couch, looking up at Alec wordlessly.

        Alec fidgeted under her surprisingly intense gaze, waiting for her to decide what her first impression was. As she stretched her neck upward to stare at Alec’s face, he caught the sight of her warlock mark peeking from under her forest green scarf. “Cool gills.” His mouthed quirked up into a sideways grin.

        Madzie fixed her scarf and then beamed at Alec. “So, you’re half-giant?”

        “Hm?” Alec raised an eyebrow at the question. “Maybe. I always thought I was suspiciously tall compared to everyone else in my family.” He shrugged his shoulders as Madzie’s eyes widened and she raised her arms.

        “I want to be tall.” She let go of Magnus as Alec lifted her up, her legs on either side of Alec’s neck. She placed her chin on top of Alec’s head, looking around. “I can see everything!”

        Both Alec and Magnus laughed at her exclamation. “I think she likes you.” Magnus stated, reaching out to hold Alec’s hand. He squeezed it gently in a silent message, letting Alec know that he noticed that his mood was off when he first walked in, and it was just another thing they could talk about later.

        “So, Pumpkin, should we get going?” Magnus asked, tilting his chin up slightly to look at the toddler on Alec’s shoulders.

        “Mmhm!” Madzie nodded. “Just like this! I’ll be able to see all the toys in the whole store!” She looked down at Alec, suddenly becoming hesitant. “. . .That’s okay, right? I can stay right here?”

        “Of course you can, Madzie.” Alec made his way through the doorway, with Madzie on his shoulders and Magnus at his side. This felt good. It felt right, like how a family should feel. It brought of warm feeling to his chest, like someone had taken his heart and squeezed it in the best way.


 

        “Well, that was fun.” Alec smiled as he brought Madzie back inside the loft. She was fast asleep, her head on Alec’s chest and her thumb in her mouth. Her hair, braided up into a bun, brushed against Alec’s neck from the position they were in, and even though the way it scratched at his rune was definitely leaning towards uncomfortable, Alec couldn’t be happier.

        “I’m going to sleep.” Magnus yawned loudly, leaning on Alec’s shoulder. “She has the right idea. I’m exhausted and it’s late. Who knew she had so much energy?” After they had finished shopping for all of Madzie’s new toys and décor for her bedroom, Magnus had used his magic to send it all to his loft—after paying for it, of course—and they had taken Madzie to the park, then the four-year-old had insisted on going out for pizza and ice cream, then to the movies. Alec had no knowledge of mundane movies and he rarely got to have desserts, so he was excited to go, even though Magnus had insisted that Alec should stop spoiling her.

        Alec had never had a child before, but he always promised himself that he would be different from his parents. Madzie was his child, as far as Alec was concerned, and no child of his would ever want for anything. He wouldn’t force them to conform to the rigidity of the Clave and make them feel as if they needed to be afraid of themselves, the way he had been for entirely too long.

        “She’s a little kid, they have lots of energy.” Alec grinned, looking around the newly remodeled loft. Magnus had done well with his magic. All the dangerous supplies and potions were all high up and locked away enough for Madzie to not get ahold of any of them, and all of the furniture had all been replaced with the warm, rich colors and designs of a classic family household. “I like what you’ve done with the place.”

        “Enough to stay?” Magnus asked as they walked down the hall, opening the door to Madzie’s room. They had found out that she had quite the preference for dogs, and at one point during the day, she had turned her large, puppy dog eyes on Alec and nearly convinced him to buy her a Pitbull. The man was weak for her cute little face, and Magnus had had an unmistakable smile on his face as he dragged the 22 year-old away from the pet store and instead settled for giving her room a dog inspired theme. “I’m going to have to move to the loft in order to take care of Madzie. You should come with me and move in, too.”

        “Magnus. . .” Alec mumbled, prying Madzie’s hands off his shirt and tucking her into bed. “I’m not sure if I can do that. I’m still the head of the Institute, I’d have to spend most of my time there.”

        “That doesn’t mean you have to live there.” Magnus licked his lips. “Stay the night tonight and think about it, okay? You can still be at the Institute when work needs to be done. But afterwards, you can come home to your family. This family, that the two of us created.”

        “I want to say yes.” Alec admitted, placing a hand on Magnus’ hip and leading him out of the room. “It’ll take some time to move everything out and get the official paperwork done, but I can do it. I’ll need an office in the loft. Sometimes I’ll be in there for hours and I won’t be in bed until late.”

        “Is that a yes?” Magnus asked hopefully.

        Alec nodded his head. “But there are more pressing matters to attend to. We should ask Madzie if she wants to be ours. Legally.”

        “If she says yes, I can have Ragnor handle the procedure. You don’t have to worry too much about that.” Magnus walked to his bedroom across the hall with Alec, leaving the door open in case Madzie had a nightmare.

        “Yeah. She can be our first child.” Alec said without thinking. His eyes widened when he realized what he’d said, but the way his suddenly felt a jolt of happiness that spread through his entire body told him all he needed to know about Magnus’ thoughts on the idea. “I know Warlocks can’t have children. We could adopt. There are too many warlocks who need loving parents.”

        Magnus nodded. “We’re both immortal. No mortal children.” He couldn’t bear to think about the pain he would feel if he outlived a child he and Alec had adopted. It was too much to even think about.

        “Agreed.”

        Magnus snapped his fingers, getting rid of all his makeup and changing both his clothes and Alec’s, so they were both wearing pajamas. “Time for bed?” He asked, running his hands up and down Alec’s bare arms. His shirt was a simple, black short leave that hugged his chest in all the right place.

        “Now is as good of a time as any. I can start packing up my room tomorrow and we can reorganize once I come back after I finish all my work.” Alec stroked his thumb over Magnus cheek. “I can’t believe I get to have you.” He breathed. “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me. You and Madzie.”

        Magnus tilted his chin up, silently asking for a kiss.

        Alec leaned in, his gaze lingering on Magnus’ lips before leaning in. He wrapped an arm around his waist, pulling him in closer as the two of them kissed noisily, lips parting and tongues meeting in gentle caresses. “I love you so much.” Alec breathed in between kisses, claiming Magnus’ lips with his own, and slipping a hand under his shirt, running it up his hard, toned chest.

        “I love you too.” Magnus breathed out shallowly. The two of them heard a soft knock and immediately broke away from one another. They turned their heads, looking at the little girl standing in the doorway, holding a stuffed puppy and wiping tears out of her eyes.

        “Madzie?”

        “Pumpkin?”

        Both Alec and Magnus spoke at the same time, rushing over to Madzie’s side. Alec wiped the tears out of her eyes and Magnus gently rubbed her back as Madzie sobbed quietly.

        “Did you have a nightmare?” Magnus asked.

        Madzie nodded. “I don’t want to sleep by myself. Nana would let me sleep in bed with her when I had a nightmare. Can I sleep here, too?” She sobbed, trying to force her voice to stop shaking.

        “Of course.” Alec said before Magnus had a chance to. Magnus nodded his head in confirmation of Alec’s words, gently rubbing her back until her soft cries stopped. All three of them climbed back into bed, Madzie and her stuffed puppy, Zethor, laying in between Magnus and Alec.

        “Can you tell me a story?” Madzie asked, shifting around and rubbing her face against Alec’s shoulder.

        “Hm?” Alec yawned. He had already begun to fall asleep, but clearly Madzie had not been doing the same.

        “A story.” Madzie repeated. “Me and Zethor want to hear a story.”

        “Okay. A story.” Alec nodded his head, speaking in a hushed tone to keep from waking Magnus up. “Once upon a time, there was little girl named Ziemad.” He began. “Something bad happened to her where she lost her family, but because Ziemad was so brave and strong, she was able to find a new family to make her happy. She didn’t forget her old family, but she still loved her new family all the same. She went from having one mom to having two dads who both loved her very much.” Alec smiled when he heard Madzie’s soft snores. He closed his eyes, reaching over them to turn off Magnus’ lamp and then going to sleep as well.


 

        Alec opened his eyes to see Madzie staring at him, Zethor tucked under her arm. Magnus was absent from her other side. “Good morning, Madzie.” He yawned, rubbing his eyes.

        “Maggie is in the kitchen making breakfast. He told me to watch over you until you wake up.” Madzie told Alec, her face pressed against his bicep. “You’re not a Warlock like us, even though you are half giant. We have to make sure you’re safe.” Madzie said surely. “I protected you.”

        Alec face split into a wide grin. “Thank you for protecting me. I felt safe.” He squeezed her cheek gently for just a second. “We should go to the kitchen with Magnus.” Alec got out of bed and Madzie tugged on his shirt. “Alec!”

        “Hm?” Alec raised an eyebrow, turning to face Madzie. Madzie held out her free arm, waiting for Alec to pick her up.

        Alec lifted Madzie into his arms, carrying both her and Zethor into the kitchen, where the remodeled space now held a table with three chairs. He put Madzie in one and went over to Magnus, wrapped his arms around his middle and kissing the nape of his neck. “Morning.” He hummed, nestling his face into the space between Magnus neck and shoulder.

        “Morning.” Magnus greeted, flipping a pancake before moving onto the plate. “Chocolate chip. For my Pumpkin.” Magnus gave the plate to Alec.

        Alec brought the pancake over to Madzie. “I’ll have one, too. Extra chocolate chips, please.” He called into the kitchen.

        “Sweet tooth?” Magnus asked, cocking an eyebrow up at Alec as he started mixing more batter and putting two pancakes on the stove; one for himself and one for Alec.

        “I like sweet things. That’s why I’m marrying you.” He flirted.

        Madzie watched the two of them with a smile. “Maggie, Alec?” She asked, pouring syrup onto her already sweet pancakes.

        “Hm?” They both asked, giving her their full attention.

        “Are you my parents now?” She asked curiously. She put Zethor on the table, pausing as she waited for their answer.

        “. . .Is that what you want, Pumpkin?”

        Madzie nodded her head.

        “Then we are.” Both Magnus and Alec smiled down at her.

        Madzie took a bite of her pancake. “So, which one of you do I call Papa?” She asked them. “And what do I call the other one?”

        “I can be Dad.” Magnus volunteered, shrugging as he finished up his and Alec’s pancakes, bringing them to the table and having a seat in the remaining chair.

        Alec gave him a kiss on the cheek in thanks. “You can call me Abba.” He told Madzie, beginning to eat.

        “Okay. Papa and Abba.” Madzie said around a mouthful of food, spilling a little of her pancake as she talked.

        “Don’t talk with your mouth full, Pumpkin.” Magnus scolded.

        Madzie shut her mouth, continuing to chew. As Alec was eating, his cell phone rang. When he looked at the Caller ID and saw it was Jace, he pressed the button to ignore the call and then put it back inside his pocket.

        “You’re not gonna answer?” Magnus asked Alec, looking at his phone.

        Alec shook his head. “Me and Jace aren’t really talking right now. It’s fine.” He assured him, not wanting to go into detail about exactly why.

        Magnus frowned and then squeezed Alec’s shoulder as Alec’s phone rang again. “Answer it.” He told him.

        This time, it was Izzy. “Hello?” Alec asked, putting the phone on speaker.

        “Institute, Hermano.” Izzy said, her tone leaving no room for argument.

        “Ten minutes.” Alec said, then hung up the phone. “I gotta go.” He looked down at his clothes and decided they weren’t too much to go to the Institute in. He didn’t have any other clothes in the loft quite yet, so they’d have to do. “I’ll see you both later.” He got up from the table, giving Magnus a quick kiss and then heading to the door.

        “Abba!” Madzie ran after him, stopping Alec before he could leave. She looked at him expectantly for a few moments, before narrowing her eyes at Alec. “Me too!” She said, pouting.

        Alec smiled, his dark mood instantly lifted. He gave Madzie a kiss on the forehead. “Be good for Papa.” He told her, before the speed rune flashed in his eyes and he was gone in seconds.

        “Woah.” Madzie said, shocked by how fast Alec had gone without needing to use a stele. “Can all Nephilim do that?”

        “No.” Magnus shook his head. “Just your Abba. Now finish your food, Pumpkin.”


 

        “You were looking for me?” Alec asked, standing outside the door to Isabelle’s room. He walked inside, standing next to where Isabelle was at her vanity, doing her makeup.

        “Why aren’t you and Jace talking?” Isabelle asked Alec, getting straight to the point. “I don’t know what’s suddenly come over you, Alec. But Jace is your parabatai. You can’t just shut him out.”

        “You know what, Izzy?” Alec asked, crossing his arms and staring down at his sister. “I am really tired of hearing that. I’m tired of forgiving and sacrificing for the sake of protecting Jace and sparing his feelings. I have done nothing but give and Jace has done nothing but take.”

        Izzy stared at Alec, her features contorting into a deep frown. “You don’t believe that.” She breathed.

        Alec looked away. “Maybe I do.” He licked his lips. “Has Jace told you why I’m angry with him?”

        Izzy shook her head. “No, but. . it can’t be that bad, Alec. It can’t be worth all this.”

        Alec walked over to the door and shut it, then used his stele to put a silencing rune on the door. “You can’t tell anyone what I’m about to say to you.” He said seriously.

        Izzy nodded carefully. “My lips are sealed. You can trust me, Hermano.” She assured Alec.

        “Izzy,” Alec began, taking in another deep breath. “Jace is in love with Magnus.”

        The only sound either of them heard following that sentence was from Izzy’s makeup brush hitting the floor. Her eyes widened almost comically, and she put her hand on the desk. “Wait, what?”

        Alec lowered his head, cocking an eyebrow up at her. “Do you understand why, after everything that happened, I’m angry at him for falling in love with the one man that I am bonded to for all of eternity?”

        “Alec, I. . .” Izzy trailed off. “This doesn’t have to ruin your friendship. He can get past this.”

        “Finally, something we can agree on.” Alec nodded his head. “I think he can, too. But, for now, him doing that means that he needs to stay away from Magnus. I know better than anyone that time away helps. Constant exposure to the one person you want most but can’t have is full of a pain no one should have to bear.”


 

        Jace stood outside of Magnus’ loft, fiddling with his stele nervously as he waited for an answer. Alec wouldn’t respond to his texts or answer his calls, so he was going to go straight to him. They needed to talk and get past this.

        “Jace?” Magnus opened up the door, shocked to see him. “What are you doing here?” The two of them hadn’t spoken to each other since their last sparring session that had marked the continuation of their budding friendship a few days prior.

        “Is Alec here?” Jace asked, looking at Magnus’ face for a few moments before abruptly looking down, unable to look at him without his heart pounding in his chest, only increasing the guilt he already felt.

        Magnus shook his head. “He left a while ago, to see Izzy. You weren’t at the Institute?”

        “I’ve been out and about.” Jace shrugged his shoulders. “I thought I’d drop by and see you guys. But since Alec isn’t here, I’ll go back to the Institute and see if I can catch him before he leaves.”

        “No, wait.” Magnus stopped him. “Come in. Alec will probably be back soon, and Madzie’s asleep, so I’m bored doing this paperwork. I could use some company.” Magnus stepped aside, letting Jace in.

        Jace nodded and walked inside. He looked at the loft with raised brows. “So the rumors are true? You guys are really adopting?” He said, hiding the disappointment in his voice. “That’s. . .” He swallowed hard. “Great. Really great, congrats.”

        “Thanks. Madzie’s asleep in her room, so keep your voice down.” Magnus said, walking inside and sitting at the table, where the paperwork was. Jace joined him, spinning his stele with one hand. “So, why aren’t you and Alec talking?”

        “He didn’t tell you?” Jace asked, relieved. “It’s complicated.” He told Magnus. He couldn’t tell him the truth.

        “I can do complicated.” Magnus hummed, reading over the paper in front of him and then signing it. “Go ahead, I’m waiting.”

        “I don’t think it’s my place to say.”

        “I think it is.” Magnus disagreed. “Look, Jace, we may have had a rough start, but I thought we were close now. Close enough to tell me exactly what’s going on between you two, and why it’s hurting you both so much.”

        “Magnus, I—“

        “Hey.” Magnus looked at Jace and smiled, the kind of smile that reduced Jace to a puddle of unrequited feelings in his seat. “It’s okay. Whatever it is, I won’t be mad.” He promised. “Just tell me.”

        Jace took a deep breath. Maybe telling Magnus was what was best. If he just put his feelings on the table, Magnus would hopefully let him down gently, in the way Jace was supposed to do with Alec. Magnus was a better, kinder man than he was. Even though his feelings wouldn’t be returned, the rejection would help him move on. “I’m. . .” Jace trailed off, his hands beginning to shake.

        Magnus reached out to Jace, placing a hand over his shaking ones. “It’s okay.” He reassured him, rubbing the back of his hand.

        “I’m in love with you.” Jace whispered, his voice barely audible and his head down, hair hanging in his face. He didn’t look at Magnus, preferring not to have to see the angry look on his face as well. Alec already hated him. Now Magnus would, too.

        “Jace. . .” Magnus trailed off, not sure what to say. The silence hung in the air between him as Magnus struggled to find the right words to say to him. “I’m flattered, I really am.” He finally spoke, “But I’m getting married. To Alec.” He added extra emphasis to his words, trying to illustrate their importance. “I love him and we’re planning on creating a family together. You must know that.”

        “Yes, I do.” Jace nodded his head, his shoulders shaking as he forced back tears. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to feel this way.”

        “Jace.” Magnus set down his paper and stood up, walking over to him. “I’m not angry with you. You love who you love, and you don’t have to apologize to me for that.” He assured him, rubbing his back. “But I’m going to be honest. Loving me will only lead to heartbreak. I consider you someone important to me, Jace, and I don’t want to break your heart. . .” He sighed as Jace began to cry. “But I may not have a choice. I do not love you, Jace. I can’t.” His voice was apologetic.

        “I know.” Jace sobbed. “By the Angel, of course I know that. I knew that I couldn’t have you, and I didn’t expect to. I was going to wait it out. It would go away, and I could move on.” Jace breathed in shakily, trying to control himself. This was why he detested falling in love. It made him into a mess. “Alec found out and he was angry. He won’t talk to me. I just want my parabatai back. I don’t want to take you from him, I would never. He’s so happy with you, I can’t imagine ever doing something like that.”

        “Jace. . .” Maybe sighed heavily. “You deserve to be happy. Not with me, but you deserve it. Alec will forgive you, if you give him time and the space he needs. I am connected to him more than you are, in some ways. This is about more than your feelings for me. But, for now, I don’t think you should be here when he arrives. I apologize.” Magnus lifted his hand and wiped away Jace’s tears. “You’ll be okay, you know that, right?” He asked him. “It may not feel like it right now, but you have an eternity to find love again.”

        Jace nodded. “Yeah. You’re right.” He agreed, nodding his head. “Can you portal me to my room? I just. . .I need sleep.”

        Magnus nodded, flicking his wrist to create a portal, pretending not to see the pure adoration and love in Jace’s eyes. He watched as Jace and walked over to the portal. “Magnus? Can you say it one more time? I need to hear it.”

        “Jace, I don’t love you.” Magnus said to him, his voice steady. “But someone will.”

        Jace nodded. “Thank you.” He forced a smile. “You’re a good friend.” He stepped through the portal, leaving Magnus’ loft.

Chapter Text

“Looks like this is the last of it.” Alec set his bag down on the inside of the front door, stretching his arms. “I’ll start putting this away. Where can I put them?” Alec looked around. He didn’t have too much, just a few bags here and there with clothes and his bow and quiver, along with a few sharpening tools and a stack of paperwork he needed to approve and send to the Clave. It was all standard missions, thankfully. Ever since they had captured and jailed both Sebastian and Hodge, everything had been relatively calm. It was a welcome change for Alec, at least.

            “Actually, we can let Madzie do the honors.” Magnus looked down at Madzie, gesturing for her to go ahead. “Go ahead. Just like you showed me.” He prompted.

            Madzie nodded. She extended out her hand, not having quite the flourish that was present in every gesture of Magnus’ hands, but the magic—yellow and shaky—that surrounded the young girl’s palm was captivating, regardless. The bags in front of Alec emptied, all finding their rightful places in the room Alec and Magnus shared and in the office Magnus had cleared out for Alec.

            “Well look at you, Madzie.” Alec picked her up, holding her on his hip. “I didn’t know you were this good at magic.”

            “I wasn’t before.” Madzie explained. “I got better after the man made me drink this thing that tasted really weird and then put this mark on me. That’s why I want Papa to teach me his magic. He has those marks, too.” She moved her hair out of the way, exposing a small angelic rune in the spot right behind her ear. “The drink killed Nana, but he told me if I didn’t drink it, he’d kill me, too.” She licked her lips, looking down nervously as Magnus and Alec both stared at her, wide-eyed. “Was I not supposed to? I didn’t want to die. . .”

            “No, Pumpkin. We understand why you did it.” Magnus spoke in a calm tone, trying to reassure her even though he was examining the rune, trying to think up possible explanations for it being able to appear on her skin. “It’s okay. Me and your Abba have them, too. Do you know what he made you drink?”

            Madzie bit her lip. “I think it was blood.” She admitted. “But I didn’t like it and I only took a little. I’m not a vampire!”

            Alec rubbed Madzie’s back as she began to panic. “We know you’re not a vampire, Madzie. We’re just a little curious, okay? We care about you a whole lot, so we have to make sure the man didn’t hurt you.” He looked at Magnus, pursing his lips and trying to communicate his worries to him without voicing them out loud and scaring Madzie.

            Magnus nodded, showing he understand Alec. “We’re going to have to make sure you get a checkup to make sure you’re A-OK.” Magnus told her. “I have a friend who is a healer Warlock. Would you be okay with seeing her?”

            Madzie hesitated. “If there’s something wrong. . .will I have to leave?”

            “Of course not.” Alec reassured her. “You’re ours now. That’s not going to change.” He and Magnus shared a brief look, before Alec set Madzie down. “Me and your Papa need to have some grown up time. Go play. We’ll join you later.”

            Madzie frowned. “Abba—“

            “Madzie.” Magnus spoke up, his voice stern. “Listen to your father.” After a few moments, Madzie nodded and went to her room. Once she was out of earshot, Magnus cast a spell to make sure she wouldn’t hear anything from her room and crossed his arms. “You know I have some predictions already, don’t you?”

            “You always do.” Alec said without missing a beat. He nodded his head at Magnus, “Enlighten me. You’re a lot better at this than I ever will be.”

            “Well, obviously she was with Sebastian at some point,” Magnus started off. “Either before or after he was hosting Asmodeus, because he was the one who killed Iris, and many other Warlocks. She wouldn’t be alive if she was forced to drink pure Angel blood, so obviously it’s not that. So it had to be fallen angel blood.”

            “That doesn’t explain how they got ahold of it.” Alec licked his lips.

            “I can figure that out as well, but not yet. We’ll need to run some tests, figure out what the source of the blood is. After that, I can start try to figure out how Sebastian acquired the blood. If it’s really fallen angel blood, then Madzie is fine. She’s just. . .like me, to a certain extent. But getting fallen angel blood is a hell of a lot harder than getting ahold of angel blood. It’s practically impossible.”

            “Practically being an operative word in this case, it seems.”

            Magnus nodded his head. “Asmodeus can’t have a body with fallen angel blood. He’d have to be summoned to have a physical body, and there’s only way to summon him.”

            Alec bit his lip. “The Kris.” He stated. He reached out to Magnus, stroking his cheek. “It’s in our possession, so that’s one less thing to worry about. Don’t get that face.” He poked the space between Magnus’ brows. It had crumpled up slightly as a deep frown appeared on Magnus’ face.

            “What face?” Magnus asked, the deep set of his eyebrows not faltering.

            “The face that makes me want to kiss away all your worries.” Alec’s mouth raised up on the right side, forming a lighthearted smirk. He ran his fingers through Magnus’ hair.

            “These aren’t the kind of worries you can kiss away, Alexander.” Magnus tilted his head up, raising onto the tips of his toes to clear the discrepancy in their heights.

            “I can try.”

            “You can.” Magnus agreed, hooking his fingers into Alec’s belt loops and pulling him in, their lips meeting in a soft peck. Alec kissed him once, twice, three times before refusing to pull away, his tongue delving past Magnus’ lips and his hands traveling down from the small of Magnus’ back and grabbing his ass.

            “Mm. . .” Magnus was the one to pull away, brushing his thumb over his lips with a small grin. “It helped.” He chuckled, his gaze traveling down to his feet. “But let’s not get carried away, yeah? I’ll go play with Madzie, I need you to see what you can do down at the Institute.” Magnus tapped Alec’s chest quickly before pulling his hand away. “I’ll see you later, Alexander. Be home soon, I have something important to tell you when you get back.”

            “Yes you will.” Alec watched Magnus as he walked away, his eyes lingering on his ass. Once he disappeared around the corner, Alec furrowed his brows. “Wait a second, something important? Magnus what did you do?”

            “Bye Alexander!” Magnus shouted. As Alec left, he heard the sound of both Magnus and Madzie giggling.

 


 

            Within minutes of entering the institute, Alec sent out a message for Izzy, Aldertree, and Jace to his office. He knew Izzy and Aldertree were out, so it would take them longer to arrive than Jace. He readied himself to speak to Jace as he entered his office, sitting down in his chair and taking a deep breath when he heard Jace knock.

            “Come in.”

            Jace sat on the opposite side of the desk, looking distressed. “Alec, I—“

            “Save it.” Alec cut him off, not wanting to hear whatever Jace had to say. He was still angry at him and it wouldn’t do Alec any good to lose his temper before the important meeting with Izzy and the debriefing for Aldertree. “Your report.” He held out his hand, ignoring the hurt expression on Jace’s face and the dull ache that came from his parabatai rune.

            It Jace a few moments, but he retrieved the report and passed it over to Alec, pursing his lips. “Is that really all you have to say to me? Alec, if you’d just please let me explain.”

            “Dismissed.” Alec said shortly, looking down at the report in his hand. “That is all I have to say to you. We’re not having this conversation.” His voice was cold, colder than it had ever been when he was speaking to Jace.

            “Alec.” Jace set his hand down on the desk. “We have always done everything together. When you were named Acting Head, you chose me as your second and gave me control over the Demon Hunts. We’re parabatai, we trust each other and you know me well enough to know I would never mean for this to happen. You have to talk to me individually.”

            “Do I?” Alec inclined his head to the right. “Because maybe you should’ve been thinking about how the two of us are parabatai before you fell for my fiancé. The damage is done. Dismissed, Jace.”

            “Alec, don’t look at me like that.” Jace frowned. “Don’t look at me like I’m a stranger. I’m still the same. I’m still your brother. You know me better than anyone.”

            “I thought I did.” Alec turned a page in the report, trying to read it but unable to get past the third line. “Maybe I’m looking at you like I don’t know you because I don’t. Maybe I never did.”

            “Alec—“

            Aldertree’s voice interrupted whatever Jace was going to say. “Should we go?” He looked over at Isabelle, who rolled her eyes and grabbed the back of his shirt, moving the both of them away from the door to Alec’s office.

            “No. I called you here.” Alec waved a hand at Jace. “You’re dismissed. I won’t repeat myself again.”

            Jace threw one last pleading look at Alec, but was met with a cold, unfeeling stare. He turned around, his gaze directed at the floor as he left.

            “Trouble in paradise?” Aldertree asked, before letting out a punched-out groan as Isabelle stomped her six-inch heels onto his toes. He bit his lip, raising both hands in surrender before stealing the chair in front of Alec’s desk, forcing Isabelle to sit. “On a more serious note,” He began. “You requested to see us?”

            “I wanted to let you know that Magnus and I have adopted a Warlock named Madzie.” Alec licked his lips. “I thought you would like to stay updated. I’ve also moved into Magnus’ loft with him and our daughter.”

            “Congratulations.” Victor took out a notepad, taking down any information he would have to deliver to the Clave later. “With this new development, I have to wonder when you’re finally going to make an honest Warlock out of Magnus. I have a date in mind, if you want to hear it.”

            “If you say tomorrow, Victor, you’re on Ichor duty.” Alec said tiredly. “Hire a wedding planner first, at least. Magnus is probably going to want to be working with them every step of the way.”

            “Noted.” Aldertree didn’t say the date he had in mind, so Alec assumed his threat was sufficient and he had actually been planning to say tomorrow.

            “Dismissed, Aldertree.” Alec managed to smile, just a little. Seeing Aldertree trying to push the Clave’s agenda in the friendliest manner possible was both irritating and amusing. It was easy to see that a lot was riding on his and Magnus’ relationship, and Aldertree was walking on eggshells with his assignment. He waited until he left the room before instructing Izzy to close the door behind her.

            “I’m assuming this meeting is going to be the least fun.” Izzy crossed her legs.

            “Or most. Depends on you” Alec shrugged. “I’ve got an assignment for you. It’s about Madzie.”

            Izzy nodded, waiting for Alec to continue.

            “I have reason to suspect that Madzie has angel blood. She was experimented on and I want you to confirm whether or not she has angel blood and I need to see if you can figure out where it came from. I can get a sample, if that’s what you need, and Magnus says he wants Catarina to be involved, so you can look forward to meeting the best healer in the city.”

            “It’s not all that special. She’s still just a warlock.” Isabelle said offhandedly. “It seems like everyone has angel blood now. The Clave is going to have an aneurysm over this.”

            Alec narrowed his eyes. “Just a Warlock?” He asked, narrowing in on that specific part of what Izzy said. “What does that mean?”

            “Don’t do that, Alec. You know I didn’t mean it like that.” Izzy shrugged her brother off.

            “We both know you did.” Alec licked his lips, cocking an eyebrow up at his sister. “But I didn’t call you in here to argue with you. I’ll be in tomorrow with the sample I need you to test.”

            Izzy nodded her head. “I got it. Anything else?”

            “Izzy.”

            “Yes, Hermano?”

            “Thank you.” Alec quirked his mouth up into a small smirk. “Also, I was wondering if you wanted to meet your new niece anytime soon?”

            Izzy’s expression brightened. “Are you kidding me? Of course I want meet her! I didn’t see the girl when Clary brought her in, but that means I can make the perfect first impression. I should make her a dessert. Cookies or cake!” She brought her hands together, eager.

            “You shouldn’t make anything,” Alec cleared his throat, not wanting to hurt his sister’s feelings even if she was just plain awful at cooking. “Madzie’s a picky eater.” He lied, trying to smooth over the blow from his earlier words. “You know how kids are. She only eats her Papa’s cooking. And Izzy?”

            “Mmhm?” Izzy said, her grin still present on her face.

            “Once you finish testing Madzie’s blood, I need you to dispose of it, the same you did with Magnus when we initially ran tests with him. If it really is fallen angel blood, we can’t have anyone getting their hands on it.”

            “I didn’t dispose of Magnus’ blood. It was an intern. I’ll have them get rid of it, don’t worry.”

            Alec nodded. “I want you to supervise the removal of them this time, Izzy. It’s important. I don’t want anyone getting ahold of that blood.” His tone was deathly serious.

            Izzy, noticing her brother’s tone, dropped her smile and nodded sagely. “Okay. I understand.” She crossed her arms. “You know you can trust me, Hermano.”

            “More than anything.” Alec agreed. “Which is why it has to be you to supervise it. It feels like you’re the only person in the Institute that truly has my back right now.” His shoulders sagged, and he glanced down, his hand briefly coming down to hover over his parabatai rune.

            “Alec, you two have to work together to get past this.” Isabelle sighed. “Jace is a part of you.”

            “So is Magnus.” Alec moved his hand quickly.

            “Exactly. And if you think he doesn’t feel the same hurt you’re feeling because you refuse to talk to your parabatai, then you’re wrong.”

            “And what exactly am I supposed to do, Izzy?” Alec snapped, running his hands through his hair in frustration. He felt tense and on edge after his conversation with Jace, and he wanted nothing more than to return to his home with Magnus and Madzie and get away from Jace disheartened expression and the deep love for Magnus he sensed within him. “Should I just forgive and forget, like I always do? Let Jace back in and watch as he takes my fiancé and our daughter away from me?” Alec knew he was being irrational, but that didn’t change anything. He needed to yell, to let out all of his insecurities and fear that threatened to come to the surface every time he saw Magnus and Jace together.

            “Alec,” Izzy reached out, cupping her brother’s cheek. “Give Magnus more credit than that. He loves you.”

            “I know, I know.” Alec ran his fingers through his hair. His eyes fluttered shut, long lashes settling against his cheekbones. “Magnus isn’t the issue. But you know how it’s always been. When given the choice, no one has ever chosen me. And I know you see the way Jace smiles when he and Magnus spar, and I can see that Magnus is happy, too. They’re more alike than me and Magnus are. When they enter a room, they shine. I don’t.”

            “Oh, Alec.” Izzy smiled sadly. “If you can’t see the way heads turn when you enter a room, I don’t know what to tell you. Talk to Magnus. The only person that can reassure you is him.”

            “I will.” Alec bit his lip. “I just—I don’t Magnus to think that I’m doubting him.” He drew a slow, deep breath, forcing himself to calm down. “I’m sorry I yelled, but I need to go back home. Have Lindsay wire all calls to my cell. I finish my work in the office at the loft.”

            “Of course you’re sorry, you hothead.” Izzy smiled at her brother. “Go ahead. If the world starts ending any more than usual, you’ll be the first to know.”

           


 

            Alec entered his new home to find Magnus, Madzie and Catarina all on the couch, pressed close together while a kid’s movie played on the television. A small grin found its way onto his lips and all his stress practically melted away at the sight. He stood in the doorway for a few moments, his enhanced hearing picking up the sound of Catarina whispering tips in Magnus’ ear as he finished braiding Madzie’s hair into twin buns, the back of her head braided with an intricate design.

            Madzie was hugging Zethor as Magnus put two bow clips into her hair, pale pink to match the scarf tied around her neck to cover her warlock mark. Zethor’s small head was squished in between Madzie’s arms, and Alec took a moment to silently thank Magnus for not letting Alec buy a real dog that Madzie would have inevitably and accidently strangled.

            Alec quietly shut the door behind him, being careful so he didn’t disturb the three of them while their watched their movie, but Madzie turned her head the moment the door closed. “Abba!” She dropped Zethor and rushed over to the door, jumping into Alec’s arms. He lifted her onto his hip, giving both Catarina and Magnus a guilty smile when their gazes landed on him. “Didn’t mean to interrupt.” He gave Madzie a kiss on the forehead before setting her down. “I have some work waiting for me in my office. Catarina, do you mind watching Madzie for a second while Magnus helps me with something?”

            “Go ahead.” Catarina winked at him.

            “Abba, I want to go with you.” Madzie pouted, clutching onto Alec’s pant leg and giving him the widest doe eyes Alec had ever seen. Alec wanted to believe it was magic and that he wasn’t just weak to Madzie, but he knew the truth.

            “Now, Now, Sweet Pea.” Magnus pushed himself off the couch and sauntered over to them both. “Play with Catarina.” His tone, as always, left no room for argument. For someone that was always so welcoming and gentle when it came to Alec, he could be surprisingly stern.

            “Yes Papa.” Madzie frowned and walked back over to Catarina. It was clear to everyone, while Alec was spineless when it came to his newfound daughter, he would never go against Magnus. They were a team.

            “Lead the way. I need to tell you something as well.” Magnus gestured outward with his hand, letting Alec walk to his office first, him just a few steps behind. Magnus closed the door behind the two of them and locked it, leaning against the door with his arms crossed. “I’ll start. Jace told me he’s in love with me.”

            Alec’s hand involuntarily clenched into a fist. He saw red. All he could think was How dare he? and nothing else. Of course Jace was tell him. Of course.

            Jace couldn’t let Alec have his happiness. He wanted to take it away from him, just like he always did. Alec was ready to leave the office and take out every ounce of anger that had suddenly appeared within him on his parabatai, but he found that he was suddenly unable to move.

            “Alexander.” Magnus placed his hands on his hips. “I’m not finished. I rejected him as kindly as I could’ve, given the circumstances. I made myself clear that I will never want anyone other than you.”

            “You chose me.” It was both a question and a statement.

            “I will always choose you, Alexander.” Magnus snapped his fingers, releasing Alec when he felt some of his anger beginning to fade.

            That was all Alec needed to hear. Maybe his insecurities weren’t completely gone, but it was such a relief to know that Magnus wouldn’t go for something better once it presented itself. That he would choose Alec, hair-trigger temper and all. It was more than Alec had ever received from anyone else. No one had ever felt as if just him was enough for him.

            But Magnus. . .

            Magnus was different. Not only had he chosen Alec this time, but he said that he would always choose him.

            Alec pulled Magnus in by his hips, meeting his lips in a kiss. His arms came around Magnus to wrap around his waist and Magnus fingers weaved through his hair, the emotions felt through their bond conveying every single thing Alec didn’t say.

            Thank you for choosing me.

            Thank you for loving me.

            I love you.

I love you, too.

            I will always choose you.

            I will always love you.